Issue 18: That Dreaming Connection
I had prayed for this moment. Now that it is here I find I have no words.—Sy’ra
There is more at play. We aren’t encountering these alternative Earths or Universes at random. There is an Arcane reason. Who the Highest is using? That is not clear. The Icath can only go forward in time from their ancient birthplace. Eliza Murphy isn’t the only one with hidden memory.—Sir Avalon
Only one has access to the Rivers of Time. The flow cannot be altered by us. Or the Icath.Even Unity has not realized this.—Nephilim Archives.
I do not know the ending. I don’t have to. I have my friends and family. That is all I wanted from the start.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 23rd century (vol 11)
Hanger of the T.A.S. America’s Last Gleaming
Fleet Rally Point
T-Minus 10 Days
He couldn’t do any less. A ghost from his past had manifested. His mother wore a bright green robe. The white fabric underneath lent an ethereal quality to her pale skin. Almost as white as his. Her Dreamer marks were that very same dark cobalt. He tapped his father’s shoulder rapidly. He turned as well. Unlike his son, Matarn bellowed.
“How!?! The fleet hasn’t…”
Matarn shook his head. Akin to a bear rising from the water. He dashed over and lifted Sy’ra over his head. Twirling her about the hanger.
A message pinged. ///I’ll explain later.—Doc///
Di’axi gave his father a few more moments. Waiting for both to come back down to earth. As the saying went. They were a family again. Sy’ra reached out, tears trailing down her face, “Look how big…” She held out her hands.
Di’axi took them.
He said, “We had all sorts of breaching protocols….”
Sy’ra wrapped her arms around her son, “Of that I am sure.”
Di’axi replied, “It was going to be a very big boom….”
Sy’ra nodded. Matarn pulled his family in, “We shall face this together.”
Jupiter confirmed it, <<That infant will have some demi powers.>>
Mom said, “So technically that’s my grandson. An alternative setup to be sure but….”
I responded, “J’irax Thomas Lanis. The Ayeer line there mixed with humans for a few generations. No idea what kind of convergence he is. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Weave wants it that way.”
My father picked the baby up. J’irax responded by tugging on my father’s nose.
Thomas grinned, “You are a bit heavy!” My father flew him around the room.
Then made short jerking motions to simulate a ship landing.
Green lines shot out to scan J’irax. Jupiter said, <<Noted. The boy has a denser bone structure.>>
My mother had that glint in her eyes. Momma Bear mode was back.
“Are we alive in that other place?”
I nodded. She was invested now. Knowing her other self was without her grandchild. Her aura dipped into the red. It wasn’t rage. It was colder than that. The old Urraden feud. I hadn’t asked what had started it. A small pinprick formed in my mind.
My connection to my Ayeer ancestor.
C’alain’s face formed. His white-blonde hair was nearly the same shade as Mother’s.
His sword raised before him, >>That thread will be with us until Unity is no more. Thus it shall echo across all the Multiverse. You will be the final arbiter.<<
Arbiter. The word struck me as odd. What would I serve as Judgement to?
Wasn’t that my father’s role?
I said, “I’d know your heartbeats no matter what. That made the other versions of me and Doc Over the Moon happy.”
Dad placed J’irax back in the crib. His Bardaxian nannies floating over him. Three Blue Defenders. He’d be going to live with V’alkor and M’taris. They seemed to be enjoying being grandparents. My grandfather was quite content. I could fathom why. Being a House Scion, even for just those few years had been exhausting. Wearing a false crown must have been….
I reached towards the crib. My hands phased out of reality. Everything went gray.
A man in dark robes with 3 golden circles on the front bowed. His face was obscured by a white mask.
“I know an associate of mine gave you a message from yourself. This part will be as a hammer to a nail. White will die if you do not act.”
I vibration hummed in my chest. The robed figure reached in. “Wear this black crown piece openly. It will take you to White. The rest will follow through Doctor Lanis.”
Color spilled into the world. My father reached out.
The black crown settled over my brow. Looking like a piece of antlers jutting outward.
