Saturday, April 19th. 72 Hours.

When I woke up the next day, I found that Gaston had once again woken up before me and was currently halfway through making us all breakfast. Size Queen had joined him at the kitchen table with her head resting on it, still mostly asleep. Quest, or what I thought was Quest was passed out on one of the mattresses, a large hump under the blankets denoted her location.

Gaston delivered us the majesty of a freshly cooked breakfast and piping hot coffee, truly he was the best boss I've ever had.

"Should we wake Quest up?" I asked leadingly, while doing my best to fight through a yawn. "She might be hungry."

"She only went to sleep about half an hour ago," Gaston replied cheerfully. "She was up all night finishing the program, and she ate something before she went to sleep."

Gaston gives me his smiley egg special, I return the smile, delicious.

"She finished it in one night?" I asked curiously.

Huh, maybe we are all badass in our own unique ways, the more you know.

Gaston nods happily while filling up Queen's own plate, her head was still on the table, so I sneakily flipped her bacon around, it was very unhappy to see her. She spotted it immediately when she lifted her head up, before looking over at mine and pouting.

We spoke about nothing serious over breakfast, silently agreeing to stay away from anything important. Eventually we all finished eating and one of us finally brought up something related to the job and it was all work after that. We went over what we knew of the facility and the last known layout of the building. It quickly spins off into a side discussion over what type of staff or personnel would be inside the building today and what exactly they would be doing.

Size Queen took control of the conversation and grilled Gaston about every detail he could remember. I couldn’t help but noticed that she was touching on some of the most bizarre stuff, why would she need to know who took the most frequent bathroom breaks? To me, it wasn't worth considering, but I guess this was why she was the expert at sneaking around, and I'm just the expert at beating people up. I managed to hold myself back from derailing the conversation, as this was important and if we didn’t get this part right, thousands of people were going to die.

Size Queen stole one of my empty schoolbooks and started marking things out on its surface. She asked probing questions about the building; How big was it? How many floors did it have? What is the floorplan's general shape? Where are the highest traffic areas? Is there access via the roof? How was the computer defended? Where there any emergency doors or escape routes from the room itself? Was there a basement level, underground tunnels, sewer pipes, ceiling vents, windows, doors, access points, and a million more minutia.

Size Queen clearly knew her shit and Gaston had become nothing more than a resource to be drained of any useful information. She methodically mapped out the physical defences, the locations of the computer, guards, mounted guns and cameras on the notepad. After several hours we finally whittled our choices down to three types of entry.

We had located a blind spot directly in the middle of the roof, a result of having all of the rooftop cameras towards the ground, although there were on the top of the roof access pointed at the roof itself. The only way to get in from there without being see would be to drop straight down from above. Land in between the three cameras on the access point and then climb down to the doorway, we will call that option one.

Option two was a series of maintenance tunnels that Gaston was aware of that apparently spread out beneath the city, one of which crossed under the building about thirty feet below the basement level. I could cut through the roof of the tunnel the same way I had at the bank, although the noise could possibly alert them. Size Queen quickly pointed out that we had no information about the basement floor of the building other that its existence, unfortunately. So this idea would be quite risky.

Option three was apparently to walk in through the front door as if she worked there. I'm not even kidding, I thought she was saying it for the memes at first but then she insisted that she had once walked straight into a building, with a hat and a clipboard, completely unmolested. The balls on this woman must have clanged together whenever she walked.

Roof, Tunnel, Front door, our three options lay before us, a simple roll of the dice away.

While we are deliberating on which approach to go with, Gaston mentioned that there were less than fifteen people that work for String Theory in all, not including the security team. Enough that a new person that nobody had seen before would be pretty suspicious. Gaston personally thought that Size Queen would get noticed immediately, if she tried to just wander in and I agreed with him completely. So together we voted her off the island and now she’s pouting again, she does that a lot.

Roof or Tunnel. Top or bottom, curious and curiouser.

