Monday, May 31, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: Hidden Legacies Issue 14


Issue 14: Anna Takes All


            What in the hell have they been feeding Murphy? She can take direct hits from her brother now. She’s moving differently too. Like she can dip in and out of the Dreaming layer of the Weave without a second thought. Whatever fighting style she picked up suits her. Wish she would bash some heads in but I know that suggestion would horrify her. Which is why I brought it up first thing!—Anna, private observation

            That last year: Aether front-loaded some old J’kua martial techniques into Eliza. She will need to keep practicing but I know why they did that. When the time comes she will cut the strings holding the All-Father up. Even as Dexter goes toe to toe with him. I hate the things Ur-Eliza tells me. But I made a vow to follow my Captain no matter what will happen.—Lorain Lanis

            Do you think me cruel? Lining up things for my younger self? Only giving crumbs? Well, it was done on purpose. My waking mind is still crawling along with those cliff faces. Seeing things no other person was meant to see…save for the Weave. It would be many years before I could stand sleeping for more than 5 mins at a time. I knew it. The visage of utter evil. It wore my face. As if to mock me. Faith, flesh, the very meaning of a soul. How can I even describe such a thing? It is beyond my abilities for language. The Bardaxians understand. Lorain understands. She was made aware during the Trial of the Ordained. Of all of us? I leaned most heavily on her when I awakened. Returned to my proper time. For one final mission.—Sleeping in Starlight

The Rotunda


August 26th, 2114


Anna jeered, “Oh. I see. So the men here really do have more fortitude. House women, legit adversaries? You remind me of kept felines that preen and shit in their box.”

            I bit the inside of my cheek. Anna continued, “…but that would be an insult to cats. They at least clean themselves.” E’ratha smiled. Her movements were controlled. She was the only hostile House rep here.

Y’lansa’s father, A’tan, grabbed Anna. Moving her behind him as E’ratha’s nose bled. For everyone present, I hadn’t moved. Elias Payne gawked. Feeling the ripples through the Dreaming. But even his quick magical experienced eye hadn’t noticed me. E’ratha would have killed Anna. Of that, there was no doubt. The thin reddish blemish on both my palms was proof of that. She had made razor-thin strips of metals native to Typha. Intending to behead Anna.

Cyphuskara was at her limit.

She thought Anna was just a holovid host. Anna didn’t back down. “It's obvious you see us as low-lying monkeys. Flitting about the Universe and smearing shit all over your precious Uplift Protocol. Makes me wonder what you think of Bardax or elder races. As if they’d talk to you!” She spaced out the next words for dramatic effect.

“Inbred.” E'ratha spat.

“High-End Whore," retorted Anna.

“ Misbegotten Pedigree!” 

Anna jerked a thumb in my direction.

“Murphy there has more class in her pinky toe than you do in your entire bloodline.”

Anna’s eyes blazed. Smiling ever so sweetly. She blew a kiss to E’ratha.

“Bless your Soul. Oh, wait. You don’t have one!”

Gwen, my sister, phased A’tan and Anna out of direct sight.

///Anna is nuts but thanks to her we pinpointed where E’ratha’s brain goes batty when she’s about to use some of her House Telekinetics.///


            E’ratha stormed from the Rotunda.

            What had protected the Human pest? It hadn’t been A’tan. E’ratha had been enhanced by Set personally. He had revealed himself. An angelic being of light. His void black wings a sight to behold. Cementing her upon the true path of righteousness. Everyone else would fall into the muck and drown in their delusions.

They were welcome to their fate. They mocked her now but the rising tide of the true faith would cleanse Typha of the riffraff. Commons. Humans. Litari. All of them. They wouldn’t have to endure this travesty much longer. Set had promised her that. A place at his side. Head Genetic Researcher for the Crusade. She would build the perfect defender. Soldier. Unbowed by petty concerns of lesser beings. Only the best of Typha would make the cut.

Her fingers curled into her palms. Pain never bothered her. It reminded her she was alive. Worthy of the mantle. There was no need to carry on the genes of Ayeer, M’tah, Odessen, and all those minor auxiliary Houses. Pigs to the end. Wallowing in the diseases of the flesh. Muted. Deaf and dumb. All of them would burn. Her white irises expanded as the All-Mother waved at her from the shadows. Her petition to Urraden would begin in earnest. She smiled.

