Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: TB Interlude 2: The Red Planet Rises


 Interlude 2: The Red Planet Rises


            Cradle matrix online. Decanting population. Please standby—Illarium Home Matrix

            It was as before. Every tree, brook, and song. All the animal life is back. They were returned first. I never thought I’d get to walk the streets of Ha’ala once more. It was a distant dream.—Taleer.

            Military credentials recognized, Welcome back to the Hive Fleet Leader Sul’sandra. Requesting reboot of outer defense systems. Analyzing. Colony Aden online. New elements detected. Do you wish to establish an embassy outpost instead? Native population detected.—Aden Central Hub.

            At’lan remained hidden for some time. He wanted to purge the sleepers from his population. Not to harm them but to free them before they re-integrated with Markav society. The Ur Stone provided more for the Mars population. Since their home was lost. The next few months would prove vital for us and the Markav.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century

The Surface of Mars

Illarium Reborn

March 22nd, 2104


            Anna gawked. The vibrant green surface of Mars.

The trees had orange leaves. Bright red fruits hanging low and succulent. The Markav resembling Easter Island stone statues. Their skin mottled yellow to a bright green. Star flew overhead. The power of the White pulsating with each pass. Healing the planet as it continued to regrow from the destruction of Chronos’ invasion. The city of Illarium took up a solid quarter of the planet’s surface. The former red dust of Mars had covered it. The research city of High Terra had been lifted from the ground by Dawnbreaker’s matter manipulation. Then placed in harmony with the area around it. With no need for domed protection, they recycled it.

Sul’sandra greeted the incoming civilians.

Many milled about: Connecting into Highmaker.

Searching for family. There wasn’t much time to have everyone enter cryosleep near each other. Various Terran officials, alongside Sir Avalon, were expanding outward. Placing Light Shaman wards all over. One couldn’t be too careful. One old Markav woman bowed, “I greet you. I am Lahan. The overseer of the Ur mentioned that this place could use  my talents.”



I landed. Four Markav children in my arms. They yelled, “Grandmother!”

            Sul was rubbing at her eyes as the children grabbed the elder’s robes. The Grandmother’s ancient features warming. “Starlilies!” They showered her with a wreath of the flowers. This was the one that made that black signifier, the  Monitor, that protected the Leylines. Aether’s message spilled into my feed.

            ///The Leylines are all maintained. The Ur-Stone will transport more Markav to the surface. I am afraid I gave Chronos a clue to my existence. It was the only way to get more demis on-site rapidly.///

Sul ran to me. Embracing me with a ferocity that would break lesser creatures. I took her into my arms and I bounded skyward. Taking her back to that hometown that Taleer mentioned. I steadfastly ignored the tears pouring down her face. Mom was similar in a way. Didn’t want people to see that side. As I landed, Taleer bowed, waving his arms about. Like a parent giddy with his child's first birthday. “Welcome home!” Comet rounded the corner. The U-Markav probe trilled excitedly. The houses here were what I’d expect back home. If they were 3 stories high and shaped liked inverted U’s. There were no windows.

Dozens of civilians surrounded us. All touching my cape or my face. Making some sort of motion towards their foreheads. Sul reciprocated, “May the Blessings of the Three protect you all.”




            High above, circling the former planet of War, was the Markav Probe network. It came online without much fanfare. At’lan ran the program that future Eliza had inserted into his databases a while back. Protecting the fledgling tech base from Sleeper malfeasance. It wasn’t their fault. He still wished it would have been easier for current Eliza but by the grace of the Weave and the Ur-Stone’s multiversal properties they kept Set’s forces at bay as well. Thoth had already done enough damage. He had been the one to set the charges that destroyed the mirror At’lan from the UEF universe.

It was a double-edged sword.

To have knowledge that mimicked information close enough was troubling enough.

            To have a repeat of his demise would prove even more disastrous within this universe. Ripples would reflect outward beyond just a handful of Universes. It would affect all of them. Because this place was a copy of the Creation Universe. With very important changes to Magic. So another Unity couldn’t rise as easily. He hoped that Eliza would be able to resuscitate that place as well. To free all the souls remained trapped. But first, they had to survive the onslaught that was coming.

            The Artock fleet.

They thought they were the only ones who could use “Weave Space” and At’lan would make sure that the Reborn Markav fleet would stand by humanity. As one Brotherhood. All they needed to do was free the Sleepers within At’lan’s heart. Then they could fully integrate it with the overall Hegemony networks.


