Gaia came to with a start. She had dozed off and the nightmare came again. Always the same. Trains. Blue light. Kendrick’s face. Burnt flesh. Sleep came in intervals now. The night breeze was welcoming on her damp face.
“Nice nap?” Alessandro grinned at her. His black hair and warm brown eyes shone in the neon glow. Gaia groaned. They were in the back of a pickup truck racing down the elevated freeway above Central City. Her, Alessandro, Jon, and Obi out in the wind. Charlie in the front seat, like always. Masumi was driving. The pixie-sized Japanese girl with pink and orange marbled hair made for a funny getaway driver.
At some point during her research for the truth about the voice of God, Gaia had stumbled onto a hard-to-find message board on the deep web. There were people online asking the same questions as she did. Everyone had their own reason for asking questions. A lot of family members had been torched in front of their eyes. A few admitted to doing something bad and awaited a judgement that never came. They were from all over the world – most far away from Central City. Alessandro was from old Venezuela. Obi came from the Central African Empire. After connecting with Alessandro and Jon online, he hid aboard a ship as a stowaway to cross the Atlantic and join them. There was a comfort in finally meeting up. Gaia realized she had so completely withdrawn from the world that she found it hard to make conversation. She met with Jon first. He was tall and lean, short cropped blond hair, and with eyes that shone almost purple with intensity. He always spoke as though he was about to conquer the world with the sheer power of his own convictions. He talked and talked but it was hard for Gaia to find substance in his words. Still, his talking seemed to manifest real things. Such as pulling together people from all over the world and Gaia being on this truck in the middle of the night.
Gaia hadn’t told anyone what she did. She said that her mom had been murdered and God didn’t take the time to comfort her. Close enough.
Beware of impulses that may inflict harm upon others. Trust in my love. Draw strength from it.
The voice boomed through Gaia’s head. It was a thunderous voice. Mostly male, slightly mechanical. The timing was ominous. Contrary to most of the world, the voice had begun to feel threatening to Gaia. By the looks shared among the group around her the others felt the same way. Tonight marked the first step in The Plan and this was their first Mission. It all felt rather ridiculous to Gaia, and maybe that’s why they had only gone as far as capitalizing rather than naming what they were about to do.
If the Voice of God was man-made, one of the few things the group agreed on unanimously, it had to come from somewhere and Central City was the technological capital of the world. After months of researching, planning and deducting they agreed that the Genesis Tower, home to the Genesis Corporation, was currently the most powerful institution in the world. So we’ll infiltrate it, late at night. Have a look around. Yeah. The Center of Central City. Its heartbeat. What could possibly go wrong?
“You guys heard that, right?” Alessandro asked.
“What the fuck?” Charlie’s voice came through the window slot where she sat up front in the cab. Her beautiful angelic face, framed by perfect chestnut hair peered back at them. What is she doing here, Gaia thought to herself, not for the first time. Charlie came attached at Jon’s hips. If she had a story of her own, Gaia hadn’t heard it.
“I think the divine is getting a little needy,” said Jon. “Good thing we’re on our way.”
“We need to be very careful,” Obi chimed in, his accent adding gravitas to his words.
“I don’t know about this, you guys, maybe we should turn back,” said Alessandro.
The right indicator started blinking and the truck sped onto the off-ramp. The elevated freeways of Central City reached around 10 floors high. Below them was the world Gaia knew. The neon-lit streets, the dark alleys. Permanent nightfall. Above them towered the giants – hundreds of floors up. Skyscrapers that seemed to reach the sky. Apparently people lived their entire lives there, never setting foot on ground. The upper class – out of sight, out of mind. Gaia had never been, never given it much thought, until tonight. And towering in front of their exit, the tallest of them all, The Genesis Tower. Through the glass Gaia could see Masumi banging her fist on the dashboard in excitement as they raced towards the dark giant.
“Too late now,” Jon grinned.
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