TITLE: Further Observations

AUTHOR: Kevin Schultz

AUTHOR'S EMAIL: davros72@earthlink.net

FEEDBACK: Yes, please

PERMISSION TO ARCHIVE: I'm fine with it, just let me know where it'll be, that's all I ask.

RATING/WARNINGS: PG, for some violence.

DISCLAIMER: SAJV and characters copyright Talisman/Promark/etc. No infringement is intended.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a sort-of sequel to an earlier story of mine, called "Observations". Really original titles, huh? Anyway, you don't need to have read the previous story to understand this one, but it helps. The Observer character has appeared in a couple of other stories of mine, but in these two he features much more prominently. This may stray near Marty-Stu territory, but hopefully not that much. Regardless, it was a fun tale to craft, and I hope it's a fun one to read as well. :-)

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PART ONE

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August 14, 18--

THREAT REPORT

Observers have noted the presence of a man in the vicinity of our London base. The man appears to have become suspicious of our activities in the area. This potential security threat passes by the entrance of our base each day as he makes his way to and from his place of employment. On several occasions this man has approached the entrance, and each time he has refrained from knocking on the door. He merely turns and walks away.

Reports suggest that this man may have seen certain of our assets, namely several of our soldiers, on at least two occasions, one of which involved the transport of a dead body by our men through an alleyway.

Our observers have learned that this man is an instructor of mathematics at a nearby secondary school. His identity is Thomas Wilson. He is married, wife's name is Pamela. They have one offspring, a daughter, name is Amanda.

Recommend capture, to be followed by conversion.

--

August 15, 18--

Recommendation approved.

--------------------

I stood in the corner of the quiet, secluded, tree-lined park. Standing placidly next to a tall, solid oak tree, its leafy canopy added to the twilight shadows, and kept my form neatly concealed from view.

I rested, with no immediate purpose or mission in mind at the moment. Most of my days were occupied by my ongoing mission -- namely, to observe and guard Rebecca Fogg. My Rebecca.

However, there were times, such as now, when the sun dipped towards the horizon, when I felt compelled to come to this small wooded area in London. The tiny sign outside by the entrance to the park named it as Miller's Park. I was uncertain as to why I was drawn here. But it did me no harm, that I could tell, and it seemed to bring me a small measure of peace.

A peace that was suddenly shattered by the cracking of a pistol shot. My senses immediately reattuned themselves, and I was even more alert now that my normal passive state. I tensed, scanning the area swiftly. Almost immediately, I spotted the source of the disturbance.

Rebecca Fogg ran down the nearby avenue, a pack of six hooded men in close pursuit behind her. The men ducked and weaved, dodging the bullets fired from Rebecca's pistol as she attempted to elude her pursuers.

I drew my own weapon, a powerful, modified, double-barreled pistol, which could fire two bullets at once. Now that I had seen my Rebecca in peril, I must defend her. As I watched, Rebecca drew near, and I trained my gun on the closest pursuer. I fired. The double shot slammed into both of the man's eye sockets, and he crumpled quickly to the ground, unmoving. The remaining men faltered, giving Rebecca the opportunity to take out three of them in quick succession.

As I watched, Rebecca dashed into my park, jumped behind a tree for cover, and glanced back. The two remaining hooded men, their guns drawn, moved cautiously from the street into the park.

The two men glanced at each other nervously, unaware that they were being watched by two persons. It was at this moment that I chose to fire again, and Rebecca fired her weapon at the same instant. Rebecca's shot cracked into one man's jaw, whilst my double shot thudded into the other man's temple. The two dead men fell against one another and slipped bloodily to the ground.

Then there was silence.

I kept my senses attuned, alert for any sign of further pursuit, but there was none. I slipped my pistol back into its holster, and gazed over at the tree behind which my Rebecca had hidden. My enhanced night vision allowed me to see a cautious Rebecca slowly moving towards me, curiosity plain on her face even in the dark night.

