The night was dark. The night was cold. The occasional star shone behind the swiftly moving clouds. Everything in this particular part of the city was quiet, save one thing: a young girl. Her breath came in quick, shallow spurts. Her hair was matted to her face from the sweat beading down from her forehead as she ran down the quiet, empty street. She kept glancing behind her in search of………….something. She was running that much she knew, but she didn’t know why she was running. When she came to a dimly lit intersection, with only the stoplights providing the light there, she paused. As she stood there catching her breath, she noticed how pathetically useless her clothes were to her right now. Sweat and, now the rain from the storm laden clouds above her, made her short skirt and thin tank top cling to her athletic body but did little to offer her any warmth. Her breath evened out, and her fear seemed to go away, as she surveyed where she had come from and what were her possible options as to where to go were.
She was still turning, and lost in thought as well, when a rude voice yelled at her, “Hey!! You gonna stand there all night or you gonna move out of the blooming way?!” The young girl eyed him for a second before deciding to move out of the middle of the road. She headed to a lamppost just at the corner and started shaking. She was shaking so hard that you couldn’t tell the difference between her teeth chattering and her knees knocking together. She was shaking from the cold rain which was now coming down in torrents and from that unknown fear that had come back with a ferocity. While the lamppost offered her no shelter from the rain, she didn’t have anywhere and so she proceeded to slide down with her back up next to it in hopes of getting some sleep.
Just as she was drifting off to sleep, a stick poked her in her ribcage. Her eyes instantly popped open and she sprang up.
“Whoa! There’s nothing to be scared of, it’s just little ol’ me. Oh dear me, you must be chilled to the bone. And soaked too,” said the elderly woman. This short outburst startled the young girl who just looked on with fear and a hint of curiosity. The old woman saw this and said, “No need to be afraid. I saw ya sitting there and figured you could come with me to the shelter down the street. They’ve got good food, clean beds and I’m sure you could get a shower and some clean clothes.” The young girl thought for a moment and nodded. “Good, now, I have an umbrella here with me and it’ll offer you a bit of warmth. Come.” The young girl didn’t hesitate this time and eagerly huddled with the old woman under the umbrella. As they proceeded to walk down the street, the young girl studied this woman. The women seemed old based on the fact that she walked slowly, but had a sense of…life about her that denied that very fact. She walked kinda hunched over and the young girl offered to take her pack.
“Take my pack? No dearie, this is my burden to hold onto and there is only one who can take it from me. One day you’ll understand,” the women replied.
The young girl pondered this statement as she continued to study this woman who had offered her umbrella to her. The woman had on two skirts of varying length, long boots and a colorful shawl was draped over her worn pea coat. Her hair was blond and gray and straight and curly, all at the same time. Her hair was pulled back into a simple braid that hung down her back.
After a block or two of silence, the woman looked at the young girl and said, “You don’t speak very much, do you? [Which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Too many young kids speak too much and most of what they say isn’t pleasant at all. But that’s just me.] [RDR2] A quiet nod she continued, “Well, my name’s Adelaide. What’s yours?”
The young girl paused midstride, her eyes searching the wet pavement at her feet, and quietly said, “I don’t know.” Adelaide felt sorry and almost wished she hadn’t asked when the young girl burst into tears. When Adelaide went to put her arms around her, she heard the young girl muttering, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know……”
“There now lass, we’re almost at the place where we can have something to eat and a nice warm bed to sleep in and they won’t ask your name or where you’re from.”
The young girl looked up and wiped her tears from her eyes, saying, “I’m sorry, I just….”
As Adelaide released her, she said, “No need to apologize. It was rude of me to ask.”
They stood there for a moment or two before Adelaide said, “Let’s go before it’s too late and the food is gone.”
