Chapter 19: Washington, DC
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when they touched down in DC. People moved around in a hurry, but not with the usual panic that typically came with something horrible.
It had been four hours since that picture had been taken, but Savannah had informed them that Christina was still on her way to the White House. Makoto dreaded to wonder what had taken her so long.
When the ragtag team of two students, a soldier, and two government agents made their way to the gates of the White House, they were greeted by the sound of shattering glass.
Makoto looked up to see what was formerly a window pane drop to the ground.
She grumbled quietly to herself.
Why did the bad guy always have to make a scene?
Defacing the White House was definitely coming out of somebody’s paycheck.
But the moment they started advancing toward the White House, Christina appeared in the window on the second floor, where she’d broken the glass out. “Oh, no,” She despaired sarcastically. “You found me. My evil plans are ruined.”
“Why don’t you come down here and we’ll talk about it?” Tobias called up cordially.
She squinted down at them for a second. “Sure thing.” She relented finally. “Hold on, I’ll be right back.” She turned away from them. In the next moment she was pushing a man who looked to be a member of the Secret Service out of the window.
Makoto gaped in panic as he plummeted toward the ground, arms flailing and mouth open in a scream.
But then Tobias was after him like a bullet out of a gun, extending his arms and catching the full grown man as though he were a child.
Makoto glanced, shocked, at Uriel.
Tobias didn’t even flinch. He just deposited the security guard on the ground and patted his shoulder consolingly before rejoining the others.
“Later, Makoto.” Uriel interrupted, fixing her eyes on Christina.
“You can come down or we can come up, Redding. Your choice.” Chester informed the woman.
Makoto shifted from foot to foot. Would that work? Would Christina face them without adding another body to the pile? Or would she destroy everything?
“Not sure you’re in any position to negotiate with me.” Christina responded flatly.
“Go ahead and bet your life on it.” Tobias dared, nodding to Uriel.
His partner acknowledge his signal and then gestured for Makoto to follow her.
Makoto bolted after the operative, heart pounding wildly. It’s okay, I’m qualified for this. I can take care of myself. Be confident. I belong here.
She vaulted the fence.
Makoto faltered. A 5′9 woman just jumped a twenty foot fence and cleared it. She didn’t understand why, but Uriel and Tobias both seemed to have enhanced strength and it was awesome.
The detective waited for Uriel to get the gate open and then ran with her toward the main entrance to the White House.
Two men with full-autos appeared in the doorway and began emptying their magazines in the direction of the quickly approaching women.
Makoto had just enough time to gasp in panic before Uriel shouldered her out of the line of fire and fired only two shots. The gunfire ceased and the women were up and running again.
Makoto didn’t bother asking if Uriel was alright. She was still moving swiftly, without weakness. They didn’t have time to stop, so they didn’t.
The moment they got through the door, a man had his gun trained on them.
Uriel jerked the rifle out of his hands, but it was attached to a strap that went around his neck and shoulder. As the gunman lurched forward, he reached for a knife on his belt and made to remove Uriel’s hand from her wrist.
Makoto threw her leg up and kicked him in the head, dropped an arm and looped it around his neck. Yanking him back, she held him still long enough for Uriel to beat him over the head with his own gun.
“Nice,” Uriel commented as he fell to the ground.
Pleased with herself, Makoto smiled graciously.
“She’s still in the window. How’s your progress?” Chester’s voice came through their comms device.
Uriel lifted a hand to her ear and responded.
Over her shoulder, Makoto saw another soldier creeping upon her, ready to shoot Uriel full of holes.
Makoto dropped to one knee and fired one shot at him, the bullet flying just below Uriel’s arm and finding its target in the hostile.
Uriel didn’t even look back. “Thanks,” She pressed onward, down a long hallway.
Makoto glanced at the man and then ran after Uriel.
She heard loud banging behind her, and then someone collided with her from the rear, grabbing her around the waist and jerking her back. She screeched in shock and pain, causing Uriel to stop and look back.
“Go!” Makoto snapped at her, and then the ground fell away from her feet. She gasped for oxygen as the man squeezed the breath out of her lungs.
Uriel shouted her name, looking hesitant.
“Keep going!” Makoto hollered, struggling and writhing in his grip. She was jostled as he ran her straight out of the White House. When she looked up, she saw both Chester and Tadashi go from a dead-stop to a full-out sprint toward her.
They ran into a wall of Christina’s soldiers who tried their best to keep them back.
Cemented in Makoto’s mind, possibly forever, was the way Tadashi battered soldiers left and right like a savage animal, fighting for a path to her. “Makoto!” He hollered in a panic, beating a man over the head with his fist and kicking him back as though it were effortless.
