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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10. Chapter VI - Subject 256, Status: Deceased - Part III

 

     “Neida?” Akari asks in a whispers as he shakes her awake. “Neida, are you awake?” She opens her eyes slowly, only to see Akari’s face very close to hers as she awakens.

     “Ugh,” she says in a groggy tone.

     “Too handsome a face to wake up to?” he asks with a smirk.

     “Wha--?” she asks confused. “No, get out of my face,” she says as she pushes his face away with her hand. She yawns while she keeps an eye on him, and she sees him looking at her with a small smile. “Is there something I should know?”

     “No, nothing.” The small smile from his lips disappears, and she almost regrets saying anything at all. “I got something for you.” Neida’s eyes lights up.

     “Something, huh? Is it good?” she asks.

     “I sure hope so. You can also choose not to wear it.” The smile is back. “If you don’t like it, of course…” he adds and Neida frowns.

     “I do not think Deon would approve if you gave me jewellery.”

     “Wha--? No, it’s not jewellery!” he laughs, ignoring the fact that the comment involves Deon. “Here,” he says, and places something soft in her hands.

     “Wha… Did you buy me new socks?”

     “No! Fold it out and see,” he says and smiles. She fumbles with the cloth trying to untangle it.

     “Oh, it’s a … a …” She stares at the unfolded cloth in her hands, not knowing what she is looking at. “It is a…”

     “A shirt Neida,” he says when he loses his patience. She looks up at him with sudden embarrassment.

     “Oh… Oh!” she laughs awkwardly. “Right, I knew that,” she tries.

     “I’m sure you did. I just thought you could need a new one, after…”

     “Right… let’s forget about that, why don’t we?”

     “Already forgotten,” he answers. “Why don’t you put it on? I can burn the old one if you want,” he asks.

     “What? Now?” she questions, looking down at herself. Her old shirt is still tattered and the blanket has almost fallen off, revealing herself.

     “I could hold up the blanket while you change? I promise not to peak,” he suggests.

     “Umm…”

     “The only one who can see you is Deon,” he persuades. “I will even close my eyes?”

     “Why are you so willing?” she asks suspicious.

     “What do you mean?” he asks frowning.

     “Holding up at blanket while I strip?”

     “I was just thinking of how you need to get out of that shirt and into a whole one.”

     “Uhm… sure, why not then?” she gives in. Akari takes the blanket from her shoulders and holds it up. She hesitates for a second, making sure that he is in fact not looking, before she takes off her shirt and puts on the new shirt. It is not as soft as the one she got at Katherine’s house. It is made in a light green color but to be honest it looks a little small.

     “Soo.. How does it fit? Had to guess the size, but I thinks I got it right,” he asks curious.

     “Umm… I thinks it’s kinda… Small,” she says.

     “What?!” he asks shocked, suddenly looking over the blanket. “What do you mean too small?! I’m almost one hundred percent sure I picked the right size!” He looks it over briefly. “See, what did I say? Perfect. It suits you perfectly!”

     “Akari…” she says. “It’s too tight.”

     “What? No, it’s not--”

     “You can almost see everything!”

     “No! It’s nice and I’m sure Deon will think the same once he wakes up again,” he argues.

     “Oh, sure it’s nice, because you’re a guy!”

     “That…! Has nothing to do with it…”

     “Oh, really now?” she asks while crossing her arms, though quickly stops as it enhances her breast size. “See! I can’t even cross my arms!”

     “I told you! It’s perfect!” he says with a smile.

     “Oh my…” she gives up, as it is not like she can change her shirt again to another. “Did you do this on purpose?”

     “What?” he asks, looking up at her with wide eyes. “Uhm…” he looks away. “I’m not sure I want to answer that…”

     “You did!” she gasps.

     “Come on,” he whines. “It looks good on you!”

     “I know.”

     “No, seri--what?”

     She just smiles as a response.

 

As the days pass Deon only gets worse. Akari works and Neida takes care of Deon, but her hope vanishes a little for each day Deon gets worse. 

     “For fuck sake! Pull yourself together Deon!” she yells at him with no response. A scream echoes through the floor and Neida’s head turns towards the direction. The same kind of atmosphere spreads to the entire floor, as when their village had the first death caused by Crimson Death. 

     Then the whispers start. Heads turning towards Neida and Deon. Angry faces wet of tears. 

     “It’s their fault!” She hears a voice yell. 

     “We were all just doing fine, then they came! He’s infected! He has infected the rest of us!” another voice joins in. Neida looks around at the nearing angry crowd.

     “No! He just has the flu! He does not have Crimson Death!” she tries to argue. “Do you think they even would let him in if he had Crimson Death?!”

     “My sister is pale and feverish. This morning she started to bleed!”

