Chapter 3 - Flight of the Iron Eagle
In the clear, blue sky, streaks of smoke trailed behind the figure that was flying towards the high-rise at high speed. The figure was humanoid in nature, but had sturdy metallic wings underneath its arms. The smoke was coming out from the engine turbines at the ends of those wings. The rest of the figure was covered in metallic armour: the head was enclosed in a helmet that took the shape of an eagle's head; the slender body was covered with sleek, silver armour; and both feet adorned sharp, metal talons.
As the armoured eagle sped towards the high-rise, it aligned itself so that it was heading towards the window on the nineteenth floor. As it closed in on its target, it aimed its talons at the blue armoured figure inside.
The cyborg bird crashed through the window. Justice Knight turned in surprised as the eagle kicked his chest with its talons.
Yelling in pain as the talons slashed across his chest, Justice Knight was knocked on to the ground and his pistol slipped out of his hand. He managed to roll into a crouch.
The eagle levitated in the middle of the room, looking at Justice Knight with the red eyes on its helmet. The beak didn't open, but a female voice came out of the helmet and it sneered, "Hello Justice Knight. I am Iron Eagle. Are you ready to die?"
A few hours before Iron Eagle crashed in through the window of the nineteenth floor, three vans and a police car marked with the Justice Knight Unit livery pulled into the parking lot of the high-rise.
"Why do you yell out that stuff?" Emma asked as she and David got out of the police car.
"What stuff?" David asked.
"You know, that stuff about justice and all that. Is the Knight-Former voice-activated and that stuff is the passcode?"
"Nope, just the 'suit up' part is, and it's set to my voice. There are a few other commands that other people can use, for example, Courtney can use the 'Maintenance' command," David replied, "The rest of the stuff is just cool and intimidating."
Emma raised an eyebrow and responded a little sardonically, "Uh... I guess so..."
"It is!" David insisted.
Emma didn't respond.
The two of them guided the thirty or so scientists, along with the three guards sent from the Justice Knight Unit headquarters into the safe house on the nineteenth floor.
Once everyone was in the huge penthouse suite that was the safe house, David addressed the room, "Okay, here's the situation: we know that the Iron Legion is targeting someone in this group. Well, it could be one person, a few people, or even everyone here. So we would like to ask you all to let us guard you guys here in this safe house while we sort this out."
The group started murmuring to each other, but no one was raising a fuss.
David took this as a good sign, "Okay, if no one has any objections, I'll show you guys where everything is."
As David proceeded to show the scientists where the basic essentials - like food, water, and the washrooms - were, Sasha was watching them through the cameras back at the Network's section in the Justice Knight Unit's headquarters.
Thomas walked up beside her and playfully said to her, "Watching David again?"
Sasha's face turned red, "N-no! I'm just checking the area, making sure that the area is secured!"
"Right, and it just so happens that David appears on every screen that you've flicked to?"
"T-That's not true!" Sasha quickly flicked the screen to another camera feed, "See, he's not on this one!"
"Yeah, he is," Thomas pointed at David, who just walked into the view of the camera.
Before Sasha could respond, another member of the Network came up to them, "Uh, Sasha, Thomas, you might want to listen to what we just picked up over the comm waves."
Back at the safe house, David sat down on a couch with Emma.
"What now, sir?" Emma asked David.
"Don't call me 'sir'," David said. He took a sip from his cup of water, then answered, "Now, we wait for the Network to get us more information while we make sure these guys stay safe."
"David! Emma!" Sasha's voice suddenly came over David and Emma's earpieces. "We have a problem!"
"Sasha?" David said into microphone that hung off the wire from his earpiece, "What's wrong?"
"We have a mole in that penthouse! We were monitoring the comms feeds that were coming from the penthouse suite and we picked up a message to someone named Iron Eagle, telling them where you guys are!"
"What?" David said, alert at the potential danger that was coming their way, "How did the mole even get a message out? We took all the everyone's cellphones and other electronic devices and turned them off back at the conference centre so that we couldn't be tracked!"
"And our own, secured, lines weren't up until we got here, right?" Emma asked.
"The Iron Legion is made up of cyborgs, the mole probably had a communications device embedded into his or her body!" Sasha replied.
