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“Everyone, on board. Let’s get this ship up and running again!” Gideon ordered hoarsely.
He was lying down on a medical stretcher, being whisked away into the Decima.
“Shindow, take me to medical. I know you’re going to take me there anyway so let’s get this over with.” Gideon further ordered.
“Of course, yes sir!” Shindow said with a giggle and salute while standing atop Gideon’s chest.
“Captain Gideon. I will be in the science and operations lab, preparing the repairs.” Patricia stated.
“And also finding a more suitable… shell.” She inspected herself, she was still using the base Excertius skeletal chassis.
“I shall be in the main cargo hold, running diagnostics of recorded combat, to further iron out strategy.” Steak announced.
“I too will be in medical,” Deborah stated.
“I Baxter need sleep and steak but steak first, but also with Steak.” Baxter chuffed and yawned.
“I will also be working on your upgrades. You are all several thousand years out of date. For Excertius and Shindow, software upgrades will commence. For Baxter and Gideon, software updates for QSD and nanites will commence. For Deborah, I continued to scour for your lost Throne. There has been no success.” Prosine’s voice rang out inside the ship as the crew made the final ascension up the ramp.
Deborah slouched and looked down, saddened by that. It was a precious set of artifacts made directly by Adonai. To lose them was to lose half of one’s body and fighting effectiveness. It also spoke of her competency or lack thereof. To lose an artifact made by Adonai himself was a great shame.
“It is OK Deb, you have us now. We will find your chair thing.” Baxter chuffed as he perked up at Deborah. She sighed at that.
The crew made their way to their positions in the Decima, Gideon noticed new details and new equipment. He would find time to inventory later. Right now, takeoff was essential. Getting to Lo IX was essential. Gideon was swept through the halls and rooms, towards medical. The all-white room felt both artificial and comfortable. The hover stretcher seated into the wall, becoming connected to the medical systems. Deborah walked up and took a stretcher beside Gideon. It expanded to fit her large length.
“Gid, I’ll be offline for some time getting updates. I’ll be right back.” Shindow explained as she dematerialized in orange light, reconnecting with the Decima.
Steak and Patricia stored themselves in the Decima to receive their needed updates.
Baxter slunked to a corner and hopped into his materializing bed.
“I shall sleep first… Then steak.” Baxter declared as he fell on his back, passing out.
It was now just Gideon and the angel.
“Gideon. I apologize for losing my temper. I hope whatever happened with this demon will be Adonai’s will.” Deborah conceded.
“I understand, you did lose your Throne and arm to it. He was- is terrifying. It took everything to not buckle down. I don’t know if I can sleep now.” Gideon replied with a stiff smile.
“That is the first time I’ve seen someone use a Seal. Or… Well… See anyone with a Seal.” Deborah trailed off looking down. She dwarfed Gideon, making the submissive gesture seem silly.
“Me too,” Gideon said with a chuckle.
“Why did Adonai leave only you here? Why not an army?” Gideon asked.
“There wasn’t much else. After the He disappeared, most of his army went with him. Even the administrative Cherubim left with Him.” Deborah explained.
“It is also because He needed to train me. I am Aberrant.” She added.
“What does that mean?” Gideon asked with furrowed brow.
“It means I’m one of a few angels with free will. Funny that I can make my own choices, I can even choose to disobey Adonai.” Deborah spoke in a language that defied any explanation at the idea of rebelling against Adonai.
“He chose me to continue my training on this planet, while Aberrants have free will, we must spend more time getting stronger.” She explained.
“Also, where did Adonai go? Why did he vanish?” Gideon followed up.
“Surprisingly, I don’t know. He did not feel the need to tell me and the other angels left behind.” Deborah commented with sadness.
“So Adonai left His kingdom without guards?” Gideon asked, eyes wide.
“Emmanuel was left behind, as well as a host of angels. I… Don’t know where they are, either.” Deborah answered.
“That is why you have the Seal. You’ve been contracted in desperation, in a sense.”
“You mean privateered?” Gideon corrected.
“I guess,” Deborah responded with a shrug.
“Well, I do know we need all twelve of us Seal holders meet.”
“Also… I didn’t say it yet but in my fourth dream… I Met Lucifer.” Gideon said with almost a whisper.
Deborah stared at Gideon, mouth slightly agape at the revelation. Gideon felt his stomach lurch as the ship began its ascent.
“Also Lucifer. Her. None of the theories or stereotypes were correct…” Gideon mused.
“I am blessed to have never met her,” Deborah replied.
“Her charisma, beauty, and power were so extreme she could win over other Aberrants with ease, not to mention angels lacking free will.”
“Other Aberrants? She’s an Aberrant?”
“Storage and scuttling complete, beginning test flight and takeoff.” Prosine announced.
“She is. That was why she was able to betray. She desired power. She desired to be as God.”
The two were silent as they watched the viewport, seeing the grey cloudy albedo become the blackness of space, dotted with the distant stars. It occurred to Gideon that the space around Karmmrak was clear and clean. The red giant was gone.
“That was also the thing, Karmmrak was surrounded by anomalies and hazards galore. What happened?” Gideon asked Prosine.
“A galactic reset happened. Many celestial bodies were returned to their former state, moved, or removed entirely.” Prosine explained.
Gideon silently mused at that. He looked back at Deborah.
“You saw her. The Accuser… I’m sorry.” Deborah consoled.
“She was freed,” Gideon stated, dropping a massive bomb.
“How?” Deborah asked with a sudden panic.
“It looked like demons found out where she was imprisoned and freed the inhabitants. It also looked like they had no idea who she was.” Gideon explained.
“The demon that freed her was using her name.”
“Some still know of her, then.” Deborah replied, nodding grimly at that.
