Operation the 1st - Saving Alec

Darkness, musty air, and the cold metal of her laboratory cell. This was the only life Guenevere knew. Nothing more, nothing less. Her world was filled with hi-tech laboratory equipment, syringes, drugs, scientists, and the not knowing of who or what she was. Intelligent, yes she was, but what use was such intelligence when she didn't even know what her name was, what a name itself was? All this "guinea pig" knew was that her sole purpose was to serve the needs of the professors she had learned to accept as her masters. That is, until one fateful day when an odd group of characters appeared at the Thompson Splicing and Genetics Lab. The lab was nestled in a small valley on an isolated island off the coast of Mexico, a clever place to have a laboratory when you're trying to hide something.

At the time, one of the many scientists was drawing blood from Guenevere's thin right arm. He was delicate about it, even had the nerve to caress her arm as he drew the thick red blood. As always, Guenevere would flinch. She hated her treatment, detested it. The scientists always treated her either as a sex toy or a pathetic piece of lab equipment. Though she did not agree with her abysmal treatment as a test subject, she willingly gave in to their notions. On more unprejudiced terms perhaps she would have retaliated, and God knows she would have too, if it were not for the shock collar that clung fast to her neck.

As usual, the scientists at TSGL would take test samples from her, inject her with viruses and watch with awe as they miraculously had no effect, and basically, it was just an ordinary day. Nothing was out of the norm at the lab. Well, that's the way it seemed anyways.

Guenevere easily recalled the harsh knocking at the large ashen colored steel doors of the lab. It was indeed strange, for no one knew of the lab's whereabouts save for those who worked within it's metal walls. Despite that fact, no one bothered to answer the door, it would surely subside after a while. But instead, the knocking persisted. With an exasperated sigh, Professor Sheldon raced to the doors and opened them with great gusto.

To his surprise, there was not a single soul standing before him. Puzzled, he looked around outside once more, and found that sure enough, no one was there. Shrugging out of sheer perplexity, the professor shut the doors. No sooner had the doors been shut when a round of rapid gunfire was heard, and then accompanied by the hard thud of Professor Sheldon's bullet wounded body as it crashed to the tiled floor. Guenevere's eyes, along with all the others that were in the facility, shot to the lab front. There stood two figures dressed in black garb, one handling a machine gun while the other held an impressive ninja sword. It appeared that they had clung to the sides of the doors, and when Professor Thompson opened them he allowed them inside.

But Guenevere could not stare at them for long, for Professor Vernon and another scientist had begun to hurriedly drag her away roughly by the arms. Guenevere screeched and screamed incomprehensibly as she tried to unsuccessfully break away from their grips, but she was too weak in her current state to even fight back. All she could do was watch fearfully as the two figures behind followed in hot pursuit upon their heels.

She could not understand. Why were these strange people here? And why were the professors taking her away? She wondered to herself, hoping that somehow someone would answer her. Without an answer, Guenevere continued to scream and struggle to loosen the grips of the professors. Her questions needed answering.

All of a sudden, a door was opened and a bright light poured itself upon Guenevere. So bright a light it was that Guenevere's eyes were totally blinded. Again, she screeched, but this time in pain and agony. She could not shield her poor eyes from the powerful rays of the sun with her arms for they were contained by the grasps of the professors. Guenevere could not see, but her hearing remained untainted however. The sound of yells from foreign voices echoed behind her, most definitely they belonged to the two men who had taken down Professor Sheldon. "They're taking her, we've got to catch them!" one of them yelled.

Then there was a rush of footsteps from behind. All of a sudden, the weight on Guenevere's left side where Professor Vernon had been fell limp and a thud was heard through the desolate parking lot. Blood from the fallen professor spattered itself upon Guenevere's face, a warm welcoming and comforting feeling, almost like an affectionate caress. That was what the blood felt like to Guenevere.

The voice of the professor at her right squealed in terror beside her. "Please, no! Please!" he pleaded, but it was too late.

"Goodnight," the swordsman stated coldly. Guenevere knew it was the swordsman for she could hear the whizzing sound the blade made as it sliced through the air and made it's way through the professor's shoulder at a diagonal angle. And then the cracking sound as it cut through the spinal cord and down to the thigh. And finally, the satisfying noise of the two halves of the body falling to the ground, a pool of blood already collecting around them.

The poor Guenevere fell to the ground, with no support she was rendered helpless. She lay there, a few feet away from the two dead professors. All was silent. But then two strong arms were wrapped around her, and for once a feeling of security enveloped itself around Guenevere, for once she felt safe. The shadow of her other savior, the gunman, shielded her from the piercing rays of the sun, but she refused to open her eyes.

"Is the cleanup crew coming?" the swordsman asked anxiously.

"Yes," the other stated bluntly, "I radioed it in to headquarters while I took down all the splicers I could find in that God-forsaken lab..." the man paused, "But I think a few managed to escape." he finally alleged as he slapped a fist into his palm.

The young swordsman sighed, why did he allow himself to do these operations? "We'll deal with them later. Besides, we have this little lady to worry about now.." he replied.

But after those words were spoken, Guenevere tuned out. She was too tired to stay awake. And so she fell asleep and lay limply in the large arms of the swordsman in a total comatose state.


It had been a good, fast-paced year since that day. Guenevere stood on the balcony of her second story bedroom at her new home, the Parcae Institute. The institute was situated in the suburbs of the pleasant city Paloma. It was here that the swordsman and gunman had taken her after rescuing her from the laboratory. The Institute's Director, Rolf Lugovskaya, immediately became Guenevere's mentor. He did whatever it took to get her to trust him, and truthfully, she trusted him with all her heart.

