Out of Toronto 4.0
Mellie's Failure or Deus Burns
Mellie dives deep through the collapsing pathways leading to the deep Resonance. Around her the node is flickering offline, and she feels the pain of fingers digging deep into her sides, clutching and holding onto her as the body surfed along with her.
Mellie screams at the pain as they fall, the resonance rippling around her, the pain of the injury, and the pain of the loss. She’s already lost, already failed, all she can do now is save her friend from Deus.
The man in the suit ripping into her sides shouldn’t be able to do this – not unless helped by a sprite.. or in a well. He shouldn’t be able to follow her into the Resonance.. unless… he is also a technomancer.
Suddenly they are in the space. The Resonance is dark and twisted. The entirety of creation shakes as beings more expansive than mountains and wispy as the mist clash together. A dark cloud of bile, hatred, betrayal and revenge, is enraged that it’s plans are failing, is now working on a new plan.. which is to extract it’s revenge.. using everything it can to rend Megara apart.
Megara is already straining with trying to hold Deus back, and is starting to falter. Mellie feels the gateway closing and the pain of the failure cuts through her, but she knows it can only be a only way trip, it had been the right choice. Neither ancient AI god notices the two tiny technomancers who appear in their midst.
Releasing Mellie and pushing her aside, the figure in the black cloak lets out a primeval roar. It’s avatar ripping asunder, that of an elf emerges – short spiked blond hair and 20 year old retro blue sunglasses, carrying an impossibly large sword lunges at Deus fueling his power with will and rage.
Dodger lives up to his name, moving unhumanly fast, beating back the waves of assault as he draws the attention towards the technomancers.
Mellie watches the scene carefully, staying hidden by staying small and silent for the moment and whispers to herself. What can kill an ancient evil tree of death? She feels the ache of loss and pain inside her growing and clenches her fist, looking down at it she realizes it is on fire and wiggles her fingers. Fire, thanks, Vertigo. She bares her teeth and strides toward the tree reaching her hand out not quite sure what will happen, but fire burns and she would light the entire Resonance with her dying corpse if she has to. She feels something growing heavy in her hand and nearing Deus she swings her arm at a branch as it flails in her direction. The sword of flames she now holds slices through the errant branch and the ashes are sucked away.
Watching Dodger for a moment as he cuts his way toward Meg, Mellie realizes she can still help Meg, distract Deus, let Dodger pull her out to safety. She swings the sword of fire at the branches as they sway in the turmoil of the Resonance.
As she nears her target a branch slices toward her, this time intentional. Deus sees her now. She pulls up her arm to shield herself, but what rises around her is a wall of fire, igniting the branch which merely grazes her as it turns to ash.
The world around them turns red and orange as it catches alight. Mellie feels a moment shift, the entire resonance suddenly lurches underneath her, as if she was caught in a sudden maelstrom. Deus is turning its focus from Megera to her.
She hears words reverberating through her body as reality itself confronts her. Pathetic mortal. I created you – I carved thousands of your kind apart and improved on your inefficient design.
Out of the corner of her eye, Mellie notices that Dodger is coalescing what he can of Megs, and is busy weaving her a shell to bind and protect her. The distraction is working – although it may cost Mellie her life. She already feels the link which she could have followed back to the matrix severed…for however short her life will be – it will be here in the resonance.
Mellie plants her feet firmly on the nothing of the Resonance as she feels the words run through her. She refuses to be cowed, to turn trembling from a god. She knows a god, she loves and was loved by a god. This is nothing. She can feel parts of her melting away, but lets them go. This moment is her last and she will sacrifice whatever she needs to save those she loves and to protect the Resonance, and the world.
You are done, you have depreciated to nothing, you are an old ghost of an old time. Your time has passed, the future is here and you are not good enough for it. As she speaks she’s shocked by her voice. Not her soft, smooth, accent-less tones of her real voice, instead a coarse, fire scorched, heavily accented voice, her meat body voice, and it shakes the Resonance.
