“That thing is vicious, it killed a baby giraffe like it was a cockroach!”
Haruka Ito, Alternate Knife’s Edge.
Sukie worked on the artifact Jack’s team had found in the Temple of Water. She had been working for a while now, but today, something would happen. Sukie poked and prodded until-
-She gasped in surprise.
The machine projected images into the air- holograms. Creatures were in scenes, information files, worlds, and creatures unknown. Some showed the skies, where peculiar creatures flew, another was a jungle, where a herd of strange animals walked. Another was of a vast desert where large flying bats flew. Last, she saw a map, but it wasn’t like a map anyone had seen before.
And just like that, the show ended.
It was replaced with cubes that when Sukie looked at one, a title would hover over it. Sukie poked at one called ‘future ecosystems’ and an animation played- the box opening and smaller boxes leaving it.
Future device? She wrote. Future worlds?
Luckily for the young scientist, all of this was caught on camera. After one more check, she told Xavier of the development, who told Milo.
As usual, they were parked at Wyvern Base, which had moved to a southern location, lessening the cold. It was still high up, so it was still quite cold.
Everyone else was asleep, except for Justin and Lily, who were reading books. Milo opened the door, dressed in warm clothes and a dark blue windbreaker. A gust of wind blew into the plane as Milo entered, alerting Justin and Lillian.
“So basically,” Justin started, talking about a book near the TV where they were playing a fireplace, “I think the character of Zora is the best, rather than Jamie.”
“I see, though Jamie is the smartest.”
“No way- Kaden is!”
“You do have a point-” Lily began, just before she was cut by the gust of wind. She turned and greeted Milo, saying. “Oh, hi Milo.”
“Hi, kiddos. Aw, how cute.”
“Well yes- wait a minute!”
Milo left the room, going to meet Sukie and Xavier.
“Brother, here!” Xavier beckoned.
“What is it?”
Sukie played the video, showing the agent the mysterious holographic images.
“This is some sort of future device, that much is clear,” Milo theorized, “why don’t you get that young hacker Maizie for this. She might be able to help.”
“Brilliant idea, dear brother. But is she ready?”
“Sukie? What do you think about Maizie?”
Sukie nodded in approval.
“Then tomorrow it will-”
Milo’s tablet sounded an alarm. Milo looked at it and checked something.
“We will continue this discussion later. You guys have a mission- tachyon particles have been spotted in Talaria Airport. That’s relatively near, just fifteen minutes away.”
“No rest for the wicked,” sighed Xavier.
Sukie sighed as well.
Milo left the building, but not before instructing them to lift off as soon as everyone awoke. Next, Xavier and Sukie knocked on the other’s doors and awoke them.
“Mmmm...” a very sleepy Maizie mumbled, “what now?”
“No idea...” Stacy managed.
Sukie beckoned for them to join here.
“It’s… it’s two in the morning...” Jack stammered.
The doctor was trained to wake up randomly and had no problem. Kitten, as well.
“What’s up with those two?” Kitten inquired, catching a glimpse of the two pilots.
“No idea,” Xavier replied, “Milo probably made a Justilian shipping comment, or y’know, something to do with croissants. Also, how many cats do you have on this plane?! I keep seeing them everywhere!”
“I think about twelve...”
“No matter- to the briefing room!”
As everyone gathered, the plane took off, leaving Wyvern Base in the distance.
“We will be arriving at Talaria Airport in fifteen minutes, where a portal has apparently opened. As usual, our job is to close the portal and keep everything hushed. I’ve pulled some strings to close the airport because of some fake virus. There will be people, but no-one will enter or exit.”
Everyone just sighed.
“What’s going on now...” Jack moaned, “why can’t portals just appear in the daytime...”
“Sukie told me there’s a certain radius where portals occur from the manmade one. This could go bad if Scorpion makes more...” Xavier answered.
“Right, what even is Scorpion?” Stacy inquired. “Even Kitten doesn’t know.”
