I wake on the floor the next day. I blink a few times and stand, turning to look at my wall. It’s got a new hundred marks, and a line from when I passed out. I smile to myself proudly under my mask. I did that. I destroyed a hundred automatons in one day. I put away the knife and leave my room. Walking down the hall, I think over the events of the last day. The joy of the explosion, the sour feeling I got after walking away from the imp. I draw my sword, spinning it in my hand as I enter the main room. Alexander is standing over the tactical board, platoon counters spread out fairly evenly across the board.
“Wow.” I say, coming to stand across from him.
“You’ve stirred up quite the racket.” He says, shaking his head. I laugh.
“All of that isn’t because of my plan… right?” I say, surprised.
“Hah, you think this is the first time they’ve sent out this many autos to sweep for you?” He scoffs. I blink, shocked. They’re that keen to hunt me down? I think to myself. “Yes, Titan, they want to stop you before you march into evercity and take out every platoon they own.” He says, as I realise I thought it aloud. I begin to swing my sword in circles again.
“Sir, permission to question?” I say.
“Granted.” Alexander replies.
“Why was I ordered not to talk yesterday?” I ask.
“You were ordered not to speak, because we didn’t need them even more aggravated by your demeanor.” he says, rolling his eyes. “Major General Umbrellascope is quite good at getting what she wants.”
“Hang on, you know her?” I say, confused. “I never told you she was leading the assault.” I add. He shrugs.
“A scout told me. Nothing important.” He says quickly. I don’t think he’s telling me the whole truth. I know he’s not telling the truth. I nod, giving him a sense of security. I wander back down the hall to my dorm, thinking over what’s happened.
Once I reach my dorm I lay on my bed, waiting out the storm, like I do when they actually TELL me that there’s a search going on, with my head as the target. I take my knife out and hold it out in front of me, thinking about what I know and what I need to find out.
Who was Major General Lilliana Umbrellascope?
Why did Alexander lie?
What is the point of hiding things from me?
WHAT is he hiding from me?
I sharpen my knife slowly, thinking over what I know. I shake my head and remember my squadron from yesterday. I stand and leave my room, my knife hidden back away. I find the Stone Squadron celebrating in their squad room. I walk in and clap loudly. They all cheer in response and I laugh.
“Hey guys. I seem to remember telling you that I’m going to talk with Emily about further training. Do you guys want any particular field?” I say, looking over their half circle around me. The techie puts up his hand, and I roll my eyes beneath my mask. “We’re not at school here.” I laugh.
“I’d like to move into a technical field...” He says sheepishly.
“I never expected that!” I say sarcastically, laughing, which breaks the tension instantly.
“Advanced leadership!” says Beckendorf.
“Defensive maneuvers.” Elizabeth says.
“Destruction equipment training.” Jessie says confidently, flipping a detonator stick in his hand.
“I’d like to try Sword Fighting” Jayhawk says, grinning. “And advanced tactics,” he adds.
“Not many people pass the sword fighting class. Let alone advanced tactics.” I say, shaking my head.
“You did.” He says with a shake of his head, smiling. “I want to become just as good as you.” He says, all traces of smile gone. I look straight at him. Quite unnerving, I find, to have a masked man stare straight at you.
“Tell me, how did your parents die?” I ask.
“They didn’t.” He replies. “They live in Evercity.”
“Why did you join the resistance?” I ask.
“To stop the empire.” He replies, like anyone in the resistance. “Just like you.”
I’m shaking my head.
“You don’t understand. Joining the resistance means you fight the empire, but not that you joined to do so. I didn’t just join to fight the empire, and if you did, you shouldn’t take the hardest courses in the entire training academy.” I say simply. “But do what you wish.” I write down what they all want, and salute to them. I stand and walk out.
Upon reaching the aetherstep room, I step in and warp to the training facility, the familiar feeling of being transported through the Aetherfeild to a new location. I appear in the other Aetherstep and exit to see Emily standing over another tactical board, platoon counters spread out again. I sneak up behind her.
“Quite the focus there.” I say. She whips around, hammer out and I duck under her spinning arm, and coming up behind her, catching her arm and her other one coming around to hit me and holding her in an armlock. I laugh. “Cmon Emily, you can do better!” I laugh, and let go. She growls at me and can’t help but smirk.
“I trained you too good Titan.” She says crossly. I cross my arms and shake my head.
“Speaking of training, I have a squad who earned their advanced classes.” I list all of them out, and their classes. When I mention Jayhawk’s classes, she sighs and shakes her head.
“I told him, I told him he was making a mistake.” I say, shaking my head too. “He’s most likely going to drop out and give up, and when interrogated, spill everything he learned.” I finish, shaking my head still. I stop shaking my head. I was getting dizzy.
“Anyways, I know you’ll sort that out… Do you know much about my past?” I ask nonchalantly, as if there’s not something I’m after. “Did I have any siblings or anything?” I add, without much emphasis, just as if It was something I would say in passing.
“I don’t know, actually. Sorry Titan.” She says, turning back to the board. She’s lying. I know she’s lying. I can feel it. That missing piece. The void inside me shivers when someone lies about it. I get a tingle in the back of my brain when someone lies at all, but when this type of lie happens, I feel it in the core of my being.
I shrug. “Thanks then.” I say, and Aetherstep back to the Beacon.
I change from my normal clothes and go up the stairs to see Selina. I help her print stuff for a while, and when I finish, sit across from her.
“What did you need, love?” She says to me as I sit down.
“I’ve started to wonder about my past. Did you know if I had any family?” I ask directly. She shakes her head.
“Mr and Mrs Candleburst were good friends of ours. You were their only child.” I notice her emphasis on only, but ignore it. I feel the lie detector in my soul shiver violently. I stand and go to the door, starting to open it.
“Thanks a lot Selina, sorry to bother you!”
“No problem, love, any time.” She replies. “Be careful.” I walk out of the room into the streets. I’m wearing different clothes, my resistance insignia hidden, and no goggles, so that will hopefully disguise me enough. I wander through the streets, keeping to the alleys when I see a platoon coming.
I climb to the rooftops and traverse the ever-darkening urban environment to the clock tower. I begin to climb, and once I reach the top, I sit down, watching the platoon search parties look for me in the streets far below.