By: Darian Deamos
Quartz was sleeping peacefully. Then there was a loud pop from directly in front of her and a splitting pain between her eyes brought her raging out of her dreams and into wakefulness. Her head was pressed down into her pillow, and there was a splitting pain between her eyes. When she opened her eyes, she saw the smoking barrel of a gun not 4 inches from her face. Without really thinking she reached out and grabbed the hand holding the gun in her face.
Her hand crushed down on the wrist above that hand, and she yanked it down next to her, hard. She saw the black-ops guy attached to that wrist get yanked down. Hard. And then he hit his head on her nightstand, also hard, and with a sickening thud, and he slumped off to the side. Then Quartz heard a sliding click, and her eyes snapped over to the two black shapes standing back beside her bed.
The two operatives opened fire as Quartz scrambled to get off the bed. She felt sharp stings as the bullets struck her center mass and tossed her off the bed and out of their line of fire. Once she had a moment to catch her breath, she was rolling to her feet, and throwing a punch at the head of the first operative. His head pulped like an overripe melon struck by a sledgehammer, spraying blood, bone, and bits of brain all over the wall behind him. As his body dropped, she turned and lashed out with a foot, striking her other assailant in the side of the head as he was bringing his weapon to bear, sending him flying into the far wall. He struck with a sickeningly wet thwack and slowly slid down the wall, leaving a smear of blood on the wall. They were both obviously dead. She stared at the blood on her hands for a second, amazed at how fast it had all happened, and then she heard the gunfire from her sister’s room.
She turned her eyes from her hands, and the death they were dipped in, and headed to help her sister.
Jet was awakened by three things. One was the sound of gunfire from Quartz’s room. The second was the sound of her door opening. The third was the vision flashing through her mind of herself getting riddled with bullets on her bed. Her nightgown would be ruined. Snapping her eyes open, suddenly wide awake, she looked towards the door to see three men in black night-camo, with automatic weapons, night vision goggles, and no identifying badges or markers standing between her bed and her door. The guns were aimed at her bed, and as she began to move, all three of them opened fire.
Something strange happened as she scrambled madly to get out of the way. The world seemed to slow, so much so that she could see the bullets as they emerged from the barrels of the automatics, and she easily rolled off the bed before they reached her. As soon as she was clear of the bed, time returned to its normal, much faster pace. Her bed was churned up by the impact of the bullets she had just so contemptuously avoided. Her eyes snapped to the men invading her room, and her lips rose in a silent snarl.
She darted forward towards the first of them; his movements seeming surreally slow as she did so. Her hand darted out, and she snagged the combat knife he had secured to his thigh. Time returned to normal just long enough for her to grab the knife and slit his throat as she spun towards the other two murderers. She had heard the gunfire from the other room. They were here to kill her. If they had come for death, then death they would find. The other two didn’t even have time to scream.
She starred at the third man, holding his neck, vainly trying to hold the blood inside the severed veins and arteries that her attack had severed. He slumped to the ground as his heart traitorously pumped all the blood from his body, pooling it onto the ground at her feet. She heard a gasp from the doorway, and looked up to find her sister standing there. *Good, she’s alive,* Jet thought, and then the reality of what she had done hit her, and she began to shake.
Quartz looked at her sister. Seeing her covered in blood was a sobering experience. Then she looked down and saw the blood on her own white hands, and took a deep breath, choking down hysteria. She could panic later. If there was a later. Right now the two of them needed to plan. She looked at the three bodies, all with their throats neatly cut, and decided that it was time to get the two of them out of here. Stay here much longer, and she was going to lose her lunch.
“Alright Jet, time to move.”
Jet looked at her sister in something akin to shock. “Huh?”
“Bathroom,” Quartz ordered. “Get cleaned up and into your flight gear. We’ve gotta go. I’ll watch out for more of these idiots.”
Jet shook her head. There was something wrong, she just couldn’t place it. Then it suddenly came clear, and she shouted, “Quartz MOVE!” as she dove to the left.
Quartz’s eyes widened in shock as her sister suddenly dove off to the right so fast she looked like a ebon blur, and then she saw the hover carrier floating just beyond the balcony. And then the high velocity bullets from the gunner’s mini-cannon ripped into her, and tossed her back against the wall, driving her into a crater in the wall.
“Quartz!” Jet screamed, devastated by the loss of her sister. She turned and snarled at the gunner of the carrier, hanging there in his harness, and suddenly the entire room was filled with this light gray haze.
