Crickets chirped and bushes rustled. SKYE, MAY and Lance hid behind some bushes, looking at a large building across the street in the night.
"You sure this is the place? It looks empty," Lance said.
"This is where the coordinates led," Skye said.
"Did you do any scans on the building?" May asked.
"Infrared scans showed several hostiles on the upper levels and one powerful energy source underneath that building," Skye said.
"Any idea what the energy source is?" Lance asked.
"None, its energy emitted waves that created interference with the scans," Skye said.
"Then we have to move quickly," May said.
Skye nodded and pressed a button on her earpiece.
"Strike team, move in," Skye said.
A SHIELD sniper perched in a tree and shot down surveillance cameras outside the building. Six soldiers ran up to the building and massed around the main entrance. One of them placed a device against the door and it flickered. It beeped and he withdrew it.
The soldiers ran into the building and searched it.
"Main concourse secure," One soldier said on the other end.
"Alright, second team, move in," Skye said into her earpiece.
Soldiers massed around the building and entered it. Skye, Lance and May drew their guns and cocked them.
"Let's go," Skye said.
Skye, Lance and May ran into the building, passed the soldiers.
SKYE, MAY and Lance entered the main concourse of the building, which was expansive and dim and looked like an office room. They donned goggles and switched to infrared. They looked around the room and saw some heat signatures moving around in the next room.
Skye gestured for two soldiers to head for a door and they quietly did so. One soldier placed a bomb on the door and it gave out a low whine. Skye and May hid behind a table on the left side of the room and Lance on the right side.
The bomb exploded and the two soldiers ran into the room. They came across gunfire and fought off the soldiers inside.
Skye gestured for more soldiers to enter the room and she, May and Lance followed soon after.
Skye, Lance and May entered the room and shot soldiers inside. A SHIELD soldier placed a bomb underneath a table and kicked it toward three soldiers at a corner of the room. The table exploded and the resultant wave knocked down some soldiers.
Skye rolled on the ground, avoiding gunfire and she shot down a soldier while sending out a seismic beam to another with her free hand. She twirled around, firing at two soldiers to her right with her hand, blasting three to her left with seismic beams while dodging oncoming gunfire.
May flipped over a table and landed with a heel kick on a soldier. She rolled on the ground and tossed a grenade on the ground that exploded and knocked down some soldiers. She kicked a chair near her, bumping a soldier and she shot his head as he fell over.
Lance shot a soldier twice in the face, ducked from a grenade thrown at him, fired the soldier who threw it and dived away from the blast. He stood up, punched a soldier, elbowed his ribs, kicked his shin and shot his neck.
Skye shot a seismic beam at the ground that spread and launched three soldiers into the air. She shot them in mid air as they fell, hitting one in the head, another in the neck and another in the stomach. The beam spread, tripping a man nearby and he dropped a grenade. The grenade spun in the air and she shot it, sending it smacking against a soldier and letting it explode, killing three soldiers beside him.
A SHIELD soldier shot down the last soldier and walked up to Skye.
"The room is secure," The soldier said.
"But it's far from the last one," May said.
"Let's keep moving," Skye said.
Skye, May, Lance and some SHIELD soldiers proceeded to the next room.
ICHIGO, NEL, Dondochakka, Pesche and Hiyori ended up in a tunnel after they fell into the quicksand. As they had began to suffocate in the sand, Ichigo broke a pile of rocks that was underneath them and they had ended up in the tunnel. It was only minutes ago that they had ran out of the collapsing sand and they were able to walk freely.
"So, where's this Las Noches place, anyways?" Hiyori asked.
"I don't know, this place is new to me," Nel said.
"Well, we'll have to keep walking then," Ichigo said.
"Oh, this place is creepy," Dondochakka said, whimpering, "And dark, you know what I'm talking about?"
"Yeah, you gotta flashlight or something?" Pesche asked loudly.
"Shut up, or we may attract some underground Hollow or something," Ichigo said.
"Yeah, and they will also ask for a flashlight," Pesche said.
"Why would a bloodthirsty beast ask for a flashlight?" Ichigo asked.
"Well, since he's thirsty, he'd need the light so that he could see his juice box and probably share it with us," Pesche said.
