Hello again! Got another fun comic crossover today.
All characters from M9 Girls are copyright Raúl Trejo (Rulopotamo).
Sifo Kubek’s personal log
24 May 2089
I submitted my official report this morning on the events of the past few days. There were some things that I just couldn’t share, for obvious reasons, so I’ve decided to rewrite the pertinent points here, along with other personal notations.
I received an assignment from HQ to take the Paladins to Kulanak to rout some raider who’d been spotted in the area. It was a fairly straightforward assignment, so I delegated most of the planning and preparation to my lieutenants to give them a chance to lead. They did well, and we were briefed and loaded into the transports within 30 minutes of receiving the assignment.
I won’t get into too many details of the encounter. Armored as we were, it was a simple matter to outflank the raiders and take them out with our superior firepower. The one peculiarity was the presence of this strange girl along with an interesting piece of technology. She obviously wasn’t local, and seemed confused about what was going on. Brave lass, though. She was standing her ground against several combatants when I spotted her, hand extended as if to ward them off. Don’t know what she would have done if I hadn’t shot the lot of them.
Afterwards, I picked up the strange bit of tech, a small circular device, and walked over to the girl. She looked frightened, especially when she saw the device in my hand, and surrendered before I even said anything. I hadn’t really planned on taking her in, but the combination of her strange behavior and the odd device warranted at least a debriefing.
We got her back to HQ with no problem and assigned her temporary quarters while we investigated the device and prepared to debrief her. I assigned Private Lawrence to keep an eye on her while I delivered the device to Glaucus and got cleaned up. I probably should have realized that wouldn’t be a good fit, but at the time I didn’t think much of it.
The secretaries down at Glaucus directed me down to Professor Bellamí’s lab. I was surprised to see his teenage daughter working there with him, but he told me she had almost earned the Professorship herself and could be trusted with whatever I had. I delivered the device and briefly explained where it had come from. He seemed quite intrigued, and mentioned a variety of technical terms that went above my head. Before I left he gave me a brief list of questions to ask the girl. Mostly things to do with her knowledge of tachyon based energy systems, whatever those are.
A quick shower and a change of clothes later and I was back at the girl’s quarters. She did not like being cooped up and wasn’t afraid to let anyone know. I decided to let her blow off some steam and be quiet and let her talk for a bit. She wanted to know who I was and where she was. She was also tired of being called girl. Her name was Claudia, I learned. I told her my name and informed her that she was at Minerva HQ to be debriefed on her appearance at the battle and the presence of the strange device. Claudia seemed shocked and almost started to cry when I told her the year, and began insisting that the device and transported her out of her time and into mine. I figured she had a bad case of shell shock and told her I’d send a medic in to check her out and get her some meds, and that she should just rest and take it easy for a bit.
Claudia seemed likely to try to hit me or something for insinuating she wasn’t thinking straight, so I left before she could get herself in anymore trouble. I figured the poor girl had probably been through enough as it was. Who knew how long she’d been out in the desert or if the raiders had kept her captive or harmed her. Once again I felt the warm glow of pleasure from having eliminated sickos like them from off the face of the planet.
I went to grab a couple of hours of sleep, only to be awakened by one of the cleaning staff. I’d tried to cultivate a friendship with them in the past, as they truly knew the ins and outs of what went on around Minerva HQ. His news woke me right up and put a sprint in my step back down the corridors to Claudia’s room. I arrived just in time to stop Lawrence and a couple of grunts from another squad from hurting her. I was so furious I was almost glad Lawrence resisted. I got to put him in a sleeper hold and knock him out. The other two ran after that.
The girl was visibly shaking, but again had that confident, fearless look about her. I decided it would be better to bring her back to my room for a bit. My lieutenants had just arrived, so I left Lawrence in their care and described the other two perps before signaling to Claudia that we were going.
Back in my quarters, I tried to calm her down with some tea and a blanket. This helped, but she was still agitated. She practically yelled at me when I told her she was safe now, but I wanted the truth now about where she came from. She just kept insisting that she had been pulled from her own time and had to get back. She mentioned those tachyon particles the professor had mentioned during her tirade, which caught my attention. What convinced me I guess though was that brave look in her eye. It had certainly been a rough day, but she seemed confident. I didn’t think she was crazy, so maybe there was some truth to what she was saying. The professor had certainly been interested in the device, and Claudia claimed that it could take her back to her own time.
