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[Fanfiction] Children


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Are you trying to tell the story like we uncover the pieces with the protagonist? Revealing the plot piece by piece? I never could master that style D:



I do. In this case, with this story I AM following that path a bit. With a few... sidetracks... here and there. :p

Edited by Kalenath
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Are you trying to tell the story like we uncover the pieces with the protagonist? Revealing the plot piece by piece? I never could master that style D:



I do. In this case, with this story I AM following that path a bit. With a few... sidetracks... here and there. :p


Oooooh I love you!


Will try out your recommendations.

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Tanya Huff


Confederation of Valor starting with 'Valor's Choice'. Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr. One part woman, one part NCO, ALL parts BADDASS.


Elizabeth Moon


More fantasy military than sci-fi military but good nonetheless.


The Deed of Pakesenarrion

Paladin's Legacy

(More to come, I HOPE!)

thanks for the recommendations

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Uh... what do I do now?


Horatius had no idea what he was doing. His armor had been removed carefully and laid aside. Likely the madwoman would have removed the rest of his clothing before dropping him in the vat, but he had no way of knowing. He had pulled his gear back on, leaving off his helmet. It didn't fit very well. He checked the Penta out of habit without actually touching it. Nothing seemed wrong with it, but he was loathe to touch anything the Tenno had. They gave him the absolute creeps.


He had a problem though. The light on the pod was flashing. It was flashing yellow, which meant 'trouble' but not red for 'emergency'. Thing was... he had no idea what to do about it. He had done a stint as a technician a long, long time ago. He had been...sixteen? Seventeen? But that had been almost three hundred years ago! And he had worked on... Dang... He couldn't even remember what he had worked on. But it hadn't been this. The whole reason for having a team of people was that each had skills the others did not, buffering the team members' weaknesses with other team members' strengths. Lacy had been a tech as well as a sniper. Gils had been the medic and Lacy's spotter. Ko? He had been a scrounger and armorer as well as their heavy weapons specialist. Jack had been demolitions and technical surveillance. Horatius' skills lay in planning, organizing and sneaking. Well, that and shooting things.


This? This was way outside of his skillset. Every Corpus Special Forces operative had some medical training. Horatius had actually helped deliver a baby once during a long and harrowing mission involving the very pregnant daughter of a high ranked executive and some lunatics who thought to use her and her unborn child as 'leverage'. It had been... unpleasant and all he had done was hold a towel for the team medic.


This... reproduction tech was a dark art to him. He had never been one for children. Not even in his earliest recollections had Horatius ever planned on kids. Certainly not after joining the Special Forces. He had done a fast recon of the area and twenty of the small self contained pods stood around the tiny cave. It wasn't really part of the Corpus facility he had fled from. It looked... half finished? Very low tech, which explained how it had evaded the Grineer. Only one pod had yellow lights. And the only other thing in the small cave were the protein vat he had nearly ended up in and the table he had woken on. The only other thing he had found was a small datapad. It was unpowered, but a few moments of jury rigging with his Prova accessed it. He hoped for a medical text or a technical journal of some kind detailing the pods. It...wasn't that.


It was... a log. A log by a woman named  Misa F-41. The woman who had every nearly killed him. But...


Day 3. The pods are secure. Power systems will keep them running for a decade. The security forces bought us time to escape. But...we have seen and heard nothing from them. The filthy clones must have slaughtered everyone. These assets will be protected. We serve the Corpus and the Corpus serves us. We will protect our future.




Day 37. The constant Grineer patrols have ended. Now they are random. None of the others have returned from their explorations of the cavern and I fear for them. My leg has healed, but I fear that only I remain. But our duty to the company is clear. We must protect these company assets. The stasis pods will protect the children but they are not perfect. I must find a way to give them protein.  I must. Without protein, these children will die. I must... protect these children.




Day 92. No further Grineer have hit the traps I set. Have they given up? No. Grineer do not give up. Perhaps they believe the area is unsafe. I have heard howling. I... am afraid. If Infested find... I must serve the Company. I must protect these assets.




