An Era After
In the year of 2238, humanity restores itself from a chaotic, deadly apocalypse, but conglomerates like the Fleig children are forced to live in a facility for beings like them.
Azoline remembers racing up the Deus Tower, the highest structure in Seattle. If they made it to the helicopter port on time, they could hijack one of the copters and fly away from law enforcement. No, they never committed any crimes or inflicted harm upon another human being, though everyone thought they were human in the first place. After they were exposed of their hidden abilities, their adoptive father was killed and all four of them were forced to flee.
Running up to the helicopter port was their final attempt to escape. If they fail, they would be captured and sent somewhere where they’ll never see the light of day again. Azoline shivers from the thought of it. Her youngest sibling, Noviya rushes past her and stops in front of the door to the port. A key card was required, but she was lucky enough to have their father’s pendant. She presses it against the card reader and the door unlocks immediately. Their father was right. This pendant can unlock anything. It wasn’t a silly old object to Azoline after all.
“Come on!” Noviya commands. “We’re close!” she pushes the door open and white light pours around Azoline’s surroundings. Soon, everything fades to black.
Her eyes slowly begin to peel open. At first, Azoline’s sight is blurred up, but things grow clearer as she moves around. It’s as if she was in a coffin made of glass and metal, but with larger space. She can feel her own breath from the breather on her face. Just as Azoline is about to turn over, she feels a stinging pain from the back of her neck. After feeling the area, Azoline realizes three tubes are connected to her by the bottom of her head. She pulls them out and notices a teal liquid leaking out of all three of them.
“What the....” She whispers in disgust “What is this?” Her claustrophobia begins to kick in and she attempts to open the pod’s glass opening. She kicks the handle’s area causing the door to swing wide open. She slides out but comes across a dimly lit room. There are other pods in the wall like hers, but the majority of them are broken. The teal liquid is puddled everywhere with broken glass glistening in the light. Everything seems as if it were abandoned. Selene, Damon, and Noviya were nowhere to be seen, but Azolines desperate to find them.
She looks to her left to find a massive, metal door on the other side of the room. Beside it is a large square button beneath a glass covering. She flips over the covering and presses the button. The door splits open revealing a long corridor. It's full of extraterrestrial, cross-bred beings, though this time, they’re in massive, glass pods. Some broken, some untouched. As much as Azoline wants to run back into the room and stay there for eternity, she needs to know where her brother and sisters are.
“Damon! Novia! Any of you there?” Azoline gets no response.
“Selene! Can you hear me? Please make some noise if you hear me!” Suddenly, the sound of a pipe clanking against a surface is made. Azoline jumps but calls for Selene again. Selene has been unable to speak due to the fact she was part snake, so she needs to make a sound with an object of some sort.
“Selene, is that you?” Azoline follows the sound of the pipe. She dodges more broken glass and avoids the teal substance on the floor. By the time Azoline opens another metal door, blood drains from her face in the sight of a corpse. It was a skeleton wearing a deteriorated lab coat. It had to have been there for quite a while judging by the smell. Before Azoline can react, someone takes her by the arm and pushes her into another hall. The door closes behind her and she immediately turns to see who it is.
“Selene!” Azoline exclaimed. Selene holds an index finger over her lips to warn Azoline to stay silent.
“What's wrong?” whispers Azoline. An animal’s growl is made from behind the door. Azoline gets it. They’re being hunted by something. She motions for her to follow and she does so. They run down more corridors past a few more mysterious beasts. At this point, Azoline figures the specimen took advantage of the place and made it their own. Selene presses a button to a closed door. It splits open showing Noviya and Damon jumping up from behind a counter.
“Azoline!” Novia exclaims while running up to her. “Your okay!” Damon hugs Azoline and gives her the entire story. Noviya was the first one to awaken. She spent a couple days searching for Selene, Damon, and Azoline but had issues hiding away from the cross-breed beasts. After looking through old security footage, the three of them discovered that they were in an abandoned conglomerate, containment facility.
“What do you mean, conglomerate containment facility?” asks Azoline.
“I believe we’ve been captured Azoline,” says Damon. “but the place seems overrun by crazy-looking animals.” Damon, Noviya, and Selene were all conglomerates, except for Azoline who was a walking bomb. Selene was a snake and honeybadger while Damon was an aquatic being. Noviya on the other hand is an extraterrestrial sprite from an undiscovered planet far from Earth.
Selene rolls her eyes and peers out the window. She jumps and motions for everyone to look outside. There a small rhino-horned-warthog is seen, trotting towards the exit door.
“The exit is that way,” informs Damon, “but making past that thing will be a struggle.”
“How do we get past it?” whispers Noviya.
Selene turns around and exposes her badger-like claws. When she does that, it means, “We fight our way out.”
“Are you insane? I hope you're not suggesting to scrap our way through!” Noviya exclaims. Selene points her chin to the button for Azoline to press.
