"S-Processor Neuro Labs. The last of the facilities I was supposed to destroy yesterday…." Mikoto mused, her eyebrows scrunched up in confusion as she scoped out the facility through her binoculars.
Said facility was was oddly shaped, as many research facilities were, to accomodate for the labs within it, with multiple bridges connecting the various smaller blocks that split off from the main building. Mostly windowless, it looked mildly out of place amongst the glass skyscrapers around it, being a relatively short and squat structure.
It was the last of the facilities left through which the Level 6 Shift project was running, the last of the facilities that facilitated the sequential murder of her sisters.
"Something is not right here….. No one is going in or out...and it's a weekday too...a holiday? But no, there are no guards either…."
Mikoto lowered the binoculars, confused. "Something is just not right…."
"Well, maybe I just can't see the activity from this far? Some cloaking tech?" she speculated, feeling stupid even as she thought of it.
Shaking her head, she started to slowly make her way towards her planned point of entry, a bit of wall that had an inconspicuous service entrance to the main building, carefully erasing her traces from every camera she could detect.
As she got closer, it became even more apparent that there was no one at the facility that day
"This is even more suspicious. On top of no one going in or out, and no guards or security being up, none of the electronic devices inside are powered? Is this a trap?" She thought as she cautiously looked around a corner, eyeing eight foot tall wall around the facility's perimeter, the wall topped by a barbed wire fence.
She scaled the wall, magnetically sticking herself to the rebar within the walls and using them as handholds so to speak, landing near the service entrance as she had planned, her eyes on the keypad which kept the door locked.
"Even this is inactive?..." Her eyebrows scrunched up in suspicion and confusion as she sent a burst of charge into the system, unlocking the door.
"Lights shut off…...is there really no one in the facility?" She thought, peering in cautiously, still wary that it was a trap to lure her in, her paranoia at an all time high given yesterday's battle against the Meltdowner.
"I really hope I don't come across her again…." she thought with a shiver. "The sheer destructive power….. If it weren't for all the bombs the barrette girl left lying around I don't think I could have won"
She shook her head of the errant thoughts, sending another pulse ahead of her, and getting nothing in response, causing her paranoia to ratchet up even higher
She slowly made her way to the room, despite having nothing blocking her way, with even the cameras having been turned off. Every unopposed step made her more paranoid, and by the time she reached the control room, with nothing barring her way, she was almost entirely convinced that someone was waiting for her on the other side of the door.
Completely tense, she pulsed the lock on the door, fully charged, ready to blast the person on the other side with a bolt of lightning.
The door opened with a hiss, revealing…
"The room is empty?" she thought, sighing and releasing the built up charge through a convenient plug point, probably blowing a few fuses in the system. The opened door revealed an empty room, with a bank of consoles to access the mainframe powered off.
"Something is definitely up…"
She booted up the mainframe, brute forcing her way through the security protocols, trying to find the information she needed.
A few minutes of random browsing through the system confirmed what she thought had happened, but felt too unreal for her to actually accept.
"So there really is no one here ...and all the information has been erased?"
Confused and suspicious, Mikoto pulled out her data pad, the system too small and weak on its own to really qualify as a computer, but good enough for casual browsing, and hit up a search on the lab.
"They filed for bankruptcy three days ago?" Mikoto thought, scratching her head.
"Did I actually force them...to retreat?"
Mikoto left the lab, cautiously erasing all traces of her break in, and then started to walk around aimlessly, her thoughts awhirl.
"This feels unreal. Did I...actually stop them?" She pondered as she walked into one of the many parks that were littered around Academy City, kept scrupulously clean by it's army of bots.
"Did I actually... win?" She whispered out loud, sounding disbelieving even to herself.
"This feels so unreal….."
Mikoto continued to walk, her thoughts dwelling on the experiment, and the naiveté that caused it.
She bit her lip, harshly. "Whatever happens, nothing changes the fact that I caused the death of all of those sisters. I allowed the experiment to run in the first place."
She bit her lip harder, nearly drawing blood, forcing herself to remain calm.
"But at the very least ...they won't have to die anymore for this madness….." she reflected, feeling a weight she hadn't even known was there lifting, the tension and anxiety of the past few weeks slowly starting to dissolve.
She was broken out of her runimantions by a loud exclamation of despair to her right.
She scowled, ready to verbally blast the person who was being so rude, turning on her heel, and unconsciously falling into an aggressive stance.
"Wait a second, it's that moron" Mikoto thought as her eyes widened in recognition of the head of unnaturally spiky hair.
