Sequel to The Finding Father Series


Over the years, A.G. Industries has been hounding Seekers all over the world. A secret company with even more secret goals. Rumors about "Them" flood all through the Seeker grapevine: Some say they want to control the world. Others say that they simply want to stop evil Seekers. Some even say they don't even exist. But this is not a tale about the company as a whole, but about the company's current CEO. L. Rockwell. A man willing to do anything to get what he wants.

We are long past the golden age of the Holders, where they would keep all of the Objects. The Objects are almost all in the hands of humans, which are arguably worse. The few Objects that are not held by humans or Holders are kept by much more sinister beings. That is the world we live in. That is the world we thrive in. That is the world I want.

Heartbeat.

At first there was only darkness. Then a smile.

Crows and other creatures ran for shelter as Jefferson Williams ran out into his field carrying his wooden base rifle. The milk he spilled when he first heard the scream stained his overalls. He wasn't quite sure of what he heard but wasn't ready to take a chance. Smoke was rising from his fields, blacker than he had ever seen it. At first, he thought some of the boys from town had torched his plants, or maybe even it was one of the escaped slaves he had heard from the Johnsons back west. He ran through the stalks toward the scar left in his field ready to face anyone. But when he arrived, he realized it was neither boys nor slaves, what he found there was much worse. The plants had been burnt to ashes in a big circle, however, there was no fire, the smoke seemed to pour straight out of the ground. Two charred bodies lay on opposite ends of it. In the center, there was a man in peculiar clothing. The man crouched and slowly stood up, raising his glace first to Jefferson, then to the sky. Jefferson began to turn white.

"Who in god's name are you?" The man turned to Jefferson, almost beginning to ask himself the same question, but the man said nothing. This stranger must have started the fire and killed two people, but he couldn't tell if he knew either of the victims or maybe it was an angel come to smite him for his sins, Jefferson thought to himself quickly. Or maybe it was worse. He had many sins unaccounted for, many that the angel could punish him for. He thought o the time he shot Louis J. Rockwell for attempting to run him out of his land unfairly. Maybe it was his ghost come from the dead to take back life lost. Looked nothing like him, but Jefferson had heard of powerful demons roaming the land and twisting souls in order to fulfill the devil's wishes. "R-R-R-Rockwell? Is that you?"

The man made an attempt to walk closer to Jefferson, but Jefferson raised his weapon at him. Ghost or not, he wasn't about to die. "B-b-back off! I'm warning you!" The man continued closer to Jefferson, who closed his eyes and pulled the trigger on the weapon. The shot was loud enough to be heard a kilometer around the farm, but no one else was there but the two men in the field. Jefferson opened his eyes to see the man on the ground.

Pain flooded the man's mind for the first time. Within a minute, it was gone, leaving only a bitter taste in the man's mouth. Jefferson began to shake as he saw the man stand back up. No one had survived a bullet wound to the head like that before. This must be Satan! Jefferson thought quickly, shooting at the man four more times. These shots weren't as lucky, hitting the man in the chest and stomach. The man bent over onto the ground holding his chest, wheezing for air. Air, something that hadn't crossed his mind before. Then he stopped, as the man in the suit realized he didn't need to breathe, he didn't need air. The pain receded from his body as the man fixed his glare on Jefferson, speaking his first words. "My turn."


There was very little left of Jefferson Williams once the man in the suit exacted his revenge. Nothing that anyone could ever find. The man watched as the blood on his clothing melted away, leaving what was black black, and turning what became red back to white. He mused that maybe that was too primal of him, but couldn't deny that it felt very good. He turned his view back to the sky. There was much to learn. He found himself smiling for reasons he didn't quite understand. Everything in due time, though, he told himself. But he needed something to call himself, a temporary name, until he found his own. He fixed his gaze back at the blood marks on the ground. "Rockwell." It would do for now. He looked back straight at the sun. A small amount of constant pain began to erupt in his eyes, but after an hour or so, he became used to it. It meant nothing to him on a grand scale. Although at that moment, he wanted nothing more than to blot out that light. He wasn't sure why, and watched some birds fly by.

Then something dark from inside told him to head north. There was work to do.

Breadcrumbs.

The man in the suit was growing restless.

It had been one year since he had found himself in this plane of existence, one year since then, and no answers. He found himself isolated from the humans that inhabited the world, he could see all of their shortcomings so very easily, and had no interest in them. They regarded him with fear, and that was fine with him. But he had begun to wonder if there was anything for him to ever find out the truth. That was why, on the eve of his birthday, he returned to the field he had found himself in all those months ago. He waited, for something to happen, but for a long time nothing did. At least not until the sun left the sky.

At midnight in the moonless sky, the stars themselves seemed to fade away. Blackness took over every corner of the sky, leaving Rockwell in the dark. That is when the Voice appeared.

"I can help you."

Rockwell spun around, trying to find the source of the sound, but nothing was nearby. No movement anywhere. Not even the ever-moving plants budged from their stance. It was as if the entire world had frozen with fear, waiting for the chance to move again.

"Who are you?" Rockwell asked out loud, searching the sky with his eyes, but nothing but darkness stared back at him.

"I am nothing but a guide."

Rockwell kept looking around, trying to pinpoint the location of the mysterious Voice.

"You can keep looking, but you won't see me anywhere, in fact I'm much closer than you could imagine, I'm right here," Rockwell found himself pointing at his own head, a movement he never meant to do. Quickly lowering his arm in shock, he took a second to think.

"What are you?"

"Like I said, I am a guide. I'm here to help you, 'Rockwell', to get what you want. But in order to do that, you need to find me. But you have a lot of learning to do first before you can become a Seeker." Rockwell had no idea what the Voice was talking about, or what a Seeker was for that matter. But he accepted that it was the only way to answer his questions. This Voice had some idea of what was going on, and Rockwell would follow it as long as he needed to.

"What do I need to do?" Rockwell asked in a much more calm manner.

"First, you need to head West. I will tell you when you've gone far enough. Be patient, it will take a long time to find me, but you have all the time you'll ever need. And I have all the answers you want."

"Who am I?" Rockwell asked back at the sky. But the moon had already returned to its place, and all was silence once more.

Home.

The abrupt knock on the door jarred Sam out of his daydream. He hissed as he turned to the door. He wasn't expecting company, because company never came. No one ever came. Which means "they" had come. Sure it was only rumor to be hones, but more and more Seekers had started talking about "them". People who turned Seeker into prey. As if Holders weren't bad enough. He quickly closed the lid of the shoebox and put it on the nearby counter. The door burst open off its hinges. A bunch of people in body armor with weapons ran into the room, followed by a man and a woman. The men with guns shined their flashlights through the darkness at him. What stood in front of the group could barely still be called a man, he was far too thin and had obviously not been getting a lot of sleep.

"Give us the Objects, Sam, and no one gets hurt," the man in the suit said. Sam simply growled, there was no way they were going to take his Objects. No one would take his Objects. But before he could run at the first person, the woman had already ordered them to fire. A barrage of bullets took the man down quickly. He twitched once, before dying. The woman signaled the rest of the soldiers to search the remaining rooms, while stepping toward the shoebox.

"Wasn't that a bit unnecessary?" the man in the suit said with a smile. The woman shot him a glare.

"Oh, shut it, Rockwell. The only thing unnecessary about that was you trying to talk him into surrendering. Has that ever worked?" She slowly lifted up the lid of the shoebox. You never knew how these idiots would try to booby-trap their belongings. But there was no trap this time, just a bunch of ordinary objects, or at least that's what it looked like to the untrained eye. Amidst the clutter of rubber bands and thumbtacks were three Objects. A pretty good find for a Seeker that was so weak. But one thing caught her eye, something that clearly didn't belong with the other scraps.

"Now, now, Ms. Leviller, who was the one that found this man? Who found all the information for this raid?" he paused, seeing her grow confused. "What's the matter?" She reached into the shoebox, and pulled out three links of an iron chain, obviously outdating anything else in the box.

"What the hell is this?" she asked as Rockwell moved closer to examine it himself. "Rockwell, did your intel mention anything about chain links?" Rockwell pulled out one of their bags they used to hold the Objects and put the chain inside, saying that he would send it down to the lab, but otherwise that he had not known anything about the links. "Well, if it turns out to be something huge, you better not take credit for it, you are already the boss's 'favorite'." He laughed at that, as she put the rest of the Objects into the same type of bags and put them all in the suitcase she had brought along with her. She instructed the rest of the soldiers to make their way back to the van downstairs, preparing to leave Rockwell to finish his job. "It's all yours, all clear. We'll be at the RD building to drop these off. Don't be too late," she said with a wink before adding, "I swear someday we're going to find Legion if we keep nailing them like this, we got the suckers on the run."

"Someday."


Rockwell was alone again. He preferred to work this way, in a few minutes he would search the room for all the available information on any other Seekers Sam could have known. Then he would track them down one by one and confiscate their Objects, in the name of peace. But he would do that soon. First, he had his own plans to take care of. He pulled out the three links of the chain that they had taken off of Sam, and pulled one more link out of his coat pocket. Exactly the same. That meant he was one step closer to his completed chain. He wasn't entirely sure how the chain would work, but he had seen the Objects do extraordinary things, which would mean a lost Object could do incredible things.

"One step at a time, Rockwell."

"I know, I know," he thought out loud. "But I've done so much in order to get closer to what I want, but none of my important questions have been answered. How much longer do I have to wait?"

"Finish the chain and open the hole. Then you will get answers," the Voice responded. Rockwell put the links back into his coat pocket. He would leave those there, and tell Leviller that they were nothing of interest. She would believe him. She trusted him, even though she was slightly overzealous in her raids. He looked back at the body, knowing he could have gotten more information out of the man. Murder is much easier than torture. Eventually something would have to be done with Leviller. He looked up at the ceiling fan. "I still don't trust you, you know that?"

"I know."

Chains.

The bass rumbled as the bouncer quickly pocketed the hundred dollar bills, and let the group pass.

The club was extraordinarily big, as people from all parts of the city's night life danced and drank the night away. Several local stars would often come down for a drink or two, so nobody blinked at the group that entered. The man in the suit led the two well-dressed women he was with into the main room. Few people's eyes lingered on the man, instead looking at the women he was with. Those who did recognize the man stopped dancing briefly, before warily continuing with their fun. The group made their way down past the dancers to the bar, past the near blinding strobe light. The man in the suit's gaze stopped briefly on the door far left which had two large bouncers in front of it, sizing up anyone who would walk nearby. The man in the suit turned to the bartender and ordered drinks for the two women. The bartender mixed the drinks quickly before leaning back toward the man.

"Anything for you?"

"I'd like to talk to the owner," the man responded, while passing the bartender an extra fifty dollars. "We have business matters to discuss." The bartender nodded and told him to wait a moment, as he went toward the door on the left talking briefly to one of the bouncers. He returned quickly after.

