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[Fanfiction] Consequences


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Effects

 

Jesse knelt in seiza beside her mother and sighed. Iriana had gone to bed an hour before. Jesse's body did not need the same amount of rest that it had required for much of her life, but that was understandable. She wasn't the same now.

 

She had been born to the name Jesselle to two loving parents. Janet who slept beside her and Zacharias who she might never see again. That hurt. It really did. But her mom had needed her. The injury her mom had inadvertently inflicted on herself had required drastic measures to correct. Jesse's rump still ached where spinal tissue had been removed from the very end of her spine, the vestigial tail that humans and Tenno shared. It wasn't pain so much as an ache now. It wasn't debilitating and...

 

"Ma'am?"

 

The soft voice from the side had Jesse jerking a bit. She had dozed! She stared at her mom, but Janet slept on in her gel filled pool. From the burn dressings that Jesse could see, she was glad her mom slept. She would need rest to heal the horrendous amount of damage she had suffered. Frankly, Jesse was amazed her mom was alive. Then she looked at the speaker. The...girl nodded to her. She wasn't more than fourteen. Maybe less. She wore a white robe just like the one Jesse wore.

 

"Tenno Jesse?" The girl said in a timid voice "I am Natalie E-12."

 

"One of mom's attendants." Jesse kept her tone noncommittal.

 

"Yes." The young woman said softly. She looked... scared. "You need sleep." Jesse just looked at her and the girl frowned. "You are falling asleep where you sit."

 

"I am not leaving her alone." Jesse's tone brooked no argument. "Not after all of this."

 

"I... I understand." Natalie said as she moved a bit closer. "Can I... sit with you? She is nice to me." Jesse shrugged and the girl plopped down right where she was.

 

"That doesn't look comfortable." Jesse said with a scowl.

 

"The floor is heated. I sit here a lot with her." Natalie E-12 said with a sigh. "It has been... rough. Confusing."

 

"I know the feeling." Jesse said gently.

 

"I mean...I like Caroline and the others. They are nice. But..." Natalie E-12 bit her lip. Then she was crying. "This doesn't make any sense to me!" She and Jesse both stilled as Janet spoke.

 

"Natalie... not your fault." Jesse turned but her mom's eyes were closed. The readouts showed she was barely conscious and falling asleep again. "Jesse... They... didn't know..." She sighed and fell asleep again.

 

"I..." Natalie E-12 stammered, but Jesse sighed and held out a hand to her.

 

"Come here." Jesse said with a grunt as she sat properly instead of kneeling. Natalie E-12 sidled to her and gave a squeak as Jesse pulled her into the Tenno's lap. Then the girl was crying again and Jesse was stroking her hair. The pain in her rump was increasing, but Jesse paid it no mind. After several minutes, Natalie E-12 stopped crying.

 

"I am scared." Natalie E-12 said in a monotone where she lay in Jesse's arms. "I thought these people were different. They were nice. Then I wake up and they... they hurt you. They did horrid things to you. They hurt you and..."

 

"They did not hurt me." Jesse stroked the girl's arm gently. Nothing erotic, just calming the waif. "Just the... latest thing hurts. Nothing else."

 

"But they got you killed!" Natalie E-12 protested.

 

"Yeah. But I got better." Jesse said with just the right hint of dry humor to have the girl smile. "Not your fault, or any of the others." Then she gave a half hearted groan. "And I can go without sleep for a while. I need to talk to some people and I am putting it off."

 

"They are angry." Natalie E-12 said as she snuggled closer to Jesse.

 

"Putting it very mildly." Jesse shook her head. "I guess... I better. You have shift now?"

 

"Yes. I am training to be a med tech." Natalie E-12 said with a grimace. "Lots of math. I am no good at math."

 

"Only way is to practice." Jesse said as she shifted a bit. "I can do what I have to here. If you need me, call my name."

 

"That meditation stuff is cool." Natalie E-12 said as she moved off of Jesse's lap to sit by the pool.

