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Unknown Dusk Moon
Gideon awoke with a snap, finding it difficult to sit up. His left arm was cast from his fingers to his shoulder. He remembered the fight with the demon, Baxter keeping it at bay and him only recalling a little of calling Shindow. He looked around to see Baxter lying down, tucked in bed. He saw Steak and Pat were idle and in their base skeletal bodies. Deborah was there lying down with a sling and cast for her twice-broken arm.
“Baxter…” Gideon mumbled.
He glanced up at the ceiling, confirming he was in the Ferrum. He let himself relax at that. Somehow this horrific nightmare ended. He had breathing room for but a moment.
And so he introspected.
He thought back to his family and luxurious life and felt himself missing it. Missing them. He had gone on the test flight to carve out his own glory, the one thing he felt that mattered. To compare himself to his brothers without falling short.
It’s about the family as a whole.
His father’s words rung out in his mind. He had been focusing solely on his own glory, his own performance. His family was left behind in that pursuit. He would risk it all; his luxury, wealth, and even the good life he had to obtain it. Now that he did- in a roundabout way- he missed what was lost.
Buyer’s remorse; the planet’s always greener; you miss what you know…
He ran through the cliches in his mind, proving to himself they were anything but. Would he return to what he was before? Possibly. Did he miss it? Definitely.
Where are you all?
I was so selfish… Dammit all forgive me.
He thought of his sisters and how they supported him. His father moved heaven and earth to love him.
Demons. Angels. Armageddon. All of it was real. Did that mean the Empire of Dusk was consigned to hell then? Afterall they had done terrible things and were generally soulless aliens. Were they demons? It would make sense if they were.
Who was that horrific Void and her big brother? What were they all about?
More demons? No, she hated them.
God help me another party to keep track of.
Seeing Baxter there in his bed, sleeping soundly, gave immense comfort to Gideon. They had won. How Baxter won was a mystery. But it was the best thing to happen to them since their landing. They beat a real life, in the flesh, true to form, demon. Elder demon. Gideon glanced off to his right.
The Elder Demon.
He was sitting against the wall, his wings draped about him like curtains. His arms were wrapped around his legs and his head was lowered. Gideon screamed.
“SHIT! Oh, Shit!” Gideon shouted as he attempted to get farther away, but couldn’t.
The Elder demon’s head shot up, looking at Gideon.
“Oh. Hello.” was all the demon said as he looked at Gideon with the twin blue pinprick flames. It made no move.
Baxter shot up, seeing Gideon struggling to get away from Saddiffer and ran at the demon in a full scurry. Deborah was sitting up, glaring at the demon. Steak and Pat began walking over.
“Don’t hurt Gideon! That is a bad Saddiffer!” Baxter barked and growled.
“But I did noth-” Saddiffer could not get the word out in time as Baxter lept on him and simply went limp in the air, body slamming Saddiffer into the wall. What amazed Gideon was a little dog could slam something so tough like he was nothing. They were a tangle of limbs as Baxter began wrestling the Elder demon, growling and chastising him.
“You -e goo- -oo gi-ion” Baxter said with his mouth full of the bellowing demon’s back. The Elder demon was trying to defend itself but did not lash out.
“Baxter what the hell is going on!” Gideon shouted as the fight quieted down, with Saddiffer on the ground and Baxter sitting on top of his back, barking.
“I ate his paper. I then fought him and made him sign my paper. I named him Saddiffer. He is my pet.” Baxter explained with a chuff.
“What Baxter meant is that he possesses the demon, not the other way around,” Deborah added. She eyed the demon with well-placed mistrust. The demon lied on his belly, being sad.
Gideon grimaced, the pain of his hand still fresh.
Saddiffer gazed at the others.
“I have an idea. Saddiffer you are too scary. Be so much smaller.” Baxter ordered.
Saddiffer looked at Gideon with pure dejection and complied. The Elder demon changed shape and become around the size of Shindow. It’s proportions were off, with it’s head being large, it’s limbs and body were tiny. The proportions of his sad gargoyle face changed to make the eyes larger.
