Chapter 4:

Ch.4: Changing

Gun Girls Online

“Ugh…” Mikkari moaned as she slowly opened her eyes. She was in her apartment. It was a warm, sunny afternoon and all the curtains in her apartment billowed gently on the breeze that came through all the open windows.Bookmark here

“Ouch! So sore!” She cringed. For the last three weeks, she had been excessively sore and exhausted as she recovered. She had no classes today and had decided to do a thorough cleaning of her home, but the nice weather had made her sleepy and she had curled up on her bed for a nap.Bookmark here

“That weird dream again.” She murmured to herself.Bookmark here

Ever since she woke up in the hospital after the terrorist attack, she had been having the same bizarre dream over and over again. It felt like it should mean something, but Mikkari wasn’t sure. In the old retro anime shows, reoccurring dreams like hers were a sign of destiny and power, but hers was likely just a product of severe physical trauma and her body’s reaction to the ensuing medical intervention. There was still something about the dream, though. Something…she wasn’t sure what, but she felt like it was telling her something important. She rolled over onto her back and stared at the ceiling.Bookmark here

She had apparently had awful internal damage and brain trauma that required extensive surgery. She was unconscious for three days after the doctors had managed to save her and then spent a week and a half recovering in the hospital. It had been a week since she returned home and her body still wasn’t adjusting fast enough for her taste.Bookmark here

Mikkari sat up. Despite the pain, she had been doing better mentally since she came home. She hadn’t struggled with anxiety or depression as much. Maybe the intensive surgeries, medications, and therapy had been good for her mental health! Bookmark here

She didn’t exactly feel chipper or fully ‘normal’ per say, but she felt more at ease in her own skin and was able to just be at peace with her life. Her life was very uneventful, but calm, and she was able to find some beauty and joy in that. Maybe it was the fact that she had experienced such a close brush with death, too.Bookmark here

She found herself feeling contentment with just being able to sit outside in the park and study between her classes and feeling high on life while eating delicious snacks and playing Gun Girls Online.  Such minor things, but for her, that was an achievement, given how she frequently had days where she felt so full of fear and sorrow that she literally couldn’t bring herself to get out of bed. Being able to simply function in daily life was a big enough achievement on its own, but to actually feel happy…!Bookmark here

Mikkari swung her feet down and stood up.  She might as well get back to work while she was feeling well enough to get stuff done. She turned on MusicSpot on her computer and went back to work sorting through her desk drawers. She hummed to herself as she sorted through all her old crap. Bookmark here

‘Old snack, I really have a lot of them! I need to just throw these away when I get them. Oh, this is from my research writing class during my first semester of college! Urgh! My formal writing was atrocious, and I don’t think that’s changed much! Ooh, score! A recharge card for ROMANCE:Nezumi! The number hasn’t been uncovered yet, so I don’t think that I ever redeemed this after I bought it!’Bookmark here

Suddenly, her sleeping computer chimed, startling Mikkari. She got off the ground and plopped into her computer chair. It was the out-of-game chatroom for Gun Girls Online. Bookmark here

Usagi: Hi Kimi! How are you? Bookmark here

Kimi: Hey! Pretty good. I’m just cleaning up my place. How are you?Bookmark here

Usagi: Good! Sorry that I haven’t been able to play in a couple of days. It’s been really busy over here lately and I’m injured so…yeah.Bookmark here

Kimi: Oh, my God, Usagi! Are you alright? What happened? Is it serious?Bookmark here

Usagi: Calm down, Kimi-Chan! It was serious for a bit, but I’m doing much better now. I just took a nasty bang to my head in an accident. Got hit by a small cement slab at a construction site while I was out walking. It hurts a lot, but I’m okay!Bookmark here

Kimi: Good. Geez, girl, you need to be more careful! You make me worried!Bookmark here

Usagi: Says the woman who was a victim of a terrorist attack.Bookmark here

Kimi: …Point taken.Bookmark here

Usagi: How are you REALLY doing? Are your injuries doing better? Are you scared or stressed after going through that? Did you hear anything about the investigation that isn't in the news?Bookmark here

Kimi: CALM DOWN! You ask way too many questions!Bookmark here

Kimi: …Well, I’m sore and tired all the time and I think that the medications they pumped into me have tied my guts into a knot but, other than that, I’m healing as well as can be expected for something so severe. Actually, I’m really lucky. The doctors said that have no clue how I survived because of how ripped up I was and they can’t understand how I walked out of the hospital in under two weeks with no lasting effects.Bookmark here

