So I had written for some of NaNoWriMo…but life had gotten in the way and I did not complete. I will continue writing this story, but I want to share with you what I wrote so far. I fully intend on going back and editing and expanding more..the problem that I had with NaNoWriMo is I felt rushed. But at the same time, I kind of needed the push. Hoping that the push happens again that I can continue writing this, as I am not done expanding on Sienna’s universe. I just have been swamped and not feeling super creative these days. Force me to be creative! So please enjoy the first half that I wrote of Run With The Moon. If you critique please be polite!
My ears perk at the sound of cannon fire in the distance. You would think after 75 years of hearing it I would be used to it, but you can’t be too careful on a scouting mission. Upon forcing my way in, I quickly realized that this was used before I had arrived, most likely as a toilet. Pulling on my mask, I toed around the entrance, looking for any living forms. One of the benefits of being a Hybrid is having the AI doing scans while I walk. There is no heat detected outside of myself, sending a shiver down my spine. An abandoned warehouse is one thing, but when you know Humans were staying in it makes you realize they are all dead. Coming upon bodies doesn’t get any easier as you get older. Pulling my jacket in tighter and raising my gun a little higher, I proceeded to push forward. The smell of fecal matter and urine gets stronger deeper in. A gust of wind through the broken windows blow my hair into something sticky on the wall. Quickly pulling it out, I stare at the damage. No longer is it just black, there is now something red and squirming. Stifling a scream, I quickly shake off the bloodied maggots off, wishing there was time for a shower or ten. Stumbling backwards, I tripped over a box and land on something colder than I am.
Turning over I see a young Asian boy lying there, his body surrounded in ice. I bash my gun against it, trying to break through the brick, but its just too thick. I look around the warehouse for anything that could defrost him. Checking my batteries, I didn’t have much time left. I had to find batteries before I could help him. Being a lower class hybrid does have its downfalls. While I don’t need the batteries to survive, I do have a severe drop in energy, making me an easy target for the Androids and The Voice.
Another canon fires. This time its slightly closer. I peer out of one of the broken windows, seeing heat signatures rising. Not much time. The moon beats down, full tonight. I suck in as much energy as I can before running through the warehouse, searching every nook and cranny for batteries, food and water. Not that I want to trust food from a place that I am pretty positive was just a giant latrine, when you’re hungry you eat what you can find. Deep in the building I find a box of batteries, who knows if they are used or not, but I stick them in my pack. I also find dried fruits and a half full canteen, although from the smell of it that was not water in there. Zipping my pack closed with my meager findings I go to the frozen Asian boy. My batteries beep, only 10 minutes remaining. I whistle, two low notes and one high, signalling my two partners to come in. Zandra and Varien slip in, whistling the same notes back.
“Come here” I hiss to them. “I need you to help me move this” Zandra appears first, her red hair flipping with the bursts of cold air. Varien not long behind, his green eyes gleaming.
“Please tell me its food” he says quietly.
“Not quite. Unless we’re resorting to cannibalism these days.” I reply. “I found some dried fruit and a canteen half filled with wine, but thats about it. I found this guy too” I motion towards the Asian kid. “We need to get him back and defrost him.”
“Thats another mouth to feed, Sienna. How are we going to do that?” Zandra speaks a little louder than I had hoped. “I know, we need to save the world, but this is a kid.”
“I know, but he should be defrosted. What if he can help us? What if he is better at finding the food? We don’t know who he is. He could save us for all we know!” I am really quite stubborn when it comes down to it. We’ve been working together for the past 75 years, they knew if I wanted something done it will get done. Rather than fighting with me about it, they help me lift the heavy ice block. My batteries beep again. Only five minutes remaining.
“Sienna” Varien sighed “When was the last time you changed those?” He’s a Hybrid too. He was created at a different time than I, so he doesn’t need the batteries like I do. I stick my tongue out at him. “Don’t even start. You’re getting older. Your dependence on batteries is going to be greater. Are you stockpiling? Are you ready for when the Human side of you completely gives out?”
“When that happens, kill me before I become one of them” I spit venomously. It is a fear among the Hybrids that once the human side dies off that we become one of the Androids. I have never actually seen it happen, but the Human body does decay at a greater rate than the AI system. I could only imagine that we would become Zombies or a complete Android. We make it a point in our camp to take out the AI of any hybrid that dies and burn it before anything could possibly happen. The horror stories we have heard keep us safe from that danger.
Zandra grunts under the weight of the ice block. She is one of the few Humans left, and our talk makes her uncomfortable. While the average age of death for a Human is close to 300 years old, she knows she will die long before the Hybrids do. To be a pure Human is rare, and they tend to revolt against the Hybrids as well as the Androids. Zandra is different. She was born in our camp, with two Human parents who helped repair us Hybrids. Her parents are after her to find another Human to mate with to keep the Human race going. She hasn’t been thrilled with the thought of reproduction, not that I blame her. Hybrids are a different breed of Human, we don’t reproduce so much as save Humans lives by making them a Hybrid. We’ve been compared to vampires in the past, with our pale skin, dark hair and oddly colored eyes not helping the situation, but we don’t want to kill off the Humans. We want to keep them alive longer.
As we grunted along with the heavy Ice Boy, my batteries died out. Falling to my knees, I struggled to catch my breath as Varien and Zandra stopped. Varien opened my wrist up, checking my battery levels. Sighing, he pulled open my bag, finding the box of batteries.
“No.” I told him, putting my hand on his wrist. “There are people in the camp that need them more. I can survive without them. Just give me a minute.”
