Shadaloo Legacy


#1

Prologue

Juni’s youthful face shows no emotion as she looks upon their target. She appears no older than sixteen. Her orange hair cut short with her bangs swept to the right side of her face and she is clad in a dark blue, form-fitting military uniform. With her are eleven girls clad in the same dark blue uniform. A number of them are armed with assorted weapons, ranging from spears to guns. Their dark forms streak across the floor to surround a single figure. In front of her is Cammy, wearing a similar outfit, but sky blue and with the legs left bare.

Cammy tenses as she looks around. All of them, including her, are enhanced soldiers. Any one of them is equal to an entire special forces team, and she is considered to be the best amongst them. But even she cannot take all of them at once.

“We don’t have to fight…” Cammy started to say.

“Exterminating subject,” A brunette to the side of Juni says with a flat tone. Her regular partner, Juli, hurls herself through the air with one leg extended.

Cammy dodges to the side, only to narrowly duck under a hatchet aimed at her head. It is attached to a rope that halts its flight. The rope is tied to the wrist of an indigenous American girl. She sports an identical hatchet tied to her left wrist. Noembelu pulls it back and sends the other hatchet flying through the air even before she has the one she threw back in her hands.

Cammy spins and parries it with a backfist, then blocks a staff swing from the pig-tailed Chinese girl Yanyu with her arm guards. The impact causes her to be pushed back. Her boots skids across the floor and it was all she can do keep her footing. She recovers, only to take quick steps backwards to keep away from lethal, spinning nunchucks of Jianyu, Yanyu’s counterpart. Her back touches the wall and the nunchucks hurtles for her head.

At the very last moment, Cammy ducks, narrowly dodging the nunchucks that knocks her uniform cap off her head. She sweeps Jianyu off her feet and then jumps over her. She curls into a ball spinning through the air towards where Yanyu is. Cammy spreads her legs to grab her at the waist for a Cross Scissors Pressure.

Once Yanyu is fully in the hold, they cartwheel sideways. Cammy keeps a grip on Yanyu’s shoulders as she bring her legs up between them. Then she plants her feet against her chest and kickslams her into the ground. Cammy bounces off the motionless Yanyu. But as as soon as her boots touches the ground, Cammy gets knocked off of them. She hits the floor heavily and Juli lands lightly on her feet near her.

Juni disappears from where she is, to reappear next to Yanyu. She glows blue as she uses Psycho Charge Alpha to heal Yanyu’s broken bones and bruises. The blue light of Psycho Power fades from both of them and a red-haired girl equipped with medical kit goes over to examine Yanyu. Juni leaves Aprile to take care of her and vanishes.

As Cammy lies on the floor trying to catch her breath, a shadow comes over her. She immediately rolls to the side. Sparks fly from where a pair of claws made contact with the floor. She ends in a defensive crouch that leaves her facing her attacker.

Decapre looks sideways at her. She looks similar to Cammy, if not for the black mask covering her faces and the triple-pronged claws on her gloves. She pulls her claws off the floor. Deep gashes are left behind. Suddenly, she dashes towards Cammy. Decapre brings her claws forward from her sides in a pincer move.

Cammy jumps forward and above Decapre to avoid the claws slashing towards where she was. Juni meets her in the air from behind Decapre with an upraised leg to kick Cammy in the face. It knocks her back down where Decapre kicks back with both feet up and hands planted on the ground.

Pain wracks Cammy’s body as she flies through the air. She manages to flip and land on her feet just in time to parry a sword about to decapitate her. Satsuki jumps back to avoid a side kick and hold her sword in front of her in a ready position. The other Dolls move in to surround Cammy. Looking around desperately for an opening, she starts running towards one of them.

Enero braces herself against Cammy. But being specialized in infiltration and communications, she lacks the level of fighting ability the others possessed. She tries to block a kick, only to discover it’s a feint when a hand choppes down on her forehead. Enero’s curly, pink rolls bounces on her head as she staggers around comically.

Cammy dodges a spear thrust from an African girl and grabs Enero to use her as a shield against a babboon leaping at her. She pushes them against the spear-wielding Santamu where they all collapsed in a heap.

“Please stop!” Cammy pleads. “Aren’t we teammates?”

She might as well have been talking to real dolls as none of them showed any reaction. She then sees something at the corner of her eye and moves reflexively. A shot rang out and a bullet hit her on the chest, barely missing her heart. The force is still enough knock her back.

“Target locked. Commencing AF-086.”

Fevrier aims her gun at Cammy and fires off multiple rapid shots. Shadaloo’s best sharpshooter, she scores a hit with each shot. Cammy’s reflexes is only able to prevent them from being fatal.

Cammy dives behind some computer equipment. She leans back against it gasping for air. Blood flows from multiple wounds. Every breath is a struggle. Above her, a hatch opens. She looks up and her eyes widens as she stares down the end of a turret gun. She immediately leaps away as it fires. It riddles the computer equipment she was hiding behind with bullet holes.

Behind Fevrier, Marz operates the turret guns from a computer terminal. Like Enero and Aprile, she specializes in non-combat skills. The guns create a path of destruction across the room as they swivel to follow after Cammy.

Cammy runs randomly in every direction. It is all she can do to avoid certain death from the deadly turrets. She realizes that she’s eventually tire if this keeps up. Gathering her strength, she leaps up high. She spins in a ball until she touches the ceiling. Everything appears to slow down as she surveys the scene below her in an upsidedown squatting position. It is automatically processed in her mind, conditioned by Shadaloo training. In the next instant, she explodes into action.

Killer Bee Assault!

Cammy pushes off the ceiling to send herself hurtling towards Marz, who looks up and gets knocked out by a flying kick to the head. She goes through until she touches a surfaces, only to ricochet back. Another kick sends Fevrier turning towards her to the ground. She redirects to hit Satsuki in the same manner. Decapre reacts and only manages to clip the end of one of her pigtails while she is passing by. Finally, she bounces off a wall once more towards Juli’s back. However, Cammy doesn’t get to finish when her partner suddenly appears in her path.

Juni blocks Cammy attack with a shield of Psycho Power that sends her flying back harmlessly. She leaps forward, then suddenly altering her direction to dive down at Cammy with an outstretched leg. Cammy dashes back to avoid it and immediately twists her body to spiral forward feet first. Juni jumps back avoid it and alter her direction mid-air in that impossible way to counter with her own Spiral Arrow.

Cammy looks up and takes Juni’s attack in full. She is sent flying back. Rolling with the hit, she pushes off against the ground and flips back to her feet. She attempts another Spiral Arrow. When her feet didn’t make contact, she brakes with one leg to the side. Continuing her momentum, she rises into the air with one leg up, assuming that Juni’s in the air. She looks to find that Juni is gone. While flipping in the air, she sees that Juni is behind her. Finishing her flip, she lands facing forward in time to see a fist flying towards her.

Juli grabs the stunned Cammy. Juni appears to the other side of her. Together, they proceed to shower Cammy with a barrage of hits, ending with flying kicks that sends them past each other. Cammy spins around and somehow remains standing. Juni teleports next to Cammy and grabs her. She lifts her into the air in arolling hold and finishes it with by slamming Cammy to the ground.

Juni gets off of Cammy’s still form. Looking down at her, she feels sense of remorse. This immediately fades to the back of her mind.

“Well done!” commends a man floating behind Juni. She steps to the side as her master moved closed to loom over Cammy. She looks up to him.

“W-why?”

“You are a worthless defect,” Bison replied. “You became aware of yourself. Now, you are useless to me.” This sends a twinge of guilt through Juni that quickly fades away to the back of her mind. She watches impassively as Bison blasts her with his Psycho Power. Cammy screams in pain. “You should have stayed mindless like the rest of my Dolls.”

“Are we…no more than…dolls…to you?” Cammy gasps.

“Well, you my dear, are a little more special.”

Juni feels a hint of jealousy at those words. Special. The word floated through her the surface of her mind amidst the dream-like fog covering her mind.

“You were created with the honor of being my next host body. However…” His hand glows with Psycho Power, ready to channel another surge. “…your self-awareness has become a problem that I intend to correct!”

Bison blasts her again, sending her flying to slam against the wall. He closes in with the intent to finish her off when the alarm suddenly sounds. He looks at a monitor and sees two men and a woman. They separated and went off in two different direction.

“I see we have some guests!” Bison announces. “Looks like you’ll live a little longer.”

“Your enhanced metabolism has shortened your life span,” Bison turns away. “I’ll be dealing with them myself”

“You can die now, at my command.”

These words sears into Juni’s mind and drives a dagger into her heart. Her mind reels, stunned at what she just heard her master, her Sir Bison, said. She watches as he moves to leave the room.

Die?

Behind the mask of one of Bison’s Dolls is a soul that truly cares about her master, adores him. She is willing to do anything for him. Because of this, she didn’t resist the conditioning that turned her into an enhanced soldier, that took away control over her body. It didn’t matter to her, as long as she can stay at the side of Sir Bison.

You want me to die?

But now, now she is unwanted. Unneeded. The conscious part that until now had been content is struggling to cope with this realization.

Why? Why? Why?

“Irregular metabolism. Diagnosing… unknown condition. Cause is Bison. Target identified as a threat.”

Juni’s consciousness is in turmoil. But even as it threatens to break down, none of them shows in her expressions. She is a Doll. An enhanced soldier. A living weapon. Her face is a blank slate and her body steady, forged through malicious brainwashing, extreme training, artificial augmentations, and infusions of Psycho Power.

Class A emergency. Class A combat status activated! Juni hears herself say. The others echo her and they all prepare to attack.

“Interesting! You would dare to rise up against me?” Bison exclaims.

“Your will to survive is strong. Very well, I’ll destroy as a reward for your services!” At that, all the Dolls except for those who haven’t recovered from Cammy’s assault rushes Bison.

Decapre leads in with quick swipes. He catches both of her arms and plants his foot on her. He lifts her with that leg and brings her down on the incoming Yanyu. Satsuki comes in with an overhead slash which he catches with a glowing hand. Blasting her away, Bison slides forward in a leaning back pose and sweeps Enero and Aprile off their feet. Catching a hatchet thrown at him, he pulls at the rope tied to it and proceeds to hammer Noembelu down with an overhead fist.

Santamu thrusts her spear Bison. Her monkey clinging on the end of the spear leaps at him with fangs and claws bared. An annoyance at the most for Bison as he easily swats the spear aside and catches the monkey. He jumps up and stomps on Santamu’s head and uses it as a boost up. He reaches the apex of his jump and dives down with the monkey held in glowing hands in front of him to knock Santamu down. Then he disappears and bullets whizz harmlessly through where he was.

Fevrier looks around quickly to locate where he is. To the left of her, Marz screams. The Psycho Crusher barrels through her like a human torpedo spearheading a wave of force that continues on to wards Juli and the rest of the Dolls.

Juni brings up her shield to guard against the onslaught. The lights from the clash between her Psycho Shield and Bison’s Psycho Crusher suffuse her entire vision as she musters her strength to oppose the wave of energy. It pushes her aside and continues on past. The light fades away and just like that, she is the only one left standing.

In front of her, Bison wears a smug grin. He moves over to her confident in his victory. Despite the danger she’s in, Juni is struck by a sudden sense of nostalgia that overcomes her Shadaloo programming. A memory of a time past rises up in her mind:

Juni goes down the steps of the stairs. Her footsteps echo through the empty halls of her all-girls school. It was the beginning of the summer holidays and most of the students are out enjoying their vacation. She came back only to gather some things and is now leaving so she can get back to hers.

Walking through hall, Juni rounds a corner and sees the principal down the hall coming out of the office talking to two men. She steps back to hide behind the wall, though she don’t know the reason why, since the principal is very friendly to the students. Peering around the corner, she looks at who the visitors are.

One of them is a very handsome man with long blonde hair. He appears like some kind of prince. But it wasn’t him that draws Juni’s attention. It was the other man. He doesn’t appear very attractive, but there’s a presence to him that mesmerizes her. They appear to be finished talking to the principal and who shakes their hand and goes back in the office. As if sensing her, he turns to look straight at her. He motions her over.

Juni timidly comes out and walks slowly towards them. She keeps her eyes on the ground, unable to meet that gaze that’s making her feel self-conscious. Somehow, she knows that he finds it quite amusing.

“Hello, dear girl.” the man greets Juni when she stopped in front of him. She peeks at him from her bowed head and finds herself unable to look away. He smiles at her. She could feel his confidence behind it. “What’s your name?”

“Juni.”

“Hello, Juni,” the man says. “My name is Bison.”

“Hello, Sir Bison,” Juni replies respectfully. Saying his name causes her to blush and she drops her eyes down again.

“You appear to be a smart girl, Juni. Your principal says one of the brightest in this school, in fact.” Bison remarks. “I have need for talented girls like yourself. Would you like to come with me?”

Bison holds out his hand. Juni looks at it and raises her eyes to meet his. Without thinking about it, the first such decision for her, she nods and lays hers on top of it. From the depths of her heart, she knows that she wants her entire life to be at his side.
*

As Juni stands there with her guard down, lost in her memories, Bison slows down. He approaches cautiously. Sensing no hostility from her, he observes her for a moment.

“What’s this?” Bison asks. “You’re not going to resist?”

Juni looks up to him and nods.

“Aren’t you a good girl,” Bison muses. He reaches out a hand to her neck. “You’ve always been the obedient one, weren’t you, Juni?”

Juni closes her eyes. Her body is relaxed as Bison slowly chokes the life out of her. This is what he commands. To her, who dedicated her life to him, she will not disobey it. A tear rolls down her cheek. Her only regret is that she will not be able to stay at his side.

Fight!

Juni’s eyes pop open.

You must fight!

Juni realizes that she is hearing Cammy’s voice screaming at her. Not just hearing it, but feeling it as well. She feels a link to the Psycho Drive connecting her to Cammy, and to the other Dolls as well. All the pain, the suffering of their trapped consciousness flows through the link to her. With it is the energy from the Psycho Drive.

“What?! The power of the Psycho Drive is weakening?” Bison looks at it with concern. His eyes fall upon the Dolls and realizes what they’re doing. “You… how could something disposable like you… I thought I was the only who could control it?!”

Cammy shakily gets up. Around her, the other Dolls are recovering as well. Taking advantage of the Shadaloo programming that made them oppose Bison, she manages to awaken their consciousness against him, at least partially. Now, they’re taking control of the Psycho Drive.

“He is not your master!” Cammy calls out to them, mentally as well as with her voice. “Fight! Free yourselves!”

