Type 0

In a future where all supernatural creatures-- Pixies, Werewolves, Witches and Vampires-- have been categorized along with humans, Kara expects her operation to go as planned.
When a child turns eighteen they are sorted into their 'Type' just like any other, given a barcode on their wrist that holds all government required information. Height, weight, species, and credits to use for payment. A permanent ID, ready for scanning.
When Kara finds out she's not who she thought she was, her whole life changes in an instant. Suddenly she's training to fight creatures she never knew existed.
But her powers are more unique than anyone expected. Powers that could come with deadly consequences if she got into the wrong hands.

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4. The First Week

 

            "It's quite...big, for one person" I said, walking into what was, apparently, my bedroom. I noticed a few doors and wondered where they led. The main room was bigger than my entire flat had been back in Greenview. A double bed was against the wall to my right, two small tables on either side. The walls were plain white, a stark contrast to the colour of everything in the room.

            "Do you like your duvet cover? I picked it out for you myself. Well, not for you personally, but for the next person to arrive. You know what I mean." Rosalie seemed so excited, her eager gaze fixed on me.

            "It's...really nice. Thank you." I said, forcing a smile. It seemed to be enough for her as she beamed back at me.

            "Well, I'll let you get settled in. Call me if you need anything." She gestured towards some metal thing that must have been a phone. It looked very expensive and high-tech. But then, that seemed to be the theme here.

            "How do I call you with that thing?" I asked.

            "Oh, you just type in my name. When you raise the handset the keypad will light up."

            "Sure, Ok."

            "Anything else?" She asked.

            "No, I think that's it."

            "Alright then, I'll see you later at dinner." Rose threw another one of her hundred watt smiles at me and shut the door behind her, leaving me alone in my own personal mansion.

            I tried the doors first—one was a bathroom with a surprisingly large bath, the other a walk in wardrobe that was filled with clothes, none of them mine—then had a look around the room. The white walls turned out to be wall screens. Three of them were programmable to look like any paint colour or wallpaper you could think of, the other one a huge computer. I put that mini remote back in its holder pretty quickly after I figured that out. One press of a button and I was bound to take out the whole of the security network or something. Computers and I didn't mix very well. The other walls I set to a nice purple patter with black swirly bits. I could handle that much.

            The rest of the room consisted of lots of storage space, and a lovely thick rug I couldn't help but dig my toes into once I'd taken off my shoes. I opened every drawer, looking through. Some were filled with clothes, others with snacks. One, I opened up, had a selection of knives and guns. I got to the last drawer of the room and pulled it open. It was a stack of neatly folded jeans.

            One of the labels was poking out of the hem and made me pause. It was exactly my size.

            I checked all the other drawers, then the wardrobe. Everything was my size. I didn't even want to think about how they got my underwear measurements. I ran my hands through my hair. How did they even do this? I'd only been here for a day, hours even. This made me wonder how long they'd known about me, how much the GSA was keeping an eye on people like me. Or maybe they were just watching everyone this closely. That thought made me shiver.

            I looked to the corners of the room, half expecting cameras to swivel in my direction. Of course there wouldn't be any; they already had me trapped here.

            I gave another look at the wardrobe and shut the door, thinking there was no way I was going to wear their clothes. A yawn and a stretch of my arms told me otherwise. I stank; probably from the training. I definitely needed a shower.

            There was already a fluffy towel waiting for me in the bathroom, along with every kind of soap, shampoo, conditioner—you name it—imaginable. I counted four, no five, loofahs and enough bath salt to fill a...well, a bath.

            I picked out a soap that smelled like oranges and a shampoo that reminded me of liquidised pearls. I took a sniff. Coconut.

            The shower was on the other side of the room to the bath and looked like you would need a degree in computer science to work it. The shower itself was a thin sheet of metal that came to life at the touch of a fingertip.

            Turned out I was going to have a bath instead. That was still a good old fashioned mixer tap.

