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Fall of hades, p.1
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       Fall of Hades, p.1

           Richard Paul Evans
 
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Fall of Hades


  To the Kyngs

  Michael Vey

  Power: Ability to shock people through direct contact or conduction. Can also absorb other electric children’s powers.

  Michael is the most powerful of all the electric children and leader of the Electroclan. He is steadily increasing in power. He also has Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes tics or other involuntary movements. Elgen scientists believe his Tourette’s is somehow connected to his electricity.

  Ostin Liss

  Power: A Nonel—not electric.

  Ostin is very intelligent, with an IQ of 155, which puts him at the same level as the average Nobel Prize winner. He is one of the original three members of the Electroclan and Michael’s best friend.

  Taylor Ridley

  Power: Ability to temporarily scramble the electric synapses in the brain, causing confusion. She can also read people’s minds, but only when touching them.

  Taylor is one of the original three members of the Electroclan. She and Michael discovered each other’s powers at Meridian High School, which they were both attending. She is Michael’s girlfriend.

  Abigail

  Power: Ability to temporarily ease or stop pain by electrically stimulating certain parts of the brain. She must be touching the person to do so.

  Along with Ian and McKenna, Abigail was held captive by the Elgen for many years because she refused to follow Hatch. She joined the Electroclan after escaping from the Elgen Academy’s prison, known as Purgatory.

  Bryan

  Power: The ability to create highly focused electricity that allows him to cut through objects, especially metal.

  Bryan is one of Hatch’s Glows. He spends most of his time playing video games and annoying Kylee.

  Cassy

  Power: Ability to electrically contract or “freeze” muscles from remarkable distances.

  One of the most powerful of the electric children, Cassy is also the only one to be found by the resistance before the Elgen. She has lived with the voice since she was four years old. Her job, in addition to special missions and acting as the voice’s bodyguard, is to keep track of the electric children. She is well versed on each of their powers and on the backgrounds of both the Glows and the Electroclan. She is a big fan of Michael Vey.

  Grace

  Power: Grace acts as a “human flash drive” and is able to transfer and store large amounts of electronic data.

  Grace was living with the Elgen but joined the Electroclan when they defeated Hatch at the Elgen Academy. She has been working and living with the resistance but has not been on any missions with the Electroclan.

  Ian

  Power: Ability to see using electrolocation, which is the same way sharks and eels see through muddy or murky water.

  Along with McKenna and Abigail, Ian was held captive by the Elgen for many years because he refused to follow Hatch. He joined the Electroclan after escaping from the Elgen Academy’s prison, known as Purgatory.

  Jack

  Power: A Nonel—not electric.

  Jack spends a lot of time in the gym and is very strong. He is also excellent with cars. Originally one of Michael’s bullies, he joined the Electroclan after Michael bribed him to help Michael rescue his mother from Dr. Hatch.

  Kylee

  Power: Born with the ability to create electromagnetic power, she is basically a human magnet.

  One of Hatch’s Glows, she spends most of her time shopping, along with her best (and only) friend, Tara.

  McKenna

  Power: Ability to create light and heat. She can heat herself to more than three thousand kelvins.

  Along with Ian and Abigail, McKenna was held captive by the Elgen for many years because she refused to follow Hatch. She joined the Electroclan after escaping from the Elgen Academy’s prison, known as Purgatory.

  Nichelle

  Power: Nichelle acts as an electrical ground and can both detect and drain the powers of the other electric children. She can also, on a weaker level than Tessa, enhance the other children’s powers.

  Nichelle was Hatch’s enforcer over the rest of the electric children until he abandoned her during the battle at the Elgen Academy. Although everyone was nervous about it, the Electroclan recruited her to join them on their mission to save Jade Dragon. She has become a loyal Electroclan member.

  Quentin

  Power: Ability to create isolated electromagnetic pulses, which lets him take out all electrical devices within twenty yards.

  Quentin is smart and the leader of Hatch’s Glows. He is regarded by the Elgen as second-in-command, just below Hatch.

