0
followers
follow

Xaviar Phelan

"Why can we understand the way our solar system works, but not our own minds?"

0 · 361 views · located in Earth

a character in “The Marigold Machine”, as played by NewKidOnTheBlock

Description



Xaviar Phelan




Image

Age: Twelve years old

Gender: Male

Appearance: For a soldier hand-picked by the Marigold Machine, Xaviar Phelan seems like a very odd fit for the role. His red eyes examine the fictions of the Past Age with much glee, a computer screen reflecting off of the ember irises. His snow-white hair is clean and soft, but is always mussed in one way or another, the mostly-straight hair giving way to the cowlick on the peak of his head. His stature stands at that of the national average of his age level in the nation, his weight riding the similar mean. His skin, due to his obvious genetic variance, is pale like a thick satin sheet; easily burned yet hard to tear.

Personality: Growing up mostly alone, Xaviar is unaccustomed to true friendship. He instead usually stands alone, knowledge of his loneliness eating away at his self-worth. That is not to say that he is depressed or gloomy about it; rather, he is comfortable in loneliness. Rather, he is used to it. Part of his loneliness is people's inability to understand his understanding; to compete with the sharpness of his mind. It is this reason, Xaviar has yet to deduce, that he is on his way as a soldier; for there is more to a warrior than a man with a weapon. Brains must balance with brawn; strategy is just as important as strength. And it is his comfort he finds in strategy; playing mind games, solving puzzles, asking impossible questions.

Every prodigy, though, must come with a price. Xaviar, while usually having a cool temper, has little-to-none tolerance for disrespect of one's honor. When his fuse is lit, he goes off like a breaching charge: destructive, quick, and precise. Grudges are not common for Xaviar, but if there is a reason to hold one, it will etch into his very soul, to never be forgotten.

Bio: Being an oddity of genetics, Xaviar never quite found his place as a child. He was interesting enough to be noticed, but strange enough to be shunned by the populous society. Many people, children and adults alike, mistook him as a ghoul, a restless spirit of the dead. Even when those kind-hearted children who reached out to everyone approached, it did not take them long before they left him alone; he was too...different. He was too smart for his age. Did too much thinking. Asked too many questions. Understood too much. So, with his burden of intellect bringing him loneliness, Xaviar learned to accept the loneliness, and delved deep into his own mind and the studies of his mother and father. They, at least, functioned much better alongside him; his mother being a biomechanical surgeon, and his father a robotic engineer. All the stars seemed to align him towards the studies of science, especially for bioaugment engineering...but the Marigold Machine is flawless. It is flawless, knowing the ability of adult comprehension stuck in a child's mind is a weapon...and knowing the confusing mess of emotions he has not yet learned to control is as equally as deadly, when pounded out into the correct shape.

So begins...

Xaviar Phelan's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

It was the last thing she’d been expecting to hear. Until now, she didn’t even realize that it was even remotely possible. But it was there all the same and no amount of denial and self-distraction would ever erase that fact. At the very least, she decided she wouldn’t dwell on it during her ride back home, keeping her mind unfocused and her gaze outside of the windows. It didn’t help much.

She stepped off the transport line, clutching her jacket tightly to herself as she was suddenly faced with a biting current of wind. She passed her tongue over dry lips, her eyes wearily darting about like she was in search of something. It was like the world had come under a new light all of a sudden, as though everything she’d ever known had been passed through a selective filter and she’d just now taken the brunt of the hit. She was restless, wary beyond comprehension and more doubtful than the cause had likely merited her to be. She would have liked to say that she was mentally exhausted, but it wasn’t so much that as being mentally unprepared. She didn’t want to think about it.

She hit the base of the steps, sauntering her way up before turning left upon reaching the top and stopping at the third door she came across. She wrapped her hand around the doorknob and a thin strip of light that circled around it immediately turned from gray to green. She opened the door and closed it softly behind her. Her father was the only one in at the moment. Rachel was already heading into her room when she heard him call for her.

“Rachel, how’d your evaluation go?” the low, soothing voice asked. “Ready to pick up the guitar again?”

The question was answered with silence as she stood at the doorway to her room, her fingers pressed around the side of the frame. She didn’t know how to respond. Was it really so bad to just keep her mouth shut, fall asleep, and never wake up again?

“Something wrong?” he continued.

Her fingers tightened around the plastic doorframe, feeling her heart rate beginning spike. He just had to say it. He just had to remind her right before she was about to sleep it off and figure things out once she’d calmed down. She bit her lip, her small frame visibly trembling. Even under these dreamlike circumstances, it was all too real. The machine does not lie. This was a foregone conclusion that all people have come to terms with ever since its conception. Her knees suddenly gave out and she sunk to the floor. Her chest bucked lightly and her hands were shaky, but otherwise made no indication that she was crying.

“Rachel! What’s wrong?” A pair of large, firm arms wrapped gently around her body from behind, his face beside her own. “Sweetie, what is it? You can tell me. Come on, stop crying. You’re a big girl now.”

“I’m scared,” she whispered hoarsely, her face stricken with faint tears. She slowly raised a hand, laying it on her father’s arm as she stared at him with reddened eyes. “What’s going to happen to me?”

“Nothing’s going to happen, honey. I’m here, everything’s fine. Just…just tell me what happened, okay? We’ll figure something out.”

“It’s too late,” Rachel answered in a choked voice, her chest heaving as she spoke. “It’s already decided.”

“Decided what, Rachel? What did it decide?”

Her next couple of words had an impact on her father that perhaps mirrored the same reaction Rachel had when she herself had initially heard the news. He embraced her tighter, closing his eyes and gently rocking her back and forth.

“Everything’s fine,” he said, his tone clearly showing that even he wasn’t believing his own words anymore. “You’ll be alright. I know you’ll be alright.”

“Everything’s fine,” she echoed absentmindedly, her voice almost too soft to hear. “Everything’s…fine.”

***

Children evaluated to be soldiers are given several days of preparation before they're finally sent off to a military academy, where they will be transported in one batch. Depending on the timeframe between each assessment, this time may be shorter or longer. Rachel didn’t have any friends to speak off, not when she spent so long away from society during rehabilitation. Everyone she knew had moved out of town or moved on with their lives. Other than her parents, there was no one to say goodbye to, no one to send her off and wish her luck for the days to follow. Perhaps it was this that truly broke her in the end.

It was hard to lay her head against the window, to stave away the unpleasantness from her mind and just forget about everything. Every bump of the road was a step by step reminder of how much closer she was to her impending fate. She folded her arms over her chest, cooped up on the small space the bus seat offered. It was a military bus, to be exact, reassigned to transport the future generations of soldiers to their new home for the coming years.

Wherever the hell that was.

A television mounted below the ceiling sparked into life and a suited man appeared in place of the black screen. Less than half of the passengers bothered to look up. Rachel kept her eyes fixed to it for a few seconds but it didn’t hold her attention for long. She briefly wondered if it would give any insight to the clouded future she was so afraid of, but in the end decided that it would only serve to reaffirm her fears. She paid no mind to the screen.

Her eyes flitted around, surveying the faces of the other children who would inevitably serve with her. Most of them seemed pretty shaken up about this whole ordeal as well, showing more clearly on the faces of some than others. For a majority of the children, this had to be something akin to a bus ride straight into hell, after all. Kids training for military service at the age of twelve? In this day and age? A few decades ago, people would’ve laughed at that prospect, but here they were now, ready to be suited up and sent off to their deaths.

It wasn’t like the country was caught up in some sort of dire international struggle, but domestic ones were terrifying in their own right and they knew exactly what that might mean for her and her peers. Flashbacks of the subway explosion crossed her mind before she forced the memory toward the back of her mind again. That was enough trauma for one lifetime, but this? This was absurd. She kept to herself, finding that, for the most part, the bus was quiet. A few children were already conversing with each other, though none of their discussions appeared to be particularly enthusiastic. She didn’t know anybody here and she didn’t have any real intention of making new friends straightaway.

Rachel yawned.

The road ahead was long, but she trusted in her father's judgment. He'd never been the type to be wrong, after all, especially not when he'd been there for her so many times. Yeah. Everything would be just fine. It couldn't be too bad. They were only children, right? She was sure they'd understand.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

Bloodied and bruised, Rowe made her way back into her dorm room. She'd spent nearly the entire afternoon with her trainer, if that would even be an appropriate word for their relationship, though it meant ditching her several afternoon classes -english, history, sculpting- as well as receiving a multitude of questionable wounds. Her fights were unlike any other, filled with an anger and hatred and power unlike any other. She fought, and she won, and Mike bought her ice cream. Despite the chill of the frozen, chocolatey cream, she could still feel the sadness seeping into her heart.

"What's wrong, Elaine?" Mike rested a hand on her left shoulder, being too tall to drape his arm easily across Rowe's fragile skin. "You won three fights today! You should be happy!"

Rowe's large, blue eyes studied the ground as she walked. She didn't have the energy to shrug off the large hand that was practically crushing her against him, nor the heart to chastise Mike for calling her Elaine; she'd made a large scene in a store several months earlier about it. Her parents called her Elaine, and no one else. Mike was not her parent, he was her friend, her business partner.

"The results came back this morning," her voice cracked, she fought the tears that were pushing fiercely to expel themselves from her eyes.

Mike kneeled in front of her, placing his hands on her arms despite the bruises that spotted the surface beneath her jacket. "Did you get the position you wanted, rockstar?" Mike's shaggy brown hair hung in his eyes and he huffed a large breath to blow it into its original place as he looked up at her with his pale green eyes, face filled with the worried emotion of a caring father.

"I-" Rowe fell into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably. "I'm going to be a soldier!"

Mike pursed his lips, biting them slightly to fight from saying something he'd regret. Instead, he stood up and started walking. They walked silently, hand in hand, as Mike escorted Rowe back to the academy as he did after every fight. Rowe watched her feet, watched the tears drop to the ground. They said nothing to each other, though Mike mumbled incoherent phrases as they walked. When Rowe glanced up, he seemed to be holding back his own tears, but he said nothing to her, nor she to he.

-------------------

Two days later, sitting at the small desk in her dorm room, Rowe let out a frustrated sigh. She looked down at the piece of paper she'd been mulling over for nearly two hours. Its contents were nothing more than "To the parents of Elaine Estin," and several erased sentences describing her hatred for them and all of their mistakes throughout parenthood. She couldn't bring herself to tell them, to let them know she'd be joining her brother in the military, but she knew deep within herself that they could care less. She tossed the piece of paper into the trash instead after scrawling a sloppy "I'm sorry", across its surface.

Her roommate, Lauren, had showered her with hugs and farewells, but had scurried off to meet friends at the library. Rowe was not sad about leaving Lauren. She was a nice girl, but held the normal naivety of a child of ten, so it was unusual for the pair to carry a conversation. In the past several months, Rowe had distanced herself from many of her classmates and former friends. She saw no reason, being twelve, to continue to smile in their faces when she knew that she would not see them again. She instead filled her time with training, spending time at the DJ booth, and getting to know the city she would be leaving behind. Her teachers had to monitor her schedule just to find a time when she was at the dorm so she could undergo the assessment. Rowe laughed at them, laughed in their faces. "How foolish," she'd mumbled.

It was a foolish idea; she'd been grouped according to a skill she'd built to survive. Rowe didn't plan on complaining though. Plopping down on the bench at the bus stop, she crossed her legs, right over left, and gave a devious grin. It was the last of her rebellion as she began her process of becoming a more intense version of herself. Her grin faded to awe as she saw the faces that gazed out at her from the bus windows. She would learn to know these faces through training and battle; she would learn to put her life in their hands. She did not have the same fears or pain as the other children; other than Mike, she was not leaving anything behind. Instead, she was morphing, steadily into a new being, a new character. They wanted a soldier, and she was prepared to give them a spitting image of perfection.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

A loud knock on one of the many doors in the mansion echoed throughout an almost empty room. Haizea's eyes fluttered open as a small groan escaped from her slightly parted lips. Another knock on the door had her sitting up. She then crawled out of bed where she met her morning image: loose, messy curls falling where they pleased, tired eyes, and an over-sized white nightgown. She gave one small thought about making herself look more presentable but then quickly buried that thought deep in the back of her mind. After all, she would be the only one at the breakfast table and even though it was too big, this was one of her favorite nightgowns.

