Chapter 19 : High Octane
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P.S. Look out for the Face/Off quote. ;)
Sounds of the battle going on inside the turbine room echoed around the walls as Albus moved down another narrow pipe-filled corridor. This place was huge and he had no real idea of where he was going but if he had to make a guess, he’d say that Ryke was heading away from the fight.
Eventually the corridor opened up into the very back of the turbine room. It was a war zone. On one side were the Aurors and on the other Rykes men, all trading attacks at each other. Stray spells and gun fire rocketed around the room as gas pipes burst and machines exploded into hails of sparks. Somehow Albus had ended up behind enemy lines.
He crouched behind a huge busted canister and surveyed the area. For a second he caught sight of his father, surrounded by other Aurors and firing multiple spells. He seemed okay but at the moment it looked like neither side could push the other back.
He looked around again but could only see Rykes men and not the bitch herself.
Where the hell was she?
“Rose!” Ron yelled as he rushed towards his daughter with Hermione close behind.
They both immediately latched hold of her and didn’t let go. Ron saw Scorpius, looking busted up and being helped by Ringo. He looked him in the eye and whimpered: “Thank you.”
The boy he had never wanted for his daughter had gone through hell to save her. Why was it that only in the midst of this battle did he finally understand why his daughter loved him.
“Are you alright?” Hermione begged as tears welled in her eyes.
“I’m fine but we have to find the Centaurions!”
“We will, but we’re getting you out first!”
“No!” Rose snapped.
“Don’t bother, we’ve already tried this,” Scorpius said. “Your daughter is being very stubborn today.”
“No, Rose, it’s too dangerous for you here!” Hermione cried.
“Do not dare talk to me about being in dangerous situations! You’re not the only one that’s -“
“No, but you’re the only one that’s pregnant!” Scorpius cut her off.
“Then protect me while I search for the Centaurions!” she hissed.
“Could you also protect me?” Ringo added hopefully.
“Who’s this?” Ron asked.
“Don’t ask!” Rose and Scorpius said at the same time.
“Captain Ringo Rollins,” he said saluting. “You’re Ron and Hermione Weasley right? I seen your pictures on the chocolate frog cards!”
“Oh...” Ron nodded looking a bit confused.
“Yeah, they’re perfect for the munchies,” he said.
“Err, Ringo, do you have a wand?” Hermione asked.
“Me, no, I’m a squib,” he shrugged.
“You’re a squib?!” Scorpius blurted. “You never told us that!”
“Yep, squib and a pilot. I’m also a brain surgeon.”
“No, that was a joke. I’m also a comedian and a wild love machine,” he grinned and winked at Hermione who actually looked quite frightened.
“Hey! That’s my wife!” Ron growled.
“Enough! Ryke’s moved the Centaurions to the core so that’s where I’m going! You wanna protect me, you’ll just have to tag along!” Rose yelled and stormed away towards the nearest exit.
Ron and Hermione followed immediately and Scorpius hobbled along after them.
“Right, well, best of luck, I’ll be going now -“ just as Ringo said that, Scorpius grabbed him by the arm and dragged him along with them.
A stray spell shot way too close to Al’s head for comfort. If he stayed there he was going to get killed by his own people! Or maybe they wouldn’t get the chance.
Bullets suddenly rattled around him as one of Rykes men spotted him and opened fire. He bolted from his position running for cover as fast as he could. As he ran, the tiniest flash of white blond hair caught his eye.
He looked up to see Ryke fleeing across the walkway above.
Without a second thought for what was happening around him, he bolted toward a chain that was locked to the end of a crane. He grabbed it with one hand and blasted out the lock with his gun. He was catapulted through the air as the broken chain levered him up towards the walkway.
He let go in mid air and grabbed hold of the walkway, pulling himself up. He was back on his feet in seconds and charging after Ryke.
Ahead of him, two men stepped out and opened fire at him but he was moving too fast for either of them to land a hit. He returned fire hitting one of them in the chest while heading straight for the other. He shoulder blocked the second causing him to fall off the walkway and down into the turbine room.
Albus didn’t slow down. He ran to the end of the walkway and through the tunnel behind it. On the wall was a sign with an arrow underneath it pointing towards the reactor.
He suddenly skidded to a halt as he found himself inside an enormous round room. It was smaller than the turbine room but still easily the size of the great hall at Hogwarts. In the centre was a tall chamber that stretched from the floor to the ground.
This was the core, which meant the reactor must be directly beneath.
Al took cover as a rattling of pipes in the distance caught his ears. She was in there but he couldn’t see her.
“Ryke!” he yelled.
“Hi Al...” her voice echoed around the room making it impossible to locate the source. “Aren’t you supposed to be in prison?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Al said darkly. He moved into the core chamber very slowly and making sure to stay hidden behind any cover he could find.
“Touché,” Rykes voice said. “Another thing we have in common...we’re both defiant.”
“Why don’t you stick your head out and I’ll so you how defiant I am,” Albus growled.
The chamber was suddenly shaken by large explosion from somewhere else in the plant. That battle was getting out of control.
“Ahh, you’re not still sour at me about killing your cousin, are you?” she asked sweetly.
