Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: TB Issue 12


Issue 12: Project Freefall


                When his majesty came knocking on my door I was quite shocked. Said the yanks might have a nice job for me. What a job that was. Marvelous really. Got to tinker with those ships. Working with a nice lad called Jacob Murphy. Brings a smile to my face. The British and Americans working together for common good once more.—Ned Fletcher

            I didn’t realize it at the time but designing mobile assault units and scout ships for the Bardaxians was a trial run. Knowing how important Project Freefall was galvanized me to work nonstop. My father finally told me what was going on. No wonder his extrasolar wife went “native” as her detractors called it. Humanity was ready in more ways than I thought.—Jacob Murphy

            That’s what the hidden room was on the Jupiter Rising? Even my daughter had surprises for me when they got back. I had thought it was the room my parents had built within it. But it turns out other hands were busy as well.—J’ino Ayeer

            Now I know why mom felt so guilty after I got back. Her parents were keeping things from her so her reactions at Staging Area 51 were genuine. To this day, I am glad they didn’t reveal the real might of humanity’s efforts. I have the worst poker face ever. Bar none. My actions as the Banner were vital when the “Uplifted” community thought Earth was just a newbie. In reality, that Irish king knew so much more. Started the ball rolling. He was keeping tabs on Thoth. Knew that Atlantis was made of cosmic tech. Different yet similar to the magic he wielded. He didn’t take it for granted. Humanity was fighting an ancient battle even before false gods like Set and others showed up.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd Century.


Project Freefall

Location Undisclosed

February  8th, 2104


            Jacob Murphy marveled at the ships berthed there.

Hovering by massive rings. Sleek and silent for now.

Ned Fletcher, also known as “The Handyman”, stood next to him. He wasn’t much to look at from the surface. Slim build. Reddish-brown hair. Hazel eyes. His hands usually stained with oil or some other lubricant when not working on ships. It was uncanny. He could break down something and know how it operated. Reverse Engineering on steroids. He grinned at Jabob’s expression, “To think, the Bardaxians just gave us these ships. Certainly sped up our production levels.”

Jacob replied, “No kidding. If I knew this was what my father and Area 51 were masking I would have fainted. Probably joined my mother in gibbering about things.” His mother was still within the lab quarantine area. The Weave integrating with her on level’s Jacob was shocked by. He had no affinity. Samatha had a smidgen of it. Ambassador J’ino and her son were making their way down the middle tier of the vessel network. He could tell because they were always accompanied by Sir Avalon or Judgement.

Adam Lazer would patrol the area as well. The tech demi was so much more than HeroNet or INet would ever believe. A man was within that armored shell but his mind was augmented in ways that even Fletcher was shocked by. The Mighty Mallet would often state, “Why did they invite me? Because of the Howling?” Jacob understood his confusion. He often wondered why he was let in on all this. Granted, he was good with most small ships, patrol vessels that seated a single pilot but his real expert knowledge was grav-tanks.  I’arvan Ayeer took Jacob’s hand when he reached the bottom of the grav-elevator. “The Order wants you at the main conference room.” Jacob waved Fletcher on. “I’ll join you at R&D later.” 

Ned waved, “Have fun storming the castle.”

            Main conference room work indicated something big was going on. Ned was most comfortable tinkering. Explained why he and Jacob got along well. He pulled out the lasted holo of the schematics for the Jupiter Rising upgrades. He knew Eliza Murphy would faint with the possibilities. He whistled a merry tune as he headed down into the very depths of the facility.

Jacob hoisted the boy onto his shoulders.

Murphy noticed J’ino smiling at them both, “It’s high time we explain everything.”

I’varvan sighed, “Finally!”



Jacob stared.

His father clothed in the garments of Judgement. Golden helm placed on the table. Sir Avalon motioning to the screen. Murphy grabbed the pitcher of water. Wishing it was bourbon. But drank anyway. He cleared his throat, “So Sam and I know this now?” His father grinned, “Haven't filled Sam in just yet. She’s more concerned with monitoring her mother for the moment.” Jacob’s mood soured. A flush of guilt hitting him as unworthy thoughts clamored to the forefront. J’ino squeezed his hand.

