The Collective's Experiment

07/10/5999 P.E.
1 BBT
ALLUNIA, FIRST MOON OF GALACTYA
GENETICS RESEARCH SUPERCOMPLEX
SECTOR FOR THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF HIVEMIND ORGANISM "THE COLLECTIVE"
TESTING ROOM OMEGA-1


It was an important day for the Genetics Research Supercomplex. Two volunteers, a Drakari male and an Edhel female were sent by their respective star nations to Galactya for an experiment requested by the Council Of Subspecies and the Ministry Of Foreign Relations. The experiment was rather simple: the volunteers, together, would enter one the Collective in the main holding tank in the RDHO Sector of the Supercomplex. They would be outfitted with various telemetric monitoring sensors and an emergency release system, in case anything went wrong.

To a Galactyan, these safety measures wouldn’t seem excessive, they outright wouldn’t make sense. The Collectives were perhaps the most used public biotechnology in the Empire, used for education and entertainment. And yet, they were the only ones with no recorded accidents since their very first day in service of the public. Sure, the feeling of your body melting away and your mind joining the others felt weird and dangerous the first few times, but nobody had never been unable to exit the hiveflesh or had suffered mental or physical damage in doing so. Therefore, the safety measures didn’t make sense.

What they didn’t know (or actually just didn’t remember), is that when the Collectives were designed, their bioprocessors had been programmed to only react to a unique sequence found in every Galactyan’s DNA and in other creatures native to Galactya. That’s why there were so many safety protocols in act for the alien volunteers. The Galactyan scientist at the Complex had genuinely no idea of what would happen when an alien organism would try to enter the Collectives.

For that reason, the experiment payed many millions of Galyls to the volunteers to compensate for the danger, but signing it meant that they would have to subject themselves to a possibly deadly (or worse) environment.


After a couple of weeks of training to give the assimilation process the highest chance of success, the two volunteers were now standing in front of the Collective. Despite the scientists’ reassurances that things were going to go well, they (quite obviously) still felt uneasy and very, very nervous.

The testing room’s intercom cam to life, informing the two that they could now start the entrance process. Keeping in mind their calmness training, they started walking towards the living wall. Just before entering, the young Drakari turned to the Edhel.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

“You ready?”

“I… I guess so.”

“Ahah, I guess so too.”
“You know… if we don’t feel like it we could still go away and not do this.”

“I know, but at this point it would be a waste.”
“Also, they were so nice to us. I’d feel bad disappointing them…”

“I guess you’ve got a point there.”

The two took a deep breath, gathered themselves and, after a final moment of hesitation, pushed themselves in the Collective’s hiveflesh.

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Inside the observation room, the various scientists managing the experiment were keeping an eye on the data feed from the telemetric sensors connected to the two subjects. Both the alien volunteers had managed to enter the collective, and were now floating deeper and deeper into it. Normally, the body should start dissolving right away, but more than 10 seconds had passed since the two had entered.

“Report on vital signs?”

“No anomalies for the moment. Both subjects retain average heartbeat, pressure, breathing and neural activity.”

“The Assimilation Process is taking much longer than usual, but it should begin in a couple of seconds. The most probable cause for such a delay is the bioprocessors re-calibrating to the alien lifeforms.”


Meanwhile, floating inside the transparent hiveflesh, the Drakari and the Edhel were talking.

“How do you feel?”

“It’s… warm in here. A bit unsettling, sure, but strangely comfortable.”

“Yeah…to me it’s not like it’s bad or anything, it just feels… wrong.”

“I guess anything feels off when you’ve got liquid filling your lungs.”

“Oh gods I didn’t think about that… UGHHH WHY DID YOU REMIND ME-”

“AHAHA! Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to!”

“Eeshh… anyways, isn’t something supposed to happen?”

“I suppose. Or maybe nothing is going to happen. Maybe we’re just not compa-”

Before he could finish his phrase, the Drakari could feel a strange sensation on his fingertips. As he looked down at them, he could see them… melting.

