Red Dragon Inn
Dreamweaver's Lair => Elysian Fields => The Phalanx => Topic started by: Katt Batten on September 17, 2017, 02:23:13 PM
Metallic claws scrape along the brickwork of a house as the darkly dressed Renna regarded the sky with a smile.
Katt was sluggishly making her way through the marketplace. You would think with her position she'd be dressed in something nice and not..a pair of tattered jeans and a hoodie. Yet there she was, sporting old things.
Her nose wrinkles. Her body pauses as she looks in a certain direction. She trembles. She moves that way.
She had yet to sense Renna or spot her which was likely not the best of things. She would not be hard to find, honestly, as she practically flopped herself onto the ledge of the fountain once close enough. While she wasn't a cat by any means she sure could play the lounging feline rather well!
And she the snake. She was behind her quicker than you could blink, dark crimsons narrowed. "Katt."
"Geh!" She jerked just enough that she spilled off of the ledge and right onto the ground with a thud. Groaning she sat up and rubbed her back. That smarted. No..what should be bothering her was that someone managed to sneak up on her. "Nhh...Hello Renna..."
Her smile was oddly forced. "And you too."
She made a low sound as she settled her back to the side of the fountain. Man that had smarted. "What are you doing sneaking up on me?"
The odd silence that came was met with a soft chuckle. Crimsons softened. "I am always quite creepy that way, aren't I?"
She...really couldn't deny that. "I guess...I am just not use to people sneaking up on me." Even if she was sure it partly had to do with her being in her thoughts so deeply. "You know..I really should punch your face in ...or drown you..or something." Her head tilted faintly and she glanced up to Renna with quite the sour look. "I heard what you did. First off where do you get off telling Ebon it is my fault that you are attacking and attempting to kill him?"
She looked up, then, laughed. "That was a lie." She admitted. "The real question is, did he tell you other things?" She tilted her head, her face turning blank. "Did he say?"
"No **** Doesn't mean I like you attempting to make me your fallout guy. And what the hell? Why the **** did you try to kill Ebon for?" She pushed herself up to her feet and swiped a hand at her rear to get rid of any dirt. "You mean like you having naked holograms of me around the inn? Yeah...didn't appreciate that a lick either."
"That was a distraction." She paused. "A sexy one at that." Renna flexed her metallic blades. "He didn't say?" She raised her brows. "How odd..."
"I am aware of you working with the Bhaal woman too." she pointed out. "Again I am asking, what the hell."
Her face fell flat. Her eyes burned. "I met someone who showed me the way."
She simply stared at Renna. "What way? Down the path to work my last nerve because you are doing a bang up job." It didn't go past her that Renna had practically called her sexy. Yes, that was filed away for later.
"Kiss and control." Renna whispered. "Don't you see, Katt?" She smiled wildly. "We're the same. Weapons of murder... I, myself... A Goddess... but no... I'm not, am I? We a mortal in our little world but Bhaal? He's fragmented and searching. A constant in all life." She whispered madly. "Murder, Katt. I was built for murder. I was born out of love and forged for murder. Born to kill. Born to eat, to devour and he showed me the reason... Bhaal." She extended a hand to Katt. "We both served in his name. To kill. To murder. We are both murderers, my dearest Shadow."
She didn't move but simply stared at Renna. "Damn.." She slowly slipped her hands into the pockets of her hoodie. "I didn't realize you were so weak willed, Renna. That you would bend to another so called god's will. That you would follow someone like a sheep... Tch. I may be a murderer but I damn well don't do it in anyone's name. Bhaal? Is nothing to me. Absolutely nothing."
"I can make you think otherwise." Mechanical tendrils snaked from under her dress as she approached Katt, her claws opening as her lips curled into a smirk. "I'm sorry. But you are essential to the coming awakening."
If she had any thought of it that would of been on the top list of creepy r us. Instead she slid a step back. "Awakening? Explain..."
"Bhaal's return." Her vacant crimsons glowed. "You don't think I can't use you again, Katt? A perfected vessel of murder. Together we can summon the one true Lord and Master. The Lord of Murder. Between us, our combined sacrifice can bring him back. We might not be of his spawn but us? Together? I think I can do it. I can make us perfect. I can make us... whole... under guidance of the Lord of Murder."
Ugh she felt dirty hearing Renna say that. "Think about what you are saying. You are willing to sacrifice yourself? To some god who calls himself 'lord of murder'. One true lord and master my ass. If you can't be your own lord and master than you are just a sad, sad little puppet and I am not going to call anyone master ever again!"
Her crimsons glared, her lips scowling. "I have nothing but this to save Edward!" She snapped. "He can save him... A true, real... God..." Tears formed. "Nothing will stop me. And even if I have to sacrifice us both, I will save him." She growled. "Whether you like it or not." Renna launched forward, claws outstretched to grip her shoulders. "Ebon... Icer... Jewell... Everyone! Me! YOU!" She screamed. "THEY WILL ALL DIE FOR THE LORD OF MURDER IF I CAN SAVE JUST HIM!"
That was crossing the line and it showed as her eyes narrowed thin and just as Renna came charging at her an arm reeled back and she threw a fist at Renna's face for all she was worth. Every muscle, every fiber, every amount of energy she could throw into that punch. "YOU BITCH!" The two words howled from her lips. "Do you **** honestly think Edward would want that?! Do you think he would want you sacrificing people to save his own hide?! How SELFISH are you?! Do you think I want to lose my brother? **** no! But I sure the **** wouldn't stoop to something so low to insult him!"
Struck, she flew back and hit a building hard enough to rupture into the brick itself, dust and the shards of concrete falling around her as she fell forward, purple blood falling from her grinning her lips. "Funny... he did the same for me..." She stood, wiping her lips. "Perhaps not as much as giving over his own sister, but the means? They meet the end."
The shadows at her feet shuddered, spasming as if trying to get away from her. Her own shadow seemed to want to escape her presence at the moment yet was firmly latched in place. There was a cold glaring stare fixated on Renna, not bothered a bit that she sent the woman flying. If anything she felt like she hadn't hit her hard enough. "I don't want to hear your crap. If you are going to go down that hole you go down by yourself and stop trying to drag people down with you. You do realize I am going to tell him this **** right? How the hell do you think he is going to feel? Again...how selfish are you?"
She snarled. "As if he cares, Katt!" She spat. "If he cared he'd be here with me!" She moved to approach Katt, claws outstretched. "Why do you say that word? Selfish? Of course I am selfish. I was born to kill and I will continue to kill and I will continue to be who I am because I am not afraid to show my true self! I am a bitch! I am a Betrayer! I am Renna and so help me you, and everyone will know my name even if it is in curses, and hated, or fear, or jokes! The thing is, Katt... You ought to fear it. I will save him. I have given you the option. Clearly you are against it. So, I need to replace souls close to worth of your own." She raised her brow. "I wonder how many I need to sacrifice for that."