She quickly tiptoed out of her room and into the hallway, where her bare feet hit the cool, linoleum floor. A few minutes later and she was close to the dining room and the smell of freshly cut fruit and the grease of bacon lingered in the air. While her mind was busy thinking about food her feet got tangled with her gown and soon enough she fell flat on her face. The smell of food called out to her but laying down on the floor reminded her of the joys of sleep so she burrowed herself deeper into her gown and she closed her eyes, falling into a soft sleep three feet away from the dining room.

"...ss....iss....Miss.." Called out a soft, female voice. Haizea slowly opened her eyes, looking up at one of the few maids that worked at this particular household. Haizea slowly got up from the ground, balling her hands up in fists and rubbing her eyes. She then looked up at the maid and smiled.

"Good morning!" She said, all sleepiness escaping her.

"Miss! Sleeping!? On an important day like this!" The maid said, placing her hands on her hips. "Get in there and eat your breakfast. And hurry. The results of your evaluation came in today and Mr. Grayson will be coming to see you personally." The maid then led Haizea to a giant table, sitting her at the end with all of the food then leaving her to eat by herself.

"Oh, right! My results..." Haizea said to herself in between mouthfuls of oatmeal, "I wonder what I'll get...Maybe I could design dresses! Ahhh! Or-" She quickly stood up in her chair and put her hands in circles over her eyes as she looked around the room, "I could be an adventurer! Or-" She grabbed the spoon that was covered in bits of oatmeal and held it high in the air, "I could be a pirate! Argghh-"

"Haizea Bolthausen."

Haizea jumped slightly and turned around to see a tall man with a hefty build and a face that showed no signs of laughter. She slowly worked her way to the ground, placing her spoon back into the bowl. She stared at him for another long moment, examining his black hair with tiny little gray hairs poking out here and there and pair of thick eyebrows that reminded her of something, she just couldn't remember what.

"...Mr.Grayson?" She asked, unsure. Even though he was the one that took her off of the streets she never saw him again. It had been at least seven years since she last saw him. She stepped closer towards him, and gave him a big smile. She then opened her mouth to say something but she was interrupted by his coarse voice.

"You're going to be a soldier." Mr.Grayson said.

Haizea looked up at him, her eyes wide with disbelief as he continued to speak, "One of the maid will fill you in on the specifics. That is all I have to say. I'll be going now." Mr. Grayson turned his back and began to walk towards the door. Haizea reached out and grabbed the end of his suit jacket, "W-what do you mean I'm going to be a soldier? There has to be some mistake!"

Mr. Grayson stopped walking, "You've been trained for this exact thing to happen. You are fully prepared and no mistakes have been made." He then turned his head slightly to where Haizea could see the corner of his dark eyes. "You didn't think you were adopted by me so that I would grow to love you, right?" He laughed to himself, "You are and will always be a pawn, my dear. Get used to it."

Haizea released his jacket and Mr. Grayson walked out of the door, leaving her alone. Haizea sunk to her knees, hollow eyes staring at the floor, "A soldier, huh...?"

***

Haizea stepped out onto the sidewalk, lugging a large suitcase filled with all of her favorite dresses behind her. Yeah dresses weren't the most suitable for being a soldier but she didn't care. She wondered if she was the only one there to have no one send them off. She took a deep breath and sat down on the edge of the bus bench. She swung her feet lightly back and forth for a few moments and then her eyes lit up.

"Caterpillars!!" She shouted, giggling to herself. That's what Mr. Grayson's eyebrows reminded her of.

She wanted to be slightly upset with Mr. Grayson but she didn't find his words completely true. The man that sent her presents on every one of her birthdays. She was a naive little girl who trusted people too easily.

She shrugged her shoulders and she slowly stood up as she saw the bus heading her way. As she got on the bus she smiled at anyone who would meet her eyes. This wouldn't be too bad, would it? It'd be like going to a summer camp- something she had always wanted to do. It'd be like going on some sort of...vacation. She would be just fine.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

#, as written by Rann
"Don't end up like me." Oren muttered, looking over his little sister before the actual whole thing. Philo just nodded her head; bored, not really all that interested, really. Why couldn't she just be like her big brother, who more or less completely ignored his assessment - a middle school teacher, really? - and become a delinquent? Sure, she's short, and... regrettably, female, but still. She could fight, push drugs, whatever. She'd already worked out a little bit. Chances were that she'd get something stupid and feminine like a nurse or something. And that's just shameful; who does that? Certainly not a manly person. It's like, the ultimate shame. And that's just ridiculous.

"Seriously." Oren paused before chuckling at the irony. "Okay. Okay fine, it's me saying it-"

Philo shot him a little teasing smirk, earning a noogie on the head and a poke to the ribs - making the androgynous girl almost flinch as sudden pain shot through her body. There was still a pretty bad bruise from her father earlier; but apparently Oren didn't notice. Or knew that Philo would deny everything. Things still weren't back to normal between the siblings, since she stalked and figured out Oren was in a gang, but that would have to be resolved later. Today's a big - insignificant, in Philo's eyes - day, so it wasn't time to dwell about things. Though the idea of rebelling against it and becoming a gangster really was pretty tempting. It was manly, right? Macho? It had to be. It seemed so cool.

Oren continued his little brotherly lecture. "Don't want my cute lil sis messing up her life. Money won't be a problem... and once I'm old enough, we'll move out together. Get away from dad. Whatddya say? It's just three mores years, we'll make it. I promise I'll prot-"

The girl stuck her tongue out at Oren, then socked him in the gut.

"Don't need protecting." She said in a bold voice. "Bro, you know me. I'm tough; I can take anything."

The fifteen year old boy chuckled, rubbing his belly in mock agony. "Yeah." He said, fondly. "Says the one who screamed at that spider the oth-"

Another punch.

"Shut up." Philo frowned. "Didn't happen. You're just making things up!"




Well. Fuck.

There it was, in any case. The assessment. Even after leaving and being more or less dragged to the park - one cute girl turned and loftily grinned in the sibling's direction - Philo was more or less unresponsive; hollow-eyed. She more or less ignored Oren's questions, and the brother was getting frustrated. It was already a burden for him to protect her all the time, but when she actively stopped cooperating, it just made his stress even worse. Even the crisp air that called for them to screw around with Oren's school friends in sports didn't help.

So Oren did something he never really did before; never wanted to. He punched his sister on the jaw, moderately hard, knocking her off the swing.

"Talk." He growled. "What the hell happened? Why are you all - he struggled with the words for a few seconds, wringing his hands, as the surprised but silent girl rubbed her cheek; getting back to her feet. "Like... this? If it was bad, you could just - if it's bad, you don't gotta go through with it. It's just - "

"Soldier." Philo murmured, trying to neutralize her voice. To be honest... it was a challenge. An intriguing challenge. For someone as short as she was to become a soldier. It stirred at the masculine facets of her psyche, really, and it was all raring to go. But on the other hand... to be a soldier meant to be sent away to some military school, right? And by extension, being separated from her only real means of support. One that was with her ever since her mother had abandoned her, her doting and loving big brother. And that made her feel weak at the knees; insecure, afraid. Sure, she could go around being as tough as she wanted, but at the thick of things, her brother would always be at her side. Now... that safety net was being stripped from her, and she had no idea how to handle that. But how the hell could she say such... embarrassing things to him? That wasn't... that wasn't tough. He'd think of her as weak and dependent. Like a girl. Like her own damn mother. "Hey. You pussy, you got a crap evaluation compared to mind, huh?" She grinned and ribbed Oren a little. Her brother just sort of stared down at her, feeling the same feelings of... fear, insecurity, at being separated from his little sister. So he moved to hug her, only to be pushed away fiercely.

"I'm fine." Philo stressed. "It'll work out. They won't even be able to tell I'm a girl there!"

"Maybe this is for the best." Oren said after a pause. He took a brave inhale. "Yeah. You'll be away from dad. You'll learn how to fight and take care of yourself... but not being able to take care of you. Shit, Philo. Don't like the idea of you by yourself in a strange place."

This time when Oren moved for a sibling's embrace Philo didn't fight against it.

"Any sis of mine'll survive anything." Oren sounded almost as if he was trying to convince himself of it. "Just make sure you get back to me. I.... shit, Gaia. I love you, you know?"

Gaia. The name she more or less stopped using. Philo just nodded in her brother's big, warm arms, taken aback by the use of her birth name, and the word 'love'. Wasn't that against being manly? Wes her brother not as tough as he let on?

"Love you, too." Philo said, not really feeling the skittish feeling she usually got when the suppressed 'feminine' side of her started acting up.




Donning her black sweater, straight jeans, signature beanie (with the cat ears! always the cat ears!) Philo looked like any other boy on the bus. Sure, a few years from now, her delicate facial features were going to show through, but for now, this was good enough, wasn't it? She saw a girl with long, permed blonde hair, swinging her leg back and forth on the bench - Philo wondered briefly if she was, possibly, rich - and sat next to her with the same cool, collected grin her brother always wore. It was comfortable. No one there knew she was female. She could totally blend in as a guy, and no one'd be the wiser. Her panic was still there, but she managed to lump that in with the girly part for now.

Almost like a fresh start, wasn't it? And there was always the bonus of, hopefully, not being beaten by her father. That's good too. She hadn't said goodbye to him. He probably didn't even know where she went. Did he even care? Philo sure didn't care if he did or not.

The girl beside her let out a shout, while giggling. "Caterpillars!"

"Hey." She nudged her elbow against that of the rich looking girl, before rubbing her hair with a mischievous and hopefully manly expression. "Soldering's for men." She spoke in as low a tone as she could, stressing her throat. "Sure the Marigold Machine didn't mess up and put you in the wrong place?"

Philo let out a bit of a chuckle, before getting a bit too close to the girl, in the ways she's seen other boys do. "Name's Philo. Hope you're up to this, little girl."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

Haizea jumped slightly, surprised to see someone talking to her. She listened intently to the person's words for a moment, her eyes widening, "That doesn't sound right!" She pointed out. "'Cause I'm a girl... and the Marigold Machine doesn't mess up.... I think..." Maybe it did mess up and she was actually supposed to be out hunting treasure somewhere, after all she never got to see the actual results. Mr. Grayson could have been lying to her the whole time and maybe she would be able to go back to the mansion later and would be there, telling a story about the big joke he played on her. She looked down at the ground for a moment, billions of different thoughts buzzing around her mind at once.

She quickly jumped to her feet and placed both of her hands on her cheeks, "What if it is wrong and this is all just a big mist-" She stopped herself and turned to the boy who called himself Philo. She pointed her thumb towards herself and put on a confident smile, "I promise I can handle anything they throw at me!" She said, mostly to reassure herself. "Even if I was just put here as a mistake... I'm ready." That's right. She'd been through hell, training for seven years and she was given no special advantage even though she was a young girl and so she shouldn't be expecting any special treatment because she's young or because she is a girl.

Haizea looked over at Philo for a moment, examining him closer. "You're kinda pretty for a boy." She said without thinking. Her eyes widened once again and she shook her head back and forth, "Gahh! I'm sorry... boys don't like to be called pretty.. I know that..." She looked over at Philo for a moment, her face tinted with embarrassment. It's not that Philo looked extremely feminine or anything like it was just something feminine-like about his eyes. Haizea looked over at Philo, "I'm sorry!" She said, apologizing once again, "Sometimes I just say too much-" She paused for a moment, registering some words he had said earlier.

"Wait A second!" She said pointing a finger at Philo, "Little girl?" Haizea looked down at herself then over at Philo, "I'm not much shorter than you are!" She argued.

