That was another explosion, I think. It felt like one, and it got a little hot behind me just now. And now there's shouting... I think. It looks like whoever's left are moving their mouths, but none of them look like they're shouting. Unless that's just how far whoever it is opens his mouth when they scream. It's definitely just a scream, if it's human. Maybe it's the fire? It's hard to tell sound from watching these stupid ripples in the air, and for whatever reason I can't really hear anything anymore. I tried to follow the patterns in the ripples when I could hear, but it was too much work and I gave up. Hindsight is 20/20, huh? Well... probably more like 1000/1, the way my eyes are. I see everything. The subtle rise and fall of that guy's wrist as his heart pumps, for example. These stupid ripples in the air.
What was I doing before this? I'm walking somewhere... I'm walking away. I was running away, but I had to go through half the facility and all their guns, and now I'm walking away. In a little bit, I'll probably be limping away. And then someone started setting off explosives, or at least causing explosions. Well, that probably means that bitch is going to die. What was her name again? Actually, why can't I remember her name? I hate her pretty badly, so shouldn't I remember? There was an "h"... I think.
She got me badly. Worse than the guards did, that's for sure. I got her back, but if she survives, she's still got a lot to make up for. It makes me sick. I'm sure they noticed that my powers became stronger when I was injured that badly. Oh... that's right. My powers became stronger, and instead of holding the others back... I killed them. The chains went from however they are to being razor-sharp, the chains I use for weapons. This actually is their fault, it's more that I can be angry at... ugh. My head hurts. And I'm falling over again. I'm keeping myself upright with my chains, anchoring them in the air and pulling myself along with them. Oh, and I guess I'm limping now. Well I look like I'm limping, but I've been limping for a while now, using the chains to make up for it. I'm bleeding all over, and I'm also surprised but pleased that my entire G.I. tract hasn't spilled out of my abdomen. Wait, I'm holding my abdomen together with chains. But I'm still bleeding all over.
Whoever's left is probably watching, noticing that I'm walking funny, probably putting two and two together to realize that I can hold myself up like this because I'm so close to death. Death... Sarah. The damn look she had on her face... If the bitch survives, Langley definitely has a lot to make up for. Oh, that was her name. Caren Langley. Doctor Caren H. Langley? I thought it had an "h."
It was a woman's voice. Hey, can I hear again? Sweet. Oh, damn it... I'm just following the ripples. Well, maybe that's equally sweet? Oh, the chains are giving out. I'm giving out. That ruins whatever may have been good about being able to comprehend sound again. Damn it. Well actually, if I'm still using words like comprehend...
What was I doing again? I'm stumbling along uphill. I'm looking back at the facility, trying to see if Doctor Caren H. Langley survived. Actually, I guess I'm just falling into this new woman. She's a little taller than Langley, and her hair is sort of light brown, and her eyes are sort of a lighter brown. She's dressed like... one of them. That I stupidly volunteered to try to become. So that we could counter them. Well... I guess that I'm probably with her now and she's "we" and the facility is "they." That sounds right... I think. She's turned me over, taken my shirt off, and she's got bandages out from somewhere. I guess she's some medic, with that kit at her side. I guess she's talking too, but I can't read her lips. I was always good at that. So now I'm definitely giving out. Damn it.
She's saying some bull that I should hold on, and I'll be okay, which is nice even though we both know I'm not going to be okay. Well that sort of depends on what she means by "okay." She's saying something about a replacement, and about a female body... Langley? Sarah? Sarah... I guess my last words should be an apology to her. To the others a little too, but they were damned useless, for me, for the facility, so mostly to Sarah. Hope I get it all out. Damn it in case I don't, and damn it that I had to apologize for something like this.
01 -Disaster- Adam
The assistant who was leaving seemed to notice that I was in a bad mood. Good, subordinates should be able to read the intentions of their superiors, to boost efficiency. I havn't been in a good mood since this morning. This morning, I had received a call that one of our test facilities had been utterly destroyed. By one of the subjects, nonetheless. Even worse, it seems the enemy had discovered the facility, and had several agents in place shortly before the destruction of the facility. My best researcher was literally a milimetre away from being dead, but was recovering well. Which, of course, is a damned lie. Who the hell can "recover well" within the timespan of a few hours? I'd love to meet the miracle worker that could do that. The icing on the cake was that they appeared to have intercepted the rogue test subject, who was apparently previously the best test subject, our shining hope.
