Time was lost on her as she became one track minded - to either rid herself of this parasite or end her life before she became completely taken over. Before Renna took over and she ceased to exist. In a way, it was like Silma all over again but this time was different. She knew who it was. Knew it was happening. Knew that she was going to end up attempting to seduce her own brother and/or attempt to kill him. Who knows what that would do to Edward let alone Clayton or other people in her life. ?What damage Renna could do...
Her ?self? would be absorbed and her body nothing more than a puppet on strings.. and she was terrified. She could not deny that it rocked her down to her core enough that she couldn?t hide it no matter how hard she tried. Her normally emotionless mask was clouded with the fear of what was happening to her and the sheer knowledge that she could do absolutely nothing to change it and she tried. She fought and struggled against it. Even attempted to kill herself.
The attempts started out small, testing out this ?unique healing? that Renna told her of. Using the blade of her suit she severed her right hand clean off. The result - her hand had regrown hours later as if nothing had happened.
Next was a full body Reevi attempt. Since her Reevi still didn?t work as it was suppose to, it tore her flesh away in a way that should have left her bleeding out. All it did was cause a bloody mess atop the clock tower where she watched over the city in her dismayed state. A bloody mess and a whole lot of pain. It didn?t take long for the flesh to regen..leaving her a shaking, shredded mess. Her favorite jeans and hoodie was barely pieces of cloth clinging to her, keeping her modest at least. Nevermind they were drenched in her blood. She looked as if she had stepped out of the lazarus pool that Race had made for her, very little of her person was not tainting red.
She could feel it creeping in her, demanding...pulling..threatening...and it was driving her insane. ?Please...stop?? The plead went to the deaf night air as she looked over the city then down below, her eyes trailing along the side of the building. Surely there was no way she could survive ...that. She knew how selfish it was not turning to Clayton. She knew he wouldn?t be able to help her. He wouldn?t be able to kill her. Edward...might. He was fully intending on to when she got infected before, right? And look what happened..Poor Leo...If anything that guilt she still held spurred her to the edge of the clocktower.
?I?m sorry,? she mumbled to the air as she leaned forward, her body pitching off the side of the clocktower and gravity doing the rest to pull her groundward.
There was just enough time for gravity to wrap its deadly grip around her body, for the air to start pressing into her and streaming her hair out behind her as she began to accelerate towards the ground, when there came a new sound, just audible over the sound of the wind rushing in her ears. A high-pitched, whistling whine, faint and rapidly growing louder.
The sound of small, powerful thrusters, several of them. Approaching from above.
There?d be just enough time for the sound to register on her senses before weight slapped into her back, a metallic mass that wrapped itself around her chest with fluid rapidity. It was followed in swift succession by more of them, all at once, covering her legs, arms, and finally her head, as the Shadow Stealth Armor developed for Katt by her brother intercepted, her on the fly and activated once in place, not giving her even enough time to try to squirm out of the way. The AR display snapped on as the helmet closed over her head, the enhanced visual flaring to life, dominated by bold red block lettering across the field of view which said simply ?EMERGENCY COMMAND MODE?.
A sharp electronic whine sounded as the armor polarized and activated, and despite any protestations or struggles began to move automatically as she closed on the ground below, repositioning her body with it as it turned her upright, thrusters firing off to slow her descent, then settling her down on the ground gently as a feather, on her feet. Once there, the armor simply stopped its movements, the thrusters cutting off into sudden silence.
There was a long moment where nothing happened, the armor silent but still active, the EMERGENCY COMMAND MODE notification still flashing over her field of view, before a familiar voice spoke in her ear, the Cajun-accented tones furious. In a way, it was almost an exact repeat of another incident that had happened between brother and sister some time ago.
?Jus? what?n de hell d?ya t?ink yer doin?, sis?? His face popped up in a corner of the AR display inside the helmet, and yep, sure enough, he looked pissed. He knew damn well what this would sound like, too - berating her for exactly the same thing he?d done countless times - but he couldn?t help it. ?Did it even occur t?ya dat Ah might be able t?help ya? Ya mighta missed it, but de only damn person ?round dese parts dat?s managed t?find a cure for one o?Renna?s viruses is me.?
