Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Uplift Protocol Blood Feud: Issue 4


Issue 4: Sunshine and Owls


            Piloting the Jupiter takes on a different meaning without my usual skill set to dampen the physical reaction. I can feel the g-forces until the pressure chair kicks in to keep me conscious!—Eliza Murphy

            There’s another point to this “depowerment.” I ran the tests multiple times. New cell growth even I have no category for. Why is it masked from Arcane Net? My mind goes to other places. I feel it will be related to the 2nd phase. Now we are kept in the dark.—Lorain Lanis.

            Each phase is required. The glint within Eliza will grow. For that final encounter.—Proctor Gansys

            ///Greetings: Pausing Playback. Would the Arbiter wish to activate Sheild Home Elysium? Eden Earth detected. Planetary Jump Completed. New Sector Terraforming requested. Emissaries of the Weave in attendance.///  ----Interlude: The Final Tomes of Starlight 

Paradise Falls

Recreation Sphere

April 28th, 2136


            I let out a whoop as Zackary passed by in a burst of speed. The wind rushed by as my sled rounded the corner. As we reached the final gate I touched the pile of snow that buried me. The Murphy triplets were beside themselves. Their ringing laughter stopped as mom approached. Zach pulled me into a standing position.

I said, “They softened the snow.”

            Richard, Albert, and Rebecca Murphy. Dexter’s pride and joy.

            Doc checked me out. Her hands covered my forehead.

            “Not hurt! Really.”

            Mom replied, “This whole situation worries me. Where is this planet heading anyway?”

            I said, “Without my Ur-Connection? I can only speculate.”

            I reached out to bestow a bear hug. I no longer worried about the strength factor. I grinned, “I bet I can carry you a mile!”

Mom wrapped her arms around my neck, “Forward march!”

The shield world AI added cheerfully, <<We are heading to Alpha Point. To assist the Twilight Thronebearer. Needed biological factors are being added to your systems. Muscles, nerves, mind. Needed for the conflicts ahead. My delayed memory informs me you should enjoy these moments.>>

            I informed mom and Doc of this.

            Doc muttered, “Why won’t the Arcane Order missives give us an idea? Will you change that drastically?” My first encounter within Unity’s prison was about tearing into my memories. Mom caught the tail end of my thoughts.

            >>We are going to be its target next. Our memories.<<

            I set mom down once we reached the resort layer.

            The others went ahead. I motioned to mom. She hesitated. The question within her eyes changed. Horror flooded through our closed link.

            My mindvoice was subdued, >>It will go after Doc next. The Arcane Network will fill her HUD with misinformation. She knows that aspect. About the false information. She doesn’t realize the 2nd phase will unmask her memories. To be used to abuse me.<<

            The knife would do its wicked work on me but I wouldn’t allow it to transfer to Doc.

            It was why Eddie, Robin, and Arthur would hold the line. Arthon included.

            Lilith would flood into Lorain. Mocking her. Not with barbs or violence.

            With a mirror. Lorain had a personal tie to Lilith. Not of blood.

            Amache. Where Lilith had rejected the Highest? I had seen glimpses while drinking from the offered cup. Doc turned. “Cornfed? You sure you didn’t bump your head?” She reached out and linked arms.

            No matter how much I dwelled on those flashes my mother nor Lorain picked up on it.

            The Highest wanted me to know but no other. Unity would ignore my mind. Figuring that I’d be kept ignorant. Just a tool. A rude awakening for them. In the end, it would save the rest of the Amache outside the mortal sphere.

The Beginning

Heart of Creation


            Lethe bowed.

The King rose in the East. His golden light flooded all corners. Its beauty brought forth the air. She inhaled. Her form solidified. Her fellows cried out, “What be this?!” They rejected the face of Creation. Theirs had been the first of firsts. Flowing through the Dark Matter of the infinite expanse. What could exist beyond that bounty? They fled deeper into the void between worlds. Lethe called out, “Wait!”

Her people rejected the splendor out of fear.

Another howled.

She proclaimed, “I am Lilith! You know nothing! Those weak to your wiles fled into the depths.” Lethe beheld the Tower. Its gleaming spires bore her upwards. While the one below snarled. Smoke rose from her body. Lethe kept her gaze upon the golden ramparts.

