deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Mon Jul 18 08:10:47 PDT 2016

That's right!  It's time once more for another foray into ALLCAPS-LAND for...

SYSTEMIC: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
by Colin Stokes


"Will there be beautiful women?"

John sighed a little.  "I'm /certain/ there will be a fair number of them, madam,"
he returned, with a long-suffering look back at his two companions.

After a little more discussion, Tieria had broken the connection to the Temple of
Fortune, and Rosewood and Hekel had manifested in the announcement hall as their
respective Avatars.  Rosewood came as a not-dissimilar 'Rose', albeit with
flame-red hair and a deep green pantsuit instead of her black hair and armor; the
purple eyes and Worldbreaker remained unchanged, though.

Hekel, for reasons known only to him (and perhaps to Rose, though she had only
rolled her eyes and sighed when asked) had made the transit as 'Violet', a dazzling
blonde lady dressed all in white - ankleboots, capris, sleeveless blouse,
wrist-length gloves - with a silver-tipped black baton and another beret, this one
all black with a silver horseshoe on the front.

John had requested a voice-only call with his contract of choice while they walked
back to his office, and was pleasantly surprised when the connection opened the
moment he stepped through his doorway.  Nightrose, the vessel of Captain Seraya
Shadowharper (the records were unclear on her last name), was rarely so quick to
find; a stroke of luck, this.

“Then I'm in for sure,” the captain's saucy voice sounded from the other end.  “My
girls have been wanting some new friends, and besides, I haven't been that deep in
Empire space since... gosh, probably since I first /got/ this ship.  I've learned
some new tricks since then!”  ('Oh, I'll /bet/ she has,' Violet mouthed.  Rose just
shook her head and sighed, again.)

Stroking his chin briefly, John nodded.  “Good, good.  How soon will you be ready
to depart, then?”

The captain laughed.  “Right now, if my guests are fine with a brief resupply stop
once they're on board!  My officers want to hear more about this little jaunt, of
course, but I just want to be underway already!  Talking can come /later/.”

John looked back at the other two to see if they had any further additions, and
Rose motioned to herself.  John nodded, and gestured to the callbox on his desk.

“Where are you currently positioned?” she asked.

“Oh hey, you're a pleasant change of pace,” the captain nearly purred.  “John's got
/such/ a dull voice sometimes.  Anyway, I'm docked at Mariana Station, above - oh,
whatever this rock is called, P-6772 or something.  I think the locals call it Eos
Tessera or something equally flowery.  You know the place?"

Rose smiled lightly.  "We're familiar with it, yes.  What bay are you in?"

There was another laugh over the channel.  "VIP 3, naturally.  Only the best for
Nightrose and my girls!"

Yes, and easier for House Vandre to spy on their most valuable transporter, Rose
didn't say.  Either Seraya didn't know, or she knew and didn't care; either way,
Rose wouldn't be the one to broach the subject.  "We'll be there momentarily."

"I'll look forward to your arrival, then.  Just the two of you."  And with the
standard disconnect chime, the channel closed.

“Well then, Mr. Polaris; I did say I didn't want to waste your time,” Rose began
with an air of finality.  “Thank you for your hospitality, and your willingness to
serve the Pantheon's purposes for the good of the universe.  Our contract has once
again been satisfied.”

“You can't imagine how delighted I am to hear that,” came the deadpan response.

Violet giggled, and spun on the toe of one boot, twirling her baton.  “Oh, /John/,
you needn't be so sad to see us go!  We'll be back before you know it~.”

The Polaris patriarch grimaced a little.  “I thought you might say that.”

Rose turned to empty air, put one hand over her mouth, and – as quietly as she
could manage - muttered a Word.

The air convulsed, visibly, like a perfectly polished sheet of metal struck a
mighty blow by some invisible hammer.  John staggered a little, the accompanying
wave of force physical and something more as well, as five glowing white points
winked into existence.  Worldbreaker started humming a bass note that set his teeth
rattling as each point drew a thick white line to its nearest neighbors, forming a
pentagon that grew larger and larger until it barely fit in his office.

Worldbreaker switched tones, higher now, and the pentagon's interior snapped to an
opaque, blinding white.  The pitch rose again, and above it John could hear the
muffled sounds of a space station aethergate room – and then see the room itself,
too, as the whiteness began to clear.

“Let's go, Violet,” Rose murmured quietly, and stepped through the pentagon, her
hammer's humming cutting off instantly.

Violet sashayed up to the pentagon, then turned over one shoulder, resting a hand
on her hip with a sly little smile.  “/Darling/.”

John said nothing in response to this obvious provocation, merely raising one
eyebrow in his are-you-serious face (it was becoming a sadly common expression).

The God of Deception giggled again.  “You /really/ need to relax, you know that~?” 
And she twirled through the portal, laughing all the way; at least until the
pentagon cut off the sounds of the other side, collapsing to nothingness with a
loud *bamf* and another, much smaller spacetime ripple.

The eldest Polaris sat down heavily in his executive chair, and sighed.  “Tell me
something I don't know.”

But fortunately for John, he was able to relax for the rest of the day – and the
next day, and the day after that – and for two whole months afterward, in fact. 
For his part in these particular events, though he didn't know it at the time, had
come to an end.

Not so the other players, however.

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