Chapter One Lone Ranger
Frontiersman Halloran could say one thing about the Black Hand Gang. They were skilled at what they did.
He'd been called to this town by a distress signal sent out three hours ago. Now he was standing in the breach of the town wall. Made mostly out of scrap, it had several gaps in it so the townspeople could fire whatever firearms they had out at any threats trying to get in. Normally this was just a roaming pack of chupacabrii, but this time it had been a well-armed and well-organised bandit raiding force, obviously armed with some form of explosive, most likely a K-18 Rocket Propeller, if the size of the hole in the town wall was anything to go by. K-18's were virtually antiques, outclassed in every way by more modern weapons. But the town wall had been paper-thin made out of scrap metal, held together by shoestrings, chewing gum and blind faith and less than twenty feet tall. It was a small miracle that the rocket had blown up the wall, rather than simply passing through and blowing up someone's house.
From the looks of things, that was exactly what several other rockets had decided to do. The dozen or so houses had been arranged in a U-shape, facing inwards. The gate to the town was in the only spot that didn't face the back of someone's house. The largest and most official building, opposite the gate, had most likely been the town hall, containing the offices of the mayor, the local frontiersman, and other notables. It had been destroyed in the opening seconds of the attack, as far as Halloran could tell from what was left. The bandits had slaughtered the townspeople in the ensuing pandemonium. It was the typical Black Hand modus operandi, just like the black handprint that had been burned into a wall of every house.
As for the townspeople, there was no sign. There were plenty of ominous bloodstains, and the entire town reeked of voided bowels and charred flesh, but the living townspeople would have been taken off to God knows what fate. The dead townspeople had been taken too. Fresh meat was hard to find.
Still, just because the Black Hand had wiped out everyone in the last five surrounding towns didn't mean there might not be any survivors this time. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Halloran stepped through the breach in the town wall, drawing his pistol. He walked cautiously towards the well in the centre of the town. Sometimes bandits would be left behind by their comrades, or they would have left claymores for the first responders so it payed to be ready.
In front of him was the burnt frame of the town hall. Sagging alarmingly, it was a testament to the luck which seemed to have kept most of the ramshackle buildings in this town up. Sadly, it seemed the building had been luckier than its inhabitants Halloran didn't need to go sifting through the rubble of the hall to know everyone who'd been in it was dead.
He walked towards one of the few houses still standing. It had been a tumble-down affair before the raiders had arrived. Now it looked ready to collapse at any second. He would have to be quick as well as careful.
The door hung open; complete with the necessary bloody handprint. Beyond was what looked like a sitting room, with dreary grey walls, unadorned except for the bullet holes. The TV was smashed, and the chairs and cushions were torn up. What looked like dinner had been trodden into the carpet, and the curtains were little more than torn rags. Lying on the floor next to one of the blank walls were the shattered remains of a clock, and several pictures.
On an impulse, Halloran began to search through the mess of glass with his gloved hand, the other holding his pistol. Most of the old photographs were torn up, but there was one at the very bottom of the pile which was relatively intact. It showed a picture of a man and a woman smiling, standing behind a little girl, also smiling, and clutching a teddy bear.
No. He couldn't think about that. It was too painful. He made to cast the photo away, but instead put it in his pocket. He had to remember what he was fighting for.
He moved to the next room. It had similarly dreary grey walls, but it also had a sink and cupboards pushed up against two of them, as well as a kitchen bench in the centre of the room. It was a small room, but the raiders had done their work well. Broken remains of plates which would never again know washing up liquid were scattered across the tile floor, but the room was mercifully bereft of bloodstains. There was still a hand print burnt into the wall, although Halloran found that if you ignored it, you could almost pretend the kitchen was just messy. Noticing a white plastic mixing bowl lying upside down on the floor, Halloran bent over and picked it up. Inside were the dried remnants of cake mix. Post-licking of course. Halloran smiled warmly, thinking of his own two daughters. Then he remembered the girl in the photo, and stopped smiling.
Leaving the kitchen and its liberated crockery, Halloran proceeded through the doorway, and into the hallway beyond. Its walls were grey and featureless, apart from a streak of blood which ran up one wall. Most disturbing of all was the teddy bear, lying on the carpet, slightly singed and with its arm torn off.
