Mors Funebris Ch. 2 P 5

Mors Funebris Chapter 2 Part 5

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With an audible rustling of her mattresses’ reed-cushioning, Corporal Helvetia, Jumping-Spider Arachne, tiredly flopped herself over onto her back in her nest-bed. Even with that effort, she found herself unable to fall asleep for the better part of a half hour, on this overly warm night. This, her latest bout of sleeplessness was caused by her incessant fretting over the status of her ward, Annwyfn Arawn.

This night, was just one of many similar unrestful ones she had had over the last month.  Ever since he’d first shown up several weeks ago, he had proven to be a source of aggravation to her in one form or another.

‘Damn that Annwyfn.’ She thought idly, as she stared out of her comfy silk lined nest-bed. Up there, just within reach of her arm, she focused her front eyes on the end of a loose strand of her silk. Squinting, she could just barely make it out in the ambient light of her room. There was just enough movement in the air of her room, to spur her to try and capture and tame it. Blowing out her breath, she suppressed that urge as best she could.

‘Why couldn’t he have been just another Mamono out of Zipangu, or Kumari Kandam? At least we’d have something in common then, something to talk about. Instead, I keep finding that he’s composed of one mystery after another. She thought as she gave out a frustrated sigh. A sigh that made her grimace wide enough to expose nearly every one of her sharp teeth.

‘But NO!’ she thought as she pursed her lips. ‘I had to have the ill luck to Mentor an unattached human-like male! Now that I’m finally Mentoring, I discover that it’s a lot like being married!’ she groused silently, as she gave in to her instincts and started to poke at that annoying silk line with a finger. ‘Just without any of the fringe benefits of same.’

“Hmph!” she snorted aloud, after flipping herself over onto her stomach. “That strand of silk is like me: I’ve worked myself out of convention and I don’t wish to be tied into marriage, right now.” She muttered, talking to herself idly. Unlike Arawn, she didn’t have the ability to lose an argument with herself, because she had but one personality to debate.

‘What in Lolth’s name has happened to me since I joined the Great Maou’s Army?’ Tia wondered, staring at the far wall, with her head perched on a raised arm. ‘When I first arrived at Fort Eequor, all I wanted was to Pounce myself a husband and then take him home to my colony!’ she thought to herself as she sighed audibly.

‘But then something happened. After I joined the Teleportation crew, my finding a husband somehow became less important.’ Tia thought, as she flipped herself over once more in a vain attempt to find a comfortable spot. When she did, all eight of her legs relaxed enough to spread up into an arc/bowl. Involuntarily, her mind continued to race.

‘It didn’t help that every time I got near a potential mate, either Order or not, he’d screamed in fear at the sight of me. That’s always a helluva mood killer.’ She frowned.

‘I do wish to still find a husband,’ She decided, after thinking about it for several tense minutes. ‘but I want someone who appreciates me for me. Not someone who treats me like a receptacle for his semen. Is that too much to ask out of life?’ she thought, as she remembered her last ‘lover’-Ikiniz. The one who had professed his love for her, and then dumped her soon after sharing her nest-bed.

‘Apparently it is too much to ask.’ She griped silently, remember that fateful evening at the Inn of the Prancing Cadaver. ‘Ironically, Arawn is one of the few males I’ve yet encountered, who looks at me without fear or lust. Why is it, that just about every other male I’ve met, is biased against Arachne?’ she wondered with a persistent sense of hurt. ‘So few are willing to look beyond appearances.’ She growled then, heavily annoyed.

‘Oh the hell with this! I’m not going to be getting any sleep if my mind keeps going on like this.’ She decided, as she snaked a hand over and under her reed-mattress, down to a secret stash of objects she kept hidden underneath her bed. After a brief amount of noise filled clattering caused by her sorting through that box, Tia found her desired prize. It was the one object that she’d purchased from that ‘specialty shop’ for Majin a few weeks previous; the Dark-Mage’s-Best-Friend, ‘Magic’ wand.

Pulling it out, and then holding that tapered cylinder up in her fur covered hands, Tia felt herself smiling in anticipation of putting it to good use once more. Then, with a slight chuff, she activated the raised stud that sat near its base, and instantly, her ‘Magic’ wand began to shimmy and shake in a rapid staccato. Tia knew that she need not be concerned with making too much noise, as the device normally made only the slightest of buzzing in its vibrations.

‘It’s been too long,..’ she thought, as she felt the buzzing of that wand’s vibrations as far as her elbows.

Carefully, yet resolutely, Tia lowered that shaking wand down to her eagerly waiting genitals. Already she could scent the smell of her pedipalp-vulva moistening her folds, in gleeful anticipation of her self-pleasuring.

“Ah!” she suddenly gasped in half-pain/half-pleasure, as the tip of that wand finally made contact with her pubic mound. That single touch caused a jolt of sensations to arch its way up from her genitals, all the way to the base of her skull. Savoring the intensity of that moment, Tia’s mouth fell open with a breathless sigh, while all eight of her half-lidded eyes rolled back in their sockets. She found that she was momentarily overwhelmed with that pleasurable wave.

Soon, with a slowly increasing pace, she began to pant through her mouth and spiracles, as she deftly maneuvered her wand into, around, and slowly ever deeper into her constricting private place that vibrated all so sweetly.

“OOoooohhh.” Tia moaned softly, as she closed all of her eyes while she rubbed those pliant regions between her major and minor labia. Shifting that wand over to one fist, she then reached up with her free arm and began to stroke her belly with a spread hand. There, she deliberately petted against the grain of her fur, eagerly enjoying the sensation of forcing her fur backwards. Why? Because, it always made her feel ‘naughty’.

Then after several dragging strokes, her free hand reached down between her pedipalp-vulva as she intentionally dipped her fingertips into herself, to thoroughly wet them with her juices. After several seconds of flexing her furry fingers, she pulled her hand up and away from her entrance. When she did, her fingers were so thoroughly soaked with her love-honey that they came away dripping. Moving her hand upwards, they left behind a long clear rope that made a temporary bridge between her fingertips and her folds.

Instinctively, those fingers of hers made their way across her tummy fur and once there, she began to rub them into her skin so as to enjoy the scent of her own love-lube.

 Normally, such an action of a married Jumper, seldom failed to catch the attention of her Incubus no matter where in the Colony cave he was located. Alas! Unfortunately, she didn’t have hers yet to attract.

It was at that point, that she shifted her wand into the grip of her pedipalp-vulva bulbs, so as to let them take control of it.

 Now that her upper body arms were freed, she put them both to good use. Soon, her pedi-vulva began to slowly insert her wand into and out of her spasmodically gripping vagina as her mana-powered wand continued in its tremors. She then allowed her left arm to meander its way up from her belly, deliberately pushing her fingers against the grain of her tummy fur, until at the last that hand reached its intended destination of one of her budding breasts. Once there, she cupped her small swelling as best she could manage, and gripped it tightly.