Rolf let his newest protégé take her time in adjusting to such new surroundings. In order to make her feel safe, he assigned Pierce to watch over the female vamp. Pierce was an amazing swordsman; his skill unmatched practically worldwide. He was also the very same swordsman that saved Guenevere, cradled her in his arms, and made her feel safe. And that made him the perfect guard over her, he already felt strongly about protecting her.

Guenevere adjusted; she got to know the inhabitants of the huge institute. There was Christian, the automatic toting fallen angel with an attitude. He smoked, he drank liquor, and it's no wonder why he was cast out of heaven. However, he left with some of his original power despite the fact that he had taken human form. As soon as Rolf caught word of this, he sought out to find the angel and recruit him for his latest project: The Talented.

Then there was Pierce. The exiled demon; forced to possess a fetus and be born into the human world after wandering the Go-Between for several hundreds of years. His weapon of choice was his prized ninja sword. It was forged from the Underworld, his home, and was his only possession from his native land. He, like Christian, had his abilities. And Rolf jumped at the chance to have the demon join the ranks. His proposition was not met without opposition however, and it was quite the struggle to convince Pierce to join forces.

And finally, there was Rolf. But despite how comfortable Guenevere felt around him, she did not know his abilities or his intentions for recruiting such powerful beings. She herself had abilities.. Guenevere just didn't know what they were. And Rolf was determined to discover what her abilities were.

Before any missions could be started, Guenevere was required to know of what they were fighting, and why. Rolf was intelligent, make no mistake, and how he got his information was a mystery to her. Anyhow, she trusted him. He told her things she never knew. Things such as how Professor Thompson, the head scientist of Thompson Corp., was involved in several illegal and inhumane scientific studies. She was one of his subjects. Somehow, the insane professor managed to abduct children and use them for his experiments. Guenevere had been one of those children. Though unable to reckon those days, she knew that she had been abducted.

Thompson was cruel. Not only did he abduct children, but animals alike. He and his faculty conducted splicing experiments on these subjects. Years before, Thompson presented his research to another science group he had worked for; they, however, rejected his preposterous ideas. Enraged with his colleagues' disapproval, the insane Thompson went out and recruited his own subordinates. Thompson and Co. were more like a cult than a group of professional scientists. Their experiments were gruesome, and it wasn't uncommon to hear the screams of pain and anguish emanating from the lab. That is, if you were close enough to hear it.

Guenevere was a result of one of these inhumane experiments. Thompson, being the twisted man that he was, felt that it would be an amazing breakthrough if he and his colleagues created a vampire. To think! A real vampire! He was ecstatic about the idea and made sure that his colleagues agreed. They did, of course, and the professors captured several vampire bats. After selectively choosing a vampire bat, their next task was to choose a human subject. They found a pretty little girl. A dark haired beauty, with icy blue eyes. Yes, she was perfect. So, the girl was abducted and then spliced. The end result held some quirks; needed a little more "oomph" for show, but she was indeed a fine specimen. They named her Project Nemesis. For she alone carried abilities one could only dream of, and with these abilities came fantasies of nations bowing before the feet of Thompson and his cronies.

At around that time, Rolf had caught drift of Guenevere from reliable sources, which even today remains a mystery. He was fortunate enough to convince Pierce and Christian to rescue her from the clutches of TSGL. The team of two arrived on the island as soon as possible to save the vampire.

With the operation a success, and most of the "splicer" scientists dead, Guenevere was free. Rolf told her all this. He told her mostly whatever she asked. But any information on Thompson was not accurate or enough. Guenevere needed more. Who was he really? What were his true intentions? And most of all, why her? These were her questions; still unanswered. She was determined to find out more about this creator of hers, but she didn't know that she had a far greater purpose as a member of the Parcae Institute, as a part of The Talented.


The shrill beeping of Pierce's alarm clock jolted the nineteen-year old wide awake. He stared up at the ceiling from the warm comforts of his king-sized bed for what seemed like hours. With all his heart he wished that he could just go back to sleep. Rubbing the sleepiness from his eyes with his fingers, Pierce slowly willed himself out of bed.

With a yawn, he slipped his white muscle shirt over his broad shoudlers and chest, pulled on his black jeans, and finally fit himself into his black leather jacket. Pierce coursed a hand through his crimson red hair, not even bothering to glance at the mirror. His beloved ninja sword lay propped against the doorframe properly in it's ornately carved scabbard.

The sight of the red and black sword comforted him more than anything else. The feel of the cold bejeweled hilt soothed his nerves and calmed his senses. Handling the sword was pure bliss in the eyes of the young swordsman. Pierce could have stared at it for hours on end had it not been for the vibrating in his pocket that alarmed his senses. His cell was off the fritz. The young man flipped the phone open almost as if he were annoyed. "Hello?" he greeted in his usual, sensual baritone notes.

"Damn Pierce! How long does it take for you to go downstairs and to the lab?" The voice emanating from the phone could belong to none other than Rolf, the director. He seemed to over exaggerate his annoyed tone and it sounded more like a whine than a rhetorical question.

Pierce smiled thoughtfully to himself and shook his head. "Hey, I'm probably the only other person awake right now!" he retorted.