The armor split open along the back, sections unfolding until Katt was able to step out of it if she so desired, although the voice persisted. ?Did ya even t?ink ?bout what dis would be like fer me? An? what about Clayton, sis? Ah don? t?ink ya know what losin? you would do to him. An? let?s not even get into de rest o?de people ye?d be leavin? behind.?
Words fell from her lips that were harsh and angry. No! NOO! She did not activate her armor so why was it there! Even as it encased her and stopped her from meeting the ground, she tried her damndest to command it to release her. This should not be happening! The panic and anger ceased when she heard her brother's voice. How? No..she shouldn't be surprised right? Still, in her state, she was. She was not surprised as much as to keep her face turned from him he scolded at her. Talk about Deja vu. Only difference was she wore her fear where he never had and she didn't want him to see her looking like that.
"Shut up! Of course I thought about that. But...But how long would it take you to come up with even an idea of how to help me?! Will you be able to do it in the days? Hours! Time I have left? I can feel her in me, Edward! Will you be able to save me before I am no long me?!" Her face shot to the display of his angered face, tears staining her lashes. "I thought about all of that! But what would you rather me do? I don't know how much time I have and neither do you but it isn't a whole lot of time. And if you fail? You would feel guilty. And I am not even going to go into how you would feel if she used me and plopped my body in your bed." Yeah, see, Renna placed that mental imagine in her head and now she was sharing it with her brother. "What would that do to you? Or Clayton? Or anyone! Her using me as a puppet while I no longer exist."
Feeling the summer air against her back she didn't step out just yet. "It doesn't feel very nice, does it?" She didn't think he would understand what she meant in that phrase and oddly she was okay with that. How many times has he hidden what was wrong with him from her? Suffered without letting her in. Because he didn't want to 'add' to her plate or didn't want to be seen as weak. She surely didn't want anyone seeing her in her terrified state but if it had to be anyone...she didn't mind it being him.
Her lips trembled and her tongue poked out just enough to press against her upper lip. As her tongue relaxed back into her mouth she mumbled in a shaken voice, "I'm scared..." In that moment she could feel the tears as they slid down her cheeks but she used her escape from the suit to hide them.
The suit remained exactly in the position she left it in, standing sentinel, the back open to the interior of the armor, which was dark save for the head, the display still brightly lit for a moment. Finally it too went dark, followed an instant later by a sharp click and a brief down-cycling whine as the armor powered off.
His voice kept on, though, this time from a new direction, as he strolled across from the western end of the square, his long trenchcoat billowing out around him as he strode towards her. His features were furious. Yeah, he?d heard what she said, all of it. But he wasn?t about to be deterred.
?Ya t?ink Ah ain?t?? He gestured at himself, angrily. ?Ah got an issue dat?s gonna kill me fer sure. Not only is gonna do dat, but when Ah go, Ah hafta be sure dat dere ain?t not?in? ?round me for a good long ways. When Ah go, it?s gotta be alone. An? Ah ain?t gonna know, prob?ly, not ?till it?s too late t?have time fer a proper goodbye. S?not a pleasant t?ought.?
He sighed as he came to a halt, perhaps too close to his sister. He knew how the Manticore virus worked, and knew it was keyed to react to him specifically, it seemed. Like all of Renna?s unique technology, it even had a personality all its own, and this particular strain had latched onto him when it was first being developed. That Renna had chosen to inflict this strain on his sister...it was perverse in the extreme, even for Renna, and he wondered what could have made her do such a thing.
?Ah know yer scared, sis. It?s de funny t?ing all de people don? seem t?know ?bout people like us. We may be de badasses o?de world, but we prob?ly know more ?bout fear dan anyone. Dat don?t mean ya call it quits an? do somet?in? stupid. Didja even look for anot?er way? Or didja jump straight to de conclusion dat offin? yerself was de best course o?action? How would you?ve felt if dat?d been what Ah tried t?do soon as Ah knew what was comin???
