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Bonus – The Price They Paid

103 Years Before Impact Day

The sound of an unfamiliar voice down the corridor proved too irresistible of a curiosity to Ami, and for the first time in months, she left her bed. Immediately, she was flooded with new information about the room, her new abilities filling the space. Her brother hadn’t moved.

“Kaito,” she said softly. “There’s someone new.”

“I know,” he replied, his voice thick with pain.

“What can you tell about them?”

Kaito grimaced. He was far more sensitive to the thoughts of those around him, and it left him nearly incapacitated most of the time. She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, wishing she could ease his burden. If either of them had known what their new abilities would feel like, they never would have consented to the procedure.

“Nothing,” he said weakly. “Everything is too fast. Whoever they are, they’re different. And they think in English. It… it hurts.”

“Alright, don’t strain yourself,” she said. “I’ll go check it out.”

“I can’t shut them out,” Kaito whimpered. “They’re so loud.”

“I’ll take care of it,” she promised.

Leaving her brother in their room, she crept up the corridor, feeling ahead for any clues as to the identity of the newcomer. They seemed masculine, tall and athletic, and well-dressed. Their features seemed Caucasian. Ami stopped before entering the room, listening to the conversation.

“How many have you created?” the newcomer asked, with a strong pre-outbreak accent. Despite what Kaito had said, though, he was speaking Japanese.

“So far, only two,” one of the researchers said. “We’re working on-”

“Where did you learn the technique?” the newcomer demanded.

“We developed it ourselves.”

“Impossible,” the newcomer said. “Don’t worry, this won’t affect your payment. We’re just trying to identify possible leaks.”

“It wasn’t from you,” the researcher said. “The technique is a little different, allowing for more versatility in metaphysical capabilities.”

“That doesn’t answer the question.”

“I’m afraid we can’t disclose the source,” the researcher insisted.

“Very well. Talk me through the metaphysical abilities, then. What do you believe is possible?”

“Well, we’ve already demonstrated telekinetic and telepathic abilities, as complementary evolutions. We also have promising schematics for ferrokinesis, hydrokinesis and, though unstable, polymorphism.”

She felt the newcomer tense up, though it would have been invisible to anyone in the room.

“Tell me about your two successful prototypes,” the newcomer said. “What’s their count? How much have they been told about the procedure? What side-effects have you observed?”

“The girl’s count is about one-hundred thousand,” the researcher said. “Her brother is about twice that. They were briefed on the entire process, and the expected results, except for that part, which I’m sure you can understand.”

“Of course.”

“As for side-effects, it’s hard to say. They’re still adjusting to their new abilities, both of which have led to intense sensitivities. Beyond that, there’s not much we’ve had the opportunity to observe.”

“I see,” the newcomer said, still very tense. “I’m assuming you have more extensive notes in their files?”

“Absolutely. Now, would you care to meet the prototypes? If they meet your expectations, we can begin discussions on providing the service to your soldiers, and the costs involved.”

“I’d love to meet them,” the newcomer said.

The researcher gestured in the direction of her room, and both he and the newcomer began to walk her way. She scampered back to her room, where Kaito was waiting. He was sitting up, his hands pressed against the sides of his head.

“They’re coming this way,” she said. “I think whoever it is, is here because of us.”

“Right you are,” the newcomer said, standing in their doorway. She hadn’t felt him approach. How had he done that?

“Hello,” she said timidly. Kaito only grunted.

“They’re teenagers,” the newcomer said. “You did this to children?”

“They were bred for it,” the researcher said. “We’ve been working on this for a very long time. Physiologically speaking, seventeen years of age was the ideal time for the procedure.”

“He’s angry,” Kaito said.

“That I am,” the newcomer said. Then, switching to English, he continued, “I’ve seen everything I need to see. Haylie, you in?”

An English voice with a different pre-outbreak accent to him spoke through the lab’s PA system.

“I’m in, Gabriel. I have all the files, and I’ve isolated everyone to their chambers.”

“Thank you, Haylie,” the one Ami now knew was Gabriel said. He turned to the researcher, and spoke to him in Japanese. “What you’ve done here is unforgiveable, all of you. What you’ve created is monstrous, and the price was not yours to pay.” He turned to Ami and Kaito, and nodded to them both. “I’m sorry for what’s about to happen.”