After a short while, she sought out and found one of the few spots on her exterior that wasn’t covered with her fur: the azure nipple of her breast. It was standing excitedly a good six centimeters up from its surrounding areola. Once her fingers found it, she gripped it lightly with her fingertips, then gently rolled and twisted it adroitly. All the while she imagined that the hand that touched her there, belonged to that platinum-blonde haired City Guardsman that had caught her eye last week, Urshurak.

“AAaaaaahhh!” she cried out loudly then. “AAAAhhhh Urshurak!” she moaned, “Yes, suck me there!” she continued, as she gripped one of her breasts with one hand, and suckled on the fingers of the other, all the while her pedipalp-vulva continued to plunge and pull her shimmying wand into and out of her crevice.

“Yes, Urshurak… Eat me just like that.” She moaned then, while teasing both of her spider-clits with the shaft of her ‘magic’ wand. She then continued to cup tightly one of her puffy tits with her left hand, as the finger claws of her right hand came out of her mouth, then shifted to scrape the skin underneath the fur down her throat, and parts south.

“Ohhhhh Maou, Urshurak… You’re so good at eating your spider’s pussy!” She moaned loudly, as she began to writhe herself around in her bed, as one or another of her legs began to involuntarily spasm now and again.

“I love the way you tease my clits with your wet tongue… You make me feel like a real SLUT!” She called out louder, uncaring if anyone heard her in that moment.

“I need you so bad… I need your cock so bad… Please give it to me… I need it inside me.” She begged the absent Urshurak. She then reached out with all eight of her fur covered spider-legs, and gripped the sides of her bed with her tarsi-claws. In her mind she imagined that it was HIM, who she’d trapped underneath herself with her legs.

“Oh Fuck… You’re so big… You’re so swollen… You’re stretching my tight cunt.” She screamed, as she sped up the plunging of her wand into her.

“Yes… Fuck me just like that… Fuck my dirty little cunt… Fuck your spider’s tight cunt!” She cried out, gyrating her small hips in slow movements.

Suddenly she let out a long cry in a very high pitched noise, as her whole body shuddered with one intense orgasm after another. All the while, her tarsi claws dug themselves down through the cloth of her mattress, then deep into the wooden flooring slabs. Tia then realized in an instant, that she was very loud, so she quickly covered her mouth with her left hand to muffle her cries. Then her right hand snuck its way down and cupped her pubic mound, so as to focus her wand’s ‘efforts’.

She continued to scream for several seconds despite her best efforts to the contrary. So very loud, that her muffled cries audibly came through to all of her neighbors. All during this time, she lifted her cephalothorax and started humping her right hand that was still pressing against her pubic mound. This went on for several more minutes, and many more soaking orgasms, before she settled down and relaxed onto her now thoroughly wetted bed.

After an even longer recovery period, Tia blinkingly collected herself. Slowly yet steadily she got up to clean up her ‘Magic’ Wand, and to replace the dripping sheets of her bed. Alas, even after her masturbation magnum-opus, she was still energized enough to stay awake.

With a barely restrained growl of frustration, she gave in to the inevitable as she made herself stay up. She then commenced her old sure-fire cure for insomnia, by skittering rapidly around her darkened room in an effort to tire herself out. It was an old technique that had upset many of her fellow spider-colony nest-mates during the days of her youth, but it had proven then to be an effective one.

 After her third painful stubbing of a tarsi into the corner of a piece of furniture, she decided to activate her room’s glow-crystal. When she did, it’s glare caused her to involuntary close all of her eyes.

“Shards!” she muttered under her breath, as she attempted to blink away the temporary blindness that lamp’s light caused her. Once she had, she resumed her soft walking around her room, being mindful to not be too noisy as to wake up her downstairs neighbor. She continued her soft marching for the better part of an hour, all the while attempting to recall the details of some of her most boring Teleportation operation manuals.

Taking note of the time at one point, Tia ambled her way over to her window and peered out, so as to contemplate the view. Casting her eyes about for several minutes, eventually her eyes drifted down to her ward’s windows.

‘Arawn’s room lights are off. Well, I guess that means that he and the Lieutenant are done with their love-making for the evening’, she mused in mild envy. ‘At least someone is getting some sleep!’

“HMPH!” she audibly expelled in frustration. ‘For someone who claims to be in mourning for his lost love, it didn’t take him long to find some solace in the arms of another.’ She thought uncharitably. ‘Or is that simply jealousy on my part?’

Tia’s thoughts, were then interrupted by a knocking on her door. Stepping cautiously over, she was curious as to find out who it was at such a late hour. She was most surprised to discover that it was Lieutenant Jinks.

“Jinks!” she exclaimed happily, eager to have someone to talk to, “What can I do for you?” she asked, looking down at the black-leather clad, purple haired Gremlin in front of her.

“I saw that your room’s lights were on, so I decided to check in with you!” Jinks replied with her characteristic grin. “Up late studying, or do you have a case of insomnia?’

“Insomnia.” Tia replied after motioning Jinks inside. “I don’t suppose you have anything up your sleeve that would help me with that?” Tia hinted, as she asked with what she hoped was an alluring smile. She then closed the door behind her late night guest.

“Well,” Jinks replied, readily comprehending what Tia had been getting at. “I’m already done making love for the evening! Otherwise I’d be happy to help!” Jinks replied with a wink and a widening of her ever present grin.

“Fair enough.” Tia shook her head, mildly disappointed. Taking a sniff, she wrinkled her nose, “Oh Maou! You’ve been so busy, that you’re positively reeking of Arawn’s spirit energy this evening.” She replied.
“So, do you have any suggestions as to how I should spend the rest of my excess energy tonight?” Tia asked with a resigned sigh.

“As a matter of fact, I do!” Jinks replied, her eyes dancing with delight. “There is something I could use some help with. Why don’t you come over with me to my laboratory, and I’ll explain what I’d like you to assist me with, along the way.” Jinks explained.

Despite the lateness of the hour, Tia found herself intrigued by the notion, and nodded her assent.
 After quickly putting on her clothing, which consisted of her duty gorget, waist-cloth, and her Tool-bandolier, she was ready to go. Due to her late-night fatigue, Tia totally forgot to extinguish her rooms’ glow-crystal.

They both walked quietly down to the main floor, and only upon entering the late night street, did Jinks finally begin to detail her intentions. Soon, Tia found herself both alarmed, and intrigued by what she had in mind.

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The Gremlin and the Jumping Spider Arachne made an intriguing sight for those who were up that late. Jinks, was heavily animated, almost buzzing with her excitement. While Corporal Helvetia walked methodically slow, which was her Mamono specie’s characteristic when they were either out exploring, or being up too late. She walked slowly enough to cause Jinks to grimace with frustration.

“So what you’re telling me is,…” Tia asked as she ambled her way down the darkened street, with only the flutter of the occasional Owl-Harpy flying by overhead, to break the silence between words. Jinks interrupted her then.

“That the biggest hurdle I had to overcome in activating an Automaton, was my finding a compatible power source!” Jinks explained in a rush, practically jumping up and down in her frenzy to get to her lab.

“So I take it, that you finally managed to locate one?” Tia asked, intrigued.

