Viktor enters the room. He stops. He observes.
It is a clean room, clean but full of things. It reminds him of his old laboratory, except that instead of machine parts the shelves are lined with potions and things in glass bottles, and instead of technical drawings the walls are covered in anatomical charts.
Viktor does not like this room. It reeks of humanity, of flesh, of weakness.
There is a skull that stares at him from across the room. It is a large skull, fanged and menacing.
It is bone. Weak. Metal is stronger than flesh, and bone is a poor alternative.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, sir. I’ll be with you in a moment.”
The voice comes from an open door next to the skull. Approximately 2 moments later, the man that Viktor has been sent to see appears.
Viktor observes. The man is just passing the prime of his life; approximately 43 years of age. He wears Institute robes, but green, not the usual cream. Odd. There is another oddity. The man has a metal band wrapped around his head. It connects to a large patch of steel that covers his left temple. Viktor remembers what he has been told of this man, of Korin Barns, Chief Naturalist of the Institute of War.
“Your head wound. It is responsible for your unique medical condition.”
Korin seems to be exhibiting signs of discomfort. Odd.
“I’m sure you’ve already been told what to expect. I’ll be running you through some flexibility and strength exercises before the intensive examination, which might take a while due to your augmentations. I’ll need to catalogue those as well-”
Viktor isn’t listening. He interrupts.
“I had thought myself to be the only one of my kind. This is untrue. You and I share a number of basic qualities.”
Korin is most certainly squirming.
“I wouldn’t go that far… anyway, after the examination I’ll have you demonstrate your technomantic abilities and-”
“You are as I am. Above the whims of the flesh. More than human.”
Sweat, reddening. Stress patterns.
“- that should about finish it-”
“You must tell me what your experience has been. I require more data if my plan is ever to unfo-”
There is a brief blur of movement. Viktor realizes that Korin has moved towards him suddenly, seemingly with violent intent. Korin is red, teeth clenched, breathing harsh. Viktor recognizes the signs of barely-controlled rage.
“I am not like you, Viktor. You may presume many things, but I am nothing like you.”
Korin backs off suddenly, hands raised in something like submission.
“I’m sorry. I still carry a lot of baggage.”
Viktor is curious.
“I do not understand. Your reactions are not those of a man devoid of emotion, but your brain damage…”
“Someone has misled you, Viktor. I am mentally a eunuch. I feel no desire, no romantic love, that’s it. I can still experience a full range of emotions. My experience, since you asked, has been somewhat trying, but it’s better when people aren’t prying into my mind. You’ve just come from the Judgement, so I think you know what its like.”
Viktor considers this.
“I will correct my erroneous conclusion. Thank you for the input.”
“You’re not even upset that I just about attacked you?”
“Of course not. Emotional responses are for lesser beings.”
Korin rolls his eyes.
“Well then, let’s get started. First question; what do you think of Cho’gath here?”
Korin indicates the skull.
“Inefficient. Weak. Could use improvement.”
Korin rolls his eyes again.
“I’ll tell him you said that. Second question; who told you I was a soulless automaton, no offence?”
Viktor ponders again.
“Why is this line of questioning important?”
“I ask everyone the first question. I get a good picture of their character. Ahri, for example, was frightened of it, which told me that she’s far more human than even she thinks she is. Your response tells me that you are cold, analytical, and always looking for a way to do things better. As for the second question… I’m just curious.”
Viktor nods. He remembers being curious.
“Jarvan Lightshield IV told me. We met briefly on the way to this room.”
Some emotion that Viktor finds himself unable to identify crosses Korin’s face, there and gone in an instant.
“Of course. ‘Jarvan’ would say that.”
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