Are We Not Monsters? - Chapter 407 - Sleepy Eve (DoctorSpuds) (2024)

Chapter Text

“Pest!” Regor bellowed as he backed slowly into the warmly lit workroom, dragging something heavy and pale, “Pest, assist me!”

“Do not call me pest!” Leona’vaya shouted back, dropping from one of the unoccupied tables, storming up to the struggling Grineer. She gawped, taken all the way aback as she saw just what Regor was dragging across the floor. “What the f*ck did you do!?” she howled as she rushed forward, lifting the unconscious Worm Queen’s feet, helping the scientist to haul her heavy-ass onto that very empty table.

“I made an executive decision,” he growled, resting his hands on his knees as he caught his breath. “She was not interested in stuffing her face, she was inquiring about the massive destabilization of the Void fabric… Too smart for the Worm, the wrong question to ask, Pest.” He huffed loudly as he straightened up. “She shall remain here for the time being, under study, with my wriggling fingers worming through her mind.”

“You’re not gonna get Ayell outta there,” Leona’vaya hissed. “She’s gone, dead as dirt.” She made a little whining noise as Regor pinched her lips shut with his forefinger and thumb, his pinky held out elegantly.

“Ye of little faith,” he said mockingly, “There is more to my stratagem than simply pulling Ariadne’s lover free of her own bloated mind, no-no-no-no… That soul can be so simply reconstructed… I seek something a bit more tangible than her persnickety soul, I seek-,” he paused as something poked him in the side. His hold on Leona’vaya’s lips vanished as he crouched down in front of Coriola, shoulders hunching. “Yes, small and pointy child?”

“Where’s the bedding?” she asked quietly, “The bunks don't have blankets and Adara’s getting anxious, said she wants to make a nest… Please.” She let out a little squeak as Regor lifted her easily, sitting her in the crook of his arm.

He chuckled quietly as he carried her through the workroom, sticking to the walls so as not to interrupt those still laboring. “The Songbird taught you your manners, child, finally, something I can give that cretinous woman credit for.”

“Why do you insult momma so much?” Cori asked, resting a little hand atop Regor’s massive spade-shaped helmet. “I thought you two were friends?”

“We are friendly, child,” he explained, the door to the workroom clanking shut behind him, his steps echoing loudly as he stalked up the low corridor, helmet occasionally scraping against the ceiling. “I mock and deride her because she quite often finds herself in misfortune as a result of her own inaction… or squeamishness…” The lift platform shook under his weight as he boarded, giving the console a sharp kick to spur it into life. “I wish the best for her,” he admitted, “Hers is a unique mind, more than capable of solving whatever issue is presented to it… her hesitancy however is merely infuriating, like a sharp pebble in my boot.”

Regor did not wear boots.

“So… You like her, but hate part of her?” Cori asked, squealing as Regor stepped over the side of the lift, dropping the final half of the shaft. “That’s kinda… odd?”

“I’m very odd,” he said simply, “Now I need you to hush, I must try and remember where I hid the linen closet…”


“Of course I don’t know what’s happened!” Loid shouted, hand trembling as he slammed it down on the desk, “I can hardly get a stable connection to the core processing units, let alone actually diagnose what in the Void is wrong with the Vessels!” He waved Qin and Valkyr away, glowering angrily at the screen, trying desperately to clear it, to reconnect to the hosting software, to at least get those words off the screen before they burned into the monitor. “Albrecht?” he whispered, “Why?” He stared at the ceiling as if for guidance.

“C’mon, Loid,” Kaelli whispered, resting a hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze, “a moment away to rest your eyes, please.”

“I’m fine, Kaelli,” he grunted, pulling his shoulder from their grip, “I’m sure there are some avenues I’ve not yet depleted… There is always a reason, there is always a cause.” He shook his head, pulling his spectacles from his face, rubbing angrily at his eyes. “We must simply locate the cause.” He fell to his knees, breathing heavily.