Onboard the Jupiter Rising, within her private quarters, Anna picked up the glass tube containing Eliza and Dexter’s umbilical sample. She removed her white gloves. The remnants of memory flashing through her. She gave herself over to the Weave’s reflections.

Her shuddering sobs muffled in the darkness of the cabin.

The face of the marked Keeper haunted her waking dreams.

On the table, next to her bed a common pregnancy test read positive. Its lines marking her as a target for the hideous entity that fancied itself a collector of children.

Anna would put a bullet to its brain before she would let it near another child.

Teddy arrived later. Bringing her some chamomile tea.

He stayed with her until the tremors abated.

After a few moments, he said, “I set up the shootin range. Wanna practice?”

Anna, with a particularly deadly gleam in her eye, “You’re on. Best of 100 wins!”


            Sister Nyx cooed.

Mimicking facial expressions human young found interesting. The baby had some basic demi abilities but no latent Light Shaman talents. She handed it back to its parents. Giving more inoculations. A simple procedure to mask her true purpose. To find magic. But most importantly: Find those who connected the most with this Weave.

            The sign outside the New Ashbury downtown complex read, “Dr. Evenhalls Pediatrics for Demi Testing.” Her human face smiled brightly. Programed to be as inoffensive as possible. Coded to perfection to vent in private.

            Taking those samples from Hilary and the other human subjects had been quite useful for mimicking behaviors. On her own, she would read as a psychopath to the human machines around her. It was all quite exciting. Every day more material to test. If any of those babies proved to be fruitful, all the better!

            She sang a jaunty tune as another unsuspecting couple handed her their offspring to test.

            She added insult to injury by planting a kiss on the infant’s forehead.

            Why humans felt so protective was beyond her.

            So she faked it until the right kind of babies arrived.

            The ones with the power to channel Unity properly. 


Issue 25: Here

Book 3 Mars Prologue:  Here

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: TB Issue 25


Issue 25: The Heart of Io Ignites


            My blood ignites. She’s calling us all. Even our vaunted Houses will notice. Things will never be the same—Q’vera, Red Defender.

            The Litari have joined the Forgers in welcoming the Terran Alliance fleets into their borders. Ratifying a mutual defense pact that has many within Typha’s Navy concerned. Are they still relevant?—ANN Interstellar Report: The Changing Landscape of the Cosmos.

            “My King, per your orders, our military forces have been pulled back. Maintaining their presence at Scholar Gates and major trade routes. My observation: It is a relief we are getting additional reinforcements from the Humans. Utasa Sector is thriving because of it. The Artock’s are retreating for now.—Utasa Sector Admiral Y’lansa Odessen.

            The various Houses are calling for my head. Besides our traditional allies. Our people within the Commons are overjoyed. Seeing these bold strides of Humanity as a counterweight to the plodding advancement of Uplift Protocol. If they only knew how vital this was.---V’alkor Ayeer.

            Io. Whatever else history will say: That place remained etched within my memory for the rest of my days. Did the Weave always know? How everything would play out? I still feel that phantom left arm. Even now: Unity’s flesh burning as I drove that spear deep within the wound left by Matarn.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century.


Orbit of Jupiter

Io Arc Repository

March 20th, 2104


I ran my fingertips over the pitted metals. My Aunt, Q’vera was behind me while Cooper floated above. Their belts making things light up Christmas style. Di’axi as well. Dawnbreaker stood next to me. His hand resting over mine. The ground shifted. It was no longer just Io. Rows of metal shifted. I didn’t have to fly to space to know what it said.


            Recognized: ///|||\\\

            Recognized: =//|||\\=

            Entry granted.

            The entire moon transformed, sucking in all the surface cover. Towers of crystal sparkled. Reflecting the face of Jupiter. Its orange eye extending within the warmth of their glow. Cooper danced around us. Howling out, <<It hears your song! A wonderous noise!>> I tuned into it. Tears running down my face. This place had artificial gravity present and a glimmering of a shield above our heads. The Jupiter Rising passed through it as if it was meant to be here. While other Terran Alliance fleet ships FTL’d in. The white-blue blaze indicating normal transversal. My father, in his US Army battle suit, stepped forward. “We will guard the entry point. I have a feeling what’s inside is for you and Dawnbreaker.”

