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Chapter 17

Takashi joins the rest at the front, still staring at the beam. Olivia turns to Sergey and screams, “So what now, boss??!” “I have no idea!” he says staring at it. “We go down!!” Andrei screams. “We go to the bottom of this!” He then points to a path they can take. “Let’s go!” he says. Olivia stays for a moment. Takashi looks at her and smiles. A worried smile, a happy smile. “Come on!” he shouts. She chuckles, takes a deep breath, and they head off. They hold hands and walk together side-by-side behind the rest of the group. The path is quite big, probably for trucks to carry the deposit. It’s in a spiraling pattern all the way down to the bottom. “This is pretty cool!” Takashi says to her. “I’ve always wanted to see a quarry in person!” “Why?!” she asks. “I don’t know!” he replies, “it just seems cool! Or maybe it’s because I played a game once!!” He laughs. “Hahaha… I don’t know!” “That’s alright. Just enjoy it!” she tells him. Everything starts to disappear again. Even amidst the loud sound of the strange beam shooting and the fact that they have to shout a bit to talk—their words would just fade into oblivion otherwise. That sense of calmness appears again, surrounding them in its aura. They’re here, and they’ve made it this far. Let’s finish it. Halfway through their trek, the beam begins to dissipate slowly. It gets smaller and smaller until it disappears completely along with the deafening sound. Everything is quiet now. “What just happened?” Sergey asks. “This is not good,” Andrei states, “we should hurry.”

The bottom of the quarry is now visible, as the beam has disappeared. They can see lots of creatures down there as well as the hole that the beam created. “Wait! Wait!!” Olivia shouts to them. “What are you guys gonna do?! We can’t just run down there to them. That’s suicide.” She stops suddenly after she says so. “That’s exactly what we’re gonna do,” Andrei says as he and the men cock their guns. She stares looking confused, thinking. Takashi comes up from behind, touches her shoulder, and says, “You know what? For once, I agree with you.” Bemused at what he just said, “Ah, what the heck? Me too,” she responds with a smile, “that’s exactly what we should do.” “So what are we waiting for?” Sergey asks.

One of the men throws a high explosive grenade to the middle of a group. The creatures look at it in confusion before it goes off in their faces. Another creature roars in realization of their presence. “Oh, I miss this,” Andrei says, smiling. “Let’s go!!!!!” he screams. And with that, chaos begins. The creatures roar in unison indicating battle. The men start shooting at them with grenade launchers and RPGs first to crack their outer shell. The rest proceeds to shoot them with non-explosive weaponry. The numerous amount of explosives launched creates a wonderful, if not dangerous, explosion. Smoke and dust and dirt flies through the air from the sheer force. The bullets easily took care of them once their armored skin was breached. But their numbers are plenty though as more keep coming. “You do realize that we’re not at full strength though,” Olivia reminds Takashi. “I don’t care,” he replies, looking angry. He jumps towards one of the creatures, screaming as he does so, and gives it a good ol’ punch to the face. He then proceeds to beat it up before throwing it to another one. Olivia stares at him, but then shakes it off. “Hmmph,” she speaks. She then gracefully jumps from the path to the bottom of the quarry. “You know, I probably could just send you hurtling to the atmosphere right now. But my boyfriend’s right, sometimes punching feels better,” she says to the creature in front of her, smiling auspiciously. As it charges towards her, she leans back to prepare her punch before knocking that creature to next Tuesday. It disappears into the distance. “Ouch. Okay, that hurt,” she says. “Aaannndd the moment’s over.” She proceeds to levitate an old mining cart and hurtles it toward several creatures. Takashi continues to beat the creatures up, tearing their armor off of them with his bare hands. Blood spills everywhere, both yellow and red. They combine to make an orange-ish sorta color. His face filled with rage and anger. He screams and shouts and it even made him strong enough to punch straight through a creature’s chest and to its heart, ripping it out; blood splatters all over his face. The creature shifts between its physical from and electrical form as he does so. There is pain from the shocks, but he doesn’t care and continues—his face showing an expression of holding back the pain through sheer anger. Several creatures proceed to gang up on him and he’s crushed under them. But then, the ground beneath them starts to tremble. Suddenly, they violently fly outwards as an energy burst strong enough to rip them apart explodes. Again, the bright blue glow can be seen, if only for a moment this time. At the center of that is Takashi, screaming loudly as he explodes. Everyone stares at him, even the creatures. “Baby?” Olivia says, worried.

