Maria awoke to darkness. Not just darkness, nothingness. She was alone, in an empty void of nothing. Until she saw the mist. And knew what was happening. Mirideth appeared before her.
“Hello, Plaything. It’s time.” She said, smiling.
“Time? Time for what? Am I not dead?” Maria was confused and afraid, though she tried not to show the fear.
“For us to finally join together as one, darling. For us to be born anew, Maria, Mirideth, Lucia, Asazlaiyn, Carlena. Together, as one perfect, divine being. It will be glorious, Maria!” Mrideth spread her arms open in a grand gesture, grinning.
“Is that why that crazy bitch disassembled my fucking body?”
Mirideth nodded. “Exactly. You are now more than you were. More than you ever could have been! And soon you’ll be even better. You’ll be me. I’ll be you.” Mirideth’s expression changed to something Maria had never seen before. A sincere smile. “We’ll be together, Maria. You and me. Forever.”
Maria just stared for a long moment. “No. No this is not happening. You do NOT.”
Mirideth stepped closer to her. “Maria. You came closer than anyone else ever did, to taking me down. I was never going to fully take your mind. Only… twist you slightly, you would have been my second in command. I knew who you were. You killed many of my lieutenants. I respected you. And over time… I came to admire you. Your tenacity. Your strength. Your skill. And once we finally met, that night… your beauty. I love you, Maria Lucia Carlena. Join with me, merge your self with mine, stay with me forever.”
Maria felt sick. She wasn’t sure if her body was even still capable of it, but here, in her mind, she was human, and she felt sick. “You… you cannot be serious. This is wrong. This is disgusting! You violated my mind, my body, my LIFE! And now you claim you did it out of some kind of fucked up love?! No. This is a lie. This is a ploy. You’re using me. Trying to appeal to me emotionally. You won’t. You sick, twisted, disgusting witch. You won’t.”
Mirideth’s honest expression twisted into anger “So be it, Plaything. I will have what I desire. You never had a choice. You’ve been mine ever since I entered Niarith. You’ll always be mine. We will be one. You’ll see things differently then.” The void faded, and Maria began to wake.
Maria expected to awake to searing pain all across her body. She didn’t. She woke up to zero vision, yet she could hear. Other, foreign signals also reached her brain. She couldn’t even begin to understand them. The sound in the room was of creaking, groaning metal, fans, and clinking, clanking machinery. She was back in the workshop. Her brain sent the signal to open her eyes. But instead of seeing her vision appear as her eyelids lifted, she saw the view of her surroundings sweep across her field of vision in both directions at once, reaching the edges and forming a cohesive image. Her vision was strange, seeming to be made of horizontal lines instead of a single image. She felt no need to blink. She couldn’t feel her body. She couldn’t open her mouth, or breathe. But she felt no discomfort from it. She tried to sit up. And noticed her vision moving, the sound of metal on metal, of motors and servos running. She felt the air on her forehead. She still had a forehead. Had hair. At least one part of her hadn’t changed. She clung to that thought, keeping it at the forefront of her mind as she looked down at herself.
As she did, her mind began to scream. Her body was… not her body. It was a mess of black metal, vaguely in the shape of a feminine human body. Vaguely. Panels and rivets and wires, hoses and screws… was this what she was now? She held her hands in front of her. Rough black metal claws, fit for tearing into flesh. Not dextrous enough for much else. Maria felt an urge to rend what little flesh remained until there was nothing left. She sent signals to breathe deeply, attempting to calm down, then remembered she no longer seemed to be able to breathe.
She was sitting on a large metal platform. A platform she had a distinct memory of Niarith being restrained to. Where was Niarith? And Lolanene? Where was the doctor for that matter. She seemed to be alone.
“Never truly alone, darling.” Came a voice, inside her head. No, not inside her head, outside. It was Mirideth. She had spoken. From within Maria’s new body. Maria reflexively jumped a bit, her limbs scraping against the metal of the platform, making a terrible noise. “Come now, Maria, speak for us. You use the same method as I do now. Just, try to speak, and it will happen.”
For lack of anything else to do, Maria tried it. “Uhh.. Hello?” Her voice came out of some kind of speaker in the mask where her jaw once was. It had the same odd, mechanical quality to it that Mirideth’s did. It startled her. Leading to yet more scraping of metal on metal.
“Hello, Maria. It’s good you’re awake. I’ve been awake the entire time, you know. Waiting.” Mirideth said. Her voice wasn’t sultry or sinister, it was… sad.
Maria sighed. No air was exchanged, but she made the noise effectively. “Waiting for what, Mirideth?”
“It turns out, I was really quite badly melded to Niarith’s nervous system. She’s fine, but I had to be cut out, ripped away, I lost a lot of myself. I am essentially what passes for disabled, for what I am. It has been… humbling. Anyway, as for your question, you’re in sole control of this body. I am merely a passenger. I’ll never be able to move again.” She paused for a moment, strange breath like sounds coming through the speaker. “Most of my systems were too damaged by the removal to remain functional. What remained is distributed throughout this body. I can’t move it, but I can control other systems.” As she said that, Maria could suddenly feel her body. It was different from feeling a normal body, but it sufficed. She felt much more present in the room, more normal, she clung to what little normal there was.