His eyes flashed. “You’re a bloody idiot. You might not need them to survive, but you want to bring this giant ice cube back we need you to be able to lift it. “ Forcefully grabbing my wrist, he pulled out the dead batteries to put in the new ones, throwing my whole system into shock. He knows better than this, but his anger won out. As trembled on the ground, my new batteries shocking my system back to life, Zandra scolding him for his violence.
“Stupid Droid!” she spat “She isn’t going to be any use laying on the ground in shock either! Go back to the camp and get Sebastian and Juan. They can help you move the Ice Boy while I carry her now useless ass back to the camp.” She sat next to me, stroking my hair. “You need to stop playing the hero little girl” she whispered. “He’s getting more and more frustrated every day with no actual shelter for us, and I am fearing what that will mean for the Hybrids batteries. No recharge means no protection for us. When you’re back online we’ll really scan that warehouse, maybe be able to make it liveable. This winter is going to get much worse.” Varien, Juan and Sebastian came running in then.
“Sienna…” Juan sighed “Zandra, can you help her out?” She nodded. My trembling was starting to cool down, but I still was unable to walk so she tossed me on her back. I’m not exactly lightweight, especially with the added weight of a shotgun, mask and day pack filled with supplies, but she managed it. Laying my head on her shoulder, I could hear her heart beating quickly. She was beginning to tire.
“Hey” I whispered. “Let me walk. We aren’t far” She shook her head. “There’s a full moon. I’m recharging quicker. The batteries are new. I’m fine.” I started wiggling so she was forced to drop me. Laughing, I ran. Not quickly, but I still ran, tearing off my coat and sweater to reveal the black shirt underneath, exposing my pale arms to the moon rays. Zandra stared at this burst of energy, laughing. She caught up to me, smacking me on the arm and handing me my clothes.
“Regardless of your recharging abilities, its cold. Put those on.” Half scolding, half laughing, she helped me into my sweater and jacket as the boys watched us from afar. I could see Varien’s eyes gleaming. I know he was regretful of his previous actions, but he’ll deal with that later. To shock a Hybrid could kill them. Suddenly my AI acted up, causing me to spike. Heat signatures appeared on my radar.
“Get down!” I yelled, grabbing Zandra and pushing her to the ground. Behind me, Varien is doing the same thing, dropping the Ice Boy as they hit the ground. Canon fire burst around us. Pushing Zandra, I whisper in her ear “Get out, run. Save the camp.” We were less than a mile off, with children in the area and Humans to protect. I scrambled over to Varien, motioning for Juan and Sebastian to go. Juan has a wife and kids, both him and Sebastian are full Humans. Juan nodded and ran, but Sebastian refused. Varien shoved him, yelling at him to go. While those two fought I began charging my shotgun, spinning it quickly. I’m still shaking from the shock, but I need to focus as the Androids began to charge up to our area. I fire a blast into one of their chests as I run into the depths of it, using my hip knife to take out limbs as I run through. Charging again, I fire another blast. I feel their hands grabbing at me, too warm to be Human or Hybrid. I cut quickly while spinning the shotgun to fire a few more blasts into the fray. In a distance, I must have run further than I realized, because I hear Varien shouting for me. I blast another shot into an Android chest before running towards his voice. Suddenly a cold hand grabs me from the side, before I can cut it off Sebastian grabs my wrist and stares deeply with his brown eyes.
“Ah ah girlie” he says with a smile “Varien is protecting the Ice Kid, you and I get to have some fun!” Sebastian is a sniper, his place is in the trees. Quickly navigating over to the edge of the clearing I toss him up into the trees before running forward into the slaughter. I feel whips of bullets flying past me as Android fall one by one. Shots are being fired in his direction. Androids keep grabbing at me, but I’m quicker with my knife. Not before long, a good 75 Androids lay dead at our feet. I spin the shotgun to deactivate it and slap it on my back, and stick my knife in its sheath before collapsing in a pile of Android limbs.
Thumping on my chest.
“Sienna! Wake up Sienna!”
I open my eyes to see little Jannali sitting on my chest and bouncing. “Her eyes are open! Macaria! Her eyes are open!” She climbed down off of me, causing me to flinch. I realize that I’m tingling, like my batteries had been shocked again.
“Did I go down?” I asked, raising my hand to my head. My skin was gone and it was just Android parts showing. I put it back down. Macaria walked over with a new skin glove.
“Yes, giving Sebastian quite the scare in his sniper scope. He thought he shot you!” Macaria smiled. “We thought you were just giving Redtail a hard time.” We call Sebastian ‘Redtail’ sometimes, since he’s a sniper he prefers the trees and the hunt. He likes it though. I shook my head.
“No, Varien had shocked my system and before I could really come fully together we were attacked in the clearing.” suddenly remembering, I looked at Macaria wide eyed. “The Asian boy? Was he brought back? Have they defrosted him?”
Macaria looked almost sad when she looked at me. “Not yet, Si. Husband thought Juan, you and Juan’s family should talk about that first.”
“Why does Cathan think that? What does Juans family have to do with it?” Cathan is a doctor like Macaria is for us Androids, but he mainly helps the Humans. He has a better understanding of anatomy, while Macaria is better with being an engineer. The skin glove she made me fits better than the one before. I realized what talking to the whole family meant. “Who is sick Macaria?”
