Lucy awoke in her apartment, it was June 5th, 9:00 AM. More accurately, that was what her phone said. The girl lied in bed for some time, pondering the previous day. The previous day? Was that the bird kaiju? No, she remembered something else. She checked her phone.
>Gabriel Holt: "You're not needed today, get your rest while you can."
The message's date was 6/5. That was today, wasn't it? She had seen this message before somewhere. No, it wasn't somewhere, it was here. It was yesterday, wasn't it? A yesterday that didn't exist.
Lucy closed the messaging app on her phone. Guided by a distant memory, she opened kaijufinder. The app displayed a message in front of a blank screen.
>"You are not permitted to access the kaijufinder system."
What had happened on that yesterday, or was it today? Her memories began to clear. This is that story of that day, the yesterday that doesn't exist...
Lucy held her phone towards the sky while turning her eyes towards the DCP. It was loaded on to some kind of launch device. The man dressed in a lab coat was standing next to it while attending to several switches on buttons at the control panel. She didn't know that man's name, though he looked familiar. Gabriel began walking out of the room, he was there too.
The man with a lab coat began to speak. "On my count. 3... 2... 1..."
The device flew into the air, sending a burst of wind throughout the chamber. As the DCP leapt into the city sky, Lucy touched the button in the center of her phone. A flash of light emanated from the projector and a searing pain afflicted her left eye.
That moment between bodies was especially desolate this time. Lucy didn't know exactly why, but she felt as though she was being watched. At the same time, however, the creeping loneliness was overwhelming. Was she the only one that existed here?
That watcher, was it the girl with the raincoat? It had to be. Maybe if she went to that train station again, she could figure out why. Just then, as if she had willed it into existence, the station began to form around her, leaving the black abyss as a sky surrounding them.
The girl sat down at a bench, this time on the same side of the tracks as Lucy. Her raincoat's hood draped over her face, concealing it.
"Who are you?" Lucy asked. There was no answer. "What is this place?"
"You still don't remember, do you?" The girl said. Her voice was both nostalgic and distant, as though from a forgotten yet familiar world. The girl gazed towards a point in the far distance.
"What is it?! What is it I don't remember?!"
"Do you want to change the past?" The girl turned her head towards Lucy. "Do you regret what happened to me? To everyone else?"
"I already asked this: who are you?"
"You know who I am, you just forgot already-"
Lucy's consciousness entered the 2nd kaiju. She was falling from the sky directly above another creature. The monster she saw below was a hulking humanoid figure with one giant, unblinking eye. It towered above the city even higher than the other kaiju that came before it.
Lucy made a plunging kick against the one-eyed kaiju, driving it into the ground. Stained Buildings shot up around her as debris from the white concrete road flew by in cubic fragments. Lucy managed the jump up off of the kaiju and land back on two feet, throwing even more square particles into the sky. The cyclopean creature stared Lucy down as she landed on the ground.
Lucy broke into a dash towards the kaiju with a fist charged back to strike. As she approached, Lucy noticed a strange light congealing around the creature's eye. Was this the attack she had been warned about? Not a moment before the attack launched, Lucy dodged to the side. It meant losing her chance to strike, but survival was more important.
A beam of pale light pierced through the sky from within the creature's eye, ripping through the forest of buildings that surrounded the two fighters. The attack didn't touch her, but Lucy could tell how much damage would have been done if it had. One direct hit from that and she would be toast.
"There's a delay between when the attack starts charging and when it can fire, maybe I can use that to my advantage." Lucy's mind projected those words into the abyss that surrounded her consciousness. There was no response. Wasn't Gabriel normally assisting her in this kind of battle?
Lucy saw the kaiju start charging another beam attack, now was her chance. She readied another strike. If she could dodge the laser, she would easily have enough time to get another strike in. Lucy ran up to the creature and made a feint attack, a distraction, before dodging to the side yet again. All of her focus was on this one attack, this moment of victory.