Usagi: That’s crazy! It-it-it’s like a miracle or something!Bookmark here

Kimi: Heh!...yeah I guess. I’m just glad to be alive. Waking up in the wreckage after the bombing was…Bookmark here

Mikkari paused with her fingers frozen over the keys. She got chills remembering dragging herself through the rubble in a desperate effort to live. Part of her wondered if it could have just been a dream or hallucination that had never really happened. If she hadn’t been able to move her lower body then, then there was something seriously strange going on if she was fine now.Bookmark here

While she may not have known much about the human body, she was pretty sure that paralysis wasn’t a good sign. In the movies, lower-body paralysis usually meant a spinal injury and a life as a cripple. Of course, that was fiction, but even so, she felt like something out of the norm had happened while she had been on the doctor’s table hovering between life and death. The doctors that she had talked to all claimed that there was no sign of any spinal damage or corresponding nerve damage that could account for what she had experienced. They had all suggested that it was either shock or her imagination. But…there had been something weird about how the doctors had reacted to her, like they were hiding something. She couldn’t prove it, of course, but maybe they were hiding something from her about what had been wrong with her.Bookmark here

Kimi: As for the whole investigation, I don’t really know much more than anyone else at this point. Last I heard, the United Japan Freedom Federation was being blamed. There was a leak in one of the secret Defense Corps offices that they had missed the warning signs of the UJFF gathering steam and plotting a comeback. Bookmark here

Usagi: UJFF? Wasn’t that that one terrorist group that was supposedly wiped out a couple of years ago? The ones who were mad that South Korea ceased being a country after it was basically chopped up and mixed together with chunks of Japan?Bookmark here

Kimi: Yeah. Bunch of weirdos. I don’t think there are many people still alive who remember back when South Korea and the Old Japan existed, so I don’t get why they think they are so heroic. You killed a bunch of innocent people, including schoolchildren, to destroy Neo-Japan and bring down the most stable New-Era government since The Cataclysm; woo, you’re so brave (*sarcasm*)Bookmark here

Usagi: Ugh. I hope this doesn’t turn into what happened in the old Middle East a few hundred years ago. Can you imagine how terrible it would be live through warfare? …I’ve actually been pretty anxious since the attack. It…makes me worry. What if it happens again? What if I’m next? What if it just keeps continuing without stopping and turns into an ongoing war?Bookmark here

Mikkari was concerned. She was sure that Usagi was a young girl in real life. How do you explain something like this to a child? Evil and suck were unfortunately part of life, but you couldn’t just sit and focus on it because then you would cease to continue living. Life would just be a continued anticipation of the next disaster if all you did was focus on all the possibilities for disaster and evil! Bookmark here

But…what right did she, someone who had tried to kill herself in the past, have to encourage naïve child that life was worth living? It should have been the other way around, especially because Usagi and their other online friends were the ones that had given her a reason to live. But, while it was terrible and Mikkari was undoubtedly scarred by what had occurred, she wasn’t fearful of what else could happen. That just hadn’t registered with her and she had faith that the DC’s and police could handle this. She hoped that that would be the case but, if the stories recounted on the news about UJFF at its peak were true, and they had apparently surpassed that level of development now…Bookmark here

Kimi: I know that this sounds scary, but I promise that everything will be okay. I trust the police and the Defense Corps. This is the first major terrorist attack in decades. They haven’t had anything like this for well over a decade! And technology has only increased even more since then, so I’m sure they’ll be able to hunt them down and bring them to justice!Bookmark here

Mikkari hoped that she had done alright in comforting Usagi. She had conveniently left out the part about the UJFF initiating the last big terrorist attack. The last one that was this bad was at their peak, before a government raid slashed their numbers and seized large catches of weapons. Even back before the Cataclysm, none of the attacks were as bad as what the UJFF was now able to muster! But that was nearly a thousand years ago. While daily life was still much like the 2000’s, which had ended over two thousand years ago, there was an increased proliferation of technology. For instance, if she had wanted to, she could have set her computer to ‘interactive touch-screen mode’ and had a 3D projection appear that she could touch and manipulate much like a smart phone. And that was one of the most mediocre pieces of technology! If UJFF was able to get their hands on more dangerous technology…Mikkari cringed.Bookmark here

