"They want us to do WHAT?" came the distraught cry of Rosa as she held her head in her hands. The announcement from the U.N. Secretary General wasn't exactly a shock to those gathered around the screen in a public viewing area on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa - however the call to cease operations by groups affiliated to BADGE still generated a reaction of disbelief. It seemed inevitable that the framing and manipulating of Agent Wolf of BADGE was going to put that organization in an even worse public spotlight than before, yet there was still hope that cooler minds within the U.N. would choose investigation over immediate condemnation.
Aflima shook his head. "I don't get them. It's a clear setup. Why would BADGE go in big and bold with logo bright on their chest to commit violence?
His voice raised by practically ten octaves as he shouted, "CLEAR! SETUP!"
The few assorted civilians who were also gathered around the screen, taken aback by the outburst, retreated from the group of heroes. Sheepishly, Aflima said, "Sorry, everyone."
An unknown voice called out, "It's okay! We believe you!"
Aflima said, "Well at least some still believe."
Tri-blade clasped the shoulders of Rosa and Aflima, and in turn gave them a reassuring smile. Facing Rosa, he said, "They may believe in us, but they may still not trust BADGE. People here and elsewhere have experienced a lot in recent times. Living through the influx of morphon activity, the Legion arrival, and terror from all sorts, they're mistrusting of anyone and everyone with power. Their ideals of selfless heroes and the greater good have been smashed. World Corps have successfully helped to sow the seeds of disunity. If governments of the world are now seeing us and anybody affiliated with BADGE as adversaries, we have to be careful."
They turned to watch Shizue of North Onnatangu interrupt the U.N.'s directive with her own statement of defiance, and their mood picked up for a spell.
"Well that's potentially one haven of safety if they come for us and others," smiled Aflima.
"Will need more than that. Let's see which other regions stand with her," added Tri-blade as they watched the feed switch back to the U.N.'s chambers. The camera quickly caught the departing members from a couple of sovereign nations before returning to the Secretary General's face, which was showing frustration bubbling under the normally stoic face.
"Did you catch them?" asked Tri-blade.
"Not exactly, will have to analyze the recording if it hasn't been scrubbed by the networks," muttered Aflima as he keyed in a message on his data pad. "Likely Director Nova's people are already on it and will be supplying info to us, anyway."
Rosa asked quietly, "Where do we go next?"
"We probably can't stay here," replied Tri-blade. "I'm sure South Africa's government will demand an immediate shutdown and inquisition, and with the World Corps members likely having a heavy presence around the area - despite not being involved with any cleanup efforts - it may not be wise to stay here any longer. We've done what we could with regard to cleanup and assistance, but for now it has to be left in the hands of local government. We should head out at once, frankly."
They turned, when they came across a small group of youths, wearing brightly coloured school uniforms. They held up a hand-written sign in both English and the Sepitori languages.
"We believe. Stay the course," read Aflima with a grin.
Rosa beamed, and touched the sign lovingly. "Thank you all."
The trio walked away and to their transport. It was time to find sanctuary.
[Tri-blade] [ID: 10879]
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