Karen stepped into an escape tunnel silently, not for the first time. This time, she was determined to go all the way. She had to see things with her own eyes.
The monitors would show no sign that she had gone. She had taught herself to get into the system and reprogram it a few months earlier. She thought about this as she moved closer to the door.
Karen paused slightly before entering the code to open the door. She was nervous about leaving the fortress. The door slid open and the fresh air on her face revitalized her as she stepped out into the moonlight.
Running toward the city, she began to take it all in. She could see where some buildings had collapsed, some had holes running through them, and some were smoking. She slowed as she entered the city itself, watching carefully for anyone who might spot her.
Hearing heavy steps walking down the street, she ducked into an alcove, her black clothes helping her blend into the shadows. She could see a shadow on one of the buildings move slightly. It jumped down to the street just as a purple bolt of light hit where it had been.
The shadowy figure ran down the street in front of Karen, and she could now make out that it was a young man that looked like he was two or three years older than her. He passed her just as the armored soldiers turned around the corner. They stopped in front of the alcove, taking aim at the young man. She tensed, preparing to spring at them as one turned and saw her.
She jumped out of the way of the bolt that was fired at her, then quickly repositioned herself. As she was trying to figure out a way to get closer to them without getting hurt, something struck both soldiers from above. A blue light surrounded both soldiers for an instant, then they fell to the ground.
Karen felt a hand on her shoulder and looked to see the young man standing behind her. "There will be reinforcements coming. We don't want to be here then. Come on."
Karen only nodded. He turned to run off, and she followed close behind. She wasn't sure how long they ran, or which direction, but he finally ran into a seemingly abandoned building. She followed, stopping quickly as a sword blade appeared in her path.
The person holding the sword was wearing some sort of armor that was scorched in places. "Who are you?"
Karen didn't reply. The young man placed his hand on the sword. "Lower it, Zero. She's here with me."
There was a short mechanical laugh. "Bringing home strays on your hunting trips now, Dean?"
Dean pulled off the backpack he was wearing. "You know how it is out there. I couldn't leave her to the mercy of the Watchmen."
Zero nodded as Dean motioned for Karen to follow him. They stepped into what used to be a reception area for some business or another, but had been converted into a dining area. Dean set down the backpack and began pulling food out of it.
A few other teenagers began crowding around, staring at the food. One, a young man with black hair and a strange metal pack clapped Dean on the back. "Another successful hunt, I see."
Dean grinned as he pulled the last of the food from his pack. "I would have been fried if it wasn't for the assist. Thanks, Wings."
Wings looked at Karen. "Think nothing of it. Is this the girl that was there?"
Dean nodded as he sat down. "It is."
Wings looked at Karen appraisingly. "She has spirit. I like that. Are you going to join us?"
Karen just raised an eyebrow at the question. Dean watched her as he picked up a roll. "She doesn't know anything about us yet. You would be safer here than out on the street, though. No Watchman is going to sneak up on you here. Where are you from?"
Karen wasn't sure which way her home was from here, so she just shrugged. Wings sat down next to her. "Are you mute?" She shook her head. "Then why don't you say something?" She shook her head again.
Dean put his hand on her arm. "She'll speak when she has something to say. You're quick and, as Wings said, you have spirit. I think you could help us as we try to take the city back. Will you join the Justice Force?"
Karen's eyes widened as she thought about what he had just said. She shook her head sadly, then ran out of the building, quickly gaining her bearings then heading back to the fortress, tears in her eyes.
This installment is a bit later than I planned, but I did still get it out on Saturday. I'm interested to see where the next section of story will be going, so be sure to let me know... The schedule remains the same. I will choose suggestions on Thursday and post the story on Saturday.
Until next time,
Your Fearless Writer,