Noting the mute slave the assassin used. Clever. No one would suspect someone like Lady Urraden using such a dreadful host.

>>I greet you Sister branch.<<

The All-Mother pivoted her shell’s head. Waving E’ratha forward.

E’ratha noted that the All-Mother maintained proper protocol.

It was so nice to work with professionals for a change.

House Cyphuskara had been one of the few to vote against Ayeer with Urraden’s banishment. While few Houses openly agreed, they had more allies than V’alkor suspected. E’ratha waved the mute servants over.

>>What is your will All-Mother?<<

The assassin held out a data cube.

Let the games begin in earnest.


            Within the Jupiter Rising’s conference room, Anna paced about, her voice animated. “E’ratha is gonna make the Artock look like a picnic!” Mom frowned. Placing her mug down. It was filled with root beer. No alcohol for her for a while. She asked, “In what way? Zombie slaves?”

            Anna whirled, “Worse. Willing fanatics. From other Typhas. I got an impression worthy of Hell when she tried to behead me. Very glad Eliza was there to stop her, so congrats! You only have another 500 rescues to go!”

            Everyone present shot me a glance.

            Anna had the number she wanted me to reach due to the amount of havoc she had witnessed in old Weave dreams.

Elias broke in with, “Ahhh. So that was you going through the Dreaming. But don’t worry. I won’t ask. Of all of us you’ve earned a bit of secrecy yourself!” He slapped his knee. His other hand holding an ancient smoking pipe. Tobin snapped his fingers and it lit with a small spark. Elias took a drag from it.

I grinned. “No matter. Doc and I took a 5-year skip trip as well.”

My father inquired, “I get the feeling you got more than you bargained for.”

I hooked my thumbs into my belt, “Oh yeah. About 5 kitchen sinks worth or more!”

Cooper barked, <<Yes! Doctor Lanis knows the basics of Defender responsibilities!>>

Goldielocks stated, <<The Yellow Defender Corp recognizes Adept status for Host Lanis. We are thrilled with her progress ….>>

20 Minutes Later

            My parents pulled me into the Library aboard the ship.

            Ta’mathon materializing the instant the door whooshed to a close.

            “We need you and the good Doctor to head the Delegation to the Forgers.”

            I replied, “What you mean is you need me out of the way for a bit to do some Earth/Commons gymnastics!”

            Dad handed me a data cube, “Correct. We need to update our allies there. Doc will handle that. We need you to be that bright welcoming Star that the universe is familiar with.” His eyes twinkled a bit. “Besides you have fans in that sector anyway. Seeing how often you breached the barrier in times long ago!”

            Yeah, I couldn’t help it. White would often key in on things even before her overall awakening. Allowing my ship and myself to get past what they initially set up around old Earth barriers.

            Mom would be joining us as well.

            She knew it was to keep her out of harm's way. But hated the thought of dad going into some troubles without her. I handed him a gem that Aether had manufactured. Ta’mathon’s dark eyes widened.

            “Oh my.” His ancient Eygptian features fixated on the simple teal gem.

            I stated, “No idea what it does but Aether said it would be able to help the Golden City Legacy.” Isis materialized and blew me a kiss. Roping Ra and Anubis into a good-natured commentary.

            “This will be a boon to our magics so far away from Earth’s Leylines.” Her statement reminded me.

            “Once I clear Typha’s Weave you should get a better signal.” In the intervening years, my brother and I had cleared a good chunk of the Milky Way aka Utasa sector. Union Fleets had cut down Artock incursions to a standstill. While Typha’s Commons and Survey Corp staunchly in our corner. Bardax provided important Auxiliary fleet support. Their ships were primed to be scout vessels. I checked my H.U.D update.


            Bardax and the Markav were protectorates of the Terran Alliance while the Union was the overall military and trading might of combined efforts. I knew other newcomers were petitioning to join us every moment. The trillions of lights were bursting behind my eyes as White took me along cleansed routes. While some races were still infants tech-wise, their Light Shaman power was considerable, but each new breach into other galaxies between the void brought the possibility of encountering Unity’s forces as well. So we stuck to areas pre approved by Project Freefall specialists.

