Darius frowned as he leaned up next to his hand catching as a thin metal bar about three inches long feel from under his beard. The solider inspected the key whole and then using his powers started to map out what the key would look like. Shavings fell to the floor as his mind slowly pealed the layers away; his eyes were closed as the key was formed.
"Here's to hoping this isn't a cyber lock," The man muttered as the key floated into the lock. He held his breath and shut his eyes hard as the key started to turn. "Please," He begged as the lock clicked and the wrist restraints fell to the ground. Darius released a breath as he waited a minute rubbing his wrist. No alarm sounded so he was clear to move, Darius got up and quickly dashed over to the door, putting an ear to it he listened for any noise. Darius pressed his hand as he searched for the hinges on the door. Reaching out he found them and slowly drew the bottom one out of its socket. Darius hitched as a small cling rung. Darius waited before silently put it down on the floor outside his room. Darius forced himself to relax as his heart beat started to pick up. "I need to calm down you make mistakes when you're nervous," Dairius muttered as he talked himself down. His heart stopped beating as hard as he started with the top. Darius allowed himself a smile as he set it down. Darius pushed hard on the door as it slowly moved out of its frame. The door shifted as it slid away, he smirked as he looked at the door lock still extending from the door. He looked over and the chain's relocked and the key leaped of the table and into his pocket. Darius slowly moved the door back into place and then lastly the hinges. He smirked as fallen Angel walked down the hall and handed him a small devise. He smirked as he inspected the storage unit.
"It's the only copy they will never know how you got out," the Solider droned.
"Good, return to your station, you never saw me," Darius ordered as he motioned his hand over the visor. The Fallen Angel nodded and walked away the soft clanging disappeared around the corner. Darius turned as he and froze.
"Nice, I have to admit I didn't see that coming, but with that suit on they are very susceptible to mind tricks," said a woman's voice.
"How?" asked Darius taking a step back,
"I figured you would get out and I know by whom. This room is not very secure and I think the person who requested for you knew that," The woman answered.
"Phylor?" asked Darius, as he frowned in uncertainty.
"No Adam himself," the woman answered, "He knows a mind whip won't work on you and for whatever reason. Your old comrade doesn't want you to get killed. Adam wants you dead he knows he can't just kill you, even with his power over Phylor. So he set up a reason to kill you off," The woman finished.
"So you here to do so?" asked Darius as he started to focus his power in his right hand.
"No he wants a mass jail break where he can claim it wasn't intentional," The woman answered,
"So you're telling me this why?" asked Darius as he started to relax his guard a bit.
"Well, as much as I believe in Adam, I have my limits and he is crossing them more and more," Elleana muttered as she looked away.
"Well he is a criminal and a traitor," Darius spat, the hall echoed with a stinging noise as Darius nursed his bruised cheek.
"Sorry, you don't know what we have been thru so don't thrash that," The woman growled.
"I apologize I dislike those disloyal," Darius half heartedly apologized. The figure nodded,
"This dumbest thing I can do, but I can't let him go thru with what he plans to do," She muttered to herself. "Can you alter your face?" Elleana asked Darius thought a moment.
"Mentally yes but it only fools eyes," Darius admitted.
"That's all I need, here put this one and head follow me," The woman instructed, as she handed him a grey jump suit. He raised any eyebrow,
"Like you don't have anything I haven't seen before," Elleana dismissed, Darius raised an eyebrow. "You have five minutes," She snapped turning away as a ring of fire rose up around him. Darius quickly changed as just zipped up the suit, as the woman returned in the flames. "I am afraid you can fool the human eye but to the camera it will take, a more carful motion. Sorry Darius the beard has to go," She smirked.
"What?" Darius asked as he quickly covered up his beard. "You can't" Darius panic in his eyes wide in terror.
"Sorry but something needs to happen, and this is the fastest way possible," She smiled as she walked towards him she raised her hand as a blue flame appeared. "This will singe a little but but I promise you won't burn," The woman reasoned as she walked towards him. "Well as long as you don't move. Darius pushed back but the Armor granted the woman a stronger arm as she slowly started to burn the hair of his face. Darius frowned with vengeance as the last of his beard was taken away. "Weird you are so pale under all that hair you must have been growing that for a while," The woman admitted. Darius opened his mouth as two Fallen Angels grabbed him, she took out a needle and injected it into his neck. "Sleep Well Darius, for soon you will be safe at least for now." Darius glared at her as he fell to his knees trying to reach out to prevent his return to a cage but his concentration was shot as he slumped out cold.
