Author: LittleMissBlackbird PM
"There is no strong. There is no weak. As the transparent gas fills each cavern of a room, they are all the same - a pathetic convulsion of limbs against the smooth floor." A psychotic noble who manipulates muscle movement, a cunning merchant whose left eye can turn you to stone and a deliquent with a fondness for explosives... These are the results of your experiment.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Chapters: 6 - Words: 10,426 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 04-22-13 - Published: 10-03-12 - id: 3062859
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The stream of people trickles down the aisles like liquid mercury. A green eye attempts to scan the crowd but in a place so dense they appear seamless, features blurring into wisps of grey. Standing on the edge of the LiNK station, he savours the taste of freedom. However, he knows it is a rapidly fading luxury. The WhiteCoats have tried to obliterate every remaining trace of his past, his clothes, his belongings - even his name.
'Argon.' The familiar name rolls easily off his tongue and he wonders if they knew that it was also the name that man gave him…
"Brother." A pale hand tugs against the sleeve of his waistcoat. "It is time to board the circuit."
He blinks twice as if awakening from a trance like state. The girl stares blankly in return, her eyes reflecting nothing. There's something unnerving about this girl and he has to hastily remind himself she's just another survivor of the experiment. The WhiteCoats called her 'Marionette' but oddly enough the name fits. Today a rather convincing blond wig conceals her dark tendrils of hair and her white shift exchanged for a simple blue gown with a precisely cut lace collar. A white ribbon ties up half of her 'hair' whilst the rest drapes down like a sheer cotton curtain. The WhiteCoats concluded it would be too suspicious for a girl with Marionette's manner to travel alone – she would draw far too much attention to herself. So to avoid this, Argon was given the role of her 'brother'. After all, who would look twice at a happy family on an outing?
A brief grimace fleets across his face at the thought. Today he is an ignorant fool living a blissfully wonderful life – pathetic. The worst part is that a tiny fragment of him, a traitorous fragment wishes this life were his.
Red glances at him from across the terminal. With his numerous piercings and startling neon hair, he could hardly pass as a member of the 'happy family'. Instead, he was granted the role of the mechanic – a rather coarse worker with the filthy mouth of a sailor. He muffles a snicker as Argon grudgingly steps on the LiNK. His irritation is evident but it vanishes quickly, replaced with a wide grin. It is so blatantly false that Red almost wants to laugh. However, now is not the time for such frivolities. He saunters aboard the connecting cabin carrying himself in that slouching manner that can only be achieved by real confidence. The pristine white doors slid together like perfectly shaped jigsaw pieces. The outline of each opening glows for a fleeting moment before merging into a single white wall. The cube shaped cabin is colourless, odourless and completely identical to the next. Perhaps these uniform qualities are supposed to conjure an air of serenity but for Red, they simply disturb him.
It looks like the Institute.
He roughly shakes his head; he has no time for this idle nonsense. There is a task he must complete and if he does not…
A sharp flash of green awakens him from his train of thought. Argon dips his head in the slightest of acknowledgement before smoothly seating himself on one of the plush seats. Personally, Red does not care much for his soon-to-be accomplice. No, Argon is far too calculating, too precise. Hell, he probably even measures the angle he bends his arm to wave. However, it is not as though he has much of a choice in companions. At this rate, the only people besides the WhiteCoats who he'll have contact with are Argon and that girl – Marionette. He may as well attempt to be civil.
'Attempt' is the key word here.
The thought of picking a fight crosses his mind before submerging back into his unconscious. He strides past instead, his gait long and purposeful – and it is, for he has a task. He needs to stop the LiNK within ten minutes. As for them… they have the difficult mission at hand.
The connecting door clicks quietly as he steps into the cabin to the left. His eyes quickly scan the room for a sign of anyone else, anything else, but all he finds is the blank expanse of white walls. He gets to work. Very few outskirts dwellers pride themselves on their knowledge regarding the technology of Ira. For the poor, it usually seemed too intricate, a complex web tangling everything in its threads. However, after the Professors instructions, even a simpleton could complete this task and Red is no simpleton.
