❯ Fratello – Chapter 2

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Fratello 02

Part Two

Otherplace,
Othertime.

Janus looked as he felt a strong pull on his power.

Most of his followers had died with the Roman Empire, but there had been a few left throughout the centuries that he would feel asking for his help. Unfortunately, most of these were Dark Mages, cloaking their desire for death and destruction with words of chaos and anarchy.

Chaos was neither good nor evil, positive or negative, creation or destruction. Chaos was the natural energy of the universe, either stored to be used at another time or used to perform acts.

That is why Good or Evil never held the upper hand for long. Chaos would eventually bring it down.

Without Chaos, the universe would truly be dead.

Looking at the actions of the Dark Mage on the blocked portal to the demon dimension, Janus could see what was pulling on his power.

The Key.

A fragment of pure Chaos energy. Tightly bound so that it’s surroundings would not be affected. Energy that could be used to open dimensional gates.

But like the crude atomic energy devices that the humans had developed, the Chaos energy of the Key could be misused. Instead of opening gates, it could tear down the walls between dimensions. If done at a weak spot, multiple dimensions could collapse, starting a chain reaction that could very well bring everything down.

Janus wanted Chaos, not complete destruction.

Looking both into the past as well as the future, Janus could see why the Key was there. The insane acts of Glorificus, the desperate actions of the Monks of Dagon, the ruthless activities of the Knights of Byzantium. How desperately the Slayer and her friends fought to defend the Key. How close the walls came to completely collapsing.

This would not do.

Seeing what the Chaos spell was going to do, Janus was able to act.

The Gods were prohibited by the Creator to directly fight each other. The few times that the Gods fought each other directly had names that brought fear and terror to those unfortunate enough to know the truth.

Atlantis.

Vesuvius.

Ragnarok .

Armageddon.

But since a non-god was the one doing the spell, the Gods could act through them. Most of the Greek wars had been that way. Wars by proxy, resulting in horrific destruction and deaths. It had resulted in the collapse of the Greek city-states, taken over by the growing Macedonian empire, which eventually collapsed itself.

But now Janus could act. He would be able to help fight the actions of an insane goddess, of fanatical humans, of the half-blood human/demon remains hiding in the darkness.

Changing the energy being drawn from him, Janus could affect the spell. The Key would no longer be a helpless child, barely able to run, let alone defend herself. The Key would be like one of the Champions of old, defending herself and others.

Looking at those around the Key, Janus could see their souls. Most did not interest him. But there was one that did. A fiery soul, one that would defend others before himself.

Janus hesitated. If he linked the Key with the other human the same way the monks had linked the Key to the Slayer, it would affect Free Will. Not only was Free Will a major part of the Creator’s beliefs, it was a major cause of Chaos.

A moment later, Janus made his decision. The two would not be linked. The other would be a Companion. One that would help the Key, but still have Free Will.

Satisfied, Janus finished the changes to his power. Looking down at the human realm, he released a glowing green orb and watched it speed toward it’s target.

Matching smiles slowly crossed Janus’ two faces. The God of Chaos had just helped protect the universe.

What was this otherplace coming to?

Sunnydale,
Early Evening.

“Giuseppe. . . Giuseppe. . . please wake up.”

Giuseppe forced his eyes open as he heard the soft voice of his charge. Henrietta could be many things; happy, eager, sad, depressed. The one emotion he had never heard was the one now present; panicked.

Blinking his eyes, Giuseppe squinted as he saw Henrietta looking down at him. Taking stock of the situation, Giuseppe could feel that he was lying on cold pavement, that he had a major headache as though he had taken a serious blow to the head. Blinking again, Giuseppe tried to focus his eyes correctly, since he could not believe what he was seeing now.

Henrietta looked older. . . a lot older. Approximately 15 or 16 years old.

Which was plainly impossible. Giuseppe knew the cyborg specs almost as well as the techs that worked on them. The useful service life of the child cyborgs that Section 2 used did not extend past puberty. The rapid growth would cause massive disruptions of the carbon fiber framework and synthetic muscles used to produce the cyborg’s strength, durability, and speed. In fact, the techs had come up with a protocol for determining the end of useful service life. Once the cyborg had met five of the criteria, they would be `retired’.

Henrietta had met two of the criteria. Triela, the oldest of the cyborgs, had met three. Angelica, the first of the cyborgs and the one with the most problems, had met four.

Shaking his head to clear it of those thoughts, and gritting his teeth at the pain that produced, Giuseppe struggled to sit up. With a hand from Henrietta, he managed to stand.