Darius blinked to as he felt the ground move under him. HE looked down to see his old MRF uniform it was a bright brown with a camouflage stamp to it. His brown helmet was strapped broadly on his head as he looked around himself.
"Hey solider," Darius felt his back slapped as he realized he was riding in the back of a MRF military hummer. Sitting next to him was Michael his mentor and friend; He was sitting on the edge of the hummer and was smiling at him out of the corner of his eye. "Stay alert Darius this isn't the time or place to be falling asleep we could get attacked at any moment. Darius hand clenched his standard issue Ak-47 as he noticed the men around him dressed in similar fashion.
"I remember this day," Darius realized, this was the day he discovered his power, but it felt to real to be a dream," Darius thought he tried to talk but nothing came out.
"Okay tropes the rebel fraction call the Airborne are said to be in the area. Are job is to set up set up anti-air missiles, we will be stationed her for three weeks until the Angels can start construction on a more permanent out post. Make sure to keep your air masks on and don't expose any skin boys as soon as I open this door that radiation won't be pleasant even if you do stay in one peace," Michael ordered getting a solid nodded from the group. "All right what's are motto?" exclaimed the leader,
"Never leave a man behind!" Shouted the group,
"And praise be to Kami may his light show truth to this world so all may be blessed!" Michael Finished. "Now suit up we will be getting out in less than hour," Michael announced. Darius quickly put on his gloves and every one put on their lead lined masks. Heavy breathing filled the room as the each strapped on and air, tank before lifting it back up. Standard MRF protocol required each solider wear the uniform since no man was without doubt the Radiation would threaten them. As such MRF were required to wear the uniform when entering high risk areas in case of an attack where to catch them unawares. Sadly today was one of those days when that was a godsend. The hummer jerked as he the rumble went off.
"Air, everyone masks on!" Michael announced as he slid his over his face as the ground started to shake more violently. Darius braised himself he knew what was coming, the Hummer flipped a blast echoed into the groups ear the small group of men quickly where tossed from the vehicle The sounds of gun fire erupted as Darius vision started to steady, he pushed himself to his feet, limping over to the over turned hummer. Darius dropped behind what was once the hummers hood, Darius looked down at his suit quickly moving his hands over his uniform he didn't feel any holes. The shock finally wore of as the sounds of battle erupted into his ear.
"We are being flanked!" Shouted Michael as a battalion of troops started running at them from the East. Darius grabbed his Ak-47 and started shooting; Michael started having his hand around motion for the troops to take position as a bomb whistled down above them. The blast hit As Darius was pelted by rocks and the screams of those hit in the blast. Darius fell to his belly as he heard the sound of more Air plans roaring over head. The whistling creased as the sounds Darius frowned as the dust and rock made it hard to see the figures of anyone.
"Troops full back start moving towards the front of the caravan!" Order Michael, Darius was still Amazed how he could keep calm under fire something that never changed to this day. The MRF Troops got to their feet and slowly started to retreat. Darius looked up into the sky the sun was faded but he could see giant circles falling to the ground.
"Para troopers!" A MRF solider announced as the group started to Aim above them as well.
"This is bad," Michael frowned, as chucked a grenade, at the advancing number of rebels. "We are losing numbers we were not prepared for this. "Call for reinforcements; tell we don't have time to be start moving to lower ground use the bomb craters for defense. The men started to spread out and hunker down. The troops started to together a Machine gun as the dust started to settle some putting up tents in a matter of seconds. Darius quickly started to pull hunks of metal from the hummers as makeshift cover. The gun fire was endless as the group finally started making sand bags and digging trenches. Darius could see over a hundred MRF troops and more coming to the line as the group quickly manned the Machine guns. Then silence, the men were tense as the noise of war went silent. Darius frowned as he scratched his goatee; inside he knew what was going to happen. Darius braised himself as a woman walked out of the dust. She had long grey hair that waved smoothly in the wind he body was round and thin but as she came into view her face started to angle, becoming very sharp and cruel. The men took aim as the sound of weapons clicked into place. Darius looked to his right a fellow soldier but his was shaking badly. Darius looked down as well as if some internal instinct was telling them to run. She raised her hand and snapped her fingers. The snap echoed and suddenly the whole line was blasted back. Everything was sent back in waves Darius was flung his gun gammed as he tried to pull the trigger the men all skidded to a halt each went for their guns as a second snap echoed. Darius raised his hands to defend his face but everyone was blasted back.
