Let's Get Physical

« When you're out there doing what you're doing | Let's Get Physical| Hotter than Hell»

rating: +33+x

The stars danced, the hum of magic and astral energy thick in something that almost resembled atmosphere but not quite.

A small blue orb hovered in the vacuum of the Astral plane before a great tunnel. It was a wormhole, a connection point to the material plane. Thick hot gas and fog swirled at the entrance.

The form of the great black, purple, and red covered humanoid was only barely visible through these swirling mists. Blue writhing throbbing tendrils of thaumaturgic projection extended from the orb into the fog, piercing that horrible eldritch thing in many places.

Every second, every heartbeat drew in energy to the orb. A never ending battery. That's what the astral plane was. But it was more than that. That's why she came here in the end. It's what she agreed to, in the stupidity of her youth. Or wait.

Was it stupidity, or was it necessity?

What was the point of any of this? Of agreeing to step into the rustic sphere, of becoming a safeguard against his return?

The thoughts drifted through her hibernating mind as she hovered there. Some years she relived entire fictions that never were. What might have been. Some years she relived every waking moment she had ever experienced. Then there were the years that were consumed by visions of the future. This was one of those.

Something pinged against the edges of her mental net. Intrusion. Something disturbing the fabric. A hval? No. Too small. Whispers. It's getting closer. Metal. Mechanical. Mekhanite? Maybe. She couldn't let it disrupt the seals. Then it really will have all been for nothing.

For the first time in three millenia, the fifth time since she'd been trapped here, Triemedes, first Queen of the Finnfolk, opened her eyes. She pointed at the device as it hovered near her sphere. Two fingers extended, thumb straight up. If there was one thing that brought her joy in the solemness of her duty, it was the thrill of a kill. She curled her fingers back, arm drawing back towards her rapidly, the other shoulder moving forward to balance. Magic rippled from the sphere in a blue beam, smashing into the device.

Schwap. The machine fizzled and died. It tumbled harmlessly in the void, engines silenced by the magic.

The machine… was a fuckup. One she couldn't afford. And then it bit her in the ass. Teran's right arm cracked free, a great piece of ancient stone tumbling through the void and slamed into her tiny sealing sphere. Her head jolted forwards, smashing into the material, breaking her nose and knocking her out cold.



Ah uskit'r.

The throb of consciousness returned unkindly. An annoying… high pitched short tone she'd never heard before and the whir of some sort of machinery filled the air.

What is that noise? It's like a gellir.

Her eyes were heavy with the weights of deep sea boulders, or maybe the muscles were just atrophied after 5000 years of minimal use. Something was stuck into her arm, and strange metal… tassles were attached to her chest and head. She was laying horizontal, and the air was pleasantly cool. This was a welcome change of pace from the blistering combination of hot and cold that assaulted her before she last lost consciousness.

How long has my kuensami rass been out?

The noises continued incessantly. Somewhere, she'd guess about 2-3 tridents away, maybe more, there were low voices. With her head throbbing like she'd been smashed in the head with a fucking mace, the words were unintelligible. She wiggled her toes to make sure they were still there, and was satisfied as she felt the silk of some sort of cloth rub against them. The same with her fingers.

I feel like I was hit by a Daevite Oak Walker, but at least I'm in one piece.

The voices came closer, accompanied by footsteps. With so little information about where she is, how she got there, and why she was strapped to the cot she decided that discretion was the better part of valor. So she played dead like she was a sea possum that had just barely dodged getting its asshole shoved in by a shark transport.

"Adefhgonc patient pratnghags out uf scon three years."

"Tern long somalongstefor time la asleep."

She could only catch a word or two of her erstwhile visitors' conversation. She wished they would shut up, it really was not helping her head. A small part of her hoped the thaumaturgic linguistic processor in her brain, an ingenius and annoying feature she'd come up with herself, didn't turn on.

How the fukka did I get out of the sealing vessel and back to the material plane.

She was not in the rich environment of the astral plane. That much was the first and most obvious observation. The trickle of water was audible elsewhere in the… room? Chamber? Place where she found herself interred. Some small part of her considered whether she had finally died or not. But if she did die, would she not be in the Astral plane with the love of her life? Her chest ached at the thought.

