The Best Is Yet To Come Session #9

Once more, the author writes before the story begins. I wanted to just say this was hard to write. Not the story, but keeping track with what happened in the story. As you’d know I got really busy and this was supposed to come out in April. I didn’t get to write as much despite my efforts to do so. And since my memory’s not that great (no sleep = things sticking less to my brain), I had to cut out a lot while I edited.

I hope this is worth the wait!!!

-EchoFox


 

My mind played around with ideas; I typed briskly away at the keyboard, pulling up multiple websites. I skimmed over article titles, “Apollo Breaking New Grounds For Space Travel”, “The Race To Space Is On”, “Want To Live On Mars? Now You Can”. All glorify Apollo’s achievements, things that have been cemented into my brain. I still would recall ripping out magazine pages of Apollo’s achievements and pasting them onto my bedroom wall. I kept an eye out for links that lead to reports, sometimes a report would go public on their official site.

“Hal did you find anything yet?” I asked Hal

“Nope” he replied. “We’re looking for… what again?”

“Anything, especially research notes or something like that. Did you get your hands on any notes from experiments way back then?”

“Uhh, not much to be honest. I didn’t get to see much in the labs, everything’s closed off there. The only time I got to see notes was filing stuff, and that was covered up pretty good.”

“Really?!” I exclaimed then put my head into my arms. “I’ve been searching for hours and find nothing”

“What are you trying to find?” Hal asked “I don’t mind helping, but you haven’t told me what you’re looking for”

“I don’t know” I said giving up. “Something that would lead me to whatever Harp was talking about.”

“Let’s take it a few steps back. What did he say exactly about Apollo”

“He mentioned he saw inhumane and disturbing stuff.” I began, thinking aloud “All I can think of that would be unnatural would be a research lab. Like the one on Mars”

“It’s possible” Hal said “And anything else?”

“Nothing that would be a clue.” I replied. “Do you know anyone in the labs that would help us?”

“Hmm… all I can think of is a research partner that I’m always partnered with” Hal said thoughtfully “I can try to see if they’re still there”

“Thank you” I said gleefully

“It doesn’t mean she’ll help as much. We didn’t talk much and I don’t know if she still works there”

“Anything will do” I said

“I’ll see if I can get in contact” A distant ringing noise occurred in the background. “Oh sorry, gotta take this” Hal said.

Phone call? I thought. Hal muted his recording, which is strange. Usually he’d be open about making calls.

“Sorry about that” Hal came back a few minutes later

“Who was it?” I asked him

“Oh just a call from Zoe. She wanted to ask something private” he replied “I’ll try contacting my partner right now”

“Okay” I said. This time, I heard Hal get up from his seat and dial the phone. I wonder what it was that made it private. His voice was quiet and barely audible, occasionally I’d pick up a few words but nothing important. After five minutes he came back.

“Well she’s willing to work with us.” Hal said “She’s at home right now on Minerva on Tallon IV galaxy.”

“Pretty far away from the research powerhouse in Apollo.” I said, making a route for Minerva.

“Actually Minerva is second best research base in AGF, with Apollo being number one of course” Hal informed

“Kinda fitting with Minerva being the roman goddess of wisdom” I mentioned as I finished the route. “All set to go” I turned on the engine and went into hyperdrive. As I got closer to Minerva, more sleek and newer ships would come and go from there. I passed through the gate, and this time payed a toll fee. It’s been ages since I’ve had to pay a fee to pass through anything. Once I entered the gate, I called up Hal.

“Hey I’m here” I said

“Good.” he replied “I marked her place on your map. You’ll have to park your ship elsewhere, she doesn’t have a big enough backyard or a place for you to park”

“Ugh fine” I moaned. I searched for a parking space on the computer and it was a 3 mile walk from there to her place. Eh, could be worse I thought. 5 mile walk would’ve been a pain in the ass. I headed towards the parking lot, which wasn’t too far away, and landed where I can squeeze in. While the newer ships look smaller, they still can take a lot of space if bunched together. I turned off the engine then said “We’re here”

“I’ll lead the way” Hal said as Mk. III rolled out of it’s home under the desk. We climbed out of the ship and got onto the ground.

