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"Now we're going to need you to be careful for the first few hours here Dominic," said Nyo. "Your body is going to have to do more adjusting then D and Stepan's did. You might get a headache today too because your body isn't use to the kind of input your new eyes are giving you."
"Ok," said Dominic. "If you don't mind me asking, who is Stepan?"
"Oh he's..." Nyo started to say as he looked around the room. "Actually, Ark where is Stepan?"
< I am teaching him. >
"Teaching him what exactly?" ask Nyo.
< Well for the moment I am teaching him how to repair a memory module. >
"What!?! Ark he's only been awake for a few hours and you've got him doing an 8 hour task? He doesn't even know your equipment," said Nyo.
< He is actually doing very well so far; he is about four hours into the task by now. I think he will make a very good engineer as he is picking it up rather quickly. Not to mention we are having a very informative discussion. Since he was a normal human I thought that while he was working would be the best time to ask questions about human emotions and reactions that I do not know the answers to. >
"You've had him working the whole time I've been down here?" said Nyo. "Poor guy, I'll go give him a hand. He probably needs a break about now anyway if he's working under your orders."
< Oh Nyo, I wanted to mention something; while you were busy rescuing these boys Clan Short made a trip to see Joseph Hartman's father in Clive Iowa. >
"Lil' Joe's father? How did that visit go?" asked Nyo. "Do they need any help?"
< They already returned from their trip, they brought back Joseph Hartman's cousin Bradley as well. They worked rather quickly; they were in and out in less than an hour. The only possible remaining threat is to the father and not to any children; would you like me to keep an eye on the situation none the less? >
"No, I know the Clan can take care of it if need be," replied Nyo. "Later though I do want to read the report that Clan Intelligence probably gathered if that's ok."
< Very well, they did make a report; I'll be sure to have it waiting for you later. While you help Stepan do you mind if I start teaching Dmitry and Dominic a few things? >
"Is that ok with the two of you?" Nyo asked Dmitry and Dominic.
"Ok," said Dominic.
"Do you know when you'll be back?" asked Dmitry.
"Probably a few hours, memory modules aren't easy to fix and depending on what's wrong with them it could take more time or less time," said Nyo. "Will you two be ok if I leave you here at the mercy of the Ark?"
< Excuse me? >
Dmitry giggled, "We'll be fine Nyo."
Nyo smiled as he started for the door, "Ok guys, I'm off then. Ark don't over do it, remember that the mind can only take so much in one day."
< Thank you for the reminder, but I am aware of that. Do not worry, I will not 'over do it' >
Just as soon as Nyo was out of the room Dmitry hopped down off of the bed and began to help Dominic get dressed, "Ok Ark, what's up?"
< Well, as soon as you two are ready I was thinking of training you for a specific task. >
"When you say that you're gonna train us does that mean we have to go to school or something," asked Dominic.
< No, I have better more efficient ways of teaching you what you are going to need to know. >
"Oh ok...what's that mean?" said Dominic.
"What 'task' are you going to be training us for?" asked Dmitry.
< You will find out soon enough Dominic. The 'task' or position the two of you will be trained for has to do with Nyo's determination to try and help humanity. Just as I will be training Stepan to be an engineer, I thought that it might be a good idea to have a trained tactical team as well. >
"Try it now Ark, I think I got the right calibration," said Stepan. "If this doesn't work then I think we might need to replace this indexing unit."
< Perfect, the indexing unit is online; it is running at one hundred percent. >
"Awesome," said Stepan. "I think I'm getting better at this."
< You should be able to start working on repairing the process manager now; you will need the handheld computer from the tool box again for this one. >
"Right," said Stepan. "Is it the same problem that the last memory module had?"
< I can not tell. May I continue now? >
"If you must," replied Stepan as he pulled out the handheld and began analyzing the process manager.
< So considering the physical and emotional reactions and reasons behind them, for which you did your best to answer my questions about, leads me to believe that you are then attracted to the person that you had that particular reaction about. Does this imply that you would want to seek out a relationship with that person if possible? >
"What makes you think I would want to 'seek out a relationship'?" asked Stepan.
< It seems logical. >
"Right but logical is not always practical or possible," said Stepan. "It looks like the indexing unit scrambled the process manager; I'll have to reprogram it."
< Go ahead; I have taken the process manager offline. But what do you mean when you say that it may not be practical or possible? >
"First of all, what I feel and what society sees as right are two completely different things," Stepan started to explain.
