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The Hardship Files

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by UchihaHibiki, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. This is a story I started on fictionpress.com a day or so ago. I wanted the world to see it, so 'Charms is the second place to view it! Enjoy!

    Sort of a re-write of the dead Guidance of Power fic...

    The Hardship Files

    Chapter 1: Cycle

    "So, you're putting me in charge of Team Chrome?" A boy lashed out at a man sitting behind a desk.

    "Look, Andre, I understand you aren't particularly fond with one person on the team, but must you be so offensive by saying their name like that?" The man replies in a less-than-comfortable and gruff voice.

    Andre crossed his arms and raised his brow, curling his lip. "Yes, didn't you hear me?"

    "All right, look...I'm in charge of this organization and I say you are the leader of Team Chrome. So, the deal is, since you OBVIOUSLY don't like Tyler, I will just assign you them for..."

    "Two months..." Andre finished. He zipped up the green jacket he wore and threw the hood up.

    "Fine, then it is..." he stamped a piece of organized paper, "official!" Sliding the paper nonchalantly towards Andre, Andre picked up a pen, licked it and jabbed down his signature in disgust. He threw the pen onto the desk and walked towards the door. The room was carpeted with a soft, mahogany carpet. Andre walked past mahogany chairs. He stepped up the single stair to a slightly elevated floor, slid open the tinted door and walked out into a gale wind.

    Andre tucked his head into his hood. "I really despise his office being on the 100th floor..." He was knocked back a little bit from the wind. Suddenly, his lost his footing and fell towards an iron railing. Throwing his arm out, he flipped back and gained his footing again. "GAH!"

    He started walking forward on the round bridge and finally found a lift that would take him down to a lower floor. He pulled down his hood and stepped lightly onto the lift. Punching in the floor number, the lift 'ka-thunked' and lurched down quickly. As it sailed through the air, Andre smiled as he saw the bottom of the clouds sail away from him. Suddenly, it stopped and he was at the 73rd floor.

    "All right...Team Chrome is down here...and here I...go..." He stepped out onto the gray bridge and circled around the large, tinted windows. Soon, he found a door with the word, 'CHROME' across it. He slid a card key across the door length-wise and opened the door. Inside, a step down was included, along with an aquamarine carpet, burgundy leather sofas and a metallic kitchen. "Hello?"

    Suddenly, from beside him, someone tapped on his shoulder. "Hey! I'm Rebecca!"

    He peered inside the room and saw a girl waving at him. She was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt, brown skirt, white snow boots and she had blue hair down across her back.

    "Hello...I'm Andre, your new team leader..." Andre introduced himself. He was suddenly taken aback by the beauty in her blinking eyes. Her eyes reflected only pristine water in the ocean, being skittered across in the moonlight by water bugs, a dazzling and majestic beauty created in the silkiness and comfort of her pupils. Shaking his head, he turned to face the room. "Anyone else here?"

    "Yeah..." He saw someone stand up at the couch. It was a boy, about 13 and a year younger than Andre. He had messy jet black hair, a red medium-sleeved shirt, gray cargo shorts and hiking boots on. "Andre, eh? My name's Garrret. Gary for short...Nice to meet ya!" He walked towards Andre, and shook hands with him.


    Suddenly, another girl popped up from a hallway leading away from the kitchen.

    "What's uuuuuup!?" She had brown hair in a ponytail and she was wearing a bumble-bee colored short-sleeved shirt with yellow plaid shorts and Keds. "The name's Amanda!" She walks up to Andre and shakes hands with him. All of a sudden, she yanks him closer and inhales deeply a smell of his hair. "Hmm...Strange aura, but you look like a nice person!" She walks away, flipping a Silly Band around her finger.

    "Well...that was strange..." Andre thought to himself.

    He walked forward and glanced around, curious.

    "So...Where is...Tyler...?" As he said the boy's name, he cringed and grit his teeth.

    Gary sauntered towards the kitchen. "What do you mean? He left a few minutes ago...Don't know where he went..." Gary opened the metal fridge and pulled out a pitcher of OJ.

    "I see..." Andre was secretly thinking to himself, "Yes, at least I get a little while without Tyler...So, ah, nice place you got here..." Andre smiled.

    "Thanks...What's your place look like?" Rebecca asked as she poured herself a glass of OJ.

    "Well, when my last team was given a different leader, my I decided I would give them my room. So, Ira assigned me this one with you guys...Er...Hope I don't intrude..."

    Amanda snickered. "Eh...You don't come off as the nicest person around the building...Yeeeeah, no. Why are you acting so nice now?"

    "Want me to be rude?" Andre asked, taking his hands out of his jacket, taking off his hood and unzipping it.

