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The angry, disturbed sky was a mirror of the surface world. One glance at it, and you could tell that havoc was reaching every corner of Earth. It was the year 4287 H.S. (human separation), 100 years after the Rebellion. The continents of Asia, Africa, and Australia were chemically combined by enraged scientists. Europe – after being separated from Asia – was fused together with North and South America. Antarctica was melted down, killing everyone and everything that resided upon it, leaving no living resource to tell from what.
Explosions rang throughout every particle of air. The stench of gun powder and death stained the wind, even trees could smell it. Buildings were collapsing, falling to their doom. Air crafts were scattered all around. No more innocent people were left; only Rebels and Superiors. People were scurrying for quick shelter, trying to escape gunfire. Some brave souls stood foolishly out in an open area, only to find smooth bullets harshly pierce their jaws.
Rebels were plowing their hands into the bitter dirt, picking whatever trace of food they could find and stuffing it into their mouths. However, Ilia Tsunaga refused to eat like a savage. No matter the risk, no matter the time, she robbed the Superiors of food. She was a cat, sneaking around enemy bases without leading on the slightest trace that she was ever present. She was the leader of the Eastern Asian Unit – what the Superiors named Unit Six. She was the youngest of all the leaders in any Unit, age 16, yet she had the three gifts that a leader needed: Strength, Courage, and Intelligence.
Kim Ray was another member of Unit Six. The same age as Ilia, Kim was bold. With a bit of a superman mentality, she was quick to aide Ilia on any quest that involved close range with Superiors. She rightfully earned her status as second in command in Unit Six.
Layla Armhart was the youngest of the Rebels in Unit Six. She was only 15 years old, but looked no younger than 17. She was quiet for the most part, only spoke when spoken to. However, she was courageous, and was another who would follow Ilia while in combat. She was originally born into Unit Five, Western Asian Unit, but was drafted into Unit Six, because of the nuclear explosion that killed many Rebels.
“There,” Ilia whispered, “Through the window is the Superiors' dining hall.”
“That's unfair!” stammered Kim, “They get to feast, while we're stuck eating dirt!”
“That's how this world works. The Superiors get to eat gourmet dinners, while we're stuck being the sorry people.” Ilia scanned the perimeter of the Superiors' base, plotting every move she would make. Layla and Kim watched intensively, confirming that Ilia's judgments were precise. Ilia gazed down at the bottom of the mountain.
After the reassurance of the absence of Superiors, Ilia gestured Layla and Kim to proceed. “Come on,” she murmured, “Everything is clear.” The three minutely slid down the mountain. A colossal light ray examined the periphery of the base. The light approached closer, closer. Layla's heart beat raced to an Olympic speed.
“Don't you trust me?” Ilia chimed. She grabbed Kim and Layla's hands and guided them on the edge of the building. The light barely passed without detecting the girls. A quick sigh was released from Layla. Kim shook her head, as if to question why Layla didn't trust Ilia's judgment.
The girls raced into a miniscule cubby hole that led to the basement of the Superiors' base. Ilia suddenly stopped, listening for any uproar or stridency from the Superiors. A low clatter was perceived by all three girls. Kim spider crawled up the ridged wall onto a metallic shelf. She maneuvered around the over abundance of chemicals that were used to make explosions. Kim had confidence in her flexibility and stealth; she knew she would never slip or falter.
Kim began to rap at walls alongside the shelf, checking for a secret entrance or a breakable passageway. “Here,” she whispered while knocking, “there's a hidden entrance.” She glided onto the floor, while afterward, immediately guiding Ilia and Layla down to the wall.
Layla slid her hand across the floor, finding a tiny crease in the wall. She slowly, but heavily, pushed her hand against the crease, revealing the entrance. Layla peered her head around the door, inspecting the room for any Superiors. “Look,” she susurrated, “there are some Superiors who are looking at a map.” Ilia suspiciously smiled as she glanced over to see the Superiors.
