A pale man watched the scene of carnage on the highway unfold on the terminal screen in front of him.
“A failure, huh.”
The man pressed a button on his terminal.
The screen now displayed 5 body camera streams, two of which were offline.
“S-subject escaped. T-three units S-sustained heavy damages-s.”
He switched the screen to biometric scans. It showed full body diagnostics for all 5 bikers.
“2 units took heavy damage to their heads, impairing their control and receiver modules. It looks like the third one sustained critical damage to their torso, but they managed to activate the manual restoration procedure.”
He rubbed the temple of his nose and groaned.
“S-should we p-proceed with-h the M-mission?”
“Hmm…no. Send the damaged unit to track down the girl. The rest of you recover the deactivated units and head back for repairs.”
The man shut off the terminal. He slammed his fist into the screen.
“How dare that girl destroy my life’s work! Who the hell does she think she is. She’s just another fucking rat!”
He tossed the terminal into the wall. It shattered as it impacted.
“No, no, no. Just take a deep breath…’huff’…that’s better.”
He took out another spare terminal from his desk.
This happened a lot.
“In the first place what was that? My records showed that she shouldn’t have been able to stand a chance against my terminated.”
He opened up a data file on the terminal. It showed a record of Elusia Nulls’s training and observation data.
“Her physical ability is off the charts thanks to the experimental procedures, but she shouldn’t be capable of creating this kind of damage!”
Her file showed that she had abnormal strength and reflexes thanks to the experiments conducted on the numbers, but her brainwave compatibility with the breakers was abysmal.
“She shouldn’t be able to use magic. Unless…she has some other way to do it? Or maybe she acquired some kind of special gift because of one of my experimental procedures? Questions, questions…”
He scanned the file for any relevant data, but soon decided to put it off for later.
“Well, no matter. The unit sent to locate her will bring back her body soon enough. I can use it to find answers later.”
If you haven’t guessed yet (not that you could have), this man was Sirus Walker, the head researcher at the Temple and the one who came up with the idea to use the numbers as experimental subjects to create the ultimate Exorcist. He was a tall, pale, thin man who often dressed in white. He had long gray hair that reached his shoulders and dark yellowish eyes that gleamed with madness. The city council secretly funded his research in hopes of creating the ultimate supernatural weapon and gave him total control over the Temple and its employees. Even the head priest was unable to defy his will because of all the results he had provided and was in essence, just a figurehead.
“But just thinking about how much that girl cost me is infuriating! Those terminated aren’t cheap! Not to mention that I’m running out of materials.”
The terminated were Walker’s (self-proclaimed) crowning achievement. The culmination of all his research. They were semi autonomous killing machines that had no individual thoughts but could think and act like humans to achieve any objective with their powerful enhanced skills and abilities. They were the perfect soldiers to fight the supernatural and anything else that stood in their way. They had been created by repurposing the remains of the ‘failed’ numbers. By using a variety of magical spells to animate and fuse their viable remains to mechanical mechanisms that acted as a life support system and a reprogrammable exoskeleton, he managed to create what in the past could be considered a undead abomination. They needed no sleep, water, or food and could ‘consume’ organic material or mechanical apparatus to integrate them into itself.
“I’m going to have to bribe those damn city councilmen for more supplies! Just thinking about it pisses me off! This is all her fault!”
He tossed the terminal into the wall.
As I said, this happens a lot.
Elusia and detective Smith were sitting at a café on the upper level of Necropolis.
They had left the destroyed car at the parking area, which caused a lot of stares from passing drivers, and were now having a long conversation about Elusia.
“…And so I escaped from the temple and they sent those things to capture or probably kill me.”
“…I have some questions and thoughts about what you just told me.”
The detective had a concerned(or rather annoyed) grimace on his face as he stared at Elusia, who seemed to be enjoying herself as she ate a plate of fries and various fried confectioneries on his dime.
‘Is this girl a bottomless pit!? I told her she could order anything she wanted to get her talking, but at this rate I’m going to go broke! And I’m gonna have to pay for the totaled car too…’
Elusia had been ordering plate after plate of food and drinks. As she had been raised in the Temple, these new dishes blew her mind.
‘I can’t believe that food could be so good(munch,munch). The only thing we had to eat in the Temple was that damn mysterious flavorless slush.’
In the Temple, food was usually made of a bland and flavorless paste, which was pretty nutritious but tasted pretty meh.