Alva, if only I had one more moment with you.

Was this a punishment? What a stupid end she must have met, to be confined to a cot like this. In any case, she recognized the language as being some evolved form of her own language mashed together with something else.

"Stefalscane porteadcan hand me the otoscope would you George?" A mental click in her head partway through what sounded like either a Finnwife or a Human woman speaking.

Frustrated fire spurned in her cerebellum, adding to the throbbing of her skull. Son of a qlfuss. Why couldn't you have just stayed off.

Definitely not a Daevite or a nälkäns, there was no gravel or hag-ness in her voice. Though frankly, she'd met some clever young Daevites and nälkäns in her time capable of masking their voices. The former would be draining her for blood to power their twisted botanical magic, and the latter would probably be sculpting her flesh. Given neither of those things were happening, and she wasn't screaming like a selkie, it was a safe bet that they were neither of those things.

"Of course Dr. Alfhild." Something cold and really really unpleasant poked into her ear. It took everything she had to not try to flail at it.

"No fluid accumulation."

"That's good. What about vitals?"

A chill hand presses to her neck, right above the gills.

Great, a healer with cold hands. Either I'm in hel or my people have completely eschewed personable practices.

"Yes. Vitals look good, heart rate and blood pressure normal. Oxygen count is 98%."

"Seems like she's in good shape."

"As good a shape as you can be for someone who's been in a coma for three years." A pause as something cool presses to the skin, tilting her head one way, and then the other. "Branchial membranes are clear and adequately moisturized."

Ice crawled up her spine, and it wasn't the frankly unreasonably cold hands of the healers. Three years? Three years is… if that's… no. Oh mither no. I've been out of the Astral plane for three faen years!?

"Who do you think this is? Like, you must have some idea, you know, on account of being more familiar with the myths and legends."

She wanted to scream. She wanted to get up and run. Find the nearest conduit and tear open a rippling, astral portal. Fukka. Fukkkkkkkkkkkka. I could feel Teran's seals being eaten away after a millenia. And that was with me there.

"Impossible to say for sure. There are many heroes that could match her description. Most from the same lineage. I'd have a better idea if your 'Foundation' actually told us anything about how they got ahold of her." There's a hint of irritation in her voice, as if this is a question that is asked far too frequently.

She wanted to cry. She could barely move her toes and fingers. There wasn't a damn thing she could do. My whole purpose, the entirety of my life wasted because I lost focus for five faen seconds.

"Any idea on when she might wake up?"

"Could be next week. Could be next month. Could be never. It is impossible to tell. What is the current betting pool?"

"2:1 odds that she never wakes up. 5:1 that she wakes up within the next year. 1.5:1 odds that we pull the plug or she dies. The pot is currently $1000."

Her thoughts descended into hysterics. Great. I can't move, can't open my eyes and these Hrafnasueltir are making bets on whether I'll wake up. Bacraut I'm right here.

"Hmmph. Help me get her mouth open so we can get the tube in for feeding." A cold hand grips her jaw like the vice of a nälkäns flesh crafter.

The lines on her face bunch and curl in a grimace that would look more like a deranged smile to a human. That's it, enough!

"If you don't take your hands off my face, you'll be the one eating out of a tube." She manages, voice hoarse and crackly from lack of use.

The doctors, of course, promptly shit their pants.


Within the first few hours, an irritating parade of people were in and out of her room. All different kinds of specialists checking probing and prodding her, assessing this and that. Of course, they were all very nice in asking permission, a remarkable and welcome change from the invasive diagnostic magistry that developed over the course of her lifetime. She didn't understand why they were so invested in probing and prodding and questioning her. The sheer number of requests and specialists was too much. It was really starting to piss her off.

I don't know if I can trust any of these people. Where am I? What's the geopolitical situation? Do they know Teran's seals will crumble? So many questions… but without knowing more about the factions in play, the politics, and the overall situation… her shitty physical situation aside, talking was a risk. Asking questions was a risk. She needed to heal as fast as possible, and get back to the Astral plane. If she got swept up in politics, it would all crumble. No, she needed to stay quiet. Mute. So she did.

