"The Experiment" by Paganee

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Memories

Submitted: August 30, 2014

Reads: 25

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Submitted: August 30, 2014



Chapter eleven- Memories
Like an air raid siren, the meaning of the ominous hum of the reactor was understood by all, and everyone but Jacobs and I turned around to face it.
"Well...here we are, Adam." I muttered, almost a whisper.
Jacobs did not respond. His face showed no fear. Only disappointment in me.
The swirling plasma in the reactor was starting to accelerate as it turned bright pink again. This time however, it did not drain light from the room. 
Wind started to pick up in the power room. It jostled the cables and captured the sparks that flew from them, revealing its cyclonic path. The other machines shut down one at a time, and with each one the reactor found more life. 
We all stood in a group and watched. I could hear someone crying, and one praying, but they were quickly drowned out by the growing shriek of the reactor. I did not need to hear myself speak. My memories of my life and my family were dominating my mind, I knew that I would never see them again. I hoped that my sacrifice for the sake of humanity would benefit them in some way. I hoped that if I died, everything Jacobs said was true. 
Before long, the whine had ascended to a tone beyond human hearing, leaving only a secondary low pitch howl and the sound of metal rattling in the wind. The chaos continued in that state until the very last of the machines had shut down, and surrendered their power to the massive purple iris.
The breeze had become a torrent at that point, and although the reactor was running at what I assume was full power, the power room was quieter than it ever was. There was no clatter from the once manic machines, no explosive electrical arcs, just the low growl of the reactor and the buffeting of wind. It was somewhat meditative, maintaining a steady tone, and vibrating the floor with a constant frequency. It stayed that way for what felt like a very long time, and I didn't know whether to be thankful for it or not, as it was merely procrastinating what was to come.
That serene moment was then abruptly interrupted when a fat bolt of lightning was ejected from the reactor. It struck the center of the room, where I almost immediately noticed a small white ball of light. It hovered about three feet from the floor and did not rock or sway about. It was firmly planted in that one spot.
Soon another bolt was released, striking the orb, which grew to about the size of a softball. It was flickering visibly at that point, but before we could analyze it more, it was struck again. That time it was struck by two at once and grew significantly.
I glanced at the others, and they were all petrified. Had they not been illuminated by the orb, they would have naturally appeared very pale. With every startled jump from the lightning they became more white from the growing threat in front of them.
Jacobs was a statue. He stared forward unflinchingly. His expression the one of someone who was finally facing a challenge that had long been anticipated. His brow was straight and his eyes did not stray from the orb. Part of me wanted to talk to him, but we were past the point of discussion. That was the real Adam Jacobs in that moment, cold and unmoving until the bitter end. It showed that I never actually knew him before. His true self was dormant until it was needed. A decision maker, a machine, buried under a warm and approachable facade.
The orb was under a hail of lightning. It was around the height of a person and spinning extremely fast. It made an unusual noise. Under the electronic buzz it sounded like tribal drums being played very rapidly, but with a phasing effect. Like a pulsar. I could feel the concussive force of it in my chest and its painful volume in my ears. It was far louder than the reactor or the lightning and was getting louder and louder by the second.
As if it had caught fire the ground underneath the orb spewed silky black smoke up into it, staining its brilliant white glow. As it whipped along its surface the orb gradually faded to grey and shrunk in size, and as it became saturated by blackness it collapsed into a pillar. In its center a small amber aura lingered. 
I swallowed as the light lazily flowed up towards the top of the small black tornado. The orange haze split in two and flashed with neon intensity. They were perfectly round, and precisely aligned with us.
Then under no command whatsoever, the large guard by the name of Roger unleashed a burst of gunfire at the apparition. The others hunched down and distanced themselves from the guard as an attempt to not be targeted with him. He had the same smile on his face as when he shot the official. A smug condescending sneer that almost said more about him than his actions. He believed that he had been the smart one who fixed everything with indiscriminate gunfire.
The bullets passed through the haze and impacted the wall behind it, leaving it completely unaffected. Its two orbs were pointed at Roger and it stared at him for a few seconds. Then it laughed. It was a sinister, foreboding guffaw that even made Roger take a step back.
"Ok, fine, if you want it that way." it chimed.
