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[Fanfiction] Weapons


Kalenath
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No Defense

 

She was not afraid. Fear was as alien to her now as any other emotion. She had them. She knew she did. They were noted on the readouts that scrolled across her vision even when she had downtime. But they did not affect her in any other way. She was... beyond them. Unable to feel.

 

That occasionally bothered her. But only for short periods before her controls dampened her feelings. She didn't mind. Not really. She had purpose. Not everyone could say that. She had made serious mistakes in the past and she would pay for them for the remainder of her existence. But in the end, what mattered wasn't her. She had sworn an oath to another. To aid Serene while Serene came to grips with her changed status. It didn't hurt that they both shared something. Serene loved the one that she had. The love had never been returned in either case, but Serene at least had a concrete...

 

A soft cry pulled Lis out of her downtime and she was on her feet instantly. She was bending over the crib that had been set up but... It wasn't Rocky crying. He didn't cry much. He was Tenno. Infant, but still Tenno. Born infected with the Technocyte Virus, he was blessed or cursed with the longevity, enhanced strength, speed and other advantages of Tenno. This was both a blessing and a curse. He learned so fast, and he never made any mistake twice. No one ever had to punish him as Lis dimly remembered her own parents punishing her for infractions as a child. But he was sound asleep.

 

At less than a year old, he was growing like a weed. There were times when Serene commented that she looked away from him for a second and he grew a centimeter. That was an exaggeration, but not that much of one. And the way the boy was learning... Part of Lis was frightened by the way the boy was inhaling knowledge. She wanted him protected, but children had to able to act as children. She was...

 

The sound came again and Lis stiffened. She walked to where Sara lay in the tiny bed she had assumed when she and Mishka had arrived at this tiny outpost of humanity. Sara was writhing in her sleep, her face contorted with pain, fear or both. A quick glance at Mishka showed the other girl sleeping fitfully, probably picking up on Sara's distress. Their beds were close to one another. There was not  a lot of space here.

 

"Sara." Lis kept her voice calm and gentle. She had learned how to cope with Sara's nightmares. If she woke the girl too fast or too harshly, bad things tended to happen. Especially if Serene woke thinking her kids were in danger. The former Banshee still slept with weapons close at hand despite the peacekeepers literally begging her to stop. "Sara... Come on girl. Wake up."

 

Sara jerked in place and bit back a cry of some kind. A scream of rage or fear. For a moment, Lis quailed as the girl's face seemed as flat and unemotional as Lis' herself. But then Sara jerked and her hands flew to her midsection.

 

"No..." Sara said weakly as she felt below her abdomen. "Not again..." It was the third time this week she had wet the bed.

 

"Sara?" Lis said gently. "Come on. Let's get you cleaned up." She eased her hands underneath Sara and was stunned as the girl simply let her lift. Sara was a fighter. She wasn't a warrior by any stretch of the imagination, but she was not a quitter. For her to be so... docile... Something was wrong. "Sara?" She asked as she carried Sara to the small cleaning room set up for the apartment. She sat Sara down and moved the girl so she could clean up the mess. "What is wrong?" Then she went still. That wasn't urine! That was blood! She keyed an emergency call to the  medics and shifted Sara as the girl cried in her arms. "Sara." She said gently as she carried the girl to the door. The medics would be quick. "It's okay."

 

"What is happening to me, Lis?" Sara begged as the door hissed and a pair of medics appeared, faces worried. "Nightmares every night. And now... I..." She stared down at herself and went still. "No..." She begged. "Lis! Help!" She pleaded.

 

"We will, Sara." Lis promised. "Let them take you, Sara. I have to stay with Serene, Rocky and Mishka. But I will be by when I can. Serene will be by as soon as the sedative I gave her wears off." Serene had needed the aid to sleep. She wasn't getting enough. But with a newborn? Especially a Tenno newborn, things were... intense.

 

The girl reached up and kissed Lis' face, then she went limp as Lis transferred her to the medic's arms. The medics nodded to her, scanners whirring as they darted off. Lis reached up and touched her cheek where Sara had kissed her. Why did that feel so... final? Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. Lis shook her head slowly and keyed her comlink.

 

"Medical bay. This is Lis." She didn't really need to ID herself, they would know who she was and where she was from the transmission. But courtesy was all that kept people sane in such tight quarters. "Sara had another nightmare. The on call team is bringing her in. She has some kind of bleeding."

 

"Bleeding?" The charge nurse asked, worried. "We will be ready for her. Anything else?"

 

"She is acting... odd." Lis said slowly. "I cannot define what is wrong. But something is." She shook her head. "I will tend Serene. I gave her the sedative the doctor prescribed. She will come to Medical as soon as she wakes." She warned the nurse who sighed.

 

"Thank you for the warning." The nurse said sourly. But then she paused. "Are you all right? You sound... off."

 

"I do not know." Lis said with a small frown that faded as the controls dampened her emotions again. She ran a quick self diagnostic and stiff need. Something was not right, but she could find no faults with her systems. "I will need diagnostic checks. Something is wrong. With me or with Sara. Or both of us."

 

"We will be ready." The nurse promised her.

 

"Thank you." Lis said as she entered the room only to pause as she saw Mishka awake and staring at her. "Mishka?"

 

"Lis..." Mishka said slowly. "Your skin..." She pointed to Lis' face and Lis touched her face where Sara had kissed her. She stared as gold flaked off in her fingers. Then... Skin and bone and... Blood was falling freely. Lots of blood. She was...

 

***

 

Lis jerked awake. She stared at where Sara slept. The girl was writhing in a nightmare, but she wasn't bleeding and there was no wetness when Lis checked. Rocky was asleep. Serene and Mishka likewise. Lis shook her head slowly. This wasn't right. Her emotional dampener should have been enough to keep her from having nightmares. This was... not good. If she was having difficulty. She shook her head again, procedure was clear. She strode to the door and keyed her com.

 

"Alert duty Tenno, please respond." She said quietly as the door shut. "This is Lis."

 

"Lis." The calm voice of a Tenno replied instantly. There was always a Royal Guard Tenno on duty on that channel at all hours. "Situation?"

 

"I am...experiencing technical difficulties." Lis said with more than a trace of worry. "My emotional dampener did not stop a nightmare. I request a guard and a full diagnostic. I must not endanger Serene... I..." Why was the floor suddenly coming up to meet her? "Help!" She begged as she felt darkness closing in around her.

 

Without sense of transition, Lis was standing on a golden plain. But not alone. Sara was there, but... the girl was writhing as tendrils of something dark and evil coiled around her. Familiar dark and evil. Lis didn't know where she knew them from, but she did.

 

"Sara!" Lis cried and... She stared down at herself. She wore a Saryn warframe as she had for so long, but... she wasn't allowed this. She felt her forehead, but no hoops, no control mechanism. This...wasn't right.  But then Sara screamed, a long drawn out wail of agony as the coils solidified into Corpus mechs and Crewmen, sinister tools gleaming as they approached Sara who curled upon the ground, sobbing. "No." Lis said sharply. "I will not allow this!" She moved to stand over Sara, her hands suddenly holding a lato and skana. "Leave her alone!"

 

"Lis!" Sara begged. "No... Don't..."

 

"Sara...?" Lis asked and then her world shifted. She was standing over Sara's bed, her hands around Sara's... around the girl's throat. The girl's face was turning blue! "No!" Lis screamed as she released Sara's hands and recoiled. Serene woke up, her hands sliding to her weapons. Mishka jerked up as well, sliding away from Serene with the sensibility of knowing that Serene was damned scary when provoked. Rocky woke with a cry, but... his eyes lit on Lis and went wide. "What have I done?" Lis begged. "Sara... Sara, talk to me...!"

 

"Lis..." Sara said weakly, blood coming from somewhere to stain the bed. "Not... your..." Her eyes rolled up and she fell over.

 

"NO!" Lis screamed loud enough to deafen.

 

"Lis!" Serene was out of her bed in an instant, at Sara's side as Lis recoiled, slamming into the wall. "Medical emergency! My quarters!" She screamed at the com. "Sara is hurt!" An acknowledgement came as she examined Sara quickly. Mishka moved to comfort Rocky who was starting to cry, unnerved by all of this.

 

"What have I done?" Lis begged as she slumped to the floor. "Is she...?"

