Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 7th September 2023, 9:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
There were days that Mercury wondered if she shouldn’t have just let Patricia kill Maker when they’d had the chance. The Xocili knew that she had made the right choice in saving her enemy, if only because she still needed him to make sure she could actually help save the rest of his and Blade’s people, but that didn’t stop occasional days where deep down she felt like it would have been simpler to just let him die and be over with everything. It may have taken a while, but she was confident she could have unlocked the secrets hidden inside the ship with time.
And the truth was, time was quickly running out. At least, as far as Grubar’s patience was concerned. The Scengar hadn’t said as much outright, but it was obvious that his willingness to let Genesis’ freedom continue was running thin. Mercury hated feeling like she was abusing her friend’s generosity, but the type of work she was doing was tedious and time consuming. If she had one misstep, one slip, her cover would be broken and everything would fall apart and be for nothing. There was little she could do to usher things along at a faster pace. She was sure Grubar understood that, and that it was the reason he had allowed his timetable to extend past the due date and then some, but she still felt bad. His livelihood was being staked on this as much as everything else.
Still, she powered on, forcing herself to look ahead and stay focused, not worrying about changes before they came. Her clone had set up quite the little life with Maker in his hidden pocket universe. In an effort to continue to earn his trust, Mercury really hadn’t done a whole lot more of snooping since moving in. A little here and there, but even that was mostly just to keep him on his toes, the woman not digging for secrets so much as enticing him with her ability to stay ahead of the curve when it came to finding needed information regarding whatever various project they were working on at any given time.
The Xocili didn’t move or turn to look at him as he joined her in the lab, focusing on her work as normal. She expected a number of things when he entered: a slap on her rump or a quick and naughty little word in her ear to bring an extra measure of joviality into the room before they continued on with their duties for the day. “Hmm?” she asked idly, still looking through the microscope in front of her. It wasn’t until he continued speaking that she realized something was different about today, Mercury pulling her eyes away from her work to fix him with a curious frown, giving him the entirety of her attention as he admitted that he’d had something on his mind for a while. She’d been aware of that, of course – she’d spent enough time with the Terran at this point to recognize when he was struggling with something, particularly now that the effects of his blood marker were no longer effective against her. He’d never indicated a want to talk about it, though, so she’d carried on without forcing the issue, knowing that he’d speak when he was ready.
Apparently, he was ready now.
He admitted to struggling with a few decisions since their last encounter with Vandrad, decisions that had come about as a result of her unexpected choice to save Maker instead of letting him perish. He owned up to mistreating her in the past, recognizing that she had the right to let him die and that he was still juggling the fact that she hadn’t. He was grateful, more so than he could ever say, but hoped that if words couldn’t suffice then hopefully action would. A thoughtful frown lingered on her face, the woman lacking a verbal response for the time being where she would normally have already littered the conversation with a playful or teasing comment of some sort. Yet, she could see that this was not the time. Maker surely wouldn’t be offended by a trademark remark from her to lighten the mood a little, something he always appreciated, but whatever was happening right now was a big deal and Mercury could sense it. So rather than joke, she met him with uncharacteristic seriousness that was on par with his own level.
“Alright,” was her simple response, allowing him to take her by the hand and lead her through the ship. As they walked, Maker continued, stating the obvious that he still had a lot of secrets he had been keeping from her. He was well aware that she’d done her share of digging, but it had only been at the tip of the iceberg. There were other things, far more personal ones, that had eluded her.
Mercury maintained her silent frown as they walked, listening attentively without interruption as he touched briefly on Sabine. Maker claimed the Midian had sniped the blade that had been used to grievously injure Vandrad without Maker’s intention. Mercury wasn’t sure how much she believed that, but she let him carry on nonetheless like it was fact. He described the blade as a receptacle for power that he hadn’t been able to identify, one he had originally believed fell into the realm of magic but eventually learned was nothing of the sort.
By this point he had led them to one of the ship’s many dead ends. It was a design factor that Mercury had always silently scrutinized, unable to believe that there were hallways that led to nowhere. She had suspected secrets of some kind in those unadorned corners, but never sought to bear fruit to those theories as she hadn’t wanted to jeopardize her mission. It seemed her curiosity was about to be sated, now. She watched as he pushed a hand against the wall, the panel lighting up to scan the readout before a passageway opened up before them. Mercury’s brows raised, intrigued if not necessarily surprised, as he explained that there were rooms on the ship that were encoded to his DNA so only he could access them. “Clever,” she said, her response shortened by her increasing curiosity that was bordering on concern regarding his behavior, but no less genuine of a statement.
He gestured for her to enter and she hesitated only a moment before stepping inside. Within, she found a small room that was filled with a number of different types of machines that were all linked to a glass covered podium. Within the case was a swirling mass that was all too familiar to Mercury, the Xocili drawing on every ounce of discipline she had to keep her face contained to confusion without any hint of recognition. She knew what it was even before Maker explained it: the energy that had been contained within the blade, the substance that Maker had stolen from Omothol and used to cripple Vandrad. It had no name that he was aware of, though some sort of instinct had eventually prompted him to refer to it as “Myn”.
She approached the case cautiously, observing it with her face reasonably close to the glass but making no move to touch the case itself – if only out of a sense of self preservation, despite knowing that it was unlikely the material could affect her through the clear panes. Mercury was silent for a long time as she studied the energy, taking it in and fully appreciating its existence as any true scientist would. “Maker, this is…” her voice trailed off as she failed to find words to adequately describe what she was thinking.
Finally, finding her bearings once more, she continued. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never even heard of anything like this. Where did you find it? How did you even find a way to contain it, let alone a way to use it?” If he hadn’t been able to identify it outside of something that was beyond the scope of their reality, it seemed almost incalculable to her that he had been able to make something of it. But clearly he had, and if he was showing it to her now then surely he also expected that she would have some questions, if only from a scientific standpoint.
She smirked softly at his remark about surprising her. “I doubt you’ll be losing your touch in that regard any time soon.”
Mercury, of course, knew a fair bit more about what she was looking at than Maker suspected did. Her time in Omothol, while brief, had shed a fair share of light on the origins of the energy now swirling in its container before her. She couldn’t confirm whether Myn was its correct name or not, but from the way he spoke about his journey with the odd material, it seemed highly likely that Maker wasn’t aware that it came from the Time Before. All he knew was that he had absorbed it during his “accident”, and had very nearly eviscerated him from the inside out. The only reason he survived at all was because Knowhere gave him the means, much like with the consciousness of his people, to contain it separately from himself. But despite the fact that he was there before them plain as day, he had no answers except the understanding that it had no right to exist.
