I do not own anything related to Freezing, its characters or topics related to the Manga or Anime. All credit goes to Lim Dall-Young for inspiring me to write in this dynamic universe. This is just my imagination of what the future of the series could be like. All OC are of my own creation.
Content- MATURE - For violence and coarse language throughout.
Writing style is geared for young adult readers.
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PANDORA are genetically enhanced women who undergo intense training at special military schools in order to become soldiers that fight the NOVA. Pandora's strength originates from Stigmata, alien tablets that are infused with the nerves of the spinal column. The results of the merging of physiology and alien technology provides the Pandora with superhuman abilities that is over ten times greater than that of an average person. Additionally, the technology allows the Pandora to manifest armor and weapons which are deadly to the NOVA. Pandora were originally developed by the late Dr. Gengo Aoi.
NOVA are the natural enemy of mankind. These inter-dimensional beings exist in a realty different than our own. Not much is known of their history. Their motives are unclear as to why they want to eradicate the human race. The NOVA's main weapon consists of the ability to "Freeze" organic and mechanical objects with a strong energy pulse. The cascading energy renders everything within the kill zone radius inert and stationary. Over time, Pandora have developed the ability to nullify the Freezing effects. In doing so, the alien threat was neutralized during the Great War of 2077.
Orbital speed – 7660 m/s 27,576km/h
Altitude – 390 km
"Stand-by attitude thrusters."
"Confirmed, two-percent turn."
"Reaction-control system nominal."
The spaceport commander clasped his hands, leaning forward in his chair as the imposing structure appeared on the wall-sized display monitor. He silently listened to the staff finish the initial stage of activation.
"Adjust trim four degrees, extend rail twenty meters."
"We're green across the board Commander." Said the lead operator sitting nearby. Exhaling, the man stood up, not taking his eyes away from the display screen. Approaching the digital projection, he put his hands behind his back. "Perses-Titan, this is Commander Broderick, we show all systems are a go down here."
"Confirmed, commander," Came the clear voice over the comlink. "The weapon-station is fully armed and awaiting verification code and authorization sequence."
"Understood, Perses-Titan; uploading code verification and authorization: Gamma-epsilon, six, sixty-six."
Roughly four-hundred kilometers above sea-level, the top-secret weapon came online - its powerful Anti-NOVA cannon trained toward planet Earth's surface; the fearsome rail-gun anxiously awaiting the order to fire.
CHAPTER 1 - EVERDREAM
The bleak blackness of the unknown...
"Hello?" A shaky voice in the pitch blackness - she sat; knees tucked up to her chest, gazing out over the vastness of nothing. Then, she called out again, anticipating an answer. "Hello? Anyone? Please, somebody…"
Feeling helpless, Summer lowered her head, the cold stillness embracing her like a blanket of ice.
Here I am again, inside this personal hell, a prisoner of this place…I'm utterly alone.
"You'll never be alone Summer."
"What was that?" She whispered, "Who's there?" The young Pandora slowly looked around, attempting to pinpoint the gentle voice. There, in the distance, a glint of light pierced the darkness. Growing from that sliver of brilliance was an outline of a woman – with long flowing dark hair, gracefully falling to the middle of her back. Somehow, this vision seemed safe and familiar. Gaining courage, Summer stood and approached the glowing figure. Upon reaching the mysterious individual, the image sharpened, becoming clear. Summer wondered however, why the woman faced the opposite direction. "Who…are you? Won't you turn to greet me?"
"My niece, I'm so sorry for everything that's happened to you. I can now fully realize the anguish and pain you've endured."
"Niece?" Summer's heart pounded in her chest.
"I wish things would have been different for us. Your father spoke of you quite often to me, and I'm so grateful to finally be with you."
"K…Kazuha?" Summer whispered, extending a hand, but hesitating, "Is it…really you?"
The image continued to sharpen as the woman turned her head; exposing two piercing dark eyes. "Of course it's me; I'm a part of you now. You'll never be alone…my beautiful niece."
Summer shook her head, "Kazuha, I don't understand… You're dead; I mean…you can't…" Summer seemed paralyzed, the brilliant outline shimmered as her aunt spoke, "In time, you'll understand. Your father was right, you do have remarkable power." Then, the glowing outline of Kazuha Aoi smiled. "I'm so very proud of you."
