Chapter Two: Into the Trap
Zack landed sooner than he expected. Much sooner, to be exact. He landed rather lightly on a tin roof. Looking up, he saw that the train was only about 15 to 20 feet above. He spotted a pair of Machoke clambering along its roof, roaring in unison. Well, he now knew what'd stopped the train. Zack breathed quietly for a few seconds, allowing himself to recover from the jump. Turning his head, he found the businessman a few feet away from him. What met his sight was not pleasant.
The businessman's body had been savagely bitten. Blood was everywhere. All over him, all over the roof. The fresh smell of it made Zack feel rather ill. One look at the blood flowing let Zack know the guy was dead. The hole on his chest where the Golbat’s teeth had ripped into him was easily visible, even from where Zack had landed. Another large, deep looking hole was pumping blood from his left thigh. He lay face up, his face still had a face of sheer terror on it.
Zack swore to himself. Damn Rockets...
Above him, a curdling shriek came as a Golbat started to circle overhead. He instantly ran off the roof and leapt lightly onto a pile of pallets that was stacked nearby. Climbing clumsily down them, Zack tripped and caused some of the pallets to snap with an awfully loud crunch.
"Keep it down!" a familiar voice said.
He turned to face the source. The girl from the train was walking towards him, looking rather annoyed that he’d decided to jump after her.
He also noticed his surroundings. Rubbish lined the edges of the street. A Meowth lay sleeping in a makeshift nest of dried newspapers. Trash cans and rubbish bags also were a common sight.
"From what I can make out..." she began as she glanced up."Hide!" She whispered as she immediately leapt to her side into a steep doorway. He mimicked her movements into another doorway nearby as a Golbat flew overhead, followed shortly by the other. A series of sickening sounds met their ears: two dull thuds, hungry cries, and then the sounds of tearing flesh, splashing blood, sinister sucking sounds and flopping flesh. A severed arm suddenly rolled off the roof and dropped onto the floor mere feet away from them. Zack felt himself cringe internally and externally as he imagined the state on the man's body. Or what was left of it. Neither of them for about a minute while their feasting frenzy lasted. After about a minute, the Golbat seemingly finished their meal and flew off.
"Lovely" the girl snarked, glancing at the arm that had dropped down.
Zack stared at the arm, still horrified.
"I don't think they know that we've escaped from the train yet" she started. Zack didn't know how to respond, so she continued. "We should be able to leave this area without any hindrance from the grunts."
At that, she started to walk away. Her soft footsteps broke his temporary mental shock.
"Whoa whoa, just wait a sec! Who are you anyway?"
She stopped without turning around, and sighed.
"I'm an ex-soldier. From Kanto Corps."
She didn't dignify him a response. It took a moment for him to process this new info.
"What's a soldier like you doin' here in Johto anyway?"
"Why are you here." was her response; it didn't seem like a question.
"I live here." Zack retorted immediately.
She turned and looked at him analytically.
I think I fooled her, he thought.
Ex-soldier? Kanto Corps? Did she quit? What's she doin' here?
He didn't like to think about it, especially when...
"You know Goldenrod?"
Zack blinked at her; she raised her eyebrows.
"Uh... yeah. Roundabouts."
She looked skeptical, but he knew that he was the only option she had.
Zack roughly remembered the layout of Goldenrod. Central Street was one massive 8 lane road that split the entire city into two halves down the middle, and the railway bridge split it again through the side, effectively creating 4 "sectors". Two plazas were located in Goldenrod. North Plaza, north of the tracks, and another below, called South Plaza. If they could make it to either one of those, they'd be relatively safe.
"Where you headed to anyway, soldier?"
"Not sure yet."
She didn't know. Ha. She can help take down a train but doesn't know where she's going?
Zack bit his tongue.
"Hmm. Best way to get to around Goldenrod is to go to Central Street. If what I can remember is right, we head straight along this alley, we'll end up on Central. Then we can get a car and head from there. It's not too far." He pointed directly ahead.
