Kimball arrived at the meeting point before me, and as soon as I saw him I knew that he had problems. Kimball explained that the Fortress was under new management, and that they had discovered he wasn’t an Imperial General as he claimed to be. He explained that they had taken the insignia away and threw him in a cell, one he was able to escape. Once he finished his story I was torn between being mad at him for losing my insignia, or glad that he had managed to escape without damage. That insignia was important to me, and I wasn’t willing to leave it behind. I was going to get it back, even if I had to go to the Fortress and retrieve it by myself, not something I was eager to do. Kimball went with me to the limits of the Fortress’ territory, but I didn’t want him going with me, I wasn’t going to let him be at risk.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?” Kimball asked again. “If you are going to use your illusions to hide your identity, can’t you extend it to me?”
“It’s easy to apply illusions on myself, I’m used to it and I know what I’m doing, I know exactly how to move the illusion to match my movements. If I try to cover you, the illusion will be flawed and it will be an easy way for them to spot us.”
“It was my mistake, I should be the one fixing it.”
“Don’t worry about it, I can go in and out without them noticing. And if they find me, it will be easier for me to be safe, after all any Vlad can confirm that I’m part of the clan.”
“Just be careful.”
The last time I had gone there I had gone through the main door, because I needed them to take Greca as a student, but I didn’t need them to know I was there, so the back door was a better option for me. I noticed that their security had increased and the tunnels were being watched, they knew that Kimball had used them to get out. Mostly I had to face some basic traps, most were easy to spot and get around, but they also had people guarding the doors. They weren’t exactly at the exit, for they didn’t want to show where the exits were really located, they were just close enough to see if someone tried to use them.
Since I was close to the soldiers guarding the door, I was able to get into their minds and force an illusion that made them think that the door remained closed even as I was walking through it. None of them was a telepath, so it was easier to use my powers on them than it would be if one of them was able to feel my powers working. After moving far enough, I let the illusion drop and constructed the illusion back around me to change my looks.
It was easy to find the office where the insignia was, but it wasn’t as easy to get my hands on it, I could feel it on the other side of the door, but the new head of the Fortress was there as well. A direct attack could get me the insignia faster, but it would be a bigger risk. Kimball had told me that the woman was a telekinetic like me, that she had taken the insignia using only her powers. I tried to reach her mind and see if I could get an idea of what she was doing, but her mind was strong, and I knew that if I pushed too much she would realize that someone was trying to break into her mind.
There were groups of soldiers patrolling the hallways, but my illusion was good enough for them to ignore me, plus I was using a little bit of empathy to get them to take no notice of me. It was a long time before the woman left the office, but there were a couple of guards still at her door. I extended my senses until I was sure there was no one close to us and left the place I had been hiding in, walking closer to the office. I walked pass the door, doing my best to ignore it so they wouldn’t suspect me, but when I was just a few steps pass it, I stopped and used my telekinesis to bash the guards heads against each other. One of them fell, but the other was still conscious, so I hit him again until he was passed out.
The first part of my mission was done, I got into the office and used my powers to find and grab the insignia. Once it was in my hand, I felt better, but it was far from over, I still had to get out without attracting their attention, and after hitting the guards, I knew it was just a matter of time before they figured they had an enemy inside the Fortress and started to hunt me down.
I started searching for another one of the evacuation points, another entrance to the tunnels. I wasn’t near my destination when I felt the chance in the air, the way the guards were moving around. I knew that someone had sounded the alarm, even if I hadn’t heard anything. If they had transmitted a telepathic warning, then I was at a big disadvantage, because unless I could get into the mind of one of them, I had no idea what instructions had been given and what they were doing to find me.
Little by little the people moving through the hallways increased, groups of two or three persons patrolling the place, but none of them was bothering me, so I just kept walking. I knew that acting like I belonged there was as important as actually belonging, people reacted to confidence. I ran out of luck once I reached the door to the room where the closest tunnel was hidden, a group of soldiers finally took notice of me and stopped me.
“What are you doing here?” The one that looked like the leader asked.
“Just keep going and leave me alone, I have things to do,” I said, letting my frustration and anger show. As long as I looked annoyed and not afraid I still had a chance to convince them I was just doing my job.
“No one is supposed to be in this area,” she said.
“No one of your level, but I don’t have to follow the same rules as you. I have a work to do and you are keeping me from it.”
