The Fae Senate had gathered again to hear what Rellmeer had been told. Arsha and Hanako were in attendance. “This is not credible,” scoffed Baltar. “A Kitsune cannot be so easily hypnotized!”
“With normal hypnosis, yes,” began Arsha, “but with drugs and a hypnosis suit?”
“No one’s developed a hypnosis suit!” dismissed Baltar.
“I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it,” interjected Rellmeer. “There ARE unsavory technologies being developed in secret.”
“But how would such a suit be constructed?” asked Lantii.
“And why lace it with a virus?” quizzed Rozek, the male Pixie Senator that jabbed his finger to the ceiling during the cacophony the other day.
“Perhaps an attempt to wipe us out?” quizzed Roonsar, the male Fairy Senator that protested Rellmeer’s use of the word “unusual”.
“Marshii is analyzing how the virus was made,” assured Rellmeer. “When Midiriki arrives, she will give her testimony.”
“Ask, and she shall appear!” called a voice. Midiriki then entered the Senate Chambers in her usual purple kimono with her tails neatly brushed. She sat in the center seat.
“Madam, whenever you’re ready,” directed Rellmeer.
“Thank you, My Lady,” bid Midiriki. “Assembled Senators and Family, I must confess, this whole situation comes from someone we long thought dead. This person was an unsavory Sprite that would stop at nothing to claim the Fae Throne. I believe you are all familiar with Dr. Cytanek Yavenag Borg?”
“Borg was executed!” argued Baltar. “Her experiments were destroyed during her arrest!”
“I was there when she was executed,” replied Midiriki, “but I saw her as she strapped me into that suit after drugging me with numerous mind-control potions.”
“This is ridiculous!” insisted Baltar.
“I saw what I saw, I heard what I heard!” urged Midiriki. “I know what I know.”
“And the Investigatory Committee,” supplied a female Fairy Senator, Bwelman, “can confirm that this whole thing was Borg’s MO.”
“I say the Investigatory Committee,” called Baltar, “needs to reexamine the evidence stacked against it! Dr. Borg was taken to the wall! Magic bolts pierced her skull, her heart, her legs, and her lungs! She is dead!”
“Am I?” called a voice. A green gas then flooded the chambers, causing everyone to start coughing. A few people saw a female Sprite’s silhouette within the gas cloud and fired a few magic bolts.
“COME BACK HERE!” shouted Baltar as the figure ran from the chambers. As he took off after the attacker, Arsha, Hanako, Midiriki, and Rellmeer followed him with Arsha calling Marshii.
“Arsha to Marshii, get a medical team to the Senate Chambers on the double!” she commanded. “We may have sick people!”
“On my way!” replied Marshii. Arsha hung up, then transferred her hairpiece to her waist while summoning her armor. They all had managed to follow the figure into a laboratory, far from the city’s limits. Hanako, Midiriki, and Rellmeer destroyed the door while Baltar cast a locate spell. They found the attacker as it turned to reveal that it was a cyan-skinned female Sprite with a prosthetic right eye.
“…Impossible!” breathed Baltar. “You were…!”
“It’s my original mind, but not my original body,” the Sprite revealed, answering Baltar’s question.
“Cytanek Yavenag Borg!” gasped Arsha.
“DOCTOR Cytanek Yavenag Borg,” corrected the Sprite.
“But you were sent to the wall!” protested Baltar.
“Yes, I distinctly remember you shooting me in the skull,” replied Dr. Borg, “but I needed my apparent execution to test a new device. Now that it works, I can explain. It’s something that transfers my mind into a body I had crafted from my own DNA, an exact clone, complete with my cybernetics!” She then pulled a wand out from within her cloak and set it into her knife, leveling it at the group. “My wand’s accuracy has increased,” she warned. “Lower your weapons.”
“Very well,” sighed Rellmeer. They dropped their wands. “Look,” continued Rellmeer, “we can talk this over.”
“A bit late for that, since you ordered my execution,” hissed Dr. Borg. “For what it’s worth, though, I DO consider you a friend. Aw, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you lot cry.”
