Cruel Punishment

Reflections

The morning sun shined brightly in the sky as a black van quickly sped down a lonely highway. Lee and a few of his men sat quietly in the vehicle as it drove through the winding streets. They were heading toward a secret location. One that Lee almost forgot about. It was a safe house of sorts. A place he could retreat to if need be. He thought it was imperative to go there since his prisoner, Dragunov, had escaped. He didn't know what other plans Jin had in store for him so he wanted to be safe.

Lee quietly looked out the window and watched as the city skyline slowly shrink and disappear from view. The tall buildings and urban landscape changed to something more rural and wooded. He gently smiled as they drove by farmlands that had horses grazing out in the cold. Lee thought that it looked peaceful, isolated and serene. He secretly wished his life wasn't so complicated. Being raised by a hateful and uncaring father and growing up with a brother that despises him was not easy for him to cope with. And now he believed his own nephew wanted to harm him in some way.

The van veered off the highway and onto a dirt road. The van shook on the bumpy road. A few minutes passed before a small building came into view. It looked like a house, but it was only a disguise. Lee had bought the property long ago and quickly converted it into a small, underground base shortly after its purchase. It remained hidden and unused for years. If it wasn't for Samantha, he would have forgotten its existence.

Trees, bushes, and shrubs encapsulated the building. Nature was in the process of reclaiming the land it had lost. If it was spring or summer, the house would have been completely hidden from view, however the winter kept it exposed; reminding the world of it presence.

The black van pulled alongside a few others that were parked outside the house. The driver turned off the engine and everyone exited the vehicle.

Lee exited the van pulling a small suitcase behind him. It contained some of his clothing and other personal possessions. He had planned to stay in this hideout until the issue between him and his nephew has been resolved.

He walked by a few of his men who were busy cutting the overgrowth and tidying the exterior of the house; freeing it from the grips of Mother Nature.

Lee slowly climbed rotted, wooden steps that led to a porch that encircled the small house. One of Lee's men opened the front door for him. Lee slowly walked inside and took in his surroundings as he ventured toward the rear of the home.

The place looked like it had seen better days. The house had a musty and moldy odor. Various old furniture, covered in dust and cobwebs decorated the home. He also noticed that paint and wallpaper were peeling and chipping off the walls and ceilings. Lee walked through the kitchen. It looked old and had very out-of-date equipment. He imagined the house was once owned by an elderly couple just based on the décor. His men were working feverously to clean, repair and modernize the place.

Lee walked down a flight steps that led to a wide, open basement. A tall, steel door stood at the corner of the room. It stuck out and didn't fit in with the antique design of the house.

Lee stopped in front of it and waited for one of his men to unlock it with a key. Behind it was a collapsible security gate. The man pulled open allowing Lee and a few of his men enter a small, steel room with fluorescent lighting. The man proceeded to shut both the door and the gate behind them.

Lee walked over to a small access panel on a nearby wall and pressed his thumb against the screen. It scanned his fingerprint and room immediately began to move. It was an elevator. It slowly descended to the floor below.

The elevator eventually slowed to a stop. The gate was pulled aside and the door opened revealing something completely and astoundingly opposite from the home above them. It was as if they had magically teleported to a different time, era, and place. It was a secret laboratory. It looked modern, sterile and new. There were a handful of scientists and doctors bustling about the lab who were busy setting and hooking up equipment.

Lee grinned from ear to ear as he exited the elevator and walked around the lab. At the center of the huge room stood his Combot robot. He folded his arms and observed it proudly. It was his life's work and he was given a second chance to complete it.

"Mr. Lee! You're finally here!"

Lee turned and saw Samantha hastily walking towards him. Her high heel clattered against the concrete flooring as she approached him. She had a huge smile on her face.

"So what do you think?" She asked excitedly as she stood beside him.

"It is looking excellent so far Samantha…Excellent indeed." said cheerfully. "I am very excited to restart our research."

