It was just another day in this cloudy wasteland. Buildings shined with grime and dust while people scurried around on the ground- getting to where they needed to go as quickly as they could. This was an age of avoidance… a society filled with anti-social characters. Only semi-deplorable- it could be worse. A giant screen, cracked and dusty, showed a add for “Project Angel Wing”. Under the name, there was slogan, “Find your roots.” So far, only 1% of the population has become involved with it, though it’s easy to tell that this is only the beginning. More and more, people are being showered with these adds, telling them to join the project, to find out more about themselves, indulge their curiosity. When they do, they’ll be playing into their hands. They benefited from the mass’s curiosity. While they learned more about their pasts, these doctors used the information they found and squirreled it away for others to use. Like most days, at 3 PM on the dot, a message from Sakura was played on the screen. “Everyone…. I would like to thank you for being such wonderful citizens! We are super-duperly proud to announce that tonight, at ten, if you turn on channel 34, you can listen to an empowering address from my secretary, Tegan- addressing the concerns that some citizens might be having for reported recent problems, such as spikes in crime rates, and the new management for Coding Co. (Where you become part of the society, and help us make this city better, sooner) as well as an interview with one of the Co-founders of Project Angel Wing! For the next few weeks, there will be a curfew enacted, everyone needs to be home at nine PM! Have a nice day!” The video was obviously spliced clips of Sakura talking about something else, arranged in a way that it truly did look as though she was speaking to us… All smiles and comforting body language…. the voice was an imitation. Nothing could be taking at face-value anymore, though, some lies were harder to spot than the video of Sakura giving that speech. Some lies, you really had to work to uncover, and even when you did- it was too impossible to be true. Soon after that, a new commercial showed on the screen, talking about how all citizens should go get their barcodes updated and re-done... The only good thing was that you didn’t have to pay for it. On every street corner, there were WANTED posters, which held Asmo, Paorou, and Rory’s likeness on them. A hefty reward would be given for any information. Life as usual…. Still, there was something to come soon, a change, a challenge to the system. ****************************** I was lying face down, on a bit of a padded table, wires and tubes coming out of my body at various points- a steady dripping of small amounts of morphine through an IV, attached at the crook of my arm was making it all more comfortable- though it made it hard to focus on anything… I think they had something else along with the morphine in that bag, but I kept my mouth shut, aside from answering questions. The usual of my appointments now and days, was to see how my powers were changing- apparently sifting through my memories jolted one of my old abilities back into use slightly. Then that leads to another change in the magnetized barcode on my neck. Somewhere in the madness of this, I can only hope that only a few people are going through this. Eventually, the port on the back of my neck, under my barcode is freed-up, and I can watch as they go about removing the tubes and wires from me- all except for the one behind my left ear- the only one I had actually wanted removed. There was a pressure forming in my head… the precursor to a headache. They fitted me with an odd metallic head-band, it had little connective points all around it that measured my brainwaves- others worked on bringing up forgotten memories and lives, more of those pads analyzed my emotional state… While they watch my memories on one screen, I have the flashbacks- restraints come on at points- sometimes the memories become vivid enough that when I feel pain in them, I feel it as if it was happening then. With wrists and ankles bound, I start to register memories. Military… some… guy… Asian… Fangs… the flashes of memories become more concrete, the drip of the IV and the port in my head are probably helping some. This was during the Admin war. I could remember it. Visions of Rory and Kitti followed up soon after. “Do you recognize this?” A voice asks as I hear the clicks of a keyboard. A laptop, with a lavender-colored holographic screen comes into view as I struggle out of my flashback and lift my head from the padded head-rest to see the person asking the questions. A white lab coat covering his body, and a surgical mask and cap obscuring his features- as well as glasses that were catching the glint of the lights from the ceiling. Another doctor that I can’t identify. “Yeah…. Admin war… I think… I was with Rory and Kitti…” I answer, somewhat still groggy from the drugs and memory. “I… No, I’m wrong…. I started out with the ISAF… No… I wasn’t with them… I was… friends with some of them… I… don’t know how I ended up on that ship with Kitti and Rory.” I explain, wanting to massage my temples… my head was aching- the restraints were chafing me as well. “Mhm,” was the only reply I got as the man’s hands flew over the keyboard, probably saving this conversation somewhere, to be analyzed by someone else. “Ok, we’re going to go back a bit further, like in the last appointment.” He informs