Ryu followed closely behind a worker in a lab coat. If his other unknowing sources were correct, she was heading to a meeting about the blockade. When she stopped, he stopped. She had looked back a few times and looked right through him.
She stopped to talk to yet another soldier. At least this one was kind of cute. He waited for her to continue and followed, keeping very close to the wall. She glanced at her watch and started moving more quickly. Ryu matched his pace to hers.
“Doctor Preston,” she was acknowledged by a General. “Good to see you.”
“How’s the project moving?”
“Zero?” the General asked, looking at a computer monitor.
All is proceeding as planned. Ryu almost cried out. That voice… It was him. Main enemy powered forces have been isolated and confined. New factories to construct more TR-J8 suits are at 87, 93, 78, 96, 86, 79, 80 and 82 percent completion.
“Why don’t we just wipe out the damn plaguers while they’re in their cage?” the general asked.
“Zero anticipates that they’d fight back with devastating results,” the Preston woman answered. “We may have greater numbers, but they have more experience and the ability to act and think far faster than the golems can.”
“What’s to stop them from attacking now?” the general asked.
My analysis of their tactics indicates that they will be hesitant to endanger themselves in such an endeavour. As long as they have their main base to fall back to, they will attempt only weak and subdued escape efforts.
“You’re sure?” the general asked.
Ninety seven point four percent.
“Doctor,” the general said. “I want you to go down to see Zero in person. Find out if he’s operating properly.”
“Understood,” Preston said. Ryu followed after her as she left.
His mission was done. He knew that he should return, but… But… Doctor Preston walked agonisingly slowly down several flights of stairs. Eventually she came to a door with a mechanical lock. She put her hand on the pad, did a retinal scan and the door opened. Ryu nearly ran into her following her inside.
He saw him. Michael was attached to a strange mechanical apparatus. The chair had glowing orbs beneath his hands and the top of his head was covered by a helmet of some kind. Looking closely, Ryu could see some old bloodstains on the steel.
Preston moved to a thin console attached to the chair and started typing in some commands. She checked over the responses she got, muttering to herself as she did.
“How is it?” the admiral’s voice came in over the radio.
“Everything looks good,” Preston answered.
“Use the independent kit,” the admiral ordered “just to be sure.”
“I’ll have to go get it,” Preston said. She pointed at Michael. “Don’t go anywhere.”
Ryu waited until she was gone before getting closer to the chair. He knew that he should just kill him. It would save them all some trouble. But… even if the mind was different… even then…
“Forgive me, My Lord,” Ryu muttered. “I couldn’t save you and… I can’t stop you. At least… At least I got to see you… once more.” He moved forward and kissed Michael’s lips. “That… I always wanted to… just once.” He bowed and stood by the door. When the doctor returned he slipped out.