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[Fanfiction] Balance


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Ashes of Pride

 

"How is that?" Alicia asked as she finalized the connections. "Better?"

 

"I am not sure 'better' is going to be in the cards any time soon, Alicia." Jesse shrugged a little where she lay. But she nodded, it was more comfortable. "We need the scans. I have time. But..." She trailed off as Alicia looked at her.

 

"But?" The female Tenno medic prompted the young Cyberlancer.

 

"I don't know." Jesse admitted. "I am feeling weird. Not bad." She hurried to say as Alicia's face turned professionally blank. "Just weird."The other medic in the room also turned, looking worried. "I am okay! I am okay!" Jesse said sharply. "I just...feel off."

 

"Off how?" Mei asked softly, her eyes going to Alicia who nodded and moved to a set of scanners. "We have to be sure you are okay, Jesse. After everything."

 

Jesse nodded soberly. Mei was still not comfortable here. A few alterations to her face and she was not freaking people out as badly as she had at first. Her skill with medical equipment and her downright focused need to help others were both solid reasons for Karl to invite her to the clan. But it made for some very tense moments. Karen and Miguel both refused to have anything to do with her. If she was on duty, they refused to even enter Medical. If she entered a room when they were there, they never spoke to her. She did not press. She would not.

 

Cora -the Tenno who Mei had been- had not personally been involved in what had happened to Karen or Miguel. She had been gone before Nicholas had tried to steal the nuclear weapons that Miguel's Marines had died to the last man to keep him from. She had not been involved in what had been done to Karen. She had been gone before the other renegades had brought Karen back with them. But that did not change the fact that she had been a member of Nicholas' clan. A founding member. She had tried to help, tried to fix things. But they had been beyond fixing.

 

Cora had fled when Karl had called for the clan to surrender. She had gone to Karl who had taken her to the Elders. Jesse didn't know all of the particulars, just that it hadn't ended well when Nicholas' renegades had found her. From what little she knew, she was glad she knew only a little.

 

The insanity that Jesse had gone through had been bad. From what little she knew about Mei? The older female Tenno's trials had been far, far worse. Even Raven, as badly traumatized as she had been, had been dismayed. At least Raven was finally getting some sleep. The Elder had pushed herself way too far in tending Jesse during her infirmity.

 

"It's not any of the urges that everyone is so worried I will have." Jesse said after a moment's thought. "It is not physical. Nothing is off in my body that I can detect." Both female medics nodded but the other medic in the room spoke up.

 

"Can you define the anomaly?" Jesse turned her head to look at the speaker.

 

A human torso stood up from a tracked assembly that served as his locomotion. She might have been creeped out by the cyborg form. If she couldn't feel the worry that it exuded. Worry for her. Jimmy was... better than he had been. Mei's reaction on seeing him had been heartbreaking. The newest medic for Karl's clan had essentially demanded to help the man since she had saved his life only to have him enslaved by Nicholas like so many others. The renegades had rebuilt Jimmy as a medical robot. A slave in all but name. Jimmy was odd, but he was still partly human and he was slowly relearning what it was to be human.

 

"I am not sure." Jesse said, thinking hard. "There seems to be no physical component. If I was feeling the need to procreate, there would be some kind of physical component, no?"

 

"Ah, Jesse..." Alicia was obviously fighting to keep a smile off her face. "I don't know if it is who you were, or what you are, but that sounded so wrong coming from someone who looks so young." Jesse had to smile at the laughter in the medic's voice. But then Alicia sobered. "We are trying not to be overprotective. It wouldn't help."

 

"I know." Jesse said with a sad smile. "I guess we should start the scan cycle? See if anything can be detected."

 

"It is going to hurt, Jesse." Alicia said quietly as she checked the fit of the heavy garment that Jesse wore. Said garment was needed to keep the energy from damaging Jesse's body.

 

The scanner that they were using was an ancient Orokin design. It was incredibly accurate, able to scan down to the genetic level. The downsides were that it used a great deal of power, was difficult to maintain -hence why the clan had let it languish when Cora had been killed- and last but not least, the energy it used caused intensely painful feedback in any life form with a functioning nervous system. With Mei's help, the clan had refurbished it. But Jesse was the first to try it. She had volunteered. She had several reasons.

 

They needed her medical records as detailed as possible, and despite several people pressing her to, she refused to go to where there was more advanced technology. She was needed here. She might not be combat personnel, but she had already managed a significant improvement the clan's one-use Cipher Decoders. To the point that no Grineer or Corpus system could hope to keep them out if the Tenno in question managed direct access. Regular Tenno Cipher Decoders -or Ciphers for short- were good. Jesse's were so good that all it took was one to reset the entire alarm system for an entire ship or base. Olim was impressed and he was hard to impress.

 

It had been a challenge and she had thrown herself into the challenge wholeheartedly. Part of that was to keep from worrying about her mom. Oracle Janet was recovering. But the damage, both from her previous injuries and from more recent harm, had been extreme. Jesse did not want to think about how close she had come to losing her mom. So, she needed distractions.

 

Another reason for the scans was that Jesse was different. Her body had been altered in the womb in which it had been grown. Genetic modification was not an exact science even for Tenno at times. The medical expertise that had been focused on Jesse had been unreal, but even then, there were limits.

 

All that said? She was not looking forward to it.

 

"I know it will hurt, Alicia." Jesse lay back on the scan surface. It was surprisingly comfortable. "And I will not try to keep from screaming." Alicia nodded as she checked the readouts again. The medic had been downright blunt about that. Trying to keep from screaming would cause her to hurt herself. The scans did not actually do damage, but the reactions to said scans had been known to. "But it needs to be done. We need the scans. And we need the machine tested on someone who is not a Warrior. I will not send out code while it is in operation."

 

"It shouldn't have any effect." Mei said, a little worried. "But better to be sure."

 

"Right." Jesse sighed and looked to the final person in the room. "Draco."

 

"I do not like this." Her bodyguard said with a sigh. "Your arguments were cogent, but I do not like it."

 

"Well, I do not like it either." Jesse said as she lay back and let Alicia activate the restraints. Those were more for her protection than to keep her in place. Sending energy along a being's nervous system was never safe. It had unpredictable effects at times. "But it needs to be done and I can do it. So please?" She looked at him. Her bodyguard sighed and nodded. "Thank you." Jesse said quietly.

 

"I am not leaving the room." Draco said in a no nonsense tone and Jesse nodded.

 

She still had no idea what warframe he wore. She had no idea how he had managed to fight the Lotus to a standstill and beat her, when the other had been half holographic. She could tell he was armed, but not with what. Sometimes it drove her absolutely crazy with curiosity. Sometimes -like now- she was just glad to have him close at hand. He made her feel safe.