Day 278. Another Grineer patrol. Only the third this month. I have set up a makeshift freezer. It will keep the meat usable. Grineer rations taste like crap, but I can eat them. The children... need protein. The Company is not coming. They will not come. I... I fear I will die here. Alone. In the dark. The children need protein and I cannot leave them to find any more. The last clone that ran afoul of the traps has gone from the freezer into the vat and I fear what will happen now. So pretty. So innocent. These... assets must... I cannot...




Day... I don't know. The power has failed in my chrono. I... cannot read the letters on the screens anymore. No more meat. Cannot feed them Infested. I... I am failing in my duty. I must save... pretties...


There were no more entries.


"Oh my god..." Horatius said weakly as he set the pad down and slumped. She had done her duty. Protected her charges. Been left here. Alone in the dark. For so long. "I am sorry, Misa." He said weakly to the wall. "I am so sorry. We didn't know."


He slumped for a bit, the sheer horror of the situation seeping through him. Then he snarled at himself.


"I am sorry, Misa." Horatius snapped out loud. "But you did your job. None of these kids have died. You did your job. Now it is time for me to do mine."


He examined the pod with the yellow light quickly. The latch mechanism was clear and easy to understand. He was no med tech, but green almost always meant open. He tapped the green button and went still as the front of the pod slowly slid down a little. The tiny form floating in the pod jerked  a little as the fluid level fell. He had no tools and only a basic med kit. But it did have a towel. The fluid level fell again and Horatuis reached in as the fluid drained further and the tiny form was in his hands as he lifted it out carefully. It... she wasn't breathing! He jerked, a long ago memory coming to him and gently slapped the tiny girl on the backside. She gave a gasp and then a warbling cry echoed through the cavern as the little girl gave voice to her first wail.


"Easy, little one." Horatius said quietly, rocking the form as he wrapped her in the towel. She subsided a little. "I have no idea what I am going to feed you. But you are alive and I am going to keep you that way."




"So... what do we do?" Quais asked very quietly as he and Two watched from the distance. The hallway they had carefully scouted had held numerous traps. Some still containing dead infested and Grineer. All were deactivated now. Two held up a hand and waved to the wall. Both of them slid back as a familiar form appeared in the distance. An Osprey. Quais had his rifle aimed but Two shook her head. Both turned to watch as the Osprey approached the cavern.




It was a surprise. The Company did not waste Ospreys on missing troops. Horatius stared for a long moment at the Shield Osprey that hovered close nearby, staring at him as he held the tiny girl cautiously. Then he bent down and carefully picked up his helmet and keyed his com.


"Spirit here." He said quietly. "Identify." The last voice he might have expected sounded from this helmet.


"Commander." The Reverend Mother sounded relieved. "We feared for you when we lost contact. A team is five minutes out. Situation?"


"Reverend Mother?" Horatius asked, stunned. Then he shook his head. "Help!" He begged. "The facility...they saved their kids!"


"What?" The Clergywoman demanded. "Commander, that facility was destroyed two years ago!"


"I know." Horatius said sadly as the little girl in his arms gurgled a bit. "Tell the team to hurry. Twenty womb stasis pods. Nineteen still operational. I had to pull one out! Tell me that they have a medic!" He begged.


"Commander, that is not possible!" The Reverend Mother snapped. "The facility was destroyed. No survivors."


"Yes, there were." Horatius bowed his head. "A group of them managed to get the pods down here but were cut off from coms. Only one survived and she... she went mad. But she protected the children." He started to rock the little girl in his arms as she woke and started to cry. "I don't know what to do with a kid, Reverend Mother!"


"Holy Profit..." The ancient woman said in a reverent tone as she listened to the baby cry. "Stay where you are and do not draw any weapons. The team is on hair trigger."


"Please tell me there is transport available." Horatius begged "Misa F-41 died to save these kids. I... We cannot leave them here!"


"Misa F-41?" The old woman sounded stunned now. "That... How many pods?" She demanded.


"Twenty." Horatius said as light flared in the distance. He never saw two shadows slink away as the light came closer. "Here!" He called. "Medic! I need a medic here!"


The lights resolved into a pair of MOAs with several more following. A tech with Supra at the ready was followed by half a dozen Crewmen. All froze on seeing the Special Forces soldier cradling the tiny crying bundle.


"Spirit?" The Tech asked, not lowing his Supra. "You look like you have seen better days."


