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Here it is! The season finale. I hope it was worth the wait. I really want to thank all of you for reading and offering your feedback. Now all that's left is to go back, do some editing, and finish adapting it for the podcast. Soon the wait shall be over!
         
Invicta's first mate spoke through the mic in her helmet, "Captain, get out. The enemy vessel is boarding as we speak. We have a shuttle on the way."   "No," she replied. Her rifle was aimed down the long corridor, her back to the airlock. The station was filled with green gas by now, wisping and swirling in the air. "They keep showing up. We've been running for too long. With all the sacrifices we've made, it's time to see some results. I'm not leaving till I kill one."   She heard an echo, a metallic bang that shot through the entire station. She tried to control her breathing. Gibraltar exited her suit, a black mass of tendrils rolling down her arm and perching itself on one of the canisters she used for cover.   The lights of the station dimmed, and flickered. Within moments, she saw it. It was faint, something barely noticeable, even to her trained eyes. She saw movement in the gas. What once flowed with perfect unpredictable motion, now gently danced to a different tune.   The fog drifted to the side, seemingly without reason. It was the only warning she'd get. On impulse, she aimed and fired. She heard the round connect, heard something drop to the floor, and then watched for the next sign of motion.   Another came, then another. She fired, but there were too many to shoot in such a short amount of time. She heard a whisper, a hiss in her ear that spoke, yet said nothing.   Gibraltar leaped from the canister, wrapped its tendrils firmly around the target's head, and tightened its grip as the sound of bent metal and cracking glass filled the corridor. Whatever Gibraltar attacked fell to the ground as Invicta continued to fire.   Invicta heard the whispers again, this time on both sides. She jumped up, Gibraltar returning to the breach in her suit. When she turned to run away, she stopped mid stride. The hole in her suit was open for too long. It gave them a way in.   "No." She said. She wasn't on the station anymore. She was standing on a street of solid gold paved in a field of dense white clouds. The metal hull was gone, replaced with a light blue sky.   Invicta spun around, her bare skin bathed in golden light. She felt the warmth and looked down to find the verdant hue of her skin was gone. She wore a white dress that flowed in the gentle breeze. She saw the source of the light, a pearly gate not far from where she stood.   "Not here," she whispered. She felt the urge to run, to escape this place and seek shelter. She shouted, slamming her eyes shut, "Get out of my head."   When she opened her eyes she saw them, a multitude of humanoid shapes standing in a circle around her. They had no faces, but she could tell they were smiling. Their thin, sleek bodies were colored black as night. The vision neared its end as one of them stepped forward. The streets of gold and white clouds faded back to the metal hull of the station.   She heard an alarm in the distance, growing louder as she drifted back to reality. She heard large metal doors opening behind her. The figure in front of her kicked her in the chest. She felt herself floating, the blue sky fading into an endless field of stars.   She didn't panic when she realized her fate. They kicked her out of the airlock. She watched the station get smaller and smaller as she tumbled through space. She couldn't tell which way was up.   Gibraltar maintained the seal on her suit as it forced more of its body out into the void. It released the slightest puff of the chlorine gas from within, an attempt to stop the spinning.     When she stopped moving, she could see the station clearly. A massive black ship hovered over it. The ship was angled, jagged, as if it were a knife ready to cleave through anything that stood in its way.   Tethers slithered from its frame and anchored the vessel to the station. It was their idea of boarding. Invicta smiled at the sight. The bodies on the station were tainted now, just like hers. She stunted their growth, their time now wasted.   She told her crew "No." Such a demand is the perfect test for one's crew. Loyalty is hard to come by. When the shuttle appeared to pick her up, she laughed.   She'll yell, of course, chastise them for disobeying her orders. They'll know she doesn't mean a word of it, for she'll be doing it with the biggest smile she can muster.    