"I am the lady of War the new leader of the Airborne," She announced "That is all you need to know, that and this is the end," She announced he fingers seemed to glow. Her red eyes darted to the men on the field as her purple sash and black uniform seemed unfazed by the amount of destruction she caused. Then her fingers snapped but no noise followed. Darius looked a head men were shattering from existence turning to dust in front of his eyes. His body refused to move when a hand clamped down on his shoulder pulling him to his feet. Darius turned to see Michael the two started to run away as the radius started to grow more men followed suit only to be destroyed. The two were sent flying; Darius felt his body getting slammed into the dirt he rolled hard, feeling rocks and metal cut into his suit and body. He slowed to a stop Darius knew what came next He looked to see Michael already on his feet. Michael drew out his 45. Pistol and aimed firing it at the woman as he stumbled forward. The woman frowned as he kept moving towards her Darius tried to raise his hand but his body wouldn't move.
"In the Name of Kami I will not let my comrades fall!" Michael shouted. This was his mentor his true comrade the man who put loyalty to each other first. Darius smiled to himself remembering who he once was. The woman readied her fingers again when a shadow flew above them swift and landed before The two MRF solders the next blast was fast but the Angel in front of them took the whole blow without moving an inch back. The Angel stepped up revealing it had spiked the dirt under him as two wings extended out of the suit. The wings flapped sending needle ling feathers at the woman. The woman turned away as a man appeared between the attack and the woman he raised his hand and the feathers were sent to side.
"It is best we retreat," the man announced as more shadows started to fall down. The brown haired man looked panicked as he dusted of his black uniform. Darius studied the man with brown hair looked thin as it formed around the shape of the man's head. Darius eyes were taken away as the shadows dropped as the Angels each drew a different weapon and held themselves differently. That was the true difference between the two groups the true Angels always felt human the fallen seemed to be robotic. Darius closed his eyes remembering what happened next. He was transported to the Eden outpost in Denver he and Michael where the only to survivors and had been carried quickly to get support. Soon after his powers started to manifest, then came his descent into the trouble he had found himself in now.
Darius woke up he remember this first day better than any he didn't need to relive it. He sat up and was bombarded with thoughts he gripped his messy hair trying to control as he was hit with emotions and information.
"Lt. Darius, glad to see you are awake," Replied a Doctor as he walked in. "You're Lucky nothing seems to be wrong seems Kami has given you his blessing," The Doctor commented. "You group Leader Michael, is going to want a word with you when feel you are up to it,"
"Sure, Dr.?" Darius pressured but the man adjusted his stethoscope and didn't reply.
"Blasted Idiot probably going to ignore all the advice I'll give typical military bravado," Darius heard as the man turned his back.
"Did you say something?" Darius asked not to sure he was meant to here the Doctor. The turned around.
"I didn't say anything, I have a feeling your ears must still be ringing. Anyway I would recommend staying put, there should be some aspirin on the table if you need it," The Doctor advised.
Watching the man go was interesting as small whispered pegged at him for weeks after. His visions started to blur as more painful memories started to resurface.
Darius moved into the man hall as he walked around as he looked hearing small comments but found the world strangely quiet.
"I hope my Wife and son are healthy," Darius blinked looking over at a man with a five 0'clock shadow nervously walking past him
"I place the thread here and slowly stitch making sure the anesthetic has taken effect," he blinked spotting he sore a nurse had recited.
"Damn that nurse is fine I so want to tap that," Darius turned to see a man watching the nurse walk past him and the nurse from another corner.
"Okay time to find my way out what floor am I on again?" Daiurs went wide eyed as a boy walked past him without moving his lips
"I must be going crazy," Darius blinked as he pulled out the aspirin the doctor had offered. Quickly popping in the recommend amount, not bothering with any water, he decided to find some food. Remembering that the trip down started to quiet he soon found himself sitting in the cafeteria with a small salad.
"This food isn't too bad," Whispered a voice as he realized the voices were coming back. He turned to see nobody was in earshot.