"Yeah." Horatius said with sigh. "The caverns are laced with traps."


"I know." The tech said sourly. "We lost three MOAs to spring things and had two guys stuck for a bit. Odd. None of the traps seemed as dangerous as they could have been."


"She needed the meat." Horatius said quietly, rocking the girl as one of the team slung his Dera and stepped forward, a med scanner in hand. "Too much damage would have soured the meat."


"What?" The tech demanded, finally raising his Supra to port arms. He stared around the room at the many pods. "Wow... this is..." He sounded awed. "How many?"


"Twenty total. She did her duty to the Company." Horatius said as the medic indicated for Horatius to pass the child to him. Horatius did as instructed. "I think they are all alive. But... check carefully. She was... not well. She had cause, but... she was not well." He bowed his head. "One tough lady."


"Who?" Another asked as he stepped forward, binders in hand. Horatius he turned and held his hands behind him.


"Her name was Misa F-41." The Special Forces operative said sadly as he was restrained. "And she was a hero."




"Will they ever find out what she did?" Quais asked softly as he and Two ghosted away from the now buzzing cavern. "What Misa did?"


"Probably better if they don't." Two replied uneasily. "When I got here... all that was here was her clothes. She had taken them off and..." She slumped. "I wish... Oh how I wish we had been sooner."


"She had to have gone insane." Quais said softly. "To willingly and knowingly step into a protein vat..." To be dissolved... alive...


"She was out of Grineer flesh." Two said softly. "She had to keep the kids alive. It was all that was keeping her going. She held out until maybe a week before we got here. No more than that. Two years. Alone. In the dark..." She bowed her head. "To protect children. As he said... a hero."


Quais nodded and the two Tenno retreated in silence.




Horatius sat. There was nothing else he could do. The team hadn't been overly rough. But they hadn't been overly gentle either. At least all of the pods had been moved. The little girl had been whisked away early on and he hoped and prayed she was okay. But there wasn't anything he could do about it. He could get out of the restraints. They were nowhere near as hard as some. But the three guards who stood on this side of the door, two mechanical and one organic, made any escape attempt fairly pointless. Besides? He didn't want to.


"You wouldn't happen to have a book or something, would you?" Horatius asked dryly as the organic guard watched him warily. "Because this is boring as all get out." There was no reply. He shook his head and sat back on the bunk of the tiny cell. "Ah well... Let me see if I can remember that song..."


Everything stopped as a harsh voice sounded. Horatius knew the voice, if not the speaker. "Out." A holo appeared on one wall. Horatius tried not to gulp. Board. Had to be. Not one he knew.


"Sir." The organic guard paused as the MOAs left. "Orders are he not be left alone."


"After all of this, do you really think you and two MOAs could stop him if he wanted to escape?" The Board member asked sourly. "Leave." The guard saluted and left the room. The holo turned to Horatius who remained still. "I ordered you interrogation and execution."


"Figured." Horatius said quietly. "I serve the Company."


"Indeed you do." The holo said quietly. "I rescinded those orders." Horatius froze and then went totally still as another holo appeared on the wall. The Reverend Mother looked sad and worried. "Special Forces have been a thorn in the side of the Board virtually since their creation. But the results... The results speak for themselves."


"We serve." Horatius said, bowing his head. But what happened next...


"Thank you, Commander." The Board member said quietly.


"Sir?" Commander Horatius said, snapping upright.


"You were right."The Reverend Mother said sadly. "Misa F-41 was a hero. Search teams found the bodies of the rest of the survivors. All three of them. They were trying to dig their way to the surface. Probably to find a com and report what they had done. They were not miners. They hit a gas pocket. Their armor did not protect them from the resulting explosion." Horatius slumped. "Misa F-41 was left alone. She protected the company's assets. The only way she could. We... saw your helmet logs. When she trapped you and shot you. Then she apparently kicked it and activated the recorder again."


"She was mad." Horatius said softly. "But she was trying to protect the children. Save the children. Reverend Mother... she was doing her job."


"Whatever she became..." The Reverend Mother said softly. "She was a hero. That is the official report of the team sent to salvage what they could from the cavern. There is no sign of the Tenno who killed her or her body. But..." She nodded to the other as Horatius slumped.