    "No thaaanks. Keep it all in..." Amanda waved her hand and grabbed a pear, tearing into it with her teeth and munching quietly.

    "So, why were you kicked off of your last team?" Rebecca asked between a sup of Orange Juice. "Not if it's too personal..."

    "I wasn't technically kicked off so much as I was replaced..."

    "He was kicked off..." Gary whispered into Rebecca's ear.

    Rebecca gave him a sour look. "Don't say that..."

    "Well, on a mission, one of my team was lost and he never was seen again...So, I was replaced, because they deemed it MY fault it happened..." Andre explained half-heartedly.

    Amanda tossed the core of the pear into a trash bin. Wiping her mouth with her sleeve, she smirked at Andre. "So you're the new leader..." Smirking deeper, she stood straight and saluted. "What is our first mission, Captain!?"

    Andre raised his eyebrow and frowned. "Don't think I'm your sergeant. I'm just another person here..."

    Rebecca smiled and set her empty glass in a Wish-Wash. It sucked the glass into the hole in the center, and spit it back up, clean as a whistle. She set it on the counter. "Okay, so seriously. What's our first assignment?"

    "Well, I'm not quite sure. Ira just sent me down to get acquainted..." Andre explained, scratching his head.

    Rebecca. "Well, it's rather early in the day! Maybe we'll have a mission in a little while..."

    Suddenly, a voice in the ceiling, an intercom, rang.

    Ira's voice traveled over it. "Team Chrome to the main office, ASAP!"

    Amanda smirked. "Ha, you're just a jynxer, Rebecca!" She smiled and galloped out of the large room.
  2. I see you posted your fic on Charms! Again, it's really good and I hope to see more.
  3. This is the chapter that starts the resemblance to Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I am not copying!

    The Hardship Files

    Chapter 2: Paradox I

    Team Chrome piled gently into the main office, Ira's office. Ira, in his green tuxedo, was sitting quaintly at his desk, tapping a pencil and a calm expression on his face, leaned back in his chair.

    "Okay, here's the deal..." He starts. Andre stands at the front of the four teenagers behind him. Amanda had her tongue sticking out the side of her mouth and she was smiling. Gary was fumbling with a strand of hair that fell into his face, while Rebecca had her eyes focused on Ira. "Well, there's some...'mischief' going on in the Round Hills."

    "Wasn't Team Copper sent down there?" Rebecca asked, standing next to Andre now, a worried expression on her face. "Dahlia is on that team!"

    Ira sighed. "Yes. They are on a mission, but they ran into a little...trouble. I decided it would be perfect to send a brand new team on the mission...so..." he slides a sheet of paper forward. At the top it read, 'Mission Statement Form'.

    Andre raised his eyebrows. "Haven't seen one of these in awhile..."

    Amanda piped up and stomped forward. "Wait, aren't there like fourteen new teams starting today!?"

    Ira snickered. "I understand your attempt to try to persuade me to get you out of this, but no. The TAFT tests were three months ago...Um, you should no that, Ms. Peterson!" Ira slammed.

    Amanda sighed and rolled her eyes. "I thought you understood my attempt..." Gary placed a hand on her shoulder and pulled her back. He grinned.

    "Okay..." Andre finished his signature. "We accept the mission, so..." He grabs up the sheet of paper and folds it neatly, setting it in his pocket. "All right...so..." Andre disappears in a flash of light.

    Rebecca beamed. "Is he always like that?" She asked Ira in a strange, heartfelt tone.

    Ira scooted back, aware of the creepiness in her eyes. "Um, yes...Just go!" Ira pointed to the door with extreme displeasure and the four teens grouped out.

    Outside, Rebecca sighed heavily. "So, we're on the first mission of the week!"

    Amanda laughed while leaning on Gary's shoulder. "Ain't that the truth...But it's a blemish on our record if we don't start doing missions soon..."

    Rebecca grinned. "I suppose." Snapping, she turned with a hyped expression. "From here on out, we'll be doing our BEST to impress the leader!"

    Gary released a puff of air. "Why?"

    Rebecca gave him a depressed look. "Really? You're really asking that?"

    Gary swatted an arm in the air, a hopeful expression. "No, duh!" He laughed and the three teens headed over to the Transport machine.

    Gary knocked down the sunglasses on the top of his head. The solar light created an eerie glare that cast sharply off of the plastic.

    Later, the teens crowded into the large room and quickly sped into their separate bedrooms.

    Andre opened the mahogany wooden door, coated with a deep maroon paint, and stepped through the kitchen.

    He wore a white T-shirt with a red jacket over it, black jeans, loose plaid belt around it and Keds. He leaned on the counter and counted the minutes that passed. About twelve minutes later, by his own lackluster standards, Gary came out of his bedroom, leaving his dark brown door open.

