The Beginning Of The End


aida_icon.gif azadi_icon.gif baruti_icon.gif damian_icon.gif raid_icon.gif kellar_icon.gif lucien_icon.gif nisatta2_icon.gif wenyi_icon.gif yao_icon.gif

Scene Title The Beginning of the End
Synopsis All of the pieces are in place, and after decades of work it is finally time… the Resurrection is at hand.
Date June 30, 2021

There's a soft beep of life-support machines and the whirr-hiss of a ventilator that fills the hospital room.

Once one of the most powerful people in the world, Yao Sze has been reduced to a shell of a person. The former operations director for Praxis Heavy Industries lay dying in a blood-stained hospital bed, droplets of crimson weeping from her pores, eyes so bloodshot they are black dots in a field of crimson. Fissures in her skin track like cracks in the surface of the badlands, screaming angry red. The intubation of her ventilator prevents her from speaking to the man seated at her bedside, but the device installer in a cranially-mounted data port provides a different means of communication.

«Please.» A terminal translates for Yao Sze, translating her thoughts from Mandarin to English and speaking them in a voice not her own.

Lucien Crane draws in a slow breath and holds it for a moment, looking at Yao with thoughtful consideration. He exhales that breath as a sigh and rises up from his seat. "It's already done," he says as a matter-of-fact statement.

«What? I—I don't understand. Lucien. Don't go.»

"No, Yao, you don't." Lucien agrees, turning toward the door to the hospital room. There's a hiss as the door retracts into the wall and a woman dressed in a long, white coat strides in. Yao Sze's heart rate monitor spikes as she makes eye contact with the woman. Lucien turns, looking down at Yao. "That's what they didn't tell you," he says with an apologetic frown. "There's no continuity of consciousness."

Yao Sze is looking at herself.

"For what it's worth," Yao's copy says, "the trial was a complete success. I'm as healthy as the day before you accepted the Gemini treatment. I may not be able to carry on the genetic legacy you possess, but," Yao's copy looks down at the floor, then over to Lucien, before turning her attention back to her original self. "We can still save it before you pass."


"Given your condition, you likely won't survive the Gemini transference a second time," Lucien explains with a shrug. "So, you'll be in my thoughts. And of course, your legacy will live on."

«No. Please.»

Yao Sze's copy raises one brow, looking uncomfortable at her original self's growing panic. "Please," she says to herself.

"Have some dignity in death."

The Confederated State of Iraq

June 30th
7:29 pm Local Time

«We are pleased to report that Project Broken Crown is fully underway.»

The silken voice of Azadi Jahandar echoes over speakers mounted into a long conference room table. A holographic projection of her paces around the room, utilizing the same photonic gas that Yamagato Industries patented. The hologram of Azadi gestures to the others at the table, a collection of Mazdak's greatest leadership: Ra'id Abdul-Jalil Sabbagh sits with his hands folded in front of himself, watching Azadi's every move with careful consideration. Aida Baraka Sa'id sits beside him, but leaning forward with her elbows on the desk and hands clasped in front of herself, thoroughly engaged in Azadi's report. Beside her, Claudius Kellar keeps checking his phone while glancing up with a golden-eyed stare at Azadi. Baruti Naidu sits across the table from Kellar, with one elbow on the arm of his chair and head in his hand, gently massaging his brow.

«As of right now, we have completed the fabrication work and you should have received shipment of the vessel earlier today,» Azadi continues, eliciting a quick look and an affirming nod from Kellar.

"Four hours ago, we've moved it down to quarantine," Kellar says distractedly, texting at the same time.

"Must you?" Aida asks Kellar in a hushed voice, glancing down at his phone. Kellar grimaces, flips his phone over and lays it face down on the conference table. Each subtle vibration of an incoming message twists his expression from smile to grimace.

"Was the transport insulated?" Ra'id asks, looking down the table to Kellar.

"To the exact specifications. We're golden." Kellar says, folding his hands with smug confidence. "If Goldilocks knew about it, then he knows about this room too and we might as well put our heads between our collective ass and kiss—"

"Thank you, Mr. Kellar," Baruti growls, not even looking up from his lap. Instead, he blinks a neon blue stare over to Azadi. "Not to jump tracks, but what is the status of the Crito infiltration? Do we have eyes on that project yet?"

Azadi shakes her head, then looks somewhere to a distant point in space. «Would you like to address this?» She asks someone not in the room, and a moment later a holographic image of Doctor Cora Wenyi steps into view, materializing from thin air.

«Thank you, Ms. Jahandar. I will take it from here.» Wenyi says, dismissing Azadi's hologram with a motion of one hand. «To answer your question, Mr. Naidu, no. We have no visibility within Crito Corporate's inner structure. Whatever it was they retrieved from Fort Irwin remains a mystery to us, but we are certain that they have fully copied the PHARO system's design for their own ends. We are unclear if these two things are related.»

