AN: This is a story using my characters and Kate's characters. Thanks go out again to Kate for letting me use her characters! Please e-mail all comments to FrankMayn@comcast.net
After the conversation with the angels on the fourth floor of SEBEC, the group of teenagers and a demoness continued to explore. Finding nothing of importance once more, a unanimous decision was made that they head back to the elevator.
This time, when the doors opened...
Frank stopped his group from entering.
"Frank, what's wrong?" Kate asked the Persona User.
"That... shell casings in the elevator... and bullets imbedded in the back. It's a trap. Guido's men know we're here." Frank explained.
"So, what do you think they're planning to do?" Yuki asked her friend.
They know I'M here... They probably were told to finish the job... And since the others are here... they want them dead as well...
"Frank? Frank? What's wrong? You're usually not like this!!!" Yuki said in worry.
Frank shook his head again. "Damn... all these memories... being here is a nightmare for me..."
Brad looked at his friend in confusion. "What do you mean by that?
"I guess I owe you guys an explanation. Later though." The Persona User said quietly without opening his eyes.
Yuki raised an eyebrow before folding her arms slightly. As per habit, the Japanese teenager leaned back slightly.
Wait...back at St. Hermelin... Didn't Dr. Kotter say something to Frank? I remember... She said "You didn't need to see anything like that..." Philemon must have told her something about it... I wonder what happened...
Think, Yuki, think. Let's see here... His parents worked in SEBEC... Wait... Mary's mom tried to escape and warn someone... When she was shot... Oh no... Did Mr. And Mrs. Maynard escape safely??? Is that what Dr. Kotter was talking about?
Yuki unfolded her arms and turned to look at her friend. Unfortunately, she couldn't see his face. Kate was there, comforting the young man. Tellka was also beside him, talking to him about something. He seemed to nod at the older woren while Kate was holding him in a hug.
Slowly but surely, Frank seemed to regain his composure. After a few minutes had passed, the Persona User separated from girlfriend. Kate's ears and tail flicked in worry, but a smile from Frank was all that she needed to assure herself that the Persona User was fine.
Janet was looking concerned. She was looking at the elevator, deep in thought. A frown adorned her face as she brought a hand to rest on her chin. Finally, she turned to ask Frank a question.
"If it's a trap... What do we do?" The Windian asked in worry.
Frank crossed his arms and began to think.
What do we do... What do we do... That's a good question. As Bart Simpson would say, damned if we do, damned if we don't. I don't want to kill a person, unless in self defense. Then again, if we stay here... They can come down and kill us with those automatic weapons they have. No choice then... Wait... There's enough room in the elevator for a few of us to hide... three of us precisely...
"We get them before they get us. Three of us can fit in that elevator... Three of us with guns, to be precise." Frank said quietly.
"Wait... Frank..." Kate said in worry. "You're not planning on..."
"Kate, they have to! With the weapons those guys have, we wouldn't last one second against them!!!" Tellka yelled in anger.
"But...but Tellka..." Kate stammered with even more worry in her voice.
Frank took one look at his girlfriend and noticed that her tail was twitching nervously. The Persona User took that moment to look her eye to eye and explain things to her.
"Kate... I'm not happy with having to do this either. Believe me... If we could talk it over with them, I'd do that. But as it is, they want us dead. Especially me..." Frank said quietly. "Guido wants me dead. But I'm not gonna give him that pleasure... It's the least I could do for mom and dad."
Kate listened to Frank. It took a few seconds for the words to sink into her head. When she realized what Frank had said, she slowly nodded.
"Just be careful, Frank. Please..." Kate said quietly.
"I promise I will. Okay?" The Persona User replied, before planting a kiss on Kate's cheek.
Kate smiled back at Frank, apparently satisfied. She then went back to talking with Tellka.
Frank cleared his throat. "I've got a plan, but it's not going to be pretty. Three of us need to get in that elevator and take them on."
