Chapter Eight: IN which there are wakes
Jin sat in the private hospital room in an emotionally and mentally dead state zoning out while she stared at the cryo-tank Daniella Rigby was in. Her thoughts drifted to everything that had happened in the past month. It started after they had gone to Thorn Island and faced the Thorn Tree for the first time. Dani had more endurance that evening then usual, and then in the morning, Jin had woken to the leaves… that was just the beginning. Dani was falling asleep more and more often, she’d fall asleep on the way to places, or disappear for days at a time. The biggest gap was when she went missing for two weeks and Jin spent most of her time looking for her. After that, Aysel had found out about the changes to Dani’s digestive system that were occurring. It had become really important that Jin get in and get the samples of Daniella’s blood from her mother’s labs.
Aysel had helped make plans. Of course the original plans involved taking Dani with her, but the way Dani had been sick lately… something could happen, and Jinlan wasn’t willing to take the risks involved. She’d find another way. The muse… well, the intimacy and inspiration she’d given had been great, the viruses for cybernetic controls that the demonic woman had helped inspire would be useful with the guards at the facility, and Jeannette… Jeannette had been being a very good friend, mentor, and lover.
Jeannette seemed to understand Jin, her needs, and her situation. When Jin had told Aysel this, the realization that Dani wouldn’t understand that sort of intimate friendship hit her hard. She had Jeannette arrange for getting her into Paragon, and had borrowed the Apaches so she could… practice coming on to men. The thought of doing anything with a man physically made Jin heave, but she had to do this the quick and sneaky route. The quick and sneaky route meant she may have to seduce a guy long enough to knock him out or lose him. When the pack of them assured her that if they didn’t know that she was a lesbian they would think she was seriously hitting on them; she felt confident in her plan. Didn’t need it of course, the guard on duty was a woman… and the facility had really nice lounges for that sort of thing. A holographic switch up later and Jin was in Dr. Rigby’s lab, and out again.
She got the samples home and had been working at something at the University when she found Dani… she was in bad shape, but Jin wasn’t thinking clearly… and was feeling guilty as sin for sleeping with the guard when she probably hadn’t had to go that far. She did a bad thing, or perhaps it was a good thing. She confessed what she had done… the other women. It had been horrible timing, Dani was already in bad shape… this news sent her into a coma. Jin had carried her all the way to Sharkhead to Aysel’s place. That was the beginning of theses nights in the hospital.
She hadn’t been taking much time off at all. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. She was pulling jobs with Jeannette and some of her associates, she had met her academic and intellectual equal in a woman from another shard named Ami Mizuno, they had really clicked right away. It was something Jin needed right now, someone to mind merge with and get the ideas out… it also helped that Ami was an android and had degrees in things she never would have time for… medicine and psychology to begin with. It was a first step in something that would become what Jinlan decided was redemption. She had never been naïve enough to believe the things she did in the isles were helping the world, but no one would hire her after she had tried to make money for her research with landscape architecture and had got a bit artful with putting in a few Devouring Earth trees for accent and security. They’d charged her with four counts of negligent homicide, which could have been manslaughter except she acknowledged the fact that she knew that bringing in Devouring Earth to someone’s guardian was like asking for someone to get killed, even if she did think she had them trained. So they’d been ready to give her five years minimum, that’s about when Arachnos broke her and a bunch of people a lot less mentally stable then her out. They forced her into a two year contract; which she had to take, no one would hire her at all back then, her theories were laughed at, and she needed the funding.
Until she had met Dani… she hadn’t even thought about trying to undo the wrongs she had done during that period. Now the contract was up, and Ami and the research that could be done for the good of the world was looking pretty appealing, so she’d been running with that, and finding even more reasons to work for the world as she did. Of course, she’d had to go sit down with Hero and Freedom Corps respectively, which took two days the first time, and then another week to get paperwork and a settlement that involved a parole officer. Lucky for Jinlan she’d started making some good contacts in Paragon… Ami, Jeanne Delacroix (Jeannette’s doppelganger, which was a reaaaal mind blower, the woman was a nun from another dimension) and others. Davies was being a lot less hard on her now that she’d proven she was trying to do some good.
She’d been working anywhere from 14-20 hours a day on this, and the other 4-8 hours she was either at the hospital, or trying to sleep. She wasn’t getting much of either. Pyrite had proposed to Aysel, Aysel was becoming a bridezilla. This also meant that Jin had to tell Rostov about his brother… so the guy didn’t find out if Aysel had him come to the wedding, which was a possibility now, Ays had recruited K’Trone and two of her shards, as well as Rostov to keep her board of directors in her favor, and Pyr’s sister was dating Vic… Luckily Rostov didn’t kill her, though he sure looked like it for a while, and was put on more babysitting detail. Thank god for video and technology; if she didn’t have the cameras and trackers she stuck on the kids, she’d be in real trouble.
Movement from the tank interrupted Jin’s thoughts. Daniella was awake.