"Colonel Salee! The most current report on the Gungnir Research Facility."
I thanked Harriet, and took the report. Hopefully, the miracle worker that has Langley "recovering well" kept the senior researchers out of the outrageous casualty rate.
There's something warm and slightly comfortable on me, as I lay down. It's a cat, curled right up under my breasts. It's kind of a cute cat, a nice orange colour with a spot of black on one of its ears. My head hurts. There's a familiar-looking woman with a slightly concerned look on her face sitting next to my hospital bed. My headache is getting worse. A lot worse. Sitting up seems like a good idea. I sat up, groaned, opened my eyes, and blinked a little at the light. The cat had gracefully fallen onto my lap, and is curling herself up to sleep again. The familiar-looking woman looked shocked for a second just now, but the look is gone and my headache is feeling better, so sitting up was good. The woman's lips are getting ready to say something.
"Sweetie, you're up?" Her voice is familiar, too. Her hair is sort of light brown, and her eyes are sort of hazel. Oh, I need to be answering her.
"It looks like it..." I looked around. "Where am I?"
"You're in a bed in a top-notch medical ward."
"Oh, okay." There seemed to be a slight pause. "Who are you?"
The woman stopped to think for a moment, before she answered.
"If it helps any, my name is Christine Burgundy"
"Okay. I'm..." Wait. Who am I?
The nurse in the room seemed to notice that I had paused for a bit. Christine seemed to have noticed that the nurse had noticed that I paused. Whatever the nurse was about to say, Christine cut her off.
"Let's call you Zera for now." The nurse looked at Christine, and Christine looked back.
"Well, my name alone doesn't really help you. Tell me what you can remember about the state of the world and maybe I'll know how to put who I am into better perspective for you."
Remember, okay. The cat purred as I started to think a little and
And I completely stopped everything. The biggest thing that I could remember was the cat on my chest, that I was watching it, that I had a headache, got up, and opened my eyes. That I was watching the cat, and then opened my eyes.
"Sweetie, I hope you remember to breathe."
"Oh, um, the cat, I was..."
"Where'd you come up with a ridiculous name like that?"
"It's only temporary, and I'd have thought it was fairly obvious."
"... I suppose. So, she's up?"
"Honey, I don't know how she's up any more than you do. The soul recovery was quite clearly a failure. They've even still got what was left of the soul. That's more proof that it failed. Wasn't in any worse shape after the attempted recovery than before."
"I wouldn't really know. But, she's up, after everyone had written her off?"
"Yesterday was the end of the observation week. They actually took her off of life support this morning."
"I'd bet everyone has their panties in a bunch trying to figure it out."
"I certainly had my panties in a bunch when she got up. Abby almost screamed."
"That's a little funny, you with your panties in a bunch."
"But not Abby almost screaming? Honey, I should slap you for that."
"Where was this conversation headed again?"
"It wasn't really. Anyways, she has the strangest memories. Like she knew you weren't supposed to put metal into microwaves, but she couldn't figure out how to get metal into electromagnetic radiation."
"... Oh, I get it. That's... funnier than you with your panties in a bunch. —Hey, you really slapped me!"
"Honey, you know that I never make empty threats. And if you want funny, Abby almost named her, too. Lucky I was there."
"Gods, that wouldn't have been funny, that would have been a tragedy."
"Which is why it was lucky I was there."
"Some convenient memories for us, she also remembers the military, and she seems to remember that I'm 'one of them.' She had no idea what that means, though. It did make filling in the blanks nice and easy."
"Huh... So, they're proceeding as usual beginning tomorrow?"
"Strange timing, but yes. Oh, I volunteered us to take care of her after our doctors say she's in good enough shape to leave."
"... You volunteered us to-"
"Yes, get over it, Honey."
"... Huh. Can't wait till tomorrow."
"Neither can I."
03 -Failing- Adam"Damn them! Damn them all to hell! This is a damned outrage!"
Our colleague's eyes shone with a beautiful, golden fire. Well, it would be beautiful in beautiful eyes. Or at least eyes that weren't always so full of wrath.
"Colonel York, please calm down."
"Calm down?! You should all be just as angry as I am!"