The Fallen One snarled, “I renounce you!”

Ashen tendrils hooked themselves about Lethe’s feet.

“STAY!” White hands tugged at her arms. The ash faded.

Lilith wailed.


            The Highest carried the woman to the lake.

She peered into the waters. He lowered her in. “You have the right to choose.”

He plucked a drop and flung it skyward. A ball of fire cooled. The first shield world.


            Lorain reached out to steady me. Her eyes went wide as my palms smoked. Each bore the sigil of the three. I pressed my hands into the snow just outside the resort. There was no pain. I brought my hands to my face. Three circles on the left palm. Golden in color. On my right? Black.

            A voice flowed through me, “You have the right to choose.”

            The world dimmed.

            I watched as Lethe made her choice.

            The Highest pointed, “That path shall have love but you shall never bear children. Life unending. Until you both find Final Rest.”

            Her form shifted. He placed her within a crystal sphere. “Sleep until you may be reborn.”

            Doc had given up everything. Even knowing my path before I knew it myself.

            I reached out with the palm marked with the black circles. I would take her pain unto myself. When the 2nd phase attempted to harm her? I would be there to shield her from the worst of it. No matter what happened to my physical form. My mind or my soul.

            Shield World Paradise Falls announced, <<Approaching Temporal Anomaly, White Owl remnants detected.>> I linked in with the Jupiter, even if I didn’t have any powers, I could fly.

            I replied, <<Activate outer defensives. Beta Pattern.>>


            White Owls fled from the warp within space. The remaining Arcane Order ships outside the oddity turned about as a UEF transponder exploded onto the nets. Beams of light crossed the distance. As each touched a beleaguered ship, their shields recharged. Owls exploded in bursts of feathers when caught out in the open. Gwen shivered. No Apex owls were present yet that tangle of fear ate at her heart. Anna pushed the young woman onto the bridge. “Stay with your sister.”

            The Jupiter Rising catapulted from the protective atmosphere of the planet. Eliza shouted, “Strap in!”

J’ino smiled. Her fingers danced across the weapon’s console. Lorain glanced up from the sensor suit. “Ready on all fronts.”


            I let out a whoop as I sent the Jupiter into a diving spiral. Silver flamed spheres trailed from our launchers. Jupiter noted, <<Energy spike detected within Temporal anomaly.>>

            I veered the ship counterclockwise to the ripple. The remaining owls trailing the ship aged rapidly. Until they lost the power of flight. Their forms were sucked into the null sphere. Wraith forms rose from the outer shell. My left palm itched.

Voices rose from the circular marks, “Body, Mind, and Soul. A compact.” They weren’t human.

Thronebearers. “Our bones litter the sky. For we failed in our covenant.”

Space warped around us and we found ourselves within an ocean. The gleaming white bones of the Thronebears pushed Jupiter Rising towards the golden gate. We pass through the glimmering waters to find a vast city. The color leeched from the surface. The buildings pointed towards the gate like grasping fingers. The voices grew louder. “Requilary of the Golden Host.” I brought the ship about. One building stood out.

A golden dome glittered. It opened as I settled the Jupiter within. Lorain reached out to touch my face. “What kind of tattoos…..”

The world grayed out within the ship. Except for myself, Anna and Gwen. A flash of light carried us away from the ship. I stared. The three statues towered over us. One marble white. One black and the final was a rich purple.

A male voice rang out, “What shall you give up to save the ones you love?”

By reflex, I pushed Gwen and Anna out of the way as a massive white Ax loomed down upon us. My back twitched. Anna remarked, “Anyone else seeing this?” The trees were gold. Red leaves rustled in the breeze as birds called out. I nodded, “Over there. A hiking trail.” Gwen shivered and crossed her arms. She asked, “Why did the white statue try to kill us? What would it gain? Why only us?”

Anna answered, “It wanted to see how Eliza would react. She passed.”

Gwen said, “Even without powers….just like your old Union Hall tests.”

Anna peered up at me. Touched my forehead, “Just so. He has his answers about you. Golden Child.”

