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Aftermath: Daemon's Chosen
By:
LadyBard

Chapter 6 - Sight Unseen

The present

Prime Guardian Robert Lan stood examining the tear that had opened up in Lost Angles, caused by a transport accident. The occupants of the transport had gotten out safely but when the transport cells had blown, the tear had been created.

Bob glanced behind him to where Enzo stood with Key and Eve, making certain his children were at a safe distance. Calling upon his power, Bob mended the tear to the polite applause of those gathered. The medical team was treating the transport people and the CPU's were making certain the crowd stayed under control. Bob walked to the edge of the crowd to where his family stood.

"Daddy!" Eve ran into his arms. And Bob scooped her up.

"You've been good today haven't you?" Bob asked and his daughter nodded vigorously.

"Hi Dad!" Key allowed Bob to muss his hair.

"Thanks for watching them Enzo," Bob realized that Enzo was looking over the crowd to where Hexadecimal stood with a stranger.

"Enzo, what's wrong?" Bob asked.

Enzo frowned, "That's him. That's the guy I saw watching us the other second. Bob, I don't like this. Can't we do something?"

Bob expelled a breath, "There's not much we can do unless he commits some type of crime. Maybe Matrix would be willing to have a little chat with him."

Enzo didn't reply.

"I'll have a more in depth investigation done on Mr. Laroux," Bob hoped the man, whoever he was and whatever his purpose, wasn't random enough to try some crap with Hexadecimal.

***

A tear. He couldn't believe it, right outside of the art gallery. Raven made it a point to avoid something that could possibly cause a very messy deletion for him. Yet this time he found himself as fascinated as the rest of the small group that had gathered at a safe distance.

The Prime Guardian, resplendent in his uniform of dark red and gold stood examining the tear with a critical eye.

"Impressive is it not?" Hexadecimal's voice sent a shiver through him. He was hard pressed to understand why.

"I've always had an interest in how Guardians mend tears. It is rather fascinating." "Oh yes," Hexadecimal smiled, "Bob is the best."

Raven frowned slightly, "You and he are close?" The Prime Guardian was married with two kids. Infidelity was something Raven could not abide in any man.

"Is that jealousy I hear in your voice, my love?" Hexadecimal said. "You needn't worry. Bob is much too domestic now for me."

"And you prefer a more free spirited man? That's excellent. I love a woman with those same qualities, which you obviously have."

"Ooh you charmer you! But how can you make such a statement when you hardly know me?"

"I'd like to get to know you," Raven said.

"Oh really? What you find may shock you."

"Good. I like surprises. The unexpected."

Raven moved away, leaving Hex to muse on his words. He stepped outside the cluster of people just as the Prime Guardian mended the tear using a form of energy Raven had never seen before. He had heard rumors of the Prime Guardian merging with his keytool. Fascinated, Raven moved closer.

The pulsing globe shrank until it winked out. A smattering of polite applause followed. Raven felt Hexadecimal beside him again. "That was quite intriguing."

"Indeed," Hexadecimal said. "Did you mean what you said about getting to know me better?"

"I don't say things I don't mean."

"Then I shall have a chance to learn all your secrets," Hexadecimal said, "And I will learn them."

"Sounds intriguing. Would you dine with me this evening?"

Hexadecimal laughed, "Now this is a first! Yes, dining with you may prove fruitful. Then you may meet me at my club at seven. I abhor tardiness."

Then she was gone. Raven smiled slightly after her. So now he had his alibi and his information source. He would need to be seen with her a few more times and gain her trust until he was certain she would vouch for him before he made his move. For now it was off to buy a nice little gift. He seldom seduced a woman without one.

***

Seven hours into the past.

 

 

"All right you lousy sons of nulls," Matrix hissed as he strode up and down the corridor, "I want some answers and I want them now."

Several exclamations came from within the cells of the Principal Office Detention Center ranging from snide remarks to outright death threats against the renegade. Matrix ignored them all.

