I stumble out of a nightmare into complete darkness, falling onto the floor... I almost thought I was still in the nightmare until the the cold floor put me back into reality... the lights were still off and we were underground... no sunlight.
-Aurora lights on-
The lights glare blinds me for a full minute, maybe I should have just kept it a minimum. I watch the room come into focus, nothing new... until I turn and look at the bed.
There were massive gouge marks in the steel wall, the bed was spared most of it, but one of the pillows was completely shredded... if I turned... I check and yep, tail hole ripped through the pants... great. Standing up the damage looked a little less bad, considering the gouges were angled, could just pass it off as a decoration... at least there wasn't any wires or anything that I could see through the steel. I look around and see the disposal chute holding right by the counter, it would probably fall to the bottom, be compressed and shoved up on another elevator to a waiting garbage truck. I gather the remains of the pillow and toss them down the chute, now since that was done...
A familiar growling starts up and makes me wish for some more food, I check the fridge, nothing, when I shut the door a panel on the door lights up. I glance at it and see it said something about ordering so I give it my full attention.
[Your last grocery order was +6 years ago, would you like to pre-order groceries now?]
Pre-order? That's helpfull, I hit the okay button and a menu slides up with a cheerful smiley face on the right, the buttons listed all sub-catagories of food, from sweets to veggies. I start picking things out, pizzas, some ice cream, several cartons of fruit juice along with some raw pasta and many more things, the moment I press the finish button a total shows up, along with two buttons, one said no thanks the other yes, I read the caption [store-to house delivery?] and think... I don't know much about Dallas, and I had plenty of money anyways. I hit the yes button and watch another 30 creds get added to the total. and I timer until the delivery person got here... one hour. I decide to wait and head over to the dresser and grab some fresh clothes and the jacket, two minutes later I was dressed in a gray shirt with abstract stripes running on it, and some black cargo pants along with the olny pair of shoes in the bag, black with a blue stripe on the side.
Okay, so what to do? Remembering the passage from last night I sit down at the table and bring up a projection of his third entry, dated a month after the last... and it was vocal. His moderately depressed voice comes out and goes along with the words...
"*halfhearted laugh* The world is a scary fucking place, You think you seen it all until something else get's shoved into your face that either astounds you or cripples you in terror... Brazil, knew it would be bad, but, like always i underestimated the carnage that would ensue... giant fire ants, who the hell in their right mind would make those, the size of a freaking car, breathing fire, just stompin' around the jungle on a rampage... *sigh* sometimes I question my sanity."
"In other news, I'm finaly out of that hell hole after blowing up the reserch facility they had stashed over in Portugal. I'm sitting here in a officer's quarters in a base on the front line in China, deep alterist territory. I've upgraded the Aurora with a new hack feature and added some fine tune adjustments to the electrical "taser" so that it can kill something much larger than the user (Had the ants to thank for that idea) and revised the interface, seeing if it's better to have all mental commands, also added this verbal recording option. " Several seconds of silence follow before he starts again
"Apparently, something is happening on Mars, ever since the riots the planet had been ex-communicato with earth, maybe now they have decided to call Earth again and develop "relations" with us, after all that happened on Mars i figure it's barely going to scrape by in terms of friendlyness. Also I've heard that the space station at Mars has been producing warships, someone paranoid must be in control over there, because they obviously aren't taking any chances... but then again, we're going to be building ships too."
"Here's hoping that we won't have two wars on our hands."
Personal Journal of Shane Smith, entry three.
END OF RECORD
I look at the projection a little longer before shutting it off... giant ants? Not exactly suprising, if it had been a fire ant-panther-toucan combo THAT would have been suprising to run into. I lean back in the chair, making it creak a bit. Still had time to burn, so I walk over to the couch and TV before flicking it on with a mental command... then I find out it's also his stereo, because music starts blasting and almost making my ears bleed, I turn the volume down with a thought and let the ringing in my ears fade, he was listening to something like a mix between dubstep and metal... at least I could understand what the singer was saying. I use a thought and take it off the music and a channel guide pops up, I keep looking until a news station comes into view. I lean back into the couch as the anchorwoman brings up a subject.
"In other news, another attempted raid at the acropalis food fields end in failure, but not before a fourth of the corn crop was destroyed, Mayor Reynolds has stepped up security, vowing to prevent future attacks on the city's economy and infastructure."
Hey, that was the place I passed on the road... that guy must be hating his job right now... along with being chewed out by whoever he was hired by.