"Great...," David muttered.
The Captain's voice came over the waves, "Alright, we need to figure out who the mole is before we can move the rest of the scientists, otherwise, this Iron Eagle will just continue tracking our movements through the mole."
"The Network will re-watch the footage of the penthouse suite during the time that the call was made, see if we can find out who the mole is that way," Sasha said.
"Good, we're counting on you," The Captain said, "Emma, David, patrol the suite. See if you can find anything suspicious."
"Yes, sir!" David and Emma responded.
David met up with Emma and whispered to her, "Did you find anything, Emma?"
"No, how about you?" Emma whispered back.
"I didn't find anything either, and we're running out of time."
Luckily though, Sasha's voice came through their earpieces, "Guys, we've found the mole! I'm sending you her information right now!"
David and Emma took out their secured phones and took a look at the profile that Sasha had sent over.
Continuing on, Sasha elaborated, "She's one of the scientists in the group, Dr. Harriet Chow."
"Are you sure?" David asked.
"Yeah, she was alone in a corridor during the call, and she was talking into her arm."
"She was talking into her arm?" Emma repeated, dumbfounded.
"Yeah, that's probably where she has an embedded communications device, in one of her cyborg arms!"
The Captain's voice came through next, "David, Emma, quietly escort her out of the building and get her back here, I'll have the other guards escort the rest of the scientists to another safe house after she's out of the building."
"So, we're finally going to get to test out that experimental prison cell that Courtney was working on," David said.
"Yes," the Captain responded, "Let's hope that it can hold a cyborg as it was designed to."
David and Emma looked around the room.
Spotting Dr. Harriet Chow, Emma took out her dagger, but David grabbed her shoulder and shook his head, "We need to do this quietly and without hurting anyone else in here."
David walked up to Dr. Chow, "Dr. Chow? My name is David. I don't want you to panic, but we have a situation, and we need you to come with us."
Dr. Chow gave David a long glare, and then said, "Don't you think that line is a bit overused?"
David only had a few moments to curse under his breath before Dr. Chow swung her fist at him. Luckily, he was able to dodge the fist and step back.
The rest of the room noticed the commotion and began to step back, forming a clearing in the room with David and Dr. Chow in the middle. Across from the crowd was a window, looking out to the clear, blue skies.
Dr. Chow pulled back her sleeve, and pressed a finger on to her arm. In response, the area that she touched glowed. Mechanical sounds started coming out from her body, and bits of metal began to rip out from under her clothes. Within seconds, two grey, hexagon plates formed a breastplate in the middle of her chest and the sleek black armour of an Iron Soldier covered Harriet Chow, ripping off most of her clothes in the process. The only part that wasn't covered in armour now was her head.
"Ahhhh," Dr. Chow let out a breath of relief, and she ripped away the dangling piece of her tattered shirt, "It feels good to be back in my natural body."
The room was panicking now at the sight of an Iron Soldier.
"Take everyone out of this building and get them to another safe house, now!" The Captain's voice came over the earpieces of David, Emma, and the other guards, "David, stay and deal with the mole!"
The guards started to guide the scientists towards to exit of the penthouse. As Dr. Chow stepped towards the retreating scientists, David ran in front of her.
Dr. Chow sneered, "You think you can stop me, an Iron Soldier from the Iron Legion? Who do you think you are?"
David grinned as Emma rolled her eyes. He pulled back his sports jacket to reveal the Knight-Former that was sitting on his belt. David declared, "I am the knight who delivers justice!"
Quickly, he followed up by pressing a button on the Knight-Former and yelling, "Suit up!"
Metallic, blue squares shot out from the red orb on the Knight-Former. Then, as if drawn back by some force, the blue squares flew back at David, forming the Justice Knight exosuit around him.
"I am Justice Knight," David finished his morphing sequence and took out the pistol holstered at the right of his waist, "Now, surrender!"
Suddenly, a metallic, humanoid eagle crashed through the window and kicked Justice Knight in the chest with its talons.
Justice Knight yelled in pain and dropped his gun as the talons slashed across his chest. He was pushed back by the force of the kick, but managed to roll into a crouch as soon as he hit the floor. He turned to face the intruder.
