Dissolved Girl



Scene Title Dissolved Girl
Synopsis Shame, such a shame. Think I kind of lost myself today.
Date June 6, 2012

The ground rumbles, disturbing dust that falls from the ceiling.

The fluorescent lights hanging from above flicker once, then go out, throwing the basement into total darkness save for the narrow shafts of light that spill in from the high windows. The sky is darkening outside; not from the setting sun, but from smoke and ash filling the air. It rains down like snow, clinging to the grass, settling in the frame of the basement windows. Other than the distant, loud thumps of far off explosions, the basement is silent. Though a canny observer could hear the shallow, terrified breathing of a few people, huddled together in the single shaft of diminishing light.

Two teenagers, each flecked with dried blood on their faces, are huddled at either side of a blonde woman in a tattered paramilitary uniform in blacks and grays. She's tied her hair back from her face, sewn up a gash on her forehead in black thread, though it is puffy and red and angry. As the loud thumps get closer, the blonde woman draws her arms around the young children, hiding their faces against her chest.



Chromatic sparks drift in the air, fluttering away from downed power conduits. When Kara jolts to consciousness, she's covered in stone dust and blood. A cut in her hair bleeds warm down the back of her neck and the side of her face. Exhaling a shuddering breath she pulls herself to her feet, legs aching and throat sore from screaming.

Staggering down the curving hall, each of her steps, one faster than the next, brings her up through an open bulkhead into a snow-covered and demolished landscape. Broken concrete ruins of a building are scattered everywhere across the ground. Razorwire and chainlink fence bristle up from wind-blown show.

Blood runs bright through blonde hair, and she stares wide-eyed at the silhouette of a retreating helicopter overhead. She exhales a deep, breathless noise and falls to her knees in the snow.

The facility is gone. Completely and utterly gone and the ruins strewn about look as though they're from an entirely different complex, more federal penitentiary than research outpost.

“Where— ” Its a helpless sound. more so than a question.



It feels like a terrible dream. Distant, hard to recall. The harder Kara reaches back for the memories prior to waking up in the forests of Washington State, the more nebulous and fragmented they are. Everything has felt like a waking dream, something terrible and broken that has lingered in the periphery of her mind for more than a year. The last clear memory she can recall, when she closes her eyes and thinks back, is of the end of her tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009, right before she took the job at Stillwater Solutions. Everything between? The last three years? Muddy, vaseline-smeared figments.


Kara covers her ears and looks up at the ceiling, wide-eyed and confused. The woman’s voice over the intercom is unfamiliar but the warning is clear as day.

Rushing to an emergency console, Kara flips up the plastic cover and keys in the emergency override command code. No response. She keys in the code again. Still no response. “Fuck,” she slams her hand into the console.


“Fuck!” Kara screams seconds before a blinding white light and deep buzzing sound explodes through the particle accelerator chamber. She lets out a howling scream, hands coming up to shield her face from the light.

Kara staggers, disoriented and clutching her head. The walls flicker and gutter, twist and contort, and then there's a shockwave of sound like a crashing wave slamming her down underwater. She screams again, a scream shattered and stretched out across too much space.

The world goes dark.

Her memories feel like a story someone told her, of the little girl who lived down the lane. A story she only sort of remembers. With her eyes closed and arms around the children huddled with her in the basement, Kara feels as though she has something to hold on to. But what it is, isn't clear. These people, this world, none of them are hers. She struggles to find reason in her memories, of the muddy transition from private security to Pinehearst Company employee, the strange gaps in her memories that feel like they were backfilled with concrete. A smiling old man with gray hair, giving her a reassuring touch at the small of her back. A blonde man with an easy smile and a doctor's even voice. Figments, all.

The emergency lights click on and a loud humming comes from inside the curve of the particle accelerator. Kara’s eyes snap open and she looks suddenly panicked. The maintenance crew also looks surprised. The accelerator is running.

Hastily, Kara rushes over to an intercom. “Go! Go upstairs and see what's wrong!” She shouts at the maintenance workers before slamming a hand on the button for the intercom.

“Someone talk to me, what's going on up there!?” Kara shouts into the receiver of the intercom.

«What? Have you repeated the leak?» Crackles over the intercom. Kara looks at the intercom with a wild expression.

No! I just got down here! Why did you start the first cycle!?” Kara calls back, exasperated. “We’re venting o2 into the— ”


“Why did you— ”

«The accelerator is cold, Kara. It's off.»