In a movement almost too fast for her to follow, Gabriel pulled out a pistol, shooting the researcher right between the eyes. Kaito flinched, Ami screamed.

“Stay here,” Gabriel said, turning and running down the corridor.

Ami stared at the researcher, a man whose name she never knew, but who was still, in some small way, a part of her family. Now dead, blood splattered across the walls. Murdered by a stranger who’d called her a monster. Called her brother a monster.

“What’s happening?” Kaito asked, his voice trembling.

“We have to stop him,” Ami said.


She didn’t know how to answer him. They had power, but neither of them knew how to use it. This murderer, this demon, was something they didn’t understand. All Ami knew was that she had to try.

She closed her eyes, focusing on the room around her. All she needed was something she could use as a weapon, something to stop the demon, something to save her remaining family. In a cupboard, buried under old clothes and discarded toys, she found what she needed.

Throwing open the cupboard doors, she rummaged, digging until she pulled them out, turning to show them to Kaito. He shrank back, shaking his head.

“Ami, those are…”

She tossed the smaller sword to him, keeping the longer for herself. Kaito gripped his tightly as she unsheathed hers.

“An eye for an eye,” she said darkly. “I swear, Kaito, I will kill him.”

“You’ll die trying,” he said, staring deep into her eyes. “Please.”

“I can’t do nothing,” she said. He just shook his head, sitting back down on his bed.

Ami walked towards the door, but it slid shut, closing her in. Irritated, she pressed the button to open it, but nothing happened.

“What the-”

“Please remain safely in your room,” the feminine voice from the PA system said. Ami recognised the voice as the one who’d spoken to Gabriel before. She was with him.

“No,” she snarled. The voice didn’t say anything more.

The door was staying shut, then. Even after the procedure, Ami knew she didn’t have the strength to force it open. At least, not the physical strength.

“Stand back,” she ordered her brother.

Closing her eyes, she focussed on the door, letting her awareness slip through and around it. She could feel the mechanisms that held it closed, all the structurally weak points, the electronic systems that commanded it to open. She took a deep breath.

Without moving a muscle, Ami tore the entire door out of its frame, slamming it against the opposite wall. Kaito whimpered, and almost immediately, an alarm rang out.

“Wow,” Ami muttered. “Maybe I won’t need the sword after all…”

She raced out of the room, trying to figure out where Gabriel would have gone. Doors continually closed in her way, giving her plenty of practice removing them. Wherever she went, she saw evidence of Gabriel’s rampage, blood and corpses leaving her a grisly trail to follow.

“It had to be done,” he said, surprising her. He was behind her? How had he managed to sneak up on her?

“You killed everyone,” she said, turning and holding the blade towards him. He didn’t even flinch.

“Not everyone,” he said. “Just the guilty.”

“What did they ever do to you?” she demanded, fighting back tears.

“I’m not the victim here,” he said solemnly. “Just an avenger. I wish you could understand that I’m doing this for you.”

“They’re all dead. You killed my family, my friends… For me?”

“For what they did to you,” he said. “For the price they paid. One day, you’ll understand. I just hope that isn’t any time soon.”

“Well, now you have a price to pay.” Her grip on the sword tightened. “I won’t let you leave here.”

“Be careful, Gabriel,” the PA voice warned him. “She’s-”

Ami lunged forwards, thrusting the sword right through his chest. He didn’t even try to avoid it. He just stood there, looking down at her.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his expression looking almost like affection. “You deserved better.”

In a movement too fast for her to follow, he broke her grip on the sword, pulled a gun out from somewhere, pressed it against her head, and pulled the trigger.


Next Week: Does Our Friendship Ever Seem Weird To You?

Bonus – I Just Want You To Be Safe

“I think we lost her,” Ami said, placing a steadying hand on Miss Murder’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Miss Murder nodded, taking a few moments to steady herself. Rachel hadn’t done any lasting damage, but her body was still trembling from the disruptive current. She grimaced. After what she’d tried to do to Rachel, maybe she deserved it…

“I’m… I’m glad you messaged me,” Ami said. “And I’m sorry I didn’t get there sooner.”

