As the darkness claimed him, as the stab wound in his chest leaked out the last of his lifeblood, the last thought on Hans Regenschirm's mind was that years' worth of karma had finally caught up with him.
It was ironic, really, thought Regenschirm as the pale lights and the stench of blood began to fade away from his senses. At the behest of Abstergo Industries, Regenschirm had had an indirect role in the most important technological breakthroughs and discoveries in the history of mankind. The Animus, which he worked on together with an old friend of his. The bleeding effect which, even now, formed the core of the training program all Abstergo Agents were made to undergo. The brainwashing technique which - together with that same comrade - resulted in the successful assassination of one of their most dangerous enemies.
Yet here he lay, dying, in a cruel twist of fate, at the hands of arguably his greatest creation.
It had seemed like a good idea at the time; at the pinnacle of his career, Regenschirm had acquainted himself with some of the most brilliant minds in the world. Most notable among these was a man named Ichiro Mihara, widely known in his home country for his expertise in the field of robotics. For those not in the know, this very same man would go on to create robots practically indistinguishable from humans.
The two became fast friends, so much so that Regenschirm was there to witness the 'birth' of his daughters. He would then be present at the 'death' of one of those daughters, even comforting his friend as he stood at her deathbed. The same daughter who he pilfered out from under the nose of her 'father', and then brought back with him to Abstergo's Far Eastern branch for study.
The very same daughter who, as fate would have it, would today become Regenschirm's angel of death.
It had seemed like a good idea at the time; in taking this girl with him, Regenschirm intended to create the world's first combat capable persocom, in a project he himself named 'Project Seraph'. Using the blueprints he had duplicated from his erstwhile friend's files, he was able to fully restore this girl's systems, though not much could be done to restore her data and memories.
However, he was not content with merely 'resurrecting' his friend's beloved daughter - albeit in a twisted, morally ambiguous manner such as this. From everyday cooking and cleaning software, to combat data gathered from the Agents' Animus sessions, Regenschirm went on to transform Mihara's daughter from a normal girl - at least, as normal as a sentient machine could ever be - into the ultimate persocom, the Seraph-class combat model. The ultimate assassin.
The ultimate weapon...
...one that would unfortunately turn on her creator.
That it failed to occur to him that the persocom would retain memories of her past life, however faint, turned out to be Regenschirm's downfall, for she did not take to what had been done to her. At all. That much was obvious from the anguished scream she let loose on being told what she had become, to say nothing of how she strangled all his colleagues via cables that had shot out from her persocom ears. And of course, nothing could convey her feelings better than that final lunge, wherein she extended her right arm hidden blade ? ironically enough, installed by Regenschirm himself prior to her awakening ? and impaled him straight through the heart.
"My name is Freya. I am not your tool?"
Her voice, gentle yet unmistakably hostile, was like a whisper in the wind to him by now. And as his heart beat a final time, as the sound of breaking glass filled the room and she took a swan dive out of Abstergo's now-ravaged state-of-the-art laboratory, she spoke just one more time.
"I am not your monster."
But these words were no longer heard by Hans Regenschirm, staring glassy-eyed at the shattered window through which she took a dive.
A/N: Hope you enjoy this, guys. It's a crossover between Assassin's Creed and Chobits.
Feel free to leave feedback either here, or on the main copy on ff.net (located under Anime > Chobits; sorry, can't post external links yet). So far I've only had Chobits fans reading this, so it'd be nice to have AC fans lend their input as well.
Also, I generally update on ff.net first. If y'all wanna be able to read updates as soon as they're up, please subscribe there. :D
Re: Platinum Angel
She was no longer herself.
That much was clear, thought Freya as she descended to the ground below like a shooting star, her long, blond hair and her flowing white robes fluttering and billowing around her. Her memories were faint, and growing fainter by the minute, but she remembered enough to know that she had not originally been like this. Indeed, from what she had discovered within moments of her awakening, she had been transformed. Forcibly changed, irrevocably altered.
Freya didn't need to have clear memories of her past life to know that. From what she did remember, she was but a normal girl – however depressed and melancholic she became later – rather than the superpowered killing machine they had turned her into. She could still recall an image, however fleeting, of the man who had created and cared for her, and who she had loved; whoever he was, he was not the same person who she had lashed out at just before diving out the window. And as for the myriad fighting styles and techniques she inexplicably held full knowledge and expertise of…
There was no doubt about it. Between the time she had 'died' and was 'reborn', she had not only been altered, but violated.
With that thought, Freya finally landed on the ground on her feet, much more smoothly than could reasonably be expected for someone who had jumped from the 9th floor of a high-rise building. Judging from the presence of vehicles, she assumed it was the parking lot, though something, somehow, seemed… off.