"He'd probably be with your dumb ass if you weren't always flipping your noodle and betraying him. Ever thought about that? You can't force him to be with you, Renna and doing this is not going to woo him to your side. If anything you are just pushing him further away. And yes, I am clearly against you being a dumb**** and trying to kill people to appease some lowball god in hopes you can save my brother. Seriously, of all people, you should know better. That 'god' cannot help Edward. They are using you like a puppet and you are happily letting them pull your strings." Her fingers clenched tight at her sides. "You know what. Go ahead. Kill me. See where that gets you. I am not going to fight it. Knock yourself out." And to show she meant it, her arms dropped at her sides.
Her eyes dropps to Katt's hands as she approached her. "That's the fun part, Katt."
Her hands remained laxed at her side and she just gave Renna the blandest look that ever existed. "Whatever."
As Renna's claw thrusted out to Katt's chest, her bladed fingers turned into wiggling tendrils that sought to penetrate her body.
There was no attempt to stop her from doing so and when they did Katt made a small choking sound but seemed to do her absolute best to remain rooted in place. Teeth clenched, she refused to make a sound. Oh but her eyes could scream as she glared holes into Renna's skull.
Crimsons smiled. "Remember, Katt." She whispered. "I lie. A lot." The tendrils inside her body broke off and began forcing its way throughout her body. "I don't want you, Katt. Calculations dictated you would sacrifice yourself for Edward. It just made it all the more easier for me." The tendrils glowed as she forced her DNA to invade Katt's body. "I'm not going to sacrifice Edward." She whispered. "You are."
Her stomach tensed as the rest of her twitched. That was a god awful feeling. "W-What...What..do you mean..sacrifice...Edward..."
"We are Manticore, Katt." She grinned. "I won't be the one killing him." The tendrils tore out as she took a step back.
"I thought..to save him.." She jerked as Renna ..ahem..withdrew from her body and she staggered. There was a new fuel of cold in her eyes. "**** you. I won't...I won't...kill him..You know damn well I ..won't.." And people wonder why Katt never trusted Renna. Snarling she raised a hand to her chest. "Whatever ...whatever you did to me..stop it..I won't!"
"Welcome to the family, Katt."
Her blood drenched hand left her chest as she reached to grab at Renna. "Take it out of me!!"
Her hand would not reach her. Like some force stopped her. But it was after all, her own body. "The Manticore turns you into Renna." She smirked. "Enjoy that. It'll take days. I wonder how it will feel as a sister to slowly fall in love with your own brother..." She paused, then smirked, before laughing. "How awkward. Come back to me when you are willing to help me, Katt. Hell, we might even share the same values?"
Oh gross gross gross! Oh she was so lucky she couldn't be decked again. Already she was working on the plan of killing herself. A few small details to deal with first. "I don't help weaklings like yourself, Renna."
"Ah killing yourself?" She mused. She flicked a point to her own head. "I can hear those thoughts. Won't work. Your regeneration is quite... unique, now." Pause. "But then again a weakling can't have access to such sensitive information. Regardless. Enjoy." Renna disappeared in a soft chuckle. "Sister."
Her fingers curled and uncurled at her side, tears swelling in her eyes. "It will work. I'll make it work. I won't kill him. You know I won't. You know I will fight with everything I am."
Time was lost on her as she became one track minded - to either rid herself of this parasite or end her life before she became completely taken over. Before Renna took over and she ceased to exist. In a way, it was like Silma all over again but this time was different. She knew who it was. Knew it was happening. Knew that she was going to end up attempting to seduce her own brother and/or attempt to kill him. Who knows what that would do to Edward let alone Clayton or other people in her life. ?What damage Renna could do...
Her ?self? would be absorbed and her body nothing more than a puppet on strings.. and she was terrified. She could not deny that it rocked her down to her core enough that she couldn?t hide it no matter how hard she tried. Her normally emotionless mask was clouded with the fear of what was happening to her and the sheer knowledge that she could do absolutely nothing to change it and she tried. She fought and struggled against it. Even attempted to kill herself.
The attempts started out small, testing out this ?unique healing? that Renna told her of. Using the blade of her suit she severed her right hand clean off. The result - her hand had regrown hours later as if nothing had happened.
Next was a full body Reevi attempt. Since her Reevi still didn?t work as it was suppose to, it tore her flesh away in a way that should have left her bleeding out. All it did was cause a bloody mess atop the clock tower where she watched over the city in her dismayed state. A bloody mess and a whole lot of pain. It didn?t take long for the flesh to regen..leaving her a shaking, shredded mess. Her favorite jeans and hoodie was barely pieces of cloth clinging to her, keeping her modest at least. Nevermind they were drenched in her blood. She looked as if she had stepped out of the lazarus pool that Race had made for her, very little of her person was not tainting red.
She could feel it creeping in her, demanding...pulling..threatening...and it was driving her insane. ?Please...stop?? The plead went to the deaf night air as she looked over the city then down below, her eyes trailing along the side of the building. Surely there was no way she could survive ...that. She knew how selfish it was not turning to Clayton. She knew he wouldn?t be able to help her. He wouldn?t be able to kill her. Edward...might. He was fully intending on to when she got infected before, right? And look what happened..Poor Leo...If anything that guilt she still held spurred her to the edge of the clocktower.
?I?m sorry,? she mumbled to the air as she leaned forward, her body pitching off the side of the clocktower and gravity doing the rest to pull her groundward.
There was just enough time for gravity to wrap its deadly grip around her body, for the air to start pressing into her and streaming her hair out behind her as she began to accelerate towards the ground, when there came a new sound, just audible over the sound of the wind rushing in her ears. A high-pitched, whistling whine, faint and rapidly growing louder.
The sound of small, powerful thrusters, several of them. Approaching from above.
There?d be just enough time for the sound to register on her senses before weight slapped into her back, a metallic mass that wrapped itself around her chest with fluid rapidity. It was followed in swift succession by more of them, all at once, covering her legs, arms, and finally her head, as the Shadow Stealth Armor developed for Katt by her brother intercepted, her on the fly and activated once in place, not giving her even enough time to try to squirm out of the way. The AR display snapped on as the helmet closed over her head, the enhanced visual flaring to life, dominated by bold red block lettering across the field of view which said simply ?EMERGENCY COMMAND MODE?.
A sharp electronic whine sounded as the armor polarized and activated, and despite any protestations or struggles began to move automatically as she closed on the ground below, repositioning her body with it as it turned her upright, thrusters firing off to slow her descent, then settling her down on the ground gently as a feather, on her feet. Once there, the armor simply stopped its movements, the thrusters cutting off into sudden silence.
There was a long moment where nothing happened, the armor silent but still active, the EMERGENCY COMMAND MODE notification still flashing over her field of view, before a familiar voice spoke in her ear, the Cajun-accented tones furious. In a way, it was almost an exact repeat of another incident that had happened between brother and sister some time ago.
?Jus? what?n de hell d?ya t?ink yer doin?, sis?? His face popped up in a corner of the AR display inside the helmet, and yep, sure enough, he looked pissed. He knew damn well what this would sound like, too - berating her for exactly the same thing he?d done countless times - but he couldn?t help it. ?Did it even occur t?ya dat Ah might be able t?help ya? Ya mighta missed it, but de only damn person ?round dese parts dat?s managed t?find a cure for one o?Renna?s viruses is me.?
