91.66% A New Manhattan / Chapter 22: Safe at Last

Chapter 22: Safe at Last

Shaun turned the key to start the van before he'd even gotten seated and closed the door properly. He had talked to the doctor — a more or less one-sided conversation that he guessed was more of a threat than an actual conversation, but a success nonetheless. Now all that was left to do was to pick up Desmond and transport him to the morgue at the speed of light. Ragland had promised to make space for him, and even help them shuffle him into the facility. Sure, he had done it with a gun in his face, but there had been little to no time for doubt. It was a matter of survival in a world that had literally gone to shit. Shaun drove on and over multiple walking corpses on his way back toward Times Square. Civilians too, unfortunately, but he didn't think much about it for now. Desmond was first priority.

"Hurry Shaun, Desmond won't be able to hold on for much longer" Lucy said through the earpiece he'd almost forgotten about in his rush away from the cellar.

"You know, if I could teleport, I most certainly would, but about a dozen zombies are currently in my way" he responded with his usual snark. He was driving as fast as he could through streets ruined by what resembled a war. It wasn't that far off. Zombies VS humans. Cliché.

When he finally did arrive in the relatively small parking space, the wheels screeched and he left the engine running to hurry into the building. He found Desmond in the animus with Lucy leaning over him, checking pulse and whatnot, and Rebecca and Dana were standing over Becca's laptop, looking at god knows what. Shaun closed the distance between the door and the animus in five long steps. "Pulse?" he asked, keeping his voice steady. Lucy only nodded, then gestured for the others to get up and help.

They managed to haul the unconscious Desmond into the back of the van with combined effort. Shaun took his seat in the front, Lucy sat in the back to keep an eye on their companion while Becca and Lucy stayed behind with an earpiece each to keep track of things. They clutched each other's hand as they watched the dusty white van speed out of the garage. "He'll be okay" Dana said as she practically dragged Rebecca inside. "Lucy said she'd update us when they arrive at the hospital".

"I'm just so worried about him. And not just his life, but the world—". Rebecca realized a second too late that she'd blurted something she wasn't supposed to tell. But at this point she wasn't sure if she cared. And besides, they could trust Dana. She wasn't a bad person, and barely knew what templars were when she first stepped into the door. Perhaps they could just spend their time with telling each other what their grand plans were. They obviously had some on either side, and in the best of cases, they could work on things together.

"Desmond isn't just Desmond" Rebecca started as she seated herself on the mattress she'd previously claimed. Dana sat down beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders for comfort. "He has this special strain in his DNA that not many people have. I suppose I should start by telling you about genetic memories".

"Iʼm preparing for a shitshow" Dana said, an easy smile on her face. "It seems like that's what the world has come to. With Blackwatch and other super secret operations that aren't all that secret after all". Rebecca actually managed a snicker and leaned into Dana's embrace.

"You could say that. So in our DNA, memories from many thousands of years past are collected. Thanks to the Animus — which, by the way, is a brilliant invention — we can access those memories and live through them as if we were there for ourselves, instead of our ancestors".

"Duuuude, that is sick!"

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"If you have any sickly cool ancestors, yeah. I don't, so it wasn't sick to be in that machine for me" she said, a soft snicker leaving her. Her ancestry was really nothing special. Mostly just regular folks that played golf or wrote journals about their daily life. Yeah, total nerds and partycrashers. "Desmond's ancestors are though, and this is where the history of assassins and templars come in".

"Armor, shields and swords?"

"Something like that. There was this one guy — Altaïr — that lived during the third crusade and he basically formed the entire brotherhood to be what it is today. He was a total asshole at first, but after making a mistake that devastated his whole mission he had his titles taken from him and had to be a novice again. That's the title all young assassins have when they first start learning".

Dana was listening intently to what Rebecca was telling her, actually interested in what she had to say. It wasn't just to indulge her, but she was honestly intrigued by the story. The two had shifted while speaking and was now sitting opposite to each other instead of beside, as they were before.

"Anyway, he eventually got his rank back and discovered this giant plot between his maester and the templars. This dude had apparently been on their side the entire time and Altaïr basically had to kill his own father. Because the guy had been raised there in the temple since his real father died when he was five or something".

"Sheesh".

"I know right? And we know that because we've seen it through Desmond's genetic memories. Well, I haven't, but Lucy has. Back when they were both captives at Abstergo Industries".

"Wait, I've heard of that company. Aren't they selling like medicine and shit?"

"Yeah, that's what they want you to think. But that's not the only thing they do. Abstergo is the face of the templars, and they supposedly have this grand plan of world domination. A new world or something. But the assassins are doing everything they can to stop them".

"Talk about a shitshow. Do you think Gentek could be part of the templars?".

"Wouldn't surprise me. What are they even doing in there anyway?"

