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[Fiction] Cold Logic

Sakurako Hino

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I've never been so cold... so lost... Why did I even go there? When I knew full well I would be getting into that mess and not come out of it without hurting someone?

She lays floating in the pacific, some 10 miles out from the waters controlled by Panama. She just got done cleaning every inch of her armor she wore to the battlefield over at Samhre's home. Sakurako's armor isn't exactly unusual, designed to be light, and it's sealed system meant to protect it's wearer from contaminants, and sakurako's usual array of gadgets, safety gear, and tech to boot. The armor itself is nothing to write home to mother about, but it was enough for the chaos in Ibiza.

But armor and technology cannot protect the soul. The very innocence she had severely damaged or lost that day. No safety equipment can keep her from drowing in guilt.

Why... Why the hell didn't I stay out of it like I thought I would? What motivated me to get entangled in that mess? The person that helped me get there, he didn't need to get involved. Now he's lying dead somewhere near the city. And all those opportunistic bastards and their guns... their grenades... all looking to upstage eachother in the chaos. How many did I stun... how many did I kill? I didn't want to tell the others... my sins... The OpNet was already choked with too many to count.

I can't... for the life of me... see what drove me. I could understand defending myself, but some of those thugs... some of those looters... rioters... mercenaries... They were mere Humans. Not even shooting at me. I... slaughtered them. For no other reason than I percieved a threat.

Sakurako slowly bobs in the water, recuperating the juice she spent flying. She looks up at the brilliant blue sky. Occasionally a small wave would lap at her goggles on her helmet.

I feel dead inside... I feel like a machine that has finally been switched off after a malfunction...

No... the events weren't my fault... but I didn't help that situation. It doesn't matter how many lives I did save playing medic. It doesn't matter that I helped bring a life into the world...

To take a life... that is a debt you can never repay...

She looks over to her right. A fising boat slowly trolls along, some fishermen leisurely dangle their lines from fishing rods, hoping to catch a marlin. She can hear their talking. IT's a bunch of rowdy college boys, probably on break, probably from Texas or some southwest part of the US, vacationing.

Look at them... Not a worry in the world. Encased in their own coocoon, like me...

Sakurako deflates the flotaion devices keeping her above water, and she sinks into the Pacific... then she levels out her sinking, and hovers in the water, neutrally bouyant.

I won't show myself... not to them... I'll let them live in their world... I wouldn't be right to shatter the glass that seperates them from their world. As I erect the glass around me...

This will be my new life. I must learn to be strong. If I am to survive, my will must be resolute... but not today.

Today... I just want to be alone.

She breathes the air, filtered out of the water through complex synthetic gills in the helmet, giving the sound of a machine... breathing...

Just... alone...

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Sakurako drifts 15 meters below the surface, looking upwards, watching as the light from above is distorted through the water. As if it was stained glass, filtering down towards what seems is an endless cathedral of water. She sees fish of various breeds and species dance around.

I'm never alone, aren't I?

The throught crosses her mind. She looks over at a little line that leads from her belt to a floating "bobber" antenna at the surface.

I guess I can never truely dissapear from the world for a couple days, even if I wanted to in an honest and earnest manner...

She wonders, as she looks about the opnet through the wireless capabilities of the antenna and the tech of her suit.

I sincerely do not know how they will ever return to normal now. I cannot even look at those I associate with in the same manner as I did prior to this. Can I truely trust some of them? How much have they lost in all of this?

Sakurako... you're assuming... again.

Damn, thank god I didn't run into Charr... if I did, I sincerely don't know if I'd even be having this internal dialogue with myself...

She crosses her arms in frustration. The scene would almost be comical, if it wasn't for the fact that she actually is thinking of something important.

But... Long is right. I and the rest did do something about what was going on, even if it wasn't completely effective.

I can't shake what I have saw, nor fully understand what I did there. I will need to come to terms. Just now... the world needs to heal. Just as much as I.

She pauses in thought for a moment, as she feels her energy almost fully returned.

