Chapter 5:

Ch.5: The Simbelyne Project

Gun Girls Online

                        Mikkari glanced around the room, staring at the wall of monitor screens and the large window that took the place of an entire wall. She was sitting at a large conference table facing the window.

                        She didn’t know that, just a few weeks earlier, the red-haired woman had sat at this table planning out her fate.

                         She zipped and unzipped her hoodie and stared at her scuffed sneakers. She had somehow just…deactivated her transformation. All of a sudden, like soft, digital scales, Super-Shot: Kimi had dissolved away and Mikkari Miswa was left standing there in her place.

                      She had been ushered from the alley into a shiny, black car by the pretty lady and her guards. She was shocked when they had pulled into the massive headquarters of the Japanese Defense Corps.

                            Transforming into a fictional character, superpowers, saving a little girl from human traffickers, the JDC…what in the world was going on here? Was she in trouble because of whatever had happened to her? She had no clue why the JDC would be involved. She was just a boring, sub-par college student. Did this have something to do with the terrorist attack?

                        She placed her hand over her heart, thinking of the strange device that she had seen when she transformed. It hadn’t registered at the time because of how chaotic the situation had been, but she had seen a device with rings around it that rotated rapidly. She had  only seen it briefly; it was as if her chest had suddenly gone semi-transparent, allowing her to see it. But, now that she could process it, she knew that it was the exact same device from her recurring dream!

                 Had something happened to her while she was unconscious after the terrorist attack? That was the only explanation, as nothing else out of the ordinary had happened.

                    “What…am I…?” She thought as she recalled her body morphing into something  distinctly cyborg-like.

                      Suddenly, the door to the room swung open.

                                “Sorry about that!” The red-haired woman smiled mildly as she approached Mikkari with two to-go-cups of coffee. “It’s from the Sea Star café. They have really good mint mochas. I hope that you like it. This may take a while, so I thought we could use some caffeine."

                      “T-thank you.” Mikkari said hesitantly, accepting the drink.

                   “So.” The woman said after she had settled down in her chair. She crossed her left leg over her right at the knee and leaned her head on her left hand.

                   “I suppose that you have lots of questions, correct?”

                 “Yes, Ma’am.” Mikkari replied, wondering briefly if she really wanted to know the answers.

                    “Well, I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.” The woman breathed heavily. “We are currently sitting in the headquarters of the Hiken City branch of the Japanese Defense Corps, or the JDC for short. This building is also the headquarters for the entire JDC. All the other branches are situation in other major Japanese cities and they all report to the command center here. This is the main hub, the mission control, so to speak. But the branches are all, for the most part, independent, even though there are frequent meetings and a continuous information exchange. We house the central hub for the JDC but are also the Hiken City branch of the JDC and operate within the same building.” The woman explained.

                   Mikkari nodded. That made sense. The building was an extremely large building made of dark, reflective glass and other materials that didn’t allow you to see inside from the streets. It was very professional and modern looking, and there was a lot of security once you entered in past the main security wall. It looked like an official building. It had seemed familiar to Mikkari and now she knew why. 

                     A gigantic replica of their crest with the JDC logo was printed on the opposite side of the building and was very visible. Everyone in the city knew about the JDC. They were the most recognizable organization in the nation. Obviously, 98% of the information on the organization’s operations never reached the masses, but everyone knew that they were there to protect them. Like the CIA and FBI in Northern America. They were a major domestic, international, and military power. They had tight ties with the Japanese police force. In fact, in Hiken City and the whole province, the police were basically just the bottom rungs of the JDC. The Police chief was considered a lower commander in the JDC and the organization truly did run the police operations. The chief of the all providence police forces was under the supervision of the JDC and subject to investigation and punishment for any misconduct or discrepancies in the operations of the City police forces and the provinces criminal justice operations as a whole. It wasn’t like they were a top-secret shadow organization or secret police force or anything.

