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157 Filling In

    A/N: The gallery is live on discord. Reference images of the villa, lab, droids, Atlantis, Paradox Dimension, etc are available.

    https://discord.gg/TGmqHw3

    ---

    Dream Rise House.

    Section I.

    The holographic projection of Felicity hovered in the lab. Kiba has his eyes closed as he cherished her fond memories.

    Every encounter of her whether it was their first meeting on the academy premises or their short trips to the jungle; he appreciated each of them.

    Some distance away, the remaining six revolutionaries were tied up on the examination tables. Their bodies were still trembling after witnessing the fate of Mailo.

    (Image for visulaisation: https://artbowenellames.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/bowen_ellames_enviro_08.jpg?w=300&h=171 )

    The blood-wrenching screams of Mailo before exploding into blue mushroom cloud flashed through their minds nonstop. The entire event didn't even last a minute but for them, it was a lifetime.

    From years, they have seen the scientists in revolutionary base experimenting on human specimens through nanites. The experiments were cruel and brutal; the mental trauma one suffers was far worse than a human mind could handle.

    Even with their firm hearts and unwavering determination, the revolutionaries didn't dare volunteer for such experiments which brought such horror both to body and soul.

    Much less them, not even the bravest hearts could remain fearless in front of nanites. This fear was something innate which no amount of training could overcome.

    The revolutionaries rejoiced, for as far as they were concerned, the fate of experiments was reserved for unlucky few. They never believed a day would come when their lives would bring them into those unlucky ones.

    This was true until a few minutes ago...

    "Why were we caught by such a freak?" Rufus tried to break free of the metallic cuffs, "I have to escape."

    Rufus didn't think further and applied all his strength to get rid of the cuffs. Alas, his efforts were wasted. The cuffs were specially designed to tackle mutants in lab activities.

    "Damn," Rufus gritted his teeth and continued his struggle. While doing so, he moved his eyes on Kiba.

    He saw Kiba with eyes closed which gave him some hope, but then the next moment, his own eyes turned wide with disbelief as he glanced at the holographic projection.

    "She is..." Rufus' breathing turned heavy, "The one Cleo wanted to die in those attacks...but somehow she survived."

    His heart thumped loudly as a realization hit him.

    ...

    [[Sir.]] Claudia's voice stirred in Kiba's ears.

    "Hmm?" Kiba opened his eyes.

    [[The heartbeats and neural oscillation of Specimen C-22 are odd.]]

    "C-22?" Kiba turned his head in Rufus' direction.

    The scanners on the examination tables were continuously studying the body conditions of Rufus and others. While the scanners couldn't read minds, they could study the emotions based on the chemical activities and the heartbeats.

    "He appears to be fine," Kiba said while stepping towards the examination tables.

    Rufus' expression was filled with horror but Kiba didn't think it as anything surprising given the death of Mailo.

    [[The readings denote he was momentarily shocked just a few seconds ago.]]

    "That's truly odd," Kiba agreed.

    He could understand if Rufus was afraid or angered or shocked before but now? He shook his head to clear his thoughts and placed a hand on the corner of the table.

    "Hey~ Snap out," Kiba said.

    "Ah!" Rufus regained his wits.

    "What happened to you?" Kiba asked.

    After seeing the holographic projection and thinking about the details from past, Rufus was convinced that Kiba did everything so far for the sake of that girl.

    This was he didn't reply. He has a premonition his fate would turn worse than he could imagine if he answered truthfully.

    "Don't make me---" Kiba stopped his words in between as a virtual screen popped in front of him.

    [[Sir, please check the security footage of the lab.]]

    Kiba nodded his head.

    The screen displayed Rufus activities from last few minutes. Kiba was unsurprised by Rufus' attempts to rid free of cuffs. That was something natural and didn't warrant his attention given the security features in the lab.

    Soon, the screen showed Rufus' eyes turning wide.

    "This should be it," Kiba clicked on the screen and the body readings confirmed his obvious guess. He swiped the screen to know what has shocked Rufus to such an extent.

    "He was glancing at me? Do I resemble a demon for him to be shocked?" Kiba mused with a smile.

    A few seconds later, his expression turned stiff as he finally noticed the reason behind Rufus' behavior.

    "Felicity?!"

    From the readings and Rufus' line of sight in the footage, it was pretty clear to him that Rufus was shocked by the hologram.

    "You know her?" Kiba asked in a cold voice.