The eyes vanished into the black smoke and flew at us like a cannonball. No one had enough time to react, including one staff member who was directly in its path. He was hit in the chest. 
Those who could react in time lunged out of the way, while those who couldn't checked on the man. He was knocked back a few feet from the impact, and seemed to be fine. We dismissed him for a few moments, and searched the room for the black haze. It was no where to be seen. 
"Oh my god..."
Jacobs had found it. His index finger led to the staff member, who was starting to twitch and spasm. Orange light pooled into his eyes while he let out a long and guttural groan. 
Disturbed and babbling workers dispersed from the zombie like staff member. I could hear one of them call his name over and over, but I fail to recall what it was. 
Roger was quickly approaching the staff member, and like before, I could see he did not intend to deal with the situation in any way other than bluntly. This time was different though, we had to act fast.
Roger's G36 did not break its alignment with the staff member's face as he forced his way through. But before he could make a shot that wouldn't result in collateral damage, the staff member had changed. He wasn't convulsing anymore, he was smiling. It was a friendly smile that seemed to catch everyone off guard. Roger stopped dead in his tracks, but still placed the muzzle of the rifle right between the staff member's massive orange irises.
"What's going on? Do you feel anything?" Roger demanded.
The staff member tilted his head like a curious dog, still smiling.
"I'm sorry, I can't hear you. Talk louder please." he said, in the kindest delivery possible.
Roger squinted, and his hand twitched, eager to scratch the back of his neck.
"You cant hear?!" I shouted.
The staff member cupped his hand to his ear and leaned towards me wearing that same inhumanly perfect smile.
I felt a lump in my throat and wave of nausea that threatened whatever small amount of food I had left in me. It was something about the way he moved, the way he talked, it was so wrong. The others were shouting to communicate with him, but he never gave them an answer. He just kept saying, "Louder please". The hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end. I could feel that there was something devious happening there, but I had no idea what it was.
Then, the amber eyed staff member cut off someone trying to communicate. His kind smile fell flat, and he pointed upwards.
Above us all was an assembly of cables. Their dark silhouettes were only revealed by the pink light that illuminated them from one side. Without the sound of raised voices, hissing, and the hum of their electronics could be heard clearly. They swayed, but were precisely placed and poised to strike.
The staff member sneered, and his voice turned hoarse as he spoke. It was twisting and morphing into another.
"Gotcha. Time to clean up."
The cables struck down on us in a flurry of twisting metal. No one had time to react, they were upon us so quickly that hardly a shout was emitted. I felt the tight embrace of an entwined cable grind against my bones and whip my skin as it wrapped around me, carrying me upwards. The force was so intense that I nearly passed out, and my fear struggled to keep me conscious. I could see the room spinning, punctuated by a pink or amber streak across my vision. 
Somewhere in all that, I must have blacked out. Because the next thing I knew, I was upright and about halfway up the height of the room. My head was throbbing with pain, and I could hear faint screaming in the background. Everything was blurry and I had whiplash, but I needed to know where I was. It felt like tendons were snapping as I forced my head back. Above me was one of the giant metal arches I was observing before. The curved glass tube of blue gas was shining with much more intensity than it used to have. It was rattling the entire structure from the sheer power inside it.
I was still constricted by the cable, as it became evident when it restricted me from hyperventilating. I heard screaming. Its sickening pitch stabbed my eardrums. I looked around wide eyed and fueled by instincts alone.
"Oh god, what..?"
Cables hung all around the room, and from each one a worker swayed in their own personal cocoon. Most of them were struggling to escape but were making no progress. One of the cocoons did not contain a person. A grey mass was all that remained in its clutches. I watched as it deteriorated and became darker and darker until it eventually collapsed into ash and fell through the tendrils. At that point I had realized that the screaming had stopped.
I could hear shouting below. It was Roger, and he appeared to be the only one who wasn't captured. His gun was missing from his hands but his fists were prepared and ready to fight. 
"Come on! Are you gonna fight or what?! You wanted me, so let's get this shit over with!"
The smaller, orange eyed staff member was walking across the room; about twenty feet from Roger. He did not break eye contact with him as he strolled over to one of the machines. It was a broken machine. Smoke and fire poured from its vents but the staff member showed no fear and grabbed a searing hot pipe on its side.
