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[Fanfiction] Innocents


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Jesselle

 

She was committed. She knew she did not have a lot of time. But the notice that had come forced her hand. She held the tiny bag she was taking with her in her hand as she hid in shadows. The elevator to the convent was coming back up. She did not move as the door opened and...

 

"And you believe her?" The Reverend Mother said softly to her companion.

 

"She has not said all of what drove her here." The historian who had come to see the Convent said quietly as the Reverend Mother escorted him towards the landing bays. "But her fear when you tried to mindscan her was quite clear. She was terrified. With cause from what she said."

 

"And it is not something we can test." The Reverend Mother said with a sigh as she guided their guest. "If what she says is true, then anyone who tries to mindscan her will get the hunger."

 

"I fear so." The historian replied. "It... She seems a good sort."

 

"Key word there, 'Seems', Nicholas I-5..." The Reverend Mother's voice faded and Jesselle was in the elevator as quickly as she could. She did not know how many Clergy were in the Convent, but it wasn't likely to be many. If she could just get to the main room... She could act. Behind her, she heard a shout. "What the-? Jessele?" But the girl had hit the controls and the elevator started down. It was an old model. It had no overrides built in. She had a few minutes before it would reach the bottom to convince...

 

Jesselle! Her father's mind thundered into hers. What are you doing?

 

Dad... Jesselle swallowed hard. She had hoped to be gone before they realized. Silly that. I have to do this.

 

Do what? Zacharias demanded. You are not allowed in the Convent, girl. You are only sixteen!

 

I know. Jesselle tried to keep her mind still as she had been taught, but her father knew her so very well.

 

Jesselle... Her father's voice was suddenly worried. What?

 

Look on the bed. Jesselle said softly, aware that her father's mind was not the only one following her. It... came this morning.

 

What did, Jesselle? This from the Reverend Mother whose mental voice was taught with sudden concern.

 

The... Reproduction Control Department know about me and Jay, Reverend Mother. A mental hush followed her soft words. I have to go.

 

Jesselle! Zacharias snapped. We would never... That department controlled the number of chidlren allowed to each family unit within the Corpus.

 

I know, Dad. Jesselle was crying softly now. But it would cost you. Everyone. I... can't stay.

 

Jesselle, listen to me... The Reverend Mother said firmly. The 'One Child' rule is not inviolate. Your father and mother filled out all the forms, went through all the tests. They knew the chances of both returning from that mission were slim. Everything was legal and witnessed. The Department cannot order you euthanized.

 

If they tried, the word 'S#&$storm' pretty much applied even without Janet now being Oracle. Add who Janet was now in love with and all hell would break loose. The Clergy, the Special Forces, lots of people knew and liked Jesselle. And her mom.

 

They haven't. Everything stilled as Jesselle's soft words. Read it, Dad. I... left a note too.

 

Oh god no...  Zacharias was crying now. He had found them. Jesselle, we would never let them do it! You are underage!

 

And how much will it cost the Clergy, Dad? Jesselle asked reasonably. It won't... kill me.

 

Jesselle...  The Reverend Mother was furious now But not with Jesselle. This is either a mistake, a bureaucratic error or an attack on us. We can fix this.

 

I am ordered to report today, Reverend Mother. I am going. She palmed the tiny device she had purloined from the medical ward and injected herself quickly. Just in time. A pulse of...something slammed into her mind, but it did not take control of her. I just gave myself six milliunits of Blocker 9. She said as the Reverend Mother started cursing. I will do penance for stealing from the medical ward and for damaging the elevator. I will block it temporarily.

 

Jesselle... Her father begged Do not do this!

 

I love you dad. Jesselle said sadly. But I have to. They can lay sanctions on the Clergy if they are given the chance. You know it. I know it.

 

They will not be gentle, Jesselle! The Reverend Mother said sternly. You know it!

 

Let me talk to her. Jesselle... This voice had Jesselle quailing. She had always been a bit afraid of Sister Harriet. You are brave, but there is no need. The woman said, her tone emotionless. This is a mistake. Your date of birth is wrong. The computer was wrong. This missive was not intended for you or there is a clerical error here.

 

Then who? Jesselle begged. I know what will happen.

 

No you do not, Jesselle. Harriet replied softly. You cannot. It is not something that can be taught or learned. If you do this, you will change. Irrevocably. You are too young still. Your body has not finished growing. Jesselle... Was that sorrow in the iron clad woman's mind now? Please...

 

And if I do not go? Jesselle asked softly. What then?

