As the week progressed, so did our training. Once everyone had mastered dodging and the roundhouse kick, Blake went on to teach us some more moves, like attacking and defending ourselves. Thankfully, no one got hurt in the process, though I could tell Jane was itching to try her moves on Rickie. Thankfully she controlled herself, which was just as well.
"I feel like I could kick some serious NGO butt, now!" Jackie was saying one day after practice.
"Yeah, me, too." I agreed, chugging my water.
"Me three," Jane echoed.
"Me four!" Ella chimed. We all laughed.
"Where did you learn all this stuff, Blake? You're such a natural!" Jane asked, sounding only slightly jealous.
Blake shrugged. "At this place a long time got. To tell you the truth, I was trained to become one of the NGO's soldiers. We went through brutal training, it was quite harsh."
We all stood still very still. For everyone else this was all knew to them. Blake had told me only part of it a few weeks ago at New Ferry, but he didn't lather on all the details he was saying now, so only half of this was a surprise to me.
"Really? What did you do then? How'd you end up in New Ferry?" Jackie asked in wonderment.
Blake explained, looking uncomfortable. "Eventually I escaped. I didn't want to fight for the Government, so I ran. I chose to use my abilities and knowledge to protect instead of destroy. I ran until I came upon New Ferry, and I became their guard leader."
"I never knew that. I'm just glad you chose good over evil then!" Jackie said. "The more people we have on our side, the better."
When we made it back to Macy's, Sal came up to us. He had been waiting for us in what used to be where they held the perfume stuff, but was now just an empty space with crumbling debris. Bailee was with him as well.
"I've come up with a plan and I want you guys to hear it," he said immediately, getting straight to the point.
"What is it?" I asked, eager to hear it. "
Follow me," he said, leading the way to a deserted corner of the store. Once we were all there, Sal began explaining his plan.
"Okay here it is: We'll disguise ourselves as dock workers. Another group will be the getaway car. We'll arrive in the van, with everyone else in it. I'm gonna have you, Blake, and a few others be the ones who plant the explosives where the bombs are being stored."
"Sweet!" Bailee cheered, a happy glint in her eye. Whenever that happened, we all knew we should probably watch our backs. "We get to blow things up! Yes!"
I rolled my eyes. Lord, help us.
"Hmm... interesting. We get to blow up the place where they make things that blow other stuff up... That's ironic don't you think?" Rickie said in wonderment.
His Twin patted his shoulder. "Don't think about it too hard, Twin," she advised.
"How will we get all the innocent kids who working there out before we blow up the place?" I asked.
"The place where they store all the bombs should be in a separate building, which is highly guarded. I've checked with my sources and they have confirmed my guess."
"Can we be part of the infiltration team?" asked Jackie.
"Yes. Roxanne, you, and Blake will be the ones who will place the bombs in the storage area. Jackie, Rickie, and Bailee will be the ones who will start a fire in the main building so that the Government Order won't be able to keep remaking more bombs for a while." Sal ordered. The Twins nodded, understanding their task.
Bailee rubbed her hands together with glee. "Awesome! We get to be the pyros!"
"Good luck with her." I said, worried for their safety.
"What about us?" Jane asked. Only she and Ella were left without jobs.
"Stay by the getaway van. When the fire alarms go off, I want you to be stationed by an exit, helping the slaved kids out to safety."
"Alrighty, got it." Jane nodded. "It doesn't sound too hard."
"Okay, so you all know your positions, right?" asked Sal.
"Yes, Sir!" Rickie saluted. Jackie rolled her eyes at her twin.
"Should we tell everyone else?" I suggested. "The sooner we act, the better."
Sal nodded, moving on. "Right. Yes, we should. We need to gather as many materials and supplies as we can to prepare ourselves."
We all nodded in understanding, knowing what we had to do.
"Okay, if everyone would come with me. Let's go gather everyone for a meeting." Sal instructed, leading us towards the main lobby of the mall. We gathered up on the balcony over looking the floor below, where everyone usually gathered for the announcement. Blake, my friends, and I flanked him on either side.
Once everyone had gathered and gotten quiet, Sal began explaining the plan just as he'd done to us. After Sal finished explaining it all, he continued on. "This is a dangerous mission, I'm not going to lie to you. Some of us may not make it out alive. You all know what's at stake here and what the risks are, but we're doing this for the survival of our world. We will not sit back and let the New Government Order take away what's good and pure; we won't go down without a fight."
Everyone hollered in agreement, getting all pumped up. "Now lets go and teach them a lesson." Sal finished, and the crowd erupted into cheers.
Sal turned to the rest of us. "Go ahead and get everyone together. You all know what you have to do."
Nodding, I turned to my friends. "Alright, guys. Ya'll know the drill!" I said, hands on hips. "Let's get ready!"
"So who's making the bombs?" Jane wondered as we were heading to the place in the mall where the demolitions were being made.
"A few kids who specializes in the demolitions." Bailee answered. "I'm so jealous; I wish I could learn that stuff!"
