Friday, June 28, 2013

The First Mission, part three

We last left Mikayla trapped in a room with a mystery man. Who is he? Will she be able to escape? What about the information she came to retrieve? Will her mission succeed? You'll find out today in the conclusion of "The First Mission"! Miss the first two parts? Click here for part one and here for part two!
The man straightened up. “So, Mikayla. You came back after all. Your mother said you wouldn’t, but I knew better.”

Mikayla scanned the room. Yes, there! There was the row of indentations that marked the ScanChip access ports. All she had to do was find a way to hold her ScanChip over one until it had the information they needed. As subtly as she could, she began working the ScanChip out of her pocket. “I didn’t come back because I wanted to see you.”

Her father took a step towards her. “Perhaps not, but you are here, and here you will remain.”

“I won’t.” Mikayla edged away from her father and towards the ports. “I have another home now. A better home.”

“With the Silver Bullets, I take it?” He shook his head disgustedly. “I am your father, Mikayla. You belong here with your brother and me.”

Mikayla took another step towards the ports. She was nearly to the closet one now. “What about Mother?”
Her father hesitated, a look of what seemed to be genuine sorrow crossing his face. “Your mother died shortly after she was brought back here. I tried to save her, Mikayla, but I couldn’t. There was nothing I could do.”

Mikayla struggled to fight back tears. “Oh.” She’d guessed as much, but even so, knowing that her mother was gone felt as if someone had struck her heart with a whip. She forced herself to keep moving towards the ports. “Even if she were here, though, I wouldn’t stay.” She navigated the ScanChip into the indentation and felt it click. How long will it take? How long will I have?

Mikayla’s father stepped towards her again. “Why not, Mikayla? What does the Silver Bullet have? They aren’t your family.”

Mikayla felt the urge to move away again, but she didn’t dare let the port become uncovered. She hesitated, trying to figure out what to say. “I thought I wasn’t good enough for you.”

Her father shook his head. “You’ve trained with them, Mikayla. You wouldn’t be wearing their uniform if you hadn’t. Don’t your trainers there criticize? They and I both do it for one reason: so you know where you need to improve.”

“At least they recognize that I’m doing my best.” Mikayla met her father’s endless black gaze defiantly. “You never did. I tried my hardest to please you, but you always demanded more. You never told me what I was doing right. Only what I did wrong.” Her voice gained force with every word.

Her father scowled. “Coddling brings weakness. I wanted you to be strong. Only the strong make it to the top in this world, Mikayla.”

Mikayla shook her head without breaking his gaze. “Is it coddling to show that you care? Can someone who’s broken truly be strong?”

Her father took another step towards her. “I refused to coddle you because I cared. And the strong will refuse to be broken.”

Mikayla tensed as he drew closer, ready to dodge away if he even tried to touch her. “Sometimes even the strong people can’t help being broken if people chip away at them enough. And did you really care? Or did you just want me to become like you?’

Her father spread his arms wide in an almost pleading gesture. “What would be so bad about being like me, Mikayla? I have power, riches, influence, anything you could name. I am the epitome of success.”

Mikayla hesitated, searching for the right words. “Power and riches are all well and good, but becoming like you would mean doing things that are wrong. I don’t want to achieve what you call success, only to lose what matters most.”

The ScanCard let out a quiet buzzing noise. Mikayla put her hand over it just in time to catch it as it popped from the port.

Her father frowned. “What was that?”

Mikayla didn’t answer. Moving as fast as she could, she shoved the ScanCard in her pocket and dashed to the door. Like a charge from a pistol, her father was there in front of her, blocking her path. “You sound like your mother, Mikayla. She was a lovely woman, and her ideas were sweet, but she’s gone now, and you and I aren’t.” He grasped her arm and met her gaze once more. “I can see you’ve inherited my powers after all. Face it. You’re already becoming just like me.”

Mikayla dropped her gaze, unable to meet her father’s eyes. Is he right? Does having his powers mean I’ll be just like him? She searched her mind for something, anything, that would prove him wrong. What if he’s not wrong? I’ve hurt people before. Hurt them recently. Since those powers had shown up, she’d caused more than a few broken bones by hitting people too hard. That was why she’d tried to avoid hitting-
That’s it. Realization lit up her mind like an electric light. I try not to. I have a choice. She looked up and met her father’s gaze squarely. “Maybe I have your powers. But I have made my choice, and I will never become like you.” She pulled away, trying to wrench free.

His grip tightened. “Perhaps that is your choice now, Mikayla, but you are not leaving, and you may well change your mind after spending some time with me.”

“I’m not staying, and I’m not changing my mind.” Mikayla jerked harder, but couldn’t get free. She tried kicking his leg, but her foot seemed to stop a few inches from him. An idea suddenly struck her, and she pulled her pistol from its holster.

