The Fallout - 11 | iv

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It was becoming more and more apparent that distance was needed. A full-scale drawback. Shea was happy to hear that Marx had come to his senses. He still held hope for peace, but at least he was now willing to see the humans had no such plans. War was their agenda.

Shea oversaw watchtower as Marx and Anabella went before the country's leaders again. All across the world tensions were high. Though the virus was only actively seen in Pentorium other countries were arming themselves against the 'threats.' There was a strain on diplomatic relations with allied countries as they tightened their restrictions on persons allowed inside their borders. Vampires and werewolves had little to fear about travel all the same. There were two sides to this world, and most humans were only privy to one. Between the underground railways that crisscrossed the continents on land and those under water, freedom of movement continued without a hitch. Those who wanted to leave Pentorium did, those who wanted to stay remained underground. Shea admired their resolve not to abandon their homes, yet she did not judge those who wanted to keep a safe distance. Growth, Anabella called it. Shea thought it common sense. Why wouldn't they choose to leave? The world was a big place, making a home was rooted in the people, not the place.

On one of the screens in front of her, Shea enlarged an image. Moving through the city, over the rooftops was Zigor and Ichiro. A new colony was to be built in the Mountains, and they were the extra muscle. Shea was none too pleased about the timing of this war that was bubbling to a boil. Just as she thought she could sort her life out, have some semblance of normalcy—BAM! Salvay. BAM BAM! Passerini for the double kill. Some think there was going to be a triple. What that could be was anyone's guess. They were up against the supernatural and science. Mixed, they were a formidable enemy. Like Helick, Shea preferred using fists and claws. Those were familiar—predictable, an even playing field. Always unsure of what was coming next defense was their major play. That annoyed Shea. It was frustrating not having the upper hand.

Martha came into the control room, two coffee cups in hand. She handed one to Shea.

"Dark herbal brew," Martha said.

Hesitating, Shea took it. "Meaning what exactly?"

"I may have added some extra ingredients." Martha took a sip from her cup.

Shea sniffed at hers. It smelt like vanilla and rosemary with a hint of peppermint.

"I am no amateur," Martha said. "If I were to try spiking your drink, anything short of a mass spectrometer would not be able to detect it."

"Good thing you're the bleeding heart around here," Shea sipped from her cup. The taste was a kaleidoscope of flavours she never thought would work well together. Fruits, herbs, and spices. If Martha did add a drop of poison, it would taste too good for Shea to care.

"How goes the prep?" Martha asked. She was referring to the preparations underway for the migration to the Mountain.

"From our end, we're spreading the word. Some people are still opting off the continent, but those who want to stay will move to the New Colony," Shea said, gesturing to the imaginary words 'New Colony' in bold print above their heads.

"Catchy," Martha said.

"It is." Shea took another sip from her cup. She could feel her system revving to life. For days, she had only gotten brief snatches of sleep. Martha and many of the others looked like they were in the same boat. "Went well with the focus groups," Shea said.

Both women laughed at that. Over the past few months, their relationship smoothed out again. The main reason being Shea's change in attitude. Other than her disdain for the humans, she was mellow.

"How are you holding up?" Martha asked.

"Me?" Shea asked confused.

"Yeah, I mean with Ichiro and the raids. I break out into hives when Nico goes out. So I was just—never mind," Martha said, waving it off.

At another point in her life, Shea would have scoffed. Said something dry or mean but she got it. She and Ichiro had been thrown into a situation outside of their making. This matter of wolves mating never sat well with Shea. Especially when a sociopath had chosen her to be his. When she found Ichiro—her real mate—she gave him the option to leave. Why would she force him to stay if he was not happy? She never got that option from Barabbas. The man hunted her to the ends of the Earth. In the end, she killed the bane of her existence but not before he left her mate fighting for his life.

Penny changed Ichiro saving him. Sometimes Shea felt a tinge of guilt when she thought about Lochlan and how Penny lost him. And how if she—Shea—had been around she could have prevented it. She could have changed Penny eliminating Sven's need to make Lochlan a target. But then Penny would not be as powerful as she is now. From death sprung new life. A new life that triggered an evolution for the species. Creating a werewolf was simple and without the need of a pure heart. One bite from Penny and any human could change.

Martha squeezed Shea's shoulder bringing her back. "Yeah, yeah, I 'm all right," Shea answered. "Not pleased but I respect his decision. Note though that if anything happens to him, you'll need more than a dark herbal brew to keep me calm."

"I'd probably whip up a plague of some kind. Philippe's lab is like a witch's dream. Science and magic."

While Martha spoke, Shea's cup froze at her lips. The other woman was looking at the screens as she relayed how she would go about teaching the humans a lesson. Warts, boils, a pandemic the likes of which would dim the effects of the virus affecting the vampires. Shea was not sure if Martha was joking or not. The woman's tone held no malice.

"What's that?"

Shea sat, staring at Martha for a few beats before turning in her chair to the bank of monitors in front of her. She looked at the screen at which Martha was pointing.

"Don't see anything," Shea said.

"There—" Martha squinted as she stepped closer to the screens. "I saw a flash on that monitor."

Shea punched up the screen in question on a much larger monitor. It was the view of an intersection. The roads were empty. No lights but that from the moon.

"I'm sure I saw something. There is again."

This time, Shea saw it as well. She stood up. The flash came on a different screen showing the street a block down from where Martha had seen it first.

"Check all cameras in that area," Shea instructed one of the men in the room. They went through the five camera angles at their disposal. On the first screen, the flash came again; it flickered before becoming a steady beam, expanding into a swirling mass of light.

"Is that—?" Martha asked.

"A portal."


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Author's Note:

Guess who's back...

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