~Quantum Urbs, Medellin District~
Cody and Isaac huddled together just inside a dilapidated warehouse, hidden in the shadows. It had been nearly an hour since Etriun had taken off, and it seemed that the violence they were running from was beginning to catch up with them. The sounds of gunfire and military vehicles was growing louder and louder, practically rumbling the ground. Isaac whined softly, and Cody stroked his dark fur. "It's OK, boy. Etriun will be back soon, and we'll get out of here," he said soothingly, scratching the big dog behind his ears. 'I don't know where we're gonna go, though...' he thought sadly. His family was dead, his mother's friend Ms. Benson was dead, and now that old snake brother of hers, Mr. Benson, was gone, too.
'Maybe we can find Isaac; I bet he could help me,' Cody thought, remembering his 'big brother'. The two weren't really brothers, but they had grown close after the death of Cody's father. Isaac had stopped in often to check on Cody and his mother when he was younger, but he hadn't heard from him since the night Cody's mother died. Isaac had brought him to Ms. Benson and told him that his name was Benson from now on, too. Cody had been too young to understand at the time, but he wasn't stupid. He'd had a few years to figure things out, and he realized it must have had something to do with his father's work with the military. So far, his best theory had been that his father had found out something that whoever he was working for hadn't wanted him to know, and that was why his parents were killed.
In his spare time, when he wasn't doing chores for Ms. Benson or hiding from Mr. Benson's drunken rage, he secretly imagined that his parents weren't dead at all; that it was all just an elaborate plot to escape their enemies, and that someday they would come back for him and they'd be a family again. But deep down, he knew the truth: they really were dead, he was alone, and there was no one he could truly count on except Isaac and himself. But it had been so long since he'd heard from Isaac; it saddened him, but he forced himself to accept that Isaac was probably dead, too. Doggie Isaac whined again, looking up at him soulfully, and Cody once again patted his head. Ever since Ms. Benson had given him to Cody as a puppy, the dog had always seemed to know when his master was feeling down. He reached up and licked Cody's face, and the boy giggled quietly before hushing the dog and burying his face in his neck. "It'll be alright, boy. I promise..."
Another explosion rocked the warehouse and Cody clutched his dog tighter, huddling in the shadows. "Dammit, Etch, where are you?..."
~Quantum Urbs, Gorditz District~
Soriun was almost ready to give up. The drones had herded a small contingent of armed soldiers into a dead end alley, and Andiun was trying to interrogate them one at a time. His progress was impeded, however, by Mikiun's constant interference. After every negative answer, Mikiun would swoop down and slash at one of the biologics with that accursed scalpel, usually lopping off a finger or slicing an eyeball but occasionally ripping open a throat. When they were down to the last two soldiers, who were holding each other and bawling like children, Andiun finally threw in the towel as well and joined Soriun near the rooftops. Mikiun made short work of the remaining pair and glided topside as well, thick rivulets of blood dripping from the blade down to the street below.
'Interrogation is fun!' Mikiun said as he spun playfully. The others barrel rolled in synch and gave an inward simulated sigh. 'You are such an idiot,' they said together. 'If Uncle Luke ever finds out how bad we are at this, he might just erase our drives and rewrite us from scratch.' 'You know, I don't think I'd blame him. We suck.' 'Aw, come on! We don't suck, look how many people we've killed already!' Andi and Sori glanced at each other, an encrypted message passing from each to the other simultaneously: 'Idiot.'
Andiun focused his frontal cameras on a small convoy of RVs rolling into the Medellin District a few kilometers away, then turned to the others. 'Alright, guys. I guess we're done here; let's try th--hey, wait! Soriun, check out the broadwave radio frequencies, I think I hear something!' 'Let me look...hm. On the unencrypted channels?' 'Yes.' 'I'm getting something...hey, that's...!' 'Yep. Looks like we found Etriun. Come on, guys, we've got a squadmate to pick up!'
~Quantum Urbs, Medellin District~
It had taken longer than anticipated to locate a sound system that was capable of broadcasting a signal powerful enough for Etriun's purposes that was still intact, but a quick sweep of his memory banks gave him a good idea of where to begin looking. At last, he found his goal in the basement of a large, gothic church. A quick blast with an incendiary missile to the back door allowed him inside, and through prodigious use of grapples and manipulator arms he soon had the sound system wired just as he needed it. He prepared a short message for his crewmates, translated it to binary, encrypted it on one of the Cherubims' dedicated channels, and began broadcasting on a continuous loop. As the first loop completed, an older woman in long black and white robes came downstairs and flipped on a light switch. She screamed at the sight of Etriun, and immediately fell to her knees and began chanting in some strange language. Etch activated his translation program and recognized it as Latin. 'Hm. Guess that must be what they call a 'none'. I don't think I'm supposed to kill nones. Ah, well.' He hovered over to the woman and lowered himself down to her eye level.
"Um. Sorry to bother you. I was just borrowing your sound system. I'm done. Bye!" He said, before swiveling away and launching back out the door, leaving the old woman wide-eyed and speechless.