Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Uplift Protocol Escape Velocity Issue 18

 

Issue 18: That Dreaming Connection

 

            I had prayed for this moment. Now that it is here I find I have no words.—Sy’ra

            There is more at play. We aren’t encountering these alternative Earths or Universes at random. There is an Arcane reason. Who the Highest is using? That is not clear. The Icath can only go forward in time from their ancient birthplace. Eliza Murphy isn’t the only one with hidden memory.—Sir Avalon

            Only one has access to the Rivers of Time. The flow cannot be altered by us. Or the Icath.Even Unity has not realized this.—Nephilim Archives.

            I do not know the ending. I don’t have to. I have my friends and family. That is all I wanted from the start.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 23rd century (vol 11)

           

Hanger of the T.A.S. America’s Last Gleaming

Fleet Rally Point

T-Minus 10 Days

           

Di’axi stared.

He couldn’t do any less. A ghost from his past had manifested. His mother wore a bright green robe. The white fabric underneath lent an ethereal quality to her pale skin. Almost as white as his. Her Dreamer marks were that very same dark cobalt. He tapped his father’s shoulder rapidly. He turned as well. Unlike his son, Matarn bellowed.

“How!?! The fleet hasn’t…”

Matarn shook his head. Akin to a bear rising from the water. He dashed over and lifted Sy’ra over his head. Twirling her about the hanger.

A message pinged. ///I’ll explain later.—Doc///

Di’axi gave his father a few more moments. Waiting for both to come back down to earth. As the saying went. They were a family again. Sy’ra reached out, tears trailing down her face, “Look how big…” She held out her hands.

Di’axi took them.

He said, “We had all sorts of breaching protocols….”

Sy’ra wrapped her arms around her son, “Of that I am sure.”

Di’axi replied, “It was going to be a very big boom….”

Sy’ra nodded. Matarn pulled his family in, “We shall face this together.”

*****

Jupiter confirmed it, <<That infant will have some demi powers.>>

Mom said, “So technically that’s my grandson. An alternative setup to be sure but….”

I responded, “J’irax Thomas Lanis. The Ayeer line there mixed with humans for a few generations. No idea what kind of convergence he is. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Weave wants it that way.”

 My father picked the baby up. J’irax responded by tugging on my father’s nose.

Thomas grinned, “You are a bit heavy!” My father flew him around the room.

Then made short jerking motions to simulate a ship landing.

Green lines shot out to scan J’irax. Jupiter said, <<Noted. The boy has a denser bone structure.>>

My mother had that glint in her eyes. Momma Bear mode was back.

 “Are we alive in that other place?”

I nodded. She was invested now. Knowing her other self was without her grandchild. Her aura dipped into the red. It wasn’t rage. It was colder than that. The old Urraden feud. I hadn’t asked what had started it. A small pinprick formed in my mind.

My connection to my Ayeer ancestor.

C’alain’s face formed. His white-blonde hair was nearly the same shade as Mother’s.

His sword raised before him, >>That thread will be with us until Unity is no more. Thus it shall echo across all the Multiverse. You will be the final arbiter.<<

Arbiter. The word struck me as odd. What would I serve as Judgement to?

Wasn’t that my father’s role?

I said, “I’d know your heartbeats no matter what. That made the other versions of me and Doc Over the Moon happy.”

Dad placed J’irax back in the crib. His Bardaxian nannies floating over him. Three Blue Defenders. He’d be going to live with V’alkor and M’taris. They seemed to be enjoying being grandparents. My grandfather was quite content. I could fathom why. Being a House Scion, even for just those few years had been exhausting. Wearing a false crown must have been….

I reached towards the crib. My hands phased out of reality. Everything went gray.

A man in dark robes with 3 golden circles on the front bowed. His face was obscured by a white mask.

“I know an associate of mine gave you a message from yourself. This part will be as a hammer to a nail. White will die if you do not act.”

I vibration hummed in my chest. The robed figure reached in. “Wear this black crown piece openly. It will take you to White. The rest will follow through Doctor Lanis.”

