cience no matter the cost, her ethics and the way she treated the other staff, and even me, was beyond questionable, Ive even accidentally come across multiple of her notes detailing gruesome and horrific experiments shes done in the past and planned to do in the future, every red flag possible was in front of me and I ignored it because she was considered to be one of the most innovative scientist of our time; I felt honored to be in her presence, regardless of how she was of a person, it seemed like the best choice possible for me and my career, that all seems so silly now. ”

Megumi took in a long breath as she picked and fiddled with her nails. Ana studied her face. This was the most emotion she had shown since they met, which, Ana thought to herself, was understandable, as she was detailing the story of how she became Zalics right hand. Or as its beginning to seem like now, her favorite puppet.

”She didn even bother to remember my name. ” Megumi said in a choked whisper, that made Anas previous reservations and distrust of Megumi finally begin to crack. Maybe she was really telling the truth… But if she was, what did she want with Ana? Was she really just telling Ana all of this to warn her away from Zalic? Its not like she wanted anything to do with the psychopath, and as it seems, Zalic can exactly find Ana herself so shes really in no danger of Zalic knowing she has ”number fourteen ” at all unless any of her other, if Megumis story also applies to the other villains, brainwashed soldiers have the ability to detect supers like she does. So what was it that Ana was truly here for?

”By the time I realized I should get out it was already too late. ” Megumi said in a much harsher and raspier tone, snapping Anas attention back to her.

”My father had died and I asked Margret if I could take some time off to grieve. She told me death was only a mere hiccup in the course of life, and if I wanted to get anywhere in my field or my life, I needed to push my feelings to the side and put the energy I had from mourning into work and research. I was floored. There was nothing I could say at that moment that truly conveyed how I was feeling. Hurt, angry, offended that she just, wrote off my dads death as something that wasn important enough to take a break from work for I just… ”

Megumi rubbed her hands over her face before sighing and continuing.

”It was a few weeks after that the joyous magic that I had felt when I began working under her began to slip away, and it was at that same time she had begun perfecting the DNA enhancements. And it wasn until then I realized just why she was so adamant that I stick around, ” Megumis face contorted into that of pure disgust, her voice growing dangerously low, Ana shifted in her seat slightly from the now tense and uncomfortable atmosphere.

”She needed to further experiment before she could write the project off as a success. ” Ana stared at Megumi, unblinking, her body tingling with nerves and disgust as she began to guess what was next.

”So she used me. To test the first dose. ” Megumi looked up towards the window that was opposite of the two of them on the couch. She seemed to zone out into a painful trance, her face contorting as she seemed to be reliving the events.

”I was her lab rat for months. The worst part was with my dad gone, no one was able to report that I went missing. Sure, JHU sent letters to my stepmother but.. her and I never had the best relationship.. when I spoke to her again after I was allowed out she gloated and didn believe a word I said, I swallowed my pride and begged her for help.. She just laughed at me and said I dropped out of college to do drugs. No one at school aside from the administration reported it because I.. wasn really popular. Im sure youve deduced by now that Im pretty standoffish, my short responses and monotone voice make people think Im not all that friendly. And even when I tried to go out of my way, no one really wanted anything to do with me. It wasn until I was trapped under Zalic that I realized I was truly alone. ”

Megumi quietly sniffed and wiped her nose. Ana had the horrible realization of where she had seen Megumi before… a missing persons poster that had been placed near the campus. Ana wanted to reach out, but before she came to a decision Megumi continued.

”Once Zalic realized the power she went on to create more of what she called the amplifiers. She also went about going to find a new target. Youve heard of her as well, Im sure. Ella Matthews, you know the name, right? ” Megumi asked, Ana nodded. ”Model, actress that had little to no speaking roles, occasionally appears on a song with some big celebrity, her. ” Megumi spat Anas thoughts with a bit more force and distain than what Ana was thinking. I guess those two have bad blood. Ana thought as she stared at Megumi curiously. ”Margret went about a different tactic when it came to luring Ella into her web. Instead of mocking and manipulation like she did to me, she exploited and took advantage of Ellas bi-curiosity and expensive tastes to get close to her. She bought Ella everything she wanted and put on a persona to convince Ella that she was oh so important to Margret. It was disgusting.

