A girl discovers three teenagers in an abandoned barn, all with little to no memory of how they got there.
I begin by thanking God for allowing me to be here today. For the more traditional crowd, you can thank the "Creators". Knowing what they did though, I wouldn't know why you would. But alas, I am not here for that. I have several more crowds today, so listen carefully.
First, we start with Gabriel Alchemilia. Historians don't fancy him that much, but Euclid would be scorched by now without him. The man reinvented the wheel. Androids, agriculture, technology, education — I don't need to go any further. Alchem Corp. led him to become a billionaire.
Allow me to begin a different tangent. Demons — which I'm sure you've seen — are not from this world. The Creators evidently had more pressing matters to attend to and allowed them to migrate here.
This is where the "new times" began.
The war afforded us a few first-generation captives, and they say their place is called "Eden". They say it's a paradise — don't know why they left it to off a quarter of us, though.
Euclid looked to Alchemilia as one of the minds to create a solution. We hoped for something better than whatever brigades he could provide.
So came the portal.
Alchemilia opened up a portal to Eden some months after the war started. Apparently, Eden also held the century-old rivals of the demons. We called them angels for a reason: these were our saviors.
With a continent off the map, and half of us dead, it's safe to say this was a bad decision. Alchemilia did as he was told — can't blame the man.
The Global Union binds whatever is left of us today. If you ever want a feel of old life, go to Silivia, forty miles or so from here. The demons and angels take great care to lower their own numbers through war, and we usually aren't their biggest concern.
All I can say is, keep a drop of faith. Even though the Creators saw no further use in our God, perhaps Thales' desert can turn to greenery again.
Atticus forced himself to open his eyes as the loud tapping of rain awakened him. He was nauseous, and the hard surface beneath him failed to make the experience tolerable. He sat up and tried to examine his surroundings.
An ajar door showed a bleak, gray view outside, woods and brush seemingly surrounding his enclosure. A lantern that had seen better days sat at the center of the room, allowing Atticus to discover that he was not alone. A girl slept on the floor near him, her appearance indistinct under poor lighting conditions.
The moment he detected her presence, Atticus moved closer to the wall. He rarely wished to find himself in the company of others. There was a single exception, a girl named… Wait.
The revelation derailed his train of thought. Atticus could not remember the name of his best friend. Further consideration revealed basic details which he should have been able to recall immediately were instead impossible to recollect. He could not recognize where he was at, how he got there, or who the girl near him was.
As he pushed himself against the wall, pain engulfed him. With his neck, shoulders, and legs aching, he raised his arm up to place it against his neck, gasping as his arm erupted in pain as well, blood dripping onto his leg. "Fuck."
The storm continued to rain down as Savannah Whitesmith ran through the forest. Feeling cold and wet, she desperately wanted to find shelter. Stupid, stupid. I should have stayed home. As she continued to run, she eventually noticed an old barn through the trees.
Heading towards it, she took a moment at the entrance to examine it. It was quite large, with several windows running down the side of it. The red paint covering the barn slowly fading away with time.
Savannah stepped through bales of hay, stepping over various objects in the barn. She looked up and spotted a boy in the corner, around her age, with various cuts and bruises, holding his leg. The boy was dark-haired and slender.
To the right of him laid a girl with dirty blonde hair, asleep and sharing the same bruises and cuts as the boy. The boy looked up at Savannah, sighing, his dark green eyes standing out clearly.
Hearing soft footsteps, Atticus looked up and noticed a tall teenage girl with pale skin, long brown hair folding down her shoulders, and bangs down to her eyebrows.
Unsure of what to do as she came closer, he let out a sigh as he attempted to stand up. The girl looked around the room in shock, glancing back and forth between him and the sleeping girl. As he stood up, he quickly tumbled back down, grabbing the wall for support.
She rushed towards him, placing her hand on his arm as he dropped to the ground. "Are you okay?!" She asked, worried. "What happened? You're covered in bruises and cuts, your head has a huge gash on it. This girl isn't much better.."
Atticus looked up at her. "I don't know. I don't know what happened." The girl began to speak again, but paused, confused. "What do you mean? How do you not know?"
"I - I don't know what happened. I don't remember anything." He pushed himself back up against the wall, wincing in pain. The girl stared at him for a bit, before nodding. "Okay, just rest for now. I'll check on her to see her shape." She pointed at the other girl as she spoke, before walking over to her.
Walking over to the girl, Savannah bent down and gently removed the strands of hair from her face to get a better view of her injuries. After confirming she had nearly the same wounds, along with a bite mark on her arm, she stood back up and looked around the barn for any signs of a struggle. After noticing nothing out of the norm, she walked back over to Atticus, before being startled by a loud noise.