She reached for her phone to type out a reply, only then realising Sabrina still had it. Aggravated, she pulled away from Ami. That would be a difficult problem to sort out. She’d need a new one; even if she could get the old one back, there was no way she could trust it after it’d been in the hands of the tinker. That meant considering the old one compromised, and starting entirely fresh.

It had her entire message history with Ami on it, too…

No pen or paper. Did she know enough sign language at this point? Did Ami?

Thank you,” she signed. Ami smiled.

“Happy to help,” Ami said.

Don’t have my phone,” she signed. “Need a new one. Not sure how I’ll contact you.”

“You’re not as hard to find as you think you are,” Ami said. “But, I’ll tell you what. Forty-eight hours, the place where we first met. We’ll sort something out then. You need to get back to your boss, right?”

Miss Murder nodded. Forty-eight hours. That would be enough time to make her report, get a new phone sorted out, rest and recover from the day’s bullshit, and figure out an excuse to be away from him again. Hell, maybe he’d want her away. He was paranoid enough to believe she might have given something away.

I want to leave him. I just can’t, yet. He…

“I know,” Ami said. “You know what you’re doing. I just wish I could help.”

You are helping.”

They stood in silence for a while, neither of them moving. Occasionally, they caught one another’s eye, and quickly turned away.

I need to get back,” she signed, wishing it wasn’t true. She felt a lot safer with Ami than she did with him.

“Okay,” Ami said, then sighed. “Look, I know you’re not… Ugh. I just want to, without, err… I just want you to be safe. That’s…”

She contemplated signing something back, but didn’t know what to say. Ami was talking, but it wasn’t her words that were important.

Instead of replying, she reached out, a still trembling hand covering most of the distance between them. For a moment, a painfully long moment, Ami didn’t react, and she tried to think of ways she could play it off, pretend that it was nothing.

Ami took her hand, a gentle grip that spoke volumes. They looked at each other, momentarily defenceless.

The kiss was quick, soft, daring.

It was perfect.

It wasn’t long enough, but she was out of time. She’d been reckless, hadn’t checked for cameras. If the Celestial saw, if he knew…

She needed to get back to him. She needed to deal with everything that had happened, everything that was going to happen.

She blinked away, leaving Ami alone once again. No goodbye, no explanation.

She smiled.


Next Week: What Are You Doing Here?

Bonus – Status Report 02

Currently known entities…

Miss Melbourne

Real name Sabrina Labelle. Origin: Human, local. Source of powers unknown, presumed to be from the rift.

Known abilities include shifting into multiple forms. She seems to be adding to them, and each makes her stronger. Bears further investigation.

Specimen Z

Refers to herself as Zoe. Continues to be reclusive. Working on a device, probably transdimensional travel. Is she planning on bringing an army over?

Known abilities included superhuman speed, strength and resilience, including greatly accelerated healing. These abilities depend on vast amounts of energy. Where is she getting that from?

Specimen G

Seems to have abandoned his Archangel moniker, and simply goes by Gabriel. Focused on Specimen Z. More active, mobile. Extremely dangerous.

Known abilities included superhuman speed, strength and resilience, including greatly accelerated healing. These abilities depend on vast amounts of energy. Where is he getting that from?

The Vigilante

AKA Charlotte Farrow. She has a base of operations somewhere, and she’s collaborating with someone to try and cure the infection. Why?

Known abilities include immortality, superhuman strength and speed, and something we’re unable to categorise. Far too dangerous to be allowed to run loose.

Miss Murder

Getting uncomfortably close to one of the invaders. Need to keep a closer eye on that. She might be planning to turn on me.

Known abilities include teleportation and minor regeneration.

Specimen W

MIA. Investigation suspended.


Miss Murder knows more than she’s letting on. Definitely telekinetic, motives uncertain. Only dangerous when provoked. We’ve formed a tenuous ceasefire, but I don’t trust her.


Tinker abilities, uncertain how powerful. A valuable asset but too dangerous as an enemy. Terminate with extreme prejudice.