    Caydie opened her eyes and promptly panicked the moment she realized she didn't know where she was. She shot up from the metal floor, whimpering.   Mute sat on the opposite side of the ship, and stood up when he heard her. "Caydie? It's okay."   Caydie took in her surroundings as her heart rate slowed. "A ship?"   "Yeah, an earth ship too."   "How?" She asked. She stared with wide eyes as Mute filled her in. Questions formed quicker than he could answer them. Why would an exile save her? Why stay behind? She chose to ask the most important question of all, "Where are we going?"   Mute smiled. "Home. I've heard stories, but never thought I'd actually go there. The ship is just flying itself. I've never seen an autopilot work like this."   "Earth tech is special," she said, crossing her legs and fidgeting with her fingers. "Thanks for carrying me. Sorry I got sick."   Mute shook his head, "Sorry? It wasn't your fault."   She nodded but didn't reply. It took several moments of silence for Mute to speak, "So how long does this take?"   "No idea. How long have we been traveling?"   "I… well I don't really know. A couple days at least." He said.   Their conversation ended when an electronic voice rang out from the on board computer, "prepare for warp drive activation."   "This thing has a warp drive?" Caydie said, standing and rushing to the cockpit.   Mute followed behind as he spoke, "It hasn't gone to warp at all since we left."   Caydie smiled and nodded. "Distance matters in a ship this small. It'd be a waste of power. We probably couldn't sustain warp for more than a few minutes before running out of air."   "What does that mean?" He asked.   Caydie jumped into the pilot's chair, scanning the screens as she strapped herself in. "It means we're minutes away from Safeharbor. Buckle up."   Mute sat in the chair beside her and strapped in as well. "I've never done this before."   "Don't worry. We'll be fine."   The ship's lights flashed, and darkness followed, the last thing they could see was the hull of the vessel warping. They heard the sound of metal bending as the hull fought against the strain.   After a few minutes, the ship stopped. The lights flickered back on and the cockpit display activated, revealing the view from outside the ship. Caydie could already feel the tears welling in her eyes.   Mute simply stared as the red planet grew with every passing second. His attention was drawn to a blinking yellow light on the comms panel. "Are we being hailed?"     Caydie caught the sight of a massive vessel hovering over where the three colonies should. A dreadnought. "That's new."   She pressed a button and a voice spoke on the intercom, "Unidentified vessel, this is admiral Thrace of The SVN Tudor. You're in occupied space. State your business or I'm gonna test out that really big gun over there."   Caydie beamed, her voice soft and shuddering as she gave a reply. "Miranda?"   Silence followed, only broken by Caydie's labored breathing. Finally, the voice answered in disbelief, "Caydie?"   "I didn't know you were made admiral. Congratulations."   Miranda's voice broke as she tried to form the words, "You died. How can you be here?"   "It's a long story. Can we land? I'll tell you all about it."   "Of course, we'll take over from here and guide you in. I'll make sure you get a warm welcome."     "You know her?" Mute asked.   Caydie wiped away tears as she replied, "She's the one who taught me how to fly."     They touched down and Caydie's eyes went wide when she saw the crowd gathered around the landing pad. Mute hugged the outside of the ship as she waved. She stepped out of the shuttle and into the blue sunlight. Autumn looked so different, but it was somehow still the same.   She caught the sight of her father and sobbed. "Daddy?" He stared in awe, unable to speak through tears of his own. Caydie held out her hand. "I'm home."   He wrapped his arms around her. He took in a sharp breath, the skin to skin contact hurting just as much as it brought him joy.   Caydie scanned the crowed as they cheered. She locked eyes with old friends and feared the worst when she realized some were missing.   Her smile faded when all fell silent. Everyone's attention shifted from Caydie as The Archivist emerged from the crowd. It was a long walk from the archive. He must have been running. She beamed at him as he approached. His hands shook and flailed, unsure of what to do, or where to be.   Caydie nodded and stepped forward, embracing his metal frame and squeezing him tight. "I missed you, Lorne." She whispered.   "Miss Caydie," he began, pulling away, so he could see her face. He gave her a soft pat on her shoulders. "Welcome home."