     “And my father just died!” another argues. “He is still bleeding! His blood is staining the bed and floor!”

     “My brother is NOT sick!” Neida yells at them, but they do not stop or listen. They walk closer and Neida stands tall to protect her brother.

     “Get him out of our village!” and with that the crowd charges.

     “STOP!” a voice yells. “If you do not stop this I will have no choice but to call in reinforcements!” the same voice yells, and she realizes it the voice of a guard. The same guard who decided she was easy prey. They crowd stops, but then someone laughs. And the laughter spreads.

     “You and what army? We only want a little revenge for our soon to be dead loved ones.”

     “Do you know what this creature has brought into Xion?!”

     “I will call the General! She will throw you all out!”

     “Ha! Do that, we’ll be dead before they arrive!” The guard launch his hands out and starts to call the General for reinforcements.

     “Do you really think the General will come?” Neida says, trying not to sound frightened of the thought.

     “Don’t I know you girl?” the guard asks, looking straight into her eyes. “Wait a… You are the girl I fucked in the backroom?” The entire crowd looks between Neida and the guard, forgetting Deon completely.

     “She’s fucking a guard?!”

     “I never did such thing! He forced himself upon me, but instead of what he was looking for, I gave him his black eye!” she says.

     “She’s lying! He doesn’t have a black eye!”

     “What?! Look at him!”

     “It’s probably a conspiracy with the guard!”

     “I did not lay with this man!” Neida yells.

     “Oh, yes, you did,” he says, completely ignoring what she says. “We had so much fun, didn’t we?”

     “You know what?! I don’t want to argue with you! If you tell the General Neida and her brother are in B-8, she will come.”

     “Why would she come for you?” the guard sneers.

     “The General and I have a history,” she says with a smile. “And I heard she does not like horny men treating women badly.”

     “Oh, but I never did. You never did tell me no.”

     “You just thought my screams and my attempts of getting away, were my way of telling you to continue?”

     “Of course,” he smirks. “To me, they are a sign of pleasure…” he says as she look at her body.

     “Will you stop your flirting!” one from the crowd says. “There’s someone infected with Crimson Death here!”

     “Why won’t you listen to me?!” Neida yells back. “He’s not infected!”

     “Look at him girl! He will be dead before nightfall.”

     “Just call the General, guard! The General will sort this out for sure!” a voice on the crowd pleads. “We will get peace on our minds if this is not Crimson Death, if it is Crimson Death then we will take our revenge.” Neida looks up at the person who has spoken in both fear and worry as she sees the hate in the eyes.

     “Yeah, call the General!” another voice suddenly joins.

     “Fine, but it’s your heads on the line when she gets angry for being called down for nothing,” the guard finally gives in.

     “Be sure to tell her Neida and her brother are here as well,” Neida adds with a smile. The guards glares at her, but does as he is told and contacts the General.

     It has not even been five minutes before the General shows up. Neida watches her with worry as she inspects the dead person. Then makes her way towards Neida and Deon. The crowd have found their way back on their beds, but are watching the General’s every move.

     “Hello Neida,” the General says in a dark tone. “Somehow I just knew you would not do as told. And here you are. With your beloved brother,” she says. “He is not looking well Neida.”

     “Well can you blame me? You did not have Deon as a priority,” Neida defends herself.

     “True. When my guards told me they saw a girl force herself out through a small opening I knew it was you. But you ran before you found out what they did to your brother,” the General says.

     “And what did you find out,” Neida asks worried.

     “It seems like your brother were their favorite subject to… Work on. Apparently, they found something interesting in his blood and to figure out what it was, they exposed him to different diseases.”

     “Different diseases?!” Neida exclaims and looks down at her brother with a worried look.

     “Yes. But by their notes he was resistant to quite a few. That is when they decided to try the Crimson Death on him,” the General says calmly.

     “WHAT?! They used Crimson Death on him?!” she yells. “He’s a… He can die because of it! He…”

     “I know. And… by the way of things, it seems like he is not resistant to it.”

     “You see! He is the reason for our loved one’s deaths!” someone whispers angrily to another behind Neida.

     “You mean… He is… infected and going to die?” Neida asks quietly.

     “Yes,” the General answers with a smile. “When my guard told me you were here, I was ready to kick all three… Wait, where’s that boyfriend of yours? Akaki?”

     “Akari! And he’s out working!”

     “Ahh… Well, I was going to kick you out. You facing the reality of your brother’s possibly death in the wastelands. But now when he is exposed and possibly dead by tomorrow... I’ll let you stay. Quarantined, of course, with what little time he has left. I would love to see the look on your face when he finally dies,” the General grins. “You are going to face the consequences of breaking him out and infecting other people. Justice will always prevail, Neida.”

