Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chapter 74: Selket Considers the Words That Surface

Thurs December 3, 2074 10:10 am: 8132 Clematis St.- Pollonatia, Strangetown


“You have some fucking nerve being here.” Loki’s tone was placid, perhaps even vaguely astounded but his eyes conveyed a very different message. An entire litany of malicious intentions seemed to be festering behind those eyes. This man hated Selket and he had every right to. Once upon a time ago, she freed the creature that murdered his wife.

Selket’s posture stiffened as she made her way across the room. Her presence in the home of Dr. Loki Beaker was an intrusion but it was not without warrant. This man was her best and only resource. Everyone who shared his knowledge was long dead.


As Selket passed by the swimming pool, she spared a brief glance at the Townie woman treading water. She was acquainted with this woman. Ivy Copur was a good Dissenter, the ex-partner of one of Thea’s more exuberant sons, Raul Kivetz. Selket did not like to think of a comrade as a zealot but men like Raul posed an ethical gray area for the entire movement by way of their actions. Selket was uncertain of who had planted this Ivy woman in the household of Dr. Loki Beaker but there could be no mistake-- She was not there by accident. Selket turned her attention to Loki.

“I am sorry of interrupting, Dr. Beaker, but we need to talk. It is concerning a friend of yours in military.” Loki hardly blinked. They had only known one another for a short time many years ago but Selket understood him to be a man guided solely by his intellect. If he felt anything, he dismissed it. If he knew the full story, he only related half. If he thought for a moment that he might suffer Selket Redding for the sake of Sita or Hyperion Tvaud, he would carefully consider the compromise. Loki inclined his head towards Ivy but his stare remained fixed on Selket.

“Ivy, my pet, I hate to be a bore…” Loki did not complete his sentence. Ivy climbed out of the pool, silent but seemingly put-off. Thea would hear about this visit. Not that it mattered. Selket would explain herself no further than what Ivy had observed and she did not expect to be interrogated. There were secrets even amongst comrades.

Once Ivy was through the door, Loki gestured towards the chair opposite him. “Sit,” he snapped. Selket clenched her jaw and did as she was told. She could not recall the last time she was spoken to this way but her purpose here held far more gravity than her personal dignity. She folded her hands in her lap.


“I am afraid the news I have is not easy,” she said.

“Out with it.” Loki was clutching his knees hard enough to blanch his knuckles. Selket scraped her teeth over her bottom lip. The room had gone frigid.

“Yesterday morning, Orion Specter escaped detainment. He killed an elite officer, Sutekh Brylowe, and Colonel Tvaud is missing. We think that she is alive and that she is with Orion without her will. I come to you for guiding.” Loki cocked his head to the side.

“And why should I know where Orion Specter is?”

“Well, who knows him better than you, Dr. Beaker? Listen, I would not come to you but this thing, it is extremely sensitive. A Fae is dead—“


“To hell with your dead officer!” Following the outburst, everything went perfectly still. Loki’s face contorted to reveal the white hot fury of a man who had nothing left save the incessant echoes of a former life. Selket straightened in her chair. “Sita Tvaud is a very expensive piece of laboratory equipment and I am not just talking about money. The research involved! The man hours. The human capital. Have you any idea what lengths we had to go to? My wife died in agony before she could see this project completed. And Bella Goth! I needn’t remind you what a catastrophe that nearly turned out to be. Forty years worth of my sweat and blood are invested in this project. Much of Dr. Goth’s work with silt deposits in Arbormoor is lost forever. This technology is, in short, irreplaceable. So don't you dare talk to me about your losses. I don’t give a flying piss about your losses. There is nothing more important than getting that clone back to safety. Do you hear me? Nothing.” Loki banged his fist against the metal frame of his chair. Selket smoothed back fine wisps of her long black hair, undone by desert winds.

“Then you understand why I am here.” she said. Loki’s breathing slowed. His expression fell.


