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Chapter 11

“Sir, we’ve got communications back online,” says Sergeant Hale. Samuel turns to him while braving the harsh weather outside. “You should get inside, sir. It’s, uhh, not safe,” he continues. Samuel laughs quietly. “Not safe, sergeant?” he says to him, walking inside, “where have you been all your life?” He stands there pondering that sentence. He understands what his captain meant, but is filled with uncertainty, for their mission and their survival. It reminds him of his days back in Lawrence. You wouldn’t expect to find something like this in Kansas, especially in the farmlands. Growing up there, he’s not used to the hostility and hustle and bustle of the big cities. And he certainly didn’t expect to be fighting in a war against scary alien creatures for the Earth. But he puts those feelings aside and re-enters. They’ve got bigger problems to think about now. The effect of the EMP has worn off, although it has left its mark. Some systems are malfunctioning and some are still not working. But the radio is back on and Samuel attempts to contact Edward. He picks up the speaker and depresses the button. “General Leichthammer?” he says, “are you there, sir?” The radio gives nothing, but static. “Dammit! Somebody please fix this goddamn thing! We need to contact command!” he orders. “I can fix it, sir,” Sergeant Hale responds. “Oh, you. What’s your name, soldier?” “It’s Hale, sir. Arthur Hale. I used to fix radios for my mom back home,” he explains. He looks at him with contempt. Arthur nods nervously and begins working on the radio as he walks away. “Hey, Private,” he hails to a soldier. “Yes, sir. Private First Class James Tucker, sir,” he replies, saluting. “You know, there’s something weird about this weather,” he says to him while tweaking the radio. “Sir?” he asks. “I don’t know, Private. It’s just seems…unnatural, that’s all. You know those…things changed the weather before. I heard the captain talking to the general about it. Maybe this is they’re doing too.” “You really think so, sir?” Arthur laughs quietly. He smiles to him and says, “My name’s Arthur, by the way. Arthur Hale.” “I know, sir. I’ve seen you around.” “I’m just not used to the ‘siring’ thing. I wasn’t really anybody back home. You know, I think this thing’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better.” James nods in agreement, fearful. “I just hope the general knows what he’s doing. And I hope I can get this thing to work again cause until this snowstorm blows over, we’re stuck here,” he explains.

“Sir, we’ve got communications back online,” Julian reports to Edward. “Excellent, doctor. Have you been able to make contact with the men?” “Not yet, I’m afraid. All I’m getting is static. The EMP might’ve caused a little damage to their radios.” “Damn!” the general exclaims. “It’s a minor problem, sir. I’m sure they’re able to fix it. But until then, I’m afraid there’s no way to contact them. And we can’t go out either. Not in this weather.” “Understood,” Edward nods then turns around, “keep trying, Dr. Edwards.”

At the store, Olivia sits alone at the corner, half-crying, feeling the weight of this burden that she’s been dealt with. The deaths of all those people are on them, on her. He notices this, but until now, chose to let it go. Finally he decides to step in. After all, this is his burden as much as it is hers. No one should have to face that alone. He walks to her and sits right beside her. “Liv?” he asks, “it’s not your fault, you know.” “What isn’t?” she asks, sullenly. “We didn’t choose this, Liv. It’s your not your fault. You have to stop blaming yourself. Come on, you’re the psychologist here. You can’t dwell on the past.” “Takashi, please!” “I love you, you know. Maybe I haven’t been proving that much, but I do.” Silence falls. “Hey, you are the smartest and most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. And trust me, you don’t see a lot of girls like that. But you know what the most amazing thing about you is?” Tears roll down her cheek, “What?” “You have this amazing and uncanny ability to put up with me and be around me for more than 5 seconds,” he tells her, half-joking. They both share a laugh. It is uncanny. Her mood lifts and she starts to feel better again, if only a little. “All those deaths are on them, Liv, on him: their general. The one we saw. He was the one who threw the bombs.” “You remember that day?” she asks him, surprised, “do you?” “I do. So stop blaming yourself. It’s not gonna do you any good.” “Okay,” she nods, wiping the tears from her eyes, “looks like you’re the psychologist now. But you promise me that we’ll find that son of a bitch, and stop him.” “I promise,” he says to her sternly. “You know, when I was your age, I used to think that the world was a beautiful place,” Sergey explains suddenly, “now I realize that it is only beautiful if you make it that way. I was burdened by something I thought I did too. I was in school, as a little child, and I was on my way to class. I was late, admittedly. I was not interested in school. As I ran, I saw my friend in the halls, sneaking around. Naturally, I stopped and talked with him for about 5 minutes. A teacher caught us, and while it was my first time, believe it or not, my friend had already made a name for himself among the teachers. He always skipped classes and never did a very good job if he did not. Anyway, we got caught and he got expelled. I blamed myself for a long time for that, and he did too. If only I did not talk with him maybe he could have been spared. My mom kept telling me that it was not my fault, but I did not feel that way. He was my friend after all. But eventually, I realized if he did not want to be expelled then he should not have been a bad student. Your friend is right. The deaths of these people are not your fault. I make a promise to you too. We will find this man and we will make him pay. These are my people too.” Takashi smiles and says to her, “You’re not alone in this, Liv. We’re here for you. And you can trust him. I mean look at him. He’s a picture of trust.” Laughter fills the room. Olivia looks up, looks at them. “Thank you,” she says with a sincere smile.