Kaelli was too stunned to move, she’d not expected him to fold so quickly. They locked eyes with Qin, the distant woman nodding, approaching the pair. “C’mon Loid,” they whispered, “You’ve been awake too long, some time away to rest your eyes will help.”

“I’ve too much to do to rest,” he whispered shakily, stress almost radiating from him as his body shook. “I cannot allow myself to stop… too much… too much, hngh!” His legs went out from under him as Qin wrapped an arm around his chest, pulling him back.

“C’mon, kiddo,” she growled, “Lets get some food in ya and a few hours sleep, eh?” Her teeth grit as Loid seemed to turn to putty, all the frantic strength that had kept him going fading in an instant. “No crying now,” she whispered, “I don’t wanna deal with any more emotions than I need to.”

“Why am I so useless?” Loid whimpered.

“You’re not useless, kid,” she huffed, whispering her thanks as Kaelli took Loid’s dragging legs, “You’re tired and maybe outta your depth.” She looked up at Kaelli, “Are there sleeping quarters around here?” she asked.

“Up these stairs,” they huffed, adjusting their hold on Loid, one of his shoes clacking loudly as it rolled across the floor. “There’s a small sleeping area over there,” they nodded their head toward one of the many empty portions of the lab, several raised railings denoting a small curved staircase sinking into the ground.

Qin huffed, cheeks puffing out. “More stairs, yay,” her eyes bulged slightly as Loid’s arms began slipping in her grip. She flashed a glance for the barest moment at Valkyr and Margulis as they inspected the pair of statue-still Vessels. “The nice thing about the Murmur’s desert sh*t is that it’s at least flat!” She hefted Loid and didn’t stop complaining for a moment as she and Kaelli carried the mostly unconscious man to the cramped sleeping quarters hidden beneath the floor of the Sanctum.

“You do realize how unbelievable that sounds, Margulis,” Valkyr murmured, craning her neck back to see the characters inscribed upon the nearest Vessel’s side. “That’s Qin, that’s my wife… I’ve known her over a century.”

“And the Man in the Wall has known her nearly a millennia, Valkyr,” the exhausted woman sighed. “She’s one of his favorites, as is anybody close to her, as you well know.”

“Oh, I know, I know perfectly well,” Valkyr growled, squinting, mumbling the words those jagged characters made under her breath. “That’s how I know it can’t be him wearing my wife’s skin.” She held a finger up to her lips as Margulis made to speak again. “No more… I need to concentrate here.”

Valkyr was lying, and it hurt like hell. As her head angled slightly to read those characters in sequence she could barely keep herself from tearing up. She saw that pale stony skin beneath Qin’s own, she heard the slight change in inflection, she could almost smell it. She knew, there was something wrong, something unnatural… but at the same time… it was still Qinoha. She was still there, dammit! Valkyr scoffed as she looked away, eyes crossing slightly.

“I need glasses,” she growled, pawing at her eyes to try and clear some of the bleariness from them. “Just like that other… hmph!” She stared at the ground, well aware of Margulis staring. “Sorry, I’m getting distracted… not used to having,” she gestured broadly to herself, “all this.”

“You’re a handsome woman,” Margulis said unprompted, giving Valkyr an odd look as she hid her eyes behind her hand.

“I wasn't talking about my looks, Margy,” she whined, shaking her head, “Organic trappings, how about that?”

“Ah,” she blushed slightly as she looked back up at the carvings upon the giant’s side. “I can copy the glyphs for you, if you wish,” she said, voice rather monotone, “if you have something for me to write upon.”

Valkyr lifted an eyebrow. “Here, lemme show you a magic trick.” Much as Qin had done with the Void’s mask, she sharply twisted her wrist, Albrecht’s Grimoire shunting from the thin space between realities, smoking slightly in her hand. “Turns out you can just use your finger,” She flipped it open to in inexplicably empty page, drawing a simple picture of a person there, the gentle swipes of her finger leaving a dark line. “Careful,” she warned as she handed over the Grimoire, “the book moans.”

