The Dream I had last night:

Lasers pierced the sky, lancing through the air in a quest to rend flesh and metal. The thundering retort of cannon fire echoed across the battlefield. The tortured squeal of metal rent apart in a cascade of violence. All this and more served as the background as I darted away, pulling my tank back as quickly as the massive machine could move. I needed to get across that killing field. Get out of this tank and into the mecha waiting for me.

Squeezing the trigger, I blasted another bot out of the way before running over the twisted wreckage, metal crunching beneath my treads. Streaking across the battlefield, ignoring the obstacles, not trying to dodge and instead relying on my armor to slam through the rubble in my way.

Crashing into the building, I slammed on the breaks. Cracking open the hatch, I had to duck back for a moment to dodge some debris. With a grunt, I pushed open the hatch again, the rubble sliding off the hatch. A grin adorned my lips as I made my way over to mecha.

Towering overhead, the machine stood waiting for me. Static flashed across my eyes. Blinking, I tried to shake away the distraction. Static filled my ears.

Static filled my world.

Yanking off the headset, I turned to look at the man next to me with a scowl. Smirking at me, he just let me know time was up and went back to work. Sighing, I left the simulator. I was so close that time. Ah well. It was time for the potions competition anyway.

Making my way to the classroom, I silently went over the components I would need to complete my potions. This would be a race to the finish. When the first person completed all the potions, the competition would be over and the remainder of the contestants would be placed depending on how much they’d finished rather than waiting for them to finish themselves.

Grinning in anticipation, I entered the room, glancing around at the other competitors. There were quite a number of them. Some I recognized from around the campus. Other’s I’d never met before. Some that were obviously in town strictly for the competition.

After getting everyone settled and explaining the rules, the judges started the competition. I focused on cutting my ingredients, ignoring all others. My hands were steady. My technique flawless. It wasn’t long before my first potion was completed. Walking it up to the judges, I presented them the finished vial, then turned back to my station.

Time’s up! Two people finished all the potions simultaneously. Gaping in shock, I turned to see two of the youngest competitors had finished. I later learned they were considered genius potion makes and were slated for their masteries soon. Growling, I headed out. I still had a job to do.

Working security for a gangster wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Not that anyone would admit he was a gangster. They just wouldn’t say exactly where his wealth came from or why so many disreputable people hung around the facility. What was important was working with the supply group. They were stockpiling.

Food. Precious metals. Money. Mostly food. Several inquiries told me they had a plan. They were going to shut down the banks. All of them. They were going to be the major source of funds for the criminal underground.

It was a bold plan. One I knew was going to end badly.

The lasers that crashed into the vault doors were just the first signs I was right.


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Picture is me cooking at home.