 

Silence answered her. The drug had finally kicked in completely and she relaxed. But only for a moment. The elevator was slowing. She had no idea how many Clergy personnel were in the Convent. She had minutes at best. Maybe only seconds. As the door opened, she slapped a small device to the elevator control panel. It would give her...

 

"Jesselle..." Kieko's voice preceded the older woman into view. "Drugging yourself was dumb."

 

"I have to do this, Sister Kieko." Jesselle said firmly. "I do not want to hurt you. But I will if I have to." Kieko went still as Jesselle hefted a small fabric object.

 

"What is in the socks?" Keiko asked softly as she set herself, blocking the way.

 

"An inert contact stunner." Jesselle said quietly as she moved into an offensive stance. "Any live devices are picked up quickly. But it isn't powered. Just mass. I do not want to hurt you, Sister Kieko. Please..."

 

"I cannot let you go, girl." Kieko said firmly. "You do not know what they will do to you."

 

"They will put me in an automated reproduction machine." Jesselle said quietly, sliding to her left. Keiko moved to match her. "It will hurt."

 

"If you are lucky, all it will do is hurt." Kieko said with a snap. "I have been in one, before I came here." Her face turned desolate and Jesselle slumped a bit. Kieko tried so hard to be upbeat. But she had lost so much when the Grineer had attacked. She had managed to get to a survival pod when the ship her family had been on came under attack from Grineer. The rest of her extended family hadn't been so lucky. "Jesselle, if they are expecting an eighteen year old, then the machine they have is set for an eighteen year old. You are too small. It will hurt you very badly." She froze as Jesselle felt tears start to fall. "Jesselle?"

 

"I know." Jesselle said softly. "But you... will correct the mistake. Quickly I assume. If I do not go, they can and will level sanctions. If I do... they will run tests. Then prep. Then I go in."

 

"No." Kieko said softly. "Only here." Jesselle stiffened and Kieko nodded. "Elsewhere, the machines do it all. Maybe a flesh and blood clerk, but no more than that. If the machines are programmed correctly... everything is fine. Or as fine as can be. If things are...awry?" She shook her head and set herself. "You are right, you will not die. But you will suffer. We will not allow it."

 

"Sister..." Jesselle gave a squeak as Kieko moved. She wasn't perfect, far from it, but Jesselle had bare moments to dodge and counter the grab. But Keiko hadn't been going for a grab. Or... not a grab on her! Jesselle tried to hold onto the socks she had made into an improvised club and failed. Kieko tore it from her hands and tossed the weapon far away. Then she stalked towards the girl. Jesselle tried a punch and it was blocked, but... Her arm went numb.

 

"We won't allow it." Keiko grabbed Jesselle's arm. Jesselle stared at it and Keiko smiled a bit sadly. "Nerve cluster. No damage. But you won't be able to use it for a bit. I do not want to fight, Jesselle. But I did learn self defense."

 

"Please, Sister Keiko." Jesselle begged. "I have to go."

 

"No, Jesselle." Keiko said firmly as she took Jesselle's other arm in a tight grip. "You have to listen..." She froze as Jesselle twisted her hand just a little. Just enough. "You... sneaky..." She collapsed and Jesselle caught her awkwardly, pulling the drug patch off as she did. She didn't know Keiko's mass or tolerances for sedatives.

 

"You did not just do that." An incredulous voice sounded from a hidden speaker as Jesselle laid Keiko down gently  and laid her out straight.

 

"Mom... was always a planner." Jesselle said softly. "Can you scan her? I didn't want to hurt her."

 

"Her vitals are strong." The other reassured her. "Do you have any idea the mess this is going to make?" This had to be Katerina even though Jesselle had never heard her voice. She sounded old and kind, but more than a little aggravated at the moment. Jesselle understood.

 

"Yes." Jesselle said softly. "Which is why I ask your help."

 

"My help?" The other demanded. "What can I do? I am stuck in the power systems until and unless the Reverend Mother lets me loose again."

 

"I have to go to the reproduction facility on Venus, Sister Katerina." Jesselle said softly. "Nothing says I have to arrive there."

 

"Jesselle..." Katerina said softly. "I cannot reprogram the portal. I cannot. Even if it were..." She stopped as Jesselle stepped towards a wall with a small device in hand. "Oh you idiot girl!" The other snapped. "Where did you get that?" She demanded as Jesselle laid the mostly inactive Orokin key against the wall.

 

"Mom was a planner." Jesselle said sadly. "She had all kinds of stuff hidden. I knew where."

 

"Jesselle..." Katerina was crying now. "Do not do this. You have no idea what you are doing! If you use that... You are not protected!" The woman cried.