At one point she passed out, exhaustion probably. She came to a few hours later and her eyelids finally deigned to work.

A crowd of Finnfolk and human healers were gathered around her. Old, young, wrinkly, smooth, long hair, short hair, and many different skin and scale tones. They wore strange clothes, not at all the same kind of hand-stitched materials that were common in her time. The majority donned strange white coats, and had some sort of bisected snake hanging around their necks. Odd coverings were on the feet of the humans but her people were mostly barefoot. Most wore baggy looking blue garments that covered the entirety of their legs. The humans were unusually well groomed for, well, humans.

In the end it was the combination of different voices and visual bedlam from the crowd that pushed her over the edge.

As if things couldn't get worse, I've become a medical attraction. Her eyes crinkled, and her lips curled slightly at the edges in irritation. She wasn't going to suffer this particular indignity.

She flared her gillflaps and bared her teeth, eyes narrowed and wild. A threat display, understandable to her people in the room but only to some of the humans. The look of ornery irritation managed to compel the Finnfolk healers to corral most of the humans out of the room.

Only a few particularly stubborn doctors remained. They dispersed like guppies as soon as they realized she was either mute or simply unwilling to talk. She was left with a handful of orderlies and a couple doctors who stayed to make sure her vitals and the odd machines were working than to poke and prod.

With the crowd departing, she took a moment to glance around. The room was not altogether alien like the healer's clothes. The walls were made of organo-metallic alloy, with glass windows and a door facing out into a corridor of similar material. Several small waterfalls emanate from ceiling ducts and constantly sprinkle down into grooves on the floor. The entire room was lit by thaumatological grooves running parallel to the water conduits. They cycled through various cool colors, blues and greens most prominently with a distinct lack of red.

Odd devices, some mechanical, some thaumatological, were scattered around the room. She recognized the Finnfolk designs and origins of some. But they were alien to her still, strange glass screens with bright lights depicting words and numbers. Lines that were moving up or down randomly.

There was even some sort of stand next to her bed, with one of these screens that was not Finnfolk in origin, all kinds of icons and symbols projected with odd light patterns. She didn't know what any of it meant, beyond what was possibly a date and time on that screen? 2021… she'd been in the Astral plane for 2000 years?

Finnfolk. Definitely Finnfolk in origin. But there are Mekhanite machines? Human constructs. And why are there so many mitherboluad humans!? She opened her mouth if to ask the orderlies, forgetting for a moment the decision she'd made to maintain a vow of silence. All that bothered to come out was a small croak. Guess it's less of a choice and more of a physical reality. I'm mute. she thought with morbid amusement drooping back into the cot.

Her stomach grumbled in anger, and her throat felt so dry, she thought it might crack open and bleed. What a sorry state I'm in. I wouldn't last two seconds right now against him. He'd squash me like mini-isopod. She tried to move again, but that was a bad decision. Her back and leg muscles screamed. Two orderlies came over to stop her, easing her back into her bed. She looked at them both eyes burning with shame and hate.

The reality was overwhelming. Her life overwhelming. Memories flashed. The boats carrying her off to war, thrust into command to prove herself. She was 75. Too young. Less than half the age of her peers.

At 85 a storm had swept the seas, her fleet helpless to watch as Teran shattered Hildaland, salt and rain on her lips, tears on her cheeks, stopped only by her guards and Alva. They wouldn't let her in the water. Everything. She lost everything she knew that night. Numb. And then angry. Constant anger. It was numb anger for days. weeks, months, years. Her heart. It felt numb through the 65 years of traveling, uniting her people, making Allies.

Only one thing broke through that icy cold. Alva. The love of her life. A rather twisted and perverse love, in the way that can only happen with a goddess. It was love nonetheless. Now she didn't even have that.

2085(?) years of pent up grief and emotion boiled to the surface as white hot rage. She wanted to scream. To yell and cry. Worst of all, she wanted her mom. Wanted to be 20 again, nestled in her mother's arms in the cool air of hildaland as the great giver swam through the ocean. She'd never been this weak. Helpless sure, but not because of being weak. She was fully at the mercy of a bunch of human and Finnfolk nursemaids all while an eldritch god was surely getting ready to destroy everything. And it fucking pissed her off. She curled her fist, wanting to hit something, someone.