Cover image: by IlhamZaini

Comments

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6 Apr, 2021 05:30

Excellent.   I'm getting Destiny 2 'Darkness' vibes from these... well since they seem to have a connection to 'hell' I'm gonna call them Demons. And it does seem like I was right that the chlorine flood was a means for Invicta to stop a form of zombie apocalypse.   Did I interpret this right that the Demons are invisible? I'd say they had a purely gaseous form except for the fact that you describe thuds and clangs when they impact with physical objects.   The pearly gates hallucination raises a few questions. First off, if it's the sort of hallucination that shows you what you expect to see, does Invicta beleive in Heaven? if it's the sort of vision that shows something that's real, do the pearly gates really exist? Is it purely digital? The only other option I can think of is that the image is from the memories or imaginations of the Demons, designed to lull folks into false security. either way, it seems way more likely to me now that heaven is a real, physical place in this universe, which is an odd thought, since it kinda crosses the fantasy and sci-fi sides of my brain. I mean, I was thinking there would be a real place that folks would CALL heaven, but I was expecting more geometric metal walls and neon lines...

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
6 Apr, 2021 05:52

Ooo ok so here we go. The entities are cloaked, one of the only forms of cloaking ever encountered. They will be the next article that begins season two. More will be revealed then. No zombies though. I played that card already. Similar, but... hmmm. Ok. Sneak peak. Three pieces of info for speculation.     1. They have been called demons by other species, but the exiles refer to them as sin eaters. Now if other species have a name for them... they cant be from earth.   2. The hallucinations are tied to one's past due to the chemical reaction in the brain but it doesnt have to be literal. That pearly Gate illusion can mean anything. She says not here for a reason, but it's not because she's physically been there.   3. Last but not least, the sin eaters are inspired by the necromongers from the chronicles of riddick.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
6 Apr, 2021 05:56

I will also add, theywill have scientific backing. No fantasy here.

6 Apr, 2021 08:22

Okay, so it's more like showing Invicta the pearly gates because she's not yet ready to die or something; she still has work to do, so the hallucinations show her what she fears most; that is, not being able to continue. or some such thing. Also I find it interesting that in the vision Invicta is wearing a white dress; I can hardly imagine her wearing something like that.   'sin eaters' is an interesting way to put it. It implies that they are, much like the outcasts, still doing what they believe is best for humanity, even if it pushes themselves beyond redemption. or, at least, at one point they did, and it turned them into something else.   I am not familiar with the chronicles of Riddick. gonna have to look that one up on google...   Interesting. I assume that you mean the sin eaters are on a quest to 'convert' all life to their cause in some way or another. can't just be killing everything like the Necromongers because Invicta would have just been helping them by flooding the station with poisonous gas. They have to be 'compatible' somehow, like Invicta wasn't; which seems like the only reason she survived.   Oh and also I'm glad the size of the archivist's ego didn't prevent him from squeezing out the door to meet caydie. (;   Anyway, this story seems to be going in an interesting direction; there are stories where humans are special, and those where they are simply another race in a huge galactic community. You seem to be slowly steering us in the direction of "what if humans were the chosen ones, and we just totally messed everything up by accident anyway?"

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
6 Apr, 2021 17:29

YOURE SO CLOSE OMG. I may have revealed to much on the sin eaters... lol. A few minor tweaks and you'd be damn near spot on. Really think about their name. Why would the exiles call them that?     My absolute favorite part of this world is how different people interpret it. I want to make headcanon as credible as canon if that makes sense. I just love that and seek to give every interpretation on humanity and earth evidence that it could be true. Because so much is centered on bias and perspective, I really try to ponder as many different interpretations as I can, using the feedback I get to add to the ever growing list of theories. In many ways, you guys reading and filling the blanks with your interpretation helps steer the story of the world, so long as it fits the themes. I think this notion that they botched being the chosen one would be a wonderful thing to explore cause I dont think I've ever seen that.

6 Apr, 2021 09:31

Ooooh!!!! God thats interesting!! I've read the other comment and the fact that those who "broke into hell" are seemingly known by other species makes me wonder if those who broke into heaven did it with the guidance of extra-terrestrial beings?? (not gonna lie I really ma enjoying all of this biblical stuff, I've always been a huge fan of that!)   Also gosh Caydie made it home ;-; I'm so happy aaaaah, just. yeah. great stuff right there. oof. still so curious about gibraltar, and this last chapter raises so many questions- I'm dying to know more about this world (as always)!

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
6 Apr, 2021 17:40

Oooo yes indeed. The biblical side goes into the themes of hope and faith, which will be extremely important for the next season. This season was avery much about the world, the archivist, and Caydie. Season two is all about mouse and the wayfarers. Caydie's home, and its unlikely she's in a hurry to leave anytime soon after all.   Thanks so much! I love how everyone seems to enjoy this world and how literally everyone reading it focuses on different elements of the plot and interprets the world differently. Thanks for sticking with it thus far!

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
6 Apr, 2021 18:13

A happy ending to the season finale! This is so cool. Great job, as always! I don't even know where to start, except to say that this was definitely worth the wait. I'm blown away at how fast you work, and I'm so happy I stumbled across your worlds!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
6 Apr, 2021 19:17

I'm glad it was worth the wait! Thanks so much for the kind words. On the speed, that kind of goes back into the "state of mind" writer I am. It takes ages for me to work on somthing that doesnt feel ready. Now, if I'm ready to write it and have a clear picture of what's going on, I can churn out words like crazy. Not always a good thing lol it sucks being at the mercy of inspiration but work does get done quicker. XD ima take a break this week and actually read through a bunch of articles. Yours are on the lost for sure and I'm eager to continue reading the story! Till next time and again thanks so much!

7 Apr, 2021 15:27

Just an all-around amazing first season with a brilliantly satisfying (and yet enticing!) finale. I loved reading the comments as well, with speculations on the fate of Earth. I'm super excited to read about Mouse and the Wayfarers next season! Enjoy a well-deserved break and know we'll be waiting here to pick up again when you are ready.

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