Sparks in a darkened world (hant138/AtomicDoll)
The night was more enveloping than she could have ever imagined from inside the facility. Dawn's leg screamed in protest as she ran. Her head was pounding in intense pain from overexerting her abilities and her lungs burned from the cold night air but she pushed on. Running as fast as she could from the facility that was engulfed in flames behind her, casting an orange glow to the otherwise dark sky. Keep moving...her gut screamed and the sound of gunfire and dog's barking echoed behind her. On the horizon In the distance she could see the glow of city lights. Adrenaline and fear turned her stomach but it also pushed herself forward.
Dawn woke up to the sounds of shouting outside. Probably squatters fighting over food rations. She sighed heavily, her breath coming out in a plume of fog against the cold and rubbed her tired eyes as she rolled out of the pallet of blankets on the floor. A glance at the watch on her wrist said it was time to get ready for work. She stood and made her way to the bathroom where a large pillar candle sat on the edge of the sink, held in place by melted wax. She looked at the wick and slowly felt her senses expanding, feeling each particle of the braided cotton and willing them to move. The friction of the particles vibrating at a high frequency cause flame to burst forth, illuminating the dusty bathroom and casting shadows over the rips in the linoleum. This was life now. It was hard to believe it had been almost two months since she had escaped the facility. The first three weeks were the roughest as she tried to fend for herself for the first time. The only thing she had known about the world was stories she had heard from one of the old janitors at the facility previously. He had told her about how the world used to be, cities all over the place, cellphones, swimming pools. Day and night lasted only twelve hours. It was difficult to imagine but then again the outside world had been difficult to imagine at all. After the great collision there was only few major cities across the country, overpopulated and run by individual military governments, who had attempted to return some amount of normalcy to the world. However, All she had known was the white washed sterile facility, the constant sedation, feeding tubes, testing, poking and prodding, for twenty two long years. She had been mentally preparing herself for the day she escaped for almost two years. Waiting until most of the guards were out on a supply run to act, secretly keeping the IV that was supposed to keep her foggy headed pinched and when they were escorting her to the testing wing, she broke free, setting as many fires as she could along the way until, after what felt like running an endless maze, she finally found the exit.
After wandering through pitch black ghost towns for a month, scavenging and looting houses along the way for scraps of food and clothing, she had been ecstatic to finally arrive at the city, regardless of the violence and poverty. She knew they were probably looking for her, the guards, the soldiers she heard the nurses whispering about but had at least thus far avoided capture. The fact that this side of the world was only three months into its night cycle made it easier to blend in. Camped out in an abandoned apartment complex just outside of the city, she even managed to get a job at a small shop that sold bread and water in return for ration cards under the name Amelia. It wasn't easy. Most night she still went hungry, even with her recent emploment and the cold of the night was far more biting than she could have realized but she'd take this over the constant sedation and testing any day. Everyday she played through scenerios in her mind of what would happen if they found her, where she would go, how she would fight back... and today was no different as she mentally went over all the exits in the shop for the millionth time. Dawn headed for the door, shrugging on a heavy jacket as she stepped out.
Last edited by AtomicDoll; 08-26-2013 at 05:10 PM.
“Remember, your only priority is capture and return of the project to this facility. In the event that the project is irretrievable, you are to summarily terminate the project as already outlined in this briefing. If the project has already been terminated, follow the proper guidelines as per your N.B.C.P. Safety manual. All materials that have been (a) within 15mm of the project, (b) have made direct physical contact with the project, are to be considered a LEVEL II contamination risk, and shall be collected for investigation or summarily destroyed, we expect you to display the necessary discretion for these tasks. Any civilian aware of the existence of the project is to be terminated immediately. Any civilian who is believed to have aided in the transport of the project is to be questioned, then terminated. Any outside support of the project that appears to be ongoing at time of discovery is to either (A) be removed immediately, if said support will add further complications to the priority, (b) be documented and then marked for later collection, after the Project is retrieved.”