An image of Louis bleeding to death in his arms flashed inside Al’s mind and filled him with renewed rage.
“He was just kid!” Al screamed.
“Then he shouldn’t have been there in the first place!” she yelled back. “Everything was going fine until you just had to stick your big nose in. So who’s fault is it really that he’s dead?”
“I didn’t murder him! You did!”
“You wanna make an omelette you gotta break a few eggs,” she said simply.
“Yeah, well, it’s an eye for an eye bitch and you’ve only got one left so I guess you’re shit outta luck!”
Albus suddenly darted across the room heading for the chamber in the middle. As he didn’t, red bursts of light exploded around him, blasting out pipes and sections of the wall. Her wand was coated in the Centaurion enzyme making just about every spell she used lethal.
He couldn’t see her but he had the strangest feeling that Ryke was on the other side of the chamber.
Rose, Scorpius, Ron, Hermione and Ringo rushed through the tunnels below, following the signs that pointed to the reactor. It was strange but there were no guards down there. They must have all been called to assist in the fight that was happening above.
Hopefully that meant that the good guys were winning.
They reached the end of the tunnel to find a very large blast door standing in their way. Rose ran over to the control panel on the side of the door and pushed a few buttons before a flashing display came up saying: Access Denied.
“Shit! We need a password or something!” he sighed.
“Oh, well, we tried. Come on, let’s go get a beer...” Ringo said turning around to leave but Scorpius again tugged him back.
“Stand back,” Hermione said and raised her wand towards the door.
A white stream of light erupted from the tip and shined against the middle of the door like a concentrated spot light. Around the light, the door began to glow orange then red. She was melting her way through it.
“Are you sure that killing me is the best course of action here, Al?” Rykes voice asked.
“Nah, I might torture you first,” he said coldly.
“Then you’ll be just as dead as I am,” she chuckled.
“What, you gonna set the plant to self destruct or something?”
“No...I’m talking about the curse...”
Somehow, with everything that had been happening he had actually forgotten about it. The Saito curse that was hanging over him.
“Shiori’s father told me all about it...how long do you have left, Al? A year, less? I can practically smell it on you. It’s going to kill you, Al.”
“Not before I kill you.”
“Oh, come on, think about it, Al. Immortality...I’ll share it with you. If you’re immortal, that curse becomes void. You can live forever with your super powered bitch and have little super powered babies and never have to worry about it ever again.”
As much as he hated to admit it, it was tempting. The idea that he could have a long, wonderful life with Shiori. That they could have a family together. He couldn’t lie about how much he wanted that, but this was most definitely not the way to get it.
“Did it ever occur to you that maybe people aren’t meant to be immortal?” Al asked.
“Ahh, don’t gimmi that existential bullshit! If we weren’t meant to be immortal, why would we be given the opportunity to reach it?” she scathed. “You think this is some kind of test? A chance for us to show our moral superiority by turning down eternal life and being content with what God gave us? I hate to break this to you Al but there is no God! There are no Angels and Heaven is an illusion! It’s all a fantasy to make people feel better about the fact that one day they are going to die!”
“You think there’s nothing after death?”
“I’m not willing to take the chance,” she hissed.
“Then how do you explain what happened to my father?” Al questioned smugly.
“A back-fire of magic, a hallucination, who the hell knows. Besides, even if there is a Heaven, I doubt you or ya daddy are going there after the amount of shit that you’ve done.”
Al looked confused for a second. He had no reason to believe that he was going to Heaven. True, he had done things with the best intentions but that road leads to Hell, not Heaven. But his dad was a straight arrow. If anyone deserved to go to paradise it was him.
“Oh, he never told you,” Al’s silence had obviously tipped her off. “He never murdered anybody but he is very guilty. See, I got the chance to dish out some true justice once. To kill a monster that was going to escape prison because the evidence wasn’t there. I wasn’t going to let that happen so...I killed him...and you’re precious, heroic, virtuous father watched. He just sat there and let me do it because he wanted him dead just as much as I did.”
It was impossible! His father could never do something like that. He was good all the way through, so much that it became a liability at times. He would show mercy to people that never deserved it. He could never stand back and let that happen!
“That’s why your father hates him so much...because I showed him what it was like to be us!”
Albus felt like someone had stabbed him in the guts.
“So, before you used your daddy’s nobility as something to aspire to and turn down my offer of immortality, remember that if pushed in the right way, even he would take it.”
Al took a deep breath and gripped his weapon tight.
“No...he wouldn’t. He’s not like us...he’s better than us. Even now, after everything you’ve done, he would show you mercy...but I won’t!”
“Oh, well, plan b...let’s just kill each other!”
They burst out from behind the chamber at the same time, firing off everything they had. It was a blur of bullets, spells and movement.
Ryke suddenly spun around as one of Al’s rounds hit her in the shoulder but she managed to return fire. Her spell slammed into Al’s chest, blasting apart his FM-2000 and cutting straight through his Kevlar vest.
It hadn’t torn him open but had left a horrible slice in his ribs. Blood gushed from the wound and Albus fell to the floor.
Ryke groaned and held the bullet wound in her shoulder as she approached him.