"Aunt Kazuha, where am I?"
The glowing woman looked around, "I'm not really sure, but I know that you created this place from your deepest thoughts - it took me some time to find you."
"You found me?"
"Yes, but it wasn't too difficult."
"I don't like this place, I…just want to go home to Eastbourne."
"It's not time yet, you still have much to do."
"Aunt Kazuha, I'm scared, I don't want to fight anymore. I became something, a monster that I couldn't control - it haunts me. Right now, I can't tell if this is a dream or that living nightmare."
"I sense its residual energies – it must have been a frightening experience."
Summer couldn't clear her mind of the image of her NOVA Form. The hate, the burning orange glow, and the desire to destroy everything tugged at every shred of her humanity. Despite the fear, standing before her aunt made Summer feel at peace; as if a heavy weight was lifted from her shoulders.
Then, just when Summer's anxiety diminished, the image of Kazuha rippled, "There's someone else here…" Almost instantly, the reflection faded as Summer went to grab her hand.
"Wait! Kazuha! No!" It was too late, the outline vanished leaving Summer once again alone in the darkness.
"There you are! I found you!" Turning, Summer saw a small girl running up to her with arms outstretched, a tender smile; bringing a sense of hope to the weary Pandora. "I really found you! Here you are! I thought I lost you!"
"What are you doing here?" Summer stated. Recognizing her apprehension, Alexandra lowered her arms. "I came looking for you. I missed you very much."
"You're…NOVA, you're the enemy." Summer frowned, still not wanting to believe the truth of Alexandra's true nature.
"Please Summer wait. Don't go deeper into the darkness; we need to pull you back to the light."
"Yes, your father and several others are here with you now."
"Just wait, please? You have to wake up first."
"I don't know if I can trust you."
"Trust…why would you say that to me?" The girl lowered her head, "Are you wishing for me to not be around you anymore?"
"You are the enemy - the NOVA." Summer declared still struggling with her conflicting emotions.
"Summer, do you remember what I told you?" The tall Pandora kept her gaze from the ten-year-old as if searching for a way out of the blackness. "I told you that if I revealed to you who I really was, our relationship would change."
"This is that reason; your anger toward the NOVA is affecting your feelings toward me."
"Why should I care?"
"You should care, because I care for you!"
Summer immediately turned toward the girl and stepped closer. "Alexandra, how can you be NOVA and say those things to me? I don't understand any of this!"
"I say those things because I have hope for the human race. I've developed feelings of compassion just like Maria did. Please believe me."
"Like Maria…?" Summer remembered what her father told her many years ago about the sacred remains hidden deep inside the Ravensbourne Nucleotide. She recalled how Maria appeared to her great-grandfather Gengo and how she ultimately felt compassion for the human race. Now hearing the affirmation again, Summer started understanding why Alexandra wanted to help. "Are you able…to wake me up?"
The little girl smiled as she raised her arms. "Hold on to me, and I will." She was hesitant at first, but Summer felt a power flowing from within as she gripped the young girl's hands. The bleak vastness of black began to peel away as more light radiated from Alexandra. The veil of pure white continued until every last corner of Summer's dark place was illuminated.
I say those things because I have hope for the human race.
Summer closed her eyes as the light intensified. She could feel the warmth on her skin, similar to when she would walk along the pebbled shores in summertime back home. For several moments, she felt strong – brave, more alive than she's ever felt before. It was a sensation she didn't fully recognize, as if someone else was right there reassuring her that everything will be all right.
Then, the young woman's eyes opened.
Aoi Gengo Medical Facilty; Genetics Memorial Hospital
Japan, present day
"Doctor!" The nurse exclaimed as the young woman became conscious. "She's waking up!"
"Summer?" Doctor Wakahisa responded, "How are you feeling?"
"Summer? Hey! It's me, your dad! Are you all right?" Placing a trembling hand on his daughter his voice strengthened, "I'm so happy to see you again. Go slowly, don't move too much."
"…It's you…" Summer whispered as she looked at her father, "It's really you…"
"Yes!" Kazuya exclaimed as he leaned in embracing her. "I was so worried."
"Dad, where…am I?"
