A strange ringing pulled Sharon from her slumber. She looked around, only to realize that her new burner phone was ringing. “Mesmera,” she said as she answered it.
“Forth and Mackenzie!” Shouted Crimson from the other end of the line. “They are attacking the power substation!”
“On it!” Shouted Mesmera, quickly yanking her costume on.
“What is going on?” Mumbled Mara as she blinked her eyes and let out a little yawn.
“An emergency, I’ll be back in a bit!” Shouted Sharon as she sprinted out of the door and towards the street.
As Mesmera ran towards the substation the phone rang again, Mesmera quickly fumbled it out of her pocket and answered it, doing her best to not slow down. “What?!” She shouted.
“Where are you, I’ll run a pick-up,” came a familiar voice.
“I’m just coming onto Birch,” said Mesmera as she gasped, “but I was planning to cut out the roads.”
“Don’t need them,” laughed the voice as the call ended. Before Mesmera could wonder what that even meant she felt two sharp things grab onto the back of her suit as she was lifted into the air.
“What?!” She screamed as she looked up, only to see a familiar metallic bird’s head above her.
“We’re flying direct!” Smirked Carrion. “Loft, sub-station rally point, let’s avoid detection.”
“Of course!” Came a robotic voice as both Carrion and Mesmera rose higher into the air.
If it hadn’t have been in such dire circumstances Mesmera would have likely found the flight thrilling, dashing through the sky with the wind on her face felt oddly beautiful. However, her thoughts were totally focused on planning her strategy for the upcoming battle.
If her experience with Hitomi had taught Mesmera anything, it was that the black armor seemed to block out her power or simply keep the user in a state where they were much harder to hypnotize. She was going to have to fight cleverly if she was going to win.
After a short while, Carrion started to descend, looping around several blocks of the city as she came gently down to Earth. As she landed Mesmera spotted a few familiar people moving around.
“Wonderful,” said Lady Oak. “The situation is an interesting one.”
“How so?” Asked Mesmera.
“Lots of show but little damage, they are obviously trying to send a message, if they wanted to destroy the substation, they would have done it by now, they want as much attention on them as possible.”
“Makes sense,” nodded Mesmera.
“So what is our battle plan?” Asked Carrion as she looked between Lady Oak and Lady Aria.
“Well, we beat them back,” grinned Aria.
“Mesmera, do you require a specific plan?” Asked Electric Arrow.
“I need you to separate Ulla off from the rest. No way I can get into her head while fighting off more than one of them.”
“I can split people off by using the latent electricity in the area,” nodded Electric Arrow.
“Then that is our plan,” agreed Lady Oak. “Arrow will focus on area denial. Aria and I will work as an attack squad.”
“Carrion, can you fly me over there? I’m hoping to catch her unaware.” Asked Mesmera.
“Can do!” Nodded Carrion. “We’ll stick to the air and get you behind her.”
“Medic is prepped to scramble in case of a medical evac.” Added Lady Oak. “Are we ready?”
“Ready!” Said the MIST girls in unison as Mesmera took a deep breath. Lady Oak, Lady Aria, and Electric Arrow all ran towards the substation as Carrion lifted off into the air, quickly grabbing onto Mesmera and pulling her into the sky.
As they flew over the substation Mesmera tried to get a good idea of the lay of the land. The substation was full of cramped areas and blind corners, making it the perfect environment to stage an ambush.
Mesmera watched as Oak, Aria, and Electric Arrow burst into the substation, running right towards the black armored Hitomi and Ulla. The former MIST agents didn’t seem phased by the sight of their past allies running towards them and instantly jumped into battle.
Aria’s gauntlet’s collided with Ulla’s armor, causing sparks to illuminate the whole area. Ulla didn’t react to the blow and instantly swung back at Aria, staggering the girl.
Lady Oak started to duel with Hitomi, summoning various roots and plants in an attempt to restrain the girl. However, Hitomi easily ripped through the plants and started to swing wildly at Lady Oak.