“Defcon Omega. We are going in.” His voice echoed.
My usual clothing faded. In its place was my White Defender uniform. Sparking with the cosmic energies of White’s dominion. I sent an image of Doc to my mother before the world faded. Threads encompassed my body as I was tossed into a cosmic sea.
Matarn’s spear pulsed with silver radiance. I flew towards White as she circled a crimson-scaled Hydra. Its 12 heads snapping at her. “You hold no power here Mother of None!” Each head spat a different noxious poison. I hurled my weapon at the beast. It buried itself deep within the flesh of the leading head. Its eyes turned towards me.
White snarled, the sound carrying over the din, “Face me!” She lashed out with tooth and claw. Her old scar bleeding from the uppermost corner of her chest. Each hydra eye was pitch black. Not like a void walker but more like the mirrors that Morgana had used. I slammed into the creature with all my might. Its center head shattered into millions of glass shards. I reached out to grab the spear. It's haft warming. To the point of burning. A white haze covered my vision.
The anger was blinding. My body twisted on its own. White was once more around my waist. The golden sigils were blood red. The sky opened and beyond the portal was a pockmarked industrial planet. Its green fires spat miasma up into the atmosphere.
My voice was not my own, “You will pay for all the misery.” The ends of my fingers curled into claws. A white outline in the shape of a tiger. Its third golden eye ringed with blue fire.
White leaped through the portal.
The rage boiled in my chest. Her chest.
I shouted, “STOP! These artock aren’t pirates! They are slaves! The Gemini of the Old Path!”
Their souls screamed at me from behind mummied masks. The eyestalks were shorter than Striker Nix’s. Their skin was a deep blue. The third eye blinded by black scrawl. Keeping their souls aware of the horror. Much like the floating Nexus crew we found out along the black. Stuck protecting that Flower. Saving it from the evils of Unity.
It all had a purpose.
This was not the way.
I pounded on the shell that was my prison.
What would get through to her?!
My breath caught. We were a mirror to one another. I had always feared what rage would do when in command. Think Murphy!
I screamed, “Remember your promise! Hear their cries!”
I opened my empath floodgates. Letting the horror of the Gemini souls flow over me.
From the bridge of the Jupiter, Lorain Lanis shouted, “Follow her in. Dark Mirror gates are open!” As one the Artock Pirate Hulls pulled the Terran Alliance through. Commanded by Tarvelian skeleton crews. Their time had come. To be at the forefront of the spear.
Lorain turned to her mother, “I must go in. Not as I am.”
Mary replied, “God go with you.”
Yellow defender armor materialized and Doc phased out from the Jupiter Rising. Following the Terran Alliance forces into the energy breaches. On the other side was chaos. A giant white energy tiger rampaged about the battlefield. Targeting anything that came close. Doc spotted Eliza at the heart of that fire. Doc sent out a command. The Terran ships took up positions. Eddie responded, “What is Star doing!?!” Flashes of color bloomed in the distance as Tarkanan forces moved in to protect the All-Father’s rotted abode. Dexter appeared next to Doc. His form was outlined by the shape of a black tiger.
He said, “I will protect the fleet from White’s rage.”
Dexter’s voice was deeper. Black then.
Doc hugged her Union bracket to her chest. Remembering the words of the Lidless.
When White rages, let Eliza choose.
Within the depths of Tarkanan, two figures stared at the thing tearing into the Artock Drone ships. Only disabling them for now. The same couldn’t be said of the Living Stone or anything else circling the planet. Later cycle Artock bodies floated in the void. The new master of Tarkanan swore. “How did the Earthers figure it out?!”
He focused in on the silver-white blur mowing down another flight group of pirates. Its three eyes opened wide. Not the deep crimson of an Urraden. It was pure red flame. Cutting across the cosmos.
Thoth snapped, “What in the nine hells is that?!” The bright gleaming hulls of Alliance ships were safely beyond the extended defense network around the planet.
E’ratha replied, “A giant kitty is shitting in your litter box.”