Depending on how good at infiltration they were, they could possibly annihilate the entire human population of Neo-Japan! But, in all likelihood, probably not. She didn’t work for the government, so it’s not like she could access the data to see what threat they actually posed to the public.Bookmark here

Being a civilian was even more frightening than being a police officer or solider, in a way. Civilians didn’t know all the information that could save them and they were typically powerless to protect themselves from the strongest threats to their safety. All a civilian could do is hope that those who were trained to fight the monsters that lurked in their nightmares were able win. When you were just a normal person, you had to put your trust in those who could do what you couldn’t.Bookmark here

Usagi: Are you sure? You’re not worried?Bookmark here

Kimi: Well, yeah, a little bit, but I’m not overly scared or anything. Besides, I doubt that you would be in danger or anything.Bookmark here

Usagi: Okay! If the person who was a victim feels safe and isn’t scared, then I’m not scared, either!Bookmark here

Kimi: Well, that’s good! Glad I could make you feel better!Bookmark here

Mikkari thought for a moment.Bookmark here

Kimi: Hey, Usa-Chan? The way you’ve been talking…you wouldn’t happen to live in Hiken City, would you?Bookmark here

Usagi: Yeah! I do!Bookmark here

Kimi: Whoa, what a weird coincidence! Is there any chance that we may have met in person?Bookmark here

Usagi:…Bookmark here

Usagi: No, don’t think so. We run in totally different circles, Kimi-Chan. Sorry.Bookmark here

Kimi: Darn! Maybe we could meet up sometime offline? I’d like to see what my best friend looks like in real life!Bookmark here

Usagi:…Bookmark here

Battle Nurse Usagi-Chan has gone dormant. In five minutes, she will be logged out.Bookmark here

Kimi: Usagi-Chan? Are you there?Bookmark here

Usagi: Uh-yeah! Yeah! Sorry, I’m busy right now. I’m trying to multi-task. I don’t know. I’d like to see you, Kimi-Chan but…I don’t know if revealing my identity right now would be a good idea.Bookmark here

Kimi: What are you, a secret spy or something? ;)Bookmark here

Kimi: But, seriously, that’s okay. I mean, I’d love to meet you soon, but I can wait. I respect that and I’ll be ready whenever you are.Bookmark here

Usagi: nnbhjjjfn nkmmfjfn fmm qkm mlemnBookmark here

Kimi: Uh, Usagi-Chan? Are you okay?Bookmark here

Usagi: Sorry! I need to log off now! Mom just had a fit and tried to take my tablet away! Says I’ve had too much screen time today:( Gotta go. Can we maybe talk again later this week? Maybe figure something out for meeting up in real life?Bookmark here

Kimi: Sure! Good luck with whatever you’re doing, Usa-Chan! ByeBookmark here

Battle Nurse Usagi-Chan has logged offBookmark here

Super Shot: Kimi has logged offBookmark here

Mikkari leaned back in her chair before closing out the game app and turning on MyMusic. She wished that she could talk to Usagi more because she was feeling lonely, but she just had to deal with it. She turned her mind and body back to sorting through her desk drawers. Dang, did she have a lot of old receipts and used game redemption cards!Bookmark here

A hauntingly beautiful song drifted out of the speakers.Bookmark here

TensionBookmark here

Can you see the cracks in me?Bookmark here

I’m fracturing like a mirrorBookmark here

Do you know?Bookmark here

Do you care?Bookmark here

Can you help me?Bookmark here

I just want to be lovedBookmark here

I just want to be acceptedBookmark here

I wish I had a butterfly’s wingsBookmark here

Then I could fly away from this nightmareBookmark here

I want to break freeBookmark here

But I have no prince to save me Bookmark here

I’m done with this, there’s no one to save meBookmark here

I can only trust in myselfBookmark here

If this is all I can do, then I’ll make my own way!Bookmark here

God help me now in this dark hourBookmark here

I’ll push my limits farther, run faster and harder,Bookmark here

Until I reach that dream where I want to beBookmark here

God, only you hear me, so don’t let my feet give out!Bookmark here

I’ll scream out as I move ahead! Bookmark here

Even if I’m alone, that’s okayBookmark here

I’ll be my own hero; I’ll rescue myself!Bookmark here

I don’t have to wait for help; I can trust myselfBookmark here

Even if I don’t reach that dream, it’s okayBookmark here

If I can try to move towards it, that’s enough for meBookmark here

God, I’m not afraid; give me strengthBookmark here

Maybe, someday,Bookmark here

I’ll make my own wingsBookmark here

And fly to my dreamBookmark here

And find someone who loves me for myselfBookmark here

But for now, I pray,Bookmark here

Grit my teeth, and move aheadBookmark here

“Oh, which artist is this?” Mikkari asked no one out of curiosity. She shook the computer awake.Bookmark here