“We have orders to stop any suspicious person, and you are acting suspiciously,” the woman got her gun out and pointed it at me, the rest of the group did the same.
“I think you are making a big mistake, one you will regret.” I knew that things were getting out of control, I needed to distract them or make them go away, but I had the good luck of hearing the thoughts of one of them, and I was able to know what their orders were. “You need to look for the man that managed to infiltrate the Fortress so many times before, not stopping me from doing my work.”
“I know that our main objective is to find the person who was able to infiltrate this place before. Our orders were clear, but no one is supposed to be in this area, not so close to the tunnels,” I could see the steel in her eyes, she wasn’t going to let me go without a fight. To hurt someone from my own clan wasn’t easy for me, I needed to find a solution that wouldn’t hurt them too much. “You will come with us, and I really hope this is just a misunderstanding, but we can’t risk it, I’m just following orders.”
“I still think you are making a big mistake,” I took a step towards her, trying to act strong, showing her she couldn’t intimidate me, and just like I expected, she put her gun to my forehead, trying to do just that.
“You are coming with us, that’s final. If you don’t, then I will blow your head off.”
My illusion was showing me as a blue eyed warrior, so I was pretty sure that they believed that I was a telepath, none of them was expecting me to use other kind of powers, so they weren’t prepared for that. I used my powers to connect to the weapon, it was a basic gun, one I already knew, so it was easy to connect to it and the others like it and make them useless. Once I was sure I had the guns disabled, I put my psychic wall up and used it to push them away, moving it and dragging them to the other side of the hallway, giving me enough distance to get to the door and into the room before they could reach me again.
I took them by surprise, just as I was hoping. I heard their surprised and angry screams, and then their yelling me to stop as I ran to the room. Once I got inside and made sure I was alone, I used my powers to seal the door, buying more time. I went to where the entrance to the tunnel was hidden and found out it was blocked. It wasn’t that difficult to get it open, but it took time and I could feel the group behind me about to break into the room.
I got into the tunnel at the same time they opened a hole in the wall, tired of trying to get the door to open. I used my powers to try to block the tunnel behind me, but I knew that if they had someone capable of throwing walls down, they would be able to get rid of the blockage easily. When the tunnel started shaking, I realized there were other things they could do to stop me, they could destabilize the tunnel enough to bury me alive and then they would have all the time they needed to capture me. I used my powers trying to hold the tunnel together, but I concentrated in the tunnel in front of me, letting the tunnel behind me collapse. It took most of my energy and I was exhausted, but I had bought enough time to escape.
Just as I was about to exit the tunnel I noticed people at the exit. I knew that I was at my limit, but I needed an alternative exit, as I started to build another one I felt others trying to stop me. Of course, they had terrakinetics working with them, and if they could work together they would be able to surpass my powers and stop what I was trying to do. I managed to get out, but I wasn’t sure where to go, all I knew was that a bunch of people was moving in my direction and I needed to find cover. I used a different illusion to hide myself in plain view. I knew that only the most powerful warriors would be able to see past my illusion.
I felt several minds trying to reach mine, good telepaths knew the minds of the people in their clans, and could find and identify new minds. I felt the coordinated invasion, but I didn’t try to fight it back, I let them in. Once they were inside, I used my most powerful weapon, a chest that my father had given me, that once opened, released a pain wave so strong that for a moment the illusion around me dropped and I could hear the screams of agony of the telepaths. It was the screaming that bought me the time I needed to get away, feeling better now that I wouldn’t have to worry about the telepaths coming after me.
Little by little I got away from the Fortress. There were a lot of people looking for me, but I needed to keep moving, I needed to move away and drop the illusion masking me before the headache that I was starting to feel, the one I got every time I abused my powers, got the better of me. I was trying to get away without attracting much attention, so I was moving slow, it took a lot of time but I finally reached the limits of the territory and found Kimball.
“It seems you caused a bit of a commotion. I can see the groups searching the place from here.”
“It seems that your escape got them paranoid. I’m wouldn’t be surprised if after this they block the tunnels and look for alternative evacuation plans.”
“It would be for the best. How are you feeling? I guess that it wasn’t easy to get out of there.”
“I have a headache. We need to get away from here, soon I won’t be able to fight.”
“Don’t worry about that, I will keep you safe.”