Unsatisfactory Results

2nd Cycle/5th Hour/111 Hybrid-Era

I rounded the corner, floor buffer and mop bucket trailing behind me and singing against the empty walls mingling with the cacophony of distant weapon fire and barked orders from the conjoining training rooms.

“Two two seven four!” Preceptor Vekayln’s voice resonated through the halls, erupting though the thin walls of one of the training rooms. I turned up my ear and moved further down the hall, excited – possibly too excited – to hear someone else on the butt end of the Preceptor’s scrutiny.

 “I hope you enjoy failing because you seem to have a knack for it! You hit that goddamn target sequence or you’re going to be spending the day with the rejects!”

A moment passed before a series of shots followed. Scolding bolts sailing through the air, followed up by the dissatisfying thud and crumble of dense gravel. After that I couldn’t hear much more than murmurings coming from within the training room even as I pressed my ear against the door. Some shuffling feet. The lights surrounding the door blinked to life and I quickly jumped back, grabbing unto my buffing unit and feigning continued work. When the door snapped open, preceded by a hiss, I could hear the foot steps of tens of cadets marching through, all silent. Save for the Preceptor whom had been mouthing lessons and scoldings.

“Two two seven four,” he pointed out the cadet slacking behind the others before taking a step toward me, “this shall be your new second. Eclipse him or become him.” And with that the Preceptor turned his back and strode off following the cadets who were considered hopefuls. And the cadet bore down on me, his dark amber eyes filled with hate. Not aimed at me but upon the possibility. Untamed.

“So, what is it you do?” The cadet stood before me, arms crossed, a scowl on his face, and disinterest screaming around him.

“Clean up duty. The floors, the walls, the tables…rejects that think themself too good for leadership.”

He huffed.

“I can’t see what the Preceptor thinks I could possibly learn from you. Yer nothin’ but’a janitor put ‘ere ’cause you’d be a failure on the front.”

“More so than you, eh?” I glared. He returned the expression and fidgeted, hands by his sides, muscles tensing. It was easy to see his flaw and why he would be discarded like I and many others before him. But not all flaws were grounds for waiver. He wasn’t like me but he faced the same fate.

“Ya heard the Preceptor: eclipse me or become me. I’d bet even my skills could surpass you, hotshot.”

At that he scoffed, “you’ve no training ta stand up against me, bleacher.”

“Try me.”

We stood only a few feet apart. He was right. I didn’t have proper training like he did – I was never given the chance – but for what I lacked in that training I made up for in my raw instinct and intuition. CyGen considered me a flaw in their Hybrid Soldier Initiative but after years of being trod upon I was determined to show them that flaw or not I was anything but a failure.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Echo

Word of the Day: simonize

Blood Red Flag

5th Cycle/327th Hour/112 Hybrid-Era

We were coming  upon the end of the first half of play. The crowd surrounding the pit arena was on its feet, a cacophony of screaming and hooting, of yelling and chanting, the whole place filled with such passion it corrupted the air and overstimulated the senses. Both on and off of the field saw taunts, jest, and fists thrown and blood flying with ill-restraint. And the hovering eyebots were capturing and broadcasting every moment of it to local receivers and massive screens lining the arena.

My colorless eyes flicked to the time clock display projected by the eyebot trailing in front of me. Time was out, it was me or no one. I had the ball tucked underneath my arm, feet pounding below me, kicking up dirt and frost. Each taxed breath sent a huff of warmed air trailing behind me as I streamed across the field, ducking, dodging and bounding through obstacle and opposing players alike on my way toward the third tier on the opposing teams side of the field. All that stood in my way was a towering wall of ragged stone. I called out for an assist, holding my ground at the foot of the wall , brawling and maneuvering to create time until one of my teammates arrived.

“Toss me up!” I hollered out to a giant of a man. He looked like he had been through hell, blood giving detail to his otherwise bare face and bald head, though I couldn’t tell if it was more his or some one else’s. “Hangin’ in there?” He was moving a little slow. Or maybe he just seemed slow to me. Core forbid he didn’t have the strength left.