“whaa… whaa… what is HAPPENING-”

“Y…You’re melting. Wait, am I also-”

As the Edhel also looked down at her hands, she could also see them fading away, melting into the surrounding hiveflesh.

“ah… ah… AHHHHH-”

“Ok, ok uh… we-we have to remain calm, yes, we have to remain… calm.”

“Ye-yes, you’re right. We need to c-calm down.”

In little time, their bodies melted away, starting from their finger, then to their arms and legs, then their torsos and finally, their heads. And, then those also disappeared, leaving no trace. It was like they were never there.

All of the telemetric sensors disconnected, except for the ones that reported their neural activity.

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“The Assimilation process is complete. The Collective absorbed them completely.”

“While most of the telemetric sensors have disconnected, the neural sensor is still transmitting data and is indicating that there are no anomalies in the neural activity. We should be able to establish contact with them while inside the Collective.”

“Meanwhile, I can’t say the same for the bioprocessors. It’s like they were subjected to a total reprogramming. Not only have their algorithms have changed, but also the actual disposition of the circuitry. It’s like a giant anomaly.”

“That’s… weird. I mean, the Collectives were designed to slightly alter their algorithms to be compatible with new Galactyan subspecies, but a change of this intensity shouldn’t be possible.”

“Could it be possible that the Collectives are able to reprogram themselves in proportion to the difference in DNA of the guest from standard?”

“Maybe… I don’t know, we have to look deeper into this after the first experiment is done. By the way, how are the two subjects?”

“Why don’t we ask them ourselves? Ujkioplam, if you may.”

“Oh yeah, sure.”

As per request, one of the scientists opened the communication channel with the neural sensors of the two subjects.

SUBJECT ALV AND SUBJECT DRAGE, CAN YOU HEAR ME?

After a couple of seconds, they replied, in a singular voice. Both of their original voices could be heard, but a third one, different and more ethereal, could also be heard. This, was a good sign.

YES.

EXCELLENT. HOW DO YOU FEEL?

I FEEL WEIRD.

IT'S LIKE I'M MYSELF...
BUT I'M ALSO NOT ME ANYMORE.
IT FEELS LIKE I AM HERE...
BUT I ALSO DON'T EXIST.

IT FEELS...
IT FEELS...
GOOD.

WE'RE GLAD TO HEAR THAT. HOWEVER, TIME IS UP FOR TODAY. WE WOULDN'T WANT TO RISK IT. CAN YOU TRY AND EXIT THE COLLECTIVE?

I CAN TRY TO.

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In a couple of seconds, the bodies of the two subjects could be seen reforming inside the hiveflesh, near the Collective’s border. As the torso started reforming, the telemetric sensors reactivated, the heartbeat, pressure and breathing feeds now flowing again. Things were going well, until…

“The Reformation process has started and is going smoothly, I predict the bodies should be entirely reformed in a couple of se-”

The scientist suddenly stopped, looking perplexed and a bit worried at the screens. His colleagues, worried, asked him what was wrong.

“Hey, are you alright? It looks like you suddenly saw a spirit.”

“Yeah, is something wrong with the subjects?”

“Well, the Reformation process is… slowing down.”

“Wait what?”

“Oh Shining Comet, he’s right! What’s happening?”

“The bioprocessors aren’t changing again, so I doubt it has anything to do with recalibration.”

“We’ll have to think about that later, the vital signs are going down!”

Ujkioplam hastily opened the communication line with the subjects’ neural sensors, needing to see if they were still conscious.

SUBJECT ALVE, SUBJECT DRAGE, CAN YOU HEAR ME?

No response.

ALVE, DRAGE!?

Again, not a sound came out of the interface.

“Oh my fucking Comet, we’ve lost connection!”

“Vital Signs are dropping to dangerous levels! If we don’t intervene right now, they coul not make it.”

“Oh fuck this! Activating Expulsion Protocol!”

As the scientist frantically pushed a big triangle-shaped button on the center of the interface, the lights in the testing room turned red, and the intercom came to life.

ATTENTION. THE EMERGENCY EXPULSION PROCEDURE HAS BEEN ACTIVATED. SEALING TESTING ROOM...