“It what?”

Explanations were not forthcoming when simple experience would explain it all.


We had a deal…

The deal was shook…

A little handshake, all it took…

Though from the deal the wee child ran…

Yet still we end as we began…

Valkyr harrumphed as she read over the simple poem several times more, her stomach sinking further and further as she slowly connected the pieces, inferring… Guessing… Her eyes drifted closed as she snapped the book shut, the tome letting out a near indignant grunt. “Very well, Margulis,” she murmured, “I think I share your suspicions.” She took a breath. “Though it will not stop me from trying to carve my Qinoha free from that which wears her skin…”

“I would expect nothing less,” Margulis said with a shallow bow, the false light cast overhead bouncing oddly from the many fractures that still wound across her body. “She’s coming.”

The Grimoire slipped back into its resting place between realities, leaving only a faint stench. “I’d suggest you go rest, Margulis,” she said a touch loudly as Qin’s uneven footsteps drew near, “We can focus upon our many pressing issues with rested bodies and clear minds.” She stuck her tongue out at Qin as her face slowly emerged into her periphery, looking up at her with a set of wide eyes.

“Why’re you talkin’ like that?” Qin asked, slurring her words slightly.

Valkyr struggled to find a valid reason, considering she normally talked formally when she got anxious. She thumbed at her bottom lip, squeezing one eye shut. “Fancy woman deserves fancy words? I dunno. C’mon, you’re not exempt, you need sleep too, you’re literally full of holes.”

Qin waved her away, “I’m fine,” she paused as something on her hand caught her eye. “Gods,” she muttered, staring at Valkyr through a small hole punched clean through the palm of her hand. She let her arm fall, staring up at Valkyr with the most pathetic expression she’d ever seen. “Imma faint… catch me, wife.”

Whether she actually fainted or not was anyone’s guess, the fact she cracked her head good and hard on a small, mostly hidden, outcropping of grey stone was quite genuine.

“Menace,” Valkyr huffed, scooping Qin up, “Last thing I need is you with a concussion right now.”

Qin let out a little whine. “Everything’s all wibbly-wobbly… heh.”

“Menace…” Valkyr repeated. Adjusting her hold on the limp woman, carrying her back toward the Sanctum. “Let me know if you’re about to vomit, this dress looks like it’ll stain if you look at it wrong.”

“No promises,” Qin huffed, eyes drifting closed, her head resting against Valkyr’s shoulder. “Wha… what was written on the Vessel? It’s Voidtongue right?”

Valkyr chewed on the inside of her cheek, wondering how far she could trust this iteration of Qin. The dunes of the Murmur’s desert had given way to the Sanctum’s polished tile before she spoke. “It was a poem,” she said with as much disinterest as she could muster, “I don’t really know what it was about, it wasn’t written very well…” She tried to shrug, “Honestly it looked a lot like someone who had the faintest understanding of the language tried their hand at writing, a lot of that in Albrecht’s Grimoire…”

“Grafitti?” Qin asked, head rolling slightly as her hold on Valkyr tightened.

“Or Albrecht tried using the thing for taking notes, the amount of scribbling he did on the walls here is insane.” She grunted as she ascended the low stairs, her Warframe resting where it had fallen. “For all his genius, he just couldn't figure out the language.”

“Heh… you learn it through exposure,” Qin said through a weak chuckle, “I speak it, you speak it, Leona spoke some…” she sniffed loudly, coughing it out. “We should look through the Grimoire later, try and decipher some of Albrecht’s scribbles… maybe find his diary, I bet he talked about Loid a lot.”

Valkyr smirked, holding Qin tightly as she rested her foot on the first step of the massive spiral staircase. “Mayhap… now brace yourself… I’m running it.”