She started walking in that direction. Zack trailed her. The journey through the rest of the slums was uneventful and relatively quick. It got brighter and cleaner as they headed for the main street. Zack wanted to press the soldier with more questions but she didn't seem the overly chatty type. He sighed quietly. This was going to be an awkward trip.
In Goldenrod station, several grunts were gathered around, discussing and muttering. One held his nose, the other rubbing his head.
Another member walked in, not looking at all impressed.
"What the hell happened?!" he spat. He had turquoise hair.
"Proton, sir, we stopped the train as ordered..." a grunt answered feebly.
"And look what happened! The Golbat went berserk! Now we have a body to dispose of."
"Not much of one" a nearby grunt mumbled. A giggle went round the group.
Proton's punched him, knocking him onto his rear.
"Enough with your smartass comments! This could ruin everything!" He took a deep, much needed breath before continuing.
"A team of three, go and dispose of the body. Another team of three, finish the preps on the train. The rest, form parties and search for the escapees. I don't care who does what. Go!"
The grunts scattered and left. Only two remained. Proton himself, and his grunt guard.
He went over to the telephone on the wall near the barrier and punched in a number.
"Hellllllo?" answered a cheery, slick voice.
"Oh, it's you Proton. What's up?"
"Don't be a prat."
"Oh, you mean the train?"
"Yes. Some of the passengers escaped."
"Yeah. I did hear that from a grunt. Tough break, eh?"
"I would like some assistance in the clean-up."
"Hmmm... I'd love to, but I've just got a takeaway..."
"PETREL!" the guard jumped at Proton's sudden raging yell.
"Okay okay! Fine, I'll help... don't blow a fuse."
Proton gritted his teeth. "Just get up here."
He slammed the phone onto the receiver.
He stormed back out, his guard following nervously behind.
Their stroll in the dull slums came to its end. It hadn't been an overly long walk but it felt longer because of the company. Soldier girl here hadn't said much. She only seemed to speak when she felt the need. A low buzz of sound lured them towards the growing light that lay a few feet ahead. Coming out of the narrow alley, they covered their eyes briefly as the bright lights of the main city street blazed around them. Wincing around, they saw that the streets were, for the most part, empty. A few cars passed by here and there but it was generally tranquil. The air was cooler here. Now that they'd left the backstreets, they could feel the chilly coastal air around them.
"Awful quiet for a city" soldier said.
"Yeah, 'specially since we bust outta their train. Shouldn't they be swarmin' all over lookin' for us?"
"This doesn't feel right."
She started to jog into the lane, and motioned for an oncoming Taxi to pull over.
"Where to?" Zack heard the driver bark as the car stopped by her.
"Radio Tower" Zack said to the Driver. His companion didn't object.
"You got it."
She slid in the back passenger seat while Zack took the front. He looked back at her, looking for some clue as to what she was thinking, but she just gazed out from the window. The taxi started down the road and around the nearest roundabout, heading back north to the Tower. "Awful late for the Tower, ain't it kids?" the driver asked, picking his nose.
Zack responded; his companion too busy gazing outside; he suspected he knew what for.
"Uh, we're meeting friends there."
"Awh, gotcha." The driver flickered with the dashboard buttons, flicking on the radio. A local hip-hop station played.
After that, they drove in silence, a tension setting in that not even the motor mouth taxi driver could cut. His radio broke it after what seemed like an eternity:
"We stop your usual broadcasts to fetch you this urgent bulletin: The terrorists responsible for the attack on the Goldenrod train have been spotted along Central Street. I repeat, the terrorists responsible for the attack on the Goldenrod train have been spotted along Central Street. Do not approach them for any reason, they are believed to be highly dangerous."
Zack looked back again. Soldier girl now sat up straight, looking alert. She didn't say anything, so he kept quiet.
Peering through the window screen, the Tower lay within sight.
"So, that'll be..." the driver started. He got ignored, both staring out the window screen and into the road.