KIA. No noted abilities. Only aberration is that her corpse disappeared. Worth investigating, low priority.


I know her name now. We’re so close to bringing her back, to waking her up. And once we do…

Bonus: You’re Going To Kill Her

Sabrina waited until Rachel left, smiling with just the right mixture of innocent and vacancy to not arouse the girl’s suspicions. At least, she hoped that’s what she was doing. She never had been any good at subterfuge. It helped that Rachel had seemed distracted, barely paying attention to her.

“How can you trust her?” Sabrina asked, as Zoe entered the room. The woman tensed at the question, her eyes darting to a corner of the room. Why? Was that guilt?

Zoe laid a hand on her shoulder, walking with her, taking her to another room. Zoe’s room. She hesitated at the doorway. Zoe just kept walking, and Sabrina decided that was invitation enough. She followed Zoe into the room.

A monitor replayed footage of the aftermath of Rachel’s surgery. Sabrina was distracted, watching as Rachel’s condition visibly improved. In the space of only an hour, she’d gone from looking almost certainly dead, to almost entirely healthy. Sabrina knew it was partially due to an infusion of Zoe’s blood. What she didn’t know was why Zoe was helping her.

She felt bad for Rachel, in a way. She knew what Charlie had done, why Rachel was so scared, and there was no way she could’ve left her to fend for herself, not with Charlie looking to kill her. That didn’t mean she trusted her, not by a long shot.

“I don’t,” Zoe said, the faintest trace of bemusement crossing her face. “I don’t need to trust her.”

“I don’t understand,” Sabrina said, looking away from the footage of the unconscious girl whose breathing was so shallow it was almost imperceptible. “You know she’s planning something, right? She has an agenda.”

“Of course she does. That’s what makes her useful. She’ll work hard for me, give me what I need, to try and convince me she’s worth taking the risk on. Then she’ll try to betray me.”

Zoe said it so calmly, so casually, Sabrina almost wondered if the woman knew what the word betray even meant. Then again, she knew Zoe was beyond intelligent, and cunning to boot. Zoe must have known something she didn’t.

“And when she does?”

“Then I betray her,” Zoe said easily. “She was foolish. Her entire skeleton is attached to a mechanical endoskeleton with an internal control mechanism. All I need to do is activate it, and she can’t do a thing. I gain complete control of her body, and she’s powerless to stop me.”

“That’s terrifying,” Sabrina said, taking a step back.

From the day Rachel had arrived, she knew the two of them were playing head games with one another, lying to each other’s faces, disguising their true motives. She played nice, played innocent, because she didn’t want to get caught in it, knew she didn’t have the same deceptive streak that would allow her to play those same games.

If she was being honest with herself, she didn’t really trust either of them. They were both up to something, more than they were letting on. She did her best not to think about it. In the end, it didn’t matter. There was nothing she could do to stop either of them, not in her present state. Possibly not ever.

Let them play their games, she told herself. It would deal with one problem for her, most likely. As long as one of them took out the other, that was one less threat to the city walking around.

Ideally, Zoe would take out Rachel, and then go home, taking out two threats in one go. If it came down to it, she knew who she’d side with. In the meantime, all she could do was try and protect as many people as she could, try and accelerate Zoe’s departure, and try to become as strong as possible, because if she was going to stop Charlie, or Gabriel, or the Celestial, she needed every tool possible at her disposal.

“There’s not a lot left that can scare me,” Zoe said softly. “Mason scares me. Damien scares me.” She paused, but didn’t bother to provide context for either of those names. Sabrina didn’t bother to ask. “Rachel scares me. Not as she is now, but the potential she possesses. I’ve never seen a power like hers, don’t know what its limits are. I suspect, if left unchecked, she could become unstoppable. I don’t want to leave this world at risk of that. Worse still, she knows enough about my machine, could reconstruct it, could one day threaten my world.”

“You’re going to kill her,” Sabrina realised. “No matter what she does, even if she doesn’t betray you.”

“Yes,” Zoe said.

Sabrina took another step back, pausing in the doorway. It wasn’t like she didn’t agree with Zoe. She had the same fears, would probably do the same thing, at least in principle. She didn’t have the same cruel streak, but Rachel was definitely a threat that would need to be dealt with.

