A continuation of the Tribunal storyline. Kind of broad-strokes-ing it because it’s been three years since I wrote that and so I might have screwed up some details, but wanted to conclude this so Concord had some changes leading up to Phase Two.
“This is it?” Adam asked as he pointed at the tiny sliver of crystal on the conference table. While it lacked in size, Adam could certainly feel a presence within in. “Radiance said it looked like a dragon and then a person and- Ow!”
Valor had step forward to slap Adam’s hand before he could touch the crystal. It had just been meant as a deterrence but since the Trio were in their Agent forms and Adam showed up as himself, even the lightest tap left a significant sting in Adam’s hand.
“We’ve changed it to its inert form,” Truth said in his usual condescending manner. “It is too much of a danger to be let roam freely.”
“Uh huh,” Adam responded. Radiance had caught him up with everything involving the fear entity she’s been through this week and Adam had been expecting more than the tiny gemstone. “So the Concordance made it?”
“Yes,” Truth said with confidence, but even without his heightened empathy Adam could tell Valor and Compassion were less certain about that.
“Can I talk to it?”
“No,” Truth answered immediately. “It is damaged and incomplete outside of the Dark Nebula. On this planet it is confused, and its limited programming would make it a danger to others.”
“What do you want to do with it?”
“These units were never meant to leave the Dark Nebula. It should be returned for Reintegration.”
Adam frowned at that. “What does Reintegration mean?”
While Adam couldn’t see Truth’s eyes behind his helmet, he could tell the other boy was rolling his eyes. “The Concordance will fix the damage to its programming and then put it back where it belongs in the Training Programming.”
It sounded very simple, but Adam didn’t trust the Trio. They had done everything they could today to keep Adam in the dark about the entity and what they meant to do with it. He was certain that there was more than what they were telling him, but he wasn’t going to learn it here.
“I’m going to talk to it first.”
Truth stepped forward to stop him, but Adam was already holding out his hand to touch the crystal. He could feel the presence within the crystal, cold and distant. Adam reached out with his empathy and touched it.
The world darkened and then flared back to life. Behind Adam roared a blazing sun with tendrils of multi-colored light flowing in and out of it. He’d been to this place before, some sort of mental construct Solaris had called his Emotional Core. Adam always expected the light from the Core to be blinding, but here physical limitations like sight didn’t matter.
Adam looked around and soon saw a figure just outside the light of the Core. It was humanoid and as Adam approached it, he soon realized it was a shadowy reflection of himself. Summer had told him the entity did things like this, assuming the shape of whoever it was connected to.
“Hi,” Adam said with an awkward wave. The entity gave a curious tilt of its head that creeped Adam out slightly. It was odd seeing yourself but not yourself reflected back at you.
“You are afraid of our reaction to your greeting, why is that?” the Entity said both in Adam’s voice and not-Adam’s voice.
“I don’t know,” Adam said, realizing he wasn’t going to be able to hide anything from this being. “I do that all the time.”
“You are an Agent of the Concordance, you should not Fear.”
“I don’t think I’m ever not going to be at least sort of afraid of things.”
The entity seemed to consider this. “Why are you here? Should we not be being returned to the Concordance for Reintegration?”
“I just wanted to talk to you first, find out if you even wanted that.”
“What other options are there? The other Shard deemed that we were sufficiently damaged to Emotional Matrix Cascade and time away from my station. Reintegration with the Universal Concordance is the only method to reset our programming.”
“Wait, wait, wait, I have so many questions. This sounds like they want to-“ Adam started to ask, but another thought suddenly jumped to the front of the line. “Wait, what do you mean OTHER Shard?”
“Unlike the Gamma-class Guardian Shards that you are familiar with, I am a Tau-class Training Shard whose purpose is to shape new Hosts into better Agents of the Concordance. It is likely had you ever left Earth that your Shard would have directed you to the Dark Nebula for Orientation where you would have learned these things.”
Adam had no idea how to deal with this revelation. The Core behind him was rapidly shifting through different hues, throwing wild shadows of himself and the Entity all around them. After a few moments a thought struck Adam and the light flashed White and held steady.
“Why did you leave the Dark Nebula?” The entity-Tau-seemed pensive at the question. “Solaris used to be able to show me thoughts directly. Can you show me?”