After a few minutes of intense fighting, Electric Arrow waved her hands, causing the various transformers to spark and crackle with electricity. Within moments walls of electricity formed between the transformers, separating Hitomi and Ulla.
“Perfect,” mumbled Mesmera as she watched from the skies.
“Come on Ulla,” screamed Aria as she continued to exchange blows with her former friend. “You’re coming back with me even if I have to drag you kicking and screaming!”
Ulla didn’t respond and struck Aria in the face before grabbing her by the throat. Aria struggled and punched at Ulla’s wrist, however, Ulla didn’t release her grip. After a few seconds, Ulla threw Aria right into the wall of electricity that Electric Arrow had created.
Aria let out a scream as her body thrashed. Electric Arrow quickly dropped the electrical wall and ran towards Aria.
“We need to move now,” shouted Mesmera. “How close can you get me?”
“As close as you need!” Replied Carrion, quickly dropping down towards the Earth.
“I’ll tell you when to let go!” Yelled Mesmera, pulling her legs up into a seated position before opening them wide. “I need a straight shot at her!”
“On it!” Replied Carrion adjusting her trajectory so she was heading straight at Ulla.
Ulla slowly walked towards Electric Arrow and the fallen Aria, obviously looking to land a killing blow on her former friend. Mesmera took a deep breath and a few seconds before they were going to crash into Ulla, she acted.
“Drop me!” She screamed, feeling herself grow light as Carrion let her go. Mesmera flew through the air and hit Ulla in the head crotch-first. She quickly wrapped her legs around Ulla’s neck and started to repeatedly punch the girl’s helmet.
Ulla stumbled backward a little bit due to both the force of the impact and the sudden loss of vision. “I know you’re in there,” grunted Mesmera as she continued to smack Ulla’s head. “You can hear me and I’m going to get through to you!”
Electric Arrow dragged Aria away from the fray, trying to keep track of Lady Oak and Hitomi out of the corner of her eye. Like Aria, Lady Oak was finding that this new form of Hitomi seemed to be impervious to pain.
“Cut us off!” Screamed Mesmera as Ulla clawed at her thighs in an attempt to pull her off.
“But,” replied Electric Arrow, the image of Aria colliding with her wall of electricity still fresh in her mind.
“Do it!” Screamed Mesmera, clinging onto Ulla as hard as she could. “Do it now!”
“Okay,” nodded Electric Arrow, waving her hands as electricity arced between the metal once more, trapping Mesmera and Ulla.
Lady Oak continued to summon roots in an attempt to restrain Hitomi. However, Hitomi was unphased by them and simply tore them out of the soil before continuing to attack Lady Oak.
“Help her!” Grunted Aria to Electric Arrow. “Leave me, help her.”
“Right!” Nodded Electric Arrow, doing her best to stop shaking as she ran towards Hitomi, sparks erupting from the metal around her.
Ulla grabbed Mesmera’s thighs firmly and threw her off of her shoulders, causing Mesmera to hit the ground with a loud crash. Ulla paused for a few seconds as Mesmera pulled herself up off the floor.
“I know you are in there!” Shouted Mesmera as her eyes went silver. “I know so much about you.” She added as she continued to gaze at Ulla, watching as the silver glow danced across the girl’s visor.
Ulla charged forward and grabbed Mesmera firmly by the throat, pushing her back into a wall. Mesmera coughed and struggled but kept her eyes glowing as she continued to glare at Ulla.
“I know you, Ulla,” gasped Mesmera as she kicked at Ulla’s shins. “I know about you and Hitomi, you want to rescue her, but to do that you need to let me rescue you,” she continued as her vision started to blur.
As her consciousness started to fade Mesmera lifted her legs and put all of her force into one strike, driving her feet into Ulla’s stomach. To her surprise this kick caused Ulla to lose her grip and stumble backward.
Mesmera slid down the wall and panted heavily, her body doing its best to get as much oxygen back as possible. She looked up at Ulla and focused her gaze once more, doing all she could to break through the armor’s control.
