Fictober, Prompt 5 – “I’m not saying I told you so…”
Original fiction. Turned out to be a continuation of Day 1.
Warnings: nothing in particular, passing mention of past blood sacrifices.
“I’m not saying I told you so…”
“But you told me so,” I groused, sighing as Vivi stepped carefully into what remained of the lab. “It would never have worked if I’d had anyone else with me, especially not another mage.”
“I know,” she said, then whistled as she took in the state of the room. “Hard fight?”
“Yeah,” I admitted, frowning. I’d won, but I’d had to kill her in the end, and still had several bandages on even three days later. It was even stranger because I still didn’t have any idea what her real name was. She had given me an obviously false one when we first met, but every system here was strangely devoid of anything that identified her personally. “The rest of this would have been easier if I’d been able to capture her. I still have no idea what she was trying to do here, or what’s so special about this planet. Several unidentifiable ships have come sniffing around, and given how much monitoring equipment she has set up for tracking exactly that kind of thing, I don’t think it’s new.”
Vivi patted my shoulder and then peered over it at the one screen that had remained intact. “Weird. What did she say she was doing?”
“Planetary rehabilitation, or terraforming, or something like that,” I told her. “Is the surface as uninhabitable as I think it is?”
“Certainly looked that way to me.”
“That’s what I saw on the way down, but then I wasn’t sure if I could trust it. All the instrumentation here indicated the same thing, but I’m still not quite sure what parts of this system I can trust either.”
“We’ll sort it out,” Vivi promised. It was such a relief to have her here. “Where should I get started?”
“See if you can get any of the other interfaces in this room working again? The magical signatures indicate that they didn’t all do the same thing, and I’d like to see if this data makes more sense once I can look at more parts of the system.”
“Sure,” she agreed. “Any urgent life-support things?”
“Fortunately, that equipment was all in another room.”
“Cool. I’ll go grab my tools and be right back.”
I nodded, distracted by the data scrolling by on the screen. All technical, no spells or hints of magic, not at this console. Just a constant stream of geological, climatological and seismic data from what seemed to be all over the planet. The problem was that there was no way Lin (I’d have to use the false name until I could dig up her real one) had enough technical equipment in enough places to be generating this much data. So either it was all false (or at least heavily extrapolated from a smaller number of locations)…or it was being sourced through spells that I couldn’t detect.
Even if it was spell-sourced, it was still an incredible amount of data.
I was no closer to an answer by the time Vivi came back, so I turned that data stream off and went back to digging through the few technical specs for this facility that I could find through this console.
Something weird was going on here, weirder even than a rogue technomage kidnapping random spacers for blood sacrifices. Somehow, I had to figure out what it was.
And soon. I could not explain the weird twisting feeling in my gut that told me that but…we had to figure it out soon.