However, he had been able to learn a few things about it. Since it could be contained, he had experimented with the types of things that could hold it, which was how he had crafted the sword that had eventually been used by Sabine. Luckily, or so he claimed, he had managed to install a failsafe that allowed him to destroy it. Conveniently after Vandrad had been injured, of course, but destroyed nonetheless. Maker confirmed that the material was capable of being destroyed with relative ease, and said the reason he’d been able to manipulate it at all was because it acted in similar essence as magic did. But it primarily seemed to destroy magic, neutralizing ethernano entirely much like Oblivium did. He kept it close to the chest, knowing it would be unwise to let it get out into the universe and into the wrong hands.
That said, he no longer wished to keep it a secret from her, expressing his hope that perhaps she could help him unlock more secrets about it. For the betterment of the galaxy, of course.
“I’ll admit, I can’t readily think of many ways such a force of destruction can be crafted for benevolent purposes,” she replied after a moment of thought. “But, I suppose we wouldn’t really know until we applied ourselves.” Truthfully, she had no intentions of truly helping him unlock the mysteries of Myn. More than anything else, she wanted to destroy it, relieved to know that it wasn’t necessarily going to be an impossible task to do so.
But even more pressing was the realization that this might be the key to solving the problem that was Seberg as well. They had discussed the idea of using Maker’s work to deal with the wayward Rhaegarian, but there was nothing she could do to synthesize this element. She would need to steal a portion of it and get it back to Patricia’s lab. If she could do that… then maybe, just maybe, they could finally start to get somewhere with all this.
In order to do that she would need more information, but first she pulled away from the element to approach Maker. She slipped her arms around his waist like a lover and looked up at him, emerald eyes full of appreciation. “I’ll do everything I can to see how I can help,” Mercury told him gently. “If anyone can unlock its secrets, I know it’s the two of us working together. Thank you.” Leaning in, she gave him a soft kiss that lingered for several seconds without evolving into anything more than what it was.
When they were done sharing a moment, only then would she pull away to return to the contents of the room, this time looking over his equipment. “Alright, if I’m going to help then I’m going to need to get up to speed. What tests have you already run, and what kind of tools have you tried? Do you have any reports on your results? If I can get a reading on the data you’ve pulled so far, that will help me analyze it so I try to determine where else we can go from here.”
There had been a time not so long ago where Mercury would have felt guilty over hearing his admission about trusting her like he’d never been able to trust anyone before. However, that moment had crumbled to ash weeks prior once Vandrad had exposed Maker’s true nature – and the use of the Terran’s blood marker. Her desire and commitment to her mission had been renewed upon understanding that he was still every bit the enemy that he had always been, and while there was no denying that a dark part of her did truly enjoy Maker’s company and cared for him in her own way, it was not going to stop her from doing what she needed to do to get justice for all those he had hurt and killed.
So they had their moment, and she played herself off as touched and enamored as she had been for some time without much effort, before they got down to business. Mercury requested to see what information he already had so she could get caught up on his work, and Maker pointed out a monitor where she could download everything, understanding that it would help her get up to speed in a matter of minutes. She was already working on doing just that when he informed her that he was going to make a trip to the ship’s console to get her biometric signature locked in so she could gain access to the room even if he wasn’t with her. Mercury nodded her acknowledgement, though she was clearly more focused on getting to work, integrating with the computer so she could start logging all the necessary information.
Her concentration was broken briefly by him coming up behind her and slipping a familiar hand over her ass, causing her to hum with delight as she turned to look back at him with a pleased grin. “I hope you’re ready for how much you’re going to get laid for this,” Mercury teased back. Then he was gone, giving her a moment of privacy.
The instant all the information was downloaded, the real Mercury was dropping everything to hustle to New Rhaegar, practically skidding into Patricia’s lab even as she was sending messages off to Vandrad, Ever, Dudley, Blade, and anyone else that might be useful for that kind of work. This had officially become an all hands on deck situation as far as she was concerned, and just because they didn’t have a sample of Myn to test didn’t mean they couldn’t start deciphering the research Maker had already done for them and work out a game plan on how to proceed.
At the end of the day, however, she understood that nothing they did would come to fruition if she didn’t find a way to smuggle a piece of the energy out for them to use. So while Patty and everyone else that elected to get involved worked on crafting a suitable weapon receptacle, Mercury set all of her other duties aside to focus on securing a sliver of Myn for themselves, trusting the others to handle putting the stolen research to use.
As always, Maker’s technological savvy was impressive. The more she studied his equipment, the more she learned about how complex his protections were for the energy. He left her alone with the substance often enough that she certainly had plenty of opportunity. However, the problem was that he had the mass measured so acutely that his computers would easily be able to confirm if even the slightest pinch of the stuff was removed. She would have to think of a way to acquire a piece of Myn without him realizing it had lost a portion of substance.
Luckily, she believed the answer to that was fairly simple, if not necessarily easy to execute. Mercury didn’t need to think of a way to keep the energy from shrinking its mass – she just had to keep the computer from recognizing that the mass had shrunk. Mercury, the real one, spent several days carefully and tirelessly pouring through the schematics and coding of Maker’s computer, even using her magic to conjure an exact replica of the machine so she could run tests freely without having to run the risk of catching Maker’s attention. The end result was a passive, undetectable virus that, after several trials, successfully seemed to interfere with the computer’s ability to detect a decrease in mass of energy within the container, so long as she didn’t not take more than a certain amount.
Unfortunately, she knew there were some missing factors with her testing. For one, she was experimenting with a different energy type, specifically magical ones. There was no telling if the computer would read Myn differently than ethernano, but based on everything Maker’s research confirmed about the material’s similarity to magic, she calculated that there was a ninety-five percent chance that she would get the same result. Additionally, while the virus itself was designed in such a way as to not set off any alarms, Maker’s technology was advanced enough that she was sure he would at least recognize if a new file had been uploaded into the system, which meant she’d have to come up with a believable cover as to why she was introducing new programming to his system.
Mercury wasn’t terribly worried about that, however. He had brought her into this in the hopes that she could help him unlock the secrets of the energy, and as such it was expected that she might introduce new tools or software to run tests with. All it meant was that she also needed to take the time to craft a genuine software that he would agree to having installed, and embed the silent virus within it so it could be uploaded without notice.
Four days after Maker had gotten her access to the room, Mercury’s clone would look up from her monitor to glance at her companion. “I think I want to try something,” she informed him, her tone academic. “I’ve noticed that you have done a lot of comparisons of Myn to ethernano, but I don’t see much by way of comparing it to other forms of power that are more common throughout the universe; electric, nuclear, kinetic… those kinds of things. You got a couple hypotheses, and based on your other data I strongly suspect that your theories are correct, but for the sake of the scientific method I think it would behoove us to actually put those theories to the test and make certain without question that we are operating within the correct parameters. If you don’t mind, I’ve designed an instrument that should be able to measure the readout of energy – I just need to upload the software into the system so that you can properly read and record the data.”
