Mihaela let me know the moment they started preparations to get out of the bunker, but I still wasn’t sure how many were coming out or what they were expecting to find, all I knew was that I was angry and motivated enough to make them pay for what they had done. I heard the noise of the bunker’s door opening and steps getting closer. As soon as they saw me sitting in the same place they had left Ethan tied up, they stopped and stared at me.
“What are you doing here?” one of them demanded.
“Didn’t you see my video? Your time has come to an end, it’s time to pay for what you did.”
“Do you think you have already won? We are ready for you,” one of them said, with total confidence in his success.
“As I see it, I did win. My son is safe with his father, this place is under our control, and there’s nothing you can do against me.”
“Are you sure about that?” he asked, and as soon as he spoke I felt weird, I noticed that the headache that was starting to bother me was going away, and my powers with it. The emptiness inside me made me want to panic, but I did my best to recover, I wasn’t alone, and I was still in control.
“I will give you just one chance, leave your games and give up right now, or you will face consequences.”
Just a couple of them seemed to consider it, but the man that was acting as the leader, talking to me, moved his hand and took something from his back. As soon as I realized he was moving, I got my gun out and shoot at the shoulder of the arm he was moving. Ivan, who apparently had also lost his powers, had his own gun out and was pointing it to the group.
“I advise you not to try something like that again,” Ivan told them
“In fact, better do it, give me a reason to justify killing you. We could arrest you, but I have no trouble just killing you all right now. In fact, I prefer that option, especially the longer I’m out of powers,” I wasn’t sure how they were doing it, but the feeling of vulnerability that usually came with having my powers removed was affecting me. At least I knew that whatever they were doing was affecting everyone in the same way.
“I know you think you won, but you haven’t,” the man said, holding his injured arm. “Your reign of hate and fear has come to an end.”
“My reign of fear? People are living peacefully under my reign, unlike before. People are having better lives, they are progressing faster than before. You are the ones who are trying to start a reign of terror with your tactics. What would have happened if your bombs had blown up as you planned? Innocent people, people who had nothing to do with your fight or agendas would have been injured, could even have died. I’m not the monster in this room, you are.”
“We are working for the good of our people, for the freedom or the Dominion,” a woman said from the back of the room.
“You are working for your own good. Now, you can stop blocking my powers, or face the consequences,” I asked again, hoping that the desperation wasn’t showing in my voice.
“You won’t win so easily,” the leader repeated, and I could see some of his followers getting ready to act. I didn’t think twice before shooting him, but as I pressed the trigger, the man moved, and instead of hitting him on a safe spot, the bullet went through his neck.
A blanket of silence fell over the group as the man hit the floor and a pool of blood started to grow under him, and then, chaos erupted. They all started moving at the same time. There was some distance between me and the group, but Ivan was closer to them, and most decided to attack him first. I started to shoot them, making sure the injuries weren’t life threatening, just bad enough to stop them. Ivan was doing the same, but he was focusing on those ignoring him and moving to where I was, protecting me first.
Despite all their plans, the group wasn’t as ready to face us as they pretended, their actions were impulsive and clearly weren’t working. I noticed the exact moment their leader realized that their plans were ruined and that they were losing, something he couldn’t accept yet. Unlike Merce, from whom the leader had copied their ideas, he was willing to sacrifice himself, not just others, for what they thought was the greater good, something that became clear when he got a grenade out of his coat and threw it to where we had left the explosives we had taken from Ethan. I didn’t need a walk in the fog to know what would happen if the grenade exploded in the middle of all those explosives.
For a moment my mind went blank, and then I started to go over all the options we had, I needed to stop the explosion or all the people in the building, and probably even those outside like Ethan and Kimball could die. My options were limited, at least at the beginning, because after watching their leader willing to kill them all, the person blocking my powers stopped, and I got my powers back, which allowed me to use my mind to grab the grenade and throw it through the open door to the bunker, where it would cause less damage, the only problem was that some of our enemies ran back inside the bunker trying to protect themselves from the explosion.
The wave caused by the explosion was strong enough to throw those who hadn’t ran away to the floor. Before they could go back to their feet I used my powers to shift the floor and trap them in it, but not in the case of the leader, for him I used stakes that went through his extremities and pin him to the floor. I hoped that the person who had blocked my powers was dead, but if he wasn’t, I was going to make him wish he had been in the bunker when the grenade went off. As for the leader, once I finished interrogating him, he was going to wish he was dead.
“Are you ok?” Kimball asked, as he ran into the room, closely followed by Uktam and Mihaela.
“Everything is ok,” I said, pointing to my captives. “They all have bullet woulds and a few bruises, possibly a few contusions, still, I need you to make sure they’re not a danger before transporting the. As for him,” I said, pointing to the leader, who was screaming in pain, “don’t take him to the police, I want to interrogate him first.”
“William won’t like that,” Kimball said, but from the intensity in his eyes and he stared at the person responsible for kidnaping his son, I knew he had his own plans as to what to do to him.
“He will understand,” I said, knowing that even if William got angry, at the end he would help me, he knew all the legal loopholes that I needed to justify my action, and he knew how important it was for me to stop people like that man. “How is Ethan?”
“He is stable, but I’m not sure what kind of agent they used to knock him out, I’m still working on that. I took one of their tanks so I could study the substance later.”
