Disclaimer: I don't own 'Spirits Within' or the song 'It's the fear' by Within Temptation.
The Italics are lyrics.
//...// Means a flashback or memory
Aki stared out the window at the ebony sky and the stars twinkling far away. Beneath the ship the world span slowly on it's axis, the surface in utter chaos as the Phantoms attacked the people. Her chest hurt.
It awaits for the day
I will let it out
To give it a reason
To give it its might
Aki felt the Phantom move inside her, trapped in its protective bubble. She could imagine it testing the surface, running its tentacles over it, trying to find a weak spot – and the more time that went on it grew stronger. So it waited…waited…until it could try and break free. Take her life.
Fear of who I am becoming
I fear that I'm losing
The struggle within
If she was taken by the Phantom would she go to Gaia or be absorbed by the alien's spirit. The thought made her shudder.
I can no longer restrain it
My strength, it is fading
I have to give in
She remembered how it had nearly taken her once before. The cracks had started to inch across the shield, enough that the phantom could reach out. Every time it made contact outside the shield of spirits a lance of pain shot through her. It had happened on the way to the Tuckson wasteland. She'd felt the customary lance of pain that signalled the start of the breakout and the barely suppressed fear grew. Sensing her panic to get to the next spirit in time the Phantom had renewed its efforts, sped up the process, until the pain had started coming in more regular bursts. She ignored it for the most part…or tried to. She knew that increased feelings of fear or hatred caused the Ghosts energy to flare, but it was difficult to suppress when there were people around her, relying on her in a red-hot Phantom zone…and as the pain increased the urge to surrender to it grew.
The Ghost had spiked inside her, lancing pain into every part of her body and causing her to blackout. The rest was a blur of dreams and pain, each minute of it pushing her closer to the edge…closer to giving up.
Then Gray had arrived.
It's the fear of the dark
It's growing inside of me
The dream memories came back. They'd started all this. The running. The jail. She'd tried to fight them before, keep the influence down but the more time had passed the more it had gained control and taken over her mind. She'd had those dreams every night. Relived the fear and destruction that they'd wrought on each other. A civil war that had destroyed their whole planet. They'd brought that war to Earth and people had died because of it.
They won, they will come alive
Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered those that had given up their spirits for this. Whether they destroyed the Phantoms or not the ghosts had already won in that respect. They'd robbed Gray of his crew. People who might have been her future friends. She hadn't had friends in the longest time. That would have meant letting someone get close and she couldn't let that happen. Tomorrow she might have been dead…
(Have to save)
To save my beloved,
Gray. She'd let him get close to her. More than close. Would she regret it later? What would she do if he died because of her? He'd already saved her once, maybe twice. She smiled at the memory of him appearing in her dream as her spirit guide. Determined that she wasn't going to wander towards Gaia's light…not that he believed in the mother spirit. She'd saved his life too, zapping that parasite inside him like some sort of arcade game but with a more deadly consequence if she'd failed.
There is no escape
'Cause my fate is horror and doom
Aki hung her head and shivered. There was still time for her to fail. She pressed one hand to her chest plate.
Hold down your head now
Just let me pass by
Don't feed my fear
If you don't want it out
She remembered the meeting. It hadn't just been because of Sid that she's spoken up, the Phantom lying inside of her had pushed her to it as well. At the sounds of its destruction from Sid it had protested violently, thrashed around inside her, and she had struggled with it in a battle of wills. Then they'd spoken of the gun and the fury had been overwhelming. That the humans would wreak more violence on its kind drove the Phantom insane inside her. It had transferred its anger into her the way it liked to do until she'd stood to her feet in protest, until it had made her reveal it. That hadn't been its plan, but that's how its fury had effected her – blinded her to rationality – but it had worked, she'd bought some time.
I fear who I am becoming
I feel that I'm losing
All beauty within
Aki felt a surge of anger and clenched her fist. Idiots! They tried to destroy them with a gun! They were ghosts. Stupid humans. Every muscle in her body tensed. She had to lash out…hit something…kill…
"No," she whispered to herself and tightened her fist till her nails were digging painfully into her palm. She gave a gasp and uncurled her fingers, examining the dents in her flesh. The fury went back to where it had come from, simmering gently just under the surface.