Presuming he agreed, Mercury would use her magic to materialize the tool in question, taking a moment to load her software into his computer and make sure it read the instrument properly. She gave it a couple zaps of lightning, measuring the readout to ensure it was accurate, and then doing the same with light and sonic energy until they were both certain that everything was working properly – and also buying her enough time to let her virus get to work, as well as making sure he didn’t pick up on the fact that there was more to her software than met the eye.
It was a tense moment… but luckily, he didn’t seem to have caught on. Once everything was as ready as it could ever be, and with a silent prayer to the cosmos for luck, she dematerialized the instrument and resummoned it inside the container. The computer immediately started spitting out readings, both of them seemingly glued to the monitor as they read the output and discussed the various numbers and wavelength charts as they rippled across the screen. A portion of Mercury’s consciousness, however, was focused on the instrument itself, which was absorbing a small, trace amount of the substance and storing it inside of a hidden core. She was meticulously monitoring the amount it absorbed, as well as the readings from Maker’s computer that measured its mass.
Thankfully, the measurement remained steady. Letting it get as close as she dared before closing it off, the device continuing to measure the Myn without absorbing any more of it. Once the testing was complete, she once more dematerialized the device. This time, when she conjured it again, it was an exact replica of the original that they could use to continue testing with other types of energy as she saw fit.
Meanwhile, back on new Rhaegar, the doors to Patricia’s lab would swing open once more as Mercury stood in the doorway. She raised the device up with her hand, her clone having deposited into her magical pocket universe where the real Mercury could retrieve it instantly. With small heaving breaths like she had just finished a workout, a triumphant smile slowly grew on her lips.
“I got it.”
A meeting had been called, and the members of the Sinclair-Ragnos household had pushed all other errands aside to make sure they were in attendance. Some days ago Serilda and Mythal had received word from their New Rhaegar allies that Mercury had made a breakthrough in her sleuthing, the Xocili having earned enough of Maker’s trust that he had not only revealed to her the location of the mystery element from Omothol, but that he’d also granted her permission and free access to it, as well as to all of his extensive research on it thus far. It was remarkable news, though there wasn’t much need for the Rune Knight leaders to get involved at that point since there was little they could do at that point. However, it seemed there had been a new development and the result was that an immediate and urgent gathering was being called.
Thus, Serilda, Mythal, Hosrius, Patricia, and even Vriko – who had not long ago insisted on becoming involved and contributing however she could – all piled through a portal at the appointed time and onto the island. The group made their way up to the conference room where all but Mythal’s sister had been to multiple times by this point, chatting idly with everyone else in the room while waiting for the rest to arrive. Most of the island residents were already there, though Mercury had disappeared briefly to go collect Genesis and Dinah, the trio appearing only a few minutes after Serilda and the others showed up. Saffron was one of the last to show, clearly having come straight from rehearsal by use of a different device that Everance had made for her that allowed her to travel instantly back and forth from the island at the blonde’s own leisure.
Once everyone was present, Mercury wasted no time in getting things started. “You’re all aware that I was able to get access to Maker’s research on the element he is calling Myn; the element that was used to injure Vandrad’s magical core. Earlier today, I was able to successfully smuggle a piece of it off of Maker’s ship, and thanks to the efforts of everyone helping Patty in the labs the last few days, we have crafted a weapon that we feel is our best chance at handling Seberg.” She wasn’t sure how much Seri and Mythal had filled Vriko in on things, but for the sake of not rehashing over details the vast majority of people were well aware of, she chose to stay focused on new information and leave it to others to fill in context for Vriko as necessary as they went along.
“Vandrad and I have discussed it with each other, and with Themmy, and we feel that we are now at a place of serious discussion to plan our assaults on both Maker and Seberg, which is why we have gathered everyone together. It’s important that we strike both men at the same time so that they cannot rely on each other’s help, which means not only do we need to come up with a feasible plan for getting Maker out in the open, but we also need to locate Seberg or find a way to lure him out.”
“Unfortunately, locating Seberg is easier said than done. Despite everything I’ve managed to get my hands on with Maker, he has been very diligent about never mentioning him to me, and I’ve never come across any research notes that make an open reference to him. That said, he has spoken a couple of times about a dangerous ally of his, and where that ally can be found. I have no guarantee that this is Seberg.. But I’ve crunched the numbers, and the changes of it being someone else are extremely low, based on the context I received from him. Unfortunately, we just won’t know until we’re in the thick of it.”
Saffron had glanced at Scourge upon the first mention that the weapon was completed, the blonde shifting to sit forward eagerly in her seat with her gaze transfixed on Mercury. “The weapon – will it help hinder his blood marker?”
“In a manner of speaking. The element seems to destroy ethernano, and thus magic, and doesn’t necessarily harm other forms of energy outright. There isn’t much we can do to alter the element itself. It’s just too unknown of a substance, and a dangerous one at that. However, with Maker’s research, Patty, Ever, and Dudley were able to enchant the weapon itself in a way that they believe should trick the element into recognizing the blood marker as magic. We’re as confident as we can hope to be with it, but there’s no way to know if it will work without testing it, which we simply don’t have the luxury of doing.”
Saffron opened her mouth and by her posture it was clear she was about to say that was enough for her, to volunteer to give it a try for better or worse, but she was cut off with a gentle raised hand from Mercury, a silent gesture that it was already assumed she and Scourge would be handling that end of the fight. “Don’t worry, Saff. They designed it so that we can install it directly into your arm. It’s ready to go, but given the destructive power of the item and the kind of danger it poses to everyone here, it’s locked away in safe keeping for the moment. We’ll give it to you once we’re ready to make our move.”
“Works for me.”
Mercury nodded, then continued, turning her attention back on the rest of the room. “We do want to hear some ideas, but there is one other thing we also need to remember to consider in these plans: Knowhere. Quentin mentioned that he might know of a way to help save the consciousnesses of Blade’s people, and I think the only time we’re going to get a shot at that is while Maker is distracted with our attack, which means this is now a three pronged assault. Maker keeps clones of himself on his ship that run a lot of his day to day projects. They are not nearly as powerful as he is, but they share his full intellect, memories, knowledge, portions of his magic… the works. So, that is another factor we need to consider with this discussion.”
“I think I’ve covered all the new information, but if I’ve forgotten anything please feel free to speak up. Otherwise, anyone who wants to start spitballing some ideas to get us started, please do so.”