“Nope!” Jinks yelped, with a rapid shake of her head. “Up until recently, I’ve been completely unable to activate a single one of their archaic power units, I’ve no idea why! As far as I can tell, each and every one of them is intact enough to be operational, yet none of them will!” she grinned.

“Then why are you so hell-bent on activating an Automaton, if you can’t get any of their power units operational?” Tia asked, confused.

“Because I thinkI can turn one on, now!” Jinks beamed pridefully.

“But you just said,…”Tia began, but was interrupted.

“I know! I know, what I just said! That I didn’t find an operational power source.”

“Then how are you going to,…” Tia tried, but was interrupted again.

“Using my inborn talents as a Gremlin, I decided to do things different. So, in the end what I did was manage to modify one of the Automatons’ power converters, so as to make it compatible with another form of energy!” Jinks shot back excitedly.

“What? I didn’t think that was even possible!” Tia replied, surprised. “What form of energy did you manage to make it accept?” Tia asked, and then noted that Jinks already wide grin, got wider.

“One that I’ve been obtaining a significant amount of, for the last week!” Jinks replied, with an extended leer.

“You didn’t!” Tia exclaimed with comprehension, half-horrified by the notion and half-envious at her insouciant creativity.

“Yes, I did!” Jinks replied, “Since Arawn willingly donated so much of his Spirit Energy, I was able to realign the Automatons power converter modules, to accept it as a substitute!”

“The way you’ve been talking about it; you make it sound as if you’ve already managed to activate some of those components.” Tia pointed out.

“Indeed I have, Tia!” Jinks replied gleefully.

“How has that worked out?”

“Rather swimmingly, thus far! In fact, I’ve been using a good portion of his energies to operate several of the Automaton’s components every night after he goes home! As such, they’re practically repairing themselves!” Jinks replied, holding up a small silver cylinder in one fist. Tia looked at that cylinder questioningly. Jinks saw that look and explained.

“This is where I’ve been storing Arawn’s excess spirit energy, that I’ve not been utilizing for my own nutritional needs.” Jinks grinned, as she hid that cylinder back on her person.

“Oh my Maou!” Tia replied, grinning back. “I’m surprised Arawn agreed to that. Doubly so, considering that he’s been all doom and gloom for the last week, complaining about the dangers of activating one of them.” As soon as Tia said that, she immediately took note of that momentary look of guilt that flashed across Jinks’ face, which caused her grin to shrink and almost disappear as she came to a stumbling halt.

“Jinks?” Tia began as she turned to her officer, a sneaking suspicion beginning to take ahold of her.
“Did you inform Arawn of what you’ve been doing?” What little grin Jinks had remaining in that moment, vanished. Almost as if it were a candle blown out by the wind.

“Weeeellll, not exactly….” Jinks continued, not looking at Tia. Who then covered her face with a furry hand.

“Lieutenant,…is THIS why you’re wanting to accomplish this so late at night? Because you think Arawn would’ve objected?” she began in an aggrieved tone.

“To my using his Spirit Energy in such a fashion? Or to head off any of his efforts to delay her activation?” Jinks asked. Tia nodded to both questions.

“Yes, and yes.” Jinks replied. Tia groaned.

“Don’t worry about it Corporal.” Jinks then replied, reaching up to pat Tia on her shoulder, as she continued her walking, Tia followed her automatically.

“Everything should be Just-Fine! What’s the worst that could happen?” She asked rhetorically, doing what she could to reassure the Corporal under her command. Tia found that the best she could manage then, was to remain silent in her trepidation.

Soon, they arrived at Jinks’ lab, and once there, they began to work together to finish reassembling the Automaton that Jinks had decided upon. Stepping closer to that one as it lay atop the center table, Tia peered down into its face. Right then, she couldn’t help but shudder at the sight of the mechanical person’s frozen mien. 

At Tia’s first view, that the main body of the Automaton that Jinks wished to reassemble, mostly resembled a skeleton made of steel.  The rest of its parts lay scattered about in a haphazard manner, that was nearly devoid of anything resembling dignity.
Walking over to the nearest table, Tia noticed that much of the Automaton’s exterior, consisted of a flexible armor. When she picked up a portion of its ‘chest’-armor to inspect it, she discovered that it was akin to an insects’ solid carapace on its inside, but felt much like a woman’s pliable skin on the outside. She noted that the bulk of the Automaton’s ‘armor’ was stacked nonchalantly on a nearby trolley. Turning her attention back to its main body, she decided that the entire tableau of its component parts, along with the large gaps in its arms, legs, and torso, lent it an eerie necromantic quality.

“Ghastly.” Tia said aloud, then swallowed.

“How so?” Jinks asked, looking at her from across other side of the table that held most of the Automaton atop of it.

“Between the pallor of its facial skin and its half-finished appearance, I can’t help but get the notion that its dead.”

“I can see your point.” Jinks replied raising an eyebrow, after stopping and looking over the Automaton for a prolonged moment. “But try to keep in mind that it was never really alive in the first place.”

“So, is that why its maker chose a grey color for its skin? It makes it look like a zombie.”

 “Who can say? Perhaps the Automaton creator was a jealous woman?” Jinks replied with a smirk, as she reached out and smoothed down the platinum hair of the Automaton’s head. Tia found herself smiling back, thinking of the Lilim’s characteristic hair color.

“I’d not be surprised.” Tia muttered under her breath, but still loud enough for Jinks to hear. “Jealousy is often a great motivation.” She finished, then changed the subject. “So, what do you want me to do?” she asked.

“I’ll need you to maintain the intensifier gain of the Backward-Wave Interociter; the one that you’re standing next to.” Jinks directed, as Tia caught sight of the looming device that Jinks pointed at. She then stepped over, and began to familiarize herself with its controls.

“Anything else?” Tia asked absent-mindedly, as she examined the various levers, buttons, and dials.

“Do you think you can also manage the Aetheric Side-band Modulator, while you’re at it?”

“Easy as wrapping with silk!” Tia replied with a sharp toothed grin. “Why this is a lot like operating a Teleportation Platform!” Tia replied astounded, as she comprehended her main task.

“Yes it is, but it’ll still take us a while to prepare our soon-to-be-guest.” Jinks replied, as she began to attach a number of cables to link the Interociter to the Automaton components. Over the next few hours, Tia followed as best she could, following the continuing set of instructions that Jinks gave her: Attaching an arm linkage here, soldering a connection there, and often inserting, then removing one component after another, into and out of the Automaton’s main body. To Tia, it was like the Automaton was a three dimensional puzzle in its complexity. Slowly, methodically between Tia’s and Jinks’ efforts, the Jenny unit became more human-like in appearance. After a long while, Tia began making conversation.

“Jinks?” Tia asked finally, as Jinks looked up at her questioningly, in mid reattachment of one of the Automaton’s carapace sections to her torso.

“Why are you so determined to turn one of these Automatons on?”

“Because no one has ever managed to do so before!” Jinks replied, resuming her grinning.

“So, if you manage to, then you’ll be the first?” Tia asked.

“Indeed! HIstory always remembers the first to accomplish something.”

“So Jinks, does this Automaton have a designation?” she called out.