Baruti nods with a sigh, then sits up straight and looks distractedly down at his reflection in the glass conference table.

«With that addressed,» Wenyi continues, «I would like to report our first successful cognition transfer in the second generation PHARO. If you could call them in?» Wenyi asks Kellar, who gets up from his seat and walks to the conference room door and unlocks it manually, opening it to a dimly-lit hall. Yao Sze and Lucien Crane slip in ahead of Kellar who shuts the door behind them. All eyes are on Yao Sze at this point, and the former chief operations officer of Praxis Heavy Industries comes to stand at the head of the table.

"Remarkable," Baruti says with a raised brow. "What about the Gemini re-transferrence?"

«Yao's donor body successfully survived the Gemini re-transference before ultimately passing away on completion of the operation, her ability was salvaged.» Wenyi says with pride, and though Baruti seems pleased, he also seems nervous.

"And what of this?" Baruti says with a gesture to Yao. "The… PHARO copy? Can it—she, receive an ability?"

«Unfortunately, no.» Wenyi says with a small frown. «However we were able to copy the epigenetic markers that contain historic ability retention. The vessel we sent therefore should be able to transfer full epigenetic memory without the protein chains that allow for full SLC-Expression.»

Ra'id nods and looks at Aida who, in spite of a grim expression, nods in approval as well.

"It is unfortunate that it has come to this," Aida admits, "but we must be willing to interpret our prophecy in such a way that permits the coming of the new age. While we are thankful for all that our divine guest represents, we must also recognize that it no longer has our best interests at heart. The prophecy was derailed, temporarily, but we can reassert our control over our own fate once again."

"Has anyone consulted with Nabu about this?" Kellar asks, frowning and making a shruggy gesture with both hands. "Just—you know—wondering if we should maybe have invited him to this meeting?"

Aida and Ra'id share a conspiratorial look for a moment. Aida is quick to offer Kellar a smile and shake her head. "We have no reason to bother Nabu with this detail. He is only concerned with the bigger picture."

"That sounds a lot like bullshit from where I'm sitting." Kellar has the gall to say. "And, and," he sits forward, edging in on Aida's space. "Maybe we should fucking test this shit before we risk all—" Kellar draws a big circle in the air with one hand, "all of our lives?"

"Given the nature of our divine benefactor, I don't think we're going to find another one just growing on a tree Claudius." Baruti says through his teeth. Kellar rolls his eyes in response.

"No, but we've got an apple that didn't fall really far from the tree…" Kellar says with a look around the room.

"Don't we?"


Dhi Qar, Iraq

A knock at the door prompts Kam Nisatta to sit up straight, prying her eyes from her dressing mirror.

The man on the other side of the door does not wait for permission or invitation to enter, and Nisatta slowly rises from her dressing table as Damian steps into her room. The expectant stare she levels at him is a wordless one, and Damian inclines his head in both greeting and apology before shutting the door behind himself.

"My apologies," Damian says quietly, "I hope I'm not intruding."

Nisatta shakes her head, threading a lock of hair behind one ear as she does. "It's fine," she lies. It was easier for her to disassociate into her own reflection than live in the moment. "What do they want?"

"Nothing," Damian says softly, closing the distance between he and Nisatta. "I'm not here, officially. I wanted to deliver something to you, from a mutual friend." He insinuates, but she does not understand the meaning. Damian reveals something held in his other hand, a bundle wrapped in black cloth; a scarf. He hands it over to Nisatta and while she is reluctant to take it, she does. The weight of something concealed within the scarf surprises her, and Damian takes a step back to give her both space and to relieve the prickling sensation of pain he experienced in her proximity.

"Who?" Nisatta asks, blue eyes wide and accusing of Damian. He averts his eyes and shakes his head, he cannot say. Nevertheless, it has piqued Nisatta's curiosity. Unraveling the scarf, her expression shifts from intrigue to confusion on revealing what was held within the cloth. She looks back up to Damian, cold eyes demanding clarification.

"Look closely," Damian says, and Nisatta raises the unwrapped bundle closer to her face. "Does it feel familiar?"

Something inside of Nisatta twists, her nostrils flare, pupils dilate and she nearly drops the object as if it were suddenly as hot as freshly-forged iron. But once she realizes the importance of what she holds. Once she remembers the significance of it from a whisper out of time, her expression shifts from confusion to bewilderment.

"Why?" Nisatta demands to know, and all Damian will tell her is:

"We all deserve to be free."

Nisatta looks back down to what is held in her hands and reaches out to touch the bare metal with delicate, trembling fingers. She drops the scarf to the floor, and holds her gift aloft, feeling the weight of memory behind it.

A jagged piece of a broken sword.

The Kensei sword.

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