Unknown Dusk Moon
He was standing on the steel floor, inside an enormous shipyard. He was looking outside the hangar, seeing the stars and the planet ahead. He was in space. The planet of Lo IX always awestruck Gideon. Little seemed to have changed apart from one of the three moons was in the process of being enthalmed. The process involved carving out half of a moon or planet, leaving a perfect half circle in its place. Therin the planet core was filled with an artificial dwarf star, from which the heat of the star was used to power the hundreds of thousands of forges across the planet or moon. The planet itself was enthalmed as well, creating two galactic forges meant for the construction of ship-sized vessels and one of the few places where smelting the phthalo blue steel that Gideon’s father termed as “Orichalcum” was possible. The space station monitoring the sector was a massive structure resembling a blue steel upside down diamond.
“Another one,” Gideon mused.
He noticed the moon was carved out, but the dwarf star had yet to be ignited. Or was it burnt out? He reminisced about the time he spent there. Maybe this vision will show him the way. He felt eyes staring at him, freezing Gideon in place due to the disquieting nature of the silence that held the hangar, apart from a slight thrumming. There were no people. He looked away from the opened hangar. There they were.
The Empire of Dusk.
Hundreds of them with their black robes and inhuman shapes. They stared at Gideon, to his very soul. He froze in place in shock that they showed up in a vision.
“Gideon.” One of them spoke. It had that same grating voice. Like rubbing of bone and raw flesh. Grinding metal. It waddled forward. It was Pudge from before.
His stomach lurched, and he instantly went into shock, the trauma of the past event with the Empire of Dusk returning to the surface.
“Stay away from me you fuckers!” Gideon roared as he backed up. He bolted and ran from them down an open door that was unguarded. The Dusk beings stood there watching. His memory of his first interaction with them burned in his mind, threatening to crush his mind to pieces.
He took a right turn into a room. It was a larger storage room. There stood an elderly woman to greet him.
One was a woman dressed in a nun’s garb. She wore a tunic with a cross wrapped in thorns. He didn’t know what that meant except she was obviously from some sort of church. She was elderly, looking to be in her eighties. She stood with a strength that was palpable. Her eyes told the tale of suffering, with one of the irises gone black due to a possible past injury. She cocked her head, curious that she could be seen.
Gideon stood there confused. He waved at her and she waved back. He stepped closer to her.
“Are you also Seal a holder?” Gideon asked, showing them his right dorsum and the Seal branded upon it.
They glanced at each other. The woman lifted her wimple, exposing her neck, showing the Seal.
“It is strange to have a shared vision. I wonder where we are, détenteurs?” The woman spoke with a soft throaty accent.
“This is Lo IX,” Gideon responded with sadness.
The Empire of Dusk must have taken it.
“And who are you?” The nun asked.
“I am Gideon, test pilot, professional marooner, and son of the CEO of Primetech,” Gideon explained.
“Primetech…Mon Dieu,” Ruth murmured.
“I am Ruth Aimèe LaChapelle, Abbess,” Ruth introduced herself.
The room was silent as she inspected Gideon. He stared back awkwardly.
“Which Seal holders are you? Which nombre?” Ruth asked.
She stepped closer to Gideon, inspecting him. He stepped back, in surprise at the sudden movement and her inspection. Her black iris was possibly caused by a fight. Ruth breathed in sharply, recognizing him.
“I dreamed of you. You were wearing a pilot uniform on a ship. With a dog,” Ruth explained.
“Wait, that was you? I felt someone watching me….” Gideon began.
Back when he began the test flight, he felt someone was watching him for a brief moment.
“Oui, fils Gideon. I am the first Seal holder,” Ruth explained as she used two fingers to pull down her wimple and readjusted it.
Gideon wondered how much that must have hurt.
“Where is the twelfth?” Gideon asked, looking around.
“I am unsure, I just saw the tenth, but she vanished. I feel myself fading away…”
“Au revoir, I will see you all at Lo IX.” Ruth valadicted.
