Tyler was wondering how he ended up in front of a group of armed teenagers, in full combat body armor, pointing guns at him that only the military and gun enthusiasts had their hands on. He then remembered seeing a strange baby blue light at the end of a hallway in his dorm and his dumbass decided to walk through it without thinking it through and landed in a small corridor full of guards, armed to the teeth, protected by top of the line body armor and unwelcoming scowls on all their faces. After convincing the guards around him he wasn't a terrorist or a spy, they dragged him into an interrogation room and cuffed him to the chair, trying to be rough as possible and forcing him around as a reminder he wasn't a casual guest. He dared not to think how it could get worse.
Tyler looked over at the highly polished mirror across the blank, dull and cramped room. He knew it was two-way but he wanted to see how much damage he received through his little trip. His black hair was a mess from being roughed up by the guards and he had a red mark under one of his green eyes. His white button up shirt was a little wrinkled, as it covered his lanky body, but he was glad he black shoes and dress pants were clean as they were new. He yanked against the cuffs to see if they were breakable but the metal hung tight and he knew he would just hope these people wouldn't kill him.
He started to observe his surroundings as his head began to clear. The room he was in was a dull steel grey on all walls and pipes and tubes zigzagged above him. A giant mirror was on the wall across from him. There was no clock to give sign of how much time had passed during his little venture. The sounds of engines in the distance led Tyler to believe he was on a vehicle of sorts. The quiet patter of feet outside also led him to conclude it was heavily manned and they weren't the best with uninvited guests. The whole area was just dull and was made for the soul purpose of interrogating and to him it couldn't be more boring.
Tyler's face became covered in a blank stare after a few uncountable moments. Even though his eyes were open, they didn't focus on a singular object in the room. They peered off in the distance dreaming about people and places that now seemed worlds away from this cramped room with artificial lighting and no windows. His entire body was telling the world he couldn't be less indifferent at the moment even though he was restrained to a metal chair with no was of escaping. He literally could not care less.
As the time passed, his patience eroded granule by granule as the river of passing time moved passed the banks of his consciousness. Every imaginary tick of the clock brought him closer to the edge of just screaming at the mirror and plunging him into an insane fit that ended up with him repeatedly smashing his skull against the steel bolted down table.
The sliding door opened and let a single man in a dingy brown jump suit came through. He had brown shaggy hair, with fierce eyes; saving Tyler from the mental cliff he was about to throw himself over. Tyler could tell those eyes had seen too much for that kid's age. War, endless violence and sacrifice were writing into the core of his pupils and his very soul screamed conflict. He turned and faced him and he saw a single scar and symbol of strife in this man's life on his cheek. Even under the baggy jumpsuit, it was obvious this man was in perfect shape and his body was a honed and highly sharpened weapon. The teenager was also stiffer than a board and screamed of too many military movies. He took his seat. Even that action was too precise and rehearsed to the point every move didn't waste energy and efficiently accomplished the mission of sitting down.
Tyler's interrogator laid down some papers and asked in a robotic voice "Who are you?" There was no emotion and no sign of humanity. The interrogator acted as if he was talking to a machine and not a human being that had stumbled his way out of a party into a blue portal. Tyler sighed and begun to answer; seeing it would probably be his only way of getting things to be better.
"Tyler Roberts. May I ask why I am here?" Tyler replied annoyed. He remembered the guards taking his wallet and it shouldn't have been that hard to look up his school records.
"I am asking the questions. Who sent you?" Tyler rolled his eyes at the follow up question. He felt the interrogator was doing his best to be as clichéd as possible and try to intimidate him with that emotionless killing machine act. Tyler doubted his attire gave a terroristic impression but maybe he was just having a really messed up dream or Al Qaida had switched to business casual from their turbans and robes and this was the biggest misunderstanding of the twentieth century.
"MI6." Tyler responded sarcastically. If he was going to be questioned like a criminal, he was at least going to enjoy taking verbal jabs at the moron across the steel table from him. "I don't know." Tyler began earnestly. "I walked into some kind of light and it sent me here." Tyler doubted he would believe that but maybe the story was too stupid not to believe. If someone told him that rubbish, he would either have to be too drunk to stand to believe it or he would be laughing at the stupidity of it.
"Likely story." Tyler could hear from that statement this man didn't buy it at all. The man stood up and began rummaging through his pocket. He now walked over with a black Taser in his hand. Tyler began struggling in his chair, trying to get away from the device as it crackled; sending sparks between the nodes and the viciously liked and snapped at the air for their next victim. "Tell me who sent you or I will use this to get you too talk." Tyler began to throw all his might into getting out of his bindings as it drew closer.
