By Amber Michelle
"The fools do not know their own danger..."
Krelian shrugged, brushing off Miang's comment - as he did most. Or rather, as he wished he could. "Let them wrap themselves in their false sense of security... They will be discarded when the time comes." He unwrapped a new syringe, his eyes flickering over it once before it pricked through her skin.
A sharp sigh broke through her lips. "You're too wrapped up in your little world of experiments, Krelian. I don't think you understand what will happen if you help them regain their bodies." Her arm tensed as he drew her blood out, drop by agonizing drop; her voice became noticibly tighter. She wasn't very fond of needles, he remembered... a phobia she could likely blame on him. "They had power... and their descendants have far surpassed them. If they decide to interfere with us, in their material bodies --"
"Then I'm sure Lacan will take great pleasure in exterminating them again." He withdrew the needle, seperating vial from syringe and tossing the useless components into the waste bin. "And if he does not feel so inclined, I will do it myself. They can be dead before their minds can overtake the will of the vessels they choose..."
The 'Animus' seemed to be her obsession, of late, ever since he'd revealed his hand with Emeralda's departure. It was understandable, certainly, but also rather irritating when she implied that he would not be able to handle the situation. It would be quite simple... with both the Contact and the Anti-type in Solaris, he might very well be able to kill several birds with one stone - as the old saying went. He could rid himself of Solaris and its useless population; in one day, he might very well be able to drive Ramses to the point at which he would be ready for his Anima Relic...
And in a mere hour, he would be able to decipher Elehayym's genetic code, and the intensity of Urobolus's presence in her blood. If things indeed turned out as he hoped... then yes, the 'time of Gospel' certainly would be at hand...
Krelian turned away from Miang and placed the vial in its place within the scanner with practiced caution. After so many tests on her current body, such a small sample would likely be enough for a comparison with 'Elly's'.
"You should not allow this to stress you so, Miang..." He turned away from his work long enough to meet her gaze, his voice flat, unremarkable. As expressionless as he could manage. "This was our plan, after all. We cannot move any farther toward our goal unless we can be certain she is the incarnation we've searched for."
Miang raised a delicate eyebrow, fingers pressed to the puncture wound still festering on her skin. "Is there really any question? She's acted in the predicted fashion... she has met and bonded with the Contact..." Her expression smoothed, quite suddenly, but her eyes grew sharper. "Or is it, perhaps, just your obsessive... curiosity, shall we say? I haven't seen you pursue anything so passionately since the war five hundred years ago..."
He was half tempted to abandon her to whatever infection was rampaging through the laboratory... It wouldn't be the first time he'd retaliated under the guise of his work. However, it would be too great an inconvenience, to be forced to wait for another incarnation to present itself... damn her for that protection... "I would like to confirm your 'facts', Miang, rather than run with your questionable reassurances. It won't make things any more difficult than they are, and if we are lucky... their presence here will make things easier. Patience..."
Another amused eyebrow lifted, at his words. "Patience...? And what will you tell me about patience, 'Krelian'? Have your five hundred years taught you something that my ten millennia have not already bestowed upon me? Please, enlighten me."
"Apparently quite a bit..." Krelian refrained from continuing with difficulty, though he did manage to ellicit a brief exclamation of pain when he pressed his thumbs into the hollow of her elbow. Little droplets of blood beaded at the tips of his fingers and he wiped them away absently, releasing his grip long enough to retrieve a bandage. "I suggest taking your own advice, if you trust me so little - 'have a little faith'..."
A soft, pale hand halted his ministrations; another brushed his cheek, in an almost tender motion. "Sometimes... I think I wouldn't know what to do without you. The Gazel are a pack of fools - they make terrible sparring partners..."
He turned his face away from her touch, frozen there a moment with the bandage only half done before he resumed the task in silence. She liked to tease him... That was likely her real reason for enjoying his 'company'. But there was nothing to be done about it. She got what she wanted... He would get what he wanted. That was all that mattered.
Miang's hand dropped to her side, pale flesh resting on the cold metal. That vision alone was enough to rehash a few memories he was trying to avoid, and he paused again in his work for an instant to push them back. This was not the time and place... there was never a time and place to recall anything about Miang - he need only keep in mind her skill at deception...