I can no longer restrain it
My strength it is fading
I have to give in
Aki leant on the wall feeling drained. It always exhausted her fighting the Phantom. It tried to infect her with its rage and sometimes it worked but she was able to push it back down…but that was becoming increasingly difficult. The Phantom was gaining strength by draining her of energy…until she was dead.
Long ago it came to me
And ever since that day
// "This is very peculiar," Sid rubbed his beard thoughtfully. "Look at these wave patterns," he tapped the screen. "It appears that the frequency we just shot at the phantom has caused parts of it to disappear."
"That means your theory is right then," Aki grinned through the strands of black that fell over her face. "As usual."
Sid waved her aside. "Fine, fine but that doesn't help us. We need to find the correct frequency." He massaged his temples thoughtfully. "If I could figure out…it would take too long to find a living spirit with exactly the right wave pattern."
Aki sighed and ran a hand through her hair.
"Maybe if you combine wave patterns the frequency would be cancelled out…" she suggested. Sid blinked at her for a moment then a slow smile spread across his face.
"That just might work." His fingers flew across the visual keyboard in front of him as he tapped the holographic screens in order to bring up more options.
Aki smiled at his enthusiasm and turned to look at the person lying, behind the Perspex screen, in suspended animation in a newly invented status field that encircled the body closely. The smile faded and sadness seeped through her. The victim had volunteered for this just before they'd fallen unconscious. Her mother.
"But how many would we need?" Sid muttered to himself, keying in some more equations and studying the screen intimately.
"I'll go take mother…the patient…back," Aki told him and walked into the sealed area. The doors sucked shut behind her.
"I wonder if you can still hear me," she whispered to her mother, gazing down at the silent pale face, as still as death.
"AKI!" burst over the intercom in a crackle of static. "Get out of there!" Sid was gesturing frantically on the other side of the window, eyes wild. "The Phantom's moving Aki! Moving! It's coming out. Get out of there!"
"How?" she muttered in confusion. She'd frozen up. Her legs were paralysed. A red light was flashing somewhere on the other side of the screen.
"AKI!" It was impossible but it was happening. She watched in fascinated horror as the ghost struggled from her mother's chest, welling up, flowing like liquid.
"You can't," she whimpered as she watched with frightened eyes. If it left now her mother would die.
In the background she heard Sid's hurried reassurances in a panicked voice. He was trying to neutralise it, freeze it, anything to stop it. But he was so faint. So far away. Like background noise.
The monster reached out a tendril and swiped her through the wrist. Hmmm…it was painless – odd – but painless…like something cold was under her skin.
Sid was behind her, supporting her. She must've started to faint.
"What happened?" she asked softly.
"The wavelengths reacted wrong, made it stronger."
"Oh," she accepted it light-headedly. The lights were dancing above her. Only Sid's face was constant.
"I'm sorry Aki. She died as the Phantom tried to escape. It died too."
"Good," Aki mumbled. "It got…my wrist."
"I know, I know," Sid uttered quickly. "You'll be okay though…I promised your parents…I'll put the research into practice."
Aki smiled and nodded. "Do it."
"We'll have to transport you to zero gravity…" he continued rambling reassuringly, moving her slowly onto a spare bed.
"Sid," she interrupted and grabbed his wrist.
Everything was darkening.
It was difficult but she had to get out the message. It was important.
"What is it Aki?"
"Don't tell Gray," she whispered then fell//
Infected with its rage
But it ends today.
"Aki? We're ready to start the descent."
Aki turned to face Dr Sid and nodded sharply.
She heard him leave the room and another person enter. Gray wrapped his arm around her waist and just stood there silently next to her.
"You okay?" he asked softly.
Again Aki nodded as the planet drew closer.
"You two needed to get ready to go," Sid crackled over the intercom.
Gray squeezed her waist and let her go, walking from the room.
"It ends today," she whispered to herself and followed him out the room.