"Wait is that my vending machine?" She thought, with a growing sense of amusement, "Did he feed money into it?"
Just as she was about to move to help the poor soul (and maybe take some pleasure in his pain), a voice she hoped never to hear again called out from behind her.
Mikoto froze, the dread and tension that had slowly been draining out of her all this time coming back in full force.
Mikoto turned back around to see her own face, dressed much like her in her own uniform down to the socks she wore, brown wide eyes, and choppy brown shoulder length hair.
The illusion was broken, however, by the military goggles that the clone was wearing on the top of her head.
"I wonder what Onee-sama is doing, moving in such a predatory manner towards that poor boy, Misaka says as she attempts to crack a joke," the clone said, monotone as always.
A random part of Mikoto wondered if that habit of vocalizing what they ought to be feeling was programmed into them by some researcher who found the lack of insight, of empathy, unnerving.
Mikoto surged forward, wrapping an arm around the clone's shoulders, and started to forcibly drag the clone away from the spot, to somewhere more private, where she could talk to the clone, and find out just what she was doing out and about.
"Onee-sama, wait, stop dragging me, Misaka says as she attempts to-"
"Oh, shut up and just come along." Mikoto said, gritting her teeth.
Mikoto dragged the clone into one of the maze of alleys between the buildings of the city, turning at random so as to make sure that they would be alone.
The clone followed silently.
Mikoto stopped as they reached a dead end. Satisfied that they were mostly isolated, she let out a pulse of energy to short out any cameras around them.
She then turned around to face her clone.
"What are you doing out in public?" Mikoto asked, now starting to get mildly annoyed. They should know better than to just walk around in broad daylight.
"I am preparing for experiment number 10021, Misaka says as she explains herself concisely,." she said, expressionless as usual, causing Mikoto's eyes to widen in horror at the exact words she just heard. "I was on the way to my next objective when I saw you, and thought I should greet you, Misaka says as she attempts to explain herself."
"Experiment ...10021?" Mikoto asked, a suffocating feeling in her chest intensifying with every word she heard.
"Affirmative. The Level 6 Shift Project is fully on schedule, Misaka states as she tilts her head in confusion," she answered matter-of-factly, tilting her head in a motion that came off as being mildly robotic in nature.
The suffocating feeling continued to rise in Mikoto's chest, and she slowly sank down to the ground, back against the wall, cradling her head in her arms.
"The destruction of the labs didn't help. They must have had other facilities, hidden facilities, to carry out their research. But where are they? How do I find them?" The suffocating feeling in her chest becoming almost painful now.
"How do I save my sisters?" Her heart feeling like it was about to burst out of her chest
"How do I save my sisters?" She thought, as her chest refused to expand
"HOW DO I SAVE MY SISTERS?"
"Are you alright?, Misaka asks as she expresses her concern," the clone said, leaning down in front of her, watching as her breathing became shallower.
Seeing her face, however, triggered a memory of the first night, the night she saw her sister being dismembered by that monster, the night she saw her sister being crushed by a train carriage.
The sound of metal crushing flesh, the wet squelch of a limb being mercilessly torn off.
"S-stop it..." Mikoto said, trying to shut out the images, the sensations.
The metallic tang of blood, oh so much blood, filling the air.
"G-get away from me..." Mikoto stuttered, scooting away in panic and fear.
"Onee-sama?" the clone asked confused.
"STOP CALLING ME THAT, STOP USING MY VOICE!" Mikoto finally screamed, her eyes wild.
The clone rose up, giving no hints as to what her thoughts were.
"As you wish, Onee-sama," she said, and simply walked away, for once, not qualifying the statement with whatever it was she was thinking at the moment, and walking out of the alley.
The words, toneless and emotionless cut through Mikoto's thread of thought, leaving her gaping, but still unable to move as her sister walked away.
"What...did I just do?" She thought, her chest still painfully tight.
"AAAAHHH!" She screamed, punching the wall next to her hard enough to bruise her knuckles.
"I am the worst." She cursed herself, tears welling up in her eyes but refusing to fall, feeling bad for what she said to her sister, but at the same time, unable to bring herself to face her and apologize.
Unable to actually look at that emotionless face with its blank eyes and...
She shuddered, and took a deep breath, forcing herself to focus, to not think about what had just happened.
"Well, they must have found another facility to run their research from. Just need to find and destroy it." Mikoto thought, shakily getting up to her feet. "Now let's just find that out and we will be golden….."