    "'Sup?" Gary said simply as he walked out. He was wearing a short-sleeved black shirt, a wristband on each hand and an arm-warmer high up on his upper arm, black sunglasses, a titanium chain hanging from his front and back pocket, black shorts and black boots.

    "Going goth today?" Andre joked.

    "Course not. Not my day..." Gary replied, laughing.

    Rebecca walked out of her room, laughing. "Yeah, his goth days are Wednesdays and Sundays only!" She twirled as she came out of her room. A blue scarf around her neck whizzed past Andre and Gary's heads. Her hair flowed gently over her satin scarf, which was on top of a light blue, short-sleeved shirt. She also donned aquamarine shorts and high-top shoes. Finally, a bag slung over her right shoulder.

    Andre smiled. "What's with the ah..." gesturing to the scarf.

    "Ah, this is an Aqua Scarf. See, I use the Water Element, so..." She tossed it back over her head. Andre then noticed the lavender goggles tucked in her hair.

    "What are those for?"

    "I don't like getting water in my eyes...and I'm not all that great with my element..." Rebecca seemed to flash the beauty in her eyes through Andre's.

    "So, we're heading out, right?" Amanda skipped out, a headphone in her ear, listening to some rock music. She was wearing a purple and white striped shirt under a yellow jacket. In her black hair was a bumble-bee colored headband that kept her hair straight spiky in the back. She also had on blue jeans and gold and black high-tops.

    Andre nodded approvingly. "Right. To Round Hills...Team, move out!" Andre pointed sharply to the door and everyone crowded out.

    Outside, Andre reached into the bag on his side and pulled out a red armbrace.

    "Ah, the thing that allows us to control specific elements..." Sliding it onto his wrist, he flicks a button and the entire thing glows crimson red. "Fire...On!"

    Rebecca retrieved her cuff from her bag and slipped it on. Clamping it shut tight, it flickered light blue. "Water...On!"

    Gary had already been holding his, and clicked it on. It glowed light tan. "Geo Earth...On!"

    Amanda smirked and pulled hers out of her jacket. Slipping it on, it glowed almost transparent, if that was possible. "Wind...On!"

    Rebecca tapped on Gary and Amanda's shoulders and pointed to the boards leaning up against the side of the room.

    "Guys, we almost forgot!" Rebecca sauntered towards the blue board and picked it up, setting it on the ground flat again. She stepped on it, and it hovered above the steel as if there was no gravity.

    Gary grabbed the tan one and set it down, stepping on it and floating. "Ah...love this thing!"

    Amanda did the same with a white one.

    Andre took a small, geometric cube from his bag and tossed it into the air. It unfolded and latched into a fiery red board. "Mine's the latest in ElementGard technology...faster and smoother than the 4th Generation board!" The board hovered in front of him, and he flipped stylishly onto it, skating over the railing and down the side of the building, away from the railings and boardwalks. The three teens above winked at each other and followed.

    The wind whistled through all of their hair, blowing it back and throwing it all over the place. Gary placed his arms behind his head, but soon flipped and placed them back out for support and balance.

    "Hahahaha!" Rebecca laughed as she sailed forward. As everyone approached the ground, 100 floors below, they curved sharply upwards and were soon racing across the green fields.

    Andre was still way ahead, smiling and sticking his tongue out at his accomplices behind him.

    Soon, they reached a large landspace where hills were inclining steeply and rocks were jutting out the top. Andre landed on one of the tallest hills and gazed out over the land.

    Rebecca and the other teammates settled next to him. After a moment, Amanda frowned. "There's no-one out here..."

    Suddenly, they were knocked back roughly as something exploded in front of them. Gary went rolling down the opposite side of the hummock, but he summoned a ledge that caught him and Amanda, as well as Andre and Rebecca.

    They saw a teenager, age of Andre, get fought back slowly at the peak of the hill. Someone was kicking and throwing sharp punches at him. He flipped and kicked the boy in the chin, causing him to tumble. He landed with a thud on the rock.

    Andre turned him over. The unconscious boy was recognized. "J-Joshua?!"

    "Hello. I just took care of your friend..." The bald man at the top said sheepishly, almost. He had on a Japanese-style green robe. "I am Adox...Pleasure to meet you..." He flipped and came down with a straight, powerful leg in a drop-kick.

    "No..." Andre started, "pleasure's ours!" He jumped, a hand of fire and pressed against Adox's leg, flipping him and thrusting him into the hard hummock. Suddenly, another man appeared in mid air, an orange robe and equally bald, and threw a knee into his gut. Andre was projected in a smaller hummock behind the team.