She smiled sadly, “I’ll let you discuss it with Juan. Jannali, your mom and dad will be here soon, better wash up.” Jannali was young, but she took to engineering so quickly that Macaria couldn’t say no to her. She probably put parts in me while I was out. I’ve watched her work. She’ll be even more amazing when she’s older. Ramelan, Juan’s son, is just like Cathan, and a genius in the medical field. Its amazing to watch the two of them work. If they didn’t look like Juan and Sita mushed together in tiny form, I would have though they were Cathan and Macaria’s children. Luckily, their daughter is Zandra, and a fantastic warrior. We need fighters in our camp, along with the doctors. Zandra, Varien, Sebastian, Juan and myself are the main protectors, but our numbers are growing, with close to 50 members the five of us can’t hold off an army of Androids.
I checked all of my parts while Juan and his family filed in. Everything seemed to be functional, even if I was just a bit buzzy. They sat in front of me, like I was teaching a class.
“Whats with the formality?” We’ve known each other since before the kids were born, so its not like the behaviour made any sense.
“Its about the Ice Boy” said Sita. “We want to defrost him with you, but you need to train him.” I must have looked confused, because she rushed to continue. “Sienna, Juan isn’t doing so well.” I looked to my old friend. He looked tired, worn. He had to have been around 250 now. I can’t remember.
“Juan? What’s going on?” He looked at me with a smile.
“I’m old, Sienna.” he laughed. “I’m much older than you are. I’m either going to be made into a Hybrid or die soon, but in either case you’ll have to be the one to train the boy.”
“I have no idea how to do that.” He laughed at me.
“Thats okay. I’ll still be here. But my body grows weaker. Jannali and Ramelan need me to help them grow. I’ve got at least 50 years in me.” I hear a chuckle from behind as Cathan entered the room. His size filled up the small space, towering over us.
“He’s got more than 50, and if he’ll allow Mac to look at him he might have a few hundred” He slapped Juan on the back. “But you’re taking care of the Ice Boy” he pointed a finger at me. “You wanted a pet, now you got one.” He walked back out, with Ramelan following in close pursuit. Jannali bounded off to the side to play with more Hybrid parts. Sita and Juan looked at me seriously.
“Can you do this Sienna? Can you take care of the boy?” Sita asked, taking my hand. “We know how you feel about others, there isn’t many you trust. But we really do believe you can do this. You can take care of him, train him, make him a greater warrior than yourself. Juan did it with you, you can do it with the Boy in Ice.”
I nodded, slowly. Its hard enough for me to work regularly with Zandra and Varien, even though I have worked with them for 75 years, my trust is always guarded. Its both a blessing and a fault, since I work to not be harmed mentally or physically. But to take on another, to care for another, he looked young enough he could be my child, even if physically we looked nothing alike.
“I’ll do it” I whispered, barely able to speak. “But only if you’ll help me.”
Sita hugged me “Of course! You’re a young Hybrid, maybe he is too? We couldn’t find a date on his ice block. We don’t know who he is or how old he is.”
“It’s okay. We’ll play it by ear. Can we start the process?” I’m surprised by my eagerness. Nerves were flowing, as we walked into the center of the camp where the Ice Boy lie. I graps Sita’s hand. “What if he hates me?”
“He couldn’t hate you. Go help Juan with the machine.” The machine is a big blow dryer, essentially, that can melt a block of ice in minutes. He’ll be in shock for a few minutes, and we’ll keep his vitals checked. Most of the humans that we have are from Ice, humans who were able to freeze their bodies while their families hid them well enough until someone found them. Sometimes its people like us, others it is the Androids who murder them on the spot. To operate the machine, a Hybrid locks in their power supply (in this case, me) while another (could be Human or Hybrid) steadies the machine and watches the person in ice. Mainly to make sure we don’t roast them. Cathan will stand by with his gadgets of human medicine while Macaria stands by with any needed Hybrid supplies. My energy will flow into the machine, both from my batteries and what energy I have taken from the moon. Since I’m not at one hundred percent battery wise because of the shockwaves, I am mainly draining moon energy tonight. We’re still in a full phase, luckily, or this wouldn’t work.
“Ready?” Juan asks me, looking over. I pull off most of my clothes, leaving my bra and underwear on only, shivering with the cold. I’ll need to draw as much energy as I can tonight, even if that means freezing. I put the cables from the machine in my arm.
“As ready as I am ever going to be” I shivered.
Energy flew out of me quicker than I thought would happen. I dropped to my knees almost instantaneously, and the world started spinning. Macaria came over and pulled me back up, holding my non-connected arm up to draw directly from the moon. The pain was immense.
“Its done.” Macaria whispered in my ear “See, only a few minutes.” I must have looked at her like she was crazy because she laughed. “I suppose being in that much pain the seconds feel like hours.” As I blacked out for the second time, I saw Cathan kneeling in the pool of ice water, checking on the boy whose eyes were blinking.
Zapping feeling. I mumbled something.
Tingling. More mumbled. Eye forced open. Jannali staring at me.
“Sienna? Don’t wake up yet. We’re still fixing you.”
Major shock. I fall deep into dreams of Androids attacking the camp. I start losing the battle when the Ice Boy jumps in and rescues me. He uses a bow and arrow. My shotgun won’t charge when he puts his hand on my shoulder and smiles as an Android takes off his head in one fell swoop.
“No!” I scream and sit up straight. I look around. I’m in Macarias healing tent. I look for the Ice Boy, for any form of life. My heat signatures are still locked on Android heat, cautiously I move them down for Human and Hybrid form as well. I was alone in the tent, that was for sure. But lack of noise outside makes me wonder where everyone else is. I see small signatures around, but nothing stating anything alive. Panicked, I climb off my bed, quickly realizing I have no clothing on at all. What happened? Is Ice Boy a mass murderer? Was he an Android that was placed to kill us all? I shook that off. As far as we knew Androids cannot handle the cold like the Hybrids and Humans can, so there was no way Ice Boy could be a frozen Android.