Or so he hopes.
His hand gingerly touches the smooth panelling of the wall.
'Approximately 30 centimetres from the upper left corner, you can feel the faintest outline…' There it is. Red can hear his own breath hitch and he feels the slightest ridge beneath his fingertips. He traces the edge of the invisible square almost afraid that it will vanish beneath his touch.
'This will appear in exactly the same position within every cabin, the engineering class were always so fixated upon symmetry…' Red can hear the words of the Professor resounding in his mind so vividly now he can almost see that gaunt face shaking in disapproval. That arrogant sniff in his tone…
'By now even one as incompetent as you should realise what this appears to be-' His hands grasp at what appears to be a 'chip' in the otherwise perfect vehicle and he prises the equilateral square open to reveal a hoard of wires and bolts.
- the control panel.'
From what he can recall of that rather tedious lecture, the panels were placed in the LiNK as a safety precaution should anything go wrong. Red almost laughs at the irony. He can envision that uppity engineer tearing apart their hair when they find out this 'precaution' is the very thing that will compromise the security of every person aboard. He turns his gaze onto the tangle of wires and circuits and smirks as if welcoming an old friend.
After all, he hasn't done this in a while.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Marionette glances at her pocket watch just in time to see the second hand pass over the twelve. Her eyebrows knit together in an almost frown as she wonders what in Ira is taking that peculiar 'Red' man so long. It does seem quite odd of the WhiteCoats to name him thus, especially when he seems so very, well, blue. She subconsciously taps her foot against the floor in her impatience. Things are rather dull inside the cabin and it is almost teatime. In her boredom, Marionette turns her vacant eyes toward the passengers. Argon reminds her immensely of the people back home in a strange way. Not in the way he acts, the people she was surrounded by would have deemed his sarcasm slightly offensive. No, it is something else altogether. It's that look in his eyes. That cruel, laughing glint that doesn't match up with the pretty words tumbling from his mouth. Everyone in the manor always looked like that. They would always flatter her with needless titles. It was always "my lady" this, or "nobility" that. It seems so pointless to be adorned with titles that really mean nothing anymore. A ghostly smile spreads across her face as she remembers. No matter, the manor folk cannot laugh anymore - Marionette has seen to that herself.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Nine and a half minutes. Marionette sharply clicks the watch shut. If Red has not stopped the circuit by now, the chances are he never will. Her gloved hands twitch in anticipation – it is her turn now. Her stone eyes focus upon the tiny threads connecting to the civilian's bodies and she winds them carefully around her fingers.
Marionette wrenches them apart.
Piercing screams shatter the fragile silence as the passengers writhe helplessly in their seats, heads wrenched back by an invisible force. A giggle creeps into her throat as she studies the peculiar positions they're in. Why, one of them is all twisted up like a pretzel! As her laugh cuts through the air, the people widen their eyes in horror. She cocks her head to the side in confusion. Why are they looking at her like that? Why are they looking at her like she's insane? Marionette pursues her lips together in a pout.
"Now, that's just plain rude." She reprimands. "Did your mother never tell you it is not polite to stare?"
Marionette lifts her long fingers in a finishing movement, only to be interrupted by a firm grasp.
"Playtime is over, dear sister."
She turns her head sharply. Argon simply returns her blank gaze with a stony glare of his own. He shakes his head slowly from side to side as if reprimanding a small incapable child.
"We have a task, let us not forget it." He pauses for a second scanning his surroundings. "It will be troublesome to search for the cargo in a state like this…"
Argon turns his critical right eye upon the remaining civilians, taking in the trembling hands, their cheap attire and the glistening drops of sweat upon their brow dripping down slowly. With a sigh, he addresses them.
"I presume you all saw nothing out of the ordinary on this particular LiNK ride?"
Numbly, the passengers' nod one by one, their eyes never straying from his piercing green gaze.
"I don't trust you."
His fingers slip nimbly under the wayward strands of hair falling over his face. Fumbling slightly, he hooks his nails under the adhesive patch barricading his left eye. The Professor ensured him that the patch would remain hidden to avoid arousing suspicion and to prevent turning unfortunate onlooker to stone. However, the time for such precautions has long passed.
