I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
THE LORIC MAY CALL IT THEIR “SANCTUARY,” but today it’s a war zone.
Their people will die here.
Killing the last of the Garde has always been on the forefront of Mogadorian minds. I know I’ve thought much about it, at least. Not for my own vanity or sense of accomplishment, but because I know that it is the greatest way I can serve Beloved Leader. To please him.
That’s all I want, all I need out of life.
There was a time when I thought I was close to receiving Setrákus Ra’s favor. I’d worked my way through the ranks, showing my superiors how mercilessly I could deal with any who opposed us. How swiftly I could turn the vatborn into well-trained killing squads. Eventually I was given command of an entire platoon in our West Virginia base, where I could show Beloved Leader once and for all that I was his most faithful, most capable commander.
But then I failed him. A few of the Garde scum under my watch escaped. I was disgraced, and given the choice to be put to death for my failures or restationed in Mexico, tasked with finding a way into an impenetrable Loric site. The decision seemed like an easy one. I chose the latter, hoping that I would be able to make up for my mistakes. Instead, I failed him again.
But that’s all going to change. Beloved Leader is here now, and I will show him that I am worthy of being his disciple. He will witness me on the battlefield and see that I am the embodiment of what he preaches in the Great Book. I will show no mercy, spare no enemy.
“Protect Beloved Leader!” I shout as I run from my cover in the jungle, leading a small group of vatborn and trueborn soldiers I’ve rescued from Garde imprisonment. As we cross the battlefield, I see Number Six. One of my eyes is swollen shut thanks to the Loric bitch punching me while I was tied up earlier. She should have taken my trigger fingers—killed me if she was smart. I fire at her back. She goes down. I bare my teeth. I will make sure her death is slow and agonizing.
I will make Beloved Leader proud.
We charge forward. Ahead of us, our savior stands in a crater, holding the Garde called Marina in the air with his extraordinary powers. He bashes her into the ground below over and over again until her body goes limp. The Loric and their allies may have destroyed the pipeline Setrákus Ra created to harvest the Loralite, but they’re being beaten down, reminded of our superiority.
This is war. This is glory. This is Mogadorian Progress.
We continue our surge forward amid blaster fire from every direction. I reach Beloved Leader too late. One of the Loric allies—a human male with the audacity to use our own weapons against us—manages a lucky shot that scorches our infallible commander’s ear. Had I been just a little faster on my feet, I could have thrown myself in front of the blast, happily dying to protect Beloved Leader from even the slightest pain. By the time I get to his side, he’s already thrown Marina’s broken body at the boy, sending them both rolling out of sight.
Up close, I can see blood dripping from a few wounds on our commander’s body. He leans on a sword.
“Beloved Leader,” one of my fellow Mogadorians says, stepping forward and placing a hand on the commander’s arm as if to help him stand.
Setrákus Ra responds by placing a palm on his underling’s head. There’s a half second when the soldier looks like he’s in ecstasy, like he’s been blessed. Then the hand on his head clenches into a fist, the trooper’s skull caving in like a piece of rotten fruit before turning to dust.
Our Beloved Leader needs no help. These injuries are nothing to him.
“Back to the ship,” he growls. “We’ll make them feel our power.”
“You heard our glorious leader,” I shout. “Hold nothing back!”
Weapon fire continues to fill the air, coming from all sides, even from the Anubis itself. There are painful wounds on my hands from getting too close to the force field around the Sanctuary, but I don’t let this slow me down. I shoot constantly. I know Beloved Leader doesn’t need my help, but I show him my loyalty by being front and center as we march out of the crater, taking any harm meant for him. The other troops fall