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Aftermath: Daemon's Chosen
By:
LadyBard

Chapter 10 - The Games We Play

The present

Enzo was struggling in a dark suffocating place with leaden limbs that were steadily being drained of strength. He continued to fight, despite the powerful urge to sleep and allow himself to drift deeper into that dark airless world.

He had no idea how he had gotten there or why he was there for that matter, he just knew it was important for him to escape. The last thing he remembered was …

The journey seemed to be taking forever. His captor had left him alone for so long that Enzo lay down on the cot and drifted off to sleep. Something caused him to come awake abruptly and he found himself staring into those awful gold and ruby eyes. Before he could move or cry out Raven covered his mouth with one hand. Enzo felt something against his throat and the sensation of being pinched. He realized what it was too late and struggled in earnest, grasping onto the front of Raven’s shirt. The mercenary watched him without expression and the room began to grow dark.

Enzo knew what the pinch had been. A hypo.

Drugged, Enzo thought as he slipped deeper into the void.

* * *

“Be careful, Lover,” AndrAIa said from the vid-window, “We’ll be waiting.”

Matrix stood on the deck of the Saucy Mare II and tuned out all the activity around him. Several members of Gavin’s crew were loading his ship with supplies. As soon as Bob arrived, they would pursue that kidnapping dog.

“Think you can hold out until I get back?” Matrix asked.

AndrAIa placed one hand on her swollen belly, “I’ll try my best. But he’s your son after all. He’s impatient just like his father.”

“Take care of yourself,” Matrix said. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” AndrAIa said, “And you take care of yourself. Bring yourself up safe.”

A second vid-window opened showing Bob’s face, “I’m on my way, Matrix, prepare your ship for takeoff.”

“You got it, Bob,” Matrix turned back to the first window and Dot now stood beside AndrAIa.

“Enzo...” Dot said.

“I know Dot, don’t worry,” Matrix said. “Get that info on Ran DeCrypt.”

Dot nodded grimly. “Good luck.”

The window closed and Matrix turned as Captain Gavin Capacitor, alias the Crimson Binome, approached him.

“Matrix lad, all is ready, yer ship is fully prepared,” Gavin said.

“Thank you Gavin,” Matrix said.

“Ye be careful, lad. I’ve heard of this Raven too and a more vicious beggar I’ve not heard of since.”

“I will, Gavin,” Matrix said. “I’ll make certain that he suffers for what he did.”

Matrix decompressed his zip board but just as he was about to hop on when there was a flash of light and a gray mask hovered for a moment before Melissa materialized.

“Matrix,” she stepped forward and kissed him quickly on the mouth, “That’s for Enzo.” Then she kissed him on the cheek, “And that’s for you. Please bring him back to me.”

Matrix nodded once, “I promise.” And the she-virus stepped away and was gone.

Bob joined him as he was powering up his pride and joy. It was ironic really; this ship now belonged to him, considering where he got it from and who it had previously belonged to.

“Ready?” Bob asked as he took the seat beside him.

Yes,” Matrix said grimly, “Where to first?”

“System 202,” Bob said, “There’s someone there, an old contact of mine, may know something about this Raven and where he is. Mouse also gave us a few names too that we’ll need to check. We’ll have to be as discreet as possible so Raven won’t be alerted.”

Both he and Bob had donned completely different outfits of non-descript brown shirt and trousers. They were hoping the ‘official investigation’ would keep Raven distracted while they went on their own secret search mission.

The ship lifted off smoothly and with a hum of energy, the portal opened and they were gone.

* * *

Seven hours into the past.

“Prime Guardian to the Operations Center please.”

Bob was grateful for the escape. Having spent the better part of the morning being cursed at and called a traitor he left the Detention Center at the vid-call. He hoped it was good news. His mind was already in turmoil over the happenings of the past few seconds.

The memory of his fight with Matrix was foremost in his processor. Bob still wasn’t certain how it had happened. He supposed it was ironic that he had been thinking of doing the same thing Matrix had wanted to do during the questioning.

The Operations Center was the think tank for the Council Hall, where all the tech people did their thing. It was where his friend Zif now worked and where the former Underground member was happiest, immersed in his silicon chips and data files.

Work didn’t cease, even when Bob entered, although his presence was immediately acknowledged. The Operations center reminded him of the War Room back in Mainframe. All methods of monitoring the Capitol were within the immense space.

Zif was standing before a circular 3D weather map. He was shaking his head and muttering and did not look happy at all. Bob was no meteorologist, but the image of black clouds hovering just outside the city did not bode well.

