Chapter 9:

Project: Collide

Project: Overthrow

A continuous barrage of sounds reflecting the gruesome battle outside the facility filled Daiki and Masumi’s ears, catching their glances out of the window. Despite that, a small static-like buzz also arose, like a leering result of the now exposed trapdoor.

“Do you hear that?” Masumi turned to ask Daiki.

“No, it’s as silent as the night,” Daiki sarcastically says as the gun-fire and yells came from outside.

She punched his arm. “I’m talking about that buzzing sound, genius. What is that?”

Taking a moment to focus, a slight high-frequency noise also came to his senses. “Wait, I hear that, too…”

With an eerie weight burdening their shoulders, the pair took a synchronized deep breath to regain themselves from the fight they just got past, and they gave each other an affirmative nod to advance under the floor.

Landing to the surface below, tiny splashes of old water dripping from rusted pipes accompanied the buzzing. Carefully, Masumi, and Daiki proceeded through the room.

Just feet away, a man, hidden under the dark, placed a finger over his buzzing earpiece to hang up the disconnected call from his defeated head defender. Taking a step behind the trap door, he leaped in as well, starting a pursuit of his two invaders.

- -

“What do you want?” Kurai, pressed for no particular reason, answers an incoming call from Bingus while still standing guard in front of the generators.

[Aye, have you heard those two yet? It’s been a hot minute.]

“Nope, nothing yet, but I’ll give em’ a call and add you to the line.” Kurai dialed Masumi. After a moment, Bingus and him heard the line connect.

“...What’s up?” she answered.

[Phew! Masumi, sometimes I wonder if you know how to do a thing called ‘communicate’ We’re runnin’ out of time, so you and your boyfriend need to hurry! It’s lookin’ like the invading forces are retreating, so more threats might flood the facility on your ends,'] Bingus warned.

[Shoot! We’re cutting through a secret passage, and the databases indicated that the system should be located near… we’re getting close. I’ll update you if something goes wrong,] Masumi responded.

[Roger.] Bingus then hung up from the line.

Kurai did the same, impatiently tapping his foot to the ground while he stood in a position he found rather underwhelming and a waste of his potential: guard duty.

“Hm?” he responded in a peculiarly calm manner for a pistol only meters away from him. A guard stood stationed behind a corner, aiming his weapon which shook from fear and reluctance to shoot.


A red and pink splatter against the wall replaced the guard’s head, and his body limped to the ground before landing with a lifeless thud.

“Oops, headshot.” Kurai reacted little to his violent actions, blowing the fog of gunpowder away from his pistol's muzzle.

- -

“This place gives me the shivers…” Masumi scooted closer to Daiki’s side, taking comfort in his presence even though she was more capable of defending herself. She basked in his natural body heat, since the area was chilly.

“We’re getting close. I can feel it.”

The narrow hall was pitch black, with not a single light to illuminate the trail. Only the vibrations of fans, dripping of pipes, and humming of machinery filled their senses. The pair approached a shut door, and Daiki, now familiar with breaching Haven’s security, bypassed the controls and opened it.

“This is it.” Daiki furrowed his brows to the possibilities that lay ahead.

Nera could be here.

“Is the type-z flash drive ready?” Masumi asked.

“Of course it is. Who do you take me for?” Daiki forced a smile, though his nerves got the best of him.

He stepped in first, and Masumi followed closely, pinching her fingers on the sleeve over his wrist from uneasiness. Rows of capsules lined up against the walls of the grim lab, containing people of all types. Their bodies were like preserved corpses, with the little ounces of life that remained in them hanging by a thread at the mercy of the life-support. Cryo-freeze capsule - the same ones that Daiki had found himself awoken from thirty-five years later.

Slowly progressing past each capsule, Masumi and Daiki struggled to not examine the subjects held within. They all appeared to be outlanders, with women and children among them as well. Masumi felt her stomach wrench. Meanwhile, Daiki came to a complete halt in front of a particular capsule, where a small outlander boy with red hair stood within.

Daiki widened his eyes, noticing the facial features that were similar to someone he’d met. Someone stole a dear person from them as a result of Haven’s antics, just like himself.

It’s Aiza’s son, no doubt…”

“Hey… Daiki?” Masumi stood on her tip-toes to peer over Daiki’s shoulders, where she examined his stern, goal-driven expression. “I know you might need a minute, but we don’t have one, so snap out of it.”

