Author’s note: I feel like I messed up a little bit with Crystal’s face. I’ll one day have a better picture of her. It’s done in color pencil.
A few days passed by without anything going on. It was a fairly routine couple of days Nothing but eat, sleep, and exercise. There wasn’t much going on that would catch my attention as strange, but they were activities that kept my mind busy. It seems that they were routine activities that this facility seem to follow: swimming in the morning, martial arts in the afternoon, and soccer in the evening. In between the games, there would be a personal trainer to help tone our bodies, and in other free time, they would allow us to do anything that we wanted.
I took this golden opportunity to search online for any other information about the Ouroboros. There just wasn’t enough to go off from and the guys didn’t have much to say. All I found out about the Ouroboros appearance five years ago was kept as a secret from the world until Jamie Sylvester, the owner and CEO of Seventh Sanctum, had went around the world to collect the Ouroboros and brought them here in Chicago, Illinois.
The reason was simple, to protect and foster the growth of all future Ouroboros. Jamie Sylvester got the approval and the backing from every major country around the world to fund this project, making this one of the rare few shared project. This was never possible until Jamie made some deals with each country for the Ouroboros, what was even more surprising was that the other countries actually allowed for all the Ouroboros to be in one location.
It had been known that countries around the world wouldn’t just fork over something special, especially if it meant help put their country in the lead. Having all 99 of them in one in one place was unheard of until Seventh Sanctum did it themselves.
I had seen different scientists from different countries all come congregate in this one building, making this place quite an achievement in itself. All the intellectual minds are brought here to crack the case on Ouroboros change.
Though, what got me thinking was what Timothy had said, the Animus Progressium project that has been classified and were under heavy protection. Even Timothy wasn’t able to go past the firewalls yet it was a project that could change all our lives.
Something about those two words got me thinking for the past few days, I didn’t know what, but I had a strange feeling that something was going to happen soon. I wasn’t sure if it was my nervousness or anticipation of what’s to come that got me nervous.
“The soul’s progression,” I repeated those words when I leaned forward, sitting on the bench, tying my shoes in the gym locker
“Is something the matter?” Jones asked, looking over his shoulder towards me. He was putting on a shirt, when he heard my voice.
“What do you think about what Timothy had said?”
“What are you talking about?”
“The secret project that he were talking about few days ago.”
“Oh, that.” Jones replied, his head popped through the shirt, he reached over and pulled back his hair. “I’m honestly not sure, but I heard some strange rumors going around. There’s been a saying that the project goes along the plan to save humanity from a crisis, though I think that’s bogus.”
“Save humanity?” This was the first time, I was hearing something that doesn’t sound to far off, but then again, going all religious wasn’t something I wanted to get into.
“Yea, something about an end of the world scenario in the next one hundred years or something like that. Honestly, I believe it’s completely made up to scare people. Think about it, we had the Y2K in 1999, then supposedly another possible World War, and all that bullshit.” He waved his hand. “I believe that it’s just going to be another day just like today. We’re going to live until we’re old, and even have a happy family.”
That was a nice thought to dream about. One day settle down and even have kids, but right now that wasn’t going to be any time soon. I didn’t really have a girlfriend to even attempt to think that far.
“Then where did the rumor even stem from?”
I went silent and thought it over what he had said. “Wait, isn’t Simon the one who wants to bust out of here? If he is the one who started the rumor, then wouldn’t it be better to stay in this building?”
“Simon has his reasons. I don’t know about you, but I want to be with my girl if the end of the world even happens. During that so called hundred years, I want to grow old, and have a family. As a kid, I was an orphan and I never want to go through something like that again.”
“Oh…” I didn’t know what else to say. Should I try to give him my two scent or just change the whole subject?
Just when I was debating on what to say, Jones spoke. “So, if I were you, you should get ready to leave later tonight. We’re busting out of here. So, you in or out?”
I wasn’t sure if I should just jump into this offer so quickly, the thought of escaping wasn’t on my priority list right this moment, they were so many things to learn about being an Ouroboros and being part of this company made it possible to filter through the immense data base that they had.
“I’m not so sure yet.” Pulling up my shirt onto my naked chest, I was completely dressed to go to the next event that was planned out for me. Today was the day to truly learn what I could do, especially since I wasn’t able to recreate the same thing that happened with the fire. No matter how many times I thought, motioned, or even push my body into a strenuous activity, I wasn’t able to produce that same effect.
“You better hurry or you won’t get another chance.” Jones started to head towards the door. “Trust me, this place is not sanctuary.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
Jones shook his head and sighed reluctantly. “I can tell that you’re already enamored with this place.”
“I have my reasons.”