"Fucked up shit, that's what they're doing. Alex worked there before this virus crap broke out. Apparently they're the ones behind it and he's trying to find key figures to interrogate and find out the truth. I think he's trying to stop them from doing any more damage than what's already been done".

"Shit man…".

"Yeah, shit. A big fucking pile of shit. Zombie shit". They both giggled at that, and then a silence fell. It was comfortable somehow, to just sit there for a bit after venting out all their worries. Dana had a feeling that there was more to it - there certainly was to hers. But they didn't have to talk more. They had both calmed down, and besides, Rebecca's tummy did plenty of talking for them. It was time for a sandwich before each of them would have to turn their undivided attention back to each of their topics of research.

- - - - - LINE BREAK - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lucy slumped down in the wooden armchair in a corner of the room. She rubbed her eyes and pulled at the tie in her hair to let it loose. The blonde strands were messy from the work they'd done during the day and she combed through it with her fingers. There wasn't much of a choice but to take it easy for a while, but she didn't complain. Desmond was lying on an actual hospital bed, hooked up to both an IV and heartbeat monitor. Despite the doctor telling them that he wasn't specializing in the art of healing people, he knew a damn lot about human biology and what to do to repair the damage. Lucy had to admit that she lacked in that area. They'd been lucky. If not for Dana… Yeah, if not for her, they might've lost him. Him and their only chance to finally get close to finding The Apple. The Apple of Eden that would save them all… If the prophecy was true, that is, but still.

"You have no idea how much trouble you've caused us, do you? You're an egoistic idiot, Desmond" she scolded the still unconscious man. He looked more at peace now. Not the sweating, shivering, squirming heap that he'd been back in the cellar and in the van. It had been a full time job to keep him from thrashing too much. And still she sighed. She cared for him, and not just because of his role in all this. Scooting closer, she leaned forward to inspect his expression. Not the feverish scowl, but he had somewhat of a crease between his eyebrows. "What are you dreaming..?" she mumbled, reaching out a hand to gently rub the crease. He stirred a bit as she did, but didn't show any signs of waking up. Guess she'd have to wait and ask him later on what he had been up to in his dreams.

She sighed and leaned back in her seat again. Now that they knew he was stable, it was due time to give the news to the poor soul that had been left behind to watch their stuff. Rebecca must be biting her nails to stumps in her worry.

"Bex?" Lucy said as she pressed her index finger to her earpiece. It was barely a second before she heard a brief static noise and her friend's voice broke through.

"Luce! Are you okay? Did you get to the doctor? Was he able to help Des—"

"Relax. Yes, we got to the doctor in time, and he helped plenty". Lucy smiled softly into thin air, as if that gesture alone could soothe their worries. "Shaun had to use a bit of persuasion, but Desmond is stable now. Apparently there was this unused room down here containing all sorts of medical equipment".

"Des is there now?"

"Yes. A medical bed and everything. Vitals look okay, but he's gonna need a lot of nutrition when he comes to again. He was also dehydrated when we came here, but the doc gave him an IV, so he'll be alright"

Lucy heard her exhale on the other end, and there was a short moment of static. She took the moment to press her palm against Desmond's forehead. The fever was going down too, which was a good sign. He'd get better in no time.

"And what about the doctor?" Rebecca asked eventually. Lucy grimaced. While he had agreed to help them, they couldn't be sure he would do it again. They also didn't know which side he was on or what he knew about what was going on around here. They had to know more before they could come to any conclusions.

"He won't say anything. We can stay here as long as we don't interfere with his business, but Shaun is trying to find out more about what he's doing". She paused. "I really hope we can trust him, Bex. We need more people on our side, and his expertise can be of use later".

"So.. No need to fill out any forms?". Lucy heard the playful tone in Rebecca's voice, but she also understood that it was a serious question. They needed to stay low, and if any information fell into the wrong hands..

"It was a 'no questions asked' deal. We will have to break it if we want to know who this guy is, though. Shaun is working on it".

"I hope you find something good. So tired of running all the time".

"Don't forget the paranoia. So done with worrying about being backstabbed".

Rebecca groaned, but a soft laugh found its way to her lips as well. Which made Lucy smile in turn. They'd been worrying so much lately, it was truly a relief to get a few minutes to sit down. Especially now, with all that had happened with Desmond.

"Hey, I can ask Shaun to take watch and come back there. We could either hang out or something, or you can take the van back here. If you want to see him, I mean".

"That would be awesome! Just be careful, okay? You have no idea what's out there, but it's big. The militia was screaming like babies about it when Shaun and I was out", a pause, "But we'll talk when you get here.. About what to do. Be sure to get here, okay?"

"I'll be there. Don't worry, Bex".

Taruyison Taruyison

Woop, a chapter! And three more are coming very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Also, big thanks to my beloved Seruphenthalys for beta reading this chapter. It's greatly appreciated!

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