Kya couldn’t stop her mind from racing, though her foot tried to distract her as it throbbed from the kick of the bus shelter followed by the long walk home. Despite lying down in her bed and putting it up on some pillows, the aching was endless. The towel wrapped ice pack was mostly melted after an hour of balancing on the end of her foot and the painkillers she had taken barely touched the overall ache.
She couldn’t believe how heavy her body felt, and was annoyed that she couldn’t just give in to her exhaustion and fall asleep.
Thoughts of Amelia and Elliot weighed heavily on her mind. Kya worried that they were both dead, and that there was nothing she could do. She tried, with some difficulty, to push such negative thoughts from her mind, and formulate a plan. She knew at best they were either trapped or injured. Unsure of where they were, or what state they were in, she knew she had to think her way through to a solution.
Kya tapped bullet point notes into her phone. It’s light illuminated her otherwise dark bedroom. She knew that she was not going to be respected by the authorities unless she found a way to get Supers. She knew that if she could get Supers, she could use them to find a way to help Amelia and Elliot. She also knew that getting time off work would make things easier. Writing a simple plan in her phone, she immediately felt better and it calmed her enough that she could finally fall asleep.
As she arrived at work, Kya felt confident that her plan from the previous night was going to work and that she was going to be able to help Elliot and Amelia. She took her phone out of her pocket, still disappointed that there was no response from Amelia, and she sent her friend a quick text.
>Hey Lia, hope everything is alright. I miss you. I have a plan… So, text me if you don’t need my help. Text me if you do. Just text me, okay?
She closed the application and looked at the notes on her phone. She made a mental note to read over her plan whenever her resolve would waiver, but immediately, upon seeing Don out of his office, she felt nervous that he knew she had been digging through the security files. Kya kept her head down and moved quickly, trying to slink by the crowd that included Don, Leonard, Jade and a few others from the IT department.
“Hey everyone, look who it is.” Leonard pointed at Kya with a mischievous grin on his face and everyone turned and looked. A spark shot from a nearby socket and hit Kya in the hand.
Kya’s hand went numb as the spark dissipated and a faint whiff of burning flesh wafted up and into her nose. Turning, she glared at Leonard.
Leonard resumed his attack on Kya, he stood straighter, continuing to boast, “I remember when I was that useless. Thankfully, for me, it was only a temporary state of being.”
The crowd roared with laughter, and Jade, who had been standing so close to Leonard that her hand occasionally brushed his, smiled. She wrapped her arms around Leonard’s shoulders and leaned into him.
The display was enough to turn Kya’s stomach. She sat in her task chair and opened her e-mail. She typed furiously.
I am requesting a sick leave of two days, tomorrow and the day after, to deal with some health concerns. Please confirm that this is okay.
Kya exhaled deeply and closed the email application. She checked her drive bays for orange lights, but there were none. The drives weren’t used overnight and it would still be several hours before the machines needed someone to tend to them.
“Hey, Kira!” Leonard called as he turned her computer screen off and on from across the room.
“You know my name is Kya.” She whispered to herself before turning to acknowledge Leonard.
“Don wants to see you!” Leonard said, with the same mischievous grin he had when Kya had been shocked.
As Kya was about to stand she got an email alert, and she decided to take a moment to read the response to her request. Her heart sunk before she had even opened the message, as it was a reply from Don Georgetown. Opening the message, it said nothing other than, Request Denied.
“Come on, Cara. We all know you don’t have any pressing work to do right now.”
Kya stood and walked over to the group of people.
Don grinned at her as she stopped at the far edge of the circle of people. With Don at one side, and Kya at the other, half a dozen people on either side were primed for their exchange. “I have a special project for you, and I will need you to be here two hours early tomorrow.”
Kya nodded, her mouth dry. “What is it?”
“Too much to go into right now, I am a busy man, you know.” Don Georgetown boomed. “Just be here early tomorrow. Now back to work with you!” He said, swatting his hand at Kya like she was an annoying bug.
Returning to her desk, she checked her cell phone, and noticed there was still no messages awaiting her. Opening up the messaging application on the phone, she typed to Mattea.
>Hey Mattie, please contact me. I know you’re still working, but as soon as you’re done, please. I’m having a really rough time right now, and I could really use a friend.
The rest of the day went off without a hitch. Kya ate her lunch in her cubicle, and only moved to switch around the hard drives in the massive arrays. She became slightly paranoid about attracting attention, especially more attention from her boss. Her brain crafted various scenarios. Some of her imaginings even had her being killed by Don in some horrible way.
As she left the building, a large weight seemed to lift from her shoulders. Her muscles ached from being so tightly wound, and she wiped a bead of sweat from her brow. The fresh air chilled her and she was anxious to get home. She tried to mentally focus on finishing her week at work, and then carrying out her plan.
The next morning, Kya arrived early for her shift. Yawning, she noticed that the only other person present, in the department, was her boss, and he had a smarmy grin plastered on his face.
“So, the new project is waiting for you in your area. Go and have a look.”
Kya walked around the corner and saw a large metallic object moving around in front of the drive bays. It was a large, robotic arm. It was nearly silent as it moved, picked up a blank drive, and placed it in an open slot. A screen next to the drive bays showed the request, and its fulfillment.
“State of the art. We had it installed last night. We wanted to make sure we had a backup for the machine’s first day, but after that, we won’t need you anymore.” Don gestured towards Kya’s cubicle, his words dripped with contempt. “You’ll find a small severance envelope on your desk. Not that you deserve it.”