 

"Most of the time." Jesse agreed, then she was focusing her mind.

 

***

 

"They did what?" The voice that Jesse heard as she appeared in the virtual world was not one she knew. Female. Old. Powerful. Used to being obeyed.

 

"They saved Janet's life." Nikis was there and sounded...worried. A first for Jesse. "Here she is."

 

Jesse opened her eyes and was not surprised to find the virtual environment packed. Some of the people she knew. Others... not. Trinity and Raven both moved to her and she smiled as she rose and hugged them both.

 

"I am all right." Jesse said firmly as Raven scrutinized her closely. She could feel Olim's scrutiny from across the room. "I am all right." She repeated.

 

"You disappeared." Trinity said with a snarl that was very unlike the kindly ancient Tenno that Jesse knew. "Right out of the dojo."

 

"I didn't even know I was in a dojo." Jesse commented. "Trinity... the Balance..." She pleaded.

 

"It is set." Trinity kept up her scrutiny, careful tendrils of code sweeping over Jesse. Jesse let her scan. Jesse stared at her and Trinity scoffed. "You came in before. That upset the Balance. Us looking for you set it back." Jesse covered her face with a hand and Trinity made a commiserating noise. "Not your fault, girl."

 

"Grand Master Nikis?" Jesse asked, confused. "I... I thought I heard you say..."

 

"I was angry." Nikis said with a grunt. "No surprise there. They didn't tell me what they were planning. Would have stopped them. Don't worry about the Balance. No one is upset about that. This time anyway." He said sourly.

 

"And mom?" Jesse asked him as she released Trinity and Raven, who took a step back.

 

"Jesse... your mom won't ever forget what they did." Nikis might have been discussing the weather for all the emotion he showed. "Forgive? Maybe. Eventually. When she has had time to cool off. Forget? Never. They hurt you. They pushed you into something that got you killed." He wagged a finger at her when she opened her mouth. "If not for their meddling, you wouldn't have gone the way you did. They hurt you. End of story." Jesse bowed her head in acknowledgement.

 

"And you won't tell us where she is." Olim's voice was neutral. Painfully so.

 

"I gave my word." Nikis said flatly. The others looked at Jesse and she slumped a bit. "You didn't, girl." He said mildly.

 

"But if I break your word..." Jesse started weakly only to pause as Nikis laughed. "What?"

 

"Girl... I gave my word." Nikis said with snort. "No one said anything to you about keeping their secrets." She looked at him and he sighed, humor fleeing. "The only one who can answer the questions everyone has is you, Tenno Jesse. If you will."

 

"I..." Jesse swallowed hard. "I don't know... I... They seemed to mean well. Mom is better."

 

"Your mom is madder than hell." Nikis said with a sigh. "With reason. I am gone." Jesse opened her mouth to protest and he shook his head, reaching out to take her hand and squeeze it gently. "You are a good kid. You will do what is right." With that, he vanished.

 

"Jesse?" Raven asked when no one else spoke. "What happened?"

 

"I... tried to contact my mom telepathically." Jesse said into the silence, more than bit unnerved by all of this. "The contact was shifted somehow. I do not know how. But I do know who did it. Mom's... colleagues."

 

"In the name of the First Empress..." This was the strange woman. "Why?" She demanded. "Why would the Oracles of all people force you into a path that would get you killed?"

 

"I don't know." Jesse wasn't afraid, per say. She was worried. All this scrutiny was alien to her. But no one was hostile to her. "They... they said they didn't know all of what would happen. What did happen. But they say that they needed my help."

 

"Not a chance in hell." The woman snapped. "Not a chance after this. Where are you? I will have a portal set up."

 

"Empress..." Raven said softly and Jesse froze in place. "Tenno Jesse, meet Empress Eliza. Ruler of the remnants of Orokin."

 

"Oh..." Jesse swallowed hard and shook herself. "I... Um..." Eliza just sighed.