“They will most certainly have perished, then. At least good riddance to those demon scum.” Deborah said with venom.
“Why? Wasn’t she allied with demonkind against Adonai and humanity?” Inquired Gideon.
“Not at all. She hated demons only second to Adonai himself. Humanity was worse off… “
“She loved them.” Deborah explained.
“Whatever they wanted, she gave. If they desired to worship Baal and sacrifice their infants to the fire, she gave it to them. If they desired to kill, she gave them the opportunity to. If they desired drink, she drowned them. If they desired food, she fed them to death. Every desire was met with the most extreme measures. Her love was twisted and a wicked desperation to be defined by humanities’ love. Cruelty was used to whip a man to greater heights. Survival of the worthy was enacted, if you survived her torment, you were made stronger due to surviving. Those who perished were thought of as weak. She did everything to prevent humanity from knowing their purpose, which would mean knowing Adonai and rejecting her. She needed humanity to worship her for her benefit. She wanted to be Adonai. She had signed a pseudo-covenant with humanity, becoming a co-steward against humankind’s knowledge of what they did. She gave them Adonai’s judgment, and they gave her Earth. To their infinite misery.” Deborah explained.
“And now she’s free without anyone to stop her.” Gideon murmured.
“Shit…” Gideon swore with a whisper at the weight of what that meant.
“We do have the benefit of time. It will take time for her to leave the Lake of Fire and return to our universe. If she has not already arrived.” Deborah stated.
“Well, can’t worry about that now. We need to heal up and get to Lo IX. Prosine, what’s the timeline like?” Gideon asked.
“We can arrive in exactly eighty-nine FTL jumps.” Prosine replied.
“Wait, why not the IIT drive?”
“As I said I have fixed the issues, they are-”
“Great.” Gideon interrupted as he could see what was coming.
“-Untested.” Prosine finished.
“How do you know they were fixes?” Gideon asked, getting irate.
“I have run several hundred million simulations, with only a thirty-five percent chance of mishap.”
“Thirty-five?? Thirty-five! You made it sound like it was perfect!” Gideon replied, his voice rising.
“That was your misconception. Beginning the first jump. Four hours until completion,” Prosine avoided Gideon’s criticism.
Gideon laid back with a chuckling sigh at all of this. This was going to be a long flight.
“One of my other dreams. The fifth or sixth, I think? I can’t keep it together anymore. It also happened during the IIT flight. And the first dream. I met someone; something in the blackness of that alternate reality.”
Deborah visibly became nervous at that. Gideon laid back, staring blankly at the ceiling.
“I was in route from Karmmrak to… Karmmrak. It had dead eyes and a massive grin. It touched me. It looked like it was made of that black nothing. In the dream, I was in that black nothingness and met the thing again. She spoke; like a child. Her name was Void.”
“Who?” Deborah asked. She fidgeted.
“Void. She didn’t say much, except I was the first to meet her. I then met her brother.”
“He said he was nothing. I believe his name was Nothing. He looked like Void, except like two massive planets for dead eyes and a massive nebula sized mouth. You- You know who they are, don’t you?” Gideon explained before catching on to Deborah’s nervousness.
“I… Yes. In the story.” She explained.
“Wait, angels have their own myth?” Gideon asked.
“Sort of. After Megiddo, a story spread of a being seen at times. Void. Then when Adonai left, two were seen. Always together.”
“His name wasn’t Nothing, he was explaining his state. He is no thing.” Deborah finished. The room went quiet, the stars sped by as comets due to the FTL drive. The kaleidoscopic colors dazzled through the window,
“For you to see them is massive. To have touched one means…”
“What?” Gideon asked, nervous.
“Which one touched you?”
“Void, the smaller one.” He answered
“It means you’ve been touched by Void. Those who are touched by them gain their favor.” Deborah looked relieved.
“Or become devoured.” She added.
“Those who join Entropy never return, as the story goes.” She stated.
“I’ve dodged two of a million more lasers, huh?” Gideon said, suddenly tired.
“Not bad for the last human in existence.” Deborah stated, dropping a massive bomb.
“What… Did you just say?” Gideon said, snapping his head to the angel.
“Oh, that’s right. You’re the last human in existence. Everyone else ascended.” Deborah explained.
“Jesus Christ! You can’t just drop meteors on me like that and not explain!” Gideon shouted.
Deborah pursed her lips in a stiff smile at that but continued.
“Humanity as you know it no longer exists. They are ascended beings from humanity. Faithful Ones. All rules of the old life no longer apply to them.” Deborah began.
“What makes these Faithful Ones special?” Gideon asked with furrowed brow.
“No need of sleeping, eating, breathing, or fear of aging, fatigue, weakness, disease, unintelligence, and more.”
“The perfect beings Primetech wanted to make, basically.” Gideon added.
“The last human…” Gideon pondered that.
“Gideon, I too am exhausted. I need rest, we’ll talk again soon.” Deborah stated as she lied on her side away from Gideon.
She sounded sad.
Gideon slowly went to sleep, with the knowledge there were many beings with sharp teeth, waiting to devour the fragile flower known as the last human. Gideon not only survived the disastrous IIT test but gained new members to the crew. He now had an army, the purpose of which escaped him for now. He had yet to discuss fully the matter of his visions. Or the purpose of the Tesseract catalyst. It was left completely forgotten in Gideon’s inventory. That felt like small moons compared to the gas giant of their current situation. The trip would most likely take months to complete. FTL jumps were usually that long, barring good weather. Perhaps shorter with the supposed galactic reset.
And thus begins their journey to Lo IX.
What they didn’t know is someone arrived at Karmmrak months too late to see Gideon.
And capture him.