Juni hears/feels Cammy’s voice/thoughts. The thoughts and feelings flowing through the link confuses her. She doesn’t want to fight Bison. But for every “no”, many “yes” comes from the others. Eventually, she feels herself getting caught up with them. She feels anger, rage, and most of all, the desire to live.

Bison looks around in alarm. He feels something grab his arm and looks at Juni. Eyes glowing with concentrated Psycho Power meets his. Gone was the loyal Juni, replaced by a gestalt of the Dolls. Through her, they are one.

Their avatar focuses their energies into one hand. It glows brightly and is raised up to Bison. His eyes widen as he realizes what’s about to happen.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Bison is sent blasting back to slam against a wall and drops to the ground. His body is smoking as he slowly gets up. He looks in futile rage at the avatar.

“You…I misjudged you,” Bison snarls at Juni, not realizing that Juni had been taken over. “I thought that you were loyal to me.”

“But it’s too late for you! You don’t have much time left to live. Don’t ever dream that you could live as a human!”

Bison flees the room. Juni remains standing for a moment, then collapses as all the energy that was concentrated leaves her. She holds herself, trembling at what she has done.

“Sir… Sir Bison…”

Around her, all the other dolls have fallen unconscious when they channeled their energies into Juni. Now, they’re waking up. They get up in confusion, free from the Shadaloo mind control and from Bison threat, but not from danger. Their attempt to control the Psycho Drive have pushed their bodies to the limit. Cammy staggers over to them.

“…Where…am I? Who are you?” asks one of them.

“I’m Cammy. I’m an enhanced soldier like yourselves.” Cammy replies. “Listen, your body cells are on the verge of exploding!”

“What…do you mean?”

“You’re in danger. To stop it, we have no choice but to use that machine.” Cammy goes over to the Psycho Drive. “Hurry! There’s not much time left!”

Unsure of themselves but driven by the urgency in Cammy’s voice, they hurried over to the Psycho Drive. Those that were injured are helped by the others. Juli goes over to Juni to help her up. Juni, with no will left in her, allows herself to be lead away. One by one, with Cammy operating it, they disappear into the pillar of energy until only she is left. Once they’re healed by the Psycho Drive and safely transported away, Cammy sinks to the ground.

“Everything is going to be okay…,” Cammy sighs. “They will survive…and live…”

Cammy slips into unconsciousness. A shadow from a corner of the Psycho Drive room moves and a masked man stepped out.

“That…was quite a drama,” Vega remarks. He goes over to Cammy. and ponders over her. “Bison’s host body…substitute…she could be reborn as…Well, that could have interesting possibilities too…”

Vega muses over this development. He looks around the Psycho Drive room. Then he looks back down at Cammy.

“All I need is a beautiful and strong opponent. Doesn’t matter who it is.” Vega removes his mask from his handsome face and places it over Cammy. “Come with me, beautiful soldier.”

Carrying her in his arms, he leaves the Psycho Drive room. The door slides shut behind him. Silence fills the chamber.


#2

Part 1: Is it possible to turn back?

Chapter 1

Charlene’s eyes opens. She sits up and blinks sleepily. She feels like she had a bad dream. She remains on her bed trying to remember it, but gives up after a few minutes. She groggily goes to the bathroom. Her phone rings, so she brings it inside with her.

“Hello?” Charlene sounds like she’s still half-asleep.

“Charlene! What are you doing?! It’s already 7:30!” shrieks a voice over the phone.

“What?” Charlene checks the time on her cellphone. “Ohmigod, ohmigod…”

A racket can be heard through the house Charlene hurries to get herself ready. It’s a mad scramble as she goes through her room trying to get all the things she needs. Stuff fly as she looks through her messy room. Assorted things goes in her bag and clothes go on. She makes a last check on herself in the mirror and fluffs her pink curls a bit. In a few minutes, her bedroom door opens and and she comes running out into the dining room.

“G’Morning Mom!” Charlene kisses her mother on the cheek. She grabs some food from the table and heads out the door. “Bye Mom!”

“What, no kiss for me?” Her father asks with a smile.

“No!” Charlene retorts over her shoulder and slams the door shut behind her, inciting a chuckle from him. Her parents looks at their daughter with a sense of gladness. It wasn’t that long ago since she was found last year after being lost for nearly two years. When she is unable to remember anything during the period that she was gone, they were worried that she might have suffered some permanent harm. But except for her amnesia and improved athletic abilities, it appears that she have survived relatively unscathed. Their only wish now is to make up for lost time and hope for their daughter’s future.

Charlene is running as soon as she is out the door. She gives a quick “Good Morning!” to their next door neighbor as she passes by. She navigates through the narrow roads leading from her home. She cuts through a park and follows the trail for a while. Then she veers off the trail when she gets to a bench under a lamppost with a dent to its side where she collided with it in an accident a few months after she was found. She goes straight through the woods until she gets to a fence a moment later. In a single bound, she gets over the fence and lands on the other side.

Past a few trees is a small river. Charlene speeds up as soon as gets through them. Although relatively small, the river is still easily 10 meters across. Her foot hits the edge of its shore and inthe next moment, she is soaring through the air.

Charlene touches lightly at the other side. Without a second thought, she is off and running again. Anyone else would have been astounded at this superhuman feat. She might have noticed it herself if she gives much thought to the things she do. But never one to worry about small details, these things come so naturally to her that it never so much as crossed her mind. Only the fact that she somehow got through her life without attracting outside attention makes this possible.

A few more moments and Charlene is out of the woods and coming up to the high brick walls surround her school. She leaps up and start running vertically. She grabs the ledge when she reaches the top to haul herself up and over. Landing down, she looks around quickly. No signs of the faculty anywhere.

Keeping an eye out, Charlene sneaks through the school and makes her way to her class. She carefully slides the door open and peeks through. It appears that the teacher haven’t arrived.

“Good morning, Charlene.”

Charlene heart skips a beat when she hears it. The teacher is right behind her. Caught in the act.

“Eh heh, morning Ms.Gerards,” Charlene says sheepishly.

“Really now, Charlene,” Ms.Gerards shakes her head. “Can’t you at least be early for today? Just go to your seat.”

Charlene complies immediately before she changes her mind. The teacher starts taking roll. Charlene feels a tap on her shoulder and leans back.

“Hey, are you going to be practicing with the band today?” Her friend asks.

“Yeah. There’s going to be the meeting with the student council before that. I’m going to be helping out with the fundraising and that stuff with the…” Charlene chatters on cheerfully. Outside, the sky is clear. It seems like it’s going to be a wonderful day.

“Clear your desks. Get yourself ready for the test.”

Charlene groans.

“Kreszenz!”

A girl with short, blue hair sitting on a bench under a shady tree looks up from staring intently on the screen of a laptop. Kreszenz sees Charlene running towards with one hand waving high. She sighs and folds the laptop close. Charlene stops in front of her and immediately starts talking.

“Whew! Finals are over! Quite a relief to get those behind us. I think I got a B… Oh, you won’t believe who I saw just this morning! Guess who? Mikhail Hurst! He’s so dreamy… Do you think I can”

“Good morning, Charlene.” Kreszenz interjects. If you let her, Charlene would talk all day. “The committee meeting is in five minutes. We better hurry if we don’t want to be late.”

“Oh, right. Let’s go.”

They walk through the campus. It looks just like any regular school, if a bit bigger than most. It’s almost the end of the school year, so various clubs can be seen setting up preparation for the graduation ceremony and year-end festival. The two enter the main building and into the meeting room of the graduation committee. A brunette standing in front of the room turns towards them.

“Good, you’re here.” Their president, Julia, says. “Get seated so we can start.”

Charlene and Kreszenz make their way to two seats. Once they’re settled, Julia clears her throat. Everyone in the room turns to pay attention.

“As you know, the graduation ceremony is in two weeks. We’re going to be even busier during this time.” Julia looks at a committee member. “Recorder, give us a summary of what we discussed in the last meeting.”

Across Kreszenz, the recorder stood up and begin to read out from his notes. “The first order of year books is due in two days. Orientation for the graduating seniors will take place three days before the graduation. We need to hire a photographer to take the pictures during the ceremony and during the party. Charlene will be performing at the graduation ceremony. We planned on discussing the sales of tickets and prizes to be given out in the party.”

He looks at the president, who nods at him. He sits back down. “All right. So the first order of business is with the ceremony. Charlene, how are you doing with the band?”

“It’s going great. They were real nice to me even though I’m new to this and all.” Charlene replies cheerfully. “We also got some new equipment donated by the recording company that has one of those new recording thingys.”

“Good. Go talk with Alice of the Fashion Club.”

“Alice? What about her?” Charlene inquires.

“The Fashion Club volunteered to design the costumes of your band.” Charlene squeals. "Yes, yes, it’s very nice. Let’s move on to other matters, shall we?

Julia goes on to discuss the rest of the agenda. Charlene, however, have stopped listening. Kreszenz looks at her and shakes her head, recognizing from the faraway look on Charlene’s glazed eyes that her mind is already wandering. She sighs as she start taking down notes. They’ll have to go through them again later.

The meeting adjourns. Charlene immediately snaps out of whatever daydream she was in. She’s out of the door even while the other are just getting out of their seats. Kreszenz follows her outside.

“Weekends, weekends, I love weekends,” Charlene sings. She turns around. “What will you be doing during the weekends, Kreszenz?”

“Before that, there is that matter about taking inventory,” Kreszenz looks pointedly at her. “You know, the one that we promised the librarian we’ll help her with?”

“Oh, yeah… that needs to be done today. Well, have fun!” Charlene turns to escape. An arm shoots out to grab her by the collar.

“And where do you think you’re going?” Kreszenz asks, glaring at her.

“Umm, dinner?” Charlene responds with a sheepish look on her face.

“Nice try.” Kreszenz starts dragging her back.

“Nooooooo…” Charlene moans melodramatically as she stretches her hand out to the gate and freedom.

When they get inside the library, they find that there’s someone already there working on a box of books. Looking at the girl, Charlene gets the feeling that she seems familiar. She looks at Kreszenz. From her furrowed brows, she also appears to be thinking the same thing.

A door to the side opens. “Hello, girls,” the librarian greets them them. “I appreciate you with helping us out.”

“No worries, ma’am. We’re happy to help,” Charlene replies cheerfully, even though she trying to get out of it just a few minutes. Kreszenz decided to let that pass.

The librarian hands them clipboards and points to some boxes. “These are the ones that we haven’t counted yet. I still have a meeting to attend, so I’ll leave you girls to it.”

The librarian leaves the room and they are alone with the girl. They work in silence for a while. But as expected from Charlene, she couldn’t stand it for long. She takes a peek at the girl. The girl appears to be their age. She has auburn hair cut short framing an attractive face. Other than that, there’s nothing that sets her apart. Still, there’s something about her that’s niggling in Charlene’s mind. Eventually, she can stand it no longer.

“Say, have we met before?” Charlene asks, breaking the silence. To the side, Kreszenz is facing away from them towards some boxes. Although not looking directly at them, even she is listening intently.

There’s a pause, then the girl answers. “We have.”

“Is it one of the clubs? You don’t look like you belong to any clubs. Maybe it’s in…” Charlene continuous with her questioning, but it appears that any more answers aren’t forthcoming.

Even though it is a simple response, the implication that they have met before struck Kreszenz as something significant. Where could they have met before? Maybe it’s just at some social gathering.

It doesn’t seem that way to Kreszenz though. She doesn’t know why, but it appears to be much more than that. She becomes agitated as she struggles to recall her memories. Her pulse quickens, a sense of fear fills her. She doesn’t want to, but it seems like she have to remember it. Something important.

Could it be…? Kreszenz strains her mind. What is it?

Then she remembers.

The blue glow of the Psycho Drive envelopes her. It soothes her throbbing body. She can see Juni through the haze. A flash of light blinds her to everything and in the next moment, she is outside and in the sky.

Her body is glowing with Psycho Power. She can see that she is moving through the air at incredible speeds. Below her, the landscapes passes by. They gave way to a large expanse of water. In a few moments, land reappears and starts getting closer. She realizes that she is descending. Closer and closer to the ground she comes, until she is starting to recognize some of the familiar landmarks.

She goes over a wooden area. She is now low enough that she is crashing through the trees. The force of the Psycho Power surrounding her body protects her. Her descent continuous until she hits the ground.

A crater is formed from the impact. She reaches a hand over the edge and pulls herself up. She staggers for a short distance and collapses. Laying on her back, she looks up through the trees at the stars shining on the clear night sky. She hears something approach and then someone is looking down at her. She closes her eyes and lapses into unconsciousness.
*

Kreszenz finds herself back in the present breathing heavily. Charlene is right beside her calling out her name with a worried look on her face. Looking around, she can see that the girl staring at her.

Juni

The name floats in Kreszenz’s mind. She knows that’s the name of the girl. Her heart still pounding in her chest, she shudders and brings herself to speak.

“You… you’re… Juni,” Kreszenz gasps out. “You… we were together before… during that time.”

Charlene eyes widen when she hears that. She looks at the girl, then back at Kreszenz. “Us… together? But how can that be…” Charlene’s voice trails off. She doesn’t know why, but she know it’s true. They, all three of them, were together during the time that they disappeared.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Juni says. Charlene looks back at her.

“Hello, Enero,” Juni nods to Charlene. Then to Kreszenz. “Hello, Marz.”

Juni looks like she’s about to say something to them. when her cellphone rings. She brings it out from her pocket. “Hello. Yes, mother. No, I’m just about done here. Father? All right, I’ll get home quickly. Bye.” She ends the calls and turns back towards the two of them.

“I’m sorry,” Juni apologizes. “That was my mother. I have to go home right away. Let’s talk another time, perhaps over tea?”

With that, Juni turns around and walks to the door. She closes it behind her. Once she is outside, Kreszenz collapses.

“Kreszenz!” Charlene immediately rushes towards her. As soon as she touches her shoulder, Kreszenz turns and hugs her tightly. Charlene returns the hug, knowing they both share a feeling of insecurity that was brought about by their encounter. They remain there, holding on to each other and what seems to them their innocence that is slipping away.


I can’t believe I deleted my own thread. Sorry about that. :sweat:


#3

Chapter 2

Juni slowly brushes her hair as she looks at the mirror. A forlorn face stares back. She puts the brush down and gathers her things. Listless, she leaves her room and goes down the stairs. She comes up to the doubledoor leading to the dining room and stops in front of it. She takes a deep breath and goes in. She comes into a wide room. At the center is a long table, with her parents seated on at it.

“Good morning, dad,” Juni greets him cheerfully, then turns to her mother. “Good morning, mom.”

“Good morning.” Comes the reply. “Good morning.”

Juni sits down on one end of the table. Her breakfast is layed in front of her. She proceeds to eat, trying to show as much gusto as she can muster and goes through her food quickly.