“Yes, it does Tia. Arawn keeps referring to it as a ‘Jenny’ unit. He recommended several times, that it should be the one chosen for reassembly.”

“Any idea why he chose it?”

“Yes, many reasons. First off, it’s the only one with an ‘intact memory core’, his words.” Jinks began, as she began her fastening of various cables within the Jenny unit’s lower torso.

“What’s a memory core?” Tia asked, curious.

“It’s a sort of mechanical brain, it holds all of the Automaton’s programming.”

“Ok, and what does ‘programming’ mean?”

“That.” Jinks began with a patient sigh, annoyed at having to explain such an obvious fact to Tia. “Is a set of instructions combined with created-memories, that allows the Automaton to operate.”

“So, why else did he choose this one?”

“According to him, it’s supposed to be a Medic. Thus, it is less likely to be hostile.”

“Hostile? Is that a possibility?” Tia asked, mildly alarmed.

“Well yes. That’s because these items were originally created by a branch of the Order for military purposes, according to Arawn.”

“Then why,…?” Tia began, but stopped.

“Because if they do come from the Order, or a branch of it, then Makai thinks that they can successfully corrupt them. Who knows Tia? We could be looking at another future form of the Makai Knights, lying right before us!” Jinks explained as she made a number of last second adjustments.

“Aaaannnddd,…I’m done.” Jinks stated, despite the fact that there were still a number of empty spots and loose cables in evidence. But, all in all, Tia approved of the now more functional looking final product. Jinks last action on the Automaton proper, was to carefully place that metallic cylinder of Arawn’s stored Spirit Energy, vertically atop Jenny’s flattened belly, centered around its ‘navel’.

“So the Automaton’s power converter access port, just happens to be her belly-button?” Tia asked, covering her smile with a furry hand.

“Yes it is, apparently the Automaton’s creators had a sense of humor.” Jinks laughed then, leaving her tongue hanging out slightly. “Though personally, if the Automatons can be successfully adapted to utilize men’s spirit energy, then I’d recommend that intake port to be lowered a few inches.”

“To their vaginas?”

“If they had one, yes. But, such a modification can wait till later.”

“All systems go!” Jinks exclaimed then, looking over at the humming Interociter that was connected at multiple spots to the now mostly complete Jenny Automaton.

“ACTIVATE!” she ordered in half-shout to Tia. Who then activated the Interociter controls, and within a few seconds the metallic cylinder that JInks had placed within the ‘navel’ of Jenny, suddenly sank into it and disappeared from sight. After that for the longest while, there seemed to be no noticeable changes in the Jenny unit.

Jinks raised her head in concern a few minutes later, when she took note that Tia was having an issue with the Interociter’s controls. Peering past over Tia’s shoulder, she instantly came up with a solution.

“Tia! Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow,…Oh!” Jinks ordered at first, then stopped with a sudden exclamation of surprise, which caused Tia to raise her head in alarm, and rush over to Jinks. What Jinks had seen, was that the Automaton had changed from its previous quiescent state into one of manifold movements.

As Tia looked down at the insides of the half-finished feminine form, she noted that a number of unattached mechanical item ends within the Jenny Automaton, seemed to act of their own volition- reaching out and seeking a mated connection with each other. Most of the time the two ends of wires or waveguides met and interacted spasmodically, then turned away from each other with a small sparking of light as if annoyed with one another.

During all that, no few of them were making an odd clicking sound that sounded off with a near ear-splitting screeching of metal against metal. Slowly at first, but with an ever-increasing frequency, many of the ends met and joined together, clutching at each other like a pair of lovers, to merge into a seamless whole.

Tia noted then, that the Automaton’s arms and legs began to quiver and jerk, spasmodically. Now and again, Tia thought she saw the Automaton’s eyes blink.

Then, Jinks heard a sound that made her catch her breath. She heard a moan that resonated from deep within the Automatons core. It sounded akin to the first breath of a newborn child. With that, Jinks was unable to contain herself any longer, and she began to speak loudly.

“It’s Alive! It’s Alive!” she shouted excitedly, loudly enough to drown out the humming of the interociter.
 “In the name of the Great Maou, now I know what it’s like to be a God! I’ve created life!” she exclaimed, as she waved her hands up and down.

Suddenly, the Jenny stopped its quivering, and then fully opened up its eyes to stare upwards at the ceiling; its eons long slumber ended at last.

After several seconds of incomprehension, it blinked and then began to look around itself with a conscious deliberation. It continued its examination of its surroundings until it had caught sight of Jinks. When it did, its squinted at her for the longest while with an intense confused frown on her lips.

Then, those eyes turned and caught sight of Tia. There, the Jenny began to study her with an intensity that Tia found unnerving. Both Tia and Jinks, were surprised to discover that those blue eyes, appeared to be human looking, yet they were marred only by a slight reddish glow that burned with a sharp self-awareness.

With nary a warning, the Jenny Automaton sat bolt-upright with many a metallic rusty screeching of its limbs. It then began to speak.

“Activation sequence complete, *bzzt*.” It exclaimed clearly in a tone that sounded feminine, but warbled with a sound that sounded distinctly alien; almost mechanical. When it completed its sentence, her voice was punctuated by a flash of buzzing light from somewhere within its chest cavity. “Initiating Self-Diagnostic.” The Automaton continued.

“Hello?” Jinks called out to Jenny then. But the Automaton gave no reply, nor any sign that it had heard her. Instead it just remained sitting where it was, moving its lips, but making no audible sound.

“I send you greetings Jenny.” Jinks tried again, this time waving a hand in front of her eyes. Only then did the Jenny Automaton take notice of Jinks, by turning her head and looking at her impassively.

“Greetings.” Jenny replied stolidly after a short interval of time. Jinks noted that there was a lag time between Jenny’s audible words and her mouth moving.

“Where am I?” Jenny asked, suddenly.

“You are within my laboratory. Which itself is located in Fort Eequor.”

“I am not familiar, *bzzt*, with that name: Fort Eequor. Where is that located?” Jenny asked coldly, then she looked down at herself. “Self-Diagnostic partially finished. I am incomplete. Several of my key components are missing. Self-Diagnostic supplemental report, I have been joined with several incompatible parts from other Automatons. Query: Why have I been partially disassembled?”

“Actually no, we didn’t take you apart.” Jinks began to explain. “Instead, what I’ve been trying to do, is put you back together.”

“You are suggesting that I was discovered in a disassembled state?” Jenny asked, with a suspicious lilt in her strange voice.

“Indeed you were, along with the others of your kind.” Jinks replied, which caused Jenny’s eyes to widen in alarm.

“Others! Where are the others?!” she cried out, turning her head and upper body, to and fro. Within a couple of seconds, she froze her movements when she espied her comrade Automatons, who were still sitting mostly in parts, atop several of the surrounding tables.

“What has happened!” Jenny cried out in alarm. “Why are you disassembling the other members of my Unit?” she demanded.

“Please try to calm yourself! I’m not the enemy here! What can I do to reassure you of that?” Jinks shouted desperately, waving her hands at Jenny.