"Miss." One of the orderlies said interrupting the deluge of depressing, angry, and spiraling thoughts. "Do you need anything? One nod for yes, two nods for no."

The icey dagger filled stares could have frozen them in place, but the orderly must have been blessed because she just patiently waited for an answer. Her stomach betrayed her pride, as it growled loudly, she nodded once.

Of course if she gave into the despair, there would never be chance to stop the end from coming.

"Food?"

Another nod.

And somehow the thought of the world ending because she was too wrapped up in her own despair to actually try and stop it was the bigger insult. Teran's not going to stop because you're having a pity party idiot.

"Water?"

Yet another nod.

And then she realized something more immediately important. Mither above I need to piss.

"Anything else?"

Triemedes pointed to her groin and then the bathroom. If she pissed herself now that would mean she'd need a bath, and have to have her sheets changed. The very thought of such a thing made her consider tying a noose with the odd tubes attached to her arm.

Having to be helped to the bathroom was humiliating. Of course the nice orderlies looked away, but it was the principle of the entire affair.

Once she was back in bed, and comfortable, a food tray and a glass of water were set on a little table that was pulled across her lap.

"We'll be back at the top of the hour to take the plate." The human female orderly assured her, before turning to leave. Triemedes ignored her, surveying her food haul.

Nutrition paste. Perhaps she had been overzealous in hoping for crab or shark meat. She stared at it. She poked at the multicolored paste, spurred on by the grumbling of a stomach that hadn't digested anything for the better part of 4.8 millenia. And she ate it. It wasn't good, in the way that a warm rich meal of seabass, zelandi fruit, and sea rice with gull eggs was. I'd kill for that. But it quieted her stomach. The water was the cleanest she'd ever tasted. Not a hint of residual salt or dirt. Pure unabashed hydration. But that too spurred a pit of longing in her stomach. It was so stupid, clean water like this could save so many lives, but the water she was used to had character.

Setting aside the tray she looked at her hands, scrawny and thin after three years of coma. And proceeded to descend right back into self pity like an idiot.

Pathetic… this is… pathetic. He should have just killed me. That would have been better than suffering through this.

She stared at her hands for a long time, at the webbing and the digits. Curling her fingers, turning them over. She didn't even notice the blanket of thaumaturgic tension rolling into the room from the hallway. Of course she heard the footsteps, but she wrote those off as being the orderlies. At least until every hair on the back of her neck, of which there were a surprising number for someone with scales, decided to stand on end. Chills and goosebumps wriggled up and down her spine and into her limbs. The thump of her heart rose into her ears, loud as the wardrums echoing in the crags and lochs of Orkney. It's impossible to forget the feeling of a fully realized Thaumaturge, being in their presence is like standing in the sickly pressurized air of the calm before a storm. At any moment you could be obliterated.

Her head turned slowly to the doorway, and met orbs of haunting blue, filled with a fire so deep the heat rolled against her skin from just looking. A young and unusually short Finnfolk woman stood in the door frame. Her back was slightly hunched, and her shoulders slouched. Golden scales and hair caught the light of the thaumaturgic fixtures, twinkling in the dimness. Triemedes' gill flaps pressed tightly to their membranes and her pupils dilated. Time slowed to a crawl, individual drops of water seeming to echo, the dull hum and beeps and clicks of the machinery drowned out by a sudden, intense and building static.

Pressure bubbled in her skull. Oh fukka. Oh fukka. It's her. The girl from the vision. The same one she had had every single night after first meeting Alva. A ghost. A phantom. And she was right there. Right fucking there.

You know how these moments go. They stretch into infinity, neither party daring to move. Seconds ticked by, maybe minutes? Or maybe no time passed at all. Electric energy moved between them, threatening to burst and tear reality at its seems.

A clatter broke the tension, the fork having slid off of Triemede's plate. It clanged on the floor, a moment of distraction as she glanced towards it. Her head snapped back to the Finnwife sitting up in bed, hands hastily raised the rustic for iss flying to her fingertips only to find the Finnwife was gone. As if she'd never been there in the first place. Was it a hallucination? A dream?