Diane enthusiastically took her shotgun from her back and pumped it in one single motion. "That's a great plan!!! So... who ya takin'?"
"Not you or Yuki, Diane." Frank replied.
As soon as the words left Frank's mouth, her tail and ears drooped. "Aw... why not?"
"For one thing, there's not enough room for more than one shotgun user. Remember, Diane... our weapons spread when fired, so two shotgun users can't fire at once. I'm going, so..." Frank said as he loaded SilverPacks into the bottom of his shotgun.
"Listen... I need you and Yuki down here to run damage control, Diane. In case some of them slip by us, okay?" The Persona User explained.
Diane grinned. "Sure thang, Frank! Ya can count on me an' Storm Caller here..." It was then that the Woren cuddled her gun.
Storm Caller? Jeez, she is gun crazy!!!
"All right then... I'm going up there... who's going with me?" Frank asked the group.
Neko-Chan shook her head. "Myah... I'm not. I don't have a gun like you do..."
Janet, however, unholstered her Beretta. She checked the clip before slamming it back into the butt of the handgun.
"I'll go." She simply said.
Alex looked at the Windian with one eyebrow raised. "You? Why you?"
Janet turned and glared at Ellen's boyfriend. "Personal reasons, that's all."
Ellen whispered into one of Alex's sensitive ears. "She didn't call you furball this time..."
Alex's ears twitched in interest. "You're right, Ellie... I think she is lightening up."
Frank spoke up again. "Okay... Janet and me so far. One more?"
Brad pulled his Avenger Machine Pistol out. "Aw, heck. I'll go! Only because Janet's going!" It was then that Brad flashed his usual V for victory sign.
Janet rolled her eyes. "Brad... I told you once, and I'll tell you again. SHUT UP!!!"
A huge sweatdrop appeared over Brad's head at that very moment.
Frank coughed once. "Okay then... Us three. C'mon...let's go."
Janet and Brad nodded at the Persona User. Frank pushed the button once more to open the doors. Since the elevator was still on their floor, there was no current threat. The three piled in, Janet and Frank against one wall, while Brad was on the opposite side. Brad pushed the button for the fifth floor, and the doors shut slowly, before the elevator car began to move upward at a snail-like pace.
The two Persona Users and the Windian were checking over their guns one last time before the elevator reached its destination.
Janet considered her options for a moment. A smile slowly crept onto the Windian's face before she began to chant softly.
Brad looked from across the elevator. "Yo! Janet! Whatcha doing?"
Frank looked over at Brad and made a shushing motion. "She's casting a spell... Don't interrupt her."
Janet kept her eyes closed. "Flames of life, please lend your power to me..." Her eyes shot open as she rested her other hand on the Beretta. "FLAME!!!"
The Beretta in her hands began to glow with a reddish hue. Soon after, the exposed nickel plated barrel and the nickel plated frame took on an eerie red pulsating glow. However, the black handgrip and the slide remained black.
Frank looked at her gun for a moment. "What did you do, Janet?"
"Nothing, really. Just gave it fire properties, that's all..." Janet said with an innocent smile.
"Heads up!" Brad said quietly as he clicked the hammer back on his machine pistol.
Frank had his shotgun close to him held in both hands while resting against his shoulder, while Janet held her handgun pointing to the floor. There was just enough wall to hide the three teenagers.
As soon as the doors opened, automatic gunfire rattled from the hallways. The shocked teens were watching as bullets imbedded themselves into the fabricated interior walls of the elevator.
"Crap... they mean business..." Frank muttered.
From out in the hallways, a gruff, male voice could be heard.
"God Dammit!!! We missed! Those little pukes sent up an empty elevator!!!"
"We need to kill them! Guido said that they're trying to thwart his plans! Tiny's already been defeated once!"
"The Maynard brat also needs to be eliminated, along with the Richards brat! Their parents must have told them about the DEVA system!!!"
Frank clenched a fist in anger.
They want Mary and me dead... I don't think so!
