Chapter 33: Mastermind Madness
Dale drives STRIKE to the Freeman Complex where the Government Gathering Ball will be taking place. This time it’s just the three Ultimates present, which was basically a mastermind, a whore and a kid. Yep. Well, that’s if you wanted to stereotype the situation.
Dale and Casey wear brand new suits, matching black with bow ties. I’m in the front passenger seat wearing another DNA formed suit... well, it’s a dress. It’s a light shimmering pink that is elegant, modern and has straps.
Casey was bounding in excitement in the back seat while I was increasingly nervous of Dale’s plan.
“Will Casey be safe?” I ask Dale, a little worried.
“Do you really think I’d bring him if I didn’t have a plan, kitten?” Dale asks me with a raised brow and he doesn’t even have to glance at me as he continues to drive. Casey, however, is offended in the back seat.
“Listen up, Alyssa,” Casey scolds me, “Don’t ever doubt my father. He’ll put a bullet through anyone and anything that threatens me. I’m safe. And if anyone threatens me directly, I’ll just tell them I’ll hack into their history and show their families all the porn they access. You’d be surprised how many people shut up when you use that threat against them.”
“Unless the person threatening you doesn’t have a search history like that,” I mention and Casey scoffs.
“Everyone hides something, Alyssa,” he laughs like a little evil mastermind while slicking back his blonde fluffy hair, “I can’t wait to get some info on my real story-”
“You won’t be doing anything like that, kid,” Dale growls, instantly cutting him off, “You’ll act like you’re just the orphan kid I adopted off the streets and then gave you a roof over your head. If anyone attempts to ask you of your Gift, you say abnormal intelligence and that’s all.”
“Well, I don’t know any other abilities I might possess,” Casey sighs as if that’s the most disappointing fact in the world.
“We’ll all find out when you hit puberty,” Dale explains, “Which, considering your growth rate, will be any day now. But do me one favour, kid, stay away from Alyssa and I while we dance... I want you to pick pocket as many phones off these jokers as you can. Will you accept the challenge?”
“Damn right I will,” Casey grins from ear to ear while I simply roll my eyes and then look out the window as we finally turn a corner and find a street parked with limos up and down the side walks. My eyes instantly focus upon a figure hoping out of a car and straightening his suit. Long black hair, groomed and waxed. Purple eyes and a beautiful blonde model on his arm. Well, a model with only one ear and a lopsided smile, but she still appears beautiful anyway despite the mutations.
“That’s Doctor Charles,” I murmur, “The real Doctor Charles... that one you impersonated, Dale, remember?”
“Sure is,” Dale murmurs as he slows right down and we get to see the rest of the crowd.
“Oh my god, I see Coal, Jackle and Dash,” I murmur as I see them enter the front doors, “...Lumen... and... is that... that girl, um, what’s her name,” I think hard as she was the same guard who was escorting me around inside Preventative Care. Karey, no. Kourtney? No. Wait. Kate. Katie! Yes! “Katie... oh shit,” my eyes widen just as Dale parks STRIKE at the end of the street in an alley way.
“You talking about Katie the Mindreader?” Casey has taken off his seat belt and leans over the middle console, eyes bright as he catches my shocked gaze, “She never died. I read through PC records. She was just transferred secretly to that location. Everyone thinks she’s dead.”
“Not anymore,” Dale growls as he adds, “It’s interesting they’ve brought her back.”
“Coal is always upset about her ‘death’,” I mention, “Maybe they’ve decided to take her out of hiding? Why was she transferred anyway?”
“Mind reading, Alyssa,” Dale repeats likes its obvious as he opens his door and hops out. Casey and I do the same, slamming the black doors shut while Dale walks forward and motions for us to follow, “Experimentation, no doubt. Her power is extraordinary.”
“Mind control would be so much cooler,” Casey exclaims, “Mind reading? Blergh. Boring.”
“If she was so powerful, why remove her from the Five Reds, the very hero squad that ‘protects’ the city and is renown as the group that will save the city and the world?” I ask, dramatically, “It doesn’t make sense!”
“Perhaps because she’s not a fighter,” Dale suggests, “Just because she was mutated randomly with that ability, doesn’t mean she also has the genes to fight to her maximum potential.”