A manic scuttering of little things could be seen in the distance.
The Tower was much closer now. "What's that?" the driver squinted ahead.
"The terrorists are believed to be a young female with brown hair, and a stocky short-haired coloured male. Please do not approach these individuals."
"Hey... wait a sec..." the taxi driver began, starting to look at his passengers, the drone of the radio still going.
"That's our cue." soldier said, glancing at Zack.
"Pull over." Zack demanded suddenly.
The driver squawked back. "You two are those terrorists!"
"Pull over!" soldier shouted, standing up in the back as best she could.
"No!" He slammed his foot on the gas to speed the car.
"Ugh!" Zack grunted. He clobbered the taxi driver in the face, yanking the wheel from him and slamming his foot into the brake.
The car screamed violently as it skidded back and forth under the control of the two wrestling drivers.
Zack elbowed him, he tried to shove back. Soldier girl covered his eyes, making him yell as he lost control.
As the driver continued to yell, Zack stamped on his foot, slamming the break one last time, forcing the car to slow down.
"What in the-" the driver managed as the car finally skidded to a stop, the rampant noise subsiding with it.
"Oh shut it" Zack groaned, punching the driver again, putting him unconscious.
She was already clambering out the car. He turned to the driver and muttered "Sorry" before getting himself out.
Looking around, the Goldenrod station and Radio Tower lay a bit to their left. Looking around, the movement they'd seen moments ago had gone. It was rather dead for one of the busiest spots in town.
He looked around for the girl. She was making her way to the Radio Tower.
Before he could call to her, a soft rumbling sounded. Like it was distant. Zack's ears perked.
Another rumble came a few seconds later, this time faintly louder. He recognised that sound...
A panicked man came running from the station, and jumped into a roofless car nearby.
Third time lucky. On the third rumbling it came to him.
"Back in the car!" he boomed at her. "The car!"
He grabbed her arm and yanked her back. "ELECTRODE!"
She didn't need telling twice. She threw herself in the backseat, him launching himself in next to her. They both managed to get kneeled down just in time.
The first explosion came from the station's underground platform, somewhat muffled shaking the building's foundations and the bridge. They felt the car shake. They held on to the seats.
The second explosion came from the station building itself. The windows, doors and roof all erupted outward. Debris flew in every direction imaginable. Even benches flew through the air, hurling themselves at random objects. One collided into a lamppost, denting it and the post bent to a near 90 degrees angle. Another tore into the roof of the car, leaving a large hole in the roof before bouncing off into the road.
The third explosion came from the bridge itself. The bridge shook violently but the train, now moved onto the bridge above the street, took most of the damage. The engine closest to the station was completely gone, the bomb had shattered it into shrapnel. The passenger carriage was also half missing. Part of the bridge had also been demolished. And then...
Zack stayed still for a moment, breathing heavily. He only appeared to be slightly bruised from the collision. The whole cab no longer had windows.
"You ok?" he called.
She climbed onto the backseat. "Yeah. Just about."
Zack peered through the now empty window. He couldn't see much. Smoke seemed to be all around. They waited a minute, but no more explosions occurred.
A creak and a slam caught his attention as soldier girl closed her door and into the scene.
Tailing her out, he absorbed the surrounding.
Billowing clouds of smoke & dust were spreading everywhere. Chunks of brick, breezeblock and metal shards were scattered like a dot to dot puzzle. Small fires had broken out in the station, and atop the bridge.
"There must've been hundreds..." Zack said to himself.
She didn't reply. Taking a few steps back to the car, she looked at the bonnet, which was issuing a thin trail of smoke.
"I think this has had it."
Squinting into the smoke, paying her no heed, Zack saw something moving. He squinted harder.
No, he saw more than one thing moving. Infact, there were several. As they emerged from the cloud, he recognised it instantly.
"Oh no... No way! Not now!"
Soldier girl turned to see what made him panic. As she realised what it was, she let out a frustrated hiss.
"This ain't good..." Zack said weakly.