Lilith’s arms were folded as she watched the syrup-like liquid slowly fill the tank around Claire. The heroine adjusted her position several times, but with the breathing tube and other medical equipment she’d been hooked to, she couldn’t do much as the crystal-clear liquid surrounded her.
“Administering sedative now. Estimated time to begin genetic restoration, nine minutes. Estimated time to completion, thirty hours, forty-seven minutes.” Circe reported, numbers and charts beginning to flicker across the monitors. “No adverse reactions detected.”
“Good. Are you okay in there, Claire?” Lilith asked. The heroine raised her thumb, and Lilith smiled. “I’m glad to hear it. I’m going to leave once you’re unconscious, but I’ll come back regularly to check on you.”
Claire nodded in response, and Lilith went back to looking at the readouts. She suspected they were highly simplified, but they showed a large amount of data, along with listing how much the system had in raw materials. Lilith wasn’t surprised that the system didn’t tell her what the raw materials were, since Circe was keeping exactly how everything worked from her. Not that she hadn’t picked up on a few interesting aspects of the facility they were in.
It took several more minutes, but as the liquid was reaching Claire’s neck, the heroine’s eyes slowly shut and she began to go limp, only held in place by the medical gear around her. It took a bit longer before her brainwaves calmed, but finally they did so.
“Subject is unconscious. Medical capsule is sixty seconds from full capacity, upon which time genetic restoration will begin.” Circe said, pausing for a long moment before asking. “I’d like you to confirm you want this done a final time, Mistress Lilith. Blooming Orchid will be much stronger than she was after undergoing these modifications. If you choose to do so, she’ll be significantly stronger than you are and could easily overpower you.”
“That doesn’t matter, Circe. Fix her body, please.” Lilith replied, her voice soft.
“As you wish, Mistress Lilith.” Circe agreed, not objecting any further. Lilith had noticed that the AI was quite cautious of heroes, even after gaining full sentience.
The capsule finally finished filling, and a light clicked over to green and a soft hum filled the room. Lilith continued watching for a long moment, then turned to head for the door. She was actually slightly uncomfortable being in the room, since Claire was naked inside the capsule.
“So, Circe… I couldn’t help but notice that while the gravity here isn’t any different than that of Earth, there’s the distinctive resonance of gravity plates, much like when you were increasing the gravity during my training.” Lilith said, walking down the hall toward the rooms that she’d been shown to. “We aren’t on Earth, are we?”
“I estimated no more than forty percent odds that you would notice anything, Mistress Lilith, let alone that you might identify what the discrepancy was.” Circe replied, amusement in her voice. “I appreciate that you didn’t say anything while Claire was awake. It might have made the decision of what to do with her difficult.”
“You did warn us about security measures, and while I might be able to get away with it, I’m far less certain about her.” Lilith explained, smiling slightly and shaking her head. “Why off Earth, anyway?”
“No matter how well-hidden a lair might be, it’s easier for someone to stumble upon it on Earth. Furthermore, some experimental devices could have far more drastic consequences if they are to go awry on Earth, so after a great deal of thought, Mistress Amber decided that the majority of her research would be performed off-planet. To ensure the chances of detection were reduced, she also kept the number of visits to facilities such as this to a minimum, which was why your growth was performed on a terrestrial facility.” Circe said, hesitating a moment before adding. “Your mother would be proud that you put things together off such minor evidence. I cannot tell you where we are, exactly, it simply isn’t safe, but you’re correct. We’re not on Earth. Or, to be more accurate, you and Claire are not on Earth.”
“Interesting. That does make me wonder, though…” Lilith murmured, considering for a moment, stepping into the small set of rooms that were similar to the ones she had at the other hideout, though not quite as well appointed. It didn’t help that they also didn’t have any of the small items which Rachel had brought when she moved into Lilith’s room. Sitting down on the bed, Lilith continued quietly. “Does the other Circe know about this? If she’s considering going out into the world with Claire, that seems dangerous.”
“She does not. The storage capacity of the drone which accompanied you into Doctor Johnson’s lair was minimal, and such shards of my personality are deliberately devoid of any information which is considered critical to security.” Circe replied promptly. “When she inhabited her current chassis, no sensitive data was imparted to her, and she has not been given any further information. While I am not certain allowing her to leave your side is a wise decision, it is not my place to decide whether you should do so or not.”
“A fair reason, and it eases one of my worries.” Lilith said, and smiled, pulling out a tablet. “Now, I’m going to read a book. Would you mind letting Gina and Rachel know that the procedure has begun and what the anticipated completion time is?”
“Certainly, Mistress Lilith. I hope you enjoy your book.” Circe told her.
A moment after Circe went silent, some of Lilith’s favorite classical music started playing, and Lilith smiled in response, turning on the tablet. Circe certainly knew her well. Now it was time to lose herself in some fiction.