Frank leaned around the open elevator doors and held his gun at his shoulder. Janet was right beside him, crouching on one knee. Both teenagers fired their respective firearms at the crowd of about ten SEBEC agents.
"It's him!!!" Was all the SEBEC agent could get out before a bloody shotgun wound silenced him for good.
"Get them!!! AGH!!! I'M ON FIRE!!!"
The SEBEC agent caught on fire soon after one of Janet's bullet's grazed his black blazer. After putting the fire out, he looked up through his sunglassed eyes to witness something horrific... Well, to him anyway.
Janet fired another round at the SEBEC agent as soon as he looked up from his burned blazer. The 9mm silver tipped round flew from the Beretta, leaving a trail of sparks and fire in it's wake. The last thing that the SEBEC agent saw was a molten red bullet that seemed to be leaking flames from the tip, before it caught him it the throat. Immediately, the agent's throat caught on fire. The doomed agent coughed up blood before collapsing to the floor.
Both teenagers immediately returned to their hiding places, and not a second too soon. Right when Janet and Frank leaned against the wall, more bullets rained into the elevator car. As soon as the gunfire subsided, Brad slammed the door open button before leaning out.
"Hey guys... wassup?" Was what the teenager said before letting loose a volley of silver tipped slugs out at the guards.
Truth be told, Brad didn't even really need to aim. The Persona User just waved his arm around as the gun kicked in his solid grip. Brad managed to catch a SEBEC agent three times, once in the hand, obliterating the agent's weapon. The bullet holes traced up the agent's body, one catching hit in the Kevlar vest, and the other, right in the head. The agent fell with a bloody bullet hole in his forehead.
Another agent managed to pop off a couple of shots at Brad. However, he narrowly missed the Persona User. Brad didn't miss, since four slugs caught the surprised agent. Two shot to the throat, and two shots shattering his sunglasses immediately killed him.
Brad went back into hiding, breathing hard. Frank pumped his shotgun, sending an empty metallic gray casing flying into the back of the elevator car.
"Janet and I got two of them, Brad... what about you?" The Persona User was now sweating with stress.
"I offed two of them as well, but I didn't see how many there were out there..."
Janet spoke up. "I saw about ten of them... You weren't kidding about this, Frank. They want us dead... Especially you..."
The Windian leaned out. She tried to take aim, but as soon as she raised her gun, she leapt back in pain. All Frank heard before that was the retort of another pistol.
"JANET!!! Good Lord! Are you okay?" Frank said as he crouched down to examine her.
Both the Persona User and the Windian looked at the injury. Luckilly, the bullet grazed her, but it was still bleeding pretty badly. Frank was going to bandage her up, when he noticed that Janet was staring at the door. It was obvious that she was pissed.
The Windian looked from the elevator doors, to her arm. Since she took off the jacket she was wearing earlier, the bullet had managed to rip through the sleeve of her dress, grazing her and leaving a gash. At the moment, the sleeve of her dress was beginning to turn red from the blood soaking through the sleeve.
"I payed good money for this dress!!!" Janet yelled as she scooped her gun up. The enraged Windian leaned around the doors once more, and this time, began to fire wildly. The thirteen bullets left in her gun flew out rapidly, catching four SEBEC agents on fire. After the initial shots hit, the follow ups plastered the agents in the head, effectively killing them as they fell over in a pool of their own blood.
Janet went back into hiding, breathing extremely hard. Both Frank and Brad were staring at her as she ejected the empty clip from her gun, and replaced it with a fresh fifteen rounds.
The Windian in question noticed the two Persona Users gawking at her. Frank had to push his glasses back up on his face, since they were sliding off.
"What?" Janet simply asked before clutching her arm.
"Remind me never to mess up your clothing..." Brad said before laughing.
Janet simply hrmphed at the Persona User.
