ES07 - Eternal Sunder (part 07): Tomorrow’s Sorrows
Posted By: Wado<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2 January 2004, 5:18 PM
Note: This is part 7 to Wado's Eternal Sunder series. To those of you that haven't read a lot of my stories, this chapter may be very confusing so here is some information that might help clarify what is going on. John and his friends (Max, Croaker, the Lady, Cortana and Sparky) have traveled back more than 900,000 years in time before Halo. They have met up with Princess Kira of the Archons from long ago. She does not know them but her instincts tell her to trust them. As for the Lady, she is a Nomdian, a member of a race with powerful mental powers. The Nomdians feed on other sentient races, considering them cattle and devouring their brains. When they consume the living brains of others, they gain a portion of that person's knowledge and power. I hope this clarification will help as you read this chapter. Enjoy.
Visions of the beautiful Princess Kira flew through John's mind. Not the visions long forgotten and only seen in passing, but the visions of a new, younger Kira, one he just met.
The others in his group were around too, but John felt alone with Kira. John had always been her guardian, whether she knew it or not. John knew that those many centuries they spent together had not happened yet or might never happen. John had to come to terms with the fact that in this time, Kira did not know him because he had traveled back in time to before they had ever met. All that they shared together was a fading memory, a shadow of reality -- Nothing, meaningless, for naught. John paced, unsettling thoughts irked him.
"What if..." interjected the voice of Max, the Imperial Elite and John's long time friend.
"What if what?" replied John.
"A game all children play, John," stated Max. "What if I was king of the world, what if I was super-Elite? Adults don't play this game much, because it no longer is a game of fun and imagination, often to the troubled soul it becomes a game of regret. What if I had done that differently, what if I had done something?"
"I regret nothing Max," replied John. "There is nothing to regret, all that I have done, all that made me who I am, has yet to happen and may never happen. I have no past, I simply am."
"You speak words of enlightenment, John," remarked Max, "but you are wrong. You do have a past; it is just that it has not been reveal to you."
A brief moment of silence followed. John felt the presence of others but his body was heavy and did not move. John knew this feeling, he was dreaming. John never liked the feeling of in between, between dream and wake. He would always panic until consciousness came and he could feel his breathing again. This was not the case, this time. The Princess kept him here and for every gasp of breath he yearned for, she smothered it with feelings of want and desire.
John's also long time friend Croaker, the sturdy Sauran, revealed himself into this dream world with solemn words saying, "I have long sought the escape from this altered state but the spell is powerful, perhaps we are dead."
"Perhaps so," agreed Max and then John nodded affirmatively.
"Indeed," added Croaker. "Then let's be dead."
Seven Minutes Earlier
John played the message Princess Kira had left for him shortly before her departure. John, I sense I should know you, but I do not. There is something dark inside you, a place I dare not venture, a place of eternal endings I fear for me. I do not fear death as no Archon does. Death is part of the cycle of all things natural, but you come from a morrow where I am not -- Such as it would be, the end of me. I release you of your duties vowed. Go now and find that which you did not know you lost. You shall not be forgotten. Trust in your instincts, logic is over-rated. And then she giggled as her image vanished in a shower of multi-colored sparkles, her laughter echoed in the wind.
"Soon, John," interjected the Lady. "Prepare yourselves they come."
"Right," replied John. He headed next to Cortana and the energy filled box that contained the core of their former ship, Eternity's Sunder. Max, Croaker, and Sparky moved to beside him.
"Well here goes nothing," stated Cortana. Her holographic image gestured and prismatic lights emanated from Eternity's Sunder's core. The energies pulsed in a rhythm out of synch with how John's mind worked. He had to look away but the energies surrounded him and the others except for the Lady who kept her distance. John covered his head with his hands and closed his eyes; his mind felt the rush from a billion incoherent thoughts through his cerebral cortex.
The Lady conducted a short range scan with her mental powers. No sentient life forms detected -- At least nothing of any significance. The mental shield created by Eternity's Sunder's core was in place. The stage was set for their arrival, and just like that they did come.
Three Nomdian Deathstalkers teleported in. Deathstalkers were the elite of the elite of Nomdians; Specialized in killing and absorbing anything and everything that resisted the Nomdian cause. This time they faced the Lady, a powerful Nomdian in her own right.
The Deathstalker leader of the three spoke through a powerful mental signature saying, "You have called us out, foolish child. What do you want?"
The Lady waited a few moments to answer, to allow for the three to sense her growing power. "Answers the only way a true Nomdian can get them," she keenly replied.
