----- Chapter 23 : All Good Things... ------

Sue sat on the low, white stone wall swinging her legs. She turned her face upwards and relished the warmth from the sun high in the sky. She had been wanting a change of scenery and pace from all that fighting in the darkness, so had opted for security detail at the Central Dome. Her team assigned to erect laser fencing to keep the animals back so that civilians could begin rebuilding the infrastructure.

The others were resting on the grass nearby or crowded around a friendly young rappy, each taking turns to stroke the large yellow bird. This place was so far removed from the events that had plagued the past two weeks, sunlight and happiness to contrast the darkness and loss.

She had attended the funerals of Ash's victims before plucking up the courage to visit him. Access denied, they told her. Ash was being held at a government medical research facility, a miracle that Kireek had not killed him or vice-versa. Indeed, Kireek's acceptance of her request had turned out to have more omnious overtones than she could ever had realised.

Kireek had defeated Ash and was about to deliver a killing blow when he was interrupted by a Hunter searching for a missing survey team in the Ruins. Kireek confronted this legendary Hunter and revealed that he was in fact Black Hound, an accomplice of Black Paper. They battled, Kireek was destroyed and Ash lived another day.

She had been informed that because of the untainted blood sample taken when one joins the Hunters Guild, they would be able to reverse the genetic corruption that had taken over him and restore him back to normal.

Though this was unknown science the doctors had assured her that Ash would be restored to normal within three months. Three months! Still there was much to do in the mean time. Strange photon readings deep within the Ruins for example, mysteries for another day however.

Still, things were looking up for the people of Coral, she mused, maybe they had found somewhere they could finally call home.

-----

The dark room was dominated by the giant transparent vat illuminated with green liquid. Inside floated a single figure, male and naked except for a facemask that provided a steady supply of oxygen. The figure was barely recognisable as human and was missing an arm but at the shoulder where it should have been there was a small mass of frilly tissue growing.

Three men entered the room and made sure that the door was locked behind them. It was the three scientists that had interrogated Logical and had authorised the search for Doctor Osto's notes.

"Doctor Triega... Doctor Nestor... He is a magnificent specimen, is he not?" Said Doctor Mome.

"Without a doubt. It's such a shame that we cannot keep the original." Said Nestor.

"Now you know that the memory transfer technology is so experimental that we might lose both of them..." Said Mome.

"And you know that we have enough data and samples to last a lifetime of research." Interjected Triega.

"I suppose..."

Triega placed an arm around each of his colleagues and steered them towards the door.

"Come on, time to do some celebrating." He said.

"Celebrating?" Questioned Mome. "We've been celebrating too much these two days."

"Ah, but I have two words for you... 'Military Applications'...."

"So you've seen the General about this?"

"Yes."

"Well then, we'd better get to celebrating then." Said Mome as he closed the door behind them.

In the regeneration tank Ash dreamt terrible dreams...



To be continued in 'The North Tower'