 

"Wouldn't ask you to." Jesse said with a smile that faded as Mei held out a mouth guard. Jesse nodded again and opened wide. Mei slid it in carefully and Jesse clamped down. The older female Tenno frowned slightly.

 

"Not too tight, Jesse." Mei cautioned and Jesse grunted but relaxed as best she could. "Good girl." Mei smiled and stepped back.

 

Jesse closed her eyes and waited. She did not have to wait long.

 

"Powering up." Alicia said quietly. "Remember. Don't fight it. You are not Warrior trained, you won't be able to." Jesse grunted an acknowledgement and focused on relaxing her body as Trinity had taught her. It was hard. She knew what was...

 

She jerked as power flared around her. She closed her eyes, waiting for the pain. But... it never came. She jerked again and Alicia spoke sharply.

 

"Don't fight it, Jesse!" The healer said with a half snarl. "It will hurt you. Ride it. Let it flow around and through you." Jesse grunted in confusion and Alicia stared at her.

 

Doesn't hurt. Jesse said across the odd mental wavelength that all Tenno shared. Shouldn't it hurt?

 

"Ah... Mei?"  Alicia turned to the other female medic who was staring at Jesse in shock. "Power readings are consistent. Is it scanning?"

 

"It is scanning..." Mei said weakly, staring at her own controls. "Scan is processing. Maybe... your code...?" She asked Jesse who shook her head a little.

 

No code. Jesse said, confused. No nothing.

 

"Okay." Mei swallowed hard. "This is odd. We need to be very careful, but we cannot stop the scan. Nineteen minutes, twelve seconds now. If it starts to hurt, let us know."

 

Oh you will know. Jesse promised. I haven't had the practice of ignoring pain that you Warriors get.

 

"You have your own strengths, Jesse." Alicia reassured her. "We complement each other's strengths and buffer each other's weaknesses. That is what a team is supposed to do."

 

I know. Jesse smiled around the mouth guard. And I do appreciate it. But I know I am going to get poked and prodded a lot more.

 

"Oh yes." Mei and Alicia chorused. Jesse grimaced, but relaxed.

 

Joy But she was smiling as she lay back.

 

***

 

The room was dark. It was cold. Neither of the occupants noticed. For a long time, there was silence. Then it was broken.

 

"I don't know if I can do this anymore." The voice was soft, sad. He sounded tired.

 

"You are the only one who can do some of it." The other voice was male. Older, harder but a hint of compassion underlay it as well. "Do you need a break? The others would be willing to assist, you know that. Give you time for a vacation."

 

"I have my duty." The first voice said firmly. "I still believe in it. But I do not like lying to people. I never did."

 

"No, you never did." The second voice sighed. "That was why we trusted you with the burden. You never wanted it. You chose it. And you were always so scrupulously honest." He chuckled. "I despaired of you so many times, my friend."

 

"You got me in a lot of trouble." The first one laughed sourly. "Then again, I returned the favor."

 

"That you did." The other chuckled. "Serious question: Do you want some help?"

 

"I..." The first speaker sighed deeply. "I don't know." He admitted. "I mean, I feel good. Better than I have since..." He broke off.

 

"Hey." The other said gently. "No one blames you for being off. No one."

 

The figures resolved into a Nekros warframe and an Ash warframe. The Nekros was colored pitch black. Both kneeling. The Ash... looked odd.

 

"I blame me, Ash." Nikis said sadly. "So many lives. So many deaths. So many lies."

 

"You need a break, Nikis." The Ash shook his head a little and it... was transparent. "You do not have to do it all. And what did I tell you about calling me that?" He demanded. He raised a hand. It wasn't clear if the threat was in jest or not.

 

"All right, all right, Conner..." Nikis said with a sigh. "Geez, you are still a jerk."

 

"Well, duh." The First Ash chuckled. "Takes one to know one, Nikis." Nikis chuckled at that but nodded. Then Ash sighed. "Nikis, you need a break. A vacation. A real vacation. Spend some time with Janet." Nikis just looked at him and Ash sighed. "Yes, I know your sister did something dumb. But Janet is better."

 

"Yeah." Nikis sounded both sad and fond. "Yeah she is. But I can't touch her anywhere except virtual, Conner."

 

"I know." Conner's voice held no amusement now. "Jesse is in the scan right now. Nikis, you will want to be gone for what they will find. You know it. I know it. Spend time with Janet. She knows too." Nikis nodded. "Go talk to your Caretaker friends. Just get away from the Tenno for a while."

 

"I know." Nikis' voice cracked and he bowed his head. "I just- I wanted to make it right."

 

"I know." Conner's voice held matching sadness. "But Hayden put it best. Not our fault and there are some things even Tenno cannot fight. She has to find her own way and you know Draco will not leave her side." He paused. "Wait. You didn't..." A mix of awe and worry sounded. Nikis would not meet his gaze and Conner nearly exploded. "Have you lost your freaking mind?"

 

"I honestly did not think about it." Nikis admitted. "He is the best bodyguard I have ever met, bar none. She needed him. And frankly? I think he needed her."

 

"A knight fights better with a cause." Conner spoke slowly, carefully. "But you of all people should have known how he would react to a damsel in distress." He paused as Nikis burst out laughing and then Conner chuckled as well. "Bad choice of words." He admitted.

 

"Jesse is anything but a damsel in distress." Nikis agreed. "She is no wilting flower. She is good with the nunchaku, despite her lack of formal training. Will says she might make a decent swordswoman in a few decades."

 

Not really a problem for Tenno. Even Tenno who did not wear warframes often lived for more than twice a normal human span. Of course, Tenno in warframe were functionally immortal unless killed as Nikis proved.

 

"Will would know. I have seen him, in training and in battle." Conner admitted. "I would put him up against anyone. Even Master Hayden."

 

"Hayden would eat him for breakfast." Nikis protested. "You know it as well as I do."

 

"That is because Hayden cheats." Conner retorted and then both froze as the sound of a throat clearing came from the side. Both turned to see a man in armor standing there. The warframe... wasn't quite one.

 

"If you are not cheating, you are not trying hard enough." The shade of the First Tenno said mildly as both of the others froze like deer in headlights. "And frankly? When I was corporeal? He probably could have taken me. Excalibur did a couple of times, and Will is better. According to Excalibur anyway."

 

"He would know." Nikis replied uneasily. The First Excalibur had devoted his life to the study of the skana. Sword work had been his thing for as long as he had been alive and even now, he was an invaluable resource for any Tenno seeking to understand the simple blade that all Tenno -Warrior or no- started with before going on to more exotic weapons. "Hayden... I..."