"No one sent me! I walked into some kind of portal and ended up in your hallway. Look up my records G.I. Joe." Tyler yelled. He could feel his whole body shack in panic and a cold sweat begun to break out across his brow. He was too scared to even come up with a better and more believable excuse. He couldn't get his mind as the cringe inducing crackling of the Taser buzzed and snapped in his ear and echoed throughout the room.
"That is the issue. You don't exist." The man replied still robotic. Tyler's entire face opened in shock at those words. His mind repeated them over and over, trying to grasp the meaning. Yet no matter how much he tried, he couldn't connect himself to non-existence.
"That is impossible. Call someone on my phone or look through my wallet." Tyler hoped a phone call to a family member or friend would exonerate him. He knew all it would take was a single conversation with his father or colleague and this whole misunderstanding would be over and the Taser would be put away and used on actual terrorists. He could then go home and forget he had walked into that steel incased hell hole.
"We did. We either got wrong numbers or they didn't exist." Tyler was now convinced he was dreaming. Tyler's head fell in disbelief. He couldn't figure out what was happening to him. Had that portal erased his existence as he passed through it? Was he just in the most impressive prank known to mankind and someone would jump out confirming it or did Satan himself throw Tyler into an obscure realm of torment?
"I swear I work for no one. I will do whatever it takes to convince you." Tyler pleaded. It was all he could think to say. His existence had been denied and his story rejected. His desperation began to set in like a thick cloud and he could feel himself plead to God to get him out of this. Before God could answer his pleas, Tyler started to hear to sinister cracking as the Taser drew closer to his neck. Tyler struggled in vain as the threat of electrocution had finally begun to push him over the edge and he desperately screamed. "I don't work with anyone you son of a bitch!" Tyler snapped but the Taser came closer. Tyler closed his eyes, hoping this would wake him up. All of a sudden a loud smack echoed through the room. Tyler feared the worst and waited for the pain. It never came. Tyler opened his eyes after he was sure he wasn't dead and saw his torturer had also stopped as a harisen was planted firmly atop his skull. It was wielded by a beautiful, buxom, blue haired, Asian school girl, still in her uniform. The woman's eyes were ablaze with anger and her teeth were in a tight snarl. Tyler thought he walked into his own Wonderland as the freak show continued.
"Sousuke, he said he didn't know anything and Tessa said that the TARTOROS could cause rifts. Now put that down. Tessa and My orders." The woman barked earsplittingly loud. Tyler wished he had been knocked out by the Taser to spare his eardrums. The soldier, Sousuke, instantly dropped the Taser and is it smacked against the metal floor; Tyler sighed deeper than any point in his short life.
After rubbing his wound for a few short moments, the interrogator picked up the Taser and stuffed it into his pocket once more. He then leaned into Tyler's ear. Tyler felt the hair on the back of his neck stand straight up and every instinct to punch him into oblivion boiled over into a steaming cloud of primal furry.
"I will find out who you work for." Sousuke whispered in his ears.
"Try it without the cuffs asshole." Tyler retorted back.
"Hey! You two behave or else!" The mystery girl growled. Even Tyler could start to feel the demonic aura coming from this girl. He now understood how she was able to control military boy. It was as if she could punish the wind for blowing in the wrong direction and it would listen. "I will get some tea and you two apologize." She puffed and walked out of the room. Tyler sighed as the second most dangerous weapon in the room left.
"Sousuke Sagara." He responded back.
"Where am I?" Tyler figured he was owed some answers after being detained and threated with a Taser. When he added in the terrorism accusation and apparent lack of existence, he wanted a five-star hotel and an apology note.
"You are on a top secret Mithril ship, called the Tuatha De Danaan." The soldier answered reluctantly. His answers seemed to come from fear rather than remorse. Tyler couldn't blame him, seeing how scary Japanese school girls could get. If he had something like that following him around he wo
"And I assume Mithril is some kind of anti-terrorism group?" Tyler figured since they were asking who he was working for, they had to be government. Terrorists would have no reason to ask such questions. Governments did if the person they were asking posed a threat but a freshman psychology major only threatened a text book with drool from over studying and the national GPA.
