Lucy awakened within a metal tank; it was full of some sort of liquid, though she couldn't tell what it was. The sense of touch still hadn't returned to her body, and she still couldn't move. Her eyes and ears still worked just fine, however, and she could hear the ramblings of some people outside.
"Release lockdown on the exterior soft tissue before taking the respiratory system out of stasis, we can't have tamer 7 drowning." A feminine yet commanding voice called out. Lucy attributed the voice to a woman wearing a green camo lab coat with blond hair watching her through the tank's glass opening.
"Soft tissue has been restored. Draining the tank now." A man with black hair and a beard was standing at a strange table that Lucy recognized. The liquid surrounding Lucy slowly sunk down into a drain below, though she still couldn't see where. Her muscles still wouldn't budge.
"Restore muscles and internal organs and open the tank." The woman said. Lucy's body was briefly wracked with pain as her motor functions returned. Lucy fell to the ground. The woman stepped closer to the tank and extended her hand toward Lucy once the door was opened. "Welcome back, tamer 7."
"Who?" Lucy was still in a daze.
"Let me see here." The woman flipped through the pages on a clipboard she held in her hands. "Your name is Lucy Turner, correct?"
"Yeah." Lucy replied. "What happened? Where am I?"
"You're bound to have a lot of questions, I know that. Is it possible you can hold off on them for now?"
"I guess?" Lucy said. Her vision was still in a blur. She swore she recognized the woman from somewhere, but the answer alluded her.
"Thank you. My name is Dr. Kennedy, but you can call me Hannah if you like."
[ KAIJU//HACKER Interlude: Dark | Part 1/3: Forgotten//Memory ]
"I figured you'd want these back so I made sure to keep them out of the suspension tank." Hannah gestured to a collection of items on a plain white desk, Lucy's phone and headphones were among them. Sitting next to them was a pile of sterile white clothing. "In addition, your outfit will need to dry, so I had a new set of clothes brought in for you."
"Whoever picked these out has no style." Lucy walked over to the clothing and picked up a tee-shirt. "Why are they all white?"
"It's what we have for emergencies, there wasn't anything else we could get our hands on with the city under the lockdown function."
"It'll do for now, I guess."
Lucy was led down a hallway to the restrooms so she could change. The clothes were all loosely fitting, but they functioned well enough. Lucy checked her phone, it was 10:30 in the morning. Where had the time gone? The date was July 6th, a full day since the last kaiju attack.
Lucy left the room, only to be greeted by Hannah once again. "You asked what happened, right?" She asked.
"Yeah, I think so" Lucy replied, "though I'm more interested in why I'm here now."
"The 5th kaiju attacked New York City yesterday. In response, DEED used the 2nd DCP's lockdown function on the entire city, freezing it in place. That gave the military all the time it needed to take it down." Hannah explained. "Gabriel is now being held accountable for using lockdown on the entire city, though, the general theory is that he'll be executed."
"HE'LL BE WHAT?!"
"Gabriel went against direct orders from his superior officer" Hannah added, "I'm surprised that they haven't done this sooner."
"I guess I don't really care." Lucy said. "Gabriel has only ever caused trouble for me so far."
Hannah clenched her jaw for a moment before speaking. "I suppose that's true."
"Is something wrong?"
"No, it's nothing." Hannah said while putting her hand behind her head. "Dr. Miller wants to see you when you're ready."
"Wait..." Lucy paused. "Miller? As in, Kaden Miller?"
"I don't know who you're talking about-"
"Is this Dr. Miller related to Kaden? Is he Kaden's dad?"
"I don't know." Hannah said. "He has a son about your age I think."
"No way..." Lucy was shocked. "It really is a small world out there isn't it."
Hannah brought Lucy back to the room where she had awoken. Inside was a man wearing a white lab coat and glasses. Now that Lucy was paying attention, he did bear a slight resemblance to Kaden. There was no doubt in Lucy's mind, this was Kaden's father.
"Right then, Miss Tamer 7, are you aware why we kept you here in stasis rather than leaving you on the surface?" The man asked.
"No" Lucy answered, "but would you happen to be Kaden's dad?"
"Uh..." The man paused. "Yes, I think that would be correct. It's nice to meet you, I take it he's your friend?"
"Yeah, I'm surprised we haven't met before."
"I'm not around the house very often." Dr. Miller explained. "My wife and I aren't exactly on the best of terms so I've been staying here at HQ for a few years now. Don't let Kaden know that, I don't want him to think I'm avoiding the family."
"Oh... Uh..." Lucy mumbled awkwardly. "So why did you bring me down here?"
"Ah, yes." Dr. Miller answered. "The Atom-3 reactivated when we used the 2nd DCP to freeze the city. It seemed to be trying to communicate with you for some reason. We brought you down here to make sure it couldn't do so."
"Why would it be doing that?"
"I don't know. There seems to be some connection between you and the Atom-3 that we don't understand. You must be wondering what I'm talking about, right?"
