Sirvanna felt a pain in her chest. Ines was trying to crawl away from her. Ines was afraid of her. Those robots, the ones that had hurt her, they’d treated Sirvanna as an ally.
Sirvanna went over to Ines, her heart heavy, and picked her up as gently as she could. Ines struggled and tried to move away. Sirvanna didn’t flinch when she got punched.
“Please,” Sirvanna said, her voice barely above a whisper. “You’re injured. Let me help you.”
“What’s your game?” Ines asked.
“I just want to help you,” Sirvanna said. “Where can I take you that you’ll be safe?”
“Safe?” Ines asked. “There’s nowhere safe. What, do you think I’m going to hand my allies over to you like that?”
“Then take me prisoner or kill me!” Sirvanna yelled. “Just show me where to go so you’ll be safe.”
We need to ask her.
“Agreed,” Florence said.
“What if the future is immutable?” Alena asked. “What if knowing just causes more heartbreak?”
“I don’t buy that for a moment,” Ines said. “We make our own future. If we know, it’ll change.”
“Damn right!” Alexa cried. “I’m not going out easily.”
“Ummm, Nessy,” the second Yuni said “what are you talking about?” She looked around. “For that matter, where’s everyone else? Rose, Rebecca, Callie, Suzy, Elizabeth and all of them?”
“Who’s Rebecca?” Yuni asked. “Or Suzy?”
“Suzy is part of Beta,” Florence said. “I don’t know a Rebecca.”
“Maybe you should explain how the deaths started,” Alexa said.
“I don’t want to think about it,” the other Yuni said, clinging to Alena.
“Please,” Alena said. “It’s important.”
“Okay,” she agreed. “For you. I guess it really began when Sirvanna assassinated Michael.”
Sirvanna followed Ines’s directions. The other woman glaring at her the whole time. The directions were deliberately circuitous, before long Sirvanna had no idea what steps she’d followed to get that far. They eventually arrived at a broken down warehouse.
Sivanna took her inside, there was no one in sight but there were some scattered boxes.
“Will you really be okay here?” Sirvanna asked.
“Just put me down next to the box in the far left corner,” Ines said. Sirvanna did as she was asked. Ines took some kind of miniature computer from the box. She hurriedly typed away and pushed a button.
“Everything went to hell after that,” Yuni said. “Zhao, Naoko and Ryu all fought about how to proceed. Zhao wanted to keep Michael’s dream alive. Naoko wanted to take a firmer stand. She argued that regular humans had to be more strictly controlled than his plan called for. Ryu… Ryu was just livid. He wanted revenge. He just wanted to make as many of the enemy suffer as he could. In the end, they all split up. Alexa, Anya, Trojan, Blair and some others went with Ryu. Katelyn, Rebecca, Ines, Callie, Anastasia, Elizabeth, Mary, Daisy and many more all went with Naoko. Alena, Jenny, Rose, Christina, Florence and I, among others, stuck with Zhao. Ryu’s group was brutal. They caused wide-scale devastation and loss. At first, we thought it would give us a strategic advantage. We were wrong.”
Sirvana leapt back, a stream of fire almost cut her down.
“Well, well,” Anastasia walked forward. “Look what washed up from the sewer.”
“You can walk?” Sirvanna asked.
“Course I can,” Anastasia said. “Something wrong with your brain?”
“That’s what I’m here to check.” Sirvanna didn’t recognise the woman who stepped forward. “First things first, check her for hidden devices.” She handed Anastasia something.
“We should just kill her,” Anastasia said.
“No,” Ines said. “If something really happened to change her personality, we can use her.”
“Fine,” Anastasia said. She glared at Sirvanna. “I see one spark from you and I will kill you.”
“Ryu’s group was decimated,” Yuni continued. “Sirvanna executed the survivors herself. I remember seeing the footage… Alexa in particular…” She stopped talking for a moment while Yuni composed herself. Alena lightly rubbed her back. “Anyway, it was a huge loss. Not just because of our friends being killed, but because it gave the enemy a huge propaganda victory. They had gifted lining up to enlist. They didn’t even mind the control devices. Naoko’s group was next. They fought hard, but most were wiped out. The rest of us… we went underground. We… we’ve done our best but our numbers keep going down. Just last month Alena… protecting me she…” The other Yuni broke down crying.
“That doesn’t make sense,” Yuni said. “Even if Sirvanna did kill Michael, he’s not on our side anymore. So why would it have such a big impact?”
“That’s not the only thing that’s inconsistent,” Alena said. “She said that Sirvanna went back to the enemy after his assassination.”
“Could she have gone through the golem process?” Florence asked.
“It’s impossible!” Zhao cried. Everyone looked over at her. “Zhao’s machine isn’t supposed to go to other dimensions. It’s supposed to go through time. Why would it send Sirvanna to another world?” She gave the bottom of the machine a kick.
Another Dimension… Of course!
“It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Jenny said.
“What a relief,” Katelyn said. “I’m not going to die in the near future.”
“You still might,” Alexa said. “Remember that army outside?”
“Such a downer,” Katelyn muttered.
“What?” Anastasia asked.
“I said she’s from a different world,” Suzy said. “I saw it all in her mind. Events for her were very different.”
“It has to be a trick,” Anastasia said.
“You checked her for devices,” Ines said. “Unless you think Zhao’s scanner is broken, it’s true. Besides,” she scratched her chin “it does explain her behaviour.”
“You can’t be falling for this!” Anastasia was practically screaming. “Suzy, she killed Erin! Ines, she may have made you suffer more than anyone else. Why should we trust her?”
“I don’t trust her,” Ines said. “I trust Suzy’s senses.”
“Likewise,” Suzy said. “And everything about her mind says she’s not the Sirvanna we know. I’ll help Ines up and we’ll take her to Zhao. Maybe she can solve this little mystery.”