Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: Point Of Origin Interlude The Third Eye Opens

 

Interlude: The Third Eye Opens

 

            Why was this left to my time? The CTT has been here since its founding in 4024. Yet what makes the 42nd century, unlike all the others that came before it? Timing? Eliza and her people cleared the Arcways, The Dreaming, The Weave Space, all the places that Unity could hide? Yet it falls to us to cleanse the Path of the Ancients.—Scribe Northwest. Circa 4187 AD

            I have known many things since my birth. I know why my people were sent to the 42nd century. We had a purpose. In the past, the present, and the future. The Amarche people were born for this moment.—The Curator

            I can fill time pulling at me. My records here? I hope they help you in your journey along the Path of the Ancients. I was born to my time. The path will open. The Vigil remains. Transcript relay CTT marker 24-88.—Sleeping in Starlight, recorded April 25th, 5297.

Galactic Core

Edenverse

July 10th, 4201

            I pulled on the glass. Odd. The last thing I remembered was settling down for the night. The Terran Typherian Union conference set to begin the next day.

Lorain muttered sleepily, “Just 5 more minutes.”

She rolled over. Pulling my black flight jacket over her torso. Snoring softly. A recording filtered over my eyes. Aether’s concerned face forming.

            <<Alright. One? The Weave asked this of us. They need you and Doctor Lanis to enter the Path of Ancients. I know! In our time it was forbidden but I have learned to take things on faith nowadays.>>

            I glanced about. We were in….

            Sentinel, my silver belt, remarked, <<AH! This part! Just like Captain Cosmos and the Time Engineers! We are going to watch that show again right?!>>  Right, it had the soul of the first Bardaxian Defender within it. My head pounded. From my perspective, I had died. Crawled out of a literal Abyss. Met the Curator of the Amarche who had been a shadow of a living soul in my time, as the director of the CTT. Not to mention, my arm regrowing. I patted my left arm to make sure it was still there.

            Went to my brother’s Union ceremony. Gave him the Scion position.

            Mom was pregnant with the 10th Murphy child.

            At this point, it was a race to populate the universe with family. If my brother’s track record was anything to go by I’d have to get at least another 30 presents for Christmas by the time of….

            I glanced at my Chrono: It was stuck on July 20th, 2195. With a little message, “INET is experiencing temporal outages….”

            The glass moved. Elias’ red-bearded face poked in.

            “Murphy! You got sucked into the Ur Time Zone too huh?”

            Little John added, <<The Defenders of this era are so nice! They know all sorts of useful things! Come on!>>

            The Corgi danced from one paw to the other.

            He pulled me out of the Glass Coffin. Doc thought the name just as morbid now as she did then. Her green eyes opened as the sunlight of an ancient world greeted us. Eddie and Nola waved. “The Puzzler has more clues! No wonder your brain got so scrambled.” He hooked his thumbs into his belt. Doc pulled on my jacket. Adjusting the white dress shirt I had on. Ignoring the fact that I was still in my Typherian burial setup.

            I protested, “I only just got back and…” I sputtered. Lamely.

            “Didn’t have time to change…”

            She jumped into my arms. “Let’s figure it out later.”

            Time had a weird way of flowing around me. Sentinel formed around us. His silver outline barking at a giant green tree with golden leaves. He pointed at it. Very much like an Irish Setter. Even though he resembled a great green-eyed wolf. In his current manifestation.  

Nola hid a grin behind one delicate purple hand. “We are glad you are back Eliza. Hope remained. Probably why Doc entered that thing at the last moment!”

            Lorain blushed. I stared down at her quizzically. She didn’t elaborate. She just shot Nola a look that promised retaliation of a confectionery sort. Eddie mouthed, “I'll explain later.”

            A bright blue flash sparked overhead.

            Silver armor formed over my body. Sentinel forming into a massive Silver Spear that pulsated in my hands. A shout rang out, “Battle Formation!”

            Elias readied a red-shafted arrow. His uniform materializing from the very Dreaming itself.

            He winked, “Up for a challenge?”

            My mind flashed back to the Cliffs.

            My gaze hardened, “Let’s go.”