And then Baxter proceeded to grasp the scruff of his neck and shake him furiously. The demon let out a strange high pitched noise as it shook. Baxter tossed him to the ground, the demon going still. Baxter trotted to the tiny demon poking him with his nose.
“There, he is now not scary. Saddiffer is a good boy.” Baxter praised him with quiet chuff.
“That still doesn’t change we have an armed nova bomb aboard our vessel! Named… Saddiffer!” Gideon protested.
“Baxter, this being will stop at nothing to subvert you and eventually betray you, leading to our destruction,” Deborah explained with a serious tone. She had gotten up and walked over to Baxter.
Baxter yawned at that.
“Saddiffer, tell the truth. What do you think of each of us?” Baxter asked, staring right at Deborah. Saddiffer animated suddenly, going into the air and flapping his wings furiously.
“Deborah is a trow. Gideon is a weakling. The robots are nothing. The orange tart is dense. You are an idiot, master Baxter.” The demon explained to each of them.
Pat almost rushed forward at hearing the insult of being attributed to mindless automata but Steak held her back.
Deborah sniffed at hearing that.
Gideon was stung by the insult and looked away.
Orange light appeared as Shindow materialized, flying at Saddiffer and crossing her arms with a scowl.
Baxter jumped and bat Saddiffer from the sky to tumble to the floor. Baxter sat on him, Saddiffer gasping in protest.
“Now, tell the truth, how will you betray me?” Baxter asked.
“By being destroyed by a stronger spirit. Or just waiting for your stupidity to do it!” Saddiffer said with a gasp.
Baxter shook his rump, crushing Saddiffer before getting off him. Saddiffer continued.
“Anything I do must be run through a filter. Baxter is the best doggy is the contract filter.”
“If I try to betray him, master Baxter’s intended inference would break and I cease being. Master Baxter may have a tiny contract, but the emotional implication he placed upon it is just as strong. If I attempt to harm any of the people master Baxter has forbidden me, I claim he is not the best doggy and cease being.”
“If I act of my own accord, I am implying that he is not the best doggy and cease.”
“If I resist, I cease.”
“If I am passive and allow mishap, I cease.”
“If I actively or passively attempt to undermine master Baxter or his family, party, friends, acquaintances, or strangers, beings or objects, ideas or abstracts; I cease to exist.” Saddiffer continued.
“It is idiocy because Baxter had no idea what any of that meant. He just got lucky.” Saddiffer explained with a sigh.
“Ok, you talk too much go away,” Baxter ordered. Saddiffer breathed a sigh of relief as he stored himself inside Baxter’s chest as a sphere of black light. There was a black square diamond on Baxter’s chest now.
“Well, that does make sense…” Deborah stated as she looked away, pondering the demon’s words.
“How did we get so blessed?” Pat said. Gideon glanced at Pat and cocked his head. Steak interjected.
“Good Captain Gideon, due to the fight and the identity crisis Pat, or Patricia, had, she is now volunteering to become a tech.” Steak explained.
“A she as well? Baxter, what happened?” Gideon asked as he shot him a glare.
“Saddiffer. Come here! Where are you? He must be missing. I need to go find him goodbye.” Baxter said as he trotted away behind the captain’s chair, peeking out to see them.
“Gideon, Patricia inferred that her shorthand name ‘Pat’, was female. She also decided upon seeing the wreckage and our lack of expertise to become a tech. What sort of tech, I am unsure.” Shindow explained
“Whichever is needed,” Patricia answered with a nod.
“Good, so be on the lookout for modules,” Gideon stated.
“Exactly!” Shindow said as she floated onto Gideon’s shoulder.
“Can you move?” Shindow asked.
“Yeah, I can. Why?” Gideon responded.
Shindow had a guilty look on her face.
“Well…” Shindow began to explain their new situation.
A loud bluster of cursing was heard throughout the cabin.