Serilda was quiet through the meeting as she listened to the discussion, which mostly started with Mercury giving an overview of the latest updates in her mission to get everyone up to speed. Everything had come together so fast, and while the Voidwalker and her fiance had more than enough world threatening things on their plate, it was refreshing to be involved in a situation where they weren’t as wrapped up in red tape and could actually act however the lot of them saw fit. The objectives were clear: Confronting Maker and Seberg, hopefully killing them both, and also saving the souls of Blade’s people.
After the discussion was placed on the table, Quentin was the first to interject, materializing into the room with a quick comment on how conveniently he was able to do so these days. The aside lasted only a moment before he launched into the details of his part in rescuing the Terrans, reexplaining that he should be able to utilize the Soul Stone to heal the damage that was done to the Terrans during Knowhere’s crafting, inserting their consciousness into a new machine. They would still be a heightened form of artificial life, but at the very least would maintain their individuality and be reunited with their spirits. However, in order to do so he needed to be on Terras Prime. He would also need something to act as a beacon that he could channel the energy through to the current Knowhere on Maker’s ship where he could then begin the tedious task of reforming each soul with its corresponding consciousness.
Unfortunately, he would not be able to get to Teras Prime on his own. Or rather, he couldn’t do the work so far away from the Soul Stone, meaning that Mythal would have to be present with him. Mythal wasn’t as easily capable of space travel as Serilda was, so that meant that she would have to accompany him. The noblewoman nodded her agreement. “A shame that we can’t lend ourselves to one or both of the fights, but… As much as I know we need to dispose of Maker and Seberg, I can’t deny that restoring the Terrans as much as they can be restored is just as important, if not more so. We’ll have other opportunities to fight, if it comes to that, but it’s almost assured that we will not get another one to fix this particular wrong.”
She certainly couldn’t say that this should take priority over the executions of their two named enemies, as more than just Earthland was in danger from their continued existences, but if push came to shove and the only part of this assault that wound up being successful was saving Blade’s people… well, the field marshal would consider it a win. Particularly given that Blade’s own time was drawing ever more short.
With her and Mythal already assigned their part, Vandrad shifted things into discussing how to get access to Maker, and thus to the ship as well. Mercury hacking the teleporter was a no-go since it would blow her cover too early. Likewise, he couldn’t claim to have rethought Maker’s prior offer as it would obviously be a trap. Perhaps one that Maker would consider walking into, if only out of arrogance, but things would ideally be much simpler and smoother if they could catch Maker off guard.
Patty spoke up next with some of her findings, ultimately revealing that through the discovery of some lingering energy on Raici, she believed Professor could craft a device that could forcibly pull both Maker and the Mercury clone out of the pocket universe to any place they desire. At the future king’s questioning, she also confirmed that she could theoretically transport a team to the ship as well, but doing so would leave a two way gate open that Maker could just as easily use to return to the pocket universe, which certainly wasn’t ideal. A better alternative, she suggested, was simply pulling the entire ship along with Maker. It would require more work and a larger device, but the results would be more favorable. Particularly since Quentin admitted that it would be a safer bet he could perform his work unhindered if Knowhere was present in their current universe instead of a pocket one. This, in turn, would also make it easier for a strike team to get in to deal with Knowhere.
Vandrad confirmed that he would be confronting Maker, as he assumed Blade and Mercury would as well. Blade nodded his agreement before Vandrad turned to Hosrius and Genesis to see where they stood on the matter. Unsurprisingly, both were firm in their stances to take part in the battle, assuring him that they could hold their own despite their lack of magic.
This left the question open of who would be stepping up to handle the Earthland side of addressing Knowhere. Mercury sighed softly. “While I know my skills and my exposure to the ship would be advantageous in assisting with Knowhere, I am going to insist on being involved in the fight,” Mercury stated plainly. “This grudge is too personal at this point, and he’s hurt and killed far too many people that I care about. I owe him a receipt, and I plan on delivering it personally. That, and he’s already proven himself to be far too squirrelly in the past. I need to be there to offset his quick thinking intelligence, not to mention I have taken care to place further advantages for myself over this time that he’s not aware of which could prove useful in the battle.”
“Normally, I’d simply suggest handling things through another clone of myself, but… I’m afraid it can’t be that simple. My clones, much like Maker’s, share my personality, memories, and intellect, but they don’t share the full extent of my power and abilities. If anything went wrong, a clone wouldn’t be able to handle it as efficiently. The task will require a true person. If I’m being honest, it will probably require a Xocili. The technology is simply too alien and too advanced, and while I am confident that there are plenty people here who could learn to navigate it over time… time is not a luxury we will have. We’ll need someone with Xocili processing speed, so to speak.”
“Then I will go.” Zemenar’s voice rose up to meet the call, drawing everyone’s eyes over to him. “I was planning on staying to help maintain Patri– er… Professor’s device to ensure she has plenty of backup in case something goes wrong, but if there is a need that I can fill, especially for something so important, then I will happily do so.”
That seemed to be the end of the matter… but it was only a brief pause later when Mercury spoke up again. “No,” was her gentle response, the Silver Wolf ace shaking her head slowly and clearly not happy about having to give the answer.
Her father’s brows furrowed in confusion. “Why not?”
“Dad, I trust that you can handle the technical aspect of the job, but don’t forget that the person who handles this job also needs to be prepared to confront dozens of Maker’s clones… and the simple truth is that you’re not the soldier you once were. You haven’t had the opportunity to keep your fighting skills or your battle instincts sharp in over twenty years. You’re not equipped for this.” She wasn’t intending to be cruel, but facts were facts.
Zemenar didn’t say anything for a long moment, but eventually his shoulders drooped slightly in resignation. “I suppose you’re right. I guess I was just hoping I could make myself useful in some fashion. After everything that was done to help our people, it feels right that I find a way to pay it forward to another race in need of rescue.”
“How about communications?” Serilda offered, her status and experience as a seasoned military leader prompting her to speak up toward a need that had yet to be filled or even addressed. “A mission with so many fronts will certainly require a central command station, as well as a communications center that can keep everyone up to date in real time. We will need smaller teams that can focus on processing and filtering information from each team so that it can be relayed back to other teams, or even to those who will be working and supporting behind the scenes. It’s not directly involved in any fighting or field work, I know… but it is a critical position, and I can think of none better suited for the work than you.”
The former Enforcer’s brow raised in consideration, even as Mercury nodded her silent thanks to Serilda for speaking up and giving them the benefit of her experience in these kinds of matters. Finally, Zemenar nodded as well. “I think that is a wise idea. I can easily think of a few Xocili and a couple Rhaegarians that I think would be ideal to help with this as well, so it should be a simple matter of putting a team together that can make sure everyone in the field is equipped with secure communication devices. We can make sure everything is relayed directly to Themesycia.”