Color spilled into the world. My father reached out.

The black crown settled over my brow. Looking like a piece of antlers jutting outward.

“Defcon Omega. We are going in.” His voice echoed.

My usual clothing faded. In its place was my White Defender uniform. Sparking with the cosmic energies of White’s dominion. I sent an image of Doc to my mother before the world faded. Threads encompassed my body as I was tossed into a cosmic sea.

Matarn’s spear pulsed with silver radiance. I flew towards White as she circled a crimson-scaled Hydra. Its 12 heads snapping at her. “You hold no power here Mother of None!” Each head spat a different noxious poison. I hurled my weapon at the beast. It buried itself deep within the flesh of the leading head. Its eyes turned towards me.

“Human filth!”

White snarled, the sound carrying over the din, “Face me!” She lashed out with tooth and claw. Her old scar bleeding from the uppermost corner of her chest. Each hydra eye was pitch black. Not like a void walker but more like the mirrors that Morgana had used. I slammed into the creature with all my might. Its center head shattered into millions of glass shards. I reached out to grab the spear. It's haft warming. To the point of burning. A white haze covered my vision.

The anger was blinding. My body twisted on its own. White was once more around my waist. The golden sigils were blood red. The sky opened and beyond the portal was a pockmarked industrial planet. Its green fires spat miasma up into the atmosphere.

Tarkanan.

My voice was not my own, “You will pay for all the misery.” The ends of my fingers curled into claws. A white outline in the shape of a tiger. Its third golden eye ringed with blue fire.

White leaped through the portal.

The rage boiled in my chest. Her chest.

I shouted, “STOP! These artock aren’t pirates! They are slaves! The Gemini of the Old Path!”

Their souls screamed at me from behind mummied masks. The eyestalks were shorter than Striker Nix’s. Their skin was a deep blue. The third eye blinded by black scrawl. Keeping their souls aware of the horror. Much like the floating Nexus crew we found out along the black. Stuck protecting that Flower. Saving it from the evils of Unity.

It all had a purpose.

This was not the way.

I pounded on the shell that was my prison.

What would get through to her?!

My breath caught. We were a mirror to one another. I had always feared what rage would do when in command. Think Murphy!

I screamed, “Remember your promise! Hear their cries!”

I opened my empath floodgates. Letting the horror of the Gemini souls flow over me.

*****

            From the bridge of the Jupiter, Lorain Lanis shouted, “Follow her in. Dark Mirror gates are open!” As one the Artock Pirate Hulls pulled the Terran Alliance through. Commanded by Tarvelian skeleton crews. Their time had come. To be at the forefront of the spear.

            Lorain turned to her mother, “I must go in. Not as I am.”

            Mary replied, “God go with you.”

            Yellow defender armor materialized and Doc phased out from the Jupiter Rising. Following the Terran Alliance forces into the energy breaches. On the other side was chaos. A giant white energy tiger rampaged about the battlefield. Targeting anything that came close. Doc spotted Eliza at the heart of that fire. Doc sent out a command. The Terran ships took up positions. Eddie responded, “What is Star doing!?!” Flashes of color bloomed in the distance as Tarkanan forces moved in to protect the All-Father’s rotted abode. Dexter appeared next to Doc. His form was outlined by the shape of a black tiger.

He said, “I will protect the fleet from White’s rage.”

Dexter’s voice was deeper. Black then.

Doc hugged her Union bracket to her chest. Remembering the words of the Lidless.

When White rages, let Eliza choose.

 

*****

            Within the depths of Tarkanan, two figures stared at the thing tearing into the Artock Drone ships. Only disabling them for now. The same couldn’t be said of the Living Stone or anything else circling the planet. Later cycle Artock bodies floated in the void. The new master of Tarkanan swore. “How did the Earthers figure it out?!”

            He focused in on the silver-white blur mowing down another flight group of pirates. Its three eyes opened wide. Not the deep crimson of an Urraden. It was pure red flame. Cutting across the cosmos.

