Haru and K stood outside, watching the process take place when a woman pulling up in a red, black, and white sports bike caught K’s attention. She parked the bike and got off of it before removing her helmet. Her chocolate-colored hair draped down from under the helmet as she stared at the officers loading up Marckus before she walked into the building.
Haru noticed K staring at the woman from the corner of his eye but made no comment on it as he moved to get into the car. “Let’s go, K.”
K tore his gaze from the building entrance and walked from the front of the vehicle towards the driver's side and got in.
As soon as Beatrice entered the building she was met with the sight of Chief Armstrong and Jay talking.
“What I miss,” she said. The two looked at her.
“You’re late, again,” Armstrong responded as he glared at the woman.
“Sorry, won’t happen again,” she responded nonchalantly. Armstrong scoffed at her response.
“Yeah right," he responded as he turned and left the lobby.
Beatrice looked towards Jay. “What’s got his panties stuck in his ass?”
Jay sighed as he shook his head. ‘What am I going to do with this woman?’
“Go grab your things. We’ve got a girl we need to go find,” Jay said as he walked past the woman.
She watched him leave before muttering, “I just got here,” to herself.
The sun was setting over the city as the sun covered everything with an amber-orange glow. The pair pulled up to the pier and stepped out. They glanced around at a few of the docked boats.
“Any idea which one she could be in?” Beatrice asked.
“They said it was a small boat, more than likely,” Jay responded. The pair walked along the pier until They caught sight of a small figure sitting some distance away on the docks staring out at the water.
Anna sat at the edge of the dock looking out at the shimmering amber-orange water as she kicked her feet idly. Her right hand was gripping a Blue Pansy. The girl looked worn. Her eyes looked tired and heavy with bags and bruises littering her face.
A dirtied white shirt hung loosely on her form with black shorts covering her bottom. She stirred at the sound of footsteps approaching and turned excitedly around with a large smile on her face.
“Marck..” Her voice trailed off as she noticed Beatrice and Jay standing a few paces away from her. She looked at them with a mixture of confusion and trepidation. The pair could tell the girl had been through a lot. Jay's mind wandered back to the interrogation of Marckus and what he said about the girl's father.
Jay’s eyes met hers and he could feel the fear and pain hidden behind them. He put on the most convincing smile he could as he spoke to her. “Hey there sweetheart, are you Anna Daughtry?”
Anna continued to look at the pair in fear and silence. Neither were sure if she'd answer them. After a moment of hesitation, she slowly nodded her head yes.
Jay continued to smile. “Don’t worry we’re not here to scare you or anything. We came to take you somewhere safe.”
Beatrice stared on as Jay talked to the girl. He could tell she wasn’t buying it. Beatrice felt something pull at her. Something about this seemed hauntingly familiar.
“Are you friends of MarckMarck,” Anna asked hesitantly.
A look of confusion adorned Jay's face for a moment. ‘MarckMarck?’ He soon realized who she was referring to and decided to work with that angle in hopes it would get her to cooperate.
“You mean Marckus, right,” he responded.
Anna's face seemed to light up a bit at hearing his name. For a moment she didn’t seem like the tired and fearful girl she actually was.
“You do know MarckMark! Is he here with you!?”
Jay felt a ping of guilt flow through him. “N-no. He sent us here to get you.”
A look of disappointment adorned Anna’s face. “But. He said he would find me here.” Anna's voice dipped a bit lower. “He promised.”
The odd sensation in Beatrice's chest grew even more. Something about all this was really familiar. And it bothered her to no end. Those words. This feeling of pain and sorrow.
Jay continued to do his best to keep his farce of a smile on his face for Anna's sake. He didn’t want to tell the girl the truth. It would break her.
“He’s waiting for you back in the city,” he lied. It hurt for him to lie to this girl. Especially after all she has been through.
“No,” Anna suddenly shouted out. “He said he was going to find me, he said he was going to be here and we’d leave together! He promised!”
Her grip on the Blue Pansy tightened as tears began to fall down her face. A single petal fell from the limping flower.
Beatrice finally knew why she was feeling this way watching this girl as memories from her own childhood flashed through her head.
“You promise you’ll come back,” she heard her younger self ask someone.
“I promise, I’ll find you. I’ll be back, with your father too,” a man's voice responded to her younger self.
Jay looked sorrowfully at Anna. ‘I can’t do this,’ Jay mentally lamented.
“You see Anna,” he began. “Marckus uhm, he was involved in an accident, and uh the people who made him had to take him away to get fixed. He’s okay and I’m sure you’ll see him again. The people that made him just want to make sure he’s healthy.”
Anna didn’t seem to care as she cried harder and curled herself into a ball. More of the flower petals fell. “He promised,” she whimpered to herself.
Jay was overcome with guilt, feeling as if he played a part in all this. Even if it was a minor one. He carefully walked up to the crying girl and sat down next to her as he tenderly patted her back.
Beatrice stared at this with her own pain and sorrow swelling in her breast. But instead of seeing Anna. She saw herself in the girl's place. She felt something wet run down her left cheek.
A single tear was shed by the broken-hearted soul that lingered within.
Marckus woke in a dimly lit room and glanced around. He couldn’t see much of anything. He sat up and glanced around not seeing much of anything. A door opened to his left letting in a bright light from the world outside. He stepped outside and out onto a field of blue flowers.
In the distance, he saw Anna laughing and playing. Running behind her. He saw himself. They were happy. At peace.
He smiled before everything around him started to fizzle out and fade. A look of panic and confusion adorned his face as the world became dark. The flowers withered away into nothingness.
He stared out across the infinite black to see the form of Anna shimmering in front of him. She cocked her head to the side and smiled.
“Marckus looked down at her with confusion and fear as she slowly started to fade from her feet up.
“Anna,” he called but she just kept smiling and fading.
“ANNA! DON’T GO!” He reached out for her but it was too late. She completely vanished from his vision. “DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Back in the real world. Marckus stared blankly towards a metal floor. His body was strung up to a machine with wires running into his exposed cyber brain.
“Memory reset at 99.5% completion,” an automated voice spoke through the room. Haru stared up at the deactivated Auto Droid.
“Any idea what might have caused it to go rogue,” he asked.
The automated voice responded. “Negative, Mr. Tomaru. No viruses have been detected in C-077’s systems. No tampering has been detected. No remote hacking has been detected. Apart from the system instability brought on by its apparent newfound emotions. C-077 doesn’t appear to have any other issues that could have caused it to lash out.”
Haru narrowed his eyes at the strung-up machine. “Very well. Continue with the reset. If anything noteworthy comes up, notify me.”
With that Haru turned and left the room.