"I am happy to hear that sir." She said pleased by his response. "… But it'll take a few days before all the preparations are complete… I hope you don't mind."

"'Good things come to those who wait' my dear Samantha and I am a very patient man." Lee said jokingly.

Samantha giggled. "I am happy to see that you are feeling better sir." She smiled.

"I am pleased you are feeling the same way as well." Lee said; referring to the encounter she had with Dragunov.

"Thank you." Samantha nodded and smiled even though she hadn't quite gotten over her ordeal. "I am surprised that you have forgotten this property." She said; wanting to change the subject.

"Well, I am a busy man… I can't keep track of everything I own. And that is why I have you around." He said and smiled.

Samantha immediately looked away and blushed.

"So what are you going to do now sir?" She asked bashfully.

"…Something I should've done a long time ago." Lee said in a more serious tone.

"Huh?" Samantha remarked curiously. "What do you mean sir?"

Lee ignored her question. "So where's my office? I have a lot of work to do." He said calmly as he quickly walked off.

Samantha was surprised by his sudden disappearance. "U-um! Wait ! I'll show you the way!"


"Did I hear you correctly?... You're working for whom?" Bryan asked carefully. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. He thought his ears were playing tricks on him. He turned to look at Anna with a perked eyebrow as he sat on the couch. He quietly waited for her to repeat the words she had just spoken.

"…Boskonovitch… I-I'm working for Dr. Boskonovitch." Anna said nervously as she took her seat on a couch next to his.

Bryan let out a frustrated sigh. "Fuck." He said under his breath as he passed a hand through his hair.

"I-Is that… a problem for you?" Anna said softly as she timidly looked at the man. "I'm sure that he will help you."

"That old fucker won't help me." Bryan muttered sternly.

"Why do you say that!?" Anna casted him a worried look. "Is it because of…of…" Her voice quietly trailed off as she looked down at the floor below.

Bryan looked at her curiously. "Huh, so you've heard of what happened between me and the old man?"

"Not really." Anna said softly. "I've only heard rumors."

"Like?" Bryan pressed.

"He repaired you when Abel… wouldn't." Anna looked at him worryingly. "… And in return you've… callously killed dozens of people in an angered rampage…Innocent people who were clan members of the doctor's closest associate and friend, Yoshimitsu."

Bryan gave her a look of intrigue. He was impressed by her knowledge. "Well, I'm sure that's the story most people believe but there's a few details missing." He quietly chuckled.

"Really!? Well then, do you care to clarify?" Anna said curiously as she looked at him.

Bryan let out a sigh as he leaned back into the couch and blankly gazed at the TV on the wall. "You won't believe me… It's stranger than fiction."

Anna was fascinated. "Please…" She cajoled. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested."

Bryan smirked. "Alright then…" He said quietly with a faraway look in his eyes. "…I was dreaming."

"Huh?" Anna said feeling a bit confused. "Dreaming?" She repeated as she tried to decipher his cryptic explanation.

"I thought I was in that damn alley… bleeding out on that filthy, wet pavement…" He said quietly. "I can still remember the smell … The stink of the alleyway… the scent of my own blood."

Anna's mouth hung slightly agape in surprise as she attentively listened to his words.

"It's not a good feeling you know…" Bryan turned his attention to Anna. "Knowing when you're about to die." His words sounded heavy and morose.

"When I woke up… I thought I was still there… I thought I had another chance to save myself and I wasn't going to allow anyone to get in my way."

Anna let out a low gasp. She was utterly amazed by his confession and was surprised that Bryan disclosed something like this to her. It seemed like something he wouldn't readily tell to anyone.

"T-that is what really happened?" Anna asked softly.

"Yeah." Bryan muttered. "When I finally snapped out of it, it was already too late… The damage has been done." He said quietly. "… I wasn't in the right frame of mind."

"…Was it the same nightmare or dream you were having this morning?" She questioned curiously.

