The Terra Episode Chapter 3

Follow That Drone!

By Magicite54

"Alright, trespasser. Let’s see what you look like!" the soldier said as he pulled the mask off her head.

Tina’s hair fell on her shoulders again, but it was of different color than before. Her light golden hair developed a greenish hue. The soldiers were a bit puzzled at this, but they wouldn’t let something like that catch them off guard.

"Another word from you and you die. Do you understand?" threatened another soldier.

"Search for another trespasser. She was calling out to somebody else. I don’t think she’s alone," instructed another soldier who appeared to be of higher rank than the others.

"Please let me go. I didn’t steal anything," Tina pleaded.

The soldier who cuffed her pulled her hair back. Tina cried in pain. "I said for you to shut your trap! What part of that didn’t you understand?" He pushed Tina roughly along with them. "Move along and don’t you try anything funny, magic-user."

Tina walked quietly with them, though deep inside she had never felt this frightened in her life before. She wanted so much to ask Guardian for help again, but the soldiers might find out that she was wearing a tracking device and a microphone. That would only complicate things because Guardian could only help her if the two of them were in contact. All she could do was wait. She did remember Guardian mentioning a backup.

So she followed the two soldiers leading the way through the corridors. Another two trailed closely behind her to prevent escape. The cuffs severely limited her movement. Trying to make a run for it again would be a waste of energy.

Suddenly, another Magitek drone appeared from around the corner ahead of them. It was bigger than the first one. It was semi-humanoid in shape. It had an upper body proportionality comparable to humans, but it walked on six mechanical legs like an insect. Its arms were its weapons. They could shoot energy beams of differing intensity that could either stun or kill. The weapons were aimed at them right now.

The two soldiers stopped at the sight of this, glancing at each other nervously. "It’s okay. It’s just here to back us up," said the higher-ranking soldier behind Tina.

Then Magitek drone spoke in its dead synthesized voice,"Release the prisoner."

"What the--?"

Without warning the drone fired four calculated shots that killed the two in front of Tina and the other two behind her. Tina was startled at this but soon felt relieved. She knew that the drone must be the backup that Guardian promised. The shots were loud and Tina was sure that the other soldiers who were looking for her accomplice have heard it.

"Turn around, Branford," Guardian said through her earpiece, "and don’t move."

She did so without question. The Magitek drone fired a smaller and weaker beam that struck her handcuffs. It was so carefully calculated that the cuffs fell apart without harming Tina’s hands. Tina quickly picked up a soldier’s sword while trying hard not to stare into their lifeless eyes. Though a soldier herself, she was not accustomed to seeing dead people.

"Follow the drone!" Guardian instructed.

The drone turned around quickly and ran through the corridors. For something purely mechanical, Tina was impressed at how agile it moved.

"The prisoner is getting away again!" said the soldiers who were looking for her accomplice. Once again, she was pursued.

The drone led her around several turns. They came to a narrow catwalk running across another large facility where Magitek Armors were being assembled or powered. A few people working below raised their heads up to see what was going on. Tina ignored them all. It didn’t matter anymore. She was already unmasked and could easily be identified. Her main thoughts at the moment were to escape the facility and depart from Vector.

Escape Vector! She thought with dread. She never thought it was even possible to get into this kind of situation. I’m through! I’m now a traitor. Vector would never tolerate this. Where will I go? How will I get there?

"Guardian, where are you taking me?" she asked as she ran.

"Outside," Guardian replied coolly.

The drone started pelting a weak wall of thin metal plating. It crashed through it making a big enough hole for Tina to go through. They reached the outside in a shadowy part of the Magitek Facility grounds. A tall tower stood in the middle of the grounds that flashed bright red light at the peak. Sirens blared alerting the soldiers on the outside.

The drone suddenly deactivated itself. Then Guardian spoke in her ears. "This is as far as I can control the drone. You’re on your own again. Head for your barracks quietly and let nobody see you."

"Barracks? Why? They know who I am already. I’ll be caught," she said, sounding worried.

"Only six people saw your face. Four of them are dead. Leave the last two to me," Guardian answered. Guardian always sounded like she had answers to everything.

Tina continued her escape, ducking under the cover of the shadows with a weapon in hand. She was somewhat relieved to know that there still might be a chance for her to stay in Vector without being identified as a traitor and ultimately being executed. She knew somehow that Guardian would keep her end of the bargain--that Guardian would keep her safe.

Suddenly, the facility from which she escaped from exploded. She had time to catch a glimpse of it going up in flames before she rounded a street corner, out of sight.

"Your two remaining witnesses are dead," reported Guardian.

Tina didn’t feel comfortable at all. "Was that really necessary?" she asked as she walked the darkened streets away from the disorder.

"It was the most efficient way of dealing with the situation at the time. I waited for them to get close to a primary Magitek reactor. An overload of the reactor will not link you to any of the events that transpired," explained Guardian.

"Was that what the explosion was for? You blew up a reactor?! But… what about the other people? The workers at the Magitek Facility?"

"I could not control the magnitude of the destruction--just made it happen. They’ve expired."

Tina felt sick. She stopped walking, and then leaned against the wall of a building. Everything was quiet in her immediate area so she was not worried about being discovered.

"They’re… dead?" she asked in a weakened voice. "They’re… they…. had nothing to do with… they were innocent!" Guardian didn’t answer. Only silence followed. "How many died?" she asked, dreading to hear the answer, but she had to know.

"There were sixteen people in the facility at the time. None survived," Guardian answered without a hint of emotion.

"What have I done?" she said guiltily, closing her eyes tight.

"Branford, my concern at that moment was to keep you safe. That was what you wanted, wasn’t it?"

"But I didn’t want this to happen," she said defensively.

"Neither did I. This was not meant to happen. The mission was perfectly planned out for you to infiltrate and leave without notice. You know that I do not operate like this."

Tina buried her face in her hands and sobbed. "What have I turned into?"

"Compose yourself, Branford. You will feel better in the morning. You are not to blame for what happened. It was I that killed them, not you. Now stay focused. You are almost there. Then… I will give you the information that you wanted in return for your service. You will not be disappointed."

Tina wiped the tears off her face. She had forgotten all about that. She agreed to take on the mission for Guardian in return for the information that she claimed would be of utmost value to her. Though she had her doubts, she hoped that the information would be worth the trouble.

Tina stood up again and started walking with the soldier’s sword in her hand. She looked very suspicious with it especially when she was wearing a black coverall. She made a mental note to dispose of the sword later because they might trace it back to the soldier in the Devil’s Lab.

As sudden as the explosion that took the Magitek Facility, a question re-entered her mind.

Tina asked, "Guardian… what were those creatures in the Devil’s Lab?"


Chapter 4

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic