Deep breath. Stand straight, sheet or no sheet. Forget the sheet. Stand, just as if she were in full armor. They didn’t need Yuuki Asuna; they needed Asuna the Lightning Flash.
Time to find out what these people are made of.
“Dr. Fraiser,” Asuna said levelly. “You said, everyone from the game is here?”
“Yes,” Janet answered, picking up a black marker to sketch a tall building on a little whiteboard hung on one bookcase. “I know it might not seem that way, but you can fit a lot of people in one building when they’re… well. Unconscious. We’ll try and find more room for you now.” She turned back with a professional smile. “The logistics of moving you wasn’t as complicated as you might think. You needed long-term care-”
“Everyone?” Asuna persisted, almost feeling Klein and Agil stiffen as her meaning sank in. “You’re sure?”
“We’re sure,” Carter put in. “We tracked down all of the NervGear that Kayaba sold. If you haven’t seen someone, they’re probably just on another floor.” She winced. “Sorry. If they’re alive, they’re here.”
“I… see.” Asuna took a deep breath, catching a glimpse of redheaded stillness that usually meant Fuurinkazan was about to take something apart into tiny, tiny pieces.
You’re lying to us.
It hurt. They were out of the game. This was the Otherworld. They were supposed to be safe.
Kayaba came from the Otherworld, Asuma reminded herself, grim. Nowhere’s safe.
Time to find out what other lies they’d tell. “You never answered my question, Colonel. Why did you move us? You knew it could kill us! What gave you the right?”
Brown eyes narrowed at her, annoyed. Asuna gritted her teeth. If he tried patting her on the head, he was going to lose a hand.
“It wasn’t his call to make.” Janet stepped forward, marker capped and gripped tight. “It was mine. The governments involved agreed that even with the risks involved in transporting you, it’d be more dangerous to leave you scattered in hospitals across Japan.”
Asuna gave her a flat look. “Why?”
“Because we didn’t know what else Kayaba was planning for you,” Janet replied, just as level. “And we didn’t know how many other innocent people he’d be willing to go through to do it.”