On the other line, Rolf snickered in amusement. He was just poking fun of course. "Anyways, get your butt down here. I've got some matters to discuss with you before I make our next operation final. Your cooperation depends on it, so you better be punctual. I'll be expecting you shortly. -Click-" That was it. Just like Rolf to end a conversation so bluntly.

The teen leisurely left his room with a small sigh and a rumbling stomach. He hadn't eaten breakfast yet, but there would be plenty of time for that after the meeting. Judging by Rolf's urgency, something big was coming up. Pierce never got calls from Rolf unless it was important. This time it wouldn't be any different.

He strolled by Guenevere's room; totally unaware that the vampire was very much awake and standing out on the balcony. After passing her room, he passed by Christian's room. The fallen angel was no doubt asleep even still. Pierce finally made it to the grand staircase. Made almost entirely of black marble, the whole case was very classy and subtle.

To the right of the staircase was a dark corridor, that was where the lab lay. The only part of the institute that was years ahead in technology. Pierce walked down the corridor and found himself at the lab's steel door. A computerized voice greeted him and asked for a retina scan. Of course, he lowered his head to the sensor to have it scanned. Then he was asked for his finger prints, which he also allowed to be scanned. This area of the institute was practically indestructible; it took severe measures to make sure that no intruders could make it into the lab.

'Welcome Master Pierce.' the mechanical voice greeted. And without a moment's hesitation the steel door slid open to reveal a dark computer lab. Operating computer screens illuminated the room with a dull glow. It was enough lighting to justify who was sitting in the middle of the room on a stool, hunched over his laptop. The man sitting there mumbled, still looking fixedly at the screen.

Pierce stepped inside and waited patiently. He stood there for a few minutes, wondering when Rolf would notice that his pupil was standing almost right behind him. When the teen came to the realization that Rolf would never notice, he cleared his throat several times. Finally, the director looked back, a smile lit his face. "Why hello, Pierce!"

The pair exchanged a few words of greeting and then Rolf's expression became serious. "Pierce. Do you know why I called you down here?" he inquired.

Unable to supply an answer, Pierce shook his head. All he knew was that Rolf had sent for him because he wanted a private meeting before the others arrived. "No, Rolf. I'm afraid not."

"Well then.. I'll explain things a bit more clearly. It has much to do with your information on the Underworld..."


Guenevere sighed as she overlooked the well-maintained garden of the Parcae Institute. The sun's rays wrapped around the vampire comfortably. Unlike the vampires seen in your average horror flicks, Gwen was fine under the sunlight. She didn't like garlic, but who did? However, she wasn't immortal, and as far as she knew, she didn't want to be. Life was fine the way it was.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a strong masculine voice coming from the doorframe of her room. "Hey Gwen! Time to hit the computer lab! Rolf and Pierce are waiting for us!" Christian's voice echoed in the large bedroom.

Christian was a thin but attractive and muscular blonde. His shoulder length hair was nice and straight and really brought out his bright blue eyes that always seemed to sparkle with mischief. As always, at his hip, was his automatic. He never left the institute without it. He looked too pure to be a fallen angel.

The female vamp swiftly turned around and nodded her head towards him in a silent but respectful greeting.

Christian was about to walk off but paused to take a look at the vampire. "Oh, and Guenevere?"

Guenevere glanced at him suspiciously and wondered what her comrade was up to. "Yes?" her voice had a tone of curiosity to it; Christian could be very tricky.

"Nice outfit," the gunman complemented.

With a laugh she glanced down at her clothes. Black knee high boots, a pair of black leather shorts, and a black and white pinstripe shirt cut- off at the abdomen; anything sexy was good in Guenevere's book.

The fallen angel grinned and motioned for her to follow him, which the voracious femme happily obliged to.

Their stroll down the stairs was quick and they made their way through the technological barricade into the computer lab where Pierce and Rolf were deep in discussion with one another. It appeared that the pair did not notice their two comrades as they entered the room. But Pierce was sharp, and after he finished his sentence, he jerked his head for them to come over and join him.

Full of curiosity, Christian and Guenevere strolled over to the large table situated in the corner of the room and took their seats.

Rolf cleared his throat a good three times before rearranging the papers in his file and explaining the situation at hand. "My friends, I believe we are going to have a new member on our team of extraordinary beings." His professional and almost regal statement was met with blank stares. "His name," the director continued, "is Alec Dimitrijevic. I swear the guy's a genius." There was a large smile on the face of the institute director.

Pierce was not so happy. His expression was cold and calculating. He didn't agree with Rolf. This guy wouldn't help; he'd only make things worse. Something about this guy didn't make sense, Pierce didn't even know him and he was already feeling uneasy about it. If only he could dissuade his friends from Rolf's idea. But that idea was out of the question. Things didn't add up with this guy though, he already seemed too good to be true..

"Check his file; you'll see what I mean." Rolf handed the file to Guenevere, who shared it with Christian of whom was sitting next to her. It was apparent that they were both surprised and impressed. Guenevere's jaw dropped; Christian's eyes widened.

"This guy! His IQ's off the charts! He can't be human!" Christian had never seen a human with such an intelligence level. This Alec guy was even smarter than some angels! And to think, this guy could be part of the team! "As long as he's a good guy, I don't care. He'll help us greatly!"

Guenevere was quiet. In fact, she looked rather thoughtful. She gazed skeptically at Rolf; Alec might be able to help them, but was he reliable, and how exactly were they supposed to get him? "Yes, but where is he?" she thought aloud.

The Parcae Institute Director glanced at Pierce out of the corner of his eye; this was where things got interesting. "That's where Pierce comes in."

