Doctor Who: Panic Moon Ch. 13byKurokami©
Author's Note: This is a sequel series to Amy, Captured. To get the full experience, please read through that one first.
Hello, everyone! Sorry for the really long delay, but this chapter is extra long to make up for it. I'm trying something a little different from the usual, but we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming by next chapter, which should be out with the usual delay, rather than this ridiculous long one again. Thanks go to Isabel for her creative input, to Allyourbase for editing and creative advice, and to Logicaldreamer, my slave, for helping me through this difficult chapter.
Ren padded across the floor, the soft voice cheering in her mind, each word twanging down her spine. She reached the waist-high steel safety railing and hopped over it with ease, dropping several feet to the ground floor, landing without a sound. Her teeth ground together as she attempted to ignore the voice as it wrapped itself around her awareness, whooping like a child with a new toy. She couldn't escape it under normal circumstances, but now? Now she was wearing it; she could feel every tiny vibration and pulse of the nanometer thick, jet black skinsuit that wrapped around her.
The voice that pounded in time with her heartbeat. That made her come alive in situations just like this one. When she worked with the voice, she soared...
But she hated it.
She tapped her jaw with one black-gloved hand as she stepped quickly in front of Tsugi and her sister, regarding the soldiers who dared to threaten them with outright contempt and burning, abiding, blazing fury. They didn't quite step back, but these soldiers were at least a little savvy; when a lone woman wearing something that shouldn't technically afford her any protection stood with as much confidence as Ren currently was, something had to be up.
So many of them! Fun! Fun!
Time to get to work...
Twelve years prior
Location: Terran Colony World 159, Uo
Designation: Japanese cultural enclave- Contained Hot Zone: Do not approach without prior authorization from onsite government
When humanity had spread to the stars, as it was always destined to do, the Enclave program was initiated. Fearing the eventual erasure of original Earth culture in the face of myriad new worlds, individual national governments could establish their own colony worlds with the aim of preserving the traditions and history of their constituents. In short, each country could, with a bit of paperwork, become an entire planet.
Uo, the Japanese enclave world, was the third such designated colony, after the North Korean Kinsang colony, and North America's Columbia. Kinsang went about as well as one could expect, going completely dark shortly after initial colonization, aside from a series of nuclear missile batteries that shot down any craft that entered orbit. Columbia thrived, assuming you didn't pay attention to the economies of other Terran worlds. And Uo?
Uo fought itself.
Japan's royal line had dipped in and out of political relevancy for centuries, but they had surged back into power following the establishment of the Uo colony. The emperor wasn't precisely the centre of power in the Uo government, but his line wielded a disproportionately large portion of the voting power. The lineage continued, with new rulers inheriting power down the line; as is usual in politics, the public felt some kind of way about that. Debate happened, which naturally evolved into argument, which segued into the obvious conclusion: fighting.
Well, civil war, if you wanted to get technical about it. Not that the official channels would ever admit that.
Government forces routinely clashed with "revolutionary elements" in secret, in the dark. Fighting was restricted to the uninhabited areas of the planet; both sides understood that unrestrained guerilla warfare in the streets would shatter the fledgling, delicate colony system. It was really the only thing they agreed on.
Plenty of planets devolved into civil war, far out from intervention from centralized government. The development of faster-than-light travel had alleviated this somewhat, but it was still sufficiently commonplace that it did not draw any specific attention from the interplanetary community. But there were secrets, hidden beneath the surface. Like the meteor; the falling star that would shape the history of the enclave.
That was when things got... A little crazy.
'How are you feeling?'
Her vision blurred, the surgeon dipping in and out of sight as it pulsed in time with her heartbeat. When she could see him, she wondered why she had ever let him put her under; he looked more like a mob doctor than a government sanctioned professional. He wore the white coat- he had that down- but the three day old stubble and deeply concerning passive expression gave this whole setup the aura of a back alley clinic.
She analyzed his question: how was she feeling? Well, dizzy, that was one thing. Groggy was another. Her head felt like it was packed with cotton, but she knew the effects of painkillers when she experienced them. Nothing very surprising about all that. But her body felt heavy, deep down; like it had become denser while she had been out. And above all, she was deeply, awfully...