Bryan turned to look at her. He normally doesn't talk much about himself to other people. He always tended to keep quiet about himself, but for some reason he felt comfortable talking to Anna. It seemed like she believed him and a small part of him was glad that she did.

"No… not exactly…" He mumbled. "I have many different dreams… Dreams about who I was, all the shit I've seen and the fuck-ups I've made… Things that happened before I died."

Anna sensed the seriousness in his tone and believed what he was saying was the truth. At the same time she was astonished. She never knew this side of Bryan. Most people are quick to label him as some scary, crazy man, but he is actually a lot deeper than that. There were more layers to him that were waiting to be discovered and Anna was happy to learn this.

"Well… it can't be all that bad, can it?" She asked thoughtfully; trying to cheer up the man's somber demeanor. "You must have many fond memories of when… of when you were a cop." Her voice trailed off nervously as she observed Bryan's distant and subdued expression.

"I wish I could just forget it all." Bryan mumbled angrily to himself.

"Why?" Anna pried.

Bryan grunted irritably and shot her an annoyed look. "What are you?... My fuckin' psychiatrist!? You're diggin' kinda deep there Anna."

Anna quickly looked down at the floor. "S-Sorry… I was just curious." She said nervously.

Bryan sighed as he waved his hand dismissively. "It's alright, it's alright… I'd be curious too." He grumbled as he leaned his head back against the couch.

They remained silent for a while before Anna quickly sat up in her chair. "Why don't you tell Boskonovitch? I'm sure he'll understand if you explained your side of the story." She said reassuringly.

Bryan scoffed at her suggestion and looked at her in disbelief. "He wouldn't believe me… nobody would."

"Why?" Anna said perplexingly.

He looked at her and smirked. "Because I'm Bryan fuckin' Fury." He said matter-of-factly and chuckled. "Everyone thinks I'm some crazy sociopath. No way in hell are they gonna believe my story." He reasoned.

Anna looked at him feeling thoroughly concerned. "Do you think so too? …Do you think you're a crazy sociopath?"

Bryan stood up and laughed. He was completely amused by her question. He walked and stopped in front of Anna before continuing his journey towards the fridge.

"Yeah… I think I'm crazy Anna." He confessed with a cocky grin.

"What?" She said dumbfounded.

"But…" He continued with a dubious smirk. "According to the many doctors, scientists and other nut jobs out there… If I think that I'm crazy, it means that I am sane."

"Huh!? How so?" Anna asked perplexingly.

"Because crazy people don't know when they are fuckin' crazy." Bryan responded as if it was a punch-line to a sick joke.

Anna gave him a look of utter confusion by his weird, paradoxical statement.

Bryan laughed out loud when he saw her puzzled expression. He continued to walk to the fridge and pulled out a cold beer. He opened it and took a long sip. It was still early in the morning but he didn't care, he needed a drink after the close call they had with Lee and the talk he just had with Anna.

Anna sighed dismissively as she leaned back into the couch. She sometimes had a hard time understanding Bryan's weird sense of humor.

Anna smiled as she thought about the conversation they just had. She felt closer to him; like she had bonded with Bryan somehow. She suddenly had a strong desire to help him in some way and she believed that Boskonvitch was the answer to his problems. She wanted make a meeting happen between him and the doctor, but she needed Bryan's permission first.

"Come on Bryan." She pleaded. "Boskonovitch will help you… He's not the type of man that holds grudges."

Anna turned around on the couch to look at him. He was still guzzling down his beer. "I could call him and explain your side of the story." She said encouragingly. "I'm sure he wouldn't think that you're crazy, sane or… whatever." She shrugged and smiled.

Bryan quickly finished off his beer and let out a refreshing sigh. He tossed the empty bottle in the trash.

"So what do you say?" Anna said smiled warmly; trying her best to convince the man to say yes with her feminine charms.

"Do whatever you want, I won't stop you." Bryan smirked; amused by her flirty behavior.

Anna grinned from ear to ear. "And if he wants to meet, will you?" She asked eagerly.

