Gabriel sat atop a metal structure built above a dark chasm. Crouched over his laptop, which was plugged into a nearby terminal, he looked at the time. November 27th, 2029. 7:46 PM. Clipped to his belt was a device that look a bit like a spool of thread, only it contained a connection cable instead. Beside him was a strange, circular device, the DSC. The laptop had a window open, a black page that read out in ominous white text.
>orphan_: salvation will require a sacrifice
He began to type, sending a message into the black abyss below.
>what am I supposed to do?
>what sacrifice do I have to make to save everyone else?
>orphan_: you have come this far
>I will pity you
>what do you mean by pity?
>who are you?
Just then, Gabriel saw a flicker of light emerge from the abyss below. It was a grid-like pattern that encircled a pulsating, spherical mass below. He was mesmerized.
>I have a better question
>what are you?
>orphan_: I have no name
>though I am of this word, my origin lies beyond
>I am orphaned by my kind
>I do not belong here either
>I am Orphan
>what does this have to do with pity?
>why are you here?
>orphan_: would an infant child know the reason for its existence?
>I suppose not
>that doesn't answer my first question, however
>what must I sacrifice?
"What do you mean, Kaden?!" Lucy shouted through her cellphone. "How can Gabriel be what the kaiju are after if he's just a human being?!"
"Gabriel isn't just a human being." Kaden replied. "I think he was at one point, but now that's changed. Something happened to him eight years ago, something changed him."
Lucy got up from her bed and hurriedly put on her hoodie. "How do you know about any of this? Who told you?"
"I found a USB drive with a video from my dad, he knew all about this apparently." Kaden continued. "I think someone's after him, but it might be too late."
"What makes you think that?" Lucy pulled open the door to her room and ran over to the apartment entrance to put on her shoes.
"He said that I wouldn't be seeing this message until it was too late. My dad hasn't been back home for days now, either."
"Kaden, you know that we've been in suspended animation for half a year, right?" Lucy opened the door and stepped downwards towards the ground. "Where are you?"
"I'm at our old school, the front gate is locked but it's the closest area to both of us."
"Okay." Lucy replied. "That still doesn't answer my question, though."
"This phone line is tapped; I can't tell you anything about that until I can see you in person."
"You can't be serious about going down there!" Dr. Miller was standing next to the DSC as Gabriel began to pack up both it and a nearby laptop into a reinforced suitcase. "Nobody is going to just let you walk into a restricted area!"
"That's why I'm going to force my way in." Gabriel unclipped a collapsible stun baton from his belt. "If I can get a jump on the elevator guard, I can probably get the upper-hand."
"You're going to die, kid!" Dr. Miller exclaimed. "You and Dr. Turner are the only ones who know how to operate the DSC. Without you, we don't stand a chance against whatever's going on upstairs."
"What makes you think we even have a chance?" Gabriel tucked one end of the stun baton into the back of his pants. "It's not us who can stop it. This is the only way."
"As much as I hate to admit it" Dr. Miller glanced at the tiled floor, "you're right."
Gabriel stepped towards a now-open door, dragging the suitcase behind him. "Take care of my sister for me, that's all I can ask."
"Her name is Anna." Gabriel replied. "Well, it's actually Hannah, but you get the idea." He stepped out into the hallway towards the main elevator shaft.
Gabriel didn't have to wait long; most of the people waiting here were going up, not down. Once the elevator arrived, he stepped inside and put his back to the wall. There was a single guard inside, he had a pistol holstered at the hip and was wearing a bulletproof vest.
"What floor are you going to?" The guard asked.
Gabriel stepped up to the elevator panel, leaving his suitcase in the corner, and pushed a button that looked like a downwards-pointing triangle in the bottom-most spot. "The lower levels." He said.
"I'll need to see your ID for that." The guard replied. The elevator doors began to close.
"One moment." Gabriel reached next to his back pocket, behind his lab coat, and grabbed onto the stun baton he was hiding.
As soon as the guard's eyes drifted from him, Gabriel struck. In a single, perfectly timed swing, he opened the baton and stabbed it into the guard's face. Gabriel then pushed the guard from the wall and grabbed his neck from behind into a one-armed chokehold. As the guard began to struggle, Gabriel dropped his own weapon and reached for the guard's gun with his spare hand. Gabriel unclipped the pistol, held it up to the side of the guard's head, and pulled the trigger.
Blood splattered onto the side of the sterile elevator, narrowly avoiding Gabriel's head. After checking the ammo reserves on his newfound weapon, which were full, Gabriel took the communications earpiece from the now-dead guard and put it into his ear, careful to not accidentally press the button to turn it on. He could hear chatter from the guards, none of them had heard the gunshot.
That was the first time Gabriel had ended a life, but it wouldn't be his last.
After what felt like an eternity of fleeing; the young girl, Lucy, met eyes with someone she recognized. It was her mother. She was filled with overwhelming relief. Nothing could go wrong if her mother was around, right?
"Lucy!" Mrs. Turner pushed through the tide of the crown towards her daughter. "Lucy! Thank God! Where's Alice?!"
Lucy ran up to her mother and buried her overflowing tears onto her. She couldn't reply, she didn't understand what was going on. She knew that Alice was dead, but she didn't understand why. Why did her sister have to die? Why did people die? It was her first experience with death, nothing made any sense to her. Alice would be okay, right? Lucy would get to see her again, right?