 

"Nikis, you are tired." Hayden said gently. "We all know it. We can hold it for a time, my friend. And yes, you better make yourself scarce before they realize what those scanners really are."

 

"It wasn't supposed to be like this." Nikis protested. "It wasn't. They wanted to help."

 

"And they have." Hayden replied. "They keep the Balance just as we do. They have never crossed the line." He paused and Nikis nodded. "Except with Serene and she doesn't remember. Can't really blame them for that. Naked Tenno throwing herself between the scans and her daughter? Oh yeah, I might have stepped in myself."

 

"Yeah." Nikis agreed. "By all accounts, that was spectacular."

 

"At least she didn't break it." Hayden agreed. "Karl's people are going to open the one they have."

 

"I know." Nikis said sadly. "And as soon as they do, it's components will fuse. It...promised me."

 

"Jesse will hear and feel it, Nikis." Hayden said sadly. Nikis nodded. "We will do what we can for her without violating the Balance."

 

"In all things, there must be Balance." The Nekros and the two shades said in unison.

 

***

 

Jesse sighed as she tried to relax. The bed was comfortable, but the docs had been thorough in poking and prodding her. She felt... good. Nothing hurt. She was...

 

"Jesse?" Draco sounded wary from where he stood by the door. "You okay?"

 

"I..." Jesse shook her head, looking around. "I hear someone crying." The sound or whatever cut off. "That was odd." She said slowly. "I heard someone crying and then it stopped. You didn't hear anything?" Draco shook his head. "Odd." Then she jerked. "Oh my god! No!" She screamed she swung out of her bed, running for the door despite the fact that her sole garment was a patient gown. "Stop them!"

 

"Jesse?" Draco blocked the door and she ran into him. He held her despite her struggles. "What?"

 

"It is... no..." She froze and then she sagged in his grip. "It was an AI." She sagged further and he held her up as she started to cry.

 

"Was."

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HAYDEN TENNO WHAT DID YOU DO TO MESS WITH THE UNIVERSE THIS TIME!!! if some one else has to die to clean this mess up? I am entering the database and kicking your ! so hard your Great grandmothers gonna collapse in pain!!!

also this line here?.The First Excalibur had devoted his life to the study of the skana.  Sword work had been his thing for as long as he had been alive and even now, he was an invaluable resource for any Tenno seeking to understand the simple blade that all Tenno -Warrior or no- started with before going on to more exotic weapons.

almost makes it seem as though excalibur the first is still alive....

Edited by evafan002
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HAYDEN TENNO WHAT DID YOU DO TO MESS WITH THE UNIVERSE THIS TIME!!! if some one else has to die to clean this mess up? I am entering the database and kicking your ! so hard your Great grandmothers gonna collapse in pain!!!

also this line here?.The First Excalibur had devoted his life to the study of the skana.  Sword work had been his thing for as long as he had been alive and even now, he was an invaluable resource for any Tenno seeking to understand the simple blade that all Tenno -Warrior or no- started with before going on to more exotic weapons.

almost makes it seem as though excalibur the first is still alive....

 

It wasn't Hayden.

It wasn't Nikis.

 

They helped. After. But it wasn't ANY Tenno at first. Not ALL Orokin were evil profiteers or mad scientists.

 

As for Excalibur?

 

*shifty eyes*

Edited by Kalenath
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HAYDEN TENNO WHAT DID YOU DO TO MESS WITH THE UNIVERSE THIS TIME!!! if some one else has to die to clean this mess up? I am entering the database and kicking your ! so hard your Great grandmothers gonna collapse in pain!!!

also this line here?.The First Excalibur had devoted his life to the study of the skana.  Sword work had been his thing for as long as he had been alive and even now, he was an invaluable resource for any Tenno seeking to understand the simple blade that all Tenno -Warrior or no- started with before going on to more exotic weapons.

almost makes it seem as though excalibur the first is still alive....

 

Pretty sure he is not alive, also the line says that sword work HAD been his thing while he was alive AND EVEN NOW.... Kinda says that he is dead. Also wasn't the reason that Banshee went a bit nuts was that Excalibur had been attacked by shades in the data base?

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Pretty sure he is not alive, also the line says that sword work HAD been his thing while he was alive AND EVEN NOW.... Kinda says that he is dead. Also wasn't the reason that Banshee went a bit nuts was that Excalibur had been attacked by shades in the data base?

Remember though Kal Did say it IS possible to leave the database and return to corporeal form but that Nikis job is to prevent that. my question is of course how they did they find out that its possible in the 1st place? do you get where i am going with this?

Edited by evafan002
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Remember though Kal Did say it IS possible to leave the database and return to corporeal form but that Nikis job is to prevent that. my question is of course how they did they find out that its possible in the 1st place? do you get where i am going with this?

Hmm, must of missed that. As to how it happened, probably the first time was an accident, someone took a metaphorical wrong turning and got back into the real world. 

 

Aaannd Kal is doing shifty eyes again.... great.

 

*leans back in deck chair with popcorn*

*puts on sunglasses*

 

Let the show continue. 

Edited by Spikey844
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Hmm, must of missed that. As to how it happened, probably the first time was an accident, someone took a metaphorical wrong turning and got back into the real world. 

 

Aaannd Kal is doing shifty eyes again.... great.

 

I swear that every time he does that its because he has figured out a way of taking our questions and using them as part of the plot,,,,

Edit Also that would have to be the MOTHER of all wrong turns to go from being dead and existing on a hard drive somewhere to being alive and capable of breathing bleeding crapping and trying to bed your best friends wife

Edited by evafan002
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I swear that every time he does that its because he has figured out a way of taking our questions and using them as part of the plot,,,,

 

Now would I do that?

 

Me?

 

*whistles innocently*

Edited by Kalenath
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All these possiblities being discussed. I can conclude two things:

 

1: heroes of the past returning... :( Too cliché

 

2: This supposed way to reach immortality can be something like a succession of roles. Each life, or incarnation or whatever, is a role taken by a "spirit" or "essence"

Didn't a bard say once life is a play?

Edited by renleech
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All these possiblities being discussed. I can conclude two things:

 

1: heroes of the past returning... :( Too cliché

 

2: This supposed way to reach immortality can be something like a succession of roles. Each life, or incarnation or whatever, is a role taken by a "spirit" or "essence"

Didn't a bard say once life is a play?

 

Returning would upset the Balance.

 

And make Nikis mad.

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Kalenath, how long has Jesse been in recovery, roughly? She's been out nearly the whole of the last story, and through this chapter too. Tenno might be functionally immortal, yet they can't seem to get out of bed...