After the doors of the testing room closed, two large Electrocutor Arms under the Collective activated, releasing a shock of energy to the hiveflesh. The semi-liquid substance suddenly began to vibrate, as if it were boiling, and inside of it the two bodies of the subjects could be seen rapidly reforming. After a couple of seconds, two large bubbles formed on the Collective’s surface, and the volunteers were shot out of it, falling unconscious onto the floor.

The lights turned back to their normal color, and various appendages descended from the ceiling, lifting the two passed out subjects from the floor.

“Shit. Vital signs?”

“They’re stabilizing.”

“And it doesn’t seem like they suffered any damage, both mental nor physical.”

“Thank. Fucking. Comet! Ok, uhm… let’s end it for today. Bring the volunteers to the medical rehabilitation center and monitor their vital signs. We won’t continue until they feel better.”

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One week after the Test...


The Head Scientist was sitting at his desk in his office at the 261th floor of the Supercomplex. Behind him, the large colorful windows looked upon a great view of the rest of the Moon and, giant in the sky, Galactya, shimmering with it’s billions of colorful lights. He had placed in front of the desk two soft colorful armchairs, one larger and taller than the other, so that the two subjects could both sit down. Suddenly, he heard a strong knock on the door. It was the Drakari.

“Come in, come in!”

The two volunteers sheepishly walked in, and, after the Scientist motioned them to, sat on the armchairs.

“Would you like some StarTea?”

“No… thanks.”
“Thanks, but no.”

“How are you two feeling?”

“We’re feeling better now.”
“Yeah… we’re still a bit shook from what happened, but overall we’re fine.”

“I’m very glad to hear that. Anyways, I called you here because we’ve decided to conclude the experiment for now.”

“What? But we thought we did well!”

“No, no it’s not because of anything you did. You did excellent, in fact.”

“During the experiment though, we discovered that we have a lot of reprogramming and other work to do to make other species compatible, so making you stay here for what could be weeks or months would be unfair.”

“Therefore, we will repropose the contract hen we’re ready again. Nothing says you can’t re-apply.”

“Oh… alright. Wait but-”
“What about our pay? I don’t mean to be rude, but you’ll have to agree that-”

“Relieving you without paying you first?! No, no, NO, that would be so unfair! Cruel, even… Ugh, don’t make me think of that concept. Your question is valid, but don’t worry, that’s also why I called you here.”

The Scientist pulls out from a little drawer two colorful magnetic cards, decorated with colorful stars and the word “AsteroStar” written on them.

"These two credit cards have exactly 5 million Galyls, as promised. You can even keep them after you’ve emptied them and refill them later. "

“Thank you.”
“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, I should be the one thanking you. Anyways, you can go whenever you want. No hurries.”

After the two left his office, a smile formed on the Scientist’s face.
Eheh… the experiment didn’t go very well, but at least they have each other now. Something clearly happened in there that connected them indefinitely. I mean, they even completed each other’s phrases and said things in unison. Regardless of how cute this was, I don’t know how the respective nations will react to all of… this. I doubt the Drakari will have any problems, but the Edhel weren’t going to like what happened a week ago so much. It most likely wasn’t going to be a real problem though. Letting hundreds of years of alliance and trade go over something like this wouldn’t have been very wise on their part. I can’t really do anything about it though.

He opened his holoscreens and started working again on the algorithms of the bioprocessors. These were going to be long months of work.

After taking a shuttle back to Galactya’s surface and exiting the Spaceport, the two walked one of the main boulevards. After strolling for a while, they sat down at a bench in one of the parks.

“So, what do we do now?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never felt like this before. The only thing I’m certain about is that I wanna stick by you.”

“Same here. I don’t think we can go back to our own homes then.”

“Cause we wouldn’t be able to be together anymore?”

“Yes, that’s why. But I especially can’t go back since Calerost wouldn’t be happy about what we did, and I don’t know what would happen to me.”

“We could go back to my house, but the Imperium still isn’t as keen as letting the Edhel live there as it is with the Galactyans.”