“No idea, but we know they are against humanity. In a recent terror attack, they blew up a school and left behind some notes of how they are against humanity,” Xavier started, “they left behind a note about how they were going to destroy the human plague and return the world to animals.”
“Who’s the leader?” Leo inquired.
“No idea, not even our spies. Rumour says it’s run by someone named Quazi. The portals could be used to end humanity.”
Fifteen minutes later they arrived at the airport. As usual, Maizie stayed behind in case she was needed to hack something and to help Sukie. Xavier stayed back as well to help Sukie.
After an explanation of how the Time Cube, which was the nickname for the device used to track and shut down portals worked, Leo, Jack, Stacy, Doctor Daena, and Kitten departed the plane. They walked in the night, silently approaching a pair of doors.
“Damn it! Locked!” Kitten yelled, trying to open the doors. “And I sure won’t be allowed to break the doors...”
“Do we have another way in?” Stacy asked, pondering the situation.
A face appeared from the inside. It was a security guard who looked really annoyed.
“Hey! Who are you people?!”
“Just trust us and let us in,” Jack commanded.
“Trust us, no tricks are up our sleeves, I’m a doctor,” Daena pointed out.
With nothing else to say, the tired security guard opened the doors and let them in. Leo whipped out the Time Cube and flipped open a screen. He then began scanning the area, waving the obscure metal box around.
“Wait, how do I know you’re not some sort of terrorists?” the guard demanded, putting a hand to her holster.
“Ahem,” Leo began, “we’re with the CDC.”
“Don’t you have suits? Don’t you need them?”
“I’ll be following you just in case.”
“So be it,” Kitten retorted, “and while we’re at it, we’ll need your name.”
“Charlotte Hoiki, but you can call me Char.”
Leo, Jack, Stacy, Daena, Kitten, and Char began to walk, at last entering an area where they saw some people, though only three or four. It wasn’t a very big airport.
“What is that device?” Char questioned, as Leo led them around a few more turns.
“A um, virus checker,” Leo hesitantly lied.
That was that. Leo led them into an area still under construction. It was like a ghost airport, if such a thing exists.
“There!” Stacy exclaimed, pointing at a corner where swirling lights danced with shadow.
“Char, stay here,” Kitten ordered, “don’t argue.”
Everyone except the unknowing Char prepared themselves for the portal. It swirled with color, creating abstract puppetry on the wall.
“This is it,” Jack muttered, “time to do this and go back to sleep.”
“I agree,” Stacy agreed.
Leo put the small box on the ground and activated the device. It scanned the area around. After detecting the time portal, a small cannon popped up and fired a continuous laser upon it.
“Thirty seconds,” a monotonic voice sounded, coming from the box.
A clucking noise, like a bird.
“Wait,” Daena said, “something came through.”
From the shadows of an under-construction restaurant, a large bird stepped through. An ostrich-like bird with a large beak, feathers black and covering the bird. The creature was tall, about five meters high. This was no ordinary bird, for this was a Terror Bird.
“Kelenken,” Stacy whispered, scanning the beast with a machine.
The Kelenken watched the device with curiosity.
The Kelenken approached the device. Everyone was paralyzed in fear.
Kitten leaped up and fired a tranquilizer dart at the creature. The beast screeched in surprise and charged at Kitten, who was nearby the Time Cube.
CRACK! Was the noise as the Kelenken crushed the small-time cube underneath a three-toed foot. Kitted backed away as the monster approached him.
The others then saw two yellow, piercing eyes behind Kitten.
“Kitten! Behind you!” Jack hissed, trying to stay quiet.
Kitten turned to see the beak of a Terror Bird. The beak raised up and prepared to smash into him like an ax. Kitten fell to the floor and rolled to the side, just as the ax-like beak smashed into his former location and deep into the wall.
The other Terror Bird took a moment to pause, then aimed its head up and began to call.
“What- Oh my god!” Char gasped. “What the hell?!”
From the shadows, several more Terror Birds appeared. They snarled at one another, especially a pair which were playing a tug-of-war with a human’s hand. The hand was tattooed, and a name was visible.
