"White Room" is the second episode in Season One of The Demon's Light.
After being dropped off, the protagonists arrive at and are introduced to a company.
All followed Atticus as he walked on the wet concrete. The area around them was large and spacious. Dotted white lines on the ground indicated they were in front of a parking lot, presumably for the massive gray building in the center.
In front of the man, Atticus stood blankly. The man placed his pale hands together and scanned over the five individuals in front of him. Atticus briefly profiled him. He was a tall, meager man that wore a white business suit with a beige shirt underneath. Atop his head was pale white hair, neatly combed backward. A stunning feature due to how young he looked.
"Good afternoon. Looks like you were just brought here," he spoke up.
"Uh, hello. I'm Atticus," Atticus said, politely. "Yes. These four and I," Atticus pointed to the others with him. "We got driven here by an old man. We asked him for help, and he drove us here."
The man nodded at Atticus' explanation. "You all don't look all that well. Common for my men to lend a hand where possible, I suppose."
"Pardon me, I didn't introduce myself," The man adjusted his white tie, and stretched his back. "Atticus, right? I'm Gabriel Alchemilia. Pleasure to meet you." He extended his hand, Atticus shaking it uncertainly. "I am an entrepreneur and owner of Alchemilia Corporation. The building in front of you is our Gladea location and to your left is our main garage."
Atticus processed Alchemilia's words. Everyone realized that they were with no ordinary man. "You — have a company? You own all of this?"
"That would be correct," responded Alchemilia. Pivoting around to look at each member of the group in their eyes, he spoke up again. "Your names?"
After observing Alchemilia silently, Token chose to speak up first. "Name's Token Jin. Quite the place you got there, nice meeting you."
After Token, Savannah was the next to speak. "Well, I'm Savannah Whitesmith. I was planning on going home, but at least we were able to get to a safe place," she said, trusting in the man's hospitality. "So, thanks."
"And I'm Melissa," Melissa said after Savannah. "Thanks, too."
"I am appreciative of the actions of your men as well. I am Chris Wellington." Chris said, looking around the area in wonder and resting his gaze on two large statues that were placed on either side of the building's entrance - coiled up snakes striking into the air. "Wow, this place is extraordinary. I like those statues over there as well."
Alchemilia smiled, though his eyebrows furrowed in disbelief. "Ah — yes, the statues. Nuyö architecture. I'm fond of them." Alchemilia examined their wounds again. "You should all get some rest. I'll have you escorted somewhere you can be fixed up." Alchemilia snapped his fingers at a woman who was walking by — one wearing a lab coat and holding a clipboard. "Take them to the medical bay."
As the woman directed the group to follow her, Alchemilia abruptly put his hand on Chris' shoulder. "Not you. You're coming with me."
Atticus limped forward, assisted by Melissa's arm as they followed the woman. Her hair was tied up and her face stern; she did not want to deal with the new visitors. Thoughts of Chris had crossed everyone's minds, but they trusted Alchemilia would take care of him properly.
Everyone arrived to and ascended a small set of stairs near the building's entrance. From the glass doors that made up the entrance, Atticus could barely make out some features inside the building. It had appeared more lively and colorful than the building's dull and featureless exterior.
The woman pushed on a rotating glass door and allowed herself to go inside, everyone else following. At once, the sounds of wind and tires on wet pavement were quickly replaced by the clamor of the building's lobby.
"Whoa," commented Melissa. Everyone now stood before a massive and populated area with a high, white ceiling and a hard gray floor. Tables were scattered around the room's first level with neatly organized papers, presumably notices and fliers. Various large escalators, some appearing to curve and spiral were dotted around the lobby's edges. All followed behind the woman as they took looked around in awe.
"Big ladder," Token said to Savannah quietly. The girl nodded, noticing a long emergency ladder that descended from the lobby's second level. In thick, white letters, the words ALCHEMILIA CORPORATION were plastered on the wall below the second level's railing.
The woman finally led everyone to a set of two escalators, each going opposite directions. She motioned for everyone to get on, and soon everyone was enjoying the view of the lobby below as they rode the escalator upwards.
The outline of a medium-sized man was soon seen from the descending escalator next to them. Holding a clipboard, he briefly called out to the woman in front of everyone.