"Damn this job is depressing seeing all these people, I bet half won't see the end of the mouth," Darius focused in he knew that a cook had said that but he wasn't sure how. Quickly moving past the food he grabbed another pill to silence the mess. The whispers died down but his hands were too startled to eat at this point.
Darius moved back up to his room, as he got a glance from a woman, "not bad looking the beard however is distracting," Darius panicked as he quickly pulled the bottle back out the pill wasn't working anymore. "Gross, what is he a druggy?"
Darius shoved a doctor out of the way, "Are you Okay?" asked the doctor, "Probably post traumatic stress, better call in security,"
"I am fine," Darius frowned as he stumbled into the hospital room. He moved to his bed as suddenly the thoughts rang into his head with a vengeance. He closed his eyes as the room started to rumble even louder. Darius closed his eyes trying to silence the thoughts screaming in his head. Darius looked up as Michael entered the room and with him came silence. As a few doctors moved in as well Michael mouthed something.
"Relax Darius, they just going to put you back to sleep, relax," Michael told him, Darius could feel the comment in his head. Somehow his commanding officer new, Darius relaxed a bit as the needle hit his skin and soon the silence returned.
Darius never knew if it was the previous day his mentor gained his power or before but he knew about much more than he did at the time. That was the day Darius gained his power the day the radiation took hold as well as a realization your weren't blessed if you had no doubt he could feel it in his gut that day. To this day it still lived in him and he suppressed that doubt and well as his powers up until recently when he started to need it in order to live. Darius blinked as he looked up at a metallic blue ceiling. His hand went for his beard only to feel bald skin,
"And here I hoped the first part was a dream, he looked at his hands and found burses on his arms and hands.
"It's called demons blood," Said a voice from below but Darius didn't move as his hands shook. "It has spouting out recently in Rome. The new in drug there is two variations, The Angel Drug you relive your fondest memories, The Demon Drug your most influential memories. They recently popped up less than a year ago,"
"Any unfortunate side effects, I should worry about?" Darius asked "Mr.?" Darius asked
"Nicholas, whatever you did I have never seen some one drugged brought in here," Nicholas commented."Yeah side effects, nobody can peg them done but I hear Angel is very addictive and Demon is often used by bounty hunters. Well bruises and wounds are some and some cases the demon drug and severely weaken you blessed powers. Other than that one hell of an addictive high," Nicholas added. Darius rolled over but his body felt like it had been thrown in a dryer. Darius looked over the bed to see the aged man below him. Nicholas was sporting the same outfit as the of the inmates.
"Outside of the bruises I don't feel a need to go back so I should be good," Darius answered as he sat up but his head fell back down. "Never mind," Darius frowned as he heard Nicholas chuckle at his dilemma.
"Why do people change?" Darius asked not really wanting an answer. "Micheal what happened to you?" asked Darius.
"Michael?" Nicholas repeated, Darius ignored him, a moment as he started to wonder "I heard things during my time in the MRF. Power about corruption in Eden bits and pieces, I accepted Human flaw a long time ago but what could possible turn a man as Loyal as Michael?" Darius asked.
"Who knows maybe he snapped?" Nicholas answered, but like before Darius ignored him. "I have forgotten what it means to be a Soldier," Darius mouthed. "What's the difference between a soldier and any other?" Darius asked final talking to the balding man bellow him.
"Well I guess it what they represent, a mercenary like myself is represented by a desire for money. A soldier with his desire to protect his home," The man admitted. Darius closed his eyes not really satisfied with the answer.
"Both get paid, what makes him think he is no longer worthy of being a soldier," Darius questioned. Darius closed his eyes wondering to himself if he was looking for some clue to his mentor's actions or just trying to thing about something to keep himself from going mad.
Darius blinked as he felt someone poke him in the side. Darius quickly shot up ignoring the pain in his arms and legs. "Just like the good old days," Darius smirked his hand going for his nonexistent beard. Darius stood at attention next to Nicholas as the fallen Angels marched them out of the room. Darius walked behind Nicholas to keep from view as the men lined up outside of their cells. The fallen angles each spaced out between five different prisoners and the line started to walk forward. Darius frowned as he watched when he notice one man open his mouth to speak. One of the Gaurds swiftly moved over slamming him into the wall before slowly grinding the man up against the wall. When he finally stopped the five foot man was now tangling of the ground.
