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A Rig Veda Crossover
by Marc Singer

(Note: This story happens after Covenant #6 and immediately after Pulse #8)

"—top story, Tempest has defeated the strange robot-like creature that attacked New York —"
"—Wolf, where exactly is Tempest now —"
"—there has been no sign of the young hero since he launched into the sky, carrying the remains of Kali —"
"—eyewitnesses are now saying there was a prerecorded message triggered after Kali's apparent defeat —"
"—something about a fusion bomb, Connie —"
"—NASA is now confirming that there
was a significant explosion outside the earth's atmosphere —"
"—still no sign of Tempest —"
"—now missing and presumed —"
"—no sign —"
"—no sign —"
"—no —"

"NO!" Danny Anderson screamed. "Turn it off! Turn it off!"

Anne and Harvey were standing in the control room of the Colony, Chicago's haven for Omegas, along with the Colony elite and the mysterious Allen Covenant and his friends. Danny Anderson, leader of the Colony and foster brother to Eric "Tempest" Anderson, was turning red with grief and rage.

The Jamaican youth named Jimmy turned off all the control room's monitors, which had been showing the media's coverage of Eric's battle with Kali. It was just as well; the media's celebration was rapidly becoming a wake.

Anne was shocked. Eric was without a doubt the most powerful being she'd ever seen. If he were gone, what chance would the rest of them stand against this "Shiva" character...?

Harvey felt he'd lost more than just an ally. He'd seen Eric as his successor, the legitimate heir to the legacy of "Overman." And after their battle with Deathbringer mere days ago, Eric had even seemed to tone down his reckless tendencies. Much as he'd hated to admit it, Harvey really liked the kid, and now... it was like seeing the death of Overman all over again. Only this time the blood wasn't just red ink.

"He's got to be there somewhere," Danny said, trying to calm himself. "We just have to find him telepathically."

"Danny, even your powers couldn't reach all the way into outer space," said the girl named Mirry. She was Danny's doctor, advisor, confidant, and, Anne guessed by the way she sometimes touched him, his lover as well.

"Then we'll all do it together, dammit. You, me, Anne. Agony. Any other telepaths who're up to it." A strange fit had overcome all the telepaths when Shiva made his first announcement; most were still sleeping it off in the sick room. "And you, Covenant, if you can do any good. Eric has to be out there somewhere."

Covenant frowned. "I'm sorry, Danny, but that's the least of our concerns right now." Anne winced at the man's bluntness. Couldn't he see what Danny was going through? "Our top priority is to deal with Shiva; Kali's rampage was only his opening move."

Danny stared at Covenant with hurt, tired eyes but said nothing, an amazing display of restraint. "Okay, folks," he told the group. "Everybody who can help out, follow me to the meditation room. We'll try to reach Eric there." He pulled himself together, pre-emptively wiping his eyes to prevent tears. "Anybody who's only interested in themselves can stay behind."

Harvey paced outside the meditation room for a while, but there was really nothing he could do. And pretty soon, the combined telepathic power of all the Omegas in the room started giving out residual headaches. Since nobody else asked him for help, Harvey wandered back to his room.

When Anne and Harvey arrived in the Colony, Eric and the others welcomed them with open arms. A few of the more insecure Omegas tried to start trouble with him, wrongly suspecting Harvey was a "feeb," their cruel term for non-Omegas. A quick demonstration of his strength put an end to that; once word floated around that he was somehow the original, real Overman, Harvey even became quite popular among the little boys. After that, Anne and Harvey had no problems in the Colony (partial exception being Warren, the ex-pitcher who kept throwing pitches of a different sort at Anne).

Once in his room (which he shared with several teenaged boys; space was scarce in the Colony), Harvey dug out the pile of comics that Eric had loaned him. They were just one more thing that Harvey and Eric had in common. (Had had in common—no, can't think like that!)

One comic grabbed Harvey's eye. One that he regarded with particular disgust. It was something called TIME BOMB, and it couldn't even get its own numbers right—they counted backwards. And this "Time Bomb" had killed some of Harvey's dearest friends. (Just like the bomb in Kali—no, he's got to be alive....)