            I hurled my spear as the Living Stone dragon emerged from the portal. It shattered into millions of pieces as the light of my weapon grazed it. A blue Defender shouted, “The Silver will guide us to the mirror’s heart!”

            A cheer went up.

            There was still more work to be done.

Mirrors. Hiding the True reflection!

            The Light of Eden had to be unleashed properly! That was why the 42nd century….

            Understanding flooded my mind.

            I shouted, “To me!” I knew the way. The Highest had left the road marks.

            But only as the Silver could I perceive them.

            Sentinel nodded. His ears perked forward within my mental landscape.

            <<Yes! I knew you’d understand eventually. Time doesn’t flow the same for those within the Deepest Reaches.>>

            I replied, <<I rather like linear lines of events! It's less Swiss on the brain!>>

            The Bardaxian cried out, <<Where’s your sense of adventure!>>                     

            Lorain squeezed my hand. It was going to be a long road to Rebirth.

Issue 27: Here

Book 6: 

The Uplift Protocol: Point Of Origin Issue 27

Issue 27: Through the Dark Mirrors

 

            All the people around Lanis are so milk toast. It’s utterly aggravating to be around all these “fans” of hers. J’ino is extremely distant. The vids hide this from the general population. On the surface, she smiles for the cameras. As the saying goes. But in private? She keeps this Doctor at an arm’s length. Does she not approve of her daughter’s “union?” This adventure will give invaluable insight into our enemies. One I will use to bury the dagger into their hearts. Twisting won't even cover the damage.— Renenutet

            So that’s why I am with Eliza. My husband finally told me one vital aspect of Lorain’s mission. My heart goes out to her. Yet she is our best hope for digging into the expanded cabal of evil. If Matarn’s wife, Sy’ra managed to maintain her sanity, I will have hope for Lorain. She’s stronger than she gives herself credit for. As for the thing wearing her face? Abraham didn’t want that bundle of rags to get wind of my abilities. It would have made for a cataclysmic mix.—Elenore Murphy.

            Based on the responses from those within the 42nd century, they are quite shocked that I didn’t totally lose my mind. Why? Because Lorain would have been broken beyond anything the All-Father could do if I had gone Berserk. Yes, I was furious but I aimed that fury at the Artock ships. The infrastructure around the All-Father’s abode. Metal was just that. My knuckles were bleeding and raw by the time I was done smashing those hulls but that’s because I bisected a full Keeper flotilla as well. Their tech still hurt at the time. The pain rippling through my chest was a reminder of that crimson elixir.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 23rd century (Vol 3) Expanded for the Decoded Temporal Archives.

Murphy Household

New Ashbury, Texas

T-Minus 1 Day

 

E’taria of House M’tah stood next to her cousin J’ino.

The transformation was complete. Thanks to Lorain’s input and shield ring, this could fool most biosensors as well. E’taria winked at J’ino, “I do think this will fool the Mummy.” It helped they were related but other bio outputs had to be synced up. Etaria knelt next to Watson. The Bardiaxian basset hound sniffed her hands.

            <<Even my nose cannot tell! Amazing! For all intents while you wear that ring, you are J’ino!>>

            E’taria glanced at her Chrono, “Almost showtime. How far away is Eliza?”

            J’ino winced, her voice quiet in the semi-darkness of the transport room. It was attached to her bedroom. Thomas often used it to travel between the house and the Commons Dyson spheres around Sol. “Far enough away to where she can’t respond easily. Anna and Eleanore are distracting her. Along with Gwen. With visions of White Owls. A real enough threat but….”

            E’taria rose with Watson in her arms.

“Eliza will do the right thing when the time comes. You aren’t the only one who sees things within the Golden City’s reflections!” She added after a pregnant pause, “I solemnly swear to do my absolute worst with that mummy. She’ll be so far off base for your real personality that it will be whiplash when your kid gets back!”

            J’ino smiled weakly.

The bleakness in her eyes retreating for a split second.

            “At least I'll take the time to stay with my parents and my son. It’s been far too long.”

            She would bring Lorain’s Union bracelet to her parents.