Vampire and angel glanced at their demon friend inquiringly. "Oh?"

"Pierce, do explain." Rolf took back the file and placed it upon his lap. He then picked up his mug to sip at his coffee while Pierce would explain the situation.

With a dissatisfied sigh, Pierce continued the conversation. "Mr. Dimitrijevic is being held captive in the Underworld." His first sentence was met with gasps from both Guenevere and Christian. This deeply annoyed the demon, who wasn't sure why they were so worried about a man they didn't even know. Perhaps it was because everyone thought the Underworld, or Hell as some called it, to be a bad place? That was not entirely true, the Underworld was really just an alternate world with a warmer climate, well, a much warmer climate.

"But how can we get there? It's impossible to go the Underworld." Guenevere piped up.

The demon laughed slightly, Guenevere could be so foolish sometimes. "That's where you're wrong, love." He wanted to laugh again, as he saw her nose crinkle up at the sound of his kid-nickname for her, but instead continued, "There are entrances to the Underworld from here, the Go- Between. They're called Hell Holes. Hell holes are portals to the Underworld that are frequently used. There are seven Hell Holes, one for every continent."

"The most frequented of the Hell Holes are in Los Angeles, California and the Sahara Desert in Africa. In fact, some nomadic tribes in Africa are actually made up of all demons."

Christian seemed somewhat bored with the history lesson. Why couldn't they just go and get the guy already? "So.. I suppose the question is which Hell Hole to take, right?"

Pierce nodded his head as he grabbed a map from the seat to his right. He began to carefully unravel it upon the massive table. It was about the same size as the table top, and was greatly detailed. There were seven areas circled clearly in fluorescent red marker. "This is where we believe the seven portals are located. As you can see, Hell Holes are located in the most morally corrupt of places on each continent. Demons like to go to places where they're more apt to be accepted." he explained while he pointed to each circled area.

The other three acquainted themselves with the map; noticing that Pierce was indeed correct. Most Hell Holes seemed to be located near large cities, mostly capitols, which were bound to have strip clubs and the like. "The closest one is in LA." Guenevere noted.

Paloma was a fairly new city, located near the coast of Northern California. It was a long ways away from LA. However, that was not the only setback. Each portal took the traveler to a different part of the Underworld. And even Pierce could not remember which portal would take them to the place they wanted to be. Which brought up another problem. Even with the power of the three combined; they still wouldn't know where Alec was being contained. Indeed, the plan had many quirks. "It's not that simple, Gwen." Pierce then went into a short explanation of what he had gone through in his head.

Carrying out the plan would be difficult. Guenevere seemed somewhat disappointed after Pierce had told her yet another problem. She crossed her arms over her chest and bit her lip as if it would help her think. But it seemed that there was no other way to make it work. She practically leapt out of her seat, and greatly disturbed Christian, who in return jumped back in his own seat. "Then it's decided! We're going to the Underworld!" Her declaration was proud, and just like so many other times during this certain discussion, it was met with blank stares.

A scoff and a snort seemingly erupted from Pierce. He began to laugh and shook his head. Guenevere was smart, make no mistake, but sometimes, she seemed a little on the nutty side. "And, how, do you think we'll get there, eh Gwenny?"

Guenevere glared at him for a moment before explaining her thoughts. The plan itself wasn't that complicated. However, that was only the first part; rescuing this Alec guy would be a much more difficult task than merely getting to the Underworld. "Well, we'll just have to take a chance. I think we'd be better off just going to the Underworld. After that, we can find our way around the place. We might have to do some detective work and the like, but it's worth it isn't it? I mean this guy could really improve our crew! And who knows what those demons could be doing to him?"

There was a long silence. Rolf sat in his seat, twiddling his fingers around his pen. Pierce did not look very happy. In fact he looked very disappointed. He knew that Christian wouldn't mind carrying out such a plan. In addition, Christian did look quite pleased. He smiled mischeviously and patted Gwen's back in congratulations. The first to speak was Rolf. "Well, although this plan seems.. A bit.. -Incomplete-, I think it's our only option so I gue-"

Rolf seemed to have irritated a spot on Pierce's mind, for the demon snarled at him. "It's not our only option. We should just leave the guy there!" he hissed his last few words, and once again the room fell silent. All three of the other occupants looked from one another in silent shock. Pierce continued to glare at them and was apparently seething. Surely, if he were a dragon, his nostrils would be flared and fire and sulphur would be shooting out of his mouth.

Somehow, Pierce managed to control what anger he had left inside. He became relatively quiet; not daring to say a single word for fear that his temper might erupt once again. Yet no one else seemed brave enough to speak. He was about to mumble an apology when Guenevere suddenly rose from her seat and softly proclaimed that she would go and get some breakfast. Christian decided to go along with her; besides, he was hungry, and he also had a feeling Rolf would want to have a talk with his demon friend.

As soon as the hungry pair had left, Rolf cleared his throat yet again. Pierce looked shamefully at the ground, for he knew he had spoken out of turn. The two sat there, across from each other at the table completely silent. Rolf took a long sip of his coffee and set the mug gently upon the tabletop, not even bothering to take even a mere glance at Pierce. He reached for the paper, and hid his face behind it. Perhaps something interesting would appear.. The rustling of papers was all that could be heard in the room, and it was beginning to put Pierce on edge.

"Are you going to talk to me or not!?" he growled impatiently. Once again, his hostile side had gotten the better of him.

