The Terra Episode Chapter 15
Wellss company looked apprehensive. He could easily tell this. He sounded a surprise meeting in Warehouse 5, and everyone was present except for Tina Branford who was still in hiding as he was informed by the ongoing search party. He wanted very much to hear her side of the story. He still could not believe that a traitor was operating under his very nose. But he was forced to wait until after the investigation. He gave Kefka the benefit of the doubt because he wanted to protect himself, too.
He had sent word to Kefka that he was ready for the interrogation. All he needed to do now was wait. His men stood in formation, motionlessly. He looked around him within the warehouse. It had been cleared out of most of the crates containing who-knows-what. Some of crates where still there, stacked on top of each other against the west wall, covering the second exit of the building. The only exit was located on the south side. It was a special door with both manual and automatic locks. There were windows high above them that allowed light inside during the day. They were all out of reach.
Suddenly, another group of soldiers entered the warehouse with their uniforms on, through the south entrance. Captain Wells raised his brow in curiosity. He approached them, and the new arrivals saluted to him. He returned the military gesture, and then asked them a question. "What is your business here?"
One of the soldiers who arrived glanced at his companions, looking like he wasnt sure himself. "We received orders to report to you A.S.A.P., sir!" the soldier answered smartly.
"Who gave you these orders?" Wells asked.
The soldier looked nervous. "Y-you, sir."
It was pitch black and utterly silent until a familiar voice shattered it all. The entire conversation transpired in Tinas mind.
"Branford! Can you hear me?"
"Guardian?" she replied as she recognized the voice. "What is happening?"
"Slave crown program feed. They are erasing your thoughts and consciousness and replacing them with instructions that will interface the crown with your entire neurological structure. The process is essentially fatal."
"Wh-what are you doing here? I thought you left me. Are you here to save me?"
"Saving what is left to be saved," Guardian answered.
"What does that mean?" she asked nervously. "Please tell me."
"I am rewriting some of the instructions."
"Rewriting? Cant you stop the entire process?" she asked in panic.
"I am capable of doing that. But I will not."
"Why not?!" Tina screamed. She didnt hear her voice, but she knew that she did.
"It would serve no purpose. They would simply reinitiate the process until they succeed or until you could no longer withstand the mental pressure."
"Then what are you doing here? What exactly are you changing?"
"I want to make sure that you do not reveal to them anything about me," Guardian replied coldly.
"You are saving yourself?! You you monster!" she cried out angrily. "Its because of you that I am in this mess! I was happy with my life. I had a dream and a future until you contacted me. You ruined my life! Murderer!"
"Youre wrong. I was trying to save yours. You were never safe living the life they gave you. The Slave Crown Research was continued in secret by the cult solely for you. Without my intervention this end would still have been played for sure. I gave you a chance by introducing myself to you. I do not rejoice in the fact that weve failed to work flawlessly," Guardian explained. She was as convincing as ever.
"Then please help me," Tina begged. "Dont leave me here. I risked my life for you--a complete stranger with the promise of answers. Help me one last time!"
There was a pause. It was a short one, but it was clearly a moment of hesitation. Finally, Guardian said, "One last time. I will do the only safe thing for both of us. I will not allow the process to completely eradicate your consciousness. Instead, I will try my best to preserve it. This is something that Ive never done before. I cannot promise you that it would work."
"Just do it please," she pleaded. "I dont want to die."
"Do understand, Branford, that for as long as the slave crown is on your head you are under their control. And that the odds of full recovery from its influence are thin. It is not as simple as taking it off."
"I accept the risks. I dont have a choice," she answered with a definite tone of despair.
"Then it is done. I wish you luck in finding your freedom," said Guardian. It was the first and only sentimental sentence she has ever heard from Guardian even though it was said in her usual computer-generated voice.
"Thank you, Guardian. Im sorry I doubted you."
"I must know one last thing before I go. Where is the Terrestre Esperizium?"
"Terra, awake," commanded a dreadfully familiar voice. Tina heard it and wanted to ignore the command, but her eyelids opened on their own. There she saw Kefka staring at her with his usual ugly grin. "Terra, stand," he said simply.
To Tinas amazement, her body obeyed without her mental consent. She tried in vain to resist, but she could not control her body anymore. Even the pace of her breathing was uncontrollable.
"Success, master," mumbled Tayan from out of the corner of her eyes.
"Too early to tell. But there is only one way to find out," Kefka replied. He turned around and faced the Devouts around the room. "I need a volunteer," he declared. The response was instant. Everybody stepped forward without hesitation. "Hmm. Looks like I have to choose one on my own." His eyes fell to the nearest Devout. "You. Give her your dagger," ordered Kefka.
The Devout did as he was told. He drew a dagger, similar to what Tayan used to kill the witness at the hospital and offered it to Tina. Tina didnt do anything but stared straight in front of her with her emotionless face and dead, green eyes. However, she was very aware of what was happening around her. She was nervous only in mind. Her body no longer responded to her thoughts and feelings but only to external forces such as heat, cold and gravity.
"Terra, take the weapon," said Kefka.
Her hand moved quickly and suddenly that she was startled. Her hand took the dagger by the handle and held it firmly. She could feel the cold metal hilt in her hand. She tried to release the dagger to no avail. It was a strange feeling.
Kefka smiled evilly. "Terra Kill him!" he hissed.
Tina plunged the dagger into the Devouts stomach. The Devout gasped with a shocked look on his face. Tina wouldve screamed if she could. In her mind, she did. She was terrified as ever. She began to wonder whether being conscious and alive was bad idea after all. Help! She called out to Guardian, but her link with Guardian was no more.
The Devout fell to the ground, clutching at his mortal wound. "Permission to heal myself master," he gasped.
Kefka thought about it and finally said, "Granted."
"Heal " the Devout gasped. Immediately, his wound closed although he was still weak from the inflicted damage. The Devout rose slowly to his feet and was suddenly stabbed again by Tina.
No! Tina screamed again in thought. Stop it!
Kefka laughed nefariously. He was expecting this since his command was to kill the Devout. He was pleased to see that Tina would not stop until her order was accomplished. The other Devouts said and did nothing. Tayan watched with delighted interest. Tina stabbed the Devout again. Blood was all over the floor. With one final scream the Devout died on the floor lying on the pool of his own blood.
Kefka was laughing uncontrollably. Deep inside, Tina was crying. It took a while, but the moment finally arrived. Kefka regained control when he remembered about his plan.
"So, Terra You will now tell me who your accomplice is."
"Captain Steven Wells," Tina blurted out with an empty tone of voice. She was shocked. Her answer was a complete lie. Guardians precautions mustve worked. But whether or not it did, she was not pleased to name somebody who was innocent.
Kefka raised his brows with interest. "Really? How utterly convenient!" Kefka turned away from her and started to walk to the rooms only exit. Before he disappeared through the door he barked one final order. "Proceed as planned! Sleep, Terra. And awake in thirty minutes."
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