“I know it isn’t easy.” She said. Her tone was sympathetic.

She continued.

“Anna has legitimate issues. She’s something another universe calls a Weave Speaker.”

Jacob leaned back in the chair. The magical sigils on the screen expanded. Showing him another universe. A different version of himself was another half-blood brother to an Eliza there. She was touching things. Giving reports on impressions from the items. He laughed. “That Eliza is half Typherian there as well? I can see the similar planes on the face. Plus the eyes give it away.”

He asked, “So the Markav aspect? Some truth there or a ruse?”

His father responded, “Mostly a ruse but she does have some Markav knowledge implanted because of the Ur-Stone.”

His father handed him some reports. They were in paper format with magical locks on them. They reacted to his touch. His father intoned words that were impossible for a human’s vocal cords. What was this Arcane Order? He had never questioned it much. Mostly due to all the technical wonders here and he trusted his father. Words formed. Jacob stared open-mouthed.

Attend. Earth is at war.

Not with one person or faction but an overarching corruption.

It is the Dark Mirror to the Weave. We have been entrusted with a holy vow to stop it.

To return balance to our universe and others.

Be Weary of the Path of the Ancients. The Coils of Set reach into the Infinite.

Jacob dived in.

            “Holy shit. Eliza’s going to have to St. George the Dragon?”

            His father muttered, “Jar!”

Pointing at a glass container that materialized. A small note indicating, “Future Triplet Fund.”

The elder Murphy child threw a mix of bills and coins within.

            He read further, his stomach twisting, reading between the lines of the Light Shaman saga and proclamations.

J’ino’s hand strengthened its grip on his shoulder. “Queen Guievenere says she has a plan for that. My father finally told me.”

            Jacob winced as the agony flowed behind her words.

“I will not lose my daughter to this Unity monster.”

He rubbed his eyes. “There’s something here about Follow the Lights. They will guide her home.” J’ino scanned the words. Seeing nothing. Thomas questioned Jacob, “Where is that? I cannot see those words.”

Jacob pointed. “Here, I'll write them down.”

Still, his family said nothing. He said, “The words are plain on the paper. Both within the codex and…” His father held his breath. Snapping his fingers.”Of course!” Thomas brought over more entires.” You can see some Weave manifestations even if you can’t speak directly to it!” Jacob saw his father practically beaming. What a rare display!

Jacob stated, with some glee, “Does that mean I get a raise?”

He was joking of course. His humor often manifested when he least suspected it.

J’ino planted a motherly kiss on his forehead, “I'll supply all the extra mechanical fun you could ever wish for. The corrupted of Set within Typha’s houses can eat all the crow in the world for it.”

Jacob replied, “There’s something worse than this Hidden House from these reports?”

J’ino nodded, “Indeed. Father also filled me in on who and what that assassin was from years ago. Typherians who voluntarily slice out their spinal nodes.” He pulled up his sister’s medical profile. “From what I gather, that’s a pretty big taboo right?” She nodded. Her eyes darkening as she looked at the initial reports from Lorain Lanis. Jacob didn’t understand all the technical terms but he had never realized just how much pain his little sister had been in. Horrifying. According to Doc, if her Demi abilities hadn’t manifested, she would have been wheelchair-bound by now. A side file materialized.

The White Defender Belt. He clicked it. His mind expanded. The words carrying him away. Meanwhile, the world around him continued. His passing was only noted within the space of a few heartbeats.


            The Curator smiled. Taking on the form of an old human. Greeting Jacob with a hearty, “Welcome. I see you found my little addition.” Jacob shook the man’s hand. Not knowing why.

            “What is this White Defender aspect?”

            “Your sister. But more than that. It is history.”

            A wide field of grass formed under his feet.

            White pearly towers rose. Golden banners with 8 silver stars around a white oak.

            Jacob approached the castle.

            The moat was interlinked with rings. Each swirling and vibrating. The waters letting off pleasant echoes.