In the far distance a semi big city radiated with lights and flying ships weaving through. Grey skies blanketed the city and barely reaching to where we’re at.

I locked the ship and followed Mk. III out of the parking lot. More people walked out of the parking lot than people going to their ships. Many of them wore casual outfits or suits, some wore lab coats over their clothes. Mk. III rolled far ahead, while I walked as if I had all of the time in the world. Once we got out of the parking lot, we ended up in the outskirts of the city. Lots of homes were rotting away or closed off. The roads were still nice looking at least.

“Have you been here before Hal?” I asked him

“Few times, I used to live here actually before I got moved to Apollo”

“Wow, I never knew” I said with interest

“Yeah, it’s changed a lot since then” he said

As we got closer to the city, the better the housing became. More modern homes were seen, people were more around, and it was nice to look at. No children were to be seen playing, unless if you counted dogs or cats. Everyone seemingly walked or rode a bike to work, not a lot of cars were used. Almost like a toned down Terra, I thought to myself. Mk. III stopped in front of one of the houses and said “This is it” A fairly well kept house, a few dirt patches could be seen, the paint on the house began to fade but otherwise it was nice looking. Mk. III rolled up to the front door, and knocked on the door. I looked at the window to see a brown and black cat with luscious fur. It stared at me with half opened eyes.

“Coming” a woman’s voice came through the door. Within seconds, the door opened revealing brown haired woman, roughly Hal’s age, wore a lab coat over a sweater and skirt and didn’t have any high heels on. Her hair was sloppily put up with chunks of hair out of the hair clip. She looked at me first, then looked down to Mk. III. The robot flipped open it’s side to reveal a video of Hal.

“Hey, Meryl” he said to her

“Hal?” she said curiously “I thought I was going to see you in person”

“Gotta stay back for a friend who’s… ill. Besides, my friend here wanted to talk to you”

“Let’s talk inside” Meryl opened the door, letting us in. The house was very simplistic, basic colors matching each other with little to no decoration. All of the furniture matched each other, with one or two having a complimenting color.

“Take a seat wherever you like” Meryl said walking over to the kitchen. I took a spot on a chair while Mk. III waited right next to me. “Would you like anything?” she continued

“No, I’ll be fine” I replied, she walked back to us and sat down. Mk. III rose up to the armchair’s height.

“Quite interesting you came here Hal” she said stiffly “Especially with a guest. What’s your name?”

“Astrea” I said “I wanted to ask about a few things.”

“What do you want?”

“Have you seen anything off about Apollo’s research practices?” I asked. She looked at me with widened eyes.

“Why ask about that?” she asked, maintaining an unalarmed presence.

“I heard some rumors and I thought I’d check it out”

Meryl looked around the room, then said in a quieter voice “Are you with any group?”

“We’re not affiliated with anyone” Hal spoke up. “Sometimes we look into Apollo missions for money, nothing more than that”

“There are things that would be considered inhuman.” She said quietly “But even back on Earth, they did inhuman things. Testing, dissecting, it’s nothing out of the normal.”

“How far does it go though” I asked “Until it’s illegal”

“I… I don’t know. I don’t usually go look into cases or lab reports unless if it’s necessary.”

“Do you watch the experiments still?” Hal asked.

“Yes, it’s my job to supervise them”

“Was there anything that was questionable?”

“Well…” she said letting her guard down “It’s gotten a bit stranger there. The higher ups don’t know what the research facilities are doing. Even I don’t know some of the late-night researches. Those are watched by someone else”

“What does it look like at night?” I asked.

Meryl shrugged her shoulders “Like I said, someone else watches them. The higher ups don’t care as long as it helps Apollo’s military”

They could do anything they want and no one bats an eye, I thought.