She said nothing at first, nor did she even move. It took all her strength to fight the virus and it was maddening, taking all her focus to resist. "The big difference is you did it to yourself, Edward. I still remember how you looked during the first few months after you started the project..." Her eyes slid over to him, her chin remained lowered just enough to keep her face from view but allow her eyes to spot him, "I remember how you looked practically on death's door and it ate at me that you would not tell me what was going on. You would tell me everything was fine when it was clearly not. It still isn't and you are still pushing me away. You don't have to be alone. You choose that..." She paused before grunting quietly, "Or maybe you simply would just rather her at your side when it happens and nobody else."
Her hand lashed out towards him suddenly but stopped at the halfway mark between them, her fingers twitching in an unnatural way and the muscles in her arms tightening with effort. Inhaling sharply, she forced herself to concentrate more, before she exhaled through barely parted lips and lowering the hand to her side. Keeping a grip on herself felt near impossible when when he was so close and allowing her emotions to get the better of her nearly costed her. "You realize she had almost instant control of me, correct? That I can feel her in my veins and head? I am barely here...and you..are seriously going to ask me that."
Her fingers curled at her sides. "I already told you, Edward. Of course I had considered. My first thought was to turn to you but I don't have time. There is no time. I am already fight with everything I am just to resist her fully taking over...I have been fighting it since the moment she infected me." she mumbled something else but it was more of a bunch of jumbled words as she blankly stared at the ground. She paused, stilling completely.
Finally the words left her, quiet and barely above the mumble she had been before, "I'm sorry." Her head rose up enough that her face could be seen and though her cheeks were wet with tears her face she did manage a smile. "If you can..please...help me before it is too late...Before I lose myself..." Or she mentally snapped because that was quickly becoming an issue.
For several moments, he was utterly speechless. He wanted to be angry, because she was pushing all the right buttons. And she undoubtedly knew it, trying to goad him into a less rational frame of mind. And this might be a talk they needed to have, because she didn't seem to understand his reasons, and he certainly didn't understand hers. He instead seized on the last thing she said, because that was right, as well. There wasn't time for these arguments anyway. "Ya want me t'help you? Dat's what Ah'm doin', right now. Ah'm savin' yer life. All ya have t'do is come wit' me, right now. Please." The last word was near a plea.
"Yes," she quietly replied as she took a step towards him, her fingers twitching violently at her side, "Help...me..." Her head lowered as she stopped before him, likely hiding it in shame. Trickles of tears fell from her cheeks and splashed the ground. There was no warning as she reached out and grabbed his shirt with force, head snapping up with canines exposed.
He was wary as she approached. Yes, it was his sister, infected or not. But he saw that twitch. That mindless babbling had clued him in, as well. The virus was close to the surface, trying to take over, but he could see Katt was fighting it. A small, detached part of him was intellectually curious about it. She'd been infected with another version of the virus once before, and it had managed to take her over much more easily than this. Tht part of him pondered the possibilities, was shunted to the side to come to its conclusions alone, to allow him to focus on his sister. When she leaped at him, he was already reaching for her shoulders, so she just about charged into his grip. Even so, he was almost caught by surprise, and managed to shove her backwards out of reflex more than any forethought. It was exquisitely timed - behind her, the Shadow armor had quietly powered up, controlled by DIANA, reached to wrap its arms around her.
Her intentions were questionable but she would never see them filled it seemed. When shoved back her body twisted unnaturally, so when caught by the suit she was in a half estate of returning to full attack stance. Being denied and caught caused a beastly snarl to erupt from her lips, a glare that was mixed was sent his way. "DIANA! Release me!" It was her suit after all. Her eyes remained transfixed on Edward. "I thought you wanted to help me!?" Slowly her head tilted, rocking almost as if a doll on string. "Let me go..."
The suit behind her was unyielding in its grip, even at the demand of its owner. If anything, the embrace tightened. Ed shook his head, sighing softly, keeping his distance now as he eyed his sister. "Ah do want t'help ya, sis. Dat's what Ah'm doin'. But ya gotta come wit' me fer me t'do dat." ?