Her father nods approvingly. He was under great stress when she first disappeared. He spent a lot money and resources in order to find her. More than two years passed and he had given up hope of finding her. But just as he was willing to move on, she was found by someone at the edge of a river.

She was unconscious for a few days and when she woke up, he couldn’t recognize her. It was like she was a walking dead. All the vitality was drained out of her. It seemed that only an empty shell of their daughter was left. But now it appears that life has returned to her. It is a great relief to him that all is well.

“What will you be doing in school today?” he asks.

“Oh, the finals are over, so there’s not much left to do,” Juni answers. “The clubs are putting up their preparations though. I’m just helping out where I can.”

“That’s good. You aren’t in any clubs, correct? It’s nice to know you’re assisting them.”

"It’s no trouble.

Juni finishes up her breakfast and pushes her chair back. “May I be excused?”

“Go ahead.”

Juni gets up and leaves the room, closing the doors behind her. Lack of appetite made the food tasteless and it threatens to come back up. Stopping for a moment to steady herself by leaning back against the door, she forces it down into a queasy sensation on her stomach. Maintaining her strength is necessary. There is something that she have to do.

I must return to him.

With that thought in mind, she wills herself forward. No matter what it takes, she must go back to him. She will take whatever punishment he mets out and do whatever it takes to reconcile what she did, even if it takes the rest of her life. And… maybe… he’ll forgive her.

Juni’s mother watches her daughter exits from the room. A short while later, her husband also finishes and stands up to leave. “I’m off to work now mother.”

“Take care,” she says. They kiss each other goodbye and separate. In a few moments, the mother is left alone in the room. She peers out the window and watches as they leave.

By all appearances, it seems that they returned to normal. But she knows that it hasn’t. Having always been timid, Juni didn’t have any close friends. She has learned to be sensitive to her daughter’s needs because she doesn’t express them very well. But she gets along well with her peers, and was generally happy.

That all changed when she disappeared. Just before it happened, she was talking about a man she met. Juni’s mother recalls the strange event.

“Mother, I met someone today,” Juni suddenly speaks out, catching the attention of her mother. She takes notice of the enthusiasm bubbling out of her normally quiet daughter.

“Oh, really? Who is it?” She asks curiously.

“There was this man who is visiting her school,” Juni explains. “He is part of a foreign organization.”

“Organization?”

“Yes. They are looking for young talented people. He says I’m one of them.” Juni says proudly. She continuous to talk excitedly. “Sir Bison seemed a bit scary at first, but he is actually really nice. We talked about a lot of things. Did you know that he has been all over the world? He has even been to Brazil!”

Juni’s mother listens to her daughter chatter on about this mystery person. It seems a good thing, but Juni’s unusual show of excitement unsettles her. And the more her daughter talks about this man, the more uneasy she becomes. Then Juni makes a sudden request.

“Sir Bison says he wants me to join him. May I go with him?” This alarms her mother.

“No!” Someone wants to take her daughter away? “Absolutely not!”

“But you haven’t even met with him yet!” Juni protests. “If you just talk with him.”

“I don’t have to and I don’t want to,” Her mother interjects. “You’re not going with him. That’s final.”

Juni stands still with her head down. Her frustration is obvious.
“He was right.” The tone of her voice makes her mother realize that she might have hurt her. “He said you wouldn’t understand.” Juni turns away and runs to her room.

“Juni!”
*

Juni wouldn’t talk to after that. Shortly afterwards, she vanished. Her mother squeezes her eyes shut at the painful memory. She have always regretted not listening more to her daughter when opened up to her and instead drove her away when by her overreaction.

She contacted the school to find out about the man and the organization that Juni said he was working, but they ended up as deadends. The man and the organization doesn’t exist. She tried in vain to find her daughter the entire time.

When Juni was found, she was devastated to see her daugher’s condition. Try as she might, she couldn’t get her to respond. Juni remained in that state for a few days. Then she tried talking about the man that Juni, and her daughter finally broke down.

“I’m sorry.” Juni kept saying over and over as she sobbed in her mother’s arms. “I’m sorry.” Whether it was to her or to Sir Bison, she couldn’t tell.

After that, Juni slowly recovered and seemed to have returned to normal. But it seems that she is only putting up a front. At times, when she finds her daughter all alone by herself, the mask slips away to reveal a face of someone who lost a part of them. It pains to see her daughter hiding her troubles from her, but it simply breaks her heart to know that underneath it all, Juni must be suffering terribly.

She picks up a picture of her daugher smiling in earlier times. How long ago it seemed. Now, her hope is that Juni might someday be able to smile naturally again.

“Helfen sie bitte ihrem Gott,” she prays. Please help her God.

Kreszenz sits on her usual spot on the bench under the shady tree. Her laptop is open and it seems that she is intent on it. But while she is staring at the screen, her eyes unfocuses every now and then. Her mind keeps wandering on to other things. She would blink as she comes out of her thought each time and renews her concentration on work that needs to be done.

“Kreszenz?”

Kreszenz starts when she heard her name called. She takes hold of herself immediately and looks at Charlene. “Don’t go sneaking up to people.” She says while trying unsuccessfully to sound angry.

“I called your name a couple of times.” Charlene says.

“Oh.”

Charlene sits beside her. “You’re thinking about her too?”

“…Yeah.”

They sit there in silence for a moment. Both of them contemplate on yesterday’s events. Then Charlene speaks out. “She knows who we were.”

Kreszenz didn’t answer her. Unexpectedly, they found another one of them. This one apparently remembers what happened during that time they vanished. She doesn’t know where they should go from there. Should they talk to her, or avoid her? Kreszenz isn’t sure which.

“Oh, here she comes.” Kreszenz looks up to see the girl they met yesterday coming towards them. Looks like we won’t be avoiding her.

“Good morning,” Juni greets them. “How are you today?”

“I’m fine.” Charlene answers. Kreszenz echo her. “And you?”

“I’m alright.”

The two looks at Juni, who goes over to inspect the tree. It is an old oak tree, dwarfing them with its height. It’s said to have been planted there when the school was founded. Then she speaks up. “You probably want to know about what you’ve forgotten, when we were together.”

She turns around to face them. They study each other, then Juni speaks again. “How about we get together after school?”

Kreszenz and Charlene looked at each. Should we? Charlene asks her silently with her eyes. Kreszenz thinks about it, then she turns to Juni. “Okay.”

Later that day, they meet up at the school gates. They go over to the shopping centre. At first, they just browsed through the stores, making small talk. Actually, only Charlene was doing most of the talking. The other two mostly just respond to her. After a while they stop to take break at a cafe. They sit on a table with their orders of snacks and beverages, and ate in silence. Then Juni speak up.

“We were a team.” Kreszenz and Charlene look at her. Juni meets their eyes. “We were agents for Shadaloo.”

“Agents?” Kreszenz asks questionigly.

Juni nods. “Yes. We worked for a man called M.Bison.”

“Ooh, you mean we were like secret agents?” Charlene says, awed.

“Er, yes. Something like that.”

“Then, did we get high-tech gadgets?” Charlene is giving her full attention now. Juni smiles at that.

“Yes, among other things,” Juni answers.

“And me? What kind of agent was I?”

“You’re specialty was communications and infiltration,”

“Cool!”

Kreszenz’s curiosity overcomes her. “What about me?”

"Your specialty was reconnaissance, information gathering, and computer technician. You were the one who hacks through computer security.

“Wow! That’s just like how I picture you would be!” Charlene squeals at Kreszenz. She excitedly turns to Juni “What else?”

With the ice broken, Juni starts talking more freely. She recalls the times they spent together, while the two listened attentively. She is careful to keep out the more unpleasant details, however. They were a team, but not anymore. Perhaps, when she can trust them again, she will tell them everything.

They spend the rest of the day together until it was time for them to go. They say their goodbyes and parts. It is already dark by that time. It doesn’t matter though. Juni is in a good mood. It’s been a while since she has been in one, she realizes.

A lot has happened, she muses.

“Hey there, beautiful,” a guy calls out lasciviously. Juni stops and notices that she took a wrong turn. She has walked into a deadend alley.

“Hello,” she says politely and turns the other way. She takes a few steps, but is stopped by two more men that steps in front of her to block the way out.

“Please let me through,” Juni says quietly.

“How about you keep us company if we let you through?” Says the one she first saw. Juni hears the other two snigger. Apparently he is their leader. She looks at him in eye.

“I’m sorry, but I need to get home.”

“Come on, now, don’t be like that,” he drapes his arms across her shoulders. Juni glances at it, then stares at him with a deadpan face. She reaches out across her with one hand to grab his dangling arm and crushes it. He yelps out in pain. Juni step-turns away and brings her heel up between his legs while grabbing at his broken arm with both hands. She pulls it forward and down and simultaneously lifting him up with her leg to bring him over her back and smashing head first into the ground.

“You little bitch!” screeches one of the thugs. He tries to grab her, only to have her disappear from his sight. He suddenly screams in pain and collapses. Behind him is Juni, with one of her hands crackling with energy that she sent surging through his body.

Juni turns towards the last of the trio. After seeing his comrades fall quickly to her, he becomes terrified and bolts away. She contemplates going after him, then decides that she’ll let him get away. She dusts her hands off and picks her way through the fallen bodies. She stops to look down at them, and then at her hands.

I got stronger, she thought. This brings a smile to her face. Another good thing.

Juni starts humming to herself. Sir Bison will be happy when she shows how useful she can be to him. This has truly been a good day.


Finally got this thing up. :karate: With a class to take, a clogged up ear bothering me, and a sister that keeps occupying the computer, I was afraid that I might not be able to get it this up in time. Looks like my schedule is one chapter up every other Thursday.

I wanted to give Juni a last name, but the random name generator I used in the previous chapter don’t do last names. It a bit awkward not being able to refer to them by name, but it will do. They won’t be appearing much anyway, so they don’t need first names.


#4

Chapter 3

Detective Hermann Flemming walks past through the patrol cars and police line and enters the alley. A number of officers are already there and the forensic team has begun to examine the crime scene. Flemming goes to one of the forensic scientists.

“What do we got?” he asks. The scientist turns to him.

“Detective Flemming… well, this body appeared to have suffered extensive blunt trauma to the head and the neck is broken. The wrist is also fractured.” He looks up towards the roofs above the alley. “Initial theory is that there might have been a struggle on the roof. The subject appears to have tried to defend himself with one arm raised to defend against a club of some sort that shattered the wrist. He then fell head first and died on impact.”

“Did you find a weapon?”

“No, sir.”

Flemming ponders on the details for a moment. He looks around the alley and his eyes fall upon the other body in the scene.

“What about that one?” Flemming gestures to it.

“This one is a more interesting case. From the looks of it, the subject suffered severe burns throughout his body.” Flemming sees numerous burns covering the corpse. “We can’t get anything more until the results of an autopsy comes in.”

“Let me hear it as soon as you got something.”

Flemming moves towards the other parts of the alley. It’s completely enclosed, and the only exit appears to be the one he came through. Running up one side of a building is a fire escape with the ladder at bottom raised up. Flemming looks up to the roof it goes up to. Exiting the alley, he goes over to the office building with the fire escape and enters.

“Good morning. Welcome to Finnegan Real Estate,” greets a portly man. “How may I help you?”

“Good morning. I’m Detective Flemming,” he flashes his badge at the man. “I’m here to investigate the murder that took place here. You were the one that found the bodies and called us, is that correct?”

“Yes! I was opening up the office this morning when I first saw them. Didn’t recognize them at first when they are on the ground. I just thought it was just something someone dumped there, so I went in and didn’t think anything about it. There was this bunch of punks that usually come around here at noon, generally causing a disturbance for the people around here. I’ve gotten into the habit of driving them away everyday. Otherwise, they’ll hang around all day. So when I went there a while ago, I found it really strange when it was all quiet. That was when I recognize them.”

As Finnegan was talking, Detective Flemming takes out a notepad and jots down on it. “You said that they usually hang around here?” When Finnegan confirms it, he asks. "If you don’t mind, I’d like you to come down to the station later to help identify the bodies.

“It’s been slow… I suppose I can close up early.”

Flemming puts away the notepad. “One more thing, I need to see your roof.”

“The roof? Of course. Come this way.”

Finnegan leads the detective to the stairs. They climb a few flights until the stairs end at a door. Flemming takes notice of the paint that flakes from the side of the door as Finnegan unlocks and opens it.

Coming out onto the roof, Flemming squints from the glare of the sunlight. Dirt covers the surface under their feet. He walks across the roof towards the fire escape. His steps leave tracks through the dirt. He lays his hand on the guard rails and peers over the edge of the roof. The alley looms below him. He can see no marks of any possible impact of something on the edges of the roof.

When Flemming takes his hand off the guard rails, some dirt came off with it. He glances down at the dirt, which he rubs between his fingers. His eyes sweeps the guard rails for any clues and continues around the roof. But other than the marks he left behind, there’s no sign of any person having been anywhere here recently. Flemming wonders about the validity of a struggle in the roof.

What could have happened here? Flemming thought. Figuring that there’s nothing to see around here, he turns and walks back towards Finnegan.

“Did you find anything?” Finnegan asks.

“No.”

Finnegan studies the detective as he passes by him. From the lack of expression on Flemming’s face, it looks like he’s not going to comment on this any further. They head back down and leave the building.

While waiting for Finnegan to close up, the detective ponders on what he should do next inside his car. Flemming watches as the officers cart the bodies away. He needs to gather more pieces of the puzzle, but the autopsy results will take a few days. He’ll have to start with the identity of the bodies first.

Detective Flemming drove to the police station with Finnegan following behind him. They park their cars in the lot and then Flemming leads the way to the morgue. The bodies of the two murder victims were laid on a table. He motions Finnegan closer.

“This is their leader. Name’s Vincent,” Finnegan declares after a cursory glance.

“Last name?”

“I don’t know. A lot of people know him though, so there should be someone who knows if you ask around.”

Finnegan moves over to the other one. “This one… is…” He pauses, trying to figure it out. The body is almost covered in burns, making it difficult to identify. After mulling it over, he suddenly blurts out.

“Ah! This is that guy, Marcos! Last name… Nathaniel!” He finishes proudly.

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely sure. His face is badly burnt, but I know that piercing anywhere.” Finnegan points to a piercing at one side of the head that goes through the skull. It’s connected by a chain to his earring. “He’s the only one that has that kind.”

“All right then.” They exit the morgue. Outside, the detective turns and shakes Finnegan’s hand. “Thank you very much for your help.”

“It’s my pleasure to help. I hope you find the criminal.”