“Prime Guardian, welcome,” Zif said when he noticed him.

“Now Zif, you know better than that. It’s Bob.”

“Don’t want to scare my co-workers,” Zif motioned around the room. The former rebel had been shocked when Bob had given him his own team of technicians and workers. “Thank you for coming. I have some news that I believe will please you – and some that wont.”

“Let’s have the bad first,” Bob said.

Zif walked around the edge of the map, “I’m sure you’ve noticed that nasty little cloud formation?”

“How bad and when?”

“Data Hurricane,” Zif said. “If you don’t mind, I named her Calisto.”

“Why?”

“Reminds me of this girl I once knew – a force of nature,” Zif said. “This is going to be a big one Bob. It will start off with a few heavy thunderstorms. We won’t see the major stuff for a few seconds, so right now, I’d like to have us officially on a watch.”

“Done,” Bob said. “City wide alert until we upgrade to warning status. I’ll put the word out.”

“Good,” Zif said, “As for the good news, actually this is for Matrix. His cybernetic eye has been completed.”

“Excellent, he’ll be pleased,” Bob said.

“Now Bob I’m not a cybernetics physician, so we’ll have to call someone in to do the actual surgery,” Zif said, “Is Matrix still in contact with the original physician who placed his first eye?”

“I don’t know, I’d have to ask him,” Bob said.

“If not, I know of several right here in the Super Computer,” Zif said. “If they survived the war.”

“Just get what you need,” Bob said. “You can use my name. I’ll let Matrix know and as soon as you find someone inform me. I’m on my way to the hospital to pick up Katiyana.”

“When I heard about the riot, I couldn’t believe it,” Zif said. “I wish I’d been there.”

“There was nothing you could have done. We all got pretty knocked around. I’m just glad Mina’s going to be okay.”

“So am I. Give Katiyana my regards.”

“Will do, Zif.”

Bob wasn’t certain if Matrix had left for Mainframe yet, so he returned to his office and had Rule page him. He was arranging for a transport to the hospital when a commotion outside his office drew his attention. He recognized the yelling voice and groaned inwardly.

“Stop, you can’t just barge into the Prime Guardian’s office!” Rule stepped in front of his door, and Captain Lynx pushed past her.

Several things happened at once.

Lynx stepped forward and yelled, “Prime Guardian!” Just as Rule raised her right arm and said, “Synch – containment field.”

“Glitch – belay!” Bob put his hand out and it sparked with power. Rule’s own keytool ceased its action. “It’s all right Rule. Captain Syn, you owe my assistant an apology.”

“What?”

"Do you always ignore what people tell you or do you only tune out Guardians?" Bob snapped, "You're lucky she didn't contain you."

Lynx turned to Rule, “My apologies, young lady.”

“It’s Guardian Rule, sir,” Rule said, “Prime Guardian sir, should I call security?”

“No need,” Matrix unexpectedly appeared, stepping around Rule.

“Thanks for your help Rule, that will be all,” Bob said.

“Yes sir,” Rule exited.

Lynx turned to Matrix; “I see you both got out of the riot with minor injuries.”

“You seem to have sustained little damage yourself,” Bob said. Besides a bandages on his face, Lynx seemed to have no other injuries.

Matrix closed the door, “What do you want here?”

“He do your talking for you now, Prime Guardian?”

“Don’t start with me Lynx,” Bob warned. “Are all your people safe?”

“As if you cared. We could have used your help.”

“Excuse me? I was busy trying to halt any further spreading of the commotion. I was more concerned with my family being safe. You demanded that Hex and Melissa be brought before you.”

“Are you saying the riot was my fault?”

“I’m saying your actions contributed to it,” Bob said, “No, don’t say a word. We’ll continue with the meetings but they’ll be held within Council Hall and they will be open only to a certain number of people. I will make certain all proceedings are made public.”

“After you’ve made the necessary changes to the records?”

“Captain Lynx,” Bob’s temper began to surface, “Either you defer to my orders or the meetings will cease altogether.”

“The people won’t stand for that, Prime Guardian. Everyone is already terrified of this viral serial killer that’s on the loose.”

“We don’t know what we’re dealing with yet which is why I wanted to keep the information confidential until we could obtain more concise evidence, but you’ve basically ruined that haven’t you? Well Captain Lynx, what will it be?”

“Very well, prime Guardian, but I will let the people know in my own way,” Lynx said, “And I will inform you of all information I impart.”