Once, the Superior Citizens of America had been Overman's friends, as well as Harvey's. But lately, everybody had been ignoring them, perhaps hoping the old men would go away. Why, the writers wouldn't even admit that Overman had fought with them in World War II anymore. They simply made Overman younger. As if it were a dirty little secret that he were ever a day over 21.

But for some reason, the writers wouldn't make the SCA younger, or better yet, treat them as the experienced veterans they were. Instead, NP Comics felt some sick need to kill off all the reminders of its long and glorious past. And so the Superior Citizens of America died. (Just like....)

Actually, most of the members were still alive, just very old. One, the original Blue Beacon, was even young and vital, but powerless. But the organization, the team that had stared down Hitler himself, was no more. And many of its noblest members were gone as well: Minuteman. Bulldog. Doctor Silence. Dead, not in the kind of comic-book "death" that is undone in the next installment, but dead. Their bodies tastelessly splayed for all the young heroes (and readers) to see.

When he first read it, Harvey had asked Eric why the SCA was killed. Eric innocently fed Harvey some drivel about how they were too old and too bound to World War II, tactlessly not realizing that he was describing Harvey as well as the SCA.

Harvey opened the comic. The original Dynamo, one of the SCA survivors, was moaning the apparent death of his young successor. The Dynamo's face contorted in pencil-thin, two-dimensional angst. "Why do the young have to die, while the old live on?"

Harvey thought of all the young men he'd seen die in Europe. Of the walking skeletons in Buchenwald, and those who walked no more. Of Eric.

He knew how The Dynamo felt, surrounded by the corpses of the young. Harvey had never seen any sense in their deaths, especially when he was allowed to go on living for so long. If he thought for even one minute that it would bring them back, that it would spare them from that final misery, Harvey would gladly die in their place. Especially in the place of that rising star, Eric.

And perhaps that was why the SCA was killed.

Because in a piece-of-sh#t comic like this Time Bomb, Harvey thought, my death actually would save some kid. Because all the young men never really die, and all the old men are put out to rot. Harvey shook the comic book violently. "I bet you think Eric will come back, don't you? Just like you think I should be dead!" He screamed, "Well, SCREW YOU! I'm still around, like it or not! And you... you're just a lot of ugly ink and cheap paper!" Harvey tore the comic to ribbons.

Isaac Warner, one of Covenant's friends, poked his head through the door. "Mr. Hauptmann? You're needed in the control room." He looked nervously at the shredded comic in Harvey's hands. "Um, were you saying something?"

"Yeah. Long live the SCA." He then muttered, "Long live Tempest." He dropped the tattered paper into a wastebasket. "Come on, Mr. Warner, let's show 'em what we can do."

In spite of the huge Shiva crisis, most people on Capitol Hill were going about business as usual. There was a strong police and military presence, in case of an attack like the one on New York that Tempest had only barely halted. And since Congress had declared an emergency session, everybody on the Hill was quite busy.

Everybody but Jack Russell, Prince George's County PD. Jack loitered by a lamp-post, kicking small pebbles on the sidewalk. He had nothing better to do. He'd been cut loose.

The Capitol Police were starting to give him the Evil Eye. Jack knew they were singling him out because he was black—never mind that he was actually a cop too, not a criminal—but Jack wasn't resentful. This crazy Shiva announcement had put everybody on edge, and Capitol security was extra tight. In fact, Jack really wished his mysterious caller had asked to meet him somewhere else.

It's all because of those fcking Omegas, Jack thought as he kicked a pebble with extra malice. The Omegas and a f*cking government where one hand doesn't know what the other's doing.

The pebble clattered across the pavement, until woman's shoe stopped it. "You shouldn't let your temper get the better of you, Detective Russell." The woman walked over to Jack; she was black, like him, but dressed in a very expensive suit. She wore glasses that made her look, not exactly brainy, but authoritative. The woman offered her hand, but Jack didn't take it.

"Just Officer Russell would be fine. Or Jack. I'm not a detective any more." There was an awkward pause in the conversation, so Jack said, "Are you going to introduce yourself, Mystery Woman?"