Maybe she'd never been there. But the poor orderly who stepped into the doorframe certainly was.


Shards of fire ran up the nerves of her leg and spine. The muscles teetering and screaming beneath the weight and heft of her whole two meter frame. Learning to walk again was hell. It was like she was carrying around a nälkäns Behemoth on her back, and it would not hesitate to crush her if she made a misstep or moved too fast. Agonizing. Her lips were curled, teeth bared in what could easily be mistaken as a smile, her flared gill flaps signaling to the Finnfolk trainers in the room that she would be at best difficult. The weakness in her body, being reduced to the capabilities of a mitherfucking child, it was enraging. She was a warrior and she could barely take two shitty steps without needing to hold onto a rail.

"One step at a time, there you go." The human trainer she was assigned said. Every day for that first week. "Very good!" His voice just oozed this smug, encouraging tone to it. She hated it.

Mitherfukka keep it up and I will lay you out like a Daevite after they insult a nälkän's bone structure. One good punch would have wiped the smirk off his lips and shut him up. She didn't need or want his coddling. If only she wouldn't fall over with the motion of her swinging arm. The only humiliation worse than not being able to walk was not being able to throw a punch. Part of her knew that recovery was never going to be easy. But knowledge did not soften the aching blow of reality.

It was at the end of the first week of physical therapy when she started to notice some important details about where she was. That is when she wasn't raging at the humiliating limitations of her out of shape and atrophied body. There were multiple other patients, Finnfolk and human. Their physical therapists, a term she'd overheard the humans use to refer to the people in the strange blue garments, guided their patients through varying levels of touch and physical contact. They worked different muscle groups, joints, etc. But again, lots of physical contact.

No one touched her. At first, she figured it was because she kept glaring daggers and murderous gazes, but she hadn't actually done anything other than glare. But they all kept their distance, even the excitable smug human they'd assigned to her.

It wasn't just physical contact though. Nothing substantial was ever said to her. No small talk, no attempts at conversation. At first she attributed this to the fact that she had not said anything to anyone except for the threat with the feeding tube. Which, good, she didn't want to talk. She wanted to recover, get strong again, and go stop a fucking apocalypse. Talking was a distraction. Politics, agendas, and interests were a distraction. Maybe it was a cultural thing, and she'd made a massive faux pas. But they still asked about her needs and how she felt so something else was up. Minimal social contact, no physical contact.

Then there were the guards. Soldiers, human and Finnfolk both. Everytime she was wheeled out of her room, 4-5 would surround her and wheel her to the therapy facility. The same for meals and 'social time' in the cafeteria. The human guards really stood out, glittering black armor and weapons. Poor excuse for weapons too, you couldn't stab a person with it. They had on helmets, and on both them and their armor, there was another thing from her visions. The eye with the arrows pointing in. None of the other patients had this sort of escort. She was a prisoner.

Should I be flattered by this? It's either I'm so important that I need to be put under constant guard, or I'm so dangerous that I need to be under constant guard. She elected to be flattered by the gesture. In either case they're paying a lot of attention to me, and that's worrying.

After some observation, she figured out that about a month had passed. This was about the time she was able to walk under her own power without the railing a tenth of the distance the barrier bounded. The little glass screens, monitors and consoles she'd heard the humans call them, had numbers that operated in 12 hour blocks, and once two of those had passed, so had a day. She found the use of base 12 for timekeeping to be a funny math trick. She didn't know why, not really her deal, but it amused her nonetheless.

The orderlies learned very quickly not to bother trying to stop her from doing pullups and chinups on a bar attached midway up the wall of her room when she reached this point. After about two weeks she could do a paltry ten.

Over the course of two months she fell into a steady routine. An incredibly tedious and boring routine. Wake-up, eat nutrient paste breakfast. Shower with assistance.

The only reason I haven't gouged out eyes yet is because trying to scrub myself and bend over is currently a nightmare that would scare a Knuckelavee.

Get dressed. Be wheeled to physical therapy and then, shudder, social time. Or what would have been social time if she didn't sit in a corner with a bunch of scrolls trying to figure out not only where she was, but when she was. Helpfully, or unhelpfully to the other more curious patients, the guards kept her relatively secluded during social time, preventing other patients from talking to her unsupervised. Or really at all. One of the few things she was glad for.