 

"She is alive." Serene said, breathing a bit easier. "Lis... What happened?"

 

"I don't know." Lis said softly. Then she reached up and tapped her control mechanism. "It's not working. My emotions... I... Serene..." She begged. "Tell me I didn't just hurt Sara!"

 

She loved Sara. As much as the dampener would let her anyway. She was sworn to Serene, but she loved Serene's girls and she adored Rocky. It wasn't...right. But she didn't mind. She was a slave, but a willing one. She had done wrong, led evil renegade Tenno to where they could hurt innocents including Sara and Serene. This was her punishment. She had accepted it both for her sake, Serene's sake and Karl's sake. She still loved him even though she knew it was hopeless. She slid as far away from Sara as she could, which wasn't far. The door hissed open and an Ash Prime stood there, a rifle in hand aimed at her.

 

"Do not move." The Ash commanded and Lis did not. She knew the Royal Guard barely tolerated her presence. A renegade Tenno was not something any real Tenno took lightly.

 

"Medics?" Lis begged, not moving. She gave a small sigh of relief as a pair of white garbed forms bustled in and took control, easing Serene away from Sara so they could work. "What have I done?" Lis asked nobody. "I..."

 

"Lis..." Sara croaked despite the medics commanding her not to move. "Not you... Not... you... Ask... First..." She went still and limp.

 

"Sara?" Lis begged as the medics snatched her up and ran out the door with her. Serene, after a quick glance at Mishka, followed at a run. Mishka stayed with Rocky, holding the tiny boy and rocking him comfortingly. Lis wailed softly. "What have I done?"

 

"She said it wasn't you." The Ash said slowly. But the aim point of his Latron Prime did not waver from her midsection.

 

"My... emotion dampener is offline... or something." Lis said quietly as she bowed her head. "Make it quick." There could be only one penalty for violating her sworn word. For hurting Sara.

 

"No." A new voice sounded and Lis jerked as Eliza, Empress of Orokin stepped into the room, her face stern. "Lis, until we know what happened and why, you are not allowed to suicide and we will not take your life. What happened?"

 

"Yes, Empress. I... obey." Lis said, scared. "I don't know what happened... I thought... I was on a golden plain. Maybe... a virtual world? I was in my old warframe." The Ash jerked and she nodded. "It was destroyed. So... Whatever I saw had to be a dream, or a nightmare. I had one before. Sara, bleeding. Medics coming to take her. Then I was bleeding. But..." She shook her head. "It made no sense."

 

"Nightmares rarely do." Eliza said with a sigh. "You called the duty Tenno, said your dampener was malfunctioning. Then you called for help. What do you remember?"

 

"A golden plain. Sara was screaming." Lis said in a monotone. "She was surrounded by... something. It seemed almost familiar. A dark and sinister mist. But I can't quite place it. Then the mists became Corpus who were closing in on her, surgical robots and medics." Lis snarled softly. "To do to her what they did to her sister Sierra. Or..." She paused. "Why do I think that? I don't..." She shook her head. "I don't get this. My dampener isn't working. You shouldn't be this close." She said to Eliza who was sitting on Sara's bed now, holding out her hands to take Rocky who cooed as she took him from Mishka. She looked at Lis but shook her head.

 

"Lis." It wasn't the Empress who spoke now, it was the Ash. "You have acted with honor in all ways, despite many people's blind bigotry. You made a mistake and you strove to fix it. Many of us... have treated you badly."

 

"I deserve it." Lis hadn't intended her tone to be quite that sharp. "What I did was wrong."

 

"Do you deserve it?" The Empress asked quietly. "Do you really?"

 

"Empress Eliza." Lis said quietly. "I made a series of mistakes. I led Nicholas and his renegades to the tower. I poisoned Karl." She was crying now. "I just wanted to make it right. I wanted to save Karl and make what I did right."

 

"You did." Eliza said with a smile as she tickled Rocky who cooed at her. She sighed as Lis made a noise of grief. "Lis, calm down."

 

"I am scared, Empress." It hurt admitting that. But Lis was no stranger to painful subjects. "If I can hurt Sara, I can hurt anybody. The dampener is supposed to stop things like that. I need... diagnostics at the very least." She went still as Eliza and the Ash shared a look. "What?"

 

"Lis..." Eliza's voice was very gentle now. "Your emotion dampener has not been live since you arrived on Avalon." Lis went stock still at that.

 

"That... isn't possible."Lis said slowly. "I... have been controlled. I needed the control. I am a danger..."

 

"We let you believe it was live. Your own discipline did the rest. You are a victim." Eliza said sternly. "Yes, you followed Nicholas. Yes, you probably should have gone to the Elders or Karl, but that is the past, Lis." She said as the gold skinned woman started to sob. "In the present, you are a good woman. A good Tenno."

 

"But I am not." Lis wailed. Eliza shook her head and rose, the baby in her hands. She strode to Lis and gently laid Rocky down in the shuddering woman's arms. "No.. Don't..." Rocky stared up at Lis and his hand came up to touch her face, his own face sad.

 

"Your punishment is done." The Ash said as he holstered his rifle. He stepped close and Lis went still as his hand touched her forehead and the control hoops fell off! "Well met, sister."

 

"My punishment was eternal." Lis protested, not daring to move. The baby cooed again and snuggled closer to her.

 

"No it wasn't." Eliza said with a smile. "Even Orokin Towers have a sense of justice, Lis. Eternal torment for something that wasn't your fault wasn't justice. You and Luc have served your punishment. It is time to come home. You go to Chirurgeon in the morning to have your skin worked on."

 

"But..." Lis was shaking. In grief, fear or shock, she couldn't have said. But Rocky looked at her, sighed and fell asleep in her arms. "I..."

 

"Lis, we need you now." Eliza said softly so as not to disturb the baby. "I checked surveillance logs as I was coming down here. You did not strangle Sara." Lis went still. "You kept her from strangling herself."

 

"A person cannot strangle his or her self..." Lis protested softly. "They pass out."

 

"She had leverage on the right angle, Lis. She would have strangled." Eliza said softly. "And she was bleeding, but... not from what you did. For her mouth. I think she bit her tongue."

 

"A seizure?" Lis asked, worry rising again. Mishka looked from one to the other, but remained silent.

 

"Maybe." Eliza said with a nod. "We need you, Lis. Serene needs you. Sara needs you. Mishka and Rocky need you. We will find out what happened and why. But... we need you. We all do, Tenno Lis."

 

Lis stared at the Empress for a long moment and then at the Ash who nodded.

 

"Brother to sister, Tenno Lis..." The Ash said formally. "Yours in life and death."

 

"I... I am sworn to Serene..." Lis said weakly. She was stunned when the door opened and Serene stepped in, her face grave. But then, Serene turned and lowered the shoulder of her sleeping robe. Lis' eyes went huge as she saw a familiar mark on the female Tenno's shoulder. The tattoo of a Royal Guardswoman!

 

"I swore to Eliza." Serene said quietly as she stepped up to take Rocky from the stunned golden Tenno. "I may not be a Warrior now, but I can still serve. You did not hurt Sara. You saved her life."

 

"Serene?" Lis begged. "I..."

 

"Sister to sister." Serene said softly, holding out her hands for Lis to take. The Ash laid his own hands on Serene's. "Yours in life and death."

 

"I... I can't..." Lis said with a gulp. "I... do not deserve..."

 

"We will not push you." Serene said formally. "But our oath stands, sister. You have been my rock in rough time, Lis. Now? We need you. Sister Lis. Tenno."

 

"I need to know what happened." Lis said with a nod. "I need to know what is happening to me and why. But... I honor you for the thought even if I think you all have flipped."

 

"Oh, you haven't seen anything yet..." The Ash said with a snort.

 

"Wait until you see your new warframe..."

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Feels rushed, but a good start.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

The first part -Lis' nightmare- did that seem too quick or slow? I couldn't quite get it to flow right. Maybe I did rush this too much.

 

It should make more sense tomorrow with the next post. I hope so anyway.

Edited by Kalenath
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Fear

 

Lis lay in the pod and tried not to fret. It was hard. She was not asleep. She had sort of hoped that the medics would knock her out for this, but they hadn't. Chirurgeon and his staff had spoken of DNA recombinants and energy transfer protocols and she had tuned them all out. All she had heard from the explanation was that her hair would grow back eventually. All of that esoteric medical stuff had gone completely over her head. She was...worried.

