A Dark And Hungry God Arises 29 - Milos [3]

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A Dark And Hungry God Arises 29 - Milos [3]

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Milos Taverner is heading down a corridor of Billingate towards the Amnion sector, having slipped out of Trumpet without attracting the notice of Angus, Davies, or Nick. He's afraid to meet with any Amnioni, but feels he has no choice. He didn't know his command over Angus was weakened by loopholes built into Angus' zone implant programming, loopholes created by Warden Dios and Hashi Lebwohl, so he had ended up passing along false information to the Amnion.

So now, Milos is convinced he's been set up by Warden and Hashi, and his only chance of getting out of this apparent trap alive is by going to the Amnion with his newly-discovered truth. Going through corridors and riding in lifts, Milos makes it to the airlock in an unmarked wall that will open into the Amnion sector of Billingate. He uses the keypad to enter his Amnion-provided id code, and waits for a response while he wonders why no one seems to be pursuing him.

Milos enters his id code on the keypad again, and hears an Amnion voice demand he state his name. After he does so, the voice tells him to enter the airlock, and that he is welcome among the Amnion. The airlock door rolls open, and Milos sees the half-human, half-alien-looking Marc Vestabule waiting for him, holding a breathing mask. Marc introduces himself to Milos, and advises Milos to put on the mask. Milos backs away, but Marc reminds him that the Bill has spying equipment in the corridor, and Milos decides to accept the mask. But when Marc moves back away from the airlock, further back into the Amnion habitation, Milos hesitates to step over the airlock threshold. Marc notices his fearful expression.
Vestabule"s human eye blinked as if he wanted to wink but had forgotten how. "Milos Taverner," he said carefully, "you are afraid. What frightens you? Have you not dealt honorably with the Amnion?"

Dealt honorably? When did any of you ever let me deal honorably?

He couldn't say things like that, however; not if he wanted to survive. Defensively he muttered, "I've always told you the truth." The mask muffled his voice. "It's not my fault some things I thought were true have turned out to be lies."

The Amnioni appeared to consider the implications of this assertion for a moment. Still blinking, he replied, "But now that you have learned the truth, you have come to offer it to the Amnion. Therefore you are welcome among us, as I have said. Please enter the airlock."

Nearly gagging on the pressure in his chest, Milos Taverner pushed himself past the door.

The lock closed behind him, cutting him off from his humanity. Now he had nothing left to hope for, except that the Amnion would value the things he'd come to tell them.

At once a complex light washed over him: sulfur, scanners, and decontaminates. As far as anyone knew, the Amnion were proof against human diseases and parasites. Nevertheless they didn't believe in taking chances.

He didn't either. On that basis he might still be able to negotiate with them.
An inner door opens behind Marc, but no other Amnioni appear to be in the room beyond. Marc asks Milos to follow him to a secure chamber where he can make his requirements known. When they get to this chamber Milos sees a chair to sit in, and right after he sits in it, he adjusts his breathing mask to place a nic into his mouth and pulls out a lighter to set his nic ablaze. Marc warns Milos the air in his breathing mask is oxygen-rich enough that sparking his lighter could do him harm. Milos pockets his lighter and the nic, and reflects that the Amnion may value his well-being, after all.

[This chapter synopsis will continue into my next two posts in this thread.]
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ADAHGA 29 - Milos [3]

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Marc seats himself in a chair by MIlos and faces him. Marc suggests Milos talk about the lies and discovered truth which has purportedly brought him to the Amnion sector of Thanatos Minor. Milos babbles about there being too much treachery, and Marc steers him to talk about what things are worrying him. Milos wants to know why they aren't doing something about Angus, considering he's informed them Angus is a cyborg welded by the UMCP, sent to destroy Billingate. He tells Marc he saw Angus snatch Davies away from the Bill and put him aboard Trumpet.

Marc states that the Bill has been talking to them about Angus and Milos ever since Trumpet arrived at Thanatos Minor. Marc further shares the information that the Bill suspects Milos and Angus took Davies, and that Davies is on board Trumpet. Marc lets Milos know that the Bill knows he has power over Angus, and thus is at the center of the treacherous plotting against Billingate. But Marc assures Milos that while they know he has had dealings with the likes of Nick, they don't think Milos is the treacherous mastermind.

Moving to the Amnion reasoning why they haven't tried to harm or capture Angus, Marc says the Bill is expendable to them and they can gain a better understanding of Angus' threat by having the Bill confront Angus for them, at lesser risk to themselves. They want to comprehend Nick's treachery, and have blieve they have a better chance of exposing the nature of Nick's treachery if Angus remains unchallenged by them, as Nick and Angus are natural antagonists.

Milos has by now noticed that Marc has a communications receiver in one of his ears, indicating that he's being fed information by others of the Amnion while conversing with Milos. Marc says he can grasp that Angus and Nick cannot be allies without seeking to weaken and backstab each other, even if most Amnioni cannot understand such a paradoxical relationship.

Milos is shocked by Marc's next statement, that Angus is less dangerous to them than Nick, for Milos sees Angus as a far more deranged and debased form of outlaw than Nick. But Marc counters that Angus' cyborg programming and his pure human malice prevent him from deeper, harder-to-detect forms of treachery.

