Summary: She awakes, shocked by the realm of chaos that is now the Earth. But with the help of the stichpunks, she may be the key to reawakening humanity.
Author's Note: Ahh mah gawd. I never realized how popular this fic was until I was hurtled by reviews only a few days after ;_; But I'll try to keep updates steady!
The library was disappointing for Adele to see. She should have seen the brunt of it when she first emerged the labs, but this was too tragic for words.
"This is madness," Adele shook her head in disappointment, "What kind of monsters would destroy such a place?"
"We'll be safer here," 9 said hesitantly, not meaning to avoid the topic, "There aren't as many monsters around but if there are any, they won't get in."
7 made a much more gentle approach. "Did you like the library a lot before the wars?"
"Very much," she said, looking around. Many of the statues were still intact, but many more windows were smashed through, doors ripped off their hinges and books scattered everywhere. There were cracked tiles below her feet, the former pattern barely visible, "My Grandpa made many contributions here. We also had a great uncle who was a sculptor, he made all the statues here." she gestured to the still faced muses circling the building, "Grandpa brought me here when I was just a toddler and taught me how to read and write."
"3 and 4 managed to teach us that too," 9 replied, walking through the courtyard with his lamp staff lighting the dark path, "We're learning how to care and cultivate the plants and creatures we find,"
"You found some?" Adele asked eagerly. 9 and 7 looked down sheepishly. The twins had scurried on ahead into the safety of the library, dusting off pages and flashing as they kept cataloging.
"They're...not very impressive," 9 admitted bashfully, "We've got a little bowl of krill, these little red things like fish you know? And then they're some cockroaches-"
"They're actually kind of creepy," 7 shuddered, "They crawl around really weird-like-"
"I know," Adele said with an equal purse of the mouth in disgust, "We considered them pests before...but I guess we can't discriminate when it comes to the regeneration of life."
"We also found some dandelions...and a daisy."
"A daisy..." Adele murmured, remembering wind-swept fields that were positively speckled with them. "It used to be that you could go blind with the sight of all the daisies in the world...but I don't think I've ever been happier to know there's at least one."
"But we've hit a real find!" 7 encouraged, "Nearly every species in the world are all tucked away in the labs! All we have to do now is wake them up."
"Actually," Adele halted, uneasy, "It may take a while...even if we find the keys."
9 and 7 were flabbergasted. "What?" 9 gaped, "Wait? But...this is the repopulating of the world!"
"Exactly." Adele crouched down in the middle of the courtyard in front of the two stitchpunks, "And just look what they'll have to live with. There's barely anything green for herbivores to eat...and we have to let them populate at their own pace before letting carnivores roam free." Adele ran her hands through a patch of dirt in a missing tile, letting it sift through her fingers. It was dusty and desolate...almost like sand.
"The world...if I can charter a guess, is too sick to care for a large population that we're going for. We have to nurse it back, make things green again, before going on."
9 and 7 looked at each other in disbelief...but Adele had an excellent point. The stitchpunks had to dig deep down into the ground just to find suitable dirt to grow their plants in, and it was hard searching for water for the krill and reguvenating the plants. But with their goal set, they couldn't help it...they wanted the earth green again and soon.
"I'm...I'm sorry," apologized Adele, head bowed as she bit her lower lip in regret, "I know I shouldn't sound so harsh-"
"No...no it's fine." 9 halted her talk, "We...we just went through a lot to get as far as we've gotten. We're just eager is all."
At this time, the twins were scurrying along the path, tugging on the hem of Adele's skirts as their eyes flashed. They were oblivious to the conversation and were smiling, causing Adele to smile back.
"Hmm? Yes alright we're coming." She stood up and followed the twins quickly inside. There were chains of lights from Christmas tree decorations lighting up the place, books still strewn all over. But in it's own sheltered spot, one simple leather tome laid in its own tidy spot. The twins kept blinking from Adele to the book. Adele smiled curiously. "A present?" she asked, pointing at the book. They nodded. Adele smiled even wider as she gently picked up the leather book, untying the leather straps. She saw the name on the inside cover, putting a hand to her mouth in shock.
"This...this is one of my Grandpa's journals..."
"One? How many were there?" 7 asked, climbing over Adele's crossed legs to get a better look.
"Many," Adele traced the old inked name Johannes Hauven with her fingertips, "Several of them for his day to day life, and even more for his research," She looked over the date, "This is one of the oldest...I was only 6 when he was writing in this." Despite the disbelief, she hugged it to her chest, looking at the twins with true gratitude, "You really, really can't imagine what this means to me."
The twins merely flickered their lenses in a simple fashion, before clambering up with 7 onto Adele's lap. 9 climbed on too, and Adele opened the journal to the last page. Before reading it aloud, 9 intervened.
"Why are you reading the last page first?"
"It's a habit," Adele shrugged. "I've read lots of literary journals before and I like the mystery behind learning from present to past."