Halloran sucked in a shuddering breath and fought to keep control of himself. He had two daughters. Patricia and Lara. Aged twelve and eight respectively. They were eternally cheerful, despite having been brought up in near poverty. Patty had dirty blonde hair, freckles and deep green eyes. Lara had brown hair and dark eyes, as well as a scar going from her ear lobe to her chin, from the c-section that had been needed when his wife had been giving birth.
This was the part of the job he hated most. To wander through people's houses, look at all their fondest memories, and know that they were all dead or worse. The people in the photo. They would have lived, laughed, loved in these walls, and now they were... and now...
Halloran was broken out of his revelry by a small, muffled gasp. He froze. It had been at the very edges of his hearing, but he'd heard it. Slowly he walked out of the front of the house, and around the back, to the metre-wide gap between the back wall and the town wall. He checked the ground in front of him, patting it with his hands, until he came to something the no longer felt like ground. Wiping away the dirt, Halloran's heart leapt. A trap door!
Slowly, Halloran raised the trap door. Beyond was darkness.
'Hello?' He called, tentatively 'Is anyone down there?'
'My name is Theodore Halloran. I'm a Frontiersman. I'm not going to hurt you, so just come out slowly.' Halloran thought for a minute 'Unless you're a bandit. Then I'm going to hurt you.' He added as an afterthought.
Still no reply.
'Look, I'm not going to hurt you if you're one of the townspeople. It's my job to protect you. So just come out an-'
Something small and fast raced out. It was so sudden Halloran almost missed it. He reached out and grabbed the child with swiftness honed by years of combat.
'No! Lemme go!' she sobbed.
The girl. The girl from the picture. But how-?
Halloran's trail of thought was broken when she kicked him square in the groin. He grunted in pain and went down, relinquishing his hold on her. She sped off, screaming.
'Hey! Wait a second!' Halloran yelled out, his voice higher than normal.
It was no good. She was almost to the breach in the town wall. Painfully, Halloran staggered to his feet, in an effort to go after her, but it was no use. By the time he'd gone three steps she was through the wall and into the wasteland beyond. Where she was going to go, he had no idea, but he had to catch up with her, before she got lost and ran into something nasty.
Suddenly, the girl shrieked. Evidently she'd run into something nasty sooner than expected. Halloran raced to the breach, pistol ready.
'Shush, it's okay. No one's going to hurt you.' Halloran lowered his pistol. Standing just outside the wall was a purple-skinned alarian soldier in combat armour. She had her helmet removed, and Halloran recognized her as Krillis, one of alarians who worked at the Orphanage, a small settlement founded by the alarians who'd invaded Farpoint twenty years ago, during the war. Some of the alarians had been so moved by the plight of the ordinary humans on Farpoint they'd stayed behind, to protect the innocent from the bandits and the animals.
'I'm from the Orphanage. It's okay; I'm here to help you.' Krillis cooed. She held the squirming girl with the ease of someone experienced with alarian-human interaction. 'Come on. I'm not going to hurt you. We heard that there was a bandit raid and I came to help.' She continued, in the same gentle, relaxing tone of voice.
The girl stopped writhing, and then burst into tears. 'Awww, don't worry, you're safe now.' Krillis continued, nuzzling the small child to her cheek.
She looked past the girl, and almost imperceptibly nodded a greeting to Halloran. Halloran nodded back. Stroking the crying girl while holding her against her cheek, she mouthed the word 'survivors' at Halloran. Halloran shook his head. A look of grief flashed across her face, before she returned to comforting the sobbing child.
Halloran clenched his fists. There would be a reckoning.
Stalin sat in his throne in his tower, and couldn't help but feel a sense of pride. The most powerful bandit warlords could claim to control a city, and he controlled the most powerful city on Farpoint. He had become a warlord through a series of assassinations, ambushes, and gang wars. He'd ruthlessly slaughtered dozens of rivals and countless innocents to get where he was today, and he'd held his position for ten years nine years longer than most had expected. Yes, he certainly had reason to be proud.
His throne room, as he liked to think of it, was filled with macabre decorations, just like the rest of his gothic-style tower. Meat hooks hung on spiked chains from the ceiling. His own throne had been crafted from the bones of those who'd betrayed him, just like the cups had been made of their skulls, and the rug in front of him had been made from their skin.
Four men sat on said rug, drinking suspicious-tasting red wine from the skull cups. They were his closest lieutenants, and the ones most likely to betray him, but that was unlikely to happen while they had to drink what looked like blood from the skulls of men who'd tried the same. Stalin smiled inwardly, but did not show it. He could never give anything away, least of all in front of these men.