The eagle levitated in the middle of the room, staring back with its red eyes. A female voice came out of the helmet and sneered, "Hello Justice Knight. I am Iron Eagle. Are you ready to die?"
"That's a little arrogant of you to say," Justice Knight responded as he stood up.
Iron Eagle laughed, it was an arrogant laugh that mocked Justice Knight, "You think you can stand up to me? Your little exosuit won't be able to even touch me!"
"We'll have to see about that."
Iron Eagle turned her head to Dr. Chow, "You. Get Dr. Hexton before he gets away."
"Yes, ma'am," Dr. Chow started to run towards the opened door.
Suddenly, Emma ran back through and slashed Dr. Chow across the chest with her special dagger.
Justice Knight, in surprise said, "What are you still doing here?"
Emma got into a ready stance as Dr. Chow staggered back. Responding to Justice Knight, Emma said, "Well, it is my job to shadow you, sir. And we can't let her go after the scientists."
Justice Knight nodded, "Just be careful."
"And you should be careful of me!" Iron Eagle yelled as she flew towards Justice Knight with her talons outstretched. Justice Knight managed to jump to the side as Iron Eagle's talons struck the ground where he had been standing, leaving a little hole in the floor.
Dr. Chow charged at Emma, and pulled back her fist. However, Emma quickly stepped in towards the doctor and slashed across her torso twice before she could release her punch.
Emma went in for a third strike, but Dr. Chow quickly blocked the blade with her arm. Sparks shot out as the blade slashed across the armoured arm, but it didn't hurt her too badly. Quickly, Dr. Chow kicked Emma in the chest.
Emma was knocked back a few meters through the air. She hit the ground and rolled several times before landing on her stomach.
"Emma!" Justice Knight yelled out. Unfortunately, this moment of distraction allowed Iron Eagle to kick him in the chest. Sparks flew out from Justice Knight's armour as the talons on Iron Eagle's foot stabbed into his chest.
Emma was struggling to get up when Dr. Chow charged towards Emma. Intent on finishing the fight, Dr. Chow pulled back her fist when, suddenly, her legs crumpled beneath her and she fell on to the ground, close to where Emma was.
"W-What?" Emma stuttered, in shock and in relief.
"You fool!" Iron Eagle yelled at the doctor, "How many days has it been since you recharged?!"
Dr. Chow tried to move her body, but the only thing that she could move was her head, "I-I'm sorry, ma'am. I just upgraded a few days ago, I wasn't sure how long the batteries would last."
"You have a battery meter, you dimwitted doctor!" Iron Eagle sneered angrily as she flew away from one of Justice Knight's punches.
Realigning her thrusters, Iron Eagle shot back towards Justice Knight, with her talons outstretched. Reacting quickly, Justice Knight stepped to the side, dodging the talons, and slammed his fist into Iron Eagle's stomach.
Iron Eagle yelped in pain and swung her right fist at Justice Knight, who managed to avoid the fist by quickly stepping back. Iron Eagle continued to swing her right fist around until it was nearly touching her left shoulder. Then, she brought up the wings that were attached to her arm along with the thrusters at the end of the wings. Quickly, she aimed her thrusters at Justice Knight.
"Oh, grea-" Justice Knight started to say something when Iron Eagle activated the thrusters and blasted Justice Knight away. She dug her talons into the ground so that she was only pushed a little by the force of the engines.
Justice Knight flew through the air as sparks shot out of his exosuit from the damage. He hit the ground hard and laid there as Iron Eagle levitated up into the air.
"This is the end for you!" Iron Eagle yelled as she shot herself towards the fallen knight with her talons aimed at her prey.
Emma watched the scene unfold. Realizing that David could die if he took this hit, she struggled up through the pain that she felt in her chest. Quickly she scrambled for the pistol that Justice Knight had dropped earlier and aimed it at the speeding Iron Eagle.
As Iron Eagle flew towards the center of her aim, Emma pulled the trigger.
The recoil of the gunshot knocked Emma off her feet and she hit the ground hard.
The bullet hit its target and Iron Eagle was knocked off her course. She yelled in pain as she was sent flying out the window.
