Entrance: 1-7

The warehouse had seen better days. It once was the beacon of the glory days of the industrial revolution, a cotton mill in a discrete corner of the Greater Manchester area. The outer walls, once a lustrous red, have fallen to decay. All that remains are shattered windows and moss tinted glass, and vines creeping up the deprecating walls. Hazy lights flickered from within behind the wooden boards used to patch up each and every hole, every broken window and piece of damage the warehouse has sustained. A subtle flash of amber inside the building, and if one got close enough, some sort of life still bloomed inside of those walls. A hum of electricity and power, the feint shuffle of footsteps, the idle buzz of chatter and low music hanging in ambience near the doors and windows. Peering inside would show nothing as far as the eyes could see, vision obscured by wood panels and plastered graffiti.

Illuminated by the moonlight, a figure rose from behind a small hill and walked past a small oak that had claimed the peak, feet crunching the autumn leaves below. She gazed out to the decrepit building, each one of her three eyes blinked at a different pace. All three were equally huge, jet black and bulbous, filling out her eye sockets whilst the one on her forehead shifted from side to side. She tugged down her hood and studied the area for a moment and retrieved a flip phone from her pocket.

It rang three times before being picked up. The voice on the other end of the line was deep, a Yorkshire accent.

Yeah?”

“I’m back.” Her voice contrasted, echoes of Ireland on her tongue, soft and expressive. “Knockin’ on in a minute. Would ya let me in?”

Have I got a choice?” He replied sarcastically.

“Ya better let me in, ya daft prick.”

Hah. See you in one.”

He hung up before she could respond.

She trudged her way down to the side of the building. Where the front had a large, metal gate that had been recently been constructed in a makeshift fashion, the side door was originally the worker’s back door. It was old, and barely standing. She feared it would tip over off the hinges by knocking twice, and stood back.

The door slit opened, and light shone over her pale, freckled face. The eyes that stared back looked all but normal, except for a glistening black oil around the edges where tears would normally well up.

Whoever it was grunted, then slammed the slit close. It took another minute to unlock and unbolt, release the door from the over paranoid security put into place, before she was let inside.

The sudden shift in light caused her to wince awkwardly and she shut her eyes, covering them with an arm as the man stood aside and let her in.

She pulled the hood back from her head now and let her ginger hair cascade downwards, sweeping it casually so it all rested on the right side of her head. The other side was shaved beneath the hair that was previously covering it, and she eventually opened her eyes and adjusted to the changes.

“Feckin’ cold out there tonight.” She said, as the doorman was busy putting all the chains back to lock the door tight. “Let me tell ya.”

“You got any good news, Triclops?”

She grunted at the name. “Depends what ya think good news is.” She began to unzip her grey hoodie, revealing a plain black shirt underneath. She began to walk away, stopped as the doorman finished bolting up and leaned on the door.

“Not gonna stay and take off the rest?” The smirk on his face was large, and she took a look over him. Navy blue tracksuit from head to toe and black leather gloves on his hand, white trainers on his feet. He was bald, with a few wrinkles to show on his eyes, and a tinge of black on his skin, as if ink had dried there.

“Ya wish you were that feckin’ lucky, ya pervy bollix.”

He raised his hands up, eyebrows raised, mocking a coy tone.

“Woah, hey, somebody’s got sand in her-”

He stopped, mostly because she’d drawn out a crossbow that was holstered on her hip. The limbs snapped up with a noise that sliced his sentence before he could begin, and the string made a noise like a whipcrack. She was soon to follow, raising her voice audibly.

“If yer feckin’ think about finishin’ that sentence, yer’ll have ta go to Jolly with a bolt up yer’ feckin’ japs eye, ye disgustin’ piece of shite.” She was in no mood for jokes from him today, and aimed unerringly towards his crotch.

For emphasis, she turned on a laser sight. It landed straight in the middle, slightly to the left.

