Within the Lab - Part 1Date Posted: May 2, 2020
This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Amon checked over his notes once. Twice. Three times.
This would have been a lot easier if he’d had all of his old research to base this off of. But he didn’t, so he had to build his theories anew.
His previous area of study had been in life-aether transform and revivification. Moving the soul-awareness and living energies from one physical form to another. This was quite different. In fact, it was nearly the opposite.
Instead of trying to retain the aether and transporting it, Amon was trying to find a way to release the aether back into what the studied in Eorzea called the “Life Stream.” But there was a catch – releasing too much of the energies that sustained life in a being would naturally result in death.
So here he was, trying to find that delicate balance between releasing enough of the energies that threatened his life… and not releasing so much that he wouldn’t survive the process. This was perhaps the most frightening thing he’d ever put on paper.
The Allagan glanced over at the foundations of the aether extraction device he had poured hours into. It was far from perfect, he knew, which only increased his risk. But these were the only resources he had on hand.
Ben and Koh had traveled to Azys Lla four times in securing the parts they brought back to establish the beginnings of his device. Each time, he sent them with a new list, inspired by the bits and pieces they brought from the time before. Slowly, he had amassed enough that he began to piece together what passed as a lab.
He’d also been gifted with some equipment of what appeared to be materials from the alchemy guild, along with a small cluster of crystals. He wasn’t sure exactly who had sent this additional equipment, but the stamp of Gridania had been on the package. So, he took it as a gesture of good will.
Now, Amon frowned at his notes, comparing it with the outcomes of his labor. It… wasn’t nearly as sturdy as he’d imagined it in his mind. That was something he’d have to work on. But for now, he connected the last few wires of his invention, then took a step back to admire it.
There was a sudden sound of shouting far down the hall. Doors swung open and then shut, followed by further groans of displeasure and arguing.
“You cannot simply let Amon establish a laboratory, Koh!”
Scylla pushed open the door, yelling back at unseen individuals before letting her scarlet eyes settle on Amon and his conglomeration of wires and crystals. She recognized some of the parts, some of them with the rune-stamp of her father’s personal laboratory of Azys Lla. But it had been put into a configuration that haunted her from the past – an aether-transfer module.
“No… no…. ”
She mumbled to herself, pushing between Amon and the machine and started gently disconnecting the wires. Images of a wicked, aether-corrupted scientist wearing a mask flashed in the back of her troubled mind.
“This is not good…. This is not good…” Scylla kept repeating in a mumble as she searched for tools to start dismantling her father’s parts.
“Hey! Hey! Hey!” Amon protested, and before he thought better of it, grabbed Scylla’s hands to pull her away from the device before she could do any harm to it. “’Tis mine and not yours to meddle with. Who do you think you are coming in here like this?”
“No! Amon!” Scylla eyes widened and stared at Amon, as if reliving a nightmare. “You can’t do this!!! Not again!”
“Not again? What are you talking about? I’ve not created an aether disseminator before,” he pursed his lips at her.
Scylla was almost frantic. Behaving erratically. It was strange to see. He was usually the erratic one after all.
“You know that I need to build this, aye?” Amon lowered his voice and leaned down towards her with a serious expression. “How else am I going to release the aether that seeks to consume me? If you have a better idea, I’m all ears.”
No pun intended.
Scylla’s breathing slowed, as she started to calm down, pulling her hands from his grasp. She stepped back, slowly becoming aware of her surroundings.
“It resembles a device I’ve seen before…. when you….” The woman’s voice trailed away as she struggled to clear the growing cloud of emotions. She looked down at the floor, wiping at her face.
She couldn’t bring the words to surface.
“It was in the room… when you put me to sleep….”
Amon opened his mouth. He didn’t know what to say to this.
She was right. The design was similar to devices he’d created before. Why wouldn’t they be? They were all imagined by the same mind and crafted with the same hand.
It’d not even crossed his thoughts that this could be likened to something he might have used on Scylla during that dark procedure. Nor did he consider that she’d remember that so clearly.
What could he say? He tried to stumble through something, the color drained from his face.
“I… I’m sorry. I’m not very innovative when it comes to mechanical design. But ‘tisn’t that device. I promise.”
It was not the reaction she expected from Amon.
Scylla wrinkled her brow, looking up at his pale expression.
Up until now, it had always been laughter, as if her words were something to be careless with. If not that, his responses had been threats… threats of when he regained his power that she would be subject to his wrath once more. Instead there was an apology. Apology for his lack of creativity, and apology for what he had done.
She even dared to wonder if she heard just a small bit of vulnerability? Maybe teetering between life and death might have awoken some decency in the Elezen before her.
Scylla let loose a deep sigh, letting her shoulders relax, giving Amon a slight nod before reaching up to the wires.
She paused for a moment, reaching up and reconnecting the wires.
“Some of the equipment belongs…” She corrected herself with a choked voice, reconnecting wires together. “Belonged to my father…”
She turned and looked at Amon, looking up into his eyes with resolve, pointing a long finger at him.
“So this means half of this machine belongs to me… and so does any venture you intend to commit with it!”