 

"I know." Jesselle said weakly. "But it can be tracked. I... know where it is going. No one else does. I am supposed to go to Venus. The records will show I tried. They... cannot levy sanctions if I tried to obey."

 

"Jesselle!" Katerina screamed as golden energy started to flare. "Don't you dare! Your mom will go nuts!"

 

"I know." Jesselle said weakly. "Tell her... tell her I am sorry. Tell my parents I love them. But I have to do my duty. To Company and Clergy." The elevator behind her chimed and closed, returning to the surface.

 

"Jesselle!" Katerina screamed louder, but the energy swirled around the girl and she was gone. "No..." The other was crying now. "No, no, no, no, no..." She was still crying when the elevator came back down with the Reverend Mother and three very irate sisters surrounding a distraught man. "I couldn't stop her..." Katerina pleaded.

 

"Not your fault." The Reverend Mother said softly. "Track it." She commanded and the sisters leapt to obey. "We will find her Zacharias. Come with me." Zacharias just stared at where the portal was hidden in the wall, his face slack. "Zacharias, come..." She took his arm gently and guided him into smaller room. "This is not how I wanted to do this, but... Janet will need you. Bad."

 

"She... She just..." Zacharias swallowed hard and then he was crying. "She just..."

 

"I know." The Reverend Mother eased him to the floor and sat beside him, taking her hands in her own. "Come, Brother Zacharias. We need to talk to Oracle."

 

Titan, Enclave of the Oracles of Saturn

 

"What the?" Natalie E-12 started out of a doze as Oracle started to scream. "Oracle? What?"

 

She hit an emergency alarm and a quiet klaxon started warbling. All fo the attendants on duty rushed in and the ones who were on downtime woke and assumed their stations. But... nothing. Just Oracle... screaming.

 

"What is going on?" Francis F-87 demanded as she raced into the main room, her med gear in hand. "Oracle? What is wrong?" She went to her knees beside the pool Oracle was in and then blanched. "No! Don't try to move! Oracle! Don't!"

 

"Have... to..." Oracle gasped out between cries of pain. "I... Jesselle... I need..."

 

"No." Francis F-87 said sternly as she touched the sorely hurt woman's neck with a hypo. "Sleep, Oracle."

 

"You do not understand!" Oracle screamed one final time, then lay still.

 

"What the hell?" Francis F-87 asked as she worked. "Natalie E-12? What happened?"

 

"I don't know." The younger attendant was petrified. "She just started screaming." Then she stiffened. "Wait... Jesselle..." Her eyes went huge and all of the woman shared the same stunned look. "Her daughter... Call the others?"

 

"Yeah." Francis F-87 said sourly. "She has hurt herself. I... I don't know how bad."

 

We come. The voices were everywhere, but the women were used to such by now. Even the sudden eruption of water from the pool Janet lay in was not unexpected. But what came out of it...

 

"She needs urgent care." Caroline said as she moved away from the pool. Her four legs gave her a steady gait, if slow. Stood to reason, she was a turtle. Albeit one with a human mind dwelling inside it. Another form eased itself partly out of the pool, but the massive cetacean couldn't get all the way out. He didn't need to. He began treating Janet in the water. "We caught part of what she sensed. Her daughter screaming in pain and then suddenly silent."

 

"Not dead." Natalie E-12 begged.

 

"We do not know." Caroline said softly. "She is the most powerful of us. She sees further and clearer than we do. We do know it is a possible future. A very bad one. If Jesselle dies... Janet... Nikis..." She made a gulping noise and all of Oracles attendants looked worried. "It won't be good. We are focusing now, trying to refine what we sensed from her."

 

"What can we do, Oracle Caroline?" Juliet V-54 asked softly. "The Clergy as well stands ready. We... are very upset. This..." She shook her head. "Jesselle ran away. She took a portal that so far no one has been able to trace."

 

"Why would she do that?" Caroline demanded. "She is safe until her eighteenth birthday, yes?" All the women nodded. "So... why...?"

 

"The Reverend Mother is trying to contact Oracle Janet..." Juliet V-54 said softly. "She cannot. She is querying me. I... I cannot..."

 

"Tell her." Caroline said firmly. Juliet V-54 swallowed and nodded. "I am going to kick some butts into gear." She paused as Juliet raised a hand. "Yes?"

 

"Jesselle ran because she was ordered to report to a reproduction facility." Juliet V-54 said softly. All of the quiet activity in the room stopped as everyone stared at her. She was pale. "That... makes no sense. She is only sixteen. She is not finished growing. It would hurt or kill her."

 

"The Clergy would have protected her." Francis F-87 said weakly.