Horror registered on Rogers face as the staff member ripped the pipe off of the machine. The entire room flashed yellow as the sheared pipe spewed out a vicious belch of burning gas and consumed the staff member. A gleaming crescent smile pierced the flames, and the prevailing blackness of his pupils remained as flesh and hair baked around them. He then tossed the red hot pipe into the air and caught it by the end. 
Roger showed no confidence in himself but stood in place while the smoldering demon approached. He took only a step back and raised his fists to fight. He wasn't the brightest man I've met, but he had to have known that he didn't stand a chance. His eyes couldn't decide what to look at. Nothing could bring him solace, not with those eyes, that smile, or that red hot pipe.
Roger began to backpedal when the yellow light of the figure's flames danced at his feet. The steel nerved guard became desperate. I never thought I would get to see it happen.
The staff member raised the molten pipe in his blackened hand, high above his head. His eyelids were burned off, but the blood lust in his eyes was sincere
"Please! PLEASE DON-"
In a streak of red, the pipe was brought down on Roger.  He was struck with such force that he did not merely fall over, he was thrown down to the ground in place of where he once stood. The pipe left its mark as a burning silhouette on his left shoulder and back. He did not make a noise. He just laid there.
I cringed and looked away at the sight as the staff member raised the pipe once again. Roger was by no means a good human being, but I couldn't bear to see the merciless beating he was receiving. I heard it and felt it though. With each mighty swing, there was a whoosh followed by a sickening crunch. I could feel the impacts in my chest. The blows were delivered in a slow rhythm, dragging out poor Roger's torment. 
Then the screaming returned from nowhere. I opened my eyes and was exposed to a disturbing vision. At the end of one of the cables a worker was struggling. Black smoke was pouring from his body as he shook in his restraints. In a matter of moments his voice weakened until it eventually withered away. His body turned a charred black and fell apart as the cables released their grip. When the final speck of ash had fallen, the blue glow vanished from the arch, and the cable hung as it always had. It appeared so benign despite the atrocity it had committed. 
"There's no pattern to it Allen. If you want to live you have to act soon."
The next cable over from me, Jacobs was hanging upside down and fighting to escape. He somehow managed to cling to his assault rifle and held it sideways, preventing the cable's grip on his waist from advancing.
"I thought you were accepting death?" I replied.
"Yeah, I accepted that something like this could happen, but it doesn't mean I won't fight to survive."
I nodded my head up towards the arches.
"Do you see that blue gas canister?"
He could only nod before I continued.
"Those things appear to be what gives the cables the ability to be physically manipulated. If I could get a shot at it, and destroy it, we might be let go."
Jacobs shook his head and scowled.
"Out of the frying pan and into the fire, huh? Then we'd have to deal with him."
I looked down at the horrorshow below.
The staff member was no longer beating Roger. He had grabbed him by the back of the neck and was dragging his mangled body across the floor. With no hair, and burns over his entire body, the staff member was no longer recognizable as the man he once was. 
He pulled the shattered remains of Roger up mid stride to show him where he was being taken. I was shocked to see that Roger was still alive, because his body was utterly smashed beyond function. It was as if he was struck by a train. He was not bleeding visibly despite the enormous damage to his body, as each wound was cauterized in its own creation. His wandering eyes showed that he was conscious, and when he saw what he was being led to, his expression showed that he was also still capable of strong emotion.
The two were at the base of another mechanical monolith, and the staff member was making it clear that there was a message to be sent. A large electrode protruded from a console at Roger's face. His eyes were dead set on the ends of its prongs, and it responded by taunting him with an arc of electricity a foot from his nose.
The staff member twisted Roger's head towards his ghoulish face. He took in every last inch of his petrified visage and his smile grew. As Roger watched, the staff member's body grew dark. Flesh burned and sloughed off of skull and bone and fell onto the floor. Fallen chunks evaporated into black smoke and returned to the figure's body, rebuilding it. The only things that remained through it all were those orange eyes. They were soulless, merciless, and full of hate.
Roger tried to struggle the best he could as the new figure assembled itself. The very hand that held him up by the neck was skeletal until it was sheathed in a new layer of flesh. Dark grey clothing took form around skin, and metal rings manifested from thin air. On the chest of the figure, the number two was emblazoned in black stitching. It then withdrew a deep breath before speaking.
"Remember me?"