The blizzard is still going strong outside. The sound of the rushing winds outside can be heard like a far-away monster roaring to its prey. They both get up to assess the situation. By the looks of things, they’re not leaving the store anytime soon. Snow leaves its mark on the windows. They try to wipe it off to see, but the snow has blanketed everything outside. Cars are buried beneath it and roads are no longer visible. Visibility beyond that is impossible thanks to the weather. It’s like Mother Nature herself is against them, blocking their every move, laughing at them. But of course, it was something far more sinister than that. “This isn’t good,” Takashi says, “hey, Sergey. What’s the plan anyway? You still haven’t told us where we’re going.” He nods and says, “Very well, come.” He clears a table with a swipe of his hand and signals to one of his men to give him something: a map. He takes it and spreads it across the table. “Okay, we are here in Moscow,” he explains pointing on the map, “we need to get to here, Nizhny Novgorod.” “Okay, what’s there?” Olivia asks. “A contact of mine. His name is Andrei. He says he knows where the creatures are making their base. He and his team have been scouting them for a while. Unfortunately, our radio transmission was cut off before he could tell me. They might be in trouble and we need that intel. It is a long trek, I know, but we must do it.” “So the creatures didn’t just invade Moscow,” he surmises. “Do you trust this man?” “Andrei has been my trusted friend for as long as I can remember. I trust him with my life.” “Okay, but even so, how do we get there? Especially in this weather?” Olivia questions. “Da. There is a train station not far from where we are. That is where we were going before this storm hit. From there, we could take one of the trains straight to Yekaterinburg.” “You seriously think that the trains are still running after this storm?” Takashi doubts. “They will be,” he says, smiling. “Sure, sure, why not? This has been a crazy week after all,” he says with a hint of sarcasm, “I mean we’ve got aliens, military, superpowers, and just look at this weather. It’s crazy.” “This is unusual,” Sergey responds. “No shit, Sergey.” “No, the weather. It’s not usual for Moscow.” “Really? I thought you get snow in Moscow?” Takashi asks, confused. “Da, we do, but not like this. It is never this strong. Very strange.” “Not really,” Olivia continues, “I mean we saw those things change the weather before, when they made that lightning storm. Can’t be a coincidence.” “If you’re right, then this thing might last longer than we thought,” Takashi surmises. “Then we need to move now,” Sergey suggests. The men all think that that’s crazy. Of course, they all wouldn’t survive even for a minute out in that blizzard. They would freeze before they even have the chance to fall. But they have no choice. If Olivia’s right and the creatures are responsible, then this storm is not ending soon. Indeed, they created this weather to stop their movements. Although they might last longer, even powerful telekinetics can’t survive in the cold for too long. “Sergey’s right, we don’t have time,” Olivia agrees, “we have to go now.” And with that, they get ready and gather what they can carry from the store: food, drinks, and anything else that could help them survive the coming trial. They grab a few bottles of water and some sandwiches. Although I’m not sure why they bother, the sheer cold will freeze all that in mere seconds. “Alright, everyone put this on,” Sergey says, carrying snow jackets and pants. “You guys sell these in small shops like this?” Takashi asks. “Welcome to Russia,” Sergey says with a smile. The jackets are made of silk and are light brown in color with thick cotton linings. The furs around the hood and waist are made of wool and are snow-white, appropriate for their current predicament. The silk pants are thick enough to keep their legs warm as they trek through the unforgiving snow. Touching them causes Olivia to reminisce about winter time back home, where people would where these kinds of clothing and run outside to go about their business for the day, which includes classes. She specifically remembers that one winter day she spent with Takashi. They both had a free day, no classes, and so decided to enjoy the day outside, believe it or not, and observe the majesty of the falling, frozen rain as it covers everything in its white cloud-like coolness. But before she could relive that moment any further, Takashi interrupts her telling her to hurry up and put the suit on. She shakes it off and does so.