"Today marks the fith year since the L.A incident, where the city's mobius reactor was deliberately overloaded, causing the loss of roughly a million lives, a speech is being given by their mayor today infront of the rememberance statue as the final stages of reconstruction begin..."
Quite a lot of people, I'm suprised I haven't heard of this before.
"Today in war news Dublai is now officaily out of Alterist hands, however the Advantists have claimed the city for themselves, details are sketchy at this point, however they are beleived to be held responsible for the sabotage of the mobius reactor, causing massive amounts of damage to the city and to..."
I flick the TV off with a thought, I didn't want to hear about war, I was already sick of it. Why couldn't people get over this crap? I shake my head and stand, what else was there? I think back to the garage... what was under there? I walks out and look at it for a minute, trying to guess what it was. I finaly let curiosity get a hold and I rip the sheet off...
A sportsbike sat infront of me, completely silver, with an entwined black and blue line running across the chasis, the wheels were spokeless and rimless, it was just a circle with a bare minimum of rubber around it. the rest of it was sleek and shiny as if it had never left the garage. I spot the helmet, a dark gray, with a silver slash at the back and a black visor sitting between the handlebars, I look at the center, a digital projection would show when it was turned on, and there was a hole... I look in and know what one of the items I pulled out of the bag was for... the wedge was a key, to this! Maybe I could take it out for a spin, after that stuff I ordered get's here. I still had maybe... thirty minutes until whoever is delivering it arrives.
Heading back into the main room I head over to what just had to be the bathroom, I open the door and find out I was right, shower, sink and all that, plus a recessed area with a tower that was probably a washer and dryer.Now was a good time to shower so I get to that, soon enough hot water was running as I stood there, just letting it go down, there wasn't any shampoo or anything that I could see, so that was out of the option. Soon enough I was looking at my face in the mirror after wiping off the fog, still the same look in my eyes that I saw on the plane, only much more dark, metaphoricaly speaking anyway.
I continue looking at myself, a spot a few new scars, though they were small it still added onto the dangerous look that I had... hmm, might as well. I shift fully draconic, black scales covering my blackened skin and I grow a few inches taller along with muscles growing, horns sprout out in seconds along with my face pushing out into a muzzle, my eyes sting and turn orange with the slitted pupil. I turn my head, seeing the dragon in the mirror mimick the motion, I figure anyone who saw me like this would panic. I yawn, exposing a sharp set of teeth and some molars near the back. All the scars I had were smaller and much less noticable in this form... bonus. I look at myself some more before shifting back and putting the clothes on, I had taken a very long shower so it should reason that I had only a few minutes left.
walking back into the main room I hear a small beeping noise, it was the fridge. I walk over and see a little countdown, two minutes and counting, also with a reminder to open the unlock the hatch on the fridge? I open the back and look in, at the bottom there was this little catch, a padlock kept it held closed, but one little yank and it come free, the entire lock just came free, the actual catch was stronger than the padlock... that's lock design for you. I flip the catch and theentire back wall slides up, revealing a small elevator shaft. I back outt and look at the countdown, less than a minute, I hear a humming sound and aoutmaticaly know it wasn't a door call, they just put the stuff on a elevator and send it down to you. ten seconds later all the stuff I ordered comes down on a little platform, unbagged and ready to go into the fridge, I pull most of the stuff in and note I had to open the freezer door also,once the platform was empty it went back up. I shut the back, having to use a small strap so I didn't crush anything, I flip the catch and the back door to my fridge was locked... then why did he use a padlock? then I get the image of a homeless person climbing down the shaft and prying open the doors and eating all the food... seems possible.
After pulling out two pizzas, cooking and eating them I decide it was time to see what the city looked like at... I check aurora's time, 10:12 AM. Not a bad time to head out... I grab the key to the bike, the sunglasses and out of a fit of randomness the little spin/glow stick. I call the elevator with a press of a button on the edge of the shaft, I slip the helet on and see that it was just like the glasses, tech linked, I watch a view flicker to life, showing a rpm and mpg meter, along with a minimap in the top right of the visor outlined in blue... I hadn't even started the bike yet! I straddle the bike and pug the key in... and my legs go cold and numbness begins to creep up my legs, then the mobius reactor roars to life... why did he have it set to take bio-electrical energy? A mobius could drain every type of energy, take a lit match and the flame would be snuffed out, but the mobius would start, same with light and virtually all forms of energy. Feeling returns to my legs and I decide to change the settings on that, I use the bikes display and select a tiny option labeled [Engine options] I check through a dozen options like power-saving and such until I come across the initial start up intake.