"None." Tyler was shocked. A group that could afford their own submarine surely had a government behind them or powerful backers. He figured they were a well outfitted mercenary company but mercenaries wouldn't care about terrorists unless paid a lot and they would surely have handed Tyler over to a government that hired them and they would be asking the questions. Whoever these people were, Tyler never heard of them but they had significant power to have a submarine and the ability to imprison him without due process.
"So you just go around stopping evil? Why haven't I heard of you?" Tyler asked. This was almost becoming a bad action movie to him. He hoped this is the part where the hero would bust him out with epic music, sweep him off his feet and ride into the sunset.
"Because you aren't part of this time." Tyler heard a young female voice ring out of his field of view. He wouldn't live with himself if that voice saved him. Sousuke shot up and saluted. Tyler could gather they had a command structure with that kind of ceremony. Whoever walked was an officer or at least high ranking than the Taser happy Private Ryan. A Caucasian teenager with unnatural white hair walked in, who was the exact same age as the other girl. She was incredible cute, even in the officer's uniform. Everything about her screamed innocent and caring. Tyler was in disbelief. Those that arrested him had teenagers among them and now apparently this adorable school girl was an officer with all her pins and medals and ruled over some of the adults. His mental grasp of society and the world began to slowly slip away. He was started to eye-ball the table and wondered how many times it would take for him to just smash his head against to pass out before things got weirder. She reached out her hand in a friendly gesture before he could. Tyler stood up and shook it accordingly before he got the chance to make a fool of himself. He took some solstice that wherever he was, some people understood decent manners. "I am Captain Teletha Testarossa or Tessa for short." He caught himself thinking she was kind of cute and would like to take her out for coffee.
"Glad to meet you, Tessa." Tyler smiled warmly. He knew she was the one that ordered his restraints undone by her name but since he wasn't allowed to leave, he figured they still had questions.
"That is Captain Testarossa to you!" The soldier barked at Tyler. Tyler felt his patience thinning and prayed that guy was the one that died in the epic battle tragically.
"Bite me!" Tyler snapped back. The sergeant scowled at him but a dirty glare from the Captain stopped any reprisal. "What do you mean by not part of this time?" Tyler asked after the interruption was quelled.
"To keep things short, we had an invention that could pull information from your dimension in the future and we could, through certain people, gain access to that technology early." Tyler sort of understood what she said but not completely. "A terrorist group created a device that would allow for total changes in reality of this world. Mithril destroyed but as we feared it created a temporary rift and you walked through it and somehow ended up on my sub." Tyler felt the air leave him. If what she was saying was true, everything he knew was gone and he was stuck in the unfamiliar world with nothing but his clothes and some money he was sure no longer held any value. He was essentially alone. His family and life meant nothing now. He was the symbol and exemplar of solitary and he was in a world he didn't understand. Now a river of disbelief began to erode his mental health and pushing the banks of his mind closer towards insanity and mental break down.
"I guess you now tell me you can't send me back." Tyler said as his head slumped down. His mind screamed and pleaded he was being jested. He would rather face that than come to terms he would never see his life again. The shores of sanity began to erode faster.
"I'm sorry." She said. Tyler was surprised someone like her could be military and glad she started to talk again as his sanity depended on a distraction. She was so nice and warm and that was the only thing keeping him from going into a psychological rampage. If he hadn't just met her, he would be venting to her about the frustration building inside him. "Sousuke, let's give Mr. Roberts time to think." Sousuke saluted and followed her out of the room. He wished she hadn't said that. It was now him, the room and the quiet atmosphere as him mind would be forced to ponder his new circumstances.
He was alone. Tyler gained a new understanding of that world. His family, his life and everything he knew was gone. Unless this was a sick joke, he was the only one looking out for him. There was no proof he was even born. His past was now only precious memories with no photographs as proof they existed. All he had left was himself.
In the command center, Tessa pondered her guest as she twirled the end of her pony tail in front of her mouth. Her heart went out to him. Even as he was being told he may never get to go home, he never took it out on those in the room except Sousuke, even though it was indirectly their fault for not stopping Leonard in time. Her expression slowly became pained and her second-command took note. Most people would be either highly skeptically or go insane within the hour of having to grasp the concept of not existing but their new guest was excellent at hiding his disturbed state. She also admitted to herself he was kind of handsome.
"Are you worried about him ma'am?" Commander Mardukas asked as her expression became pained. The Captain had only looked this distressed
"I can't help it. He has nothing and it worries me the way he is able to bottle it up. It is almost as if he doesn't want anyone to see him being weak." She replied sympathetically. She tried to fathom the idea of having literally nothing but the clothes you wore and your entire family and friends gone.