"Yeah, yeah." Bryan said passively as he began to rummage the fridge for something to eat.

Anna giggled and gave a wide smile.


Bryan sat quietly next to Anna on the train as they both traveled to meet Dr. Boskonovitch. A couple of days have passed since she had called the old man, but she had finally succeeded in her plan. Bryan was inwardly pleased that she had convinced the doctor to meet with him. He thought it would be impossible but somehow she had pulled through.

Even though he should feel elated by the good news, he couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable. He wondered if he had revealed too much of himself to Anna. He was normally a very private person and he hated people who pry too much, but for some reason he had let his guard down and opened up to Anna. He wondered why. Now the woman knew more about him than anyone he had ever met.

Bryan suddenly felt Anna's arm wrapped around his. He quickly glanced at her from the corner of his eye.

He also began to question their relationship, partnership or whatever it was as this point. He had found himself growing closer to Anna, but he is convinced that she is a woman with a lot of emotional baggage. She had a strong desire to gain attention, adoration and acceptance from her peers and especially from men.

He realized this shortly after Lee and Anna's relationship had ended. Anna had quickly latched herself onto him. She always talked and treated him as if he was some sort of replacement for Lee. As if they were in some weird, intimate relationship. He was strongly beginning to believe that Anna had some serious 'Daddy' issues. It would definitely explain her unladylike behavior and her craving for attention.

Bryan sighed quietly to himself. He didn't know what to make of it or how to deal with the situation. Should he try to stop her or let it continue? He wasn't sure.

"We get off at the next stop." Anna said as she looked at Bryan and smile. She had disguised herself again by wearing the cheap wig he had bought for her. Only this time, she was wearing her own clothes. The only thing she wore that belonged to him was his brown, leather jacket.

Bryan quietly nodded in acknowledgement.

Anna slowly looked away and gazed down at the floor. She felt worried. Bryan was being unusually quiet and distant. She wondered why. Anna was happy that he had begun to open up to her. It made her feel closer to him. She was beginning to believe that she was developing feelings for this man. He had done so much to help her and he had protected her so many times. However, she noticed that Bryan has been very quiet ant short with her ever since their little conversation. She wondered if she had said or done something that angered him.

The train slowed as it approached the next stop. They both stood up and walked towards the train doors and waited for it to open.

Anna quickly glanced at Bryan. His face was stern and serious. She looked down somberly as she exited the train.


Bryan followed closely behind Anna as they weaved through the crowded city streets. Anna quickly turned down an alleyway and walked towards the end of an old, abandoned building. She stopped when she reached a tall steel door. It looked new as if it was installed yesterday. Bryan looked up and noticed a security camera right above the door.

Anna pressed a buzzer located right next to the entrance. She then looked up at the camera and waved. Seconds later, they heard the door buzzed. Anna quickly turned the knob and entered.

There was a staircase located right in front of them. They slowly walked down the stairs to the basement below. Bryan thought the place looked surprisingly clean and new considering the fact that the exterior of the building looked dilapidated and run-down.

There was a huge laboratory door located at the bottom of the staircase. Anna slowly walked up to it and knocked.

A large, old Prototype Jack robot suddenly peered through one of the small windows on the door. It's eyes quickly darted back and forth between the two of them. Anna let out a loud yelp and jumped back upon seeing the machine.

"Geez!" Anna said with a hand over her chest. "That tin-can always gives me the creeps."

The P. Jack slowly opened the door and allowed them to enter. Anna cautiously walked by while keeping her eyes on the machine.

The lab was huge, completely white, spotless and well lit. Both Anna and Bryan walked a little bit into the lab and waited. Bryan hated to admit it but he was beginning to feel uneasy.

The P. Jack closed the door and slowly, robotically walked towards a computer chair that was located near a desk and waited.

Moments passed before they saw the elderly, Dr. Boskonovitch exited a room on the other side of the lab.

"Hello doctor." Anna greeted politely.