I suddenly felt panicked, uncomfortable at the thought of my Rebecca being so near to me. I was not ready for this.

I turned and fled from the park, leaving my bewildered Rebecca behind me.

*****

"I am telling you, that is what I saw!" Rebecca Fogg said firmly. She looked at her cousin, Phileas Fogg, noting the doubt etched in his fine features. Taking a glass of sherry from a passing Passepartout, she glanced over at her friend Jules Verne, who sat across the airship Aurora's main cabin from her and Phileas. "You believe me, don't you, Jules?"

Jules shrugged. "Well, you have to admit, it does sound somewhat implausible."

"Indeed, Rebecca," Phileas said disdainfully. "Why on earth would a member of the League of Darkness save you from yet more members of that very same evil cabal?"

Rebecca took a sip of her drink, then looked at her glass, musing. "It does seem unlikely," she admitted quietly. "But I know what I saw." Pursing her lips, she thought back to earlier that evening in the park. "And there was something about him. Something almost familiar..."

"You know what they are saying," Passepartout chimed in as he paused in his dusting. "With the uniform on, they are all looking alike."

"Quite," agreed Phileas. "With their headgear, their instruments, and their identical black clothing, you must agree that all of the League's Observers do look rather indistinguishable from one another."

Rebecca idly swirled the liquid in her glass with a gentle hand motion. "It was more than his appearance, though," she said thoughtfully. "I was as if we had met before."

"Well, perhaps you have," Jules said agreeably. "We have encountered the League on more than one occasion."

"That is quite an understatement," Rebecca chuckled, her spirits lightened.

"There," Phileas said, "you see? Familiarity breeds familiarity."

"Contempt," Rebecca corrected.

"That as well," Phileas answered smoothly, the twinkle sparkling in his eyes.

Rebecca sighed, smiling resignedly. "That must be it, then. You know, I will be heartily glad when the League of Darkness is gone for good."

"Hear, hear," Jules said, raising his glass in a toast, to which the others all solemnly saluted.

*****

In a dark, dank cavern, deep below London, a cloaked figure approached a metal door. The figure shuddered nervously as the large door clanked open. Trepidatiously, the man crept inside the chamber revealed beyond the doorway.

He could see nothing, for it was pitch black inside, the light from the hallway failing to penetrate beyond the entrance. Yet the man could sense the malevolent presence of his Lord and Master, the disfigured and dismembered Count Gregory. The Count was apparently in another of his black moods, which were becoming more and more common of late. The cloaked man dreaded coming here, especially with the news he had been ordered to deliver.

"Speak," the dark, sepulchral voice of Count Gregory boomed from within the blackness.

"My Lord," the man whispered fearfully, "we have--"

"Permit me to correct my previous order," Count Gregory growled. "Perhaps I was unclear. Speak UP!"

"My Lord," the man began again, his voice now audible to any in the chamber and the corridor behind him. "We have learned the fate of the sentries at the excavation site. They have been... killed."

The man whimpered and cringed as he heard his master sigh deeply.

"It was to be expected, I suppose," the Count grumbled. "I take it Rebecca Fogg killed them all and took the Dagger of Memory?"

"Yes..."

There was a pause.

"I sense there is more," Count Gregory hissed.

"My Lord, it is reported that Rebecca Fogg was assisted by... someone else."

"Who?"

"Apparently, an Observer."

"Not him again!" the dark voice raged. The messenger felt the ground tremble, and he stumbled backwards towards the corridor, clutching at his head.

"Destroy him!" Count Gregory boomed. "Find him and destroy him once and for all! And make sure our men do it properly this time! I never want to hear of this renegade Observer again, do you understand me?!"

Blood oozing from his cortical lobe stud, the messenger nodded, terrified, then turned and fled from the chamber.

--------------------

August 16, 18--

AFTER-ACTION REPORT

Threat of discovery neutralized. We have captured target Thomas Wilson this morning as he was walking to his school. He put up a minimum of resistance, but did manage to injure one of our men with his briefcase. After that, he was quickly rendered unconscious and brought to the base.

