Strange Cosmology Part 7

Crystal watched Athena step out of the door of her staging area into the Venezuelan city. As soon as the door closed, she let out a long breath.

“Switch to real display.”

With the latest Big Crunch she’d added voice commands to her staging area. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, the stars above her shifted in color. Instead of the whites and yellows and overall brightness of a new universe, they shone in unnatural shades – sickly green, bruise purple, pallid yellow, and blood red.

So your nanoverse looks like a bunch of infected an open wounds, love. This can’t possibly be a problem, yeah?She bit her lip at the thought.

The only logical explaination was that popping the dual nanoverse had released some kind of contamination, one that had been compounded by the Big Crunch. Like popping a pox pustule in a crowded subway. Either that, or at a million years it had gone

She’d considered telling Ryan and Athena. She really had.

And how exactly does that conversation go? ‘Hey loves, my sodding nanoverse is going to hell. No, you can’t do anything about it. Yeah, I think this is probably my last bloody go around. Go ahead and worry about it. It’s not like we got anything better to do.’ In frustration, she kicked the podium she had called to hold Athena’s nanoverse.

The black orb on top of it shuddered slightly, and Crystal licked her lips. The idea of touching another diety’s nanoverse was wrong. It was an invasion, an intrusion worse than most Crystal could think of.

Holding a diety’s nanoverse meant literally holding their immortality. It meant holding complete power over them, the ability to destroy them with a whim. Crystal couldn’t imagine doing so even with Athena’s express permission – she’d summoned a podium to keep it safe, but to touch it? It was anthema.

So why are you holding it, hmm?

Crystal looked at her hand and almost dropped the black orb in shock. She didn’t recall reaching out to grab it, and she wanted to put it back…after a moment. After all, she was already holding it.

She’d never considered killing Athena. Even during the Punic Wars, when they’d bent two of the mightest empires in the region into all out war against each other for a century, it had never crossed her mind to permanently end Athena’s life. I wonder if she can say the same?

It wasn’t that holding Athena’s nanoverse made her want to hurt the goddess. They’d rebuilt trust enough where Athena had left it here after all – although that had been partially a practical consideration. If Ryan died, he would not ressurect, and if Athena’s nanoverse had been within his staging area it would have likely be lost forever. Still, Athena would have risked bringing it if she felt she couldn’t trust Crystal.All that being said, Crystal was keenly aware of how much power she held over Athena in this moment.

After a couple minutes, she placed it back on the podium with all the care she would use if it was a china doll spun of spider silk.

“Set course for Emperyan Provocation.” Crystal felt some relief saying that – part of her wanted to get out of her staging area, a feeling she didn’t think she’d had before in the last million years. She glanced up at the diseased colors of her universe. Forwning, she muttered, “put the color filters back in place.”

The stars and galaxies above her shifted again, and looked once more like a normal nanoverse.

You can’t avoid it forever, you know. She shook her head to dispel the nagging voice. She knew she had to eventually go into her nanoverse, face whatever cancerous life-forms now consitituded its inhabitants. Most importantly, she had to try to cleanse the corruption from it.

After I’ve finished up in Empyrean Provocation and given Athena her nanoverse back. Wouldn’t be right to take it into my nanoverse without her permission, yeah? Crystal wasn’t sure if that was a real reason or just an excuse to put off an unpleasant task, like a child insisting they have to do homework before they can clean the bathroom. Both did have to get done at some point, so why not do the one that was less unpleasant?

Also, the task she was choosing to do involved drinking. Crystal felt like she could use a good drink right about now. So as the staging area travelled, she dressed up and got ready to go clubbing with whatever beings made their way to Empyrean Provocation tonight.

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