"Oh, yeah!" She continued, as if all the fire from her earlier words were gone, "I'm Haizea!" One thing that she was unsure was a good thing or not was that she didn't really stay mad for that long but maybe that was because she got side-tracked a little too easily.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

Many children of Xaviar's age, after the Evaluation, would go home and brag to their parents and siblings of obtaining their dream job, or otherwise release their sorrows to them about how their job is 'unfair' or 'unfit'. Xaviar, himself, did none of this. When he arrived home, there was no one to greet him. Both of his parents were still at work, no other Phelan child but himself to carry on the family name. On any other day, this would not bother him. But this was not just any other day; this was the first day to the rest of his life. A life that now he wasn't sure he wanted. A life that truly didn't seem to match up to who he was raised to be.

It was confusing for the young child. He knew that the Marigold Machine was one-hundred percent accurate; this was a pure fact, tested and true. And yet, like many others, he was not happy with what he was given. He did not see himself wearing the fatigues of a recruit and soldier. He did not see himself expected to fire a weapon at his fellow man, enemy as they may be. He did not see himself as a hero, a defender of the Homeland and Peace. He never expected this to happen. He had none of the makings of a soldier; he was a child of science, it was and had been his entire life. Was this truly where his place was?

Xaviar sat down in the dining room, sitting and contemplating. It was the best he could do to calm the confusion, to dam the flow of emotions that wished to cascade his ghostly face and pulsate throughout his veins. He supposed that perhaps it was not as much as where he fit best, but where he was needed most. It was not uncommon knowledge the United Americas were dealing with a very real domestic treat of drug trafficking, human slave trade, and black market uprisings. And, as large as the country was, it held a very pitiful number of servicemen and women for its military force. Xaviar almost wished that the domestic police force of the Past Age was still in use. However, the United Goverment of the Americas opted that all defense-related government branches were to be melded into one cohesive unit, meaning that anyone who was selected could do anything, whether foreign or domestic defense, as an infantry unit or specialist.

“Yes...” Xaviar muttered the softly as he pushed a hand through his hair. As much as he did not like the situation, it seemed the best explanation. And, perhaps, he would get lucky and land a specialist job, working on the vehicles or even developing new technology for the Government. He truly doubted it, but he could only hope.




The next few days blended together in a blur. The surprise written his parents' faces, yet proud at how well he was handling himself. Spending the days together, they taking the days off of work that they had been offered. Time spent laughing, bonding, getting in the last of the free time and fun they could have before the family was separated, son from parents. Time spent packing, preparing, running mental games and reading up information on Military Training to toughen his senses, to expect what to be expected of. Time spent driving in relative silence, hugs given, tears shed, final good-byes given.

And then he boarded the bus.

It was not until the bus pulled away and his parents shrank from view that the world that time seemed to slow to its normal pace. He looked up as a television near the front of the bus caught his attention, though he soon lost interest. All it was stating was what was to be expected of them once they arrived, a subject of which Xaviar was well mentally prepared for. He looked around on the bus, taking in the wide variance of children that were selected. Children of rich families, well-fed and well-trained; children of broken families, whose lessons in life where taught in nightmares and scars; children of no families, whose patron separation caused the perfect vibes for a soldier.

In fact, as he looked around, he became a bit uneasy. Almost all of the other children that were on this bus had some kind of physical poweress about them, weather by training, natural strength, or artificial conditioning. Even the bubbly personality of a girl near the front of the bus, while seemingly naïve, gave some bodily indications of some form of fighting training. Same with the boy she sat with. At least...was it a boy? He wasn't really sure. The form almost looked neutral, almost unisex, and, he being at the very back of the bus, he couldn't see that well. He looked around again, certain individuals seemingly popping out to him, sticking into his memory for some reason. The Bubbly Girl stuck due to her personality—he wasn't sure if he should be thankful or avoid it; the Unisex One, due to quizzical nature. He saw a girl whom he could've sworn gave a smirk, as if she didn't care if she was put here; he mentally tagged her as the Confident Girl for now. A boy who seemed to have a similar intellect to his; he wasn't sure if this would be a good forming for friendship or rivalry, so he named him Black-haired Boy for the time being.

Then the girl but a few seats ahead of him; he saw that she had a cybernetic replacement for one of her forearms. While many others would not have noticed, the bioaugmented mechskin almost identical to real skin, Xaviar noticed. The minute pigmentation difference, the lack of a vein and fibrous-muscle structure; the lack of natural twitches. Xaviar grew interested. This was, after all, what he expected himself to work on for the rest of his life. He moved up to the seat across from the girl, stating his interest bluntly, pointing to her cybernetic arm.

“May I see your arm?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel

0.00 INK

#, as written by Savader
A soldier. Those two words were what Harvey had received personally from his family's attorney that day. He had a letter to go along with it, explaining everything in detail, but how much extra detail needed to be had when it came to the Marigold Machine? It was 100% accurate; never wrong, and there were no take-backs. It was possibly THE most absolute thing on the planet, next to death, and it was positive that Harvey was cut out to be a soldier. So that's what he would become. A soldier. Unlike most kids you hear about being chosen as soldiers by the Marigold Machine, Harvey wasn't at all broken up over the sudden results. He wasn't sad, angry, worried or even stressed out in the slightest. He was...indifferent. It wasn't that he didn't care, just that he never made it a priority to fret over the things that weren't within his power to control. At least, not when it comes to his own personal problems. If this had happened to a friend or relative of his, then he'd be rather troubled over hearing the news. But it wasn't a friend or relative that this was happening to; it was him, and so, at the time of receiving the letter from his attorney, who was now a little worried over not seeing a change in expression or tone from the young man in question, Harvey merely looked down at the words printed on the creased paper in his hands, shrugged, and looked up at his attorney. "A solider, huh...? Not what I had in mind, but I guess there's no helping it. When do I leave?" was all he had said in regards to what was meant to be the most shocking news of his childhood.

Harvey was thinking back on this while sitting in his seat on the public transit he took around town every other day. He had the letter in his hands as he sat, worrying not over his fate, but rather, what he would be going home to. While it was nothing to stress over for Harvey, his family and friends were far more emotional and expressive than he. What troubled him more than anything else was having to break the news to them all. Sure, he wasn't too fond of leaving his loved ones behind for a long while-- possibly forever, given the kind of career it was, but that was already set in stone. What wasn't set in stone, was how he would go about telling everyone once he made it home that evening, so it made more sense to him that he should focus his worries on that instead. However, his attention wouldn't remain on that topic for long, as it was pulled away by a young girl sitting a few rows beside him in the same, near-empty car just as he was putting the now folded letter back into his suit's inner pocket.

The girl was about his age, he figured, and she didn't appear to be too happy today. Judging by her vacant expression and the dark atmosphere that surrounded her as she peered out the window of their car, she was actually rather depressed. But that was when Harvey realized he was doing it yet again: paying attention to things that didn't personally involve him, which he ultimately had no interest in. This caused him to turn his eyes away from her and back to the row of seats directly across from his own. This annoying ability to perceive most things around him, be them people or otherwise, had been a hindrance for him since he was very young, and it wasn't something he was fully capable of controlling, as was proven just now. This keen eye for detail was a large distraction, and it got in the way of his studies growing up. This led to how he was taught to force ignorance towards things he didn't believe were truly important to him at that the time, allowing him to redirect his attention to what was. However, this was only a solution for after he had already taken note of something (or someone) that didn't immediately concern him, so it was hardly foolproof.

Just as he was reflecting on his old bad habits, the train he was on made another stop at a station that wasn't his. Along with a few of the other passengers, the young girl made to leave the car, passing by Harvey on her way. Reflexively, Harvey looked up at the girl once more before she left, just long enough for him to ask himself 'I wonder what happened?'. Shaking his head away from the car's exit, as if to pretend it didn't exist, he creased his brow slightly, in thought. That was the first time in a good while that he had been unable to return his attention to something he had previously chosen to ignore. Now it was too late, and the mystery behind what had the girl so down in the dumps was sitting at the back of Harvey's mind. 'How annoying...' Harvey thought, wondering why his mind worked the way it did. Given the fact that he'd be going away to military school, he was doubting that he'd ever see that girl again anyway, which made the reason why she was upset matter to him even less than it already did. This gave him some internal frustration, which he didn't want to deal with just then.

Forcing those previous thoughts aside for the time being, Harvey laid his head back against the lukewarm glass of the window, now closing his eyes and entering a light sleep in order to pass the remaining time of the ride home. Just before entering his nap, he thought about the girl once more, and how he thought she was around his age. If she was his age, then it was very possible that she had just gotten her own results from the Marigold Machine, and they were far lower than what she'd been hoping for. Whatever it was, it had to have been worse than learning you'd become a soldier, right? Why else would she have been so sullen? Then again, what could crush a child's dream more than that...? Harvey thought about this unimportant issue as he drifted off into sleep.





Finally at his front door after the short walk from his neighborhood's transit station, Harvey pulled out his electronic key, taking his time as he normally did with most everything. Just as he was about to unlock it, the door slid open of its own volition, and in place of it; two delicious-looking, yet deceiving, ripe melons pressed together under a tightly fitted armor bounced toward him with alarming speed. His most dangerous enemy, come to strike from where he least expects it: his very own front door. Before he had the chance to dodge, counter or simply just run away, he was already enveloped in a conflicting sense of discomforting suffocation, and an incredibly soft sensation that just made him want to fall asleep. Too bad those delicious-looking, yet deceiving, ripe melons weren't even melons at all, and worse yet; they belonged to his overly attached older sister, Samantha.

"THERE YOU ARE~!" she exclaimed with a small squeal, resting her cheek on top of her little brother's as she rocked him back and forth, lovingly. "I was beginning to think you skipped town after learning that you'd be training to become a doctor like me~! But you wouldn't do that, now would you, Harveyyy~?" Squeezing him tighter as her voice began to strain with the amount of strength she was putting into the hug, Samantha started making baby-voice noises, much to Harvey's further dismay.

"Sam... You're...killing me..." grunted Harvey, his voice muffled under the weight of his sister's chest. Struggling to get out of her embrace, Harvey's limbs started to flail comically, making the whole scene appear that much more frightening.

"But I'm doing it with LOOOOVE~!!" she cooed. It was beginning to seem as though she'd really never let go, that is, until their mother appeared behind her, apron on and wooden spoon at the ready, knocking her on the back of the head with it, forcing Samantha to let Harvey fall to the floor in a heap. "Ouch! Mooom...!" Rubbing the back of her head, she pouted at her mom, who was smiling wryly at her daughter.

"What have I told you about suffocating your little brother with your over-sized breasts, Sam?" she asked, placing her hands on her hips, looking like the average mother scolding her child for picking on their sibling. Samantha hung her head for a second before rolling her eyes and reciting what had been clearly said to her many times before that evening.

"'Don't do it in public where other people can see how weird you are and end up calling the police because they think we're "that kind of family"'... Yeeees, I know! Sheesh..." she said with a dull tone of voice, quickly returning to her pout, now crossing her arms.

"That's right. If you're gonna do it, at least wait until your brother's in the house. That kind of image can't be good for his reputation at school either, y'know. Now get inside and help set the table!" barked their mom, pointing at the door.

"Hmph... Fine! But I'll have free reign after dinner, little brother, so prepare yourself!" said Samantha, now stalking off with a defiant look on her face. Shaking her head at her daughter, Harvey's mother turned to him, who was still laying on the floor, twitching. This caused her to smile and hold back a laugh as she raised an eyebrow at him.

"Really. You're playing dead? Come on, now, honey. Get inside; dinners almost ready." she said, turning and heading back in the house. Harvey laid on the ground for a few seconds more before finally deciding the joke had run on long enough. Brushing off his (until now, very clean) suit, he walked on into his house to join his family for dinner, closing the door behind him.