The 2nd kaiju's fist slammed into the cyclops's eye. Lucy felt the impact disperse across the body she inhabited. There was something wrong though, why hadn't she heard the attack fire?
Suddenly, Lucy felt an immense, debilitating shock grip her whole body. Everything was numb. Her vision blurred; the only thing visible was that same pale flash of light. Slowly, the pain crept across her body, enveloping it entirely. The only place she couldn't feel was her right arm, the one she made the attack with. Lucy made a silent scream in agony as the realization had set in. Her vision returned as she looked down to the pile of shattered remains that had flown backwards when the kaiju blew her arm off. There was very little of it left; a twisted, mangled bunch of metal that completely failed to function. Lucy gripped at the attached part of her destroyed arm; the pain still echoed throughout this shell of a body.
Her mind began to tear from consciousness. This wasn't like an attack, it was painful. An impending sense of doom washed over her as the pain slowly melted into nothingness along with the rest of her body.
After an instant of pitch darkness, Lucy awoke in her own body. She felt a burning sensation from her right arm as she raced to tear off her hoodie to be sure the appendage was still attached. Thankfully, her arm was completely undamaged and firmly attached to her shoulder.
"What the hell was that?!" She screamed. "Why did I feel that pain?! You said that tamers normally can't feel through a kaiju's senses! Why did you lie to me?!"
She looked around her room, she was alone. In addition, she was no longer in the Atom-3's chamber, instead being in some kind of medical room. A woman with golden hair wearing a camo-pattered lab coat opened the door to the room.
Lucy didn't care who this person was, all that mattered was stopping the kaiju. She darted for the exit and pushed the woman to the side. Her plan was successful.
Lucy then felt a strange sensation, albeit one she had felt before. There was a feeling, almost like a ringing in the back of her mind, that signaled when an attack would start, albeit only if it was caused by stress alone. Strangely, it hadn't happened for most of her attacks before, at least since the first kaiju's arrival. Wait, that wasn't the first kaiju, was it? It must have been the 3rd one, since there were two that came before it. Would that make the most recent one the 5th kaiju? It didn't really matter. So long as she was going somewhere to stop the kaiju, whether she remembered it or not wasn't a problem either, only that she made it to that destination.
Lucy was on the rooftop of her apartment building. She had no idea how much time had passed, but her phone said it was around 12:00. She was already holding it up to the kaiju with the kaijufinder app open. Was she trying to take control of this one?
Whenever she had scanned a kaiju aside from the 2nd one, it always appeared obscured by a static-like pattern. She had never tried to control any of them, so she didn't know that it was impossible. Lucy tapped the button on her phone; nothing happened. She tried again and again before reading the message on appeared when she did so.
>"You are not permitted to interface with this entity."
What did that mean? It sounded like she was locked out of controlling it, possibly by DEED themselves. It didn't make sense though, why would they do that. Lucy stood dumbfounded for a few moments before hearing a familiar voice from behind her.
"So, you failed, didn't you?" Gabriel stood leaning against the roof's ledge-guard. "I didn't expect things to go this badly."
"You lied to me about the pain, why?!"
"I didn't lie to you."
"What do you mean?"
"The previous tamers weren't able to perceive through the 2nd kaiju's senses aside from sight and sometimes hearing. The way that you transformed the 2nd kaiju seemingly allowed you to access a wider array of functions. The pain, on the other hand, seems to have nothing to do with that. The kaiju, even yours, don't have nerves, so in theory you shouldn't feel anything at all."
"Then why did I feel it when that thing" Lucy pointed towards the towering monster in the horizon, "blew my arm off?"
"I don't know" Gabriel's voice and expression didn't bear any form of remorse, "but it's certainly an anomaly that we haven't come across before."
"More importantly" Lucy shouted, "why can't I take control of this kaiju?!"
"Because you aren't allowed to."
There were a few silent moments, only broken by the destruction of the rampaging beast.
"Why not?! Couldn't I stop a kaiju like this before it even arrives if I could just take control of it?!" Lucy was frantically aiming her phone at the kaiju and tapping the button repeatedly to no effect.
