Shadows of Revival
Author: Othello Gooden Jr.

Chapter 0
Prologue

Deep within Sector-C, a well-known tavern called Sigma's Point, set in an old rundown neighborhood. Despite the numerous attacks by the Chimera known as Axennine in this area, Sigma’s Point remained operational. The Zyran Police were responsible for warding off the beast but many of them perished in the last incursion. Without the manpower to defend against this threat, the death toll and wanton destruction of Axennine continued.

 

The Zyran Initative’s disbandment over a year ago gave rise to Axennine’s increased sightings and attacks. When not fighting corruption in the government and on the streets, Madam Alda and her team of vigilantes fought this monster regularly. Now, in their absence, this beast terrorized inhabitants of Sector-C overtly.

 

An unlikely contemporary of the Z.I. still exists, but her efforts continued to go unnoticed. Many of the ZP try to take credit for their successes scaring away Axennine when it attacked the populous. Some of them were talking among themselves about this mystery lady in the tavern. The bartender standing there listening to them while they sat at the bar.

 

“We've been losing a lot of men lately," started the Sgt. to several of his fellow police officers. They were sitting at the bar drinking coffee. “And the new robot models for the department are expensive to replace and repair."

 

“But we managed to survive.” One of his subordinates said enthusiastically.

“…And we pushed the monster back to where it came!" Another one added emphatically.

 

“How long before it adapts to what you shoot at it?" Someone sitting near them in the corner asked. There was much sarcasm in their voice.

 

When the police looked up to see where the voice came from, one of them noticed a person with a hood over their head. Their face shrouded in darkness as they sipped on a can of Mountain Dew, holding it with a futuristic-looking glove. The officers approached them. Others turned their attention to the scene.

 

“I don't like your tone, lady.” The Sgt. warned.

 

“It wouldn’t be a problem if you only knew what you're up against and was prepared in each encounter!” The lady sneered.

 

“I'm going to have to ask you to remove your hood.” He demanded, the lady’s homeless cloak-like hybrid attire was slightly intimidating.

 

“You fit the description of a suspicious character we've been searching for.” One of the men with him said as he cased her.

 

“Okay but you're not going to like what you see.” Her tone was melancholy.

 

Immediately, she lowered her hood. There was a scar on the right side of her face. One of the men backed away from her as she turned towards him. “Satisfied?"

 

“Helen Ravenscraft.” The guy remembered upon seeing her face.

 

“And I'm wanted, why?” Helen took another sip of her Mountain Dew. She kept a watchful eye that officer.

 

“We have orders." The Sgt. answered coldly.

 

“Orders from whom?” Helen asked naïvely but then continued, “oh yeah, by the people who want to see Axennine rip the sector apart. As far as I know, the higher ups see this monster as crowd control!"

 

“How dare you!” One the officers yelled, he felt insulted.

 

“Some of you twelves I can tolerate,” Helen’s tone turned to that of disdain as she continued, “But the ones who bark and moan about gettin’ wrecked by a beast created by some mad scientist years ago got me all messed up!”

 

“Yet you're getting in the way!” The sergeant asserted his position vehemently.

“I'm doing y’all a favor!” Helen laughed scornfully.

“You do know that vigilantism is illegal right?” He asked firmly.

 

“If it wasn't for us, there would be none of you left including yer android counterparts!" Helen snorted coolly.

 

“That's what the Z.I. thought—look where it got them!” The officer asserted strongly, trying to prove a point.

 

“You know that's a bunch of bull!” Helen quickly rose with indignation.

 

“Ma'am, I’m placing you under arrest.” The Sgt. announced in a loud voice.

 

Helen raised her hands up in defeat but scoffed, “so yer just rounding us all up, then?”

 

As the situation unfolded, many of the patrons backed away from the group, anticipating a confrontation. A small percentage of them were taking out their phones to record the incident. Police brutality was still an issue, even more so on Zyra than anywhere else. In recent years, Helen saw it get worse.

 

“He told you what our orders were!” one of the officers stated.

 

“To uphold the police state? I thought this nation was already through one version of it years ago! Y'all really want the Zyrans to go through that again?” Helen lowered her hands a little—they were getting tired.

 

“That doesn't concern you.”  Then he gave attention to her hands, “ma'am please keep your hands where I can see them.”

 

“You know what?” Helen was getting annoyed, “forget you and all you corrupt twelves!”

 

A few moments later, her figure flickered white and disappeared. Several feet away in an open area, Helen reappears with her back turned to the police. Alarmed, the police draw their weapons and take several shots that her.

 

In a blink of an eye, and anticipating their move, Helen turned sideways at them before the shots were fired. Her gloves began to glow white. Everything around Helen seemed to slow down as she swatted the bullets down to the ground. Dumbfounded, the Sgt. calls for their android backup stationed outside the tavern.

 

“Oh, snap... This day can't gain more crappier!” Helen grumbled to herself as two androids walk in through the front entrance and approach her. “Dang twelves!”

 

Suddenly, a loud guttural roar was heard from outside.

 

“You got two options now,” Helen smirked, keeping her eyes on the androids but directing her words to the officers behind her, “I can take down this chimera right here, right now or you apprehend me and get a massive backlash from the people!”