Well, off to the races again, I guess.

She re-inflates the flotation systems in her suit, and surfaces at a safe speed. Then, with a thought, starts to hover out of the water.

So... Where to, Pinky? I know I'm somewhere.... thatway... She thinks, as she correlates her position with GPS... Ah. 5000 miles or so that-a-way. Long trip ahead...

She adjusts the vest section of the armor, fitting sort of ill on her since she's been wearing it almost since the whole crisis began. With a pulse of pink-colored energy, she streaks off towards her home on the water.

Perhaps, someday, I wouldn't need all of these darned "wet pit-stops". Thank god my stuff is waterproof.

She finally, after everything, lets loose a laugh.

The Unsinkable Sakurako Hino... Now that's a laugh riot! R-I-O-T... Something to share with the rest of the class sometime.

While it is still in the back of her mind, everything in Ibiza, she is now far away. The errors of her actions though, she still analyzes, but not is such a harsh light.

Sometime... Perhaps later than I realize... I will understand. Untill then, I can only search for answers to my questions...

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In the middle of the night, Sakurako finally lands on her ship. The sound of armor clunking on the floor echoes through the hallways. Boxes stacked haphazardly throughout the corridors. Evidence of a rushed move. Sakurako has only been in exile for a couple of months, and the sheer hatred of her situation is aparrent, not to mention sheer depression. Her clothes lie in piles, some yet to be washed, her kitchen is a mess, and her room, which had been at one time the example of efficiency was all but a modern art masterpiece.

Home sweet home... she thinks to herself. She walks into the main ballroom, and notices her cat had found the feeder she built for her.

"Come here, Yomiko." She says, and her cat walks over and nuzzles her leg, pressing aginst the polymer skin of Sakurako's bodysuit. Sakurako doesn't feel it as much as she would wearing normal clothes, or nothing on her legs. But for some reason doesn't seem to mind. She picks up Yomiko and nuzzles her. "Miss me?"

Her cat mews contentedly. "I guess you're the only one having a good day, no?" Sakurako responds, setting her beloved pet on the table. "Computer... What is the status on the Conduit search?" She speaks out.

She had been working non-stop, and the little detour to Ibiza had slowed her search. She has had every sattelite and asset she could afford to use put on the effort of finding her friend. Someone who had fought for her and... although she doesn't donsider the thought... possibly died for her. "Miss Hino, there are currently 556 possible hits in the search pattern area. Whittling down the possible hits will take 1 month, 17 days, 12 hours, 47 minutes..." "Thank you Computer..."

Sakurako expected better news. She thought she'd be able to pick up on something... anything. She collapses on the floor, unto her knees. The fatigue and stress of Ibiza still wracks her body. "Son of a gun... where the hell are you Conduit?"

She falls back on her rear, and pulls her knees up to her chest. "You can't be dead... You're too strong for that. Why..." She buries her head into her arms. "Why did you have to dissapear... where did you go Conduit..." she says, starting to sob. "You can't die on me... There's too much blood on my hands now..."

She falls over to her side, still curled up. crying. She has done this every night she has slept on this ship. Alone, with only a cat to keep her company. She had expected good news, but more and more... cold logic tells otherwise...

"Computer.... save search hits... end query." A dread comes over her... She feels she had signed Conduit's death warrant, but she now feels, that this is in the hands of God. "Conduit... please... I can't find you... find some way... any way... I cannot help you alone..."

What would Conduit think of me now... I have all but buried his body.... I should still be searching, but I just can't find him. Is he in some underwater cave? Some sort of Magnetic flux in the ocean? Some thermocline I have yet to compensate for? Her thoughts ring clear, then her desperation mounts to a head. "Computer, map out all locations and chart a course for all locations outside of Japanese waters. When we reach the first waypoint, deploy scanner drones and search the area."

Fine then. If I cannot find you from afar... I will come to you directly... I will find you... dead or alive. She thinks, as the ship goes under the waters of the south pacific, and engages it's supercavitation drive, heading to whatever end awaits.


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