I thought about it a bit, and figured that either she was telling the truth, or she was crazy enough that maybe the only thing that would help her was getting her hands back on this device of hers. She was distressed enough about it that I decided to help her. She gave me the biggest smile when I told her I’d help; it was almost worth it just for that. I quickly curbed my emotions though. She’d had enough attention from men for the day.
It was a relatively simple matter to tap into Bellamí’s lab monitoring software and check out the device. Claudia seemed to understand the science behind it all much better than I, talking about tachyon particles and how her presence excited it to dangerous levels. Without thinking I quipped that that seemed to be case with lots of things around her. I didn’t need to see her hurt look to know I’d said something stupid again. Yet another reason why Sifo Kubek was 46 and single. I tried to turn it into a compliment and say that she had almost convinced me she really was from another time, she had so much energy. I don’t think Claudia believed me, but she seemed to appreciate the effort. She gave me another of her smiles, at least.
I had to force myself to focus on what Claudia was saying about powering the device up to take her home. She was really serious about it, and really depressed when I had to tell her no one used nuclear power ever since the War. I couldn’t handle that face of hers being sad, and amazed both at my growing feelings for this brave girl as well as the recklessness I was about show, told her my crazy idea.
She of course loved it, so of course we had to right then go break into Professor Bellamí’s lab, steal the device and then go “borrow” a transport and head out for the nearest abandoned nuclear plant. It was a long drive, and I resolved to keep to myself and not get any more attached. One way or the other she was going to be out of reach after tonight. Claudia wouldn’t have any of that, though. She just started telling me her whole life story. I didn’t say anything, partly to keep my resolve, and partly just to hear her keep talking about herself. I wanted to soak this memory of her in.
Eventually we arrived at the plant. The past century had not been kind to it. Claudia kept talking, even faster now, as we got out and started walking in. I asked her if she always talked this much, offending her again, when I really just wanted to understand her better. I resolved again to just not speak more than necessary, and hurried my pace. Once we made it to the control room I hooked up the portable power source I’d brought and fiddled with switches until the room lit up. As I was trying to figure out how anything around her worked, I heard Claudia start to cry.
The sound tore at my heart, and almost against my will I found myself reaching out to her. Suddenly she was in my arms, sobbing forcefully, as I caressed her hair and her back. I did my best to comfort her, but I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I’d held someone like that, if ever.
A few minutes later Claudia seemed to pull herself together, wiped her eyes and proceeded to ask some random question about the plant as if she hadn’t just practically soaked my uniform to the skin. I figured my resolution to be uninvolved had pretty much failed, so I told her about the War and how it had changed the world and what I hoped to accomplish with Minerva and Aegis to try to fix humanity’s bad karma. She fixated on that word, and started talking about how we were connected in some sort of Karmic circle and we were meant to find each other. That sounded nice, even if it didn’t mean what I wanted it to.
In any event, she took my hand and held it for a second as she closed her eyes. I closed mine too and basked in the moment, imagining what it would be like if only….
A noise from outside shattered the dream I was building. I asked Claudia one more time if she was sure this would work. When she repeated that she was, I wanted to believe her. I told her I’d buy her the time that she needed, and ran out of the room before my emotions overcame me.
My eyes stung as I ran, but I quickly pushed that aside as I planned how I was going to keep the other Aegis soldiers out. Fortunately for them, I didn’t get a chance to implement my plan. The whole plant started humming and shaking. I briefly considered going back in for Claudia, but the distant sounds of explosions convinced me it was too late. Besides, I wanted to believe in her.
I picked up the pace and sprinted past the surprised members of my squad, telling them the reactor was about to blow. They believed me, and we all ran out and got in the transports. Just in time too, because the reactor actually did blow.
In the end, they bought my story that Claudia had managed to subdue me and forced me to take her to the power plant. They chalked it up as yet another proof that the taboo against nuclear technology should remain in full force, and sealed the records of the event.
All I’m left with are my memories of Claudia, and even those have begun to fade rapidly. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I have to accept the harsh truth. In the rush of my emotions I allowed myself to put Claudia in harm’s way. I ignored the signs of delusion and shock and played along with her fantasy. And I loved it. And because of that, because of my weakness, that brave, beautiful girl is gone forever.