Issue 18: Medical Malpractice
After examining the various 6 ships at length. I have narrowed the possibilities down to two options: The Gleaming Star or the Jupiter Rising. Those two Human ships have jumped out farther than most. To areas considered sensitive to even the Typherians. Either they both are advanced scouts or cover for something more important. Maybe a VIP? –Sister Nyx
So many failures with this subject. What am I missing? How did J’ino become pregnant with anyone other than another Typherian? I have tried combining human strands to Typherian material but nothing works. Perhaps it isn’t in the human woman at all. Perhaps it's something within J’ino herself? –From the Files recovered from the Raid.
My father and brother tore out of the Jupiter Rising. Searching for mother and Anna. I followed the hum. That infernal hum. Making my nose bleed. I could smell her. Doc couldn’t quite stem the bleeding. It wasn’t her fault. It had been a leftover “gift” of the Sister. The day she had tried to abduct my brother and me. But that wasn’t all she left me with. There was a reason I understood Keeper speech and lettering. I know some reading these records might think it cruel that they left me out of the loop. It wasn’t their doing. I, in my current frame of mind, ordered it via my grandparents. So long ago. But that is a tale for a later time.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century
Where had the little girl gone? She had been crying! Begging for help in such a way that even Anna’s heart had relented. She glanced over and shook J’ino awake. The vines around them curled upwards. Both were still wearing their usual causal wear. Basic reinforced clothing but nothing more. No coms, no active links came to her INet jacks.
J’ino rubbed her face, “There was a girl. About 10. She was crying. Lost. Same?”
Anna’s gray eyes narrowed. “Indeed. But weren’t we just on….”
J’ino glanced skyward. The moon was stark against the black of night. A full moon.
That couldn’t be right.
She rubbed her eyes.
Where were they?!
Some hours before….
Sister Nyx reclined on the smooth floating oval-shaped chair.
Her thin grey fingers twitching. Data flowing around her. Her new facial wounds stung. Yet she didn’t use any regular healing on them. Like before, it would be a reminder to be more careful in her hunts. Two ships. The choices. How to lure J’ino out? She glanced over as the human subject squirmed ineffectually within its amber prison. No combination worked as of yet. She had harvested all the woman’s eggs. Putting them through various experiments but nothing came of it.
Perhaps it wasn’t with the human factor.
J’ino was the outlier! The father’s human background hadn’t mattered.
She paused the various feeds. The Gleaming Star often made very outlandish deliveries across the Terran Alliance. Exotic or hard to acquire materials for influential patrons. While the NASA Jumpstart Vessel Jupiter Rising did similar things but its logs had a few blank spots. Very well cloaked but she was obsessed. A blip or two. Cargo that was never delivered yet the ship went way out of bounds for its sphere of influence. Even making a delivery or two within a Typherian World Ship.
Who would be aboard for such a clearance request? Not someone of the Commons.
House blood. Royal Blood.
The Sister stood. Rolling her shoulders. Feeling the tendons pop.
She ran a hand across the amber cacoon.
“There will be more guests soon.”
The Jupiter Rising
June 5th, 2104
Three hours before the abduction.
J’ino grumbled as her old clothing had to resize itself once more. Thomas glanced at her appreciatively though. Which made her blush. In a good way. That silly man. That wonderful man. She walked over to him. Enjoying the simple warmth of his strong embrace. Thomas rumbled, “Oh! You like that do you? I’ll put this on our itinerary for marital bliss then.” She sniffed. As if tasting some delicate wine of her homeworld. Then her expression broke at the gleam in his eyes. She buried her face in his neck. Her other favorite spot. Just like they were back under that tree from their earliest dates.
More than anything she wished this moment could last forever.
But they had to make a pitstop at House Akaris beleaguered World Ship.
So the Jupiter had falsified some travel manifests and re-emerged from FTL.
J’ino knew she’d have to make an appearance. So Dexter would join her under his assumed identity of D’kari of House Hudo, trained by the 1st circle of Investigation. She rolled her eyes at the nature of it all. Then she giggled as Thomas kissed her. Taking time to give her neck special attention.
Anna surprised us all by volunteering to go as a minor Branch House Official. As Mom called it. She claimed she wanted to see how a World Ship worked. I was even more perplexed when mom agreed to it. Then I realized she wanted Anna’s brand of “earnestness” to be aimed at other Typherians. Specifically House individuals. Oh boy.
I still didn’t have much context but one look from Dexter prevented me from asking.
I managed to get a hold of Teddy as they left, “What’s the probability that Anna will bruise the egos of the administrators on that World Ship?”
Joy rippled across his face, “100%”
I crossed myself just to be safe. Then decided to take a rest.
“Lights, low.” My cabin dimmed.
My head was pounding.
I flopped down on the bed. My face buried within the pillows.
Doc slid in beside me about 20 mins later. Her hands a cool respite running across my spine and neck. White asked, <<What troubles you? Black and your brother will protect them both.>>
I believed her but couldn’t shake the twinge of unease.
Doc rubbed my shoulders.
My muscles relaxing under her practiced motions.
“Get some sleep. They only have one quick meeting. Then they will give the parts needed to the engineers. Most think we are doing a milk run to Neptune.”
My response, “That official doctor's orders?” As I raised my head from the pillows.
She smirked, “You betcha!”
