I sat down next to pivot and watched as Gunsmith continued his lecture with Maxine and Derek. I wasn’t really invested in what they were doing, as I knew they’d be fine. I’m the one who finds it hard to learn, not them.
“So, Pivot,” I began, passing time.
“We still actually don’t know much about this whole Oklahoma thing. I mean, there’s us, the rioters, there is that issue with Texas and that’s it. What else is there?”
Pivot thought for a second, glancing at Gunsmith and Maxine. They were busy talking about Actives.
“There isn’t much,”
I looked dumbfounded. “Not much? Like just us and the rioters?”
“Yeah. There are three more minor gangs laying around that’s it for the big groups. Most people moved out since there are more capes working for companies and such here, and a few UN capes too, because of Texas,” she said, shifting in her seat.
“Kingmaker’s powers have a weird timer for each war. Three weeks from now, and the borders open. We’ve basically been conscripted for a war against the king of Texas,” she looked down while saying it, avoiding eye contact. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the reason as to why there were recent openings in the junior group roster.
“Damn,” I said to myself. “Are we the front lines or is it not that bad?”
Pivot looked up at me. “If the borders open, they’ll open everywhere. Mexico, USA, plenty of companies and whoelse will probably be involved. It’s not like a real war in that regard,” she explained.
“Not like a real war?”
“Well, the Kingmaker nations that have opened up and got ‘conquered’ for lack of a better term had a lot of interesting technology and other things inside. It seems to be a passive effect of the borders, because everything gets mucked up like ecology, and stuff like special strains of crops and such are made to fix those issues,” she took a pause, calmer now. “They say a Kingmaker war could end world hunger, if it wasn’t for all the politics with the EU, UN and other groups trying to take it all for themselves. It’s sad, really. There is a lot of good that could happen but politicians still want everything the can get.”
She looked a little tense. I decided to interrupt and cut the conversation down before anything happens. That and she was beginning to distract Derek, who was glancing at us with Event Horizon.
“So it’s a scramble, then?” I asked.
“Yeah, it is.”
I got up. “I’m going to get a drink, Maxine and Derek can handle themselves better than me to be honest,” I said. Pivot relaxed even more.
“Yeah, whatever. Do what you want.” she said.
Honestly, Oklahoma seemed boring. I wondered how Micheal and Ricky were doing. I also wondered about Ellen.
“Ryan,” said a voice.
“Yeah?” I replied.
What was this dream again?
“You didn’t have to give me your jacket,” said Ellen, standing beside me.
Oh, now I remember.
“It’s raining though, You’d not want to catch a cold.”
Ha ha, how stupid of me to forget this. This was a year ago. My stupid mistake. Honestly, I couldn’t remember what I said at the time, mostly out of sheer embarrassment. At least it didn’t ruin my friendship with her, I think.
There was a pause, a long heart rendering pause in time between us.
“You like me, don’t you?” she said.
I looked at her and saw Sacrifice, wearing my jacket. She was naked, smiling up at me through the mask she had made of Ellen’s face. Blood trickled down her neck and over her breasts. I took a step back and she approached me at the same pace.
“Don’t lie, Ryan. I like you too.” she said.
I woke up in a sweat, wiping my forehead with my arm while contemplating seeing a shrink. It was 6 AM. Too early. I looked around and the room I was given was bare as it was the day I got here. I’m starting to hate Oklahoma.
I got up and walked over to the desk next to my bed, picking up my toothbrush and toothpaste. I walked over to the bathroom in a sleep deprived daze. Three knocks, no response. I opened the door and walked over to the sink, splashing my face in cold water and beginning to brush my teeth.
God, I really hate mornings.
Once I was done, I put everything back in my room and looked about for a towel of some sort, and walked to the male shower room once I found one. Stacker was busy in there.
“Hey, Blocker,” he joked, massaging his golden, curly hair.
“Don’t call me that, I have enough problems as it is,” I replied with a yawn.
“Yeah, but still. I’m sure people warned you.”
I smiled at that. I hadn’t smiled in a while at anything, really.
“Yeah, they did. Better than what I could ever come up with,” I said, starting to wash my hair.
“What would you have chosen?”
“I don’t know, Equalizer? I’m sure most of the good names are taken anyway.”
“Yeah, that was taken. Us poor newbies have to deal with legacy names or shit,” Stacker said, turning off his shower. “See you later.”
I think I forgot that guy’s actual name.