Subject may prove useful in capacity of Observer, due to his strong mind, as suggested by his profession of educator.

Recommend subject be analyzed for Observer potential.

--

August 16, 18--

Recommendation approved.

--------------------

Dusk was slipping into night as Rebecca approached Miller's Park. She felt compelled to unravel the mystery of her odd savior of the previous evening, even though her friends were dismissive of the situation. And so, she had made her way back to the same park, in hopes of finding the man.

If he could even be considered a man, Rebecca thought to herself, what with all the evil experiments and alterations the League performed upon their hapless subjects.

Rebecca kept her head near her holstered pistol as she slipped from shadow to shadow as she entered the park. She paused behind a tree, scanning the area for signs of life.

Almost at once, her eyes fell upon the dark form of the Observer. He was standing perfectly still, beneath a strong tree, his goggle-clad face downturned, as if he was staring at the ground for some reason.

Taking a deep breath, Rebecca stepped towards the Observer. However, she had barely taken her first step before the silent sentinel whipped his head up, and suddenly he was staring straight at her. Almost just as quickly, his head snapped to his right, Rebecca's gaze reflexively following his.

A gang of a dozen black-uniformed men quietly entered the wooded glade. The Observer quickly drew his pistol and picked off two of the villains. Their surprise attack now clearly a failure, the remaining soldiers rushed forward, their growls carrying across the cool night air to Rebecca.

Her mind was made up in an instant. Whoever this mysterious Observer was, he was clearly on the outs with the League of Darkness. Grimly she recalled the old axiom of "the enemy of my enemy", and drew her pistol. A few swift pulls of the trigger, and three more soldiers fell lifeless to the ground.

In the space of less than a minute, Rebecca and the Observer had dispatched all but one of the soldiers. The last man had fallen to the ground, a bullet lodged in his shoulder. The dying soldier squeezed off a final bullet, which sliced across the side of the Observer's neck, releasing a weak stream of blood.

Rebecca watched the last soldier finally collapse as she shot him, then she hurried towards the Observer. The dark-clad figure tilted his head, a gloved hand touching the bleeding neck wound. Then, as if suddenly realizing what had happened, the Observer looked at Rebecca and promptly fell to the ground.

She was too late to catch him, but as she reached the Observer, Rebecca was able to cradle his head in her hands. The flow of blood from his neck had slowed, but the man's breathing had become ragged as he struggled to remain conscious.

"I... am... sorry," the Observer managed to say, his voice a wheezing rasp.

Rebecca frowned, puzzled by his words. "Don't speak," she said. "We're going to get help."

*****

The main door of the Aurora banged open, eliciting a frown from Phileas as he looked up from his evening newspaper.

"What in the name of--" Phileas broke off as he saw what had come through the door.

Rebecca staggered into the cabin, a black-clad figure in her arms. "We need help," Rebecca said curtly.

Passepartout, appearing out of nowhere as if somehow aware he was needed, hurried to Rebecca and took the Observer from her grasp.

"Take him to my room," Rebecca told Passepartout, who nodded as he complied.

Crossing the room and taking Rebecca's hands, Phileas peered intently at his cousin. "Are you hurt?" he said, concern evident in his voice and his face. "What happened?"

Gently, Rebecca disengaged herself from his grasp and led him from the cabin to her quarters. There they found Passepartout pressing a bandage against the Observer's neck wound. As she watched Passepartout minister to their guest's injuries, Rebecca related the recent events that had brought them here.

Passepartout stood back from the Observer, who now rested peacefully, having finally fallen asleep. "He is being bettered, now," the valet announced quietly. "His cut in the neck, it looks not very bad."