On the far left kneeled the tallest, and broadest, man. He wore a sleeveless shirt, functional trousers and combat boots. The bulging muscles and crew-cut might make him look like a thug, but his shrewd eyes gave away the rat-cunning which lurked beneath. This was Jeremiah, one of two leaders of Stalin's armies. Stalin was loathe to leave control of his forces up to any one man, who may try to usurp his position in a coup, but if there were two of them he could play them off against each other. So far it had worked quite well, but Stalin knew it wouldn't work forever.
On Jeremiah's right sat a twitchy, shrivelled being. Dressed in pyjamas, a dressing gown and ugg boots, he looked nothing like Jeremiah. His skin was pale, his eyes rimmed with dark circles and his hair hung in moist clumps, all signs of having sampled too much of his own product. He was called Slither, and was the man who was responsible for the production of the narcotics which kept the sheep who worked in Stalin's city docile. Despite his pathetic-looking exterior, underneath there was a mind as powerful and as sharp as Stalin's himself. When it wasn't fogged up by drugs, of course, like right now. He probably didn't realise he was still in his pyjamas.
Further along lounged a man who looked like some kind of space pirate. He had numerous scars, an eye patch, and a pair of barbed earrings. His shaved head was covered by a bandanna, and he wore jeans, combat boots and an open vest which exposed a scarred torso. An ex-raider and head of both the slave houses and the abattoir, Carrion had risen through the ranks because he had the fortune to outlive those above him. He had been promoted to Stalin's inner circle because he had another talent too he knew exactly where it hurt. Arguably the most skilled torturer on all of Farpoint, Carrion had a knack for knowing just how close to the edge he could push someone, and the skill to hold them there for days. He was also the most trustworthy of Stalin's lieutenants, because he didn't care about ruling a city. So long as he had the opportunity cause pain he was happy.
Sitting as far away from Jeremiah as possible and shooting nervous glances at the other three was Drake. He was the most recently promoted of Stalin's lieutenants. He had received the post when his predecessor had an unfortunate but fatal encounter with a high explosive concealed under his bed. Drake knew that it could have been any of the other men in this room, especially Jeremiah. Drake's combat fatigues didn't quite conceal the body armour he was wearing beneath them, nor did his attempts at a calm exterior conceal his fear. Stalin's spies had reported that Drake was extremely paranoid, to the point where he slept in a random underlings' room every night. The ruler of Farpoint smiled inwardly. Well, whatever helps.
Stalin cleared his throat. The four men in front of him obligingly lowered their skulls. 'Report.' He rumbled. In his suit and leather overcoat, combined with his steel grey eyes and crew-cut, he looked every inch a dictator.
Jeremiah was first. 'Our forces have beaten back the gangs sent by Blackheart. They fled the city in the early hours of this morning. As far as we can tell, they weren't very well equipped. Most likely they were a diversion. For what, I don't know yet.'
Stalin nodded, just once. 'See to it. Slither?'
Shakily, Slither rose onto his unsteady feet. 'Production is steadily increasing. My men are getting better at operating their machines, and more afraid of sampling.' He rasped, sounding as though every word was an effort. 'Some of them have gone completely off the stuff, but they'll have their own stores somewhere. There were a few deaths because of a faulty batch, but the masses are as addicted as ever.'
'The Black Hand Gang brought in a fresh haul of slaves and meat this morning. They look strong, and have already been hooked on Slither's drugs. My men are in the process of beating what spirit they have left out of them. It shouldn't take too long.'
'Excellent. That is all I wanted to hear. You may leave.' The four men got up to leave. 'Carrion, I need to speak to you.'
The other three lieutenants shot the scarred raider suspicious looks. Carrion just grinned back, revealing a mouthful of teeth sharpened to fangs. Like a carnivore.
The others trudged out, and the large doors closed shut behind them with a theatrically thunderous boom. Carrion turned to face his leader, still grinning.
'What about the special mission. Did the Black Hand find him?' Stalin asked, giving nothing away.
'Nothing. There was no sign of the clever bastard. He must have already moved out by the time my boys got there. Best guess is he ran to the Orphanage. Must be trying to get off planet.'
'Hmmm.' Stalin already knew this, of course. He'd had spies placed in the Black Hand Gang before they'd moved out. It didn't pay to be too careful, especially considering how dangerous the man he was looking for him. If Carrion controlled him, he'd be able to depose of Stalin at any time. All Stalin's guards, defences, and weapons were useless against this man. This man with the red hand.
