Canticle Of Sephira :Book One-Song Of Sorrows

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Canticle Of Sephira :Book One-Song Of Sorrows

Post  kenro on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:17 pm

The story of a disintegrating society and a hapless young girl caught in the middle of a war wherein she was intended to be an ultimate weapon. As she learns the truth of her origins, she decides to take her fate in her own hands

Check back from time to time, as individual posts will be continually added to and edited, so might not re-flag to 'unread'


Last edited by kenro on Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chapter 1

Post  kenro on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:20 pm

The last water taxi pulled away from the landing, heading upstream to the San Antonio Convention Center, while onshore a lone hot dog vendor packed up his pushcart for the night. While dumping the ice chest into the river, he suddenly became aware he was not as alone as he thought. Glancing toward the walkway, he saw a thin dark-skinned man with the high cheekbones and broad face typical of the local Apache, but, strangely, blond, a thick flaxen quality to his hair; the onlooker's hair looked like wheat straw.
The vendor stood and their eyes met, and a shiver chased down the vendor's spine. The vendor frowned and turned to fasten the ice chest to his push cart. When he looked back the man was gone. The vendor panned the breadth of the landing and sighed uneasily. Face-palming, he steeled his nerves, turned back to the pushcart, and gave a sharp bark of alarm, seeing the Blond Indian propped against it, eyes to the ground.
"Jesus Christ man, you nearly gave me a heart attack! Could you please move so I can finish..."
The Blond Indian looked up, meeting the vendor's eyes and cutting off the thought. Reaching into the steam box, still as hot from a day of operation, and removing a wiener, he took a bite and promptly spat it onto the ground. Tossing the half-eaten sausage back into the box, the vendor's gaze trapped by his own dark-eyed intensity, he said, "You know what I hate most about you people?" He gestured at the hotdogs. "How can you eat such vile, over-processed, over-seasoned shit?" With that, the Blond Indian calmly pulled a large-caliber handgun with a strangely bulky barrel and pulled the trigger. The vendor's face went slack as the gun coughed, oddly subdued, and his pulped brains spattered over the wall 15 feet beyond. Putting the gun away, the Blond Indian suddenly went berserk and threw the pushcart into the river, shouting, "I hate hotdogs!"
He stalked angrily over to the wall, checking a wristwatch, and peered closely, looked back toward the river and carefully relocated. Finally he grinned, drew a wicked looking dagger, and began to chip away at the concrete. At length, he pulled out a spent bullet head and pocketed it. Scant attention given the gore (nothing he could do about -that-), he walked over to a bench and sat, checking his watch again.
"You enjoy killing way too much, Boz, Old Friend." The honorific fairly dripped with scorn.
Boz bolted back to his feet, tracking for the voice. A short distance away, on a shed overlooking the River Walk, was a shadowed figure barely identifiable as female. Grimacing, he watched the figure nervously.
"And you don't? Evening, Sancy. What brings you from Aubhorel?"
Sancy dropped from the shed, landing lightly in a crouch. Stretching forward catlike, almost bowing, she regarded Boz fiercely. " I'd like to say 'You', but there's no love lost between us, eh?"
Boz took a couple steps back, attitude suggesting uncertainty over the tactical sense of the action, and withdrew two small khukri daggers as he glanced around the landing.
Sancy rose into a jiujitsu ready stance and giggled. "Your dear partner and I have already met. You'll get no assistance from ghosts this night."
Boz dropped into a combat crouch. "Now listen, Sancy, there's plenty of bounty for all of us. Let's talk this over, shall we?"
"Oh Baccarat Boz, you know me better." Sancy gestured and two punch daggers appeared in her hands. She glared at Boz. "It's never about the money. Now, fight!" She rushed forward.
Boz cursed softly, adding, "That brat is nothing but trouble from day one", and tightened his crouch, waiting for Sancy to close.
The much smaller Sancy ducked under an obvious feint, confident in her greater speed to get the weapon to mark first, and slid on low-friction fabric. Coming to rest between Boz' legs, punching upward burying a dagger in his lower abdomen, she smiled ,self-absorbed, at the khukri arrested less than a millimeter from her chest. Turning her attention back to combat her eyes focused on the point of entry to find Boz holding her fist against the killing twist.
Boz steeled himself and fought for breath, momentarily relaxing his own killing strike as he struggled to get his combat bearings. In the distant periphery, he noticed a familiar movement and smiled down at his opponent. Savagely he whispered, "Ghosts walk the night." and jerked the dagger from his belly, reset his grip on the khukri and stabbed downward.
Sancy screamed in fury. Not waiting for senses to confirm what instinct already saw in Boz' eyes she brought her knees up hard against the back of Boz' legs and whipped around into a scissors takedown. Boz teetered on the brink, downthrust forestalled as he fought for balance. Sancy bridged extra leverage, curling up and on top as they went down, headbutting Boz for good measure and freeing her arm. As the two combatants hit the sidewalk, Sancy thrust twin punch daggers at Boz' neck and screamed, "The girl is mine!"...
... and was propelled forward as a heavy-caliber bullet took half her face off. Holt approached unsteadily, holding his stomach, as the cannon's roar faded from the landing. Desert Eagle trained on the dieing figure, he frowned at the lack of movement. Ever mindful of his own injuries, he gently toed the bottom figure. "Hey. Buddy. You still alive down there?"
Boz slowly pushed the body off him and carefully sat up, growled, "Bitch" He allowed one useless frustration punch at the corpse's skull "Belly rip's getting old. People learn to counter it, however good you are." Accepting Holt's assist to stand, they both grunted, wincing at the pain.
Boz caught his breath, glared at Holt. "You're late."
Holt shrugged, unconcerned of his partner's ire. "Way I see it, I was just in time."
Boz considered, then conceded the point with a nod. Ripping his own shirt into bandages, he bound up similarly to Holt.. "What is up with this girl? That's the second Fourth Tier assassin we've fought since we got here." They started toward the nearby bridge and pre-planned escape route. "
Holt shook his head. "Dunno. But if there are any others, we might lose the bounty." They went silent, each to his own thoughts as they concentrated on egress. Finally, Holt said, "We need med. And reinforcements. I think I know where to find them."
Boz started, pausing a moment at the utility shed entrance at the realization of who Holt meant. As a cop surveyed the distant landing, Holt grinned and stepped into the shed, closing the door.