Milos gets shocked even more deeply by Marc's next revelation: that he, Marc Vestabule, once a human crew member of the ore-hauling ship Viable Dreams, was captured along with twenty-eight other humans of that ship by Angus Thermopyle, and sold to the Amnion. Marc says that incident shows there are limits to Angus' malice, and Angus is bound to enrich himself to the exclusion of being a reliable ally for the UMCP against the Amnion. Marc expresses the hope that keeping Angus free may further expose the nature of plotting by both Nick and the UMCP.
"Finally, you control him, do you not?" Vestabule's human eye blinked rapidly, signaling an intensity which his posture and expression concealed. "Why should we take action against him, when you are able to command him at will?

"Is that not what you wished the Bill to understand when you compelled Angus Thermopyle to ingest your discarded--I have forgotten the word--your nicotine sticks in clear view of the surveillance monitors? Have you not deliberately created circumstances which would lead the Bill to believe that you--and perhaps we--stand at the heart of this treachery?"
Now Milos realizes his folly in wanting to humiliate Angus without considering using discretion in front of the Bill's recording devices. It will henceforth be difficult for the Amnion believe that he doesn't control Angus, even though Milos protests he was just testing the particular manner of how Angus may continue to obey his commands. Marc says they will have to comply will the Bill's demand that they turn Milos over to him if Milos doesn't more clearly account for himself.

Milos says the plotting has something to do with Morn Hyland, and that she's UMCP. Marc admits Nick didn't tell them that, and also withheld Morn's id tag from them. This is a hint that the Amnion could use more information about Morn's police background, but Milos misses the suggestion, instead going on about Angus giving Morn a zone implant, and about Nick sometimes working for the UMCP. But the Amnion already know these things, and that Milos helped Nick frame Angus so Nick could have Morn. Marc seems to think Milos is distracting him from what he wants to know about Morn and Nick.
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A Dark And Hungry God Arises 29 - Milos [3]

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Milos states that Angus is involved in a plot to get Morn back, in contradiction to what Hashi told them their mission was (to destroy Billingate). So, Milos concludes, Angus is acting on commands that Milos knows nothing about, and so Milos can't possibly be responsible for Angus. Marc observes Milos is silent about some matters, perhaps to conceal truths from them. And now he reveals his distrust of Milos.
For a moment Vestabule's human eye became as unblinking as the Amnion one. "Are you unaware," he inquired, "that both Nick Succorso and Morn Hyland possess a quality which must make them uniquely precious to the UMCP?"

Milos stared back at the Amnioni stupidly. "What quality?"

Vestabule made a small warding gesture with his crusted arm. "Both possess an immunity to mutagens. Twice the same compound which transformed me has been administered to her. She remains human--as Nick Succorso once did.

"Unfortunately this installation lacks the facilities for adequate study. We can only determine that her immunity exists. We cannot define how it exists.

"Will you tell me, Milos Taverner, that you know nothing of this?" The rust had been rubbed away: now Vestabule's tone was pure iron. "Will you tell me that the true purpose of Nick Succorso's visits to Enablement Station was not to test his immunity?

"Will you tell me that the true purpose for which he delivered Morn Hyland to us was not to make us aware of the existence of this immunity, thereby informing us that humankind is defended against us--and thereby warning us that humankind in now prepared to engage us in war if we do not retreat from our imperatives?

"Will you tell me that the true purpose for which Angus Thermopyle was sent here was not to retake Morn Hyland before we could study her--before we could discover the source or nature of her immunity?"
Milos doesn't know the answer to why Nick went to Enablement (Nick thouight he loved Morn, and so wanted to come up with a way for her to have her son without his ship having the burden of raising Davies from infancy). Nor does Milos know why the UMCP wants Morn rescued (Min feels loyalty to the well-being and safety of her people--and so does Warden, secretly). So, Milos cannot give Marc the desired information. And Marc has difficulty believing Milos doesn't know, thanks to Milos demonstrating power over Angus in front of the Bill's bugeyes.

Marc reveals that he knows Milos has been double-dealing information between the Amnion and the UMCP. Because the Amnion need to be able to trust Milos, and can't afford to let him pass any more information to the UMCP, they have decided to protect themselves and answer Milos' desire for life and protection by injecting Milos with mutagens. When Milos sees Marc pull out a vial containing mutagens, he tries to run. But Marc grabs his arm, punches his solar plexus, and injects him with little difficulty. Now Milos goes through the horror of being transformed and losing his humanity.

Could Milos have avoided this situation? As I see it, only by deciding to trust Warden and sticking with Angus and Davies. The Amnion weren't going to trust him after he demonstrated power over Angus by making Angus chew his discarded nics. Perhaps they wouldn't have trusted him even before that, due to his reputation for double-dealing. And we know even if the Amnion trusted him enough to let him go as he is, the Bill would have him picked up and interrogated. The blunt truth is, Milos' choices were going to be taken from him, if he wanted to survive. :borg:
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Post by StevieG »

“We require you.”

That’s a memorable chapter!
Hugs and sh!t ~ lucimay

I think you're right ~ TheFallen
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ADAHGA 29 - Milos [3]

Post by Cord Hurn »

The quick action of Marc Vestubule in grabbing Milos Taverner, incapacitating him, and injecting him with mutagens is one of the strongest memories I have of reading the Gap, without a doubt.
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