“Perhaps they’ve changed that,” I add, walking side by side Dale as Casey walks fast ahead, excited to enter as he keeps fixing his hair and straightening his suit.
He stops however, as do Dale and I, as a blue, vibrant, hovering limousine, pulls up at the front of the Freeman Complex.
All eyes on the street seem to turn to that vehicle and it’s occupants. We all watch as the doors slide open, and a beautiful young woman with a sculpted brown bob and blue lipstick, floats out of the limo. Well, not actually floating. But her steps are so lithe and perfectly placed in her white high heels which match her silver dress which is tight and low cut.
She was a beauty all on her own.
But she was not from Frankincense City.
“That would be the President’s daughter of Atlantis,” Dale murmurs, catching my unknowing gaze.
“Really? What’s she doing all the way over in this dump?” I ask, confused.
“What pretty girl would refuse a ball of any kind, kitten?” Dale asks me, raising a brow. I just shake my head, but then he properly explains, “...they never send the actual Leaders. Only family. Expendable. In the case of an assassination, that is.”
“What the fuck?” I whisper and Casey turns and points at me while grinning.
“Don’t swear, don’t swear, well, whore, you just said fuck, so don’t tell me how to swear,” Casey slowly drops his arm though as he catches Dale’s glare. I didn’t notice straight away, because I was gawking at Casey’s fowl language. I barely tolerated it from my beasts, but from a kid? Who should know better!
“If you say whore one more time,” Dale warns, low, “I’ll personally burn all your video games. I’m not fucking with you, Casey. Don’t say that word again.”
“...b-but...” Casey looks sincerely confused, “But why do you get to swear and say whatever the hell you want?”
“Because I rule this city, kid,” Dale smirks, “...and I’ve killed many. When you go through shit, you can swear. All day long. Do you think I’ll give a fuck? But you’re a kid. You slip up a couple of times, I don’t care. You start calling Alyssa a whore, you’re gonna get in trouble. So zip it and remember the mission.”
“Pick pocket,” Casey nods, holding his chin high, “Got it, boss.”
“Good kid,” Dale nods and walks forward, a hand on Casey’s shoulder in encouragement, “Once you enter with us, you make your own way. I’ll keep my kitten entertained... you know I will.”
“I’m glad you really like someone now,” Casey mentions, casually - and unfortunately my heart skips a beat at the random mention, “You seem happier... by the way... can... Viola stay with us?”
But, boy, I’m ultra glad for that quick change of subject.
“After we question her, then I’ll decide,” Dale answers, firmly but fairly, “Straighten those shoulders and stop smirking, you look like a street rat. They won’t let you in if you keep looking so mischievous.”
“Just practice, dad,” Casey grins, “For when I’m the mastermind of this city... one day... I might just overthrow you.”
“Good luck with that, kid,” Dale is hardly threatened and he just smiles as we finally reach the entrance and the guards letting in guests don’t second glance at us, but they do at Casey, “He’s with us,” Dale only has to say the three words and the guards shrug and let Casey in.
Within seconds he disappears into the crowd inside the Freeman Complex.
I stay close to Dale while my eyes roam the large exhibition centre that has been changed into a ball room style setting. It’s huge with open polished concrete flooring and an ultra high ceiling. This whole place was definitely a warehouse conversion. There are also tables set up to sit and eat at, a podium for a presentation, industrial style lighting for a cool vibe, and ‘ALL WELCOME’ flags up everywhere.
The rich and famous from the Government, New World, DynaPrism and Lumen Corp were here to play. I vaguely wonder if their are any Neo-Aristocrats or Misfits spying around too.
“Stay close, kitten,” Dale grabs my hand and pulls me into his side abruptly while I lick my lips and pretend to look at the lights, while my gaze travels to Dale’s perfect jaw... perfect face... and those purple eyes.
He wasn’t just a weapon in this moment.
He could easily be... just a boyfriend.
I close my eyes and look away, feeling my heart clench.
As if that would ever happen.
I was just the friend and lover for all of STRIKE including Dale. There had been no declarations of love from any of them... least of all from their boss. If they ever spoke of it, it was done so in disgust for the women they threw aside before hand. It terrified me if they could never truly consider it as otherwise.
