Chapter 4: Too Much of a Success
"She really made a mess of things."
Such was Dr. Warren Vidic's observation as he knelt before the corpse of his colleague and friend, Dr. Hans Regenschirm. What had once been the Regenschirm R&D Lab was now the scene of a massacre. Once immaculate walls and tiles were now splattered with bloodstains, with corpses and shards of broken glass strewn and scattered all over the place. For most of them, the cause of death appeared to be stab wounds in vital areas such as the heart, the neck and the spine, though others appear to have been strangled instead.
Vidic shook his head grimly. While he certainly hadn't wanted or intended for this tragedy to happen, the truth was that he bore some responsibility and guilt for what had happened here.
It was true that it was mostly Hans' own fault, as it was he who had had the bright idea of asking him for the combat data from the Animus sessions of Abstergo's top recruits, then programming them into that persocom, AND installing a prototype accelerator module on top of that. But then again, no one could have predicted that she would have gone rogue. Their first ever attempt at creating a combat capable model, and they just had to luck out and get hold of one that happened to have a mind of its own.
Well, old friend… If it's any comfort to you, 'Project Seraph' was a success.
Just too much of a success.
Vidic raised his right hand, clenching it into a fist.
Right on cue, a lean, athletic-looking man with dirty blond hair materialized at his elbow. Daniel Cross, also known as Animus Subject No. 4. Formerly one of their sleeper agents, this man was currently a high-ranking member of Abstergo's Operations Division.
"I need you to get your Agents searching for that persocom. Capture her, or terminate her – either course will be fine. We can't have her discovered and taken in by an Assassin cell, now can we?" Vidic's expression was grim as his left hand stroked Regenschirm's forehead. He did have a personal stake behind that request, but more to the point, they simply couldn't afford having a rogue persocom as powerful as her running around.
Daniel's grin was predatory, that of a wolf relishing the prospect of an impending hunt. And when he spoke, it was less of a statement than it was a bestial growl.
"Of course, Doc…"
"…consider it done."
Meanwhile, back at St. Benedict's…
Rei's morning History class proceeded as uneventfully as usual, with their teacher giving a lecture that no one really bothered to listen to. It wasn't that the lecture was boring; it was just that he, at least, had read up in advance. Freya could just as easily record the lecture then play it back for him later, and he wasn't really in a hardworking mood at the moment.
Indeed, while Freya hung on to every word as the teacher gave a lecture on the history of the Assassin Order, Rei was hunched over in his seat, absorbed in his paperback novel. But just as he was getting to the story's climax-
At the mention of his surname, Rei leapt to his feet as though hit by a thunderbolt. He forced himself to look his seething teacher squarely in the eye, while his classmates looked on, some of them snickering and/or facepalming at the scene.
"Would you mind reciting the maxim of the Assassin Order?"
Piece of cake, thought Rei.
"Nothing is true; everything is permitted."
"How about the Assassin's Creed?"
Rei rolled his eyes; while this particular recitation question was still far from difficult, it was apparent that the teacher was singling him out today. Drawing a deep breath, he recited each of the Creed's tenets:
"Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent."
"Hide in plain sight."
"Never compromise the Brotherhood."
He heaved a sigh of relief as the teacher bade him sit down, satisfied with his answers.
"How'd you do that, Rei?" asked Shana as their group of friends, including Freya, were walking along the hallway after class. "You weren't even listening, were you?"
"I'm just that good, mother. You ought to know that."
All four of them laughed at that, save Freya, who merely smiled slightly. Their laughter was cut short, though, as something large and heavy hurtled towards Rei's face at a high speed; had he not ducked, it just might have given him an unwanted face lift.
"Mikage…" growled a voice from somewhere above him. Rei looked up at the voice's originator, a youth who could be described in polite terms as a delinquent who suddenly got off his bum and decided to go to school.
"…Yes?" Rei responded, exasperated; he was used to this sort of thing from time to time. "…What is it this time, Asakura? I don't have time to play right now, so if you'll excuse us-"
He didn't get to finish, though, as Asakura threw yet another punch his way. It never even touched him, though, as it was blocked by a decidedly feminine hand.
Rei looked up, expecting to see Shana nailing Asakura in the nuts, but instead of Shana and her signature crimson mane, it was Freya who had interposed herself between him and his longtime nemesis.
"Stupid 'com wants to play rough, eh…!"
The bully threw yet another wild punch, which the blond persocom easily avoided by swaying to the right. Before Asakura could react, Freya stepped forward and drove her open palm into his stomach, laying him out a few feet away. He got up and, with a last incensed glare at Rei and his group, fled the scene, a humiliated dog with his tail between his legs.
Rei was stunned at what his persocom had just done.