Supper at the Silversons was among the normal for that family, despite the special day that it was. Harvey decided that it would be best to wait until after they had all eaten before spilling the beans, much to Samantha's misfortune, as she had been waiting all day to hear the big news. However, finally finished with their meal and information regarding how everyone's day went, Harvey's father asked him about the results of his evaluation. Pausing for a moment, leaving them all in excited anticipation, he finally chose to be direct and to the point. A very short 5 minutes passed as he explained what he was chosen for, each second filled with pure silence as Harvey spoke. They had all frozen on the spot, their happy expressions dropped to ones of fear and worry after hearing the word 'soldier'. When he was finally finished trying to rationalize why it wasn't as bad as it sounded, still upholding his usual, rather expressionless face and tone, as though he truly didn't care about what he was talking about; a solid 3 minutes of pure silence ensued around the table. All the happiness and jokes, and carefree atmosphere plummeted into that of a black hole, swallowing it all. The first person to speak was none other than Samantha, whose voice was already audibly shakey.

"... W-when do you...leave?" she asked, trying to hold back her tears, unlike her mother, who had started shedding more than a few just after the big reveal left Harvey's lips.

"... 5 days from now." said Harvey, pausing before answering her. Hearing this made Samantha leap up out of her chair, knocking it back. Her fists were clenched and her expression furious, no longer capable of holding back the tears that she was fighting to keep hidden. She was beyond sad after hearing how little time she would have with her beloved brother before she would possibly never see him again. She was pissed. Beyond pissed. The likes of which Harvey had never seen take control of her before now.

"5 days...? 5 DAYS?!" she parroted back, stepping away a little, staring at her brother's emotionless eyes with her own deeply sorrowful ones.

"Sam, come down--" began their father, but was cut off by Sam almost immediately.

"No! Why should I?! This is BULLSHIT!!" yelled Sam, turning away from the table, giving her knocked over chair a swift kick, which sent it skidding into the wall. "I'm not gonna just sit here and let Harvey leave and never come back! He's only 12! He'll DIE out there, and all because of what? Some stupid machine that decided it for him!? Screw that! I won't let them take him away from us--" This time, it was her father who interrupted her.

"SAM!!" he shouted, standing up and slamming his fists down on the table, causing a small shriek from their mother, who was still in somewhat of a daze. "That's enough! ... I know how you feel, but there's nothing you or I, or anyone else can do about it, so...enough..." Pausing for a moment to breathe a little, he continued. "Now go to your room so your mother and I can talk with your brother..."

"But, dad!" she began, only to have her father cut her off and yell at her once again.

"DO AS I SAY! NOW!!" he yelled, his face red with rage. He wasn't mad at her, not by a long shot. But there was no one else for him to scream at over this, and Samantha wasn't helping right now. Looking incredibly hurt from both the news and her father's yelling -- something he had never done to either of his kids for any reason -- Samantha gave one final look at her little brother, more tears falling down her cheeks as she sniffled. He returned her gaze with as much expression as he could muster, but all he could manage was a small furrow of his brows and a slight frown before looking at the floor. With that, she spun around and stormed off to her room, a loud slam resounding down the hall to meet their ears.

Another long silence fell around the table. Harvey's father, who had sat back down with a great deal of weight after screaming at his daughter, was holding his chin as he stared at the top of the table, deep in thought. Harvey merely looked between his mother and father, waiting for this "talk" that was mentioned just a few minutes ago, but figured it wasn't going to come, and so he chose to say something that had been on his mind since he started telling them his results.

"I'm sorry..." he said, quiet, almost monotone, as he did with everything else. This made both his parents look up and at him from across the table. Without hesitating, Harvey's mother scrambled up from her seat and guided herself across the edge of the table, likely due to not being able to fully support herself otherwise at the moment, and damn near collapsed into her son's shoulder, pulling him close. A little taken aback by the sudden assault of affection coming from someone other than his sister, although this one was slightly different. Feeling her warm tears hit the top of his head and shoulder, he chose to reach up, albeit rather awkwardly, to hug his mother from his current position. Heaving a couple of sobs into her boy's neck as she held him close, her father then chose to get up and join in. Feeling both his mother's warm embrace from the side and his father's firm hand atop his head from behind, Harvey finally felt a little sad that he would be leaving after all...

A couple of hours later, after his mother and father retired to bed for the night, too exhausted for anything else, Harvey decided to take care of the remaining dishes and clean up a little. As he was gently washing the glasses, when suddenly, his sister appeared by his side. Without saying a word, she threw on an apron and gloves, eyes still red from crying, and her nose, dry. She merely began washing dishes alongside him, every now and then sniffling a bit. Harvey eyed her a every now and then, wondering how she was feeling, although that might have been obvious. Finally, when they were nearing the end of the dishes, she spoke...

"So what are your thoughts on becoming a... A soldier...?" she asked, the words making her flinch slightly as she continued washing. It took Harvey a moment before he finally answered back in his usual tone of voice.

"Indifferent." he said.

"Oh..." Sam said back. "I see... So you're...not scared?"

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little bit frightened. I'm just...not worried. If that makes any sense." said Harvey. This caused Samantha to stop what she was doing for a moment before continuing.

"Heh, even when faced with something like this, you're still the same old Harvey, huh...?" she said, her voice breaking at the end of her sentence. No longer being able to hold up the charade, as though nothing had changed, her face contorted into one filled with sorrow as she thrust the glass and washcloth she was holding into the sink, causing a splash. She was crying again, propping herself up with her hands around the rim of the sink, her long dark hair dangling into the soapy water.

"Sam..." said Harvey in a quieter voice than usual, also stopping. He pulled his hands out of the water and removed the gloves, finally turning to face his sister.

"Why did they have to pick you...? Why you? Of all the 12 year-old kids out there, why did the Marigold Machine have to choose MY brother to become a...goddamn soldier...!" she said, frustration at the end of her voice as she, too, removed her gloves and threw them into the sink to join her dishes and washcloth. "It's not fair...!"

"Maybe not, but... What can we do about it?" replied Harvey, now leaning his side against the counter. At that, Samantha snapped her head at him.

"So, what, you're giving up? Just like that?" The look in her eyes was filled with anger, sorrow, and pain. Harvey recognized them instantly. As was his natural ability to.

"Can it even be called 'giving up'...if there was nothing you could do about it from the start?" he asked her, sincerely.

"I dunno... But it can't be this easy for you to just...shrug it off as some regular...mishap, Harvey. It just can't be..." she said, shaking her head in disbelief before standing up straight and pulling him into the lightest, most gently, affectionate hug she had ever given him. "The Marigold Machine is never wrong, so you'll become a fine soldier, and come back to us...right?" She paused, her eyes darting left and right before continuing. "Promise me you'll come back...? Please? Even if you have to lie, just... Just please, say it..." With that, she began stroking his head as she closed her eyes. Harvey said nothing for awhile, thinking about how he truly felt before finally answering her.

"I promise," said Harvey, much to his sister's delight. But he wasn't finished. "The Marigold Machine is never wrong... But I don't need it to tell me I'll become a fine soldier. After all, I have this..." he continued, pausing only long enough to reach his hands up behind his slightly taller older sister, returning her hug. This startled her a little, as it was something he rarely did. "All I really need is this... And I'll know I have to make it back. Which means that I definitely will. I have to. So that you can hug me again... Like you always do." finished Harvey, burying his face in Samantha's chest as he hugged her tighter, something he had never done before. Her eyes widened slightly as she felt her heart skip a beat before closing her eyes once more with a gentle smile as she went back to stroking Harvey's hair. In truth, that's how Harvey felt. If the Marigold Machine was sure he was meant to be a soldier, then he would go at it with everything he had, just as he did with anything else he thought to be important. And surviving long enough to make it back into his sister's arms was now the most important thing on his list. He wasn't going to let her down.

"Oh, Harvey... That was so sweet~! Quick, give me a kiss while you're at it--" she began, before Harvey cut her off by shoving her away from him; their usual relationship with one another still going on strong. Laughing, she pulled him close again, rocking gently as she turned the mood back to how it was just moments ago. "I love you, little brother..." She told him with a soft tone, simply enjoying the moment her brother finally decided to tell her how he truly felt. And if not for her large chest enveloping his face yet again as he returned the second hug, she might have heard him mutter the words, "I love you too...".





Five days would go by like nothing for Harvey and his family, as well as his friends, who were almost more upset over him leaving than that of Samantha, but they managed to let him go all the same. It was hard, but before he knew it he was already sitting on the bus that would be taking him to his future.

There were more than a few other kids there, but that was to be expected. Even before he was among them, there had always been kids who were cut out to be soldiers. How else would the military continue to thrive these days? It didn't take him very long to recognize one in particular, which actually managed to surprise him enough to make him halt halfway down the isle of seats as he looked her way. That girl from the train 5 days ago; she was there as well. Blinking away his daze, he moved to sit a few seats towards the middle and across from her own row, not wanting to be too close for some reason. It was now obvious to him why she looked so depressed that day, much to Harvey's annoyance, as it was now apparent to him that his mind was in fact still lingering on a single unimportant thing, or to be more accurate -- a single unimportant girl which had nothing to do with him. Realizing that he was staring at her while thinking about this, he quickly turned his gaze away so as not to make her feel uncomfortable if she happened to notice. This was increasingly annoying with every second that passed in which he couldn't explain why he was so distracted by her presence. Before it was simply because he payed attention long enough to wonder why she was sad back on the train, but the answer to that was clear now, so he had hoped to move on from noticing her presence so prominently. After all, she was supposed to be just another random passenger on a train.

However, she wasn't just another passenger on a train, and the answer had been right beneath his nose all this time. Subconsciously, he already knew of the girl before he finally decided to actually pay attention to her, which is why he had done so that time on the train; the two of them had shared the same train more than once, and he was only just now actually noticing her because that evening on the train was the first time he'd seen her so incredibly depressed. A change in atmosphere around a person you know nothing about and unconsciously choose to ignore can sometimes be significant enough to finally make you notice them, especially when that person is someone you see everyday without realizing it; be it at work or at school, or at the grocery store... Or on a train you both happen to take around the city each day. She was now imbedded in the back of his mind because he held a familiarity with her didn't yet consciously see.

Harvey chose to put his curiosity over the girl back in the recesses of his mind once more to look around the bus and do a quick survey of who he'd be likely relying on in the near future. Harvey took out a book to pass the time, taking note (this time with full intent) of every new kid's face as they each got on the bus. These were the faces of the people he would be serving with in the near future, so they held a fair amount of importance in his eyes. Not counting the mysterious girl (as Harvey called her for the time being) he was already somewhat familiar with, there was one girl that was already on the bus along with Mystery Girl when Harvey first arrived; then a rather bubbly-looking girl that joined shortly after Harvey himself; then a boy-- wait... Was he a boy? Shaking his head slightly, Harvey figured he had to be, and went back to his book, until a very short while later when another boy (at least this one appeared to be a boy without a second thought) stepped onto the bus, heading straight for the back. He seemed to hold himself up with a fair amount of resolve, which Harvey made note of as an admirable trait. After getting a good look at each of them, he turned his gaze back down to his open book and continued reading.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson

0.00 INK

Rachel was just about ready to fall asleep for good when a question - which she'd taken a few moments to realize was directed at her - snapped her awake from her dazed state. Her body stiffened and her eyes went wide for before she mechanically turned around to find herself face-to-face a boy with straight white hair. The familiar combination of pale skin and red eyes had her briefly wondering whether or not the color was a result of genetics or personal preference but the thought did not linger. There was an almost empty look in her eyes as she silently studied the boy's face, which must've been a little strange on his end. At length, her lips parted but words did not come out. She realized she'd opened her mouth without thinking about what she was going to say. A few seconds passed by before her intentions finally found a voice.

"Sure," she simply answered, pulling her sleeve back and slightly extending her arm toward him. "I'm surprised you noticed. Even I probably couldn't even tell apart mechanical arms on other people." It wasn't often that she was asked about her arm - and with good reason - but she didn't have any particular qualms about it. Questions like that always tended to be fairly impersonal so she couldn't say she was ever really offended by them, but most people were tactful enough to keep from prying into foreign matters anyway.

