Deathwalker 2.8

             The glow and hum snapped off simultaneously, and though it felt like forever, I knew it had only taken a second or two.
            “Completion accepted.”
            The computer’s recorded voice was so soft and kindly that it took a moment for it to penetrate. When it did, my insides melted in a giant puddle of relief (though thankfully not literally), and I wanted to jump up and down and cheer. I also wanted to rub the old bird’s face in that metaphorical puddle.
            Around me, however, a tide of disbelieving mutters was rising, led by the old man. When I heard accusations of forgery, my elation quickly switched to the urge to tear out my hair. They still didn’t believe me! What would it take to convince them?
            Even as I thought it, my mind supplied the answer. While the others ran their mouths, I shifted to where I could see Ter Dryst’s face. If I could find some way to convince him, I knew in my bones that the others would follow. I looked at his emotionless face and didn’t have a clue what he was thinking. My instincts said that he had a specific plan in mind and that if I pushed him now, I would ruin everything. Accepting that for the moment, I bit my tongue and watched him like a sterrling. The more I watched, the more I was reminded of Tomas.
            That was actually reassuring – if he was on my side.
            In the midst of the rising confusion, Ter Dryst remained silent and unperturbed. While the others babbled, he reached calmly back into the opening and extracted the parchment. In that same unhurried manner, he turned back to the nearest droid. His silence began to spread like a shockwave as the crowd noticed his quiet actions.
            “Advanced Verification Tests: All Levels.”
            His placid order had instant results. The bot’s gleaming exterior slid and adjusted, opening the top and reshaping the bottom to make it wider and shorter. The metallic whine of its movements rang in the now silent room. Ter Dryst placed the parchment into the top, and the white material enclosed around it. The complete shape was a polished white pyramid with rounded edges. Inanely, I wondered whether the shape actually had anything to do with what it was doing.
            I stopped wondering as this too began to glow. Piece by piece, the color changed from white to green until the entire mound glowed a bright green. Growing up in a culture where green meant illness and lies, I was afraid to ask what that meant. Around me, the crowd gasped.
            Ter Dryst turned and cast a stern glance over the crowd, landing on the old man.
            “The completion is authentic.”

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