"Yeah, I could use a drink right about now, you know what I'm talking about?" Dondochakka said.
"Yeah, like strawberry or –,"
"Shut up, numbskull!" Hiyori said, punching Pesche.
"Finally," Ichigo said.
"Hey, and you, you don't get to tell me what to do!" Hiyori yelled.
"Well, I'm the strongest here and I get to, so –,"
Hiyori kicked Ichigo in the back and he reached for his Zanpakutou hilt.
"You little –,"
"What, gonna hit a girl?" Hiyori asked.
"Yeah, you're right," Ichigo said, withdrawing from the hilt, "I might break your toothpick bones,"
Hiyori kicked at Ichigo's groin and he jumped back before she could.
"What the hell's wrong with you?" Ichigo asked.
"What? I couldn't hear you, your bad breath made me deaf," Hiyori said.
"Well, you're dumb brain's now mixing up senses," Ichigo said.
"Look who's talking about dumb, retaliating with childish comebacks," Hiyori said.
Ichigo groaned and walked on.
"Just shut the hell up or stay behind," Ichigo said.
"Fine, I will," Hiyori said.
Hiyori folded her arms and Nel, Dondochakka and Pesche walked passed her, following Ichigo. She sighed and followed them.
"If this tunnel's so close to Las Noches' wall, then it must go underneath the fortress," Ichigo said.
"What do you wanna do?" Dondochakka asked worriedly.
"I'm gonna try and bust through the roof of this tunnel," Ichigo said.
Ichigo drew his Zanpakutou and Nel screamed.
"What're you crazy? You could bury us in here," Hiyori said.
"Well, let's find out," Ichigo said.
"No, don't!" Nel yelled.
Dondochakka and Pesche screamed as Ichigo swung at the roof of the tunnel, cutting through the rocks. The guys jumped back as rocks crashed down. A hole opened above them, letting in light from above.
"See?" Ichigo said cockily, sheathing his Zanpakutou.
Nel pointed at the hole worriedly.
"Crap," Ichigo said.
The guys ran away as the hole expanded, pouring rocks down behind them. The rocks nearly crushed Pesche and Ichigo grabbed his hand, pulling him forward. The downpour ceased and the guys stopped, panting heavily.
Ichigo stood up and looked back. The rocks fell down in a slanted formation that would allow them to simply walk up to the upper level.
Ichigo smirked and Hiyori kicked his leg.
"Try that again and I'm gonna hack your leg off!" Hiyori yelled.
"Stop kicking me!" Ichigo yelled.
"Hey, you guys see that?" Dondochakka asked.
The guys looked at the hole again and noticed that the light was immensely bright. They could see glimpses of blue skies through the nearly blinding light.
"What's going on here?" Pesche asked.
"Let's find out," Ichigo said.
The guys climbed up the rocks and Nel stayed back. Ichigo turned to her and looked at her worried eyes.
"I'm scared," Nel said.
"Come on, it's not that bad," Ichigo said.
"No, it's dangerous. We're not supposed to be in Las Noches," Nel said, "It's only for the Espadas,"
"What are Espadas?" Ichigo asked.
"They're the top Arrancar and part of the an elite army that runs Las Noches," Nel said.
"And you aren't an Arrancar?" Ichigo asked.
"No, I'm not," Nel said.
"What about that skull on your head?" Ichigo asked, "I don't know much about Arrancar, but that's a sure sign that you're part Hollow,"
"I don't know why it's on my head," Nel said.
"What do you mean you don't know? Hasn't it been there the whole time?" Ichigo asked.
"I'm not sure," Nel said, "I … I don't remember anything about my childhood,"
"Ugh, please, let's just kill her and move on," Hiyori said.
"Wait, don't kill her!" Dondochakka yelled.
"Yeah, let's talk this out or something," Pesche said.
Hiyori reached for her Zanpakutou and Ichigo held her arm, stopping her.
"Hey, let go of me," Hiyori yelled.
"Hold on a sec," Ichigo said then turned to Nel, "What do you mean you don't remember your childhood?"
"Just that," Nel said, "A few months ago, I awoke in the desert outside Las Noches. I can't remember anything else before that,"
"How can you tell time around here?" Hiyori asked, "Isn't it always night in Hueco Mundo?"