            Waiting for the bath to run I had a look in the little bathroom cupboard under the sink. It was filled with the most well known brands of toothpaste and mouthwash. The toothbrushes alone filled half a shelf. I guessed the people living here didn't need to go shopping very often. But it still wasn't going to get me to hang around for longer than a week.

            I got the bath to the perfect temperature and poured in some bubble bath, mixing it around a bit to get it really bubbly. I got out of my clothes and lowered myself in, instantly feeling better. Washing off all of the dirt and grime that had gotten on my skin and into my hair was definitely the highlight of this strange day.

            I got out and instantly realised my mistake. I couldn't put that training outfit back on, it smelled to high heaven.

            "Ah, screw it." I muttered, picking out a t shirt, pair of jeans and some underwear. The whole concept of someone I'd never seen before knowing my measurements perfectly did creep me out, but I wasn't going to walk around naked because of it.

            I grabbed a watch from the set of drawers with a mirror on top of it—my dressing table, apparently—and was shocked to find, when I checked it, that it was already half past seven. As soon as I strapped it on the face flashed red at me and then went dark. The word 'DINNER' scrolled across it in bright blue letters.

            Two guesses as to what that meant. The only problem was I had no idea where the kitchen was. Or, in fact, where anything was. I tied my wet hair up into a bun and left the room, hoping I'd find it before I really started to feel hungry.

 

            ***

            "You found us then. Took you long enough." Was my warm welcome to the dinner table. I shot Blaine a withering look before sitting down at the only plate that was still full of food.  The room was quite long, filled with a table that could fit about twenty people. Rose, Kat and everyone were sat at one end, each with a full plate of steak, tomatoes, chips and some red sauce. I half expected some GSA agents to walk in and start having dinner with us.

            "Funny." I said, rolling a tomato around my plate. "So, when were you going to tell me that you knew what I was way before I did? I mean, were you just...what, doing the decorating while I walked around thinking I was human? Thinking I was normal?"

            Thomas choked on his mouthful.

            "What? Why the hell would you think that?" He asked. The whole table turned to stare at me.

            "The clothes. All the stuff in my room. That had to have taken more than a couple of hours. Those clothes were hand-made, specifically designed for me. That would take days, weeks even, of planning."

            Blaine leaned back in his chair.

            "Rose, could you translate for me? I just have no idea what she's going on about." He said.

            "Oh, shut up Blaine. We get it. You don't like her." Kat drawled, rolling her eyes.

            "I don't get it. We only found out about you the day before you did, when the tests came in to the hospital. What happened to make you think that wasn't true?" Rose said. To her left Kat was throwing chips at Blaine.

            "The stuff in my room. It's exactly my size, all of it."

            "I don't know, I just guessed that they had a load of clothes in a storage unit somewhere. Or...hell they're the GSA, they probably have pull everywhere. I bet they could get you sushi shipped straight from china by tomorrow if they wanted." Thomas said, waving his fork in the air. He stabbed a piece of steak and put it in his mouth. "I wouldn't worry about it. They didn't come and measure you while you were unconscious or anything weird like that." He mumbled through the mouthful of food.

            "Oh..." I hadn't thought of that.

            "You know what?" Blaine said, brushing a chip off his shirt onto the floor, "I think you're looking for something to not like about us. Something that gives you a reason to leave. Well screw it, I don't care. Head off in a week and get yourself killed for all I care." He pushed his chair out, grabbed his plate, and walked to the door. Rose stood up.

            "Blaine!" She yelled, her hands on her hips. "Sit back down."

            "Why? She doesn't want to be here. And I don't want to make friendly conversation with someone who doesn’t even want to be a part of this, who doesn’t even care how many lives we save, what we do for this city. What all of the people like us does for the world." He turned to look at me. "You get given all this power and all you do is mope and complain. I get the whole shock thing but seriously? Get over yourself. There are bigger things to care about than how you feel."

            He slammed the door behind him as he left. I just sat there, gaping.

            "Holy crap." was Kat's reaction.

            "I'm sorry about him. He doesn’t really have many...uh...people skills." Rose said, apologetically.

            All I could do was stare at the floor.

            "No. He has a point." I heard myself say.