 

"Not that it is much." Eliza looked like she had eaten a lemon. "But we do take care of our own. And you are one of our allies. Where are you?" She repeated.

 

"I don't know." Jesse admitted. "Underwater somewhere."

 

"Underwater?" The word chorused around the room, but Olim was nodding.

 

"That makes sense." The elder Cyberlancer said with a final nod. "I tried to trace you when you vanished and got a garbled return. Water messes up our code."

 

"That leaves a lot of places to search." Jesse flinched as a huge white form appeared nearby. "I ask apology, Tenno Jesse." The Rhino was familiar. He had shot her while she was a 'guest' of the Grineer queens.

 

"You did what was needed." Jesse replied quickly. "And you didn't aim for my head. So... it is all good."

 

"It is not good until you are home." The Rhino replied. "But thank you for not hating me."

 

"I do not know enough to be sure of my feelings." Jesse admitted. "I am upset."

 

"You have cause." Raven said with a snarl. Jesse nodded.

 

"I am also... confused and distressed." Jesse admitted. All of the others waited for her to continue and she did. "Mom was hurt. She is better now. They needed a tissue sample to replace part of her spine that was damaged beyond repair. They took it from me." Trinity hissed and Jesse nodded. "I have no impairment, just some residual soreness."

 

"I hope you do not mind if I take a closer look." Trinity's tone brooked no argument and Jesse shook her head. The shade stepped close, her hands flaring with power as she ran them over Jesse's body.

 

"Distressed?" Eliza asked after a moment.

 

"They say they need my help." Jesse was certain she sounded unsure. She sure felt that way. "But... frankly, I do not trust them."

 

"If you trusted them after all of this, I would recommend you be sent for psychiatric review." Eliza said sounded like she looked. Not very happy at all. Jesse had to smile at the Empress' tone and she nodded. "So what do they want?"

 

"I do not know." Jesse said with a sigh as Trinity finished her scans and stepped back. "Trinity?"

 

"It is clean and healing well." Trinity sounded about like the Empress looked. "A centimeter of spinal column was taken from the tip of your coccygeal vertebrae. The surgery was well done." She admitted with an air of forcing the compliment out. "Good thing you don't need that tail."

 

"Yeah." Jesse said with a sigh. "The thing is... I saw aquatic adapted humans." Eliza froze at that and most of the Tenno did likewise. Trinity just sighed. "Young ones."

 

"Oh... boy..." Trinity said slowly. "How... young?" She asked.

 

"I couldn't tell." Jesse admitted. "I was inside a pressurized environment and they were outside. A group. I was told the eldest was sixteen and the youngest less than a year but I do not know if I can believe that."

 

"And Iriana?" Eliza asked, her tone at odds with her eyes which were intent.

 

"She was tending mom after the surgery." Jesse said with a nod. "I am going to ask if she can be sent back."

 

"She won't leave without you." Olim stated with an air of reluctance. "Not a chance. Especially if someone took tissue from you without your leave. That kind of thing... gets her upset." Everyone nodded and the visible faces looked worried. The Healer was not easy to irritate, but when it happened... sane people ran.

 

"That isn't the worst." Jesse replied and all eyes were on her again. "I saw a chair set up in one room. It was... remarkably like one that was described to me by a shade named Mari." At that, everyone froze.

 

"Oh S#&$..." Eliza said for everyone. "If they are making a hybrid... an AI hybrid..."

 

"We need to find out why." Jesse agreed. "Until mom wakes, or they send me away... I am going to stay with her. I hope to continue my training virtually."

 

"Oh trust me." Trinity said with a snort. "You won't get out of training that easily."

 

"Good." Jesse said with a nod. "I think I am going to need to know everything I can learn. Soon."

 

"Bet on it."

 

***

"You wanted to see me, Nikis?" The Vauban warframe was not tense, per say. He was wary. Then again... when the Grandmaster of the Dead asked for someone to meet in private... it was rarely for a pleasant chat.