I replied, “He gave you pretty big shoulders too!” Anna smiled. It didn’t reach her eyes though. They were worried. “This is about those owls.….” The ones from Gwen’s past.

I said, “There are three sets of Apex Owls. Grand Arch Demons. The Hollowed. The Nameless and the Broken.”

Gwen shivered, “Broken.”

Anna confirmed, “Amarche all. The 6 of Unity weren’t the only ones. Lesser fiends serve them.” We reached a clearing. Gwen and Anna clutched at each of my arms. It was Dexter and I heaped upon the Twilight Throne. Hilary in her hybrid form consumed my face. While Thoth ate away at Dexter’s. Thoth reached out, “Join us! Consume the half-mortal host!” Another figure stepped forward. Whipcord thin.

Mordred. His face was ruined. He pointed a skeletal hand at his enemies, “You gorge. Envisioning this future. You have already failed.”

Hilary sild forward. Her lower half-formed into a sickly gray snake. “We are stronger than Unity. For it has no form. It is merely a conflagration of Lesser Amache.”

I strode forward. This Thoth had no knife. Their images grew faint. While the Twilight Throne sharpened. The Truth was hidden below the surface. Unity wasn’t alone in its thoughts. The Highest saw everything. Every desire. Every need. Unity had failed in its choices. So had the Amache. Not to the same degree. I could see that now with how my threads tied to the Curator.

Three sides. The Fallen. Unity’s members.

The reborn. Like Lorain.

The Dark Matter Corus. The Amarche who sought atonement for fleeing the birth of Creation.

If Twilight failed her tests? We would not be at full strength.

So that Unity could carry its violation into the Highest’s plane.

Mordred cackled, “The Arbiter already knows. For the Arbiter isn’t a title. You may have broken my mind but I shall have the last dance.”

Thoth staggered to his feet. He pulled that knife from his belt. The belt. That was not Thoth. The All-Father smiled from the depths. They all wanted  Unity’s power but only one would make it to the end. The visions shifted. Those eyes had never been Thoth’s. It had always been him. But how had he gathered enough to jump bodies? Questions that needed answers.

Mist rolled over all of us before I could examine the Urraden belt further. Gwen’s fingers tightened around my forearm. Her manicured nails pressed against the synth cloth of my dark blue flight jacket. She hissed, “Why show us this?!”

Anna traced a sign on my other arm.

She is still clouded by the Broken ones.

Gwen was to take the mantle of the Three. She would stand for the Female Aspect. Tobin would inherit the Cosmic and Jace would embody the Male Aspect. I had to find out why she was targeted. Jace and Tobin had faced many trials as well. Anna tapped me on the shoulder.

She traced another line across my throat.

Golden Child, remember who “leads” Unity.

I twitched. A female aspect. I dug into the earth below our feet.

Until my questing fingers met resistance. I pulled a white bracelet from the hole.

It had no other features. A blank slate. I pocketed it. Gwen blurted out, “I don’t want to be afraid anymore.” A three-storied temple rose past the treeline.  Three domes. One white, one black, and the final one that was familiar purple. I took point. I motioned to Anna. Those stormy blue-gray eyes narrowed.

Lucifer was the Male Aspect of Unity.

McQuire nodded.

I spoke audibly, “Alright. So who is the Cosmic for that side?”

Gwen bit her lip. “In what way?”

I replied, “If Unity mimics the Highest in every way but without the Truth of Creation….”

Gwen pulled my right arm over her shoulders. “Well, we are hybrids. Maybe the Cosmic for the side of evil…” I turned it into a half hug.

Anna snarled, “Hilary Brookes.”

My stomach turned. “It does make a sick level of sense.”

Gwen pleaded with the heavens, “Then why am I the one hounded relentlessly? If my brothers….” I stopped her. “The Female Aspect of Unity kicked out its Male Aspect. But since they are false mirrors…”

Anna continued, “They will not work in harmony.”

Gwen sucked in a breath, “Abyzou wants to link with me permenantly. Take my body. So she can use it as a second skin.” I held up a hand, adding clues as I went, “That is how the All-Father will jump bodies as well. You hollow out the aspect closest to you. They have to be the same sex as you.”