“Answer me this question. Are you human?” Jenny asked suspiciously while her eyes turned to an intense reddish color. While that happened, Tia was further perplexed as something seemed to form in the center of Jenny’s chest, just above the line of her breasts. Jinks shook her head in confusion at the sight of Jenny’s new accessory, as it began to speak.

Tia noted, that it was after Jinks had stated a firm “Not exactly.”; that all hell broke loose. Suddenly, Tia was both blinded and deafened by a large flash of light and noise. Both of which happened so quickly, they left her too stunned to cry out. After several seconds, her eyes and ears cleared enough to see what had transpired.

Jenny, Tia saw then, was standing upright on the floor looking down at something. Tia was alarmed when she realized that there was no sign of Jinks in that moment, despite the fact that she’d been standing only a few feet away from her.

Dazedly, she then became aware that the Jenny then crouched, as if to pick something up. Acting on instinct, she froze herself into her Spider-Stealth mode, determined to avoid any harm from the now possibly hostile Jenny.

It was well that she did.

With a barely suppressed cry of surprise, Tia finally noticed what it was that Jenny was holding up: it was Jinks. To Tia’s eyes, she appeared to be hanging loosely in Jenny’s arms, her head flopping about as if she were unconscious, or worse, dead. Tia then noted that a small portion of Jinks’ leather clothes were giving off a small ribbon of smoke, as if she’d been standing too close to a fire.

The Automaton then placed Jinks atop of the table before her. The very one that she’d occupied just a few moments previous. Carefully, Jenny then arranged Jinks so as to avoid an inadvertent self-suffocation. Peering closer, Tia was relieved to see that Jinks was still breathing.

Tia remained absolutely still then, when the Jenny began looking around the room, all the while talking to herself.

“Personal log, Time Stamp- Unknown, Current status- I am partially disassembled, and am missing several vital components. Conclusion, I will need to replace said components. *bzzt*!”  Tia held her breath when the Automaton looked straight at her for a moment, and then her eyes passed over her without a remark.

‘Damn that was close!’ Tia thought nervously to herself, ‘I need to summon help. But I’ve no idea what the Automaton has done to Jinks! She appears to be alive, but the Automaton has used a weapon I’m unfamiliar with! Can I risk moving without being seen?’ Tia asked, as she tentatively tried shifting herself, by reaching out with one long furred leg. Almost instantly the Automaton snapped her head around in Tia’s direction.

“Anomalous movement detected!” Jenny half-spoke to herself, while staring in Tia’s general direction. For several tense seconds, Tia held herself still, not daring to so much as breathe, as Jenny’s eyes flared into an intense white.

 “Scanning.” Jenny continued, looking about with her head. It was then in that moment, that Tia finally managed to get a good look at whatever it was, that had blossomed in the center of her chest. It reminded her of a building’s water drainage spout. But, unlike those spouts, this one was glowing white. Tia found her eyes drawn to that glowing object, the same way a deer would to the fangs of its intended hunter.

“Scanning complete, no further anomalies detected.” Jenny spoke then, as her eyes began to turn back to their normal (?) coloration of blue with a tinge of red. Tia would’ve heaved a sigh of relief, if she felt that she could’ve gotten away with it.

‘What to do?’ she asked herself, feeling both of her hearts pounding furiously with her fear, ‘It’ll be hours before anyone else shows up. And I need to do something, anything, to raise an alarm concerning this danger. But, how do I do so without first being detected by this hostile Automaton?’ she wondered, as she noted the distance between herself and the laboratory door with one of her side eyes.

‘Too far,’ she deemed, ‘I’d never be able to jump that far fast enough!’ It was in that moment, that Tia heard a sound that almost made her cry out in relief. It was the sound of Arawn’s voice, along with the vibrations of his familiar tread that she felt through the floor.

‘Thank You Lolth!’ Tia prayed.

“Lieutenant Jinks! Corporal Helvetia!” she heard him say, as she heard the sound of the outer door being closed. Tia noted that the Jenny Automaton heard him too. Strangely, it chose to keep itself silent.

“It appears that I am not alone with a bout of insomnia. So I have come to help,…Hello?” Tia heard him booming out from behind the inner door. Tia then had to force herself to not wince at the sound of the inner door’s squeaking, as it was opened by Arawn.

‘Damnable repair masons, why didn’t they use a sufficient amount of oil on those hinges?!’ she complained silently. She then noted that once the door had opened, he stepped inside the room slightly, and looked around the room with a small frown. He seemed to be carefully taking note of his surroundings, almost as if he was unsure of what he would find.

‘Idiot!’ she thought, ‘the Hunt doesn’t start for several hours yet! Look to your right already!’ she tried to think at him then.

Tia almost jumped involuntarily when she heard Arawn shout in alarm.

 “JINKS!” Arawn he cried out, as he rushed to her side, and began examining his Gremlin lover. Unseen by him, the Jenny Automaton managed to maneuver her way behind him. Tia frowned in frustration, when she noted that Jenny was now in a tactically superior position.

Then, Tia nearly howled with anger when Jenny gave off an audible *bzzt* but Arawn didn’t seem to notice it. Tia was about to issue a warning to him, danger be damned, when she was surprised by what she heard next.

Quintus, Scan!” he ordered. “Is she all right?” he asked no one in a desperate tone. To Tia’s confusion, he acted as if he seemed to get a reply.

 “Odd? How?” he asked again, looking down at Jinks still form. She then noted that he seemed to be listening to someone, and then made to reply. But before he could, the Jenny Automaton had finished maneuvering herself into position, and placed that ‘spout’ into the center of his back.

“Halt!” she called out commandingly. Arawn froze himself and didn’t so much as turn his head around.

 “Do not make any sudden moves, *bzzt*” Jenny called out again. “Raise your hands above your head. Do not attempt any invocations. *bzzt*”. Tia observed that Arawn complied, raising his hands slowly, his lips pursed with embarrassment at being caught so easily.

“Now stand up fully, and slowly turn yourself around.” Jenny commanded once more. Arawn did as she ordered after a moment’s hesitation. Tia was stunned to see the look on his face when he had complied. Instead of an outraged shock as she expected, he seemed surprised, almost as if he’d met an old acquaintance.

“Remain still while I scan you.” The Automaton ordered him softly, as she began to do just that. Tia noted that a horizontal line of intense red light crossed Arawn from head to toe; he blinked as it passed over his eyes.

After several seconds, she thought she head Arawn call out: “Quintus!” but then she noted that he hadn’t been moving his lips when he had.

 “Scanning is now complete.” Jenny announced. “I have determined that you are not human. *bzzt*”- she uttered, Tia saw that Jenny’s face momentarily blanking out simultaneously with that curious electrical discharge.

“Since you are not a human, therefore that makes you a danger to humans and animals, *bzzt*, of whom I am programmed to protect!” she replied in a neutral mechanical tone, not looking at him.

“What are you going to do then?” Arawn demanded testily of her. The Jenny-unit lifted her head and looked at him neutrally.

“As per my programming, any non-human threats will be exterminated, *bzzt*.” She intoned, then paused as if in thought. Her implied threat caused Tia’s hearts to pound in reaction.