"What did you say your name was again?" The man simply smiled and made his way to the bouncers himself. The bartender watched as the man talked to them in a calm fashion, until one or two minutes later they let him walk by into the room. He wondered who that was, but dismissed it as simply a business associate. He turned his attention back toward the two girls still at the bar as they asked for more drinks.

The man climbed the last few steps into the private room overlooking the entire club. Inside were several bodyguards and a younger man, wearing baggy clothing, gold chains and watch, and a backward baseball cap. The man finished snorting some coke before noticing the man in the suit.

"Who the fuck are you? The fuck do you think you're doing up here?"

"I've been looking for you for a while, James. It's almost like you were hiding." The man in the suit stepped further into the room, as James became more and more agitated.

"Nobody calls me James. You have one more chance to tell me who you are before I get these guys up on you."

"Rockwell," the man in the suit responded. James dropped his straw, muttering in disbelief as he looked at the man standing before him. There was no way that man could be Rockwell, he was sure that Rockwell couldn't find him! Without even bothering to take the shocked expression off his face, he turned to his guards.

"Kill him. Kill him!" But Rockwell already had his revolver out. He shot three of the guards before the fourth one shot him twice, after which he shot that man twice more. Bullet wounds didn't slow him down as he walked closer and closer to James. James started saying half-stammered apologies, promising him whatever he could want. Rockwell explained that there was only one thing he wanted, and James already knew that. Pushing him back over onto the ground he grabbed the gold-plated chains around his neck, chastising him on trying to hide them by painting them gold. Rockwell brought the pistol to the man's head. James closed his eyes and tried not to scream. Another gunshot was muffled by the loud music outside as not even the bartender bothered to look back at the door nearby. James opened his eyes to see that Rockwell had shot the links open, taking the chain away from the man.

"You have no idea how much of my time I had to spend in order to find this. Do you think I have a lot of time, James?" James only stammered an unintelligible response. "The answer is yes, yes I do. But if I ever have to chase you down to find something I want, you are not going to be as lucky as this time." The man in the suit put the chain in his pocket and walked out of the room, while the man on the ground watched his every step.

Rockwell collected the two women at the bar and escorted them out of the club and down the street where his limousine was waiting. One of the girls asked him if his mission was successful, which he replied with yes. She then thanked him for allowing them to help. He promised them extra pay for their great acting before opening one of his nearby suitcases in order to update his data. He had now gained another dozen links in the Chain of Legion, and he wondered how many more he would need. But the Voice hadn't failed him yet, so Rockwell decided to be patient, as the limo turned and drove off toward the nearest airport.

Once the chain was complete, he would contact the two men that he had been investigating. After that, everything would fall into place.

The Fairytale.

Dear Mr. Todd,

I have recently received a letter from you and your associates about my findings in southern Africa. I cannot explain how excited I was to receive a letter with the name Rockwell on it. I am not sure if you knew, but my father had worked with Mr. Rockwell twenty years ago, and it is nice to see he is still in the field of archeology. I, myself, have had pictures of my father and him for a while, and it was a pleasant surprise to compare them to the ones you sent me, as the man does not seem to have grown a year older! But nonetheless, I digress.

What I found deep in the ruins we uncovered near Halib in Namibia has been the source of many arguments in my group. Though the most difficult part was translating it, now that we have, we cannot quite understand what the meaning of it is. Dr. Strosset simply mistranslated. Nevertheless, the object itself is amazing: a large piece of obsidian, in the middle of a desert. Well, to be exact, we assume it's obsidian. We cannot tell for sure at the moment, but within a week we will have it tested. The entirety of the ruins seems to be much older than we had originally predicted. We may have found one of the oldest (and best preserved) man-made structures! The rock itself still gives us trouble though; for example, it seems far too strong to be obsidian, as we cannot break a piece of it off. Also, some of our professors have been complaining of mild headaches when around the object - possibly some kind of irritant is around the rock.

But I do understand that the writing itself is of the most important to you, so I will write it here for you:

The black sun above me lights the red sky.

I can't smile.

They are all watching, and I cannot smile.

They are whispering, and still I cannot smile.

Two thousand five hundred and thirty eight of them and I cannot smile.

Why can't I smile?

Interesting enough, as I write this letter, a large helicopter has just landed and I am told that it belongs to Mr. Rockwell's company, maybe I should simply give them this letter to save on postage! Either way, I await your reply and your thoughts on the subject.


Sincerely yours,

Dr. Jessica Tolden


PS: I just remembered. All around the ruins, the number 1072 was repeatedly written. Does this number mean anything to you?

Professional.

Sarah sat in the living room in front of the fire when a pair of small hands started tugging on her sleeve.

"Mommy! Mommy!"

Sarah smiled and pulled her daughter up onto her lap.

"You want me to tell you a story?" she asked. The five-year-old nodded. "Alright. There once was a beautiful princess who ruled over all that she could see. She would spend her mornings making sure everything was perfect in her castle... but at night... she would hunt vampires!"

Ellie laughed at that. Sarah knew that she loved stories like that ever since she saw that movie a few months ago. She continued the story, talking about the brave knight that the princess met but was cut off by the phone ringing. Lifting her daughter off of her lap, Sarah made her way to the phone. Ellie looked on curiously, as her mother stopped laughing. But only for a second, then the smile came back as she hung up.

"Mommy has to go now, be a good girl and go to bed, okay?" Ellie nodded sadly and picked up her favorite blanket as her mother helped her back into her room. It didn't take long for her to fall asleep.

Sarah didn't have to drive far. She knew the route, and had been there countless times before. But this wasn't a scheduled meeting, and that worried her. She saw the other cars parked in the lot as she drove up. She switched off her car and locked the doors. Didn't turn on the alarm though. Didn't want to make more noise. She walked down into the park toward a bench. The only light she saw was from a cigarette. She approached the two other people sitting there. The one smoking the cigarette spoke first.

"Glad you could make it, Sarah. Things have been bad."

Sarah looked at the other figure briefly before turning back to the smoking man.

"Mark, what's going on here? I had to leave Ellie alone. This better be damn important for me to -"

"We've found it," was the smoking man's response. Sarah shivered as he said that. Not out of fear. The man took another drag of the cigarette before putting it out. He pulled out another one from his jacket pocket. He quickly lit it and then turned to the shadowed figure. Sarah saw a movement, possibly a nod. Mark turned back to her.

"It's deep down there, but we can still get it. It'll take some work, but if we work together, we can get it." Sarah wasn't looking at him anymore, she was looking at the shadowed figure.

"Mark, who is that?" Sarah's words were tinged with fear and mistrust. Yes, she would do anything to get what she wanted, but just who was Mark dealing with? She began to wonder if this third party could be trusted at all.

"Don't worry. He's a friend. He's been looking for the same thing for a while and he thi-"

"Why?" Sarah asked the shadow directly. "Why could you possibly want to look for it? Spending your time trying to find something that isn't even real?"

The shadow didn't respond. Sarah turned back to Mark. "Look, Sarah, he's gotten a team together. A team like you couldn't even imagine. They are very good, very professional. But they are doing it for other reasons. What we are after is a byproduct of their work. They don't care about what we are after. We'll need to work fast though." He took a deep breath of the night air. A look of pain crossed his eyes. Even he wasn't very sure about this, Sarah realized. He spoke again, but this time it was more a plea. "Sarah, people are going to get hurt." Sarah didn't say anything. Mark crushed his cigarette. Quickly looking at the shadowed figure before turning back to her, "We knew it would come to this. We always knew. Now tell me, are you going to help us, Sarah?"

"Not like this. I won't do it like this. I can wait longer. But people are not going to die for me. If I'm even beginning to guess what you are up to, I'm not going to let that amount of chaos be freed just so we can -"

"Dr. Meissner," the shadow spoke. "You do not understand what Mr. Tene here is telling you. This is what you've been waiting for, and I would greatly appreciate if you would work with us so we can help each other toward a common goal." The shadow leaned closer to the light. The man was wearing a suit but the man didn't even seem cold.

"Now, Doctor, I was very much hoping we could do this the easy way, and I was hoping it wouldn't take much for you to comply." Sarah looked back at Mark, who had begun to sweat visibly. He only looked down. "You will work with us, because you care about your daughter." Sarah twitched. "Ellie, was it? Yes. Don't make me have to threaten you, Doctor. I was truly hoping we could do this in a civilized manner, but we don't have to if you don't want us to." The man leaned closer and caught her stare with dark brown eyes. "Yours and your colleague's work has caught my eye, and I'm interested to try some of your theories out. I believe that it might lead me to what we seek. Well, we will talk all about that later. Now, do we have a deal?"

Sarah had tears in her eyes. She always knew this might happen, but she had not planned well enough for it. It was understandable to be very paranoid about what she was doing, and she thought she hid herself and her project well. She thought she had kept Ellie safe by keeping her far from this. It was too late now, this man had her cornered, and she had nothing she could do.

"Just tell me," she spat at him. "Just tell me why you want to do this!"

"My dear," the shadow replied, "I'm just keeping us better."

The shadow was the last person still at the park, and he stood there looking up at the sky, the dark moonless sky. Another figure in a coat approached.

"Rockwell."

The shadow turned back at the sky after seeing who it was. "Yes, Derrick?"

"Everything is ready. I'll be a test run, but if the test subject can manage to widen the hole as we planned, we should be able to figure out how to get the entire device operational."

"And the child?" the shadow asked. The man in the coat paused for a second before proceeding. He was still not okay with this, but it was necessary, he told himself. Everything was necessary for the big picture.

"Eager. Ready, too. I still don't know how he's okay with you doing that to his -"

"He doesn't have a choice. Luck has intervened and the child has become perfect for what we need."

"Goddammit, Rockwell, what happened? This wasn't how this was supposed to happen! This isn't what I want!"

The shadowed figure didn't even meet the man's gaze. "I disagree."

The shadow turned and left, leaving Derrick Todd alone in the cold park.

Portal.

What could be described as a growl emerged from the hole in the wall. Nearby scientists scrambling amongst machines, taking down every important piece of knowledge. Not one of them spoke of the child that just entered the hole. Not one of them tried to show the regret and fear they were feeling. For no matter how ashamed they were, nothing was worth what their boss would do to them. Derrick Todd was the first to leave the room, followed quickly by Dr. Meissner. Mark Tene was the last to give a look at the man in the suit before he, too, left for the second observation room. Rockwell didn't notice. His eyes were locked onto the hole in the wall.

Minutes turned into hours, and Rockwell made his way to the conference room. Leviller had paged him a few minutes ago telling him that his package had arrived. Rockwell commended her on her quick success, as he believed that it would have taken much longer. Leviller said nothing in return. Her squad had only gotten the orders that morning, and though it was difficult finding the package, securing it was far too easy. She simply told him that she had work to do, and didn't have more time for his errands. He reminded her who her superior was. She hung up. Rockwell only smiled, Leviller's attitude was merely a distraction at most. She would do her job because whether or not she would like to admit it, she enjoyed it. She was like all of the others who worked for him. Rockwell reached for the doorknob to the room.

"Time." The Voice was barely a whisper now. A simple gasp in Rockwell's ear, teasing him to stop his action, but Rockwell persisted. There was work to do.