    He assumed Rufus knowing about Felicity wasn't something odd given she was a child of a senator.  As revolutionaries targeting the city, it was obvious for them to gather knowledge on top echelons.

    What Kiba truly wanted to know was the reason for Rufus to be shocked by the holographic projection.

    "N-no, I don't know her," Rufus lied.

    "I can't make you speak the truth but I know when you lie," Kiba coldly continued, "The sensors make sure of that."

    "...she is your sister?" Rufus asked in a low voice.

    "Yes," Kiba nodded before continuing, "But I'm the one asking the questions and not you."

    "You are lying!" Rufus suddenly turned frantic, "She only has one brother and that's not you! I know everything about her!"

    The emotions Rufus was barely suppressing inside him flooded out in a second. The torture and the close encounters with death have turned him crazy.

    He was definitely sure Kiba was not her brother. He has checked files and knew the history of Weisz family. If such a strong guy was her brother then there should be records of it.

    Even if others don't know about it, at least Cleo should know. But Cleo never warned him of such a man.

    Rufus was confident Cleo wouldn't lie to him since he wanted to get rid of his sister. It would serve him no purpose to hide such a secret.

    "He told me she has no other relative! So don't lie!" Rufus continued in hysteria, "You must be related to her in some other way for you to go to such extent!"

    "Who is this 'he'?" Kiba gripped Rufus' neck, "And what else has 'he' told you?"

    Kiba felt there was some more to this conspiracy then he initially assumed.

    "I..." Rufus' face turned pale as more pressure struck on his neck.

    "Not planning to answer?" Kiba's eyes turned cold.

    "I ...d-don't fear death...nor would I betray my cause," Rufus muttered in a barely audible voice.

    THUD!

    "Urgh," Rufus' head collided on the table with a strong force. The collision followed by blood splattering around.

    "This is just driving me crazy," Kiba placed a hand on his face, "I'm trying so hard to not lose control."

    Rufus's head was numb with pain, but he now felt a chill down his spine as Kiba's words entered his ears.

    "No! I can't answer!" Rufus tried to pacify his heart and stayed determined.

    ...

    "Claudia," Kiba took a deep breath before continuing, "I have---"

    BEEP~ BEEP~

    The sound of alarms started ringing loudly before he could complete his words. The next moment, the lights in the lab turned red from white.

    "Surely," Kiba's expression turned grave and he hastily turned towards the holographic projection.

    The projection was fading away as if something was obstructing the signal from the hospital.

    [[CODE RED]]

    "Just who has a death wish now?" Kiba's eyes were filled with craziness. A large column of white light wrapped around him before he disappeared.

    ...

    Rufus was startled by the turn of events. He felt Kiba would torture him but seeing him teleporting away, he sighed in relief.

    While the confines of cuff were unpleasant, he was still delighted to be free from Kiba even if it was temporarily.

    "Whatever that Code Red is...it is definitely good news for me," Rufus thought.

    WHIRR

    "Huh?" Rufus' relaxing thoughts were interrupted as he heard a strange sound. Surprised by the sound, he moved his eyes towards the source.

    He noticed a droid stepping towards him. The unit was white in color with a slanting triangular face. There was a dark-colored red cross emblem on the lower edge of the face.

    (Image: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/90/e7/15/90e71581d37540a6e5cc6001fea8f026--scifi-martinis.jpg )

    "Medical unit?" Rufus muttered. Due to the confinement, he could only see the upper half of the droid.

    As the droid arrived next to the table and raised its hands above him, Rufus's pupils contrasted in terror.

    "W-what's going on?" Rufus' heart skipped a beat as he saw the syringes and other equipment fused in the hands of the droid.

    [[Nothing much,]] Claudia's voice came out of the droid, [[I'm just filling in for my master.]]

    "Filling in?" Rufus gulped down.

    [[Yes, so please cooperate.]] The droid brought the syringe hand above Rufus' eyes.

    "NO!" Rufus shut his eyes tight. The syringe resembled a drill and just the presence of it above his eyes, frightened him.

    [[You need to keep your eyes open]]  The other hand of the droid opened the left eyelid.

    "DON'T! PLEASE!" Rufus screamed and begged.

    [[Please don't make any unnecessary movements.]]

    The syringe injected inside the pupil.

    [[Otherwise, there might be unfavorable outcomes.]]

    "AHHHHHH!"
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