Four Superiors were examining a large detailed map of the battle field. Landmarks and hidden areas were noted on the map with bold print. All the Superiors were wearing their battle outfit – a plain black shirt with a camouflage Superior flag on the front, a thick camouflage headband and pants, with jet black boots – however, one was wearing a blue and black scouter, meaning that he was the leader of regiment.
“Him. We go after him. He's their leader,” Ilia devised, “First we have to take out the rest of the Superiors. We don't have enough time to make a full plan, but just follow my lead.” Kim and Layla both nodded. Ilia waited for all four of the Superiors to look down at the map, and quietly started walking in.
“When I'm ready for you two to come in, I'll give the signal; the three fingers (thumb, middle and index) in the air.” both girls nodded again.
Ilia rolled into the room, drawing no attention. She hid behind two rather large barrels, kicking one across the room to cause a noise. The Superiors hastily looked up to see what had happened, grabbing hold of their guns. Ilia waited for them to walk towards the barrel, then threw the other barrel lightning speed towards them.
Ilia gave the signal to her partners, and both rushed into the room. Ilia panther jumped at the Superiors, swiftly taking their guns out of their hands as they stood in fear. The leader swung to strike the other Superiors, as if to tell them to kill the girls. Layla and Kim both took a chair and smashed it into two of the Superiors' skull. They groaned in pain, rubbing their temples, while backing up into a wall.
Ilia twisted her heel around the back of the third Superior's heel and pushed him, causing him to fall. Kim assisted Ilia in lifting the man's body and throwing him over to the other beaten Superiors. Ilia curiously searched the room. “Where's the leader?” Layla and Kim joined her in looking around.
A faint step was heard coming from around a corner. “Well, well, well. A couple of Rebels trotting in my territory?” The man walked over to the girls, slowly, acknowledging the fact that they made it this far.
“Are you ready for a real battle?” The Superior dropped his belt bag, therefore abandoning all of his weapons. “Let's make this truly melee.” The girls stood vigilantly, but not in fear, and waited for the Superior leader to initiate the fight.
All four of the room's residents were standing motionless as a ghastly zephyr chilled their bones. Ilia knew that by not moving, they would be stuck in their inactive position. The Superior leader knew what Ilia was thinking, and flashed a monstrous grin. Although oblivious to Ilia, Layla could tell that the Superior was analyzing Ilia's conceptualizations. However, before Layla could say a syllable, Ilia was moving. Kim darted forward in attempt to yield the attack, colliding with Ilia.
As both of the girls fumbled towards the man, he rapidly transported to the other side of the room. All three girls were stunned in awe. How is he moving like that? Ilia cerebrated. The three continued to watch him as he strutted across the entire area, never stumbling.
As his speed decreased, the Superior stopped two centimeters from Kim's face. She could feel fear swelling up in her veins. The Superior gave off another vague grin, backing up a few feet away now from Kim. “Straighten yourself up,” the Superior commanded, Kim submissively obeying the dictation, “You'll never win if mortal fear crawls right into your head”
The three girls just gazed in confusion. The Superior leader dropped the scouter, and faced down. His hand reached onto his cheek and started peeling. The Superior's face evidently became a mask, revealing a feminine countenance. “I am Claudine,” the now discovered woman said, “I'm not what you think I am. I am a Rebel, like you, just disguised as a Superior.”
Ilia started to back away slowly, “Prove yourself.”
Claudine stiffened her stature, pulling off her headband. A black shirt was presented in front of the girls, “Look, it's an authentic Rebel jersey.” Kim reached for the shirt to make sure of it.
“Yes, it's legit,” Claudine said confidently, “About 10 years ago, I was sent out on a mission to spy on the Superiors. I was disguised as a male to make my features more distorted from my original apparel. In all, I've worked my way up to become a regiment leader. They never suspected, right under
their noses was a Rebel lingering.”
Claudine replaced the mask on her face. She glanced around the room again, then faced herself parallel to Ilia. Claudine grabbed Ilia's shoulder, while she recoiled and pulled back. “You girls must be hungry. That's what you came here for isn't it?” Claudine smiled, and started to lead them to the dining hall.