The room was dark, empty except for a table and two chairs. The Good Doctor sat in one of them, his head in his hand, long hair draping his face. He didn't even move when Rockwell walked into the room. Rockwell didn't bother to sit down, but simply waited for the man to respond to his presence. However, the first to speak was not who Rockwell expected it to be. The Voice ran through Rockwell's mind. "Hunger." A dry cough of a phrase rang through the air that only Rockwell understood.

"Why?" the man asked out loud. Rockwell was caught momentarily off guard. The Voice would have to wait yet again. Rockwell stepped closer to the man at the table. "You know perfectly well why. I have my goals and you have yours. I am prepared to do what I can to achieve mine, but you on the other hand, have given up on your goals." The man barely stirred. Rockwell leaned in closer to him over the table. "We are long past the golden age of the Holders, where they would keep all of the Objects. The Objects are almost all in the hands of humans, which are arguably worse. The few Objects that are not held by humans or Holders are kept by much sinister beings. That is the world we live in. That is the world we thrive in. That is my world."

"No," the man's response was quick and cutting. Rockwell, himself, was taken aback as the figure at the table lifted himself up from his pathetic position, revealing something in its clutches. Something it held onto tighter than one should hold anything. In its grasp was the book. The Book of Legion. "No, Rockwell," the man spat out. "That is only the beginning." The two men locked eyes as a chill went through the room. Rockwell started to respond but the death rattle of The Voice flew through his mind again. This time sharper than before. More desperate. "Smile." Only a moment later did Rockwell realize that that wasn't The Voice, but something darker, something much more powerful, and infinitely more dangerous. The hole was talking to him, piercing his mind, taunting him. Sacrifice was a word Rockwell would have to understand.

But that was a moment too late to do anything, as the door smashed open, as the three that had left the portal room ran in. Tene was the only one who could speak. "Something is wrong." The five of them ran through the underground laboratory as fast as they could. They charged through the hallways, and ran up to the doors. Barred shut by something they could not see, they could only watch through the observation window as the hole began to growl once again. Scientists stood in shock at the hole, paralyzed with fear, and possibly more. Fallen clipboards and notes were left untouched. Nobody dared to move. But the growl turned into a deafening scream as the reality of the room seemed to melt away. As black oily tendrils erupted from the hole, grabbing hold of the men and women in the room, dragging them screaming back into the black abyss. Finally, the tendrils retracted into the blackness, but something once again began to exit the portal. What appeared to be a gigantic ribcage attached to a tendril made its way through the portal, stopping when it touched the floor of the room. The "mouth" then parted, depositing something into the room. As the aberration returned to its world, the doors became unlocked again, almost as if by magic. The group made their way into the room warily. Almost no collateral damage was made to the room, as it simply appeared empty. If not for the hole, one wouldn't be able to to believe what had just happened has ever occurred. The only noise came from the machinery and the low rumble from the scar in the wall. However, when they saw what was left for them, the silence returned to deafen the room once more. The child lay on the ground, naked, covered in sweat and black liquid, laying there shivering, but unconscious. The Good Doctor made his way over to his offspring immediately, whereas Derrick couldn't move at all. Tene absentmindedly took out a cigarette and lit it, without breaking his gaze on the hole. Sarah was the first to notice the machines, nearly gasping back sickening tears as she made her proclamation.

"It worked."

Otherside.

Mark Tene lit another cigarette in the darkness. Leaning against the cold stone walls, he looked calm, almost serene. Walls scarred with more obscure writing than he had ever seen, things he hadn't even bothered to attempt to decipher. The floor was grated so one could see the darkness below it, and though there were light sounds of heavy iron machinery, nothing but blackness could be seen. This was easily the least unsettling room, but also the least interesting. It was simply the "foyer", and did that job without offering any other hints to follow. No clues for him to find what he sought. Nothing but an archway that led further down into the ruins, and a way home. Something Tene was in no way interested in. What was deeper down in the abyss was much more important. As the hole growled, letting another figure in, Mark barely even looked up. He knew who it was. Mark simply took another drag from his cigarette.

"What took you so long?" he asked the man in the suit.

"Todd was there. He was just tying up loose ends," Rockwell responded, dusting himself off. The hole was in no way a pleasant experience to endure.

"Guess he was late. Or else he'd be dead by now." Rockwell would have a hard time replacing every employee in the building. Everyone that had died when the portal was opened again. But Mark didn't really care, that was Rockwell's problem, not his. "Did he ask about me?"

Rockwell grinned. "I told him you were dead."

Mark flicked his cigarette butt to the ground, pushing himself off the wall and making his way to the archway.

"Good."


Mark Tene was different from all the others Rockwell had approached for this project of his. The most important difference being, that he didn't approach him. Mark found Rockwell. Not the story he told his colleague, but Rockwell soon learned that Mark was not at all what he appeared to be. The man was far smarter, and far more ambitious than one could imagine just by looking at him. Mark wanted one thing, and that was control, and the only way to get that was with knowledge. More knowledge than anyone could imagine. And if he had to step down into the deepest darkness to find it, why not? It only made the prize more appeasing. And if a few people had to die in order for him to get there, so be it. Sacrifices must be made. Always.

So when Mark looked into the hole on the day of the first accident, he did not look with fear, but with lust. Because that's where all of his answers lay. Within the hole.


The two men marched on deeper down the corridors. Passing through the archway they walked through what Mark dubbed "The Surgery Room", down the stairs, and through "The Cage Room", and continued on. They passed through a room which appeared to lead outside into a field at night, with no visible ceiling. But once they got over the hill, another archway welcomed them back into the dark. A room with nothing but white walls, and a room with padded walls with blood-covered thorns protruding out of them. Neither man tried to make sense of the rooms, just continued on, assuming they were going the right way, and as far as they could tell there was only one way. They finally stopped in a large cage-like elevator, which took them down for almost five minutes. Mark took this time to light another cigarette, while Rockwell attempted to contact the Voice, but to no avail. There had been no sound from the Voice for eight years. Not since the day of the first accident. The elevator came to a stop. Mark felt himself shiver, not because of the cold, for it oddly was never cold, it was almost uncomfortably warm. Exactly body temperature. No, Mark Tene shivered because of excitement. Because they had entered a new room. One with a staircase in the middle extending down into the abyss, and another archway on the other end; one that's interior inexplicably felt darker than the others. The walls were once again stone, like the first room, but instead of odd languages carved into them, the walls were bare. This is when something odd happened. First Rockwell heard the Voice, and then something even darker contacted Mark. Mark stepped down the first step and turned to Rockwell, who had begun to walk toward the archway. Mark did not hesitate in laughing, telling Rockwell that they would never meet again but if they did neither would recognize the other. He then walked down the stairs. Down deeper into the hole. Rockwell did not think much of Mark's prophecy. Instead he walked through the final archway, all the while thinking what the Voice had told him.

"Welcome back."


The final corridor was smaller than the rest, barely big enough for Rockwell, or you could say it was made for Rockwell. But he thought nothing of this, walking farther down, until the end of the corridor, where the final opening was covered by something. Corn. Rockwell only paused for a second before walking through the maize. The floor remained stone, but the plants grew out of it nonetheless. The walls, too, were stone; the ceiling, however, turned only to darkness. Through the corn, Rockwell came to a clearing, hearing the cry of a baby. In the clearing there were two burnt bodies, and in the center of the two, a crater. However, there was nothing inside, but the sound of the infant was no doubt coming from inside the hole. Rockwell walked into it, pausing only as memories flooded through him. Then he instinctively looked up. The room was empty once again, but something new was there with Rockwell. He heard the sound of gears shifting as something descended from the darkness above him. A body was lowered, attached to whatever machine by chains. A large, black stone was embedded in the body's chest, who had become nothing but a rust-colored figure. No features were recognizable. The body was lowered down until it was facing Rockwell. Only then did it speak.

"Welcome, Rockwell, to the End. Welcome, to the Beginning." It was the Voice.

"Who am I?" Rockwell asked the figure.

"You are Me."

"Then who are you?" Rockwell didn't hesitate to ask.

"I am you." Rockwell clenched his fists in anger.

"Then why did you bring me here? Why have I come here?" Rockwell nearly shouted at the suspended figure. No one could betray him. No one did and lived.

"You came to find something. Your colleagues had big dreams. Big ideas. Big plans for this hole. You had ones that would dwarf them all."

"What have I come looking for?"

"An Object."

Rockwell stared in disbelief. This far, for a simple Object? Not what Rockwell had been planning. Not what he wanted. What could be worth all the work he had gone through? But the Voice spoke as if it read Rockwell's mind, which is most likely did.

"You came for the most important Object of all. The Darkness in Light, and yet the Light in Darkness. The Balance, and yet The Chaos. This Object belongs to one you know of, but do not fully know. when He found the Object, he absorbed the Control, but released the Chaos, believing that he could not deal with both. You are here to prove to him you can do it. He holds the Control, but the Chaos remained here. In the Holder's hole. Where the brightest light cannot fight the darkness."

All of a sudden, the stone embedded in the Voice's chest began to glow. But it appeared to glow darkness. Rockwell realized that it was not a stone, but a crystal.

"Object number two thousand five hundred and thirty eight."

"Legion's Object," Rockwell said out loud without meaning to. He couldn't understand how this had occurred, or how it was here, but Rockwell decided not to question it. The time for questions was over, it had become a time for action. Rockwell gripped the crystal with both hands trying to pull it out of the body, as everything faded to black. Screams erupted from every direction as Rockwell only pull harder. Right before he succeeded, right before darkness enveloped his mind, the Voice spoke out one last time.

"Now show us your smile."


Rockwell awoke in the basement of the lab. On his right arm was the chain, wrapped around it. Somehow, it had returned with him. The hole was gone, leaving not even a scar on the wall. But he also felt something else. Where there once was a heartbeat, there was a pulse. A different kind. One that pumped him full of something other than blood. Something much darker. Something much stronger.

Rockwell smiled. There was work to do.

Envenom.

The final code was punched in, and the door opened.

This was Rachel's least favorite new duty. It was enough that she had to work under Rockwell, she didn't need new duties. That and her newest problem waiting at home. But she would do what she needed to do, because no matter what, she liked her job. She felt as if in a small way, she was helping protect the world. Maybe that was a bit over the top, but she'd like to believe it anyway. She made her way down to the last door, the last one before she would go back to her regular work. Luckily for her she had only to deal with five patients. All that was left of one of the many groups that went out on a mass excursion one week prior. Not many groups didn't return, so losing half the group was a pretty big loss for them. Either way, Rachel conducted her regular duties; asking about health, any particular symptoms, and so on and so forth. The company forced a mandatory two-week quarantine to make sure everyone was healthy and in no way infected or scarred by anything they saw. No one ever was. But there was only one more week of it, she'd tell herself. She just finished the final query, everything checked out as usual, when the man asked questions. That was a first. Many of them didn't want to talk more than they had to, so Rachel decided to listen. He asked about his group, how everyone was doing, what day it was, if someone had called their families. Rachel calmly told him that everything would be fine. He asked how Captain Leviller was. She was still unconscious.