"That needs to go." I change it off of [Any] And put [kinetic] as the default, so all I need to do is give it a good kick and it would start. I roll it out onto the elevator and hit the ground floor button while turning the bike around, Soon enough I was staring into the bright daylight of a completely different city.
The buildings still shone, but wtih a sinister look now instead of the "dark and mysterious" Look that I had seen when I first entered the city. Okay... heavy traffic, The sidewalk was filled with a well over dozen people at one time, some running, others just walking, I pull up to the space and several people wait for me to drive through while others rushed infront of me to the other side, with it clear I pull out onto a lightning fast trafficway. Cars must have had autopilot or something because they would speed out at around 60 MPH, only slowing for turns or an intersection. I was lucky enough to know how to ride a sportsbike, so there wasn't any problems there, until I remember that I hadn't even picked a place to go. I head in deeper to the city and start seeing more of those flying vehicles... a lot of people used them and it looked like madness everytime one landed when people are getting off and on. Planting my foot into the street, I swing into a sidestreet and continue on, I had no general direction and I kept going until something caught my eye.
It was a low, square looking building made of mostly glass, and a bit of black steel to hold it in place. There was quad cargo elevators to take the many cars that pulled in to underground parking lots and back out again. I figure "Why not?" And pull in the first chance I get, the elevator silently glides down to the filled first level, then goes down to the secon, there was a small open space at the far end, I drive forward and was about to pull into the space when a car come out of nowhere on the downramp and slams into the parking space... What the hell man?
I would have given him an evil glare, but he wouldn't have seen it. I just shake my head and drive down the ramp to the third level and find several open spots, I pull into one and shut the bike off by pulling the key out, the bikes humming died and I get off, the bike remained perfectly balanced, how did it do that? It was probably the wheels.
I see a little spot open up on the chassis... it looked like the helmet would fit there,
I put it in and the little compartment closes and became seamless with the rest of the body... handy, now I wouldn't have to carry it everywhere. I walk up to the elevators at the end of the lot. The elevator opened up before I could get there and a family of three step out, heading towards their car. I get into the elevator before the doors close and it automaticaly starts without me touching anything, only it ddidn't move downwards, it went sideways. It went for a good half second before changing direction and going downward, a second later it stops, the doors open and I get the first view of the inside of the mall.
Imagine a two story mall, now put five stores on each side of each level, that's what I saw stepping out of the elevator, I look down over the glass and steel railing and see that there was five floors floors below... wow, never thought you would need that many. People went around their buisness, and there was enough to make each floor crowded. I look around, noting that most of the stores on this level were clothing stores. I pass several and note the changes between them, one I note was selling the kind of clothes that I had before I had been shoved into the war, with the zippers on the sides of the legs, and I couldn't see the back, but I wondered if I would ever those kind of clothes again... then I think, of course I will. I decide to come back here later, I head down several stories with a escalator and see I was on the obvious electronics level, because there was enough tech here to make my head spin if I entered recall. A entire electronics store took up the left side of the mall while the right had a store called gamestop and a few other stores, none really get my attention so I move on.
I advance down another floor and find it was also electronics, only less TV's and such and more hand held items... also there was a music store on the end called electro-beats. I walk down one line and somethign gets my attention, I turn and look into the glass and see arrays of earbuds, all wireless and such. I think on it while looking over the railing, I had never actually listened to music, and I didn't even know any band names... but then again it would be odd if I did, after all I had been stuck in a research facility before becoming a outcast in the military.
I turn back and head into the store. the moment I head in the guy at the counter looks up with a bored expression before looking back down at his IAP, I go looking around the shelves until I find a pair of solid black earbuds with a sports frame so that they wouldn't fall out while running. I knew this would work, Shane, beleive it or not had put most of his music onto the aurora... now I just needed a port to plug the wire end at... apparently aurora knew what I wanted because a small catch at the back flipped open, revealing several plug ins, including the one I needed. I flip the catch closed and note it was big enough for the sender part of the headphones to stay in there. I pull the package off the shelf and bring it up to the counter.
He looks up at me and then scans the barcode. "Fourty creds." is all he says. I pull out my card and I swipe the card on the little scanner. He checks the face on the screen built into the counter.
"You should really get you face ID updated man, those scar-jobs could really mess with the system." Scar-jobs? That's a new one I haven't heard about... when in doubt...
"I'll try, enough's keeping me busy as is." He hands me the small plastic package with that bored look still on his face and I walk out of the store after he clears the purchase with a keypad code. I walk past the other stores, nothing I needed and the music could wait, I still had to figure out what was all on the aurora first.
