Hey everyone! Enjoy this update, because I'm probably going to focus more on my other stories… ^^'
Sorry for the long wait, but here it is now!
I awoke with a start, wrapped in a tangle of blankets and laying in an unfamiliar bed. I blinked to clear my eyes of sleep. York walked past me holding a cup of coffee in one hand and clutching his head in the other.
"Hey, you two are finally up!" York said enthusiastically but softly, his voice a bit hoarse. I looked at him cluelessly.
"Two?" I croaked. He gestured to a muscular and fairly tall figure, who was halfway off of the bed, and appearing to be in-between consciousness and unconsciousness. Only his messy blonde hair and tanned face was visible from my angle, but I still knew who it was.
"Well he's not actually awake yet…." He clarified.
I was still quite confused, so I turned back to York and began to ask my questions.
"Where am I, what's going on, and why in hell am I sharing a bed with Maine?" I questioned quickly and frantically and sat up quickly, immediately regretting the action and suddenly noticing that I had a pounding migraine headache.
"Woah, easy! Easy! Calm down. Wash carried you back to his bed when you passed out. You got quite a bump on your head when you fell! And I'm fairly sure your hangover isn't doing wonders for said bump."
"What…? What is going on around here!" I asked quietly but forcefully, holding my head as we spoke.
"I'm not quite sure, but something about the eggnog getting spiked and everyone getting drunk…."
I glared from my position on the bed.
"I remember that part, jackass." I snapped insolently.
"I mean after that."
"Yeah, I can't really remember back that far. You should ask Wash. He's the only one who's not drunk or hungover."
"He was never drunk?"
"Nah. Something about how he didn't want to get in trouble with the director. I agree, of course, but I couldn't help but try some."
"You do realize that you were the one who spiked the eggnog, right?"
"Uh…. Yeah." He muttered sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head.
"But Maine agreed!" He pointed out loudly, then winced and clutched his aching head again. The noise also caused me to grimace, and Maine stirred once again. His eyes slowly fluttered open and he drowsily pulled himself up on to the bed, his eyes still closed. He moaned, mumbling something about his head, and blinked his eyes. He dropped his head back on to the pile of blankets and pulled what he thought was his pillow-that was actually my arm-to his… err, bare chest.
"Jesus. What is with Maine and no shirt! It's getting to be kind if a distraction…." I stared at him with gaping eyes. Or more specifically, one part of him.
It only took Maine a couple of seconds before he realized that the thing that he was clinging to was not a pillow.
"Damnit Missy!" He yelped.
"What the fuck are you doing in my bed?"
"Your bed? This is Wash's bed. You're just as much of an intruder."
"Yeah… the fact that it's Wash's bed doesn't really put me at ease…. Owww!" He finally woke up enough to realize that he had a pounding headache and groaned.
"Can it, jackass." I rolled my eyes and tried to make a crack about his immaturity, when a loud voice sounded throughout the room.
"All Freelancer personnel please report to the bridge."
"Hello agent Mississippi. Is there anything you need?" The AI asked in her familiar robotic voice.
"No, FILSS. I just didn't recognize you for a second there."
"I am detecting a large quantity of alcohol in your bloodstream. That is probably the reason why. Also, are you aware that that is violating multiple protocols that are mandatory to be kept?"
"Oh, pick on someone else, will you?" I sighed and rose out of the bed. I looked down at myself and realized I had somehow acquired Maine's white button up dress shirt and… sweat pants? Now how did that even happen?
"One of you two has a lot of explaining to do." I said venomously, indicated to my unknown change of clothing.
"Well don't look at me! I'd be the one taking stuff off! Not putting it on!" Maine stuttered as he squirmed under my firm gaze.
"Exactly. I'm not so much worried about the fact that I'm wearing different clothes. Someone had to take them off first." I looked at him suspiciously before adding:
"Also I'm wearing your shirt."
"Oh. Well I still didn't do anything! You should ask Wash! I think he was the only one who-"
"Didn't get drunk. I know." I concluded.
"Okay guys, let's go up to the bridge before the Director gets too pissed!" York waved us to the door.
"Can't we get dressed first?" I exclaimed and Maine nodded in agreement.
We jumped out of bed as fast as our hangovers allowed us to and made our way to the bridge. Once we got there, I found that we were definitely not the most miserable freelancers on The Mother of Invention. South, who looked by far in the worst shape, was curled up in a ball by the rail and clutching her head tightly. North looked bleary eyed and winced occasionally when he moved too suddenly or glanced at a bright light, but he wasn't as bad as South. Connecticut just looked miserable. Wash and Carolina looked pretty good, but Carolina looked so pissed off, I bet she would bite someone's head off if they so much as looked at her the wrong way.
