Vale sat in a large conference room. An oak table sat in front of her, glistening in the bright light of the room. She kept touching her bandaged shoulder where her metal arm once sat, feeling naked without it.
After having her metal arm tear its way free, and then reattaching it before her skin had healed, Dash had made it clear that she would have to wait several weeks before having her metal arm back or it could damage the muscles she had left in her shoulder.
Running her fingers through her washed hair, Vale looked up at the screens in front of her as she waited for the call to begin. Ace and Geo sat to her left and Dash to her right. Mortem and Sky were still down in the hospital. No one was sure when Mortem was going to wake up and Sky had been forced into sleep to make sure his heart wouldn’t have any scares for the next week.
The screens began to flicker and Vale rolled her hand into a fist in her lap. Geo leaned over and offered Vale a smile. “Breathe Vale. You are looking pale.”
Vale sucked in a large breath. “Thanks.”
Geo giggled. “No problem. I got you.”
Suddenly, two screens blinked to life and Dash leaned forward, an easy grin crossing his face. “Hello, fellow Tradesmen.”
“Hello, Healer,” both figures on the screen responded. Vale took in the people on the screens. A girl around seventeen years old with wild purple hair sat on the top right screen. She had a bright blue tattoo on the side of her neck of a blue jay. A boy with white hair styled in wild spikes and rings in his eyebrows sat on the other screen.
“Hello, Game Master,” Dash said nodding towards the girl. “Hello, Builder,” Dash said nodding towards the boy.
“Healer, we were not set up to have a check-in for another week. Someone better be in danger,” The Builder said in a hard tone, twirling a small chip in his hands.
“I see that you got our information,” Dash said looking at the small chip in The Builder’s hand. “Have you seen the list?”
“Figured we’d wait for you. Why spoil the surprise,” The Game Master replied.
“Always so dramatic,” Dash muttered.
“Calm down Doc. We’ll look right now,” The Builder laughed.
The two people on the screens scanned something off to their left. “Where did you get this?” The Game Master asked, her eyes wide.
Dash glanced at Vale. “It was stolen off of an AI ship. They know who we are. And they are the one’s behind your mother’s imprisonment. Behind your father’s coma. Behind my father going missing. The only one who has managed to survive this is Mortem and that’s because he’s plain crazy.”
They were both quiet for a long moment. The girl offered a small smirk, “Tye you owe me ten petabytes.”
The Builder, Tye, groaned. “Dang it Bay. Why do I even bother betting against you.”
Tye brought up a small screen and a moment later, a chirp was heard from Bay’s screen. “Because you are an idiot. At least Dash knows better. Never bet against Mortem.” she laughed, causing her face to light up. “So what’s our next move?”
Dash crossed his arms. “You’re The Game Master, queen of strategy. What do you think?”
Bay tapped her black-painted lips, her brows furrowed as she thought. “We need forces. Allies. We also need to restructure a few things. If they know who we are, and based on what you have said, where we are, then we need to go into hiding. Let them think we gave up while we build.”
Dash nodded. “Good.” He turned to look at Vale. “This is Vale Vita, the one who got us this information. She will be helping find The Alimentors and The Ignitors. They are also on that list, and I want to know why.”
Tye gave her a wary expression. “One arm got us the info?”
Bay scoffed. “Tye don’t be an ass.”
“I know, surprised me too,” Vale said with a laugh.
Bay shot her a grin. “I like her. She’s got a sense of humor. You could learn about that Tye.”
Tye rolled his eyes. “I get it. You hate my guts. Let’s move on. But she needs a code name. Especially since it looks like she’ll be starting her own Trade.”
Dash tapped his chin. “I have been thinking about that. Lighting Bringer?”
Vale rolled her eyes. “All of you have a ‘The’ in the title. How is Lighting Bringer a trade?”
“I like it,” Geo spoke up.
“Yeah, she will need all the help she can get to look terrifying,” Ace said, laughing.
Geo snorted. “She’s plenty terrifying. She took down that AI ship and all the AI’s on it single-handedly!” She blushed, “no offense.”
Ace threw his hands up. “Sky was there too!”
Geo slapped her hand to her forehead. “Right! And she saved Sky’s life. Thanks for the reminder to add that to the list of things that make her awesome.” she added sarcastically.
Dash cleared his throat, and both of them grew quiet. “Alright Vale, your new codename is Lightning Bringer. Tye, can you hack into the AI database and erase Vale Vita from the AI’s files?”
Tye continued to twirl the small chip, “It shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t think she’s on their worldwide target list yet.”
“But if she has family out there, we should probably take them in. Or they will become a target of an attack,” Bay added.
“My mom lives in Sector 92603. Her name is Kriss Vita.”
“Your father?” Ace asked pulling out a small pad and tapping out a quick set of notes.
“Destroyed,” she responded quietly.
“Everyone in this room has lost someone. I’m sure he was a great man,” Geo said placing her hand over Vale’s in a comforting gesture.
“That’s just it. I never met him. But my mom says he was something else.”
Dash gave Ace a nod and he stood up, walking out of the room. “He’ll go send a transmission to one of the Traveler’s crew so we can make plans to get your mother safe. They don’t get on these calls. Mortem is paranoid.”
“Considering how many times they’ve tried to kill him, I’d say it’s a healthy level of caution,” Geo piped in.
“Bay, I will leave finding a meeting spot in your hands. I want our next meeting to be in person.” Tye nodded in agreement.
“To Choice,” Dash said.
“To Choice,” everyone echoed. Vale joined in a beat too late, causing Geo to giggle.
Dash shut down the screens and turned back to Vale. “Let’s get going Lightning Bringer, we have a lot to do.”