"Um, I'd rather you not." Rickie said, a little worried. "We would rather not feel scared our of our wits when we know you have a license to blow stuff up. I don't know about everyone else, but I'd like to live a little longer." Bailee just rolled her eyes.
"Well, maybe you shouldn't be so cocky and mean to people all the time." Jane suggested.
"But where's the fun in that?" Rickie exclaimed.
"Okay everyone, let's get down to business." I told them, quieting them down. "This mission is going to be big, and I want everyone of you to be careful and always on your guard. Just get home in one piece. Please."
"Yes, Master." Rickie saluted.
"We got it, Roxy." Jackie assured me with a smile. "You can definitely count on me."
"Bailee, Rickie, you two don't get too crazy with that fire." I warned, knowing how much they liked to good off. "Jackie you're in charge. Keep an eye on them and keep them in line."
"What! Why her?" Rickie said, horror-struck.
"Because you, Twin, are irresponsible, even if you were born first." Jackie told him.
"Humph," Rickie huffed, arms crossed.
"Okay, once the bombs are made, we should be good to go." I began, attempting to steer us back on track. "Jane; you and Ella go and make sure the getaway car is ready."
"Got it," Ella said, taking little Jane by the wrist and dragged her along with her.
"Good luck!" I hollered after them. They waved back in response.
"I kinda feel sorry that Ella has to deal with her." Rickie remarked, staring after them. Then he shrugged and turned away. "Welp, better her than me!"
I turned to Bailee and the Twins. "Now, you three better be super-duper careful and get back alive, preferably not burnt to a crisp!" I warned them. We were all like a big family; we looked out for one another, despite how much we quarreled with one another. We were that close; if any one of us died, it would be hard on all of us.
Jackie smiled at me. She was the most loving, sincere, and caring person out of all of us. "Of course, Roxy. You can count on us." she repeated.
"I hope..." Bailee muttered, giving me a knowing grin.
"Yes, Boss." Rickie grinned, saluting again.
I rolled my eyes. "And stop that saluting crap!"
"Yes, Master." Rickie said, standing stiff and straight as a pole. As if we were in the Army.
Rickie laughed. "Can I not have my fun?" he complained.
"That depends on your definition of 'fun...'" Bailee pointed out warily.
"Okay, okay. Enough, you two. Go and make yourself useful; see what you can do to help prepare." I ordered, wanting nothing to do with the bantering. I needed to clear my head.
"Got it, Boss!" Rickie said. He grinned at me sheepishly, quickly turning around and hurrying off before I could yell at him for calling me 'Boss' again.
Jackie caught me by surprise by wrapping her arms around me in a tight hug. "Good luck, sis." She said.
I hugged her back. "Thanks, girl. And to you as well."
After ruffling her beautiful blonde hair affectionately, she and Bailee followed Rickie, and I found myself once again alone with Blake. This hadn't happened since New Ferry, and it was still awkward.
Finally, Blake spoke up, clearing his throat. "Do you want to go and oversee the bomb preparations? Sal said they were over in the old Hot Topic store on the south side of the mall."
"Yeah, sure." I said following Blake. What a perfect place to make the bombs. Jackie and Bailee would have been jealous of me if they had heard that was where we were going; they were crazy about that store - not that there was any merchandise left. All the stores had been demolished and picked clean from scavengers long ago.
"Hey, there you guys are." Jax greeted Blake and I when we arrived at Hot Topic. "The bombs are almost finished." Jax led us to the back of the store. We passed a couple of tables with some kids, head bent in concentration, putting the bombs together.
The whole place was painted black; you couldn't escape it. This was Gothic Heaven - or was it Hell, since Goth people didn't believe in God? I wasn't sure, so I didn't worry about it too much.
Jax was our demolitions expert. He could find a way to blow up stuff with very little material. You could say it was a skill. Jax was tall and lanky, with dark, almost black brown hair that was disheveled, with intense green eyes that always had a glint of mischief in them. He always wore dark clothing; black or gray shirts, dark blue or black jeans, and his beat-up black and white Nikes. He was the king of bad-boys. And Jackie had the biggest crush on him, and I really couldn't blame her.
Jax led us to the cashiers' counter, where Sal and Trina stood with a basket that had only one time bomb inside.
Sal looked up as we approached. His face lit up considerably. "Ah, there you are! Has everyone else been preparing?"
"Yes, I sent them on their way." I said.
"Great. We're just waiting for the kids to finish the bombs. Would you check up on them?" Sal turned to Jax, who nodded, leaving to do just that.
"The bombs are coming along nicely. After Jax did a demonstration of how to make the bombs, the other kids started on theirs. You two are to take these and plant them in the storage facility. I'd place them at the center of the building: its heart. It'll be a heavy blow." Sal told us. "You understand?"
Blake and I nodded. "Yes, sir," we both said in unison.
Sal smiled, satisfied. "Great! Everything should go according to plan then."