Read the Pilot Below.

Sora looked at Eli. He looked back at her with an affirming nod and pressed his back into the cold metal doorframe, as his focus shifted towards the doors. Tobias’ fingers darted across the console, then halted. With a look over his shoulder, he confirmed their readiness. She took a deep breath and tensed her legs, like a sprinter anticipating the crack of a gunshot, her body set low. The entirety of her consciousness converged, collecting into a deep, nervous calm as her senses peaked. Tobias turned around and when his hands returned to the console, Sora listened intently. In a short sweeping motion, Tobias engaged the console. It emitted a high pitched beep as it granted them access to the room beyond. That was the signal; Sora released and exploded forward, aiming for the space between the heavy doors as they slid apart. As soon as she reached the opening, she lunged forward and spun left. Her feet hit the floor and she slid backwards, shifting her weight even lower.  In one fluid motion, her weapon was shouldered and focused on the guard. The guard’s face went from puzzled to fearful in the blink of an eye, and in that transition, Sora fired a short salvo dead center into his chest. He had barely slumped backwards when the second guard focused his attention unto Sora, but it was too late; Eli had already pivoted around the doorframe, grabbed the young man’s weapon and now pointed his handgun at the guard’s temple. In a sudden burst of adrenaline, the guard instinctively contested Eli’s control of his weapon, but it never amounted to more than a slight strain. Eli was a veteran, and his reaction patterns bore witness to his experience; relaxation meant submission, while resistance equated immediate danger. The guard went stiff and fell hard.  

Faced with a static screen, a puzzled guard in the control room focused intently trying to infer what he was supposed to relay to his commanding officer. He was responsible for keeping track of movements within the compound, but it had always been mostly a formality, as only a select few people even knew of its existence. Technical issues were a rare occurrence, but they did arise once in a while; except more than one screen had gone blank, and from what he could tell, they were on independent parts of the circuit. Everywhere around him were monitors providing him with a steady stream of information; eyes on everything and everyone in the compound. Now some of his eyes were blinded. His hands supporting his weight on the desk in front of him, a lump formed in his gut as he picked up on an anomaly in his peripheral vision. It made him turn his head quickly, and perplexed him as he took in the imagery presented to him by the monitor. It was the surveillance feed from the perimeter in front of the holding cell, central to the purpose of the complex itself. The beautiful face of a young woman with warm and kind orange eyes framed by long, flowing white hair. Her eyes were watching the camera, but not him, with a serious expression and slightly pouted lips. To the left, his communications equipment remained silent, nobody was relaying anything. For a moment the guard felt uncertain and divided, peculiarly drawn to the face on screen. It made him hesitate for a moment, and before he could get his bearings, she lifted her weapon and pointed it directly at him as she muttered something unintelligible. He realized just now; behind her he could make it out. The guards deployed to the intermediary chamber lay lifeless on the cold concrete floor behind her. This woman was not supposed to be there. A short flash came from the muzzle of her weapon and another eye went blind.


Sora’s focus lingered on the shattered camera for a moment while she heard head Yume and Tobias enter the room. “Clear, let’s go.” Yume’s voice was calm but there was an unusual hint of tension as well. “Right on it.” Eli responded, as he audibly slid off his backpack and began to unzip it. In front of them was a large, empty room; walls of unpainted, reinforced concrete framed a hard concrete floor. LED’s lined the ceiling, bathing the room in a cold, hard light, highlighting the dark scarlet puddles slowly forming around the dead guards. In front of them was what they came here for, what they were risking so much for. At the far side of the room was the holding chamber, the wall lined by a sturdy steel framework.  

As Sora turned around, Yume stood right in front of her, face radiant with pride and endearment. “Are you ready?” Yume asked Sora, her blue eyes brimming with excitement. Behind her, Sora could see Eli and Tobias setting up to breach the holding chamber. Tobias had acquired access to much of the facility, but this door was on an independent grid, and they had been unable to secure a pass. Thus, Eli was pulling strips of thermite from his pack and placing them carefully along the edges of the door, while Tobias fired a single shot at the camera above it. With his left hand on his earpiece, he relayed a sitrep to the rest of the operation; “Preparing to breach the holding chamber. If we haven’t already, this will surely shake the nest.” “Affirmative, all teams prepare for heat.”, rang back to all operatives, a call to immediate vigilance.

As Eli finished his preparations, the team withdrew to the far sides of the door. Eli joined them to initialize the breach, and the team covered their eyes and ears in anticipation of the blast. “Prepare for breach!” Eli cried out, and but a moment later, the charges sputtered alive and quickly became lines of raging white inferno, wreaking havoc on the steel. Even with their hands in front of their faces and their backs turned, the bright white light felt like they had pointed their faces towards the sun. The air became heavy with an acrid and metallic smell followed by muffled sounds of debris and shattered steel on concrete, reverberating through the halls. 



When the team uncovered their eyes, the room was bathed in dim red light, and ceiling LEDs closest to the blast were either destroyed or flickering erratically. Superheated metal sizzled and seared, still glowing from the heat, leaving the rising vapors with a pretty incandescence, only made more ethereal by the red light as they swirled off the doorframe. The circuit break resultant from prying the doors open with brute force had now activated the compound’s security protocol. It would only be a matter of time before the place was completely secured. They moved towards the holding chamber as a unit, but Sora and Yume took point. Sora felt the anticipation build into a visceral sensation, and almost instinctively blurted; “Do we have any idea what’s in here…?”, in a subconscious effort to dull the edge. The dim light was in stark contrast to the clear coldness that had illuminated the premises before the breach, and the chamber they peered into was very dark. As they stepped through the door, they could make out a vague shape in the middle of the chamber, but it was almost impossible to define. They moved slowly, every step probing the  darkness in front of them. The shape became more defined as their eyes acclimated; the realization forcing them to a sudden halt.