            The pulse of life was invigorating.

I could hear the music of the spheres.

The endless line of voices.

            I came back to myself when mom touched my forehead. White’s golden third eye still visible above my Union circlet. A hint of apology in her voice, “Sorry space cadet. Dexter’s orders.”

            White grumbled, <<That doesn’t surprise me. My brother knows me all too well. I am to remain on the back burner until….>>

            That poignant silence.

            Dad piped up, “We were lucky the Light Shamans of Project Freefall and the Arcane Order had already foreseen your transformation into the White Defender. They managed with the J’kua’s help to hide some key facts from many outside the immediate Sol System.”

            White said, <<Ahh. No wonder those Defenders summoned that day took an oath of silence.>>

Explained why mom had me wear the House Sash just so. Plus the extra training I did with White and Doc. More pieces clicking together. Had I genuinely orchestrated all of this with the Weave’s blessing? It was absurd in some ways. I had basic leadership drilled into me by mom, dad, Grandpa Murphy but only now did it occur to me to wonder why.

I asked point-blank, “Did my future self give you guys specific timestamps?”

Dad nodded, “Along with V’alkor and M’taris. Even now we get phased messages that fade away. The whole world goes gray when that happens. Then everything resumes when needed.”

They saw from my face that I was relieved, “I get things too. But it's usually pretty cryptic. I don’t discount it but I’d like to give myself a piece of my mind.”

Doc entered and secured the door once more. Nola on her heels. The purple woman held up her mirror. “Ask away!”

The reflection changed, my voice echoing outward, still wearing that garment setup Doc hated. “Nola, tell your father the Wall awaits him.” She nodded as if that made the perfect amount of sense. I crossed my arms. While Ur Eliza took a floating crossed-legged position. It was weird.

“It can’t be that bad.”

Both of our voices echoing at the same time.

“I hate this you know! I want to help!”

I poked the mirror’s surface. Gently.

“Why won’t you give me a straight answer!”

Future self’s face blanched, breaking away from the word games, to state roughly, “Because it will know everything. You will see everything, hear everything, experience everything!”

Her eyes locked onto mine, “You will die. You will rise. You will walk the Path meant for only the Weave.” She added after eyeing me harshly, her voice lower but clear. “The Weave sees all. Unity will be the dark reflection. The mirror to the soul. You are half Primary Typherian. Half the Chain of Woe.”

Anna entered. Resealing the Door with Weave Speak.

She glanced back and forth between us, “Oh…well shit. Guess this isn’t the best time but oh well! E’ratha’s sided with Urraden. I placed a quick tracker on her. It faded when it encountered All-Mother drones.”

Future me shuddered. But a tight rictus smirk formed, “They mean to gather more like-minded Converged Houses. Set’s influence star shattered knives in the dark. Tick. I am alive. Tock. I am dead. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.”

Lorain pulled me back. Eyeing the mirror, “Eliza Elizabeth Murphy. YOU CORNFED MEAT SACK OF A CAPTAIN! STOP THAT!” A sliver of warmth entered Ur-Eliza’s features. She rocked back and forth. “I see the lands that were. The lands that are. The islands of new beginning. Shall you heal me? Diving into the hurricane? A sweet respite from the storm?”

Lorain didn’t move. Her mouth firm.

Anna’s white-gloved hands brushed my forehead. “Time to forget.”

A J’kua device shimmered before my eyes.

My future self’s emotions lashed out.

Sadness. Joy. Despair. All emotions shifting within a storm.

“You are not ready. I must find her. The one who will be. Missing to the surf of the Infinite. Nyx shall not have the child. I must reunite the mother. Can I atone? Can you see Healer? The Cliffs were only the beginning. My hands raised to the ashen sky.”

Before the memory left me I gave myself an emotional codifier.

A sleeper trigger of my making.

Repeating the refrain I got from the waves of Ur-Eliza. I would reflect that back upon Unity when the time came. To break its chains. A woman’s voice echoed: Yes, remember its dark carapace. It can reflect but so can you!