“Could we see the late-night research?” Hal asked “With you of course”

“Why? So you can see if they do what the rumors suggest?”

“Aren’t you curious too?”

She looked down at her hands and played around with them for a while “I can ask” she said pulling out her phone. “If you’ll excuse me I’ll make a call” Meryl got up and went to the far side of the room, where it’s barely audible to hear.

“Was Apollo military didn’t care about the labs?” Hal asked me.

“Mm, hard to say” I said “Sometimes we’d use the reports to obtain intel on places, of course use the gear and anything that’ll help us. But they don’t say anything more about that. I know they distribute medicine to some major hospitals. I thought you’d know this stuff”

“They wouldn’t tell us that they don’t care about us. What’s the point of working when there’s nothing being done? Thank god I’m out of that bull crap of a job.”

Meryl walked back in and said “I asked about taking the shift for the day and they said it’s okay to observe. I can’t interfere.”

“Great, thank you Meryl” Hal said happily

“Yeah, but it will only be an hour or two so you’ll have to make it worth it”

“That should be enough!”

“You’ll have to change though” she said looking at me. “I do have a spare lab coat that should cover your outfit completely.”

We began to prepare for the night shift. I put on the generic white lab coat with an Apollo badge on the side. The coat was in pristine shape, no stains or dust on it. The only downside of it is that it had Meryl’s nametag on it. I pointed this out to her and she said she’ll get it out. I don’t know how that’ll work, but I gave the coat back over to her. After 5 to 6 minutes later, she came back and the nametag was completely gone. Some of the holes still remained, however, they weren’t too noticeable.

When it was time, we headed out to her ship and crammed inside. It was a new model ship, and one of the smallest. Ships usually can carry 6-10 people on average cramming everyone in. This one, however, could only carry 1 person with some extra space in the back. As I sat down squished with her other junk she throws in the back, I thought to myself. Guess she doesn’t like to have anyone fly with her, I thought. We took off immediately and headed towards the city. As we drew near, the more technology began to spread again. Some houses and apartments had human-like robots working for them. There was always someone watching them do their work, jotting down things on a tablet. I wonder if cyborgs will ever become a thing, I thought. Currently it’s in its experimental stage again, after a major terrorist attack with a small militia of cyborgs. I remember being on the scene, the cyborgs went rogue out of nowhere. Some assumed that they became sentient, I say a fuse blew out to calm everyone down at the time. Either way, lots of companies recalled on them and it went back to redesigning.

Once we made it to the city, we landed in a small compact parking area. The sun was almost set by the time we got there. Many people were leaving the city already, tired and exhausted from long days at work. Very few could be seen still talking on their phones or bluetooth. We got out of the ship and eventually the out of the parking lot. The streets were backed up with the ship/car hybrids, while a few still walked. Weird to see people drive instead of walk… I thought to myself. Maybe they live far out, or there’s nothing habitable in the city? We weaved in and out of traffic, occasionally waiting until there was space.

“Meryl, isn’t this illegal?” I asked her as she cut in front of her 7th car.

“Nope. It’s normal here. Everyone will do it just to avoid getting late. Lateness equates to losing your job.” she responded

“That’s a bit harsh”

“100 others are waiting for one to slip up. Think of unemployed men waiting for a job to open. Jobs are difficult to come by and so whenever someone screws up, they get hired in a heartbeat. Doesn’t matter if they’re suitable or not, it’s something to keep food on the table.”

Or like soldiers being replaced… I thought. Meryl went into a parking space in one of the taller buildings. It was dark, dim lit area with tons other ships parked alongside each other. A brighter dim light highlighted the elevator’s existence along with emergency stairs. We walked through the dim parking space, alongside the other ships. Meryl walked with haste to the elevator. Once we got to the elevator, Meryl pulled out a card and inserted into the slot device next to the elevator. The tiny light went from red to green within a few seconds. She pressed the down button, then the elevator doors opened. All of us went inside then Meryl pressed a button labeled “LAB”. The elevator began to hum as it traveled quickly down the building.

