Chapter Fourteen:

Seraphim woke up on her chest and tried to look around. She was in a patent's outfit with her back and wings exposed much as if she was in some twisted hospital. Though she wasn't tied down, she couldn't move at all aside from some minimal head movement. Her wings were uncomfortably stretched outward and her body was in intense pain, but she couldn't move out of her position and she couldn't scream for some reason.

"This must be a dream," she thought.

The room, from what her blurred vision could see, was a pure white. She couldn't see any furniture other than the white steel table she was on, or any doors to enter through. She heard a whooshing noise behind her, followed by a soft woman's voice asking how she was doing in English.

The conscience tried to say "how do you think I'm doing," but found she couldn't speak at all.

The woman moved into view. She was dressed in a lab coat, t-shirt, jeans, and glasses to compliment her long red hair. She chuckled a little and pulled out a PDA.

"I see the intruder has been suitably affected by the chemicals inputted into her system," the lab tech said while the PDA recorded. "She seems to still be paralyzed and unable to speak."

She walked out of Sera's vision cone and came back with a needle. Barely looking at Seraphim, she poked the needle inside the conscience's skull.

"20:50 hours; the drugs to remove the paralysis from the subject's larynx, mouth, and tongue have been administered.

Seraphim continued to try to scream. For a few seconds, nothing came out. Then, she could speak again.


The woman looked up from her note-taking. "Subject is hysterical due to injuries received prior to initial treatment."


The door opened again. Seraphim could hear Usaka's voice.

"Calm down already. I could almost hear you screaming outside."

Sera stopped screaming, the pain was dying down. He moved into Seraphim's field of vision and knelt down to where he was looking inside her eyes.

"Now," he said, "that's better."

He looked at his prey. "Normally I wouldn't even be down here, but you know, this is a lot of fun."

He moved a mirror into position. Sera could see her twisted wings and battered face now. Her glasses were gone, as she had expected, but she looked like she had already been beaten badly. Her face was bloody and bruised and her wings looked like they would never fly again.

Seraphim opened her mouth to scream again, but was quickly silenced in fear as Usaka pulled out a tiny tool. Seraphim had no idea what it was, but the way Usaka looked at her while holding it terrified the seraph beyond screams.

"Now, my dear Agent Seraphim," the director of operations chided, "are you ready to tell me what the CEA is doing messing with the time-space continuum?"

"You bastard, what did you do to me?" the conscience sputtered out.

"Ah, still a little feisty, are we?" Usaka laughed. 'We'll take that right out of you."

He took the tool and moved it over to where the wings met the back. The device attached to the flesh and delivered a powerful stimulant which stretched out the twisted wings and painfully straightened them out. The feathers stood straight up.

"Remember what I said about how much fun it would be to tear off each feather one by one? Now I'm going to find out just how right I am…unless of course, you'd like to tell me what the fuck is going on. Not like you'll be flying anytime soon anyway, but hey, it's less painful my way."

"I'll be damned if I help you screw with the lives of the people of this country any further."

"Have it your way," Usaka said as he plucked the first feather. Seraphim grimaced in pain. Her body wanted to curl up and protect itself but the drugs in her system made that impossible.

"You won't stop me by not talking; you'll just make me take an unnecessary risk," Usaka said, plucking the second feather.

Seraphim let herself scream again this time, loud enough that those walking outside the room could hear the conscience's agony.

Inside, Usaka just laughed as the fifth and sixth feathers fell to the floor. His cell phone rang and he picked it up, granting Seraphim time to weigh her options.

A few moments later, Usaka hung up with a satisfied look on his face. "Well, the Idol didn't make it easy, but Nanasawa Kimiko is practically Sony's. Hayasaka Erika is sufficiently out of the picture, as well. Now all that's left are those Americans. We'll soon have our Idol."

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