Up There so High

What do you get when you have a space fanatic, a runaway princess and a bunch of miscreants? Well, you get the three E's; Explosions, Expletives and Enemies.
You may not laugh along with this story but you may sing (because the main space man is very much fond of that).

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49. The Promise

 

~The Promise~

~Skylar~

 

The Pantheon enclosed around her fingers, the warmth in her chest thrumming like a child playing with a set of drums. Her hand barely covered it; the rough cut form of dark purple strummed through with black. But it was there in her hand and she held the very freedom of her people.

It was in that moment that she registered a simple, selfish desire, the realisation that she was defeating The Miracle to rid herself of the endless misery that had followed her. To rid herself of the wary of running and always looking over her shoulder, the pure paranoia and the not knowing where home or freedom was.

In the forefront of her mind she knew that this selfish desire was the true reason, the first reason that popped into her mind of why she was doing this. She had to remind herself that she denied The Miracle the right of the Pantheon due to her own sense of morality, of knowing that it would be her planets undoing, but she had also guarded the secrets of humanity closer to her than that.

Her goals were three fold; to protect herself, to protect her planet, and to protect the very humanity that Everett represented. To protect Everett was another goal that she had hardly thought of, hardly allowed herself to indulge.

“Now,” Everett was whispering, his head close to hers as she leaned into the statue, “I think you stroke it and if you are worthy a shard will detach itself from it.”

Skylar would question him later on how and why he knew that but for now she tentatively ran her finger down the surface of the stone, warmth travelling down her hand like an open fire on a bitter day. At first she didn’t see anything happen but then, slowly and effortlessly, a small piece of the Pantheon unrolled from the main stone and dropped itself onto the bottom of the statue.

“Now we can leave it here and the Pantheon won’t be entirely destroyed if it ever comes to that.” Everett’s voice was close to her ear, cold when it would usually be warm.

“No,” Skylar whispered back, hesitation beginning to creep in, “Not here, not in this statue.” She straightened and met the eyes of her companions, “I can’t trust my mother to come here and seek it out, she’s too close. It will be found when someone worthy comes along, someone who can be trusted with the planet's regrowth."

Taking the stone was a risk that they had to take and this slither of stone was their preservation. She picked up the small piece of Pantheon in her other hand and wound her way around to the first row. The last statue, the furthest away from the door, was a woman creature, her hands pointed into claws. But she was beautiful and a warrior, which was shown in the armour she wore, and so Skylar opened that statue and placed the slither at the base. With the help of Reese, who had trailed after her, they both closed the statue and Skylar straightened.

“Now I am going to shove this down the Miracle’s throat and see what happens,” Skylar knew that seventy percent of her was joking but she also knew that the other thirty percent was ruthless enough to try it, just to rid herself of all the conflict that The Miracle represented.

“Let’s plan what we are going to do first,” Everett joked and the three of them made their way back to the door, Skylar transferring the Pantheon from her bloodied hand in order to allow them into the world once more.

The cold served as a reminder for what they were going to face, a shock was coming and they had to be prepared for it. The Pantheon was a step in that preparation, but what they couldn’t be prepared for, no matter how they tried, was the sight of Fitz by the door of the Aglaia staring down at the ladder.

“How you doing Earthling?” He called down as he met the eyes of Everett. He was using one hand to support himself against the door and the other one, which had previously been shattered, was cradled to his chest. His eyes then swivelled to Reese’s and the girl was gone, her boots clattering against snow and then ladder rungs.

 

~Reese~

 

Fitz was there, standing and smiling. He was alright and alive and her body was acting before her mind could even order the action. Her feet were up the ladder and she was against him, both of them staggering back.

For a moment she savoured the feeling of skin beneath hers and the rapid fire of his heartbeat against her cheek. Then she drew back, gazing at the arm that didn’t wrap around her shoulders. It looked greyer compared to his normal Lich skin, but there were no cracks and the elbow better

“I am glad you are alright,” she breathed, not believing the circumstances.