Thoth snapped, “What in the nine hells is that?!”  The bright gleaming hulls of Alliance ships were safely beyond the extended defense network around the planet.

            E’ratha replied, “A giant kitty is shitting in your litter box.”

            The former House Scion watched as her words caused a few blood vessels to pop in the new manager’s head. She continued, “Interesting how it’s only tearing apart White Owls to the ends of oblivion. What is inside those Drone ships?! You want those gone.”

            Thoth hissed, “None of your concern.” He made a flicking motion with his left hand.

            E’ratha wailed as an invisible force sent her spider-shaped mechanical form careening into the walls.

            Thoth’s fingers moved across the holo. It was time to run.

What rested at the heart of Tarkanan must be protected.

*****

            Thomas and J’ino watched from the bridge of the Jupiter. Their daughter was still in that mass of swirling ancient energy. Fighting with White. J’ino asked, “What did the Alliance find with all those pirate bodies?”

            She needed the distraction. Seeing her daughter’s face contorted with rage frightened her more than she wanted to admit. Ritark rose from the shadow of Thomas, “That is not Eliza’s rage. That is White!”

Thomas replied, “That the Artock take from other races. Incorporate biofuel from many sources. But these ones here are different. We kept the blue ones separated from the other cryogenically frozen pirates. What our researchers called drones.”

J’ino’s hands tightened about Thomas’ arm.

Thomas said, “They aren’t drones. Not like later cycles. Who evolved with Unity’s taint.”

Another dozen ships imploded. Leaving nothing in their wake.

J’ino watched the readouts. Her eyes narrowed.

“Eliza is still in there. Those were pirates. Living Stone ships. Not…”

Thomas finished as Avandar entered, “The Gemini people.”

Avandar placed his four arms across his massive chest, “I trust in the will of the Arbiter.”

The cries of his people reverberated through his third eye.

The horror giving away to the dawn.

They marveled at the prowess of the All-Mother. Concerned by the dark wound.

He prayed Eliza would see it in time.

*****

            Sharp teeth bit down on my forearm.

Enough to leave angry red welts behind. I wrapped my legs around White’s waist. So her lower claws couldn’t get at me. Within the dim corridors of my mind, I knew I was winning. She was venting at things that had no soul. White Owls. Living Stone. Biomutants of a later Artock age. Or cycle. I knew it via this strange crown. It amplified my empathy abilities. Linking me to White on another level. I beat past her rage. Using her soul sense to guide her away from the innocent. For she still valued that which wasn’t lost.

I looked at that old wound. It pulsated in time with Tarkanan. I recalled what Piper had said once upon a time. That it had been forged in a dark place. The knife he had been tricked to use. In the fires of Tarkanan! The planet shifted. It was preparing to jump!

Hiulk’s warm words filled my being.

I pulled a piece of the crown from my head.

Suck the poison from the wound. It is the only way.

I placed the piece against the tiger’s chest. As the black scrawl entered my throat, I saw a hunched figure over a forge. It's one eye scarred with age. “Build? Yes. For all the world is a mirror. My master knows…”

Weapons of old. Linked by a common cause. Unity.

The few markings I could make out from the ancient leathery face chilled me.

They were similar to Avandar’s.

White cried out, “Hephestus!”

The last bit of black wound closed. Leaving a light pink scar.

I found myself floating in the void of space. The Terran Alliance fleet surrounded me. White’s voice tickled against my skin, >>Forgive me.<<

Another presence flooded my senses.

It flowed through us both.

White leaped from my body. A shimmering figure against the black.

Countless voices thrummed in the deep.

Singing in unison with Avandar. His voice rose higher.

Then they faded. Slumbering.

Bits of crystal floated before me.

Tears of the All-Mother.

An alert tore through the quiet.

<<Unknown signal. Baring 224.8!>>

The silhouettes of the ships were foreign to me. The scent of blood left me nauseous.

