We are getting back into the swing of things, so we are going to give you this quick appetizer before a larger scene on Friday.
Maud rushed down the hallway. The meeting with the lees and the Tachi was in less than ten minutes, but her personal unit had pinged, letting her know Helen was awake. Maud tore through the castle at a near sprint. Logic told her that everything would be fine, but emotion trumped logic, and her emotions were screaming at her that something would go terribly wrong in the time it would take her to get to the medward. By the time she reached the door, she was in a near panic.
The door whispered open.
In a flash, Maud saw the room in excruciating detail: the bed, the white instruments, the blue readouts projected on the wall, the medic standing to the side, and Helen, upright on the bed.
“Mommy!” Helen cleared ten feet in a single jump.
Maud caught her and hugged her, wishing with everything she had that this was real, and her daughter wouldn’t disappear out of her arms fading back into the hospital bed.
“Full recovery,” the medic said. “I uploaded a monitoring routine to her personal unit and synced it to you. If she takes a turn for the worst, which I do not anticipate, her unit will flash with yellow and you will get a warning. Should this occur, I want to see her immediately.”
“Understood.” Maud kissed Helen’s forehead, inhaling the familiar scent of her daughter’s hair. It will be okay, she’s okay, everything is fine, she’s alive, she’s not dying… “Thank you for everything.”
“You’re welcome,” the medic said. “I did very little. All I could do was keep her alive for a little longer. Eventually she would have slipped away. Are you going to speak with the lees?”
“Yes.” She was still clutching Helen tightly to herself, unwilling to let go.
“I want the recipe for that poison.”
“I will try, but the lees hoard their secrets like treasure. They will only trade, for something of equal or greater value.”
The medic pondered the wall for a moment and tapped his unit. A round ceramic tower slid out of the floor and opened, revealing a core lit from within by a peach-colored glow and rows of tubes, vials, and ampoules arranged in rings around it. The contents of the tower glittered like jewels, some filled with amber liquid, others containing glowing mists or small dazzling gems in a rainbow of colors. It was oddly elegant and beautiful, the way vampire technology often was. The medic plucked a twisted vial filled with green mist and held it out to her.
“A gesture of good faith.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a biological weapon we developed during the Nexus conflict. It renders the lees infertile.”
He just pulled a species ending toxin out of the shelf like it was nothing. And he had dozens more in there, all of different shapes and sizes. How many other species could they neuter with one of those shiny bottles? She just watched him reach into a Pandora’s box like he was grabbing a sandwich out of a picnic basket. Her reaction must have shown on her face, because the medic shrugged. “It was never used. It was judged to be against the code of war. Also, it’s a poor weapon. It doesn’t kill the enemy. It’s something one might use in retaliation for being beaten, and we do not lose.”
“I need a carrying case for this,” she said.
“Why? The vial is unbreakable by normal means and is hermetically sealed.”
Maud smiled. “You don’t just hand someone a terrible evil without impressive packaging. We need a chest filled with velvet or a high-tech vault container with an elaborate code lock. Something that makes it seem important and forbidden.”
The medic’s eyes lit up. “I have just the thing.”