“Better’n’ever.” He jogged over, placing his hefty back against the wall, and crossing his hands so that he could leverage me higher. I nodded, ran at him full speed, and pushed off of her gnarly hands. The force he excreted sent my rocketing upward much faster than I had anticipated, a massive toothy grin stretching across my bruised face as I enjoyed a second and a half of pure upward momentum. Still not enough. I kicked off the wall and spotted the eyebot that was personally tracking me. I placed a single foot on it and pushed off for an extra few inches to reach the plateau above.

I began to clamber up, lifting my head above the ridge, just as a massive hand reached out and ceased me by the throat. He lifted me up. No air was getting to me through his vicious grip. The man reached out for the ball in my hand and in a snap reaction I threw my knee into his chin, reveling in the satisfying crack that followed. His grip loosened slightly and I followed up with my opposite leg straight to his groin. The great man toppled, releasing me, and we both fell to the ground on our knees. He was more fixated on his rattled jumblies while I was just trying to get my breath back. I stood, triumphant and grinning, just before looking up to a pair of heavy feet flying straight at me in a drop kick. The collision knocked the air out of me yet I still held onto the ball. I flew over the edge of the ridge and plummeted down the same tower I had just ascended, the inevitable impact scared the shit out of me, but I still held onto the ball.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Disagree

Word of the Day: eristic

Chasing Closure

13th Cycle/10th Hour/97 Hybrid-Era

I stepped out of the smooth stone shower and through a wind wall, blasting the water from my drenched form and unburdening completely all but my hair of water. The constant rain behind me clicked off and the air purifier kicked on, slowly sucking the warm, humid air out of the room until I was met with the familiar chill of living on this planet. Two long strides stopped me in front of the mirror above the sink and there I peered at the man looking back at me. He was tan, weathered, even, greying with deep creases in his forehead. Bags underneath his dark deep-set brown eyes on which rested heavy, flat eyebrows. I grabbed a hair tie from the sink top and pulled back my ruddy blonde and grey strands into a loose bun revealing long squared ears. For a moment I admired my own physique, shaped and trained, and scarred, by years of service and dedication to protecting that which I loved in this world turned upside down by the very megacorp-government that had once promised us a life without strife. Eventually my eyes rested on what was my ultimate reminder that, in a world like this, you had to be ready to give everything to protect the things you cherished. My eyes trailed from the reflection of my cybernetically replaced right arm to the framed portrait of my fiance hanging beside the mirror, her candid laughter bringing a wistful smile to my face.

A resounding knock came at the bathroom door. I took one more moment to admire the russet curls of my late lover before turning to the closet door and pushing it open.

“Yer movin’ slow today, chief,” the raspy adolescent voice bellowed through carried in like air through the vents, “what’d ya fall asleep in there? Let’s go, food’s getting cold.” I rolled my eyes at the last bit.

I made my way into the closet and grabbed a fresh set of warmed clothes, pulling on two layers of thermal lining and padding. I hurriedly tied my boots and strapped on my belt and holsters then grabbed my sidearm and knife. With that I shut the closet door behind me and exited the bathroom into a spacious yet haimish bedroom sporting two pallets, both unmade and surrounded by knick-knacks and hobbies splayed across the hard segmented flooring. The sound of my young and fiery charge listening to the broadcaster carried up the stairs from the open living area below followed by the sounds of her obvious disagreement with most of what was being reported. I started my way down the short flight of wide stairs.

“Would’ya listen to this dreg.”

“…that being said, CyGen Crisis Control Division and Armed Forces are working tirelessly to track down and dismantle these extremist and vigilante groups so that they may refocus their attention on the hybrids and bringing peace back to Abanancie.”

The girl scoffed, “as if.” Without warning, and without looking up, she tossed a pack of condensed food across the room to me from where she sat cross-legged on the floor eating and fitting new treads and lining to her boots.”Fraggin’ CyGen should be all hugs and kisses. We’re fightin’ their screwed up war for them.”

“Yer not fightin’ anything.” I reminded her, looking over the food package before frowning, “ya took the good one, didn’tcha?”