The woman blushed slightly. "I will, Detect—Mr. Russell. I've just been reluctant to do so because I assumed you wouldn't be too keen on meeting the director of SIRECOM."

Jack's muscles tensed. This was the lady who'd screwed him over... but Jack's peripheral vision revealed several shadowy men and women lurking around the Capitol grounds, focusing on him and the woman, hands on suspicious bulges under their coats... "What, you won't settle for demoting me, you have to bushwhack me, too?"

The woman smiled again, this time trying to put Jack at ease. "It's not what you think, Mr. Russell. I'm not here to kill you, and I certainly didn't order your demotion. I just need to talk to you about the Blume-Benson case."

Jack was still looking at the lurkers, wondering if he should reach for his own gun. But he was way out of jurisdiction in DC, and from what he'd seen SIRECOM had jurisdiction everywhere... "Okay, lady, I'll talk. But out here, in the open."

"I'm glad to hear that. And the name's not 'lady,' it's Brenda Washington."

Well, Ms. Washington, I got involved in this mess a few weeks ago when I was assigned to investigate a strange little case in Hyattsville. There had been a huge battle at the house of an old guy named Otto Blume. Two men were dead, and Blume and his grand-daughter, Anne Benson, were missing. Some of the neighbors said they saw Blume—who had just turned 79—chase a car down the street and nearly win.

It seemed pretty obvious that this Blume guy was an Omega fugitive, taking his grand-daughter, one Anne Benson, along with him, as a hostage or more likely as an accomplice. An open and shut case, more or less.

But then some government agency called SIRECOM nosed in. This jerk named Carter came to the precinct, had a long chat with my captain, and when Carter stepped out of the office, he was in charge of my case. But he didn't help me one bit. In fact, he confiscated all the evidence I'd found, and he wouldn't let the coroner identify the two corpses, just had them cremated ASAP. I was pretty pissed, but I couldn't do anything about it. So I spent a couple days bugging the Blume and Benson relatives. I found some weird stuff; did you know that on the day of the battle, someone broke into Benson's apartment and killed all her goldfish?

Three days later, I went to one of the last names on my list, a guy named Richard Cage. Anne Benson's boyfriend. Only to learn that he was gone, too. What's more, it looked like some Omega had twisted up his sink and then wiped his fingerprints off. So now it looked like Blume kidnapped his grand-daughter's boyfriend, and maybe his grand-daughter too.

When I reported this to Carter, he was really nonchalant. I don't think he cared that Cage was missing. But someone else did.

It seems Cage and Benson both worked for a lobbying group that contributes a lot of money to Senator Reed Montgomery Graves III. You know, that guy who's been floating his name around for the next Presidential election. Anyway, Graves called me in his office and demanded that I find the two kids, as a favor to his contributors. It wasn't a terribly pleasant meeting; Graves seemed to know a lot about the case, everything I knew in fact, and he wasn't satisfied.

Hell, I wasn't satisfied either. And at least Graves gave me a place to start digging. He seemed to think that SIRECOM, and Carter in particular, was hiding something.

I began poking around and I learned that all the evidence I'd recovered from the Blume house was SIRECOM standard issue. They had started this whole thing, and never told me. I went to have it out with Carter, but suddenly he was out of town—you see, Benson and Blume had turned up in some backwater Indiana town, and Carter went chasing them. So I suppose I could've let it drop for a while.

But then I learned two things from the Indiana State Police. First, the Benson girl was an Omega, too. And second, Richard Cage wasn't with them—but he had rented the car they were spotted driving. I checked the car, and found Cage had rented it the day before he disappeared—he was spotted in a bar the next evening, by which time the car would've been somewhere in Ohio. Suddenly, I didn't think Cage was a kidnapping victim anymore. At least, not kidnapped by Blume and Benson.

So I went to my captain with this scenario: SIRECOM attacks Blume and Benson. B&B repel them and flee. They stop at Cage's place, get him to rent a car for them, and drive cross-country to avoid SIRECOM. Pretty logical. But what were SIRECOM and Carter trying to hide? And what happened to Cage?

I thought those two questions kind of answered each other. I told my captain as much. I told him we needed a warrant on SIRECOM and Carter, for kidnapping.