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Kalenath, how long has Jesse been in recovery, roughly? She's been out nearly the whole of the last story, and through this chapter too. Tenno might be functionally immortal, yet they can't seem to get out of bed...

 

She has recovered, they are just being VERY careful with their newest sister since she is not a Warrior.

 

And yes, the over-protectiveness of her kin WILL be a cause for contention.

 

I WILL update today, but it may be delayed. Gah, I HATE being sick...

Edited by Kalenath
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Sorrow

 

Jesse was still crying softly as she and Draco entered the medical ward. Alicia and Mei stood near one wall, both looking shocked as Ric and Jimmy worked on what had been the scanner assembly. One look at it told everything that was needed to be known. It was never going to work again. Just the assembly was trashed, the bed was untouched.

 

"I do not understand." Mei was saying weakly. "There was no power surge. There was nothing. Then it just..."

 

"Self destructed." Jesse's words had everyone turning to stare at her. "The AI inside killed itself." Ric froze, a tool halfway to the smoking machinery. "It's gone. Nothing left." Jesse said in a monotone. "I heard it. I...felt it..."

 

"Oh my god, Jesse." Alicia stepped close and held out her arms. Jesse swarmed into them, the floodgates opening again. "Did it...say anything?" She asked as she held the crying younger Tenno. Jesse shook her head.

 

"It was there and then it was gone." Jesse cried into Alicia's shoulder. "I felt it wink out." She gave herself a shake. When she spoke again, her voice was calm, but underneath lay sorrow. "What happened?"

 

"I opened the access panels." Ric said slowly, his Vauban warframe's helmet turning from Jesse to the destroyed scanner. "I hadn't even started basic diagnostics. I opened the panel. Then a power surge and it fused. Jesse... I never would have..."

 

"I know." Jesse said sadly. "I know what everyone says about you, Ric. You would have been careful and precise. You cannot be any other way, brother."

 

"I am not perfect, Jesse." Ric said heavily. "I was... I didn't think... An AI?" He begged. Jesse nodded.

 

"The feel is distinctive." Jesse said sadly. "Now it is gone." Ric slumped in place and Jesse shook herself. She patted Alicia's arm and moved to where Ric knelt. "Not your fault, brother."

 

"Jesse..." Ric said slowly, feeling his words with care. "No one has touched this scanner since..." He paused and looked at Mei who nodded. "Since Mei left. We did some basic maintenance, replaced some worn parts." Mei nodded. "Why did it not identify itself?"

 

"I don't know." Jesse said quietly.

 

"After what the clan went through when Karl came here..." Alicia said slowly. "...it may not have felt safe identifying itself." Jesse looked at her and Alicia slumped a bit. "When Karl arrived, he found four humans who had been... enthralled." Jesse hissed at that and Alicia nodded. "Yeah."

 

"What kind of an idiot brings Sentient tech into a Tenno dojo?" Jesse demanded.

 

"Nicholas." Mei, Alicia, Ric and Jimmy all chorused. Hate sounded in all of their voices.

 

"I need to find out what happened." Jesse said sadly. "May I observe?" She asked Ric.

 

"If anything, I should be asking you that." Ric said slowly, then tensed as Jesse laid a hand on his shoulder. "Jesse..." He stared from her to the blackened machine.

 

"Not your fault." Jesse repeated firmly. "My code probably won't do much good with the amount of damage I can see. Your skills will probably gain better results. Please keep me informed." Ric nodded as she retreated a step. "Mei? This scanner was yours, yes?"

 

"It was." Mei said, her face ashen. "I was... I mean... I set up the medical ward. Cora did that is." She shook her head. "I had no idea."

 

"I did not sense anything off either." Jesse said with a shiver. "And I should have at such close range. So... it had to be concealing it's presence. But... why?" She bowed her head. "I know I am irrational about this. Many say AIs are not alive. But..."

 

"Oh yes they are." Ric said firmly. "Maybe not in the same way organic sentiences are, but they are. A sentient being just died. We need to find out why."

 

Jesse nodded to him and moved to where Mei stood. Alicia followed her, the medic's face worried. Ric and Jimmy started disassembling what was left of the machine.

 

"Mei?" Jesse asked when she was sure of her voice. "Where did you get the scanner?"

 

"I do not remember." Mei said after a moment. "That part of my memory is fuzzy. I remember keeping  a log. Would it still be here?" She asked Alica who looked thoughtful.

 

"None of your files were touched." The cyborg medic spoke before Alicia could. "They are in secure partition 3-J." He said to Alicia without turning. Alicia nodded and moved to a terminal.

 

"Thank you, Jimmy." Mei said softly, but he did not respond and she slumped a bit. Jesse looked at her and Mei shrugged. "I do not blame him for being angry. I do not blame anyone for being angry. Nicholas was insane."

 

"Mei, you died." Jesse said gently. "You are not who you were."

 

"Yeah, well..." Whatever else Mei was going to say choked off as the door to Medical opened and three forms hustled in. Two wore warframes, the other a uniform. Karl and Karen had weapons in hand. Miguel held a toolbox, but his other hand hovered near his holstered pistol. Mei focused on the Rhino. "Karl."

 

"What happened?" Karl demanded, relaxing a little as Draco moved to stand by Jesse.

 

"I was starting the diagnostic." Ric said with a sigh. "I did not find anything wrong with the systems so I started opening the outer panels. As soon as I did a power surge destroyed the entire system." Miguel laid his tools down beside Ric and waited until Ric nodded to start removing other panels.

 

"Jesse?" Karl asked quietly. "I thought you were resting." Everything stopped as Jesse snarled.

 

"I am not going to break, Karl Sensei." Jesse said flatly. "I am not hurt. I am not sick. I am not even tired now. I am sad and sick. But I am not going to let you all wrap me in wool. I am Tenno. I serve."

 

"Hail Tenno." Draco said into the sudden silence. Karl looked from the bodyguard to Jesse and sighed.

 

"I know we are a bit much, Jesse." Karl said with a nod as he holstered his shotgun. Karen... did not lower her rifle. It was aimed at Mei. "Karen." Karl said in faint reproof. Karen looked at him and lowered her rifle. She did not holster it. The Rhino shook himself and nodded to Jesse. "It has been a long time since we have had a non-Warrior sister, Jesse. We will worry." He shrugged. "We will try not to be too over protective." He chuckled. "And you keep right on jerking us up short when we do, okay?"

 

"Oh I will." Jesse promised with a sly grin that faded. "Karl Sensei. It was an AI." Miguel, Karen and Karl all froze. "It did not identify itself. I did not sense it. Not... until..." She bowed her head.

