Decoy, also called Kathryn Wesley Wonders How Such a Terrible Mistake Can Be Made, is the eleventh volume of Attack on To'kustar. It is the second volume of Attack on the Enemy, the third chapter of the series.
[The camera shows the afternoon sun, beating down on the city of Teviv as it reaches the point where it starts to lower itself out of sight, behind the wall surrounding the city. Inside the police station, the instructors and the students are just finishing up on their first day of training. As part of their exercises, Michael James and Arik Iverson are standing across from each other, practicing defending attacks at close range. Michael punches at Arik, but the latter blocks by holding both of his arms in an X. Michael shakes off his hand, which is not used to the force of the punch. Lawrence Carter stands in front of them, observing the exercise.]
[Lawrence]: Excellent block, Arik.
[He looks around and sees the other groups: Sven Schmidt and Teru Hikami, Hadria Carter and Lily Scott, Pryor Hade and Nico Valencia, and Noelle Williams, Rachel Stone, and Sophia Faraday in a group of three, have finished their exercises. Prescott Martin, Susan Quell, and Logan Fitzpatrick, having been helping the others, now wait for the next exercise. Lawrence turns back to Michael and Arik, who are still training.]
[Lawrence]: I think that's enough for the day, don't you?
[Michael and Arik relax. The former holds out his hand, and Arik responds by shaking it in agreement of their successful day of training. The camera pans slightly ahead; the Aterian children are starting to head up a staircase, to the housing area of the station, where they have been living. Meanwhile, the children of Teviv head out of the station. Pryor can be seen leaving alone first, followed by Rachel and Nico, who leave at the same time, but then go their separate ways. Moments later, Sophia leaves, heading for her house. Lawrence remains in the lobby as Ryan Thames enters the station right as Sophia is leaving.]
[Ryan]: How'd the first day go?
[Lawrence]: Exceptionally well. Some of the kids have some real talent.
[Ryan]: I know the families of all the kids from this city; they're all great kids from what I can tell.
[Lawrence]: They're all strong and determined, and already from the first day, I know this team can go far.
[Ryan]: I sure hope so...
[The camera pans outside, to Sophia walking down the street behind the station, the same street where Nathan was stabbed a couple days earlier. As she is walking home, the camera pans to the top of the building next to her. Maxwell Wagner stands on top of the building, holding a needle in his hand, the same type of needle that Vance had previously used to knock out Hadria. Quickly, he jumps down from the building, landing softly on the ground with his Skywings. He rushes up behind Sophia and places his hand over he mouth. Her eyes widen as he sticks the needle into her neck, injecting the liquid and knocking her unconscious. She falls back, and Max picks her up and carries her over the shoulder, flying back up to the top of the building. He lands and starts to walk across the roof, away from the police station and towards the Forever Knights base.]
[Max]: Phase one is complete; it's time for phase two...
[The camera shows the capital city of Pluton from above. It is now late at night, and the lack of clouds in the sky allows the starts to shed their light on the city. The city itself is massive, and is surrounded by an even more impressive 100-foot tall wall. Many short, 10 foot walls run throughout the city, dividing it into districts. At the center, a circular fifty foot wall surrounds the imperial grounds, home of the royal family.]
[The camera cuts to the eastern-most district of the city, which is Percival, the headquarters of the military. A large building is shown, and shortly thereafter the camera cuts inside the building to a well-lit meeting room. There is a square table, with the seven members of the Military High Council sitting around it, two each on all but one of the sides. Sitting alone at the back of the room is Parran Revirik, Supreme Commander. Across from him are Felix Upton, Sub-Commander, on the left, and Maya Wesley, sister of Kathryn, head of the Royal Guard, on the right. On his left are David Crawford, head of the Wall Brigade, closest to him, and Lucas Miller, head of the Patrol Squad, closer to Felix. On his right are Tobias Clay, head of the Explorer Division, closest to him, and Richard Turner, head of the Regional Squad Corps, closer to Maya.]
[The camera pans and shows the hallways surrounding the room. There are three doors to the room, one on each side and one at the front. The back side of the room runs up against the edge of the entire building, and the room itself is located on the bottom floor of the main building within Percival, six levels beneath the surface. Standing outside each of the three doors is a member of Squad P1: outside the door behind David and Lucas is Denzel Gregory; behind Tobias and Richard is Ray Kirihara; behind Felix and Maya is Penny Blair, the head of Squad P1.]
