Issue 6: Nola’s Song of Sacrament
The Olstens knew certain things but not everything.—Mary Herbert-Lanis
Mom’s reaction wasn’t one I expected.—Jonas “Eddie” Olsten
My mirror gave me an answer. How to let the Olsten’s know without feeling left out of the Loops.—Nola
New Ashbury, Texas
May 1st, 2116
Beverly Olsten sneezed. She loved her garden even if it didn’t love her back.
Her shout made a barrel-chested man poke his head out the window, “Yes?!”
“Our son is coming home! Get out the good china!”
Harold shook his head. Then brightened as he thought of his grillmaster 5000. They would eat well tonight.
The Puzzler dived to the duracrete. A ray of ice shot overhead. Goblets of water rained down on his head. His usual glass dome retracted into his suit. Nola's magical barrier snapped into place. In her human form, she looked Asian. Wearing a purple skintight suit with a generous utility belt of wondrous objects. She took out some phase grenades. Tossed them at the enemy. Two of the thugs disappeared in a flash. Sent directly to the non-demi penitentiary. Jonas rolled to the side and came up rayguns blazing. The ice user belted out a panicked yell as he came back down to Earth.
It was nice doing simple demi work again.
Even if only for a moment.
Marius stepped up to the simple two-story house. A red-brown roof with a simple white overcoat. The outside was lined with rose bushes. The inner front yard had a bevy of flowers native to earth growing everywhere. Tithan waved excitedly to his grandparents. He asked Marius, “Grandsire, we get to tell them?”
His sister hopped from foot to foot, “YAY!” Eliah hated lying. Even if it was for a good reason. She wanted to give her human grandparents her favorite fruits of her other homeworld.
Marius smiled, “Indeed. But we have to wait for your parents!”
Beverly raced to her grandkids, “Look how big you both are! What are your parents feeding you? Same stuff as Eliza I bet!”
To master their demi abilities gained from their father, both had been inside the Shield World mid-rings. So they were older. Just as the J’kua Learning spheres got their tech from Noah’s blueprints, so had the Shield Worlds. In preparation for Convergence. On paper, they were 5. For chronological reckoning, we at the CCT have decided to leave this as a public matter. Tarvelian children often age slower than most human children of equivalent rank. Basic lifespan as of Temporal time mark 255.8 is over 1000 Earth standard years. Pre-prolong bio enhancement. (Click here for Further Information)
Eliza eyed the Curator quizzically, “Why did you add that note for the audience?”
He waved his hands towards the board. “Have you seen just how twisty this narrative gets?” Murphy hooked her thumbs into her Silver Defender sash.
She retorted softly, “That’s why the Highest has most of this filtered through my past self.” He tapped the side of the board. His face was impassive, “How’s Typha handling its current situation?” The lack of emotions flowing from him raised a red flag to Murphy. Then she dug deeper.
Eliza frowned then let out a peal of laughter, “About as well as an Ummatosh bird made for Christmas feasts!” It had been the only way to revive the planet. Move it past certain epochs. The trick was getting it home. The 43rd century was stabilized from the time ripples. She often wondered if the Highest had a certain fondness for the number 42. It was the only century she slept through. The doorway hissed open and Lorain stepped lightly through.
Still adorned within her Golden City garb of Point Catalyst Year Zero. All that flowing white robes gave Lanis an ethereal glamor that Eliza found herself hypnotized by. Doc glanced at the screen. “So tell me, how does this all work, how do we get home to our proper time?”
Eliza grinned, “We have just the Icath pair for that.”
The White King and Silver Queen. Unlike their normal singers, they could move forward and back. As was their task set down by the Highest. Lorain reached out and ruffled Eliza’s mostly silvered hair, “It’s been one heck of a ride hasn’t it?”
Eliza stated empathetically, “One massive Temporal Ride. Yes. Just don’t take a wrong turn into the 10th century. We will confuse Arthur and the round table! “
Lorain tsked Murphy. Her eternally youthful lips quirked.