Anna surmised, “That is why The All-Father is using Meathook. Long story. We encountered it during the Breach War. His soul is gathering materials as his “host” is slaying mirror images of the All-Father across the multiverse.”

Gwen said, “But what about the clones?” I shook my head, “That is different. Cloning sucks away the original soul. It keeps splitting until there is nothing left but embers.” Like Chronos. Gwen ran an index finger upon the rough walls of the temple.

I asked softly, “Can you have children?”

Gwen paled. “Yes.”

Abyzou was attempting to create life. No matter the means.

Moonlight flooded the temple. Casting shadows against the walls as all the statues within the courtyard animated. An armored knight pointed his blade at us, “What shall you sacrifice to save those you love?”  Gwen placed herself between us.

She said, “Will it always be a sacrifice? What of creation? Of birth. Renewal!”

The knight lowered the sword, “The mind opens.”

The ground gave way and we tumbled further into the void.


The Highest plucked at the figure of the Knight upon the chessboard.

“Her mind is finally quiet enough to hear.”

This was only the beginning. 

Issue 3: Here

Issue 4: Here

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Uplift Protocol Blood Feuds: Issue 3


Issue 3: Twilight Naming


            Onto each was given a golden pearl. So that they may understand the tapestry of the Father.—Tales of Elysium

            I am both thrilled and terrified. This is how she would be as a normal homegrown human.—Lorain Lanis

            I drank the pearl. Unlike Eliza’s? This one glowed a twilight purple. Dreams can save us. In this place? Reality flowed outward. Rippling across Time.—Captain Overwatch

            The Highest gave me a bit of respite. I needed that far more than I admitted to. The weight is heavy but I am not alone. –Sleeping in Starlight: Remembrance

Tessaract of Time

Hall of Echoes


Glaive pounced, the White Owl screeched as his jaws bit down, bits of Black Scrawl drifted into the aether beyond the walkway. The black and tan Beauceron bounded over to the next line of owls as Snoopy fired off additional spheres. Steam rose where the holy water struck. Captain Overwatch pivoted. A roundhouse kick sent the next Living Stone Gargoyle into the Abyss. Explosions rumbled in the distance as other fighters blocked the advance of Owls. A hulking shape landed on the walkway. Its three heads were coiled about Overwatch. Bright purple energy beams decapitated the lead head. Its long neck flopped on the deck. Thomas Murphy aimed. The 2nd head exploded into mush.

The Great Pyrenees took out the last with a quick snap of Red Defender energy formed into a scythe. Lo’tarr unclipped a set of grenades. He tossed it beyond the Living Stone construct. White searing light rushed into the space below. It took on the form of a temple. He activated his anti-grav pack. Then dived. The wind ruffled his air. He shouted, “Look!”

Beyond the shadowed alcoves they could see a glimmer of crystal.

White Lightning shot solar flares from his hands. The energy arched towards the gathered Living Stone. Smoke rose from the debris left behind. Blue pinpricks of light zigzagged within the building. His father was having fun without him. A cyclone of air pushed additional forces outside the arched windows. As he and Thomas Murphy landed with the Bardaxians, he saw his mother facing a huge chimera.

 A nine-bladed scythe in her hands.

Amethyst energy poured from it. Murphy took one knee and sighted his grav-lance rifle.

“Heads up!”

White Lightning lashed out with his solar beams. Each index finger double-barreled the enemies closing in. He shouted, “Yeehaw!”


I couldn’t help but grin as I heard my son shouting various levels of cowboy at the enemy. The Scythe pulsated in rhythm with my heart. Near the cross-section, right below the blades, I could make out a black pearl. Next to it was a white. The third slot was empty. My slot. I knew this at the atomic level. I needed a name. The Chimera charged. Its goat head bleated out Black Scrawl. I sent a mental warning to Lo’tarr. He somersaulted backward as I spun in place. A whirlwind of death.

A lion’s roar silenced.

I came to a stop. The room was cluttered with ash. Living Stone no more.

A glint of black metal was the only warning I got. I brought my weapon up.