A man’s deeper tones joined it.

It fears what lives in you. You are the refection. Not it. Emotions can be controlled.

Find its fears. Reflect your true self at it.

Rise. As was written!


            Lorain couldn’t see the outfit Ur-Eliza was wearing.

            Murphy’s voice grew fevered, “Shh. Do you see it now? Its closer. It asks me things. But the pull is too strong. I can see them dancing. Those with no faces. Unbent by time and space.”

She focused. Asking Nola, “I only need a moment. Give me that.”

            The Priestess bowed her head, “So it shall be.”

            Nola chanted. Invoking the protection of the World Maker as she did so.

            Thomas Murphy saw the war within his daughter’s eyes. Her true self fighting for all its worth. J’ino brought them both in next to Doc. Their daughter needed them. Not now but for the future. A dance already completed. It only needed the final notes. All three of them added their Light to Ur-Eliza. Her features relaxed for a moment. Gray eyes clear for the first time in what must have been ages.

            Her voice calm, “It almost made me forget. It fears the Path. Where Olam lay. The first of many. I must head toward the shore. Olam is not a man. Or place. It is the true center. I will make my final stand there. The Ouroborous rings within me.”

She reached out. Placing a kiss on Lorain’s forehead.  Thomas and J’ino wrapping all four of them into a fierce hug. It lasted only moments before Eliza sank into the mirror again.

The reflective surface shimmered and she was gone. Doc sucked in a breath. “I need a whiskey. I'll drink for everyone.” Anna assisted current Eliza to her feet. Murphy sucked in a breath.

“What the heck did I do this time? Did I upset my future self?” While gazing up into the shining tapestry of the FTL observatory dome. It was a live feed of what was happening outside Jupiter Rising.

Lorain took a shaky step towards the door.

Eliza caught her as she fell. Her face buried within Murphy’s blue flight jacket.


            Anna glared out at the passing starscape, a cigar protruding from her mouth, her father remarked, “That kinda day?”

Moonlighter removed his signature white cloak. His chin shadowed with a few days worth of stubble. She kicked up her feet. Lorain had been a wreak. Probably seeing things through that Union bracket. Even though Anna knew that dork of a future Murphy had done her best to shield the Lanis woman. She asked the space before her, “Ok Weave, I get it. We mess up and we lose everything. But couldn’t you have been a bit nicer to the Lanis kid? She already has enough on her mind!”

            Her father twitched, his voice a measure too low and high all at once.

            “The brother guards the gates of Death. Eliza must guard the gates of Life. This was always meant to be.” Anna tried to move but a force held her in place. The Weave hummed around her.

            “You will remember. For the others?  Only Nola will know my Will.”

The Jupiter Rising

In route to Forger Territory

August 27th, 2114


            Anna bolted upright. She winced as the overhead cabin lights turned on, Jupiter’s cheery tone indicating they would be in Forger Space within the next 2 hours. It had been a real memory. She commanded, “Patch me through to Golden Child.”

            Eliza’s cheerful voice reverberated throughout the cabin. “Yes?”

            Anna replied, “How drunk did I get yesterday?”

            Murphy’s response was quick, “Doc tried to challenge me to a contest. You said that wasn’t fair, you won while I got to carry a comatose Lorain to sickbay. Dad sent you, me, mom, and Lorain as the head delegation to update our Forger allies. Gave him a pretty stone. You sure you remember things to that point? Then we had a farewell party. Cooper chugged down some Rum.”

            Anna winced. Rubbing her face. “Yes. I got it. Good night? Day? Whatever.” She cut the link. Messaging Nola.

            ///So what are we to accomplish in Forger space?///

            Nola responded, ///To bring the Light back to the Forgers. A pounding within the deep corrupts their greatest patriarchs. The children must sing anew.///

            Anna buried her head under her pillows.

            Granted, the Forgers weren’t bugs. They had an outer tan shell and those 6 red eyes.

            Under that shell? Corded muscles layered with enhanced bone structure that allowed them to travel quickly and burrow under the ground.

