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"Please, sir! You have to!"

Rei stood before five uniformed men that were standing behind tall podiums. One man in the immediate center looked bored. The man to the center-left spoke.

"I owe my deepest apologies to you, ma'am. There is simply not much we can do. The war with these alien abominations has picked up so much that we cannot spare any soldiers."

The man to the center-right followed up. "We understand your situation is dire. While our own numbers are tight, I will contact local militias and law enforcement. If anything opens up here, I will see if we can aid you."

The man beside him to the far right turned to him. "Are you sure about this, Epsilon? You do know the risks that we carry with sparing even a few of our men?"

Epsilon looked back at his associate. "I do. She is still only a child, lieutenant."

The man in the center podium shook his head. "Denied. Under no circumstances are any soldiers to be dispatched for side jobs, Captain Epsilon."

"But, general? She --"

"--is unimportant."

He turned to Rei. "Look. We neither have the time nor the resources for just one fourteen-year old kid."

"Sixteen, sir."

"Whatever. I'm not going to have my men waste time trying to find someone's parents who might just be dead anyway."

Epsilon looked with deep concern. "General! Don't say that!"

"I believe your protest was overruled. You are a captain, I am a general. When I say 'Jump' you say 'How high?'. We are not going to send out our men for one kid. End of story."

Rei attempted to plead again. "But, sir. I need your cooperation. What about --"

"I don't care. We don't have anymore time for you. Go find your own parents."

"But --"

"You are dismissed."

"Sir, please!"

"My business with you has concluded. Remove yourself from my sight!"

"…"

Rei swallowed. She looked down and slowly turned, walking out of the room.


Two men came running into the general's quarters when he opened the door for them. "Sir! It's finished!"

"You'd better have a reason for interrupting my peace and quiet. I've already had to deal with one nuisance, I don't need two more."

"Indeed sir. The prototype armor program you requested. It's done."

"That is good news. Let me see it."

"Yes sir. This way."

The general followed the two soldiers. The pressure door opened and the three exited. The door closed behind them after a few seconds, long enough for any near bystander to slip in.

The men led the general into a large room. A scientist had removed something from a large testing chamber and handed it to the general. He held it up greedily.

"Most excellent. Keep up the good work. If you don't mind, I'm returning to my private quarters.

The general opened the door once he got there. He walked in and tossed the armor program on a desk without looking. He paused, feeling a tingling sensation. He began to get lightheaded, followed by loss of hearing, and tunnel vision. He fell onto the floor. Once his eyes focused, he looked up to see another figure standing before him.

"You! How did you get in here?"

Rei looked upon him with disgust. "I slipped in when you left. Did you really think that we are through, here? I don't think so."

"Life is unfair, kid. I'm looking at the big picture. If we lose this war, what difference will it make if your parents are gone?"

"Before I came in this building I looked around. I can see it all on their faces. I even heard soldiers talking about things when I walked in. Violence, theft, war…it's everywhere. They're all products of human nature. This must be why we lived far away from the city. Away from humanity. You and every other human being can rot for all I care. There is not an inkling of good in them or yourself."

The general weakly spoke. "I don't care how young you are. I will have you imprisoned for life!"

Rei grabbed his limp wrist. "My business with you has concluded." The remainder of the general's life faded.

Rei's mind suddenly flooded with thoughts. It was a moment she remembered from almost eight years ago. She stood before her father, who was scolding her when she had accidentally sucked the life energy from a rabbit she had managed to catch.

"No. Don't you EVER do that again for any reason, do you understand me?"

"Yes, Daddy. I didn't mean to…"

"It's not nice. Don't do it to anything, or more importantly, anyone."

From that moment she'd never used her ability again, almost forgetting about it completely.

Rei shook it off. "Sorry, Dad. But this was just made personal." She grabbed the armor program from the desk and left the room. Thankfully no one saw her walk out. She casually walked out of the building.

Back out on the city streets, she began to ask several things of herself. I don't even know where to start looking. How am I supposed to find them when they could be anywhere on the planet. Or worse…what if they ARE dead…

She ran into the nearest convenient store and locked herself in the bathroom. She took the armor program out of her pocket.

"Not sure exactly how to use this…"

She examined the program for any kind of button or switch. She couldn't find any.

Come on! Work!

As if it responded to her thoughts, the program began to glow blue, and her arm formed into a gauntlet. The rest of her body became surrounded in a grey armor with sky blue neon innerglow. Steamline horns stretched backward from the helmet. Broad pauldrons surrounded her shoulders. Her HYD-00-XI was still on the outside of her armor. Her golden ponytail cleverly hung outside of her helmet, down below her waist.

"Whoa…" She was baffled when she looked in the mirror. Carefully, Rei unlocked the door and walked out. The clerk at the front counter stood stiffly and gave an odd salute. He actually thought Rei was a soldier. She grabbed a map and exited the store. Rei looked for a route out of the city. One was more north. There was another toward the southwest.

She folded the map and headed north. As she walked, civilians parted and nodded respectfully. She smiled behind her mask. The high regard she was being treated with pleased her. The only way out of the city was by vehicle, and no taximeter cabs or buses were nearby. Rei couldn't waste time. A walking trail was cut parallel to the road leading out, covered behind trees. She started down the trail without looking back.


Rei's log

Today was officially the first day I began to search for my parents on my own. So far the armor program I'd taken has worked to my advantage. I've been able to gain access to ammunition energy, and medical supplies free of charge. Not to mention lodging in a nearby rest stop.

My overall thoughts about the city were nothing like I'd expected. Tales of crime and conflict floated everywhere. The military officials were no help. All they cared about was their stupid war. I rapidly discovered that everything evil that exists in this world is all a product of humanity. It makes perfect sense why my parents and I lived secluded, away from people, from humans, from chaos. As of this moment, human beings have made an enemy out of me.

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