Ten years after our escape from the laboratory, I think I can be forgiven for forgetting that we were ever being hunted. After all, there has never been any sign of the people after us getting close to finding us.

Those ten years were even quite enjoyable. They gave lie to the doubts and fears I harbored that day. It took a while to settle in, and it still ticks me off that I have to see Thelyron’s face every single day, but Akasha’s presence more than makes up for that.

Really, the only dark cloud hanging over our heads has been Akasha’s disease getting progressively worse with time. I harass Thelyron constantly to push him to find a cure before it’s too late, but this incompetent bastard still has nothing to show for it even after a decade of effort.

I can see it’s eating him inside. As well it should.Continue reading

“Cough, cough!”

I raise my arm and hold my sleeve against my nose and mouth to try and avoid breathing in the smoke. An alarm rings stridently in the distance, and fire is spreading everywhere. The room – no, the prison – that housed me for the past two years has already disappeared behind the curtain of flames.

I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I hadn’t left in time.

“Nerys, this way! Hurry!”Continue reading

Nova followed Iris out of the gallery through a service doorway on the side of the building, far from the bustle of the tourist-infested main entryway.

“My place isn’t far. Here, this way,” Iris said, taking Nova’s hand in hers and intertwining their fingers together in a quite intimate fashion.

Nova shook her head and extricated her hand out of Iris’s grasp. Then offered her right hand instead. The fingers of her left danced. ‘I can’t speak without this hand, so I’d be grateful if you could use the other.’

Iris did so as she gazed at the movements of Nova’s left hand. “Sure. What’s up with that? Are you mute? Is that why you’re speaking through a machine?”Continue reading

Nova woke up the next morning in a rather sore body. She stretched out her limbs while still in bed, trying to work off some of the pain.

It wasn’t just her shoulder. That had mostly healed, in fact. But the sequelae of the previous night’s stunts were starting to be felt. Slamming a truck into another vehicle at high speed was little different from being involved in an actual car crash. Nova had had time to brace for impact, of course, and when her body had been warmed up and full of adrenaline, she hadn’t suffered many adverse effects. But now, with a night’s rest cooling down her muscles, she realized once again that she wasn’t quite as indestructible as Sirius was.

It wasn’t debilitating, though. She’d likely be fine by tomorrow.

Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, Nova slowly crawled her way out of bed and carelessly dug into her suitcase for clean clothes. She found the same outfit she’d worn on the plane trip to Verizen, with the suspender skirt and black thigh-highs. It had already been cleaned and pressed by the suitcase’s internal mechanisms upon being stored back into it, so Nova put it on without further ado, though she left her hair unbound, this time.Continue reading

Rana sat on the living room couch, leaning her body against Fareed with her cheek resting against his shoulder. Her eyes were fixed on the TV before her, but her mind was focused on something else entirely.

Namely, the girl her son had invited into their home yesterday.

And the implication of that girl’s presence here.

Of course, Rana’s concerns weren’t as frivolous as Camilla’s. Rana’s daughter was convinced that Sirius and Nova were lovers. Camilla felt threatened, as if their guest would steal Sirius’s attention away from her. Which is why she was currently sulking in her room after being excluded from tonight’s outing. Rana too was curious about the exact nature of the relationship between the two teenagers, but her actual worries were somewhat more serious than that.Continue reading

Sirius lay prone behind a wall. Fragments of plaster and stone dust rained down all around him as the gunmen at the other end of the hallway sprayed assault rifle fire toward his position.

Alarmingly many bullets made it through the wall, but it was thick enough that even the few that touched Sirius’s body didn’t have much momentum anymore and bounced harmlessly off his suit. Still, their enthusiasm in expending all their ammunition did force him to keep his head down, at least for the moment. He wouldn’t die from a direct hit or three, but a few of his ribs might break. Healing from that wouldn’t be an issue but would take a little time. Considering the amount of work he still had to complete after this hotel, however, he couldn’t afford that.

Ordinarily, he would’ve pushed himself a bit and dealt with his trouble on his own, but tonight, he wasn’t alone. The situation changed.

Suddenly, out of the six sources of gunfire aiming for him, one fell silent. The others also faltered, and in the momentary hush, Sirius heard the dull thump of a body toppling to the floor.Continue reading

“We’re there,” Wieslaw said solemnly from the driver’s seat.

Sirius, riding shotgun – a bit more literally than usual, considering the weaponry he carried – looked through the windshield and nodded, solemnly.

Behind them, in the back of the van, Nova… Nova solemnly played Tetris on the van’s wall of computer screens. There were 12 screens in total, 12 simultaneous games. Enough to toss out Wieslaw and Sirius’s names from the high score table and monopolize all its top spots.

Sirius looked back from his seat. “Nova, could you take this seriously, please? We’re about to start.”Continue reading

Nova lay atop her bed in Sirius’s house, waiting for the hour to come.

The briefing and subsequent debate on how they would proceed to best dismantle this organ trafficking ring had taken most of the afternoon. Since her two companions had vastly more experience when it came to such matters, Nova mostly let them make the decisions and only interjected when absolutely necessary.

Still, a growing sense of trepidation had sprouted inside her as she realized more and more starkly that she’d somewhat underestimated the balance between the two sides.

Three barely superpowered dumbasses against truckloads of armed gangsters. With victims – in other words, potential hostages – Sirius and Wieslaw insisted on saving.Continue reading

“Oh, a visitor? Invited by Mr. Antema, I suppose?” the teacher asked pleasantly. “Are you a prospective student visiting the campus?”

‘No. I’m an actress,’ Nova said, before tilting her head toward Sirius next to her. ‘This loser over here hired me to pretend to be his girlfriend for the day so that he could show off. Revolting, isn’t it?’

The stunned silence that met this shameful revelation of Sirius’s dastardly motives was glorious. Nova was very proud. Sirius, on the other hand, was quietly burying his face into his palms while muttering imprecations under his breath. The gazes of the other students aimed in their direction became heavy.

Or maybe they’re just wondering what kind of actress can neither emote nor speak with her own voice.Continue reading

Hunting for a traitor is hard work.

And to make things worse, it’s not the kind of work I can delegate to my subordinates. Otherwise, I open myself up to the risk of that very subordinate being the traitor and spending the whole time they’re supposed to be investigating covering their tracks. And then coming to me with a report implicating someone who’s actually loyal.

The universe might just spit in my eye like this. It has that kind of sense of humor.

No, better to do it myself.Continue reading