Cara Riesling – 7 hours until impact
“Guys.” Valyria said suddenly, pulling something out of the filing cabinet, “Look at these.”
She handed a thick folder to Raygo and another to Cara. Probably because their names were on them.
Cara flipped hers open, trying to keep her jaw from dropping.
Detailed reports on her. From…before she was born.
“The experiments started a long time ago.” Valyria commented, her voice distant.
Measurements. Sketches. Descriptions of her actions, and the results of so-called ‘training’. She reached a page and felt her blood run cold.
Raygo had probably picked up on the fact that she was stock-still, and looked at her, concerned.
“Are you okay?”
“I…” she started, her knuckles going white from gripping the folder, “The scientists…experimenting on me…they were my parents.”
Raygo and Valyria both went quiet.
“Are you…sure?” Raygo asked slowly.
“Adam and Eva Riesling, conducting scientists. Adam and Eva Riesling, DNA donors.”
“Holy crap.” Valyria muttered, her sharp eyes softened with sympathy.
“Cara…” Raygo started, unsure of what to say.
“Don’t.” Cara replied, “I’m not going to explode, okay? You don’t have to walk on eggshells around me.”
“That’s not what I was going to say-“
“-No, but you’re thinking it. I just…I’m going to get some air.”
When Raygo looked like he might follow her, she paused.
Cara let out a long breath as she walked down the hall. She wrapped her arms around herself as her breath billowed in the air, her eyes frozen to the ground.
Her white surroundings had no pity for her. She was a disillusioned explorer moving through the brutality of an arctic wasteland.
Her parents, or the image of them, had somehow escaped her mind unscathed. They had been two god-like figures looming behind a curtain, faces obscured but hands outstretched. Parents that loved her, and would have fought fiercely, even to their last breaths, to keep her from becoming the monster she was.
But now…the curtain had been torn back. In the place of her loving parents were two lab coats, as unfeeling and unconcerned as the endless expanse of white.
It was almost fitting she was a monster. She’d been born from monsters.
She looked up, through a haze of bleariness, and found an array of metal objects revolving around her like a convoluted halo around a fallen angel.
Her parents had made her…into this. And then they’d left her to die.
Cara wanted the red-hot surge to rise in her chest. For the overpowering anger to fill the emptiness she had just discovered.
But it didn’t come. All she could feel was sadness.
She turned around, looking at Raygo with the beseeching innocence of a child.
“We’re going to keep moving.” He said quietly, starting to walk with Valyria.
Cara followed a few yards behind them, her eyes glued to the floor and the desolate planets revolving around her moving in a daze.
The folder was crumpling in her grip, but it was almost forgotten in her hands. That was, until her hands became too cold and it slipped from her fingers like life from an old woman.