Hellcat Squadran: Return is the final story of the Exile Trilogy. Taking place in 2277 (except its prologue, which takes place late 2275), it depicts the events of, and some of the events before, Anastasia's return home from Blood Gulch. While the story's attention focuses on Anastasia once she gets home, the time beforehand, and even some of the later scenes, focus on the Vardan siblings.
Prologue: Heresy (Late-2275)Edit
Again, she woke up in what seemed to be a lab. She was frightened, and worried she'd never see her family again...These were the last things Siran Vardan felt, before a Nod Scientist forced her unconscious again.
Siran Vardan was a girl from a family living in the Brotherhood of Nod. Her family was mostly dead, except for her brother, who was an infantryman for the Brotherhood of Nod. And these agents made certain he had no clue what happened to Siran.
They had her kidnapped for use in a research program, meant to create the ultimate super soldier. She wasn't the first person they used...and if she died in the procedure, she wouldn't be the first to do that either. Their goal was to increase the speed, strength, agility, and endurance of the subject, as well as give them access to supernatural powers.
Finally, a scientist reported, "Sir, muscle density registers increase of 25%: they're the same size, just more dense; and her Cerebellum registers an approximated doubling in efficiency."
"Excellent," the project head responded. "Proceed with the next set of augmentations." Suddenly, Siran began to wake up again. "She's waking up again! Quickly: put her back under!"
However, as a scientist prepared the knock-out drug, suddenly, a rifle rang out, riddling the man with bullets. As the scientist dropped, it could be seen that a Nod Light Infantryman was standing there, sub-machine gun smoking. "Get...the FUCK away...from my sister!"
The scientists began to back off, but only to allow the guards to approach the renegade soldier. Siran, finally coming out of the daze she was in, saw her brother being challenged by several guards wearing better armor and wielding better weapons than him. Suddenly, she was frightened: frightened of her situation, and frightened for her brother. Then...it happened.
"Sir, electrical surge entering the equipment: it's the subject: she's creating an electrical discharge." As the lab's systems began to short out, and Siran's restrained deactivated, the guards turned their attention to her...giving Avedis the opening to fire first.
He took down a number of the guards, before they could react, allowing him to reach his sister, and help her off the lab table. "Siran, come on, tell me you're alright."
Siran was groggy and dazed, but, eventually, she came to. "A-Avedis?"
Avedis embraced his sister. "Thank goodness you're ok."
"What is it?" Avedis asked his sister. He removed his helmet, and looked into his sister's face.
She was absolutely horrified and upset. "Please...I...I don't want them to find me again..."
Avedis understood. "Don't worry, already made plans to leave, come on...We're getting the fuck out of here."
Avedis, armored up, and Siran, made their way to the Space Dock. However, some distance away, they almost ran into a Nod Black Hand Stealth Soldier. However, not spotted yet, Avedis took down the soldier from behind. He then took the Stealth Soldier's Firefly Rifle, and handed it to Siran. "You remember how dad taught us how to shoot right?" Avedis asked. Siran nodded yes. "Good: this thing should be just about the same, only you don't have to adjust for recoil. Ok?" Siran nodded again. "Ok, let's get moving, then."
The duo then continued to the space dock, until, when they got there, in front of one of the ships there, Avedis spotted a Black Hand Heavy Weapons Soldier, complete with a Tarantula laser chaingun. However, Avedis suddenly said aloud, "Over here!"
Siran was shocked. "What're you doing?!"
"Don't worry," Avedis reassured.
Just then, over Avedis's comm said, "Don't worry, all clear, and the Cataract is ready to go..."
After some convincing, Avedis led Siran around the corner. To Siran's relief, the Heavy didn't seem to react much, until Avedis removed his helmet, which the Heavy did as well. "Good to see you here, Quentus," Avedis said.
"Good to see you pulled it off..." Quentus said, before taking a look at Siran. "...How much did they do?"
"I don't know...from what I heard, they'd completed the Strength and Agility Augmentations, and when the guards went after me, she began discharging electricity, shorting out the lab table's systems."
"That far along? We're lucky we started when we did..." Quentus said, "So...what're you gonna do now? Just hide in a corner of the galaxy?"
"No," Avedis replied, "Nod'll just find us again. We're going to the only place that could possibly protect us...We're going to the Coalition for help."
"Well...then...good luck, old friend. Don't worry about me, I'll be ok. I've got an idea on how I'll get out of this: I'll have to probably fire into the entryway to keep the illusion I'm trying to stop you, just keep your heads down. You just get Siran to safety.
"I will, or die trying," Avedis said. He nodded to Siran, and the 2 of them entered the ship. When they were some way in, once they turned a corner, they saw laser bolts come down the hallway they just entered. Fortunately, Avedis was able to find and use a panel to seal the door. Afterwards, the 2 hurried and found the bridge. Taking inventory of everything onboard: the fully-stocked armory, his family's armors, the vehicles he requested from Quentus, he decided it was time.
He forced the Prophet class cruiser to exit the dock, ripping its docking clamps off. As he readied to enter Slipspace, the dock sent a force of cruisers after him. The cruisers remained with him, even as he entered Slipspace.
Finally, the Cataract exited Slipspace, on the border of Coalition space. The Nod Cruisers were close behind. "Oh no...they're still gaining!" Siran panicked.
"I know, I KNOW! Can't easily lose them in this thing, remember?!" Avedis responded, "Don't worry, they won't get us. Sending a distress call. If the Coalition gives a fuck about us, they'll respond." Then, he transmitted, "This is the Renegade Nod Cruiser Cataract to any forces out there! We need assistance! We've managed to escape the Brotherhood of Nod, and are currently on the run. We're being pursued by 3 Nod Prophet Class Cruisers, and we can't outrun them! Requesting immediate assistance!"
The Cataract continued to flee, but, as the minutes wore on, no one came. Eventually, Avedis shouted, "God DAMMIT!" and plotted a course for the closest edge of the galaxy. However, the Nod Cruisers used this course correction as a chance to surround the Cataract. "Damn it...I'm sorry, Siran...looks like they got us..."
Suddenly, 2 flashes of space later, and a pair of massive starships exited lightspeed. The female voice over the comm then said, "This is Fleet Admiral Vinna of the HCS Dovahkiin. Apologies for our late arrival, but we were the closest vessels for many light-years. Hold back, Cataract, we'll handle this." Then, Avedis, the look of hope restored on his face, redirected course towards the 2 massive Dovahkiin class starships, as the Hellcat Squadran vessels pounded the Nod Prophet class cruisers to dust. "That should handle them. Stay close, we'll pull you along with our vessels to Earth. We can discuss what happens there..."
Chapter 1: Finally Looking Up (2277)Edit
Sasha was driving in her car to Kaven Base. Recently, she got a call from a friend of her's there, who needed help sneaking out of the base. Basically, the girl wanted to enjoy herself in her life, but her brother usually kept her close to home, 'for her own protection'. In a way, the kid reminded her of herself, mainly due to how she sneaks out from time to time, like Sasha used to do constantly. Both of them seemed to be doing it for the same reason: both felt smothered by over-protective family.
As she began thinking of how her current career causes her quite a bit of danger, with drug lords and chemicals constant threats, she arrived at the base. After waiting a few minutes, she noticed the girl, Siran Vardan, sneaking through the base. Quietly, Siran swiftly moved from shadow to shadow, somewhat near as deftly as a Nod Shadow Agent.
"Rookies," Sasha muttered to herself, watching Siran slink through the base. However, there soon came a point where Siran could not possibly cross the open area in front of her, without being spotted. Even worse, it was the open area between herself and Sasha's car. Sasha just sat and waited, thinking about her own daughter, as she waited for Siran to make her move. From where she was, Sasha could see Siran frantically look around, seeing no opening.
Then, finally, Siran winced...and disappeared, as if under Active Camo. Sasha shrugged at that, and kept thinking. However, small areas in the grass were bent down, indicating where Siran was walking, so Sasha had some warning, when something knocked on the car door. Sasha unlocked the door, then said, "Hey, kiddo," as the door opened, stayed open for a moment, then Siran appeared again, closing the door behind her.
"Hey, Sasha," she said, buckling up.
"So, what's new?" Sasha asked, turning the car around.
"Not much different, really..." Siran replied.
"You sure you wanna do this?" Sasha asked.
"Yes, yes..." Siran replied.
"Alright. So, no boyfriends yet?"
Siran was silent for a moment, before replying, "Not...yet..."
Sasha replied, "Just checkin. Hate to have to kill anyone who breaks your heart."
"...If you got to him before Avedis did," Siran added.
"Trust me, I've been there, He'd walk in just in time to see me chuck the guy out the window."
"Then he'd probably be down below waiting to blast him with whatever piece of equipment he decided to use before he even hit the ground..." Siran again added.
"Ok then. So, anything else I should know about?" Sasha asked.
"Not really," Siran replied, looking out the window. In her mind, again, her mixed thoughts on her brother appeared. She loved her brother, and was thankful for him trying to protect her...but sometimes, she felt he tried to protect her a little too much...
"You're feeling overprotected," Sasha realized.
Siran huffed, semi-amused. "You sure you're not telepathic?"
"No, I spent my entire childhood guessing what Ana was thinking. I got pretty good at it."
Siran sighed. "Yeah...I mean, I love my brother to death, but...sometimes, he's just a little...too...protective...treats me like he just rescued me from that lab, most of the time..."
"All I can say is stand up and make yourself heard. taking it in silence sure won't work."
"I do sometimes say something...his response is to remind me of..." Siran then tapped her head.
Sasha then said, "I handed my mom a gun and told her to shoot me."
"I think you told me about that before: that's when Ana finally had enough and blew up, wasn't it?"
Sasha replied, "Yep."
"Well...to be honest, I hope things don't get THAT bad between him and I..." Siran said, sadly.
Sasha replied, "Could find a good guy and move in."
Siran then asked, "You mean like how Avedis and Trista got together?"
"Yeah. They been keeping you up at night?" Sasha asked.
Siran then shook her head. "No, they haven't done...anything like that yet...Think they plan on waiting..."
Sasha shook her head. "This generation..." Siran then just sighed and turned her attention out the window, again, indicating her opinion being similar to her brother's. "Want to know why me and Aaron aren't married?"
"Why?" Siran asked, listening, but still watching out the window.
"Didn't have to. No point involving lawyers, politics, society, or religion in a commitment to someone."
"From what I heard, don't need to involve them for true marriage: the whole 'wedding ceremony' thing just...formalizes it. Again...things in the Coalition may be different from in the Brotherhood of Nod, so..." Siran then just shrugged.
Sasha then replied, "Trust me, there's crap like preups and lawyers waiting for divorces and marrying for money."
"Those just sound more like hazards that come from not marrying for the 'proper' reason," Siran commented.
"Still, why does signing paper mean the ultimate form of love?"
"...You have to sign a piece of paper here to marry?" Siran asked, confused, "Wow...things ARE different here..."
"Yep. After the ceremony, you have to sign a legal document."
"Well, I'll admit, that does sounds stupid," Siran replied.
"See?" Sasha replied.