            But she couldn’t get over the line about conductors and musics. They communicated through higher frequencies than humans did but could still use translators to get the point across. Eliza could speak to them directly. Since she could detect those higher tones. Like a Bardaxian. Now all Anna could do was picture Star as a giant Golden Retriever. Happy, Loyal, and far too trusting. She frowned then screamed into the pillow. She added a few messages to Teddy. In the hidden language of the Project Freefall shamans. They would relay things to them. Like Ned Fletcher’s family, hers was station and living on the Dyson Sphere. Sam, Jacob, and all those most vulnerable to Eliza’s Identity being known. As far as Earth citizens went.

The only ones not there were the Golden Bulleteer and his wife. Along with the rest of the Mavericks.

            Their demi IDs were still private.

            Anna was just glad that there was a safe harbor.

            The Weave was playing for keeps.

            She huddled deeper into the blankets.

            Her United Earth Front counterpart swam before her vision. His Irish accent thick, “It's on us, dearie. No matter the universe. Peachy isn’t it? I got a mouthful from the Weave on High as well. Chop chop!”

            He continued, “Oh and Eliza Odessen is the Queen of the Bar here in jolly good UEF land. Was a nice ceremony. She’s sending you a rather peculiar ally.”

            Anna groaned, “Fine.”

            He winked and faded from the connected Dreamweave.

            She kicked off the sheets and cursed as she entered the refresher.

            She muttered, “I might as well tempt fate. What’s it gonna be? Reincarnated Joan of Arc?”

Issue 13: Here

Issue 15:  Here

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Uplift Protocol: Hidden Legacies Issue 13


Issue 13: Long Forgotten Lore


            It took 3 days but the asteroid drifted to the Darkside of the gas giant. It was a close thing. The ship took some damage as we FTL’d out. Those scout fighters are much faster than they used to be. Luckily the Spinster was able to tap into the nervous systems of the pilots. She caused them to blackout. Unfortunately, they survived. The automated defenses of their ships prevented them from drifting into the gas giant.—Medusa

            I stay with Medusa for convenience for now. What did I want? I wish to find my mirror. To see what has been made of me within this universe. Do I possess that old beauty? Friends? Family? If so, I will take this version’s body. And live out the life I was meant to have. Medusa calls me Hag, castoff, in her private thoughts yet I am the reason she still lives. I will make her remember that eventually.—The Spinster

            At the time, Lorain was reluctant to go over some events that happened within that five-year slice within the Tower/Pandora’s Box. I’d eventually get it out of her when we had our stint inside it. She was cautious about other aspects of “healing.” She could take energy from other beings and apply that to heal wounds as well. It was a scenario Bardaxian Light Shamans had foreseen. It would play a role with the Crystal Coffin. As they call it now in the historical vids. That point in my life? I do not like to dwell on it much.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century

Project Freefall

Light of Emris

The Tower Islands


            We had been here for a year already. Me, Doc, Cooper, and Augustus.

            For Lorain? This was like coming back to a slice of home in some ways. Like before, we’d spend 5 years in here. While only a day occurred outside of this realm. Aether had explained that this was a proper learning tool once more. I could see why. Races that had access to prolong utilized these in the past. More than training skills. Sometimes these things would be used to evacuate endangered populations. It didn’t look it but it could fill 1000s within. We had transported supplies in first. But Doc had a knack for gardening. Even now she was harvesting some fresh tomatoes. Her face was utterly relaxed.

            We mainly used the time to get her acclimated to her Yellow Defender powers. The basics as Cooper reminded us daily. I joined her. Needing to brush up with White’s particular abilities. Another J’kua notification popped up. While here I could consult the Ur-Stone directly. I didn't ask for sensitive information. Like Time Travel theory for instance. Because of the Keeper DNA experiment pulled by Sister Nyx, she had inadvertently made me a bridge for the J’kua to operate from. How’s that for a double-edged sword?

            I wondered for the hundredth time: Did the Weave know how everything would play out? Was I a complete circle for it? Always going about, no matter the universe, to correct things or get involved just because I wanted to help?

            White materialized next to me. Resting her head on her paws. She rumbled, “Indeed. You might not exist in every universe but what makes you vital is that cheery outlook!” I floated a few inches off the ground. Just letting the sun warm my bones. It was a slice of paradise. White padded over to Lorain. Talking to the Yellow Defender belt around her waist. Doc rolled her eyes heavenward, “No. I can regulate that all on my own!” Her face turned red as she glanced in my direction.