The dream faded out, with Gideon being left alone in an infinite room of white.
The voice of Adonai spoke with a warm temperament.
“The journey to Lo IX is perilous, but it must be made. You are valued, my son.”
That was the last Gideon heard as the vision ended. He awoke with more confusion than before. He did meet one of the two known Seal holders.
“Ruth…” Gideon murmured.
They too must have spoken to Adonai. Not to mention the twelfth that he did not meet in time. He needed to speak to Shindow about that soon as they left the Shrine. How could they leave the planet? The Empire of Dusk conquered Lo IX, and he was lost in space somewhere deep in their territory. Maybe if he got the Decima running again and escaped this dead moon.
Gideon sat up in his cot, seeing the warm glow of the heat lamp. Baxter was snoozing on his back, emitting a soft snoring noise. He got up and sat by the lamp, warming himself.
“Nothing makes any sense. Every question that gets answered I then get twenty more questions.” Gideon pondered out loud.
Baxter wouldn’t wake to his speech, not unless called.
“I know! everything is always so confusing. Go here. Do a thing. Fight a demon. Wait on this moon for an eternity for a lost boy and his dog,” A being that sat at the lamp said.
The voice was that of a woman, she was robed in black from head to toe. She spoke softly, almost in a whisper. Her left arm was broken and never set straight, resting crooked in her lap as she sat to the side. Even where she sat she dwarfed Gideon.
“And on top of that being chased by Rumblers, those satellites, and being marooned on a planet. I might never get home,” Gideon stated he felt a pang in his gut that he may never see his family again.
“Right? I just want to see what humanity is up to. You’re the first I’ve seen in an age,” She explained.
Gideon nodded at that, looking over to see the newcomer.
He stopped everything.
It occurred to Gideon. There was a newcomer at the heat lamp, staring right at him. A massively tall being robed in black had snuck in and was conversing with him. How could he not notice until now? The Empire of Dusk caught them.
“Jesus Christ,” Gideon sucked in air as he realized what happened.
He stared at her with fear, revulsion. Shock at how she could casually walk past two alerted Excertius. He began trying to call them with his mind link, but there was nothing. He could see a dimensional wall locking them in and keeping Excertius out.
“Yes, Him too. I’d like to see him again. Oh, oh! You’ve noticed,” She began, stumbling over herself.
“Um, Do not be afraid?” The being said half off guard and half sincerely.
“Baxter!” Gideon shouted as he got up and began to summon a weapon.
The being sat there and pointed at the dog.
“Danger-” Baxter instantly sat up alerted, and then fell through the floor as a small dimensional circle opened up. Another circle formed instantly above the other one, with Baxter falling through both portals, a strobing shrieking howl emitted from him. After a few seconds of him falling through the portals, he went quiet due to fainting.
Orange pixelated light filled his hand, becoming a pulse rifle. He put her in his reticule to fire on her, but she vanished.
“If I desired to hurt you, it would have been done while you had your vision.” The being spoke casually behind Gideon.
He turned and blindly fired, the screech crack of the rifle roaring through the room. The rounds struck tile and stopped dead, the tile unharmed.
“Or when you were being chased,” She said from behind again, teasing.
Orange light emanated from Gideon as he materialized a riot shock lance and swing in an arc behind himself. He felt a tremble shock in the lance as she grabbed the middle like it was gently given to her between her fingers. She caught it with her broken arm. She stood tall over Gideon, dwarfing him as he readied to fire his Pulse rifle one-handed crooked in his elbow.
“Where the hell is Pat and Steak?!” Gideon shouted, concerned they weren’t entering the room. The entrance was a shimmering black portal, probably locking them outside.
“Or when I first found you outside of your buried vessel,” She casually kept on explaining, ignoring his shouts.