'Cold,' She answered, a little snippily. 'I feel cold.'
'That's natural,' The surgeon answered awfully quickly, waving a hand vaguely. 'Where is this sensation most intense?'
She didn't answer; her head was still not working properly, the words weren't coming as they should. Instead, she glanced down at her right arm, where the bones radiated a deep chill out into her flesh. It was really quite distressing.
'Your arm? That must be where the biomass has situated itself,' He moved around the operating table she laid on, tapping at her arm with impersonal fingers. 'Fascinating. In Subject One, the central mass settled itself in his throat, giving him some truly interesting vocal abilities. Subject Two had it in her lungs. Before she became inoperable she was exhaling some fun little chemicals. Subject Three through Five had it settle, rather unsuccessfully, in the brain. You're only the second person to have it end up in a limb, and with your... unique base biology, we're hoping you'll present a greater success than we've yet experienced.'
'Yes, whatever,' Her entire body was shivering, she didn't really feel like talking shop with the man who had sewn her up mere minutes ago. She just wanted to... to warm up and sleep. Of course, what she wanted didn't really mean much anymore, and that was fine, assuming that...
Assuming that everything worked out. Because she knew what the term "inoperable," really meant.
Also, this guy didn't want to say Half? What the fuck?
The voice was timid and tiny, but it had the effect of a bucket of icy water dumped directly into her throbbing head. She gasped sharply, sitting bolt upright with a sickening lurch as the entire world spun around her dizzy frame. They had warned her about the voice, that the thing they had implanted in her was sentient, and communication between it and its host had not been successful in any of the other subjects. She could see the surgeon stiffen at her sudden movement, she knew that now was the time to try it...
'It's talking. Do I, like, close my eyes, or what?' She asked unsteadily.
'It's telepathic. Just... think at it, I suppose,' The surgeon actually shrugged as he said that, as though speculation wasn't worth the effort. Not for the first time, she wished he would at least maintain the illusion of professionalism. That would've been nice.
'Um, hi?' She thought, wondering what, exactly, she was supposed to be doing. Actually doing, not just what the guy in the lab coat assumed she should do.
Again an inarticulate cry of surprise as the creature that had been injected into her veins spoke up. She couldn't really tell, but it seemed happy to have someone to talk to. She looked up to the surgeon for direction, knowing even as she did so that the chances of him actually providing some were slim to nil. Leaving aside that this experiment was completely unique, historically this man had been... less that satisfying, professionally speaking.
But then, this was all a bit cloak and dagger, wasn't it? Hiding out at the edge of the combat zones, as deep in the jungle as one could be without getting shot at. She hadn't seen sunlight in a few days now, as a procession of doctors and scientists had prepared her for what they were calling implantation. Intellectually she had known what to expect, but now that it was actually happening, the process was far more jarring that she had envisioned.
'Want to give it a try?'
She started at the sudden question, 'What?'
'Do you want to try activating it?'
She really did, 'How?'
'It might be a living being, but we can program it,' The surgeon shrugged. 'Just command it to synchronize, it'll do it.'
'Shouldn't there be, like, containment procedures, here?' She asked hesitantly. 'Or... safety provisions?'
'Oh, there are,' The surgeon said. 'But it's not like we're going to tell you about them. I mean, you are the thing we'd be containing, in that eventuality.'
'Yeah, okay. Whatever,' She shifted uncomfortably, before closing her eyes again. She... reached out to the other consciousness in her head, or at least she tried; it was hard to accurately gauge how well these abstract actions worked. The reply came quickly, and in a more confident voice than her previous interactions with this thing.
Synchronization rate at 46%. Executing.
There was myriad metallic whirring and clicking noises, and a series of actions that caused the surgeon's eyes to widen in genuine shock. He took a step back as Subject Seven's biomechanical implant activated, wrapping her in... really interesting things.
