It was a lot to take in, but Terra was right. We needed to regroup in a new, safe location, and weirdly Bitter was the one to provide it.
"All right. Everyone pack up. We're going to the bunker. Terra, I think you're right about investigating the...Drogos. If there's anything we can gain from intel on that, it'd be smart to have. Everyone else gather what you need, pack up the kids, and be ready to leave in 10. Communications on."
Terra went to speak to her kids, and everyone else started gathering their gear. Morningstar grabbed the Bug Out bags from their storage spot in a hidden cabinet, and the kids' gear from their rooms.
10 minutes later, the caravan of vehicles made its way through the city, led by Bitter, while Terra flew off in a different direction. After a number of twists and turns we found ourselves in a dead end alley. Bitter stepped out of his Escalade and turned toward the other vehicles.
Morningstar put her hand on mine, which was going for my gun. "I know you never trusted him," she said softly, "but I don't think he's turning on us. Be patient." I squeezed her hand. "Stay here. First sign of trouble -" "Haul ass, protect the kids, and myself. I know." I smirked and stepped out of the car.
"This is as far as we go," Bitter said.
I stared at him, debating whether to throw a blade or just shoot him.
"...the rest of the way is via portal, remember?" he continued after a dramatic pause, followed by laughter. "I bet you thought I led you into some trap or something!" He laughed hysterically. "You should've seen your face!"
With that, waved his hand. Machinery on the rooftops above whirred and hummed to life. A blue light filled the alley and grew in intensity. In a flash we found ourselves - and our vehicles - in a high tech garage. I looked back at Morningstar, who smiled an "I told you so" look. I rolled my eyes.
Bitter's team assembled with him. "These are our new...tenants," he said to them. "They have full access to whatever they need. Take the young ones to the quarters." Morningstar nodded to me and went with the boys and Naomi.
"Put THAT one in Cell 3 until we decide what to do about him," Bitter grunted, gesturing toward Spire, "and let's get Dispatch some medical attention so he can be more useful."
Spire was taken in one direction and Dispatch in another, leaving Engels and I with Bitter. It was weird seeing him handling things efficiently, but it was even weirder that he was helping us rather than trying to kill us. Our history was...not pleasant. Terra knew him better than any of us, as her husband (RIP) was once his best friend, but Bitter had never been entirely on the up and up.
But, people change, apparently. And we didn't have much of a choice, given whatever catastrophic event was about to occur.
"Let me show you around your new place," Bitter said, with all of the confidence of the best real estate agents.
The place was huge, and exactly as he'd described it to Terra. Living quarters, information center, medical, an impressive armory...you name it, this place had it. Even had a childcare center.
It was as though he had been preparing for this very moment. And that unnerved me even more.
After the tour, Engels went to check on Naomi, leaving me alone with Bitter.
"If I know you, you're wondering why I'm doing this," Bitter said matter of factly.
"You don't know me. But you may as well answer that question, since you brought it up."
"Survival. It's always about survival for me. Always has been, always will be. Years ago I got my hands on the Drogos - not gonna get into how right now - but when I did, I learned there were way larger problems than who controlled what part of the city. And you - all of you - were the ones who would throw themselves in front of those problems. Terra, who isn't even from this world, risked her life regularly; you, soldier boy over there, Sonus...All of you did what you had to do to keep us all alive. I realized that that was going to happen again someday. So, I started preparing."
No telltale signs of lying or deceit. Didn't seem like he was making any of this up. He continued.
"After you all disbanded, I ran into Dispatch. He was...unnerved. Kept muttering things about the end of it all, and how we did it to ourselves. I tried to get more info out of him, but he wasn't willing to tell me. But, he did give me plans. Technology like I'd never seen before. Told me to build things and get ready. Told me the exact day I would see Terra again...and you. Then he disappeared. Literally. Just poofed out of existence."
His breathing hadn't changed, his eyes weren't shifting, voice was steady. This was all true.
"The next time I saw him, like a year or so later, he didn't have any recollection of seeing me before. Just muttered about being his own worst enemy or some shit. Wandered off again. Tried to follow, and again, he was gone. A few days later - the exact day he said - Terra showed up. Brought us all back together. So, now I know. Something bad is about to happen, and it's gonna be up to all of us to stop it."
I stroked my goatee. This was a lot. And of course, he had to make it worse.
"Welcome home, Urban 30," Bitter said with a smirk.