Eliza said quietly, “I won’t leave you. It’s a promise. Not even death kept me away.”
The Curator turned away. Studying the charts. It was odd. Knowing that one earlier version of Eliza helped the 42nd-century seal off Thoth’s escape. While an even older version of her filled in the gaps for the CCT. It was why, in most cases, Time flow could only be viewed. Like playing back an old movie reel. As of this moment? Only Eliza herself, the Highest and the Royal Ruling Pair of Icath could phase with the time ripples that were needed. The Crystal Coffin had served its purpose. In both reviving Eliza and providing that initial jump through time that was needed.
It was why Throne Sight was barred from Murphy until the moment of Summoning. Unity had wanted mastery over time. To reset everything into its warped image. Had Murphy been fully aware of the danger? Unity would have won. Revived through her body. The Curator clamped down on those thoughts. It hadn’t happened. Lorain said, “I know. It’s why our vigil has yet to end. We have to pluck the rest of the threads.”
The former body-less Amarche groaned, “Who’d want to keep track of all this? A squirrel with a few loose nuts!” Eliza brought up the profile of the now infamous Crystal Coffin. The recent entry made her cackle with delight, “Often bemoaned as the catalyst for the Arbiter’s misadventures through time. It is now known it was made from metals of the Golden City, circa Eden Earth, at the behest of Merlin, Noah, and Yahweh. Designed by Bardaxian Weave Speakers…”
Lorain hugged Eliza from behind.
Murphy wiped the tears from her eyes, “Have them change this bit. The primary metals for the Coffin were forged upon Noah’s Ark itself. With the last of the Living Trees of Elysium merged with the inner sigils of Soul State.”
Even though that day was distant to her now? The reality had been horrific.
Eliza squeezed Lorain’s hand and placed it back on her hip.
“Thank God for that. I would have been rudderless without those divine postcards. It’s why you all had waking dreams. Thank you for helping me with that climb. “
The Curator highlighted the bright purple and red thread that represented Nola. “Sync with New Ashbury, Pre Con date…..”
Nola glanced skyward as the Star-Spangled Banner landed. Hooking her left arm around the ice user, “Is that how you greet everyone?!”
Iceman snarled, “I got nothing for you cape!”
A bright beam of light encircled the man. Paxton’s voice echoed to them below, “You violate code….”
Iceman bellowed his innocence as the NAPD transported him to the closest demi holding facility. Eliza cocked her head to the side, “Defender beacon in Litari Sector Space. Be back in a flash!” She launched into the air.
The space around her rippled then was gone. Nola waved. Then grinned as Eddie exclaimed, <<We get to spill the beans! To my parents that is! Any ideas on how to bring it full circle?>>
Harold stared open-mouthed. He got up from his seat and shoved his son into the closest man cave they had within the house. No one said a word. Marius rose to join the human men. Nola passed another napkin to her daughter, “Why don’t you go grab those gifts you wanted to give to Nana!”
Tithan shouted, “Look Nana!” He raised his plate with his mind.
Beverly Olsten continued to stare.
Her mind caught between two warring thoughts.
First: The colors no longer matched.
Second: She speed-dialed Professor Lanis. With two quick blinks.
Harold clapped his son on the back, “EXCELLENT! The Olstens are interstellar! My son, a regular Captain Cosmos!” Eddie smiled. Then sat heavily into the armchair.
“What about mom?”
Harold paced, “Bev is pretty even keeled.”
He brought down the special box, the ones with the old Cubans he adored. He lit it with much fanfare for his son. “Give the women some time.” Marius took a flask of whiskey. Enjoying the earthy tones on his tongue.
“What about this cookout ritual?”
Archibald Lanis dashed out of his home. This was a project he could get behind. In less than 30 mins he had the complete color scheme changed for the family gathering. He replied, << It's all good to go Mrs. Beverly. It's all purple and red now. I’ll put in a few words to get you and your husband added to certain lists. Enjoy!>>
Eliah squealed, “Look, daddy! It's us! Even Grandma Atha!” On the display board, was a giant cake, with Eddie and Nola at the center. Their children before them. While on one side were the Olstens. Nora’s parents on the other. Instead of the Asian features of Nola’s human cover, Beverly had managed to update the centerpiece in record time.