Once inside he saw a large table. 8 figures seated around it.

            A woman clothed in white. A man decked out in black armor.

            It was extremely odd that they all appeared human. The Curator winked, “It is how your mind is making sense of the information around you.” He examined the room. Making note of the blade resting at the center. Its pommel facing the black armored figure. The white-clothed woman with pitch-black eyes turned towards the window. “Am I to understand this correctly dear Scholar. You wish to study the Leylines?” The cloaked figured nodded. Opening his hands with delight.

            “Yes, with your permission of course. As guardian of the Lines. I humbly request access.”

The Black rumbled, “Have we not provided enough materials for new Universes to be born? Have you not already seeded them with those you call Litari? Markav? Even the four-footed fellows.” Jacob’s hands passed through another figure. This one’s name echoing outward. He appeared harsh. Reserved and troubled all at once. J’kua/ Intez. The shape changed. Skin nearly white. Black and grey eyes drinking in everything. “We feel more time is needed. Weave willing we will find more places to seed with the Light of…” His voice wasn’t singular. It was a great host of memory behind those eyes. He wasn’t as tall as a Void Walker. Murphy realized that this was the form of a pristine Keeper. Or rather: J’kua.

The Curator pointed. A being of pure darkness pulsated next to the Black.


Jacob asked, “Are you the first of all?”

The Curator responded, “No. That is the Weave. The Many Faces of God. Breathing life into the very foundation of all.”

The castle walls brightened.

Murphy passed through the table. The sword was Excalibur.

Though the blade had a different shape. He rested a hand on the sword’s pommel.

<<Ahh, I see now. We shall meet at the Well of Freefall. Carried by Magic and Time.>>

Jacob walked over to the White. Blood pounding across his temples. Images colliding together. Dexter and Eliza faced down a dragon of gargantuan size. Armed with opposing spears and shields. A Typherian with red eyes. Holding a blade to J’ino’s throat while dark matter danced around the edges. Thoth lying bloody and broken. Eliza standing over him. But the uniform was all wrong. No, not his Eliza. The other one. The Typherian Weave Speaker. Her hand gripping a blaster pistol. Its energy crackled with ferocious heat.

His Eliza moving with agonizing slowness. Shouting a warning.

White asked Jacob, “How do I save her? Our fault. We let the corruption in. It wore the face of a friend.” He saw White crawling towards a pool of energy. Blood dark upon the stonework. The Scholar mutated. His hands reaching out.

“I see it all. Become one with me! FOR ALL ACROSS THE INFINITE WILL SHARE IN THE GLORY!”

The skin of the Scholar melted. A twisted vile thing bursting from his chest. Jacob leaned heavily upon the chair that Black was seated within. Two solid white eyes stared outward. At the approaching storm. The song of the moat grew distorted. Endless melodies were stilled. Black turned to him, holding out his hand, “The Ouro only sings for the Twins now. They guard the souls of the past. Willing those towards the future. Souls no longer finding their place within Time’s great tapestry are shrouded by Unity. Reactivate the Ouro within each Universe. Tie it to Eden!” The castle walls dimmed.

His Earth glimmered overhead. It's light feeding the primary Ouro. The souls there finding peace. To be reborn anew. Seeking other protected Universes. Jacob’s mind processed it by seeing the patterns akin to a mural. Each piece a small light hanging within the absolute black of space. The Curator leaned in close. His voice gentle, “Find the lights. Rekindle the Ouro. Only then shall your sister be saved.”

The Ouroborous Chain hummed.

An endless line of Kings and Queens sat upon a Throne.

Without really understanding.

That was for the inheritors. The Twin Suns of Earth and Typha.

The Ouroborous Chain was maintained by an endless cycle of Eliza and Dexter. Avatars no matter the circumstance. They guarded it with everything they had. No matter the cost or the Universe. It was a moat that protected the Weave  Castle.  The very first ones still existed. Untouched by time. Which meant a great deal. They were effectively immortal.

A calling card to those who would wish to devour them.