“Okay, okay!” His words came out like a flurry, as his arms raised up and he backed away from the door, to the wall to the side. The red dot traced his exact movement, and he could see the middle eye was on him whilst the others kept their aim. “Lesson learned, I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

She kept the aim for a second, then lowered the crossbow down. She spoke whilst she turned the pointer off, folding back the limbs casually. “That’s better. No wonder he calls yer Ooze, yer slimy cunt. If I hear yer’ being disrespectul ta me or anybody else like that, if I hear one more thing.”

As if his lesson wasn’t learned, he lowered his arms down and muttered out “…or see something like that.”

She stopped as she put her crossbow up to her hip and stared at him. A second later, she burst out laughing.

“Now that’s better! Hah. Dinnae take yer’ for that much of a dry shite.”

Ooze laughed awkwardly, still defensive, still not fully lowering his arms. “Heh. Yeah.”

The entrance was a small stone corridor. A small set of stairs took you onto the main part of the ground floor, where most of the cars were parked inside. A door down the far of the corridor looked huge, even from a distance away. She started to make her way over when a head popped out from the stairway above.

“Hey, hey. Triclops. Did you get it for me?”

His voice was high pitched with a creaking tone to it, and his mouth moved unnaturally; a large set of incisors jutted down over his bottom lip at rest, whilst the rest of his sharp teeth interlocked around them.

“Aye, Squeaks. That I did.” From her hoodie pocket, she took out a lump bag the size of her hand and chucked it towards him. He was already standing in the archway a few steps down, his lithe body mostly covered in a baggy coat and jeans. Once it got close, his hand shot out like a whip and snatched it from the air like a blur, and he pried open the bag to pluck out something from inside. In his taloned grip, he held a cashew nut, and put it into his mouth with a satisfied hum.

“Mm, that’s the good shit right there.” A rat-like tail wafted behind him, coiling in the air, almost as long as he was tall. He scritched at his neckbeard with the tip. “Thanks. Keep the change.”

“Yer welcome.” She was already walking to the door, ascending up the stairs that curved around and out of sight.

Squeaks turned to Ooze, coiling his tail around the bag and holding it in the air. He trundled over, extending out a thin, gnarled hand.

“Pay up.”

Ooze rolled his eyes and sunk his hand into his trackie bottoms, digging out a small roll of cash. After plucking a ten pound note from it, he crumpled it up and shoved it into Squeaks’ hand.

“Here.”

Unfazed, he snatched it away with whip-like reflexes and began to pull it back into shape.

“Sore-ass loser.” Squeaks had no moustache to speak of, instead whiskers jutted from his top lip, which he had a habit of twitching to express any dissatisfaction.

“Yup.” Ooze said, leaning back on the door with his arms folded. “Poker on tonight?”

“Yup.” The bag was brought back down. He shook the back to Ooze, who shook his head and gloved hand at the same time. Squeaks shrugged, as if to tell him to suit himself, and took the bag to hand to shovel more nuts into his mouth.

“I’ll get it back then, yeah? Your poker face is awful.”

“Hey, that reminds me.” Squeaks took the bag back in his tail. “You can still go fuck yourself. It was only a few grand.”

Ooze just laughed deeply. “You’re almost a sore of a loser as me.”

The stone stairs clattered every time Triclops ascended them, one by one. The staircase was built to circle the outside of the building, before elevators had been made, and would go around the perimeter to a disclosed room at the top. They had sufficient girth for three people, side by side, to walk up comfortably, with the height for them to be carrying a person on their shoulders each. At the end of the corridor was a large, recently replaced door; sturdy metal, something you’d see in a blast shelter. She knocked on the door several times, and heard a voice from inside. A moment later, the door mechanism unlocked, and she walked inside without a change of pace.

