All of a sudden there was loud knock at the door several of the unseen guards came from out of the shadows, Mr. Z remained calm, while eating his lunch. Book left his place to open the door. One of the guards that roamed the halls came up to the door, “Sorry to disturbed, but we have a situation of trespassing. One of the staff girls was assaulted. She has come to and is fine, but she says someone has entered this section of the train-” he was cut off by Mr. book who looked back at Mr. Z only to see him moving his hands on the table looking for something.
“It’s gone!” Said Mr. Z in a frail shout, “No wait, I found it!”
“Put that down you old fool!!” Shouted Mr. Book.
A large puff of smoke filled the room, followed by a bright explosion. Outside a trail of white smoke seeped out of the train car, several birds nearby took flight in terror. Marion ran from the broken window with the black stone in hand and proceeded to the roof of the speeding train. Below she could hear shouting over the loud wind, above a large trail of black smoke filled her view. Several birds hanged in the air as they watched the white smoke fumed out of the cabin. The sound of more glass breaks as Mr. Book makes his way to the roof.
“I want her dead!” shouted the dazed lizard as he dusted his expensive attire, before placing a red hood over his head. The letter “B” was embroidered and position in the middle of the hood, just above two hollow eyeholes.
Several more large birds disembarked from the bird sections of the train, while more roaches and wasp climbed atop of the carriage’s roof. Atop a large trail of black smoke from the trains stack made it hard for them to see.
“Do you see her?” said one of the roaches trying not to fall. Their red hoods canceled their identity while their clothes, varied from all walks of life. On the roof several of the train guards tried to stop the unauthorized masked figures. A roach carrying a large pump action shotgun opened fired upon one of the guards forcing them to take cover. Mr. Book shouted to one of his guards, “Make sure the train does not stop!”
Overhead large Coastal Fortresses landed on top of the train, the high winds and black smoke made the task of landing difficult for the massive birds. Large guns mounted on the birds scanned for threats, as several more roaches and wasp jumped from the Fortresses and fanned out to join in the search. “Mr. Z wants Platinum Saguaro dead, Find her!” Shouted Mr. Book as he made his way aboard to the roof. “That smoke bomb nearly put the old bat in the grave.” Mr. Book said as anger filled, the prospect of the same killer the one that murdered his brother and friends was here to sabotage an already fragile operation. Mr. Book then pulled off his red jacket, raveling his white work shirt with a large metal harness strapped to his body. He loosened his black tie and undone his collar. On his shoulders several large mounted machine guns were put in place by ants hiding under his clothing, to prevent assassin bugs from poisoning him. Mr. Book then pulled out a large spiked club that been place on the harness on his back.
Another loud blast filled the air as a red puff of smoke exploded. A faint trail of white drew Mr. Book’s eyes turn towards the left side of the train. Marion placed the flare gun back under the black and white work clothes, knowing full well Fire Trail would not be far behind to make her getaway. Marion seeing the large lizard rushing towards her makes a dash for cover, while the rest of his of gang followed behind. As gunfire erupts, more of the passenger birds began to take to the sky.
Marion draws her weathered revolver from under the work clothes, its metal frame glowing in the sunlight. The large pistol carries rounds powerful enough to bring down large foes. Even Mr. Book’s large size could take several rounds from the handgun, before going down. She then fired a round towards the charging lizard, only to have it strike the metal harness on his chest. The mounted machine guns open fire, forcing her to take cover. To her left, two of the hooded guards appear trying to flank her. Seeing them, she fires two shoots. She missed the first one with the first round, while the second hit the other one in the chest, dropping him to the ground. The other one backs up and begins firing blindly at her. His rapid firing pistol is immediately empty after he carelessly fired all the rounds, forcing him to reload. Marion seeing Book continuing his charge moves to attack the guard on her left. Seeing her dash towards him, he drops his automatic pistol and takes a wide swing towards Marion. She easily dodges it and pushes him onto the ground, which allows her to shot him in the chest killing him instantly.
Marion then to sees Fire Trail gliding in the sky; its body of brown feathers massed by bright red cannons became one of its distant features over its scream. Mr. Book then puts his hands in the air for his gang to stop firing. The loud crackles of gun halts, Marion piers over. In the loud wind she can hear Mr. Book shout his words, “Come out now Platinum Saguaro!”
“Just a minute!” Marion shouted. With the vast majority of eyes focused on her, no one saw that Fire Trail was preparing to make a dive.
Marion then saw Fire Trail veer left allowing his large wings to spread out, letting the red cannons mounted on his lower body to fire a volley. Large streams of clouds filled the roof as smoke bombs left a white trail similar to the black smoke. Fire Trail then flies close enough to the train for Marion to board its massive stretched wings. The Smoke temporarily causing a distraction permits Marion to make a run for it, not far behind Mr. Book follows. Out of reach of his club, guns mounted to his shoulders open fire. Marion makes it aboard, allowing Fire Trail to break away from the train.
A large smile forms across Marion’s face, as she saw Mr. Book sway in anger. The black and white dress flapped in the wind, she excitedly pulls off the dress. Raveling a gleaming white short coat of embroidered red and silver. On the back a large stylized Saguaro cactus emblem bloomed in the afternoon light. Her black short vest gleams with silver buttons. Her blood red bellbottom trousers and black ribbons swayed in the wind. Marion then placed her large brimmed hat back on and pulled the chinstrap tightly around her neck.
