Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Uplift Protocol: MFE B1 Issue 9

Issue 9: Eternal Bonds

 

No wonder Hot Sauce had no clue. That was a pretty quick job you had to do Apple. Luckily for Eliza, Nurse Doctor has excellent skills. TO the point where I am planning a surprise of sorts. I know the database is here somewhere within as Puzzler puts it, “The Infinite Bag of Holding”. Now only to find it. No Lady J’ino, it's not some sort of weapon. Its something wholesome. I’m a gentleman!—“Gulliver”.

Based on what information I got from J’ino, Eliza has manifested some of the marks of her people. These mental markers: There are 4 stages. Each covering something different but vital to Typherian bonds and society. I’ll be able to relink the first 3 marks. The final one, Eliza will never be able to accomplish no matter how much I attempt to heal her. Those nodes essential for having children cannot be reproduced even using her brother’s spinal pathways. If they had both been women, there might have been a slim chance.—Doctor Lorain Lanis.

                I can count on one hand how many times I’ve truly been embarrassed. Having THAT conversation with my mother was one of them. But it had to be done. This was one of the few times she didn’t shield anything from me emotionally. TO get the points across. Typherians took their relationships to a whole other level. Finding that one true companion or mate was paramount. She never thought I’d have to face certain aspects of those age-old rituals. In some ways, standard human biological imperatives are easier to understand.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century.

Historic Crystal Park

Downtown Ashbury (Texas)

November 7th, 2103

 

            I peered up into the blue skies.

            Children ran around the edges of the park. Their feet pounding away at the various VR markers. Games that mixed actual activity with secrets to explore were the newest craze. Besides knowing that we weren’t alone in the Universe.

All sorts of trees dotted the landscape here.

            The rush of humanity was thick. Just another day for them.

My hands were gripping the railing slightly. Didn’t want to inadvertently bend the metal. Mom leaned in and put a tentative hand on my forearm. “I wish I had better words to use.” Her voice was quiet but hard. She blamed herself. For assuming. I shrugged. My whole body tensing as another wave of emotions rolled over me. After we got home from our Bardaxian rescue, everyone else filled me in on other aspects, including the one I faced right now.

Typherian Bonding.

For your standard Typherian, it was supposed to be a special moment.

For me? It felt like a giant target was on my back.

I thought that my main worries had just been a lack of mom’s abilities.

My eyes screwed shut for a millisecond.

I pictured the great expanse of Atlantis. Shaped by metals beyond all Terran Science. Nearly beyond Forger understanding. I rather hear how Arthon faired. When I had left him his face had been pale. Hands shaking with denial. Whatever he and Eddie had found troubled them greatly. As a trainee, I didn’t have the clearance for it yet. But I knew it was more than that. It concerned Grace. She was a sleeper.

Sul’sandra had asked Eddie to remain silent on the matter. His thousand-mile stare frightened me. Just thinking about it made me shudder. What was out there? What else had they learned?

She would only say that another layer of At’lan’s history had been exposed.

How it would play out, that was anyone’s guess. Dexter, without any teasing whatsoever, buried himself within that pocket of the Weave to give mother and I true privacy. This situation added extra fuel to his resentment towards  Mr. Apple.  His feelings were still raw.  Everyone else seeing things beyond all control or imagination? These questions would have to wait. All of us trying desperately to protect each other.

I had assumed.  Don’t we all?

I always thought I didn’t feel that way for anyone but part of it was because I had already chosen a while back.  Could I ever be a proper partner though?

Those synapses had been broken to the point where I didn’t recognize the build-up.

So now I was experiencing a second rollercoaster of sorts.  I broke the silence with, “I thought I was oblivious. I didn’t want to impose anything else on Lorain. She has already healed me enough. Now all this? How do I know what’s real and what's damaged signals from my spine?”

I wanted to fly into the sun.

To listen to the music of the spheres.

Mom tugged on my arm with surprising force, pulling me off the railing, her eyes narrowed.

Her melancholy pierced my heart.

To me, she might as well be shouting. When she spoke again, her voice was thick.

“I should have looked closer. Our age of majority is usually 28. Because that’s  when all the extra markers kick in.” I finally met her gaze.

She held up her hand. “No, don’t say anything yet. Let me finish.”