Tenacity Butterfly by The Love Idol Ai-Chan?” She mused. “Hmm. It’s…good. But…kind of different. I’m normally not interested in. kiddie idols, but I like Ai-Chan because her songs make you energized and hopeful. This though…it’s much more dark than most of her other songs. And it’s…haunting…bleak…pretty heavy for a little girl to sing about!”Bookmark here

But… she could understand the desperate fight to stay alive, the ability to only rely on yourself. Back then, under the ruble, when she screamed defiance at death and fought to claw her way to life…Bookmark here

Mikkari knew that feeling that the song referenced all too. Her whole life, the only person she could trust was herself. She retreated inward and cut herself from all human interaction for survival. She couldn’t even trust God, the God who was used to torment her and make her suffer. This song perfectly summed up her whole life.Bookmark here

Mikkari shook her head. She had to get her mind off of such bleak things. She spun around absently in her desk chair. Suddenly, she stood up.Bookmark here

“I know! I should go to the convivence store and see if they have any game cards for Gun Girls Online! She exclaimed.Bookmark here

Normally, she liked to order the cards over the internet from because she had a royalty-tier premium member status and was able to buy anything and everything videogame related at a drastic discount rate. Also, she could rack up massive amounts GT points by purchasing game cards there, which she could exchange for more game cards. Bookmark here

But, strangely, despite carrying hundreds of cards for new, poorly rated, and bland games, GameTaku didn’t sell GGO game cards. In fact, their massive database showed no mention whatsoever of the game! It was the same on all the other gaming sites Mikkari had tried. Bookmark here

Nothing! It was like Gun Girls Online didn’t exist! But the convenience store that she favored had the best game card selection in the whole city, even better than the game stores and anime shops! If anywhere would have GGO game cards, it would be there!Bookmark here

· * *Bookmark here

“Hey, boss, how goes it? What are things looking like for our new recruits?” Bookmark here

Two young women stood, clothed in shadow, in the back of a room filled with computer screens and technical machinery. One was tall and busty, wearing a flowing silk skirt and tube top that barely covered her body, with various bits of military gear worn over her outfit. Bookmark here

The second was a tall, morose, and curvy women in a full-body black and dark purple battle suit.Bookmark here

Neena kamaazi sat in a large chair, fiddling with the controls and watching the screens.Bookmark here

“Well, thus far they appear to have not realized what happened to them. The doctor’s reports state that none of them have voiced any suspicion about their reports. They don’t seem to be aware of how close to death they all were.”Bookmark here

“Ma’am.” The tall, dark woman asked. “Do you happen to know if these three girls know each other?”Bookmark here

Neena didn’t turn her eyes from the luminescent blue screens. Bookmark here

“All our research confirms a resounding no on that one. They never met before they were caught in the attack. A child idol, an abused schoolgirl, and a university student with nothing to live for. They have nothing in common, yet they somehow managed to improbably cross paths at the most inopportune time. Or, rather, perhaps the most Opportune time?”Bookmark here

“That is still one hell of a coincidence!” The tall women whistled. Bookmark here

“Or divine intervention giving fate a hand.” Neena commented. “These are the new girls who will, if all goes well, be joining your frontline unit.” She hit a key and the girls GGO profiles, the versions of their selves brought into reality by the alpha shards, flashed onto the largest screen one-by-one.Bookmark here

“Battle-Nurse: Usagi-Chan. Rapture Sayaka. Super-Shot: Kimi.” The women stared at the screen. Neena turned her chair around to face the other two women.Bookmark here

“ Screech Musica, Revolving blade Asuka, I entrust these girls to you.” Sensing what was coming, the other two women stood alert.Bookmark here

“I, Neena Kamaazi, as the head of the frontline operations branch of the Japanese Defense Corps and one of the executive members of the JDC, now ask you to take a vow.”Bookmark here