“Bet you wish you’d taken my offer now, don’t you?” she grinned and pointed her wand at his head.
“Bet you wish you had a super powered girlfriend now, don’t you?” Al shot back with his own smirk.
Ryke turned around with her wand ready but it was too late. She was face to face with a very pissed off Toushi. She gasped and her eyes went wide as Shiori’s blade entered her stomach and ran her through.
“Nobody hurts my man but me!” she hissed as Ryke dropped her wand and fell to the ground. A pool of blood started to seep out from around her still body.
Shiori rushed over to Albus and laid her hand on his chest. A second later, green light began glowing from her palm and the wound began to shrink. It didn’t disappear completely but made him well enough to get back to his feet.
As soon as he did, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him.
A pile of molten metal goop hit the floor and Hermione’s spell finished melting through the blast door. She sprayed water from the tip of her wand cooling the remaining hot parts of the door and ground before they rushed through.
Inside was a massive chamber, similar to the one above except this one had dozens of glass windows around it. Control panels and computers lined the rest of the room.
Rose rushed over to one of the windows and looked inside to see the twelve stolen Centaurions locked up. They were strapped to the walls and had dozens of different pipes and wires positioned around them but they seemed unharmed. The poor things were terrified though.
She banged hard on the window getting their attention.
“Rose! Rose!” they cried as they saw her.
“Don’t worry! I’m going to get you out!” she yelled back.
“Err...how do we do that?” Ron asked looking around the room as if it were some kind of mirage.
“Well, I’m certainly not melting through a reactor!” Hermione stated.
“We’ve got to find a release switch!” Rose said and started searching the panels.
Shiori and Albus finally broke apart from lack of breath.
“Do I even want to know how you managed to get here?” she asked with a half laugh.
“Ask your mother,” he shrugged.
Shiori looked away for a second and sighed. “Albus...I’m sorry...I shouldn’t of let them take you...I was just -”
“Shiori, look at me,” he said pushing her face up to his. “It’s alright...to be honest, if things were the other way around, I would have done the same. I should have done the same...if I had, Louis wouldn’t be...”
“I love you so much,” she breathed.
“I love you...but I don’t forgive you for this!”
She took a step back looking shocked. “For what?”
“How long have we been together Shiori? You know, you can’t just stab the bad guy and say nothing! Where was the pun?!”
She wasn’t sure if he was joking or being serious. Albus did like his puns so it wasn’t a stretch to say that he actually got angry went he didn’t get one.
“I’m...I’m sorry, I don’t usually stab people!”
“Get the point, cutting edge, hell, I would have taken slice, slice baby!”
“Fine, you want me to stab her again?!” Shiori huffed.
Just then they both looked down and saw the blood on the ground but no body. Where it had been, there was now a bloody drag mark heading towards the open door of the chamber.
“No!” they bolted over to the door but it sealed before they could get to it.
Alarms sounded around the room and big digital display appeared on the side of the chamber.
Reactor Charge: 100%
Energy Transfer: 0%
“Oh, shit!” Al blurted.
A heavy humming sound rumbled around the room and what sounded like a jet engine firing up. Suddenly a blinding white light, as if God himself had arrived, erupted inside the chamber. Albus looked at the display on the side.
Reactor Charge: 80%
Energy Transfer: 20%
The transfer number was still climbing while the reactor one was falling.
The Centaurions screamed in pain as their life force was sucked out of them and inside the machine around them.
“No!” Rose screamed.
“We gotta stop it!”
“Bollocks to it!” Ringo huffed.
He grabbed his gun and unloaded the whole clip at as many control panels as possible. Sparks flew from the computers and the information being displayed cracked up and froze. The current alarms were replaced by something that sounded more like a fire alarm.
The heavy rumble and jet engine sound began to die down.
Rose, Scorpius, Ron and Hermione all looked at Ringo in absolute frozen awe.
“What? Figured it was worth a try...” he shrugged.
Albus looked at the display again as the reactor shut down. The read out was no longer changing.
Reactor Charge: 4%
Energy Transfer: 96%
He rushed over to the chamber door and listened for any nose coming from inside but there were none. Someone, and he had a sneaking suspicion of who, had managed to stop it. The process hadn’t been completed.
“What the hell was she trying to do here?” Shiori breathed.
“Oh, God! Albus, the Centaurions!” she gasped.
Ryke was using the Centaurions to power that thing. The process hadn’t been completed. Could they have survived it?
“Let’s find them,” Al said taking her by the hand and rushing towards the exit.
The door of the chamber was blasted off and flew into the wall as if it had been launched by a catapult. Albus and Shiori turned around to see smoke drift from the open gap. Then she appeared.
Ryke stepped out of the chamber looking dazed. She reached up and ripped the face-mask away from her head revealing the grotesque damage beneath it. Her face was burnt as scarred and her eye socket was completely empty.
Al and Shiori’s mouths dropped open as Rykes skin started to change. It moved and smoothed out and the burns disappeared and as they did, a small white orb started to grow inside her socket. Moments later, she had been restored to her former beauty.
It had worked. She had actually done it. Ryke was immortal.
She looked up at them and smiled.
“What a rush!”
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