But I couldn’t know, as I was yet to find out.
I hardly knew them, besides what adventures I had undertaken recently with them.
So I couldn’t jump to conclusions, but I couldn’t satisfy myself with sure answers either.
Eventually I have to focus on the present, as through the chit-chat, silence starts to ascend upon the room. All the gazes of the rich and powerful, turn to focus on Dale and I. Fear is a distinct emotion and I just keep my chin high while Dale tugs me along to walk forward... until we are abruptly intercepted by the beautiful blue lipped girl with the brown bob.
The daughter of the President of Atlantis.
“Hello,” she welcomes, her voice strange but her eyes honest. She was interested in welcoming us, “I haven’t seen you two here before. Everyone seems to know you two... well, it’s clear everyone seems taken by your arrival. My name is Vana Alon. People better know me as the princess of Atlantis... although I’m not actually a princess at all,” she shyly laughs as she looks over both of us, “You’re both so beautiful in appearance... you got lucky with the mutations. May I ask, what are your names?”
“What a pleasure to meet you Vana of Atlantis,” Dale seems to be far too amused answering her, like he is about to crush her dreams, and I guess, in a way, he does as he introduces us, “I am the boss of STRIKE, Lord of the Underworld, King of the Shadows... and this here, is my kitten, Alyssa O’Brien... also known as Princess of the Shadows... not that she is an actual princess.”
Every single word that leaves Dale’s mouth, has Vana’s whole exterior change with each and every passing explanation. Her blue lips that match her too blue eyes, tremble apart and her cheeks flush.
“T-the... t-the G-Gang of Shadows...?” she asks, taking a frightened step back, “You’re Dale...?”
“Don’t worry, sweetheart, if I blow up a New World - Avalon will come first. I’ll make sure Atlantis is spared to come second... and perhaps you can live and stay here, to keep my men and I company as one of my kittens? The offer’s always open, sweetheart,” Dale winks and pulls me aside while my heart melts into my stomach and I actually feel like crying.
What the hell was that about?
Argh! Why did I want to puke my guts out?
I watch as his offer has Vana promptly scurrying away quickly with a corrupted mind, trembling hands and nervous eyes. Obviously she had never spoken with someone as brash as Dale before.
“Alyssa,” Dale pulls me further aside after Vana Alon disappears into the crowd, almost hyperventilating. I look up to Dale as we stand by a pillar and I lean on it while I try to force on a smile.
“What?” I ask, shrugging like I don’t care.
“I play with words to affect, do you understand?” Dale explains, reaching up a hand, I flinch a little as he pushes a loose strand off my face. His purple eyes are oddly, almost kind as he explains further, “No woman had ever satisfied our lust. Only one managed to do so and survived guns and knives. I hope you didn’t believe me when I offered her that deal?”
“How would I know?” I ask, confused while trying to keep in my building anger, “You could have been sincere, it’s not like it matters anyway.”
“It matters to you, kitten... I see it in your eyes,” Dale has the audacity to tease me, his amused words are filled with a deep warning, however. He may be teasing but I shouldn’t cross him. Ever. I knew that. So, I simply exhale and force on a smile.
“It’s good you noticed,” I murmur quietly, but thankfully we’re interrupted as Casey barges right between us and right into our personal space.
“The goods are handy,” Casey whispers as he hands two phones to me and two phones to Dale, “I switched them off, I’ll be back with more.”
“That’s a good lad,” Dale pats him on the shoulder encouragingly while we hear the music start.
“What’s the aim of us being at this ball if everyone is terrified of you - of us?” I ask.
“I won’t lie. Shit is gonna go down, but I don’t want to scare you, kitten,” Dale looks down into my eyes with a knowing smile and an unblinking gaze, “...why don’t we dance instead?” he winks and I purse my lips, confused as I narrow my eyes and try to work out his intentions.
I truly had no idea this time round.
Now, I just go with the flow. He wasn’t a mastermind for no reason. I’m sure he had his plan.
