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[Fiction] Endeavor-Vague Instruction


Hugin

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For a bright spring day the seas were a little rough, but nothing that the sleek lines and the bleeding edge technology of the HKMII couldn’t handle. The sound of water splashing off the bow and the scuttling of miniature servbots were the only noises that intruded upon Sakurako’s languid afternoon. The first day in many in which nothing had to be done simply screamed to be taken advantage of and Sakurako couldn’t think of anything simply more right for the moment than to stretch out on a lounge chair and soak up a little sunshine and fresh air. She lay there, quiet and secure, letting the worries and anxieties brought about by a nervous few months float away from her.

Things hadn’t been going well for Sakurako this past year and she was happy to be moving into a new chapter of life. No more ronin. No more Deathsquad. None of these dark shadows and loathsome presences would bother her anymore. A new country, a new home and a new job awaited her. But for now, just relaxing in the sun.

The shadow that fell over her wasn’t even worth noting. Nothing was really worth noting. It was the sudden absence of things that suddenly flooded Sakurako’s system with adrenaline. The sudden quiet. The sudden absence of ocean smell. The clicking of the servbots ceasing instantaneously. But by then it was too late. She moved even as her eyes popped open, without even thinking, just suddenly needing desperately to get away. Even with her greater than human speed the anvil sized fist slammed hard into her shoulder. Things, things she didn’t want to think about, broke and tore. She let loose a scream and a second blow connected with her gut, forcing air out of her. The blow sent her flying into the railing and she heard her ribs snap like twigs. Breathing was suddenly painful.

“You will be quiet now Ms. Hino.” The voice sounded calm and gentle.

Sakurako struggled to open her eyes and focus. There were three men standing around her. One, obviously the one that had struck her was the size of a small tank, massive with enormous hands at the ready to strike another blow. The one speaking to her was a plain looking young man, dark blonde hair and ice-blue eyes. The third was standing off, his back to her. They all wore simple black jumpsuits, no markings. The blonde spoke again, “You will remain quiet Ms. Hino. Any attempt to speak, any attempt to defend yourself, any action on your part whatsoever will be met with instant death at the hands of my friend here. He is far faster than you may suspect and those first two love taps were simply to get your attention. Any attempt to regenerate from your injuries will also meet with a similar fate. If you understand you may nod your head, once. This is the sole exception to your being forbidden action. I will inform you if you will be allowed this form of communication again.

Her mind raced, but it was so hard. She could taste blood and she knew she was hurt and hurt badly. She had to bide for time, she nodded.

The blonde smiled, “Thank you. Who I am is of no concern. The same with my companions. We are employed by a number of business interests who wish for you to receive a message and to believe it most sincerely. Do you understand? A nod will be allowed.”

Again, she nodded. Her mind tried to calculate the odds. Fly away? Not and be able to dodge Mr. Mountain’s cocked right hand. Initiate defenses? Nothing on board that could help. Not anymore. She could also see that three servbots weren’t moving. No lights, no sound, nothing. One of them had to be messing with the ship’s systems.

He continued to smile, “Good. These business interests are unhappy with you Ms. Hino. Most unhappy indeed. For you see, there is a natural order of things. A part of this natural order is that the smart, the ingenious, the clever, they participate. They participate in the natural order. They build things, or design things, and those things are built. Those things are built and sold by people in business. You however seek to create randomly, as if you were some little force of chaos in this world. You create, you move on, you create, you move on. Do you partner with those who are best capable of making sure your talents are used properly? No. You flit through life like a spastic butterfly and you waste your talents. This is not acceptable. Do you understand? Please nod again.”

Confusion flowed through her. Flit? Random? What was he talking about? She worked for Teknokat, almost a regular joe-job. Now she was on her way to Chicago, yet again for steady work. The look of confusion must have shown on her face.

“I understand. You think that you have not behaved in this fashion? You would be wrong. Please accept that you are wrong. It is most important. Our employers would like to see you settle down. Choose a player. Any player you wish. But choose. Choose and remain faithful. Behave not just in action, but in spirit. It is time to put away childish things Ms. Hino and we are here to remind you of the urgency. Simply enter fully and entirely into the way things are done and you need not worry about another visit.” The blonde leaned down, “ I will now fully explain what is happening. I am a nova. We all are, however we are not masked clowns trumpeting our identities to the world. We are unknown quantities, and I make sure that we remain that way. Thanks to my gifts there is no record of our presence. No scientific tool nor quantum ability will detect that we were here. No record exists of our presence. It is as if these moments never happened. Though, you will remember. My companion,” he gestured to the man with his back to them all, “is masking our true form from your eye and your mind. You would be a poor eyewitness. My other companion,” he gestured this time to Mr. Mountain, “is here to make sure that you remember this. We are aware you will simply heal at the hands of some nova most likely. But the memory will remain. And in the end, isn’t that what is most important?”

Upon hearing this Sakurako tried to move as fast as she ever had before. Wincing in agony she pushed up off the deck and hurtled into space, fueled by terror the likes of which she’d hoped to never feel again. But it wasn’t fast enough. That huge hand snaked out at lightning speed and latched on to her ankle. He chuckled as her Cherry Blossom Blast impacted with his face and he grinned wider as he pulled her in close. She lost her ability to focus past the pain, to understand what was happening soon after he had crushed her left hand until it was a jellied mass. He continued on for some time after that.

Soon she has a barely recognizable slab of meat, hardly resembling a wretched human let alone the well known ‘hard-wired nerd diva’. “All right now,” The blonde stopped the beating with a motion. “We want her to live. We’ve done what we came to do.” He turned to the third interloper, “Let’s go.” A section of the deck became blurry and pearlescent. Each in turn stepped onto the patch and faded from view. As the blonde left and the patch disappeared the HKMII came back to life, servbots continuing about their tasks and the automatic pilot starting off again towards San Francisco. And on the deck Endeavor’s gasping cries of pain went unheard.

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