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Sep 19, 2021 4:47 AM
Telumë meets the protomolecule, because I am a terrible person
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Right up until the final moments, Telumë still doesn't know if it's going to work. 

But he stands on the dusty road in Velvar, facing Sauron, dizzy and drained and exhausted, heartsick and numb at the same time. Too many deaths, too fast too soon they weren't ready - too much he had already lost, long before this final battle, too much that can't ever be set right even after they win. If they win. 

But Vanyel is with him, and he doesn't hesitate. 

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This ends herea newborn god says through its creators lips, and Telumë is a vessel filled with light - a shining city, and finally, finally, the light is bright enough and the path ahead is clear enough and they can see their way through to ending this war. 

 

- the young god sees something else, though. A - splitting, something that falls into mist. It's never seen anything like that in Foresight before. 

 

??? the god asks Telumë. 

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Will Sauron be dead? Will Velgarth be safe? Those are, at this point, the only things left that really matter, to make all of this worthwhile. If this is what needs to happen, to defeat Sauron, then Telumë is willing to pay that other unknown cost. 

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And through him, Foundation anchors on the Maia's magic and rips open a crack in the structure of the planes and dismantles Sauron's essence for fuel. 

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For a moment he's falling, and then for a timeless interval he's nowhere at all, and then time snaps back into existence and he's...where...somewhere else...? 

Telumë has no idea what just happened. The surface under him is cold and hard. He should probably make some kind of attempt to figure out where he is but he's so tired and his mage-senses are still whited out and - it's very hard to care, he's not sure why it should matter, because it's over. It's finally over. Whatever happened, he saw Sauron die. 

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Alex is the one who notices it first. 

"- Hey, guys? Hoss? I thought I– it's probably nothing, just, though I saw something on the cameras. Cargo hold." 

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He can't see how there could possibly be someone on the ship, it's still hard to believe the first spy hid as long as he did - and he wasn't stupid enough to wander around in the cargo hold. 

But they've been on edge ever since they departed from Charted Belt Asteroid BA-834024112 and sent a torpedo on their way out. It might not be someone. It could be something a lot worse. 

He unstraps himself. "Better check it out." 

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Naomi barely looks up from her engineering status panel. "Amos, go with him." 

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Amos, as usual, takes the lead. With his gun out and in his hand, though not raised, and he's left the safety on. For now. 

 

...Which is why he is the first one to reach the dim-lit cargo bay, currently holding atmosphere and possessing gravity thanks to the drive being on, and see the figure sprawled on the ground. 

A human-shaped figure. Small, either a woman or a youth. 

"The fuck." He's already reaching for a flashlight. "Holden, stay back. We've got a situation. Another one." 

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There are footsteps, which Telumë fails to notice because he's currently semiconscious, drifting.  

He definitely notices the light in his eyes. It's very bright. He can't see its source at all, and his Othersenses - 

 

- are not working very well right now and also ow that was a bad idea. 

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It's a kid. Fourteen, fifteen, he can't tell. Skinny, underfed, but with a sturdier build than most Belters. Martian or Earther, then. And he doesn't look in great shape.

The kid whimpers and tries to roll away from the light. 

Amos backs off five paces, hand on the safety of his gun. 

"Holden. Holden, back the fuck off - tell Naomi - got a kid here, fuck if I know how he got in, but he looks real sick. Tell everyone to keep their distance - I'll make sure he stays put." 

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"What? ...Amos, do not shoot the child. I'll, I'll get Naomi..." 

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"Shit." Naomi abandons her panel this time. "Could the kid have -" 

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"Gotten off that damned ship while we were checking it out? I don't know - don't see how, cameras only picked him up now. And I didn't see a suit." 

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"But he could be infected." Naomi bites her lip. "And we don't even have a bloody medic." 

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"Technically we never did have one." 

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Naomi rolls her eyes ceiling-ward. 

"I'll put on a suit and go check him out." 

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Telumë half-wakes to movement. More lights. He thinks maybe he's being carried by someone, except that doesn't quite make sense, whatever's supporting him is hard and cold and metallic...

Maybe Vanyel is getting him back to the north? That would make sense. Telumë vaguely wishes they could leave it alone for a while, though. Wishes things would just stop. He's dizzy and his entire body hurts and it feels deeply unreasonable that, after he finally managed to defeat Sauron - at the cost of multiple countries - there continue to be MORE THINGS. 

Something jars him and he almost screams, would scream if he had the breath, instead it's only a whimper.

And then finally, blessedly, the motion stops and he's horizontal, mostly. Something squeezes his arm. A while after that, the pain eases.

Telumë still has very little idea what's happening, but it's definitely not Sauron, so...the situation will be all right. He did his part, to make it that way, and now he's done and he lets the darkness swallow him. 

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Naomi, still suited up, finishes setting up the autodoc, and pokes at the screen. 

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The rest of the crew stays outside of the medbay. No point exposing all of them. 

Holden radios Naomi. "So. What's wrong with him? Is he..." 

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"The autodoc isn't sure! Not detecting any pathogen, but - would it? It's not - we know it's nothing we've ever seen. ...S'not sure what is wrong with him. I've gave him a sedative and a painkiller..." 

She frowns some more at the screen. "It's - something's up with his neurological activity, it's suggesting he may have...had a seizure recently? Not a stroke - no structural abnormality -" 

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"He could be infected. We've got no idea what that thing does to people before it gets to - what we saw back there." 

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"I know that!" Naomi snaps. "Nobody's going to be stupid here. Give me a minute here, 'kay?"

The autodoc thinks the kid is dehydrated and wants her to place an IV line and give him some fluids, which would be fine if not for the part where she's wearing a pressure suit; the gloves are designed to let you do fiddly repair work in vacuum but it's still not the same. It takes her a while. Also the kid's blood sugar is critically low? Naomi can't see how that's related to anything here but it's not like she's a medic. 

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Telumë sleeps through all of this. He probably would even without the sedative; he's incredibly exhausted. 

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"- Right. Autodoc thinks he's stable. I...guess I'll just leave him in here, he's restrained and sure doesn't look like he's going anywhere." 

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"You'd better decontaminate really thorough before you come back out here, Naomi." 

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