 

"And probably faced sanctions for doing so." Juliet agreed. "None of us would have minded. She is a good kid. But...she didn't want us to suffer for her. So... she ran. Somewhere. She used a defunct key to activate an Orokin portal built into the walls of the Convent. They are having no luck tracking it."

 

"Aw crap." Caroline said with feeling. "Okay, med techs, help Jean. Everyone else, start collating the data again. New search parameters. Find Jesselle."

 

"Yes Ma'am." All of the others bent to their terminals. Francis F-87 knelt down by Janet's still form and spoke to the squid treating her.

 

"She was trying to get out of the pool." Francis F-87 said softly. "She hurt her spine."

 

I know. The voice of the Oracle who was the dedicated medic of sorts was soft and worried in her mind. For now, all we can do is immobilize and treat the swelling. We shall see what damage was done when she wakes.

 

"I... I tried..." Francis F-87 said weakly, only to pause as a small tentacle touched her hand. It was.. gentle.

 

Not your fault. The ancient cetacean replied. Now, let us tend her together.

 

"Right."

 

Venus

 

"Ma'am... I don't know what..." The functionary cut himself off as the Special Forces soldier behind the Reverend Mother raised his Tetra rifle and took aim. "I don't know what you mean! No orders came through here for a girl by that name!"

 

"Then what is this?" The Reverend Mother laid a datapad on the man's desk and he stared at it as if it were venomous. "It looks like an order to report, no?" She shook her head. "And it utterly ignores the points that one, the girl is underage and two, she is exempt until her brother is of age due to her brother needing care."

 

Unless she was very much mistaken, this man had no idea what she was talking about. Which was bad. Very bad. If this was a trap or a trick... They still had no idea where Jesselle was. If the girl had come here, then she might be hurt, but would be recoverable easily. If she wasn't...

 

"You and I are going to physically verify that she is not here, Administrator Gorl U-43." The Reverend Mother said firmly. "If I find you have lied to me..." She trailed off menacingly and the man looked as if he wanted to soil his pants.

 

"That is... your right." The administrator said softly. "In the case of a mistake or a clerical error, the Clergy has the authority. But Ma'am..." He said softly. "She would have come through here. I have been on shift for five hours. I have not seen her. She would have come in the same portal you did. She didn't."

 

"I need to check anyway." The Reverend Mother said with a sigh. "But you are probably right. Heaven only knows where she wound up."

 

"But if we don't find her, hell will find us."

Edited by Kalenath
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Jesselle and her actions kinda came out of left field for me.

 

She did what she thought was right. She did not WANT to be hurt or killed, but she could NOT let her family -The Clergy- suffer for her. That is the DOWNSIDE to being taught to be selfless.

 

Things... will not go as she planned.

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She did what she thought was right. She did not WANT to be hurt or killed, but she could NOT let her family -The Clergy- suffer for her. That is the DOWNSIDE to being taught to be selfless.

 

Things... will not go as she planned.

I get that. This story just started very fast, if you know what i mean.

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Things... will not go as she planned.

Well we all knew that. my question is how many bullet holes in my ship are gonna need filling with body-filler this time seems like every-time Karl and his friends get involved I end up getting my butt shot off acting as the distraction for the distraction

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Well we all knew that. my question is how many bullet holes in my ship are gonna need filling with body-filler this time seems like every-time Karl and his friends get involved I end up getting my butt shot off acting as the distraction for the distraction

Only bullet holes? You're lucky.

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She did what she thought was right. She did not WANT to be hurt or killed, but she could NOT let her family -The Clergy- suffer for her. That is the DOWNSIDE to being taught to be selfless.

 

Things... will not go as she planned.

 

Further cements my notion that well-meaning kids are the most irrational, idiotic, and infuriating things in existence.

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Further cements my notion that well-meaning kids are the most irrational, idiotic, and infuriating things in existence.

 

You will get NO argument from me on THAT. I have three sisters. Two are that way. The other more than makes up for it in being a self centered egotistical brat despite our parents best efforts.

 

Jesselle did mean well. But she... was not that well informed about some things.

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Further cements my notion that well-meaning kids are the most irrational, idiotic, and infuriating things in existence.

They're specially annoying when they're also stubborn, as in they won't stop doing idiotic stuff even if you say "no" about 1000 times.

 

And trust me i know what i'm talking about, i live in the country of the most stubborn people after all.

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Because he's a troll.  Ignore him.

