"I can't believe that we're doing this."
Thomas, an ex-government agent, sits on a steel drum, leaking with toxic waste. He runs his bionic hand through his hair with a heavy sigh. A few feet away from him is Mira, a hacker that was part of the Revolutionary Army. The two had traded blows before but now they had to work together. It couldn't work. Thomas is loyal to the Government, the Blues, and Mira is on the side of the Army, the Reds. It isn’t supposed to work. This is a civil war that has lasted for centuries.
"That's a strange way of saying thank you," Mira hums, "it's not like I risked my life to save yours."
"You didn't have to," Thomas grunts.
"But I did. Believe it or not…I actually need your help. I know that the Government ordered that hit on your family."
"Why would the Government want to kill my family?" He asks, "They said that my wife shot herself."
Mira pulls out a purple chip and throws it on the ground.
"That's what they want you to think," she sighs, "and you know that isn't true."
Thomas pulls himself off the barrel and picks it up, examining it.
"What is this?" He asks.
"Who knows," Mira says, "it's some device that they've been implanting on the people apparently. I think it's a mind control device. I can bet that there is one implanted in your wife and your son's brains."
"You think that the Government implanted the devices on them?"
"Who said it was just the Government?"
Thomas looks at her, searching for answers. Mira raises her hair, exposing the back of her neck. A purple spider-like device digs into her neck.
"I woke up one morning with this on my neck," she explains, "didn't even know it was there until you knocked me out a few months back. I was able to disconnect it but it looked like someone knew. Been on the run ever since. I think there's someone, even bigger than the Reds and the Blues, someone else pulling the strings. They were corny enough to colour it purple."
Mira drops her hands and folds her arms.
"The people in power as we know them are being manipulated," she continues, "nothing we believe in matters if they aren't our own thoughts. I need someone that I can trust."
"And why did you come to me?" Thomas asks.
"Because I'm stupid enough to respect you," she answers, "I don't know what part of you is real or not but I know that your morals are still real. And I hate being controlled like this. It's pissing me off. I want payback for what these creeps did to my friends and I know you do too. I know you would do anything to protect your family, even in death."
Thomas grips the purple mind control device in his metallic hand, crushing it. The memories of his wife and son flicker through his mind, maddening him every ticking second.
"I want their heads on a pike…" he hisses, "what do I need to do to see that?"
Mira smiles and pulls out her tablet.
"I hope you're not too attached to that arm because it needs to go," she hums, "and your x-ray vision eyes…any mods the Government can use to track you down."
Thomas looks at her annoyed.
"Can't you just hack into it?" He asks.
"Too much effort really," she sighs, "and whoever designed your arm really meant business. All I can do is shut down the link between nervous systems then you'll just have a useless metal arm."
Thomas groans as he pulls out the arm with all his might, blood gushing out of his shoulder. Sparks fly out as the wires become exposed to the air. Mira gasps and turns away, horrified.
"Why would you do that?" She shrieks.
"You said they can use it to track us," Thomas says.
"You didn't have to yank it out! I know someone who can do it safely! Besides, they can still track you with your eye!"
Thomas' heart monitor beeps at an alarming rate. A hologram appears in front of him.
"Warning, blood loss…Warning, blood loss."
Thomas falls to his knees as his body releases some pain relief into his bloodstream, making him feel numb. Mira groans as she starts dragging him.
"Just stay quiet," she shushes, "I'll just make a few calls."
She pulls out her tablet as he starts to lose consciousness.
"You really are stupid," she says before he blacks out.
A day later, Thomas wakes up on a surgical table, his arms pinned down. He hears the sound of clicking beside him and he turns his head to look. A woman with purple hair sits at an old fashioned computer, a lollipop in her mouth. She is playing a really old version of Donkey Kong. She wears a white lab coat, slim glasses and high heeled boots. Thomas groans at the sight of purple, roaring as he tries to pull himself up.
"Don't try to move," the woman sighs, "otherwise the biological arm won't heal."
Thomas looks down at what used to be his mechanical arm now replaced with…a real arm. Something he had been missing for so long. He almost felt whole again.
"What…what did you do to me?" He asks.
The music from the game fades away as the woman spins around on her chair, biting down on her lollipop. The crunch echoes around the room as she pulls it out and flings it into a metallic bin nearby. She takes off her glasses and rolls forward.
"You mean what did I do for you?" She says, "I don't know who's worse, the Reds or the Blues. You're both just as ungrateful as each other."
"I'm sorry, who are you?" Thomas asks.
"None of your concern, but if you want a name to this face then it's Miss Maia. Pleasure to meet you."
She pockets away her glasses and stands up, undoing the bonds and Thomas hurriedly sits up, getting defensive.
"Where am I?" He asks.
"In the Dome," she answers, "your violent friend Mira, brought you to us. I fixed your arm. Gave you a better one. Got you an actual eye and took away any of those nasty things they call an upgrade."
The woman breathes in and out.
"Your body is a temple," she sighs, "if you're going to mess it up, at least be stylish about it."
"How…how did you do this?" Thomas asks, "with the arm?"
She looks at me, a mischievous smirk on her face.
"Don't even get her started," a voice groans from overhead, "she'll just hold you hostage for the whole day. Sis, we need you downstairs. And the new blood."
Maia groans as she walks over to a clothes rack and hands Thomas a shirt.
"Come on," she gestures as she walks out the room.
Thomas follows the strange woman as she guides him out the room into what seemed like an arena.
"Let's welcome the next challenger to face Manic Mikael!" A PA system sounds as the crowd roars.
"Absolutely barbaric…" Maia sighs, "and to think that I'm biologically related to that barbarian."
She scoffs as she looks down at the arena, a man showboating to the audience. Thomas falls in step with Maia as she shoves her hands into her pockets.
"So…where is this place?" He asks.
"Like I said…the Dome," she answers, "well, that's the Dome for anyone who wants to waste their time fighting in a society that already fights each other."
She pushes open a nearby door to reveal a room filled with people.
"This is the Dome for people who can't pick a side," she says, "people who don't want to be Red or Blue or even Purple. People who want to be themselves. We offer free will to anyone that comes in, take the mind control devices out of their minds and offer them sanctuary."
Thomas looks around at the room with people being cared for and being friendly to each other. So different from the world that he came from.
"And…this Purple side…" Thomas mentions, "who are they?"
Maia guides him down some steps.
"Who else but the very people who sponsor your causes, plural," she shrugs, "The Sponsors. Lazy name really. They support both causes secretly. They thrive on chaos. My sister wants to take them down. My brother wants to team up with them to take down the Reds and the Blues."
Maia sighs and turns to the people.
"This is my cause," she says, "these are my people. I don't care if some rich or violent jerks want to rip each other apart for power. I have my own cause. And it isn't power. I made an oath. I have to stand by it."
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