“That couldn't be further from the truth. What do you want from me, Ms. Redding?”

“I want to know what he is doing. Why would he take the girl? If we can know this, maybe they can be found.”

“Well, you might ask yourself that question. What is his impetus for anything that he does?"

"I don’t know. To confuse?"


"Ah ha. And how does he accomplish that? Misdirection? Lies? I find it a gross oversimplification to think of him simply as a liar. Orion Specter is not a liar. He molds his own truths. Don’t your holy texts teach you that at the beginning of time, the daemon Lotan approached his twin sister Lexis, who is the conduit of all truth, and breathed his own word past her lips? Since his banishment, Lotan has had only one goal behind everything that he does—To mix the universal truth with his own variant or, in a more theological sense, to be reunited with his most unfortunate sister.”

Selket took a moment to consider. It was true that this desire of his was described in Lexikos but even Orion would not act outside of his duty. What was he after in the short term?

“Do you think this kidnap is because of Lexis?” Selket asked. Loki drummed his fingertips on the cushion beneath him.


“Well yes and no. You see, I believe that he is so consumed by his need for Lexis that he has consciously or unconsciously come to believe that everyone feels a similar affinity for their siblings. And how could they not, to his mind? Lexis is all. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I found myself inexplicably wanting to do my own sister harm while that boy was in my care. But regardless of his motives, what I am saying to you is that Orion would kidnap Sita only with the knowledge that Hyperion would not be far behind. Take the sister and the brother will follow.”

“You think he intends this? That Hyperion will follow?”

“That is correct.” Selket leaned forward and perched her chin in her hand, knitting her brow. Hyperion was in Riverblossom investigating an unrelated case involving a prominent Fae woman who had been attacked by a vampire. For a moment, Orion’s words surfaced to the forefront of her mind. “I was sent to put into motion events that would lead to the destruction of a vampire who threatens the sanctity of the Ib.” But the victim had been so certain that she had not been attacked by the Sheut.

“I don’t understand. What would he want with Hyperion?” Loki raised his head to look down upon her.

“I am afraid that my expertise ends there, Ms. Redding. And now, if it pleases you, get out of my house.”


  1. Hmmm. I did suspect a connection between Sita and Bella Goth when you mentioned that Sita's mother had been a famous beauty. Curious as to exactly what it was she was bred for...

    How old is Loki? I knew he was still alive, but I expected him to be older. Then again, if he can devote himself to the sort of project that Sita seems to have been, then maybe he can keep himself looking youthful.

    Sooooo glad this story is back :D

  2. VAN! That is an excellent question! From Chapter 69:

    The creature's energy was discriminating, not flooding like other beings'. It knew direction and precision. There was little wonder that Moritmer Goth had attempted to weaponize it. Sita flexed her fingers, curling and uncurling her fists. She was death by design.

    Then this conversation between Isabella as a child and Mortimer:

    "I spend a lot of time in this laboratory. Do you know why?"

    "Mommy says it's 'cause you're working."

    "That's absolutely correct. I'm working. But why do I work? Why does anything work? We work to promote and preserve life. There is no greater, lesser or other service than this."

    "Daddy, what's service?"

    "Service is something that we do for the sake of something else outside of ourselves. If a creature does not serve then it may as well not have existed at all."

    Then this conversation between Dina and Don:

    "Your husband happened to me. He sent that snot-nosed kid London over here to kick my ass." And seeing the horror that washed over Dina's face, he hastened to add, "It wasn't about you or whatever. Mortimer's looking for someone and he thinks I know where to find them."

    "It's... Not Bella, is it?" Don snorted.

    "Mortimer has always known where Bella is. And it sure ain't at the bottom of Blue Lake."

    "I don't think I understand."

    "You shouldn't. I never wanted to get you involved."