"You're at the Gengo Medical Facility," a stern yet familiar voice stated from across the room. It was Headmistress Amelia Ellsworth, standing against the edge of the hospital bed. "Welcome back, GM870."
"Welcome back? Headmistress?" Turning her head toward her father, "Oh God, how long?"
"Almost four weeks," Kazuya replied as he held her hand tighter.
"Four…weeks?" Summer felt ill as she realized the seriousness of those days lost. A flood of thoughts swirled in her mind; what about my team, what of the NOVA, what of…Kim Okada's death?
"Your stasis was necessary," Amelia declared matter-of-factly, "you changed into what has been described as an N3A Type NOVA Form; you were preemptively staging the total destruction of West Genetics and everything else inside the island's interior." Summer shuddered hearing Amelia's account of the situation. From her memories, she remembered every detail, word and action – including the fears and desire of every Pandora on the battlefield. Her soldiers were adjusted and ready for battle; poised to strike with just an order from their sovereign commander – simple puppets, dangling from the strings of Summer el Bridget-Aoi.
"I don't ever want to feel that way again…"
"You won't sweetheart," Kazuya reassured her.
"How can you be so sure?" She asked.
"He's sure, because you're recovering from a procedure that will calm your uncontrollable urge for destruction and chaos."
Summer stared confused as the older man stepped in front. "I'm sorry, who are you again?"
Chuckling out loud, "That's funny my dear. My name is Doctor Wakahisa, and this isn't the first time we've met. Back when you…"
"Doctor, perhaps at a later time?" Kazuya interrupted with a stern tone to his voice.
"Uh, my apologies Steward." Summer frowned at the doctor's odd behavior as he bowed repeatedly, "I…came actually to talk with you Kazuya."
"Before he begins," Amelia interjected, "I wanted to let you all know that I'll be on my way back to West Genetics. I'm going to have to fabricate some reports on how GM870 is awake and functioning normally again." Reaching for the door, "I'm very pleased to hear that you are adjusting quickly, but unfortunately, I have a feeling that we are going to need your special abilities very soon. When you return, you will need to be debriefed on your status in the Pandora program."
Summer raised an eyebrow as the headmistress disappeared behind the door.
What the hell does she mean by all of that?
"Now doctor, what was it?" Kazuya asked.
"It's Satellizer, she isn't responding to the regeneration cycle. Her body is rejecting the Plasma Stigmata tablets."
"Rejecting the Stigmata?" Summer exclaimed as she removed her father's hand. "Wait! What's going on here?"
"Doctor, is my daughter strong enough to stand?
Summer grew apprehensive as she immediately sat up in bed. "I'm feeling fine! Where is my mother?"
Kazuya and Summer were led through cold barren hallways to a different part of the medical center. The further they walked, the more Summer began feeling sensations of déjà vu; as if she had traveled these corridors before.
As they entered the secured area through a set of double-doors, Wakahisa gestured to the glass window in front of them. Summer stepped forward and approached the transparent viewport. To her surprise, on the other side of the wall, was her mother.
In a loose-fitting hospital gown, Satellizer el Bridget-Aoi lay unconscious as several individuals in lab coats busied themselves with adjusting monitoring equipment and waving hand-held scanner devices over her upper back. Summer again felt as if she'd been here before. Pressing her body up against the window, Summer stared at her mother's motionless body. Part of her wanted to believe that at one time, their roles were reversed.
"Your mother is rejecting the tablets. We are currently trying to adjust the symbiosis; things are a little touch-and-go at the moment."
"What? I don't understand, what could she possibly need plasma tablets for?"
"My dear, you were made aware that your mother was dying of Stigma Necrosis correct? Despite heeding Genetics Protocol, she refused the tablet removal process and was prepared to die from her advanced Degradation."
"Why would she…?"
"Summer," Kazuya said gently, "she felt it was important; her choice, was to die in this way."
"That's awful, why would she do that? None of this makes sense. I don't want her to die."
"She felt guilty about a lot of things, and this was her way of atonement."
"Wait a minute! Nobody has told me why she's receiving the re-implantation procedure."
Kazuya took a deep breath and placed a hand on his daughter's arm. "Summer, you mother transferred her heroic Stigmata to you."
With disbelief and shock, the young Pandora questioned the two men. "WHAT? How? Why would she do that for me? I'm carrying several sacreds inside me?"
