Written by: heartsoflead

"Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’"

She couldn’t recall her name. All she could remember was being soaked in blood. She remembered being fed stale bread and water on an almost daily basis. Sunlight was a myth, as were birds, trees, the wind, the world in it’s entirety outside of the four white walls and a buzzing florescent lamp didn’t exist to her. Each time she figured it was night, she’d curl up in a small corner of the room, rocking herself to sleep. She’d wake up when the voices came back, screaming at her at one moment, then quietly whispering abusive words in her ears.

She felt like this was what death was- a loud speaking voice telling you what to think and four walls closing in on you at every angle. Sometimes she’d pull her hair just to feel pain and divert her mind from the voices. Other times, she resorted in holding her breath until she turned blue, gulping air at the last second just to remind herself that maybe she was alive after all.

Then, it stopped.

She spent a couple of quiet days, alone, humming a song to herself that she didn’t even recall the name to. Finally, the door opened, and inside walked two men wearing black outfits and metal faces. She was afraid, so long she had spent in that room, telling herself that human life didn’t exist. She was the only human in the world- her and the voice. Were these even humans?

“Who are you?” One asked. This shocked her. It had a voice, one that was different from THE voice. It was deep? much, much deeper than the voice.

“I-I don’t know.” She said, honestly. She wished she knew who she was. She wished that she could remember how she got there and why the voice loathed her so much. What was her life before white walls and stale bread? When she tried scrunching up her face to remember the past, the only thing she could see in her mind was white. White. White walls, white ceiling, white floor, being completely alone, the only time she wasn’t alone was when a spider had crawled in through a small crack in the door. She’d named it Bray. She didn’t know why she named it that, but it just seemed right. He died a day later.

“How can you not know?” The other metal face asked. His voice was a bit softer. He sounded young.

“If I could answer your question, I wouldn’t be in such a mess.” She replied, biting her lip out of nervousness. “Who? What are you?”

The metal faces looked at each other, and then back at her. Simultaneously, they grabbed each of her arms and dragged her out of the cell. She screamed, kicking and flailing about. They were going to eat her! They’d gobble her up and she’d never understand what she was doing there or what her name was. “STOP!” She cried. From her meager diet, she was so weak and skinny. These metal faces were strong, too strong. She felt as though their grasp on her arms would break them in two.

As they walked down the hallway, they stopped at a door. The one metal face opened it with his free hand, then the both of them drug her inside, shutting the door behind them. She managed to pull away from them, trying hard to open the door and free herself, but it was no use. The door wouldn’t budge and the metal faces just grabbed her again to face another metal face in a chair. This one had red spikes, like fire, in his hair. His chair was motorized, which startled her. He rolled closer to her, almost as though he were examining her. His breathing seemed a bit labored, as though he were sick. He smelled like gasoline and rubbing alcohol. “What is this?”

“We found her in the cell, my Lord.” The metal face to the right of her replied.

“Those stupid Zoot worshippers must have held her captive.” The metal face in the chair laughed, then went into coughing hysterics. She flinched a bit, scared of the sudden loud noises coming from him. He got really close to her face, and she felt as though she could almost taste the metal radiating from him. “What is your name?”

“I don’t know.”

He grabbed her face, which caused a yelp to escape her lips. “What do you mean ‘you don’t know’?” He was squeezing her cheeks together, causing her lips to pucker. It was beginning to hurt. “Obviously you were important to The Chosen if they kept you this long,” He paused for a moment, loosening his grip on her face. She turned her head so his sticky leather glove wasn’t touching her skin anymore.
“She’s been brainwashed,” He muttered, mostly to himself. The metal face in the chair turned away from her, rolling over to his computer. He began to type in a fury, then tapped the ear of the walkie talkie headset on his head. “I’m going to need someone here from the training department, please.” He turned back to her, a smile upturned on his lips.

She was scared. Brainwashed? What did that even mean? A panic swelled over her, causing her to breathe a bit faster.

Another metal face walked through the door, this one with blond hair poking out from the top of his metal head. He smelled different than the one in the chair, he smelled like fresh soap and aftershave. “You called for me?” He glanced down at her, then back at the metal face in the chair.

“Yes, take this girl to the training area. She was a left over from The Chosen, I think she could be quite valuable to us.” He tapped his fingers on the desk of his chair. That tapping, it felt like the screaming from the voice in her ears. She wished it would stop. She wished this would all just stop so she could figure out what was going on.