[The camera cuts back into the room as Parran starts to address the Council.]
[Parran]: So what's the status of our troops in the southern region?
[David]: I only have two agents in Teviv.
[Richard]: Squad 12 is currently split between Ateria and Teviv. I also believe one member of Squad 11 is in Teviv.
[Everything is silent for a moment.]
[Parran, surprised]: Oh, is that all?
[Felix]: David, why don't you send in more members of the Wall Brigade?
[David]: I don't have that many members to send in, otherwise they'd already be there. I'm sure you know, but for years we've been undermanned in the farthest regions.
[Parran]: How about you, Tobias? What have the Explorers been up to lately?
[Tobias]: We've been preparing for an expedition beyond the walls, sir. In fact, we're almost ready to depart.
[Parran]: Then why don't you head for Teviv, have you men defend the city, and then re-route your expedition to leave from there once the situation is stabilized?
[Tobias]: Sir, for months we've been planning to leave from the city of Arbrook near the eastern gate on Wall Via. I wasn't aware that there was a gate in the south.
[Parran, redundantly]: No, but the To'kustars broke through the wall, so there's an opening now.
[Tobias]: I realize that, I thought the plan was to fix the hole in the wall?
[Parran]: And how do you suppose we do that? It's 110 feet high, not to mention 50 feet across and 15 feet thick.
[David]: If I may answer that, we can't; the resources are too costly to warrant fixing the outer wall when we still have too inner walls and walls surrounding most of the settlements.
[Tobias]: So I guess I have no choice but to head to Teviv?
[Before he can respond, the front door to the room opens and Penny walks in.]
[Penny]: Commander Revirik, there's someone on the line for you upstairs.
[Felix, blunt]: How rude of you, Blair. We're in the middle of a meeting--
[Penny, ignoring Felix]: Captain Wesley, you may want to go to, it's from your sister.
[Maya immediately stands up.]
[Maya]: Is it urgent?
[Penny]: She told me to get you as quickly as possible.
[Maya, now worried, swiftly walks out of the room. Parran rises from the table, leaving his sub commander and the other four branch-leaders sitting at the table.]
[Parran]: Well then, Tobias, you know what to do.
[Tobias]: Should we leave immediately, sir?
[Parran]: You want to just sit around while thousands of lives rest in the balance? Be my guest, just don't be guilty about it when it's done.
[He starts to walk out of the room, towards Maya, who stands in an elevator right across from the room.]
[Parran]: Oh, and Tobias...
[As Parran says this, Tobias and the others still seated at the table start to stand up, now that the meeting is over.]
[Tobias]: Yes, sir?
[Parran]: Bring Squad 1 with you as well.
[Richard, interjecting]: Sir, with all due respect, I think you should--
[Parran, strict]: Would you like to finish that sentence, Turner?
[Richard, dumbfounded]: Uh, no sir, but—No, sir.
[Parran arrives in the elevator and stands next to Maya. He faces the meeting room.]
[Parran]: I didn't think so.
[The door to the elevator closes, as Penny, Felix, and the four remaining branch-leaders stand silently in the War Room. The camera pans ahead to Parran and Maya in the lobby of the same building in Percival. They are standing at the left wall of the lobby, where there is a row of telephones, each about 10 feet apart. Parran holds the phone, speaking to whoever is on the other end.]
[Parran]: Yes, who is this speaking?
[Kathryn, on the other end]: Kathryn Wesley, sister of Royal Guard Captain Maya Wesley, 2nd in command of Regional Squad 12.
[Parran]: In Teviv?
[The camera cuts to the police station in Teviv, specifically Ryan's office. Kathryn stands at the phone, as Nathan Loretta, Krista Renth, Ryan, Lawrence, Prescott, Susan, Logan, Derek Brady, and Jonah Bishop stand around, waiting for Kathryn to get off the phone.]
[Kathryn]: Yes, I'm calling from the police station? We're calling to request help.
[Parran, voice]: Why? You already sent a message.
[Kathryn]: We sent a message about the To'kustars, but we didn't ask for help. Also we wanted to make sure you got the message.