"Hello Anna, it's good to see you again." The old man smiled as he slowly hobbled towards them. "Is that a new hairstyle?"

"No, no, it's just a wig." Anna giggled. "It's actually my secret disguise." She whispered loudly.

"I see." Boskonovitch said and chuckled.

The P. Jack began to push the chair over towards the doctor. It held it in place while the doctor slowly took his seat.

"Thank you P. Jack." Boskonovitch said quietly.

"You're welcome doctor." It responded in a robotic tone as it walked away.

"I'll never get used to that thing." Anna muttered as she watched it disappear into a nearby room.

Boskonovitch quietly chuckled at her remark. He looked up at Bryan and gently smiled. It took him by surprised. He wasn't expecting that from the old man, especially after what happened years ago.

"Hello Bryan, it's been a long time."

Bryan quietly grunted in agreement.

"Anna has told me everything." He explained. "Don't worry, I hold no Ill will. I'm too old for that and life is too short, especially for man of my age." He said and chuckled.

Anna softly jabbed Bryan in his ribs with her elbow to get him to respond. "Uh… I really appreciate that." Bryan said uneasily.

"Well… I forgive you for what you've done, but I cannot speak for my friend, Yoshimitsu." He said reasonably. "He is the one you have truly offended. Lucky for you he isn't here right now. I believe he is somewhere in Japan."

"I understand." Bryan said simply.

"I am pleased to hear that you are willing to help both me and Anna, because we really need it." Boskonovitch said as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "And in return for your services, I will repair the perpetual generator that I have installed in your body some years ago… Will you accept this offer?" He said and smiled.

Bryan looked at him dumbfounded. He was surprised how easy and simple the old man was making this out to be. He didn't have to beg, plea or do much negotiation. It seemed so easy; too easy in fact.

"Yeah… I accept." Bryan said skeptically as he eyed the doctor.

"Good, good!" Boskonovitch said happily and gave a cheerful laugh. "Let me give you the details now that our negotiation is over. Um, Anna, would you be so kind and get that folder on my desk please?"

"No problem doctor." Anna said as she retrieved the folder and handed it to him.

Boskonovitch opened the folder and pulled out a large photo of a young woman with bright, pink hair. "This is an android that I have designed. She is my proudest accomplishment. My greatest achievement… Her name is Alisa Boskonovitch."

"Boskonovitch?" Bryan said perplexingly.

"Yes… I modeled and designed her after my deceased daughter." The old man said glumly. "She was stolen from me a few months ago."

"So why don't you just make another one?" Bryan said flippantly and shrugged.

Anna angrily jabbed him in the ribs. She thought Bryan words were very cold and insensitive. Bryan grunted in annoyance.

"I can't." Boskonovitch said somberly as he looked at the picture. "My old lab in Russia was attacked, raided and destroyed. They took her and all of my research. I have nothing… I came here to America shortly after… Yoshimitsu helped me set up and build this new lab."

Boskonovitch slowly put the photo back into the folder and rested it in his lap. "At the time, I didn't know who attacked me. My first assumption was Lee Chaolan since his company revolves around robotics. That is why I contacted Miss Anna Williams. She is an assassin and spy for hire and I knew of her involvement with Lee. Isn't that right Anna?"

"Yeah." Anna nodded her head in agreement. "I snooped around, but I didn't find any evidence that Lee did the attack nor did he have anything that belonged to you doctor."

"We then decided to spy on the Mishima Zaibatsu." Boskonovitch continued. "And we've found lots of evidence that Jin Kazama is the one who did it. We've found bits and pieces of my research and even photos of my dear Alisa on the Zaibatsu computer databases."

"But then you got caught." Bryan concluded as he folded his arms.

"Yes… and that is why we need your assistance." The doctor said as he lifted his head to look at Bryan. "Lee is planning to send you to Japan to destroy the Mishima Zaibatsu. Is that right?"

Bryan nodded in agreement.

