Come child!........ Come!.....Your Vision awaits!...
The voices snaked liked fingers into the asphyxiating man's head clawing past the sorrow and the guilt.
In this Place of darkness....See...
He vaguely resented the intrusion; he had come out here to end his thinking - to end it all. He had taken so many lives for the assembly, some of them only guilty of expressing their opinions. At the beck and call of the corrupt and money mad sycophants of the Alliance politicians, he'd murdered in the name of freedom.
You will find your Light!...Feed on it.. And take it back to your wayward Alliance!....
The man in the exosuit convulsed, the muscles in his body stiffened like steel, every hidden vein bulged. A flash of images coursed across every neuron in his brain - hardcoding, re-sorting his pathways and subtly changing his physiology at the quantum level. His head lolled forward and his fingers crawled towards the life support panel. He absently watched his thumb depress the button and he passed into cryosleep.
With every purposeful exhale and inhale the woman's robes fluttered and billowed. The meditation ball was one of hundreds of self illumitated plastiglass globes suspended in zero-g at the core of the station. It was more usual for these areas to be adapted for EVA training and leisure facilities, but the Angelic Order of Hip 54692 had little use for such things. The place was devoted to the varied spiritual needs of the organisation, ritual, divination, meditation and study were all conducted here, free from distraction. The order was one of a handful of official religions recognised formally by the Alliance, and had held a timourous seat in the assembly for many years. It had gained many followers from all walks of humanity united by the need for peaceful contemplation and restitude. For the Angelic Order no spiritual path was ostracised; so for its elders it was a constant exertion to coordinate their aspirations. This woman, adrift within her little sanctuary, was meditating on this very subject.
Her job was complicated, too complex for her liking. She got up at the start of every standard cyle bleary eyed and fuzzy, gulps down a cup of local green tea and assembles her many layers of her formal attire around her. Then she picks up her lithium-graphene flexicomputer and clasps it round her wrist and races through the bustling halls of Brust station to grab as much time in the meditation globes as she can. It normally doesnt take long for her isolation to be disturbed and this time was no different. A mild prickling sensation from her flexi informs her of an incoming call. She sighs one last outbreath letting go of as much tension as she can and responds, "Yes elder Ellysia Jezne speaking". A young sounding and very excited voice responds; "Im very sorry to disturb your meditation elder but... something strange just high waked in to stationspace, we are bringing it in now". "Well? I may be an elder, yet im not a skilled Seer! Whats so strange about it?" It was Vincent, the station traffic monitor, good kid but a bit inexperienced."It s..s.. seems to be a Cryo pod!" stammered Vincent. Now that was interesting, she had never heard of a jump capable cryo pod. Elyssia reluctantly opened her eyes and responded "Ok Vincent, have it brought to cargo bay 33 ill be there as soon as possible". She opened the globe and pushed off for the exit, today might be a very interesting day to be a station commander.
"So what have we got?" Elder Elyssia enquired from the technician studying the cryo pod. "Well he's human, and hes still alive. But theres something strange about him. He is an Alliance affiliated pilot, but i cant get much information about him there's a very old and high level security restriction on his registry, at a guess he might be special ops. He's been in sleep for about fifty years, and the reanimation system has been damaged by micrometeorites" The man in the lab coat tapped the holodisplay on the pod and shook his head slowly "Im afraid this one's story is over". Elyssia walked over to examine the pod more closely, "So how on earth did he jump to the station?". "I have no Idea mam" the tec continued "Ive heard stories of objects disappearing and reappearing in strange places by solar electromagnetic wormholes - but thats never been soundly proven".
There was something profoundly alluring about the man encased within, Elyssia found that she could not take her eyes off it, she reached out tentatively and wiped the condensation off the viewport. Compelled to look at the unfortunate soul within to stare into his frosted face before saying a last prayer for him. When she looked at his face, she was stunned to see his eyes open. They glowed white hot and seemed to stare through her, through matter itself into her very inner being. Within those eyes there seemed to swirl all of time and space itself in and endless battle of Chaos and law. Those eyes were like the very engine of creation. Then he spoke to her. The guards at the door and the startled technician heard nothing, except her startled cry, and saw only her form collapse over the pod in unconscious embrace.
