The group must make a difficult decision.
"It will be a surprise ambush against Alchemilia. Remnant Rock is strongly guarded for the most part, but I know a few undefended points we can take advantage of. See, nobody knows that they have tunnels under the water. They have a train system down there, but because of how secretive it is, they don't have any defenses. They'll be distracted.
"Knowing this, we need to get to a train and take it to the base. Me and two others will work our way up from the tunnels," Fontaine pointed a finger at Atticus and then Marshall. "You two. I saw your resolve back when Baptiste was hunting you down. Once we take the train and arrive at Remnant Rock, we'll cut the power. The rest of you will come in through the bridge and start firing."
"The outage will send the base into chaos, especially the prisons. With the signals jammed, Gabriel, who will be in a sound-proof panic room that I can get open easily, will not be able to call for help. We'll only have five minutes to get to him. Got all of that?" Fontaine said, staring down the group's uncertain and uncomfortable faces.
Seeing the figures seemingly surrounding him, Atticus felt a sense of panic envelop him. Leaning back in his seat, his breathing quickened as the two miscolored eyes continued to focus on him.
Almost in unison, the figures stepped closer to him, extending their hands forward. "Do you wish to join us? We have been waiting."
As they walked closer to him, he felt a sense of terror settle in, quickening the pace of his breathing even more. Closing his eyes as he shook his head, he screamed internally. This can't be happening, this can't be happening!
Suddenly, his eyes flew open and he was back at the table, the familiar faces of his companions once again around him as he let out an audible sigh.
"What's wrong, Atticus?" Blossom asked as she looked over, concerned.
Glancing over at her, Atticus froze, remembering their previous encounter. Quickly getting a hold of himself, he replied in his usual calm manner. "Nothing is wrong, I'm fine. No need to be worried about me."
Turning his attention back to the others, Atticus was relieved to see everything was still normal. What is going on with me?
"I don't really think we should trust you," Chris said as he listened to Fontaine. "The last time we followed a man we hardly knew; we crashed a car, one of us was shot, and I had to find everyone after escaping a testing facility I was forced into."
Melissa looked at Fontaine. "Why should we help you with this?"
Marshall grew visibly frustrated at this plan. "What the fuck? This is a suicide mission."
"Marshall, calm down," Chris said. "Indeed, joining with Fontaine is basically a terrible idea, but it might be best if we figured out his intentions. Why he needs us, specifically."
Fontaine sighed. "Would you like Euclid to be destroyed? In simple terms, that's what will happen if we don't mobilize against Alchem. It would take far too long to explain the intricate results of Gabriel's actions, but the consequences will be disastrous."
"I think I basically understand what you're saying," Chris replied, as he started picking at his food. "You're saying our world is in danger, and we need to fight the man who got us into this whole mess in the first place. I think maybe we should help you, but we need to know more. Do you have any evidence against Gabriel?"
"Um," Blossom interrupted, looking at the group. "Who is Gabriel?"
"He's that asshole who runs Alchem. You're lucky not to know him," Marshall told the girl.
"Mobilize against Alchem? What the hell are you guys going on about?" Atticus said, still confused on the conversation topic.
"The operation, Atticus," began Samuel.
"Something I've been planning for months, now. You and Marshall are coming with me through a tunnel, shutting down the defenses, and everyone else is going to show up to take out Alchem for good." Fontaine spoke in a respectful tone of voice, despite his words being forceful.
"Going on some weird trip to bomb a company with a strange man we just met who we don't even know we can trust and get ourselves fucking killed. Just what I always wanted to do. Fucking wonderful," Marshall spat.
"Why Marshall and I? What's so special about us? We didn't even agree to this insane plan." Atticus said, backing up Marshall's statement.
"Were you listening, Atticus? I chose you specifically because of your resourcefulness when you were, ahem, fugitives. You've been zoning out, I'm concerned."
"Uh," Atticus froze for a moment, before choosing to ignore the concern. "Regardless, can we have a moment alone to discuss this plan of yours?"
Fontaine nodded and walked out, bowing slightly to the group.
Samuel spoke up first after getting up from his seat. "I — understand, I probably shouldn't get involved with this. I had something I needed to do anyway." Samuel nodded to everyone before walking away from the table.
"Now, now, Atticus. This is far bigger than all of us," Li responded firmly after Samuel's departure.