Last edited by kenro on Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:27 pm; edited 5 times in total
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chapter 2

Post  kenro on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:21 pm

"Pop! Hey, Pop!"
Roy Sikes looked up from the tourist's viewfinder to see a copper-haired 11-year-old girl running toward him. The expression she wore was so out of place he had to laugh; It was good to see her happy for a change.
"You gotta come see this." The girl backpedaled to a stop beside Roy, looked through the viewer, then back to Roy. "They have a fake river running through town.
They were joined by a young woman still arranging her clothes. "It's called the River Wall, Meghan, and it's one of San Antonio's most famous sights. "
The girl grimaced at the mistake. Roy held up a pamphlet and corrected the woman. "Walk, Maizy, dear. River Walk."
Maizy shrugged. "Walk, wall, if not for the bridges it'll still be a barrier. Have you figured out where we should go?'
Roy turned toward a massive church in the distance as Meghan crowded, trying to read the pamphlet. "I think he's there." He swatted Megan on the top of her head with the pamphlet. "Stop being rude. Here. Read. Find an interesting place to eat." He gave the pamphlet to the girl, and they started toward the church.
Meghan, looking non-plussed, took the booklet and read, following slightly behind.
Detouring through HemisFair Plaza, they took their time, just another family cruising San Antonio. Meghan, seeming to regain her customary reserve, nonetheless flitted from exhibit to ride, studying each with rapt intensity
Suddenly Roy looked around anxiously and, whispering to Maizy, steered toward a food booth. He called over his shoulder, "Stay close, Meghan!"
Meghan froze, panned slowly, attention mostly along the route they'd taken, then rejoined the adults.
Noting the bill of fare to the booth as she approached, she considered her options and chose. "I'd like a pork loin and funnel cake. Oh, and a caramel frappy? Those look really good' It was as much order as request, but spoken with utmost courtesy. She looked back along the path, eyes narrowing lazily.
Roy seemed irritated by her manner, torn between parental control and acquiescence, as he and Maizy consulted on choices and finances. Finally, they completed the order and moved to a more private area to eat.
"Even Meghan felt it that time." Roy stated as they set up a small picnic.
Meghan nodded. "What was it?"
Maizy looked concernedly at the girl. "They know where we are now. Or we wouldn't have been scanned." She forced herself to eat a bite, swallowed and continued. "Don't know if they fixed us yet, but likely not. Or we would be running, not eating."
Roy chewed, and took a drink. "I really need to contact Rutherford, but with those hunters, I can't leave you two alone. We'll just have to keep moving."
They finished eating in silence, attention and awareness straining for signs of danger, and quietly slipped out the park.
Dusk was just making its presence felt as they approached San Fernando Cathedral without incident. Entering the gift shop, the two females looked around while Roy excused himself and approached a clerk.
Maizy thumbed through a book on the history of the cathedral while Meghan studied a kaleidoscope.
"Do you think they'll have my medicine here? The stuff Pop made in Korea made me feel really wierd."
Maizy looked up, brow arched high, lips pursed, as she studied Meghan. Finally she asked, "How'd it make you feel, exactly?"
Meghan shrugged and looked around the 'scope. "Not sure. Like I was swimming through tar or something."