Hunted by the Unity.

The Intez hiding within Human hosts.

J’kua within the Ur-stone.

Convergence. Dexter and Eliza existed within Eden.

The Unity would finally see its end.

The castle faded.

He blinked.


His father was saying something, “….well if we can figure out how to properly communicate….”

A shrill tone broke through Jacob’s haze. Something was coming through the main transfer hub within the Dyson Sphere. He followed his father and J’ino to the central rally point. Light Shamans forming a ring of protection against the incursion. The air grew heavy as a portal opened.

An obsidian spear lanced outwards. Impaling a multilimbed creature against the protective wards of the Shamans. Its purple eyes sparking. One man shouted, “Aspect of Unity! We are betrayed!” Jacob bellowed, “NO! Weave Script! That is my sister’s weapon!”

Figures spilled outward from the portal. Eliza Murphy’s Star-Spangled Banner uniform singed and burnt. Her eyes filled with cosmic brilliance.

“Earth’s Weave sings with the Ouro of Eden.”

Her left arm was immobile. A black dragon tattoo inscribed up to the elbow. Doc’s healing energies closing up the Golden Redeemers' wounds. Emerald K-9 was resting within the arms of Lightbearer. Star bounded over to the deteriorated husk of Unity. “Nobody makes bacon out of my dog.” Jacob’s eyes widened as she used that left arm to punch through the skull of the Unity husk. It pulsed with golden light. Drawn into the imagery inscribed upon Star’s arm.

Eliza crouched. Picking up the small purple gem. “Now to put this in Pandora’s Box.”

She smiled at them all, taking one step forward, floating upward as sleep took her.

Doc let out a shaky laugh. “We got an Intez here that wants to talk to the President.”

Lanis roped Eliza in with some medical drones.

Still wondering what to make of the whole ordeal.

Puzzler gave Jacob a hearty slap on the back. “Heya Murph!”

Jacob grinned, “I imagine we have a whole lot to discuss.”

Eliza yawned, “Set. Houses. Lots to say. Plus these guys know who I am. Hi momma.”

J’ino poked her daughter’s midsection. “What did you do young lady?” Her tone was almost calm. Star stifled another yawn. “Gotta light up the cosmos. So many lights. The Weave wants me to talk to Mallet. Something about a Howling?”


My eyes grew heavy again. White’s voice rumbling around my head with great concern.

 <<I told you. Your body isn’t quite ready for the major leagues! Take it easy!>> It was like having five of my mom yelling at me all at once. Which was probably happening. I was getting a mindfull already.

>>What on Earth did you do to your arm?! I only just found out about the Lying House. Plus you hurled that spear akin to an Odessen. I want receipts.<<

Whatever Doc was pumping into my system was absolutely delightful.

It shouldn’t have worked.

Needles shouldn’t have worked.

I grinned. My voice slurred, “Yesh? I loffe you ma. I love everythin’ right now. Why is it pink?”


J’ino’s expression changed to horror when she saw the needles pierce her daughter’s skin.

Lorain held up her hand, “It happened when the dragon tattoo appeared. White says it's because she used that ability too soon. But it was required. Star will have to explain. “ Lorain held Eliza’s right hand. Mostly to keep contact so she could analyze everything medically. She let out a small sigh of relief as Star’s invincibility snapped back into place.

She had a feeling that sleep wouldn’t find her any time soon.

Lorain’s face flushed as the thought finally caught up with her.



            The drugs wore off like a splash of cold water to my face. I used another nano hypo on Cooper. Glad to see that his Green Defender belt had protected him from a fair amount of harm. Mom was looking at me with a mixture of relief and worry. “I know…well here’s how it went down. Unity tried to eat Emerald….and that’s when I lost it….”

            My fists tearing into the dragon. All I could see during that moment was red.

            As the rest of my team scarfed down some well-deserved food, I continued our tale. A battle that would stick with me for the rest of my days. But like with everything else in my life, it was a story that would remind me of my powers. The need to master my emotions.

            Morrigan and Ichabod chimed in simultaneously, “That dragon had it coming!”