 

Sara hadn't woken. All of the medical staff were very worried about Sara, even though they tried to hide it. Lis could tell that Serene was terrified and she had forced herself to be upbeat as the staff had prepared her for this odd bath simply to keep Serene from falling apart completely. Sara was Serene's daughter in every way that mattered. Lis had heard second hand what had happened when Serene had first found Sara, but she had no trouble believing that the other female Tenno would have reacted that way. Lis herself might have gone berserk if she had seen a Corpus crewman beating Sara. She hadn't been prepared to love Sara. Or Mishka. Or Serene. But she did.

 

She had to focus. She had to relax. This would not be a quick process, to change her skin back to what it had been before. The tower had changed her body on the genetic level to allow her to serve. She had thought her punishment eternal. She wondered how Luc was dealing with it, if he was also having the same second thoughts she was. She was guilty. She knew she was, and...

 

"Stop that." A sour voice had Lis jerking and she went totally still as she realized she wasn't in the pod anymore. She was kneeling in sieza on grass, under a single tree. Across from her a warframe knelt. But not just any warframe...

 

"Saryn?" Lis tried to keep her tone level as she stared at the golden holo that was all that remained of the First Saryn. Her distant ancestor and the one who had created the warframe design that Lis herself wore. "I..."

 

"It has been a long time, Lis." The other said sadly. "You have not come to see us in a long, long time."

 

"I wasn't worthy." Lis said softly. "First... Nicholas. I... I shouldn't have followed him. But I thought... I thought he knew what he was doing." She hung her head, aware of her skin now appearing the red that it had been in life. "I was trained to think for myself and I didn't." She said with a sigh. She shook her head. "And then... the tower." She chuckled ruefully. "I really thought the punishment was eternal."

 

"It could have been." Saryn said quietly. Lis went still and Saryn shook her head. "Luc is fighting it. Resisting it. He still believes he was doing the right thing. Obeying Nicholas."

 

"Oh no." Lis said softly. "He was always..." She trailed off as Saryn chuckled without mirth.

 

"Lis, he chose to follow Nicholas." Saryn was sad now. "You followed orders when they were given. He followed. Period. They corrupted him but he did as they wanted. Maybe he can be turned back. Eventually. But... That is not your concern." The First Saryn's voice hardened. "Who can you change, Lis?"

 

"Myself." Lis agreed quietly. "No one else. I... Message received, Saryn." She bowed her head a little to acknowledge the rebuke. "Sara told me to talk to the First. Do you know what happened?" She asked, changing the subject.

 

"We were not watching." Saryn sounded worried. "We have been busy trying to keep Nyx from going completely bananas. After hating that scum Rasputin for so long, no one blames her for wanting vengeance. But she is so fixated... We worry she will not be able to change now." The Saryn warframe actually shivered. "As bad as Nikis or Janet going nuts would have been... Nyx is almost scarier. She wouldn't destroy everything. She would just make us all wish we were dead and gone."

 

"Can I talk to her?" Lis asked, her mind moving at lightspeed. Saryn looked at her and Lis scowled. "I need a scan done on my mind. Serene and Eliza say I didn't hurt Sara, but I think I did."

 

"I will ask." Saryn said with a nod, then she vanished. A moment later a Nyx warframe appeared, standing where the Saryn had knelt, her toe tapping. No, the Nyx.

 

"Nyx." Lis said, bowing her head. "Can you help?"

 

"I am busy, Lis." Nyx said sharply. Lis recoiled and Nyx sighed. "Yes, yes I will help. I know I am... not rational about this." She knelt and held out her hands to Lis who took them.

 

"No one blames you." Lis said with a snarl. "No one at all. Do us all a favor and make it hurt."

 

"Oh I am." Nyx replied with an evil chuckle. Then she paused and recoiled.

 

"Nyx?" Lis asked, concerned.

 

"Oh my god." Nyx said, sounding stunned, hurt and scared. "Lis... It wasn't you."

 

"Well, thank goodness for that." Lis said, relaxing. But then she stiffened as Nyx did not. "Nyx?"

 

"It wasn't you." Nyx repeated. "It wasn't Sara. But..." She swallowed hard. "It felt familiar."

 

"Nyx?" Lis asked, fear rising.

 

"I... cannot say." Nyx said slowly. "We have interfered too much. The Balance must be maintained, Lis. You know this."

 

"I do." Lis said, bowing her head. "Nyx...?"

 

"Yes, Lis?" Nyx asked as she rose.

 

"Don't become what you fight, Nyx." Lis said as she rose and before Nyx could retreat, hugged the shade. She could feel tears threatening, but she held them back. "You are better than him. Far, far better." Nyx went still, but then slowly returned the embrace. This was a virtual world, the regular rules did not apply. "Please." Lis begged as she released Nyx and stepped back.

 

"I am no Oracle to know the future, Lis." Nyx said, her tone suspiciously husky. "But I will do my best." Lis bowed formally and Nyx returned it, one sister to another. Then the First Nyx vanished.

 

"Well..." Lis said slowly. "If I didn't do it and she didn't do it, then someone else did. But...why? She is just a kid." She mused as she knelt again. Then she was back in her body. The fluid was draining, She must have finished the treatment while her mind was elsewhere. She kept herself still while the fluid was pumped out and the lid over her was opened.

 

"Tenno Lis?" The voice of the head medic was cautious and Lis could understand.

 

"Chirurgeon." Lis kept herself still while white garbed forms reached in to undo various connections. "I am... whole. I think." She said with a sigh. "Did it work?" Instead of answering, one of the white garbed forms lifted her hand so she could see. Red skin shone on fingers where gold metal had been. Lis sighed. "I feel... ambivalent." She shook her head slowly. "No matter. I am needed. I serve."

 

"Take it easy for a bit." Chirurgeon said calmly as one of the nurses helped Lis sit up. "You will likely be a bit shaky."

 

"I will survive." Lis said with a nod. "Sara?" She asked.

 

"She has not woken." Chirurgeon bowed his head. "She may not. Her brain was starved of oxygen. Not for long." He hastened to say.

 

"But it can be difficult to judge the extent of such damage in humans until they wake. If they do." Lis said with a nod. Chirurgeon looked at her and she frowned. "I studied to be a medic. Once. Long ago."

 

"You saved her life." The healer replied with a smile that faded. "Now? We can only do what we can do."

 

"Chirurgeon..." Lis said softly. "Is Michelle available? I need to talk to her."

 

"She is waiting outside." The medic sighed as Lis sat up. "Would it be too much to get you a gown first?" He asked sourly as the other medics left the room.

 

"She needs to hear this now and so do you." Lis said with a scowl. Chirurgeon stared at her and then nodded. He hit a control and a door hissed open, two human shapes entering. One was Michelle, Princess of Orokin. She did not look at ease in her gown. The other was Michelle's guard, Petra. "Princess..." Lis said without preamble since Michelle put little stock in formality. "Sara was attacked."

 

"Not by you." Petra said firmly and Lis nodded. It wasn't a shock to anyone. Good.

 

"While I slept in the pod, I spoke to Nyx." Lis said with a gulp that the others shared. Nyx was... not entirely stable at the moment and no one blamed her in the slightest. It wasn't every day a Tenno got a chance to exact revenge on one who had hurt so many people so badly. "She said it wasn't me, but she either did not know who did it or could not say. Either way... the Balance must be maintained, so they will withdraw a bit. We will not be able to speak to them for a while."

 

"Probably for the best." Michelle said with a nod. "We have our own problems. Involving the First in some of the situations we have faced recently was needed, but... not always the best choice."

 

"Like using a particle beam to cut butter." Lis agreed. "It works, but oh the collateral damage." Everyone winced at that. "Sara is stable?" She asked Chirurgeon who nodded. "The feeling was familiar, a mental attack. But... not anyone I knew. She was snared by a mental attack. Thinking about it... it shifted to one directed specifically at her as I watched. I drove it away, and must have unconsciously moved to protect her from whoever was trying to kill her."

 

"Who would attack Sara?" Chirurgeon demanded. "Serene would eat them for breakfast!"

 

"And go away hungry." Petra actually shuddered, but then again... The former Banshee was not a foe to take lightly even now. "We will investigate." She promised.