    Loki is 65. He looks much younger because I made no attempt to make him look older. D'oh! We'll just say that he has aged very well. No science, magic or intersection thereof. He just has good genes. Also, he appears to be banging a woman who is half is age. And that'll keep a man spry? :p

    Thanks, Van!! I am happy to have the story back!

  3. Also, it is important to note the following:

    -Mortimer knew Kvornan.
    -Moritmer was Jon Smith-Tricou's lab assistant in his research on the properties of Fiorello wine. (ref: the copper woman)
    -Ahriman would have been Magister Templi at the time that the Sita/Hyperion project began.

    More to come. :D

  4. PENELOPE!!!

    I haven't started this story yet but I think I will now that you're back

    I've really wanted to meet you (online that is) and I'm glad I have.

    And if ever you have the time, Lothere is still hanging around not doing much (hint hint)

  5. Oh goodness, Van. I was really sleepy when I wrote all of that. I neglected to include the most important part of that Dina/Don conversation, which comes later on in you scroll down through the chapter. Mortimer Goth was looking for Kvornan and sent London to interrogate* Don about Kvornan's whereabouts. Also, I neglected to mention that "the creature" in the first quote was Orion. And the importance of that service quote from Mortimer was that we all know what Kvornan refuses to do. The shorthand of all of this is that Mortimer Goth was a Dissenter. One of the founders of the movement, actually.

    *I think that I am going to include this "interrogation" in a future chapter as a flashback. Mortimer had begun to suspect that someone working for him was spying for Kvornan and he had reasons to assume that it was Don. But naturally, it wasn't Don. It was London himself.

  6. Hi Joseph!! *waves* Thanks for stopping by. I plan on catching up with everything and everyone asap. Particularly Lothere because OMG OMG OMG VASHLAINA!!!

  7. AND THEN VAN, I wrote all of that, dropped the Dissenter bombshell (which will come up soon in the actual story-- the spotlight is shifting for a time to all things Orion Specter) AND I STILL DIDN'T ANSWER YOUR QUESTION! *facepalm*

    Ahriman and Thea are not going to walk into a fight with Kvornan Tricou unarmed. The discovery of Orion Specter was for Ahriman, a golden opportunity. Project Spawn was Moritmer Goth's idea. Loki did not know what the application for these weaponized clones would be. He was paid very handsomely not to know and not to ask too many questions. This was an academic exercise for him and insurance that Orion would remain incarcerated.

  8. I am publicly and historically Team Malcolm as Tiffany will attest. (Er... Is Tiffany still around?) However secretly, I harbor a certain Team Vash sympathies. XD

  9. Yes Tiffany's still around.

    Quick question. Do you go on the chatroom?

  10. I used to but I don't even remember my login! Ay ay ay. I am so out of the loop.

  11. As a complete and total after-thought, I would like to add this conversation between Jack and London from wayyy back at the beginning of the story:

    "You see," London continued. "Before he died, Mortimer Goth was researching the medicinal properties of Arbormoor Merlot, a wine produced by Fiorello Vineyards during the later half of the last century. What Dr. Goth found caused him to believe that immortality is a scientific possibility. As far as we know, he never proved his hypothesis. My job, as entrusted to me by that friend of my father's that I mentioned, is to make sure that no one ever proves that hypothesis. This is what I am offering you. And don't worry, you will be well prepared by the time its your turn to take the wheel. Better prepared than I was, anyway." Jack cleared his throat.

    "That sounds completely insane," he said. London sighed.

    "Well, Jack, you'll see by and by that the proof is everywhere. And even if it weren't, you're bound to have first hand experience. I mean for starters, do you think that Bella Goth's disappearance was an accident? Wife of the most powerful man in the world. They never even found her body."

    "I... I don't know. I wasn't born when all of that happened. I never thought about it much."

    London appeared to consider Jack for a moment, perhaps not believing that there was something that he had never thought about, particularly something on the scale of Bella Goth's death.

    "See that you never do," London replied.

    "Yes, sir." London stood, patting Jack on the shoulder.