It was yet one more aspect of their plan covered, and yet there still was no answer as to who would take the lead on handling things with Knowhere from the ship. A cursory glance from the Voidwalker caused her gaze to linger on Mercury. The lavender haired woman’s eyes were fixed to a spot on the table in front of her with a troubled and contemplative frown on her face. “Mercury..?” The Xocili glanced up to see Serilda expectant eyes on her. “You appear to have something on your mind.”
Mercury’s gaze held Serilda’s a moment longer before drifting back off in continued thought. After a moment more of silence, she finally spoke. “I have an idea… but none of you are going to like it.”
“An ill advised idea is better than none at all.”
With a beat more of thought, Mercury straightened her posture, raising her gaze up to the rest of the room with a sense of resolution. “We need someone on the ship that is skilled and experienced in combat and infiltration, that also has a Xocili’s affinity for technology.”
“We need Khelben.”
The tension in the room was tangible.
On the one hand, Serilda was surprised. On the other, she really wasn’t. She hadn’t considered the incarcerated Xocili as an option, but once Mercury mentioned him, and once Serilda got over her initial discomfort over the idea, she had to admit that it was a sound one. She really didn’t know much about Mercury’s brother aside from what he’d done to Mercury and the position he once held with the Nazru, but that was enough to know that he was suited to the task as much as anyone could be. The Voidwalker wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of recruiting the man, but desperate times…
Like Mythal’s, her gaze flicked carefully to both Vandrad and Gren, the two that were likely to have the strongest opinions on the matter. Gren was clearly ruffled by the idea, his jaw tight, while Vandrad’s expression was more unreadable than anything else. Just as his father was speaking up in protest, the former prince cut the older man off to insist that there was no reason to rule Khelben out, provided he was up to the task. Gren practically whipped his neck around to look at Vandrad, but his son continued, stating that his crimes were immaterial to the fact that he was suited to the role they needed to fill, and his skills would give them the best chance at success. He refused to let his personal feelings get in the way of completing the mission, and in fact insisted that everyone else do the same.
Though the comment was more clearly aimed at his father than anyone else, the two men looking at one another in a wordless standoff that no one dared interrupt. It was Gren who eventually backed off, the former Rune Knight looking down with a resigned sigh even as Themmy consoled him silently. Like that, it appeared that Mythal and Serilda would be working with the criminal, whether they wished to or not. There must have been a betrayal of distast in her face as Mercury looked back toward the Fioren military leaders. “Will that be okay..?” she asked them, genuinely wanting to make sure the arrangement wasn’t going to cause any problems, seeing as how they were the ones that would be working alongside him. Serilda shifted slightly in her seat, relaxing her posture which had gone more stiff than she’d meant.
With a quick glance to Mythal to make sure they were on the same page, she said, “I can’t say I’m thrilled, but it won’t be an issue. If nothing else, I have no doubts that he will do the job right and see it through to the end. I’ve certainly utilized less reputable contacts in the past. We’ll make it work.”
Vandrad insisted, however, that Khelben – should he agree to the mission – would not go alone. He trusted that Khelben wouldn’t use the opportunity to escape imprisonment, but there was no sense in sending anyone, even a criminal, into such a dangerous and unknown place alone. Aside from the clones that would await him there, Vandrad also understood that this was the only chance they’d get to access Knowhere, and he did not want to needlessly risk failure on this front. As such, he insisted that they find someone to accompany him to the ship.
All eyes turned to Vriko as she finally spoke, not hesitating to volunteer for the assignment. She explained that her Blessing was still usable only in short bursts, which meant that she would be of little use in the two major fights. However, the less imposing clones, while strong in their own rights, were more likely in line with what she could reasonably assist with. She could focus on keeping Khelben safe so that he, in turn, could focus on getting Quentin properly connected to Knowhere. The raven haired woman locked eyes with Vandrad, ignoring her brother and adoptive father outright, to make sure the arrangement was acceptable. The former prince agreed, stating that Maker likely wouldn’t be expecting a woman of her fighting caliber.
“Actually, Vriko… there’s something else I think you can help with while you’re there. It may require leaving Khelben unprotected for a short time, but I wouldn’t suggest it if it weren’t important. In fact, it may be the most important part of this entire assault, even over rescuing the Terrans.” Mercury held the woman’s eyes steadily, a look that affirmed just how serious the Xocili was about the claim. “I need you to destroy the Myn. It shouldn’t be difficult; Maker admitted it was fairly easy to dispose of, and all his research supports that fact. I can’t really speak to how dangerous or not of a task it might be but… that energy was not meant to exist in our time. It needs to go, so that no one can ever use it again; not even us.”
Mercury had promised Cyrene that she would do everything she could to make sure no one could ever use the weapon they’d crafted to destroy a Blood Marker ever again, and this was the only way she could think to ensure that the Rhaegarians would never have to worry about such a thing in the future. Without the Myn, not even Mercury would be able to craft an item that would put a Rhaegarian at risk in that way again. Once Myn was destroyed, and once Saffron and Scourge had used the last trace of it to infect Seberg, it would be wholly and fully erased from their reality once and for all.
Presuming Vriko agreed to the task, Mercury would give her a surprisingly serious and heartfelt look. “Thank you – for that, and for agreeing to help protect my brother.” While everyone else clearly held a stigma and negative opinion of Khelben, it was obvious that the man’s safety meant a great deal to the woman, who seemed to be the only one outside of Zemenar that displayed any compassion toward the man, though even Zemenar was more quiet on the matter.
Once the moment had passed, Hosrius spoke up to voice his sudden realization that Grubar wasn’t present. No sooner had the words left his lips than the man himself walked through the door just in time to hear the comment and chastise his coworker about his lack of observation skills. The Scengar was armed and fully armored, which caused many in the room to regard him with confusion, Saffron staring at him with an outright frown. Hosrius attempted a bit of banter, but Grubar didn’t bite. In fact, he opened right up and said that he was not going to be helping with the mission, which caused an even bigger reaction around the room than even Mercury’s suggestion at bringing Khelben in.
It seemed his time had run out. He’d been threatened with desertion of bounty by his handlers and had been given three days to bring Genesis in. If he was going to complete the task on time, he and Genesis needed to leave immediately. Dina shifted in her chair, not standing up but moving into a position that would be easier for her to act in protection of Genesis, her steady eyes locked on Grubar.
