Raven called out into the darkness and flicked her Katanas onto the sharpest setting.
'Give yourself up! You can't win!'
There was a thud and Thorn dropped down from the ceiling.
'Oh yeah? Then since you're going to kill us anyway, you might want to listen to what we have to say first.'
From all around her, the rest of the five dropped down and glared.
Danny didn't think before she pulled the trigger. She never did. She just watched Nero crumble to the floor from the sleeper pulse and laughed. Taking out her small pocket-knife, she bent over Nero and jabbed the knife lightly for times into the side of his head. He was her victim. She didn't even think once about how much trouble she would be in when he woke up. She figured that she wouldn't even be there when that happened.
Raven raised her eyebrows.
'Well,' said Thorn, 'if you would go to the hangar, you might just happen to find Nero. Unfortunately, though, he wouldn't be speaking to you, because he, well, lets just say he got in the way of a sleeper. Nice and simple, huh?'
Thorn grinned evilly.
'Oh yes,' said Raven, 'nice and simple. But suppose I were to believe this, I could then ask, what's it for you? After spending 3 years training you, Rhiannon, you can hardly believe that I don't know how you think.'
'What’s it for me?' Thorn asked innocently. 'Well, I think you might be quite interested to see a little piece of quite important information that we managed to uncover, and then I think you might realise why this is happening...'
Taking a small camera device from her pocket, she handed it to Raven and hit the play button. Raven’s eye widened and she scowled. ‘No student should ever be able to find out about this,’ she said angrily. ‘The security is far too tight.’
‘Yeah, well I thought you would have realised by now that we’re not the average students’ Thorn said with a grin.
HIVEmind wasn’t there. But HIVEmind was ALWAYS there. If he wasn’t there, then the school wasn’t there. It couldn’t survive without HIVEmind.
The professor looked around in dismay. The AI couldn’t just ‘walk off’; He had no body. Pike quickly took a small device from his pocket and typed in a code on the keypad. Blue beams of light flashed from the end of the device. Several moments later, the familiar head of HIVEmind materialised above the device. The professor raised his eyebrows. ‘Where have you been?’
Rhiannon remembered back to the day she had been taken to HIVE. She’d thought it was wonderful then. No boring academic subjects for her anymore. All her favourite things for six whole years, no worrying about being caught, no fighting to live, and free food! And it was a school of EVIL! Climbing, training, combat, stealth, tech, evasion, oh. And finance. But there’s a downside to everything. But then they had found GLOVEnet. They had been told at the beginning of HIVE that the school was run by a foundation called GLOVE. The Global League of Villainous Enterprises. It had sounded exciting at first, and even more so when she and Suzie had uncovered GLOVEnet itself by hacking into their school computer. Admittedly, she hadn’t really done much hacking, Suzie had done most of it, but she’d helped. A bit. They’d spent hours on GLOVEnet, hacking further and further into it. But, when the hacking got harder, they’d found information that not even half of GLOVE knew about. And that was where they had found the video.
It was just contained in a blank document labelled ‘X12’. They had watched it without hesitation; they were just too curious for their own good. But afterwards they didn’t want to stay at HIVE. No way.
Raven sighed. Five half trained villains of the future including her own apprentice, have found out about X12 and think they’re going to die. Great. Could it get any worse? Of course. But still, they’re not average students. You couldn’t complete a full tactical operation in the middle of the night, in the middle of the MAZE, within your third year, if you were an average student. They were going to be trouble, Raven was sure of it. And she liked trouble. But the only problem was, Rhiannon liked it too.
X12. The stupid operation that the most violent members of GLOVE had organised. Get rid of all the threats to GLOVE, they said, and GLOVE will thrive. But in Raven and Nero’s opinion, older members of GLOVE and HIVE who had retired didn’t really count as threats. It wasn’t really an ‘operation’, it was more like mass murder.
The silent assassin left Nero on the floor and set off to the maze. She’d got the alert call Rhiannon had sent, warning her of Raven but she decided that Raven wouldn’t be expecting her, anyway. It was easier to take your victims by surprise. Nero was a good example. Although she wasn’t really sure why Nero wasn’t expecting it, since he had obviously seen the dead-looking men on the floor. Not that they were really dead. Sleepers were quite realistic! But still, the strange air-pressure Rhiannon and Suzie had set, made it quite difficult to hear. She just hoped the pressure would be better in the maze.
Raven shook her head sadly.