Maizy sighed, scowled worriedly. "Good Lord, Meghan. You should have said something. I'm sure we could've found an alternative." She put the book back and weighed her words. "How do you feel now? Better?"
Meghan considered, then shook her head and lowered the 'scope. "My mind's all, " she made a scattering gesture, "racing trying to take in everything at once. And I get that queasy sick feeling to my bones." Frowning as she replaced the 'scope, she paused, looking inward. "Do you think I'll die from this?" She asked softly.
The response was unnecessary as Roy rejoined. Noting the stricken expressions he knelt before Meghan, offering a cursory exam. "You okay, there?"
Meghan shrugged silently, glancing to Maizy and back. Maizy shivered, seeming to lose her breath momentarily. Gasping, slipping into a ragged sigh, she frowned and scowled worriedly at Roy. Roy arched a warning eyebrow, the gesture not lost to Meghan. Meghan pursed her lips glancing petulantly at Maizy. "Okay. I have the right to know. Will I die from this condition?" She scowled regally at Roy, who just shook his head. "Not now, Meghan." He stood. "Now's not the best time or place." Placing a finger lightly on Meghan's lips to forestall another outburst, he smiled wanly. "Soon. Please, try to be patient just a while longer."
A store clerk approached expectantly, effectively cutting the conversation.
"Father Rutherford awaits in the confessional booth, sir." The clerk's voice was soft, quiet, clear. The tones, as though accustomed to speaking during vespers.The three visitors glanced at each other as the timbre of the meeting seemed to slip into something more... Medieval..


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chapter 3

Post  kenro on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:24 pm

"Meghan?"

Meghan snapped awake, blinking uncertainly.

"Meghan?" The voice belonged to an older balding man sitting across a table from her, dressed in a strange military-styled jumpsuit. A man with a kind face, caring eyes, empathic smile. It felt... offkilter somehow. Like the qualities were evidenced in the wrong places. "Are you well enough to continue?"

Meghan hesitated, taking stock of her feelings. Taking a moment to look around. she was in a small softly-lit room, one step above dim, only furnishings the two chairs and table. The small opaque window in the only door looked like hospital glass.

... re-inforced. That's the term...

Apart from that, there was no indication where she was. She fidgited with the sleeve of her grey unadorned jumpsuit, looked at the man and nodded halfheartedly.

"Are you sure?"

Meghan nodded more assertively, meeting the man's eyes.

'Very well. You were telling me about your first incident. The day your parents were murdered."

Meghan bolted to her feet, upsetting her chair, glaring at the man. "How dare you bring up my parents! What would you know about it, anyway?"

"Control yourself, Miss Sikes. And please, regain your seat."

Meghan stood seething, staring into the man's eyes. Pleading eyes. Pleading for what, she couldn't guess. Gradually, she regained control, if not composure. Closing her eyes, she steadied her breathing, then watched the man guardedly as she slowly righted her chair and sat.

"Are you, "she ventured gropingly. "Are you my enemy?"

Humor touched the man's eyes, but the voice has the careful modulation of someone giving the same tiresome info for the thousandth time.

"Enemy? Heavens, no. I'm here to help you. My name is Doctor North. I'm your therapist. Do you remember me?"

Meghan hesitated, then shook her head.