Flemming heads to his office. He’s going to need to research the backgrounds of the victims, as well whoever they know or who knows them. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

“Look, look. Isn’t this a cute hat?” Charlene picks out a hat from a clothes stand and shows it her friends.

“Oh, that is cute,” Juni tries it out and looks at a mirror. “Doesn’t suit me though.”

“Oooooooooh,” Charlene giggles as she finds a derby hat hidden underneath a pile. She puts it on her head. “How about this one.”

Juni laughs. “Is that for real? I thought only clowns have that hat.”

“Peasants have no sense of fashion.” Charlene sniffs in mock indignation, making Juni laugh even harder. She prances around in an exaggerated model’s walk until she breaks down and joins Juni in her laughter. After putting the hat back in the pile, they move away from the clothing boutique to other parts of the shopping district.

Kreszenz follows after the two. Over the past week, Juni have become close to them. They would spend their free time together during and after school. Sometimes, they’ll talk about the past. Other times, they’ll just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Just the typical life of a group of friends.

That’s all there is to it.

Yet, somehow, Kreszenz feels that’s there’s still more to it than that. Whenever Juni would talk about that their past lives, Kreszenz feels… odd. It’s like… like…

Like being told the truth and lied to at the same time.

That’s the best way she can describe it. She’s not sure why that is, but it just seems that they’re not being told everything upfront. But there’s nothing she can do about it because try as she might, she can’t remember anything about it. She might as well be trying to remember a dream.

Or a nightmare.

At that moment, Juni’s phone rings. She takes it out of her pocket and answers it.

“It’s my mother,” Juni tells them. She excuses herself and moves a short distance away for privacy. Charlene smiles at the now-familiar sight. They’ve gotten to know that part of Juni quite well.

“Isn’t it nice how good the relationship Juni has with her mother?” Charlene says.

“Yeah,” Kreszenz replies half-heartedly. This made Charlene look at her. She immediately recognizes the troubled face of her friend

“What’s wrong?”

“No, nothing.”

“Please tell me,” Charlene holds Kreszenz hands earnestly. “If it’s something I can help with, about Juni or anything else… but even if I can’t, maybe talking about it might help.” She squeezes her hands. “So please, tell me.”

Kreszenz is taken aback at Charlene’s reaction. “What… why do you think it’s about Juni?”

“You’ve been acting differently ever since we met her.” Charlene looks up to her. “I know you don’t easily complain. Please tell me. At least you don’t have to worry about it alone.” Looking at Charlene’s soulful eyes, Kreszenz feels that she can’t hide her misgivings anymore.

“It’s just… I don’t know. I just can’t feel good about being around her.” Kreszenz shakes her head. “I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because she remembers more about us than we do.”

Charlene think about it for a while. “I… don’t know if Juni is telling us everything,” She slowly answers. “But… I think she has her reasons not to tell us everything. Maybe there are things we are better off without… not remembering.” She plays with Kreszenz’s fingers. “If I was the one who remember everything… I wouldn’t want you to remember the bad things that happened, only the good things.”

Kreszenz remains quiet after Charlene said her piece. She digests what she said, then sighs. “You’re right. That’s probably it. I guess that’s just me worrying too much over nothing,” She smiles at Charlene. “Thank you.”

“It’s not nothing. I’m glad you can tell me how you really feel.” Charlene smiles back. “I’m really glad.”

“One thing I’m wondering about…” Kreszenz muses. “…is when did you get so smart?”

“Hey!” Charlene cries in mock indignation. “I’ll have you know that you’re looking at a world-class genius.”

They laugh and close it by hugging each other. Then Charlene turns back to Juni. Or at least, where she was just standing a moment ago. There is only a food vendor in sight now.

“Hey, where’s Juni?”

Researching the background of the victims leads Flemming to this part of the neighborhood where the murder victims lived. Gathering information about the two wasn’t difficult. They have a long criminal record of petty crimes. They were an infamous pair and everyone knows about them. But it appears that no one knows about what happened to them, nor do they care. The people around there have gotten so used to the commotions that they cause that they probably wouldn’t have given it much thought even if they might have noticed something. He doesn’t expect to get much cooperation from them.

However, there appears to be one person who regularly associates with them. While asking the families of the victims, one of them mentioned about vaguely remembering another who is with them. A search through an album of recently taken photos revealed a photo a person beside the two men.

“Do you know this person?” Flemming asks for what seems like the hundredth time. He holds a picture of a man with the two murdered victims.

“No, I don’t know him,” comes the answer for what seems like the hundredth time.

Unfortunately, he seems to be all but unknown. Unlike the other two, he is relatively inconspicuous. When mentioned with the picture, people who knew them do recall him as someone who follows the victims around. No one knows who he is though. He doesn’t have any criminal record to speak off. All indication points out that he is simply a follower. It’ll be difficult for Flemming if he can’t even get a name.

His roaming brings him to a convenience store. He decides to take a break from his search and goes in. Inside he buys a hot dog and soda from a petite lady behind the counter. She appears to be the owner of the store. As an afterthought, he takes out the picture of the man to show it to her and asks about him.

“Oh, I know that man,” she says.

Finally, Flemming thought. “Can you tell me where he is?”

“I don’t know where he is right now. I actually don’t know much about him at all,” she admits. “He just comes in and delivers my orders once a week.”

“Can you tell me what company he works for?”

“I order from the Matton Food Co. I think I have their address.” The lady opens a drawer and rifles through it. She finds and takes out a card. “Here. This is their business card.”

The detective takes the card and thanks her for her help. He walks back to his car with food items in hand. A quick glance at the card shows an address that he recognizes where it is.

After quickly gulping down his hot dog and soda, he drives towards the location. Eventually, he arrives at a shipping/receiving station behind a warehouse. A small sign at the side is marked with its name. Flemming gets out of his car and walks up to the where a several men are unloading a truck. One of them notices him and comes.

“What can I do for you?” he asks.

“I’m looking for this man.” Flemming hands over the picture.

“Yeah, that’s Luke. He comes here for work. He hasn’t been here lately though. Usually, he come right around this time… oh, there he is.” The supervisor points to a man down the street coming towards them. Flemming turns and spots him. Luke, in turn sees him. He immediately turns and flees.

“Hey, wait… Stop!” Flemming calls for back up and takes off running after him.

“Yes, mother? I’m all right… I’m with Charlene and Kreszenz… Yes, I’ve done the preparations… Yes, I’ll pick up the graduation gown… No, I’m not hurt…” This goes on with Juni having to repeat what she just said in different ways to reassure her mother.

Once that’s done, Juni hangs up and sighs. She understands her mother’s concern for her, and appreciates it more than anyone might think. It does become bothersome though, especially when she does it everyday.

Juni puts her cell phone away. When she looks up, she suddenly gets a glimpse of a familiar face through the crowd. There’s a pause as she ponders uncertainly whether she saw what she thought she saw.

It can’t be.

Juni start walking quickly and makes her way through the sidewalks heading towards where she caught the sight. When she reaches that point, she looks around and gets another glimpse of a familiar face, causing her to break into a jog.

Juni resists the urge to go any faster than the speed she’s going now. It wouldn’t be good to attract attention if she starts sprinting at high-speed. Eventually, she catches up to them. She slows down and approaches cautiously until all the people around her have cleared. That’s when she realizes what’s happening.

Oh, no…

Their chase leads them through the shopping district. Luke is weaving through clusters of people wandering about with Flemming hot behind him. After a few minutes, Luke turns into an alley. The detective turns that same corner and sees his target trying to scale a fence. Flemming immediately catches up to him and pulls him down.

“It wasn’t me!” Luke screams as he struggles to break free. “I didn’t do it!”

Flemming slams him to the ground. “Didn’t do what?”

“I didn’t… I didn’t kill them,” Luke gasps out.

“So you know something about the murder.” Flemming keeps him pinned as he reaches for his handcuffs. "Why don’t you tell me what you know about the murder?

When Luke remains silent, Flemming cuffs his hands behind him. “Nothing to say?”

“You won’t believe me,” Luke starts struggling again. The detective has to drag him forcefully out of the alley. When they reach the sidewalks, Luke resigns himself and goes along with the detective. People stare as they head back to Flemming’s car. Flemming opens a door and Luke turns to the side so that he can get in. That’s when he sees someone whose face is burned into his mind.

“That’s her! That’s her!” He blurts out suddenly. His eyes bulge as if he is seeing his nightmare come to life.

“What?” Flemming is startled by his outburst.

There… over there!" Luke stares straight at Juni. Flemming turns to follow his eyes. The only one he sees in that direction is an auburn-haired girl standing a short distance away looking back at them. He turns back to Luke to check again, but he is clearly looking straight at her.

“Are you telling me that the one who murdered those two men is a young girl?” Flemming stares at him in disbelief. "You’re right, I don’t believe you.

“It’s her!” Luke insists The commotion he’s causing is starting to attract attention. People turn to look at them.

“No… you stay away from me. Stay away!” Luke frantically tries to get away from. Flemming has to haul him off his feet to keep him from escaping.

“Get in there!” Flemming shoves inside the car and slams the door behind him. Luke’s futile screams continuous muffled in the car as Flemming turns to Juni.

“Sorry about that, miss,” Flemming apologizes to her.

“Is he all right?” The girl glances past him to try and see Luke in the backseat of the police car.

“Oh, don’t mind him,” Flemming waves it off. “We’re just going to ask him some questions.”

“Are you going to let him go afterwards?”

“Well, that depends on what we find.” Flemming shrugs. Then he looks to study her closely. “Are you a friend of his?”

“No.” She shakes her head. “We just met somewhere.”

“I see. We’ll be off then.” He turns and gets in his car. As he drives, he notices the girl’s intense stare at the rear view mirror. It gives him an uneasy feeling that continues long after she is out of sight.

Juni continuous to look hard at the car as it pulls away. She was careless. It was a mistake to let him go. This loose end needs to be dealt with. Otherwise, the police will tie her in to those two men she killed.

“Ah! There you are!” Charlene cries out. Juni is startled and whirls around to see her two friends running up to her. Charlene stops in a huff in front of her.

“We looked all over for you.”

“Oh… I had to buy something for my mother,” Juni lies. “That was why she called.”

“Oh, okay. But why didn’t you call us first? We would have gone with you.” Charlene wonders.

“It seems so out of the way that I didn’t want to bother you.”

“Don’t be silly. You know that it wouldn’t be a bother for us,” Charlene admonishes.

“Right, Kreszenz?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“See?” Charlene turns back to her.

“Ah… you’re right.” Juni smiles.

“Now then,” Charlene claps her hands. “Where should we go next?”

“Um, since we’re here, how about we go over to the Lantern?” Juni suggests. She refers to a section of the shopping district that is lit by a very large and bright lamp post at the center of a food court. “I heard some famous magician is going to be performing there today.”

“Great! Let’s go!” Charlene leads the way and Juni follows right after her. Kreszenz made no move as

“Juni…” Kreszenz start to say, but stops herself.

“Hmm?” Juni turns to her questioningly. Kreszenz hesitates, then pushes herself to finish what she wanted to ask.

"What were you looking before… that person who drove away?

“Ah, it was nothing.” Juni replies. “I thought it was someone I knew, but I was mistaken.”

“Okay,” Kreszenz didn’t push it any further, although she looks unconvinced. She follows suit and catches up with Charlene.

Juni’s thoughts return to that man. He’ll most likely face a judge within 24 hours. She’ll have to deal with this quickly.

“Come on, Luke,” Flemming leans forward on the other side of the table. “just tell us what really happened.”

“I just told you,” Luke replies sullenly.

“About that girl who managed to kill two grown men in just a few seconds with superpowers?” Flemming shakes his head “You expect us to believe that?”

“I am telling the truth!” Luke snaps back. He sinks back into silence. He doesn’t respond when Flemming tries to continue, so the detective sighs and leaves him in the room.

Flemming has been questioning Luke since he was taken in, but no matter how much he pressures him, it just keeps coming back to that girl he saw. Luke continues to insist on his story. He is starting to think he’s telling the truth. The detective sits down and leans back wearily against his chair. An officer stops by Hermann’s desk.

“Hermann, I got the info on that girl you had me look up,” he says. He drops off a folder, then leaves to go back to his work.
Flemming picks up the folders and scans through the papers. He had someone look up the background while he was questioning Luke. The first few pages revealed nothing unusual to note. Her name, age, family, and the school she goes to…

Something catches his eye. Flemming sits up and starts reading more intently. It seems she’s one of the girls that disappeared. He wasn’t on the case before, so he has no knowledge about the ones who vanished. What he does know is that a number of girls who have disappeared in different parts of Europe suddenly reappeared at the same time after a meteor shower. And one of them is this girl.

Flemming leans back thoughtfully. It could be just a coincidence… No, he surmises. He remembers the girl asking about Luke. That can’t be coincidence. For reasons not yet known to him, she’s involved somehow. Flemming grabs his coat.

“I’m heading out.” Flemming tells his supervisor. “I think I got a possible lead on the case.”

“Better make it quick. We don’t have enough on Luke yet. We’re going to have a lawyer meet with Luke and have him face the judge soon. We won’t be able to detain him any longer if we don’t get any concrete evidence.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.”

Flemming drives towards the home of Juni. When he reaches it, he goes up to the front step of her house. The Househelp met him at the door and lets him in after a few minutes. He is lead to a living room where the parents of the girl are waiting.

“Good evening, Detective Flemming.” Juni’s father greets him. “How may I help you?”

“Good evening, sir, madame. Is Juni here”

“Why? Did something happened with Juni?” her mother immediately has a worried expression on her face.

“Ah, no. I just want to ask her a few questions about the murder that took place a week ago.” Flemming immediately realizes that he shouldn’t have said that when he sees her face suddenly become very distressed.

“My daughter’s involved in a murder?”

“No, I’m not saying that”

"Juni’s such a quiet child. She is obedient, and kind-hearted.

"I’m sure she is, but

“She would never do anything wrong. Never!”

Her husband has to take a few minutes to calm her down. He turns to the detective

“She isn’t here,” he says.

“Did you know where she went?” asks the detective.

“No, she didn’t say.”

“I see. I’d like you to call me when she comes home.” Flemming tells her his phone number and leaves. The detective returns to the station disappointed. He was hoping that he might be able to at least get something that they can use as a case. He gets ready to tell his superior the bad news. But as he enters the station, he notices a commotion in the station.

“What’s going on?” Flemming asks the closest one to him, who just shrugs. Their supervisor walks up to him.

“There’s a problem, Hermann,” his supervisor says. “The suspect is gone.”

Kreszenz is hanging out at Charlene’s house. She is curled up on a bean bag chair as she watches a show. In the kitchen, Charlene is preparing some snacks for them in kitchen.