            White interlinked with the other belt, <<Ahh! That is good! Means you can take the constructs…>> Lorain replied to “Goldielocks”, a name she thought apt. Since her belt tended to be overly curious about everything. Then again: It was an aspect of Intellect. So I thought it fit Lorain. She had veritable rivers of curiosity. She aimed one well-placed tomato in my direction. I caught it in my mouth. Grinning as I took a bite. It was gone in an instant.

            I could have quite the appetite when I wanted.

            Cooper floated next to me. The emerald outline barely visible. His tail wagged.

            His low huff, <<Excellent! I was not the only one ignorant of Doctor Lanis’ stamina!>>

            I shushed him. “How about seeing what Augustus is up to?”

            I rose higher into the air. The max in this place was about 2 miles.

            I spotted the corgi along the beach. He was moving some metal balls with his telekinesis ability. In the intervening year here he had made quite the progress. Granted, he had been pretty even-keeled in training but something here added another layer. A white hologram manifested next to me. Aether bowed his head. “You are correct! This place stimulates brain activity and synapses to increase skill retention.”

            Aether winked, “And we might have added a bit more to Auggie in the process.”

            Cooper bounced back and forth. His green energy crackling, <<Yes! This is good. Augustus is very wise.>>

            I reached out as my hand passed through the hologram. The energy dancing up my spine. A jolt shot through me, “I don’t just have what Sister Nyx put in me. You’ve added something while I’ve been here.” He nodded.

            Forstalling more questions by stating, “Yes, those memories are blocked off. We added a special conduit to this particular training sphere. But it’s only active while you are here. We’ve already told Doc. She’s been monitoring you for any fluctuations.”

            The J’kua glanced down. “We would never have done anything without your physician’s consent. Unlike Nyx, we rather ask than force more upon others. You agreed, not as you are but as you will be.”

            Ahh, future me. This all tied to whatever would happen once I struck Unity well and properly. He nodded,   “Correct. It will use everything you know against you. The Ur version, as you dub it, is from after that event.”

My mind reeled.

            A closed-circuit then. Like one of those old holovids. I had my suspicions. Based on how Dexter, Doc, Mom, and Dad danced around certain events or impressions. Plus I still had some key gaps in my memory. Specifically relating to my future self. Even the daring duck duo knew things beyond everyone else. V’alkor kept assuring me of the river and eddies of events. How the Commons must be split from a majority of Houses. He didn’t just mean from our universe either. I flew down to the beach. Cooper and Aether on my heels. Landing with a soft thump near Augustus. He barked excitedly and ran over to me. His little legs putting on a burst of speed.

            <<I can juggle 15 metal balls! They roll and float where ever I want! EVEN TO SPAAAAACE!>> I picked him up. Hugging him to my chest. “Who’s a good boy?!”

            He wiggled. Nubby tail going wild.  <<I AM! Bacon?!>>

            Those expressive brown eyes locked onto mine.

            “Yeah, let’s go get some bacon.”


            Lorain glanced at Aether, “No rejection of J’kua tech implants and DNA codifiers. When the time comes it will overwrite what the Sister did.” Eliza hoisted Cooper up on one shoulder. With Auggie on the other. “So it’s a super spy vs super spy setup?” Lorain removed her gardening gloves. Fanning her face with her sunhat. It was mild weather here but she used the motion to marshall her thoughts.

            She planted a kiss on her captain’s cheek, “Yup. The thing is: You are one of the chess masters. Along with the Weave.” Eliza’s eyes widened, “That’s quite a turn. Since for the moment, it's all compartmentalized!” Murphy bit her lip, “There are days I don’t feel all that smart. To be frank.”

            Aether responded, “Your future self didn’t demand it but heavily encouraged. Since she had already gone through the main event. So remember, she has context you do not. From what I saw of her, even from the start, with what was hidden in her eyes…..”