“Okay, unfortunately, they do not have snowshoes,” Sergey explains, “so we have to go without it. The snow is most likely deep, so everybody please be careful and watch your footing. Fortunately, they do have ropes, so we don’t get split up. Now everyone gather around.” A safety precaution, after all you can never be too careful in these conditions. They tie themselves to each other and make sure it’s nice, strong and secure. “You do realize that the strong winds will make it practically impossible for the door to be closed again after we open it,” Takashi explains. “Da. Everyone, get ready. After we leave we need to go left and then we only have to go straight,” Sergey explains what they need to do, “the train station is about 100 meters away at the end of this street. Prepare yourselves, guys. This is like nothing we have ever experienced before. But we can make it. We have to.” He gives the signal to his men and begins the countdown. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, now! As soon as the door opened, snow and wind enters with ferocity, pushing them back with great force. The sound is amplified to a greater intensity. The snow makes quick work of the store, covering almost everything in its thick, white substance with incredible speed. They struggle to get free of its grip and make their way towards the door. As she walks, Olivia uses her power to create a force field to block and redirect some of the snow and wind. “Come on, guys! Hurry up!” she screams as the sound is almost deafening, “I can’t hold it much longer!” They all make a run for the door followed by Olivia. Finally outside, things do not get better. The blizzard has completely reduced visibility to near zero: it’s a whiteout. Snow completely covers the road and sidewalks as they saw before. The sheer thickness of the weather fills a sense of awe inside them. This is definitely something they won’t ever forget for the rest of their lives. “Okay! Let’s get moving! Always stay together no matter what. I will lead the way, everyone else hold on to your rope and follow.” And with that they begin their trek. With Sergey in front followed by Takashi, Olivia, Viktor, Alexander, Valentin and Boris. At normal conditions, a hundred meter journey to the train station is no big deal, but in this, it’s an ordeal. They wobble at first as the wind makes it almost impossible for them to walk. The rope is holding so far, although the wobbling is making it difficult to maneuver. Since they’re connected, if one person should stray too far or fall, the rest will get pulled along, so it’s important that they keep their balance. About 50 meters on, they start to feel the wind getting stronger. It seems the creatures have realized that they’re making a break for it. “Is it just me or is this thing getting worse?!” Takashi screams out to the rest. “Da! They are onto us! Just keep moving and don’t stop!” Sergey replies. They hasten their movement; they are almost there, just a few more meters. Suddenly they hear thunder roar from above. Everyone but Sergey stops to look up and ponder what’s happening. The rope stops Sergey from moving any further and he turns around to see what happened. “What are you guys doing??!!” he screamed, “come on we have to keep moving!! They are coming!!” Shocked, everyone quickly resumes their walking, some still looking up. Worried, Boris begins to walk unsteadily, messing up the formation. “Boris, stop doing that!” Valentin tells him, “you are gonna get us all killed! Relax!” Breathing rapidly, but slowing down, “Sorry, comrade,” he apologizes. “We are almost there!” Sergey says. “You said that 5 minutes ago!” Olivia replies. Suddenly, a sound is heard from behind as a streak of lightning flashes to the ground. Everyone turns around to see. Unfortunately, it’s impossible through the blinding whiteout. The ground starts to tremble like giant footsteps getting closer and closer. “Everybody ruuunnn!!!” Sergey yells. And they start running, more like wobbling again, unsteady and uncoordinated. The trembling gets louder as the creature approaches from behind. Olivia looks back before tripping and falling onto the snow. “Ahhhh!” she screamed. Sergey and Takashi fall, pulled by