Fort_Master_Gustav (Wooooooooooooo finally done this pls don't kill me)
The Senate Meeting had been a necessary, albeit irritating distraction. Minor irregularities had occurred, though well within the systems' parameters, both solar and digital. With a final sigh, he exited the Senate itself, returning to his chambers to plan out the experiments.
Three days later, he was aboard the Toltasei-Class pocket carrier Vengeful Dispatch. The ship was, by technicality, under his command, thus had been stationed at the Embassy ever since Y3 had taken up residence. The crew had steadily grown attached to the place and began living their own little lives, some even starting small businesses. The ship was now in independent orbit for the first time in a while, and running on a skeleton crew.
The hangar had been cleared out, the Taroka usually placed in the launch racks all parked planetside or otherwise. The large empty space, itself as far as possible from outside interference, made an excellent controlled testing environment.
The only person in the hangar other than the Qunit was Senior Deck Sergeant Uoma Xharl. She was still quite young at 42 years by Vaiaelon calendar, and had now spent the grand majority of her “service” at the Embassy.
Uoma: “Um… sir? Can I ask why I was chosen for this?”
Y3: “Are you aware of what ‘this’ is?”
U: “Psionics research involving new methods, correct?.”
Y: “Indeed, and therein lies your answer. I needed someone I could trust.”
U: “...I’m sorry?”
Y: “...To put it bluntly, you hadn’t been in Darkfleet proper long enough for the bureaucrats to tighten their hold on you. Most of the Dispatch’s crew are unfortunately a different case. I am of the preference that no information whatsoever regarding these experiments is retold sooner than I decide, especially not from the subject. Do you understand?”
U: “Yes sir.”
Y: “I’m being serious, do you understand what is being asked of you?”
Y: “Good, good...”
Treason was a heavy thing to ask of a Vaiaelon, however mild. He was frankly surprised at her apparent trust, she may even end up a useful asset down the line… he could only hope souls didn't have quantum observational properties.
He took a deep breath and put the lens to his leftmost eye. The usual light grey of the hangar was overtaken by a steady deep blue, appearing akin to a semi-transparent filter, though turning his perspective towards Uoma yielded more tangible results by far. Imposed on her being he saw a bright orange latticework conforming roughly to the shape of a diamond. The structure appeared composed of a flowing substance similar to a flame or a gas. At either apex the flow cut off abruptly as though it passed behind some invisible shelf, and struts of the lattice were missing in places, about 30% of the total required for coherency.
Having quickly overcome his initial awe, Y3 began taking notes on every observation he could. Every property at infinitesimal intervals was recorded and backed up to several locations, and even as he did so new hypotheses began forming. The wealth of data was centuries ahead of what Vaiaelon kind could hope to achieve with their own means.
U: “...Is it working?”
Y3, yanked from his euphoria of research, realised he’d simply been staring at her for the last dozen or so seconds.
Y: “Apologies… yes, unexpectedly well. This data will likely puzzle researchers for years to come.”
U: “And that’s…?”
Y: “That is good, Deck Sergeant.”
Testing continued for several months. In line with his hypotheses, souls had many variables that made them distinct from one another, (such as colour, structure, etc.) Vaiaelon souls were all noticeably incomplete in appearance, and souls of other species that volunteered lacked this phenomena, though were otherwise similar.
He had subconsciously begun selecting Uoma as his go-to subject. Although he’d never admit it to anyone, least of all himself, he was slowly growing fond of her. Likewise the natural intimidation of a 5 meter tall entity gradually lost its effect on her, and she started looking forward to their little meetings, even if it was strictly professional.
One fateful experiment among countless others would set the tone for all to come after it…
Y: “Uoma, you do possess optical implants conformal to Darkfleet specifications, correct?”
U: “They were pretty strict on that, yeah.”
Y: “Then I wish to try something different today.” He removed the eyepiece and carefully handed it to her. “I was told to only let those I trust acquire this device… handle it with care.”
U: “Erm... alright?”
Y: “I want you to observe my soul for a change, recording what you see for the duration of course.”
U: “O-Oh! ...Would that even work? I mean, are they not tuned to you or something?”
Y: “To my knowledge no, but even confirmation of that would be valuable data.”
U: “Um, okay… ready when you are, I guess.”
He looked over the footage later, many times in fact, yet he still couldn’t quite make sense of what he saw. Halfway through the recording he had tapped into the psychic fields, hoping to observe how souls interacted with them, and was instead presented with the opposite. His soul was shaped as a set of turquoise spheres arranged as the apexes of a short hexagonal prism, each of them missing small portions in random places. Activating the coel inextricably linked to his psyche caused patches of bright cyan whatever-soul-stuff-is to fill the gaps.
The only explanation he could come up with was that the psionic energies were flowing into his own soul, which contradicted nearly everything he’d learnt and studied. He poured over his own notes and research for days on end, yet was still left none the wiser.
He began a series of cross examinations, reaching out to anyone with even the slightest documented psionic ability. For a moment he even considered exposing another Vaiaelon to Coel, before the memory of the immense pain it had caused him stopped him in his tracks. All of the data gathered remained consistent with what was known, further exemplifying his apparent anomalous status.
Desperate for any clues whatsoever, he began delving into historical and biological records and studies on Vaiaelons and Aruz itself. He finally found some purchase here; a couple of recent papers posited how Aruz’s development, both geographically and evolutionary, was highly irregular compared to those of other planets. Missing links, “random” mutations and “freak” natural disasters painted a picture of just a bit too many instances of random chance.
Preparations soon began for the VSA Vengeful Dispatch to leave port en route to Aruz. The crew, while slightly dismayed at having to leave what had become their home, had known this day would come. Y3 casually socialised as the ship travelled to the edge of the system, as he’d taken a liking to.
U: “So… why do you insist on sticking to that serial number?”
U: mocking robot voice
Y: “Hm… I am unsure. I suppose it feels somewhat fitting given I am but a war machine.”
U: “Oh shut it with that talk… War machine, ey? Then how about… Raasha?”
Y: “...As in the warcry?”
U: “Yep~ ”
Raasha: “Hm, Raasha… I like it.”
The half-galaxy journey was otherwise uneventful, and was over in under a week. Raasha stepped up to the bridge upon arriving in-system, conflicted at seeing his homeworld once more. He remained seated as they made their final approach to the snow covered landscapes, while having several page long conversations with some of the other Qunits stationed in-system in a matter of seconds.
He idly inspected the lens for what must have been the thousandth time, and caught a glimpse of something appearing in it as he rotated it in his claws. He held the contraption up to his eye, and was chilled and frozen in place by what he saw.
R: “Comms officer, contact The Ambassador, now.”
R: “This search took a lot less time than I had hoped it would…”