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welcome to the underground

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Thor ducks through the concrete arch, following Dizzee’s jean jacket into the darkness of the tunnels. They walk in silence until they reach another doorway, dim orange light shining through it. Dizzee disappears into the light and Thor follows without hesitation. When he can see again, they’ve enter a new world filled with towering piles of equipment and hurried crowds of people. He stares around in astonishment, eyes lingering on the guns slung across their shoulders and around their hips.


Dizzee turns to him, a sly smile on his face, and whispers:


“Welcome to the underground, Thor.”


That breaks Thor out of his daze and he smiles at Dizzee, entranced by this place.


“I didn’t know there were so many of could actually do some damage.”


Dizzee laughs and takes his hand, pulling him into the crowd.


“We’re going to do more than damage them, we’re going to destroy them. Let me show you how.”


They make their way through the crowd of sweaty, dirty people, rough fabric and metal buckles digging into them as they push past. Finally they break into a clearing in the middle of the room. Only a few people stand inside this circle, clumped in small groups, talking over tables spread with maps. They’re much brighter than the rest of their people, dressed in harsh reds and oranges.


Dizzee speaks up again, his voice confident in a way Thor hasn’t heard before.


“These are our leaders, the lifeblood of the resistance.”


He gestures to a pair of men sprawled out on a couch, digging through piles of papers. They wear bright red jackets emblazoned with the words: the get down brothers.


“My brothers, Ra and Boo. They keep the underground running, makes sure all our supplies get where they need to be. They do more than paperwork too, they lead the raids to replenish our stash of food and weapons.”


Thor stares at them in shock.


“Dizz? You’re one of the leaders?”


Dizzee grins at him, happy and proud. He looks more at home here than even when he’s writing on the walls.


“Yes, I’m one of the get down brothers.”


Thor shakes his head, beaming at Dizzee, smiling so widely his cheeks hurt.


“My boyfriend the revolutionary.”


Dizzee smirks and replies with the same words he’d said to Thor while they ran from the Lises, hot breath on their heels and fangs ready to tear them apart. It had been Thor’s first time seeing the aliens invading their world, and only Dizzee’s words had given him the strength to flee from them:


“Vive la revolution.”


Next, Dizzee gestures at a pair of women working at one of the tables covered in maps, and strangely enough, potted plants.


“Those are the Zulu queens. Their mentor, Bambaataa, fought off the first invasion and gave them our rallying cry: Come in peace or leave earth in pieces. They have the blessing of the earth itself, they can call the plants to defend them or attack the Lises. They lead the Zulu army, our first line of defense.”


Thor takes in their determined faces and the flowers woven into their hair as crowns and understands why Bambaataa would choose them to carry on his fight. Dizzee points out another group of women, this one a trio instead of a couple.


“Those are the soul madonnas. They raise us up, giving us hope with their song, and tear our enemies down, instilling fear in their hearts. They work in perfect unity, thinking with one heart and one mind. But a word of warning; they’re in love with each other, and Books is the only man allowed to touch them.”


Thor laughs. They’re pretty, but Dizzee is prettier.


Dizzee points out the last pair, two men glaring down at a thick book of maps. They both wear the red jackets of the get down brothers. The shorter one has both a gun and sword on his waist, his body lithe with muscle. The taller one has wraps an arm around his shoulders as he leans in to point at something in the book.


“That's Shaolin fantastic, the conductor, and his wordsmith, Books. Shaolin plans the attacks and comes up with all the strategy for our group, while Books makes sure that strategy is put into action by running the underground's communication network. They’re desperately in love too, but don’t mention it, Shao’s still a little embarrassed.”


Thor is about to reply when there’s a loud crash and part of the ceiling falls in on them. A Lise sticks its head through and roars, splattering saliva across the leaders and their maps. The underground reacts instantly, the crowds of Zulus taking aim and firing. The first Lise screams and falls into the room, dead, but more follow it. They pile into the room and everything turns into chaos.


Thor can see the Zulu queens leaping to meet them, the plants on their table growing into giant, serpentine vines and strangling the Lises. Shaolin is everywhere, leaping from Lise to Lise and slitting their throats. Zeke is running from the fight, shouting commands at the Zulus pouring bullets into the aliens. A long, wavering cry starts, evening out into a beautiful note, held by three voices. Thor feels his heart rise and his fear decrease, his body filling with energy to fight. It must be the soul madonnas, working their magic.


Boo and Ra run up to them, clutching papers and cursing. Boo shouts:

“Glad you could make it, Dizz!”


“You know I wouldn’t miss a—”


A Lise comes tearing out of the fight, straight for them. Boo and Ra dodge to the side, making it to safety. But Thor feels himself freeze: no matter how hard he tries, he can’t get himself to move. He’s staring down the fanged maw of the Lise and just waiting for it to kill him.


Then Dizzee jumps in front of him, a small knife in his hand, and stabs the Lise in the shoulder.  That distracts it, pulling it away from Thor, snapping after Dizzee as he jumps away. Dizzee knows what he’s doing, Thor can see him trying to get at its neck, but the knife just isn’t long enough. His heart stops; Dizzee isn’t going to win this fight and there’s no one around to help him.


Except Thor.


There’s a length of metal pipe lying on the floor behind Thor, the closest thing to a weapon he’s got. He picks it up and takes a deep breath before throwing himself at the snarling Lise. He tries to get it in the neck, nothing else will kill it, but the pipe is heavier than he thought, and it stabs through a crack in the Lise’s belly armor instead. It’s not a fatal wound, but at least it’s something.


The Lise howls and thrashes, its bitter blue blood splashing across Thor. He has to throw himself to the floor to avoid its thrashing claws. But while its distracted by the pipe in its gut, Dizzee leaps and buries the knife in its throat, finally cutting deep enough to kill it. Dizzee jumps off the corpse as it slumps to the ground, extending a hand to help Thor up.


Thor spits, trying to get the taste of the alien blood out of his mouth, and quips:


“My hero.”


Dizzee laughs breathlessly and pulls him in for a kiss. It’s pretty nasty, tasting like the Lise’s bitter blood, but after almost dying? It’s the best kiss they’ve ever had.