 

"Princess... Guard Commander..." Lis said slowly, her eyes downcast. "It was a Tenno attack."

 

"What?" The exclamation came from three throats. Michelle recovered first.

 

"Explain." The Princess sad sternly. Space itself might have warped under her gaze. Lis met her eyes calmly.

 

"After Nicholas left... I was a renegade." Lis said softly. "Nicholas sent me out with orders to find potential recruits or resources we could use. I did find resources, but I never found any recruits for him." She did not react as Petra scoffed.

 

"How hard did you look?" The Mag Prime asked snidely. Michelle just shook her head and Petra nodded. "Never mind."

 

"Not very." Lis said sadly. "I was lost. But I would not take others down my road to damnation. He figured it out after a while, pulled me in to where he could keep a closer eye on me. Kept me occupied with missions and such." She bowed her head. "I should have seen his madness, but I was so busy keeping my head down."

 

"Survival is kind of important." Michelle said calmly. There was no censure in her voice. "But... what makes you think a Tenno attacked Sara?"

 

"On one of my missions, I was discovered by a Tenno. She wore a Nyx warframe." Lis said quietly. "I never learned her name, but she hunted me. I fled. She followed. She haunted my dreams and meditations for days until I evaded her. My nightmares were coils of gray mist that solidified into Karl screaming at me that I was a fool and a traitor." She bowed her head again. "I didn't realize it until I woke up just now, but it was the exact same kind of mental attack as I sensed in Sara. She has been having nightmares. I didn't think anything of it." She slumped, tears threatening. "I should have."

 

"Sara is changing." Chirurgeon reassured her. "She is having difficulty as her body changes. We have managed to slow the changes, but not stop them." He slumped a bit. "We cannot stop them."

 

"She is part human and part Tenno." Michelle agreed. "She is growing up into her body. It is..." She grimaced and Lis nodded.

 

"Difficult." The red skinned Tenno agreed. "In the first nightmare, there was blood." Lis said quietly. "But not from her mouth. From... further down." Michelle and Petra both stiffened but Chirurgeon just sighed. "She is menstruating, isn't she?"

 

"She wanted it kept quiet." The medic said quietly. "She and Serene both. She said and I quote 'I have caused enough trouble'. Serene was handling it. It has only been once, and they would have told you the next time."

 

"Well, I am glad it wasn't a hemorrhage like I feared." Lis said with a sigh of her own. "But Chirurgeon... she is only three!" Worry and fear warred for prominence in her tone as Michelle and Petra both remained silent.

 

"Physically, she is fourteen." The medic sounded upset, and who could blame him? "Those Corpus butchers made her body to grow and then wear out quickly. So they could harvest her brain no doubt. Make copies of her." He shook his head. "But yes, emotionally, spiritually? She is less than three. She is handling it very, very well."

 

"No argument." Lis said softly. "Can I stay with her?"

 

"I think she would like that." Chirurgeon said with a nod to Michelle who nodded back. "If she was attacked once though, she may be again. We must ward her." Petra nodded.

 

"I certainly hope they try." Lis said with a snarl. "I learned a bit about defending my mind after my own... incident. I am no Nyx, but I would love to hurt anyone who thinks to harm Sara. Mentally or otherwise."

 

"Try not to make a mess." Michelle said with a wince. Lis looked at her and Michelle grimaced. "Saryn warframes are not precision instruments, Lis." Michelle had worn one.

 

"I will not assume a warframe yet." Lis said with a shrug. "I need time to center myself. Time to come to grips with who and what I am. I feel... ambivalent still. Not worthy." Michelle cast a long look at her and Lis sighed. "Please?"

 

"We need every Tenno, Lis." Michelle said softly. She shook her head. "But..." She stepped close and laid a gentle hand on Lis' shoulder. "Take what time you need." She gave Lis' shoulder a squeeze and retreated. Petra stepped forward.

 

"The only one with doubts here is you, sister." Petra said, taking Lis' hands in her own. "But we will give you time."

 

"Thank you." Lis said as both Michelle and Petra turned and left the room. "Sara?" She asked Chirurgeon who sighed dramatically.

 

"Gown." The medic said with a mock snarl as he opened a drawer and tossed a package at her. "I do not want you scandalizing my staff, Tenno Lis."

 

"It's not like they haven't seen me in the buff, Chirurgeon." Lis said with a small smirk as she put the gown on. Then she paused. "But... Thanks." The medic paused his obviously humorous reply and looked at her. "I... don't think I deserve this, but I will not fail Sara."

 

"There are those here on Avalon who think you should have been executed." Chirurgeon said with a sigh. "I am not one of them. No one on my staff who has seen you with Sara or Mishka believes that. The ones who do, do not know you. Or the situation you were in. They only know the reports. Most of which were edited." Lis smiled a bit forlornly as she smoothed the gown. It did not cover her much.

 

"I understand." Lis nodded."And I will not-" whatever else she was going to say was cut off by a shriek from nearby. Lis paled and ran, Chirugeon at her heels. "Sara!" Sara was sitting up in her bed, her eyes wild as she stared around. She froze as Lis entered the room, Chirurgeon at the heels. "Sara?" Lis asked softly, worried. Sara's eyes went huge as she saw the female Tenno. "What is wrong?"

 

"Lis?" Sara asked, her voice tiny. "Is that you?"

 

"Yeah." Lis said with a shrug, relaxing a little. "I know I look different." She smiled. "I can stick some golden hoops on my head if you want." Sara stared at her and then the girl was laughing. But she was crying at the same time. Lis slid into a chair that was sitting by Sara's bed and held the girl tight as Sara cried. "Sara... oh Sara... Another nightmare?"

 

"These are not nightmares, Lis." Sara said as she cried into the Tenno's shoulder. "I... I saw Mom... She died... I..."

 

"Enough." Lis said sharply, her hand coming down to cup the back of Sara's skull. "Get out of her head!" She commanded. Sara jerked as something happened and Lis snarled. "When I find you, I will hurt you, whoever you are. Leave Sara alone!" She snapped and the presence, whatever it was, vanished.

 

"Lis?" Sara asked, dazed by all this. Chirurgeon scowled and moved to check the instrumentation nearby. "What? What is happening?"

 

"Someone attacked you, Sara." Lis said quietly. Sara jerked and Lis gave her another hug. "Someone trained as a Tenno. I will find them. And when I do?" She smiled nastily. "I am going to beat them to within an inch of their life and let them explain to Serene why."

 

"Why attack me?" Sara begged as Lis held her carefully. "I have been trying to be good."

 

"Sara, you have been good." Lis said, easing the terrified girl with soft caresses that works their magic quickly. Sara relaxed. "Someone else has been bad and I will find out who."

 

"I don't deserve you, Lis." Sara said, hugging the Tenno warrior tight.

 

"Deserve has nothing to do with it, Sara." Lis said gently as she soothed the girl's pain away. "Nothing at all. We protect those we love. Someone has hurt you."

 

"I think it is time I find and hurt them."

 

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Seems now she knows her dampeners were never on, she's stopped holding back everything. (Remainder of comment removed before initial posting, to appease Kalenath. No speculation here folks, move along.)

 

She is reacting. Rebounding. She THOUGHT she was a slave forever and was resigned to that. Now? She has to find another way.

 

Oh, and... She DOES love Sara. First it was her punishment, but the girl grew on her. Needless to say, the fact that someone hurt Sara has made Lis VERY upset. She is not as scary as Serene. She is not a patch on how powerful Nikis and Janet are.

 

Does it MATTER?

 

Hell hath no fury like a mama Saryn. Just saying.

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I can. :)

 

Serene was the protagonist of my second fanfiction 'To be the Darkness'. A scary, SCARY Banshee. To put it into perspective, when she lost her temper, she scared STALKER. (Or impressed him. Six of one, half dozen of the other.) Sara is her daughter due to an insane Corpus experiment in cloning to make a new kind of MOA. Sara was created using both human and Tenno DNA to provide an organic brain for the new MOA design. Serene...did not react well to that knowledge. The people responsible were dealt with (Serene is head to head with Nyx for people you do NOT anger), but the aftermath is a pain. Serene lost her legs in the course of the story but people STILL walk carefully around her. For good reason.

 

Nicholas was a Tenno who went rogue during the war with the Sentients. He took most of his clan with him. (His fate was detailed in 'What Price Honor') He was Karl's twin brother. Stress 'was'. Karl killed most of the clan.