their rope, as the men behind trip over her. “Arrgghh! Shit!” Screaming ensues. “Shit!!!” she exclaims. It’s charging at them with full force. “Shit,” Takashi says. As they recover from their fall, the creature attacks, Boris and Valentin barely gets out of its way, and it punches through the snow before retreating back. It’s using the blizzard to its advantage, hiding in it, smiling in the darkness of the snow, sharp teeth and all. This one isn’t an ordinary creature. It’s much bigger and stronger and more ferocious. Scales protrude out from its skin protecting it like a spiky armor. Blind in the blizzard, the men start shooting everywhere, bullet casings flying out in all directions, filling the snow with its metal touch. Suddenly, one of its tentacles, surging with high-voltage, appears from nowhere and launches Takashi and Sergey forward, pulling everyone with them. They land right beside the station, tumbling along and dragging the snow. The electricity was powerful enough to burn right through Sergey’s jacket’s chest area and reaching his skin, but protects it enough to only cause a mild burn. It’s still smoking though, the smell masked by the wind unless you’re really close, and the burning sensation can still be felt. Takashi was not as lucky as it hit him in the face causing it to burn red across his right cheek; he fell unconscious. “Argh!” Sergey exclaims. But he quickly endures the pain, gets up, and picks Takashi up. “Hurry up!! We need to get inside before it comes back!!” he screams to them. They all get up as fast as they can and make a break for the main station entrance, which is a pair of big and thick wooden doors. Alexander and Viktor try desperately to open it, but unfortunately for them, the doors are locked. The snow has also frozen most of it shut, making it impossible to open. “Shiiit!!! It is locked!” Alex says. Olivia rushes in and says, “Move!!! Get out of the way!! I’ll open it!” The ground begins trembling again, the creature getting closer. Olivia raises both of her arms towards the doors and uses all of her power to break it, her mind picturing the doors flying open. It’s a very difficult task, especially with it being frozen. It makes a creaking sound as it’s being forced open. She’s noticeably struggling, clenching her teeth and flexing her muscles. The doors begin to bend inwards, its wooden structure cracking. Sergey carries Takashi in his arms while his men stand ready, pointing their weapons towards the steps, ready to shoot when it comes. Fortunately for them, the blizzard is a double-edged sword. The longer it stays in inside the storm, the more it disrupts its senses. They can’t see it, but it can’t sense them either. All they have to do is stay put and hope that it doesn’t think to look there. But the trembling, oh the trembling, is getting closer. The men shake nervously, fear gripping them. Olivia, still working on the door, screams as the bolts start to fly. She clutches her hands as it flies off its hinges inside, breaking the ice, scattering them on the floor. They all jump at the sound. She falls to the ground kneeling, exhausted and gasping for breath. Blood trails down and drips from her nose. “Olivia, are you okay?” Sergey asks. She nods and says, “I’m fine. Let’s go.” She picks herself up and wipes the blood from her nose; they enter. Some of the snow reaches inside, but only some. You can feel the light breeze, surprising since it’s a storm outside. “Urgh,” Takashi groans. “How are you feeling, my friend?” Sergey asks him. “Urgh, terrible—argh!” he exclaims suddenly, feeling the burning sensation across his face, “put me down, please.” “Okay,” Sergey says. He struggles a bit, trying to stand. “Ummhh, what happened?” he asks. “That thing threw you and Sergey across the snow with its tentacles,” Olivia explains, still tired, “it hit you in the face pretty bad.” “Yeah, I got that part. What happened to you?” “Yeah, I’m just exhausted from trying to force open the door.” “Okay.” “I’m fine, by the way, thank you.” He chuckles; they’re both tired. Heck they’re all tired, but they have to move on. No time for resting. The creature’s still out there and they still have to find the train to get them to Nizhny Novgorod.