Throwing on the first set of clothing I can find, I walk outside. Realizing it was daylight meaning the ground was heated, I wouldn’t be able to use my heat signatures for anything. I switched back to regular eyesight. The sight was a deserted camp. No forms of life, no fires, not even smoke to say there was one burning recently. I poke my head in one of the resident tents. No one home. It didn’t look abandoned though, there was clothing and bedding still there. I checked the ground for signs of struggle, but it just look like they just walked away if they did really leave. The sun burned my skin, I realized the clothing I am wearing is very thin. I borrowed one of the families long coats and hat. Being a Hybrid means we can’t handle sunlight at all. I searched to see if I could find any sunglasses, but no luck. Walking back outside, more protected, I looked around. No snow made things more difficult to track, along with the sun not being on my side made my struggle worse. I sniffed the air, hoping to find a scent of someone. Wait. That was a weird smell. Pickles? Pickles were a rare thing. It was a very old way of eating cucumbers. I followed the scent behind one of the resident tents. There, I found a small stuffed kitten with a pirate hat on. I sniffed it, it was not where the scent was coming from, but it was cute so I put it in my pocket. I continued to follow the scent. I followed it into the clearing where I had fought what seemed like decades ago, but was really only a few days. The Android parts still lay there, but I found footprints that didn’t match any of us that were there that night leading into the warehouse where I had discovered Ice Boy. I hear a crash inside. Instinctively I reach for my shotgun…which wasn’t attached to my back. Swearing at my mistake of not grabbing any weapons I continued to creep to the windows. Peering inside I see Ice Boy throwing things and kicking the piles of fecal matter. Entranced, I watch him destroy everything he touches. I hear him cursing in a language I don’t understand. Most languages disappeared when the Androids turned. This had to be old. I was so involved in watching him I didn’t hear anyone come up, when the hand touch my shoulder I grabbed the wrist and shoved as hard as I could into the chest.
“Woah, Sienna!” Varien barely had avoided my hit to the chest. I sighed in relief. Everyone wasn’t dead. “Calm down. What has you so worked up?”
“How long have I been out Varien? Where is everyone? Why were my clothes gone? Why are you out while the sun is up? You look awful.” I couldn’t stop talking. He laughed at me.
“You were out for about a week. We think your boy is still in shock, so we’ve all been monitoring him from above. His language is old, none of us understand it. He knows some of the English we speak though. His old accent is heavy, but we think he’s asking about his parents. We brought him back to the we thought maybe showing him where we found him would be the best way to maybe help him communicate with us. That obviously wasn’t the case.” He motioned towards the window. “He’s been at this for two days now. None of us bear to leave him, in case he does something stupid or will eventually reveal himself to one of us. Macaria was getting ready to wake you, maybe since it was your energy to wake him you could communicate with him. He’s a little addicting to watch though.”
“But, what is that smell?” He laughed at me again. I hate that he laughs at me so much while I’m so confused. I feel my anger rising but know that this is just his humor. I take a deep breath.
“Slow down killer.” Smirking at me. Again. “He kicked a barrel in there. It turns out it was filled with a thousand year old pickles, which surprisingly taste good. We’ve been eating them for the two days we’ve been here.”
“You’re eating something that is probably over a thousand years old?” I stare at him in disbelief. If you think I have trust issues, this man in front of me was ten times worse. Especially when it came to food. He always thought someone was going to poison his food, so no one is ever allowed to touch his food. To think that he is eating something from the old days, especially something found in a factory filled with feces was beyond amazing.
“Don’t judge me princess. I’m hungry. Our food rations are low and I didn’t scan anything bad. No bad reactions in two days. I’ll eat pickles if I so feel like it.”
I laughed, and turned back to look at Ice Boy destroying the inside of the warehouse. He spin kicked a railing pole to the stairs, knocking it straight out. “Woah” I whispered. “Can we actually have a warrior on our hands?”
“Only if you can tame that stallion dollface.” He slapped my shoulder hard. “Get in there. Talk to him. Think you can translate?”
“No, I don’t understand what he is saying right now. He could be cursing us, or he could be saying he’s an Android. I don’t have a clue.”
Varien stared thoughtfully at nothing. “Do we have any software that can translate?”
“Not unless Macaria has been hiding any on us, I don’t think so. Who is the oldest now?”
“It’s Juan, he doesn’t know the dialect at all either. I wonder if he is older than all of us.” Varien was the second oldest next to Juan then. He is the oldest Hybrid I currently know. The others I had fought alongside with had all perished in the previous harsh winter. Our numbers had dwindled last year. We really needed this warehouse, which meant stopping Ice Boy from destroying it.
I looked over at him. “Looks like I get to play mommy. Here goes nothing.”
I crept into the warehouse slowly. I felt everyone eyes on me as I approached the Ice Boy. As he raised his hand to punch something, I grabbed his arm. He looked at me wildly and swung his other arm at me. I caught it, but just in time for him to push both of his feet into my chest and kick me hard. He stood in a pose that I recognized as a very old form of martial arts, ready for me to attack again. I raised my hands as if to say there was nothing going to harm him. He continued in that stance, yelling at me something in the old language. I sighed, shaking my head.
“Any ideas?” I yelled behind me. No response. ‘Thanks guys’ I thought to myself. I stepped forward, causing him to step back. Thinking maybe he thought I was a threat, I took off the coat and hat, leaving me in a thin shirt and shorts. He laughed at the sight, probably because I felt like I was burning alive.