“Ulla,” grunted Mesmera. “We had something, we could be buddies!” She said as Ulla started to move forward again, her fist raised and ready to strike.
“We both like trains. Remember sleeper trains? Some had onboard concert halls, the ones designed for snow could go weeks without maintenance and could cut their way through the ice.” Continued Mesmera, looking for any sign of weakness.
Suddenly Ulla stopped mid-step and started to twitch strangely. “That’s it!” Smiled Mesmera. “Remember those trains? They took rich people to see the coast!”
Ulla continued to twitch and spasm as Mesmera moved forward slowly. “Remember your book about them? It was really interesting, your favorite train was called the Pacific Princess because it had a glass mural on the ceiling of the dining car.”
With one large convulsion, the black helmet vanished, revealing Ulla’s face. Her hair was a mess and she looked both pained and exhausted. She gritted her teeth and let out a small wail as Mesmera ran towards her and pulled her into a hug.
“It's okay Ulla,” she said gently. “I’m here, it’s going to be okay, fight it, fight it with me.”
“P,” murmured Ulla, as she started to shake and thrash in Mesmera’s arms, the helmet starting to reform on her neck.
“It is going to be okay, we’ll get through this,” reassured Mesmera as continued to hold Ulla steady. Ulla let out a series of small pained whines as her lips started to wobble.
“Pulled tail,” she gasped out. “Roundhouse, N 2, W 2, N 1, E 1, D Half.” She choked, every syllable sounding more pained than the last.
“What?” Blinked Mesmera. “Ulla what do you mean?”
Electricity arced through Ulla’s body as she screamed out again. “Pulled tail, Roundhouse, N 2, W 2, N 1, E 1, D Half.”
Just as the last word fell out of her lips the helmet reformed around Ulla’s head, causing another burst of electricity to run over her body. The shock was so intense that it knocked both Mesmera and Ulla to the floor.
“Keep fighting,” groaned Mesmera as she pulled herself back up. However, Ulla didn’t react to Mesmera’s words, instead, she just clenched her fist and dashed forward to attack.
Mesmera quickly rolled out of the way of the strike and grabbed Ulla from behind, only for Ulla to respond by elbowing her in the face. The pain made Mesmera loosen her grip, allowing Ulla to break free and punch her in the chest.
Ulla swung for Mesmera once more, however, Mesmera was able to pull herself together and dodge the blow, quickly running past Ulla in an attempt to put some distance between herself and the black-armored girl.
However, Mesmera quickly realized that she had run into a dead end. A large transformer blocked her path, preventing her from escaping. “I’m trapped,” shouted Mesmera, looking towards the slowly approaching Ulla.
Ulla started to charge at Mesmera, fist outstretched as if she was planning to punch right through Mesmera’s chest. At the last moment, Mesmera leaped forward, causing her shoulder to crash into Ulla’s shin.
The combination of Mesmera’s body weight and Ulla’s speed meant that the blow was enough to throw Ulla off balance, causing her to flip forward and crash into the transformer with a loud crunch. Sparks flew as the damaged transformer started to shock Ulla before it burst into flames.
Mesmera started to get up, however, before she could get to her feet the transformer exploded violently, throwing both Ulla and Mesmera into the air. Mesmera landed in a crumpled heap on the floor, her lungs choked with smoke as her brain tried to work out what was going on.
Through her blurred vision, she could make out Ulla, pulling herself out of the wreckage and stumbling away from the substation. Her armor was ablaze and obviously on the verge of failure. Mesmera could feel her head spinning, she tried to hang on but slowly slipping into the dark void of unconsciousness.
“Ah there yer go,” came a voice, breaking through the darkness. Mesmera opened her heavy eyes and tried to work out what was going on. To her surprise Medic was stood over her with a wide smile on her face.
Mesmera quickly jumped up and moved backward, only to suddenly feel herself falling. As she hit the floor Mesmera realized she had been in the back of one of MIST’s vans.
“What’s going on?” Said Mesmera suspiciously.
