Collab between @Fox of Spades and @Ryver et Rhine
An insistent beeping sound pulled Kayla back from the edges of dreamland. Her black eyes popped open and subconsciously she began assessing every minute detail about her surroundings. She heard soft ambient music behind the grating alarm. The light was dim but it was bright enough for her to make out the dents and scratches lining the metal walls. Her fingers felt rough, stiff linen beneath her. The texture was similar to what she expected from the bedsheets provided in the AMRO bunkers. Curiously, she allowed her hands to fan outwards. It didn't take her very long to find the edges of the bed. There was about an inch and a half of cool metal separating the wall from the mattress. Sunken mattress, metal frame, metal walls - a sleep pod? Her hazy memories from the night before confirmed her conclusion and Kayla sighed with relief. Moments earlier, she thought she had been buried alive but she was glad she was wrong! She had no intention of dying so soon.
She tried going back to sleep when she caught a glimpse of the current time. The Unlinked sat up abruptly forgetting how low the ceiling was. Her head collided with metal and stars danced in her eyes. "Ow," she gasped, rubbing her head gingerly as she began tearing. Slowly, she exhaled. Inhaled and exhaled again. On the last exhale, she opened her eyes fully half expecting to see white mist coming out of her mouth but her breath remained invisble to the naked eye.
She couldn't help smiling, as she relished the fact she was far away from Hyder. That town along the Alaskan-Candian border was nothing short of a frozen hell! She alternated between cold and hunger in equal measures. No matter how much she ate, every ounce of it seemed to channelled towards keeping her body from turning into an ice cube.
Then again, if she were to be completely honest, that was nothing compared to the stress she and Audrey endured while trying to infiltrate the illegal fight club in Hyder. She allowed her mind to dwell a little longer on several hazy recollections about the mission before rolling onto her belly. Fisting her gloved hand, she knocked gently on the left wall. "Pssst, Aud. Aud! You awake?"
The sound of Kayla’s rapping and muffled voice was more than enough to wake her, and for a few confusing seconds, Audrey wondered what the hell she was doing in some cramped metallic cylinder. It took a few moments for her sleep-addled mind to put the pieces together, but when she finally realized they hadn’t been captured by rogues or stuffed into a coffin, she breathed out a sigh of relief.
The past three weeks had been stressful, but they were back at Innocence, safe, alive, and still kicking ass and taking names. She and Kayla had arrived last night and had practically passed out in their pods the moment they’d returned from their mission. It was the best sleep she’d had in a while, but the morning brought about mixed feelings.
She’d just returned, and already, she had another frigging mission already waiting for her.
Audrey pulled her pillow over her head and closed her eyes, contemplating on whether or not to ignore her friend and just go back to sleep.
The knocking continued and each new thump made her squeeze her eyes shut in annoyance.
Audrey rolled to her side and reached for the number pad on the left wall. She dialed in Kayla's pod number and waited for a holographic screen to appear on the wall. "I'm awake now,"
Audrey replied. "What?"
"I ..." Kayla began. She blinked slowly, realising what she almost blurted out. Saying "I'm glad you are alive" felt like she might be jinxing things. They were Asylums, AMRO's soldiers who risked their lives to keep the world safe from dangerous rogues, so expecting friends to die shouldn't be this upsetting. Shouldn't it? Friends, classmates and teachers - all of them were living on borrowed time. She nibbled her lip. "Second mission and we're still kicking, eh?" she spoke with a false cheer. "I'm glad we got out in one piece. Didn't even need to pop into the fish tank."
It was an accomplishment for two newbies out on the field. A very minor one, but she wasn't complaining. Kayla got up and sat crossed legged, as she continued facing the monitor while waiting for Audrey's response. The way she played with strands of wavy, black hair escaping her braid was proof she was still on edge even ten hours after the mission.
"I wonder if Isaac's as lucky. Haven't heard anything since we got back and he and Jesse were due back three days ago." Her black eyes pulled away from Audrey's intense gaze as if she were embarrassed for worrying about their former batch mates so much. "I dunno... what do you think?"
Audrey blinked dumbly as Kayla began rambling on about their mission and their supposedly missing friends. She wasn't the most intuitive individual out there, but Kayla had been her roommate back when they were struggling through training, and something about the cheer she was trying to project felt... forced.
The irritation from being woken up early left, and Audrey sat up and narrowed her eyes at the screen. The fact that Kayla was playing with her hair only hinted at how worried she really was. Audrey understood how Kayla felt. Despite trying to play everything cool, the mission had been stressful as heck. It was why she'd been on a perpetual sugar high during their time near the border. It had been both exciting and horrifying. "You're worried,"
she accused. "Isaac and Jesse can handle themselves. They'll be back. Like you said, we're alive, aren't we?"
She mustered up a grin for her friend's sake. "We kicked ass, Kayla. Those suckers never saw it coming. But yeah, don't worry 'bout them."
"Says you," Kayla shot back. "You're the one who kept saying that Jess owes you and if he died you're going to hell and punching him back to earth." Seeing Audrey raise her eyebrow increduously made the Hybrid burst out laughing. Kayla laughed so much that she practically doubled over and fell back onto the bed. "Aud, I'd love to see you try punching anyone back to life. I bet if ol' Lucifer would get a black eye stopping you." "I never said that,"
Audrey snapped. However, the silence that followed made the hazy memory grow increasingly clear. It was their second week on the job. They were freezing and her supply had consisted of only a few more candy bars and three packets of gum. Actually, she might have blurted out some of those things in desperation. The candy withdrawal she'd been going through made it hard to remember. That and the sleepless nights. "Okay, I guess Jesse does owe me some jawbreakers and soda. Still, you were the one getting all philosophical and mushy."
She tried to mimic her friend's voice before giving Kayla a smug smile. Speaking of missions, she had to leave for one soon and didn't want to think about it just yet. "We should go get breakfast,"
Audrey suggested in an attempt to change the topic.
"We haven't finish the report yet ..." Kayla reminded her friend. "First draft's due in two hours and the final draft tomorrow morning." She crossed her arms. "Can't breakfast wait? I don't wanna have any penalties.""But Kayla,"
Audrey whined. "Breakfastttt, we didn't eat anything when we got back yesterday."
Reports were the worst. They'd already gotten the job done. Audrey leaned forward to pout at the screen. "Can we at least write the report in the cafeteria?"
Kayla opened her mouth to protest but she never got a chance to say anything. Her stomach growled loudly, making Audrey smirk. Kayla responded by huffing just as loudly before crossing her arms over her chest. "Fine," she grumbled. "Just keep away from cereal and pancakes! I hate my keyboard getting all sticky.""Promise,"
Audrey replied swiftly. She drew back the curtains and made her way out of the sleep capsule. "Let's go get food!"