The station is quite big with windows lining most of the roof; the now broken entrance door decorates the hall floor with its cracked frame and ice; the electronic board that usually shows the train schedule hangs on the walls is blank, turned off. One of them is actually broken and lying on the floor, damaged. As they progress further entering through a door to the left of the entrance, they notice a few bullet holes on some of the structure in the area and bullet casings riddle the floor. Yet again they’re greeted to snow as it covers a small part of the back area. The wall there seems to be partially blown off leaving a big, gaping hole. The snow entered from there. There was a battle here between the police force and the creatures. Their dead bodies lay on the floor, blood splattered beside them and on the walls. It’s a horrific sight. It is still fresh, as the snow did not reach them from the back. Some of them are badly scratched or torn in half or burned to a crisp. The ash remains of those who were disintegrated also decorate the floor. They never stood a chance. Olivia cups her hand around her mouth and closes her eyes while Takashi puts an expression of disgust. Sergey and his men put on a different kind of face, one used to this kind of savagery and brutality. As soldiers, they’ve seen their fair share of death and destruction. They’re inured. “Let’s go,” Sergey says, “nothing we can do now.” As they walk away, Takashi and Olivia take a moment to realize the situation they are in. He grabs her, also staring blankly at the sight, and says, “Hey, let’s go.” “Liv,” he turns to her, “let’s go.” She nods while still cupping her hand, and then they leave. Leaving the scene, they can’t let go of the picture, the faces and the blood…. Takashi suddenly hugs Olivia saying, “It’s gonna be okay, Liv. It’s gonna be okay,” and she hugs him back. After that, they rejoin Sergey and the others. They head to the administration area to check the train schedule and lists to find the platform that they need to go to. They pass under a huge brick arch to the right, which is a bridge connecting the upper-level. The set of windows on the left wall are blinded white by the blizzard. This area is the same make and size as the one before minus the bodies and the blood and the gaping hole in the wall. At the far-left corner at the end is the gate to get to the platforms. They easily get past the gate by jumping over it, too easy. They cross the bridge to get to the platforms, passing over one of the train tracks. The platforms are larger than the main station, trains and tracks everywhere. It’s sheltered inside a huge building, safe from the snow. They reach an intersection separating the various platforms. “Okay, we need to find the Yarmarka train line. It will take us straight to Nizhny Novgorod,” Sergey explains. They need to find the #24 Yarmarka train. Hopefully it’s docked in the station. They check the schedule and it seems that the train is on Platform 24. They had to cross a maze of train tracks and bridges, but finally made it to the platform. It’s a separate platform away from the others and luckily for them the train is there. “Ah, there she is. Magnificent, isn’t she?” Sergey says. Indeed it’s a marvelous train with a first and second-class compartments and a restaurant carriage. It should accommodate them on the long ride to their destination. “It is impressive,” Takashi says. “Yeah,” Olivia agrees. “Come, my friends,” Sergey invites them.