The boy didn't seem to be fazed by this whole ordeal but to be fair, she was probably looking pretty indifferent herself right now, if a little bored. Bored and indifferent was far from the truth but her mind was too exhausted to reject the idea any longer. It wasn't so much that she'd gotten used to the notion as much as having given up on it. She was afraid, but even expressing something like that was becoming something of a hassle. She was just...tired. She wanted to be away from everything. Maybe things would be better than she'd expected, what with all of these children her age having been gathered for the same purpose, but she didn't keep any high hopes.

Rachel suddenly spotted a familiar face somewhere in the back. She recalled seeing the boy on occasion when boarding the train, although she didn't quite expect him to end up here. She felt like their eyes briefly locked before the boy's attention fell back to the book he seemed to be absorbed in. Her expression didn't give any indication that she'd actually met his gaze, flitting back to the more immediately seated boy. Why was he interested in her anyway? Surely there were more fascinating than technology that's been around for decades. It briefly occurred that he might've just used her arm as an excuse to get closer because he decided that she was cute, but she quickly pushed that thought toward the back of her mind. Unlikely. She was far from the prettiest girl on the bus and her reserved demeanor certainly wasn't one to attract attention. A number of theories ran through her head, none of which she felt the need to vocalize in any way shape or form.

For now, she kept her thoughts to herself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan

0.00 INK

Xaviar smiled a bit as the girl finally offered her arm to him, allowing him to examine the fantastic piece of hardware. She stated something about how most other people wouldn't notice, which made his smile widen just a millimeter more. It was nice to be recognized for his keen eye and interest. However, he did not wish to scare away the moment, seeing as she was a nice enough girl to let him examine her cybernetic prosthetic; so he kept his own mouth shut, for the time being.

He gingerly touched the arm, applying small amounts of pressure where normal human sensitive points were. He watched her reactions, specifically for that in the hand. The reactions were slower than that of a natural limb, though only by a few milliseconds, null in comparison for utility. It also seemed that the only places that seemed to have simulated touch was in the hand, as when pressing along the forearm, little to no reaction was made, but her digits twitched with semi-natural reactions when tested. The shape contoured to that of a human arm, but his probing found that there was a flush surface under the skin, meaning that the prosthetic was either relatively old or an undermarket brand. Due to the almost-lifelike movements, though, he believed the limb to be of an older caliber, and a high-market brand at the time. “The Zena BioAugment Limb Mark III, I believe.” Xaviar gave a thoughtful nod. “In any case, it seems to be of very good quality. I hope it has ran well for you?”

Though others may have found the sight to be strange, and surely it must have been strange for the girl, Xaviar's deposition was both excited interest and suave professionalism. After all, he had been co-trained by his mother and father on this very subject since he showed an adept skill and interest in the technical sciences. Though he was not technically certified, with enough time and her granted cooperation, he could most likely fix just about any problem she would have with the arm. He could also—if the necessary equipment and time were allotted—repair, install, and even upgrade just about any common bioaugment.

Thinking about it, Xaviar began to wonder if that was the exact reason he was selected to the military. Perhaps he was to be a bioaugment surgeon within the walls of the military? Or perhaps he was selected simply because this girl had one, and they required a technician of sorts? He looked up to the girl, examining her for a moment. “I wonder...could that be possible...?”

Studying her face for a moment, he suddenly realized that she was quite beautiful. Which, of course, brought on the onset of the butterflies in the stomach. He supposed that could be due to the fact that, in an inadvertent way, he was holding her hand. He gave a little laugh. “Isn't it funny how we as humans can expect our own reactions, but are never able to hold them back?” Ah, Darwin be damned, he was doing again. He didn't want to scare her away, even though it never bothered him before. He supposed it was sort of an act of finding that which was familiar in an unfamiliar place. “I apologize,” Xaviar stated, his suave professionalism melting down into uncertainty. “I tend to think my thoughts aloud.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

Under other circumstances, Rachel might've felt her face grown red with embarrassment as the boy touched her arm, but that was the last thing on her mind. She'd long since stopped worrying about trivial like things like that, unable to keep her mind off of the future. Even as he inspected the limb, she was only half-paying attention, her mind drifting elsewhere in the mean time. He regained her attention when he spoke again, making a jab at the arm's make. "The Zena what?" she murmured, blinking dazedly a few times. "I don't know. It's just a fake arm. I haven't had any problems with it." She listened for a little longer has he continued speaking, slightly nodding without putting much thought into it. "You talk like my mom," Rachel finally said. "I can't understand half the things she says."

She withdrew her arm. Her brows furrowed for a moment as though she were suddenly deep in thought about something. "Yeah. I mean, no. Maybe thinking out loud isn't that bad. I always used to have trouble thinking about what I want to say when I talked to people and then I just end up not saying anything." She paused, seemingly exhibiting the problem she'd explained just now. "I don't know. Is that normal?" Rachel looked at him with an expectant gaze, though those same eyes held a touch of sadness in them. Now she was starting to feel like she was talking too much - that in and of itself wasn't really an issue, but right now she was talking too much about practically nothing. "Never mind," she shook her head. "I'm asking dumb questions, pretend I never said anything."

Why did she always have to try and end off conversations in such an awkward manner? The bus stopped before she could give it any more thought.

"Everyone off," the driver said, turning back to face the children as he tapped against the side of his seat for emphasis. The doors slid open, giving a direct view of the academy's front. "Watch your step," he added, watching as they disembarked one by one. Rachel momentarily hesitated before rising out of her own seat, quickly heading toward the front of the bus to get off. She wasn't in the mood for talking anymore, at least not at right now. It was moments like those that reminded her why she seemed to have so much trouble gaining friends. Leave a bad impression by making yourself look like an idiot and then walk away, ignoring everybody else. Why did everything have to be so difficult?

There were already a group of men waiting for them right outside. They certainly looked like they knew what they were doing, though it didn't seem like they adhered to any sort of dress code. One of the more sharply dressed women of the group approached the crowd of assembled children.

"If you couldn't already tell," the woman said, gesturing toward the pin on her shirt, "my name is Marie. If you could all follow me through the main office..." She pointed toward the roofed extension outside of the gates, which was presumably where the actual entrance was. The gates were probably there for vehicles to pass through. "...we'll get you all checked in. I'll take you around and show you the place to the best of my ability and at the end, I'll show you to your quarters where you'll be living from now on. We won't actually get things started until tomorrow morning so feel free to make yourself comfortable for the time being, maybe get to know each other and make friends before the big day."

In the corner of her eye, Rachel spotted a group of people behind the gates on what she assumed to be their morning run, making laps across campus. For a military academy, it didn't look as gritty as she'd been expecting, but that was for the better. Atmosphere helped, if only for a little while.

Rachel and the other children followed Marie.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

Things change, your life changes. Nolan however wasn't ready for his life to change like it had. He was taken from home, whisked away to some academy to who knows where. He pushed himself against the empty seat in the back of the bus. Why was this happening? Where were they going? All questions would soon be answered... or at least that's bus driver said. The man at the wheel was nice enough to talk to the sacred out of his wits twelve year old before he enter the metal giant that was going to be his transport.

The slow lurching of the bus made him feel sick as it rolled on in it's never changing path. He pulled the bomber jacket he was wearing over his shoulders a bit more before hunching down in the seat. All these people around him and he didn't know a single one. Not one of them seemed to be spreading out either all packed into the front of the bus like this was some field trip. Nolan was smart enough to know it wasn't going to be another field trip.

He knew what a soldier was and what they did. He had seen those old documentaries about what they had to do as well and it made him sick to his stomach to even think about something like that. He knew one day he would have to be behind that gun...and pull the trigger. He shuttered as he looked around the bus as if looking for a spot to insert himself. It would be trouble if he plopped himself down with the wrong group. Nolan finally scooted his way into group of kids who looked friendly enough as he sat there in silence. It was a strange trip already, but he had to put a smile on his face or that was what his father would say.

He let his shoulders hang naturally as he leaned on the side of the seat. Fake it till you make it right? He looked at the other children listening quietly to what they where talking about. They seemed to relaxed and calm at the moment, but he could guess that every single one of them was scared.

Still it was still good to know he wasn't going through this alone. He shoved his hands into his jacket before leaning back against the seat once again looking at the ceiling of the bus. How did this all come to pass? It had only been a day ago since he had been notified of the machines choice for him. The boy let out a deep breath, home was long gone. His mother, father and two brothers where long gone and all that was left was the road ahead of him. He looked around him at the other children again before overhearing talking behind him about the academy. It seemed two girls where sharing gossip about the place and all the did was unnerve him to be honest. He waited for a moment before the bus stop and the children where getting up and getting off the bus before he talked just to shoot the breeze "Fun road trip huh?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

#, as written by Savader
While he was trying his damnedest not to pay any heed to the conversation that was going on not but a few seats away from his own, Harvey ultimately couldn't help but overhear the mystery girl's exchange with the white-haired boy. Another annoyance he found in that he just couldn't ignore this girl for the simplest of reasons; this one being to read a book titled The Mighty One, which entailed a story about a young man being thrust into the world of adults by his world boxing fanatic of a father. Not ready for such a life, the boy strove to accomplish something worthy enough to impress the man who had set him on this quest. And so, believing the only logical way to do such a thing would be to learn from the greats of modern-aged boxing, he sought out to become the mightiest of them all... And that was as far as Harvey had gotten, unfortunately. His attention was far too absorbed by the chestnut-haired girl and hear conversation regarding her...prosthetic limb?

This made Harvey actually look up from his book, as if to confirm this revelation with his own eyes as the girl agreed to let him look over her arm. 'Hm, so that's what her voice sounds like...' thought Harvey, now thinking how strange it was to hear such a thought suddenly pop up inside his head. The white-haired boy, with a seemingly professional touch, checked out her cybernetic arm as if to make sure it was in working order. Sure enough, after carefully looking at the arm in question with more focus, Harvey too, was able to tell the difference in detail from that of an arm made of flesh and blood. This truly surprised him, although he didn't know why. Many people, young or old, had prosthetic limbs these days, so why was he so intrigued with this girl's in particular? His eyes locked back onto the girl's face again for a moment before jumping back down to the pages of his book. He had seen highly realistic models like that in his parents' workshop, now that he thought about it. However, he never payed much attention to stuff like that growing up, as he found it uninteresting for the most part. It made sense that he wouldn't have noticed right away from merely seeing her just once on a train, and then again for a second time today, so he wasn't too beat up over it. But the boy talking with her; he was able to make out that it was a prosthetic immediately after he laid eyes on the girl. Either his perception was even stronger than that of Harvey's, or this kid had one hell of a future as a technician. Judging from how he just figured out the exact model from its name down to its reliability, Harvey was sure it was likely to be the latter.

Harvey heard the pause in their conversation, which made him look up once again, noticing that they were holding hands, in a manner of speaking. This made him raise an eyebrow at the sudden change in pace between the two of them. He told himself that he didn't care about the exchange itself, but was still annoyed with how much he was paying attention to the whole thing in general. It had nothing to do with him. Going back to his book, he continued to simultaneously, albeit unwillingly, listen in on their conversation whilst reading the next page of The Mighty One. And that was when something unbelievably unprecedented occurred to Harvey's appearance. The mystery girl then said the words: "You talk like my mom. I can't understand half the things she says." This made Harvey's lips curve up into what strangely resembled that of a smile. However, it didn't last very long after he immediately felt the change in his mouth's position, quickly letting it drop back into its usual, straight line. Raising his head up straight, he then turned it towards her in full this time, as if to get another look at the bizarre creature that was somehow capable of making him smile so easily, when she wasn't even speaking to him in the first place. His eyes fell on her just in time for his mind to form a single thought as he witnessed the look in her eyes as she asked the other boy a question... 'Heh... Cute expression.'