 

The dojo hummed with activity now. The Tenno had been mobilizing. As soon as Iriana and Jesse had vanished, all kinds of people had been summoned and readied. Jasmina had actually shown up. Wary and prickly, but she had answered the call.

 

"Yeah." Nikis sounded disagreeable. Then again, he pretty much defined that most of the time. "I need information that I think you have."

 

"Me?" Ric asked, concerned. "Nikis... you must have me confused with someone else. Some days I do not even remember my own name."

 

"You are better." Nikis shrugged. "Cecelia helps a lot."

 

"Yeah." Ric said with a grin that showed through his closed faceplate. "She is a bit stubborn. What do you need?"

 

"Ser Draco." Ric froze at the Nekros word. "And yes. I know who he is and what he did."

 

"Nikis..." Ric said slowly. "I... can't..." He went still as the Nekros held out a hand and something glittered in it. "I... That..." Ric stared at the ring in the Nekros' hand and then slowly nodded. "I see. But Nikis... he is sleeping. I don't want to wake him."

 

"You won't." Nikis said with a sigh. "I will."

 

"All right, I am just going to say it..." The Vauban was not scared. He was halfway to angry. "Are you out of your bleeding mind? He sleeps for a reason, Nikis! You know what he is."

 

"Yeah I do." Nikis's calm acceptance took the wind out of Ric's sails. "A force of nature at the best of times. But a directed one."

 

"Nikis..." Ric said slowly. "You are asking me to break an oath. I swore I would never let him wake again. He begged me, Nikis. He begged me on his knees!"

 

"I know Ric." Nikis retorted evenly. "I saw it."

 

"You..." Ric froze, staring at the ring and then at Nikis. "You are..." He breathed.

 

"Be silent." Nikis said sternly and Ric nodded, his motion jerky. The hand closed up on the ring. "Jesse is in trouble. I don't know what kind. The only person who does is unconscious and may not wake up fully for weeks. Tell me anyone else who could protect her from her enemies and from herself. Anyone."

 

"He is gonna be pissed." Ric said with a deeper sigh.

 

"He has a right to it." Nikis said with a grunt. "I said it then and I say it now. What he did was the right thing. What he did showed every facet of the Code of Chivalry. He was... the perfect knight. They screwed him because he refused to play their way. To hell with them. Jesse needs him."

 

"Yes." Ric bowed his head. "He was. I... better come with you." He shook his head.

 

"Ric." Nikis was not happy about that idea.

 

"I cannot tell you where it is or give coordinates." Ric said with a sigh. "But I can show you. That wasn't covered in the oath."

 

"If he blames anyone, he will blame me." Nikis said softly. "I was responsible."

 

"Bull!" Ric nearly exploded. "They knew what he would do. They primed him. They pumped him up. They set him off and watched what happened, smiling. What happened after was on their heads."

 

"He hurt them." Nikis agreed. "I would have done worse." He admitted. "But then... he surrendered... Damn Orokin."

 

"Yeah. Damn Orokin." Ric said sadly. "What do you need?"

 

"If we are going to do this, we need to do it right." Nikis said, thinking hard. "He won't accept anything but a proper ceremony."

 

"I hate that armor..." Ric shook his head. "It never fits right.'

 

"How do you think I feel?" Nikis snapped. "All this time and I was finally used to the robe. Now I have to put the rest of it on."

 

"The Order stands with you." Ric said calmly. "Brianna will come if you wish. She has a set of Apothecary gear and attire ready."

 

"Janet... will take some convincing." Nikis said with a grunt. "Maybe... a virtual talk with you and Brianna there?"

 

"You want a guard of honor?" Ric asked, his tone thoughtful. "I mean... you can get any of the shades..."

 

"This is personal." Nikis said with a sigh. "Not professional."