"She was a hero."The Board member said firmly. "I have disagreed with many of your methods, Clergy and Special Forces alike. They seem... off to me. My focus has always had to be the Company and it's profits. But now? You have given me a gift, Commander. A gift beyond measure." Horatius went still and the Board member nodded. "You will be scanned. You will be interrogated. But... for the life of my granddaughter, yours is spared."


"Your grand-?" Horatius choked off his incredulous exclamation and nodded slowly.


"One of the beings who did not survive the initial assault was a med-tech named John K-45." The Board member said heavily. "He... wanted to serve the company. But he was not interested in executive power. We all hoped he would change his mind. Then I received a message that he had fallen in love with another med tech and they had obtained consent for a child. But the facility he was posted to was attacked and destroyed." Horatius frankly stared as the Board member smiled sadly. "Being med techs, they had access to every system. They were quick and careful. They even picked a caretaker."


"I don't understand, sir." Horatius said slowly.


"The caretaker's name was Misa F-41." The Board Member said quietly. Horatius froze and the Board member nodded. "The little girl you pulled out? Saved the life of when the systems of her pod were finally failing? Her name is Glenda S-13. Daughter of John K-45 and Francis Z-23."


"Granddaughter of Board Member Grodas." The Reverend Mother said with a nod. "She shows no signs of infection. Apparently, Misa F-41 hadn't gone completely mad. There are no signs of the Technocyte Virus in any of the pods. She did not actually put Infested flesh into the pods."


"Thank profit for that..." Horatius said with a sigh. "As bad as her dropping me in there would have been..."


"Agreed." The Board Member named Grodas said with a nod. "You will be scanned." He said firmly.


"They were Orokin Marines, sir." Horatius said with a nod. "If half of what the histories said about them are true..." He shrugged. "We have problems."


"Of that I have no doubt." The Board Member nodded to Horatius and vanished.


"You ready to come home, Horatius?" The Reverend Mother asked gently. "It won't be fun. But we can help. And... the other kids will need help too. The ones without a very powerful grandfather."


"I serve the Company." Horatius said, fully aware he was being monitored. But inside? He didn't care. He was too tired to care. He slid his manacled arms out from behind him and moved to lie down on the tiny bunk provided. He was asleep before the Reverend Mother's response could reach his ears.




We have him. That was... How? How did you do that?


We did not. No one knew until I had a team scout the area where he had planned to 'find' some lost Orokin tech to give to the Board. We did not know either. You would call it a miracle. I call it a miracle. Misa was a hero.


She will be remembered as such. The Reverend Mother promised. Now?


Yes. Now the hard part. The Lotus agreed heavily.


Edited by Kalenath
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Just... I don't have any words.


Can't help but throw in some recommendations:


If you like sci-fi, Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles books (a long series of military with a kinda political/human extension that strays into speculative);

If you like dark fantasy, Daniel Abraham's Long Price series;

If you like fantasy in general, particularly epic fantasy (even if you don't have the patience for the Wheel of Time), Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive;



Also, hi. I don't think I've ever actually commented on your threads before Kalenath (despite lurking hidden in them for a very long time) but I've met a lot of you before, primarily in the early days of Ash and Fire.

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For the Company


This wasn't like him. Not at all. He was shivering as the med tech gently led him to a small room and helped him lie down. The blanket she laid over him helped, a little. But not much. The docs never wanted anything to interfere with the scans. Or so they said. He had always privately thought that the nudity was another way to break the subject's wills faster for interrogation. He didn't know. Or care.


This was hardly the first time he had gone through a mindscan. Or an interrogation. But this time? This time was worse. Somehow. The pain was the same. The aches and chills were the same. The drugs had been the same and he hadn't bothered to resist. They knew his limits to within micrometers. And besides, so what would have been the point? He didn't think he had anything to hide. That he knew of anyway.


"Horatius?" The voice of the Reverend Mother was concerned as...she stepped into the cell. Her real form. Not a hologram.


"How... long?" He managed to grate the words out. "Did... they get...?" The old woman sighed and stepped lose, a hand coming down to take his.


"Easy." The old woman said as she sat on the bed beside him. "It has only been five minutes, Horatius. Give yourself time." She commanded as she gave his hand a squeeze. "They are done."


