Chapter One: Sunflower
My birthmark unsettles me… It wraps around my neck completely and then drops down to the very center of my sternum. I was told once by someone that that was the way I died. In some form and way, my death was so atrocious that I was reincarnated with this haunting deathblow. They also said that I will repeat my death as long as I'm a good and obedient girl. It frightens me to think there's a chance I would die in the same manner as my past life so… I agreed to always follow what Alton, the captain of the Phoenix government says. Patya Phoenix, the leader of Colossus City orders us to fight and eradicate the "treacherous beings" that stand against us. Us, who try and revive the world that has now been reduced to rubble. Refuse and you'd be dragged to the edge of the world; never to be seen or heard of again. I suppose only the crazed, useless, outcasted and disobedient are sent there because where else should our enemies be sent? I just hope we can end this war and send every last treacherous being and scavenger to the edge of the world. Little is known about the treacherous beings besides the fact that they are the enemy, they are strong, they have the same technology and they train the beasts of the land to attack us. As for the scavengers, they hunt what they see, steal what they want and keep what they kill. They are not so bad as long as they aren't in numbers. But the thing is that they always travel in numbers… The best and only way to defeat them, when you're on your own, is to hide and wait for them to leave if you haven't already been seen. If you're seen… You might as well be dead.
A sudden burst of wind broke my concentration and blew my short silver hair in all directions. My blue eyes traveled the scene around me; seeing if anyone was trying to sneak up on me. No one. Leaning my head back, my tanned skin soaked up the sun as sweat rolled down my neck. I'm suppose to patrol this area of a wasteland but I zoned out from boredom. I checked my watched.
"Thirty-five more minutes and my shift is over." I muttered. Decided to stretch a bit but quickly drew my gun out when I heard something. A small lizard popped out from behind a rock and stuck it's tongue out at me. "Tsk! You startled me…" I put my gun up and picked the small creature up by it's tail. It squirmed with all it's might and made weird noises. "There there. I'm not gonna eat ya. Your kind taste funny to me anyways." I said as I walked over to my small black box on the ground. "Gonna teleport you to the city where it should be safer for you. You'll be in my garden so you'll have plenty of grub to eat tonight." I said as I put him down. I entered the coordinates of my garden and away he went except for his tail. "Tsk! Why does that always happen?" I scratched my head. I picked up the lizards tail and stuffed it in my pocket.
A few minutes passed and I felt a drop of water hitting the tip of my nose. I looked up at the sky… It no longer held its beautiful blue color but now it's a mixture of whites, grays and blacks. This war had stained the skies and the remaining peoples hearts in this rotten world. Shifting my gun on my hip, I looked around at the collapsed and abandoned buildings for a while. Our kind has been through so much. The reasonable feeling you should get when gazing upon these structures is sorrow. And yet, I feel nothing. Perhaps it's because I've become accustom to the scenery or this war has turned my heart to stone. It's too hot to be standing around here and my black armor doesn't help. My helmet sat down by my equipment on the ground, collecting dust and spider webs. Always feel like I'm trap when wearing it… So I only use it when things are serious. I sighed and wiped the sweat from my face. Could really go for another breeze by now or at least some rain or something that will cool things off! "Tsk! If the next person doesn't hurry up and get their ass over here, then I'm leaving! They can fuss at me later for leaving my post." I grumbled. I heard a rumble in the distance. A storm? I checked my watched and switched it to the weather forecast. Suppose to be heavy showers tonight around eight. I grabbed my helmet and put it on; my scanner detected something by one of those old buildings so I pulled the monitor up. Two obvious human figures were hiding in a small store. Too small of a group to be scavengers but I shouldn't let my guard down. Pulling my gun back out, I crawled and rolled around in the dirt toward the building. When I had my back against the wall, I took the safety of my gun off and checked my scanner to see if they were still sitting there. I snuck in through the windows with some huge debris thankfully covering me. When I peered around the corner, I was surprised to see a tanned girl tied up with only one scavenger sitting by her sleeping. She was a short curvy woman with messy clone hair covering her face. She wore a white tank top with a short pink jacket, blue jean shorts with black leggings and pink boots. She looked as if she was out here for a couple of days and got caught by this loser. Was she from the city? I put my gun up and pulled my scimitars out from the side and snuck behind her.
"Mmm!" she looked up, revealing to me her freckled face and teal eyes. Her mouth was gagged by a piece of cloth and her the cut on her left cheek was bleeding.