Markers. Had Lorain felt anything? Was I supposed to? I wanted to claw at my back. To see if it would take notice of the slightest touch.  Before Lorain had started all these treatments the best I could feel was constant pain. Like thousands of needles pricking at my skin. Now? I could tell when she placed things on the back of my neck. Until she got to the point between my shoulder blades. That last portion of my back. Not even a tremor of sensation.

I genuinely hoped that with Dexter’s help I could get an actual sensation to emerge.

A fleeting sense of logic told me, maybe this was for the best, it made me an effective shield. Nothing could phase me physically.  Dexter moved within my mindscape.

His eyes pierced through me: Don’t you dare. This isn’t your fault.

“It hadn’t even been a week after I met your father when they kicked in.  My people’s biological ticks have their uses but one is concrete: Find a mate, have children, because artificial pathways don’t work.  Our biology doesn’t allow for artificial growth. Like humans tubing their children until the baby can grow in a safe environment.”

She continued, “That’s why I was fairly shocked when I found I was pregnant with you. There has been nothing in our history that indicated Typherians could produce offspring with anyone else.”

Dexter mouthed the word: Convergence.

Mom hunched over for a moment, picking up a stone, skipping it across the perfectly maintained waterway of the park. Tiny waves and splashes echoed.  

She pulled me along the crosswalk. We found a more secluded area. A fountain with a giant swordfish was spraying water up into the air. I wondered what Doc was doing. Most kids had this kinda talk when they were in their high school years.  Not only was this embarrassing but due to circumstances beyond my control, I wouldn’t ever be able to have any children. I wouldn’t be able to carry anything to term. Hybrid or not.  Because the connections weren’t there. Would never be there.

What kind of woman could I be now?

Doubts and fears knawed away at me. Like a wolf with a favorite bone. I counted the droplets of water. Forcing my heart to slow down. My brother’s resolve bolstered me. His heart beating in time with mine. A metronome across the Weave.

I masked my worries behind a smile.

Don’t feed the other wolf.

Feed the Bardaxian instead.  

Because I was the Banner and my mother needed me.  Like the Golden Bulleteer, I would shoot ever forward. If I couldn’t change that aspect of my life,  I would turn it into things I could change or protect.

 

*****

            J’ino waved to Q’vera. Her sister had nearly teleported over before J’ino had finished.  She smothered both in a hug. Eliza took a moment to steady herself. “Hey Cinnamon.” From anyone else, the Red Defender of Typha would have taken the speaker to task. Instead, she put on a fierce grin, planting her hands on her hips, “I have a new mission for you kid!” In her human form, she had flaming red hair along with blazing green eyes, so very much in line with her real experience.

            She was known to wear specialized contacts to hide her Ayeer family heritage.  Today though, she had a different purpose. “Sister. What have you been telling your daughter? She looks like she’s flying into the gallows. Today is not a day for dread! It is a day for drinking!”

            J’ino marveled at her sibling’s cavalier attitude,  the sheer protectiveness drove her to blurt out harshly, >>We did a full rundown. My daughter will never be able to have children and we don’t even know if her markers will mature correctly!<<

            Q’vera responded, >>She needs time to process everything. Dwelling on what she cannot change will not help. Even now she puts on a brave face for you. Do the same for her!<<

            J’ino spoke, her words littered with meaning, “I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear Eliza but you can still do so much. I know this weighs heavily and you are putting on every bit of cheer you can muster but it's alright.” She opened her arms.

*****

            Time didn’t have any meaning. I clung to my mother like a drowning woman. Not as myself or even the Banner but as a daughter who just wanted someone to take the burden for a moment. I didn’t know how l0ng I remained kneeling. Just listening to my mother’s consoling murmurs but I didn’t care.  This was something I could understand.  No matter how old I would get I’d always want to hug my parents.  Many saw the Banner as a peak to aspire to.  My rock was family and friends.  That foundation would never change.  I stood. Mom produced a handkerchief and dabbed my face.  I didn’t even have time to thank her properly.

My HUD popped up within the corner of my vision. Doc’s face appeared. She looked excited, <<I have more results! Good news first! I can take some more of the core synapses from your brother, use my power to grow them in one of our biocylinders on the Jupiter, then phase them into your body. After some therapy and more cell growth, you should have full proper feeling along your spine and back. Don’t think I didn’t notice you fibbing. You are bad at it Eliza Murphy.>>

Another message popped up. It was listed as “Private, view later.” It was from Gulliver. I felt a smile tug at my lips. A genuine one. He was colorful. But he was like a favorite uncle.  I had a sneaking suspicion that dad thought Gulliver would corrupt me somehow but half the jokes he said, well if I didn’t get it, explaining wouldn’t help. From the scandalized looks Doc provided told me all I needed to know.  Aunt Q’vera punched me in the gut with enough force to send me a foot in the air. “LET’S GO! You are not getting any younger!”