me in monotone, and I nod, unable to fight it, so I put my head back down, closing my eyes. Immediately I feel a sharp pain in my stomach and struggle against the four points of restraint, wanting to curl into a ball. I see someone… the scene had changed… someone had moved me, or I moved myself… I heard someone chiding me for getting myself nearly killed all the time before I feel my stomach knitting back together... This memory is old… very old… and I can’t grasp it. “And this one?” The ever-inquisitive staff of this place always seems to ask. “I… I still can’t remember entirely… It’s still not enough… there are too many pieces missing.” I admit, still aching where the phantom pain had been in my stomach. I felt sick… and as if on cue, a waste bin is tossed in front of me. One of the only good reasons for this damned headband- I think they can pick up when I’m about to get sick. I empty the contents of my stomach into the bin, someone mopped up the drool from my mouth and my head slams back down onto the headrest, exhausted. “We’ve been over that memory quite a lot… any… any reason you’re so interested in it?” I manage to ask, though an answer is never heard. They cue it up again. Same pain, same voice… that person… a man. No… no… not a man… he looks human… I looked human… nothing more than that… only small bits and pieces come back every time… I dry-heaved into the bin and watch as the room spins around me- only because I was nauseous. Again, and I can only manage to tell them that I think the man’s name was Dante… I think… something like that. The next flashback is the same life, but a different point… A kiss… that smell… like burning leather and sweat… that voice… that fucking voice… I couldn’t get much out of the memory- my head was starting to ache again, that voice… called me a cry baby… Why… why was I crying all of a sudden? I felt so immensely sad… Someone asking me a question, but I was too focused on trying to figure out that memory… I was trying to remember- it wasn’t a lack of effort that was preventing me from recalling these instances… Again, a question was asked, something about what I thought of this memory, though… I had started to piece it together… “He was going to get killed… I…. I think I loved him… I… couldn’t handle it…” I muttered under my breath my brows furrowed. “One more time… I… I think I’m close.” I added. It went on again… I saw the glimpse of a face… then more of the memory came back… She… I… “He was the enemy… but I loved him… when he and his rival killed each other, I buried them… and I slept for ten years… they came back somehow… he… I… There’s… parts missing still.” I spat through the headrest, frustration evident. I was done, no more. I felt my wrists and ankles get their freedom of movement back, and I sat up, more wires and tubing being removed, someone took the IV from my arm. The headband was removed and I was allowed to change back into my clothes. Later, I walked home, greeted by the sight of the kids all piled into the foyer- asleep. They had tried to stay up and wait for me, I think. I put them all to bed and then wrote out my memories in that journal before trying to figure out what I could do. Those people… They were trying to figure out what life we took most of our cues from… what we were based on the most.. They were trying to change us… something else was wrong… something… I felt like there was something blatantly out of place in my memories, but I couldn’t make sense of it… I needed to get out of here… That memory… That memory, I needed it to be full… I needed it to be complete… something was important about it, I could tell. That man… that kiss… my reactions to him.... That memory is important to them… that, and this weird version of me that’s yet to even exist… I got up to check on the kids, all asleep still, in their beds- I could hear their even heartbeats, and deep breathing… All of them seemed fine. It was six at night- the curfew would be in effect soon, and I needed to stay inside, but I wanted nothing more than to leave this house and take a walk to clear my head. I wanted to watch what Tegan had to say, though. After leaving the kid’s room, I stalked into the living room, flipped the television on while I worked on writing out more of my thoughts and ideas, trying to make them more concrete. They had been interested in three things, really- the furthest thing in my past, and what appeared to be the part of me that was furthest in the future, and my memories to use this… No… they were interested in the last cycle, the end of it… what had I remembered? The T.V. blared an alarm, and I looked over at it, to see two familiar faces… Two more people had been added to the “wanted” list. After a couple more seconds, it went back to a cheery broadcast for the week, weather and whatnot. Simple talk. It was then that I felt a ringing in my ears and a headache that topped everything else that I had felt since I first came in for that project… I pressed my hands to the sides of my head, only to bring back my left hand- feeling something wet… blood… blood was leaking from that port… I don’t… think it’s supposed to do that… I stared at my hand for a while, transfixed by the blood, then realized the headache and ringing was gone… I decided I was fine and washed myself of the blood while I waited for this message from Tegan to the people of Iwaku. Finally, the announcement started… In the homes of many Iwakuians, this address would be remembered for years to come.