Stalin stood up from his throne, and wandered over to his window. It wasn't actually a window instead, a series of microscopic cameras fed an image from the opposite side of a bullet proof piece of titanium, allowing Stalin to view his kingdom without risking the threat of snipers.
'Gather the Black Hand, the Bloody Knife, and Gord's Boys. It's time Drake proved his loyalty.' Stalin intoned. Behind him, Carrion grinned.
'Ted, how can you say that? How can you condone the deaths of hundreds?' said Krillis' voice through his jeeps radio.
'I'm not condoning what the man did; I'm just saying I feel sorry for him.' Halloran replied.
Krillis was jogging alongside Halloran's jeep, wearing her helmet, while the little girl Jennifer sat in the back. After giving her name, she'd refused to say more, and had sat in silence for the past 3 hours of the trip to the Orphanage. They were nearly there, and once they arrived she'd start receiving immediate psychological help. Jennifer would start getting better almost immediately no amount of depression could stand up to that much nuzzling.
They were tearing up the desert ground, with a large plume of dirt emerged from the back of his jeep. In the distance, huge reddish-brown rock mesas loomed, casting long shadows away from the setting sun. You had to avoid the shadows. Monsters waited in the dark.
'How can you feel sorry for him? He nuked a settlement full of alarian civilians. He started a war which killed thouasands. He was arrested, sent to a penal colony, and then escaped and nuked that colony too!' Krillis shot back.
'Look, before humans met alarians, humans generally thought aliens were big scary tentacled things with ultra-advanced technology who were hell bent on wiping out humanity. When Farnsworth was fleeing Ruby, he wasn't thinking that they were giant blue women who hadn't seen a man in centuries. If he had, then I seriously doubt he would have nuked Ruby-21. But he panicked, and because of it, like you said, thousands died. But that was an accident. If you asked him, I'm sure he'd be sorry.'
'But we can't ask him. He escaped the penal colony, and then obliterated it!'
'Okay, first of all, that wasn't Farnsworth. That was whoever was in command of the res- the escape fleet.' Halloran almost slipped. Krillis was an old friend, but hell hath no fury like a thirty foot-tall psychic woman scorned. 'Second of all, if he had nuked it, could you blame him? I imagine being the galaxy's least popular human on an alarian penal colony could hardly have been a pleasant experience.'
'Maybe, but that still doesn't excuse the destruction of Ruby.'
'Ah, but would you be willing to concede that it was a stupid mistake?'
'Well... I suppose...'
'If that's the case, then what happened to Farnsworth afterwards was an atrocity. They could have simply forced him into early retirement but instead the UEC threw the poor bastard to the wolves as a peace offering. I'm not saying what happened at Ruby was okay. It was horrible. But being betrayed by your own government after years of loyal service because of one stupid mistake? That's even more horrible.'
It was a conversation he and Krillis had had many times before. It usually ended the same way too. Krillis was one of the few alarians he could actually discuss it with. The others would just shout him down or give him death glares. Hell hath no fury indeed.
'When you put it that way, yes, I suppose it is horrible. But remember, you don't need to feel too badly for him. After all, your government abandoned you too.'
As tempting as it was to continue this conversation, the Orphanage came into sight about now. It emerged from behind one of the mesas against the horizon. Its walls were the polar opposite of the nameless town's more than seventy feet tall and at least a dozen feet thick, and made out of the same stone as the rock mesas. From a distance it was almost indistinguishable from the mesas, unless you knew where to look for the outlines of the huge gates, or the sentry posts. For some twenty years it had stood as a testament to what human and alarian could accomplish if they worked together. From the looks of those walls, they would stand for another twenty more.
'Hey there, seventeen. We've got you on the radio at last. What, are you packing jammers out there?' said a voice in alarian 'I can see you've got friends with you. Survivors?'
'Just one. A little girl. Get Anywa. The other in the jeep is Frontiersman Theodore Halloran.'
'Teddy Bear plus one? Heh. Anywa's gonna love this.'
Halloran shook his head. Fall asleep in one alarian's arms and the nickname sticks for life.
Once they reached the Orphanage, the huge gates groaned open. Only enough to admit the jeep, with just over a foot on either side. As he slowed the jeep, the hidden sentries watched him with unseen eyes. If he made one wrong move, they would obliterate him, his jeep, and the other occupant. Through the gates, nice and easy. Krillis stepped through after him. As the doors groaned shut, on this side accompanied by the whirring of machinery, he drove to the side of the gates, and parked his jeep next to the wall. Krillis walked over and took off her helmet.
