A Long Burning Star
Part 1. Sword Of Lightning
[Fountainhead: Prometheus City, Argon Palace]
The Sovereign stood alone, and grave out on his balcony, before him, over his Conglomerate’s capital, fireworks exploded in a blare of color. Today marked the 100th Anniversary. A century ago, his people fled Earth, and Anunnaki oppression.
Earth herself existed now as nothing more but a fractured husk, reduced to lifeless rubble, thanks to the destructive collision between itself and the planetship, Nibiru, which having been torn asunder from inside, came crashing down upon Mother Terra in the midst of a last ditch effort to liberate the home planet from Anunnaki dominance.
A 100 years, sighed The Sovereign.
“Has it really been that long?” Asked The Sovereign of no one in particular. Of course, he being a Morningstar, a synthetic being, forged from raidun90, a Robot -- Complete with positronic brain, could not ever genuinely forget such information.
Dressed in his black and royal blue armor regalia, his regal sapphire cape billowed behind him in the evening breeze. The broad shouldered, blond haired, goateed Sovereign made for a most impressive silhouette against that of the brilliantly illuminated metropolis.
Not always royalty. Once, nothing but a soldier. Commander of a Lancer-class destroyer, a spaceship, who served his King with honor and distinction, the current Sovereign had been catapulted into power. Thoughts of his lost King, only brought this Sovereign, more, ponderous reflection. Together, they'd conspired to unite brother and sister Morningstars, and in doing so, keep humanity free from a foreshadowed menace. For the most part, they'd accomplished exactly that. Evident by the very existence of Fountainhead and her colonies.
His son, Luc, gave up his life during the initial Exodus. Yet Luc had left behind a legacy, a son of his own, who'd grown into a valiant man, and made history himself, by helping reunite Morningstar and Falcanian.
The Sovereign's ruminations were interrupted by engine noise. A forward winged jet, a Gunstar, swooped hazardously close to Argon Palace, and came to a hover, red-tipped nosecone inches from his balcony. Two security drones screeched to a halt on either side of the intruding aircraft, weapons armed, prepared to fire.
“I'd expected you sooner.”
“Call off your drones.”
Extending his piercing blue eyesight, The Sovereign gazed into the empty cockpit of the Gunstar. She'd spent these last few years jumping the space lanes alone. Why should he have expected her to pick up companionship now?
The Sovereign motioned at his Mecha guards. “Leave us.”
“Thank you.” Purred the Gunstar.
“Do you intend to just hover there? Come in, have a drink.”
The Gunstar reconfigured. Parts moved around to transform into a sleek, feminine Mecha. Mass shifted down into a humanoid form, that of a beautiful blue-eyed Falcanian woman, whose elfish oval ears, peeked from under auburn tresses, marred by a single strand of white. On her back was a flat armored pincer-tail and mechanical, black and rose-feathered halo-wings.
“Its nice to see you, Guillaume.”
“And you, Nadia.”
“Gee, isn't Selita gone?”
The Sovereign looked abashed. “Do you know, I forget nothing?” Reminded. “Of course you do, you're not only a Falcanian, but a Morningstar like me, the original Morningstar herself.” Exhaled. “Yet,” thoughtful. “For whatever reason, whenever I need something, I find myself calling out for my secretary, Selita. Who went on to bigger, better things.”
Dryly, Nadia Korelia-Drakonis remarked. “If you mean, becoming girlfriend, and later wife to a Galactic Dictator, she sure did.” Though Nadia grinned. She'd personal interest in Selita's duplicate sister, Sarina. “The Rubik’s are a fascinating family.”
“Indeed, that they are.” Guillaume LaSalle agreed as he recovered his own decanter of alcohol from an antique cabinet, so he could pour Nadia and himself a drink. “But I suppose, you've come to Fountainhead to talk about our family.”
“I stopped by Zarhur Station.” Nadia told him. “Sitara and Rene, are doing good.” Her daughter and his grandson. “We're great-great grandparents now.” She licked lush maroon lips, sipped from the intoxicating beverage. “Central Point is a clamor these days.”