"Afternoon, Ms. Blackrite," The woman said, casting a neutral glance at the man's pleasantries, "Afternoon, Mr. Udin."
Blackrite? Huh, didn't know her name until now... Melissa thought to herself as they continued going upward.
The escalator came to a stop and Blackwrite turned left into a beige corridor. Dimly-lit rooms with odd machinery lined the halls as a set of elevators came into view ahead. Once she finally arrived at the elevators, Blackrite pressed a button with an upwards arrow. For the first time, she turned around to directly address the group she was leading.
"We'll take this elevator to the third floor, and from there we'll walk to the medical bay. Food and clothes are available if you need them. Dr. Alchemilia might allow you to stay after we attend to your injuries," she said, plainly.
All nodded to her as a chime indicated the elevator arrived.
Blackrite swung open a set of two dual swinging doors and into a medium-sized, clean, white room. The room contained five examination beds and was plastered with cabinets filled with medical supplies. "Take a seat. This is our primary medical chamber."
The woman grabbed a doctor passing by. "You — Simmons. Grab a few blankets and clothes for our... guests," she spat, letting go of the woman.
"What is wrong with you lot?" Blackrite barked, turning back to the group.
Token spoke up. "Atticus is limping, Melissa has some cuts, and my stomach hurts."
"Wonderful. And you?" she asked, turning to Savannah.
"I'm fine, I guess. I just came with them," Savannah answered.
"Then why, pray tell, are you here!? You know what? Just sit there and stay quiet," she yelled in frustration.
"Sheesh," Savannah responded under her breath. She wanted to say something but chose not to.
Simmons returned with blankets and clothes in hand and distributed them to each of the teenagers.
"You're finally back, Simmons. Get some bandages and gauze and wrap their cuts. I'll be in my office writing a report. You bunch, discuss amongst yourselves until she gets back," she ordered as she shoved the doors open and made her way down the hallway from which they came. Simmons walked over to a cabinet in silence and dug through some medical materials.
"She was a real piece of work," Token commented under his breath.
"How do you just let her boss you around like that?" Melissa asked, outraged.
"You just get used to it after a while, I guess," Simmons responded, lifelessly. "Just cuts and bruises, right?"
"Mostly," Melissa said, sighing.
"That's what I figured," she said, getting up, her arms full of supplies.
She got down on her knees and started wrapping Atticus' leg. "You got a job?"
"I, uh... yes. Yeah." Atticus said, unsure if he had one or not.
"Unfortunate. I've been needing an assistant around here. Anyway. Keep the wrap tight or it won't work."
"Thanks," Atticus said, graciously.
"No need to thank me — it's my job," she replied, moving over to Melissa. "Hold out your arm."
"What do you do here at Alchemilia Corporation?" Melissa asked, doing as the woman asked.
"Lots of things. I wouldn't know the specifics but we do a lot of engineering and research."
"Funny," Token muttered, looking away.
"What, Token?" Savannah asked.
"Nothing. Just a cough," Token answered. "When are you gonna get to me?" he asked impatiently.
"After this final wrap. There," she finished, moving over to Token. "All wrapped up. Take your shirt off." Token agreed to the request and removed his hoodie. Simmons began wrapping the boy's torso as he sat there calmly.
"All done. Everyone set?" Simmons asked as the boy put his hoodie back on.
"Looks like it," Atticus answered. "Are we done here?"
"Yeah. Come on," Simmons said, as she pulled her gloves off and walked to the door near the back of the room, opposite to the door in which they entered. "Let's get you all some food."
"Sounds great," Savannah agreed.
Simmons pushed open the door as the group got up and exited the room, following the woman. She led them down a short hallway to a large, open cafeteria, with many tables and a long, buffet-like food line. Roughly forty people inhabited the room; it was a little before the mandated lunch break. Simmons dug her hand around her pocket and pulled out four tokens. She handed out one to each of the teenagers.
"These are lunch tokens. You may receive one meal per token," Simmons told them. "I must get back to work now." Simmons walked back down the hallway to her room.
Melissa turned back to her, waving. "Thank you for the help and the food!"
"We now have five tokens total," Savannah joked, as the group walked to the lunch line.