"Yeah, don't see why no one bothered to remove that little detail yet...Never was a requirement for marriage in Nod, from what I remember reading," Siran replied.
"I'm surprised they didn't just lock you in a room and say 'Fuck each other!'" Sasha replied.
"What makes you say that?" Siran asked.
Sasha replied, "I dunno. Seemed like something they'd do."
"And what makes you say that?" Siran asked, mildly hurt and offended.
"Sorry. Most encounters I've had with actives Nods were trying to chain my legs open," Sasha replied.
"Well, then I guess those encounters were with probably rookies or non-religious members, because that sort of thing was actually frowned upon there," Siran pointed out, "And I guess regardless of either, they act a little more...cordial...back in their own territory..."
Sasha raised an eyebrow at her, not believing it.
"Hey, due to being a part of Nod at one point, I know some of their beliefs, and...raping prisoners...is not really...well, it's specifically stated that they actually frown upon it...Well, Kane frowns upon it, anyways..."
Sasha replied to that, "Alright then. AH well. Used to it by now. In my line of work, getting raped is a job hazard." Siran just continued watching out the window. "Hey, could you picture me as a stay at home mom?" However, Siran, as though lost in thought, didn't respond. "You awake?" Sasha asked.
Siran, however, just shook her head clear. "Sorry, just...never mind, how long until we get there?"
"About ten minutes," Sasha answered, slightly concerned.
"Alright..." Siran replied, plainly.
"Yeah, yeah, fine..."
"Right. Well, I'll be in town, so give me a call if you need me," Sasha replied.
"Alright," Siran answered. When the car arrived where Siran was wanting to go, a movie theater, Siran got out, and Sasha left.
A few hours later, Siran exited the movie theater. By then, it was near midnight, and Siran just wanted to do a couple more things around town before calling Sasha to pick her up. As she entered an alley, however, she felt a familiar tingling sensation in the back of her head. Panicking, she fumbled for her phone, but before could dial Sasha's number, she froze, and a moment later, collapsed to the ground.
Again, Siran had dropped into one of her comas.
Climbing up one of the buildings in the city, Lyle Kendrick again got himself a birds-eye view of the city. For several years, Lyle lived on his own, in a small apartment in the city. Fortunately, the apartment building's owner was an old family friend of Lyle's parents, and therefore didn't mind Lyle taking residence in one of his more broken-down apartments. Over the years, Lyle had repaired the room to the point where the owner said that if Lyle ever moved out, he'd be able to rent out his old room for a hefty profit.
Lyle, however, had nowhere else to go, no one to turn to, so in that apartment, in this city, he stayed.
"Hey, Lyle..." a small young voice called out.
Lyle turned around, surprised. "Alida? Why are you here? You're supposed to be in bed."
Alida Conrad was an orphaned young girl Lyle had taken in. Her parents died when she was real young, and she was forced out on the street. Feeling for her, Lyle had taken her in, giving her food, a bed, and a roof over her head. Once Lyle had a place of his own, he planned on making his 'adoption' of Alida official.
"I was feeling a little lonely, couldn't sleep," she replied.
"I'll be in in a bit," Lyle sighed, "Just...sensed something, is all."
"Ok, please hurry..." Alida commented, before climbing back down to their room.
Lyle just kept watch, looking for any sign of trouble. However, suddenly, he noticed something in one of the alleys: a girl, unconscious. While this would not be overtly alarming to Lyle normally, it was so this time, due to 2 notorious thugs wandering right towards the alley the girl was in. If they stumbled upon her...
He quickly dashed across the rooftops, to the alley in question. Dropping down, he landed next to the girl. After moving her so she was resting more comfortably next to one of the buildings, he looked her over: he though she looked rather cute. And she seemed his age. Were she awake, he'd probably be too nervous to talk to her. Suddenly, he sensed something. He turned around, seeing the 2 thugs from earlier enter the alley.
"Hey, look here, Brawl...a young man and a young girl..."
"Yeah, Brawn, we take out the boy, maybe we can take the girl out for some...fun...heheh..."
Lyle just muttered to himself, "Well, fuck..."
Sasha was frantically driving around the city, looking for Siran, checking back alleys and such. Siran was not at the movie theater, nor was she at any of her other hangouts. Sasha knew it was not like her to disappear like this, so she knew something was definitely wrong. And she dreaded what likely probably happened to her.
Finally, she arrived in one alley way: a young man appeared to be facing off against 2 large, burly thugs. One thing Sasha noticed was that the young man was positioned so it appeared he was protecting something from the thugs.
"Welcome to earth..." she muttered to herself. She looked around the corner absentmindedly...and noted Siran, unconscious, against one of the buildings. The young man was protecting Siran from the thugs. Sasha immediately pulled over, ready to help. However, before she could do anything, one of the thugs charged. In response, the young man appeared to ready a punch. He seemed rather scrawny so it didn't look like he could do much...until his punch slammed the charging thug full force, knocking the thug flat on his back.
"Dafuq?" Sasha muttered to herself, shocked by the kid's punching power. The young man then snapped...and a quadrapedal robotic construct burst from some nearby trash, as the other thug charged. The robot fired an energy beam that had the same effect as the young man's punch, knocking the thug down. "This world..."
The 2 thugs got back up and, this time, seemed ready to charge together. However, once underway, the young man snapped again. This time, the thugs skidded to a halt, as the robot seemed to leap onto the young man's back, turning into a blade-armed powered exoskeleton. "You know...maybe it's not worth it, Brawl," one thug said to the other.
"I couldn't agree more, Brawn," the other said.
Then, as the 2 thugs remained frozen, as the young man offered his ultimatum. "Alright, you motherfuckers, I'll give you 3 seconds to get the fuck out of my sight. Leave this girl alone, or so help me, I'll rip your fucking intestines out and sell them off at my junk store as jump ropes!"
The thugs were running, stumbling over each other to escape, by 'intestines'.
Before Sasha made her way to Siran, the robot and young man uncoupled from each other, and the young man dashed to her first. Immediately, he appeared to check her pulse, and seemed relieved by the results. "Good, you're alive...we just need to find you some help..." His voice seemed to waver, as if suddenly not as brave as he was when facing off against the thugs.
"Come on, loverboy, I know where she lives," Sasha said out loud.
The young man jumped. "Yikes! Where'd you come from?" Sasha pointed at the car. "How long were you there?" the young man asked.
"Long enough, kid," Sasha replied.
The young man then asked, "What's her name?" He gestured at Siran.
"Siran," Sasha responded.
"Siran...nice name..." the young man said affectionately, "Anyways, my name's Lyle."
"Sasha, should we maybe take her home, where they have meds for this?"
"Right, right, of course...you know what's wrong with her or something?" he asked, worried about Siran.
"Yeah, chems in brain are fucked. Moving on."
Lyle then said, "Ok...just hope she recovers alright...I hope to see her again sometime...well, got to get going...taking care of an orphan, she hates being alone."
"Good luck," Sasha replied. Then, Lyle's robot began climbing the building's wall, and Lyle ran over to it, grabbing on, and riding it to the top of the building, before disappearing into the rooftops.
"Kids these days..." Sasha said, before picking Siran up, and taking her back to the car.
After dropping Siran off at the Med Labs, Sasha located the Cataract, and, after hacking the door open, let herself in. Immediately, she ran into Avedis. "Sasha? What the hell are you doing here?"
"Siran's in with Quel," Sasha replied.
Avedis became immediately worried. "What?! What happened? Where happened?! Tell me, what the fuck happened?!"
"Was out, at movie, I was in the area if something happened, someone found her, protected her from assholes, I took her here."
"That...doesn't tell me much...Who found her? What assholes? Details, DETAILS!" Avedis stressed.
"Thugs. Some techno kid saved her, made them run for their lives."
"Techno-kid?" Avedis asked.
Sasha answered, "Some Technomancer thing or something."
"You have any idea who this Technomancer-like guy is?" Avedis asked.
Sasha answered, "Some kid I've never slept with, I don't know. Named Lyle, beyond that, who knows."
"Any idea as to why he went out of his way to protect Siran? I mean, I'm grateful he did, but...any idea why he did so?" Avedis asked.
Sasha answered, "Looked like he was in love."
"In love? Hmmm..." Avedis replied, then seemed to start thinking.
"Listen, unlike some people, I have commitments at home. I'm out of here," Sasha replied.
"Oh, of course...say, thanks for getting Siran back here, and bringing me this information." Avedis definitely sounded more at ease.
With that, Sasha left for home.
Chapter 2: MeetingEdit
For the next week or so, Avedis seemed a combination of wanting to keep Siran closer to home, and almost not caring if she snuck out. Nobody told anything of what happened when she went comatose, other than Sasha found her and brought her home. However, she did hear mention of her being protected from something by a bystander who kicked the living daylights out of those malcontents who came for her.
While nervous about her falling into a coma, Siran eventually got over the nervousness of it, and began getting the urge to go out again. Finally, a week after the incident, she decided to head out again. Eventually, she called Sasha.
"Hey, Sasha, it's Siran, you available tonight? Wanting to head out to the city again."
"You're lucky. Caught me on a day I am free. You going to see that boy?"
"Boy?...Oh, you mean that one Avedis made a passing reference to? The one you found me with when I was...you know...in that coma? I...barely know anything about him, let alone much of what happened while I was out."
"Well, if you can find him, you've got a chance. When should I show up?"
"The sooner, the better, but whenever you feel up to it...maybe this time, I'll sneak out of the base before you get here..."
"I'll be about three hours."
"Ok, see you when you get here." With that, Siran hung up, and prepared to sneak out of the base again.
Again, Sasha and Siran arrived at the city again, at the movie theater Siran usually went to. "Alright, good luck," Sasha told her.
"See you later," Siran replied. Sasha then pulled out. Siran then entered the movie theater. She looked around, as though looking for something, but, she remembered she had no idea what the young man looked like, so she just gave up and went to pay to watch the movie she wanted to watch.
A few hours later, she again left the theater. This time, she stayed out of the alleys, but, again, she suddenly felt the tingling in her head. This time, she managed to get Sasha's number dialed, and the phone to ring...before again, she fell into a coma. What she didn't notice was someone, watching from the rooftops.
It's been a full week, and yet, Lyle could not get his mind off of Siran. How much he wanted to try to talk to her...and knowing he'd probably just screw up. Either way, he still wished he had the courage to speak to her. However, all he could do is just go around and look for her.
Finally, he noticed a car he recognized as Sasha's car. It pulled up in front of a movie theater, and coming out of the passenger door was...Siran.
Lyle watched as she entered the theater, and waited for the few hours until she left. She seemed to avoid the alleys, apparently learning from before. Suddenly, Siran seemed to panic and pull out her phone. However, just as she dialed the number, she collapsed. Lyle realized she must have fallen into one of her comas.
He made his way down to Siran, and looked around. Fortunately, no thugs were coming. Unfortunately, the area was also devoid of Sasha or anyone else that looked willing to help Siran. So, realizing there was only one thing he could do, he picked up Siran: he was taking her to his apartment. However, as he picked her up, he failed to notice her cell phone falling from her hand, and being left behind.