"Rockwell's going to have to answer to her when she wakes up," the man laughed. "She'll be real cranky." "If she wakes up," Rachel told herself before ending the interview.


She was glad to be back at her office, away from all the military nut jobs. She saw them as a too violent way to get peace, but as she had heard Rockwell say before, some things need to be done. Yeah, sure, she always found herself thinking. Either way, a lot had changed in the course of a week. A.G. Industries already owned 80% - 90% of all the Objects. Four hundred and sixty two was the last count. That was one step closer to keeping all of the Objects away from Seekers who would try to abuse them. Maybe, someday, they could help those Seekers work through their addictions and insanity, but that, of course, was simply wishful thinking. Rockwell was too smart a man to believe in wishful thinking. Or luck, for that matter. She checked through her emails. Another attack on A.G. by "The Group" had occurred in western B.C. Rachel had begun to grow tired of these messages.

"The Group" had been working against A.G. for two years now, that they knew of. The Group were against A.G.'s belief that they could police the entire system by itself, and questioned who gave the company that much power. They were nothing more than extremists. "Seeker extremists, the worst kind," Rachel thought to herself. They would attack the company in any way possible. Most often than not, it would be physical. Two weeks ago, an A.G. ship was attacked off the coast of England, several lives were lost, but the ship itself had nothing of value and The Group knew that. They didn't want Objects or information, they just wanted to stop A.G in their tracks. Rockwell had promised to take care of it, but Rachel wondered how long it would be until another group of people would disappear. That caused Rachel to pull out the files of her own investigation. One she had been doing in her spare time.

The Eastern A.G. Industries Lab, no one had heard anything from them in over a week. Rockwell didn't have a chance to bring it up in discussion with him being so busy, but people had gotten worried. There was probability of an accident, as it was well known that they would run dangerous experiments there. Well known. Rachel thought of her sister, she had been working on several important projects down there, and had asked Rachel to take care of something for her. Now it was quite likely that she was gone. Rachel wondered what could kill so many people, because the building was so large underground, that even if there was a fire, or an explosion, there was no way for it to affect everyone in the building. If they had all been killed, as Rachel feared, something else happened. Something much darker. Something probably connected to the Midnight Project. She quickly finished writing her notes down. She would have to get home soon. Ellie was waiting, and she had begun asking where Sarah was. Rachel wondered how long she would have to lie to her.

But before she could log off the computer, she received one more email. One with more information than she had hoped to receive. One that was signed at the bottom by only a single letter.

S.

Rebirth.

This time there was no bass.

However, James was more confident than ever. Today, the surprise would not be on him. This time, when he would meet Rockwell, he would be prepared. This time was different, James knew all the information he needed. His benefactor had supplied him with everything he needed. Weapons, locations, details. How he could kill Rockwell. Maybe kill was the wrong word, but how to stop him nonetheless. Plan was simply shoot the shit out of him, tie him up right and proper, and then send him down to the boss. Revenge never looked so good. But still, as the minutes ticked away, James couldn't help but feel anxious. He and six other men in the abandoned factory had been there for over an hour. Maybe Rockwell smelled out the trap. "Nah," he thought., proceeding to walk in circles while playing with his new toy, a semiautomatic and all the bells and whistles. Just what he needed to put him in a good mood. He was mid-skip when the knock was heard.

It wasn't actually a knock, but the sound of the door handles being ripped off the steel-plated door. Not how he expected Rockwell to enter, maybe he had other people with him. That might be a problem. Either way, James go into position behind an overturned table they were to use as a barricade. The man in the suit was sure to be packing some sort of heat. His thoughts were broken by the sound of a smash on the other end of the door. Something was trying to get in through force. James had expected Rockwell to simply pick the lock, or already have the key, it was his way of doing things, but this wasn't his way. Something was different this time. Another smash, as the door began to bend out of shape. One more and there was a small hole where two hands came out, and ripped the rest of the door open with screeching noise. Rockwell had entered the building.

"So, come to apologize, have you?" James asked with a big grin. Rockwell said nothing but began to make his way toward them. "Not up for conversation? Alright, we'll get down to business." On command, all seven men on the other side of the room opened fire on the man in the suit. Shot after shot after shot, but it didn't even slow him down. Were they even hitting anything? Or did the bullets pass right through him? They could swear they saw the suit fabric break and splinter where he got hit, but a blink later the evidence of a bullet hole was gone. It was no problem, as they brought plenty of ammo "just in case". Rockwell, however, was halfway there. Not even a smile on his face. And then he ran.

James almost stopped shooting. Rockwell was faster than anyone he had ever seen, clearing the space between the two groups in less than a second. Before James could even say something, Rockwell was already at the first guard, getting ready to punch him. Except, instead of punch, Rockwell ran his entire arm through the man's chest, lifting the man up into the air. Now he was smiling. Dropping the body, Rockwell moved to rip out the throat of the man next to him, and break the neck of the third. The other three were finished almost as quickly. James had stopped shooting. This couldn't have been Rockwell. There was no way. He tripped over himself trying to back away from the scene. Rockwell made his way to him slowly, covered in blood, smiling.

"James, James, James. Did you really think that you could kill me? Or even stop me? You and your people will soon learn that I am far more than anything they could ever imagine. Far more than they can ever stop. This "Group" that's been trying to make its way into the game is soon to be eradicated. I know this because I will do it with my bare hands. Those I don't kill personally, my people will be sure to take care of them." Rockwell picked up James by his shirt and threw him against a nearby wall. James felt the air get knocked out of him as two of his ribs broke. He tasted blood.

"Now you have one last use for me, James. Tell me how to find your benefactor. We have much to discuss." James spit out some blood, and got another look at what was in front of him. It certainly looked like Rockwell. It was him, but he had changed. The remains of his men began to disappear all over Rockwell's suit and hands. As if the blood was never there.

"The Group supplied me with everything." Rockwell laughed, crouching over James, stating that he already knew who, he just needed a location. Weakly, James mustered out a street address, and a number. Blood dribbled out the side of his mouth,

Rockwell picked up James until they were eye level, raised one of his arms, but then looked as if he reconsidered. He dropped the man back down, dusting his hands off. James turned one more time to the man in the suit, the one that was leaving his sight yet again. "He knows you're coming, you know."

"Good."

Better.

The man in the suit walked into the elevator in silence, looking back at the past events. All he had wanted was knowledge, but instead he gained power. More than he could imagine. But in a strange way, he was okay with it. Rockwell had all the time in the world to find out what he wanted. So he might as well take care of some side business.

The elevator stopped at the penthouse, but needed a key to open the final door before one could enter the suite. Rockwell didn't need keys anymore. This was not a time for finesse. He pried the doors open with his bare hands and walked into the large room. Walls lined with exquisite paintings, hand-carved furniture and pianos, statues worth more than their weight in gold. Rockwell cared nothing for them. The large man sat on the sofa chair in the middle of the room. Legion.

"I was told you were expecting me," Rockwell sneered at the man.

Legion sat up in a calm manner, but that dissipated when he laid his eyes on the man in the suit. Shock, but no fear. "You."

Rockwell straightened up. "You recognize me?"

The silence nearly screamed through the room until Legion spoke again.

"And you don't?"

Rockwell was almost instantly on him, grabbing the man that was practically twice his size. He threw him across the room, breaking countless items around the room. Legion picked himself up. Refusing to fight the man, he simply stood there, speaking once again.

"You don't remember me, do you? Then you have no idea what you are doing."

Rockwell hit him in the face with the nearest statue, then picked up the man and threw him into the glass table nearby. Still, the man did not fight back, and still, he talked calmly.

"You call yourself Rockwell, but do you even know what you are?"

Rockwell was tired of these cat and mouse games, these useless questions, stalling factors. He was ready to get what he wanted.

"Well, if all goes according to my plan, when I kill you, I will become an Object, isn't that right? No longer barely human, but a full-fledged Object."

Rockwell grabbed the man by the neck and pulled him toward the large windows that showed so much of the city. Dragging him across the floor, Rockwell couldn't help but wonder if the man was even resisting. He didn't care though, it was all the same in the end. He smashed the window and held the man out of it. Legion looked right into the eyes of the man holding him by the neck with pity. Rockwell only laughed.

"And don't forget, Legion, Objects can't be destroyed."

"You're a Holder."

Rockwell only hesitated for a moment, before breaking the man's neck and throwing him down to the streets below.

There was no smile this time, and far above the building storm clouds began to form.

Rain.

The rain started to fall.


Near the bottom of the high rise, a small crowd formed. Some swore that they had seen a body fall out of the building, but when they went to investigate there was no body, only a pile of ash was on the street.


Mark Tene finished another book, replacing it in its place in the dark library. The knowledge he had gained was immense, and had changed the way he looked at everything. Things he took for granted weren't what they believed they were, and things he feared were worse than he could imagine. He paused, looking for another book, when he saw a shadow. Mark stopped briefly before following it. It stood on the opposite end of the room, and Mark brought his candle in order to see better. He only got a quick look at the shadow, and he called after it to no avail. Once he arrived though, there was no man, just a book. As he flipped open the first page to a bright red "A.G." logo stamped, he smiled, as his shout echoed through the room for the last time before fading into nothingness.

"Derrick?"


In the hospital room, Captain Leviller's eyes opened once again. She lay there in silence for only a few moments before sitting up. She quickly began to rip out the machines connected to her. She took out the final IV before stepping out of bed and leaving the room, still in her hospital gown. A nurse saw her and shouted in protest to stop her, but Leviller didn't pay attention. She just got into the elevator and pressed the button to the floor her office was on. There was work to do.


James walked into the halfway house, more nervous than he had ever been. The ink notes he wrote on his hand had already begun to smudge because of his sweat, but he couldn't turn around now. Seeking would just have to be another story he'd tell to women.


Rachel stared at her computer screen again, the only thing lighting the dim room. Nearby, Ellie lay on Rachel's bed, and that's where she would sleep for the night, Rachel didn't mind. Reading through the email again, Rachel couldn't help but be amazed. So much information, so much it almost made her skin crawl. Ignorance is bliss, she reminded herself. No more emails came, and the first one had been sent two weeks before she had received it. She didn't know who this "S" was, or even if they were still alive, as all attempts of contact were fruitless. Still, she took another sip of coffee before continuing reading.


The Pawns, one by one, encircle the King. But what they need now, is a Knight.


Rockwell stood on the roof in the pouring rain. The Chaos and Control together once more. Rockwell could think again. Regret was the first to flood his mind, as he made too many mistakes. But he wasn't in the mood to feel sorry for himself.

He finally knew what he was, but that only raised more questions. The Voice was gone, so Rockwell didn't have anywhere to go for answers. Except one. The one he knew was coming from the first time he entered the A.G. Industries building.