“Fair enough,” Bob said. “Now how are your people? Are they receiving the care they need?”

“Desdemona is in the hospital right now, she was seriously injured. Most of my people managed to get out of it with minor injuries,” Lynx sighed, “I heard about Ms. Matrix, is she all right?”

“She is,” Bob said, “I’ll tell her you asked about her.”

“When would there be a convenient time for you to meet?”

“I’m not certain,” Bob said. “I’m sure you’ve heard of the approaching hurricane? We’ll have to see how that pans out.”

“Very well,” Lynx reached into his belt and drew out a card, “This is where I can be reached.”

Bob nodded.

“Prime Guardian, Matrix,” Lynx departed.

“Pixel-brain,” Matrix muttered.

“I couldn’t agree with you more. However, he’s reminded me that the Council hasn’t had a meeting in over two cycles. When Katiyana --,” he broke off, “Oh but enough about that, I have some good news for you. Your cybernetic eye is ready.”

Matrix’s good eye went wide, “I don’t believe it! Finally?”

“Zif wants to know if you’re still in contact with the person who placed the original cyber-eye.”

Matrix lowered his head slightly, “He’s deleted.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Bob said.

“Long story,” Matrix muttered, “Bob--”

“Did Dot get back to Mainframe okay?” Bob didn’t know why he had interrupted Matrix. He didn’t want to discuss their fight yet.

“Yes,” Matrix said, “AndrAIa’s waiting for me to take her back to the factory.”

“Better get going then. I’ll have Zif try and get in contact with the other cyber-technicians he mentioned. We’ll see if we can get someone here to perform the surgery ASAP.”

Matrix looked at him, “Okay Bob.”

Bob sighed as the renegade left. He hated to have to do that but there were other matters to deal with now. He and Matrix would settle things in time.

Bob pressed the com button on his desk, “Rule, get me Colonel Tempus.”

“Right away, Prime Guardian.”

The armed forces would need to be prepared for the upcoming storm, Bob sighed. He wasn’t going to voice his thought of what else could possibly go wrong. A few nanos later, Rule buzzed him.

“I’m sorry, Prime Guardian, I’m having trouble reaching him, I’ll try again.”

“Did he leave any messages? Say where he was going?”

“No sir.”

“Keep trying then,” again Bob sighed. Now where in the net had the good colonel run off?

* * *

AndrAIa glanced once again at her handsome boyfriend’s rugged profile and sighed, “You want to talk about it Sparky?”

Matrix’s sigh matched her own, “Bob’s still mad at me. I tried to apologize about the fight and he changed the subject.”

“It sounds like he’s not ready to talk about it yet,” AndrAIa said, “But if I know Bob, he will.”

“Did I apologize for acting so basic to you?”

“Of course you did,” she smiled, “What are you going to do today?”

“I’m going to head back to Mainframe.”

Puzzled, AndrAIa said, “Really? Bob didn’t--”

“No,” Matrix said, a little sadly. “They need to find a surgeon to replace my cybernetic eye, until then, I’m – well I’m kinda--”

“Why don’t you stay at the factory with me?” AndrAIa knew Matrix had been feeling left out, wondering what he was going to do with the rest of his life. Her Lover had made no indication that he wanted to complete his Guardian training and become a full-fledged Guardian. AndrAIa didn’t want to press him about it, knowing it was his decision.

“Looks like you, Mouse and Ray have everything covered,” Matrix said. “Anything new on SiRCe?”

“No,” AndrAIa said sadly. She was deeply worried about her friend. SiRCe meant a great deal to her and they had been through a lot together. “I have an idea, but I’m not sure of it’s possible. It appears that whenever our enemy wants to travel they use a portal, so since a portal is a unique type of energy, could a device be constructed to trace that energy?”

“It’s possible,” Matrix said. “Zif could probably tell you better than anyone.”

“I was going to ask Dom but Zif does has the facilities. I know keytools can identify tears and portals; maybe the keytools can be adjusted to the frequency of each portal. I wanted to talk to Katiyana about it when she got out of the hospital.”

“I’ll ask Zif when I go back,” Matrix said.

“Maybe this is a good time for you to talk to Little Enzo,” AndrAIa said. “Clear the air with him too.”

“Yeah maybe.”

“Lover--”

“Dre, the kid is scared of me. What am I supposed to do?”

“Find him in the one place he can’t run away and talk to him. You know him better than anyone.”

“If Melissa would give me the chance without blasting me,” Matrix muttered.