    "What the...Ha!" Gary stood and thrust his leg upwards, throwing a pillar of rock into the other man, lobbing him into the air. Amanda slammed her hand into the rock, and a burst of wind rushed quickly up the rock, exploding it on the end and shooting a powerful pulsating wind blast into the man. He fell on the top of the hill.

    "Are they...dead?" Rebecca asked, standing erect now.

    Suddenly, Adox pushed himself forcefully out of the hill, and landed in front of them on the ledge, completely unscathed. The man on the top of the hummock stood straight and popped his neck.

    "I am Par. Together..." The man slid down the hill and landed next to Adox. They did a sliding formation and ended in a sort of 'X'. "We are..."

    Together, they chanted, "Paradox!"

    "Really? That's so interesting..." Amanda replied.

    Suddenly, a figure shot past her form and placed hands on both of their chests. In a moment, a large, fiery explosion rocked the land. It incinerated Paradox and the hill, leaving a burned mark through the ground and into the next hill. Andre stood, gasping for breath on the ledge in front of his team.

    The ledge tumbled to the ground. Gary quickly grabbed Joshua. When they hit rock bottom, Gary grabbed his protected board and hopped on it, traveling to the other side of the opposite hill.

    There, he stopped and saw four figures, unconscious on the ground.

    "Of course..." He said sadly.
  4. Nice story idea, Hibiki. I like your sense of detail you describe your characters with.

    Also, this would be an awesome Rp xD
  5. Thanks Shooter! Means a lot someone likes it!


    The Hardship Files

    Chapter 3: Destination Eureka

    Four days later...

    Gary and Andre were sitting in Ira's abandoned office, across from Joshua, leader of Team Copper. Andre sighed and took a drink of water from a metal bottle.

    "Hey, I still can't thank you guys enough for rescuing us..." Joshua said solemnly.

    Andre pointed at Joshua, a smirk on his face. "This means-"

    "No! It doesn't!" Joshua laughed, cutting in. "We're still on equal terms!"

    Gary glanced towards Andre with a questionable expression.

    Andre blinked. "Sorry. Josh and I have been rivals ever since we met each other at the - a few years ago..." He explained, deep in thought.

    "Yep!" Josh followed.

    Gary nodded, and clapped his hands together. "Well, I'm gonna head back up to the room..."

    "We're supposed to wait for Ira..." Josh replied as he started walking away from the couch.

    "You guys are, not me," Gary shot back. He opened the door and was gone in a second.

    Back in their room, Rebecca stood against the counter. She placed her hand on her head and tore off the blue hair she had. It had been a wig, and she tossed it in the trash, as her long black-brown hair flowed down her back.

    "You need to stop wearing that wig...Your natural hair is so much better, Reb," Amanda commented from across the counter.

    Rebecca smiled widely. "Thanks..." Rebecca thumped the counter then stood straight and walked down the stair and into the relaxation area, where a girl was sitting on the couch.

    "Rebecca, I should be heading back to our room," the girl chimed cheerily as she stood up. She had short red hair, a face that said 'Hello!', yellow sweater and blue jeans, along with white boots.

    "Okay, Dahlia. See ya later!" Rebecca waved as Dahlia climbed another stair and opened the door, exiting the room. As she exited, another form walked in. Gary raised his eyebrows and lowered them again as he entered.

    "Girls, let's get to Ira's office. He wanted Andre and Josh to stay there, but I think he wants...all of us..."

    "He would have said that if he did though, right?" Amanda asked, staring at her gPhone.

    "It was implied," Gary stated simply.


    In Ira's office, Ira stepped inside, his head down. Walking towards his desk, he stopped and leaned on it.

    "Hey, Ira," Andre greeted.

    "Cut the chit chat," Ira snapped.

    "Oh, okay then," Andre sneered back, pulling his body back further on the sofa.

    "Look. I need Team Chrome to head ASAP over to Eureka. There are some things going on there..." Ira's face seemed to crack.

    "Eh?" Andre uttered.

    "Okay, look. I just want to send your team on a small reconnaissance mission to Eureka. Just stay there a week or two, pick up any information that you may be able to find on those two guys that fought you and Team Copper before."

    "Par and Adox?" Andre asked. Ira nodded.

    "Wait. If this has something to do with Team Copper, then we should have the obligation to accompany Team Chrome on this mission!" Joshua negated, standing up.

    "I don't think so. Too many people might draw attention. This is a rule as well in the EW Rule Book. A total of one team, or five people and under, are allowed to handle a recon mission, no matter the situation, time or place," Ira replied begrudgingly.

    Joshua steamed a bit, then finally ceased his argument and sat down with a thunk.

    On the outside of the tinted glass, Gary, Rebecca and Amanda had their ears pressed against the glass.

    "Don't you think they can see us?" Amanda asked.

    "Nope, tinted on both sides," Gary replied, pressing tighter against the window.