The Director neatly folded the paper back up and set it upon the table, his face kind yet serious. "I think the question is if -you- will talk to -me-." Rolf's voice was steady and calm. He pronounced his syllables clearly and effortlessly. The man was a definite charmer, with a flashing smile and unpigmented hair, he was quite a sight. And despite the color of his hair, or lack thereof, he was only in his early thirties.

At the other side of the table, Pierce let out a long and deep sigh. He really wasn't in the mood for Rolf's mind games. The demon glanced at his superior out of the corners of his eyes, but made sure as to not make any eye contact whatsoever. "I do apologize for my sudden outburst, sir." Pierce's voice was the exact opposite of Rolf's. It was unsteady, and quite obvious that Pierce was trying desperately hard to contain the anger inside rather than exert it in his voice. He continued, "But I do not think that getting this Alec person to be a good idea. He may be the next Einstein, but the risks in this mission are immense and my knowledge of the Underworld isn't as good as it used to be." He coursed a hand through his crimson hair. His movements were jerky and unnatural, however, and he seemed to be in a state of distress.

Rolf studied his subordinate's movements, taking in all details with ease. 'The poor boy..' he thought as he smiled reassuringly at Pierce. "Pierce, I believe in you more than anyone else here. I do not doubt your knowledge of the Underworld and I'm sure everything will come back to you if you just go there. But this is also a surprise.. I have never ever heard you say that any mission is too risky. Afterall, you're quite the risktaker yourself if you know what I mean."

Without any knowledge of it, Pierce flushed a soft shade of red, almost salmon pink. Rolf found this quite amusing and struggled to contain his laughter. But Pierce was also unaware of this as well. Once again, he returned his eyes to the floor and began to swing his feet to and fro underneath the table.

It was obvious. Pierce could not hide his concerns from Rolf, for Rolf already knew. "You're worried about Guenevere, aren't you?" His question was more of an acknowledgment and Rolf was not surprised to see Pierce slowly nod his head. The Director chuckled lightly to himself and stood up from his seat across the table. "There is no need to worry about Gwen, Pierce. She's become quite a capable woman now. I'm sure she'll be fine. And she'll be with you AND Christian; she'll be fine Pierce."

There was some truth in Rolf's words, make no mistake, but Pierce couldn't help but feel that Guenevere was still not yet ready. He still saw her as the vulnerable and sad creature he had rescued from TSGL only a year before. How could she be ready? How could she be ready within only a year, and with her first mission a difficult one. And not just difficult, but in the Underworld? It was insane; insane to let her go on her first mission in such a place. It was that simple, Pierce doubted Rolf.

The doubt was also obvious. Rolf knew these things. He knew Pierce too well. "Pierce, just don't worry about her. Guenevere has shown great improvement within the year and she has proven herself worthy of tasks at your own skill level if not beyond. Just trust me on this one." Rolf pushed his chair in and walked off toward's the door with Pierce slowly trailing behind him. "Now I think you should catch some breakfast with the others. We have some planning to do. And I want you to try and find a map of the Underworld, by any source neccesary if it comes to that." And with that, the pair walked out the door, which locked itself. Rolf half jogged, half walked up the stairs back to his room; no doubt he would lock himself in there and make a fantastical plan for his three pupils for their upcoming missions.

Pierce made his way to the kitchen looking dejected. He had lost once again. They were going to the Underworld to save this Alec guy. And he began to think. Now how smart could this guy be if he let himself get captured by some demon lackeys? Demons were intelligent, well some of them were. But generally several were quite the fools, and the chances were that the demons that kidnapped him were minors doing grunt work. He could hear Christian and Gwen laughing in the nearby kitchen, but as soon as he entered all joviality ceased and their was a quality of solemnity that seemed to drown the room in silence.

No one dared to break the silence. There were no sounds except for the scratchy sound of butter and jam being spread on toast and the clinking of a spoon in a bowl. Pierce helped himself to a piece of toast and paced across the room to the refrigerator to pull out the carton of milk. Guenevere put her toast on a plate and gingerly walked over to the living room where she curled up on the couch, turned on the television and began to happily chew and swallow her toast.

Christian quickly finished the remains of his corn flakes and deposited the bowl and spoon inside the sink before grabbing a banana to eat on the go. Without even glancing at Pierce he walked out the kitchen door and into the garage. Pierce was quickly becoming agitated. He took his own toast into the living room and leaned against the wall by the couch.

"In a bad mood?" Guenevere asked rather nonchalantly. She turned to face him, smiling softly. There was something about her that always seemed to cheer him up.

He smiled faintly and took a bite of his toast, keeping his eyes steadily viewing the television. "Yeah, I guess."

His response was met with another block of silence. Pierce thought for a second to think of anything to say. There was a question he wanted to ask her, something that may set his mind at ease. "Gwen?" The demon casually walked over to her and sat on the armrest of the couch beside his vampire friend.

Guenevere's gaze was also glued to the television. "Yeah?"

Pierce finished off the last bit of his toast, shoving it all into his mouth and thoroughly chewing it before swallowing it all in one gulp. "So tell me.. Do you -really- want to go and get this Alec guy?"

She turned to look at him sharply. Her eyes were firm with conviction and she looked steadfast and had a quality of majesty about her. "Yes, I do. I owe Rolf all I've got. I've got a debt to pay, and I'll pay it."