“That was all they had, I swear. And correction, chief, not fightin’ anything yet. Next year I’ll be old enough to start scoutin’ and then – ”  She looked up from her work with a grin but it quickly subsided to a look of confusion, brow furrowed and freckled nose wrinkled, “and where do ya think yer goin’? Ya just got back. Ya can’t go anywhere, I…I was gunna do yer boots next.” Her emerald green eyes did their best at mimicking a sad puppy.

I hardened my heart to her pleading, making my way across the room to her and tousling her already unruly jet black  hair, “I told yer uncle Wulbin I’d join his patrol today. Do some catchin’ up.”

“Dizzy and I could come!”

I chuckled and shook my head, “two underaged patrollers doesn’t make a proper one. No, you two’ve got plenty to do as it is.”

She sighed and pouted but nodded her head, “fine. But don’t be gone all day. You owe me trainin’. I think my shot’s almost better than yers now.” She grinned.

With that I pulled on a skull cap and gloves and stepped out, eating as I walked. Massive energy pylons basked the cavern town in warm light while hundreds of thermal lines, either hanging through the air or running along the surface of stone, created secondary lighting and highlights throughout. Considering the hour all was quiet but the constant low humming of generators and environmental systems at work. I huffed and observed my own breath dissipating into the air – even at this depth it was still well below five Celsius

A couple tiers down and on a winding path that circled the city, sitting on his rump on a large crate and chomping away at a piece of dried food in the center of town, I saw Wulbin with his oversized, improvised, maul – well, oversized for anyone not the size of a tree. “Ya still luggin’ that thing around?”

The gruff, beareded hulk looked up with a toothy grin and motioned toward me, “better’n that little shiv you’ve got. What’d’ya plan on doin’ with that, eh?”

We shared a brief hug and handshake. It felt good to see my old friend again. He had been like a brother to me for years and looked over Sasha while I was away and healing. It was a sad reunion however, much too short for my liking but there was work to be done. Rights to be wronged. I rummaged through the crate, pulling out my tarnished gauss rifle, a weapon I had once known quite well, and piece after piece of dense polyplate sectional armor most of which still carried the scars, burns, gashes, and fractures, from the last time I had worn them.

“You’re really not going to tell the girl?” Wilburn questioned me, watching me prepare myself and resting on his maul.

“I’d never be able to get her to stay behind. She’d hound me till the end of the Earth.” I tilted my head and glanced at him, “don’t look at me like that. It’s better that she doesn’t know everything besides, she has you and Descen.” I couldn’t tell if I was trying to convince myself or him anymore. I strapped on the last bit of my armor and slung my rifle over my shoulder.

“And when you don’t come back?”

My heart sunk. My chest tightened and I close my eyes briefly. I saw her, the imagine imprinted in my mind. The dimple in her chin. The gentle flush of her full cheeks. The comforting amorous gaze in her sleepy hazel eyes…

“I won’t fail her twice…”

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Unfinished

Word of the Day: haimish

Chapter Draft: The Experiment

10th Cycle/32nd Hour/112 Hybrid-Era

My body feels numb, my mind a hazy mess. I am being dragged along a hall by two cryptic figures, my eyes burning from blood, my dangling feet grazing across the cold tile, and with every step I feel as though I am being pulled away from my own mind. I fail to recall the last few minutes, how I came to this moment or where I was being taken. Everything is a blur, even my own name escapes me.

“Ah, good. Sit her here.” The voice sounds miles away but a drop of my blood easily splashes on the floor and speckles his wingtipped shoes. 

The two men drop me onto a hard chair, my body slumps but they pick me up and restrain me, binding my legs and arms and lifting my drooping head so that they can secure something to my temples. The speaker from before makes his way in front of me and leans over so we are face to face. His eyes study my face enthusiastically and then he smiles, proud, lifting a hand to my shoulder.