"I really do want that building destroyed as well..." Boskonovitch said sternly. "But I want you to bring back what is mine before you tear it down."

"You want me to get your uhh… daughter… right?" Bryan asked carefully.

"Yes… either the android or my research will be fine." The doctor clarified. "I personally insist that you take Anna with you. The Zaibatsu is a heavily guarded place and very dangerous. Anna could be of assistance to you."

"Thank you doctor." Anna smiled. She was happy the old man was vouching for her.

"Fine..." Bryan sighed dismissively. "I'll let her tag along." He said reluctantly; he still thought that it was a terrible idea.

"Thank you Bryan… I really mean it." Boskonovitch's expression was serious and full of conviction as he stared deeply into Bryan's eyes.

"If you do this… and I will repair your generator… I promise."


Bryan and Anna finally reached the apartment building after a long, quiet commute home. They both entered the building and headed towards the apartment.

Bryan did not utter a word to Anna ever since they had left Boskonovitch's lab. He was deeply lost in thought. He didn't know who he should trust or believe. Both Lee and the old man promised to repair his generator if he did favors for them, but he wondered if they will really uphold their end of the bargain. Lee had already betrayed his trust and he found it hard to believe that the doctor could forgive him so easily.

He was also really confused about Anna's motives. Was she really doing this to simply reconnect with her sister? He found it very hard to believe. He definitely didn't want to risk putting Nina in danger. He needed Anna to clear his concerns and answer a question that he had on his mind for a long time now.

Bryan opened the door to the apartment and they both entered. Anna closed and locked it behind her.

Bryan immediately walked towards the couches and sat down. Anna timidly took off the jacket and hung it up in the closet she also removed the hat and wig off her head. She looked over at Bryan. He looked so distant and far away.

Anna felt worried. She thought that Bryan would be happy or even excited right now since the doctor had agreed to help him, but instead he is silent, detached and lost in his own thoughts. She wondered what he was thinking, but she got the feeling that he wanted to be left alone.

Anna walked over to the fridge and took out a bottle of water. She opened it and took a sip. She drummed her fingers nervously on the kitchenette counter as she tried to think of something to say. Suddenly Bryan had broken the awkward silence between them.

"What happened between you and your sister?" He asked quietly as he turned to look at Anna.

Anna pulled the bottle away from her lips swallowed hard as she looked at him. He looked concerned and serious at the same time.

She slowly walked over to Bryan and sat on one of the couches. She somberly stared at the bottle of water that rested in her hands. She was hesitant to respond to his inquiry, but she thought that he deserved an answer since he had opened up to her the other day.

"She hates me…" She whispered. "My sister hates me."

Bryan gave her a puzzled look. "I know that already… I want to know why?" He said calmly.

"She blames me…" Anna muttered. "She blames me for the death of our father."

Bryan was a little surprised to hear this. He perked up in his seat.

"Our father trained us to be assassins ever since we were little girls." Anna's voice was quiet and nervous. "We were teenagers when it happened… it was the middle of winter. Our father thought we were ready. He took us out on one of his missions… It was supposed to be quick and easy... He thought it would be safe for us to come along…"

"Well… What happened."

"I messed up…" Anna said as a tear rolled down her cheek. "I was spotted by one of the targets bodyguards… They chased us and somehow I tripped and fell in the snow… I thought they left me behind, but my father came back for me… And that's when…" Anna stopped and tried to regain her composure. She quickly wiped the tears from off her face. "… And that's when he was killed."

"Shit…" Bryan muttered under his breath.

"My sister rescued me, but she never spoke to me ever again… She looks down on me… she always has. I was never good and performed terribly whenever our father trained us. I was weak. Because of that, father always paid more attention to me than her… Nina hated that immensely. She thought that I was undeserving of his attention… that I am worthless. I failed both her and our father…"

Anna lifted her head to look at Bryan. "I feel unbelievably guilty for his death, I blame myself everyday… Even though she can't stand to see me, and wants me dead, I still want to have a relationship with my sister…She's the only family I have left… Does that make me selfish or insensitive? Should I just leave her alone?" Anna looked at Bryan eagerly. She wanted him to give her some advice.