"Well, your new medication does cause short term memory loss. Perhaps the dosage is too high. We'll have to see about lowering it."

Meghan's jaw clenched involuntarily at the ambiguity of the offer.

"Do you know where you're at?"

Meghan considered, glanced at the door, then back to the doctor. "Some sorta hospital?" Dr North followed Meghan's shifts in attention, apparantly genuine smile playing at the corners of his lips. "Very good, Meghan. Your ability to reason seems to be returning." He added distractedly, "three months' work... a real breakthrow. "

He began writing something in a binder as he talked, glancing often toward Meghan. "You've been a patient in Provenance Psychiatric Hospital for the last three months. Frankly, I've never seen one of my patients come in so deeply troubled, yet recover so quickly." He looked up, placing the pen down with a decisive *clack*. "Resilience of youth, I guess."

Meghan watched Dr. North closely as he talked, searching for some clue as to what was really going on. Either he was the best actor in the universe, or...No! She violently rejected the possibility of being mentally ill. She was simply too young. She lacked... What was the term? Cognitive strategy. Right. She lacked cognitive strategy to see through the deception. Well, she resolved to learn those strategies. Starting with her medication.

If there -was- medication...

Dr. North smiled, ingratiating, subtlely obsequious in its friendliness. Keep up the good work. I think it's time to start the next phase in your therapy. I'm moving you to Saugus Dorm, Muranki Block. Some of the sessions might at first take some getting used to, but you should listen to your Headmaster. And paricipate. It's there to help you get well." He stood and walked to the door, holding it open. "Just follow the signs back to Saugus Dorm. I'll see you in twelve weeks."

As she passed through empty corridors, Meghan realized the doctor never consulted notes...



******************************************************************************



Dr North closed the door, alone with a thin clicking sound eminating from... somewhere. He sighed. Not her. Not now. Insufferable... He barked an irritated "Answered." and asked tiredly. "Yes?"

A woman's voice answered. "Kill her. She's too dangerous."

"Nonsense. The girl is a valuable clan asset"

The voice seemed to lose patience. "Kill her! We should opt a different strategy!"

"Need I remind you under whose aegis this project is? This is Saugus Clan project. She is Saugus Clan property."

"You almost lost her!"

Dr. North lost composure. "I had it under control.!"

He added under his breath, "Shameful that Spartis should act so..."

There was a pause the tension thick even through quantum relay as Dr North fought for composure.

"I had it under control." North took a deep steadying breath "If we can keep her off-balance long enough, we're both in control. A clan of two."

There was a short pause, then an echoing, "A clan of two..."

"Right," North replied, "A clan of two. Ruling the clans together. Top of the food chain."

"Right. Just don't force me to invoke the fullness of our Alliance. Shinobi out."The connection broke audibly and North was left to his thoughts, scowling, bolt erect, fists clinched.


************************************************************************************************************************************


Meghan soon passed into progressively more inhabited sections. A few people smiled or nodded as she walked by, but mostly they just stared silently, warily expectant of... something...

Having lost her way, again, she stood pondering, silently replaying routes taken. The passersby had til now been little help. Might as well be a movie projection, she grumbled, for all the real response she got.

"Have you a problem, child?"

Being adressed verbally from behind brought her around sharply, warily, to confront a man with a face completely at odds with such a soft melofluous voice. Dressed in a bodysuit made of knobby black spandex, with a many-pouched belt and lightweight shoes, the man had the dense tight build of someone who overate, then overtrained.

Meghan stared neutral-expressioned, fighting the impulse to cringe before those dead-fish eyes.

"Are you lost?" The man asked, clasping hands behind his back and slowly, aomost stalkingly, stepping toward Meghan. "To where were you directed?"

Meghan shook her head, answering in a thin, distant voice, "Not lost. Going to the dorm."

The man watched her silently, dead-eyed gaze seeming to scratch around the edges of her soul. Finally Meghan nodded and turned away. An assertive grunt brought her attention back to see the man cock-browed, pointing the other direction. Meghan winced and nodded, correcting her route. The man fell into step beside her.

Meghan begrudgingly consented to being escorted, and soon they entered an open area with desks in cubicles and a long counter funneling into some kind of machine. Several people buzzed around looking very busy. After some paperwork, her escort left without further word and a clerk told her to go through the machine.

