Kanaima Ch1 Remastered
In a dark room two dozen faces where illuminated only by the dull glimmer of the projector screen gave any light. The screen then went black before a deep and gravely masculine voice echoed in the room. “This broadcast is brought to you by your friends here at the federation.” A golden seal then appeared on the screen, an eagle clutching a sword in it’s right talon and in it’s left a bundle of arrows.
The screen then flashed revealing a battlefield, the sky was darkened by black smoke that curled through the air from giant fires burning in the background. The camera then panned around to a torn earth disheveled by bombs, links of barbed wire dotting the landscape. The voice again began speaking “This was the great war. The war that ravaged our world leaving nearly two billion men women and children dead.”
The screen then shifted to an overview of the entire North America hemisphere, each respective country illuminated by their own flag. “Back then the federation was split between three individual countries. Canada, the United States, and Mexico. All where strong in their own ways, but none could stand against the united fronts of China and North Korea. And through their unprovoked attack on these countries of North America they sparked the largest and bloodiest war in the history of the world.”
The screen again shifted the flags disappearing as a red line appeared. The line quickly moved from the west coast across the breadth of the continent then stalled roughly half way. “The enemy quickly overwhelmed the greatest majority of each countries defenses. The only thing that stalled this advance was the combined efforts of armed civilians and what remained of each countries militaries. Soon a bloody stalemate began at the banks of the Mississippi River of the United States.”
The screen panned down to the banks of the river showing several hundred miles of the coast. “The war raged for nearly a year in this bloody stalemate. It was only when the addition of a new weapon was added that the combined American forces turned the tide.”
The screen went blank then showed the silhouettes of five soldiers standing in a V formation. Everything about them seemed normal except behind each of them swung a fifth appendage. “The Kanaima, an ultimate weapon of living flesh was created. Faster, stronger, and more agile than any human these hybrid creations of man and beast became the spear point of the new American counter offensive. They carved a bloody path of death and destruction all the way back to the coast.”
“But even their might was not enough to bridge the Pacific ocean and crush our enemies. So a special comity was formed. And from this comity the Federation emerged. A United country that along with it’s allies crushed their enemies.” The screen then showed the signature mushroom cloud of an atomic bomb being detonated. “The Federation turned the entirety of the Asiatic countries to radioactive dust. We had won the war.”
The camera then panned around to the federation flag atop a building of white granite. Three of the kanaima again only outlined in Black walked up the steps of the building helmets under their arm. “As a thanks to the kanaima the Federation allowed them to settle and live out their lives as honored soldiers of the war. It would prove to be a grave mistake.”
The screen flashed red as the sound of gunfire echoed into the room. “Not 40 years later the kanaima arose in revolt. They burned and destroyed many of the great cities that had arisen during our time of peace. Their slaughter was merciless, killing all in their path.” The screen again flashed not with one but multiple atomic blasts. “The Federation was forced to destroy nearly half of it’s lands to destroy these monsters in their steps. In return we lost most of the western half of the country to radiation.”
“In an effort to keep it’s people safe from fallout and anything else that may arise from the ashes the Federation placed a permanent quarantine on these lands leaving them to grow wild amongst the radioactive dust.” The screen went black again with only the Federation seal on the screen. “In our new world we must all strive for greatness for the good of the Federation and it’s people. This is how we shall endure, this is how we will thrive.”
The screen turned off as everyone in the room winced as the bright LED lights came back on. The teacher, a textbook example of the federation school system, from her strait pressed clean grey clothing to her square framed glasses gave little doubt there was no room for negotiation of thought. “Now students” she said with a voice like ice walking up and down the rows of desks with a ruler in hand. “Can anyone…”
She stopped near the back of the room where a long mop of Auburn hair was draped over a desk. Slamming her ruler down on the desk making the student jerk up. “Miss Winters, I realize today is the last day of school for you but can you at least pretend to pay attention.”
The teen groaned softly pushing her long hair back, emerald green eyes darting up to the teacher. “Sorry Mrs. Bells I had to work late last night…”
Mrs. Bells cut her short pointing the ruler at her. “I will not have excuses miss Winters you are held to the same standards as everyone else. Now what was the point of that film we all just watched?”
Huffing she rubbed her temple with a groan. “It was about the war, the same video we have watched at least twice every semester since third grade.”
“And why do we watch this video so much?” the teacher asked her eyes narrowing.
“So we learn the mistakes of our past. To that end also to never create something we can’t control, like the Kanaima”
“Very good miss Winters. Now.” Mrs. Bell said turning and walking back to the front of her class. “For those of you not graduating, I expect a full 20 page report over your winter break on how the Federation has proven it’s worth since the kanaima war and the lessons learned.” Half the class groaned as the bell gave a loud shrieking ring. “And to those of you graduating, go forth for the glory of our great nation.”