She began to read...the last page dated July 13th, 1941. She couldn't help but smile at the familiar, tidy handwriting of her grandfather as she read;
"Tonight heralds a special occasion." she started out loud, "As my son-in-law Albert has finally decided to serve our country properly by enlisting himself in the army. He leaves for basic training tomorrow morning and we just had a celebratory party tonight. Helen, despite her previous distress over such a hazardous occupation, could not help beaming over the sight of her husband in uniform. Even Adele, only seven years old, seems happy with her father. The family had all congregated, as well as some family friends."
"Helen and Albert," 7 mused at the pages, "Were those your parents?"
"Yes," Adele nodded, "My mother was Grandpa's daughter, and she ran her own laundering business. Papa used to work with horses, but decided to join the army so he might serve a better cause."
"Young Adele," she continued, "Has barely let go of Zero the entire evening. I know Zero wasn't my best work, its been a while since I've taken up the old toy-making habit. But Adele has been thrilled to have him; constantly swinging him about and playing with him. It's such a relief to see her with something like company...she's yet to go to school and its unhealthy for young girls to be so lonely. That may very well change when she attends school for the first time this fall semester. I managed to convince Helen to let me help with the fees; to be blunt, a laundress doesn't make as much money in this world anymore, and in anycase the school fees for the girl's academy can be quite costly. I don't mind it at all, I have too much of it from my old days and it makes me happy to see it put to good use."
"Who's Zero?" 9 asked.
"My doll," Adele said, turning the page. "He looks a bit like you all, only..." she trailed off, "Well he's different."
"Where is he?"
"I don't know," whispered Adele softly. Her eyes looked distant in memory, "I don't know where he went after I was put away."
"I am surprised to see yet another journal filled with memories." The journal kept on...the last page somewhat damaged from age, "The days pass me by so quickly that it seems like yesterday that my Helen was married and bearing Adele. Only my record of journals tell me how long it's truly been. Yet the memories stay strong in my mind as I write. Soon I shall be joining my colleagues at the university as a professor, though they still joke about my former profession now and again. After all...how many toymakers become scientists?"
"The end," Adele finished, snapping the book shut with a smile. 3 and 4 however, tugged on dress, silently pleading for another entry reading. "No more tonight...we need to save some for another day." She yawned as the stitchpunks scrambled off her, leaning into a corner of the library. The floor was smothered with books, but she was so tired that they could have been laced with spikes and she'd think them clouds.
"Good night," she said sleepily, closing her eyes. She felt the scuttling of the twins, their clicking flashes, and then no more. It wasn't until she entered a true slumber did she feel them cuddling into the side of her chest, listening quietly to the foreign sound of a beating heart.
"Do you think she's capable?" 7 asked 9, as they stood guard at the entrance. "Adele I mean."
9 was quiet. He'd been a leader for such a short time, maybe three months. Adele was a foreign concept to him...he'd never seen humans while they were alive, and even the state of their existence couldn't compare with knowing a real, living breathing human. It would be a challenge.
"I'm still not sure," he replied hesitantly, "She lacks experience...but just look at her. She'd never expected the world to be like it is now."
"Still, I'm worried," 7 said, keeping her helmet above her lenses, "Humans don't exactly have the advantages we do. In comparison to us...they can die with a single misstep. What if we wake up tomorrow and see that she's gotten herself killed? We can't open all those pods by ourselves very easily."
"We've just got to trust her for now," 9 decided, "She trusts us...and let's not forget that she's the Creator's granddaughter. All it takes is for us to point her in the right direction."
7 remained silent. The moon glowed wide and bright in the night, stars unseen behind the thick clouds. They grew grayer and clearer everyday...the rains coming in more often now. With the threat of the Fabrication Machine gone, life was slowly coming back on its own. It made 7 think more clearly on the matter.
"But what about what the humans have done?" 7 finally said. A heavy weight seemed to grow on 9's shoulders at the statement, "They made those machines...the gases and the bombs. They killed themselves off. What do we do if they just do it all over again?"
"Adele..." 9 stuttered slightly, shaking his head, "Adele is different. She's seen the brunt of it, and it must have torn her apart to see her world destroyed like this. She won't be one to ignore the past and repeat her mistakes."
"But what if you're wrong?"
9 flinched inwardly. He couldn't help remembering saying the same thing to 5 when he struggled on his descion to save 2. And how'd his plan end? Disaster. 2 dead, the Fabrication Machine on the rampage, and the eventual cost of some of his dearest friends. What if he was wrong? What if Adele wasn't as she seemed...and was only conniving for a chance at world conquest as the Chancellor had?
"We have to try."
Adele was different. She'd expressed concern and panic for the wellbeing of the world, for her family and for humans she may not have even known. Her heart had broken at the news of her grandfather's death...and even without knowing the entire history of the stitchpunks, she'd decided to trust them. She slept peacefully now...not because she felt the stitchpunks were beneath her in power. She trusted them.
"She decided to trust us first. We have to learn to trust her in return..."
That's all folks! Tune in next time for when Adele seeks out her grandfather's lab, and experiences dreams that may bring back lost friends.