He removes the patch.
The thick rock envelops the passengers, consuming their bodies with a vengeance. Shaking hands are frozen in mid-twitch; eyes cemented and unblinking – not a single eyelash flickers. There is silence, absolute silence. Argon inhales sharply. His own hands are a perfect imitation of his victim's deathly still limbs.
"Stop it. Stop staring at me…" he mutters fiercely.
An unwelcome shudder runs up his spine and he forces himself to begin rummaging through their travelling cases in search of the cargo. His companion remains eerily quiet, ignoring him completely. Marionette gingerly prods a finger against one of the 'statues' in morbid fascination only to find it completely solid. Twirling a strand of her blond wig, she smiles sweetly at the eternally petrified face.
"You really should not make such a gruesome face, it could easily ward off potential suitors." She remarks airily. Finding herself rather bored once again after bestowing this particular piece of advice, Marionette turns to observe the scene in front of her. Argon stands up rather abruptly, jerking himself to his feet.
"The bags are empty."
As soon as the words leave his mouth, he finds himself glaring at the obvious contradiction. Why exactly are they empty? Circuit 242 only has two connected LiNK cabins, one of which they are standing in at this precise moment. Argon frowns slightly. When Red walked into the cabin, there was no sign of anyone else. What could be in an empty cabin? Unease stabs at his gut as he realises something is wrong, terribly wrong. The question is, what?
Argon's fingers jab frantically at the entrance to the next cabin, willing, pleading, for it to open. His jaw tenses visibly as time decides to jest with him. He can feel his teeth grinding together like blunt scissor blades, can hear the gears in the door turning with an excruciating slow click, can see the entrance drawing open bit by bit like a velvet curtain vanishing to reveal the stage. Argon coarsely shoves his way into the cabin, eyes flickering from side to side that will ease his suspicions; something will prove he was wrong. All he finds in return is a body slumped beneath a rectangular panel of wires.
'Red' He almost laughs at the irony as he takes in those dishevelled strands of startling blue. 'It's Red.'
A suffocating silence settles upon them and for an instant, they forget to breathe. Inhaling quickly, Argon is the first to shatter it.
"Aren't you going to greet me?" The words come out more bitter than intended, laced with that hint of sarcasm.
"Good day, sir. How are you faring?" Red's tone is mocking and Argon inwardly snickers at the feeble excuse for an aristocratic accent.
"I fear my 'good day' has been ruined."
"And pray, why is that sir?"
"Oh I don't know," He pauses. "Because an incompetent imbecile with highlighter hair couldn't figure out how to cut a few measly wires."
A frustrated growl echoes through the room, and Red unconsciously clenches his fists tighter.
"Look pretty boy, the fucking wires were already cut."
"It's a tad late to grasp the general objective-"
"-Listen." Red hisses, venom thick in his tone. Argon takes a step back slightly unnerved by this sudden menacing manner.
"The wires connecting to the emergency brake were completely severed by the time I got to the panel. It also doesn't help that some asshole had the steering controls completely removed."
Red feels himself smirk in satisfaction as he lazily observes Argon's eyes widening in disbelief from the corner of his own. After seeing the desired reaction, he continues on.
"The worst part is the course has been completely tampered with."
"What do you mean?" Argon rasps out the question with urgency, demanding an answer.
"The same person decided to reprogram the entire route these LiNK cabins are taking. Quite thorough too, the virus they've set upon us would take me a good half hour to break through."
"Then why don't you?"
Red simply shakes his head, ignoring the challenge the other boy is posing.
"At the rate we're going, we'll arrive at their desired destination within ten minutes." Glancing slyly over at his rather agitated accomplice, he snickers.
"We're not on Circuit 242 anymore, pretty boy.
A/N: Happy New Year! I apologise for taking so long to update one measly chapter. I really don't have any excuses other than a severe case of writers block - I was practically breaking out in a rash. This year, I hope to update this story at a much faster pace and hopefully the next chapter will be up within two weeks. ^.^
As always, reviews and comments would be appreciated.