And the captain demoted me on the spot. Pulled me off the case, too. Then I remembered that nice long chat Carter had with the captain, and I figured I had SIRECOM to thank for my troubles.

Brenda Washington frowned deeply. She looked like a lot of mothers Jack had seen. Mothers whose children ran wild, and who were later confronted with the crimes their children had done. Never mind that the children had committed the crimes; it was always the mothers who seemed to get burdened with the guilt.

"I don't know what to say, Jack. I never ordered any cover-ups, and I certainly didn't get you fired. But I don't have as much control over my agents as I'd like to."

Jack was walking down the long green stretch of The Mall with her, while a half-dozen loyal agents surrounded them discreetly. "Ms. Washington, you can make it up to me by telling me what the hell is going on with Carter and the Omegas."

"I wish I could, but I don't know the whole picture, either. I asked to meet you so we could put our parts together."

"Well, Ms. Washington, I've put my pieces on the table. Now it's your turn."

You'll have to forgive me, Jack; in my profession, spilling secrets doesn't come naturally. But I'm beginning to see the value of openness. The Cold War is over now, and if the Russians tried glasnost, so can I.

Nominally, I'm the Director of the Special Intelligence Resources Command. I should have supreme authority over all Omega-related matters in this country. But my authority is constantly being undercut by a network of men who simply refuse to give up their power.

The ringleader—you don't need or want to know his name—ran SIRECOM for many years. In fact, he was basically its founder. And he hates Omegas with a passion. He was finally forced into retirement in the seventies, but he still managed to hold onto SIRECOM's reins. He steers its policy because he's tight with a lot of politicians. Not Senator Graves, though; I think Graves was the one who got this man retired. In fact, I'm a little surprised the Old Man doesn't have any dirt on Graves, since that's his main means of acquiring high-powered "friends"....

The Old Man runs day-to-day operations through a series of underlings who are still in the agency, and I've long suspected that Dan Carter is his Number One Goon. In fact, Carter is almost as powerful within the agency as I am.

He pulled the Blume house raid on his own authority. I never knew about it until I saw the carnage on the nightly news. And even though I disciplined him, Carter went right on ahead with his little operation. Now he's in Chicago, and I think he's planning a major Omega roundup. Never mind that SIRECOM's resources are desperately needed to see what threat this "Shiva" character poses; Carter just went ahead with his pet project. He never even asked me.

In fact, I only know about this Chicago raid because a good friend of mine broke into Carter's data files and found out for me. I should have been told about it, but Carter and the Old Man are flaunting me again. I'm afraid that if Carter pulls it off, then he'll become so powerful he can run SIRECOM in name as well as in fact. And then the Omegas had better watch out.

Anyway, I got a call from a Chicago agent late last night. This agent doesn't like Carter, and in fact Carter is slowly ousting him too, probably because this agent is also a we—ah, never mind. This agent told me that Carter was after 'Otto Blume' because 'Otto' is supposedly a war criminal. In fact, his real name is Hauptmann and he went AWOL at the end of World War II. There was also some trumped-up charge of Nazi collaboration, but I don't believe it for a minute. Especially since our man Hauptmann was apparently fighting a Nazi in Chicago just the other day. With some help from Tempest, that poor kid.

Well, this World War II connection made sense when I put it together with something else Wes—that good friend of mine—learned from reading Carter's data files. You see, before the Old Man founded SIRECOM, he built a prison in Georgia specifically to hold Omega criminals. You've never heard of Fort Deliverance, but trust me, it's there.

Anyway, the Old Man set up this place at the start of World War II, and for years it only had one prisoner, codenamed "Overman." Yes, like the comic character. But Eisenhower got Overman paroled after D- Day, and Overman went to Europe. Where he disappeared in 1945. Same year, same month, same day as Hauptmann.

Overman was held in prison at the Old Man's insistence. And once the Old Man found him again, he authorized a series of actions that have nearly blown SIRECOM wide open. He's endangered his own organization, he's flaunted the law, he's attacked innocent people, and he's sacrificed at least two men to his own personal vendetta. And now, you tell me he's ordered the kidnapping of this Cage boy, and Mr. Russell, Ihavehadenough.