Following Alchemilia, Chris was led into a large office. Looking around the room, he noticed a large metal desk in the center, surrounded by bluish-silver walls and sitting in front of a large tank of water with some sort of large fish within. Alchemilia stepped further into the room and walked behind the desk, seating himself in a cushioned chair.
"Take a seat, why don't you?" Alchemilia extended his hand and pointed at one of two chairs placed directly in front of the desk. Walking onto the green-tiled floor, Chris silently moved into the chair and looked towards the man, a series of questions already forming in his mind.
"Why did you bring me here?" Chris decided to start his questions with a simple one.
Placing his hands in front of him, Alchemilia nodded slowly. "Clearly you're an android. Wellington Robotics, I assume?"
Wellington paused for a moment. "Yes. Why do you ask? Do you know where my father is?"
Alchemilia folded his hands and inhaled sharply through his nose. "Andrew Wellington? I am afraid — your father is dead and buried. Three centuries back, I might add."
Chris leaned back in his chair, shocked. "What? How is that possible? I saw him just a few days ago when he left me at the barn."
"Barn? Looks like your father didn't see much in you, you've been shut down for longer than any of your friends have been alive."
"How do you even know this? How do I know you're not lying?"
Alchemilia got up from his desk and walked towards the window. He peered out the blinds, before looking back at the Android before him. "I knew him."
"You... knew my father? That makes you... "
"Yes, it does. Andrew and I were very good friends and business partners for years."
"What happened to my father?"
"He was a very... passionate man. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, but the man suffered a mental break early in his life. He died in a fire that engulfed his entire lab — some people say that he started it himself after finding himself frustrated with his work. Everything was destroyed — I guess you were the one exception. And now you're here."
"This is all too much to handle at once," Chris said. "Why preserve me?"
Alchemilia slowly moved away from the window and towards Chris. He bent over and took a sip from his mug on his desk. "Pride? A final message? No one truly knows his motivations."
He took a step over to his bookcase and pulled out a thick, brown book, entitled MEMOIRS in large, gilded font. He dropped it onto his desk. "Do you see this book? These here are my memoirs. This is all of my knowledge. This is all I have known, know, and all I ever will know. Do you think I can answer every question you throw at me? The answer is no. Let's cut to why you're here, Chris Wellington."
The android looked at the man quizzically and asked one question. "Why have you brought me here?"
Alchemilia's face turned to a grin. "Let's be friends, Chris."
Token placed his cream orange styrofoam tray into the blue recycling bin before him and wiped his mouth. "That was awful."
Atticus scratched the back of his head. "The food wasn't that bad, I guess. First meal I've had in... well."
"They aren't a restaurant, you know. Of course, it isn't that great," Savannah commented.
"Well, what do we do now? We're full and they finished treating us. Do we just say thanks and leave? Any paper-work we need to sign or something?" Melissa asked the rest of the group.
"Chris hasn't returned yet, I don't think we should leave without him," Atticus said, replying to Melissa.
"True," added Token. "Though, that doesn't mean we should just wait around in this dinky cafeteria. Whatever happened to that Simmons chick?"
"I don't know, she left after giving us the tokens," Savannah said, looking around the cafeteria.
"Well then," Token stretched his arms upwards. "Might as well leave here and look around the place. Go for a walk, or something, you know?" For a moment, everyone paused to consider Token's suggestion.
Atticus was the first to speak up. "Kinda sounds like trespassing, Token. We're only guests here, we should probably stick to where they left us," he said.
Melissa placed her hands on her chin and thought of something to add. "I mean, I'm not sure.. It can't be that bad, right?"
"Trespassing?" Token grinned and forced a chuckle towards Atticus. "Come on, Atticus. We're already in the building and they invited us in, so we can't be trespassing."
"Ehh," Atticus prepared a short speech on the meaning of "trespassing," but he chose to not cause any more discourse than he had to.
"We're not going to waltz into a research room or whatever. Just look around, alright?"
"I mean, it wouldn't hurt to go for a walk. The people here seem pretty friendly — well, except for, yeah." Savannah added.
"I guess," Melissa said, hesitantly siding with Token.
Atticus once again thought about Token's words. After briefly thinking, he decided to make his choice. "Alright, alright. I guess it'd be fine. We might be able to find Ms. Blackrite or Simmons, maybe."