"Security scanner. It won't hurt you, just a routine precaution."

Meghan approached seeming apprehensive

"Your headmistress will take over from here. Obey her orders while inside."

As she entered the scanner, Meghan wondered just what kind of hospital this really was. She blinkblinked.

Feels more like a military base.


Last edited by kenro on Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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chapter 4

Post  kenro on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:26 pm

Exitting the scanner, Meghan passed along a narrow mezzanine overlooking an immense open area. a short walk brought her to yet another counter, lower, seeming more for children or younger kids, manned by a bored looking teenaged girl who seemed to be in a perpetual state of drowsiness. Sleepy-Eye studied Meghan difidently, taking too much time blowing a huge gum bubble and slowly tongueing it back into her mouth.

As they stared at each other, Meghan seemed to feel a tingle in the back of her mind, but when she tried to focus on it it seemed to move.

Finally sleepy-Eye tapped a sequence of keys on her computer and the lock on a gate Meghan hadn't hadn't noticed clicked loudly.

Down below, a youthful hubbub quickly grew more subdued. Meghan stepped toward the gate, staring challenge at Sleepy-Eye. then shoved the gate open and descended a chain-link-covered starway.

Sleepy-Eye grinned at Meghan's back, lazily working her gum.. Softly, to no one in particular, she breathed, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter herein."

Slowly descending into a deep canyon-like area, Meghan started feeling claustrophobic. She wondered distratedly if it wasnt supposed to work the other way: feel cramped going from wide-open to closed in..

Yeah. Maybe it was...

She glanced up and froze in astonishment. The ceiling seemed to recede beyond her sight. Buildings and metal seemed to extend forever, forever preventing the stars from shining, the wind from blowing. No trees, grass, flowers, No rain. No sunshine.

Dispair and homesickness gurgled inside her like diarrhea. No way Earth could hold something this big. Where the hell was she? Tearing her eyes away, closing them ferociously tight in denial of her senses, Meghan fought for breath.
Something smacked hard against the fence nearby and Meghan snapped back into here-and-now with a strangled cry of alarm. Looking around she noticed an older boy down below. racing for a wildly bouncing basketball...

... retrieving it, deftly shunting it between his legs, backpedaling to a stop...

He palmed the ball with some effort and stood grinning visciously up at Meghan.

"Hey! New girl! Get a grip and come meet the family."

A couple of the kids groaned scoffingly at the pun. Another, a Japanese girl with frost-blonde hair, eyed the boy irritatedly.

Confusion and anger Meghan had forgotten burned it's way to the surface. The memory, true or false, of her parents' deaths. The mystery of this facility, huge beyond comprehension, no one seeming willing to give her a straight and conclusive answer. The officious arrogance of the girl upstairs. She stalked down the steps, through the lower gate, and over to the boy.

Sensing a certain killing intent, the boy sneered down on her as she approached, confident in his greater size and strength. "Go away, girl, before you get hurt."

Meghan stared up at the boy through slitted eyes and spoke in a controlled, focussed voice, "You think you know how to play basketball. How can you be any good handling a basketball...," she ignored the iminant shove, basketball angling straight for her face. Her foot lashed out blindingly, catching the boy in the groin with enough force to lift him off his feet. He landed hard on his knees, and Meghan finished, "... when you can't even handle your own?"

She shoved him roughly onto his back, and he lay there groaning as a few kids gathered, taking up the chant, 'Fight! Fight!" The chant immediately faltered as Meghan sniffed derisively and turned away, and the crowd began eyeing each other as acceptable substitutes.

Just then an ear-spillting wail filled the playground and everyone looked up to an overhanging balcony..A middle-aged woman dressed in a two-piece jumpsuit of similiar but finer style, somehow more dignified, to their own, flanked by two hard-faced men wearing black knobby spandex body stocking, triggered a small air horn for a second or three longer, then passed it t one of her aides. The three adults started down the stairs, the woman leading. The people below gathered near the bottom and formed a regiment.

"I trust," the woman spoke loudly enough to be heard by all the ranks, "you... children... can still hear? Good. Everyone welcome our final student. Meghan..." She consulted an aide. "Meghan Sikes." A murmer rippled and the woman paused in her descent, frowning darkly. "Some one wants pain transduction..." the gathering roared, "Good morning,Meghan!"