"Shh!" I hushed her. "I'm gonna get you out of here, ok?" I whispered. She relaxed and nodded her head. I cut her loose and quietly escorted her out of the building. "Are there anymore scavengers?" I asked her as soon as we were far away to talk.
"N-no… Ah! Thanks for saving me." she walked faster to catch up to me. "Um… I was wondering-"
"What are you doing out here by yourself?" I asked her. "You are from the city, right? I'll escort you back and we'll report what happened."
"I'm not going back!" she stopped. I paused and slowly looked back at her. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to go back? Without any equipment or something to defend against these monsters, only the mad would come out here.
"Is that so?" I frowned. "Would you rather be out here by yourself and face some scavengers? The treacherous beings? The beasts of these lands? Even if you manage to not run into any of them, I doubt you'll survive without any equipment."
"I don't care! I'm not going back there! Not without her!"
"…Whoever she is, is probably dead. So it be best for you to just go back to the city."
"No! she's not dead! I know it! I can feel it…" she clenched her hands to her chest. Ugh… Citizens. "So please! Help me find her! Please!" she begged. I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "Help me find my girlfriend! What if your lover was somewhere out here? Wouldn't you want to find them?" she began getting all teary eyed as she ran up and started to shake me.
"(Sighs) Look, it's nothing personal but even if your girlfriend is still alive, like you believe, I'm not qualified to go looking for her. Even if I was, I would not take you, a citizen, on a dangerous mission. You would still have to go back to the city. However, when we get back, we'll make a report of a missing person and those who are qualified can do the mission and will bring your beloved back." I pried her hands off.
"If you're not going to help then, I'll look for her myself!" she glared.
"Did you not hear a single word I said? You don't stand a chance out here! If anything, you finding her won't help at all. What if she's seriously injured? You don't have a first aid kit nor anything else that would help the both of you. You don't know you're way around these parts and you can't fight if you come across something of someone. You couldn't even handle one scavenger! You can't survive without me." I towered over her. She glared at me with tears running down her cheeks as her bright pink and plashed lips began to quiver. I think I took things a bit too far. "But… If she's as stubborn as you, I'm sure she's fine. She would probably get upset if anything happens to you so for now, let's make it back to the city. Just standing here alone is dangerous enough." I said as I started walking away. She lowered her head and followed me back to where my equipment was. I grabbed the black box and attached it, magnetically, against my back.
"…What is the box for?" she asked after we've been walking back for a few minutes.
"It's a teleporter. We use it to teleport small objects we find around in the wasteland. We just type in the coordinates to where we want to send them and they'll be there in a few seconds. We usually send stuff to the lab just in case it might be worth something. Rare species or objects and we'd get an reward. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we can find something that might help the city."
"Help the city?"
"Patya Phoenix wants to expand the city. The more we expand it, the less place for those scavengers and treacherous beings to hide. Once we win this war, the planet will be our utopia. Nothing but sweet paradise and a hopeful future for all." I smiled.
"…It would be nice if this whole war ended tomorrow." she smiled back. "That way I wouldn't have to worry so much. I wouldn't have stay up night worrying over-"
"Shh!" I knocked her down behind a rock and crouched. "Stay down, there's more scavengers ahead." I scooted close to her. Then I remembered, why was there only one when I found her? Come to think of it, how did she escape from the city? Unless they are doing a very poor job, there's no way she would've make it out here alone. "Come with me." I whispered to her. "We're gonna have to take the long way back. Move quietly." I warned. We passed by a few by managing to stick by a mountain nearby that had a half of a skyscraper leaning against it. "Shit!" I bit my tongue. Another group of scavengers were blocking our path and the previous group was right behind us. Only option was to sit there, wait and hopefully have them pass by without noticing us. Though it's highly unlikely...The girl next to me tugged on my arm and pointed to a small opening within the mountain. We snuck in and I set up an trip wire by the entry that would signal me if they manage to follow us down here. As we traveled down deeper into the dark cave, I pulled out my floating flashlight that helped lead the way. "Hopefully this leads us to the city but…" I paused. "Before we go any further... Strip." I demanded.
"Strip. Now." I crossed my arms.
"But why should I?" she blushed. "Just because I'm like this, doesn't mean I'll screw anyone of the same gender! I have standards." she huffed.
"…Are you done wasting our time? Strip. There might be a tracking device on you." I pointed.