“Talk to her too, Sparky,” AndrAIa said, “You know, she’s not such a bad –

WARNING: INCOMING GAME

“Wow!” AndrAIa said, “Do you know that’s the first game that’s fallen in cycles?”

“Yeah, weird, huh?” Matrix said. “Guess we’d better take care of it.”

The factory was in sight and the cube was coming down directly over it. AndrAIa could see dozens of people scurrying to get out of its way. Matrix piloted the transport right underneath the glowing lavender and silver field. Matrix landed the shuttle as the game cube touched down.

The surroundings they found themselves was that of an enclosed area, in the midst of a large city. AndrAIa spied the unusual structures in the background. They were all standing on a raised platform and hovering just at its edge was a brightly colored blimp. AndrAIa had an uncomfortable feeling about what type of game it was.

“Not another fighting game,” Matrix muttered and AndrAIa could tell he was ill at ease.

“Well look who’s here,” a familiar voice came from behind them and both sprites turned and were equally surprised to find Colonel Tempus approaching them.

“Colonel Tempus?” Matrix asked

“It was a good thing I was in the neighborhood,” Tempus smiled. “Are you the only two here? I was afraid the Prime Guardian might have gotten in as well.”

“He’s back at the Hall,” AndrAIa said.

“Matrix, AndrAIa!”

Another shock as Dom approached.

“I tried to get out in time,” Dom looked truly frightened, “I – I’ve never been in a game before.”

“Don’t worry Dom, we’ll walk you through it,” AndrAIa smiled.

“Hey, down there!” Mouse and Ray arrived, Mouse behind Ray on Baud. “Glad you two could make it.”

“We don’t have a Guardian here,” Dom said worriedly. “How will we know--”

He halted and was looking over Matrix’s shoulder. Someone else was approaching on a zip board.

“Is that Cooper Black?” Matrix asked.

Sure enough it was. The Guardian landed just a few feet away, “Colonel Tempus, I don’t appreciate your following me,” Cooper said.

“To coin a phrase from Hex,” AndrAIa muttered, “Now won’t this be interesting?”

“You disappeared rather abruptly and no one knew where you were.”

“Now see here--”

“Hey!” Matrix interrupted them both, “In case you haven’t noticed, the game characters are loading? I suggest we Reboot, win the game and get the net out of here ASAP.”

“Of course,” Cooper muttered, “Meta, game stats.”

After a few moments Cooper said, “We’re in a tag team fighting game called Capcom versus Marvel. There are two Users and we get to choose two characters at a time. We also have a helper character that we can call every so often. A single character or a combination of the team has to defeat both Users to win.”

“Easy enough,” Matrix said, “Reboot!”

“I’m called Captain Commando,” Cooper began, once they had all rebooted. “Matrix, you’re called Hulk.” AndrAIa stifled a giggle. Ray opened his mouth to remark and Matrix silenced him with a glare. “AndrAIa, you’re Morrigan, a succubus. Ray, you’re called Gambit a mutant with explosive energy. Mouse, Chun-Li, a martial arts expert, Colonel Tempus, your Venom, your suit has special powers, and Dom you’re Megaman, a robotic hero.”

The game voice announced, “Select Heroes.” And the User made their choice. One was muscular man with a wicked looking sword and a blue costume with a red cape.

“Strider Hiryu.”

The second was a man in a red and blue suit, which hid his identity, but also like Tempus, had a spider design.

“Spider Man.”

“Matrix, you’re with me,” Cooper said.

Matrix glared at him but stepped forward. AndrAIa frowned; she preferred fighting with Matrix because she knew his style, but now wasn’t the time to argue. While she watched Matrix fight she began to wonder how both Tempus and Cooper came to be in this place.

Dom turned out to be their helper and every so often, he would leap forward, get out a shot and leap back. He was still afraid, but AndrAIa could see him getting into the game. Finally Cooper and Matrix defeated both Users, Matrix most notably with an interesting move called a Gamma Crush.

“GAME OVER.”

AndrAIa sighed, oh well she didn’t get to fight. Although the character had been fascinating, the only thing was during her whole time in that persona she had the urge to drag Matrix to the nearest secluded spot and have her way with him.

“My word,” Dom smiled after the cube lifted, “Almost makes me want to become a Guardian.”

Cooper immediately turned to Colonel Tempus, “Stay out of my affairs from now on. It’s none of your business what I do.”

“It is if you pose a danger to the Guardian Collective,” Tempus said.