            Anna removed her helmet.

To the shock of everyone. She sucked in a big lungful of air. “Hey TEDDY! You owe me!”

We turned the mechanism. Our belts syncing with us.

The doorway swung open.

J’dax saluted us as the slabs of metal closed behind us.

A pleasant voice greeted us, “Ah. Good. We have much to do!”

He was taller than us. About 9 feet. Thank goodness. Dexter poked me in the ribs.

Our host’s white wings stretched outward. Their black tips were decorated with sigils.

Unlike Set, these gave me a sense of peace.

The Angelic entity nodded, “Yes. We are of his race but he is an outcast to us. He broke the covenant with the Weave. The instant he guided that Scholar to its doom as Unity.” His hair was sandy-colored. Similar to my uncle’s. His eyes were completely blue. No whites. A neatly trimmed beard.  My empathy senses went haywire. The absolute truth of his existence was nearly awe-inspiring. As we descended a spiral staircase the murals shifted.

How everything began.


The Weave

The Path of the Ancients

Dawn of Creation


Hidan spread his wings.

The universe spread out before him. His brother joined him.

The tips of his wings brushing the Weave.

All the Echo Pathways ringing with joy at their passing.

He wrapped the bundle in his arms tighter. This would be the first.

Twins to rule Life and Death.

The next creation of the Weave. They would be the caretakers.


Dexter and I stared at the Ancient. He waved us forward. To our point of view, it resembled an Old Earth stadium. Greek or Roman. I blurted out, “Have things always been in twos. Like the old Noah’s Ark tale?”

He nodded, “Many holy books were created by Weave Speakers. But they were translated into examples early humans and others could understand. Speaking of the Creation era.” My face burned, “Oh man. I didn’t study theology all that well. So what should we call you?”

He waved us to some seats.

Another Angel, just as perfect as him poured some water into some glasses while bowing politely.

Our host said, “I am Hidan. And I suspect you know who my brother is.”

Dexter’s face went slack, Black’s rage lashed out, “Set.”

Hidan’s sorrow rolled across me.

“Indeed. He fell. Taking the Garden of the First Ones with him. What you see as Hell incarnate is the refuse Set left behind in Unity’s wake. To keep Unity from finding the right Universe, I have gathered 100 of my best scouts and warriors. They have already left Edenverse. The 2nd of its name.”

The Weave had changed our Universe based on that first mistake.

The Angle nodded. His voice echoing through us.

“Throne Sight gives you an edge but use it wisely. It will reveal the true nature of things but so will your Uncle Paxton. He has our insight. That of Creation itself. What you might call a Nephilim. Of the old world.”

Dexter drank another two cups. Then remarked, “Is that why he always stuck so close?”

Hidan’s amusement illuminated everything, “Indeed! But he does love you both dearly. Unlike his sisters, who possess demi children, he cannot sire children. Our blood is too potent within him for that.”

He gave me a ring. It was black while Dexter’s was white.

“Use these to return to the inner sanctum. Chronos is heading here with a scout fleet. Expecting Earth to roll over like the Markav colony of old. That place didn’t have Creation level defenses. But that has changed.”

As we ran back to the surface, Hidan called out to me, mind to mind, >>We gift to you the knowledge of Matarn. Use the spear to its fullest. Do not use Throne Sight again until you are ready to slay Unity. Keep Paxton close. He will guide you.<<

White knew what I would ask and she added, <<I will lock it from your mind.>>

Outer Sol Defense Ring

Sector Defense Grid Alpha


Alarms shrieked as personnel scrambled to their fighters. This was it.

Dexter and I arrived first. The power of White flowed over me.

My armor a silver beacon within the blackness of space.

I made some motions in the air. Sigils of Creation.

 Matarn’s spear numbered in the 1000s.

Each shot out into the void. Ramming into the first wave of Chronos’ saucer-shaped abominations. INet and HeroNet came online. Highmaker cloaked within the background noise. Adam Lazer and over 6 dozen demis FTL’d in moments later.  The sparks dissipating as the suits pealed off. Even if it was one-time use that was pretty awesome. These must have been the military space-capable ones my mother was talking about. Dexter tossed his trident. One Null ship exploded. He gathered up the shrapnel with Matter Manipulation. Hurling it at the rest like torpedos. His strikes were a whirlwind of destruction.