 

Lis (Also introduce in 'What Price Honor?') was a loyal part of Nicholas' clan and had a crush on Karl for most of her life. The feelings were never returned. She wore a Saryn warframe. She was captured by an Orokin Tower after Nicholas attacked it (chasing HER when she ran away actually) and was enslaved (like Corrupted, but not mindless). She wound up swearing loyalty to Serene. She and Serene wound up on Avalon in the course of 'Quest'. She is young for a Tenno, but well trained and very loyal to people who are loyal to her. In this case, Serene.

 

Sara is not well. Lis is not dealing well with the fact that Sara is not well. And now, someone has attacked Sara. Oh, this is NOT going to be good.

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Comfort

 

"How is she?"

 

Lis looked up to see Mishka staring at Sara from the door. Sara lay in Lis' lap where she had crawled in her sleep. Sara did that a lot. It had bothered Lis the first couple of times. Now? It was just one more thing about Sara.

 

"A mess." Lis said softly. "Mishka, has anyone made any comments recently that made you worried?" Mishka stared at Lis and Lis sighed. "Someone attacked Sara."

 

"Who would dare?" Mishka sounded scared now and Lis could relate.

 

Serene angry was a terrifying sight. Even before her prosthetic legs had be connected and matched to her, she had been a terror. She had flatly refused every attempt to get her to disarm. Even the Empress had stepped carefully around Serene. The female Tenno had never been rude, or even slightly disrespectful, but she had also been adamant. Sara's protection took priority to Serene. Period. After what Sara had gone through? Lis understood. She had hidden weapons for Serene more than once even when she had been forbidden to handle them herself. For Sara? Lis would have done far more than risk her life and freedom.

 

"I don't know, Mishka." Lis said sadly. "What is worse? It was a Tenno." Mishka went totally still and Lis nodded. "Yeah."

 

That had happened before. It... hadn't ended well. For lots of people. For all her kindness and gentleness with her kids, Serene had been scariness made in humanoid form for a long, long time. Darkness walking in a Banshee warframe. Scuttlebutt said she scared Stalker and Lis could believe it.

 

"No." Mishka's face was horrified now. "Not again. No..." She stepped close, her hand coming down to stroke her adopted sister's cheek. "Oh Sara." The pain and fear in her voice were enough that Lis held out her free hand and Mishka snuggled close. For all her strength, the girl was only twelve. Sara muttered something in her sleep and Mishka froze, but relaxed as Sara went back to slumber. "Times like this, I wish I was a warrior." Mishka said fiercely.

 

"No, you don't." Lis said, giving Mishka a squeeze. "You are angry. You have cause. We all do. But you do not want this life, Mishka. You have a better future ahead of you. Please... Don't let anger cloud you. It will if you let it." Mishka stared up at Lis and then she was crying softly. "Oh Mishka... Don't cry. It will be okay. Sara is okay."

 

"I'm okay, Mishka." Sara said sleepily, pulling her older sister close. "Lis saved me." Mishka and Lis both remained still and Sara sank back into slumber.

 

"This time I did." Lis said softly. "They will put guards around Sara now. And you." She said as Mishka inhaled a little. "You may be in danger as well. I may or may not be one of those guards."

 

"Why?" Mishka begged. "Sara hasn't hurt anyone. She never did." Sara made a sleepy noise of protest and Mishka slumped a bit. Lis sighed and eased the girl back into the bed. Sara made a sound of worry, but a gentle pat had her relaxing into sleep again. "She is my sister." Mishka said as she planted a soft kiss on Sara's cheek.

 

The door hissed an Serene looked in, her face worried. Lis nodded to the sleeping girl and Serene relaxed a little. Serene jerked her head and Lis nodded. She led Mishka from the room and Serene scowled as the door shut.

 

"Anything?" Serene asked quietly.

 

"No." Lis replied with a scowl of her own. "Maybe I scared whoever it was off. But I doubt it."

 

"I will sit with her." Serene's tone brooked no argument. Lis smiled a bit forlornly. She understood completely.

 

"I will have a meal sent." Lis promised. "Mishka here needs to get to class." Mishka made a noise of protest, but she subsided as both of the older Tenno glanced at her. "Mishka." Lis said quietly. "You cannot change your life because someone else is being a jerk. People who use such tactics want you to change to suit their wishes. Don't." She said sternly.

 

"I will worry." Mishka said sadly. "She is my sister." Lis gave her a squeeze that Serene matched. Then a uniformed human stepped up and nodded to both Tenno.

 

"Ladies." The Orokin Marine said calmly. "PFC Fran Gutierrez at your service." Mishka stared at the Marine and gulped. The female Marine nodded. "No one will harm you without going through me, young lady."

 

"This is really serious." Mishka said weakly.

 

"Someone tried to kill your sister." The Marine said with a small frown. "Oh yeah, it is serious." She held out a hand that Mishka took in a trembling grip. "Come on, we will have to move fast to make your class. But I have authorization to use the drop chutes."

 

"Really?" Mishka asked, her eyes going wide. But then she and the Marine were gone. Serene and Lis shared a humorous look. Drop chutes were an adrenaline junkie's dream. An elevator shaft minus the elevator. Perfectly safe with grav fields and all, but...

 

"She is going to be a bundle of energy when she gets home." Lis said quietly. Serene nodded, silent. "No change. The sedative helped, but she was crying for a bit. No further incursions. If they do come, it felt like a standard attack. You know the counter."

 

"No identifiers?" Serene asked, her voice cold and clinical. Lis shook her head. "Pity."

 

"They had to be within a hundred meters for the preliminary attack." Lis said with a sigh. "But she has been all over. No way to tell when it happened."

 

"Lis, would you mind undergoing an interrogation?" Serene said after a moment's thought. Lis stiffened but shook her head. "There is no obligation here. You saved her life already."

 

"If we do not find who did this, they will try again." Lis said with a snarl. "I may not be able to stop them next time. When?"

 

"As soon as Sun can get here." Serene said with a nod. Lis went still and Serene laid a hand on her arm. "He won't hurt you. You know this."

 

"I do." Lis said with a sigh. "Just... scared. Not so much for me. For Sara. She is such a good kid."

 

"Lis..." Serene's voice was super soft now. "You know..." She trailed off as Lis snarled.

 

"Yes, Serene." Lis snapped. "I know Sara won't live more than another ten years at absolute most. That the genetic damage is too much. I don't care! That doesn't change the fact that she is a good kid!"

 

"No." Serene said sadly. "No it doesn't. Lis..." She hugged the red skinned Tenno tight. "Thank you. You have been a rock of stability in my upheavals. You have been here for Sara, for Rocky, for Mishka, for me... We will find who did this to Sara. We will." Lis nodded and Serene released her. "Now you need rest. Real rest."

 

"Serene..." Lis started to protest and then cut herself off. "Right. I am not hooked up to diagnostics anymore. And I am stressed." She shook her head. "I need to adjust to this. Center myself."

 

"I want to say this now, Lis." Serene said softly as she retreated a little. When she spoke again, it was formal. "You are welcome in my home at any time, Tenno Lis." Lis stared at her and Serene smiled. "You are part of our family and Rocky would miss you." Her eyes were glistening suspiciously. "So would I."

 

"You have been good to me, Serene." Lis replied with equal formality. "Far better than I believe I deserved. You took a chance on a broken renegade and helped make her a better person. If anything, I owe you, Sara and Mishka. If I can help find whoever hurt Sara, I will. I only hope I do find them so I can give them to you." She smirked. "Maybe not intact, mind you..." Serene matched her smirk.

 

"I like you, Lis." Serene said with a nod. "Go get some rest. You are out on your feet." Then she entered the room. Lis did not miss two Tenno in warframes who stood nearby. She nodded to one and the Banshee returned the nod. Then Lis paused.

 

"I just realized..." Lis said slowly. "I stayed with Serene and her family. I have no idea..." She broke off as the Banshee nodded and a door opened nearby. Not very far from Serene's quarters at all. Lis went to the door and looked in. Inside was a tiny one bedroom apartment. Basically a bed, a table, a chair and nothing else. "Uh..."

 

"It was felt you would want to stay close." The Banshee said quietly. "Our salle and dojo are open to you as well. Your warframe awaits you."