“I told you that I would be,” Fitz said, smiling down at her, “Don’t you trust me?”

She looked down, knowing that she trusted him plenty but nothing could have prepared her for seeing him nearly killed, “I don’t want a repeat of last time, you didn’t see the way you were flung against the wall. You folded and shattered right in front of me and I–“ she couldn’t describe it, couldn’t unearth the feelings that had been rewound and replayed ever since that moment.

“I know,” he tried to joke, saying how he felt it never mind saw it. Reese was going to slap him, just lightly, for how he was trying to make them both feel better and failing.

Then she saw it, a brief and red vision of a possibility. The future was made up of thousands of possibilities and as a Seer she could judge which ones were more than likely to come true, although her judgements weren’t entirely accurate. This time however, she was active in this possibility and so she looked up into the red eyes of Fitz, the warm light of the Aglaia reflecting off the messy silver hair, and she leaned up. Her centre of gravity shifted as she leaned on her tiptoes, her mind wavering between one possibility and the next, one consequence and the next, and she pressed her lips to Fitz’s.

Quickly she leaned back, scared of his reaction, and when she opened her eyes she found his still shut. They had walked back to the wall for more leverage and one arm was braced across her back for security. Fitz opened his eyes, his lips parted as he tried to come up with some words and when he failed to do even that he leaned closer and kissed her again.

When they parted they were both bruised and sated because they were both safe. They walked to the med bay where Reese sat on the edge of a cot and let her hands wander over Fitz’s skin just to make sure that he was safe and well. They discussed what they felt about the other and what would happen now that the revelation was in the open.

“I will protect you with my life,” Reese had promised, “so that bastard never lays a hand on you again. I swear it.”

“With your powers I trust you,” he laughed, combing a hand through her red strands. She was no longer the half-cocked girl that she had been when she met Skylar, having come to the Moracci for spiritual guidance. That part of her life, of running from herself and her feelings, was over and this new chapter could take its place.

“And with your powers I trust you to keep yourself safe, that means more armour, more weapons and less reckless decisions.” Reese was adamant in her words and hugged the man close, just to feel the blood coursing through his veins.

His life and safety was imperative to her, more than her own and that didn’t worry her.

“Maybe you guys should pinky swear?” Everett voiced from where he was leaned against the door frame. When Reese glared at him he simply raised his eyebrows in reply and she was reminded about the time when she had interrupted his and Skylar’s moment. Maybe she deserved the interruption.

“What’s a pinky swear?” Fitz asked because he was Fitz and wanted to indulge the Earthling.

“Well it’s the most sacred of promises, completely unbreakable, and you wrap your little finger around another person’s. Then that promise is sealed for life.” He demonstrated it on himself, both of his little fingers crossed over themselves.

“Maybe we should ‘pinky promise’ then,” Fitz said to her and they crossed their fingers, smiling at each other as they did so.

“Now, Skylar is having a bit of a break down in the cockpit so I kind of need your help.” Everett encouraged and walked out of the med bay, expecting them to follow.

Skylar was sat in the passenger seat with the Pantheon on the dashboard. They were hovering in the air beside Mount Enta and beyond the windscreen a white world presented the stone as a stark and beautiful entity.

“Is that?” Fitz asked as he let go of Reese’s hand and made his way over to the stone.

“It is,” Skylar replied, looking up briefly at him, “It’s nice to see you well Fitz.”

Fitz nodded and lounged into the driver’s seat looking wary and older than his age.

"Of course he's alright," Everett interjected, leaning on Fitz, "He'll just take it easy for a couple of days and he'll be as right as rain."

Fitz rolled his eyes, "I bet you want to just dive back into that palace and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine?”

“But we can’t,” Skylar sighed, “We need a plan.”

They all agreed and after catching Fitz up with what had happened while he was unconscious, they sat in a rough square with Reese and Everett on the floor. As they wondered on different ways to approach The Miracle again, and to get the Pantheon close enough to see if it had an effect, Fitz lifted a hand to the radio and turned the dial.