“Please remain still while I commence your extermination, *bzzzt*.”

“Do not attempt to resist, as resistance is useless.” She ordered Arawn in a deferential tone.

 “Your compliance will be rewarded. *bzzzzt*” The Jenny-Unit warned dispassionately, as her chest’s spout began to glow white hot.

As Tia stared at her ward and the Jenny Automaton, she felt such an intense wave of protectiveness that she almost launched herself at Jenny, consequences be damned. But, just as she began tensing her muscles to crouch down and launch herself, Arawn spoke.

 “JENNY-UNIT STAND DOWN!” he shouted heatedly. In response the Automaton hesitated and looked confused. Tia noted that Jenny did back away from him for a step or two, her chest-spout dimming in its intensity. But she didn’t turn it off.

 “Why?” Jenny replied, gazing at him.

 “Harmful actions are counter to your programming, Automaton-Jenny! I order you to stand down! NOW!” Arawn replied with authority. From where she now stood, Tia noted that Jenny raised her chin and narrowed her eyes at him.

“Negative. Only an appropriate command code will result in that outcome. You will state an appropriate command code now, or I will recommence with your extermination.” She replied coldly, as she began as her chest projection began to glow white-hot once more.

Then, for some unknowable reason, Tia overheard Arawn’s thoughts, again.

‘I had hoped to avoid this! (A).’ Tia heard him say, sensing the anger behind his words. But before she found a way to reply, she heard another voice.

‘It cannot be helped.’ Said that other voice, one that sounded like Arawn, and yet, not.

‘Faex! (A)’ she heard Arawn state once more.

“Jenny, please listen to me.” Arawn began slowly, enunciating carefully so as to avoid any mishaps. But, there were no signs that she was paying attention to him in that moment. Arawn sighed.

“Automaton Jenny Unit! I hereby order you to stand down, under my authorization: Theta-Eta-Chi! One-One-Three-Eight!” he half yelled hurriedly. When he spoke, Jenny gave no sign that she’d heard him. But, Arawn noted, neither did she fire her cannon.

After several seconds of tense waiting on Arawn’s part, Jenny began to speak.

“I cannot comply with that order.” Jenny replied.

“Why cannot you?” Arawn demanded.

“Because that command code can only be utilized by Annwyfn.” She replied, still keeping her cannon charged and pointed at him. Arawn glanced down to the aperture of that weapon, and he noted fearfully that there were small streamers of plasma jumping between the anode and cathode of its emitter-node. “And the Annwyfn are technically extinct.”

 “I am Annwyfn!” Arawn stated indignantly, “If you need verification, I authorize that you run a deep tissue scan upon me.” For the better part of a minute, Jenny chose to not reply. But neither did she give off anymore of her annoying ‘bzzt’s.

“Cross-referencing instructions.” Jenny spoke suddenly, looking off into the distance.

“Confirmed.” She replied after a longer interval, turning her attention back to him. “Deep-tissue-scan is allowed under this circumstance. You will comply with my orders and remain still while I run a deep tissue scan. If you make any attempt to escape during the process, I will recommence with your extermination. If it turns out that you are not Annwyfn, then I will proceed with your extermination.” She warned him then.

“I understand.” Arawn replied resolutely.

“Raise your hands above your head.” She demanded. Arawn obeyed, and when he had raised them to an appropriate level, she spoke once more.

“Commencing deep tissue scan, *bzzt*,” Jenny spoke, as she began to slowly nod her head in his general direction. Tia noted that Jenny reached out quickly and took a forceful hold of one of his arms, keeping him in a vise like grab. Arawn held his breath and grimaced with pain due to the tightness of her grip, but he didn’t fight back to free himself.

‘Please let her medical memory-subroutines remain intact! (A)’ Tia overheard him think to himself then. After a couple of minutes, Arawn began to slowly breathe despite his fear. Finally, Jenny stopped her nodding, and stared at him in his eyes again.

“Confirmed. You are indeed Annwyfn.” She intoned in a tight voice that seemed slightly disappointed, as the rest of her body relaxed. Simultaneously, her Photonic Cannon powered down, causing it to lose its white intensity down into dull brown.  Observing it, Arawn sucked in a deep breath as he relievedly lowered his arms to his sides. “One of my previous Masters was an Annwyfn.” She explained.

“If one of your prior Masters was an Annwyfn, then he or she must therefore be dead?” Arawn asked, prying her for information. Jenny nodded.
“As you have undoubtedly detected, Annwyfn are not quite yet extinct.”

“Confirmed. I cannot account for that anomaly in my programming. My Commander must have been deficient in that regard.”

“Who is your Commander?” Arawn asked her suddenly then.

“That information is classified.” She replied.

“Was he or she one of the Lords of Law?” Arawn asked, trying a different tact.

“Negative.  My Commander is not our Creators.” She replied, looking over at her as yet unassembled compatriots.

‘Interesting. Why did the Lords, allow any of the Automatons out of their control?’ Arawn thought to himself, which Tia overheard. ‘Until I can find more information, any speculation at this point is just that.’ He mused as his eyes returned to take in Jinks’ still form.

“Jinks!” he yelped as he remembered her condition. Jenny returned her attention to Arawn and tilted her head at him.

“I do not recognize that command.” Jenny stated.

“it was not a command,” Arawn stated with exasperation, as he approached Jenny. “It is a designation. A designation of that one!” he spoke harshly as he pointed at the still breathing form of Jinks.

“Why did you stun her?” he demanded.

“She was deemed to be a threat. Therefore, I attacked her.”

“How was she a threat?”

“She is a non-human. Therefore, she is a threat to humans.”

“Your logic is flawed.”

“By what do you base that determination?”

“She assembled you, did she not?”

“Affirmative.”

“Since you are programmed to protect innocents, therefore her reassembly of you aids you in your mission of protecting humans”.

“Null equation.” She replied, “She was unaware of my purpose, prior to my reassembly. Therefore, her intention may have been dishonorable.”

“Fair enough.” Arawn replied with a frown. “What is your purpose.”

“That information is classified.” She replied. Which caused Arawn to grimace momentarily in frustration. Then he smiled.

“You are unable to implement your purpose, are you not?” Jenny didn’t reply, but her body language spoke volumes. She turned her head away from him, and she wouldn’t meet his gaze.

“Do you require assistance in your current status?

“Affirmative.” She replied quietly. “My Commander has not answered my hails.”

“Perhaps I could help you with that.” He stated. Jenny then lifted her head up and looked at Arawn with a measure of hope in her expression.

“How?”

“You recognize my authority as Annwyfn, correct?”

“Affirmative.”

“It would make things easier for me, if I were to know what your purpose was. If I knew that, such would make it easier for me to contact your Commander.”

“I cannot give out that inform,….” She began.

“Yes, yes, yes! Because it is classified! I get that!” he sighed. “But, you obviously cannot fulfill your Purpose until such time as you have shared that information. Thus: Paradox.”

“There is a way for me to share that information.”

“How?”

“Authentication Registration.”