"Recruits!" The director shouted with the Councilor at his side.
"The purpose of this party was to get acquainted, not to get drunk! One of you has a lot of explaining to do. I have already warned you all that this is behavior is inexcusable! You will all be put in to further extensive training than I originally planned for disciplinary reasons. Any further misbehavior out of any of you," Again, he looked at me, expecting me to do or say something insubordinate.
"And I promise that you will never get an opportunity as important as this for the rest of your lives. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sir!" We all saluted. I wasn't fazed by his comments on our unruly behavior, but all of the other freelancers seemed very shaken up. Wash's childlike eyes were wide with fear, Maine was cracking his knuckles nervously, Connecticut was just furious, and Carolina seemed… different. Her eyes were dull and her posture was slumped, and she refused to be close to any of the others with the exception of York. I had a feeling that she was angry at us for getting everyone in trouble. I turned to leave with the rest of the freelancers, but a cold hand was placed on my shoulder and I froze with fear.
"Agent Mississippi, please remain at the bridge until I dismiss you."
"Y-yes, s-sir…" I stuttered nervously, petrified of what he was going to me.
"Agent Mississippi, I am sure you realize that your actions have led me not to trust you," I nodded when he waited for me to confirm this.
"It is for this reason that I am entrusting you with a… special experiment. Here at project Freelancer we will be running AI implantation tests, and I need you to test a different kind of AI while we are waiting for the others to arrive."
"So, you want me to be your guinea pig for what sounds like a very controversial and dangerous mission? I'll do it," I confirmed and nodded.
"Really? Just like that?" He raised an eyebrow at my quick agreement.
"Well do I have a choice…?" I asked, though I already knew the answer.
"No, not really."
"Alright Agent Mississippi," the councilor interjected impatiently.
"Come back here at 1800 hours in your armor and we will begin the implantation process."
"Yes sir!" I saluted once more and turned to walk away.
"Oh, and one more thing," The director began, and I turned around.
"You will not mention any of what I just told you to anyone, or I will be forced to-"
"Remove me from the program…. Yeah, I've heard this one before." I finished.
"No, You will be detained here." My eyes went wide.
"You… you can do that?"
"Desperate times call for desperate measures," He answered eerily.
"I'm just gonna take that as a yes…" I mumbled as I walked towards my I arrived, Connecticut had fallen asleep in her dress. I crept quietly across the room to wash the remnants of my hangover away with a nice cold shower. When I had finished, I expected to see my sky blue hair in the small mirror, but it was only a dull blonde color. I sighed, wrapped the fuzzy towel around my wet body, and stepped out of the shower.
What I saw was a surprise to all three people in my room. Wash had come into our room, CT had woken up, and he talked to her while she laid on her bed lazily with an arm on her forehead. When I opened the door, two pairs of surprised eyes turned in her direction. Wash turned around immediately and started shouting.
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to come in while you were taking a shower! I had no idea you were in there! Augh, I'm so sorry! I… I…."
"Wash, just stop talking and get out," I sighed.
"Okay! Sorry!" He shouted from down the hall one last time before running back to the boys' rooms.
As soon as he was gone Connecticut glared at me.
"What the fuck did I do? I wasn't wearing any clothing?" I huffed and tore my armor and black under armor out of my closet and went to go change in the bathroom. I spent my time before the implantation process looking through my only possessions from before project freelancer. I had an elastic band that I'd had since I was little and I had found it in the street, a couple of badges from the military, a cameo hat with the letters "UNSC" monogrammed on to the front of it, and I had an old leather journal that I kept while in the unexplored regions of Arcadia. Once I had found it, I spent the next couple of hours laying on my bed and leafing through pages upon pages of crude handwriting and improper grammar. I hadn't known how to spell most words back then, due to my lack of education, so it was very difficult to read some of the pages. Whenever I came across a page with no mistakes, I would mentally praise my younger self. Before I knew it, it was time for the director's creepy little experiments, and I found that I was nervous, so I took my little book with me to the bridge. The director held in his hand a small chip with a hole in the center, and in that hole, there was a blood red figure floating in the gap. Her short red hair was splayed out in all directions as if her head was on a pillow, and not suspended in the air, and her holographic hands were neatly folded over her stomach. I took a second to marvel at her intricate designs before the director led me to a strange machine. He inserted the artificial girl into the machine, and it slowly extended a claw like metal appendage towards the back of my head, and inserted the red AI into my helmet. I widened my eyes as the girl's memories came flooding into my brain, and I let out a scream.
Ah, I love cliffhangers :D
I promise I will explain next chapter… Review with any questions or anything like that