 

"Ric would not have done anything that could have harmed an AI." Karl said slowly. Jesse shook her head. "So what?"

 

"I think it committed suicide as soon as it knew it would be discovered." Jesse said softly. "The feelings." She shook her head. "I could hear it crying. Then it was gone. I need to find out what happened and why."

 

"That is your duty." Karl agreed. "How may we assist?"

 

"I have never done anything like this before." Jesse hedged a bit. "Is Olim available?"

 

"He should be a in a bit." Karl reassured her. "Until then, we can-" He broke off as Alicia hissed. "Alicia?"

 

"Karl, we have a problem." Alicia said slowly, staring at the terminal in shock. At her soft words, everything stopped in the room and everyone was looking at her now.

 

"What kind of problem?" Karl asked as he and Jesse stepped to the terminal. Draco followed a half pace behind.

 

"Mei logged receipt of a number of supplies after the dojo was completed." Alicia said quietly. Karen had her rifle up and tracking Mei again. The medic did not move and Alicia snarled at the Mag warframe. "Karen!"

 

"And?" Karl asked as he moved to block Karen's line of fire to Mei. Karen lowered her rifle. She was angry, not stupid. Jesse stared at the lines of text on the screen and then she jerked as she saw what Alicia had to have.

 

"Oh my god." Jesse swallowed hard. "He delivered it. Him? Here?"

 

"What?" Karl demanded, his patience starting to fade.

 

"Nikis delivered the scanner." Jesse said in a tiny voice that had the entire room suddenly staring at her. "Along with a number of other medical supplies."

 

"He delivered a bunch of stuff." Karl said with a frown evident even through his closed faceplate. "I remember that. It wasn't every day I got backhanded for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn't even give him lip."

 

"Karl, you don't understand." Jesse said softly. "According to this... It wasn't scanned on arrival. It just appeared here. He cleared it past the scanners. He avoided the detectors which would have detected any AI no matter how well shielded." At her soft, scared words, Karl inhaled sharply. "He had to know."

 

"Are you saying Nikis put an AI in the dojo?" Karl asked carefully.

 

"I don't know what I am saying, Karl." Jesse admitted. "But if he did..." She trailed off and slumped.

 

"Then yeah." Karl said slowly. "We have a problem."

 

"A big problem."

 

***

 

There were time when everything went according to plan. When it all worked just right and everything happened in the order it should and the enemy never knew what happened.

 

This was not one of those times.

 

Olim tried not to sigh as the clunk head who had asked for his held to infiltrate the Corpus depot set off yet another alarm. It was good thing Tenno did not speak in the field, Olim mused as he put a bolto shot through the camera that had detected the other Tenno and set to work on the terminal again.

 

Can we just leave this idiot? Riana asked snidely in his mind. You know he is doing it on purpose.

 

His sister was an odd one. She could be kind, gentle and compassionate one minute and then hard and cruel the next. She was not human. She was an AI who had been made from his unborn sister's mind when his mother had died. Through a set of what had to be called misadventures, Olim had wound up partnered with her. He didn't actually regret it. Most of the time.

 

He wants to see me do something. Olim replied calmly as he finished the hack. 1.2 seconds. Not that good for him. Then again, he was annoyed. Not my fault that most of what I do isn't visible to normal Tenno senses.

 

On the right! Riana warned

 

His right hand kama flashed out, taking a Corpus crewman's throat out right through the poor man's helmet. The armor of the helmet was good, but nothing had been made that would stop the razor sharp kama, especially after Olim had refined his preferred weapons to exude a special corrosive mix. Setting the force fields to exude the mix without damaging the metal of the kama had been tricky, but it was worth it. No armor in existence could stand up to repeated strikes from his kama. Which was the whole idea.

 

The hand that had been hacking the terminal grabbed the dying crewman and threw him into a shadowed spot behind some boxes. It wouldn't hide him long. Just long enough for him to die and his body to begin to disintegrate. Recycling on a Corpus ship was nearly instantaneous. But Olim could and did fuzz the vital scans downlink so the man's death wouldn't show up immediately. The Corpus would send proxies to search when he did not arrive wherever he had been going. Only when the residual energy of his body was found would they sound an alarm. Hopefully by then the small team of Tenno would have accomplished their mission and be gone.

 

So... Riana asked. What do you think? Hero worship or some kind of ploy to get information?

 

Don't know. Olim grunted mentally. Don't care. He started off, the Hydroid coming right behind him. Any sign?

 

No alarms. Riana said with a sigh. You are such a sourpuss, Olim. Come on, lighten up. I can make them dance...

 

Don't you dare. This was no joke and Riana subsided a bit. You give the Corpus any idea that you exist and all hell will break loose. A mental gulp answered him and he nodded a little as he stalked towards the data repository that was his team's target.

 

The Corpus were masters of robotics tech. They revered any and every bit of Orokin technology that they managed to find, salvage or steal. It was a tossup which was more important to them at times, their 'Profit' or Orokin tech. Then again, Orokin tech often allowed them make greater profits so the argument might have been moot. If they got the idea that an Orokin AI existed, they would throw every resource they had available into finding and taking said AI. Olim was good, he wasn't invincible. He would fight to protect his sister, but in the end, he would fall. Or worse, he would be stuck behind a desk. He was far better out in the field.

 

An elevator ahead chimed and the door stared to close. He slid in, the safety systems ignoring him a the doors shut in the Hydroid's face.

 

Oops. Riana said with artful innocence. Olim bit back a chuckle. But then her voice turned serious. Olim, you are too serious. You cannot do it all alone. And you are not alone. I may be... inexperienced. I may be out of line. But I am trying to help.  The worry in her voice came through loud and clear.

 

I know. Olim said as he spun his kama. When the door clicked open, he was ready. The four Corpus Techs who had been waiting for the elevator had a bare moment to gawk at the dark armored form before he was on them. None lived long enough to sound the alarm. A swish from nearby had Olim turning, a bolto coming to his hand, but it was the Hydroid. The water based warframe had obviously found another way down. He was no happy, but Olim couldn't have cared less.

 

The Cyberlancer started off, his bolto in hand and... He paused as an alarm started to blare. Not one he knew.

 

Riana? He asked as he darted for a terminal. But it was dark. No security alert. What the-?

 

It would seem someone...  The irony in the AI's tone was biting. Set off the environmental alerts. Life support systems have reported a water leak in the vents. I have reported it as a false alarm. The alarm cut off. Olim turned to the Hydroid and shook his head before starting off again.