Inside was very different; much dimmer than outside, with a few small lamps. The room was ornate, heavily decorated. The room smelled of cigars and tobacco, and along the walls of the room were safes and wall mounted lock boxes. Several tables held a number of computers, knives, stolen guns and other goods, as well as a few bags of white, unlabeled powder making a small mountain on one desk. As Triclops walked inside, she caught the unmistakable scent of weed in the air, and a constant clacking of several keyboards became the background noise.

At the far end, a man was working, surrounded by 4 computer monitors. He was working on two keyboards as well; his arms split at the elbows into 4 forearms, four hands. One pair for each screen, thin and lacking in muscle. He was stumpy and physically mutated; his head , shoulders and neck had the outline that he constantly had a hood on, but it was flesh and bone that sloped upwards. His shadow from the neck up would make somebody believe he was a Sontaran more than a human.. He seemingly had no difficulty turning his head rapidly, though his movements were hampered slightly. His legs swung underneath, thick and stumpy, though he would easily stand as tall as somebody else.

At the far end of the room was a darkened figure, sitting on a well reinforced throne. Hand carved, made of polished and stained oak, resilient enough to hold the gargantuan figure sitting on it. He was watching a TV that was hung from the ceiling, obscured from Triclops’ view. As she approached, his features became clearer. She could see the green colour of his skin, the mossy, vegetation-like hair on his head, the custom black leather trench coat on his body made to fit his size, and the white shirt and black camo leggings he wore regularly.

When she approached, she could hear the sound of cheers and commentating, looking behind herself when she got close enough. The round had ended for this particular boxing match. Jolly inclined his head in her direction and he spoke; deep, gravelly, commanding.

“You’re back.”

“Aye.” She said, bowing her head respectfully. “Sorry it took so long, Jolly.”

Jolly nodded, and leaned forward. “Did you find anything?”

“Aye.” She repeated, and leaned on her hip slightly. “A bitta news. Bitta good, bitta bad.”

“Bad news?” He leaned forward. Triclops’ shoulders sunk with an invisible weight on them, shaking her head.

“Nothin’ that bad, Jolly.”

He grunted and leaned back. “Good news first, then.”

“From the word around the city centre, it seems people are using our dealers instead of Narco’s. He dunnae seem to have a strong grip up north.”

Jolly nodded in satisfaction and rubbed his chin. “No reason to be bold. We need to stay under his radar. He doesn’t handle competition well. Let him think it’s just street dealers.” Jolly turned to the figure typing rapidly. “Get more stock ready.” He nodded, and picked up one of the several flip phones on his desk and began rapidly texting.

Jolly turned his attention again to Triclops. “Bad news.”

“Aye, bad news. Informants have realiable info. They say Flare’s on the move.”

Jolly stared her down. “I don’t give a shit about Flare.”

“Normally yer’ don’t.” She raised her hand, pointing to the air. “Reliable intel is tellin’ us she’s headin’ fer’ the NFU buildin’ outside’a Stenton. Tonight. Dunnae know why she’s gonna go there though.”

“Aberrant. Confirm it.”

Aberrant’s voice was surprisingly emotive. He turned his body slightly in his chair and nodded to the best of his ability. “I was texting spies in the area as you spoke, boss. I just got a text.” He raises and shakes a Nokia 3310 in the air. “Flare is on her way.”

Jolly rubbed his chin again in thought, then brought his hand gently down onto the arm of his throne. He strummed large, thick fingers against the wood. Each collision sounded like a knock on a wooden door. Triclops began to worry a little, and with her urge to fidget she started to shift her footing back and forth.

She cleared her throat, holding her fist to her mouth to do so. “What do yer’ want to do next-”

“I’m thinking.” Jolly said, interrupting her bluntly. It made her withdraw and shrink in an instant.

He waited a few more seconds.

“We’ll sort this problem.” Jolly began to rise from his chair, and his stature became painfully obvious compared to Triclops. Jolly towered at nine feet tall, and was equally as wide. He was built full of muscle, powerful enough to stand at his full height, and stand up at all without any discomfort. Triclops took a single step back, painfully aware of their difference in height. “Personally.”