The armor split open along the back, sections unfolding until Katt was able to step out of it if she so desired, although the voice persisted. ?Did ya even t?ink ?bout what dis would be like fer me? An? what about Clayton, sis? Ah don? t?ink ya know what losin? you would do to him. An? let?s not even get into de rest o?de people ye?d be leavin? behind.?
Words fell from her lips that were harsh and angry. No! NOO! She did not activate her armor so why was it there! Even as it encased her and stopped her from meeting the ground, she tried her damndest to command it to release her. This should not be happening! The panic and anger ceased when she heard her brother's voice. How? No..she shouldn't be surprised right? Still, in her state, she was. She was not surprised as much as to keep her face turned from him he scolded at her. Talk about Deja vu. Only difference was she wore her fear where he never had and she didn't want him to see her looking like that.
"Shut up! Of course I thought about that. But...But how long would it take you to come up with even an idea of how to help me?! Will you be able to do it in the days? Hours! Time I have left? I can feel her in me, Edward! Will you be able to save me before I am no long me?!" Her face shot to the display of his angered face, tears staining her lashes. "I thought about all of that! But what would you rather me do? I don't know how much time I have and neither do you but it isn't a whole lot of time. And if you fail? You would feel guilty. And I am not even going to go into how you would feel if she used me and plopped my body in your bed." Yeah, see, Renna placed that mental imagine in her head and now she was sharing it with her brother. "What would that do to you? Or Clayton? Or anyone! Her using me as a puppet while I no longer exist."
Feeling the summer air against her back she didn't step out just yet. "It doesn't feel very nice, does it?" She didn't think he would understand what she meant in that phrase and oddly she was okay with that. How many times has he hidden what was wrong with him from her? Suffered without letting her in. Because he didn't want to 'add' to her plate or didn't want to be seen as weak. She surely didn't want anyone seeing her in her terrified state but if it had to be anyone...she didn't mind it being him.
Her lips trembled and her tongue poked out just enough to press against her upper lip. As her tongue relaxed back into her mouth she mumbled in a shaken voice, "I'm scared..." In that moment she could feel the tears as they slid down her cheeks but she used her escape from the suit to hide them.
The suit remained exactly in the position she left it in, standing sentinel, the back open to the interior of the armor, which was dark save for the head, the display still brightly lit for a moment. Finally it too went dark, followed an instant later by a sharp click and a brief down-cycling whine as the armor powered off.
His voice kept on, though, this time from a new direction, as he strolled across from the western end of the square, his long trenchcoat billowing out around him as he strode towards her. His features were furious. Yeah, he?d heard what she said, all of it. But he wasn?t about to be deterred.
?Ya t?ink Ah ain?t?? He gestured at himself, angrily. ?Ah got an issue dat?s gonna kill me fer sure. Not only is gonna do dat, but when Ah go, Ah hafta be sure dat dere ain?t not?in? ?round me for a good long ways. When Ah go, it?s gotta be alone. An? Ah ain?t gonna know, prob?ly, not ?till it?s too late t?have time fer a proper goodbye. S?not a pleasant t?ought.?
He sighed as he came to a halt, perhaps too close to his sister. He knew how the Manticore virus worked, and knew it was keyed to react to him specifically, it seemed. Like all of Renna?s unique technology, it even had a personality all its own, and this particular strain had latched onto him when it was first being developed. That Renna had chosen to inflict this strain on his sister...it was perverse in the extreme, even for Renna, and he wondered what could have made her do such a thing.
?Ah know yer scared, sis. It?s de funny t?ing all de people don? seem t?know ?bout people like us. We may be de badasses o?de world, but we prob?ly know more ?bout fear dan anyone. Dat don?t mean ya call it quits an? do somet?in? stupid. Didja even look for anot?er way? Or didja jump straight to de conclusion dat offin? yerself was de best course o?action? How would you?ve felt if dat?d been what Ah tried t?do soon as Ah knew what was comin???
She said nothing at first, nor did she even move. It took all her strength to fight the virus and it was maddening, taking all her focus to resist. "The big difference is you did it to yourself, Edward. I still remember how you looked during the first few months after you started the project..." Her eyes slid over to him, her chin remained lowered just enough to keep her face from view but allow her eyes to spot him, "I remember how you looked practically on death's door and it ate at me that you would not tell me what was going on. You would tell me everything was fine when it was clearly not. It still isn't and you are still pushing me away. You don't have to be alone. You choose that..." She paused before grunting quietly, "Or maybe you simply would just rather her at your side when it happens and nobody else."
Her hand lashed out towards him suddenly but stopped at the halfway mark between them, her fingers twitching in an unnatural way and the muscles in her arms tightening with effort. Inhaling sharply, she forced herself to concentrate more, before she exhaled through barely parted lips and lowering the hand to her side. Keeping a grip on herself felt near impossible when when he was so close and allowing her emotions to get the better of her nearly costed her. "You realize she had almost instant control of me, correct? That I can feel her in my veins and head? I am barely here...and you..are seriously going to ask me that."
Her fingers curled at her sides. "I already told you, Edward. Of course I had considered. My first thought was to turn to you but I don't have time. There is no time. I am already fight with everything I am just to resist her fully taking over...I have been fighting it since the moment she infected me." she mumbled something else but it was more of a bunch of jumbled words as she blankly stared at the ground. She paused, stilling completely.
Finally the words left her, quiet and barely above the mumble she had been before, "I'm sorry." Her head rose up enough that her face could be seen and though her cheeks were wet with tears her face she did manage a smile. "If you can..please...help me before it is too late...Before I lose myself..." Or she mentally snapped because that was quickly becoming an issue.
For several moments, he was utterly speechless. He wanted to be angry, because she was pushing all the right buttons. And she undoubtedly knew it, trying to goad him into a less rational frame of mind. And this might be a talk they needed to have, because she didn't seem to understand his reasons, and he certainly didn't understand hers. He instead seized on the last thing she said, because that was right, as well. There wasn't time for these arguments anyway. "Ya want me t'help you? Dat's what Ah'm doin', right now. Ah'm savin' yer life. All ya have t'do is come wit' me, right now. Please." The last word was near a plea.
"Yes," she quietly replied as she took a step towards him, her fingers twitching violently at her side, "Help...me..." Her head lowered as she stopped before him, likely hiding it in shame. Trickles of tears fell from her cheeks and splashed the ground. There was no warning as she reached out and grabbed his shirt with force, head snapping up with canines exposed.