            I knew they meant well. I just hoped I wouldn’t ever go over the edge.

            Rage with someone of my power level wasn’t healthy. Or wise.

            Mom and Jacob listened intently.

            Dad added, “Space Cadet. Those things aren’t actual beings with souls. Don’t be afraid to cut loose on them. Just like the Living Stone. You may not start the fight but sometimes you have to finish it. Got it?”

            I nodded. I let out a breath.

I would do this. I had to. The Weave and the Ouro within other universes had to be freed.

“The Queen said….”

My eyes wandered as I continued to recall that battle within the Weave. The future I had glimpsed after striking that subsector dragon ringing brightly within me. It gave me hope. Seeing everyone smiling around that table. Mom watched every move I made. Like she was memorizing everything. She knew. Grandpa V’alkor had let her in. I nudged her mentally.

>>I know it will work mom. I’ll find all the lights to carry me home.<<

A brief smile appeared. Her gaze remained troubled.

A flash of orange eyes beckoned once more.


            J’ino kept the image of the Golden City close within her mind. Seeing flashes of her daughter’s future. Praying that it would be the Truth rather than wishful thinking against an uncaring void of stars.


            The Hanged Man slept soundly. His breath coming and going like the sea.

            The shadowed form of a woman called softly to him.

            “I know the taste of your tears.”

    Issue 11: Here

    Issue 13: Here

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: TB Issue 11


Issue 11: Battlelines


            While my sister and her team were tested within the realm of the Weave, which housed mirrors of the physical, I joined my grandparents and their Mavericks to repel the initial push Thoth attempted on New Ashbury. We figured he’d want to breach it because it was an entry point to one of the Leylines. Which he could use to summon more Unity constructs into our universe. Black explained that every part of the Weave had a hint of Unity taint. But our universe was more hardy because of the Ouroborous Chain.—Dexter Murphy.

            That city has one of the Leylines of course but I wanted to draw the Bride of Chronos out instead. More chaos on the battlefield. I wanted to have a closer look at that sword she carried. It reeked of Unity’s touch. The Rat Scholar’s scent was upon it as well. Curious.—Thoth.

                So while Anna was on a vision quest of sorts: Zack had observations. One, he was grounded for a solid month. Two: His mastery of metals saved many lives that day. So that granted him a reprieve. I do understand where my mother was coming from though. The possibility of the Keepers wanting to harvest his DNA was a real threat. Ishtar was tracking Thoth from the very start. Even before I had met him.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century.

Downtown New Ashbury

Entertainment District

February 7th, 2104


                Blue Blaze sped away from the hulking mass of Living Stone. His metal shielding snapping into place as pellets struck him. After being denied the bountiful dreams of humanity, the Endless Night’s minions were restless. Growing bolder and attacking during the day. He knew his mother would worry but he couldn’t just sit on the sidelines any longer. Not when he knew the rest of his family were doing their best. Zachary spotted his grandfather flash punching more enemies left and right. He mirrored him. Forming metallic fists from the best materials available from the Ascendancy. A wave of flowers pulled him skyward. His grandmother’s vines wrapping him within a cocoon of safety. She winked at him. “Stay with me for now. Just say you were watching my six alright?” He caught the expression on her face. A mix of fondness and concern. The White Lily. A part of him still wondered about her true capability. Most dismissed her as a mere hanger-on. Thinking that her powers were useless but she could enhance any kind of plant life. Even Typherian. So he assumed she could bring out more hidden properties as well. He materialized a platform for them to hurl thorn bombs at their foes. Each hit burrowed deep. Tearing the Living Stone constructs apart. The dust blanketing the streets below.


            Ra motioned to Judgement. The pulses below his boots rippling within the physical world as well as the Weave. He braced. His stomach rolling as the waves of corruption exploded outward. A wild keening resounded. The fell Blade of Mordred. Considering Bel’s fixation on Thoth, Judgement assumed the worst. Sending out a priority alert to the Arcane Order.

