“I admit it,” I said. “I fucked up.”
Maxwell had no sympathy for me. I didn’t expect him to.
“You are telling me you had your powers readjust six times?” Maxwell asked Margaret.
Maxwell had no response. It was a mix of emotions, hearing this and seeing her treat it so casually.
“This,” he began, sighing. “This is serious. I can’t really let you all go. Not before, and not now.”
I relented. I didn’t want a scene to be the first thing, and it already was. Even the soldiers in the distance were tense.
Unperson restarted the conversation after a few seconds. “So, Ryan Anderson, Margaret Upton and Samantha…”
Samantha didn’t take the bait. She just stared at her, cautious.
“She’ll prefer to go by Samantha for now,” I said.
Unperson gave a curious look. “Let’s get you inside,” she said, leading the way. I followed, with Samantha tightly holding onto my hood still. Margaret walked alongside Maxwell, trying her best to get acquainted with an old friend.
Three Years Ago: Kingdom of New Austin.
“Ryan, you aren’t eating,” said Fractal. He was dull, everything wiped from his mind by Taker. Taker began to enjoy the boosts his power got, mainly the ability to use his powers without the touch requirement. I hated it. I couldn’t trust anyone.
I hated his sick joke of a reward.
“I don’t want to,” I said weakly. It still moved on the plate. unnerving.
“Ryan, if you don’t eat you’ll lose your strength,” said Fractal with no inflection at all. “You want to get out, right?”
There it was. The goading. I didn’t want to die here, neither did Event Horizon or Sacrifice. Taker abused this, used it to turn us against ourselves. I almost wanted to die, and every time that feeling reached its peak, Taker jumped on it. A cycle of torment.
Fractal put the plate down, just out of reach enough that I’d have to crawl over to get it.
“It’s only fair, it’s a treat,” he said. “She took yours, you take hers.”
It wasn’t like that, I thought. It wasn’t.
I hesitated, reaching out for the plate, shackles and chains clinging along the floor. I finally crawled over once it stopped beating.
“Good,” smiled Fractal, uncanny in his appearance. “Every last bit.”
I slowly took a bite down, blood spilling from Sacrifice’s heart into my mouth, down my hands. She probably grew a new one by the time I was given this. A new one for Event Horizon.
“Hey, what’s with the staring?” asked Unperson, waving a hand in my face.
“Sorry,” I said, my attention finally grabbed. “Daydreaming.”
She shrugged and sat down at the other side of the table, papers in hand.
“Shall we begin?” she asked.
“Can we hurry?” I asked back. I didn’t have time for this red tape. I had to check up on Samantha, too.
“We could just get somebody to read your mind out your range,” she said, stern.
“Fine. Here’s what I know; four members are left from the Hunting Party, one of them is effectively harmless. The kingdom is ruled by Taker, who has mind control powers,” I said, counting my fingers. I put my hand away under the desk. They were all back, but how they grew wasn’t a good memory.
“Sorry!” I said when I noticed her confused look at my actions.
“That’s all good,” she said, writing down some notes. “I’m more interested in you. You mentioned mind control. I don’t want to ass-“
“Assume I am under Taker’s thrall?” I finished for her.
I sighed. I didn’t know if I was, really. Three years for him to prod and poke at me, with my glaring weakness every time I was asleep or distracted combined with the things he did everyday to throw me off, to throw us off our balance…
I didn’t know. Maybe I broke down at some point and he patched me up, or he gave me a subliminal order for Trauma later on?
“Ryan?” I looked up. Unperson looked worried again.
“Your cloak fell down a little,” she pointed. I smiled and pulled it back up, covering my left shoulder.
“It’s not broken, right?” she asked.
“No,” I replied, brushing her concern off. “It’s healed. I don’t want to talk about this. So-“
Unperson interrupted my excuses. “You need help, Ryan.”
“I don’t,” I said, quieter. “I’m fine. This is irrelevant to the reason I’m in here anyway.”
They can’t prove I am or am not a sleeper agent, truth be told.
“I’ve told you what I know, or all the rele-“
“You didn’t tell us exactly what happened,” Unperson sighed. “We need that. Everything that happened, from the day you and Event Ho- The day you and Margaret had gone missing until the moment you le-“
I stood up and left the interrogation room, annoyed that I was asked to narrate what happened. I had to find Samantha, anyway. If she was being asked the same questions…
No. I ducked into a utility closet as several guards walked by, just avoiding their attention. Maybe she’s in the same hallway? That would be stupid. They’d separate us. Myself and Margaret have powers. Samantha would be assumed to have them. I took a glance into one of the rooms, my pace quickening when I didn’t see Samantha or Margaret.
No guards as I turned the corner, only a breeze knocking paper away behind me. Damn portable buildings.
Almost every room at least glanced at, and none of these portable offices have more than one floor. I went for the exit, nearly breaking out into a run. I reached my hand out for the do-
I tripped over and fell into a trash can in haste. A guard came out to look at where the noise came from, spotting me instantly.
“Hey,” He shouted, reaching for a gun or taser. “Stop!”
I didn’t have time for this.
The door was feet away from me, I charged at it, tossing the trash can at his direction with one arm making trash flying through the air and block his sight. I barged through the door and ran to the next building, the base kicking up in activity.