Chapter 1: Painful Memories
"Good morning everyone and welcome to SkyTech Pharmaceuticals! Where innovation brings more ways to give and sustain life on Earth,"
Fabiana looked around and sighed deeply.
"Annoyed that you can't see anymore than the tour?" asked Mili.
"That's an understatement," she replied.
They wordlessly followed the tour guide in front of them.
"Founded in 2007 by Arthur Matthews, SkyTech has been the leading name in medical research and development for 33 years and continues to prove instrumental in furthering the treatment of disease and the health of all people on the planet,"
She then gestured to a lab where scientists were working diligently while examining a white lab rat.
"One of the most prominent products SkyTech is known for is the introduction of biofoam, a substance that is capable of copying the exact DNA of anything it touches in order to ensure that all wounds are healed to their fullest extent,"
Fabiana looked on in fascination as one of the scientists used a small spray can to apply some of the foam to a large cut on the rat's torso. Right before her eyes, the wound not only sealed itself completely, it also immediately regrew the lost hair from the afflicted area.
"We have already begun human trials and proven successful in its application and we're proud to be launching it for consumer use in three months," said the guide.
Mili smiled and shrugged.
"I guess these people really do know what they're doing," she said.
"Considering that this place is comprised mostly of Hawks...it doesn't surprise me that a lot of this stuff looks like it's fresh out of some sci-fi movie," she said.
Mili nodded in agreement.
"If you'll follow me to the Biology Wing?" said the guide.
Fabiana rolled her eyes and obeyed her words as the group of students continued to look around the building. The field trip to SkyTech Pharmaceuticals was done three times a year in order to expose the medical students to new technology in addition to showing them what working at the company would be like. Though it wasn't really her intention to work as a doctor or as a scientist, Fabiana had a fascination with the advancements in technology.
"Ma'am? Was Arthur Matthews the only one who founded the company?"
Fabiana looked to see that a freshman student had raised her hand and was looking curiously at her. The guide smiled.
"Your name is?" she asked.
"Doan Len-Sing," replied the student.
The guide shook her head.
"It was co-founded by Arthur's entire family and his best friend,"
She pressed a button and much to everyone's surprise, a holographic screen appeared on the wall behind her.
"Arthur's wife Alyssa and his daughter Cassandra were the top scientists at the company and his best friend Miles Baneford was the financial genius who managed to get the company onto the market," she explained.
Fabiana's eyes widened as she looked at Miles's face, recognizing it almost instantly.
"That...that's the guy that led the..." she gasped.
Mili immediately grabbed her friend by the shoulder and hushed her.
"Don't react to it...you know what happens when your emotions flare up," she snapped.
She could suddenly feel the the air molecules around them begin to heat up, flowing through every inch of wall and floor in the room and every fiber of her being wanted to obliterate the screen that showed the man she hated most. She slowly took a breath and calmed down, her sense of the all the heat fading almost in sync with her anger.
"There's nothing we can do about it now...we have to live on," said Mili.
"I know...but they're continuing to feed lies to all these people and I don't like it...not one bit,"
Mili looked up to see the same girl who had asked the question earlier in the tour.
"Is this seat taken? I'm new here and I was hoping to meet some locals to show me around," she said.
Mili smiled and scooted over to give her room to sit.
"Doan right? Where are you from?" asked Fabiana.
"Georgia," she replied.
"Always wanted to be here in Canada I take it?" interjected Mili.
"Really wanted to leave home...it was really hard to fit in there," replied Doan.
Fabiana nodded slowly.
"What're you majoring in?" asked Fabiana.
"Nursing," replied Doan.
Fabiana laughed softly.
"What about you?" asked Doan as she looked to Mili.
She shrugged in response.
"Not entirely sure yet," she replied.
"Any ideas of what?" continued Doan.
She shrugged again.
"I've been looking at modeling, maybe something in the sciences," she mumbled.
"Are you two sisters?" she asked.
Fabiana started laughing loudly.
"No we're just best friends; been this way since we were kids," she said.
Doan looked at 's neck for a split second before raising two fingers.
"You're Fabiana Marquez and Mili Le right?" asked Doan.
Mili raised her eyebrow, looking at Fabiana as if she were suspicious.
"How do you know our names?" she asked.
"Fabiana's got the third highest average in the school in Chemistry and Biology and well...you're really popular with the freshman guys Mili," replied Doan.
Fabiana shook her head.
"People aren't going to let go of that choker joke or that black dress you wore to that frat party I guess..." she sighed.
It wasn't much of a surprise; Fabiana and Mili were similar in personality but in terms of image, they seemed like almost polar opposites. Fabiana was the dedicated working type, always studying and working herself to the bone while her best friend was rather laid back and somehow always found time to go to parties and enjoy herself. Though she was a very smart person, she wasn't at all interested in school and preferred to spend her time having fun and sleeping instead of doing work. It was something that simultaneously annoyed and relieved Fabiana.
It was a good distraction from the past but at the same time, she had to admit that she was getting tired of picking up some of the slack that she threw on her. Some of the time, Fabiana ended up doing Mili's assignments because she happened to venture to a party and not return home until it was far too late for her to get any meaningful work done. Her outgoing nature earned her a reputation for being one of the best looking women in the school, with a black choker that she almost always wore being the item that separated her from the rest of them.
