Kistaria hadn't been down to the Heart since they'd dragged her near-corpse out of it. It had taken Calcimer's strange appearance and even stranger conversation to steel her nerves enough to even contemplate coming back to the dome.
The architects had realized they couldn't dig forward without running into the dome, so cleverly they had begun to circle around it, perhaps with intent to transform it into a sort of public garden.
The scaffold was still there, but now it was adorned with ladders, well used ones no less. Seems there had been studies to investigate her 'prison' right under her nose.
Guess it was time to find out why.
Scaling the ladder was the easy part. Moving down the hallway, now rubble-free if not even polished metal rails and secured platforms was much more complex. Hours, if not days spent waiting for the end. Drifting in and out of conciousness, wracked with bouts of starvation and thirst.
Even with a full rucksack of supplies on her shoulder, she felt an eerie if almost discomforting aura around this desolate pseudo-mausoleum.
Fortunately, the heavy rope and metal platform ladders affixed to several of the platform edges along with a rope winch meant she had little to fear in terms of getting back up. And several work tables were clearly visible on the surface of the floor and fallen dias.
As she descended she swore she heard whispering voices fading in and out of the dark, but the fine glittering dust on the two light workbenches meant that interest in the strange material had quickly waned.
The tools on the table were obvious. A couple of stone chisels. A large hand mallet. The ones she didn't recognize was a tall spindly thing with a little piece of crystal clamped in place below the tube.
Curious, she poked around with it, revealing a little enclosed candle at the bottom. And a couple of spinning wheels at the side of the tube that lowered and raised it in the center.
The tube itself was something of a mystery, so she lit the candle and peered in. Only to get a giant purple blur visible in the eyepiece.
This simple unpowered device was amazing.
A twisting of the microscopic viewer's dials brought it into focus. Showing barely noticable electrical charges spiking in between crystalline plates and points. In fact, the harder she looked at it, the more frequent the charges became.
This time she definitely heard noises. A little voice, setting her ears atwitch with motion as she looked about.
In a blind moment of panic, she stumbled back a step before tripping. And a little hiss of pain lanced through her hand on grazing contact with the crystal spires arching up from the floor.
She lifted her hand up, wincing a little as her fingertips were lightly smeared with crimson. But it was only superfluous scratches. Then the lighting in the chamber changed, suddenly alive with its apparent power.
As the entire crystal dome and floor below came alive with purple crackling phosphorescence, Kissa... no, Kistaria's eyes widened as thick as saucers as the voice returned. Both in depth and oddly enough cadences.
It was no longer one voice but many, just like it had been in the dream. There were no ghostly images of course, but she could feel them there as the fur on the back of her neck stood up.
“We Have Veen Waiting For Your Return, Magistrate Kissasha Rubelle...” The voices echoed in unison. “We Are Ready For Your Command...”
Now she blinked, definitely confused at this point in time. But the voices-made-one continued. “There Is A Great Power On Crinochus...” Which left her looking perplexed.
“But This Planet Is Not Old... It Was Stolen... And Remade In This Image.” Okay, even that sort of idea boggled the mind. To steal an entire planet.. but from where? She was about to interject to ask, but the voices had a different agenda.
“Through Your Blood, We Have Discovered... Potential. Observe.”
The chamber suddenly hummed with power, lightning crackling and coalesing in the center of the room. Forming.. a small crystal about half the size of her palm, suspended in midair over the chamber floor.
“Take It.. And Awaken The Conquerors.” She grasped it, and after a tiny jumping jolt it just seemed to liquify and mold.. then melt into her paw.
With this she could sense the missing pieces that drove the abandoned automatons, back in the 'secured' workshop. Was shown how each part worked.
And a sinister grin crossed her face when it was revealed to her a second chamber, where old vehicles of war and a few rusting hulks of sea-ships resting in drydock.
How people had forgotten these would be a mystery to Kista. But even that was only a mild inconvenience. As there was still deactivated maintenance automatons stored with them.
As Kistaria finally began to pack up some of the tools on the tables and the microscope, the voices gave one final warning.
“Calcimer Knows More, And...” There was a strain on the voices, as if the line of thought was stressful. “And Is Shrouding His True Purpose. He...”
The voices cut short as Calcimer's voice cut through the sudden loss of definition. “He's probably the reason you were Found in the first place.”
His form shifted from the shadows, normally gaunt and wizened appearance strangely alive with youth and some strange sort of glee.
“Or why you are here altogether.”