"Yeah, I don't know what the Atom-3 is, I think." Lucy looked down at the ground. That name seemed familiar for some reason.
"The Atom-3 is the device that crashed in New York City eight years ago. Its origins are still currently unknown and it seemed to be inactive until the day you first connected with the 2nd kaiju. The Atom-3 manipulated the kaijufinder system in a way we still cannot detect."
"Cool." Lucy said. "I don't understand any of what you just said."
"Anyhow, the threat is now dealt with. You're free to go now." Dr. Miller added.
"Alright, thank you. How do I-"
"I'm sorry, Miss Turner." Lucy heard Hannah's voice from behind her before her vision went black.
Lucy was lying down in her bed, listening to the sound of her phone's ringtone. What had just happened didn't seem like an attack, though it could have been one. After thinking for a moment, the realization that her phone was ringing set it, so she picked it up.
"Hey, Lucy." her friend Kaden's voice rang out from the speakers.
"Yeah, what's up?" Lucy replied.
"I was thinking, do you want to go hang out somewhere?"
"Do you have anywhere in particular?"
"I guess. I'm on my way over to your place right now, I'll talk to you about it when I get there."
Kaden hung up. Lucy thought the whole exchange was weird, but it didn't bother her. Anything to take her mind off of the ongoing struggle against the kaiju was a good thing in her mind. As she put down her phone, Lucy realized that she was still wearing the clothes that Hannah had given to her. Quickly, as to not be dressed like a complete dork when Kaden arrived, Lucy changed her clothes. She put on a pair of jeans and wore her two-tone hoodie overtop of her new white shirt. Before she was even completely done getting dressed, however, Lucy's doorbell rang.
"Coming!" Lucy shouted from her room as she slid on her jacket. She bolted to the door with lightning speed and slammed it open against a doorstop glued to the wall.
"Hey, Lucy... Uh..." Kaden tried his best to not look his friend in the eye. "So I was thinking..."
"What is it?" Lucy asked curiously. "You're normally more upfront on where you want to go when we hang out."
"I... Uh... Want to go on a date with you."
"WHAAAAAAT?!" Lucy shouted and jumped back in shock. "FOR REAL?!"
"Y-yeah" Kaden replied nervously, "Is there something wrong with that?"
"No! Not at all!" Lucy grabbed the front door's handle and stepped back up to the doorframe. "Why are you so nervous about it though?"
"Well... I've been thinking about it for a while, and I think I like you."
"I guess I'm just surprised that you hadn't asked me out earlier." Lucy replied. "Well, where do you want to go then?"
"Wait, so you'll go out with me?!"
"Of course, why wouldn't I? We already go to the arcade together all the time anyway." Lucy said. "I assume you have somewhere else in mind though."
"I was thinking we could go to the mall or something, there's a lot of cool stores there we never visited." Kaden suggested. "There are also a lot of restaurants if we want to get food."
"Sounds like fun." Lucy agreed. "Do you want to bike there?"
Kaden had thankfully brought his bike with him to Lucy's apartment, so the two of them were able to set off from there. They arrived at the mall after around 10 minutes of biking, it was fairly close to where both of them lived. The mall was actually the location of the arcade Lucy and Kaden occasionally visited, the owner's father was one of the people who paid to have the mall constructed, so it was easy for him to start his business there.
When they arrived, Lucy and Kaden spent about 15 minutes walking around and looking for places to shop before finding a music store that had recently moved in. The shop had instruments hung across the upper walls and shelves full of CDs and sound equipment. Lucy herself had never been a particularly good musician, but she had an appreciation for music itself.
Lucy and Kaden eventually found a section full of headphones, all of which were much higher-end than the ones around Lucy's neck. The headphones were held on a rack with price tags attached to the cable, which was secured to the wall so that nobody could run away with them. They were set up in front of boxes that contained retail copies of the headphone so that a customer could try them on before purchasing them.
A pair of red headphones, somewhere near the middle of the aisle, were calling out to Lucy in particular. She didn't have too much money, but she could probably afford them if she really wanted to. Lucy reached to try them on, before-
Lucy found herself lying down in a park somewhere, surrounded by a field of vibrant green grass. Her body felt smaller, like that of a child. Nearby her was a young girl with light brown hair, as well as a young adult who bore a striking resemblance to Gabriel.
"Alice! Please be more careful!" The boy who resembled Gabriel said. "Your mom is going to be pissed at me if you get yourself hurt."
Lucy sat up. The brown-haired girl, presumably Alice, was frolicking about the field while wearing a shiny yellow raincoat. The girl looked familiar, somehow. Her name was familiar too, Lucy couldn't remember from where.
Suddenly, Alice tripped on a large rock and fell facefirst into the grass below. She managed to catch herself with her hands, but upon getting up they were covered in dirt. Alice began to cry.