            Thomas linked in, <<We are in position. Moonlighter already has the Target in sight. The Ball is in play.>>

St. Christopher’s Boardwalk

New Ashbury

           

Lorain wanted to scream. She’d already spotted Medusa. Knowing that mummy and her cohorts it wouldn’t be a shock if Hilary decided to show up. All Lorain had on her besides basic civilian clothing was a small knapsack with an extra set of workout clothing. No identifiable items. She still had basic hookups to INet but the Terran Alliance had removed all her military-grade implants. Her clearances had been revoked and she was flying blind.

Ritark said, <<But not alone. Never. I will walk with you. The Dark will gain no purchase. We rise as a family. No matter the blood.>> She sent a silent prayer of thanks to the Litari. He would be in silent mode after the transfer. They would need another pair of eyes on the situation. Three more hours. She made her way onto the beach. Taking time to let the last rays of Sol light her path. She didn’t know what to expect when “captured.”

She wanted to stay more than anything.

But they needed a foot in the door. They had to know how to breach Tarkanan.

She jogged. Keeping to the running path. The cries of the gulls were at odds with the pit in her stomach. Her stride grew. She rubbed her wrist. The false Union bracelet would serve its purpose. She had left a present for the Mummy within it. As she came upon the gentle slope of rock she slowed. Finally stopping to gaze at the deep rolling waves crashing upon the shore. She took out the pair of scissors. Binding her hair into a ponytail. She cut through her hair.

Black tresses falling into the sand. Bringing tears to her eyes.

After she was finished it was far messier than Eliza’s.

She didn’t want to give her enemies more than they could grip. Long hair would be a liability. It would grow back. When she willed it. Ritark’s voice curled around her ear, <<I’d say keep it shorter. See how Eliza will react!>> Doc picked up a stone, skipping it along the water, then she continued along the running course.

I will not back down.

Her muscles spasmed. She couldn’t move.

She blinked then the world faded into solid static. White energy swallowed her whole.

She materialized in a dark room. On the dais was a woman floating in suspension. Not in liquid but pure energy. Doc toppled forward but found herself being forced to sit on a red stone bench next to the woman.

The smell hit her. White Lilies. Around the woman they grew. She opened her eyes. Sy’ra fell forward as Doc caught her. Lorain asked, “Are you in any pain?” The woman’s mouth opened. In a soft voice, “The Dream Continues.” Lorain pulled the Scholar woman over to the bench.

Tarkanan

Middle Rings

           

The All-Father glanced at the readouts.

That Union piece wasn’t genuine.

His wife arched an eyebrow, asking, “They knew of Ren’s plan. Should we say anything?”

He pursed his lips.

Crimson eyes flashing. “No. They expect us to bear the brunt of the Gray’s vendetta. I only care about our House’s welfare. And Typha’s rebirth.” He pulled the probes out of the room. “She has nothing on her but common clothing. Regular tactics won’t work on this one. I will greet her.”

The All-Mother bowed, “A pity. I would have loved to put one of our Intez clones within her. Just to see if her healing abilities would destroy it. Like Ren’s did.” The All-Mother grinned cruelly. “Then again Ren found that round of experiments exciting. I bet our doctor here is rather vanilla with her tastes.”

That didn’t stop the All-Mother from running her hands down her husband’s back.

He pulled away. His expression flat. “I will return.”

The All-Mother bowed to hide her disappointment. Her husband barely existed on this plane. He used to have such drive.

The door hissed closed. Cutting off the sound of his receding footsteps.

A voice wormed into her brain, >>I can give you more than pleasure.<<

Two golden eyes pinned her to the wall. The black was deeper than most Typherians. His face was a mirror to her husband. Thoth, clothed in gray form-fitting armor, ran a finger down the top of her spine to her lower back. The All-Father was forgotten. There was passion.

Fire.

Drive.

He smiled. His lust meeting her own.

Not only of attraction. Mirrored Purpose.

Mayhem. The scent of blood drove her mad. She took her whip and drove him up against the wall. Her voice curled around his brain, >>Would you be a king?<<

Her question was a test. The desire poured from her eyes.

He pulled her into a rough embrace. His lips locking over hers.

>>Not a King. A conqueror sitting on a sea of bone.<<

She bit his lip, drawing blood, >>Yes. I will show you.<<

Thoth’s belt murmured, <<Until this place serves no purpose. TO gain knowledge one must consume the soul. There is very little left in your primary. But you can make his power your own. Enslave this universe. Find Black. Hollow him out. White will follow her brother into oblivion.>>

The All-Mother would be very useful. In more ways than one.