He was wary as she approached. Yes, it was his sister, infected or not. But he saw that twitch. That mindless babbling had clued him in, as well. The virus was close to the surface, trying to take over, but he could see Katt was fighting it. A small, detached part of him was intellectually curious about it. She'd been infected with another version of the virus once before, and it had managed to take her over much more easily than this. Tht part of him pondered the possibilities, was shunted to the side to come to its conclusions alone, to allow him to focus on his sister. When she leaped at him, he was already reaching for her shoulders, so she just about charged into his grip. Even so, he was almost caught by surprise, and managed to shove her backwards out of reflex more than any forethought. It was exquisitely timed - behind her, the Shadow armor had quietly powered up, controlled by DIANA, reached to wrap its arms around her.
Her intentions were questionable but she would never see them filled it seemed. When shoved back her body twisted unnaturally, so when caught by the suit she was in a half estate of returning to full attack stance. Being denied and caught caused a beastly snarl to erupt from her lips, a glare that was mixed was sent his way. "DIANA! Release me!" It was her suit after all. Her eyes remained transfixed on Edward. "I thought you wanted to help me!?" Slowly her head tilted, rocking almost as if a doll on string. "Let me go..."
The suit behind her was unyielding in its grip, even at the demand of its owner. If anything, the embrace tightened. Ed shook his head, sighing softly, keeping his distance now as he eyed his sister. "Ah do want t'help ya, sis. Dat's what Ah'm doin'. But ya gotta come wit' me fer me t'do dat." ?
He sighed again, his eyes shifting to the empty armor suit holding her, then back to his sister again. "And ya are comin' wit' me, Katt. But Ah'd rat'er not have to hurt ya t'do it."
"Rather..not..harm me..." Her head tilted faintly as she regarded Edward with a look of amusement, her eyelids drooping down in a half-mast. "I don't want to hurt you either, Edward. I just wanted a taste. Just..a little taste. You know you are curious. How it feels to have my body leaning against yours, lips to your neck," was she purring at him? Yes, yes she was. She squirmed a bit in her bonds though it didn't seem to be the struggle of trying to get out - it was something altogether different. "We could have such fun if you would only ju-"
The words stopped sharply and she jerked out of the sinuous squirm, her frame becoming rigid and stiff as if the suit was a board to her back. Teeth clenched she stared at the sky as she remained stiff for a moment or two then slowly began to deflate, heavy breaths huffed from between her lips. When her eyes found her brother she looked more focused and no longer giving him the rather bedroom-eyed stare. "I can't..." She managed the words from behind clenched teeth and sounded an awful lot like a sob. ?"I can't...If you let me go...I will...try...to...kill you." She wanted him to understand the weight of the situation. She was losing the battle from within despite all of her will put into it. This was not what she wanted and she had a feeling that this time there would be no coming back.
It was all he could do not to blast her. He knew it was his sister, this body, her voice, but it was the virus speaking. Even using Katt's voice, he knew it. The tone, the wording, the inflection...all of it was Manticore. If he could, he would have blasted it out of her, but it wasn't that simple. With Renna, it never was. Even when she snapped out of it and regained control, he knew there was little choice. The virus had spread too far, and the only way to stop it was to make it focus on something else.
With a sigh, he closed his eyes, forcing himself not to consider what he was about to do. It was unthinkable, and yet...in her own way, Katt was right. There was only one way to stop this. When he opened his eyes again, he looked past his sister, at the featureless faceplate of the armor suit holding her tight. "Do it." The armor's only response was to emit a familiar, high-pitched upcycling whine a split second before channeling 6,000 volts of electricity through its metallic skin, directly into his sister's body...three times what it would normally take to kill a human being.
She watched as he closed his eyes...as he sighed. She knew the feeling of watching a sibling in pain...suffering. She watched him dwindle away not just once. It wasn't easy and she hated she had him in that situation. "Edward..." was muttered at him when his eyes opened only to look past her. The look of confusion when he uttered the two words lasted seconds before her sharp greens went wide and her body jerked. There was no sound, no scream, no cry, just her lips parted in silence as her body spasmed under the electric currents influence. Her head bobbed a few times before lulling back to thunk against the suit of armor. A lifeless stare was offered offered to the sky and the first sound she made was given. A low chuckle that drew out her last breath before she stilled.
It wasn?t easy, but he forced himself to watch. He was doing it to her, he should bear witness to killing the only family he had, right? He held himself stiffly immobile, refusing to turn away while Katt?s body stiffened and twitched of its own accord as electricity fired through her nervous system and triggered her muscles, completely scrambling them and crisping her brain in the process.
It lasted only seconds, but it felt as though it were a lifetime. When Katt?s body went limp, his eyes flicked from her form to the armor holding her upright in its arms. ?Di??
There was a moment?s pause, long enough for a stab of pure nervous agony to slice through his heart, before the coolly detached voice of the AI spoke. ?It?s done, sir. Miss Batten is currently exhibiting no life signs. The Manticore virus is now actively repairing the damage. We have approximately fifteen minutes before cellular regeneration is completed and she regains consciousness.?
He nodded rigidly to the suit. ?Okay. Get ?er into containment.?
The suit didn?t deign to reply, simply tightened its grip on his sister?s still form and lifted off with a screeching roar of powerful thrusters, arcing up over his head and towards the Tower looming in the near distance. It wasn?t until both were out of sight that he turned away, free of prying eyes at last, letting out a long, moaning sob of anger and grief.
It was one of those ?out of body? experiences, or that is how it felt, when the Shadow Armor collected her to take flight. Her head rolled forward and for a moment, just a moment, she saw her brother, bathed in a halo of white light before things quickly became dark.
The massive jolt of electricity made her heart feel like it was ready to explode from her chest - a kick that was far stronger than how her heart skipped when Clayton kissed her for the first time. Her brain and skin were frying, boiling from the inside. She was not human, by any measure of the word, and her body could take a beating - nothing like this. Then again he knew this. This was the course he decided to take and she would not fight it.
The internal battle waged was one that left her nearly mentally shattered but not so much that she for one of the most important things.
She trusted him...
When she told him to kill her, she laid her life in his hands without a second thought. Her loyalty..her trust...her faith was in the man she called brother.
So why didn?t she go to him for help in the first place?
It wasn?t the lack of trust in him but she didn?t want to put him in the position that he would have to kill her before the virus took over. She was all but scared that by the time he even found her that the virus would have already taken hold and she would no longer be herself. It would not be her he would be facing. It would not be her attacking him.
She knew it was selfish of her to ask him to kill her. He couldn?t. Just the same as she couldn?t kill him. It was why she fought so damn hard to keep the virus from taking over?. She couldn?t and wouldn?t kill him. Renna couldn?t make her! But then again after the Manticore Virus consumed her, she would no longer be her. She would be Manticore. She would be...Renna.
She couldn?t die. It would not allow her to. Renna would not allow her to. Oh no, Renna wanted her body, most likely to taunt her brother much like she used the Scath Sister with Issy.
Round and round it went, her body laid limp during travel. She could feel the virus working diligently to repair the damage done. Her mind trapped in on itself as if it too would keep her who she was. A sense of guilt was at the front of everything - for putting him in such a situation. If only she had went to him in the first place instead of giving into that fear?
[size=9]8/16/2017, 03:30 Rhy'din Daylight Time
Batten Tower, Penthouse Level[/size]
"It is ready, sir."