"I... feel..." The hard bitten Special Forces soldier shivered harder. "That poor woman..." He was crying as he lay there. There wasn't anything else he could do.


"I know." The old nun said as she squeezed his hand again. "Your memories of the time prior to waking in the vehicle have been removed." Horatius went still and the Reverend Mother nodded. "The techniques... according to the docs anyway... seem Orokin in nature."


"But if I don't remember..." Horatius said weakly. "Did they get scans of the vehicle that was firing? The uniforms? The weapons?" He begged.


"Yes." The Reverend Mother reassured him. "They did. The intel people are... well..." She chuckled a bit sourly.


"Going in their pants?" Horatius said with a small smile that was more his normal self. The clergywoman nodded with a matching smile."Whoever or whatever those people were, they came out of nowhere. And that gun on the vehicle? It was a plasma cannon. A big one."


"I know. Just the blast residue on the remnants of the facility was bad enough." The old woman said quietly. "Nothing we have that is ground based even comes close. And if it is armored as heavily as it looked in your memory... a Railgun MOA's weapon may or may not be able to penetrate. Probably not. Nothing else. And even if it could? They are not just going to sit there and let us shoot, now are they?"


"We don't want to fight them, Ma'am." Horatius said, training finally kicking in past the drugs and pain. "Not only are they bad news, but they are human. Possible allies in this mess." He sighed. "The Board is going to go crazy. They are going to order us to find them, aren't they?"


"They are going crazy." The Reverend Mother nodded. "As bad as the mess with the DiamondBacks and Nightnova was? This is worse. Those were pilots. Threats to ships or shipping but only in one place at one time. Not actual ground forces with a powerful tank as backup. Even fifty of them, as well trained and armed as they are, would make a massive force multiplier. And yes. They will order us to find these Marines. Make contact again."


"I don't see them helping us, Ma'am." Horatius said sadly. "They had a mission and they did it. They..." he paused. "They had someone who gave them that mission. An HQ of some kind. But finding that..." He shook his head. "A probably well defended needle in a Solar System sized haystack." He paused. "Did anyone ever figure out what a 'haystack' was? Something large and filled with thin things from the phrase."


"No. Ancient slang phrase of some kind about an impossible task." The old woman said with a smile as she squeezed his hand again and then let go. "One more mystery we are never likely to solve. But we have solved one."


"Oh?" Horatius asked and then went still as a screen lit up on one wall. A face appeared and then a body under it. Lis. But... "Wait a minute..." She wore a gown, but it wavered a bit. It was there and then she was wearing the uniform of an Orokin Marine with sergeant's stripes on the sleeve!


"The gown was an illusion. We think she was one of them." The Reverend Mother said softly. "Tasked to protect the girl."


Horatius stared at the old woman and then nodded slowly. He knew what Lis had been. There was no way even an Orokin Marine had done some of the things Lis had done. But... there was no way he was going to tell the Board -who had to be listening- about that. Special Forces were trained to evade mindscans on certain subjects and the techs knew it. If they had tried to get data on his previous missions... it wouldn't have ended well. But this.. The fix was in and he knew it. He was reassured by the Reverend Mother's wink.


"They left us a message in your mind. Or...she did." The old woman said by way of explanation.


Horatius looked at the leader of the Corpus Clergy and nodded a little. The holo on the wall spoke.


"My name is Lis. I was called Lis F-43 while in care of the Corpus. I plan to let this soldier free at our next stop, but it may be a while. Unless he proves as wiley as Gen H-12 was and escapes. This message is intended for Executive Vina of the Corpus. Vina... Thank you for your care and consideration." The Lis on the screen said calmly. "It has come to my attention that part of my flesh was removed by the machinery that hurt me. I hereby allow Vina or any she designates to use that flesh to augment her assets. I will not seek retribution nor remuneration for damages to my person. I did my duty. No more, no less. My flesh is human. Use it as you may. To Vina, Mercedes J-54, Sister Harriet and all the others who helped me, I say this: 'Thank you'. I hope and pray we never meet again, for if we do, it may be as adversaries. I... would not like that." She smiled a bit sadly. "Fair profit."


The holo vanished.