Her right hand pointed at the pulse rifle as it fired, a small portal opening at the tip, taking all the rounds it fired and disappearing them. Gideon ceased firing and attempted to wrest control of the lance from her. He threw the pulse rifle at her, causing her to flinch and grab at it. The rifle disappeared in orange pixel light before she could grab it, distorting her vision with bright pixelated light. He loosed the lance and jabbed the tip at her. Several arms sprouted from her good hand, catching the shaft with four more arms before it could strike her hooded face. The arms seemed to dance and distort as if they were projections.
“That was a good trick!” She complimented. Gideon was aghast at seeing the body horror in front of him.
“But here’s a better one,” She announced.
Gideon felt his arms grabbed from behind, locking him like an iron vice. She plucked the lance from his hands, tossing it aside to then grab Gideon by the throat and shirt, pinning him against the wall to his back. The strange hands that grabbed him from behind disappeared. Gideon struggled, grasping and striking at her broken alabaster arm. She didn’t flinch.
“Now if I wanted to hurt or capture you, right now would be a perfect time. So calm yourself, Gideon!” She said humorously.
This felt like a game to her. Probably because the gap between combatants was a joke.
Gideon stopped flailing and went loose. As he loosened, so did she until he was planted on the ground, breathing normally. She backed up with her hands clasped at her waist.
“Who or what the hell are you?” Gideon said furiously.
He looked at Baxter, who was still falling in the portals. She glanced at that, and began creating an arch of portals, Baxter began looking like a deck of cards being trick shuffled as he went from portal to portal, slowing his momentum down until he was gently posited into her arms.
“Please, let Baxter go. It’s me you want,” Gideon pleaded, arms wide, as he stepped forward.
She answered by also stepping forward. He stopped, eyes wide at her presence. His adrenaline was maxed out and his heart was machinegunning.
“My name is Deborah,” She introduced herself with a brief curtsy, a gesture made with grace. She stood at around seven feet, with long limbs. With Baxter still crooked in her good arm, she dropped her hood. Gideon let out a gasp.
Her face was of alabaster. Her nose and lips were carved by a sculptor, a lover, by Adonai himself. She wore a cloth over her head like a reversed wimple, where only her nose, mouth, and chin were revealed. She had a golden halo hair clip, which held her bunned up alabaster hair.
“And I am the Lesser Angel of Multitude,” Deborah finished.
“Oh… What the hell,” Gideon murmured. He looked around for a few seconds in thought.
It then hit him.
“What the hell is going on?!” Gideon shouted.
“Not hell, but Heaven, Gideon the man who missed the apocalypse. Who missed Megiddo,” She corrected with a smile.
Behind her, a pair of wings sprouted. Starting with golden wing muscles, and ending with pearlescent scales.
“Come. Sit. Let us discuss what has happened,” Deborah said as she went back to the heat lamp, idly stroking Baxter’s ear. Baxter stretched and went still, with a doggy grin on his face.
This whole adventure went from bad to bizarre.
“Alright, so an Angel. Adonai’s visions and dreams. Marooned on the Empire of Dusk’s territory. Rumblers. What else am I missing?”
“Megiddo,” Deborah corrected.
“You are the one man who missed Megiddo; Armageddon,” Deborah added.
“Megiddo, like Armageddon Megiddo,” Gideon said, exasperated.
Deborah nodded with a smile.
“Like burn the universe with fire and start over Megiddo?”
Deborah looked confused and shook her head.
“No. Adonai returned and fulfilled His promise. He merged Heaven and Earth; the physical realm and the spiritual realm together as one,” She said as she brushed at her hair, “The Somatheonic realm. You missed it.”
Gideon stared at her with a blank faraway look. He was tired.
“What the fuck,” Gideon said blankly.
Gideon sat by the heat lamp thinking. Feeling the impact of those words. He was awash with questions. What happened to his family? To the Empire? To Primetech? To everyone he knew? Everything he knew in the past was now obsolete. Somehow he traveled in time. The IIT must have not only flung them far into space but also time. This is something Gideon might not be able to process.
“Why?” Gideon asked as he looked up to Deborah.
“Why me? The IIT drive should not have been able to do this.” Gideon attempted to justify.