"I don't know, I can just tell when time has passed," Nel said.
"How do you not remember anything?" Ichigo asked.
"She must be some kinda spy made by Aizen, it must be why she has no memory," Hiyori said.
"Who's Aizen?" Nel asked.
"Uh, nobody," Dondochakka said uneasily.
"Aizen? What's an Aizen?" Pesche said, feigning ignorance, "Nope, no Aizen around here,"
Ichigo looked at Pesche and Dondochakka curiously.
"Why aren't you telling her about Ai –," Ichigo tried to say.
Pesche placed his hand over Ichigo's mouth.
"Please, let's not talk about you-know-who," Pesche said.
Hiyori frowned then turned to Nel.
"As much as I like Harry Potter, I say we kill her," Hiyori said.
Ichigo cut Hiyori off as she walked toward Nel.
"No, don't," Ichigo said.
"Why? We came to kill off Arrancar and Nel's obviously one of 'em," Hiyori said.
Ichigo turned to Nel then turned to Hiyori.
"Look, I have questions, just like you, but she clearly isn't a threat," Ichigo said.
"And you know that how?" Hiyori asked.
"I don't know, but what if she's like you? What if she's a Vizard and got trapped here," Ichigo said.
"She's not a Vizard. Aizen did this to us in the Sereitei over a hundred years ago," Hiyori said.
"A hundred?" Ichigo asked.
"I may look like a kid to you, but I've lived way, way longer than you have," Hiyori said.
"How? I thought Shinigami age," Ichigo said.
"There're things you don't know, Ichigo," Hiyori said.
"I had a life, alright? I was a lieutenant in the Sereitei and things were going good for me," Hiyori said, "Then Aizen turned us into this and the Sereitei banished us because they saw us as Hollows. She's obviously been here her whole life and she is an Arrancr,"
"You don't know that," Ichigo said.
"Well, I'd rather not take my chances," Hiyori said, unsheathing her Zanpakutou, "I'm gonna kill her,"
Ichigo cut her off again.
"Step aside or I'm gonna kill you," Hiyori said.
"Hiyori, look I know I wasn't there and I don't know how it feels to have everyone look at you like some monster, but this is our chance to take revenge on Aizen," Ichigo said.
"Which is why I wanna kill her," Hiyori said.
"Why would you want to kill someone who is like you?" Ichigo asked, "If she is indeed a Vizard, killing her will be doing Aizen's work for him,"
Hiyori gnashed her teeth and clenched her Zanpakutou hilt tightly.
"We're here to take Aizen down, not kill his victims for him," Ichigo said.
Hiyori sighed, sheathed her Zanpakutou and walked on.
"Fine, but if she turns on us, I'm gonna kill her," Hiyori said.
Ichigo turned to Nel and smiled at her slightly.
"She won't turn on us," Ichigo said.
Nel looked at Ichigo, wondering what he was thinking as he looked at her.
"Alright, let's get moving," Ichigo said.
The guys walked up the pile of rocks and ended up in another large sandy plain. The sun shone brightly in the sky and there were many large and grey edifices with large flags draped along their walls varying in colour.
The guys were awestruck, except for Ichigo and Hiyori, who were confused.
"What the hell," Ichigo said.
"Isn't Hueco Mundo supposed to be a realm of eternal night?" Hiyori asked.
"It is," Nel said.
"Then what is this?" Ichigo asked.
"We're inside Las Noches," Nel said, "People said that it was different from the rest of Hueco Mundo, but I didn't know it was this different,"
"Maybe it's some kinda tech or something," Ichigo said.
"This is so cool," Dondochakka said.
"Well, we're not here to sight see, let's get moving," Hiyori said.
"Yeah," Ichigo said.
Ichigo and Hiyori ran on.
"Hey, wait up!" Nel yelled.
"Yeah," Dondochakka yelled.
Nel, Dondochakka and Pesche ran after the.
The men in white with skulls for heads walked down the tunnel and saw the hole in its roof.
SKYE, MAY and Lance led a team of SHIELD soldiers down a dim hallway while some others searched the building. Skye was in the front, letting a torch attached to her gun brighten their path.
They reached a door and Skye kicked it down. The trio trained their guns around and saw that the dim room was empty. They walked into it and found that its floor was actually one large spiralling staircase that scaled across the wall and down to another room. A blue glowing light emerged from down below.