AndrAIa leaned casually against the doorframe to the outer corridor and with equal casualness, polished her trident.

"I want to know if there were any other virals true virals on any of the lead ships," Matrix said.

Several snickers came from within the cells. Someone whispered a word that grated on Matrix's already fragile temper.

"Traitor."

Matrix clenched his teeth and turned, searching for the one who had spoken, "We can do this the easy way or my way," the renegade hissed.

"Aw FAQ off," a skinny sprite male said, "We already told the she-virals."

"What?" Matrix said, "What do you mean the she-virals?"

More laughter came from the cells, "Right click doesn't know the function of the left click," someone muttered.

"Look either you pixel brains start talking or --,"

The vid-window came open and Matrix paused at the sight of Dot's face, "Matrix, AndrAIa, come to the War Room immediately, please."

"Dot," Matrix said, "I'm in the midst of --,"

"I know," Dot said, "Something of greater importance has occurred. We'll deal with the prisoners later."

"All right, fine. We'll be right there," Matrix said. "You guys lucked out. You had better be ready to talk by the time I get back."

"Lo-ser," Someone muttered as Matrix walked out.

***

"All right Dot, what's up?" Matrix said as he entered her office. Bob was sitting in a chair leaned against the wall. He seemed to be dozing and Matrix realized Bob must be exhausted.

"We just found out that Hexadecimal and Melissa questioned the prisoners themselves," Dot said.

"What?" No wonder those null-brains were laughing at him. "It would have been nice to know that before I made an idiot of myself in front of those dumb-ASCII's."

"We just found out ourselves," Dot said. "Apparently there were two virals on board."

"And I guess they didn't deem it necessary to tell us that?" Matrix moved over to the wall and leaned against it.

"They thought, as we did, the others were deleted," Dot said.

"So whom are we dealing with?" AndrAIa asked.

"Well, we're not certain yet. Quite possibly two virals named Quicksilver and Chaos," Dot said. "Melissa is going to examine the bodies later today and try an confirm."

"So my going down there was totally useless," Matrix muttered, more to himself.

Dot came him an exasperated look, "Matrix --,"

The vidwindow coming open interrupted her and Ronnie's worried face appeared. She hefted a crying baby Dot on her hip, "Dot, I'm sorry to call you but could you come home right away? Enzo just woke up from a nightmare and I can't calm him down and well you see I have my hands full."

"I'll be right there," Dot said. The window closed and Dot rose from behind her desk, "Bob?"

"I'll come with you," The Prime Guardian said quietly, without opening his eyes.

"There's nothing more we can do tonight, I suggest we get some downtime," Dot said.

Without another word, Matrix straightened away from the wall and walked from the room. He could feel Dot's eyes on him as he exited.

***

Dot sighed for what seemed like the nth time as she and Bob zipped towards the Diner.

"He's got to work things out for himself," Bob said as though reading her thoughts.

"I just can't seem to reach him," Dot said quietly, "Sometimes it seems as though he's going to open up and then --,"

"I think he's feeling a little out of place right now."

"Why? This is his home. Whatever he went through, doesn't he know I still love him?"

They entered the apartment through the back way and Dot paused, "You know, don't you?" She placed a gentle hand on Bob's chest.

"Yes," Bob said and they stepped inside.

Baby Dot's crying was the first sound that greeted them. It came all the way from Ronnie's bedroom.

"Ronnie, I'm here," Dot called.

"Thanks Dot," Ronnie didn't emerge from the bedroom and Dot figured she had her hands full.

Enzo's door was closed when Dot knocked, "Sweetie?" She opened the door and halted. Enzo was sitting up in the bed; the light next to his nightstand was on. His knees were drawn up to his chest and his tiny arms were wrapped around them. The little sprite looked up his eyes wide.

"Dot, Bob, what are you doing here?"

Dot crossed the room and sat down on the bed, "I live here, remember? The big blue guy followed me home."

Enzo didn't reply at first, "She didn't have to call you. I'm okay."