As he removed her outer armor his mind wandered the Dark Mirror network of this place. He dared not access it directly. This universe’s Urraden would know. So he would bide his time. Maybe play with that Doctor eventually. This would be an even greater challenge than Earth. He would survive them all. Unity had foreseen it. His clawed weapons hummed. Drawn to the energy of this place.

So much death.

Lovely.

*****

Lorain held out a hand to Sy’ra. The Scholar took it. Her dark hair flowing to her waist. She brushed one of Lorain’s locks back. “A cut for a cut. All things lead to the mirrors.” Lorain realized the woman wasn’t talking audibly. But through the Dreaming! Lorain didn’t understand how this was possible but Sy’ra held up a hand as two heavy stone doors slid open. A tall gaunt man walked through. Garbed in gray. The markings proclaiming House Urraden. His crimson eyes raking over both women.

“Welcome to my Domain.”

It was stark.

The walls were the color of dried blood. Lorain imagined the outside didn’t smell any better. He moved lightning quick. Pulling Lorain up by her neck. Moving her chin back and forth with his other hand. “Serviceable. Unlike Ren, you might prove useful.” He carried her over to an adjoining room. Sy’ra followed in their wake. Her face was calm yet Lanis sensed the movement was involuntary.

They have implants within me. I must obey.

He suspects his wife of treason. She already conceives a child with Thoth.

The Scholars' mouth never moved but Lorain kept her expression trained on the All-Father. His eyes bore into hers. He threw both women into the sphere. “Study this material.” It closed about them. He added, “Defy me and I take it out on Matarn’s dear mate.”

His mouth nearly twitched at that.

Lorain shuddered. The data before her opening.

She didn’t have to worry about linking with anything here. It was cut off from the rest of his dominion. He didn’t want his wife to know. Lorain re-read the first section.

Original material. First cycle. Corruption of Typha.

You will remove Unity’s hold over me.

He wanted her to clone a pristine body for him to transfer to. Along with a soul transference. Her gaze hardened. The 2nd part wouldn’t be possible. Not even Black could breach the lands where new souls resided. He could protect the edges but not directly intercede. That was the dominion of the Highest. The Weave dared not breach that immutable law. Sy’ra brought a finger over to the other file. It opened.

Dark Mirror transference.

Lorain’s eyes burned.

They wanted to pull souls from corrupted universes. Put them in bodies. Artock mostly. To manufacture immortal killers. That could regenerate endlessly.  She had only been here for moments yet the enormity of the situation nearly caused her to blackout. “God preserve us all.” Outside the sphere, black beaks pecked.

They hissed, “God cannot hear you in this place.”

Lorain recoiled. Sy’ra’s hands steadied her.

The braying of Unity’s prized sheep.

The sheer brazen commentary snapped Doc out of her shock.

She dug into the files. The more she took in the faster she could get back home.

To her family.

To everyone she loved.

*****

            The All-Father watched as his wife breached her vows. Everything that made her an Urraden. His mirror’s face was a dark reflection of his own. Yet he was merely a murderer. A simple cutthroat that believed the lies that Unity spread.

False power.

The newest Gray Herald would have his uses. His wife?

She would pay the price. He activated the small nanites within her Unity bracelet. “Dust to dust. I did promise you, my dear.” The nanites wormed their way through her system. Burrowing into her womb. Her progeny would be his gateway into another life. All he had to do was get the Doctor to transfer a proper fresh soul. The repeated cloning had nearly sapped the remnants that resided within. He was good for 2 or 3 more transfers before the total dark took him. Giving her access to the Dark Mirrors would be a gamble but he always bet on himself. If she decided to do something foolish? Well, there were many interesting ways to die on his planet of metal and bone. Many levels. His eyes glazed over as Thoth slipped out. Shifting into the form of an Artock drone. His herald belt offering many abilities.

It mattered not. In the end, the All-Father would outlast them all.