Roger let out a choked gasp as the subject twisted his head away. He shimmied his grip up to the back of Roger's head and yanked it up to his face. He then whispered something in Roger's ear that I could not hear.
Before he could even attempt to say anything in response the subject swung him down at the machine's console with an extreme amount of force. With a squeak of metal on bone, the guard's head was driven all the way to the base of the electrode. I jolted in repulsion of the ruthless act. As blood trickled from his unseen face, and while he performed his last muscular reflexes, an arc of electricity climbed to the end of the prongs and dissipated.  
The subject didn't do much to celebrate. He stared with no emotion at Roger's body. Every few moments another arc would be sent through Roger's brain and he would twitch. The very last scrap of his life was prolonged in the form of those brief, hideous movements. The smile returned to the subject's face. He then waved a very short goodbye to Roger, mouthing out the words, "Bye bye".
Then there was a sudden gunshot. It was followed by a hiss and a violent explosion that rocked me to the side. I had to shut my eyes to protect them from the cascade of sparks that fell, but I could open them in time to see the cable next to me go slack, and see Jacobs plunging down. On the way, he gripped the cable in an attempt to slow his descent, but he lost his grip halfway down. He landed hard on his side, and I could hear the crack of his head hitting the floor. He didn't move after impact.
I would have never anticipated it, but I panicked in fear for Jacobs' life. It was all too much to take, too much death. I was about to shout to him, but I held back. I knew in the back of my mind that it would be a terrible idea to attract the subject's attention, especially when he was no longer preoccupied with murder. But he was looking at Jacobs, observing his lack of movement, determining whether he needed to finish him off. Shouts of pain and fear echoed in the background as another soul was processed unseen. 
The subject panned up from Jacobs to me. I tried my best to show no fear, no incentive to kill me next, no potential pleasure. Our eyes locked, and the memory of every interaction we've ever had shot through my brain like electricity. This was the same person I met a month before, the same person who I conversed with and tried to comfort. He became a monster, and was about to take me next.
"What are you doing to them?!"
Both the subject and I looked in the direction of the voice. Nearly hidden in the shadows of the back wall, the first subject was staring at the second and the burning, writhing figure above.
"WHY?! Why do we deserve this?" she yelled.
The second subjects eyes locked onto her her like a vice, challenging her command, and she hugged her limbs tighter. She didn't turn away, but she shrunk into the darkness even more.
The second subject lingered in one spot, staring at her. Then he started to walk.
"Why?" he muttered.
The second grew fidgety as he approached. Her eyes analyzed every inch of his body.
"Y-yes...why?...please don-"
"You don't"
"We...We don't...deserve this?"
"You are all information" he droned.
"If information is to be kept, it must have a use. Brains hold information. They collect everything they can whether we want them to or not."
"Progress must be made. But memories...get in the way. Memories are information."
The first subject whimpered. The second was getting very close.
"What progress? I don't *gasp* know what y-you're talking about!"
The second subject halted and swayed. 
"What!?" she yelled in desperation. Her hands were up as a vain attempt to hold him back. 
The entire room did something hard to visually describe. It fizzled and blurred, almost like television static. For one moment, I recieved a glimpse of the real power room.
The subject jerked violently away from the first, and staggered about. He struggled to walk as if he was in a strong current. He threw his head back and unleashed an explosive scream.
The first subject was startled by the burst as the other clawed and punched himself in the head. He spouted obscenities as he pounded himself relentlessly.
"No more! NO MOOOORE!!! You won't get me to kill one more!!"
The subject's orange eyes dimmed more and more as he continued fight himself, but the mighty reactor at the end of the room grew in intensity. The subject had plenty more energy to beat himself up but instead turned to face the machine. A strange voice sliced through the air. It sounded artificial, yet as harsh as the sound of shattering glass.
"It is not killing. You will continue." 
The reactor lit up with every syllable.
"Shut the fuck up!" the subject snarled.
"Memories hold us back. Memories are information. They are information"
The subject directed all of his fury at the reactor and pointed at it in defiance. 
"I won't kill them!! I refuse!" he spit.
"It is not killing. You will continue."
The subject screamed in rage again. I could feel my sympathy for him well up inside me. He was human after all, burdened by the words of the machine, driving him mad.
"Delete" the reactor droned.
"Allow the darkness access."
The subject grabbed the bloodied pipe off of the floor and threw it at the reactor. 
"I'd rather die!"
The pipe impacted the reactor and bounced off, shooting into the obscuring darkness of the room. A mere clang was all that resounded.
"You cannot destroy your instincts. I am you in every sense now. I am your hatred for me. I am myself. I am you."
The ungodly machine paused, processing.
"Give in, and allow the darkness access."
The subject flinched at the last statement. He tensed up as if he was bracing himself for the words.
"Give in, and allow the darkness access."
"Give in, allow the darkness access. Delete."
The subject went silent. Nothing in the world could make him take his eyes off of the reactor. I noticed that the orange light was returning to them.
"Allow the darkness access. Delete."
"Don't let it win. Please." a small voice said.
The subject looked over his shoulder at the first subject. His mouth was quivering and he was starting to tear up. He was defeated before he could fight.
"Allow the darkness access. Delete."
"I'm so...I'm so sorry. I'm gone." he stuttered.
As if it were liquid, the amber glow flooded into his irises again. He shut his eyes immediately and started to shake his head from side to side. The reactor bathed him in pink light as it spoke.
"That wasn't hard. Now, delete."
"I won't kill them." he muttered. His voice was dull and monotone.
"No, you won't. You will delete them."
The subject stood for a moment before speaking up again. What he said made my heart sink.
"So...just two or three left? Not so bad I guess."
"Can't hurt much more than I do now."
The machine repeated the word in a constant rhythm. It did not relent. The word was actually getting burned into my brain. The delivery, the repetition, it could be considered torture if you were exposed long enough. The word seemed to decay with each repeat, slowly descending into a horrendous digital crunch. As what felt like minutes went by the subject's eyes became vacant and soulless. They were perfectly aligned, yet focused on nothing.
"Are you okay?" the petrified girl whispered.
"Oh..." he sighed.
The subject snapped violently. He twisted his head like a psychotic puppet and stared daggers at her. He brandished his trademark smile. It spread like an oil slick across his face. Its intimidation factor was a weapon in its own right.
"TALKING!!!" he barked.
The first subject jolted. I was far away, but I could see her pupils dilate. She was fixated on those mad, mad, eyes.
"I'll have to delete that. That memory will go, all the way back to the source. Delete...delete delete. That will fix everything."
"Don't get any closer."
"Isn't it funny how memories used to preserve people?" he mused. 
"...to preserve their souls beyond the grave? Now they make them die. They make them disappear. Isn't that kinda funny?"
The first subject was frozen in place. Her eyes were wide with absolute horror. Her slowly advancing fate had been played out just minutes before in graphic detail. The dread she felt must have been debilitating. She had no where to go, no hope to salvage. The monster in front of her fought to save her from himself, and he lost.
I had to do something, anything to try and save her. All I had control of was my voice.
"Don't talk to him!! He won't kill you if you don't create a strong memory!"
I didn't believe in it entirely. I was pulling straws.
"Oh, too late." the subject replied snidely.
The first subject began to hyperventilate, and forced herself firmly against the wall.
"P-please, I wanna go h-home."
The subject lit up with sadistic joy. He strolled up and blanketed her in his shadow, nearly causing her to pass out. She started shaking as she looked past him and into oblivion.
"What a sentiment."
The subject quickly looked up to me, and then returned his attention to her.
"There is more to a memory than words. The weight of the situation, the emotion, the way you're looking at me now. Terrified."
She didn't respond. She continued to shake and try to avert his gaze.
"Details, but not important. No use to them. When you have no concept of the past you see everything in the present. There are no preconceptions of your surroundings and no energy is wasted. It is perfect efficiency. You understand everything. Every falling dust particle, every breath, every heart beat."
The first subject's eyes darted around the room, searching for an escape.
"You could have done this. You are burdened by unnecessary information that needs to be destroyed. Processing is our purpose...my purpose...but you are getting in the way...my way." 
Black smoke began to collect around his hands.
"Your memory is unnecessary to me."
The first subject wailed before bursting off to the side, very much to the surprise of the second. She sobbed as she ran, overwhelmed by the situation she had been thrust into. For a moment I wondered what she could have possibly been planning to do, but as she leapt over the field of bulled riddled dead, I noticed that a G36 was still lying in the open. 