I can't fight this man from the shadows any more. Much as it pains me, I have to drag him out into the open, even if it means dragging SIRECOM along with it. This obsession with Hauptmann has simply made the Old Man too dangerous. So what do you say: if I help you find Cage and crack the case, you help me retire the Old Man. Once and for all.

"That's one hell of a situation," Jack said, shaking his head. "Now I'm actually glad that I just got demoted. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes if Carter actually does pull off this raid."

"Neither do I, but I'm sort of stuck in my shoes. So we'll have to work fast, before Carter can gain any more power."

Jack ran his hand across his beard-stubble, thinking. "Is there any way you could stall Carter, or make him flub the raid? That would give me some time to find Cage, and then we'd have something on Carter."

Brenda started to answer in the negative, but suddenly her eyes lit up with a new idea. "I suppose I could spare some of the Seekers... Wes has been itching to crash Carter's raid. There's no love lost between those two. And while Wes's team stalls Carter, you can find Cage and then we'll have the upper hand." Brenda offered her hand to Jack again. "I take it we have a deal, Mr. Russell?"

Jack still wouldn't shake on it. "I'll do it on one condition, Ms. Washington. This 'Old Man' isn't the only guy who has something to answer for. Hauptmann and Benson killed at least one of your agents. I know they didn't cause any of this, but I may ask to bring them in, too."

Brenda laughed grimly. "Oh, you have another slight misconception, Jack. I don't care what happens to Hauptmann and Benson. Although I was planning on using them to make the Old Man slip up.... But once that's done you can send them to Fort Deliverance, for all I care. Now, what do you say?" A cellular phone in Brenda's coat started ringing, but she ignored it. She extended her hand even further.

Jack held still for a moment. Then he reached over and shook her hand.

Brenda smiled again. "You made the right decision, Jack. I'll be in touch." She walked towards a black limousine, answering her restless phone. Her shadows trailed her and surrounded her the whole way.

Jack just stood there in the bright afternoon sun. This could be his one chance to find Cage, crack the case, and make sure that the people responsible were brought to justice. Brenda Washington was undoubtedly one of the good guys, moreso than the sleazy Carter or even the haughty and impotent Senator Graves.

So why did Jack feel like washing his hands?

Agent Billy "Vulpine" Moulder absolutely had to call Brenda Washington, even if this was the wrong place for it. He was in a South- side safehouse, watching his field agents (now under the command of Dan Carter) suit up for the Colony raid. The safehouse had been a condemned, abandoned wreck only days ago. Because of its proximity to the junkyard that housed the Colony, SIRECOM had purchased and then occupied it.

Most of the agents were testing their Dynamax-made weapons, while a few were on phones arranging for the electric company to shut off all power in this grid. That would take the Colony by surprise, and facilitate SIRECOM's attack.

The street behind the safehouse was filled with attack, medical, and support vehicles. Moulder couldn't help but notice that there weren't enough vehicles to cart away prisoners—but Carter wasn't fond of taking prisoners.

"This isn't law enforcement," Moulder whispered. "It's slaughter."

"Billy, is that you? I asked you not to call me," Brenda answered, finally picking up the phone.

"Yes, it's me, Ms. Washington. I'm sorry, but the raid is starting in a few hours; is there anything you can do to stop it?"

"I'm sending the Seekers. They'll be there as soon as they can. But in the meanwhile, you can't do anything to break routine. Carter can't know that I know about this raid. I want Wes to surprise his ass."

Moulder hefted his gun. It was heavy with taser attachments, explosive shells, laser sights—enough hardware to kill any Omega except maybe Tempest. And they didn't have to worry about Tempest any more.... "Ms. Washington, I don't know if I can take part in this."

"Relax, Billy. Just cooperate with Carter. If everything works out, I'll remember your support." She hung up.

Great, Billy thought. I can get back my old job, or a better one. I just have to kill a couple of kids first.

Where was Tempest when you really needed him?

(Where is Tempest when we really need him?) The question echoed from seven (or was it eight?) different minds.