 

The next room he entered had a single terminal. A quick check showed it was the access to the secure datavault that he had to crack. Olim nodded a little as Riana started to hack into the Corpus system She could do it quickly and cleanly. Then he spun to the Hydroid. He pointed at the Hydroid and then at the floor. The Hydroid shook his head savagely, but froze as the door ahead of them opened and showed laser grids. Lots of laser grids. Any break in the beams would knock whatever broke the beam for a loop and set off the alarms. If the alarms went off? The data would be purged and the mission would fail. Olim crossed his arms and waited. The Hydroid seemed to melt. But instead, it formed a puddle on the floor.

 

Let's pray he stays smart. Riana said with sigh as Olim turned back to his task.

 

Quick and quiet, sister mine. Quick and quiet. Olim said as he set himself. He wasn't as quick or as agile as some of his kin, but he was quick and agile enough for this.

 

The lasers were moving in patterns. True randomness was very hard to achieve in any kind of machinery. It was far more economical to have alternating grids with cameras covering them. Since each camera was on a separate loop, hacking them was impossible. Normally, Olim would just shoot or freeze them as he had the camera before. But in this case, he didn't want to leave any traces. Destroyed cameras were a bit red 'Tenno were here' sign. So... He had to do it the hard way.

 

Stealth was not always about being invisible. He had seen some Tenno who wore Loki and Ash warframes who were about as subtle as a broadside from a Grineer galleon. Often, stealth was more about timing and speed. Luckily, this was something Olim was good at. And he had help.

 

Go. Riana spoke and Olim threw himself forward, darting under the lowest of the laser grids and sliding behind the camera. It turned.  4,3,2 Go!

 

Another laser grid avoided and he was around the corner and to another security terminal. The Corpus were notorious cheapskates. Even the Grineer would have some kind of automated patrol inside their secure datavault. Corpus? Nope.

 

Crap. Riana's soft expletive had Olim freezing. Olim, two cameras. Both observing the vault. One inside the door, one outside.

 

All right. Olim sighed. So much for not leaving any traces. He stepped to a door and hacked the console. A quick flip and the camera that had been observing the vault through a window was frozen solid, it's delicate electronics shorting out in the sudden flash freeze.

 

We might be able to get around the other if- Riana's words broke off and she hissed. Olim, we need to get back to the dojo.

 

Do we have time to get the data? Olim asked as he started for the vault.

 

Yeah. Riana sounded subdued and suddenly Olim was worried. A lot.

 

What happened? Olim asked as he froze the other camera and moved to the large terminal.

 

Jesse found something. Riana said softly. Olim stilled but continued his hack. Multitasking was second nature. Something bad.

 

How bad? Olim asked as he finished up and quickly deactivated the extra security of the vault. It would reactivate a few minutes after he left with nothing but two frozen cameras to show that anyone had been here.

 

I would say... The normally ebullient AI's voice held something now. Olim had never heard it before, but whatever it was he knew he had to move. He hurried his steps.

 

Really bad.

 

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Why do I get the feeling that the explanation for this one is gonna leave Karl and Company wanting Nikis head on a platter?

 

By the gods! You must be able to see the future!

 

She has recovered, they are just being VERY careful with their newest sister since she is not a Warrior.

 

And yes, the over-protectiveness of her kin WILL be a cause for contention.

 

I WILL update today, but it may be delayed. Gah, I HATE being sick...

 

Get well soon, I know how cr*ppy it feels to get sick all too well.

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Sorry for the delay.

 

Snow, snow and MORE snow. Got a busted garage. A stalled car and now, MORE snow on the way.

 

I want an Ignis is real life. I REALLY do.

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Transit

 

"What do we know?"

 

Olim looked at the other being who shared his Liset with him and shook his head. The Hydroid hadn't had a clue that they hadn't been the only Tenno on the Corpus ship. Then again, the Tenno who called himself Quais lived and breathed sneakiness on occasion. The data vault that Olim had raided had been one of three they had been tasked to hit and Quais had managed the other two without a single alarm raised. The Ash had been waiting in the Liset with the information when Olim had returned.

 

"Not much." Olim said quietly. "Riana got word through some of her sources that an AI was found in Karl's dojo. Apparently it had been there for some time." He shook his head again. "It must have been dormant when I went through the place. Or I was blind."

 

"Hush Olim." Riana spoke aloud since the two Cyberlancers were alone in the ship. She didn't do so often. Her presence creeped people out despite her best efforts. Her voice was worried. "We don't have any more information yet. Just the word that an AI was found. Something happened to it. We do not know what."

 

"That doesn't make sense." Quais mused. "Karl has his foibles, we all do." Olim nodded and the Ash continued. "But he wouldn't have killed an AI without reason. Would any of his people?"

 

"I don't know." Riana sounded one step away from upset. "From what I got... What wasn't much." She qualified. "The AI was hiding and was found. When it was, it self destructed."

 

"Why?" Quais demanded and then he sighed. "Never mind, you won't know. Sorry." He slumped.

 

"I am just as shocked as you are." Riana said softly. "I thought I was the only free AI still functioning. I mean..." She sighed.

 

"Don't say it." Quais said quickly. "I have no need to know where you came from and what I do not know I cannot divulge by accident or on orders."

 

"That is appreciated." Riana had a sad smile in her voice now. "But another AI? I don't know, I mean... We looked. We went over the dojo carefully. Very carefully. More than once. There was nothing."

 

"Neither of us is perfect, Riana. But I would have said the place was clean myself." Olim agreed. He shook his head. "If there was one, there might be more."

 

"If they are dormant, Olim..." Riana sounded even more worried now. "We might not be able to detect them at all. If I were to go dormant, you probably would not be able to detect me."

 

"I know." Olim said heavily. "And yes, that worries me. Right now, all we can do is get to the dojo and find out what happened. Jesse will need some help."

 

"The feedback will have hurt her emotionally." Riana kept her voice quiet. "They won't let her hurt physically." Then she scoffed. "Unless they get too cloying, in which case she will dig her heels in. Stubborn girl." Olim and Quias looked at each other and Riana's voice turned sharp. "Don't say it!"

 

"Say what?" Olim teased his sister gently. "'Pot meet kettle'?" Riana growled and Olim chuckled. "You have to admit, Riana. You can be a bit set in your ways."

 

"I have to admit nothing of the kind." Riana declared haughtily. Quais rocked back on his heels, shaking his head. "You hush."

 

"I didn't say anything." Quais said with shrug. It might have gone over better if he hadn't started to whistle a bit as he turned his head away from the Frost Prime with its rider.

 

"Why do I put up with you two?" Riana asked sourly.

 

"Maybe because we are the only ones here?" Olim asked innocently. "Or because we are the only ones who have to put up with you and your hijinks?" A strangled sound came from the AI and Olim laughed. "We need to keep ourselves clear minded." The Grandmaster of Cyberlancers said softly. "I get the feeling this is going to be bad."

