Hidden Fruits of the Past


“By his four-armed…” Zuko muttered as he paced about the formerly sterile environment.

“They certainly made a mess of things to be sure. Luckily it’s mostly cosmetic…"

“Kadon and I should be able to get everything cleaned up and stable soon enough.”

“I hope so,” Zuko mused while walking along the ceiling, glad that he wasn’t walking thru the puddles all over the floor. “I’m just glad none of the core… uh systems? were broken.”

“The manse is still in working order, the defense screen can be reapplied and corrections made to prevent more people getting in here,” Scarlet explained as the pair continued their survey. “I suppose one benefit of all this is it’s the perfect chance to make some improvements and needed upkeep, I even think the interns and cult engineers could do most of this”

“Well that’s a benefit I suppose… Not keeping Kadon and the rest of us here is a blessing. I certainly wouldn’t want to spend a single extra minute here…”

Scarlet continued forward mentally checking off each faulty or failed apparatus with a slight nod of the head. Completely oblivious to the wasted time, the Lunar took to brush her hair out of her eyes and back over her ear with each nod. It took another minute for her to realize Zuko had stopped before a large pair of golden doors.

“This is the room isn’t it?” The question hung in the air. Zuko’s body language indicated his being internally certain of the truth yet obviously in over his head as he flipped down to standing right side up.

Scampering back to rest a comforting hand on his shoulder, “yes, it is a room, the wall and doors should have given that away” Scarlet reassured him with a gentle shake, but noticed that the joke was lost on him. “Yes, this lab is where Zoranna did her work on the Immaculate Reincarnation Engine. All reports are that the intruders didn’t bother this side of the facility so I doubt we need to check it out.”

“I think I do, though I must admit I don’t know why” the Night Caste responded as he walked through the automatically opening portal. The lab within was a shadow of its former glory. Still, the machines glowed with essence and seemed to be performing their functions even if Zuko had no idea of their purpose. In the center of the room surrounded by lights and dials sat a large Orichalcum receptacle.

“So if this is the reincarnation machine, whats that little area behind it?”

Even without their shared bond Zuko could read the confusion on Scarlet’s face. “What area? There’s a just a wall there, as indestructible as most of this manse.”

“Noooooo, there is a wall, but what about right here?” Zuko explained while running his right hand behind a larger complex of gears and lights. His wife’s gasp cut the silence as she watched his fingers begin to pass straight through the wall. She watched as he twisted his body and shimmied along the wall until the rest of him reached the “opening” and disappeared behind it.

“Come on in.” he exclaimed from nowhere. “It’s not like one of my usual tricks, though I guess you might have to shrink down a bit to fit behind that machine. Please hurry though, as I have no clue what I am looking at. Help?”

After swiftly assuming her totem form, the squirrel wasted no time scurrying after him and managed to only run headlong into solid matter once before he held his hand through the wall and guided her to him. Once inside her eyes were filled with the stars of the heavens as they twisted and moved in a complex pattern she could not yet understand. Nearly expecting to see herself miles about creation in the sky itself, Scarlet looked down and saw more points of light and constellations beneath them. Truly there was no understanding of direction in this place besides a faint outline of the doorway that brought them here.

“Guess it’s cued to me- er her, or well, us. Just like the Envy and such? Still didn’t Zoranna trust you with everything back then? We haven’t come across something that only works for me and not you yet have we?”

“I don’t have any memories of this place, I think this is one thing your forebear kept to herself,” Scarlet postulated aloud. “but what is its purpose besides all the pretty sparkles?”

Suddenly a bright flash appeared in front of them and a console appeared before them. First as an outline that the stars seemed to drift through, the rows of buttons and switches soon became solid just a few feet away. Hesitantly, Zuko walked towards the device, “Babe? Uh, I have no idea what to do with this do you have any clue?”

“PRIMARY USER INTERFACE LOADED. WELCOME BACK BLESSED ONE” a voice chimed from nowhere and everywhere. “ALL CELESTIAL PREDICTION AND MONITORING ALGORITHMS APPEAR TO BE OPERATING WITHIN DESIRED PARAMETERS.”

“What!?! Who is that?” Zuko exclaimed, readying himself for a fight and placing himself between his bride and the new machine.

“BLESSED ONE, I AM THE MONITOR. IT HAS BEEN MANY YEARS SINCE YOU LAST VISITED THIS LOCATION. THE DIAGNOSTICS SHOW ZERO FAULT IN THE ASSUMPTION PROTOCOLS.”