They enter the train and are impressed even more by the beautiful interior. It was well crafted. It has seats with and without meals and a carriage with extra space for handicapped people. “Wow,” Takashi and Olivia admires, “this is nice.” While they look around, Sergey and his men head to the pilot to check the engineer’s room. On their way there, they pass through a carriage that’s roof and walls have been completely ripped off, the edges metal-sharp. It’s an astounding sight. But there’s no time to think about that. They continue towards the pilot. “Da, everything seems to be in order, sir,” Alexander reports to Sergey, checking the equipment, “but there is a problem.” “What?” he asks. “The train has no power, sir. Uhh, the batteries are dead.” “Oh, come on.” “Well we can jump start it, but it would require heavy duty cables and a huge surge of electricity, which we do not have.” “We cannot siphon some power from the station?” “No, sir. Unfortunately, the snow has disrupted the electricity generators. The building has no power.” “Damn!” “Is everything okay?” Olivia walks in. “Ummmm, yes,” he answers, “Where is Takashi?” “Oh, he’s still admiring the carriages, hahaha,” she explains. Sergey just nods, looking worried. “Okay, what’s wrong?” she asks, noticing. “What’s wrong with what?” Takashi walks in. Sergey sighs, “We don’t have power,” he explains. “What??” they both ask. “The train has no power.” “Of course,” Takashi says. “We can jump start it, like a car,” Sergey says. “Why do I feel a ‘but’ coming along?” Olivia asks. “But…we would need really big cables and huge amount of electricity.” “They should have these cables in the repair shop,” Alexander says. “Okay, what about the electricity?” Olivia asks. Sergey and Alex exchange stares. “We don’t know,” Alex says. Olivia lets out a sigh of exhaustion. It seems that their plan has been thwarted by something as simple as a no power and their arduous journey was for nothing. Sergey kicks one of the chairs in frustration. “Dammit!” he exclaims. Suddenly they hear a crash coming from somewhere inside the station, sounds like it came from the main hall. It seems the creature that was chasing them found its way inside, forcefully, through a wall. I guess it didn’t realize the broken entrance door. Out of the snow, it slowly regains its full power and senses back. Not long, as it sparks and surges, it can already detect their presence inside the station by tracking their electrical energy. “What was that?” Olivia asks. “The creature, it must’ve gotten inside,” Takashi answers. “That’s it,” Sergey gets an idea, laughing, “hahaha, that is it!” Takashi looks at him with confusion. “What?” Olivia asks. He suddenly runs out the door, heading outside. “Come on, guys. I have a plan.” “Nope! No, no, no, no. Don’t even think about it, Sergey!” Takashi objects while following him out. Olivia and the men stand in confusion before heading out as well. Sergey heads to the repair shop nearby and get the cables needed for the jump-start. He’s about to do something really stupid and crazy. Takashi makes a remark of how crazy he is. He only agrees and laughs to his heart’s content. As the others catch up, Olivia asks what they are planning. Takashi explains, to her shock. Indeed the plan borders on insanity, if not sheer genius. To use the creature’s natural electricity to re-power the train is a good idea, if you can call it that, but a crazy one too. They could barely shoot it from a fair distance, and even that they were still in trouble, now they wanna get close to this thing to strap some cables to it? They’re gonna need luck on their side. They’re gonna need them. “You’re crazy, Sergey. You know that?” Olivia tells him. “How are you gonna get close enough to that thing, huh?” “I can’t,” he replies, “but you guys can.” “You’re not serious??” Takashi asks with half a smile and a held back laugh. “You two are the only ones out of all of us that can survive a direct encounter with that creature,” he says, pointing to its probable location. Not that he knows exactly where it is or if it’s even inside the station. Olivia looks obviously worried. “We’re not indestructible, Sergey,” he explains, “even we have our limits. The cables aren’t even long enough.” “Look, we need to get out of here. So either you do this or we all die here.” Having no other way or option, they breathe out a sigh and reluctantly accept.