Suddenly, the gunner wasn’t pouring bullets into the wall where Quartz was pinned. He was looking around, like her had no idea what was going on. “Target lost,” he shouted at what was presumably his CO in the cockpit of the craft, “where did this thermal camo smoke come from!”
“Ignore it,” came the cry from the cockpit. “Fill that whole stinking area with fire. Finish the other one off!”
Then Jet heard a voice she hadn’t expected, carrying over the sound of the transport. Quartz’s clear soprano rang out, “Oh fuck no!”
Quartz was pissed. That had HURT! That and her nightgown was shredded. She could feel the rage boiling in her blood, and it was pooling in her hands. Then she heard the bit of conversation between the gunner and his superior, and she just lost it. Who did these idiots think they were! They were willing to simply kill her and her sister without even confirming the validity of the charges. They were being railroaded. “Oh fuck no!” she snarled, and threw her hand at the craft, putting all of the boiling, raging energy that had been building inside of her into the gesture.
A lance of blindingly bright, white, something, shot from her hand, and impacted the hover carrier. It exploded upon impact, generating a blast of a magnitude equivalent to a high powered missile. The craft was shredded. It simply bulged, then popped, exploding in an extravagant pyrotechnic display as the ammunition and fuel on board combusted and ignited. The twisted and shattered hulk fell, burning, onto the front lawn of the manor, and rolled down the hill slightly. There was no way anything human could have survived that blast.
The grey mist dissipated from their vision, and both of the twins turned to the other and said, in unison, “How the hell did you do that?”
They both stared at each other for a moment more, and then, as if coming to a mutual agreement to deal with it later, simply headed into the bathroom to deal with the mess.
They stripped down, and quickly and efficiently cleaned themselves of the visible signs of the recent fracas. There was nothing indulgent or sensual about this. This was business, survival, and they both went about it with a single-minded determination that contained more then a little desperation. In minutes, they were clean, and dressed in their jeans, halters, and leather jackets, and standing over the body of one Sergeant Stark.
Jet spoke first. “How did you survive that?”
Quartz shrugged. “Notta clue. Guess I’m bulletproof, but it still hurt like hell. How’d you get outa the way?”
“Saw it coming, split second before it happened, and jumped. Things seemed to slow down as it happened. I saw the bullets hitting you, they looked like they were moving so slowly, but then I saw them hitting you, picking you up and throwing you across the room, and into the wall…”
“Yeah, that sorta sucked. I don’t recommend it.”
“Well, what did you do to that transport?”
“Again, clueless. Figure it out later, this idiot is coming to.”
Malcolm was stirring, and the girls crouched on either side of him. They had searched him while he was out, and taken all of the weapons that they had found, including the suicide pill. When he came to, and his vision cleared, the first thing he saw was the two of them, looming over him. The second was that he was rather thoroughly disarmed. His reaction was typical. “Well, fuck.”
Jet smiled, and Quartz just sneered, “I think not.”
Jet continued smiling. “Alright Sergeant Stark, how about you tell us just what the hell you thought you were doing.”
“Eliminating a MORFS empowered terrorist, likely with mental persuasion abilities,” was the immediate answer. Stark was smart enough to know when the game was up. Giving them harmless answers wasn’t going to harm anything, and might buy time for the commander to get back with backup.
“Terrorists. Since when is the standard response to a terrorist Special Forces!” Jet was outraged.
Quartz laid a hand on her sister’s arm, and Malcolm answered the question. “Since the Dallas situation in 2025. I’m sure you’ve heard about it.”
Quartz nodded. “Big purple guy. Some punk gang banger MORFS, turns into big bad and ugly, and heads out to take ‘what’s owed him’ in a big way. Tore apart half of downtown Dallas, killed about 50 cops and a couple hundred civilians before the army brought him down. I remember watching it on the news.”
Malcolm nodded, and winced in pain. Quartz looked at him and scowled. “Don’t move much, Sergeant. I broke your wrist, dislocated your shoulder, and broke your collarbone and four ribs. You got off easy, for someone who was trying to execute me.”
“My team?” he asked, suddenly concerned.
“All dead,” Jet replied, her expression turning hard and cold. “And so is your ride. Now who ordered this fiasco, and why was it turned over to you.”
“My orders came from my Captain, and he received his directly from the General in charge of the division. Our unit was attached to the branch of the army responsible for dealing with rouge MORFS criminals.”