"She was worried about you," Dot said. "So am I. Do you want to talk about it?"

"No," Enzo said.

Dot looked helplessly at Bob. The Guardian mouthed, "Let me try."

Bob moved over to the other side of the bed and sat, "Last night I had a nightmare too. It scared the you know what out of me."

At that, Enzo looked up, his eyes wide, "You were scared Bob?"

"Of course. Haven't I always told you it's okay to be scared?"

"Yeah," Enzo looked down again, "It's just that --," He glanced at Dot and then at Bob again.

"You know sweetie, I think there's some of that chocolate cake left that Ronnie made. How about a piece and a glass of milk?"

"Okay," Enzo's eyes lit up. "Um thanks Dot."

Dot smiled, "You're welcome sweetie."

***

Bob tapped his icon and donned jeans and a t-shirt again. "Feel a little bit like talking now?"

"Thanks Bob," Enzo said, "I feel like such a wuss. I didn't want Dot to think I was one."

Bob shook his head, "Believe me Enzo, your sister will never think badly of you. You're her pride and joy. But you know that already don't you?"

"Yeah," Enzo said. "Anyway, I don't want you to think I'm one either."

"Well you know I don't," Bob said. "Look why don't you hop back in bed and you can tell me what happened."

"Okay," Enzo crawled beneath the blankets again, "Um Bob, you won't go anywhere will you?"

In reply, Bob climbed onto the bed next to his young friend and put his arms around him, "Better?"

Enzo snuggled against Bob's chest, "Yeah."

Bob glanced up and saw Dot standing in the doorway. She moved back, just beyond Enzo's line of sight.

"It's not like I don't want to tell Dot, you know what I mean? It's just that well I gotta look out for her and I don't want her to think I can't hack it."

"I told you, she doesn't think that," Bob said.

"I know," Enzo sighed, "They're always the same, most of them anyway. The nightmares I mean."

Why did Bob have a feeling he knew what was coming next?

"They're all about Matrix," Enzo said. "He's coming after me. Sometimes the system is crashing and I can't find anyone or worse everybody is --,"

A shudder passed over Enzo's slight frame. "Sometimes I can see everyone but I can't get to them. I'm outside looking into a window or something and I try to get your attention or Dot's and Matrix comes and takes me away and --,"

He fell silent and Bob experienced a mixture of sympathy and pity for the young sprite.

"Sometimes I see other things," Enzo said. "Remember I told you before? Stuff that Matrix went through. Games I've never played and things -,"

"He's bad, Bob," Enzo said. "He's done a lot of bad things. No one knows it though, except maybe AndrAIa."

"That's where you're wrong Enzo, Matrix isn't bad," Bob whispered, "After all, he has you in him."

"I guess," Enzo yawned. "But he hates me."

"No," Bob said, "He's just a little mad at himself right now. I've told you we have to help him get through it."

Enzo sighed, "You don't understand."

"Yes I do."

"Yeah, you do don't you?" An unfamiliar tone crept into Enzo's voice. Anger? "You knew about what Daemon was going to do to me."

"Yes," Bob's own voice was heavy with remorse, "I'm so sorry Enzo. When I was that thing I didn't have any control. Forgive me?"

"Yeah, I mean it's okay Bob. I know you didn't mean it."

"No I didn't," Bob said. "And neither did Matrix. By the way, has he talked to you yet?"

Enzo didn't reply immediately, "I don't want to talk to him."

"Enzo --,"

"Bob, I can't be around him. I feel all funny when he's around. I get cold. Really cold. I can't help it. I don't want to but it happens every time."

"I never realized it was like that for you," Bob glanced up at Dot and saw the stricken expression on her face. "Sometimes when we have bad things happen to us, it affects us more than we realize. I think when you forgive Matrix, you'll find you don't feel as funny anymore."

"I don't know Bob, I don't think I can do that."

"I won't pressure you, Little Man. This is something you have to find in your core- com to do."

Enzo sighed. The sound tore at Bob's core-com.

