Author: Othello Gooden Jr.

Chapter 0

“What’s this about?” asked a young man in a black cloak.  He was talking to a girl walking in front of him.

The two of them were walking toward a group of individuals also black cloaks standing around a table.  On it was a machine that projected a 3D holographic map of a building.   A young woman was dressed in a similar cloak but had more of a purplish tint to it. All of their faces were hid inside the hood of their cloaks.

The room was located in the basement of an abandoned apartment complex.  Upon hearing his question, she glanced back at him with a grin.  The two joined the group moments later.  After stopping at the table, the woman raised her index finger at a holographic display screen.  There was a small gizmo the size of a thimble around her finger.  A light flickered at its tip as she poked at the screen.

“We enter here.” The woman said in a thick Italian accent after putting her hand down.  A red mark suddenly appeared underneath the complex at the tap of her finger. She swung her finger in a circle at the screen, making the 3D schematic of the building rotate to its underside.

She finally removed her hood, revealing her bushy multi-colored hair. The massive amount of micros in her hair almost made it seem as if she was wearing a wig. She combed her hands through her hair, moving the hair away from her face. Her grey bulb earrings dangled, waving with the movements of her head as she tilted it up at the screen. The other removed their hoods as well.

“What’s this place again?” the man who came in with her asked.

“Second Zyran Casino.”  The young woman answered, turning her head to him.  “You know the drill—destroy everything!”

“But Alda!” one guy whined.  “Can’t we at least—”

“No, Vince.”  Alda interrupted, turning her head at him with an evil glance. She was adamant about her decision.  “Naira condemned that place from the start and her mother before that! This one must not go underground like the last one did.”

“Chances are… This one might.” Vince said, skeptic.

“Ya think?!”  Alda’s facial expression turned to an emotionless stare.

“I’m just sayin’,” Vince waved his hand up at her, slightly spooked by her glaring at him.  “LIA hasn’t completely outlawed gambling on Zyra.”

“Yet under Queen Saul, they were!”  Alda added, apathetic.  “But when she died, her laws went with her!”

“You saw how oppressive she was, right?” another guy asked her.

“Zyra was once stable—now they’re falling apart because of their mistake.”  Alda explained, darting her eyes at him but still facing Vince.

“Naira can make—”

“Things worse!”  Alda interrupted him, loudly.  “Since she’s been in office, the only thing she’s been doing is trying to save Earth.  Can’t she see that Earth isn’t willing to change?  Queen Saul knew that.  That’s why she condemned them!”

“What was her reason again?” another guy asked, scratching his head.

Alda then turned and looked silently at him in her reply.  The others backed away from her. There was now space between the two. The room because quiet. As if the guy had said something wrong.  The guy began to feel nervous, knowing was about to happen—Alda wasn’t the type of person to feign ignorance around.  Nor was she wasn’t the kind to pity the “new guy” either.  If you forgot the basics, she hung you out to dry.  This guy knew those people didn’t live very long.  He kept this in mind as she slowly walked toward him with a frown on her face.  He started to move back but his mind froze, stopping him from running.  That’s when she stopped about a few inches of reaching him.

“Pecco Eventus Mortis.” Alda answered plainly.

“I don’t know Latin that well.” The guy said, nervous in still believing she was going to strike him.

He watched as Alda made a subconscious move with her hand over her laser gun clipped to her belt buckle with his eyes. She started walking in the other direction. His nervousness died down as she moved her hand away from it. Alda moved back to the table, keeping silent thereafter.

“In its expanded form,” the young man that came in with Alda began.  “It translates to ‘sin results in death’.”

“Oh.”  The guy exhaled in relief.

“Aaron explained it better than I could.”  Alda giggled in a coy manor.  Aaron shortly laughed at her sarcasm.  He looked over to Alda, meeting her eye to eye.  She was still smiling at him.

 “Wait, didn’t Alene use to use that phrase?” Vince asked, looking at Alda and Aaron with a puzzled look.

“She did.”  Aaron answered, nodding his head at Vince.

“Yet Alene has this thing about people using her sayings.” a guy added.

“At least she let me borrow this one!” Alda grinned widely.

“Besides, Princess Adega had stole Alene’s words and tailored it to her overly religious ways.” Aaron grumbled.

“DE’MS fools.” Vince shook his head and sighed after remembering the phrase.

“Meaning?” another guy asked, looking at him confused.

“DE’MS,” Alda began, turning her head to him, “is short for demonic.”

“I see…” the guy trailed off with a force smile.  He reply was apathetic now that he knew the phrase’s origin.

The group congregated around the table again.  That guy still kept his distance from Alda. She was the one to change her mind in a heartbeat just to catch an unsuspecting one off guard.

“The Zyran Initiative exists in places where the Queen once was.” Alda explained.  “Her daughter doesn’t have to do a thing!”

“But our existence makes us LIA’s most wanted!” another guy reminded her.  “Therefore—”

“Today’s society has a twisted view of vigilantes.” Alda interrupted, folding her arms while looking at him coldly.  “We’re well liked by the righteous people of Zyra.”

“Yet they aren’t the ones in power.” the guy stamped. “The power structure doesn’t believe in us anymore.”

“I know that much and that’s because Zyra isn’t a realist. As long as there is evil, you need people like us to defend the helpless.”  Alda replied, waving her hand at the thought.  “But that’s not my concern at this time.  For now, we ride.  Stick to the mission and we’ll disappear before LIA shows up!”

All of them nodded in agreement to her words as the dozen young men with Alda went into a back room.  They came out of the building all carrying black duffle bags.


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