Maria, Jake (Briefly) and Elora
Elora seemed quite passive in the party, only giving a cursory glance in the direction of the dance-off. However, when Maria spoke to her, she seemed to fidget a bit. "M...Maria." She seemed a bit dazed in her speech. "How are you?"
"...Honestly...I wish I could say ok...but I'm sort of an emotinal mess right now", Maria responded.
Maria did look at Elora's mask and could only guess what it was for. Perhaps to control her? Or keep her powers in check? It wouldn't be the first time she'd seen such equipment. She did use one piece of equipment from her Helldiver days to "fix" Ariin and Paladin.
As well as being tested on due to her link with the T-system back in the day.
"...Elora...I'm sorry. But when I heard what high command was planning to do with you and Serah I kind of...no I just did my best. But look at you...it just looks like your still in captivity", Maria said sadly.
Shaking her head, she then said, "No I'm sorry...I shouldn't be like this...but...I can only imagine what the mask is for so...I'll stop...actually, do you need space? I'll leave you be if you want", Maria then asks.
Elora lifted a grasping hand, as if she wanted to catch something. She then straightened the palm, and performed a stop sign. "No, please...I want you to stay. And it''s ok...It doesn't hurt. The professor said that the mask helps me stay in control. It is difficult to explain, but...It calms me. I don't feel so afraid." She looked down, and pinched her arm. "There's no pain at all. It's...Nice, I think." Then she lifted her head. "Wait, me and Serah? Who is planning, and what?"
"I probably shouldn't stay since it'll most likely make you lose control", Maria then said, understanding the purpose of the mask if Elora's explanation was correct.
"But...mind-reading or no, I won't lie to you...members of high command wanted to execute the both of you. In Serah's case, her attacking us during your rescue since they don't believe in Frameworks going berserk even though my fri-err...squad member Jake had evidence showing Serah's sync rate going below zero percent. In your case, they think the Cruxi brainwashed or compromised you in some way that'll come to haunt all of us..."
Shaking her head, Maria then said, "I got fed up though...after you...well put my mind straight, I started a pertition of sorts with Jake to mount a case for the both of you. Katya, Jason and a few others in our squad helped. Elise, our new superior, also helped by getting it to people that'll help out. Though I had a talk with her about my behavior when I had seen that Cruxi and lost my temper and her being grounded due to injury. Jake telling her that she could use his recon drones to help us from the bridge. Jason-"
Looking at Elora, Maria realized that she had overdid it.
"...I'm sorry. It's just been a crazy few days with me and several others and me worried sick about the both of you", Maria then said, looking down in shame.
There was a couple of seconds of silence before Elora responded. "Wow. That is a lot. Well, thank you for saving me, Maria, Jake." She bowed her head a bit, and lifted it back up. "So they are afraid of me...I don't know what to think." She sighed. "Anyway, I was given permission to have fun, so let's enjoy ourselves at this party, ok?" She reached out, hesitantly, and gently took Maria's hand. "Just like old times."
Maria herself actually was hesitant like Elora but then, she put her other hand over Elora's.
"Yeah...old times...well not for me...old times were...alot different from this...you'd probably know since you did swim around my head a little bit before...but all this..."
She then looked around the room and saw all the old and new people around.
"...it's still new to me now...or perhaps...I'd just forgotten what it's like or never had the chance...it's tough to explain Elora but it's like turning the light off in a house for a few years then suddenly turning it back on...I'm just not used to it yet..."
Still holding Elora's hands, Maria did look away.
"...and there's a part of me that's afraid to get used to it..."
Then, as she was touching her, Elora just happened to see an image...or perhaps a memory...a fraction of it. Perhaps she had gained it when she entered the then "Mai/Seven" mind during her rescue and duel with the Cruxi. The image, though, would most likely disturb Elora as it showed Maria on some high tech chair.
Elora pulled her hand away, her body language showing that she was startled as she tucked her arms to herself. “AAH!” Her entire body now trembled with shaky legs, at the same time as the fight between Ana and Irina; Maria noticed that her condition seemed to turn worse when Ana ran away. “I-I can’t...” Elora held her palms on her mask. Dariya soon ran in, and wrapped an arm around Elora’s waist, keeping her standing. “My, it seems we ran into some difficulties. Oh well, at least she got to meet with her friends.” The sexy scientist then dragged the masked girl off; Maria could feel how Elora continued looking on at her, mumbling something before they turned a corner.
Maria was slightly confused at first but instantly knew what may have happened. For that one moment, she felt...that connection again. When Elora jumped into her mind’s eye so to speak. Then it hit her....oh no...she saw something...something no one else should have…
, Maria thought to herself.
Even from the DJ stand, she actually saw Jake wave at her and then point to the exit of the room. As if to say “Go after her”. Nodding, Maria quickly left the room. She had to make sure Elora was ok. But more important, like it or not, she also had to be more cautious when around Elora. Not because she was dangerous but because of possible “accidents” like this.
Even back then...on that chair...her work with the Telekenetic link system taught her to expect such instances with those with similar abilities.
After about a minute or so, she saw her being escorted into the R&D lab by that lady she remembered being named Dariya.
“Hey wait!”, Maria called.
But then soon entered the R&D door as it closed behind them. Maria quickly knocked on the door though not to be too forceful about the knocking itself.