"I'm sleepy Bob," he finally said.

Bob yawned hugely, "Yeah, so am I. Listen, how would you like to go back to the Super Computer in the morning?"

"Alphanumeric! Um why?"

Bob gave the same brief less graphic description he gave Melissa, "She asked if you could come with her. She's going to need her best friend Enzo."

"Sure Bob, I'll go along," Enzo said. "Melissa is really scared of Chaos. I can protect her."

"Umm hmm."

Enzo yawned again and made himself comfortable. Bob smiled sleepily at the little sprite and soon followed him into slumber.

***

Dot removed Bob's boots and then tugged back the blanket from underneath him to cover her love. She kissed both her boys on the temple. Enzo needed Bob's influence. Dot looked down at them with all the love in her core-com and silently thanked the User that they were both back in her life.

***

"Wakey, wakey."

The smell of hot fresh java brought Bob from his deep dreamless sleep.

"Oh hi, gorgeous," Bob gave Dot a sleepy smile. "Where's Enzo?"

"He's been up for a millisecond and waiting for you. You're not a morning person are you?"

"Nope," Bob took the offered cup and sipped the dark brew, "Any word from Mouse and Ray?"

"Yes," Dot said, "Come into the kitchen and we'll play the message."

When Dot departed, Bob walked down the hall to the bathroom, splashed some water on his face then went into the kitchen.

Enzo was wolfing down a plate of pancakes. Dot already had her organizer open and was looking over her calendar while munching on some bacon and sipping java. Bob briefly wondered where Ronnie was before sliding into a chair next to Enzo.

"Hey squirt, heard you were up at the crack of dawn."

"Oh yeah," Enzo said through a mouthful of pancake. He took a swallow of juice, "Thanks for staying last night."

"Any time," Bob smiled.

"Ready?" Dot opened a vid-window.

"Morning sugah!" Mouse smiled at him through the vid-window, "We're back in the Super Computer and we questioned those miscreants. Didn't get much from them unfortunately. We just need you to authorize their transport to the Capitol. Anyway, they just basically made a lot of threats against you. Now don't you worry, sugah, you just let Matrix stick to ya like glue. We're gonna spend a few seconds here at the factory and get Dom's security force up. We'll let you know how it's going. Stay Frosty."

The message ended. "We'd better get going," Bob said, "What about you today, Dot?"

"I'm going to be either at the Principal Office or in meetings all day. Some system representatives will be arriving. I'm considering some business propositions that may help bring some money in. AndrAIa is going to assist me in updating the PID database. You know I want to offer her a position too, maybe Chief of Operations or something," Dot said. "Bob, make certain Enzo doesn't see anything he shouldn't."

"Aw Dot --,"

"I promise," Bob gave Enzo a meaningful look, silencing any further protests.

***

While Phong made the calculations for the portal to the Super Computer, Bob attempted to calm an agitated Hexadecimal.

"This is not amusing," Hexadecimal muttered.

"Hex, it's the only way," Bob said, "I'm sorry but it's not a good idea for people to see you two."

Hex made a noise of disgust, but she took the hooded cloak that Bob had offered her. A smaller one was given to Melissa.

"We'll take a transport right to the medical center," Bob said. "Rose already knows we're on the way and she's arranged for --,"

"Bob!"

Bob turned as Matrix came striding down the corridor. "You were going to the Super Computer alone?"

"I would hardly consider the fact that we're going with him qualifies as his being alone," Hex said.

"Matrix, I'm fine," Bob said.

"No, you're not fine," Matrix said. "You need someone to watch your back."

Bob resisted the urge to glance at Little Enzo. "Maybe you're right, Matrix. Phong, would you?"

The venerable sprite made the necessary adjustments, "All is ready my son."

When the group appeared in the portal room at Council Hall, the technician gave them a nervous glance but said nothing, having been forewarned of the situation. Melissa gave a sharp intake of breath and Bob saw a shudder pass over her small frame.

"Melissa, are you all right?"