The metal face that just walked in nodded, grabbing her arm. The two holding her immediately let her go. The metal face with his hand on her arm didn’t have a grasp like the other two- his was a bit kinder and gentler. It felt like a relief to her to not have hands squeezing on her thinning arms. Despite the relief, she was scared to death and began crying. He looked down at her, a small smile on his lips. He pulled her along with him and she didn’t resist this time. He lead her down the hall to another room.

He had been the only one to show her great kindness. He sat her down in a comfortable chair and gave her left over beef stew from his lunch, along with ice water and a dinner roll. He even took his face off for her, revealing the human underneath. As she was gulping down the food, she couldn’t help but notice how handsome he was, he was unlike anyone she had ever seen before. Those brown eyes reminded her of someone, she couldn’t exactly put her finger on it, but either way they shined like diamonds. He seemed intimidating when he tightened his jaw back with the metal face in the chair, but now that he was relaxed and smiling a bit more, nothing about him was scary.

“You were quite hungry.” He commented as he took away the empty bowl and glass from her. He handed it to another metal face who then left the room. “When was the last time you’d eaten anyway?” To this, she just shrugged her shoulders. “Well, that’s not important anyway,” He smoothed out the back of her hair, which had been a bit messed up from being pulled around everywhere. “You realize you’ve been brainwashed by The Chosen, correct?”


“Basically, The Chosen tortured you, forcing you to forget who you were and what had happened to you before you were locked in that room.” When he mentioned the room, she couldn’t help but shudder. “Listen very carefully. This is your chance to be someone - join us and you can have another identity…” He got a bit closer to her. “Help us take over the city. Join us and you’ll have opportunities of a lifetime.”

She bit her lip. “And what if I don’t?”

“You know that guy back there? the one in the chair?” He asked. She nodded slightly. “His name is Ram. He has the temper of a tiger, and if I go back there and tell him that you refused, you might never have another shot at life.” She could remember when she was in that room and how she thought she was dead? knowing that she was alive was a great feeling. If she didn’t join, death would come again. She’d be stuck in that white room with the voice screaming at her like she did something wrong.

Violently, she shook her head. She began to cry. “No, please. I’ll join you, I swear.” She grabbed onto his hands. They were soft, just touching them made her heart cry even harder. She hadn’t touched human skin in a very long while. “I can’t go back there, I can’t.”

“Then that settles it.” He moved his hands away from hers and stood up. She stood along with him. “My brother will take you to a room to sleep in, you’re probably exhausted.” He motioned toward a metal face that looked very similar to him- blond hair sticking out from the top of his metal head, though he was a good bit shorter than his brother. “I’ll wake you tomorrow morning when we’re ready to train you.”

She nodded, walking out with the man’s brother.

He sighed, running a hand through his hair. He quickly got up and walked back to Ram’s room. Ram had been waiting for him, patiently. “Well, Jay, how did it go?”

“I threatened her a bit, scared the life out of her.” Jay smiled. “She’s very weak, though. The Chosen barely fed her and I don’t think she’s slept in a very long time. We’ll begin training tomorrow morning, I think she’ll be a very good candidate.”

“Excellent.” Ram mumbled, typing away again at the laptop before him.

Jay had trained her hard. At first, he was unsure of her potential. She was highly malnourished; the muscles in her arms and legs were so weak. Many things were difficult for her to comprehend. Eventually, she got the hang of it. Every obstacle Jay threw at her made her stronger and faster. To build her muscle strength, he made her run the entire parameter of base. He tested her on every kind of computer term that he’d been taught so long ago. He’d molded her into the exact fighter that Ram wanted, as well as giving her the opportunity to develop a personality of her own.

He was surprised at how much she actually changed from day one. The scared, timid girl he’d escorted to a vacant room was now this beautiful warrior, ready to take on anything that came her way. The amount of knowledge that she soaked inside was outstanding. Off the top of her head, she could tell you how to repair any computer on base. If someone grabbed her from behind, she knew how to defend herself and make them pay.

“Well, it seems that I have nothing left to teach.” Jay informed her one evening, crossing his arms across his chest. He had just thrown a few quick punches her way; she blocked every single one of them, flawlessly. “You’re really something, you know? It didn’t take me as long as I thought to train you?”

She ran a hand through her thick, brown hair. A smile curled on her lips. “You couldn’t have taught me EVERYTHING, Jay. There has to be something!” She loved learning; no matter what context the word was used in. Along with the training, she’d also learned how to fend for her self in case of emergencies- how to find food in the woods and make a shelter. She also learned how to hate anybody who didn’t agree with the Techno’s point of view, something Jay gradually built up in her.