“How have you been Meryl” Hal started up a conversation

“Fair” she said “You?”

“Fine, I guess. Anything new?”

“I’ve been promoted” she said emotionless.

“That’s… great!” Hal exclaimed “Tell me, how’s it like? Do you like it?”

“It pays well, though I’m not assigned to anyone yet.”

“Why’s that?” he asked

“They haven’t bothered to give me anyone” she said morosely. “Apollo seems too busy to deal with the scientists themselves other than payday.”

The elevator doors opened up to a lobby all in grey. Grey walls, chairs, tables, doors, even a tired pale secretary that looked like they were near death. Meryl went over to them and showed them their pass. They almost looked young with a full head of hair, despite it being dyed white. Their drooping face nodded, then they pressed a button which opened the door that was right next to them. Once we walked out, I asked “Was that a guy or a girl?”

“Dunno” she said “Never thought about it. No one from what I remember mentions a gender or they say anything. Hal do you know?”

“I regarded them as a ‘he’ because of the flat chest” Hal said

“You know that women can have flat chests too” I said

“I know that” he stated “Other than that the voice sounded deeper than a woman’s. I vaguely remember him from before, mostly just dropping stuff off.”

We dropped the subject and continued onward across the narrow pathway. As we went through the next door, a man stood in our way in the next room. He was a burly man with clothes that might be too tight for him. The man glared down at us with the intent to kill if we didn’t say anything. His outfit was a standard dark blue Apollo security outfit, was like a old Police outfit but more protected and had an Apollo badge on it.

Meryl pulled out her ID card and said “We’re here for the night shift. My subordinate is helping me out. The robot is an AI prototype she customized to take notes.”

He looked at us with his beady eyes then said “Fine. Shift ends at 2 am. 1 and a half hours to only observe. You may not take photos or interfere. Your little robot must stay here to avoid potential photos”

“It doesn’t take in live feed, only auditory.” I said quickly “Camera’s function is already taken out.”

He looked closer at the Mk. III, staring at it for a few moments then said “No idea where it can take in the audio. But I don’t see any camera, so you may go”

He stepped aside, allowing us to pass to the lab stations. Casually we walked by without eye contact or sound. Once we were out of earshot range, we sighed in relief.

“Thank god I left that cover in when I made this thing” Hal said

“It was possible we could’ve left you behind though” I muttered to myself

“They’d make you stay behind in case.” Meryl said informing “Seen it happen a few times with coworkers. Anyways, time’s limited. Is there any place you want to see?”

“Weapon experiment labs. I have a feeling we’ll find more there than the medical or research areas”

“Interesting…” Meryl said. “Well it’s down another level, we should get there with time to spare. Let’s go” We continued walking down the hallway, passing by glass rooms showing the experiments. Many were scientists playing around with chemicals on a table, pouring, mixing and stirring flasks and beakers for reactions. Few of them had animals ranging from mice to dogs all in cages. They’d give them a pill and force it down their throat, waiting for a reaction. It’s sad to see their fate leading them to this, but it’s almost the same as killing them for food. We made it to the elevator before we could see what may come to them. Meryl pressed a button to go down and the elevator opened up. As we went in, Mk. III stood by for a few seconds.

“Hey, we’re going” I said to it

“Oh, sorry” Hal said as Mk. III almost jumped back to life and made it’s way to the elevator. “Got sidetracked with something, it’s nothing”

The elevator doors closed then began it’s monotonous humming. The floor vibrated as it went down, I leaned up against the wall to ease the uncomfortable vibrations. Once the elevator opened, we stepped out to the narrow dark hall. Lights were dimly light above our heads, and a door was at the end of the hallway. We walked towards the door quickly and opened the door. In the next room, more cubicle-like rooms appeared but with less windows except for a long horizontal window. I glanced in on some of them, most of what I saw were just normal gun weapons. Someone would shoot a target and look at the results. They were all new Apollo soldiers, testing out their potential main weapons. I remember being one of those soldiers, they’d train me two or five specialized guns. Then narrow it down to two, one as a main and the other as a sub. It’s a grueling 3 weeks, on top of the training, missions, and school, if you haven’t gotten a high school degree yet. Which I didn’t during that time.

