SID went through 20 questions with Lavi, trying to sort out how she was, and whether she needed assistance. Nope. Somehow, Lavi was feeling very good. Better than she had in a long time, actually. This made no sense. She was still not completely calm, but was not feeling any pain from the ‘initiation ceremony’. SID did his best to read the other members of the party, but they appeared well, if unconscious. All the restraints had retracted when the Necrosi had left the room, so SID got up to do closer examinations. No assistance appeared necessary. SID asked if Lavi could tell if there was similar ‘energy’ on her and the other team members as there had been on the Grigori assailants who regenerated from death. Lavi couldn’t really discern what, if anything had been used.
It was at that point that Aberforth woke up. He was also feeling quite well. Aberforth went to check on Reithered. Aberforth was nearly nose to nose with Reithered, checking him out, and Reithered suddenly regained consciousness. Startled, Reithered screamed!
Reithered was not happy about the treatment and was all up in Aberforth’s face about it. Aberforth tried to express that this was the way Necrosi welcomed members back into the fold, and that it was an honour to be treated to the ceremony. Reithered was not impressed, nor convinced. Aberforth related it to a big, warm, welcoming hug. Reithered wasn’t buying that, at all!
Eve recovered during this conversation, and Methusa enters the cabin. Methusa nodded to the group, noticed Amrith napping in his chair and lightly touched his shoulder. Amrith slightly opened one eye to take a look, like he’d been casually resting. Methusa gave the “chairs in the upright position” speech, mentioning that the craft will be entering Sanctuary in a few minutes, and the seatbelt would be useful.
As the team was strapping in, Aberforth thoughtfully attempted to fill in some fine points of Necrosi culture, as he had obviously missed telling them about the ‘Welcoming Ceremony’, something they should have been advised of, in advance. That was when he noticed the bubble of energy around SID’s chair. SID explained that after seeing almost everyone pass out, he had attempted to assist the team in their ‘distress’ by releasing his knockout gas, and that the Necrosi had contained it in the bubble. Aberforth realized that he had really messed up on some important culture points, as had SID succeeded in knocking out the Necrosi during the ceremony, it would not have gone well for the team. SID was not to attempt to interfere with any future ceremonies, and SID advised that he had used all his available gas. There wouldn’t be another attempt using that method, until the cylinder could be recharged.
Eve expressed her disappointment that SID was now depleted. However, SID was getting mixed signals from Eve for this subject. SID quickly scanned some medical references concerning the readings, and discovered definitions for ‘irony’ and ‘sarcasm’ in biological communication methods. If dealing with biologicals wasn’t difficult enough, SID now had to evaluate statements for elements of lying, irony and sarcasm when dealing with Eve. It brought into sharp focus a statement from one of his biological instructors, “You can be very intelligent. But, that doesn’t mean you’re smart.” That statement was completely illogical at the time, but it was now starting to make a bizarre sort of sense.
SID asked if there was something that could be done about the bubble, as it contained a substantial amount of knockout gas. If the bubble dissipated, the gas would expand into the cabin, and possibly the cockpit of the craft. Aberforth approached what he identified as a void energy bubble and wielded the bubble into oblivion. It just sucked down into itself and disappeared, along with the contents. Problem solved. Those not strapped in did it quickly, as the outside view showed they were very close to Sanctuarium.
The approach to the entrance was very rapid, as SID estimated the time and distance covered requiring an extremely fast vehicle. The blur of the ground directly below the craft indicated the same. And then, the world view outside rapidly shifted and gyrated, as the craft went through very aggressive maneuvers to make it’s landing. The vehicle came to a stop with the gentleness of a feather landing lightly on the ground. The contrast of the landing to the approach was astounding. The level of skill it demonstrated was extreme. Aberforth explained to some of the slightly distressed members of the group that Methusa was “exquisite at everything he does.” The landing could have outdone any rollercoaster ride ever envisioned. Anyone with a fear of flying would never willingly board another Necrosi craft.
The vehicle began to descend on the pad, eventually stopping over a kilometer below the original touch-down point. Methusa and two other Necrosi came out of the cockpit, and welcomed the team to Sanctuarium. They then opened a side door and stepped out onto the pad. The pad was in a huge cavern-like area, with a column that indicated a structure of massive proportions. A spiral ramp rose gradually from the floor of the column, a further kilometer below the pad, with openings all the way up the shaft. The size and number of openings indicated an enormous capacity, and SID could easily compare it to the New York arcology.
Looking back at the landing pad, the team saw the transport that brought them in. Very sleek and powerful, it was also designed for stealth and versatility. A useful piece of equipment for infiltration, should that be desired, SID thought.