"Oh shit," Sasha muttered. Her phone just rang, being called by Siran's phone, but all she got in return was silence. She immediately realized what had happened. She immediately set out to look for Siran. After a short while, she managed to find Siran's cell phone on the sidewalk. However, Siran herself was nowhere to be seen. "Fucking, mother fucking, son of a.....FUCK!" Sasha cursed.
Immediately, she began driving around, looking for Siran. However, no matter where she looked, no matter what alley she entered, she couldn't find any sign of her.
Lyle set Siran down on the couch, and immediately pulled a blanket over her. He did everything he could so that, when she awoke, she'd at least be comfortable. Alida then came up alongside her. "That's the girl you mentioned last week?" she asked.
"Yes, this is Siran," Lyle replied.
After a couple moments, Alida commented, "She looks pretty."
"Yeah, she does..." Lyle said, affectionately. Alida then gave him a look, and Lyle blushed. "Say, shouldn't you be in bed by now?!" Lyle hastily asked. Alida shrugged and went to bed. Lyle then looked down affectionately at Siran. Afterwards, he decided to sit down in a nearby chair, to allow himself to watch her, so he'd be there when she awoke.
"Oh, Serra's gonna kill me..." Sasha muttered to herself. She'd been searching for Siran for hours. Eventually, she'd been forced to call Avedis and tell him what happened. Since then, both of them have been searching for Siran.
Finally, Avedis in his Raider Buggy pulled up. Fully geared in his father's Confessor Cabal armor, he climbed out of the buggy. His voice heavily doused in worry and muffled by his helmet, he reported, "No sign of her. Anywhere."
"And so is her teacher..." Sasha muttered to herself.
"What is it?" Avedis asked, however, he quickly changed his response to, "You find any sign of her?"
"Just the phone last night," Sasha replied.
"FUCK!" Avedis exclaimed, before settling down again. "You find any sign of that Lyle kid? See if he knew anything?"
"I kicked in a few hobos' cardboard boxes, but no," Sasha replied.
Whatever expression Avedis gave in response to that was obscured by the helmet. "Was that really necessary?" he asked.
"You want to find your sister or not?" Sasha asked, with a shrewd look.
Avedis sighed. "Well, what're we supposed to do? We've been up all night looking, and there's no sign of her."
Sasha sighed. "I'll check the police station, bars, hospitals and jails..."
"Why bars?" Avedis asked.
Avedis sighed, before responding, "I'll just keep looking..."
"Go ahead," Sasha said. Secretly, however, she was hoping Siran had run away with some guy. Avedis merely climbed back into his Raider Buggy and departed.
It was around 10 AM, when Lyle woke up again. Apparently, he'd fallen asleep waiting for Siran. However, Siran was still out on the couch when he woke up. Eventually, though, not too long after Lyle woke up, he noticed Siran began to shift a little. Lyle kept watching her for a few minutes, before, finally, with a groan, she began to shift, as though waking up. Slowly, Siran opened her eyes, and tried to move to a sitting position. However, Lyle just pulled his chair forward, and gently forced Siran back down.
"Easy, easy, not too quickly, alright? You've been out for a while," Lyle said to her.
Siran looked dazed for a moment, before asking, "Who...who are you?"
"Name's Lyle," Lyle responded.
"Don't worry, I already know who you are, Siran..." Lyle interrupted.
Siran seemed startled initially that the young man knew who she was...until..."You're the one that...my brother said Sasha mentioned, aren't you?"
"Oh, Sasha did tell someone about me?" Lyle asked. Then he then commented, "So...you feeling alright now?"
"I think so," Siran said. However, she held one hand to her head, as though she had a headache.
"You got a headache? I've got some ibuprofen, if you think it'd help..."
"I'm alright..." Siran repeated. She finally managed to move to a sitting position, as Lyle stood up.
"You...hungry at all?" he asked, "I just woke up myself, and was just about to make myself something to eat."
"Uhhh...yeah, sure, I guess I'm a little hungry..." She sounded uncertain, as though she didn't want to be a burden to him.
Lyle smiled and responded, "Don't worry: the owner of this apartment's a family friend, so I've got plenty of food. You're not gonna be burden, I'm sure of it." Siran was shocked. It was as though he read her thoughts to the letter. further adding to her shock, Lyle then said, "Don't worry: I'm telepathic, sensing thoughts is somewhat second-nature to me."
Siran seemed to settle down a little, though, as though that was adequate explanation to her. She watched as Lyle made them some breakfast, consisting of toast and bacon. Then, a young kid appeared from another room. "Hey, you're awake," the young girl responded, noticing Siran awake.
"Hey...and you are...?" Siran asked.
"Oh, sorry, my name's Alida...Lyle kinda took me in when my parents died a while back...he's real nice," Alida said to Siran.
"Ah, ok...sorry, just woke up, and little hungry, so..."
"I get it," Alida said, nodding.
Just then, Lyle announced, "Ok, finished. Say, Siran, when we're done here, I think maybe you should go get yourself cleaned up, and then we should see if we could find Sasha. She's probably been looking for you."
"Why do you say that?" Siran asked.
"You've been out for 12 hours, Siran, why do you think?" Lyle answered.
"12 hours?!" Siran exclaimed, "Don't worry, I think I can-" However as Siran patted herself down, she realized something. "I can't...I can't find my phone! Ah, damn it! Where's my phone?"
"Your phone? Shoot...must've fallen out while I was bringing you here," Lyle said, frustrated, "Don't worry, we'll just go and find Sasha...or failing that, we'll head to the police station. They'd probably be able to help."
"Alright," Siran replied, as she came over to the nearby dining table, and began to eat the food on the plate Lyle placed in front of her.
"Serra is gonna be off the walls, the plumber will need a raise..." Sasha muttered to herself. She and Avedis had split up in searching for Siran. It's nearly noon now, over 12 hours since she went missing. However, the 2 kept at it: they knew Siran had to be around there somewhere.
Eventually, Sasha nearly turned around one corner, and noticed Lyle. She stopped for a moment, and noticed he was talking to someone obscured by a building. "Hey, kid!" Sasha said, poking her head out of the car, calling over to Lyle.
Lyle, however, immediately turned to the person he was talking to, and, coming out into view, came Siran.
"Well, I guess there is a god," Sasha said to herself.
Siran and Lyle approached. Siran seemed not only alright, but well-rested and generally had been taken good care of. "Hey Sasha..." Siran said, nervously and apologetically, as if she knew she probably had Sasha worrying.
"Well, did you use condoms?" Sasha asked, sighing.
"What?" Siran asked, momentarily confused.
Lyle, on the other hand, approached and said, "She was out for most of the time. When she woke up, all there was really time for was to talk a little, get something to eat, and get washed up, before we headed out."
"Well, you're off to a bad start..." Sasha replied.
Siran asked, "Uhm...why do you say that?"
However, suddenly, Sasha's phone rang. When Sasha hang up, she said, "Your brother's happy. Aaron, however, is pissed, and so is Serra..."
"Well...I guess I better get back to him," Siran said, slightly sad. Lyle also seemed somewhat disappointed.
"Take him with you," Sasha suggested.
"Unfortunately, I have my own responsibility," Lyle commented.
"Ok, Siran, stay with him, I'll go knock Avedis out and go apologize to the teacher," Sasha replied.
Siran, however, just sighed. "No...I really should get back to him. I'm sure I'll be able to meet back up with Lyle later...right?" She then looked at Lyle, as she asked 'right'.
"Maybe," he said, hopefully.
"Go on. I'll just knock him out and go bribe the school," Sasha urged.
Siran thought for a moment, and said, "Well...I guess I could be out for...another hour or 2..." she said, looking at Lyle. Lyle seemed happy by that.
"Finally some sense. Anyway, I have to go bribe Serra's teachers, so I have to run," Sasha.
Siran nodded, and she and Lyle left, as Sasha went to look for Avedis.
Chapter 3: The Exiled Returns...Edit
A few days later, Siran was home again. She had a good time with Lyle those few days ago, and had met with him the previous day, as well. However, today, Avedis had their schedule filled up. A friend of Trista's was returning home today, after a 4-year exile, and she wanted both Avedis and Siran to meet her.
Finally, it was that day, and early in the morning, Avedis woke Siran up. "Come on, Siran! Trista'll be here soon, let's get ready to go!" Siran seemed groggy, having only just went to sleep 5-6 hours ago. She pushed herself out of bed, got washed up, got dressed, and met up with Avedis near the airlock.
"So...when're we getting something to eat?" Siran asked.
Avedis answered, "We'll be getting something while we're out."
Then, the airlock opened, showing Trista. "Come on! The Silent Corsair is almost here!" she said, excitedly.
"We'll be right there," Avedis said. He then turned to Siran. "Come on, let's go. I've been really wanting to meet this person, come on!"
"Coming," Siran said, groggily.
The group finally made it to the hangar. Waiting there was Trista, the Renners, and the Acadals. Siran was on good terms with Arin Acadal, being somewhat good friends with her somewhat. Both understood that their brothers could be a little overbearing, only Siran understood that, for Arin's brother Vint, it was semi-necessary, with Arin's mental instabilities.
Sasha turned to the group and said, "Hey," as they entered the hangar.
Sean also said, "Hello," to them.
"Hey," Avedis responded, while Siran groggily grunted to them.
"Was it that intense?" Sasha asked Siran.
Siran just seemed irritated by it. "Some of these jokes are more annoying than anything, you know that?" she said, venomously. Sasha just laughed, being used to it by now. That merely resulted in Siran snarling vehemently.
However, Avedis just put a hand to her shoulder and said, "Just calm down...Like I said, we'll probably go out to get something to eat later, and you'll probably have woken up by then."
Sasha and Sean just tilted their heads to the side, confused. Sean, however, figuring it out, explained, "Sasha, remember the time you poked Ana with a cattle prod when you were seven? It’s one of those times."
Before anyone else could say something, the flash appeared high in the sky, resulting in a UNSC Light Cruiser. A few minutes later, the roar of a Pelican's engines could be heard, and soon, a Pelican could be seen approaching.
"Thank god," Sean said, as the Pelican touched down. The Renners seemed eager to greet Anastasia, once she exited the Pelican, as did Vint Acadal.
Finally, the aft hatch of the Pelican opened, and the first one out as...
"Ana!" Vint called out, as Anastasia Renner exited the Pelican Dropship. He seemed to step forward a couple times, before stopping, a little embarrassed. Anastasia, however, giggled, and smiled, and closed the remaining distance, sharing a hug with Vint. "It's good to see you safe," Vint said.
"Good to see you too," Anastasia replied.
"Cut the make out session, mom and dad are watching," Sasha called out. Vint and Anastasia quickly separated, blushing. "Ok, family reunion, lovely, I really need to tell you guys something."
"What is it?" Sen asked. Anastasia quickly looked in his direction, as though not expecting him to be here. Sen looked back. "What? You finally able to come out of exile, and you not expect to see me return?" Anastasia then gave an expression saying that he had a point.
"Really, can we go to the house now?" Sasha asked.
"Hold on, not everyone had a chance to say hi yet..." Elle pointed out, watching as Trista snuck up behind Anastasia. Then, Trista noogied Anastasia from behind, catching her off guard.
