Shouta held onto Yetunde as they rode through the forest. Yetunde looked up at him, watching his face.
“Where are we going?” she asked again. He didn’t respond.
“Have you slept at all?” she asked.
“No.” He slowed the horse down as the trees turned into a field of tall grasses. He got off the horse, helping Yetunde down as well. He watched her, his eyes cold and unforgiving.
“Shouta, what’s going-?”
He tossed her own sword at her, watching her fumble with it.
“Shouta, what are you doing?” Yetunde looked at the sword, then at Shouta.
“Where is she?” is all he asked. Yetunde blinked, then smirked.
“I’m right here,” she replied, dropping the sword.
“Where. Is. She.”
“Your little…” Yetunde shifted her body, waving her hand in the air. “Plaything of yours is tough, I will admit. And so mouthy. When she finally got herself out of the machine, I went to speak with her. She told me to fuck off and never come see you again.”
“You’re LYING,” Shouta shouted. Yetunde laughed.
“You’re right. She is a disgrace to our family name and the fact that you’re still with her… Just disgusting. This technology you’re making could put money back in our name.”
Shouta blinked, his body filling with rage.
“So you’re working with white supremacists and breaking a whole entire treaty just to get money?! You’d rather do this heinous thing to bring back some sort of “honor” that doesn’t mean shit!? Why did I let you back in?!” Shouta’s fingers twitched. Faint little whispers giggled in his ear.
Yetunde shrugged. “Because I’m your father and you still have some sort of connection with me, I guess. I dropped my connection with you once you brought her home.”
“So, why not just stay away forever then?! You saw that we were rising to the top, hoping that’d we fall like you? You only came back for money and you’re talking to ME about tarnishing our name!?”
Yetunde was quiet, her eyes locked with Shouta’s.
“Shut up,” was all she whispered, rubbing her temples. Shouta stared at her.
“She’s right there, isn’t she? You’re in her head. WHERE IS YETUNDE!?”
Yetunde struggled to not walk toward Shouta. He stood still, watching her face. Her eyes were full of fear.
“M-Merideth… Wat… Watson…”
Her eyes showed betrayal as her lips moved.
“C-Chur-rch. Br…Ing… Z–”
Yetunde slapped Shouta in the face and kicked him in the groin before rushing off and stealing the horse. Shouta gasped and yelled, the pain only adding to the rage he felt in his body.
Dana and Samara looked up from their breakfast. Ekundayo watched birds fly up from the south.
Ekundayo and Dana followed Samara on horseback, making their way to the clearing. They looked around, seeing Shouta yards away chasing Yetunde on a horse. Dana and Ekundayo took after Shouta, watching him nearly glide through the tall grasses.
“SHOUTA!” Dana called out. He ignored her.
“GET TO MERIDETH AND WATSON. THERE’S AN OLD CHURCH ON THE CORNER THERE. TAKE ZEE WITH YOU.”
Shouta sounded almost demonic.
Ekundayo stopped, looking at Samara.
“Abbo,” they both said, disappearing from the simulation.
Dana watched Shouta chase after Yetunde, wondering if they’d be back in time.
Moira was already running aftercare, running around the pod room with charts and notes, extra cups of coffee, telling nurses what to do with the bags of IV solution.
“Welcome back, everyone! We’re just ending hour 31 of your little trip! I hope you’re all doing alright!”
Dana felt light-headed.
“Where is Zee?” she asked, taking one of the cups of coffee and sipping on it.
“He is standby. What is going on?”
“He has to go to Merideth and Watson. The old church.
“In and out, 1 2 3, no bodies, please,” Zee said, pulling on his gloves and ski mask.
“You say that lyric like we ain’t about to knock some heads off shoulders, though.”
He sat in the back of a black van with 5 others, pulling on black boots and heavy armor. It was 2 AM, the street they were on was quiet. As they quickly got out of the van, holding various types of bats, Zee laid three taps on the side, the van driving off.
“We got 10 minutes, let’s make it work.”
They went around to the back of the church, kicking in the door. Zee brought his metal bat down onto the skull of the guard that was supposed to be watching the door. They funneled their way into the main hall of the church, the two bigger guys in front. As bullets rang out, they seemed to almost bounce off of their chests. Moving from behind the human shield, Zee and another person went to the side aisles, swinging their bats at kneecaps and elbows. The shield went down the middle aisle, smashing skulls with sledgehammers. The last two jumped over pews, coming down on bodies bo staffs.
As they made their way to the altar where Yetunde and Dekinai’s bodies laid in primitive VR pods, the group of doctors were frantic, trying to sever the connection from Yetunde and Dekinai.
“He’s been in there too long!”
“We need to–” They ignored the group of people walking up to them.
“Of course this simple and out was doomed from the start. HEY!”
The doctors quieted and turned their attention to Zee.
“Look, we have like 4 minutes left before this all goes to shit, so answer my questions in yes or no. Can these bodies be seperated?”
“Well, no, but–”
“Ah, tuh tuh tuh, yes or no. Do these bodies need the pods?”
“Not really, how–”
“Shhhhhhhhh. Do you have a mobile computer for this simulation?”
“Thank yoooou, load ’em up in the van! Oh, and–” Zee headbutted one of the doctors in front of him.
They loaded up the big computer first, followed by Yetunde and practically throwing Dekinai’s body in. Zee sat up front with the driver while the rest of his team sat in the back with two of the doctors.
“You with those DOGs?” one of them asked. The doctors were silent. The one who asked punched them in the arm.
They were driving off as a team of police cars swarmed on the church.
“He really broke that treaty, though,” Samara said, sipping her tea. Dana nodded, playing with her food. Ekundayo was on the computer, scrolling through information.
“Was established in blah blah blah, made up of Black people of the Diaspora and Asian people who wanted to pull away from white supremacy. The treaty was signed into law on oh my god, nobody caaaaaares. Has been broken 2 times before, one of which is human trafficking, which is still a problem… I learned nothing new.”
“It’s just really weird how they got here, though. Like, how do you smuggle whole ass white people in?” Samara asked.
“With money. I did notice the boots became less and less. Dekinai must be super desperate to sell this so he can get his money back,” Dana replied, pushing her food away. “I just got grossed out at the thought of rich Black people with white ‘slaves’.”
“I mean like… As a fetish thing.”
“Well how else you gonna smuggle in whole ass white people like that!? Peoples is freaks!”
“Dana, please just go lay down.”
After they had a hot shower, they went back to the pod room, where Zee was talking with Moira.
“Hey, Zee. Why are you dressed like a Batman thug?”
“Just trying to figure out how we’re gonna get Dekinai arrested is all. If Yetunde hadn’t gotten out of that machine, he would have ran this place to the ground, letting them DOGs in like that. What the fuck, man.”
Moira nodded. “It’s sad, really. I was looking him up and he’s one of the very first people to migrate here, so he probably still had… You know…” Zee nodded and sighed.
“Wait, there are 6 pods in here now? Where did this 6th one come from?”
“It’s Shouta,” Moira said, matter-of-factly. Zee blinked and slowly walked over to the machine.
“So, before Yetunde got kidnapped, we were going through paperwork in Shouta’s will. And of course, he hadn’t updated it, so his family was still able to take control of his body after he had died.”
Dana blinked, peeking into the pod.
“But he’s not dead?”
“No, he’s been in a coma for a long time. Almost 2 years. We had a power surge and everything just shut off for a minute too long. When the power came back on, he… he didn’t. He still had activity, but it was at a very barely functional standstill. It spiked earlier in the day to normal activity, and now it’s barely off the charts. He’s starting to wake up.”