“I would prefer to avoid that option. Wait!” he exclaimed in sudden realization, “Are you stating that you do not have a Master?!”

“Affirmative. Before I lost consciousness, my Master was terminated.”

“Terminated? By whom?”

“That information is classified.” Jenny replied.

“Let me speculate then,” Arawn replied while crossing his arms. “your Master was terminated by a Chthon.” Neither Arawn nor Tia was surprised to see the look of shock that passed over Jenny, as she stumbled back a couple of steps.

“How can you be aware of that!” Jenny cried out. “You were not there!”.

“I was there, but only long after you were. I encountered that Chthon, and removed myself from its demesne, along with another person and a number of other lifeforms, including the Automatons. Therefore, I rescued you.”

“I have no way of verifying that assertion.”

“Fair enough. You are supposed to be a Medical Automaton. Can you attend to this one instead?” Arawn asked her, while pointing to Jinks.

“I can. But she is not human, and therefore a threat, and I am programmed to not aid or abet any threats to innocents. Why do you desire that she be medically aided?”

“Because she could hold valuable information. Information I might need in order to assist you in your desire to return to report to your Commander.” Arawn pointed out.

“I cannot find any contradictions in that statement.” Jenny replied, furrowing her brows. “I will proceed to render what little aid to her I am capable of, at this time.” She continued, as she stepped up to Jinks and began her ministrations.
By this time, Tia was considering doing something to gain Arawn’s attention. But, before she could think of anything, she noticed that he stopped and closed his eyes as if he were concentrating.

Tia!’ she heard suddenly in her mind. ‘Tia! Can you hear me? (A)’ he asked again, in that maddeningly familiar way. The way he called- a psychic link.

‘Arawn!’ she answered, ‘What are you doing? You told me to not try to communicate with you like this! You said that if we did, that we’d run the risk of making it permanent! (T)’

‘Indeed I did, but considering the circumstances, I decided that the risk is warranted. Are you injured? (A)’ he asked.

‘No I’m not. But Jinks is, somehow. I tried to aid her, but I was prevented since that Automaton seems to think that I’m a threat! What should I do? (T)’

‘Remain as still as long as you are able. If I cannot see you, then neither can Jenny. I will attempt to persuade her that Jinks needs the kind of medical attention that she cannot deliver. If I cannot persuade her, then I will try to think of something else. Either way, I will attempt a distraction so that you can escape, and so to raise a general alarm! (A)’

‘General Alarm? Are you saying that she’s dangerous to more than just us? (T)’

‘Indeed, she has the ability to destroy this fort, if not this city, if left unchecked. (A)’

‘Arawn! How is it that you seem to know so much about Automatons, and why is it that Jenny will somewhat obey you? (T)’ Tia demanded.

‘It is a long story, but it will have to wait for a safer,… (A)’ Arawn stopped as he was interrupted by Jenny, as she approached him to give him her report.

“The short-statured enemy has sustained,…” she began, but was interrupted by Arawn.

“Jinks, her name is Jinks. Refer to her as that!” he ordered her vehemently.

“Very well, Annwyfn. I will do as you ask. Jinks,…” she began again, “has sustained a moderate amount of damage. She will require a level of medical care that I cannot deliver at this time. I request permission to search this room for my appropriate medical module-units.” She asked.

“Very well, you may proceed in that search, but be sure to have me examine said modules, before you reattach them to yourself.”

“Why is that?’

“On the off chance that said module has been compromised. It would not behoove you to reattach a damaged component. Correct?”

“Correct.” Jenny admitted with a thoughtful look. “I will proceed in my search now.” Jenny moved off. Tia began to contemplate moving then. Somehow Arawn sensed it.

‘Tia! Do not move yet! What is your location? (A)’

‘On the far side of the table away from you and Jenny. I am a table away, standing on your near side of Jinks’ Interociter. (T)’ she replied. He turned and oriented himself.

‘Alright,’ he began, not quite staring at where she stood, ‘I will attempt to gently herd Jenny away to the far side of the room, away from you and Jinks. As near as I can tell Jinks is hurt, yes. But, she will live. What is more important right now, is to have you get away to raise the alarm. When I tell you to do so, I want you to jump from where you are at, to the exit door. Can you do such? (A)’ he asked.

‘Yes, I can. What kind of tactical response should I have the Army do? (T)’

‘Nothing! Have them evacuate the area instead. This Jenny Automaton is too heavily powered for them to engage and survive. Like I said earlier, even in her damaged state, she has the ability to destroy this fort and the city. (A)’

‘What should be done?! (T)’

‘I will have to engage her myself. My intention is to draw her away to the quarry that you showed me earlier. Hopefully, I will be able to shut her down there, without too much problem.  If not,…(A)’ he began, but left it hanging.

‘You can’t do that! Only General Scathach can make that call! (T)’

‘Hopefully, it will not come to that! Oh, and one more thing! (A)’

‘Yes? (T)’

‘Whatever you do, or anyone else, do not. I repeat. DO NOT refer to me by my given name in the presence of the Jenny Automaton! (A)’

‘What? Why?! (T)’ Tia demanded.

‘Hopefully you will not have to find out. Just trust me on this Mentor. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not let anyone refer to me by my name: Arawn! Instead, have them refer to me as: Yokai! (A)’

Despite being confused, Tia silently acquiesced to his odd demand. Suddenly, Tia noted that Jenny was now in an optimum position on the far side of the room.

‘Arawn!’ Tia mentally shouted. Arawn winced when he heard.

‘I see her, stand ready. I will attempt to distract her. When I give the signal, then go! (A)’ Tia sent back a silent acknowledgement.

“Ah Jenny!” he began as he made his way towards her, Jenny looked up at him with a silent question. “I think I espy one of your missing modules. It is to your immediate right.” He stated as he pointed at one of the table tops. Jenny turned and looked at where he was pointing.

“I do not detect such. Are you in error?” she asked.

“I can see it as plain as the nose on your face!” he half-shouted, “Here, let me show you!” he stated forcefully, as he reached out a hand and tried to gently guide Jenny to his pointing spot. Jenny was still confused by his actions, but complied. This had the benefit of causing her to face away from both Tia and the exit door. Tia readied herself.

‘NOW! (A)’ Arawn cried mentally. Tia tensed herself in preparation, and then jumped with all of her might.

“Anomalous Movement detected!” Jenny called out then. “Firing cannon!” Tia heard her say.

Then Tia screamed out at the sight of a large flash of light that shot past in front of her, blinding her. Simultaneously a loud ‘WHOMPF!’ occurred, which blotted out her hearing momentarily. Tia somehow managed to miss the open door in her blinded leaping, but luckily avoided several tables as well, when she ended up colliding with the wall next to the doorframe.

Shaking with fear, she noted a large smoking hole in the wall that she’d nearly been in front of. Nervously, she stood and looked up and over at Arawn and Jenny. He was holding onto one of the Automaton’s arms, and had somehow managed to turn her in place.

“You have interfered with my aim!” Jenny yelled accusingly at Arawn, as she forcefully yanked her arm from his grasp. “Your actions are irrational! Why are you aiding and abetting the enemy?!” She demanded, as she attempted to point her chest at Tia again.

