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This is based on my unfinished work The Flower of Keltros. It isn't required to read it as I'm just putting this link here as a reference for myself. (And a self reminder to get back to working on this after finishing this one.)

I totally didn't forget about that. Totally. Even it has been almost two years since I last posted an update.

Year Zero

Lost shipyards

The Zaltarian diplomat, Mei Sheng-Ai felt as queasy as ever as she felt her body appearing into a barren looking platform. Old rusty space ships adorned the area either by ground or by remaining up within their holding chassis. Mei took a couple of steps forward toward an entrance to her right. Step after step, the queasy feeling vanished and her body was recovering quickly from the teleportation jump that she just did to escape the warship. Suddenly she stopped walking.

Something was not right. Obviously, this wasn't home.

(Was Mei able to see or feel exactly what was wrong?)

(Very Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Mei looked over behind herself. Nothing was there.

She looked up and around the platform, including the ships. Nothing.

Finally the diplomat looked within her own psionic aura for any intrusions. Following this, she used her own senses to see if anyone was there.

(Was she able to detect anything by actively looking?)

(Unlikely | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Mei kept walking toward an entrance of a building. As she did, an idea sprang up. She stopped walking when midway there and, noticing a faint presence somewhere, tried to teleport to it; the diplomat knew it would take a slimmer of luck to manage to teleport with the dangers of being in a potentially hostile area. At that moment, she felt a faint force discharge that pierced through her chest. Under a second it was boring into her mind forcing Mei on her knees. She felt it spread within her mind flipping through her recent thoughts. The diplomat remained there shocked when she realized what was going on and how it was happening.

After she felt the unseen force jumping out of her mind, she heard a cold masculine voice within.

Do you think you are above consequences, Zaltarian?

Mei jumped and jerked her head around, but no one was there. Again she tried to take in her surroundings, this time to get an exact reading of the faint presence that she felt earlier.

Hearing my voice is enough to know I am among you. Stop what you are doing and answer my question.

"I insist that I know who are you."

Then answer my question and I will answer yours.

"No," Mei said looking around, "But even then, everyone...or thing have a price that can be negotiated with. In my experience, money is a quick band-aid for everything. Okay, now it's your turn. Who are you!"

I never existed. I never was here. I never will be.

The diplomat stood there, stone silence, before screaming. "You clearly exist when you are speaking within my mind with telepathy! I don't know if you are here with me or using some other means to see me from afar, but you are here alive somewhere!"

If you know the meaning to those words, you will know what I am . All I can be known by is by my purpose. Get on your knees and I will make the deletion process painless.

"Deletion process? Is that another word for killing?"

Kill? You deserve no less than deletion Sheng-Ai, but I am giving you a choice to make it painless because I pity you.

"Why me and how do you know me?"

I will not say why I have picked you, but it is not hard to figure that out if you take a honest look at who you are. On your knees, Zaltarian.

(Will Mei succeed in escaping using a quick teleportation jump?)

(Very Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Mei reached within her psionic aura only to make a horrific discovery that it was crumbling slowly in strength. She tried reaching out to the latent energies around her to no avail as she could feel the same faint energy having a strong hold on them. When the diplomat noticed the same faint energy that she felt earlier, she felt it again within her constricting her aura and draining psionic energies.

"What have you done to me!" Mei screamed.

I made sure you can not escape. I could have let you feel this painful process as well, but I truly pity you.

(Can Mei convenience the voice to spare her?)

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

"At least tell me what I have done to deserve this so I can defend myself!"

It will not change anything.

"But may I anyway please?"

The more you stall the inevitable, the more I am inclined to start the process.

"I'm not stalling! I'm trying to understand why! If I'm going to suffer a fate 'worse than death', at least give me some closure if you won't give me the time to find out myself!"

For a moment, her mind was silent. Mei found herself not able to form any thoughts within as it became a platform of communication like a microphone for the diplomat to mentally look and feel. Then she heard the voice again, in a much stern tone.

Then I will give you time to find out. In three years, I will come before you and finish the job. If you try to take your own life to avoid this fate, I will stop you and I will make your deletion process as worse as I can let it.

"How do I do that if all I got to go on was to 'look at who you are' ?"

If you were listening, you will have more ideas on where to start. Do not tell or hint to about this agreement. Close your eyes and I will take you to your intended teleportation target.

The diplomat did not want to trust the voice, but the fact that he have given her time to reflect made her a bit open to do that.

Mei closed her eyes and prayed that the voice meant what he said.
I'm back and time has been well a mix of good and bad for me throughout the years. I'm not certain that I will be motivated to work on this for long, but I will try to reach a good conclusion where I can end it without being too cheap.

(Where did the voice take her?)
Molten facility

(Did Mei wanted to teleport there?)
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No +Event: Recruit / Goals

(Is there anyone outside the facility?)
(Somewhat Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Mei opened her eyes seeing a husk of a building before her.