“Personally? Jolly, yer’ needn’t do that. I can go and tell Squeaks to take her out.” She said. She almost sounded like she was reasoning with him.

“No. That bitch has been in my territory for too long.” Jolly cracked his knuckles, each pop sounding like a bone being dislocated. “This needs a show of force.”

“J-jolly, killin’ her wunna do you no good. She’s too small time fer’ that.” All three eyes were wide and open, flickering from side to side.

“No. Put her in hospital. Set an example.” Jolly pointed to Triclops. Each step he took towards the door sounded like a person thrown against a wall. “You. You’re accompanying me. Aberrant. You too.”

Aberrant stopped, froze, then put the phones down onto the desk properly. He locked the computer, then grabbed a radio on the desk. “Somebody to come and watch the office, now.” He put it down and picked up a set of sheathed blades from the side of the computer; two long, two short. Swords and knives, which he began to strap around his waist. Jolly was a slow walker, but each step he took was large enough to cover a lot of ground. Triclops darted out of his way, as he kept walking, she feared she may have been trampled. Aberrant held out a remote and pressed a button, aiming it for the door. It began to whirr and click, as the inner mechanisms ground and eventually popped the door open.

Before Jolly could reach, a figure darted inside through the clearing. Squeaks’ burst of speed had him covering the distance before Jolly had taken a pair of steps, already at Aberrant. He smiled, awkwardly, and handed him the remote. “You know the rules.”

“Yeah. No problem. I’ll try not to stab anybody if they come in. Hey, make sure you shoot the fat bitch in the gut for me.” Squeaks says, as he waves goodbye to Triclops. She was following loosely behind Jolly, and she turned around to scowl at him.

“Dunna be talkin about anyone like that, yer’ rat face maggot.”

“Hey, you’d be pissed if she sent a swarm of rats to bite you in the dick. Hey, are you making any stops on the way-”

“No.” Jolly said, before he ducked slightly underneath the door, and began to make a descent downwards.

Squeak’s ears drooped slightly. “Aw. Come back in one piece, guys.”

Aberrant shut the door behind them, and Squeaks sealed it tight with the press of a button. He flicked the remote in the air, and his tail snapped up and coiled around it as it fell. He ran over to Jolly’s throne and made his way over to it, sprawling over it. The channel was quickly changed over from boxing to Futurama, and he got comfortable.

He dug into his pocket, and fished out a smart phone. He quickly scrolled through a few settings. “Wonder if they’ve got wifi in here.”

“Take these.”

Visionary practically threw a pair of belts to Tether and Shaun. The former had more grace to catch it before it hit his chest, and Tether was equipping his. Shaun meanwhile, was more curiously studying the contents. On top of the unusual handcuffs he found, he found a tazer and an extendible baton. Similar in style to what a police officer may carry, though with much more emphasis on conflict. Of all of these things, Shaun just threw the belt onto a nearby bench and shoved the handcuffs into his pocket.

Visionary went to correct him, and he just raised his eyebrow. Upon realisation that he didn’t need them, she just nodded. Tether was taking some other equipment; a spare baton, and an unusual length of rope with weights on the ends

“Right. We don’t have time. I’m going to establish some rules, then explain what we’re likely to face.”

The men nodded, taken by the serious tone she took. Visionary was possessed of a fierce drive, as she guided them down a corridor not normally taken. It lead to a smaller car park at the side of the building. She was power walking and didn’t seem to mind nor care if they lagged behind. It was the silent assumption they’d keep pace.

“A major incident is not like a patrol. We’re going to face dangerous Farborn or Fartouched. These people will not be concerned if you’re injured, and they’ll even go for blood, or try to kill you. Depends on motives. As an NFU officer, you’re allowed to defend yourself. If put in a situation where lethal force has to be administered, without any alternative resolution to the situation and if all other options are exhausted, you are to take it.” She glanced behind them. Tether reacted more than Shaun; a slight fear struck his face. Shaun was devoid of such an emotion. “You aren’t, under any circumstances, to force that situation. But we’re not the police. And they’re not just criminals. They’re powerful people. We’re expected and enforced to resolve the situation with as little confrontation as possible. If that fails, incapacitate. Should that fail, terminate.”