[Parran, trying not to sound arrogant]: Yes, we got the message, and we just finished meeting to decide what to do; we're going to send in members of the Explorer Division, as well as Squad 1 of the Regional Corps.
[Kathryn]: Excellent. Sorry for wasting your time.
[There is a pause for a moment.]
[Parran]: Did you want to talk to your sister?
[Kathryn, cold]: No, I'm good.
[Parran, surprised]: Oh, okay. Well, thanks for calling.
[Kathryn]: Of course, commander.
[The camera shows Parran hanging up the phone in Percival. Maya stands across from him, not very surprised over the fact that her sister didn't want to talk to her.]
[Parran, curious]: Did something happen between you and your sister?
[Maya, slightly upset]: It's nothing, sir...
[The camera cuts to the office in the police station at Teviv. Everyone who was in the office is still there, but some of the people start to leave. Derek and Jonah, in particular, exit the office, leaving only the police officers and the members of the Regional Squad Corps.]
[Ryan]: So what are they going to do?
[Kathryn]: They're sending in members of the Explorer Division, as well as Squad 1 of the Regional Corps.
[Krista]: Squad 1? The Knight of Percival is coming here?
[Kathryn]: I guess so.
[Lawrence]: Did they say how long it would be?
[Kathryn]: They didn't, but I can't imagine it will be more than a couple of days.
[As she finishes, Derek and Jonah come running back to the office. Everyone turns towards them as they enter the room.]
[Ryan]: Is something wrong?
[Derek]: There's someone here to see us.
[Ryan, confused]: Okay?
[The camera cuts to the mixed group of police officers and military soldiers arriving in the lobby. Trevor Faraday stands in the lobby, waiting for them.]
[Ryan, still confused]: What's wrong, Trevor?
[Trevor]: Where's my daughter? She never came home tonight.
[Ryan widens his eyes. Nathan does, too, as the others are also surprised at the news.]
[Trevor, worried]: Where is my daughter!?
[The camera cuts to Trevor, the officers, and the soldiers standing in the lobby of the police station, talking about the developing situation.]
[Ryan]: ...Well, Sophia left the police station a couple hours ago...
[Trevor, getting angry]: And she didn't come home!
[Ryan]: Okay. Do you have any idea where she could be?
[Trevor]: No, I don't.
[Kathryn, angry]: I think it's pretty obvious...
[Nathan]: The Knights?
[Trevor]: You don't have to be so angry.
[Kathryn]: I'm not angry at you, I'm angry at Ryan for not protecting the trainees better.
[Ryan, angry]: They're older enough to look out for themselves!
[Kathryn, angry]: That's your excuse? What a lousy excuse for a police chief!
[Krista]: Kathryn... Stop acting like your sister.
[Kathryn stops immediately, realizing how she is behaving.]
[Kathryn]: I'll be upstairs.
[She storms off, and Krista follows her, as they both head up the stairs to the second floor of the base.]
[Nathan, continuing]: I still think it's safe too assume that the Knights captured Sophia.
[Lawrence, answering for him]: Because they've been trying to capture my daughter...
[Trevor looks at Nathan, remembering what he told him about Hadria.]
[Lawrence]: I don't know... Right now we just need ideas...
[Everyone is silent for a moment. Suddenly, there are four knocks at the door, and then silence. Moments later, there are four more knocks, as Max kicks down the door to the station and walks into the lobby. Everyone suddenly turns to face him, some of them not realizing who he is. In fact, the only ones who recognize him as a member of the Forever Knights are the police officers from Ateria. Ryan steps forward, not wanting anyone else to deal with him.]
[Max, having heard Lawrence]: I have an idea...
[Lawrence]: I already don't like the sound of it.
[Max]: Your daughter...
[He points at Trevor.]
[Max]: For your daughter.
[He points at Lawrence.]
[Ryan, angry]: What makes you think you can just walk into our station and make demands?
[Max]: I have a hostage. Also, you have no choice but to accept. If you don't, I'll just kill her.
[He turns around.]
[Max]: Tomorrow morning. 10 A.M. The abandoned coliseum. Choose one person and have her bring Hadria, I don't care. I will bring Sophia and then we will be done with this.
[He walks away, not letting anyone reject the deal.]