“Are you sure?” warns Azoline. Selene gives her a cunning grin and nods. The moment the doors open, Selene bolts out, hurls into the rhino-hog cross, and wrestles the beast to the ground. Not long after, Azoline, Noviya, and Damon run down the hall to the exit door. The moment they make it, they realize it requires a card.
“You’ve got to be f-” before Azoline finishes, she growls with frustration. Damon notices her arms pulsing with a light golden. A common sign of her anger.
“Complaining isn’t going to get us anywhere Azzy.” Azoline slowly turns to Damon.
“I’m sorry… What did you just call me?” Damon has never insulted or discouraged Azoline, but he needs her to blow the exit down.
“Whoops. Didn’t mean to call you Azzy. Azzly.” He notices her fists beginning to ball beating with a warm light.
“Damon, shut up! We need to get out of here this instant!” Noviya glares at Damon for a second but realizes what he's trying to do. They taunt Azoline a little more until her eyes and face pulse with a glow. Selene continues to fight the rhino-hog but stops after hearing her younger sister.
“Selene, hide!” shouts Noviya from down the corridor. “She’s going to blow!” Selene pushes the rhino-hog creature aside and dives into one of the nearest rooms on time. Azoline detonates and the entrance blows to bits.
When Azoline opens her eyes, dust is seen everywhere and she finds herself lying on the ground. Damon comes from out of the dust cloud and helps Azoline up off the floor.
“Okay, Damon.” sneers Azoline. “Thanks for making me do that.” Damon chuckles as they both turn to face what’s past the exit. They're both in a tunnel where is light is present on the other side.
“I guess the real exit is that way,” says Azoline. “Let's ge-” Before Azoline continues a loud boom is heard from inside the facility. The sound of animals echo from different halls as the ground begins to tremble.
“What is that?” asks Damon. Noviya and Selene leap from out of the dust cloud and race to the light of the tunnel.
“Conglomerates! Conglomerates!” shouts Noviya. “They heard the explosion!” The tremble gets stronger and Azoline realizes they are footsteps. She and Damon catch up to the rest of the group. An Albatraoz-vulture cross swoops over their heads to the other side of the tunnel. Not long after that, a bigger rhino-hog breed grazes Azoline in the arm and catches up to the vulture. When the four of them make it to the exit, an entire stampede of extraterrestrials, conglomerates, and human crossbreeds are behind them. Noviya pushes everyone to the side as soon as they set foot in daylight. They watch the stampede gallops and dash out of the tunnel into the forest nearby. They feel lucky to have made it out with their lives and wait for all the beings to leave. When the coast is clear, they climb out of their hiding place beside the tunnel.
“We let the monsters escape!” keens Noviya. “Dad’s heart charm would’ve made things a lot easier!” Selene notices her eyes watering and places a hand on Noviya's shoulder. Damon’s face flushes red as Azoline does the same. They don’t know how long it's been, but it felt like a week since he was killed. Azoline marches to the corner of the tunnel and kicks her foot against the edge of the wall.
“Crap!” Azoline hollers, “I would blow the world just to have him back.”
“There's no need to do that.” says a deep, female voice. The group is caught off guard by a woman in a black, robotic, military uniform. Soldiers appear out of bushes and aim their weapons at the group.
“Stay right where you are.”
“What's going on?” trembles Damon.
“What's going on, is that you four need to get back in there.” says the soldier. “Conglomerates are required to stay in the contamination facilities, and you guys are one of them.”
“What are you talking about?” chuckles Azoline. “We’re not conglomerates.” The woman eyes her sister Selene and takes notice of her light brown scales and icy snakelike eyes.
“We know who you are, Azoline Fleig.” Blood flushes down Azoline’s face the moment she says her name. Before she can reply, Noviya comes in.
“But ma’am! We’re just a bunch of teenagers! What could we possibly do to you?” The woman turns to one of the soldiers and then gives Damon, Selene, Noviya, and Azoline a deathly glare.
“Let me think about it.” she sneers. “Exactly two hundred years ago, a detonation occurred on the Deus Tower, releasing the most dangerous specimen introduced to mankind. The entire building came falling down, and the cross-breeds escaped, spreading destruction from the state of Washington, to the rest of North America.” Selene, Noviya, and Damon look at each other in confusion. This sounds too familiar to Azoline for her to ignore.
“For years, North America struggled to maintain harmony among the conglomerate beings, but people just loved the anarchy the specimen caused. We already had freedom, but anarchist freedom was what unleashed humanity's true nature. Like they say, ‘never give candy to a baby. It’ll want more.”
“Cut the crap woman! What are you trying to tell us?” Azoline affronts. Soldiers look at each other in surprise as the woman marches up to Azoline in anger. Azonline’s heart beats faster when the woman stands a good yard away from her.
“Rules are being set up and people are actually better than how we lived centuries ago. Just when we locked up every conglomerate, you four release every specimen in this facility!” The group looks at each other in worry and shame. The soldier clears her throat and inches closer.
“I can’t forget this part," she starts, "but you Azoline detonated the Deus Tower.”