"Atticus," Blossom replied. "I get your point, but I'm sure I could find some way to help if you'd let me stay."
"Okay, fair enough. You can stay, for now," Atticus told Blossom, "However, I really would like to discuss this with mainly just my group, so the less people the better."
Steven took a moment to look over the group before speaking up. "No, I think that this is something I'd like to be able to stay and talk about as well."
Melissa looked over at her brother. "I know you want to stay, but I think it's best if you don't."
Steven looked at Melissa before placing his hand on her shoulder. "Listen, Melissa. I think it's important that I can stay here and talk about this."
Melissa pushed his hands away from her. "Don't," she said, proceeding to look over to the others. "Is it okay if he stays?"
Looking at the scene, Atticus sighed, knowing none of the others were likely to leave. Looking at the crowd around him, he began to speak. "Well, I guess we have some things to discuss now."
"I agree, that stuff Fontaine said is a lot to process," Chris replied.
"Well," Steven began to say, "Based on everything I've heard, it looks like Alchemilia has done many awful things. In addition to what you saw in Gladea, I can see how they have affected all of you personally. But even then, I think you all need to pick your fights and I just don't think this is a fight you need to get involved in right now. To me, something just feels off about Fontaine and I think he might be setting up a trap," Steven replied.
Melissa paused before speaking. "I honestly think we should do it. It's our best option for Gabriel. I, for one, am sick of him and his company. Whether it's a trap or not, I feel as if we should take advantage of this."
"You should care if it's a trap," Blossom replied. "I know I don't know the situation as well as you, but it's not logical to take a risk like this."
"I agree with her," Atticus said. "We don't know Fontaine at all. He has already admitted to being affiliated with Alchem, he could easily be one of them and this is yet another plan of theirs."
"It's like if a random guy on the street offered you a million gil," Blossom added on, beginning to clean up the plates and dishes from the meal.
"Exactly, Blossom," Steven replied. "Fontaine knew what all of you wanted and needed. All of a sudden, he pops up just to solve all your problems."
Leaning back in his seat, Atticus continued to think about the situation. "I mean, Fontaine could have killed most, or all, of us when we were sleeping," he said, thinking out loud.
"Everyone listen," Melissa said, suddenly speaking up and bringing attention to herself, "I know it's risky, but Alchemilia deserves to pay after everything they've done. After we saw everything that happened in that — in that room, they ran us out and forced us into a crash while they had Chris locked up. They killed Savannah and tried to hunt us down, what's next? Are we going to do nothing when they kill one of us again? Whether or not we take the risk of going with Fontaine, we're all in danger anyways. Take this opportunity when you have the chance." Once Melissa finished, everyone paused for a moment as they considered the circumstances that got them to where they were now. Melissa's reminder of the room they had seen reminded and particularly disturbed Atticus and Marshall.
"I can see what you're getting at, Melissa," Chris added, "We could trust Fontaine, maybe. If we're with him for a while and he doesn't attempt anything suspicious, we'd know he has our best interest. Though, whatever choice we make, we should do it together."
"I have known Alchemilia Corporation longer than any of you have been alive," Li added, "If we wish to, you know, succeed, all of us will need to participate."
Atticus looked at Li. "But why do we have to do it? Alchem has caused nothing but trouble for us, sure. But we are nobodies, we don't have an army behind us. We don't run nations. Some of us barely remember who we are. It's just illogical for us to join this suicide mission."
Li looked at Atticus, nodding his head. "The truth is, if we don't do it, nobody else will."
Steven began to speak up after Li's comment. "Maybe no one else will, but I don't think this mission from Fontaine is the time. We don't know him well enough and if it's a trap, we won't have another chance. If we're going to do something like this, it's better to do it with someone we know properly and trust."
"You know, perhaps we do not have a choice," Chris said after some internal deliberation, "Alchemilia has been terrible to us, so I am definitely joining Fontaine. Granted, the last guy we trusted didn't go so well, but I still say we should at least take the chance. As Melissa said, things will be problematic under Alchemilia's thumb regardless. Through Fontaine, we can at least have a chance to protect ourselves."
"I think I should join the fight with you all, if you choose to go," Blossom said. "I know I don't know much about this, but an extra pair of hands couldn't hurt?"