"Thank you, Passepartout," Rebecca said, squeezing his shoulder gratefully.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Phileas asked as he stared down at the sleeping figure on Rebecca's bed. "Bringing a member of the League of Darkness aboard my dirigible--"

"Phileas, this man is no more a member of the League of Darkness than you or I," Rebecca said evenly, her jaw set. She turned her powerful glare onto Phileas. "The League just tried to kill him tonight."

"Hmmm," Phileas replied. Thrusting his hands coolly into his pockets, he went on. "How do we know this isn't some sort of elaborate deception?"

Rebecca looked down at the Observer. "I know it," she said firmly, quietly.

Knowing his cousin's formidable mind quite well, Phileas simply nodded. He still harbored some doubts, but was willing to trust Rebecca's judgment. He did not usually capitulate so easily, except to his cousin.

"I think we should let him rest," Rebecca said as she looked at Phileas and Passepartout. "Passepartout, please summon Jules. I think we could use his input in this matter."

--------------------

August 18, 18--

ANALYSIS REPORT

Subject Thomas Wilson demonstrates powerful intelligence. His keen analytical mind will be of great benefit in his role as Observer. His heightened mental powers should prove helpful in the field, yielding quick and accurate judgments.

Recommend immediate conversion of subject Thomas Wilson to Observer.

--

August 19, 18--

Recommendation approved.

--------------------

Jules rushed into Rebecca's bedroom, halting uncertainly as he saw the dark form lying prone and unmoving on the bed. "Rebecca, what--" he began.

Rebecca shushed him as she applied a damp cloth to the side of the Observer's face, cooling what skin was visible. "He was shot, but appears to be recovering rather rapidly." She peeled away the bandage on his neck to reveal only the smallest of scars. There was no blood in evidence, apart from a small dark, dried stain on the bandage from earlier.

"So," Jules said, approaching the bed cautiously. "This is your heroic member of the League of Darkness."

Phileas harrumphed, folding his arms as Rebecca shot him a glare.

"I hardly think he is still a member of the League, Jules," Rebecca explained patiently. "The League sent men to kill him tonight. I was there, I saw it."

"If you say so," Jules said, doubt still lingering in his voice.

Passepartout bustled into the room, pushing a wooden trolley before him. The cart was laden with all manner of instruments, implements, and experiments. "Exsqueezing me," he said as he worked his way to the side of the bed. "Now, please," he continued, turning to face his friends. "I am needing space and time, so I am asking you all to be tired to the other room."

"Absolutely, Passepartout," Phileas agreed. "We shall *retire* to the other room." He guided Jules and Rebecca out into the corridor.

Jules glanced back at the doorway to Rebecca's bedroom as it slammed shut, then followed his friends into the main cabin. "What is going on?"

Phileas took a seat in one of the plush armchairs, and gazed levelly at Rebecca. "My kind and thoughtful cousin here has decided to save that poor soul back there."

Jules remained standing, and watched as Rebecca sat down across the room from Phileas. "Save him?" he said.

"Yes, Jules," Rebecca said, eyeing her cousin. "The League has performed all manner of unspeakable operations on him, as they have done to all of their Observers. Sensory enhancements, mind alterations, and goodness knows what else. Passepartout is attempting to reverse their foul engineering, and bring him back to as close a state of normalcy as is possible."

Frowning slightly, Jules voiced a concern that had been scratching at the back of his head since he saw the supine form on the bed. "But why Passepartout? Why not bring him to a hospital?"

"They wouldn't know what to make of him, Jules," Rebecca explained sadly. "Most likely he would be reported to the authorities, and they would attempt to utilize him for their own purposes."

"But is that such a bad thing? To have one of them working for us? It could be a potential breakthrough in our fight against the League."

"No," Rebecca said firmly. "That would mean leaving him less than human. And that is something I will not allow."

"So, as you can see," Phileas added, "we are now apparently willing to welcome a potential enemy spy into our midst."

"When will you get it through that thick skull of yours that he is NOT a member of the League, Phileas?" Rebecca said, her temper flaring. "When he puts a bullet into the head of Count Gregory? Would that convince you?"