    "Isn't that a little redundant?" Amanda asked.

    Rebecca nodded and shrugged, then pressed her cheek against the window. Suddenly, the door slid open and the three teens tumbled over each other into the doorway. Andre teetered back at the struggle, and stepped down the stair.

    "What the heck?! Were you guys eavesdropping?!" Andre snarled.

    "Whaaaaat? Nooooo!" Amanda waved her hand, picking herself up off the carpet. She placed a hand on Gary and Rebecca's shoulders and helped them up as well.

    "Then I guess you heard we're heading out to Eureka then?" Andre asked.

    "I said we WEREN'T!" Amanda insisted.

    "Yeah, we heard. When do we leave?" Rebecca asked, clapping a hand over Amanda's mouth. Amanda opened her mouth and bit Rebecca. Rebecca's hand turned to water, as she bit it, as she had her Elemental Cuff activated. "Ha!"

    Amanda smirked and swallowed the water that had traveled into her mouth. "Ha!"

    Andre shoved his way through his team. "I myself think we should leave tomorrow..."

    "Today!" Ira called as the door shut, everyone on the outside. Joshua took off towards the lift.

    "Fine...I guess we head to Eureka today!" Andre exclaimed.

    Later, Team Chrome stood at the base of the tallest building in the land. The wind was lashing their hair around. The air was tense, as their hearts were pounding with ease heavy breath they took. The first mission to another, totally different, foreign place.

    "Take off!" Andre called. His team were already on their boards as the first word slipped from his lips. They were off. Destination: Eureka.


    The lands ahead were all rolling green hills, meadows of spring-fresh flowers and animals frolicking, enjoying the freedom of nature. Recently, all had been calm, so this freedom was unlimited to the source. All kinds of playfulness occurred here and there and everyone was happy.

    Soon, over the horizon, Amanda spotted a silhouette.

    "Guys...could that be it?" She shouted, her forearm over her forehead to block the blaring sun from obscuring her vision.

    Andre, doing the same thing with his arm, craned his neck to get a better glance. "Possibly...Does it look futuristic?"

    "No!" Gary called, as he finally spotted the shadow.

    "Then it's Eureka!" Andre chuckled.

    Further up, the dormant city lie rather vacant. The entrance was a large, cracked arch with one of the pillars broken and a large crevice in the U shape at the top. The sod beyond that held broken promises. Windows in large buildings were shattered, wood and glass lay sprawled across the ground across a large span of land. All of the buildings were the same, broken, disrupted, distorted. Except for one building at the very end of the small town. A large mansion stood, plated in marble, brand new columns and just a marvelous structure altogether.

    "This place is tattered..." Amanda observed as she stepped off of her board just beyond the entrance gate.

    "I know...It's sad..." Rebecca replied as she felt the unbroken limestone column.

    Gary and Andre had gone a little farther ahead.

    "And to think this is where I was born...I can't believe I let it go to ruins like this!" Gary exclaimed as he slammed his fist into the post of a large wooden building. A tear slid down his cheek and fell to a rotten wooden stair below him. "This is just wrong! I shouldn't have left...!"

    "But, you had to!" Amanda snapped back as she appeared next to him. "This city was being taken over..."

    "I know what happened!" Gary snarled as he threw his hand out. He turned and started quickly to where Andre was standing.

    Andre was observing two large buildings that had collapsed into each other.

    "This doesn't look like a natural incident, does it?" Andre asked to Gary who had finally caught up to him.

    "Not really..." said the boy as he wiped his face with his sleeve. Suddenly, the buildings lurched and a large cloud of smoke clouded the radius of the city, up until the area where the pricey building was located. Amanda turned on her cuff and whipped up a bubble of pressurized wind the locked the smoke clods away and threw them elsewhere.

    The teens coughed from the dust that had already captured them. "What was that?!" Rebecca shouted.

    Andre walked closer to the buildings that had finally crumbled into one, scraggly pile. "Not sure...Let's just check out that mansion thing..." Andre pointed, while covering his mouth with his sleeve, at the building mentioned before.

    Amanda winced. "I don't know. The creepy house that never has anything inflicted upon it and is new in an old town is always the place someone gets killed..." She nodded her head towards Andre. "And it's always the one in red."

    Andre looked at her with a lazy, disappointed expression. "You're so nice. But we're GOING into that mansion! Now, come on!"

    The four teens, reluctantly, started a trek towards the building.

    As they got closer, they could see that there was a shimmering dome around the structure. They could also see a large mound with cracked, marble stairs leading towards the mansion.

    "That is soooo cliche!" Rebecca input.

    Andre approached the force that was in the shape of a dome. He started to touch it, but a spark of electricity zapped him and his hand flew back.