Thomas Murphy checked the records again. There it was. Another inquiry. About the Gleaming Star and his daughter’s ship. Horus and Highmaker were taking shifts monitoring INet and other networks beyond Earth’s. He didn’t like this. These weren’t normal searches. Those wanting to know when deliveries were being made. The dates were much too specific. The docking locations were scrutinized even more so than what Anna used to do with Eliza’s demi life.
He updated Dexter.
His son’s response was quick.
///I will not let them out of my sight. If they have to use the restroom, both are going in at the same time. No one is left alone for any reason.///
Nyx moved about the World Ship. Her disguise was flawless. She decided to use a bit of the Angel embryo within her to make it stick. It would last long enough. She skipped along. Humming to herself. A lost Commons child. A way to catch J’ino unprepared. For surely one such as she would help a little girl. One who wanted her mother oh so desperately.
She made sure the clothing reflected that sad status of mute.
The Houses never spoke of the genetic defect. Preferring to pretend such children didn’t exist within Typha. But by posing as a Commons child, that would tug at J’ino even more. On an intimate level, the Keeper counted on. The Commons of Typha would never disown their children. Even the mute ones. So her plight was extra serious. It would mean all her family was dead. Nyx waited. Sensing forces beyond her ability protecting J’ino. The Hudo bodyguard screamed danger to the Keeper.
She would bide her time.
Patience was a virtue of course.
Her fingers plucked at the threadbare clothing.
She had chosen these garments to invoke the image of a poor girl.
Scrubbing the depths of the World Ship.
It would work. Unity was with her.
Dexter watched as Anna goaded the 2nd House men around her.
“Why must you delay us?” She put just enough arrogance in her voice to make them cringe. He believed she was enjoying this way too much. His mother moved next to him. Her face neutral. He slipped some medicine to her. To calm her nausea. The Ayeer House didn’t have close ties with Akaris. Most times they kept to themselves. Which lead to this emergency pitstop. The officials guided them to the visitor’s quarters. While the supplies were being delivered.
Dexter kept overwatch. Black brimming within the depths of his mind.
They were looking at the wrong targets.
Not thinking that the Keeper could take the form of a child.
Because their camo usually required something of equivalent size. So they didn’t think much of anything when a mute Commons girl, no more than 10 cycles joined the other Typherian Deck workers in helping transport minor parts. It wasn’t unusual to see them helping their families by doing odd jobs. Dexter’s concern grew though. Commons didn’t usually allow their children to do such hard labor so young. He eyed her clothing. Wincing as the various imperfections indicated she was orphaned.
Under his current ID, someone of House Hudo wouldn’t care about such matters. They would be paramount in protecting the Houses. Above all else. It was why he hated the system that the leaders of Typha employed. Despite what his Grandfather suggested. It always came down to a vote and besides Ayeer’s allies, the rest were too entrenched with Set’s influences to fight back. It was a fatal error that Nyx capitalized on. She slipped into the private bathrooms. Using the sink to clean herself. J’ino and Anna walked in.
Their faces going pale as they saw the state her child form was in.
She put on the right amount of humble request, “Please! I mean no harm! I just want to clean up a bit.”
Anna stared. Dumbfounded.
Typha had mental leper syndrome. This was how they treated deaf people?!
J’ino knelt. Reaching out to the girl.
“I can get you some food. Wait here.”
The girl beamed at them. “Thank you honors!”
Anna waited. A twinge of uncertainty blooming. The girl’s black-blue gaze remained polite. J’ino returned, handing the little black-haired Typherian some sweet fluffy cakes. Anna didn’t care to know the name of it. The state of that girl frightened her. An invisible class within this society. Set’s poison was evil. The girl rose onto the tips of her toes. Placing a small flower in J’ino’s hair. She repeated the process with Anna. Bowing, “May the Light of the Three bless you.”
It had become a popular blessing since the Markav resurgence. Nyx knew the Commons had a fondness for it. It had the intended effect. The tendrils of the flowers inserted the temporary nanites into the two female’s systems. They would last for only an hour then delete themselves. No matter. It was all she needed to transport both to her personal Null Ship.
The child bowed once more.
Her joy rippling across her face.
A twinge tugged at Anna’s mind. Poppi’s voice reaching out to her.
Beware the Cross-marked.
She nodded. Her eyes glazed over as Poppi’s words flowed through her.
J’ino covered her face. Turning to the mirror. Splashing some water.
Just an orphaned mute child.
Muted as her daughter had been.
Her face burned with the shame of it.
Her gray-green black eyes hardened. “We will change this. Eliza will change this.”
One hour later klaxon bells were echoing across the Jupiter Rising.
Keeper tech was aboard. Thomas’s darkest fear realized.
His wife was gone. Even Anna was gone.
His armor formed. Judgment’s arsenal on full display. He would tear the very universe apart to find J’ino. His son’s icy rage joined him as they exited the ship. Black searching all sectors. They would not find anything. No, that would fall to Eliza. Ties went deeper than most knew. Even to herself.
J’ino rubbed her belly. The triplets were still. Like they wanted to hide.
Anna sniffed. The air here was stale.
Poppi’s words echoed.
The Sister had them. She wouldn’t say anything for now.
The mental fog clearing from her mind. That creature. She had been the child.
Weave sense unfurled before her. Showing the echoes of what was. What is. What will be. The first obstacle. Escape the maze. Then call for help.
Nyx watched. Content.
She had what she desired. She would let them escape the maze.
It would always lead to the chamber. She would keep them around.
J’ino especially. Captured in amber. A new army for Unity.
Issue 17: Here
Issue 19 : Here