We now continue with the first part of The M9 State, our crossover with The Ruby Nation.

Things have become grimmer than in the original continuity of Ruby Nation, if such thing is possible. As leader of the resistance, Jiro faces some though choices.

<< Prologue                                                                                >> Part 2

 The M9 State

1. Uneasy alliances.

Uneasy Alliances

I feel enraged. Enraged and impotent. It stings bad to lose people under my watch. It’s even worst since this whole raid was my idea.

Ruby is silent at my side. She is not blaming me for this. She had to agree we could not stand doing nothing, while the State slowly but steadily encroached over the world. I decided for the direct route. No more guerrilla wars. We went full frontal. That was my mistake. Now the tattered remains of our group are scrambling to reach our hideout. No Apex post-humans seem to be on our trail, but I take no chances. I’m not losing any one else today. We momentarily rest at an abandoned building.

Ruby touches my arm, and I signal the group to be on alert. I have heard it too. Enhanced bodies or not, everybody in our group readies their weapons. The last generation of post-humans created at the Beagle complex has proved to be deadly efficient.

“It’s just a couple of girls, unarmed”, says Duncan, from his current vantage point on a corner.

“Nothing is ‘just’ as it seems”, I mutter, watching intensely at the two young women walking thru the abandoned building. Some noise comes from the empty machinery, probably a mouse. But that makes the girls react: the one with the curls and heavier set touches the wall, and her hands and arms becomes concrete. The other girl, the slim one, does not show any ability in particular, but I’ve seen enough. I give the signal.

Every one of us falls into position, and we surround the girls. We point our weapons at them.

“Post-humans! Identify yourselves!” I shout. The slim girl adopts a defensive position and extends her hands… but the curly one touches her shoulder, and she relaxes a little. Just a little.

“You are with the Apex”, I say, looking at their clothes.

“How brilliant of you”, sneers the curly girl, smiling. “And obviously, you are insurgents”. She raises her arms. “Easy there, boys, we mean no harm.”

Her body becomes normal. We step closer.

“I take it you are what’s left of the rebels that stormed the complex earlier. That didn’t went well, I’m afraid.”

I look at the girl with a sudden surge of fury.

“We are sorry about that”, says the slim girl, speaking for the first time. And she really looks sorrowful.

“There was no way you could prevail”, says the curly girl.

“What would you know about it?” I snap.

“We would know. You see, we helped create the creatures you fought today.”

And now the slim girl seems on the border of tears.

“Jiro, you might want to see this”, says Opal, passing me a handheld terminal. She has run an id scan on the girls. I tense when I see the screen.

“We are no longer with the Apex State”, says the curly girl. “We defected during your attack. I think that makes us insurgents, too.”

“We’ll see about that”, I say. “Blindfold them. Let’s move on.”

* * *

The detention room can theoretically contain Ruby. I enter, fully armored. The shackles the girls are wearing are also capable of holding Ruby.

“I apologize for the inconvenience” I say. “But it was necessary, since you are M9.”

“It has been a long time since we used that name”, says the slim girl, and her gaze wanders for a second.

“So, it is true there’s an M9 project at the Apex. We never had confirmation beyond the rumors about the experimentation at Beagle Labs.”

“Well, since we are pouring our hearts out, I might as well fill the blanks for you, cowboy.”

She told me their story. She explained that they were not really post-humans, as their powers were not the result of nanotechnology, but rather a deeper mutation of their genetic structure. They had operated as a super-powered team for a while, before things went to hell. That’s when they got involved with Beagle Labs. They had willingly worked for them, as the technology at Beagle Labs was part of what kept the civilization afloat.

“You see, giving powers like ours to regular humans is freaking hard”, was saying the curly girl (Pato is what the other girl called her). “Most attempts have horrible side effects on the subjects.”

“Yet Beagle Labs have been trying to do it, right? To replicate your powers on other humans.”

“I’m afraid so. And the expert in the subject is one of us: Any, another of the original M9 Girls. We have been working on using nanotechnology along the M9 serum. Any, she thinks she is doing the right thing, helping in keeping peace and restoring order.”

“And you mean to tell me you don’t agree with her.”

“We believe Any should not be allowed to continue her experiments. We believe that Beagle Labs should be stopped from dictating humanity’s future. So Clau and I plan on… uhm… retrieving Any and convince her to see things clearly.”

“A raid on Beagle Labs could be possible with inside information.” I’m baiting her, and she might see thru me, but it’s worth giving it a try.

The girl called Clau looks into her companion eyes. Pato nods and gives me a wry smile.

“It is not as easy, as you already learned yourself. You see, Any is an empath. She can feel our presence and she can read our intentions and anticipate them. That is why your attack and the previous attempts of the insurgents have failed so far.”

“Still you want to attempt it: Capturing your friend.”

Pato and Clau nod.

“With our help.”

“The more the merrier”, says Pato.

“I’m not sure why I should follow two Apex geneticists into the wolf’s mouth. Besides, you already said it is quite impossible to enter the Labs without your friend noticing.”

“I have a few tricks of my own”, says Pato, standing up. There is a ‘poff’ sound followed by a metallic thud. The girl materializes next to Clau, while I look momentarily alarmed at the cuffs in the floor. “As for trust, I think we are stuck with each other for the time being.”

“Can I get rid of mine now?” asks Clau with a sudden smile on her face.

I had a desperate plan when the day started. I might as well finish it.

 >> Continue to Part 2