She holds the sword of flames out to her side and growls at Deus pouring all of herself into it. Hold its attention any way possible. Keep it busy. Let them escape. They can live to fight again. She moves forward, the flames growing from the parts of her she leaves behind, licking at the tree, at the Resonance. She swings the sword for one of the largest branches.
Mellie feels more of herself ripping away, but her force of will is stronger. Slashing at the tree – lighting the darkness that engulfs her. Her light flickers, the darkness too strong.. too encompassing.
There is a glimmer… Mellie pushes herself through to realize that she’s not alone. Around her are other flickering lights. Some are attacking lesser branches in the darkness. Some are reaching to pull other intelligences which were caught in the maelstrom. And some are providing their energies and life to those fighting.
Mellie is not alone.
The battle is hard, and her flaming sword is extinguished in blackness, only to be replaced. Looking down she notices the shining sword which Dodger had wielded. The old elf is nowhere to be seen, but she can feel his presence encouraging her – guiding her as the tables slowly reverse.
Viper is suddenly there, his body coils around hers protectively. <!—- stands at her side, forming a mirrored sword to the elven one, matching her actions lashing out time and time again.
Mellie sucks in a breath and grips the sword with both hands, flames licking along it. As others pull its attention away, she moves in closer to the heart of the tree, her sword falls matched perfectly by <!— as they try to move without drawing the attention back. Mellie raises the sword for a strike at the trunk of the tree just as a branch moves to skewer her, <!— shoves her out of the way. The branch cracks its helmet, the air pouring out of the helmet crumbles the branch instantly and <!— smiles at Mellie. In words only a sprite could speak, “—>”. It chokes and gasps as the rest of the air from the suit pours out flowing over the tree creating dry, decaying deadwood. <!— flickers and derezzes.
Viper squeezes her tight and she feels a mask covering her face as she launches herself at the wound on Deus as it howls, slashing its branches wildly. She buries the sword deep into the dry wood and lets the flames from her hand engulf the sword and lighting a part of the enormous trunk on fire.
Mellie pulls the sword out and as she is about to strike again a branch falls from above crushing her. She feels all the parts of her dispersing. The flames of the remanents of her body lighting the ancient tree on fire. Let it burn. Let me burn. Let Deus burn. She feels herself sinking deeper, she is done, she is gone. It is over. At least she is. The rest will have to go on without her.
But it didn’t, Sir Percival is bowing, no not bowing. She can’t even see that it is Percival, something is wrong. “My lady, I believe you need this more than I.” No, she’s done. It is over. She feels herself coming back together, sinking down deeper. Percival, not Percival, it is a sprite, he smiles at her, it is Percival and he bows deeply and shatters, the pieces vanishing as she continues to sink deeper into the Resonance.
She floats, for a nanosecond or an eternity, she is ready to let herself float apart, become a part of everything. But the chainmail holds her together, and Viper wraps himself tight around her. Viper speaks but she doesn’t hear. Maybe her ears are lost.
She feels someone take her hand and put a sword in it. Mellie tries to look but she doesn’t seem to have eyes anymore either. Dodger. And Meg. Mellie feels a wave of relief wash over her, she can let the wave tear her apart now. She failed, but at least Meg survives thanks to Dodger.
She can feel the concern as they huddle together. She should feel joy rippling off them, they should be elated to be together. They should be happy. Why aren’t they happy. Why won’t they let her go. She’d done everything she could and she is done. The concern deepens, fear, worry. Deus survives. No, not that, or not just that. He had. Mellie knows with certainty. But fear of something else, and now panic. Viper tightens around her. She feels Meg tell Viper something and his fear and confusion.
Then she is engulfed. Maybe now it can be over. Instead she is suddenly back in the Matrix. Not the Deep, not the Resonance, just the Matrix. She is whole, she has all her parts, her hand still burns, the chainmail holds her together, Dodger’s sword lies beside her, Viper shifts and wraps himself around her arm, sliding up to lick her face. She curls up and cries.
She isn’t welcome in heaven.