The girls followed perceptively, speculating their surroundings. Not one dared to talk, after all this was a Superior's base, and they were the enemy. Claudine put her arm out to the side, and told them to wait. The Rebels looked at each other, while Claudine simply just waltzed into the dining hall, and took food.
“Halt,” a loud, bass voice blared. Claudine's hand tensed around the plate. “Why don't you stay and have dinner with us, lieutenant?”
Only a single side of Claudine's mouth lifted to smile, “I'm fine, just came here for a snack.”
“That's a pretty big snack you got there,” One of the Superiors cracked.
Layla's foot slid on the ground, while one of the men got up to attend to the sound. “No! you don't have to go check, it might just be a mouse,” Claudine suspiciously exclaimed.
“What's gotten into you? You'd usually be the first to go find out what it was.” The man made peculiar eye contact with Claudine, and Ilia could see it through the dimmed lights. His face was familiar to Ilia, roughly edged with a five o'clock shadow, medium sized dark amber lips that were perpetual when he spoke, round dark yellow kitten eyes that could stare a lioness down, and long angry eyebrows that were perfectly symmetrical. The man had to be at the most 18, which was strange, considering most Superior guards were older. His age was what made him stand out to Ilia; what made her remember him.
“Nothing, nothing,” Claudine reassured him, “It's just, there's no reason in wasting time on something, that is probably nothing.” Her stomach tightened, hoping that he'd listen to her.
He broke into a laugh, “Nothing, huh? Well, you're probably right.” Claudine felt relief going through her, knowing the consequences of being a traitor. One of the man's thick eyebrows raised, as Claudine began walking out. Suddenly, tmp tmp tmp, foots steps came rushing into the hallway. All four Rebels tried to dart for the exit, but a hefty hand reached for and grabbed Claudine. She felt a sudden pierce go through her body starting from her back, stunning every inch of her. She fell to the ground, passed out.
Then the rest of the guards rushed for the exit, creating a blockade. Each girl felt a blow hit them right under the chest blade, a sense of death rang through their brains. The Superiors' words echoed in their head, “In the end, there will be no one; no one left to hold the Rebel title.” Blackness blocked out their peripheral vision, followed by darkness encompassing their entire sight.
Water doused the girls faces, startling them into waking up. “Three pretty little girls, messing in other people's business,” The foreman sung. More Superiors were here this time, “Too bad they won't live, to recall what they are going to witness... Tell me, do you know why the Superiors and Rebels fight?”
Each girl nodded. Ilia spoke out, “Rebels fight for freedom; for liberation. What Superiors had taken from us.”
The foreman grinned, “No!” he vociferated, “You don't even know what freedom is, you incompetent fool!” His voice was shrill now, as he rubbed his temples, “A long time ago – long before you and I were born – were seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. The humans that lived there were constantly fighting yet, after awhile, scientists found a way to combine some of the continents. Those scientists, who sided with North America, South America, and Europe, decided to attempt to end all wars by separating enemy continents, and combining allies. Of course, given human nature, the scientist would put their own nation above the other, hence, the formation of the Superiors. Now, I bet you can see how this is where people start to get angry, being called inferior, being looked down upon. Yes, in the attempt to end all wars, human behavior created the Mother of all wars, that would kill us all.”
His voice was clutching Ilia's soul, binding her insides, until she couldn't take it anymore. The man continued, “At first, no one cared, they lived as they always did; children going to school, adults going to work. But then, about 4000 years later, after all the original humans of the seven continents ceased to exist, the inferior continents became units. No longer were they humans. They were objects, tools, animals, and moreover, numbers.”
Each new name for the Rebels was like an ax to Ilia's head, repeating to bash her skull inward.
After a long, intense and frightening pause filled the air, the man began again, “Six units, each to represent the North and South of each inferior continent. Those stupid inferiors started a war against their dominate,” Ilia clenched to the floor, “Ha! Every single last infant that could be found was killed as a warning, however the Rebels did not stop fighting. For a hundred years, after being tortured and killed, they continued. Even when nudged and bribed to surrender, their cloddish selves continued!” The foreman's voice was shrouded behind anger, but hidden within a sinister grin.