"We can't afford to have you messing with things you don't understand."
"THERE'S NO WE!" Lucy snapped at Gabriel. "LET ME USE THE KAIJUFINDER SYSTEM! STOP FORCING ME TO DO WHAT YOU WANT! You can turn my permissions on and off, WHY DID YOU LOCK ME OUT?!"
"How do you know I can do that?"
Lucy stopped. That's right, how did she know? Her mind raced as she looked for the answer. This was the first time she had heard of the permission system, did Gabriel tell her about it earlier? How would she forget something like that?
"I- I don't know." Lucy replied.
"I can deploy the 2nd kaiju again, but you'll need to be even more careful this time." Gabriel said. "If that beam hits your kaiju's DCP you're going to die, remember that."
"I..." Lucy pondered for a moment. Was this really the right thing to do? Could she even survive another fight? Did she want to go through with this? Ultimately, Lucy knew the truth. There was no other way, she had to give in. "I'll do it." She still looked down towards the floor. "I'll control the 2nd kaiju again, but after that I'm done. I can't take this anymore! You're constantly trying to manipulate me into doing what you want. I don't want to help you, there's just no other way for me to save the people I care about!"
Gabriel's face bore a cold, emotionless glare. "You think I've been trying to manipulate you? I've already heard you say those very words maybe a hundred times now. Every single time it's the same. You pilot the kaiju, save the day, and leave."
"What do you mean a hundred times? This is the 5th kaiju, right?"
"There have been 198 attacks on the city since the appearance of the 4th kaiju. Every single one of them fell to the 2nd kaiju in combat after less than 4 minutes." Gabriel continued. "This is the 202nd kaiju, the first one to defeat the 2nd in combat."
"What the hell are you talking about, I just defeated the 4th kaiju yesterday!"
"It has been June 5th in New York City for 197 days now, this will be the 198th." Gabriel's face was still unchanging. "The city has been under the effects of the lockdown function since then."
"The city has been frozen for half a year now?!" Lucy looked around, remembering that Kaden was on the roof of the building when the lockdown function was activated. He was gone. "Where's Kaden?! What did you do to him?! What did you do to everyone?!"
"If you care about any of them, you'll do as I say and take control of the second kaiju, otherwise we might have to resort to the backup plan."
"What backup plan? How can you-" Lucy then remembered. There were kaiju tamers before her, there must be some left who could take her place. Gabriel had told her time and time again that all of the other tamers died turning their first attempt to control the kaiju. Lucy couldn't let that happen again, especially if the tamer in question had the slightest chance of being Kaden.
Gabriel was already gone. Lucy felt a pit form in her stomach. She aimed her phone back at the kaiju to make one last attempt to take control of it before having her gaze drawn towards a helicopter hovering above the city sky. The helicopter was carrying a DCP; probably her DCP. She could choose to run, or she could choose to save a city of people she cared about. There was no guarantee of survival either way, but she knew what the right choice was, at least for now.
Lucy turned her phone towards the helicopter and touched the button in the middle. That same flash of light and pain in her eye returned, but she could barely feel either of them. She had one desire now: she had to free Kaden and everyone else, and she needed the kaiju to do that.
Lucy's mind quickly awoke within the body of the 2nd kaiju, falling from the sky once again. The kaiju's right arm was repaired, though it looked slightly different. The metal's shade was ever so barely lighter, and it had massive talons instead of plated knuckles. The large barrel that normally covered the wrist was also missing.
A transparent panel opened within Lucy's perspective and flashed a few blocks of text into her mind. The information was read in an instant, as though her brain did it on its own.
>Hardware has been updated. New functions are available:
Propulsion? That sounded useful. She only needed to think about moving towards the creature midair before the jets kicked into action, sending her flying at high speed towards the cyclops kaiju.