I would kill for my khopeshes. Just to be able to wipe the floor with any of these black dressed bacrauts, she thought idly. It wouldn't be a fair fight really. She had a full head and a half over the tallest of the humans, and half a head over the tallest Finnfolk. Then they'd wheel her back to the room, where she'd do pullups, chinups, and situps until she was sore.

What she really missed in the evenings were those crude romance scrolls that all the warriors would pass around and add to piecemeal until you had a really lousily written romantic epic. This would have been a more entertaining use of her time than laying in that cot waiting to pass out after her evening exercises.

But then, the routine changed. It was about two months in and she'd finished with breakfast and getting showered and found herself confronted by several more guards than normal.

"In the wheelchair." A guard ordered her, one of those armored humans. This one had a patch on their arm that was different than the rest. NTF Delta 7. The tone rankled her like a bad smell rankles a leopard fish, and her gill flaps flared.

It was a pleasant change of pace from past experience that the humans here actually seemed to understand her body language, resulting in the far too serious looking man adding "Please."

"Hmph." She got in the wheelchair. She probably shouldn't have, but what was she going to do, run? Ha, fat chance. And anywhere was better than the cot or the social room at this point. The convoy of soldiers and at least one orderly wheeled her down the narrow corridors of the medical complex she had woken up in.

She hadn't been outside the complex, the the initial assumption having been that the entire thing was a medical complex. That changed when they went through a pair of double sliding doors that compartmentalized the medical complex. The halls widened out, the canals of flowing water getting slightly wider as they entered a much less populated segment of the facility.

There were mostly Finnfolk here, adorned in business-like robes, and occasionally they passed a hallway leading into some sort of… well she wasn't entirely sure. Rooms with weird metal tables, chairs, and more of those strange monitors and consoles. Most were dark or unoccupied, but occasionally, there was a person in one, mostly Finnfolk, but sometimes human. The lighting was brighter, harsher and less pleasant on the eyes. Murals carved into the walls were the only decorations, depicting scenes, she assumed to be historical events backlit by thaumturgical emplacements. Some she recognized, some she didn't.

Strange. All built by Finnfolk. Am I aboard Guð-Bani, or is this Finnfelheim? Or something entirely new? Curiosity nibbled at the back of her mind.

They turned down a smaller hallway and into a series of rooms with metal tables and chairs and several doors. This room was spartan, with strange squat organo-metallic rectangles of varying sizes randomly against the walls and several of those odd glowing consoles. Her entourage guided her over to one wall with two doors. They opened the rightmost door and wheeled her inside.

The room was somehow even more spartan than the other. Dimly lit with a hanging thaumaturgic light fixture, a table sat in the middle of the room with several chairs stuck underneath. A strange square device sat on the table, a piece of rope or tubing coming out of the top and attached to a strange conical device on a tripod stand. They wheeled her to the table, facing a large mirror.

And then they left. And she was alone. The first time she'd really been alone in more than two months. Sure, the orderlies left her room at night, but there were always guards she could sense just outside the door. But right now? She couldn't sense anything. She was well and truly alone.

What now? She looked around slowly. But looking didn't make the room anymore interesting.

So, she waited. For something. Anything to happen. A chronometer, or as the humans called it, a clock ticked away on the wall. This one was definitely a human addition.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick

Five minutes pass. The incessant noise of the device was driving her insane. I'm going to break that thing. Whose idea was it to make it tick?

She thought about standing, and grabbing a chair and smashing it. She really did. But she didn't get the chance to follow through. With a click and a hiss, the door opened. Triemedes blinked, horizontal eyelids closing and opening quickly. Her gill flaps pressed to their membranes, as she pressed back into her chair, eyes narrowing.

That's not possible. It really shouldn't have been.

A human woman stood in the doorway.

It's a trick. Gaugbrojotrs! It wasn't a trick her eyes told her.

She had red hair, crimson in saturation.

A joke. Fukka. Nor was it a joke.

Blue-green eyes with a yellow tinge, and fair skin that when the light hits it just the right way had an almost green tint to it.