“Well, if it wasn’t you on this mission, it would have been whoever piloted the Decima, The vessel of the Lost. Adonai said you were taking the long way around and so set some of us to wait.”
“How long?” Gideon asked.
“How long has it been since I vanished?” He said with an edge of desperation to it.
“I don’t know. One could say an eternity and be correct,” Deborah stated plainly with a tilt of her head.
“How? You’re an Angel, how can you not know?” Gideon said, frustration building.
“Lesser Angel,” Deborah corrected with a smile, tapping at her head, “And not one based on knowledge.”
“An Angel, Cherubim, or even a Seraphim of the Realm of Knowledge would know, as is their duty,” She further explained.
“And what are you?” Gideon asked.
“I am based in the Realm of Dimension. My specialization is on dimensional selves, as you experienced with the fight. I am in tune with all of my alternative dimensional selves, summoning them or their extensions at will,” Deborah flexed her hand, seven more hands split from the one like splaying a deck of cards. The seven all looked distorted and shimmered like they were mirages. She dispersed the new hands, leaving the original.
Gideon looked in awe and horror at this.
“I am also adept at summoning dimensional portals as you saw with your dog, Baxter,” Deborah said as she was stroking his back. Baxter sported a dumb doggy smile in his sleep.
“But why me? Why even choose me when I’m the weakest of my brothers? Why not one of them? Or anyone else?” Gideon asked.
“Because you are weak,” Deborah stated, gesturing with her open hand.
“Compared to the Gideon of old, you are herculean, but compared to a Faithful One or even a Glorified One, you are but a babe,” She further explained.
Gideon was silent as he thought on that. It sparked a rage at that, hearing the confirmation of his dire thoughts. He shook his head, flexing his jaw.
“And it is not because you are not intelligent, because you are. Or not fit, because you are. It is because you are human that makes you weak. And this is what Adonai planned for,” Deborah said with a grin, revealing perfectly sculpted alabaster teeth.
“What? So Adonai plans to use a weakling as his steward strongman?” Gideon shot back.
“Not exactly. It is because you are a mostly empty vessel that Adonai chose you. For humanity, Adonai placed in them a potential to be filled by His presence, His power, like a cup or bowl. This would cause a man to rise up, becoming stronger and overcoming the challenge they faced. In those cases, the challenges were comparatively smaller than today’s trouble. What humanity did not know is that their cup could have no bottom. They became strong enough to lift a five hundred pound object, not realizing they could lift ten tons; because they didn’t need to lift ten tons,” Deborah further explained.
“So where I am weak He makes me strong?” Gideon said, quoting scripture somewhat. This particular verse stuck with him.
“Exactly. Not to say you are not already strong. You are. You fought me fearlessly, which is what we need, even though the chances of you winning were minimal. But you will surpass even me if I can help it,” She stated with an assured laugh.
“What do you mean?” Gideon asked tilting his head slightly.
“Oh, He didn’t tell you? I’m your guide. I’ll have to talk to Him about that…” Deborah finished with a murmur, putting her finger to her lip in thought. She then reached over to tap his right hand, the one holding the Seal.
“That makes sense,” Gideon said with a shrug, giving up completely. He was too tired to care anymore. Gideon attempted to call to Excertius.
“Oh, let me fix that,” Deborah stated as if she knew what Gideon tried to do. The shimmering portal dropped, Gideon could hear the metallic trundling as Steak and Pat caught up, no longer stuck inside dimensional portals. Gideon stood in between them and Deborah.
“Steak, Pat, she’s uh… With me.”
“Good Gideon, who is the intruder?” Steak asked.
“I did not know you found a suitable spouse,” Pat noted.
Something was off about Pat.
“She’s- She’s not my spouse, Pat! She’s my Guardian Angel and our guide.”
“Your guide,” Deborah corrected.
“Explain,” Steak said.
“Well, this is going to be big news for you…”
So Gideon explained how well and truly FUBAR they were.