You Will Need A Key

“ I- it was Doctor Langstrum. She showed up at the colony some time ago she brainwashed everyone and turned us all into monsters. She has done horrible experiments on me. Please help me she’s a monster she will destroy everything in her path” she said on the verge of tears. The face that she was young was very evident in her voice.

Jhonen's brow furrowed as he listened to the girl talk. A part of him was wary of trusting her. Lanstrom knew Jhonen, knew his inclination to try and help children in need. This could be another ploy, a trick to get him to let his guard down. After all, it was difficult to believe that this one girl had been able to beat Lanstrom's brainwashing.

Yet in his heart, Jhonen felt she was telling the truth.

Even so, he decided to treat lightly. "We're here to stop her, Aurora." he said. "You have my word on that."

"You can't be serious." Beck argued. "She's one of them."

"I know." Jhonen said. "But she also helped out my team." Though that could've been part of the plan. He had to consider all the angles here. "If she can get us to the mining facility, all the better. But we aren't going to make it thirty feet with these living failures and the uplifted running around. We need to get them out of our way before we can make for the freight elevator."

"Why not just wait for your dragons?" Beck pointed out. "Wait for them to come in and have them take out these freaks?"

"Because we can't just sit on our hands while Lanstrom is still up there, planning gods know what." Jhonen said. "We have to act now, and hopefully the dragons will be able to come in when we need them."

Outside they could all hear the storm growing worse as the wind began to howl.

"This blizzard may help us in that regard. No doubt the whiteout will mask our movements. But we also can't afford to get caught by those things in those conditions. My guess is that they're able to adapt to the conditions outside. We will have to work up a diversion..." Jhonen said.


While Jhonen tried to hail Aurora, Ink turned to the group and said: "We need defensible ground. Up there." He pointed up to the control post. "Follow me. Quiet." He moved toward a nearby silo with a set of rungs welded on, put his guns away, and started to climb.

Ezra nodded in agreement. "Sounds good to me." She followed Ink up the silo. "So that takes care of finding a tactically advantageous position. But that doesn't help us with the main issue: Lanstrom. We need to take her out. She will spread this to other colonies across Jericho. We've already seen her handiwork elsewhere."

"You have?" Anna asked as she joined them up on the silo.

"Yeah..." Ezra shuddered. "One of those mutant abominations took shelter in a mining site not far from Jericho's Landing... Killed the entire work crew. Damn near killed us too."

Hammond closed his eyes as the memory struck him. "I am in agreement with Ezra. We need to stop Lanstrom before she has the opportunity to strike out against other colonies."


Lanstrom stood in front of a bank of monitors that provided feeds from a number of security cameras placed throughout the settlement. Yet the picture was getting worse as the blizzard came in full force. She was irate, the living failures had once again proven their worthlessness with the mindless attraction to the lights and sounds of the entertainment district.

Who had turned those systems on? She wondered.

Hilda was the most likely option, thought Lanstrom had seen a machine with Jhonen as well. Her deductive powers, however, had ruled out Hilda. She was clearly not present as the woman was always traipsing around in a comical suit of armor. The machine was a more likely suspect, however, she had found no evidence of outside interference.

This was internal.

"The girl..." Lanstrom finally said out loud. She turned to Oriel, her simulant assistant, and her red eyes pierced the synthetic with an increasingly annoyed and furious glare. "Find her... and if need be kill her. I will dissect her for the answer to her immunity if need be..."

Oriel nodded curtly and turned on her heel. "It shall be done..."


"I think we can trust this girl." Anna said to Jhonen as the group continued to formulate their plan. "She helped us when they first attacked, and it sounds like she's just a scared girl who needs help."

"We can't put anything past Lanstrom." Jhonen said. He'd decided to have this conversation on a separate, and secure, channel apart from Aurora's so that they could talk about her without offending or betraying their mistrust of the girl. "Fact of the matter is that Aurora is uplifted, we don't know what she is capable of."

"She can still help." Anna said.

"If we can get her to help us reach the freight elevator, then all the better." Jhonen said.

"It wont matter..." Beck said coldly. "Even if we could get to the elevator it is locked down due to the blizzard, the entire town is."

"Aurora seems able to lift the lockdown." Anna pointed out.

"Only on minor doors." Ezra said. "It's part of how the system works, to keep people safe it will lift it temporarily on certain doors to allow people to get inside if they got stuck outside. The freight elevator is another matter entirely."

"How do we bypass the lockdown for the elevator then?" Jhonen asked.

"You would need an override key, the mining guild master no doubt had one..." Hammond said.

"Do we know who the mining guild master is?" Anna asked.

"One of those freaks out there..." Beck said disdainfully.

"Would he still have it on him?" Jhonen asked.

"No doubt if the uplifted are using the elevator to get to and from Lanstrom's base of operations in the mining facility at the top of the mountain." Hammond said.

Jhonen thought for a moment, then switched the transmission back to one Aurora could hear. "Aurora? I have a question. Can you access the PDT's (Personal Data Transmitters) for the entire population of the colony? We need to find the Mining Guild Master..."

"Oh how could I forget that?" Ezra hissed to herself.

"What's this about PDT's?" Anna asked.

"They are part of standard Colonial procedure." Syn explained. "A microscopic transmitter that sends everything from data on a person's physical condition to personal information such as a person's bank account and social media information. Many colonists have them. Though on Jericho they are not required to be implanted into locals due to issues of personal freedom and security. For those in the Mining Guild they are required."

"So we can track down this Mining Guild Master." Anna nodded and grinned. "Nice."

"Can you do it, Aurora?" Jhonen asked again. "Help us find this guy, so we can use his override key on the elevator and get to Lanstrom."

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