“Keep fighting, Red, and no one will be able to stop you.” My eyes shoot open, a sudden current racking my skull. I could see light bouncing off of the face before me and his eyes lit up revealing copper irises. “Together we will transcend humanity.” A terrible howl erupts from within me, straining my lungs and my throat. The corners of my mouth threatened to tear…

~~~~~

…the change is sudden. I am still screaming when I wake. My voice resonates off of the walls as I thrash against my leather restraints, arms and legs aching. My heart is pounding in my chest, ready to burst free, and I am clenching my jaw so tight it screams in agony. I can feel the bars holding my restraints to my bed giving way, another determined pull and a loud thunk ensues. My arms fly free and I bolt up, eyes tearing over my surroundings, long tresses of crimson red dance across my shoulders standing out in stark contrast to the room and the bleach white of my garments. Fluorescent lights blare down from above overexposing everything around me. The dull cackleberry brown walls and deep taupe grey tiled floors are devoid of any significant features. I see no door nor  windows. Not even a vent. I rapidly unrestrain my legs and stand from the bed, grabbing it’s sides and flipping it over. Pillow, sheets, and all other proceedings scatter across the floor. There is nothing underneath the bed either.

“Ms. Tindalae, please, calm down.” A male voice coming from somewhere I cannot tell. “You are in no danger.” To the nether with that! It is then that I notice a band on my right arm. I peer down at the information typed out on it:

Tindalae, Phoebe S.| DOB: 2/130/94| AGE: 19| SEX: F| OMM: 8/75/112| SV: PSYCH| *010-49-3250*

My mind turns circles trying to verify any of the information. I clench my eyes tightly shut hoping to force up something. I clench my teeth and shake my head but there is nothing there. Just an empty name and dates; someone else’s life. I can feel my eyes beginning to burn and I’ve started trembling from the tension coursing through me.

A short chime catches my attention and my eyes fly to a suddenly apparent panel on the wall slowly sliding back revealing a doorway and two uniformed men. They step into the room and I cower back, bumping into my toppled bed.

“Ms. Tindalae,” a gentle female voice from behind the men. It belongs to a very short red-haired woman, her inverted bob-cut and straight bangs perfectly accent her over sized teal specs, round face and brilliant eyes.

“I don’t know who that is.” I interrupt her before she can say more. “I don’t know where I am or…or why I am…” I start escalating my voice. “I don’t know what the fuck you people did to me! I can’t even remember what goddamned hand I write with!”

“Phoebe -“

“Stop fucking calling me that!” I scream. The lady jumps back. The guards step forward and I quickly become aware of the restraints still dangling from my arms, the foot long metal bars clatter against the tile flooring. I take the leather straps in my hand brandishing them as improvised flails ready to fight my way out. They couldn’t contain me here. I could see it on their faces; they feared me. They feared what I could do. I would never stop fighting.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Panic(09/24)

Word of the Day: cackleberry(09/24)

Alchemical Avant-garde

7th Cycle/131st Hour/112 Hybrid-Era

Interview of Doctor Kalter Desbin, former CyGen Combat Adrenal Technician:

It wasn’t enough for my work to simply get the job done, it needed to be perfect. The extraordinary exceeding all expectations on every front imaginable. I had far transcended my would be peers, I was no longer a simple scientist or chemist. I was an alchemist, a master of my craft, a true artist dedicated to the mind and spirit of applied chemistry pouring my heart into each brew reveling in the beautiful unification of biochemistry and zymology for the most potent and awe-inspiring concoctions this dismal frozen rock would ever see. That being said, when I was approached by members of the rebel faction, simply calling themselves the Pure Folk at the time, I jumped at the chance to finally see my fermenting masterpiece reach its true potential. Perhaps they would appreciate my thoroughness.

Initially they showed reluctance. Understandable, I suppose. There weren’t many who could set aside their conscious to achieve their goals, but after I explained to them that my methods were not only necessary but the most efficient way to produce the results they were looking for in turning the tide of the war in their favor without risking countless losses due to inferior numbers, limited technology, and lack of a trump card like CyGen’s super soldiers or the mysticism of the allied hybrid forces. Eventually they came around to my way of thinking. That same element that allowed their enemies such great feats of cybernetics, the control over alter planar forces unseen, would see the Pure Folk known as manipulators of life itself. The common Abanin Crystals would yet again be the answer.