“Fuck you it's not cold, it's powered on! Can you hear it!? Turn the fucking thing off we’re still down here!” There's panic in Kara’s voice. “Turn it off!”

«No — Kara, I'm telling you. It's off. I'm looking at the monitors right now. We haven't even started the boot up — »

Kara’s about to shout something back, but the security lights flicker again and she spots the man in black arctic gear in the hall before he gutters away like a mirage.

«Holy shit! The power just— oh my god! All our readings just went off the chart! What happened!?»

Kara steps away from the intercom and starts running down the hall toward where she saw the figure disappear, eyes wide and hands shaking. As she moves down the hall the particle accelerator continues to whine and wind up. But then, over the loud-speakers an unfamiliar voice calls out.

The voice she hears in her memories — her voice — feels like it belongs to a stranger. Though the words make sense, delivered in her cadence, feel true to who she is, they still feel like someone reading dialogue written about her, rather than from her own mouth. None of it feels lived in, as though she were a spectator to the last three years of her life. Another, loud explosion shakes the basement and the children let out frightened cries as they burrow deeper against Kara's chest. Outside the sky has taken on an orange cast from the flames. She knows they can't stay here.

Down the hall, Kara walks through a sliding glass door into a concrete-walled room with suspended overhead lights. Rows of computers are staffed by technicians and researchers. As she comes in, a young lab technician walks up alongside Kara.

“Ma’am,” the technician matches pace with the much taller woman. “We’re ready to proceed. Doctor Kravid says there's a small leak in the coolant tank at the break between A and B quadrant.”

Kara flashes the technician a sharp look. “Why wasn't I informed immediately? How much— how long has it been leaking for?”

“Less than five minutes, I was just about to go get you.” The technician stops and Kara slows, turning to look back at the taller woman. “I told the maintenance crew not to proceed without you. We've got them waiting down there.” Then, with an awkward smile the technician adds, “We've got the champagne on ice, I'll save a glass for you.”

Kara smiles fondly, then looks away and steps aside, moving swiftly toward a set of metal stairs that leave the observation room. As she descends, she passes by a metal sign that reads Particle Accelerator Maintenance.

At the bottom of the stairs, Kara moves through the curving hall following the brightly painted blue piping following the inner arc of the concrete corridor. Up ahead she can hear voices, can see workers huddled around a conduit in the wall.

She comes to a sudden halt as someone walks through the workers, a man dressed in a black arctic survival outfit. Kara’s blood runs cold and she raises a hand. “Hey— Hey!”

No, wait, nevermind. He's not there at all?

The workers all turn to look at Kara, who stares in shock at an empty point in space. She blinks, twice, and looks startled. With a start, she tries to speak but fear has her throat tight. Then, once she finds her words, “Someone— ”

A third explosion, and this time the basement windows blow out. The children scream as loud as they can, glass rains down on them and smoke begins to flood the basement from the windows. "Come on, come on," Kara hisses, hauling the two young teenagers up to their feet, moving her arms and taking them each by the hand. "We have to get out of here."

"B-but— but I— I can't l-leave mom," one of the teen's hiccups out the words between sobs, strings of snot hanging from his nose, eyes puffy and red from crying. Kara steels herself, squares her shoulders and smacks the child across the face so hard he reels away from her.

"Your parents are dead!" Kara snaps at him, "and unless you want to be dead with your sister you'll follow me!" She grabs the boy's wrist again, tighter, and drags him toward the bulkhead door on the opposite side of the basement with his sobbing sister. As she reaches the metal doors she pushes them open with one shoulder, letting the doors swing out and crash down on a smoldering lawn. The scene she empties out into is absolute chaos. Th eneighboring buildings are all flattened, flames roar up from firebombed houses, and cars burn in the street with their occupants still inside.

Overhead, distant planes roar in the thick smoke, and Kara spots an unoccupied truck parked in the road up ahead, door open and driver nowhere to be seen. "Come on!" She screams, letting go of the two teens and sprinting for the vehicle.

Kara flexes her shoulders, then unfolds her legs and rises to stand in a single, fluid motion until she's standing taller than he is. “They've got me scheduled for the 3:00pm oversight. Ten minutes is the goal, if I can sustain it long enough.” Kara opens her eyes, looks over to Josiah and arches a brow. “Did you just get in, Josiah?”

“Yeah,” Josiah notes with with a crooked smile. “Touched down about twenty minutes ago. The solar storm is screwing with avionics pretty bad. We almost had to make an emergency landing in Gakona.”