            I hadn't even stopped to think about what I was getting from all of this. Only what had been taken from me, my humanity. I'd concentrated only on how trapped I felt, and not how free I was.

            I'd just been handed the power to save lives, to change things, and all I'd been doing was moaning about it. I didn't even like me right now.

            I looked back up at the table. Three worried faces were aimed towards me. Suddenly I realised. I'd been almost the worst version of myself today and these people—well, maybe not Blaine—still wanted to be around me. I didn't want to take that for granted.

            "You know what? I'm...really sorry." I said.

            Rose looked confused.

            "For what?"

            "The way I've been acting today. It's just...not me. You've all taken me in and kept me safe. And I've pretty much been...well...a bit..."

            "Bitchy?" Kat suggested.

            " Could we maybe go with something a bit nicer, like...annoying? Or possibly, up yourself?" Thomas gave Kat a look, then turned back to me, "Don't worry, we've all been there. Kat was a nightmare when she first got here. She broke a lot of stuff." Thomas said. Kat shot him a glare.

            "Yeah? Well I heard you wouldn't open your door for like, three days." She said, narrowing her eyes at him.

            "See? It's perfectly normal. I doubt anyone would react well to finding out they weren't who they thought they were all these years. You're doing fine." Rose said. "Now eat your food. We got steak especially for you." She smiled. I took a bite, it was delicious.

            "Thank you. I'll do everything without complaining from now on—"

            "Don't make any promises you can't keep." Shot Kat, smirking at me, "You haven't got to the witches yet. Or vampires."

            "—Ok, I'll try to. Because...I think...I genuinely want to be a part of what you're doing. From what I've heard it sounds like it's a good thing."

            "It's a really good thing." Rose said. I nodded.         

            "Ok, so you'll be less of a bitch from now on. Great, can we eat our food now?" Kat said, smirking. She picked up a handful of chips and started eating them one by one. I agreed, cutting another bite out of my steak. We ate till all our plates were clean. God knows how I refrained from licking mine, that food was the best I'd ever tasted. Rose cleared the table then sat down, leaning her head on her hands. She smiled at me.

            "So, now we have you here, is there anything you want to ask us?" Rose said.

            "Oh...I hadn't really thought about it. Is there anything I need to know?"

            "Oh god, tons. Like how Rogue pixies don't just have sharp claws. They have poison in the tips. A mild scratch from them would kill a human in under a minute. We're lucky, we get a couple of hours."

            "Is that what got me in the simulation? I thought it was the hand embedded in my stomach."

            "You thought that would kill you? No, it takes more than that to put one of us down. The poison got directly to your major organs. That's what...'killed' you." Kat said, holding her hands up to make air quotes.

            I nodded, thinking.

            "So avoid the claws at all costs. Is there an antidote to the poison?" I asked. Thomas shook his head.

            "Nope. Not yet. We have people working on it though. They have something that can slow it down, but not stop it entirely."

            "Okay, so do all Rogues have these extra weapons? Like what can Vampires do?"

            Thomas rested his head in his hands.

            "What can't they do?"

            Rose looked over at him.

            "Are you Ok?" She asked. He groaned.

            "Tired." He said, closing his eyes.

            "Well, maybe it's time for us to get some sleep. Besides, this is sort of turning into a lesson, and that's what tomorrow is about." Rose said, standing up. "You've got a lot to learn and not much time to learn it in."

            I nodded.

            "Sure, I guess some sleep will be good for me." I said. Kat yawned, stretching.

            "Glad that's sorted. I'll see you all in the morning." She walked round the table to reach the door. Thomas jumped up and held out an arm to her.

            "Walk you to your room?" He offered. She laughed.

            "You're weird."

            Thomas let his hand drop and followed her out of the room. Rose sighed.

            "Is there something going on with those two?" I asked. Rose scoffed.

            "Ha, those two? God no. At least...I don't think so." She shook her head, "Nope, Thomas is definitely not Kat's type. No...definitely not."

            Bit too much of a protest maybe? Perhaps there was something Rose wasn't telling me.