Of course there were other prospects, other hopefuls , but I effortlessly swept the floor with them as they presented barbaric bombs and doubtful devices and shameful serums capable of winning little more than small scale battles. I was offering the power to wipe out entire sectors with a single well placed canister with little to no risk to Pure Folk forces. My ingenious masterpiece, rightfully nicknamed the Shimmering  Plague, was to be an airborne mutagen deployed vai quick release gas canister – at the behest of my clients. For unmatched ease of dispersal I had synthesized an amber resin, weightless and clingy like pollen, not to be easily contained nor expelled. When released, it resembled a thick orange cloud of shimmering dust and carried the scent of tar. Initially it was only effective if inhaled but  I wasn’t going to settle with that.

Two cycles passed before I was ready for a proper field test. I told them to provide me with a control group. They decided to use a handful of Abanancie’s overabundant supply of downtrodden and overlooked. I considered it rather fitting since it had been those same sad souls which first lead me to the effects of tiny shards of Abanin Crystals when introduced to living tissue. Now they would have the pleasure of being involved in something greater than slumming and scrounging for their next bump. They would become the first of a new beginning, the first of my marvelous creations. I delighted in the anticipation, watching as the Pure Folk pushed the subjects into a sealed cavern. One way in, no way out.

One canister in. I could only fantasize the hollow cylindrical echo rolling across the untreated cavern floor. The silence of each victim’s breath catching in their throats. And then slowly, irrefutably, the groans of agony. Weakness. A rise in temperature. Pain in the extremities, then the core, then the head. The groan would escalate to a cry, most were for help but some, the ones bordering on ascendancy, they cried for release. To kill. And so they were reborn my wild mutants.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Stylish
Word of the Day: zymurgy

A Lord of The Fey – Passion

Strength through passion, that’s what he preached. Imperator Ardor, FeyLord of Rage and Obsession, of Regality and Industry, he is the Bastard King of Revolution, The Raging Bull of War, serving naught but his own selfish ambition. His grandiose halls are draped with silken tapestry of red and orange – the blood of his enemies boiling in the eternal flames of his desire. The creatures of his domain breath grit and innovation, at home in controlled anarchy – never settling, never content – and when their liege marches to war, spearheading his armies aback a blackened Taur, war drums and horns blasting in stentorian cacophony, each knows their role and accept naught but the glory of victory and decimation of their foe. The tenacious survive to see him rise. The qualified flourish in his ravenous wake. And only those with untamed furvor could dream of commandeering his broiling throne.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Passionate

Word Of The Day: stentorian

Chapter One: The Hermit (DRAFT)

She was shadow: at home in darkness yet expressed through light; a grey area, teasing two realms yet residing in neither. She found me on the surface, up to my shins in snow, diligently scavenging from the recently fallen. I had picked over the paramilitia foremost: adrenals, condensed nutrients, journals, and thermal packs; anything worth a shot and easy to carry. I had been deftly removing crystals from the feral hybrids, priding myself in practiced precision – despite my aging eyes! – when I latched onto something too firm to be dying.

“That’s my foot…” she declared.

Her matter-of-factly drawl startled me half to death. I instinctively latched onto the first thing I could get to – the straps of her boots – and pulled hard. Her nimble form tumbled into the snow and I pounced forward, weathered multi-tool in hand with the axe-head deployed. My gut slammed into her knees and I froze there, my face a hair away from the jagged point of a shiv and just below that a set of blue eyes like that of ice.

“You done?” her voice frigid as the air between us. She held firmly onto my outer jacket’s collar imprisoning me perfectly in her web.

I sighed and pulled back, cautiously proclaiming my neutrality and the two of us wearily rose, “what I can’t understand is why you people keep pestering me.” I lacklusterly dusted the flakes from my tertiary layering and adjusted my polarized goggles. “Seems like every other day some twad is ruining what could have been a perfectly nice afternoon –”

“So sorry to hear that,” her wry ebon smile and cocked head were betrayed by the sense of waning life surrounding her. She filled me with supernatural dread, calling to the scar splayed across my temple. I turned my brow down at her and shook off the feeling then turned my attention back to my scavenging.