"Emma!" Justice Knight yelled as he struggled up. He ran towards Emma, "Are you alright?"
"Yeah...," Emma said as she held up the gun.
Justice Knight took the gun from Emma and nodded. Emma smiled back, and Justice Knight helped her up to her feet.
"Keep an eye on Dr. Chow," Justice Knight said.
Justice Knight ran into the middle of the room and looked out the window as Iron Eagle finally realigned herself. She screeched angrily as she charged back at the high-rise, "How dare you?!"
Justice Knight aimed his pistol at Iron Eagle and fired several times. Managing to dodge all the shots, Iron Eagle made it into the room and aimed her talons at Justice Knight yet again.
However, Justice Knight was ready for her this time and he quickly stepped to the left and swung his right fist at Iron Eagle, dodging the kick and sending Iron Eagle crashing into the floor.
Iron Eagle swung her arms around her and aimed her thrusters up at Justice Knight.
Seeing the thrusters, Justice Knight jumped back just as Iron Eagle fired. The strong blast caused the ground beneath Iron Eagle to break, sending her crashing through to the floor beneath.
Justice Knight aimed his gun through the hole and pulled the trigger, but all he got was the unfortunate click of an empty ammo clip. He sighed at his misfortune. Quickly, he holstered his gun and jumped through the hole with the intent of stomping on the fallen bird.
Unfortunately for Justice Knight, Iron Eagle rolled out of the way and Justice Knight stomped onto the rubble. Quickly, she used her thrusters to send herself into a backflip and she kicked Justice Knight, slashing vertically up his torso.
Justice Knight yelled in pain as he was knocked back by the kick. Sparks shot forth from the slash, but he managed to land on his feet. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he leaped forward to punch the still flipping Iron Eagle.
Iron Eagle managed to boost herself away from the punch with her thrusters. Realigning herself, she screeched as she once again aimed her talons at Justice Knight as she shot back towards him.
This time, Justice Knight grabbed the extended leg of Iron Eagle. Using the eagle's momentum, he swung her around and threw her towards the window, sending her outside as she crashed through the glass.
While Iron Eagle was outside, trying the get her bearings, Justice Knight ran towards the window and reloaded his pistol.
Iron Eagle had finally managed to straighten herself up when she saw that Justice Knight was aiming his pistol at her.
Justice Knight pulled the trigger several times rapidly, emptying the entire clip.
Each bullet knocked Iron Eagle back a little, tearing away her armour and damaging her systems. Finally, she floated there as electric arcs ran through her body. Breathing heavily, she flashed back.
She remembered reading in the newspaper about her father getting impeached for taking bribes. She remembered finding her father's body hanging in the middle of the room after he had killed himself. She remembered finding evidence that her father was innocent, but nobody would listen to her. She remembered feeling angry at the injustice that her father had suffered.
Then, Iron Eagle exploded.
Justice Knight watched as the charred body of Iron Eagle fell through the sky. He watched as Iron Eagle fell and crashed into his police car.
"Of all the cars she could have landed on..." Justice Knight muttered.
"David, are you alright?" Sasha's voice came through Justice Knight's earpiece, "Is the Iron Eagle coming back? What happened?"
"I'm okay," Justice Knight replied, "Iron Eagle has been taken care of, but..."
"But what?" Sasha asked, concerned.
"But she landed on my police car."
Sasha paused before she let out a breath of relief, "That's good news, David! Don't worry, we can get you another police car."
"Yes..." The Captain's voice came over the waves, "We'll get you another car... again. For now, take Dr. Chow into custody. Let the rest of the scientists go home except for the one that Iron Eagle mentioned, bring him to the Justice Knight Unit headquarters as well."
"Yes, sir," Justice Knight replied.
However, Emma didn't.
"Emma, you there?" Justice Knight asked.
Getting no reply, Justice Knight ran to the hole in the ceiling and jumped back up to the floor above.
Emma was sitting on the floor holding her dagger. Next to her was Dr. Chow, who just laid there, glaring at Emma.
David pushed a button on the Knight-Former and the Justice Knight exosuit burst into blue, metallic squares, which flew back into the red orb on the Knight-Former. He hurried over to Emma.