“Ya took quite the beating there lass,” grinned Medic, offering out her robot arm. “Ya knocked out about five transformers, the explosion sent yer flying.”
“Right,” said Mesmera as she gripped onto Medic’s arm and pulled herself up, her memories slowly returning to her.
“Carrion was tellin’ me the details. Apparently, ya took Ulla’s leg out by flinging yourself at it.”
“I didn’t have many choices,” sighed Mesmera, groaning a little from the soreness in her joints. “What happened to Ulla and Hitomi?”
“Armor failure caused by the explosion,” interrupted Lady Oak as she walked over to the van. She was covered in bruises and was holding an ice pack against her cheek. “A helicopter flew in and picked them up, we tried to follow it, but no dice.”
“Why?” Asked Mesmera. “Following a helicopter isn’t hard.”
“They switched to another chopper at some point. We found the burnt-out shell of the first one just outside of city limits.”
“Right right,” nodded Mesmera as Medic held out a small metal tray. “What is that?”
“All of the stuff I gave you.” Nodded Medic. “So you can verify I’m not messing around with you.”
“Oh,” smiled Mesmera as she took the tray and looked over the objects. “This is very sweet.”
“Any lass who can take a beating like that has my respect,” laughed Medic as she slapped Mesmera on the back, making her wince a little.
“Well, I’m glad.” Said Mesmera between gritted teeth.
“Did you learn anything?” Asked Lady Oak.
“Some theories, but nothing more. It seems like the suit messes with the psychology of the wearer, making them harder to hypnotize. Almost like it throws them into an insane rage.” Said Mesmera softly, deciding to keep Ulla’s random message to herself.
“Right,” sighed Lady Oak rubbing the bridge of her nose. “You can go, we need to clear up this industrial accident. Faulty wiring.” She said, making air quotes around the term “industrial accident”.
“Sure,” nodded Mesmera, starting the long walk to her house. As she walked she thought about what Ulla had said, trying to make heads or tails of the strange statement.
After a few hours, Sharon toppled through the door and flopped onto the couch with a sigh. As she went to close her eyes, the light flipped on and she heard a familiar voice come closer.
“You got yourself banged up,” gasped Mara as she ran over and started to gently run her hands over Sharon’s body.
“A little,” moaned Sharon, wiggling into Mara’s touch.
“Poor thing,” whispered Mara as she started to kiss up Sharon’s body. “It’s okay, the doctor is going to make you feel better,” she cooed softly, her hands gently removing Sharon’s suit piece by piece.
Once Sharon was naked Mara’s hands began to gently massage each of her muscles. The combination of Mara’s touch and the painkillers left Sharon very drowsy and she quickly succumbed to the embrace of sleep.
The smell of pancakes filled Sharon’s nose as she stretched her sore muscles. She blinked her eyes as she slowly sat up on the couch, looking around as she tried to work out what was going on.
“Hello?” Said Sharon drowsily.
“Hey!” Shouted Alicia from the kitchen. “I’m making you breakfast, make yourself decent!”
“Oh, okay,” said Sharon as she rose from the couch, quickly realizing she was naked. “Umm, where is Mara?” Shouted Sharon as went to the bedroom to get some clothes.
“She had to go to the lab!” Replied Alicia as she continued to work on the food.
By the time Sharon had gotten dressed and back downstairs, Alicia had plated up the pancakes and put them on the table next to a cup of coffee.
“You two had fun last night,” she winked as she sat down.
“Oh shush,” blushed Sharon. “I was exhausted when I got back last night.”
“What happened, Mara told me you ran off but she didn’t know the specifics.”
“MIST wanted me to help capture Ulla as Red Right Hand attacked an electricity substation.”
“How did that go?” Asked Alicia.
“I’m not actually sure.” Sighed Sharon. “I wasn’t able to free her, but I was able to snap her out of it for a few seconds. But she started repeating this really weird message.”
“What was it?” Said Alicia. “Maybe we can work it out.”