The three women all placed their right fist over their hearts.Bookmark here

“Before God, I charge you with training, guiding, and protecting these new girls when the time comes for them to start their training as part of the Simbelyne Project. You two will serve as mentors and, until they are adequately trained and prepared for what they will be facing on the frontlines, you two will answer for any harm that befalls them and will be held accountable for any negligence on your part. But you are not to look down on these girls just because they are younger and less experienced. You two, your police partner, and these three girls shall all be a team. You shall love each other, have each other’s backs, and fight as a team. This isn’t to be a group led by one leader, you all are a single unit. This I charge you with. Do you accept the terms of this vow?”Bookmark here

“Yes, my lady!” “…yes…miss…”Bookmark here

“Do you accept the natural consequences of failure, both those that I have stated and those that may result?”Bookmark here

“Yes, I do!’ “Yes.”Bookmark here

“Are you willing to answer to God for any deliberate failures on your part? Are you willing to let him punish and reward you as he sees fit to keep you accountable? Will you keep him as the ultimate judge of your actions and of what’s right and wrong?”Bookmark here

“Yes!” “Yes.”Bookmark here

“Then pledge your agreement now.”Bookmark here

“We agree to the terms outlined by our boss, Neena Kamaaki. We agree to protect and train the new recruits Usagi, Sayaka, and Kimi. We will not mistreat them. We will work together with them to fight for the good of Japan. We accept the punishments that will come with our negligence and deliberate failures. In God’s name, we vow to live up to this task given to us.”Bookmark here

“Vow Accepted.”Bookmark here

“Vow made!”Bookmark here

“Vow Made.”Bookmark here

“Good. Thank you, my friends. I’m glad I can trust you.” Neena turned back to the monitors.Bookmark here

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!Bookmark here

The three women looked up at the monitor.Bookmark here

“What’s that, Neena-San?” Asuka asked. Bookmark here

“It’s an alert…what?” Neena jumped up suddenly and slammed her hands on the control panel. “How? How is this even happening now?”Bookmark here

“What? What’s wrong, Neena-Sama?” Musica moved towards her boss. Bookmark here

“It’s…an alert…for Mikkari Miswa’s Alpha Shard!” Neena clicked away. “Its…showing signs of activity! But…it hasn’t been inside her long enough! It should still be syncing with her body, but, somehow, it’s showing signs that it’s been totally meshed with her biological make-up!”Bookmark here

Her eyes widened. “And, based on the girl’s vital signs, her powers are going to activate soon!” Neena turned quickly on her heals and sprinted to the door.Bookmark here

“Asuka! Call for Mr. Akibarra and the escort team! Tell them to hurry!” The women barked ordered as she left.Bookmark here

“Musica! You know how to run the computers. Track Miswa-San’s movements and message me when you have a definitive lock on her location! Keep monitoring her Alpha profile and let me know if anything bizarre happens!”Bookmark here

“Wait, Neena-San!” Asuka called. “Where are you going!”Bookmark here

“I have to find Miswa-San! If she’s going to transform, someone needs to be there to grab her and explain what’s going on!”Bookmark here

· * *Bookmark here

Mikkari sulked dejectedly down the street. The convenience store hadn’t had any Gun Girls Online redeemable game cards. The clerk hadn’t know what she was talking about. It seemed like no one anywhere knew anything about GGO!Bookmark here

Mikkari was actually starting to be suspicious. How could a game that appeared to have such a large fanbase, based on how many players she had met in the game, not be in the system anywhere? It was utterly bizarre and made no sense whatsoever! Bookmark here

Even more puzzling was the fact that, when she went to pull up the website on her smart phone, the site address had registered as a nonexistent address! But she knew that it did exist because she played on it every day!Bookmark here

She was actually pretty creeped out by this whole weird situation with this game! A game that was there, but didn’t actually exist…was this like the Devil’s Girl or Magical Girls Online animes? Was there some creepy evil spirit lurking behind the screen, waiting to trick her into a dark deal and steal her soul? She shuttered.Bookmark here