“Kinda hard to see what’s going on in there” Hal said

“You could extend you know” I said. Mk. III stretched all the way up until it’s camera was barely above the edge of the window.

“Huh…” Hal said, then moved on to the next room ahead of us. Nothing terribly interesting, other than the gun designs and ammunition. After a dozen rooms identical to each other, I stopped at a door that didn’t have a window. It was painted a dark grey like the rest of the doors, but it had a sign saying “ONLY THOSE AUTHORIZED ARE ALLOWED BEYOND THIS POINT”. It didn’t show any light beyond it.

“Hey Meryl, are we allowed to go anywhere?” I asked her

“I think so” she responded, then saw what I was indicating. “I can try to unlock it but I doubt I have the key”

“I can get it” Hal said as the Mk. III came over to the door. It stretched up to the doorknob and stuck on of its tiny claws into the lock. It jingled a lot, making echoes in a dead silent area, except for a few occasional muffled gun shots. I looked out for anyone coming as he made a racket. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before long it unlocked. “Finished!” he said then turned the knob.

Inside were similar cubicle rooms but with larger windows. Some had bars on them, which was odd with the window. I looked closer inside and saw a scientist giving some teenager a new arm. The teen was wearing a plain white gown and his arm looked like it was mechanical. He looked at his new arm and unsheathed a blade from the underside. The scientist instructed him how to use it with swinging motions. I wonder if he’s a new one too, I thought to myself. Almost too young but maybe he was older than he looks. I realized Meryl and Mk. III were ahead, so I caught up to them. They stopped in front of one of the rooms.

“Astrea, you may wanna see this” Hal said. I walked over to where Meryl and Hal were standing. Meryl’s face was slightly pale with her mouth creviced open. I turned to where she was looking, to see a mutilated remains of what was human. It was indescribable yet I knew what it was still. The blood was everywhere, as if it exploded everywhere. Tiny pieces of skin and organ tissue were tainted by the blood. Vomit climbed up my throat, but I pushed it back down.

“Did they… explode?” I asked her scared.

She shook her head slowly “They were savagely torn apart. If I had a closer look, I’d say it might’ve been eaten as well.”

What kind of monster was in there? I thought horrified of the results. I noticed a clipboard hanging on the doorknob by a sturdy string. I took it off and read out loud “Subject 151923-5 took the injections well; No signs of change other than the rude attitude (normal); Asked for water GIVEN; Remained oddly quiet after 4 hours; Changes in the hands, slight tint of black on skin; 13 days 2 hours 8 minutes and 42 seconds the injections took full effect. Body enlarged by roughly 3 times, mostly stretched out (including tail). Couple inches taller than original height standing on all fours (6.7 feet), 25 feet long, black skin with light grey fur/mane. Successful combination. Further tests for strength, agility, and more will be determined later… then scribbles and blood”

“I remember rumors about that one” Meryl said “The scientist who studied them went missing, that might be what became of them…”

I kept staring at the site. How could someone do this… even if they became whatever they were. I moved on before I put more thought into previous encounters. We walked over to the next few rooms. The next room we looked into contained a man with cyborg parts attached to him. I looked at the clipboard and skimmed through the report. Subject 011801-17 had experimental surgery for “technological implants”. Things removed such as skin, tissue, limbs, etc. and replaced with technology. He went through a few expeditions, returned unscathed every time. And after him was a girl labeled Subject 120912-16 in a room adjacent to him.