"That would suit me quite well," Phileas replied, smiling coldly.

"Stop it, both of you!" Jules shouted. The two Foggs looked over at him. "This bickering is pointless." He gestured back down the corridor. "That man is a human being, in case you've forgotten, Fogg. He deserves every chance he can get of a free, human existence. Not this twisted thing that he has been turned into. And if Passepartout can help bring him back, then I say let him do all he can."

"Thank you, Jules," Rebecca said, looking smugly at her cousin.

"And as for his future loyalties," Jules continued, "that very well may be in doubt. We don't know the circumstances of his recruitment into the League, or of his conversion. For all we know, he may have been a willing subject. He may have been a member by his own free choice. And if that is the case, there may be no telling where his loyalty may lie once he is brought back. Caution must be observed."

Phileas gazed coolly back at Rebecca. "Thank you, Verne."

Jules turned and looked at the closed door. "Time will reveal all." He sighed, and walked over to the table, tapping thoughtfully on its surface. Suddenly his eyes brightened. "The Dagger of Memory!"

"Pardon?" Phileas said.

"No," Rebecca quickly shot back.

"It could be the answer to our questions, Rebecca," Jules said excitedly.

"No, Jules," Rebecca repeated emphatically.

"Excuse me," Phileas interjected impatiently. "What are you two talking about?"

Jules started pacing, his mind turning. "The Dagger of Memory. Rebecca retrieved it on her last mission. Legend has it that the wielder of the blade could absorb the thoughts and memories of a person by plunging the Dagger into that unfortunate victim's heart."

"Do you mean to say," Phileas said, "that if we stab this Observer with the Dagger, we may discover his past? Actually see his memories?"

"So the legend goes," Jules nodded.

"I refuse to allow anyone to inflict harm upon that man," Rebecca declared imperiously. "It is too dangerous."

"But--"

"No!" Rebecca cut Jules short. "That is final."

Jules pursed his lips. He nodded, looking dejected. "I understand."

"Let us wait and see how Passepartout fares," Rebecca said, her voice softening as she turned her gaze towards the floor in contemplation.

--------------------

September 23, 18--

TRAINING REPORT

Observer 147 training concluded successfully. All physical and mental enhancements working perfectly. All implants running at peak efficiency. Brainwash and mindwipe complete success.

Observer 147 was ordered on his first official mission. Ordered to kill Pamela Wilson and Amanda Wilson, his former wife and daughter. Objective was carried out flawlessly. Observer 53 reports the wife recognized her husband, pleading with him just before he shot her in the head without a second thought. No recognition of victim appears to have registered with Observer 147.

Death of the daughter followed immediately.

continued

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Swimming? I do not recall being near water recently. So why do I wake up and find myself swimming?

No. No, I am not swimming. Neither am I awake. At least, not fully. This must be what is referred to as a dream. Or something very much like it. For as long as I can remember, I have never had a dream. I sleep, but no dreams come.

I struggle to reach wakefulness. I feel hazy, and I think I see something. Something... simple. No, not simple. Something... uncategorized. Unknown. Whereas previously my mind would quickly and efficiently identify anything I saw, I felt none of that now.

This produces another sensation.

Fear.

This was not how I was. I have lost something. A connection? A connection to... something.

I hear voices nearby.

Dagger of Memory? Seeing memories... What does that mean? Yes! Perhaps this could help me find what I have lost, this connection I am lacking.

I force my eyes wide open, and am nearly blinded by the unfiltered light. My vision enhancer is gone as well. What is happening to me?

I sit up, startling the man who is bent over me, clutching a pair of odd-looking instruments. Again I struggle to identify, and again I fail.

"Master!" the man yelps. At least I still comprehend the English language. The man stumbles backwards, hitting the wall behind him.

My hearing, which appears to be unaffected by whatever is happening to me, picks up the sound of approaching footsteps. I have to act quickly. I look around the small room, and almost immediately I find it.