            "Ok then. See you in the morning. Do I have an alarm clock or anything?"

            Rose smirked.

            "Oh, don't worry. We'll get you up on time."

 

***

 

            She wasn't kidding. If the alarm and flashing lights hadn't given me a heart attack, the moving bed that tipped me onto the floor certainly did. I rubbed my head. Jeez, they really didn't want anyone sleeping in.

            I checked the clock that had just popped up on my wall screen. It shone the time, half past six in the morning. I groaned and pulled the duvet off the bed. Before I could cover myself and try to get back to sleep it was pulled roughly off me.

            "No no, you don't get to go back to bed." Kat said, grinning evilly down at me. "You get to have a lesson with me. Now get these clothes on. And brush your teeth."

            I shot her a glare. That just made her smile even more.

            "You can stare at me all you like but it won't turn the alarm off." She said.

            Dammit. I dragged myself off the floor.

            The harsh bathroom light made me squint, turning on as soon as the motion sensors caught me. I pulled a face wipe out of the side of the sink and rubbed the previous day away. Everything here was so modern I half expected the toothpaste to already be on my toothbrush. No such luck. I nearly squirted soap onto the thing before my sleep addled brain warned me. As soon as I'd walked into the bathroom the alarm had turned itself off, making me almost sigh with relief. That thing had been loud.

            Twenty minutes later and I was ready, dressed in a similar style to the training outfit yesterday, except without the gloves or helmet. Kat had been waiting in my room while I got ready, sitting on my bed, legs crossed.

            "Good you're dressed. Follow me." She got up and walked straight out of the room, her long strides forcing me to nearly run to keep up.

            "I feel like I'm always following people around. This place is ridiculous." I said, expecting myself to be breathing heavy from the fast pace. In fact, my body handled the speed perfectly, my strides getting longer and faster until I could keep up with Kat no problem.

            "You'll get used to it, there are really only a few places you need to know about. There's the kitchen, which you found, the training room, the gym, the main computer room, and your own bedroom. The rest of the stuff is pretty easy to find, all our rooms are along the same hallway."

            "And the GSA agents? Like the one that brought me here? Do they have their own building or something?"

            "Oh no, they just have their own section. We have this whole floor, they have the rest. You'll probably only see a couple of agents in a month. Well, that's what its like for us at least."

            "I think I'll be good with that. They didn't seem to like me much when I got here."

            "Yeah, because everyone normally loves people who punch them in the face. I know I do. You know, I watched the security tape of your escape effort. It was pretty badass. I only had one agent taking me in, and he pretty much put me down straight away. I didn't even know he did it till I woke up a day later."

            "A day?"

            "Yeah, you were basically an anomaly from the get go. No-one's had to have that many agents to take them out, and you burnt through the anaesthetic faster than anyone I've ever seen. We're taking bets on when you'll turn green and kill everybody."

            We turned a corner and the walls changed from plain wallpaper—or possibly wall screens, I couldn’t tell—to sheets of metal. It seemed that was the theme with the training areas.

            "Is that a hulk reference?" I asked.

            "Wow, you are weird. No-one knows that reference."

            "Bri makes me, made me, watch a load of old TV programmes and films. She calls them classics."

            "Well she'd be right. You know? I can't wait till she gets better, we need another Vampire around here."

            "Wait, another vampire?"

            "Oh yeah, I forgot. Blaine's half vampire. It doesn’t really affect him much, except he has to wear sunglasses when he goes outside in the sun. It just happens sometimes with people like us. Like, I'm half witch. But you already knew that. For one of us to be born, a Type 0 has to sleep with a human, or witch or something. Most of us are half human, but sometimes it gets mixed up a bit. As far as we know Type 0's can't have kids with each other. It's like we're not compatible or something. Weird, right?"

            I nodded, reeling from the information.

            "Ok, we're here." Kat said, opening a heavy metal door to my right.

            My thoughts vanished out of my mind as I stared at the room. The perfectly normal room. I had been expecting rings of fire, heavy metal weapons, not a desk and chairs.