So was that the only reason why she was going to rescue the so called "genius?" Maybe she didn't really want to go and get this guy. Perhaps she only volunteered to do it because she felt obligated to do it. "So you're only doing it because you feel you have to, right?" Pierce looked hopeful, whether it was false hope or not, even he was not sure.

This time she did not look at him, she continued to watch the television. "No. I'd do it debt or no debt. And if you don't want to do it, then fine. Christian and I will just have to find our way in the Underworld by ourselves." Guenevere's tone of voice seemed to rise slightly, and Pierce could hear the emotion in her voice. She wanted him to come, he realized that, but did he dare do something he didn't want to do? Pierce seemed a little crestfallen but he would have to oblige.

"Fine. Then I'll go with you. Probably get lost, the two of you." He snorted and placed his palms to support his head as he leaned against the wall.

The look of delight was obvious on Guenevere's face. She looked so pleased. However she did not say a word, instead she just smiled and glanced at him through the corners of her eyes. The silence was broken by the loud roaring sound of Christian's motorcycle in the garage. The windows in the house rattled violently, it was almost like the house was having a convulsion. And just as soon as it started, the roaring faded off into the distance. "Where do you think he went?" asked Guenevere.

Pierce merely shrugged. He wasn't even listening to the television anymore. "Who knows? But I do know that he's been going off like that lately. Don't know where though.." Come to think of it, Christian had left at this time almost everyday. "Well, it's probably no concern to us. He does what he wants." he concluded, though he wasn't quite sure if that was entirely true. After all, he was rather curious as to where Christian went.

The afternoon news was now on the television, and both vampire and demon alike had directed their attention to it and were staring at it with fixed gazes. The news anchors were in the middle of a rather boring story of how a dog had saved an infant child from traffic near it's home when they came up with a breaking news story. As soon as Guenevere saw the looks of horrors on the faces of the anchors, she knew something was up. Pierce too, was very interested in what the anchors were about to deliver and leaned forward in his seat.

"We have breaking news ladies and gentleman. Only twenty minutes ago there occurred a massacre in Los Angeles, California. Thirty-nine people were killed, twenty fatally wounded, and three with minor concussions. We were able to receive some footage of the massacre from our stations in Southern California. Young viewers should be directed away from the television set. What you are about to see is graphic and explicit."

Within a matter of seconds, a tape was rolling. There on the screen were several men dressed in black, killing whoever came close by using whatever means necessary. It was violent and stomach churning action. Most of the suspects were armed with machine guns and shooting blindly at the streets. A little boy was running across the street to a woman that was unmistakably his mother until she was shot in the back and fell forward onto the ground in a graceful arch and belly-flopped a few feet towards him. The little boy stopped suddenly and looked up with tears collecting in his eyes and was shot several times in the head.

At this point, Guenevere looked away and buried her head in Pierce's shoulder. He, however, was glaring at the screen with pure hatred. He knew who those men were. He knew what they were. They were the Elite from the Underworld. The finest killers there were. He had lost many friends by their hands, and now they were going for humans as well as demons. The footage was over so Pierce nudged Guenevere so she would look up again. She looked disgusted and horrified at the same time. And really, he couldn't blame her.

After a few minutes, the cast begin displaying the footage again. But before they could get to the part with the boy and his mother, Pierce quickly grabbed the remote and turned the television off. It would be too much for Guenevere to see that again.

Both sat there quietly still thinking of the horror that had occurred not even an hour ago. Gwen looked like she was about to vomit and her eyes seemed distant and lost. After what seemed like ages she turned to Pierce with her lips moving listlessly.

Pierce looked at her with concern and gently grabbed her shoulders. "Gwen, are you alright?"

Guenevere nodded her head slowly, but he remained unconvinced. "The b- boy..." she paused, "h-he's.." She suddenly pulled herself into his embrace and began to cry silently to herself. 'That poor little boy. He never really even got a chance to live,' she thought to herself.

Meanwhile, Pierce was extremely confused. He knew Guenevere had been touched by the footage, but he never thought she'd lose her composure like this. Without thinking, he began to pat her back and whispered things like "It's alright Gwen. It's over now." or "Sshh.. Don't worry, the boy's in a better place."

They sat there for many minutes, until Gwen pulled herself away and began to wipe her eyes with the back of her hand. "Pierce, who were they? Who were those horrible people?"

"Lucifer's Elite." Pierce's voice was cold and hushed, and the sound was harsh. "The best of the best in assassins straight from the Underworld."

The vampire looked perplexed. She had never heard of the Lucifer's Elite, but Pierce didn't expect her to know anyway. "Assassins? But who are they under, and why are they here?"

A realization had soon occurred to Pierce. He had not told Rolf of the Lucifer's Elite. In fact, he hadn't told anyone. It was as if the Elite came to Los Angeles to remind him; to haunt him. "Well," the demon began, "the Elite was started by our first monarch, King Lucifer the first. He instituted a powerful army that would defend and control the cities of the Underworld. King Lucifer was once just, but the stronger the army became, the more corrupt his mind became and he decided to widen out his empire by means of the Elite. After his death the throne was inherited by his son King Lucifer the second."

"King Lucifer the second was worse than his father. He trained the Elite to become ruthless assassins instead of common soldiers and even tried to overtake Heaven to make it his own. Fortunately, as you may notice, he never gained control of Heaven." Pierce sighed heavily and rubbed his eyes with his hand after going through the quick history lesson. He wouldn't tell Guenevere anything else, she already knew too much. Though he didn't want to admit it, Pierce was a bit afraid of the Elite. And he had good reason to. He knew about what they did, and he knew it better than most people.