He looked up from the myriad holograms surrounding him, various readouts scrolling across them, to see the shimmering blue figure of DIANA appear before him. "Show me."
The AI's holographic construct vanished, along with the holographic readouts surrounding him, to be replaced with another series of holographic readouts, these larger and more detailed. As he watched, the data streamed across them seamlessly, as well as graphical representations.
All of the graphical displays were familiar sights to him. They showed the Manticore virus, currently hosted by his sister's body, working to modify her physiology and repair it from the damage he was doing to it. Another showed that damage, a series of nanomachines which were busy tearing at his sister's body at near the molecular level, just fast enough to keep the Manticore virus busy, not so fast as to cause any damage which would be permanent.
These readouts were not the focus of his attention, however. In fact, he did his best to ignore them. He had eyes only for the spiky, multi-limbed construct in the center of it all, and the readouts streaming around it.
The remnants of the Guardian Project nanomachines that he'd extracted from himself over 5 years ago were still viable units, albeit completely drained of power. When they'd malfunctioned, he had been unable to remove their programming, and had to resort to measures that had nearly killed him in the process of getting rid of them. Along the way, he had discovered that they were pretty much impossible to destroy and able to adapt themselves to counter anything he was able to throw at them. When DIANA had first suggested using them as a cure for the latest strain of Manticore that Katt was incubating, he'd thought she had somehow gone insane, or perhaps was suffering from a memory glitch.
But then the AI had reminded him of two facts. The first, that she was not the same DIANA that had helped him remove the Guardian virus. The other fact, however, was more to the point: that this DIANA had not only helped develop a nearly identical project for an alternate Edward Batten in a different, darker reality, but she also had a much deeper understanding of the intricate workings of the Guardian Project then he or his counterpart had ever managed to obtain.
He reached out and flicked his fingers at the holographic construct as he spotted an anomaly. "Just a sec, Di. What's this?"
"An adjustment, sir. Prior to her infection, the Reevi part of your sister's DNA was in a state of flux, as though it were still developing. In the time since then, it appears to have stabilized and bonded with her fully. I had adjusted the programming of the nanomachines to compensate so that the alterations to her DNA would leave the Reevi part of her mostly unaffected, while enhancing the bond between it and the non-Reevi part of her which will be altered in the process of eliminating the Manticore virus. However, now that it has stabilized, I have altered the programming to include new enhancements to the Reevi genetics which were included in your counterpart's version of the Guardian Project, in order to make it more resistant to external influences."
He nodded, flicking at the hologram again to resume the feed. "And yer sure dis'll work? It ain't gonna affect her de same way it did me, or her counterpart, will it?"
"No, sir. The nanomachines will infuse her DNA with the same crystalline material that was woven into your own genetic makeup. However, her physiology is more compatible with the genetic alterations you went through than your human DNA is. As for her counterpart, the Kathryn Batten of my prior acquaintance was subjected to numerous, adverse psychological traumas during treatment in order to change her into a psychopathic killing machine. The treatment by itself will not have the same effect."
He nodded, his eyes following the flow of data. Once it finished, he nodded again. "All right. How long until we can begin the treatment?"
There was a momentary pause this time. "The treatment has been completely manufactured and is ready to be administered. However, the nanomachines that are currently keeping her in stasis will need to be removed and the Manticore virus allowed to regenerate her to a point where she can survive the initial interaction of the treatment with the Manticore virus."
He grumbled to himself. This AI could be maddeningly verbose at times. "So...how long?"
"Approximately two hours, sir."
"Good. Let's get everything ready to go."
[size=9]8/16/2017, 05:45 Rhy'din Daylight Time
Batten Tower, Sublevel 7, Vault D[/size]
"De two hours is up, Di."
"You will note that I did say 'approximately' two hours, sir. Nothing is entirely certain when it comes to biology, as you well know."
He grumbled as he rolled his eyes at the detached voice before returning his gaze to the tableau laid before him. The "gurney" was really a reinforced autopsy table, more or less, of his own design, strong enough to withstand stresses upon its frame that were several times greater than what he thought it would have to undergo.
He hoped, anyway. He'd designed it according to the specifications that DIANA had given him. Along with the treatment itself.
On top of the table, secured to its surface by several thick bands of OmniProof fabric, lay his sister, her body covered by a form-fitting black fabric suit that covered her from just under her armpits to just about mid-thigh. Above her, hanging from the ceiling like some bizarre, lethal-looking insect, was the treatment delivery apparatus, ten needle-tipped armatures linked to the central control hub with its reservoirs full of the first stage of the treatment, a silver-and-black swirling substance that refused to be still and instead roiled about in a perpetual maelstrom inside the transparent container.
He turned his attention back to the holographic readouts next to him, watching as his sister's vital signs were displayed for him. They hadn't changed for the last thirty minutes, save for in very slight, almost undetectable ways.
He grumbled and stood up, stretching. He'd been sitting in the chair for almost an hour, since they'd gotten everything set up. "Ah'm gonna go get a drink. Lemme know if anyt'in'..."
He stopped, trailing off, halfway to the door, and turned towards the gurney his sister was strapped to.
Listening to the soft sound of throaty laughter.
Her eyes were closed, but as he looked upon her they opened, gazing up to the ceiling as her laughter grew louder. There was amusement in the sound, as well as a mocking tone, and an undercurrent of something darker, more...wanton, as she spoke.
"Edward. You have me all tied up." She chuckled, long and low, as she raised her head to look at him. "I knew you were kinky like that. You have me all tied up."
He withdrew a step from her, shaking his head. This wasn't right, not the way it was supposed to be. It was his sister there, all right. But those words, that voice.
That was Renna. That was Manticore.
Her lips formed a mocking pout as she saw him take a step back, and then she laughed again. "Oh, come on now. Look at me, Edward. I'm young, fit, attractive...surely you've noticed. You are a man, after all. Aren't you?"
As he watched, she moved under the straps. Not struggling to be free, but rather writhing sensually against them, a low, sensual moan escaping her lips.
"Come, Edward. You want her, just as she wants you. She does, you know. When you first met she wanted you, and some part of her still does, buried deep down where it will never see the light of day again. Surely you've been curious, what it would be like to take this body, were she not your sister." She stopped moving, her smile turning wicked as she watched him where he stood, frozen, transfixed, an expression of fear and grief reflecting the turmoil within as he listened to the virus speak using his sister's voice, her mouth. "You could, you know. No one would know, down here, deep in this vault. If it helps, she isn't your sister right now. She's mine."
That smile widened, her laughter growing louder, crueler. "And you will never get her back, Edward. Never."
She started laughing again, her head falling back on the table, louder, mocking, harsh and cruel. That laughter, echoing in the chamber around them, filling his ears, was the sound of his own personal hell.
And finally, something snapped.
He barely remembered moving, even later, but suddenly he was next to the gurney, his face inches from hers, his hand seizing her around the throat. The table shuddered as he slammed her head back into its surface, his eyes furious as he stared into hers.
Into the eyes of the Manticore.