Size Queen wondered aloud if I could cut through thirty feet of stone quietly enough not to alert anyone and it was something, I had already had doubts about, I really wasn’t sure. If we decided on it, we would need to test it somewhere else first. She was also not entirely happy with coming up through the floor with zero knowledge of what was above her.

I was honestly ambivalent about the choice, but Gaston was taking her fears seriously, so we table that option for now. Gaston pointed out that we would need to be very high in the air in order to avoid the camera's on the roof and even higher to avoid any guard's natural line of sight. He didn't think I could do it for some reason, apparently, he was under the impression that I could only fly while close to something that I could tether too. What on earth had given him that idea?

"Hold on, I'm not locked to the ground or whatever," I tell him, bemused. "I could literally just wrap myself in wires and fly off whenever I want."

Gaston looked incredulous at the news.

"I've never seen you fly more than ten feet off the ground." Gaston argued, "You are always tethered to something and you drag yourself around like you are holding yourself up with wires."

"Obviously. I don't want everyone in the city knowing exactly how my power works." I said slowly like he was an idiot, and he was quickly starting to look pissed off.

Size Queen looked between us curiously, having yet to see one of our frequent dick swinging contests.

"You could have just flown away from the bank, straight up in the air." Gaston accused, pointing at my face with an angry finger. "Instead you stayed on the ground and got beat up."

"Why the hell would I fly straight up?” I said incredulously, "New Wave or fucking Purity or someone might take a shot at me."

Gaston opens his mouth to fire back another retort when Size Queen claps him on the shoulder.

"Boys, boys." Size Queen said amused, "We are getting side-tracked."

Gaston shuts his mouth with a snap. Dumbass.

"Tell me more about this flying business." Size Queen says curiously, "I've always wondered what it would be like to fly."

It looked like she was regretting the comment.

"Up, up, and away, away from me," I sang horribly, "But it's alright!"

"It's not alright!" Size Queen shouted before she punched me in the back of the head, "You can't sing for shit, dumbass!"

I tumbled uncontrollably for a moment through the air before I managed to correct my course. I dragged her further away from me and let her dangle underneath me as we flew.

"You can all sleep soundly tonight!" I sang, ignoring her completely. "I'm not crazy or anything!"

"Jesus Christ!" Size Queen bellowed up at me. "Please just stop!"

"I can't stand to fly, I'm not that naive!" I just sang louder, "Men weren't mean to ride, with clouds between their knees!"

This was it, the moment where we would either save the city or get caught and cause the death of thousands.

I know, I know.

Why are we fuck-assing around during a stealth mission? It wasn't as bad as it sounds, I promise. The wind was reducing our volume to pretty much nothing so it wasn't as loud as it could have been. We were also about fifteen thousand feet above the city and it was 9:57 pm. Ergo, it was dark as shit, but it was also cold, really, really cold.

I would need to get something warmer to wear if I ever did this again. Size Queen was definitely feeling the cold, there were two big indicators that I couldn’t help but comment on.

"Hey, Queen!" I called down to her and Size Queen looked up at me. "Is it just me or is it a bit nippy outside?!" I yelled, pointing at her chest.

Size Queen glanced down and then went ape shit. Her hand suddenly swelled to a truly gigantic size, shuffling almost all of her possible mass into her arm and then tried to slap me out of the air. I barely managed to drop her down out of range before she hit me, but it was a close one.

It was totally worth it, as I watched her tumble through the air for a couple of seconds before I managed to catch her again.

"Asshole!" Size Queen yelled up at me, quickly giving me the finger before her hand reduced back to a normal size.

Geez, violent much it almost took physical effort to hold back from telling her to 'chill out’ and that we wouldn't want to 'tip' off the enemy, heh. The earpiece crackled to life and Gaston's voice came floating over the connection.

"Alright, it's time to start the mission." Gaston said cheerfully. "Everybody's ready?"