 

Obviously, he missed the fact that the REASON that Nicholas' renegades hurt Karen so often and so badly was because she CANNOT have kids. They wanted her to breed for them and she couldn't.  The body her mind was shoved into was sterile.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Turbulence

 

Down was up. Up was down. Her eyes hurt. Burned actually. She forced them shut. She could hear someone screaming, but she could not tell who it was. Jesselle was whirling through things, unable to see, unable to speak. She could feel. But she could not. She tried to focus her mind as she had been taught and...

 

"Whoa!" A startled male voice sounded from close at hand. "What the hell?" Something grabbed her and held her tight as she was whirled again. The world... stabilized. "A new player?"

 

Jesselle tried to reply, but... she couldn't. She tried to open her eyes, but she couldn't. She tried to...

 

"No." Another voice said sharply. Female, annoyed. "Not a player. How the hell?"

 

"I do not know." The male said quietly. "Girl, girl..." The hands holding her moved a bit, easing her. "Can you hear me?" Jesselle tried to respond and could not. "Oh dear. She is hurt."

 

"So?" The other demanded. "We were playing."

 

"We need to report this." The male voice said sternly. "Anything new or unusual needs to be reported. You know the rules."

 

"We were playing. I had you!" The woman snapped.

 

"Did you?" The other asked dryly. "Did you see the rook at queen's level four?" The other gasped and then snarled. Jesselle quailed a bit and the hands that held her were gentle. "Easy, girl. Let's get you some help. Defer game until later or do you yield?" The tone was vicious now.

 

"Later." The woman snapped. A rustle sounded and the man sighed.

 

"All this time and she falls for a level one trick. Silly woman." The male said sourly. "Not even worth the effort." He sighed and Jesselle felt herself hefted into someone's arms. She struggled feebly. "Easy, girl..." The man crooned. "I need a Guardian." His tone was oddly formal now. "I have an oddity." Something went whoosh nearby. "Thank you for the quick response, Guardian. We have a problem."

 

"So I see." Another male voice replied, his own voice neutral. "What happened?"

 

"I was playing four dimensional chess with Gana90876523 when she appeared in the middle of the board." The male said as a hand touched Jesselle's forehead. It felt... like metal. "She seems feverish and she cannot seem to speak. I doubt she can see either."

 

"This is... familiar." The other male said softly. "Oh no..."

 

"Guardian?" The first voice asked as Jesselle felt him tense. "What is wrong?"

 

"She is in Void shock." The one called 'Guardian' said softly. The first voice hissed and the other sighed. "Yes. Not something we have seen for some time. She is human." His voice was speculative. "She cannot remain here. The longer she is here, the worse it will get for her. The energies... react badly to corporeal forms.."

 

"What... What can we do?" The first voice pleaded. "Not all of us are self centered fools, Guardian. And how did she get here? The Void is lethal to unprotected humans. Let alone the database..."

 

"If she is lucky it will kill her." The other said in a dark tone. Then he sighed. "Very few of you are self centered fools, statistically." The Guardian replied. "But those few..." He took a deep breath. "Trinity is coming. She can help. Word of advice..." He warned. "She is rather annoyed."

 

"Can't really blame her." The other said quietly. "What do I do?"

 

"Give her to me." A crisp female voice sounded and Jesselle felt movement. Then she was on -or in- something warm. "Girl..." The voice was maternal, kind and gentle as something washed over her. "Girl? Can you hear me?" Jesselle forced her head into a nod but pain flared and the woman made a noise of worry. "Easy... You can hear, but not speak or see. We have to get you out of here. Now. The shock is getting worse."

 

"Where can we send her?" The second male voice asked, concern in his voice. "There are not many access points left on the other side where we can send a corporeal being through."

 

"I do not want to know!" The first voice declared. "I hope you can help her, Guardians." A whoosh sounded.

 

"Not a bad sort, for an Orokin." The woman said quietly as something rubbed Jesselle's arm gently.

 

"Trinity..." The other warned.

 

"She won't remember this." The one called Trinity said firmly. "Or it will all be fever dreams. Incoherent. But we need to send her now. She is already in stage two. If she gets to stage four... she will Change."

 

"How many?" The other asked. "I will send out a call for others."

 

"Four I think..." The one called Trinity said and then her voice firmed. "Four plus us will work. I have a location. At last report it was habitable."

 

"That is not saying much Trinity. The other complained. "Ah..." He had a smile in his voice now. "Brothers, Sister. We have an unintended guest who needs to go back before irreversible changes occur. Will you aid?"

 

"What kind of a question is that?" A sour male voice demanded. "She obviously cannot stay here. We have our hands full as  it is."

 

"Agreed." The one called Trinity replied and then Jesselle was falling again.

 

***

 

"She was here?" Nikis demanded as he stared around the unending golden landscape that comprised the Orokin database.