"Oh… Well, you should've said so from the start…" she muttered as she began taking her clothes off. "For a second, I thought you were like that scavenger… I'm sorry." she frowned. Removing the clothes that were clinging onto her body, she exposed her freckled shoulders and her mounds of flesh that were still hiding underneath her red undergarments. She tossed me her clothes and stood there awkwardly and blushing. While going through her clothes and shoes, I looked up at her and noticed those soft breast of hers. Were they 32C's or bigger? I'm honestly don't know if I should be jealous or relieved that mine are smaller.
"Clear. Now take your undergarments off."
"I think I would notice if he put something on my panties and bra." she frowned. "He didn't even go that far with me…" she glanced away.
"So be it." I tossed her her clothes back. "Mind telling me how you manage to escape the city?"
"Huh? Oh… I uh… I managed to swipe a pass from a guard within the city and slipped out at night."
"So you stole from a guard. How?"
"Well… When I was trying to drown my tears at a bar, he came up to me and was intoxicated. I followed him back to his place and well… before he could take it to the next level, I hit him in the head with his lamp. I checked to see if he was still alive of course and stole his stuff. I'm sorry. I was actually going to let him go further and wait for him to fall asleep but… I can't stand it when men try to touch me there." she lowered her head. I continued to calmly stare at her as she finished putting on one of her shoes. "Getting out was easy thanks to his portable hologram but when I was finally out I… Didn't know where to look! But I knew I had to start somewhere. Unfortunately for me I ran into a scavenger. I tried to run away but it was useless. He beat me, broke anything he felt was useless and a threat to him, dragged me back to his little hideout and..." she teared up.
"…You don't have to continue. I'm… sure he'll gets whats coming to him. Eventually." I turned my back. I heard her weeping behind me and mumbling 'sorry' to, who I assume, her girlfriend. "If you're done, we can go." I started to walk ahead; she sniffed and followed silently behind me. After what felt like hours of silence, I looked back at her and she had her head lowered down.
"I know what you're thinking." She glanced up, startling me a bit in the process.
"..." I turned my head around.
"You're thinking I deserve it. Getting captured and all… After what I did, what I experienced is only part of my punishment for my crimes, right?"
"Wether I believe so or not makes no difference for your fate. However, as of right now what's coming to you in the city is the least of your problems. Right now we need to focus on just getting back to the city and avoid any confrontation."
"…Your not like the other soldiers."
"Yeah. Others actually seem to be human underneath all that armor. Can't same the same for you." she said. I paused and looked back at her.
"My point being is that you should at least show some type of compassion towards the people you protect. Just because we don't have bullet holes in us doesn't mean that we're ok. You haven't even ask for my name or even introduced yourself to me."
"What for? It's not like we're gonna see each other again. It's not like we're friends having a camping trip or anything. I'm a soldier escorting you back to the city where you belong. Anything more than that is useless. Now if you don't quit annoying me, I will leave you unlike all the other soldiers you've met." I walked off again. Not human… What does it even mean to be human? What does she or anyone know what it means to be human.
"I'm sorry… I've upset you. I didn't mean to go as far as calling you inhuman. It's just… It be nice to have someone care about me. Or at least pretend and carryon a conversation where I can laugh." she walked beside me.
"Doesn't your so called girlfriend care about you?"
"She does! And that's one of the reasons why I'm looking for her! She's the only one I know that actually cares about me. Do you know what it feels like to have nobody care about you?"
"No because I don't care what people think of me. Though… I can relate how special it is to have someone look at you and you feel… happiness."
"…My name is Sunflower." she smiled.
"Pft! What a stupid name."
"Like yours is better!"
"It is and…" I took my helmet off. "Kalia is my name." I breathed. After staring at me in awe and admiring my silver hair, she opened her mouth and said:
"What a strange name."
"At least mine is at least creative." I smirked and raised a brow.
"Well, it's a special name and I'm special!"
"I thought it's because you look like a sunflower…" I shrugged.
"Shh! My radar is picking something up." I whispered as I checked my watch. Movement? I put my helmet on and looked around. Nothing. I called back my flashlight and activated my night vision. "Stay close to me." I pulled her closer and scanned the area again. Still nothing. Is my radar broken? I don't understand… Sunflower clenched tightly to my arm and was shaking. Need to get out of here fast if something is moving around. What's worse is that I can't see it. What and where the hell is it?