'Okay, yeah,' The surgeon said tremulously as she stood with a mechanical whirring. 'You're operational. I'm going to go and see someone about training you up. Y'know, get you a codename...'
'Hey, I don't need a codename,' She said, rising heavily to her feet, the convex faceplate of her new helmet sliding up and retracting into the rest of the structure, revealing a huge, ecstatic grin. 'Call me Ren.'
'Hey, Captain! Wait up!'
Jae Hoshikuji frowned at the sound, eyes narrowing as he slowed his pace to allow Saki to catch up. Before being transferred to active duty in Uo's capital, Shikishima, he had never met a soldier like Saki. Sure, there were gossips everywhere, whether one was civilian or military, but Saki projected information like it was a physical force. To talk to her was to become entangled, trapped in a vortex of the minutia of other people's lives. She was a good soldier, in the field; did her job well- and silently- but the moment she went off duty... Bam. People avoided her.
Of course, it wasn't in his best interest to avoid her. Sometimes, being in command of a major military unit meant dealing with folks in times you'd rather be alone, and this was definitely one of those for him. On the other hand, the job often set him apart from the rest of his squad- the people he saw every day- just out of sheer rank; nobody wants to be too friendly with the guy who could potentially fire them if they slipped up and said the wrong thing. Saki, for whatever reason, was always willing to talk to him. And talk to him. And talk... But at least she was there, and that still took him by surprise, sometimes.
'Hi, Saki. What's new today?' He tried to keep the flatness out of his voice, but he couldn't help adding a little barb. That was his nature; underneath his well-kept soldier's physique beat the heart of a true cynic. He had the face for it too; round, heavy features that naturally set themselves into an expression that had been described to him as unimpressed, and cool, intelligent eyes that so often hid themselves behind his mop of dark hair. His whole being didn't so much radiate boredom as it did expectancy, like he was waiting for everyone else to do something interesting. It was the kind of thing that put others on edge.
Then again, one didn't get to be the Captain by making people comfortable in themselves...
'You mean you don't know?' She stared at him, eyes wide. 'Walk and talk, Captain! I'll tell you on the way!'
Okay, this was genuinely new. Usually Saki would all but pin her unfortunate conversation partner to whatever he or she happened to be nearest to, but now she forged ahead, causing Jae to trot after her out of sheer curiosity.
'What's going on, Saki?' He said eventually, following her through the angular, gunmetal corridors of Shikishima Installation 01. Unlike the mostly government buildings that surrounded it, Installation 01 was built from prefabricated construction pieces, leading to a largely identical layout that one needed to be truly familiar with before they could navigate it effectively. Jae had lived here long enough, and he figured they were headed to the recreational areas...
'New recruit, sir! Kasuga, Hirasawa and Itazu are facing off against her on the training floor,' Saki's eyes gleamed with enthusiasm. She was in her element now, 'I figured you were going to watch.'
'Three against one? Seems a little dangerous, doesn't it?' Jae cocked an eyebrow. A normal one on one match would rarely result in anything worse than a few bruises for the loser, but a match with that many participants? Especially if they were ganging up on a new recruit? Overconfidence could be trained out of a person, but Hirasawa was the kind of man who beat enemy soldiers to death with his bare hands, just because he had the time to see it out properly. This could end really badly.
'Yeah!' Saki nodded furiously. 'That's why we're going to watch!'
Jae had to admit, Saki made a compelling point. Hirasawa was... distressingly violent on occasion- then again, that's what he had been recruited for- but he wasn't stupid. He wouldn't just attack a new recruit with two other trained soldiers; assuming he could even get Kasuga and Itazu to go along with it, he knew better. It was the reason he barely used the training floor.
So, only one possibility remained: whoever this newbie was, she was either insanely confident, or just insane. And unless he stepped in, she would be hurt.
... Was that laughter, he was hearing?
The training floor was a large, open plan room, cast all in steely grey metal with a large skylight above, letting in the light of Uo's large, pearlescent white moon. The majority of the room was an etched square, slightly raised off of ground level, made of durable, cushioned matting. It was in this square that the action happened; spectators could line the sides of the ring or, in the case of live-fire exercises, from a windowed observation booth set high on the adjacent wall. Jae and Saki entered on the ground floor, surrounded by the echoes of raucous, joyful laughter.