"I --,"

Hex knelt before her sister. "Our mother's influence is strong in this place. We can still sense her presence. You don't merely wash away something like that."

"Well you both be all right?"

"Why Prime Guardian, I didn't know you cared!" Hex smiled, "Yes, we'll be fine."

"It's okay Melissa," Enzo took her hand, "I won't leave you."

"I know," Melissa smiled as they exited the portal room.

Matrix piloted the transport and Bob once again got a birds-eye view of the rebuilding efforts going on in the Capitol. He could completely immerse himself in his duties once the situation with Web Alliance was over. Bob sighed. Could they have chosen a more inappropriate name?

Once they arrived, they entered unobtrusively through the back way. Rose was waiting for them, with only one technician present.

""Bob I want to go on record that I don't agree with this at all," Rose said. "I still don't know what were dealing. Although it's doubtful there are any airborne pathogens, I mean to say we would have known by now but still --,"

"Of that wouldn't matter," Hex interrupted with a dismissive wave. "They'd have no effect on us anyway."

"Your protest is noted Rose," Bob said.

Now what I can do is cause a breach in the stasis field," Rose said as they walked down the sterile corridor, "I'll accompany you into the room." Rose tapped her icon and donned a protective suit. "This way please."

"Will you be okay?" Enzo whispered to Melissa.

"As long as I can see you," Melissa said.

Bob and his companions watched through the rectangular window as Hex and Melissa passed through another stasis field at the door and entered the room. Rose and the technician were around the making adjustments to the field that shielded the remains. A square-shaped breach suddenly appeared in the glowing field.

Melissa screamed.

Even though he was outside, Bob heard the high shrill sound of the girl-child virals fear. Hex scooped Melissa into her arms and teleported them out of the room.

"Melissa!" Enzo was by her side, "What is it?"

"It it's him! It's Quicksilver! Those bodies reek of him! They're alive! Don't let Chaos get me!" Melissa burst into tears.

"Don't worry, he won't," Enzo said. "I'll protect you."

Hex snuggled her sister close. "No one will harm you my love, I promise you that."

Bob muttered a curse. Rose left the room and approached him, "I wish she hadn't teleported out like that. I'm assuming you found out what you wanted to know?"

"Yes, unfortunately," Bob mumbled a second curse. "Continue with the testing please. I want answers. Let me know as soon as you discover something."

"All right, Bob."

"Hex? Can you give us some idea what we're dealing with?"

Hex's mask twisted in exasperation, "Really Prime Guardian, do I look like a scientist? You're dealing with some type of viral bug but nothing like I've ever seen before."

"Not like the Medusa?"

Hex's eyes narrowed, "No."

"Can we go?" Melissa quietly pleaded. "I can feel my mother's evil all around us."

"Yes, my love, let's go home," Hex said.

Matrix moved towards Bob and muttered, "So now our enemy has a name."

"Two names," Bob hissed between clenched teeth. They had to find these virals before it was too late.

***

Upon seeing Hex, Melissa, and Little Enzo home, Bob and Matrix returned to his office.

"Matrix, I'd like for you to be involved in the search," Bob said as he bent over his desk console.

"I won't let you down Bob."

"I know."

The pretty cadet answered at Bob's summons, "Yes, Prime Guardian?"

"Have all available Guardians present report to me at once."

"Yes sir."

"Young lady what is your name again?"

She smiled slightly, "Um Rule sir."

"Thank you Rule. I'd like for you to be my full time assistant."

Her eyes lit up. "Thank you sir!"

"Let Mina know you'll be working in this office from now on. In fact, ask her here as well as Mistress Katiyana and Colonel Tempus."

"Yes sir." She said and departed.

"We have to be discreet about this," Bob said. "We don't want to cause a panic, nor do we want every viral hunter in the net stumbling over our investigators. We have to see if we can capture them alive. They may lead us to Daemon's Chosen."

Twenty-five Guardians including Cooper Black, gathered along with Mistress Katiyana, Mina and Colonel Tempus.