 

All around him, golden shades of Tenno stood wary. He wasn't in a good mood. And when the ancient gunfighter Tenno Guardian of the Dead was not in a good mood, no one was. Add to that, the Tenno who were closest to him had known him the longest. The First Tenno stood with his first apprentices, of which Nikis had been one. Trinity stood just in front of the Nekros, her posture abject.

 

"Yeah." Trinity shook her head. "We couldn't keep her here, Nikis. She was a mess. If she had stayed..."

 

"She would have been Changed by the energy." Nikis said sourly. "Dang that girl. Her mom is already upset. Where did you send her?" None of the Tenno shades would meet his gaze and he went still. "Oh no... You didn't..."

 

"Nikis... it was all I could think of." Trinity said softly. "Most of the old ways are shut from here. She was... She was going into stage three." She pleaded. "What was I supposed to do?"

 

"I am not mad at you, Trinity." Nikis said with a sigh as he reached out and patted her arm. Here, he could touch the normally insubstantial shades. "I am mad at the girl and whoever the hell set her on this path." He retracted his hand and shook his head. "You did as you ought. The living have no place here. The Balance must be maintained."

 

"We maintain the Balance." The words were soft from each warframe, but there were so many shades it sounded like thunder across the golden plain. And this was only one of many, many such plains that comprised the database.

 

"That we do." Nikis said softly. "The other Guardians of the Dead are apprised of that hole. It will be sealed." He shook his head slowly. "Trinity? How bad?"

 

"Loss of motor control." The eldest Tenno who wore a Trinity warframe said quietly. "She couldn't see or speak. But she could hear. She wasn't Changed, Nikis."

 

"We will need to check her thoroughly." Nikis said heavily. "She will not enjoy that. But... not there."

 

"Nikis..." Trinity protested, but then she sighed. "No, we cannot trust them, can we?"

 

"The new Reverend Mother has allied herself and her followers with the Lotus." Nikis said quietly. "But for all we know, they could have altered her. Somehow we cannot detect. That is what the Sentients did." He bowed his head. "We ward. We watch. We wait. We remember."

 

"We remember." The chorus was softer this time. Sadder.

 

"Only time will tell if the Clergy can be trusted or not." Nikis said when the echoes had faded. "Now I better get to Avalon before Eliza has a stroke." The others looked at him and he shrugged. "No, I didn't let them lock me out."

 

"Anywhere else I could have sent her, Nikis..." Trinity said heavily. "...it would have been worse. At least they won't kill her out of hand."

 

"No." Nikis agreed. "But then again... They may not let her leave."

 

"But she will be alive." Trinity said with a nod that Nikis shared. "Stay safe, you crazy man." She reached out and embraced him. After a moment, he returned it. "You worried us."

 

"Worried myself." Nikis admitted and then he struggled loose from the Trinity. "Let go! You are ruining my macho image."

 

"Right." Trinity said with a snort. "You silly man. You okay?"

 

"Closer than I have been for a long time." Nikis said with a nod. "We shall see how this goes. Janet... hurt herself. We are not sure how bad." He said  as the Tenno surrounding him went still. "The girl is her biological daughter. I need to make sure she is okay, then I get back to Janet."

 

"If we can do anything without upsetting the Balance..." Trinity said formally as others around them nodded. "Let us know."

 

"I will."

 

Avalon

 

It was difficult to say who was more upset. The Royal Guard were all icy polite but all knew better than to anger Nikis. Eliza was furious. But she too knew better than to anger Nikis. Princess Michelle now...

 

"And they sent the girl here?" Michelle demanded as she stood with her mother. They both were staring at a monitor which showed Jesselle being tended by medics. "Here of all places?"

 

"Princess Michelle..." Nikis said with exaggerated patience. "Where else could they have sent her? They didn't know who she was, just that she was a kid who was exposed to Void energy and suffering from it. The database is not a safe place for corporeal forms even when they are not hurt by such. She was minutes away from being changed permanently by the energy, Princess. Trinity had to make the call and she made the right one. The living have no place there."

 

"How the hell did she get in there?" Eliza snapped, her eyes on the screen. "I thought it was all virtual."

 

"It is." Nikis said with a shrug. "But there is a physical component. She managed to travel to it somehow. Her key... is really messed up. I am surprised she came out the other side." Michelle went still and Eliza swallowed hard, her ire forgotten. "That does leave us with a problem however."

 

"She is Clergy. Linked to them. She cannot stay here." Eliza said quietly. "You know it. Jenni is a special case and is healing. This one? No."

