Realized today I put the wrong dates on the last post – Small Worlds is Monday/Thursday, Dragon’s Scion is Tuesday/Friday. Apologies for the confusion!
Kali strode into the UN base. A group of soldiers opened fire at her. She flicked her hand and stopped their hearts. “Be at peace,” she said to their lifeless bodies. “I’m sparing you the end that awaits this world.”
A series of explosions told her Evans had accomplished his task. There were screams coming in that direction. People were suffering, hit by shrapnel or burned by the flames. Kali sighed. Damn you, Eschaton, for making me do this. She shouldn’t have to. There wasn’t a need for her. The world was going to end, the Eschaton would oversee it, and the sun would be restored.
Ryan Smith had ideas above his station. Ryan believed he had the right to stop the cycle, to spare humanity from the destruction. He believed that, not only that he could save humanity, but that he would save humanity. It’s a problem with the Eschaton happening so soon after the last Nanoverse is found, Kali thought. He was still young enough to believe that he knew best.
Kali knew better. Age had taught her that destruction was an inevitable part of creation. Humanity had run its course. It had its chance. It was time to allow the cycle to continue and for humanity to go the way of the Dinosaurs and the Lemurians. A new species deserved a chance to arise…and then they would follow the same cycle. Kali shouldn’t have had to do anything with it.
But Ryan was trying to save humanity. He was risking the universe marching closer to the grave for one single species. If he had hope that the world could be saved, he would continue to fight for it, right up until the very end. The sun would consume the Earth, humanity would still die, and nothing would ever live on this rock again.
So, it falls to me to strip him of that hope.
Another group of soldiers rushed her. It was beyond the power of the gods to directly influence the biology of both gods and monsters. But mortal beings? Humans?
Kali twisted and shut off the electrical activity in their brains. They collapsed to the floor like they were puppets with cut strings. I’ll remember you, she silently promised them. “You two,” she said, pointing to Munoz and Palmer. They’d infiltrated the base along with Evans and had been awaiting her command. “Grant peace to those who still suffer. No need to prolong their torment.”
They nodded. Munoz was the shortest of the three former Myrmidons and possessed a fiery temperament that she shared with her partner born out of Crystal’s nanoverse – Inedia. She was running the quickest towards the screaming of the dying. Palmer followed a bit behind, jogging at an easy pace. He was taller than Kali, and didn’t have the classic good looks of Evans, instead possessing a sullen countenance. He’d been a perfect pair with Liturga.
So many things I didn’t anticipate. When she’d been Doctor Pivarti, she’d been looking for a way for gods to share the power of their nanoverses. It would have been possible, if there had been more time, to grant the harnesses to most of humanity. Give them immortality in their last days, so humankind could have created wonders that would have endured for the next species to inhabit this world. Now? Her notes were safely in a capsule that would return to Earth the moment it detected radio waves from the planet again. She couldn’t give the gift of immortality to humanity, but she could ensure their successors had that kindness.
But now she questioned that decision. With the power she was granting…could humanity stop the cycle? Could the species that followed them? And there’s other problems, she acknowledged to herself. She hadn’t anticipated the three pseudo-nanoverse generated from Crystal destroying Enki’s corrupt nanoverse – yet they had come into existence, at the same time that one member of project Myrmidon had died. Giving the three remaining survivors three nanoverses to find.
Kali didn’t believe in coincidence. There was still, clearly, a great deal more research needed.
I’ll have plenty of time once the cycle is complete. She reminded herself that these things were important but weren’t immediate. They could be dealt with later.
For right now, she had to make sure humanity’s latest attempt to fight against them was destroyed.
“Evans, status report,” she said.
“Ma’am,” Roger Evans saluted. “The Harbinger program is destroyed. They’ll need at least a month to get the program back online. Two of the Harbingers were already deployed, however. We’ll need to hunt them down if we want to ensure complete destruction.”
Kali shook her head. “No need. Those drones can be dealt with in smaller numbers. They’ll probably end up being deployed against a dragon or another god and be annihilated. We have larger plans.”
“Ma’am,” Evans said, a note of reproach in his voice. “Leaving something that big out there…they could turn the tide of battle at the exact wrong moment. I’d recommend that we don’t leave them in the wind. The drones are harder to wipe out than mortal soldiers. Ma’am.”
Kali studied his face carefully. Was it Evans she was speaking to? Or was this Potentia, using his voice? Where did the line between one begin and the other end? “Once we have our army, I’ll dispatch some to hunt them down.”
Evans relaxed. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Kali nodded and turned to walk further into the base, when something caught her attention. A living mortal, under a shield Evans had created, covering the back of her head and shaking in fear. “Evans?” Kali asked, pointing at the woman.
“Ma’am. Gail Pittman, ANC. She’s a reporter of some renown.”
“I know that name…” Kali scratched her chin. “She’s the one that told the world about us, isn’t she?”
Kali bent down. “Remove the barrier.”
Evans obeyed. Gail immediately tried to rise to her feet, and Kali’s hands snapped out and grabbed her by the shoulders. “You,” Kali said.
Gail made a sound somewhere between a cry and a whimper.
“Do not be afraid,” Kali said, her voice calm. “I have no intention of hurting anyone who isn’t in my way.”
“That…that’s not very reassuring,” Gail stammered.
“I know.” Kali helped Gail to her feet. “And I am sorry.”
“For?” Gail asked.
“For doing the job of another. For ensuring the world ends.” She dusted Gail off. “Evans, take Ms. Pittman to the nearest city and drop her off. No interviews, no showboating. Take her somewhere safe though. I don’t want her harmed.” Kali noted the fire in Gail’s eyes and sighed. “Unless she does something idiotic.”
Evans nodded and stepped forward. “Ms. Pittman. This way, please.”
Gail, for once in her life, didn’t ask questions. She let herself be escorted from the base.
The last thing she saw as Kali, standing amid the flames.