            "So this lesson. It's just a...lesson?" I asked.

            "Yep, and I get to be the lucky teacher. We even have a slide show to watch." She smirked, "It's going to be fun."

 

***

 

            "That's a Rogue witch," Kat said, pointing at the picture up on the wall screen. I wrote down in the notebook I'd been given: Rogue Witch, and underlined it.

            "They're pretty much normal looking, and very hard to spot. One defining characteristic is their hands. They have talons like the pixies, only not poisonous, and some of them have black eyes."

            "Black eyes, like dark pupils?"

            "No, like the whole eye is black. It's really creepy."

            I wrote that down.

            "They usually attack with whatever powers they have, like fireballs and stuff. But sometimes they use hex bags, like the one I used with you in the simulation." Kat heard me scribbling and turned around, "Could you stop that? It's distracting."

            "Oh, sorry. There's just a lot to learn."

            "Right. Could you at least be quieter?"

            I put my pencil down and crossed my arms.

            "Don't worry, I'll just listen."

            "Ok then." She turned back to the board and waved her right hand. The screen changed to a close up of a Rogue Vampire.

            "Now finding one of these is pretty tricky. Most of them are like the other Rogues and stick to staying in the dark, hiding and waiting for their next kill. However, there is a ranking in the Rogue Vampire community. Some of the higher ranked Rogues stray out into the open, praying on their targets using skills only some of them have."

            I put my hand up, not sure if that was the protocol here. Kat sighed then turned around.

            "Yes?" She asked. "You don't have to raise your hand, just ask." Well that answered that question.

            "Why do the Rogues want to kill humans?" I asked.

            "Who said they only wanted to kill humans?" She said, her eyes darkening. "All Rogues have a few things in common, and the ability to siphon energy off any living creature is one of them."

            "Ok. So why don’t they just kill each other then?"

            "Good question." She replied, "We're not exactly sure, but we think it's something to do with the energy being pure, or something? Anyway, they have infighting, but we've never seen one of them kill another Rogue for power. That's what they get from the energy."

            "So they can get that energy from anyone? Even non Rogues of the same species? Like if a Rogue Werewolf wanted energy from a regular Werewolf."

            "It doesn’t make a difference to them, they're not very picky."

            I nodded, taking it all in.

            "What can the more powerful Vampires do that the others can't?" I asked.

            "They have this skill called compulsion. It basically means they can make you do whatever they want. Sort of like mind control, only afterwards you forget everything."

            "Everything?"

            "Only the stuff that you did whilst under the compulsion. One up side to being what we are is that the compulsion doesn't affect us. We're immune to that particular power. Now, back to the slides..."

            The lesson went on for over an hour, covering Pixies, Witches, Werewolves, Vampires and even Humans. Apparently Rogue Humans were rare. They were pretty much like zombies, only their life span was very short. They only lasted for a few days before their body decayed completely. Kat told me if I did ever come up against one, a good swift kick to the chest would make it crumble.

            Witches seemed to be the cleverest of the Rogues, beaten only by the highest level of Vampires. They fought using magic, which could manifest itself in a variety of ways. Kat told me a story about one fight where a Rogue Witch could make herself look like anyone she touched.

            Pixies were the next level down in Rogues, though that didn't make them any less dangerous. I'd already heard about the poison, which was scary enough, but apparently they could also make someone 'Pixie-kissed' which pretty much meant you were under their control. Permanently. They could enslave anyone they wanted. Three guesses as to how they did that.

             Kat didn't help calm me down by telling me they had no idea what a pixie kiss could do to a Type 0. I, personally, never wanted to find out.

            Werewolves seemed to be the least powerful Rogues, their only ability that they could change whenever they wanted, rather than just at a full moon.

            When Kat finally called the end of the lesson, my notebook was almost full.

            "Okay, you get an hour break and then you have another Sim to complete. There's probably some food in the kitchen, or you could just hang out in your room for a bit. Whatever."

            "Will this Sim be any different to the last one?" I asked.

            Kat smirked.

            "Yeah, this one is much harder."