The first thing that she noticed were the old posters hanging on the walls. She came closer and saw that they were recruitment posters for the Federal Navy. A quick look around later, she took a quick mental guess of where she was: an abandoned recruitment office. The Zaltarian looked over at the building's surroundings and see nothing but overgrown exotic looking trees that would make any avid plant collector envious and any research firm salivating over.

That brief moment of excitement passed the moment when she realized that the voice didn't exactly send her where she wanted to go. Where he took her brought more questions that didn't seem to make sense other than it had to do with him condemning her; even if it made little sense to her.

(What does Mei think about (or do) next?)
Care / Outside

If this was some kind of subtle hint of why he picked her, Mei couldn't see how this building's destruction had anything to do with her. What did the diplomat know is that the Federal Navy were no friends to her kind. As time passed, the federal agents became so proficient at hunting Zaltarians for their war efforts to a point the Zaltarian Republic had to take drastic measures to protect their core worlds. Mei balded a hand into a fist remembering a speech from the grand minister warning and imploring the citizens to remain in the core worlds if they do not wish to be drafted.

Mei looked up at the dusk sky watching two moons appear from the clouds. Why would the voice cared to send her here in the first place? She could only assume that the voice is related to the Federal Navy some how, but how much related?

(What happens next?)

(What arrived?)
Sympathetic sheriff's deputy

"Hey you," a voice said, "how you find this place?"

Mei turned and saw a short man walking with a stick. The man appeared young by her standards even if he was using a wooden stick as a cane. A quick eye on his apparel revealed that he was a law enforcement officer of the Federation, but his friendly demeanor didn't cause her to worry yet. "Will you believe me if I tell you?"

The man's frown became more wrinkled. "Depends on your explanation, but I can tell you that it would take either almost improbable dumb luck or somebody dropping you off here."

"It's the latter," Mei said, "and I can't tell you his name because I do not know."

(Does the deputy believes her?)
(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

“Well it has been a decade since somebody found this place, so it’s about time that somebody found it by dumb luck,” the sherif said. He extended his hand and added, “Name’s Kovro, and this here you’re looking at is one of the Federation’s headquarters.” Mei shook his hand and Kovro continued. “I can not tell you much more since I do not know the clearance of the one who brought you here. You have to give me a little more about this mystery person who brought you here; it isn’t every day that somebody drops off somebody, civilian or not, to one of the Federation’s secretive locations.”

“Why are you telling me about the secretive nature of this place,” Mei asks, “let alone that it belonged to the Federation if it really was a secret.”

“Because,” Kovro said, “depending on who brought you here either they wanted you to visit someone from this location, turn yourself in here, or something else. But I can not tell which unless you give me more information.”

“And if I don’t or couldn’t?”

“I have to assume the worse and kill you for the sake of keeping this area a secret.”

(Would Kovro have an idea of what the person is when Mei repeated what the voice told her?)
(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...

“The only thing I could tell you is what this voice of a man told me when I asked who he was,” Mei said, “He said that he never existed, never was here, and never will be.”

Kovro’s expression turned more stoic hearing Mei repeating the voice’s words to her. "The oracle would know a thing about cryptic messages. I’ll ask him about that saying you gave me." Kovro took out his communicator and expanded it out into a small tablet. He moved his fingers around on it as if he was typing something.

(Did the oracle know about the saying?)
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

(Is the Oracle willing to share what he know?)
(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

(Will he share this information in a cryptic way?)
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes +Event: Stop / Information

A series of beeps rang out from the tablet. The tablet's screen became blank and lines of blue holographic words projected above the tablet:

Stay alive child of Zaltara.
Your closure depends on your
willingness to atone.

Leave now child of Zaltara.
Your borrowed time within you,
is the key to make amends.

Farewell child of Zaltara.
Take solace that my words
will not count against the agreement.

Kovro raised an eyebrow as he tilted the tablet's screen up back to his face. His eyes widened for a moment before facing Mei. "Well Zaltarian, whoever brought you here has more than enough clearance to make you exempt from being conscripted," he said, "and the power matching it to enforce it."

"So you're just going to let me go?" Mei asked.

"We're not worried about you revealing anything because that would break your agreement." Kovro put up the tablet back in his pocket and pointed at a visible light rippling in mid-air that faded out in seconds. "That is your cue to leave. The psionic barrier has been temporary lifted so you can teleport yourself out," he said.

Mei closed her eyes and focuses on a place to go. As she did, she realized that it would be a good idea to teleport to a couple of dummy locations in case the Feds wanted to track her movements. To her surprise, she didn't feel anything interfering or latching on to her. Her aura felt more bright and radiant than ever as her mind wandered within it to gather the energy to teleport out. Then she released a part of the gathered energy toward a direction and let her body flow there, fading into the energy before disappearing.