Nodding wordlessly, Galen turned his back on the diminutive woman seated infront of him, grabbing the small information packet that had been set before him at the start of the brief. He understood that if she was no longer speaking, then they were finished here. As he stepped towards the door, he could feel the woman's eyes boring into his back, and see as the lights dimmed the closer he got to exiting the large conference room. He found himself deciding as to whether the woman ever left this room, or if she just waited for the next person to enter, who she would then proceed to brief in likely the same callous manner, wordless dismissing them as she had him... As he finally reached the door, and began to let himself out, the lights truly did turn themselves out. Galen tensed, this had never happened before, and alarms were shooting throughout his entire body.
"Galen," Another first, using his civilian name "Please remember that all projects can be terminated."
The world dropped. Galen felt himself falling rapidly, air rushing by him as he flailed frantically, trying desperately to stop the inevitable impact he knew must come. His hand came up against some thing hard, cool. He started awake, throwing the sheets of his bed off and letting the cold air wash over him, trying to calm his breathing, and soothe the palpitations of his heart. He didn't consider himself to be someone easily scared, yet for the last three weeks he had - had similar dreams, always ending with falling, for what seemed like unimaginably long times.
When his heart had stilled itself, he rose from the bed, walking too the window of his small room overlooking the city. The world may have collapsed, but there were still luxuries to be had in the world, if you could afford them, or -in his case- if someone could afford them for you. Despite that the comforts of the old world were still at a minimum for all but the most blessed of individuals. Far below, he could see the lights of the few buildings that had working power of some kind, innumerable flames marking where the people were not as fortunate, forced to make do with whatever they could find for fuel and shelter. And the cars, the oh-so rare cars, almost all of them undoubtedly marked for official military uses. He let his gaze roam across the cityscape, it wasn't as if he could see anything of importance, but since he had acquired this small room, he had found himself drawn to the window unerringly whenever he would wake. Perhaps it was this view of the city that kept imparting the sense of falling? Galen knew he had never before slept at such an altitude, but he could think of nothing in his education that would suitably explain such a strange answer.
On a rooftop, several hundred metre's away, there was a quick flash of light, drawing his attention, without a second thought, he knew it was a gunshot, nothing else could explain the flash, and Galen knew a a gunshot when he saw one. At the thought of guns, and gunfights, Galen turned from the window, realizing he did still have a Job to do though, and moved away from the window. It had taken him almost 6 weeks to make it to the city, ensuring all evidence of the project's passing was disposed of, all loose ends were tied. He had been forced to fully destroy atleast 3 houses, and had marked numerous more for a second inspection on the return trip. 6 long weeks of playing cleanup for some runaway experiment, 6 weeks too reach the city, 6 long weeks of playing garbage man. And then when he found where all signs said the garbage should be, the trail went almost cold. Almost cold in that, even in the dilapidated mess of a city this was, no one was completely anonymous in the city. He was sure she was still here, he just needed to smoke her out... He moved towards his small closet, standing on his toes to reach the rusted key he had hidden ontop of the door frame. Fumbling with the key, in his feet, he felt the telltale rumble of the old gas generator being finally turned on again, and the sole light in galen's room flared to life, bathing the room in it's soft golden glow. What surprised him more was the almost non-existant sibilant hiss of air through the vent, heated air!
Galen paused in his actions for a moment, listening to the constant hiss for a few moments. Slowly removing his hand from the doorhandle, he moved back towards the window forcing himself watch the air itself, and not the ground beyond it, a second later he saw what he had missed before in his sleep clouded eyes.
"It's starting to snow..."
Galen backed away from the window, hurrying back to the closet he began to work double-time, nearly ripping the shoddy door off its hinges as he finally unlocked it and threw the door open. Inside was his suit, and equipment, an old army rifle spot welded a long time ago to keep the fire selector stuck in semi-auto, and an even older bayonet, that could easily serve as a longknife. The snow didn't bother him, but the heat did. He understood the man whose "roof" he was living under. If he was wasting gas to warm his tenants rooms, possibly even the entire building, then he must think it was about to get cold... Very cold. Galen wasn't worried about himself, but the project definitely did not have the resources he had access too. And after her pyrotechnics at the facility, Galen was sure if she got cold, she would have no problem repeating the incident. Which could make containing the breach of security almost impossible if enough people saw.
