Phase VI: A Whole New World
The communication tower stood tall on the cliff as if it was giving them an eerie reminder that Dollet had fallen. The sky was a deep purple, which indicated the sun was soon to peak out from its resting place in the sky within a few hours. They were just about forty-five minutes out of the Dollet Dukedom border making their way west from here. The rush of cars took to the main roads out of the city in a gridlock traffic jam, but the blonde driver had chosen a route off the beaten path.
Zell has taken up a spot in the three-person passenger seat in the cab of the old Dodge pick up truck between Riki and the driver.
Squall sat quietly next to Selphie who was still fast asleep and oblivious to their current plan of action. He looked over at her sleeping figure slumped against the corner of the truck closest to the cab and stifled a yawn. He blinked feeling tears of exhaustion dampen his tired eyes. The night had taken a lot out of him, and every time he tried to fall asleep the vehicle jolted him awake from driving over the uneven road.
"Hey, I know you!" Zell jumped when he realized who the blonde woman was. "You were that chick from the club that Squall helped."
The blonde girl giggled, amber eyes fixated on the road ahead of her. "Yes, that was I. Thanks to your friend, we wouldn't have been able to continue with our mission."
"Mission?" Zell asked.
"To escape Dollet and head to Deling City," grumbled Riki next to him, who had been trying to sleep with her head against the window.
"What's in Deling City?"
"Ya sure ask a lot of questions, don't 'cha?" Riki lifted her head to glare at him. "Well, we're from Deling City. Our group, I mean."
"Your group?" Zell raised a brow.
"The Naperic resistance group. Made up of Selene, Angelus, and me. We're a group who run underground missions."
"Underground? Like what?"
"We oppose the government and its laws. Galbadian federal and municipal laws take from the people, so we take it back. We work under the table in espionage with other factions 'round the world."
"You mean to tell me you three do illegal work?"
"Whoa, Whoa, whoa!" Riki interjected, waving her hand defensively, "It's not exactly illegal! It's just managin' the legal dudes! Monitorin' government activity, plannin', and makin' deals. We also make sure the mafia and gangsters don't do stupid shit that can cost us our asses."
"We even get offers to go on missions such as coming to Dollet to gather information." Selene explained.
"Gather info, huh?" Zell cocked a suspicious eyebrow. "What kind of info?"
"We've been on the trail of the person in charge of the attack for some time now. Angelus got word of somethin' like this from some underground factions who overhead soldiers talkin' 'bout it. They said 'Dollet', so we had to come. We didn't find much, though." Riki explained further, slightly frustrated with all the questions.
"Angelus made sure that we investigated Dollet's underground resistance, and we managed to find a list of times and locations. We didn't know what it meant until tonight." Selene said. Zell assumed she was the more patient one of the two.
"Apparently, the attacks were set just minutes after each other. Selene had gone to the club to find anyone who looked suspicious enough to fit a profile. I was investigatin' at a nearby office buildin'. It was apparently the fourth attack and was set 20 minutes after the club was targeted." Riki said.
"Shit…but why are these places bein' targeted?" Zell asked.
Selene shook her head as she effortlessly jerked the steering wheel to the right and continued down the dirt road. "If only we knew…"
"Fuck…" Zell muttered, punching the worn upholstered leather of the seat next to him.
Angelus watched Squall with interest. The younger man looked tired and worn out with closed eyes and rhythmic breaths. He liked the way the kid fought- with calculated precision and passion. Squall couldn't have been an ordinary teenager, but a soldier of some kind. He had to be. Angelus had heard of a few guys wielding gunblades, but because the weapon was difficult to learn he knew of nobody at least within the Underground Association that wielded one. He did happen to know of a guy who helped a resistance group in Timber who had one, but they never got the opportunity to ever meet in person.
But this man looked no older than nineteen. He remembered his friends calling him Squall…
"So, your name's Squall, right?" the black haired man asked, striking up a conversation.
"Yeah, and what of it?" Squall responded coldly.
"Just asking," Angelus replied after an extended pause. "The name's Skyros Angelus. People just address me by my last name."
"Whatever…" Squall said with his signature phrase of disinterest.
"You must be from Galbadia. You look Galbadian," Angelus curiously scrutinized him, "Where you from?"
"That's none of your business." He answered, glaring at him now. Squall figured he wasn't going to get any sleep tonight.
"Okay…" He thought of approaching this differently now. His multicolored eyes flashed over to the women sleeping next to Squall. "Is she your girlfriend?"
He dealt him a glare. "No."
Angelus smirked to this. "Good then. She's pretty hot if you know what I mean."
Squall had already established that he didn't like this guy, but secretly had to agree with him. Selphie's new look had attracted his attention when they first ran into each other at the club, but he couldn't stand the way she acted during their escape. And he wasn't about to satisfy Angelus by openly admitting this either. He scowled, "No, I don't know what you mean."