I called out, <<Attack positions. Hostiles incoming!>>

Nola’s people maneuvered more of the trapped Gemini ships behind the battle lines. Sparks of yellow spread out as the new contacts moved in. A face that I knew all too well filling up the HUD screens.

<<I am Ta’rammon, Golden Lion of the Eternal Empire. Enough games.>>

My father replied, <<All Javelins move in!>>

The Jupiter Rising had joined the fight.

Issue 17: Here

Issue 19:

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Uplift Protocol Escape Velocity Issue 17

Issue 17: At the Core of It

 

            Mary showed me this. Through Nola’s mirror. A weight has been lifted. But in its place? How many women bore the corruption of that madness? Carrying the poison of The Mother of Lies? Chronos as the father was horrid enough.—The Morrigan

            My people follow the mandates of Heaven. We must see this Convergence to its end. Beyond that? The promise of a  bountiful future.—Nola

            This was never recorded in the Starlight Volumes. While recording what I could? The Highest would direct my thoughts towards what was needed. As I approach the twilight of my existence I find my heart is more at peace than it has been in ages. Death is only the beginning. What lies beyond that wall is more than any could imagine. My words are a dim light within a universe of brilliance.—From the Journal of Eliza Murphy

            It was all smoke and mirrors. I only knew a fraction of the picture at the time of my death. I was more than a weapon to throw at Unity. I was the domino that felled its house of cards.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 23rd century

The Jupiter Rising

Hidden Room of the Arcane

T-Minus 10 Days

 

            Lorain asked, “Mom. Why have them at this Arcane prison sphere!? The sword alone is bad enough!”

She shot the Morrigan an apologetic glance.

            The red-haired woman bowed her head, “I am just glad that this Order allowed Nola to know….” Her throat tightened.

Mary made a chopping motion. Bringing up the live feed from Bel’s cell. It wasn’t based on any Terran Alliance tech. This was pure magic. The feedback loop running through the Iron Line. Intersecting through the true Golden City. Only a handful of the Order’s agents could access each Sphere. Operational security that was older than the combined history of Earth. Humanity hadn’t started on that planet. They had merely arrived there at the behest of the Highest. Traveling on roads most didn’t know existed.

            The Golden City. A mystery wrapped in many layers. At the heart of it was her daughter.

            Eliza played a role yet it was Lorain who engineered and directed a vital linchpin.

            That journal had revealed much more than her daughter realized.

            Arthur said, “If this room was made by human magic users how did it end up on a pre-dominantly Typherian designed vessel?”

            Mary pulled out the leather-bound book. “This. In Lorain’s writing.”

            The Intez within added, “I will fill you in when we are ready to act Arthur. This particular conspiracy is far older than most realize. Since our people walked with yours within the great starways of the Weave. The Intez fled the origin of Rykah. To the shining arms of Humanity.”

            Arthur pulled off his helm, “Through the Arcways?!”

            His Intez replied, “Through the Dreaming itself. The Arcane planted the Arcways behind them. At the commandments of Noah. The great Navigator of humanity.”

            Lorain shuddered, “Things were simpler before…”

            Morrigan reached out to pat Lorain’s forearm, “When you were just demis. Saving the world from mutated Living Stone and space dinosaurs.”

            Lorain leaned back. Watching the symbols on the ceiling shift.

            She blurted out, “Just how much of this was planned?”

            Mary answered. Her tone was candid, “Since the beginning.”

*****

            Bel flowed back into the Sword. The wards didn’t stop her. Nothing could. She couldn’t stand the images flashing through Mordred’s mind about that woman. The levels of debauchery were enough to perturb even her remnants of a soul. A new icon flashed within the dark expanse.

            Do you wish for a new body?

            Bel said, “No. Mordred must be cast from mine.”

            It pulsed softly. A jade-green thread wrapped around her eyes, throat, and heart.

            “Granted.”

            The word poured into her. Buring every corner.