    "Gah. It must be a Shock Barrier. These are made for protection, and also for discrepancy against other backgrounds. I don't know...Maybe we can get through this thing..." He clicked his cuff on a ball of fire formed on his palm. His entire hand glowed an orange sheen. He touched the barrier with the orb of fire. Suddenly, an explosion threw him backwards, rolling across the ground and stopping at his team's feet.

    "That didn't work..." Rebecca laughed.

    "I know what to do..." Amanda pressed her hands together. She touched Gary and suddenly, he was shot through the air.

    "AHHHH! WHAT THE HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee..." There was an opening at the top of the dome, and he fell inside. As he plummeted, he screamed. All of a sudden, he thudded to the ground. Standing up weakly, he spit sod out of his mouth. "I will get you for that!" Pointing, he shouted at Amanda.

    Amanda smirked. "That's the way to get in, at least...Rebecca? Andre?" Amanda pressed her hands together.

    "Sure..." Rebecca and Andre said in unison. She touched both of them, and they were projected through the air like missiles. Falling through the top of the dome, Andre landed on top of Gary and took them both down. Rebecca landed on the part of Gary that Andre missed. Gary steamed and tossed them both of him. Standing, he stomped his feet.

    "QUIT THAT!" Suddenly, another form landed on top of him. Amanda scooted off of him and stood up, holding in her laughter. She helped Gary up. Gary stomped and Amanda was lifted a few feet off the ground and thrown on her back.

    "Hey!" Amanda snapped.

    "That's too bad..." Gary rolled his eyes.

    "Children! Stop fighting! We have to see what's inside this mansion..." Andre turned their attention to the four flights of stairs that led to the now what seemed gigantic mansion.

    "That's just a little intimidating..." Amanda whimpered.

    Here's a Preview for Chapter 4: Doppelgangers

    The metal door slid open slowly and eerily, almost inviting the group inside. It was dark and dank, with no lights on.

    Andre stepped inside. Pillars on either side held up the second floor where it was open like a patio, but full with doors that led into what seemed like bedrooms. This main room had a long, purple carpet that led towards a dark doorway with what looked like nothing beyond it. Papers were scattered across the floor, black substance was smeared all over the room, making the carpet look darker then it really was, and the blue diamond pattern tiles black. The blue paint on the walls was turning gray and peeling at some places. A chandelier hung form the ceiling, and it looked completely untouched.

    Andre formed a ball of fire and tossed it at the Flame-Lighting chandelier. It ignited and illuminated the room, showing how much more horrible it was.

    Suddenly, noises were heard from the halls on either side of the team behind where the pillars held up the second floor. Shadows skittered across the entire room. In a moment, a shadow lay before each one of the team members. As they stepped forward or tried to analyze them, they cropped up into a perfect circle and forms started rising from them. After a few tense moments, four figures, that looked exactly like the people they were in the presence of, were staring into the eyes of the team members.

    "What the heck!?" Rebecca shouted.

    "...Doppelgangers," Andre said simply, choke in his voice.
  6. The Hardship Files

    Chapter 4: Doppelgangers

    Stairs were trailing behind the teens as they ascended the large steps towards there ever-beckoning destination of the large house that loomed closer and closer with every single clatter of a step on the marble.

    As they approached the top, it was more eerie than they had hoped. From a distance, it looked perfectly new, but up close, there were small indents and cracks and even black explosion smudges where it looked as if a fight occurred where they stood. A large titanium door sat in front of them. The contents on the other side were all that pulled Team Chrome to fall further.

    "Are you sure we should do this?" Gary asked.

    None of them answered. Gary hung his neck a little as Andre knocked on the door.

    With one begrudging rap, the metal door slid open slowly and eerily, almost inviting the group inside. It was dark and dank, with no lights on.

    Andre stepped inside. Pillars on either side held up the second floor where it was open like a patio, but full with doors that led into what seemed like bedrooms. This main room had a long, purple carpet that led towards a dark doorway with what looked like nothing beyond it. Papers were scattered across the floor, black substance was smeared all over the room, making the carpet look darker then it really was, and the blue diamond pattern tiles black. The blue paint on the walls was turning gray and peeling at some places. A chandelier hung form the ceiling, and it looked completely untouched.

    Andre smirked. "Hasn't been fondled with..." Andre formed a ball of fire and tossed it at the Flame-Lighting chandelier. It ignited and illuminated the room, showing how much more horrible it was. "Until now."

    The rest of the team reluctantly, stepped inside and took a look around.

    Suddenly, noises were heard from the halls on either side of the team behind where the pillars held up the second floor. Shadows skittered across the entire room. In a moment, a shadow lay before each one of the team members. As they stepped forward or tried to analyze them, they cropped up into a perfect circle and forms started rising from them. After a few tense moments, four figures, that looked exactly like the people they were in the presence of, were staring into the eyes of the team members.