"One hundred and eighty three facilities?!" Mikoto thought, scrolling through the list that her data pad, hijacking the resources of a nearby terminal, was showing her. "How on earth did they get so many so quickly"
"The only way they could do that is…."
"Huh...I really have been a complete idiot….."
"How could I not realize?" She thought, her eyes somber with realization.
"In this city, constantly under satellite surveillance, it's impossible to conduct such experiments in broad daylight and have them remain secret. Which means the upper management of Academy City is complicit…."
"Which in turn means...the entirety of Academy City...is my enemy?" Mikoto thought, the suffocating feeling from earlier rising up in her chest, stronger than ever. She leaned against the wall of the booth, her legs suddenly unable to support her weight, and slowly slid down against it.
"How do I stop the experiment? How do I save my sisters? Should I try to destroy more labs? But won't they just move to another facility? They just did that. So I have to destroy everything? But no, that's not viable, I can't raze the whole of Academy City to the ground…" She thought, cradling her head in her arms.
With each passing moment, the suffocating pressure in her chest mounted, her breath getting shorter and more laboured.
"What do I DO?!" she thought, clutching at her hair desperately. "If Academy City itself is my enemy…..What can I even DO!?"
A couple of hours later found Mikoto back in her dorm, wearing her pajamas and lying on her bed, clutching her old, tattered, ugly bear, with the sound of water running in the background as Kuroko took her bath for the night.
She barely remembered the journey back, her mind completely consumed by trying to think of various ways to try to get the project to stop.
"Do I go against the mastermind? But no, if it's Academy City that's running the project, fighting will serve no purpose, the seed has already grown into a tree, a forest even"
"Besides, who can even think of such an idea…."
Mikoto started, coming to a sudden realization.
"An existence with no sense of morality, only cold logic. Could it be….."
"No, I can't. Academy City has basically been ignoring my interference to keep the existence of this quiet." She thought, hugging her old, tattered bear with the eye patch closer. "Which means…if I go after that, if I go after the Tree Diagram, they won't be able to ignore me any more."
"That will make me a wanted fugitive..." She clutched her ragged bear even harder, nails digging in deep.
"Onee-sama, the bath is ready for you!" Kuroko called, walking over to her desk, combing her hair as she did so, giving her a concerned look when the brunette didn't respond to her call.
"Will I have to go up against the city forces? Anti-Skill?"
"Judgement?" Mikoto thought, her mouth going sandpaper dry at the thought of having to fight against Kuroko. Sweet, naive, creepy yet loving Kuroko, in her ever present drive to see justice done, and against the quiet and soft Uiharu as well
She rolled over, missing the concerned look that her pigtailed roommate shot her.
"But what if that's my only choice….."
Mikoto looked up again, a bemused expression on her face.
"Look at me, murderer of ten thousand people, thinking about living a normal life." She thought, nearly bursting out into hysterical laughter.
"Hey, Kuroko." Mikoto said softly, without turning over.
"Yes Onee-sama!" Kuroko said, sounding as always, nearly delirious at even the slightest bit of attention, even after all this time.
"S-suppose, hypothetically, I did something bad, something irreversible to Academy City. What would you do?" Mikoto asked, throat dry.
Kuroko paused for a second, a thoughtful expression on her face, chin resting on her palm.
"Well if you are referring to how you vandalize that poor machine everyday to get a few drinks, you could just...stop?" she replied.
"Not that Kuroko," Mikoto said, irrationally irritated by the response and lack of understanding. "Besides, it took ten thousand yen of mine when I was still a freshman, it's fair game." She muttered rebelliously.
She took a deep breath, centering herself.
"No, I meant something more serious. Something that could throw the whole of Academy City into disarray."
There was another pause, this one more pregnant.
"I have no idea why you would ask that, Onee-sama. But if someone were to disturb the peace of the city, be it you or anyone else, what I have to do will not change." She replied, her voice sharp, serious.
Mikoto chuckled, with no humour in her tone.
"Never change Kuroko, never change." The girl said, forcing herself to shut her eyes, ignoring the concern she felt flowing over from her roommate, her resolve now set on what she needed to do.
"I cannot allow any more of my sisters to die" she thought, ignoring the dread pooling in her chest, the familiar feeling rising up again, "If my normal life is the sacrifice that it demands, then so be it."
The next morning, Mikoto woke up early, before the dawn, unable to sleep. She snuck out of the dorm, leaving Kuroko softly snoring at her bed. She snuck out of the dorm, stumbling aimlessly around the city for a bit, trying to figure out what she was going to do next.
