T.I. S2 E16: Holding On (GC) . My Entry for the December GC, regarding Nesarin Smythe. .
03 December, 2097
Drentlio Law Enforcement Station
Nessie: “Liish an'kl.”
Omen West stepped back as Nesarin played with the little ball of fire in her palm, increasing its size bit by bit, her young voice coaxing out the power within. Omen smiled at the young girl as she kept the ball under control, her face tightened with concentration. But no one could miss the look of relief that she wore as she realised that the ball wouldn’t get any larger than what she willed it.
Omen spoke again in the soft voice she often used when speaking to Nessie. A gentle tone, like a cat purring.
Omen: “Nice work Nessie, but I think you could make it a little bigger. Do you think so?”
Omen: “Great! Now, say the words again, but let a bit more force in. Not much, just a little bit.”
Nessie: “Alright…liish an'kl.”
The fire in her hands crackled softly, but grew as she spoke until it wrapped its way up her arm. Nessie released a breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding, followed closely by a small chuckle. Omen had to admit it was quite a sight, having a little girl smile as her arms blazed away. But Omen knew what she was feeling.
These flames were in her grasp, they were hers. And so they stayed on her arms. Not like a few months ago, when they’d travelled up and down her entire body before erupting, killing hundreds.
Omen paused at the thought, not wanting to think about what Nessie had had to go through. She wasn’t that girl anymore. No, she had a lot more control now, and Omen could only smile again as her own memories flitted to the surface. She remembered those blistering days, when her…friend had trained her to use her newly activated seed.
They’d been hard days, but her friend had been gentle, lenient, understanding. Without them, Omen would’ve killed herself long ago, or worse, gone through what Nessie had.
Despite herself, she was thankful that she hadn’t had to live the girl’s life. Thankful that her friend had gotten to her just in time.
Omen: “Fantastic Nessie, nice work. I think that should do it for today.”
Nessie: “Aww, do you have to go again?”
Omen: “Not yet sweetie, but I don’t want to push you. Now, do you remember the words?”
Nessie: “Yep! Hmm…sa… sape an’kl. Ess'y, uin an’kl.”
The fire on her arms flitted and shrank until it slowly dissipated, seemingly absorbed back into her skin. Nessie exhaled and smiled again, shifting her gaze back to Omen.
Nessie: “How was that?”
Omen: “Awesome, but remember to let the power slow before cutting it off. One day, it’ll be second nature, but right now we want it to be a gradual build up and a gradual cool down, okay?”
Nessie: “Okay Omen!”
Omen: “Now then, what else have you been up to?”
Nessie grinned before launching into a description of her morning, including heavy mentions of the book series she was currently working her way through. The girl had loved reading, as Galan had found out, and her bookworm of a husband was only too happy to lend her his copies.
She was currently making her way through an Earth novel Galan and dug up after the Shift , and was in the middle of describing how the main character had evaded a dragon whilst riding a broomstick when the door between them opened with a click. Omen was on her feet and grinned as Galan stepped through, but her smile shrank as she saw the unwariness in his eyes.
Omen caught the unsaid message and faced Nessie, the little girl’s eyes jumping between them.
Omen: “Well, looks like I’m being called away a bit early Nessie.”
Nessie: “Aww, but I just got to the best part.”
Galan: “The part with the dragon?”
Galan: “Oh, just you wait, it gets even better. How about you get back to it, I’ve got to steal Omen away for a while.”
Omen: “Ahh, the joys of police work. I’ll be back tomorrow Nessie, and I expect another chapter.”
Nessie: “Well…okay then! See you tomorrow!”
The little girl smiled and was already reaching for the book when Omen closed the door, giving a little wave as she did. The moment the lock clicked into place, she dropped her smile and gave Galan her best concerned look. Galan, for his part, let his smile fall, a rare occurrence from him.
Omen: “What is it Gal?”
Galan: “It isn’t good. Another investigator’s here, with a pretty good warrant from Aurelia.”
Omen: “Damn it... How long have they been here?”
Galan: “An hour already, in my office. Drek Hewet’s his name. I’ve kept him there as long as I could, but there’s not much more that I can reasonably do.”
Omen: “Alright, alright. I’ll look after him. Give me ten minutes.”
Galan: “Too easy beautiful. I’ll get a guard here, make sure they don’t have anyone else through.”
Omen: “Thanks Gal’.”
She gave him a quick kiss before making her way down to his office, her thoughts hardening. These damn investigators were really grating on her now. This was the fourth one since she’d placed Nessie under her care, and they never seemed to take no for a hint. They cited anything and everything they could, and with this stupid Registration Act hanging over their heads, all of them so far had had very interesting ideas on where the girl’s rights as a Collective stood.
Omen hated it, hated that the Imperium had the gall to spark up the unrest between the Collective and everyone else. She had never truly felt a part of the Collective, not after one had activated her seed during the war, but she didn’t hate them. After all, without her friend she wouldn’t have been able to save herself, and without their language both herself and Nessie would’ve been lost.
Damn the Governor, and damn Aurelia for shoving these investigators down her throat.