"What, er-Trista!" Anastasia sputtered.
"Hey, miss me?" Trista asked.
"Yeah, been a while!" Anastasia replied to her friend. Then, she looked past Trista at 2 other figures: a young man, smirking at the exchange, and a younger girl, who appeared to be frustrated and cranky, as though she'd just woken up not too long ago. "Say, who're you?" she asked them, not recognizing them.
"A couple new friends of mine," Trista replied.
The young man advanced. "Avedis Vardan," he announced, holding out a hand and bowing slightly.
Anastasia shook his hand and bowed in return. "Nice to meet you."
When the young woman didn't speak up, Avedis said, "And this is my sister Siran. Don't worry, she's normally more...warmer...than this. Think she's still a little frustrated that I dragged her out of bed."
"I see," Anastasia replied.
Sasha then got Anastasia's attention. Then, she pointed to Avedis and Trista, then made a heart with her hands. Anastasia gave a slightly surprised look, but seemed to understand perfectly. Sasha immediately looked impatient.
Then, Arin snuck up behind Anastasia, then said out loud, "Good to see you again!"
Anastasia whirled around, startled. "Oh, Arin! Well...you're looking well."
"Yeah, since that time a few years ago, I've been feeling great! And it's all thanks to you!" The smile Arin gave, and the happiness in her voice, gave Anastasia an odd mix of relief and discomfort. Sasha just gave a dejected sigh.
"Hey, guys, we need to have a family, ah, meeting, you could say. Do you think...?" Sean said.
Trista sighed, and said to the others, "I guess we can wait for Anastasia to get back from it..." Siran seemed more frustrated now with the added waiting.
Vint, however, seemed to refuse to leave Anastasia's side.
"Well, you'll be putting her where I am someday, so I guess you can stay." That got everyone confused. Soon, Trista had led the Vardans and Arin out of the hangar. The Freelancers, still on the Pelican, just closed and sealed the door to the vehicle.
"So...what is this all about?" Sen asked.
"Well, on January first, 2275, I gave birth to a little girl, who me and Aaron have been raising since."
Elle, Sen, and Anastasia seemed shocked by this, Vint, less so. "Why didn't you say anything sooner?" Anastasia asked.
"I'm gonna get shit-faced drunk...again..." Sean replied.
"I was scared. Ana had left because of assassination attempts, Sen was an envoy to a merc faction, and my parents are both war heroes who get at the center of things a lot. I wasn't gonna have my daughter near that until she was at least two." Anastasia sighed sadly at that. "I'm sorry, but I had to prioritize." That didn't appear to make Anastasia feel better.
"Just because you didn't want her to experience it, doesn't mean we didn't have to know." Elle said, Sen looking like he agreed. "Of course," Elle added, in a slightly-proud voice, "It is rather responsible of you: trying to protect your child."
"It was better if there wasn't any contact. The only people who knew were me, Aaron, and Maya, who was the one who caught her coming out."
Anastasia still remained where she was, with a slightly guilt-ridden look. "I don't think she was actually blaming you for anything," Vint told Anastasia, patting her on the back.
"I wasn't. I just had to adapt," Sasha explained. Anastasia didn't seem to change in stance much, other than seeming to relax a bit.
"Anyway, when she's older, I want to take her here for a few days," Sasha said to them.
"Well, she'll be welcome here, don't worry," Elle replied. Anastasia turned around, smiled a little, and nodded in agreement.
"What's her name?" Sean asked.
"Yeah, what'd you name her?" Sen added. Elle, Anastasia, and Vint didn't say anything, but were likely thinking the same thing.
Sasha answered, "Named her Serra."
"Nice name," Anastasia replied sincerely.
"Middle names are Maya and Anastasia," Sasha said, smiling at Anastasia, the latter smiling embarrassed in response.
Elle nodded, and said, semi-amused, "Well, I'm sure shocked by this news...however, I think we should allow Anastasia to return to her guests: from the looks of it, Siran was getting irritated with all the waiting."
"Yeah, I have to go, anyway. Promised Serra I'd be home for supper tonight," Sasha replied.
"Yeah, guessing last time you were out longer than you probably planned, she was a handful?" Vint asked.
"When was such a time?" Anastasia asked.
Sasha answered, "When Siran got lost. She all but destroyed the plumbing and disassembled the steering wheel of Aaron's car."
Anastasia asked, "What happened to Siran?"
"Coma in the middle of the city," Sasha replied.
That just had Anastasia more confused. "What caused the coma?"
"I dunno the details...I'm just a meth dealing stay at home mom..." Sasha said.
"...Who helped take down a major Archadian official..." Anastasia reminded her.
"Yeah, yeah..." Sasha replied.
"Well...tell her I say hi...if you want us able to send messages to her," Anastasia replied.
"That's alright. Don't worry about that," Sasha said.
Anastasia then turned to the others, and said, "I'm guessing someone should go get Trista and the others?"
"I'll let em know on my way out. Bye guys." Then, Sasha left to go home.
Sen then said, "Unfortunately, I have to go as well...I'll be back to visit soon," before leaving as well. Minutes later, Trista, Arin, and the Vardans entered the room, Siran looking a little calmer, but still a little frustrated.
"You want to be alone with them, Ana?" Sean asked.
Anastasia hastily responded, "You don't have to leave."
Trista then said, "Yeah, we were planning on taking Anastasia out somewhere to eat, to welcome her back. We can fit you guys there as well, if you want to spend more time with her. I mean, she just got back."
The mention of food caused Siran to react with an expression that said, "Finally..."
"Ok, cool," Sean replied.
"So..." Vint said, "You coming? Decide soon: looks like Siran's getting impatient." Siran snarled a little at that.
"The 'Ok, cool' was a yes, son," Sean replied.
"Ah, ok. Try to make it clearer next time," Vint replied, "So, let's get going."
The group arrived at the restaurant, a Klingon-operated place known as the tera' Soj (literally meaning 'Earth Food'). The place was staffed by Klingons, Orions, Letheans, and Gorn, with the occasional human seen. Despite the Klingon staff, the place actually had some high praise, and was widely advertised as an excellent eating spot in the city: the Klingons actually knew how to take a joke, and Gorn Security was able to keep fights at a minimal, and, if they even happened, very short.
While the group settled down, Sean seemed to be distracted by something. "What is it?" Elle asked, noticing.
Sean then said, "We've been grandparents for two years and didn't know it. Doesn't that freak you out?"
"A little, yes..." Elle replied, "However...I'm guessing the fact Anastasia's finally home has my attention more."
"Yeah, just...scary," Sean said. Just then, a pair of Letheans came and handed out menus. Each of the things on the menu were named in Klingon, but the descriptions given all referred to Earth-born meals.
"I can see where the name for the place came from: it's all food from Earth!" Anastasia commented.
"How'd you learn Klingon?" Sean asked, as Elle ordered for him.
Anastasia responded, "As part of my training under Gabranth, I was taught the basics of several Coalition languages: Klingon, Romulan, Breen, Sangheili..."
Vint and Arin both mouthed "Wow..." at that, both for obviously different reasons.
Sean responded, "I failed English in high school."
"tlhaQ..." (Klingon - "Funny") Anastasia said, smiling.
Sean shrugged. "For all I know you just told me you're pregnant..."
Anastasia just gave an annoyed look. However, Trista then said, "She merely said she thought that it was funny that you failed English."
Anastasia was startled by that. "Say, when'd you learn Klingon?"
Trista then slouched, her expression turning depressed. "I...I'd rather not say..." Anastasia's expression then turned apologetic.
"Oh buachaill. Seo a bhuaigh 't deireadh go maith," (Irish - "Oh boy, this won't end well.") Sean said. That earned a few weird looks from the Acadals, the Vardans, and Trista. There was silence for a few moments, before the Letheans finally returned with their food. "Спасибо, трахните задницу," (Russian - "Thank you, fuckass.") Sean said, retrieving his burger. After taking a few bites, he said, "Il burger è un pezzo di merda." (Italian - "This burger is a piece of shit.")
"Are you trying to be negative?" Elle telepathically asked him, not wanting the others there to know what Sean was probably saying.
"Non arbitror quod non solum exaudiri," (Latin - "No, just my opinions where they will not be heard.") Sean quietly responded to her.
Elle quietly mouthed "Ahhh..." before trying her grilled chicken caesar salad. "Although," she said, "The Orions here make a good caesar salad..."
"Honey, I'm from Ireland. Our diet is red meat and beer," Sean replied.
Anastasia tried her French Dip Sandwich, and Vint got Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs With Fettuccine, while Arin, typically, copied Anastasia's order. Trista got a Chicken Tenders Platter, while Avedis got Chicken Parmesan. Finally, Siran got a Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger. Everyone else seemed to like their food.
Sean then said, "Oh crap. I just realized I haven't taught any of my kids irish. That's on my bucket list."
"Well, that may prove difficult, with them all being scattered around the region," Elle pointed out. Sean then looked at Anastasia, then back at Elle. "Remember? She plans to move out soon?" Elle reminded him.
"Hey, Ana, how long til you move out?" Sean immediately asked, pulling her away from her sandwich.
"I don't know...once we get things in order. Might be a week, at least..." Anastasia responded, "...Why?"
"Trust me. Guys like irish accents," Sean responded.
"A what?" Vint asked. Anastasia then looked from Vint to Sean with that.
"Hey, chara, is fuath liom tú," (Irish - "Hey, I hate you.") Sean said to a random woman. The woman, clearly not versed in Irish, took it as a compliment and blushed. "Works the other way around. Look at your Aunt, Ana."
Anastasia seemed uncertain, and, to hide it, she continued eating her sandwich.
Suddenly, someone said out loud, "Hey, Siran! What're you doing here?"
Siran immediately reacted, looking where the voice came from, and said, "Lyle? What're you doing here?!"
Before Lyle could answer, one of the Klingon managers took notice of Lyle. He then approached, and then said to Lyle something in Klingon. Lyle, surprisingly, responded in Klingon, and the Klingon returned to the back room. Then, he turned to Siran, and answered her. "Here just getting some food for the owner of the apartment I live in. He usually gets his food from here, and, in return, he gives them the money they need to keep the place going in times of need."
"Now I know what Sasha meant..." Sean said.
Then, Avedis took notice. "So...you're Lyle..." he said.
Lyle looked immediately nervous. Siran explained, "My brother...Avedis..."
Lyle seemed nervous still, until Avedis almost smirked, almost amused. "All I was gonna say was thank you for helping my sister..."
Lyle exhaled, as though relieved.
Sean smirked at that, amused. Lyle then asked, "So, what're you doing here, Siran?"
"Oh, I'm here with my brother. We're welcoming home a friend of his girlfriend."
"Ah, and who would that be?" Lyle asked.
"I think she may be referring to me..." Anastasia said, in a way that seemed just to inform him easily.
Lyle cocked his head a little. "You look a little like Sasha..."
"Ah, you know my sister?" Anastasia asked.
"This should be good," Sean said, turning to pay attention.
Lyle then said, "Yeah, I met her soon after I first saw Siran."
