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London, United Kingdom

March 11th

20:00 Local Time

            Inside a mansion atop a hill, a small family was eating dinner. The father was short, with dark skin and brown eyes. The mother, wearing a silver dress, was tall, with fair skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. Their daughter was light-skinned, with pale blue eyes, and brown hair. “So Laura.” The father said, getting his daughter’s attention. “So how was your day in school darling?” His British accent was not extremely thick. His daughter replied, in a calm tone “It was alright I guess.” Laura’s accent was much thicker than her father’s but not nearly as much as her mother’s. Suddenly, there was a knock on the mansion doors. “I’ve got it,” Laura says as she gets out of her chair. She slid down the curved stairwell and to the front door. When she looked through the peephole, she saw some familiar faces. “I need your help.” The short kid in a blue hoodie said.  “Who’s asking? You or Bluestone?” Laura said jokingly. Jayson replied exhaustedly “Both I guess.” She opened the mansion doors and welcomed her friends in. “It has been a too long cousin,” Laura said, embracing her cousin. Nicole interrupted and said, “I would honestly think you’d be happy to see me.” Laura turned around to see her long time friend, and the two exchanged a tight hug. “So what brings you five to jolly old London?” Laura asked. Turning towards Samantha, she noticed that she had never met her before. “Ugh. Where are my manners today?” She said, extending her hand out to Sam. “Laura Simmons. It is a pleasure to meet you.” Sam then replied “Sam. The pleasure is all mine.” They all entered the house into a massive living room. “Mom! Dad! We’ve got guests!” Laura yelled. Laura’s mother came down the stairs to see the Elites standing in the foyer. “Hey, Aunt Verna. It’s been a while.” Jayson said. Verna replied “Your parents never said anything about you guys coming to London on a mission. What brings you to us tonight?” Jay said “Mom never said anything because we couldn’t tell her anything. We aren’t here on a mission. We’re on the run.” 

Laura was stunned and asked quietly “Oh dear. What happened? And what do you mean by on the run?” Nicole stuttered and said “W-well what happened is that… Kaiser. The supercomputer I told you about… in my last call. He escaped and found out all our secrets. We can’t trust anybody anymore, so we came here. The UK Sanctuary was never documented, and can’t be found by Kaiser. It was the only safe place we have.” Jay interrupted and said  “To make matters worse, we had to ditch the jet mid-flight. It’s probably over oceans by now. That should buy us a few days time to find a way to stop this.” Ms. Simmons said “You are welcome to use any of the resources we have until you can come up with a plan. Just stay out of trouble. And lights out by 2200 each night.” “I have no idea what twenty-two-hundred is. Must be a British thing I guess.” Robert said shrugging. Laura replied “America is one of the few countries that doesn’t use the 24 hour time system. 2200 is 10 pm genius.” Flustered, Rob replied “Oh… ok.” Each the Elites walked off to do their own thing, and Jay patted his friend on the shoulder and said: “You’ve got a lot to learn buddy.” He then went down the stairs into the basement with the pod he had taken from the plane before jumping. He wasn’t seen for the rest of the evening.

The next morning, the others woke up to the sound of heavy machinery. Nicole leaped out of bed, and Laura and Robert followed. When they came downstairs, the noise was coming from the basement. At the bottom of the stairs, they saw the pod now up against the wall, with wires leading into a massive computer. When Rob stepped up to look inside the silver and blue pod, he saw a face, with patches of metal still visible. “Bruh what are you doing with him now?” Robert asked. Jay didn’t respond as he continued to type the code into the computer. “I thought you said you decided you were gonna move on from this,” Nicole said. Jayson looked away from his work, and said “When did I say that? Before we found out he was still alive. This is the first time in five months where I can work freely on him, and he’ll be ready by the end of the night to be brought back online. If anybody knows how to stop Endgame for good it’s Zach. We need him more than you think guys.” Laura stepped forward and said, “If you think this will help us find Endgame, then you should do it.” “So you want him to just go ahead and reboot this psycho-android. He refuses to quit and he stabbed me in the shoulder a few months ago. Every time he’s around something bad happens.” Laura interrupted “If Jayson thinks there’s a way to undo the programming, least we can do is give the guy a chance to write it.”