“Then let’s stay here. In the Galactyan Empire. We have enough money to buy a house and make ourselves a life in one of the colonies.”

“Are you sure that it would work?”

“Think about it. Galactya outright supports interspecies relationships, and they wouldn’t question us or anything. We can even easily apply for citizenship!”

“Then let’s do it. Let’s go back to the Spaceport. I think I saw a Cruise Ship Line that went towards the outside of the Empire. We could take it, we have the money.”

“Alright then. Let’s go.”

Haerdil, Star Empire Of Calerost
25/10/5999 P.E.
18 days after the Experiment on Munos


Gladhrien was worried.

She had called her daughter three times that day, yet she hadn’t even answered once! And Trastrien wasn’t one to ignore her parents, so something had to have happened. That evening, together with her husband, she drove to her daughter’s house.

The house was dark, and it looked like nobody was home. She must have been outside then. Gladhrien tried to call her again, but there was no answer. While getting even more worried than before, she noticed a couple of packages lying behind a small column near the entrance. Her husband picked them both up and read the delivery date.

They had been there for a month.

Both her and her husband started getting, SERIOUSLY worried. Something had definitely happened to their daughter. They decided to take matters in their own hands and together, they forced the doorlock. The house was dusty. Nobody had clearly been there for multiple weeks.

After searching for a bit, her husband found a strange document on a colorful holoscreen in the kitchen. It was written in a different language. It was written in… Galactyan?! Gladhrien, who knew Galactyan even without her translator, started reading it.

It was some sort of contract about an experiment… it said that they needed volunteers for something called the Collective. It said that the job was dangerous and that they were paying the volunteers millions of Galyls. Considering that the document was Galactyan, she couldn’t even begin to imagine what those… weirdos came up with this time. But still, what was a document like that doing in her daughter’s hou-

And that’s when she saw it.

At the bottom of the document, her daughter’s signature.

Next to it, a line that said “sign here to accept the position”… She almost passed out.

After showing it to her husband, they both frantically ran out and drove to the nearest authorities.

The personnel at the station looked dumbfounded, just as them. They said that they were going to report it immediately to the higher ups, and that if they needed anything they’d help.

This was going to be the start of something big. The start of something international.

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23.15.1865. Era of Unity/ 1BBT
Princely palace, city of Calerost, Ilanor


Esgariel walked impatiently around the grand salon. She had summoned embassador Aestheyrill of the empire of Galactya because of recent events. Grand councilor Eliril was in the room too, but she was patiently waiting in a chair, reading a book. The embassador was late.

Suddenly in came a servant.

“Your royal excellency, embassador Aestheyrill has arrived”
"Send her in "

The embassador quickly enters

“Ah, embassador Aestheyrill, you’re late, which, concidering the weight of the situation, isn’t the best thing to do. Please take a seat and tell me, what is this experiment your people are conducting?”

She was speaking Forlambë, the native language of the region, now mostly replaced by universal edhel, but still used by royalty, to express a sense of superiority. By her tone it was clear that she was upset

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Aestheyrill of Galactya, the biologically artificial ambassador of the Galactyan Empire for the Star Empire Of Calerost.


Being called with such urgency and with so little forewarning by the princess herself wasn’t a good sign. And whatever the reason was, it wasn’t going to be bettered by a stupid noble Edhel making her arrive late. Still, she managed to arrive soon enough. As she greeted the princess though, she could easily see that she wasn’t pleased at all, a feeling very much confirmed by her question, and the fact that she was speaking Forlambë, which she only used when either angry or despising.

It wasn’t going to be a good day. Not at all.

“Your Imperial Majesty, I say this with the utmost respect, but you will probably have to be a bit more… specific than that. As of now, the Galactyan Empire is running 852376 different experiments over 600 different facilities across our territories. Could you give me more details?”

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“The one involving mrs. Trastrien and something you call “the collective”. Her concerned parents broke into her home and found this.”

Esgariel swipes her hand up, summoning the holographic display. On it was shown the contract.

“Calerost wasn’t informed on this now, was it?”