Token quietly clapped his hands together in approval. "Finally. Well, let's go, then. I think this place has a lot of signs, so we shouldn't get lost." Token began to walk away from the bins everyone was next to and towards a pair of dual-swinging doors. He motioned for everyone to follow.
"Hope this is alright.." Atticus said to himself, as everyone walked towards Token to exit the Alchemilia cafeteria.
Seated in his chair again, Alchemilia grinned at Chris, a wild gaze reflecting from his eyes. Feeling uneasy, Chris kept glancing around the room.
"You see, Chris, you're — useful to me. More than my androids ever have been. You're... different." Alchemilia kept his eyes on Chris as he spoke, causing more unease.
"How am I different? I do not know of any additional features that father added to me."
"Don't you see it? Feel it? You're almost identical to a living human being — emotions, thoughts, desires. Never in my life have I been able to recreate such a product." Alchemilia leaned forward, his grin growing wider. "When Wellington destroyed all of his androids in that fire, I thought I had lost my chance to study them. But now, three hundred years later, here you are. Remarkable, really."
"But what about my friends...?"
"Friends? Is that what you call them?" Alchemilia questioned, getting up once more. "You know, friends come and go. By now, they have already forgotten about you. But I? I will not forget about you, Wellington. Not at all." He wandered over to a portrait of himself and re-aligned it. "Besides, where do you have to go but here? Your father is dead. Those teens are not your friends. They pity you. You are anything but a pity party. You are so much more." Gabriel walked over and opened his office door. "Come here, Chris. Let me show you something."
"What is it?" Chris asked uneasily, getting up.
Gabe led the Android outside of his office, shutting the door behind him. He leaned against the balcony. "This is my company, Chris. All of it. I own everything here. The land, the building, the products, the people, the work. It's all mine. I would love nothing more than for you, too, to be a part of it. Won't you join me, Chris?"
Chris pondered the question for a few moments. He wasn't ready for such a partnership. "I would much prefer sticking with individuals of my own age. After three centuries of inactivity, it's time I learned how to be normal. I may be an android, but there is much more to my personality than that."
"What?" Alchemilia asked before he began to chuckle. "I'm sorry, but that excuse was just awful. If you didn't want to join me, you should have just said so. Because then I would have just told you that you have no choice."
Token placed his hands on a large glass wall that appeared after everyone had turned a corridor. He pushed his face into the window, examining what could be seen on the other side.
"This place looks cool," he said, "Look at those test tubes, all of the papers, the monitors. I think some of the liquids in the beakers are glowing."
Atticus looked forward into the dim corridor as the walled-off room provided new illumination. "You really should stop before someone walks in and sees us."
Token sighed at Atticus' remarks and pushed himself away from the wall. "This again, Atticus?"
"I don't want anything to happen to us. You were lucky most people didn't bat an eye when we took the escalator down here," Atticus responded. After everyone begrudgingly agreed to go with Token, they took an exit out of the cafeteria is different from the one in which they came. Once they picked up a set of maps, they had chosen to make their way to a lower lounge. They now stood in the hallways of the facility's basement.
Melissa eyed the small paper in her hand. "According to this, we should be there soon if we keep walking forward."
"Token is right. You're worrying a bit too much. Relax, Atticus." Savannah added.
"Okay. I mean, it's.. nevermind," Atticus spoke once more, still undecided about whether or not it was wise to follow Token. Soon, the group was once again walking down the quiet hallways of the Alchemilia building.
"I think we need to go to that door up ahead—" Savannah's words and everyone's movement were stopped as a large figure scurried across the hallway intersection in front of them. The person continued onward past the group without a word, either ignoring them or not caring about their presence.
"Um.." Savannah said, scratching her neck as the sound of the man's footsteps drifted off.
"We should probably go back now," Atticus whispered. Due to the figure's odd appearance — wearing a dark trenchcoat while carrying a suitcase as he bolted down the hallway — Atticus felt even more hesitant about going further.
"Well.. perhaps.." Melissa said, in a whisper.
"Hm." Token thought about the appearance and nature of the man to himself for a moment, curious about how he could be affiliated with Alchemilia. Then, after a moment, Token shot off into the corridor and walked after the man.
"Token, no!" Melissa retroactively called out at the boy's sudden departure.
Atticus took a breath slowly, assessing the situation. "Well, uhhh.."
