"What are you trying to pull on me?!" Lucy shouted.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Lucy!" Gabriel replied. "What did I do to you?!"
[ KAIJU//HACKER Interlude: Dark | Part 2/3: Gabriel//Holt ]
"Why would I ever want to see you again after everything you've done?!" Lucy cried. "Why did you come back here?!"
"I don't want to hear it!" Lucy interrupted "I quit! If that's what you want to hear, then I quit! I'm not putting up with your manipulation anymore!"
"You're not making any sense!" Gabriel raised his voice. "What are you quitting?! What's going on?!"
Lucy found herself standing at a busy street intersection, waiting for the pedestrian light to flash green. She was in her younger body again, though she couldn't quite tell when this was. Holding her hand was a small girl, Alice, the one from her vision before.
She heard a voice from behind her as the light ahead changed to an image of a green man taking a step forward. "Let's go now." The voice said. It was distinctly Gabriel's voice, but Lucy didn't feel any animosity towards it. "The light won't be green forever."
Lucy, Alice, and Gabriel walked across the street to the other side. Gabriel followed behind the two girls diligently, keeping an eye out for danger. This process of walking to a street corner, waiting, and crossing the street was repeated several times before they arrived at their destination. It was a large building filled with flashing lights and strange machines.
"Here we are." Gabriel said. "I'll give you each ten dollars to spend, I don't have that much money."
"What do we do here?" Alice asked curiously.
"I'll show you." Gabriel walked up to a machine; the girls followed. He took a card out of his wallet and slid it through a part of the machine. The giant screen on the mechanism lit up and showed a magnificent scene. Gabriel then used a few buttons and a stick attached to the machine to manipulate the screen. Alice and Lucy had seen videogames before, but they had never seen an arcade machine.
"I wanna try!" Alice shouted.
"Sure." Gabriel picked up Alice so that she could reach the buttons on the machine. Lucy watched as Alice immediately failed the game, but she was laughing the entire time. It looked like fun.
"Just let me know if you find a game you want to play and I'll pay for it." Gabriel said as he put Alice back down on the ground and turned over to her sister. "You too, Lucy."
Lucy awoke lying on the couch in her apartment's main living space. Her mother was making something at the stove while Gabriel sat down in one of the room's chairs, fidgeting with his cell phone. Gabriel had a flip phone for some reason, an antiquity in Lucy's eyes. While she had known they existed, Lucy was born at a time when they were long since deprecated.
Once he saw Lucy open her eyes, Gabriel snapped his phone shut and looked over towards her. Lucy scowled at him as she sat up on the sofa and pulled her own phone out of her pocket. It was around 7:00, her vision had lasted around 40 minutes. Lucy had never really kept track, but most of her attacks lasted around that time.
"Any explanation for why you suddenly went unconscious on the roof?" Lucy's mom asked. The question wasn't really directed at anyone in particular, but Lucy and Gabriel were the only other people in the room.
"I assume it was his fault." Lucy said grumpily.
"Hey, why are you accusing me!?" Gabriel replied.
"Please just get along, you two." Mrs. Turner implored. "You're both living under the same roof for the time being so you'd better not cause trouble for each other."
"What do you mean?!" Lucy asked. "He's not living here, is he?!"
"He is indeed." Mrs. Turner explained. "Apparently his previous living accommodations fell through."
Lucy once again scowled at Gabriel before leaning back into the couch. Gabriel then stood up from his seat.
"Lucy, is it possible I could speak to you in private?"
"I don't know, can you?"
"This is important."
"Alright then, let's just step outside to the roof again."
"That should work."
[ cut ]
Gabriel stepped over to the edge of the rooftop and looked back towards Lucy. "I suppose you're wondering why I'm staying here, right?"
"Explaining that would be a good start."
"I suppose I can do that." Gabriel continued. "I'm currently no longer employed by DEED."
"What does that mean?"
"DEED doesn't want me around, they claim I'm a risk to the country's security now that Project Psi is terminated."
"That still doesn't explain anything. Why are you here?" Lucy asked.
"I'll start with Project Psi and move on to where we are now if that helps you understand.
Twenty years ago, the government organization DEED, the Department of Extraterrestrial and Extradimensional Defense, discovered an entity known as the Egg of Orphan underneath New York City. Psi was a government project trying to explore the nature of the Egg and which danger it might pose to the human race. Eventually, a scientist by the name of Michael Turner created a device that allowed communication with the Egg of Orphan, a device called the Digital Space Communicator. Eight years ago, the Atom-3 landed in New York and destroyed most of the city, leaving us to rebuild. During that incident, Michael Turner lost his life, and his understudy used the DCP to connect the Egg of Orphan to DEED's main computer system, thus giving it complete control of the entire facility and allowing it to construct a firewall within the Atom-3, stopping it from destroying the city. As you likely know, Michael Turner is your father, and you are allegedly the only firsthand witness to the arrival of the Atom-3 who lived to tell the tale."