Both of the twins cursed silently. Then Quartz cursed aloud, “Crap. Well that sends things all the way into plan E. Why oh why is father such an ass.” A single tear rolled down her cheek, and then she steeled herself. Time for that later. Survive now.
“Jet,” she barked, “get the car and load up the boxes we packed into the back. We can’t leave them here; we’ll have to hand deliver them.”
Jet simply nodded and stormed off, anger set into her every motion. Quartz looked down, then grabbed a sheet of loose paper, and began to scrawl out a quick note to Diana. She struggled the entire time to keep her emotions in check, to not vent her frustrations on the helpless man on the bed. Because against her, he really was helpless. He couldn’t hurt her, and she could kill him with a single blow. That strength frightened her, and her own feelings about what had happened earlier were mixed indeed. On one hand, she was furious, and pleased that she and her sister had wiped out their foes with such ease. On the other, those men were just doing their jobs, and she had slaughtered them like so many sheep. So it came as a great shock when she heard her prisoner’s voice from behind her.
“So you two really are the Carmichael twins then. Crap.”
“No. The official intel was that you had been confirmed as hostile terrorist imposters, likely with mental or pheromone based mutations allowing you to control the perceptions of others.”
“But you suspected.”
“Me, personally, I thought that there was something wonky about the mission, yeah, but I didn’t have any real proof, other than a hunch, and that won’t cut it. The higher ups said there was proof, which meant that a grunt like me was going to have to just lump it.”
“You could have stopped this.”
“No, I couldn’t have. What I could have done was officially withdraw from the mission in protest, kill my career, and let some idiot without any morals or compassion be picked to replace me on the team.”
“But you believe us when we say we really are the senator’s sons?”
“Yeah, but I ain’t gonna say anything. Best thing for it is if I just shut up, and keep my eyes open. Figure out why the hell we got the order without any proof.”
“You do that. What do you recommend for us?”
“Run like hell. Turtle. Go dark. Vanish.”
“What I figured.” Quartz grabbed the note off the desk and stalked out the door, grabbing her duffels as she went. “Have a nice life, Sergeant.”
The voice that floated down the stairs after her was quiet. So quiet that she almost didn’t hear it. “You too, kid, you too.”
When she got downstairs, Jet was outside, loading the jeep. She made a quick stop in the kitchen, and then in the maid’s supply closet, and took a moment to mix a few things together in a bottle. Then she pulled a small electrical doodad out of her pack, and tossed it into the bottle, closed the whole contraption, and moved out to help her sister, being very careful with the bottle. When she got there, she very carefully, stowed the bottle under the carriage, right next to the hydrogen storage matrix for the fuel cell. One of the many nifty things about modern auto’s, was the storage matrix that kept the normally volatile hydrogen non-reactive (Read, not likely to go BOOM) in the event of an accident. Unfortunately for this particular auto, one of the known flaws in the design was that an explosion located in the right place can make it detonate anyways. And that place just happened to be where she had placed her little improvised bomb. The things you learn on the ‘Net.
As she was crawling out from under the jeep, Jet walked into the garage with the last of the mailing boxes. She graced Quartz with a raised eyebrow, and Quartz just laughed. “Don’t get into any accidents. The whole thing is rigged to blow. I’m not taking any chances. We’re going to take these to the Postal office drop off, and leave them on the loading dock, just like they were brought in by a truck.”
Jet nodded, “And got forgotten overnight, right? Decent plan. Cameras?”
“Not a problem if we’re careful. I’ve had to sneak things in there before. Remember Nicole? Her panties.”
Jet just raised an eyebrow. “Cute.” She shrugged the last box into the back, and moved over to the driver’s side. “Come on, the sooner we get out of here, the better. They may have backup.”
“One second,” Quartz motioned to her sister to wait a bit, and then opened one of the boxes, tossed the note inside, and resealed it. Then Quartz hopped into the passenger side with her bags, and nodded. “Lets get gone.”
They went. As they passed the entrance to the manor, Quartz leaned out of the window, and waved at the camera. Jet blew it a kiss. And then they were out of the manor, and heading into the city. Quartz took another electronic gizmo, and put it on the dash. He hit a few buttons, and then lights started blinking on the top. Jet shot her a look, and she shrugged. “Multi-frequency radio jammer. Stops vehicle tracking.”
“You and your toys.” Jet shook her head.