"You listen t'me. Ah want ya t'get a real good look at dis face. Ah've killed ya before, an' guess what?" His hand tightened around her neck again, her eyes widening as her mouth moved in silence, attempting to make some sound. She failed even to make a strangled peep. "Ah'm gonna do it again."
He pushed her head back against the table again and held it there. "Look good. Dis is de last t'ing yer ever gonna see t'rough dese eyes. Di, start de treatment."
He didn't even look up as he said it, didn't move until the last moment, when he pushed away from her just before the needles found their marks in her flesh, her breath coming in harsh, ragged gasps.
He stood back and watched as the treatment was injected into her. The Virus tried to struggle, using his sister's body, tried to get away, but there was no chance, no room to maneuver so she could get away. The scream that ripped out of his sister's throat then was one of defiance, of anger and frustration, loud and long...
...and then with a sudden violent shuddering, she fell silent and limp back onto the table.
[size=9]09/10/2017, 13:55 Rhy'din Daylight Time
Batten Tower, Sublevel 7, Vault D[/size]
The explosion caught him by surprise.
One moment, he was explaining to his sister's fiancee her condition.
It was quite a story. DIANA had informed him of how things would go, of course. Stage one would eliminate the virus and begin the alterations and enhancements to the non-Reevi half of her genetic makeup, in preparation for the second stage of the treatment. The second stage built upon the foundation laid by the first stage, interacting with the Reevi portions of her physiology. The alterations would trigger an interesting reaction in the Reevi genetic makeup, causing it to form a chrysalis in which the remaining enhancements and mechanisms of evolution would be allowed to complete their work.
What would come out, of course, even DIANA could not wholly predict, only that she would be proof against any of Renna's future viral agents, just as Ed was. She knew the treatment would be a success, however, as it had succeeeded on another version of Katt in another world...though the results had been markedly different, of course.
Clayton had been remarkably calm about it. That should have been his warning, of course. He'd heard that saying many times about upsetting the quiet people. His mistake had been in remarking on that calmness.
He found himself up against the wall of the vault, slammed into it hard to create a man-shaped divot in the armored surface and to make his vision go black for a moment, blinding slivers of light dancing and bursting in his sight. When his eyes cleared he found himself well off the floor, held by a huge, clawed hand against his chest by a creature half man, half catamount, the green-gold eyes inches from his own.
"You told me you would not keep things like this from me again." The voice was a low, deadly rumble, only barely human, coming from vocal equipment not specifically constructed for the shaping of words, but understandable nonetheless.
He shook his head, though it rang with pain and more stars exploded across his vision as he did, his voice pained as he spoke. Pained, but not weak. "Geez, man...ya were outta contact...dere wasn't a way..."
The hand let up on his chest, letting him drop in a heap to the floor. He coughed and pushed himself up to his feet. Cracked ribs, a concussion, maybe even a fractured skull. It would heal in less than an hour, but it was going to hurt until then. When he looked up, he saw Clayton turned back to the table, human again, although lacking clothes now. He could see scraps of cloth that was probably the remains of the man's clothing.
"You could have found a way to tell me. Sent someone."
He sighed and nodded as he leaned against the wall, one arm held across his throbbing ribs. He could have, yes. He'd thought it would be fixed by now, but even DIANA was beginning to voice concern. He couldn't even think of a reply that wouldn't sound like an excuse or a justification.
Instead he pushed away from the wall, moving towards the huge door that was the entrance to the vault. "Ah'll...give ya some time wit' her, Ah guess." He got nearly to the door, stopped and looked back. "Ah've done everyt'in' Ah can t'ink of, man, Ah promise. It'll be all right...she'll be all right. She'll be perfect., ya'll see."
He turned and stepped through the door. He was halfway down to the elevator door when he heard the soft murmur from Katt's bedside, as easily as though it had been whispered in his ear.
"She was already perfect."
He stood there for a long time at the head of the table she was laid on, still as a statue, staring at the shape before him.
Had Edward not told him it was his Kathryn, he still would have known. The material encasing her was dark, obscuring her features, faceted like crystal but with an oddly organic appearance nonetheless. When he laid his hands on it, it was just slightly warmer than the air around it, and he thought he could feel a slight pulsing through his fingertips as he touched it. Almost like a heartbeat.
The contours of the chrysalis conformed perfectly to her shape, the sleek and sensual curves of her body he was so intimately familiar with, but it was the scent that really told him that it was his love inside this motionless shell.
Faint, yet tantalizing...all his favorite scents. Damp earth, sea salt, catnip, mint, rabbit. Each distinct and yet combined in such a way to make up that essence that he would never fail to recognize.
Her scent, as always, filled his mind with memories. Every touch, every word, every intimate caress. Moments of laughter, moments of tears. Lately, moments of longing, as he'd been pulled away again and again at her brother's request for longer assignments.
A soft rumble rolled from his throat as his hands pressed against the shell surrounding her. Mountain lions were solitary animals by nature, lone hunters. He had spent much of his rather long life alone, and until recently, that had not bothered him.
But that was before Kathryn.
He'd known, from the moment he'd first seen her, that they belonged together. There had been an instant shock of recognition, as though he'd known her all his life, despite knowing he'd never laid eyes on her before that moment. If asked, he couldn't have said where it came from, or how he knew. It was just a feeling of certainty, so powerful it couldn't be denied.
And now, here he stood, so many years later, so many trials and tribulations and tests. So much had happened, and he'd missed more than he should have. It was time for that to stop. A lone hunter he might have been, but no longer.
He leaned further over the cocooned shape of his beloved, hands splayed and pressed against the surface where her shoulders would be, until his forehead was resting against the chrysalis, just where hers would be under the surface of the shell. One hand left her shoulder to stroke the place where her cheek should be, his voice a bare whisper as he pressed his lips softly to the glossy surface.
"It is time to awaken, my love. Come back to me...come back to us, Kathryn."
[size=9]11/12/2017, late evening
Batten Tower, Sublevel 7, Vault D[/size]
He entered the vault, as he had every day for the last week or so. He'd honestly lost track, but that in itself wasn't unusual. When you've been alive for over three centuries, time starts to lose it meaning somewhat. Clad as always in nothing more than jeans and a t-shirt, he walked over to the table that his beloved was laid out on in her cocoon. As before, he saw no change, but that didn't keep him from holding out hope. He took a moment to caress the smoothly faceted surface of the chrysalis before moving to take a seat nearby, to wait. And watch.
The awareness was something that was developing more strongly as days and weeks went by. Today was the day that she felt the warmth more vivid than normal. Enough that she actually stirred from whatever deep sleep that had kept her. As she awoke the chrysalis began to simply break away. There was no sound or even hint it was going to happen. It just began to break down and shatter into fine dust as she moved to sit up. One hand went up to her forehead as she blinked her eyes open. Oh how painful the light was to her aching eyes. Nevermind the humming in her brain or the ache in her body just attempting to sit up.