 

"I can't." Li said sadly. "Not yet. But I thank you. I will meditate. Center myself, try to make sense of all of this. Please notify me when Sun arrives. I will await him."

 

"You don't have to do that, sister." The Banshee said softly, worried.

 

"I know." Lis said with a shrug. "But to keep Sara from harm? I would do far more. If we can catch whoever it was before he or she strikes again..." She shook her head. "We might not be so lucky next time." As she entered the room, she heard the Banshee speak softly.

 

"Luck had nothing to do with it."

 

***

 

Try as she might, Lis found it very difficult to relax. She knew that Sara was as well protected as the Empress, maybe even more so, since Eliza frankly turned down many of the most stringent security measures that Orokin rulers had assumed on occasion. That was one thing that Lis liked about the Empress. She took her chances. She was no shrinking violet, she was trained and very capable against any common threat. But it was usually uncommon threats that targeted the Empress of the feeble remnants of Orokin. Two Tenno on guard outside the door and Serene sitting with Sara made for a hell of a deterrent. But...

 

She sighed. This endless worrying was getting her nowhere. She forced herself to relax, one muscle at a time starting from the toes. By the time she reached her lower back, she was breathing evenly. Something... She jerked. She wasn't alone!

 

I am not a threat to you or the ones you ward. The voice felt...female. I know you have been attacked. I cannot see who did it. They hide from me as well.

 

"Who...?" Lis paused. The voice was familiar. But... "Janet?" She asked, stunned. This wasn't virtual! She was still in her room. But she could feel the other's concern, for Sara. For Lis. This was Janet, the human Oracle, but...  "Is that you?"

 

More or less. The other's voice was gentle, soft and comforting. Sara is warded. You need help. I am offering.

 

"I am okay." Lis stiffened, she hadn't intended to speak that sharply. Had she?

 

No you are not. The other's voice was sad, so sad now. For so long, you put others first. Nicholas and his scum. Then Serene and her kids. You do not know what to do now, do you?

 

"There are things I have to do." Lis said sadly. "People I have to talk to. Explain things to. I... I don't want to leave Sara."

 

You cannot save her, Lis. The voice of the human Oracle was even sadder now. No one can. What will be, will be. She must save herself. You cannot do it for her.

 

"What?" Lis demanded. "Sara is okay for the moment. The genetic damage means she will grow old and die far too soon, but... What do you mean?" There was no response and Lis sighed. "Blasted Oracle."

 

It isn't any fun, no. Janet's voice was calm and soothing. Despite herself, Lis felt her remaining tension ebb and fade. You are a good being Lis. A very good being. Even for a Tenno, you are a good soul.

 

"I... don't believe that." Lis said and then groaned in relief as her shoulders unknotted. Was someone massaging them? It felt like it. There wasn't anyone there. "I... Oh that's nice..."

 

I cannot interfere, Lis. Janet said quietly. There are... rules. So many rules. But what I can do, I will. Talk to the Lotus, Lis. Lis tried to stiffen, but her body wouldn't respond. It was too relaxed. She hadn't ever talked to the Lotus. Before Nicholas had gone renegade, there had been no reason. After? It... hadn't seemed right. Rest now, Lis. For now, that is all you can do. Sara is safe. You will need every bit of your skill, strength and energy for what will come. But you are up to the task. I believe in you, Lis.

 

Lis took those gentle words into slumber with her.

 

***

 

Lis woke refreshed. She felt... good. Better than she had for some time. Had it been a  dream? Talking to Janet? She hadn't heard anything about the human woman since Rasputin had been stopped. Janet was alive, Lis knew that. But she had no idea where Janet was or in what condition. She sighed. She had never been one to dissemble.

 

Lotus? Lis asked in her mind The response was immediate.

 

Tenno Lis. The voice of the Lotus was gentle and kind, but held a hint of apprehension. This is... unexpected.

 

I felt... unworthy to speak to you. Lis said with a small sob. I... betrayed... Something wafted across her mind and Lis trailed off.

 

You were misled. The Lotus replied, her tone super gentle now. Anyone can be misled, Tenno Lis. It was not your fault. Why contact me now? The probabilities said you would wait another day at the very least.

 

I think I talked to Janet. Lis could not have missed the apprehension that flew from the other if she had been deaf and blind. She didn't tell me anything. Just that I should talk to you. She was not expecting the Lotus to make a rude noise. Lotus? She asked.

 

I cannot see her in the probabilities. The Lotus said slowly. She takes advantage of that. Sneaky human.

 

Yes she is. Lis could not restrain a smile that crept onto her face and truth be told? She didn't try hard. But a good person.

 

Agreed. The Lotus replied. Sara is coping well. She woke, ate and is sleeping again. There have been no further attacks.

 

There will be. Lis said firmly. This was no act of rage. No spur of the moment decision. This was planned.

 

Agreed. The Lotus sounded calm, but underneath lay worry. Sara is all that is holding Serene together. If someone attacks her, Serene will respond in kind.

 

Even when angry, she has excellent target control. Lis said quietly. She had reason to know, after seeing Serene in a tantrum more than once. But best to find out what happened and why quickly.

 

Sun is enroute. The Lotus said with a verbal wince. You do not need to do that.

 

Interrogations are not always brutal. Lis said softly. The Tower was gentle, but thorough. I... I love Sara, Lotus. I want to protect her.

 

I understand. The Lotus replied and that same feeling wafted across Lis. A soothing mental caress. Will you take up a warframe again?

 

I don't know. Lis replied honestly. I feel... ambivalent about that. Every Tenno is needed, I understand that. And I could serve. But... I do not feel worthy of it. And I fear my own inner conflict may be exacerbated by the neural binding. I have... qualms about my stability and questions about my own loyalty. To the Tenno, to the Empress... to myself.

 

The only one who can answer those questions is you, Tenno Lis. The Lotus replied with that same calm. Sun may be able to help, but his methods are harsh.

 

He will not force me to breed as Nicholas wished. Lis said, hate coloring her mental tone for a moment. I apologize. She said as the other mind retreated a bit. I still... I am still angry.

 

No one blames you for that. No one sane anyway. Was the Lotus joking? No, couldn't be. I will be available for you to speak with anytime, Tenno Lis. If I may be of assistance, or if you just need someone to talk to who will not divulge your secrets, someone to listen, I will be here. For now? Be well, Tenno.

 

Thank you, Lotus. Lis said with a smile as the mental connection cut. She was rising to her feet when her door chimed. "Yes?" She called. The door opened and Serene stood with Rocky in one hand, a tray balanced in her other hand. Lis snorted and moved to take the tray. "Serene..." Lis complained in affectionate worry.

 

"I figured you wouldn't take time to eat." Serene said with a smile as she sat on the small bed to one side of the tiny room. "Wow, this is small." She said with a smile as Lis sat at the table and opened the platters on the tray. Savory smells came from them and Lis just sat for a moment, enjoying the smells. "You okay?"

 

"I don't know." Lis said as she took a bite of the soup and smiled. It tasted as good as it smelled. "Is this... Eliza's cooking?" Serene nodded and Lis paused. "She shouldn't have."

 

"She felt your first full meal out of punishment should be memorable." Serene said with a grin as she bounced Rocky on her knee and he laughed as only a little kid could. "Is it?"

 

"Oh yes." Lis said as she ate quickly but carefully, savoring every bite. "Dang, she is good. This is as good as anything I remember." She shook her head. "Sun?"

 

"Setting up." Serene said quietly. "Last chance to back out." Lis just looked at the other Tenno over a slice of bread and Serene sighed. "Figured that would be your response."

 

"Don't let Sara or Mishka anywhere near." Lis said sternly.

 

"I won't." Serene said softly. "Lis..." She went still as the door opened and a white warframe stood silhouetted in it.

 

"I am ready." Lis said as she rose, barely noting the tray vanish. Her meal was a leaden lump in her stomach as she strode to where the Loki Prime stood silent. "Lead on, Sun."

 

To her surprise, he held out a hand to her. She took it with only the tiniest of trembles and followed as the Tenno Interrogator led her away.

 

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I dunno, I think some people have been rude enough to ask for a tl;dr... which is just insulting on a fanfiction series. I very well could be remembering wrong though.

 

ONE person did. The response to HIM was quite rude. Then again, I think he expected my post to be a rant, since the title was 'Rage'. Ever since then I add [Fanfiction] to the title.