"It was my idea actually," Wakahisa replied proudly, "The truth was some of your mother's Stigmata were maturing faster than others and her genetic makeup was failing to compensate. The only hope for her was a complete re-implantation process."
"The doctor and his team believed that if you received four of your aunt's Stigmata, your unnatural flow rates would stabilize, and you wouldn't be so susceptible to your uncontrollable NOVA Form."
"You implanted Kazuha's tablets into my body?" Summer shot the doctor a glare as she processed what had happened.
Wakahisa smiled at his accomplishment, "Of course my dear! You now have six Stigmata…well seven if you count your Octagonal tablet. Now four of those tablets you carry are heroic Stigmata from Kazuha Aoi."
"I…have Heroic tablets inside me?" Looking at her hands, she made tightly clenched fists - Summer finally realized the new sensations of power and stability. Somewhere, she felt the familiar presence of Kazuha, standing by her side.
"It's true Summer, your mother gave up her Stigmata for you."
"This is too much for me to…wait a minute, what the hell is an Octagonal tablet?"
Amelia hadn't crossed the helipad when she received the encoded message from Nana at West Genetics.
"Headmistress, as suspected, there was an incident at the Citadel. Preliminary reports confirm VOLT weapon discharges: Anti-NOVA type."
Overlooking the city skyline, Amelia saw the thin column of gray smoke coming from the damaged structure on West Genetics island. As quickly as she had crossed the helipad, Amelia was back through the door she came from, hurriedly running down the maze of corridors trying to reach the only person possessing the ability to stop Brittany Temple. Finally reaching the secure post-surgical area, Amelia called out: "Summer! There's a problem at West Genetics and I need you to accompany me right now!"
Both Summer and Kazuya turned as they heard Sister Amelia's voice. Summer frowned, "Headmistress! What is this all about? I'm not done here yet! My mother is…"
"This isn't a casual request soldier…I need you to come with me right now! Lives are at stake!" Amelia then turned to the older man, "Doctor, is she truly ready?"
"GM870 is fully functional and field ready Headmistress." Wakahisa replied confidently.
Angrily pointing a finger at the two men, the young woman made her frustration publicly known. "This isn't over! I'm going to return and the two of you will finish the entire story. I want answers!"
West Genetics - 2091
The acrid smoke still lingered in the chamber as they fought - Larisa coughed up blood as she was once again slammed forcibly against the reinforced wall of the room. With no hesitation, Brittany continued her relentless assault on the tall Belarusian – connecting several blows to her face and body. Dodging the next strike, Larisa flipped sideways and formed another defensive stance. Sizing up her opponent, Larisa knew that Brittany Temple was a unique Pandora, with the amazing ability to materialize two different types of VOLT weapons. In addition to her formidable Anti-NOVA arm cannons, Brittany could also manifest a short rapier which she used for close combat fighting. During the Freshmen Spring Carnival, Larisa had plotted with Brittany to use her sword to ambush Adriana Lohman at the end of the battle. Now, as Larisa prepared for the next assault, Brittany switched one of her Anti-NOVA weapons to that slender weapon.
With tremendous speed, Brittany twirled and drove the sword forward. Larisa winced and cried out as the weapon penetrated into her lower chest. Smashing Brittany's arm downward, Larisa rolled to her left and grappled her opponent, driving her into the adjacent wall. With blood streaming from her wounds, Larisa tried once more to get Brittany into a headlock so that she could attempt to tear the crystalized NOVA Stigmata from the possessed Pandora.
From behind, Larisa gripped her former teammate with an arm bar and tried reaching for the glowing tablet. Realizing the intent of the struggling Pandora, Brittany dropped one knee and elbowed Larisa in the face and with a lightning fast strike, slashed Larisa across the chest with her rapier.