A dagger.

It is lying on top of a dresser, amongst a number of other weapons, mostly projectile in nature. Only one bladed weapon. This must be it. I jump out of the bed and rush over. I sieze the dagger, looking closely at it. It looks unremarkable.

Suddenly, the door crashes open, and in rush two men, followed by...

My breathing stops.

My Rebecca.

Bits of my recent memory rush back. My regular tree in my park. My Rebecca. Soldiers. The League. Gunplay. Darkness.

I move toward my Rebecca, holding the dagger in my outstretched hand. She will know what to do, I am certain of it.

Everyone in the room freezes.

"See, Rebecca?" the tall man with short dark hair says. "The first chance he gets, he makes an attack!"

"No!" my Rebecca says sternly. Her eyes pierce into mine, and I halt, my arm still held out.

Rebecca moves gently towards me. "You do not wish to harm us, do you?" she says. "I know you don't." My Rebecca is speaking to me! I am so shocked, I cannot make a sound.

Rebecca reaches out for the dagger, clearly hoping to disarm me. No, I cannot let that happen. I must know what has gone wrong!

I am sorry, my sweet Rebecca, but I must do this. I am sorry it has to be you.

As her hand grasps mine, I pull, and together we plunge the dagger into my heart.

*****

Rebecca gasped, and struggled to pull back, but it was too late. The Dagger slipped almost effortlessly into the Observer's heart, and Rebecca felt the world go black.

Black.

White.

Black. White. Black. White. Blackwhiteblackwhite--

Then pictures. Still pictures, as if flipping quickly through a book. Faces, locations, objects. All these and more assaulted Rebecca's mind as she hurtled crazily through the Observer's mind.

Now she saw herself. She saw herself firing a pistol at her head. No, not her head, actually. At the Observer's. This must be some time in the past. The pistol shot exploded, and she felt herself struck, her vision blacking out.

Nothing.

And then, herself again. Rebecca strolling through London. Rebecca on perilous adventures across the globe. Rebecca always at a distance. Rebecca through the trees, Rebecca from the rooftops.

A glimpse of a paper. The words, "Termination Order -- Observer 147" neatly printed.

Running. Escaping from the League of Darkness.

Then more Rebecca. Always at a distance. One time, however, fairly nearby. Aboard a League airship, in the company of the Frankenstein Creature, in the icy wastes of the Arctic.

Back in London, and more observations of Rebecca.

And interspersed throughout the rush of memories and visions, the park, and the tree.

Last night. The attack. Shot. Then seeing herself, here, now. Feeling the dagger slicing into her heart.

Black.

--------------------

TRAINING REPORT, continued

Observer 147 was then ordered by Observer 53 to dispose of the bodies of his two victims. The corpses were taken to a nearby wooded park and buried beneath a tall oak tree. Observer 147 was impassive throughout the mission, giving no sign of recognition of his targets at any time. No feelings or emotions whatsoever.

Recommend immediate deployment of Observer 147 into the field.

--

September 24, 18--

Recommendation approved. Have Observer 147 report immediately to Count Gregory.

--------------------

Over the next week, Rebecca stayed by the observer's side, while Passepartout continued to work on him. Passepartout had managed to remove most of the artificial and mechanical implants, but a few of the smaller items that he was afraid to remove for fear of damaging the Observer remained.

During this period, the Observer remained unconscious. While his physical healing was evident, most notably by how his organs and skin rapidly knitted themselves back together, his mental state was a question mark. Even so, Rebecca kept vigil by his side.

Eventually, the Observer opened his eyes. Immediately the eyes shifted to Rebecca.

"How are you feeling?" Rebecca said kindly, leaning forward in her chair.

The observer thought for a moment. "Different."

"I should think so."

"I feel... better. I think."

"More like your old self?" Rebecca asked hopefully.

