It was obvious they were shadow powered people. Paul could feel the energy each of them was giving off. Combined, they were giving off so much energy that it staggered Paul.
Scott brought out a scanning device and scanned the room. The device beeped erratically. Scott glanced at Paul. “It’s off the charts. They are all powered.”
Paul stepped through the doorway. He looked at the lining of the wall. There was a special aluminum material coating the inner surface of the room. It somehow was preventing their powers from reaching beyond the room, which was why they couldn’t detect the presence of powered people from outside.
Paul looked from one scared face to the other. The oldest here couldn’t have been more than seven years. They were all of middle eastern descent, though there were some black kids among them. They were dressed in thick clothing, which made Paul surmise that they had been transported here from a very cold region. It meant that their registered port of exit may not have been the Isle of Manne, because that place wasn’t cold.
Paul tapped his earpiece, disabling his connection to his people. Up the deck, he could hear the sound of automatic fire. They had already boarded the vessel. It would take them about twenty minutes before they cleared the place and made their way down here. It meant Paul had twenty minutes to save these kids. There was no way in hell he was going to set kids ablaze! That was crossing the goddamn line.
“Who would do this?” Paul muttered to Scott.
Scott didn’t reply. He had thrown a mask over his face. With clinical efficiency he took more reading from the kids and the room using his device. Though his weapon was not trained on anybody, he still had a finger on the trigger as though he expected one of the terrified kids to attack him.
Paul’s heart began to race. His life flashed before him. Could he take out Scott? Paul and Scott had never really fought. Why would they? They were on the same team. Paul had taken for granted that Scott had a better build than him. Scott was more trained and skilled with his weapon and with his shadow power. Paul on the other had was more strategic. He was more deliberate. He was more powerful in terms of summoning shadow power.
The way he was seeing it, he and Scott were equally matched. It meant if he decided to take on Scott, the fight would drag on, until Irene and the rest came in to arrest him. Then he’d be shipped off to Purgatory never ti be seen again. The kids, on the other hand, would still be incinerated on the spot without consideration without recourse, without investigation.
“A hundred and thirteen illegals,” Scott pronounced. He was in the back of the room, making his way to the front.
The way he said ‘illegals’ made his skin crawl. A shadow powered man who used his power to rape unsuspecting women was an illegal. A shadow powered woman who used her power to rob banks was an illegal. A shadow powered crime lord who used his power to push crack and guns was an illegal. A shadow powered terrorist who used his power to terrorize innocent communities was an illegal. Paul had no trouble killing these guys in the past.
But a bunch of scared ass kids? Illegals? Hardly. For Scott to have branded them illegals already meant he was thinking of protocol. Because the protocol was clear they had to…
Scott grabbed Paul’s hand, startling him for a moment. He pulled Paul to the corner of the room.
“Protocol’s clear, boss,” Scott whispered. “I need you to remove yourself from this situation. You don’t have to watch.”
Paul tore his hand from Scott’s, unreasonably angered. “Fuck you, Scott!” he boomed. “you want to kill kids?!”
Scott’s eyes widened in shock at Paul’s response., Then they narrowed in rage. “Be very careful what you say to me, Paul.”
“Or what?” Paul blurted. “You’d run to the Council and snitch on me?” Paul was beginning to feel his power tug on him. Shadow energy boiled in his innards, ready to be unleashed. Ready to leak up life. Ready to snuff out light. Paul shut his eyes and tried to rein his powers in.
Scott placed a calm hand on Paul and spoke in a friendly whisper. “Think, Paul,” he urged him. “think. These foreign kids are not worth risking your promising career over.”
Paul shook his head, trying to refute the logic with which Scott spoke.
“You can’t save them,” Scott said. “Even if you take me out. The rest are outside. They have this ship surrounded. Where will you go with a hundred plus kids? You’ll end up getting arrested and for what? The kids will still die.”
“I can’t, Scott,” Paul pleaded. He opened his eyes, which were already teary, looking Scott in the eye. “this is crossing the line, Scott. I can’t do it.”
Scott’s hand tightened on Paul’s shoulder. “You don’t have to. Leave the ship. I’ll handle it.”
“You don’t understand, Scott,” Paul said. “I can’t let you do it.”
Scott’s face hardened. “You’re going to get yourself killed, Paul,” Scott warned.
Paul pulled away from Scott’s hold. He grabbed his assault rifle in a threatening pose and said, “So be it.”
Scott was about to speak, when the Captain of the ship was shoved into the room. He tumbled to the ground all bloodied up and bartered. Standing in the doorway was a tall, sexy-as-hell lady, who was wearing a black, tight-fitting jumpsuit. She held a flame thrower in one hand and gallon of petrol in the other.
She looked at the kids first. There was not as much as an iota of emotion in her eyes. Then she glanced to the side, where Paul and Scott had been whispering to each other.
She said, “Let’s burn these kids down.”
To be continued…