“Hey, Kreszenz,” Charlene calls out. “Do you want chips or some leftover pizza?”

“Pizza!” Kreszenz calls back.

Charlene comes in bringing the pizza on plates and soda. Kreszenz thanks her and they settle down. They watch quietly until the show ends. The broadcast then turns to a news report on a suspect in a murder that have escaped.

“How scary. I didn’t know there are people like that around here,” Charlene comments. She takes the remote to switch it to some other channel when Kreszenz suddenly stops her. She looks at Kreszenz curiously as she watches it intently.

That guy. Kreszenz leans forward. Recognizing him as the one that Juni was looking at earlier that day, she listens intently. The man is said to be the prime suspect in the murder of two men last week. He is scheduled to have a hearing tomorrow when he is found missing from his cell. The police are currently searching for him, believing that he might have an accomplice.

He’s a criminal. Kreszenz falls back as she sinks into deep thought. She correctly assumed that he was being taken away. But what relation he has with Juni, she doesn’t know. What does Juni have to with guy involved in a murder.

Kreszenz pauses as she considers the last word from that thought.

Murder

Kreszenz feels a headache coming. It gets stronger, then something begins to budge in her mind. She starts remembering scraps of thought, vague at first but which grows steadily clearer.

Bypassing security measures.

Charlene notices how pale Kreszenz’s face have become. “Are you all right?” she asks.

HIA-107 setup complete. Initializing mode 434

The images are coming in faster. Girls in dark blue uniform… operations… a man floating amidst flames…

Designated Code Name: Marz

A sudden flash of memory strikes her, then everything suddenly makes sense. With it is an inevitable realization. She remembers now. Who they are… what they are. Kreszenz goes down on her knees. She feels sick to her stomach. She puts a hand to her mouth to keep herself from throwing up.

“Kreszenz!?” Charlene rushes over to her side. “What’s wrong?”

Kreszenz can only shake her head. What can she say? What can she tell her?

“Tell me what’s wrong,” Charlene pleads.

Hearing her voice, Kreszenz feels like crying. She wants to say it, to let it all out. She wants to confess everything she’s done, what they’ve done. She wants her to say that everything will be all right. She couldn’t bear this alone.

If I was the one who remember everything… I wouldn’t want you to remember the bad things that happened, only the good things.

No, Kreszenz realizes. The reality of it hits her. She can’t tell her. She can’t let her friend remember, any of it. If Charlene remembers, if the memory of what they’ve done comes back, then the innocence would be lost. It will surely destroy her. This a burden she’ll be bearing alone.

This brings a cloud of despair over her. There is no one else she can tell, no one she knows that will believe her. For those that might, how would they react, knowing she was killer? There is no comfort she can expect from them, only judgement. Perhaps that might be what she deserves, but not Charlene. No matter what happens, she can’t let her friend suffer along with her.

Juni A glimmer of hope shine through. She forgot that there’s another who also remember

“Kreszenz?”

Kreszenz gets up shakily. Charlene help her up. She continuous to hold her up for support in case she collapses again.

“Are you… okay?” Charlene asks hesitatingly.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Kreszenz forces a smile. “I just felt… dizzy, for a moment. I’m fine now.”

It’s obvious to Charlene that she’s far from fine, but Kreszenz pushes past her and heads for the door.

“Where are you going?” Charlene stares at her friend worriedly.

“I’m going home,” Kreszenz answers. She opens the door and goes out.

“I’ll come with you.”

“No, really, I’m fine,” Kreszenz insists from the doorway. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She says before closing the door.

“Wait!” Charlene grabs her coat, then rushes out. But when she gets outside, only empty streets greet her.

There was a thump as the body of Luke is dropped on the roof. Juni looks over her shoulder at the commotion occurring behind her. Police officers are milling about as they try to comprehend what occurred. It was easy enough for Juni to infiltrate the police station, especially when one can teleport through the walls.

Reaching below some ventilation pipes, she takes out a plastic tarp she hid there beforehand. Juni spreads it over the roof and lays the body on one side. She folds over the corners to each side of her over the head and feet of the body, then rolls it up until it was completely wrapped up in the tarp. Once that’s done, she waits for the police cars to leave and the rest to settle down a bit before she moves from her position.

Juni lifts up and carries the body over her shoulder. She peeks down to the streets from the rooftop to scout for any people that might see her before leaping to the next. She repeats the motion on the next one. Like this, she heads towards the direction of the river.

The ex-Doll didn’t let her guard down for even one second. Experience shows that anything could happen It is only when the river is within sight does she even begin to ease her tense muscles.

Almost there, Juni thought. A cool breeze coming from the river feels so relaxing. Once the body is taken care of, the police will most likely assume that he escaped somehow and won’t be looking for a killer. She’ll be able to return to her life without problems. Juni takes a step, then pauses.

Juni stands motionless. She cocks her head as if she’s trying to hear something. After a few moments, she slowly starts advancing again. Probably just something blown by the wind, is what she’s thinking.

Then it came again. Juni quickly puts the body out of immediate sight. This time there’s no mistaking it. She can sense that something is coming her way. Something with considerable strength, and that in some way gives her a sense of nostalgia. The possibilities are that the police have a member or have employed a person of significant ability. Or worse, it’s a government agent.

Juni immediately hides in the shadows of a corner and waits quietly. The sound of shoes touching down on the roof signals the arrival of someone. Footsteps slowly sound out, and stops. It picks up again after a while. It sounds like it is coming closer to where Juni is hiding. There’s no doubt about it. This one is clearly after her, and is somehow on her trail. Running away is useless. She’ll have to eliminate this obstacle.

Juni readies herself and carefully peers from her position to where the hunter is. She can see that the figure is that of a female. She is wearing casual clothes, and not that of any kind of uniform or suit which an agent might wear. Clouds pass overhead to let some moonlight through and Juni can now see her face clearly.

Kreszenz? Juni is stunned to see her there. She doesn’t know of any reason Kreszenz would be up on the rooftops, much less why she is pursuing her. How is not a question, as Juni can feel the familiar sensation of Psycho Power radiating from her. But if the Psycho Power in Kreszenz is reawakened, then that could only mean one thing…

Juni steps out. Kreszenz immediately sees her and comes close. Juni doesn’t think she is hostile, but keeps her guard up.

“I found you,” Kreszenz says. The expression that can be seen on her face is mixed, but the closest it appears to be is apprehension. What Juni is feeling from her is tinged with negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and despair. There’s no sense of any aggressive intent, however.

“Do you… remember?” she asks. Kreszenz nods to confirm it.

“I…” Kreszenz starts to say, but it gets caught in her throat. She has many things she wants to talk about with her, but none will come out though. She doesn’t usually talk directly to Juni so now that the opportunity presents itself, she doesn’t know how to start. An awkward silence falls over as Kreszenz fumbles for words.

“Why… did you come to me?” Juni finally speaks up after a while.

“Because you’re… because you also remember,” Kreszenz replies, encouraged by Juni taking the lead.

“What about Charlene?”

Kreszenz shakes her head. “She still doesn’t remember.”

This made Juni pause. “Didn’t you tell her?”

“No.” Kreszenz turns away. “For the same reason that you didn’t tell us everything.”

At this point, Juni is dumbfounded. For the same reason she did? Because she couldn’t trust them to not betray her? How is that possible? And how the hell did Kreszenz know about that?

“You did it for us,” Kreszenz says.

What?

“It must have been hard on you, having to keep this all to yourself,” Kreszenz continuous. Juni could only stare at her. “You were alone. There’s no one that you can tell. You had to cope, knowing all the crimes that you have done. Yet, for all of the things you had to go through, you’re still thinking about others.”

Juni just stares at her.

“I’ve had my doubts about you ever since we met. I felt that you were lying to us. I wasn’t able to trust you because of that. But now that I remember, I realize that you were only trying to protect us. The pain of remembering terrible memories.”

It’s quite clear to Juni now after hearing Kreszenz that she is being completely misunderstood. That wasn’t on her mind at all. This made it certain now that there’s no way she could ask her to rejoin as a Doll.

But seeing how Kreszenz just pour her heart out made Juni feel a sense of guilt. She almost feels like telling her about telling her the truth. She reaches out a hand to her shoulder.

Suddenly, Kreszenz moves to embrace her. This surprises Juni and her guard slips. Then for a moment, only a moment, the telepathic link connects their minds, and Kreszenz can see the image in Juni’s mind.

Juni immediately pushes her away. It was only an instant, but that was enough. Kreszenz looks at her with a stunned face.

“Those murders in the news… That was you?” Kreszenz whispers in disbelief.

Juni didn’t reply. She turns to where she placed the body and picks it up. There’s no use in hiding it anymore.

“What are you doing?” Kreszenz asks, looking at the body.

“I’m getting rid of it,” Juni says, driving any doubts from Kreszenz’s mind about what she discovered. She slings it over her shoulder and carries it past Kreszenz. They avoid each other’s eyes.

“Why?” Kreszenz asks as Juni goes by.

“They attacked me,” Juni replies.

“But killing them?!” Kreszenz swirls around. “We’re not Dolls anymore! Why are you doing this?”

Juni didn’t answer and keeps walking away. Kreszenz grabs the body and hangs on to it.

“Why?!” Kreszenz repeats.

Juni stands motionless for a long moment.“You may not think of yourself as one anymore,” Juni says quietly. “But I still do.”

Kreszenz hands slips away from the body as she stares shocked at Juni who starts to walk away again. She is only looking for comfort. She came here looking for a companion that can understand her, expecting for her to help in coping. But she is not expecting this.

“How can you think about going back to that kind of life?” Kreszenz shakes her head unable to comprehend the seeming insanity of it. “We were killers! Did you enjoy being a puppet so much?”

Juni stops again. “To you, our time as Dolls was when you were used to do things by our master.” Juni place a hand over her chest. “But I don’t really care about being used. Whether as a puppet or a killer, it doesn’t matter as long as I can serve him”

“You don’t know what you’re saying,” Kreszenz cries out. “How can you say that you want to serve something like that! M.Bison is the most vile monster in the whole world!”

At that, Juni’s eyes flash with anger and an aura of Psycho Power surges from her. Kreszenz shields herself from the sudden wave. When she opens her eyes, she only catches a glimpse of Juni rushing her before she is sent hurtling back.

“Do… Not… EVER… Speak badly of Sir Bison!” Juni says coldly.

Kreszenz is shaken, but she’s also starting to get angry as well. She can’t resist shooting another barb at her. “I’m sorry. I meant to say that he’s the most despicable demon that ever walked this planet!”

Kreszenz regrets it almost immediately as Juni rushes Kreszenz. The girl becomes overwhelmed as she tries to defend herself. There’s a clear difference between their combat abilities before and after they were Dolls. Only the blind rage that is making Juni swing wildy keeps Kreszenz from getting killed almost immediately.

Kreszenz desperately grabs at the bundle with the body of Luke and tries to use it as a shield. She brings it up as Juni swings for her head. There was a sickening thud when on impact and the sound of bones can be heard cracking. The blow tears it off of Kreszenz’s hands and sends it flying away. The tarp covering it is ripped off as the corpse goes over the end of roof and drops into the streets below.

Flemming drives along, trying to see any signs of the fugitive. He joined in the search for Luke and went to the area not being patrolled yet. They don’t even know how he got out in the first place, but they assume he couldn’t have gotten far.

Something suddenly crashes on the hood of the car. Tires screech as Flemming slams down the brakes. After the car comes into a halt, he gets out and looks at what it is. He immediately recognizes the face of Luke, with whatever is left of the rest of his body. He looks up and sees that someone is up on the roof looking down on him. The person move back out of sight.

“I found Luke. He’s dead!” the detective yells over radio. He quickly gives his location. “There’s someone up on the roof where Luke dropped from. I’m going in.”

Flemming immediately goes up to the door of the building and enters. He is inside an apartment complex with the receptionist being the only person in sight. He shows his badge to the receptionist and starts heading up the stairs. A few flights up puts him at the top floor. He can see the fire escape through a window at the end of the hall. He goes over there and sticks his head out the window. He can see the access ladder to the roof to his left. He climbs through the windows and up the ladder. He takes his gun before climbing over the last few feet and on to the roof.

As soon as the body went over, Juni breaks off her assault and immediately rushes over to the side of the roof. She looks down and sees someone looking back up at her. She recognizes him as the person who arrested her target before. She backs away and starts running towards the direction of the river. A leap puts her immediately on the next roof.

Kreszenz spots the detective coming on to the roof with gun drawn. She immediately moves to knock it away from his hand. He tries to take her down with a tackle, but she didn’t even budge. Even after suffering through Juni’s onslaught, she’s still an enhanced soldier. With inhuman strength, she lifts him up and throws away to the other end of the roof. She rushes over to the side where Juni went.

“Wait!” Kreszenz calls out. “Juni!”

Police sirens sounds like they’re coming closer until they stop below them. Kreszenz looks down to see police officers stepping out of their cars and heading inside the building. It won’t take long until they reach the roof access. Kreszenz looks back up to see Juni’s silhoutte fading into the shadows.

Kreszenz judges the distance between the roof. It’s at least 20 meters across. She moves back for some running space. Another look again at the distance between the rooftops makes her hesitate. Although she knows that it’s possible after watching Juni clear it, she never actually have attempted to jump something like this. She spends much of the time in front of a computer screen.

The uncertain girl hears the sound of the police officers approaching and takes off running. It’s now or never. She steps on the edge of the roof and leaps into the air.

Kreszenz feels like she’s floating. Wind on her face makes her feel giddy. The momentary rush disappears as soon as she realizes that she is getting too low. It wasn’t enough. She’s not going to make it. The edge of the rooftop is just a little out of reach of her outstretched arm before her vision is jarred as she collides against the wall.

It takes a few seconds for Kreszenz to collect herself and realize that she’s not falling. She looks up and sees Juni looking down at her. She grabbed on to her arm as she fell and is now pulling her up over and on solid surface.

Juni helps Kreszenz up on her feet. Before Kreszenz could say a word, she is being pulled along by Juni. Once they are further into the shadows away from the sight of the police officers, Juni turns back to Kreszenz.

“Are you okay?” Juni asks. Kreszenz nods. Juni points ahead. “Keep making your way to the river. The building are close together, so you should be able to get there by yourself. Once you make it there, swim along for about 50 meters to make sure that you’ve lost them.”

Juni turns and walks away.

“Where are you going?” Kreszenz asks.

“I’ll lure them away.” Juni replies. “You go on ahead.”

“Be careful.” Kreszenz calls to her. She watches her back until Juni moves out of her sight. Then, she goes off to do as Juni instructed.