Ilia couldn't stand to hear another word, “Enough already! What are you even getting at with this story? You're making yourself look bad! All I can hear you say is how the Rebels wanted to fight for their freedom and the Superiors killed them!”
“Shut up!” The man was now not even a centimeter away from Ilia's face, “They killed theirselves! They were in no position to take a stand against us! We are your gods!”
Ilia's eyes grew with rage, as she twined her arms around the foreman's neck. Ilia felt a sharp piece of metal strike her skin. The metal stroked her neck slowly, as the man cursed her under his breath. Suddenly, she felt the metal move to the side of her neck. The man was being pushed. Claudine had obstructed the attack, her natural face fully exposed. All motion in the room stopped, holding every living organism focusing on Claudine, now holding the knife in her hand, as if she were some rabid primate ready to attack everyone.
Each Superior, excluding the foreman, was now in a firing position. “Go” were all the three girls could hear Claudine say as she kicked the door wide open. Right as the girls turned to get their final glances at Claudine, all that was heard were the loud, booming noises of five AK-47 being emitted all at once, showering the entire room with Claudine's skull fragments and viscus. Knees hit the ground as another shot was dispersed by the foreman, hitting each and every guard, combining their intestines with Claudine's; combining their scents.
“Fools,” the foreman sighed, “I didn't want her dead.”
Layla was trapped in a trance of pure trauma. The two others tried to grab her and leave, but time had caught up to them, and another shot chimed. Layla was no more, and the girls were facing the fact of inevitable death. Each, in their mind, were thinking of staying and getting killed over with, but mortal fear was in their head, and they couldn't stop running.
Exit after exit, they continued on running, until they felt safe enough to stop. Ilia was too tenacious, “This battle is not over. We are already in their base, and we can kill them. If, and only if,” Kim's eyebrow raised, “Only if we can get to their weapons, big weapons. We can take every one of the leaders down, and force them to surrender.”
“That idea is so farfetched!” Ilia cried, but grimaced, “But maybe I'm crazy enough to do it. We'd die anyway, why not take some Superiors out?” Ilia widely smiled and gave a single nod.
They began the journey up to the top of the base, searching every closet they could to try and find weapons. Finally, at the very top of the base they found a large control room, with high-tech beeping buttons and millions of weapons hanging on the wall. The two looked at each other and began to grab the largest instruments they could carry. However, the foreman walked in.
“So naive!” The foreman hissed. “Did you really think you could pull this – “ Before finishing his sentence, Ilia unleashed a brutal blow with an improved carbine. The two girls didn't even look at each other or the dead body as they rushed to defeat the rest of the base.
At every single room they could find, they killed all the residents. After others of the base suspected an intruder, teams were sent to unleash a revenge attack. The girls ran for their lives towards the exit of the base, occasionally turning back to fire. However, grenades were sent flying for the exit of the base in attempt to kill the intruders, only to cause the whole building to burn from the bottom up, sending Superiors flying out of the windows.
Kim was caught by a piece of metal that came from the building, fracturing her leg bone. Ilia carried Kim back to Unit Six territory, where she was healed of her wounds. Ilia then hurried to the mountain where she first was devising her plan to get food.
“We are your gods!” She joyously wailed out into the air. Next to her appeared Kim and Layla, where they were before they left for the base. The story of the Separation and the Rebellion echoed in her mind, covering the growling of her stomach. Glaring up at the even more agitated sky, she fell to her knees, “We are your gods! We are your gods!” The sense of accomplishment for conquering her Unit's feuding base was so deep within her, that she felt she could die right there.
Tears flooded her eyes: Sadness for the loss of Layla, happiness for conquering the Superiors base, Sympathy for the ones who died to protect the living, and empathy for those who were suffering. But she was tenacious – forever a strong leader.
Soon after, Ilia and Kim were called by Unit Five to help in South Asia. Both exchanging similar grins, gladly went forth with the offer.