Dawn drew the coat closer to her body as she walked. It was at least three sizes to big for her and when the frigid wind blew, it caused flurries of snow to shoot into the jacket sleeves where they didn't quite hug her wrists. Of course it's snowing...She thought bitterly as her teeth began to chatter. She hated the cold. It was almost enough for her to wish it was day cycle already. As she got deeper into the city, the streets grew more crowded, sometimes in dense enough packs that the area was a bit warmer from the collective body heat and people who huddled over makeshift fires in metal barrels. Somewhere close by she heard gunfire, loud enough that the sound caused her to jump. Her pulse quickened at the possibility of it being them, the guards. Dawn recalled some of the nurses referring to them as Reapers before but she had always assumed that was for intimidation purposes. She kept her head down and kept moving, pushing through the crowds. Gunfire wasn't exactly an anomaly in the city. Not a daily occurrence by any means as guns were expensive. A luxury, typically only used by the militia appointed cops that patrolled the city. Not that it did very much good. People killed each other over clothes, food, and blankets. She had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a couple incidents of this in her time in the city but on both accounts it was on the outskirts in the less patrolled areas, closer towards the building she had made home.
By the time Dawn reached the shop, she had a slight headache. When around so much chaos and so many people it was hard to keep enough focus to shut her extra senses down completely which tended to result in sensory overload. She went around the back of the building and swung the heavy, rusted, metal door open to the kitchen of the shop. Flour coated the floor and counters as a group of six people worked away at kneading down loafs of bread dough while two others stoked the fires to the brick ovens. Dawn grabbed a apron that was hanging from a hook to the right of the door and tied it tightly around her waist. Just as she made her way to the counters though a large bearded man turned and shook his head. "No, you work front today." He said in a thick Russian accent. A knot formed in her stomach as she nodded and headed across the kitchen to the hinged double doors that lead to the front of the shop where people were lined up to the door, awaiting food. She hated working the front and dealing with people. It always felt too exposed, especially since any one of them could be Reapers and she would never know.
"Oh thank god. Nate hasn't shown up yet and these people were getting restless." A petite redhead Dawn knew by the name of Julie whispered to her as she came out and took her place behind the counter. She couldn't put a face to the name Nate but knew that normally three people worked the front of the shop at a time. Between the two of them they corralled the people into two separate lines and began the tedious tasks of verifying ration cards, punching them according the size of the orders, and gathering up said orders. Between the ovens and the throngs of people it was warm enough in the shop that she might have felt comfortable enough to take off her jacket except she was worried that if she did, she'd never see it again and that was a risk Dawn couldn't take. Instead she rolled the sleeves up to the bend of her elbow and continued going about her job. "Can I eat it now?" She overheard a child asking his mother. "No, it's too hot." Her mind began to drift.
"This is Doctor Arkady with Subject twenty-three, age nine. August sixteenth, thirty-one P.C. Three forty-seven pm. Today we be testing how the Subject's abilities function under a sensory deprivation tank." Dawn could hear the doctor talking into a voice recorder as two nurses lowered her down into a tank filled with body temperature salt water and instructed her to lay back. They lowered the lid and she found herself enveloped in total darkness and total silence, except for the sound of her own pulse pounding in her ears. Once she got over the initial shock of it, it was almost relaxing but as her sense of sight, sound and physical sensation faded, her extra senses started expanding far too fast. Faster than she could control. The water around her started to heat up, until it became uncomfortable and then painful. She sat up, banging on the sides and lid of the tank. "It's too hot! Please, Let me out!" She screamed in panic. Frantically she pounded as the water began to burn her skin. "Please!" She sobbed, trying to push up on the lid but it wouldn't budge. "It's too hot!"
"I don't have all day here lady." Dawn realized she had been staring off in space at the wall while a short stoutly woman stood glaring in front of her, waving her ration card about in the air. "I'm sorry." Dawn muttered as she punched the card and dashed to the back to gather a gallon of water and two loaves of bread for the woman. The woman grunted in response, snatched her things and walked out in a huff.
(thirty-one P.C. is year post collision.)