As they headed towards the shelter, Adelaide stole a look at the young girl beside her. She seemed like any other girl who lived on the streets of NY. A tattoo on her arms, neck and shoulder; lean and athletic build, and Adelaide was sure that she could hold her own in a fight, and yet, she didn’t fit in. Adelaide couldn’t tell what it was that was so different, but there was something different about her. They continued walking when all of a sudden, the rain stopped and the clouds gently moved away to reveal the starless sky above them. The young girl paused to look up and the women looked at her and said, “Isn’t it beautiful? Nights like this make it all worthwhile. Now, here we are at Mana’olana[RDR3] and believe me when I say they make the best food I’ve ever had at a shelter. You gonna come in, darlin’?” the woman said to the young girl who was still staring at the night sky.
“Sorry, it just looks so beautiful tonight. Did you say the food was good?” the young girl replied as she turned to walk inside the average looking NY shelter.
“Some of the best darlin’. Is it ok if I call you darlin’? You will need some sorta name, at least for a while,” the women answered back as she reached out to take the young girl’s hand. “By the way, where did you get that beautiful necklace?”
The young girl looked down at her neck and traced its elegant design and said, “Yeah, you can call me that and I don’t know. I’ve always had it.” What the young girl didn’t know however, is that by touching the jewels in the necklace that it would set off a chain reaction that would change everything.
Across town a young man stood on the balcony of a NY apartment building and listened to the sounds of the city; the sirens of the cops, the honks and yells of the cities million taxi drivers, the Christmas music that overlapped into a harmonious cacophony of sound that combined with the sound of gentle falling rain made him fall in love with the city even more. He had always been one to love different sounds that when combined together, canceled each other out and created a sense of negative music, if such a thing was possible. His clothes were soaked through, revealing a man who worked out and took care of himself, and at least this time he had been wise enough to leave his shoes inside. His dark, curly hair stuck to head and his eyes were closed as he took in the sounds of the city. He stood there lost in thought when a beeping noise captured his attention. It took him a minute to realize where it came from and when he did, he ran through the living room, slid into the kitchen before catching the doorframe of his office and scanning the room. A quick glance brought him to his computer where the center screen was blinking red. His heart started pounding as he reached over to turn the light on. He found his office chair and as he wheeled himself over to his desk, and automated voice said, “Voice code required.”
“Darak Tharrheo, computer activate,” he said with utmost anticipation. As he stood waiting for it to boot up, he brought up his video cam. He wanted to be ready, just in case. His computer came up and as he scanned the screens, he was elated. He had finally found her. Her chip had been activated. As he pulled up the satellite feeds for the city he spoke again. “Computer, find the Cailean’s and bing them for me, please.”
“Locating Cailean’s now.” A pause and then, “Cailean’s located and binged,” the automated voice said.
“Good, she’s in the city and she’s close. I’ll see what Brandin and Adason want me to do before I do anything,” he muttered to himself. The young man paused for a moment and said a quick prayer as he thought about what to do now.
“Brandin, Adason, this is Darak. We have a probl….are you guys playing that dragons and prison game again?”
“Nooo, we’re playing the new version, remember? And besides, it was Dungeons and Dragons, get it right,” replied Adason. Adason was average height, had beautiful straight hair and had a sweetly sarcastic mouth to boot.
“You hating on the game, man? You oughtta know better!” Brandin chimed in. Brandin was tall, well built and had a hint of gray hair at his temples.
“Sorry. You have my deepest apologies,” Darak replied.
“We’ll consider it,” replied Adason.
“Thank you. As I was starting to say, we have a problem. Dany’s tracker just went off, just a few blocks south of here and I need to know what to do. Nasha is close and I haven’t been able to track her down. I need your advice,” Darak said.