Doc hid a wry smile behind her hand and cut the feed, with one last message: <<We will talk later. I don’t consider you broken. You giant cornfed dork.  And you still owe me a proper date.>>

 

The Hightower Express

Downtown Ashbury (Texas)

                J’ino nursed her drink and watched Eliza wolf down a 4th helping of some sort of hibachi inspired chicken.  Q’vera heaped more drinks in front of her niece. Loving the fact that she’d never get intoxicated from it all. They were preparing to leave the fairly affluent restaurant when 5 armed thugs stormed in, “GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY! NOW!” Eliza cracked her knuckles. Q’vera made an “after you” gesture. All 3 pretended to leave the building. Choosing to double-back inside via the alleyway.

            As the restaurant owner was gathering various bills from the safe, a red gloved hand shot out and crushed all five firearms in a moment’s notice. The Star-Spangled Banner gazed down at the thugs. “I imagine this wasn’t the tip this fine place had in mind.” She plucked a chopstick from one of the tables. From the corner of her vision, she saw some of New Ashbury’s finest barge in, with Detective Paxton leading the charge. As his boys cuffed the men and women he waved Star over. “Hey, Girlscout! We got a fire, Midway Town House Apartments!” She flashed by in a heartbeat. The walls trembling with the echo of a sonic boom.

Paxon eyed Jennifer. “I got these jokers, I have a feeling Eliza is looking for you two.”

He jerked a thumb to the exit.  

Q’vera gave Paxon a wink. “Well, we did throw her out face first. Rather undignified!”

J’ino arched an eyebrow, “Let’s go. I have a feeling my daughter will need some time to bring the grav car around.”

*****

            While the extinguishing system was trying its best, the flames weren’t of normal origin. I could see the signs of magical use. Sir Avalon waved me over. “There are still people on the top floor. I have Dr. Zanzibar holding some of the flames back but its very dark magic. A voodoo that reminds me of the  sickness from that ship.” Mixed with Keeper tech then. I nodded. Took a running jump and sprang skyward. I focused in on the hectic heartbeats of the civilians. Dr. Zanzibar, complete with a black and purple tux, his green tophat akimbo, was straining to keep the flames in place.

            His brow furrowed, through gritted teeth, “Go!”

            I zipped past some falling debris. The cries of children were frantic. I peered through walls and duracrete, finding a section not engulfed. I transferred person after person. Carrying them, inhaling what fires I could. Feeling it tear at my insides. For it was laced with magic. I could see flecks of Void Walker tech as well. Nanomachines etched with symbols. My nose was bleeding. No matter the level of their influence, that sign would tell me everything. The smoke was stinging my eyes but there was still one more family to evacuate to the corner Zanzibar was maintaining. The husband was pounding on the doorway with a fire ax. It only left small dents in the door. I moved him aside. Yelling to the wife and children, “Move away from the door, along the wall near the closet! I am bursting through!”  I saw their outlines move. The mother covered her children.

            I could feel the crackle of the heat behind me.

These flames were being controlled remotely!

I signaled Zanzibar. He sent a message back.

///Avalon on it.///

I took a few steps back then hit the wall with all my might. It cracked. I continued to charge at it. I could feel my shoulder bruising.  Hex symbols appeared. A white cowled man scowled at me and faded from view as the symbols dissipated from the duracrete. With one final push, I crashed through the wall. The man collected 2 of his children. His wife cradling the baby while the oldest had the family dog in his arms. I created another hole as the fire roared.  Sucked in more smoke and flames. I smiled at them. “This way!”

The rest of the residents broke out in cheers as I lifted everyone down using the protected room as a makeshift escape craft. Blood escaped between my lips but I knew it was from the Void Walker presence. Mostly. Even magic could cause me some pause but these people had no extra protection so I straightened my shoulders and waved to the crowd after I set the room down along the side street. Firemen and other emergency personnel moved in to treat injuries.

Dr. Zanzibar tipped his tophat towards me, “Thanks for the assist!”

 I replied, “Of course. We are in this together!” I clasped his hand.

