The Aftermath Academy - CH47 (Olivia)

“So she’s spidered, huh?” Old man Alistair asks Krieg, looking at the elderly woman sitting in front of us. She’s not any older than he is, but he looks to be in much better shape. There’s a strength to his face beneath the wrinkles, and a glow to his cheeks that probably has nothing to do with his powers. Probably.

Transfer, on the other hand, looks ragged. It might have something to do with the machines currently jacked into her nervous system, but I think she’d look worn down regardless. Decades of hiding out will do that to a person.

“Yes,” Krieg says. “This asset is the most pivotal part of our plan. And even if Jared decides to spare the rest of us, I can’t imagine he’ll be in any mood to let her go. She knows that, and we can’t have her getting cold feet on us.” There is no one left alive that Jared hates more than this old woman, blaming her for the Purges and his sister’s suffering. Bit of a dick move, if you ask me, since his sister wouldn’t have lived as long as she did without Transfer’s abilities. But Krieg’s right that she might turn on us, and there’s no one here more important to the success of the plan. So zombie mode it is!

“You can definitely use her power while she’s like that?” Alistair asks.

“Tested, multiple times. The only reason Abe was able to infiltrate Hope’s Bastion was we gave him shape shifting abilities,” Krieg says. Lilith smiles happily in the battle suit Krieg gave her, excited that we’ll finally get to see Abe again in real life soon. We’ve been playing plenty of games together, but he’s been in Hope’s Bastion building up forces to draw out Void.

Alistair nods, then stretches and I hear his bones creak and snap. “Jared will probably kill me too, regardless of the outcome. I’m not exactly on his favorite people list. Ah, well, I’ve lived a longer life than I expected to. Surprised you got Gravitas to join in though. Zhe’s been useful enough to get a pass for Sunlight City, but I doubt Jared will give another one.”

“Gravitas is motivated by guilt,” Krieg says. “And zhis part is small enough that Jared might not even figure out zhis involvement. Most of the executioners will be sent to our distraction in the next twenty minutes, and zhe just needs to make sure the ones who are in on it keep the ones who aren’t out of harm’s way. Samantha Grimes will be lending her assistance with a mass mental simulation, but Jared and the most power resistant will be immune to that. Our visual illusionist is the best there is, but if we trick Jared into killing innocent people our own odds of survival will be zero. Unfortunately, we won’t be in any position to prevent collateral damage ourselves. We’ll have to trust we’ve put our lives in the right hands and focus on our part.”

“You have May?” Alistair asks.

“The body she’s using to keep us under surveillance remains in its location,” Krieg says. “Once the distraction begins, I’ll sever its connection to the rest of her and bring her here. The portals are charging. We can’t teleport straight into Hope’s tower due to the interference of the immortality field, but we can exit inside the bio-dome. Abe’s bone puppets should begin rampaging at that point to draw Void out. Once he’s dealt with, just one of us needs to get to Hope and set the teleport marker.”

Krieg’s not really saying anything we don’t know. I’m not even sure why Alistair is asking these things, so close to time. Maybe he’s senile? That would be bad, but he’s mostly just here for muscle so it doesn’t really matter. We’ve talked about our approach, contingency plans, attack patterns, back-up assets, escape routes if things go south. This has been planned for over two years now, in excruciating detail.

We will win this. And when we’re done, today will be the day that Hope dies.