Juni heads back towards where the police are gathering. She moves to where they can see her. Soon enough, a chopper that was called on to the scene is shining it’s spotlight down on her. She stares at it for a moment before dashing away. The chase is on.

Charlene is working on the graduation speech she’ll give at the ceremony tomorrow. She breaks off from the task to close her eyes for a moment and stretch. A sound makes her turn and see a familiar figure on the balcony outside. She immediately gets up and rushes over to open it.

“Kreszenz?”

Kreszenz is standing there with her face downcast. Water drips from her to collect into a puddle at her feet. Even though it wasn’t raining, she is soaking wet. Kreszenz stumbles forward and almost falls over if not for Charlene catching her, and starts sobbing in her friend’s arms.

Detective Flemming stands at the paramedic van with a blanket around him. He have an ice bag over a bump on his head. When he came around, the person on the roof have already escaped.

“Did you get her?” Flemming asks one of the officers in the search.

“No sir, we couldn’t stop her. We lost her when she jumped into the river.”

“Damn it!” Flemming slaps a hand down the side of his leg in frustration. He’s not surprised though, after seeing the girl’s superhuman strength. He doubts that there’s anyone that can stop her even if they did find her.

The detective stares out over the water. The events that have happened are overwhelming. Finding the answer to one question has opened up so many more. He doesn’t even know what kind of answers he can expect. And worst of all, somehow, he feels like he is not going to be able to find out what they are.


#5

I’d like to commend you. Not only for having the initiative to do what I still haven’t gotten around to doing, but also for the subject you’ve chosen. I mean, for all the raw potential they have story-wise, the dolls never seem to get any action (at least as much as TiamatRoar’s FAQ is concerned [heh]).

I truthfully only have read the prolouge at this point, but it seems excellently written for the most part and easily one of the better things on this part of the forum.

That said, I still have comments/criticisms (which you can freely ignore, especially since I don’t write anything).

I like the standard “start in the middle of the action” beginning and while I understand that you probably still have to proofread a lot of things (which reminds me, you do realize that you posted the better half of the prologue before you posted the entire prologue, correct?), I think that you should fix the beginning sentence. At least change something about the “dark forms”, since that’s probably where (most of) the confusion comes from for me.

Other than that, I take a bit of any issue with Cammy being shot that many times, including in the chest, and still being able to run around, Killer Bee Assault everyone, take a beating the would likely excerbate all wounds from the Dolls, collaspe, immediately get tortured by Bison, collaspe again, call out to Juni, connect her (and all the other dolls) to the Psycho Drive, manage to rescue them all, and then collapse again without dieing. I know she’s strong and Vega rescues her, but shit, she would of at least died from internal bleeding by then, especially considering Vega’s no surgeon. IMO, you should remove the chest shot (especially since it was so close to her heart) and just make the shots debilatating, not potentially lethal in of themselves. If you’re trying to show Ferveir’s marksman ship, I’m sure you can add her in a bit earlier to have keep Cammy on her toes even more.

You seem to be doing well regarding the times when you use the move names and times when you just give a description of the move (like with Juli’s opening attack of a Spiral Arrow). The only ones that seemed out of place were “Psycho Charge Alpha” and maybe “Killer Bee Assault!” (though it’s rather iffy since that was in her head) IMO.

Besides that I’d personally avoid using something/something unless it’s somehow unavoidable (by threat of death/lack of inspiration). It just seems so…forum-esque. Like it’s something that should only be used for posting or non-narrative writing (which I personally think it still stretching it in the latter’s case). Meh.

Keep up the good work.

I may read the other two chapters before I leave for the dentist later today, but I probably won’t give feedback on those two chapters until I get back today anyway.


#6

Aaaargh! I lost half of the work I did. I should have backed it up. Now I have to redo it over again. Looks like Chapter 3 is delayed even more. :sad:

Thank you for pointing out the double post on the prologue. As you’ll notice, I’m not the most organized person in the world. That weak point of mine caused me more than a few problems.

If it were anyone else, Cammy would probably have died from the shots before long. But since she’s a Doll and one of the best ones at that, she’s packing a greater than human constitution and regeneration. Now that you mentioned it, I probably should be a bit more specific about where she got shot it and how she was able to minimize the damage, as well as the extent of her superhuman body once I research a bit more on human anatomy.

Cammy also wasn’t as much as a factor in the usurping of the Psycho Driver aside from initiating the connection, but it’s not clear when you read it. Connecting with the Psycho Drive also boosted her health a bit. I should go revise those once I get around to it.

I thought about the moves and their names. The times when their names are mentioned at all are usually for emphasis or when I already did their description. The Psycho Charge Alpha probably needs a bit more description about how it’s a healing move though.

Since Dolls have their signature moves and this is a fan fic, it’s probably unavoidable to use them. I won’t be using them as much though since I would be thinking up new moves they would be using and I also don’t like to rely on them. The one that Juni used to kill that one guy in Chapter 2 is a new one I’ve thought up.

I guess I should get back to writing. I need to get caught up in rewriting Chapter 3 before I start to forget. Thanks for the feedback. :tup:


#7

Finally finished! Whoo! :woot:

Chapter 3 is up. I edited the post above.

Sorry for the wait. I was unable to write for a couple weeks, so that wrecked my writing schedule. Because of that, I tried to do my best to catch up with Chapter 3. After many RL interruptions and a number of revisions, I finally managed to get it up. It’s even longer than the prologue now.

EDIT: Whoops. A part is cut off. Now the whole thing’s up.


#8

Chapter 4

Kreszenz stirs on Charlene’s bed as sunlight peeks through the shades. An arm is laid over her eyes to shield them from the light. They feel so tired… suddenly, she realizes that the window is on the wrong side of the room. She opens her eyes to an unfamiliar ceiling.

Kreszenz sits up and recognizes this as Charlene’s bedroom. But what is she doing here? She vaguely recalls being slipped into the bed before… That’s right. She remembers the previous night’s events. After getting out of the river, she made her way to Charlene’s home. Then she cried herself to exhaustion.

The door opens and Charlene comes in. “Hey, you’re up,” Charlene greets her. “Good morning.”

“Morning.”

“You’re suppose to add ‘Good’ before the ‘Morning.’” Charlene ribs her lightly. When Kreszenz doesn’t respond: “…that is, if it is one.”

“Sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” Charlene tells her. She move to Kreszenz sitting there listlessly on her bed. The uncharacteristic depressed air around the usually stoic girl is a disturbing sight for her.

Charlene kneels down to level her face with Kreszenz’s. “What happened to you last night? Your parents called, wondering where you are. I told them that you’re staying with us for the night. When you came in soaking wet, you didn’t say a word.”

“It’s… complicated…” Kreszenz couldn’t bring herself to say anymore than that. She couldn’t even think of something she can tell her to ease her worries. She looks away from Charlene’s concerned eyes.

Charlene doesn’t push her when she doesn’t continue. “It’s okay if you don’t want to say anything.”

“Sorry.”

Charlene squeezes her hands, then leaves her alone. Kreszenz sits there with her thoughts. She doesn’t want to lie, and what she did told her friend is true enough. It is complicated, and something that she can’t confide in her.

After washing her face, she heads downstairs to the dining room. Charlene and her family are already eating breakfast. Her older brother is just finishing up and leaves.

“Um, good morning.” Kreszenz greets. They greet her back and return to their business. Charlene ushers her into the empty seat while her mother brings a fresh plate. Kreszenz accepts it politely, although she doesn’t have much of an appetite.

“Are you two ready for your big day?” Charlene’s mother asks them with a smile.

“Hmm?” Kreszenz mumbles vacantly over a mouthful of food. Charlene whispers to her, “The graduation is today.”

This makes Kreszenz choke. After clearing it with a drink of water, she replies, “Yes, of course!”

“Good to hear that,” Charlene’s mother clears the empty dishes. Once the two finishes up, they move to help her with but were

“I’m surprised that you forgot that the graduation’s today,” Charlene remarks. “Weren’t you the one that said that I’m so airheaded that I’ll probably forget about our own graduation? You were going to remind me about it too so that I won’t miss it.”

“Sorry.”

“That’s the the third time you said sorry today,” Charlene says softly. Kreszenz is about to apologize again but catches herself. There is an awkward silence for a moment, then Charlene urges her in a more cheerful tone. "You better hurry home so that you can get ready. Don’t want to miss your own graduation. I’ll see you later.

“Ah, yes.” Marz hesitates, then turns and walks away. Charlene watches her until she’s out of sight. Then she goes back inside to get ready as well.

Juni straightens out her graduation gown. To the side, her mother is smiling proudly amongst the other parents. Not a trace of the worry she had the previous night before can be seen on her face. She found out that a detective came in to their house looking for her last night. Fortunately, she wasn’t there at the time.

Yesterday was a close thing. Luke being taken in almost brought police forces on her. She tooks steps to deal with it, but they may have drawn a connection to her. She’s not sure how much they’ve information they’ve drawn from him, so she needs to be ready for anything just in case.

There is also that unsettled matter. Juni stares at a certain blue-haired girl. Kreszenz found out about her actions. And when she lost control of herself, caught the attention of the police. This interfered with her plan. Now they know that Luke is dead instead of simply missing and would be looking for the killer. Kreszenz also recovered her memory as a Doll and expressed how much she loathes it quite clearly. It’s impossible to predict what she’ll do after that.

The girl brushes back hair from her face. All the uncertain factors makes it difficult to plan anything. She can only to stay ready for whatever comes. She can’t relax until tomorrow, when she can put this all behind her.

“Juni!” She turns to where her name is being called from. Charlene is waving her over to where she, and Kreszenz, is standing. Juni hesitates, then goes over to them.

“I’m so nervous,” Charlene puts her hands to her cheeks. “It’s hard to believe that we will be graduating soon.”

“It is a bit surreal,” Juni agrees.

“I know! I mean, we missed a lot when we had to go on top-secret missions while hiding our identities working in fast-food restaurants. Then fought an entire terrorist organization by ourselves. We nearly died when we had to stop a doomsday device from blowing up the world!”

“Those never happened…” Juni murmurs.

Just what has she been thinking? Kreszenz sighs inwardly.

Neither one wants to correct Charlene though. They catch the others’ eyes and immediately look away. The two stands there in awkward silence as Charlene chatters on. Then the school intercom interrupts to signal the beginning of the graduation ceremony.

“All students, please go into your positions. The graduation ceremony will begin in ten minutes.”

“Oh! I need to get ready for my speech!” Charlene hurries away. “Later!”

The two that were left makes their way to their assigned position. After going through the motions of entering the auditorium, they end up at their seats. Once everyone is settled down, the speakers on the front stage begins to talk.

They sit there quietly as the ceremony proceeds. After a few speakers are done. Charlene is up on the podium making her speech.

“Thank you…” Juni glances at her when Kreszenz spoke out, “…for saving me.”

“…You’re welcome,” Juni replies after moment.

Another silence between them stretches out. Charlene finishes her speech and steps down. Somehow, she manages to trip and fall down. She brings the school president and a few other speakers down with her. Laughter ripples across the audience bringing smiles even to the faces of the two girls.

When it dies down, Charlene and the others picked themselves up. The ceremony resumes in order. Diplomas are starting to be handed out. As the students go up in turn, Kreszenz speaks out, “You’re really loyal aren’t you?”

Juni looks over at her. Kreszenz stares ahead as she continuous, “Even back then, you always obeyed completely. Everyone resisted the conditionings, some more than others. Even the Killer Bee, in the end, she also rejected it.”

“Except for you.” Kreszenz’s eyes focuses on her.

“You never once resisted. You willingly do whatever you were told and won’t disobey, not even when the hold they had over us was weak. I don’t think I can even remember you ever being restrained.” Kreszens clenches and unclenches her hands and stares at them, recalling the feelings of helplessness she felt back then. “I guess it’s because they know you won’t fight back.”

“I’ve been thinking about it. I don’t know what are the reasons you may have, but I think it’s because you actually care about… him,” Kreszenz tries hard not to show her feelings about that person. “More than anyone else, more than those goons around him, and definitely more than us.”

Juni is quiet until after Kreszenz is done. “Sir Bison… is my life,” she says. “He gave me a purpose. A reason to live.”

That has to be the most sincere thing that Kreszenz heard from Juni. She’s somewhat stunned that Juni would share this with her. Juni casts her eyes to the floor.

“I’m sorry for hurting you.”

This catches Kreszenz off-guard. She didn’t expect her to apologize. “That… it’s all right. I’m fine,” she assures Juni. What bitterness that she felt fades away. "I’m okay.

The conversation lapses into another silence. This time, the tension is replaced by a sense of amity. When Juni’s name is called, she pauses to look at Kreszenz. A nod from her brings a sense of relief as she goes up to receive her diploma. That settles one issue.

The graduation ceremony draws to a close as Charlene and the band finishes their performance. After a closing statement from the principal, everyone cheers and throws their caps up.

“Kreszenz! Juni!” The two sees Charlene bounding over to them. “Congratulations!”

“Congratulations!” They return.

“Isn’t this great?” Charlene gushes. “Somehow, we managed to graduate!”

“What do you mean ‘somehow?’” Kreszenz inquires.

"Didn’t we had to

“I didn’t have problems, did you Kreszenz”

“Hey!” Charlene says indignantly. The two laughs out loud Charlene is so glad to see a more cheerful air around the two that she join in the laughter.

“Excuse me, ladies.” They turn to a man who just spoke. “May I speak with a Miss Charlene?”

“That’s me,” Charlene raises her arm.

“Hello, Charlene. I’m Peter Kirken from the Adler Entertainments,” he introduces himself. “Is your parents around?”

“Yeah, they’re over there,” Charlene points to them.

“Good. Let’s have a talk with them,” the man goes over to them with Charlene following close by. The other two are left alone again.

“So, what are you going to be doing now?” Kreszenz asks.

Juni is silent for a moment. “I’m going to look for the others.”

“I see.” Kreszenz thinks about it for a bit. “What are you going to when you find them?”

“I’ll gather them, then we’ll go back to him.”

“What about… You’re not going to ask us?”

“No.” Juni shakes her head. “I don’t have to. I know what your answers are going to be.”

“Oh.”

Charlene comes running back to them. “Oh my gawd! Guess what?”

“What?” asks Kreszenz.

“That guy is a talent scout! He watched me when I was singing and wants to promote me!” Charlene exclaims. “He says I have a lot of talent and could go all the way.”

“Good for you,” Kreszenz praises.

“Congratulations,” Juni says.

“My family’s going out to celebrate,” Charlene announces. “You two want to come with us?”

“Of course,” Kreszenz says.