As Bob went into an explanation of the events of the past few seconds, more than a few exclamations ranging from surprise to disgust filled the room.

"So you understand," Bob said, "Why we must keep this all in the strictest of confidence. The last thing we need is widespread paranoia and panic, also, we don't want to alert the virals that we're looking for them."

"Do you believe there are spies among us, Prime Guardian?" Cooper asked.

"It is possible, somewhere within the Hall,"

"Someone in this room?" Cooper said.

Bob gave Cooper an annoyed look, "You know I can't confirm that for certain, at least not at this time. Our main priority is to find these virals understood?"

Yes sir!"

"I'll be recalling additional Guardians to assist in the search. We'll work in shifts. Also, Colonel Tempus I would like you to provide backup to the groups I send out.

"Yes sir."

Bob said, "Now for your assignments everyone."

Bob assigned two Guardians for the each sector within a certain radius and advised them to spread their search if they found nothing out of the ordinary. No Guardian was to be alone at any time and as always the strict confidence would be kept.

"I'm setting up a command center here and will receive all reports," Bob said. "Good luck everyone and be careful."

As they all filed out Bob said, "Colonel Tempus, wait a moment. Matrix, a word?"

"Bob I don't like leaving you alone," Matrix said, "I'm supposed to be guarding you."

"Matrix I'm perfectly fine," Bob said. "I should be safe here."

"You just said there might be spies within the Hall," Matrix said.

"Matrix I want you to go with Colonel Tempus." Bob immediately saw what Matrix thought of that idea.

"No."

"No?" Bob said, "Cadet Matrix, that is an order."

Matrix's eyes narrowed and his head lowered slightly, "I'm not a cadet."

Bob reached out and touched Matrix's icon, "Oh really? I seem to remember making you one and this icon tells me my memory isn't failing me."

Matrix looked up, "Yes, sir." Then without another word he walked out. Bob sighed. He had a feeling about what was bothering Matrix but now wasn't the time to talk about it. Finding the virals held top priority.

***

Reports came in for the rest of the second. Some Guardians took the time to assist with the cleanup and building efforts giving them the perfect excuse to scan the area and to be near the populace to question them. So far, there was no sign of the virals. Bob took the reports all day, gave various assignments and replaced teams that had been searching too long. At one point, he heard from Mouse and Ray and apprised them of the situation. Dom's security force was taking shape.

Colonel Tempus' troops acted as backup to the Guardians when they were needed. Quelling any suspicious or malicious activity. He contacted Dot and requested CPU backup and she complied, he also gave her the low down on the situation.

It was later into the night by the time Bob assigned a new shift to the search teams and the first search parties returned to rest to go out tomorrow morning. Matrix was with Colonel Tempus and Bob went out to the docking bay to meet them when their transport arrived.

Matrix strode towards him looking none too happy. Colonel Tempus also seemed agitated as he approached, "Bob," Matrix spoke first.

"The boy needs some discipline Prime Guardian," was the first thing that Tempus said.

"If you call me boy one more time --," Matrix began.

"Wait, what happened?"

Colonel Tempus and Matrix started in at the same time. Bob stepped forward to silence them both when a new voice interrupted them all.

"Prime Guardian!"

Rule was running towards him, "There is a man here to see you. A Captain Lynx? He demands to speak with you immediately."

"Now what in the net does he want?" Bob said, "You two come with me. We'll settle this after I deal with Captain Lynx." And without waiting to see if they complied, Bob strode away.

Captain Lynx had been shown to one of the lounges but Bob had him escorted to his office. "Have a seat Captain," Bob motioned to a chair as the bearded binome entered. "Now what can I do for you?"

"You can tell me why you allowed those virals back into the Super Computer."

Bob's anger, already only one click from exploding flared, "What do you mean, why did I allowed virals here? Who told you that?"

Lynx smiled smugly, "I have my sources."