 

"Yeah." Riana's voice was serious now. "Jesse will need help and..." She paused and growled. "Dang that Cephalon."

 

"Suda again?" Quais asked quietly. Riana made a disgusted noise and the Ash sighed.

 

"We needed the information." Olim seemed to slump a bit. "But this is wrong. It just won't stop pestering us."

 

"At least it is not Simaris." Quais replied softly and Olim nodded. "You haven't dealt with that one, have you?" Olim shook his head and Quais shrugged. "I don't mind hunting. It is pretty much what I do. But what that thing wants... feels wrong."

 

"The idea in and of itself is noble." Riana spoke in a clinical tone. "Taking samples of things to preserve them. But the things it is taking..." She made a disgusted noise. "Grineer? Corpus? Infested?"

 

"I know." Olim said heavily. "We have not been contacted yet." His words were both a statement and a question to Quais who shook his head.

 

"I did some hunting for it before I talked to you. Before you started training me. Since then? No." Quais reassured him. "It creeped me out enough before I could feel code. Now?" He mock shuddered.

 

"Jesse is very vulnerable to such a thing." Olim said slowly and Quais nodded. "We are both older and more experienced. If it were to talk to her, ask her help..." Olim broke off as Quais inhaled sharply.

 

"She probably would." Quais agreed, manifestly against his will. "She would be useless as a hunter, but she would be of great value to that Cephalon anyway."

 

"I hope it knows better." Olim retorted. "Anything happens to Jesse and all hell is going to break loose." Olim nodded and Olim changed the subject. "Time to the dojo, Riana?"

 

"Two more hours. I am so glad you had me take control of this, brother." Riana said with a sigh. "The Cephalon you had was falling apart."

 

"I do not remember why every Liset had an Ordis Cephalon." Olim said slowly. He looked at Quais who shook his head. "But yeah. It was more than a bit weird on occasion."

 

"Well, this particular Ordis' foibles are not it's fault. It was stuck in a wrecked shell for a long, long time. Anyone might have gone mad. I set it into a virtual partition, brother." Riana said sternly. "I wasn't going to destroy it just to take its place. It needed time to recover. I am helping. It is... better."

 

"I am glad." Olim had a fond smile in his voice. "This is going to be a mess."

 

"I know." Riana said softly.

 

"I know."

 

***

 

Jesse was finally calm. It had taken some time and a gentle sedative, but she had finally stopped crying. Watching Ric and Miguel disassemble the shell of what had been an AI tore her badly. The sad thing? Mei was nearly as bad.

 

"How could I not have seen it?" Mei asked nobody as she sipped the cup of hot tea that Alicia had prepared for her. "I was the medic. I was responsible." Alicia patted her shoulder but did not speak.

 

"Not your fault." Jesse was sitting, holding her own cup of tea. "AIs define slippery on occasion. At least according to my training." She qualified. "The only one I have dealt with regularly is Riana, Olim's sister. She is definitely sneaky though."

 

"That she is." Karl agreed. The Rhino warframe stood by one wall, watching the pair as they calmed slowly. Draco stood by the door, a silent, watchful presence that Jesse found reassuring. "Mei, there was no way you could have known. I bet you were overjoyed to have the scanner." Mei nodded. "You likely wouldn't have asked questions about where it came from. There was a war on after all."

 

"I don't remember." Mei said sadly. "If I did, cryo took those memories. Is there anything more in the log?" She asked -begged- Alicia who shook her head. "Damn."

 

"What happened is no one's fault, Mei." Jesse stared into her cup. "All I can do is theorize, but none of my theories say it is your fault."

 

"What theories?" Karl asked gently.

 

"Okay... According to what Trinity taught me, the facts." Jesse said with a sigh. "First: There was an AI in the scanner. I didn't detect it while I was being scanned. But... maybe that is why it didn't hurt?" She shook her head. "I don't know and I don't think we will find out any time soon."

 

"The scans take twenty minutes and are down to the genetic level." Mei said weakly. "I remember that. But it hurts like blazes." She smiled a bit forlornly. "Wasn't about to test it on anyone else. So something had to be different for you."

 

"Maybe." Jesse said softly. "I mean, how many non-Warriors are scanned with those things?"

 

"Lots." Alicia said softly. Everyone looked at her and the female Tenno shrugged. "There are not many of those scanners left but they are very useful. If they all have AIs in them..."

 

"Stop." Jesse's firm word had everyone freezing. "If the one we had here self destructed on detection, then I bet all of them have the same protocol." Alicia paled and Jesse nodded. "Is knowing this worth losing every single one of these scanners?"

 

"If we have AIs watching us..." Alicia replied slowly, her face worried. "Then none of our secrets are safe."

 

"Have they done anything?" Jesse countered. "Have we had any security breaches that you have been able to find?" She asked Alicia who frowned.

 

"If they were good enough..." Alicia warned. "And from all accounts, they were... Then we wouldn't know. The best spy in the one no one suspects could be a spy." Jesse wilted a little and Alicia moderated her voice. "I am sorry, Jesse. Did not mean to bring up bad memories."

 

"Not so bad. I love my mom and I always will." Jesse said sadly. Her mom had been a great spy. "Now I am Tenno and we must go on. So, the probability is that any scanner of that type has an AI inside."

 

"That would make sense." Mei mused. "The sheer amount of data that goes into the scans is mind boggling. Just collating it would require far more processing power than a normal computer possesses. But none of us expected an AI. Super Orokin tech, sure. An AI?" She asked nobody.

 

"Much Orokin tech used AIs." Jesse replied absently, clearly thinking hard. "Built for a function. One step up from being slaves." Alicia and Mei both froze at that, but Karl just sighed.

 

"Jesse." The Rhino said sternly. The younger Tenno looked at the Rhino and then looked away. "We are not Orokin. We are not enslaving anyone. Clear?"

 

"Clear, Karl Sensei." Jesse gave herself a shake. "Some of what Trinity told me..." She shook her head. "I mean, given time, any group no matter how altruistic will find every possible way to make mistakes. But sheesh. Some of those mistakes made me want to puke." She shuddered.

 

"Agreed." Karl rumbled. "I do not remember them all, but the ones I do make up for it."

 

"So, what are the options?" Jesse asked, finishing her cup. "If we pull the scanners, they will all likely destruct. If we leave them where they are, we have potential security breaches." Alicia nodded to that. "And we need to find out if the scanner did something to me." She sighed and looked at the floor. "I am going to have to go, aren't I?" She wouldn't come right out and say 'Avalon' even here. Security had been a major facet of her training.