What worried her was what Zoe was going to do to her. She knew better than to assume she was safe, that Zoe wasn’t thinking about her in the same way.

Sabrina didn’t think of herself as powerful, didn’t feel powerful, but she know how her power would look to someone like Zoe. Was Zoe going to try and kill her as well? Something worse?

She needed help, an ally of some kind, someone she could trust.

If only someone like that existed.

Bonus – Status Report 01

From the files of The Celestial

Currently known entities…

Miss Melbourne

Currently not operating under any public identity. Real name Sabrina Labelle, legally Seth Labelle. Origin: Human, local. Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Can shapeshift into a form with massively increased physical strength, speed and resilience.

Specimen Z

Avoids public contact. Also known as Zoe, last name unknown. Origin: Inhuman, extradimensional. Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Superhuman strength, speed and resilience.
  • Releases airborne toxin which triggers the transformation into the Infected.
  • Possible immortal?

Specimen G

Operating in public as the Archangel, possibly based on his other known name, Gabriel. Origin: Inhuman, extradimensional. Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Superhuman strength, speed and resilience.
  • Releases airborne toxin which triggers the transformation into the Infected.
  • Possible immortal?

The Vigilante

Real identity: [note: in the files this name has been deleted and replaced with a sequence of slurs]. Origin: Human, local? Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Immortal. We’ve tried just about everything.
  • Superhuman strength and speed.
  • ???

Miss Murder

Real identity: [deleted at her request]. Origin: Human, local. Source of powers: Specimen W. No longer viable.

Known abilities:

  • Short range teleportation.
  • Minor regeneration.

Specimen W

Real identity: Wendy? Unconfirmed. Origin: Inhuman, extradimensional. Source of powers unknown. Currently MIA.

Known abilities:

  • Superhuman strength, speed and resilience.
  • Temporary replication of abilities in human subjects.

Needs investigation:

  • ‘Ami’ – evidently in possession of telekinetic abilities. Suspect [name deleted] knows more and is keeping it from me.
  • Rachel – abilities unconfirmed, but she’s too tied into everything else to ignore.
  • ‘Her’ – We still don’t have enough data on Her yet. Body recovered, but progress is slow. Secrecy is still of the utmost importance. She could be the key to everything.

Bonus – She Watches

Sabrina approaches the unconscious body of Zoe, oblivious to the smoke and flame and sparking wires. Others in the crowd cry out, but nobody steps forward to help her. All they do is watch, and pass judgement.

The Vigilante watches.

Sabrina steps on a shard of glass and mirror, the edge of it cutting cleanly through her flesh. She stumbles, but doesn’t notice. Her focus is on Zoe.

The Vigilante watches.

Sabrina stares at Zoe, her eyes full of wonder. Zoe is reflected in Sabrina’s eyes.

Zoe moves.

Sabrina stares.

Zoe is powerful, elegant, graceful. Feminine and beautiful and terrible and deadly.

Sabrina covets that existence.

Something inside of her reaches out.

Power surges through her.

Sabrina passes out, overwhelmed.

Zoe picks her up.

The Vigilante watches.

Bonus – She’ll Change Everything

Intercepted transmission to "The Celestial"

We… we found her. The one you’re looking for. But there’s a problem. She’s not what you were expecting. I don’t know how to describe it.

She’s not dead, exactly. At least, we don’t think she is. But she’s definitely not conscious. And probably not human. Not that any of them are human.

Right now we’re trying to figure out how to recover her. First guy that touched her is a pile of ash. Acceptable loss, but it does pose an interesting challenge.

You were right, though. This one is definitely the cornerstone. She’ll change everything.

And you found her first.

Prepare the labs. We’re bringing her in.

Haylie is coming home.

Bonus – A Conversation In An Alley

From the files of "The Celestial", recorded 27 hours after "Impact Day":

???: Gabriel. You know you can’t be out here.

‘Gabriel’: Trust me, I’d rather not be. But I need to find her.

???: Why, because she’s dangerous? You’re just as much of a danger right now, and you know it.

G: I’m avoiding civilians.

???: It will still spread.

