- 01[21:06] <Staffen> Sleep, perhaps, would have once been a welcome alternative to the things which your pain-addled senses registered after your execution.
- 01[21:07] <Staffen> Not this time. This time your sleep is filled with dreams of old memories - things you'd wished you'd forgotten in the course of thirty-five years of life.
- 01[21:09] <Staffen> It is a mess without chronological order. You are reliving your adolescent years in reverse, like an old recording set to rewind . You recognize you are dreaming, but this perhaps only makes it worse, because you dread what comes next.
- 01[21:10] <Staffen> The Black Ships. Wards of misery. Dreadful silence across the cell block amidst the soft hum of shipboard machinery.
- 01[21:11] <Staffen> The solitary confinement of home and all your gaudy playthings, in a time when your parents dared not even visit you for fear of what might follow them into your room.
- 01[21:12] <Staffen> And then there is him. The one you dare not speak of. He is a towering bundle of wrags with spindly, cold fingers and gleaming blue eyes. He speaks soft, sweet words, brushes your hair from you forehead as you stare, hypnotized by fear and bewilderment by his aura of wrongness.
- 01[21:12] <Staffen> He is the one your parents sought to save you from.
- 01[21:13] <Staffen> He kneels over - from full height to your level he must practically break to all fours. He cups your cheek with a hand, fingers digging into your fat little cheeks.
- 01[21:14] <Staffen> "So nice to meet you," he whispers, "little Flavia..."
- 01[21:15] <Staffen> And once again you relive it all in forward-motion this time. It is a flash, and reality bends at your peripheral vision until all you can see is an empty whiteness.
- 01[21:15] <Staffen> You realize you're waking up.
- 01[21:15] <Staffen> "... working."
- 06[21:16] * Plex groans softly.
- 01[21:16] <Staffen> "... worked well, you can see."
- 01[21:17] <Staffen> Your eyes adjust, slowly, to find a panel reflecting harsh white light into your face. It adjusts after a moment, and you can see your face.
- 01[21:18] <Staffen> Interestingly, your face is intact. You don't lack your nose as you once imagined you did, and there doesn't appear to be a hole in your jaw. Pretty old Plex is fully intact - almost like there had never been a bolt shell that had lodged itself in there and detonated.
- 01[21:20] <Staffen> Beyond the mirror you can see blurry, box-like shapes with strange shadows cast on their surfaces - presumably carts of medicae supplies. Above you is the source of the light, along with a strange pod of chittering, dicing medical scissors and forceps and various tools of indeterminate purpose.
- 01[21:20] <Staffen> You appear to be bound to an upright operating table. And at least you're wearing something.
- 01[21:21] <Staffen> Your seat suddenly turns with a soft whir, slowly rolling left...
- 01[21:23] <Staffen> First you see Losa sitting with her arms crossed on top of a cart. Interestingly, she's wearing what looks to be the same flight jacket she wore when she confronted you on the raider, although it's not a shredded mess anymore.
- 01[21:24] <Staffen> Then you see a group of hunched figures in black robes operating various command consoles. White stripes with a checker-pattern on their clothes divide their bodies vertically. Something about them seems to contradict the impression you initially got of the vessel from the exterior and the hangar.
- 01[21:27] <Staffen> You almost wish you were asleep again when the turning stops, pointing your body directly at a figure with blue eyes that seem to cast their own light. He is an enormous, skeletal-looking monstrosity; you can see two different sets of arms emerging from his shoulders, all four of them behind his back. Where ribs would be is instead simple, glossy grey plate. A few cables can be seen sprouting from the vague space between his torso's collar and his jawless, near-featureless head.
- 01[21:28] <Staffen> His machine-anatomy is simple, sleek... elegant.
- 01[21:29] <Staffen> He stares at you, his expressionless eyes impossible to read beyond the menacing curve of their upper sockets.
- 01[21:29] <Staffen> "My," comes the voice you dread, "You have done fine work."
- 01[21:30] <Staffen> That's the voice. That's Vok's voice. There's something different from how you heard it on Tranch - there's an underlying growl to it, like machine parts scraping against one another. It is what you remember though.
- 01[21:32] <Staffen> The man-machine from your nightmares, free of the layers of wrapping that at least hid most of his inhumanity, approaches you, slowly, like a collector would come towards an easily-startled insect. He reaches out with a single long arm for your face.
- 06[21:33] * Plex tries to flinch back, to the side--just anywhere away.
- 01[21:34] <Staffen> You can only struggle against the restraints, at least able to turn your head away. Vok is unabashed, however, and continues to approach. "I was so worried, little Flavia," he tells you. "I couldn't bear the thought of that sweet face being ruined."
- 01[21:36] <Staffen> He spreads his fingers, and presses his cold hand to your presented cheek. "It has been so many years. You have grown into a proud woman with a fine list of accomplishments."
- 01[21:37] <Staffen> From the corner of your eye you can see Losa watching. You can see she's at least slightly uncomfortable for you.
- [21:38] <Plex> "...What do you want with me?" she finally gets out, barely keeping from stuttering.
- 01[21:40] <Staffen> Vok chuckles, as though he were laughing at a child's follies. He brushes his hand against your face, dragging his index finger against the outline of your chin - the tipped point of that finger nearly draws blood from sensitive flesh.
- 01[21:41] <Staffen> He spins, and takes a few steps back. "I only wished to give you the benefit of a normal face. I must tell you, I have not even granted Anxo access to this treatment. In fact, I think he's grown rather proud of his scars. They're a mark of his endurance, not just his failures."