     “What?! B-but--”

     “No buts!” she interrupts. “I were more than kind to you and you repay me by not listening! I knew you were here in B-8, I know everything that goes on in Xion. Did you not think I would set an alarm on your IDs when I realized you were gone from Katherine’s house?”

     “Then… Why?”

     “Well, I got a little fun out of seeing you being so hopeful of seeing Deon becoming healthy again and being asked to do special services,” the General says. “I know everything Neida. I do allow my guards a little fun.”

     “You… You watched your guard harassing me?! After being so disgusting of women being … Being violated?! You just had some fun watching your guards…”

     “Well… I have an image to preserve,” the General says with a smile.

     “Not to be stating the obvious, but everyone here now knows,” Neida says confused.

     “They will die soon, one way or the other. If not by Crimson Death then perhaps by other unexplainable ways,” the General says. She leans closer towards Neida “By the end of tomorrow they all are dead. All of them will be on your hands,” she whispers.

     “You can’t keep us in here!” someone yells.

     “Oh, I can and I will,” the General smirks, looking at the one who spoke. “Do you really think you’re getting out of here? Spread the disease into my Xion?” she grins. “If you do, you are deathly wrong.” The General looks at the people in the room. “As of now, you all are under quarantine! Anyone trying to leave will be executed on the spot!” The General ignores the horrified whispers and shouts in the crowds, and instead looks at Neida. “I know you are 2.0 and cannot catch the disease, but… I cannot have you spreading lies about me, can I?”   

     “What?”

     “Neida…. You, your brother and your boyfriend--”

     “Not my boyfriend…” Neida mumbles.

     “--will be taken to a separate living quarter together. The three of you will be in a room with surveillance twentyfourseven hours a day. You may consider it as your punishment for breaking the rules, if you’d like.”

     “Punishment?” she asks bewildered. “For how long?”

     “You are going to watch your brother die,” she says, ignoring her question. “You will know everyone else’s death in B-8 is on you, your fault. Their blood will be on your hands. I will be watching you with a smile on my face, knowing that justice prevailed once again.”

     “Y-you are crazy!”

     “Perhaps. Yet still I have always been the General and people believe in me.”

     “They will never follow you once they know the truth!”

     “What truth are you talking about? I don’t seem to know of anything I’ve ever done wrong against Xion.”

     “You are a cold hearted bitch!”

     “Cold?” she grins. “I’ll take that as a compliment,” she says. “Guards! Seize her and the half-dead brother! But be sure to take her boyfriend Akari with you. He should be in the field, earning money that he does not deserve.”

     “You fucking--!” she spits at the guards as they grab her arms. “Don’t think I am going willingly!” She fights against their grips, looking over at the guard who is carrying Deon and making sure that he is intact meanwhile. “Fucking let me g--”

     All she feels is a pain in the back of her head, and she is falling into the darkness.

 

Soft, warm and a pounding headache. These are Neida’s first feelings when she regains consciousness. She opens her eyes, she quickly shuts them as the light blinds her.

     “Neida? You awake?” she hears Akari murmur softly.

     “Yeah… I’m awake… Sort off,” she says in a raspy voice.

     “I was afraid they hit you too hard on the head. You have been out for a little too long for my liking,” he says softly.

     “Have I?” she asks, peeking open an eye to look at him. “What … about Deon?”

     “Deon…” he does not look at her.

     “What is it?” she asks, immediately sitting up from the bed she has been laid on.

     “He has begun bleeding,” he admits, causing the blood to drain from her head.

     “It started soon after I was brought to this room. You and Deon were here already. It has only gotten more extreme the longer I have--are you alright?” he asks as he sees her pale face.  

     “I… I think I need to lie down.”

     “I’m sorry Neida… The odds are not good.”

     “My brother is not going to die!”

     “For fuck’s sake!” Akari exclaims, getting closer to the bed she’s laying on. “When are you going to get it into your stupid head that your brother is not invincible?! He is going to die, Neida! And no matter how much you deny it, nothing is going to change that!” he yells angrily. “I am so tired of you whining, ‘my brother, my brother, he can’t die!’ Get your mind out of the gutter, and stop living in a fantasy world where everybody lives a happily ever after!” he snarls. “Fuck! You’re pissing me off! Always talking about Deon, Deon, where is Deon? What am I going to do without Deon? Fuck, it’s like your world revolves around him!” Neida stands up from the bed and stand in front of Akari.

     “I am sorry you are so tired, but you were not the one watching our mother die! I was seven! Mother's last words was to take care of Deon and that is what I have been doing!”

     “Don’t you ever get tired of taking care of him? It’s not your responsibility, he is an adult,” Akari remarks.

     “He is my responsibility! To the day I die!” she yells back at him.