< I can assure you that what society sees as right and wrong is forever changing and also looping. Humanity just does not like what it sees as different. It knows only what it needs to know in order to survive and it often thinks that anything, any path that may be different then that is wrong. But if there is one thing that humanity has that I find to be its best quality, love; just not as a whole. When two humans fall in love it does not matter whether they are a male and a female, two males, or even two females; what I find that matters is that together, if they are truly in love, they find happiness. And from them being happy, so many other things can be affected; it is like a domino effect in the lives of those that they encounter, they can not only set an example of what happiness looks like but of what is truly right for humanity as a whole. Most of the time, though, there are forces that do not care if humanity is happy but rather is humanity's existence secure; they are often the ones that oppose those other paths because they think that some forms of happiness threatens humanity. >
"So you're telling me that society is wrong?" said Stepan.
< Yes and no; while it is true that for the species as a whole to survive what society sees as regular relationships, that is a relationship between a man and a woman, is needed but they are also missing the finer points that come up every time humanity gets to the point that its at right now. I tend to think that humanity is its own check sometimes; in my opinion the homosexual population of the planet increases as humanity begins to over populate particular sections of the planet. I tend to think that this is a check built into humanity's genetics to keep humanity from over using what resources it has available to it but in the mean time still providing the love and happiness that humanity must use to survive. >
"I suppose that makes some sense," Stepan said quietly.
< That being said what is still not practical or possible in terms of seeking out a relationship with a person you feel attracted to? >
Stepan sighed, "Well if you eliminate society, like you so obviously did, I guess it comes down to fear."
< Fear of what? >
"Fear of a lot of things actually," said Stepan. "Fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, fear of being made a fool for asking, the fear of losing that person completely because they don't think they can handle being around you anymore just to name a few."
< But if you let that fear or any fear make decisions for you then how will you ever know whether you could be happy with that person or not? Is not happiness worth the risk? >
"Why do I get this feeling that you're trying to play match maker," said Stepan.
< And what if I am? I want for Nyo's happiness just as much as I want for your happiness. >
< When I created Nyo I was given the option of what orientation to give him and at that time I weighed my options and came out with what I still think to be a very good choice. I gave him the same orientation that you have in hopes that it would keep his mind off of any kind of sexual relations and possibly keep him happier with a love for his own body that would be stronger then normal. >
"Not to sound rude but I don't think I really want to know this," said Stepan. "That sounds almost cruel."
< I do not see how that could have been cruel. Besides, he has never shown any kind of sexual desire one way or another; the reason I am bring this up, though, is because I think the reason he has never shown any desire one way or another is because he has never been around other humans before. I am just worried that now that he is he might start to develop feelings or needs that I can not do anything about. I would feel much more comfortable if you, who seem to have an interest in Nyo, were to tell him how you feel and then see if anything comes from that. If he decided that he likes you then I do not have to worry about him taking time out of his busy schedule to look for someone to love. It would save time and be much more efficient if you could fill that role. >
"I don't like where this conversation is going," replied Stepan. "Is this why you started asking me questions to begin with, just to get me to fall into what you had in mind?"
< No, actually; I did not have a plan in mind when I started asking you questions, I really did want to know the answers to those questions. But in asking them it made me also think about what little I have had to deal with the kinds of questions I have been asking you in regards to Nyo. It just happened to lead me to this. I really do not want to think about what damage I may have caused him if he has been repressing anything over the last fifty thousand years that has to do with this subject, I have seen what that can do to normal humans. >
"Ark worries too much, doesn't she?" came a voice from outside of the memory module.
Stepan jumped at the sound of the voice and hit his head on the process manager unit, "Ouch!"
Stepan slid out from under the memory module to find Nyo leaning against the module smiling.
< I was wondering when Nyo was going to let you know he was here. >
"N-Nyo!" exclaimed Stepan. "H-h-how long have you been standing there?"
"Somewhere around the indexing unit coming online again," answered Nyo. "Sorry I would have said something but when I got here I heard what you two were talking about and I...well I guess I just wanted to know what you would say to the Ark."
Stepan closed his eyes and sighed, "I would have rather told you myself."
"I'm sorry," Nyo said quietly. "I was originally coming up here to give you a hand, Ark said that you were picking up what it was teaching you really quickly and when I got here I just wanted to see what you two were talking about before I butted in. I didn't mean to upset you."
Nyo sat down next to Stepan and whispered in his ear, "Overcoming fear is not without risk." Then Nyo lowered his voice even more, "If you ask me, I won't reject you..."
