Chapter 6:

Aftermath Part one


The Wardley kitchen was utterly silent while Kyoka cleaned Jax’s arm wound. He gritted his teeth against the sting, but compared to the beating he had just taken this pain was pretty minor. His hoodie and the T-shirt he was wearing beneath it were sitting on a chair by the table Kyoka had set up her first aid kit on. She was quite proud of herself. Her patch job was immaculate, almost professional level. Her mom had been a doctor a few years before she was born, and had made sure to teach her everything she'd need to know for something like this. She was also proud that she hadn't stabbed Jax herself, though the thought did keep occurring to her.Bookmark here

The tense air between them was tangible. Jax wanted to say something, explain himself somehow. But what could he really say? He had gone there to blow up the building, and even if he'd gotten cold feet, he had still triggered the bomb. Bookmark here

What if someone had been hurt? He realized he hadn't checked for bystanders when he’d run away, he was mostly focused on getting Kyoka away. What about the architect woman? She had been standing near the gate. It wasn't too close to the station proper but the blast wave and debris could've hit her. Oh god, what if she'd died? He recognized her from the accident, that was certain, but it had been years since then. He was still angry, yes, but he hadn't wanted to kill anyone… had he? Bookmark here

Nausea bubbled in his stomach, combined with the pain from his injuries and the panic in his mind; Jax was feeling a little worse for the wear. Kyoka’s expression was blank, her attention completely focused on his arm. She wrapped the bandages skillfully and gently. When she was done with that she started prodding at his torso around where bruises had started to form. Jax let her work, not wanting to break the silence. When she poked right into a large bruise on his ribs he finally yelped and pushed her hand away.Bookmark here

“Is that really necessary? I think I'm alright.”Bookmark here

Kyoka sat back in her chair, eyes closed and took a long breath. Jax immediately regretted speaking, Kyoka wished he'd kept his mouth shut too. Now they had to actually talk about it.Bookmark here

“Jax”, she said after a long pause. “What happened?” Her voice was soft, with a little bit of an edge.Bookmark here

He took a moment to settle his nerves, then answered. “I saw someone get out of the truck, I recognized her and lost my cool for a second.”Bookmark here

Kyoka snorted, “just a second huh?” She rubbed her face, still staring up at the ceiling. “Lets not forget why you look like a used punching bag Jax. Your cool has been lost.” Bookmark here

Jax looked at his feet, “I didn’t mean to set it off. I’m serious.”Bookmark here

Kyoka looked at him, then let out a long sigh. “I know, otherwise you would’ve done it before I got there. But Jax that doesn’t change the fact that the deed’s been done,”Bookmark here

He nodded, “For what it's worth Kyo, I’m sorry.” Bookmark here

“So what happens now?” Bookmark here

Jax shook his head, “I’m not sure. If no one was hurt then maybe, maybe they’ll just make some show of authority. Put up a curfew or something.” He didn’t say what he really thought. He didn’t think he’d been seen, but if he had... Bookmark here

“What happened to your holoband?” Kyoka asked, pointing to his empty wrist. “Those aren’t supposed to come off.”Bookmark here

Jax looked at his bandaged arm, remembering the missing bracelet. “Oh yeah it got fried when I hopped the fence. I should probably get it replaced-”Bookmark here

“No,” Kyoka interjected, “Don’t do that, at least for a while. Let this all blow over, lay as low as you can. If we’re lucky…” Bookmark here

Jax flexed his hand, thinking about what might happen if they weren’t lucky.Bookmark here

“I should probably go home,” He mumbled. Kyoka didn’t stop him when he stood and grabbed his shirt, pulling it back on. He tucked the torn hoodie into his bag and left without another word. Leaving Kyoka sitting by the table in her family’s second floor apartment, alone. Now that Jax was gone, Koka let the emotions she’d been hiding come forward. A tremor ran through her entire body. She both felt like throwing up and crying at the same time. When they were in the alley, Jax had been like a different person. He was so much angrier then she had ever seen him, and she was still sore from when he’d slammed her into the wall. She had never been scared of him before, but the inhuman speed and strength he’d grabbed her with reminded Kyoka that his powers could be dangerous. Bookmark here

She shook her head, forcing the shock to roll over her. She refused to be scared of someone she’d watched suck his thumb till he was a preteen. The more pressing issue was their present situation, people had been put to sleep for infinitely smaller offenses before. Her mind ran trying to think of ways to hide him until the Servators calmed down. Plus, who had he seen that would’ve made him light the charge by accident? She hadn’t thought to ask who it was. Bookmark here