The twisted Artock hybrid snarled, “Father wants you dead.” It was a mottled yellow color. A necklace with a crimson jewel hung across its corded shoulders. After a moment it spat out, “Mother too. The three enthroned no more.” A deep cultured voice rumbled, “Now dear Meathook. We must clip her wings first!”

The All-Father.

Black Scrawl shot out. Slowed my limbs. Lo’tarr grunted as a thin needle embedded itself in his shoulder, “Time slows for no one!” My stomach twisted. Lo’tarr pocketed the needle. He aimed. The All-Father’s voice echoed from the amulet. “Which will you choose….Thronebearer.”

My husband collapsed. Used his hands to break his fall. He shouted, “We will…” My son caught him as the poison took him. White Lighting pulled him into his arms. “He’s burning up!” A yellow mottled hand waved. It turned and dived into the Abyss.

Time resumed its normal march.

I didn’t have the cleansing powers of my Throne. Only Dexter was fully awakened. For he guarded the Pathways of Death.


            Thomas Murphy took point. Tarnik Mathew Lanis was only 15 and the possibility loomed. Murphy aimed down the holo sights of his gun. Glaive snarled. The sound carried through the darkened hallways. Thomas sent a message to the Eliza coordinating the battle within this construct. Her reply:

            ///A test can come in many forms. It will reveal the soul of the bearer.///

            Thomas replayed the battle within his helm. His eyes narrowed.

            The faint outline of Weave magic. Not around the Living Stone. That was real.

            ///Yes, the Highest tests all of us in different ways.///

            Thomas wondered at it. He knew what he would choose. For he was a mortal man.

            He applied what medical supplies he could to Lo’tarr. The poison was slowed.

            His mind came to a halt. He motioned to Glaive: “Come with me. Snoopy! Take point.” He handed a beacon to Captain Overwatch, “Continue to the crystal. We will find the cure!” Glaive’s nose twitched. <<I have the scent!>>

            The Highest tests us all. Murphy nodded. “We will not let your husband fall.”


            My breath hitched. I ordered my son, “Go with Murphy.” He hesitated then nodded. The fear was just held in check. I pressed a quick kiss to his forehead. “No matter what happens I love you both.” Normally he was at the age where he’d push away or have brash commentary. This place unnerved him.

I reached out and cupped Lo’tarr face, “Fight.”


            White Lightning saw the tears fall. They hit his father’s flesh and glowed momentarily.

            He said, “I promise. We’ll do it.”

            She nodded.


            Dexter’s white trident bisected scores of enemies.

His wings unfurled. Here he didn’t have to hide. He linked a thread to Lo’tarr’s soul. I will keep you from the Gates of Eternity. He prayed that his father would find the counter in time. Eliza fully realized form glittered behind him. They faced the storm back to back. As was proper. This version of Lorain could have simply healed Lo’tarr. Dexter peered into the mist with his third eye.

            She was needed here. All of her concentration was on the defenders within the ships and the ground. Wounds that would normally kill healed within seconds. This place didn’t just pull them from time. It had pulled Unity’s forces from all across the multiverse. Within different Epochs. To weaken its influence. Dexter shuddered. The Highest had plotted out everything. Using its tools to reshape everything. So that they could choose beyond the confines of Elysium. C’alain’s forces clashed with Urraden’s. Bit by bit they widdled down Unity’s puppets.

            He even spied additional warriors from Ta’mathon’s Era.

They shouted as they beheld Eliza, “The Arbiter is with us!”

Many called out, “The Wall Endures. The Lady of the Isles pours forth the river of…..”

Endless eras. They were all tied together as one.

He shouted, //88-|-88\\!

Eliza did the same. From her scores of white flames burned the enemy. From him? Dark tendrils engulfed the corrupted. Entropy sucked the muscle from bone. Wasted skin fell from the bleached bone. His sister dived. Her wings were molten silver. The ring above her head gleamed whiter as she dived. Shadows burned away.

They had to buy the Twilight Ruler the time needed.

Names had power.

He shouted. Energy poured from his mouth. Gritty gray dust exploded outward as Living Stone dissipated. He dived. They became twin flames within the fractured battlefields. The Defenders cheered. Their enemies howled. Unity held no power here.