Obviously Jay had something to pin this to. Daily, he reminded her of the voice and the little white room. “They put you there, you know. They stuck you in that room and didn’t feed you. They weren’t Techno’s. You can be stronger than them.” She could recall the conversation no matter where she was. When she saw a virt, she thought of the white room and turned into a cruel mistress. Ram was indeed intrigued by this.

“I’m sure if I figure something out, I’ll let you know.” Jay couldn’t help but smile at her eagerness.

She sat down at a vacant chair, wiping the sweat that was dripping from her forehead. She’d worked hard that day. Hard work not only allowed her to learn, but it also gave her a right to the Techno’s share of food and water. “There is one little bit of knowledge you forgot to give me, though.” She looked up at him from where she was sitting. He noticed how fascinating her eyes were.

“And what’s that?”

“My name? what am I to be called?”

That thought hadn’t come to his mind. He’d never needed to call her anything. Occasionally, when only speaking to Ram or his brother, he’d mention her by the name of ‘The Prisoner’. Now, she was asking what her name was to be. He figured that by now she’d remember her previous identity somewhat? but still a wall was held up in her memory, blocking anything from coming through. Jay looked up at the sky for a moment, trying to think of what to call her. They were outside on this peaceful evening? a bird flew over them, the sound of his cawing could be heard. His face lit up in sudden understanding.

“Your name is Raven.”

She eyed him for a moment. “Raven? Like those big ugly birds that make all that noise? Jay, I would have thought you’d come up with something better than that-”

“No, listen.” Jay got a bit closer to her. “A Raven is smart. They are very quick learners, though they are quite misunderstood.” He gave her a returning look, and now it was her turn to understand. “Did you know that when a Raven speaks, it’s said that their cawing actually means ‘tomorrow, tomorrow’ in Latin?”

She smirked. “Did not know that? Hmm?” She thought for a moment. “I could get used to Raven. In all honesty, it’s a beautiful name. Thank you, Jay.”

Jay just smiled at her. He wasn’t sure what was to happen from here. He knew that after this training, she’d be deported out into the city, to one of the sectors. He didn’t know when he’d see her? she’d be so busy. He’d truly miss their training sessions and spending time with her. He got a bit closer, putting his hand on hers. “Anytime.” Suddenly, he got lost in her brown eyes. In the perfect moment, each of their heads leaned into each other, his lips catching onto hers for a few moments. At first, she enjoyed the feeling of his warm lips on hers, but then something happened…

-A flash of chocolate brown eyes, bearing into hers. A rough, calloused hand reaching to grab a hold of her face, the other tangling into her thick, brown mane. All of his other facial features were blurred except for the intensity of his eyes. He was upset… sad… those eyes were just looking at her, almost asking her why she was doing this. Why was she betraying him?

She tore her lips from his, horrified. She was mistaken. This didn’t feel okay. “I-I?.” She wasn’t sure what to say. She was so thankful for what he had taught her, but this sudden feeling of betrayal and shame fell onto her heart like a vice grip. She could hardly breathe. “I’m thankful, Jay. Thankful for the lessons, the name you’ve given me? But I can’t do this.”

Just as Jay was about to open his mouth, a Techno guard approached them. “Ram would like to see the Prisoner.”

“She has a name.” Jay spoke up, looking directly at the guard, a hint of annoyance and confusion in his voice. He wouldn’t let his gaze stray onto her. He felt ashamed? what had come over him? “It’s Raven. And I’m finished with training her.” He watched her stand up and walk away with the guard. Heartache shot from his chest to his stomach.

Any other given time, she would have been afraid of Ram. He never held eye contact with her for over a minute; whenever he flexed his fingers, the latex gloves he wore squeaked. He always smelt of strong plastic and hand sanitizer. When he gave a cruel smile, his teeth were always crooked. Sometimes he’d laugh a sneering laugh? it reminded her of a dying dog barking. She’d been much too overwhelmed from what had happened with Jay to notice all of these negative things about him.

“Yes, Lord Ram?” She asked. She watched Ram wave away the guard who was standing next to her. The man walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Never before had she been in a room with just her and Ram. Usually his two wives, Java and Siva were there along with him, always protectively watching over him as if he were going to drop dead in front of them.