As the Smoke clears Mr. book yells for his birds to follow, he mounts one of the large Coastal Fortresses and takes flight with a small company of cannon mounted birds. As Fire Trail and Marion make their getaway, the train and its black smoke fade into the horizon, behind large white Costal Fortresses follow in pursuit. They are fired upon them as large black clouds explode around them. Marion tells the gun crew to open fire. Not far behind Mr. book continues his chases after them. The rows of guns mounted on Fire Trail were by far considered ancient, but unlike the many Fortresses, Fire Trail was an Assault Fortress that used his talons equipped with razor blades making him a formidable opponent among heavily armed birds. He could clash with birds in midair and literally gouge his opponents to death.
Large blooms of smoke exploded around Marion as more birds were in striking range. Seeing the odds Fire Trail takes a hard right and races towards the birds. The area around explodes as machine guns and cannons fill the air between. Marion could hear the sound of shells and bullets whistle past.
Fire Trail reaching the first bird ripped off one of the gun canopies from the Fortress causing the bird and crew to spiral down. Mr. Books own Fortress follows Fire Trail in a dive before colliding in midair. The two birds talons clashed while the under belly guns roared into each other. The birds broke contact and flew in opposite directions. Fire Trail was being trailed by several of the fortresses along with the wasp raiders leading to the side firing pop shots. Fire Trail made a sharp dive gaining speed giving them a distance from the gunfire. Mr. Books Fortress tracking Fire Trail then swops in, attempting to crash into them again. Marion seeing the Fortress approaching fires a ball baring shell, the rounds completely miss the fast diving bird. The anti-air cannon from Books Fortress opens fire. As more black buffs of smoke surrounds Fire Trail, he makes another dive passing several trees to avoid the rounds. The two flew through out the land below, trying to get an edge onto each other.
One of the rounds hits on Fire Trail right wing causing him to crash on some nearby rocks, Mr. Books Fortress swoops in to attack the down bird. Not out of the fight yet, Marion fires all of her smoke screen rounds, she then tells her crew to load the guns with shrapnel shells while they are going to wait for Books Fortress to attack them. Fire Trail lays low to the ground to maximize the effectiveness of the smoke screen. When the smoke begins to wan Fire Trail can see Books Fortress waiting for them to emerge from the smoke. Fire Trail knowing that they were out gunned charges towards the Fortress hoping to strike at point blank range with his guns. The two clash in a violent wave of exploding guns and claws. The amount of movement from the bird caused the crew to miss their shots. Finally after what look to be a minute, Fire Trail is able pierce the Fortress’s armor and cut along his stomach forcing him fall to the ground in pain. Fire Trail deals the killing blow by crushing the bird’s skull with his talons. The death of Book’s fortress caused the other Flying Fortresses to flee. With the Fortress dead Marion her crew sees to the other crew.
Marion roams across the wreckage of the dead bird. Marion sees dead bodies litter the colossal Fortress. Marion walks around its large Pools of red blood spilling from the bird. After coming across several of the wounded gunners, Marion has their hands drawn while her crew addresses their wounds. The uninjured are tied down for the search parties that are bound to come looking for them.
Marion then comes across Mr. Book who has large metal rod in his stomach, grunting he refuses any of their help. Marion’s scarlet eyes gazes at the lizards face, his mask had been pulled off so that he could see the face of the one who murdered his brother. Dying Mr. Book asked how she killed him. Marion paused to asked what he looked like, Mr. Book toke offense that Marion did not even remember his brother’s face.
Marion was only able remember the eyes of the gang leader before he died. Standing over Mr. Book she says, “He’d jumped off the roof breaking his own legs. Seeing the law after him. Shot ‘imself in the head.” Marion said trying to please the dying lizard.
Mr. books gave a forced laughed that drew blood, “So you couldn’t not even finish the job! You carry that weathered stove pip, and wouldn’t use it when one has death at their door?”
“Who are you Mr. Book?”
Mr. Book silently looks up at Marion as her silhouette is outlined among the sun. He pulls out a small object Marion readies her pistol. With her gun drawn, he eyes narrow upon hers.
“I am someone who has great forces that wants to keep your kind from finding Snowfall. I cannot say who we are, but let me add this thought, what you have stolen from me. What Mr. Z’s former pupil Kosse stole. Has those mounted on the column watching. You have taken the black mark without knowing, for even death will reject you. We know from within and out! You are all the same taking the unknown without a clue! You will hear from us again, Montague will see to it!” Mr. book lean back as his last breath is drawn.
Marion holstered her pistol and ran through Mr. Book’s belongings. As she thought nothing was found other then he had taken out a photo. Reading the title it read, “Solar University” The picture featured several large figures posing most of them were birds and mice. She then noted two lizards both looking similar. She flipped the large photograph and found names written on it. She noted that Book was named Joshua Thame next to him was Charley Thame his brother. Flipping the photo back, she saw two young lizards dress in three-piece suits. Their gaze was youthful and vigorous, looking at the dead lizard before her, that same gaze gone and weathered. She pulled out her notebook, below were “Who is Mr. Z and Book” was written, she added his name “Joshua Thame Solar university” followed by his brothers name, “Charely Thame” then she added,
-Who is Montague?
-Do other teachers and students (other than Solar University) know about Snowfall?
-Black mark is that like Open Skies?
Marion added more information to her notebook, before her crew suggested that they better leave before the others arrive. She shouted at them to fold the photograph and take it back with them. Marion then took one last look at Mr. book before departing with Fire Trail into the afternoon light.