[Nathan]: Before anyone freaks out over what I'm about to say, just know that I'll explain myself, but I think this is a good arrangement.
[Lawrence]: Yeah, start explaining...
[Nathan]: It's a hostage trade-off... How likely do you think it is that the Knights will hand over Sophia?
[Trevor, worried]: Very unlikely...
[Nathan, reassuring Lawrence]: Which means we'll never hand over Hadria... Instead, it's a battle over who can deceive the other more.
[Ryan, intrigued]: Go on.
[Nathan]: Most likely, the Knights will try to capture Hadria before we arrive at the coliseum, so our first step will be to not actually send Hadria, but pick someone else, disguised as Hadria. At the same time, we will also bring Hadria on a different route.
[Lawrence, skeptical]: Why would we send her at all?
[Prescott, starting to catch onto the plan]: He's accounting for the fact that the Knights may go to the coliseum, too, in which case he wants to make it look like we're stupidly complying with their arrangement.
[Nathan]: Precisely. If Max does go the coliseum, he will come alone, leaving Sophia under very limited protection. Meanwhile, if either of the transports get captured, they will be taken right to Knights' base, allowing whoever gets captured to rescue Sophia.
[Lawrence]: And how can you expect them to be able to do that?
[Nathan]: Well, according to Ryan, the Knights are extremely inactive in this town.
[Ryan]: He's right. If Ryan does go to the coliseum, that leaves only the Knights that came from Ateria to guard Sophia.
[Lawrence]: I like the plan, I really do, it just has a lot of holes in it. What if neither of the transports get captured? Or what if both do?
[Nathan]: The transport that actually has Hadria in it will be less obvious. We won't use an official police carriage and we'll start from the other side of town, so they won't be looking for us. The other transport will leave from this station. That being said, it's very unlikely that both transports would be captured, but in that case, the rest of us would simply storm the base and rescue everyone.
[He pauses for a moment, thinking of the other possibilities.]
[Nathan]: There is a slight possibility that neither transport gets captured, in which case, we're out of luck, unfortunately.
[Trevor]: That's it? There's nothing we can do?
[Nathan]: It's the best plan we have! I haven't seen anyone else suggest anything. And like I said, it's a very slim possibility for that to happen, maybe two percent.
[Trevor takes a deep breath.]
[Trevor]: I suppose you're right.
[Everyone stands around for a moment.]
[Ryan]: Well then, everyone better get a good night of sleep. We've got a big plan to execute tomorrow...
[The camera cuts to a police carriage waiting right outside the station, early in the morning on the next day. The sun is already shining brightly, and the weather is calm just as the previous couple of days. There are no clouds in the sky. Inside the station, Kathryn, Sven, and Noelle stand in a group of three across from Ryan and Derek. Noelle is holding a blonde wig in her hands, preparing to disguise herself as Hadria. Kathryn is also wearing a police uniform instead of her usual military uniform.]
[Ryan]: So to recap, Kathryn, you'll lead the carriage. Sven and Noelle will be in the back. If you get attack by the Knights, you will surrender to them, as none of you will be armed, which makes this both easier to deceive the Knights more difficult to rescue Sophia.
[Noelle puts on the wig, which makes her look somewhat like Hadria, but to someone who really knows her, it would be easy to tell the difference.]
[Kathryn]: And if we don't get captured?
[Ryan]: Continue on the route towards the coliseum, and then enter as instructed. Don't head for the center, as the other group will likely be there. Only intervene if something happens.
[Ryan]: And as for you two, I know you didn't have much of a choice, but just remember to be safe.
[Noelle, simultaneously with Sven]: Of course.
[Sven, simultaneously with Noelle]: Yes sir.
[Ryan]: Let's hope this goes well, and let's hope the other group can do their job as well...
[The camera pans ahead to the police carriage steadily moving along through the streets of Teviv. Kathryn rides the lone horse pulling the carriage, as people walk by, most of them simply ignoring the carriage as they go about their daily lives. In the back, Noelle and Sven sit patiently, waiting to be attacked by the Knights.]
[Noelle]: Are you worried?
[Sven]: A little bit...
[He thinks for a moment.]
[Sven]: I'm more worried that we won't get attacked than we will get attacked but we'll fail once at their base... Or who knows, maybe they won't even bring us to the base where Sophia is.