Dale and I step onto the polished concrete floor that the rest of the men and women lead onto, holding each other close for the first song. As my gaze wanders, I see Coal and the Five Reds gossiping about us. When my gaze tries to find Katie... she is no where to be seen. I do spot Lumen, however, circled by a ton of men and women who wish to speak to him. But, this whole time, I am distracted and I get a slight fright as Dale slips an arm around my waist and pulls me in nice and close until my head is just at his chest while I have to look further up to meet his gaze... only to have him lean down and kiss my temple.
“What’s there to be scared of, boss?” I ask, casually, while he pauses and considers his reply before leaning down to growl in my ear.
“Well, first off, kitten,” I honestly believe he will tell me the plan... until the topic is changed, “You’re going to stop hiding whatever it is you’re feeling... because it’s pissing me off as you’re not one to hide, Alyssa. Yet ever since we all fucked you, you’ve decided to act all aloof... like you couldn’t give a shit about what we think... you haven’t even commented about that night.”
I gawk at this and pull back to glare at him while I try not to laugh.
“Are you fishing for compliments?” I ask, grinning when he narrows his eyes at my accusation, “...you are!”
“Watch it, kitten, I hate liars... and you’ve been lying to us with fake smiles and fake banter,” Dale continues to proceed with his own accusation while I listen with pursed lips, “I suggest you become completely transparent.”
“Or what, you’ll try and kill the only lover that satisfies you?” I ask, smiling.
“Very funny, but I think you forget my tastes,” Dale doesn’t smile as he reminds me, “Your submission is not just welcome or desired, but imminent. That means, kitten, if you piss me off... I’m not exactly against keeping you under lock and key.”
“What are you trying to say?” I ask, tilting my head and trying not to laugh, “You want to lock me away if I lie, or piss you off or don’t submit? I already took your cock up my ass compliantly enough, boss.”
“And it is yet to fill those other precious holes of yours, kitten... you haven’t even offered,” Dale smiles cruelly as he also adds, “May I remind you that I like control, Alyssa. If I require your submission, it is not a question of if, it’s simply a matter of when.”
“I feel like you’ve got a secret dungeon waiting for me back at the ‘clubhouse’,” I whisper, as a joke, until he leans into my ear once more.
“You’d be surprised, Alyssa,” it’s Dale’s only warning and then the song changes and I try to jerk away as his grip loosens... at least just a fraction. Dale grabs my wrist and waist, however, completely controlling me from escaping as he looks down at me with boredom... a little disappointed at my escape attempt. He knew I could do better. But I wasn’t exactly trying to grab more attention than we already had upon us.
“Regardless,” I whisper while trying to ignore the little increase of warmth pooling to my womb. I mean, what he threatened shouldn’t have turned me on, but it did, okay? It did. And now I needed to change the subject before he put two and two together... although by the knowing glint in his eye, I’d assume he already guessed I secretly approved. Oh god... what was I even saying? Was I secretly deranged and into dark kinky fucked up sex more than I even realised? Besides, what was I even about to say to Dale? I had completely lost my thought process. Now my mouth opens and closes with no words coming out as I try to regain my composure, “Uh...ah...you... why are we... what’s going to happen, what’s the plan?” I ask, raising a brow and blatantly ignoring my own stuttering.
“They’re going to try and take Casey,” Dale admits, point blank with an amused eye, “Then they’re going to try and kill us.”
“Oh... and then?” I ask, confused how this sounded like a plan at all. Rather, it sounded like a date with trouble.
Dale blinks slowly like he is irritated that I’d dare ask him to explain further.
However, he gives it to me anyway as he leans down to whisper in my ear one more time.
“I told you I didn’t want to scare you, kitten, but since you are soo persistent...” it’s Dale’s only regret as he then explains, “Once Casey is threatened, our backup will storm the complex. Then I’m going to grab Casey, if he isn’t already within range... and I’m going to hold him in front of the Government Gathering and... well... the rest is simple, kitten. Everyone’s going to watch what happens next.”
“What happens next?” I whisper back, breathless.
Somehow, I sensed Dale’s answer wasn’t going to be comforting in the slightest.
“I’m going to shoot him in the head.”
Either that meant he was simply going to make another mastermind move.
Or it was simply... madness.
I couldn’t decide which.