“Only two ways out now, both are through us.”
The Colonel said it with confidence. Derek didn’t share that confidence.
“We just lost what, twenty guys down there? They opened all the cells, how did we not know about that?”
“Because I told my men to not just turn random wheels or cranks in a prison built for gods. It made sense at the time. Still does really.”
The Colonel was a big man and Derek wanted to glare but it wasn’t a fair fight. Corporate versus security, suit against thug. The Colonel looked at Derek out of the corner of his eye and his mouth curled up in a smirk.
“Go for it kid, we’ll see how that turns out.”
Derek shook his head and turned his attention back to the guards that were taking up positions. The main research facility had been built far above the prison, what they had come to know was the mythological Tartarus. Not so much of a myth though. It had been surprisingly modern for being as old as it was.
Derek represented a corporate conglomeration with a vested interest in the prison and had sunk billions of dollars into the research facility. Their facility was staffed by hundreds of personnel. They had well-paid and trained guards, ex-military pilots, some of the best scientists in the world and an assortment of support staff.
The support staff and medical personnel were already evacuating out to the main atrium with a secondary guard team. The hangar and helipad were taking on the non-essential personnel and airlifting them out to the secondary facility at the base of the mountains. Derek would be leaving soon with them, corporate was not an essential position. He had a meeting to attend with their benefactor to explain what had gone wrong. A meeting he didn’t look forward to.
“Go on then son, tuck your tail and get lost. Let us handle it now.” The Colonel continued smirking until Derek was gone.
“The Colonel” was a misnomer, he’d only been a Captain when he was still serving. Then a man from a big energy company had approached him with an offer and a generous pay bump. With that offer Captain Daniel Richard became The Colonel, at least to his men.
He walked the first major defensive position, though he had hoped it wouldn’t come to this he always planned for the worst. That’s why he had them take the armory first when they breached the prison proper. Before any medical facilities were built he had designed everything in tandem with the architects. The facility had two entries, the main hangar and a duo of helipads. The helipads Derek had been instructed to lead Hyperion to. Though that plan wasn’t supposed to end with…all this. Their benefactor was probably going to be unhappy. Scratch the probably.
Those two entries led into a massive atrium complex with several stairwells built into the mountain for secondary access but those had been sealed with a judicious application of expanding concrete foam. The route that Hyperion knew was no longer accessible to him and that was a small victory. With that there was a single massive tunnel serviced by an enormous elevator for moving equipment into the second facility. The top of the elevator was guarded by The Colonel’s second-best team and the elevator could be shut down to slow them down.
That left another team of guards on the second level, where the main research rooms were located. A fully stocked medical bay with surgical theaters, additional holding cells that were intended to dampen the power of the Titans, guard barracks and guard armory. This is where Hyperion had been held before they had enacted the new plan. It had not been part of that plan to kill his sister nor for him and the others to be released. That was a small hiccup.
Now The Colonel and his men were securing the two choke points left in the facility. They were armed to the teeth with combat rifles and the fancy exo-suits that The Colonel still hadn’t acquired a taste for. Made a man stronger and faster but he had seen Hyperion summon fire and lost a small squad to a sheet of water that seemed to have the capacity for thought. Even if they were packing ammo reforged by their master smith using the weapons from the armories they had to hit the Titans first.
Though he wouldn’t tell his men or really admit it fully to himself, The Colonel really wasn’t sure he would win this fight. Not in close quarters. Not against Titans.
That didn’t matter. They had a job to do.
“Ready up, they don’t get past this point.”
Some set their jaws and nodded, some lit cigarettes and took long drags to steel their nerves; others offered a quick prayer to whoever might be listening.
As if that would help.
Even as Titans we would have a difficult task of cutting through the mortals, only a few of us had any real power left and only Cronus had his weapon of choice. We needed our weapons to even the odds.
I gently laid Theia down and left her with Themis and Mnemosyne who promised to watch over her. Iapetus being as weak as he is, also stays. Coeus and Phoebe also stay given that Coeus isn’t himself.
I worry he may never be again. His mind feels wrong. Shattered.
Tethys left on her own to scout any exits, she was the only one with the means to.
The rest of us went to the armories to find any weapons we could. If there were any left.
The first two guard armories were empty, racks that were once stocked with powerful weaponry now stood empty.
Crius is the first to speak.
“That’s how they made tools and killed…”
I wince before he says her name and he stops under the withering glares of Oceanus and Cronus.
“How did they reforge those weapons? The smith passed his knowledge down for ten thousand years?”
No one has answers so we move to the last armory. This one Cronus had built in secret, much like Iapetus and his addition. Titans and their damned secrets. Cronus heaves at the heavy stone wall and I push beside him until it slowly pushed back to reveal what had been the Titan armory.
His shoulders sank at the empty room, twelve settings for Titanic weaponry that were now empty. His current sickle was a minor weapon compared to his original.
“Damn them!” Oceanus mustered some strength to kick at a rack in the center of the empty room. The weapons had power, power that some needed more than others. Rhea places a hand on his shoulder to calm him, a valiant attempt for our moody brother.