He was halfway into the act of sitting when the cocoon she was encased in simply...disintegrated. He froze in place as he watched, uncertain of what he was seeing. His people were not prone to hallucinations or the like, of course, but as hunters they had been taught not to rely on their eyes in any case. For a long time he simply remained in that position, caught between sitting and standing, staring. Finally he found his voice, enough to say her name. "K...Kathryn...?"
Her dark hair spilled forward over her shoulder as she hunched forward, the fine threads looking more like black spun glass or crystal. A luster that was all of its own and created a shine of silver wave until it settled. She was rubbing at her eyes when a voice caught her attention and her eyes slid over to the direction it came from. Sharp greens looked between her fingers, which much like her arms, legs, and sides of her face had very raised, black veins. She just stared at the figure that was just out the edge of her vision's range - at least for now. "Who...are you?"
He blinked at the question. He'd been expecting something more along the lines of where she was, or what had happened while she was asleep. Asking who he was, though... "I'm Clayton...your fiancee..." It was the first thing that came to his mind. Maybe she was just disoriented. Surely it couldn't be memory loss.
She stared at him until he came into focus before looking away. Inching her way to the edge of the bed she swung her legs over and once her feet touched ground she pushed off. Her legs felt unsteady but she would cling onto the table until she was steady. "And..you called me...Kathryn?" These names didn't register to her mind at all. "Where...am I?" Even as she asked she was looking around, eventually spotting what looked like the exit.
Damnit. He had hoped that she was just a little loopy from her "nap." He stood from his pose, slowly, watching her carefully. "Yes. Kathryn. That's your name." He could see her looking around, assessing her surroundings, locating the sole exit. Even if he wanted to, there was no way for him to interpose himself between her and the partially open vault door fast enough. "You are in the lowest sub-basement of your brother's corporate facility. You have just awoken from a coma that you have been in for nearly a month."
There was no body movement that suggested she was going to run but her eyes spoke a different story. These names he was pulling up didn't sound familiar but then again she had no clue what her name was. She did seem to pause and look his way when he mentioned a family member. A brother. "And why should I believe you? You do not register as familiar in the least." The look she gave him was heavy and indifferent.
The indifference in her gaze was to be expected. That didn't make the ache that knifed through his chest at the sight of it any easier to bear, however. He swallowed, looking away a moment, trying to recover himself. His voice was softer as he spoke this time. "It's because you are suffering from amnesia, Kathryn. If you would like, I can show you I am telling the truth, but I cannot make you believe it regardless. That, I fear, is up to you."
His reaction gave her pause. He seemed...rattled and she didn't understand why that bothered her. He was nothing to her and yet, by his words, he was much more. "Amnesia..." She seemed to be giving it some thought, "You spoke of a sibling. Why isn't he here? And just exactly how do you plan on showing me 'the truth'?"
He managed to look at her again, though there was much more emotion in his gaze than in hers. "Amnesia victims tend to benefit from familiar surroundings, I am told. Familiar places and sights and smells." He gestured to the room around them, sterile and angular and metallic. "This place has no familiarity for you. I would need to take you...home." He sighed as he paused. "As for your brother...he has been kidnapped. By the same person that did...this...to you. I do not know where he is yet."
She glanced around their surroundings before slowly turning her eyes back to him. Wouldn't he be a familiar sight and smell? She considered and after a moment slowly nodded. "Alright then." She agreed to him taking her elsewhere. Maybe he was right and something would trigger her memories. That was all taking in and just as quickly as she started to move, she stopped. "Kidnapped." Slowly her lips curled a frown. "Why would this person do this? Why do..whatever it is they did to me and take him? Where was he taken from if he was not here with you?" She wasn't calling him a liar or nothing but there were holes in the story she was looking to fill.
He had already started towards the door to the vault as she did, but her questions brought him up short. It was, after all, a very good question. "To be completely honest, I am not sure I understand the 'why' of any of this. Her name is Renna, and she is known to you...or she was, before she afflicted you with the virus for which your brother was treating you. She and your brother have a...history. But I do not know why she took him. He wasn't here, though, because I was the one watching over you at the time he was kidnapped. He has many responsibilities to see to that require his personal attention...much as he wanted to be, he could not be here every moment."
She listened just as intensely as she was watching him - seeking any sort of tell that would give him away as a liar. Her head drew back a bit. A virus is what did this to her? "A history? What sort of history would have a woman infecting one sibling and stealing the other?" A slow shake of her head was given in clear view that she had no idea what was going on. Nothing rang a bell. Renna was just another name at this point. The information was stowed for now and she gestured for him to lead the way. Home, apparently.
He started for the door at her gesture, speaking as he went. "It is a rather...complicated story, to be sure. And even knowing it, I am still unsure of the motivation. Renna is not what one might call...predictable." He reached to door and pushed it open, gesturing for her to follow, but as he did so he paused, looking back at her. "You know...there may be another way to restore your memories. At least...part of them."
Movement was not an easy thing for her but she did her best not to show this. However, where normally fluid movement was before now was rigid and sluggish. Muscles that had not been worked and moved were getting back into the swing of things and her mind was still fighting away a heavy feeling. When he stopped she didn't realize until she nearly bumped into him, stopping inches from doing so. Close enough now to take in his scent she found she didn't even have to try. It was like his scent reached out to try and wrap her. Of course that was her imagination and heightened senses. "Hm? And how do you propose that?"
He paused a moment, considering. It was something that could work with others of his kind, but he wasn't certain it would work with her. And there were other considerations, as well. Still, he'd mentioned it, he could at least tell her what he was thinking. "At one point, perhaps four years ago now, you had another sort of crisis. When it happened, I joined with you to assist in your healing. At that point, a copy of your memories was imprinted into my cells. There may be a way to give you Those memories back, in the same manner." He looked her over, considering. "But that would leave you without four years worth of memories. The chances of regaining all of them are greater if it were to occur naturally."
Imprinted on his cells? Just what was he? "And how do I know these memories wouldn't be fabrications?" The distrust still remained but it was clear she did trust him to a degree. How far that went was still in question. "This woman, Renna you called her? Do I know her prior to those four years? If so I think it may be worth the risk if my brother figure is in danger with her." She sounded, at least, like she was considering the idea and the reason behind it was less of her own reason and rather that of someone's safety.
For just a moment, she sounded so much like his Kathryn that his hand was in motion before he could stop it, a smile he only wore for her on his lips as his hand came up to touch her cheek. Almost. He stopped himself before he made contact, his hand hanging in the air for a moment before he lowered it with a touch of sadness. She was not his Kathryn. Not at the moment. "They are your memories, Kathryn. I would hope you would know them once you have them back." Her second question took a little "I believe you do know her, yes. But you know her better through the years that you would be missing if I were to simply give you your memories back as they are stored within me."
Her head tilted faintly when she saw his hand raise and direct to her. She wasn't sure what she expected but the way he looked at her...That smile and the way it drew sad as he lowered his hand. Either he was a great actor or his words were true. They shared something. "So I am stuck with the decision on waiting to see if they come back naturally or do what you are suggesting. Both have their merits and issues. What if my memories never do return naturally, for example. I suppose in that case I could leave to finding my brother's location up to you..." Her eyes lowered down to his hand while she hummed thoughtfully. "I think...we will test your theory and work from there. At least if it works I will be somewhat prepared to face whatever is past that door, no?"
