By Britney McMaster
I’m in a cage and its dark all around me. I try to move and find myself bound. A silhouette moved in front of me. I feel my heart racing as the shadowed figure moves forward into the pale light. His pasty white skin glowing eerily in the dim light and he looks me straight in the eye. “Soon I will have you.” I struggle at the bonds holding me down. “I wouldn’t try anything, unless you want them to suffer.” The white man motioned to the left with his head and a light turned on. Amy and Faline were in similar bonds to myself and little Blaze was in a small cage with armed guards on both sides. “As you can see, I always get what I want.”
I lurch forward in bed, sweat dripping from my face. It’s the same nightmare I’ve had countless times. I look over at Amy, sleeping peacefully. I hadn’t mentioned my nightmares to her in several years, because I didn’t want to burden her with it. I’ve tried looking at the dreams logically. I know he’s dead but the paranoia that the white man is still out there is a feeling I just can’t shake. I find myself looking over my shoulder nearly every day, sure that I will find someone watching me. But there’s never anything there.
I slip silently out of bed and make my way down the stairs and in to my home office, careful not to wake Faline or Blaze. It’s not really even an office than it is a room for my obsession. I sit on the edge of my desk and look around at the hundreds of news articles that I have tacked to the walls. Each and every one of them was about an elemental. Usually they were about an elemental abusing their powers. Lightly peppered among the tragic tales where stories of those who used their powers to help others. I had tried using my position as the leading elementologist to track the elementals around the world, but there was just too many of them. Even if I could track all of them, I couldn’t control them. A recent disturbing trend made me fear for our world. Dangerous Morfs were now starting to band together and more innocent people were suffering.
I scanned through the articles I’d found today. A group of Morfs had robbed a bank in Cairo. Fourteen dead in the crossfire, including three children. I realized I was growling lowly and pulled my claws out of the surface of my desk. ‘I have to do something about this.’
*Trance, you’re sure this will hold?* I asked as I looked around the cave. Trance, Zeth and a few Earth dragons had been helping hollow out a large cave deep below one of the large mountains north of Sun City, near the dragon colony. Their combined TK and elemental powers worked well to carve out the cave while I used a small black hole to remove the debris.
*Yeah, it will hold. Especially once Zeth gets back with that magma dragon. Nice thick lava rock walls will keep this place from caving in.*
*I have to go check on some equipment. I’ll be back in a few hours.*
I opened a portal and slipped through. I made my way through the complex from the port room to the tech lab. The lab was full of various gadgets and weapons.
The lab technopath was working away on something in the corner. He was a thin man with shaggy dark purple hair. “Do you have what I asked for?” he looked up a little startled.
“Ah, yes, come with me please.”
I followed him across the room to a large cabinet. He placed his finger to the door lock, the lights flashed and the digital lock opened. He pulled the large doors open wide and stepped back. Everything I asked for seemed to be there. Sixteen black helmets sat on the top shelf. They were sleek with a large wrap around visor for good vision. The lab tech moved over and took one of the helmets off the shelf.
“Let me give you the walk through.” He reached inside and turned on the helmet. Part of it lit up on the visor, but as he turned the helmet I couldn’t see the display on the visor from the outside of the helmet. “So, the computer display is integrated into the interior of the visor. The display can be customized for each person and can show many things. Some of the options are to display the location of the other team members; if you lock on to a target it will track that too. Satellite maps can easily be brought up on screen. You’ll be able to display any known files we have on other Morfs, to gauge their power levels among other things. Each of the helmets have built in comlinks. Those are voice activated. Simply say team to speak on the open channel between all the helmets or say the name of the team member to activate a one on one link with that person.”
“And their durability?”
“All the suits and helmets are created with nanotechnology. They are bullet proof and can sustain high degrees of impact. They are also self-healing. The suits are able to endure the rigors of the various elemental powers. So your fire elemental can be inside an inferno without damaging their suit. The suits are also air tight, with a small oxygen reserve if someone is submerged. The helmet for your water elemental has a retractable mouth guard. That way he can breathe underwater without losing the airtight seal of the helmet or risk exposing the electronics to the water. There are numerous other perks that I’m sure you’ll discover, the list goes on and on. Just read the instructions and make sure all your team members take the tutorial before using the helmets.”
I pulled out one of the suits, it had a dark purple Chinese symbol on the shoulder. “So what do the symbols mean?”
“Well, you picked well, that suit is yours. You said you wanted them to be identifiable to the team but not to others. Well the Chinese symbols are the symbols for your various elements. Yours means Dark. And the light above the visor on the helmets matches with the same color.”
