Chapter 3 - The Classmate
A Time To Forget
This was the man's first thought as he surveyed the carnage. In his hands a menacing, ornate anti-tank rifle still smoked slightly. Blood and metal, bullet fragments and freshly burned flesh, the scorch marks of some seemingly bizarre apparatus meant to inflict as much harm as possible; they littered what remained of the once tranquil park where the battle had spread to after it had become apparent that the rooftops were far too open, far too dangerous. A monstrous, vaguely humanoid machine lay in tatters on the grass.
"I think we're gonna have trouble hiding this one," said another man, voice squeaking slightly.
"Indeed," said Joanna. "Regardless, we'll have to find a way. In the meantime, we should stand down so as not to frighten the children... Sys, switch gear to civies!"
A matrix of blue light appeared around her. The gilded armour she wore transformed into somewhat less conspicuous clothing, a black beret and an unbuttoned rifle green military jacket, the jacket's arms dangling loosely over the dress that covered her frame.
She pulled out a cigarette with one hand, a perk of the job considering they were illegal back home, and took out a lighter with the other. With uncanny grace she lit the cigarette, and drew a puff of smoke out.
"You really should stop that," said the girl with blue hair, now wearing a familiar sweater and jeans.
"Oh, let me have my moment," replied Joanna. After a few more puffs, she flicked the cigarette away and walked towards Joshua and Mary, who were both sitting on a park bench a little ways away. The rest followed.
"I guess is this a good a time as any for introductions," began Joanna. "I'm Lieutenant Joanna Lamarck, of the Special Temporal Advanced Reconnaissance Service of the Legacy Intelligences Greater Humankind Triumvirate... It's a mouthful I know. You can just call us the STARS of LIGHT. Clever no? No?" Joanna sighed. "Basically, we're time travel agents from what Earth and humanity eventually become in what to you is the future."
Joshua raised an eyebrow as Mary simply stared in confusion.
Joanna continued, pointing towards the older man. "This is Sergeant Marcus Drake."
Drake saluted them casually.
"This is Corporal Adrian Marconi," said Joanna, pointing now at the younger man.
"I'm Aisa!" interrupted the girl with blue hair.
"She's a robot, as is Lancer over there," Joanna said as she pointed at the stationary combat machine.
"Yo," it said, apparently aware it was being talked about.
"So, who were they, and why did they want me dead?" interjected Mary.
"Good question! See, we're not the only time travellers around. The other major power that seems to be interested in this particular time and place is what's known as Strategic Temporal Operations Reconaissance Mission of the Divine All-Righteous Kingdom of the New Earth Sovereign Singularity, or the STORM of DARKNESS. We're actually not sure why they want you in particular dead. Headquarters will calculate out the probabilities and send them to us when needed. Suffice to say, you're under our protection now."
"What did Savic mean when he said pet project?" asked Joshua.
"Classified information!" responded Joanna. "And now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'm afraid I have some bad news... or maybe good news depending on your perspective... see, we can't have you knowing about us and all of, well this..."
She motioned at the battlefield.
"So, we're gonna have to cap your memories again," continued Joanna. "Aisa, you may do the honours..."
Aisa sighed. Then she began to sing a strange song unlike anything they'd ever heard before. Except they'd probably heard it many times before, they'd just forgotten? It didn't seem to matter though. They both suddenly felt so very sleepy...