Meghan smirked, taking a quick study of faces and attitudes, then looked back to the woman before she, too received threat of penalty. She was uncertain why it worried her so...

"My name, for the duration of our time together, is Headmistress Redondo. Some know me, already, some don't, but before you finish the course, all will have reason to love, and to fear, me."

The gathering roared, "Good morning Headmistress!"

Redondo smiled coldly. "You're learning well. I like that. Now. You're all here because you have anger management problems. Some of you have killed. Some just like to fight. And all sixty three of you have proven irredeemable. Well, this is your last chance. Not all of you will make it through, but there will be no flunking out this time."

A voice from the back called out, "Excuse me, Headmistress, are you saying...?"

"Are you interrupting me, Mr. Farrel?" Farrel gulped, seeming to lose inches to his stature. "I'll put it simply, so that even you can understand, Mr Farrel. You either learn to control that temper... and that mouth of yours... or you're dead."

Murmers broke in the crowd, and Redondo gave them leash for the moment. Finally, she took the air horn, gave two quick bursts, then returned it to the aide. The silence was instantaneous as 63 pairs of eye turned attentive.

"Listen up. That's to let you know how serious we are about your therapy.Also, until now, I've read the rules aloud then posted them online and on the daily board. Not good enough. Each person will sign, tonight and at their leisure for your own copy. Read them. Learn them. Obey them. Infractions get transduction. that's to let you know how serious we are about your therapy." Her demeanor seemed to brighten somewhat. "Okay, then. After such doom and gloom... Enjoy your last Open Activity Day, children. Tomorrow, we enter HEL."

Redondo turned and preceeded the two men as the started back up the stairs, then paused and faced the children again. "Oh, I almost forgot. Meghan Sikes. I need to see you in my office as soon as possible, Don't make me wait too long." She smiled coldly and continued up.


Last edited by kenro on Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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chapter 5

Post  kenro on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:34 pm

Meghan made a face at the departng headmistress and made her way toward the stairs.

* We're going to hell tomorrow?

* I've heard staff mention something about that.

* Holographic Emersive Living, or something. Some kind of virtual reality simulator.

* Cool!

* Gross!


Snatches of conversation caught in passing made her head hurt. She glanced back at the easy commeraderie among various groupings of kids, her own isolation making her feel small and heavy. Then she turned back to the stairs to find her way barred by a teen-aged girl with frost-blonde hair and vaguely Japanese features. Slowly the girl moved aside, expression carefully neutral.

"Hi. My name's Saki. I just wanted to warn you that guy you kicked in the nuts is a very dangerous person. The rumor is he worships violence." She shrugged. "Me? I think he's just another troublemaker."

Meghan glanced back over the playground and noted the boy watching them, talking with a couple friends. Saki looked as well, then nodded. "I see it's starting up."

The girls' eyes met, and Meghan said, "I can take care of myself."


Saki shook her head. "Maybe. Maybe not. Little girl like you could always use someone to watch her back, in any case. After all, there's always someone out there somewhere who can kill you where you stand, and not even break a sweat while doing it. Look. This is a bad place. I've been here for two weeks. I know. It's easy to make enemies.here Hard to make friends."

Meghan searched Saki's eyes and face for signs of falsity, then nodded curtly. "If you think I might need help, I won't object." Without further word, Meghan started up the stairs.
"Look. This is a bad place. I've been here for two weeks. I know. It's easy to make enemies.here Hard to make friends."

Meghan searched Saki's eyes and face for signs of falsity, then nodded curtly. "If you think I might need help, I won't object." Without further word, Meghan started up the stairs.
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displaced chapter 7 or 8?

Post  kenro on Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:10 pm

Meghan stared dumbly at the approaching cylinder. Filling the corridor as it was, she was sure the rapid rotation hid something quite nasty. Stepping back she glanced along where she just came and her heart skipped a beat. The far wall was also coming her way! Fast!

Oh god I can't deal with this! Just let me sleep, damn you!

Seeming at a loss for ideas, she started hammering her fists at intervals along both walls, muttering, "Deathtraps always have secret escape doors, right? I just need to find it in time!"

After about 20 feet of test and probe, she realized she wouldn't make it. The trap was too close, coming on too fast, and she closed her eyes, bracing for the end.