 

The officers stood there motionless while the androids edged closer to her. Just as they pointed the palms of their servos at her, loud bangs on the door behind them erupted. It didn't take long for the door to be ripped off his hinges by Axennine’s nine axe-tails. People started scurrying to the back of the room behind the policemen as a monster tried to get inside. One of one of its axe-tails grabbed onto the foot of the closest android and dragged it toward itself. The android tried to shoot the net at the monster but the net was swatted away by one of its tails.

 

“I don’t have time for this!" Helen angrily sighed. She then made cannon firing motion with her first towards Axennine. A few seconds later, a large cannon cannon materialized on top of her arm.

 

“This is a gun-free zone, you're in direct—”

“Shut yer face!” Helen interrupted as she pulled back on the trigger.

 

Helen pulled halfway on the trigger. A low rumbling hum was heard in the barrel. As the cannon charged, the first android was taken apart by Axennine limb from limb. His partner took shots at the beast with his laser rifle, only for the shots to be absorbed into its body. Then three of Axennine’s tails shot out like tendrils, piercing the second android and lobbing it over Helen's head like a ragdoll into the crowd behind her. The frightened patrons scramble to take cover before the lifeless droid landed in the center of them, flicking debris in every direction. Helen was now the only one between them and certain doom. The young lady wasn't fazed. She just smiled as a beast tried to make a bigger pathway into the establishment. It had a ways to go because there was small incline leading into the tavern.

 

Then the chimera’s eyes met Helen’s as it was halfway up the ramp. It starred down the barrel of the brightly lit cannon twice Helen’s size, sitting on top of her arm. Axennine roared so loud that the ground rumbled beneath them.

 

“You came to the wrong neighborhood, Muddafragga!“ She announced bravely as she fully pulled back the trigger, letting rip a giant white beam from the cannon’s barrel.

 

When the beam dissipated, all that was left was an outline of the vaporized monster. The patrons started cheering and victory. The whole fight was caught on tape.

 

“When this goes on YouTube,” Helen joked as she turned the crowd, “somebody put in the description that a small girl just demolished an imitation Frankenstein-like monster with a giant cannon. Title: Raven just fired her laser!”

 

Most of the people around her started laughing at her joking demeanor; all except the officers, who were looking at her in contempt. Helen turned towards the door and started walking down the ramp. Her cannon dematerializes as she drops her arm.

 

“You're not off the hook, missy!" The sergeant yelled and he and his men started towards her.

 

“Give it a rest!" Helen exhaled as she waved her hand back at him. She disappeared outside around the corner and putting her hood back over her head.

 

 

Helen walked down the street and headed into the subway. Turning the corner down the road, a man in a deep voice spoke to her, “We’ve been watching you.”

 

The lady quickly turned to the source of I behind her. She clutched her glove and responded warily, “Who is we?”

 

Out of the shadows appeared a tall black man about mid 40s. He had on a grey fedora with a dark purple ring around the middle of it. He wore orange short-sleeve shirt and a pair of grey khakis. A dark purple cloak covered most of his body. His face was rough with a thick mustache. He flicked the side of his cloak behind him, revealing a watch that glowed blue in the dark corner he stood in. He took one step toward her. The light from a near by streetlight above illuminated his dark purple shoes with grey rubber bottoms.

 

Helen squinted her eyes at him, trying to adjust to the darkness of the abandoned subway. She wasn’t alarmed at all, feeling a kindred spirit within him.

 

“Why do you look so familiar?” the man’s figure reminded her of someone she met a while back.

 

“I’ve done some work with your uncle in the past.” He answered warmly.

“Still doesn’t answer—“

 

“Let’s just say the corruption you’ve dealt with in the past few years is only a premonition of what’s to come.”

 

“What is coming?” Helen asked. The man’s words peaked her curiosity.

 

“Something that will involve you, your family, and your friends.”

“So you speak of this we? You some kind of twelve?”

“We’re the true twelve.” The guy laughed. “Even your uncle knew who we were.”

“But who are ya?!” Helen was getting impatient.

“They call me 2kReturner.” He introduced in a calm voice.

“Codename? So you’re some kind of agent from some secret organization?”

“Smart girl,” 2kReturner smirked, “she did tell me you probably inherited her genius.”

 

“WAIT, WHAT?!” Helen dropped her hand and started toward him, surprised. “YOU KNEW MY MOM?”

 

2kReturner turned away from her and started walking. His figure began to fade. “You speak of her as if she’s is dead. You have much to learn, Helen!”

 

“Hey, wait!” Helen quickened her pace but it was too late, 2kReturner was nowhere to be found. She grumbled to herself, “Dangit! He’s gone!”

 

Helen stood there thinking about all that 2kReturner told her, more importantly, her mom, Michelle. For years she grew up knowing their enemies had most of her family killed in 2021 on Earth. All for what? The Evanstons were for the little guy. They weren’t a part of the club and were deemed “unfit” to exist.

 

Throughout the years, there were many attempts to hunt down and kill the rest of Helen’s family. Kayleen and herself were the last two on this “hitlist” but these two ladies proved to be too much for their foes—Kayleen and Helen were survivors. That still didn’t keep their enemies from trying.

 

2kReturner’s words about her mother made Helen begin to doubt what she knew about her family’s fate. She continued to ponder over the speculation that maybe her mother was still out there. Helen disappeared into the night, deep in thought. She had much to talk about the next time she saw Kayleen.

 

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