"She..." Horatius stammered, undone by the simple and heartfelt words. "She said..."


"Yes." The Reverend Mother said calmly. "She said 'Yes'. We got nothing else from the days you were gone. But that... That was planted for us to find." She shook her head. "We may never know if you were allowed to escape or not. Maybe someday we can ask."


"Carefully." Horatius said with a sigh. "And not anytime soon. They won't trust me and she is likely to get in trouble for doing that. Making contact this way." The clergywoman nodded and Horatius sighed again, deeper. "Where am I?"


"Vina's mining facility." The Reverend Mother said quietly. "You were out for two days in transit while they scanned you down to the molecular level." Horatius glanced at her and she shook her head . "Nothing."


"Well..." Horatius said with a sigh. "Not a bad thing. Considering what happened to the rest of my team." The old woman looked at him sidelong and he shrugged. "Yes, I know it wasn't my fault. But..."


"You were in charge." The old woman said with a nod. "You are off status for now. We are... looking into getting you a new team."


"I need to get back in shape." Horatius said with a sigh, patting his stomach through the sheet that covered him. "Getting fat." The clergywoman chuckled and he looked at her. "What?"


"The mere thought of you letting yourself get fat." The old woman said with laugh. "It boggles the mind. Horatius..." She said quietly. "Come home with me." The spec ops soldier froze and the old woman's face turned sad. "You have been gone... a long time."


"Rules are rules, Reverend Mother." Horatius said quietly. "I cannot sire children anymore. There is no place in a breeding colony for deadweight." He paused as her hand clenched. She went still as he covered her hand with his own. "What I... had... I treasure. But... I am not who I was."


"I know." The old woman said, her tone husky with emotion. "So many mistakes. So many things I wish I could go back and change."


"Yeah." Horatius agreed, but then he smirked. "I would like to go back in time and kick some sense into the Orokin idiots who thought letting the Infested loose was a good idea. Morons. Pity they are not around to pay for what they did."


"You and me both." The Reverend Mother said with a snort. "You and me both." She took a deep breath and stretched slowly. "I... have a request actually. Since you are off status."


"You are my boss." Horatius said with a shrug. "Since when do you have to 'request' I do anything?"


"Since we found a girl who is genetically compatible with the human... part we recovered from Lis F-43." Horatius froze at the woman's careful words. "She is not a child. We have... explained the situation in detail. She wants to help the company. Everything is legal, but... she is..." She shook her head. "There is a problem." Horatius stiffened and the Reverend Mother was quick to reassure him. "No. Nothing wrong. Just..." She trailed off, obviously seeking words.


"So... what is the problem?" Horatius said with a frown. "Surgically, I was told it was a fairly simple procedure."


"Surgically it is." The old woman looked... a bit embarrassed now. "The problem... is that she has... never..." Horatius eyes went huge.


"Never, ever?" Horatius asked, stunned. "Not with a boy? Not in one of the rec facilities?" The old woman shook her head and Horatius shook his. "What kind of parent lets a little girl grow up without some kind of practical education in that?"


"The kind whose little girl is injured badly in an industrial accident when she is nine and rendered sterile." The Reverend Mother said softly. Horatius sank back to the bed, stunned. "We are giving her a chance at a child. One she never dared hope for."


"More than one." Horatius said sternly. The Reverend Mother remained silent and Horatius shook his head. "You know they will want as many as she can handle."


"I do." The old woman said heavily. "So does she. She...accepts that. But... She has no experience. None. And with the latest... incident...she feels... leery about the automated systems." Horatius nodded slowly. After what Lis-43 had gone through it was a wonder any women allowed the docs to put them in the automated reproduction systems. "We will monitor every aspect. We will not allow anything to go wrong."


"Things always go wrong, Reverend Mother." Horatius said in a dark tone. "Or Misa F-41 wouldn't be dead."


"It wasn't your fault, Horatius." The old woman said gently. "She did her job.  She was true to her duty to the company. Even in her madness."


"It doesn't help much." Horatius said sadly. "First my team. Then Jack... "


"You had no choice, Horatius." The old woman said, laying her hand on his again. "And you know it. If you had tried to save him, you would both be dead. It is selfish of me, but I am glad you survived."