            Di’axi responded by encasing New Ashbury within an aspect of the Void Line. It would reinforce the area and hide civilians from the Living Stone. Blue Defenders surrounded the Line. Knowing that this would leave it vulnerable to those like Bel or Thoth. Judgment hoped that their feud would be all-encompassing. But one could win battles on hope alone. They required a sample of the Fallen Blade.

            Bardaxians didn’t know the meaning of hiding so all their human friends had to do was explain, “Blend in with these dogs cousins and be ready!” To the normal eye, that particular building just had so many dogs there that day for a charity event. A surprise show of the various breeds of Earth. A handful of Legion personnel stationed there gave the illusion of an event interrupted by Living Stone alerts.


            Thoth ambled towards the open-air theater. Placing more presents for Bel and her Living Stone idiots. The quiet calm of this place was ruined. The Mud Monkeys were flying overhead. That Golden Bulleteer at the head of the vanguard. Thoth smirked.

            “If they only knew.” A shiver ran up his back.

She was following him.


Urraden would win the day.

He patted the firearm housed within his thigh. He had a special compartment made for it. From the very tech that the Markav sought to protect. How ironic that Chronos’ failures would lead to his end. The readouts from his planted devices came online. The Layline of the Void was in effect. Interesting. He would siphon its energy soon enough.

With each breath, he harvested more away from his adversaries. To forge a weapon to destroy the Throne encompassing his world. Who cared about what happened next. He’d be the hero that saved his Universe. Let everything else burn.

It was a waste anyway.


Di’axi observed this through the reverse signal within Thoth’s “device.”  Thankful that Star had managed to reverse the effects via the Markav Cypher. He knew she called these things all sorts of different code names. But he could hardly keep track of them all. He imagined it was a way for her to poke fun at the fact that so many things were shrouded for the greater good. He hoped that they wouldn’t require this within the future.

Oh yes, The Monitor.

That was her name for it.

He shook his head. Placing his hands on the threads connecting the Void to the Weave.

It hummed. Raising to a mighty crescendo and each thread singed.

Protection. You are Safe, Hidden.

Most civilians didn’t know why but they sheltered in place. Trusting the feeling of warmth cascading through them.  Zanzibar’s message flowing through INet like a balm upon frayed nerves. Their heroes would protect them from the storm. Soon the Endless Night would be an unpleasant memory. President Marshall addressed the nation. His bravery and good cheer bolstering them further. Amplified by Taleer and Highmaker. The president was also aided by his symbiote within. Speaking words from across all ages and lifetimes.

This was a war of minds and souls as well.

Unity would never let them forget that vital fact.


            Bel shadowed Thoth. The smug former Muthra prancing around without a care in the world. This whole battle was a game to him. Her fury combined into Mordred’s. They both wanted him dead now. For the sheer arrogance that Thoth displayed. They were nothing to the Mad King of Atlantis. He called out, “I know you are here sweet one. Come out and play!” He banished an odd knife. Twirling it from one hand to the next.

            “Let’s dance.”

            She charged. Her eyes widening.

            He had blocked her blade.

            Sparks rose from the barrier around his left forearm. His smile hardened.

            “Maybe that sword of yours needs a more deft touch.”

            Energy crackled from his right fist. Pushing her back a few feet.

He was toying with them.

His eyes bored into hers.

“Does the little bird see now? I hold all the cards. I always have.”

Mordred hissed, <<There is always a weak point. Find it girl!>>


            He relished her confusion.

Since Mordred’s blade was partially based on Markav tech, he used his knowledge of it from his universe and this one to fashion quick-acting energy shields. They only held for a few moments but it was enough. So long as he could keep her from continuous attack patterns. They would hold. The fact that the Living Stone was swarming this place added to the energies he harvested. Each death storing more and more reserves within the energy cells he had placed around the battlefield. Every attack fed into these. None of them the wiser.

He blocked more strikes from Bel.

