Victory over self

Geana was gone. Sleet was senseless and prone. The force-field that prevented their re-entry fell like watercolour rainfall. In that instant the pair that had been quietly conversing in the middle of the command centre flickered into startling immediacy.

She knelt to allow the biotech-wear a proximity scan of Sleet that included a bio-signature verification of the figures of Snowflake and River as they stood looming over them both.

All bodies were warm and vital. Sleet’s revival would be complete in seconds but her complete recovery would take more time. Geana’s attack had repeated the brutalisation of the nerve clusters she had targeted earlier.

Snowflake blinked out of existence in both her visual periphery and on scan. She looked up from her patient to see River examining them both like they were a puzzling engineering problem.

“What occurs here Winter?” River asked calmly.

“The fruits of your and Snowflake’s manipulations. Geana insisted on re-confronting you both, was denied entry then made to break free without escort. Sleet sought to restrain her and was thwarted. She will be fine.”

“Why didn’t you stop her?” River asked. It was true, she could have prevented Geana from leaving with a medicated touch, or confounded Sleet’s intervention with a word, but the truth was she had frozen. The revelation’s of the last hour had her mind reeling. She needed time to process.

“It is not my place.” Was the limit of her reply.

“No, it is not.” Snowflake said as she stepped out of the apparent aether surrounded by tiny drones. She assisted her up to her feet with a hand under her upper arm. “It is your place to maintain the body while it is mine to maintain clarity of mind. I have been lapse. Forgive me.” The words sounded sincere enough, but something felt wrong as Snowflake let go.

What is to forgive?" She asked as Sleet rolled onto her knees and staggered to a stand.

"All is not as it seems Winter. The divide between us is artificial and the associations behind them are purposefully camouflaged. Your work is vital if we are to be made whole.

You and Sleet have done well to uncover what you have but I believe the deception goes deeper. I suspect the factions that have been squabbling over the fate of Chandeille can be simplified into two camps. Traditionalist and Royalist.

I won’t bore you with the details of my analysis but you must know that the Royalist faction is in supremacy Federation wide through the operations of agents just like Geana." Winter remained unresponsive, perhaps incredulous, but stubbornly silent to further conspiracy speculation.

“I will not compel you Winter. We need both your and Geana’s unity of purpose to do what must be done. But In the end, the only control, is self control.”

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