The second's cocky demeanor vanished, and he bound after her. The first subject sensed this, and looked over her shoulder, blinding herself to the cable on the floor. Before I could warn her, it had already snapped taut and caught her leg, causing her to fall flat on her chest and knock the air out of her lungs. Wheezing and coughing, she stretched her arm out at the G36, but it was an arm's length too far away.
The second subject, confident in victory, slowed to a walking pace. 
"Useless fool."
Just as the her fingers brushed the stock, the shackled hand of the subject extracted the weapon from her, and with surgical precision, placed its muzzle to her face. Before she could even show a modicum of understanding for what was happening, he pulled the trigger without a second thought. My entire body clenched. I couldn't stomach another execution, and not one for someone so young.
The second burst into maniacal laughter, and stomped down hard on the first subject's chest, forcing out a hideous cough. 
"It's empty. I had already used this to its full potential earlier."
The subject dropped the G36, and with one hand, caught it by the stock.
"Well...maybe not its full potential."
The subject wound up with the adapted club in one hand, and brought it down at the first for the finishing blow.
The first sprung into alertness, and thrust her arms out at the G36 as it came down. Before it passed between her arms, a flash of blue-green light burst from her fingertips. The rifle ricocheted off of a phantom surface and threw the second subject off balance. 
The first was in a state of bewilderment, but before she could process what she had done, the subject was upon her with the "club" again. Confusion fueled his rage as he swung back over his head, and hammered down even harder.
The burst of pale light brilliantly encapsulated the first, and manifested as a transparent dome over her. The G36 smashed against it, shattering the stock, and sending broken plastic in all directions. The second, no longer compensating for the weight of the weapon, fell forward onto the shield of energy.
Quick thinking took hold of the first, and she kicked out at the second, breaking the barrier between them the moment before impact. The blow was more than enough to hold him back. The second was violently thrown backwards and slammed his back against a wall of guage clusters. A hail of glass splinters cascaded all around him.
As the second recovered and returned to his feet, the fear was fading from the first. She realized that she had a fighting chance. She glanced down at her hands, wondering, perhaps, what else they were capable of.
I didn't know what to think. It was good that I had a glimmer of hope for survival, but I would have to endure watching the two subjects fight. I would have to watch knowing that if she lost, I would too. It was easier to accept that it was all over, to let go of hope rather than cling to it.
The second was under intense concentration as he drew closer, analyzing every muscle twitch, calculating what her first move would be. His eyes narrowed, and the reactor started to dim, filling him with energy.
Like snakes, black smoke emerged from his wrist and extended outward. The first stared at the mysterious vapor as it began to materialize and form a vicious spectral blade. The razor sharp edge was solid, but the remaining majority was formed purely with shadowy roots.
The second did not speak as he zeroed in on the first, he was determined to ensure her destruction. She was the final obstacle. 
The second slashed the pestilent blade upwards, meeting the aquamarine barrier again. Its pale residue formed a trail on the tip of the shadow sabre, a glancing hit.
The first deflected several blows, but it seemed in that moment that it was all she knew how to do, and the stress in her face showed it. The second was edging her back with each attack, gradually cornering her into a space between two machines. 
The second stopped the blade mid swing to fake her out, but had done it too early. Without a shield deployed, the first found the agility to duck away from the second swing. Her heel ground against concrete as she swept the second's feet out from under him, toppling him down onto the floor.
The first was amazing herself with her abilities, but the second was rather less enthusiastic, and glared at her, eager to spill her blood.
While I was already stunned by the display of supernatural powers, I could hear something below me, something metallic. 
Jacobs was stirring. I wasn't sure before whether he had survived the fall, in fact I was surprised that he did. I didn't know why I cared about his life at all. I felt that his actions were deplorable, unforgivable, inhuman. I rationalized that caring about him was likely a knee jerk reaction from knowing him so long, even if he was hardly ever a true friend. It was probably because he was the closest thing to a friend that I had.
"Jacobs! You're okay!"
Jacobs rolled onto his back to look up to me, but it had shifted something inside him and he coughed. He wheezed and wiped his mouth off with the side of his hand. It became smeared with blood.
"No...*cough*...I'm not."
I didn't know how to respond to that, so I responded with silence.
"But...you were right. *cough*"
I prepared myself to hear what I was praying for.
"Right about what?" 
"The canisters."