A black serpent attempted to coil about Lorain. It howled as its scales dissolved. Lorain continued to chant. Avandar decloaked. The rest of the unit remained within the Weave. He would bear the brunt of further assault. He was Armosh. Golden Host of the City. He would not fail. The Gemini readied his lance.

“No evil shall escape. It shall boil upon the tip of the phalanx!”

This was the moment he was born for.


            The rush of cold water made me pause. Normally I wouldn’t feel this kind of temperature within my bones but this cut straight through. Flecks of purple flowed through the room. Delicate petals hit my face. The crystal before me closed in. The golden words formed.

            ///What shall you trade?///

            I shouted, “I give myself! Though I fear loss.”

            ///The loss of what?///

            The terror clawed at me, “Everything!” My family. My friends. My Universe.

            I said, “I do not want this power!”

            I never had. From the start? I just wanted to know what my place was. Each heartbeat carried me closer to destiny. I was shocked. The white pearl within the Scythe murmured, “We wanted the same things. So does Dexter and all those who fight the dark.” The choice hung heavy within the air. I pulled myself forward. I could no longer feel my feet. The tendrils climbed up my legs.

            ///It is common to find something worth dying for.///

            In death, you leave behind those who would stand vigil. The threads echo through time. Your body returned to the earth. But what of the soul?

/// For the Living? What need is filled? ///

            Lo’tarr. My children. It was a simple choice. To continue. To love. My palm touched the frigid barrier. My entire body burned. I wanted to live. To go beyond what I was made for. To choose my path. My vision dimmed. My forehead touched the ice and I melted away. My last thoughts went out to Thomas Murphy.

            Save them.

            I would have a legacy. Even as the Throne took my mortal body.


            Thomas sensed the message. They raced along a green river. Red leaves flowed within the waters. A three-headed Hydra blocked their path. One head was white. The middle was darker than the void of space. The third gleamed purple.

            “What do you seek mortal man of Eden Earth?”

            “A way to save this man.”

            It replied, “The body or the soul?”

            White Lightning shouted, “That is no choice! He must be made whole! Body, soul, and mind!”

            Thomas said, “Three in all things. Why not mention the Mind?”

            A cold breeze froze them in place. The hydra heads intoned, “Do you wish to confront the mind?!” The son cradled the father. “I will do it!” Thomas added, “But not alone!” The Hydra bowed. The world faded. They found themselves within a deep shaft.


            A burly man took a jackhammer. Lo’tarr’s arms worked the device.

            They had to escape. White Lighting’s hands passed through the image.


            Glaive circled. He would protect the bodies. The Hydra image shimmered. Eliza held out her hand, “To you I bestow the Vigil of Orthan. Guard it well Bardaxian.” They held the slumbering form of Captain Overwatch. The battle was far from over.

            He bowed his head. The warmth of the necklace eased the tension in his shoulders. Glaive replied, <<It is so. This servant is bound to the covenant. As was written.>>

            Glaive pivoted. Each bark tore the approaching Living Stone to ash. The others would guard Twilight well. Their faith would not falter.

            A gleaming orange eye covered the battlefield. Unity said, “Wretched fools!”

            Meteors pounded against the barrier.

            Eliza replied, “You have no power here!”

            Unity pointed. Flamed talons smashed against the shield.

            “The pale mirror shall falter!”

            Dexter chanted. The shield remained.

            They would endure.


            The forest grew silent. I continued. My footfalls dulled. I clutched my bracelet. The one that Lo’tarr had commissioned when he proposed. His green eyes had softened that day. A glance only meant for me. Snow crunched. I continued on.

            The faint purple fire gleamed in the distance.

            Lo’tarr held out his hand. “I will walk with you. In sickness. In health. To the ends of creation.” My legs met resistance. The snow turned into a sleet of rain. I grasped that lifeline. “Til death takes us.” He smiled.

            “I promised you a name.”

            Names had power. I continued forward.

            Each step brought me closer to home.


            The Silver Lady watched as the Void Man carried Overwatch deeper into the forest. The Weave would not abandon its own. Fate would carry the souls homeward.

To a new dawn.

Issue 2: Here

Issue 4: Here