G: Ami, I can’t let her slip away again. We finally had her.

‘Ami’: You need to let it go. We can find your sister after we’ve figured out where Haylie and-

G: No. I will find her. I have to.

A: Alone?

G: If need be.

A: And you’re willing to doom a whole new city to the affliction to do it?

G: What choice do I have?

A: Work with me. Help me find the others. Help me figure out where we are, and how to get home. Then we can find Zoe again.

G: I can’t. I’m sorry.

A: You two really are as bad as each other.

G: You know what she’s capable of, Ami.

A: Yeah, and I know what you’re capable of. What about Alice? Don’t you want to get back to her?

G: Ami, don’t.

A: Fine. Enjoy your rampage. Infect an entire city. I’m going to find Haylie. I hope you and Zoe rot together.

Celestial's notes:

Find Haylie. The others are too dangerous to engage right now. Haylie could change everything.

Bonus – Interview With A Hero, Part 1

Exerpt from Veronica's famous interview with Miss Melbourne, 2 years after Impact Day.

V: So what made you decide to do the whole ‘hero’ thing?

MM: That’s an interesting choice of words.

V: You don’t think of yourself as a hero?

MM: I was more referring to the word ‘decide’.

V: You don’t think you had a choice?

MM: It’s strange that you think I did.

V: Well, you could always just walk away, live a normal life, use your powers for personal gain, any number of things.

MM: I don’t think that’s true. I mean, sure, theoretically that would be possible. But honestly, it was never an option.

V: What makes you say that?

MM: Well, look at what I am. Who I am. And look at the state of the city. Think about all of the people who live here. How could I, being what I am, not do something about that?

V: Well, you weren’t the only superhuman in the city, and none of them really stepped up like you did.

MM: No, I suppose they didn’t.

V: And now you’re the only one left.

MM: Apparently.

V: Apparently? You think there are still others out there?

MM: I know there are.

V: Is there a sidekick or hero team up in your future, then?

MM: I don’t think so. I would love that, but… it’s not simple, watching over a city. It’s a lot like raising a child, you know?

V: I don’t think I follow.

MM: Everyone has a different idea of what the right thing to do is, what the best way to go about these things is. Teaming up sounds good in theory, but as soon as you disagree…

V: Is that what happened with you and the Vigilante?

MM: No.

V: Can you tell us what did happen there, then?

MM: I… It’s a long story.


Blog post recovered from 7 months prior to "Impact Day" found using key words. All data points that could be used for personal identification have been removed.

Guys. GUYS.

Holy crap.

Okay, so. You know the rumours, right? The vigilante. Apparently our city is so overrun by gang activity, one person has taken it upon themselves to clean up the streets, or whatever. You know, fight crime, restore peace and justice, punish people in the name of the moon, whatever. And you’re rolling your eyes, I know you are, because I did too.


I saw him except it isn’t a him it’s totally a her and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. Okay no that’s a bit drastic. BUT I totally did see her and THAT’S NOT ALL.

So, I was walking home from running to the shops, because dammit I need donuts at 11:30 at night, okay? And lo and behold, thugs emerge. Well, they weren’t really bothering me, I think they were robbing a house or a car or something. I was too busy walking the other way, but, BUT.

She appeared out of nowhere. Or like, literally jumped down from the roof, it was hella dramatic. She had this long billowy coat (that seemed ill advised but hey I’m no crime fighting expert) and this creepy mask that looked like a, I dunno, a hockey mask? But with weird glowing eyes. And these thugs, they all pull out guns, like that’s normal, and start shooting, so she’s gotta have some kinda reputation among them. Which I guess is pretty cool.

Thing is, she didn’t do any fancy kung-fu shit and dodge the bullets. This isn’t The Matrix. She just got shot. Like, a hundred times.

Then she got up.

She got the fuck up.

Like, I saw the bullets hit her. There’s no way she didn’t get shot up. So how did she stand up again?

I’m telling you, real live, legit superhero. They’re real, and for some weird fucking reason, they’re in Melbourne.

Suck it, New York.

Wait this probably means we’re getting the next earth-ending event, too. Fuck.

BRB moving to Canada.