Lucy made a punch with her left hard that shattered the armor on the back of the kaiju's head and launched it to the ground. Lucy then made punch at the kaiju's head with her right arm, followed by another from her left. She repeated this process again and again across the seven seconds she spent pummeling the 202nd kaiju into the ground. The creature's head slowly turned towards her as she unleashed her rage against the cyclops. She didn't even realize that it had already charged its beam by the time it locked eyes with her.
Lucy felt a massive, overwhelming pain piercing though the front and back of her head. She felt what seemed like her brain split in two as the beam shattered her metallic skull. She only caught one thing displayed in the hundreds of red panels that clouded her vision:
>Data Conversion Projector Core Unit has been destroyed. Abort all testing immediately.
There was a nothingness. Was this the same abyss of her mind that she had inhabited before? Was this a new nonexistence, something after death? Lucy remembered what Gabriel had said. If the DCP was destroyed, she would die. Was she dead? No, that was impossible. She couldn't die here, who would save the city? Who would stop the kaiju? Who would be Kaden's friend?
Lucy's perception began to distort. She was surrounded by some kind of yellow spherical grid. The DCP Grid? She had seen it a few times before, but why was it here now? Where was she?
A voice echoed about in this space. It was multiple voices all speaking as one, a chorus of a hundred souls calling out to her. "Do you want the power to change the past? To change the fate of those who have died?"
"We have all died, but you did not know us."
A single voice appeared from the chorus in the form of the girl with the raincoat. "I died that day, that day that you forgot; the day that you force yourself to forget. It was eight years ago, the day that you lost me." An ethereal wind tossed the girl's hood from her head, revealing a face obscured by long brown hair. Lucy caught a glimpse of the girl's features; it was someone she knew; someone she never thought she could forget...
Lucy awoke once again. She was in the kaiju's body, but something was different. For starters, the panels were completely gone, there was nothing blocking her view. She felt a pain from within her left eye, though it seemed to be dim in comparison to the rush of primal emotion that emanated from what felt to be a beating heart; a syncopated, mechanical heartbeat that made her body surge with a blinding rage.
The kaiju, which she was kneeling on top of, tried to throw her to the ground. In an instant she tore off its arms with a blinding speed driven by unknown instinct. Compared to this, whenever she had controlled a kaiju before she had felt a restraining pull, something keeping her from fully being in control. Every movement now was direct with no translation from mind to body. She felt the sensation of tearing away at the one-eyed kaiju's plated skin as she burrowed into its chest. After a momentary glimpse at the creature's core, another DCP, her mind fell into full animalistic hunger.
Her arms pulled backwards as her whole body contorted, allowing a gaping, metal maw to emerge from the 2nd kaiju's chest. Tendrils from the kaiju's jaws gouged out and tore the DCP towards their host as the kaiju consumed the cyclops's core. Lucy felt a wave of maniacal elation wash over her as the core's power flowed through her body. This feeling, it was like nothing she had ever experienced, the satisfaction of having consumed a fallen foe.
A switch flipped in her mind, something new had been revealed. There was no panel to tell her about a new function, but she didn't need one. Lucy no longer felt the binding constraints of the kaijufinder system as she activated that new purpose. Beyond the bloodlust and hunger was one overbearing wish: to put an end to June 5th. She wanted to see Gabriel fall and to fix the damage he had done. If he could fix the city after a kaiju attack, why couldn't she? The world around her crumbled into dust as she let out an inhuman, primal scream.
There was darkness again. Lucy knew this darkness well by now, though it didn't cease to bother her. The form she took here was not definite anymore like it was before. Her existence was neither human nor kaiju, it was both. The memories that she knew she had lost were right in front of her now, joining with her mind as it seared with unending pain. She wished that she could leave them behind. What if she could leave them behind? If a kaiju can change reality, why can't it erase those moments and start again?
Lucy glanced again at the world she wished to remove and saw a familiar face, that same face from earlier. That's face's name was-
"Alice..." Lucy lied awake, back in her bed. The haze of her memories still impossible to fully decode. Everything after the end of the battle remained a blur, everything except for that name. Alice. Who was Alice?
Much to her surprise, Lucy knew the answer now.
-to be continued-