“M-my bad, I know.” He shook away his thoughts, continuing down the twenty or so capsules. Each one had a large tube extruding out of it, and like a red carpet, they pointed and connected down to a single focal point; a large, electronically dense machine. It was a hunk of components with no resemblance to anything, yet despite this, Daiki and Masumi immediately identified it for what it was: a stationary AI.

“The shareholder of this facility has been operating this project under the noses of Haven… absolutely cruel,” Masumi explained while Daiki started to pull the drive from his pockets.

At that moment, Masumi lungged at Daiki, dropping both him and herself to the floor. A pair of digital boomerangs fly past them, barely missing them and crashing against the wall. They shattered like glass, and seemingly disappeared into thin air.

“Ugh…” Daiki and Masumi lifted themselves and faced the source of the projectile, where there was a shadow of a man.

“Those were just a few ‘toys’ I thought I’d test on a few pesky rats,” the man spoke, slowly stepping toward them.

The pair stood, taking a jump back into the cornered room and standing a defensive stance.

“Speaking of the shareholder…” Masumi's words shuttered under her breath.

The built man wore a suit, taking small steps while the surrounding lights reflected over his baldened head. In her ear piece, Masumi noticed a faint signal reconnecting from Bingus.

[Aye, Is everything okay?] Bingus asked.

“Have an accomplice now, Masumi?” the shareholder spoke.

“Wh- How do you know…my name?”

He reached for his own ear piece, intercepting Masumi’s signal to his own. With Bingus on his line, he threatened, “Your friends are going to die. After I crush them to a puddle, I’ll trace this line and personally execute you myself. Think of it as a gift from me.”

[No, no, no… fuck! That’s gotta be the shareholder.]

Clutter falling and shifting rang out from Bingus’s audio.

[Hang in there!] He hung up the line, frantically.

The shareholder took a confident stride forward, slowly walking past the lanes of cryo-freeze capsules.

Daiki and Masumi embraced themselves, getting ready to attack.

“So eager to die already?” The shareholder laughed, signaling for them to let their guards down. “Don’t worry, your time will end soon. You came all the way here to visit me, no? It would be a damn waste for you to die without answers.”

Regardless of his attempt to initiate talk with them, Daiki and Masumi held their positions.

“What do you think of the spectacle?” He flung his arms out, as if to embrace all of his twisted achievements, laughing out of pride once more. “You’re witnessing groundbreaking history in the making! Results from years and years of work from my lab, and we’re inching closer to creating what even corporations can’t, an-”

“An artificial intelligence with unsurpassable capabilities,” Daiki cut the Shareholders speech short. “By gathering these subjects’ brain patterns, you effectively convert them into an algorithmic form for the computer to comprehend. Your hope is that by beating Haven’s main research branch in this race for the perfect AI, you can gain the positive effects of the discovery. Fame, money - the power you pigs shit over, all over the body’s of innocent, helpless people.” Daiki tightened his fists.

Taken aback, the Shareholder narrowed his eyebrows. “It’s no wonder you slipped under my grip, boy. It seems that we’ve all underestimated you. I know I won’t be doing that again.”

Even so, Daiki kept his face forward, only moving his eyes to follow the man who encompassed him.

“Care to tell me how you’d happen to know this? Did you ever work for Haven, or plot against them?”

“Tsk!- I’d rather bring it to my grave than please the filth of a human like you,” he snarked back.

The Shareholder lifted his face away, continuing a slow walk. “And that’s what’ll happen.”

“Where did you get these people?” Daiki changed the course of the conversation.

“Now when did I say you could ask questions?” The Shareholder shifted his focus, glaring at him with his first display of aggression. “I’m the boss here. I make the calls. I have the power. ”

“The power only a self-doubting bastard would bow to.” Daiki gritted his teeth. “Scum like you sicken me to my core. If there were an ideal world, it would be one without you.”

No longer enjoying his verbal abuse, the shareholder lost his remaining composure, fury welling up inside him. His head and jaw jittered from indignation, until he exploded. “I'LL MAKE YOU SUBMIT TO MY FISTS!” He drew his fist back, aiming straight toward Daiki’s unguarded face.

“Daiki!” Masumi broke her silence by manifesting a blade onto her forearm, swiftly rotating her body and attempting to stab through the Shareholder's side.



For what should have been her blade smoothly penetrating his hip, a transparent force-field shield with a slight blue hue stopped her attacks. The shareholder halted his punch before contact, surprised by her confident reaction and usage of nano-tech.