Maria sat silently for several minutes, then simply said “Do you expect me to feel sorry for you? After all you’ve done?”
Another long silence. “No.”
They simply sat there for a long while after that. Listening to the silence. Eventually, a commotion was heard outside the room. A loud bang, glass shattering, shouting. Maria simply stayed where she was, not ready to stand up. The door slid open, and in walked Myrrhdta, backwards, with her hands up. Followed by Lolanene, holding Niarith’s pistol, aimed at Myrrhdta.
“You’re gonna show me where you put Maria, right the fuck now, bitch. I ain’t expectin’ her to be alive, but I sure as Nether is dark ain’t lettin’ her stay here. If I see them things in yer head so much as sparkle I swear to fuck I will pull this fucking trigger! Do not test me.” Lolanene sounded angrier than she’d ever been.
“I”ve told you multiple times, you deranged little freak, she’s still alive.” Myrrhdta sounded more annoyed than afraid. Maria supposed being 600 years old probably made her hard to frighten. Myrrhdta motion toward Maria and said “She’s right here. She looks a bit different than she used to, but she’s alive.”
Lolanene glanced over, still aiming the weapon at Myrrhdta. Her expression went from wrathful, to shocked, to horrified. “M-maria?” The gun fell to the floor with a loud clatter.
Maria just stared silently, afraid to speak. Mirideth showed no such fear. “It’s both of us, Lolanene. Maria, and Mirideth. I’m sorry.”
“Y-you what? I… What.. are you?” Lolanene seemed to be struggling to maintain her composure.
Maria finally spoke. “I’m not sure what I am anymore, Lolanene. But… I’m still in here. I’m still me… I think.”
Lolanene had tears in her eyes, she smiled. “Maria… I thought you were dead. Niarith ain’t woken up yet, I was alone. I thought I was… alone again.”
Maria tried to stand up. A cacophony of mechanical sounds erupted from her body as she did, but she managed it. As she did, she realized what one of the unfamiliar signals had been. Behind her, she felt a long, thin appendage, which she was able to move like any other limb. She had a tail. She swung it around in front of her so she could see it. It was made of segmented black metal, and had a blade on the end of it. She turned to Lolanene, her tail swinging back behind her, idly swaying around.
“You’re not alone. I’m here. I may be... different than I was, but I’m here, Lolanene.”
Lolanene didn’t hesitate, she sprung forward and hugged Maria tightly. “Maria, I don’t care what’cha look like. You’re family. I was gonna drag yer fuckin’ corpse outta here if I had to. I thought that’d be what happened. So yer some kinda cyborg robot now, whatever, you’re alive.”
Maria would have cried were she capable of it. She carefully hugged back, not sure of her strength yet.
As the hug ended, Myrrhdta spoke “As heartwarming as this little reunion is, I’m afraid I can’t let you leave. Your body is my property. And I’m not gonna just let you fly away with Mirideth. I’m not watching her fly out of my life. Not again.” Maria turned to her, she had picked up the pistol Lolanene had dropped, and was aiming it at them.
“Hey, listen, doctor, if you shoot me, you’ll kill Mirideth too.” Maria had her clawed metal hands up in front of her.
Myrrhdta laughed “You think I’ll believe that? I can just scoop her up out of that junk heap I built. Keep her in a jar. Keep her with me. Forever. You’re not taking her from me. You’re NOT!” her voice was becoming increasingly unhinged.
Mirideth spoke from within Maria’s body, she sounded incredibly sad, yet also emotionless. “Myrrh… I don’t want to stay. It’s been 200 years. You have to let me go. I let go of any chance of us being together again a century ago. Time for you to do the same. I cherish the time we had together, but I accept that time has passed. Please, accept it too.”
Myrrhdta’s aim wavered, but she didn’t put the gun down. “B-but our plan. You merge with this weak minded bitch, gain full control, we can be together…”
“The plan failed, Myrrh. And now I don’t think it’s a plan I would’ve been happy with if it had succeeded. I don’t want to lose Maria. I love her. I’m simply too broken to show it correctly. I am a horrible person, Myrrhdta. The things I’ve done are irredeemable. You don’t know what I did in the time between our last meeting.” Mirideth sounded like she was deeply hurting, emotionally.
“I… I don’t care. Miri I don’t care what you’ve done! I love you…”
Mirideth’s voice made a sort of sniffling noise, then said “I love you too, Myrrhdta.” Maria felt a sudden surge of energy, an intense heat building within her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want this. Any of it.” The energy continued to build, electricity arced between parts of Maria’s metallic body. “You leave me little choice.”
It all happened quickly. The energy hit a peak, Maria felt her tail move seemingly of its own accord. And within less than a second, her tail had slashed Myrrhdta’s throat. It continued slashing all across and through her body. Her body fell apart, in a horrifying fashion. Blood pooled on the floor as Maria’s tail came under her control once more.