Getting up from her desk with a sigh and grabbing her bags. “Hey Aurora!” turning to face another teen Aurora gave a sigh. “What are you doing for graduation?” the bubbly little blonde grinned.
Giving a grunt Aurora shouldered her pack. “You know damn well I have to work. I can’t…”
“You can’t loose your job at the lab I know, I know. I just thought maybe you could get off for one day is all.”
“Harmony you know I’d love to but I can’t.” Aurora sighed as she made her way to the door, Harmony hot on her heels. “But my dad’s out of work and I am so close to getting a promotion. I’ll make it up to you I swear.”
Harmony nodded as they walked through the crowded hallway and out the front door. The sterile white building slowly fading behind them as the two girls made their way down the street. The cold air fogging with each hot breath as they walked.
Finally they came to a large grey 5 story building. “Well I am off to work.” Aurora gave a weak smile patting Harmony on the back. Walking in the front door she pulled a small ID badge out. Scanning it against a keypad on the wall the doors gave a soft hiss and swung open. Walking inside Aurora sat her pack down in a locker and grabbed a white lab coat.
Walking in to a solid white room filled with small glass cubicle rooms filled with equipment. Weaving her way through the rooms Aurora made her way to the back where two men where talking. One she recognized immediately as her boss. A tall and gangly man with brown hair and glasses Mr. Tanner was the image of a scientist. A thin face with jutting cheekbones, steel grey eyes that seemed to see everything and delicate long fingers perfect for doing very precise work.
The other man she had never seen. He was short, maybe 5’6 and thin as a rail. His head was shaved smooth, his face was scarred with crater like depressions. His keen electric blue eyes immediately darted to Aurora as she approached. “Ah miss Winters” Dr. Tanner said with a smile. “Congratulations on graduating today.”
Aurora smiled and nodded. “Thank you sir.” She turned her attention to the stranger who was still staring at her with a cold distant stare. “Im Aurora Winters. It’s a pleasure to meet you mister….”
The man never even looked at her hand as he gave a short snort. “Its Doctor, Doctor Tiberius Saint.” Raising a hand cutting Aurora off before she could correct her error. “Dr. Tanner says you are his best assistant in his animal behavioral study.”
Aurora nodded. “Well it’s flattering to hear such praise. Though studying cattle and pigs is a fairly strait forward process.”
Dr Saint nodded slowly. “That it is. But I have not come here to exchange pleasantries. I came here to acquire an assistant that is skilled with dangerous animals. Dr. Tanner tells me you are such a person.”
Aurora nodded finding it hard to meet the gaze of this intense little man. “I would be more than willing to give it a try sir.”
Dr. Saint nodded shortly. “Then I will send you the information of where you will be working as of tomorrow morning.”
Auroras jaw dropped. “Tomorrow? But I have a thesis I’ve been working on for nearly a year.”
“I don’t care about pigs Miss Winters. Either show up tomorrow or stay here. It makes no difference to me there are dozens of you to choose from.” Dr. Saint gave a cold smile as he walked away. “And good to see you again Tanner.”
Aurora and Dr. Tanner watched as the man walked silently from the room. “Well that was intense.” Dr. Tanner said with a weak smile. “So are you going to take his offer?”
Aurora shrugged as she looked up at him. “What do you think? I mean the guy seems like a hard ass. That and I’ve put so much work into our research. I don’t want to just abandon it.”
Dr. Tanner shrugged as he walked around to a file cabinet. “Saint is a hard ass for sure. But he is one of the most respected scientists in his field. He does all kinds of work with exotic animals. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for sure. And I can finish your research, it’s almost done anyways. Now for today just call it a day and get some rest. You are going to need it.”
Aurora nodded slowly, “If you say so. It’s been a pleasure working for you sir.” She shook Dr. Tanner’s hand before heading back out into the bitter cold. Walking down a near empty street she made her way to a train station. After a few minutes the train slid into the station. Aurora sighed and climbed in.
As the train slowly took off from the station. Out the windows Aurora got an excellent view of the city, not that there was much to see. Grey buildings spanned across the cityscape none more than five or six stories tall. The entire place was built more like a military barrack than a major metropolitan city, the streets all in clean grids.
After a few minutes on the train it slowed pulling up to Aurora’s stop. Climbing off and shouldering her pack Aurora sighed. This was the worst part of town by far. Most of the buildings here where run down, trash littered the streets and graffiti covered the walls.
As Aurora made her way to a run down building she gave a long mental sigh bracing herself. Opening the door she made her way up to the second floor through a set of metal stairs. She had almost made it to her apartment when there came the one sound she didn’t want to hear.
The soft tapping of a cane against concrete and shuffling of feet was never a welcome sound. Turning Aurora faced the old landlord. A bent and twisted old man, he was missing one eye with four long diagonal scars across his face. His voice like gravel “You’re rent is late miss Winters.” He said tapping the cane in front of him.
