"You sure are pretty. Are you human? What's your name?" a small girl with white hair sat at the edge of a ridge.
"I don't know what I am." the man replied. "But my enemies call me... Casshern."
She was left alone, deep underground. She watched as the humans started to disappear and die out, leaving her alone, forgotten. The only reminder of there ever being humans were the yellowed crinkled pictures that were trashed just like the rest of this facility. All she could do was float in her plasmic green jelly filled tube, never eating, never breathing, never dying. Just floating.
Decades and centuries passed. The facility rusted and collapsed, leaving only the tube to stay perfectly intact. She could feel the rumbles and shakes of the earth cracking and breaking and shifting. She knew that she was buried alive, not knowing who she was or what she was, never seeing anything outside of her green fluids.
For most of her unending life, she kept her eyes closed. There was nothing to see except for the barren darkness. But on one particular day, this day felt different. This day was special. She opened her eyes and watched the darkness.
Just as she thought, today was special. A woman came out of the darkness and into the light of her glass chamber. A human? No, this being didn't have the presence of a human.
The woman completely ignored her. Instead she ran her fingers over a silver bolded plate on the tube. She outlined each letter as if to memorize every detail, the size, the font, the texture, even it's cool metallic touch.
"Project Shangri la... Venus. That must be your name." she said without looking up at the girl. The woman moved from the plate to a machine that was beside the tube. It was destroyed and unfixable, but to her touch, the buttons came to life and lit up even though they were still smashed in. She played with a few of the buttons that seemed to do nothing until she pressed one that began draining the contents of the casket. She pressed it again and the draining stopped.
"There will be a time when you will be let free of this mechanism but right now it is not time. I will die soon and the man who kills me will come back after I am gone. Only then can you be let free." The woman had on a straight face when proclaiming her to-be death. She walked away from the girl, leaving only her echoing clicks from her shoes in this hollow hole. "Oh and remember this," she called out through the darkness, "his name is Casshern."
Time passed by. The Earth cried and crumbled as its lands became barren and all life force was gone. She lived on, alone in darkness.
Finally, the promise of the mysterious woman was fulfilled. The power miraculously came back on in the machine beside her and with a click, the fluids drained leaving a layer of filmy mucus behind. Pressure released as the casket opened to the darkness. The girl sat there for a few moments afraid to leave her familiar tube and into unknown lands that only humans have planted memories of in her head. She took in a deep breath of the stale and dusty air and touched one foot to the ground and then the other. It was cold and hard concrete. Something that was very foreign to her was walking. When she stood up, she immediately toppled over, hitting the ground hard. She fumbled around trying to catch her bearings when she felt something on the ground. It was a crescent moon pendant made into a necklace. Her memory traced back to when the woman came to her, and remembered it around her neck. Something told her that she should take it with her so she clasped the necklace around her neck. With another attempt she was able to stand. She continued to search through the hollowed hole that once used to hold a facility. She searched and searched but to no avail was there any sign of an exit. All she felt was rocks and severely rusted beams.
Venus found herself in a crevice between the bottom of the floor and the top of the hole. Frustrated that she couldn't get out she thrusted her fist into earth above her with all her might. Her force pushed the earth around and created a hole for her and a beam of light shined down on her. She looked up, baffled that she had such strength. With a simple powered jump she finally reached the surface of earth... Or at least what was left of it. With everything dead, it was hard to be amazed by the sight, even though she had never been above ground. The air was just as stale as it was below grounds but this air had a musty metallic odor to it.
She walked through the lands unsure of where to even begin looking for the one called Casshern or even any other beings. It really was bare, or at least she thought that until she stepped into a pit of rusted and old robots. Most of them were long gone but some still clung to life and grabbed at her legs. Begging her to spare her parts. She didn't understand. It started to freak her out so she closed her eyes like she always did to escape reality and covered her ears to drown out the cries of the dying and ran and ran, with the pit of death far behind her, with pillars of rocks tumbling around her. She wanted to go back to the safety of her plasmic case. Tears spilled out over her eyes staining the ground below her.
Night began to fall before she finally stopped. She stopped at a small pond of water and stuck her feet in. The water enveloping her feet felt like a comforting reminder of where she was born and the only thing she new. She dunked completely under water lying there at the center of the small pond. The layer of mucus washed off of her as she watched the moon pass over the world. For the first time in her never ending life, she slept in the depths of water.