"Are you alright, Emma?" David asked.
Emma looked up at David and blinked before saying, "Yeah..."
Emma struggled to get up. David quickly moved in to help her up. Suddenly, Emma grunted in pain and grasped her chest. She fell forward, fainting.
David caught Emma before she hit the floor. Panicking, he reached for Emma's neck to feel for her pulse while yelling into his comms, "Emma's down, I need a medic!"
Floating outside the high-rise, a figure watched as the panicking David called for a medic. The figure's bee-like wings flapped and carried the figure away. The figure had on a helmet that covered the top half of its head, with long flowing black hair sticking out; two large insect eyes covered where one would normally find eyes, and two metallic antennas were sticking out from the forehead of the helmet. A large metallic spike that protruded from the figure's lower back glimmered in the sky as the figure flew away.
A young, female voice came out of the bee-like cyborg's lips as she spoke into her comms, "Iron Eagle and Dr. Chow have failed."
The guards threw the limp body of Dr. Chow into the prison cell.
"Ow!" Harriet Chow yelled as her head hit the floor.
"Oh, sorry, did that hurt?" David asked, with anger in his voice.
Dr. Chow snarled, "You think you can keep me here?! They'll rescue me before you can do anything!"
David walked up to the bars of the cell and knocked on one of them. Then he said, "I don't know what our scientist did, but the bars and the walls of this cell are made from some pretty tough materials. Tough enough that even you cyborgs can't break them easily."
"Then they'll slaughter you all just to get the key!"
David glared at Dr. Chow, "I won't let them."
David walked away as Dr. Chow howled with laughter, "You can't win! There is only one of you!"
"Dr. Hexton," the Captain greeted the scientist as he walked into the room where David, Sasha, and Dr. Hexton were waiting.
"Captain," Dr. Hexton shook the Captain's hand, "What's going on? Why am I here?"
"Please, sit down and let me explain."
Dr. Hexton nodded and sat down.
The Captain took a seat as well before he began, "The cyborg that attacked the safe house, Iron Eagle, specifically ordered Dr. Chow to bring you back to the Iron Legion."
"What?!" Dr. Hexton exclaimed in surprise, "Why me?"
"Well, we think that they kidnapped Dr. Alber," Sasha said, "So it makes sense that they would want to kidnap his partner as well."
"They kidnapped Alber?" Dr. Hexton asked, "Why?"
"We aren't absolutely sure that they have Dr. Alber, but considering the advanced cybernetics that are involved in the Iron Legion's cyborgs, it is very likely that Dr. Alber is helping them - whether he wants to or not," Sasha replied, "Since you were Dr. Alber's partner, and you are still a leading expert in cybernetics, the Iron Legion probably wants to coerce you into helping them as well."
"We have another safe house in another city for you, if you would like our protection," the Captain offered.
"Damn it!" Dr. Hexton yelled, "First they got my cybernetics project shut down and now they want to kidnap me as well? Why can't this Iron Legion just leave me alone?"
Dr. Hexton slammed his fists into the table.
"I know this is hard for you, doctor, but we need to move you quickly," the Captain said, "The safe house is big enough for you and your family, and I promise that we will take care of the Iron Legion. Will you accept our help?"
Dr. Hexton put his head in his hands and breathed heavily. He was taking a moment to calm down.
Finally, he nodded, "Yes."
Emma got out of the bed in the infirmary, "I'm going home."
David stood up, concerned, "But the doctor told you to stay in bed and rest."
"I'll be alright," Emma said as she put on her shoes.
"Don't be so reckless, why don't you just stay in the infirmary for the night?"
"I can't!" Emma yelled, "I have to-"
Emma grunted in pain and grabbed her chest. She began to feel dizzy and she started to lose her balance.
David moved to hold her up.
"You alright?" David asked.
"Y-Yeah," Emma blushed a little.
Sasha walked in with a bouquet of flowers, "Hi Emma, we got you a bouquet-"
Sasha stopped when she saw David holding Emma.
Emma noticed Sasha and the flowers, and she managed to stand upright, "Thank you for the bouquet, Sasha."
"R-Right! No problem, I hope you like them," Sasha handed the flowers over to Emma.