Another SEBEC agent charged the elevator with his shotgun drawn. That was a mistake on his part, since he met the barrel of Frank's Remington as soon as he entered. Before the agent could pop a shot, Frank had pulled the trigger on his gun, blowing the SEBEC agent out of the elevator. If one looked, a trail of blood could be seen following the path of the fallen agent, before stopping abruptly at his stomach.
Frank leaned back into the elevator car and pumped his gun again, sending the spent shell casing out of his gun. It landed in the back of the car and bounced around, sending an eerie echo through the elevator.
Brad leaned out of the elevator, and immediately hid back inside again when machine gun fire rattled from the hallway.
"Damn persistent, isn't he? Considering that he's the last one..." Brad muttered. He pulled his sunglasses/goggles over his eyes. The Persona User leaned out once more.
"No bud... this is how you do it!" Brad yelled as he opened fire.
Once more, the Avenger began to jump in his hand as he fired. Shell casing flew from the gun, adding to the already growing pile within the elevator.
The silver tipped slugs first caught the SEBEC in both his legs, causing him to crumple to the floor. That was his demise, since the rest of the slugs caught the agent in the face and neck, making him look like a piece of bloody Swiss cheese.
Brad went back into hiding, pushing his sunglasses/goggles back to the top of his head. The Persona User then ejected the clip from his gun and slammed a new one in.
Both Persona Users and the bleeding Windian stood on guard for a few moments. After there was no sound of gunfire, each stood down guard. Janet winced in pain as she holstered her Beretta, which had just stopped glowing.
Frank knelt beside the injured Windian, examining the bullet graze wound once again.
"Brad... Do me a favor... stand guard outside the elevator, while I patch Janet up." The Persona User said quietly.
Brad was going to say something, when a serious look from Frank kept him from doing so. The egotistical Persona User simply nodded, and stood outside to keep a look out.
Frank examined the wound on Janet's arm.
"Jeez... you're lucky, you know that? It looks worse than it is. Though your dress is ruined... I'm going to have to rip the sleeve off, since I won't be able to clean it before I heal it. Is that okay with you?" Frank explained quietly. The Persona User was then reaching into his backpack and pulled out a bottle of water and a washcloth.
Janet began to grumble. "Do what you have to... Damn... I loved this dress! It figures... the one day that I'm supposed to have my picture taken at school... I wear my favorite dress... then all this happens..."
"Hey...just take it easy...relax. When we get out of SEBEC, we'll head back to St. Hermelin. Maybe when we get back to Windia, someone can put a new sleeve on there. In the meantime, we'll see if Dr. Kotter can give you a uniform, okay?" Frank said as he ripped the sleeve from Janet's dress.
The Windian groaned as she heard the fabric rip. Frank began to clean the wound gently, wiping the now drying blood from around the gash.
"Ouch!!! That STINGS!!!" Janet hissed at the Persona User. The look on her face told Frank that she was both angry and in pain.
"Just hold up... I'm cleaning it before I heal it. There..." Frank replied as he stood up. The Persona User then raised an arm.
Immediately, wind and magical energies kicked up around the Persona User, making his gray pants and his leather jacket billow out. A column of soft blue light engulfed Frank as a blue circle of light opened up beneath his feet.
Immediately, a shot of bright white light shot out of Frank from the top of his head. The light then turned into a transparent Nina Winlan, who fluttered her wings before hovering over Frank's body.
Nina lowered her rapier and stretched a hand out at Janet. Frank noticed that the Windian being healed was staring in awe at the Nina from the first destined cycle.
"Cure..." Nina said softly. Immediately, Janet was engulfed in a soft white light, leaving the Windian with a content, satisfied feeling. The wound on her arm immediately closed up, leaving only a slight, itchy feeling where it once was.
Nina then faded, along with the column of light blue light and the circle underneath Frank. The Persona User lowered his arms, and noticed that Janet was still in awe.
"Hey... are you okay?" Frank asked while snapping his fingers.
Janet merely nodded. "Why you, Frank?"
Frank scratched his head, thoroughly confused. "Huh? What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, of everyone... Everyone in Windia... she's now helping you... a person from another dimension!" Janet yelled at the Persona User.