I felt bad for her at first, I really did. She didn hear the things Margret said when Ella wasn around. How gross she felt every time she had to pretend she was romantically interested in her. Ive been the target of enough girls faking their sexuality for their own personal gain but this was an entirely new level. I didn expect Margret to really care about her actions. She had all the power in the world now with a world full of test subjects. And Im sure me being an outcast no one went to look for didn help to dissuade her. ” Megumi trailed off again, then shook her head. ”Ella goes by Electrina now, she happily took up the mantle of resident terrorist once Marget decided she had a different use for me. I mean it when I say I truly regret the things I did. I was in a position that made me think I didn have a choice, but when I heard about what Margret was looking for I developed a plan.

I don know if youve heard, but a few years ago there was a new element discovered that came from a meteor that had lodged itself onto a space shuttle. It was big news, they almost got thrown off orbit and had to come down for an emergency landing. ” Ana felt her memory jog at the mention of the story.

”Well, inside that meteor was said element. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Alien technology people speculated. ”

”Then the scientist that did the most research on it ended up getting… infected by it. It gave her a power that was unexplainable but it wasn able to survive in her body. Or rather, she wasn able to survive as its host. ” Ana said in a whisper, remembering the horrific tragedy.

Megumi nodded.

”Then it destroyed her and almost killed everyone in the facility. Once the chaos settled it was discovered that someone had taken the element. Theres been a hunt going on for it and the person that took it ever since. ” Megumi finished. Ana looked up at her. ”But what does that have to do with Margret- Zalic? ” Ana asked.

Megumi fiddled with her fingernails again. ”Of course you know that element contains immense power, ” She started. ”Its considered to be of greater power than the entire militarys artillery. Every, military. ” Ana swallowed roughly as Megumi continued. ”So as you can imagine, anyone whos able to find this element and figure out how to use it without getting destroyed would be incredibly powerful, unstoppable, and if it fell into the wrong hands who knows what could happen. ”

”So Zalics after it. ” Ana concluded.

Megumi nodded. ”Thats the etter things she needed me for. I picked up an ability in my transformation to detect other supernatural power, not just supers, so Margret wants me to use said power to find it, thats also the thing I told you I sent her on a wild goose chase for in Texas, I was buying myself some time to hopefully come across new supers to put my plan into action. ”

This must be what she needs me for. Ana thought.

”Which is? ” Ana asked. ”It goes without saying that Margret under no circumstances can find that element. We could bank on it destroying her but.. I don want to leave that outcome up to chance. ” Megumi said sounding suddenly more nervous.

”Why does it feel like you
e leaving something out there? ” Ana asked, cocking her head.

For the first time in this entire conversation, Megumi looked her in the eyes. ”Because I am. ” Ana felt a chill run down her spine and sank back into the couch. ”Zalics a geneticist, a mad one at that, of course when she discovered her breakthrough which fueled her thirst for power, there was no way she wasn going to use it on herself. And thats what shes been doing. See, the first phase of my plan was just to kill her after she transformed Ella. This was a huge decision for me, and, despite what you may see in the media, Im not a murderer, and I was only nineteen at the time. There was no way I wouldve been able to handle committing a murder, even if it wouldve saved me and made me a hero. But by the time I had finished battling with my morals and made the decision.. she transformed herself.

There was no way I wouldve been able to carry out the plan against her then, especially because she kept transforming. She stole Dr. Basils, the scientist that got destroyed, files and notes, then began analyzing them, noting what went wrong and what she needed to be able to survive. She wants to be the perfect vessel for the element, so shes much more powerful than me now, so theres only one thing I can do. ”

The atmosphere became tense and important; Ana braced herself for the reveal.

”I need to find that element before Zalic and destroy it. Theres no way in hell Im handing it over to the authorities, if one bad apple is all it takes for world domination, how about a whole system full of them? No way. Ive found a few of Zalics notes that could help me find a way to use it without being decimated and managing to take her out in the process. After that Im destroying the thing, even if it kills me. ”

It was a lot to take in, Ana thought to herself. A task like this was larger than anything that had ever been placed on her before. Anas stomach did flips and spins as she thought about it, the fate of the world literally on her shoulders.

”So, ” Megumi broke the silence finally, ”Will you help me? ”

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