"That... That's insane." Lucy replied. "There's no way all of that is true, what are you going on about?"
"Unfortunately, Dr. Turner's understudy went insane during the incident and was gunned down by DEED's security staff after murdering the facility's commander, or so the story goes."
"Wait, you don't mean-"
"I, Gabriel Holt, am the understudy in question, or at least I was. My memory since the incident is foggy, but it seems my body was under the control of Orphan until recently." Gabriel gestured towards a black metal band around his neck. "I've been told that this device is suppressing Orphan's influence on me, but I don't know how true that actually is. Orphan issued a command to use the lockdown function on the entire city, for which he was 'executed'. I don't really know much else."
"So wait, you worked at DEED even before all of that?"
"Yep" Gabriel answered, "I got an internship there after I graduated high school. I was assigned to be an assistant to your father soon after and I was involved in the creation of the DSC."
"All of this is making my head spin, but you never answered my question. Why are you even here?!"
"Oh, I got evicted."
"DEED kicked me out, they don't want me around the facility anymore. It seems like they want to keep the Egg of Orphan a secret between the few people that already know about it."
"That doesn't explain why you're here, at my apartment."
"Oh" Gabriel answered, "I don't really know anyone else who'd be willing to give me a place to sleep. Your mother has known me for quite a while so I figured it would be fine to stay here, even if the fact that I haven't aged in eight years is a little suspicious."
"What does this have to do with me then?"
"Oh, right." Gabriel reached into his pocket. "The reason I needed to talk to you."
"And that is?"
"This." Gabriel pulled a strange necklace out of his pocket and held it out towards Lucy. Its pendant bore a yellow shine that seemed to be a form of illumination, like a lightbulb was placed inside. "I found a message from Orphan among my belongings, it made mention that I should give this to you."
"Don't you hate Orphan for everything it did to you? Why would you follow through on something like that?"
"I'm not sure how to think myself, but I felt it was safe to bring this to you. There's still something going on with the Atom-3 and you have something to do with it, so if Orphan knew more than it was letting on to it would be best to listen."
"What do you mean by that? What do I have to do with the Atom-3?"
"The Atom-3 injected code directly into the KF system, this code managed to fix the error that was causing previous tamers to die. We don't know why this happened only after you used the system, but it piqued our interest. Since then, the Atom-3 has acted on its own three times; once when we froze the city, and then twice since then. The second time coincided with you falling unconscious, so we know it's related to you somehow."
"Wait wait wait. The KF system was going to kill me? You made me use the KF system well knowing that I was going to die?"
"I don't understand exactly why Orphan did that, but yes."
"DEED was willing to kill innocent people for a chance at defeating the kaiju?"
"DEED killed people during the KF system tests, most of them were orphans who knew the risks. We offered them a new life with free education and a home, but none of them survived. It disgusts me, honestly, but I don't know that we had a choice. When the kaiju actually attacked, we went to you because you were exposed to the Atom-3, rather than the second DCP. I don't know if it was the right choice, but I guess it worked out in the end."
"What are you going to do now?" Lucy didn't look Gabriel in the eyes. "I take it you aren't going to be having me control the 2nd kaiju anymore now that the Atom-3 is involved."
"We managed to fight off the last kaiju with a new military technology, the recently developed 'anti-projection missiles'. They should be able to defeat future kaiju, we don't need to use the KF system anymore."
"That's great news, I guess." Lucy had a hard time being excited about that, even though it meant she wouldn't have to control the 2nd kaiju anymore. "So you won't need me anymore?"
"That's the hope."
[ cut ]
Lucy and Gabriel returned to the apartment. Dinner was quiet, but it was the first time Lucy had eaten with her mother in a long time. There was something comforting about her mom's cooking, something that Lucy couldn't really pin down. Afterward, Lucy went to bed and Gabriel slept on the couch in the main room. It was hard for Lucy to sleep after everything that had happened this week, but it was nice that she finally could.
[ cut ]
"So, I'm the new head of Project Psi?" Hannah sat in front of the board of directors at DEED's New York facility. "That's certainly a development, I thought it was deprecated."
"Officially, it is" One of the directors replied, "but we still need to deal with the threat of the kaiju in one way or another. Without using the lockdown function our options are limited, so we've decided to push all our resources into finishing up on the mk1."
"The artificial kaiju? I thought that project was canned as well?"
One of the other directors spoke. "Gabriel was secretly developing it behind your back. With him out of the way, we need someone else to oversee the operation. We figured you should be the one to do so."
"Gabriel isn't out of the picture, we can always-"
"Careful, Miss Kenedy. We wouldn't want Orphan to suddenly re-emerge, would we?"
"I can't believe you!" Hannah said in reply. "Gabriel knows more about the kaiju than anyone else, with or without Orphan in control. We need him if we want to stand a chance!"
"In that case, you'd better make up for his absence. We'll have to bring Orphan back if the mk1 fails, and that would mean Gabriel will be out of your reach once again."