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“Were you in the closet when Mag-Ex attacked?” Jerry asked, his curiosity momentarily overcoming his distrust.
     “No, I was in the computer room in the basement, doing the work,” Aart answered. “I was just sitting at my desk, monitored as always by two guards when it sounded like a fucking F5 tornado hit the building upstairs. I can’t describe the sound accurately. It was the loudest, most chaotic noise I’ve ever heard! As soon as it happened, one of the guards grabbed me and threw me into the closet before running upstairs with the other one. He forgot to lock the door in all the craziness, so I crept out to see if I could escape in the middle of whatever was happening.”
     “You didn’t get very far,” Jerry noted.
     “No, I didn’t,” Aart agreed with a wry smile. “I got to the top of the basement stairs, and what I saw made me run straight back to the closet as fast as I could. I hid under that tarp and prayed to every deity I could think of to save me from that thing.”
     “What did you see when you were at the top of the stairs?” Angie asked, eager to hear the first-ever survivor’s account of Mag-Ex.
     “Hell. I saw hell. There’s no other word for what that thing did to the gang and the building. She unleashed hell,” Aart answered solemnly.
     “Did you actually see Mag-Ex,” Jerry asked intently?
     “Yes. When I opened the door to the lobby, she was right there in the middle of the room, floating about ten feet off the ground. She was wearing some kind of blue/black armor. It was very sleek. Very streamlined. The thing’s left arm ended in a fucking cannon, not a hand. And when she pointed that cannon at a person or object, something I can’t explain happened.”
     “Try,” Natalia commanded.
     Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Aart attempted to describe what he saw, “She would aim her arm at something, a blue light would flash and thunder would clap, and then whatever she was shooting at would disappear, then reappear; all fucked up.”
     “Fucked up how?” Jerry asked, already knowing the answer.
     “You saw it,” Aart responded. “Heads melded with desks. Random limbs attached to each other instead of a body. People literally turned fucking inside out!! How does that happen?”
     “We are not completely sure, but we think Mag-Ex can shift people and objects, or parts of them, into an alternate dimension and either leave them there or bring them back how she wants, leaving pieces behind,” Angie answered.
     “Jesus,” Aart breathed incredulously.
     “Jesus has nothing to do with it,” Jerry stated coldly.
     “What have I been dragged into?” Aart whispered to himself. The bedraggled man slumped down and cradled his head in his hands. Angie, the natural caregiver, rose from her chair and went over to comfort this stranger in their midst.
     “You’ve been dragged into a war for the Earth’s very soul, mi amigo,” Natalia answered. “Let’s take a break. I think our new friend here needs one. After you get Aart some food, take him to Tilly so she can recover the info he hid, and we can verify his story.”
     “Got it,” Jerry confirmed as he rose from his seat and reached over to take Aart’s arm. “Come on, let’s go.”

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