Sergey orders his men to rig one end of the cable to the train’s battery, the other he gives to Takashi. “Didn’t you hear me?! This thing’s not long enough and if you’re actually thinking of luring that thing here, you really are out of your mind,” he says. “Do not worry, I will extend cable,” Sergey reassures. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing, well maybe a little, but they have to use their heads on this one. They don’t have much time left. Finished, he gives it to them and instructions on what to do. With that, they prepare themselves one last time, taking a deep breath, sweating like dogs in summer. Of course they’re afraid, they’re still human after all. He carries the quite heavy cable rolled around his shoulder, extending behind him like an elongated snake. They fly up and head towards the main entrance. When they reach the waiting area, they hover slowly just a few feet above the ground trying to be as quiet as possible. They go back to the main entrance to discover the broken wall made by the creature, but there’s no sign of it. Snow rages on outside, breezing along at a magnificent speed. He holds on to the cable tightly, nervous, his muscles tensing and his senses alert, scouting the area. Olivia is right behind him, watching his back, pointing her hand forward, ready for anything. Her breathing faster, muscles also tensing, and her hand slightly trembles. “Where is it?” he asks. “What??” she replies nervously and quietly. “Where is it? I don’t see it,” he says. “Me neither,” she says, obviously scared, “maybe it went away.” “I don’t think so. It wouldn’t just give up like that.” He stops near to where the broken door is. She accidentally touches it with her foot, surprising her, and causing her to turn around and scream. “Ahhhh!” she screams before quickly covering her mouth. He slowly turns to her. “Sorry,” she apologizes. Unknown to them, the creature stalks them from behind, lurking in the shadows preparing to strike. It walks slowly to them, sparks zipping off around its body at lightning speed. Takashi looks to the corner of his eye and clutches his right hand, feeling the presence of the creature. “Olivia, don’t move,” he says quietly. She widens her eyes, obviously feeling nervous after that statement. It raises its hand, claws unsheathing from its fingers, sharp and long like the nails of a witch or your scary grandma. It suddenly moves and lunges forward towards them, but Takashi quickly reacts, turning around and punching it in the face, screaming, his telekinetic energy focused on his right arm strengthening his muscles to deliver a single blow of devastation, sending it flying towards the wall. As it breaks through the wall into the waiting area beyond, he quickly flies up and thrusts his right palm towards the creature, telekinetically sending it hurtling to the ground, and then dragging it across the floor, ravaging it. The damage is unbelievable, the remains of the fallen men destroyed, their blood almost wiped clean. He lands several feet in front of the creature with Olivia behind, watching it as it tries to recover. He prepares the cable, unraveling it from his shoulder, and moves closer. He holds the positive and negative cable in each hand, which he has to attach to the creature. Still easier said than done. Olivia jumps to it, landing on its body, forcefully, and gives it the ole enhanced right hook to the face. “Takashi! Hurry up!” she screams to him. Ready, he runs towards them, but the creature recovers and grabs Olivia by the neck with its left hand and uses its tentacles to intercept him, pinning him to the ceiling. “Aaarrghh!” he exclaims, dropping the cables—it hangs a few feet below him. It stands up and channels all of its energy to surge through its tentacle, its skin sparking with yellowish electrical energy. This is it, the time to attach the cables. She tries to break free of its grip, but can’t, choking from its huge hand, unable to concentrate. Takashi forces himself to wake up, ignoring the pain, and quickly reels in the cables. He attaches them just in time as the electricity surged through. It flows through the cable in a violent dance of sparks and lightning. Sergey sees the incoming flow as it passes through the cable and into the battery, infusing it with its energy. The train whirs to life and its lights begin to switch on one by one.

Takashi screams in pain, holding on to the cables for dear life, as the immense voltage now surging through him shocks him. Suddenly the cables explode in a violent burst, destroying the creature’s tentacle and sending him back down. Olivia was thrown aside sliding across the floor passing under the arch. Takashi hits the ground hard, unconscious. The explosion left its mark on him, his face and hand bloodied and scarred. The creature roars at the loss of its body part. Recovering, Olivia regains herself and flies towards the creature at mach speed, hitting it with full-force before grabbing and throwing it to the train tracks. It crashes through the window and into one of the trains’ cars, destroying it. She hovers at the broken window, making sure its down before heading back to Takashi to check on him. Startled by the crash, Sergey unplugs the cables, throws them aside, and orders his men inside to start up the engine. “It is working, sir. Power at full capacity,” Alex says, “we actually have more than enough.” “Good, good. Get ready to go as soon as they return,” Sergey orders.

“Takashi? Baby, wake up,” she says, “please, we have to go.” “Ummmpppffffhhh…” he groans. “Okay then, looks like I’ll have to carry you,” she continues. She picks him up with relative ease and runs to the platform gate. She can’t fly out the window because of the snow. She runs as fast as she can through the path before jumping at the opening. She lands next to the stairs heading to where the train is located. “Where are you guys?” Sergey asks himself, waiting at the door. He heads back to the pilot. “Alex. Are you sure the train will be fine going through the snow?” he asks. “Uhh, it will be fine, sir,” he answers, unsure. “Sergey!!!” Olivia screams. He and Viktor quickly run back to assist. “Oh my God. What happened?” he asks. “It’s pretty bad. Please tell me we can get out of here,” she says. “Da. We will go now. Help her,” he says before running back. They both carry Takashi to one of the rooms and put him onto the bed. His blood paints the sheets red. “Alex! Go now! Go, go!” “Da, sir.” He starts the acceleration and everyone jerks back because of the movement. The klikity-klak of the train wheels can now be heard as it starts rolling, grinding against the metal rails at first. “Well, at least we’re moving now,” Olivia says. She feels calmer now, wipes the sweat from her forehead and takes a deep breath. They both deserve a well-earned rest.

