Kya’s overnights passed by in a blur of progressively less emotionally strained trips to and from work. Her concern about the robbers trying to silence her quickly felt like nothing more than a silly idea that Kya once had a long time ago. The time between hard drive swapping was wasted on websites chronicling Myles Redwood’s downward spiral or listening to upbeat music and the days were spent mostly alone in her room, sleeping, eating or trying to relax.
On the last day of Kya’s overnight shifts, the news about Myles Redwood had changed from the sad death of Newton Wilson to the forced removal of Myles’ Strength Super. The Internet was buzzing with reports, images, statistics and video relating to the court sentence. Between drive changes, Kya loaded up the video of the forced removal.
Myles screamed, and the sound was distorted no doubt by the power of his Voice Super, as they strapped him to a large metal chair. He was crying and flailing as the judge read out his sentence. “Myles Redwood, you are to be stripped of your Strength. You will never be allowed to posses this Super again, and you will serve a five year prison sentence for your crime.”
A large metal pad came down and covered Myles’ bare chest. At first, nothing happened, but after a few moments, Kya could see small, bright blue streaks under Myles’ skin slowly inching along his veins towards the metal pad. Kya had heard the extraction process was uniquely painful, but she had never witnessed one before. As the lines continued to slowly move, Myles shook uncontrollably, and writhed in the chair, unable to move beyond his restraints.
His voice wavering wildly as the machine continued its work, sweat soaking his body, Myles screamed out in agony once more, pleading for the procedure to stop. The noise of his cries echoed outwards, the plexiglass walls vibrated and the microphone squealed before the audio cut out completely. Kya could see the veins in his neck extending outwards, strained, and his wide open mouth still belting out his discomfort.
Kya wanted to turn away from the screen, but felt compelled to continue watching. She paused the video, and glanced around to make sure none of her work needed her attention. Then, without an excuse to stop, she resumed watching as Myles Redwood’s Super was extracted.
After another three minutes of watching and waiting, a trickle of dark red blood slowly dripped down from the center of the metal pad along Myles’ chest and down his belly. Myles Redwood’s entire body went limp as he passed out, and Kya knew the Super was removed.
Doctors and nurses rushed to his side, and the extraction tool was lifted away. The video feed ended, and Kya found her jaw slightly aching as she opened her mouth.
As she left work, the sound of the celebrity singer’s scream still echoed in Kya’s mind. I never want to go through that, she thought.
With her two days off, to transition to days, spent sleeping, Kya arrived just in time for the handoff from Leonard at her first day shift.
“There’s no point even saying anything, is there?” Leonard said in greeting.
“Nope.” Kya admitted without looking directly at him.
She looked at the desk next to hers but Elliot was not there. A young girl, Kya guessed maybe a year or two older than herself, was sitting at the desk. The girl had black, pixie cut hair, and wore elegant makeup that subtly played up her eyes. She was wearing a white blouse with blue and purple pinstripes. The blouse tied in a loose bow below the lace collar. A matching blue pencil skirt that came to just above her knees and black heels completed the provocative but professional outfit. She also had earrings and a matching bracelet that complimented the purple in her clothes.
“Hi.” The girl said when she noticed Kya staring. “Can I help you?”
“Um, yeah – No.” Kya stammered. “I was just hoping to see someone else.”
The girl rolled her eyes and focussed her attention back to her screen.
Kya signed off on the logbook and loaded up her e-mail.
“Leonard, you can go. I’ve got this.” She said, realizing that Leonard had yet to vacate their area.
“Actually, I’m waiting for Mr. Georgetown. He told me he needed to talk to me.
As if on cue, Don Georgetown’s door opened and he stepped out, grinning. “Hello, my minions!” He boomed with an almost happy sounding laugh. “Today is a special day for one of you.” He was walking towards the robotic arm cubicle where Computer Operations staff spend their shifts.
Kya closed her eyes and willed herself to become invisible. She knew it wasn’t working because when she opened them Leonard was looking right at her and grinning.
“Leonard, here, has shown himself to be a wonderfully skilled and organized employee. He follows the letter of the rules, and has quite an eye for detail.” Don raised the tone of his voice, overemphasized the last words in a playful tone and then winked at Leonard.
Leonard bowed his head slightly in what Kya decided was mock humility, but he also maintained eye contact and raised his eyebrows at Kya.
“Leonard, I am very happy to announce to the I.T. team that you have been promoted to the Database Administration group! And as all of you know, in our most recent memo about promotions, it was noted that higher up positions need at least one Super.”
Kya seethed as Don continued to pause for effect, making his announcement seem like it was taking forever. Wishing that she was in a dream, she began to grind her teeth as her boss continued.
“Leonard, to put you on the same level as everyone else in your new department, Starlife Technologies will be providing you with your first Super.”
At this point Don Georgetown turned to Leonard and spoke directly to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll talk with you personally later to discuss the details.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Leonard said turning his attention fully towards his boss, but talking loudly enough for the whole department to hear. “I am truly honoured for the opportunity to grow within this amazing company.”
Kya’s mouth hung open and her ears were ringing. She slumped back in her chair and stared at the screen unable to muster the energy to move. She wished she was working an overnight shift so that she could text Amelia or Mattea without anyone noticing.
Kya had one of the worst work days she could remember. All anyone would talk about was Leonard, his promotion and his company sponsored Super. The girl at the desk beside Kya’s was so unfriendly through the day, it only served to make Kya miss Elliot even more. About an hour before the end of her shift an urgent email came through.
To All Information Technology Staff of Starlife Technologies – As you will note on your upcoming pay stub, your salaries have been reduced by twenty percent. This is to pay for overages in expenditures. Our choice was difficult, but it came down to either reducing our staff by five people, or making this sacrifice. If anyone has any issues with this change, please contact me during office hours.
Kya knew the message wasn’t about any overages in expenses other than the personal expenses that Don Georgetown himself had been adding to the company’s bottom line. She had overheard her boss talking to another person in the management team about how both his wife and child had finally been able to use their Supers. The whole situation only infuriated Kya even more, but a sense of futility also overwhelmed her.