A woman with long, wavy red curls and light, ocean blue eyes sat at a little round table draped with a white cloaking cloth she figured was a bedsheet. Vanessa Hardy spotted Jade Tilberg and her close boyfriend, Cole Wells, in a cafe on the edge of Portland. She took a tiny silver camera out of her black leather purse, held it up to her eye, focused the dial, and pressed a button. It didn't flash.
"Check please," she stated dryly. The tall, blond, spikey-haired waiter with acne stopped and ripped off her receipt from a small pad he fished out from his pocket. She paid him and quietly left, unseen to the couple she was watching.
Gillette Wyoming, years before- "You never know a survivor when you see one, you said so yourself. Give her a little more time. She'll pull through," Hardy snapped, her bright red curls bouncing as she paced.
"Look at her, she's dying! What do you not understand about that? You said she was perfectly healthy. People, normal people, don't just 'pull through' things like this by themselves unless they are!" Moore then took a deep breath, attempting to calmly compose himself. "I know we need her," he said after a minute, "but it's seemingly so, that she is going to die."
Hardy walked up to face him, their noses practically touched. She plastered a sultry pout on her lips and let a curious hand roam around the rogue General Moore. Her lips softly met his and he roughly grabbed her wrist. "You foolish whore," he spat, his grip purpling her.
Her blue eyes iced over with frost. "Just give her a chance," she retaliated, stubborn determination written all over her youthful face.
His expression hardened, and he released her. "She has one week," his cold voice intoned.
She grinned like a child at Christmastime. "Thank you, sir," she said, her voice sounding like a bell.
She walked out, leaving Moore alone with what they referred to as "dead weight." Suddenly, a tired looking, nine-year-old servant girl with a gray smock-like nightgown and a dark-haired buzz-cut appeared in the doorway a few seconds later.
"Right on time, Keri." Moore seemed to warm while he sipped his blue mug full of scalding black coffee. The girl continued to look straight ahead, her eyes blank, as if she held no knowledge. Moore smiled with a sense of pride. "Before you go and do that; since you're here, I want you to meet Jade," he motioned for her to come forward.
The girl advanced, staring at the woman's clothes with curiosity. She was wearing color: a bright red, shortsleeved shirt with orange lettering that spoke of a lucky brand, and dark blue denim jeans that had begun to fade. The heart monitor connected to the woman was slowly beeping, but rhythmically sped up just a little. She turned back and raised her eyebrow slightly in question.
"She and others are from another facility. Something went wrong with them, so we are going to correct them here," he answered. "Why don't you just go back to the barracks, get your sleep? You can get that done tomorrow," he told her.
"Yes, sir," she replied, saluting her dismissal. She turned on her heel, trying not to show her relief. Moore took another sip of his coffee and brushed a stray wisp of highlighted blond hair out of his eyes as he turned to watch her go out the door marked "Keep Your Mission. Do Your Duty Without Question. Be Disciplined. And Never Lose Your Loyalties.
The heart monitor began to beep rapidly, faster and faster, as the woman started to shake violently in the deadly seizure that was overtaking her body. A doctor wearing a white lab coat and blond hair in a bun rushed over to sustain her. The shakes quickened as she tried to hold her down. Moore helped. The seizures finally stopped; the woman's body at peace. The monitor's only sound was the continuous, uncomplete beep with a straight line. "Flatline!" The doctor took a dephibrilator and shocked her in the chest. The infernal sound continued. Another shock, and the heart monitor jumped and started to beep slowly.
Moore slid the woman's eyelids down, closing her half-open, silvery-gray eyes. The doctor put the breathing tube back across the woman's face, up to her nose.
"She's going to be all right. She'll live," she reassured him.
"Her present medical condition was not the case with any of the others. What happened to her?" he demanded.
"I don't know, sir," she said, appalled at his outburst.
The doctor walked back to an African-American TAC leader to clean out a leg injury (bullet in his thigh). Moore straightened his blue suit and stretched. Then, he shifted the pale complected woman onto her side and lifted up her long, black hair along with her colorful shirt. There, on her right shoulderblade, was a vivid black crescent moon that looked no smaller than a mole. It was then that he said, "Welcome to Pandiona, Jade Tilberg."