14 February 2011
Kayla felt the transformation operating in Naques and felt the same pain she had gone through herself in those moments when she wondered if it was worthwhile to lead further the resistance. She remembered her foster sister, Tanita who had become a droid and whom she had had to kill to preserve the revolt. In those days the fight was so poorly organized and Advantors did not yet know the technique to make Carmelion and her sister had not been trained for that. The Anodox had been successful in transforming her and nothing had survived of her humangrity. How things would have been different if her sister had not been caught! All of this happened because of that accursed Turkheim. To think that her sister had believed him and had allowed him to convince her that he was really in love with her! After the inevitable Anodox Kayla had had no choice but to kill her when she came back to the camp. It was not just that she had ambushed Kayla, but mostly it was because she had betrayed the whole cause of the Adventors by leading Turkheim’s troops to the heart of the resistance. How many of her other sisters, victims of the Anodox, had been sacrificed that day. She felt her throat tighten as she thought that she would had to do the same with Naques had no part of her soul remained in her. She gently placed a finger on Naques’ tears and the cold of the metal surprised her. It was both fascinating and revolting to think that part of a soul of an Adventor was trapped in this perfect machine so perfect that held only what was a resemblance of Naques.
“Naques” she said softly. “Don’t cry. I believe you and know you do not want to hurt us. You just have to understand them. Many of them have lost sisters, and even milk sisters when we were attacked by droids ”
“I know,” replied Naques wiping away the tears with the back of her hand. “It’s just so hard to accept. Only yesterday I was one of you and now I see that all of them are afraid of me. All I did was serve the cause and … “sobs choked her and she could not continue her sentence. The beads of metal fell with a sharp noise and rolled in all directions before flattening out into a shining pond. Naques was now furiously wiping her cheeks, angry to see that the scattering of the metallic beads had caused such an uproar in the ranks of the Adventors who looked at her as if she were a monster.
“I am not afraid of you,” starts Kayla before stopping dead in her tracks. While wiping energetically her cheeks, Naques had spread the metal balls and some of them, having taken the appearance and visibly the texture of scrap metal, had grazed Naques’ cheeks and revealed an iridescent other cheek that gleamed under her diaphanous skin. The view of that cheek was, like for her tears, both fascinating and revolting.
“What’s wrong with you? What are you looking at? Yelled Naques turning to face Kayla. She looked possessed and her eyes had taken on the metallic sheen of the unshed tears. She saw her own image in Kayla’s eyes and the vision of her face peeled off but so smooth underneath froze her on the spot. “I am monstrous” she whispered. So that’s what she had become. A machine! A perfect killing machine. She looked away and felt the anger rising in her like the tide of oil she had so often seen on the beach of the two moons.
“Go to Narqow!” She hissed between her teeth and her voice came out like screeching metal. “All of you, go to Narqow! I hope he whisks you away, you and the Turkheimites. I do not need you, I do not need anyone! She turned towards Kayla and this latter felt all her hatred and all her suffering but could not console her. She had been unable to embrace any of her Adventor sisters after Tanita’s death. “And you first” continued Naques. “You’re just a selfish Adventor! If you had stayed to help her, Tanita would not be dead today. She was kind and gentle and knew how to comfort us. With Tanita leading us we would have had a chance against the Turkheimites. Perhaps we would have even had a chance to live in peace with them. I wish so much that it had been you to undergo the Anodox and not her. She only wanted peace, but you were jealous of her and let her die.”
“Naques! ” said Kayla. “You know that’s not true.” She held out her hand to Naques who shook it off with a jerk of her hand
One of the Adventors could not help letting out a nervous laugh. It was such a grotesque sight to see Naques cry like that with her human cheek torn and the other cheek so perfect, smooth and metallic underneath. The worst was seeing the metallic marbles fall from her eyes rolling in all directions and to hear her voice that was so strange. Naques, furious, raised her head and glared at the Adventor but this did not deter the Adventor. In fact it had the opposite effect of what she wanted and the Adventor resumed shrilly her nervous laugh. Naques looked at her with renewed hatred before fleeing, breaking through the ranks of the Adventors as she ran.