Making sure that the blade never knicked his skin. Armor or clothing. Unity’s deadly soul-sucking influence coated every inch of that sword. He would not become Matarn. How that fool’s body had survived its meeting with Unity was beyond his understanding. He would catch glimpses. The scholar’s mind was broken. No doubt of that. Ishtar had claimed as such. The Keepers wouldn’t touch the Hanged Man. Thinking Matarn blessed by Unity. Thus a worthy prophet of their science. That one could still function beyond it. Whatever lied outside the known universes or the Ouro. No, this place and time were perfect. No need to muddle things further.

Thoth goaded Bel onwards.

Stalling for time.

“Come now, dear. Is that the best the Bride of Chronos can offer? A mere brush?”

He had nearly mapped the whole of the sword. If he could match the process. Even as a 3rd rate duplicate, his horde would have quite the weapon. Imagine tens of thousands having even a fraction of Mordred’s abilities.


He would poison all the mud apes. Down to the last child. Within this universe as well as his own. No human remaining to subvert the will of the people. Sparks flashed. A metallic ringing echoing as Bel’s rage rose with each swing. Thoth danced. His HUD indicating half of the shield’s reserves were depleted. He would have to end this here and now. A blue and white blur streaked by. Distracting him. His nose exploded. Blood spraying everywhere as the pommel connected with his face. Bel’s Madame  Mayhem mask covered with rivulets of crimson.

It was her turn to bellow, “I have you now you bastard.”

The tip of the blade drew up. Inching towards his heart in slow motion. He directed all the shield energy towards his vulnerable core.


            Zach cartwheeled away. The dread blade’s aura digging at his flesh. Icy tendrils wrapping around his heart. Yet the metal sang to him. Yielding its secrets. It was of Markav materials but at the center of it was cosmic metals of the Unity universe.

            Asteroid metals!

            It would be risky but if he could procure a sample. That could save many lives.

            A way to negate the effects.

            To cure people afflicted by the poison of Unity.

            He prayed. Jumping into the fray as a strange shield halted the blade from piercing Thoth’s exposed chest. The very tip of the sword drew blood. Turing Thoth green around the gills. As his grandfather would say. Blazing white light engulfed the area as the mad king teleported away. Leaving Zach with a choice.

The young demi reached out, using his matter manipulation to gather a small piece of the blade into a hastily constructed container. His heart leaping into his throat as a guttural voice proclaimed, “Half-breed!” He raced onward. Past the battle. Keying in on his uncle. He’d know what to do.

He found him alongside the outer mountain ranges shielding Area 51. Setting up more monitoring stations.

Zach felt his uncle shaking him. “Easy now. What is it?” He showed J’dax the tiny sliver of metal. No bigger than his thumb. “Reinforce that container with everything you have.  We cannot bring it to the Order just yet. It must be properly stored. With me.”

Zachary Murphy shivered. His legs buckling as J’dax caught him.

The sheer audacity of what he had done finally catching up with him.

He mumbled, “I just wanted to help.”

J’dax held his nephew close to his chest. Patting him on the back. Near the shoulder.

“I know. Your mother will worry but we have no choice now.”

J’dax would bring this up later.

To Thomas first. He knew that Murphy would be able to break the news better to J’ino. With her pregnancy still in its early stages, they didn’t want to cause undue stress. This would not help matters. He still had nightmares about Eliza and Dexter's birth. He told his nephew, >>Keep this between us for now. We must wait for your sister to return before throwing this piece into the ring.<<

Zach prayed that Eliza would return soon. He’d mention the words to her.

He withdrew mentally from everyone for the time being.

His uncle would assume it was due to the heat and nerves of battle.

Zach gripped J’dax’s hand tighter.

Had he brought maelstrom to his kin?

Could the sword track him anywhere?

He’d have to find out. Maybe Arthon could help.


            Bel let the boy go. Mordred was howling, <<HALF BREED CUR! How was he able to do that? No Typherian should be able to bend metal that way.>> She connected to the sword, its message displayed clearly against her implants: //Typherian-Human Hybrid detected. Partial resonance mapped.//

            Her grin was colder than space itself. If she could get close enough to him again, she could have the sword track him, lead her to his family. Then she’d know who else to kill. Maybe Anna’s proclamations of Alien Breeding programs weren’t completely unfounded after all.