Space fluctuated behind me. The chanting of Light Shamans rang outward.

Home Fleet Bravo had arrived. My HUD highlighted all friendlies. White nudged me.

<<It is time. Summon the deluge.>>

I shouted the words. The space between stars filled with the lights of many Defenders.

Gulliver and Trouble floated next to me.

<<You rang Hot Sause?>> His orange energies blazed. Buzzsaws circled his head.

Aunt Q’vera sharpened her red blades. An extension of her soul.  I propelled myself forward. Seeking him. He would not touch Mars or Earth. Not when both were so close to true awakening.  Taleer phased in next to me. <<I will join you.>> His tone flat and cold. I wrapped an arm around him. It was time to invade Chronos for a change.

Keeper Null Ship

Designation: X'talia


Chronos staggered to his feet. His command chair was forgotten.

“Enhance Biofeedback readouts!”

His unfeeling orbs centered on the shining white armor.


The Mother of All. Finally resurrected.

A pity. She would have made an interesting brood mother.

His mouth twisted. A slight frown.

“Aether. My old friend.”

His stink was upon the suits that carried all those demis to this place.

No matter. He would keep this data.

These ships were shells anyway.

He activated the countdown codes.

A final present for those from this misbegotten place. Sister Nyx, burned with the sign of the human cross bowed before him.

“I will teleport to our fallback upon Earth. Shall I resume the mission?”

He replied, “Yes. Take the extra provisions from the Testing Modules. You might be alone for a while. Unless my fool of a daughter shows back up.”

He would have loved to see the look upon his enemies' faces but this would have to do for now. The Sister would succeed. Since Mordred passed on the DNA sequence of the hybrid, she ingested it, so that in the end, she would be able to sniff him out. Track him to his simple abode. Dissect him and whatever remaining babes she could find. Then they would have a proper army to defend themselves and their assets.


            Taleer howled. Smashing his augmented suit fists against the wall. The command deck was empty but a disquiet filled my stomach. I didn't like it. Paxton didn’t either, <<That ship is set to explode, but not just a normal one, he means to do damage to the Weave. Disconnect the power source!>>

            We zipped down corridors until we found it. The countdown had less than a minute left. With our combined strength my brother and I lifted it from the ship's hull. Carrying it away from the battlefield. Defenders of all kinds teleported beside us. Trouble added, <<If we work together, using all belt specializations we can contain this!>>

            Emerald K-9 went first. Then a Blue Defender. My aunt adding the Red. Until every defender was represented within the shield. Dexter and I coated the evil thing last. With him adding the Black after me. Nothing happened. Then a soul-splitting howl filled our ears. After a few tense moments, the energy of the bomb diffused completely. Dawnbreaker said, “There is no damage.”

            If I could sweat it would be a downpour.

            As we reached the Outer Sol D-Ring a surprising sight greeted us.

            The Flagship of Utasa Sector. Y’lansa was here.

            The message was rather off putting though.

“By the Order of the House Inheritance , the Twins of Typha must return, no later than the date listed.” Her formal tone belied the rage within her eyes. She didn’t agree with this but couldn’t say no. I linked in, using INet on an open band so all could hear.

            <<Message received Utasa Actual. As Scion of House Ayeer: My duties as a Defender to my Home Sector do not allow me to leave until the Threat of Void Walker is eliminated. My belt tells me one shifted to Earth before the Fleet retreated. Enacting Right of Sojourn until the target is eliminated.>>

            Dexter and everyone else I was able to mind link with laughed. As of now, that included Grandma and Grandpa Ayeer, Zach, Mom, and Di’axi. Via the Ivory ring as well.

            Mom added, >>Good girl. By your decree then.<<

            Y’lansa acknowledged this, “Understood White Defender Ayeer. Home Sector Signifier Earth established for the Record. Until this matter is resolved my fleet and flagship will be stationed here as well.” She added on a private link, <<That was a smart move. Sends a particular message back Home. IN your case both but a good start. Your mother is either the most brilliant tactician ever in keeping you utterly ignorant or foolish. I have decided both cover it.>>


                The sister breathed in the simple air of this Texas city. Humanity had its uses but who could deny the face of a simple nun? She was the reason why her master had so many good test subjects. The things people would leave in her possession still surprised her. All because they naturally trusted the females more often. Even when they wore the face of kindness. Only the cross mark on her cheek gave her away. Most assumed it was because of a house fire. She let them think that.