Sir Avalon materialized above us. With a crack of lighting.

He barked, “Star, North Grav station. The woman wreathed in flames is there.”

*****

 

            Lorain flagged down J’ino as the pair were parking.  A feeling in the doctor’s gut told her Eliza was in some sort of trouble. It was like a pressure building behind her eyes. So she followed the news updates. Eddie had been on scene of course. Having an inside connection hardly anyone would suspect. She had seen the strain in Eliza’s face. How her smile had been a touch too bright.

            Lorain both loved and dreaded that smile. The effort Star put into prioritizing others made Lanis wish she’d take some time for herself. Even a little. Was this what it was like having loved ones in dangerous jobs? She shook her head. No time to worry now. They had a job to do.

            J’ino gave Doctor Lanis a half hug. “Avalon and the others are already inbound. My sister insisted we meddle somewhat. I have a hunch that something outside of normal boundaries is in play.”

Northern Grav Train Station

North Ashbury (Texas)

 

            Anna's nose wrinkled as the smell of sulfur and other insense engulfed the area. She looked around, hoping to find the source and complain about it. What she didn’t expect was seeing that woman again. With her perfect gray-green eyes and well-maintained haircut. Alongside was a crimson-haired woman and the Doctor with a disgusting infatuation with the Golden Child.

            Lorain stepped in front of Jennifer. Her arms crossed protectively. “Ms. Preston.” Doc wouldn’t give the other woman the curtesy of using her married name. Anna glared daggers at all of them then squealed with surprise as a black-gloved hand gripped her throat. A woman cloaked in flames grinned, “Hostages. And a rather well-known one. Excellent. Pray that the Demis you hate will save you.”

            Q’vera flicked a finger and various Typherian level nanites from her shrouded Defender Belt coated the area. She sent out a signal:

            ///Follow the Yellow Brick Road.///

            When Eliza was young she loved it when her aunt read the famous book. Adding in some additional Typherian sayings.

            The five women were teleported deeper into the Grav complex. Their abductor bowed. Still entrapping Anna within a cone of fire. The talk show host didn’t seem too pleased. She even had the gall to snap, “I will sue you!”

            The villain grinned, “Oh my. Whatever shall I do?” Her tone was dripping with sarcasm.

            She snapped her fingers and an enchanted rope materialized, constricting until Anna could only get enough air to breathe. “I am Pira. “ She waited but no one responded. She let out a rather dramatic sigh, “Is no one educated anymore? Oh well.”

 A cage of flame and magic surrounded the other three.

            J’ino tested the material boundaries of the construct. Like within the realm of Ta’mathon, it had elements native to Earth specifically. Alongside other unknown materials. What she didn’t expect was Q’vera stating, >>I’ve lost connection with my nanites, hopefully, the calvary will be able to track us with another avenue. Be ready for anything.<<

*****

            I landed with a resounding thud upon the pavement. People were snapping photos and talking excitedly. I smiled. Had to keep a brave front. I’d worry about other things later. Sir Avalon glided in. His eyes crackling with power. “I sense more magic here. A cloaking spell. Alongside teleportation.” Dr. Zanzibar landed with someone else. Someone I was ever so glad to see: Judgment.

            Dad’s face was mostly hidden behind a golden helm but he waved at me. His bracers had more symbols on them. Alongside a set of four gems. That was new. I’d ask later. He opened with, “The woman goes by the name Pira. Know of her?” I didn’t but Dr. Zanzibar winced. He cut in, “Yes. She is a freelancer that works within the dark arts. From hired muscle to an outright assassin.”

            I reached out, my nose sifting through the various scents of the area. A strategy I picked up from Cooper. I sent a coded message to my father.

            ///Mom, Aunty, Doc, and Anna were here. Alongside Pira. If the smell of brimstone and sulfur isn’t confusing my sense of smell. ///

            He bent over and pressed his hands to the pavement.

            Somehow dad seemed even more confident. Or rather: Assured of his abilities.

Meanwhile, Avalon and Zanzibar cased the area with their senses. I could only imagine what they picked up.

*****

            Anna shouted, “I don’t need that BANNER to help me.” She glared at Pira. For her part, the assassin just leaned back. Humming a strange tune. She stopped when one of Anna’s heels sailed through the air and clattered to the floor with a resounding thunk! Pira gestured to the other women in the cell, “I’m more concerned about keeping an eye on those 3. They have brains.”