Eventually, she reached Galan’s office. It was a simple affair, tidy, neat and nestled in amongst the other offices on the floor. When he’d been appointed, he’d rejected the cushy chief’s office upstairs, preferring to be as close as he could to his men, showing them that he was no better than they were, despite the rank.
The office’s current occupant clearly thought otherwise, given how he looked down his nose at everyone. Even sitting down as he was, Omen could tell Drek was a shorter man, but thin and weedy like a twig. Red glasses covered his eyes, and his hair was trimmed neatly, if a bit too short that was really attractive.
Omen marched into the office and extended her hand, which he ignored. He merely glanced at her before speaking, his voice condescending, as if he was speaking to a disobedient child.
Drek: “Finally. No punctuality in this place.”
Omen: “Sure…Drek Hewet, I believe?”
Drek: “Doctor Hewet, but at least you got something right.”
Omen: “Omen West. How can I help you?”
Drek yawned loudly and sat up in his chair, speaking again in that annoying voice of false superiority. His words had clearly been rehearsed many times.
Drek: “I won’t waste more words than I have to. Both the Government and the General have heard about this girl you have in your possession, a girl with frightening levels of power and no idea how she got them. It is in the best interests of both this city and this planet that you hand her over to us, to me, so that we may conduct our tests and determine the origin of her powers. Such results could prove beneficial for the fight against the Imperium, but if nothing else, it will ensure the safety of the civilians in Drentlio.”
Omen: “Great speech. They’ve got an award for script-writing, you know.”
Drek bristled slightly at the comment, but continued, a smug smile on his face.
Drek: “Regardless of your opinion Miss West, your input in this matter is irrelevant. The girl is uncontrollable. Who knows when another incident will occur? It’s only a matter of time before she slips and countless others are lost in the aftermath. And without proper testing, who know if this will happen again?”
“If what some believe is true, that she was born with these abilities, then it may only be weeks until we have a crisis on our hands. What if hundreds of hidden Collective children reveal themselves, all with no control? Surely you can understand why we need to take her?”
Omen took a deep breath before responding, her voice changing again. Not to the soft voice she’d trained so hard to master, but to the icy tone she’d learned from Galan years ago. She kept her words quiet, just on the edge of his hearing, as well as undercut them with a razor’s edge.
Omen: “What I understand Mr Hewet, is that you have no idea what you’re doing.”
A pause filled the room as Drek looked at her, a puzzled expression on his face.
Drek: “I beg your pardon?!”
Omen: “Oh, sorry. I might not have made it clear enough. You, like all the others, are bumbling morons grasping at things beyond your reach.”
Drek rose out of his chair, his anger flaring. He pointed his finger and waggled it like he was punishing a dog. Omen merely folded her arms and met his gaze as he began to yell.
Drek: “How dare you insult me! Do you even know who I am?”
Omen: “Like I said, a bumbling moron.”
Drek: “You…I… You can’t call me that!”
Omen: “Oops, looks like I just did. Sorry about that.”
Drek: “You utter fool! Can’t you see you’re holding on to a bomb? The child’s dangerous, she needs to be properly contained, properly examined! Why can’t you see that?”
Omen: “Let me ask you a question, Mr Hewet, what do you know about the Collective?”
Drek scoffed like a spoiled child.
Drek: “Oh, a lot more than you, I’d imagine! I studied them during the war, and I know just how dangerous they can be! Thanks goodness they’ll all be registered soon! Keep an eye on the lot of them!”
Omen: “Right, so if I’m reading this right, you want to help a little girl to control Collective abilities without any actual Collective assistance?”
The room fell into silence once more as Drek stalled, at a loss for words. He fumed and muttered away, but he couldn’t think fast enough. Omen smiled.
Omen: “Look Drek, the person is question is a nine-year-old girl. She’s just lost her entire family, everything she knows, to a power she knows nothing about. And you want to throw her in a hole in the ground, skewer her with a million tubes and root around like it’s a freaking autopsy? You really think that that is what’s going to keep her under control? No! If there’s anywhere she’s going to erupt again, it’d be there.”
Drek: “You….No! We’d take precautions!”
Omen: “What, Ossillium? Far as I’ve heard, most of that’s been stolen anyway, and I doubt Aurelia would spare what little they have to keep you happy.”
Drek: “Hmph…well, there’s always sedation!”
Omen: “Oh yeah, that’d work great I’m sure. Stab a frightened girl with unchecked power with a needle the size of my forearm. And what if even that’s not enough? What then Mr Hewet?”
A flurry of curses leapt from Drek’s mouth like survivors from a shipwreck, but he was losing ground and he knew it.
Drek: “I…I am a scientist you blind fool! I know what’s best for the good of Zarus, for Aurelia!”
Omen: “Do you know what’s best for Nesarin Smythe?”
Drek: “Why should I care what the kid thinks?! This is a governmental affair, and you cannot hold her here!”
Omen: “Actually, I can. As the law states, all contained parties are considered innocent until proven guilty. Considering that you yourself say ‘the kid’ had no control over her powers at the time of incident, and considering her age, she can’t technically be arrested for anything other than manslaughter.”