There was no way he wasn’t Hybrid.
Makoto found herself reaching for him, eyes squinted in pain. She screamed, her voice breaking as the man’s arm tightened around her abdomen. A portal flickered open before her, but her concentration was weak and it immediately snapped shut.
No. No, you are not allowed to let them fight for you. Get it together, Makoto.
She growled in annoyance, focusing on angling her pistol around so she could shoot him without hitting herself.
He gave her a jerk and the gun fell from his hands. She snarled, clawing at him, but his uniform was too thick for her to do any damage.
Her eyes flashed back up to Chester and Tadashi. The soldiers had surrounded them until they were no longer visible. They couldn’t help her.
A headache began to stab through Makoto’s skull after the first few minutes. Her ribs began to burn as his arm clenched around them.
He was going to haul her back to some hidden fortress and she’d be back in Christina’s clutches.
And how did he have the energy to run so far while carrying her?
She could hear the sounds of battle—the clanging and the shouting and the screaming. She didn’t feel too bad about diverting their attention. Sure, her team was putting the mission on hold to get to her, but in doing so they were blasting through Christina’s army.
Wait a second, did she really just think that?
Suddenly, Makoto was dropped to the ground, and the man stood above her. A glowing blue spear rested its tip between her eyes. The man laughed gutturally at her as he planted one foot into her stomach to hold her down.
Makoto wrapped her fingers around the shaft of the spear and shoved it upward, hitting him in the forehead.
He fell back, dazed as she crawled to her feet, whacked him over the head with the spear, and stabbed him through the chest. The lance went from blue to crimson and he disintegrated. Then the spear returned to its normal electric blue state.
She blinked in surprise. She hadn’t expected that.
At least there won’t be a big bloody mess to clean up. Anderson and ENIGMA should be pleased.
Makoto flicked her wrist breathlessly and opened a portal, stepping through it to cross the distance that the soldier had covered.
She came through on the other side right next to the mass of fighting soldiers.
Chester and Tadashi were undoubtedly still lost in the battle, but Uriel was being shoved against the second floor window frame from the inside by Christina.
Makoto reached for her pistol but found that it was still all the way back where she’d dropped it. Her eyes shifted down to the spear that was still in her hands, but quickly decided against throwing it.
She had had the opportunity to practice throwing in PE, but it had resulted in her hurling the spear clean through the wall, a good thirty feet away from her target.
As she was contemplating what to do, Uriel was fighting to get the upper hand but failing. The moment Christina whipped out a knife, Makoto moved into action.
Without even thinking about it, she reached for the closest hostile soldier. His back was to her but he quickly spun around when she yanked his side arm from his belt. He lunged at her, arms outstretched for her throat.
She beat him over the head with the spear and shot him in the shoulder.
He fell to the ground, unconscious.
Makoto turned on her heel and lifted her newly acquired pistol up to the window. She wasn’t a great shot long-range, but she had to try, right?
She fired a shot right as Christina shoved Uriel out the window. Makoto saw Christina curl in on her right side just before she opened a portal and practically flew through it.
Makoto found herself in the air, grabbing Uriel around the waist and re-opening the portal. Less than a second later, they were both standing safely on the ground.
Makoto hid the way she was shaking by gripping the pistol loosely and giving Uriel a tight-lipped look. “You okay?” She asked.
Uriel nodded with a grin. “Absolutely. Thanks.” She looked back up at the window she’d been pushed from. “Did you hit her?”
“In the ribs, I think.” Makoto responded. “We have to get to her before she gets away.”
Uriel nodded, looking conflicted. “Point. But the guys are getting ripped to shreds in there.” She nodded to the thick crowd of enemy soldiers surrounded by their three teammates.
“Split up?” Makoto suggested. “You make headway on the crab pile and I’ll go after Redding?”
Uriel was already gearing up to move in. “You sure?” She asked.
“Positive.” Makoto responded.
Uriel whipped a small black box from her belt, hit a button, and threw it at the first line of soldiers. As soon as it hit one of them, it exploded, flames reaching for the sky and throwing nearly ten guys back.
Makoto choked. “You carry explosives on your belt?”
Uriel ran straight into the flames. “Just go!” She called back, and then was lost in the battle.
Makoto got a good grip on her spear and pistol, and then stepped through a portal into the office that Christina had taken refuge in.
The target of their mission was leaning against the wall, waiting. Makoto’s bullet was crunched almost flat on the floor by the window.
So she was invincible. That was great.
“Hey, you’re back.” Christina chirped cheerily, smiling at her visitor. “Well done on the escape. How long were you planning that?”
Makoto moved a few feet closer. “Oh, I don’t know. From about the moment you bagged me.”