Shaun glanced to Tether. He nodded back with a little hesitation. Shaun glanced at his belt for a second.

“What’s that?”

“Oh, this?” Tether patted the rope on his side. “I needed a new weapon. I think it goes well with my powers.”

“Huh. How’d you find that?”

“Googled for ‘rope weapon’.” Tether didn’t sound ashamed of that.

“Let’s hope it works.” Shaun said, approvingly.

They had made their way finally to a set of double doors, and Visionary swung the doors open and carried on her relentless pace. They made they way to a black BMW; she had the keys in hand already, and opened the doors remotely. It went without saying that she was driving. Shaun and Tether jogged over and scrambled into the back. They almost didn’t even get chance to buckle up; she was wheel spinning before she punched away, to the several security checks blocking her way.

These machines had an input device, and she shoved the card into the slot and held three buttons in. Which three, the men in the back seat couldn’t make out. It did speed up the process considerably, as every gate and barrier either pulled up or shifted out of the way at a speed that the machines were unaccustomed to. Visionary had her foot down, and shot out of the building and began to make her way to the crime scene.

They barely grazed the kirb as they flew past. Tether looked stunned. “Woah, that was close.”

“I knew I wasn’t going to hit it.” Visionary responded with. It was impressive to see her at work; every corner she went past was perfectly aligned, though she did skid slightly, and kept centre of the road better than some drivers who would need to be doing 20 miles an hour to get that proficient. She had ample time to inform them.

“I’m the leader of this squad. I expect you to follow orders without question. That goes for you especially, Shaun.” He perked up. “As you’ve had no formal training, I’m relying on your sheer power to swing this fight in our favour.”

The car went over some road kill, as they were starting to go down country roads. Visionary was well past the speed limit, yet still managed to show down precisely when needed. Corners, dips, other vehicles that she overtook without mercy.

“No collateral damage. The incident may change, in which case, use your judgement and common sense. Shaun, I’m not certain what you’re capable of, but leave what you can standing.”

“Got it.” He nodded confidentally.

“This is the Ten Granders. Flare, Candour, Alpha. Each one we suspect to be Farborn.”

“Ten Granders?” Shaun said, almost derisively. “That’s their gang name?”

“Biggest single heist they did got each of them about ten grand. It’s like, a badge of honour.” Tether interjected. Shaun just shrugged in response.

“Maybe they can pay for a decent gang name.”

“Shaun, less underestimating.”

He went to speak, opened his mouth, and thought against it. He just nodded with a grunt.

“Flare. Early twenties, female. Ability to make objects generate light. Like with all powers such as these, using it on people is extremely taxing. Very difficult to catch or fight. Prefers to blind and disarm. Notoriously difficult to capture because of this.”

Tether joined in. “We tried using visors to block out the light, but she just made the glass light up instead. Her light also produces heat. You pull a gun on her, she blinds you with the gun and makes it so hot it begins to melt and you drop it.”

“That sounds like a really big pain in the ass.”

“Yeah.”

“Candour.” Visionary carried on. “Twenty two years old, born in Manchester. Ability to alter your perception with lies so you believe them. Also extremely difficult to catch because of it. If he can talk, he can cause a lot of problems.”

On cue, Tether carried on. “It has to be a lie though. No uncertainties, no half truths. If he wanted you to turn around, he can’t tell you to turn around but he can say ‘You were going to turn away from me just now’ and you’d feel compulsion to do it. He’s pulled off enough jobs by saying people know him and making up some bullshit.”

“You know a lot about these villa-criminals.” He corrected himself.