Emma smiled and accepted the flowers.
"Alright, if you have to get home, then at least let me give you a ride," David said.
"Alright," Emma nodded.
"I- I'll come along as well," Sasha said.
Unfortunately, someone poked their head into the room and said to Sasha, "Ms. Tsuburaya, the Network needs you back in their room."
Sasha looked at the newcomer, and then at David.
David smiled, "Don't worry, Sasha. I think we can handle it."
"Yeah," Emma said, "Thanks for offering to help though. And thanks for the flowers."
David and Emma walked out of the room as Sasha sighed.
The dark navy car sped along the highway in the middle of the night. It was a normal, four-door sedan; a typical car like all the other ones on the road. That was David's car.
"I thought that you would have a more... interesting car," Emma said to David, who was driving.
"Oh, why's that?" David asked.
"No reason, just seemed like you would."
The car continued along the highway before David finally broached the question that was on his mind, "So, why do you have to get home so urgently?"
Emma sighed, "I have to get home to my sister."
"Oh, I see," David replied, "How old is she?"
"Are your parents... busy?"
The air between them grew thick.
Finally, Emma answered, "My mother died when I was young, and my father was a security guard who was killed by one of the Iron Soldiers during one of their early attacks."
"I- I'm sorry," David said.
"I just graduated from the military academy when my father died," Emma continued, "So I asked them to reassigned me to the Justice Knight Unit. That way, I could take care of my sister and get back at the ones responsible for my father's murder. Luckily, they approved and got me reassigned."
"So you joined... for revenge?" David asked.
"Yeah, pretty much," Emma admitted, with anger in her voice. "As I was growing up, the only thing that I was good at was fighting. So I decided to put my only talent to good use and I signed up for the military academy straight out of high school. Now that I have learned how to fight properly, I will avenge my father with my own two hands."
Emma was now seething in anger, so much so that she was starting to feel the pain in her chest again. She grunted and grabbed her chest, leaning back in the car seat to recuperate.
The two continued the drive in near silence.
The bee-like cyborg walked into her room. She took off her helmet and threw it onto her bed.
The young woman sighed as she brushed her long, black hair with her hands.
She pressed a button on her wrist, and her armour retreated back into her body. What was left was a smaller body that was a sleek imitation of a normal human woman's body. However, it was still made out of Alberloy, and the end result made her look more like a doll than an actual human being.
She tried to pinched her arm, but even the Alberloy couldn't respond like human flesh and skin usually would. She sighed and pinched her cheek. It was the only part of her that remained flesh and blood, and it made her feel a little bit better as she felt the sting from her pinch. She let go and her cheek went a little red, like normal human flesh and skin would after being pinched.
She put on a nice, casual dress and went to report to her leader.
In front of the throne, she knelt down. "Hello, sir."
"Iron Bee..." The leader of the Iron Legion finally stood up from his throne and walked out of the shadows towards the kneeling girl. The black cape flowed behind him as he walked. Finally, out of the shadows, one could see that the leader of the Iron Legion was a lion-like cyborg.
"I see that you still insist on using this human-esque form," the lion spoke in a deep voice that carried gravitas with it, "I know that you yearn for your human body back, but, trust me, in time, you will learn to embrace your new cyborg body and all the gifts that come along with it."
"I hope that time comes soon, Father," Iron Bee replied.
"As do I, my daughter. Now, tell me, how did the mission go?"
"Iron Eagle was killed by Justice Knight, and Dr. Chow has been taken into their custody."
"And why did you not help them?"
"I was ordered by Iron Eagle to stay back and watch," Iron Bee replied.
The lion roared in disgust, "That damn eagle! She let her pride and arrogance get her killed!"
The lion walked back into his throne in the shadows and sat back down, "And this Justice Knight Unit has been a thorn in my side for too long. Get me Iron Elephant."
"Iron Elephant?!" Iron Bee said, shocked at the order, "You know how he is, Father! He'll slaughter them all!"
"Then so be it!"
The lion roared, "I have made my decision, daughter! Now, leave me and carry out your orders!"
Iron Bee cowered at the stern and angry command of her father. Reluctantly, she stood up and bowed, "Yes, sir."