Just then, she sensed something move; Freya whipped out a throwing knife from inside her outfit and then threw it in that direction. The scream that came a second later, and the thud that was heard as a body fell dead to the floor, told her she was right.
How did I do that…?
But she barely had time to form this thought when she felt a slight change in the wind above. Next thing she knew, she was dodging out of the way as someone tried to nail her with a leaping stab. No sooner had her assailant gotten to her feet than she grabbed him by the neck, before stabbing him right between the eyes with the hidden blade mounted on her left wrist. She then pulled it out and then flicked it in one fluid motion, shaking off the blood and bits of brain that had clung to the blade.
Why won't you all just leave me alone!
Freya looked over at the dead man in front of her and took note logo on his uniform, a stylized letter A – which she recognized as Abstergo's logo. What… What's Abstergo? Who are these people?
As if on cue, more of Abstergo's Agents stepped out from their hiding places, brandishing all kinds of weapons in a threatening manner. The one in front of her took a step forward and spoke, keeping the assault rifle he had trained on her all the while.
"Attention, Unit SPU-009. You are ordered to cease all struggle and return quietly to the lab."
No. I want to leave this place.
Even now, Freya's rapidly fading memories told her she had been created not to be someone's plaything, but as a being indistinguishable from a human, in essence if not in form. She had not been created merely as the slave to the will of others, a puppet to dance when the strings were pulled. And she certainly had not been made to be some soulless, murderous doll.
"If you do not comply, you will be deactivated by force and then junked."
This one outraged her more than the first. Regardless of the identity or the motives of the one had brought about her rebirth, the mere fact that that man had succeeded at it was nothing short of a miracle, one she wasn't just about to let go of. If they wanted to junk her, they'd just have to work for it.
"You are, after all, just a persocom. You have no choice but to obey."
That did it.
LEAVE ME ALONE!
All around her, time instantly slowed to a crawl. In her panic and desperation, Freya thought she might have been hallucinating, before remembering just as suddenly that persocoms weren't supposed to have hallucinations. They did this to me, too…?
She furiously rushed at the Agent, who fired off a burst of gunfire in an attempt to stop her – which ultimately turned out to be in vain. In her current state of accelerated movement, the bullets were moving so slowly she managed to pluck them out of the air. Instantly she closed the distance between them, pulling back her right arm before leaping onto him and plunging her hidden blade into his chest.
She did the same to his comrade, standing not far behind him, before standing up and eyeing the nine remaining Agents who were coming at her in slow motion. At the sight, Freya stood, stretched out her right hand with the open palm facing upward, then flicked each bullet at their direction, one for each of them. Next moment, the flow of time returned to normal; right on cue, the Agents all fell dead, each of them with a bloody hole in their foreheads.
Finally, with a scream of mingled hate, rage and despair, Freya escaped into the night.
But though she ran and ran through the streets and alleyways of a sleeping city, the events that had transpired earlier played ceaselessly in her mind like an old home movie – just as they had happened, with the exception of the people she saw.
Once more she saw herself assaulting the Agents' leader…
Only for her to see not a faceless mask, as what the Agent had been wearing earlier, but the face of a woman. Long, dark hair, kind lavender eyes…
Again and again she saw the one from the roof swooping down on her…
…only to discover, to her horror, that the face of her assailant was her own.
That… can't be me… Who is she?
Finally, Freya was once again in the lab, lashing out in a cold fury at the man who had taken and then changed her against her will. But the face she saw was not his…
Freya could no longer bear it. She stumbled, fell, and moved no more, the streetlight illuminating her prone, robed form.
Re: Platinum Angel
The domino effect.
One block falls on top of another, which then falls on the next block, and so on.
One event triggers another, eventually causing a chain reaction.
Just as Abstergo Industries – specifically, Hans Regenschirm and Warren Vidic – had turned Freya's life upside down, so too would she pose a long-term impact on someone else's life. In more ways than one, too.
But right now, the 'someone else' in question was blissfully unaware of just how immensely his life would be changed, sleeping like a baby in the house he shared with his big sister and her daughter, and their persocom. He rolled in his bed, drooling slightly off the left corner of his mouth. From the somewhat goofy grin on his face, it was readily apparent that he was having a good dream…
"Rei? You awake yet?"
…at least, he was.
"Sayuri…?" he called out groggily, not yet completely roused from the sleep he had and yet lacked. "What's up, sis?"
"Come outside," came the answer from the doorway, "There's something you might like to see."