Quartz laughed. “Like your swords are any different.”
“Yeah,” Jet sallied back, “the swords aren’t nearly this useful.”
That killed the conversation, so the two of them sat there and stared ahead, thinking about the events of the past hour or so, and tried not to lose control. They were both only marginally successful. It didn’t help that they both knew, somehow, without doubt, that their twin was just as troubled. It made things worse in ways, but it also kept them from actually losing control, because they knew that if they did, so would their twin, and then they would both be dead.
It was a relief for them both when Jet pulled around to the back of the Postal Office, and they could get out and begin unloading the boxes. Quartz pointed our where all the blind spots in the surveillance were, and moved off to jimmy the cheap lock off the loading dock doors. A few minutes and a bobby pin later and the old mechanical lock was off, and they could get in. Within 30 minutes, all the boxes were hidden in the unprocessed pile, under the overnight deliveries that the automated system had logged in, and they were out and off.
“Where to now?” Jet asked as they left the center of town.
“Overlook Point.” Was all Quartz said, referring to a place about twenty minutes up the road from their house. It was part of a state park, a family friendly place with an amazing view of the bay. It was also right past Higgins house/office.
“Stop in on Higgins?” Jet inquired.
Quartz was actually surprised; she had forgotten that the good doctor’s house was literally on the way. As Jet turned the car in that direction, she nodded. “Might as well. We need to find out what the hell he said to father.”
“True that,” was her sister’s only reply, and then both of them were left to their thoughts for the quarter hour that it would take for them to get to the doctors.
They were both lost in reflection again as they drove, but not so much so that they failed to notice the large hole in the foliage at the edge of the road, as well as the caution signs still up. The kind of signs you only see after a major accident. And then, as they drove past the crater in the foliage, they saw the police tape around what looked like a wreck site down in a gully just off the road. Then they drove off, and continued on their way to Dr, Higgins’ home.
When they got there though, they were rather surprised to find an official police notice on the door, proclaiming that the sole resident and owner, one Dr, Henry Higgins, had been found in a automotive accident, and was found dead at the scene. The twins were understandably shocked. This explained their father’s behavior. He had never been told that they had contracted MORFS. Even if the senator hadn’t believed Higgins, when presented with the truth he would have been willing to accept it. He wouldn’t have taken it well, but he wouldn’t have gone ballistic this way. Without that advance notice, though, the twins were still his sons in his mind, and as such, not susceptible to such things as MORFS. This explained everything. And it meant that they would have to publicly destroy their father’s image in order to clear themselves. As long as he had power, he would never stop. He fully believed that they were terrorists who had kidnapped his sons, and would take any and all steps to extract his vengeance. The morning’s events made sense now.
“Oh, CRAP!” Quartz exclaimed. Jet just nodded mutely in agreement. They hurried back to the car, suddenly in a rush to get to the park and cut ties. They couldn’t leave traces, and that was why Quartz had picked this as their disappearing point. They could always be traced so long as they used the car, but if they destroyed that, they were good. The only way they would be traced after that would be if the trackers managed to follow their physical tracks. Quartz had made sure that none of her electronics had working trackers quite some time ago, and all the cutlery that Jet had was archaic, authentic stuff. There was nowhere to put a tracker. So they just had to find a way to avoid footprints. Hence their destination.
When they arrived, Quartz got out and headed over to the payphones, while Jet unpacked their gear and made sure it was all secure. Quartz went and dialed the mansion, and left a message on their old voicemail system. “Hello father, or more likely, the forensic investigators. This is Quartz Carmichael. My sister Jet and I used to be called Samuel and Daniel. We are the offspring of Senator Michael Carmichael. We just wanted to be left alone. That isn’t going to happen. Know that we aren’t going to start a damn thing, but we’ll sure as hell finish anything that does start. Don’t chase us. Leave us be. Let us live our lives in peace. Not that I expect you to listen. It would just be nice, for once, to be pleasantly surprised. Not that I expect that to happen. Not after what happened to our mother and sister. The files are on the desk in my old bedroom. Take a look. We’ll see you around.”
When she hung up the phone, she unfurled her wings from under the coat, and moved over to the edge of the cliff. Overlook Point. The view really was amazing, even at four in the morning. Letting out a long sigh, she snagged her two duffels, which seemed quite light all of a sudden, and with a look at her sister, jumped off the cliff.
END CHAPTER THREE
The entire MORFS Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/Encyclopedia.html