NOTE: This is one of the backstories to "ALIENS!". It'll all make sense in the end. ...Hopefully.


06/21/1995, 8:45 AM

Royal Scientific Institution of Farakh

"Ready… Begin session."

One of the two scientists seated at the control panel flicked a switch to start the recording instrument, as a group of others stood and watched patiently, all of them observing a second room from behind a one-way glass. There were only two people in the sterile-looking, white-walled room: another one of the scientists, and a young boy of about six years, both of them sitting across from each other at a table, with the older man's back to the door.

Of the two, the boy was infinitely more interesting; his coal-black hair and crimson eyes didn't seem like much from behind the glass, and the "surrogate's mark" wasn't quite so visible, either. But, were one to merely stand in his presence, it would quickly become clear he was no ordinary child, unknowingly creating a soothing yet troubled aura wherever he went.

Yes… Not even the scientists could explain it, but he seemed to emit some sort of evidence of the horrible powers that lay within him through his presence alone. He was truly the specimen they needed…but how long would it take for the Memory to fully develop? How long would it take for the other to develop?

The scientist had a calm, gentle expression, smiling warmly. "Good morning, specimen 00. How are you feeling today?"

"Okay," said the child quietly, keeping his eyes glued to the floor and his hands firmly in a knot in his lap. He wasn't sure what they meant by all these interrogations, but it couldn't possibly be for his benefit.

"Good, good. …Ms. Shavin tells me you've been having nightmares lately," he added cautiously. "Could you tell me more about that?"

"…They're not…nightmares," the boy said haltingly, choosing his words carefully. His hands moved down to grip the edges of his chair, but he still kept his head down, not daring to even look at the scientist. He knew there were others watching him, behind the mirror, but this one, right now, was the worst. He wasn't sure why. "I see them…when I'm awake. Only when I'm awake."

"So…they're just daydreams?"

He shook his head. "No… I'm not just seeing things. It's like…like when you're in a dream, and you recognize—you remember something, just…anything at all…just one certain memory. But when you wake up, you realize…you never had that memory. It's all make-believe."

"Like déjà vu?"

"…What?" Curiosity briefly entered his eyes as he glanced up at the scientist.

"Déjà vu. It's when you see something, or when something happens, that you feel you've seen before."

"Oh. …No… I don't think it's that. It's like… I'm actually there. Or…I've been there. I…I'm remembering these things, but…it's not me."

Intrigued, the scientist leaned forward. Was it possible that the Devereaux Memory could've developed so soon? It didn't seem likely; the Memory shouldn't have become an active part of his subconscious for a few years yet. Perhaps it was connected, somehow, to the other's erratic cell growth, but they couldn't be sure until after the interrogation. "And…what do you see in these…visions?"

The boy still wasn't sure if 'vision' was the right word to use, but he went along with it anyway, looking down once more. "…The sky…the sky is yellow, and cloudy; I can't see the sun. The air smells scorched, and the ground is, too… I can't hear anything, but I see people… all around…" His eyes widened. "They're all dead… so much blood… There's more people, in the distance…fighting each other. …We're going to win."

"Who is 'we?'" asked the scientist carefully.

"We…the Earthling Nasveyran forces. Of course."

A peculiar tone had entered the boy's voice—the other, for sure!—then left as suddenly as it had come. The scientist turned directly toward the glass, speaking to those behind it. "Make sure you're getting all of this. He's starting to visualize a part of the Devereaux War; it must be from the Memory."

"Don't worry, we're way ahead of you," said one of the others through a PA. "Just keep him going. If he's seeing what I think he's seeing, we have a bit of a way to go yet."

He nodded, then turned back to the child. "All right. Then what?"

"Then…" He bit his lip. "…A whistle. Not like the kind you blow, but…I can hear it. To my right. I can't see anything, not from that eye, but I can still hear it, coming for me. Something…something hits me…hard. Like…"

The scientist knew exactly where this was going. "A spear?"

"Yes…it…it hurts… I…I feel faint…but…then…there's…someone else…"

'Someone else?' That was never in the history books. "Who?"