‘You don’t know what you’re up against.’ She said
‘Don’t I?’ Said Rhiannon, her eyebrows raised.
‘No, you don’t’ repeated Raven. ‘I go easy on you in training.’
‘But what if someone else here is better than you thought?’
‘Oh yeah? Who is it then?’ She asked sarcastically.
The five smiled.
‘Like to tell me the joke? There’s a fifty per cent chance I’ll find it funny.’
‘You don’t know? I thought you kept tabs on us?’
‘Oh, I know about YOU.’ Raven said, her expression hardening as she looked at the tall blonde girl. ‘Who doesn’t? You did know, I suppose, that the whole of GLOVE has been talking about you. Gina Gallows, they say, she’s the one who tried to bomb the Empire State Building. I always like to remind them that you failed though. Just my little joke.’
Gina glared at her.
‘Anyway,’ said Rhiannon, ‘ Who said it was Gina?’
‘Who did?’ Answered Raven. ‘Enough of these guessing games. Lets make a deal. You come quietly back to Nero’s office with me and I won’t have to kill any of you.’
‘No deal’ the five said in unison.
‘Anyway,’ said Rhiannon, ‘who said we didn’t bring back up?’
From behind Raven, the silent assassin dropped to the ground.
Raven reached behind her back for her Katanas and found nothing. She looked around for the five and cursed loudly. They were nowhere to be seen.
Meanwhile, hidden in the ceiling above Raven, Rhiannon passed Nieve a katana and handed the other to Dimitri. The tall African took the blade and used it to cut out a large block of the solid steel ceiling. Nieve also made another hole in the ceiling so that the five could look down at the fight below. Rhiannon bit her lip. She knew Raven was good, but Danny was too, and Raven already had an advantage. Danny’s movements became slower and the five knew that she was running on pure adrenalin now. Their plan was crude, but hopefully Raven wouldn’t be expecting a huge lump of solid steel falling from the ceiling onto her head.
Raven delivered a straight-legged kick to the assassin’s chin and the girl collapsed with a groan. Raven stood over her and sighed with relief. She had to admit, the girl was good. Raven had never seen her fight before, and she had been taken by surprise. The girl’s style wasn’t to Raven’s liking though, just brute force and cruelty. She quickly took out her blackbox and speed-dialled Nero’s number.
Nero’s voice sounded groggy.
Raven looked worried.
‘Are you alright?’
‘I think I’ve been hit by a sleeper.’
Raven gasped in angry amazement.
‘Yes. We dare.’ Said a voice from above her and the last thing Raven felt was a sharp pain on the top of her head, and then she collapsed
‘OK, Guys, this is the difficult bi… ouch!’ Rhiannon stopped suddenly and looked at her hands. They were covered in blood. She looked back at the wall that her palm had been leaning against. The tip of a blade was protruding from a small slit, and as they watched, it moved further in and started to cut a square in the metal. ‘RUN!’ Shouted Rhiannon and they ran. Rhiannon glanced back at Raven as she sprinted to a door at the end of the passageway.
‘Do you think she’ll be alright?’ She said to Gina as they ran.
‘Who cares?’ Gina shot back.
Rhiannon glared at her. ‘She’s my mentor!’
‘Yes, well once we’re out of here, she won’t ever see us again, will she?’
From some where in front of them, there was a curse.
‘Stop!’ Dimitri hissed. ‘Guards!’
They backed away. Suddenly Rhiannon’s eyes flashed.
Nero looked through the hole in the wall. From somewhere up ahead, he heard a curse. He crept through the dark and almost tripped over a pair of feet. The feet groaned, and Nero looked down.
She groaned again.
‘Ow. That hurt.’ She said.
‘What happened?’ Nero sounded concerned.
‘Not quite sure.’ She answered.
Nero picked up the lump of ceiling.
‘Is it heavy?’ Raven asked.
‘Err, yes. Why?’
‘Well, that might have been the thing that fell on my head.’ She said, looking at the lump with a bemused expression.
‘On your head!’
‘Well,’ She reached up and felt her scalp. ‘There seems to be some damage.’
Her hand was covered in blood.
Nero bit his lip.
‘I think we should get that seen to.’
‘OK.’ Said Raven, shrugging.
Nero stared at her. He hadn’t expected her to give in THAT easily.
‘Are you alright?’ He asked her.
‘Fine!’ She said. ‘Catch me if I faint!’