Larisa clutched at her latest injury as she tripped backwards. In the blink of an eye, Brittany performed a Double Accel and appeared behind her opponent; crushing the backs of Larisa's knees with a strong reverse kick. Having no choice but to fall, Larisa quickly rolled to the side as Brittany came down; forcing her right knee into the floor, causing parts of the metal plating to shear and separate into several directions. In shock at Brittany's unnatural boost in power, Larisa admitted that her choice to engage the NOVA-controlled Pandora alone was a grave mistake. Struggling to her feet, Larisa barely managed to dive forward as Brittany unleashed a narrow beam of energy from her Anti-NOVA weapon. The blast tore the wall plating and flooring apart as Larisa tumbled outside into the corridor. Tripping and limping, Larisa tried standing again when suddenly a battalion of troops arrived; protecting the injured Pandora with a semi-circle defensive formation.
Aiming their traditional weapons at the possessed individual, the soldiers impulsively opened fire. "Wait! Hold on!" Larisa cried, but it was too late. With superhuman-like reflexes, Brittany avoided the barrage of bullets and large caliber projectiles as she leapt from one soldier to the next, impaling and violently dismembering each of them with graceful maneuvers similar to that of a ballet dancer. When the carnage was over, Larisa was the last person standing.
Out of frustration and anger, the tall Belarusian screamed, "You traitor! I'll kill you!"
Ignoring the threat, Brittany closed the distance as Larisa back away; tripping over her own feet as she retreated down the hall - holding Simargl in a defensive stance. The possessed Pandora kept walking confidently as the glowing NOVA Stigmata centered on the young girl's chest shimmered with energy. Initiating another Double Accel Brittany appeared next to Larisa already swinging her weapon. Moving at almost the same speed, Larisa successfully escaped the attack and managed to connect a few quick punches before retreating. Lunging forward before Larisa had a chance to evade, Brittany fired her Anti-NOVA weapon point blank.
Throwing her arms up, Larisa shielded her eyes as the explosion of light emitted from the arm cannon. Expecting the charged energy to vaporize her body, Larisa was surprised as someone quickly tackled her to the ground.
Pina Marigold landed on top of the injured Pandora as Adriana Lohman delivered a violent strike to Brittany's back and shoulder, sending the young woman tumbling across the room.
"Are you okay?" the little Pandora asked as she helped up the injured Belarusian.
"Don't worry Larisa, we got you!" Pina smiled as she assisted Larisa down the hallway. At the other end of the corridor was Kallie Osuka, running toward them. Larisa watched the Japanese girl rush passed and engage Brittany who had just crushed Adriana onto the ground. Swinging her Kusarigamas in a circular pattern, Kallie was able to deflect her enemy's rapier as she successfully sliced a wound across Brittany's shoulder and stomach. Stumbling, Brittany tried to re-train her Anti-NOVA on Adriana, but Kallie was there again connecting with a fierce round-house kick, striking the young woman across the face.
"On no, you didn't just try to fry me?" Adriana yelled as she scrambled back to her feet, flipping Knights Edge around.
Nii Akuro was waiting several meters outside the building as Pina handed off a badly injured Larisa. "Get her to the medical station!" She ordered, as more troops arrived by tiltjet and tri-rotor. Pina observed the traditional soldiers disembarking from their various vehicles and making a run toward the Citadel. She knew their valiant efforts would be futile, "These guys aren't going to stand a chance against Brittany in her NOVA-controlled state!"
In addition to the troops, several 3rd Year Pandora arrived with orders to support the military forces. Once they had formed the perimeter around the building, a deep rumble was heard coming from within the Citadel. Everyone outside suddenly directed their attention to the east side of the building as an explosion of stone, construction material and energy blew out a gaping hole.
Escaping through the damage and rolling outside into the late afternoon sun, Adriana and Kallie barely avoided a second blast from the fierce Anti-NOVA weapon. The concentrated energy pulse exploded nearby, showering the area with grass and large chunks of earth. Through the smoke and debris, Brittany slowly emerged from the side of the demolished building. Scanning the field outside the walls of the Citadel, she suddenly halted her attack. Looking, as if called to from above, she focused on a lone tilt-jet coming into range.
Adriana and Kallie instantly noticed the young woman's gaze and cautiously turned their attention to the same aircraft as it began to hover above the battlefield. The soldiers and Pandora nearby touched their headsets confirming the order to cease fire; the command coming through the airwaves from Sister Amelia herself, who was onboard the floating aircraft. Sitting beside the headmistress, was an anxious passenger.
Summer's brown hair kept blowing in her face as she peered down at the destruction from the open gangway door. "Why me?" She asked again.