"Where's Alice, Lucy?! Do you know where she is?!" Mrs. Turner embraced Lucy, crying tears of both joy and worry.
Though the words wouldn't come out of Lucy's mouth, she was still able to understand. Lucy pointed back towards her sister's resting place, still unable to leave her mother's embrace. Mrs. Turner picked up Lucy and began to approach the point she was direct to. It was only a few moments before she heard a voice calling out to her.
"Emily!" The voice called. "Emily be careful, above you!" The voice was familiar, it was her husband's.
Mrs. Turner look up and saw a miraculous sight. There were buildings, cars, parts of the ground, and other various objects, all floating above the city in midair. She turned back to her husband. "What the hell is going on, Michael?! Where have you been?!"
"As soon as you called, I hurried over here to find you!" Dr. Turner ran up to his wife. "We need to get out of here, where's Alice?!"
"I don't know!" Mrs. Turner replied. "Lucy knows but she can't say anything."
"What does that mean?!"
"I don't know!"
Lucy's mother looked back towards where Lucy was pointing, the crowd now finally dispersed from the area. There Alice was, standing next to the strange mechanical device, covered in blood and dirt. She seemed to be staring off into the distance above, unaware of what was transpiring around her.
"Alice!" Dr. Turner called as he ran out to embrace her. "Alice, what's going on?! Are you okay-"
Suddenly, a flash of blood shot out from Dr. Turner as he crumbled into a pile of cubic chunks. Lucy went into shock as she turned to see her father destroyed before her very eyes. What was going on? Why was this happening? It was different when Alice was simply gone, this time it happened in front of her. It was a nightmare, it had to be. There was no way something like this could happen to her; could happen to her father. Lucy heard a scream; it was her mother. She could also feel teardrops hit the top of her head. She was too scared to cry, all she could do was watch as her sister stared blankly at the pile of flash that was once her father before turning her gaze to Lucy and her mother.
"NO!" Mrs. Turner cried. "MICHEAL! WHAT'S GOING ON?! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?! MICHAEL!"
Gabriel heard guards over the intercom shouting. "Elevator shaft number 1 is currently jammed on the lower levels." He had placed the now-empty suitcase in between the doors to keep them open.
>orphan_: if you can give me unrestricted access to the main computer systems, I can provide salvation
>someone will have to die though, there is no other way
>I'm prepared to sacrifice anything if it means saving my sister
>I'll do it
>I'll give you access to the main systems
>orphan_: the only access point is in the control room
>you'll have to manually connect it to the DSC
>how do you know all of this?
>orphan_: I was able to perform a complete scan of every data storage device within the vicinity of my DC Grid, which currently contains all of New York City.
>I'll do it then
>you'd better follow through on your end of the deal though
>orphan_: I assure you that I shall
Gabriel stood up and connected the spool on his belt to the DSC and stepped into the elevator before kicking the suitcase out of the way. He pressed the button for the control room and flipped a switch labelled with the emergency symbol. The elevator doors closed with the cable barely fitting between them.
Gabriel touched a button on his earpiece before them holding two of his fingers up to it. "This message should be going out to every receiver in this facility on the emergency frequency. This means you're currently hearing it, commander. I'm going to be arriving in the control room in a few moments, be ready."
"Who is this?!" A voice patched through on the emergency line. It was the commander. "What are you doing?!"
"I'm saving your precious city, what else would I be doing?"
"You can't just walk up here and expect us to let you do whatever you want! I'll have you know that there are at least five trained and armed security guards in this very room! You won't stand a chance if you decide to try something funny!" The commander's voice was paced by clicks from the cable at Gabriel's waist and the sounds of the elevator passing each floor.
"I don't care if I die here. So long as I succeed it won't matter."
"All guards to the command room as quickly as possible! Use deadly force if necessary!"
The elevator door opened as Gabriel fired off four shots from his pistol, one of them going directly through the commander's head. The five guards all opened fire with automatic rifles as Gabriel stepped out of the elevator, loading him with bullets as he stumbled towards the control panel. With all of the strength he had left, Gabriel shoved one end of the cable at his waist into a slot on the panel's bottom side.
Gabriel the slumped to the floor as he heard the screams and cries of several scientists below. He could feel the blood leaving his body through the dozens of holes the guards had made as they investigated his dying body, scrambling to identify him. The last thing he heard was the sound of a new prompt window opening on the main monitors.
"So that was her name, Alice." Gabriel whispered his final words. "I hope she doesn't hate me for this."
Lucy watched as Alice began to clutch her head and scream in agony. Pulses of yellow light began to form in the surrounding area as they approached Alice and created a grid across her body. Alice seemed to try and tear it off of her body, but to no avail. She let out a final scream in agony as the lines across her body exploded into streams of blood, separating her too into diced chunks of flesh.
Tears streamed down Lucy's face as she watched her sister die in front of her again. This was a nightmare. This was horrifying. The buildings and cars above her and her mother began to rain down around them as her mother painfully screamed once again.
This is a nightmare. That's all it could be.
I'm going to wake up, right?
I'll forget about this in the morning, right?
My mother will protect me, right?
"No... No... This can't be happening." Lucy's mother cried. "I... No..." Mrs. Turner buried her own tears into the hair of her only remaining family. "I'll protect you, Lucy. I won't let this happen to you, not ever! You're safe with me, I promise."
That's right, I don't need to worry about it.
It'll all be over in the morning.
It'll be as though it never happened...