Skye walked up to the guardrail and could see scientists busy at work on something. May and Lance looked in as well.
"Let me have a look," Skye said in a hushed tone.
Skye reached to leap over the rail and May held her hand, stopping her in her tracks.
"No, don't," May said in a hushed tone.
"What is it?" Skye asked.
"You don't want to set off some kind of explosion," May said, "That may be the source of the energy sigs and we don't know what it's capable of,"
"Yeah, you're right," Skye said with a sigh.
Skye signalled for the SHIELD agents to move along the stairwell and she, Lance and May followed them.
KUUKAKU turned off the earpiece with which she had controlled Nemu and she pocketed it.
"That should hold them off for now," Kuukaku said to herself.
A warden walked up to the cell.
"The brushwood leaves fall, but we shall rise," The warden said.
Kuukaku stood up and walked up to the warden.
"What's your progress?" Kuukaku asked.
"Mayuri's men caught the first sleeper," The warden said.
"Did they break him?" Kuukaku asked.
"No," The warden responded.
"Good," Kuukaku said, "What about the weapons?"
"The sleeper managed to steal some and put them in the Rift," The warden said.
"Well, then; I believe it's time for the contingency," Kuukaku said.
The warden nodded. He unlocked her cell and walked into it. He pulled out Shinigami attire from a satchel he had and tossed it to her.
"We have to move quickly," The warden said.
Kuukaku nodded. A Shinigami walked up to the cell door and stood there. The warden looked at him worriedly, but received an assuring nod.
The warden turned to Kuukaku who had disrobed. She put on the Shinigami attire and handed him her old clothes. He walked up to a wall in the room and pushed it, revealing a secret compartment that had a Zanpakutou in it. He pulled it out, tossed it to Kuukaku and placed her clothes in the compartment, closing it after.
"Let's move," Kuukaku said.
Kuukaku and the warden left the cell. The Shinigami closed the cell and pressed a button on his belt. A holographic image of Kuukaku laid on the prison floor came on.
Kuukaku and the warden walked down the halls.
SKYE, MAY, Lance and her team were halfway down the stairwell when they heard some clamouring. Skye looked at the bottom of the stairwell and saw that the scientists were leaving.
"Dammit!" Skye said.
"They got away," May said.
"I'll cut 'em off," Skye said.
Skye jumped over the guardrail and descended toward the bottom floor. A scientist pulled out a device and threw it at her. The device exploded, sending a wave that knocked her back onto a wall.
The scientist ran out of the room and Skye plummeted to the ground.
May and Lance reached the floor and ran up to Skye. The SHIELD soldiers followed the scientists who had ran out a door nearby.
"Are you alright?" Lance asked.
"Yeah, sorta," Skye said.
Skye rose to her feet and May looked around the room.
There were several machines in the room, but the one that caught their attention was in the middle of the room. There was a large round machine divided into several circles, with one part in the middle. She walked up to a control unit nearby and started keyboarding on it.
Several columns of code came on the holographic interface.
"Uh, Skye," May called.
Skye walked up to the interface and saw the code.
"What's this mean?" May asked.
"It's deleting all its files," Skye said.
Skye hurriedly started keyboarding and a red circular icon came on it.
"Crap," Skye said.
"What's that mean?" May asked.
"It's already done deleting everything," Skye said with a sigh.
"Now what?" Lance asked.
A SHIELD soldier entered the room and ran up to Skye.
"We failed to capture the hostiles," The soldier said.
"Anything from the Strike team?" Skye asked.
"They've found nothing either," The soldier said, "They engaged some, but none of them survived long enough for questioning,"
"Well that sucks," Lance said.
"But we've found something else," The soldier said.
"What is it?" Skye asked.
SKYE, LANCE, May and the SHIELD soldier stood before a large metallic door in a dim hallway. A large pipe came out of it and ran down the wall along the hallway.
"It's probably made of a reinforced metal, maybe titanium," The soldier said.
"You've been unable to open it?" Skye asked.
"And infrared scans are unable to penetrate it," The soldier said.
"It must be housing something important," May said.
"Let's find out," Skye said.