            Oh great. That sounded like it would be painful.      

            I grabbed my notebook and went to the door. I stopped, realising I had no idea where the kitchen was from here.

            "You take a left out the door, then straight ahead. After you pass four doors and a corridor you'll be in the main computer room. Can you find your way around from there?" Kat said, practically reading my mind. Though...I hadn't asked her what her powers were. Maybe that was one of them. I turned around.

            "No, I can't read minds." She said, smirking.

            "Are you sure? That was pretty spot on." I said.

            "No, I can see the future. Also I can do small potions and hex bags. Basic stuff, but it comes in handy sometimes." She shrugged.

            "Wow, the future? That must be pretty cool."

            "You'd think so but I don't exactly get a choice in what I see. So don't go asking me what happens next week. I have just as much of an idea as you do." She sat on the desk, swinging her legs beneath her. She stared expectantly at me, "Weren't you going somewhere?"

            "Oh, yeah. Thanks for the lesson."

            "No problem. We covered a lot of stuff, you pick things up pretty quickly." She smiled. "You might even be ready for a field mission in a week or so."

             I smiled, that seemed like high praise from Kat.

            The kitchen was busy when I got there; Rose, Thomas and Blaine were all making food and talking. They stopped as soon as I entered the room and looked at me. It was unnerving.

            "Um...hi." I said, leaning against the island in the centre of the kitchen. Rose gave me a smile, making me feel a bit less awkward.

            "Kara,  hey. How was your lesson?" She asked

            "Good. Kat said we got through a lot of stuff today."

            Blaine was focussed on a sandwich in his hand, barely even glancing at me. Thomas gave me a small wave.

            "Looking forward to the training session later?" He asked, "I've got a whole new arena coded. This one is two player."

            Rose shot him a look.

            "Two player? Really Thomas, it's not a video game."

            "Come on Rose. I've been here just over a year now and since then I've revamped the entire computer system. We find Rogues almost a hundred percent faster than you did previously. I think I'm entitled to call my computer simulation whatever I like."

            "A year? So you're nineteen." I stated. Thomas glanced at me.

            "Twenty. My birthday was last month. Rose is twenty-one. Kat's just turned twenty two. Oh, and Blainey here is twenty four."  

            Blaine grumbled at the nickname.

            Wow. I felt young. I'd only just turned eighteen last week.

            "Do you want something to eat? We have pretty much anything you can think of here."

            "I think I'll just have a sandwich thanks." I said, grabbing some bread.

            "I'm glad you're taking this seriously now." Blaine muttered from behind me. I stiffened.

            "Blaine. I didn't say anything after your outburst last night but you have got to back off Kara. What do you even have against her anyway?" Rose asked.

            "Don't mind him, he just hates...well, people." Thomas said, shrugging apologetically.

            "I don't hate Kara." Blaine said, "I just don't like everyone pretending like training someone new isn't stopping us from fighting off Rogues. Like two humans didn't die yesterday in an attack that we could have stopped if she wasn't here."

            "Two people died?" I asked, shocked. I hadn't realised me being here would be dangerous to other people.

            "Yes. And each day we're risking the same thing happening, endangering lives." He said, staring at me.   

            "Oh, and what do you expect us to do Blaine? There's not exactly a whole bunch of us out there. We need to increase our numbers, we need to train Kara." Rose said, slamming her hand down on the island.

            "Yeah, he gets that Rose. He's just being a prick about it." Thomas said, taking a bit of his sandwich.

            Blaine shifted his glare to Thomas.

            "Screw it. I'll see you in the training room." He aimed the last bit at me, before storming out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

            "He is a nice person Kara, when he's not angry." Rose said, trying to explain.

            "Oh yeah? When's that Rose?" Thomas said, "Because I don't think I've ever seen him smile."

            "Don't over exaggerate." Rose said, rolling her eyes. "Trust me, he'll grow on you."

            I had to take her word on that. We talked for a while, mostly about the different attacks they had dealt with, before Rose said it was time for my next training session. Thomas grinned at me before we left, making me even more nervous about what was going to happen.

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