Damnable Light Shamans.

She would find the Hybrids. Fulfill the tasks of Unity.

Their darkness would flood the multiverse.

Bringing eternal night.

Issue 24: Here

Interlude 2 The Red Planet Rises: Here

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: TB Issue 24


Issue 24: Set


            I know there are things within the dark that many wouldn’t want to talk about. At the heart of this story: Betrayal. Shortly after Unity’s birth, my sister nearly contained it. Back when Unity was the most vulnerable. Set changed that.—Black

            I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep after that story. Eliza realized this and programmed the slow sounds of a brook. Waves lapping upon a shore. Birdsong. I just found myself curled up next to her over the next few weeks. Wondering what would happen.—Lorain Lanis

            Set was the bigger threat in the end. Unity was a shambling entity slowly roaming about. Finding things to eat when set upon its path. Set? He wanted that but not just as a force to devour things. He wanted to be able to target everything. All at once. So he accepted the mantle Unity thrust upon him. Another tool to use in his quest for everything. Gluttony doesn’t even begin to cover it. He wanted to be everything. Everywhere. Worship eternally. –Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century. 



The Center of Rykah

Unity Universe (The Burn)

Date Unknown By Terran Calculation


                Set, High Priest of Rykah, pushed people out of his way.

He had to get to the Temple. The catastrophe of the Sleeper was here. The darkened skies reflected the corruption. Someone had finally done it. Combined the Leylines. Scrambling everything.  His sandaled feet scraped along with the sizzling stones. The heat already burning his soles. The physical didn’t matter. He must taste the forbidden fruit of the Infinite!


            White snarled.

            The monstrosity turned. Still expanding outward. She charged. Her claws piercing the darkness. Her battle form was nimble. Her eyes blazed with fury. “My brother comes. You will not succeed!” The cries of horror from the city around her dampened her resolve. So many were under threat. She had failed. Thinking the scholar only wanted to read the waters of the Leyline. Not to merge them all. Movement within her peripheral vision made her turn her head. Another Scholar was here. The one with the tiny creature. Its voice twisted, “Forgive me. Not right. Piper will make this right.” He fled. The darkness eating away at his fine clothing. Each Leyline failed as the entity sucked up more power, life-force, knowledge, planets.

            Even the sun surrounding this world dimmed.

Flickering like a candle as it winked out.

This place existed still because it was the epicenter.

The eye of the storm.

The music of the spheres dimmed until all she could feel was her brother bursting through the doorway. His white trident was covered with soot and ash.

He charged the creature.

The weapon biting deep.

It turned, voice layered with the multitudes of souls it had devoured already, “I know the taste of your tears.”


            Set’s entire body groaned with protest as he entered the final chamber. The Mother of All, known as the White Flame of Creation was fighting the newly formed Universe Eater alongside her brother, The Father of All. The Black Doorway of Death. Set reached out. Plucking a simple knife from the wall. Its surface tarnished by the heat and flames. Within the metal, the ash of corruption stirred. His people stood upon two legs. Most had wings. His were stunted. Never able to fly. With this act, he would soar higher than any other being. Even beyond the merciful embrace of the Weave. He charged. Driving the knife into White’s shoulder. Nearly dislocating it. The tendrils of the Eater reached out. Engulfing him.

            His screams carried him away.

            The terrible cold consuming flesh and bone alike.


            White paused. Everyone was still.

Taking it all in. I could see beyond. Throne Sight followed Set through her memories. Even Black was shocked into complete silence. Anna rubbed her temples, “The Weave wants you to know. Things that were hidden. But do not use the full force of Throne Sight. Carry it like a lantern. Revealing things. Dive too deep and it will know.”

            Dad placed my hand upon the book. New pages formed. So we would remember.

            My voice came out in a rush, “That alternative timeline. Unity wants me to be consumed. So it can use Throne Sight to augment the various Multiversal points. So it can corrupt Black and White.”

Anna grimaced.

Her nose wrinkled with disgust, “Yes. That is why I never trusted you. All I could see was the death of everything. But it wasn’t Unity at the head of all that. It was Set. Those stunted wings are leathered, wizened and useless but it marks him.”

Mom posed a question, “What race has wings like that?”

Black replied, “The ones created after the Weave. We have no name for them.”


            Set rose to the surface. The wet gloom around him absolute.

