Note: The rights to this story and all of its characters belong to me (D.A. Karp) and I alone. I really would prefer for you not to rip these off, because then I would be forced to sue, and I’d really hate to pull an Anne Rice. Though, make no mistake, my one best-friend is a lawyer… okay, okay, serious stuff aside. I do hope that you all enjoy thisâ€" this story is dear to me, and I think that it may be my best work to date. My next challenge? Out doing it.

Always, D.A. Karp (Tsuki)

Pandora’s Box: Part 1

By D.A. Karp

2:15 a.m.

Pandora, June 28

52 V.C.

I think I’m going insane. My head is pounding, and the room seems to have endless ways to torture meâ€"cracks that look like veins, the infernal whiteness interrupted sporadically by stains, and especially their goddamn thinness. That’s what bothers me the most. I can hear him through the walls. I can hear his consultations; I can hear his vox… I can hear him when he’s laughing. He has the most beautiful laugh. Sometimes I just want to scream, to crush my hands through the fragile walls, to pull him to me with bloodied hands, and to hold him tight and never let him go.

Shit, I’m crying now. He always said that I should cry more, but he always hated it when I cried over him. Fucking hypocrite. Well, guess what, hun. I’m crying over you, Zap. If I cry anymore I doubt I’ll have any tears left for you.

He actually came into my room last night, Zap did. He looked at me with the blank, spacy stare he’s been wearing and… and he asked me if there was anything I needed! He said that I looked sad; he asked if anything was wrong. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to rant and rave and yell and cry and say, ‘Yes, I do want something. I want a C-gun so I can shoot myself in the fucking cob!’ But I didn’t say that. That would have upset him, and I still can’t bring myself to do that. That’s the one reason I haven’t talked to him lately. It’s not that it hurts me, which it does… it’s that if he does remember, then he might remember his left hand, metal from the wrist down, knuckle deep in a peace-officers entrails. He might remember how Penny was burnt to a fragile crisp just seven months ago. He might remember why he was different, why we were fighting just about every one we ever met in our lives. But, if he did remember all that, then… then he’d remember me. Oh Zero, it’s all I wish for, anymore.

11:02 p.m.

London, February 6

52 V.C.

The blast seems to shake the entire street as the building explodes. I smile as another beam falls from the structure, crushing the burning computers, wiping out all of those files that we fear. However… Zap should be back by now. He went in with Van to plant the shock-bomb. The plan was for them to exit through the back door, so it could take them awhile to get around front, where we are waiting for them. But, by now, they should both be here. A sharp wind is blowing tonight, whipping my hair around, and forcing some strands loose from my ponytail. We can’t wait for too much longer or the laws will show up. I mean, it’s not like they’re just going to ignore a burning buildingâ€" especially not when it’s the Remb Plant. Zap and I are both in their files. So are Van and Sal and Trech… so was Penny.

I have to adjust my goggles again. They’re great for seeing in the dark, but they’re getting fogged up this close to the fire. I can hear cars coming up the down-road. “Brandy! We have to leave now!â€