The boy wasn't sure. He could hear a faint whisper in his mind, but he didn't know what it was saying. He could feel it, though; it was as if the whisper had a life of its own. He was sure it did. With every one of these…visions that came to the surface, he felt an incredible, unspeakable pain emanating from it. He was dimly aware of this other consciousness pushing itself to the surface, pushing him out of the way.

The scientist started to grow concerned; the boy was being awfully quiet. "…Are you all right?"

By this time, he had lost himself. "…Mireille…"

"What?"

Why did you refuse me? Tell me, now, before I kill you—why don't you love me?!

…Because… I can't… I couldn't do anything… to save…the one I loved…

"What's wrong?" came the voice through the speaker. "Why doesn't he respond?"

"I'm not sure," said the other man, frowning. He got up and moved closer to the boy. "Hello? Are you—"

"No…no!" He suddenly grabbed his head, squeezing his eyes shut. Such incredible pain…but it wasn't his…was it? No…but…who…was he? Was he truly himself? Or was he—

Ares.

No…that's not true. I am sYn specimen 00. Not that… I'm not Ares!

But I am Ares.

Why are you doing this to me? Leave me alone!

I…can't.

"What's the matter? Calm down!"

Forgive me.

No… I don't want this…

Neither do I. But this…is how it must be.

"Are you listening to me?! Relax!"

"…Who are you?"

"What?" The scientist was confused. "I don't understand."

"Why not? It's a simple question."

"What's going on in there?!" yelled one of the other scientists.

"I'm not sure." He narrowed his eyes. The boy's voice remained the same, but…the consciousness behind it was not. There was a certain articulate maturity in that tone, one which did not belong to the child. The other—it had to be the other! It seemed impossible—its Memory was never supposed to outgrow the physical body by this much!—but it was the only logical explanation. He decided to find out for sure. "What is your name?"

He opened his mouth, as if to say something, but then closed it again; he looked down, seeming deep in thought. "…No… Ares. But…this is not… What happened?" The child's stare remained blank; apparently, the other had only managed to take control over his speech. "Why…why am I alive?"

"Through Project sYn, Vanterra Synthesis, we have reactivated your Memory in this child. Your actual body has yet to fully develop, but—"

"No… You idiot." The child felt the second consciousness—Ares?—start to creep into his limbs. What was going on? "I…I could have lived that day…and yet…I did not. I chose not to…but…I…I can't remember why… We would've…" Then he felt a dryness in his throat, a sting in his eyes that wasn't his. The pain seemed to grow, but why? He wasn't sure, but he did know now there was another being within him.

"Why… Why did you do this to me?!"

A sudden silence filled the room. Tears flowed uncontrollably down the child's face—tears that weren't his. He was more or less confused than upset at the strange turn of events. What was going on? He thought it might have something to do with that strange, other voice…that other thing inside him. He wondered if he could contact it again.

What…what did you say your name was? …Ares?

Why does it matter?

The voice was adult, and male, with a cold, harsh tone that didn't match his emotions—that which the boy could easily sense—of total despair. …Why are you so sad?

Sad? Ha… A child like you would never understand. No; these fools anger me with their arrogance, with the way they don't even bother to consider the consequences of their actions.

He hesitated. Then…if you're so angry, why are you crying?

…What? I'm not… Why would you think that?

Because…you are, aren't you? It's you, isn't it?

Hmph. It's your body.

But…it's your pain. These strange visions… That's what they keep calling the Memory, isn't it? Are they your memories?

And what if they are?

Well, nothing, really, but… that thing… about saving—?

Silence. You're beginning to annoy me.

Oh… Sorry.

The scientist was becoming increasingly anxious. The surrogate had yet to say a word. Hesitantly, he tried talking to him. "…Well? Are you all right?"

The child's head snapped up; despite his tear-stained face, he had another look of questioning curiosity, and the light had returned to his darkened eyes. "Huh?"

"Oh, good…you're back. I thought we lost you, there."

"Lost me? …Oh. I understand."

"That's right. We don't want something like that to happen again, okay? You're too important to us, and to Project sYn."

Important…only to die…

"…Okay…"

"Good" Then the scientist turned to the others behind the glass, a grave expression on his face. "We should call it a day. That one was really close."

"All right. End session."