"Yeah, still only vaguely know about that incident," Siran said.
Trista then turned to Avedis. "You still didn't give her all the details?"
"I gave her all the details Sasha gave me," Avedis replied.
"So, not much," Sean said to Elle quietly.
Elle, however, looked Lyle over a bit, before saying, "You're a Technomancer, aren't you?" That startled Lyle, how she immediately guessed that. He then nodded in confirmation.
"Ok, you're driving home," Sean said, ordering a beer, in frustration with all the smart people there.
"How'd you figure that out?" Trista asked.
Elle answered, "My mother's a Technomancer. While I didn't inherit the power, I can still sense one a mile away." she then turned to Lyle. "And trust me: they're rare..."
"Why are we all such rarities...?" Sean asked himself, quietly.
"So..." Anastasia said, seeing the situation getting a little awkward to those talking, "Trista, you said you had something you wanted to share with me?"
"What? Oh, right!" Trista said, "You remember the whole situation where I had a Flood Brain from Corpos?"
"Had? Are you saying..." Anastasia began. Sean muttered incoherently in multiple languages.
"My brain's been replaced...again...this time with a cloned human brain...with cybernetic implants..." Trista replied.
Anastasia replied, "So, you went from Flood-Brained to Cyborg? Well...does it feel better than being Flood-Brained?"
Trista replied, "Somewhat, yeah. I finally have a mind to myself...although, sometimes, I find the silence...unsettling..."
"Oh, it’s a good thing Sasha didn't come..." Sean said.
"Why?" Avedis asked Sean.
Sean said, drunkly, "The comments she'd shoot at you and her..."
Anastasia then said, "Well, the unnerving silence thing wouldn't have been unique to Trista: many individuals liberated from the Borg also reported the lack of the Collective's voice in their minds to be unsettling the first few years..."
"Too...many...smarts..." Sean said.
Everyone else also looked at Anastasia awkwardly. "What?...Psychology was also part of what I was taught by the Judges..." Sean just said nothing, as did everyone else. After a minute or so, Anastasia broke the silence. "So...Once I get things in order, like I said, I was going to move in with Vint...I've got a few things in need of moving, so is anyone here willing to help with that?"
Sean made a strange noise accompanied by a nod.
"I'll be glad to help," Trista said.
"Same here," Avedis replied, "How about you, Siran?"
Siran seemed nervous for a moment. Lyle then said, "Sounds like a good idea, I'll help...once I get the addresses..."
"Same here, then," Siran decided.
"My house, to hell with NOT helping for me..." Vint replied, with his rather obvious answer.
Then, Sean made a noise and fell asleep. Elle then said, slightly embarrassed, "I...think I should...take him home...see you later, Anastasia." Then, Elle pulled Sean's arm over her shoulders, and carried him out.
After a few minutes of awkward silence, the Klingon Manager returned with a bag of Transporter Buffers. Lyle took it from him, and said, "I should get going too..." Siran saddened at that. "Don't worry...I'll see you later," he said.
"See you..." Siran said sadly, as Lyle left. As Siran sadly watched Lyle leave, something seemed to trouble Avedis.
"What's wrong?" Trista asked.
Avedis shook his head clear, and responded, "It's nothing..."
While Trista didn't look convinced, she didn't push it. "So," she said, turning back to Anastasia, "What've you been up to? Anything of interest happen in Blood Gulch?"
"Yeah, anything you didn't tell us?" Vint asked, curiously.
Anastasia seemed immediately uncomfortable, before responding, "Remember my 'Judge Althaea' persona?"
"Yeah, when in that persona, it's actually a different personality inside you...why?"
Anastasia seemed uncomfortable, and Vint and Trista knew before she said anything. "She's now got...2 new mind-mates..."
"Meaning?" Avedis asked. Trista whispered something to him, and his expression turned shocked. "You serious?" Trista nodded.
"Yeah, now I have 2 new fragments that split off...they call themselves 'the Dark Mage', and 'Agent Kaven'..." Anastasia explained.
"Anastasia, you should really have that checked," Trista said, worriedly, "If too many of those form...you'll probably become incapable of doing anything: you'll have too many mind fragments bumping into each other to even function."
Anastasia seemed uncomfortable about it, when saying, "I...It's not an issue...I'm fine, and these personas seem to merely help in combat anyways..."
While Trista wanted to ask further, Vint instead interrupted, "Well, if they do start hindering you, we'll be here to help." Anastasia smiled at that.
The group enjoyed the rest of their meal, and spent the next several hours talking, and catching up, before finally leaving near nightfall.
Over the next couple days, Anastasia spent most of her time either meeting with the Dalmascan Military, various Engineering Corps, and with Vint going over his house and either how she'd fit in it, or how it'd have to be renovated to have Anastasia's belongings fit.
At the end of day 2 of her return, she finally found time to catch a break, which she spend by going to the park, and sitting at the bench she usually spent time at. While sitting there, she went over everything that was going to change, and what all has already changed. As she got up, however, she ran into someone. It was Siran Vardan.
"Oh, Siran. What're you doing here?" Anastasia asked.
Siran responded, "Just got out of the Med Labs..."
"Oh, my, is something wrong?"
"Nothing that wasn't wrong before," Siran replied, "You remember what Avedis said happened to me before we came here?"
"Ah, now I remember...the whole 'brain chemistry' thing, right?"
"Yeah...usual monthly thing Quel and Avedis set up to see if there was anything they could so to either detect, mitigate, or even cure the effects of it..."
"And I take it they found nothing yet?"
"No...it seems like Nod apparently did something they never encountered before..."
"Well...once they do find it, it won't be the first medical miracle to occur in this base's med labs. Quite a few of them happened here, including one involving my mother."
"Really, what happened?"
"The Krolok happened..."
"The Krolok? You mean the Plague Walkers?"
"That what Nod calls them? Thought that's what they called themselves..." Anastasia replied.
"Well, it is what they call themselves, but it is also what Nod's heard them called most, so I guess that's just what we learned it...What does 'Krolok' mean, anyways?"
"In their tongue? Plague Walker," Anastasia answered.
Siran seemed amused. "Who would have thought that the Coalition and Nod were calling them the same name, just in different languages?" The 2 shared a short laugh, before Siran said, "I should get going. Avedis will probably be wondering what happened to me. See you." Siran then began to walk away. However, she then stopped, but a hand to the back of her head, then looked back at Anastasia with a despaired look...and collapsed.
"Oh, crap!" Anastasia explained, running over to her. After checking to see if Siran was breathing, Anastasia got out her phone and called Avedis. "Avedis, it's Anastasia...I think that thing you said sometimes happens to Siran happened again. Meet you at the Med Labs..."
Avedis rushed into the Med Labs, to find Anastasia waiting in there, with Siran on the bed and Quel standing over her. "It happened again?" He asked, "That's the third time this month!"
"Yes, I do fear the comas are occurring with increased, and regular, frequency," Quel replied, "There are 2 possibilities: they'll probably merely become more regular, becoming more possible to predict..."
"And if not that?" Avedis asked.
Quel was silent for a moment, as though finding the words for it, before saying, "Or, if they increase in frequency, there may come a point where the comas occur faster than she can recover: she may eventually go into an eternal coma..."
"No...Siran..." Avedis despairingly said, looking over her.
Anastasia seemed upset as well. She just met Siran, and already seemed to think she was a nice person. And now this was happening to her. As a non-Ivalician, Anastasia had issues with containing her charged Mist Energy, and now in this stressful situation, it became all the more harder.
However, suddenly, the machine scanning Siran's brain began to chirp. Quel, noticing, hurried over to it. "My word..."
He began typing something into the keyboard, as Avedis looked up and asked, "What's going on?"
Quel ignored him, and soon, a small readout appeared. Quel muttered, after reading it over, "Mist Energy..." He turned to Anastasia. "You still emitting Mist Energy?"
"What? Is it interfering with the equipment? I'll try to contain it if-"
"No...I need you to INCREASE those emissions! Radiate as much Mist Energy as you can! Now!"
"What? Oh-okay..." Anastasia replied. Then, she began to concentrate, venting Mist Energy to the point where soon, the room looked like it was teleported to the Necrohol of Nabudis.
At the same time, the machine's chirping grew louder, as Quel continued typing into it, and Avedis looked over his shoulder. The screen, showing a scan of Siran's brain on it, began to indicate a section of the brain. Quel had the image zoom in, as the indicated section grew brighter and brighter as the Mist Energy Levels of the room increased.
Soon, it got to the point where the room's sensors indicated, "Warning: Unsafe Mist Levels Detected."
However, Quel ignored it. He was sure of his theory this time. Finally, the image was zoomed in on the indicated section. "By the Prophets...the error attracts Mist Energy...I think I found it!"
Quel, noticing that Anastasia wouldn't be able to keep eject Mist Energy much longer, worked fast to get scans of the indicated brain section before the Mist Energy dissipated.
"Did...did you get anything?" Avedis asked, nervous.
"Just enough...but I got it...can't make the cure yet, don't know exactly what's wrong...but I think we got enough to do something to help."
Avedis's hopes began to soar. He looked back at Anastasia, who, finally, staggered into a chair behind her. Avedis walked over to her, and asked, "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine..." Anastasia replied.
Avedis sighed with relief. "Good...you've done a good thing for my sister...and myself...today...you ever need anything, just let us know..."
"Good to know...can you call Vint...that took a lot of effort to pull off...and it took a lot out of me..."
"Sure thing...Quel, call me when Siran wakes up!"
"Right away," Quel replied.
A few minutes later, Vint arrived and helped Anastasia home, this time taking the within-base route, to avoid what happened when Anastasia helped Arin.
Chapter 4: Freedom...Almost...Edit
"This just won't end well..." Sasha said to herself, as she drove to Kaven Base. She'd just received the normal call to pick up Siran, so she could have some time outside the base and have some fun.
However, this time, it was Avedis that made the call. That worried her.
When she reached the base, she found Siran already waiting for her, unlike normal, making no attempts to hide from base security or anything.
"Now I'm confused..." Sasha replied.
"It's ok...a couple days ago, with Anastasia's help, Quel actually made a major breakthrough finding out about the whole brain chemistry mess-up," Siran responded, slightly more happy than when she normally gets picked up. One thing that could be noticed, however, is a small device hanging from Siran's belt.
"Pills?" Sasha asked, indicating the device.
Siran looked down at it, before responding, "No, brainwave sensor. Part of what Quel discovered was that some of my brainwaves give off a specific signal about 10-15 minutes before I drop...this device senses for that signal. Not a means to mitigate the whole thing, but it was the whole 'without warning' thing that had Avedis worried: now that there's warning, he's been a little less..." Siran paused, as if trying to thing of the right word.
"OCD, psycho, asshole, prick, paranoid, or any of their derivatives?" Sasha asked.
"Uhm...I guess 'paranoid' works..." Siran responded nervously.
Sasha responded, "Just the words I used to describe my brother back in the day. Good to know Av came to his senses faster."