- [21:42] <Plex> "Treatment?" she echoes. "What did you do?"
- 01[21:43] <Staffen> Vok turns his head slightly to one of the adepts, who straightens his horrendous posture out only so slightly to address his master.
- 01[21:46] <Staffen> "Explosive impact had caused severe damage to left side of jawbone, several vertebrae and also produced a fracture in the skull," he says, seeming to read from something on his console. "Prosthesis was required - the Master demanding vat-grown replacement of bone. Flash-vitae process utilized. Regenerative reconstruction surgery applied to prevent scar tissue development across face. Nerve capacity retained. Operation deemed success."
- 01[21:47] <Staffen> From over his hunched form, you can see Vok nod slightly. His back is hidden by a cape of shifting fabric - the patterns that dance along the deceptively black cloth are mystifying, graceful.
- 01[21:48] <Staffen> "That's not available anywhere in the Imperium, little Flavia," Vok says without turning to you.
- 01[21:54] <Staffen> "I'm sure you're worried I put some soul-tainting piece of evil arcana in your mind, but I assure you that all that happened was that you simply regained your lovely features. I did this for no reason besides the fact that I am a kind host."
- [21:55] <Plex> "...And your prior death traps? The vortex bomb?
- [21:55] <Plex> "
- 01[21:57] <Staffen> "Tests," he says dismissively, "tests you passed. If I were not impressed by your survival I would not have made you my guest. Your performance in particular, I understand, was worthy of song."
- 01[21:57] <Staffen> He lunges to Losa, who remains seated, staring at you. He grabs her with two hands, one grasping her by her neck while he crowns her skull with his long metal fingers. She does not react to this.
- 01[21:59] <Staffen> "You could have been my Losa, my dear Flavia. You had so much promise - you were keen, resourceful... powerful, and at such a young age even."
- 01[22:00] <Staffen> His fingers wriggle down to Losa's temples. "Even without my guidance you've matured into a dangerous agent. I must express my pride, for the small role I played in bringing you to this state."
- [22:22] <Plex> She stares dumbly at the scene, at his fingers spidering over Losa's head and face. "...What now, then? I take her place?"
- 01[22:23] <Staffen> "Oh, goodness no," Vok says, laughing again. "It has been too long for that."
- 01[22:26] <Staffen> Losa lets him roll her head back. He leans close, and presses his skull to her neck. "I must admit, anyway, she's a superior specimen to you as a field agent. She's a superior psyker, and I acquired her at such an age that she accepted the training necessary to make her into the finest assassin in the galaxy. It was well-worth the decade-long wait from you to her, I must say. She made a fine investment."
- 01[22:27] <Staffen> He releases his servant. "Not to say that you are inferior. Quite the contrary - you have your own skills you have sharpened. They are skills I admire, Flavia Pellagri.. and you are still able to improve. Anxo has begun to outlive his usefulness anyway, and he was never a particularly adept interrogator."
- [22:33] <Plex> "...And if I don't want to be part of your merry band?"
- 01[22:35] <Staffen> "I don't imagine you want to," he admits, "not now. But you'll come to see things my way in time - you needn't worry about finding an opportunity to contemplate my offer either."
- 01[22:36] <Staffen> "I have striven so hard to ensure the minimal threat to your well-being, little Flavia," he purrs.
- 01[22:36] <Staffen> "But," and with this his tone darkens, and he lowers his head as he continues to glare at you, "when I heard what Todt allowed his men to do..."
- [22:36] <Plex> She shivers again, turning her face away.
- 01[22:37] <Staffen> Immediately he outstretches all four of his arms. "I was distraught! Outraged!"
- 01[22:38] <Staffen> "Furious!" Punctuating this last remark, a snaking tendril whips out from behind his back, and snaps its head towards one of the adepts. It cracks off a single las-beam, killing the tech-adept.
- 01[22:41] <Staffen> "Sick," Vok growls, "sick with rage. I have known more about you than your parents ever did, Flavia - I know all that makes you... you. All the things they wished to remove from you, insistent that they were blemishes rather than features."
- [22:43] <Plex> "...That wasn't hard," she admits. "They...certainly stopped trying to understand."
- 01[22:45] <Staffen> "What sort of parent subjects their child to those things?" He approaches you once more. "In time, Flavia Pellagri, I'm sure you'll accept the gifts I offer. I can give you a place which you deserve - a place you'll never find in a dogmatic society which sees you as a mistake."
- 01[22:45] <Staffen> Forcibly, he cups your face in his hands. "I can give you a proper family," he whispers.
- 01[22:48] <Staffen> He releases you, and steps back. He slowly nods. "That's what I offer, my little Flavia. That's what I want... for you. Consider it. There will be much time for you to think on it."
- [22:48] <Plex> She can do nothing more, at this point, than simply stare, too shell-shocked at the entire presentation to even think.
- 01[22:49] <Staffen> "Losa," he beckons to his servant. She stands, and quickly joins him by his side. As the Master turns to leave, he looks to one of the remaining adepts. "Ensure the psy-wards are in proper order. She may try something she'll regret later, although she's not the telekine."
- 01[22:50] <Staffen> He looks to you one last time. "Do save yourself the trouble, little one. There is no escaping this vessel. We are a long, long way from reality at this moment."
- 01[22:51] <Staffen> And with that, he leaves, a metal demon cloaked in billowing memories.
Plex's House of Unlovely Memories
a guest Dec 8th, 2012 39 Never
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