Only two days later was he summoned to return back to the relay; already expected to brief the Arbiters on the entirety of his mission. It was a lot to go through. Dahrius couldn't remember a time where he had spoken so much. Being an undercover operative, which was little more than becoming allied with Red Veil and getting as close to their leader as possible, had been a lot harder than he anticipated. Still, the mention of eventually becoming friends with the leader, even to the point where Dahrius was given the leader's own Rakta Cernos as a gift, seemed to impress the members of Hexis.
The only things Dahrius didn't like to speak of were the torture methods used by Red Veil, and of the fact that he himself had been expected to use aforementioned methods. Now Dahrius wasn't fond of the Corpus, the Grineer, or the Infested, but torturing them? It was beyond humane, and he had almost become sick the first time he had used just the tip of a Heat Dagger to extract information from a captive Grineer lancer. The Infested were mostly tortured and killed for sport, which turned Dahrius's stomach for a variety of reasons. Still, the Arbiters of Hexis seemed to be pleased with the outcome of his mission, regardless of torture techniques.
"We will protect this data as we will protect you once again," his leader declared with a nod of his head, "no more shall our hunters pursue you."
Dahrius gave a curt nod, though relieved, and proceeded to head out of the briefing room.
"However, Tenno, I would like a word with you. In private."
The magician gulped, his fingers clenching tightly together out of fear. What had he done wrong? His nerves felt like they were being relentlessly assaulted with a Prova, and he didn't like it at all. He glanced nervously at his leader, who opened a side door and motioned for the Tenno to follow him. Dahrius desperately tried to swallow the lump in his throat as he stepped through the door, hearing it click, and then lock, after him. Now his heart felt like it might age him eight years; it was pumping too much, too fast.
"You were not being completely truthful, Tenno."
An audible hiss was heard from the Limbo as he exhaled sharply, flexing his fingers at his sides with obvious nervousness and mild anxiety. Of course he would have noticed. This Syndicate was literally all about the pursuit of truth; Dahrius didn't know why he felt like he could have lied to them. Well, technically he didn't lie; he just had left out a part of the mission briefing.
"Are you going to confess your hidden truths?" The Arbiter's voice cut through Dahrius's muddled thoughts like a hot knife through butter, and the Tenno knew he had been doomed from the start.
Shuffling his feet nervously, Dahrius stared at the ground, desperately wishing that his Warframe had pockets to jam his hands into.
"Part of Red Veil's 'perfecting' their torture techniques.. is to perform them on themselves, or sometimes even each other."
"Mmh. And why did you not make mention of this at the briefing?"
His words were cold, almost condescending. They chilled the back of Dahrius's neck like permafrost on Europa. He didn't like that, either.
"I just.. wanted to avoid further questioning on the subject, that's all," he fumbled, desperately wishing that he could be anywhere but here.
The leader walked slowly towards him, standing almost an entire foot taller than Dahrius, and he himself was quite tall as it was. Seeing his leader at his full height was a lot more intimidating than it was seeing him seated, which was all the time.
"Yet see what your hidden words have led to," he chided the Tenno, almost shaking his head like a mother would scold her child.
Being so close to the Arbiter, Dahrius once again caught the faintest scent of that delightful aroma he had smelled two days ago. He was now convinced that it was emanating from the individual who stood before him; the rather tall, impressively-built individual, rather. The Limbo could almost feel his knees knocking together at this point.
Dahrius's tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth, unsure if he had heard the leader correctly. ".. sh-show.. you..?"
Feeling his body beginning to tremble, Dahrius slowly did as he was commanded. His hat was laid gently on the table next to him, proceeding to activate the unlocking mechanisms of his suit after. It was always strange to watch his HUD disappear as his helmet dematerialized from his head, pixelating into nothingness. Carefully, he was able to remove the large pieces of his Warframe from his body, setting them gently aside.
Under his suit he simply wore a pair of skinny jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, the latter of which he removed in a rather unnecessarily slow manner. Feeling perspiration slicking his skin out of sheer anxiety, Dahrius was slightly glad to have cast off the shirt, but feeling the leader's eyes on his body brought both a terrified and also a strangely excited feeling.
After a deep breath or two, he unfolded his arms from their defensive position around him, revealing a vast slew of small, haphazard scarring from his solar plexus to below his abdomen. Each small sliver of raised flesh glowed gently with a soft, pulsing tint, light gold in colour. His Tenno energy was one of the lovelier shades.
The leader took one more step forward, his hand extending towards the Limbo. As he reached out, the material covering his hand and forearm dematerialized much like Dahrius's helmet, revealing incredibly pale white skin, almost the colour of snow. The outstretched fingers pressed against Dahrius's scars; the leader's fingertips feeling more like polar caps than warm flesh. He shuddered underneath the icy fingers, but the Arbiter seemed not to care.
"These look like.. Hikou scars," the Hexis leader commented, still not withdrawing his hand.
"Hikou Prime, to be exact," the magician manage to spit out, trying to keep his body from shivering so much, "when I was still newer, I was used as target practice. They all found it dreadfully hilarious."
"Well," the Arbiter finally said after a few moments, seemingly preoccupied with touching each scar on Dahrius's body, "I offer you no condolences on your wounds; you could have invented a way to avoid a situation like that."
"I never said I blamed you," the Tenno shrugged, gripping the leader's hand in an attempt to get those cold fingers off of his skin, "I knew there were risks with this mission, but I took it despite those risks."
He found himself unable to let go of the hand; the leader had wrapped his fingers around Dahrius's own, lacing their hands together. The Limbo was confused, but for the oddest reason, he didn't seem to mind. The light creamy colour of the Arbiter's skin contrasted pleasantly with his own rich cocoa skin tones, and the coldness of his fingers were very unlike Dahrius's own warm ones. It was almost like Yin and Yang as Dahrius stared at their entwined fingers; subconsciously brushing his thumb over his leader's skin.
The Syndicate leader's body stiffened, and Dahrius immediately felt that pang of fear seize his gut once more. His fear was misplaced, however, as he watched his leader's helmet pixelate away, revealing an elegant face with hard, chiseled features. His face was as pale as his fingers were; his shoulder-length hair as black as the night sky. He was beautiful, and Dahrius was not afraid to admit it.
The Tenno's mouth subconsciously opened as he drew in a sharp breath as he drank in the handsome looks of his leader, but his breath was immediately stolen away as he suddenly felt cold lips press against his own.
YOU ARE READING
Unexpected FactorsScience Fiction
Having worked behind the enemy lines of Red Veil as an undercover operative for the Arbiters of Hexis, Dahrius returns to the relay to turn in his gathered intel, and discovers something in that room that he's never noticed before.