"To me, looks more like conditions just became more...favorable...to him to allow me to go do my own thing...I know he cares, but it was as though he thought my safety was vastly important...however, now that I have a way to know when the whole 'Comatose' thing is going to occur, he's thinking it's now safe enough to not keep an eye on me at all times..." Siran then thought a moment, before adding, "I also think that him meeting Lyle might have helped with that..."
"Only wish my family reacted as well to my boyfriend before I told them he's the father of my child," Sasha said. Siran seemed nervous, as though wanting to say something, but not wanting to potentially accidently insult Sasha or something. "Go ahead. It'll be better than my family publically believing I was a hooker."
"Well..." Siran said, "He...he IS a Meth Dealer...not saying he isn't probably a good person or anything, But...from what I know of people in the Coalition...even if it isn't much...any of them would be nervous if their child or sibling was dating a Meth Dealer..." She tried to convey in her tone that she was trying to mean no offense.
"Or they could learn to trust their kids a little more," Sasha said, coldly. Siran flinched, fearing she probably offended her after all. Sasha then said, "We're here." They'd arrived at the usual movie theater, this time, however, with Lyle waiting.
"Ok," Siran said, nervously, "See you later..."
Sasha muttered, so as to be barely audible, "Am I the only one with a car..."
Siran approached Lyle, who asked, "You think about what you wanted to see, yet?"
"Not yet, haven't seen if there's anything new yet..." The duo then entered the theater, allowing Sasha to leave. Once inside, Lyle whispered to Siran, as to not announce to the whole theater, "I heard that the people at the base finally had a breakthrough with your...condition..." Siran nodded, and pulled aside her jacket, revealing the device on her belt. "Ah...if I sense right, a brainwave scanner?"
"Yeah...thanks to Anastasia, Quel finally zeroed in on the segment of my brain Nod messed up. Within a month’s time, hopefully, Quel thinks he'll have figured out what's wrong exactly, and have a means to repair the damage completely."
"That's wonderful news," Lyle said. Then, the duo finally reached the list of movies. Lyle again asked, "So...anything of interest?"
Siran looked over the movies, and, after a minute, decided, "I guess...that one. I've been watching it a lot this past month, but I still think it's pretty good."
"What I'm Made Of...? The movie that critics described as a mash-up of the 2 21st century series Die Hard and X-Men?"
"Yeah, to be honest, I find it to be a good movie?" Siran replied.
"Well...who am I to argue with your tastes...Who knows, I might like it..." Lyle said. The duo went and purchased their tickets, and went to watch the movie.
"I have to admit, that movie was pretty good," Lyle said, as he and Siran left the movie theater.
"Yeah, I always enjoy watching that movie," Siran replied, still sipping the soda she got at the concession stand.
"Good..." Lyle replied. He thought for a moment, before asking, "You want to go get something to eat? I think there's still time before you get picked up to go eat..."
"Yeah, sure..." Siran replied, "You had somewhere in mind?"
"Not really, you?" Lyle asked.
Siran replied, "I don't know...hmmm..." She then began to think about it.
As Siran was distracted while thinking, Lyle just looked at her. As far as he was concerned, Siran was the perfect girl: she was kind, enjoyable to hang out with...and, he had to admit, he thought she looked cute as well. He couldn't wait until her brain condition was cured, because that would mean they'd be able to visit each other more often.
When she turned back to him, Lyle quickly looked away, not wanting her to be freaked out. "Maybe...once saw a place nearby I wanted to try..." she said.
"Ok," Lyle said, "Lead the way..."
Siran smiled and giggled a little. "Ok..." Lyle smiled: for some reason, just seeing Siran happy made him feel happy.
Siran and Lyle were at the restaurant Siran wanted to go to. She was enjoying her usual bacon cheeseburger, while Lyle got himself philly cheesesteak. The 2 were chatting and eating, and basically enjoying themselves. Finally, Siran decided to ask something that'd been on her mind for a while.
She seemed uncertain at first of how to word it, but after a bit, she finally managed to ask it. "So...uhm...listen...I really like you...and I'm enjoying getting to know you, but...I've been wondering something...When you found me, a few weeks ago...just...why did you help me?"
Lyle could tell she was uncertain about why, as it seemed that, even while she had friends and family, such altruistic actions seemed almost foreign to her. From what he heard of where she came from, that came as no surprise to him. "I don't know...I saw you looked like you needed help, and I...I know what those thugs do to girls like you, and I...I didn't want to see that happen to you..."
Siran lowered her head and blushed a little. "Yeah...thanks for helping me, by the way...twice..."
"You don't have to thank me..." Lyle said, "I'm just glad that I eventually got to meet you..." Lyle seemed to blush a little, causing Siran to blush even more. Once both settled down, Lyle said, "Listen...there's something I've been wondering...I know about the whole...condition...you have...and I know you originally came from Nod...but...one thing I want to know...why did you come here, anyways?" Immediately, Siran's expression darkened, as though a horrible memory returned to her. "I-I'm sorry...if the memory's bad, you don't have to-"
"It's ok...it's ok..." Siran responded, her voice showing the pain she felt of the memory, "I...understand why you'd want to know..." Siran sighed, as though trying to compose herself. Finally, after a few minutes, she started. "My brother...used to be a soldier in the Brotherhood of Nod...One day...agents from the government...kidnapped me..."
Siran's voice kept breaking, as if the memories were severely painful. Lyle, in response, used his Psionics to send comforting signals over to Siran.
Feeling Lyle's attempts to calm her, Siran indeed felt comforted, allowing her to continue. "They...experimented...on me...used me like some kind of guinea pig or lab rat...Avedis found out, however, and managed to free me...We...we escaped to Coalition space on a stolen cruiser...Hellcat Squadran gave us asylum...and we've been here ever since..." Once Siran finished, and Lyle was sure Siran was alright, he retracted his influence in her mind. "Thanks for that, by the way," Siran said, in response to what Lyle did for her there.
"Wow...that's...You've been through a lot, haven't you?" Lyle replied. Siran nodded sadly in response. "Well...at least you don't have to worry about it anymore, right?" Lyle asked. However, when Siran didn't reply, Lyle was immediately worried. "You don't feel that's the end of your problems, don't you?"
Siran shook her head. "One thing that's become abundantly clear is that, when Nod loses something, they'll never leave it alone: they'll either keep trying to re-obtain it, or, failing that, destroy it...And..."
"...You feel Nod'll come for you due to those experiments they performed on you..." Lyle finished for her.
"Not just that, but, in their eyes, Avedis and I are traitors, and they never leave traitors be..." Siran added.
Lyle replied, "You don't have to worry about them: they may come for you, but I can assure you that there're enough people that have your back that Nod'll likely not be able to touch you..."
Siran smiled a little: she knew Nod would still try, but Lyle's words brought her some measure of comfort. As they both finished their meals, however, Siran got to noticing what time it was. "Shoot...I have to go soon..." she said, saddened.
"Don't worry, we'll see each other again..." Lyle said, noticeably saddened by Siran having to go, but at the same time, taking it in stride. "See you later."
"Bye..." Siran said, leaving.
Chapter 5: Turning PointEdit
Vint went over to the Renner household, in order to visit Anastasia. She was still getting things in order for her to be able to move into the Acadals' home. They'd already determined that they'd probably have to add onto the house for Anastasia to be able to move her Judge's Gear and Ready Room in. However, other than that, it was determined that there was enough room for Anastasia to move in.
Finally, Vint reached the location. Being as the Renners were expecting his arrival, there was no need for him to knock. He entered the house and went up to Anastasia's room. When he got there, he found Anastasia asleep at her desk. From the looks of it, she'd been busy all night, working on the preparations she still needed to do before moving in with the Acadals.
He walked over to Anastasia, and tapped her on her shoulder. Anastasia awoke with a start, startled by the sudden touch to her shoulder. When her mind finally came into focus, she turned to Vint, and said, "What the-please don't do that..."
"Sorry...didn't expect to find you still asleep," Vint said in his defense, "You alright? You seem exhausted."
Anastasia yawned a little, as she responded, "I'm fine, just been trying to continue dealing with this stuff related to the move...the Dalmascan office I have to communicate with, unfortunately, has its daytime during our nighttime...and is therefore only open at night..."
"Ouch," Vint replied, "That must suck."
"You're telling me," Anastasia replied, "They tried putting me on hold, and it took pulling rank on them to get it through to them that it was late at night where I was at and that I needed to get this finished before I fell asleep."
"Yeah...maybe you need a break from this..." Vint suggested, "How much you still need to do?"
Anastasia sighed before replying, "Quite a bit..." However, she then gave a weak, tired smile, and said, "But I think I can spare a few hours..."
Vint decided to take Anastasia out to eat, feeling that she'd spent too long in her house the past couple days. Even once they reached the restaurant, Anastasia still seemed only half-awake, so Vint ordered her some coffee with hazelnut creamer. Anastasia smiled, seeing Vint remembered how she liked her coffee.
As the duo waited for their food, Vint said to Anastasia, "I cannot wait until all this business is settled...I mean look at you: you're a mess..."
Anastasia could tell he was joking, but nevertheless, she still tried smoothing out her hair, nervously. Vint snickered at that. "Not...funny..." Anastasia said, slightly irritated, slightly hurt.
"Oh...sorry...was just a joke..." Vint said, apologetically.
Anastasia sighed and buried her head in her hands. "I know..." she said, tiredly, "Just...tired...you know...and rather-"
"Sensitive?" Vint asked, honestly guessing.
"Yeah...sensitive," Anastasia admitted, lowering her head guiltily.
"Hey, don't worry, you're not the only one: remember Siran from the day you got back: she seemed about to maul Avedis's face off for dragging her out of bed-"
"To see me return..." Anastasia remembered.
"Jeez, you're hard to comfort, aren't you..." Vint said, in a partially joking manner.
Anastasia replied, in an apologetic tone, "I'm sorry, just...just not-"
"Entirely awake?" Vint guessed.
Anastasia smiled a little. "You know me so well, don't you..."
"Don't worry: sure the whole thing with Siran wasn't an isolated incident: probably ALWAYS that cranky when woken up too early: Arin's the same way sometimes..."
"Yeah...I guess I can get a little...irritated myself...like this one time when I was seven...of course, it was probably justified because Sasha jabbed me with a Cattle Prod-"
"Sasha did what?!" Vint asked, shocked and a little angry, but also mildly amused.
"Yeah...mom wasn't happy when she found out...side still tingles just remembering it..." Anastasia twitched as she said it, as though she felt the zap go through her again.
"I'll bet she wasn't," Vint replied, with an amused tone. Then, remembering something, he said, "I remember hearing your father wasn't around for most of your childhood..."
Anastasia clearly remembered that particular fact. Clutching her mug of coffee, she replied, "Yeah...that's right..."
"Well...I was mostly grown by the time my father was killed. I can't imagine what it must have been like to grow up without him...What was it like to grow up without your father?"
Anastasia looked down at the mug she was clutching. The memories of her childhood returned to her, most of them not happy. "For...a lot of my childhood, Sasha and my mother were...at odds with each other. My brother Sen took my mother's side in things, and that just made things worse...Sometimes, they'd argue for hours on end, and if I was so much as sighted by either party, my mother would try and get me to intervene on her side...I, however, wanted no part in it..."