“Yer not gonna make it halfway,” Qin giggled.

“Watch me,” she growled, “It’s good cardio.”


“Why do I have so many broom closets?” Regor mused as he and Coriola plodded through the labyrinth of identical corridors, searching for the fabled linen closet. “I don’t even own any brooms...”

“Are you OK?” Cori asked as Regor paused, stood in the middle of a four-way intersection.

“Quite alright, child, hush,” he growled quietly, the tone making his entire body buzz as he stared blankly forward. “I’m simply putting myself in the mind of what I was… so that I may comprehend the mad mind that laid these foundations.” He turned on his heel, going back the way he came. “A fool I am… bunk supplies are by the bunkroom, not my old surgical complex, no-no-no-no-no, no comfort to be found there.”

“Were you always this much of a fool, Regor?” Coriola asked bluntly.

“Yes, my dear Murmur,” he said through a smile, “Always have I been a great galloping fool. Such a fool I am, I gathered so very many more fools to follow me.”

“You’re rambling.”

“I am, am I…” he sounded crestfallen, “I much prefer the child, for as obtuse and simple as her questions may be, she certainly is sweeter.”

“Saccharine, much like… her… get no ideas, Regor, her body is not for us to abuse.”

“I wouldn't dream of it, child,” he hissed, “Lest I anger her baffling toothpick of a mother any further.”

“It is not Prinia you’ll need to watch out for, old man… It’s her husband.”

His steps petered out, leaving him stood still in the middle of the hallway. “What a terrible way of describing it, child, I’d rather you didn’t… Marrying a Cephalon opens a whole host of ethical questions society is not yet ready to tackle.”

“Tell that to Suda,” she grunted.

“I shall!” he declared, “But later, little Adara needs her blankets.” He took a breath, breaking into a brisk jog. “What about the other child… the Orokin?”

“Tenno,” she said bluntly, voice wavering with each bouncing step, “Doesn’t talk much if I recall correctly, Adara knows her from the Zariman.”

He made a small contemplative noise, eyes drifting about the hall, reading the quickly scrawled door numbers set above each round metal frame.“With skin that blue, it makes sense she would be the brat of a high ranking family. Odd, is it not, that little Adara bears so few, despite being so closely related to dear Avantus?” He turned sharply, slowing to a casual walk as he reentered populated portions of the lab.

“You imply something untoward?” she asked, a drop of curiosity tainting her disinterest. She shrunk away from a jerkily moving Warframe as it shuffled past, staring at her momentarily.

“Mayhap, just mayhap… More research is needed… it always is, Pandora. We must not overstep our bonds… as deliciously delightful as it may be to do so.” He chuckled, giving another he passed a low nod, receiving one in return. “I am glad that I managed to save so many of my children,” he whispered, unprompted, “Even if some of them still disown me for my trouble.”

The little Warframe looked over her shoulder at the burly, pale-haired Grineer that had passed them. “A Set-Series?” she asked.

He clicked his tongue as he shook his head. “The Set, not that she has any great desire to be acknowledged, too many eyes, too many greedy-greedy eyes want her power… Much as our dear Qinoha once did, she simply desires a quiet and normal life with her family. I seek to offer that to those who need it. Even if it simply be that I return them home, their disgusting nasty hovel of a home.”

“You’re a philanthropist now?” she asked, “I never took you for a charitable type.”

He paused before the door to the bunkroom the children had been housed in. “I’m not, Pandora,” he growled, “There is always a price, if not to be collected now, then there is always later. Like a Corpus am I, I always collect my debts.”

“No favor unpunished,” she sighed as he let her down.

“Aye… return to the children, I’ll collect your linens… Warn dear Cressa, she need not look at me.”

“Another favor,” she scoffed, “how freely you hand them out,” her shoulders slumped slightly as she wobbled in place. “Makes me like ya!” she said brightly, spinning about to run into the bunkroom, “He’s gonna get us some-!” the door hissed shut, cutting off her joyful shout.