“Part of the training is knowing the types of Farborn in the area, their strengths and weaknesses. We don’t like to fight blind.”

“I can get behind that.” Shaun said, with a nod.

“Alpha. Early twenties. She can instantly assume herself as the alpha for any animal or pack of animals. She also has a secondary ability to verbally issue commands to animals and they can follow her orders, and also understand her ‘pack’ to a degree.”

“Now that’s something.” Shaun said, legitimate surprise on his voice.

“She’s not controlling their minds though. Orders have to be verbal, and animals are just that. Animals can and do challenge for leadership regularly.”

Tether nods. “Yeah. We also know she loves animals. She hates to make them fight. If she was with a better crowd, she’d probably be the best vet in the world. Can’t control Eldritch, though.”

“Sounds like we’d get along if I didn’t have to deal with her.”

“It’s important to tell you this, as well as where we’re going. We believe it’s relevant.”

Visionary began to slow down. Shaun sat up, after slumping a little in his seat. In the distance, a large building came into view, obscured by the navy twilight clinging to the horizon. Much like the HQ, this was a very rectangular building with lots of large, tinted windows covering the front view. “What is this place?”

“This is the NFU Testing Facility. It’s the testing facility for Eldritch, and animals.”

Shaun’s voice rose almost immediately. “Animals? You guys test on animals?” The seatbelt strained against him leaning forward.

“Not like that, no. These are Fartouched animals.” She said, as Shaun paused. “We don’t test on the animals so much. We test things that react to the Fargraced on them. Nothing to hurt them or kill them. Those handcuffs in your pocket, they suppress some abilities, active ones. This facility helped us to see if they were working properly.”

With his outburst sated, he slowly sank back into his chair. “Okay, yeah. Nice spin on it. Still don’t trust it. Plus, we’ve got a bigger concern.”

“Alpha.” Tether piped in.

“Alpha will be able to be the leader of all the animals in the facility. Motives, I’m uncertain. My first guess was that Alpha was trying to free them. Animals Rights, sort of a protest. It doesn’t fit her profile. She has no authority in the Ten Granders. Still, a possibility. More likely, this is Flare’s idea.”

“Why doesn’t… Candour?” He looked to Tether. He nodded. “Why doesn’t he call the shots?”

“We don’t know. He possibly does. From our profiles, he gets bored easily. Even with lying. It’s possible that he just finds this fun and joins her. Tag along for the ride, so to speak.”

Shaun waited a second, then sighed with a slight shake of his head.

“These guys sound like fruitloops.”

“Fruitloops with powers. Better than Jolly’s gang.”

“Jolly?” Shaun asked.

He didn’t get the answer immediately. They pulled over to the side of the road, and Visionary turned the lights off. They pulled up behind a silver Volkswagen Golf. Visionary left the car first, and Shaun and Tether got the hint to get out. Once they were outside, Shaun pulled up his hood and his neck warmer so only the slit of his eyes and the bridge of his nose were visible. Tether was meanwhile tethering objects in preparation. One of the spherical weights on each end of the rope to each hand.

“Leader of the Manc Freakshow. Biggest Fargraced gang in Manchester. I’ve heard this is part of his turf.”

“That’s unconfirmed.” Visionary said. She raised her hand and beckoned them to follow with a double wave of two fingers, and drew out a pair of bar maces. They approached down the gravel drive, to the small building that the security would grant entry and exit to.

“I’m the only one who doesn’t think having a name like that’s a bit shit, am I?”

“It’s pretty cool, man.”

Shaun rolled his eyes.

They approached the booth, Visionary in the lead. The security noticed them as they approached, holstering their weapons. She took out her badge, and Tether did the same. Shaun fumbled for his. The trio flashed open their NFU badges, and the security guard put on a pair of glasses to take a look. He was old, a little overweight and balding. His shirt was awkwardly tucked around his belly into his trousers, a buckle too tight.

“Lemme take a look. Oh, NFU agents?” Surprised, he stood upright and at attention.