A small girl who looked the most normal out of them all. Meryl read aloud her reports: An orphan who can manipulate fire with a snap of her fingers. She was the 3rd out of 12 who didn’t combust into an explosion. One of the few to refuse to go on expeditions. She held an ugly grey blanket, looked scratchy and uncomfortable to hold. Yet she wrapped it around her tightly. The girl stared at us as we examined her back. Eyes peered through her brown hair as she looked at us. She said something but it was muffled due to the glass. Meryl tried showing the girl we couldn’t hear her. Subject 120912-16 understood, then she cupped her hands and raised them to her mouth repeatedly.

“She’s asking for a drink” Meryl translated, then shook her head at the girl. Lugubrious, she hid under her blanket.

We continued through the hall, glancing at all of the test subjects. All were below 25 years old but above the age of 5. Gender didn’t matter, nor did anything else. Some rooms contained dead bodies of experiments going wrong. Either scientists or the subjects themselves, they never bother to clean it up. I could see why for the scientist dying, but not when the experiment is dead.

“This definitely proves their inhumane research.” I said determined “Playing around with human life, making them into weapons… but why are there so many children here?”

“Upcoming wars mostly” Meryl said “They’d be used as secret weapons to win against anything. Would you expect a little girl to constrict you with her tiny hands?”

“I’ve seen children in wars, both victims and enemies. Why make them into warmachines? Apollo would never do this…”

“Ah, that’s where you are wrong.” a disembodied voice echoed throughout the area.

“Who are you” I shouted in the darkness.

“We’re only using tactics to help us not only win but expand our horizons. There’s always a lose and a gain, you understand Astrea?”

“How do you know my name?!”

“Soldiers are pawns in war. They don’t matter as long as the majority wins. They don’t matter as long it helps us continue. Besides, no one wanted them in the first place. They have a place to belong in our hands.”

“That’s not right!! They’re human too. You can’t treat anyone like this!”

“I would like you to meet a very special friend of mine. She’s a pretty big girl who loves to toy around with her playmates. Play nice you two, don’t want to call the custodian to clean up your toys” A low growl echoed through the hall. At the end of the hallway, I could make out a large figure, slowly approaching us.

“Shit…” Hal whispered inaudibly, slowly rolling backwards.

“Back away slowly” I said in a hushed voice “It will outrun us if we attempt to run. No sudden movements” We backed away as it inched forward. It’s green eyes illuminated through the darkness, steps barely making a sound. As it came to the light, it turned out to be a large light brown jaguar with a small tail. The spots were a golden yellow outlined with a thick black line. It’s claws were big and sharp, scratching the floor as it crept forward; the fur was longer and thicker. Beneath its furry neck was a collar with a faint blinking red light. The jaguar looked at us with a fierce look, revealing its pointed teeth. It began to pick up it’s pace, preparing to pounce at us.

I locked my eyes on the jaguar, watching its every move. Looking away will result in death. I reached for my gun in my back and held it tight. The jaguar gripped the ground as it lowered itself closer to it. I turned to Meryl and she was scared stiff. Her eyes widened with every step the jaguar took. She reached into her lab coat pocket and pulled something out. The cat’s gaze turned to her immediately. With shaky hands, she slowly reached to me with something in her hands. I gave her my hand and took whatever she had. Instantly, Meryl bursted into a run to the left. The jaguar followed in pursuit a few seconds later. I was going to follow after them until Mk. III pulled my coat, stopping me.

“Astrea, let’s go while she has it distracted” Hal said

“But she’s in trouble!!” I exclaimed

“She gave us an opportunity” he argued “It’ll come back if we keep standing around.”

I looked at the hallway once more, then back at Mk. III “You know the way out?”