He hesitated for a moment, considering. The last time they'd joined this way, it had been different. He'd been able to let her see his memories, and hers had been copied onto his, thanks to his unique physiology. But she had changed, and there was every possibility that things had changed in ways he couldn't foresee. Still, it couldn't hurt to try. Finally he nodded, holding up a hand, palm up, for her to place hers in. "You will have to trust me, Kathryn...completely. I know that is asking a lot, given the circumstances."
Completely. He was right. It was asking for a lot but what choice did she have? Her lips pursed thin as she eyed his hand before slowly raising her own. Fingertips found the palm of his hand first before her palm met his own. "So be it. I will..trust you not to do any funny business." He had been forthcoming with her thus far and again either he was a splendid actor or he was telling her the truth. His eyes and voice held sadness and it was because of her. He wanted to help or at least that is what she was reading into it. "You have my trust, Clayton."
He couldn't help but smile at her words, the feel of her hand in his, so much smaller, seemingly delicate in his own. He knew better, of course. Delicate was the last word that applied to her. He could recall a similar gesture between, them, similar words spoken. The memory made him smile as his fingers closed over hers. "This may feel...a little strange." His eyes slipped closed as he began, his physiology altering to mingle with hers via their physical connection.
Her brows furrowed as she watched his face. Was it that smile that drew her to him? Well not her, per say, but the her he knew? As his hand wrapped hers she struggled on the urge to draw back. When he said feeling strange, he wasn't joking. It felt different, for sure, and alarmingly so. As the memories came rushing in her other hand moved quickly to his wrist. It didn't take long for the rush to overwhelm her and by the end of it she was half slumping, half leaning to him so she didn't end up hitting ground. He made her head spin and not in that warm fuzzy feeling way.
The sensation was different from what he was used to this time, as well. As they joined at the cellular level, he felt a sensation that was alarmingly like being drained for a moment, a dizzying rush that lasted but a moment, but was something he'd never felt before. It was as if the memories had been almost sucked out of him, rather than being transferred in a slower, more regulated way. As she slumped against him, his arm went around her to hold her up without any thought whatsoever, taking her weight easily. "Kathryn? Are you all right?"
She didn't even realize the tears that had strolled down her cheeks during the process. The strain left her with a headache. "I..." Lying would be pointless..ev en a small fib. "That wasn't what I was expecting. A bit...much. I'm...drained but alright." Her eyes closed as she struggle to regain herself. "Are you..alright?" It was a start but she needed to get to work, find the guys to start a search for her brother.
He frowned, his arm around her waist as he held her up. He could feel it in her muscles, the way she trembled, the tears on her cheeks. "I am all right, love." It was true. Despite that momentary draining sensation, he felt no ill effects, other than a momentary disorientation. "You, on the other hand, will require rest...some time for the memories to find their niches inside your mind." He bent down, his arms moving, and scooped her up into them. "I will take you home."
Those memories were fighting for place, no doubt, and she was fending off the pain best she could but it would rather easy for him to collect her in his arms the way he did. She had no outward fight. Right now it was all in her head, attempting to work things out. "Do you always make my world spin?" ...she made a joke. Be afraid.
He let out a purring chuckle as he carried her out of the vault and towards the elevator. "As often as I am able to. Though perhaps not precisely in this way."
She woke with a low groan. Her throat, her body, her head - it all ached. As she pushed to sit up the first thing she noticed that she was in her bed. It was familiar, as was her surroundings. Whatever Clayton had done apparently worked but not without having its toll. The way the bed sheets and blankets were tossed suggested that she had fitted in her sleep. Clayton didn?t seem to be in sight but she had a feeling that it was because she either kicked him out of bed or he was in the midst of doing something at the moment.
?Diana?? she managed to get the word out but her throat felt on fire with just one word.
?Yes, Miss Batten?? the rich, sensual voice of the A.I. replied.
Reaching for the bottle of water on the bedstand, Katt took her time in opening the bottle and draining all the bottle had in it. Despite drinking it all, she still felt like she had swallowed sand. It was going to take time for the feeling to go away, ?I am going to need any and all information about what happened to my brother sent to my PCUI. Reports, findings, etc.?
?Yes, Miss Batten.?
Her feet swiped at the side of the bed until her toes caught the edge of the slippers - cute fuzzy lion slippers no less. She wiggled her feet into them and slowly stood. Leaving the room and wandering through the house. If Clayton had stayed by her side for as long as he had said then he was no doubt hunting for some much needed food.
She did put that man through so much stuff (that she could remember) and he was still there, much to her surprise. There was very few people in her life that she could say that about. She was lucky to have those people in her life but what disturbed her was the ones she may not of remembered. Things that were lost. Would she be able to regain those memories one day or was she stuck with this massive gap?
?You are awake.?
Clayton?s purring voice caught her ears, nearly startling her out of her flesh. Just when she figured she was alone he popped up out of nowhere. Or it seemed? Rather he was just coming from the kitchen. Between his hands she saw a tray, it looked like he had been busy preparing her a meal rather than going out and feeding himself. Turning fully to him she stepped forward, taking the tray from him. ?Go hunt, Clayton.?
She could tell he was surprised by her sudden request but she had a feeling it was more that she was telling him to leave her side. ?Don?t worry. I?ll eat...But you need to, too.?
He started to argue but knew better. Instead he purred out a chuckle and leaned forward to kiss her brow.
?I may not be here when you return,? she announced while he was in the middle of the act of affection. ?I am going to go to the tower and see what I can do about finding my brother. If...he even wants to be found.? Quite frankly she wasn?t sure he wanted to be. She knew he and Renna had some sort of past and since she had no idea what was ever in his head..he could very well still be drawn to Renna?.as much as that thought made her skin crawl. She?d like to hope that the mad woman turned him off, not on.
?I understand. I will find you later, then.?
Her eyes turned up to the cat in manflesh as her thoughts were tugged back to the present. She watched as he pulled away and started for the door. ?Clayton?? As he paused and looked her way, a small smile tugging her lips, ?Thank you. For everything you?ve done for me.?
He returned the smile before stepping out, his voice echoing back to her ears, ?You don?t need to thank me, Kathryn.?
When the door closed she stood there for a few moments before moving to the kitchen to partake of the food that Clayton had so graciously fixed for her. The entire time, however, she was trying to make sense of the mess that was her memories. Clayton had managed to return to her a majority of them but her brain was still having trouble shuffling them into place and storing them as it should or maybe it was just that it took time to settle.
She didn?t have time?
As she washed the dishes and cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, she decided on returning to her original course of action. ?Diana. Warn Kyle I am on my way to the tower. He best be ready.?
?I will let Mister Pontius know you are on your way.?
?Thanks, Diana,? she was already on her way out the door, determination carrying her swiftly to the tower.