"I... I know I am emotional." Horatius said with a sigh. "Rebounding from the drugs and the pain and the fear and all. But seeing that woman. Seeing the pods. Watching her die. Then reading the log..."


"I know." The Reverend Mother consoled him gently. "That is why you are off status or a bit. You need time. And... You can help the girl."


"Why do you need me?" Horatius asked, suddenly suspicious. "I mean, any lay sister can handle such explanations. It's not like girls and boys getting... together..." He broke off and paled. "No... No nononononono!" He recoiled from the Reverend Mother, his hands clutching the sheet about himself.


For her part, the Reverend Mother did not move. "Horatius..."


"You cannot ask me to do that." Horatius said sharply. "You cannot!"


"Calm down, Horatius." A bite entered the old woman's voice now. "Do you really think I would make you do something like this against your will? Me?"


"If it furthered your interests you would." Horatius' voice held just the same amount of bite. "And you know it."


"Yeah." The old woman shrugged. "I would. But... Horatius. I am not." She held up a hand as he started to protest. "Hear me out?" The soldier subsided but he was muttering things under his breath. "She is scared, Horatius. Scared out of her mind. Her own partner is scared for her."


"She is married?" Horatius asked, horrified.


"No." The Reverend Mother said softly. "But she does have a partner. They are both scared, Horatius. I could order her to go to the rec center. Use one of the machines there. Order her to present herself to the next male in line. Do you really think I would do that?"


"Not without starting a riot." Horatius said with a snarl. The old woman just looked at him and he sighed. "Okay, yes. I admit it. You are gentle when you can be."


"Which isn't nearly often enough." The old woman said softly. "The thing is, she has accepted the role. She will return to the colony with me. We will take care of her. I want you to come with her."


"Reverend Mother..." Horatius said softly. "I... I can't. You know this."


"You cannot sire children anymore." The old woman said gently. "You can help a girl through her first time." Now her face turned sad. "You helped Lilly."


"I am sorry about Lilly, Ma'am." Horatius said quietly. "I don't think I ever said that."


"My daughter denied the Enemy a powerful weapon against us." The old woman said softly. "I will miss her. The pain... will never truly fade. But I will keep trying to help keep our pitiful remnant of humanity alive. And..." She smiled gently. "If I can help an old friend recover in the process? So much the better."


"Tell me true, Reverend Mother..." Horatius said in an oddly formal tone. "Is this what is best for the company asset you speak of? Is this best for the girl?"


"You are kind, gentle and considerate when you can be." The old woman said quietly. "You do not have to be. The psychic wound that was torn in all of us when Lis F-43 was found... it must be healed. The machinery was not at fault, but many fear now. We must ease that fear. She can help. So can you."


"I..." Horatius slumped. "When?"


"When you are ready." The Reverend Mother said with a small, sad smile as she patted his hand again. She rose and moved to the door. An attendant just outside handed her a bundle of clothes that she set on the bed. "We have time."


"There is never enough time." Horatius snarled as he sat up and pulled the bundle to himself. It was a ship suit. His size, no surprise. He pulled it on. "I serve the company. But... if I find out you drugged her or influenced her... I will have words with you." This was a warning that the Reverend Mother took seriously.


"I have not drugged her or influenced her." The old woman said quietly. "She wanted to serve, but could not. Now? She can. But she is scared Horatius. So very scared. She wants to trust. To feel. But she is afraid to. Much like... another we both knew." Horatius went still as tears started falling from the old woman's eyes. She could turn them on and off with a thought, but... she wasn't faking this. He knew she wasn't. Horatius sighed as he sealed the shipsuit's boots.


"I will talk to her."




The room was small, but comfortable. The sole furniture in it, the bed, was firm, but also comfortable to sit on. But Horatius was not comfortable. Had he been played? Was this another of the old canny woman's machinations? She was a past mistress of such. He was...


The soldier jerked to his feet as the door opened and a face he knew stepped in. She looked...scared.


"You?" Horatius said slowly. "It... took?"


"It did." Mercedes J-54 said weakly. She touched her abdomen. "Cloning people is forbidden. Cloning organs? Not so much. I have... two now." She slumped a bit. "I don't feel any different. But... I am."