“Kyuketsuki!” He laughed. “Anata wa subete no kyuketsuki aru!” I stared blankly at him. This was not a language I was taught. Chinese and English were the two most common languages, along with general coding languages, but this was foreign to us. He stared at me. “You say, vampire.”
I was taken aback. Can he understand us? “English?” I asked.
He thought for a second. “Little.”
I pointed at him.”Name?”
I pointed to myself “Sienna” He looked confused. I tried again. “My name Sienna”
“I see you in dream. You wake me from dream.” He walked over and poked my shoulder. “Real.”
“Yes, I am real. Who are you? Why are you in ice?” I tried to keep the words as small as possible, which he seemed to understand what I was saying, but he didn’t answer in English.
“Watashi no ryōshin wa yūfukudattashi, karera wa watashi ga ikinokoru tame ni shitakatta. Kōgeki wa sekai o hikitsugu taka~tsu robotto ni yotte, arimashita. Karera wa tada, sorera o sakusei shita hito-tachi no mono o kōgeki shi tsudzuketa. Watashitachiha, sorera o sakusei shi, karera wa, karera ga yatta tsukuru tame ni watashitachi o korosu tame ni nozonde ita. Karera wa wareware ga nozonde ita subete wa, wareware ga sakusei shita sekai de tasuke atta koto o rikai shite inakatta. Ryōshin wa watashi ga ikinokoru tame ni shitakatta. Karera wa totemo nagaiai, wareware wa karera ga kore made ni teishi suru ka dō ka shirimasendeshita tame ni kōgeki sa rete ita. Robotto wa kore made ni yamete shimatta nodeshou? Karera wa kore made kōgeki o teishi shimashita ka?”
“Hold on!” I put up my hands again, trying to convey surrender to him. “I don’t know what you are speaking. What language?”
I racked my brain for Japanese. I heard someone yell from above “They were wiped out in 2050. This guy is old!” I stared at him wide eyed. Its been 963 years that he has been frozen.
“You’ve been frozen for 963 years? You’re at least 963 years old, how old were you when you were frozen?” He stared at me blankly. “Age?” I asked.
“Juukyuusai … um … 19 years old”
I didn’t know how to tell him. “Well, now you’re about 982 years old.” Blunt seemed to be the way to go. He continued to stare at me.
“Okay, we have to teach you English. You, Takumi. Me, Sienna. Me teacher. Yes?” He nodded. “You follow me. No more fight. Yes?” He nodded again. I put on my coat and hat and took grabbed his shoulder, leading him out the door. I heard the others of the camp start to follow me out. Cathan caught up to me, whispering to me.
“He’s human, nothing we could find that would hint otherwise. His vitals were good, although other than a few pickles he hasn’t eaten. This is the most he’s spoken. You’re going to be a great mom.”
I realized then, all of a sudden, he was only 19 years old in his head, which in theory could make me his mother. Or grandmother. Or great grandmother. Being 122 years old, I’ve been around longer than him by a long shot. Then, in true mother fashion, I decided he needed to eat something then a thousand year old pickle.
“You. Food.” I state in my caveman talk. He shakes his head. “Yes.”
“Sick” he said.
“Because you ate pickles that are who knows how old. We’ll get meat and vegetables that are fresh in you.”
“No!” He shouted, turning at me. “Sick!” He pointed at his rear end. Suddenly I understood.
“Vegetables.” I nodded at him. “Water. Vegetables. Yes.” He pouted at me, but I continued to push him to the camp. There I gave him fresh water and some of the wild mushrooms we had picked. I tried to sneak in some dried fruits but he looked at them with disgust.
He ate quickly, quietly, without mess. When he was finished he handed me his plate, and walked to the area where we defrosted him. He laid down in the exact spot where he was frozen, closed his eyes, and went to sleep. I checked his pulse, but he was alive. Cathan checked his vitals and he was fine.
“What do you think?” I asked Cathan. He just shrugged. Ramelan popped up from behind him.
“He’s probably depressed.” He said.
“What makes you think that?” I tilted my head with the question. While I was Human, I’m not anymore. I don’t quite understand all emotions anymore. It is a side effect of becoming a Hybrid.
“Well, think about it. He’s been frozen for 963 years. His friends, his family, maybe he had a normal life, all of that has to be gone by now. He’s only 19, thats only a few years older than I am. I couldn’t imagine life without you in it. I don’t even want to think of a life without my parents or Jannali. Can you imagine what life would be like if everything was ripped away from you?” He realized what he had said, quickly retracting “Thats not what I meant Si, you have to know that.”
“No, I know” I must have looked sad because Cathan put his arm around me. Life before becoming a Hybrid was much different, but I tried not to think about it. I had a family once, a husband and a daughter. The Androids ripped them away from me, almost taking my life with them. I was discovered by Juan and Macaria, who were just happening to stumble into my town in search of rescue. They rescued me instead, but since I’ve never quite recovered. It was my place of reservation against becoming Takumi’s mother figure, and getting close with others. Being one of a sad story gave me strength to take down the Androids and the demon behind the voice, but I know others that it would have broken them. I wondered if Takumi was broken because of what happened. I longed to know the language he spoke, because I wanted to connect with him. I wanted to know what happened. Straightening my back, I asked Cathan if he knew where we could find a translator, or a way we could teach Takumi to speak English like us, or I could learn Japanese like him.