Ah fukka. What the fukka is this!? How the fukka!? Fukka fukka fukka fukka. Why are you HERE.

"Hello EoI-3703-01. How are we today?"


Boots clicked on the organo-metallic floors in the upper levels of SCP-4700, or Guð-Bani as the Finnfolk referred to it. God slayer. There was a bit of schadenfreude to the name, but ever were the Finnfolk utilitarian in their naming schematics.

"So we're missing that security conference in Edinburgh for this?" Sherry Andrews (O5-01-03) was in a plaid skirt, brown camisole and fiery hair. She was looking over a vanilla folder turning pages quickly as they walked.

"Yep." Leep Andrews (O5-01-04) said, hair grown out to her shoulders. HRT had done her a lot of good.

"We scheduled that thing a year out, and you told me months ago we couldn't weasel out of sucking up to the other O5s." Neither of them were typical of what you would expect members of the shadowy O5 council to be. But they were outsiders, newcomers. A bee in the bonnet of tradition.

"Yeeeup. That's a thing I definitely told you." She looks straight ahead waiting for the coming question.

"So this woman, Finnfolk warrior, wakes up. And suddenly we drop everything?" Her lips curl down briefly at the corners.

"You read the file right?" Leep asked, pinky briefly in her ear as she pulled out a hankerchief and wiped it off.

"She was in a blue orb. It was emitting immense amounts of energy as detected by Kant and VERITAS sensors. It was doing something to what we think might be an HK-Class threat." Under her breath she mumbles, "Would it kill them to tone down the technical jargon?"

An amused chuckle. "A bit more complicated than that, but essentially yes."

"And she woke up after three years in a coma." There's a hint incredulity on her lips.

"Two months ago." Leep looked at her with something akin to 'Yeah. Really.'

Sherry looked back to the files. "She freak out?"

"Nope."

"You're kidding me right. She done anything?" Sherry looked at her spouse again.

"Chinups, pullups, situps."

Blink. "What?"

"Exercise."

"No I got that part. I was ju-" Sherry wrinkled her nose. "Nevermind. Has she said anything?"

"Nope. Not a word to anyone. But it's not like anyone has tried to talk to her." Leep shrugged, a hint of exasperation in the motion.

"You told them not to?"

"That would be Queen Aquailian's doing."

"Huh? Wait, that doesn-"

"Personal and official request. I think she knows who it is, and would rather not cause, uh, how did she put it? A religious crisis?"

"Well that's not ominous."

"Oh it's very ominous. The real question is, what kind of ominous?"

"Guess we'll see. But real talk, Leep, why hasn't she said anything to anyone?"

Leep shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. If I were in a coma for three years after being trapped in the Astral plane for who knows how long, I'd be talking to anyone I could. Some people are built different."

They stopped outside of a door in a side hallway, as Sherry closed the folder and sighed. "Dr. Alva Móðir. What do you think?"

"She gets results. Empathic at the least. She's the expert on 3703."

"Think she might be a nepo hire?"

"What makes you say that?"

"You didn't look at her job history did you?"

"Uh…"

"Leep Andrews, for shame."

Her lips pursed. "It wasn't on the top of my priority list. Tell me already and stop being a tease."

A predatory grin in response. "What's wrong, don't like my teasing? She has no job history. First hire, slotted into her current position. If I didn't know better I'd say she came out of nowhere. So hired straight out of college on Mom or Dad's connections."

Leep groaned. "Ugh. If I had a dime for every time."

"Well you remember what the other nepo hires have been like."

"Sure have." she says pulling out her phone and firing away a message. She's amazed they even get signal at the bottom of the ocean floor. "I sent security and Silus a heads up, and we'll get some extra guards in case things go south."

"If this is a wasted trip, you owe me dinner."

Leep rolls their eyes. "Lebanese?"

"You know just the way to my heart."

Leep opened the door, they walked across the spartan interrogation office, to the door on the left and opened it too.

The viewing room was bigger than the interrogation room, had a water cooler and a coffee machine. And also some sort of strange liquid dispensing device. Probably Finnfolk if Leep had to guess.