The girls were interrupted by Mili's phone going off. Fabiana rolled her eyes upon recognizing the techno tone that was going off.
"I'll be right back..." she said.
She quickly took her leave from the table as Fabiana looked at her own phone.
"Who's that?" asked Doan.
"Some guy she's been seeing...I really don't like him," replied Fabiana.
"He's really secretive...he doesn't give me a good feeling,"
"One of those huh?"
"She's probably the most important person to me...so I worry about her all the time,"
"How long have you two been friends?" asked Doan.
Fabiana's eyes narrowed.
"Since we were children..."
"We have to get out of here!"
I grabbed Mili by the hand and pulled her.
"There's nothing we can do for them now Mili..."
"How can you say that when your father went back in!"
She looked absolutely furious and I could feel her strength growing more and more. It wouldn't be long before she went feral and then there would be no way I could get through to her.
"You're injured and you need time to heal...stay in the cabin and I'll go and find them," I said.
She cursed loudly.
"I can't let you go back in there alone Fabi...it's suicide,"
"I'm very difficult to injure...if things get too bad I'll run back here," I assured.
She closed her eyes and shuddered as she released my hand. Clearly, the decision she made had taken a tremendous amount of willpower.
"Don't you dare get killed...you're all I have left,"
I nodded as I turned back to the burning town.
"I can only hope I'm not too late for them..."
As soon as she went inside of the cabin, I took to the sky and made my way over to the city. It wasn't long before I could feel the presence of five invaders. The subtle changes in the air from their body heat alerted me to their locations. I looked to the sky and felt the energy from the air molecules. It would be difficult; it was a rainy day which meant there wasn't a lot of heat I could work with. I closed my eyes and focused hard, condensing as much of the air molecules as I could around my targets and soon, I felt ready to act. I raised one of my hands and released the condensed energy, allowing it to erupt into a massive burst of heat as it rushed to find somewhere else to go. In the same instant I released the air, I set it ablaze by rapidly vibrating the molecules until they sparked. My efforts were successful; three of them were now lit on fire and there was nothing they could do about it. I however noticed the fourth presence had vanished. I barely got to react to the final presence and found myself grabbed by the neck. Before I could make another move, I was sent hurtling towards the ground.
I was unable to recover from the momentum and I collided with the ground. Though I wasn't harmed, I knew that I only had mere seconds to get out of the way before I would be pinned down. I rolled out of the way only to see my attacker collide with the ground with his fist, creating a large crater. I immediately tried to strike him with lightning but much to my astonishment, he easily sidestepped the attack. He rushed towards me at a much greater speed than I anticipated and he managed to lock his hand around my neck before slamming me against the side of a house. I struggled to get free as I noticed his eyes...the unmistakable amber of a Hawk.
"You're all very resilient...I'll give you that much but your numbers are too few to have a chance at stopping us,"
He threw me into the ground before stepping on my stomach with great force, driving the air out of my lungs.
"Your people are finished...and now you'll help us all evolve further by offering your gifts,"
I finally felt my limbs come back to life as I searched for a source of heat. I smiled as I noticed four large power lines that had fallen in the street. I focused and hard, collecting the heated air that was around the sparking wires before applying it to my skin. It wasn't a lot to work with...but it was my only chance at getting out of this because I was nowhere near strong enough to break free with my physical strength. After calmly accepting the necessary pain that accompanied whenever I did this, I opened my eyes, glaring at him. He didn't seem to notice that my body was changing and once I felt I had enough, I shoved him off of me before raising my hand.
"We're not done yet,"
He tried to come at me again and the moment he got within range, I set my body ablaze and grabbed onto him. He howled in agony and before he could break free, I fired a kick to his left leg, snapping it like a twig. I watched his flesh begin to burn before my eyes and within seconds, he collapsed to the ground, just barely managing to get himself out of the inferno before it cauterized a vital part of his body. I gave him no time to recover and immediately grabbed him by the neck before giving him a cold glare.
"We aren't going down without a fight,"
I wasn't proud of killing others...in fact it was something I preferred to avoid...but in order to save my family and also Mili's...I had to do this. I increased the temperature of the flames and soon, he began to scream again. I closed my eyes to make it easier for myself and after nearly a minute of screaming, he finally fell silent. I threw his charred corpse to the ground before dousing the flames on my body. Now remembering my objective, I closed my eyes and focused. I listened for any sign of them...and much to my horror, I could hear my mother's cries of agony.
I moved as fast as my body would allow, passing through the my hometown of Scarborough which was now reduced to a blazing warzone. As I grew closer, the screams of my mother grew louder and louder until I finally found her...being assimilated. I had never seen such agony in anyone's eyes before...nor had I seen a man as sinister as the one holding her by the throat and torturing her with his mind.
It took a brief moment for her to realize that she wasn't in her memories and she snapped back to reality to see Doan holding her hand.
"Are you okay?"
She let out a deep sigh as she turned to Mili.
"Yeah...just painful memories," she replied.