“There probably isn’t such a thing anymore. He is about 982 years old. I don’t think anything like that exists unless you want to hack into the Android system” I must have given him a look, because he continued “Don’t, Sienna. It’s not worth it. Just teach the very very old fashioned way of caveman style with signals and movement. We will work through this together.”
I shook my head. “He’s going to be my adopted child, there is no way I am making you take care of him as well. Zandra is your child and your problem, Takumi will be mine. I’ll figure out a way to communicate fluently with him, even if that means hacking the Android system.”
Cathan stopped me there. “You will not hack the system, Sienna. You will not only endanger yourself, but you endanger this camp. Think of everyone here. We can’t take anymore loss. You know this as well as I do.” I hung my head. He was right, of course but I really didn’t want to accept it. To hack the Android system was suicide, and I would kill not only myself but everyone around me. I would see the Voice again, the Voice who eventually had a face, the face only I saw. I still refer to him as only the Voice, because I didn’t want to accept him for being real. For the Android that murdered the human race. Who created us Hybrids who are stuck between life and death, heaven and hell.
I was angry.
“I need to get out of here.” I turned on my heel, went into my tent and changed back into my clothes. I strapped my shotgun to my back, my knife to my hip and my pistol in my boot. I walked back out to Cathan and Ramelan staring at me. “I need to think. I’ll take out some Androids in my wake. If he wakes up, make him drink more water. He isn’t well.” I headed back towards the warehouse, but I didn’t stop there. I kept walking deeper into the forest. The heat signature warning jumped in my signals. Androids were around.
I charged my shotgun, spinning it as fast as I could. I switched to eyesight to see the metal walkers. These guys weren’t hunting, they were camping. ‘Good’ I thought to myself. ‘Now they will know what it feels like.’ Suddenly wishing I had Redtail with me to be my eyes above, I crept towards the camp. I readied my knife to take out the lookouts. I scanned above for heat signatures and read nothing. I was ready for the first lookout, taking him out with a quick knife into his skull. Searching his body, I found a grenade. ‘Almost too perfect’ pulling off the grenade. His other weapons are useless to me, I refuse to touch their technology. The second lookout was coming, and I didn’t want him to notice the first one down, so I took him down quickly. Nothing of use on him. Before any other Androids could come along, I took the grenade, pulled the pin and threw it as hard as I could to the opposite side of the camp. As it exploded, I watched the Androids pull on their skins as quickly as they could. Creeping behind them as they rushed towards the explosion, I took out three from behind, stabbing them in their motherboard skulls. It wasn’t long before I was noticed, and shots went flying. I didn’t fully grasp how many were around me as everything happened so fast, a shot here, a stab there, a grabbing hand, a slice. I threw kicks and cuts as deeply as I could while the lot barreled down on me. Gasping for air as I fought as hard as I could, the number were just too great. One grabbed my ankle, pulling me down. I fired a shot straight into the air, hoping a clearing would happen, but they came down so quickly it was like it was never even fired. Their hands grabbed at my limbs, pulling and tugging. ‘I am done. I just killed myself and Takumi.’ I thought.
The Voice. Everything froze, including myself. I felt my wires freeze in terror. I did a quick scan to know I was not as harmed as I thought I was. I feared what was to come next. The Androids then stood straight, awaiting the next orders.
“By scan, I am aware this is the war criminal known only as Sienna. She is wanted alive in my presence. Bring her to me alive and well, full of her parts. I want to scan her personally.”
‘Scan me personally?’ I thought ‘War criminal? What?’ So much of what just said didn’t make any sense at all.
The Androids seized me, holding all of my limbs, holding my shotgun, taking my knife and pistol. I was helpless in a sea of Androids with no one knowing where I was. I was ready to give up when I hear a shot fired in the distance. I hear an Android fall. Another shot, another fallen Android. One by one they start falling, until I hear a yell.
“Get down Sienna!” Instinctively, I curl into a ball, wrenching away from the Androids who seem to emote surprise. I drop hard onto the ground, where bodies fly over me. I see a machete swing and an Android head fall in front of me. I see my shotgun drop, which I instinctively grab and hug to my chest. My knife, my pistol, all fall in front of me. I hug them all, unable to correct myself to help the ones who saved me. Blasts heard all around me. The Androids, silently falling around me even though we scream as we fight. The Androids are just silent as they fall. They are silent as they take orders. They are silent as they are doing as they are told. They are The Voice’s soldiers, and nothing more. They aren’t given enough thought to process even further than that. It seemed poetic that the snow began to fall then, as silent as the Androids, who didn’t fight back because The Voice never told them to. They just died, still as stone, as the Humans and Hybrids came to rescue the War Criminal known as Sienna.
I didn’t know what to do, or how to react. I just lay there, hugging my weapons, hoping that someone would eventually wake me from the nightmare I have been living for the past 75 years.
Suddenly all movement stopped. I felt nothing in the air move except for the snow falling softly to the ground. I hear crunching over my head, and a shake on my shoulder. A strong, unfamiliar accent shakes me and says “Sienna?”
I began crying. There are no words to describe the rush of emotions I felt as that young Asian boy named Takumi shook me and said my name. I pulled him close to me, hugging him harder than I ever hugged anything since I became a Hybrid. This is what I needed. I needed him. I needed this life.
I don’t think the kid knew how to react to this Hybrid holding onto him so tightly. I haven’t had true emotions in the 75 years I had been Hybrid. This was my first real human emotion in so long, and I didn’t know what to do either. We were soon surrounded by the others of the camp, Zandra eventually pulling us apart, Varien taking my weapons. Sebastian picked me up, cradling me lightly as they took me back to the camp where Macaria put a needle in my human side, putting me to sleep.