With little time to comprehend her opponent's defense, Masumi yelled, “G-go insert the drive! Hurry!”

“Masumi, it’s too dangerous! Fall back, now!”

“It’s our only chance! AGH!” Masumi’s body repelled back from the negative forces of the shield, slamming against the wall. A stream of electricity surged through her body from the metal bits making contact with the shield. Before she could react, the Shareholder scooped Masumi by the waist and flung her upwards into the air, lifting his leg and hammer kicking her back to the ground.

“AH!-” Masumi’s body bounced off the solid floor from the devastating impact, sucking the breath from her lungs and leaving her gasping for air. Her body dragged against the ground, hitting the shut doors.

Daiki reached the AI, plugging the drive into the reader and infecting it with the virus. He flung his head back after hearing the sounds of her cries. “MASUMI!” He left the drive unguarded, running toward his comrade.

“Ughh…” Masumi barely managed to come to her senses, lifting her heavy eyelids. Though her vision felt like a fog, she witnessed Daiki lunging at the Shareholder, who activated his shield and shocked Daiki.

“AGHH!.. AH!” The electricity surged through Daiki’s body, causing him to fall to his knees.

Masumi regained her consciousness, however, where she quickly wrapped her fists with the nano-bits and fired a wire towards the Shareholder who decided to make advancements towards Daiki. Since he was preoccupied, the anchor managed to hit his back. The sharp tip which should penetrate bare skin, however, simply bounced off his body, as if it had hit a solid wall.

“What…?” Masumi rose to her feet, limping. Small cuts on her skin bled, and the shareholder pacing, an ominous grin widening on his tough face. Strangely, he deactivated his forcefield shield, though Masumi took the potential opening with reluctance.

The Shareholder chuckled. “Why don’t you try to land a hit on me? That stolen nano-technology should be effective against a defenseless man, right?”

Regardless of the taunting, Masumi manifested the fluid metal to her legs, dashing at the man who stood idol, arms at his sides. She leapt into the air, spinning to gain traction and the nano-bits transferred to her shoulders, where she created twin blades extending from her forearm.


Upon impact, only the suit blazer he wore was torn to shreds, his skin underneath creating sparks like the blade had grazed against a steel plate. Masumi skidded across the floor to absorb the momentum of her attack, where she widened her eyes from the ringing of metal-to-metal she felt radiate through the nano-bits.

Masumi knew she had to continue attacking. Wasting no moment, she spread the viscous metal to her leg and arm, constructing multiple razor sharp edges across her armored limbs. She thrusted off her feet then skidded underneath the Shareholder's legs, doing a series of tight spins with her sharp limbs in an attempt to cut his legs to identify a weak point. The results were the same, with the nano-bits leaving nothing but a rip in his clothing and a ring of metal colliding. In quick reaction, she wrapped her leg around his torso, diving over his shoulders like a spider webbing its enemy, where she retracted the nano-bits from her leg and created dual stabbing knives off her fist. She thrusted them into his shoulder blades.


Not only did the knives not penetrate, but they snapped off her fists, leaving the micro specs of metal dusted in the air before they magnetized back into her holster. Defeated, Masumi jumped off his back, doing a backflip in the air before landing on her feet and taking a defensive stance. Her deep breaths struggled to provide her with enough oxygen, and fatigue weighed her down.

“HA-HA-HA! What’s the matter? Can’t land a hit on me? How does it feel to be inferior? Savor that feeling, because it is the last one you will experience. I’ve evolved beyond a human. I am the perfect specimen!” He grabbed the rips in his blazer with his fingers, spreading his arms wide and tearing off the clothing from his upper body. His built physique was already apparent through his clothing, but exposed in their full glory, his muscles were immense.

After flaunting his pride, the shareholder took small steps towards Masumi, his biceps and pecs bulging from a pump. “My old body was feeble, limited—even steroids couldn't help me to achieve my desire for strength …I wanted more power! So, I modified my body to my destined potential—I evolved myself, using nano-technolgy transfusion into my heart. The supply of strengthening proteins in my cardiovascular system solidified my muscles and nerves, creating a body of impenetrable steel.”

“That’s…impossible…nano-technology modifying the limits of human possibilities…”

Daiki recovered, the conversation a blur where certain words exchanged from Masumi and the Shareholder struck him.

Nano-technology…modifying the limits of humans…

Daiki forced himself to regain energy upon witnessing those solitary words used in the same sentence, something he wished to never hear of again. An imminent sense of danger rose in him, and he feared the worst.