Stepan opened his eyes and gasped. He looked over at Nyo in shock; Nyo just smiled back at him.
Dmitry looked down at the Phasenmorph on his arm again and giggled, "He's tickling me!"
< Tickling you? Nyo said that it made his arm ached for a while. He did not mention it tickling him. >
"Well it's doing that too, but it's not that bad. What I mean is that I can feel him getting comfortable on my arm, it tickles!" replied Dmitry.
"Yeah, I know Ark, he's weird isn't he," said Dominic from the Phasenmorph tank across the room.
Dmitry giggled and then bounded over to Dominic, "Go on Dom, just stick your arm into the tank; it's really not that bad."
Dominic gave Dmitry a nervous smile and then slowly lowered his left arm into the tank of water. Three different Phasenmorphs swam over to Dominic's arm and gently rubbed up against it.
"I-is this normal?" asked Dominic.
< Yes, do not worry Dominic; they are just deciding which one of them would be best suited for you. By rubbing up against your arm they are able to tell what kind of person you are, then they will send signals to one another and determine which one of them would be best suited to communicate with you. >
Slowly the three Phasenmorphs backed away from Dominic's arm for a moment. A few seconds later one of them swam forward again but this time it wrapped its tentacles around Dominic's arm and then slowly began to climb his arm backwards.
"It feels slimy..." Dominic said nervously.
Dmitry reached out and stared rubbing Dominic's shoulders, "Just relax Dom, its not that bad."
< It will numb the areas where it will insert its tentacles before it actually does it. Go ahead and lift your arm out of the tank now, it will make it easier on the Phasenmorph if it's on level ground. >
Dominic took his arm out of the tank and the Phasenmorph spent the next few minutes positioning itself and rubbing the end of its tentacles around on certain spots on Dominic's arm. Suddenly the end of its tentacles became sharp points and it plunged all eight of its tentacles and its tail into Dominic's arm; quickly securing itself.
Dominic screamed and then pulled his arm tightly against his chest.
"You ok Dom?" asked Dmitry.
Dominic nodded his head, "Ark, I think it might be worth looking into a way for that to not hurt so much."
< I will make note of that. >
"Ok Ark, you got us wearing Phasenmorphs; now what?" asked Dominic.
< The room through the door at the far side of this room is a practice area, but I can only let one of you at a time in there. So while one of you practices the other will be going over different records about humanity and about this Clan Short that you may need to know. >
"Ok, which one of us do you want to have practice first?" said Dmitry.
< I would suggest that Dominic go first, the faster you start using the Phasenmorph the quicker it will adapt to your body and the soreness will go away. >
"Sounds like a plan to me," said Dominic as he jogged over to the practice room. As he went through the door he called back to Dmitry, "Have fun DT, don't let the Ark bore you to death!"
Dmitry giggled, "Ok Ark, ya got me all to yourself now. What's the first thing on the list?"
< First I want to cover what the basics of what the Phasenmorph can do. Step over to the computer console near the Phasenmorph tanks and we will begin. >
Dmitry went over to the computer console and watched as a model of a Phasenmorph was brought up on the screen.
< A Phasenmorph is first and foremost a weapon. It can disperse electrical attacks ranging in power depending on the intensity that the user specified. The Phasenmorph ties itself into the user's lower brain functions, and a few of the users upper brain functions so that it can read the users mind and intentions. Through this link the user can tell the Phasenmorph how powerful it wants the blast by just specifying their intentions for the person they are attacking. A Phasenmorph can also send out a wave of energy creating an area of effect attack that can take out multiple enemies. Again the strength of this wave is specified by the user. For this attack the user can also specify who it does not want the attack to hurt if there is someone in range of the blast that is a friendly target. The Phasenmorph will adjust its attack to bend around that person. >
"Oh that's kinda cool!" said Dmitry.
< The Phasenmorph can also act as a shield by protecting the user in an energy shield that is impenetrable to any kind of weapon or environment. This also allows for the user to shield themselves in a situation where no oxygen is available. This shield can be adjusted to protect multiple targets if need be. The other kind of shield that the Phasenmorph offers is a Psi-Shield, allowing the user to protect themselves from a telepath or an empath detecting them. >
"So it's like an all-purpose weapon then?" asked Dmitry.
< Very much so; it was designed to be able to handle any situation that might come up. Just also keep in mind that the Phasenmorph may have its own generator to create this energy but if it can not get the energy it needs fast enough then it will start to take what it needs from the user. It will never take enough that your life would be in danger but it could take enough to make you pass out. >
"Oh, well that's good to know," said Dmitry. "But I didn't think that telepaths really existed outside of Vulcans."