"Your sister and mother don't seem to fight so much now...what happened?" Vint asked.
The memory still seemed to sting a bit for Anastasia, but, in actuality, it didn't, compared to how much it used to for her. "I walked in on one such argument...and Sasha threw a gun at mom and told her to shoot her...And then I..."
Vint, somehow, immediately understood. "You lost it, didn't you?"
Anastasia nodded in confirmation. "For a while after, I felt guilty about it, but my godfather, Ian, told me that it may have just saved the family from being torn apart. And, over the years, the more I thought about it, the more I realized..." When she raised her head again, a weak smile was on her face. "He was right..."
Vint smiled and nodded. "That's good to hear."
"Yeah..." Anastasia said, "However, mom never really got over it. She keeps saying that, maybe if dad were with us during that time, maybe...maybe things would have been different..."
"Yeah, but is 'different' always good?" Vint asked, "If you were 'different', would you have helped my sister? Or even had the skill to defeat Giarc?"
Anastasia smiled and laughed a little. "I'd already thought of that. However, it's sometimes a little difficult to get to mom sometimes."
The 2 laughed together for a minute or two. Finally, Vint asked Anastasia, who seemed a little more awake, "You...want to catch a movie? I'm sure there's something there you'd like."
Anastasia thought it over, before deciding, "I guess I still can spare a few hours."
Anastasia and Vint left the movie theater a couple hours later. "That was a good movie," she said, "Thanks for taking me to see it."
"You're welcome...you feeling any better now?" Vint asked her.
"Yeah, feeling a little more awake now," Anastasia said, tucking her hair behind her ear.
Vint smiled. "That's good to hear...Well...You've told me about how your life was when you were younger, and how your family used to not get along...but now, they seem to get along just fine...What happened? I mean, you gave me the basics, but what specifically happened, from your eyes?"
"Well...I guess you could say that's my doing, somewhat..."
"Well...one day, I walked in on one of my family's arguments...and Sasha got to the point where she told mom to just shoot her." Vint's eyes widened. "And then..." Anastasia continued, "I just lost it...Initially, I thought I might have just triggered the final breakup of my family...but, as my godfather Ian predicted...it just helped my family begin to get along..."
"Well, they've gotten together quite well since...and 2 years after that, that's when dad returned...found him on a backwater wasteland world..."
"Really? What'd he been doing?"
"Uhm...it's a long story, and one I really don't like retelling..."
As much as Vint wanted to know, he got that, sometimes, it was best not to push matters with Anastasia. "So...how much time do you have left?"
Anastasia looked at her watch. "Shoot! Have to head back now..." She gave Vint a saddened look.
Vint lowered his head, sadly, before saying, attempting to (and somewhat succeeding to) sound positive, "Well...I guess we'll be spending much more time together when this is done...what's a few more days waiting?"
Anastasia smiled. "Give me a lift back?"
"Sure," Vint answered. The duo loaded up in Vint's vehicle, and they made their way back to Kaven Base.
Chapter 6: ReunionEdit
Sasha was just visiting her family in Kaven Base, hearing Anastasia discuss details of how she'd be moving things from their parent's house to Vint's. However, now that it was time to go, her only thought was to get home to 4 month old Ava.
However, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye: a small squad of Nod Black Hand Spec Ops, Heavy Weapons Soldiers, and an officer. Not knowing why they were there, but knowing they'd cause trouble, but unable to get a clear shot, Sasha moved to stalk them. As they got further into the base, Sasha realized that they were entering the Residential Area's hangars and docks. However, there was nothing there of any significance...except...
Realizing immediately what was going on, Sasha heaved a rock at the Nod soldiers. The Nod soldiers immediately looked in her direction, but she'd already went under cover, avoiding their gaze. The Nod Soldiers reaction was not loud enough to alert base security, but it was enough to draw Avedis out of the Cataract. Upon being spotted, one of the Nod Snipers tried to fire, but Avedis avoided the shot and dove back into the Cataract. The Nod Soldiers, in response, made for the ship's main airlock.
"Ok, someone with guns now..." Sasha muttered to herself, as she moved to follow the Nod Soldiers. However, the Nod soldiers were keeping some distance ahead of her, and, once inside, she found evidence of the Vardans fighting back: 3 dead infiltrators lay several meters from the airlock, 2 riddled with bullets, and one burned by a laser weapon.
Sasha continued following the trail, and soon found 2 more bodies, one with his torso riddled with bullets, and another burned in 2 places: once in the groin and once in the face, supposedly inflicted in that order.
Finally, she neared an area where she heard gun fire and laser shots. By the time she reached the area, however, she was met by 3 dead bodies, the laser burns on one of them still smoldering. However, nearby was a discharged Firefly rifle, the scratches revealing it to be Siran's. Sasha picked it up, but noticed its battery was empty, possibly the reason Siran discarded it.
Sasha continued through, and found Avedis's light assault rifle, completely out of ammo. "Oh boy..." Sasha said, realizing the siblings were now unarmed. Eventually, she reached one of the rooms, and she could overhear a shouting match inside.
"So, you're here to kill us? That's rich. Always hated your guts..."
"Yes, and I'm glad I get to be the one to shut your mouth once and for all."
"I hope you burn in hell, Trenjor."
"If I do, I'll say hello to you when I get there..."
Sasha muttered to herself, "Another day in the life of..."
Before she could kick the door down, however, 'Trenjor' said, "Now...it's time for you to die..."
Suddenly, another voice said, "No, it isn't sir..." Suddenly, the sound of a laser chaingun sounded, Trenjor's scream audible from the room.
There was silence for a moment, as Sasha entered the room. However, just as she entered, a joyful laugh came from Avedis. "HAHAH! QUENTUS, YOU SON OF A BITCH! What the hell are you doing here?!"
"Ok, I'll go..." Sasha muttered, seeing things under control from there, from Avedis's joyful expression to Siran looking nervous, but relieved in the corner of the room. Sasha gave a concerned look at Siran, who noticed her, smiled a little and nodded, assuring her that she was alright. Sasha nodded in response, and slipped out, as Avedis and Quentus continued catching up. Then, she departed, she wouldn't be home too late, but she was determined to get there fast.
The next day, reports of the attempted assassination spread like wildfire. Initially, the Coalition Council planned to interrogate Quentus, but Avedis managed to get IceBite's support in rallying his allies in the council to belay that course of action.
Siran's friends also came to check on her. Siran was greatly comforted by this, especially when Lyle showed up. Lyle almost didn't let up in making sure she was alright. Eventually, though, Lyle realized that Siran was ok, and seemed greatly relieved by it.
With Avedis's permission, Lyle took Siran back down to his apartment in-town, as Avedis worked with Dawn and Ethan to enhance the Cataract's inner defense systems.
During breaks, Avedis did some catching up with Quentus.
"So, how've things been in the Brotherhood? Anything else begin to change with Kane?"
"Actually, that's the thing: after you left, Kane had the last of the scientists that survived your attack executed: he had nothing to do with the project."
"Yeah...however, he still deemed you and your sister as traitors, and ordered your execution. Even more, he had the project your sister was forced into resumed...although, now he's enforcing the use of willing volunteers. No other family in the Brotherhood will have to deal with what you did..."
That made Avedis feel a little better. "So, what're you doing here?"
"I got sick of everything there. I've never really agreed with much of Nod's ideology, but when they chased you guys off, that was the last straw. I intentionally had myself assigned to this mission, as I knew I'd be able to break off at some point."
"Well, I'm glad you did when you did: that Officer almost had us." The duo kept talking, discussing what's happened in the past year.
The first night Siran was staying at Lyle's place, Lyle used a whole chicken to make homemade chicken nuggets, which Siran seemed to enjoy quite well.
"So, tell me about this 'Quentus' guy that supposedly helped you..." Lyle requested.
After Siran swallowed a nugget, she responded, "Well, I don't care much for him, to be honest, but he and Avedis have been best friends for a while...he actually helped us escape from Nod a year or two ago. Now, he helped defend up when an assassin had us cornered...maybe he's not as bad as I thought..."
"Looks like it," Lyle responded, "What didn't you like about him?"
"I don't know...he just seemed infuriating sometimes, so I never really liked him though...Which makes me wonder why he'd help us at all."
"Maybe he was such a good friend to your brother that he helped for your brother's sake."
"Yeah, maybe..." Siran responded.
"So, what're you gonna be up to this next week?" Lyle asked.
"Well, a couple days from now, gonna be helping Anastasia move into Vint's place."
"Ah, I know about that, was probably gonna be helping move stuff over too...They said they'd need a couple Technomancers to help the Ivalician Engineers move Anastasia's Waystone."
"Well...glad I'll be working with you on that," Siran replied. The duo continued talking for hours, until it was time for them to go to bed. As Siran fell asleep on the make-shift bed, she went to sleep smiling, extremely happy.
Chapter 7: BehemothEdit
The Nod Scientists waited by the lab table. This group, assigned to replace the previous science team, who were either killed by Avedis Vardan in his defection, or executed by Kane for their part in CAUSING Avedis to defect. Mainly, Kane was furious the previous team had been taking prisoners among the people of Nod and forcing them into these experiments. After disposing of the scientists for their heresy, he'd replaced them with more loyal scientists, and had them only take subjects who volunteer for the procedure.
This subject, however, was the last volunteer: the others had either died, taken irreparable damage, or changed their minds after seeing what happened to the others. Kane wasn't taking any chances with this one: this last one was a major Zealot to Nod's cause, and his loss would be a major hit to Nod's Morale.
He watched the procedure over the next few hours, watching as the man’s skin grew gray, but his body became more muscular. Finally, after those few hours, the lead scientist announced, triumphantly, "We did it!" The scientists removed the instruments from the new super soldier, and Kane walked down into the lab.
As the scientists and Kane gathered around, the super soldier awoke. "I live!"
Siran was leading her friends Anastasia and Arin through the town, showing them the shops, restaurants, and other sites in it. The group had exited the movie theater she frequented, and moved through the alleyways to the shop she also frequented, when, not far from one of the exits, they ran into a man in a trench coat…a trench coat sporting the Nod Insignia. Without a word, he fired a lightning bolt at the group, which Anastasia barely deflected with a Shellga shield. “What the hell are you doing here?! You better not be-“
“I’m here for the failed prototype. Stand aside or I’ll take your heads as well…” the Nod soldier said. Siran shrank in fear: she knew this beefed-up soldier was talking about her.
Arin, however, had other ideas. “We’ll see who's taking who’s head…” Before Anastasia could stop her, Arin fired a Thundara blast at the soldier. However, the crackling lightning was blocked and absorbed by some kind of lightning shield. A moment later, the lightning shield was turned into a bolt of lightning, and Arin wasn’t quick enough to dodge it.
“Arin!” Siran screamed, as Arin fell to the ground, a massive scorch mark in her chest.
Anastasia quickly ran over to Arin, and, despite her low hopes, checked for a pulse. She let out a sigh of relief, however, when her fears were shown to be invalid. “You’re tougher than you look,” Anastasia muttered. Then, she turned to face the Nod soldier. “You’re going to pay for that…”
“And who are you to challenge me…Yes, I’ve heard of you: Judge Althaea, the Bane of Archadia…I expected more than a young girl, not even a full woman, and the Archadians ‘’fear’’ you?! I could defeat you in a nanosecond.”