“Saccharine,” he growled, striding slowly down the hallway, fingers dragging along the wall, “so very saccharine.” He glanced over, seeing the familiar shape of Cressa Tal detach from the shadows. “The child is going to go mad trying to find you,” he remarked, looking forward again as he pressed in a cleverly disguised latch.

“I don’t mind,” Cressa sighed, leaning against the wall, her blind side nearest him, “Just means I’ll get a bigger welcome when I turn up again.”

“Hmph,” he grunted quietly as he rifled trough several piles of neatly folded brown blankets. “I presume you have something to say to me, wouldn’t be hiding in the shadows if you didn’t,” he sighed, pulling nearly a dozen blankets from the shelf.

She licked her cracked lips, staring at the wall for a moment. “An eye,” she whispered, “I want you to give me my eye back.”

“Oh? Is there any reason? Or is it something you’d rather I kept my nose out of… Pillow?” He held out a loaf of fabric-wrapped foam before loading up his free arm with more blankets.

She took it wordlessly, crushing it to her chest. “I just wanna distance myself from my name, who people know me as. You get it.”

“I do…” he closed the door with his hip, arms full. “This child shall have a fantastic nest,” he muttered, “better than my own… I spoil her.” He looked back at Cressa, “I can do so, and I shall do so,” he shrugged, “I only wish the Regor who was here before had the foresight to keep your original eye, I’m sure it could have been… un-pickled. An Orokin one will suffice, I have plenty of those, heh.” He turned about, stomping back down the hallway. “Come along, lovebird, best have a bed made before the pest returns from her sulking upstairs.”

The door creaked open to the sounds of Coriola searching for Cressa, her little feet stomping about as she checked under the bunks and in the impossible tight spaces between the bulkheads. Cressa, playing along slightly, crept over to her claimed bunk, laying down on the ground and waited to be found, a tired smile on her face as she listed to Cori whisper-yell her name. Regor wondered, as he knelt down beside Adara, how often the Murmur stuffed in that child’s head was actually in control…

Just how much of that sweet face was merely an act worn by a lost embittered soul.

“Here we go,” he purred, resting the small tower of blankets on the floor, unfurling one and laying it atop Adara as she laid on the thin slab of foam that passed for a mattress. “Many more, I have many more.” He made a small noise as he rested a hand on her cheek, seeing her flinch slightly. “Need to make sure you’re still here,” he whispered, “We’ll get some more substantive food in you tomorrow. Solid food is good, makes you strong.” He laid two more blankets over Adara, leaving several more in easy reach for her.

“Thank you,” she wheezed, blinking slowly.

“Anytime, child,” he groaned, standing slowly. After a few moments he grew painfully aware of a set of apathetic eyes burning a hole through the back of his artificial skull. Agira didn't even blink as Regor crouched down in front of her. “Would you care for a blanket?” he asked as if it were the most normal thing in the world for him to say.

“Why are you acting like this?” the Tenno asked, still taking one of the offered blankets. “You’re an enemy.”

“You speak in such certain terms when none exist.” He huffed, one of the eyes in his mask darkening, his attempt at a wink. “I went soft a long time ago, odd-eyed child. Kill I will those I must, but if I must shed blood then it must be for a reason… Or if they… hmm… no that is a valid reason. Huh…” he stared blankly at Agira for a moment. “Go to sleep,” he said flatly, pushing her over, “no more questions.” Something in his knees popped as he straightened up, ignoring Agira’s annoyed huffing. “Coriola, dear,” he called, pointing at Cressa, the Grineer already having fallen asleep curled around the pillow.

He escaped the room before the little Warframe’s squealing began.

“Saccharine,” he muttered, stalking through the laboratory, “Saccharine.”

Are We Not Monsters? - Chapter 407 - Sleepy Eve (DoctorSpuds) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated:

Views: 5987

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.