The VILEiest VILE to ever VILE a VILE
- Best answers
- Known Aliases
- Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) Ullyss (formerly Kid Kidman), Kitty, Seryy Pripyat
- Color #
The void was empty yet warm, like an endless summer night. Within it the girl drifted, without sense, without need. A million miles away the remnants of a battle echoed like waves upon some distant, receding shore. How long had it been? Hours? Days? Years? Perhaps eternity.
And then, she began to move. Lazily she opened her mind’s eye to the dark. There were hands raising her up, at first invisible, and then somehow recognizable. The girl uttered a name and the smokey-haired presence that was lifting her responded with another.
Around her the scenery changed, from black to wavering images of places she had never been to outside her mind, creations she’d made to live in, far from human hands.
"It's time to wake up," the smoke-haired woman said in a voice felt but not heard, and with one last gentle push the hands left her. The girl continued to rise on her own, through layers of scratchy bits and brittle things. And then...she was lying on something soft. Her senses slowly transferred from within her to without, and thoughts began to form.
The girl opened her eyes just enough to let in a few drops of blurry light. The effort was exhausting, so she closed them again.
‘Where am I?’
The question held no concern, only mild curiosity. She drifted back out of consciousness.
She came back.
‘How did i get here?’
Her consciousness wavered, but this time she remained awake.
Something had happened, big, bad, but she couldn’t grasp it. She didn’t want to. It was gone.
The girl then turned her attention to herself. She had a vague recollection of who she was. She’d had a name. Whispers of many names rushed by, but none that fit. No, she didn’t have a name, she decided. That felt right. But she had been called something by others.
She searched what memories were easiest to reach, and found a field. A road. She lived with a group of people, people in hiding. They taught her things. They called her...kid.
That fit. It was simple, direct.
With the reclamation of her name, another, larger box of memories opened to her. The girl lay quietly as they filtered through in flickers and strands.
She was part of VILE. They were thieves. It was run by a woman named Carmen.
The name rang like a bell. Fragments of emotion lifted from the vibration of it, and new pathways formed. A timeline slowly unraveled over the course hours. While much of it made little sense to her, as time passed, she gradually picked up a framework of where she had been, both in life and self, before whatever had happened, happened.
She felt no need nor want to fill in the many blanks. There was much more to know, she could feel it at the edges, but it was all too big, too far away, too unnecessary for now.
She opened her eyes again, even more so than before.
Through a bleary fog, a metal ceiling came into view. She was in a bed. Something was beeping, while something else rested on her face, blowing air into her nose and mouth. The girl tried to remove it, but her body wasn't ready for such complex demands and her arm landed clumsily on her stomach instead. With that thud the world around her became clearer still, and she became aware of someone else here with her.
The temperature control in the care ward at Stone Harbour was always perfect. Individually controlled and AI adjusted.
Carmen, in a white blouse, finished her meetings and walked the halls, stopping by each room sufficiently. Flag had not awoken, this worried her, but she had not expressed it. Her Shadow showed a response to the mild dose of Zolpidem several minutes ago, and she was here to see the results.
When the girl roused, she asked the doctors to leave. People in medical uniform had uncertain effects on the patient.
Just as luck would have it, she did wake, and Carmen smiled in response.
"Hello," she greeted calmly.
Kid turned her head towards the nearby voice, finally freeing herself of the plastic thing on her face in the process. Through still-blurry eyes she could see it was a woman with brown hair. The girl blinked a few more times and the woman gained more features, but none she recognized.
‘Oh! Hi!’ the girl thought.
The woman didn’t answer.
‘HI!’ Kid shouted inwardly again. Still no response.
Growing frustrated, the girl made all kinds of internal racket until at last it dawned on her that no sound was coming out. She pressed her lips together to think, but her head was too cloudy. With an exasperated sigh she gave up, and waved at the woman instead.
Carmen's brows raised slightly at the silent wave.
"Muted, I see," she lifted her hands and signed out in American Sign Language as she spoke aloud, "How is your ASL?"
All VILE agents learned ASL as part of necessary courses, but she was uncertain if Kid had completed that training.
To her surprise, Kid somehow knew what the gestures meant, but with a few flaps of her hands she realized she lacked the coordination to communicate this way. Writing would be even harder. She'd have to give talking another go.
With intense concentration Kid filled her lungs and focused on her vocal chords. Then she exhaled with as much force as she could.
Something finally lit up in her brain, and with much excitement the girl tried again.
"Haaaiiieee! Hi! Hi hi hi!"
The observer responded with a calm smile, “Hello, how are we feeling?”
How was she feeling? What was she feeling?
Confusion washed over her as she realized there were many things stuck on and in her. She sat up straight as panic surged from the pit of her stomach, and the steady beep of the machine next to her grew to a staccato. It all felt familiar to something very bad deep in her bones. A memory began to materialize.