"While it's all well and good to think about it, I don't think I can actually destroy the Tree Diagram itself, not while its in orbit." She thought, draping her arms around a railing, staring sightlessly into the afternoon sky.
"One hundred and eighty three..." Mikoto muttered. "Even if I took out ten facilities a day, it would take me almost three weeks to actually clean them all out, and I definitely will be noticed doing so... And how many more of my sister's will die in those weeks….."
"Hmm... I just need to delay the project, force them to reconsider…" She thought, looking up, noticing the weather blimp floating into her line of sight.
She glared hatefully at the predictions it displayed, predictions based on the calculations of the same thing that had ruined her life.
"I just need to make them pause, to throw them into confusion for a bit…" Her mind raced with ideas, and for an irrational instant she wondered whether it would be worth it to shoot down the blimp with a railgun.
"Let's do this then."
An hour later she found her at the bus stop in District 23.
The stop itself was surrounded by wide open fields with large, black tarmac marking the various runways that made up most of the district.
It served as a stark contrast to the sheer urban-ness of the other districts of Academy City, which rose both high above the ground and in many cases, several levels below it as well.
She stared at the chain link fence lining the perimeter of one of the runways, two bots standing guard in front of one of the side entrances to it close to the bus stop.
She cautiously looked around to see if there was anyone about, and then sent a pulse towards the bots, temporarily scrambling their systems while she vaulted herself over the fence.
Once past the main fence, Mikoto rapidly made her way to the relay facility.
The Tree Diagram, being in geocentric orbit above Academy City, used a facility to relay the data to it from Academy City, and for security all communications were routed through the same relay, located within one of the many facilities in District 23.
"I just need to tamper with the source code and force them to redo a calculation on the experiment using my interaction with Accelerator as the catalyst. Then force an error message to pop up and make them doubt in the machine's calculations." Mikoto thought as she ran along the perimeter wall of the relay facility, its huge dish dominating the skyline, using the rebar again to serve as anchors to guide her along, conveniently allowing her to stay out of sight of the cameras focused on the ground.
"Well, it's not like they won't find out when they rerun the simulation again." She mused as she touched down right next to the entrance, conveniently bypassing all of the perimeter defenses. "But that will at least buy me enough time to shut this thing down once and for all"
She sent a pulse through the mechanism of a side entrance, forcing it open and making her way in.
She was however, greeted by a hallway lit with what she recognized as emergency lighting
"This part of the facility is shut down?" She thought, bemused, making her way in deeper.
However, even as she approached the main parts of the facility, the lights remained off, the sensors and cameras inactive.
"There doesn't even seem to be anyone here ...Has this facility been abandoned too? Or is it another trap for me?" Her eyes scanning the surrounding area, frowning in confusion, biting her lip nervously as she looked for the trap she was certain was waiting for her, her paranoia ratcheting up higher as she moved in deeper.
"This doesn't make sense." She ranted in her mind, forcing the main lift leading directly up to the main control room, open. "Even if this facility was abandoned or is a trap, there is no reason to allow me to penetrate this deeply. Something is very, very wrong"
She cautiously made her way out of the lift. Despite not coming across anything, her paranoia was back at maximum.
"The main control room...is empty? At this time of the day?"
She cautiously entered the room, confused.
"The main console is active and running but….."
She ran a finger along the edge of the console, "This thick layer of dust...it hasn't been used in a while…. But why?"
Mikoto shook her head. "I don't have time for this. I need to do my job and get out. I can ponder upon this later."
Forcing her doubts aside, and ignoring the paranoid side of her saying that she was at the wrong place, she brought out her datapad and jacked into the network, forcing her way in, and started to rapidly navigate past the various menus and screens.
"Let's see…..Uploads …..Uploads….Huh?"
"Zero Uploads? What? Doesn't the Tree Diagram get hundreds of requests everyday?" She questioned, navigating to the upload queue.
"But no, the requests are being made...yet, none are being processed? Why?"
She started attempting to navigate to the system logs, and was asked for a password
"Get out of my way" Mikoto spat, irritated, brute-forcing past the firewall.
She navigated her way to the most recent one, dated July 28th, nearly three weeks ago.
"July 28th: 00:22- The Tree Diagram has not been detected at its predicted orbital position, nor can we establish a connection to the satellite.
July 28th: 01:15- First Response team has been dispatched
July 28th: 03:40- Portion of the remnant has been successfully recovered. First Response Team reports that the Tree Diagram had been destroyed and has ceased to function."