“I’ll go tell my parents,” Juni says. “I’m sure they’ll agree to join.”

“Okay. Let’s go Kreszenz.”

Juni watches them as they walk away. Although many things have happened, it seems that it all worked out in the end. There is no sign of the police around. It appears that she can expect no more problems with them. Juni goes off to call her parents.

Juni packs up her things and closes her suitcase. The light of dawn is just starting to break through early morning darkness. She looks around the room. This is will be the last time she is going to be in this room.

Juni carries the suitcase downstairs. She hands it over to the househelp who brings her luggage to the car outside. Juni heads to the dining room. After some breakfast, she says her goodbyes to her parents.

“Be careful,” her mother whispers.

“I will,” she smiles back. After a thought, Juni moves to hug her parents. Then she heads out the door.

Outside, she sees two unexpected visitors. She

“What are you two doing here?”

“Good morning,” Charlene greets her sleepily. She looks like she’s been dragged out of bed, which is probably what Kreszenz did. Kreszenz steps forward.

“You’re leaving, aren’t you?” Kreszenz says. "You parents mentioned it last night.

Charlene, who’s been nodding off, suddenly straightens up.“You’re leaving?”

“Yes, I’m going to be travelling around the world for a while,” Juni replies.

“Awww… I’ll miss you,” Charlene goes over and hugs her with tears in her eyes. Juni returns the hug warmly. When they let go, Charlene suddenly brightens up, “Oh… hey! When my singing career takes off and I go on tour, maybe we’ll meet up later!”

“I’ll pay you a visit if I’m ever in the same area,” Juni promises.

“Ah!” Charlene suddenly exclaims.

“What?”

Charlene turns to look at Kreszenz standing off to the side. “Kreszenz is going to be lonely here all by herself.”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Kreszenz says. "Next semester, I’m going to the U.S. on a scholarship to study at MIT.

“Kreszenz is also going some place too?” Charlene is overjoyed at this news. "Wow! That means we’ll all be travelling!

“It appears that way,” Juni agrees. “We should all do our best.”

After they echo her sentiments, Juni heads to the car. “I’ll be heading out now”

“Take care.”

“Good luck.”

“Thank you,” Juni says. “Same goes for the two of you.”

Juni gets in the car and starts it. “Good-bye.” Juni says one more time. She watches them through the rearview until they move out of sight. With a deep breath, she lets it out and focuses on the road ahead of her.

Flemming searches through the national database of criminal files. He closes a window to open up another and scans it. So far, he is not having much luck on it. Because it was dark, he couldn’t make out her face to use it in the search.

At first, he thought that girl Juni would have something to do about it, it appears that there’s no point in asking her about it now that Luke is dead. She even called in last night Unless… Flemming gets a thought and decides to pay her another visit.

Flemming calls the girl’s household. “Hello, this is Detective Flemming. Yes, I’d like to speak with Juni, please… oh, I see. All right. Goodbye.”

The detective puts down the phone. He missed her again, this time for good. He found out that she have already left that morning and is probably out of the country now. He rubs his chin as he ponders what he should do next.

Flemming could have people on a lookout for her. That’s all he can do for now. He leans forward about to place a call for it when it suddenly rings. He picks it up and answers it.

“Hello? Oh, yes, I’m working on it right now…” Flemming pauses. “What? But sir… understood. I’ll drop it.”

The detective slowly puts the phone down and leans back against his chair. That was a call from the superintendent. He was ordered off the case. Although it wasn’t said, he can deduce that the top brass is involved. The implications of this are disturbing, as are the questions it raises.

How far up does this go? Is the military involved? Who is that girl? Is she some kind of super-soldier? Did those men that were killed accidently stumble on a black ops mission and were killed for that?

Flemming lets out a sound of exasperation. Too many questions, ones that he’s not likely to find answers to. In any case, he’s off the case, and that’s that. He’s just a lower-end detective anyway. If the higher-ups are involved, then he has no more business with it. He turns to other things that he has on his plate and gets to work.


Chapter 4 is done, and that wraps up Part 1. :pleased:

With that cleared, I’ll go look over what needs fixing before moving on to Chapter 5. Maybe then I could put in more action scenes. I’m much better with those.


#9

I’ve started working on Part 2 of the Shadaloo Legacy and felt like there might be something I’m missing. I have an idea of where I want to take the story, but I’d like to hear people’s opinions on how it’s going so far. One thing I’m considering doing is to drop making up real names for the girls and just refer to them by their names as Dolls. This way, there won’t be any confusion as to who is being referred to.


#10

No comments? I’ll go with what I have planned then.


Chapter 5

The leaves rustle as the wind blows through the hospital courtyard. A girl, with short red hair in a hairstyle that’s wide enough to completely cover her ears, attends to an elderly person. She gets him settled down on a bench underneath a tree.

“Aprile!”

A call turns Aprile’s attention to a boy shakily walking towards her. The sight brings a smile to her face. The boy slowly makes his way over to her.

“You can do it,” Aprile cheers him on. "Just a little more.

The boy takes the last few trembling steps then falls forward with Aprile catching him. Aprile looks down at him proudly.

“Good job, Alfonso,” Aprile congratulates him. Then she looks at woman behind a wheelchair, Alfonso’s mother. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Ottavio.”

“Aprile, Aprile…” Alfonso tugs at her dress, to bring her attention back to him. “Let’s go watch a movie in the lobby.”

“Not right now,” Aprile answers. She helps him back to his wheelchair. “I still have work to do. Why don’t you go watch cartoons for a while.”

“Okay.” Mrs. Ottavio starts to push him forward but Alfonso wiggles and rocks the wheelchair.

“I can get there on my own, Mama,” Alfonso fusses. He leans his small frame forward so he can reach the control stick of the eletric wheelchair. With a tight grasp on the stick, he drives the wheelchair forward on his own.

“Be careful now,” Aprile cautions. “Make sure that you don’t fall out of the chair.”

“I will!” Alfonso calls back over his shoulder.

“Alfonso’s looking much better today, isn’t he?” Aprile remarks.

“Yes,” Mrs. Ottavio agrees. “And it’s all thanks to you.”

“Me?” Aprile looks at her with surprise.

“Yes.”

“But I haven’t done much…” Aprile says humbly.

“Of course you have!” Mrs. Ottavio insists. “My son was always stubborn. He got it from his father, see. He would make no attempt to walk until you came along. But with you, he manages to progress as much as he did. You are his savior.”

“ThThank you…” Aprile stammers.

Mrs. Ottavio pats her on the head and walks off to the direction of the lobby. Aprile is left standing there dumbfounded that someone like her is able to help a person so much. But a smile spreads over her face knowing that her effort are being appreciated and her steps feel light as she goes to the rest of her tasks.

From a hospital window looking over the courtyard, Juni watches Aprile as she leaves to go about her business. She’s been observing her movements for the past few hours. Judging from her disposition, it’s highly unlikely that Aprile would join her. Juni turns and leaves the hospital.

In battle, she’s last to fight and first to see to the fallen. That’s her duty as the Dolls’ Medic. In retrospect, the winged skull symbol of Shadaloo adorning the medical kit along with the red cross of protection appeared rather ridiculous.

Juni takes a break at a local cafe. She takes a seat on one of the outside tables. She takes out a battered-looking laptop and starts making entries to her journal. During one of her conversations with Marz, she managed to garner the location of her place of impact when she was transported. After a few hours of looking around with a metal detector, she found it shallowly buried a few meters from the impact site. Considering the condition it was in, she was relieved to find that it is still operational.

The Dolls’ equipment were made for durability because they were usually assigned to fieldwork. It appears this includes an otherwise delicate piece of equipment such as Marz’s computer. The battery is intact and can still be recharged. It did lose the power cable that attaches it to a power supply contained in Marz’s armband though. A regular power cable from a store is a sufficient replacement for the cable. The armband can convert Psycho Power into electrical energy to run the laptop, but that’s not something Juni needs as one person unwittingly discovered.

In addition to utilities for hacking through computer systems and various top secret information, the laptop also contains data on the Dolls such as combat attributes and skilles. Juni has been researching information on the rest of the Dolls and sees this as a good find. Unfortunately, there’s no current information on them. The Shadaloo mainframe remains unavailable no matter how many times she try. It’s possible that it may have been moved. She can’t do anything about that at the moment, so for now, she’ll have to make do with what she has.

After making a note on Aprile’s profile, Juni closes the laptop and slips it back into a backpack she’s carrying. She considers her options over a cappucino. She’s been through France in search of Fvrier, who is away participating on a target shooting tournament across Europe. It’s unknown when she’ll be back.

There’s no information on Juli at all. It appears she became an orphan shortly before being taken in by Shadaloo. The relatives who are supposed to take custody of her reported that she ran away. They gave no indication that she have ever returned at all after the Dolls were returned. This makes her concerned. It brings to mind a number of possibilities, most of them not encouraging.

As for the other Dolls, she only has clues to where they might be. Almost all of them are from news reports from different countries sharing similar stories about bright lights and missing girls reappearing. The odds are likely that the girls would be the former Dolls. Juni takes a sip of her beverage as she thinks about her next step.

Heavy leather boots sound out as they climb the stairs. A gloved hand carries an indescript black suitcase. The other hand opens a door leading into a bare room. The room has one closed window. The person strides over to it and opens it.

The suitcase is laid down on the floor. Latches click as they are unlocked. The suitcase is flipped open, revealing disassembled rifle parts within. The stock is picked up and gripped on one hand. A long barrel is then connected to it. After that, a scope is attached and the rifle is loaded with ammunition. Finally, a bipod mount is set up near the window and the sniper rifle is placed on it.

Sounds from the traffic drifts through the windows as the rifle is swiveled in place. The crosshairs of the scope moves and stops when it has Juni’s face in its sight. A finger slowly pulls the trigger. A shot rings out.


Planning on making more frequent updates. I have a habit of putting off things and too many interruptions can come up when I try every two weeks. I’ll be putting up what I got instead of putting off stuff so I can get a long chapter up. I want to at least have something up every week. This one’s suppose to be up last week, so I’ll be updating again in a few days. That is, if nothing else comes up.


#11

(continued)

A clatter brings Juni out of her thoughts: a teaspoon was knocked off the table. She bends down to pick it up, and a bullet whizzes past a split-second later, clipping off a few strands of her hair to continue through and break a window. Juni immediately knocks the table over and dives behind it.

There’s a scream from inside the cafe as the person the bullet hit goes down. Another bullet pierces the table Juni is hiding behind and embeds into her shoulder. All hell breaks loose as people scramble to get away from the line of fire.

Juni looks around as she grabs her backpack, quickly assessing the situation. Judging from the trajectory of the shots, they’re coming from one of the buildings across the street. She makes her escape while using other people as cover. One near her falls, red staining his shirt. She turns a corner and quickly slips through the spaces between the buildings.

When Juni went out of sight, the sniper curses. What sheer luck! It’s hard to believe that the target would bend down at the exact instant the shot was fired. At this distance, there’s a slight delay between the firing and impact. But to actually avoid it by chance…

The sniper immediately begins packing up the equipment. There are going to be police who will be on the alert. It’d be best to get away from here as soon as possible in case any shows up.

Once everything’s back in the suitcase, the sniper takes out strange-looking gun. It appears that a more hands-on approach is required now that Juni is alerted. After checking it, the gun is put away and the sniper leaves with suitcase in tow.

Once she is out of the line of fire, Juni slows her pace for a bit but keeps going to the direction of her car. She keeps a wary eye out in case there may be others involved. She crosses the square favoring her left arm but enters the parking lot without incident. Juni gets in her car, and hesitates. She leaves the car door open then reaches in to start the car. The ignition was smooth. No explosions. Juni breaths a sigh of relief and gets in.

It seems that the attacker is acting alone. It’s possible that this may just be the random act of a… no. Juni recalls the targets of each shot. It wasn’t successful, but they were all clearly meant for her.

Is Interpol involved? Juni wonders. That’s a possibility. She did leave a possible loose-end back in Germany. They may have contacted the Interpol for help. But police forces don’t act alone. And Juni highly doubt that they would resort to the business of assassination.

By all appearance, this is the act of a single person. Possibly hired by one group or another. But who would want her dead?

A lot of people, Juni admits to herself. Shadaloo has made a lot of enemies in its history. There’s also a number of those associated to the ones she killed. There’s no short supply on possible suspects. She’ll just have to be more careful from now on.

Juni looks in the rearview mirrer as she’s about to back the car out. Then she notices a familiar person entering the parking. She shuts the car off and waits. Her left arm rests limply on her lap. Its starting to feel numb as the red stain spread, but she ignores it. Juni sits still while she tracks a girl crossing the parking lot by the corner of her eye. When the girl drives and stops just before the exit to pay her ticket, Juni’s outline blurs and she disappears.

Juli exits from the parking lot and pulls into the light traffic. Her cellphone rings. She waits until she stops at a red light before answering it.

“Hello? Oh, hey! …yes, I’m done shopping. I’m heading back to the apartment… All right. I’ll pick those up on the way… I’ll see you then. Bye.”

Juli hangs up the phone. She glances in in the rearview mirror to switch lanes and gasps as a pair of brown eyes stares back at her.

“Don’t turn around. Keep driving to your apartment,” Juni tells her. The tone of her voice has a dangerously serious edge to it. Juli doesn’t argue with her does what she said. The light turned green and they move forward.

The drive to Juli’s place is quiet. Throughout that entire time, Juli feels that stare of Juni on her back. A cold and dangerous, yet familiar stare. It’s the same one, and possibly the only expression Juli ever seen on the girl’s face. She wonders if this is what those caught in Juni’s gaze felt.

Once they pull up at Juli’s place, Juni gets out first. Then she lets Juli lead the way while she follows close behind. Juli unlocks the door and they go in.

Juni examines the living room while Juli watches her. It seems like an ordinary apartment. Juli didn’t appear to be trying to hide anything when they came in. But looks can be deceiving. Juni goes through the apartment while keeping her guard up. There’s nothing that seems out of sort. It’s small apartment, so she is entering the bedroom in a minute.

The bedroom appear as ordinary as the rest of the apartment. Juni looks through the closet and lifts the sheets draping over the side of bed to check below it. Nothing there. She examines some of the pictures on the dresser. Juli is smiling next to a man Juni doesn’t recognize in one of them.

“This doesn’t look like the kind of place to stage any kind of operation,” Juni remarks.

“What do you mean?” Juli asks. Juni studies the sincere confusion on her face. Either, she’a very good actor or…

She’s not acting at all. Juni concludes. When she puts everything together, the idea that Juli is the one who attacked doesn’t fit in. She doesn’t show any sign that she’s even aware of the event. It may just be coincidence she was in the area at the time. By all appearance, this is just a case of a mistaken assumption.