That did it. He wouldn't have any more unnecessary thoughts enter his mind so early in the game like this. And with that, he turned his head straight, looking at nothing in particular, closed The Mighty One with a small thud, stood up almost mechanically, grabbed his bag and turned his back to the two beside him; finally walking off towards the front of the bus, which, came to a sudden stop, resulting in Harvey's momentum sending him forward a lot faster than he originally planned. Quickly grabbing the metal pole to the right for support, his body swung around it, along with his bag that was still strapped around his shoulder. By the time everything finally stopped moving, Harvey's position was rather comically displayed with him leaning back slightly, both hands tightly gripping the pole in front of him; his legs planted behind it, showing the spot where he nearly lost his footing, his image akin to the arch of a bow. This made most of the children on the bus giggle and laugh at his display of clumsiness. Funnily enough, his expression was still rather blank, save for slight widening of the eyes. Either way, he was off to a great start already...

The bus driver gave the boy a curious scowl before shaking his head and demanding that everyone get off the bus. Straightening up again, Harvey made sure to be the first out the door, not wanting to stay any longer than he had to. What greeted him as he stepped off the bus was a magnificently sized building; the academy. This is where he, and everyone else on the bus behind him, would be training over the next few years... Harvey nodded slightly, stepping forward a bit to meet the woman approaching them all halfway. Immediately after he took note of the pin on her chest, which neatly spelled "Marie", the woman in question greeted the small group with that very name, albeit in a rather annoyed tone. She explained to them all what the rest of their day would consist of, and asked them all to follow her into the building. Not wanting to wait, Harvey walked on after her with most of the others following in behind him. He was seriously hoping that he'd return to normal sooner rather than later. He was afraid that if this kept up, he wouldn't be able to keep the promise he made to his sister after all...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

As the bus eased to a stop Haizea dropped her arms to her side and ran to the window. She looked outside for a bit and then turned to Philo, a smile on her face.

“We’re here!” She said, a tinge of excitement in her voice. She wasn’t exactly excited to be a soldier but just being in a new place with new people made her happy.

She ran for the bus doors and began heading down the stairs, slipping on the last step but catching herself at the last moment. She continued to walk as graceful as she could for the rest of the way, stopping along with the other children. Her gaze darted around the group of people she was with, examining even the smallest detail of a person.

"Ah! My bag...." Haizea said, her eyes wide. She took a few steps backwards, bumping into a few people along the way. "Sorry, sorry.." She whispered as she turned and ran back to the bus.

"Here it is!!" Haizea said, spotting her bright yellow suitcase. She ran over and grabbed it by the handle and began heading to the front of the bus, rambling apologies to the annoyed bus driver. She placed her suit case in front of her and began pushing it down the stairs. This proved a bit harder than it was for her to get it on the bus since one of the wheels seemed to be stuck. Haizea pressed her lips into a thin line and looked down at the suitcase, concentrating, when suddenly her eyes lit up with a great idea. She put both of her hands on the back of the suitcase, took a deep breath, and gave one hard push. The suitcase loosened and fell to the ground right outside of the bus but consequently so did Haizea, landing right on top of the suitcase. She blinked, registering the fall and then quickly got up and glanced around to see if anyone saw her. She dusted off the back of her dress and grabbed her suitcase, walking up to the group of kids.

Haizea smiled to herself triumphantly, as she felt she had made it just in time. Her mind wandered off as she stood there, her attention being focused solely on the sky above her.

"Fun road trip huh?" Haizea heard someone say.

She turned her head towards the boy who had just spoken and smiled, "Yeah! I'd never been on a bus before this!" She quickly quieted down when she heard the woman named Marie talk. She tried her best to focus on the words coming out of the woman's mouth but once again Haizea found her eyes tracing back up to the sky. She couldn't help it- it was a habit of hers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

Find a group and stay with that group, you'll survive a lot longer then. That was the best advice anyone he knew could give him as he stepped off the bus. He looked up at the lady who was supposedly going to be their tour guide for the moment. He shifted slightly until he watched a girl fall out of the bus with a large suitcase. He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose before moving over quite stiffly because his jacket to see if she was all right. He watched her then pop back up to a standing position before speaking a little bit about his comment.

She had never been on a bus before? He tilted his head a bit in confusion before looking at her bag and comparing to his. It was a big suitcase and it looked downright expensive. He looked down at his small duffle bag and it's battered appearance. He had brought only the bare minimum one could bring, and most of the weight in the duffle bag was from the horde of packaged food inside. Well at least if rations got bad he'd have something to eat he thought to himself before smiling a bit at the girl and answering back. "Yeah bus rides are always fun, I used to take the bus here and there for a while to get to school." He pulled his jacket up a bit while still trying to keep a friendly look on his face. Maybe a friend in this place. He was about to attempt further conversation before someone moved out of the bus grabbing the girl by the hand and moving through the crowd with her. Nolan stood there silent for a moment looking around him. He was once again adrift in a sea of people he had no clue who they were.

He looked at the lady as she talked about what they were going to do on the tour. This academy seemed nice enough from the outside, it's clean neat appearance did offer many things to write home about. He watched a couple of what looked to be sixteen year olds jogging before his curiosity of where those two people went go the better of him. He moved slowly through the crowd of children his height over most of the others giving him an advantage in find the two out of the sea of heads.

He watched one of them, seemingly a boy talking to another boy while the girl he had met was standing off to the side. He shoved a hands in his pocket before straightening the small tie on his shirt with the other before moving towards the group. He moved in near the group listening in to the one boy introduce himself to the other. He looked at the boy as he fumbled with a few words in his speech. He seemed nervous about something that he had said and was going over his words again before finally just cutting the sentence short. Nolan moved a bit closer trying to blend in with the crowds as his curiosity was getting the better of him in the longer run.

It was hard to tell how these people would react if he just marched over and introduced himself just like that so he hung back and let the conversation play out for a bit. He could feel his mind wandering to other things as he looked towards the large building thinking about what was exactly behind the walls of it's tall infrastructure. He looked around before opening his dufflebag and started to rummage through it. He had a toothbrush, toothpaste, a change of clothes and other small items. He grabbed a small item from his bag that was a small piece of candy before starting to unwrap it. He looked around his mind continuing to wander. He couldn't help thinking about what was going on back home. How was his family doing at the moment? Where they getting ready for lunch about now?

He could feel his stomach growling bringing him back to earth as he put the candy in his mouth. It had a sweet taste to it as he moved a bit closer to the center of the crowd. He could feel himself growing impatant as he continued to move through the crowd looking over at the group of kids he was going towards might as well drop in and introduce himself. He paused for a moment before looking over at two other children he had seen on the bus. They seemed to be close as they walked side by side before moving into the building. Nolan was silent before moving even farther into the building before sliding into a group of kids who were talking and joining the conversation a bit as he moved on. After that he left the group before moving along on his own. He looked around him before slouching down a bit a moving along with the sea of kids through the building.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

#, as written by Savader
Walking with his hands in his pockets, Harvey appeared rather relaxed as he walked along with the other would-be soldiers. The woman known as Marie was showing them around, stopping here and there to give everyone a quick explanation regarding what something was, how it worked and what it was for. It wasn't very long into the tour when Harvey was approached from the side and greeted by a shorter boy. It was the one whose gender he was unsure of back on the bus. And now, looking more closely, he was once again unsure. Barely turning his head in the boy's direction as they walked, he listened to him politely.

"Glad you didn't fall." he began, seeming a bit apprehensive with his initial topic, although that didn't last long. "Sure a clumsy person's supposed to b- oh, nevermind. Name's Philo." Cutting himself off, he gave out his name before moving on to introduce the girl next to him; the bubbly one. "Cutie here's Haizea. Let's treat each other well for the next few years. I guess." Harvey took note of the girl a second time as he figured on this Philo being more clumsy than he, based on that introduction. Giving the girl known as Haizea a small nod in acknowledgement, he looked ahead once more.

"Harvey," he said, giving them a curt, emotionless response. "And yes, I'd like that. Nice meeting the two of you." Both of their names were somewhat new to Harvey, never having met someone with either. Of course, this didn't bother him in the slightest. They were just names; titles serving no other purpose than to be used as a means of identifying a specific person. As he thought this, he began wondering what the mystery girl's name was, and reflexively turned his head toward the crowd behind him in search of her. It wasn't until he realized just what it was that he was doing that he snapped his head back to its original position. This wasn't like him. He was sure he needed to figure out what it was about this girl that had him so distracted, but that would have to wait until later. For now, there were more pressing matters at hand.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

“Harvey.” Haizea repeated to herself with a quick nod of her head, taking a mental note of his name. “It’s nice to meet you too!!” She said, a smile never leaving her face. “I’m Haizea!” She paused for a moment, staring off into space, “Philo already said that.” She laughed to herself and lightly placed the palm of her hand against her forehead, “Oops…”

Haizea let her hand fall back to her side and her hand on the suitcase tightened slightly. The world seemed a lot bigger than she had ever remembered. So many different people with different faces. She was used to seeing the same people and the same faces back at the mansion and she was never really allowed out of the mansion so this was really different for her. But she wasn’t scared- no she refused to be scared. And even if she was scared she would probably keep it to herself for the time being.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a split second, a smile on her face. After she opened her eyes she gently tugged the bottom of the sleeve of Philo’s shirt, leaning towards him slightly.

“Hey, Philo…” She said, her voice somewhat calm, but still carrying a slight excitement in it. “Did you know if you close your eyes and imagine the sky…. All your sadness will fly away!” This was something she truly believed. Maybe that’s why she spent all of her time looking up at the sky or imagining her own type of sky.

She leaned back, thinking about what she just said. Her cheeks tinted a light pink for a moment, "Ah, sorry... that must sound weird to you!" She said, a small giggle escaping her slightly parted lips.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

Xaviar would have answered the girl's question, had she not finished with her own thought. Her hazel eyes, which he unintentionally peered into, held a look that expected him to answer, but held something else deeper within. He could not tell what exactly it was; but it must have been the cause for her quick interruption to end the conversation, as little as it had been. He did not agree with her ideal, but his only was response a slight shake of his head and a murmured “There is no such thing as a dumb question.” It was obvious that this conversation was closed, and would remain that way for the time being.

He most likely would have not been heard, for, in collaboration with his quiet demeanor, the bus came to a stop as the driver gruffly stated for the children to vacate the vehicle. He gave a slight smile as the Black-haired Boy recovered from the momentum of the sudden stop, he standing up somewhere along the ride to move seats. He also seemed quick to vacate, though his reason why was not picked up by Xaviar. Ah, well. Not that the boy concerned him much, anywho.

He gathered his own things, and waited for the rest of the children to get off the bus, he being the last one off. As he passed the bus driver, he gave a nod and a thank you, which was met with an gruff sound that Xaviar assumed was the closest the man would say 'you're welcome'. As he headed towards the group, it became obvious as to each person's past economic status and current frame of mind. There were a few people, like the Bubbly Girl who went back to get her suitcase, who seemed to be packing a house and a half. There were those, like himself, who carried less, though what they carried was of good quality and of relative price. And there were another select few who seemed that what they carried with them was all they had ever had in life. Such a motley crew, when they were collaborated together. Xaviar wondered how they would meld together as the soldiers they were supposed to become—how their lives, views, beliefs would change for their lives.

Looking around, Xaviar had to admit that he was a bit shocked. It seemed that this place was a little bit more lax than he had anticipated; their collector, 'Marie', while professionally dressed, wore nothing resembling a uniform. In fact, many of the people he saw did not wear their uniforms, and rather wore seemingly whatever they wanted. Xaviar's shock turned to a frustrated confusion; had the United Government of the Americas resorted to collaborating a rag-tag group of guerrilla soldiers? Wasn't the uniform the symbol of unity of the military as a single organism? Looking closer, however, Xaviar noticed something: in the distance, past a fenced gate, he saw as trainees unloaded a bus, tired and dirty, seemingly ready to collapse. He was unsure as to how long they had been gone, or where they had gone, but he assumed that they had just returned from a mock battle of sorts. He gave a small nod of understanding to himself; the reason they were lax here was because their training was not. He understood.