    "What the heck!?" Rebecca shouted.

    "...Doppelgangers," Andre said simply, choke in his voice.

    Andre's Doppelganger laughed and his face turned to darkness, and suddenly, all of them disappeared up the columns and into different rooms of the mansion. Andre waved two fingers.

    "Split!" Andre and Gary took one side of the second floor, splitting into two rooms, and likewise with Rebecca and Amanda on the opposite side.

    In Gary's area, the entire room was illuminated by two lights hanging from the ceiling. He closed the door silently and took a look around. A bed was in the far right corner. It was bare, with a mattress and a single, cover-less pillow at the head. Gary sauntered over to another opening that led into what was a bathroom. Gary slid cautiously inside and sniffed.

    "Aerosol and Ammonia...Been cleaned recently," he observed skilfully. Suddenly, an item clinked into the room and the door shut, locking him inside. The metal item released some sort of gas. Gary struggled to knock hard on the door. Stomping his foot, he realized he couldn't do anything with earth, because there was none. "Let me out! Let me...out!" his voice started to trail as his energy was drained. Sliding down the door, he slumped, unconsciously, onto the tile floor. The door opened and he was pushed back. The room beyond was now dark, and the lights lay shattered on the floor.

    In Amanda's Room...

    Amanda sat on a bed, feeling under the mattress. It was almost the exact duplicate of the room Gary went inside. She slid her hand out from under the mattress and out came a book onto the floor. She knelt down from the bed and picked it up. Blowing it in, she cleared the musty dust from the top of it. Faded words were etched onto the front in a gentle, knitting pattern, as if done by a seamstress.

    She opened it up. The front page was blank. Turning the pages, all of them were blank. She closed it and read the front.

    "Quantum...What could Quantum by itself mean?" Amanda thought to herself. Suddenly, she glanced up as the door, one that also led to a bathroom, opened. A figure walked out and closed the door.

    "Who are you?!" The man asked with a startled expression and disfigure. He had on a brown overcoat, scraggly brown hair, black boots, black pants and a white shirt. His tie was missing the end half, as if it had been cut off.

    "Um..." Amanda shot up. "My name's Amanda, of Team Chrome from the Element Foundation..." She said nervously.

    The man sighed heavily. "Finally, an ally!"

    "Eh? Ally? But...how can you be a member? Wait...are you a Free Agent or Rogue member?!" Amanda said defensively, rearing back in a striking position, her cuff glowing.

    "Oh no, of course not. Just a Single. I was once on a team, but now I'm just a Single Actor!" He replied anxiously, waving his hands in defense.

    "I see..." Amanda said, settling herself. "What are you doing here anyway?"

    "Like I said, I was on a team before. I came here a couple of years ago, with my previous team..." He explained. Amanda was sure now that he was about 20 or so. "When we got here, we engaged in a fierce battle with the enemy, and in the end, my teammates, Anna and Jack, were killed. Now I, Clyde, must avenge them by destroying this place!"

    Amanda turned her head and twisted her face in sadness. "That's sad...Well, come on, we can get out of here now!" As she said this, a shadow loomed over the door and the light that hung from the ceiling collapsed onto the floor. Amanda skid back.

    In the main hall, Rebecca stepped onto the purple carpet with a man, same appearance as Clyde stepped with her.

    "Thank you for helping me..." The man said to the girl who was now facing her.

    "No problem!" Suddenly, Rebecca saw Amanda walking from the dark room towards her. "Huh? Amanda? You got done before me, I see!" Amanda stopped and her eyes turned black. "Amanda?" Rebecca took a step, and Amanda exploded in a shadow that constricted itself around Clyde. Clyde's eyes turned black and he himself exploded in a red-eyed shadow. As Rebecca blinked, she saw Andre standing in front of her, a sad expression on his face.

    "Rebecca! Everyone else is dead! It's just you and I now..." He took her hands in his own and stepped closer to her.

    "What? Andre...everyone died?!" She shrieked, oblivious to what was happening.

    Andre leaned closer.

    In a moment, a spark of fire was in front of Rebecca's eyes and she keeled backwards. The shadow in front of her burned out in incinerating flames. It wasn't Andre, it was a doppelganger. Andre hopped down from the railing of the second floor and landed in front of Rebecca.

    "Rebecca...!" Andre said as he dashed past her and sailed onto the second floor of the opposite side. "I think Amanda's in trouble! Check on Gary!" Andre found the door Amanda went inside. He tried to turn the knob, but nothing except the knob turning freely in one direction. "What the..."

    Rebecca snapped herself back to reality and quickly headed towards Gary's room after jumping into the second floor. She opened his door and found nothing. Total, eclipsing darkness.