"No talking" The Fallen Angel ordered as he dropped the man to the ground. The guard kicked the fallen man in the leg as the prisoner hastily got to his feet. The prisoners all seemed to seize up Darius opened his mind a bit and got a grand feeling of dread and depression around him.
"Odd Emotions are not something I could do before," Darius thought to himself. "Maybe I should talk to Hope when I get the chance," Darius mussed as the group started forward again. Darius kept his face forward but his eyes kept to every detail to the bar florescent light bulbs appearing every five feet to the different corridors in the light metallic blue hall. Darius started to make a mental map of what little he could see as the group stopped and two doors opened giving way to a massive room. The room was about three stories high with bridges crossing over head. The clang of foots steps echoed the room as the group was herded into a line and each handed a clean grey tray and the group slowly shuffled along the men that walked them into the room finally walked away than heading to a table and moving the group back out of the door they came. Darius frowned at the tray mostly vegetables with a slab of mystery meat smothered in gravy. Darius bite at but noticed the others quickly shoveling their food down. Darius quickly followed suit not bothering to question it when the group got up and was halted from the room as quickly as they came.
Darius frowned as he was thrown out into the courtyard, as he looked to his hands lying in front of him. His hands were red from being hit in the "Classroom" He flexed his fingers trying to numb the pain. Darius got back up to his feet as he looked back at the Fallen Angels,
"Well I was never one to learn behind a desk," He smirked as he dusted of the grey uniform. Darius looked over to see the outside area it was a chain link fence in the shape of a triangle. Darius walked over to the side and Saw Alicia walking around with big mama. Nicholas walked over to him with a slightly shorter inmate.
"Darius was it?" asked Nicholas as he looked over at the man for a moment.
"I have a question," Darius stated, "How is it there hasn't been a jail break, I mean with all these blessed powers it should be impossible to keep the system moving so smoothly,"
"Well, it's not talked about but every person who enters the building gets chip at the base of the neck. It's used to shut down are powers," Nicholas answered, "I heard that it can cause pain as well but the Fallen Angels prefer using physical abuse to keep us in line so it may not be true," Nicholas pointed out.
"All the same I heard a young woman is telling everyone there is suppose to be a break in and she is trying to gather some allies," Nicholas Friend pointed out.
"Oh right this Zack," Nicholas pointed out realizing he hadn't introduced his friend. He motioned with his left hand as Zack and Darius shook hands. "We need to keep moving they get antsy if we stay in one spot for too long," Nicholas frowned.
"So are you two going to help?" Darius asked keeping his eyes at the guards around them. The two shook their heads.
"Without are powers we are useless," Zack frowned as he placed his hands behind his bald head. Darius glanced over at the man. He looked around twenty six and he had a scar down his left eye. His Hair seemed to be growing back a bit from lake of shaving and looked dark brown.
"that's too bad, even a bit of chaos would help a little," Darius shrugged as he casually looked over to see a rock floating a few inches of the ground. "Hey look a floating rock," Darius pointed out the two men lowered their eyelids.
"That jokes older than I am," Nicholas frowned when he was suddenly nailed in the head with a rock. The other two men looked to see the rock hover a moment before dropping down.
"Just in case tonight let me inspect the implant I'll see if I can give you your power back even if it only for a moment," Darius frowned as he looked around with no alarm the three relaxed for a moment.
"Maybe but I heard a rumor from one of the woman that there might be a break out in the woman's compound in about two days," Zack added in "From what I heard it was engraved in the dirt like a path way. The group seems ready but it wouldn't surprise me if the guards are prepared. I think are best bet is to spring it early that way we can catch them off guard," Zack reasoned.
"That would be a good idea if we could get word around but I won't be able to do much with what time we are rumored to have one day won't be enough time for me to work," Darius frowned not sure he could do it in two.
"We only have so much time and hope the others catch on fast. The group on the outside should still be around. So let's hope they pick up on it as well," Darius smirked,
"I think I can do one better for you," Darius smiled as he started to stretch out a bit and try to find the thoughts of the others. The three stopped for a moment but not one person looked up to notice clouds were gathering above them.
"Hope. Can you hear me?" Darius thought, out to the woman,
"Yeah, oh you found me well your stronger than I thought, so what do you want," Hope answered. Darius frowned a bit as he moved forward trying to hold his concentration.