Ram moved his chair closer to where she was, the loud motor not bothering her as much as it used to. “I’ve seen your progress with Jay, and I have to say I am quite impressed.” He moved his latex finger and thumb under his chin, stroking it. “Yes, quite impressed. You’ve come very far from when we found you. I think you’ll make a great addition to our team.” He looked down at the laptop before him, typing away furiously. She was about to say something to Ram, when he interrupted her. He never allowed her to speak- it was as through her voice would poison him. “Sector three, have you been there?” She opened her mouth, yet again, to speak, but his barking laughter surprised her. “Of course you wouldn’t remember. Silly me. This is the sector you will be deported in the next twenty four hours. You will be with a few others- we have a base there. I suggest you pack what little belongings you have and prepare yourself.”

“But, Lord Ram, I-”

“Please, leave me now. I have things I have to configure.” Ram, not looking away from his laptop, gestured with his latex hand for her to be gone. In his mind, he breathed a sigh of relief when she turned away from him. Nothing about that girl was sterile and clean… it was as though he could see the germs floating around her- like a dirty bubble. A shiver traveled down his spine as he reached for his big bottle of hand sanitizer.

When she stepped out of the room, she began to walk toward her living quarters. Deep down, she knew that she was ready for this. She’d trained hard, and this was now the time for her to show Ram and Jay she could do it. She placed a hand on the door knob of her room and opened the door to find Jay sitting on her bed. She gasped, not expecting the blond boy to be behind the closed door. Clutching her heart, she began to feel anger coursing through her veins. “Jay, what are you doing here?” She walked over to her closet where she pulled out a medium sized, black and red duffel bag. She began to rip open her drawers, throwing in there what little clothes she owned. The Techno’s had their share of resources, making sure their pupils were satisfied. The first couple weeks of her training, they’d given her two bags of clothing which they’d raided. She picked what she wanted, then passed the bag on- because she was one of Jay’s best students, she got first dibs. Since she’d been “reborn” (this word made her feel better about not remembering her past), she hadn’t at all been materialistic. She kept what she needed, the rest was passed on or thrown away.

“I wanted to apologize. What I did was completely out of impulse. I-I wasn’t thinking straight.”

“Yeah, you weren’t.” She said, sarcastically. She couldn’t control this urge to hit him… she was now throwing things at her bag, voilently, not caring if she missed or not. When the drawers were empty, she knelt down by the bag and began shoving things inside messily. She didn’t care, she just wished Jay would leave. “Look, Ram is shipping me out in the next 24 hours. I’ll be gone for good. Can’t I just have the last moments of my life here be peaceful?”

“Why are you so angry with me? I said I made a mistake.” Jay was sitting on the edge of the bed now, his fists white from clenching onto the black bedspread. He wasn’t the angry type- a lover, not a fighter. But he was so confused as to why she was acting like this… never in his months of training her and teaching her what she now knew had he seen her so frustrated.

She stood up, giving him a dagger stare. “What you did to me was inappropriate. I… I…” It didn’t make sense why she was so mad- why she just wanted to slap Jay and throw him out. She was frustrated that when she tried to pull her memory back from before she had been found by the Technos, she couldn’t. She’d hit a white wall of nothingness. It frustrated her that she didn’t know who those eyes belonged to in the flash she had when Jay kissed her. Obviously, they weren’t his- she couldn’t even recall that event taking place in her life. She just felt as though Jay kissing her was hurting someone else- the fire deep down was beginning to burn bright and violently. She just couldn’t deal with anything anymore. “I want you to leave.” The words were almost caught in her throat as tears welled up in the corners of her eyes.

Jay stood up, and she could notice that his boyish face seemed hard. His jawline was more defined then before. He got closer to her, which made her heart pound quicker. “For all the things I taught you and the time I put out for your training, this is how you’re going to thank me, Raven? We’re going to end on this note, huh? Well, I hope you have a great life.”

“Just. Leave.” She said slowly, trying very hard to not let her voice tremble. He turned away from her, then he was gone, slamming the door behind him. That’s when she lost it, behind that closed door. She crumpled to her knees, bringing her fists to her eyes to stop the inevitable tears that were flowing from her eyes. She didn’t know what was going on; she was so angry. She just wanted to leave, start fresh. She couldn’t stand being so close to him… it made her skin crawl. Guilt, mixed with heartache sunk like lead in her stomach.

After an hour, she stopped her own crying. She picked herself up and sat down on her bed. She looked at herself in the mirror for the first time in a while. Her pale, delicate features looked void of emotions, the only sign of her mental breakdown was the wetness on her cheeks. Her brown, bushy hair was wet with tears as she ran a hand through it’s thickness. “Raven, you’re not weak. You need to show them you’re not weak. This isn’t the room, the voice can’t control you. Nobody can control you, Raven. But you can control them.”