            His wings nearly burnt off. He swam. The water was warm.

            Voices called out, “Save us.”

            A dark shape rose above him. Its whole form was twisted. It had been a Scholar once. The skin hung loosely from a skeletal frame. It reached out and plucked him from the water. He rested within the palm. Much like a toy. Set was waiting to feel the hand crush him. He was not afraid.

            Unity rasped, “I see you, Struggler. Do you wish power?”

            Set replied, “Oh yes. I will herald the destruction of worlds for you Awakened.”

            A whipcord thin gray belt formed around his waist. Biting into his flesh.

            “I am gray.”

            His voice raised to the inky black.

The souls of trillions already writhing there.

“That which exists but none shall recall. I am the blade that cuts through the Weave. Mutilating its creations before they gain hold. Rotting the lines. Feeding the doubts of all. I am the dark mirror. ”

Reflective surfaces swirling with energy formed around him.

Mirrors outside of the Weave’s brilliant light.

Unity stated, “Use these to spread my influence. You are the One Who Devours in My Name. Know that your Knife digs deep. The Black and White lay dormant. Carried away by their cohorts. Go now. Bring me substance.”

He bowed and entered a mirror. The planet around him new.

He brought his hands up. It had not been water.

He dived into a stream nearby. The corrupted blood flowed. Bringing with it seeds of discord. This place would eventually have a name. Its people traveling to the stars.

Already he worked his way into their hearts. Hiding.

They had unusual faces. Eyes like demons.

This place. Known to many universes as Typha.


United Earth Front Universe

Typerian Cycle: 8754 Rule of Ayeer Aborted


            Set watched. Taking the form of a puppet here.

            A simple maid. Who loved to mess about with various partners.

            A very scandalous taboo for Typherians.

            He made her walk to the central city courtyard.

            Z’tar Urraden had been condemned by his peers for the heinous murder.

            All would be entombed without a viewing. The damage was that horrific to such gentle personages. Set reached up and stretched. Enjoying the twin sun's warmth. All was going according to plan. He smirked. Chronos had a piddling few sleepers. He controlled tens of thousands. All across every level of Typherian society. It wasn’t only the Houses who had their ways or motivations. No, many never took notice of those who toiled day in and out. That was who he found most useful. Those who could travel without the scrutiny of the upper crust.

            Now all that remained would be to break Urraden out.

            Set had found a delicious universe bursting with magic. Almost to the levels of the Creation Cycle. Waiting to be harvested. Chronos had already made his mark on the Hegemony there. Set never found that particular species useful. He found the Typherians much more entertaining. So proud. So secure in their place within the Multiverse. Yet the polluted blood of Unity pulsed within. Carried to multiple versions of Typha. The rot was setting in. House Urranden’s blood feud with Ayeer was the cornerstone of this. His cultists marking themselves. All for the glory of Unity. Soon it would be in service to him.



April 5th, 2100

            Set grinned.

            Body possession was easy enough as long as the subject had enough Unity taint running through them.

Medusa was fighting him. All out of misplaced loyalty to Thoth. She still harbored dreams of mating with him. Not realizing his true love involved spilling Ayeer blood. He forced her to rummage through his records. This Banner demi would be an issue. Not many possessed that kind of power set. He accessed the INet and HeroNet records. He frowned. Using his connections to the dark mirrors to leave Medusa behind. He didn’t have the highest level moles but….

His face went slack as he entered another body.

The voice of the US President was muffled.

The secret service puppet remained still. Set listened. This particular meat sack was vital. While he would love to gain a foothold into someone important it would be noticed. So he waited. Marshall said, “I understand your concern Agent Brookes but we have found no evidence that Star is a threat to Earth.” The faint hum caught Set’s attention. She had Keeper blood! Now that was interesting. He hadn’t realized that Chronos had managed that. Most brood experiments ended up severely malformed.  At a motion from the guard beside him, he opened the door. Marshall waved him towards Hilary, “Please escort our guest from the Whitehouse. We will discuss other matters later.”

As he opened the door for Brookes he said, “I believe your assessment to be true. We will be in touch.” Outwardly she showed no reaction. The ties of blood gave off another impression: Satisfaction.

The seeds of his plans would need careful growth.