Her father made a grab for her arm, but she dodged away just in time. She slid the power switch to the highest level and pointed it at the door. She pressed the trigger and then had to avoid another attempt by her father to grab her weapon. She aimed and shot twice more in quick succession, dodged a third time, and pulled the trigger one last time. This time the charge hit the lock and the door, with nothing to hold it shut, slid open.

Just as she’d guessed, the sound of the door opening caused her father to turn and look. As he did, his grip relaxed just slightly, allowing her to jerk free. She tore out the door and down the hall, back towards where she’d left Raven. When she reached the hallway, however, it was empty of everyone, even the guards. She hesitated, but knew that she couldn’t afford to stop. She could hear her father behind her, chasing her. There was no time to spare. Maybe she got out already. Even if the Shadow Agent hadn’t, though, Mikayla wouldn’t squander the sacrifice she’d made.

She ran through the halls as fast as she could, dodging around any guards she came across. She knew instinctively that she’d have to blast open the lock on the staircase and she didn’t dare expend more than she absolutely needed of the energy still in the pistol’s powerpack. After all, she had no idea how many more of the high-powered shots it would be able to manage.

She reached the stairs and took the lock out on her second shot. The stairs forced her to slow down slightly, though her father seemed to have no such issue. He seemed to gain a little with every step. She pushed herself harder, trying to urge her legs to still greater speeds, though she felt certain that she was going as fast as she could, and that she would collapse before long. Please, God. I don’t think I have the strength for this. Please help me. I don’t have any other options or plans. You’re my only hope.

Like before, she heard no answer, but she found that she wasn’t as close to collapse as she thought. Every time she thought she could go no further, she found a little more strength, a little more energy to keep going. And though her father wasn’t falling behind, he didn’t seem to be catching up with her either. She ran up, up, up until she reached the very top of the stairs. There she fairly threw herself at the door. It opened, and she dashed out into the halls-

Straight into the path of a guard. She barely had time to avoid running straight into him, but she dodged at the very last moment. She heard him turn and begin shooting after her; felt the burn as one shot hit her left upper arm. But she didn’t stop. She knew her father would be hot on her heels.

The shots whizzing by her stopped, and she guessed that her father had passed the guard. Good. She made a sharp right turn, dodged another guard, and turned left. This hallway had two guards in it. She dodged one, but the second managed to grab her by the arm. She didn’t hesitate a moment before kicking him in the leg as hard as she could. He groaned and released, and she charged on. Another left turn and she knew she was almost there. Only one more right turn to make and a short hallway. Then she’d be at the door, out the door, safe.

She spotted three people moving towards her from the other hall. Two ran at normal speeds; they could be no one but guards. The third moved far too fast to be a guard. Father. He must’ve gone the other way. He’ll cut me off! She strained to put on one last burst of speed. God, please, help!

She made it to the turn only seconds before her father. She felt his fingers brush her arm as he made a grab for her and missed. But she was in the home stretch now; she could see the door before her. She aimed and shot with her pistol once and again, shattering the lock keeping the doors shut. The guards turned in surprise, but she shot past them and towards the shadows where she and the rest of her team had crouched before.
From those shadows, she saw the lights of charge pistols. The sounds of people tumbling to the ground behind her mixed with the footsteps of her pursuers, and had she not been saving all her breath for running, she would’ve sighed in relief. At least two other members of her team had gotten out, at least.

She reached the shadows to find Blade and Hawk waiting for her. Another man, who she recognized as Darius Antollae, sat behind him. She frowned. “Where’s Raven?”

“Raven didn’t make it out,” Hawk said, quietly. He lowered his pistol and tucked it in his holster. “Come on. Blade made an emergency call. The Shadowcopter is coming in close.” He turned and led the way into the forest.

Mikayla headed after him with a heavy heart, and she heard Darius Antollae and Blade following as well, Blade’s pistol zinging every few minutes as he continued to discourage any would-be pursuers. It seemed to take no time at all for them to reach the Shadowcopter. They climbed in silently and the copter lifted off, headed back to headquarters. Mikayla stared out the window, back towards the Brotherhood headquarters. She thought back to Raven and her excitement at the mission, at how fearlessly she’d faced down the challenges, and how willingly she’d stayed behind, alone, doubtless knowing that it could mean her death.
Mikayla bowed her head. God, I thank you for getting us out alive. I thank you for helping me through this mission. And I thank you for Raven and her sacrifice. I ask, God, that when it’s my turn to face death, that You would help me do it as bravely as she did. Help me be willing to lay my life down for others, just like Raven did, and just like Your Son, Jesus Christ, did. Amen.

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