     “You don’t think I haven’t experienced the deaths of my family? Seen when they passed away due to a horrible illness? Some even got murdered…” his voice gets hollow at the last words. “Your mother should know that you cannot always take care of him your whole life, what about yours?!” he yells again. “Who is supposed to take care of you?!”

     “I can take care of myself, just like I was raised to do!” she yells and glares at him. His blue eyes are cold as she looks angrily into them, but slowly she sees them regain their warmth and the atmosphere in the room suddenly changes to something she cannot identity.

     “Well that’s too bad,” he says as his eyes are still fixed on her. “If you’re not going to take proper care of yourself, then I will,” he pronounces, and suddenly the gap between them is closed by him.

     “Wha--” she does not get the chance to say more before his lips are on hers. His lips are soft and warm. At first she does not know how to respond. It all happens too fast. Eventually she realizes she must have been too long to respond, because slowly Akari retreats. When she looks into his eyes they are pools of emotions.

     “I’m… I’m sorry,  I just thought…” he stumbles over the words, as he tries to get out of her personal space. “I was careless. I did not mean to--” While he tries to explains his action, her full focus is on his lips. Soft and warm, pink, lips. Suddenly her body reacts on impulse and their lips are once again connected. Stopping him from finishing his sentence seems done best by kissing him. The pause before he eventually responds is enough indication that he is just as surprised as her.

     His lips send waves of fire through her body and her hand sneaks up behind his head to caress his hair. In response, one of his hands ends up on her back, while the other one ends up on her ass. Pulling her body against his. She lets out a little gasp in shock, before she decides to deepen the kiss. She hears him let out a little groan, while the hand on her ass tightens, pressing her closer still.

     Akari’s kiss eventually starts getting more aggressive, and suddenly he decides to move on to the side of her neck. She bares her neck to him, closing her eyes in pleasure. She opens her mouth, about to let a groan escape, when instead she hears someone else groan. She does not feel the vibration of his groan on her neck. In fact, it does not sound like it came from him at all. She frowns in confusion, and then she hears it again. This time a groan that does not sound pleasured at all. More like someone is in pain.

     “Am I hurting you?” Akari suddenly asks, stopping his work on her neck to look at her.

     “No, I thought it was you,” she responds, looking at him in confusion.

     “No, I--” A groan from neither of them cuts off Akari’s sentence, and they both look at each other with wide eyes. As one, they look over at Deon on his bed. Immediately, Neida feels the blood draining from her head.

     There is blood everywhere. From Deon’s nose, mouth and eyes. Even his ears. He is restlessly shaking his head side from side to side, painful groans escaping his lips frequently.

     “Deon!” Neida screams and hurries to his side. Akari is right behind her. “Deon!” she screams again as she reaches his side, shaking his body to wake him up. “Deon wake up! Wake up!” she yells in panic, shaking his shoulders roughly.

     However, it has no effect. He remains unresponsive to her touch, only groaning in pain as blood continues to flow freely, soaking the sheets and pillow underneath him.

     “No, no, no,” Neida murmurs to herself in panic. “This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening!

     “...Nei…ugh…” Deon suddenly coughs, blood splattering down his chin. “...hurts…”

     “Shhhh, I know Deon, I know,” she whispers while stroking her brother’s hair.

     “...make it… stop…” he groans. “...make it stop…” Neida’s eyes tears up and she fights not to let them fall.

     “It’s… It’s going to be okay,” she stumbles through the words. Akari places a hand on her shoulder to soothe her.

     “...please…” Deon cries in pain. “...just make it… stop…” he whispers.

     “Shhh…” she whispers. She tries to wipe away the blood from his face, but more keep coming.

     “...I… can’t…” Deon never finishes his sentence. Instead, his body starts getting limp, and his head slowly stops moving from side to side. At last his body is still.

     “Deon?” Neida whispers. “Deon!” She searches after his pulse, not caring about the blood on her hands. “No, no, no…” she mutters to herself in denial as she feels no pulse. “This isn’t real. This isn’t real!” The hand on her shoulder tightens.

     “Neida… I think he’s...” Akari says in shock.

     “No! Don’t say it!” she yells, refusing to realize the truth. “Please Deon,” Neida pleads. “Please, just wake up. Just open your eyes!” she sobs. “Please!”

     “Neida…” Akari says quietly. She turns around at the sound of his voice, and buries her face into his chest, holding onto his shirt with a tight grip. Carefully, he places his arms around her and holds her while she sobs.

     She barely hears Akari’s whisper in her ear. His promise of better things to come.

     Barely recognizes the sounds escaping her own body, nor does she try to stop it.

     She has to live with breaking Mother’s dying wish.

     She failed and Deon is fucking dead.

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