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14th & 15th December 2015
The clouds parted a little, allowing the sun to shine. Some of the crowd had dressed for a cooler cloudy day and were already regretting their decision. Hundreds of people stood around, chatting with their group or absentmindedly sipping on drinks. Further back on the lightly sloped areas of grass, some sat on sheets with picnic boxes already broken into. Several people were still arriving through the gates as the spot lights brightened into a soft blue tint over the epicentre of the gathering. A small stage, with a high curved screen forming the back of it. A man walked out onto it, prompting most of the crowd to clap.
"Thank you, and to all who are arriving now, welcome to the Gamefree Festival. It's time now for our very special guest," the man said, pausing for further applause. "You may know her as the chosen one... out of two," he said with a flourished wink. A few people laughed, everyone else remained deathly silent but the man took it in his stride. "All painful jokes aside, we know her as the lovely Lena. Give her a hand folks!"
While he side stepped off the stage, the crowd erupted in claps and cheers. The spotlights on either side dropped down to nothing just in time for the sun to hide behind the clouds again. A figure slowly emerged up from the centre of the floor, with their back facing the audience. A tiny tinkling bell sound effect signalled the beginning of some gentle music playing through the speakers throughout the event.
The figure now completely on the stage raised a microphone.
Bittersweet, memories, that's all that's left of me. No matter what, I know that I can get by.
The music picked up in volume, an electric piano seemed to be the prominent instrument. The figure then turned around to face the audience.
I know what they want me to be. Using gentle lies to shape me.
Lena's voice began as a mere whisper, amplified by the microphone and speakers. She couldn't help it as the thought behind her next lines made her tremble.
My life was never mine.
Images falling through my mind.
Floating outside time.
The break in between the verse gave her a chance to recover, take a deep breathe. Fortunately the tremble gave her soft vocals an edge, it got the audience's attention.
We acted so crazy then.
I didn't say sorry before you left.
Lena's eyes drifted to the left side of the stage, no one but the front rows would have seen it. The announcer did as for a moment it felt like it was at him, but it wasn't. The young girl with long brown and wavy hair stood ahead of him, as close to the stage as she could without being seen by the crowd. A much younger sister, he thought, the two looked very much alike.
See, I was resisting.
I'd fight your battles for you.
The brief pause felt awkward, Lena was used to singing more upbeat material and this was far from it. She didn't realise until then that she had been swaying gently all this time. Standing still on stage wasn't her thing. Pushing a strand of hair back behind her shoulder, she continued.
Don't worry, 'cause I'll come back.
I could hear you whisper as you vanished within the light.
But still I fight. To hide the pain, as I stare at empty pages.
The spot lights slowly started to brighten, illuminating her in a soft blue glow.
I've been waiting for the silver in the clouds.
Only it gets darker, it gets harder to see anything.
The piano slowed down, then began to build up to something bigger, all the while the other instruments in the background rose gradually.
It's only the two of us, so who cares if we fall down.
Behind Lena, the giant screen flickered to life with an image of stars gently moving, a nebula in the distance. The spotlights reflected the stars themselves on whatever it could reach, giving it a sparkly effect. The music swelled to its peak at the same time.
Because the five worlds, call out through the ages.
They'll live with you, even though you can't see.
The image spread over onto the stage's ceiling, even across the sky over the people's heads, immersing everyone in what it was showing.
Their distance holding you. Together within silver walls.
On the silver cue, a very familiar ship flew from the screen and flew in the sky above Lena. It looked like to everyone that it was really there, flying over them.
Only five worlds, one fifth of a lifetime.
Will stay with you. Making all of your forgotten days seem like yesterday.
They'll haunt you forever.
The final word she hung onto for as long as she could, before allowing herself to breathe in once more while the piano picked up. Behind her the peaceful image of space behind became far less quiet. A circular anomaly grew out of nowhere, a shadow emerged from it. The sight of it got everybody talking quietly amongst themselves. Lena was about to continue when the shadow showed itself to be a Borg Sphere. It wasn't real, everyone knew, but it put most of the crowd on edge. It lingered in the background behind in the sky above her.
Now and then we all can lose our way.
Tomorrow's going to bring a better day.
People were starting to wonder what the point of the images were in relation to the song. They only got further questions as the Borg ship began to fire at the first ship, damaging it instantly.
And I can see that finally, I'm free.
The music built up to a climax, with the phaser barrage silently slamming into the back of the image of Voyager directly over Lena's head. From the right side of the stage another person stepped out into the far corner, hidden behind the lack of light.
Because the five worlds.
The new arrival adlibbed softly over her, "were for nothing." Lena wasn't sure if she heard it, the music overpowered the voice, so she continued while it was still singing nothing.
Have forever been broken.
Lena thought she heard a oh come from behind her, she didn't have time to look over her shoulder to check.
Will stay with you. They'll carry you home.