“Naques! ” yelled Kayla. “Come back please!” but Naques was already very far and did not even cast a glance behind. Kayla felt like an orphan. Naques and her had once been so close but everything had changed now. Nothing would ever be like before she thought. But this was no time for self-pity, there were more serious matters and she would need all her energy to face them. She felt more than she heard the murmur of the Adventors’ thoughts. Some obviously wondered if she had really needed to leave Tanita in the hands of Turkheim or if she had done that to get rid of her. Everyone knew Kayla’s fiery character and many had watched with a certain reserve the competitive spirit that seemed to animate the two milk sisters. Yet to be milk sisters was such a rare thing that they should have looked upon each other as a precious gift. Very few Adventors were still capable of undergoing the process and the number of those who could complete the process and at the same time give the milk was even lower.
“I had no choice,” said Kayla in the minds of those Adventors that she felt hostile towards her. “I had no choice! ‘”She repeated aloud. “If I had stayed with Tanita, we would have both been caught and we would be dead by now. There would have been nobody left to lead the revolt because we were the only two chosen ones, the last of the clan of Keelites. She felt one after another the minds accepting her explanations and calming down but one or two were still resisting.
“You’re just a bunch of ungrateful Adventors! ” cried Shawna interposing herself between Kayla and the row of Adventures. “Without Kayla you’d all be dead or slaves to the Turkheimites until they would have had enough of you.”
Kayla raised a hand to stop her and while reassuring her mentally, she made her understand that this was not the time to weaken the ranks of the Adventors with other fights. “You can go home,” she said in a neutral voice. “That’s all for today. There will be no other meeting and I do not think the Turkheimites will attack today. They probably think we do not know about the Anodox and that Naques will betray us by leading them up to this new shelter.”
“She certainly will do that now even if she did not want to before” rang a voice in the crowd.
“Who said that? ” yelped Kayla
“I did” answered a nasal voice and she recognized the young Adventor who had doubted Naques good faith in the beginning
“Naques will never betray us” said Kayla in a calm voice. The effect of her voice as well as the waves she was transmitting overcame the last resistance and the ranks of the Adventors dispersed in the Casates.
“Are you sure you’re okay? “Shawna asked with a worried look. She knew how much it had cost Kayla to kill her own milk sister.
“I’m fine Shawna, thank you! ” said Kayla in a soft voice. “You can join your Casate. Sleep well. We will see each other tomorrow.”
Shawna nodded and within seconds Kayla found herself alone in the deserted square in the middle of the Casates. She felt an overwhelming sadness and her heart was caught in a vice-like grip. She felt her heart beating in her knotted throat and recognized the familiar feeling of nausea that rose to her lips. She felt so alone after Tanita’s death of and only Naques had been there to cheer her and play a thousand games with her. All others feared Kayla more than they loved her and Naques was the only one who was not afraid to stand up to her and treat her like a normal Adventor. What would the Adventors do if they found out she had started the process like before instead fabricating it like all the others were doing now. Nobody was using the old process considered too unreliable and none of the Adventors wanted to take the risk of the Xbiosite not succeeding. They all knew that the Xbiosite was only reliable if they used the fabricating process and not when performing the process the way it was done in the past.
What folly! she thought. How was she going to be able to justify her choice? How to cope with Shawna’s look? To undergo the process and what’s more by using one of the captive Turkheimites and not a relic of the ancestors. Kayla knew that if she wr wrong, nobody in the ranks of the Adventors would forgive her audacity. Not even Shawna. She raised her hand to her mouth to stifle the sobs that rose in her throat. A wave of weariness washed over her as well and she thought of Naques who had felt the same sadness only a few moments before although for different reasons. She felt so alone and needed so much to be able to confide in someone. She would have liked so much for Tanita to be there to hug and comfort her. Tanita had always been able to comfort everyone she thought and her eyes welled with tears again. She felt completely alone in the world and the tears flowed unrestrained down her cheeks.