        The entire day Jayson and Laura worked hard to get Sapphire back online, while Nicole and Natalie spent a day out in London. They visited multiple landmarks as civilians, wearing sunglasses in cloudy weather. After taking a ride on the London Eye, the two sat down for lunch at a nearby café. “So… About this Laura girl.” Nat started. Nicole replied, “What about her?” “You always act sort of awkward around her. What’s that all about?” Nat asked. She was starting to ask burning questions that were on her mind. “I met Laura during my time in Japan, she was one of Xiansheng Topaz’s final students. She was brash, free-spirited. I guess we just got along really well and became best friends. But it’s been four years since we’ve seen each other. Guess it’s weird to be under the same roof with someone I was so close to so long ago.” Natalie’s eyes widened, and covered her mouth, beginning to connect the dots. Getting herself back together, she said. “If I didn’t know any better, I would think you and Laura were more than friends. You do know she’s Jayson’s cousin right?” “Should that matter?” Nicole asked. “They’re bad news Nic. Bad blood.” Nat replied casually, taking a sip of her tea. “I would think you’d be more supportive of me,” Nic said.  “You know pretty well being supportive isn’t my thing,” Natalie stated, still not looking up from her tea. “Look Nic, I can say all this sentimental crap to try and make you feel better, but I’m not trying to make you feel better about yourself. You can deny everything I’m saying all you want, but it won’t do you any good later on.”

            Nicole took a deep breath and said “Alright. What have you got to say?” Natalie then spoke. “First off, I’m glad you decided to take the time to hand out with me today. I guess life in Chicago got lonely sometimes, I miss just the two of us hanging out from time to time. Secondly, I know that coming out to me has to have been tough. And to be honest I’m cool with you being gay. It’s who you’re going gay for I’m concerned about. I know how the Topaz bloodline works. If they’re an Elite, it means manipulating and keeping secrets from others. Important secrets. I don’t wanna get in the way of ‘true love’ but I do want you to be careful, and don’t shy away from the important questions.” Nic interrupted and said “I never said anything about being in love. I just think it’s weird to be back together again- I mean we were never ‘together’ but it’s still weird.” “Shhhhhh. It’s alright I got you fam. Don’t even trip.” Natalie said, interrupting back. “Look, I’ll give you a few British pounds tonight, we’ll probably be here for another night or so. Maybe you go out and show her a good time. I promise I won’t get in the way of your thing. I’ll just help Jay out however I can.” Nicole then said “It sounds to me like you’re trying to get with somebody too. Bad blood huh.” Nat chuckled as the two got up and started heading back home.

            Meanwhile, in the lab, Jay and Sam continued to work on Sapphire. “Get him over here please,” Jay said as he ran wiring along the inside of a chair. Samantha then took Sapphire out of his pod. She struggled to keep him on her back, so Jayson ran over to her aid to get him into the chair. “So what is this chair supposed to do?” Sam asked inquisitively. Jay replied “This is my own take on the Electric Chair. But instead of taking a life, it restores one. Zach’s internal organs are unharmed, but the circuitry itself is faulty, meaning that while his brain is still alive his heart has stopped. What this chair will do is channel a circuit directly into his heart, jumpstarting all his systems.” Sam just stood there dumbfounded and said “English bro. Do you speak it?” Robert came down the stairs and said “He’s turning the chair into a defibrillator. But on an android, and one made from metal that would be a terrible idea. In restoring one function, you risk ruining the rest of them.” Jay replied, “I did not think of that.” “There are a lot of things you don’t think of,” Robert replied. Jay spoke, “So if I instead use an insulator to carve out a path directly to the heart, and use a lower voltage, it should be enough to jumpstart the bootup process.” “While leaving the rest of his functions unscathed.” Rob continued. Sam then yelled “Seriously?! Nobody’s gonna translate all this science mumbo-jumbo? I don’t know what we’re doing and you’re not making it any easier to understand!” “Don’t worry,” Jayson said. “Just follow our lead.” 

