“Ruin, this isn’t a research base; at least not in the usual sense.” The chief was looking around, absolutely mystified by what she saw.
Ruin was by a row of pods, staring at desiccated bodies in the pods and frowning. Whoever these people had been, they were not human. He turned to the chief. “We’re fighting and dying for a tomb, Chief. What the hell is this?” He gestured around at the dormant pods.
“Ruin, you are looking at one of the last plans the human government had near the end of war for preserving humanity. I should have known by the name; this base was basically a time capsule, storing people till they could be revived at a later date.” The chief had gone to a cluster of pods on the floor and was looking at one, her eyes wide.
“They’re all dead! What good does that do us? I—” Ruin was cut off as the chief was waving her arms, motioning for him to come to where she stood. She was excited and was almost screeching.
“Major, this one is alive, she’s alive!” The chief was dusting off the medical read out on the stasis pod, making sounds not unlike a teenager opening the perfect Christmas gift.
Ruin looked through the glass of the pod. The girl looked to be in her mid-twenties. She was very tall and well-muscled. However, her fair skin had faint markings, like stripes in silver. A tail covered in silver, downy fur snaked out through a hole in the back of her grey shorts. Her fingers had no nails, but had slightly puffy claw sheaths, like a cat. She had long, silver hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. There were no ears on the side of her head; instead she had large, round ears protruding from the top of her head, each covered in silver, downy fur ending in a tassel.
“Okay, what the hell is she, Chief? She’s not human.” Ruin had an inquisitive look.
The chief was excited. “Ruin that is a living legend. She’s a Neko soldier!”
“And she’s alive. I guess we can take her back if we can figure out how to transport the pod. For now, however, we have to find a database, because I refuse to leave this place without something of value.” Ruin looked annoyed.
“Gods, Ruin, she is one of the greatest discoveries in a thousand years; you already have something value! Her genetic makeup in itself is priceless. They’re immune to most disease. They’re strong, fast, and very intelligent, not to mention they were heroes!” The chief was still bouncing, and very excited.
“Chief, we can get her out of here but we need data—” Ruin had spun away from the pod and stopped talking because as he turned, the barrel of his Raptor smacked up against the pod’s control panel. He heard air rushing somewhere and a computer cheerfully speak.
“Stasis module six zero seven nine is waking occupant. Molecular stabilization suspended. Occupant’s vitals returning. Brain activity returning to normal. Good evening, Lieutenant Miya Harakuro. Please remember to take it slow till your body recovers completely. Remember, the 406th Airborne is counting on you.”
As Ruin turned around, he saw the pod’s door lift open. The chief was backing away. The person inside had sat up and was wiping at her face, like someone waking up with a really bad hangover. She was completely silent, and then coughed a couple of times. She slowly looked up at Ruin, then the chief, then back to Ruin, and began a guttural growl. Her red-slit pupils narrowed and her ears flattened out on her head. Suddenly she was up, squatting on her feet, balancing on the end of the pod, her tail snapping back and forth. Her lips were pulled back over her teeth, showing off an impressive set of fangs.
The woman had extended her claws from her fingers on both hands. The sound she was making was a mournful, wailing type of sound, one of profound sadness, anger, and loneliness—more animal than human. The Neko looked around at the dark stasis pods, realizing they were all dead.
Ruin had both his hands up, trying to show her he was no threat. He spoke to the creature, “Whoa there, lady, we’re not going to hurt you. Why don’t you put those claws away and talk to us?”
Abby, the base’s AI, watched on. If she had a stomach, it would be twisting for her friend. But AIs could cry, and cry she did. Miya, for her part, was mostly not there. Being in stasis for so long she was having trouble waking up; her animal half was taking care of her.
“It’s okay, Lieutenant. That man is Major Robert Choinard. I am Chief Warrant Officer Amber Rohm. We’re with the Black Watch. You have been asleep for a long time, but we would like to help you if we can.” The chief smiled without showing teeth, not knowing if it would be taken as a threat gesture.
Miya sat there, looking at them both, one then the other. She still had what amounted to a thousand-yard stare, but one could see the wheels turning in her head. Tears ran down her cheeks as she saw the pods around her. She sheathed her claws and rubbed her temples. The chief felt for the woman.
“Ruin, she’s probably frightened. Obviously her head hurts. I think she has stasis sickness. She’s running on pure adrenalin and animal instinct, and if she does understand us, it’s only in a rudimentary fashion.” The chief continued, “Give her time. Neko soldiers were smart. She’ll pull through it, and might show us where to get some data in this place.”
“Okay, Chief, you’re right—” Ruin’s sentence was cut off as a thundering explosion again rocked the mountain, causing dust to fall.
Miya leaped from the pod blindingly fast, claws out, shrieking like a wildcat. She hit Ruin so hard the servos in his suit couldn’t stop him from falling. As he fell she yanked Ruin’s combat knife from his waist and only said one word, “Shinu!” apparently Japanese for “DIE!” She began to try to sink one foot of dragon steel into Ruin’s face.