Adason looked at Brandin and at Darak as she watched these two think about what to do. She knew that Nasha would kill Dany if given the chance; she knew that Darak would risk his life for her; she knew that Brandin would kill to protect them both. She studied Darak through the screen on her laptop. He had seemed to age a lot more that the 6 months it had actually been since they last spoke. His hair was longer and he looked like he had gotten very little sleep. Her glance went to her husband. The gray at his temples made him look older than his mid-30’s and she liked the way his brow furrowed when he thought. The last 6 months had been interesting for them and the next 6 would be even more so. While Adason sat watching them, Darak looked at them both and was surprised when he discovered how much they had both changed, especially Adason. Adason had lost the weight that had been slowly killing her and it made her look even younger than her late-20’s indicated. Darak continued sitting there looking through a camera at 2 of his best friends, 2 of the best scientists that he had ever had working for him and wondered what was to happen now.
Brandin seemed lost in thought. He knew that Darak wouldn’t do anything without first asking him but he also knew that Darak was anxious to get back at Nasha. The memory of that night burned into their minds like a fire that wouldn’t die. As Brandin continued to think about what they should do, muttering to himself all the while, Darak’s computer began to make a shrill whistling noise, similar to a teakettle. Adason knew better than to interrupt her husband so she quietly asked, “Darak? What’s wrong? Everything ok?”
“I don’t know,” Darak responded more to himself than to Adason. Adason watched as his eyebrows furrowed together in deep concentration. More muttering, this time from Darak, when all of a sudden she watched as Darak’s eyes got wide and he stammered, “Br…oh, shit, ummm, umm, Brandin!”
“What?!” yelled Adason.
“Brandin! Nasha must’ve taken a sensor with her the night we lost her. It went off and is pinging Turannos’ satellite and is headed Dany’s way! I need an answer! I can’t let Nasha finish this!” Darak yelled. “I need and answer and I need it now!”
Brandin was startled out of his stupor, and yelled back, “Give me a fucking minute! I’m thinking here!”
“We don’t have a fucking minute!” Darak yelled back. “If we don’t do something, we’ll lose Dany, and I don’t want to do that again.”
Brandin’s eyes looked over the table, his lips moved silently and he turned his chair so his back was to Darak and he was fully facing his wife. As he sat there, Adason yelled at him, “Dammit, are you serious?! You have gotta be kidding me! She’ll kill her!”
Darak knew where Brandin’s mind had gone and started to reply, “You better not be thinking what I think you’re thinking. She’ll…”
“I have yet to say a word,” Brandin quietly said. Out of the three of them, he was the least emotional in an argument. “What if we let Nasha, stick with me here, what if we let Nasha find her? She won’t…..”
“Are you insane!? I cannot believe you are saying this!” interrupted Adason and Darak, “Let Nasha find her?! I’ve seen what Nasha can do..”
“…and I have seen what Dany can do! Dammit, are you gonna let me finish?!” yelled Brandin.
A deep sigh from Darak, then a simple nod from them both and Brandin continued. “Darak, you said that after Dany’s last mission, she refused to have her mind wiped. Correct?” Another nod and Brandin continued, “Because of that, Nasha and her goons used a much stronger dose and knocked out all memory that Dany may have had. That stuff in between each mission: gone. No memory: it’s gone.”
“Let me interrupt. Dany could remember the stuff in between each mission?” Adason asked.
“Yeah, she could. Everything and anything as long as it wasn’t the mission itself,” Darak said. “We created the drug so that we would remove the incident but never the life.” Darak continued to think about the info he knew about both Nasha and Dany. Brandin sat there, quietly, knowing that Darak would figure out what he was trying to get at.
All of a sudden, Darak sprang out of his chair and yelled, “Oh my gosh. Brandin, you are a genius!”
“What? I’m lost. Why are we letting Nasha go towards Dany when Nasha has a penchant to kill anyone who crosses her path the wrong way? Unless….” Adason drifted off for a second before she said, “Wait! She has no memory! She won’t Nasha at all.”
“Exactly! With no memory, she’s no threat to Nasha. Nasha can ‘re-train’ her, as it were,” Brandin said. “And since she’s not a threat, Nasha has no reason to kill her.”