The scream of pain reverberated over the empty corridors of the Shadow Men’s vessel. It was a rugged-constructed structure, missing any comfort or luxury items. Its dull and depressing rusted pathways seemed almost used to hearing the pain cries, seemed as if such horrific occurrences were almost expected.
In one of its dull quarters, a man lay on the iron table, completely naked, the blood slowly seeping out from the gunshot wounds he had in both of his shoulders.
He cried, repeatedly, calling for help as life was slowly seeping out of him. Till a man hooded in the bright yellow robe walked in. His soundless presence was finally noted by a wounded man, instantly quieting him down.
“You failed,” the hooded man said and approached the table.
The wounded man's chest rose up and down swiftly as if he was fighting for the air. “We were ambushed,” he muttered in the end, not taking his eyes off the arrival.
“You failed. Not just by not acquiring the object. You’ve been seen.”
“Twenty-five soldiers had seen. Twenty-five I had killed. Nobody else knows. Our Word remains True.”
The hooded man sighed and then said, “But the target was not alone.”
“No. He had a helper.”
“Is that helper dead?”
“No. They fled together.”
“So then you failed. On two accounts.”
The yellow-hooded man let that sink in for a second before continuing. “And, you are telling me that both I3 and V921 are dead?”
“Yes. The fighter had skills,” the bleeding man answered through his clenching teeth and then groaned in pain. “I'll tell you everything. Just take that metal out of me! It's killing me...”
“I will. But first, I need to know. How could he have killed them?" the hooded man said, and then, in no rush, had started to circle the man around.
“I saw his, his bullets. They were... Special."
"Special? Our shields could not stop them?"
The man shook his head, the horror and pain there written in his face, his blood-shot eyes following every inch the hooded man moved.
"Help me, help me... Take them out of me. and you will see.”
“Hum,” the man thought. “Anything else you need to tell me?”
“I3 recognized him.”
“The man, the fighter… I3 recognized him. Before he died.”
“Interesting… Did I3 name him before he died?”
“Yes, yes, he did.”
The hooded man raised his head a bit, the red beam glowing suddenly from his eyes, the words hissing out of his twisted mouth. “Name him then. Name him to me. Now.”
“Timothy the Seventh of Fareline family.”
“Fareline family, Fareline… I think, I think I’ve heard that name before,” the man whispered to himself then turn around as if that would help him think.
“Anything else? Anything else I need to know?”
“Yes. I, I fought good. I landed a blow.”
“Good. You were always a good fighter."
"Then we can talk to the As. They can track him. Not everything is lost."
The man twitched, obviously not accustomed to being told what can be done by those inferior to him. "I fully know what the As can do. You do not need to advise." He let those words stay in the air as he turned around again, talking to himself again. "But their searching power might not extend all the way to this quadrant. Besides, they might be able to find him only if he’s still alive. What if he's been cured. But, who could help and cure him? Who would have such a skill?"
"I do not know of such a person."
"Neither do I. If such a person existed, we would have killed him a long time ago."
"Yes, yes, you would."
"Still, he’s the named man. So, it could happen. And if it does, we have nothing… Hard to know.”
“Now, can you take this… out of me.”
The plead fell on death ears as the yellow-hooded man paid him no attention, continuing to talk to himself. “Call the others. We need to track him before it’s too late. I’m going to enjoy killing this one. And everyone he knows. And most likely, not in that order."
Then his tone changed, suddenly becoming agitated. “I know we need that mode. I3 made a mistake. You sent him on this mission against my advisement. So, don't point your finger at me. He became too conceited for a long time now. I had already spoken about that. Conceited of what? I could never guess. Like it's that difficult to be named an I."
The man turned around himself as if not knowing which way to go. "Yes, he has been known to underestimate his enemies. But, I am not I3. Do you know my name?”
He suddenly turned around, making his robe fly through the air, and towered over the wounded man. “Do you know my name?”
“Yes, E9, yes, I know your name.”
“I will not underestimate this Timothy the Seventh. I will recuperate what is ours.”
“Also... you need to know, our shields did not stop his sorcery."
Again anger and agitation flared up in his eyes and voice. “I do not know what kind of sorcery it is. But I have parts of it with me… here, at my hand. Well, inside K32. Yes, he is wounded."
"Please..." K32 bagged. "Please, help me. I can be so... useful, and, and loyal."
“Yey, he is begging. Like a kitten. I will find out.”
“Please, my Lord E9, can you now take it out of me, please?” K32 bagged.
Suddenly a lighted staff appeared in E9's hand and before K32 had a chance to say anything other than “No!” he tapped him with that staff, the green current running instantly into the wounded man, spreading through his body, then engulfing him whole in a greenish fog.
The fog lasted only for a few seconds. When it disappeared, so did the man with it, leaving behind only a pair of smashed-up bullets.
E9 put them in the palm of his hands, weighing them, and then dropped them down on a table with disgust.
“Silver!” he said in anger. “They’ve been cast in silver! They were meant to kill us!”
The man turned around swiftly, not caring to be in that room anymore, rushing out.
“Yes, we were lucky. I can only imagine if they were coated in platinum. I will find this man. Yes, and the mode too, of course.”
A minute later, E9 walked to the control room and told the two of the Shadow Men there to exit. Then he waved his hand in front of the wall, and a two-foot-wide metallic cube appeared.
He pressed his staff against its top, and it popped open.
Inside was a transparent helmet with a lot of wiring and connection pins.
Then, for the first time in months, he took down his hood off, revealing shaved head, completely red eyes, the whites of which were colored red with eyelids tattooed in strange ancient symbols, and black rings hanging out of his pierced nose.
When he placed the helmet on his head, it lighted the whole chamber in blue. The screen engulfed him a moment later.
[Welcome Back E9.
The connection fee of 10 million credits has been charged to your outstanding balance.
What would you like to do today?]
"Find. Another entity. Human. Timothy the Seventh Fairline Family."
[The entity is known.
Pay to display his stats: 12,000 credits]
[The fee paid. Your remaining balance is: 12,510,200
Timothy the Seventh
Solider-of-War Rank 5
Years Since Birth: 110
In-depth analysis and attributes... (additional fees apply)]
[Sorry. That option is available only to the owners of SUPER MODE.
Your current connection mode is: Model Standard R6
Do you want to acquire a SUPER MODE?]
“Yes, yes I do!”
[The price of a SUPER MODE is currently listed: 120,000,000
Your balance of 12,510,200 is insufficient to cover the cost of that transaction.
If you want to proceed, please deposit additional funds to purchase a SUPER MOdE directly from us, or connect the physical UNIT with the NET now.]
“Are there any physical units here?”
[Current physical SUPER MODE UNITS inside R200X Galaxy: 20]
“Where is the closest one?”
[The number of SUPER MODES currently active that can be tracked and located: 0]
“AAAAAhhh!" The man suddenly screamed in uncontrolled rage. “So I wasted ten million credits of spirit funds for nothing?!! Timothy the Seventh! I swear I will get you!!”