“Agent Visionary. This is Agent Tether, and… Agent Shaun.”

Shaun looked at him, and nodded in greeting.

Visionary responded before anybody else could. “New recruit. No name yet.”

“Ah.” The guard replied with. “What can I do for you?”

“Officer Mann, we have reason to believe you allowed access to three individuals on this sight. Is that correct?” Her voice restrained any hints of interrogation.

“Just call me Patrick.” He said, smiling. “Yes, I let them in, come to think of it. I… don’t remember why. He just said he needed full access of the building. So I let him in.”

“Those three were dangerous criminals. It’s not your fault. One of them has Farborn powers over lies, and used it to gain entry to the facility.”

Patrick grew flustered and deeply shamed. “O-oh. I didn’t know, Agent. I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault. Do you know where they are now?”

“Why yes, I was just keeping an eye on them.” He pointed a thick finger to the security camera screen. “They’ve been looking through rooms. They’re going to the… part where they keep all the animals. Next to the big office.”

Visionary took something out of her belt and unfolded it; it was a spare comm, and she tapped it to the one in her head. She pushed it through the gap in the window, and the guard fumbled to put it on.

“I’m going to need you to be in radio contact with me. Tell me if anything changes out here and keep me updated on these three in the building. Don’t raise any alarms or alert them to our presence. We’re going to engage them.”

The guard looked full of pride for a moment and grinned, then nodded several times. He even saluted formally. “Y-yes, Agent, of course!”

Visionary cracked a smile, the first one of the night so far. “We’ll need total security passes.” She held out her hand. He realised this with an “O-oh, yes” and dug a spare three out of a box he had lying near the computer monitor, and shoved it into her hand. She handed one out to each of them, and Shaun put his in his pocket. Tether put his with his badge, on his belt.

She ducked underneath the barrier and swiftly headed down the tarmac path to the front entrance. Tether followed her, rousing himself to a brisk pace. Shaun walked forward, looked to the Guard, and just gave him a nod.

“…keep up the good work.”

He caught up to the others quickly. Patrick sat down on his chair and studied the computer monitor diligently. For him, his vigilance would aid the NFU, and he felt a sliver of pride in himself that overcomes the shame of his mistake.

“You’re a right fuckin’ beaut, aren’t you, Davian? Ya useless wankey fuck.”

Flare’s scouse accent was strong and piercing; high pitched full of bile and high notes.

“If yer’d have asked that fat wap at the front gate to tell us where to go, we wouldn’t have ran ’round this shithole for half an hour.”

Davian- Candour, just laughed. He seemed deeply amused when she started to bark at him like this.

“The fuck you laughin’ at? Posh manc twat.”

They swung open the door to an office; large, spacious. The middle of the room was bare, whilst there was two sides full of desks and monitors and various papers, organised and left over the desks. Flare’s clothes, a white plain t-shirt and white jeans. Even her shoes were white, as she flicked them up and about. The building was bare, except for her clothes. She was illuminated in a soft, white light that gave them enough sight to see where they were going. She raised her hand, and a door at the far side of the room began to glow in the same manner. It lead to a small corridor; on the other end was another building, though they could see inside the metal grates of cages, and picked up on the feint sound of animals rustling inside.

“Boss.”

A third had joined them now; whilst Flare wore bright clothes and Candour wore a black great coat, grey shirt and skinny jeans and brown vintage shoes, she wore a Bring me the Horizon band shirt, black. Her jeans, black with some holes in them. Even her shoes were black. The only colour she had on her was her red hair, recently dyed and regularly changing in colour, and several bracelets around her hands and some colourful rings.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry!” She said, whilst catching her breath. She stook out in other ways too; Flare had an average physique. Candour was startlingly thin and tall. Flare was on the chubby side, and a little out of shape.

“’bout time, Sarah We found ’em”

Delight struck her face and she smiled broadly, finding a second wind and making her way over to the door. Flare took point, Candour shoved his hands in his pockets.

