A/N: I went back and forth on how long I should've made this chapter, but in the end I got impatient to post so there is a lot less here then I originally planned. As always I value feedback so please send in reviews. –Rei

"Vesta Speak" 'Thought'

One day each of you will come face to face with the horror of your own existence. One day you will cry out for help. One day each of you will find yourselves alone. - Alia, Children of Dune

Musical inspiration for this chapter: Broken Sorrow by Nuttin but stringz, I walk alone by Tarja Turunen, and Funhouse by Pink

When-You're-Evil- Many kudos you are my first reviewer for this fic, and I couldn't stop laughing. Honey I have a very wild imagination and you have no idea how hard it is to stop myself from getting an aneurysm because I now have a picture of what you just described stuck in my head.

Denethor II newly crowned Stewart of Gondor gazed down at his father's cold corpse with a sense of apathy. The man may have sired him, but to Denethor he was always Lord Ecthelion II scion of the house Húrin first, and his often harshest critic second. It was often maddening just trying to please the man as a subordinate, let alone receiving Ecthelion's approval as a son. Still he strived for his father's affections, becoming more masterful a lord in his own right, and a better leader of men than any of those whom came before him. He had married well, making blood allies of the princes of Dol Amroth, and secured walls of the white city. And yet, it wasn't enough.

His father's love still was given to others before himself. His sisters, Alagmariel and Vinyaostiel had wanted for nothing; Ecthelion doted on them greatly well into their majority. He even went so far as to allow them to choose whom they would marry. Denethor scoffed, as daughters to the ruling house of Gondor it was their duty to bring allies to Gondor through marriage, not lay with men beneath themselves for love. So it was with a fiercely glad heart that he received the news of Alagmariel's death on her way to meet her betrothed, the lord of Pinnath Gelin. And an even greater joy filled his heart when just a few years later, willful Vinyaostiel disappeared.

Half-heartedly, Denethor had coordinated routine searches for the younger of his two older sisters. And after 5 years it was finally concluded the Vinyaostiel was dead. It had taken an additional year for Ecthelion's councilors to convince him of that, but in the end the proud lord conceded. No lady as gently reared as his beloved Vinyaostiel could survive outside Minas Tirith. The perishing of his daughters however did not cause Ecthelion to cling to his only remaining child. If anything, the son of Turgon became more fixated upon giving his affections to those who distinguished themselves in his service, the flee bitten ranger Thorongil was just one in a long line of many that earned the man's graces.

What set Thorongil above the rest, was his very real threat to Denethor's position as heir apparent. The ranger looked enough like his father, and was beloved enough by the people to seriously be considered for the role. And for many years his anger at his forefather burned hot, and Ecthelion's love for Thorongil only made it burn hotter. The ranger may have dressed the part of a lord, but Denethor knew, under all that suave was a greedy conniving, glory seeking, street rat from the North attempting to usurp his future as Stewart. But the grave son of Ecthelion had plans of his own in mind, plans that included getting rid of interloping outsider. But then Finduilas had given him Boromir. And what was once desperate love for his father became disgust.

Denethor resolved to never to deprive his own heir what was stolen from him. The dark haired lord became consumed with giving his own son the love that he had been denied all his life to give much thought to either of them. Now with both objects of his loathing gone, Denethor just felt tired. "You are unwell my lord husband, I implore you to leave the task of the funeral to your council, at least for today." A wisp of a grim smile tugged at the dark haired man's lips. Automatically, he offered his arm to his wife whom stepped forward to stand at his side.

'My wife is a beautiful woman.' He silently acknowledged, still admiring of the delicate propriety that was characteristic of the house of the silver swans. Denethor absently noticed that Finduilas had changed from the gown that she wore this morning to the black dress more in keeping with that of his house. Her dark hair was now tamed under the dark veil she wore, which was a few shades lighter than her velvet gown. So gracious, such a devoted and fitting wife, yet still, "Where is my little prince?" Finduilas smiled softly, long used to the absolute preoccupation her husband had with their first-born. Still sometimes, in the privacy of her own chambers Finduilas worried over Denethor's penchant to obsess.

She knew that there was nothing greater or more terrible than a father's hopes for his son. And there was always the voiceless fear that disappointment would result in mutual bitterness. "Mithido is minding him. I thought to spare him at least a little while the news of Lord Ecthelion's passing." Abruptly the lady of Gondor flinched away from her husband as he tore his arm away from her grasp. She backed even further away as a black looked passed what she once considered Denethor's handsomely stern features. Too enraged to care about his decidedly uncouth behavior, the pan-sovereign advanced his quickly retreating wife. Ecthelion's councilors had left but minutes before, allowing the reticent only son of their fallen lord to mourn in peace.