“Because she is not the Enemy! Neither is the small one on the table! You are the one who is acting irrationally!” Arawn shouted back at her, as he replaced his hand on her arm. “Your actions have brought shame upon you, and the rest of your Unit. I order you to Stand Down!”

“NEGATIVE!” Jenny shouted back defiantly, turning her full attention to him. Tia chose that moment to attempt to sidle her way to the exit door. But as soon as she tried, Jenny immediately shrugged Arawn off with contemptuous ease as she swung her chest-spout to face Tia’s and yelled.

“HALT! Any more attempts by you to escape, will result in your extermination!” she shouted then.

“They are not your Enemies!” Arawn shouted at Jenny, trying again.

“They are not Human! Therefore, they are the Enemy!” Jenny shouted back at him, not moving her glowing white chest-spout from Tia’s direction.

“They are human, and I can prove it!” Arawn shouted again, which caused Jenny to develop a skeptical attitude.

“How?!” she demanded. “In what way?”

“They are human-variants.” He stated quietly, suddenly. “They are odd looking, I will admit, yes. But nevertheless, they are still human. In fact, they are capable of interbreeding with humans.”

“Impossible, the Arachnoid alone over yonder, could never be compatible with human physiology.”

“Mentor, come over here please.” Arawn waved at her. Tia looked at him as if he were mad.

‘You’ve got to be kidding! (T)’

‘I am not, just do as I ask. (A)’

‘Arawn! (T)’ she mentally whined in dismay.

‘Please! (A)’ he pleaded. At that, Tia slowly at first, but with increasing nervousness, began tapping her way over to him silently while keeping an eye trained on Jenny the entire time. Not once did Jenny do anything threatening, other than keeping her chest spout targeted on Tia. Finally, she was standing next to Arawn and the Automaton.

“Run a genetic scan. You will see that I am telling you the truth.” He demanded. Hesitantly, Jenny reached down an arm and began passing it over Helvetia’s head, chest, and arms. Tia did her best to not flinch when she did. After several minutes, Jenny stopped her invisible examination. To Tia’s evident relief, she also noted that Jenny had her face screwed up in confusion.

“Impossible!” Jenny stated, “The Arachnoid is indeed genetically compatible with humans! I cannot account for this anomaly!”

“That is because you have been deactivated, for far longer than you are capable of calculating Jenny. Your old orders are longer valid.”

“Yet the Chthon, it still exists!?” she screeched, shaking with nervous indecision.

“Yes it does, your mission to destroy it was a failure. I would recommend that you choose to stand yourself down, and allow me to take over your commanding. I can help you, but only if you will allow it.” Arawn replied, attempting to soothe the obviously agitated Jenny.

After several long tension-filled seconds, the internal programming of Jenny began to see Arawn’s logic. Finally, Jenny’s Photonic Cannon turned itself off, and it remerged with her chest.

“I cannot continue in this mode. I will accede to your commands. I am standing down!” Jenny replied, her voice still in a slightly agitated state. “What are your orders?” she asked as Arawn breathed a sigh of relief.

“To begin with,” he began as he turned and walked over to Jinks. “this one.” He stated as he picked her up in his arms. After a quick glance, he happily noted that she was still breathing.

“Still needs medical attention.” He stated as he started to walk over to Tia. “I will remand her care over to this person.”

“Wait!” Jenny demanded as Arawn passed close by her. “I have not done a genetic analysis of the smaller one. I still require proof of her humanity.” She demanded.

“As you wish. I will hold her until you are satisfied.” Jenny then began her own preparations to scan her.

“Ara,…” Tia began then to question, then stopped when she realized her error. Arawn glared at her then.,”Umm, Yokai!” she finished instead.

“What is Ara-umm-Yokai?” Jenny demanded then, looking between Tia and Arawn.

“It is my name. You will now please refer to me as that: Ara-Umm-Yokai.” He instructed her, while giving Tia a disgusted look.

“I will do as you command, Ara-Umm-Yokai.” Jenny replied, nodding her head placidly. She then resumed her scanning of Jinks. It took only a couple more minutes.

“Confirmed.” She stated simply. “She is indeed genetically compatible with humans. Therefore- she is not the enemy.”

“Thank You, I am glad to be able to clear that up. But be warned Jenny, there are many more non-standard looking humans here at Fort Eequor. All that I ask, is that you be patient with them. Please take the time to scan them genetically, before you go on the offensive.”

“I will comply.” Jenny replied. Both Arawn and Tia relaxed themselves then.

‘I am glad that this turned out so well. (A)’ spoke then through Tia’s and his mental link, as he began to hand Jinks off to Tia.

“Take her and go to the Infirmary. They should be able to help her best.” He stated. But just as he did, Jinks stirred herself, coming out of her unconsciousness. Arawn froze himself in position, unsure of what to do next. But, before he could say anything by way of warning, Jinks eyes opened and then focused on Arawn as she began to yell.

“ARAWN! HELP ME!” she screamed. “I’m under attack! Arawn?!” she yelped then in dismay as Arawn suddenly tossed her at Tia, who deftly caught her without a second thought.

What Tia saw on Arawn’s face frightened her. For she saw a wave of extreme panic pass over him, as Jenny began to speak.

“ANNWYFN ARAWN?!” Jenny yelled screechingly then. Which caused Arawn to start shoving Tia in an effort to move her out the door.

“Mentor! Take Jinks and leave NOW! Get to safety and sound the alarm!” he ordered her forcefully.

“What?! Why? I thought you said that everything was all right!” Both Tia’s and Jinks’ attention was drawn to the Jenny Automaton as it continued to speak.

“ANNWYFN ARAWN!”, Jenny repeated, staring at Arawn with her eyes blazing furiously in ardent white, as her Photonic Cannon reemerged from her chest and began to power up.

Arawn set his face and shoulders, and turned to face the Jenny, making sure to interpose himself between the Automaton and the two Mamono. Unsure about what to do, Tia stood still, bearing a silent witness to what was going on before her.

“ANNWYFN ARAWN… cross referencing reports… Information confirmed. Now I understand why you refused to allow an Authentication Registration. You are a fugitive from our Creator’s Justice! You have been tried, and convicted, in absentia of Extreme Malfeasance! Further information is as follows.” Jenny continued.

Arawn noted then that Tia hadn’t yet left. He turned and waved furiously at her to move. “GO!” he shouted, scared beyond measure.

Tia obeyed him, But,just as she managed to get out beyond the second door, while still carrying the weakly moving Jinks, she heard Jenny speak again from somewhere behind her.

“Omega Directive, Four- Nine: UNNECESSARY VIOLENCE IN THE DESTRUCTION OF ANNWYFN ARAWN, HAS BEEN APPROVED!” Tia heard Jenny shouting deafeningly, as she hurried herself out of Jinks’ labs.

The next thing Tia became aware of in her sudden flight, was a large wave of heat and noise that resounded behind her. Somehow, she managed to exit the building, before the explosion’s shockwave impacted her with its full force.

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