Amelia grabbed her shoulder, "Summer, down there is Brittany Temple - she's under the influence of the NOVA, and you're the only person who can stop her! We can't afford to have any more casualties! You must destroy her! That's an order!"
Summer frowned as Amelia assured her that there was no alternative to fighting the possessed individual - more than anything in the world, she wanted to avoid entering her NOVA Form. As Summer started to feel uneasy, a voice called out from inside her mind.
"Don't worry, I'll be with you."
Summer looked down again as she activated her VOLT Texture. Then, without further hesitation, she jumped.
Pina covered her mouth in shock as the familiar young woman dropped from the jet. Landing with a tremendous crash, Summer emerged from the cloud of dust and stood in front of Brittany. Still holding Larisa, Nii watched in disbelief as Summer faced down her possessed opponent. Kallie too, was surprised as Adriana sank to her knees whispering, "Oh my God, is that Summer?" Their friend and former team leader finally stood among them; her dark blue Platoon 13 uniform fluttering in the turbulent wind created by the exhaust wake of the hovering tiltjet's engines.
Within a second, Brittany altered her offensive stance and executed a Triple Accel. The supersonic shockwave echoing against the buildings as she immediately appeared in front of Summer, thrusting her rapier forward.
"Turn and adjust your body 30cm to the left."
Summer subconsciously obeyed and avoided the terrible attack. Brittany, surprised, had lunged and stabbed nothing but air.
"Step forward, and then twist 20cm to your right. Grab her sword arm and separate the ulna from the humerus."
Just as before, Summer was one step ahead, but this time, gripped Brittany's sword arm and with a quick violent maneuver, broke her arm at the elbow.
"Now, strike her in the face with your left elbow."
Summer continued to hear Kazuha speaking to her from inside her mind. Two powerful Pandora, melded into one – executing the same technique and fighting styles. A stunned Brittany slid sideways trying to re-engage, but Summer out-matched her speed and power. The two combatants collided with each other as they each traded blows - fortunately, the fight was stacked heavily in Summer's favor as the young woman progressively increased her acceleration until her body became nothing more than a blur.
The possessed Pandora rolled again and readied her Anti-NOVA weapon. Kazuha's essence recognized the surging power, and in response, manifested a repulsor counter-attack. Quickly raising her hands, Summer emitted an invisible energy wave which sent Brittany tumbling backward. Capitalizing on the opportunity, she exploded forward, performing a Quadruple Accel. Appearing on the left side of her opponent, Summer materialized Virga, and with a two-handed grip style, severed Brittany's right leg.
"Remove her Anti-NOVA weapon before any more people get hurt."
Summer twirled; dropping to one knee with a fast back-handed diagonal swing, cleaving the Anti-NOVA weapon along with Brittany's forearm. The weapon, instantly disappearing as the severed arm flopped to the ground.
"Grip the NOVA Stigmata and twist 8cm to the right, pulling it upwards."
Instantly, Summer was standing over her defeated enemy, ripping the glowing Stigmata from Brittany's battered chest. Once the shimmering tablet was removed, the young girl's eyes returned to normal as the pain from her injuries came flooding back. Holding the enemy Stigmata, Summer felt the tingle of its Transcendent energy. She paused, still examining the alien tablet as she turned it in her hand.
"Can you feel it calling to us?"
"Yes, I feel it…"
"Destroy it. Don't give in to its chaos."
"Its power, its energy…it feels like a fire deep within my soul."
With that, Summer crushed the crystallized tablet into harmless slivers of material. Still feeling the burning energy, Summer coldly stared into Brittany's eyes. The yearning to end her life still lingered. She wanted to - it was necessary, this Pandora was responsible for multiple deaths inside the Citadel. Summer's glowing octagonal eyes pulsated as Brittany ultimately accepted her fate. "Go on…do it…" she whispered, "…I don't…deserve to live," she then closed her eyes, awaiting the final strike.
"No Summer, our work here is done. Disengage…"
"She…killed many soldiers today…"
"She was manipulated by the NOVA, it wasn't her fault. Release your anger and disengage."
Raising Virga, "Sister Amelia ordered me to destroy her."
"You are a Pandora, sworn to protect all humanity. Do not destroy your fellow sister."