"I mean," Savannah added, nervously, "We probably shouldn't lose him, let's at least see what he is doing."
"Yeah.." Atticus commented, as they made a right and went the same direction as the man. As they looked down the hall, they could see Token, now stopped.
"To— Token?" Melissa prepared to call out to the walking boy, but her voice was changed to one of confusion when she saw him in the middle of the corridor. "What — you stopped? What happened? Did you see that guy or..?" she quizzically asked as she walked up to him with the others.
"The hell?" he groaned, "The guy seemed to have just disappeared."
"Well then," Savannah called out to him, "Let's just get out of here. I'm starting to think Atticus was right.."
Everyone stared at each other for a moment, not sure what to say next. Token himself began to think quietly for a moment, eyeing the corridor around him as he thought about the man. After eyeing around the featureless beige walls, he eventually turned his attention to a silver-handled red door some feet away; the only one in the hallway. Token walked towards it.
"Is that an exit?" Atticus asked, curious about Token's intentions.
Ignoring the question, Token walked further and placed his hand on the handle of the door, slowly opening it.
Token's eyes were met with darkness as he gently opened the door. He quietly walked into the dimly-lit room that revealed itself.
"Uh, what are you doing?" Melissa asked, quietly.
Token did not respond to Melissa as he eyed around the room. The area around him was densely packed with what seemed to be junk; papers lay scattered on the floor, and there was a conglomeration of aged microscopes and dusted computer parts. As Token prepared to see himself out of what he thought was a supply closet, he noticed a unique set of green hues emanating from one of the room's corners. "Hm?"
Approaching the source of light, Token was met with something promising. On one of the room's wooden tables sat a white pristine laptop. Uniquely, it had three monitors.
"Expensive," Without a word, Token placed the laptop to his side after figuring out how to fold away the device. He then turned his attention on leaving the room.
"Token, what are you—"
"Shh, keep your voice down," Token turned around after hearing Atticus' to see everyone else near the room's entrance.
"What's that you're holding?" Savannah asked, pointing to the object by Token's side.
"Don't mind it," he answered, looking around the room again.
"Don't mind it?" Atticus spoke up, annoyed, before noticing the rectangular piece of metal and plastic held at Token's side. "Is that a laptop? Did you take this from here?"
"Quiet," Token placed a finger over his lips. "Follow me."
"What? No, this is crazy—" Token already began walking towards an open doorway on the right as Atticus was in the middle of his statement. Once again, the boy had taken off and left everyone else behind.
Atticus already had suspicions of the consequences of loitering the facility, but now he was made even more frustrated by Token's thievery of the company's equipment.
"Okay, I hate to say it, but we're following him again. Don't want to get separated. Come on," Savannah charged ahead and went in the same direction as Token. Melissa quickly followed after Savannah. Reactively and once again begrudgingly, Atticus followed everyone else in disapproval of Token's actions.
"I'm asking you," Savannah pleaded with Token as they continued down a dark stairwell, "Just put the laptop back and get out of here. We don't know where we are and now you're stealing things. You said we were going to look around."
"If you're gonna complain just head backward," he responded to her, confident in his bold choice.
"Token," Melissa added, "We — we don't want anything bad to happen, that's why we aren't going to do that."
"Well, if he keeps this up.."
"Don't say that, Atticus. The four of us need to stick together." As Atticus brushed off the comment from Melissa, a set of two large doors came into view as the staircase finally came to a close. Token eagerly walked forward, with everyone staying behind him.
"Oh come on, what's this now?" Savannah said, sighing.
Atticus eyed the doors in front of him. "We're going to go in the opposite direction, right back to the cafeteria or something. Enough of this."
"Don't be such a downer," Token swung open the steel doors open in front of him. "Let's see where this--" Token's speech trailed off as his eyes were hit with the images on the other side of the door. His jaw hung wide agape in shock. Those behind him peered into the room as well.
What was on the other side of the door was an open room lit with purple ultraviolet lights. Though the blacklights made some of the room's features hard to make-out, the group could see enough to stand in fear.
For a moment before they were noticed, everyone observed as people in white lab coats operated on what appeared to be humans. Surgery was the first thought that came to mind when the group witnessed the happenings within the room, but this word was hardly accurate.