Janet calmed down a little bit. "I'm sorry..."
"Hey... don't worry about it, okay? As for why Nina's with me... she sought me out. I'm the only Persona User who can summon her... if Ellen tried, she couldn't." Frank explained to the Windian as he helped her up.
Janet didn't reply to that. She was thinking about what Frank had said. She was going to ask the Persona User a question, when Brad entered the elevator.
"It's clear, Frank. All that I found out there were some dead demons, other dead SEBEC agents, and the other agents that we just fought." Brad explained. The Persona User then slammed his machine pistol into a holster at his side.
Frank nodded once before pushing his glasses back up onto his face. The Persona User then crossed his arms like he usually does when thinking.
"Well then... I guess..." Frank started as he bent over to pick up the letter jacket that belongs to Alex Meyers. "We should..." Frank then held the jacket open for Janet, who nodded in thanks before getting into the jacket.
"Now go back and get our friends..." Frank said as he mashed the button for the fourth floor.
As soon as the elevator doors opened, a shotgun blast sent the two Persona Users and the Windian diving for cover.
"Not again..." Janet said as she shook her head.
Frank peeked out of the doorways, and noticed a pissed off, female woren by the name of Diane Brandshire, holding a still smoking shotgun.
Ellen threw her assault rifle over her shoulder. "Um... Diane... You just shot at Frank, Brad, and Janet..."
Diane pumped her Mossburg violently. "Really??? Ya sure?"
Yuki placed her sawed off shotgun back into her jacket. "I think she's right, Diane..."
Immediately, a handkerchief tied to the end of Brad's spear came waving from the elevator car.
"Myah... that's gotta be them..." Neko-Chan said as she kept her eyes trained on the waving flag.
Brad leaned out of the elevator car. "Don't shoot! We surrender!!!" The Persona User said with a French accent.
Immediately, Janet and Frank peeked out from the other side of the elevator doors.
"Diane..." Alex said, with his tail waving in anger. "I thought I told you to be careful with that gun!!!"
"Hey... it coulda been tha bad guys... not them..." Diane answered innocently.
"But still, you shot at Frank!!!" Alex said in disbelief, The woren then placed a hand on his forehead.
Frank exited the elevator with his friends in tow. "Well, we're okay. Janet got injured up there, but I healed her. We need to head back to St. Hermelin to get her a change of clothes later... Oh... and Diane..." Frank said as he approached the arguing brother and sister.
"Yeah Frank?" The woren asked nervously. She couldn't even look him in the eyes.
"Next time, please look before you shoot. I'll let you keep the gun, but if you make the same mistake again, I'm taking it. All right?" Frank said to the woren.
"All right... I'm sorry... It won' happen again." Diane said as she slung Storm Caller over her shoulder.
Kate ran up to Frank and hugged him. "Frank... I thought... I'm glad you three are okay..."
The Persona User returned his girlfriend's hug. He also noticed that her tail was waving happily.
Tellka chuckled. "Frank, you should have seen her, she wouldn't stop pacing..."
"Kate... I promised you I'd be okay... See? Here I am... I'm still uncomfortable with what we had to do... but we're okay..." Frank said as he patted the Woren on the back lightly as they embraced. The Persona User could hear a light purr coming from her.
Tellka cleared her throat. "Aw... how touching... but... don't we have something to do???"
Frank looked at Kate's guardian and noticed her tail twitching impatiently.
"Yeah... I guess ... Everyone to the elevator... We've got another floor to explore..." Frank said as he slowly separated from Kate.
With a collective groan, the group of teenagers and a demoness piled into the elevator, hoping that their trip into SEBEC would end soon.
AAN: Most of this chapter was written on September 11th, 2001, and September 12th, 2001. These dates have affected everyone here in America. Kate's and my hearts and prayers go out to the unfortunate souls out in New York City and Washington D.C. May God Bless the souls of the lost...