He looked down at the ants walking on the street. People getting in cars, going to work, to meet each other. Rockwell wondered how many of them had any idea that their lives were a façade. Being nothing but pawns in a chess game. His game. How many would have to die? How many would live? Rockwell wondered if he would have to kill them all. Maybe, he should. Rockwell turned his eyes to the sky once again, once again wondering about his purpose.

Now all that was left, was to Bring Them Together.

The entries were written out of order; it may put a new spin on things if read in the order they were written.

The Fairytale.

Dear Mr. Todd,

I have recently received a letter from you and your associates about my findings in southern Africa. I cannot explain how excited I was to receive a letter with the name Rockwell on it. I am not sure if you knew, but my father had worked with Mr. Rockwell twenty years ago, and it is nice to see he is still in the field of archeology. I, myself, have had pictures of my father and him for a while, and it was a pleasant surprise to compare them to the ones you sent me, as the man does not seem to have grown a year older! But nonetheless, I digress.

What I found deep in the ruins we uncovered near Halib in Namibia has been the source of many arguments in my group. Though the most difficult part was translating it, now that we have, we cannot quite understand what the meaning of it is. Dr. Strosset simply mistranslated. Nevertheless, the object itself is amazing: a large piece of obsidian, in the middle of a desert. Well, to be exact, we assume it's obsidian. We cannot tell for sure at the moment, but within a week we will have it tested. The entirety of the ruins seems to be much older than we had originally predicted. We may have found one of the oldest (and best preserved) man-made structures! The rock itself still gives us trouble though; for example, it seems far too strong to be obsidian, as we cannot break a piece of it off. Also, some of our professors have been complaining of mild headaches when around the object - possibly some kind of irritant is around the rock.

But I do understand that the writing itself is of the most important to you, so I will write it here for you:

The black sun above me lights the red sky.

I can't smile.

They are all watching, and I cannot smile.

They are whispering, and still I cannot smile.

Two thousand five hundred and thirty eight of them and I cannot smile.

Why can't I smile?

Interesting enough, as I write this letter, a large helicopter has just landed and I am told that it belongs to Mr. Rockwell's company, maybe I should simply give them this letter to save on postage! Either way, I await your reply and your thoughts on the subject.


Sincerely yours,

Dr. Jessica Tolden


PS: I just remembered. All around the ruins, the number 1072 was repeatedly written. Does this number mean anything to you?

Professional.

Sarah sat in the living room in front of the fire when a pair of small hands started tugging on her sleeve.

"Mommy! Mommy!"

Sarah smiled and pulled her daughter up onto her lap.

"You want me to tell you a story?" she asked. The five-year-old nodded. "Alright. There once was a beautiful princess who ruled over all that she could see. She would spend her mornings making sure everything was perfect in her castle... but at night... she would hunt vampires!"

Ellie laughed at that. Sarah knew that she loved stories like that ever since she saw that movie a few months ago. She continued the story, talking about the brave knight that the princess met but was cut off by the phone ringing. Lifting her daughter off of her lap, Sarah made her way to the phone. Ellie looked on curiously, as her mother stopped laughing. But only for a second, then the smile came back as she hung up.

"Mommy has to go now, be a good girl and go to bed, okay?" Ellie nodded sadly and picked up her favorite blanket as her mother helped her back into her room. It didn't take long for her to fall asleep.

Sarah didn't have to drive far. She knew the route, and had been there countless times before. But this wasn't a scheduled meeting, and that worried her. She saw the other cars parked in the lot as she drove up. She switched off her car and locked the doors. Didn't turn on the alarm though. Didn't want to make more noise. She walked down into the park toward a bench. The only light she saw was from a cigarette. She approached the two other people sitting there. The one smoking the cigarette spoke first.

"Glad you could make it, Sarah. Things have been bad."

Sarah looked at the other figure briefly before turning back to the smoking man.

"Mark, what's going on here? I had to leave Ellie alone. This better be damn important for me to -"

"We've found it," was the smoking man's response. Sarah shivered as he said that. Not out of fear. The man took another drag of the cigarette before putting it out. He pulled out another one from his jacket pocket. He quickly lit it and then turned to the shadowed figure. Sarah saw a movement, possibly a nod. Mark turned back to her.

"It's deep down there, but we can still get it. It'll take some work, but if we work together, we can get it." Sarah wasn't looking at him anymore, she was looking at the shadowed figure.

"Mark, who is that?" Sarah's words were tinged with fear and mistrust. Yes, she would do anything to get what she wanted, but just who was Mark dealing with? She began to wonder if this third party could be trusted at all.

"Don't worry. He's a friend. He's been looking for the same thing for a while and he thi-"

"Why?" Sarah asked the shadow directly. "Why could you possibly want to look for it? Spending your time trying to find something that isn't even real?"

The shadow didn't respond. Sarah turned back to Mark. "Look, Sarah, he's gotten a team together. A team like you couldn't even imagine. They are very good, very professional. But they are doing it for other reasons. What we are after is a byproduct of their work. They don't care about what we are after. We'll need to work fast though." He took a deep breath of the night air. A look of pain crossed his eyes. Even he wasn't very sure about this, Sarah realized. He spoke again, but this time it was more a plea. "Sarah, people are going to get hurt." Sarah didn't say anything. Mark crushed his cigarette. Quickly looking at the shadowed figure before turning back to her, "We knew it would come to this. We always knew. Now tell me, are you going to help us, Sarah?"

"Not like this. I won't do it like this. I can wait longer. But people are not going to die for me. If I'm even beginning to guess what you are up to, I'm not going to let that amount of chaos be freed just so we can -"

"Dr. Meissner," the shadow spoke. "You do not understand what Mr. Tene here is telling you. This is what you've been waiting for, and I would greatly appreciate if you would work with us so we can help each other toward a common goal." The shadow leaned closer to the light. The man was wearing a suit but the man didn't even seem cold.

"Now, Doctor, I was very much hoping we could do this the easy way, and I was hoping it wouldn't take much for you to comply." Sarah looked back at Mark, who had begun to sweat visibly. He only looked down. "You will work with us, because you care about your daughter." Sarah twitched. "Ellie, was it? Yes. Don't make me have to threaten you, Doctor. I was truly hoping we could do this in a civilized manner, but we don't have to if you don't want us to." The man leaned closer and caught her stare with dark brown eyes. "Yours and your colleague's work has caught my eye, and I'm interested to try some of your theories out. I believe that it might lead me to what we seek. Well, we will talk all about that later. Now, do we have a deal?"

Sarah had tears in her eyes. She always knew this might happen, but she had not planned well enough for it. It was understandable to be very paranoid about what she was doing, and she thought she hid herself and her project well. She thought she had kept Ellie safe by keeping her far from this. It was too late now, this man had her cornered, and she had nothing she could do.

"Just tell me," she spat at him. "Just tell me why you want to do this!"

"My dear," the shadow replied, "I'm just keeping us better."

The shadow was the last person still at the park, and he stood there looking up at the sky, the dark moonless sky. Another figure in a coat approached.

"Rockwell."

The shadow turned back at the sky after seeing who it was. "Yes, Derrick?"

"Everything is ready. I'll be a test run, but if the test subject can manage to widen the hole as we planned, we should be able to figure out how to get the entire device operational."

"And the child?" the shadow asked. The man in the coat paused for a second before proceeding. He was still not okay with this, but it was necessary, he told himself. Everything was necessary for the big picture.

"Eager. Ready, too. I still don't know how he's okay with you doing that to his -"

"He doesn't have a choice. Luck has intervened and the child has become perfect for what we need."

"Goddammit, Rockwell, what happened? This wasn't how this was supposed to happen! This isn't what I want!"

The shadowed figure didn't even meet the man's gaze. "I disagree."

The shadow turned and left, leaving Derrick Todd alone in the cold park.

Heartbeat.

At first there was only darkness. Then a smile.

Crows and other creatures ran for shelter as Jefferson Williams ran out into his field carrying his wooden base rifle. The milk he spilled when he first heard the scream stained his overalls. He wasn't quite sure of what he heard but wasn't ready to take a chance. Smoke was rising from his fields, blacker than he had ever seen it. At first, he thought some of the boys from town had torched his plants, or maybe even it was one of the escaped slaves he had heard from the Johnsons back west. He ran through the stalks toward the scar left in his field ready to face anyone. But when he arrived, he realized it was neither boys nor slaves, what he found there was much worse. The plants had been burnt to ashes in a big circle, however, there was no fire, the smoke seemed to pour straight out of the ground. Two charred bodies lay on opposite ends of it. In the center, there was a man in peculiar clothing. The man crouched and slowly stood up, raising his glace first to Jefferson, then to the sky. Jefferson began to turn white.

"Who in god's name are you?" The man turned to Jefferson, almost beginning to ask himself the same question, but the man said nothing. This stranger must have started the fire and killed two people, but he couldn't tell if he knew either of the victims or maybe it was an angel come to smite him for his sins, Jefferson thought to himself quickly. Or maybe it was worse. He had many sins unaccounted for, many that the angel could punish him for. He thought o the time he shot Louis J. Rockwell for attempting to run him out of his land unfairly. Maybe it was his ghost come from the dead to take back life lost. Looked nothing like him, but Jefferson had heard of powerful demons roaming the land and twisting souls in order to fulfill the devil's wishes. "R-R-R-Rockwell? Is that you?"

The man made an attempt to walk closer to Jefferson, but Jefferson raised his weapon at him. Ghost or not, he wasn't about to die. "B-b-back off! I'm warning you!" The man continued closer to Jefferson, who closed his eyes and pulled the trigger on the weapon. The shot was loud enough to be heard a kilometer around the farm, but no one else was there but the two men in the field. Jefferson opened his eyes to see the man on the ground.

Pain flooded the man's mind for the first time. Within a minute, it was gone, leaving only a bitter taste in the man's mouth. Jefferson began to shake as he saw the man stand back up. No one had survived a bullet wound to the head like that before. This must be Satan! Jefferson thought quickly, shooting at the man four more times. These shots weren't as lucky, hitting the man in the chest and stomach. The man bent over onto the ground holding his chest, wheezing for air. Air, something that hadn't crossed his mind before. Then he stopped, as the man in the suit realized he didn't need to breathe, he didn't need air. The pain receded from his body as the man fixed his glare on Jefferson, speaking his first words. "My turn."


There was very little left of Jefferson Williams once the man in the suit exacted his revenge. Nothing that anyone could ever find. The man watched as the blood on his clothing melted away, leaving what was black black, and turning what became red back to white. He mused that maybe that was too primal of him, but couldn't deny that it felt very good. He turned his view back to the sky. There was much to learn. He found himself smiling for reasons he didn't quite understand. Everything in due time, though, he told himself. But he needed something to call himself, a temporary name, until he found his own. He fixed his gaze back at the blood marks on the ground. "Rockwell." It would do for now. He looked back straight at the sun. A small amount of constant pain began to erupt in his eyes, but after an hour or so, he became used to it. It meant nothing to him on a grand scale. Although at that moment, he wanted nothing more than to blot out that light. He wasn't sure why, and watched some birds fly by.