In the center of the room, there was an arrangement of raised metal surfaces, each having a restrained human being wired up to intricate machinery. Most of the humans appeared to be unconscious as monitors provided a series of different numbers. Others, however, were more grim. Everyone could notice small sparks as some subjects experienced electrocution. Some gave violent hisses as discolored fluid was pumped into their veins through IV tubes.
All eyes and were now on the group of teenagers, with three uniformed men aiming their pistols at them. Most scientists looked to them with an apathetic confusion as they continued their work. A man with a workstation near the room's entry, however, looked to them in amusement. As vocal cries of pain continued throughout the room, this man had a brief word with a woman next to him. She nodded and called out a person by a large control panel. In an instant, the ultraviolet lights of the room were then shut off and replaced with the light from white ceiling lights. The change in lighting allowed everyone to see the faces of the unfortunate humans more clearly.
"So," the man quickly spoke out to them, "It seems you've seen it." As their eyes adjusted to the light, everyone could see as Mr. Udin, the man they met for a moment earlier, spoke to them. He used his bloodied surgical gloves to place down a long syringe on a nearby table.
"This is the bio-engineering lab, and it should only be accessible to someone with — ah, — some sort of security clearance." Behind him, a man in a surgical mask administered long metal pins into the stretched skin of a gagged, sweating patient. Panicked grunts emanated from the mouth, lodged open by a plastic sphere. "I presume you walked in behind the gentleman in the coat?" Arms crossed under a swinging lamp, the masked figure wearing the trenchcoat they had seen earlier growled. Udin continued, "Unfortunately, this means I simply must place you under arrest. Indulge me, Herr Hermann?"
Once he finished, a medium-sized man in a general's uniform stepped from behind him and glared at the group, a smile on his face as if he was enjoying the situation. He had neat, blond hair combed over and a clean-shaven face.
"Looks like Mr. Rooke brought some lackeys with him this time," he smirked, stepping towards the group. "It's almost cute."
"Oh shit," Token said as he turned around and bolted out the door. The other three quickly followed, opting to not flee with the staircase they came from but a corridor near it. The sound of footsteps could be heard behind them as shouts raged through the air.
"What is going on?!" Savannah yelled, "What were they doing in that room??"
"These are not good people," Token said as they continued to race down the corridor and finally made it to the entrance of it, descending into yet another corridor. "We need to get above ground and escape this place. Don't let them arrest you."
Atticus stumbled through the corridor, on nothing but his own feet. On instinct, he held back a bit to provide a shield for his comrades. Though the blonde man continued following, he felt as though there was another presence observing them from a distance.
The group poured out of one of the building's entrance, bumping against each other in their hurry. Once they had left the facility's underground area, they managed to find their way back to the main Alchemilia building. As they continued onward, they heard as the ensuing chase behind them slowly fade away. Not only that, barely any Alchemilia operatives impeded their progress beyond those behind them. They found the situation odd but they ignored it and raced through the building until they found an exit. Once again, they were in the middle of the building's parking lot.
Melissa clenched her stomach as she panted heavily. "Are.. are we in the clear?"
"Don't know, but we need to get the fuck out of here, now," Token replied to Melissa, attempting to catch a breath.
"How.." Atticus said, "Do you.. plan to do that?" As he finished, he let out cough from exhaustion.
Token's eyes dotted around the open parking lot. "Don't know yet. Though, the cars around here give me an idea."
"Don't even give us that nonsense," Savannah spat out, having grown frustrated. "You slope-skulled, smooth-brained invalid! Look what you've gotten us into!"
"What the fuck," Token let out upon hearing her insult. Ignoring it further, he turned his attention back to the parking lot. Vans were pulling in and out of it, employees loading bundles off them and heading into various entrances.
Heading towards one, the group followed behind the boy as he continued to march up to one. Upon stopping at the wide black van and glancing into the windows, he smiled. "Here it is, our ticket to freedom. The car is still running and the driver isn't here currently, get in."
"Dude, stop," Atticus said, backing away from the van. "You already stole that laptop and now you want us to all steal this van? Are you out of your mind?"
"He's right," Savannah chimed in. "I just really want to go home now, not get involved in whatever scheme you have going on here."
Opening the car door next to him, which appeared to be the passenger's side, Token paused and looked at them. "I'm not the only one wanted by these people anymore, we're all in danger now. Remember what we saw in that room? This is our only chance of not getting arrested or worse, ending up there."