I awoke a few days later, with Takumi holding my hand and asleep by the bedside. Jannali looked over from her workbench and smiled.
“You’re awake! We thought we were going to lose you. You really broke down back there.” She came over and checked my vitals, running through my battery system. “You didn’t lose any parts and your scans are coming out clean.”
“Well, that’s good. How did you all know where to find me?” I was going to try and get up, but I didn’t want to wake Takumi.
“The grenade” Jannali said matter of factly. “When we heard the grenade go off the warriors knew you had done something stupid. Now we know they were right. You want to tell me what happened?”
“Not really, Jay” I said, stiffening. “Don’t take this personally, but you’re a bit young. I think I’m going to talk to your mother though.”
She laughed “She’ll tell me eventually you know.”
I stuck my tongue out at her. “That’s not the point, the point is I need to talk to a human mother, emphasis on mother, Jay, about this. I don’t know what happened but I fear I might endanger the camp if this goes on.”
She sighed, defeated. “Okay. I’ll let her know you’re up. She might be with child again, Cathan is checking her out.”
“Good” I said with a smile. “That means you won’t be the bratty baby anymore!”
Jannali scowled at me. “I’m not a bratty baby! I’m just the youngest. Don’t mess with the one who fixes you!” She stuck her tongue out at me, spun on her heel and walked away. I laughed to myself, she knew I wasn’t serious, but it is always fun to make her angry. My clothes and weapons were sitting on the side table, but I eyed Takumi still fast asleep and holding my hand. I was able to slip my fingers away, quickly changing and strapping on my weapons. I did a quick scan to see if there was anyone else in here with us, but we were alone. I walked outside of the tent to where it seemed as if the entire camp was awaiting me. Juan came up and hugged me tightly. Overwhelmed by the emotions that the camp was emitting, I pushed him away.
“What is going on?” I asked. He had tears in his eyes. People were crying. But they were smiling. I didn’t understand.
“You broke through. You became human again.” Juan smiled. “We’re happy for you.”
“I’m not! What am I supposed to do with this? I have my job to do. I need to continue to fight.” This is what the big deal was? That I broke down? I didn’t understand.
“You can still fight and have emotions Si” Juan pulled me to sit down next to him. The rest of the camp followed. ‘What is this, story time?’ I thought to myself.
“Sienna, think about it. As a human, I fight constantly. I fight for what I want to protect. What did you fight for before you and Takumi shared energy? You fought to protect us, who saved you so long ago. You fought to win your family back, who have passed. What has changed? You still have your passion to fight. Takumi is just now the one that you have a specific fight for. Your fight is because you shared your energy, because you need him. Its like adopting a child. Its like how we adopted you as one of our own. You don’t remember this because it’s been so long. You’ve been a blessing to us, you’ve brought us through some hard times. You can still fight, you won’t have a choice to. You just have more responsibility now. You need that responsibility. You need that anchor, that need. You can’t run off anymore like that. I know, you’re frustrated that you cannot speak with the one you shared with. But its like with a baby. Babies don’t know to speak right away. Its done by being taught. You are going to teach that boy how to speak, and fight, and learn how to live in this world. Its like a brand new baby. He’s so young.”
Juan’s speech had me reeling. I wasn’t ready for this. I felt more conflicted than ever. I didn’t know if I should bend to this Human side, or pull myself back into the Hybrid Warrior I knew. Before I could even respond, Sita came up beside me and held me close.
“Its okay to feel human” she said, stroking my hair. This was too much. I stood up abruptly.
“Guys, I appreciate what you are saying, but this is all really new and really weird to me. I don’t like the fact I broke down on the field. I don’t like that I gave up. I hate even more that I was willing to die for nothing. For my anger. For my frustrations. I couldn’t see past what had happened so long ago, I couldn’t see past that I now have a child that I didn’t ask for. I just want to fight, get to The Voice, destroy him and be done with surviving to live. I want to live a real life. If I have to have a child like I do now, I want him to be in a safe world. One where we don’t have the threat of Androids. One where we don’t have to scavenge for food and shelter from day to day. Where we know we can survive the winter or the rain season. This life isn’t fit for reproduction and new life. What we need to do is defeat The Voice and we can move on from there. Let’s plan this. Let’s do this. Let’s move on.”
The silence was deafening around me in the camp. Everyone was looking at me like I was crazy. ‘This is the goal, right?’ I thought to myself. ‘I thought the goal was to eventually bring the humans back to this world. To rule over the Androids once again. To not be ruled by technology. Am I wrong? Why are they looking at me like that? I don’t understand.’
Zandra stood slowly and held my hand. Hair whipping in the wind, shoulders broad and confident, she turned me to face her. “You are crazy, little girl. But I will stand by you in this crazy endevour you have. But you need to teach him what you can, because we are going to need his Kung Fu Crazy Brain to work with us.” She hugged me close. I knew if anyone was to talk me in or out of this planning period, Zandra would have been the one to do it. To know she has my back made thinking about this that much easier.
Sita sat next to Juan, shaking her head. “We all can’t be part of that mission Sienna. You’ll have to create your own team to infiltrate the Android headquarters. We have kids, I’m with child..” the crowd gasped and she nodded, holding her hands up. “Those of us who need to stay will stay. But you’re right Sienna. We can’t keep going on a day to day. We need to bring life back into the world, not life created by machine.” She turned to address the crowd. “It will only be a small team, most of us will stay. It will require those of us who are not at the front of the line to become front of the line. Our roles are going to change.”
