Book Two: Vengeance, Chapter Nine-
Rei dashed along the everlasting expanse of road, ignoring her fatigue. She had be at it for hours, but too much was on her mind to notice it. What had happened back at Kaghane was a prime example. Nothing had ever pushed her that far before. People have been hurt by her hands before, but to lay waste to their lives with blinding torture was beyond her. At least, before it was. She was troubled, however, as her undead companion aided her from the dungeon walls, for this was the only thought running through her mind as she escaped: How much further was she willing to go for her cause? The answer scared her...
These convictions haunted her for days as she trekked back down still familiar trails. Rei had passed up a few nights worth of sleep and could barely support herself without hobbling on her walking stick upon arrival at her destination, but, at the site breaking past the horizon, she was renewed, not with hope or spirit but with deadly rage. Relinquishing her weight from the cane, she forced her sore muscles into carrying her back into the Silph Corporation building. The scene was quite the same as she had left it, however there were security guards abound. None of which, of course, posed any more of a threat to her than before. Rei did not even bother trying to not look suspicious and the two at the front door still fought over who got to open it for her. Luck against her, there was no distraction occurring in the lobby this time and the secretary had been replaced, by the looks of it, with someone who would not be as easily duped as before. While Rei tried as silently as possible to walk to the elevator, her thick boots resonating throughout the space. The eyes of the secretary left the papers before her and darted over the tops of her glasses, eyeing the intruder with a mixture of confusion and anger.
"Excuse me," the woman said in a shrill voice, "but do you have an appointment?" Rei froze in her tracks, contemplating what to do.
Very unskillfully, she spouted out, "Yes," before continuing to the elevator.
"And you are?" she was questioned again in the same annoying fashion as before.
"I'm just here to see Serenity," she explained. "Don't worry, she's expecting me." A look of shock came on the woman.
"Oh," softly exclaimed the secretary, with a bit of a cutting edge to her voice, "then by all means go right ahead. I wouldn't want to keep you from her." She swiveled her chair around so that she could not see Rei and pretended to get back to her work, but her muttering could be still faintly be heard. "It's fine by me if she wants to waste her time with some little..." From there, it drifted into a vulgar sounding mumbling. Leaving the woman with her problems, Rei entered the lift.
The hallways were as equally deserted as the rest of the building had been. The only soul she met on her way to Serenity's lab was the man she swiped a key card from the last time. Turning white and utterly speechless upon seeing her again, a little snarl of hers was all that was needed to scare him away. Lacking any instrument of access, Rei pounded on the iron doors for a while, ignoring the 'work in progress' warning, hoping the sound would get through inside. After a short pause, an intercom lit up.
"Red light, moron," a gargled voice cried out. "Get out of here. I'm too busy to be interrupted now. Rei wet her lips and cleared her throat as she bent down to the receiving end of the device and spoke a single word into it.
"Hi." Immediately, the heavy door opened up. Rei entered to find Serenity sitting on top a table with legs crossed, top buttons undone, articles of laboratory safety strewn about her general area, her hair still messed up from the hasty removal of her goggles.
"Hello indeed," the scientist replied, spinning her goggles by the strap around one of her fingers. "I knew you'd be back, sweet heart."
"Cut that out," demanded Rei. "I know what you've been doing with me
"You just figured that out?" she asked.
Rei repeated, "I'm not here about that!"
"Okay," she accepted, hopping off the table. Quickly turning and leaning over it, she desperately inquired, "I don't suppose there's any way I could change your mind?" Rei sternly shook her head. "Fine." Masking her disappointment, she continued. "So, why is it then that you went through the trouble of seeing me again?" Rei simply brought the matter forward.
"You know about the project, don't you?"
"I work at Silph, dear," reminded Serenity as she approached her interrogator. "There are lots of projects."
"The one to create the ultimate weapon," Rei said with the utmost sincerity only to be laughed at.
Calming her laughter, the researcher commented, "You're not narrowing the field that much, you know. We're talking about Silph here. We don't exactly spend all our time making products to make life easier. We're as bad as, if not worse than, Rocket."
"Oh," the girl interjected slightly discouraged. "Well, this one was headed by the Legend Chasers."
"Oh, that one?" she confirmed. "Where did you ever hear about a plan that old and ended from?"
"Ended?" Rei spat out, surprised.
"Yeah, that project failed on account of the last of the three missing," she explained. "Besides, it was superceded like most projects at the time of the discovery."
"Discovery? What discovery?" Rei demanded, stepping back at an equal pace from the still proceeding woman.
"You know, I'm not sure. I've been working for hours and am really, really tired," the scientist exasperated. "I might remember, but... maybe someone could help refresh my memory?" The sentence ended in a raised pitch of curiosity. Rei knew where this was heading and did not like it one bit but then remembered the lengths she had already taken thus so far. As much as she did not want to, she anchored her feet, allowing Serenity's procession to draw closer. "You know, it's coming back to me already. Good girl," she complemented.
"And that would be?" asked Rei, throwing out her hand, gesturing for a stop. Her persuer grinned impishly.