“Tempus, I’m going to file a formal complaint with the Prime Guardian,” Cooper said, before hopping on his zip board and flying away.

“You do that,” Tempus said, “Twerp.”

“Just why were you following him?” AndrAIa asked.

“You don’t know?” Tempus asked.

“You think he’s the informant for Web Alliance,” AndrAIa said.

“Don’t you?”

“He would be the most logical choice,” AndrAIa frowned, “Although why he’d do that, I don’t know. I mean, what does he have to gain by it?”

“Who knows?” Tempus said, “Maybe a grudge against the Prime Guardian?”

“But why would--”

“Constables!” The attention of all was turned to the binome that was running towards him. He was one of the members of the new security force they had established for the grounds. “You must come quickly!”

“What is it, what happened?” Mouse demanded.

“Another disappearance! It’s horrible!”

Mouse swore, “Who?”

“The woman, whose husband and son were found deleted,” the binome said. “She has another son, just a little toddler. He went missing while the mother was fleeing the game cube.”

“Are you certain he isn’t just lost?” Tempus asked.

“We’ve been searching for him since a little after the cube landed,” the binome continued as they followed him. “There’s no trace of him.”

“Where can I call the Capitol?” Tempus asked Dom.

“In the factory, come with me,” Dom replied.

“I’ll get some of my troops out here to help search,” Tempus said, “He probably is just lost in the woods or something. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions.”

AndrAIa and the others followed the binome on zip boards. Although she put the incident in the back of her processor, there were still too many unanswered questions about the incident between Cooper and Tempus. There was something seriously wrong with this image. She’d ask Bob about it when they returned to the Capitol.

* * *

Catherine Lalto. Matrix finally learned the name of the woman who had suffered so much. First the loss of her husband and elder son and now her younger son was missing. Matrix had seen much suffering in his travels and had suffered much, but he couldn’t begin to imagine what this woman was feeling.

It was getting late, and the groups of soldiers and civilians were still searching the woods. Bob and Ray were still out with their search party and Matrix had returned to give a progress report. He would go back out in a little while with his own group who were resting up.

AndrAIa and Mouse sat on either side of her. Matrix sat on the other side of the room listening in, hoping for something that would give them all some idea of what might have happened.

It could have been any ordinary summer night. A slight breeze came through the open window, carrying the scent of the coming storm. Matrix found no comfort in it.

“The game cube was dropping,” Catherine was saying, “And I had him by his hand and my girl fell, so I let him go to pick her up and --,”

She started to cry again, and Mouse put her arm around Catherine’s shoulder. “It’s okay honey, we’ll find him, I promise.”

“Please,” Catherine lifted her tear stained face to look at Mouse. “I couldn’t stand another loss. I’d delete, if --,”

“Well first off, you’re going back to the Council Hall and you’ll be placed under protective custody,” Mouse said. “We’re all going to keep searching until we find your little one.”

It was then that Matrix noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Across the room, an open door, the interior of the room cloaked in darkness but Matrix assumed it led to a bedroom. Now standing against the doorframe watching him intently was a little girl, no more than five hours old.

Catherine hadn’t noticed her daughter yet, but AndrAIa saw her and glanced at Matrix. The girl continued to stare forlornly at him. A knock at the door distracted them all. AndrAIa went to answer it. It was Ray.

“My group needs to recoup a bit,” he announced as he entered. “But I’m going to go back out. Bob’s expanding the search. Your people ready, Matrix?”

“They should be,” Matrix said and stood. He couldn’t help but glance back at the little girl and was surprised to find tears streaming down her cheeks. Matrix didn’t know what to do. So he mouthed, “It’ll be okay,” to her.

The girl suddenly rushed towards him and before Matrix could react, she threw her tiny arms around his left leg. She barely came up to his thigh.

“Shell,” her mother said, “Don’t bother Mr. Matrix.”

For a moment there was a tense silence in the room. The girl looked up at him with wide innocent eyes and said, “Please don’t let them take me too.”

Matrix cast AndrAIa a helpless look. Then his attention went back to the girl. Reaching down, the renegade lifted her up into his arms and she laid her head on his shoulder. “I won’t let anyone take you anywhere, if it’s within my power.”

“You’re big and strong,” Shell said, “You’ll find my brother won’t you?”

Matrix stroked the back of her hair gently, “I promise.”

She kissed him on the cheek, then Matrix let her down and she disappeared into the room.

“Thank you,” Catherine said.

