We discovered a terrific lead today. On the flip side to that, we also lost half a dozen agents.
We arrived at what used to be an abandoned suburban residential complex, which had now been turned into a "nest" for a bunch of tropospheres and stratospheres. They flocked in the sky, waiting for us to make the first move. We grouped up on the main road, in around 8 vans filled with agents prepared to engage with the Convocation.
We knew that it was a risky move to engage so many of them. The thing was, it wasn't our aim to destroy or capture any of them. We were actually hunting down a single mesosphere that we knew for a fact was hiding out in one of the houses of the complex. For one thing, the giant storm cloud hanging overhead, filled to the brim with rain, was the first clue. Second, we had tracked down a mesosphere we had injured in a firefight during the Exordium down to this locale. Third, we just... we just knew. There was this feeling in the evening air that sort of confirmed it.
"Frank, are you sure you agents can handle it?"
He nodded. He was in the driver's seat of the lead van, and I was in the passenger seat, observing the birds.
"Yeah, I'm confident about it. We may lose a couple, but we got a handle on it. We just need you to track down the mesosphere, and-and what are you going to do again?"
I showed him the SB gun I had strapped to my waist.
"I'm going to incapacitate it, and find out what I can about Maxwell from it."
"Are you sure you can handle it?"
I smiled, and opened the door.
"You're gonna get yourself killed one day!"
I waved at him.
"Planning on it-"
I loaded the gun, and as I did, the birds began to dive at us. The agents all jumped out of their cars and prepared to engage. I quickly ran off the road and jumped the fence at the side of a two story house. I heard thunder crackle above me at the same time as noises resembling firecrackers exploded behind me. I jumped a fence again and ended up in another yard. I ran through the yard, opened the fence, and ran into the front yard. I ducked to the side of the house, and looked around the corner.
Nothing in sight. I readied my gun, and ran across the street to the other side. Thunder boomed even louder, and I felt the wind pick up. Little drops of water splashed against my face. These unwittingly acted as hints to the location of that bird.
I ran down the block. The storm began, and I knew I had found it. It was in a house that looked like all the rest, except one of the second floor windows was wide open, probably to permit messenger tropospheres into the house.
I heard the flapping of wings. They were heading towards me; they knew I was threatening the mesosphere. I quickly opened the unlocked front door, ran in, and slammed the door. It knew I had invaded its domain, so I could cut the bullshit and go straight to it.
It was in the second floor bedroom. A giant albatross lying on the bed, bleeding everywhere. Blood stained various places of the carpet as well. Feathers were spread throughout the room. This creature was dying, and soon, too.
"Human, let me alone..."
Thunder and lightning whipped and cracked outside, accentuating its demand.
"I'm sorry, but I cannot do that."
I aimed my gun at it.
"Humans are such cowards. Go on then. Just know, my brethren shall arrive soon, and they will pull you apart like the rat you are."
"What do you know about the Silver Hammer?"
I made the mistake of stepping a foot closer to the bird. It dived at me, snapping its beak at my face. Its wings flapped everywhere, knocking the furniture about. I jumped backwards, hitting my head against the door frame. I got up and backed out of the room.
"Your arrogance surprises me, human. You're not stupid, I can tell. Why do you dare risk bravery on that level? It astounds me."
"I'm not brave. I'm just not scared of you."
"How is that, exactly?"
"I've been through worse."
It opened its beady eyes wide, and it seemed to examine me. It moved its way closer towards me.
"Hrmmm. I see. You've sold your soul away, eh, human!?"
The bird had no idea what it was talking about.
"I wouldn't call it that."
It groaned in pain suddenly. It writhed a little, and more blood spurted out of its beak.
"Why aren't you gone yet, human? Are you here to watch me die?"
"I need to know about Maxwell."
"What is there to know? Have my pretties not told you humans already? It's time to burn, and that's that. Is the message clear enough, or are you too stupid to understand?"
"I think I'm just a bit too stupid to care, really. Will you tell me anything, or not?"
The creature became silent. I could hear the flapping of wings outside.
"My brethren have arrived."
"I don't care. Tell me what you know."
It was silent again. A bird swooped in and I shot it right down. Nothing else dared to dive through the window at that moment.
"I will tell you one thing."
"Ha! You said please. Courtesy to a feared God. I like that. Well then, what could I tell you... I tell you, I tell you, watch out for the Neon God. If it's time for humanity to burn, then it's time for the Neon God to feed.
The information didn't tell me anything about Maxwell, but it seemed useful anyway.
"What is this... Neon God? Is it a Fear? Which Fear?"
"It's a Fear."
"Which one, though?"
It laughed. And then, it died.
The sky seemed to explode with lightning and thunder. An explosion rocked the house, and it burst into flames. I barely made it out of the house in time before it was completely engulfed in flames and smoke.
The sky above was merely gray then. Rain dripped out of the sky slowly. There wasn't anymore thunder, and the storm cloud had dissipated.
Strangely, the rest of the Convocation had cleared out as well. I made my way back to base camp to find many agents wounded, and many killed. It hurt to tell them the cryptic information we had now. At least if there wasn't any information, we could rely on the hope that we only had to focus on Maxwell. With this new information, it draws attention to the fact that we have no clue what's on the verge of happening. All we know is that the Fears know everything about it.