“Run! Now!” Jack declared.
All six humans ran. The Kelenkens began the chase. Although the humans had a big head start, the Kelenken were faster, and was quickly gaining ground. As they ran, our DAE agents fired tranquilizers at the creatures, but at the speed the birds were going, it seemed completely ineffective.
“Elevators! There!” Daena shouted, pointing to an elevator.
Kitten, with his advanced running skills pressed the elevator button, causing the door to open. He pressed the other as well, causing that to open.
“In!” Kitten yelled.
The five others somehow managed to make it in. Leo, Stacy, and Jack escaped to the other elevator while Char and Daena found themselves with Kitten.
Kitten desperately pressed the button for the second floor. He looked to the other elevator, and saw it lift above.
As the doors closed, one Terror Bird smashed its ax beak in between the closing doors.
“No, no, no!” Char panicked.
Kitten decided to punch the beast’s face, knocking it backward. Daena pressed the override button. The Terror Bird’s head was just inside when the doors finally closed, crushing the Kelenken’ neck and decapitating its head, causing it to fall onto the floor with a disgusting moist squelch.
The three watched the headless body fall limp to the floor. Other Terror Birds caught up and began ripping at their fallen comrade, now reduced to simply a new meal.
“I am soooo n keeping this head,” Kitten maniacally squealed.
“Well,” Daena panted, “not everyday you get to punch a dinosaur out of an elevator and I get to decapitate it.”
“Will you two loverbirds shut up and tell me what the hell is going on here?!” Char demanded, a hand on her holster.
“I’m sorry, but that’s classified information,” Kitten responded, “though I do need you to make sure nobody can leave this airport.”
“That, I can do.”
“Oh and for the record, we are not, ‘lovebirds’.”
A bell sounded as they reached the second floor. Leo, Stacy, and Jack were waiting, talking about the events that just happened.
“We’ve got to shut down that time portal!” Stacy declared. “Before any more things come through.”
“What if we called Maizie, maybe she can help us research this!” Leo offered.
“Kitten, what are you holding?” Jack inquired, seeing Kitten hold the head. “Is that- Ew!”
“I punched that thing out of the elevator!”
“Oh my god, please explain all this! How are you guys so calm!” Char demanded. “Or I’ll have more security report here.”
“Char?” a voice hesitantly asked, appearing from Charlotte’s radio. “That passenger is demanding to know why all flights have been canceled.”
“Nico, you won’t believe this but-”
“Nope,” Kitten smugly put in. He activated the radio to respond, saying, “I am Agent Glass of the CDC, FBI, CIA, and everything else. Nothing suspicious is going on here-”
“That’s not the problem!” the voice yelled back. “My name is Franklin Compton. A passenger is threatening us- his name is Dylan Roth. Do you guys have any records of him so that we can arrest him?”
“Yes, we’ll get right on that,” Kitten responded, dialing up Maizie at the same time. He spoke to Maizie, and soon got an answer. “Dylan Roth shouldn’t even be here. He’s a mafia boss. Also, please make sure nobody leaves- not even to get up. Everyone must stay in their seats. Hmm, oh yeah- one of your workers is dead- Arnold or something.”
“We need to get to that area,” Jack began, asking Char, “can you lead us the way?”
Reluctantly, Char agreed. There was an emergency pathway used that led them to the location, which was terminal Q, where all the people were sat down in the waiting chairs.
“Do you think those Kelenken have discovered this terminal?” Leo wondered aloud.
“Probably,” Stacy answered. “They’ll take this airport as their territory.”
“Then we’ll need to hurry.”
The six walked to the terminal and soon came upon dangerous games. No, the birds hadn’t discovered the area, but Dylan Roth was wreaking havoc.
“Alright, we deserve to know why we are stuck here! I say, we go up the planes and ask ourselves! We all have places to be!” Dylan declared. “Be brave enough to say no to the authorities!”
The crowd cheered all around Dylan, who was standing on top of a chair.