“Almost easy.” Candour spoke. Flare had opened the door, and turned off the light on it to illuminate the door just on the opposite side of the corridor. She stepped back and let Alpha go in.

“Get ’em out, kidda.”

Alpha made her way inside and swung the door open. The room was large, spacious and held animal cages of various sizes. Each one had an animal inside of it; there was no set pattern for how many of one species was here but they were all grouped together. Once she entered, she clapped both her hands.

“Everyone up, rise and shine.”

On command, the animals rose from their sleep and a cacophony of barks, meows and other pleased noises filled the room, as they all drew themselves to their cages to get closer to Alpha. She went around to each one and fiddled with a panel on the side of the wall; each cage had a purple gem on the top of it and were linked, with wires looping around the front of each of the cages. Once she’d turned off whatever was on, the gems began to lose some light and the ambient noise in the room began to sink. She began to fiddle with the mechanisms; they were easy enough. She began with the smallest first, as a colony of rats clambered out of their cages and crawled up onto her shoulders.

“I hope he’s paying better this time. These jobs pay us fuck all lately.”

“He’d better fuckin’ do, or else I’m gonna-”

Flare didn’t get to finish her sentence. They were too busy rushing to the window to find the source of a large, sudden noise. It sounded like a great impact, followed by crumpled steel and plastic. Even from here, they managed to hear it without falt.

“…the fuck was that?”

Candour put a hand on his brow to stare out of the window and get a better picture.

“That… was our car. Shit.”

“Don’t be blaggin’ me head, Davien.”

“I’m not. Somebody just threw the car through the front gate.”

Candour felt something on his neck. Cold, metal fangs prodding into the side, and a hand grabbed his shoulder quickly. He thrust his arms up in the air immediately, and Flare backed away from the sudden physical confrontation.

“If you speak, I taze you. Nobody make any sudden moves.”

Visionary held the tazer to his throat, calmly and firmly. Candour kept his hands to the sky, though he had a very amused smirk on his face.

Flare of course, jumped back and observed the situation. Whilst distracted, they didn’t hear Visionary sneaking up on them. Shaun and Tether walked into the room to the centre in the open space. Shaun was getting his handcuffs out to hand. Tether glanced to the open doors, taking the rope from his side and pulling along the length.

“She’s in there, freeing the animals.” He called out. He walked over to the far side of the room and stood by the door, swinging one end of his improvised meteor hammer. “Alpha. Stop releasing those animals and come out. Leave them inside.”

Shaun took point and looked around the room.

“You three are coming with us. Shaun, handcuffs.”

Shaun took a step forward, taking his out of his coat pocket. Everybody was still, tense, except himself. Flare was scowling hard at Visisonary, who kept her eyes pinned to her. They shifted and flickered about, twitching from side to side.

“A-agent, are you there?!”

Visionary’s eyes stopped. “…Officer Mann?” She called back.

“Agent, there’s… Oh, oh god. He just threw the car through the f-front. I a-almost didn’t duck, and-”

“Officer, speak clearly. What is it?” Visionary’s voice grew concerned.

Flare turned to her. Even she grew pale at this moment, as she stared to the door that everyone had come in through.

“Jolly. Fuckin’ Jolly’s ‘ere.” Her voice trembled.

Everyone but Visionary’s eyes were drawn to the door, where a large, dark figure blocked the view. A second later, the ducking figure reared back and slammed his shoulder into the doorframe, and sent the wall shattering away as he walked inside. Now standing at his full height, Jolly dusted off his long coat from the recent debris he’d collected. Behind him, Triclops came out with her crossbow aimed high, straight for Candour. Aberrant quickly flicked out a sword and dagger on his left, and right side, and twirled them in his lithe fingers, standing by Jolly’s side.

Jolly smirked, which looked uncharacteristic on his face, looking down at everyone assembled.

“Party’s over.”

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