            She’d make sure to cut those nodes from his back as well.

            That was a living death for one touched by Typherian blood.

            She had gotten some intel about how they viewed those with damaged nodes.

            Mainly from the All-Father and his clan.

            They encapsulated the arrogance that dripped off most major Houses.

            Not quite as leapers. But someone who would never be seen as a whole person within a society filled to the brim with what most considered the height of wonder. Bel cackled. If the boy had any official House standing, it would destroy his family. Men were seen as the seeds for greater genetic glory. The women had a death grip on the social currency. They might see Humanity as developing but to Bel? The Typherian social strata were ripe for the picking. Any outside action could upturn that society. No wonder Chronos and Unity had been able to poison it throughout the many millennia.

            V’alkor Ayeer would be the Last King of the Ascendancy.

Keeper Null Ship Prototype

Location Hidden

February 7th, 2104


            Thoth activated the medical probes.

This was one of his fall backs. The ship he had liberated from Roswell New Mexico. Simpler times on Earth and easier to hide in plain sight but it had been worth it. Chronos had tried to locate it. Thoth still didn’t know what else was on this vessel. He’d have to get a language cipher to activate other parts of the ship. Or a willing Keeper. His mind flashed to Hilary Brookes and Chronos’ mental compulsion that she had to obey. Yes, that would work. Brookes was the key to unlocking the rest of his vessel’s abilities. The sharp prickling of medical nanites entered his system. His heart caught within a vise as the probes dug deeper. Withdrawing the posion of the blade. Bits of metal mixed in as well. Not enough to copy the sword outright. For that, he’d need a larger sample.

The straps encased his arms and legs.

The Keepers had no bedside manner.

Everything was designed for efficiency and data collection.

He writhed in pain as the last of the blade’s poison left his body.

Everything had a price.

His army would have their Serpent’s Tounges.



            J’ino shot her son a critical glance. He was hiding something. Her maternal radar glued onto it like a Bardaxian with bacon. White Lily had commed J’ino, <<He was helping us. A little spitfire he is.>>

J’ino half hugged her son. His arms returning the embrace. As he shivered against her side. “Sorry. I wanted to help as sis does.” They were alone, besides J’dax, within this observatory. J’ino had no other word for it. Thomas and Dexter were leading strike teams across the city. Cleaning up the remaining Living Stone as Di’axi observed them from above. Using the energies of the Void to reinforce the protective sigils placed throughout the urban centers. Not to mention the undercover battalion of Blue Defenders at the “Premiere Dog Show and Breed” assembly. Which was hosted across the street from the hidden entry point to another Leyline.

Queen Guinevere materialized next to them, “Earth’s Weave is nearly free of inner corruption. Your daughter and her team will return soon.”

J’ino nodded, “What else? You are holding something back?”

Avalon’s ruler smiled, “Yes, but it is not for me to explain. Eliza will do that.”

The golden hair woman waved. Adding more data to the battle arrayed before them.

“The Spear shall rise. Preventing calamity.”

Zachary chewed on his bottom lip. Feeling for all the world like a little boy with his arm in the cookie jar. His mother picked him up and cradled him like he was 4 again. He didn’t care. His terror plain to see. His mother didn’t pry. Not at first. Her mind voice singing an old lullaby about the Twin Suns.

>>I know you want to help but take things slow. Even Eliza wasn’t that active until her teen years. The world will still be here. Glories not forgotten. Besides, I will need those quick legs of yours to help me keep tabs on other things. Remember?<<

            He nodded. His voice silent.

            The cage around his Typherian Grandparents was getting tighter.

            He hoped the sample would be worth it.


            J’dax had housed the shard within an old Markav cache.

            One that only Sul’sandra knew remained. It was not on Earth.

            There would have been too much of a chance of someone finding it here.

            On Mars, other signals would mask it. Older Markav signals.

            What was one more faint signal in the dark?

Issue 10: Here

Issue 12: Here