“…I was rather hoping I was imagining tasting my own blood,” sighed Midiriki. Cuts had appeared all over the group, the advanced stages of Malmaho disease. “I take it that gas was a more advanced version of what you coated my suit with.”
“It was,” confirmed Dr. Borg. “Don’t worry, this won’t take long. See, it’s important that you understand why I did what I did. Baltar, I think you of all people would get it. Others, not so much. Have you ever wondered why I wanted to conquer all the Realms?”
“All the Realms?” repeated Rellmeer.
“Yes, all of them,” confirmed Dr. Borg. “Did you assume I was a Splitter lackey? They would destabilize my plans. No, I have my own goals for dominance. With my presence exposed, the Fae Military’s top brass could kill me in an instant. Baltar, your father, General Remsey, could finish the job, but he needs me right now. As long as he does what I order, he’s all right.”
“Keep talking,” hissed Baltar. “Right now, I’m still thinking about purging whatever virus you made from my body, grabbing the nearest blunt object, and beating your skull in! Right now, talking is keeping you alive!”
“Well, that’s hardly gentlemanly,” snarked Dr. Borg. “Here’s the thing; in exchange for his loyalty, I supply your father with a regular donation, Sprite wings. Last I checked, he was addicted to flying and keeping his wings in motion, never letting his feet touch the ground.”
“…He never told me that!” yelped Baltar.
“Nor me,” supplied Rellmeer. “I recall it being a rare condition, but treatable.”
“General Remsey’s not looking for treatment,” dismissed Dr. Borg. “He wants the next hit.”
“Hold on,” interjected Arsha, “you’re harvesting Sprite wings on his behalf?!”
“In the beginning,” replied Dr. Borg, “it was a clone set of my own wings, but his body was treating them as tumors and he was becoming resistant to the immunosuppressant drugs I was supplying. I couldn’t exactly kidnap Sprites, that would only cause an investigation. However, I remembered a scientific paper saying that the wings of any Fae are the last to die.”
“You started harvesting from the dead,” realized Rellmeer.
“As long as he obeyed and didn’t ask questions,” continued Dr. Borg, “I could fuel his addiction. He had dug up some files from your ancestors’ time, Rellmeer. Find the right frequency and a person’s mind is yours to command. However, the technology used WAS ancient. I wasn’t about to just rely on sound, so I drugged up Midiriki and managed to get her to attack the tree while I went for those in the morgues. We may be biologically immortal, but bacteria, viruses, and weapons give us a reason to have graveyards.”
“I still don’t get it,” called Hanako, “how would feeding General Remsey’s addiction help you conquer the Realms?”
“A shock-trooper,” replied Rellmeer. “Get a person to suffer enough, feed them enough lies, and you have a puppet who will act like a non-Sentina dog and follow your every command.”
“Exactly,” confirmed Dr. Borg. “With people like him under my command, I can have access to all the resources needed to continue my experiments. Now, admit it, you ARE impressed, are you not?”
“Dr. C. Y. Borg,” answered Arsha, “In this year alone, my crew and I have been held at wand-point by the best. Splitters, Pirates, rogue doctors, rogue Admirals, infiltrators, and I have NEVER known any of them to take so long to explain their grand plan. But, I DO want to thank you. Not only did you convince us you’re getting exactly what you deserve, but you’ve given us the chance to fight back!”
“Fight back?! You lot?!” laughed Dr. Borg. “You’re in the advanced stages of Malmaho disease! Your bodies’ opened various cuts in your skin as a last ditch effort to purge the illness! Any extraneous activity will cause you to bleed faster! You are, quite literally, falling apart!”
“Your lab floor is sloped,” replied Arsha. “You’re at the lowest point while we’re at the highest. We’ve infected you.”
“Those statements don’t correlate!” argued Dr. Borg. “You haven’t even touched me!”