    "Gary?" She called. No reply. Slamming the door, she shouted across the railing, "Andre! Gary's not in there!"

    Andre grimaced. "WHAT IS GOING OOOOOOON!?" He shouted at the top of his lungs. Suddenly, the door to Amanda's room opened and Clyde came spilling out. Rebecca noticed and her eyebrows furrowed.

    "What the heck?" Rebecca asked outloud. The man in front of Andre on the floor suddenly vanished in shadows and they crept across the railing and downwards, then into the room where pitch black darkness was seen. Amanda fell from the room Andre stood in front of into his arms. She was sweating and breathing heavily.

    "Shadows...the darkness...evil..." She breathed as her heart rate finally settled. Andre carried her over the railing and on the bottom floor, set her on the carpet. Rebecca finally joined them, and summoned some water from her hands, placing her hands on Amanda's head to soothe her.

    "What is happening here..." Rebecca asked.

    "No idea...but Gary's still gone and who was that Clyde guy?" Andre replied in question.

    "Well..." Rebecca started. Amanda started mumbling all of a sudden.

    "A guy...who lost his team before...here..."

    "Yeah...that's him...but how did we both...unless..." Rebecca scratched.

    "He was one of the doppelgangers. That guy may not exist!" Andre concluded.

    "Anymore..." Rebecca finished.

    Andre glanced down solemnly as Rebecca was cooling Amanda.

    Suddenly, four shadows slid out of the backroom. They were stranded, as if they were being held in the darkness. As they crept towards the team, a figure walked out. He was holding the four shadows on four of his fingertips. He was a tall man that looked like Clyde, the man who had been a doppelganger.

    He laughed in a smooth, manly voice. "Wow. I suppose you've figured it out. Yes, it was true that Anna and Jack were killed, but it was a little different than Clyde...I mean I, explained it," he explained. His voice was enticing, like it was a harp played in complete silence. It was like a trickster's voice. "Anna and Jack were, in themselves, two Free Agent. However, I was the one who fought them and I killed them. The form you see here, and the form the two girls there saw, was actually Jack until I took over his form and turned his appearance into my doppelganger. My shadows here...help me with the plan to take everyone in the world's appearance and for me to be able to transform into anyone I wish...Now, I can only take a form for more than a few dozen minutes if I kill them first...otherwise, I revert back to my true form." He flicked his fingers and the shadows returned to him. "But I've come to like this form, and I've had it for awhile...Anyway, I shall introduce myself!" He twisted his body and stood straight. The overcoat reverted to a brand new coat, the pants' tatters were renewed, his hair was fixated back into place, and his shirt tucked itself. "I am Ian, the Shadow Master!"

    Andre grimaced and stood up. "I understand it makes you more respectable the longer spiel you give up, but nothing..." his hand turned to fire, "and I mean, nothing, will make us be intimidated by you. Now, if you'll just give us our friend..."

    Ian's eyes glimmered wistfully. "Which one?"


    Dead Silence.

    "What? What do you mean, 'which one'?" Amanda asked, sitting up.

    Ian's had turned as black as a shadow and he placed it on his forehead. A large light spread throughout the orange glow from the chandelier. The fire went out and the only light was from Ian and Andre's hand. Suddenly, the light faded and a boy, about 14, stood in front of the three teens.

    Rebecca and Amanda's eyes grew big.

    "Hey!" The boy waved his hand and greeted.

    "T-Tyler!?" Amanda shouted. Ian placed his hand on his head and turned back into Jack, or better yet, Ian.

    "If this gives you a hint..." Ian's eyes glimmered sharply. "I can stay in that form for a long time..."

    Amanda screamed.

    Preview for Chapter 5: The Spectrum

    "They were different colored bands?" Amanda laughed.

    "That's almost funny!" Andre joined.

    Rebecca nudged Andre. "No it isn't..."

    Ira sighed. "This group is not to be messed with. They are the most dangerous people..." Ira was cut off.

    "Why?" Andre interrupted.

    "I was getting to that! They are eight individuals that were rejected all at different points in time at the TAFT tests. These eight are actually people who can keep grudges. THey formed their own alliance that plans to take over and destroy the Elemental Incorporation. It is dire they never receive any outsider information..." Ira explained.

    "What is their name?" Andre inquired.

  7. Ohoho, I see chapter four is here... WTF, SHADOW MASTER. Great idea, and is kept me on the edge of my seat, even though this isn't a movie. Anyways, the Spectrum, I'm sensing a Pink Floyd allusion... I don't know, I'm just thinking that. Can't wait for MOAR.
  8. Eh? :o

    Thanks though! :D
    #8 UchihaHibiki, Jul 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013

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