“Damnit..” Mercury muttered quietly, leaning forward to rest her head in her hands with a weary and resigned look. “I’m sorry, Grubar. I had hoped it wouldn’t get this far…” She felt a certain level of responsibility for the Scengar being thrust in this position. The loss of him and Genesis in the fight would be felt, not just because the homunculus had the right to face his creator, but also because they were both capable warriors whose assistance would have been beneficial. But, as she had told him before, all Grubar would have to do was say the word and Mercury would support his decision to leave. The timeline he’d set had already long expired, and she had no intentions of abusing his patience, as was evidenced by the sorrowful look that she gave Genesis from across the table.
Vandrad, at least, found humor in her comment. Scourge had been a godsend, if Mercury could ever consider such a term a compliment. Even she had found herself a bit out of sorts with the seriousness of the situation at hand, having trouble being her usual bubbly self, but when the former Dread Master had teasingly spoken up for Vandrad to give a speech, Mercury’s grin had been wide with appreciation, the Xocili chuckling as Saffron informed the man that he wasn’t liked by anyone there. Since that moment, however, Mercury felt more true to form, which was a good thing. Yes, the situation was dire, but she couldn’t think about that. It would serve her no good to worry about everyone else until she was given a reason to worry, particularly when she had her own fight ahead of her, a fight she had been working her ass off toward for quite some time.
It seemed like only yesterday since she’d been ambushed by Dread Master cronies and come up with an in the moment plan to let them believe they had succeeded in killing her. Mercury had been laying the groundwork for today for quite some time. There had been pitfalls here and there as they searched for answers about the Myn, as they learned about Blade’s fate, and even a momentary hesitation on her part when Maker had very nearly deceived her about the truth of his aims and moralities. But that was all settled and cleared at this point, and Mercury was no longer troubled by conflicting feelings about Maker’s fate. Vandrad had seen through the Terran when she could not, and now she was more firm in her stance than ever before. Maker had been fun as a rival, the worthiest she’d had in… well, probably her entire life, and she couldn’t deny that a larger part of her than she cared to admit would be saddened and disappointed by his loss. But that was far overshadowed by her hatred of him and her desire to seek justice for everyone he had ever hurt, particularly those she cared for.
There would be no mercy.
With the tension gone, Mercury was almost giddy now, though much of that was likely just the nerves and adrenaline in anticipation of the battle to come. So she made her comment about coming back to life, earning a smirk from her future husband who remarked that it wasn’t going to be much of a change, other than that she wouldn’t have to hide her slutty nature as much anymore. “Well, I could hardly go on acting too much like myself. Disguise or no, anyone who knows me well enough would have picked up on it enough to at least be suspicious.” Mercury never half assed anything, least of all her commitment to playing a role when needed. Vandrad reaffirmed that they would need to keep Maker off his guard, and it was up to her to unsettle his confidence at the first sure opportunity. Mercury’s grin was slow, confident, and wolfish, a look that presented a bit differently under her Merciala disguise but was no less in its delivery. “With pleasure.”
The future king suggested that Hosrius set himself up on a nearby ridge where he would be at a greater advantage with his sniper rifle, particularly since Maker’s use of Energy Monarch meant that he could get to Hosrius very quickly if he desired. The Jirian wasted no time in hoofing it off to his chosen location, Mercury tracking his location on her sensors as he went. Blade was no of any mind to put any distance between himself and the fight, stating that his abilities would allow him to keep up with everyone else even if he didn’t have magic. It was only a few minutes later when Patricia announced that the device was ready, and Vandrad gave the go ahead to bring their foe in.
Mercury gave one final nod to everyone present, and then quickly slipped off into the rubble with Blade and Patricia to hide, leaving Vandrad alone in the open for the time being.
A few hundred miles away, Saffron had been all too keen to the knowledge that she had been far more open than Scourge had been prepared for. She honestly hadn’t meant to be quite as heartfelt as she’d wound up being, but… that didn’t make her comment any less true, and she didn’t regret what she said. There were plenty of other things she could have said about how much she cared about him, things in equal measure to what she had wanted to say to Trevor the night before. Normally such a complication would have caused her to retreat inward and keep to herself; Saffron was not the type to juggle partners, even when things were casual like they had been so far with Scourge and then with Trevor, whom she still intended on returning to one all this was over, should she live to do so. For as much as she liked Scourge, she understood that there was no future there with him, if only because he held no interest in such things… but that didn’t she could walk forward into the unknown without at least giving him some kind of understanding toward how much she really did respect and like him.
And while it certainly wasn’t a confession of love or anything silly like that, it was still a visceral admission that had clearly had a profound effect on him. Scourge was visibly stunned, almos rooted to the floor as he stared at her. She could tell by the look on his face that her eyes had changed color, likely to something that he hadn’t seen before, though she wouldn’t have been able to tell what without looking in a mirror. Knowing time was short, she finally allowed herself a moment of physical comfort, closing the distance between them to hug him tightly.
It took him a beat or two to know how to react. Frankly, she expected him to tease her – if kindly – and tell her to relax. Instead, in a show of sincerity that was equally as surprising from him as her own had been moments before, Saffron found him returning her hug just as firmly, voicing his shared sentiment in a soft tone that was equally as uncharacteristic. They simply stood there for several long moments holding one another, finding comfort and security without much of anything more to say.
“The device is ready to go and Vandrad has given the command to activate it. Scourge and Saffron, you’re clear to move out. Mythal and Serilda, remain on standby; Vriko and Khelben will move in as soon as the battle with Maker is underway.”
A part of Saffron was reluctant when the call came in, but surprising not too much. The longer they simply stood there with one another, the calmer the blonde became until finally her nerves had settled. She and Scourge may have had the toughest battle of this mission ahead of them, tougher even than Maker, but as she pulled herself away and looked up at him, there was a tangible peace about the small smile on her face. Reaching up, she unmuted her communicator. “Copy that. We’re heading in now. Good luck, everyone.”
Cracking her knuckles and stretching out her neck, her wicked grin finally returned as she looked out toward their destination. “Let’s go ruin this prick’s day.”
Clonecury was in the thick of what had become a normal routine for her, waking up earlier than she voiced any pleasure in doing, but once she had a cup of coffee in her she was much more receptive to the world around her. They had been up and moving for over an hour when Maker elected to shake up their day a little.
…Not as much as Mercury was about to shake up their day, but still.
She giggled as he physically made his intentions known, his hands running over her. “Excuse you, sir, some of us are trying to get some work done,” Mercury protested playfully. Despite that, she made no resistance when he lifted her up on the table, the two making out as they fumbled with one another’s clothes, until a new sounds brought their actions to a grinding halt. Mercury glanced around in as much confusion as he did, her worry increasing when he warned her that he had never heard this kind of alarm before. Before she could say anything the ship jerked violently. Mercury yelped in surprise, just barely hanging on tight enough to Maker and the table to keep from falling down onto her ass.