Then something dark from inside told him to head north. There was work to do.

Chains.

The bass rumbled as the bouncer quickly pocketed the hundred dollar bills, and let the group pass.

The club was extraordinarily big, as people from all parts of the city's night life danced and drank the night away. Several local stars would often come down for a drink or two, so nobody blinked at the group that entered. The man in the suit led the two well-dressed women he was with into the main room. Few people's eyes lingered on the man, instead looking at the women he was with. Those who did recognize the man stopped dancing briefly, before warily continuing with their fun. The group made their way down past the dancers to the bar, past the near blinding strobe light. The man in the suit's gaze stopped briefly on the door far left which had two large bouncers in front of it, sizing up anyone who would walk nearby. The man in the suit turned to the bartender and ordered drinks for the two women. The bartender mixed the drinks quickly before leaning back toward the man.

"Anything for you?"

"I'd like to talk to the owner," the man responded, while passing the bartender an extra fifty dollars. "We have business matters to discuss." The bartender nodded and told him to wait a moment, as he went toward the door on the left talking briefly to one of the bouncers. He returned quickly after.

"What did you say your name was again?" The man simply smiled and made his way to the bouncers himself. The bartender watched as the man talked to them in a calm fashion, until one or two minutes later they let him walk by into the room. He wondered who that was, but dismissed it as simply a business associate. He turned his attention back toward the two girls still at the bar as they asked for more drinks.

The man climbed the last few steps into the private room overlooking the entire club. Inside were several bodyguards and a younger man, wearing baggy clothing, gold chains and watch, and a backward baseball cap. The man finished snorting some coke before noticing the man in the suit.

"Who the fuck are you? The fuck do you think you're doing up here?"

"I've been looking for you for a while, James. It's almost like you were hiding." The man in the suit stepped further into the room, as James became more and more agitated.

"Nobody calls me James. You have one more chance to tell me who you are before I get these guys up on you."

"Rockwell," the man in the suit responded. James dropped his straw, muttering in disbelief as he looked at the man standing before him. There was no way that man could be Rockwell, he was sure that Rockwell couldn't find him! Without even bothering to take the shocked expression off his face, he turned to his guards.

"Kill him. Kill him!" But Rockwell already had his revolver out. He shot three of the guards before the fourth one shot him twice, after which he shot that man twice more. Bullet wounds didn't slow him down as he walked closer and closer to James. James started saying half-stammered apologies, promising him whatever he could want. Rockwell explained that there was only one thing he wanted, and James already knew that. Pushing him back over onto the ground he grabbed the gold-plated chains around his neck, chastising him on trying to hide them by painting them gold. Rockwell brought the pistol to the man's head. James closed his eyes and tried not to scream. Another gunshot was muffled by the loud music outside as not even the bartender bothered to look back at the door nearby. James opened his eyes to see that Rockwell had shot the links open, taking the chain away from the man.

"You have no idea how much of my time I had to spend in order to find this. Do you think I have a lot of time, James?" James only stammered an unintelligible response. "The answer is yes, yes I do. But if I ever have to chase you down to find something I want, you are not going to be as lucky as this time." The man in the suit put the chain in his pocket and walked out of the room, while the man on the ground watched his every step.

Rockwell collected the two women at the bar and escorted them out of the club and down the street where his limousine was waiting. One of the girls asked him if his mission was successful, which he replied with yes. She then thanked him for allowing them to help. He promised them extra pay for their great acting before opening one of his nearby suitcases in order to update his data. He had now gained another dozen links in the Chain of Legion, and he wondered how many more he would need. But the Voice hadn't failed him yet, so Rockwell decided to be patient, as the limo turned and drove off toward the nearest airport.

Once the chain was complete, he would contact the two men that he had been investigating. After that, everything would fall into place.

Home.

The abrupt knock on the door jarred Sam out of his daydream. He hissed as he turned to the door. He wasn't expecting company, because company never came. No one ever came. Which means "they" had come. Sure it was only rumor to be hones, but more and more Seekers had started talking about "them". People who turned Seeker into prey. As if Holders weren't bad enough. He quickly closed the lid of the shoebox and put it on the nearby counter. The door burst open off its hinges. A bunch of people in body armor with weapons ran into the room, followed by a man and a woman. The men with guns shined their flashlights through the darkness at him. What stood in front of the group could barely still be called a man, he was far too thin and had obviously not been getting a lot of sleep.

"Give us the Objects, Sam, and no one gets hurt," the man in the suit said. Sam simply growled, there was no way they were going to take his Objects. No one would take his Objects. But before he could run at the first person, the woman had already ordered them to fire. A barrage of bullets took the man down quickly. He twitched once, before dying. The woman signaled the rest of the soldiers to search the remaining rooms, while stepping toward the shoebox.

"Wasn't that a bit unnecessary?" the man in the suit said with a smile. The woman shot him a glare.

"Oh, shut it, Rockwell. The only thing unnecessary about that was you trying to talk him into surrendering. Has that ever worked?" She slowly lifted up the lid of the shoebox. You never knew how these idiots would try to booby-trap their belongings. But there was no trap this time, just a bunch of ordinary objects, or at least that's what it looked like to the untrained eye. Amidst the clutter of rubber bands and thumbtacks were three Objects. A pretty good find for a Seeker that was so weak. But one thing caught her eye, something that clearly didn't belong with the other scraps.

"Now, now, Ms. Leviller, who was the one that found this man? Who found all the information for this raid?" he paused, seeing her grow confused. "What's the matter?" She reached into the shoebox, and pulled out three links of an iron chain, obviously outdating anything else in the box.

"What the hell is this?" she asked as Rockwell moved closer to examine it himself. "Rockwell, did your intel mention anything about chain links?" Rockwell pulled out one of their bags they used to hold the Objects and put the chain inside, saying that he would send it down to the lab, but otherwise that he had not known anything about the links. "Well, if it turns out to be something huge, you better not take credit for it, you are already the boss's 'favorite'." He laughed at that, as she put the rest of the Objects into the same type of bags and put them all in the suitcase she had brought along with her. She instructed the rest of the soldiers to make their way back to the van downstairs, preparing to leave Rockwell to finish his job. "It's all yours, all clear. We'll be at the RD building to drop these off. Don't be too late," she said with a wink before adding, "I swear someday we're going to find Legion if we keep nailing them like this, we got the suckers on the run."

"Someday."


Rockwell was alone again. He preferred to work this way, in a few minutes he would search the room for all the available information on any other Seekers Sam could have known. Then he would track them down one by one and confiscate their Objects, in the name of peace. But he would do that soon. First, he had his own plans to take care of. He pulled out the three links of the chain that they had taken off of Sam, and pulled one more link out of his coat pocket. Exactly the same. That meant he was one step closer to his completed chain. He wasn't entirely sure how the chain would work, but he had seen the Objects do extraordinary things, which would mean a lost Object could do incredible things.

"One step at a time, Rockwell."

"I know, I know," he thought out loud. "But I've done so much in order to get closer to what I want, but none of my important questions have been answered. How much longer do I have to wait?"

"Finish the chain and open the hole. Then you will get answers," the Voice responded. Rockwell put the links back into his coat pocket. He would leave those there, and tell Leviller that they were nothing of interest. She would believe him. She trusted him, even though she was slightly overzealous in her raids. He looked back at the body, knowing he could have gotten more information out of the man. Murder is much easier than torture. Eventually something would have to be done with Leviller. He looked up at the ceiling fan. "I still don't trust you, you know that?"

"I know."

Rebirth.

This time there was no bass.

However, James was more confident than ever. Today, the surprise would not be on him. This time, when he would meet Rockwell, he would be prepared. This time was different, James knew all the information he needed. His benefactor had supplied him with everything he needed. Weapons, locations, details. How he could kill Rockwell. Maybe kill was the wrong word, but how to stop him nonetheless. Plan was simply shoot the shit out of him, tie him up right and proper, and then send him down to the boss. Revenge never looked so good. But still, as the minutes ticked away, James couldn't help but feel anxious. He and six other men in the abandoned factory had been there for over an hour. Maybe Rockwell smelled out the trap. "Nah," he thought., proceeding to walk in circles while playing with his new toy, a semiautomatic and all the bells and whistles. Just what he needed to put him in a good mood. He was mid-skip when the knock was heard.

It wasn't actually a knock, but the sound of the door handles being ripped off the steel-plated door. Not how he expected Rockwell to enter, maybe he had other people with him. That might be a problem. Either way, James go into position behind an overturned table they were to use as a barricade. The man in the suit was sure to be packing some sort of heat. His thoughts were broken by the sound of a smash on the other end of the door. Something was trying to get in through force. James had expected Rockwell to simply pick the lock, or already have the key, it was his way of doing things, but this wasn't his way. Something was different this time. Another smash, as the door began to bend out of shape. One more and there was a small hole where two hands came out, and ripped the rest of the door open with screeching noise. Rockwell had entered the building.

"So, come to apologize, have you?" James asked with a big grin. Rockwell said nothing but began to make his way toward them. "Not up for conversation? Alright, we'll get down to business." On command, all seven men on the other side of the room opened fire on the man in the suit. Shot after shot after shot, but it didn't even slow him down. Were they even hitting anything? Or did the bullets pass right through him? They could swear they saw the suit fabric break and splinter where he got hit, but a blink later the evidence of a bullet hole was gone. It was no problem, as they brought plenty of ammo "just in case". Rockwell, however, was halfway there. Not even a smile on his face. And then he ran.

James almost stopped shooting. Rockwell was faster than anyone he had ever seen, clearing the space between the two groups in less than a second. Before James could even say something, Rockwell was already at the first guard, getting ready to punch him. Except, instead of punch, Rockwell ran his entire arm through the man's chest, lifting the man up into the air. Now he was smiling. Dropping the body, Rockwell moved to rip out the throat of the man next to him, and break the neck of the third. The other three were finished almost as quickly. James had stopped shooting. This couldn't have been Rockwell. There was no way. He tripped over himself trying to back away from the scene. Rockwell made his way to him slowly, covered in blood, smiling.

"James, James, James. Did you really think that you could kill me? Or even stop me? You and your people will soon learn that I am far more than anything they could ever imagine. Far more than they can ever stop. This "Group" that's been trying to make its way into the game is soon to be eradicated. I know this because I will do it with my bare hands. Those I don't kill personally, my people will be sure to take care of them." Rockwell picked up James by his shirt and threw him against a nearby wall. James felt the air get knocked out of him as two of his ribs broke. He tasted blood.

"Now you have one last use for me, James. Tell me how to find your benefactor. We have much to discuss." James spit out some blood, and got another look at what was in front of him. It certainly looked like Rockwell. It was him, but he had changed. The remains of his men began to disappear all over Rockwell's suit and hands. As if the blood was never there.

"The Group supplied me with everything." Rockwell laughed, crouching over James, stating that he already knew who, he just needed a location. Weakly, James mustered out a street address, and a number. Blood dribbled out the side of his mouth,

Rockwell picked up James until they were eye level, raised one of his arms, but then looked as if he reconsidered. He dropped the man back down, dusting his hands off. James turned one more time to the man in the suit, the one that was leaving his sight yet again. "He knows you're coming, you know."