When morning came Venus felt the rays of the sun warm her body. She also felt an odd poking on her cheek. When she opened her eyes, she was greeted with a puffy white haired kid with giant blue eyes, inches away from her face. The small girl gave her a big toothy grin as she sat up out of the water.
"Look at what I found!" she exclaimed. The girl held out a perfectly intact pink shell with and orange stripe that ran across the middle. "It's pretty, just like you." Venus was stunned that this robot seemed more intact unlike the other ruined robots she had seen. But she did notice the rust at the edge of the girls hairline.
"Ringo!" an older man called out to her at the edge of the water. The girl looked to the man and with her innocent smile she grabbed Venus' hand and dragged her along.
"I found a girl in the water. Is she human?" the man gave a guilt stricken look as he examined the girl. He walked over to his rusted truck and took out a pair of clothes.
"Here, put these on. You shouldn't be running around completely exposed." Venus gratefully took the clothes and shook her head as a way to say 'thank you'. "Why don't you run along and play, Ringo." The innocent girl complied to her guardians suggestion and splashed around in the water some more. Venus put on the clothes she was given which were jean shorts and a guys button up polo shirt that was to big and draped off to one side of her small shoulders. the whole time she continued to stare at the man. He looked so familiar but she knew better than that since all the humans that created her had forgotten about her and died. "Sorry the clothes don't fit. It's the only spare clothes I can give away. My name is Ouji, and you already met Ringo. We are a quickly dying race of robots, succumbing to the iron oxidation filled air, making us ruin. But you, for some reason are not." he paused for a moment staring directly into her eyes, "and do you know why?" Venus shook her head 'no'.
Ouji placed his hand on his chin. "Do you know who I am?" His question surprised her and confirmed her suspicions from before. He was one of the scientists working on Project Shangri la. The one who created her. This time she shook her head 'yes'. He didn't seem to surprised by her answer, instead he looked passed her to check on Ringo who had wondered off in the distance. He gasped as he watched the end of a brutal massacre of a robot and Ringo cowering away from the scene. He immediately jumped into his truck and drove over to her location.
Venus followed the pace of the truck with ease and stood silent in the background behind a pillar as Ouji stared down a man. The man surrounded by the shrapnel of a robot wore a whit full bodysuit with a red C logo in the chest. His combat helmet disappeared into his suit to reveal his spiky brown hair. His mouth guard opened up to reveal a saddened face as he looked at the cowering Ringo. His turquoise eyes almost looked to the point of tears. A sense of pity washed over Venus.
Ouji grabbed the balled up Ringo and fled in his truck leaving a trail of dust behind. But before he left, Venus swore that he whispered "Casshern." It was in such a small voice that she was unsure if she heard him correctly.
"You killed the sun that was named moon!" yelled out a girl with pink hair. Venus just stood back and watched the interaction between the two. She gasped as the angry girl went in to attack but felt relieved when the girl ran off instead. His face was easy to read. His past was full of agony and whatever the girl had said, struck a nerve.
He started to walk in the same direction as the pink haired girl had stormed off too, with Venus in tow at a safe distance away. Every few miles he would look back at her and she would quickly hide. It was obvious that he knew she was following him but he didn't say anything.
This was the man she was meant to find. She knew it. Comparing his bodies to the other robots, he was perfect, unscathed. The ruin didn't seem to affect him, just like her. A day and a half passed by and his destination seemed unknown. He just kept walking. She had lots of patience though especially since her entire life up until now was waiting in the dark.
Venus heard a ruckus going on behind her and she looked back, but saw nothing. When she looked towards Casshern, he was gone. Her eyes bulged wide, cursing herself for losing the only person who she was told to find, even though it was said indirectly by the mysterious visitor of her casket.
She heard the clanking of metal behind her again but when she looked back, there was still nothing there. She shrugged it off as a noise from far away that echoed and started running off in the direction she had last seen Casshern. He was nowhere to be seen. That was when something hard crashed into her side, knocking the wind out of her. Whatever it was, was running at an incredible speed and finally stopped behind a rock formation. It put her down and she clutched her side in pain. She gasped as she looked up to see that it was Casshern. He bent down to her level and put his finger over his lips making a 'shh' sound before his face mask and helmet covered his face. He pointed over to a group of bandit robots that were at the spot that she was just, seconds ago, at.
The bandits seemed to be looking around for her, wondering what had happened. Instead they found somebody else who must have strolled in at the wrong time at the wrong place. It was a presence she hadn't felt for a very long time. It was a human.