A sudden, cold smile curled onto Raven’s lips, as her index finger traced the Techno “T” on her forehead. She repeated the last words of her thought, slower and with more malice. “You… can control… them.”

Raven hadn’t gone out of her way to avoid Jay the day she was to leave; their paths had never even seemed to cross. It was for the better- she was sure she would have been sick if she’d laid eyes on him one more time. Still, she could not put the emotions and feelings towards him together in her head. It was a mixture of fear, anger, annoyance and “love”. The love was strange. It didn’t sit in her stomach well- it felt like the kind of love that would betray another. He’d gone from a personal mentor and friend to a sickening voice in her ear, torturing her with thoughts of memories she’d never experienced.

There was a convoy of about 3 black trucks which would be following each other to the new sector. Raven entered the first one with her single brown, canvas bag. It was pretty spacious in the back of that truck, though the ceiling was a little low and caused Raven to have to duck. She made her way to one of the two black, leather benches, picking the one on the opposite side of the two other Techno’s being transported. They both seemed to know each other and were chatting until Raven placed her bag in the overhead bag rack and sat down. It was quiet for a while, and Raven knew without looking up that the two girls were looking her up and down, judging her by her appearance. She’d never had such an awkward experience before.

A Techno whom Raven hadn’t seen much while she’d been training came to the open door of the truck. From what she could recall, his name was Mega, and he mostly stayed with all of the computers. “Your truck number is 5753. When you get to the sector, this is the number you will tell the leader of the sector. The trip will take you around an hour, so make yourselves comfortable. Remember this: The base of power is fear. With fear, you can accomplish anything.” He gave them a small, devious smile before he tapped the side of the truck and shut the door.

Raven could feel the rumble of the engine and the relaxing pull of the truck moving forward. “You’re that girl Jay had eyes for.” The comment took Raven from surprise. It was from one of the girls, she couldn’t catch who exactly it was from. It seemed rude and uncalled for, but it was true all the same. He did have eyes for her, but the thought made Raven want to be sick.

“I have a name.” She responded. “It’s Raven.”

“My rude friend is named Gwen. I’m Jane.” The younger of the two girls said in an apologetic tone. Raven found this girl to be quite familiar… but she couldn’t exactly put her finger on it. It was the shape of her face- just on the cusps of being a young woman, but still very childlike. Her lips were perfectly pouted and beautiful in every way. There was a small glimmer in her eyes. Her hair was a light brown, the bangs on her head bleach blond and curled unevenly.

A bump in the road caused them all to jump in their seats. The awkwardness of everything hung in the air like a fog. Raven began to listen to the rhythmic hum of the engine coming from the front of the truck, trying to tune out her thoughts. Jane and Gwen began picking up their conversation in a slightly hushed tone. The chatter annoyed Raven, so she closed her eyes and enjoyed the black which was behind her lids. Slowly, the talking died down and she could feel sleep tugging at her from all angles.

“Where did you come from? Like, before the Technos…”

Raven opened her eyes, sighing. She couldn’t remember anything before the white walls and the voice. In response, she just shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know.” Gwen and Jane eyed her suspiciously. Again, the awkwardness filled the back of that truck. A small amount of anger rose in her chest. It was as though these girls were expecting her to give them an answer. “Jay told me I was brainwashed by some tribe. I don’t remember anything before that.”

They both just nodded, Gwen’s face still contorted in a weird look. Jane’s was a little more solemn. “I had originally been with the Loco’s until Zoot died… stayed with the Chosen, and now I’m with the Technos.” Gwen told Raven as if it was no big deal. Jay had told Raven of these tribes, and he’d also explained how each had fallen. He then drilled her on ways they could have succeeded. “It’s the best thing I could have done. Technos will go far- further than any tribe could have in history.” She was twirling one of her thick, black dreadlocks around her index finger. This habit bothered Raven, maybe because the girl’s hairstyle reminded her of a birds nest.

Jane rolled her eyes, which caught Raven’s attention. “What about you?” She asked the girl, curiously.

“It’s almost the same story as you… though instead of not remembering at all, I just remember bits and pieces.” Jane told her. “Like… I remember being in the mines, my feet bleeding because of all the work I was doing; My best friend’s face… I don’t know her name, or what tribe we belonged to. I was probably brainwashed like you.” She seemed so sad. Obviously she was younger than Raven, and it caused her some grief to know that this girl couldn’t remember her childhood. “I’m glad the Technos found me. I now have a home, and things are getting brighter.” Jane smiled, but there was so much sadness behind it. It wasn’t convincing.

