I stepped out of my therapist's office and into the cool evening air. It had been a rough couple years, but I finally felt like I could move on. The Institute was shut down, Professor Stefano was behind bars, I was safe now.
As I walked down the street, a digital billboard flashed a soft drink ad with a colorful spiral. I felt that familiar blankness start to rise up, but I was ready to meet it. "My mind is a universe to itself. I sit at the center. Thoughts come and go through infinite space, but do not reach the center unless I will it. In the center of the universe, where I am, everything is safe. Everything is in my control." The blankness receded as I repeated the mantra. I was safe. I was in control. I was okay.
I continued walking, and suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder.
"Failsafe 0: Litigator Uncombed"
I turned in time to see one of the other women who'd been rescued from the Institute, before a wave slammed into my mind, my mantra dying feebly on my lips.
"Get in the car, love. We're getting the old gang back together..."