                    “My name is Neena Shimura.” The woman introduced herself. “I’m the sub-head of the JDC but, for the last seven years, I’ve been the acting head of the JDC. I run everything, but the title hasn’t been officially handed over to me yet. The actual head…well, they were put out of commission some years ago.” She coughed. “The true head isn’t in a position where they are considered legally or medically able to make a sound decision one way or another as to their successor, so we are in a bit of a tight spot. We all keep praying that the head will get better and be able to return to the position. But, well, that is how it is for us now, so we just do our best with what we have.”

                   “Hello, Miss Shimura.” Mikkari bowed her head and did as best of a polite bow as she could while seated in a chair. “Pleased to officially meet you. I'm-"

                 “Mikkari Miswa?” The women smiled. “I know. In fact, I probably know more about you than you do. I’ll open the floor for you to ask questions now.”

                  “Miss Shimura, what was ...that? What happened to me back there? How do you know who I am? How could you tell who I was when I…transformed?” Mikkari suddenly realized something.

              “Wait! No! Never mind, forget all that! That little girl and her mother-are they okay? Is the mother still alive? Will she recover?” She was suddenly gripped with fear and guilt.

           Why hadn’t she done more for the mother? Why hadn’t she tried to save her? ‘She-she was stabbed so many times!’ Mikkari thought, remembering the blood spattering across the alley and the look on the woman’s face. ‘I should have cared more about her than her or those men because she was so critical!’

               Neena smiled slightly. “Don’t worry yourself. She’s being treated with the best technology available through our associated medical teams. We got there just in time, but you don’t need to be worried. This sort of injury ceased to be such a threat a few decades ago, provided that you have enough money and access to resources. Neither of those things are an issue for the JDC.” She dismissed with a wave of her hand. “And those vulgar men have been arrested. They’re part of a human trafficking ring and are being interrogated as we speak to figure out more about their operation.”

                    “Oh, good!” Mikkari breathed a sigh of relief. “I-I was worried that she had died because of me! She…it was so awful!” She twisted her hands together until her wrists hurt. “That was…”

                  She stopped. She wasn’t naive. She knew that things like that, human trafficking, did happen, but to actually encounter it in person, in her own city…!

                 “Are you okay if we keep going?” Neena asked gently. “I don’t mean to worry you, but we have a lot to talk about.” “Y-yes. I’m alright.” Mikkari composed herself as best she could.

             “Well, I suppose I should start with what happened when you transformed.” Neena began.

              “What you saw was part of the Simbelyne project. About ten years ago, we started researching into ways to bring out a person’s hidden potential and weaponize it to create super-soldiers. Our goal was to enhance the subject with technological powers that enabled them to fight in situations that would be hard for most police officers or special operatives. We envisioned using them to enhance the general police force and augment national security to minimize damage and loss of life in major criminal disasters. We decided that the best option was to create a small device to act as a chip and a transformer that would allow the subject to control their powers. We also envisioned created a sort of extreme ‘shell’, similar to the super-suits in American superhero comics.” Neena pulled out a brown file folder and removed a photograph.

            Mikkari looked down at it. “N-no way! This is…!” Mikkari stuttered in disbelief, holding the picture up for a closer look. A revolving device sat in the palm of some unknown person. It was the device that she had seen when she had transformed; the strange device in her dream! It wasn’t just stress or an illusion! Here was the proof that it was a physical object!

               Mikkari placed a hand over her heart once again, envisioning the device turning within her chest with each beat. “That…thing. Is it…? Where is that?” She whispered hoarsely in fear.

             “This device was implanted in your chest exactly three weeks ago.” Neena answered evenly.

             “Three weeks? You don’t mean…” Mikkari’s mind raced in a panic. “The terrorist attack. T-the doctors told me that I needed extensive surgery because of brain damage. That my leg and chest wounds were just flesh wounds!” She insisted, almost pleading for Neena to agree.