The broad sword felt heavy in Summer's trembling hand as her primal desires lingered. Everyone surrounding the two held their breath as the young woman slowly lowered her Volt Weapon. "I…understand." The Pandora replied as Virga vanished from her hand.
As Brittany fell further into shock, Summer lifted her body and carried her to the medical station. Everyone who had gathered around the courtyard was silent as the Pandora carried the unconscious body to the medical teams. Even Adriana and Kallie remained dumbfounded as Summer walked passed them. Once the professionals had the young woman in their care, Summer turned and faced her friends. At this point, Pina and Nii had run up to stand with their shocked teammates.
"Hi…" was the only thing that Summer could muster, slightly embarrassed at being away from her friends for several weeks.
"Summer?" Pina asked.
"It's good to see you team leader." Kallie stated.
"I…can't believe it!" Nii replied, totally amazed.
"…Hi?" Adriana replied angrily, "that's all you have to say to us?"
Summer had a solitary tear in her eye as she acknowledged each of them. "Yeah, I guess. It's really me guys."
Adriana stepped out in front of her team, and without a word, walked up to her best friend. Blood was still dripping from her injuries as she stood there in disbelief. Then, trying to hold in a sniffle, she embraced Summer tightly. "I missed you…" Shortly after, both Pina and Kallie came up and gathered around the two of them.
Standing back, Nii just smiled. Inside, she felt joy that Summer el Bridget-Aoi was back, but now the potential of being removed from Gamma Squad held some weight on her shoulders. In her opinion, it was only a matter of time before the team assignments were reorganized and she would be sent to join another team.
"Four weeks…I'm so sorry." Summer stated as they headed back toward the groups of people still standing nearby. Bella, Tamsin, Bronwen and Wendy greeted them by the edge of the lawn while Sister Amelia was ordering some personnel to assist in the clean-up and reconstruction efforts of the damaged building. During this time, the headmistress seemed nervous; the Sophomore Spring Carnival was scheduled in eleven days and the Citadel was in no condition to host the event.
The unconscious body of Brittany Temple was rushed into surgery where her implanted Stigmata was stimulated to regenerate her injuries. Observing Brittany's condition from the foot of the med cot, Amelia rubbed her own neck, contemplating why Purity would make such a bold move in front of so many people. Now that the Allied Nations were made aware of NOVA controlled Pandora – Amelia knew it was only a matter of time before the two final individuals were discovered.
"Summer's new found powers are without rival. I'm sure Kazuha Aoi's heroic Stigmata had a hand in her not achieving NOVA Form and destroying Brittany. As for Purity, what's the alien's end-game? Will it try to manipulate me next? I'm growing weaker as each week passes by."
Poland, March 2086
Olek Litvinchuk was apprehensive, they had him cornered and there was no escape. He knew what they were after, but he never realized the swiftness of her pursuit. He had crossed the continent, traveling through many countries – he wondered how they tracked him down so efficiently. Their plan of course wasn't to kill him, he was more valuable to them alive than dead.
He turned the last corner, coming face to face with a solid wall. Olek's men had bought the doctor some time to escape, but now it was hopeless - with all their lives lost, he had nobody left to protect him. He was trapped. Tightly gripping the small storage drive, he turned as she came into view.
"I traversed 2500 kilometers for you doctor…" Her voice was deep and provocative, "It was foolish for you to assume that my influence didn't stretch this far." Eva Magda Dalca stood before Litvinchuk, her hair perfectly set in place with long thin curls. Her perverse smile indicated to the doctor her sinister nature. The former Pandora, now bounty hunter and contract assassin, was dressed in a black tight-fitting sleeveless top, exposing her intricate tattoos on each shoulder and upper arms. The three thin leather belts surrounding her toned flat stomach scrunched and squeaked as she moved. She kept her gloved hands clasped behind her dark-gray cargo fatigues as she sauntered toward him; the sound of her high heel boots clacking on the floor tiles with each step.
"Eva Dalca," Olek stated, "I…must be quite important if he sent you to collect me."
The raven haired woman licked the corner of her upper lip as she smirked. "Don't flatter yourself doctor, this isn't a social call."