“Right,” nodded Sharon, casting her mind back to the event and trying to recall it as best as she could. “Pulled tail, Roundhouse, N 2, W 2, N 1, E 1, D Half.”
“That is odd,” blinked Alicia as she pulled out her phone.
“I can’t make heads or tails of it honestly,” replied Sharon as she started to eat her pancake.
“A pulled tail,” stated Alicia as she read from her phone. “Is when a train guard or conductor pulls the emergency brake on a train to warn the driver of something unusual.”
“Oh my gosh,” said Sharon, dropping her fork.
“Emergency brake,” mumbled Sharon, rubbing her forehead. “Could Ulla have trained herself to focus on a phrase or statement for times when she felt her mind was at risk?”
“Maybe!” Replied Alicia. “Did it go off when you hypnotized her?”
“No, but maybe she didn’t see me as a big enough threat, I mean she always boasted about how weak I was. But if that is true, what is the rest about, all the numbers and letters?”
“Directions!” Grinned Alicia. “Only one letter isn’t a cardinal direction right?”
“I think so,” mumbled Sharon, quickly grabbing a scrap of paper and starting to note down the phrase. “You’re right, apart from the D, everything else could be directions.”
“So the numbers are distances.” Nodded Alicia. “Just where or what is the Roundhouse, I don’t know of anywhere called that.”
“And what is that D on the end, and what units are the directions using?” Added Sharon.
“Well, logic suggests kilometers, any smaller unit than that and it wouldn’t really need all the turns, considering you turn one way just to turn back on yourself.”
“Good argument,” mumbled Sharon. “Wait! D is down. We go down half a kilometer, we dig. And if we dig, then I know what the Roundhouse is!”
“You do?” Gasped Alica, jumping up from the table in excitement.
“So, Ulla requested we do the handoff at this cabin in Mirage forest, I presumed it would just be a shell, a front MIST uses hide people or things. But it was more like an actual home and Ulla did seem very comfortable there.”
“So that is the Roundhouse,” nodded Alicia.
“And if we need to dig, it makes sense that whatever she wanted me to find would be in the forest. A place you could bury something without anyone noticing.”
“Then we’re going to the forest!” Grinned Alicia.
“After breakfast,” smiled Sharon. “I need to get my strength back after last night.”
“Okay,” smiled Alicia, bouncing in her chair. “I’m coming right?”
“Sure you can,” chuckled Sharon. “This should be a nice simple job.”
“Awesome!” Bounced Alicia.
Sharon slowly finished her breakfast and washed it down with some painkillers, not looking forward to the idea of hiking through the forest on already sore joints.
Once she and Alicia arrived at Mirage Forest they quickly made their way towards the cabin. Alicia had a skip in her step the whole way, excited to actually be useful for once.
After a few hours of wandering, Alicia and Sharon found the cabin. “It is like something out of a fairy tale,” said Alicia gently as she peeked into the window.
“A place away from the world,” replied Sharon as she fished the notebook page out of her pocket. “So, we need to go north for two kilometers,” she said as she produced a compass and started to rotate.
“All the old girl scout meetings coming back?” Teased Alicia as she waited for her Mom to orient herself.
“A little,” she laughed as she pointed forward. “North! Let’s go!” She shouted as she started to walk through the forest.
The pair walked for a while, doing their best to follow Ulla’s directions as precisely as they could. The directions sent them deeper and deeper into the forest and moved them away from the common hiking trails, making it very clear Ulla had not wanted someone to stumble upon this by accident.
“Okay,” said Sharon, breaking the silence. “Not long now before we go East,”
“Wait, East?” Interjected Alicia as she surveyed the horizon. “That means we are going to be climbing that hill,” she said, pointing to the outcrop that sat on the horizon.
“Great,” sighed Sharon. “My feet are already hating me.”
“See, this is why I wish I could work my super strength out, then I could carry you.”
“That is a very wholesome reason to want a power,” chuckled Sharon as she continued walking. “But I guess we’ll take things as they come.”
“Right!” Smiled Alicia, quickly following on behind.