After hours of tedious programming, soldering, and wiring, Jay was ready to start the process and called everybody back. They all came down into the lab after an hour. Natalie and Nicole were the last to return. “So after many sleepless nights, as well as assistance from Dr. Großel in Berlin and Dr. Floyd from University Labs, I’ve managed to find Zach’s sleeper code from IATO and the Rogues, and have managed to wipe the dormant program clean from his system. And now I’m ready to bring him back online.” As a precaution, each Elite readied their weapons as Jayson reached for the open cables. Nicole held two swords, Rob carried twin batons, Nicole created her shield, Sam was given a knife, and Laura held a small pistol.  Jay grabbed the two cables and plugged them into a wall. His powers were still gone. Looking at the multimeter, he said “The circuit is live. I’m gonna pulse it!” Jayson then pushed a button on the computer, which sent a small pulse of energy through the wires, into Sapphire’s body. When nothing happened after the first pulse, Jay said: “I’m doubling the voltage.” He charged the cables once again and sent another pulse. There was still no response. “Last chance Zach.” Jay said as he charged the cables again, doubling the voltage.” “He isn’t gonna be able to take much more of this bro.” Robert interrupted. “Maybe it’s time to let go and move on.” Jay then sent a final pulse through to Zach’s body. This time, the metal husk jerked when the charge went through. The room went silent as they stood around Zach, still motionless. “I’m sorry,” Laura said, breaking the silence. “I know this meant a lot to you.”

            Suddenly, Sam noticed that Zach’s arm had become a rectangular barrel that was glowing blue. Suddenly, his eyes lit up blue and his arm was raised directly at Jayson. “Stay back!” Zachary yelled in fear, his voice still distorted. As Jay walked closer, he recognized his face and said “You need to get away from me. IATO, IATO is behind all this. They’re taking over my controls. Get as far away from me as you can before they make me hurt you!” He stood up and ripped all the cables from his body. As he walked around, it was becoming clearer and clearer that he was disoriented. “Zach it’s ok!” Nicole yelled as she got in front of him. “Calm down. You’re safe.” Zach looked around and saw that all his friends were there, and safe. “Oh God… what happened. What day is it?” Zach asked as he disarmed his cannon. “You shut yourself down after you received the new codes. I’ve been trying for the longest to get you back online.” Jay said, sparing his friend of the whole truth. Zach sat back down and asked “How long have I been out? What date is it? What year?” Nicole looked down at her watch and said “It’s March 11th, 2018. Nearly a year.” Zach then asked “Did we stop IATO? Is the world still safe?” Jay responded “I wish. But Endgame has been retaliating against us for months, to the point where we can’t keep up. I fear that we’re all being watched by them so we can be picked off one by one. We’ve already lost one Elite to them, we have to make sure that the rest are protected.” Zach pulled up multiple holographic images. “So how many Elites are there worldwide that are still unregistered and without a transmitter?” Jayson then replied “About ten. And they’re so spread out they’ll be hard to find.” Zach spoke “So if we get transmitters to the remaining Elites, warning them to remain vigilant, we could also develop meeting coordinates so that we may plan a strategic attack on Endgame strongholds. We can weaken their grip on the world, so they can’t keep going.” Samantha interrupted and asked, “So this is basically the Anaconda Plan, but on a much larger scale?” “Actually, its more along with the tactics used in World War II. We’ll work out the special details once we have everyone in the loop.” Jayson said. “Laura, since your parents are the managers for IBM, do you think it's possible for us to get our hands on some of their phones?” Laura replied “IBM doesn’t make phones. They haven’t for years?” Nat then handed Laura her phone, with the IBM logo etched into the top. “Guess they do then.” Natalie interrupted and said “I’ll cover this one for you. I’ve got some stuff to take care of anyway.” Zach then said, “In the meantime, Jayson and I can develop software that can interlink all the communicators so that all of us are only a tap away.” Jay interrupted “I’ve actually been working on one for the past few weeks, but I can definitely use the help.” Laura then asked, “What do you need me to do?” Jay answered, “For the time being there’s nothing for you, Nic, Sam, or Rob.” Laura then replied “I’m an Elite. There has to be something I can do! I wanna help you guys.” Rob said “Well, I’m gonna go sightseeing on patrol. You’re more than welcome to come with.” Laura raised her brow and said “Was that supposed to make me feel better? I know this city like the back of my hand, there’s nothing for me to see.” “Suit yourself then,” Rob said, grabbing his jacket. “The Hemi is in the garage right?” “Yes.” Laura answered “But I wouldn’t go out in it. The streets here are different from in America!” Not listening, Rob walked back up the stairs and went out for the night.

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Jeremy Gay
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