 

"You think any of them will care?" Ric demanded. "A chance to right an ancient wrong and welcome a brother back into the fold. You know as well as I do that the 'Balance' is a myth."

 

"Yeah, but we really do not want the Orokin to get the idea that they can mosey out of the database any time they want." Nikis growled and Ric shuddered in agreement. "They are enough of a pain as it is."

 

"Okay, point taken." Ric nodded. "When?"

 

"Let me talk to Janet, then we can go. If she attends, it will have to be virtual." Nikis said with a nod. "Brianna?"

 

"I will talk to her and let you know. I think her schedule is clear for a bit. Might need to be virtual for her too." Ric chuckled suddenly.

 

"What?" Nikis demanded.

 

"Cecelia asked me about the Society." Ric said with a laugh. "She researched it and found it fascinating." Nikis groaned and Ric laughed again. "She would come."

 

"Do I want to know?" Nikis sounded resigned.

 

"A Lady in Waiting for the Queen." Ric said with a shrug. "She isn't combat personnel." Nikis glared at him and Ric shrugged. "Nikis... We would not make Janet anything less. You have the ring."

 

Nikis stared down at his clenched hand then groaned louder.

 

"If I had possessed a clue what was involved, I would have told each and every one of you what you could do with your royalty. Shove it." The Nekros opened his hand and sighed deeper.

 

The ring... showed an ornate crown marked with the letters 'S', 'C' and 'A'.

Edited by Kalenath
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*staggers in with lots of bags*

Right, I've got enough food and drink to last till the end of time, comfy chairs, bean bags for those who want them, and a popcorn machine.

*sits down in comfy chair with drink*

Help yourselves.

You know most of that won't last the first nuke, right? Even if it gets hit with a Clean Nuke, it'll still be a worthless mass of ... something (probably something that isn't healthy to eat).

I'm going to sit over here near this ledge... more partial-dodge options.

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One more way to wreck some poor sod's life.  Yep, just another day in the Kalenath-verse.

 

Or FIX one just to be different.

 

You know most of that won't last the first nuke, right? Even if it gets hit with a Clean Nuke, it'll still be a worthless mass of ... something (probably something that isn't healthy to eat).

I'm going to sit over here near this ledge... more partial-dodge options.

 

No more tactical nukes. Promise.

 

<shifty eyes>

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In all honesty, I think this chapter was a bit rushed. I'm not trying to nitpick, but the amount of times I saw the words "quietly", "slowly" and "sourly" (or sour) was a bit boring. I find that reading out the story to see if it actually sounds like how people would speak helps immensely with producing good dialogue. It's a shame, because I was looking forward to a grand opening to Consequences, and it was let down by such a minor thing...

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In all honesty, I think this chapter was a bit rushed. I'm not trying to nitpick, but the amount of times I saw the words "quietly", "slowly" and "sourly" (or sour) was a bit boring. I find that reading out the story to see if it actually sounds like how people would speak helps immensely with producing good dialogue. It's a shame, because I was looking forward to a grand opening to Consequences, and it was let down by such a minor thing...

 

Good points. I didn't catch all of that when I went over it. Sore from shoveling snow all day yesterday.

 

I went back and changed some things to be less repetitive.

 

As for grand? Wait until you see how JANET reacts to being a Queen....

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Good points. I didn't catch all of that when I went over it. Sore from shoveling snow all day yesterday.

 

I went back and changed some things to be less repetitive.

 

As for grand? Wait until you see how JANET reacts to being a Queen....

Wait what?

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So basicly, LARPing

 

Sort of...

 

LARPing is to the SCA as a match is to a bonfire. SLIGHTLY different levels of intensity.

 

Think I exaggerate? Watch a few of the full armor, full contact bouts at any SCA tourney and THEN ask yourself if a normal LARPer (if of course there IS such a thing...) would even SURVIVE such. The answer btw is 'No'.

 

SCA is about living history. LARPing is about being part of a story. SLIGHTLY different focus.

Edited by Kalenath
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