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233 "Karlene" on the Loose, The Pitiful Fact About the Strange Creatures Born After the Apocalypse

 Day 36 - 5:37 AM - Meeting Room, Port of Real Settlement Headquarters, Barangay Ungos, Real, Quezon

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With a sigh, Major Bautista apologized and stormed out of the meeting room. His daughter getting out of control once more would surely be a bad thing in many ways. He needed to be there to be sure that his daughter would not be hurt or would not hurt more people.

Due to the sudden situation, the meeting was adjourned and would be continued later. The politicians left first and then, the secretary, Lieutenant Miller and Captain Garcia also left to help deal with the situation outside.

Now, the only ones left in the room were General Faustino and Jones Galley.

"Jones." General Faustino spoke while rubbing the bridge of his nose. "What do you think about that Mark?"

Jones tapped his chin several times while looking at the ceiling before he replied.

"I think he's a good person but mysterious and dangerous at the same time. Depending on how you treat him and the people around him, he can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. There are also a lot of mysterious elements around him like that fairy and those slimes. I don't know if he's a Mutator but he's a powerful Esper for sure. People like him are dangerous to become an enemy. Not to mention, he don't even react even a bit while killing people. Drake sure died anti-climatically."

"You're evaluation is very high don't you think?"

"General, it's not high. It's the truth."

"Then, what about your honey-trap suggestion? How sure are you that it will work?"

At the latest question of the General, Jones could not help but laugh.

"Of course, zero. Mark requested to use the transceiver, right? It's very likely that he will return to Bay City sooner or later. However, it seems he had plans in this region so he'll be staying for a while. During that time, maybe we can at least get his help."

"I see. I also thought the same. The people in Bay City are also looking for him. They even relayed his appearance and information in different settlements here in Luzon. I can understand it though. He saved Miguel's daughter and he vanished before he was able to thank him personally."

"Still, I'm a bit curious about something." Jones voiced which made the General turn his head towards him. "He's strong and his group seems to be strong too to be able to become one of the pillars in Bay City. I wonder why. Also within the report, they also had a Mutator Dog and even a huge rhinoceros beetle. Here, he had some strange pets too. If you think more about the things around him, the more mysterious he gets."

Hearing Jones' logic, the general could only nod as he looked at the papers on the table. It was unfortunate that the chances of them roping in a very special person were zero no matter what angle they look at.

***

After entering the settlement, Mark was brought in a room on the third floor of one of the most secure buildings of the military sector. It was a three story building newly built by the port. The eastern side of the windows was facing the ocean and the view was good. Still, Mark knew that he was brought here not because he was an important person to them but to be able to maintain surveillance on him.

Mark lay on his bed wanting to rest but he was not able to. Unexpectedly, his head was aching too much and he was already sweating due to the pain. Although it was not as painful when his psychic abilities consolidated, it was still painful. The [PsyCrystal] on his arm was also shining and shivering at the same time. It indicated that he was undergoing a recovery of his Empathic ability.

He tried to endure the pain as much as possible in order not to wake Amihan who was also tired. She was already up for the whole day and almost the whole night. Unlike Mark who was used to not sleeping even for a day or two, Amihan needed to sleep more.

Still, the [BloodChildren] were awake and aware of Mark's condition. The three surrounded Mark nudging his body in worry. Compared to Oracle and Crimson, Ivy was having a hard time to move since she was still not trained to hop around like the two.

The pain subsided after half an hour and Mark could feel that his empathic ability was now activated. The range was still small, about five meters in radius around him but in the least, he would not need to touch people anymore in order to read their emotions. He could now feel how Amihan was sleeping peacefully on the pillow by the sofa and he could also feel the two soldiers standing guard just outside his door.

Not even five minutes passed after the pain subsided when noises came from outside the window. He could hear soldiers shouting about something on the loose and they had to catch. The alarm bell was also sounded. Fortunately, Amihan was not disturbed by the sound of the bell. She was really tired, it seemed.

Leaving the comfort of the bed, Mark peeked out of the window facing the other side of port. There he could see the soldiers scrambling to prepare. Then, he saw the reason of the commotion which surprised Mark a bit. It was in the other three story building Mark was sure that it was the laboratory since he could feel three signals of [BloodChildren] coming from that building.

A figure broke through the window of the third floor and jumped down the building. Mark was sure, from her body figure and clothes, the person was Karlene. However, she looked very different. Her eyes were entirely glowing with purple light while there were a lot of parts of her body covered in a purple colored armor. Her back long black hair was now purple and was flowing like a possessed person's. Her fingers was also covered in a purple armor that formed claws on her fingers and gauntlets on her hands and wrists.

What surprised Mark was because he never detected that Karlene was a Mutator and Evolvers would never appear and transform like this. There were two possibilities Mark could think of why could not detect her conciousness as a Mutator. It would be either that she had just turned into a Mutator or... It was similar to Freed's existence, another ego.