“Well, I’ll see you around if you are ever back in the real world.”
“Yea,” I was once again alone. Getting up from the bench, I walked out the door, and headed down the winding hallway. I knew where I needed to go, the layout of this building wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be. The living quarters were spaced out around the cafeteria and the medical room, these two rooms were where we usually go at least once a day or more. The gym, pool, testing room, and training rooms are further away and were placed in a U shape format around the living quarters.
Seventh Sanctum was a forty story building, where twenty floors are dedicated to the Ouroboros, and the bottom floors were for the other employees. Seeing the other employees is fairly rare, except during medical examine as far as I know. The majority of the time, there are a set of designated people that takes notes on our everyday lives, even to the point where we have to go in and go meet up with a psychologist.
I took the right, and came upon the room that I never went into before until now. It was the testing room for Ouroboros. The moment I stepped inside, I came upon a large open space. On one side was high level technological computers and machines that I have never seen before, behind a thick glass wall.
What I was surprised to see was Crystal working along with the other scientist, perfectly mingling with them as if they were nothing different. She turned around and saw me. Her hand clicks the pen a couple of times, before she walks out from behind the glass wall and stop in front of me.
“Mr. Tyger. I’m glad that you are here.”
My cheeks twitched. I wasn’t a huge fan of my last name, but even still I asked her to call me Alexus last time instead of going all formal with me it. It seems that she has forgotten. “I would prefer Alexus.”
“Ah, I’m sorry. I forgot. I’m used to calling people by their last name.” She brought her clipboard to the side.
“No worries.” I held up my hand and rubbed it together, anxious to see what was going to happen next. “So, what would we be doing today?”
“Well first off, we’ll be running some diagnostic on your body. If you don’t mind.” she motioned me to follow.
I walked behind her, and we went around the glass wall. She placed her clipboard on the table, went over to a box and rummaged through until she pulled out a one piece black suit, a pair of gloves, and boots. The whole set reminded me of a motorcycle suit. All it needed was a helmet and it was a complete set.
“Please wear this.” She came over and handed everything to me, dropping it into my arms. I fumbled, trying to not let them fall onto the ground.
“This is for?”
“This is what you will be testing out for today. It is the state of an art, technological suit that Mr. Sylvester had specifically commissioned to make for all the Ouroboros, though this is only the prototype.”
I examined the suit in hand, and brought it up in front of me. The suit was quite light, soft, and flexible. Even attempting to stretch it apart, made it impossible to rip, making me wonder what kind of material did they use to make something this extravagant. Even in the U.S military might not even be able to mass produce these kind of suit. Under the fluorescent light, the black suit seem to shine like a snake skin.
“We call it Dragon Scale. You can think of it as a body armor that can stop a force of a four gauge shotgun shell without dying, though you will have bruises.”
My hand gripped tightly on the suit, and look up towards her stupefied. Did she say that this piece of suit can stop a four gauge shotgun blast?! Holy cow, this is one tough material. Not only that, she just threw out those words as if it wasn’t a big deal. I couldn’t help but stare at the piece of suit in complete excitement. This is the best body suit armor I have ever heard or seen in my life that was completely off the charts.
“The material is flexible, durable, waterproof, cold and hot resistance to a certain degree. It also sweat proof and body odor proof, so it doesn’t smell like old socks. Not only that,” Crystal reached over and handed me a watch to wear with it, “It also reads and keeps up-to-date of all your vital organs and health and directly sends it to your watch.” She replied with pride.
I couldn’t help but whistle at the highly advance technology I had in my hand, this was a perfect item to use if I ever get in gun fights or maybe even against demons.
“Who made this?” I flipped the suit back and forth.
I froze, then look up. “You…did?”
“Yes, this is the first one of its kind. Nobody has worn it until today and you’re the first tester.”
“Oh,” my mouth opened and closed like a fish.
“I suggest you to go behind the curtains and change. I recommend you completely go naked, when you wear the suit. Your underwear will probably make you very uncomfortable.”
“Gotcha.” Looking around, I found the curtains that she was talking about. Not to far away was a simple curtain drapes that held up in a corner. I walked towards it, entered, and quickly changed.
For an armor, the material was quite comfortable. The texture didn’t rub against my skin irritating it, and instead it simply glided with my movement. Downside of it all was that it felt like I was wearing nothing, the Dragon Scale almost perfectly fitted with the contour of my body, luckily some area’s didn’t reveal too much, allowing me to move without any problem. With the Dragon Scale on, I exited.
When I stepped out, I saw a large table with variety of guns laid out in a perfect row. They were three categories of guns: a handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun all neatly in a line with a handful of magazines. I couldn’t help but wonder why she had them out laying on the table, they weren’t even any targets to be found for her to shoot at.