Then her mind shuddered to a stop with the force of a water hammer. For a moment she sat there, dazed. The memory, the lot of it, felt like it had been pulled down into a thick bank of clouds, leaving only a strange, fuzzy feeling behind.
Kid stared at the IV in her arm with uncomfortable detachment, then at the oddly familiar woman next to her.
"I don't like this. Can it go?"
“Of course,” Carmen nodded, “Someone’s on their way”
A small nurse entered, greeting the standing woman in soft respect as she detached the patient from the machine.
“Salamat,” the thief added when the nurse was done, and the latter left with a light nod.
“Now, are you able to stand?”
The girl hadn’t noticed the tightness in her chest until it suddenly released with the removal of the IV line. Still, the sight of the nurse put her on edge, and she became aware of other anxious locations on her body; a soreness in her nose and down the whole of her throat, a dryness in her mouth, a pain in her neck, the particular wooziness she felt. They all called to the same, aching blackness, but before she could place it, her mind once again wrapped it up and stole it away.
This time the disorientation this caused was less pronounced, and she quickly returned to appraising her situation.
By the way the nurse had acted, Kid could tell the woman beside her in the white shirt held importance here. The woman felt safe, like a protector, but the girl couldn't let her guard down just yet. She knew herself to be a thief, and those were often at odds with most protectors of things. She could be down behind enemy lines.
Kid pursed her lips in thought as she dragged her atrophied legs over the side of the bed.
“Do you know someone named... 'Carmen'?” She asked conspiratorially.
“I know many named ‘Carmen’,” she said. Her purpose was not to be mysterious, but there were anxieties with waking from prolonged sleep that may need to be slowly ascertained.
Bringing a wheelchair, she offered the patient a choice of the seat or to walk with her side by side.
“First and foremost. Do you know your own name?”
The evasiveness of the woman’s answer put the girl even more on guard, but for only a moment. Whoever she was, the woman was clearly helping her. That was enough information for now.
More important was dealing with the effect this room was having on her. The lighting, the sound of the machines, the scent of the air, even the very feel of the air picked at her, and the odd defense mechanism’s fight to subdue it was exhausting. She wanted out, and just as she realized she was too weak to stand, was relieved that another option had been offered.
Eagerly Kid slid into the wheelchair before the temporary rush of adrenaline that was allowing her to move dissipated. “Thank you,” she breathed, and as she relaxed into it she considered the woman’s question. “Oh, I don’t have a name, but you can call me Kid.”
Carmen’s expression remains kind, but thoughtful. This amnesia is hopefully temporary, “Start by telling me a story, Kid? Who you are, what do you remember?”
The girl pursed her lips, then directed her attention to the door. “Not here. Have to go out.”
The woman understood, and pushed her through a series of vaguely familiar hallways until they reached a heavy door. With a little effort both made it inside, and Kid found herself in a glass-paneled room of greenery. The large windows that surrounded them were bound by ornate metal, and the worn spots in the tile floor spoke of this place’s age. In the middle of the room was a large fountain that doubled as a fish tank, and small goldfish flitted by the glass that encircled the fountain’s lowest tier. Plants of all sizes adorned every surface, both up, down and wallside, filling the space with humid air and earthy fragrance.
As the girl she drank in her surroundings, she felt a curiously heavy weight lift from her mind. It was curious enough that she tried to figure out why it was curious, but once again her mind bounced the request. This time the sensation felt less a slam to the head and more as if something had bounced off her with an unheard ‘ponk’, like a bug against a window.
Kid exhaled, then debated what to do next. At any moment the woman would ask her question again, and she needed to decide on what kind of answer to give. After all, telling a stranger she was a member of a band of thieves was probably not the best idea. She could just not answer, but that would be suspicious. Or she could make up a false history, but she doubted she could keep the story straight for long.
Carmen remained silent, giving ample time for the soul beside her to get acquainted. Waking up was a thing of varying energy, and everyone handled the experience differently. Keeping a friendly smile curved upon her closed lips, she remained vigilant.
Kid looked at the woman beside her. There had to be a reason she was so familiar, and the girl openly scoured the woman’s face for clues. With her memory gone, all she had left to work with was her instinct, and she leaned on it now to find out how this woman made her feel.
Security. Gratitude. Admiration. Awe. An intense protectiveness. But also, sadness, as if this woman was so far superior that Kid could never be her true companion. And fear, that this woman was forever in danger, and there was nothing the girl could do to stop the inevitable.
This woman was close to her, but so far away.
Noting eyes upon her, Carmen turned to meet the studying gaze.
The clouds quickly yanked her last few thoughts away, but not before Kid seized upon a wild idea. With weak hands she blocked out the top and bottom of the woman from her sight. Then she squinted through the view that remained, and as she imagined a red hat and coat upon her held-up hands, a well-worn trail of neurons flashed back to life.