Kara quirks a brow, walking across her room to a locker in the wall by the door. “Do… they even have a landing-strip in Gakona?” Kara squints, looking at the jumpsuit in her locker, pulling it out and getting properly dressed from her sweats.

“No. No ma’am they don't.” Josiah smirks and looks around the corner from inside the doorway, at the immaculate state of Kara’s room and how everything is organized just-so. “Suppose that's good for me, right?”

With a shrug of her shoulders, Kara slides her arms in the top of her jumpsuit on and zips it up, then clips her belt on. “Is Kravid clawing up one side of you and down the other yet?”

Josiah shakes his head. “Nah, I haven't checked in yet. Went down to see Crowley and let him know we’re good to go. After that, grabbed a bite and came up here. Wanted t’see my favorite guinea pig!”

“Not funny,” Kara says without a hint of humor in her voice, bumping her shoulder into his chest as she steps past and out the door into the hall. Josiah looks down to the ground and then slips out behind her.

“Hey— Sorry that was uncalled for.” Josiah closes his eyes and scrubs one hand at his forehead. “Fuck look, Kara. Hey! Wait!” Hustling up behind her, Josiah circles around and moves to cut her off.

“Kara.” Josiah holds up his hands as he steps in front of her. “Hey like, can we— ”

“You're sweet. Really. But— ” Kara steps around him. “I've got enough distractions right now. We've got a multi-billion dollar project two years behind schedule, our superiors are agitated, and…” Her jaw sets, shoulders square. “I need this.”

Fixing a look at Josiah, Kara steps around him and continues her way down the hall. Josiah watches Kara walk away, bringing one hand up to scrub at the top of his head. He breathes in deep, then exhales an exhausted sigh.

For the last three years, Kara's life has been a blur, a haze of confusing moments in time lost to the haze of a dream. As she approaches the truck, Kara turns and sees the teens hot on her heels. She dives into the driver's seat, shouting, "Jump in the back!" Because there's no time for them to go all the way around, the planes are coming back around. The engine is still running, and when she sees the two teens climb up into the bed of the truck she shifts it into drive and slams on the gas, peeling out down the street and crashing into the tail of a park sedan, pushing it out of the road.

The children are cowering in the back, holding each-other's hands, screaming. They'll live, Kara presumes, weaving through stalled or napalm-blasted cars. Kara realizes she doesn't have a plan past this point, and as she pivots the rear view mirror toward the sky she sees the shadow of war planes moving just inside the smoke layer. Their dark silhouettes, like predatory birds circling a wounded animal. Up ahead, the road splits at a T-Junction, one headed west to the Interstate and the city, another east toward the mountains. Kara doesn't have the luxury of time to decide. Her clearest memories are from the mountains, and things only got worse the further west she traveled.

She turns the wheel to the right, headed onto Route 2.

In the research quarters of the Mount Natazhat Complex, fluorescent lights desaturate concrete down to pale grays. Even the yellow signage on the walls indicating Mount Natazhat Pinehearst Research Facility feels washed out. Solitary footsteps echo down the hall, coming to stop by an open door.

"Kara Price!" Its a verbal ambush player for laughs. Leaning in the doorway, a dark-haired man in a flight suit crosses his arms. “Wow, look at you! You're looking quite tense.” His name tag says Sanderson. “I mean you're just a bag of nerves, look at you. My god.”

In her quarters, Kara is seated in a lotus position with her hands folded at her midsection. Seated on the concrete, eyes closed and expression serene, she is the picture of control. Her throat works up and down, one brow raising. “Are you done?” There's a toying tone to her voice.

“Mostly, sure.” Cracking a smile, he steps into the room with hands folded behind his back. “They're saying you're going to hold it for a solid ten minutes today. So, I mean I'm a little intimidated by that Kara. Not going to lie.”

Out the passenger's side window, Kara can see plumes of flame erupting from the neighborhood as the jets finish their third pass. She had gone east because she'd heard that the Marines were rallying to defend a community under attack, she assumed from a foreign threat. But this war she woke up into isn't like the one's she'd fought over the years, wasn't a war of foreign actors, but a war within America's own soul. She'd joined up with a Resistance made up of freedom fighters against the tyranny of the sitting President.

The flames behind her are evidence of how that battle was going.

As the town of Sultan fades into a fiery and smoke-clogged view out her rear-view mirror, Kara looks to the children huddled in the back of the truck, holding on to one-another for dear life. She looks from them to herself in the rear view mirror, unable to reconcile her memories of home with the history of the here and the now. There is no Pinehearst, there is only war and suffering.

She had woken up from a dream…

…into a nightmare.

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