Anne's was one of them. She was sitting in the meditation room, pooling her powers with the others to try and find any glimmer of Eric's mind. Mirry was sitting next to her, stretching her powers to their fullest; Anne could now sense that she was Danny's lover, even considered herself his wife, and would do anything to find her brother-in-law.

There seemed to be some residual "bleeding" between all the telepaths, since their thoughts were so strong and focused. The attractive girl named Jen/Agony was both overjoyed and disturbed by her recent meeting with her father; since Eric had helped make that meeting possible, she was also eager to find him, and used her projecting telepathy to boost the others' thoughts into space. And was there the faintest hint of a crush on Eric—?

Across the room, the Caribbean/English woman named Joanne was trying to put aside her perennial questions of racial identity. Identity was also crucial to the Twins, Kimberly and Erica, since their gestalt mind wasn't even certain where one ended and the other began. If indeed they were separate minds at all.

There were only two males in the room. (Perhaps, Anne speculated, women were more comfortable with telepathic or empathic powers, and so developed them more?) One, James Lao, tried to forget the rich ethnic heritage he gave up to join the Colony. The other was Danny—and his thoughts were shared with no one, but were obvious to anyone who could see. He wanted his little brother back.

Anne was trying hard to find Eric, and not dwell on her own problems. Unbidden, unwanted, the image of Rich rose up before her. Rich, who she'd forsaken. Anne didn't know if she could love him anymore, and she certainly wasn't giving him any reason to love her. And because Anne left him behind, he was swallowed by a giant wearing an Uncle Sam hat and an Omega T-shirt. I have devoured your boyfriend and now I shall have you, girl, he screamed. You and your old man shall be under my thumb....

Mirry erased the image with a deft stroke. Anne beamed thanks to her, and returned to the search for Eric. Together, the seven (eight?) minds could reach out to the Moon, but Eric was nowhere to be found.

Nobody wanted to think it and upset the others, but nobody could suppress the creeping idea: Eric is gone. And without our little god, how can we ever defeat a big one?

In the physical reality of the room, Danny started crying. Mirry broke off her search and hugged him. Anne and the others closed their eyes and directed their thoughts elsewhere; some things should be private, even from the world's most powerful collection of telepaths.

Billy Moulder was prowling through the safehouse, looking for Dan Carter. He found him in the bathroom, already suited up in Kevlar armor. Carter didn't have his helmet on, though; he was standing in front of the mirror, putting some black dye in his hair to cover up the touches of gray.

"Want to look good for the big fight, Carter?" Moulder wouldn't even try to hide the derision this time.

Carter refused to stop fussing over his hair, or even turn around. He simply spoke to Moulder's reflection. "You will address me as Special Agent Carter. Sir."

"Well, sir, I wanted to ask you one more time to reconsider this raid. SIRECOM should be focusing on the greater danger, sir."

Carter started trimming his nose-hair. "Moulder, every day I wonder how a jackass like yourself could have risen to command of the Chicago station. Literally hundreds of Omegas are gathered in the Colony, including Hauptmann and Benson. Is there any greater danger?"

Moulder stood proudly at attention. "Yes, sir. Shiva. For all we know, he could be sending one of those robots to trash Chicago next."

Carter actually turned around to scowl at Moulder. "Doesn't it strike you as funny how this "Shiva" appeared right after Covenant and Hauptmann and the rest arrived at the Colony? The Omegas are gathering for a reason, and I think it's to create this "Shiva" hoax, so we won't notice that they're really the big threat to the world." Carter picked up his Dynamax combat shotgun. Someone had written OMEGA KILLER on the side. "Or Shiva could be real, but working with the Colony. Either way, we have to attack now, before it's too late."

Moulder smiled. "You mean before Tempest comes back, don't you? Because even you have to admit he could kick your ass."

"Any more lip out of you, Moulder, and I'll take you off this raid."

"Well, I'll spare you the effort, Carter. I'm proud to work for SIRECOM, but I'm not going to sell out humanity because of some petty prejudice. Raid all you like; I'll be staying here, protecting my city." Moulder starting pouring the shells out of his own shotgun. "I would ask you to do the same, but I know that your prejudices have always dwarfed your humanity." Moulder turned on his heels and left the bathroom.