"Words gotten out they now your plan your best bet is to move for tomorrow," Darius informed "Can you?" Darius added.
"Well what do you thing Sam?" asked Hope, there was silence for a moment as Hope reaped, "He says and I quote He is board out of his skull they have been done since last night," Darius nodded,
"Twelve, Sound good to you?" Darius thought back to her,
"Why is it always midnight," Hope muttered, "Sure we will be ready," Hope answered back,
"We will need a signal," Darius added, Looking at the other two standing behind him.
"Oh you'll know it when you hear it," She replied "Trust me how many pound of Explosives did you plant?" Hope asked.
"Pounds?" Darius repeated swallowing a lump that formed in his thought. "Well whatever I'll spread word around and try to get the men a little time to use their blessed powers," Darius informed trying to shake of the idea what that the traitor not only accumulated pounds but was able to get it all here in the span of a few days.
"Sounds like fun just make sure you stay away from the outer towers, we will be heading into the Electricity generator and supplies area. Despite the suit they do have lots of equipment in case of an emergency. We plan to use that against them, so send them to those areas if you can," Hope informed.
"What about Alicia?" asked Darius,
"We will send in Sam tonight he should be able to inform her of any changes," Hope informed,
"Why didn't you do that earlier?" Darius asked a little confused,
"We wanted the prisoners to know we were real and not a rumor, so we gave the last possible day we can take," Hope explained.
"And Daean," asked Darius a little worried,
"Not sure but if you look up you'll see his handy work," Hope pointed out. Darius looked up to see the sky get swallowed op into a black Cloud that seemed to fill the sky.
"Care to inform?" Asked Darius,
"Lighting storm, don't exact anything but bolts to rain down. I got a feeling some one really ruffled his feathers," Hope warned. "We need to get moving we are being chased around out here and its getting annoying," Hope ended. Darius nodded as he looked up at the sky everyone was looking up now.
"Everyone is to report inside immediately. Please line up, in a single file line those who don't will be beaten," Adam ordered over the intercom. The groups quickly filed in Darius keeping an eye on Alicia as he tried to make mental contact with her.
"Darius?" Alicia question as he amusingly watched her look around for his voice.
"Don't look for me tomorrow night is when it is going to happen, Sam will be spreading the word, but I think you should help as well. I need a general body count how many woman?" asked Darius,
"Okay there is about 500 woman about a third are in emotional term oil and we have a few other injured but nothing terminal," Alicia thought back.
"Okay so we have around 1,100 all together give or take those not with the rest," Darius answered. "I will inform Hope of this information as well as an overview of the woman's area," Darius informed.
"How do you know what it looks like?" asked Alicia a little panicked.
"I can see your memories," Darius answered, put off by her concerned tone.
"Please don't, that's not very," Alicia was having trouble thinking as Darius soon found the poor girl overwhelmed with worry. Darius, Nodded understanding,
"I apologize I meant no harm and I will refrain from delving into your mind," Darius apologized. "If you want you could ask Hope how she is keeping me out of her mind when we are done," Darius replied.
"You really have a lot of faith if this fails it won't end well," Alicia reasoned as the line started to move forward.
"Faith, believe, Hope sometimes that's all it takes to tip things in your favor," Darius smiled as the groups were walked inside.
Daean looked at his chains his food sat in front of him untouched. He held his head in one hand while the other sparked with electricity. Daean swatted the food to the ground as the gravy splattered across the wall. Daean frowned as he slumped in his chair; he looked around the dark room as he started to focus on the air around him. Closing his eyes he tried to focus the energy around him he had been at it for a while and even his rage was starting to subside into despair and worry.
"I hope the others are okay," He muttered as he glared at the door his vigor returning again "I need to get out!" Daean shouted at the door concentrating on calling more Electricity. "I will get out even if it takes me forever!" Daean screamed as he started to concentrate on building up more electricity.
Adam watched in contempt not bothering with the other cameras he flexed his wrist as he watched the teen. The sky outside was darkening,
"What are you boy?" Adam spat out. "I have seen your face before but where?" Adam frowned as he failed to notice the inmates talking to each other screen. Adam growled as he closed his eyes, "I have a goal, I will save this world and no punk with a vendetta will stand in my way,"