I turned to reassure her. “It will only be myself, Takumi, Zandra and if anyone volunteers. I don’t want a group bigger than 6. We’ll move in stealth, even if that means moving during the day. We will plan everything as much as we can before we even leave this campsite. Juan, I want to talk to you about cleaning out the warehouse and moving everyone in there. I feel it in my bones that this weather is about to turn bad, and we can’t have another winter like last. What weapons do we have spare so that I can train Takumi?”
Mica, our weapons creator, spoke up from the back. “No new weapons, Sienna. But I have some old ones. And the ancient set of bow and arrows we’ve been carrying.” I flashed back to my dream of Takumi dying for me with the bow and arrow. I shook my head.
“Is there another shotgun like mine? I know I can teach him that. I don’t know the bow and arrow.” Mica shook his head.
“Not like yours. There is one with the old time ammo, that isn’t made anymore. If you can figure out how to make ammunition we can equip him with that. The only energy weapon we have is some pistols that aren’t great, but they’ll work. I can try and create some new weapons if we have the time.”
“Take the time you need Mica. We have a lot of planning to do, and a lot of preparing so we don’t leave the place in shambles. When you are able to create something let me know. Try and keep with the shotguns and rifles, I want to take extras with me as well. We’re going to need the extras I think.”
“Make another sniper for me too” Sebastian spoke up from the back.
“Macaria, you’re going to have to stockpile some batteries for her and a bunch of chargers for me.” Varien stood next to Sebastian. I smiled at the thought that Redtail and Varien would be joining us. I knew Juan wouldn’t join us, especially if Sita is with child. I felt a tug at my hand.
“Sienna?” Takumi was tugging at my hand. For a 19 year old he looked so young, so small. I hugged him.
“I am going to teach you so much in so little time.” I turned around. “We have space for one more. We can do it with us five, but I would prefer to have at least one more.”
No one moved. I couldn’t be surprised. It was basically a suicide mission. But our lives needed to be improved. Takumi held onto my arm. Sebastian and Varien joined us up front. The five of us stood there. I almost felt like we were a superhero team. The crowd started to applaud. My confidence grew. ‘We can do this’ I thought to myself. ‘We have a very good shot of doing this.’
Later that night, while Macaria continued her monitoring of my system, Zandra came to see me. She kissed her mother hello and came over to my table. Takumi was playing with some wires on the ground next to me, making new sparks. He would mutter something in his language now and then, I think he was trying to create something new. Zandra sat next to me, looking at me.
“So what is the plan girl?” Leave it to her for business right away.
“We need to get prints into the Android headquarters. Where they are now too, because The Voice might have moved since we infiltrated last time. I’m going to start speaking with Takumi, just straight speaking to him in English, and maybe hopefully he’ll pick up words and he can start figuring things out. He’s smart, he’s already messing with the electronics here. Have you talked with Mica?”
“Since we cleared that camp of Androids we’re going to have to find a new one. Talking with Juan, we’re going to have a mess to clean up with the warehouse but everyone will pitch in, it shouldn’t be too bad. We’re going to need to make more masks, which will keep Mica slightly occupied for now, but he said our weapons are the priority. He said he might have a few tricks up his sleeves for the ‘lady who likes to blow stuff up.’ Since I can only assume that is you, I think you’re going to get some new shiny shotguns.”
I smiled. “Fantastic. I can teach Takumi on my current one. That one hasn’t failed me the past year, I’m glad Mica has time to get creative now. How is Redtail and Varien doing?”
“They’re more nervous about you, the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional and draining for you. They’re probably going to send you for battle a few more times before they’ll be more comfortable in your state”
I sighed. “I can’t blame them, and Mac here won’t let me leave until I am shiny and brand new. I am going to talk to Sita tomorrow as well.”
Zandra smiled. “Good, she can help you with being a mom. I will help as much as I can okay? I’m going to hunt, the moon is high tonight, I’ll take Varien with me.”
“I’m glad you’re not going alone. Varien is a good hunting partner too. If you see any of the medicinal berries that Macaria likes will you get some please? I’m sure I used up a lot of them and I would love to be able to present her with some.”
“Of course, don’t worry. Take care of yourself girl.” She patted my shoulder and got up. “Takumi?” He looked at her, she pointed at herself. “Zandra. Friend.” He smiled and nodded, then went back to his electronics. She looked back at me “I’m serious girl. Take care of yourself.”
I nodded at her. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to play hero for a little while. I have someone to take care of, and an entire army to overthrow.” As she left the tent, I laid back down in my bed. Before I could close my eyes, Sebastian stood over me.
“Hey moonshine” his eyes sparkled. “Got a sec?”
I sat up. “What’s up Redtail? Zandra just left.”
He smiled. “Yeah I saw the redhead leave. Girl talk? You two talking about the boys?”
Rolling my eyes, I replied “Oh yeah, all you sexy boys. You gonna tell me what’s up? Macaria is going to yell if I’m up much longer.”
“Oh, I’ll sweet talk her.” He said with a laugh. “Actually I’m here to ask a favor. When you start teaching your boy the shotgun, can you teach me too? I can take out anything with a sniper rifle, but I think cross training is something key here.” I must have looked surprised, because he continued. “C’mon girl. We’re taking on an entire Android army, plus The Voice. You’re still the only person to take on The Voice and survive. What does he look like anyway?”
I shook my head. “I don’t talk about that, you know it. But I’ll help you, as long as you never bring that up again.”
He smiled, with a laugh. “I know, I figured I might as well ask before you can beat me up again. Thanks for the help metalhead.” Before I could protest that nickname he walked out of the tent.