Okay...
Was that it? No pain? No impact? Nothing? Over so simply and quickly?

Curious, she peaked out the corner of an eye to find herself still in the corridor. She opened her eyes and glanced at the now silent wheel still revolving, slow enough now to to see some sort of screen panels attached to it. Her eyes flew wide as she realized what they could do, and she half-collapsed against the wall. Vaguely, she registered the fact that her backrest just tried to crush her into a meat grinder, and as she collected her thoughts, anger started to smolder in her.

What kind of hospital puts kids through this?

Suddenly a corridor wall clicked loudly and a section recessed slightly, a razor gap now clearly visible around it Meghan focused feral eyes on the space as she breathed deeply to calm herself.The door opened, revealing the same man who directed her to enter this crazy-dangerous maze. She blinked and rubbed an eye, then studied the man.

After a few moments the man stepped aside and beckoned. "Come along, then."

Meghan pushed uncertainly from the wall and collecting her dignity, exited the corridor.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************



***************************************************************************************************************************************

Meghan adjusted the water control to hot and stood luxuriating in the stream as she tried to wake up. A noise she couldn't place whspered in the back of her mind. She looked up, frowning, then glanced around the deserted restroom.

"Hello? Anyone there? I'm not late, I hope?"

A thirteen year old boy's face appeared around a corner. "No at all. You're just in time, I'd say." He leered at Meghan.

Meghan stood bolt-still, eyes pinning the boy suspiciously. She made no move to cover herself.

"Damn." the boy taunted. "I'd love to meet you in five years."

Another young teenage boy appeared from the other direction and cuffed the first in the back of his head. "Keep your mind on business, Stan."

"What are boys doing in the girl's bathroom, anyway, " Meghan demanded. "Get out. Now." She stepped cautiously across the tile.

The boys just smiled at each other and pulled out socks with something heavy inside.

Stan looked at Meghan and started to stalk toward her, his crouch seeming a little too confident for a kid so young. "Alright, brat. So far, the warmaster's been right. Looks like it's payback time. Flank it, right, Billy?"
Billy grunted noncommittally and Meghan frowned worriedly as the the boys split up and began twirling their home-made blackjacks.

Sheila snuck a peak to the end of the line as she took some unidentifiable desert. Saki, right behind, smirked and pointed to the other side of the room. Sheila cocked a brow, looked, scowled at Saki. "No way. He's not my type and you know it." Saki decided against desert (why is that out for breakfast, anyway?) and the two girls made their way to a table.
Sheila continued as they cleared a throng of standing eaters. "It's the new girl. Meghan." Saki barked a laugh. "Will you shut up with that? I'm serious. We're roommates now. And I'm a little worried that she's not here yet."
Saki considered her friend as they took seats, then offered, "Okay. So you found... my bad, were given, a new 'good friend,'" -Sheila sighed irritably-, "and she blows off the most important meal of the day..."
"Saki." Sheila scowled. "She got overworked last night. Apparantly an all-nighter. She didn't just 'blow off breakfast."

The smallest mistake in a CQB engagement can mean the difference between walking away and being carried out in a bag. Meghan cursed her decision for steam, and the soap-stained tiles under her bare feet made evasion and attack extremely problematic. The boys, on the other hand, might as well have been walking on sandpaper. She scrambled slip-sliding across the floor and all too quickly her back slammed hard against the wall. Fighting to suppress the sudden starburst vision, she braced a foot in the angle and waited for them to close.

Saki studied the other girl while nibbling a dry, tasteless protein wafer. Finally she shrugged. "Hurry up and eat. We should make sure she makes roster, anyway."

Meghan ducked Billy's swing, blackjack clacking loudly as it made scrap of a water control valve. Dropping, twisting into a glancing uppercut to his ribs, she pushed off and rode the momentum into a backward roll. A heavy object whipped across her Achilles tendon, sending pain lancing through her hip, but she ignored it and planted her feet hard against Stan's chest, knocking him back several feet, banging his head into the far wall.

Billy sneered as Meghan finished her roll, coming up into a crouch. The girl's eyes drilled holes through him, but he seemed unconcerned as he slightly favored his ribs. "You sure hit hard for a girl." He smiled noting how she kept the weight off her injured ankle. "But let's see you try -that- again, eh?"
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kenro
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