"Around the time of the third components disappearance, there was a major historical find. It was of a previously unknown species found living deep in the jungle." Pausing, she took another step forward, ignoring Rei's silent protest if not enjoying it. "The 'New Species' was of phenomenal ability, like nothing previously recorded. Silph knows an opportunity when it sees one and immediately set up a small research project to study it on a offshore facility, with the help of some anonymous donors."
"Rocket," Rei surely guessed. Serenity placed her finger on her lips.
"Now, now. You aren't suppose to know that," the woman joked.
"Why did Rocket care about some new species, though?" Before answering, she teasingly rocked back and forth on her heels, waiting to be waved in closer, proceeding as she was.
"Their goal was the same as always: produce an inexhaustible supply of powerful soldiers. The New Species' genetic material, however, proved to be quite unstable and mutated profusely. However, using this to their advantage, the researchers were able to identify the mutated genetics in fragments that specifically improved the species power and recombined them, producing not a clone but an enhancement of the original." By now, the lech was mere feet away.
"But how do you fit into all of this?" Rei questioned. "You don't specialize in any of the fields mentioned. Why are you in it at all?" Serenity only shrugged as she feigned ignorance. Growing tired of her little game, Rei swallowed any shred of dignity she possessed and threw herself at Serenity. Catching her by surprise, the bodies were pressed firmly together. "Now you listen here, 'sweetheart'," she mocked, "if you tell me everything you know that I want to know and you do it fast, I might just..." Gazing deeply into one another, she let the words linger to feed the twisted fantasy. As ashamed of herself as she was, she could not help but to be proud of how well she had become at manipulation, deceit, and lies. "Well, let's just say you'll like it."
"Oh, o-okay," agreed Serenity, completely flustered and blushing. Smiling gently, Rei laid her head on the woman's shoulder not just to prod her on but also to hide the great amount of disgust showing on her face. "I was brought into the project because the creations were soulless. Any attempt at replication of the New Species always resulted in failure. Medically, they were alive, but in all other respects they might as well have been dead. They didn't move, sleep, or eat. They killed themselves through their own neglect." Rei gave a moan to show she was still paying attention as her arms wrapped around the speaker. Unbeknownst to her, each hand concealed an object waiting for the appropriate time. "Unfortunately, this is not the problem I was hired to fix. Just as random and unpredictable spirit reoccurrence is for inanimate beings, it is for the animate. The believed most powerful of the prototypes became seeded with a fragmented anima. It went berserk and burned the laboratory of its birth to the ground, killing those who created it and its unborn siblings, preventing anymore of its kind from being made."
"But if they are all gone," wondered Rei, "why do they need you?" Her answer came from herself. "They're making more, aren't they? And they want you to make sure that these abominations don't go ballistic this time."
"Well, of course. This was a multimillion dollar project," Serenity blatantly stated. "Just because it goes on a killing spree is no reason to shut it down. This was not just some big plan, this is the final plan. Silph facilities are working around the clock around the world hoping to recreate what we once had."
"So, all of this equipment. All of it is for the sake of destruction," Rei spoke with a chill running down her spine.
"Most of the floor, actually," blurted out Serenity in her state of bliss. "It's the most highly secured level, so it's all safe here." Dark thoughts flooded Rei's mind. She knew what she had to do.
"Okay now," she moaned in a pleasantly sweet voice to hide her sinister intentions, "I guess its time for... you know." An item tumbled from her hand to the floor as she broke away from Serenity. "To make it a surprise, you turn around and don't turn back until I say so, okay?" The devilish glint in her eyes was easily mistaken for playfulness on Serenity's part, but she knew the truth as soon as she found behind herself a stout, blue bulb already weaving its pollen into the air.
"Oh, you whore," she managed to fume before falling limp to the floor, snoring, as Rei stole her access card and fled the room with Poppy. With great haste, consecutive doors were opened until, at the end of the hallway, she released the second orb. Immediately after Cinder's arrival, the order was made for him to work fast at welding the elevator door's shut. During this time, Rei scoured the many rooms for their content, looking for any insight into what was transpiring. The entire floor was wrapped in falsehood as the names printed outside of the chambers compared in no way to their components. Huge machinery and massive computer displays filled every room. Highly volatile chemicals, explosives and, even, implements of war were found in stockpiles abound. Something terrible was in the works, and, by the looks of things, it would be big. A series of barks and growls drew her attention away from the present matter to her Flareon. The door it had be guarding was being pounded on vigorously. She called her pet back to her feet and clasped him tight as her mind scrambled for what actions to take. In a calming wave of tranquility, she stood back erect.
"Whatever it takes," Rei told herself grimly. Aiming Cinder down the hallway, she petted him reassuringly. Taking a deep breathe, she dashed down the hallway in full sprint. Turning around slightly with a cleft globe in hand, she screamed her command to the Flareon. A wild array of flame leapt from his jaws, spreading in all directions, as a scarlet beam soared down to his location. Just as the fire erupted the volatile materials, the ray made contact with beast. The elevator doors were pried open in time to invite a sea of flame into the lift. The explosions started a chain reaction and followed Rei's race down the corridor, spilling into all of the rooms, destroying all of their work. With her creature transported back to safety, she faced little room between herself and the end of her path. All of this had happened faster than she could think, and she would have to start thinking fast as she hurdled herself through the window of the top floor...