Skye walked up to the door and looked at a keypad nearby. She pulled out a phone and ran it passed a keypad near the door. The phone scanned the keypad.
"Something wrong?" May asked.
"I can't pick up anything," Skye said.
"How's that possible?" Lance asked.
"I don't know; I should have picked up fingerprints on the most keyed in buttons, but there's nothing here," Skye said.
"Try something else," May said.
Skye opened a port on the side of the phone and drew out a small cable on the it. She connected the phone to the keypad and several columns of code came on the phone screen.
"So, how long could this take?" May asked.
"I dunno, we'll have to wait and see," Skye said.
Lance sighed and looked around.
"I'll search the building," Lance said.
Lance ran down the hall.
ICHIGO, HIYORI, Nel, Dondochakka and Pesche ran down a large hallway.
"Well, this is kinda calm, don't ya think?" Hiyori asked.
"Probably because Urahara's tech is working," Ichigo said, "If we didn't have 'em, we probably would've hit some booby traps or something,"
"Then what about them? They don't have anything," Hiyori asked, pointing at Nel and her friends.
"Well, maybe we're just in a blind spot," Ichigo said.
Hiyori looked at Nel curiously.
"Okay," Hiyori said unsurely.
Dondochakka whimpered as he looked around the hall. He whimpered louder and louder and it got on Hiyori's nerves.
"Will you shut up!" Hiyori yelled.
"This place is weirding me out," Dondochakka said.
"Well, your face weirds me out, so we're on the same boat," Hiyori said.
"Seriously, this place is creepy," Dondochakka said.
"Well, I don't care," Hiyori said.
Dondochakka heard his own foot squeak on the shiny floor and he screamed, jumping onto Hiyori and clinging to her.
"What was that?" Dondochakka asked.
"It's the sound of me cracking your skull if you don't get off me!" Hiyori yelled.
Hiyori tossed Dondochakka off her and he screamed as he fell.
"That hurt!" Dondochakka cried.
"Good!" Hiyori yelled.
"Ugh, will you two shut up! Just because the tech hides our reiatsu doesn't mean people can't hear us if their nearby," Ichigo said.
Dondochakka started crying loudly.
"Oh, here come the water works," Pesche said.
"You're mean," Dondochakka said while crying.
"I said shut up!" Ichigo yelled as he kicked Dondochakka's mask.
"Ooh, ow! That hurt," Dondochakka cried, "Why'd you have to go and do that, huh?"
Dondochakka cried even louder and Ichigo groaned.
"See what I was saying? Lemme just kill 'em," Hiyori said as she reached for her Zanpakutou.
"Just leave them, Hiyori," Ichigo said.
Hiyori groaned and walked on. The men with skulls for heads ran down the hall after them.
"Great, these guys again," Ichigo said angrily.
Ichigo and Hiyori drew their Zanpakutou and charged at them.
Ichigo slashed a man across his chest, dodged a swung from another and slashed his back. He flipped over a slash and slashed the assailants neck in midair. He rolled to his feet and slashed at another man, locking blades with him. He kicked another man as he locked blades with the man and he head butted him, knocking him off his feet. Ichigo slashed the man across his chest and ran on.
Hiyori weaved through two slashes, cut a man across his gut, rolled away from another slash and stabbed the assailant. She dislodged her Zanpakutou, kicked a man behind her without turning, ducked from a slash and cut the assailant's leg off. She punched a man in the gut, dodged a slash from behind and stabbed the assailant's knee. She grabbed the man's neck and flipped him over, dislodging her blade and slamming him onto another man simultaneously.
Ichigo shot a small Getsuga Tenshou wave, washing over two men and leaving their corpses on fire. He flew over three men, slashing them across their shoulders and he landed behind them. He rolled away from two men swinging at him and he slashed them across their necks. He ran on a wall, flipped over and shot a Getsuga Tenshou down on four men, burning their corpses. The wave hit the ground and exploded as he landed on his feet.
"Hey, quit it with the beams or you're gonna blow our cover!" Hiyori yelled.
"Yeah, sorry," Ichigo said.
Ichigo sheathed his Zanpakutou.
"Let's keep moving," Ichigo said.
A man with a skull for a head fell over and Ichigo turned around, reaching for his Zanpakutou. Shinji sheathed his Zanpakutou and walked up to them.