 

Have to say I was gratified by the response.

 

I DO write a lot. So I don't MIND clarifying things occasionally. Maybe I should have sent that precis in a PM?

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Truth

 

This was...not what she had expected.

 

Instead of a virtual world with a table and gleaming instruments of torture, Sun led her to a room with a couch. He gestured for her to sit and she did. He knelt by the door, a silent form in white. She sat gingerly, but no straps came up to hold her, no hypos injected her, no beams of energy held her down. Nothing happened.

 

"Um... Sun?" Lis asked as she sat. "I thought you were going to interrogate me."

 

"I will." The Loki Prime replied evenly.

 

"Don't I need to be restrained for that?" Lis asked, concerned.

 

"You are not an enemy." Sun had no emotion in his voice at all. "Not anymore. I will not treat you as a renegade. You are not one."

 

"I..." Lis swallowed hard and then slowly laid herself out on the couch. "I am still stuck in the mindset it seems. I feel I should be punished more."

 

"For?" The quiet calm from the interrogator was unnerving to say the least.

 

"For following Nicholas." Lis said sadly. "For obeying orders I knew were wrong. For hurting so many people..." She slumped a bit. "I tried." Why was she crying? Sun hadn't done anything! "I should have seen it. I should have. He was insane."

 

"How old were you when you took up your warframe, Lis?" Sun asked quietly.

 

"Fifteen." Lis replied, managing to staunch the flow of tears through sheer force of will. "I spent every waking minute studying after..." She trailed off and Sun prompted her.

 

"After what?" Sun asked.

 

"After I met Karl, I tried to kill him and he saved my life." Lis replied, trying for calm herself. She didn't -quite- manage it. She looked at Sun oddly. "Don't tell me you don't have the interrogation records from the Tower."

 

"This isn't a hostile interrogation." Sun replied evenly. "I am trying to help you order your memories. If needed, we can go deeper. But that will hurt you. You are strong, to have survived everything that happened. But unless there is need, it would be a waste of my time and your pain."

 

"I will try not to waste your time." Lis said with a nod. "So... Where to start?"

 

"Why do you feel so strongly for Sara?" Sun asked quietly. "Your reactions indicate a connection that should have taken years to form."

 

"She reminds me of people I knew as a child." Lis replied with a nod. "Weak of body, strong of soul. She didn't deserve any of what happened to her. I wanted to help."

 

"You have." Sun replied. "These people? Have you discussed what happened to them with anyone?"

 

"Who would I have talked to?" Lis asked with only a trace of heat. "Nicholas' people were all about results. Cora might have listened, but she ran and they killed her. None of the others."

 

"Why didn't you flee?" Sun asked. "Karl would have protected you."

 

"I don't know." Lis admitted. "I wanted to. But... Nicholas talked to me and it... Running seemed... wrong." She shook her head. "Looking back, I know he manipulated me into staying. Into feeling loyalty for him. I didn't realize until much, much later that he had likely been planning it all along. Recruiting me just out of training while I was impressionable." She shook her head. "I was so stupid."

 

"No." Sun corrected her. "You were manipulated. Nicholas was a master manipulator. I know. I trained him." Lis jerked and Sun nodded. "His betrayal cut deep in many of us." He shook his head slowly. "You told Michelle that you 'sensed gray mist that solidified'?"

 

"Into fears." Lis agreed. "In the world that Sara and I shared, it solidified into Corpus medical machinery and doctors. Probably to terrify Sara into immobility." Sun did not move or speak and Lis continued. "Then she said she had seen her mother die. Probably another mist creation. When it happened to me, the mists solidified into Karl screaming at me that I was a traitor and murderer." She shook her head ."I know Karl. He wouldn't act like that. I knew that then, but it still terrified me."

 

"That does sound very much like a Nyx's mental attack." Sun mused. "You never knew the name of the sister who chased you?"

 

"Never got close enough to ask." Lis quipped weakly. "She chased me for days. I dropped molts every time I could and she just kept after me. I had thought it might have been Mistress Leanna, but I don't think so. She was dead by then." Sun nodded for her to continue and Lis sighed. "Mistress Leanna was my primary instructor. She taught me what it was to be Tenno. She wore a Banshee warframe instead of a Nyx though and... she didn't want me to join Nicholas' clan, but I went anyway. She would be so disappointed with me."

 

"On the contrary. She would be proud of you." Sun said calmly. Lis stiffened and he shook his head. "I knew her. We -the elder Tenno- knew all of each other." Lis' eyes went huge but then she nodded. The Tenno who had been first had all lived in the Citadel, had come out for specific reasons, usually dealing with outbreaks of the Technocyte Virus. Then the war and the Orokin making copies of Tenno. "She was a good teacher."

 

"She was annoying." Lis said sharper than she intended, but Sun did not react. "She was always spouting about water. About being like water. About thinking like water. It was..." She shook her head. "It worked, but geez, she was annoying." Lis sighed. "I can't see her being happy with how I turned out."

 

"I can." Sun replied quietly. Lis stared at him, dumb founded and Sun shook his head. "What was her primary tenet, Tenno Lis?" Lis jerked and was still for a long moment.

 

"'Follow your heart'." Lis said in a tiny voice. "I..." She was crying again. "I didn't... I killed so many people... He ordered me to and I did and... It was wrong but I did..."

 

"He used your weakness against you." Sun had no emotion in his voice. "You feel strongly. You want to belong. To feel good about yourself and help others to feel good about themselves." Lis jerked a nod and Sun sighed. "Calm yourself, Tenno Lis. Nicholas is gone. His horrors are done. We need to deal with now, not the past."

 

"I..." Lis took a deep breath and let half of it out slowly. Then she exhaled the rest and took another. "After... Mars... I was a mess. Nicholas sent me out to find recruits, but I didn't even try. He figured me out after the second time and sent me to find resources. That I did. I had found a deposit of gallium when I felt an attack. A mental attack. I hadn't seen her arrive, but then she was in front of me, skana drawn before I could move. I didn't wait for her to speak or strike. I fled."

 

"Why?" Sun asked, sounding honestly curious.

 

"Because I did not want to fight a sister." Lis said sadly. "Because I had too much blood on my hands already. I was stained. Soiled. I did not want her to kill me either. Both from a survival standpoint and for what it would do to her." At that, Sun actually jerked a little. Lis barely noticed. "Killing kin is... bad. It does... bad things to you."

 

"You have." Sun said quietly.

 

"I have." Lis agreed, tears falling unmarked. "I didn't want to! You know... during the war... Zanas and Joel." Sun nodded. "It was... awful. The worst thing I have ever done. They had gone mad. But..." Sun sighed.

 

"You had no choice." Sun said quietly. "They were talking about joining the Sentients. Betraying all of us to the Enemy."

 

"It was just talk!" Lis protested. "They were angry. So was I! But... Then the Zanas went berserk and we had to stop him and...Then Joel. Killing them broke something inside of me." She shook her head. "I did not want to do that to the one chasing me, Sun. I didn't want to kill her, and didn't want her to kill me. Was that wrong of me?"

 

"I cannot answer that, Tenno Lis." Sun replied softly. "Only you can."

 

"Killing kin is wrong." Lis said firmly. "Even a renegade. I don't know how Karl stood it. If he did. How he stayed sane." She shook her head. "The mental attack was clear. It was intended to weaken my resolve. Fuddle my thoughts. Get me to weaken, maybe surrender. I considered it." Sun tilted his head and Lis sighed. "Cora had been slain, but the others he sent after her didn't come back. Yes, I considered it. Which is probably why he had a cryo pod set up for me when I returned to the dojo after giving that Nyx the slip finally. He knew I was going to flee and couldn't lose his last chance for breeding more Tenno." Hate sang in her voice now. Sun did not speak and Lis forced herself to calm. "This is not about me, this is about Sara."

 

"Maybe both." Sun replied and Lis jerked. "Tenno Lis, what would have happened if Sara had died? If you had woken with her dead?"

 

"With my hands around her throat?" Lis asked, horrified. "Oh my god... Serene would have killed me -which would have torn her, Mishka and probably Rocky too apart-, or the Royal Guard would have killed me for violating my parole or I would have killed myself." She was shaking her head now. "Oh my god..." She repeated, but then her gaze hardened. "We need to find whoever did this. Now."