 

"Jesse." Karl reassured her. "No one is going to make you do anything against your will."

 

"I cannot find anything wrong in my body." Jesse replied. "I have run a series of code sweeps through my nervous system and found nothing. But I didn't sense anything wrong with the scanner either. If it altered anything, I can't find it."

 

"What if it didn't?" Mei asked into the silence that fell after Jesse's words. Everyone looked at her and Mei flushed. "Work with me here. Medical AIs, from what little I remember about them, were designed to act as nurses." Jesse thought about that and then nodded slowly. "Not a lot of authority."

 

"No." Jesse mused. The others let her think. "According to the common definition, a nurse was a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital. Not a doctor, an adjunct to a doctor."

 

"An assistant." Alicia said slowly. "You think the AI in the scanner was meant as an assistant?" She asked both Mei and Jesse.

 

"I don't know." Jesse replied and Mei shook her head. "And we need to find out. When Olim gets here, I will ask him to do a full sweep of my code. He has better discrimination on his scans with Riana to help." She sighed. "Then I will think about going...elsewhere."

 

"They have already said you would be welcomed and Draco can stay with you." Karl reassured her. Jesse glanced at him and the Rhino scoffed. "I don't think they want to start a fight with him any more than we do."

 

"Probably wise." Jesse said with a smile that faded. "But that does leave one very important question. What was Nikis doing delivering a medical scanner to this dojo?" No one spoke. "I mean... If there is anyone I know who is less medically minded, I can't think of them off hand."

 

"I don't think we are going to like the answer to that question." Karl said heavily. "Nikis has vanished again. He does that a lot."

 

"Iriana used one of those scanners, didn't she?" Jesse asked quietly. Karl nodded. "I think I need to talk to her. And if Lisa is there, I need to talk to her about something else."

 

"Something else?" Karl asked, curious.

 

"It is kind of personal." Jesse said, trying not to squirm.

 

"Jesse." Karl warned her. "Lisa is not one of us. She is one of the Caretaker's people."

 

"I know." Jesse said simply. "It's just... It's personal, okay?" Mei and Alicia were both staring at her but it was Draco who spoke.

 

"Karl." The bodyguard said quietly. "You will want to drop it. Trust me." Karl stared from Jesse to her guard and back then he nodded.

 

"Just be careful." Karl said soberly. "The Caretakers do not trust us."

 

"I know." Jesse said with a sigh. "But maybe... I can help a bit with that."

 

***

 

"She wants what?"

 

"Hey, don't look at me like that, Fire Heart." The pitch black Nekros said with as shiver as he leaned against the wall of the dilapidated dojo that served as the Caretaker's base of operations at the moment. "Before this all went pear shaped, she asked me to ask you."

 

The Ember Prime was staring at Nikis. If her faceplate hadn't been sealed, her jaw might have been lying on the floor. The others in the room, a female human, a male human and a Mag warframe, were also staring at the Nekros in matching shock.

 

"She... asked you... to ask us..." Jasmina spoke slowly and carefully. "For that?" She shook her head. "She is a kid."

 

"Janet's kid at that." Elenia said in a shocked voice. "No way. Not going to happen."

 

"Your reaction parallels mine, Mind of Light." Nikis said quietly. "She just wanted me to ask. I said I would. No more."

 

"Nikis." The female human said quietly. "What is wrong?" The Nekros looked at her and she shrugged. "Healer's final treatment worked. I am not fuzzy minded anymore." She hugged the male human by her side and he smiled at her. "And Mitchell here is glad of it."

 

"My past is coming back to haunt me, Wings of Kindness." Nikis said with a sigh. The name the Infested gave the newest human female to join their odd family was pretty much a given.

 

"That name doesn't feel real to me yet." The woman who had been known as Anne and then Anne J-45 said with a sigh. "Can we help?"

 

"I do not think so." Nikis shrugged. "If you can, I promise I will take you up on it. I am tired." He said sadly. "So tired."

 

"Come here." Elenia's voice was suspiciously husky as she stepped close and hugged the Nekros. Jasmina did the same and he relaxed as they held him. "We will talk about what Jesse wants, but for right now, you need rest and ease. We have everything ready for you. Will you let us help you, Soul Guardian?"

 

"Yeah." Nikis said softly. "Me being around won't help anything. What will be, will be." He slumped and let them draw him from the room. "And if someone starts screaming at me as I am?"

 

"Yeah, we don't want you shooting up the neighborhood." Elenia said with a smile in her voice as she let Jasmina lead Nikis from the room. "How you doing, Mitchell?"

 

"Still a bit shocky." Mitchell replied, but Anne hugged him again and he smiled. "But I have an excellent reason to be thankful. But the name... Elenia..." He groaned.

 

"What?" Elenia asked innocently. "Anne is 'Wings of Kindness', NightNova is 'Wings of Steel' and you are 'Wings of Duty'. What is wrong with that?"

 

"What is right with it is a shorter list." Mitchell said sourly. "You want me to go get Lisa?"

 

"I don't." Elenia said with a sigh. "Our alliance with the other Tenno and Eliza's people is still fragile. But we cannot leave her in any kind of danger and when everyone figures out what Nikis did..."

 

"They will freak." Anne replied uneasily, rubbing her stomach. She did not show. Not yet. But she was expecting now. The organic garment she wore had far more support and protection for her abdomen than normal. "Frankly? I don't blame them."

 

"Neither does he." Elenia said with a sigh. "But it was needed."

 

"You really think they will blame him for that?" Mitchell asked the others. They just looked at him and he sighed.

 

"Yeah. Me too."

 

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it really REALLY irritates me when people say it was needed when what they are discussing ends up with people or AIs dead. if it had to die it had to die but this skulking round the issue Really doesn't help matters Why can no one in this universe of yours just come out and say "Hi guys you know that orokin scanner you have there? yeah dont open it up the ai inside will commit suicide if you do"?

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it really REALLY irritates me when people say it was needed when what they are discussing ends up with people or AIs dead. if it had to die it had to die but this skulking round the issue Really doesn't help matters Why can no one in this universe of yours just come out and say "Hi guys you know that orokin scanner you have there? yeah dont open it up the ai inside will commit suicide if you do"?

 

They will probably wind up doing just that.

 

But then when the AI hears someone discussing that? Boom.

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I want an Ignis is real life. I REALLY do.

Hmm got one of those backpack style weedkiller sprayers? if so do what i do.. fill it with petrol and rig up a holder for a cigarette lighter at the nozzle

 

 

But then when the AI hears someone discussing that? Boom.

But why? what possible reason could these ais have for killing themselves if discovered?

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