            She found herself back on the bed. Her body was energized. Ren cackled, “Excellent. He is back home now.” The mummy’s fingers traced along the barrier. She blew Bel a kiss. “I will take such good care of my boy.”

            Bel turned towards the wall. She replied, “I saw enough of your care.”

            Ren said, “I could give you such pleasures.”

            The room shifted. Weightlessness overcame her.

*****

            Mordred jerked his head to the side. A White Owl hopped onto his chest. “Ahhh! Unity has other plans for you and your dear mother.” Black scrawl flowed over his body. It was his. The old scars on his chest reminded him. He couldn’t move. His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. He was in a sarcophagus. Yet the words were not quite the Egyptian he was familiar with.

One owl dropped a black rose on his chest.

            He shuddered.

            This place was his mother’s.

            The synapses in his brain linked with the coffin. One message flashed. In her neat handwriting.

            Welcome home. I am sure my friends will take wonderful care of you.

            Another message followed.

            Lifesigns registered. Beginning revival process.

            Slots opened and gray tubing latched onto his naked body. Forcing nutrients into his system. Spots danced before his eyes. His heart thudded erratically. 

Each movement was pure agony.

Eternal Earth Empire

Egypt

Pathway of Rulers

           

Ta’rammon paced. The Known Golden Tiger of Earth. His rule was everlasting.

Thanks to his Typherian allies.

J’anu Urraden picked up a piece of fallen stone. This was merely a cover.

Slaves would bring the “dead” here for containment. She said, “Wonder what kind of surprise Ren put into this lovely tomb!” She watched as the outer symbols changed. It would be another 20 minutes before the subject revived properly.

Ta’rammon grunted, “Knowing her? It’s probably some pleasure unit.”

A guard approached. Wearing a simple white and gold skirt. The golden armbands on each bicep marked him as a common ground trooper. He kelt. Avoiding eye contact. “Your lord father requests your presence on the Summit of Suns.”

J’anu tapped a device in her wrist and she disappeared in a flash of golden light.

The guard remained motionless. Waiting for his king to give the command.

Ta’rammon spoke, “Rise. Go fetch me some wine. This wretch will regret waking here.”

*****

            Ta’karr Urraden peered down at his daughter’s tousled head. A rare beauty. Platinum blonde. It was unfortunate she had to rut about with that Human but it kept the savage in line. Their magic was useful. He motioned towards the remaining seat. She rose at his mental prodding.

J’anu asked, >>What of our ongoing battle plans. Do you need more human’s to bolster the magical gateways?<<

            Ta’karr reached out to grab a goblet of white wine. >>Not yet. There has been a change of Management at Tarkanan. It would appear our Brother House has been disposed of.<<

            J’anu took a swig from the remaining red wine bottle. She kicked her feet up on the table. It was just the two of them. Had this been a proper House meeting she would have made a proper show of it. Her father smirked, >>If he cannot hold his realm then he is not Urraden proper. I hear this Thoth is.<<

            Another figure entered. Her black raven hair was at odds with the deep purple. She waited until both Urradens noticed her. Ta’kan said, “Ah! Morgana. What news from the Primary source?”

            They suspected it of being the mythical Eden.

            They would not fail Unity. Unlike most of his people, Ta’karr didn’t want the big chair. Just some of the spoils. Eating more than you could consume would lead to an early grave. He planned on living through the apocalypse. His daughter at his side. She had always been his favorite. He was feeling generous. She could even bring her human plaything. J’anu’s crimson eyes locked onto her father.

            Her mental voice was soft, >>Why thank you, father. Ta’rammon has grown on me. I will give you a proper Typherian heir of course. Just tell me which will be the most suitable sample.<<

            Ta’tarr winked, >>There is some old stock that would be perfect. But you have many viable child years left. It is not yet time to bring forth the next generation.<<

            J’anu’s muscles relaxed. She knew her duty but it was ever so much fun to be with someone who couldn’t get her with a child. Ta’rammon had plenty of bastards yet his fire was only for her. As it should be. She watched as the human sorceress brought out a dark mirror. The edges flecked with gold and green leaves.