He sighed again, his eyes shifting to the empty armor suit holding her, then back to his sister again. "And ya are comin' wit' me, Katt. But Ah'd rat'er not have to hurt ya t'do it."
"Rather..not..harm me..." Her head tilted faintly as she regarded Edward with a look of amusement, her eyelids drooping down in a half-mast. "I don't want to hurt you either, Edward. I just wanted a taste. Just..a little taste. You know you are curious. How it feels to have my body leaning against yours, lips to your neck," was she purring at him? Yes, yes she was. She squirmed a bit in her bonds though it didn't seem to be the struggle of trying to get out - it was something altogether different. "We could have such fun if you would only ju-"
The words stopped sharply and she jerked out of the sinuous squirm, her frame becoming rigid and stiff as if the suit was a board to her back. Teeth clenched she stared at the sky as she remained stiff for a moment or two then slowly began to deflate, heavy breaths huffed from between her lips. When her eyes found her brother she looked more focused and no longer giving him the rather bedroom-eyed stare. "I can't..." She managed the words from behind clenched teeth and sounded an awful lot like a sob. ?"I can't...If you let me go...I will...try...to...kill you." She wanted him to understand the weight of the situation. She was losing the battle from within despite all of her will put into it. This was not what she wanted and she had a feeling that this time there would be no coming back.
It was all he could do not to blast her. He knew it was his sister, this body, her voice, but it was the virus speaking. Even using Katt's voice, he knew it. The tone, the wording, the inflection...all of it was Manticore. If he could, he would have blasted it out of her, but it wasn't that simple. With Renna, it never was. Even when she snapped out of it and regained control, he knew there was little choice. The virus had spread too far, and the only way to stop it was to make it focus on something else.
With a sigh, he closed his eyes, forcing himself not to consider what he was about to do. It was unthinkable, and yet...in her own way, Katt was right. There was only one way to stop this. When he opened his eyes again, he looked past his sister, at the featureless faceplate of the armor suit holding her tight. "Do it." The armor's only response was to emit a familiar, high-pitched upcycling whine a split second before channeling 6,000 volts of electricity through its metallic skin, directly into his sister's body...three times what it would normally take to kill a human being.
She watched as he closed his eyes...as he sighed. She knew the feeling of watching a sibling in pain...suffering. She watched him dwindle away not just once. It wasn't easy and she hated she had him in that situation. "Edward..." was muttered at him when his eyes opened only to look past her. The look of confusion when he uttered the two words lasted seconds before her sharp greens went wide and her body jerked. There was no sound, no scream, no cry, just her lips parted in silence as her body spasmed under the electric currents influence. Her head bobbed a few times before lulling back to thunk against the suit of armor. A lifeless stare was offered offered to the sky and the first sound she made was given. A low chuckle that drew out her last breath before she stilled.
It wasn?t easy, but he forced himself to watch. He was doing it to her, he should bear witness to killing the only family he had, right? He held himself stiffly immobile, refusing to turn away while Katt?s body stiffened and twitched of its own accord as electricity fired through her nervous system and triggered her muscles, completely scrambling them and crisping her brain in the process.
It lasted only seconds, but it felt as though it were a lifetime. When Katt?s body went limp, his eyes flicked from her form to the armor holding her upright in its arms. ?Di??
There was a moment?s pause, long enough for a stab of pure nervous agony to slice through his heart, before the coolly detached voice of the AI spoke. ?It?s done, sir. Miss Batten is currently exhibiting no life signs. The Manticore virus is now actively repairing the damage. We have approximately fifteen minutes before cellular regeneration is completed and she regains consciousness.?
He nodded rigidly to the suit. ?Okay. Get ?er into containment.?
The suit didn?t deign to reply, simply tightened its grip on his sister?s still form and lifted off with a screeching roar of powerful thrusters, arcing up over his head and towards the Tower looming in the near distance. It wasn?t until both were out of sight that he turned away, free of prying eyes at last, letting out a long, moaning sob of anger and grief.