< That is the next part of this lesson; we will cover the different sub-species of humanity. >
"Sub-species? That's what you made us into right?" asked Dmitry.
< Yes, I mentioned that to you when you first woke up; we might as well start with your sub-species. You belong to the sub-species called the Vifer. The term Vifer comes from the term Vitaferrum which means life cell iron. A Vifer, therefore, is a being whose blood is rich with Vitaferrum. Vitaferrum gives the Vifer a silver complexion which is due to this special metal being integrated into the Vifer's skin cells. The metal allows for the Vifer's mind to have more control over its body on a cellular level. This metal is not just in its skin though, but throughout its body; and a Vifer's lower brain functions have been modified so that its body knows how to treat that metal and how to keep it integrated with its systems. A Vifer can heal up to ten times faster then a normal human and their aging is slowed considerably. This human subspecies was created in the Second Cycle of humanity called Darkness which lasted 23,347 years. >
"So how slow will I age then?" asked Dmitry.
< Roughly one year for every 4,575 years. >
Dmitry giggled, "Dang, its going to take me forever to get through puberty."
< The next sub-species that we will cover are the Techlepaths. Techlepaths are telepaths that were engineered to be telepathic in the Second Cycle of Humanity. Techlepaths were originally government controlled agents that specialized in collecting information from others via the mind, in this sense it did not matter if the subject being questioned told the truth, the Techlepath could get the truth without even asking and a Techlepaths report was better then a confession as it was much more detailed and sometimes even provided more information on why this person may have done what they did. Being that a Techlepaths genetics were modified to make them telepathic it also modified their reproductive systems, which was an unexpected side effect. The governments of the Second Cycle often forbid Techlepaths from having children as the government did not want unregistered Techlepaths running around. But when the governments fell at the end of the Second Cycle Techlepaths did in fact reproduce and their genes became intermixed with that of humans. As a result every now and then a human is born with telepathic abilities. >
"Ok, so what do I call them, Telepaths or Techlepaths?" asked Dmitry.
< That is up to you, either one is correct now; although Telepath is more fitting these days because they are no longer engineered that way they are born that way. >
"Ok, that makes sense," said Dmitry. "Who's next?"
< Psychokinesist is the next sub-species. Psychokinesists were humans that were genetically modified to have telekinetic power in the Second Cycle of Humanity. Psychokinesists were used by many governments until the development of the Vifer; these government super agents were called Psykineist. Psykineists were considered very dangerous outside of their conventional use and were forbidden to reproduce as their traits would be passed on to their children. Again after the fall of the governments at the end of the Darkness Cycle the remaining Psykineists intermixed with humans. These Psykineists were a subspecies of humans that were only given the ability to move objects with their mind. >
"Why didn't they just give the Vifer that ability as well? Wouldn't that make more sense then just giving the Vifer the ability to control their genetics?" asked Dmitry.
< Well the Vifer had the Phasenmorph for one, but think about what you just said as well; the Vifer had the ability to control their genetic structure, if they really wanted to they could have adjusted their genetics to that of a Psychokinesist. >
"So in a way a Vifer can absorb the abilities of others?" said Dmitry.
< Only to a point; they can adjust their body to do whatever they want it to but that takes a good deal of concentration and it has to be within the realm of a human being. >
"What do you mean within the realm of a human being?" Dmitry asked.
< I am not allowed to elaborate on that too much Dmitry, that takes us into restricted files. >
"Restricted files? Well then who has access to them?"
< Only the Founders do; which actually brings us to the next sub-species, the Founders. Founders are easy to spot because they have bright purple eyes; they also have the ability to see visions of possible futures. They also believe that no ones future is set in stone but rather that it can be changed if the right measures are taken. Founders can also read the minds of others although they do not really have any real control over it and if they do then they get everything all at once, not just specific information. Founders only really cared about the well being of humans as they did not tell me to really worry about any subspecies that strayed too far from human genetics or about the Moroi. The Founders let themselves died out as a species because the Founders cared more about finishing me then ensuring the survival of their own species although they did create one of the other sub-species before they disappeared. >
"So the Founders were like Oracles then?" said Dmitry.
< Very much so, but they were limited; they could only see so far with their abilities. >
"Who are or were the Moroi?" asked Dmitry.
< They were another sub-species of humanity. They pre-date even my creation; anything else on the Moroi is restricted. >
"Oh so the restricted files have to do with them then? Did the Founders not like them?" asked Dmitry.