The train starts to pick up speed and exits the station through one of the doors. Snow quickly covers the cabins and windows as it exits, but other than that, it’s smooth sailing. Sergey returns to them to check on Takashi. “How is he?” he asks. “I’m not sure. He’s still breathing and his pulse is normal, so that’s good,” she explains. “Da. We’ll just keep him here until he recovers,” he says. Suddenly they hear a thump coming from the roof. “What was that?” she asks, already suspecting what it is. “It came from the roof,” Alex says. “No shit,” she replies, “wait here.” She goes out into the hallway and stops in the middle while examining the roof. “I think we just hit something—“ CRASH!!! Suddenly the roof rips open revealing the creature as she falls down. It hitchhiked on their ride. The creature roars towards her before trying to get in. But suddenly it stops moving. Olivia puts on her serious face while extending her hand, using her mind to paralyze it. “I have had enough of you for today,” she says, angrily. She gathers all her energy—her eyes and veins glow bright blue again—and forcefully repels it causing it to fly towards the sky, sending it very far away as it disappears in the whiteout. “Be seein’ ya,” she says. “Are you alright?” Sergey asks. She gives him a smile before saying, “I’m fine, thank you.” “That was really something,” he continues, smiling, “I am really glad that you are on our side.” He and Alex then leave her alone to be with Takashi. She’s then hit with a revelation, remembering the time Takashi healed one of Sergey’s men. “Of course,” she says, “hang in there, baby. If you can do it, I can do it.” She takes a deep breath before touching her palm to his forehead. She focuses, letting her energy flow through her arm and into him. The healing process begun, his wounds begin to fix themselves. He moans and moves around a bit while she’s beginning to feel the strain this process has on her. She stops for a second, trying to regain herself. Her breathing rate increases. “Come on, you can do it,” she says to herself, “be strong. For him.” She continues, forcing herself. Fatigue starts to seep in, sweat covers her face, and her muscles tense and tighten. Eventually, she couldn’t handle it anymore and falls back, leaning against the table, rapidly breathing her lungs out while staring blankly into space. But it worked. He’s fully healed, well not fully, still a few minor bruises, but otherwise okay. He regains some consciousness. “Urrggghh,” he moans. “Liv? What happened?” He turns to see her in a state of distress. “Liv? Shit!” He quickly gets up to check on her. “Liv, what’s wrong?” he asks. “Nothing,” she replies with a tired, whispery voice, “I’m fine.” She chuckles. “I’m glad to see you’re okay too.” He looks out to the hallway and notice snow covering the floor and the big hole on the roof. “What happened?” “Oh, that? It was nothing. But you were really banged up. Blood and bruises everywhere,” she explains, calming down, “then I remembered the way you healed Sergey’s men, so I thought I’d heal you too. Looks like it worked.” She smiles. “Yeah, it worked, but it took a lot out of you. You saw what happened to me, it’s dangerous.” She nods, wiping the sweat from her face. “Come on, let’s get you up to the bed.” He picks her up and carries her, struggling a bit as he’s also still recovering. “There you go,” he says, putting her on the bed. “Stay here with me,” she says to him. “Okay,” he replies. He gets into bed with her and tries to rest as well. Luckily, this room was designed for couples making the bed wide enough for them both. They look out the window and notice the snow begins to fade away as sunshine slowly appears, brightening the day once more. It seems that the blizzard was localized to that particular area. They were just in time for the sunrise though. She cuddles with him and they both share a smile and a kiss as Sergey announces through the intercom that they’re on their way to Nizhny Novgorod and that it should a bright, sunny day all the way.
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