“Are we being attacked..?!” she asked, more confused and concerned than anything else as she stumbled after him, likewise trying to put her outfit back together. The ship rocked again, this time in the other direction, causing Mercury to latch herself onto the bannister to stay upright, her face now awash in full blown panic as the alarm increased and was joined in by an unfamiliar hum. Maker, however, recognized the new sound. Growling, he confirmed that the ship was attempting to teleport. “It can do that??” Mercury didn’t protest as he tapped into his magic and scooped her up, pulling them both forward at a faster pace to get to the cockpit as quickly as possible. He was in the process of saying they needed to shut everything down when the hum of the engine roared to full blown life. The Xocili watched in wide eyed awe and horror as the world beyond the large front window changed, light and darkness alike bending around them as they were thrust forward to an unknown destination.
When the ship finally came to a stop, revealing the open skies of an early morning sun, Mercury rushed forward with Maker to get a better look at their destination, her radars already scrambling to reorient herself. “These coordinates. We’re in Bellum, at the du Wolff manor.” Or at least, what was left of it. She took the time to look around in a bit more awe, seeing as how this was supposedly her first time witnessing the remains of the destruction Maker had wrought there, but even as Maker pointed him out her gaze fell to Vandrad. The former prince stood defiantly before them on the ground, waiting in expectant patience.
“Kaunobrosa robsa chhke nhi,” she swore under her breath in Xocili, the woman far less amused than her partner. Together, they finished making sure they were presentable before making their way outside.
By the time they disembarked from the ship, Mercury had calmed her anger into a cool scowl, the pair stopping a reasonable distance before her former beaux. Crossing her arms, she merely looked at him in silent consideration before giving a small, sad shake of her head. “Vandrad. I suspected that you would choose not to leave well enough alone, but even this is a bit dramatic, don’t you think? And also wildly outside your wheelhouse. I assume that little trick was Patty’s handiwork?”
Whether or not he confirmed anything seemed to mean little to her. She sighed. “I don’t know why you bothered with having your accomplices hide. You know I can track their lifesigns.” As if on cue, the others stepped into view, three individuals that revealed themselves from behind the cover of the rubble. Mercury’s expression softened somewhat as her eyes settled on the only other familiar face. “Hi, Patricia.” There was a gentleness about the Xocili at the sight of the doctor, one that showed she was both happy to see her one time friend but also not happen, given what the circumstance for their visit was leading toward.
Mercury turned her gaze ever so slightly to the other side to take in Blade. There was no familiarity in her glance as she looked him over with a curious and scrutinizing glance, taking in his features, many of which were similar to Maker. “Minotia, I take it?” she asked, more to Maker than to Blade, careful to use the incorrect name that Maker had given her for Blade weeks ago. “Your brother is certainly adept at collecting allies, at the very least.”
She turned then to look at the individual behind them, her brows slowly furrowing at the sight of the unknown woman with electric green hair. Finally, after a momentary pause, Mercury admitted, “I… have no idea who the hell you are.” Her tone was more curious and intrigued than anything else.
The other woman shrugged, adjusting her grip on the bow in her hands, though the weapon wasn’t notched with an arrow, nor was it currently pointing in their direction, merely out and at the ready. “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about me,” she informed Mercury simply, her tone not as playful as her words. “You don’t need to know who I am, just that I’m here for you and the Terran.”
Mercury’s clone tilted her head in thought. After a moment of silence to “search her databases”, she gave a small hum of consideration. “Emilyse Merciala, registered hunter with Tasuridian Star System’s bounty collection agency.” Though she was still facing the supposed bounty hunter, the information was clearly more for Maker’s benefit. And also maybe to get under the other woman’s skin at being able to seemingly pluck such details from thin air.
Merciala scowled, drawing the slightest of self-pleased smirked from Mercury before the Xocili turned back to Vandrad. Her expression softed once more, though it was otherwise a mask. “I don’t want to fight you, Vandrad, but I will. Out of respect for you and your family, I’m giving you one chance to drop this. Please.
Scourge and Saffron hadn’t been in the ruins for longer than a minute or two before Seberg discovered them, his voice calling out his pleasure and drawing their attention over toward what appeared to have been a church once upon a time. He was hunkered on the tip of a tall piece of rubble, grinning down at them with excitement and remarking about them being his two favorite punching bags.
Saffron snorted, smirking a bit smugly in his direction as she crossed her arms, seemingly relaxed. “You hear that? He has the audacity to call us his favorites when he had the nerve to bitch out and abandon us last time after Mommy Maker ordered him home, like a good little boy. That wasn’t very Bonita of you, buddy,” she informed their enemy playfully. “Absolutely maidenless behavior if you ask me.”
She glanced around poignantly, as if taking in their surroundings for the first time with an overly innocent expression. “Well, I don’t see your shitheel master around to protect you, now. What about you, Scourge?” Saffron uncrossed her arms, stretching her limbs with a malicious grin on her face.
Mercury didn’t have much to say in response to Patty’s comment, merely giving her a silent nod of understanding in regard to the doctor’s stance. She tilted her head curiously at Blade’s confused insistence that Minotia had never been his name, but otherwise remained silent as the brothers exchanged words with one another, Blade’s tone far more combative than Maker’s. Her exchange with herself was, unsurprisingly, perfectly executed, with Mercury dropping just enough information for a believable fib to explain the “new” woman’s strange presence enough that Maker wouldn’t think too deeply into it. He was more than used to bounty hunters by that point in his life. His only true surprise was that only one between Hosrius and Grubar had arrived, the Terran waving in the Jirian’s direction. Mercury played up peering curiously over toward the other bounty hunter’s hiding spot as though she hadn’t been aware of him before, which really was only to live up to Maker’s understanding of the limits of her senses.
She attempted to placate Vandrad, which went over about as well as anyone would have guessed. Even Mercury didn’t appear very surprised or thrown off by his bitter response, the Xocili knowing him well enough to expect his anger and staunch refusal to listen. However, her eyes did narrow darkly at the insinuation that she had chosen to run off with Maker out of a need to keep herself leashed to slavery, the former prince hand picking what he knew was her deepest pet peeve: being treated like a servant. Before she could say anything back to him, Maker stepped in, snapping at Vandrad. Gone was the Terran’s smug arrogance and in its place was a genuine anger, demanding that Vandrad speak to Mercury with more respect.
The act only served to turn Vandrad’s ire toward Maker, berating him for thinking the Terran held any sway whatsoever with him. Vandrad was here for one reason, and one reason only: to kill Maker. And if Mercury stood in his way, then she would die, too.