Crystal stopped what she was doing, when she felt my gaze rested on her. She turned around with a handgun in her hand, A loud click could be heard as the slid move back, loading up a bullet.
“I want you to stand in the middle of the room.”
I for some reason felt very uncomfortable. My instincts were telling me that something bad was going to happen, and I didn’t know what.
“Stop.” She called out.
I turned toward hers, waiting for her instructions.
“This here in my hand is a Glock 17. We will be testing the suit with it.”
“What?!” I shouted in complete disbelief. Did I just hear her right? Testing the suit?!
“Yep, we already tested it without anyone being in it. Now we need a Ouroboros to field test it.”
“Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Hold up. Why in the world would you want a live test?! What if it penetrates through!”
“It won’t,” she said confidently. “There is a safety function in the suit, where if it does penetrate through the first layer, it would spew out mucus like membrane to reinforce the area that it has hit. Not only that, this suit is specifically designed for an Ouroboros to help you have a better control of your powers.”
Crystal pulled up her earmuffs with one hand, aimed, and fired before she even gave me a chance to say no. A loud bang could be heard, ricocheting in the room, causing me to go numb in fear.
My heart dropped to the floor, and I shakily look down to see if I was bleeding. I frantically searched, and not even found a single dent into the Dragon Scale. Now that I think about it, I didn’t even feel the bullet even hit me. Confused, I turned around, trying to see if I was bleeding from the back. So far, I didn’t feel anything wet. I was so relieved that nothing was harmed.
“Pass!” Crystal yelled, her hand was brought up in an okay sign. She then walked over towards the table, took out the magazine, cleared the chamber, and placed the handgun safely on the table. She then reached over towards the rifle, loaded it, and walked over.
“This is a Bushmaster M4, semi-automatic, the power in this is a lot more stronger than a handgun. I suggest you to stand still or you’re going to get hurt.” She shouted, making me whip my head towards her.
My lips twitched, my eyes bulged, and my body tensed. She was really going to go through with this crazy antiques. I didn’t know if that bullet would be the one to kill me for sure, and once again fear laced in my heart.
Before she even warned me, I heard gunshots firing. This time, I felt a slight tingle on my chest area, and a strange burst of energy shot outward from my core. The same golden swirl of energy that I had seen during the Jone’s incident, appeared before me moving with lightning speed. Swirl of gold slightly altered the bullets trajectory, and flew past me and hit against the wall.
With a loud metal ting, the wall completely stopped the bullet from penetration, and clattered onto the ground. Crystal stopped what she was doing, and stare with surprise. She reached over her earmuffs and took it off.
“It worked.” She gasped, opening her mouth like a gaping fished. “It worked.” She placed the rifle down.
I wasn’t sure what she meant, but my heart was fluttering around like a butterfly.
“How did you do that?”
“I don’t know.” My voice came out as a squeak. I coughed a couple of times to clear my throat. The better question should be, am I okay?
“Did you create a force field or something?”
She stare at me intensely, waiting for the answer that she wanted to hear. I coughed, and cleared my throat. “Didn’t you see the golden energy?”
“Golden energy? Is that what changed the trajectory of the bullet?”
Crystal eyes became big, and a goofy smile started to plaster on her face. “I can’t believe it, there’s even such an ability. This is definitely something worth testing out.” She walked over, and placed the rifle down. Her hands quickly reached over towards the shotgun, and I heard the loud, scary sound of the shotgun shell loading.
“Woah. Woah. Woah.” I ran up towards her, pushing the barrel down. “Lady, there should be a limit when you know when to stop. My second life is precious and I would like to keep living.”
Crystal bite her lips, and scowled. She then turned up towards. “My name is Crystal.”
“Okay, Crystal. Please refrain from using something that dangerous.”
“I know it’s dangerous, plus we need to make sure that last phase of the Dragon Scale Armor is ready for production.”
“Live testing it like this is not the way to go.” I quickly replied. “They are other safer ways to doing this then what we are doing.”
“Those tests have already been done. I needed to know if an Ouroboros could handle and activate the suit. So far the mechanism needs a little bit of tinkering, but I could see that it has helped you in bringing out a better control of your powers.”
I sighed and scrunched my eyebrows at her. I look up in complete disbelief. This lady was crazy to a certain level, making me wonder why I was even interested in her in the first place.
All of a sudden, the lights went completely out. Thank, God! For the first time in my life, I prayed inwardly towards a higher being. The test was temporarily over.
I look around to see what was going on, but instead I only heard the voices of the people talking with one another. A loud heavy sound of fan could be heard, while a shrill like beep followed after. Luckily, all the computer monitors were still on, lighting up a portion of the large dark room.