Clearing one thought from his mind, he saw as another worry of his began to dissipate a little more. The Bubbly Girl, Unisex One, and the Black-haired Boy began in conversation, and the girl and unsurely-placed-sex person seemed to be in good company with each other already. He quite accidentally overheard their names as he followed them as part of the group, trailing in the back. It was good to have names, at least. Haizea; Philo; Harvey. Hell, even the Confident Girl began to talk with a Blonde-Haired Boy; they, however, were too far up for him to hear. Not that he was straining to do so; it was just simple fact. He felt a bit envious, wishing he held the same social skill or charm to attract people and make friends. But it was a passing feeling; he soon forgot his envy and accepted his place in the back for now, instead making it his focus to memorize every part of this Academy that he was shown. As he made his mental map, he gave a small mutter to himself.

“Welcome home, I suppose.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

The academy's layout proved to be simple and logical, not much to comment about on that particular aspect. As for the barracks, the west end housed the girls while the boys would reside on the east side. According to Marie, they were to wake up at six o' clock the next morning for a brief orientation in classroom 11B of the learning center where they will officially begin their days at the military school. Until then, they were free to explore the campus and get to know each other, including the students who were already attending.

"And there you have it," Marie said, gesturing toward the end of both the left and right halls. "You are now welcome to head into your rooms. You can find your uniforms prepared in your closets; don't worry about the size, they've been tailored for you beforehand. If you have any questions or troubles, feel free to give the admissions office a call or ask one of the senior students if you happen to find them hanging around. Have a good day."

With that, she left them to their own devices. There were plenty of hours left on the clock, but Rachel didn't see any meaning in putting those hours into anything other than trying to make sense of everything that's happened until now. She was handed an electronic key to her room, the room's number clearly printed on its glossy surface. She briefly wondered what kind of people she would be sharing the room with before going ahead and opening the door. She noticed a small bar under the number plate. It was divided into four sections with three gray and one green.

As she had her key scanned, she noticed that a second one lit up. She accurately assumed that this meant each room is accommodated four people, with hers already being in use by one other person. Peering inside, it seemed that one other person wasn't here yet. Initially, her impression was that the barracks would be cramped with each room holding several people at a time, but she supposed this made more sense considering the fact that not many people were selected to become soldiers in the first place.

The covers on one of the beds was sloppily hanging over the edge. It appeared that whoever was using this room had taken full liberty of the fact that she didn't have to share it with anybody else, resulting in a bit of a messy living environment. She did a little bit of cleaning up and opened the closet, revealing four separate sections. Two, of course, were empty. She didn't need the digital nameplates to tell which uniforms belonged to her, noticing that there seemed to be different outfits for the different seasons. Each uniform was patterned in urban gray camouflage, as to be expected.

There was a bathroom in the back, but not much else could be seen of immediate facilities. As for personal touches, the other girl who should be living here had unceremoniously dumped a load of her belongings in various places, including a personal stereo system that she'd nearly tripped over, a wall mirror rested by one of the windows, and a handgun complete with strewn ammunition sitting on her roommate's messy bed. Rachel unpacked her belongings and took a seat in her own bed, hands folded between her thighs and a blank look at her eyes. No matter how she looked at it, she didn't feel like she was ever going to get used to this. Motivation had deserted her and a sudden apathy had taken its place. She didn't want to move. She didn't want to accept this fate.

But there was nothing she could do.

Rachel laid her head down in bed and tried to fall asleep with no luck. This really wasn't working out, in more ways than one. Suddenly frustrated, she sat up and retrieved her guitar before plopping down on the bed. If she was going to pass the time, she might as well do it with something she actually had passion for. The familiar feel of the strings felt pleasant against her fingers. She hadn't had to worry as much about chafing her fingers with her mechanical arm, but she still missed the way it felt in her left hand. As she began playing, she closed her eyes and began humming quietly along to the tune. She'd played every now and again in rehab, but only just enough so that she didn't become rusty. Still, it was better than nothing. Letting out a small sigh, her fingers continued strumming. At this point, anything was better than thinking about the future.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones

0.00 INK

Nolan followed the handler known simply as "Marie" through the building in silence. The was an uneasy calm in the place, like that of a morgue. He shivered quietly before continuing behind the woman as she walked along. She started into the speech on how things would work around the academy while there where there. Nolan's head darted around to some of the other children in his field of vision. There was the black hair boy and the blonde haired girl he had meet on leaving the bus with her unisex friend. He turned to see the girl with the prosthetic limb followed by the white haired boy from the bus along with another blonde haired girl who stumbled out of the bus. They all looked out of place here, and yet he knew one day they'd acutaly be fighting together.

He looked around looking almost jittery as he waited for the woman to finish the tour of the building. She said something about the boys being housed on the east side of the building while the girls would be on the west side, with classes being towards the middle of the building. Each class would start at six o'clock sharp, and considering this was a military academy he had best not sleep in.

He looked around making small with a few children before he felt that ominous feeling of something coming up behind him. He turned slowly as the other children started to scatter as something collided head on with him at quite a good pace. Nolan felt his feet starting to lose traction on the floor as he felt the brief impact. With that he went "sky up" so to speak as he landed heavily on his back wincing a bit as he made contact with the floor. Nolan's head seemed to be spinning as he lay there on the hard floor before finally deciding to pull himself up to a sitting position.

In front of him was the girl he had saw come out of the bus dizzly. He reached around to his side where his glasses feel before picking them up and shoving them back on his face his blue eyes studying the person in front of him. He could feel an air of confidence around her as she seemed to be sizing him up. He brought a small smirk to his face as she smiled at him before dusting himself off as you would see a rodeo rider dust himself off after he had fallen from the saddle. He looked at the girl as she stood up before running a hand through her hair knocking the hairpins out into her hand.

The girl continued to smile at him as they stood there her blonde hair falling into her eyes as Nolan looked around for the group. They were long gone by now and they had left them standing in an empty hallway. He looked back at the girl who seemed to be almost collecting herself before giving a smile as she offered her hand introducing herself before shaking her hand. "Hello Rowe, I'm Nolan." He said with a smile keeping the energy he had rolling with him. He looked around the room trying to remember exactly where he was supposed to go after the conversation and honestly didn't know were he was. Nolan looked back at the girl straightening the glasses on his face into a better position before staying silent waiting for her response of sorts. He wouldn't be finding the group anytime soon so he might as well get settled and enjoy the conversation ahead of him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson

0.00 INK

#, as written by Savader
Harvey made no attempt at wasting any time in finding his room. He felt that the quicker he left the others behind, the easier it would be for him to escape into his own mind once more. However, he wasn't that lucky, as this particular academy housed its students together. As roommates...

Finding room 14, the dark-haired boy looked up from his electronic key to the door's number, the usual blank expression lingering on his face. Heaving a small sigh, he pressed the key up to the lock, taking note of one of the four bars turning green upon his entering. 'Up to four people, huh?' thought Harvey. Giving a slight shrug, he walked into what would be his domain for the next odd-number of years. Looking around, he saw that the room was entirely empty of any personal belongings, showing that none had yet been assigned to room 14. He had hoped he would be the first and last, but that wasn't to be very likely... Without much thought, the boy placed his bag on the bed nearest to the window at the other end of the room. Taking a step to the side, he began giving the area a quick survey. Not much to be seen, as he was the first cadet to be assigned this room. At least he was the first this year, anyway... His eyes falling onto the nearby closet, he decided to take a quick look. Upon opening the door, he immediately noticed 4 convenient shelves, two of which had what appeared to be the school's uniforms, while the others were left empty. Nameplates were set to mark the ones that weren't, showing whose was whose. After taking note of his own, Harvey looked at the one beside it. Xaviar Phalan.

Harvey had the fleeting thought regarding who this name might belong to, but was quickly interrupted by the sound of his room's door being unlocked once more. Harvey's usual blank expression turned to meet who he assumed would be his roommate, only to have his breath fall short and his eye twitch upon seeing who it actually was. The boy with white hair and red eyes that seemed to know quite a lot about bioengineering walked into the room, no doubt having noticed that it wasn't empty. Without saying anything, Harvey slowly brought a hand straight up in the form of a wave, feeling that it was best to be polite and greet his new roommate. Even if that person was someone he wasn't exactly happy to see...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson

0.00 INK

Xaviar, as he did before, lingered behind the other children. As they were given their key-cards for their rooms, he looked his over with a keen eye. A polymer-plastic integrated computer-chip, comparatively simple and primitive as compared to some of the technologies he well knew existed. He was a bit surprised; a moderately small electromagnetic pulse would have been enough to fry the card. He did suppose, though, that it was cheaper to produce, and therefore more appealable to the United Government of the Americas. There also may have been more integrations that he was not aware of. He did not ponder the card too long, as a single number caught his eye.

"Fourteen."

He correctly presumed that the number was that of his dorm room. He pondered for a moment; he wanted to explore, to learn just where everything in the training area was. It would make his training much easier...although his bag would be a burden. Perhaps he would see his room, then. It seemed the other children were doing that, anyway, so it would not be 'weird' of him to do.

"Suppose I should give it a look, then."

As he walked toward his room, he paced himself slowly, seeing who would be his floor-mates, neighbors, possible friends and possible rivals. These were not co-ed dorms, as to be expected; such separation of sexes was a training tradition of the Past Age. So he would only be able to meet with the females outside of the dorms, which meant risking even further socialization. "Well, damned be it all..." He shook his head to rid himself of his distracting thoughts, looking to the door of his room. A green square was illuminated, signifying that he had a roommate. He gave a slight frown; having a roommate would be a tricky business. If they were to befriend each other, then there was good room for support and benefit to his training. But if his roommate were to hate him, and become a rival, then his training would certainly take a bit of a toll.

"Suppose there's nothing I can do about it, anyway..."

With that, he unlocked the door, walking in to see the boy he recognized as Harvey. The boy did not exactly seemed to be pleased to see Xaviar, but still made the effort to be civil, giving him a wave of hello. Xaviar reciprocated with a similar wave and a nod, making his way to the bed opposite of Harvey. He placed his bag on the bed, giving a small sigh as the moderate weight was dropped from his shoulders.

Other than these few sounds, the silence between them was immense. Xaviar began to worry after a moment. Did he do something wrong? Or did the other boy? Or were they both introverts with little sense on socialization? He pondered for a moment, before asking what sounded halfway between a question and a statement.

"I suppose this is the part where we introduce ourselves to each other?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson

0.00 INK

#, as written by Savader
Harvey kept his eyes on the young man standing before him, who was now attempting to break the ice after returning his friendly greeting with a similar gesture of body language. Shortly after this exchange, a bout of silence filled the room before Xaviar chose to speak up with the somewhat "humorous" notion that the two of them should introduce themselves. Harvey already knew his name, but figured it would be rather unlikely for Xaviar to know who his new roommate was, and so he decided that an introduction would be best after all.

"Yeah, I suppose it is." replied Harvey, pausing to lean his weight on his left side as he placed a hand in his pocket. "I'm Harvey. Harvey Silverson. And you must be Xaviar Phelan?" Before the boy in question could respond with confusion in regards to how Harvey knew his full name without meeting each other prior to this exchange, the latter gave the closet beside him a slight tilt of the head, which was something of a mixture between a nod and a shrug. "I figured you must be the owner of the only other nameplate in the closet over there..." added Harvey, giving a true shrug this time. "Pleasure to meet you." Feeling as though his end of the introduction -- as well as most of Xaviar's own, thanks to Harvey jumping the gun a little -- was now complete, Harvey moved over to his bed and sat down, testing the mattress with his weight by giving his body a light bounce, as he listened to Xaviar's response. Well, the bed seemed comfy enough, not that it really mattered; Harvey Silverson wasn't really one to complain about such things unless it truly got in the way of his performance, and considering how he could rest on a jagged boulder without a wink of sleep lost, an uncomfortable mattress was hardly something worthy of his distress. That being said, it didn't hurt to check.