“Stop!” Kitten countered shouting at the top of his lungs. “My name is Agent Glass from the FBI, CDC, CIA, and everything else. This man is a wanted criminal- a Swedish mafia boss!”
The crowd booed at Kitten.
“Lies! The authorities know nothing!” the people chanted.
The chanting grew ever louder, so much that Kitten fired a blank gun into the roof. The shot grabbed no attention and only enraged the humans.
“Calm down! There is a dangerous virus here!”
“All this shouting is bound to attract those Terror Birds...” Stacy pointed out.
“We need to do something,” Leo replied.
But alas, nothing could be done. Dylan pushed poor Kitten off a chair and resumed his speech.
“Now, join me and take down these false leaders! We’ll start by imprisoning these guys!”
“Don’t you dare!” Kitten countered, pointing his TSC pistol at the man. “I will fire this weapon!”
“I dare you!” was the response.
Kitten fired his weapon, but was knocked off his feet by the mob, causing the gun to fire downwards, bouncing the dart off a chair. Kitten flicked his extendable electroshock baton, extending it to full size.
The crowd ignored him and began to surround him. Kitten sensed someone about to strike him, but he intercepted the attack with his baton. The electric shock knocked back his attacker, giving a small path.
But alas, there were too many of the crazed and soon, he was tied up. The crowd then charged towards the rest of the team, Charlotte, and Franklin.
Nothing worked and all the authorities were tied up.
“Now,” Dylan began, dangling some keys, “let’s lock them in the storage closet!”
The crowd cheered. The tied up authorities were shoved into a storage closet, which was quite large.
“Ugh! Can anyone of you get out of this rope?!” the man named Franklin queried.
In the crowd’s delirium, they had forgotten to completely disarm Kitten and Daena. The two had hidden daggers, which they used to free themselves of the bonds. Kitten replied a yes to Franklin and soon freed everyone.
“Now to getting out of here,” Leo whispered.
Daena carved a tiny hole, allowing her to look out.
“Three armed guards with our TSCs,” she informed, “and Dylan is giving a big speech. Oh, he also has one of our guns, one lethal and one non-lethal. Wait-”
“Hmm?” Stacy pondered.
“The birds! I think I heard a call! Uh-oh, that guy is shooting at the windows!”
“Alright, while the crowd’s distracted, let’s take out these guards!” Jack ordered.
Daena backed, then kicked open the door, surprising the guards. She activated her own electroshock baton, which they hadn’t noticed. Three strikes later, the guards were down.
The team silently crept out and armed themselves. They then rushed behind a pillar, concealing themselves.
“Wait- there,” Leo warned, pointing and four Terror Birds walking the hall. Their beaks were all bloodstained.
SMASH! A layer of glass was shattered. There was another layer, and Dylan swore in annoyance. The shatter of the glass alerted the Terror Birds, who associated it with an intruder in their territory. They carefully looked around until they found the crowd.
One cawed loudly, a warning to scare the crowd off. If the crowd had listened, the vicious birds probably would not have attacked. But the crowd paid no attention, focused on cheering Dylan on.
The lead Terror Bird screeched loudly, as a signal to attack and a signal for help.
The Kelenken ran to the crowd, who finally noticed the monsters.
“What the hell?!” one man yelled.
“I’m not falling for this, government!” another shouted. “Birds are just government spies!”
Then, those two were silenced, one by a head split open, and another who was kicked to the ground and crushed.
“Take them down!” Dylan ordered.
The crowd muttered in confusion, Dylan’s spell broken, now that the prehistoric monsters had arrived. The crowd screamed as the Terror Birds began their massacre.
A Terror Bird approached our smarter heroes, who watched the crowd die, helpless. Suddenly, a warning call rang out and the seven of them turned to a Kelenken staring directly at them.
Jack fired a dart, but the Terror Bird jumped to a side and the tranquilizer bounced off a pillar and hit poor Franklin instead, who went limp, knocked out.
“Well that’s no good at all,” Jack moaned.