My brain stumbled all over itself. It was good news, but then it wasn't what I expected to hear.
"Uhhhmm...yeah? They worked...in getting down? Shooting...I mean. By shooting them?" 
I stammered like a bumbling idiot.
"Yeah, it took *wheeze* one shot."
The G36 was on the floor, about ten feet from Jacobs. He noticed that I was looking at it and nodded to me.
"I'll shoot you down, but be...*cough*...prepared. Grip the cable tightly."
"Yes, do that." I cut in.
While Jacobs started crawling for the gun, I looked over at the subjects again. I gasped.
The second was advancing on the first, who was backpedaling. A new feature had introduced itself to the room. Protruding from the arm on the side of the reactor was a very long, winding cable. It snaked in and out of the darkness and behind the machines, winding and writhing for unseen reasons. Next to the second subject was its end, poised like a cobra. The metallic serpent met its end with a murderous scalpel-like blade. 
The tendril pushed off of the machinery and catapulted itself at the first subject. The first deployed a shield, but the impact was strong enough to throw her through the air. Dust kicked up in a circle as she struck the floor. The tendril followed her path like a snake. It then hovered over her before coiling up to strike again.
The first screamed and rolled to her left milliseconds before the blade was driven to its hilt in the concrete. It immediately ripped itself free, and struck down less than an inch from her throat as she rolled again. That time, as the blade was being pulled from the floor she ran towards one of the machines, nearly tripping on the cable on the floor again. 
The tendril struck again, but the first reacted quickly and with a leap she rotated mid air and deployed another shield. The blade hit at an odd angle and was deflected into a control panel, shattering some type of radar screen. The first was only knocked onto her backside, but before she got up again the sound of the struggling tendril beckoned her to peek over at it. 
With one solid jerk the tendril freed itself, ripping out various circuit boards and tubes in the process. It quickly thrashed the clutter off of its blade like a wild horse with a saddle on its back. With its regained agility it charged once again. The first pinned herself against the machinery to evade it but it didn't offer enough room.
The blade sliced across the first subject's forearm and into the cable on the floor, severing it from the machine. The tendril recoiled violently from the electrocution and flung itself all around the room. In its furious final throws the blade sliced through the steel panels of the machinery, unleashing a new surge of flames and sparks into the room. Soon the pale green light between its segments faded, and it collapsed onto the floor.
The second subject's face filled with rage. His eyes were mere slits as he charged at the first. She was becoming too much trouble for him. 
"Why won't you just fade away?!!" he screamed.
The first was in serious pain and was bleeding profusely, but she could still think quickly. With her good arm she snatched the severed cable off of the floor and shoved its sparking, frayed end out in front of her. 
Before the second was less than a foot away she jabbed it at him and an arc jumped from the cable and into his chest. The entire room vanished into white light.
As the second collapsed and convulsed on the ground, the first gave him no opportunity to recover and forced the cable onto his chest. The second opened his mouth to scream but he couldn't be heard over the series of explosive bangs produced by the journey of the electrons into his body. His eyes were completely filled with white light.
The room started to deconstruct. Darkness was replaced with sunlight, and the banks of machinery melded back into their original selves. Reality was prevailing, but the reactor wasn't surrendering. It still hung there as the rest of the room disintegrated. A god above everything else in the realm, it would be the last to die.
The first leaned in close over the second to hold him down, but unseen to her, his arm was raising.
The second found something in him, whether it was strength or willpower, and wrapped his fingers around the cable. The first panicked and put her entire body weight onto him. Unable to match her strength in his electrified state, the second gave up the fight for the cable and slammed his fist into her face. The blow brought the cable away from his chest and the darkness flooded back into normality. The first got knocked to the side, still holding on to the cable for dear life. Like a rabid animal, the second leapt on top of the first, sending them both into a roll.
Electricity flew again, but this time the room remained. The second had wrapped the cable around the first's neck, and with each roll its grip on her life tightened. He held the red hot strands of frayed metal firmly against the side of her head, ensuring that every surge made it into her brain. 
I nearly threw up as the second lowered his nose to hers and watched her twitch and spasm. His amber eyes peered into the white abysses of hers, watching the consciousness evaporate from her head. 
Then, after much too long - she was gone.

© Copyright 2017 Paganee. All rights reserved.


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