Introductions officially out of the way, Harvey decided that it was time to unpack his things before heading out to explore the grounds. Standing back up once more, he turned to unzip his medium-sized military bag. All he had brought along with him was mostly nothing but the bare necessities. Things such as clothes, an extra pair of shoes, a toothbrush, a combat knife (that his sister had bought him before he left), and the not so necessary small stack of books for light reading, and the slightly larger stack of books for independent studying towards his future 'career'. Topping it all off, he pulled out a simple framed picture of him and his sister that Samantha must have slipped into his bag without his noticing. Standing that on top of the nightstand beside his bed without a second thought, he moved on to sliding his empty bag underneath the frame of his bed. It really didn't take very long for him to unpack and place all of his belongings where he felt they needed to go; clothes in the obvious places, toothbrush and combat knife in the drawer of his nightstand, and his books on the decently sized shelf/dresser that was standing against the wall at the end of what would be Xaviar's bed, to the right of the closet. Giving the room another once-over, he felt he was finished with organizing his things, giving the air a satisfied nod.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson

0.00 INK

Xaviar, at first, was indeed confused at how Harvey--whose name was now learned appropriately--knew his name already. Harvey's answer was more than satisfactory, to which Xaviar gave an understanding nod. "Indeed. A pleasure to meet you, Harvey." For the time being, it seemed that they would coexist as acquaintances, which was good enough for him. Seeing that Harvey was done with the conversation, and began to unpack his belongings, Xaviar followed suit, unpacking his own items in relative silence.

Xaviar first unpacked what would be expected: a few sets of civilian clothes, his own personal items of hygiene, and some books of his own. His books, unlike his black-haired counterpart, were strictly that about science, and were far fewer in number. Four, to be exact: a college-leveled human physiology and biology textbook, a detailed guide to cybernetics and the parts they comprise of, a book on bioaugmenting theory and practice, and a black leather-bound draftbook. It was there where the similarities really drew the line. After these simple items were stowed away properly, Xaviar proceeded to then produce two mediate metallic boxes, exact duplicates with an exception of their colors and contents. One was a brushed steel, and contained a complete set of bioaugment tools; while its counterpart, a coal black in color, contained enough scrounge to build several different bioaugment and cybernetic enhancements and replacements. These he set upon the desk that was closest to him, claiming the one of four as his own in doing so.

He finally pulled out the last of his items, which were to be found in a olive-green messenger bag he pulled from his somewhat larger bag. From this bag he removed a single item, a gift from his own loved ones, and just as useful to Xaviar. It was a computer tablet, but that of what the professionals in the bioaugment world would use, with the latest programs to assist in creation and coding. While it was a dear gift, and more than he could have ever dreamed of, he was also aware as to the stigma it could give off. He would have to be careful with this gift; he would not want to accidentally push any social buttons and create enemies. Especially when they came prepared with a knife.

Glancing over at Harvey's knife, Xaviar cocked his eyebrow in curiosity, but said nothing of it to the black-haired boy. He supposed he would just have to assume that he was in no danger, and that the knife was no more than a gift. For, surely, the Government would never select blood-lusting psychopaths to be roomed with others.

...would they?

With a small shake of his head to clear his thoughts, Xaviar took the tablet to his desk and began setting up the small workplace to begin tinkering.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones Character Portrait: Jason Tetrick

0.00 INK

"You play often?"

Rachel lifted her head up at the sound of an unfamiliar voice, though her fingers continued to pick on the strings. An older girl walked through the doorway and shut the door behind her, letting her ponytail loose. A wave of pearlescent black hair dropped just above her waistline; the ends were frayed and strands were jutting out either from negligence or simply a hard day at work. A pair of emerald green eyes looked down at her. She looked to be around twenty years old, maybe a little older, but her face gave way to a much more mature expression that suggested that she's wiser than her years, perhaps as a result of taking on such a career.

After all, if she was twenty, she must have spent at least eight years here and a number like that - to spend in a place like this - was almost unfathomable to her. But here was living proof, right at her doorstep, looking calm and at ease like it was nobody's business. The girl had a hefty looking bag slung over her shoulder that she promptly packed into a locker by her own bed. Judging by the remaining nameplate other than her own, her name should be Paige Mayfield.

Rachel stopped playing the guitar and paused a moment, nearly having forgotten the question amidst her thoughts. The impact of the strings felt fuzzy on her fingertips as she thought up a quick response.

"N-Not really," Rachel said quietly. "I don't get a lot of chances to play, but I play when I can."

"Oh," the older girl said, clearly not interested in furthering the discussion. "It's not a lot, but whatever I've got's yours. I'm gonna go hit the showers." She stepped into the bathroom without another word, the sound of a water spray starting up audible from behind the closed door. Puzzled, Rachel put the guitar down and decided to lay down in her bed instead. Aren't roommates usually supposed to introduce each other? She supposed they'd already figured out each other's names by looking at the nameplates but that was no reason not to formally greet each other for the first time, especially since they'd be sharing a room for who knows how long. She closed her eyes and willed herself to sleep, knowing she'd need every bit of energy when she wakes up the next morning.

Only, sleep didn't come so easily. She must've dozed off for a little while, but a sound awoke her. Rachel struggled to get her eyes open and she looked over to see Paige sitting on her bed, her head down and her mouth curved into a tight frown. Her arms were rested on her knees and her breathing was erratic. She was...crying? The girl said something inaudible under her breath and wiped away tears with one hand. She wanted to ask what was wrong, but she decided that it might be an insensitive time to do so and held her tongue instead, watching in silence. There was haziness in her eyes since she'd just woken up for a nap, but she noticed something in the girl's hand that she didn't recognize earlier. It took a few moments for her dazed mind to register what it was as Paige brought it up to her chin with steady hands.

A sudden burst of panic guided Rachel out of her bed and straight into Paige, tackling her with all of her weight. There was no resistance as the girl was laid flat on her back, her head turned away and the pistol still loosely gripped in her hand. The sound of their breaths filled the room and, despite the situation, there was no tension or awkwardness between them. Rachel gingerly took the gun from her hand and moved it away, pulling Paige back up so that she sat up straight on the bed. Their eyes briefly met but the older girl only moved her head away again, uneasy.

"Sorry," Paige said quietly, taking Rachel's hand off of hers. "That was insensitive of me. I should have done it in the bathroom where you couldn't see." She reached for the gun again, but her hand was quickly stopped and pinned to the mattress. She didn't fight back at all, her tall, imposing figure somehow entirely devoid of strength.

"Don't," Rachel said at length. "Please. It's not just about you. If it's...if it's really this bad, I might start having the same thoughts."

"Then you better get it over with quickly," she answered emptily, still avoiding eye contact. "Never mind."

"What happened?"

"I..." The older girl bit her lip, a tenseness in her muscles as she trailed off. "I made a mistake." She sighed and gestured for her to give her some space. Rachel obliged and inched away some. "This room was a full house a week ago," Paige said softly. "It was...it was me, Leah, Aura, and Jasmin. We've shared this room for eleven years. At least, if you count out Jasmin. She dropped in seven years ago, replacing Marianne. Poor girl fell down the stairs and broke her neck." She laughed a small, dry laugh. "Can you believe that? Y-You'd think she'd have died in service or something of the like, but..."

Paige shook her head. "Anyway, a week ago, it was a...we took part in a sting operation. At first, everything was going well, they took the bait, we have our backs covered, and then..." She sighed again and pressed her palm against her forehead. "And then I fucked up. They figured us out and opened fire. Aura died on the spot from a head wound. Jasmin was run over by one of the dealer's cars and Leah, she..." Her eyes grew wet and her voice began choking as she spoke, chest heaving as she recalled the painful memories. "She died in the hospital today. There were others there, too. N-Not a lot of us made it out and they...they were all so young...We got involved in something we shouldn't have. It didn't matter if it wasn't my fault. I was there and I ran away and I'll never forgive myself for that."

"Don't you have any parents?" Rachel finally said. "What'll happen to them?"

"Y-Yeah," she muttered, though her tone suggested that she was either lying or that she didn't care anymore at this point. "Yeah, that was...stupid of me. I shouldn't upset my folks like that. You're right." Paige lifted her head up and tried her hardest to form a smile, extending a hand. "I haven't really introduced myself yet. I'm Paige." She took the older girl's hand and nodded, giving it a gentle shake.

"Rachel."

"I hope we get along," she said, still holding that pained smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rachel Winters Character Portrait: Nathan Devy Character Portrait: Haizea Bolthausen Character Portrait: Elaine Rowen Estin Character Portrait: Xaviar Phelan Character Portrait: Harvey Silverson Character Portrait: Gaia Philomel Character Portrait: Nolan Jones Character Portrait: Jason Tetrick

0.00 INK

#, as written by CJL1290
Footsteps echoed throughout the somewhat quiet hall as Jason Tetrick lugged his suitcase, roller bag, and backpack around. His short black hair bobbed slightly with his movements, black eyes scanned right and left, taking in as much as they could. Unlike most of the new recruits who went straight to their rooms, Jason had decided to explore the grounds first, his curiosity leading him every step of the way. As he wandered from hallway to hallway, and room to room, his thoughts were more focused on his whole experience so far.

Like many children, he was surprised about his Marigold Machine results. His dreams of becoming a surgeon was dashed, and his parents had a hard time letting him go. He knew that the Marigold Machine was always right, 100% accuracy, so fighting it was pointless. He instead focused his efforts to become a medic instead, due to his knowledge of human biology. This way, he believed that his skills could still be used. He was nervous at the bus stop and the ride here, but he noticed plenty of interesting people.

The rich and charismatic looking blond girl with her... guardian? Best friend? Boyfriend? It seemed that someone that protective over someone else would be close in some way, but Jason couldn't tell. What did he know? He couldn't even tell if it was actually a boy or not from his position on the back of the bus. He also remembered the white haired boy and how he was examining a brunette's arm. He noted that she had a cybernetic limb, and the white haired one may have had some adjustments himself, but he wasn't sure if it was cybernetic, or genetics. As someone who studied human biology since he was young, he could tell cybernetic limbs apart from normal limbs, but Jason felt kind of weird when it came to the subject. He believed cybernetics and other adjustments really weren't necessary, that the human body is capable of repairing itself unless the limb is blown clean off. It was a mean to replace, not fix. Was the white haired boy interested in becoming a medic too, or just interested in cybernetics? He would be sure to ask him if he bumped into him again.

Jason pulled himself out of his thoughts when his feet brought him to the infirmary. He took a mental note on where to find this place; he knew he would be interested in exploring it more later. A bit of anxiety built in the pit of his stomach thinking about how bad an infirmary could look when its filled with injured people. It reminded him of when his father had brought him to the hospital to show him where he worked when he was younger, then injured civilians started flooding in from a subway bombing. It wasn't a very pretty sight, and his father told him to wait in his office as he tended to the patients. The sounds of groans and screams of pain throughout the building raked on his ears until he started to cry, and a nurse had to comfort him.

The boy shook it from his thoughts. That was the past, he needed to focus on now and the future. He was going to be a medic, and a damn good one. Speaking of the now, Jason felt it was time to stop exploring and get to his room so he could stop dragging his stuff around with him. He reached into his pocket to retrieve his room card and remind himself where he needed to go.

A small noise of confusion escaped his lips as he checked all his pockets and didn't find it. He quickly put down all his bags and opened them, hoping that he absentmindedly put it in one of his bags when he received it.

"Come on... where are you?" He whispered to himself as he rummaged through his belongings. He couldn't have lost it. It had to be here somewhere. After three more minutes of searching, he ran his hands through his hair with frustration and fear, his eyes widening at the results of his search. He had lost his room key, and he didn't even know what room he was assigned to.

Fuck.

He took a deep breath, trying to stay calm.

"Okay, just relax Jason. Just... backtrack and see if you dropped it along the way." He thought. He spun around to begin, when he realized he had idly walked around with no direction while he was exploring.

Fuck!

He started to panic slightly. He couldn't go request for a new one, could he? This was the military. Don't they punish such carelessness with push-ups or laps or something? What if they don't even allow him to have a room to teach him better responsibility? All these thoughts put him on edge, and he quickly grabbed his things and sprinted down the hallway, almost bumping into someone. He had to find that card. Why did he have to lose it?!

"FUCK!" Is the only word that occupied his thoughts.