“No…but that would mean that within those thirty-five years, they’ve developed other advanced sentients like myself… Could it be?”

“Haven conducted this trial on hundreds of others, but their bodies crumbled under the weight of the transfusion, instantly killing them. They lacked potential - no, they lacked a desire for strength. In the end, I was the only success. I was the perfect entity,” the Shareholder flaunted his narcissism.

Masumi’s palms sweated from terror, both at the unsightly man she saw as a monster, and the gruesome tests that Haven conducted. She wanted to run as far from the situation as possible. She wanted to escape - anywhere except here, but she glanced at Daiki, who struggled to even stand at his feet. She had to complete her mission, and she had to protect Daiki.

Disabondening her dread, Masumi clenched her teeth in preparation, crossing her arms then lashing them to the side of her body. The nano-bits glew a bright purple, compactedly charging while trickling up near her neck. They reached the base of her skull, with plates of metal stacked over her head until she was equipped with a solid helmet with a purple visor in the front. A small portion of the nano-bits transferred to her feet, where only her head and ankles were protected. With the limited amount of bits, she prioritized the parts of her body needed for the strike.


Masumi jumped in the air, thrusting her legs straight out against the wall, which launched her body at a staggering acceleration. A massive creator was left in the wall in place of the impact, and Masumi traversed head-first, slamming her head against the Shareholder’s.

Never expecting such a presumptuous attack, the Shareholder stumbled back from the heavy force that collided against him. Masumi took this moment to draw her nano-bits back into her arms, creating a variety of sharp objects on her fists and forearms in a desperate attempt to penetrate his skin. Each attack resulted in her nano-bits snapping, and aggravated from the semi-successful hit Masumi landed on his head, the Shareholder grabbed Masumi like a twig and kneed her in the stomach, then grabbed her by her legs and threw her across the room.

“UGHH!-” Masumi cried in pain after colliding against a table which snapped in half. A stabbing pain radiated from her shoulder, and heavy puddles of blood dripped and form around her body from bruises and cuts.

“I would end you here, but I think watching your friend die would be a better punishment!” The Shareholder stomped on Masumi’s nano-bit holster, automatically causing her armor to retract. He picked her up by her arms and flung her into an open capsule. “You’re weak,” he whispered to her before shutting the capsule door.

“Daiki!” Masumi banged her fists against the inside of the capsule, trying to break free. “No!... I failed to protect you, just like all of them. I’m sorry…I’m so sorry.”

The shareholder approached Daiki.

All emotion was absent from Daiki’s face. Not a single cry, scream, or bellow left his mouth, as none would do justice to the extent of outrage he felt. Simply staring at Masumi in the cryo-freeze capsule, regardless of whether she was asleep or not, brought back the abhorrent memories that haunted him of his sister, Nera, and the suffering she withstood and still continues to.

The Shareholder touched his ear piece, accepting an incoming call his way. “It better be important,” he answers.


“What?! How is that possible?!”


“Did the blackout cause a breach to the security as well?”


“Since that traitorous company is fleeing, command all the defenders to transfer the subjects to a safe location. Do it now!” He hung up, glancing at his advanced AI in development, where he noticed a drive inserted.

“You did this…” The Shareholder stomped toward Daiki, casting a shadow of his monstrous physique onto him. “What good is the disruption gonna do when you’re dead?”

Wide eyed, Daiki continued to stare at the capsule.

“What’s with the look, boy? HA-HA-HA!” the Shareholder treated Daiki as a laughing stock. “If she’s weak, then you’re expendable. Worthless.”

The Shareholder slammed his heel into Daiki, causing him to propel off of his knees, colliding into a corner of lab components. Piles of parts flew into the air from the sudden contact, and Daiki slugged from pain, unable to move. The Shareholder grasped Daiki by the back of shirt, clasping his free hand onto Daiki’s head. Over and over, he plunged Daiki’s head face down onto a table.


With every pull the Shareholder reeled onto Daiki’s hair with, a stream of blood followed. Steadily, Daiki impaired, as his consciousness slipped away from him.

“Will it end here? I couldn't save.. Nera… and now, I can’t save Masumi…?”

His life flashed before him.

“Fuck that.”

An anomaly triggered within his veins, however. The pain dissolved, and his mind mobilized. He felt clarity; full control over his cognitive abilities, like nothing that had ever dawned over him in his life.