[Noelle]: Don't worry me like that.
[Kathryn]: Well look at that.
[Sven and Noelle look forward, trying to see out of the carriage through the front.]
[Kathryn]: It's Vance, act completely natural...
[Sven]: Won't he recognize Hadria and be able to tell the difference?
[Noelle]: Let's hope not.
[The camera shows the police carriage halting as Vance stands in the middle of the street, holding a sword in each hand. Some of the bystanders start watching the events unfold, but most of them run in fear of the confrontation that is about to happen.]
[Vance]: You'll go no farther!
[Kathryn raises her hands.]
[Kathryn]: I'm unarmed.
[Vance]: Even better... Get in the back.
[Kathryn hops off of the horse, holding her hands in the air. Vance walks towards the carriage, and as he does so, Kathryn gets into the carriage. Without looking inside, Vance gets on the horse and starts to lead it forwards, but then he heads down a side-street, not in the direction of the coliseum. In the back, Kathryn, Noelle, and Sven look at each other silently, happy that the first part of the succeeded, but worried for what is to come. About a hundred feet back down the street, Ryan stands on the side of the street, watching the carriage turn the corner and disappear.]
[Ryan]: He didn't check the back. I guess he doesn't need to, a capture is a capture.
[He turns around and starts to walk back towards the station to inform some of the others.]
[Ryan]: Just don't fail us now, Nathan...
[The camera cuts to the carriage arriving at an old, abandon building, presumably the Knights base. Vance hops of the horse, and now for the first time, checks the back of the carriage. He looks immediately at Noelle, and is easily able to tell that she is not Hadria.]
[Vance, quietly]: As expected...
[He draws his sword and points it into the carriage.]
[Vance]: Get out...
[Sven is the first to get out of the carriage, followed by Kathryn, and then finally Noelle. Vance stands in front of an open door to the base, forcing his new captives inside. He leaves the carriage outside as he walks into the base and closes the door behind them.]
[Vance]: Keep walking, I didn't tell you to stop.
[The inside of the base is dimly lit. Vance leads the group of three to a back room on the first floor of the building. Inside, there is a small holding cell.]
[Vance]: Get in.
[The door to the cell is open, and the three get inside. Vance closes the cell door after they do, locking it and then putting the key in his pocket.]
[Vance]: We know you'd try to trick us, likely by getting captured on purpose, so we planned for that, as Sophia is not here.
[Noelle and Sven open their mouths; both of them are clearly surprised.]
[Vance]: And for the record, she's not with Max, either, so don't get your hopes up for being successful.
[He exits the room and then closes the door, leaving the three captives alone.]
[Kathryn]: Well, Nathan, let's hope you took this into account as well...
[Kathryn]: Because if not... Unlike you, we're dead.
[To Be Continued]
|Attack on To'kustar|
|Hadria Carter • Lawrence Carter • Teru Hikami • Arik Iverson • Michael James • Sven Schmidt • Lars Schmidt • Lily Scott • Tuesday Smith • Noelle Williams • Samuel Wright|
|Sophia Faraday • Logan Fitzpatrick • Pryor Hade • Prescott Martin • Susan Quell • Rachel Stone • Ryan Thames • Nico Valencia|
|Penny Blair • Tobias Clay • David Crawford • Jack Eastview • Denzel Gregory • Wynne Holst • Douglas Kay • Ray Kirihara • Nathan Loretta • Lucas Miller • Krista Renth • Parran Revirik • Emma Saunders • Richard Turner • Felix Upton • Kathryn Wesley • Maya Wesley • Connor Yan • Ricky Zhang • John Ziegler|
|Aaron Cross • Pietro Czeswin • Vladimir Czeswin • Troy Dieter • Jasper Donovan • Vance Grace • Webster Grace • Lauren Haber • Andrew Knowles • Maxwell Wagner|
|Mikhail Einstein • Olivia Faraday • Trevor Faraday • Daniel Fermi • Eric Sullivan|
|Green To'kustar • Talking To'kustar|
|Government, Royalty, and Nobility|
|Darren Mathis • Hector Reiford|
|Arbrook • Ateria • Hennington • Plutonon • Sprinet • Teviv|
|Battle of Teviv|