"The Tree Diagram has been...destroyed?" Her mind stuttering to a complete halt.
Once she was out of the facility, her mind was able to focus on the pertinent question.
"The Tree Diagram...is destroyed? But how? An enemy weapon? Space debris?" She thought, barely noticing where she was going, her feet taking her wherever they could.
"But no….that's not the problem here is it? The problem is that I just lost the last means for me to delay or thwart the experiment. If it's continuing despite the loss of the Tree Diagram, that means I have no options left..." Her feet slowly came to a halt.
"I have nothing left…..
She stared up at the sky, her eyes blindly following the shape of a plane rising into the air, her mind blank, unable to come up with a single viable idea.
"I have to start putting down the remaining facilities."
"I have to do something"
She ignored the part of her screaming at the futility of her course of action.
That her Sisters were doomed to die no matter what she did.
"There was a facility in this district right?" The girl tossed those thoughts aside, scrambling to occupy her mind with anything else but this looming feeling of dread, of hopelessness.
Her face twisted into a humorless grin, an expression closer to a grimace.
"Might as well burn it down while I'm here…"
"Your Identity code cannot be verified," came the voice over the PA system, an army of security bots rushing out of the hallways towards her. "Unauthorized personnel are not allowed in this area. Please allow yourself to be-."
Mikoto let out a surge of electricity, overloading all of the bot's systems, cutting off the speakers and melting the insides of the army of bots in front of her.
"Get out of my way," She growled at the growing number of glorified trash cans that stood in her way, her face completely devoid of any mercy for the robotic security.
She walked past a couple of hallways, when suddenly a bot rushed towards her, a series of small arms extended, aggressively chopping at her.
She grabbed the bot in a magnetic grip, throwing it through the concrete wall, it's battery puncturing on the way out, causing a small explosion, peppering her with hot debris that she barely noticed, sparks escaping around her to form a terrifying visage.
"An explosion? Wha…"
"O-oh God…..It's her!"
She barely noted the panicked screams of the few scientists who had now taken notice of the approaching girl, her mind focused solely on her task.
She walked deeper into the facility, throwing bolts of energy at any system that looked important, destroying banks of servers, routers, equipment.
"It's not over yet"
She threw another bolt of lightning.
"I cannot give up. Not while I still have sisters to save."
"I just need to destroy them all. Everyone involved in this project now, and everyone who will ever be involved in it." Pieces of debris continued to rain around her, as she continued her destructive stroll through the building.
"EVERYTHING!" She screamed within her mind as she let out a concentric blast of energy,.
"I will destroy everything! Their equipment, their funds, their ambitions. I will BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND!" Another server bank met it's explosive end with a crack of her electric whip.
"Then maybe one day…"
Her walk halted for a moment, a hysteric giggle threatening to spill from her lips as the destruction continued to envelop more of the site.
"One day? Do you really think such a day will come? And how many more of your sisters will have to die before you reach that day?" Came the traitorous thought, the thought she had been trying to suppress, the truth she had been trying to ignore
"SHUT UP!" She screamed, clutching at her hair desperately, almost pulling it out as she let out another blast of electricity, barely missing the many fleeing people trying desperately to keep their lives.
"THEN WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO!? WHAT OTHER WAY DO I HAVE LEFT!?" She screamed out, trying to drown out the thoughts in her head, letting out another blast of lightning, the lights and screens blowing out in response.
A small movement caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. She turned to the nearly destroyed bank of screens, with a few having miraculously survived her rampage.
And on the screen that had caught her eye was one of her sisters, missing her shoes, lying face down in some dirty alley, her left side soaked in blood.
Mikoto walked towards the display, drawn forward almost forcefully, unable to tear her eyes off of it, watching as the clone tried to get up, her face determined, letting out a bolt of energy only for it to be reflected back upon her, causing her body to convulse and collapse a moment later.
"S-stop…" Mikoto whimpered, as she watched Accelerator walk onto the screen, his mouth moving silently.
"N-no..." Her voice came out like a whisper, as her body leaned even further forward, drawn against her will as Accelerator hunched toward the downed clone, and stuck his finger into the bleeding wound on her sister's arm.
"S-St…" She started to say, arm rising towards the screen, trying to hopelessly reach out and stop what was about to happen, or to subconsciously shield her eyes as the body of her sister popped like an inflated balloon, throwing guts and blood in every direction.
The feed was quickly painted red with the blood.