She walked slowly, just enjoying the nice day. No one payed her any attention. She was just a pale, frail-looking girl with deep, dark shadows under her eyes, and her disheveled, long, black hair thrown into a low ponytail. She was wearing an oversized lime-green sweatshirt and black tank-top, ratty denim short-shorts, black thigh-high stockings, and beat-up white sneakers. Nothing special; a nobody just waltzing her way through life, going nowhere in particular. Well, she supposed that it could be worse. She was doing alright today, so she didn’t need to be clouding her mind with such bleak thoughts.Bookmark here

‘Still, though.” She thought to herself, staring up at the clear, blue sky as she walked. ‘What the hell am I doing with my life? Really? Is this how I plan on living for the rest of my life? No real job, no course of study in school, substandard apartment, no friends, no boyfriend, no pets, no dreams? Is this really how I want to live?’ She recalled her despair during the terrorist attack, her desire to live. What did it truly mean to live? Was it just not dying, or was it something else? What was it and how could she find it?Bookmark here

Mikkari shuffled along, hands in her pockets, stuck in her thoughts. Suddenly, loud screams shattered her peaceful afternoon.Bookmark here

Ahhhh! Someone, help me! My daughter!”Bookmark here

Mommmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyy!”Bookmark here

“Shut the fuck up, dumb bitch!”Bookmark here

Suddenly, driven by some unseen force, Mikkari broke into a run. With speed and agility that she had only seen on tv, she dogged and wove her way through the crowds.Bookmark here

‘What…what am I doing? Why am I running to the screams? What am I going to do? What does this have to do with me?’ But, some unseen force, some urge that she couldn’t understand drove her to keep running.Bookmark here

‘That’s weird.’ She thought as she zeroed in on the area where the screams where coming from. ‘Since when can I run like this? Normally I’d get out of breath and my legs would be screaming in agony.’Bookmark here

She skidded around a corner and found herself in a back alley. Three thug-looking men had surrounded a young mother and her daughter. The little girl couldn’t have been more than eight years old. One man was pinning the mother down and another man was holding her child by the back of her sailor uniform. Bookmark here

“W-what do you want? I-I-you can have my purse, my phone, everything…just leave my little girl alone! Please!”Bookmark here

“Shut up, bitch!” The third man screamed, kicking the woman in the stomach.Bookmark here

“Moooooooommmmmyyyyy! Don’t hurt my mommy!” The little girl flailed and kicked helplessly, unable to get free from the strong grip of her captor. Her face was red, and snot and tears ran down her face. Bookmark here

“You know what we want, lady?” The third man said with a sadistic look on his face as he leaned down to level his face with the woman’s.Bookmark here

“We want your pretty little girl here. She’s all we want. Pretty face, big baby-eyes. When she grows up, she’ll be a hot piece. We have a buyer who really wants to get his hands on a pretty Japanese girl so that he can… train her… for his …business…when she’s older”Bookmark here

‘Th-they’re human traffickers-sex trafficking!’ Mikkari thought in horror, quickly catching on. ‘They’re going to kill that woman so they can get her daughter and do…terrible things to that poor little girl!’Bookmark here

The man holding the mother yanked her upright by her arms, which were pinned behind her back. “Just go to hell already, dumb broad!” The sadistic man screamed in glee as he whipped a switchblade out from his pocket and ran at the woman. Before Mikkari could do anything, he struck rapidly, stabbing the mother in the abdomen and torso over a dozen times. Bookmark here

The woman’s eyes grew large as she screamed and coughed up blood. The man panted and laughed in delight.Bookmark here

“Wow, for a dumb bitch, you sure are tough!” He laughed an uncontrollable, unhinged laugh. “Let’s see how much more you can take! I’m going to turn you into a human pin cushion!”Bookmark here

Blood roared in Mikkari’s ears. Before she could even think about what she was doing, she screamed and charged towards the men.Bookmark here

“Leave them alone! If you want to hurt someone, hurt me!” She screeched like a banshee as she ran towards them.Bookmark here

It felt like something snapped, changing something within her forever. In that moment, the fate that could not be reverse was truly set into motion.Bookmark here

Before either her or the men could react, Mikkari heard a loud, audible click! In her mind’s eye, she could see a strange device in her chest, close to her heart. The thing from her dream!Bookmark here

The device hummed as it began rotating; slow at first, then faster and faster. Mikkari felt as if she was yanked out of her body. A bright, blue light radiated from her chest and part of her body turned mechanical. The metal parts were fastened with large bolts that looked more like studs than anything. The metal didn’t need to be held in place, because it was naturally part of Mikkari’s body. It was if she had turned into a partial machine! Her eyes turned icy blue and her hair rippled out until it was knee-length and platinum.Bookmark here

