Flight of the Oracle
Chapter 2 - The Cost Was High
”Haka! ” The last soldier alive of all those who had been assigned to her detail screamed to bring his Mistress out of her shock. ”Damnit! ” His shout reverberated down the corridor as the fortified fortress shuddered around them. Part of Hakas mind was somewhat aware of it as the stench of death, blood, and the unique piquant of divine wrath filtered through her perceptions.
Somewhere out there, outside of the shield, her older sister Angel had died erecting, Chukwu himself hurled the full fury of his wrath upon the final bastion of the Alluran. Chukwu was the being that was believed by most sentient beings to actually be the one true God. Somehow, he had turned the humans against Haka and her kin.
For twenty-five thousand years, the Alluran race had slowly rebuilt their civilization after the last time Chukwu had tried to eliminate this perceived threat to his supremacy. Half-brothers! She mentally snorted while her body was still dazed. It might have been funny if it hadn been so tragic. Mother was captured and trapped in the Eye of Eidon, Angel was dead. The Alluran Imperium had fallen. Now was the time of Man.
Tired! Haka was so tired. But the soldier wouldn let her rest. She was three thousand years old, weary despite her appearance of physical youth. He was all of thirty-five. Very thirty-five. Grabbing her roughly by the collar Marcus swung his Lady Liege round and slammed her bodily up against the partially slagged metal of the base wall. With an almost surreal detachment, Haka watched one beefy hand pull back atop a powerful and well-formed arm.
”Snap out of it! ” Spittle and some small amount of blood from a trickling wound on Marcuss lip splattered across Hakas face as Marcus screamed one last time before slapping her face. The force of the blow snapped her head around to the side. It was stunning. And it did the trick. Blinking, Haka finally shook off the malaise that had gripped her as she felt first her mother, then her older sister blink out of the universe.
”Thank…. Thank you! ” She stuttered. Haka hadn stuttered since she was nine. It was on that first visit she had made to visit her Human father on Earth since she had left at the age of three.
”Focus Oracle! ” Damn that psychic link! Haka had never much cared for the penchant her kind had for linking so effortlessly with any old male who happened to be her soul mate. More than once she had wondered at how this young thing (young compared to her) could possibly be her soul mate. But that was why she had lived so long. The perfect mate intended for her by fate wasn born for over three thousand years after her. It was a pity that she would be gone soon, and he would be dead.
”Thats not going to happen! ” The guard shouted over his shoulder as he pulled her along behind her. ”With Angel gone the Allura will jump to you as soon as Chukwu executes your mother…, ” He grunted as the Oracle stumbled and he had to catch her and keep the weary woman from falling. How could such a being of Divinity and Grace be meant for him? The newly formed link between their panicked minds frantically sought to secure its proper place.
The Allura was the indestructible weapon of the Alluran. So long as one woman from that goddess-like species still lived, the Allura would be reincarnated. ”But it will kill me! ” His mistress panted. ”I never had my crystal heart removed. If I become host now I won be able to stop the reincarnation cycle. ” Marcus knew what that meant.
The Allura parasite…? Spirit…? Whatever it was, didn want to play second fiddle in a full-grown body with its own established consciousness. It preferred to be reborn in an infant body that it could mature to whatever stage of development suited it. Haka would be consumed in the fire of its rebirth unless he could interrupt the transmission from her mother by sending her across the divine divide.
”Im sending you to the other side. ” Haka faltered in her step at the news. That wasn surprising to Marcus.
”How? ” While the process of crossing over between the matter and antimatter halves of the universe was not known to most sentient species, the Alluran had invented the most stable way through. Stable for mortals that is; for Alluran there were sometimes unforeseen consequences. There were other ways as well, but there was no guarantee that she would arrive in the time or place where she intended.
”I was aiming for the Chronos Vault ” Marcus explained. ”If we can make it to the entrance in time… ” Yet even as he spoke both knew that it was too late. The planet was crumbling around them. The individuals inside this base were the only ones still alive out of this entire sector of space. Chukwus wrath had no bounds or morality.
”The dark energy reactor just blew. ” Massive explosions rocked the already unstable surroundings just moments after Oracle saw it happen. ”Weve lost the interdimensional bridge. ” Oracle closed her eyes and braced for the backlash of psionic energy that had been released and was about to run through her unshielded mind.
”Haka… ” Marcus just couldn give up on her. ”Im going to get you out of here. ” Shaking her head with her eyes closed she just wanted to let herself go, give up and accept the end of her entire species.
”If the dark matter containment for the tangible reactor fails the matter-antimatter reaction will obliterate everything within a sector. ” It had been so long since someone had called her by her given name and not by her title that Haka had forgotten what it was like to be a person and not a minor deity. ”The shockwave will blow through the next three levels of existence and tear at least one veil. ” Defeat coursed through her veins and begged her to succumb.
”We can still save you. The emergency transport…quickly…this way! ” Without waiting for her reply, Marcus was dragging Haka off in another direction while the universe burned down around her. Everything Haka had ever known in her life was ending. Even if they did survive, how could she go on?
”You don understand… ” Haka fought loose from his grip. ”If we transport directly to the other side, the explosion will be able to flow through our temporal wake and breakthrough after us. We would cause a catastrophic failure of the primary veil. ” Not intending to give up so easily, the guard grabbed the beautiful womans hand once again. ”Everything would end. Both halves of existence would die when the matter and antimatter universes collide. ”
”Then well transport to one of the alternate realities on this side. ” Oracle smiled at the thought.
”Mmmm…meet another you? ” She teased despite the morbid circumstances. She tried sounding sexy, something shed never mastered in over three-thousand years of life. But a little joke amid the soot and ashes was her only saving grace right now. ”Breaking the ultimate taboo and travel through alternate possible realities; or sudden and painful death? ” The sentence came out broken as the woman ran through the smoke and destruction. One of the routes her escort had chosen ended at a caved-in wall where molten hot rock oozed through the breach.
”Will he be able to follow us? ” Business as always, Marcus would not be distracted by levity as he backpedaled quickly to take another possible route.
”Theres no historical evidence that he has an interest in the alternates. But the only way to keep him from immediately following us is if we leave the antimatter half of existence. He can go anywhere on this side he wants. But Chukwu will have to return to Eiden and start out from the center for the other side. ” Haka snorted derisively. ”Some God! He can even transport himself between the two halves of reality. ”
”However… ” Her tired voice continued as the woman rested briefly against a wall. ”…No Alluran has ever left the two causal timelines that border the primary veil. Its the biggest taboo. ” Smoke stung her eyes and Haka hacked and coughed convulsively for a moment before continuing. ”I don even know if there are Alluran in the alternate realities. Mother would know, but shes the Allura. Shes the one who fixes the breaches caused by tampering with the timelines and the fabric of reality. ”
By the time the battered woman had finished the statement, they had reached the emergency transport room. Heat damage had disabled the locking plate and Marcus was already pulling the maintenance panel apart to work the override.
”What aren you telling me Haka? ” The voice was tired and hard. For the first time since the siege had begun, her guardsman was letting the frayed bits of his sanity show through with the roughened edge in his voice.
”The only place that he couldn follow us to at all is the Chronos Vault. It is a place outside of space and time. Chukwu can exist there. He can even conceive of the place. Its a remnant from a prior universe. A good idea of yours to go there. ” Sighing in frustration, Haka continued. ”But we still have the problem of the blast following us. ”
Shoulder deep in the mechanics of the wall access panel Marcus cursed, and then grunted in triumph. With a click and a hiss the door unlocked. Extricating himself from the innards of the base the guard joined Haka as she tugged on the manual lever to open the heavy blast-proof door.
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