As they walked Sharon realized that Alicia was totally right, they were going to have to climb the hill. Her feet begged her to stop, but Sharon ignored them and pushed forward. Once they reach the top Sharon bent over and took a few deep breaths.
“This is beautiful,” smiled Alicia as she looked over the panorama.
“Painful as well,” gasped Sharon as she stood up and continued to walk. After a few seconds of walking, she stopped and stamped her foot. “If we’re right, it is here.”
“Awesome.” Nodded Alicia as she threw down her bag and produced two trowels. “I’m surprised you have these, considering how you are not really into gardening.”
“Hey, I was in a gardening group for about two months,” smirked Sharon as she grabbed a trowel and knelt down to dig. “I was mostly in it for alibi purposes, but then I realized book clubs are just better.”
“How so?” Asked Alicia as she started to scrape away soil.
“Well, less pressure. You can easily lie about reading a book and use contextual clues to get through the discussion. You can’t fake growing flowers.”
“Plastic ones?” Giggled Alicia.
“They see through that ruse very quickly.” Smiled Sharon.
The girls dug down for a short while, both silently praying they had got the directions correct. After a while, Alicia’s trowel hit a sold object. “I found something!” She gasped as she started to scrape the dirt away. “Please don’t be a rock, please don’t be a rock,” she chanted as she continued to move dirt.
Slowly but surely a metal box was revealed. Once all of the dirt was cleaned off Sharon reached into the hole and gently pulled the box to the surface. On the top of the box, there was a sticker declaring it to be a youth group time capsule and noting it was not to be opened until 2092.
“Should we risk it?” Asked Alicia, running her fingers over the label.
“Yes,” nodded Sharon. “I think an actual youth group would put their name or logo onto their time capsule. Also, I doubt they would bury it in a forest, time capsules are usually buried in public squares or buildings.”
“True,” Replied Alicia, pulling out a pocket knife and starting to gently cut at the wax and tape that sealed the box. Once all the seals were cut she gently slid the lid off and took a deep breath.
The inside of the box looked surprisingly normal. There was a bottle of wine as well as ten packets of cigarettes. All sat atop a small leather-bound book, a bar of chocolate, and a thick blanket.
“Ulla made a kit for the end of the world,” gasped Alicia, gently running her fingers over the objects in the box.
“Really?” Replied Sharon as she leaned over and looked inside the box.
“I guess that was her plan, come up here, smoke and drink and watch as everything vanishes.” Nodded Alicia.
“No,” said Sharon, shaking her head. “That isn’t Ulla, if a meteor was coming towards Earth, she would be trying to work out how to launch herself into space so she could punch it away, Ulla doesn’t just accept the end of the world.”
“That is what it looks like though,” replied Alicia as she gently lifted the book out of the box. Sharon let out a sigh and started to pace around in a small circle, trying to work out what this box meant.
After a few seconds of thinking an idea hit Sharon. She turned on her heel and faced Alicia. “Wait!” They both shouted in unison before breaking into giggles.
“You first!” Said Sharon.
“This is a photo album!” Grinned Alicia, turning the book to face Sharon. “But I can’t seem to find a picture of Ulla in here, in fact, there seems to be hardly any repeated figures. The photos also look way too clean and polished. I think these are stock photos.”
“Excellent spot!” Shouted Sharon, causing Alicia to blush. “Also, ten packets of cigarettes can’t be right. Even if you brought someone up here, there is no way you would smoke ten packs before whatever you are afraid of happened. If you plan to smoke ten packs, then you need more than one bottle of wine.”
“Right!” Nodded Alicia, reaching forward and pulling out one of the cigarette packets. She quickly tore the plastic off and flipped the lid open. “Well,” she said as her eyes went wide. “This isn’t full of cigarettes.” She continued as she tipped the box upside down.
A small black device tumbled into her hands. It was a metallic tube with a flat base and a strange orb on the top. As Alicia turned the device over in her hands, Sharon opened another cigarette box, only to find that it had an identical device inside it.
“What are these for?” Asked Alicia, looking towards Sharon.