This was to cut costs and make sure the disciples had a balanced diet so that they would be as healthy as possible for the experiments.
Thanks to this, Elusia was now indulging herself. Deciding that she owed the detective some answers (and as a result of him having raised her affection points with food), she told him about herself, the whole truth
“So this Temple, has been training people to fight the supernatural? What even is that?”
“Yup. Well, no actually. In our case we were basically just a test to see if they could make better Exorcists instead of just recruiting them, probably. The supernatural is basically their label for anything that doesn’t fit the mold defined by science. For example things that shouldn’t be possible that defy logic, like monsters, spirits, cryptids, or even naturally occurring phenomena that can’t be explained by scientific means.”
“Wait, so you mean like the monsters in scary stories and shit? You mean they’re all real?”
The detective crossed his arms with a contemplative look on his face.
“Well, I haven’t really seen any of them before now, but I was told that both is and isn’t the case. Not all of those things exist, but they might have been conceived in the past or something. Ah, another plate please!”
She held out her hand and called for a refill.
The bill was still skyrocketing.
“Hey, stop that. And explain it to me simpler. In 30 words or less.”
“Ok,ok, sheesh. Basically supernatural phenomenon is created by the collective consciousness, thoughts given form. The more people believe in something, a monster or paranormal activity, the more real it gets until it’s actually physically there. Things like werewolves and vampires used to be super common because of their popularity. Basically the same deal with magic I guess.”
“Ok wait, so monsters are real because someone believes that they are? Wouldn’t that mean there’s tons of them running around?”
“Nah, it takes forever for one to manifest and the number of people who believe have to be enormous. More importantly it has to have a clear concept or it won’t materialize. Something vague won’t work.”
The detective called the waitress for the bill. His eyes popped at the number at the bottom.
“Seriously!? Ugh…anyway let’s continue. So this Temple, has been running experiments on people, trying to do what exactly? Create an army of supernatural super soldiers?”
Elusia clenched her fist with a sour expression on her face.
“Who knows. Maybe they’re just doing it to kill time. All I know is that they have been doing this to create better Exorcists.
The detective rubbed his chin.
“How were they formed in the first place? Who’s funding them? Why?”
“How should I know! All I know is that they have some kind of relationship with the city council that lets them do all this without anyone finding out.”
‘Hmm the city council, eh. That explains why I’ve never heard anything about this before. This is gonna be troublesome.’
Seeing that Elusia was not responding well to the line of questioning, the detective decided to leave it at that for now and shift to a different topic.
“So you came here to help out your sister? What lead were you following?”
After everything he had just seen and heard, he ultimately decided to believe her and follow his gut.
‘Honestly, if the city council is involved, I’m probably gonna get sacked soon anyway after witnessing all that crap. Might as well go out with a bang.’
“Huh? Well I heard there was some kind of weird accident the other day. Something supernatural.”
“Ah, I might have an idea what your talking about.”
The detective pulled out his terminal and accessed the police database for recent cases.
He pointed at a file about a couple who died at the Halloween festival.
“It says here that they died in a pretty insane way. According to the investigation, no one heard a thing, and somehow they were sliced up in the middle of an alleyway directly next to the crowd. The scans they took show scratches on the floor and walls, but they couldn’t identify the weapon or the material it was made of. Damn it, they only did the bare minimum for this case.”
“People who live on the upper levels have a sort of superiority complex about their status. They call the people who live on the lower floors ‘downers’ and treat them like pests. Unfortunately the sentiment is popular with people involved with the city council, like my superior.”
Elusia felt some sympathy towards them, but not much as it wasn’t her problem. She had other things to deal with.
“Anyway let’s get going.”
Elusia felt confused as she stared at the detective, who had begrudgingly paid the bill and was already in the process of leaving.
“To the crime scene obviously. You said you wanted to prove you weren’t useless to your sister. Here’s your chance.”
“Why are you going with me?”
“Eh. Got nothing better to do anyway. Might as well do something that matters.”
Elusia had never been in a situation like this before. She had always needed to do things alone so far. She struggled to think about what to do while analyzing the situation she was now in.
‘He might be plotting something…but if that was the case he could have just done it earlier. Maybe it’s ok to just go along with it. I mean, it’s not exactly a bad situation to be in. I’ll trust him for now.’
Elusia made her decision. She picked up her bat and followed the detective to the car.