Too many problems, too much adrenaline to think about them. She distracted herself by cleaning off the table, putting the first aid kit back together and noting what had been used from it. She should probably go out and refill it but… not today. Today, she’d stay home. Maybe do some more studying, anything to calm her mind down.Bookmark here

—---------------------------------------------------------------------Bookmark here

Senior Architect Clara Dolan was not having a very good week. She was one of several supervisors for the lower districts, and also the only one she trusted to directly deal with anything that wasn’t just a string of code. Oh she had the utmost respect for her fellow supervisors, but she liked things being handled well and quickly. That usually meant doing it herself. Otherwise things took far too long or else were not handled as well as they should have been.Bookmark here

Recently the network of sentries had been acting strange so she commandeered an Oneiros transport and was going between maintenance stations to get a closer look at things personally. A tedious job which she’d typically have delegated to a different architect with a lower rank. But unfortunately it was all hands on deck at the moment, which meant the only people with any kind of freetime were the supervising staff, free time in this case meaning time free to handle other jobs. Bookmark here

On top of the snowballing issue of managing Oneiros and the systems that connected to it; she was now being checked over by a paramedic at what was supposed to be a routine stop. But now it had nearly turned into her last had the door sentries not shielded her from the blast with their large frames. A testament to the seriousness of the situation, actual Servators were on the scene, rather than behind desks or standing nearby looking “intimidating” in their black and silver uniforms. She couldn’t tell from where she was seated by the emergency vehicles, but her need to ensure things were actually getting done took over after several moments of sitting still being scanned for injuries. She went to stand but the medic grabbed her arm and firmly held her in place.Bookmark here

“With all due respect ma’am,” the woman said “I need you to remain still until I make sure you’re ok to go.” Clara rolled her eyes and tapped her holoband, a moment later a sentry hovered over to her. Waiting for a command. Bookmark here

“Go find whoever’s in charge of the investigation and bring them here.” The drone beeped its acknowledgement and floated away to follow her order. Clara suffered the medic’s attention until finally the drone returned with a man in a sharp uniform that had probably not seen the outside of his office building in several years. She noted the captain’s insignia on his shoulder, she would be polite.Bookmark here

“Ms. Dolan, you sent for me?” The man had a smooth tone to his voice, pleasant sounding. Clara nodded inwardly, probably got his position by being smart rather than competent. Bookmark here

“Yes,” she said out loud, “I’m curious as to how your investigation was going.” Bookmark here

“Well,” the man began, “We’ve locked down the immediate area, but none of the people we’ve questioned appear to have any connection to the incident. One couple reported seeing a bright flash of light not long before the blast, and we’ve recovered some fragments of the devices used. Though that doesn’t give us a culprit.” Bookmark here

Clara blinked, perhaps she didn’t give the Servators enough credit. “What is your plan then captain?”Bookmark here

The man gave her a grim look. “Most likely we’ll end up going door to door and see what we find, but well… The Administrators want repercussions sooner rather than later. They may have us make a show of force.” Bookmark here

“And?” Clara asked, unsure what his expression meant. Bookmark here

The captain rubbed his face, “They’re probably going to have us dream groups of people from each nearby residential area as a general message to the public.” Bookmark here

Clara nodded slowly, understanding the captain’s gravity. There were a few architects like him. People who thought that involuntary dreaming was inhumane, she personally thought it better than simply killing people or locking them in boxes so it didn’t bother her as much. But she’d had this conversation enough times not to bring up her thoughts on the subject. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry to hear that, I imagine that can be difficult,” she said. The captain, to his credit, shook his head. Bookmark here

“Don’t misunderstand Miss, while I don’t relish this, something has to be done. I’d rather put a handful of low district residents to sleep than allow this to go unpunished.” His posture straightened as he spoke, clearly he was very serious about his job. She really didn’t give the Servators enough credit. “Now is there anything else you need? I have to get back to work.”Bookmark here

Clara shook her head, pleased she no longer felt the need to get involved. “No captain that was all, thank you for your diligence.” Bookmark here

He nodded appreciatively and walked away. Clara watched him walk away, impressed with him. Soon after the medic cleared her to leave. Her transport had been hit by the blast but it was still functioning. She sighed, remembering that her job was still not done, activated the transport, and headed off to the next maintenance station. Never a moment's rest. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.