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Goosebumps

- - - - - Maena The Unit

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#1
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

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MAENA - THE UNIT

MATSU'S PRIVATE LABS

3:15 PM

 

The Unit was built on the ruins of an older city, sprawling over its skeleton and down in to its marrow beneath the ground. That wasn’t all that uncommon for Maena though. It was a common saying among locals, especially older native families: every Maenan city rides the bones of another. Or at least one other. More than likely, centuries of civilization lay under every inch of dirt and volcanic rock.

 
That impermanence and disappearance was strangely appealing to Matsu, though she knew that the advent of recording history would see her presence on the planet written down for prosperity, unlike her more ancient predecessors. But still - all these things she helped build...they’d be dust folded under the earth by centuries of change too. Her bones too.
 
But they were thoughts far away as she tilted a small vial of something in her metal hands. Green particulate tumbled through fluid that kept the terrible pathogen inert. Within a month’s time they would know whether its growth would be an acceptable endpoint to be packed within easily transported canisters - another terrible bioweapon produced for the highest bidder. Otherwise, back to the drawing board. But so far she was very, very pleased.
 
She was almost done, which was just as well. Within a few minutes Jacob’s apprentice would arrive. Hmm, what a strange, warm thought! She’d trained more than her fair share of hopefuls in the Force, some of which were grave disappointments that met deserved ends, and some of which went on to carve their own paths in the Force. But there were some Matsu had a great soft spot for - those who’d been truly exceptional, that went on to begin journeys that expanded knowledge of the Force beyond its current limits, that did great and terrible things. Jacob Crawford was, without a shadow of a doubt, among the latter.
 
To know that he was now training younger minds had, of course, piqued her interest and so she’d sent out an invitation to this...Imogen Daniels.
 
_________
 
Imogen -
 
I’d like to meet you, if you were so inclined. I’ll be in my labs in the Unit on Maena tomorrow around noon. Someone will direct you.
 
- Matsu Xiangu

Edited by Matsu Xiangu, 13 March 2018 - 02:19 PM.

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#2
Imogen Daniels

Imogen Daniels

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It had been just over two months since Imogen’s accident.

 

It was meant to be a simple field test, a test that would push her to her limits and would make her all the more stronger for it. Imogen had agreed to the testing, agreed to the injections - countless hours spent with a needle in her veins, Jacob Crawford looking down at her, smiling softly and assuring her everything would be okay.

 

Neither of them had expected the building to go up in flames, Imogen trapped inside. Flames licked at her pale skin, wood cracking, splitting and caving in on her. She was trapped, burning both inside and out. Her veins tried to recede from the flames that consumed them, fingernails clawing desperately at her skin, doing anything she could to make the burning stop, to release the flames that were taking her alive.

 

But that had only been a part of it.

 

During her panic, the searing pain that consumed her from the inside had eventually centralized around her eyes. Imogen remembered screaming - the sound guttural, deep and insane. Desperate as she was to fight it, she succumbed to the pain and watched as the world around her slowly disappeared.

 

The last things she had seen were angry flames - the very same fiery colors that had enamored her when she first saw Maena, now destroyed everything around her and left her feeling nothing but despair and pain.

 

Jacob had pulled her from inside the building, though it had been too late. Imogen was left blind from the accident, eyes that were once a light blue were now a milky white. Black ashen colored scars danced over her pale skin, centralized around her eyes, neck and chest, though they could be found along her abdomen and legs as well.

 

For the first month after Imogen’s return to the Asylum she primarily stayed within its’ walls. It had taken a great deal of time for her to get used to maneuvering around her home without her sight - learning instead to focus on her other senses to help get her around, that she hadn’t dare tested walking around the cities of Maena.

 

It wasn’t until Imogen had received a message from Matsu Xiangu, a name she had heard countless times whenever she had asked Jacob of his past. Her name was one that many recoiled from, knowledge of what she was capable of shrouding around her and emanating in waves. Imogen had been intrigued since the first time she heard of her, and was even more so now that the woman had seemingly heard of her.

 

That is what led her to this very moment, droid at her side, aiding her along the halls as they were led to the Unit’s lab, to meet Matsu.

 

Imogen would be lying if she said she wasn’t slightly nervous. Not to meet Matsu, but what would come from it.


Edited by Imogen Daniels, 18 March 2018 - 10:25 PM.

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#3
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

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When Matsu turned, the whirring hush of the geisha droid whispering in to the room with guest in tow drawing her attention, she wasn’t sure what she expected to see. The young woman before her was striking though perhaps not in the way she’d once been - full mouth, sharp jaw, a nose upturned to the point of beauty and no higher. But it was the eyes that demanded attention: large, taking up much of her face, and an unnatural milky hue that told all the world this beautiful creature was blind. 
 
But does it mean she can’t see?…
 
The geisha droid turned and left as Matsu pushed off the table she’d been working at and moved towards the girl.
 
“Thank you for coming Imogen. I know the invitation must have felt out of the blue but I have soft spot where Jacob is concerned. I wanted to know who he was sharing his knowledge with.” The sound of her voice was meant to alert Imogen to the Sith Lady’s position relative to her own, give her something to create a space with. But Matsu reached out as well, gently reaching to wrap a metal hand around one of the younger woman’s elbows to help guide her towards a set of chairs in front of a workbench. It was a supremely light touch, meant simply to assist and not direct. She didn’t know the extent to which Imogen needed to be led, but was certain the girl would let her know.
 