“Don’t even consider acting dumb, you’ll just anger her more. Short fuses run in their genes. Just tell her what you know”

Telepathically said Eliril to the embassador, wanting to avoid Esgariel snapping

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“Oh, ok. Let me just search through the database for a second…”

Aestheyrill activated the neural chip in her brain and accessed the Galactyan StarNet. She accessed the Genetics Research Supercomplex testing history and… there it was!

“And… found it. A/C-1, experiment on the introduction of alien sentient organisms to the Collective Bio-Fuser. And yes, from what it says here the Empire of Calerost was… not informed of… it.”

Fuck. She should probaby tell the Council Of Subspecies to start informing others of the shit they commision after this.

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“indeed, that probably would be a smart decision”
Eliril answered the thought that came trough the embassador’s head

“but why so? I think we made it very clear that edhels SHALL NOT be experimented on, especially not without the KNOWLEDGE NOR PERMISSION of Calerost! You can not even begin to understand the consequences of tampering with my species. I think you’ve heard of the Miraline. Now tell me, what exactly was the goal of these experiments and what the hell is a bio-fuser?”

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“Well, my princess, from what I can see here in the files the exact objective of the experiment was to introduce both subjects WITHOUT tampering with their genetic code. We already know too well that your species take kindly to things like that.”

“As for your other question, the Collective is a highly advanced biological machine capable of temporarily fusing the minds of those who enter it. Upon submerging in the Collective’s hiveflesh, the body of the user dissolves, clothing included, and the user becomes one with the others, while also retaining a sense of self. When the user desires to exit the Collective, the body reforms and they get gently pushed outside of it.”

“Since we mostly use it for education and introspection, and because it’s a big component of our culture, we wanted to try and see if other species could also join us, hence the experiment.”

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Esgariel was deeply disturbed, but that wasn’t anything new when dealing with galactyans. Fusing Edhel minds with those of other species, has galactya gone mad? Can other species even tolerate Edhel telepathy?

“You’re not tampering with the genes, but you are with the mind and body, embassador. But that still doesn’t matter, the ban on experimentation on Edhels is universal, no matter what you’re experimenting with. I will inform the emperor about this, and you’ll go with me onto the throneship, i don’t doubt he will have questions too.”

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“Of course my princess.”

As princess Esgariel continues to babble about ethics and religious crimes, Aestheyrill activated her neural implant and opened a communication line with the Royal Advisor and said, in an entertained but also annoyed tone:

I'm not getting out of this easily, am I now?

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“No, you aren’t. Also no need for the implant, i can read your thoughts either way. You know very well what the emperor thinks of you and that when hearing this he will be livid. Just try to not cause a bigger mess than necessary”
Anwsered the councilor. Not the first time she was helping out the embassador, they knew each other very well. The fact that they ware both genetically engineered connected them.

Soon enough a shuttle took Esgariel, Eliril and Aestheyrill to the throneship, in the orbit of Ilanor. The massive ship was made to inspire awe and demand respect. Soon they ware on it.

As soon as they landed, they could hear the emperor’s telepathy:
“Esgariel, Eliril and the ambassador of Galactya, i wonder what brings the 3 of you to me. Daughter, please come in and explain the situation to me.”
Even tho there ware multiple generations between them, the emperor always called Esgariel his daughter. She was probably the only person he truely loved. She went into the throne room, leaving Eliril and Aestheyrill in front of the door waiting. They could sense the telepathic lash outs of the emperor, the whole ship could, his telepathy was that powerful.
Soon Esgariel exited
“Embassador the emperor wants to talk to you in person, and only you. Keeping him waiting is a bad idea.”

As the embassador enters, she sees the emperor sitting on his throne, menecingly

“kneel” he said

The embassador hesitated for a moment. Although she saw him multiple times he was every time as petrifying.

"I said KNEEL "

With the shouted word came a strong telepathic shockwave, knocking the embassador to her knees.

"Better. Now, embassador, how do your people justify their acts? Not even telling us, who are supposed to be THEIR ALLIES about experiments on OUR PEOPLE, without OUR PERMISSION?!