“With the relentless peace, my grandson and your daughter enforce, via that Commonwealth that they've built, I'm not surprised. Sitara even tamed the Uluenbas.” Recalling the fierce debate that plagued his government. “There are those in my Concordance, who'd give anything for a chance to eradicate every last Anunnaki.”
“The Asgardians, were not involved in Earth's enslavement.”
“Is that music?” Nadia's elfish ears twitched. “Jolan's 7th.”
“There's a ball going on.”
“Shouldn't The Sovereign, attend?”
“I did...” Gee took a gulp from his drink. “Needed to get away from all that pomp and circumstance.” Besides pressures of his office, LaSalle missed his wife. Teresa, only reigned as his Matriarch for a short time. Human frailty caught up with her, all too soon. The anniversary ball reminded him of her. “Imogen's presiding, as mistress of ceremony.”
Nadia grinned. “I bet my sister-in-law, hates it.”
“It took some doing, getting Imogen Drake back on Fountainhead.”
Klaxons resounded throughout Prometheus City. Fountainhead's thick clouds opened, and revealed a descending vessel. Guillaume LaSalle pushed his balcony doors apart, glanced upward at the giant ship which loomed above Prometheus City. A Dawnstar. Scarred carapace of its hull, oil-black, like hardened lava. Calcified nodular tentacles, appeared as if molten iron were poured over uprooted, ancient tree roots, fashioned into a ferocious prow.
The elongated, menacing Dawnstar, parked itself over Argon Palace.
Scores of Dawnstars orbited Fountainhead, under control of Vautek Guardians, who assembled more such vessels and sent them outward, in order to establish Morningstar colonies. However, this gnarled, battle pitted warship did not belong to Vautek Guardians. RSI Sword of Lightning, was flagship of the Eradicator's Synchronized Empire.
“Good, he's here.”
Gee glanced at Nadia, dumbfounded. “You invited that mad man, to my capital?”
Part 2. Synchronization
Eradicator, that is what he called himself. Both title and personal designation. Few, if any these days addressed him as anything else. Shrouded in a majestic black overcoat, his Star Chaser uniform, from bygone times, strode purposeful, toward The Sovereign, up on his crystal throne. Below the dais, Eradicator stopped, removed his hood. Bolted over Rust ruined right ear and eye, a black carbon fiber plate served as repair to ramshackle synthetic flesh. The cybernetic component served to make Eradicator's striking bald head, even more so.
All Morningstar perceived the Universe as design, pattern, and order. A condition of positronic brains that did not permit denial of designer, behind the design. Of course, provided each Morningstar's idiosyncrasies, such implicit knowledge tended to format rather unusual personality types. In Eradicator's case, that meant an overwhelming need for organization.
“I salute you, Sovereign.” Said Eradicator in his precise British verbiage.
“Have you come to surrender, Silas?”
The ruined, purportedly insane renegade general laughed cordially. “No. Not today my friend.” Considered, rubbed at his white goatee. “There shall come a time, when we meet in battle, and I shall end our conflict by Synchronizing your Conglomerate, with that of my Robot Empire. But today, is not that day.” Gestured at Nadia, who stood close to The Sovereign. “I return to Fountainhead under truce. To honor Vecron Prime and his daughter. On this, the 100th Anniversary we helped free and preserve humanity.”
“Silas.” Nadia stepped forward. “I believe you brought something, of great import.”
“I did.” Eradicator nodded at his bodyguards. “On a trajectory, close to that of the Terra Sol Remnant, one of my patrol vessels happened across...” Presented. “This.” The Eradicator's bodyguards, pallbearers actually, hefted a casket. “Not to place a damper upon the celebration, but you really should see who it is that lays at rest here, Guillaume.”
Eradicator opened the casket lid.
Primal force made Guillaume LaSalle rise from his stately chair. “Odin!”
Wrought into a mummified skull, desiccated features yet remained recognizable as those belonging to Odin Battenberg. Emerald eyes were oddly glassed over, but not as one might expect, ruptured from the coldness and vacuum of space. Synthetic flesh, long since became that distinctive metalized tint, lifeless Robot dead were known for.
“Yes.” Eradicator said, solemn. “However, if you doubt, have Dr. Vartazarian examine the corpse to verify that this is Odin Battenberg, our Lord and King.”