The Terror Bird walked forward and the group backed off. Then, it stopped, deciding to feast on the unconscious Franklin instead. It raised up its head and struck down, but just before it could kill the man a dart appeared on the Terror Bird, then another.
“All in a day’s work I suppose,” Jack mumbled, firing one last dart.
The Terror Bird rolled its eyes and crumpled to the floor, defeated.
Meanwhile, the now terrified Swedish mafia boss backed away from a Terror Bird. As he backed away, someone in the crowd bumped against him, causing him to lose his balance.
“No!” he yelled in despair, as he fell, ruining his expensive suit and dropping the lethal gun.
He was now an easy target for a Terror Bird. One approached him, and Dylan raised up the TSC pistol.
But his cries fell on deaf ears as the Kelenken advanced. The mafia boss fired a dart, but it bounced off the Terror Bird’s crimson stained beak.
Dylan Roth screamed in pain as the Terror Bird stepped on his right leg, crushing the limb. The Kelenken raised its head, then swung it downwards in an ax-like motion.
There was no time to scream as the beak plunged into Dylan’s chest, killing him instantly.
Our heroes were now back in the storage closet, where they had placed Char and Franklin to wait out the attack.
“We need to stop them!” Jack reminded.
“Then we’ll need their attention,” Stacy responded, a cunning look on her face. “Does anyone have some matches?”
“Franklin does,” Char informed, producing a box of matches.
“Someone, please go to where they keep the water that puts out fire.”
Jack understood what Stacy’s plan was. He collected everyone’s guns and he and Char left the room.
A long moment later, Stacy left the room, pulled off her sweater, and lit it on fire. The smoke raised and soon, the fire alarm rang, causing the Terror birds to stop the attack.
As soon as the alarm rang, Stacy retreated back to the closet. Water rained down from dispensers, soaking the Terror Birds. The Terror Birds all began to charge towards the closet, but Stacy shut the door. Beaks smashed through the doors, like axes chopping down trees.
“Is this what’s supposed to happen?!” Leo panicked. “Sacrifice us!?”
“No, just wait.”
Suddenly, all the Terror Birds dropped to the floor, just as the rain ended.
You see, the number of narcotics inside the TSC guns was quite a lot, and Jack simply removed the needle darts, then removed the device where the narcotic was injected into the darts. Last, the small container of narcotics was emptied into the water that was used to extinguish fires. The narcotic concentration was more than enough to soak into the skin and render the birds unconscious.
“The portal! We’ve got to close it!” Stacy reminded.
“I’ll call Xavier,” Daena offered.
Three minutes later, Sukie and Xavier arrived. The two were in the area where the portal was, but now, there was nothing.
“Daena, tell the others that the portal is gone. Tell Kitten to call Central Command. Looks like we’ll be getting our soldiers sooner than expected.”
In fifteen minutes, the airport was crawling with soldiers and DAE officials. Xavier came up to meet Jack.
“You see all these soldiers here? They’ll be joining your team. That’s why we had to share rooms though we have many such living quarters.”
“Yes sir, but the birds?”
“They will be placed in the containment room onboard your plane. Then we will place it in a habitat in Wyvern Base. You see, we knew this would happen.”
So an hour later, about thirty new agents were on board the plane, Jack’s team sleeping peacefully, and the Terror Birds content with their new habitat. Kitten stopped on the way home at a taxidermist, where he wanted the head preserved.
All in a day’s work.
And no one noticed one last thing. Four baby Terror Birds, fleeing into the night. They were young enough to hunt, but still weak.
Nobody noticed them escape through an open door.
Nobody bothered to check the camera footage before deleting it.
Nobody noticed them heading into the countryside.
Nobody noticed them break into a chicken coop.
The farmers, however, did notice three dead chickens the next day. They were ripped to pieces and strewn all over the pen. The local news called it a Chupacabra attack, even though no blood was drained.
People only started to care when their pets started going missing, later found in bits and pieces, crimson blood staining dark alleyways and corners.
Someone, however, found it.
All in a day’s work?