Reese knew that the words would be foreign to Everett and decipherable to the rest of them. Even so the channels weren’t normal, the voices grittier and that of a Goon. Fitz not only had the main radio channels, but the background ones of the organizations within Zeld and the mix of voices when Fitz turned the dial was disconcerting.

“Know now, members of Zeld that your resistance is futile, your siege of the Palace may have made us retreat but we are not gone. We are never gone.” The Goon’s message relayed back to them and Skylar translated for Everett’s benefit.

“The Miracle may be kind but their patience wears thin, your old royalty will not be treated kindly, and your Pantheon will not be handled with care. You will make us destroy you, your planet and all you hold dear. We will not be merciful.”

The background channels were all in code, numbers and described symbols that didn’t make sense to anyone but Fitz. “The Miracle is not in the Palace, Kingsley gone, Goons in streets and palace,” he translated.

“If the Miracle isn’t in the Palace then where would it go?” Everett thought aloud.

There could have been a place on Zeld, a hide out that they had occupied, anywhere in the planet but somewhere where they could observe and attack spontaneously.

“They will be on their ship,” Skylar spoke, “The Miracle feels safer on its ship but its where that ship is that’s the difficult thing.”

“It’ll have the same technology as the Aglaia, if not better, so spotting it in plain sight is out of the question.” Fitz sighed, pausing to listen to another string of coded dialogue.

“The Miracle is an octopus so either the location or the ship will have to have water, she also likes big open spaces. That should narrow it down a little.” Everett replied, relying on the input from the Knowledge. Reese hadn’t been happy that he had accepted something and not told them but she couldn’t stop him from using it or stop him from getting it in the first place. That part of history was gone and buried and she hadn’t saw it. She had to deal with that.

Then Fitz was paling next to her, his red eyes growing grave as he turned to them and relayed the message. “Avoid the streets, repeat avoid the streets. Goons are shooting stragglers and deserters of their regime. Stay safe, stage three.”

“What is stage three?” Everett asked quietly.

“I don’t know, must be a part of their plan.”

On the chair in front of her Skylar had shut her eyes and she had to clear her throat to speak. “Fitz can we put a message onto your radio channels?”

“Coded or decoded?” he asked and she affirmed the latter choice. Fitz nodded and pointed her over to a microphone, he turned the dial to the very end as a burst of static came over the speakers, the messages silent. “This is my personal channel, the one I use and broadcast to the other background channels.”

Skylar nodded and nervously wiped her hands on her shirt before picking up the microphone. She cleared her throat once more, closing her eyes before bringing the device to her lips.

“Hear me people of Zeld, hear me as your princess and acting Regent of this great country. I know of your defences against the Miracle and I congratulate you on your successes, mourn with you your dead and plead with you for our success. Everybody knows that The Miracle will not have our planet, our home. Everybody knows that together we can be the greatest defenders that a revolution can muster. I therefore call on every single one of you; every able man, woman, Powerful, Powerless and Creature.

The world may be unravelling, a war may be coming but we have not got this wrong; the future is in our hands and we may not come out of it unscathed but we will come out of it victorious. The Miracle is a Being of Chaos with an octopus form and powers of Consciousness and Water. Take out your weapons and bring out your wisdom and come together with your neighbours and your family. This is a call to arms and I beg of you to defend your home.

If you cannot defend then protect yourselves and stay safe, protect your children who will be the preservation of this planet.

Tell The Miracle that we are coming and we will not back down without a fight. We are coming. I am coming and I will not back down. I will survive and I will beat the enemy that insists on our conformity. We will make The Miracle’s world unravel with war and that is a promise.”

Skylar lifted her finger off of the button and turned to face Everett, purple meeting human amber eyes.

“You just quoted a song,” Everett laughed, “Such a mad, mad reckoning.
The world is unravelling.”

“Then let there be a reckoning.” Skylar breathed out and everybody knew that she meant every single word.

 

~

 

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