            “The All-Father of Tarkanan lives. The Knight is still in play.”

            J’anu raised her bottle, “Glorious! No wonder Ren wants to stay in that strange prison. If she can find our wayward Ta’mathon! All the better!” J’anu still recalled that bright wicked light that had sucked the boy from their grasp. He would have been an excellent conduit to the magic of this world. It had worn strange armor as well. The sight had nearly struck J’anu blind. It had taken weeks of rejuvenation in the coffins of the Golden Throne. For the attack had been magic in nature.

            That was the real reason she loved the Golden Lion of Egypt. He could protect her from the magic of the enemy. A woman always had to have a way out. Her mother was entombed into the deepest Typherian prison. The audacity of trying to betray father. J’anu reclined. “Any news on tracking down an Icath?”

            Morgana replied, “Not as of yet. They favor the Primary Source. They linger in many places. If you would convince your Lion to part with a tablet of seeking. It might be enough to bring one to the Prime Golden conduit.”

            J’anu said, “Excellent. I am sure I can get that from him. He adores me.” She wouldn’t mention the Golden City by name. It would enrage Ta’rammon. He saw his planet as the premiere axis of magic in all of Egypt. She stretched once more. “Time to see which unfortunate soul came through via Ren’s machinations.”

            Morgana bowed, “Shall I come with you?”

            Ta’tarr commanded, “Do so. Keep my daughter safe.”

            Morgana twitched as the nanites sent a warning through her nervous system.

            “As you command Scion of House Urraden.”

            None knew the face of the King of Typha. It was forbidden.

            Morgana knew the only way she could survive Unity’s wrath was to offer juicer prizes.

            All was negotiable. She didn’t want to end up in Set’s position.

*****

            Mordred watched helplessly as two copper-skinned men pulled him from the sarcophagus. Their bulky bodies were more than a match for him in this state. The man before him was the spitting image of Thomas Murphy. Except his dark beard trailed to his waist. Mordred croaked out, “So is this where that bitch lives?”

            The man with the golden tiger cape peered down at him, “AH! So Ren did have children. Fancy that. Shriveled as she is in her actual form. Must have used someone else’s womb though. A pity we can’t ask that pet she had.”

            He motioned to his chest, “Had a nice rack though.”

            Mordred examined the twin swords around the man’s waist.

            He linked to the part of himself that was Chronos.

His eyes went pure black.

The tip of a blade nicked his skin. Just above the jugular.

*****

            J’anu smacked Mordred across the face, “None of that now boy. Chronos has a treaty with us.” Mordred glared. The black receded.

Murphy’s lips pulled back into a mock smile. Tracking a shallow cut across Mordred’s chest. “How rude of you.”

            Mordred bowed his head to hide his shock.

            A place where Ayeer never happened?!

            J’anu jerked Mordred’s head back. Using his longer hair as leverage while Murphy poured some black liquid down his throat. He attempted to spit but the big man’s hands clamped over Mordred’s mouth.

            Everything burned.

            Nanites were flooding his system. These weren’t like the ones on the Earth he knew. Those would connect people to INet and other services. Healing.  Emergency conduits. These buggers? These tied them to the people before him.

            Slave Designate 249. Property of Renenutet.

            Human DNA detected.  Keeper Blood Line Chronos.

            Paternal Human Line Detected. Maternal Human Line  Detected.

            Mordred screamed. The Message continued.

            Ta’mathon of the Stepps. Renenutet of the Golden Spire.

            J’anu shared a look with Thomas Murphy. He pulled Mordred up.

            “We have a little fish. Wonder when Ren found our dear missing Ta’mathon.”

            One of the guards exclaimed, “My Lord King Ta’rammon! The slaves in the Northern sector are rebelling!”

            Mordred stilled. He could yet escape.

            He pretended to faint. Let them think the worst.

            He heard Ta’rammon reply, “Ready our troops. The Red Dawn rises.”

Issue 16: Here

Issue 18: Here