 

Jenni was standing as a mother to a little Tenno boy named Rocky. She was also talking to Sara Priosa and the two seemed to be bonding a bit. Sara was relaxing. Which was a good thing. But no one knew when Jenni's mental connection to the Clergy would reassert itself. It would, everyone knew that. But until it did, Jenni was recovering and they were easing her gradually back into life. She was no longer an agent of the Clergy.

 

Jesselle...was an agent of the Clergy, even as young as she was. There was no way she could stay here in the hidden retreat of the Orokin. Sure, the Clergy knew of Avalon. Jenni's interrogation had shown that the former Reverend Mother had known about the hideaway for some time. The new Reverend Mother of course had lived there for a time. But there was a difference between knowing about something and having an agent inside. Jenni was watched twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. If they added Jesselle into that... It would get bad. Both for her and for everyone else. So...

 

"I know." Nikis agreed. "The Oracles have offered her sanctuary. They have their reasons, not the least of which because she is Janet's daughter. They can keep her secure and let her heal. But..." He raised a hand in warning. "As exposed as she was... another portal may kill her." He shook his head. "From what Trinity said... She was really exposed."

 

"Kill her or change her." Eliza made a face. "Either way... Janet would not react well. How... bad...?" Nikis slowly shook his head and Eliza paled. "Nikis?"

 

"We don't know." The Nekros said softly. "She was floating in a burn tank and tried to get out of it. She hurt her spine. They are not sure how much damage was done, but there was some. They are keeping her asleep until they can figure it out."

 

"And to get Jesselle here, they used the backdoor into the portal nexus that you used to get here the first time." Eliza said with a frown. Nikis did not respond and the Empress sighed. "Nikis... we cannot have unsecured access ways."

 

"It is secured." Nikis said softly.

 

"Doesn't seem that way." Eliza said sharply. He ignored her. "Nikis..." She pleaded.

 

"It is secured." Nikis repeated. "No one else can access it. The way Jesselle used to get into the database is being plugged as we speak."

 

"And you will not let us block it... because...?" Eliza said slowly. He did not respond and she sighed. "Stubborn Tenno."

 

"As soon as we are sure she is okay, I will take her to Iriana's hospital." Nikis said quietly, ignoring the Empress' question. "I can shield her from the energy for a short hop."

 

"And let her wake up there." Eliza nodded slowly. "Surrounded by humans tending her. Not Orokin or Tenno. Give her time to heal. To recuperate."

 

"The energy hurt her." Nikis nodded. "Quite badly. She will need help and rehabilitation. The Corpus and Grineer know about the hospital already so no secret there."

 

"Not that they can do anything about it." Eliza said with a smirk. Nikis grunted in agreement.

 

Healer Iriana had set up a new hospital to replace the one that had been destroyed to prevent it's subversion by one of the most ancient of Tenno enemies. The fact that it was in an Orokin tower was a godsend in many ways. It allowed for instantaneous transportation of critical cases to the emergency department of said hospital. The staff of the Orokin tower had been more than a bit bemused by the sudden influx of humans, but they had managed and now? The place hummed with efficiency and activity for the first time in millennia.

 

The Grineer wanted the hospital destroyed. Any ray of hope dimmed their own dominance and that was something that the clones could not allow. But they could not find said hospital. They hadn't had any luck when it had been buried in a cave on Mercury and they even less now with the hospital secreted in one of the few operational and fully functional Orokin towers that remained.

 

In a way, what the Corpus wanted was worse. They did not want the hospital destroyed. They wanted it to be theirs. They had painstakingly reverse engineered much Orokin technology. Just the promise of untouched Orokin tech had sent countless Corpus teams to their deaths in the Void. Or worse. It was well known that many Corrupted in defunct Orokin towers had been Corpus once. If they found out where it was... they would send mechs and troops to try and take the technology for themselves. If that happened? It would be a bloodbath when the Tenno responded. For respond they would. Iriana was Tenno, if not a Warrior.

 

The staff knew where the hospital was, but all were fanatically loyal to Healer Iriana. All had demanded anti-interrogation protocols be inserted into their minds in case of capture. Said protocols would kill them before they could divulge the location of the facility. Iriana had balked at that, but the staff had gone around her and asked the Tower to do it. It had. The less said about Iriana's response when she had found out about that the better. The normally mild mannered Healer had thrown things.

 

"Healer has a temper." Nikis said with a shrug and Eliza nodded. "Sooner I get Jesselle there, the sooner Iriana can start fussing over her. She cannot stay there either, but she can heal. She needs it."

 

"It was.. a hell of a shock, Nikis." Eliza said with a sigh. "She appeared in the throne room. There are already people demanded that we destroy that portal."