The team followed Methusa through a very long, broad corridor, with Aberforth following a precise interval behind and to the left of Methusa. It was similar but farther than one of the Necrosi accompanying Methusa. The corridor was at least 5 meters wide and high, with many side corridors and doors opening off either side. Much was going on down this corridor, and one could surmise that much of Necrosi culture was on display – a microcosm of Necrosi society. Aberforth quietly stated that this was Methusa’s personal area, as they walked through an area with several doors that represented homages to various religions prominent around the world. Aberforth also mentioned that this was the route taken by VIP guests, and that this was a honour to the team. Lavi and Amrith identified this as a means of setting up negotiations on an unsettled footing for the visitor given this ‘honour’. SID did not see any evidence of robots, nor A.I. presence.
After about 10 minutes walk, the procession arrived at doors that were imposing in size and construction. SID could not read through them, actually having difficulty reading them at all. Very similar to the void under the cabin, by comparison. In the visual spectrum, they were solid. In all others, there was nothing there. The wielders in the group could read lots of energy, and it was keyed to Methusa. Who waived a hand at the doors, which silently and smoothly opened. Inside was a very large conference room. Very large groups could meet comfortably here, and the table could easily accommodate twenty or more people without rubbing elbows.
Methusa indicated to the group that they should sit, and everyone took a seat on the table sides. Except SID, who adopted a standing position behind Aberforth’s seat, copying the interval Aberforth used in the procession. Methusa sat with his back to the doors, an unusual position in the room, perhaps. In this position, though, one could read it as ultimate trust in the location, as well as “you have to get past me to leave”.
Methusa then opened the conversation with a few statements indicating that the information extracted from SID had already been analyzed. He provided that von Schnauser was working for a Dr Marius Leiben. SID recognized the name from his medical references as an individual with a mixed record in his files. Openly lauded for his skill in plastic surgery, and apparently very successful in any field of medicine he had attempted, there were indications of suppressed litigation attempts throughout his career. He had also worked for some organizations with obscure reputations. Methusa then mentioned that von Schnauser had been successful in generating bio-engineered individuals capable of wielding. To Amrith, this raised his eyebrows considerably, as this was though impossible. It was a considerable feat. To what purpose, Methusa was unable to determine from the existing data. But, the possibility now existed for them to create an army of wielders. If used in the upcoming Evolutionary War, it could upset the outcome considerably. However, there could now be three sides, if not used for the Ophanum, nor the Seraph factions.
While this information was being provided, the two individuals that accompanied Methusa, sitting on his left and right sides, were accessing laptop devices at a blistering rate. They were very keyed up, and on edge, concentrating on their work with a fervor. SID could read multiple cyber implants and devices on both, indicating highly modified and capable individuals.
As Methusa mentioned the army of wielders, SID very slowly, and deliberately reached up to his chest, and opened his chest plates. From a compartment, he removed a small plastic case, and just as slowly touched it to Aberforth’s shoulder. Aberforth took the case and opened it. Inside Aberforth could see small vials of red liquid, samples of other fluids and tissues, all neatly labeled with numbers from one to eight. Aberforth closed the case and passed it over to one of the Necrosi assistants.
Methusa thanked SID for providing the information, and apologizing for the method of extraction. He then indicated that Sanctuarium was predicting the commencement of hostilities in about three years. Either von Schauser was to be stopped, or it had to be determined what the plan was for the army of wielders.
Then, Methusa offered the hospitality of Sanctuarium to the group. They were welcome to join if they chose, and that places would be made for them. Methusa stood, and the doors behind him opened. He said they could take time to consider their options in private. SID raised his hand. Methusa nodded to SID, who then requested that five things needed attention, if that was possible. The five items were:
- The group had coordinates for a location in Texas that may be a facility for von Schnauser.
- There were four Grigori that assaulted Amrith, and they would likely be continuing the hunt for Amrith.
- The destruction of Klamerath should be investigated, and any survivors should be identified. SID indicated Eve when stating this, suggesting she would be very interested in any information available.
- The propaganda indicating that the team were terrorists and that they could have issues with global law enforcement in the future, should it not be resolved.
- The bodies of the two individuals in the Panther left near the Salt Lake Enclave should be cared for.
Methusa took this under advisement, and left with his two attendants. This began a discussion amongst the group. Finally, Lavi asked Amrith who he is, and why was he coming to Sanctuarium. This was when the rest of the group found out that Amrith was seeking information, and wanted to gain knowledge of the Evolutionary War. Being Annunaki, he wanted to know as much as possible, and was not as well versed as he wanted. He was very willing to trade work for access to Sanctuarium’s library.
The group discussed cooperating with Sanctuarium and Lavi provided an overview of the Evolutionary War from her point of view. She attempted to impart what it might mean to the people on Earth. SID scanned through online archives for any evidence of Evolutionaries, but only found vague references to a superhuman individual in the past. Lavi’s description of her experiences revealed that her actual age was considerably older than she looked. Aberforth then related how Sanctuarium will do whatever works for humanity. In the upcoming war, the Evolutionaries may just stomp all over any bystanders, ignoring them during their conflict. In all past battles, there wasn’t any indigenous population to consider.
Aberforth suggested taking some time to rest, and carefully consider their options.