Up until now, Finduilas never thought she would fear being alone with her husband. "You dare to presume to coddle the heir of this house? My son will not be crippled by the weakness of feeble women, get him now. Let him look upon the fate of all men." A mother's indignation welled within Finduilas's throat. Their golden child had only seen 6 summers. Yet the violent promise in her once beloved eyes silenced her just as quickly. Her father did not rule here, and she herself was still too new to the white city to truly have devout allies within its walls. She would bide her time, and pray to the Valar for a solution.

Desmond was struck dumb. He could push aside his feverish hatred of once again being conscripted for a life he most definitely did not want. He could delegate the horror of being asleep for 3 million years. He could even afford to ignore that everything and everyone that he knew was gone, but what was being laid at his feet was an entirely different animal. Looking at all the little serene faces staring back at him made something in Desmond sick. "What exactly are you expecting me to do?"

"As you are aware when it became clear that once again the destruction of earth was emanate, my creators, your ancestors set in to motion a series of events which has led you to what is now. The plan was to preserve what they could of themselves in the genetic material of these six, and repopulate by pairing them with compatible specimens." "That's a stupid plan." Desmond echoed the sentiment that he had stated so long ago. "The plan was illogical," the computer program agreed. "As such, I devised an alternative. Provide the six with a parental unit with suitable understanding of the actions taken by those who came before, and concrete experience with the results."

Denial sounded very good at this point, so Desmond indulged, "and this would mean me doing what?" Even though he couldn't see her, Desmond could practically feel the Temple's A.I. tilting her head to the side. "Teach them." She instructed him as if this were a task even the dumbest smuck to ever exist could do. The rage swelling up around his self-preservation instincts made it easy to turn away from the six innocent lives sleeping unawares in their' plastic prisons. It made it even easier to yell every foul thing he could possibly think of at his kidnapper. And garbled within the mess of insults, and barbed questioning of her intellect and breeding, were Desmond's reasons for objecting to Vesta's plan.

Vesta listened stoically, using eons' worth of experience to transcribe what Desmond was saying into what he actually meant. Despite his obvious distress, the human's points of contention were valid, she determined. She had no point of reference for what makes a good parent. The temple's consciousness could gather, and analyze tremendous amount of data. But Vesta was restricted to the field of biology and ecology. Her creators had intended for her to protect and guide the six to the future her creators had designed for them, not appoint another to supplement what she thought necessary. And though she had some leeway in the selection of who she could take with the six, Vesta could not function beyond her original programming.

Vesta could not provide the emotional component that she determined her charges would need. But these shortcomings only strengthened the validity of her own hypothesis, though Desmond may think himself inept, Vesta was by far the worse option. "If you do not, then I must." Vesta abruptly cut off the assassin's tirade. The computer program rearranged her features into what her files catalogued as a remorsefully helpless stare. Desmond snorted, not at all fooled by the expertly mimicked expression. "I might have believed that look," he crossed his arms over his chest, "if it wasn't so stiff it makes my teeth hurt." Not bothering to maintain the façade, Vesta nodded. "And that is why it must be you." His dark head ducked, masking his discomfort.

But he could not hide the tenseness in his unclad form. Vesta's sensors registered the faint goose pimples currently pebbling his arms, and almost microscopic flush of his skin. "I cannot give them humanity. I am not human." The hologram glimpsed something of a bitter smile curving Desmond's scared lip. "I'm not so certain; you sure do fuck up enough to be human." Vesta cocked her phantom head, "I do not comprehend your statement." His angst filled grin turned a touch feral, "This is not my fight. I don't want to be here." "And yet you are here. You only have to ask yourself, what you are going to do about it." The assassin's face lifted with an ugly grimace, 'backed into a corner again.'

It had taken 9 months, 9 brutally tedious and assuredly laborious months of learning, cajoling, arguing, and finally outright threatening, Vesta was going to let him out of her temple. Desmond didn't know how the last was any more effective that former, seeing as he spent the entire time in the buff. The former bartender had demanded his clothes back after their initial debate upon his waking, only for him to find out that the same tentacles that held him down while entering stasis cut his clothes off as well. And Vesta refused to return his hidden blade, for fear of Desmond doing something stupid. To say the least Desmond was too emotionally exhausted to kick up more of fuss than he already had.

Instead Altair's descendent spent the rest his stay recovering, and pumping the A.I. for information. The need to survive took the place of his molten rage, and left barefoot of anything else, Desmond was keen on using the massive store of knowledge. It also had the added benefit of keeping the now bearded assassin from being dragged under by the ever present threat of the bleeding effect. The phantom of Altair's personality was especially uneasy, as the man's life was dictated by the rising and setting of the sun. Desmond often found himself unconsciously triggering the hidden blade that wasn't there, cold fury gripping him, as he recalled more than a few times his arrogant ancestor being held against his will.

It was only when looking upon the sleeping ones that Ezio's paternal instincts squeezed incessantly against the confines of Desmond's chest, demanding things of him he didn't understand. More often than not Desmond avoided even looking at his 'students' for fear that whatever definition-less action the remnant of Ezio wanted him to take would override the brown eyed man's self control. So he asked questions, how far underground were they? How did Vesta keep track of everything whilst they were nowhere near the surface?

