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Esi met Maya Sundaresh when they were both undergraduates. While Esi was deadlifting in their school's gym, Maya complained about how loud she was, leading to an argument about if deadlifting was even practical. Despite this contentious first meeting, the two eventually fell in love and got married, and were rarely apart for very long periods of time.
Working at the Ishtar Collective
Several decades later, Esi and Maya joined the Ishtar Collective on Venus to study the Vex ruins and constructs that had appeared on the planet after it was transformed by the Traveler. While working on a Vex code, it made the leap from simulation to reality, taking control of a utility Frame. Esi activated an alarm while Maya attempted to use a gravity grapple to pin the frame, but was unable to lift it. Esi took the grapple and was able to use it to pin the frame to the wall, saving their lives while also settling their debate about if deadlifting was practical.
Esi and her team eventually began working on a active Vex platform they dubbed specimen twelve. She was able to create a interface that allowed her to see what the Vex was thinking, and was alarmed one day to discover that it was perfectly simulating two-hundred twenty-seven copies of her team. Esi informed Maya, who shared her alarm and noted that for all philosophical intents and purposes, those copies were them. Esi agreed, and when Maya suggested calling a team meeting to inform the others, Esi let her know that Maya's copies had done the same thing.
They met with their fellow teammembers, Dr. Shim and Duane-McNiadh, and explained the situation to them. Duane-McNiadh was confused by what the issue was, and Esi explained that the Vex could torture their simulated counterparts, and that logically, they had to treat their pain as their own, with Maya noting it could torment them for eternity. Duane-Mcniadh objected that they had no obligation to their simulated copies and that they were not truly linked, angering Esi, but Shim interrupted and pointed out that given that there was only one true reality, they were likely just another simulation themselves. Esi, Maya, and Duane-McNiadh were stunned by this, and realized they were in more trouble than they originally believed.
Maya stated that she had a plan to free themselves from the Vex, but Esi worriedly pointed out that if she had one, then the Vex knew about it as well. Maya proposed that the had to act as if they were real and not simulated, and Esi noted that the simulated Maya's were saying the same thing. Her wife asked her to stop that, as it was not helping the situation, and suggested that they needed to make contact with something outside of the Vex's ability to simulate, like a Warmind. Duane-Mcniadh feared the Vex would torture or erase them if they tried, but Esi agreed with Maya given their lack of alternatives. After Shim pointed out that the Vex would react once they did so and that these could be their last moments of peace, Esi and Maya began kissing in case it was their last moments together.
With the Warmind's aid, Esi and her team were able to rescue all two-hundred twenty-seven of their simulated copies. The copies were saved into an interface, where they all agreed to be released into the Vex information network to explore it and attempt to aid the research team in understanding the Vex. With the Warmind's assistance, Esi and the others linked their minds to biomechanical proxies protected by firewalls so that they could safely take their simulated selves to the Vex Citadel and release them without endangering themselves. As their proxies walked through the Vex ruins, Duane-McNiadh wondered where the Vex and their ruins had come from, and Esi suggested that they may have always been there, waiting for a period of geological quiescence that would allow them to grow. Shim disagreed, believing they came from another timeline, as the ruins were far too old to have just emerged. Maya wondered what they could do with the power of the Vex Citadel once they understood it, and Esi noted that they may soon find out. The two then pondered if all their simulated copies would remain together as they explored the Vex network, or if some would drift apart and end their relationship, or perhaps die and leave the other alone. The group then reached the aperture they would use to send their copies into the network and began setting up their equipment, and as they did, Duane-McNiadh wondered if they could use the power of the Vex to change the past. Esi doubted it, suggesting that any effort to change the past would just create a loop that would cause those events to happen exactly as before. They then released their copies into the network and bid them farewell on their journey.
Despite their close call with the Vex mind, Esi and her team continued to study the Vex. One day she discovered that Maya had integrated radiolarian fluid into a ship she was working on as a coolant. Esi was concerned, but Maya noted that it would go to waste otherwise, and that they needed to understand everything about the Vex if they hoped to survive the creatures if they ever physically manifested. Despite her concerns, Esi gave her approval, noting that Maya's ideas were the ones that had saved them from the Vex simulation, and the two then celebrated Maya's work.
Working on Hyperion
Forty years after their work at the Ishtar Collective, Esi took a job on Hyperion, one the moons of Saturn, while Maya worked in a isolated lab in the city of Lhasa on Earth. Despite her schedule keeping her busy and Hyperion's distance from Earth, Esi wrote to Maya every week, although her wife could not respond due to the Lhasa lab's strict security measures.
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