"Oh, it's you," Ichigo said.
"Yeah, kinda got lost back there," Shinji said.
"Where're the others?" Ichigo asked.
"I dunno, I just followed the explosions and here I am," Shinji said.
"See! You're gonna draw attention!" Hiyori yelled.
"Well, sorry, my bad," Ichigo said.
"Enough wasting time, let's keep moving," Shinji said.
The guys keep moving.
RENJI CUT down a man with a skull for a head while Rojuro, Kensei, Lisa, Aikawa and Mashiro fought other skull men in a hallway of a Las Noches building.
"Mashiro Super Dropkick!" Mashiro yelled as she dropkicked a man.
She kicked him with so much force that he fell over six others and crashed onto a wall. Kensei blocked two sword slashes from a man and kneed him in the gut, sending him hurling several feet back. Lisa slashed down two men, twirled away from a slash and stabbed the assailant in the head. Aikawa slashed a man down when a beam suddenly shot at his chest.
"Aikawa," Mashiro gasped.
Another beam shot Rojuro in the gut.
"Rojuro!" Kensei yelled.
The masked man who killed Rukia walked down the opposite end of the hall, wielding his spear. The masked man shot a beam at Kensei who rolled out of the way.
"You foolish Shingami never learn," The masked man said.
The masked man shot a beam at Renji who blocked it with his blade.
"Lord Aizen will kill you all even if you get through me," The masked man said.
The masked man shot several beams at the guys. Mashiro flipped away from a beam, Kensei rolled away from another, Lisa sidestepped from one and Renji blocked another with his blade.
"He was right; you would fall for the bait," The masked man said.
"You killed Rukia!" Renji yelled.
The masked man chuckled and shot a beam at Renji. Renji blocked the beam and shot his Zanpakutou at the man. The blade extended out and smashed into the man's chest, hurling him back.
Renji retracted the blade, jumped into the air and swung down at the man. His blade extended and slashed the man across his chest as he fell back.
Renji retracted his Zanpakutou, ripping bits off flesh off the man's corpse. He shook the pieces off his Zanpakutou and sheathed it on his back.
"Aikawa!" Mashiro cried as she ran up to him.
Aikawa groaned as he got to his feet.
"Are you okay?" Mashiro asked.
"Yeah, sorta," Aikawa said.
Mashiro looked at Aikawa's chest and saw that his shirt was burnt.
"Are you sure?" Mashiro asked.
"Yeah," Aikawa responded.
Aikawa tried to walk and then stumbled.
"No, I'm not," Aikawa said.
Kensei turned to Rojuro who struggled to his feet.
"You idiots should be more careful," Kensei said.
A man with a skull head ran up to Kensei from behind and he punched him without turning to him, sending him hurling back.
Renji looked around.
"Okay, quickly use your meds and let's get moving," Renji said.
"Got ya," Aikawa said.
Mashiro helped Aikawa sit down and she opened his backpack.
SKYE WORKED hastily on her phone and May and the SHIELD soldier waited. May leaned against a wall, tapping her foot impatiently.
"Well, there's more action," May said, "And I'm doing what again?"
"You're waiting to see if what's behind that wall's gonna attack us," Skye said.
May sighed. Skye's phone beeped.
"Aha, got it," Skye said.
Skye disconnected her phone from the keypad and the door began to slide open.
"Let's see what we got," Skye said.
Skye, May and the SHIELD soldier prepared their guns, training it at the door.
"Huh?" Skye said, raising her eyebrow.
A 10 foot tall, humanoid robot stood in a containment unit behind the door. It was grey, had several types of cannons on its arms and had a yellow chest. From what they could tell, it was not complete yet.
"What's this thing?" May asked rhetorically.
"Must be their project, whoever these guys are," Skye said.
May look closely at the robot when she heard footsteps. Lance walked up to them, holding a folder.
"Skye, you need to see this," Lance said.
Lance handed the file over to Skye.
"We found this in an office," Lance said, "There was nobody there when we found it,"
Skye opened the folder and sifted through it. The Amersian Seal was on the front page. She furrowed her brow as she looked at it.
"What is it?" May asked.
Skye pressed on her earpiece.
"Phil, we found something," Skye said.