Chapter 20 – The Festival: Part 3

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Sadly, this is the final, unfinished chapter to M.A.Q. #041. While I entertain thoughts of going back and redoing this entire story from a fresh perspective, I doubt I’ll ever have the time or physical drive to follow through with it. Instead, I’d like to commit here what my intentions were, in the hopes that those few readers, who’ve waited so long for a conclusion, won’t be left waiting anymore.

This chapter was supposed to show the first real hints to the idea that Maqqy has her own power. While she’s struggling, Dr. Matthews stands defiant while Dr. Quentin is arrested. Brice and #013 try to avoid the same fate as they behave like bystanders, but it ultimately fails. Matthews is in the middle of laying out a threat, informing the mystery men surrounding them that the school had already been infiltrated, and he was more than willing to cause trouble if they interfere, causing the mystery men to hesitate. However, before he can make good his escape with just Maqqy, she breaks free from #025’s mental grip, and manages to get away.

Everything happens all at once. Mole, badly injured, manages to trigger the fire alarm. Matthews strikes #025 to the ground, calling her garbage/useless, while the mystery men move in. Surrounded, and out of options, he calls out to a number to initiate the fall-back plan. #025 screams in terror, begging for a second chance just seconds before a sniper rips through her. A second shot rings out, going through Matthew’s head, as Maqqy, confused and horrified asks “What is going on?”. Then the school blows up. Sirens begin to wail as people are screaming and running for their lives and parents begin crying out for their children. As Maqqy stares in absolute stunned horror at the carnage and fire in front of her, a black bag slips over her head, and the chapter ends.

From here on, the story was going to take a turn for the more somber and dramatic, as all thoughts of a happy, normal school life have been utterly destroyed for Maqqy. She blames herself, thinking that if she’d not insisted on going to school, nobody else would have been hurt. Waking up, she finds herself at a secret lab/base of the mystery men, who apparently are a special forces group who’ve been hunting for Quentin, Matthews, and Aino for years. The trio had been elusive at the beginning, and then Quentin had defected. The SF group had turned their focus onto capturing Quentin alive in order to offer him asylum in exchange for his cooperation in capturing Matthews and Aino. They had also taken an extreme interest in his two ‘children’, and at this point in the comic, they are revealed to not be human at all, but robots so lifelike they defy all other technology. Both Brice and Xion are being treated well, though Xion confesses to Maqqy that he hates having his skin pulled off and his innards studied. He knows the more he cooperates the more likely they are to go easy on his father, but he’s well aware that Quentin will face life in jail for everything he’s done.

I’ll write the rest of the synopsis at another time, but for now, I need to take a break. Check back soon for the conclusion!

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