Our Place - Tool or Trifle

λ^30, Third Shift of Steam, DA 4876, Sovan Capital of Imtu
(Sewer Entrance)

Tex is running back towards the Goldie, seeming to be looking for someone, anyone, but this particular street seems deserted. Adam had done rounds as proxE when he sees you returning, “Exemplar? Is everything alright?”

“AdAM!” Then in a whisper, “Where have you been? Did you find Nüt or her… protector?” He stresses the title rather than a name.

He shakes his head with a look of disappointment. “I followed what I thought was a trail for an hour, but there were no leads, and they were nowhere near the meeting point. Prox-E went to the backup plan of talking to the civilians, but I don’t have much hope for that…”As he speaks, he looks in the direction of the tribunal, “I cannot find another way…” He speaks with a cold, forced determination, his knuckles clenching.

Tex pauses for a moment, his face going… not cold, but certainly less warm. “AdAM… This could work for us. There is evidence of a gremlin infiltrating the city. Yugash is nothing compared to that.”

AdAM looks back at Tex, “They will call it off? You believe they will simply…cancel their judgement based on hearsay?”

“Hearsay?”, Tex asks, “I found evidence of a Weaver down there.”

AdAM looks confused by the word weaver, but shakes his head,“What if it is but a stopgap? The moment we leave…Is he safe? If it doesn’t work…Even if it does” he sighs, “They care nothing for people like us. We are but toys for their whims.. They must be made to see that. I must make them see that”

Tex grips AdAM’s arms. “We are not toys. We are servants. We serve as needed. And there are many who understand and respect that. We must be sure we understand and respect it.”

AdAM grimaces, “They certainly do not. They are treating him as property, because it is convenient to their cause” His body trembles with rage, his skin seeming to shudder on the surface, reddish orange blotches spreading over him, “A hundred years, he has given. He has served, and he has sacrificed, for Sova.” He seethes a bit, “And they repay him by desecrating his soul and his memory! And if they succeed…if they allow this precedent to spread, then what of Deva? What of any of us!?”

“AdAM!” Tex hisses, pulling the other Champion into an alcove between two support columns. Satisfied they are at least out of sight, Tex lowers his voice and maintains eye contact. “They won’t touch his soul. They can’t, if what we’ve seen with V and his… little friend” Tex taps his soulgem “is any indication. As for his memory… well… I imagine they won’t do any real damage. No, it’ll just be a little correction, a nudge in the direction they want. Far easier and safer that way.”

Adam begrudgingly allows himself to be pulled to the side, “A small correction? Correcting someone’s beliefs is…” He grits his teeth, “A persons beliefs are..” he struggles to find the words, “They are one of the few things we can hold, and any change inevitably corrupts them. They lose their validity, their strength…”

Tex softens, both his face and his grip on AdAM’s arm. “When I was born,” he uses the human term without a trace of self-consciousness, “I believed that the Maker and His system were perfect and invincible. I believed that Sova and its people were capable of rising above all challenges. I believed that the Divine Ministers were infallible and unquestionable. I believed that my purpose was to inspire the people of Sova with my actions. Two of those, I no longer believe. Which two do you think I still believe?”

AdAM understands, but shakes his head, “And if a minister were to say that your belief, of their flaws, was inconvenient to the mission, and rewrote them, as they will with the champion, what then?”

Tex smiles. “Then I will simply be re-convinced, unless they learn to be more subtle. Just as, I’m certain, Stern Whip will be re-convinced.”

AdAM sighs, “And what of your other beliefs? if you knew that was tampered with, what would you think of your other values? Would any of them truly be your own?”

“After seeing what Aurnia can do, knowing what another Champion with a brain spike can do, I can’t be certain of anything. For all I know, the rest of the Assembly has been together for decades, and I’m the new guy who got slotted in thinking he’s their brother. Hell, I got into this thinking I was serving Domadomod, and that didn’t involve any memory jiggery, at least not for me. Since I can’t be sure I’m choosing for myself, I try to make the best of what I have. And what I have is a desire to help.”

AdAM leans against the wall and sighs, running his hand through his hair, “You’re…you’re right…This is far more common a practice than i originally believed…” His chroma slowly calms down, turning back to a calm blue “But, if this were your assembly mates, knowing they’re an innocent, would you allow this? Do we just leave him to this fate and tell ourselves he will be alright eventually?”

“When we first arrived in Ixut, Weavers grabbed Sys and carried her off. I was ready to fight them all to save her and Nüt, because I was sure they would end up dead like all the others. Stern Whip will live. And living means he has a chance to be himself. Maybe, when we come back, we might even be able to help him remember whatever it is they might try to make him forget.”

AdAM slowly slides down to the ground, placing his head in his right hand.“I…I allowed my judgement to be clouded. I only saw a champion who was in danger of becoming li-” he stops himself mid sentence, shaking his head, “It doesn’t matter. I…have put others in danger for the sake of my own misguided mission…” As he says this, he forms his blade and turns it on. It rattles and trembles with uncertainty. Viewing it, his expression only becomes more chagrined, “My actions have done an injustice to the assembly…” Turning it off, he lets out a sigh, “I am still but a shadow of whatever I was…” He looks up at you, “…You believe he will even be allowed to be himself?”

Tex drops to one knee across from AdAM. “Stern Whip of Industry will endure, just as we must. And thanks to your investigation, you have something special, a gift you can give him in brighter days to come.” Tex reaches into his hat and pulls a small object out from the liner, a data crystal. “You can remind him of who he has been.”

Adam looks up at the data crystal, then at you, “I guess… It’s all we can hope for” retracting his blade, he rises to his feet. He looks at the tribunal again, “I had hoped, childishly, that I could help him… That if I had a cause, if I believed it, and I gave enough.. Maybe I could accomplish something, maybe I could glimpse what I was… What I am meant to be..”

Tex smiles softly, “I cannot, and I will not, say that sentiment is wrong.”

Our Place - Tool or Trifle

Reintegration Protocol Nehebkau