Scarlet nearly scratched her own head as waves of confusion erupted through the bond. “I think this system is meant for you Zuko, speak with it, learn its purpose.”

“Right, right. So Monitor was it?”

“YES BLESSED ONE, I EXIST TO SERVE AS THE MONITOR AND MAINTAINER OF THIS FACILITY. I HAVE WATCHED THE CHANGING OF THE SKIES AS INSTRUCTED, THE BORROWED DATA HAS RESULTED IN AN ERROR RATE OF UNDER .00001%”

“Oooookay, why were you watching, what is this place?”

“THIS FACILITY IS THE PROPERTY OF THE HIDDEN PILLAGER OF LIFE’S SECRETS. BUILT TO MONITOR AND ADJUST THE ASSUMPTION MATRICES OF THE REINCARNATION ENGINES. THE BLESSED ONE SHOULD BE PLEASED TO NOTE THIS FACILITY HAS NOT PERFORMED AN ERROR SINCE THE NEW DATA WAS ACQUIRED.”

Scarlet stepped in front of Zuko with a satisfied look on her face. “This must be the system that tracks the star of destiny of the individuals to ensure that they are not voided out upon death, and pull the soul into the new body created by the cloning facility. My guess is that these complex formulae and systems are needed to account for disturbances in heaven and the drift those stars often take as a person’s life changes. It’s all quite fascinating, as I had wondered what allowed the boxes to maintain such a link.”

“That’s great and all, dear, but what does it mean for us now? Do we break it?”

“DESTRUCTION OF THE FACILTIY WOULD SEVER THE CONNECTION OF THE REINCARNATION ENGINES. WOULD THE BLESSED ONE WISH TO DESTROY THE HEARTHSTONE AND FACILITY AT THIS TIME?”

“NO! NO no no no. Ummm, wait there’s a hearthstone?” the Night Caste’s eyes glimmered with a hint of greed. “ Also, what new data?”

A small door opened on the console and presented Zuko with a prism filled with strands of light that danced about on its surface. Zuko quickly took the gem and felt his connection to this strange place become stronger.

“BLESSED ONE PROVIDED THE MONITOR WITH NEW DATA AND ALGORITHMS FROM AN UNKNOWN SOURCE TO FEED INTO THE ASSUMPTION PROTOCOLS. NEW DATA INDICATED IMMACULATE LEVEL REINCARNATION ENGINE A POSSIBILTY AS IT WOULD ALLOW THE TRACKING OF THE DESTINY OF EVEN A SOLAR EXALTED. THE BLESSED ONE REQUESTED A THOROUGH DIAGNOSTIC OF THE SYSTEM AT TIME OF LAST VISIT, IT SHOWED NO ERRORS IN PROCESSING. THE IMMACULATE DESTINY ASSUMPTION PROTOCOLS CAN BE ACTIVATED NOW”

“And what would that do?”

“THE IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF THE RELEVANT TRACKING DATA FROM REINCARNATION PROTOTYPE NUMBER 7 TO ORICHALCUM DEVICE… BUT BLESSED ONE, THE DEVICE IS NO LONGER ACTIVELY CONNECTED TO THIS FACILITY, DO YOU STILL WANT TO REMOVE THE DATA FROM THE OLD DEVICE?”

“NO! Just leave it alone for now” Zuko shouted to… nowhere before turning to Scarlet. “So Zoranna had her reincarnation box working? I guess she just never managed to get inside before the Usurpation happened. Still, perhaps if we could fix it up… “

“Not on your life Zuko” interjected his wife with a clawed finger poking him in the nose as she scowled at him “First off, I doubt any of us has the proper know how to get this up and running anytime soon. Secondly, the device is still probably tuned to Ephiselle’s star so it won’t do you any good. We still have unfinished business with her. Maybe after she is freed.”

“I suppose that’s fair,” the green-haired thief replied while juggling Fate’s Spindle with his left foot. “Let’s keep this under wraps for now anyways. The group has a lot on their mind, we should probably just leave this place as it is and revisit this whole reincarnation thing when we have some time… so never.”

“BLESSED ONE, THE MONITOR APPRECIATES YOUR VISIT. PLEASE BE CAREFUL IN YOUR RETURN AS REALITY MAY HAVE SHIFTED DURING YOUR TIME HERE.”

“Well, that’s just unsettling,” muttered the feisty squirrel as she pushed her spouse through the glowing passageway and back into the labs. “Let’s go see what the others have found. I think someone in the Cult mentioned something about the tanks being opened.”

Hidden Fruits of the Past

Sins of the First Age ChainsawXIV