“I have no idea,” replied Sharon, totally dumbfounded by this strange cache of items.
“Why would I,” started Alicia, only to gasp and grab the photo album once again. She opened it to a random page and grabbed the knife, cutting the various pictures free of their plastic holders. “I knew it!” Screamed Alicia as she held the back of one of the pictures out towards Sharon.
The back of the picture had part of a diagram drawn onto it in permanent marker along with a couple of handwritten annotations that seemed to be part of some larger set of instructions.
“How did you work that out?”
“Simple,” smiled Alicia. “Why fill a photo album with stock images? Because people will be so busy looking for patterns within the images they won’t bother to check for other hidden things. Also, I saw a spy movie where they hid state secrets on the back of pictures that they had framed!”
“Excellent detective work!” Grinned Sharon with pride. “So now we just need to put all of these images together to work out the instructions!”
“Right!” Nodded Alicia, quickly cutting the other pictures free of the album. The pair quickly got to work piecing the image together. After a short burst of work, they had a diagram that seemed to depict the strange devices arranged into a circle with an unfamiliar flat object placed in the center.
“What is this object?” Asked Alicia as she pointed to the flat thing,
“I presume it is whatever is in the chocolate wrapper,” replied Sharon as she quickly unwrapped the chocolate bar, revealing a strange metallic plate which resembled a large circuit board.
“That is weird,” said Alicia as she gently ran her finger over it. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Oh, it is missing a bit!” She squeaked, pointing to the diagram.
“I guess that is in the wine bottle then.” Nodded Sharon, grabbing the bottle out of the box. “Hey look,” she said as she pointed to a lump around the neck of the bottle. “This was broken and then stuck back together!”
“Well, that is where we smash it then.” Grinned Alicia as she took the bottle and smashed it against the edge of the box. As the bottle broke in two a strange dark oil started to leak out.
Alicia reached inside the bottle and pulled out an object. It resembled a slightly strange looking battery with two long prongs that fit perfectly into a gap on the metallic plate.
“So, we need to make these things into a circle and then put this contraption inside and connect this oily thing” nodded Sharon, pushing her doubts out of her mind and quickly getting to work.
Within a few minutes, she had made a circle that resembled the one on the diagram. Sharon looked towards Alicia. “Do you want me to do it? We’re not exactly sure what this set-up is meant to do.”
“I want to,” replied Alicia. “I want to help you in any way I can.”
“You’ve helped a lot with this,” smiled Sharon. “But sure, you can do the honors. I guess we have to trust Ulla’s judgment.”
“Yeah, she doesn’t sound like the type of person who would go to all this trouble to make something that burst into flames” Giggled Alicia as she walked into the center of the circle and put the plate down.
Alicia took a deep breath, letting the feeling of the wind against her skin calm her racing heart as she reached down and pushed the prongs of the battery into the metallic plate.
The second she plugged it in a strange buzzing sound started to pour out of the board as several trails of light ran across the ground towards the strange black tubes. One by one the orbs on the top of the tubes lit up as Alicia ran out of the circle and hid a few feet back with her mother.
Once all of the objects were lit, a strange almost robotic tone poured out of the strange spheres as they started to intensely vibrate. As they vibrated the tone slowly changed, almost as if the little devices were trying to harmonize.
After a minute the tone formed a single note that grew steadily in pitch as the glow from the orbs grew brighter and brighter. Suddenly a bright beam came out of the orbs and formed a large pyramid shape over the metallic plate, which started to glow a deep purple.
“That is so pretty,” gasped Alicia as she looked on with a strange mixture of fear and childlike wonder.
Suddenly, a large purple beam shot directly up into the sky, looking almost like it went on forever. However, before the girls could fully comprehend what was going on, the beam vanished.
Both the plate and the strange tubes faded and returned to normal, as Alicia and Sharon looked on in shock and confusion. Alicia pulled her mother into a tight hug.
“What did we just do?”
“I’m not sure,” replied Sharon with a sigh. “I’m really not sure.”