            Anna’s face turned a particular shade of purple. “HOW DARE YOU!”

            Doc arched an eyebrow, reaching out with her powers, not toward Pira but focused on Anna. She was so tempted to knock the idiotic holo-vid harpy out. Lorain’s face was flushed with guilt. That wasn’t a very heroic or doctor worthy response. Her eyes screwed shut for a moment.

            Please find us.

            J’ino’s thoughts were along a different path. What was that firestarter waiting for? They weren’t the target. Not even Anna was. She wasn’t even very worthy bait either. Who did this person want to draw out? Q’vera glanced at her sister. J’ino’s expression was impassive. Anna’s outbursts didn’t even sway the madwoman. She was professional. Realized that the 3 of them weren’t acting quite enough like normal civilians. The Red Defender smirked at their captor. “It's obvious I wasn’t able to hide it.”

            She produced a badge. One that indicated US Marshal status.

“You got me, lady. Is it too late to say you are under arrest?”

            That got a hectic outburst from Anna, “Rescue me first you clod!”

            Doc’s lips compressed to a thin line. She hoped everyone would forgive her for this.

“Ma’am. Shut. Up. Let the Adults handle things.”

Each word was fired for effect. Ms “Into the Fire” stared open-mouthed at Doc.

Anna retorted snidely, “Hoping your Captain will save you? Does she even know what 2nd Base is?” Preston-McQuire saw her words sink in. The way those green eyes blazed with equal parts of anger and despair. So it was one-sided.

Anna felt a tug of excitement. Blood was in the water and she had more fangs to dig into the perfect family.

Lorain felt a hand pull her back from the very edge of the cage.

Q’vera hissed in her ear, “Not now.”

Pira exploded in a whirlwind of ash and sparks and the whole room flooded with smoke.

*****

            I heard that last remark. Pushed it to the side. We had people to save.  I didn’t hesitate. I grasped the ropes that encircled Anna.  The tingling on my palms, despite the gloves, was getting more pronounced by the second. I saw Dr. Zanzibar above me. His arms outstreatched. I lifted Anna over my head and tossed her to him. Her emotions a sick mix of triumph and self loathing she wouldn’t admit.

            A wraith crowned with smoke, ash, and shadow struck out. Its eyes gleaming sickly yellow in the dark. “Muthra.” The hiss was coming from everywhere.

            “Markav.”

            “Betrayal.”

            Pira’s wicked laughter echoed. “The Blood of Ta’mathon. Of the Stars themselves. The All-Mother sends greetings.”

            My blood ran cold.

            My father sent a blast into the room. A magical wind that caused the Wraith woman to howl. I dodged as dark fire lanced out. Scorching the ground. An idea formed. I guided the monster around the room. My heart pumping wildly with each spark and whip from the creature. Whoever this Pira was, she was a product of the Void and magic combined. Had House Urranden visited Earth before? I had no time to think. My brow blistering from the uncanny heat. My suit lighting up with various warnings. I didn’t have much more time. At last, the protective circle was complete. I shouted the binding incantation. Like Arthon taught me.

            Pira’s voice was filled with shock. Her form wavered and shifted into that of a petite woman. Her face pockmarked with scars and self-inflicted wounds. Eyes like arrows piercing me through the heart. She snapped, “Unity is close. Little Muthra. I can feel the Eyes of Ta’mathon upon me.” She giggled like a demented little girl. Judgment encased her within a prism. While Sir Avalon broke through the enchantments of the cage.

Mother, Aunty, and Doc stepped out and gasped when Pira’s form wavered and dissipated within the prism. My father reached out and formed signs in the air. Muttering something that sounded Egyptian. Pira’s howling of triumph abated.

Turning to fury. “SCION! WASTED BLOOD!”

She muttered a few choice curses.

Judgment produced a khopesh of light. Formed from the power of his bracers. He brought it down upon her head with a resounding crack. Her human form evaporated. As he removed the hilt a small worm continued to wiggle slightly. Its lidless eyes pinning me to the spot. It let out one last wheezing bark of pain.

“Ripe for the picking.”

Its form shriveled and burned bright green.

From a deep part of my mind, ghostly eyes crackled, Pira had returned to her masters.

A symbol formed before my mind’s eye: ///|||\\\

Awaiting Convergence.