"Captain Lynx," Bob felt something stir in his chest, deep within a core-com. An emotion he thought he was able to control and the presence of something he thought was deleted, "Before I run you in for interfering with an official Guardian Investigation --,"

"You mean the murders?"

"-- you had better tell me who these sources are."

"Or else what?"

"Or else I'll slap your ASCII in a detention cell so fast you won't have time to consider what happened."

"Don't threaten me, Prime Guardian." "That was not," Bob hissed, "a threat. Start talking Lynx."

"Web Alliance will not --,"

"Web Alliance," Bob said, "Tell me something Captain Lynx, why did you call it that?"

"What?"

Now it was Bob who was smirking, "You've never been to the Web. You don't know how it is. The name defies logic."

"Don't change the subject!" Lynx said. "I want answers!"

"No, you're going to give me some!" Bob said. "Who do you have within the Council Hall?"

Lynx clamped his mouth shut.

"Very well," Bob pressed a button on the console. After a few micros two guards entered, "Please escort Captain Lynx to the detention center."

"What! You have no right!"

"I do if you insist on interfering with my investigation by refusing to reveal your sources. Your actions may cause widespread panic, thereby hindering my efforts to solve this case."

"You can't keep me just because I won't rat out someone! You'll have to release me after a time. And my people will come for me."

"Fine, you contact your people. You're allowed that. Until then, enjoy your stay."

"You won't get away with this Prime Guardian!"

"Get away with what?" Bob threw Lynx's own words back at him. "Seeking Justice?"

The two guards pulled Lynx away.

"Damn it!" Bob swore and pushed back from his chair. He approached the window and stared out into the darkness.

"So know we know for certain we have informants within our ranks." Colonel Tempus said after a time.

"Will it was inevitable wasn't it?" Bob snapped. "We knew all along that there may be, but we certainly don't have the time to go ferreting out every mole in the collective."

"Unfortunately, he's right. We can't hold him, not for long anyway. He's not actually interfered with the investigation, yet." Colonel Tempus said.

"I know," Bob muttered.

"Please allow me to investigate, Prime Guardian. There are enough of my men to continue with the backup efforts."

"Very well," Bob said.

"I'd like the boy to accompany me."

Bob turned in time enough to see Matrix tense, "Matrix? All right Tempus."

"Bob!" Matrix said.

"Go with him Enzo, it will do some good."

"For whom?" Matrix muttered rising.

"I'll report back at oh-five hundred hours," Tempus followed Matrix out.

Bob allowed himself a slight smile. He had no idea what Matrix and Tempus had been arguing about but Bob had a feeling putting them together would do some good. As to Lynx, well he'd open that file when he accessed it.

***

"This will suffice," Quicksilver said.

"I told you so," Chaos smirked. He turned and looked at the binome standing next to him, "You have done well."

"For the Glory of Daemon," the binome bowed and walked out.

"Who was that again?" Quicksilver asked.

"Oh I don't know, some two byte loser," Chaos said. "He owns this storehouse, that's all I need to know."

Quicksilver walked through the spacious room and nodded in approval. It had everything he needed to continue his experiments and was far enough outside of the Capitol to suit his needs. "We need to get a message to Desdemona. Have one of the followers do it, since we can no longer risk entering the Capitol."

"As you wish," Chaos said. "Lucky thing we got word before the Prime Guardian started his search, eh?"

"Indeed," Chaos said. "And our test subjects?"

"Sound asleep," Chaos said. "Come on look for yourself."

Chas led him to a door at the other side of the room that served as a supply closet. Four figures were pushed into the cramped space bound by containment fields. The father and son were barely alive and the other two females were in deep slumber.

"How ironic that you managed to get that one." Quicksilver pointed to one woman.

"Wasn't easy," Chaos said. "Daemon would be so proud of us."

"Yes," Quicksilver said, "Although getting the red-haired mercenary would have been better."

"Nag, nag, nag," Chaos said. "You're never satisfied."

Quicksilver looked down at the woman with static-yellow hair, "For the Glory of Daemon, this traitor will receive a fitting punishment."


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