“I mapped it out as we were walking around. There’s a shortcut nearby that can get us out of here”

“Lead the way” I said. We bursted into a run (or accelerated in Mk. III’s case), making turns left and right. Mk. III stopped at a door that said emergency exit. I swung open the door and went through, closing the door behind. Inside was a staircase only going up. I picked up Mk. III and bolted up the steps without hesitation. “What floor do we exit on?” I asked Hal

“17th one. It’s not that far from here” he responded. Occasionally the jaguar roared beyond the door down below. Maybe she found a way out? I thought hopefully. Or found a way to fight back? The roars grew faint as I ascended up the steps, which could mean good or bad for her. Once I reached the 17th floor, I opened the door and walked out. Beyond the door was an alleyway outside. Cars in traffic and people bustling along the sidewalks, unaware or paying attention to us. Boxes shipped to here were stacked against the wall of the building.

“Do you think she made it?” I asked Hal

“Nnn… let me check” he said, falling silent for a while. “Don’t see her anywhere. Not even outside the building.”

“I’m sorry…” I said mournfully

“It’s… it’s fine” he said “Just will take a bit to take in… what did she give you?”

I opened my hands and found keys and a note in the palm of my hand. I unfolded the note then read aloud “Sorry that it ended like this, Hal. Probably for the best, god knows what they’d do. Take care of my cat, Akiba. Farewell – Meryl”

“Could you, put it in the compartment in Mk. III, Astrea?” Hal asked. I opened the lid on top of Mk. III and put in the note from Meryl. “Thanks”

“Anytime” I said “Let’s get going before they notice we’re out” We walked back to the parking lot. I took off my lab coat as I walked away from the building. People minded their own business as usual, living in their own world. Some would even know the things that go down there, yet don’t pay mind to it. Disturbing to think they feel nothing when playing with human lives. I looked at the sky to see it still dark, nothing but a black sky with no stars or moon shining down. Once we made it to the ship, I unlocked the ship and went inside. Mk. III climbed up behind me and settled in the back. After playing around with the controls a bit, I booted up the engine and took off.

It didn’t take long to get back to her place, though the sun began to peak just as we landed. Akiba looked through the window, watching us come out of the ship. He stood up with interest once I closed the door. I locked the ship after I got out, then went inside her house. Everything was left untouched from our last visit. Threaded needles lied on the table, along with a small pile of black thread from the stitched name. I wonder what’s going to happen to the house and ship… I thought.

“Hal, why not get the ship over here, park it in the street.” I suggested “I’ll get the cat and its stuff” Mk. III nodded then headed out of the house. I went over to the cat first, since it was the closest. The cat wasn’t too reluctant to be picked up, he tried to climb out of my arms a few times. I felt claws sinking into my shirt as we waited, thankfully it didn’t take too long for him to get it here. Once I got to my ship he calmed down. Akiba wandered around the ship as I left to get the rest of his stuff. Everything was easy to find without searching in too many rooms. Once I got back, Akiba was curled up next to Mk. III, already fast asleep.

“Is the ship ready to go?” I asked Hal

“Yup, route’s set to my place.” he responded “You can drop off the cat and, if you want, stay at my place for a night. Everything’s all ready”

“Thanks, I’ll think about staying over.” The ship began to take off on its own into the night, straight towards the gates. Akiba gripped the ground with his claws while he slept, staying in one place. Must’ve been used to traveling a lot, I thought. I watched the city and its outskirts shrink as we ascended. The lights and business of the city shrank, becoming only outlines of the buildings. Houses melded together with patches of green and black roads dividing them. Once we passed the gates, the stars glowed once more, along with the other ships coming and going from here. My mind wandered again about Orpheus. How long did he know about this? When did he see this? Did he leave to protect others and himself from this? Why did he tell me specifically?

Akiba jumped up to my lap and sat down on me. He purred so much and loudly it sounded like an engine running. Guess he loves me a lot? I left him on, as long he doesn’t bury his claws into my pants. I never had an animal lay on me without trying to eat my face off. Shakely, I put my right hand on it’s head. His coat was soft and cotton candy like. I stroked its fur, smoothing out its ruffled fur. I glanced out the window and watched the stars fly by in lines. They don’t even look like stars anymore, I thought. I eased back into my chair and watched them go by.

 

 

End of Session #9

 

What Are We?

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