“I’m looking for your friends.”

“Living ones, I presume?” My mustached grin deflated following the chill of her deadened gaze, “tough crowd…”

“So, if you would just point me in the right direction…”

I posed a pondering look to the sky, “you’ll be passing through The Glimmering Halls,” and scratched at my beard, “I suppose I could show you there if –”

“No, thank you,” she was swift to interject, “you can just tell me how to get there. Don’t worry, I’m quite apt with directions, really.” She flashed another fake smile and I turned my eyes back unto her, my gaze scrutinizing at best yet glad to accept.

“Less work for me,” I shrugged, rekindling my efforts, “so, what’ve you got to trade? And no damned junk either, like adhesives or depleted thermal batteries, I’m not running a salvage shop. Nor do I do I.O.Y’s or any form of gambling.” I stated firmly.

She sighed and graced me with a roll of her eyes, “I don’t have anything to trade…” She flatly claimed while motioning to herself. It was then that I noticed that she was surprisingly under geared, she wasn’t carrying any extra supplies, from what I could tell, and appeared to be only wearing the most basic of environmental gear.

I fished out one last crimson shard and placed the jagged mineral with the rest of the day’s bounty. I then turned my head up at her as I rose to my feet, “sounds like you need to hear out my proposal then,” I dryly retorted and dusted my tarnished gloved hands.

She went to open her mouth again, no doubt to spit at me some profanity or the like, but the sound that followed was not her venomous tone but rather a cold hollow howl which turned the air dire.  My scars pain intensified. Our heads snapped toward the sound and we peered into the winter fog. A second one followed, this one more like a screech, and then a third and still a fourth yet close behind. And when I turned my head back she was gone without trace, not even a footprint left behind in her wake. I grunted in disbelief and scrambled for the nearest snow drift, hurriedly pushing through the ice and pressing my back into the towering dune. My scar screamed at me warning of the danger but there was little I could do; I was more than two kilometers out from the nearest pit and even with a decent head start I doubted I’d be able to out run a swarm of ferals.

I settled into the concave drift, arming myself with my trusted pickaxe and one Abani crystal in case I needed it. Closer and closer they drew, the sound unmistakable – at least fifteen ferals led by one of those deep born goliaths; a freak of nature more than twice the size of any man and intelligent, unlike their feral kin.

Less than ten meters away and vaguely entrenched I watched the ferals scour the deadened field. They turned over corpses first searching for any living then, once satisfied, turned their attention on the dead, tearing them apart and feasting on both human and hybrid alike. I craned my neck, peaking past the wall of the drift to get a head count. Turns out there were twenty-six – or twenty-seven if one were to include the goliath.

I figured then was as good a time as I was going to get. As swiftly as I could manage I crept out of the snow dune and kept my body low to the ice as I crawled out and away, moving to the west in the direction of the pit that I had originally ascended from. I could hear the long hollow wine of the hybrids behind me and the barks and yelps of infighting which only served to ensure me that the swarm was sufficiently occupied with their feast. Between the layers of snow and a degree of caution I continued to trudge along at a snail’s pace and kept my ear out for any change in the swarm’s behavior.

So far so good. Another twenty meters or so and I would take to my feet assuming that the thick fog would cover my retreat. I moved a little more quickly now, crawling with vigor and spitting out ice as it kicked up into my mouth. Even so, I smiled at my luck. I was nearly home free with one of the most bountiful plunders I had managed in the last few weeks.

I took another racey shimmy forward, failing to heed the jagged rock before me. I felt a snag on my jacket and pressure against my leg and then another snag once I stopped and attempted to pull away. The sack of crystals at my side tore open wide, a handful of palm sized minerals falling out into the snow. Not long thereafter my ears were met with a throaty roar and I leapt to my feet, containing what I could from my scavenge and preparing to bolt. I gave one quick glance over my shoulder only to be met with the sight of a creature three times my size storming through the frozen dust straight for me.

There was an echoing crack and then a following boom, snow kicked up in the wake of an eruption strong enough to send me careening into the ice, a massive torrent of frozen dust showering me. Burying me.