“They DO correlate,” argued Hanako, realizing her daughter’s plan. “While you were talking, we were bleeding. We must have developed over a hundred cuts and, for the past minute, your big foot was blocking the small river of our infected blood as it traveled down the slope of your floor!” Dr. Borg’s eyes went wide as she looked down to confirm that Hanako was telling the truth! She shrieked as she jumped onto a table to get away, but it was too late. The next time she would use magic, the virus would activate. Baltar ran forward and punched Dr. Borg square in the jaw and grabbed her knife.
“Damn, that felt good!” he sighed.
“Idiots!” shouted Dr. Borg. “You don’t think I wouldn’t create a vaccine in case something like this happened?!”
“I was counting on it,” replied Arsha. “Hand it over. Slowly.”
“What would you do if I don’t?” asked Dr. Borg. Baltar then leveled the knife at her. “Except, you can’t do it!” laughed Dr. Borg. “You can’t shoot me because killing an unarmed combatant would be a stain on your precious ‘military honor’!”
“If you MUST know,” growled Baltar, “I can’t shoot because my arm is seizing up and I missed my physical therapy appointment for it!”
“In that case,” giggled Dr. Borg as she typed a command into her computer, “I’d like you to meet my two friends!” Two guns dropped from the ceiling and fired on her opponents. “Oh, and you were never that much of a ruler, Rellmeer,” taunted Dr. Borg as she climbed the ladder that dropped. She got to the top with the vaccine in her mouth while she saw something surprising…Arsha out of her armor and smiling!
“And you were never that good of a scientist,” taunted Arsha. Her mouth never moved and she seemed to be glitching in and out of existence.
“What the?!” spluttered Dr. Borg.
“A Maho-particle avatar,” explained Arsha. “The caster manipulates the stray mana particles in the air and makes a copy of themself. This feels different, though. I guess the template’s corrupted. It’s out of fashion these days, you can guess why. It’s mana-intensive, requires total concentration, the avatar’s smile never vanishes while speaking, and the hair never looks right. In fact, the only thing it’s good for…”
“Is keeping idiots distracted!” finished the armored Arsha as she got off the ladder and charged at Dr. Borg, chopping the Sprite’s wings off with her sword. The avatar vanished as the vaccine tumbled away.
“NO!” wailed Dr. Borg as the vaccine fell from the building’s roof and into the streets below. Dr. Borg looked helplessly downwards, then growled as she glared at Arsha. “You imbecile!” she shouted as she tore off her cloak, revealing her scientist get up and her cybernetic legs and right arm. Her feet were built like bird feet. “That was the only vaccine! You’ve doomed us all!” she roared as she knocked Arsha’s sword out of her hands and started punching. Arsha managed to block a few before grabbing her opponent’s arms.
“Dr. Borg,” she hissed, “my first year as Captain took me all over the emotional spectrum. I’m still coming to grips with the fact that five people died under my command. The only reason I’m staying on? I still want to protect my people just as those who died! Bottom line, you can’t kill me that easily!” She then crushed Dr. Borg’s cybernetic arm and kicked her over the edge. Dr. Borg then grabbed the roof ledge with her fleshy arm and refused to let go. “Judging by your reactions,” mused Arsha, “I’d say you didn’t have enough time to prepare another body for your mind to inhabit.”
“Arsha, please!” begged Dr. Borg. “You can’t leave me like this forever!”
“It won’t be forever,” answered Arsha before she coughed. When she finished, she continued. “You have three choices right now. You can use magic to levitate yourself up to safety; activating the virus, you can use magic to soften the impact; activating the virus, or you can just fall and pray the impact doesn’t kill you.” Just then, a shot could be heard as a hole appeared in Dr. Borg’s head. The sudden shock from the wound caused Dr. Borg to let go. Arsha looked towards the direction of the shot to see a Fairy holding a spear with a wand set into it and giving a thumbs up. She returned the thumbs up and then collapsed as Marshii called. She dismissed her helmet before accepting.
“Arsha, don’t you dare die yet!” demanded Marshii. “I’m coming for you with a vaccine!”
“Good to know,” panted Arsha. “You may want to hurry though.” She then went unconscious.