The Upgrade: Human 2.0

In a not too distant future a war changed the Earth forever.
On this different Earth Neida lives in a small village with her brother, Deon. When the Crimson Death attacks their village, they are forced to escape to Village Xion since the disease only attacks the mutants - in other words, Deon. Follow Neida as she fights for her brother’s life, (along with fighting the urge to kill her brother for his stupidity).
Will she prevail, perhaps even find love in unexpected places, or will she fail and pay the ultimate price?

Winner of the NaNoWriMo competition Denmark

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7. Chapter V - The Laboratory

 

     “No, Neida! Stay down!” Akari hisses in a low voice and holds her back.

     “Deon is in that building Akari,” she hisses back.

     “I know. But open your eyes!” he gestures to the building surrounded in the dark of the night. “A - it’s dark. B - do you know if there is someone in the building? They killed those three guards, and they are not easily killed,” he argues and Neida sighs in defeat.

     “You have a point. How do we rescue Deon then?”

     “So far I have counted four people guarding the building from the outside. I have no idea of how many on the inside, but it should not be a lot given it is in the middle of the night.”

     “I was not a fool then, when I forced us to go back to the General?”

     “Not a complete fool at least. But it could have been nice to have been able to scout the area before nightfall. Then, we could have an idea of how many people who is inside and how many of them are scientists,” he says.

     “Oh… Yeah, that probably could have been nice. But I don’t want Deon to spend more time in there than he has to,” she says sadly.

     “Yes, I agree,” he says as he raises his head from the cover they lie behind. “Looks like we can enter now,”

     “Now? How?” she asks curiously.

     “I was getting there. Do you see the door on the left side? We should be able to enter there with little troubles.”

     “Door on the left side, got it,” she says, and with that they carefully make their way towards the building. Slowly they get closer. Legs bent to make them smaller and harder to spot. The darkness of the afternoon helping and concealing them a much as it can.

     Suddenly Akari stops, and Neida walks slightly into him. She is about to ask what is wrong, but he holds up a finger in front of his mouth. He point to a guards walking towards them, and her eyes widen in fear. He gently pushes her towards the wall of the building and they hide around the corner. The guard walks past them and they continue moving around the corner without a sound. Neida let out a relieved breath. The guard continues around the corner they hid in and disappears in the dark. Quickly, and without a sound, they move towards the door and through it.

     It feels like forever, sneaking through the hallways and doors, avoiding guards with weapons. Akari is particularly good at it, and if he did not come with her, she doubts that she would have gotten this far.

     Neida stops and looks into through a window into a room. On the faroff wall is a big stain in the color red. She continues to the next room. This time, the only thing in it is a metal table with a moldy corpse on it. The next is filled with arms, legs and other body parts. The only thing missing is the body it belongs to. However it is when she sees the next room she vomits. Akari stops is his track and walks back to Neida. He places a hand on her back for comfort.

     “Deon could be one of these,” she whimpers. Akari looks through the window and his stomach knots together. Numerous deceased people, tossed in the room like garbage. Some are missing an arm, another has a lot of different cuts and a third has two heads.

     “We will find him Neida,” he says calmly but she ignores him.

     “All this for what? Science? Some wannabe doctor who wants to find out what happens with you stitch another head onto someone!”

     “Please, be quiet!” he hisses, but she knows it as well as him. The hope of finding him completely intact is getting slimmer and slimmer with each room they are looking into. The hope of finding Deon eventually transforms into despair, as they have almost been on every possible floor and seen every possible room.

     “Shhh,” Akari whispers, as he hears Neida grunts in frustration. “We’ll find something,” he murmurs, his voice almost inaudible.

     “When?” she whispers back, angrily. He does not answer her, however. Instead, he continues sneaking forward, looking at the signs next to the doors that have started appearing the higher up they travelled. If only there would be a sign of Deon. Anything. A scribble on a wall. A piece of clothing. But no. Nothing.

     “Neida…” Akari whispers, shaking her out of her thoughts. “We’ve reached the end…”

     “No! He has to be here!”

     “Shhh!” he hisses, looking over his shoulder to be sure no one heard. “I’m sorry, Neida. But he’s not here.”

     “He has to be!”

     “Please, be quiet--”

     “Where else can he be? I mean, this is where he should be, right!?”

     “Yes, but--”

     “Then where is he?!”

     “I don’t know Neida! Not shut the fuck up, or they’ll catch on to us!”