            Even through the burst of holo energy, both women saw the J’kua’s fingers trembling, dark gray and black eyes drowning with memory. He continued, voice low, “What you will endure will take you well beyond what you are now. You will be reforged. More than just a shield. An Arbiter. A standard for Light to rally around.”

            Eliza had to strain to hear the last part, even for her level of super hearing. “We will need you beyond Unity’s fall. The Golden Path remains.”

            Murphy felt a tug on her ear. Lorain pulled Eliza towards the two-story cabin she had helped to craft when they first got here. Neither of them wanted to disturb the Tower on the northern edge of the island. It was made of a wooden outer surface with modern materials within. No INet connections of course. Just Aether and his J’kua medics and scientists adding to a stasis induced Eliza the materials needed to secure the future. Lorain knew she was skirting the edge of what future Eliza wanted but they both knew that. During those blackouts, Lanis would have a few conversations here and there. Never quite broaching the subject of the Crystal Coffin. It was a vivid moment for Lorain. Knowing that the Trials of the Ordained had revealed a chaotic version of that dreaded event. She leaned into Murphy for a moment. Clutching at the Union bracelet.

            Everything would be fine.

            She’d make sure of it.

            The hollowed-out gaze of Ur-Eliza haunted Lorain’s dreams. The spark of Light was still there but what she had gone through, Lorain pushed past it, focus on the here and now. Eliza’s voice crackled with concern for Lorain, “It’s gonna be ok Doc.” A small smile formed on Lorain’s face in response.

            “Cornfed, you are the ultimate optimist!”

            Doc’s disquiet grew. Why was Ur-Stone Eliza always cloaked in that Typherian burial shroud? Simple white dress shirt and black pants. Her bare feet and hands were marked with dark blue ink. She could never see the tracing in minute detail. Why never any moment beyond the strike on Unity?


            I relayed a message to Aether. ///Next time you see future me, tell her not to worry Doc as much. Or maybe get a change of clothing. What I am wearing disturbs her greatly.///

            Aether responded, ///Noted. We will blur out more. Maybe just have her focus on the face. There is a reason for everything. Even for what you will wear within the Crystal Coffin.///

            Lorain’s hands tightened around my waist. The sun began to dip over the horizon. Another 4 years to go. I would endure. I had to.

For my family’s sake. For Lorain.

For everyone.

The Tower Islands

Fields of Isis

            I picked the unusual orange flowers.

Lorain wanted to make more salves. Year 2 and she was slowly opening up about the more distressing side of her healing abilities. One? She’d live much longer than the best prolong available. I got the impression that she’d outlive Dexter and me by a good margin as well. No wonder she researched into her powerset so diligently.  Watching what you love fade into the distance while you went on rolling with a near-infinite wheel? My thoughts turned to Gwenivere.  Yet Arthur came back around. Reborn into a new body. His previous memories were kept safe by the Intez within him. Much like President Marshall’s Intez and his family’s long association with Aether. Cooper floated above me. Chasing Auggie back and forth. The Lanis family dog could now move about without the assistance of his bardaxian demi suit. He would still use it of course but now could propel himself telekentically to simulate flight. Lorain jumped onto my back. “Forward march!” Her green eyes were bright under the mid-day sun. I’d let her have her fun. Questions could wait a while longer. We had needed this recharge for a while.


            Lorain rested against Murphy’s chest. Listening to the soothing rhythm of her heartbeat. A far stronger thrum since their early days. When she had met Eddie and Eliza, even her budding healing abilities had sensed just how messed up her then 8-year-old friend’s systems had been. Twisted by Nyx. What D’iaxi and Aether had to remove from her spine was the saving grace of the situation. Hiding Dexter had been paramount. Because in those injuries their enemies hadn’t realized the true potential of White’s host.

            Eliza had been written off as defective.

            Lorain mustered up the courage to speak, “I’m going to live eons. I talked to Gweneiver about it.” Eliza’s arms tighted around Lorain. Lorain felt a lump rising in her throat. “That’s the not worst part though. I can steal life. Give it to others. Inflict pain instead of healing. What kind of monster would I have been if….”