"Ready." Size Queen gave an affirmative, previous annoyance forgotten.

"Good to go," I said easily.

"Quest?" Gaston inquired. "Take it away please."

When Quest woke up earlier, she had immediately begun the process of trying to gain access to String Theories base via my computer however apparently nearly every part of the security system was compartmentalized. The doors were electronic and were kept on a separate network than the cameras, which were on a different network from the automated weapons systems.

This made it very unlikely that she would be able to subvert any meaningful portion of the security system in a useful amount of time. So in order to try and assist Size Queen with infiltrating, the best she could do on such short notice was to access the camera feed and relay relevant information to her, about guard movements and maybe unlock a couple of doors.

"Yes." Quest said quietly. "I've managed to access the cameras. I'll keep you updated on any patrols or any useful information that I find."

"Sweet," Size Queen said excitedly, "I'm feeling spoilt. Usually, it's just me and my beautiful self."

I snorted at the brag and made sure to stay out of her range as she gave me the side-eye.

"You're almost directly over the building now Urchin." Quest said quietly. "You can start descending now."

"Roger, roger," I replied in a robotic voice.

I dropped about ten-thousand feet in the next two minutes, slowly making my way downwards. No more horsing around or loud noises as we got closer and closer to the target. When we reached about one-thousand-five-hundred feet above the building I began to quickly lower Size Queen with a cable about as wide as a pencil.

Size Queen had already shrunk down to her smallest size, and I could barely feel the weight of her on the wire. I felt my cable brush the rooftop and I quickly unwrapped it from around her.

The small weight of Size Queen abruptly disappeared, she was in.

The two hours spent waiting for Size Queen was both the most relaxing and stressful time of my life.

I sat cross-legged in the air, floating above the city, at a street-level Brockton Bay had always looked worn down and gritty but from up this high in the sky, I almost thought it was beautiful.

There were light sources everywhere I looked, the kind that would usually blend into the background once you'd gotten used to living in a city with lights on every corner. From up here, the river of lights was like a reflection of the stars far above. The densely packed areas like downtown and the Highrise district were quite the sight. Each of the blocky monstrosities had hundreds of lights each, staggering their way up the buildings in irregular patterns, the windows of each apartment either lit or note, depending if the occupants were awake.

The city showed an obvious gradient that smoothly changed as it crossed the city, from bright and dense, to dark and sparse. The shantytown was colourful and messy, while the downtown was bright and almost clinically lit, it stretched high above the rest of the city. The docks were very poorly lit and the trainyards were even darker still. The waterfront itself was a large strip of light, from one side of the city to the other. The ocean sparkled in the lights and I could see the partially sunken ships glinting as they emerged from the water, like giant metal hands clawing at the sky.

The Protectorate's base floated serenely in the bay, a massive luminescent bubble atop it, the sheer size was intimidating even from this distance. It was surrounded by the ocean, and I repressed a shiver at seeing so much water in one place. I looked upwards and watched the moon as it hung uncaring in the sky, surrounded by millions of glittering stars. This close to the deadline it was large, bright and almost completely full.

String Theory's masterpiece would only be revealed when it was at its zenith, when it was completely full and dominated the sky, just to make it that much more beautiful when she tore it from the sky. I couldn't imagine what the destruction would look like, would it cover the sky in celestial fragments? Would the moon simply vanish from sight with naught but a whimper?

As I sat in the sky underneath the stars, staring up at the moon, I wondered if this was how String Theory's obsession had started.

I almost wanted to see it.

Quest had moved the thief into a private channel with just the two of them, to ensure that nothing would distract her at a crucial time. Probably a good idea, I've always had trouble engaging the filter between my brain and my mouth.

I had since moved back up to a safer height, straight up into the air above the base. I needed to be close enough for a fast extraction if something went wrong, so I couldn't keep too much distance from the building.

My earpiece abruptly crackled to life.