"You do not have to do this." Horatius said quietly. "That is my first and most important rule. I have never demanded anything of anyone that they do not want to give. I have had to skirt that rule on missions. But I have never broken it."


"I am scared." Mercedes J-54 said quietly. "After seeing what happened to Lis F-43... I really thought she was dead. And then she bounced back... so fast... She was... an inspiration."


"Vina." He asked quietly.


"Vina is ecstatic." Mercedes J-54 said quietly. "She focuses on the facility now. But she..." The woman chuckled a bit sadly. "She is already planning a nursery. She is hoping for a girl. Me? I don't know."


"I cannot give you a child, Mercedes J-54." Horatius slumped a bit. "Too many years exposed to radiation. Too many injuries."


"So I was told." Mercedes said softly. "Sister Harriet was... quite blunt about it. And..." She smiled a bit forlornly. Horatius chuckled a bit darkly.


"Yeah. I know her. Harriet can be a bit profane." Horatius said as he reached out to touch Mercedes J-54's hand. It trembled, but she did not retreat. Brave girl. "I won't hurt you. You serve the company but this... this is a big step."


"I... I know it will hurt..." Mercedes babbled a little and then clenched her mouth shut as Horatius stroked her arm gently.


"It doesn't have to." Horatius smiled gently. "But I need to know it is your choice. No one else's."


"I serve the Corpus." Mercedes said softly as her hands went to her shoulders and her gown fell away. "I serve the Clergy." Horatius went still and she smiled. "But I want this." Horatius matched her smile with one of his own.




Edited by Kalenath
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Awww.  That's actually rather sweet, Kal.  Looking forward to next chapter.


My only question is: is the plan over yet?


Not even close. Remember what Lis told Horatius about Bek and his mad plan to open the tower again? He doesn't remember that.


OTHERS do. And... now the BOARD knows about Lis' organs being in Mercedes J-54. But they better be VERY careful.


Hell hath no fury like a ****ed of Special Forces operative who works for the Clergy.

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Not even close. Remember what Lis told Horatius about Bek and his mad plan to open the tower again? He doesn't remember that.


OTHERS do. And... now the BOARD knows about Lis' organs being in Mercedes J-54. But they better be VERY careful.


Hell hath no fury like a ****ed of Special Forces operative who works for the Clergy.


How very, very true.  Bets on Horatius turning some poor sap an object lesson for the Board at an unspecified point in the very near future?


Also Kal, just because I can, let me see if I can list all the pairings/necessary romances in your stories so far.


Alicia x Will

Karl x Serene

Nikis x Janet

Aeron x Jak

Ric x Cecelia

Jasmina x Dust

Two x Amelia

Horatius x Mercedes J-54


Briefly implied:  Nadia Sudek x Hayden Tenno


I'm pretty sure I missed a few...

Edited by Temperance000
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How very, very true.  Bets on Horatius turning some poor sap an object lesson for the Board at an unspecified point in the very near future?


Also Kal, just because I can, let me see if I can list all the pairings/necessary romances in your stories so far.


Alicia x Will

Karl x Serene

Nikis x Janet

Aeron x Jak

Ric x Cecelia

Jasmina x Dust

Two x Amelia

Horatius x Mercedes J-54


Briefly implied:  Nadia Sudek x Hayden Tenno


I'm pretty sure I missed a few...


Volt x Saryn from the First (but that was only mentioned in passing)

Lis loves Karl, but the love will not be returned. She knows it.

Miguel has his family, even if they are virtual shades


Oh, and Eliza x Michael but that ended... poorly.


As for Horatius 'educating' the Board with someone? No comment.

Edited by Kalenath
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That was a very special case of crash and burn...*shudder*


You know it's time to bail when the Grandmaster of the Dead (Crowley, not Nikis) shows up to sort things out with your boyfriend.  Now, if NIKIS had shown up in his place...well, their smallest problem would have been scrubbing the stain out of the throne room floor.

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That was a very special case of crash and burn...*shudder*


You know it's time to bail when the Grandmaster of the Dead (Crowley, not Nikis) shows up to sort things out with your boyfriend.  Now, if NIKIS had shown up in his place...well, their smallest problem would have been scrubbing the stain out of the throne room floor.


Nikis was busy pouting.




DO NOT tell him I said that!

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