"You won't give me an inch, will you? Not even that. We've worked together for centuries, and you still won't even trust me enough to have a simple conversation." Her fingers wrapped around his wrist when he tried to withdraw, his task complete. "I don't care if you like me Krelian, but a civil conversation would be nice once in awhile. I'm risking myself to help you, and I gain no more on your side than on Cain's. Is that too much to ask of you?"
Silence wasn't enough for her? Krelian regarded her with a shuttered gaze, caught between sarcasm and surprise. Surprise, because outbursts like this were remarkably rare... She was cool, she was biting, or smug, or... any number of things, but never irritated. Not in his presence, at least.
Perhaps she was more stressed than she looked... worried, perhaps, about his plans for Elly. As if he would back out on their plan...
He would prefer Elly as she was, or better, as she had been when she was Sophia... But even he knew that would never happen. Elly wouldn't be his in any sense, no matter how hard he worked, or what tricks he could pull off. It wouldn't happen. He knew that. Knew it all too well...
But the combination of these two women would be intriguing... No matter who would end up as the dominant half, the changes that would be wrought by that simple merging were... well, something he was looking forward to. Was that so wrong? If he could not have Elly... at least his would be the hand to help her through her programmed task.
His hand would be the one to free her. And yes, to free Miang as well. Perhaps he was tired of her manipulations and snide remarks about his 'motivations', but... he pitied her...
But didn't he? Or was that something else talking?
"I give you an inch, and you always demand the rest... And you get what you want, don't you? I don't recall you taking 'no' for an answer at any time..." Krelian placed the excess bandages to the side carefully, eyes riveted to his companion's. "Perhaps it is just the way I was raised, but force does not become you, Miang... and your methods leave much to be desired."
A slender eyebrow arched. "Do they, now...?"
"Concentrate your efforts on Ramsus, dear Miang." He offered her a faint, cynical smile, drawing his finger along the soft line of her jaw and tilting her chin up. "I'm not going to leave you behind. You'll have eternity to taunt me..."
Head tilted to the side, he leaned forward, half-tempted to follow through with the gesture he was suggesting... and damn the monitors and cams recording the goings on in the laboratory. But...
"What... what are you...?!"
But that would be unwise, under current circumstances...
Krelian straightened unhurriedly and let his hand fall, his eyes resting on Miang a second longer before he turned them to the new arrival. "Welcome back, Ramses... was your mission successful?" He turned, arms crossed over his chest and his voice flat. Yes, allowing Miang that inch would not be wise, now... But later, perhaps.
It wouldn't do for his prime component to be unhappy, now would it? Her cooperation was essential.
The boy looked as if he wanted to rush over and yank Miang to his side, but he hesitated, staring across the expanse of the table. "What were you doing? Miang?"
She stirred, turning to glance over her shoulder slowly, as if just coming to life. "Kahr...?" Violet hair waved as she shook her head. "I'm okay. Everything is okay..."
Ramsus turned his baleful gaze back over her head again, golden eyes almost smouldering with jealousy. "You haven't answered my question," was his cold response.
"And you haven't answered mine, Commander. Please understand that in a state of emergency such as this, any and all information is needed to achive maximum efficiency. Your cooperation will, as always, be appreciated... should you choose to give it."
Krelian glided away from Miang and offered a smooth, shallow bow, frosted with his pale, mocking smile. "However, I am already behind schedule today; please dictate your report to Miang, and have her send it to me later, when it is more convenient. She is now free to go."
"Krelian..." The warning in her voice was clear to him, though the boy would probably miss it altogether. Yes, they did go back a long way... and he could see in her eyes that she was genuinely irritated.
Wasn't that interesting... Was she really that concerned with his 'son'? That could open up so many intriguing possibilities... especially after the merging.
He turned on his heel and strode away from them, ignoring her warning and her look, and leaving Ramsus's glare behind. It wouldn't do to involve himself in a petty conflict now... The time of Hyuga's arrival - with the Anti-type - was fast approaching, and he had countless tasks to see done before that time.
Too many to waste time playing games with a child... even his own.