Her mouth fell open in shock, her eyes glued to the image of red covering the large screen.
Her willpower failed her as her knees met the floor. Pained sobs turned into cries, those cries into wailing moans of pure despair.
Mikoto knelt against the bank of screens, her tears having finally run out, her mind once again turning back to the project itself.
"The Level 6 Shift Project.." She muttered, "By killing the Railgun in one hundred and twenty eight battle scenarios, the top ranked esper, Accelerator, will achieve Level 6…"
"The simulations all predict that I will be able to survive a maximum of one hundred and eighty five moves in an all out fight against Accelerator…." she thought, her hands on the edge of the platform on which the screens rested, her eyes on the ground.
"But what if…. I lost on the first move…" she mused, "What if I completely destroyed the base assumptions of the project, make it look like a complete waste of time….."
"Huh ...so that's what I need to do..." She muttered, slowly rising up.
"All I need to do….. is die." With that final thought ringing in her head, she carved an exit out of the facility, unbothered by the raging alarms and cries of panic still resounding throughout the building.
Mikoto walked, her mind awhirl, trying to think of more ways she could save her sisters, and her mind returning to the same point every single time, every iteration further convincing her that it was the only possible way left.
That proving the base assumption of the entire simulation was flawed was the only way forward.
She barely noted where she was going, her feet on autopilot. She didn't notice the crowds thinning out as it got late, she didn't note the general announcement signalling the start of curfew.
She continued to walk, slowly coming to a stop at the middle of a bridge. Her head turned towards the edge, peering down at the dark water framed by the shadow of the moonlit bridge.
"Since the Tree Diagram is destroyed, there is no way for them to simulate the experiment again…." Her thoughts continued, eyes still on the flowing water, her chin resting on her arms as she stared into the depths. "So if I prove it's base assumption wrong, there is nothing they can do to recalculate the results…."
She swallowed thickly.
"Why did it have to come to this…." she thought, trying to swallow the tears that threatened to fall.
"Is there really no other way to prevent this?...No other way that doesn't require more sacrifice?" The tears welled up out of her control, verging on the brink of rupture.
"Somebody...Help me." She whimpered desperately, as the pent up tears started to fall.
"Somebody, save me..." Her words fell on deaf ears. Hopelessly reaching out to the world to give her a way out. A method that doesn't need the death of a helpless, crying girl.
"God I am so pathetic" Mikoto thought, her tears having once again dried out, leaning against the railing of the bridge, staring down into the dark depths below.
"Here I am, crying like a little baby while my Sisters sacrifice their lives for the sake of some megalomaniac..." She thought in disgust, more so about herself rather than the monster killing her sisters..
"20:15" Her bloodshot eyes turning to the clock on her phone.
"The next experiment is in fifteen minutes", Having long since memorized the entire schedule in her obsession to bring the experiment to an end, she knew exactly when it would start.
She quickly brought up the GPS on her phone, for once regretting the fact that she had bought a simpler flip phone, just for the Gekota casing it had.
"It's not too far off from here" She thought, ignoring the dread pooling in her chest, forcing herself up on shaky legs, putting up a foolishly brave front.
She started to walk towards her destination, a railway yard a couple of kilometers away, her resolve strengthening with every step, pushing down her doubts and fears, using one mantra to solidify her decision.
"This is the only way." She told herself, ignoring the tightness in her chest.
"This is the only way." She thought, ignoring her shaking hands and laboured breathing.
"This is the only way." She believed, as she walked towards certain death.
So welcome to my newest story, one which I am actually surprised and sad to see hasn't really been explored in the way I wanted it done.
Before people jump in pitch forks, no, I am not cutting Touma out of the plot. However, I am cutting him out of Sisters, and intend to see how that will affect all of it's players, and the overall plot of the wider Index universe.
At this point, novels upto NT22R have been published. So I might end up excluding stuff that becomes super relevant later, but I doubt that is a problem right now, this early into the story.
So, a huge round of applause for my Beta, Lilac, from the KL discord server. Holy crap did he help me a lot, the first chapter would have been a flaming pile of shit worse then the Gamer fic if it were not for him. Thanks a lot bro!
Kitsunerei88 helped me write some of the more emotional bits, and helped me conceptualize a lot of reactions in the story, despite never having seen or watched anything in the raildex universe. So thanks kit!
Credits to a couple of people who shall remain unnamed, who helped me by relating rather personal experiences regarding panic attacks, which helped me in a lot of ways.
Also, credits to Silverfang88 for coming up with the title of the story.