The girl falls to the ground, crying out and clutching her shoulder. She’s lucky I missed. She’s even luckier that I missed on purpose.
“Consider that a warning,” I smile.
I turn and continue walking, happy with my threat.
“It’s true, you know… I used to be one of you human-trash, but I’ve Upgraded since then,” I gloat. “I was the first to be, and the first to live through it. I’m the most powerful and respected Halfling in the whole Ring. I have equivalent power as Peratt, or I would if I wasn’t just below him in rankings. So I’d be scared of me, if I were you—scared of what I could do to you.”
We reach the elevator. The doors close behind me, and I turn to face the humans.
“I was the one who discovered the serum to turn you puny things into strong Rethurps. You could say I’m a genius. Actually, I’d prefer it,” I say, as I turn to the doors, ready for them to open.
I catch my reflection.
“What the…” I say aloud, leaning forward to get a better look at what the reflective surface is showing me.
The doors open before I can process exactly what it is I’m seeing. I shake away the thought and step out. Maybe I’m seeing things. It’s not strange with all the holograms everywhere and whatnot.
“Mer,” I bark.
Why does she seem taller?
“Take care of these crummy fetuses. Peratt’s orders.” I take a moment to look back and chuckle. “They have no idea what they are about to experience.”
“As soon as I can, ma’am. I have fifty other patients to inject before them,” She says, attitude slipping past her thin lips and pointed teeth.
“I don’t like your tone with me,” I say, stepping closer. She’s definitely taller. “Fix it.”
“Yes ma’am,” She smiles. I know it’s fake. I know she hates me. She always has. She’s just jealous of me, is all.
I smile and give the prisoners a short wave.
“See you when you’re a Halfling,” I laugh and step back between the reflective surfaces of the elevator.
The doors shut and I’m left staring at the girl in the mirror. I was right… it’s not me looking back at me. It’s someone else.
“Who are you?” I ask her after pressing the button to go back to Peratt’s office. She mimics my every move.
She wears a loose black shirt and white jean shorts. A long, white lab coat hangs over her powerful body and her purple eyes glow. Her blonde hair falls to her back and half of her right arm is purple. Her body is riddled with spots of purple, just small enough to barely be able to notice them.
What do you know? It’s my reflection, I think sarcastically.
I roll my eyes and stare at the clear floor below me. Why am I doubting myself and what I look like? Never have I ever doubted myself. I must not have gotten enough sleep last night or something.
The elevator dings and I step out into the hall. Everyone is rushing everywhere, and I don’t understand why. We have two more days until the attack, not a flipping hour.
I grunt and roll my eyes as I walk down to the busy hallways. Coming across Peratt’s office door, I knock on it three times. I lean my shoulder on the doorframe and wait. A minute later, he opens the door and ushers me in with a forced smile on his face and a worried look in his eyes.
“Do we know where the threat was sent from?” I ask, immediately getting down to business and closing the door.
“No,” He says, sitting in the seat behind his ginormous desk. “I just know that they sent another one. This time it’s a Declaration of War. They want to go to war.”
I lean on my back the door and watch as he types something in his computer.
“Do you know what species?”
“But you just said that you received a DOW. What, they didn’t send it in a video? That’s the norm now a-days,” I say, kicking myself off of the door and walking over to look over his shoulder.
He closes out of whatever he had been looking at as I reach him, showing the image of the Government Building as his desktop.
“No,” He groans, annoyed. “They just sent a message that they’ll be here in two days to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs.”
“Mm,” I nod, and sit down in a chair in front of his desk. “So the day after tomorrow is the big day, and we still don’t know who this mysterious alien species is? I think they’re cowards.”
“Unless they’re utter geniuses,” He mutters. “Not knowing what they are gives us a disadvantage because we have no idea what their weakness is. It exhausts our resources because we’re pulling out everything we can to protect the Ring.”
“Ah,” I say. “I still think they’re just plain ignorant.”
He nods absentmindedly and types something else in on the holographic keyboard below his claws.
I’m so glad they finally made a hologram we can’t see through. Of course, it’s just for looks, but I love looks. Holograms that look solid are the best manipulation ever invented, and I know how to work one to make it full-scale, thanks to my being Second in Command. I can’t lie—I have the most amazing job ever. I even helped with the making of the gray matter inside of the simulation spheres. Such great technology.
“So, I was wondering,” I say, breaking him from his trance. “If I could be the one to lead the troops into battle.”
He smiles humorously, his eyes still on the screen.
“Because I think I deserve it,” I say, leaning back in the chair.
He chuckles and something flashes in his eyes.
“Sure, why not.”
“Cool,” I say and stand up. “I’m going to go eat something now.”
He gives me a nod and a grunt as I walk out the door. I make my way to the Food Center and load my plate with vegetables and fruits. I feel like I haven’t eaten for days. I scarf it all down.
I wonder how long it will take for those people I took up to the Changing Room to Change or Upgrade or whatever. Mer had said that there were fifty people she had to take care of before she could get to them. Plus it takes a while for the serum to work.
Filling my plate for the second time, I have a brilliant idea.
I finish off my food, careful not to choke, and walk quickly back into Peratt’s office.
“What?” He snaps.
“I had an idea,” I say, closing the door behind me.
He looks up at me.
“What is it?”
“The people in the Domes. They’re filled with nanos that will attack the memory portions of the brain and ‘reset’ them, correct?”
“And they’re programmable, right?”
“Why don’t we just program the nanobots to make them fight for us?”
He stares at me for a long time before breaking out into an airy chuckle.
“I sure have missed you, Sier.”
“I’ve only been gone for about twenty minutes,” I laugh.