I advance down the next escalator after pocketing the package,I would have to plug them into the actual reciever and let them charge, just needed a trash bin... which I find at the escalator exit I pull it out and while no one was looking slit the hard plastic with a claw before shiting my finger back and ripping the rest of the plastic covering off and getting the contents,I hold the buds in my hand while flipping the catch open and plugging the receiver in, and one of the earbuds into the other end of the receiver, five seconds later it was ready to go, I do the same to the other and slide them onto my ears before flipping the catch down.
A little menu in the side of my right eye pops up saying [select a playlist] And several selections... oddly enough he titled them after emotions, calm, angry, sad, happy, badass... okay so badass wasn't an emotion, but the idea is clear. Out of curiosity i think about selecting calm and it flashes before I start hearing music and a volume meter pops up in my sight, it was only turned up halfway... the music was a acoustic guitar playing alone, it was a good rythm, but it conveyed a lot of powerful emotion... I automaticaly liked it. I ignore most of the stores until I get near the bottom and see the cinema, and the food courts below, the cinema took up the entire two floors on the right side (opposite the one I was on) and was attracting a lot of people. I didn't want to do anything like that but I was thirsty so I head down to the food courts and find one that served fruit juice, I get a 18-ounce cup of strawberry flavor... why couldn't I resist this stuff? I take the cup away and over to a cluster of unoccupied tables, even though the cinema was right there, projections were held in midair from pillars, giving a view of certain channels, most noticably sports. I lean back in the bright red chair, I wasn't really interested by what was going on in the projections so I devote thsi free time to exploring the inner workings of aurora.
I pull up the menu as the music changes to a acoustic guitar with a drumbeat, adding a pulse to the music. Flicking through the menus, I find something unexpected, I look at an app saying "downloads" and note the little yellow square with a 1 on it... then I remember the facility, and the fact that I downloaded all the data on the project that involved me. I select it and a pop up says [Download complete, decryption in progress, remaining time... 3 hours.] In three hours I could figure out what the hell they did to me EXACTLY, and hopefully more. I shut the menu down and get back to my drink... just before a chill climbed down my spine.
I sit up straight and wide-eyed, I look back and see exactly what caused that chill... HE was watching me. Just sitting a table away was the one EVO that killed Locke, he had a modified version of black steel EVO armor on, with a sleeveless trench coat that was black in color, his blue jeans propped up on the table where you could see steel-toed boots that were the same black as his armor. He looks at me with a smrik on his face and his eyes hidden behind the mirrored sunglasses... what the hell is he doing here? The better question was how did he find me?
I take a good look around, I could see no one else that I could spot that was with him to try and recapture me... that still left me with the question, what was he doing here? I shake my head and empty the rest of the cup, I can't beleive I was about to do this. I toss the cup several feet into a open bin and walk straight up to his table and sit across from him... he takes his feet off the table, muscles tensed, ready for me to try and attack him.
"Why are you here?" I ask, not a mote of friendliness in my voice.
"That's a reason you should already know." He says with a voice close to mine, only his was more matter-of-factly and a seriousness that I lacked. I think on it for about one second.
"By all rights I expected a strike team to come down any second now and try and take me alive, with you leading them."
He let's out a short laugh "You overestimate yourself, all it would take would be me to drag you back there, sadly they don't want me to do that just yet." They?
I give him a deadpan look "Then why are you here if not to drag me back into hell?"
He crosses his arms "To watch you, they want to see how you "adapt" to the world around you... but make no mistake, they'll want you back the moment you get some draconic exposure going." The way he said "draconic exposure" just made me fear what that meant... but he wasn't finished.
"Which means the moment you try and go public as a dragon EVO, is the same moment I drag you back to the facility." At least he knew what he was dealing with...
"What makes you think you can just drag me back there? Because I guarantee whatever you are isn't enough to deal with me." I lean back with an frown on my face. He smiles, showing razor-sharp teeth, he leans across the table, flicks his sunglasses down showing his slitted and red pupils... oh shit.
"Did you honestly think you were the only dragon EVO of your caliber that made it? I'm just as strong, fast, smart, and skilled as you are, maybe even more... but I can guarantee this, you're in for the fight of your life if you try and resist when i come for you." He flicks the shades back up and calmly walks off, leaving me sitting there stunned...
I think that I need to look at those files I took from the facility...
And find out just what went on that I didn't know about, before dealing with him.