The audience were wondering who the other singer was. An unannounced guest, a lot guessed. Her next line, cut in while Lena still was singing her last word, "destroy our home," was raised a little so the people could hear it but Lena herself would still not over the music.
She sang her next one unknowingly over the top of the other singer.
We are only Human.
The holographic Voyager maneuvered a little to the right to dodge an attack. A second weapon, what looked like a prolonged phaser beam sliced into its hull. The audience's reaction to it confused Lena as she couldn't see it, barely just above her head. She had to be professional though, so she couldn't stop.
Protected by silver walls.
"By ruined walls," the mystery singer sang, taking one step further out of the shadows. People still struggled to see her, but the voice was all too familiar. She sang the line with such venom, at quite a volume Lena did hear it this time. Her body flinched at it.
The voice was hers.
And five past lives.
Lena tried not to visibly shudder when she heard her own voice vocalise behind her.
You don't see but feel them hurt.
Now the audience could see the other singer. Same face, same hair, even the same outfit. The girl was an exact copy of Lena. The only difference was a malicious glint in her eye everytime she sang. "We're nothing special."
They'll stay with you.
The other her countered with a mere, "oh no," as holo-Voyager maneuvered to finally fly over Lena's head, above the audience.
Making all of the pain... Voyager didn't look right, it was damaged. It wasn't supposed to be.
You feel so far away.
About to sing the final chorus line, Lena was left speechless when a few weapons flew into her line of sight. The other singer followed with, "end of days."
One hit tore her old home to bits in seconds. The audience were as shocked as her, their voices almost drowned out the music.
"They'll haunt you forever," the impostor stole her last line, and with a lot of power. The music swelled at the same time, before fading out to a gentle piano tap.
The Borg ship flew over Lena, only to fade out along with the stars. She only had a couple of seconds to see it.
"Oooh, the fifth world," the singer sang softly while stepping backwards into the shadows once more.
Lena's knee's buckled at the weight of the images. She dropped to them while the audience struggled to decide whether they should clap or jeer at what they saw.
The announcer glanced to the girl he thought was her sister, in case she wanted to go to her first. Only she was gone. He did hear footsteps fading away from him, so he looked over his shoulder in time to see her disappear around the back of the stage. He decided to put his game face on and walk back on the stage as if the performance went as planned.
The girl broke into a run behind the stage. Her target, the look-alike stage crasher heading for one of the tents. Before she had the chance to lose her within them, the girl picked up her speed. Only once she was close enough she shouted at her, "hey!"
To her surprise the woman stopped to face her, smiling broadly. "Kiara? What did you think, did mummy make you proud?"
The mocking tone in her voice enraged Kiara further. The imposter didn't expect anything, let alone a vicious back hand across the face. Unlike the real thing, the blow made her stumble backwards, almost to the floor. "What have you done? How...?"
The fake laughed through her stinging cheek. "I put on a good show. That's all."
Kiara's eyes narrowed even further. "Who put you up to this? Who programmed you?"
"My, I did ask for no paparazzi, so I'll tell you. No questions, no interview," the fake sniggered.
Kiara reached forward to grab her by the arm, pushing her to one side, closer to the tent. Doing so made her think, that was her original destination. She looked around, focusing on the edge of the stage, and up at the other spot lights towering over them a metre away. Her gaze fell back on the woman, her grossly smug expression and darker eyes didn't suit her, they weren't meant to be on Lena's face. "We're out of the holo emitter range. You're not a hologram." The fake Lena shook her head slowly, Kiara felt the blood rushing away from her cheeks. "Who are you?"
"It's difficult to say. Am I you, your sister, or the mother who didn't want you?" the fake said sweetly. "What are we going with these days?"
"Dead," the exact same voice said from the stage. Kiara knew to close her eyes, just in time for the microphone stand to be flung at the woman in front of her. Knocked out instantly, they dropped to the floor in a heap. The noise gave Kiara the cue to look again, she spotted the real Lena jump down the steps to join them. A stern look planted on her face, fire in her eyes, a hardened look ruined by the obvious tear trail under her eyes.
"Are you all right?" Kiara asked softly.
Lena gave her a nod, then looked down at the copycat by her feet. "All it did was make it easier."
Kiara noticed slight movement come from the body, it was still breathing. "How are they here, what was the point? It blew its cover."
"It didn't want to kill me. It wanted to hurt me," Lena answered with a disgruntled sigh. "Why else would it use Annika's methods?"
"Yeah," Kiara laughed nervously. "You don't look surprised."
That wasn't entirely true. Lena didn't expect a personal attack from a copy of herself. Normally they would remain in the shadows, preferring to be out of the spotlight. This creature was against the norm. It wanted to play with her and in Lena's opinion, that meant only one thing. They knew.
"I hope it was alone. I don't want to think about what comeback they've been planning for so many years," Kiara said.
Lena realised that it couldn't be just one thing, but two. Either way, they were beginning to get bold and that was never a good sign.
TO BE CONTINUED
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