"Yeah, well enjoy it, boy scout," Dan shouted after him, "because when this is over I'm transferring you to some backwater station where you'll be doing paperwork... for the rest of your... ." Dan stopped yelling; it wasn't any fun now that Moulder wasn't afraid of him anymore.

Allen Covenant had summoned Harvey, Conflagration, Warren, Jimmy, and his own associates to the Colony control room, where he outlined a plan to stop the mad god Shiva's destruction. But although he tried his best, Harvey just couldn't follow it—he was too worried about Eric, and besides, Covenant seemed to be full of nonsense. He kept talking about how the only way to fight a god was to have a god on their side, and he seemed to think a ritual involving Isaac Warner could help them in that respect... It was almost a relief when Danny, Anne, and the other telepaths came into the room.

Except one look at their glum faces revealed the bad news. Danny barely had to say, "We couldn't find Eric."

Covenant stopped his lecture for a moment. "I'm sorry to hear that, Danny. But we don't have time to dwell over one individual life, even Eric's life; Shiva is still out there, and our war has to go on."

Danny was too tired (psychically and emotionally) to get angry. He simply said, "With that kind of attitude, Covenant, it'll be a miracle if any of us get out alive. It's the lives that go on, war or not. And we're going to worry more about saving those lives than about winning some battle."

Harvey had a feeling that Danny would live to be one of those old men surrounded by dead young bodies. One look in the boy's eyes showed that Danny had already taken a big step down that road.

Danny looked around the rest of the room. Everybody, even Covenant, seemed shocked by the assurance that Eric was dead. Danny choked a few times, then spoke. "I guess this is a good time for some kind of pep talk or Patton speech. Well, I'm too honest to give you either. I'll just say that I know how much Eric meant to you all—believe me, I know. But Allen is right, we can't dwell on his death. Instead, we can use the precious time he bought us, and make sure nobody else dies." Danny shook Allen Covenant's hand. "I believe you had a plan?"

But before Allen could continue, all the lights went out. The auxiliary power, drawn from generators built by Jimmy and located inside the Colony, kicked in after a few tense seconds. When they did, the monitors showed squads of armored soldiers moving into the junkyard and mowing down all the outer lines of defense.

"Holy sh#t," cried Warren, the Colony security chief. "We're under attack!"

Anne recognized the badges pinned to their sleeves. "Oh, God, they're SIRECOM. We must have led them here!"

Covenant cursed, some of the strangest invective Anne or Harvey had ever heard. "By the Mirthless Mountains of Mayberry, don't those idiots know that we're their only hope of stopping Shiva?"

Anne felt sick to her stomach. "I don't think they care, Mr. Covenant. I think they just want to kill Omegas."

"Yeah, well I hope they came prepared," Warren snarled. He didn't like seeing his guards get killed. "'Cause I'm sure ready," he said as he activated his power to recall anything he'd ever touched; apparently, someone had the wise idea of taking him to an arms convention one day, because a bazooka materialized.

Warren grabbed the intercom mike. "Omegans, we are under attack. Everybody follow the emergency drill; anyone who's combat ready, report to a security station and repel the invaders." Before Danny could grab the mike, Warren said, "Shoot to kill."

Warren and several other Omegas rushed to engage SIRECOM. Danny just shook his head. "This isn't the kind of Utopia I envisoned... they are the killers, not us... God, it's all falling apart."

Anne clapped him on the shoulder. "It hasn't fallen apart yet, Danny. Maybe I can stop them without killing anyone."

"We have to try," Harvey said. "After all, it's our damn fault that they came here."

Anne marched off to war, for the first time in her life. Harvey followed right behind her, disturbed that he was once again fighting in an army of the young. An army which might not see tomorrow.

To be continued in Seekers #6!

Danny Anderson, Eric Anderson, Billy Moulder, Mirry, Warren, and all Colony characters created by Matt Rossi. Used with permission. Allen Covenant and Isaac Warner created by Chad Imbrogno. Used with permission. The Seekers created by Matt Dempster. Used with permission... and definitely read their next issue!

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