"Rebooting. Memory wipe detected."
Savannah jumped back. The voice was static and muffled, resembling that of an engine running. Uh? From the corner of her eye, Savannah noticed shuffling from a corner of the barn.
Through the limited light, the girl watched as the bundles of hay parted and fell on each other as a short young male stepped from within them. He seemed to be in his mid-teens with messy brown hair piled atop his head. He wore a red, blue sleeved jacket, and extremely faded jeans. The boy stepped forward.
"Vocal output registered. Initiating boot sequence."
The boy's words left Savannah confused. Uneasy, she attempted to converse with the boy. "Hello?"
"Greetings. I am Cunning Humanoid Robot Intelligence Series MKII - "Chris Wellington" may be more appropriate to you. Identify yourselves. Do you know of my father? Has he returned for me?" As he spoke, the boy's voice became less monotone.
Savannah noted the word "robot" in his speech, but dwelling on the nature of the boy was not important to her. "Um, I'm Savannah," she said, slowly. "I don't know your father. Just came here to avoid this storm and then I found these two."
The boy, "Chris" began to step towards the other two, seemingly unbothered by their states and losing focus on his questions. "I see, let us examine them."
Atticus stood up as Chris approached him. Has he been here the whole time? Maybe he knows how I got here.
"It seems that your vital signs are fluctuating wildly. Do you require assistance?" asked the boy.
Supporting himself by holding onto the wall again, Atticus towered over him and looked down. "I'm fine."
"My sensors indicate that you are not fine and indeed require assistance." The boy continued to pester, before turning his gaze to the sleeping girl. "This female humanoid seems to be in a worse condition than the male. Perhaps we should consider moving her out of this enclosure."
His sensors…? What the fuck. Atticus thought to himself. "What are you even saying?" he asked, growing slightly frustrated at the situation.
"What the fuck are your sensors?" He glanced at the second girl, Savannah, who seemed just as confused.
Chris glanced over at him, before speaking more. "My apologies, I forgot not every human is familiar with my species. I am an android, created by Andrew Wellington, my father."
"Uh," Without his memories, Atticus was unsure if encountering an "android" was a normal occurrence or not. "That's cool, I guess? I have a question though."
"Yes?" The android stood up taller, eagerly awaiting the question.
Feeling pain flash through his forehead, Atticus paused before answering. "Do you...remember how we got here?"
Chris shook his head. "I am sorry, but I do not know. When my father dropped me off here, he deactivated me and I do not remember what has happened between then and now." Pausing, confusion crossed his face. "In fact, I do not remember much of my life from before he dropped me off here. I assume the weather here corrupted my memory data."
As he finished speaking, faint coughing could be heard. The sleeping girl had awoken and sat on the ground now, looking up at the three of them. "W-where am I?" She asked them once she noticed their gaze on her. "How did I get here?"
Savannah stepped towards her. "Do you remember how you got here or how you got hurt?"
The girl looked up at her, confusion crossing her face. "Who are you? Who are any of you people?"
Hoping to calm the girl, Atticus started to introduce himself. "I'm Atticus..." He paused, unable to recall his surname. After a moment of thinking, he finally recalled a surname that felt right. "Atticus Anoethite."
The girl looked at him, scanning over him as a look of recognition passed over her face. "You — you're the one I saw earlier."
"Wait, what?" Atticus hoped she had information about how he got into the barn. "What do you mean? How did I get here? You know me?" Atticus said, piling question after question onto her.
The girl looked at him in confusion. "I don't… I don't know. All I remember i..." She shivered, the cold of the barn getting to her. "...running in here with you."
"Running? Running from what?"
"I — I'm not sure, it was big, I think..."
Atticus looked at her in anticipation.
"And...scary. And I was running in here with you and...I just — I don't remember. I don't remember anything," the girl said, defeated. She closed her eyes in a clear attempt to concentrate harder. She re-opened her eyes and sighed.
"Alright," Savannah said, "let's start with your name."
The girl looked up.
"I have trouble remembering even that. I think...I'm not sure, but I think it's Melissa."
"Right, well, Melissa, can you please try again to remember anything? How you got these injuries, why you are in the barn, what exactly was chasing you...?" Savannah asked, looking over at Atticus.
"No. I'm sorry, I just can't. All I can remember right now is that I was running from something, big, I just don't know what, with that boy." She pointed towards Atticus. "And we found this barn and- that's where everything goes blank."
Walking over to the girl, Savannah lowered down and took her hand, helping her to her feet. "Now that the rain has stopped, I have to get home soon, but first you two need to get help. You're both wounded and suffering from amnesia."
Melissa, without speaking, nodded and glanced at the other two. She was much shorter than Savannah, probably around 5'3, and had pale skin, with dirty blonde hair flowing around her shoulders.