"Like Sousuke?" He asked.
"No." Tessa knew those two were different the moment she saw Tyler. "Sousuke is bad at expressing his emotions. Mr. Roberts seemed to be suppressing his. I am worried he doesn't trust us." She wished he would. In this situation, there was a great chance it would be the only thing stopping him from going over the edge into the mental abyss. She was a little perplexed by her concern for the man.
"In his situation, would you?" Mardukas, even without military training, would be very weary if he was in Tyler's predicament. Tessa shook her head as the sub continued its course. He was right. She knew Tyler was probably trying to deduce that second if he was in a conspiracy against his mind. This made her worry even more with every second she knew Tyler was alone without someone to talk too.
Back in the interrogation room, Tyler leaned against the wall, and it felt good to stretch his legs. The door opened once and Tyler tensed up. He refused to be restrained like that again. They would have to kill him. He almost wanted them too. He had no life here and maybe it would wake him up from this nightmare. If what they said was true, it meant he was nothing. His existence in the world never happened and he was the true definition of isolated. It was just the school girl from before. Tyler relaxed as she placed a tea tray on the table. She sat down, looked up at him with a smile and gestured for him to join her. She was warmer than the military nut job and a bit more humane. Tyler saw her tolerance for disobedience, despite her current benevolence, before and decided it was best for his health to not refuse. He hesitantly took a seat and reached for a cup and looked at the warm liquid. It was regular tea and he didn't smell any foreign orders but sipped it slowly just in case. He was surprised it was pretty good. He checked his pulse and forehead to see if any unknown poisons were taking affect. He was clear for now.
"Sorry about Sousuke earlier. He is really protective and you appeared outside the room I was in. I'm Kaname by the way." She had that statement down to an art. Tyler felt this wasn't the first time Sousuke hadn't embarrassed the poor girl. He wondered what sort of shenanigans Sousuke got into in his free time. It seemed he ate, breathed, and urinated military life.
"Nice to meet you. It is okay. The guy was just doing his job." Tyler replied warmly. He didn't really mean the last part. He thought Sousuke could do with having the rod up his butt removed and some humanity put in its place. He could tell this girl wasn't military however. She didn't have that aura of duty and honor. He did however hear how she said Sousuke's name. Only someone seriously infatuated would say a name like that. "So are you two dating?"
"How did you figure that out?" The girl placed her cup back on the table as her jaw dropped. He now knew they were.
"The way you just reacted now and the way you said his name. It had a lot of affection." Tyler also didn't tell her he was a freshman studying psychology and his papers were over Paul Ekman, who worked on micro expressions and he could almost read the love in her face. He started to remember he was alone again but pushed it aside and tried to be in the present for now.
"Yeah, he is an idiot but he tries." She smiled but she called him that tenderly and not with any attempt to be rude or insulting. "I know this maybe much but what is your world like?" Tyler never thought about it but now it seemed so far away from where he was right now. The world he left wasn't perfect but it was his but it made him wonder what the differences were in this one. All he knew, this world, females could reproduce without men or have giant robots fighting each other.
"That is a really broad question." Tyler laughed nervously. "Could you narrow it down a bit?" He hoped she would avoid asking about family. That would be the straw on his back that would break him.
"Okay, ummmm, Where are you from?" Tyler didn't know if he could handle talking about the world he may never see again at all when it got down to it but he didn't need to let these people see him breakdown. Even with her nice demeanor, none of these people could be trusted. He had to remember he was on his own.
"I came from America. I am a freshman in college." Tyler decided that was safe to admit to a stranger. It wasn't like they could attack his family on that. Plus, if what they were saying was true, it wouldn't matter what he told them.
"Wow! The America in this world is a leader in Arm Slave technology, or at least that is what Sousuke says. That is how they got out of debt." She replied. The word arm slave caught his attention but it was followed by America not being in debt. He had never heard such a thing in his life without someone laughing or getting upset.
"Yeah, my America isn't like that at all." She cocked her head at his comment. "In my dimension, world, whatever American is in nearly 16 trillion dollars in debt and we are stuck in a dead end war with the Afghanistan." Kaname gasped. He figured the contrast was stark. Their worlds must have been drastically different for her to react like that. He started to give merit to him being in an alternate reality.
"Besides that, it must be fairly peaceful. Our cold war is still going on." Tyler realized this world was nothing like the one he lived in. His was caught in strife and division among and even the nations themselves couldn't come to an agreement sometimes.
"Ours ended but that made everything worse." Tyler's tone became grim as he went over the downfalls of his reality. "The Soviet Union fell but its uranium supplies were stolen and now there are black market nukes terrorists can get a hold of." Kaname gasped. "My reality is worrying about Iran's nuclear program and we aren't far from nuclear war if they do and Africa is pretty close to being Hell on earth." Tyler laughed at how pitiful he world had to sound. "We aren't that peaceful." He didn't even go over the countless genocides and people starving to death. He almost thought maybe this world was a bit better.
"Well, I guess both of our realities have their issues." She smiled at him. Tyler didn't know why but this felt like talking to an older sister. He smiled back. The shores of his sanity started to return a bit slowly. It wasn't enough for him to be trusting but it was better than the infinite paranoia he was going towards.
"Yeah, you could say that. So what is this arm slave thing you mentioned?"
"Giant robots." Tyler's jaw dropped. He must have fallen into a bad anime. All he needed was a terrible plot line about an egomaniacal psychopath and it would be perfect. The door opened and Sousuke walked back into the room. Tyler looked up at him with scowl to guarantee G.I. Dickhead didn't think he was warming up to Sousuke. Kaname looked up at him fondly and said "That is a pilot of one right there." The two quickly kissed and she left the room. Tyler wanted to vomit at the sight or punch Sousuke out of general principal.
"So what now?" Tyler asked Sousuke. Tyler refrained from including how lucky he was a beautiful girl like Kaname was even looking at him.
"We can't do anything until we hit port. You will stay on the ship until then as a guest." His tone was so formal but when he kissed that girl, Tyler swore he saw a smile and a bit of humanity. He wondered if this is what that girl saw in him or Sousuke just had a good paycheck.
"I guess that is fair. Will I need to sign a disclosure agreement?" Tyler didn't know how world saving mercenaries did their paper work but he doubted they would just let him walk away without any form of protection of their secrets. He just wanted lay down and try to avoid having a mental breakdown in front of people he wouldn't trust with a wooden nickel.
"The captain wishes to discuss that with you. She will be in here after a while. Have a nice day." Tyler sighed at that half-decent attempt to be cordial. He just wanted to get out of the boring interrogation room at any cost and suicide wasn't looking too extreme of an option.
"Well, thank you for the update and if you need something from me just ask. I have a slight allergy to being stun gunned." Tyler retorted. Sousuke scowled but something stopped him from acting on any violent urges and Tyler had his bets on fear.
Sousuke's response was emotionless. He was either good at hiding them or never had them except with that girl. "Affirmative." He walked back out of the room.
Tyler was wondering what mad man had pulled that freak show together and what kind of backwards reality had he walked into. If he wasn't being fooled, he was in a world where the cold war was still going on and they were now fighting with giant robots piloted by teenagers. He found it easier to think about how strange this reality was compared to the one he may never see again.
The door opened once more. It was Tessa. Tyler felt oddly at ease it was her. He didn't want to admit it but he felt like he could trust her. He didn't want too but it seemed his very spirit felt calm when she came around last time. He tried to get himself to remain detached but that smile she had made it almost impossible.
"Thank you for waiting. I have prepared a room for you Mr. Roberts and we'll discuss what we will do when we reach port." Tyler smiled and blushed at her formality. He wanted to give her a hug and tell her how cute she was but he kept that thought to himself. He had to remember he was the only one looking out for his wellbeing from now on. Only the man in the mirror could be trusted.
"Call me Tyler. I'm not military so you don't need to be formal with me Tessa." Tyler stood up and waited for her to lead the way. She began to lead but she almost seemed to be tripped by the air and began to fall towards the steel floor. Tyler had always imagined military professionals being graceful but this girl had just been tripped by the air. His instincts took over and moved into position and caught her before he could force himself not too. Her eyes were closed as she had been bracing for the impact. Tyler couldn't stop looking at her and her cute wrinkled nose. Her white hair was soft in his hands and she smelled really sweet and everything about her seemed perfect. Tyler felt his heart flutter. He started too loath himself as it happened. Him falling for anyone now would only leave him weak. She opened her eyes and looked up at him as he started to mentally call himself various swear words in two languages. Their eyes met and Tyler could feel a field of butterflies swirl in his stomach again as he looked at those grey twinkling stars.
He finally let her up and she clumsily regained her composure.
"This way,…Tyler." She stammered. Tyler scratched his head nervously as he followed along. He wasn't sure what this world held for him but meeting Tessa meant it wasn't all bad.