Melissa looked at Steven and Atticus. "I'm sorry, but I am joining Fontaine because I am not going to let Alchemilia get away with killing Savannah or all the other things they've done."
Steven looked and Melissa and sighed. "Well, I guess I can't just let you go in without me. So, you can count me in too." Melissa smiled at her brother's resolve.
Marshall slammed his hand onto the table in frustration at what was happening. "Are you all kidding me? This is ridiculous! You're all gonna get yourselves killed! You're all going to die! What is wrong with you?!" he yelled. The boy continued and went on a brief rant at everyone's decisions, but those that agreed to go with Fontaine would not change their decision.
Sighing, Atticus shook his head, seeing the argument had already been lost. "Well, I guess we should call for Fontaine and let him know of our decision."
Beth and Richard Devlin
For the first time in a while, Richard Devlin was alone in the Laboratory of the Unexplainable as dawn cracked. He had hoped he could go with Steven to his former colleague's laboratory, but his schedule interfered with this plan. Richard sat alone in his bedroom, washing his knickknacks with a slightly damp cloth, as was his ritualistic routine once a month. Navigating through his drawers, he came across a framed photograph that caught his eye — him with a young Melissa and Steven. It was a bittersweet image to him, for it reminded him of a past that would not repeat itself.
After what seemed to be several minutes, Richard carefully placed the image back into his drawer. After a short sigh, the man walked over to his nearby end table. He removed the mug on it, and took a sip of his tea. Satisfied with the cup of warm tea, Richard prepared to leave his bedroom and head downstairs.
Beth sat down and situated herself at a computer in the laboratory's main hall. She quickly took off her backpack and placed it onto the table in front of her. After pressing a button on the computer tower in front of her, she searched through her backpack and pulled out a pink flash drive. The girl inserted it into one of the computer's slots as the monitor began to flicker on.
Once the computer turned on, Beth reached into her pocket and pulled out a wrinkled sheet of paper. As a desktop wallpaper of a rainy Silivian cityscape came into view, Beth saw an icon in the lower right of the screen that confirmed her flash drive was inserted. With everything set in place, Beth clicked on a desktop icon.
What proceeded to open was the laboratory's online server, a database that was supposed to be only accessible for Richard and Steven. Someone had left a copy of the password on the paper Beth was holding, and she was curious about what was in the database.
As Beth looked through files, she could see that the database was a storage of assistant records and a selection of scientific reports. The girl looked at records briefly and copied them to her flash drive, though she was far more invested in what the reports had to offer.
The reports Beth saw were a compilation of both finished and unfinished work — essays, statistics, and the like. She clicked through them for a few minutes, until she came across something that particularly interested her. Beth came across a 33-page report entitled "Red Atmospheric Phenomenon throughout Euclid," an incomplete thesis based on reports of a glowing red light said to have appeared in the sky throughout Euclid. Beth hastily saved the document and skimmed over it.
As she was reading, Beth heard a sound from within the silent laboratory. Footsteps. Crap. She quickly removed her drive and held down the power button on the computer, bolting for the door with her things.
Beth nearly made it to the exit, but she stopped when a voice called out from behind her.
"Beth?" Richard asked, looking at the girl with bewilderment.
The girl considered her options for a brief moment. She decided that it would be best to remain in the laboratory for the time being, since she did not want to cause more suspicious than she had to. Beth turned around slowly and confidently spoke up.
"Ah — morning, Dr. Devlin. I didn't expect to see you this early," she said.
Richard looked around the hall before responding. "I could say the same for you, Beth," he slowly replied, walking up to her, "You are quite early. May there be a reason for your timely arrival?"
"Well you, uh, know how I like to be on-time," Beth explained as the mood grew awkward, "I was just getting everything clean for today. Everything in its place, right?"
"Excellent, I suppose," Richard took a sip of his tea, analyzing the situation. This early in the morning, Richard thought, the doors should have been locked. "One quick question, did someone give you a copy of the keys? Usually, the doors would be locked at this hour, so that's kind of irking me."
Richard's inquiry made Beth worry for a moment, though she knew exactly how to answer his question. Beth smiled, reaching into one of her pockets and pulling out a laboratory key. She chose her next words carefully, for she was about to lie about where she got the stolen key. "Well — not you, but Steven gave me one. Just for routine check-ups in the morning."
