Through Smudged Lenses

"I think you did something to me, something that allowed me to Dive in a new way but to be able to, I needed experience, I needed to be more connected to people."

"Interesting."

"Gabriella pointed it out. I'm missing something, some part of myself. It far off, still connected, but without it I'm lacking something. Maybe that's what let me do the Dive that brought me here, somehow. You knew that unless I was stronger Aetherically I'd never be able to do it, that why you stopped me controlling my emotions, I can to connect to people, I had to live and I'm guessing that effected by Aetheric self."

"Very good, very entertaining."

"And then you pushed me, made me break, made me cross a line a hadn't crossed before and I ended up here somehow. What did I do, how did I get here? I saw things Triad, things I can't even begin to understand. What was that?"

There was a sigh and Gabriella was suddenly dropped to the floor slowly with a sloppy sucking noise as the tendrils disengaged, leaving her laying unconscious in a pool of fluids. A Neutral came, picked her up and took her away. Michael got up to leave.

"Wait. I'mnot finished with you yet Michael. That's an interesting theory. You're wrong in places, missing other parts and I'm afraid it would spoil things if I just told you. However, I will tell you some things. Like how you got here for example."

Michael tensed, readying himself for the answer.

"You stepped through the Aether. The force of your will and your other... unique talents... allowed you to collapse your physical self through the Aether. Your Technomancer scientists, they've taught you the Aether is just another higher dimensional space, yes? That's true in part. You translated yourself through that higher geometry and brought you and your companions here, but it raw, uncontrolled. You aren't ready to use it, not yet. You're learning though."

"And what I saw?"

"Well, you saw what some, especially demons, call the Demon Machine."

"Demon machine? You told be about that earlier, when we met."

"Did I really?" Triad said, a deep sense of surprise, intrigue and amusement in it's voice. "That's most interesting, and what did I say?"

"What are you, senile now?"

"It doesn't matter." Triad said dismissively. "As I was saying, you saw Johnathan Tetherson."

"What? You are senile! Doctor Tetherson died years ago!"

"Not quite. The Demon Machine and Tetherson are one and the same. His bomb didn't work quite as planned. It didn't just explode, in the Aether it imploded and in the Aether nothing is destroyed. What do you think happens when elements are forced together and have no way of being destroyed or converted into energy?"

"Fusion." Michael said, realising the implications of what Triad was saying. "Tetherson's alive, and a demon."

"And what's left of the Lunar AI."

"Three beings. Another Triad."

"Another Triad, though this one on the other side of the veil, this one trapped purely in the Aether. He remembers though and he wants back in."

"You aren't going to let him though."

"Of course not! I exist for a purpose and I fulfil it to the fullest of my abilities."

"And the other thing I saw?"

"Oh that? When Gabriella passed through the Aether, the demon was torn from her. It would certainly explain why she is unaffected by it's possession. Aetheric things tend to get drawn to the Aetheric and nothign is more Aetheric than the Aether itself."

Michael pondered this.

"But how did I do this? How is it even possible?"

"I don't know. Thats something you will have to discover for yourself. I knew you had the potential for such a thing and I've been grooming you for it."

Michael glared at the fleshy lump hanging from the ceiling.

"Oh stop it Michael, don't be a child."

A Neutral came in and addressed Michael. "Gabriella is awake now and would like to see you."

Michael got up and followed the Neutral. As he left he spoke out loud, directing his words at Triad. "This isn't over Triad. I'm not some toy for you to play with, you're going to tell me everything."

Triad offered no reply.

* * * * *

"They did what?!"

"We had some major activity about a hundred miles south of the university. Possessed crawling out of the wood work, seemed to me there was something important going down."

Arthur thought about it, it didn't make any sense. Why expose themselves out in the middle of nowhere?

"How did we get info on it? We have an agent in one of their cells?"

"Yes, well, we did. Got herself caught and it wasn't pretty. At least she died for a reason. With the people on the lookout after the incident at the university we already had people in the area. managed to round ourselves up a nice bunch of uglies."

"But what were they doing out there?"

"Whatever it was, it was something else. We found a car, a hole ripped out of it like something had taken a huge bite out of it. It was burnt to a crisp too. So far we aint had much in the way of cooperation. You want to come in on this?"

"No, I told you I wanted out. I just freelance occasionally to keep myself sweet."

"Sure you do, cause people like us quit everyday."

Arthur snorted. "Fine. I'll be there soon." He said, then hung up.

What are you getting yourself into Michael? Things are getting weirder and weirder by the second.

The End

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