“Care to prove your point?” Anastasia said, preparing to fight. She then turned to Siran. “Go, get out of here, I’ll hold him.”
“What? No, he’s here for me, why do you-“
“Because I have more training, more skill, and to be quite blunt, you’re not quite ready for something like this…” Anastasia gave Siran a look, telling her to just run. Siran, hesitantly, complied, running back into the alley. Anastasia looked back at the soldier, and said, “Before you get her, you have to come through me.”
The soldier’s smile was eerie, creepy, and told Anastasia a message she already knew.
I am more powerful than you…
Sasha and Vint were rushing to the town. They'd received a panicked call from Siran, telling them that a Nod supersoldier had reached the town, taken down Arin, and was currently fighting Anastasia.
"Why do I keep visiting?" Sasha asked herself, making a mental note to cut down on how many times she visits Kaven Base.
“Can you please focus?!” Vint asked, anxious, “Both our sisters, and Siran, are there, probably in trouble. We have to get there before something bad happens to them!”
However, when they arrived, it became clear that something bad ALREADY happened: Arin was on the ground, a massive scorch mark on her torso, and further down the alley was…
“Oh, shit, Anastasia!” Vint called out. Anastasia was on the ground, bleeding from several fresh wounds. Every few seconds, she’d shift, trying to crawl along the ground, as if trying to continue the fight, only to fall still moments later, blood trailing from her nose, as she hacked up more blood.
"I am NOT fighting this thing, Vint,” Sasha said, instantly fearful of this foe that could drop Anastasia so easily.
“So, what’re we supposed to do? From Siran’s message, whatever’s still out there is after her. Are we supposed to abandon her? I called Avedis, but I don’t think he’ll get here in time.”
Sasha replied, "We can follow, but I am NOT fighting this thing."
Vint looked at Arin and Anastasia, and said, “I should stay here to help them…they need help immediately…you’re the best at tracking stuff silently, find this…thing…we can’t let it get away with this…” It was clear Vint wasn’t saying to fight this thing, but he definitely wanted this thing tracked down.
Sasha then said, "Alright, you owe me big time. If I get killed you aren't going to live through the week, be warned."
Vint wasn't paying attention: he'd gotten to work trying to heal Anastasia's wounds.
Chapter 8: "Don't stop now, Come on and Rock and Roll!"Edit
Siran fled into the alleyway, unable to keep without looking over her shoulder, for fear that Anastasia might have fallen and this supersoldier was now following. She couldn't help but fear for her friends: Arin wounded, probably gravely, and Anastasia facing this threat that, Siran couldn't help but feel, was greater in power than her.
When she reached another alley, this one facing a street, however, she froze with fear: the supersoldier had beaten her there. “So…now, you’re all that’s left, your friend was pitiful. I don’t see why the Archadians feared her, unless they too were weak. ”
Siran tried backing away, but a lightning field appeared in the only exit to the alley. “Why are you doing this?”
“Kane ordered your destruction: I will oblige. You’re nothing but a failure, the result of a mistake. No one would care about it if you left. ”
These words hit Siran deep…but she realized the last part was lies: Avedis cared about her, Trista cared about her, and if they still lived, so did Arin and Anastasia…And Lyle…Siran could feel he more than cared about her…Siran then released a massive electrical burst: electrical bolts arced across the alley, showering everything in lightning. The soldier blocked the burst, but seemed impressed.
“You have some control…still insignificant, I will destroy you… ”
The soldier fired his own electrical bolt, Siran barely absorbing the shot, reflecting it back at him. The soldier merely absorbed the electrical energy of the bolt, using it to regenerate the damage he took from the battle with Anastasia. “You’re better than I thought…but we don’t have all the same abilities! ”
Before Siran could react, the soldier charged up a red colored orb. The smooth shape of the energy orb was familiar to her: an Aura Sphere! Before she could react, the soldier released his attack, striking Siran in the abdomen, slamming her into the wall.
Siran struggled to get up, but felt a crushing sensation on her neck, which pulled her upwards, suspending her 10 feet up the wall. The soldier then approached her, pulling out a pistol, pointing at her. “So, your miserable existence ends… ”
However, before he could fire, a massive form came between the 2: a gigantic, 8-legged robot. Then, as she faded into unconsciousness, Siran heard a voice, one she could almost smile hearing. “Hey, fucktard, that’s MY girl you’re about to shoot!”
Sasha was searching through the alleys, looking for any sign of Siran or her pursuer. However, her thoughts were on her children, and how they'd be without a mother if she were to die. Therefore, she hoped she'd find some sign of Siran...without her powerful pursuer...
Just then, Sasha saw something nearby: an explosion. Considering how common battles are (Or rather, are not) in the city, there could only be one possibility. Sasha slipped toward the explosion, and, eventually, found out what was going on.
At one end of the battlefield, Siran lay on the ground, unconscious, and battered. At the other...Lyle Kendrick, using some kind of antigravity device, kept himself, and a big, muscular man that could only be the supersoldier, suspended in air, and using a pair of wrist-mounted energy blades to continuously pound the supersoldier. On the ground, over Siran, was the robot Sasha had seen a few weeks prior, only now more massive, with 8 limbs, and probably a more powerful eye-laser, explaining the explosion.
"Lord above..." Sasha muttered, as Lyle supercharged one blade, unleashing a massive attack that threw the supersoldier to the ground.
Lyle also fell to the ground, skidding to a halt, using his blades to stop himself. Before the supersoldier could do anything, Lyle typed into one of the computers at his wrists...releasing the plasma in his blades as a burst at the supersoldier, staggering it.
As the battle unfolded, Sasha began looking for a good vantage point to snipe from. However, as she did, Lyle leapt backwards, right into the torso of his robot. Then, the robot transformed, much like how Sasha had before seen it turn into an exoskeleton for Lyle...Now, however, it was a massive battlesuit, towering almost 20 feet.
As Sasha slipped around to help Siran out, Lyle unleashed a massive barrage of bullets and mortar shells at the supersoldier, who just barely dodged them, and fired a lightning bolt at the mech. Using jump jets, the mech lifted into the air, evading the bolt, and fired a swarm of missiles at the supersoldier...not all of which, he could dodge.
When the smoke cleared, Lyle and the robot had separated, and the supersoldier was retreating, to the street...where he was met by a Nod Scorpion Tank, with the Nod Insignia scratched out, and the Hellcat Squadran insignia crudely painted over.
Sasha made sure Siran was alive, and, finding she was, made a run for it, as Avedis, in his grandfather's power armor, accompanied by Trista, exited the tank, and surrounded the supersoldier.
Rage-filled Lyle on one end, rage-filled Avedis on the other, and walls to the other sides...She knew the supersoldier was screwed if he wasn't extracted now...
Chapter 9: BlessingsEdit
Avedis was furious: he, Lyle, and Trista had Siran’s would-be killer cornered, but at last moment, a Nod Black Force Phantom extracted him, and escaped, evading 2 GDI Firehawks and a UNSC Longsword before entering hyperspace. When he brought it up to IceBite, he managed to get a name for the supersoldier from Intelligence: the soldier called itself ‘Soldier Behemoth’, and was recently created by Nod using what they learned from their modifications to Siran.
As a piece of good news, Anastasia, after leaving the Med Labs, managed to finish up the last few tasks she needed to perform, in order to be able to move in with Vint, and, therefore, everyone had gathered at the Renner household, to move Anastasia’s belongings across the Residential area of the base to the Acadal household.
Siran was there as well, helping Lyle with boxing up parts of Anastasia’s Waystone. The duo were talking about various different topics, when, suddenly, Quel entered the room, and approached the duo. “Siran, drop what you’re doing, I need to see you immediately in the med labs.”
“Why?” Siran asked.
Lyle added, “Yeah, what do you need from her?”
Quel sighed, and pulled out a PADD, handing it over to Lyle. After reading it, Lyle’s expression changed to a mix between joy and shock. He passed the PADD over to Siran, and she immediately understood: the PADD showed a very possible cure for Siran’s brain condition. She wouldn’t have to deal with going into a coma constantly ever again. “Now, the treatment won’t be immediate: it’ll occur over a period of time, however, after a couple months, the condition will be completely reversed, however, I suggest you come with me right now so we can get started,” Quel explained.
Siran gave Lyle a pained look, but Lyle, smiling, nodded to her, assuring her he’ll be fine working here on his own. Siran smiled in return, and was led away by Quel. In the meantime, Lyle just continued disassembling the Waystone.
Lyle returned to the apartment he lived at a couple days later, but, when he got there, he found Alida crying. "What's wrong?" Lyle asked her, once he got her attention. However, he couldn't get anything out of her, so he went to the owner of the apartment, to find out what was going on. As it turned out, the apartment owner had the answer.
"The city's bought out the apartment complex, they're tearing it down in a couple months, and everyone living in it has a month to move out. Unfortunately, there's no room in my house for you or Alida to move in...I'm sorry, Lyle, there's nothing I can do to help you two."
That frustrated Lyle: he was basically told he had a month to get out of the apartment, with nowhere else to go. Next time he visited Siran, he was still a little irritable. When Siran asked what was wrong, Lyle explained everything to her. For a time after, Siran was silent, as if she were thinking.
"What're you thinking about?" Lyle asked.
However, he was beginning to get an idea of what Siran was thinking about when she said to him, "I could talk to my brother: the Cataract is a 500 meter long starship, and with only him and I living in it, there's more than enough room for other people to move in."
"You'd really do that?" Lyle asked. However, no sooner than the words left his lips, he realized the stupidity of having to ask that. Of course she would, Lyle thought to himself.
Siran, in response, confirming Lyle's thought, nodded happily, likely happy at the prospect of Lyle moving in with her and her brother.
"Say...thanks...let's just hope your brother is feeling generous...I'll head home and comfort Alida: she's still upset that we've been evicted...try and call, when you find out your brother's stance on us moving in." Lyle then got up and left, readying to head home, while Siran was thinking about how she'd voice the request to her brother.
Anastasia finally placed the last of her bags in her new room in Vint's house. Over the past few days, everyone'd been helping to move her stuff from the Renner household to the Acadal household. And, now, it was late, nearing midnight, everyone else in the house already in their rooms, in bed.
After she put the bags down, she just fell backwards ont the bed, taking this moment to rest for the first time in a few days. Staring at ceiling, Anastasia thought over the past few years, and, how, after everything that's happened...she's finally back on base. Even more, she was now living with Vint, who Anastasia could just feel was the right man for her.
And now, with the threat of Archadian assassination a very low probability, Anastasia felt she could continue her work undermining them. She remembered how, now that she was back, she'd have to catch up on the training she missed: after all, despite the fact that she called herself 'Judge Magister', she wasn't truly one just yet: she still had some more training to go through, before she could officially be named Judge Magister.
She had a lot to do, to catch up on what happened while she was gone for 4 years...but, for now, she just felt the need to rest. She'd get to it tomorrow, after she had a full night's rest.