The woman next to her returned a curious expression.
“It’s you!” The girl cried joyfully, and she half-fell out of her wheelchair to squeeze the woman’s face between her hands. There she stared into her eyes from mere inches away. Yes. This was Carmen. Waves of relief washed over her, almost irrationally so, as if something-
She blinked, then gently let Carmen go. And the thief reacted with a genuine smile.
“It’s you,” the girl whispered again, then slumped back into her chair, infinitely satisfied.
“Yes, it is me,” Carmen mirrored her companion’s satisfaction and slowly combed her fingers through gray hair, “take your time.”
At Carmen’s touch Kid felt a dizzying rush of warmth, and for a moment she just sat there with her eyes closed, soaking in this unusual feeling. Eventually she opened one eye lazily and glanced around the room.
Carmen had openly asked her who she was, which meant this place had to be secure, and even though the girl couldn’t remember this room, or any of the other rooms she passed, there was still a sense that this was where she was supposed to be.
This is where we’re hiding, Kid thought as she looked past the plants that partially obscured the windows to the world beyond. A grey, wintry pall hung over sand, rocks, and sea, Only here was colour and life. This is where it’s all hiding.
Kid realized Carmen was still waiting for the answers, so she collected the handful of facts she knew. “I work for you, we’re thieves, and we hide here.” She said, then with a look of uncertainty added, “Right?”
Nodding softly she assured, “Yes, this is Stone Harbour.” Not wishing to feed information that would trigger or cover up potential memories, Carmen decided to take the passive approach.
“I’m sure you’ll slowly remember with time, for now, use any energy you have to heal,” then she exhaled softly, “If you ever feel any uncertainty, come speak to me about it. Our last ‘heist’ was rather difficult.”
“Last heist…” the girl echoed. By now she had surmised that the amount of force used to recall a memory was directly proportional to the impact of denial, and so this time she approached her target with caution, only to be gently rebuffed with an unheard “No”.
“She won’t let me remember that-," Kid started, then stopped, puzzled by her own words. “She?”
The girl closed her eyes and felt around her mind until she came upon a warm, smoky, decidedly female presence so deeply ingrained in her psyche that it felt as if it had always been there, just one half-step beyond her comprehension. Now for some reason she could perceive her, but somehow she knew this wasn't the first time she had.
It was an odd development, and Kid chewed her lip in thought as she listened to the fountain trickling behind her. She wasn't sure if this should be made known, but it felt somehow important, and instinct told her she could tell Carmen anything.
The girl glanced around the room nervously, then at the woman across from her. “I think...I have someone else in my head, and she won’t let me remember certain things. I don't think she wants me to know what happened.”
It occurred to her then that she could just ask for the details, but when she tried, her question was derailed by a swell of aversion.
Kid pressed her lips together in consternation.
“She won’t let me ask, either,” she said with growing frustration. “It feels like I don’t want to ask, but I know it’s her.”
Watching her friend struggle with inner thoughts, Carmen touched Kid’s arm with understanding, and it was then that the girl felt a flash of concern.
“Did you get hurt?” She spat out before the woman made of smoke could stop her, but this time she met no resistance.
“Yes,” Carmen said upon a pillar of truth. “Emotionally, more than physically… I watched my own decisions unfold, and nearly lost people I cared for.”
She sat down slowly on a bench of Victorian alloyed arabesques, “You were trapped for a while in your own mind,” Inhaling, she breathed a slight sigh, “I’m glad you’re awake now.”
“Oh Carmen…” Kid murmured sadly as she took the woman’s hands in her own. She didn’t know what “trapped in her own mind” meant, but suddenly the smoke woman's actions made more sense. She could be blocking her memories out of necessity, but not knowing what had happened was making other things difficult.
Kid squeezed Carmen’s hands and looked into her eyes. She'd have to go with what she did know.
"Carmen, you are the smartest, kindest, best person I know, but you can't control everything. I know you did the best you could, and this heist doesn’t even sound normal. I bet you’re the only reason we’re still alive.”
A weak smile stretched across Carmen’s lips.
Outside the wind off the sea rattled the glass panes, but the greenery within paid it no mind. Strings of warm white sparkling fairy lights flickered to life as dusk fell, with those whose drape placed them amongst the plants glowing with the colour of whatever leaf or flower they fell behind.
With a bit of effort the girl slid out of her wheelchair and onto the bench beside her companion to be closer, then took the woman's hand again. "I always feel safe with you."
Kid paused as she felt another swell of emotion. "And somehow...I feel like that's a really big deal."
The strength of that initial smile grew and the thief nodded in gratitude. With little else to say, she wrapped her arms around the woman next to her.
“Thank you,” the whisper was poignant, yet laced with hope, “I’m glad you’re alright.”