“You really think they’re ready?” Catherine made a small moue of distaste at the thought, “Couldn’t we wait a couple more years?”
“And give Eli a chance to get so bored he gets himself in trouble again?” Daniel looked up from the holopad that was lying on his desk, “I don’t think so. Anyway, darling, you know as well as I do that there’s only a limited amount you can learn in the safe confines of a practice room. If they’re going to reach their full potential, they need to get out on the streets.”
She sighed, crossing her legs and leaning back in the chair. She didn’t respond at once, instead turning to gaze out across the well-manicured grounds. She could see Kimiko sitting on the edge of the fountain, splashing her feet in the water, and the sight made her frown sadly. “It’s just… only one of these children actually had anything approaching a proper childhood. I just wish we had been able to step in sooner.”
“You remember what our instructions were, darling.”
Catherine’s frown turned into a smile, but it was still a sad expression, “That is why I said ‘wish’, D. It just seems like a lot to take on trust… I don’t understand how they could even….”
“I know, I know…” Daniel turned off the holopad, then pushed himself to his feet and walked round the desk to stand next to her chair. “If there’s one thing I understand…” Here he smiled in amused fashion, “It’s maths… and that includes odds. Nothing is guaranteed in this universe, but for just a moment I saw… or rather, I felt… the lines of chance that tangle around reality. This really was the best way.”
Catherine put his hand in hers, and then drew it up to her lips. She planted a gentle kiss on the back of his hand, and then nodded. “It’s not like we could do much more anyway.” She looked up at him, “Speaking of that… how are we doing?”
Daniel stared into the middle distance for just a moment, “0.000034%. Still well within our safe operating zone.” He made a small sound of disgust, “It would be far more easy if we could just tell them the whole truth.”
Catherine rolled her eyes, and this time her smile was a little less sad, “You know, I would have thought you’d have learnt a little more patience.”
“What can I say? Fatherhood changes a man. I would just like to know what ’you’ll know when the time is right’ actually means…”
The room itself didn’t strictly exist (at least, not in relation to the physical world). This didn’t seem obvious at first to those few who had been there, but if you stayed there long enough you began to feel its innate wrongness. None of the lines or the shapes were quite right, and after a while it began to eat away at the mind – the normal human mind, at any rate.
Neither of the two creatures currently in the room, however, were human; both had been, at one stage, but that had been a long time ago. One stood almost seven feet tall, with dead white skin, completely black eyes, futuristic armour coloured black and purple, and a long double-handed sword on his back. The other couldn’t even be properly seen; like the room, but even moreso, there was something in it that defied perception.
There was a feeling, though… fire and darkness, white hot rage and cold disdain, and a single glowing eye. At the thing’s command, screens all across the room flashed into existence – windows framed in ebony, that looked out across battlefields and cities across the solar system.
“They are distracted, my lord.” The pale figure said in a monotone, his head slightly bowed.
“Good.” A multitude of voices spoke as one, some screaming in pain, others little more than a whisper, adults and children, men and women, “Make sure they remain distracted. I have more a more important task to undertake…”