Beverly headed back inside to get the presents. She was flabbergasted when she saw Eliza Murphy adding more gifts to the pile. The Banner raised her finger to her lips. Then winked. Beverly Olsten brought out a handkerchief and dabbed at the corners of her eyes, “I promised I wouldn’t cry.”
Eliza responded, “No reason to hold it in. The days of spring have yet to fade.”
Beverly whirled. The holo camera flashed repeatedly reminded Eliza of Grandma Murphy’s wall of pictures. She would keep these moments close. Many just wanted to live in peace. Fellowship. She would be the Banner. No matter the cost.
There would be more birthdays for all.
Eliza uploaded more of “Eddie’s” responses into the belt around its waist.
Let Beverly Olsten have this day.
Eliza knew her parents would bring everyone home.
J’ino landed the ship near the edge of the obsidian glassed desert. Mary linked the pictures and holo clips to the rest of the crew. They would fade. So they wouldn’t leave a trace. Eddie’s children were cute. Thomas let a full smile bloom on his face as he watched Eddie toss his children high into the air. Before they splashed down into the pool. J’ino noted, “I see you getting ideas Mr. Murphy.”
Thomas replied, “Well considering Eliza could fly by the time she was 8….”
J’ino crossed her arms, her eyes pleading, “At least wait until they are…”
Murphy grinned, “3!”
Auggie pranced from one paw to the other, <<There is something of Bardax here.>>
Mary nodded, “Take us to it.”
J’ino pressed a thumb to her daughter’s image. A faint emotional resonance shot out. It washed over everyone. As the hatch descended, they faced the blasted out ruins before them. Eddie watched as his double interacted with his family. It was loaded with all his responses and emotional hooks. An autonomous sleeve. It wasn’t alive. He didn’t want to worry his mother. His father? They had discussed it before he had left with the Murphy’s for this mission. All Harold had responded with was, “Come home soon. I'll help you keep the light on with your mother. She won’t even know. But what about your children?”
Nola had interjected, “They know their father’s work. Not all the details. But they too love their grandmother. They will not add to her burden. They know she fears his demi job. How he finds the hidden fires.”
Harold Olsten had been a fireman his whole life.
His gray-blue eyes had darted over to his wife, “I just pray for a day that the Universe doesn’t need demis. Or emergency responders. But without us? The Dark will win. Can’t have that.”
The bright laughter of his grandchildren echoed.
The Arbiter of the Arcane Order replied, “Me too Mr. Olsten.”
The image paused. The Curator knew what would come next. The dash through ruined Earth pillars. To find the last Shard of Elysium. It would lead the Murphys to Noah’s Ark. To be awakened by the Armies of Light. Eliza leaned on her three pronged spear. Its silver light hummed across the panoramic view of Earth. Beyond it? The Ouroborous of Elysium gleamed in the semi darkness of the twinkling cosmos.
Restored to its former grandeur. Its lifeblood thrummed in time with Eliza’s heart.
Lorain said, “For the Vigil remains.”
Nola clutched her mirror to her chest. Then splashed water on her face. The refresher was simple. Elegant. Her children were asking Nana for more cake.The three golden circles of the Highest vanished. She watched as Eliza faced the desk, “Nola. Move the 2nd marker to Hadrian Sector.”
The Curator zoomed in on the sector in question. Marking it with its current name.
She whispered, “As you will it Arbiter.”
She was a priestess of the World Shaker. She would not fail. The temporal webs faded from her mirror’s sight. Her mirror was more than a seers tool. It had come from Elysium itself. Awakened by the Shard residing within Eliza Murphy upon her arrival to Tarvel. So long ago. When the Golden City was new. The quest was at a crossroads. Her orange eyes hardened. She would not fail. Her children’s future depended on it.
Issue 5: Here
Issue 7: Here