Christina ignored the threat presented by the weapons and shrugged. “You caught me by surprise, I must admit. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll be back for you after I kill Zeke, and then we’ll proceed with our plan.”
Makoto’s expression contorted in annoyance. “I don’t care about your evil plan. Don’t bother gloating.”
“You’re a part of it, you know.” Christina said seriously. “A very big part. You’ll win me my war.”
Makoto stared at her. “I’ll never help you—you know that, right?”
Christina suddenly looked angry. “I’m not talking to you.” She snapped.
Could she be any more confused?
She lunged, her spear ready to pierce the throat of her enemy. But then a hand grabbed her arm from behind her and jerked her back.
Makoto turned, stabbing the soldier who had grabbed her, the strange spear disintegrating him. She faltered when she noticed eight guys behind him.
She shot the first two before the third one reached her. She leaned back and kicked him in the jaw. He swung his own spear at her, but she knocked it away with hers and twisted, stabbing him in the heart.
Her legs burned and her heart pounded painfully but she managed to shoot the fourth and fifth men before the sixth one hit her so hard in the head that she fell. Her skull smacked against the ground and she yelped in unspeakable pain.
She felt a gash on her left cheek bone but knew she wouldn’t even be able to see it. She winced as it stung nonetheless. The soldier who knocked her down swept his knife over her arm, but was caught off guard when it drew blood but tore no skin.
Makoto screamed raggedly, stumbling to her feet desperately. If she stayed down, she’d be killed.
The soldier jabbed his spear at her, but she grabbed it, twisted it around and used his own strength to stab him in the gut. He vanished before her eyes.
“How you doing, Mako?” Chester’s voice came through her earpiece.
“Great.” She responded shakily. “I think—” Makoto gasped, her weapons falling from her hands as her eyes fell to her lower abdomen. Unnatural colors swarmed her vision as her knees knocked together.
A gold knife protruded from her stomach.
She stared at it in confusion, a feeling like ice spreading from the wound. Her knees hit the ground before she realized that she had moved, her head going heavy. She swayed weakly, her vision going dark as nausea rose.
“Makoto?” Chester called with concern.
By the time she could even think to respond, there was already blood being forced up her throat as she gagged and convulsed. Like some horrid nightmare, she couldn’t control her own body.
Her head drooped to the side, taking her body with it. She couldn’t break her fall with her hand as her spine slammed into the ground, her head thudding against the concrete.
Black blots like clouds pressed against her eyes. She could barely make out the form of the soldier looming over her.
Death. All she knew as she stared at him was that she was certainly going to die.
She didn’t care. She found peace in death. No more pain, no more Christina, no more Sakuza.
Makoto faintly heard Chester shouting through the comms. She saw the blue glow of the spear pointed at her eyes. She stared straight into the soldier’s eyes without fear.
She was too weak to defend herself anyway, so she prepared herself for certain death. A tiny sigh escaped her lips as she gave up. Anything to stop the pain burning across her stomach.
The knife was still embedded in her and she saw the glint of it past her faded vision. It burned like fire and ice and stung like lightning and she could do nothing about it.
Makoto saw him lift the spear and bring it back down to end her. Just as her eyes were closing in defeat, the soldier froze in shock and then flew backwards, the spear safely out of harm’s way.
Makoto tensed, bringing even more pain on herself.
She heard Tobias’ voice in her ear as he dropped to his knees next to her and pulled her up. He stood, gripping her to his chest.
Her hair flew in her face, stinging as it whipped across her bleeding cheek. Tobias held her carefully, her shoulder pressed into his chest. He pushed her hair out of her eyes and looked at her in concern.
She tried to speak, but her voice gurgled as she choked on her own blood.
“Hold on, kid.” He muttered gently. “Don’t talk.”
“Don’t leave me.” She gasped, hardly knowing what she was saying. It was hard to focus; she was so cold, her body clenched so tightly in pain – the only thing she could feel was fear. She was okay with death. But who wanted to face the dark alone?
“I’m not leaving you.” He assured her. “You just hold on.”
She was in shock.
It didn’t help that she needed insulin, either.
Tobias began moving through the White House, trying to get her to safety as quickly as he could. He hadn’t even stopped for Christina, so she must have been long gone.
The blade fell from Makoto’s back and a loud cry tore from her throat. Blood pooled on her stomach and chest. She gasped, choking again.
Her entire body was trembling wildly.
“Shh, it’s alright.” Tobias said gently, his green eyes meeting hers.
He was far calmer than she was. She briefly wondered how many wounded colleagues he’d dragged out of a war zone. She felt her shirt and jacket become soaked with hot, sticky blood right before she blacked out.