X’mil was primed to go after J’ino. He had fed the idiotic Typherian male with tainted teas. Using his bodyguards to do it. They worked for the All-Father. But most did not realize the All-Father was dancing to the Gray Herald’s tune. Much like that foolish Piper. Dance for me meat sacks! The only human areas he hadn’t been able to infiltrate were their Legion of Tomorrow, the Terran Alliance military, and that damnable Weave pocket around the local star. Too many Light Shammans infested the place.

Still, all in all, having the daughter of Chronos at his command would be a sweet feather within his cap. He had never understood the Keeper’s obsession with Unity. There was nothing beyond it. Only the endless depths of oblivion. He did find it amusing that these humans saw his people as angles. Yes, fallen angels more like it. Unlike the other first ones birthed by the Weave, his people had rejected the call of their Maker.

He waited. Others like him always gave off a particular scent. He was sure Di’axi lingered here somewhere. He mocked Sul’sandra. A pale reflection of a once-mighty First Race. They didn’t even know where their real Homeworld was located. He would make sure they never found it. The closer these creatures got to their Creation heritage, the more precarious his plans, so he polluted the Litari as well. He knew the dark matter beings watched him. But they were cowards. Awaiting the arrival of this Convergence.

He waved the mirrors away.

Someone had resisted his master. Throwing him from their universe.

He reached out and found himself blinded.

A white bolt struck him.

“You are not welcome here!”

He didn’t recognize her but that power pulsed with Scholar might.

He snarled as a male Typherian dug his hands into Set’s chest.

Twisting the piece of that universe from his core.

“You have no power here.” He snapped his fingers and the force of the expulsion made Set clutch his head. Blood poured from his nose. Unity curled around him, “That place is lost to us. A false Eden. Find the real one.”

Time passed.

He jumped to his agent. Using the man to spy on Anna. She gave off an unusual aura.

One that terrified Set.

Watch her. No matter what.

He took the form of a serpent. Exploring the halls of a penal colony. Reaching out and finding one filled to the brim with Unity. The guards here called him the Hanged Man. Set ‘s tongue flickered out. Tasting the air. Stonewall.

Yes, he would find more here. The Medusa’s brother. Perfect!

He sensed something more. A feeling of rage. It danced across the air around him.


            I pulled out. White covering my tracks. She said, “That was close. Throne Sight can see echoes of what was. No wonder V’alkor wanted you to remain remote with its use.”

            Mom paced about the room, “Dear Rulers.” She nearly ran to me. “Check me. Please.”

            A burst of dread hit my gut. But I did as she asked. I used Throne Sight. Praying that I wouldn’t find the mark of Set upon her. Her hands pulled at my uniform. When I remained silent she rested her head near my shoulder. Her frantic prayers cascading around my mind. She wasn’t corrupted. Or touched by Set. She was Awakened in ways I had yet to understand. I hugged her, “You aren’t fallen, mother. You are something else. Awakened but I don’t quite understand how.” Anna jerked as if I had slapped her.

            My father remarked, “What is it?”

            Anna hugged herself. Rocking back and forth.

Teddy stepped in to rest a comforting hand on her back.

“The Three will race to the mortal lands. Wreathed in Flame, Ice, and Void.”

Anna’s voice was clogged with unshed tears.

Mom’s free hand reflexively covered her stomach.

I examined my younger siblings.

They looked like normal babies.

 At over 3 months in utero, their heads were pointed towards each other, hands reaching out. White curled around us both.  My cosmic white armor rippled for a split second. Her protective motherly aura nearly knocking me over. Mom shuddered.

Her mindvoice faint, >>Will…will all of my children be caught up in this?<<

Not even a hint of demi powers.

<<Not yet,>> was White’s reply.

I responded with, >>We will make sure they have as much of a childhood I did.<<

Mom chucked, >>That’s a lie and you know it.<<

I smiled at her, >>No it isn’t. Remember that old Orbital probe when I was just starting to fly?<<

She snorted but her eyes cleared.

I wrapped Old Glory around her.

“No worries ma’am. The Star-Spangled Banner is here.”

Dawnbreaker cocked a sideways glance at me. I must have said that line a whole lot.

He nodded, >>All the time. Even as we grew up. It’s what kept me sane within that pocket of the Weave. You and Black. Knowing that our parents would have loved me just as much.<<

A faint ringing caught my attention.

White felt it too.

I activated the holomap. Expanding out the view of the solar system.

The chiming was coming from Io.


Issue 23: Here

Issue 25:  Here