The nanites would take hold. Making the pregnancy accelerate. In 6 months it would not matter. He would have a pristine body. Of his bloodline. Unmarked by repeated resurrection. He watched as his wife dressed. Noting the bite marks. Foolish woman. Passion should be controlled. Made into a weapon. He cut the feed. Ash flooded the room as he opened it to the surface of the planet. The pale green fires casting shadows against the White Owls who fluttered to land on the lip of the dome.

His son would aim his venom at Thoth.

The All-Father smiled, “All in good time.”

Edenverse

Survey Sector 183.34

Javelin Bright Dawn

 

I took another sip of coffee. Gran-gran took one look at my face and proclaimed, “Not used to another ship huh?” I saw a bit of my reflection against the pale smooth surface of the table. I had dark circles under my eyes. I grinned. “Just the usual. I saw the updates!” The Golden Bulleteer had saved Lorain from the machinations of an abduction. The INet circuit was blaming it on the Red Haze manufacturer. The demi known only as the Spinster. I touched the headline again. Watching as Lorain stood next to my grandfather. Zooming in on their faces. My grandfather wasn’t as close to her as he’d normally be. His face was stiff. The smile was not quite as bright.

It had to be a body double.

It was the eyes. Whomever they picked didn’t know my Lorain very well.

Worry made my body tremble.

She wore a Union bracelet yet it wasn’t real. Because it wasn’t sending any signals to my circlet. It remained dormant upon my brow. Gran gran half hugged me. Placing a fresh plate in front of my face. Bacon, eggs. The works as Cooper would say.

Gwen walked in and hugged me from behind, “We have to set down on the next planetary body. I got a few nudges.” She sat down next to me. Smiling as Gran brought out another plate. Elenore Murphy rapped the table sharply.

“Let's get our heads in the game. We have a universe to protect.”

The flapping of wings caught my attention. Gwen and I stared off into space. She muttered, “Of course! The Dreaming!”

She hollered for Anna.

I watched as the coffee swirled within in my cup. Revealing a statuesque woman. Her face was framed with light tattoos around her eyes. Along her cheeks. Long black hair. “I will guard her.”

Sy’ra. Matarn’s wife. Di’axi’s mother.

Doc was trapped within Tarkanan.

I reached out along the family line. My mother opening a circuit. Her sorrow confirming my worst fears. Connecting me with my grandparents. I took careful bites. Trying to focus on the food. My vision blurred. My mental voice keening. Over and over.

I could have…..

I should have….

The food remained.

My throat seized up.

Snoopy trotted in. Resting his chin on my right hand. Those beagle eyes of his hurt to look at. So understanding.

 Glaive rested his head in my lap. They grieved with me.

 

*****

            Eleanore Murphy watched Eliza through the reflection of the kitchen stove. Seeing the tears hit the plate. She waited. Flipping more pancakes as Gwen re-entered the area. Walking over and resting her head against her grandmother’s arm. She didn’t bother to hide her tears. Eliza’s grief spilled over. Eleanore Murphy made the flowers within the whole ship bloom.

The soft fragrance of White Lilies.

            Her gaze sharpened as Anna walked in, “Teddy says 45% and climbing.” For once she didn’t quip with the Brick comments. She just walked over and patted Eliza awkwardly on the back.

The White Lily turned, “Let’s get that to 100!”

            Eliza shuddered and continued to pick away at the food.

Offering Snoopy and Glaive bits of bacon. Then she dabbed at her eyes with a napkin.

“You are right Gran. Let’s get to work.”

I did my best Golden Bulleteer pose. Hands-on hips.

*****

            I watched as Anna walked towards me. Shocked when she dried my face with a silk handkerchief, “There ya go you Giant Flying Brick. That’s the corny optimism everyone likes!” To think we had been at odds in the beginning. My grandmother sucked in a laugh. Her amazement coloring her response, “I’d never thought I’d see the day. What a family we all make huh?”

            Anna smirked, “You were the only one that knew I wasn’t a good fit but the past is the past.”

Gwen let out a watery snort, “Yep. Want me to be Owl bait again?”

            We all responded simultaneously, “NO!”

            It got me moving.

            Doc was doing her part. I’d have to do mine.

            When I got back to Earth that replacement would get a piece of my mind.

Issue 26: Here

Interlude: The Third Eye Opens: Here