As his ship’s airlock closes behind him, silencing the shouts and the insane beat of his pursuers feet against the pavement, Saro stumbles towards the controls. For only a second, he smiles bitterly, thankful for the poor onboard lighting he had just weeks earlier demanded be improved. At least now he couldn’t see how much blood he was losing.
            Against the glow of the console in front of him, he checked his timer. Two minutes.
            They were pounding against the hull by the time his engines began warming up, the high-pitched whine of slowly building power just begging to be released filling the cabin. He couldn’t help but laugh at the dull resonating pounding sounds echoing around him. Equipped with nothing more than the most rudimentary of weapons and driven by little more than fear and spite, they could do nothing.
            “Trash,” he croaked, his breath still ragged and short from the escape, “Nothing more than trash to be disposed of.”
            Ninety seconds, and the engines roared to life, a white-hot scream that jammed Saro back into his seat and annihilated those who had dared to believe themselves capable of holding him back. He couldn’t hear their screams, nor could he see the brief instant where their faces twisted in pure terror, where they were stricken with the instinctual knowledge that death had come for them and could not be turned away. But he could feel them die, their split second of agony vibrating through some intangible part of himself as he gained speed, his small craft cutting up through the sky on a column of smoke.
            By the time the final thirty seconds began to tick by, Saro had left the uppermost bounds of the planet’s gravity. A small part of him wanted to wait, to turn the ship around and watch the last moments of his people, of his home, of everything he’d ever known. He wanted to see his revenge on the people that spurned him, see the might of the Creator’s last gift to his wayward people turned against them. He knew that by now the Solar Well, the core holding all the energy the Creator had left to sustain them, would be overheating, unable hold back the unimaginable power that would already be melting its way to terrible, incinerating freedom. Shining brightly as a star and burning just as hot, it would break down entirely in a matter of seconds, loosing the full force of its energy on the world and wiping it clean.
            Saro ignored that piece of himself. They were not worthy of such sentimentality. They were the toys of a foolish and arrogant god, cast aside by their very maker and disposed of by his greatest creation. This was their destiny, the inevitable end dealt to them by powers beyond even the Creator, and delivered by Saro’s own hand.
            Instead, as the final seconds for the rest of his kind slipped away, he forced himself to his feet and faced the key to his escape. The Whispers, as they filled his head with the designs for his craft, had referred to the device only as the Chaos Drive, a means to take great strides across the endless void of space in an instant. The energy required by this foreign technology was so immense that only the materials used in the containment field for the Solar Well could keep it in check—materials he was all too happy to take for himself. He placed his hand on the control panel, sparing one last thought for those he was leaving behind. They would burn, their ashes paving the way to his destiny.
            As he threw the switch to activate the Chaos Drive and reality itself bent and tore around him, he heard them. Deep within himself, he heard the collective voices of the Solarians in their final moment. They were crying out, not for him to show them mercy, but for their Creator to save them. He wished them nothing but pain.
             Then, all at once, reality rearranged itself, and the deafening sound of every warning siren and klaxon on the ship vibrated through his skull. He wanted to get back to the controls, but gravity had returned as well, smashing him into the ceiling as he plummeted, his ship screaming down through the atmosphere of an unknown world in a ball of flames. He strained against the forces pressing him down, but his body was too weak, and now he could feel every scrape and tear in his flesh again, the blood being forced out of his body by the pressure. Staring out the forward display, as clouds streaked by against a green sky, darkness began eating away at the corners of his vision. He clenched his fist, trying to fight it, trying to will himself to stand, to force his damnable ship to fly again, but all for naught. As body went numb and light faded from his eye, he heard the Whispers again, singing softly of the Queen and her bloody throne so far away.
            Through their song, he sees himself, standing on a world of ice and death. In the distance, a spire, black as night pierces the heavens. It is there that she waits, surrounded by what remained of  those that could not compare to her and sitting atop their bones. The Whispers are her call, her invitation to all those who may prove worthy of serving her sent out across the galaxy. Only those with the gift, those born able to tap into the powers of the Void that deny reason and reject explanation, can hear their tantalizing songs.
            When the Whispers had reached Saro, he was only a child. He could still remember playing in the fields outside the capital with the other children. They were passing around a ball when the headaches began, the feeling of something tearing and prying its way into his head overwhelming him and dropping him to his knees. Hylith tried to come closer and comfort him, but he could hear them in his head, each unintelligible word painting a picture of her body lifeless before his blood-stained hands, so he yelled at her to stay back. Siram, however, refused to listen to the warning. He thought it was all a joke, an act to get the ball. Saro tried to push him away, tried to run on legs that refused to obey him, but he knew somehow it was pointless. He clenched his eyes shut tight and screamed.
            When his eyes opened again, it was only him and the Creator. He could see the confusion and anguish on His face. The Creator took him and anointed him as his Apostle the next day, and the people praised him, called him things like “chosen” and “special.” No one would tell him where Siram had gone, though they didn’t need to, and Hylith could never bring herself to speak to him again. At the time, Saro couldn’t understand any of it, but when he asked the Creator why he was different, He only said, “Among all of my children, you are truly unique. Never forget that.”
            The Whispers call him back from the past, and he feels himself being pulled back across space and time to his physical body. More than that, however, he feels the Queen, her dead, hollow eyes fixed on him from atop her spire. There, she waits for him to prove himself more than a child, more than a blind follower of the light.

blog comments powered by Disqus