“No, it’s nothing.” All the strength and hostility seems to drain out of Juni. Suddenly she just looks tired. She sits down on the bed with a sigh. “Don’t worry about it.”

Juli looks at her, uncertain at this sudden change in her demeanor. Then she notices the wound Juni has. “Your arm!” she cries out. Juli sits down next to Juni to examine it. She notices the hole in the jacket. “What happened?”

“Sniper,” Juni simply says. Juli stares at her. When she doesn’t elaborate, the girl doesn’t press her. Juli gets the first aid kit and returns quickly. Then she helps take off Juni’s clothing to reveal the wound. The bullet stops at the bone just below the shoulder joint.

Juni quietly lets her tend to the wound. Juli takes out the bullet with tweezers from the first aid kit. She then clean and dress the wound.

“Do you remember… everything?” Juni asks her while Juli works.

“What do you mean?”

“Those times we were together,” Juni clarifies

This made Juli pause. “I remember,” she answers after a moment.

“You haven’t forgotten them?”

“I don’t think I can forget them if I try.” Juli answers. Juni ponders on this. She remembers? But the others forgot. Granted, she only knew two of them. She haven’t made contact with Aprile. Perhaps this might be something to make her remain for a while. She notices Juli staring at her.

“What have you been doing, all this time?” Juni asks her to change the subject.

“Uh, me?” Juli looks around the apartment. “It’s like how you see it. I’m living an ordinary life with Jacob.”

“And this is where you’ve been living?” Juni asks.

“No… I mean we’re here because of Jacob’s work. We’ll only be staying for about month.”

“Are you happy, living this way?”

“Yes,” Juni replies. “Although it does get boring at times,” she admits.

“Then join me,” Juni asks her earnestly. This causes Juli to stare at her again. “We can reform our team. It can be just like how it was, when we were partners.”

“But…” Juli trails off. She can’t think of what to say to her.

“You don’t have to answer right now,” Juni tells her. She puts her clothes back on and gets up. “I’ll come back later. Please think about it.” Juni leaves Juli alone with her thoughts.


Ah, writer’s block. Try writing in vain for a few days, then suddenly write more in a few hours than you did in days. :bluu:


#12

(continued)

The hotel room door unlocks and Juni enters. She had to take a taxi to get back her car before driving back to the hotel. Her backpack is tossed on top of the bed while she throws herself next to it. She takes a peek at the time and sighs. It’s only early afternoon and she’s already feeling fatigued.

Juni sits up and touches the shoulder wound. She should do something about this. After baring the bandaged area, Juni lays a hand over the wound. Shimmering blue particles surround her and she glows with blue light. The particles concentrate on the wound. They fade away with the light after a moment. When she removes the bandages, there’s only a light mark to suggest that there was anything there.

There’s a knock on the door.

“Who is it?” Juni calls out.

“Room service,” answers a female voice from behind the door.

Juni goes over to the door, but she slows down when she faces the door. A tangible sensation of something emanating from behind the door makes her hesitate. She recognizes this aura. Silently, she edges closer and reaches out a hand to touch the door. The impression she’s getting is stronger on contact. Suddenly, it spikes.

Reacting immediately, she dashes out of the way as shots fills holes on the door. There’s no doubt about it on Juni’s mind. What she’s feeling a person’s very intense, murderous rage. She felt it once before, from another dangerous person. She backs away while keeping her attention on the door.

The door is kicked down and the slim figure of a woman walks through. She has a balaclava covering her head and wearing what appear to be some kind of special forces uniform walks through. She looks around the room. It appears to be empty. Cautiously, she advances with gun in her hand.

The woman looks into the bathroom to her left. It’s empty including the ceiling. From the bathroom, the bed is in front of her and the closet is to the far right. Checking the bed first, she lifts the edges of the bed sheets up with her toes and quickly peers below. Since there’s nothing there, that leaves only one place left. With one outstretched hand, she opens the closet door and pulls back quickly. Empty.

She hears the sound of wind blowing and notices that the windows is open. She quickly goes over but doesn’t look out. Instead, she takes out a scope from her belt and pushes a button to turn it on. At same time, her left eye begins to glows red. She uses that to look outside like a cameria, with the information being fed into the cybernetic eye. She scans above, below, and to the sides. The gun is lowered when she finished her sweep. It appears that her target escaped. The scope is put away and she turns around, just in time to react to movement from behind.

The woman scream as Juni’s thrusting hand touches her skin and staggers backwards. Although the attack missed its intended target, the crackling attack imparted enough energy to affect her. While she’s reeling from the shock, Juni grabs her mask and yanks it off. Then she sees today’s second familiar face. The mask slips from her fingers.

Février!? Juni is stunned to see her. What’s even more shocking is the fact that she’s trying to kill her. Février takes advantage of her surprise to recover and throw something at her. Even though she wasn’t expected, it is still an easy thing for the ex-Doll to dodge the projectile. Not wanting to fight Février, she is about to ask her what this is all about but a faint click from behind catches her attention.

Juni sees the device attached to the wall. It unfolds a disc that swivels at a certain angle. She realizes what that means. She flips the bed sheet up between the buoy and her and dives to the side just as Février fires. The shot ricochets off the metallic discs and back towards where she was, leaving a hole in the bed sheet.

The girl stops herself with her hands, and immediately twists to spiral feet-first towards Février legs. This bowls the gunslinger over, but she quickly drops into a roll the places her near the door. Février gets up with a flashbang in her hand, which she throws down in front her. Juni stops her rush to shield herself.

When the pyrotechnics fades away. Juni finds herself alone in her room. The door swings wide open. Juni quickly goes out to give chase, but stops when she sees the number of people attracted by the sounds of their fighting.

“Is there’s a problem, miss?” asks a hotel employee. People in the hallways are staring at her. Other occupants are sticking their heads out of their rooms to see what the commotion is all about.

“No. No problem,” Juni answers. She returns back to her room and the onlookers disperses. She’ll have to let Février go for now. No matter. She knows how to find her. Juni takes out the laptop and turns it on. Now would also be a good time to make a reservation in another hotel.

Février looks behind her. It appears that she managed to throw Juni off her trail. Gunning the motorcycle, she heads back towards her hideout. The direction leads to the industrial area, where she pulls up to a warehouse. She parks her motorcyle in the warehouse near the entrance.

There’s a table at the center of the warehouse. A number of cases around it appears to contain her personal armory. She turns on a light and sits down to plan her next course of action.

A frontal assault didn’t work. But then she should have known better than to attack one of the top fighters amongst the dolls head-on. She needs to be better prepared next time. Long-range won’t work now that Juni would be cautious. Close-range is suicide. Better to stay at middle-range. Février takes out an assault rifle and gets to work modifying it. She becomes so absorbed in her task that she doesn’t notice the time pass, nor the intruder that has entered the premises

“So this is where you’ve been hiding,” a voice says out from behind her. Février starts, and swings around the rifle. A well-placed shot with a screwdriver knocks it out of her hands. Juni walks into the light and stop at the edge. Février maintain a defiant attitude regardless of the loss of a weapon.

“Well, what do you know,” Février sneers. “Bison’s bitch manage to sniff me out with her cute little nose.”

Février gets up, making no motion to grab the pistol at her hip holster as Juni is watching closely.

“It was simple enough,” Juni replies. “When I found out that it was you who’s been trying to kill me, it makes it much easier to track you down. I know that you are still carrying a few of those buoys with you.” Février glances down at her belt and a light on one of the buoys shows that she is telling the truth. “They give a signal when activated. You can keep track of them with that eye of yours, as well as with anything that can receive the signals if you know what to look for. Like Marz’s trusty laptop. So before you left, I made sure that one is active so I can track you down.”

Février chuckles mirthlessly as she shakes her head. “You’re a smart dog, aren’t you?”

Février puts a hand to her hip as if she’s merely shifting her weight. Then she suddenly whirls and draws her gun. But Juni is expecting something like this so she’s already moving as soon as Fevrier moves.

Juni tries to get her arm into a lock, but Février manage to wrench herself free. A kick sends Juni flying to a wall. She flips, then suddenly stops in mid-air to dive forward with an outstretched leg. It hits Février square in the face, making her stagger backward.

A feral growl sounded from Février throat and she brings her gun to bear. Juni evades the barrage of bullets, trying to get close to Février so that she can bring her superior close-combat abilities to bear while limiting Février’s strength at range. Then a sudden impact to the side of her jarrs her senses.

What?

Her head whips around and focuses on something blinking on the wall. It’s one of Février’s buoys. A quick scan reveals that there are a number of buoys that are scattered throughout the warehouse. They must have been set before she arrived.

Février continuous her shots. Juni forms a Psycho Shield to deflect the bullets away from any buoys, but realizes that she’s at a disadvantage. She immediately looks around for cover and dives behind some crates.

Février flips a small switch to the side of her gun and loads a different colored bullet, her Lucky Seven. This is another special trait of her gun, one that lets her change to different types of ammunition in the middle of a battle. This particular bullet is designed specifically for trick shots. It’s force doesn’t decrease when it ricochets off a surface. Février skill lets her kill anyone within With this, she’s sure to finish Juni off.

After catching her breath, Juni takes a look around her surroundings. She picks up a piece of glass from a mirror broken by a stray bullet. The mirror piece is held up to give her a view of the. She takes note of each one and carefully calculate how each one could deflect a bullet in relation to Février. Juni comes up with a plan to get through the maze of ricochet paths.

Février watches Juni hiding behind the boxes through infrared with her artificial eye with predatory patience. When she comes out of there, she’s dead. Février didn’t have to wait long as Juni jumps out and rushes her. She fires off a few normal bullets, which Juni dodges as expected. But those are only to set her up.

When Juni crosses half the distance, Février fires of a series of shots that created an almost eerie kind of percussive music as the bullets bounces off of the buoys. Juni manages to get out of the path of those right where Février wants her. That when she fires of the yellow-tipped bullet.

The bullet shoots out the barrel, leaving behind its distinctive golden tracer mark. Juni dodges the initial path, but the ricochet grazes her. Third path comes even closer, with the fourth, fifth, and sixth actually piercing through her body. On the seventh, it heads straight to her heart.

Then Février blinks. The web of tracer paths hangs in the air. But where Juni is suppose to be within in, there’s nothing there.

She’s gone?

Février looks around wildly. Where is she? Then something blurs in front of her and materializes into Juni. A fist in her abdomen loosen her hold on her pistol, then broken as she gets thrown to a wall. She gets up shakily as her eyes burn with fury.

“There’s no place you can escape to now,” Juni tells her.

“We’ll see about that,” Février mutters through gritted teeth. She cries out as she rushes at her.

Juni just shakes her head at the seemingly suicidal approach. She lifts an arm to parry a punch and is surprise at the shock her arm. Février follow through with a series of punch and kicks that pushes Juni back.

There’s something strange going on here. Février has amongst the lowest BP rating of 8000 and the weakest Psycho Power with an SP of only 5000, more on par with Enero and Marz rather than the other more combat-oriented Dolls. Her meleé talents are no better; it is her skill with firearms that placed her amongst the elites. Which is why it is a suprise that Février is actually managing to hold her own in hand-to-hand combat.

That must be it, thought Juni. The intense anger, fear, and hatred she’s feeling from Février is feeding her Psycho Power. It’s increasing her strength beyond what she was capable of. But Juni is capable of handling it. Still, it is better not to take any chances.

Juni parries aside a punch and drives and elbow to Février’s middle. While she is bent over, she follows it with a rising kick that lift Février up. A mid-air kick sends her flying away. She crashes against the wall and drops down.

Février gasps as she lays on the ground. She knows that she can never match Juni’s combat ability. But she still has one final card to play. Rolling to her side so that her back is towards Juni, she takes something out of her belt. A detonator. She waits with bated breath for Juni to comes closer. Then the sound of footsteps on a plastic tarp, one near a cache of explosive, signals the right time. Février hits the button.

Initial concussive forces sends Juni into the air, then the heat hits her. As soon as she hits the ground she immediately rolls to put out any fire that may have caught in her clothing. Then she stops and gets up to see Février points the gun at her face. They stare at each other as Février pulls the trigger.

A kick from the side hits the gun up as it fires, causing it to miss wildly. Then a roundhouse knock Février away. Juni’s face shows a mix of relief and delight as she sees who her rescuer is. Juli is here!

Juni takes the opportunity to dash in and thrust a hand stiffed into a knife at Février’s throat. While Février staggers back, Juni blurs and vanishes, to reappear behind her. Juni’s hand crackles with energy, and she send it surging through Février’s body. Février goes into violent spasms before collapsing at her feet.

Juni looks up to see that her savior is already is already walking away. She ties Février up and grabs her gun, then goes after Juli. Her face is shining with her expectations.

“I’m so glad to see you Juli…” Juni begins to say. She hurries towards her former partner.

“Don’t come closer!” Juli tells her. This stops Juni in her tracks.

“I won’t return to Shadaloo,” Juli informs her. “I helped you because… I’m not really sure why I helped you… I suppose it’s sentimentality. For being my partner when I was alone.”

"I can’t be a leader. I never really was one. That was only to keep myself moving. "

“Juli…” Juni begins to protest but Juli cuts her off.

“It’s not just that, is it? Knowing you, this isn’t just about getting all of us together. You’re going back to that tyrant, aren’t you?”

“I see,” Juni’s tone turns cold at hearing a disrespectul tone towards her master. She dusts herself off. “Is that your final decision?”

"Yes. " Juli looks away. She takes one last look at her. “Goodbye.”

Juni didn’t look back until she hears the sound of the car starting up. Then she watches her former partner leave with a sense of regret. Once Juli is out of sight, she lets out a sigh and runs her fingers through her hair. Her plan of reforming the Dolls isn’t turning out well at all. Almost half of the girls have no desire to return. One despises it so much to take action. Now she’ll have to take care of Février… Juni glances at her and pauses.

She’s gone.

Juni heads over to where she was and looks around. The sound of screeching tires answers her question. Juni watches her ride away and considers going after her. But it’s been a long day. Her body’s hurting and she didn’t really want to fight her in the first place. She suppose that she can let her go.

Juni turns and heads back to her car. After all this, the only thing she wants to do now is to head back to the hotel and go to sleep. She stifles a yawn as she thinks about getting in bed, then remembers that she changed her place of stay after Février’s assault. Well, perhaps the bed there is just as comfortable. She gets in the car and drives away.


That wraps up Chapter 5. I don’t want to cut things off in the middle of a fight scene, so I decided to not skip last week so I can put up the whole part at once.