"Simple games cloaking your true power from a distance," remarked the Deathstalker leader, "but we have weapons and armor and you have none." Then the three raised their weapons as if to fire at the Lady.
"Destroy me with weapons and you shall never have the knowledge that I do," said the Lady as she sent a mental image of just a taste of weapons and ships hundreds of thousands of years more advanced than anything the Nomdians currently had.
"Interesting," said the leader. "Individually none of us are your equal, but we are a trinity of twice the power of you." Then energy in the form of purple lightening surged between the three, their eyes glowed bright purple and their tentacles for lips pulsed in hypnotic waves.
The Lady felt the presence of the three minds working as one. Their combined power was too much. She felt her mental shield collapsing, images of glass walls breaking and her skull cracking. Still she fought on; concentrating every bit of power she had on one point straight into the brain stem of the weakest of the three.
Blood dripped from the Lady's eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Just before blacking out, the Lady thrust one more point and hit the spot. The nerves in the weakest of the three Deathstalkers twitched down his arms. The weapon he held was controlled through thought impulses and as his arm twitched, the weapon fired straight down.
Boom! went the explosion caused by the weapon. The three Deathstalkers flew apart, their trinity of minds severed for the moment.
"Now!" shouted Cortana. The mental shields that had cloaked the group dropped. Before the Deathstalkers could recover, Sparky dashed over to near them and Cortana fired a beam of energy from Eternity's Sunder's core right at him.
Instead of overloading Sparky, he vented the excess energy to his shields in one massive but directed electro-magnetic pulse right at the three Deathstalkers. The pulse brought down their remaining shields and singed their armor. But the most important thing was it kept them busy.
John, Max and Croaker rushed to the Lady. As she regained consciousness, she drew forth power from them. John, Max and Croaker all felt the pulling of energy and thoughts from their minds. A strange tugging sensation like someone had attached a suction cup to the top of their skulls.
Feeding off of John, Max and Croaker's mental energies, the Lady recovered enough to target a decisive mental attack onto each of the Deathstalkers. Individually they were no match for the Lady and each folded over quite quickly.
The Lady approached each of the three Deathstalkers. In sequence she placed her tentacles for lips around each Deathstalker's skull and revealed her spiked teeth. An awful and agonizing crunching sound was heard as each skull was cracked and a slurping, sucking sound came soon after as the Lady consumed the brain of each of them.
"Chief, wake up," said Cortana, trying very hard to disregard the feasting habits of the Lady. John, Max and Croaker had all collapsed; completely drained of mental energies their bodies looked pale, cold and unmoving.
The Lady stopped feeding for a moment saying, "Let John and the others rest, they are very weak but they will be okay, just give them time to recover."
"Aye," responded Cortana the look of concern still shown on her face.
"Cortana, I have learned much from feeding on these three, many things I already suspected and now are confirmed," stated the Lady. "This trinity of Deathstalkers was sent here to assassinate Princess Kira. They even had provisions for trapping her spirit, thus preventing her from being reborn. However, when we arrived via the Portal of the Old Ones, that surprised them and they aborted their mission."
The Lady continued saying, "The Praetorian patrol we defeated a while ago was also in on the assassination plot. They were not aware of the specifics of the mission, however, so when the Praetorian patrol arrived and spotted me, they mistakenly assumed I was a Deathstalker sent to kill Princess Kira."
John, Max and Croaker all started to stir. It was more than simply waking from a dream, color flowed back into their faces and muscles twitched as if reanimated. John was the first to open his eyes.
Sparky dashed to John, he could hardly keep quiet, chanting, "I did it, I did it. Did you see that John? I fried some Deathstalker tail as you humans would say in colorful expression. I am such an upright post in the framework of the wall."
"Nice job Sparky, but what did you call yourself?" replied John, half awake.
Cortana interjected saying, "The word is stud, Sparky. I do not believe that is the exact human term you desire to use either. Check you translation systems."
"Oh my," stated Sparky. "My translation sub-programs were damaged in the fight, I am restoring from backups."
"My Lady," said John, "I had the strangest dream, like I was dead."
"In many ways you were John," replied the Lady. "Glad to have you back. Now we have work to do. I've located the Deathstalker ship not too far from here -- They won't be needing it anymore. With a little help from Cortana, I believe we can commandeer it for our own purposes."
"We need to hurry Chief," added Cortana. "More Praetorian patrols are likely on their way."
"Let's do it," said John as he helped Max and Croaker to their feet. Max made a comment about how it felt like the day after drinking some of Croaker's homemade Sauran ale. Croaker wished he had some of his homemade ale. Then they all headed out towards the Deathstalkers' ship.