Doc buried her head in my chest. I wrapped my cape around her. My mind was clear for the moment. Sir Avalon gathered the remains up, being careful to place them in a proper biohazard canister.  Mom wrapped an arm around my waist, “Care to give us a lift?” She was careful. Nodding with polite interest to Judgement. Q’vera and Sir Avalon shared a knowing glance. Like they knew each other.  He cleared his throat. “Let's get back to the surface. I'll have my people quarantine and clean this place. Alongside Osiris of course.”

That was news to me.

Aunty wrapped her arms around my neck. She remarked, “Star certainly gets all the ladies doesn’t she?” I smiled. “Onward and Upward as they say!”

At least I didn’t feel like the world's most oblivious empath around her.

Judgment smiled and held out a hand to Q’vera. “Come on Marshall. You’ll fly with me.” She chuckled and jumped into his arms. “Let's go!”

Daylight was a welcome relief. The rush of heartbeats greeted me. The murmurs of the multitude.

Anna was being “held” in Dr. Zanzibar’s arms like she was damaged goods. At one point Avalon offered to take her but Zanzibar grinned. “Nah! Who else can be on the front page but me? With the world's worst demi hater?” His mirth grew as Anna howled at the press covering the rescue.  She still shot smug glances at Doc. I made sure to fly above everyone so Lorain wouldn’t see. Mom noticed though. A rather protective aura came over her.

Oh boy. This would be a can of worms later. Pun intended.

One intrepid reporter, Eddie in fact, weaved his way to the front. His hover cam flashing. His voice carried, “So Dr. Zanzibar, how was it saving the Earth’s most unfortunate soul?” Anna’s expression wilted under the scrutiny of the press. Zanzibar’s tophat was off to the side. Looking rather jaunty. He smiled. His beard was braided. Almost to his waist.

He saluted the crowd. Winked at Anna, “Why Ms. Preston was quite the show. Thought she could throw a high heeled shoe at an assassin.” Q’vera added, “Oh yes. Even had the gall to order a US Marshall around.” I stepped out, placing my hands on my hips while giving everyone a confident pearly smile. No matter what. I would defend the people. Even if it was someone like Anna.

Especially if it was someone like her.

I caught Eddie’s attention. He turned towards me. “Anything to add Star?”

“When it comes to magic, even I make sure to stay on guard, so I find Mrs. Preston-McGuire’s enthusiasm to be quite brave in the face of adversity.”

 I wasn’t even lying. Most times her overall level of anger made her quite daring. Such as it was. Considering she had no powers whatsoever. I found it difficult to genuinely hate someone that was so blind to their hurt. Samantha and Jacob should have a mother they could talk to. Like I did. Even if the subject matter was sensitive or caused some distress. Doc’s astonishment rose as she realized I wasn’t even fibbing. What nearly knocked me over was feeling Lorain’s guilt. The tears threatening to engulf her. I waved and offered Lorain a ride out of the spotlight. She muttered something about having to report to her ship.

Code Blue and all that.

That was good enough for me.

*****

            J’ino watched as her daughter took off with Lorain. On some bogus report in “emergency.” Anna had a dazed look in her eyes. Her mouth slightly parted. She shook herself and pushed off Dr. Zanzibar. Her heels making a sharp tick-tack sound as she nearly sprinted away. Her immaculate mascara was running down her face.  J’ino felt Thomas’ amazement through their bond. A pale glow to what two Typherians would have but it was enough for her. He nodded to Sir Avalon, held out a hand to J’ino. “Need a lift somewhere?” Q’vera grinned. She interjected, “Sure thing! We have the car over yonder!”

            Judgment nodded and took each woman on both arms. “Up and away. As they say!”

            Sir Avalon peered skyward. “I am needed elsewhere.” He disappeared in a controlled flash of lightning. Dr. Zanzibar took Eddie to the side, “Here’s some more juicy stuff for your report kid!”

            Jonas was all ears. “First off…”

*****

The All-Mother was satisfied. Pira’s form was being rejuvenated in the Birthing Pods.

            Matriarch. Murderer. Assasin.

            The All-Mother was all of these things and more.  She stared out into the Zygotic Expanse and marveled at its deadly beauty. Soon she and her husband would reclaim the multiverse. Cleanse the Unity and be forever proclaimed the saviors. Not the Ayeer. Her mouth pulled back in a sneer. They would soon flood the Multiverse with that family’s blood.

            She would relish the look of defeat on V’alkor’s face.