Originally, Jae had entered with the intention of yelling at someone. He had become good at yelling at people, since being placed in command of a mid-sized military unit. His unit comprised a number of high-value individual agents and experimental technologies that his superiors demanded work at peak efficiency; yelling was a big part of that. It kept his people just fearful enough to bear the prospect of working with each other.
'Alright, cut this shi- holy fuck!' He flinched, cut off before he could even get started, as Hirasawa hit the wall beside him, at the termination of a wide, spinning airborne arc beginning in the center of the training floor. Specifically, beginning at the precise point where a young woman, voiced raised in hysterical laughter, had kicked him hard enough to send him flying. Right in the chest.
'Well, I really didn't see this outcome, when I heard about this situation,' Saki's head tilted to one side as she and Jae watched the newcomer duck under Itazu's wide, swinging punch, before scything her leg through his own, causing him to fall heavily backwards.
'Honestly?' Hirasawa grunted breathlessly as he sat crumpled, on his neck, upside down against the wall. 'Neither did I. What is she?'
'Well why did you start the fight in the first place?' Jae frowned, prodding his wayward squad mate with his toe. 'You've never accosted newbies before...'
'I didn't this time,' Hirasawa ponderously righted himself, a bone in his shoulder cracking painfully. 'She did. Practically dragged Kasuga and Itazu in here, I just followed because it looked interesting.'
For a moment, the three of them watched, wide eyed, as the young woman with the dirty blonde hair successfully defended herself against two highly trained field agents with a combined total of two decades of military training between them. Her elbow flew backwards, hammering into Kasuga's neck before darting forward, black gloved hand enclosing Itazu's throat and... flowing in a single, elegant movement so she could throw her opponent, chucking him like a baseball and bowling both him and Kasuga over.
'How is she doing that?' Saki said in a hushed whisper.
'Fucked if I know,' Hirasawa growled, getting unsteadily to his feet and striding back into the ring, despite clearly not wanting to. 'But I'd say it has something to do with that black suit she's wearing under her clothes.'
'That might be a contributing factor,' Jae nodded sagely. 'Some new tech that we're not aware of.'
'Uh huh!' Hirasawa said savagely. 'Wanna throw your hat into the ring here, Captain?'
Mere seconds later, Hirasawa was ejected from the ring once more; Jae liked to imagine a vivid footprint staying ingrained on his ribcage immediately following this. Itazu followed soon after, and moments after that, Jae and Saki were treated to the sight of their new recruit holding Kasuga up by the collar with one hand while beating him senseless with the other.
The brutality of it was bad; the blood and the terrible cracking noises of bones being struck and, eventually, giving way was worse. But by far the worst was the awful, soaring, blissful laughter that bubbled up from the recruit's throat like silver tinkling in the air. The rapturous expression on her face as she turned to Jae, as if to ensure that he was watching, to show off, sent a chill down his spine.
'Newbie!' He bellowed, drawing his combat knife from its sheath. If yelling didn't work- god forbid- he would have to end this situation quickly before Kasuga went blind, at best. When the recruit refused to stop, merely staring right through him while pounding a hole in Kasuga's skull, knuckles coated in blood, Jae twitched, hurling his knife blade first at her head.
'Hey!' For the first time, the recruit spoke, with a voice that twanged with adrenaline. She leaned out casually, allowing the heavy, durable blade to pass between her and the unfortunate target of her current violent impulses. It curved through the air before burying itself into the mat a few feet away. Her burning eyes met Jae's for a moment, practically tearing him apart with the force of her stare, before she discarded Kasuga's now limp form to point at him.
'You,' She snarled, grinning. 'Get in here. We're doing this. Properly,' She moved to retrieve his knife, tossing it back to him as he entered the ring. He caught it easily, switching to a reverse grip and raising his arms into a defensive stance. The two of them circled each other slowly, shuffling feet as their eyes locked.