< I really do not know; I am not even allowed to read those files. >
"Oh, ok is that all of them then?" said Dmitry. "All the sub-species I mean."
< No; there is one more sub-species, the Empaths. Empaths were created in the First cycle of humanity by the Founders themselves. Empaths were given the gift of being able to feel the emotions of others around them and then influence the emotions of others as well. They were created in an attempt to open humanities eyes to its own decay and the pain that it was causing itself. But like the Founders warnings the Empaths were ignored by humanity and the Empaths ended up interbreeding with the humans. Every now and then an Empath is born among the humans. They are the everlasting proof of the Founders genius although it goes unrecognized by the rest of humanity, much like I do. This is also why an Empath is referred to as a direct heir to the Founders although they are not entirely related. >
"Do all of these sub-species still exist?" asked Dmitry.
< All of them except for the Founders I believe. In fact Clan Short has a few Telepaths, Psychokinesists, and even an Empath. That is why we are going over all of this actually. >
Just then Dominic came back out of the practice room smiling and drenched in sweat, "That was fun!"
"Yeah it looks like you had a ball," giggled Dmitry. "I guess that means it's my turn."
< Correct, switch places. >
Both Stepan and Nyo were lying under the memory module that Stepan had been working on before Nyo had come to help, sorting out the problems that the memory modules were having.
"Ok, so the process manager and the storage shifter work together to tell the indexing unit where to find the stored information," said Stepan from under one of the memory modules.
"That's right," replied Nyo. "Just make sure you don't cross the two though, it would cause the module to fry itself."
< Nyo, is everything ok in here? >
"Oh, nice of you to join us again Ark," Nyo replied from under the memory module.
< I thought it best to close out my connection to this section for a little while and let the two of you talk. >
"Oh I see, cause chaos and then leave the mess for someone else to clean up," said Nyo.
< I did not mean to cause problems I just wanted to... >
"He's kidding with ya Ark," giggled Stepan. "Everything's fine!"
< Oh. >
"Yeah, just don't go trying to play match maker with anyone else," said Nyo. "And I mean that!"
< So how did that mess I left you in sort out? >
Both boys slid out from under the memory module and then rested against it.
"That's none of your business," Stepan said simply. "I'm not sure if answering your questions will ever be a good idea again."
< So it went well then, that is good. I knew it would turn out just fine. >
Nyo laughed, "Rule number one Step, Ark is always listening even when it says its not."
"As soon as I find out how to block that I think I'm gonna..." Stepan started to say but then Ark interrupted.
< Nyo, the part of the Clan that is off planet just placed a Medical Emergency call to the Federation Youth Services Medical Director, they requested a upload override to a bio-bed aboard a Federation Starship. I was not able to track their progress off planet until they made that call. It seems they also placed a call to their headquarters and had them find an old earth side company called Vision Industries. >
"Vision Industries; why does that name sound familiar?" said Nyo.
< They are from a few years ago; they did advanced work in Androids and Artificial Intelligence. >
"Oh right, you claimed that they were playing God and you did not approve," said Nyo. "I still don't see why you were so against them though; humanity has made an attempt at creating artificial intelligences at least once every cycle."
< Yes but these Androids are different; these Androids are closer to the real thing then any Cycle has ever come close to creating before. It is rather frightening. >
"Ok, what's the deal with the emergency then?" asked Nyo.
< The Clan Patriarch is in a conference call with someone from Vision right now. From the information that I am gathering passively I would say that the emergency has to do with an Android, I think he may be badly hurt. Oh, and I am getting logged calls that I missed that they made before this call now that I have access to the Starship they are currently on. It seems that someone also really ticked off the Patriarch. >
Nyo stood up and then helped Stepan to his feet, "Where are they heading?"
< South Carolina; they just ended the call; I will analyze what I gathered although it is not much more then what I have told you. They should be arriving around 16:00 hours tomorrow if they are as accurate as their conversation says they are. >
"What do you have Dmitry and Dominic doing right now?" said Nyo.
< I am training them to be our new tactical team; I figured we might need one if you are to carry out what we talked about earlier the other day. They will be ready in another three hours. >
"I thought I said not to get carried away with what you are teaching them," said Nyo.
"Umm Nyo...does Ark really ever listen to what anyone has to say if it thinks it shouldn't?" Stepan said quietly.
< I did not over do it, but they will be ready in three hours. I recommend that after that all of you get some sleep. Then I can have you waiting for their arrival with time to spare and extra help if you need it. >