"Tough luck, then," shrugged the black haired man, positioning himself back against the side of the pickup truck. "I guess it's easy to say that there won't be any competition to claim her heart, now will there?"
"Whatever." He honestly just wanted this guy to shut up so he could get some fucking sleep.
Angelus chuckled to the lion's distrust towards him and found it very understandable. To Squall, he was just a guy who picked him and his friends off the streets of destruction. The last thing he was going to do was trust a man whom he just met only hours ago. The Naperic leader dismissed his behavior altogether finding it quite amusing.
"We're off to Deling City, if you don't already know."
"Deling City?" Squall echoed.
"Yeah," he let out with a hint of pride, "I like to call it 'The City of Origin'."
"Well, I was not only born and raised in Deling City, but our little resistance group also originated there."
"You mean to tell me you and the other two are part of a resistance group?" This was the first bit of information Squall had gotten from the leader of the small rag tag group since he agreed to go with them. He wondered how transparent they were going to be with their plans from here on out.
"Yep." The black haired man replied, "We are considered one of the best underground resistance groups in Galbadia. Our obligation is to work with other underground factions and one day overthrow the federal government."
"So, you're a rebel group." Squall stated firmly, raising a skeptical brow.
"You make us sound like a bunch of criminals! You can say we're the 'authority of the underground'." He added air quotes to that last bit before continuing with his explanation, "We manage the ways of the gangs and other groups, so they don't do something completely stupid that could get the cops onto us. We do reconnaissance missions or, when push comes to shove, we fight. We are kind of like a private military organization if you will. We fight for the people against the government. And one day, we will overthrow them completely and start a better government."
The question of transparency was slightly answered with that long-winded description, but Squall was still skeptical about their intentions. Why was he telling him all this so freely?
"What was the reason for you to be in Dollet, if you're actually stationed in Deling City?" Squall asked.
"Well," Angelus sighed, "You're in way over your head in all this already and know too much for your own good. There is no point in hiding anything from you, now is there?"
"You didn't answer my question."
"Okay," Angelus leaned in. His eyes locked onto his in all seriousness. "I'll answer under one condition. You and your friends join my faction."
"What?" Squall had hoped it wouldn't come to that.
Angelus relaxed and leaned back again. "Then again, you can be left behind anywhere I please, and then you're completely screwed."
"I mean, we're almost, what? Two miles away from Dollet? I guess you can go back there if you really wanted to, but I highly doubt anyone there can help you. You'd be back to square one, and we'd all be escaping to safety in Deling City." Squall weighed the pros and cons of all this.
"It's really up to you. So…" His brown and blue eyes rested on Selphie's sleeping figure again. "What's it gonna be, Scarface?"
Squall felt like he was making the decision for all three of them, which didn't seem fair at first. It reminded him of his SeeD days as their squad leader and then their commander. Everything was always on him. He was again being put on the spot. Squall glanced at Selphie's curled up figure. I hope you'll understand when you wake up. This is all we can do for now.
"Fine. I, as well as my comrades, will join your faction. Now tell me why you were in Dollet."
Angelus grinned delightfully. "I never thought you'd actually say yes, but onto the main course, shall we?"
"Riki, Selene, and I were to go to Dollet because we'd gotten a lead on something about to go down there. A fellow group of ours overheard some of Caraway's goons discussing a series of events. We did some digging and managed to find a list of locations and times. At first we had no idea what the hell it meant, and then the Dollet factions had supplied us with a specific date. We worked with them to cover all the locations on that list when the city was attacked. Selene, as you already know, had been at the club. Riki was at an office building. I was at your apartment complex."
"Our primary objective was to find the guy in charge of planning it thinking he may have been commanding those black clad soldiers. Yet, we failed." Angelus concluded.
"So, you believed he was in Dollet." The brunette said.
Angelus growled then, "Yeah, but the bastard was too smart for us. He's hiding out somewhere far away from Dollet. I just don't know where yet."
"…then we can help you." Squall looked next to him seeing Selphie stir. She'd been paying attention.
"Selphie." Squall called to her.
"Good, you were listening the whole time." Angelus looked pleased.
Selphie rubbed her eyes to diminish the sleep that still resided there. "Not all of it. Just when you began to explain the reason why you were in Dollet."
"In order for me to talk, Scarface here had to volunteer you three over to the Naperic resistance group." Angelus informed her. His eyes were full of amusement when he saw the disapproving frown on Squall's face.
Selphie's tone sounded determined regardless of the fact that she was still feeling the affects of the sleep spell, "If that's gonna bring Stacy back, so be it."
"Perfect. It's settled," Angelus smirked, "Welcome to the resistance group, and get ready for a new mission!"