Rei didn't understand what was going on, but he went. It wasn't like his sister to play pranks – if anything, he was the less serious of the two of them – so it was probably serious. Still stifling a yawn, he hastily slipped on his sneakers and bounded down the stairs.
Sure enough, he found two women in the street – one with long, black hair and equally dark eyes, the other with shoulder-length blue hair, matching eyes and elven ears – staring down at something that was lying on the ground. When he pulled up beside them…
"This is what Ceres found just now."
Ceres was his sister Sayuri's persocom, serving mainly as house help and as a babysitter of sorts for her infant daughter, Oyuki. When she had time, Ceres herself took it upon herself to help Rei with his school work, too. Despite being a persocom, she had all but become part of their little family.
To Rei, that Ceres was the one who made this discovery was a rather amusing irony, to say the least.
It – rather, she, Rei corrected himself mentally – was also a persocom, one with large, pink and white plastic ears and long, blond hair that reached all the way to her ankles. The white robes she was wearing were stained with dust, dirt and blood, suggesting that she had run away from somewhere, possibly from her previous owners – and, possibly, been forced to take lethal action to defend herself. And the identical bracers she wore on both her wrists were something he had never seen before, on a person or on a persocom.
Just then, a baby began wailing, prompting Ceres to leave the siblings to attend to her charge. When she had gone, Sayuri began to speak.
"Ceres couldn't analyze her, so I told her not to force it," she explained, shrugging her shoulders. "Something about military-grade security software. Makes me wonder just who built her and where she came from."
It was the expression on the persocom's face that caught his attention. Whereas most other persocoms that had entered such a state would have a serene expression on their face, this one wore a pained, anguished look. It was almost as if she was in a state of distress the last time she had been activated – or that it was that distress that had caused her to shut down in the first place. Sayuri's theory was rather unsettling, if not scary.
Finally, she broke the silence, snapping Rei out of his thoughts.
"If you want her, she's yours."
Rei nodded his assent to that arrangement, before going up to the persocom's side and cradling her. His first act was to reach behind the ears, where he knew the switch would be on most persocoms. But even as his hand moved toward that area, she stirred in his arms, scrunching up her face before opening her eyes and gazing at him. He let her take in the inside of the house before speaking again.
"Are you alright? We found you outside, unconscious."
She nodded, slowly, as if not completely understanding the question, or otherwise initially unsure how to respond. "Do you have an owner?"
This must have been a sore point for her, since she frantically shook her head. Rei wondered what this persocom had gone through, to react in such a vehement manner; for a moment, he felt like he was talking to a real girl rather than a persocom.
"Do you have a name?"
She just stared blankly at him. Rei looked at his sister, unsure as to what to ask her next. Sayuri merely smiled and nodded at him in response.
"Wanna stay here?"
This time, the persocom's response was more direct; rather than simply nodding or shaking her head, she leapt up and embraced Rei, leaving him on his back.
"Okay, okay, I get it," he patted her on the back, laughing. "Guess that's a definite yes."
Rei then turned to Ceres, now holding Oyuki in her arms, his new persocom, and his sister. "Take care of her for me, will you? I'll be right upstairs."
He made his way back up to his room, but no sooner had he taken the first step than he felt his new persocom cling closely to his arm. He turned to her, smiling.
"Alright, I get it, you can come too."
As soon as they had entered his room, Rei closed the door and sat down on his bed, his persocom gazing right back at him as she took a seat on the couch. He could tell she was thinking deeply, though what about, he had no idea.
"It's not much," he said, gesturing around him with a smile as he lay down, "But make yourself comfortable here. I'm pretty sure you won't make a mess of things."
He closed his eyes just as she smiled back, causing a warm feeling to creep up his cheeks as he momentarily forgot he was dealing with a persocom. And just before they shut completely, he saw her murmur a single word.
"Hmm?" Rei barely managed to reply, so close was he to falling asleep.
"My name is Freya."
"'Mmkay," he managed before finally drifting off to the dream world.
Re: Platinum Angel
For the rest of that week, Rei did not go to class, instead opting to teach Freya a few things or so about the outside world.
At least, that was the plan.
Because from the way things were going, it was Freya who wound up surprising Rei with what she already knew. Indeed, with the vast amount of things she could do – and Rei was sure her other abilities had yet to be discovered – he was starting to believe in his sister's speculation. Her previous owners, whoever they were, went through all the trouble to deck her out with all the software it was possible for a persocom to have.
She came up with an awesome meal of beef curry and mango float when all he had taught her was to make instant ramen, and stunned him by reading classics like the Iliad and the Aeneid when he had barely begun to teach her the basics of language. Yet when he set the couch in his room for her to sleep in, she declined, instead opting to keep watch at the door, her arms crossed against her chest.
