“What the fuck is he doing?!” Naomi watched the TV as Isaac’s words left the speakers.
“What the fuck. My guy said he picked him up, but I didn’t think this. What the fuck are we gonna do now?” The Mole said.
“We’ve got to put a stop to this shit. I’m tired of losing everyone around me!”
Naomi stood up and walked over to the female sibling, stroking the crop’s hair.
“Pretty soon, she’ll know loss too. I don’t know if I can handle another.”
She spoke as if Isaac were already dead. Soon, though, he would be at the mercy of The Crest and she didn’t know which was better. Dead or on the receiving end of whatever wrath his hands could conjure up.
The male sibling had ran through the food bags that Jonas brought, but it wasn’t enough.
“How much longer do you think that one’s got?” The Mole said.
“Maybe a day. The food that Jonas brought was good, but now we’re worse than before.”
“What are we going to do about Isaac?”
The thoughts were almost visibly swirling around Naomi’s head as she contemplated what to do next.
“Jonas, you and Martha go out and see if there’s anyone who would be willing to help us. Everyone knows about Daybreak now. There’s got to be people who are sympathetic to our cause.”
“What do you want us to tell them?” Martha asked.
“Tell them that if they want to help, if they want to end this cycle of gore, then come here tomorrow night.”
“Here, take this. Don’t speak the words out loud.” The Mole handed them a notebook.
“Get as many as you can.” She turned to The Mole. “Can your inside guy get some people?”
“I’ll contact him.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Mole’s house was a musty and damp residence tucked away in the corner of that town. Merely a step up from a cardboard mansion, it was living proof that he had left the high society lifestyle behind.
He walked over to a dresser on the far side of the room. The bottom of his raincoat floated inches from the floor. In the right light, you might be tricked into thinking he was a magician levitating.
The Mole pulled out an old cellular phone from the drawer. An act such as this would murder any plans of freedom that an individual had. He had kept the old thing from back when he worked in the Cloud City. The screen was cracked but still responded to touch.
It looked like nothing more than a sample of glass. Sleek with rounded corners. At the bottom was the small projection component for the interface. Anything hardware was outdated and superseded by something consumers called airware. Functional holograms that could be manipulated in real time. This meant The Mole had worked in the Cloud City long ago if he still had this hardware.
“Hey, we’re buffing up our numbers.” He talked into the glass slate phone. “Anyone up there interested in shaking things up a bit?” He fiddled with something in his coat pocket as he listened. “Yeah, we’re trying to make a move. They’ve taken too much from us, you know?”
There was a moment of silence on The Mole’s end of the line.
“No, I get it. You gotta keep a low profile.” The Mole sighed. “We’ll take any help we can get.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“This is what we’ve got.” Martha said as she opened the door to the clinic. Jonas and three others came in behind her.
“That’s it? Three?” Naomi said, second guessing whether they should go through with this. “There’s no way that’s enough. That’s eight people, including The Mole and Isaac. Assuming Isaac is still alive.”
“Nine if you count the sibling. We have to try, Naomi.” Martha approached her, only a tear or clenched hands away from begging her. “If Isaac is alive we have to take advantage of the opportunity that this whole thing has given us.”
“I know.” Naomi collected herself for a moment. The feeling of impending anxiety finally lifting. “You’re right. Thank you, Martha.” She hugged her, but it was more for her own sake than Martha’s.
Naomi had been leading the charge ever since Noah and her found Isaac laid out on that road. She never asked for this. She always wanted to show The Upper Echelon that there were people that they couldn’t push around, but to be the leader of Daybreak and about to lead a small group into the very home of those people was another matter. But as she hugged Martha and felt the strength of her arms, she was reassured. If only a little.
“So, what was everyone’s excuse?” Naomi said, finally pulling away from the embrace.
“They were all sympathetic to our cause, but most were too scared to take any kind of action.” Martha said.
“Can’t say that I blame them. It’s possible to get comfortable even in the most uncomfortable situations.” Jonas said as he divided the room into little living areas for the three volunteers.
“Well, we’ll just have to hope this is enough. We will definitely have to be more careful now.”
Martha turned towards the female crop. “How’s Bliss been doing?” Martha had named her.
“Still just her quiet self. Though, it is nice knowing that someone else is here.” Naomi stroked Bliss’ hair like she was her child. “She still hasn’t said anything.”
“I heard about the male sibling.”
“It was just a matter of time. We tried, but there wasn’t anything else we could do.”
“I’m sorry. I wish we could’ve saved more.”
“Me too. Hopefully we’re about to save a whole lot of them.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Later that night, The Mole returned and joined the group around the fire.
“So, what did you’re guy say? Is he able to provide some bodies?” Naomi said.
“He said he would be willing to take us there, but that’s it.” The Mole took a sip of his coffee. “I told him that if he changes his mind to let us know.”
“Maybe the other job spooked him. I don’t know. Isaac did have him take him right up to The Drip’s front door.”
The eight of them sat around the fire, hot coffee warming their hands. The fire shined up on their faces from below like they were telling ghost stories. No one wanted to admit it, but maybe they were.
“So, this is what we’ve got to work with, huh?” Naomi said.
A mole, a nurse turned resistance leader, a crop, two replacement babies, and three commoners. The raggedy bunch hunched over as if to hide their insecurities.
“We’ve got to get Isaac back and take down The Crest.” Naomi stood and entered the center of the dank circle. “We need to get inside The Millionth Street Tower and make our way up to the top. That’s where The Crest will be.”
“It will be guarded so we’ll have to be careful. I know the layout of the building pretty well.” The Mole said. “The Crest sits at the top of the tower. My guy will be here shortly to take us there.”
“After that, we’re on our own.”
Naomi held demand over the group’s attention so naturally that it was surprising that she had done anything else in her life. Every detail covered, every route laid out on the building blueprints, every guard post circled.
The Mole had stepped up as her right hand man since her brother was gone. It was an obvious choice due to his background in the city.
A low rumble sent a silent vibration through the clinic as D pulled up in the back.
“Come on! Before they see him!”
The group shuffled through the back door and into the vehicle. The man put the thing in gear and ascended into the fog. The clouds illuminating their presence until it became too dense for light to escape.
“Here, take these. This is all I could get past security.” D handed pistols to Naomi and The Mole.
“I knew you’d come through, Dempsey.” The Mole’s face lit up as he shared a smile with Naomi.
“It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing. They’re outfitted with attenuation devices. Less powerful, but much quieter.”
“Thank you. Really.”
“Don’t mention it.” The man flicked some switches on the dash. “Listen, I’ll probably hate myself later for this, but I’ll be standing by near the tower. If you guys need a quick out just come get me.”
“What changed your mind?” The Mole asked.
“I don’t know. I guess I’m just tired of this shit too.”
The clouds around them lit up in blue and white colors as if they were in a constant storm cloud. Rain whipped the windshield with fierce splatters, dispersing with the wind as quickly as they came. As they approached the Cloud City, they were no longer the brightest light in the fog.
The Millionth Street Tower sat dead center of the city. All of the floating sidewalks and skyways branched out from that epicenter of evil. As they weaved in and out of traffic now, they were delving deeper into that fault line of sin.
Naomi and The Mole stuff their weapons into their pants as they approached the architectural monstrosity. It’s angles and curves were truly a work of art. The car idled up to the catwalk infrastructure and the group took one last breath of free air before opening the door.