~~~~~

Chapter Two Coming Soon

A Foreign Way

There I sat, strapped to an operation table within Doctor Kyro’s medical bay, my eyes locked onto the deep browns of my peer, Gebblen, standing in front of me. My chest heaved and my gut churned, the anxiety threatening to burst out of me. My peer reached out and touched my bare shoulder, the sensation warmed my skin almost as much as his gentle smile warmed my racing heart.

“Calm down.” He practically mouthed, my auditory implants barely registering the sound of his voice.

I took a deep breath and nodded slowly.

“We’ve practiced this, Mel. You’ll be fine. Just focus.” He reassured.

My voice came out shaky and almost at a squeak due to the anxiety welling inside of me, “you’re better at this than me…can’t you do it?” I pleaded.

“No,” Doctor Kyro’s stern voice came from behind me and would have caused me to leap forward had I not been strapped in. I had thought he was on the other side of the lab, “no he can’t. No more so than I can. I’ve told you, a completely human subject would simply be trapped in a vegetable-like state where the body and mind can no longer communicate until the anesthetic wore off. You, on the other hand, being a born-Hybrid, will naturally drift into the world of the Fey and, as long as you can manage to keep your emotions in check, you won’t get lost indefinitely.” He stated with a certain hint of ridicule.

“Sorry…” I murmured, frowning and turning my eyes away and onto one of the nearby metallic surfaces. He wasn’t helping at all – now I could add agitation and depreciation to the list of emotions I needed to quell in order to be able to do what was require of me. Gebblen lowered his face into my vision and gave me another reassuring smile – at least he appreciated me and my efforts…

Doctor Kyro placed a heavy hand on the back of my head without warning, giving me intensive to expose my cervical vertebrae.  “I would say this won’t hurt much but…” He trailed off there, failing to complete his sentence before I felt a sharp pain. I barely registered the sound of my own wailing before everything faded to black.

~~~~~

“Well, aren’t you a strange one.” The chipper tone came to me before anything else, “fully grown but flailing around like a babe.”

Something to focus on…I started to feel sensations again. I was drifting, weightless, but I could feel a current beckoning me.

“Ah! And here I thought you might be just another one of those brainless crazy types.”

The voice…what was it, I thought.

“It? Where did you learn your manners! I am Passionate Guidance, I’ll have you know, not just some random thing without purpose, unlike you!” A scoff came and I felt the presence drifting away from me.

And for the first time in what seemed like an eternity I felt more than just loss. I felt want. I felt a drive to chase that which I wanted!

“Oh,” this time the voice had shape. It – Passionate Guidance – floated in front of me, glowing bright like a great big fire fly, “it’s you again. Found me all on your own, did you?” A pondering hum followed and then a hearty chuckle, “alright. What’re you called?”

“Meliana.” My voice sounded nothing like how I remembered it. It was then that I realized I was hearing for the first time without auditory implants.

“Huh? Well, it sounds made up if you ask me. No, no, that won’t do at all.” Another pondering hum, “we’ll call you Outlandish Talent if anyone asks. Now listen to me carefully and do exactly as I say and maybe, just maybe, you won’t embarrass us!”

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Tourist

A Hermit’s Hope

For the best experience please read The Exile and The Hemit afterwards.

~~~~~

Things were quiet as ever around the ransacked and long forgotten sector which had come to be known as Hope’s End — a rather fitting name chosen by the sector’s current residence, an amalgamation of some of Abanancie’s most downtrodden and ill-fated inhabitants. They had all but given up on life itself, hopelessly grasping at whatever last strands of purpose and self-affirmation they could find to build a new existence on the ashes of the desperation and betrayal. I was not like them, however, I had long stopped dreaming.

Teagan’s hostel was one of the few “official” businesses within Hope’s End and definitely the most reliable. The building out of which he ran his business was once the sector’s Center of Commerce where all things civil and legislative had revolved; more importantly, it housed the sector’s Crystal Furnace which harnessed and redirected thermal energy for the entire sector. Teagan figured he could bring the furnace back online and maintain it. It was a bold idea, I thought, and I plainly told him so amidst calling him a fool for trying to build anything in this forsaken lifetime. I had agreed to help him but refused to join him. I came and went as I pleased and in time he proved me wrong — to a degree. A part of me wondered if he stuck with it just to do so.

I walked into his hostel that day…

“Not much of a yield today.” I pulled my dirt laden rucksack from my back and swung it around onto the shambled bar top in front of me. It rattled with the sound of crystals and thermoplastic containers. Teagan simply nodded his head before taking the bag and opening it for inspection. He reached in and pulled out a small faintly glowing crystal followed by packets of condensed food. A slow sigh escaped his lips and he shook his head. I knew that look: worry and woe.