The former House Scion watched as her words caused a few blood vessels to pop in the new manager’s head. She continued, “Interesting how it’s only tearing apart White Owls to the ends of oblivion. What is inside those Drone ships?! You want those gone.”
Thoth hissed, “None of your concern.” He made a flicking motion with his left hand.
E’ratha wailed as an invisible force sent her spider-shaped mechanical form careening into the walls.
Thoth’s fingers moved across the holo. It was time to run.
What rested at the heart of Tarkanan must be protected.
Thomas and J’ino watched from the bridge of the Jupiter. Their daughter was still in that mass of swirling ancient energy. Fighting with White. J’ino asked, “What did the Alliance find with all those pirate bodies?”
She needed the distraction. Seeing her daughter’s face contorted with rage frightened her more than she wanted to admit. Ritark rose from the shadow of Thomas, “That is not Eliza’s rage. That is White!”
Thomas replied, “That the Artock take from other races. Incorporate biofuel from many sources. But these ones here are different. We kept the blue ones separated from the other cryogenically frozen pirates. What our researchers called drones.”
J’ino’s hands tightened about Thomas’ arm.
Thomas said, “They aren’t drones. Not like later cycles. Who evolved with Unity’s taint.”
Another dozen ships imploded. Leaving nothing in their wake.
J’ino watched the readouts. Her eyes narrowed.
“Eliza is still in there. Those were pirates. Living Stone ships. Not…”
Thomas finished as Avandar entered, “The Gemini people.”
Avandar placed his four arms across his massive chest, “I trust in the will of the Arbiter.”
The cries of his people reverberated through his third eye.
The horror giving away to the dawn.
They marveled at the prowess of the All-Mother. Concerned by the dark wound.
He prayed Eliza would see it in time.
Sharp teeth bit down on my forearm.
Enough to leave angry red welts behind. I wrapped my legs around White’s waist. So her lower claws couldn’t get at me. Within the dim corridors of my mind, I knew I was winning. She was venting at things that had no soul. White Owls. Living Stone. Biomutants of a later Artock age. Or cycle. I knew it via this strange crown. It amplified my empathy abilities. Linking me to White on another level. I beat past her rage. Using her soul sense to guide her away from the innocent. For she still valued that which wasn’t lost.
I looked at that old wound. It pulsated in time with Tarkanan. I recalled what Piper had said once upon a time. That it had been forged in a dark place. The knife he had been tricked to use. In the fires of Tarkanan! The planet shifted. It was preparing to jump!
Hiulk’s warm words filled my being.
I pulled a piece of the crown from my head.
Suck the poison from the wound. It is the only way.
I placed the piece against the tiger’s chest. As the black scrawl entered my throat, I saw a hunched figure over a forge. It's one eye scarred with age. “Build? Yes. For all the world is a mirror. My master knows…”
Weapons of old. Linked by a common cause. Unity.
The few markings I could make out from the ancient leathery face chilled me.
They were similar to Avandar’s.
White cried out, “Hephestus!”
The last bit of black wound closed. Leaving a light pink scar.
I found myself floating in the void of space. The Terran Alliance fleet surrounded me. White’s voice tickled against my skin, >>Forgive me.<<
Another presence flooded my senses.
It flowed through us both.
White leaped from my body. A shimmering figure against the black.
Countless voices thrummed in the deep.
Singing in unison with Avandar. His voice rose higher.
Then they faded. Slumbering.
Bits of crystal floated before me.
Tears of the All-Mother.
An alert tore through the quiet.
<<Unknown signal. Baring 224.8!>>
The silhouettes of the ships were foreign to me. The scent of blood left me nauseous.
I called out, <<Attack positions. Hostiles incoming!>>
Nola’s people maneuvered more of the trapped Gemini ships behind the battle lines. Sparks of yellow spread out as the new contacts moved in. A face that I knew all too well filling up the HUD screens.
<<I am Ta’rammon, Golden Lion of the Eternal Empire. Enough games.>>
My father replied, <<All Javelins move in!>>
The Jupiter Rising had joined the fight.
Issue 17: Here
Issue 19: Here