I left my people to clean up the disaster, while I went back to the Palace. Ethan was with us, laying down on the seat, with his head on my lap. He was still out, but I could feel his mind active and I could feel his life force, and I knew he would be able to survive the adventure with no significant damage. After the extensive use of my powers I needed my suppressor to keep the psychic headache under control, so after making sure Ethan was ok, I activated it, but as soon as my powers went away I started feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable. I knew that we still had a lot to deal with, there were more people involved, and those people could still cause trouble. My own men were already working on finding them, but I knew that to make sure that all the information we got was correct, I needed to conduct my own interrogations, and for that I needed my powers, something I didn’t have at the moment.
Once back at the Palace Ethan reacted, and that helped me confirm that he was alright, I confirmed that he had suffered some electric attacks, but not enough to cause lasting damage, and he insisted he was ok, even if I could see he was embarrassed for falling on enemy hands, as if being captured had been his fault. I remembered my own fears and feelings of guilt when I was his age. I remembered when I had been captured by enemy forces and my mother had to rescue me, how bad I had felt about the situation and the lives that had been lost in that mission, even as people congratulated me for my actions. I knew that simple words wouldn’t help him feel better, so all I could do was to let my emotions free and allow him to realize for himself how proud I was of him, and how much I loved him.
At the same time I had been busy rescuing Ethan, my people had been working on their own missions. Two of the bombs our enemies had set had exploded, the enemy had set sentries around them, and some had realized that my people had been trying to deactivate them and to stop them they had blown them. Agata had already realized about the sentries and was working on finding them and neutralizing them, but sadly she wasn’t fast enough to stop those two bombs from going off, and that cost us the life of an innocent man that had refused to stay in his house, and had caused some of my men to be injured, but all of them would be able to have a full recovery. At least we had been able to capture more people involved after interrogating our captives, and that included some State leaders that had actively collaborated, or that at least had turned a blind eye to what his people was doing.
I had taken my time doing my own interrogations, and I could confirm that they were followers of Merce, and that some people insisted on hating me, and weren’t willing to accept me and my place in the Dominion. I knew that originally that had been the plan, for people to hate me, but I also had planned for them to be so afraid of me that they wouldn’t be willing to fight me, and the new situation made that part very difficult. I also realized that my actions against the kidnappers had affected my image again, in ways I couldn’t understand yet.
A couple of days after the incident, I was ready to face the world and present my findings, and Aziz was there ready to help me with my message.
“Everything is ready for the broadcast,” Aziz told me, and I could see that that included William and Dante, they had agreed, once again, to support me. I knew that their support would influence a lot in how people received the announcement.
I stepped in front of the camera, ready to say the words that I needed to say. It wasn’t easy, I knew that with everything that had happened people’s perception of me had changed, as well as the political scene in the Dominion. Even if the attack had been very public and everyone in the Dominion had witnessed how they had used my son to try and get me to resign, the fact that some leaders, and those of countries that hadn’t voted for me, were involved, only complicated things, for some could see my actions as revenge. At least I had William, and even Dante, supporting me, even if some leaders were afraid after my actions following Ethan’s kidnapping. Despite having won the fight, I knew that some consequences of my actions would follow me for a while. Kimball said that I was taking the situation in a very negative way, and that people would show me once again how much they loved and trusted me, but I couldn’t be as positive as he wanted me to be.
“Good afternoon,” I said to the cameras, knowing that most of the Dominion’s population was watching from the other side, “today I come here to give you another announcement. All of you witnessed the demands and actions of a criminal group that intended to take control of the Dominion without any care of who they hurt in the process. Thanks to the actions of a lot of people who worked together to protect the city and stop the threats to the Dominion, what could have become a great tragedy, was controlled. Unfortunately, an innocent civilian lost his life and many of my soldiers were wounded, but at the end, they managed not only to save my son, but to stop everyone involved in the attack. During the interrogations that followed the capture of the people responsible, we were able to discover that very important, and influential people were also involved.”
“Using that information, that my people made sure was true and accurate, we were able to give issue arrest warrants for a couple of presidents and a queen,” William explained. “We also were able to clear other leaders that had been fooled or whose trusted people had acted in their name, but without their knowledge.”
“As I told you before, we are not going to punish the people of the countries for the crimes of their leaders, but there could be some problems while we fill the positions that were left open. We are already working on that, and we hope that everyone is satisfied with the results once we finish.”
“I know that many of you are wondering what this will mean for you, and I want to assure you that, at least I, will work to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again and will take every precaution to avoid another incident like this,” Dante said. “All of us who have positions of power have the duty and the responsibility to make sure that everyone who works with us is capable of following and honoring our laws and the principles that rule the Dominion.”
“We will keep working for you, for the people of the Dominion, for your well being. And I, personally, will work on opening better communication lines between the people and your governments, I want people to realize they don’t have to do things like this to get our attention, we will hear you, but I also ask you to hear other people. I know some of you don’t want me here, but as long as the majority wants me here, I will stay here, doing my best to be worthy of your trust.”
“The three of us will keep working on everyone’s well being, working for our people, today and always,” William said.
“Perfect!” Aziz exclaimed with his usual enthusiasm. “All of you did a great job. I will be monitoring the different communication channels to see how people respond to this broadcast, and I’m sure we will have good news soon.”
“I hope so,” I said, knowing that things were going to change and that I needed to be prepared for what was coming. I needed to do a better job, I couldn’t allow more people to get hurt because of me.