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The Bearer

The car raced loud, wild, down the highway through the dead of night, as they hurried franticly to their destination. The meeting between the four had been, she thought, a success, as Water explained to the other two what exactly had happened to the two of them those fifteen years ago, before the collapse of the dot-coms ended the Grand Game and dropped the Cube in the hands of their 'employers'.

Those same employers, now, were in danger. The frantic call they received from a secretary, that the Bearer had come back to attack the facility led to this urgency. They were expecting it, of course, but the timing of the attack couldn't have come at a worse time, with them all far from the facility. "Calm yourself," Water said to her, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Get us there quickly, but do not kill us in the process."

"So this man," Fire said from the back seat, still trying to grasp it all, not having known prior to his appearance about any of this before the other three. "This 'Bearer', you call him?" The others nodded in agreement. "If he wasn't part of the arrangement before, where did he come from now?" The cabin of the car was silent, somber for a while, nobody sure how to reply to the question.

"He came to us," Earth finally said, quietly, "about six months ago. And old mystic and tycoon, who had claimed prior knowledge of the Cube and its workings. He wanted to invest in us in exchange for part of the profits, claiming to have invested in some new alternative energy technologies that would need some field demonstrations in certain weather conditions in order to show their effectiveness."

"Like a fool," Water continued, crossness echoed in his voice, "of course the management jumped on it. Mesmerised, most likely, by those fiery black eyes of his, they ate the whole thing up. The Cube I'm sure is the real culprit, grabbing control of the man and placing him in as its own pawn in the game." He turned and handed Fire some papers, which as he glanced through them he discovered to be false identities. "Ever since Air and I learned the Cube was still around we had been planning, waiting, for the time to plant false identities needed to infiltrate the company and get involved, so we could settle it. However, we were not yet ready, when this Bearer showed up."

The car jerked for a moment, as it quickly veered onto a nearly missed onramp, and Water placed his hand on Air's shoulder to once again try to calm her. After a few moments they were steadied, and the car continued down another highway, and Water turned back to the two in the rear again. "So then," Fire asked, handing back the papers to Water, who returned them to the glove compartment he pulled them from. "If this whole thing is normally supposed to be 'planned', than what exactly was the plan supposed to be before this old man decided to change the rules?"

"All four of us would have been employees of the company," Earth said, explaning. "The rule is that none of us are supposed to know each other, and we are each given our own set of instructions that we follow. The Cube's system requires us to play against each other competitvely, and we're each given a master goal that all convene in one location so that only one can be victorious, and the winner gets a large bonus in our checks to give us the motivation to move." She paused, started searching her pockets for something, but wasn't able to find what it was and so gave up. "My main instructions, written around the false inventions of the Bearer, was mainly some geothermal experiments and some testing against fault lines for advanced earthquake prediction."

Fire nodded, then turned to Water, expectantly, but he just shrugged. "As we never had any intention of actually participating in the game, neither Air nor I actually paid attention to our orders. The blizzard in your city was our responsibility, yes, while we were trying to hinder the movements of the Bearer who had gone into that area. And we captured Earth there, who started before either of us, so we could stop her from causing an earthquake on the west coast she would have ended up losing control of and causing huge devastation."

Fire gave Earth a surprised look, and Earth looked away. "Water calculated the effect himself," Air said over her shoulder, "after stealing the effect study plans that they had given her in her assignment. Their calculations were completely wrong, and the whole San Andreas could have slipped in a huge chain reaction." Earth said nothing, and the car suddenly sped forward. "We're here. Hold on, security's down, we're crashing through the gate."

They all braced themselves as they slammed into the gate, the impact shaking them slightly, then falling forward and under them causing them to shake much more violently as they went over the poles. The ride then continued to be violent and shaking all over as the drive over the barbed wire seemed to pop someof the tires, as Air struggled to keep the car in control at the high speed and not roll them all over. "Hold on," she said, as the glass front entrance to the building came up on them swiftly, the car slowing but clearly not going to be stopping before going to the doors.

The car burst through, bulletproof glass slowing them somewhat but finally giving way, and the car finished skidding to a stop in the front lobby, amazingly not flipping. They all climbed out of the car, covered in bruises from the violent ride but nothing broken, and they looked over the lobby. Nobody there was injured from their crash, as it became evident to them that they were already all dead before they got there. "Well, well, well," came a voice from around a hallway corner, followed by some clapping. From around the hall stepped the old man, hair and face trimmed and wearing a nice suit, and bearing off one shoulder a messenger bag. "Now our four players are together, here, and the game can truly begin." He smiled, and reached into the bag, then pulled out the Cube. "But, I'm afraid, it's not going to go for you the way you want it to."

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 14:00:00 -0600