The creatures then transform to their electrical form before attacking again. In this form, they are invulnerable to physical attack while still being able to damage and deliver “punches” themselves. They charge towards him and start attacking him. “Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh!!!” he screams in pain. He tries to retaliate, but his punches don’t affect them. Blood and scratches and burn cover parts of his body, his jacket and clothes starts to rip a little. The strain from the combination of electric shocks and punches proves too much. Olivia quickly surrounds him inside a force field to protect him. “Do something!!!” she yells. They start shooting at them, everywhere. In their electrical form, their speed is greatly increased making it very difficult to keep up. They continue to hit nothing as bullet casings fly off from their guns. Even if they hit their mark, the bullet would just pass through. It’s pointless. “We cannot hit them!” Sergey shouts to her. “They’re too fast!” Inside the force field, Takashi lies in the fetal position, shivering…trembling. Everything quiets down. Here I am again, he thinks, I can’t sleep again. After all this time, I still can’t sleep. Tears roll down his cheek. Even with the powers I now have, I’m still powerless. Against these creatures, against my emotions, my thoughts... I can’t do this. I failed again. I’m a failure, always have been. Look at me, lying here, trembling. Everyone was right. I make myself like this. He opens his eyes, looking at Liv, Sergey, and all of them. They’re working so hard to help me. Was it just me? He starts to get up. Was I thinking too much? Was I too emotional? Am I still too emotional? He rolls up his sleeves and calms his mind. The body is slow, but the mind is not. He focuses and everything starts to slow down around him. He can now see the path of the creatures. Why do we meet people we meet? Who or what decides who leaves our lives and who stays? He forms energy fields around them, trying to contain them…and then another, and another, and another… He then forces them to one location and puts them all together, compressing the field until it becomes so small. “What is he doing?” Andrei asks. Olivia smiles and says, “Being strong.” Their combined energy at such a close range causes a sort of overload—it’s too much—and the field explodes releasing them. They reverted back to their physical form as it happened. Burned and smoking, they lie there, dead. Olivia stops projecting her force field around him. He kneels down and closes his eyes, tears still rolling down his cheek. She quickly runs to him. “Are you okay?” she asks him. He opens his eyes and looks up to her. “I’m…fine,” he answers. “You know me, Liv. I’m crazy.” She smiles before kneeling down with him, “I’m proud of you. You did that on your own.” “Don’t be. I’m still me. Still the insane and troubled kid that everyone hates because he can’t control himself,” he explains. “I know.” “The kid who doesn't know how to take care of himself and is too emotional. How does he expect to help others? Haha.” “Haha, this is who you are. And you know what? He’s a good person. And I know that. What do you always say? ‘Fuck the world.’ It doesn’t matter. I believe in you.” He touches the side of her face, “I know you do. Haha, you’re the only one who does. I should listen to you more. I’m sorry.” He then gives her a kiss. “You don’t need to be sorry,” she says, putting her hand on his. “Remember, all these experiences shapes who you are. Forget about being better or stronger. It will make you you.” Their foreheads touch and they close their eyes—being in the moment just for once. “Baby, we’ve gotta stop meeting like this,” she jokes and they both share a laugh. “I know, I know. I’m trying,” he replies. “I have problems, you know” They continue to share a laugh. “I think everyone does,” she said. “Yes, yes they do.”

Sergey and the rest come running down to join them. “My friend, that was quite impressive,” Sergey remarks. “Thanks,” he replies. They kneel there to rest as they have a moment to catch their breaths. But it isn’t long as the ground starts trembling again. “What now?” she asks. It gets louder and louder, seems to be getting closer, like something is moving towards them. Suddenly, the sky gets dark as a shadow passes over the quarry. They look up to see a huge ship, circular and vertical, dark brown in color with a hole at the bottom, like a cannon. It glows bright white. The ship hovers just above the quarry, making that hovering sound that these ships do. It had a few giant plates levitating and rotating just a little bit above the surface and some rods or antennas sticking out of it. Suddenly the sound gets louder and louder and the hole starts glowing. Olivia looks at it and is struck with memories of her vision from before, about the flying machines shooting beams towards the earth and a giant ship in space. “We have to stop it,” she suddenly says. “What?” Takashi asks. “Get away from the beam! We have to stop it! Shoot it down!!” They retreat back before Andrei tells them that their weapons are nowhere near enough to take a huge ship like that out. Olivia looks at it, thinking that maybe they can. “Sweetie, help me,” she says to him. They both raise their hands towards it, but before they could do anything, a few creatures show up from behind to stop them. “Look out!” Sergey shouts. The soldiers shoot at them as Takashi and Olivia turn around to repel them back. Obviously it was just a distraction to prevent them from harming the ship, and it worked as they’re too late and an almost translucent beam fires down from the ship. Though not in the general sense, it’s moving quite slow, but fast enough. It enters the hole that was created. Andrei and his men were still killing the creatures to see it, while Olivia, Takashi, and Sergey are staring at it, like in a trance. “Olivia, what is going on?” Sergey asked. “I’m not really sure,” she replies. Then, yellowish substances begin to rise up from the hole, through the beam and into the ship. The beam appears to have some sort of hypnotic effect as they can’t do anything but stand there and stare at it. “I can’t move,” Olivia says calmly. “Me neither,” Takashi adds. After killing the creatures, they move back only to be enthralled by the mystifying light too.