His words ware booming like thunder. He was talking telepathically, like always, allowing him to sound right as he wanted. That tho didn’t remove even a bit of the intimidation factor

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As always the Emperor was exaggerated in his responses. Aestheyrill had always looked at him both with awe and with pity. His incredible telepathic powers were awe inducing, that was most true, but his suit was a rather… pitiful fact, if not pathetic.

Mostly unimpressed, Aestheyrill got up again and replied to him.

“My Emperor, I’ll be very clear. I can’t justify the Council not informing your nation about this experiment. I really can’t, and I’d be wrong to try to. What also can’t be justified though is your attitude towards me. I represent the Galactyan Empire, but it’s wrong to direct your rage towards me. After all, “Do not shoot the messenger”, right?”

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“Damn it not this again…”

The emperor was clearly angered by the embassador speaking up. She suddenly feels a strong, piercing headache, as he talks to her
“I do not need to justify my actions to you, a pitiful and abominous imitation of one of a Edhel, mutilated only to be more appealing to us, embassador, you should know that by now.”

The headache stops. The emperor also seamed to calm down.

" But let’s get back to the point, shall we? A formal condemnation has been sent to Galactya, and we expect a apology. This sacralige is something, new, so i will demand a hearing before the grand inquisitor, and we demand the scientists who are responsible for it be there to justify their acts. They will be granted full diplomatic immunity, i am not that cruel. We will also demand the poor girl to be returned to her family. I will personally ask the inquisitors for forgiveness, as i see this as her being tricked as she needed the money and didn’t know what kind of unholy acts you ware going to do to her, and was by that tricked. Have you understood all of that, embassador? Do i need to repeat it or do you have the mental capacity to carry that message to your government?"

Tho the emperor was disrespectful and accusative in his speech, the demands ware lighter than expected. It seemed he wanted to preserve the relations.

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“Of course my Emperor. I’ll inform the Emperors of your request and go to the Capital as soon as possible to gather the scientist and the members of the Council who were responsible for commissioning the experiment.”

“I’ll also request for a nation-wide search party to retrieve Miss Trastrien, considering how her location is currently unknown.”

“Thank you for your time, your Majesty.”


Aestheyrill, together with the royal advisor and Princess Esgariel, exited the Throneship and went back to Ilanor’s surface. The Advisor tried to talk to her, but Aestheytrill gave her a death stare strong enough to melt tungsten. After landing, without even looking at the two or saying a word to them, she went back to her private residence near Galactya’s Embassy. She locked the door and obscured all the windows.

AN ABOMINATION!

THAT WRINKLY, TUBED OLD IDIOT CALLED ME AN ABOMINATION!

THAT’S IT! IT’S JUST IT! I’VE BEEN SERVING AS AMBASSADOR ON THIS STUPID PLANET FOR MORE THAN 300 YEARS, AND YET AS SOON AS WE MAKE A MISTAKE IT’S LIKE I DIDN’T CONTRIBUTE TO ANYTHING!

NOW I’ GOING TO GO BACK TO MY HOME PLANET AND I’M GOING TO GET THE TREATMENT I DESERVE!

She aggressively took a communicator from her desk and called the Imperial Control Room. This was going to be a bad, bad week, but to be fair, she wasn’t too keen on making it her concern anymore.

Aestheyrill my dear, did he call you a abomination again? Come on unlock the door, i brought liquor.

This wasn’t the first time the embassador was having a meltdown. Whatever the councilor advised to her, it never worked, she was just sensitive to the emperor’s comments. Eliril resulted to alcohol, that always seemed to calm her down.

Eliril and the embassador ware pretty close, bonded over the fact they ware both genetically modified, tho they ware treated very differently. Eliril was also discriminated against at first, but thanks to her notable intellect and skills she earned a lot of respect, and thanks to her Charming nature became friends with many people in high places, including the emperor himself, which brought her to her current height. Aestheyrill had already a tougher start, as she wasn’t genetically even a bit Edhel but made to look like one, so many called her a imposter or abomination. It became better, but still the cultural anxiety towards galactyan culture was making things difficult.

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