Bryan looked perturbed. He was unsure with how to respond. "Huh… well… I don't know Anna. It seems like whatever relationship you have with your sister is a lot more complex than I've ever imagined. I don't know what advice I can give you."

"I've figured you'd say something like that…" Anna said disappointedly as she returned her attention on the water bottle.

"So whenever Nina sees you, she wants to fight, but you don't." Bryan said carefully as he tried to gain clarity on Anna and Nina's relationship.

"Well that's not entirely true…" Anna clarified. "I want to fight her… It is the only way I get to interact and talk with my sister. I also hope to prove to her that I am a worthy assassin. I think if I do that, she would finally acknowledge me and see me as her equal… It will also make my father proud."

"Well then…" Bryan smiled. He was satisfied with her explanation. It seemed like her motives were real. "I say never give up. Keep harassing your sister and maybe you will accomplish that weird, fuckin' goal of yours."

Anna smiled. She was feeling a whole lot better after hearing that. "Thank you Bryan."

Bryan's cellphone suddenly began to ring. He pulled it out of his pocket and realized that it was Lee. He quickly signaled Anna telling her to remain quiet before answering the call.

"What do you want Lee?" He said bluntly.

"Why hello Bryan, I hope you are not busy." Lee said in a chipper tone.

"Why?"

"Well I wanted to meet with you and don't worry, it will be very brief." Lee said reassuringly.

"Do you want me to meet you at the mansion?"

"No, no I am not staying there anymore. I don't think that it's safe since your friend has made an escape."

"So where do you want me to meet you then?" Bryan said feeling slightly annoyed.

"A couple of my men are waiting in a car outside your building. They will bring you here and take you back home when our meeting is over." Lee explained.

Bryan sighed. "Alright Lee." He said flatly.

"Very well, I will see you soon." Lee said before hanging up.

Bryan immediately stood up and walked towards the windows. He carefully peeked through the blinds. Sure enough, there was a black car waiting right outside the building. Bryan was surprised. They were lucky that they hadn't decided to come inside as they did before.

"What's the matter?" Anna question as she got up and stood beside him.

"Lee's men… They are waiting for my outside." He explained as he continued to peer through the window.

Anna gasped. "Do you think they are going to search the apartment again when you're gone?" She asked fearfully.

"I don't think so… but then again, I'm not sure." Bryan said as he quickly collected his wallet and cellphone. "Just sit tight and keep your eyes open… I'll be back soon." He said as he quickly headed towards the door and left.


It was almost sun set when the car pulled up and stopped in front of a house in the middle of nowhere. Bryan and the two men who escorted him there exited the car. He followed them as they walk towards the house and entered.

Bryan was surprised that Lee was staying in such an old and antiquated house. He wondered why he wanted to meet here.

The two guards took him to the small elevator in the basement. They rode it down and Bryan was surprised at what he saw when he exited the elevator. There was a huge lab hidden under a house.

Bryan ventured deeper into the lab, the two guards did not follow. They instead entered the elevator and rode it back to the surface. The lab was busy. There were scientists running about, conducting experiments or typing away on their computers.

Bryan stopped when he reached the center of the lab. There was a Combot machine standing upright with a lot of wires jutting out from its body that connected to various, nearby equipment. The robot looked like it was on.

However, what really caught his eye was the perpetual generator. It rested in the robot's chest exposed for everyone to see. It looked like it was functioning perfectly.

"Oh Bryan, I see that you have finally made it!" Lee said cheerfully as he approached the man from behind and stood beside him. He quickly noticed what Bryan had his eyes on and smiled.

"See… I told you, the generator works." He said full of confidence. "That is why I wanted you to come here. I wanted you to witness it for yourself.

Bryan was inwardly amazed at what he saw.

"However…it is still very unstable."

