Gabe Treeth hadn’t expected today to be so easy.
He knew capturing the biggest murderer in history would be a challenge and yet today had been one of the easiest missions in his career.
A captive prisoner, a team with no injuries and best of all no civilian casualties.
These three factors would be impressive on any mission but on this one they were troubling.
He looked down at Tobias, bound in handcuffs. Tobias was oddly quiet for a man who loved to be heard. He now seemed defeated when mere moments ago he had acted like the most confident man in the room.
After much frustration Gabe could no longer stand the suspense. He opened his mouth to speak to Tobias with a few stern questions in mind and before he could do so his questions were answered, his fears were realised.
The gunshot echoed around the studio, as the bullet carved through one of his team. The assaulted soldier lay on the floor, his eyes staring into nothingness. On his chest a Six of Clubs playing card had been covered in blood as it ran down from his neck.
The remaining team quickly moved from their places to find cover, whilst they surveyed the room for their mystery assailant. Each soldier made sure to hide away from the mass of motionless bodies, to ensure any shots were directed far away from the innocent people around them.
Two of the team had ducked behind Jonathan’s desk, dragging Tobias with them.
“How would you all like to take part in an experiment?” Tobias was suddenly very vocal. “I wanted to save the unveiling of this new technology for tomorrow but you forced my hand. So run along like good little guinea pigs and enjoy the game!”
Before the soldiers could react, their mystery attacker jumped down from the rafters above the studio. As he fell he quickly flipped round to ensure he landed on his hands and feet to minimise the impact on his body. He dashed under the seats that housed the crowd, moving carefully to avoid the blue light.
He rose to his feet quickly and efficiently and promptly pointed his gun at Gabe. “Take out their leader first,” came a voice that echoed in his mind and he began to stare directly at Gabe.
The assassin had a slim build with the body of a runner; a small body but with muscles ready to be used for drastic speed. As he dashed along, his long blue hair swung in a ponytail behind his head. Yet it was not his hair that caught their attention.
His orange eyes did not break from focus. Did not blink. Did not look away.
Not a word was said. There simply was no time for negotiations. Within seconds of landing the assailant fired his shot and Gabe had a split second to shift his body. Yet he was too slow and the bullet lodged itself firmly in his shoulder.
He fell to the floor gripping his open wound, screaming out in pain.
Their leader was shot and yet the team did not respond with gunfire. It was too risky and there were too many innocent bodies in the way to ensure a safe shot.
“So the answer to the first experiment is obvious,” stated Tobias as a cold hard fact. “Are you loyal to your leader above all others? No. You put the needs of innocent people first. A noble response, although one that shows you lack loyalty and are easily manipulated.”
“Let’s see how far we can push that…” Tobias smiled, as his second experiment began.
She had known Emmie for eighteen years and like all good friends Grace was always finding out something new.
Like how Emmie was going to save the world.
She wasn’t jealous, best friends had to support each other. Although she did feel full of guilt that she had lied to her friend about almost every detail of her life.
So when Grace received a call from Emmie that said she was in danger, she knew it was more important than anything. Even Tobias Zen.
As she raced through the city towards Emmie, her red hair flowing out from underneath her bike helmet, she felt very alive. Apart from the day she met Gabe, Grace had never felt more wanted than today.
She pulled up at a public restroom and entered with her large red polka dot backpack.
Once inside she found the nearest stall and closed the door behind her making sure to lock it thoroughly. She placed her head in her hands and lent forwards.
Steam started to emerge from under her hands, as a chemical transformation began. The skin from her face started to melt and drift downwards towards the floor in one big long blob.
Beneath her hands a magnificent change began to happen. The white skin gave way to cocoa coloured skin tones as her true face started to be revealed from underneath the mask. Her newly revealed small brown eyes, the curves at the edge of her smile and her thin nose had often seen people refer to her as being ‘cat-like’ something Grace often saw as a compliment.
The transformation continued to move upwards over her forehead and into her hair.
The locks of red hair changed in colour to a chocolate brunette tone and bit by bit they started to curl around themselves. Two large waves of hair kept the red colour, which glowed even brighter than before. Her fringe stopped just above her eyes and the rest of her hair curled around her head stopping just above her shoulders.
The steam began to stop and in one swift movement Grace scooped her hands downwards and gathered together the ball of skin.
She opened her backpack, pulled out a hexagon shaped box and stored the skin in its silver lining.
Closing the box, she inserted it into her backpack and retrieved a change of clothes. She changed into a silver top with short sleeves that stopped just below her elbows. The top had two belts that went across it that loosely criss-crossed over her chest. She put on a pair of dark jeans adored with red and black diamond shapes that intercut with each other throughout the design.
After ditching her army uniform, but keeping her black riding boots she left the stall.
She took a moment to admire herself in the mirror. “Back to normal,” she remarked.
The red haired girl was gone. Replaced by a chocolate haired goddess with light brown skin.
“Just like Emmie remembers,” said Grace.
She left the restroom, mounted her bike and drove the last few miles to Emmie’s house.