"You can't kill me, you need my research for…"
"Just shut your mouth," Eva replied forcibly as she backed Litvinchuk against the wall. He could feel the heat emanating from her body as she confronted him. Her twisted smile lingering as her hazel eyes focused sharply on her cornered prey. "Let me have the device," stealing a glance at his right hand.
"Why does Nightfall need this information? I don't understand, you were once a Pandora officer. Of all people, surely you can't agree with their plans?"
Eva kept her stare as she gently teased her hand across Litvinchuk's chest. With every centimeter, his skin crawled as she traced circular patterns over his trembling body. Then, sliding to his left hand, she touched his clenched fist and gripped it tightly. Olek could feel the pressure building as the woman effortlessly began to squeeze. "Olek…please give me the drive. I don't want to permanently damage you." She continued constricting; the pain feeling like every bone was being crushed into little pieces.
"…Eva…you can't have my research…argh!" Olek yelled out when several of the small bones in his left hand splintered and broke. The sharp pain throbbed up his arm as he surrendered – raising his right hand revealing the drive.
"That's better…" she replied, releasing her viselike grip on his now bruised and deformed hand. She watched him squirm in pain as she examined the device. "Such a small thing that contains so much powerful information."
Enduring the anguish he inquired again, "You…never answered…my question."
Eva raised her exquisitely sculpted eyebrow, "Oh, I didn't?"
"Why does Nightfall need my research?"
"He has the plan all in place. We just need your completed data in creating an artificial Stigmata tablet."
West Genetics, Detention Room 3
"Doctor? Please answer the question." The Allied Nation representative ordered again. "What was your business on the oil rig? Can you explain your current experiments with artificial Stigmata?."
Olek Litvinchuk stayed silent as the officer continued the interrogation - his thoughts dwelling on Eva and his stolen research from many years ago. "Doctor, surely you understand the severity of your crime?" Litvinchuk continued to say nothing as the representative powered off his tablet. "Let the record state that the prisoner is uncooperative in these preliminary proceedings. Recommend immediate transfer to the Eastern European division for final processing."
"May I have a moment with the prisoner?" The electronic voice responded through the intercom. Gesturing approval through the one-way glass, the Allied Nation soldier stood and exited the room. Within a minute, a white robed woman entered. Olek began to perspire imediately as the middle aged woman removed her head covering and placed it on the table in front of him. "Good evening Olek." She spoke gently, as she gripped the side of his chair.
Abruptly caught off guard, she grasped his arm and dragged his body to the opposite side of the room, smashing him up against the wall.
"Enough with this bullshit doctor! What were Gavril's orders from Nightfall? Your abomination killed one of my Pandora, and I want answers!" Litvinchuk smiled as the headmistress held him up above the ground. "What's their plan? Am I to assume they finally amassed the manpower and equipment to…?"
"Careful Sister Amelia," Litvinchuk mocked, you don't want an incident to occur. It would be bad for your Allied Nation superiors to learn that you secretly corroborated with a prisoner of war." Fueling her rage, she pushed harder; his lungs expelling every last breath of air.
"Release him!" Came the voice from the Allied Nation officer as he barged through the open door. "Headmistress Ellsworth, stand down!"
The Pandora released him; his limp form collapsing to the floor with a heavy thud. As Olek coughed and choked, she slid a chair over and hoisted the older man back into his seat. Glancing back at the officer, she gently dragged the doctor back to the table.
Inquiring a second time, "Are you at all concerned that your people will kill you since you've been captured by Genetics?" Olek kept his eyes on the headmistress.
"I'm not afraid of you, or my own death."
"Enough with this nonsense doctor! Give us some answers."
"It's too late for us Headmistress. She will be coming, and when she does, she'll wipe out all your little Pandora here."
"Who? Who…will be coming for you?"
"You of all people know who she is Amelia."
"I honestly don't know, spare me the drama and just tell me what the hell is going on."
"It's Eva…" Amelia's heart skipped a beat as he said her name, her eyes going wide at the mention of her former rival. "Eva…will be coming."
The headmistress backed away as he reassured her of his declaration. "Eva Dalca is alive. The former Wraith of the East isn't dead…and she will be coming to collect me!" Sister Amelia retrieved her head covering and quickly exited the door, followed close behind by the A.N. officer. Olek's hysterical laugh was audible for a brief moment before the door shut, sealing the prisoner inside.
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