“What the hell is this?” The Shareholder bewilderedly noticed Daiki’s eyes flickering a glowing blue. Shortly, a surge of rapid electricity charged through Daiki, starting from his head and traversing down to his toes, like the cells in his body created an energetic charge.

The Shareholder nudged Daiki’s head out of his grasp from uncertainty, taking a wide step back before the lights in the room unstably flickered on and off. Heavily confused, the Shareholder flung his head in all directions before noticing that for the first time since his transformation, he felt reluctance in an opponent.

“So, you’re messing with MY power? Just how stupid are you?!” The Shareholder shook off his twisted gut feeling. “If you think that’s going to help, then you real-” H suddenly cut his sentence, a recognizable droid gun-fire and tormenting screams of defenders crying throughout the facility.

A call came his way, where he eagerly tapped his earpiece.

[BOSS! T-the droids have turned and opened fire on us! T-t-they’ve caused a brutal massacre! We need new orders!.... Oh, dear God…GAHHH-] The call cut with a wretched scream, leaving a buzzing static.

The lights shut down, with the small spazzes of energy and glowing blue eyes of Daiki breaking the pitch black scene.

“You did this...Daiki?” Masumi felt as if she was witnessing a demon take control of her comrade, as Daiki unsettlingly limped toward the Shareholder with his deep blood-stained face.

“What the fuck are you?!” the Shareholder yelled, no longer able to indulge in his superior tough act. His breathing accelerated, the nightmare in front of him making him grit his teeth.

The bellows of the massacre persisted, loud bangs and violent gun-fires increasing by the second. Realizing that he could rely on none other than himself, the Shareholder took his final attack and swung his fist toward Daiki.


With a swift evasion, the attack neglected to even graze Daiki’s blood-soaked hair, and the Shareholder’s torso was left fully open from the miss. He widened his eyes and felt his throat parch, in anticipation of a counter attack that Daiki might send back.


Daiki laid his palm in the middle of the Shareholder’s exposed chest—with no brute force or any effects along with it. Yet, even someone as imprudent as the Shareholder could sense a disturbance in the air.

“Obliterate,” the cold word left Daiki’s curled lips.

“...erh…argh!” the Shareholder felt his muscles begin to cramp and shift.

 “...GHRAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” He shrieked, twisting and yanking his body, which seemed to magnetize to Daiki’s palm.

His muscles were violently bulging and morphing abnormally, until his skin tore

with tiny metal fragments leaking. They penetrated like needles out of every corner of his body, from the top of his head to his toes.

“PLEASE! PLEASE STOP!” he begged, a contrast to his egotistical behavior.

It did little, as the open wounds in his body began to expand as more metal fragments began to disperse into the air. Blood misted from each wound, which turned into streams that puddled to the ground.


Masumi watched in pure horror within the capsule, covering her dropped mouth with her hands. “He’s… shredding the Shareholder’s insides by controlling his own transfused nano-tech…” Her voice shook, observing the gruesome sight. “Daiki…DAIKI, STOP!”

“No misery will suffice for what you’ve done to the innocent. No power will save you from your death!” Daiki responded to the Shareholder’s pleas, too consumed in his anger to hear Masumi’s cry.

“Rrrrrrrrghhh! RRRGHHHH-”


The cries of agony went silent, a bloody, red drizzle painting the room in every crevasse. The Shareholder’s deflated corpse mangled to the ground, but Daiki’s anguish refused to subside. He let out a pained bellow, his glowing eyes and electric aura growing brighter, which caused the facility power to shut on and off once more.

“No…stop…You can’t let your suffering control you, or else we’d be no better than the enemy!” she cried out, yet her words did little to his lost mind. Then she remembered a name—one that she had heard Daiki repeat on numerous desperate occasions.
“Otherwise… otherwise, HOW WILL YOU SAVE NERA?!”

Daiki’s attention averted to the source of the name which had given him purpose, the sole thread between his suffering and composure. Instead, he saw a face soaked with tears. A face of desperation.


He collapsed to his knees, releasing his control over the facility. His eyes flickered back to normal, and the power returned to a stable condition. Daiki snapped back to reality, where a terrible stabbing sensation radiated through his head. His vision twirled in front of him, but this prevented him little from absorbing the murderous scene in front of his eyes.

He jittered, lifting his hands in front of his foggy vision, where to his worst expectation, blood and metal fragments stained his fingers “I…did this?” Daiki widened his eyes, hyperventilating while holding back his reflex to vomit.


“Ma…su…mi,” he managed to let out, collapsing to his chest like a lifeless body.