Once again, Guenevere maintained a look of disgust at hearing the history of the Elite. That face was one reason why Pierce wouldn't tell her more, and to him it was a good enough reason. But all too soon, Guenevere's expression went from disappointed and disgusted to steadfast and determined. She rose jerkily from the couch and looked Pierce straight in the eye. "Pierce, we're going to LA. And we're going today. Pack your stuff. In the meantime, I'll report to Rolf. And make sure you call up Christian and tell him we're leaving today so he can get packed too." And before Pierce could even make a retort to try and dissuade her from her extemporaneous decision she had dashed up the stairs and into her bedroom where she began to pack furiously like a ravenous wolf.

Pierce went up the stairs slowly for he lacked Guenevere's conviction. He was beginning to regret ever watching television today. At long last he had reached his room and opened the door. The blank pale white walls were not a comforting greeting. His room was large, but lacked any decor. And in any case, he didn't need anything extravagant anyways. The teenaged demon coursed a hand through his hair as he opened the dresser and extracted clothes and other sorts of things to pack in the backpack that sat by his bed.

In ten minutes time Pierce had already finished packing. He was quite sure that Guenevere was still packing. After all, she was a female. And knowing the opposite sex, she wasn't even halfway finished. But oddly enough, there was a quick rapping sound on his door. Naturally, he answered it and was surprised to find his female friend already dressed in her mission gear with her own packed backpack slung over her shoulder. She was decked in black from head to toe with a black jump suit and black combat boots, and even shades which lay atop her head. She had taken one glance at him and groaned with annoyance. "Why aren't you in your gear?" she menacingly growled.

Such a comment had taken Pierce aback. Gwen never used that tone, especially not with anyone in the institute. But today she seemed to be full of so many emotions that were uncharacteristic of her that Pierce really shouldn't have been so surprised. "Well, I just finished packing that's why!" His retort was just as fierce as hers, but Guenevere did not flinch in the least bit.

"Then get dressed, and it appears you haven't called Christian so I'll just call him myself." Yet in the distance a rumbling sound echoed across the road and steadily became closer until it was directly under Pierce and Guenevere. "Never mind, he's already here. I'll explain everything to him and then we can all go and report to Rolf." And then she ran off again to hurriedly greet Christian and tell him of the situation they had found themselves in.

Groaning in despair, Pierce dug into his pack to pull out his mission gear. Jumpsuits were definitely not his style, and he made that opinion manifest to Rolf who supplied him with a black vest and pants because he couldn't deal with Pierce's numerous complaints. The demon struggled with his boots and was muttering every profanity under the sun as he unsuccessfully tried to shove them onto his feet.

It wasn't long before Guenevere returned to his room with Christian trailing directly behind her; both were decked out in their own respective gear. Upon seeing him, they both began to laugh and strolled into his room to help him with his boots. Pierce wasn't so keen on the idea and tried to ward them off with his hands but failed and succumbed to them.

Fortunately, all left the room laughing and in high spirits. It was the first time Pierce was smiling genuinely, the first time he actually looked happy. Guenevere and Christian noticed it, but knew better than to make any mention of it for fear that Pierce might blow up in their faces.

By this time, Rolf had finally left his bedroom. It was strange how he almost always knew what was going on, even if he wasn't even in the same room as everyone else. He met the three at the base of the stairs looking very grim and serious. "I'm assuming you saw what was on the afternoon news." His voice sounded somewhat strained. It seemed as though the footage disturbed him just as much as it disturbed Guenevere. "You must all stick together. Do not under any circumstances separate. Remember what your mission is and who you are up against." Rolf paused to look at his watch and then shrugged. And then he just began to walk back up the stairs, to the surprise of his three pupils below him.

"Wait!" Christian called out as he leaned forward to grab Rolf's shoulder. "How can we contact you?"

The director looked thoughtful but shook his head. "Dunno. You'll find a way when you get there." Rolf turned swiftly and walked up the stairs and stopped abruptly at the top as if he had just remembered something. "Oh, and Pierce, once you get to the Underworld, buy a map. Good luck to you all." And then he just walked off, back to his bedroom, no doubt.

Christian looked a bit worried, which was odd considering he was always laid back. Pierce was the first to break the silence. "Okay.. Well, I guess we should get going. Gwen, did you pack the food, and does everyone have their weapons?" Food. That was probably would have been the last thing on his mind, but considering the fact that he had no idea how long it would take them to get back from the Underworld, it would come in handy. He was satisfied when Guenevere and Christian nodded their heads, and motioned for them to set off to the garage.

No one was quite sure how Rolf had gotten all his money; they just knew he had it. The garage was full of several vehicles ranging from Pierce's '76 Mustang to Christian's Harley Davidson. Guenevere didn't have a car, as she hadn't been granted a license yet. But she didn't mind, for Pierce happily gave her rides whenever the need should arise. However, this time they would not be taking Pierce's Mustang. Instead, the threesome packed their bags in a dusty old Explorer that looked as if it had seen better days. It had chipping red paint that faded in splotches. The interior was ripped and torn and the lining on the ceiling was beginning to sag.

"Not exactly a luxury vehicle, is it?" Christian commented, all the meanwhile gingerly placing their luggage in the back.