  Tanner

  Power: Ability to interfere with the electrical navigation systems of aircraft and cause them to malfunction and crash. His powers are so advanced that he can do this from the ground.

  After years of mistreatment by the Elgen, Tanner was rescued by the Electroclan from the Peruvian Starxource plant and has been staying with the resistance so he has a chance to recover. He carries deep emotional pain from the crimes Dr. Hatch forced him to commit.

  Tara

  Power: Tara’s abilities are similar to her twin sister, Taylor’s, in that she can disrupt normal electronic brain functions. Through years of training and refining her powers, Tara has learned to focus on specific parts of the brain in order to create emotions such as fear or joy.

  Working with the Elgen scientists, she has learned how to create mental illusions, which, among other things, allows her to make people appear as someone or something else.

  Tara is one of Hatch’s Glows. She and Taylor were adopted by different families after they were born, and Tara has lived with Hatch and the Elgen since she was six years old.

  Tessa

  Power: Tessa’s abilities are the opposite of Nichelle’s—she is able to enhance the powers of the other electric children.

  Tessa escaped from the Elgen at the Starxource plant in Peru and lived in the Amazon jungle for six months with an indigenous tribe called the Amacarra. She joined the Electroclan after the tribe rescued Michael from the Elgen and brought them together.

  Torstyn

  Power: One of the more ruthless and lethal of the electric children, Torstyn can create microwaves.

  Torstyn is one of Hatch’s Glows and was instrumental to the Elgen in building the original Starxource plants. Although they were initially enemies, Torstyn is now loyal to Quentin and acts as his bodyguard.

  Wade

  Power: A Nonel—not electric.

  Wade was Jack’s best friend and joined the Electroclan at the same time he did. Wade died in Peru when the Electroclan was surprised by an Elgen guard.

  Zeus

  Power: Ability to “throw” electricity from his body.

  Zeus was kidnapped by the Elgen as a young child and lived for many years as one of Hatch’s Glows. He joined the Electroclan when they escaped from the Elgen Academy. His real name is Leonard Frank Smith.

  When I was just eight years old, a few months after my father died, I was going through a box of his things when I found a wooden plaque engraved with these words:

  Be ashamed to die until you have

  won some victory for humanity.

  —Horace Mann

  At the time the plaque didn’t mean much to me—other than that it had belonged to my father—but it must have meant something because I never forgot its message. Lately I’ve found myself thinking about it a lot. Maybe because it’s now my reality. You could say that I’m fighting a battle for humanity. Of course I could die and not win any victory, but I think that’s got to be worth something too.

  I once heard a story that really bothered me. I don’t know if it was true or not. I hope not. I don’t even want to share it with you, it’s that awf
ul. But for the sake of my story I’m going to. It goes like this:

  There was a man who was in charge of switching the railroad tracks for the train. It was an important job because if the train was on the wrong track, it could crash into another train, killing hundreds of people.

  One evening, as he was about to switch the tracks for an oncoming train, he suddenly heard the cry of his young son, who had followed him out and was standing on the track he was supposed to switch the train to. This was the dilemma—if he switched the tracks, the train would kill his son. If he didn’t, the people on the train, hundreds of strangers he didn’t even know, might die.

  At the last moment he switched the tracks. The people on the train went on by, not even knowing the disaster they had missed or the little boy who had been killed beneath them. The father went home carrying his son’s broken body.

  I hate that story, but it makes me think. I’ve wondered if, given the same situation, I would change the tracks or not. It’s easy to act noble and say you would when you’re not there, but what if it’s someone you can’t live without? What if it were Taylor standing on the tracks? Or Ostin? Or my mom?

  That takes me back to my father’s plaque about winning a victory for humanity. The war we’re fighting against Dr. Hatch and the Elgen is one the world doesn’t even know about. And just like the guy with the train, if we pull this off, no one on earth, not even you, will ever know how close they came to complete disaster or who was “killed beneath the train.” Like Wade. Or maybe, in the end, all of the Electroclan. If we don’t win, no one will even know that we tried. How’s that for a stupid dilemma? At least we’ll have no reason to die ashamed.