"Welcome back sister" the soft and measured voice gently urged Elyssia to wakefulness. She opened her eyes and looked around at the sparse and sleep-tinted medical center, then focused on the hooded and benevolent face of the divine sister sitting by the bed. "Uhhh.. How long?.. uhh... Wait the man in the-". "The man is safely stored in the vault. Are you well enough to walk?" the old lady interrupted quietly. Her name was Ava Gardena, a very senior figure in the Angelic Order and the type of person which effuses her surroundings with calm. Only a few know how old she is - very old even by galactic standards, and she is widely regarded as a wise seer within the order. "Yes I think so" Elyssia sat herself upright slowly and swung her shapely legs, off the bed one after the other. "We cant well have you meeting the council of divines in a medical gown now can we!" Ava passed her her robes and helped ease her upright, supporting her carefully and attentively assisting her with the many cords and tassles of the garment. They did it carefully and slowly in silence and when she was properly dressed, Elyssia looked down at her kind face "Oh sister!... It was...". The lady stopped her with a shush, reached up and smoothly wiped the tears gathering under her wide eyes "Oh my poor dear! all the joys and sorrows of this galaxy are so much for one person to bear". They embraced, Elyssia nestled her head into the folds of Ava's hood and cried like a child.
They were driven by one of the order's more luxurious groundcars the three kilometres from medical centre to the temple district. The district was located within the cavernous expanse incurved within the outer skin of the station, gravity at that shell level was slightly less than one G, so it was where most of the station's population lived and worked. The meeting room of the council of elders was in a tall vaulted building in the outer concourse of Brust station, it was reminiscent of the temples and churches of old Earth. It was very quiet and peaceful throughout the building as noise cancellation devices were hidden in surreptitious places to phase out the constant bustle of the ward outside. The temple's achitecture was designed to reverberate in a way that speakers could be heard by their entire congregation yet whispered prayers and evocations would remain private. Ava held Elyssias shaking hands throughout the whole journey and up the steps of the temple. Once inside the guards ushered them into the private elevator which ran up to the meeting room that nestled high up within the spire.
The elevator doors slid aside to present a large octagonal room with stained plexiglass windows that displayed representations of the events and people in the order's diverse heritage. On the far side at floor level was a large semicircle of memory gel cushioning where three figures sat dressed in the standard robes of the order but wildly differing headgear. The lady on the right was wearing a dark transparent veil with a large feathered head dress of many vibrant colours and beaded tassles covering her ears. The bearded man on the left wore a tassled hat like an upturned cup decorated with the ornate animated forms of ancient dragons and other mystical creatures. The man in the middle had an entirely shaven head except for a holographic star that pulsated with a slow glow on his forehead. His eyes were closed but had a fine filigreed representation of them on his lids.
He beckoned the two visitors forward with a gentle wave and started to speak in a low absent drawl, "We are pleased you have recovered your ordeal elder Elyssia" as soon as he finished the lady in the veil started "The auguries did not warn us of this confluence, it was most unexpected". The bearded man smiled and asked "We were told of the circumstances regarding the man's recovery, if you can-"he paused a to glance at his companions "Tell us of your experience, we are most intrigued"
Elyssia took one step forward and took a slight breath, then she started to speak "When i looked at his face he opened his eyes. They glowed like stars, ive never seen anything like it..." her voice cracked and faltered, Ava stepped forward and clasped her left hand "Its alright dear.. speak" she murmured reassuringly. "he spoke to me..it was like he was talking inside my head, it was many voices" At this the man in the middle opened his eyes revealing piercing green pupils flecked with blue "Look at me Elyssia, we have seen many things in this wide galaxy and heard many strange stories, we will not judge or be shocked". Elysia looked into those steady eyes and the world seemed to disolve around them, she told them everything.
She told them how the voices showed her dark images of an uncertain future: a corruption like a bloodstain spreading through human space, and a seething tentacled mass encroaching from without. They told her of the descent of human values into violence and greed as they fought amongst themselves oblivious of the impending peril. She recounted the confessions of the man himself, how the voices had named each innocent whose lives he had taken in the name of the Alliance; men, women and children. Then she expressed his wish for an alliance that stood for compassion as well as freedom.Finally she revealed the location where he started his endless sleep and his yearning to return to that place. And when she finished she could speak no more, her voice had utterly failed her.
There was silence in the room for a long minute, the council sat motionless and the bald man had closed his eyes once again. Abruptly the veiled woman produced a small bag and a black cloth from the folds of her robes, she laid it out in front of her with a flourish and whispered incantations, then emptied the bags contents on it with abandon. For a short time she sat murmuring something into her fluttering veil then, satisfied she nodded to the bearded man who watched on patiently. "So it has been decided by fate" he announced to the sisters "You will find a pilot of integrity who is loyal to the alliance, and you will travel with him to the location he imparted to you." The man with the painted eyes then added "Further it is the opinion of this council that it no longer serves humanity for us to be a bystander in the galactic political process. Upon your return we task you to assemble a collection of pilots - Exemplars if you will", he smiled enigmatticaly and continued "They will work with the Angelic order's security forces, spreading our organisation's influence and securing our voice within the assembly. This sect will be tasked with routing out the evil these voices have informed us of." He revealed those striking eyes again and looked squarely at Elysia "What say you?"
"I accept this task" Elysia croaked, Ava squeezed her hand and smiled proudly at her and without looking at the council she stated "This pilot you need? I think i know just the one"