"Token is right," Melissa spoke up shyly, looking around the parking lot. "We need to get out of here."
"Yes, correct." Getting into the seat of the van, Token pointed at Melissa. "You, drive. Everyone else, get in."
"Me? But I don't know how."
"Neither do I, but surely it can't be that hard. Hurry, we don't have much time before the driver of this thing returns."
Now on the road, Melissa kept her hands gripped on the steering wheel tightly, her fear displayed on her face. Token, in the passenger's seat, was busy examining the laptop, trying to get past the login screen. Atticus and Savannah sat next to each other in the backseats, both keeping an eye on the open road behind them; the silhouette of Alchemilia Corporation still visible.
"I hope Chris will be okay," Savannah said, wrapping her hands together.
"He's an android, there's not much they can do to him," Token said, flipping the laptop over and reading the bottom of it.
"Token, I feel like we deserve some answers," Atticus said, his first words since the ride began. "How do you seemingly know so much about these people?"
Placing the laptop down, Token sat still for a few moments, before speaking again. "Well, let's start from there. My name isn't Token, it's actually Marshall Rooke. Token is, uh, it's an alias."
"What?" Stunned, Atticus leaned back against his seat. "Why the hell were you using an alias? Are you some sort of criminal?"
"Depends on what you consider as a criminal. I do not consider myself such, no."
Hearing a rumble, Atticus paused from beginning his next sentence and looked behind him, towards the back window. As the rumble grew louder, a motorcycle soon appeared behind the van. Two people were seated in it, with one in a sidecar.
"Uh, guys," Atticus began.
Speeding up, the driver of the motorcycle was revealed to be the man in the trench coat that they had seen earlier. His passenger was the man who had tried to arrest them — Hermann.
"Uhh, those guys from Alchemilia are chasing us."
Token, — now revealed as "Marshall Rooke" — glanced at the rearview mirror, seeing the two speeding behind them. Instantly, the mirror was struck with a bullet, shattering the glass.
"I fucking hate this place," Marshall grumbled, before barking orders. "You two in the back, duck down. Melissa, speed up. We need to lose them!"
"Uh..." Scared, Melissa pressed her foot down against the pedal, immediately accelerating the van. Those in the motorcycle behind them noticed the sudden shift in speed and upped their acceleration as well.
The back window then completely broke from another shot, sending glass flying everywhere. Panicked, Melissa screamed and took her hands off of the wheel. Frantically trying to keep them on the road, Marshall jumped forward and grabbed the steering wheel, returning them to the right path. "Just keep driving!"
"Please, just, I — I'll try, let go!" Melissa quickly placed her hands above the steering wheel to show that she was ready. Marshall nervously obliged to the girl's request and returned to his seat, as bullets continued to pour down on the van.
"Damn it, tell me, what did I do, what did I do.." Savannah cried, reacting to the broken glass and the chaos in the front.
"We just, we just need to get further—" Marshall screamed as the window next to him completely shattered. Not only did the broken window pierce the skin of Melissa and himself, but the boy could also feel a sharp pain from what felt like a bullet grazing his skin. The group's lack of control allowed the two men enough distance to catch up to them. Hermann, from the sidecar, fired a shot through the window once he was parallel with the vehicle's right side.
"No.." Marshall gripped his shoulder in pain as Melissa looked on in horror. The girl reactively accelerated the van even faster in a horror.
The car now moved wildly as Melissa attempted to control the fast speed. "We need to slow down!" Savannah screamed.
"We can't!" Melissa responded in a panic, "We need to get out of here!"
"No, no!" The bullets from Hermann continued as a highway intersection that ended the main road came into view. The intersection only diverged the road into two left and right sections, forcing Melissa to decide on which direction to take.
"I'll, I'll—" Feeling the weight of the pressure on her, Melissa readied herself to make a right on the intersection. The motorcycle's driver carefully observed the car's movements to determine where it would go next.
As the massive wall of thick trees that made up the dead-end came closer, Melissa followed through with her plan and attempted to move the steering wheel to the right. Melissa thought she was successful when the car made a sharp right turn and avoided the dead-end, until she noticed the massive truck that was approaching and before everything went black for her.