"Good."

Breadcrumbs.

The man in the suit was growing restless.

It had been one year since he had found himself in this plane of existence, one year since then, and no answers. He found himself isolated from the humans that inhabited the world, he could see all of their shortcomings so very easily, and had no interest in them. They regarded him with fear, and that was fine with him. But he had begun to wonder if there was anything for him to ever find out the truth. That was why, on the eve of his birthday, he returned to the field he had found himself in all those months ago. He waited, for something to happen, but for a long time nothing did. At least not until the sun left the sky.

At midnight in the moonless sky, the stars themselves seemed to fade away. Blackness took over every corner of the sky, leaving Rockwell in the dark. That is when the Voice appeared.

"I can help you."

Rockwell spun around, trying to find the source of the sound, but nothing was nearby. No movement anywhere. Not even the ever-moving plants budged from their stance. It was as if the entire world had frozen with fear, waiting for the chance to move again.

"Who are you?" Rockwell asked out loud, searching the sky with his eyes, but nothing but darkness stared back at him.

"I am nothing but a guide."

Rockwell kept looking around, trying to pinpoint the location of the mysterious Voice.

"You can keep looking, but you won't see me anywhere, in fact I'm much closer than you could imagine, I'm right here," Rockwell found himself pointing at his own head, a movement he never meant to do. Quickly lowering his arm in shock, he took a second to think.

"What are you?"

"Like I said, I am a guide. I'm here to help you, 'Rockwell', to get what you want. But in order to do that, you need to find me. But you have a lot of learning to do first before you can become a Seeker." Rockwell had no idea what the Voice was talking about, or what a Seeker was for that matter. But he accepted that it was the only way to answer his questions. This Voice had some idea of what was going on, and Rockwell would follow it as long as he needed to.

"What do I need to do?" Rockwell asked in a much more calm manner.

"First, you need to head West. I will tell you when you've gone far enough. Be patient, it will take a long time to find me, but you have all the time you'll ever need. And I have all the answers you want."

"Who am I?" Rockwell asked back at the sky. But the moon had already returned to its place, and all was silence once more.

Envenom.

The final code was punched in, and the door opened.

This was Rachel's least favorite new duty. It was enough that she had to work under Rockwell, she didn't need new duties. That and her newest problem waiting at home. But she would do what she needed to do, because no matter what, she liked her job. She felt as if in a small way, she was helping protect the world. Maybe that was a bit over the top, but she'd like to believe it anyway. She made her way down to the last door, the last one before she would go back to her regular work. Luckily for her she had only to deal with five patients. All that was left of one of the many groups that went out on a mass excursion one week prior. Not many groups didn't return, so losing half the group was a pretty big loss for them. Either way, Rachel conducted her regular duties; asking about health, any particular symptoms, and so on and so forth. The company forced a mandatory two-week quarantine to make sure everyone was healthy and in no way infected or scarred by anything they saw. No one ever was. But there was only one more week of it, she'd tell herself. She just finished the final query, everything checked out as usual, when the man asked questions. That was a first. Many of them didn't want to talk more than they had to, so Rachel decided to listen. He asked about his group, how everyone was doing, what day it was, if someone had called their families. Rachel calmly told him that everything would be fine. He asked how Captain Leviller was. She was still unconscious.

"Rockwell's going to have to answer to her when she wakes up," the man laughed. "She'll be real cranky." "If she wakes up," Rachel told herself before ending the interview.


She was glad to be back at her office, away from all the military nut jobs. She saw them as a too violent way to get peace, but as she had heard Rockwell say before, some things need to be done. Yeah, sure, she always found herself thinking. Either way, a lot had changed in the course of a week. A.G. Industries already owned 80% - 90% of all the Objects. Four hundred and sixty two was the last count. That was one step closer to keeping all of the Objects away from Seekers who would try to abuse them. Maybe, someday, they could help those Seekers work through their addictions and insanity, but that, of course, was simply wishful thinking. Rockwell was too smart a man to believe in wishful thinking. Or luck, for that matter. She checked through her emails. Another attack on A.G. by "The Group" had occurred in western B.C. Rachel had begun to grow tired of these messages.

"The Group" had been working against A.G. for two years now, that they knew of. The Group were against A.G.'s belief that they could police the entire system by itself, and questioned who gave the company that much power. They were nothing more than extremists. "Seeker extremists, the worst kind," Rachel thought to herself. They would attack the company in any way possible. Most often than not, it would be physical. Two weeks ago, an A.G. ship was attacked off the coast of England, several lives were lost, but the ship itself had nothing of value and The Group knew that. They didn't want Objects or information, they just wanted to stop A.G in their tracks. Rockwell had promised to take care of it, but Rachel wondered how long it would be until another group of people would disappear. That caused Rachel to pull out the files of her own investigation. One she had been doing in her spare time.

The Eastern A.G. Industries Lab, no one had heard anything from them in over a week. Rockwell didn't have a chance to bring it up in discussion with him being so busy, but people had gotten worried. There was probability of an accident, as it was well known that they would run dangerous experiments there. Well known. Rachel thought of her sister, she had been working on several important projects down there, and had asked Rachel to take care of something for her. Now it was quite likely that she was gone. Rachel wondered what could kill so many people, because the building was so large underground, that even if there was a fire, or an explosion, there was no way for it to affect everyone in the building. If they had all been killed, as Rachel feared, something else happened. Something much darker. Something probably connected to the Midnight Project. She quickly finished writing her notes down. She would have to get home soon. Ellie was waiting, and she had begun asking where Sarah was. Rachel wondered how long she would have to lie to her.

But before she could log off the computer, she received one more email. One with more information than she had hoped to receive. One that was signed at the bottom by only a single letter.

S.

Portal.

What could be described as a growl emerged from the hole in the wall. Nearby scientists scrambling amongst machines, taking down every important piece of knowledge. Not one of them spoke of the child that just entered the hole. Not one of them tried to show the regret and fear they were feeling. For no matter how ashamed they were, nothing was worth what their boss would do to them. Derrick Todd was the first to leave the room, followed quickly by Dr. Meissner. Mark Tene was the last to give a look at the man in the suit before he, too, left for the second observation room. Rockwell didn't notice. His eyes were locked onto the hole in the wall.

Minutes turned into hours, and Rockwell made his way to the conference room. Leviller had paged him a few minutes ago telling him that his package had arrived. Rockwell commended her on her quick success, as he believed that it would have taken much longer. Leviller said nothing in return. Her squad had only gotten the orders that morning, and though it was difficult finding the package, securing it was far too easy. She simply told him that she had work to do, and didn't have more time for his errands. He reminded her who her superior was. She hung up. Rockwell only smiled, Leviller's attitude was merely a distraction at most. She would do her job because whether or not she would like to admit it, she enjoyed it. She was like all of the others who worked for him. Rockwell reached for the doorknob to the room.

"Time." The Voice was barely a whisper now. A simple gasp in Rockwell's ear, teasing him to stop his action, but Rockwell persisted. There was work to do.

The room was dark, empty except for a table and two chairs. The Good Doctor sat in one of them, his head in his hand, long hair draping his face. He didn't even move when Rockwell walked into the room. Rockwell didn't bother to sit down, but simply waited for the man to respond to his presence. However, the first to speak was not who Rockwell expected it to be. The Voice ran through Rockwell's mind. "Hunger." A dry cough of a phrase rang through the air that only Rockwell understood.

"Why?" the man asked out loud. Rockwell was caught momentarily off guard. The Voice would have to wait yet again. Rockwell stepped closer to the man at the table. "You know perfectly well why. I have my goals and you have yours. I am prepared to do what I can to achieve mine, but you on the other hand, have given up on your goals." The man barely stirred. Rockwell leaned in closer to him over the table. "We are long past the golden age of the Holders, where they would keep all of the Objects. The Objects are almost all in the hands of humans, which are arguably worse. The few Objects that are not held by humans or Holders are kept by much sinister beings. That is the world we live in. That is the world we thrive in. That is my world."

"No," the man's response was quick and cutting. Rockwell, himself, was taken aback as the figure at the table lifted himself up from his pathetic position, revealing something in its clutches. Something it held onto tighter than one should hold anything. In its grasp was the book. The Book of Legion. "No, Rockwell," the man spat out. "That is only the beginning." The two men locked eyes as a chill went through the room. Rockwell started to respond but the death rattle of The Voice flew through his mind again. This time sharper than before. More desperate. "Smile." Only a moment later did Rockwell realize that that wasn't The Voice, but something darker, something much more powerful, and infinitely more dangerous. The hole was talking to him, piercing his mind, taunting him. Sacrifice was a word Rockwell would have to understand.

But that was a moment too late to do anything, as the door smashed open, as the three that had left the portal room ran in. Tene was the only one who could speak. "Something is wrong." The five of them ran through the underground laboratory as fast as they could. They charged through the hallways, and ran up to the doors. Barred shut by something they could not see, they could only watch through the observation window as the hole began to growl once again. Scientists stood in shock at the hole, paralyzed with fear, and possibly more. Fallen clipboards and notes were left untouched. Nobody dared to move. But the growl turned into a deafening scream as the reality of the room seemed to melt away. As black oily tendrils erupted from the hole, grabbing hold of the men and women in the room, dragging them screaming back into the black abyss. Finally, the tendrils retracted into the blackness, but something once again began to exit the portal. What appeared to be a gigantic ribcage attached to a tendril made its way through the portal, stopping when it touched the floor of the room. The "mouth" then parted, depositing something into the room. As the aberration returned to its world, the doors became unlocked again, almost as if by magic. The group made their way into the room warily. Almost no collateral damage was made to the room, as it simply appeared empty. If not for the hole, one wouldn't be able to to believe what had just happened has ever occurred. The only noise came from the machinery and the low rumble from the scar in the wall. However, when they saw what was left for them, the silence returned to deafen the room once more. The child lay on the ground, naked, covered in sweat and black liquid, laying there shivering, but unconscious. The Good Doctor made his way over to his offspring immediately, whereas Derrick couldn't move at all. Tene absentmindedly took out a cigarette and lit it, without breaking his gaze on the hole. Sarah was the first to notice the machines, nearly gasping back sickening tears as she made her proclamation.

"It worked."

Otherside.

Mark Tene lit another cigarette in the darkness. Leaning against the cold stone walls, he looked calm, almost serene. Walls scarred with more obscure writing than he had ever seen, things he hadn't even bothered to attempt to decipher. The floor was grated so one could see the darkness below it, and though there were light sounds of heavy iron machinery, nothing but blackness could be seen. This was easily the least unsettling room, but also the least interesting. It was simply the "foyer", and did that job without offering any other hints to follow. No clues for him to find what he sought. Nothing but an archway that led further down into the ruins, and a way home. Something Tene was in no way interested in. What was deeper down in the abyss was much more important. As the hole growled, letting another figure in, Mark barely even looked up. He knew who it was. Mark simply took another drag from his cigarette.

