We're all in this virtual space together.

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Saidak

You turn to your left, feeling as though the shield might be telling you to travel that way. The hallway is cold; the coding seeming to move in a slow, almost catatonic pace like it was a freezing river. Occasionally, sparks would fly off of the slowly scrolling code, as if something had short circuited somewhere.

You think you are nearing the end of the path and still have not found an exit when you see something glowing softly in front of you. You wonder if one of your lost friends lies ahead, or perhaps a trap of some sort set by whomever or whatever controlled this strange virtual space.

What do you do?

The hallway seemed to be like the inside of a living breathing computer, with beeping and flashing in time with the mainframe’s pulse, wrapping wires for veins flowing with information, and organs lumped and heaped discarded computer parts. The only sound was the silent shuffling of their footsteps as they tried not to humiliate themselves on the cords strewn about the floor, and the incessant beeping of working machinery. It seemed completely deserted.

“Where do you think Amaya is? She couldn’t have gone that far could she?’ Myos frowned in thought, not wanting to immediately jump to the conclusion that something awful had happened to her. The chipper blonde had been basically nothing but a sunny ball of encouragement thus far; she didn’t deserve anything like that.

“Who knows,” Zeke shrugged, the same frown on his face. Sometimes it was frightening how much their facial expressions could mirror each other. “This pathway didn’t look that long.”

Myos nodded in agreement, but felt strange disturbing the silence for once. It was almost eerie how the only sound wasn’t even coming from a living being, just the constant whirring of technology. He thought he was used to the stuff, but apparently without the feeling of human emotions beneath it, it was just hard plastic. He almost wanted to throw all of his various gizmos and gadgets off of him, afraid they may hack into his brainwaves and put him under their monotonous control. Get your wires off me, indeed.

Myos shook his head, afraid of going crazy again.

The pair continued on, noticing that the lights began to become more like a flicker, accompanied with a static pulse. The machinery around them began to appear degraded and worn, as if improperly used. Grime and dirt covered their surroundings and Zeke turned up his nose in disgust, while Myos just made sure to take more careful steps. At the very end of the pathway lay a small circular room, by far the most grime filled place in the whole ship. Strange sludge clung to every surface, and the technology was abused beyond repair. Loose wires and cables hung from every surface, and seemed to be growing from the ground itself like a tangle of vines. In the center of the room stood a large clear tube, which took up the entire vertical space, a large silver base holding up the cylinder that extended all the way to the ceiling. The oversized test tube was filled with the strange glowing sludge that was more viscous than it appeared, because it never stayed in one place, moving like hot magma that was said to flow under the outer surface of the planet humans once called home. Suspended in the very center of the tube was a small, frail girl, with short blonde hair billowing around her. An unmistakable star tattoo on her shoulder made it obvious who it was if the pair didn’t know already.

Amaya was curled in the fetal position, completely nude save for the elegant computer glasses still donned on her face. A device much like an oxygen mask covered her nose and mouth, with a large tube coming out from it and running up the remained of the space and connecting somewhere in the ceiling. The girl’s eyes were closed, and it appeared as if she were sleeping peacefully within the confines of the thick, transparent glass.

Do you wish to know her secret?

Myos jumped back as the words flashed across his screen just as he was about to call out to the girl. He looked over to Zeke for any indication that he had received the message as well, but the other man was still staring blankly at the strange sight before him.

Secret? He didn’t care what kind of secret the girl had. It wasn’t anything that could change or erase the emblazoned star across her skin. They were all partners, team members, and they were staging a revolution. Everyone had secrets. Myos walked closer to the glass, which made Zeke balk in response and run over to him. “What do you think you’re doing?” The ravenette asked in a hushed tone, as if the small girl could hear them.

“Trying to get her out of here,” Myos replied with a whimsical wave of his hand, in theory tossing away and doubts Zeke had - though it didn’t seem to work as the other man kept hovering around him as he made his way around the base looking for some sort of release mechanism. There was none to be found, making the lean young man rub his neck in confusion.

Leave her be. You do not want her.

She is destined to be Alone.

Myos’s signature smile turned into a harsh scowl at the final word of the message, and at that point he didn’t care if his friend thought he was insane. He raised his fist above him angrily, cursing wherever these godforsaken notes were coming from. “Listen here, goddammit, nobody is this universe is meant to be alone!”

As his cry resounded, Myos bounded away from the giant container before sprinting back at full speed towards it. He leaped in midair, metallic gauntlet swirling around him as his armor activated instantaneously, the cool steel flowing over his knuckles perfectly in time for it to connect with the wretched glass. The force of his blow shattered in the area where he had struck, and as he felt his arm begin to go through the dark green viscous liquid, he reached around and pulled the frail looking girl into a tight embrace, not worrying that it was the finely crafted battle armor the girl was actually being held by. She was small and slight in his arms, reminding Myos of a baby bird. Waiting until they were out of the liquid so the girl wouldn’t drown, he removed the mask that covered her face and stood with bated breath waiting for her amaranthine eyes to flutter open.


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