Feelings overpowered Guillaume LaSalle. Here lay his predecessor, who during the Exodus went to his demise in order to provide the fleet a chance at survival. Emotions brought memories. Odin naming Gee as his successor, fully aware that he probably would not come back replayed in sharp resolution inside this Sovereign’s positronic brain.
Eradicator and Sovereign sat across from one another at a luxuriant table during the celebration banquet, which had become a wake.
“There's no reason for any of this.”
“Eh,” Silas frowned. “You mean, my empire building?”
Gulping his wine, an approximation of a vintage he'd enjoyed in his native France, developed from genetically engineered grapes, Guillaume LaSalle leaned close to Eradicator and studied the Robot Emperor's damaged face. “Silas Cumberbatch,” said Guillaume using Eradicator's true name. “Frederika really did, almost kill you.”
“Can't blame her.” Silas readily acknowledged. “Thought she could rid the Universe of a tyrant. Yet here I am and Frederika von Gotha, is... Gone.”
“Damnedest thing --”
Curiosity raised, Silas questioned. “Speaking of which. Where is Guinevere?”
“I've sent for her.” Guillaume answered. “She'll wish to see Odin, before we --”
“Close the tomb. Yes, I imagine so.”
A funeral was held in commemoration for Odin Battenberg, once King of the United Kingdom and later, Sovereign Lord of the Star Chasers, dedicated to relocating and preserving mankind from Anunnaki rule. His burial chamber resided on Argon Palace's grounds and a marker stone declaimed Odin, Founding Father of the Fountainhead Conglomerate.
Following the entombment, Nadia made her goodbyes.
“It never fails to astound me, to see her do that.” Guillaume conceded, as he watched Nadia reconfigure. First into a female Mecha, and in a flash, transform herself into Gunstar mode, streak off over Prometheus City, upward, into space.
Silas nodded in agreement. “More Falcanians have gained that ability... To transmutate. A planet populated by near gods – Angels. And we, their worshipers look on in awe.”
“You do know, Silas? The Falcanians won't ever allow us to destroy one another.”
The Robot Emperor exhaled. “You're probably right.”
Part 3. The Green Witch
On a planet, replete with beautiful women, she stood out. Emerald skin, generous breasts, lustrous black hair draped over womanly curves. Among countless supermen and wonder women, Hela was unequaled. Eve of a race, Futureans, cousins to Morningstars, that officially no longer existed. The maroon gown, which she barely wore, did not hide the Vril circuity that pulsed under her exotic flesh and marked Hela Futura as an Arclayht Warlock.
Hela caressed the cool stone tomb. “It will happen, very soon.”
“To what do you refer?”
“Do you not feel the power, Orin?”
Like Hela, Oriole Amirjeen was an Arclayht Warlock. Unlike Hela, Oriole was a Falcanian. His great cybernetic wings, fringed with yellow plumage, and armored pincer-tail were at rest behind him. Oval ears stuck out on either side of a bald head, and made Oriole appear devilish. His forked goatee only added to his diabolical visage. “Yes, I feel it surging through the mausoleum.” Vecron Prime only knew what his apprentice got herself entangled in. “Is this your doing, my dear?”
“No.” Said Hela. “But I foresaw it.”
“Ah!” Exclaimed Oriole. “That is why you cajoled Imogen to return for the anniversary festivities.”
Hela nodded. “He awakens.”
Outside Odin Battenberg's burial chamber, Star Chaser guards were posted. The platoon wore flawless black and blue uniforms, and faceless chrome helmets. In their war weary careers, they'd witnessed action in space, death, and amazing sights across the galaxy. What they were soon to confront however, they were not prepared for.
An electric hum emitted from the royal crypt. Flashes of blue light pulsed within. The platoon commander stood before the double doors, hand on his sidearm. Stone shattered into a hundred different pieces as the door burst open.
“Where... Am... I...” A lag and mechanical reverberation distorted the abomination’s words.
“You -- Live, Odin?” Asked the platoon commander.
The mummified skull responded. “Odin?”