Hoping to deliver the heads of his numerous children.

 

The Jupiter Rising

Medical Bay

November 8th

 

            Jupiter brought up her internal feeds.

Doctor Lanis was prepping more material for surgery for Eliza. She noticed the human dabbing her face ever so often and decided to intercede with some information. Hopefully, by her calculations, this would cheer up the medical officer. She temporarily locked the surgical bay. Forming into a rather seriously dressed holographic woman. Most times she would only don the Captain Cosmos nurse attire if she meant to tease people.  She spoke from the entryway.

“Doctor Lanis. I have some interesting data I wish to share.”

            Lorain quickly turned away. Pretending to look at some notes while she cleaned her face. Jupiter allowed her this illusion. Doc settled on a look of polite interest when she turned to study the VI.

            “What data is that Jupiter?” Her green eyes were still puffy.

Anna’s words hurt more than the young woman expected.  

            Jupiter tilted her head to the side.  As if considering the next step. Her voice was soft, “Typherian Markers aren’t present in Eliza for the moment. They are present in you, however.” Lorain sat heavily into one of the chairs. She croaked out, “When?”

Jupiter already had the calculations, “Initial bonding happened Earth Date: October 29th, 2092

 

                Lorain remembered. That feeling of energy passing between her and Eliza at that senior prom. The age of the majority on Earth was still 18 for most things. The drinking age was 20. A holdover from the Accord Wars. Jupiter monitored Lorain’s responses. Using direct coms to pass along this statement.

<<Extended observations: You have 2 of the 4 markers already. First mark: You will know when your other half is in mortal danger. 2nd Mark: You will know when they are lying. No matter how severe.>>

            She always wondered why she knew when Eliza was downplaying things. Why she had never been able to lie. Granted as Star, one wouldn’t expect her to lie. Not directly. Only to save someone else embarrassment. It’s also why Lorain and the others had to keep some secrets close to the chest. Eliza didn’t have much of a filter. She was far too honest. Doc rubbed her eyes. That quality is why she adored Eliza. That sweet country charm. An actual gentle giant. It was Judgement that enacted swift offensive action. Even with her great strength and powers going on the attack wasn’t what Star was ultimately known for.

Lorain’s thoughts focused back on the Ship.  Jupiter’s holographic image was pointing to a medical layout of Eliza’s most recent operation.  <<You will need to clone some parts of Dexter’s skin from his spinal region. The captain lacks much in the tactile response needed to facilitate other aspects of Typherian bonding.>>

            Lorain kicked herself mentally. Of course! She had been so focused on the nerves that other aspects fell to the wayside. She would need to get some muscle samples as well. Grow some cultures in the labs.  Her eyes sparkled. It wasn’t Eliza’s fault at all. She just needed more than nerve impulses.

            Jupiter nodded and exited. Seeing Eliza approaching from the starboard section of the lifts. The VI halted and waved at her captain, <<It will be alright Eliza. You have quite the journey ahead.>>

*****

            I rubbed the back of my neck. “I believe you, Jupiter. I'll take it one day at a time. Besides Lorain just sent over a whole ton of information. Gulliver's message mentioned a package in my quarters. So I'll go investigate that after my preliminaries.”

            I yawned until my jaw cracked. Then I headed off to Lanis country.

            Working up the right way to ask her out on a date.

In the end, I figured simple was best, we both enjoyed Italian cuisine. Plus she had expressed some interest in the Expo Galla hitting the Library within the next week or so. It was hosting, “Medical Breakthroughs: How Demis Changed the Face of Modern Medical Practices.” I realized now why she had been so keen on so many of these types of gatherings. She wanted to expand all she could know about medicine and its properties. Not only to heal me but to help everyone she could.

I felt my face heat up.

I needed to orient myself.

Just breathe Murphy.

My stomach decided to sprout wings and attempt to fly.

I rubbed my face. Counting backward from 100. It would just be a date.

Right.

*****

            The VI held back an expression of concern. The Royal Ummatosh Bird had promised he would behave. She would hold him to that.

            The bird in question snorted.

He was sure his captain would love the present. It would help her direct her empathetic abilities along other avenues. Building mental acumen that would help her protect that which she loved. Plus a few other fun factors. He wouldn’t spoil all the merriment.

            Gulliver quacked. Quite pleased with himself. He was mostly harmless.

Mostly.

 

Issue 8: Here

Issue 10:

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