Once seated, Matsu settled back, crossing one leg over the other and managing to look prim despite her relaxation.
 
“He didn’t tell me you were blind. Since birth?” It was a question that cut to bone, but not without some gentle tone to her voice. Perhaps that was the danger - polite, warm, a genuine laugh that seemed to come from deep in her chest, a smile that despite her scarring was still beautiful in its own way. She invited questions, not offended by inquiry or challenge. Perhaps it was simply because Matsu Xiangu wasn’t conscious of her own ills beyond the cursory knowledge that they existed, had never been drawn to any particular side of the Force with thoughts of building empires in her name, of balancing some great cosmic order. She simply was. And maybe in that lay the danger.
 

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#4
Imogen Daniels

Imogen Daniels

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A soft smile, full lips splitting apart to show a perfect row of pearly whites, dimples adorning the corners of her lips appeared as soon as Matsu’s voice had hit her ears. Her comment about Jacob was the reasoning behind it and Imogen found herself glad that the woman who occupied the room with her had a soft spot for him.

 

Her head turned in the direction of Matsu, taking a moment to use what she had been practicing at the Asylum. Reaching out lightly with her mind, Imogen used the Force to get an idea of what was in her immediate space. While she could no longer see with her eyes, she still had the Force to get a rough idea of the life, and other objects within her environment - it was just taking some time to get used to.

 

Imogen had hoped with time, it would grow stronger - and if Jacob’s reassurances were anything to go by she was sure it would.

 

“It is no problem, Matsu. I appreciate the invitation. When I first met Jacob, I would bug him inccessantly to tell me of his past, and he had only praise to say of you.”

 

Imogen allowed the woman to assist her towards where a set of chairs were, all the while lightly reaching out with her mind, a general layout of the room appearing in her mind. She was sure Matsu could feel her reaching out with the Force, and found herself curious if Jacob had mentioned to Matsu beforehand of her condition. If not, she was sure her eyes were quite the surprise.

 

Her question hadn’t gone unanswered long, as the next thing Matsu had brought up was her blindness.

 

She couldn’t help but laugh - sure, to some it might be considered rude, something you shouldn’t ask unless it was brought up by the person themselves. But, Imogen wasn’t much for customs or what was or was not considered rude. She tended to take things at face value.

 

Maybe it was because of where she grew up, or maybe it was because she generally tended to only really interact with those at the Asylum, or in shops she liked to frequent throughout Maena.

 

Regardless, she had laughed - the sound ringing through the air, light and without any malice or ill regards towards Matsu’s question. “No, no.. this was due to an accident. A little over two months ago. We were testing the effects of an experimental drug Jacob had been working on. It was meant increase an overwhelming sense of fear. Which, I suppose in hindsight, it did. I was having hallucinations, used the Force to try and stop it and the building I was in ended up going up in flames. For some reason, we are still trying to determine, the drugs centered around my eyes and I ended up losing my sight.”

 

She paused, allowing everything she had just said to sink in, before she continued. “He feels terrible about it, tries to hide it but I can tell. He shouldn’t though, I was just as agreeing to it as he was.”

 

“It’s something I have been curious in actually.. Mentalism. Hallucinations and the like."

 

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#5
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

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Despite herself, Matsu was surprised by the candor. In certain circles people gave her an annoying amount of inherent deference and nervousness that irritated her. But the galaxy was a huge place and more often than not strangers seemed to be made nervous by her appearance rather than knowing who she was. Of course there were those who put that aside and managed not to irk the Lady by walking on eggshells, but in Imogen there was a complete lack of even initial carefulness. 
 
While Jacob’s experimentations weren’t news, there was something to be gleaned from the information that guilt plagued him. She’d seen him destroy things that should have been sentimental, chase knowledge and skill with little regard to certain consequences. That guilt factored in to the progress of whatever he’d been working on here…something more?
 
Maybe it was just a woman’s intuition.
 
“When I was a little younger than you are now, someone I trusted betrayed me and left me for dead. It’s the reason my arms are metal. He cut one off and left me to bleed out or freeze to death in some snow. I was too young and I didn’t understand how to use the Force to slow the bleeding or make myself strong enough to find a town. Looking back now though, it’s the reason I became what I am, and from that experience I found strength. And I hope you will find some from your own as well.”
 
She paused, a laugh that sounded as warm as ever but nagged her because of the mechanical lungs it came from.
 
“Not that Jacob even came close to that what person did to me. I’m sure he’ll be fine in time - it’s difficult to find that balance between pushing your apprentices and the natural affection that develops for the talented ones.”
 
Realistically, Imogen’s blindness could be seen as an almost insurmountable challenge. But Matsu wasn’t known for giving much credence to those. No use in laying down and giving up. She’d seen time and again that struggle was, in fact, the greatest builder of strength. Maybe that was the reason for her seeming lack of reaction to Imogen's horrible injury. It was easy for her to say of course, but she simply didn't see it that way.
 
“Alright then, go ahead,” she said, shifting in her own seat slightly to get even more relaxed. “Feel for my mind.”
 

Edited by Matsu Xiangu, 02 April 2018 - 03:00 PM.

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