“I am aware mister Finchley. My dad spent all our rent money again. I’ll have it back to you as soon as possible.”
“Soon as possible isn’t good enough! I have a business to run here and you and that deadbeat you call a father are a constant thorn in my side. Pay up or be evicted.”
Aurora’s face flushed red. Her father was a dead beat but hearing someone else say it was not something she wanted to hear. “Listen here you twisted old man!” she took a step forwards. “I am doing my damn best. So fine evict us throw us out in the cold like those kanaima did to you in St. Louis I don’t care. Now unless you have something relevant to here and now I have shit to do!”
The old man never flinched but his one good eye shone with Glee. “Hehe, alright alright missy don’t get your pants in a twist. One week, if only because you’re the only person in this building with the balls to tell me to fuck off.”
Aurora glared at the old man before shoving her key in the door and swinging it open. “Good day” she said curtly before vanishing into the room and slamming the door behind her. Once inside Aurora slowly sunk down the door fighting back tears of rage.
After a moment collecting herself she slowly stood up. The tiny apartment was barren. Only a small couch and a recliner decorated the room. The room was cold, just a few degrees warmer than outside. Occupying the recliner was a snoring figure. Aurora sighed shaking her head seeing her dad once again passed out in his chair.
Walking into what could generously be called a kitchen Aurora opened the fridge, only a few slices of cheese and a bottle of ketchup where inside. “Shit.” She mumbled to herself. Closing the door she walked around and slapped her dad’s leg gaining her a small grunt. “Well least you aren’t dead.” She sighed. Grabbing a blanket she threw it over her dad.
He was showing signs of his age. His once jet black hair had turned nearly completely grey. Face sunken and disheveled a solid two weeks worth of beard covering his face. His body was thin save for a bulging beer belly. An empty whiskey bottle was laying on the floor next to him.
With a low sigh Aurora shook her head making her way back to the one bedroom in the apartment. Throwing her backpack down on the bed Aurora walked over to a small wooden dresser. On top was a single photo of a woman with green eyes and Auburn hair. “Hi mom” Aurora said softly.
Sighing she stripped off her winter coat. Looking at herself in a mirror Aurora shook her head. She was a late bloomer for sure. Her hair hung down nearly to her butt in long tendrils from lack of being washed. Her strong Saxon features where made all the more apparent with her thin build. She was tall for a woman standing at a full six feet tall. She could best be described as gangly, part of it was due to the fact she had never filled out, the rest was due to the fact eating was optional on most days and nonexistent on others.
Shaking her head she tore her green eyes away from the face in the mirror. Grabbing her pack she pulled out the few things she had kept from school. A few pens and notepads along with a calculator was all she had to show for her long years in the state education.
Flopping down on her bed Aurora pulled out the small smart phone she had been issued for working at the labs. Scrolling through her notifications she reflected a little on her past year. She had taken a job at one of the local science centers to make ends meet. Dr. Tanner had taken her under his wing seeing her potential as a scientist. She had always had excellent grades in school but for someone living in the slums it rarely meant much. After slaving over paperwork and research for a year and working with some of the smelliest and most disgusting animals possible. But she did the work none the less.
Looking over at the picture on her dresser Aurora shook her head again. Her mother had been killed nearly five years ago. She was a school teacher but unlike most teachers she always was smiling and bringing joy to those around her. They had been on a school trip when someone had mysteriously attacked the group and killed everyone. Maybe it wouldn’t have bothered her as much if they had caught the ones who had done it. But nothing happened.
Her family had never been very well off but after her mother died everything went down hill quickly. Her father had turned to drinking to cope, quickly burning through what little savings they had. He had tried for a while to keep menial jobs but it was never enough and he always got fired for being a drunk. Her getting a job had been a godsend to them both but many days it felt like too little too late.
Shaking her head Aurora turned her attention back to her phone. Finding the email she was looking for, she clicked on the display as the information from Dr. Saint popped up. Reading over the email she sighed softly. The information was pretty standard including a temporary ID and the address to the lab. Scrolling through she found a contract at the bottom. Most of it was the usual secrecy disclosure but what caught her attention was the section that was meant as a will.
Scratching her head Aurora filled out the form stating who she was and living relatives. After another minute of filling out the form Aurora hit send and rubbed her temples. The address listed was one she had never seen before. Pulling up the address Aurora’s jaw hit the floor.
The address was to a building in the heart of the city, in what was the nicest most upscale area of town. Shaking her head slowly Aurora groaned. How was she going to pull this off? She was from the slums on the verge of homeless and now she has to go into the heart of the city where the wealthy and powerful lived and worked. What has she gotten herself into?
Rolling over she grabbed a heavy blanket on her bed. Rolling up in the covers she set her alarms for extra early in the morning. Closing her eyes Aurora slowly drifted off to sleep. What in the world was she thinking?