"Won't you run out of power that way?"
"You should just go to sleep, Rei…"
"…I'll watch over you."
For her part, Freya was at first reluctant to accept the kindness showed to him by her new family, but she eventually warmed up to them. Before long, she was assisting Ceres in the kitchen, not to mention in her tutorial sessions with Rei. By the end of that week, Sayuri allowed her to assist Ceres in babysitting Oyuki as well.
Freya hoped that the people who had taken her wouldn't find their way here to her precious ones.
It just might end badly for them.
Another week came.
Monday morning – a loud rapping on his door awakened Rei long before Freya ever had a chance to.
"Rei, there's some visitors here for you. Two girls and a guy."
It was Ceres. Putting on a shirt and pants, Rei came down the stairs, Freya right behind him. Just as he stepped on the landing, though, one of the girls got up from the sofa and greeted him with a slap across the face.
"Where have you been! You do realize you've been absent all week?"
It was Shana, affectionately called 'mother' by their small circle of friends, for her tendency to dote on them so closely. Whenever one of them missed class, Shana would come calling at that friend's house, with notes and a painful slap in tow. She was also known for stepping in when her friends had encounters with bullies – indeed, one of these encounters ended with the would-be bully uncertain of his ability to eventually father children.
At the sight, Freya's hands clenched tightly into shaking fists. How dare this girl hurt one of her precious ones! She activated her left hidden blade, which luckily went unnoticed.
Even then, Rei noted her anger, and placed a pacifying hand on her shoulder while smiling as if to say that it was all good.
"Shh, it's okay, Freya," he said. "They're friends of mine. Guys," this he said to his friends, "This is Freya. We found her out in the street last week."
At this, his other two friends who had remained seated waved in recognition. "The girl on the left's Reiko, while that there's Kyo."
Reiko, the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl in a minidress, smiled at them both. Kyo, though, simply raised a hand in response to his name.
"Better go to class with us today, Rei," Shana warned him, hand raised for yet another slap. "They're all pretty fond of you, but even you'll get kicked out at this rate." 'They', of course, referred to their teachers.
Understanding perfectly, Rei nodded. "C'mon Freya. I'll introduce you to everyone at school, too."
Around an hour later, at a certain college called St. Benedict's Academy…
"Whaddya mean she can't come in!"
Rei was at the front gate, a look of clear irritation on his face as he glared at the guard, who beheld him with a condescending expression on his face. It was wrong; he'd seen other students bring their persocoms inside with them, so he saw no reason why Freya should be treated differently.
"Sorry, kid, rules are rules," the guard held his ground. "You'll need a registration for her to bring her inside."
The elbow in his ribs got Rei's attention. It was Freya, with a reassuring smile on her face. "Go, Rei," she said. "I'll see you in a bit."
With a sigh, Rei gave up. Regardless of how she look, or how she had acted when they first met, Freya wasn't at all a helpless child, nor was she merely a cute persocom. And besides, he was pretty sure there was nothing his classes could teach her that she didn't already know. While she often appeared spacey, nothing could be further from the truth about her. Indeed, he had a feeling there was more to her than met the eye.
Rei caught up with his friends at their classroom, in the 3rd floor of the building right in front of the football field – only to find Freya waiting for him, smiling at the gobsmacked look on his face. "What… How-?" he spluttered as he sat down on the floor, just right beside the door. "Freya, how'd you get up here?"
It was Shana who answered this. "She took the roof, dropped, grabbed the ledge and then climbed up. What kind of persocom did you get hold of this time, Rei? Another prototype model?"
The first, of course, was Ceres, but she belonged to Sayuri and not Rei. It was Sayuri's husband that bought her for his wife and child, since his job as a businessman working in a large company meant he would be made to travel at a moment's notice. And even then, the only perk that came with Ceres' status as a prototype was that she came pre-loaded with all kinds of software.
Freya, though, was a different story.
Indeed, Rei doubted that Ceres, for all the software programmed into her, would have known to scale the walls of campus buildings to get inside, or otherwise pull off that ledge grabbing trick Shana just described. There was no doubt about it; Freya was on a level far beyond the already capable Ceres.
Freya, thought Rei as he gazed at her, what… are you?
"Hmm?" asked Freya, tilting her head to one side. "…Rei? Why are you looking at me that way?"
"Oh, nothing… I just spaced out, that's all."
Just then, the bell rang, signalling that it was time for class.
Guess Freya'll have to wait, then…
Re: Platinum Angel
"She really made a mess of things."