Her deep purple skin was criss-crossed by scars. Her dark blue hair didn't quite conceal the chunk of her left ear she lost in a training exercise before coming to Farpoint. Golden yellow eyes regarded Halloran as he stepped out of his jeep.
'Is Jennifer okay?' she asked, the concern clear in her voice.
'Not a peep, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing.' Halloran replied, walking around to her side of the transport. He opened the door. 'Come on sweetheart. No-one's going to hurt you.'
Slowly, the girl hopped out of the jeep. Wide blue eyes peeped out from beneath brown hair. She clutched her teddy bear tighter, and looked around at the settlement.
The buildings had been made had been made from the same stone as the wall, while other materials like pipes or glass had been donated by charitable sponsors from both species. Alarian and human houses shared the same dirt streets, patrolled by both species. There were only two hundred and fifty souls within the walls, at least a fifth of whom were alarian. There would undoubtedly have been more humans, but despite many pleas for shelter, there simply was not enough space.
'Hey, I came as soon as I could oh is that her? The poor thing!' Bustled a voice. Halloran turned, and recognized it as belonging to Anywa. She stood there, almost forty feet tall, with a half dozen human children behind her, as well as her own alarian daughter, Yora. She had light blue skin, dark green hair and mauve eyes. She was wearing a pair of black skin-tight shorts, and a white sleeveless shirt with a plunging neckline. The whole outfit complemented her voluptuous figure nicely.
Anywa had been a psychologist during the Earth-Alarie war. She had been attached to the force which invaded Farpoint twenty years ago, and had been one of the strongest advocates of helping the humans. After the war, she had left Farpoint for a while, and then returned, pregnant. Yora had been born on Farpoint, and had grown up playing with human children. Anywa was committed to helping as many humans as possible, even to the point of taking in the orphans displaced by bandits. She was not military, so did not exercise, but still worked hard on her figure. Physically, she was soft, curved and motherly, which greatly helped soothing the emotional wounds of the humans she looked after. It had also meant that the one time she had picked him up Halloran had found it nearly impossible to stay awake. Damn her soft figure.
'Hello there.' Anywa said gently, kneeling down so as to appear less threatening 'My name's Anywa. I'm here to look after you. What's your name?' The little girl shrank back squeezing her teddy bear. 'It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you. Come on, tell me your name.'
'Jennifer.' The small girl peeped out.
'Okay Jennifer, is it okay if I pick you up?'
'Y-yes.' The girl said quietly.
Moving slowly so as not to startle the girl, Anywa scooped Jennifer up. Pressing the huddled child to her chest, she strode off, the gaggle of human children at her heels. Halloran smiled. The girl might never see her parents again, but that shouldn't stop her from leading a full and happy life. He was about to turn back to Krillis, when he was lurched off the ground suddenly.
'Teddy Bear!' cried Yora happily, hugging him tightly. 'It's good to see you again. Soooooo much has happened since you came last. Did you know Timmy broke his leg? It was soooo sad! But I get to carry him everywhere now! I think he likes me! And Becca actually got the courage to kiss Jake! He went all red! It was sooooo funny! And Jerry-'
'Yora! You're supposed to ask them before you pick them up!' Krillis attempted to admonished the younger girl sternly, but had to fight not to smile.
'It's okay! He doesn't mind, do you Teddy?' Yora replied. She looked like a younger version of her mother, only just reaching puberty. Her inability to sit still for more than two seconds combined with her eternal optimism meant it was hard to be angry with her.
'It's fine Krillis.' Halloran sighed, rolling his eyes. 'She's almost exactly like my two girls back home. Just a little bigger.' He added.
'Yay!' Yora squealed, hugging him again 'So where was I? Oh yeah, Jerry's cat had kittens! They are sooo cute! Mom says if I'm reeeeaaalll good she'll let me have one. It's s'posed to be a big responsibility, but I can handle it! Oh, and Katelyn finally asked Callum out! She did it while she was wearing this reeeeaaallly revealing shirt! Why do human boys like to look at human girls boobs like that? Nevermind now, I've just remembered, Dorothy said she was going to go on a diet! She's already pretty fit, but she still thinks she's fat! One of these days we're going to have to hold her down and force feed her or else she'll starve! Oh yeah, and did you hear about...'
