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Posted by
Feb 14, 2007

Edited on
Feb 14, 2007

Gravity pulled Grey through several feet of stone before he even began to comprehend what was going on. Realization caught up with him, just as his body fell to the floor below. Or at least, it tried. Unfortunately, shock somehow broke whatever focus the youth was unconsciously applying and the stone ceiling had regained it's solidity firmly around his forehead. Panicking at the uncomfortable sensation, which brought back grade-school memories of a particularly tough bully, Grey pushed and strained against his entrapment, but it was as though the stone were a part of his scalp. He frantically thought back to mere moments ago, trying to resummon whatever enabled him to get in this position. But the more he thought, the more he realized he didn't recall doing anything. It just sort of happened. The youth sighed dejectedly. He was stuck. And judging from his experience in prison so far, it wouldn't be good for him to be caught like this.

At that moment, almost as though his thoughts summoned them, voices began echoing their way down the corridor toward the room Grey was trapped in. Although shadowed in the corner, the boy was sure that the owners of these voices would never miss a sixteen-year-old suspended from the ceiling. Thinking fast, he groped around until he found a crack near his head. Getting a firm hold on it, he managed to hoist his body up, resting his feet in an indent toward the top of the nearest wall, pulling himself as close to the ceiling as he could. Praying to any god willing to listen that he remain hidden, Grey watched as two young men walked into the room.

"Are you sure we should be discussing this, Roald?" the first, clad in a charcoal-gray uniform with dark red armor, asked nervously.

"Relax, these aren't command secrets," the one called Roald affirmed, "only rumors passed around the higher ranks. They aren't gonna kill you for being privy to officers' gossip." Apparently the higher ranking of the two, this second man wore a gray uniform similar to the first's, but his armor and helmet were hunter green.

Sensing that his companion was placated, Roald went on. "It seems the boy we brought in earlier is very important to the Conglomerate. You brought him in, you saw what he had with him."

"The Nexus of Fire and Earth..."

Roald nodded. "Supposedly it's the only nexus yet unaccounted for. With it, we would be able to recover the two that were stolen. The others, many believe, are already in the possession of members of the Conglomerate on the other two of the United Worlds."

"If we controlled all the nexus-" the younger soldier realized.

"-the Conglomerate would hold sway over all the Higher Worlds. Earth would no longer maintain it's solitude from the rest of the Higher Worlds." finished the elder. He said it haltingly, as if conflicted over his feelings on the matter. "Weíve been expanding our influence for years. Weíve got members in every major government across the three United Worlds, but apparently thatís not enough. Youíve heard the rumors that the powers of the nexus, when properly combined, can become unimaginable, but no one really knows, since no one has ever held them all. Personally, I think itís nothing more than stories, but I guess there are some who take it more seriously."

"Like the captain?"

"For one. But whether or not the stories are true doesnít really matter. The conglomerate want the nexus. All of them. I donít know why, or how far theyíre willing to go to get them. All Iím sure of is that the boy is somehow key to it all. Some are even saying he came from the Fourth World."

This speculation was heralded by a set of footsteps echoing down the corridor. The red-clad man turned around. "I should go. Iím on patrol." Roald nodded in acknowledgment.

Greyís mind whirled as he tried to process this new information, but he understood very little of it. Obviously he was "the boy" but he knew nothing about the nexus. What were this "Conglomerate" going to do with him when they discovered they could get nothing from him? For a moment he completely forgot his predicament, and in that moment of relaxed concentration, his unconscious reached out to his newly awakened skill and let gravity take him.

Picking himself off the floor, his gaze met an astonished Roald standing in front of him, mouth agape. Recognition came a second later, as did his red-clad friend.

"The boy, heís escaped!"

He instinctively turned his head toward the voice, and Grey took his chance, darting past both soldiers and taking off blindly down the corridor.

"I know.

**** This story is still being written. You, too, can contribute to it by writing the next installment. ****

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