Raychel stood up tall and looked at everyone in the room, one at a time. They all stared back blankly, emotionlessly.

Raychel's eyes settled on The Keeper and The Sentinel. Her face didn't change its cold indifference, which made Kevin nervous.

"What's she thinking?" Kevin thought.

"Welcome, Recruit, my friend," The Keeper greeted her. "We've been expecting you."

"I know," Raychel continued to stare.

"Let us have a good look at you," The Keeper appeared behind her and began to study. He poked and prodded at her, eliciting shudders and tenses from his cold, shocking touch. Her chains jingled as she tried to pull away.

The Keeper came around and studied her expression, half afraid, half enraged.

"How delicious..." he mused, standing up straight. "But don't you know it's very rude to stare?

"Then why are you doing it?" Raychel snapped.

"Raychel Havran Corbeau-" Kevin started.

"It's quite alright, my friend," The Keeper dismissed him with a wave. "I don't mind a little lip, as long as she knows her place."

Raychel didn't respond to that. She had no arguement now.

"Now then, my dear," The Keeper growled friendly-like, "shall we get started?"

"Started with what?"

"Why, getting ready for your assimilation of course."

"Who says I'm joining?"

The Keeper shrugged good-natured-ly, and said, "Well, give me a reason why you shouldn't."

"Then give me a reason why I should," Raychel challenged.

The Keeper seemed to be wondering why she wasn't submitting now. He had never seen such resistance, not even from Noah Maxwell. But he had a reason.

"Because you'd be able to see everything. A brief lesson, from your own world. You, and everyone you've ever known, are prisoners, bound in a cave and facing a blank wall on which you can only percieve shadows. I have seen what casts those shadows, Miss Corbeau. We all have. Why won't you let us help you, let us untie you? You are quite deserving, after all."

"Now a brief lesson from YOUR own world: You all say you can see, but truly, you ARE blind to what could be. You could see peace, love, thought, imagination, living. All the things you cannot do. Every member of this Collective is a drone. You treat them like a miser treats money, or a dragon treats its gold. You treat them as tolerated pets, whose behavior will tire quickly because it's not what you want."

The Keeper tilted his head with a deep sigh. "I only wish to remove those festering sutures from your eyes. I wish to open up your mind for you, give you the knowledge any human would want to know. Your past, your present, your future."

"You don't get it, do you?" Raychel shook her head.

"I don't understand, no," The Keeper shrugged.

"I don't want to know everything. I don't want to see what you see. If I saw everything, just like that, there'd be no reason to live. You wouldn't have any answers to live, to look for. Nothing."

The Keeper pondered this for a moment. "I see. Perhaps it would be better to discuss this with The Eyes himself. he can help you understand better."

Raychel lowered her head. She didn't feel like arguing anymore.

"Sentinel. She's all yours," The Keeper turned away and began to walk into the forest.

"Thank you, Master," the Sentinel eyed Raychel as the rest of the Collective vanished into the dark.

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