Chapter 4

Astrid had been led to an old warehouse on the beach by her father's former assistant James Anderson. She was absolutely astounded to see that he was indeed alive. He had led her here as he had some information for her, regarding her father's death and what had truly happened.

It was the next best thing than having her father back, finding out the truth, though apparently Mr Anderson was in hiding, his whole family were under the impression he too was dead.

But now she was standing here, waiting with him to be let into this old warehouse by whoever was on the inside. "You need to reach out to your family,' she told him.
 "I can't, Astrid... and you can't either. You will know why soon enough."
 Astrid didn't dare probe his mind. Whatever the issue was, it must have been bad and she did not want to see anything that could bring her to tears. The door to the warehouse opened and a shady looking man eyed her suspiciously.

"You know who she is," Mr Anderson told the man, "now please, let us in."
 The man nodded and showed them into the building, closing the door, quickly behind them.
 Astrid looked around the dimly lit makeshift shelter. There were approximately 20 men and women inside, excluding herself and James Anderson.

There were tables, shelves with food supplies, crates, minimal furniture, sleeping bags and tables. These people had been living here, it was clear that it was only a temporary residence.
 "You have all been... living here?" Astrid questioned James.
 "We have nowhere else to go after what happened to us at Luthorcorp." The man who had welcomed them in finished.
 Astrid nodded. "Did you tell her what happened?" the man asked James.
 "No, it wasn't my call." He responded.
 The man clicked his tongue in frustration. He was roughly ten years older than Astrid, "I supposed it's up to me then. You see the men that you have just teamed up with, are responsible for carrying out cruel tests on people. Us, to be exact!"
 "What sort of testing?" Astrid asked, puzzled.
 "Invasive tests!" a woman who looked only a few years older than Astrid, with short dark hair and an olive complexion appeared before them, cutting off the other man. "You don't need to worry your pretty little head. Your father was responsible for saving us." Astrid wasn't sure whether to take that as a compliment or not, by the tone that the woman had used.

"Let me show you around, my name is Kate by the way." the woman said, taking Astrid's hand in her own. It was strangely cold, though she thought nothing of it. Kate introduced her to a few of the people in the group. They were all very polite and all had families somewhere wondering where they all were. They all had stories to tell Astrid, and most of them were all so excited to finally meet her.

"Now, you may wonder why we have brought you here," Kate said to Astrid, after a while.
 It occurred to Astrid that these people knew that she had come here to Sterling City. Had they been following her? Waiting for the right time to strike?

She waited for the woman to explain. She was now standing in the very heart of the warehouse, the whole crowd had now gathered around and were staring at her, as if expecting something of her. Kate held her palm out, facing upwards.

"Those tests that Luthorcorp carried out on us, changed us. Some of us for the worse." Astrid noticed as a puddle of water had formed in the palm on of her hand, giving Astrid the impression that the roof had a leak. What happened next marvelled Astrid.

 The water began to pour upwards from her hand, reaching Kate's eye level.
 "That is... That is amazing." Astrid gasped.
 "it is amazing. But this is just an example of what the testing did to us. A friend of mine was turned into a hybrid beast. Part man, part shark." The thought of a shark-man hybrid sent a chill up Astrid's spine.

"So what do you need from me?" Astrid asked. "You brought me here, I'm willing to help."

 Kate smiled and rubbed her hands together, the water disappeared in midair.
 "When we escaped, we left a lot of good people behind. We had to hurry as we had some of Lionel Luthor's men chasing us. We need you to help get them back. You are working with him now, which means you have the means to get in there and help them. Please, I beg you! Save them."

"I promise you that I will..." Astrid didn't have the chance to finish her sentence. Suddenly, the doors burst open and men dressed in balaclavas and holding weapons burst in the doors of the warehouse and started shooting. Her new friends began to use their powers of the elements to protect themselves. There was a blur of fire, ice, and the use of other skills, deflecting bullets.

"Astrid, hide!" Kate yelled at her, blasting water from her hands at the newcomers, at full speed. It reminded her of a fireman's hose, it had worked as a perfect distraction, no one had seen as she found a place to hide. She wanted to help, but she knew that she couldn't fight. She obeyed Kate and hid inside one of the crates, praying that she would not be found.

Astrid pulled a coat over herself. She was the groups only hope to save their friends and bring Lionel to justice for what he had done. The loud noise began to die down but she could still hear footsteps.
 "Is that all of them?" she heard one man ask, a voice that she was not familiar with said. "I think I saw one hide over in those crates." Another man chimed in.
 "You two... go check it out!" the first man spoke again.
 Astrid held her breath, she read in the men's mind that they were indeed coming her way. She only wished that she could make herself invisible.

She felt the weight of the coat lift off of her, and felt her hands tremble as a weapon was pointed to her head. "We found her." One of the men said. She only wished that they were not wearing balaclavas so she could see their faces.

"That is not one of them!" the other man standing next to him chimed in. "Don't you watch the news? That is Astrid Sutherland! Lionel's new partner."

The men ordered Astrid to climb out of the crate, holding the gun to her. So she obeyed without hesitation. There were five men in the warehouse with her. All her new friends were dead on the floor. They had clearly put up a fight as they had taken a few of Luthor's men down with them. "We cannot kill her." The voice who had ordered the men to find her, spoke up again.

"Why not?" the man holding the gun to her asked.
 "Are you stupid? We kill her than we have to explain that to the boss. Tie her up until we can work out what to do with her. I will call for backup. She clearly doesn't have any powers or she would have used them by now."

Astrid was tied to a post with her arms above her head. She used her mind-reading to work out the leader's next moves. Backup would be there soon and he had no idea what to do next.

"Arrrggghhhh!" one of the men shrieked in pain, grasping Astrid's attention. She saw an arrow pierce through the shoulder of the man who had screamed. No, not his shoulder... his chest. He dropped to the floor, dead.

Astrid looked around, she couldn't see the hooded vigilante anywhere. Another arrow flew past her head and into the back of another man.

 "Oh, Shit! Who are these guys?" One of the men yelled, reaching for his gun and shooting aimlessly. Astrid was scared that she would get struck by a bullet at any moment.

An arrow went through the leg of the man with the gun, knocking him to the floor and then another pinned him to the floor by his arm.

Astrid sighed a sense of relief. There were two men left. One stood behind Astrid, using her as a human shield. The other man ran out of the warehouse in fear. Astrid still couldn't see the Arrow anywhere, but she knew that he was still there. She felt the sudden breath as the man behind her gasped and dropped from behind her. She knew he had been killed and she prayed that it had been done by the Arrow and not some madman.

Then she saw him, jump down from one of the arches supporting the roof. His eyes shielded by a green hood, clutching a bow by his side and walking towards her. "Twice in two days. I think you must be following me." Astrid told him using as much charm as she could muster.
 The hooded vigilante didn't say a thing.

 "Thank you for saving me." She told him, trying to encourage him to speak. There was something about him that was familiar to her. She tried to read his thoughts, though it felt like there was some sort of wall stopping her. The same thing had happened with Ollie earlier.

The stranger stepped behind her, shifting the body of the man who had died behind her, out the way. The stranger then untied her hands. The minute he did, something brought him to his feet in pain. He dropped his bow as a reaction. A bullet from outside had pierced his knee. It was clear that backup had just arrived.


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