“Oh great,” quipped Oriole, as he and Hela walked onto the scene. “A zombie.”
“No, Master.” Said Hela. “This is not a vacant corpse, reanimated. There exists yet a kernel of the man he used to be.”
That presented an ethical quandary for Oriole, who under different conditions, happily would have thrown Rust at the Morningstar walking dead, and been done with it. The temptation to rid himself of the problem appealed to the Warlock. To history and his loved ones, Odin Battenberg was quite dead. No need to complicate the record. Moreover, this – Skull faced, metalized, abomination could never really be Odin again.
“Gee...” Moaned the skull face. “I must, see LaSalle.”
Hela in her own right was an accomplished, powerful Arclayht. She was correct in her reckoning that a kernel of Odin yet persisted in the desiccated body, that now walked among the living. “We'll take you to The Sovereign.”
“As if we've other options, Master.”
And so, Oriole Amirjeen set about to reassure the horrified Star Chaser platoon, that all remained well, wholesome even. Not an easy task, even for a wizard.
“There's an axiom,” recounted Oriole Amirjeen. “'Only Rust, can permanently ruin a Morningstar'.” The Arclayht Master knew of a few other ways to render a Morningstar inoperable, however, the axiom more or less held. “Present company excluded.” Said the wizard to Silas. “My apprentice hypothesizes, even though Odin’s outer chassis is... Um – Blemished, his positronic systems sustained life these past 100 years in stasis lock.”
Oriole believed it just as likely, Odin's chassis had become corrupted and possessed by some unknown power. The Universe was filled with all sorts of disagreeable things. Hela's reasoning, for the moment, probably made more sense. The Arclayht Master did not offer his counter hypothesis. There did not seem to be a threat. Yet.
Silas and Guillaume were surprisingly, sedate, if a little confounded and horrified. Only hours before, they'd overseen the sealing of Odin's tomb. Yet a shadow of that man stood here, in The Sovereign's drawing room. A cadaverous body, shrouded in funerary garb. Glassed over eyes glinted spectral light, inside that of a gilded skull.
“Indeed.” Stated Silas. “I'm somewhat familiar with your student.” Grinned. “Having first come across her at my own... Momentous, resurrection.”
The Green Witch shot the Robot Emperor a spiteful glare. It had been after that incident, Hela found herself placed under Oriole Amirjeen's full time tutelage. A powerful Arclayht could not be allowed to wander about untrained. “You got a wife out of the encounter, my Lord.” Responded Hela gritting her perfect little white teeth. “And reclaimed your power.”
“Girl,” said Silas. “If I'd had my way, you'd be my personal witch.” He laughed. “But the Falcanians won't give me an Arclayht. Too much power.”
Guillaume interjected. “Silas, I think we've bigger concerns. Such as, what is to become of Odin?” He'd managed to keep what took place at the tomb secret, at least for the moment. “Do you wish a life here on Fountainhead, my friend?”
Again, the lag and metallike echo. “Not Odin. Not anymore...” The skull eyed both his friends. “This world is literally, and metaphorically yours, not mine. I do not belong here. A century, lost in darkness of space, changes a man.” The skull almost laughed. “In more ways than one.” He nodded at Hela. “This lovely Green Witch suggested to her captain that I go away with them.”
“Imogen, has a fancy, for outcasts and oddities.” Agreed Oriole.
“So, that's it?” Guillaume asked. “You wake up, only to leave?”
“It is best.”
“What about Guinevere?”
“She is not to see me. Let Guinevere and the Universe, think I lay in that tomb.”
Silas placed a caring hand on Guillaume's shoulder. “He's right, Gee.”
“Very well.” The Sovereign relented. “I expect you to remain in contact, Odin.”
“Not Odin.” Replied the skull. “Do the Budjah still exist?”
“They do.” Hela answered.
“I am, Charon.” Said the gilded skull.
Guillaume LaSalle, Sovereign of the Fountainhead Conglomerate, watched from his balcony as the RSI Sword of Lightning, departed. Someday, he and Silas Cumberbatch more than likely would come to blows. Yet not tonight. Guillaume had been very glad to have the Robot Emperor be here and witness with him, their long thought dead King, rise from his grave.