"What took you so long?" he asked the man in the suit.

"Todd was there. He was just tying up loose ends," Rockwell responded, dusting himself off. The hole was in no way a pleasant experience to endure.

"Guess he was late. Or else he'd be dead by now." Rockwell would have a hard time replacing every employee in the building. Everyone that had died when the portal was opened again. But Mark didn't really care, that was Rockwell's problem, not his. "Did he ask about me?"

Rockwell grinned. "I told him you were dead."

Mark flicked his cigarette butt to the ground, pushing himself off the wall and making his way to the archway.

"Good."


Mark Tene was different from all the others Rockwell had approached for this project of his. The most important difference being, that he didn't approach him. Mark found Rockwell. Not the story he told his colleague, but Rockwell soon learned that Mark was not at all what he appeared to be. The man was far smarter, and far more ambitious than one could imagine just by looking at him. Mark wanted one thing, and that was control, and the only way to get that was with knowledge. More knowledge than anyone could imagine. And if he had to step down into the deepest darkness to find it, why not? It only made the prize more appeasing. And if a few people had to die in order for him to get there, so be it. Sacrifices must be made. Always.

So when Mark looked into the hole on the day of the first accident, he did not look with fear, but with lust. Because that's where all of his answers lay. Within the hole.


The two men marched on deeper down the corridors. Passing through the archway they walked through what Mark dubbed "The Surgery Room", down the stairs, and through "The Cage Room", and continued on. They passed through a room which appeared to lead outside into a field at night, with no visible ceiling. But once they got over the hill, another archway welcomed them back into the dark. A room with nothing but white walls, and a room with padded walls with blood-covered thorns protruding out of them. Neither man tried to make sense of the rooms, just continued on, assuming they were going the right way, and as far as they could tell there was only one way. They finally stopped in a large cage-like elevator, which took them down for almost five minutes. Mark took this time to light another cigarette, while Rockwell attempted to contact the Voice, but to no avail. There had been no sound from the Voice for eight years. Not since the day of the first accident. The elevator came to a stop. Mark felt himself shiver, not because of the cold, for it oddly was never cold, it was almost uncomfortably warm. Exactly body temperature. No, Mark Tene shivered because of excitement. Because they had entered a new room. One with a staircase in the middle extending down into the abyss, and another archway on the other end; one that's interior inexplicably felt darker than the others. The walls were once again stone, like the first room, but instead of odd languages carved into them, the walls were bare. This is when something odd happened. First Rockwell heard the Voice, and then something even darker contacted Mark. Mark stepped down the first step and turned to Rockwell, who had begun to walk toward the archway. Mark did not hesitate in laughing, telling Rockwell that they would never meet again but if they did neither would recognize the other. He then walked down the stairs. Down deeper into the hole. Rockwell did not think much of Mark's prophecy. Instead he walked through the final archway, all the while thinking what the Voice had told him.

"Welcome back."


The final corridor was smaller than the rest, barely big enough for Rockwell, or you could say it was made for Rockwell. But he thought nothing of this, walking farther down, until the end of the corridor, where the final opening was covered by something. Corn. Rockwell only paused for a second before walking through the maize. The floor remained stone, but the plants grew out of it nonetheless. The walls, too, were stone; the ceiling, however, turned only to darkness. Through the corn, Rockwell came to a clearing, hearing the cry of a baby. In the clearing there were two burnt bodies, and in the center of the two, a crater. However, there was nothing inside, but the sound of the infant was no doubt coming from inside the hole. Rockwell walked into it, pausing only as memories flooded through him. Then he instinctively looked up. The room was empty once again, but something new was there with Rockwell. He heard the sound of gears shifting as something descended from the darkness above him. A body was lowered, attached to whatever machine by chains. A large, black stone was embedded in the body's chest, who had become nothing but a rust-colored figure. No features were recognizable. The body was lowered down until it was facing Rockwell. Only then did it speak.

"Welcome, Rockwell, to the End. Welcome, to the Beginning." It was the Voice.

"Who am I?" Rockwell asked the figure.

"You are Me."

"Then who are you?" Rockwell didn't hesitate to ask.

"I am you." Rockwell clenched his fists in anger.

"Then why did you bring me here? Why have I come here?" Rockwell nearly shouted at the suspended figure. No one could betray him. No one did and lived.

"You came to find something. Your colleagues had big dreams. Big ideas. Big plans for this hole. You had ones that would dwarf them all."

"What have I come looking for?"

"An Object."

Rockwell stared in disbelief. This far, for a simple Object? Not what Rockwell had been planning. Not what he wanted. What could be worth all the work he had gone through? But the Voice spoke as if it read Rockwell's mind, which is most likely did.

"You came for the most important Object of all. The Darkness in Light, and yet the Light in Darkness. The Balance, and yet The Chaos. This Object belongs to one you know of, but do not fully know. when He found the Object, he absorbed the Control, but released the Chaos, believing that he could not deal with both. You are here to prove to him you can do it. He holds the Control, but the Chaos remained here. In the Holder's hole. Where the brightest light cannot fight the darkness."

All of a sudden, the stone embedded in the Voice's chest began to glow. But it appeared to glow darkness. Rockwell realized that it was not a stone, but a crystal.

"Object number two thousand five hundred and thirty eight."

"Legion's Object," Rockwell said out loud without meaning to. He couldn't understand how this had occurred, or how it was here, but Rockwell decided not to question it. The time for questions was over, it had become a time for action. Rockwell gripped the crystal with both hands trying to pull it out of the body, as everything faded to black. Screams erupted from every direction as Rockwell only pull harder. Right before he succeeded, right before darkness enveloped his mind, the Voice spoke out one last time.

"Now show us your smile."


Rockwell awoke in the basement of the lab. On his right arm was the chain, wrapped around it. Somehow, it had returned with him. The hole was gone, leaving not even a scar on the wall. But he also felt something else. Where there once was a heartbeat, there was a pulse. A different kind. One that pumped him full of something other than blood. Something much darker. Something much stronger.

Rockwell smiled. There was work to do.

Better.

The man in the suit walked into the elevator in silence, looking back at the past events. All he had wanted was knowledge, but instead he gained power. More than he could imagine. But in a strange way, he was okay with it. Rockwell had all the time in the world to find out what he wanted. So he might as well take care of some side business.

The elevator stopped at the penthouse, but needed a key to open the final door before one could enter the suite. Rockwell didn't need keys anymore. This was not a time for finesse. He pried the doors open with his bare hands and walked into the large room. Walls lined with exquisite paintings, hand-carved furniture and pianos, statues worth more than their weight in gold. Rockwell cared nothing for them. The large man sat on the sofa chair in the middle of the room. Legion.

"I was told you were expecting me," Rockwell sneered at the man.

Legion sat up in a calm manner, but that dissipated when he laid his eyes on the man in the suit. Shock, but no fear. "You."

Rockwell straightened up. "You recognize me?"

The silence nearly screamed through the room until Legion spoke again.

"And you don't?"

Rockwell was almost instantly on him, grabbing the man that was practically twice his size. He threw him across the room, breaking countless items around the room. Legion picked himself up. Refusing to fight the man, he simply stood there, speaking once again.

"You don't remember me, do you? Then you have no idea what you are doing."

Rockwell hit him in the face with the nearest statue, then picked up the man and threw him into the glass table nearby. Still, the man did not fight back, and still, he talked calmly.

"You call yourself Rockwell, but do you even know what you are?"

Rockwell was tired of these cat and mouse games, these useless questions, stalling factors. He was ready to get what he wanted.

"Well, if all goes according to my plan, when I kill you, I will become an Object, isn't that right? No longer barely human, but a full-fledged Object."

Rockwell grabbed the man by the neck and pulled him toward the large windows that showed so much of the city. Dragging him across the floor, Rockwell couldn't help but wonder if the man was even resisting. He didn't care though, it was all the same in the end. He smashed the window and held the man out of it. Legion looked right into the eyes of the man holding him by the neck with pity. Rockwell only laughed.

"And don't forget, Legion, Objects can't be destroyed."

"You're a Holder."

Rockwell only hesitated for a moment, before breaking the man's neck and throwing him down to the streets below.

There was no smile this time, and far above the building storm clouds began to form.

Rain.

The rain started to fall.


Near the bottom of the high rise, a small crowd formed. Some swore that they had seen a body fall out of the building, but when they went to investigate there was no body, only a pile of ash was on the street.


Mark Tene finished another book, replacing it in its place in the dark library. The knowledge he had gained was immense, and had changed the way he looked at everything. Things he took for granted weren't what they believed they were, and things he feared were worse than he could imagine. He paused, looking for another book, when he saw a shadow. Mark stopped briefly before following it. It stood on the opposite end of the room, and Mark brought his candle in order to see better. He only got a quick look at the shadow, and he called after it to no avail. Once he arrived though, there was no man, just a book. As he flipped open the first page to a bright red "A.G." logo stamped, he smiled, as his shout echoed through the room for the last time before fading into nothingness.

"Derrick?"


In the hospital room, Captain Leviller's eyes opened once again. She lay there in silence for only a few moments before sitting up. She quickly began to rip out the machines connected to her. She took out the final IV before stepping out of bed and leaving the room, still in her hospital gown. A nurse saw her and shouted in protest to stop her, but Leviller didn't pay attention. She just got into the elevator and pressed the button to the floor her office was on. There was work to do.


James walked into the halfway house, more nervous than he had ever been. The ink notes he wrote on his hand had already begun to smudge because of his sweat, but he couldn't turn around now. Seeking would just have to be another story he'd tell to women.


Rachel stared at her computer screen again, the only thing lighting the dim room. Nearby, Ellie lay on Rachel's bed, and that's where she would sleep for the night, Rachel didn't mind. Reading through the email again, Rachel couldn't help but be amazed. So much information, so much it almost made her skin crawl. Ignorance is bliss, she reminded herself. No more emails came, and the first one had been sent two weeks before she had received it. She didn't know who this "S" was, or even if they were still alive, as all attempts of contact were fruitless. Still, she took another sip of coffee before continuing reading.


The Pawns, one by one, encircle the King. But what they need now, is a Knight.


Rockwell stood on the roof in the pouring rain. The Chaos and Control together once more. Rockwell could think again. Regret was the first to flood his mind, as he made too many mistakes. But he wasn't in the mood to feel sorry for himself.

He finally knew what he was, but that only raised more questions. The Voice was gone, so Rockwell didn't have anywhere to go for answers. Except one. The one he knew was coming from the first time he entered the A.G. Industries building.

He looked down at the ants walking on the street. People getting in cars, going to work, to meet each other. Rockwell wondered how many of them had any idea that their lives were a façade. Being nothing but pawns in a chess game. His game. How many would have to die? How many would live? Rockwell wondered if he would have to kill them all. Maybe, he should. Rockwell turned his eyes to the sky once again, once again wondering about his purpose.

Now all that was left, was to Bring Them Together.