Such was Dr. Warren Vidic's observation as he knelt before the corpse of his colleague and friend, Dr. Hans Regenschirm. What had once been the Regenschirm R&D Lab was now the scene of a massacre. Once immaculate walls and tiles were now splattered with bloodstains, with corpses and shards of broken glass strewn and scattered all over the place. For most of them, the cause of death appeared to be stab wounds in vital areas such as the heart, the neck and the spine, though others appear to have been strangled instead.
Vidic shook his head grimly. While he certainly hadn't wanted or intended for this tragedy to happen, the truth was that he bore some responsibility and guilt for what had happened here.
It was true that it was mostly Hans' own fault, as it was he who had had the bright idea of asking him for the combat data from the Animus sessions of Abstergo's top recruits, then programming them into that persocom, AND installing a prototype accelerator module on top of that. But then again, no one could have predicted that she would have gone rogue. Their first ever attempt at creating a combat capable model, and they just had to luck out and get hold of one that happened to have a mind of its own.
Well, old friend… If it's any comfort to you, 'Project Seraph' was a success.
Just too much of a success.
Vidic raised his right hand, clenching it into a fist.
Right on cue, a lean, athletic-looking man with dirty blond hair materialized at his elbow. Daniel Cross, also known as Animus Subject No. 4. Formerly one of their sleeper agents, this man was currently a high-ranking member of Abstergo's Operations Division.
"I need you to get your Agents searching for that persocom. Capture her, or terminate her – either course will be fine. We can't have her discovered and taken in by an Assassin cell, now can we?" Vidic's expression was grim as his left hand stroked Regenschirm's forehead. He did have a personal stake behind that request, but more to the point, they simply couldn't afford having a rogue persocom as powerful as her running around.
Daniel's grin was predatory, that of a wolf relishing the prospect of an impending hunt. And when he spoke, it was less of a statement than it was a bestial growl.
"Of course, Doc…"
"…consider it done."
Meanwhile, back at St. Benedict's…
Rei's morning History class proceeded as uneventfully as usual, with their teacher giving a lecture that no one really bothered to listen to. It wasn't that the lecture was boring; it was just that he, at least, had read up in advance. Freya could just as easily record the lecture then play it back for him later, and he wasn't really in a hardworking mood at the moment.
Indeed, while Freya hung on to every word as the teacher gave a lecture on the history of the Assassin Order, Rei was hunched over in his seat, absorbed in his paperback novel. But just as he was getting to the story's climax-
At the mention of his surname, Rei leapt to his feet as though hit by a thunderbolt. He forced himself to look his seething teacher squarely in the eye, while his classmates looked on, some of them snickering and/or facepalming at the scene.
"Would you mind reciting the maxim of the Assassin Order?"
Piece of cake, thought Rei.
"Nothing is true; everything is permitted."
"How about the Assassin's Creed?"
Rei rolled his eyes; while this particular recitation question was still far from difficult, it was apparent that the teacher was singling him out today. Drawing a deep breath, he recited each of the Creed's tenets:
"Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent."
"Hide in plain sight."
"Never compromise the Brotherhood."
He heaved a sigh of relief as the teacher bade him sit down, satisfied with his answers.
"How'd you do that, Rei?" asked Shana as their group of friends, including Freya, were walking along the hallway after class. "You weren't even listening, were you?"
"I'm just that good, mother. You ought to know that."
All four of them laughed at that, save Freya, who merely smiled slightly. Their laughter was cut short, though, as something large and heavy hurtled towards Rei's face at a high speed; had he not ducked, it just might have given him an unwanted face lift.
"Mikage…" growled a voice from somewhere above him. Rei looked up at the voice's originator, a youth who could be described in polite terms as a delinquent who suddenly got off his bum and decided to go to school.
"…Yes?" Rei responded, exasperated; he was used to this sort of thing from time to time. "…What is it this time, Asakura? I don't have time to play right now, so if you'll excuse us-"
He didn't get to finish, though, as Asakura threw yet another punch his way. It never even touched him, though, as it was blocked by a decidedly feminine hand.
Rei looked up, expecting to see Shana nailing Asakura in the nuts, but instead of Shana and her signature crimson mane, it was Freya who had interposed herself between him and his longtime nemesis.
"Stupid 'com wants to play rough, eh…!"
The bully threw yet another wild punch, which the blond persocom easily avoided by swaying to the right. Before Asakura could react, Freya stepped forward and drove her open palm into his stomach, laying him out a few feet away. He got up and, with a last incensed glare at Rei and his group, fled the scene, a humiliated dog with his tail between his legs.
Rei was stunned at what his persocom had just done.