 

"Agreed." Sun said with a nod. "Think back. The first attack. The mental coils. Did you sense anything odd? Anything different?" Lis took a deep breath and focused herself. "That's it." Sun encouraged her. "Calm and clear. Think of the coils. Not what they are doing. Not to who. Just the coils."

 

"Gray mist." Lis was floating now. It felt... oddly relaxing. "Familiar, but... not." Pain erupted in her head and she fought back a groan. "I can.. almost..."

 

"Stop." Sun's quiet word cut through Lis's meditation like a knife and she was gasping in pain as she found herself back on the couch.

 

"What the hell?" Lis demanded. She was sweating and her head was pounding. "What the hell is wrong with me?"

 

"That wasn't you." Sun said with a nod. "That was a block."

 

"A block?" Lis said and then snarled softly. "Can you break it?"

 

"I can." Sun replied calmly. "Should I? It will hurt you."

 

"Do it." Lis snapped and closed her eyes. She felt something change and suddenly, she couldn't move. She did not try, did not open her eyes. A short, stabbing pain erupted inside her mind and she could not restrain a tiny whimper as the pain came and went. Then... "I...remember..."

 

A voice had spoken to her in that dream. A voice she didn't know. Female.

 

'You will purge the unclean from our midst. You will be our instrument.'

 

'No!' Lis heard herself scream. 'She is a child!'

 

'It is a monster!' The other voice snapped. 'You will kill it! Then yourself to expunge the shame you bring to this sacred place.'

 

'No! I... will...not!' Lis heard herself cry out and then she was back on the couch, shaking as Sun retreated a step.

 

"I... Female. Old. Powerful. No one I know..." She swallowed hard. "Tenno. Definitely. But... It called Sara 'unclean'?" She asked, scared.

 

"There have been many factions within the Tenno who have felt that the purity of the race must be maintained." Sun said with a shrug. "Usually just vocal minorities. But Sara was hurt by people who believed she was  a Corpus spy. Why wouldn't they hurt her if they believe she was some kind of evil menace?"

 

"Diluting our purity?" Lis asked, scared. "If Serene hears this..."

 

"Things are going to explode." Sun agreed, worry sounding deep in his voice now. For him to be worried. This was bad. "Sara is a good kid. She actually asked me to do the same for her as I am doing for you." Lis went still, but Sun chuckled darkly. "No. I didn't even consider it. I have limits."

 

"Good." Lis said, forcing her racing heart to slow. "So... did you get anything? She felt... old. Like I said. Not someone I have met, but I haven't met every Tenno here."

 

"Me neither." Sun said with a frown in his voice. "I felt power. Age and power. But... cunning." He mused. "Not a lot of intelligence, if she is threatening Sara, but cunning."

 

"Agreed." Lis said with a sigh. "So... Hmm..." She shook her head. "You know? I haven't talked to anyone about what happened to me." Sun looked at her and she smiled a bit thinly. "Maybe I should?"

 

"Sister Lis..." This was new. Sun had always called her 'Tenno', not 'Sister'. "You are not trained for this."

 

"Maybe not." Lis said with a sigh. "But I do need to figure this out and maybe I can work my way through my own quandaries in the process? And maybe not being trained would be an asset. I don't think I could lie to kin. So I won't. I seek understanding of what and who I am now. And I seek answers for what happened to Sara."

 

"Sister..." Sun said quietly. "If that being took control once, she can do it again."

 

"Which is why I will be under full time surveillance." Lis said reasonably. "I will ask the Royal Guard and the Lotus to keep a close watch on me. And if I act off? They can disable me without killing me."

 

"Probably." Sun said, his tone worried. "We can't tell Serene."

 

"We also can't keep this from her." Lis said sharply. "If she finds out we didn't tell her..." Sun shook his head and Lis continued. "All we have is a voice in my memory. For all I know it could be a delusion of mine."

 

"It isn't." Sun said quietly.

 

"Okay, I can accept that from you. This is your area of expertise. We have to tell Serene." Lis had a quiet that matched his now. "We have to. I will do it." Sun looked at her and Lis shook her head. "She is already stressed. If it comes from you, it will stress her more than if it comes from me."

 

"I.... can see that." Sun said, manifestly against his will. "But I have to say this, Sister Lis. You are not  a renegade any longer. You erred, but you faced your punishment with honor and courage. You served your time and now it is time for you to rejoin us all."

 

"I don't feel worthy." Lis said quietly. "But... I need to talk to someone about that. It is not rational. I know that. I need to get past it." Sun nodded slowly and Lis smiled. "I thank you for your assistance, Interrogator."

 

"Helping kin is rare for me." Sun said with another nod. "But it does help offset the rest of what I do. I must not become what I fight."

 

"Funny..." Lis said sadly. "I told Nyx the same thing." Sun looked at her and Lis grimaced. "No one blames her for being a bit irrational about that scum Rasputin. I don't want to lose her. Her as she is. All through my punishment, I kept telling myself... 'What would Nyx do?' 'What is right for me to do now, this moment?' 'What is the ethical choice here?' It... helped." Lis finished softly. "We can't lose her."

 

"Sister Lis." Sun said quietly. "With all due respect to the First Nyx. She is gone. You are not." Lis nodded.

 

"I know." She sighed and relaxed. She paused and thought hard. "It just... I..." Sun did not speak, let her work through her thoughts. "The voice... felt... wrong." She finally said.

 

"Wrong?" Sun queried. "Wrong how?"

 

"I don't know." Lis admitted. "It just didn't feel right. Like... it wasn't..." She paused and then went still. "Like it wasn't a voice I knew, but it should have been." She shook her head. "No one I know would dare hurt Sara. They all know Serene! Most of them know Sara. My feelings for that scamp are not unique."

 

"Hardly." Sun said with a snort. Lis stared at him and he chuckled darkly again. "I have met her too. Do you think I am totally without feelings, Sister?"

 

"No." Lis said with a smile. "But you control them better than anyone else I have ever met. Which... considering your line of work, is a necessity. You do good work... Interrogator Sun." She sat up slowly, aware of her limbs shaking. "Thank you."

 

"Breaking the block hurt you." Sun said with a sigh. "I recommend food and rest. Then talk to one of the Royal Guard counselors. There are two. Lilly and Guiscard."

 

"I think I met Guiscard once." Lis said slowly. "He didn't care for me." She shook her head. "I don't blame him."

 

"You are going to face people who insist on bringing up the past." Sun said as he rose and helped her to stand. She needed the help. Her legs were wobbly. "Tenno came from humans. We share the same emotional baggage at times. We may be better at organizing it or processing it, but we do share it."

 

"Yeah." Lis smiled gratefully at the Loki Prime and then straightened. "No time like the present. Will you be... around?"

 

"Eliza has asked my assistance to get to the bottom of this." Sun agreed. "I will be lurking." Lis burst out laughing and Sun just shook his head. "It is perfectly acceptable adjective."

 

"Why do I get the feeling you enjoy it?" Lis asked as she tried to smother her laughter. "You are evil."

 

"Sometimes." Sun replied but then his posture straightened. "What happened in here..." He paused as Lis nodded and straightened herself.

 

"...stays in here." Lis agreed. "Your reputation as a cold hearted stone who does anything to get the job done is safe with me, Interrogator. I bet Serene would be upset with me if I started spreading rumors you went soft. Let alone what you would do. I swear on my honor as Tenno not to speak of this." She said formally and Sun nodded. Then Lis sighed deeply and dramatically.

 

"Now? I need to talk to a counselor and won't that be fun...?"

 

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Thanks for the feedback.

The first part -Lis' nightmare- did that seem too quick or slow? I couldn't quite get it to flow right. Maybe I did rush this too much.

It should make more sense tomorrow with the next post. I hope so anyway.

Sorry for the late reply, I normally check every other day for notifications.

Anyway, I don't think I was fair when I said it was rushed, because that's not really what I meant. I think that this chapter has too much telling and not actual showing. Maybe because this is the introduction, but a lot of what I see in the dialogue and actual writing is flat-out telling the reader details and not really showing us why or what or how.

Before this becomes too long, I feel the need to say that this isn't necessarily bad, because all that's missing is writing from a non-omniscient perspective; show us how a character feels, don't tell us.

Thanks for the reply, anyway, I look forward to the next update :)

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