“Everyone, calm down.” A male’s voice spoke out with a commanding tone towards the others. “Luckily, we have the backup battery to give us sufficient amount of time to save our work. In a moment, the backup generator will kick in. There must’ve been a blackout or something.”
Just like the man had said, the backup generator kicked in place. This time, instead of the whole lights turning on, only a select few, that ran across the ground floor and the wall, flashed white.
“We’ll get back to working, let’s wrap this up and save all your files. We don’t want to lose anything important or we’ll have to do everything again.”
Everyone started to run around quickly, saving files, and even packing away the equipments. Crystal started to safely put away the guns, rifles, and shotguns into their respective cases.
The thought of doing everything again didn’t sit to well with me, especially if it meant to get shot again by Crystal. That wasn’t something I wanted to do anytime soon. I thought I was crazy, but she was a whole nother level of crazy, pointing a gun at me like it was nothing. Thinking about it all over again made me shiver.
Not even a moment later, a blaring sound of alarm screeched through the room. Flashing red and white, all around us in a frenzy. Everyone froze as terror struck their face.
“Shit.” Crystal swore. She started to unpack her toys in a frenzy.
“What’s wrong?” I shouted out towards her. Not liking how tensed and worried she look. Something was happening, and it wasn’t good. The only thought that went through my mind was what Jones said about escaping today.
“We got Code D on high alert!” She clicked in an magazine into the Glock 17. She charged the slide back with a click, loading the bullet into the gun.
Crystal grabbed the holster, and wrapped it around her hip. She then holstered her gun, and went straight towards the Bushmaster M4. Her fingers laced around as many magazines as she can hold on her body. I was quite surprised at the number of places she managed to slip in, without them falling out onto the ground.
I swear, she look like she was ready to go to war, and all I could do was stare at her completely confused.
“Large number of Demon infiltration!” She pointed the rifled downwards, and turned towards me.
“You know how to use a handgun right?”
“Uh….I been taking a couple of lessons in the past few days. That’s all the experience I have.” I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t that great of a marksmen when it came to shooting. Nine out of ten, I would miss and only by a miracle shot I would hit the tenth one. With a solemn dedication in my heart, I made it a top priority to learn how to correctly shoot and use all types of guns that was lying on the table.
Crystal frowned, and sighed. “Damn, the worse time for a demon infiltration. Take the Katana. I don’t want you pointing a gun at my back, when you’re covering for me.”
Wait, a katana? Why does she even have that laying around? Was she going to chop me up or something next?! My lord, I think this lady is a bit diabolical.
“How do you know I won’t slash you?” I asked, wondering where the sudden trust was coming from.
“Either you get the sword, or you can be my meat shield.”
“I’ll take the sword.” I quickly replied and walked over towards the black Katana that was against the table next to the shotgun. When I took a closer inspection of the shotgun, I noticed the four gauge shotgun already loaded. My cheeks twitched, and my eyebrows furrowed. She was really going to shoot me with something even more dangerous than a regular shotgun. I reached over as my hand gripped against the worn out wrappings of the sheathe, and grabbed it. Even though, I wasn’t skilled in using the sword, I at least knew how to swing it.
“What about the others?” I asked, looking over towards the other scientist.
“They don’t know how to defend themselves.”
Couldn’t defend themselves? I thought the company would at least teach all the employees on how to defend themselves against possible attacks, but I guess not everyone wanted to learn.
“Are you sure, we should leave all these guns laying around like that?”
“It’s fine. I have almost all the ammunitions. Plus, they’re not gun fans.” She replied, her feet quickly ran towards the door and she placed her back on the wall.
Not a gun fan?! What?! Didn’t they get the memo that Code D means a demon attack? For them to not to know how to defend themselves made me even more appalled at the scientist here. I thought they were crazy, but that’s a whole different level of mental. I followed behind her, wondering why we were leaving behind the safety of this room. Just when I was going to ask her, she spoke.
“We’re going demon hunting and I hope you are ready for this.” Crystal turned towards me, and gave me a smirk.
I couldn’t help but think, for that split moment, she was hot the way she held the rifle. She knew how to use guns and had the brains, that in the nutshell was freakin amazing, but getting shot at brought down massive points about her.
“Are you ready?” She asked. Her gaze caught mine for a moment, then she look back towards the door, ready to peek out for any possible enemies.
I didn’t know if I should tell her yes or no. This was the second time in under one week, that I had to fight for my very survival. I wasn’t sure, if I was going to like constantly living on edge, but what can I do when the demons are actually after my life.
“Yes?” I replied with a half hearted dedication, not looking forward to what was going to happen next.
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