“Thanks, Len…”

“Well, I thought it wasn’t so bad.” I propped myself up on the nearest metal stools. It wobbled to one side due to one of its legs being poorly reattached and unevenly set.

He turned his back, taking the rucksack with him, and continued over towards a lockbox behind the counter in which he began to store the items, “yer the only one to return in several cycles. This ain’t bad but it ain’t enough.” He grumbled before standing and continuing on to another section behind the counter which housed a preservation unit and dispensary – both marvels of CyGen ingenuity to facilitate and revolutionize Abanian living. He turned the dispensary on and it hummed to life, before long he took a large mug and poured out a full serving of steaming liquid then placed it in front of me. Just then a light chime sang forth from the wrist unit Teagan was wearing and the short man turned sharply on his heel, “gotta change the batteries out…” He then disappeared through a nearby doorway without another word.

I wrapped my hands around the mug in front of me, peering down into it’s golden amber depths, and frowned at myself for my own ready-pessimism. Teagan’s little band of scavengers was mostly made up of over-ambitious adolescence and the fool-hearty whom had come to believe that the best way to take back their home and lively-hood was through force and small-time terrorism. Bolder actions meant they needed greater numbers but they hardly had enough people to take on a Cygen patrol, let alone a Hybrid horde if they come across one not to mention the lack of experience. I shook my head, taking a deep drink and savoring the warm liquid burning down my throat and warming my body; from what I figured if they were gone for more than a cycle without any communication most, if not all, of them were either dead or captured and there was nothing I could do about it alone.

Teagan returned, meandering up to the bar and leaning his arms against it. He looked on at the worn down mineral top and ran a hand through his unkempt blue-black hair. I took another slow sip from my drink before an almost crippling tension bore down on my right temple.

The Exile and The Hermit

Exile! The word screamed in her mind as she trudged through the sparsely populated streets of what had to be the saddest little mid-strata sector she had ever imagined. She supposed that was a good thing, however, for maybe, just maybe, if she kept her head down, she could spend time amongst individuals who could think past their lust and impulses. She craved sensibility at this point and was willing to take every necessary precaution to aid her in this endeavor: she adorned thick goggles to disguise her glowing amber eyes, and long thick clothing to hide the crystal ridges easing out of her arms and legs. But most important, and most heartbreaking was her hair. She painstakingly shaved off every strand of her vibrant strawberry hair shedding a tear to match each lock. Now even her kin wouldn’t recognize her…now she truly was no one.

Truth be told, she had never actually personally experienced a sector above The Deep, the home of her kin. All she knew about life above the lower-stratas of Abanancie was from the stories passed through the clans by her Deepborn elders, or those salvage traders that would come around and with journals from above and tales of the grandiose halls of the upper-stratas surrounding The Core Spire. This was like nothing she had imagined or been told. Honestly, it didn’t look to much different from home…or what had once been home to her.

So far so good. She was just like anyone else, just another downtrodden  meandering about through the rough and rubble trying to find something to live for in this prejudiced war torn land. Now she just had to keep her emotions under control. She had to stop thinking about…that place.

Nobody really gave her a passing glance as she made her way into a quiet hostel and approached the front desk which, apparently, doubled as a bar. The ragged looking girl pull up to a stool and took a seat joining the handful of others there. When a man came over to ask her what she needed she just shook her head lightly; she just wanted to get off of her feet. She shrugged and he walked off.

She sighed, folding her arms on the bartop and dropping her hooded head into them.

“I know that look,” a low but soothing voice came from the man that had been sitting next to her. She pulled her head up slightly to look at him; he was sitting with his hands wrapped around a tall mug of steaming liquid and looking down into it. He too wore goggles but he had a head full of luxurious salt and pepper dreadlocks. She frowned and dropped her head again, envious of the hair he had. Within the next few moments she heard the sound of a mug being slide in front of her and when she looked up there was a hot drink. She turned her head towards the man, eyebrows raised, then looked back at the drink and to him once more.

“It’s easier if you don’t think about it so much.” He smiled gently and  lifted a hand to pull down his goggles revealing gleaming violet eyes.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Aimless