Matrix nodded curtly then walked outside. Ray followed him.

“You know,” Ray said, “that was pretty decent of you, what you said to that little nipper. Not bad for a hard-headed psychopath.”

“Thank you,” Matrix said gruffly, “That’s quite a compliment coming from a thrill seeking glory hound.”

Ray chuckled slightly, then his expression sobered, “Make sure you keep that promise, mate.”

“I always keep my promises.”

* * *

The insane laughter echoed off the walls and filled the space. Had anyone else been there to hear it, they would have been chilled to their core-com but for Chaos, it was the source of mild amusement.

“Success! At last!” Quicksilver said. “Ah the sweet taste of victory!”

“Glad all your hard work paid off, old boy,” and he was glad. Chaos had as much at stake as Quicksilver did.

His fellow viral assassin held up the small vial, “Well SiRCe, congratulate me.”

The woman stood in a shadowed spot in the room. She didn’t speak. Her eyes were pale green without pupils and her skin had taken on a sickly yellow-green hue, the only indication of Quicksilver’s infection,

“She’s no fun,” Chaos said. “She’s still mad because she has to kill the red-haired wench.”

“And she will do that posthaste,” Quicksilver said. “Now my dear Chaos, it is your turn, tale this to our operative.”

Chaos accepted the vial, “For the Glory of Daemon.”

“Yes,” Quicksilver said, “Take SiRCe with you so she may complete her task. Once she is finished bring her back here. Then we will destroy this warehouse to hide the evidence.”

“What about the child?”

Quicksilver looked over to where the toddler slept soundly within the containment field. “When you return, dispose of him. Send him back to where you got him.”

“And then?” Chaos said eagerly.

“I see you are eager to complete our plans, patience, my friend. You’ll have Melissa in your grasp soon enough. My, this is quite an obsession you have with her.

“We all have our little hobbies,” Chaos said, “And just how do you purpose we capture Daemon’s daughters anyway?”

“Ah, I was wondering when you would inquire,” Quicksilver walked over to where they stored their belongings and from within a chest, drew out a metal box, “A gift from beyond. Daemon had these created just in case Melissa decided to betray her. I managed to salvage them from the Hall before the Guardians reoccupied it.”

Quicksilver opened the box and Chaos examined the articles within with interest, “Interesting jewelry,”

“More than jewelry,” Quicksilver lifted the bejeweled collar from the box. There were three wristbands similarly decorated as well. “These will hold Melissa in a special containment field rendering her powerless. Capture her and Hexadecimal is certain to come to her rescue.”

“And how will we contain her?”

“Once we have Melissa, Hexadecimal will be at our whim,” Quicksilver said. “She won’t dare try anything with her sister captive,”

“You’re kidding right? All’s Hexadecimal would have to do is blow us into pixels.”

“With the threat of deletion looming over her sister? I think not.”

“Do you think she’d let us do anything--”

Quicksilver replaced the collar and lifted one of the jeweled bracelets from the box, depressing a red gem on its surface. The bracelet flew from Quicksilver’s grasp and to the utter astonishment of Chaos, closed and locked around his wrist.

“What in the net are you doing?” Chaos cried.

“The bracelet you wear is connected to the bracelets and collar Melissa will be wearing. As you can see, you don’t even have to be near Melissa to put the collar on.” Quicksilver said. “If Hex tries to delete you, Melissa will also be instantly deleted.”

“That doesn’t sound like I’m going to be safe and sound,” Chaos said, “And what if Melissa is accidentally deleted? Does this thing work both ways?”

“Of course not,” Quicksilver said exasperatedly. “I would advise however that you prevent her from being deleted, otherwise you will be in mortal danger.”

“I’ve no desire to be deleted either way you know.”

Quicksilver’s expression turned deadly, “You should be willing to sacrifice yourself for the Glory of Daemon.”

“I am,” Chaos huffed, “I just wished it didn’t involve my deletion.”

“As I said, Hex will not want to see her sister die a painful deletion so she will surrender herself.”

Chaos snorted in derision, “I hope you’re right.”

“Oh I’m right,” Quicksilver said, “I’m always right. And because you’ve been such a loyal follower of our mistress, I shall grant you your fondest wish, my dear Chaos.”

Chaos leaned forward eagerly and licked his lips, “Melissa?”

“Our operative will be able to assist you in traveling to Mainframe.”

“I eagerly await our meeting.”

“Yes,” Quicksilver smiled, “Soon we will both have our wants fulfilled.”


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