Drek: “That doesn’t matter, and you know it! The warrant I carry gives me the right to take the girl, and that’s it!”
Omen: “Wait, did you seriously just say that the law doesn’t matter…in a police station?”
Drek: “Of course I…wait…I mean…”
Another smile broke out on Omen’s face as Drek floundered in his rage. She took a deep breath once again and spoke, louder this time, to ensure he caught every word.
Omen: “As Nesarin hasn’t been charged with anything as of this moment, and as you clearly don’t have the adequate resources to deal with her powers, then I would advise you leave with your dignity intact. Short of actually kidnapping her, Nesarin Smythe will not be leaving this station.”
Drek: “But…look lady, this warrant-”
Omen: “-is null and void at this point. According to Zarus Law concerning people with Collective abilities, Article 38, ‘No Collective person or persons may be investigated or examined by any scientific authority unless said person or persons has willingly committed an act of violence or terrorism against the Zarus or Aurelian people.’ Until she’s charged, you have no power here.”
Drek: “But…But…she might not even be Collective! If she was born with her powers-”
Omen: “Until proven otherwise, she is to be considered as part of the Collective race.”
Drek: “But we can only prove that she isn’t is by examining her!!”
Omen: “Oh dear, what a shame. I’m terribly sorry about that Mr Hewet. Anyway, I hope you have a good afternoon.”
Omen turned toward the door as Drek began yelling at her, following her out of the office and into the hallway, his warrant flapping in his hands. All around her, officers and onlookers halted in their tracks.
Drek: “You think I’m stupid?! You think I’m done?! Listen here, you little brat, I will have that girl! For the good of Zarus, I will have her!”
Omen: “Well, I wish you the best of luck. You’re going to need it.”
Drek: “This…this warrant is the exception to whatever you just said! It’s signed by the Governor of Zarus and by General Convo himself!”
Omen: “Really? Looks like a photocopy of Convo’s signature if you ask me.”
Drek: “WHAT?! No, you listen to me! You’re putting all of these people’s lives in danger just by keeping her here!”
Omen: “And you’re going to transport her to the capital, with a lot more people, and she’s going to be a lot more scared and frightened than she is now.”
Drek snarled angrily, and began jabbing his finger, hitting Omen’s shoulder repeatedly.
Drek: “You stupid, stupid girl! You think you’re so smart, you think you’ve got everything figured out, you think some senseless pig like you can fight Aurelia?”
Omen: “As far as I can see, this ‘senseless pig’ is following the law to the letter.”
Drek: “You…you…you arrogant dlug-headed… slintcrank!”
The entire department went graveyard silent. Nobody even moved, but most held the same expression of shock. Omen stiffened as she stepped out of reach of his still jabbing finger, her mouth hung open slightly. It’d been a while since she’d heard the word, usually reserved for pilots and the scum of the criminal underground.
She’d forgotten how much it stung.
Whether Drek didn’t recognise how deep the word cut, or if he simply ignored it, she didn’t know. However, he had registered the sudden lack of bustle around him and simply locked eyes with anyone starring his way.
Drek: “What are you all looking at?! She’s deliberately disobeying direct orders! She’s useless! She’s a slintcran-”
Voice: “I’d shut up if I was you.”
Drek spun to see Galan strolling through the halls, nodding at the officers with hands on their holsters to stand down. Omen relaxed as he drew closer, his impressive frame filling Drek’s vision. He strolled to Omen’s side and casually draped his arm round her shoulders, his toned muscles visible through his cotton shirt. When he spoke, it was in that same icy tone Omen had used before.
He’d always been a lot better at it.
Galan: “If you’d like to say anything more to my wife, I suggest you leave.”
Drek: “Chief, we aren’t done here!”
Galan: “Oh I think we are. You’ve insulted not only the police chief’s wife, but one of this station’s most loyal aids and supporters. As for the girl, I believe Omen would’ve made it quite clear where you stand on that line.”
Galan: “Let me put it another way. Leave. Now. Or I arrest you for harassing a police officer.”
Drek sputtered in fury, fuming where he stood, before turning and storming out of the station to the sounds of a brief applause before everyone continued with their day. Galan nodded to himself and turned to meet Omen’s eyes.
He froze when he registered the tears welling there, tears Omen had tried her hardest to force down. But…memories like hers were hard to keep down when those old wounds were wretched open. But she smiled at the same time Galan did, wrapping her arms around him.
Omen: “Thank you…”
Galan: “Anytime beautiful. Anytime at all.”
Omen grinned again, looking into the eyes of the man she’d fallen in love with. He understood. He knew the dangers of letting someone like Drek take Nessie away and strap her to a table. It’d be horrible, not just for her, but for everyone around her if she exploded again.
Omen: “You know he won’t be the last one.”
Galan: “He was definitely the worst one.”
Omen: “Heh, yeah…but we can’t keep this up forever.”
Galan: “We’ll figure something out. We always do.”
And with that, he pulled her closer, and Omen gripped him and didn’t let go.