Richard took a moment to eye the key Beth had presented. Red shading with a marker on the key indicated it was one in a set of copies produced by Richard. "Sounds about right. The place looks fairly tidy, so I guess you did a good job," Richard told Beth, somewhat satisfied with her explanation.
With her facade seeming to be a success, Beth prepared to take the opportunity to leave after Richard's remark. "I was just getting ready to go before you came in. So.."
"I guess you were, Beth. I was just about to work on a project, so I need to get going too." He held up his right hand after he finished speaking. "I'll see you later today."
"Bye, Dr. Devlin." She smiled as the man started to walk in the opposite direction. As Beth headed for the door, she took a breath as a wave of relief washed over her.
Samuel commenced his ascent up the laboratory's spiral staircase after leaving the others with Fontaine. Rather than concerning himself with plans for the destruction of Alchemilia, he focused on the dream of last night — Samuel had a particular capacity of remembering his dreams, so he was still focused and understanding what he had seen. To him, there was something very odd about what everyone saw that night.
Samuel arrived at the laboratory's second floor and returned to the room everyone slept in. After looking at the room of messy beds, Samuel walked over to a wooden filing cabinet. From a drawer, he pulled out a large purple book entitled Fluctus. The book was a passage on how Euclidean cultures have historically interpreted dreams.
After flipping through the book's aged pages for some time, Samuel came across a chapter entitled "Munese Tribes and Dream Eaters." This page had caught his attention, for he had read something similar before. According to the book, Munese Tribes had historically sung hymns and wrote of beings known as "dream eaters," creatures that terrorized other people by entering their dreams. Samuel continued reading on with interest for a while, though he suddenly came to a stop after a couple of minutes. Come on.. he thought, These are just legends, what am I doing?
The man closed the book and sighed, putting it back into the drawer. I need some sleep.
Samuel pulled a chair up to the cylinder-shaped device that was in the middle of the room, the Allucinor. He reached into his pocket, taking out a small jar of a yellow sedative and pouring it into the beaker on top of the device. After sitting in the chair and wrapping one of the Allucinor's wristbands around his arm, he pushed a button on the device and fell into a daze.
Endless white snow surrounded Samuel in all directions. When Samuel looked up, he could see that the sky transitioned between one that was clear and one that showered snowflakes. Mostly unaffected by the cold weather, Samuel took out and rolled the numbered six-sided die in his pocket. When he picked it up, he noted the mismatched letters and numbers that were now on each side of the die.
The pale sky was interrupted by something reminiscent of lightning, though silent and dark. It occurred alongside a figure quickly forming from the snow on the ground. The foreboding figure examined a twenty-sided die, levitating it above his fingertips.
Samuel looked at the figure — and he could only smile. Indeed, there was no fear in his eyes. "Years — years of research, has culminated to this. Speak," called out the man, as snowflakes that appeared to be steaming befell his shoulders.
"Really, I must thank you! It would have taken quite some time to get to Euclid had you not allowed us to bridge the gap..." The figure's form became clear as he stepped towards Samuel, walking on the snow without sinking into it. "You know what I'm going to have to do to you."
As the air seemed to grow hotter, as the footsteps approached the scientist — a slight tear formed in his left eye. Like a small pebble shattering a glass pane, the scene around them then began to crack. Each crack synchronized with the approaching footsteps. What revealed itself behind the gray curtain was a view of outer space — stars, galaxies, planets were all close and clearly visible. Samuel could feel his mind beginning to close in, with voices of the past clouding his thoughts. Despite this, he could only laugh.
"Guess my research was true. Richard would always tell me my work came with dangers." He paused, looking at the hooded figure. "Come visit me sometime."
A dark, swirling material began to envelop Samuel like bandages would wrap a mummy. "Goodbye, Samuel," spoke the figure. With this, Samuel could no longer see, hear, or feel.
Fontaine examined his knife as he approached the sleeping Samuel. His eyes began to flicker various different colors as he smiled, plunging the knife into Samuel's throat where no blood seemed to come out.
|Season One:||Awakening • White Room • Bare Trees • One Night in Gladea • Divided we Fall • Hide & Seek • Exit Music • Reunion • In Somnis Veritas • Carpe Diem • Ticking Clock • Primo Victoria (Part I • Part II)|
|Season Two:||Until Dawn • Roaming King • Safe Haven • Silver Lights • Marked Map • The Less I Know the Better|