"Do you mean like before I became this thing you see now? I am afraid I cannot remember anything from before. All I can recall is my life as an Observer."

Rebecca poured him a glass of water from her bedside table. "Here, drink this."

The Observer took the proffered glass gratefully, and drank as if he had gone without for years. He set the glass down and smiled at Rebecca.

"It is... different, seeing you with my real eyes," the Observer said quietly.

"Ah." Rebecca shifted uncomfortably. "About that..."

"My observations of you?" the Observer asked guiltily.

Rebecca nodded.

"From what I can recall, I was on an assignment. I was sent to observe you on one of your missions, and report back to Count Gregory. However, you discovered me, and shot me. I was wounded, the bullet had damaged my head."

"Oh, dear," Rebecca said sadly. "I was afraid it was something like that, from the visions I saw."

"Do not be troubled. You were protecting yourself, your friends, your mission. Afterwards, I... malfunctioned. Count Gregory banished me after it was clear I could no longer perform my duties. I, however, felt my mission was not completed. So I continued watching you. Eventually, that developed into protecting you as well."

"Hmmm," Rebecca said. "Thank you."

"I was only doing my job, or so I thought. Now, however, with many of my... internal adjustments removed or disengaged, I know what happened, and what I am. I just do not know *who* I am."

"You truly remember nothing of your previous life before your conversion?"

The Observer shook his head, scratching at his recently-uncovered dark hair. "No, I do not even remember my name."

Rebecca pursed her lips, brushing a lock of hair from her face. "Perhaps we can rectify that, at least."

"You mean..."

"Yes," Rebecca said. "We shall give you a name."

The Observer smiled . It was the first time Rebecca could remember seeing him smile. "I would be honored."

Taking a deep breath, Rebecca made up her mind. "Very well. Welcome aboard, Ian."

"Ian!" the Observer said happily. "I like it. Thank you, Rebecca." He faltered. "May I call you Rebecca?"

She smiled fondly at him. "I think we're on a first name basis already, Ian."

The two new friends laughed together.

*****

Later that night, as Ian slept peacefully in Rebecca's bed, Rebecca and Phileas were sharing a drink in the main cabin.

"It's going to be a long road, but he will recover," Rebecca said. "Mostly."

"Mostly?" Phileas said, lifting an eyebrow.

Rebecca nodded. "Physically, he still retains some enhancements that Passepartout was unable to fully remove. For instance, he has a heightened sense of smell. Mentally, he seems stable. A bit eccentric, perhaps, but certainly not a danger, to himself or anyone else. And he retains a very encyclopedic memory, with certain gaps here and there."

"That should prove interesting."

"Indeed." Rebecca sipped at her drink. She looked over at Phileas. "I gave him a name."

"Did you?"

"Ian."

Phileas' face softened as he smiled wistfully. "Your father would be very proud."

Rebecca brushed at her moist eyes. "I like to think so."

Phileas leaned forward, taking Rebecca's hand. "Just be careful you do not become too... attached to this man. His obsession with you... Well, I find it rather uncomfortable."

Smiling at her cousin, Rebecca nodded. "I know, Phileas. I just... felt it was appropriate. Naming my latest 'protector' after my first."

"Not that you need any protecting."

Rebecca chuckled softly. "And don't you forget it."

*****

Ian walked alone along the sunlit avenue, drinking in the sights of London in the morning. It was his first time outside the Aurora since his de-conversion, and he was excited about the upcoming day's adventure of discovery. He wandered aimlessly through the city, enjoying the simple act of seeing, without the vision enhancements.

Eventually, he found himself entering a secluded park. Ian recognized it as the same location that he and Rebecca had fought off the League's soldiers on two occasions. He also remembered coming here often, but for reasons which still eluded him.

He strolled through the park, and stopped at a strong, sturdy oak tree. Ian breathed in deep, luxuriating in the fresh smells of the spring morning. He sat himself down, leaned his back up against the tree, and dreamt of his future.

THE END.