“Okay, looks like everything is good. You can modify the suits easy enough for hybrids on the team?”
“Of course. I’ve already fitted yours with a nanocloth sleeve for a tail and your gloves are customized to work with your claws without problems.”
“Good. And the nano fabric will stretch without problems? I get bigger when I fully use my hybrid powers.”
“Of course. The nanocloth is designed to be one size fits all and fits comfortably snug on any size.”
“Then I think that’s everything then.” I opened a portal to the main command room, closed the doors of the cabinet and pushed it through.”
The room I walked into was very different than the one I had left. For one thing, Zeth was back with a few other dragons and they had done a lot of work. The entire main room was now made of smooth black lave rock, including the floor. One of the dragons was busy using ice powers to cool down the fairly warm room. Trance came over and helped move the large cabinet with his TK.
The dragons continued working on the rest of the underground fortress while Trance and I moved thousands of pounds of equipment from the lab to the control room. Trance busied himself arranging and setting up the equipment from the ASA tech lab. We would have to wait a few days before the ASA had our new satellite up in orbit.
While Trance worked on that I went for a walk to see what the Dragons were up to. I exited the command room, passed the dorms and other facilities and descended down to the main training hall below. That room would be great for training, it was huge. It was a large round room, at least five stories high and several football fields in diameter. It would provide lots of room for all of the elementals. I exited that room and entered the corridor. It too was spacious and circled around the main rooms.
The outer ring of the complex was divided into individual training rooms specifically built for each elemental. I stopped in the first room.
There was a silver dragon working in that room. The dragon was busy manipulating chunks of lead into wall panels and fusing them together. Once this room was finished it would be perfect for a radiation elemental.
The next room was already completed, with a sunken floor submerged by fresh spring water. It was easily one hundred feet deep and had access to the underground water canals that the dragons had built.
As I continued walking around the corridor, checking the rooms, I saw that about 8 of the rooms were finished. Soon this would be a hub of activity if all of my plans worked out right. Now I just need to work on recruiting the team. “I need a team name.” I muttered to myself.
I was sitting up in the control room going through files while several of the ASA support staff worked on getting out equipment set up. This place was going to have the most up to date electronics available. I glanced over at the paper next to my computer, the one with the list of team name ideas scrawled on it and shook my head.
‘I’ll worry about a name later. Right now I need team members.’ I clicked away at my computer and logged in to the international database. I entered my search criteria and waited as it returned my results. The results came back with several choices for each elemental. I recognized a few of the names. I knew one of the names very well. Picking up my eCom I hit the speed dial. “Hey, Trance? Is Shine there?”
“Yeah, she’s right here. I figured you’d be calling her.”
“So you know what I want to talk to her about.”
“Of course, and I trust you to keep her safe.”
“And we’ll have you at the base right?”
“Well I do recall something about being head of operations.”
“Head of communications is what I said. Now let me speak to her.”
Shine and I walked around the Nexus as I had come to call our underground base. Trance was busy setting up his work station in the command room upstairs. We had done the whole tour. I showed her the individual training rooms, the cafeteria, the command room and eventually the living quarters. Trance and Shine would be sharing a room and I’d already set up a wormhole in their room that lead back to their house.
“So what do you think?”
“I’m a little overwhelmed. I can’t believe you set all this up.”
“Well I did have some help. So we can count on your help?”
“Of course, but you will be getting some other Elementals to join right?” I nodded my head. “Good, because I know you’re strong but I don’t think we’d last very long if it’s just the two of us.”
“Don’t worry, if everything goes according to plan, we’ll have a team of sixteen strong.”
“Sounds good. Anything else I should see?”
“Just one last thing. I saved the best for last.”
I had Shine follow me back to the command room and into the equipment room. I grabbed the suit and helmet that had the white Chinese characters for light emblazoned on them and brought them over to where Shine was.
“Okay, here we go. This is your armoured suit. It’s all nanotech fibres and yours is designed to allow light to emit through the fabric from the inside, so it shouldn’t interfere with your powers at all.”
“Okay, what’s the deal with the helmet?”
“The helmet is where the tech really helps out. It’s got voice links to all the other team members as well as the Nexus. Just say team, to activate the team line or say the codename of the person you want to speak to. It’s also got a fully customizable UI that is only visible from inside the helmet, the UI is displayed on the visor.”
“So, is that it?”
“Nope, but I’ll let you read up on the rest,” I said as I handed her the helmet and the inch thick instruction manual.
“I have to read this whole thing?” she asked as her eyes opened wide in shock.
“Well I’d highly recommend it if you want to use the suit to its full capabilities. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call my cousin, I have some recruiting to do.”
The entire MORFS Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/