Pierce merely grunted in response as he managed to squeeze into the driver's seat. Christian took passenger and Gwen took the back. It was a tight squeeze, but they would make due with what they had. The demon, oddly enough, was looking up at the sky with his hands clasped together. "God, if there is a God," at this Christian snorted, "Please give this rusty old bag of bolts the power to make it to Los Angeles in one piece. Amen." Pierce's prayer was a desperate one, but it would suffice.

"I think God didn't like your prayer, Pierce." Guenevere was suffering in the back. The three were only in San Francisco when it began to rain profusely. To Gwen's dismay, the roof was leaking. So Pierce pulled over and all three began patching up the ceiling with blankets to try and stop the dripping water, which was kind of stupid since the roof still leaked. But there was no helping it. They had to press on.

All in all it took them about seven hours to get down to Los Angeles. Other than the leaky roof and a few pit stops where truck drivers began hitting on Guenevere, the long drive was uneventful and depressing. It was getting dark when they had finally reached LA. Pierce suggested that they all rest for the night, but Gwen and Christian wanted to gain a few leads on where to find the Hell Hole.

"But we don't even know where to start!" Pierce argued fiercely. His earlier words were vicious and stung both Christian and Guenevere.

"Yes, but the earlier we start, the shorter time we'll spend down here!" Gwen persisted eagerly. But her attempts were futile and in the end the three ended up searching for a hotel. Pierce drove around town for a few minutes until they found a decent looking hotel and parked the Explorer by the large building. It was about five stories high, and there were several other vehicles parked nearby. They each grabbed their luggage and began to trek to the entrance.

Pierce had reached the door first and was waiting for the others when someone walked out the door and straight into Pierce, knocking the demon over. The figure was wearing a large trench coat and a large hat that concealed his face. He snarled instead of apologized and continued on his way into the night leaving a dazed Pierce being helped up by his friends.

"Who was that freak?" Christian asked. He helped Guenevere brush off their comrade and picked up his belongings.

"I don't know. But there was something about him that didn't feel right. We ought to be careful down here." Pierce had received some startling vibes from that one. When he was knocked over by that stranger he felt this strange sensation that sent chills up his spine. There was definitely something wrong with whoever that person was.

It didn't take long for them to check in. But the cost of one room for three was extremely expensive. But the room seemed worth the price and all three settled down in their own beds in their own room. They didn't dare speak of the mission for fear that someone would hear them, and they couldn't risk that. Christian was the first to fall asleep, even with such a dire situation at hand he was snoring peacefully. Guenevere also fell into a restful sleep with her blankets wrapped tightly around her thin and lithe body. Pierce's sleep wasn't near as restful as his friends'. In fact, he couldn't even think of sleeping. He was still wondering about the stranger he had bumped into earlier.

In an hour Pierce too fell asleep, though restlessly. If he had known what was taking place inside of the hotel, perhaps he would have been a bit more alert. But even he couldn't hear the conversation taking place in the lobby when they were four stories up. A congregation of concealed figures gathered inside the entrance of the hotel. The clerk lay dead across the front desk with blood sprayed all over the papers and carpet.
One of the figures spoke. It was none other than the person Pierce had bumped into earlier. His voice was deep and surly, but it was more of a snarl than an actual voice. "My friends! I have discovered something that troubles me deeply. It seems that we have a traitor in our wake." Glowing yellow eyes could be seen emanating from the shadows of the brim of his hat as he roamed his gaze about his men.

Rumbling among the group could be heard as all the hooded figures began to converse with one another in hopes of discovering who the traitor could be. But their leader, the figure with the hat, raised his hands to stop them. "Do any of you remember Xan'dral?" The murmuring ceased and was replaced with a sea of nodding heads. "Well my friends. He is very much alive and in our midst. I met him today. But he did not recognize me." The room was deathly silent.

"Blood shall be shed to tonight. It shall be Xan'dral's blood, the blood of a demon! And we shall drink his blood and offer his dry corpse to Lucifer!" Cheers of agreement rang through the crowd and all threw their cloaks and other garments in the air. What lay beneath the sea of clothing would have made any mortal's blood run cold. These people were not human. They were of different colors, with horns sticking out of the heads of some. Most had fangs protruding from their mouths and all had eyes that glowed angrily. "Let us give Xan'dral a welcoming! And then we shall kill him!" the leader cried with delight. And with one last roar of triumph, the group disbanded and began to tear up the stairs with their weapons unsheathed.

Guenevere woke suddenly. Her eyes bulged large and round inside her sockets. Her breathing was uneven and fast. Perspiration was dripping down her face and neck and her fists were clenched so tightly about her sheets that her knuckles were white. Had she imagined that? Or were those horrible men really down in the lobby? And were they really men? If she had been thinking clearly, she would have gotten out of bed and told Pierce. But she was not thinking clearly, in fact she was beginning to scare herself.

Pierce awoke at the opposing end of the room, obviously Guenevere's abruptness had awaken him from his uneasy sleep. "Gwen, are you alright?" He looked concerned, as he always did when it came to Guenevere. He stumbled to her bed and sat down next to her. She looked perturbed and very distraught. "What's wrong Gwen?"

She didn't say anything. But her eyes widened and she raised her hand to point at the door knob with her index finger. The vampire's eyes widened even more and her lips trembled. Guenevere's skin was even more pale than usual, as if she were coming on with a sickness. "S-something's coming, something's coming."

He hadn't heard it before, but Pierce was suddenly aware of a deep rumbling beneath their room. The demon leapt off the bed and grabbed his sword from the nightstand across the room. Christian, too, was beginning to stir. "Wha's going on?" he asked in a daze.

"They're here!"