Long Fall — Chapter 31

Biotech Legacy: Long Fall Saturday update, ahoy! Today, we’re continuing on from Thursday with Chapter 31: Infinite Grace, which is not the name of any piece of music, as far as I’m aware.

If you’re just joining Biotech Legacy: Long Fall, you can find all of the preceding chapters right here at the Oktopod Blog.

The previous novel, Biotech Legacy: Stars Rain Down, is currently available exclusively through Amazon.

Okee-dokee… let’s get enlightened!

Chapter 31
Infinite Grace

It began with a warm crackle like those first embers that lead eventually to a major inferno. Silence and darkness existed as an empty shell, the outer casing of a pill that instantly dissolved, delivering a powerful dose of light and life and awareness.

It splashed inside of Jack and soaked in, igniting every cell of his body until he too was the flame. He wanted to cry out in joy, rage, fear, but his voice no longer existed. There was only the singular brightness of being.

It was, he realized, the brightness of being Legacy.

The ancient starship once again stood whole and complete, the aching void within her filled by an Eireki soul. They were lock and key, expectation and realization brought together to become something more awesome and pure than its constituent parts.

Legacy floated in the darkness, drawn gently downward by the Garden’s nearby moon. Radiation washed over her hull like uncountable waves from endless distant shores—the stars, pulsars, and background energy of the universe itself—and she was a formidable light burning among them.

Her lone hollow-drive throbbed a complex rhythm that was the ever wandering song of its life, and as she examined it, the organ beamed love back at her. It swelled with energy which she felt suffusing her ancient flesh.

Filled with that energy, she bubbled over and sang, hearing the nearby moon sing back an instant later, but there wasn’t time for such rejoicing. All of her time had been spent in silence, and now there was none of it left to waste.

The Eireki soul within her watched avidly, one of ten thousand stars orbiting her own galactic core, but utterly unique among them. It was but small and alone, yet also so full of curiosity and will.

It burned with Eireki light and its own brightness magnified her own. She had grown dreamy and forgetful during her eternity of solitude, but now she was awake.

Legacy made her voice soft and spoke to the Eireki star inside her. “We must hurry, Jack Hernandez.”

He strobed with confusion and dismay until anger welled up inside him and dimmed the other lights. “I will never forgive you,” his spirit growled.

Her ten thousand voices absorbed the emotional impact, but its power nevertheless rocked her. She knew he could never forgive what she had done, but this was her only chance to remould what she had distorted.

“I know,” she said, “and you should not. But you must allow me to make some amends. There is no time.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You will.”

And he bravely prepared. The Eireki swelled in strength, and Legacy dove deep into his core. Her ten thousand voices sliced through the many diverse elements of his spirit, past memories and feelings, down and into the most fundamental drives which wove the tapestry of him together. There, she spread her wings and filled him with all that she’d cherished and held dear for so many lonesome eons.

It might have been too much, but she had faith. The Eireki of old could stand that much and more, and though this young Eireki was without practice, she could feel a strength in him that could not be toppled. It was a strength that defied reason.

And she had no choice but to clutch to her faith. If his strength wasn’t enough, all that the Eireki had been would die with her. All memory of her own kind, the Yuon Shien, would vanish like a spark in the night.

The imprinting wore on Legacy’s spirit but she would not give in. She concentrated and pushed on while the hollow-drive pulsed, the Eireki sang, and together they stoked a fire bright enough to challenge creation.

And then, like the subtle and exhausted end of a concerto, it was complete.

Legacy and the Eireki floated out in the bountiful light of the universe, once again relaxed, their energy levels drifting back down to normal. Their combined senses reach out in all directions and touched the moon, felt the pebbly and rough surface threaded through with a network of sharp crags.

In another moment, she heard the idiot cry of one of her flock approaching, a mindless automaton that only thinly pretended to live. It was the shuttle called Retriever, upon which her Donovan sailed.

She reached out to him and shook the thin link awake.

He greeted her and opened the connection wide, and she absorbed his recent memories. As always, much of his disordered mind was indecipherable to her, but the Eireki inside her understood. His curiosity grew hungry.

Jack needed to know more. He surfed the tumultuous sea of Legacy’s consciousness and touched the link. Through it, he tunneled directly into Marcus Donovan’s mind.

He instantly knew much about the man—his hopes and dreams; what he secretly despised about himself—but more importantly, Jack discovered that his brother was dead. Charlie had sacrificed himself to save the city he loved.

Jack’s gut filled with animal sadness wedded uneasily to towering pride. The two feelings each threatened to overwhelm the other and they battled until the vastness of Legacy swelled up to support him. She engulfed the unbearable weight of his sadness, and it capsized in her waves, then sank into the depths of her and was gone.

“This,” she said to him, “is what it means to be Eireki.”

With that, her light faded leaving only an empty darkness again. Jack sat alone with his palms on a formless floor, breathing evenly and gently awake. Acutely aware but detached, calm and momentarily free of any feeling but a crispness balanced ably on a razor’s edge.

The room’s light returned and he discovered himself sitting in the hangar where Felix waited, sleeping and healing within a cocoon. Kai looked at him sternly.

“Are you okay?” Kai asked. By his tone of voice, it wasn’t the first time he’d asked.

“Yeah,” Jack said. “I’m okay.” He sounded as if he didn’t quite believe it himself. “How long was I out?”

“I didn’t realize you were at first. You were silent and still, but… you’re often silent and still. Maybe five minutes.”

Jack slowly got to his feet and rubbed the back of his head. He felt as he used to after returning home from a long operation: at ease and eager to relax before the next call came.

“It felt like I was gone for an hour. I’m never gonna get used to any of this shit.”

“I don’t understand. What happened exactly?”

The question seemed oddly small and insignificant in the face of his experience, and Jack laughed. “I bonded with Legacy,” he said. “I don’t know if I could describe the rest… except… that my brother is gone.”

Pain throbbed behind his chest, gripped at his slowly beating heart, but it was a bandaged wound, not fresh nor tender the way it should be.

“How do you…”

“Donovan’s about to return from Earth, and I touched him through the link. Charlie died stopping a terrorist attack down there, and Donovan went to clean up the aftermath.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you,” Jack said. “But you don’t have to be. Charlie did something important, and that’s more than anyone could ask for. That’s all I want to remember right now.”

Kai nodded. “Understood,” he said. “So, are we still leaving? Do you have a plan?”

“No,” Jack said curtly. “I have work to do here. We have to prepare for the Nefrem.”

Coming up Tuesday, we’ll journey on through Chapter 32: Complex Messiah. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!


Copyright 2013. All rights (currently) reserved.


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