Raid 10

"What are you looking at?" Elliot asked calmly.

"Oh, uh, nothing." Zenith responded hastily. He wondered how his companion could possible look so calm after what had just happened without even seeming windblown in the slightest. I guess he's just a veteran in every sense, Zenith thought. "I wonder how Seris and Aya are doing."

"We should probably check up on them. As they haven't responded yet, I am assuming that they haven't finished eliminating their targets." Elliot replied.

"Then let's hurry, they shouldn't be too far away." Zenith suggested.

"Yes, I suppose we should." Elliot replied after a sigh. "Perhaps splitting up wasn't the best course of action." He added on afterthought.

"Seris, what happened?" Zenith asked as he and Elliot reunited with the girls. It appeared that they were not as lucky as Zenith and Elliot had been with their Contaminoid. Elliot stepped forward immediately to assist Aya in combat as Seris drew back.

"We tried to surprise it, but we heard a huge crash out of the blue and the noise startled it." Seris responded. She had a large, open hole in the silicon just above her knee but appeared unharmed otherwise. "It noticed us, so we had no choice but to attack it head on."

"Is your leg okay?" Zenith asked, worried. He didn't know what to make of a cyborg's injuries, never having really received one yet himself.

"Oh, this?" Seris replied, slightly distracted. "I damaged the machinery inside a little, but it should be fine. It's nothing that can't be fixed. More importantly, I think we should help."

"Yeah, we should." Zenith agreed as he looked back to the other two. Elliot was, once again, firing at the Contaminoid from a distance, while Aya seemed to be dancing around it with frightening speed. She constantly circled around it, jumped over it higher than Zenith thought was possible, even for an Eden Guard, and sliced down on the insect's hard outer shell. Neither Elliot nor Aya seemed to have any effect on it other than to further enrage the insect.

I guess its eyes really are its only weak spots. Zenith grimaced. It seemed to be near-impossible to get anywhere close to its eyes. This Contaminoid seemed to be younger than the one that Zenith had fought. It had a longer body and an extra set of wings. As a result, it flew and trashed about faster than the other one had.

"Come on, we should help too." Seris called out to him. Zenith nodded in response as they too entered the fray.

However, even with all four of them attacking the insect at once, the damage they were doing to it was near minimal. Even Zenith's blade, which Alice claimed to be able to cut through most things with ease, was barely able to scratch the hard, outer shell of the adolescent Contaminoid. It was all Zenith could to do keep himself from being slammed to the ground by the trashing insect.

"Seris, watch out!" Aya cried out from somewhere behind him. As Zenith frantically looked around for the cause of Aya's distress, he soon located Seris on the other side of the Contaminoid. She had somehow managed to dig one of her blades in between the exoskeleton layers and appeared to have actually done significant damage to the giant insect. Unfortunately, this caused the enraged creature to turn against her with its full body weight while her blade was still stuck inside of it. Even as an Eden Guard, Seris would not be able to support the entire weight of the shelled insect.

"Seris!" Zenith cried out in alarm as he felt the Contaminoid ready itself to crush her. To crush her, again. She was probably crushed to death when she had died during the 'clean-up' of District 33. Crushed to death by the weight of the fallen ruins of large buildings and other debris.

"Aya, what are you…!" Elliot cried out, snapping Zenith back into reality.

"Initiating BREAK." Aya cut off whatever Elliot had been trying to say as she began to run towards Seris. "INSANITY MODE, ACTIVATE."

As soon as she had finished speaking, Aya's speed had increased dramatically. Zenith knew that he had trouble tracking her before, even with his enhanced vision. Now, all he saw of her was a fuzzy blur, and sometimes he couldn't even see that either.

Just as suddenly, Seris's blade was suddenly ripped out of the exoskeleton of the Contaminiod and the giant insect began to writhe in irritation, searching for an enemy it couldn't find.

"Get back, everyone! Aya can take this alone." Elliot called out sharply. Confused by what was happening, Zenith did as he was told and regrouped with Elliot and Seris a little ways from the still-writhing insect.

"We need to think of another plan." Elliot told them with a hint of tension in his usually calm voice.

"What's going on?" Zenith demanded.

"Aya entered Break." Seris said.

"And what exactly is this Break thing?" Zenith asked, feeling stupid.

"It's a special state we can enter by an executive command. It usually enhances some our abilities to some extent while lowering others and it increases our main engine usage, which means we'll deplete energy faster." Elliot explained. "For example, my Break enables me to control the security systems of Eden, given that I am connected to it."

"Okay," Zenith began, "so why do we need another plan if Aya entered Break and can defeat the thing anyway?"

"You see, Aya's Break increases her speed considerably, but at the cost of a lowered ability to think rationally." Seris clarified. "Aya should be able to be able to take out the Contaminoid with that speed of hers, but then she might become sort of a double-edged sword, if you will."

"So you're saying that she might turn on us?" Zenith asked, bewildered. He had no idea how to fight someone who he couldn't even see.

"Basically, yes." Seris replied.

"But why would she attack us?" Zenith continued. "I mean, even if it lowers her ability to think rationally, it doesn't automatically mean that she'll turn on us, right?"

Nobody answered him.

"I believe we're out of time." Elliot remarked with a strained voice as the Contaminoid screeched one final cry of torment as it finally fell to the ground. For a brief second, Aya stared at it. Then, slowly, she turned around and stared at them with slightly unfocused eyes. She continued to stare at them for a long time, as if she was contemplating on attacking them or not.

"Nobody move." Seris whispered silently as she slowly began to walk towards Aya as she glared back.

"Seris, what are you doing?" Zenith whispered back, trying hard to keep his volume low.

"Elliot, can you stop me if I go too far?" Seris asked instead of answering.

"I understand." Elliot replied.

"Seris, why won't you…?" Zenith started again, only to be cut off.


Just as suddenly as Aya had increased her speed, a soft glow of light encased Seris and lifted her into the air.

"Whoa," Zenith gasped, "is Seris flying?"

"Seris' Break enables her to use vast amounts of energy to enough to neutralize gravity." Elliot explained.

"Yeah, I can tell." Zenith replied, still awed. "It's pretty amazing."

"Perhaps." Elliot continued. "But her Break has its setbacks as well."

"Setbacks?" Zenith asked. "You mean like how Aya can't think rationally right now?"

"Precisely." Elliot replied. "In Seris's case, activating Break lowers her emotional capability."

"What do you…" Zenith started again, only to be cut off as Seris and Aya suddenly lunged at each other.

It was truly a sight to behold. On one hand, Aya was a little more than a blur of color whizzing around with incredible speed. On the other hand, Seris was flying around, surrounded by an aura of blue light, predicting and deflecting Aya's attacks. Zenith couldn't foresee the outcome of their duel.

Then, with a black expression of what almost seemed to be boredom on her face, Seris emitted blue light around her arms as she changed the shape of her blades to be longer and thinner than they had been before. For a while longer, the two seemed to be evenly matched. They fought as if they were dancing a choreographed routine. Finally, Seris changed the shape of her blades yet again, this time into two hook-like claws.

A loud noise caused Zenith to turn around in mild alarm, as he saw Elliot charging at the two girls on full speed on his Cherubim.

"Wait!" Zenith cried out in alarm. "What are you doing?"