Early Evening - Hot spring beneath Evansolus' canopy
Elsa approached her sister's spring with some trepidation. This chat wasn't going to be easy but it had to be done. She flexed her arm a couple times, it still ached but it was whole as was her ankle.
She paused on the path and focused on the massive lansa that overgrew the grove. Elsa frowned, Evansolus was disturbed. Nexus' ecology rife with Primal energies cause the tree to grow up too fast. Elsa considered the projected feelings. While there was the expected frustration there was a larger overtone of fear. She sigh and wished again that Jayna was old enough...
"I know you're out there" A clear voice called out in the family's Arborian dialect. There was a pause. "I got that Cassian Cabernet you like."
Elsa couldn't help but grin. In the same dialect she replied "Coming!"
Steam wafted off the waters. Her sister, Kella, was already soaking in the spring. Within arm's reach was a tray with two glasses, some cheeses, fruits and nuts. Next to the tray was a chiller with the promised bottle of red. Elsa stripped off her clothes and slipped in. "Kella you didn't have to go to all this trouble. I was going to tell you anyway. Really should have told you sooner."
Kella smirked "Aw, how often do I get to spoil my little sister?'
"Lilli's not here"
"Oh if we're being pedantic that would be Abby."
"One of Larek's twins?"
Kella nodded. "I asked Da and Risa to watch Grady and Jayna so all the kits have a play date." She made a face "For the best, something's up with Evansolus and that's upsetting Jayna." while she was talking, she poured a two glasses of the red and handed one to Elsa.
"Thanks" Elsa sipped her wine. It was one of the better pressings. "One of these days I'm going to find your supplier and torture a few cases out of them."
Kella laughed. "They're not really your crowd and that's not your style. So now that you've been bribed, time to come up with the goods."
Elsa shook her head "Now who's being the brat?" Kella shot her a fangy grin. Elsa took another sip to fortify herself "I do apologize for being out of sorts but that latest trek almost broke me. I needed the last few weeks to meditate and recenter myself."
"Fair enough" Kella leaned back on a pillow by the rocks and stretched her small frame under the waters. "So were you delusional when you told me those pods are Tersylisev's?"
Elsa shook her head "No."
"It's complicated. I had to pull in a lot of favors to find lansa pods. Thankfully it seems that a pre-Ravaging XAS expedition collected quite a few of them."
Kella whistled "And they weren't hunted?"
Elsa shook her head "Apparently the grove was remote and the all but abandoned. The only one left was the matria. When the first contact team approached her she started a speech. While some were reasonably fluent in Arborian, the old matria spoke in the ancient dialect that they couldn't understand so they started recording. Sadly they missed the opening." she paused to sip more wine. "As soon as she finished speaking she feel asleep and shortly thereafter withered into dust a sharp crack and some splintering could be heard in the distance. Thousands of pods littered the ground. They gathered as many as they could along with other samples."
Kella blinked "So her and her wise one's time was long past but they maintained their hold on life for a purpose. What did she say?"
Elsa nodded and frowns "Of course they tried to have it translated but the ones that understood it told them it was a private message and further they were given leave to study the pods but only with non-invasive techniques."
Kella snorted "Which I'll bet was ignored."
Elsa scowled "Of course. Being inert they just looked like any other seed pod. So after a dozen or so were dissected the rest were catalogued and warehoused. Pretty much forgotten until I got my hands on them."
"And the message?"
"It was a personal note to me." Elsa drained her glass, reached over for the bottle, and refilled her cup.
Kella blinked "Isn't that a bit presumptuous?"
Elsa shook her head. "I won't tell you the exact translation because she said things that I am not allowed to reveal. But it was meant for me and the pods were prepared for Tersylisev because, as you're well aware, he's no longer in this realm."
Kella looked like she was going to ask something but she just grabbed the bottle and splashed more wine in her cup. "I'll respect that but if Ter's between life and the Weave that just begs the question about Mum."
Elsa swallowed and replied "The time for all to be revealed approaches." she blinked "Oh Weave I sound just like one of those horrible movies you love so much."
Kella smirks. "You're stalling."
"There's a war brewing. The corruption we fought two years ago is back. Our tribe has been a particular thorn in its side and it has taken notice. We're all in danger -especially- Evansolus and Jayna."
All the color drained out of Kella's face and her hand visibly shook. She very carefully set her glass down on the tray. "What?"
Elsa nodded slowly "There are things you need to know that I cannot explain. The answers are in the pods but we don't have the decades needed to let them mature on their own."
Kella scowled, then asked almost desperately "How? I've examined them to the best of my ability. There are some odd chemical markers to them and a weird espernetic feel but you know as well as I that's about as far as I can sense."
Sipping more wine first Elsa said "Tersylisev gave me the process needed." She tapped her head. "He was also explicit that these formulae are not to be encoded on archivable media." She then frowned "He also said they have the key to something you've been struggling with but that it was a small price to pay since you would probably figure it out in a few years anyway."
Kella's eyebrows shot straight up then she narrowed her eyes then she gave a rueful giggle. "Trust him to know when I'm up to no good. I've been stuck on that particular project because all of the paths forward are too dangerous if I miss one detail. Have you soaked long enough or are you up to scribbling on a whiteboard?"
"The water's lovely but that's more important." Both women rose and stepped out of the spring. The water sheets off of Kella. Elsa rolled her eyes while towelling herself off.
Kella smirks "Hey if I have to live with nanites I'm going to take every advantage I can get." She wrapped a towel around herself while Elsa slipped into a loose robe. Kella collected the tray and chiller and set them on a service bot.
Down in the lab Elsa looked around. "You cleaned up."
"Of course I did. I've been neglecting it since the kits were born but one of my sisters handed me a mystery that I couldn't resist." Kella approached one of the boards and checked it over. Elsa noted it was some sort of nanite design but it was too advanced for her to understand more than the basic structure.
While Kella was erasing the notes Elsa asked "Why are you building nanites with Primal Life?" she took a sip of wine.
Kella reddened. "It's purely theoretical. I'm dying to build some protoypes but like I mentioned even one mistake can prove dangerous." Once the board was clean she handed a marker to Elsa "Professor, the lecture is yours."
Elsa started writing down reaction chains and molecule structures. "Please be aware that I'm doing this from rote memory. This level of chemistry is way out of my league."
"That's all right, if I can't figure it out I'll ask the Aratarovich's to lend a hand. If that's all right of course."
Elsa paused. "Only if you're really stuck, Tersylisev wants this kept in the family but allowed for close friends if there's need."
Kella just nodded and sipped at her wine while Elsa continued diagramming. Every so often Kella would blurt out "Are you suuuure that's what he meant?" or "Really?" or a groan and an "Oh Weave." Elsa would review the notes then nod gravely in turn.
"We all inherited Mum's eidetic memory. While I've had a few knocks on the head of late I assure you this is accurate to how it was presented."
Kella read through the notes. "That molecule should be impossible to synthesize but that chain will do it. Getting the reagents is going to be a bitch. Hells, getting all of the materials is going to suck." She pointed at several items "This, that, and that aren't things you can get through normal or black market channels." Then she circled one thing. "And this stuff my dear sister is one of the ICI's deepest, darkest, secrets. That's going to take a lot of firepower." Kella stepped back and took a sip from her glass. "How much time -do- we have?"
Elsa sighed "Time flows differently in the other place. Best I can make out, maybe a few weeks? Could be a few days or a few months even."
"Gotcha. Time to make a few calls then."
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