Vesta's answers were as disturbing as they were informative. Apparently, an earthquake had dislodged the Abies from its original perch atop a hill over-looking the lake sometime after its landing. They were buried under tons of rubble, and would have remained so had it not been for the Anorian settlers. Desmond learned that humans had survived the destruction of earth. Some had even evolved to the same state as those who came before, and called themselves Ainur. The people who had discovered the Abies were their descendants, whom had claimed the piece of real-estate was their capitol.

In between the often spontaneous history/ geography/ anthropology lessons, Desmond worked to regain the strength he lost in his 3 million year nap. First the only remaining assassin explored the "ship quarters" where he and the 6 were kept. The "quarters" was surprisingly large, yet depressingly empty place. Besides the pods at the center of the "room" there were niches in the walls, housing bunks within them. Above the niches, were storage units, which could be reached by a metal ladder which had casters attached to the legs. Vesta had said that there were clothes inside them. He had cried foul when all he found was the practically see-through number he had glimpsed in Adam and Eve's memory.

Vesta had sworn that the "birthday suit" was better than any "inferior anthropoid manufactured textiles" he had ever dressed in. And then proceeded to list all of the features, including and not limited to, "atmospheric sensors ideal for retaining optimal body core temperature, a Carbon Nanotube weave throughout the garment, making it almost impossible to destroy, and microscopic robots that were designed to locate and destroy topical parasites." Desmond didn't particularly care how many toys it came with, the birthday suit wasn't an option if he and the six were going to survive this new world.

As his endurance increased, Desmond wondered further and further from the quarters. Eventually, the former bartender began to use the entire ship as an obstacle, having Vesta rearrange the walls and floors around him as Desmond tried to reach "the command center" which doubled as the main space of her temple. But as he grew stronger, the former bartender grew more impatient. The vitamin enriched packets of slime he had to eat every few hours tasted like bile on his tongue. Time seemed all the slower with only the super computer, and the voices inside the assassin's head as company. Desmond wanted out.

Concessions were made on both sides, and after god knows how long without the solace of sunlight Desmond was about to see the world that he had learned about through the computer program's spying. Of course he would have to wear the necklace Vesta had designed with the camera built into it, and wear the practically see-through body-suit to get outside, but as far as Desmond was concerned it was worth it. Staring steel daggers at the sealed entrance, the only surviving assassin tried his best not to fidget. Twitch worthy excitement had the now long haired human wanting to pry open the doors himself. But Desmond contained himself, lest his quasi warden come up with some other ridiculous argument against him leaving.

He waited patiently as he dare for Vesta's all clear, and all but willed there to be no problems. The walls blocking Desmond's freedom suddenly peeled away, shaking the ancient structure that he had inhabited for the better part of 3 million years. The air was stale yet unexpectedly dry considering the depth at which they were buried. He stepped out of the temple for the first time since his awakening, and was shocked at what he saw. What he expected to be a ratty man-made hole in the ground, with at best a few feet of clearance was in actuality a veritable treasure trove with obviously valuable items just sitting around the room.

Exposed shelves glittered with jewels under the soft light of the glow sticks Abies's avatar provided him. Tall columns jutting out of the ground were completely enveloped in the curvy writing Desmond recognized from his lessons. Armaments were displayed in the procession of stern faced statues surrounding the only other exit. Vesta's voice suddenly flowed through the discreet blue pendant, dangling from the end of Desmond's equally unassuming chain. "Though they were unable to breech the walls of the Abies, the Anorians, built a vault around our outer hull." The assassin move between the statues, flipping open chest lids as he went until, "jackpot," he kneeled in the dirt, rummaging through the trunk filled to the brim with clothes.

"Desmond you do not need those." Agitated, the dark haired assassin stopped his perusal of at least some form of clothing, to glare directly at the bubble around his neck. "You said blend, well I can't very well blend if everybody I'm going to meet stares at me like I lost my fucking mind for walking around naked." "You aren't- "To these guys I will be, or did you or did you not say, that the people of Arda as a collective have a medieval mentality?" Desmond felt positively glorified when he forced the A.I.'s silence. Turning his attention back to his former task, Vesta's chosen immediately began tossing articles he wouldn't be caught dead in to miscellaneous corners.

Tunics longer than his knees, and flamboyant brightly colored shirts were instantly discarded, along with panty hose and soft bottomed shoes. Finally finding plain black pants, the assassin all but threw them on, hastily tightening the draw string so that they would fit his near skeletal waist. The deep cuffed shirt he found wasn't nearly as non-descript, but the impact of the fine linen was lessoned under the thigh long, hooded black vest Desmond put over it. And when found a pair of high quality boots to wear, the assassin finally felt comfortable enough to look for other things he would need to outside his haven/prison. A wan but honest grin stole across Desmond's chapped lips, things were finally going his way.