  * * *

  My name is Michael Vey. If you’re still following the insanity of my life, then you’ve been all around the world with me. From my home in Meridian, Idaho (which I doubt I’ll ever see again), we went to California, where we broke into the Elgen Academy and I was captured and put into Cell 25. (Yeah, I still have nightmares about that.) Then we broke out, attacked Dr. Hatch, and freed all his GPs, aka human guinea pigs.

  You went with me to Peru, where we brought down the Elgen Starxource plant after Dr. Hatch tried to feed me to, like, a million rats. It’s also where we lost Wade.

  We traveled west to the Port of Lima, where we sunk two of the Elgen’s boats—their main command ship, the Ampere, and their battleship, the Watt. Unfortunately, Dr. Hatch got off the Ampere just before it blew up.

  Then we went to Taiwan, where we rescued a genius little girl named Jade Dragon before the Elgen could get what she knew out of her head—mainly how to get their MEI machine to make more of us—electric people. It was after our escape from the Taiwan Starxource plant that we found out that the Elgen had attacked Timepiece Ranch, our home base and the resistance’s headquarters in Mexico.

  We flew back to the ranch—or at least what was left of it after the Elgen helicopters bombed it to ashes. We thought that everyone was dead, until we were found by Gervaso, who took us to the resistance’s new headquarters at Christmas Ranch near Zion National Park in southern Utah. Then Taylor, Gervaso, Ian, and I went back to Boise, where we rescued Taylor’s parents.

  Still, in spite of all we’ve done, the Elgen just keep growing stronger. Now we have a plan to stop them once and for all. We’re going to the Elgen base in the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, to steal the Joule—the Elgen’s floating piggy bank. As if that’s not crazy enough, that’s just one of our missions. Hatch has locked up three of his own electric kids for treason—his most powerful: Quentin, Tara, and Torstyn—and we’re going to try to free them. I can’t believe I’m even considering this. Along with Bryan, those are the same three who made fun of me just before Hatch tried to feed me to his rats in Peru.

  This is the first time that all of us electrics (except Grace) will be going on a mission together. Even Tanner and Nichelle. Nichelle will be extremely valuable if Hatch’s electric kids decide not to cooperate. Still, this will be really dangerous for her. She betrayed Hatch the last time they met, and he’s not exactly the forgiving type. I’m guessing he’ll do anything to make her pay for what she did. Then again, I suppose that’s true for all of us.

  I know, the whole plan seems crazy. If I had to lay odds on it, I’d say we’ve got a 10 percent chance of winning this one. I wouldn’t tell everyone else that. If I did, I’d have to drop that number to 1 percent, because if you think you’re going to fail, you most likely will—at least that’s what our gym teacher at Meridian High always said. But whether you think you’re going to lose or not, sometimes you do what you have to do because it’s the right thing, and let the chips fall where they may.

  I think we’re about to drop a whole lot of chips.

  Two Weeks Earlier

  Schema hadn’t spoken for nearly a minute when the voice leaned back in his chair. “What’s wrong, my friend? Cassy got your tongue?”

  “It’s not me, sir,” Cassy said, brushing her short blond hair back over one ear. “I’m not doing anything.”

  “I know, Cass,” the voice said. “The chairman’s in shock. I suppose he wasn’t expecting to see me.”

  “Coonradt,” Schema said.

  “Doctor Coonradt,” the voice corrected. “At least that was once my name. Many years ago. Now I’m simply ‘the voice.’ That is all you will call me.”

  Schema looked even more confused. “But I don’t understand. . . . You were dead.”

  “Because you killed me?”

  Schema said nothing.