Looking down at his charge, who was only half a head short than him now, Giuseppe fell back on his training, both in the Carabinieri and in SWA. “Henrietta, report.”

“We were doing surveillance in an apartment across from a Padania safe house when there was a bright green flash of light, filling the room and blinding me. When I was able to see again, I found that I was standing on this street wearing different clothes than before and that you were lying unconscious at my feet. I picked you up and moved you to a safer area behind this wall, as there seems to be disorder on this street. It was at that time that I realized that your appearance had changed somewhat and I look and feel. . . different.”

“How do you feel different, Henrietta?” Giuseppe could definitely see what was different about his charge, who looked as though she was now about 10 centimeters taller, standing 160 centimeters tall and looking like she weighed about 50 kilograms (5’5”, 110 lbs).

“I feel. . . lighter. Stronger.” Henrietta frowned for a moment. “Like if there was lower gravity.”

Giuseppe gingerly started to pat himself, brushing off his suit as he did. He was wearing a nice brown suit, but it was certainly not the dark grey Armani he had put on this morning. He could feel his pistol under his coat, but it felt different, as though there was another weapon instead of what he was used to. However, his cell phone appeared to be missing, so there was no easy way to contact the Agency.

“Giuseppe? I want to try something. You know that I can jump ten feet up if I have a running start?”

“Yes, of course.” Giuseppe watched as the girl took a few steps back.

“Well, I think I can do better now.” With that Henrietta flexed her knees slightly and, without taking a step, shot six feet up in the air and flipped, her body rotating in a complete circle before landing lightly on her feet.

Giuseppe fought to keep his mouth from dropping open. That move was not believed to be possible by the cyborgs. Despite their small stature, the girls were twenty to twenty five kilos heavier than they appeared. Even with their augmented strength, they would not be able to make that kind of jump from a standing start, let alone back flip like she had done.

With a mental shake, Giuseppe cleared his mind of the dual shock he had received. Seeing Henrietta back flip was one thing. Seeing that she wore dark blue bicycle shorts under her short skirt was certainly something he did not want to know.

“There is something else, Giuseppe.” Henrietta picked up her Amati violin case and presented it to him. “I remember leaving this on a table in the apartment we were doing the surveillance in, but I found it beside me right after the green flash. Please look inside.”

Giuseppe popped the latches on the case and opened it. The case had been heavy when he took it from Henrietta and now he could see why. Inside was a FN P90 5.7mm submachine gun along with three extra ammo magazines for it, as well as an FN Five-seveN pistol of the same caliber with two extra magazines. A half dozen mini-flash grenades and what looked to be some spare magazines for Henrietta’s SIG P239 9mm pistol filled the rest of the case.

“This is a full combat load, Henrietta. I take it you didn’t place all this in the case?”

The girl shook her head. “No. I had the P90 and extra ammo for it and my SIG. I didn’t put the pistol and grenades in.”

Handing the case back to Henrietta, Giuseppe reluctantly drew his pistol from under his coat. He was almost not surprised to see that it was a Five-seveN pistol matching the one in the case instead of his normal carry SIG P239. Dropping the magazine, Giuseppe was surprised to see that it had the special 30 round magazine that he had heard was in development but was not in the field yet.

“I don’t know what is going on here Henrietta, but the first thing we have to do is figure out where we are, and how we got here.” Giuseppe looked around the street, seeing it did not look like an Italian, or even a European street.

“I am hearing people speaking English with an American accent. I am not hearing any regional American accents, though.” Henrietta’s enhanced hearing was almost at the level of a parabolic microphone.

“America, eh? A long way from home.” Giuseppe moved from behind the wall they had been standing behind and saw for the first time that there were people running around, if not in a panic then certainly in fear. “What is going on here? Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“Given the lack of a current mission, my primary duty is to protect you, Giuseppe. That is what I did.” Henrietta was looking at him with concern on her face.

Giuseppe mentally sighed. The conditioning that the cyborg girls had gone through has made protection of the cyborg handlers an overriding priority. Only an assigned mission or a direct order would keep the girls from protecting the handlers exclusively. But any hint of disappointment or upset would affect Henrietta, causing her to become withdrawn and depressed.

“You did the right thing, Henrietta. Now that I feel better, we can look into this.” Giuseppe watched as a smile slowly blossomed on Henrietta’s face. It seemed wrong somehow that his charge’s emotions would be so easily affected by him, but it was a result of the conditioning that he could do little about.

On the other hand, he liked seeing a smile on Henrietta’s face.

End Part Two

Fratello – Chapter 1