     “Do not tell me what to do! This is my brother we are talking about! He has to be here! Where the fucking else would he be!” she rants angry.

     “I know that! But God, all you ever talk about is ‘my brother, my brother’! I know he is your brother Neida, but stop being so reckless all the time when it concerns him! He’s obviously not here, but then we’ll find another lead!” he makes his point. She is about to say something, but the look in Akari’s eyes stops her.

 

When they reach the house of Katherine again, the sun is barely visible on the horizon. As soon as they close the door, Katherine walks into the hallway with a relieved look on her face.

     “It’s so good to see you both well. I was over myself with worry when you left and did not come back,” she says and give them both a warm hug.

     “Umm…” Neida looks to Akari for a clue about what she should say.

     “It’s nice to know someone worry about our whereabouts,” he says with a smile.

     “My husband said you went to the General again, is there any news?” Katherine asks curious. Neida looks away and tries not to let the water win in her eyes.

     “Maybe we should move this conversation into the kitchen. I could use a bit to eat, and I’m sure Neida does too,” he says in a polite tone. Katherine looks from Neida to Akari and nods. They two follow Katherine to the kitchen. Quickly Katherine has the dinner from last night out and heats it up.

     “There you go,” she says as she puts the plates on the table. Neida gives her a smile and a nod in response as she begins to dive into the dinner.

     “It look delicious Katherine,” Akari says before starting to eat.

     “No need to be so polite all the time Akari! This is nowhere near as good as yesterday, but it will do,” Katherine says as she sits down with them around the table. “Can you now tell me what happened?” she asks impatient and her eyes lands on Neida, whom has her head bowed down and gives the food all her attention. Akari clears his throat before he starts to tell her about everything that have transpired.

     “Oh my!” Katherine exclaims surprised. “How many bodies did you say?”

     “More than we could count. All stuffed in the same tiny room and all showed signs of…” he does not continue his sentence in worry of Neida. Neida looks up at Akari.

     “You can say it,” she says in a stern tone and moves her attention onto Katherine. “They were tortured. All of them. One of them even had an extra head attached to him.” Katherine holds a hand in front of her mouth in horror.

     “And Deon? He was not a…”

     “A dead corpse? Harvested for all his valuable pieces? You know it was kinda hard to tell with all the arms and legs hanging around,” Neida says coldly. Katherine’s eyes widen and she looks at Akari for confirmation.

     “As far we could tell, he was not there.”

     “Oh. Where is he then?” she asks and looks between Akari and Neida.

     “That is what we intent to find out. But your great girlfriend, the General, does not gives us any hint of where she thinks he is! We had to pressure the secretary into give us the intel,” Neida says and shoves the last bit of food down her throat. “Goodnight, or morning, or whatever. I need a shower and some sleep,” she continues and forces a smile, before walking out the hallway and towards the bathroom.

 

Neida let out a yelp in surprise, as she opens the bathroom door after her shower.

     “If it weren't because the only thing between my very naked body and the cold air were this towel, I would have given you a black eye. Do not startle me like that! It is not good for your health,” she says angry.

     “Apologies my lady,” he says in a teasing tone. “I have brought a peace offering. Clean clothes,” he continues and flashes her a smile, but she suspects he is nowhere near sorry. Nevertheless a smile appears on her lips.

     “Clean clothes is a good bargain,” she says thoughtful. “But what do you expect in return?”

     “A Neida who smiles more, will go to sleep, as she said she would, and a Neida who does not smell like she have been wearing the same clothes for far too long,” he says with a smile.

     “So you think I stink?”

     “You could never stick,” he says teasing.

     “Oh, is that so?”

     “Yes, my lady!” The smiles grows wider on Neida’s face.

     “I thank you for the clean clothes, but I cannot promise I will uphold my end of the bargain.”

     “As long as you promise to try I will be happy,” he says and holds out the clothes of her. She nods a ‘thank you’ before taking the clothes and walk to her room.

     The smile from before in still on her lips, when she closes the door to her room. She puts down the clothes on her bed and lets the towel fall to the ground. The clothes smell like something she only read about and is softer than anything she ever wore before. Guess people in a bigger village can buy things like this.

     The clothes hugs her skin blissfully, and she thinks about staying up. What good does it do to her, if she is not awake when news of Deon comes? However, the promise to Akari echoes in her mind. Maybe a little sleep will not hurt?

     She falls asleeps as soon her head hits the pillow.

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