  “Don’t bother to deny it. I know that you tried. You used my own technology against me. And, in a way, you succeeded. Coonradt is dead. After you killed Carl Vey, I knew that I was next. I knew that you were behind his heart attack, because it was my technology that allowed you to do it—a mistake I’ve regretted since I invented it.

  “What a simple, perfect way to murder, to give someone a heart attack from a hundred yards away. It’s the perfect weapon. In a way, it’s the same power that Cassy has, except she comes by hers honestly.” He glanced over at Cassy, who slightly nodded.

  “You thought I was dead, but rumors of my death were exaggerated. I was sick, mind you. Quite sick for a while. But then it became clear to me that I had to die.”

  Schema shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “If you knew what I’d done, why did you rescue me from the Elgen? Why not just let Hatch kill me?” He looked into the voice’s eyes. “Why haven’t you already killed me?”

  “Because I want your help to stop Hatch. You have information that will help us dismantle what Hatch is building.”

  “My enemy’s enemy is my friend,” Schema said softly.

  “No,” the voice said in a low tone. “You are not my friend. You are an opportunity. I’m offering you an arrangement, not a friendship. You can help us or not, it’s your choice. But now that you know my identity, if you choose not to cooperate, you will be silenced.”

  Schema blinked. “Silenced?”

  “I believe that’s the word you once used to order my murder,” the voice said. “Hatch would have fed you to his rats. I, on the other hand, am much more merciful. But if you reveal my identity, thousands, maybe millions, will die. Your life is not worth that. So make no mistake, you will be . . . silenced.” The voice turned to Cassy. “Go ahead and attach the arrestor.”

  “Yes, sir,” Cassy said. She walked out of the room.

  “What’s an arrestor?” Schema asked.

  “Your new companion.”

  Cassy walked back into the room carrying a small box. She stood in front of Schema. “Take off your shirt, please.”

  Schema looked at her, then back at the voice. “What are you doing?”

  “Let me be clear,” the voice said. “Your very existence hangs by a thread. Don’t get into the habit of questioning orders. I am not your employee or your subordinate. I do not have time to trifle with you. You will obey me without question or die quickly.” His eyes narrowed and he spoke slowly, care
fully enunciating each word. “Do you understand?”

  “Yes.”

  “Then take it off.”

  Schema quickly pulled off his shirt, exposing his tan, flabby body.

  “Now put your arms through here,” Cassy said.

  The device she was putting on him looked a lot like the Elgen RESAT. Schema put his arms through the straps, and Cassy slid the device forward. A thin, rubber-coated box about the size of a cell phone rested over his heart. Cassy locked the straps, then took the other two straps from the box and brought them around Schema’s ribs and snapped them shut in back.

  “You are familiar with the RESAT machines, of course,” the voice said. “This is patterned after them, but based on the same technology that you used to kill Carl Vey. Except I’ve made a few improvements.” The voice lifted a small remote. “If you are a half mile or more from the central monitor, which is secured somewhere in this building, the arrestor will automatically activate, immediately stopping your heart. If I push this button, right here, the arrestor will activate, stopping your heart. If you try to remove the device, the arrestor will activate, stopping your heart.

  “Of course Cassy can do any of this without technology, but I wanted insurance in case you think you can escape while we’re not around. You will wear the arrestor until I take it off you.”

  Cassy fastened the final lock, then stepped back. The machine hummed quietly as two diodes began blinking.

  “It’s on,” Cassy said.

  The voice lifted the remote in front of him, his index finger hovering a quarter inch above a red button. “One push, and your heart ceases to beat.”

  “I get the idea,” Schema said, sounding more annoyed than scared.

  “Of course you do,” the voice said. “You’ve held others’ lives in your hands for some time. How does it feel to be on the opposite end of the leash?”

  “Humbling,” Schema said. “But Hatch already put me on that end of the leash.”

  “Yes, he has. And it’s time to talk about him. Time is of the essence. We have a plan we are about to put into motion.” The voice leaned forward. “We are going to the heart of the Elgen. We are going to steal the Joule.”

 
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