"When will you have it functioning properly?" Bryan asked as he turned his attention towards Lee.

"I don't know…" He said and shrugged. "I plan to have my team of doctors and scientists work tirelessly until they have solved the problem. Hopefully it'll be ready when you return from your trip." He said reassuringly.

"Oh! Speaking of which…" Lee said as he pulled out an envelope from his blazer. "Here is your plane ticket." He handed it to Bryan.

"Your flight leaves in couple of days… Make sure you are well prepared." He said in a chipper tone. "I'll have one of my men pick you up and take you to the airport." He said as he patted the man on the shoulder.

Lee turned and began to walk away; leaving Bryan to stare at the machine alone. "Good luck Bryan... Hopefully I will see you soon!" He said and waved as he left. "I'll make sure your generator is ready by the time you have return!"


The alarm blared loudly; waking Bryan from his slumber. It was turned off the alarm and slowly crawled out of bed.

He was in his apartment alone. He had Anna spend the night in a nearby hotel. He thought it would be safer since Lee's men were coming to pick him up soon. He wasn't sure if Lee was going to make a surprise appearance as he did last time.

Admittedly, he felt kind of strange being in the apartment alone. He had gotten used to the woman's presence. Bryan quickly scoffed at the thought as he grabbed a towel and headed towards the bathroom.

Bryan showered and dress and made sure everything he needed was packed and ready to go.

His phone suddenly began to ring signaling that Lee's men had arrived. Bryan quickly put on his jacket, picked up his duffel bag and left. He exited the apartment building and entered the car that was waiting patiently outside. He was happy to discover that Lee was not there.

It took him an hour to reach the airport. Bryan quickly checked in and did all the security checks. He made his way to the appropriate airport terminal and sat down in the waiting area. His flight was not going to board for another hour.

Bryan fidgeted uneasily in his seat as he waited and he couldn't shake the feeling of déjà vu. The last time he had to wait in an airport terminal was when he was with Nina. He couldn't get her image from out of his head. It frustrated him. It brought back fond memories of the mission they were on together. He quickly wondered where she was and if she was okay.

Bryan suddenly saw a woman walking towards his direction. She had immediately caught his eye among the crowds of people. She had on a purple sweater-dress with black leggings and a pair of black, winter boots. She wore sunglasses had straight, blonde hair that went a little past her shoulders. She dragged a small, red suitcase behind her.

Bryan was surprised. He thought it was Nina. It looked just like her. The woman suddenly glanced in his direction. It seemed like she was looking right at him. It was hard for Bryan to tell due to the sunglasses.

The woman abruptly changed her trajectory towards him. The closer she got, the more convinced he became that it was indeed her. The woman walked until she stood a few feet away from him.

She stood in front of him; they both were silent. Bryan stared at her silently causing a concerned look to form on the woman's face.

"Bryan?... Bryan, are you okay?" The woman bent down until they were at the same eye-level. She snapped her fingers a few times in front of his face; trying her best to get him out of his stupor. It seemed to have worked. Bryan blinked his eyes a few times.

"It's me… Anna." She said as she pulled off her sunglasses and looked at him.

Bryan was taken aback. He was surprised at how much Anna looked like her sister. It made him feel incredibly uncomfortable.

"Oh, I didn't see you there…" Bryan said as he sat up in his seat.

Anna stood up and placed a hand on her hip. "You didn't see me!?" She mocked. "I was standing right in front of you!"

"I- I didn't recognize you, I mean." Bryan said uneasily as he avoided eye contact with the woman.

"Oh… It must be the new wig." Anna said happily as she twirled a few strands around her finger. She sat down next to Bryan. "The doctor was kind enough to give me some spending money yesterday, so I decided to buy a new one and get rid of that old, hideous wig." She giggled.

"So what do you think?... Do you like it?" Anna said and gave him a bashful smile.

Bryan sighed heavily as he slowly turned to look at her.

"Yeah…" He said quietly. "It looks nice."


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