That seemed to be all there was to say. Even as Maker summoned an energy blade from the copy of his Energy Monarch, Mercury withdrew Mercy from her holster. “As did I,” was her only sad response to Maker’s apology, the Xocili showing a final moment of sorrow toward her one time partner. Without hesitation, Ego finally clawed her way up from Patty’s subconscious eagerly, hurling a ball of green fire at Maker. Mercury dodged to the side, putting some space between herself and Maker so that their enemies would be equally forced to split apart to confront them, with Vandrad and Blade breaking off to chase the Terran, leaving Mercury alone with Ego and… well, herself. The Xocili easily maneuvered herself around Ego’s close range attacks, a smirk on her face despite everything. “No offense taken, Patty-Cake. Besides, with me out of the picture, maybe you’ll finally have a shot with grumpy yourself. You’ve certainly been thirsting over him long enough.” She dipped to dodge a glass arrow that Merciala had fired at her from behind, not even turning to look as she aimed her pistol behind her and took a few well aimed shots of her own.
Back on New Rhaegar, Khelben had been a quiet, if intense, statue of calm as they waited for the fight to break out. As he settled his blade at his back, he turned to Vriko. “I should be fine for a bit on my own if you want to pursue the Myn first. I don’t possess any magic, but I should be more than capable of defending myself against multiple opponents for a time, and your mission is the more critical one between the two of ours. Once I’m in, I’ll see what I can do to distract them to buy you as much time as you need.”
It was only a couple minutes after that when he got the nod from his father from across the room, where Zemenar stood behind a small row of other Xocili and Rhaegarians that were set up at computer stations, each of them focused on monitoring a specific group of allies. Though they were in the same room still, they would hear him more clearly through their communicators than from the source of the man’s voice. “Vriko, Khelben, you’re up. Please be careful… both of you.”
“I’m always careful,” Khelben informed him, a slight moment of the playfulness he used to have shining through for the briefest of moments as he raised the teleporter up and opened the portal.
“No you’re not,” Zemenar retorted softly in their ears with a brief snort.
Both of them stepped through, finding themselves standing inside the ship, though the interior looked more like what one would find in a castle. At least, from what he could see from where they currently were, which seemed to be a very small closet with flagstone walls. Khelben grunted in surprise at the tightly enclosed space as the portal disappeared behind them. Mercury had told him she had picked an unassuming starting point where they weren’t likely to be within immediate detection of any clones, but he hadn’t been expecting something so intimate. He and Vriko were practically on top of one another. “Sorry. Excuse me. Let me just..”
Worming his way around her, he finally got his hand on the knob, but paused before opening it, both to orient himself and to let his radars do an initial scan for alarms and lifeforms. “No alarms that I can detect,” he told her, his voice barely a whisper. “The clones all seem to be clustered in one of the labs at the moment, so as long as we don’t run into any surprises…” Khelben shrugged candidly, suggesting that it was easily as likely that there would be surprises as not. “Ready?”
Assuming she was, Khelben would activate a function on his tactical suit that turned him completely invisible, even as he quietly turned the knob and opened the door without making a sound. He let Vriko out and gave her a head start to get moving while he shut the door behind them just as tediously before making his way as hastily as he could toward Knowhere, his focus more on silence than on speed.
When he finally reached the room with the super computer, even he couldn’t help but to stop and stare at the sight in wonder. It truly was as beautiful as Mercury had described it. But unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to admire it as much as he would have liked. Making sure the door was shut, he dropped his cloaking and approached the interface, interlinking with it wirelessly as he got to work. “Lord Mythal, Lady Serilda, I’m at the console now. This technology is unlike anything I’ve ever worked with before, but my sister uploaded all of her knowledge of Knowhere and her experience working with it directly to me yesterday. I should have it open for connection in less than two minutes.”
“Understood,” was Serilda's response. Up until this point, she and Mythal had little to do other than to stand around and take in the sight of the foreign planet that had once been Blade and Maker’s home. A beautiful world, though haunting in the complete lack of any kind of life, even that of animals or insects. “On your mark, Khelben.”
The Xocili raced through the mainframe until he found the area that controlled the access points to the machine. He was aware of a silent alarm that was triggered as he forced his way past the encryptions, choosing to let it slide in the hopes that the clones would come immediately to him without realizing there was a second intruder in a different area of the ship. Finally, he made the necessary adjustments to switch the access mode to a wireless connection, opening up the range of the receiver and specifying it to a unique frequency that Quentin had instructed him to use. “Mark!” From there, he started uploading several of his own encryptions to protect the connection.
Seberg, as usual, wasn’t altogether impressed with the witty banter that Scourge and Saffron sent his way, stating as much out loud, though that only served to further encourage them both. The blonde watched with a smirk as Seberg dropped down to the ground amidst his banter with Scourge, going on and on about the number of people he had killed and the naivety that came from their youth.
Scourge called him out on the hypocrisy, and Saffron snorted. “For real.” Seberg admitted to Scourge’s point, but insisted that his confidence came from proven experience, while theirs came from bravado. “Umm… yeah? I mean, have you looked at us? What isn’t there to boast about?” Saffron gestured to both herself and Scourge, giving her partner a playfully incredulous look as if to say, “Do you even hear this guy?”
Of course a shred of their bluster paused as Seberg pulled out a communication device, announcing that Maker had already reached out to him to request his aid, the timing of which he couldn’t help but notice was all too coincidental with Scourge and Saffron’s arrival. It was a slight hitch, them having lost the element of surprise and wondering for the briefest moment if Seberg was going to leave just to make their job harder…
Yet it was unsurprising when the Rhaegarian instead elected to drop the device, crushing it under his heel and claiming that he had never actually received the message after all. Saffron’s smirk deepened, partially out of relief and partially out of focus, as Seberg admitted that he was far more interested in continuing where their last fight had left off. “I am pretty special,” the blonde playfully agreed, just before Seberg also commented on his respect for Scourge’s determination. He claimed both of them had vast amounts of potential, but he only needed one of them, and as such only intended on allowing one of them to live to fight another day… though who he picked remained to be seen.
Saffron said nothing to follow up Scourge’s proclamation that Seberg would be the only one not walking away from the fight, but the stony look on her face and the readiness of her posture was more than enough to convey the shared sentiment. She had only enough time for a perplexed twitch of her eyebrows as Seberg randomly spouted off a number without context before he burst toward them both, launching a series of kicks that forced them to separate from one another. Not waiting to have to take several blows before she could keep up with him, Saffron immediately injected a large quantity of stored energy from her arm into the rest of her body, her strength, speed, and durability increasing tenfold within an instant as she launched right into trading blows with him, focusing not on evading his attacks but redirecting them from critical areas so she could still absorb the kinetic energy from his strikes without being crippled by them.