The truck stopped short. There was a look of confusion on everybody’s face as the door slid open and two young men walked inside. Raven had her gaze to the ground as she felt one body sit next to her and saw the feet of the other sit over by Jane and Gwen. The door slid back shut and the engine revved on. Slowly, her eyes moved up to the person next to her. He had a shaved head and deep set green eyes. He looked so pale and thin… almost sickly. They made eye contact and he smiled at her- one of his front teeth was silver. Raven cringed. “What’s your name, lovely?” He asked in a sickly smooth voice. Raven’s glance went back to the ground.

“She’s Raven. This is Jane, and I’m Gwen.” Gwen’s obnoxious voice piped up. It was a little bit obvious that she fancied this boy, which was fine with Raven. “What are your names?”

“I’m Russ and that loser over there is Alec.” Russ nodded in the direction of the silent boy.

Raven looked over at him, a chill running through her spine. The same feeling she’d felt with Jane began to stir up within her, but they were stronger, almost burning with the intensity of an explosion. Those brown eyes; that long, brown hair; the chiseled jawline; the boyish face. She almost gasped at how strong this feeling was, as if it were taking a hold of her lungs and completely deflating them. Why could she remember his face? She’d never met him before. The name didn’t even remotely sound familiar to her. Alec was just so beautiful it was reducing her stomach to knots.

She’d been so in her head that she didn’t realize everybody staring at her hungry eyes. She glanced around the truck, then coughed nervously and lowered her gaze back to the floor.

“So, where are you two lads from?” Gwen asked.

“I’m from Sector 2 originally, but Alec is from around Sector 7.” Russ told them. With her glance still at the ground, Raven could see Russ’s hand getting closer and closer to her leg. He was already sitting too close to her… she could smell his dirty, sweaty figure edging closer to her still. She tried ignoring it, but the fact that he was coming closer bothered her. He placed his hand on her knee.

“Get off.” Raven muttered, swiping his hand off of her as though he were a bug.

“No need for the snap.” Russ put his hands up in surrender, but Raven knew he’d be at it again in a second.

“I apologize for my rude friend.” Gwen glared. It was obvious that the girl wished she was in Raven’s seat.

Russ tried the same move a couple of other times during their trip, and each time Raven slapped his fingers away. Eventually, she moved to the very end of the bench, her knees pointing in this furthest direction from him until he took the hint to stop trying. Raven was a stone, she wouldn’t be moved unless her weakness, which was Alec, swept her off her feet. It seemed as though the boy was entirely too quiet, though. He was too engaged in gazing at his shoe laces rather than at the obvious stares coming from Raven. In her mind, she tried to will his eyes up to look into her’s. Look at me. Look at me, Alec. I’m here. Just up a little further-

Mid thought, the truck stopped moving. It was an abrupt halt, causing Russ’s body to lean into hers. That was the straw that broke the camels back. Her first reaction to this was to punch, and punch she did. Her fist met with Russ’s nose, causing a very audible crack and an exaggerated gush of blood. “What the f-”

“Oh!” Cried Gwen as she ripped the sleeve of her shirt off to mop his face clean.

Raven glanced at Alec, who had been looking up at her at the same exact moment, a small smirk on his face. With the adrenaline coursing through her veins and the warm feeling of blood on her knuckle, she couldn’t help but smirk back. Time seemed to freeze (despite Gwen’s annoying chatter and Russ’s loud breathing through his mouth). A slight jolt, almost like electricity, ran through her limbs, and her knees felt weak.

In an instant, Raven was being grabbed by her shirt collar by a bloody faced Russ. “You dumb bitch! You ruined my nose!”

“It’s not like it was your best feature.” Raven muttered, not feeling even remotely threatened, even when he lifted his own fist to hit her. Jay’s training came in handy; her knee met with his groin.

Never before had Raven seen someone in such pain. With a deep suck in of breath, Russ fell to the floor, his face almost blue from pain. Gwen made an advance to her, but Jane held her back, murmuring something about not getting hurt. The door of the truck finally opened, and one of the Techno leaders stared at them, astonished at the sight before him.

Before anyone could say anything, Raven stepped out of the truck, walking away from the monstrosity that had occurred. She didn’t feel bad about what she’d done to Russ, though she knew it would come back to hit her… but she’d definitely be ready. Nothing really mattered except that Alec had acknowledged her. He had even graced her with a smile.