            She wasn’t able to finish. I pulled her into my arms and sprang skyward. When she got like this the open air seemed to help. I aimed for the outermost island on this chain. Aether had me assist with constructing a few more buildings. Other J’kua would be staying here once we left. He wouldn’t allow me into the building along the southernmost chain. Emris had teleported certain items into the Training Sphere. Cooper asked, <<Bardax has always known. We will help! Our faith is strong!>>

            Doc sobbed. “Is mine even able to match?”

            I landed near the glittering waterfall.

I cupped her chin, bringing her face up to mine, “100%!”

Her tears subsided after a while.

We watched the sun go down. The vast array of stars overhead mapping out other galaxies. Universes. Aether was comforting us in his way. Letting us know we weren’t alone.

The Tower Islands

The Crystal Repository


Greeter met the Music Player in the dim glow of the most protected room in the whole multiverse. Even more so than the Throne matrix within uncorrupted universes. They finished the last J’kua Light sigils on its surface. Bardax’s Shamans and Speakers had already woven their faith into it. The J’kua would add their knowledge and the part they had to play within Unity being born. So Eliza would have clear eyes to face the enemy while on the other side of the Divide. That great unknown. To mere mortals that is. Greeter did not envy Murphy in that aspect. So much was riding on her even if her current self wasn’t aware of the total weight just yet. Only the primaries of J’kua society had ascendance names. Like Aether. The rest were merely denoted by jobs or nicknames to facilitate communication with other races.

            No, she did not want to think of events to transpire.

            So she worked hard. Adding to the weave within the coffin. Next would be Typherian blessings. The lost tribe of Light returning to the Multiverse would trigger more events. They would have to be ready. She knelt by the shimmering material. Crystal clear yet woven with materials only fully comprehended by the Weave.

            “May the Whole of Creation forgive us. Through us great evil was borne.”

            She hoped the Weave was listening.

            Music Player continued to enter the notes within the Crystal Coffin. Eliza would need it to break free of the falsehoods woven about Unity. The lies that had taken so many down the dark endless abyss must not take her as well. Like it seduced Chronos. Forever would his name be remembered as a warning. Not all knowledge should be unearthed. He blinked rapidly. His skill laying the foundation for the Litari matriarchs to add their songs as well. All would contribute to this endeavor. The one bathed in starlight would be reborn. To guide the Ourobouros to the Golden Path of Creation.

            To restore all that was lost.

            A new beginning.

            Free from the sway of Unity’s deconstruction and fabrication.

The Tower Islands

Sea of Cosmic Light

            As I reached out to touch the carpet of stars, my fingertips brushed up against another universe. A familiar thrum greeted me. Eliza Odessen sat upon the Throne of her Typha. Safeguarding the matrix. Akin to what my grandfather once did. Her mother and father to the right. Her husband on her left. Their children arrayed before them. Each with a demi spark. She faced me, “Watch the way of Avalon. The Morrigan’s child will attempt to corrupt the heart of Earth’s Weave.”

            Her eyes rolled back into her head, “The Golden Path awaits you.”

            I pulled my hand back. The night sky on the Island so clear. Doc flew out to me. Her golden battlesuit a mix of her Doc Impossible demi setup and that of a yellow defender. Where it was once green, while the belt was active, it glowed with an inner radiance. Like fall leaves against the sunrise. Our time here was coming to an end. Already 4 years had passed. While Aether had been reinforcing my body with implants, Doc had been reinforcing my bones, organs, every nerve ending. When the fight with the All-Father came, it would still be striking but it wouldn’t damage me as badly as Doc would have feared. I merely had to endure. To keep his attention on me. While D’iaxi and his father would take the sleeping Lady from the Ziggaraut. That is what Aether relayed to me on my future orders.

            It would also give Dexter a chance to throw his weight in with Black.

            We would end this. One way or another.

            As the sun rose, a fleeting image of entwined trees appeared before me.

            White and Black. Along with every color of Defender imaginable.

            Gather them. Every array. Some Defenders sleep within the great dark.

            I zipped around Lorain, “Want to race? Get those muscles of yours pumping?!”

            She smiled, “Challenge accepted Cornfed!”

            I would find them all.

            No matter what universe that Defender resided in. No one would be left to the shadow.

Issue 12: Here

Issue 14: Here