 

Avalon had hidden away from the Solar System for a long time. To have that sense of security shattered... even by a sorely hurt sixteen year old girl...

 

"I know." Nikis said sourly. "Scared people do dumb things. Good thing the guards there were well trained." The Royal Guard had adapted a bit. With the first Orokin Marines in millennia being processed through their training, there were ceremonial guards now in places, not just Tenno Royal Guards.

 

"I don't know how I would have reacted if the court had been in session." Eliza sighed. "I like to think I would have been careful, reasoned. But I am just as susceptible to fear as anyone." Nikis shrugged. "Nikis..." She tried again. "If the Sentients can access that path..."

 

"They can't." Nikis said quietly. "There is simply no way. If they try, the database goes boom." Eliza and Michelle both went white at that and Nikis nodded. "Secure enough?" He asked snidely. Eliza nodded.

 

Considering that the Orokin database held so many energy forms of dead Orokin and Tenno that said 'boom' would equal a supernova... yes. It was secure. If everyone died, what did the Sentients gain?

 

"I will stay with her for a while." Nikis said heavily. "She is going to need help. Iriana and her people will do what they can, which is a lot. But she isn't privy to all of it."

 

"No." Eliza agreed softly. "And a good thing."

 

"Yes." Nikis sounded sad for a moment. "It...wasn't supposed to be this way, you know? It wasn't. But it is and we have to deal with it."

 

"All we can do." Michelle said with a sigh of her own. "Nikis... Will she be okay?"

 

"Frankly?" Nikis said with a grunt. "I don't know. As far as I know, this has never happened. She physically stepped over the line. Not by choice, but she did. How can one be prepared for such a thing? To straddle life and death?"

 

"You do." Eliza said softly.

 

"I am Tenno." Nikis said quietly. "And I wasn't ready either. Jesselle went to what is, to all intents and purposes a technological afterlife and came back."

 

"She is gonna have problems."

 

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*clap*  *clap*  *clap*

 

Way to go, idiot girl.  

 

Why is almost no one in this universe afflicted with even a semblance of intelligence?

 

Common sense versus the need to help her family and friends. Intelligence need not apply.

 

She wanted to help her family. She thought she had it figured out. She didn't have all the information and NO ONE had a clue what was going to happen. No one.

 

Jesselle is very smart, actually. Very smart, very compassionate, very well educated and very loyal to her family and friends. All that said? Yes. She often shows the common sense of a houseplant, which MANY people will comment on. She is SIXTEEN, she is allowed stupidity on occasion, but SHEESH.

 

Thing is... she actually did the right thing for the right reason. What and why?

 

Wait for it.

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Common sense versus the need to help her family and friends. Intelligence need not apply.

 

She wanted to help her family. She thought she had it figured out. She didn't have all the information and NO ONE had a clue what was going to happen. No one.

 

Jesselle is very smart, actually. Very smart, very compassionate, very well educated and very loyal to her family and friends. All that said? Yes. She often shows the common sense of a houseplant, which MANY people will comment on. She is SIXTEEN, she is allowed stupidity on occasion, but SHEESH.

 

Thing is... she actually did the right thing for the right reason. What and why?

 

Wait for it.

 

I know you have ways of turning situations like this around, Kal.  That's one of the reasons I enjoy your stories so much.  

 

My complaint is that these situations arise so often.  Very smart people do incredibly stupid things because they can't stop for a second and think everything through and/or refuse to listen to the people trying to explain an alternative.  There is a chronic and vicious aversion to common sense on the part of so many characters, I'm starting to wonder if it isn't some sort of ultra-virulent psychological weapon.

 

But then again, I'm sure real people have done equally moronic things, with much more dire consequences.

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I know you have ways of turning situations like this around, Kal.  That's one of the reasons I enjoy your stories so much.  

 

My complaint is that these situations arise so often.  Very smart people do incredibly stupid things because they can't stop for a second and think everything through and/or refuse to listen to the people trying to explain an alternative.  There is a chronic and vicious aversion to common sense on the part of so many characters, I'm starting to wonder if it isn't some sort of ultra-virulent psychological weapon.

 

But then again, I'm sure real people have done equally moronic things, with much more dire consequences.

 

Actually... In my own experience, smart people tend to get into WORSE messes, BECAUSE they are smart. Stupid people are USUALLY a bit more cautious. Unless emotions run high or alcohol gets involved mind you.

 

Then all bets are off.

 

I WILL throw you all a hint.

 

Jesselle DID have a good reason for doing what she did. Not JUST a bureaucratic error. If it was one... Hint, hint...

Edited by Kalenath
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