As it finishes sucking up the yellow stuff, whatever it is, the beam slowly shuts down and disappears, though they’re still staring up at it. Afterwards, the ship quickly flies up outta there, most likely back into orbit. Olivia snaps out of the trance and tries to shake it off. “Oh, my head,” she says. “Come on, guys. Snap out of it!” The rest are pretty banged up too, trying to snap out of it, shaking their heads. It’s like waking up from a dream, a vivid one. “Urgh, what happened?” they ask. “We were too late,” she tells them. “We will get them next time,” Andrei states. “Next time? There’s no next time! We can't stop them!” She sits down, propping herself against her elbows. “We have done good so far, we can do this,” Sergey tries to reassure his friend. “You think stopping these…these creatures makes a difference?? They’re just foot soldiers, there’s more where they came from.” “So what do we do then?” he asks. “Liv, it’ll be okay,” Takashi tells her. “No, it won’t be. I…had a, I don’t know, a vision, I guess, back in the city. When I was electrocuted by one of the creatures, it…I don’t know, showed me these images,” she explains. “What kinda images?” he asks. “I don’t know, images of these flying machines and a…” she stops in realization, looking at her hand slightly glowing white, “that’s it.” She suddenly stands up, laughing, “I understand now. I think I know what to do,” she tells them, “but I don’t think you guys are gonna like it.” “I think after what we’ve all been through, nothing can really make it worse,” Takashi says, hoping. “This will,” she asserts, “the visions… What we’ve been doing so far is kinda pointless. Killing these creatures, no matter how many we do it they can just make more. Going after the ships and these holes is pointless too, they’re everywhere around the world” she explains. “So what do you suggest we do?? Just stop and accept the inevitable end?!” Andrei asks her sternly. “No, we have to go out.” His eyes widened and his head tilted back a bit. “Excuse me?” he asks. Takashi is also confused standing behind her, and possibly a little jealous. “Haha, no. Not like that. We have to go out into space, into orbit. They have a ship currently orbiting the Earth. I think that’s like the mothership. The only way to stop all this is to destroy that ship. Once it’s gone, all these other smaller ships and all these creatures, they’ll just die,” she explains further. Andrei looks at Sergey, contemplating this plan, looking auspicious. “Okay, even if you’re right, how do you propose we get to orbit?” Takashi asks her. “I don’t know. Can we even survive in space? With our powers, I mean.” “Even if we can, it’ll just be the two of us since they won’t be able to.” Sergey looks frustrated, not knowing what to do next. “Well, we could always use the space elevator,” his friend says. Takashi and Olivia turn around in unison to face him. “Did you just say ‘space elevator’?” he asks him, not believing it. Sergey smiles auspiciously to his friend, “Yes, that could work,” he says. “Wait, wait, wait. You guys have a space elevator??” Olivia asks them in wonder, “like an actual elevator…to space??” The two friends looked at each other before facing them, “Yes,” they both answered. “Okay, wow,” she says. They’re both still bemused by this revelation: an actual existing space elevator. Takashi is trying to contemplate the physics required to achieve this feat. “We don’t have time to explain all the details, just trust us,” Sergey says. “Alright, okay. But tell me this at least, how long have you guys had this thing?” he asks them. “Since, what you Americans call, the ‘space race’ age, I believe? “ he answers. “As you said, we do not have much time. We will explain on the way, come on,” Andrei tells them. “On the way where, where is this thing??” Olivia asks. “On the way!” She sighs before they follow them out of the quarry.

They begin their walk back up to the top. “You see, admittedly, we were losing the race against the United States. We did not possess the technology as the Americans did to build good rockets, yes? So we tried to built the elevator instead,” Sergey explains as they’re walking, “It was tested a few times, but of course, even that had many flaws. And eventually it was also abandoned. At least, that’s what they told the public. It is still there and it is still operational, just in secret.” “Wow. I really can’t believe this is happening, but I won’t ask too much detail about it. I feel like I shouldn’t,” Takashi says, “but where is it?” “It is back near Moscow.” “We have to go all the way back??” Olivia asks in surprise. “No, not exactly. The elevator is in Korolyov. Ehh, Korolev,” he explains, “it was part of the space program after all.” Not really able to comprehend the magnitude of this, they keep their mouth shut, at least for now.
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