"It's okay, Alice." The boy said. "I doubt you have more than a few small scratches. If you're really worried I can take a look at your hands."
"No! I'm fine!" Alice immediately stopped crying and continued to play happily amidst the grass. Lucy watches as she skipped around in a bizarre circular pattern. There was something on Lucy's mind. The boy was most certainly Gabriel, and the girl was so familiar to her. Was this the past? Was this what happened during one of her attacks? She would certainly remember Gabriel if she had known him before, right?
Lucy heard another familiar voice from off to the side. "Gabriel!" The voice called. "Mom said it's time to bring the Turners back home!"
"Okay, I'll do that, Hannah!" Gabriel called back before turning to Lucy and Alice. "It's time to go!" He said.
This was the Gabriel that Lucy knew, it had to be. Lucy looked over to where the new voice was coming from. Gabriel called them Hannah, right? There was a girl who looked around 13 standing in the parking lot in the distance. Lucy could clearly make out that she had blond hair, just like the Hannah that she had met earlier today.
Why was Lucy seeing these people in what was clearly some sort of dream? Was her mind just projecting some subconscious emotion? No, that didn't make any sense. Lucy had never seen an Alice before, but she seemed familiar. Alice's raincoat reminded her of the girl Lucy saw when she connected with the 2nd kaiju. Just as everything started to click for her, Lucy's vision faded to white.
Lucy was once again inside of the music store, standing next to Kaden. She was still a little bit stunned, but she came to her senses quickly.
"What was that?" Kaden asked. "Did you have another attack?"
"No, I don't think so." Lucy replied. "It seemed like the opposite."
"There's something going on, isn't there?" Kaden said. "It's connected to those kaiju you were talking about two days ago before the city lost an entire day."
"You don't remember what happened? You don't remember how I told you about the lockdown function?"
"There's something weird with my memory. I can remember being with you on the roof, but I just blacked out and woke up with you gone." Kaden answered. "I know you're up to something and I'm worried about you. Can you tell me what's going on?"
"I think so..." Lucy said in reply. "I don't think you'll believe me, though."
[ cut ]
"So you're saying that the government has you pilot a giant monster to stop other monsters from destroying the city and you still haven't told your mom about it?!" Kaden said. "She must be worried sick about you." Kaden and Lucy were sitting on a bench in a quiet part of the mall's main area. Lucy had explained what happened with the kaiju to him, all of it.
"I don't know" Lucy replied, "I doubt it. She's probably just glad I'm spending more time away from home."
"You should be more worried about what will happen if you never come home again!" Kaden proclaimed. "I would be worried sick, too, you know!"
"I suppose you would. You can tell my mom if that happens, but I don't want her to be worried about me."
"First you're lying to her about your attacks and now this?!" Kaden shouted. "I know you're trying to be more independent but this is ridiculous!"
There was an awkward silence.
"I- I just don't want to lose you, okay." Kaden said. "Please don't die on me."
"I'm not going to."
Another awkward pause allowed Lucy and Kaden to hear the echo of the crowd walking about the mall.
"I think we should try this whole date thing again." Kaden added. "It's getting a bit late now, but it was fun this time, despite what happened in the music store."
"What time is it?!"
"5:00 already. I think we should head home to eat rather than stay here. I'm not really in the mood for anything they have here that's a reasonable price."
"That's fair, maybe next time."
Lucy and Kaden made their way to the bike rack and pedaled home. Kaden accompanied Lucy to her apartment before making his way back to his own house. Lucy walked up the stairs to her home and knocked on the door.
"Hello!" She cried. "This is Lucy! I don't have my own keys!"
"Coming!" Lucy's mom said as she ran over to the door and let Lucy inside. "I'm surprised you were out so late."
"You shouldn't be, I don't think I even stopped by here two days ago."
"You've been staying out late, that's true, but Hannah walked you back home yesterday so I assumed you were staying over at her place or something."
"You know Hannah?!" Lucy was surprised.
"Yeah, her brother is here right now, actually."
"Her brother?" Lucy said as Mrs. Tuner stepped aside to let her into the house. A quick scan around showed nothing new of note. "Where is he?"
"I think he's on the roof right now." Her mom said. "He'll be inside for dinner I think. Can you believe he's 26? He doesn't look a day older than when I last met him, yet his sister has grown so much since then. I had a nice talk with her while you were resting in your room earlier today."
Lucy immediately walked back outside and made her way up to the roof as Mrs. Turner rambled on. After an anxiety-filled climb up the stairs, she caught a glimpse of Hannah's brother, which proved her suspicions correct.
"What are you doing here, Gabriel!" Lucy shouted angrily.
"What do you mean?" Gabriel turned toward her with an innocent look on his face. "You're acting like this isn't the first time we've seen each other in eight years."
"What does that mean?! I just talked to you yesterday! Shouldn't you be dead right now?!"
"Uh... What are you talking about?" Gabriel looked incredibly confused. "Am I missing something here?"