The next thing that she knew, Mikkari was in a wasn’t really hers. But it was still very framiliar. The platinum hair. The black shorts and blue and white mini-dress. The futuristic boots and gauntlets. The ponytail with a circular ribbon around it. What really sold it was the high tech, sci-fy-looking silver pistols strapped to her leg. Super-Shot: Kimi.Bookmark here

‘Why, why am I…” Why do I look like her? She’s…she’s not real! She’s just a character that I created!’ Mikkari thought in shock, unable to process what was happening. Bookmark here

“W-w-what the hell?” The man who had the little girl in a head-lock exclaimed in shock.Bookmark here

“Give me the little girl and get out of here, or so help me, I’ll slaughter you all with my bare hands!” Mikkari said in a cool, even voice. Bookmark here

“Shut the fuck up, bitch!” The man screamed, flinging the knife at her. Mikkari caught it as it was about to graze her face. Her left hand, now made of metal, didn’t bleed as she crushed the blade, handle and all, to dust in her hand. It took no effort whatsoever; it was like simply flexing her muscles.Bookmark here

“Anyone else want to try something stupid?” She asked in annoyed tone. Bookmark here

“Wha-what is she?” “The hell is that get-up?” “S-s-she’s not even human, man!” The men panicked. Bookmark here

‘I don’t know what this is. I don’t know what I’m doing right now but…I will definitely protect that little girl and save her mom!’ Mikkari vowed to herself.Bookmark here

“Y-y-you inhuman freak!” The man holding the girl roughly flung her aside, causing her to scream out. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small gun. “Go to hell!”Bookmark here

He began rapidly firing off shots at Mikkari. By some instinct, she shot forward, dodging the bullets with ease. Before the man knew that she was next to him, she had rushed by and snatched the gun out of his hand. “Looking for this?” She held it out, before crushing it like she had the knife. Bookmark here

“Y-y-you bitch!” He screamed, clearly sweating in fear. He reached into his other back pocket, but Mikkari didn’t bother waiting to see what he was doing. She pulled out her twin pistols and began rapidly firing off shots of blaring white light from the right pistol. The men all cried out and shielded themselves as the light shots sent out a large gust of wind. The man who had tried to fight Mikkari screamed and jerked around, as the multiple shots took large chunks out of his left arm, until the whole arm was gone up to the shoulder. Bookmark here

Mikkari stopped firing and the man screamed out in awful agony. The whole area had an unsettling smell of burnt meat to it. Eventually, the man blacked out in pain and shock, falling heavily to the ground. The other two men were enraged by this. The man who had thrown the knife ran towards her. When there were only inches between them, Mikkari fired off two normal bullets directly into each of his knees. As he went down, she swung her leg strait up in the air and then brought her heavy-booted foot down on his head. The man crumpled to the ground. Bookmark here

The last man, the one who had held the woman, trembled in fear and backed away. “P-p-p-please! I’m sorry! I’ll-I’ll turn myself in! Just please don’t kill me!” He blubbered. Bookmark here

Mikkari lifted her pistols and stared into his eyes. “How insulting! I’d…never take a life, no matter how scummy the person was!” She opened fire shooting him multiple times across his body before he slid to the ground. The bullets had probably been some of kimi’s most common ammo; bullets that caused extreme pain, but minor injuries and no lasting damage. Bookmark here

Alone with the scared little girl and the unconscious woman, Mikkari stared at what she had done. ‘W-what am I?” She asked herself, staring at her hands. Sighing, she went over to the little girl. Bookmark here

“Hey, little one, I’m going to pick you up and we’re going to find some help, okay?” She said, setting her hand on the child’s head. The wide-eyed, shocked girl nodded stiffly. “Okay, I got you.” She gently scooped the girl up in both of her arms and turned to exit the alley.Bookmark here

“Hello, Mikkari Miswa.” A tall, pretty woman with raspberry red hair was standing at the entrance to the alley, flanked by two individuals dressed head-to-toe in black riot gear. “Or should I say, Super Shot: Kimi?” Mikkari froze. How…how did this woman know who she was? Why did she seem to know what was going on right now?Bookmark here

“It seems that we have a lot to talk about.” The woman gave a small smile.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.