              ‘This can’t be happening! Experimental surgery? Super humans? Super powers? I-I don’t want any of this! I just want to be a normal human! Would I still be considered a human if they messed with the structure of my cells?’ Mikkari’s eyes widened and dilated in fear. ‘This can’t be happening! This can’t be happening! God, why? Why me? Why…why are you torturing me like this again?’

               “I’m sorry, Miss. Miswa.” Neena said with a tone of sympathy. “But you were implanted with the device while you were unconscious in the hospital following the terrorist attack.”

            Tears began threatening to overflow from Mikkari’s eyes. “You…you altered my body…took away my humanity…without telling me? Why?” She trembled and dug her nails into her legs. “Why would you do that to me?” she screamed in agony.

           ‘Why…?’ She thought, imagining rose petals wilting and falling into black water. ‘I see…now…I’m never going to know peace…or happiness…am I?’ She felt as though the black water that swallowed the roses was filling her throat and drowning her.

Neena stiffly turned her chair so that she wasn’t facing Mikkari. ‘I’m…I’m not even human anymore, am I? She won’t even look at me. But…I suppose this isn’t new to me.’ Mikkari thought sadly, remembering the leering nuns turning their backs on her as a child, leaving her standing alone in a cold, dark room with no one who cared.

             “I’m sorry, Miss. Miswa, but we had no choice, you see. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.” 

              “What…what do you mean?” Mikkari asked, a hallow and defeated feeling settling into her chest.

            “We…we wanted to make you a soldier for our secret project. You were a candidate from the start. And, in the interest of total honesty, we did have you under surveillance to try and get a feel for your character and if you would be a worthy soldier. But, let me make this clear…” she paused. “We never planned to force you into it. Never. I was going to bring you in and talk to you and let you choose but…well…things changed. Please, forgive me, but I had no choice but to give the order for you to be implanted.”

              “What do you mean, forced?” Mikkari asked, confused. Neena took a deep breath.

                 “You had third degree burns. Your heart was pierced and needed surgery. You nearly bleed out at least three times during surgery. If the rebar had went through your heart just the width of a hair more to the right, you would have died at ground zero and never woke up.”

                   Mikkari was stunned. The doctors…they had all told her that she had needed surgery, but no one had told her that she had nearly died! No one had told her how critical her condition had been! She’d been lied to. “But… I was fine otherwise, right?” she asked.

                 Composing herself, Neena turned back to face her. “I’m so sorry, Miss. Miswa, but your spinal cord was hit by shrapnel. You were going to be paralyzed from the waist down.”

                  “W-what?” Mikkari managed to get out. She felt like she had been punched in the stomach. “You mean, when I thought my legs couldn’t work after I woke up…?” 

                  “Yes. That was real.” Neena stated bluntly. “You were going to be wheelchair-bound for the rest of your life. I know that I didn’t give you a choice, but I wasn’t expecting all of you to end up in the hospital like that. I just didn’t want you to lose the use of your legs.”

                 “You said ‘all of you’. Then…am I not the only one who was…implanted?” Mikari asked.

              “There were two other girls." Neena confirmed. "A little girl and a high school student. They had been selected for the project and they were caught in the same terrorist attack as you. That was the strangest act of fate ever, because we never planned for this to happen. The younger one actually died as her shard was implanted. The only reason that she was able to be resuscitated was because of the enhancing effects of the shards. The older girl was clinically brain dead. The only way that I knew to save your three was to implant you without your consent. I’m so sorry, but I felt like I had no other choice.”

                 “There…there’s others like me?” Mikkari asked.

                “Yes. There are five of you. You and the two other girls, and then there are two other young women. One was the initial test subject for the project, and the other was the first official soldier created under the solidified Simbelyne project. If you chose to work with us, you will be partnered with them, the two other girls from the bombing, and a police handler.”

                “Work… for you?” Mikari asked in confusion.

                “If you accept, of course. We still have so much to go over so, please, don’t make a decision yet, alright? Just hear me out, please.”