Looking at the practiced formation of the soldiers around the laboratory, it was not the first time that this had happened which meant that it should be the latter. Since she was obviously a Mutator and not a Psychic, it was very likely that instead of the savage consciousness birthed by the Mutagen devouring Karlene's consciousness or the other way, both Karlene's original consciousness and the newly born consciousness coexisted in her body.

It was a strange and rare case for a Mutator.

Even stranger, "Karlene" was surrounded but she was not attacking preemtively at all. Rather, it felt more like she only wanted to escape.

"Stay here and protect Amihan alright?"

Mark caressed the three [BloodChildren] and said. Oracle and Crimson immediately responded with a jiggle but Ivy was confused about what he said making the need for him to send his intention through their thought connection.

PUFF!

Mark vanished from the room and a wavy mist flew out of the window. Mark appeared in a location no one could see and approached the commotion.

This "Karlene" was rather fierce. Even though she was surrounded by the soldiers, they were not able to catch her. She was even dodging and blocking the tranquilizer darts shot onto her with her claws and armor. Those that tried to catch her personally were sent flying away with her kicks and rolling on the ground in pain.

"Karlene! Stop this and calm down!"

Mark heard Joash shout but of course, it was not effective. Karlene was still resisting arrest even though she was already surrounded by fifty soldiers now. She was still trying to jump past the encirclement but it seemed that the soldiers were already used to her movements.

Soon, Major Bautista arrived. His face was filled with dismay after seeing the appearance and behavior of his daughter.

Finally, "Karlene" found an opening to escape and unexpectedly, she was going towards Mark's direction.

The soldiers tried to block her but her kicks made them fly away to the side opening the path. The soldiers were surprised to see Mark who was not familiar to them on the way of "Karlene's" escape. Since she was prone to injure anyone who blocked her, the soldiers immediately shouted towards Mark to run away.

Both Joash and Major Bautista were also surprised to see Mark among the onlookers. Since he was strong, the two were afraid that he would retaliate once "Karlene" attacked him.

Mark however, stared at the incoming "Karlene". She had already stepped into the domain of his recovered Empathic ability and he could totally read her emotions.

To say, her emotions were chaotic. She was afraid, confused and wanted to escape. She had not a pint of killing intent on her and just pure fear of things. It was as if she did not know anything about her surroundings and could not even understand anything that was happening to her. She was like a child thrown into a world she did not know.

Mark could feel traces of Karlene's conciousness but the one in front of him was totally not Karlene. She was a newly born consciousness that did not belong to this world.

When "Karlene" was just a step away from Mark, she moved. Unexpectedly, she was not attacking but her gesture was just to shove Mark out of the way while looking at his clothes that was different from the soldiers were wearing. What a kind girl. Although she was confused and afraid, she did not want to hurt anyone innocent. That was what Mark could feel from her.

Mark caught the right hand that was about to push him aside with his left. "Karlene" tried to pull her hand away but she was not able to. However, instead of attacking Mark, she became more afraid that she was already shivering. Her glowing eyes were not scary at all but more like pitiful.

Since he caught her, Mark extended his free hand towards her.

"Please wait! Don't hurt her!"

Major Bautista could not help but scream in fear but Mark ignored his plea. He was not going to hurt this fascinating creature in the first place.

For the first time in a while, a faint milky glow appeared on Mark's hand and eyes as he started to caress the head of the pitiful child. She flinched at first while staring at Mark in fear but she started to relax once she started to feel the comfortable feeling.

Looking at her, Mark could not help but feel the same vibe that the [BloodChildren] was giving him. They were born after the apocalypse, they were strange and no one was able to understand them. Everything was dangerous for them and that was why they attack or escape.

They did not have a place to belong even in the apocalyptic world.

Mark was also the same, he did not belong anywhere and Mei was also the same, especially as a supposed to be dead people and that was why he was making a place for the both of them. Maybe that was also one of the reasons why he felt too close to the [BloodChildren].

"It's alright. No one will hurt you anymore. I'm here now."

Who knows why but he said those words as he caressed her flowing hair gently.

However, time stopped. For the soldiers, Joash and even Major Bautista froze in utter disbelief.

Tears flowed slowly from her glowing purple eyes. The wild "Karlene" in her berserk state was crying. She suddenly jumped into Mark's chest and started crying and wailing like a child pouring all her grievance about everything that happened to her the moment she woke up in this world.

Mark was surprised when Karlene in her scary looking form jumped unto his chest but he could understand. She was really just a child. No wonder the real Karlene had a very childish quality on her that it almost felt unnatural. She might have been affected by her alter ego born of the Mutagen even if the trait was not present in her subconcious.

Still, it was a total mystery to Mark as to why a consciousness born of the Mutagen was able to coexist with the original consciousness of Karlene.

Mark's sight panned on the laboratory, the soldiers and towards Major Bautista. The soldiers in this settlement surely knew what was going on. In any case, he wanted to take care of this child. Although the real Karlene was much of a bummer, the child was innocent. Still, it was really off to call to call her a child though since she was in a body of a twenty-four year old woman.