Cronus looks to me and raises an eyebrow.
“Brother, your chain was never stored here, you refused.”
“I didn’t trust them,” I say simply. Titans, by nature, distrust mortals. Iapetus being the exception. We may love them but we can’t ever really trust them. Greedy little things that always seek more power or wealth or knowledge. Almost like Titans. I always thought they would betray us for power but instead they had apparently just died and been replaced with these heathens. At the back of the hidden armory was another heavy stone wall but this one had a spot that wouldn’t be quite right.
I walk to it and run my hand along the wall for a moment, trying to remember where I’d put it. Then I feel it! The roughness of the wall is wrong in a small spot, no more the size of a fist. I motion for Cronus’ sickle and he hands it to me. With the bladed tip I dig into the wall and carve out pieces, sending small stone chips to the floor. After a few moments I see it.
A black metal chain link protruding from the new depression I’ve created in the wall. I wrap my fingers through it and feel the surge of power coursing through each link.
“I’ve missed you,” I whisper before taking a half step back and pulling on the first link with all my strength.
It comes from the wall, the length of a fully grown man tearing free from the stone mixture I had made to hide my beloved chain. Chunks of rock fly through the room and pieces cling stubbornly to the chain. I whip it from one end and it snakes through the room, coming clean to reveal pure black metal. Metal forged of fire, fire from the sun herself.
Oceanus claps excitedly and gives me a weak slap across the back.
“Brother, I’m glad you were an untrusting prick back then.”
I laugh, looping the chain over my shoulder and remembering the feel of it. The weight of it. The extension of my body. It is invigorating.
“As am I.”
Titans and their damned secrets.
Two dozen guards stood watch at the chokepoint to the prison and lowest research facility, guarding the elevator shaft. They make idle chatter and grandiose claims about who would kill the most Titans when they tried to come up, nervous laughter rippling through them with each joke.
“Soldiers haven’t changed, have they?” I say quietly to Tethys and she giggles softly. We are barely fifty feet from the group of guards who seem to be waiting for us to use the elevator. Not likely, do they think we’re stupid? Some of us might be but Oceanus isn’t making decisions at the moment.
They sound so different than the mortals I remember but there will be time to ask questions once we get out of this accursed prison.
Tethy’s elemental carried us this far up the angled shaft until we found a good foothold, Cronus and Rhea are on the opposite side of the shaft where her elemental digs in with rocky claws. Four Titans against two dozen guards.
Hardly seems fair.
Tethys places her hand on my arm and pulls me from my thoughts.
“I’m sorry,” she says quietly, a tear slipping down her cheek that she quickly wipes away.
Cronus waves a hand to get our attention and holds up the ball of earth he had been working with, nodding up towards the platform. He mimes throwing it and then points to each of us and then stabs that finger up towards the platform again. We all nod.
He holds up three fingers.
The ball of earth sails up the shaft and the shouting begins. The staccato sounds start and then it stops.
“What was that?” someone shouts.
“Reload!” yet another voice.
“Griff, go check it out!”
We hear the footsteps approach the ball of dirt and Griff shouts back.
Cronus closes his eyes for a moment and focuses. Above us a group of guards close in on the ball with their weapons raised, at least half of them. It shudders with his focus raging through it and the outer shell becomes a dull metal colour as it pushes all the projectiles to the surface. Griff’s eyes open wide and he opens his mouth the shout his comrades to safety but it doesn’t matter.
The ball explodes outward and sends their own projectiles outward with thunderous force, thudding into body armour like hammers and tossing the guards away as if they weighed nothing.
When the half that can get back up do they turn back to the shaft to see us. Mostly to see me.
I let the chain fall from one hand, the clanking links hitting the floor with the most satisfying sound. I stretch out my shoulders and pick one of the guards to stare at. I can almost see the lump in his throat and his hands have a slight tremor to them.
“Well, come on then.” I say. Two of them come at me first, raising their weapons for a brute force attack. I flick the chain up and the end link strikes one in the chest, throwing him back into a concrete wall. He slides down and does not move.
The other finds himself with it wrapped around his ankle and with a pull he is on his back. I drag him towards me and hit him across the face with a closed fist. He also does not move.
Another raises his weapon towards me, I turn to deal with him but a lion of rock and fire crashes into him and they both skid across the floor while he screams. A group of them begin to fire their weapons at us but a screen of water rises and the projectiles explode on impact, pieces drifting away harmlessly.
I see one that had been aimed for my head.
I also see the one who was aiming for me and he steps back nervously. Then he fires again and again, unsupported by his comrades now. He stops and the elemental collapses to the floor, returning the Tethys. He struggles with his weapon for a moment and looks up to see…
He winces and recoils.
I see Theia’s face. I raise my fist, wrapped with the black metal to hit him.
His weapon hits the floor. He doesn’t.
I lower my fist and breath heavily.
I want to.
She wouldn’t have.
I feel Rhea’s hand on my shoulder and even if she doesn’t say it I hear it.
She would have been proud.
What few are left lay their weapons down, slowly. Very slowly.
“Good choice,” Cronus says, “smartest thing you’ve all done so far.”