On the other side of the window was the subject. E-3703-01. Very clearly still in recovery from a three years long coma by just looking at her. Two Finnfolk guards stood at the back corners of the viewing room and Commander Silus Smith, Chief of Ground forces NTF Delta-7, stood at the front near the two way mirror.

"Commander." The Andrews said in unison.

"Ma'am. Ma'am. A pleasure as always."

"Same to you. Recovered from that business in Libya?" Sherry asked.

"We don't talk about Libya." He retorted with a small smirk.

"Just like Fiji, eh??" Leep said giving a small smile back.

"That's right." A pause as he chewed on the toothpick in his mouth. "Goddamn right."

"Where's our good doctor? And Her Majesty?"

"Doctor's transport ran late, and our patient there was up early. She's been sweating in there for a bit."

"And her Majesty?" Sherry asked.

"Dignitary business. She sent Brynhild to keep her appraised." Sherry and Leep nodded to the tall red Finnfolk warrior.

"So how is our friend in there?"

"Hasn't said a word. Keeps looking at the clock like it killed her mother. It was probably her time."

Before anyone could let out a groan, the door to the interrogation chamber opened. All the color drained from E-3703-01's face as Dr. Alva Móðir stepped into the interrogation room, pressing herself back against the chair.

Leep leans forward, watching.

Sherry raises an eyebrow. "Leep?"

"I see it." A pause as the door slid closed behind the Doctor. "Silus, have the guards on standby."

The commander pressed a button on his watch, and there was some movement in the offices next door.

"Hello E-3703-01, how are we today?"

The chair skids back against the wall as E-3703-01 stood bolt upright, the air around her fingers crackled as a pair of khopeshes manifested in her grip. The blades made of pure fire.

"Oh fuck that's cool." She unhooked a cylindrical device from her belt, and with a smooth motion, flicked the electric baton out.

"Not the time Sherry, and don't even think about goin in there! Silus!"

"Already on it!" He said already out the door. All hell broke loose.


Time slowed to a crawl as Triemedes' heart hammered in her chest. The love of her life, the mother of her child. The goddess incarnate she worshipped, whose teachings had saved the very fiber of her race. Standing before her in the flesh. Here. Now.

The fingers of her thaumaturgic being reached to grasp that essence. That impossibly overwhelming ocean that always flooded her magic senses whenever she reached to touch Alva.

But she felt nothing. Bile rose in her throat. She felt sick, nauseous. The very idea that someone would do this…

Blasphemers! nälkän kamphundr!

Adrenaline smashed through her veins and she stood, the chair flying out from beneath her and smashing against the wall. The woman before her dropped her clipboard and stood back, pressing against the wall at the sudden violent motion. They'd made a flesh construct.

HOW DARE THEY CRAFT A FLESH GOLEM IN HER IMAGE.

And it looked like her. Aldrnari, the most powerful rustic of the fire lineage burned into her mind, the first magistry she had dared to call forth since she awoke. Damn her physical Khopeshs. If she could not have her swords, she would make her fucking own. Hilts materialized in her hands, fingers wrapping around them as the all consuming flames of Aldrnari burst from the hilt out into the curved blades of her swords, crackling against the air of the room.

The woman's eyes widened. Fear, shock, awe. These were things she knew.

I will not suffer this insult! I am Triemedes, First Queen of the Finnfolk, unparalleled warrior and greatest among the magisters. I will end this farce here and now! In that moment, she knew where the people here stood. They were her enemies. Their heritical mechanisms must be stopped. She tensed her muscles and leaped, preparing to slash.

Or she would have if she had been fully healed and in the top of her form. At one time, she could jump a 6' wall at the height of her physical prowess. Right now… well her foot caught on the lip of the table. She did a pinwheel like an ungraceful dog who has overestimated their velocity, and hits a rock.

This sucks.

Her back smacked into the table hard, and her head slammed into the side, her nose cracking as she felt warm liquid pool in her nostrils instantly. Stunned from the initial impact, she was unable to stop her unbalanced weight from sliding off the table. There was a loud thunk as her head hit the floor.

Hello my love. Welcome home.

Alva?

And everything went black.

« When you're out there doing what you're doing | Let's Get Physical| Hotter than Hell»

rating: +33+x
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License