"Are you ready to leave?" Savannah asked Atticus, with Chris remaining quiet as he watched the three. After thinking about it for a bit, Atticus slowly walked towards her, looking out the entrance of the barn.
"Yeah, let's go."
"May I join you three? I would like to find my father and assist you all where possible," Chris said from behind.
With Savannah guiding Melissa to the door of the barn, she looked back at Chris. "Sure, you can come. Let's head out now."
With the four leaving the barn, they quietly walked through the forest, pushing past brush where needed before finally coming to a large clearing, thick patches of forest and a gravel road visible in the distance.
"There should be a city past those trees," Savannah said, pointing towards the forest.
Looking around the clearing and at all the hills located within it, Atticus groaned slightly. "This is going to be a fun trip."
Suddenly, the whole area around them was engulfed in a dark red aura, with it spreading across the clearing like a blanket. Looking up at the sky, the group noticed a large tear-shaped ball of fire streaking across it slowly, bringing a wake of red with it.
Seeing the red light streak across the sky, Atticus nearly leapt out of his skin.
"What was that?!" Melissa shrieked. Atticus swallowed his saliva, trembling. He didn't remember much, but he could tell that this wasn't supposed to happen in the natural world.
"We seem to have perceived a phenomenon not unlike a lightning bolt, though from an entirely different type of energy." Chris stood tall, expressionlessly chiming in.
Savannah scoffed, taking in the beauty of the light. She wasn't scared or confused, she just wanted to stare. The girl ignored Chris' explanation, before snapping out of her trance when Melissa screamed.
"Should we go check it out?" She looked around, visibly shaken and waiting for an answer. The light began to sink behind the trees like a sunset as the sky returned to the orange of the early morning. The silence was broken swiftly by the sound of tires on gravel, and the vision of a dark vehicle against the horizon. Chris began walking towards it, throwing caution to the wind.
"Perhaps we can persuade the driver to stop and transport us to the nearest civilization. If we show him that we're injured, he'll be sure to feel sympathetic towards our condition." He trudged through the mud towards the massive black van ahead of them, signaling for the others to follow.
Melissa, though apprehensively, was the first to walk alongside him and the other two followed shortly.
"Excuse me, sir or ma'am," Chris shouted, "My companions and I are injured and lost, and we'd like transportation to the nearest hospital or civilization."
As the van pulled over, Atticus noticed that standing among the group that'd come from the barn was a taller boy that he was certain that wasn't there before. He wore a hood over his head and clutched his stomach, walking with a limp. He looked hurt, too, so Atticus refrained from mentioning his sudden appearance.
"Get in the back," bluntly spoke the old, balding driver, looking out his window. Melissa pulled open the back doors, revealing two men in strange, large metal suits sitting down. One was sharpening a small switchblade, and both were looking suspiciously at the group of teenagers as they climbed into the back. Atticus chuckled a little at how small their heads looked in comparison to their massive armor, but stopped when he remembered how terrifying they looked. The one with the knife spoke in a scratchy voice that sounded like rocks rubbing against each other, as the van continued to drive.
"What're your names?" One of the men asked. Savannah opened her mouth but the new boy spoke before she had a chance.
"Token Jin. I'm a survivalist, and I got hurt when I was chasing down a wild chicaro. It kicked me in the stomach and I couldn't even get up for, like, an hour." He spoke quickly and confidently, as though he'd had to explain this a thousand times and had it memorized. Chicaros? Atticus had no clue what the guy meant, but the man with the switchblade seemed to understand.
"Yeah, they're nasty things. What about you, flannel?" He looked in the direction of Chris, who immediately jumped into his seemingly rehearsed introduction.
"Cunning Humanoid- Uh, my name is Chris Wellington. I'm fifteen." The big guy sneered and returned to his knife, giving up on introductions.
"We're here-" shouted the old driver, "-Get out of the van." Everyone, attempting to exit at the same time, pushed past each other.
"Kind of quick, huh?" Savannah spoke to Atticus. "Who knew we were this close?" Token, rather than walking like the others, jumped out of the van, quite contrary to his story about being injured and his earlier limp. Melissa looked at him skeptically.
Atticus recognized the area around him as being man-made, but it was only one building as opposed to the city he was expecting. His eyes followed the regal architecture as he tried to make sense of the area around him, and his vision met with another man, one wearing a suit and a green scarf. His hawk-like eyes stared directly at Atticus, as he waved the other businessmen around him away. Beckoning, he smiled in a friendly manner.
Atticus walked forwards, with no choice but to be polite. "Come on, he told us to follow him." Pointing at the man, Atticus looked at the group he came with. "I have a feeling he's the guy in charge."