"Andy," Gaston said happily, "Size Queen's headed for the roof, get ready for extraction the bombs are disconnected."

I smiled at the success and let myself drop straight downwards. The wind rushed past me and I had to stop myself from laughing at the thrill. The city was rapidly increasing in size as I fell, and I speared a single wire downwards to stop just as it touched the roof, before thickening it to a cable. I felt the now-familiar weight of Size Queen's miniature form grab onto it tightly. I reeled her up quickly and threaded wires through her harness as she slowly grew back to a normal size, I pumped the gas and we zipped up into the air.

Size Queen was laughing as we darted upwards, flush with victory and when I brought her level with me, I couldn't help but join in. I started to really put on the speed and dragged us up into a victory lap of the city, grinning the entire time. We cheered and yelled and surprisingly enough nobody chased us or shot us out of the sky, it almost felt like freedom.

When we finally landed on the roof of my apartment building Gaston and Quest were waiting for us. Size Queen was still grinning brightly from the rush of our flight. Quest had a small satisfied smile on her face and Gaston looked happier than I had ever seen him. When we reached them, Gaston dragged all of us into a group hug.

Quest squeaked and Size Queen laughed as she dragged me in. I pretended to put up a fight before I let myself get smushed between them.

Mission accomplished, I felt content.

We celebrated our success by ordering a bunch of fast food and Gaston picked up the bill but later stated that it was coming out of our bonuses, the bastard. We spent the rest of the night joking and messing around with each other. At some point, I realized that we needed a name. Like 'The Titans' or 'The Z Warriors' or something way cooler like 'Armoured Squadron'.

"We don't really need one." Size Queen said easily, "It's not like we're a permanent team."

"I know that." I argued, "But we should still call ourselves something. So everyone knows when they are about to get their asses kicked."

I wanted a cool name dammit.

"It seems a little silly," Quest added, she was decidedly less nervous than usual. "We're only together for a couple more days, after all."

I felt a twinge in my chest at that and Quest turned to glance at Gaston, as if he would suddenly reveal we were all trapped forever and could never leave, that's what I thought the look was anyway.

Gaston just smiled mysteriously; I'd have to put my foot down.

"Too bad!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, jumping onto the kitchen table and knocking things everywhere.

Gaston yelped when I knocked over his coffee and Quest slid her chair backward with a single sharp 'Ah!', she managed to avoid getting splashed. Size Queen swiped lazily at my leg, but I managed to gracefully avoid it, like the god damned ninja I was.

"Assemble!" I yelled, unfazed by the attempted mutiny. "Full Frontals!"

The reveal of our amazing team name was only met with silence.

"No way, dumbass," Size Queen said bewildered, immediately trying to shut me down. "That's the stupidest name I've ever heard."

I crossed my arms and looked down my nose at her before turning to Quest and raising my eyebrow, the awkward woman fidgeted under the attention.

"Um. It's not a particularly good name." Quest said quietly.

I couldn't believe, this, this betrayal!

"I never expected you to betray me Quest," I said sadly. "I thought we had something special?"

I sniffled a bit and she looked uncomfortable at the implication. The others tried to argue against having a name, but they soon gave up. They did try and switch tactics for a bit, hoping to convince me of 'better' names, but I remained steadfast. They gave up eventually and it was made official.

The Full Frontals were going to save the world, Gaston looked annoyed.


About the author


Bio: I’m a fantasy author from Australia, and if I were to describe my work in a single sentence it would be; Realism contained within an unrealistic backdrop. I aim to put out high-quality, original, long-form written content that will entertain, and engage you. Expect dark themes, characters making costly mistakes, and unreliable narrators.

My standard process starts by releasing draft chapters to my Patreon, and then to everybody else online. Once the story is completed, I convert it into a more conventional eBook. I also routinely go back and revise, edit and enhance my older work as I improve as a writer.

I now have a website that has links to all of my original works to date.

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