Most of the other six could only manage a noticeable flame pattern when either highly focused or angry; the gold in York's eyes had managed to make it all the way from the edge of his irises to his pupils. Because he wasn't doing anything in particular with that power, his voice became louder. I closed my eyes, and brought my hand up to my forehead. York kept on yelling. I massaged my temples, tracing a familiar pattern. York kept on yelling.
I opened my eyes, I let the strange, familiar power fill my eyes, bleed out into the pattern I had been keeping track of. "Colonel York! Calm the hell down, you're annoying."
"And just how do you expect me to do that?"
I almost smiled. Instead of telling me to be angry, like he did to the others, he's asking me why he shouldn't be angry. York's eyes went from full gold to the flame pattern.
"I don't care how, as long as you are. The losses of the Gungnir, Gram, and Tyrfing facilities aren't something that we have the manpower to avenge. If you want to so badly, you will do so on your own, without any aid from the military. Our hands are tied fortifying the remaining Research facilities. At any rate, three of our top five researchers have survived. We can make do with that until our counterattack."
"On my own? I might just ta—"
"S-Sirs!" Hjalmerson's secretary had just burst into the room. She had very obviously been running, and stopped to breathe. "Oh—Sirs!" Hjalmerson's secretary hadn't stopped for more than two seconds before she decided to salute all of us. She just burst in on a meeting that was not to be interrupted, and then remembers to salute us?
"Stand easy, and slightly less panicky," Hjalmerson told her secretary. "And, what is it?"
"Ceston... offices... esper... incident..."
04 -Report- Adam
There was general outrage across the room. York especially, and just after we'd calmed him down. I was certainly stunned into losing focus on my power.
"Strange... report." Hjalmerson's secretary handed the report to the nearest colonel, who, unfortunately for her, was York, who handed it to Hjalmerson to free his hands for hitting the table again. Harriet walked in, out of breath, and began to explain the page of report that we had open. She handed her copy of the report to York, who interrupted his cursing to hand it to Martin.
"From what has been gathered, there was a person watching the fourth or fifth floor of the Ceston office approximately forty-five minutes ago," Harriet began. "After several minutes, said person began bleeding profusely. Immediately afterwards, a golden-coloured sphere appeared twelve feet in the air, in front of the Ceston offices. All accounts agree of a roar; several accounts of a humanoid monster jumping at the sphere, all accounts agree that after there was a screeching sound. The nearby guards' stories continue that they fired at the monster, which was squeezing the sphere. The bullets were reportedly stopped in mid-air before reaching either the monster or the sphere. When our forces arrived, everyone was unconscious, and the person nowhere to be found. There was a ring of bullets surrounding a crater-like depression in the street. Casualties were reported as zero, and all injuries noted by the time of this report were confirmed to be caused by falls, or debris from whatever happened after the screech."
While everyone else was busy digesting that, I asked the most important question I could think of: "'Person,' Harriet?"
"Yes sir. There are several different accounts mentioned in the report; most of them agree on a young man, approximately seventeen to twenty-one, 5'7" to 6', tan skin, snow-white hair. This person bled from the arms, at a point below the elbow. Reports agree on an eye colour of either violet or gold. Other accounts are vaguely of an Asian female, same age range, 5'4" to 5'8", who began coughing large amounts of blood; there are three accounts that include both of those persons Two accounts of an African male, middle-aged, who bled from the stomach."
Hjalmerson immediately turned to her secretary. "No one was hurt as a direct result of the esper?"
"Not as far as the report says, ma'am."
"I'll be in Ceston by seventeen hundred, filling the blanks in that report. Earlier than, probably."
"I'll be going with you, Colonel Hjalrmerson. The girl sounds like one of the subjects from the Gungnir facility's second group." Another colonel's secretary came in. Good timing. "Harriet, finish briefing us on the way to Ceston." As I left, I could hear that the other secretary was already continuing where Harriet had left off.
"One of the stranger things was that the sphere was universally described as 'evil;' one of the guards said that whatever it was, there was something wrong about the sphere existing at all."
There was a pause.
"Have either of you read that report any further?"
"Kim and I haven't had the time, sir."
"All right. Let's pick up a change of civilian clothing, and then finish reading the report on the way."
"Let's. ...Where does an esper that strong just appear from?"
"Hopefully, none of our facilities. I don't recall any of the intercepted subjects with white hair, though that probably makes it worse."
"No one was hurt, which is good; except it could be a show of force. Either way Salee, we're in deep."
"Sir, ma'am, that's slightly depressing..."