Krillis smiled as she watched Yora walk after her mother, holding Halloran. The girl was irrepressible.
Then she had a disturbing thought. Halloran has two of them? How did he survive?
Drake sat in the driver seat, as the convoy threw up a massive dirt cloud behind it. It was a fifteen hour drive to the Orphanage, and they'd been driving for the past seven, since sun-up. It was now midday, or just after it, and hopefully they'd be able to attack the Orphanage by tomorrow.
His car was the third last in the convoy. It, like all raider vehicles, was ramshackle but sturdy, with armour plates and a supercharged engine. A reinforced flatbed truck chassis with an AARC on the back, it was a fearsome sight. Nevertheless, it was not the car most of the convoy believed him to be in. That was a more grandiose model driving at the head of the convoy. This ensured that if any of the gangs got any funny ideas about who was leading this raid, Drake would be out of harm's way during the opening moments of the attempted coup, and ready to strike back at the usurpers.
Some people would say that Drake was paranoid. That sleeping in a different room every night was overkill. That making sure the only person who knew of Drake's true whereabouts was his autistic and totally loyal brother who was manning the AARC on the back of the truck was taking caution to the extreme. That blowing up his superior while he slept was downright mad. But he wasn't mad. He'd show them. He'd show them all.
Besides, each of the four lieutenants had sent men on this raid. Any of them could try to have him killed on the trip there, during the raid, or on the trip back. Each group was distinctly different to the others, and each had their own uses.
First of all, there were Drake's own warriors, the Terrorisers. Drake had spared no expense in outfitting all the AARCs he had at his command with Screaming Silencers an invention of his own which caused every rocket fired to wail as it flew through the air. Each vehicle had been painted black with the white 'T' motif on each door. They would be serving as his backup in the event of a coup, and as his reserve during the raid proper.
Next along the convoy were the shock troops, the Bloody Knife. These were Slither's men, inexperienced as raiders but no strangers to urban warfare. Slither had spared no expense with these men, constantly injecting them with steroids, pain killers and other combat drugs to make them bigger, stronger, faster. They didn't ride in ordinary jeeps, but in a series of large red armoured semi-trailers. This meant they would be next to useless until they disembarked inside the Orphanage.
In front of them were Carrion's raiders, the Black Hand. Veteran raiders and adrenaline junkies to a man, the Black Hand favoured speed over armour, and their trucks reflected that. Without wasting time on paint jobs, they had simply spray painted a large black hand on the bonnet of each truck. They also preferred SHMAGs over AARCs, because SHMAGs were noisier.
Finally, at the very front and filling the niche of cannon fodder nicely were Gord's Boys. In blue trucks and armed with an even spread of all weapons, these warriors were all about fist-pumping and war cries. They spent most of their time back home training, or in actual combat. They would form a nice spearhead for breaking into the Orphanage, and if most of them died, so what? Life was cheap on Farpoint.
Privately, Drake had his own concerns about the mission. Even with over a hundred men and thirty vehicles at his command, it was still going to be difficult to break into the Orphanage. He had a plan of course, but even with his tactical genius at the helm, he doubted he'd reach the objective with more than half his force intact. And if he did, what then? Their target wasn't likely to leave the only place with a spaceport on the planet if he really did want to leave Farpoint. If he resisted their casualties would increase dramatically.
Still, Stalin had told him to do this. If he did succeed, Drake would be in a power position. If he could convince the target to work for him on the way back, even better. He might even be able to overthrow Stalin.
But enough of pipe dreams. Focussing on the road again, Drake turned his mind to planning what he'd do once he was in the Orphanage. Scouring an entire town for one person to kidnap wasn't going to be easy.
Many hours drive away, a man sat in an alarian cell. It was a large, clear box which had been in use since the days of the war, but it was still strong. Outside it, a human guard sat at a table, munching loudly on a sandwich and ogling the girls in a decades old porno magazine.
The man sat in the centre of the cell, meditating. He wore a sleeveless shirt with a hood, elbow pads, fingerless gloves, long pants, and skin tight surfer shoes. All of it was black. His body was of average height, but he was pure muscle, with various tattoos adorning his bare flesh. The most striking feature about the man was that his right arm had been dyed deep red up to the elbow. Beneath the hood, eyes like pools of blackness calmly observed the world around him.
In an Orphanage prison cell, Lukas Encarmine waited for them to come for him.