DIVA/WISP: Pureheart and the Shadow Queen #3

deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 05:40:13 PST 2019

The DiVerse's first 2019 entry, in what is fast becoming my favorite thread; 
perhaps because it deals with so many personal things for which I have no other 
outlet.  Hopefully it still entertains!


Pureheart and the Shadow Queen: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle 
by Felix 



"So you know where we're going, then?" Pureheart inquired as casually as
possible, once the initial flurry of activity had died down and the captain had
turned away from her terminal.

"Very nearly."  Captain Calamity took her seat, gesturing with one hand toward
the left viewscreen as she manipulated the controls, bringing up a starmap -
most of it inky black with dotted arrows and strange symbols scattered across
it.  "Though powerful, our enemies in this case haven't displayed any real
finesse, and so based on their trajectories-"  She gestured again, and the
dotted lines glowed brightly.  "-we've been able to narrow down some likely
points of origin in the Deep Void."  This time the symbols glowed.

Pureheart squinted.  "... If I'm reading this right," she began slowly, "the
timing of these indicates a /moving/ origin."

The captain nodded firmly.  "A good eye you have.  Alas, our first attempt at
assault met in failure; but Laurel can explain the matter in greater depth than

Laurel folded their hands, having already seated themselves.  "Celia, there's a
particular reason we need /you/ on this mission, and I want to get to it before
we go any further; if you don't mind, that is."  They smiled.  "There's still
time; we've no need to rush things."

Breathing in, then out, Pureheart set her jaw.  "Let's have it, then."

Laurel blinked, then giggled softly.  "So serious!  But I suppose it is a matter
of some import, after all.  Tell me, Celia," they began, a little more solemnly,
"do you know why you have the abilities you do?  The staff, the satellites, all
of it - have you ever pondered its origin, or tried to discover it for

There was a heavy silence, punctuated only by the soft tones from Thunder
Launcher's terminals.  Then: "All I know is that it doesn't make sense,"
Pureheart murmured quietly, half to herself.  "There's nothing in my past to
explain it; neither genetics nor environmental factors stand out in any
discernible way.  It's just so... /random/."

The captain shot Laurel a look; Laurel simply nodded.  "That's what I would
expect.  And you've never had any, mm, mysterious visitors?  No quiet voices out
of nowhere?"

Pureheart closed her eyes and dug back into memory for several long moments. 
"... Nothing comes to mind, no."

"Well, those sorts of manifestations are rare.  But what you have, Celia - it's
an incredible gift," Laurel continued, more of a smile on their face now.  "It's
not magic, though it's something akin to it.  We call it Whispertouch, after the
entity - the Whisper - that produces the effect."

"And it's normal for it to just... happen like this?"

"There are exceptions, but yes; it's completely normal to have 'the Touch' and
not know why."  Laurel let out a quiet sigh.  "But you should know this much:
when I say it's not magic, I mean that.  Whispertouch warps reality itself,
bending its laws in ways that magic doesn't - that it /can't/; so magic by
itself can't be counted on to do the job."

Pureheart's eyes narrowed slightly.  "You mean, when there's /another/ person
out there with the Touch.  You need an equivalent power to even have a chance."

Laurel reached out and took Pureheart's hand in theirs, holding it for a moment
before speaking, even more softly but quite distinctly.  "It's not just your
power that makes you necessary, Celia.  There are other beings with the Touch,
yes - but you have a /fierce/ guardian's heart that more than matches your
strength of arms."  They smiled, and there was a deep sadness behind it.  "That,
more than anything else, called to me - and it is that heart of yours I wish to
protect, as best I can.  As I /promised/."

Pureheart felt her eyes misting over, and blinked a few times; not trusting
herself to say anything, and feeling ashamed of her momentary doubts.

"Laurel is not alone in their sentiments, either," the captain added after the
silence began to grow a little too burdensome.  "Any friend of theirs is ours as
well, until we have reason to believe otherwise.  You'll have the full support
of the Lost Order - or at the very least all that we can provide out here -
while we're on this voyage together."  She smiled serenely.  "Shall I introduce
you to my crew, then?"

"Please do," Pureheart managed, thankful for the change of topic.

Captain Calamity stood, and gestured to the back of the room, where the bluish
light continued steadily pulsing from the Core's capsule.  "The heart of my
ship, its name, and my very first crewmember; Thunder Launcher himself, or as we
know him, T.L.  Ever has he been the voice of reason to counter my more
passionate nature."

"Not that you always listen," came the laughing reply from the man-mountain,
relayed through the bridge's systems.  The Core lifted one arm in greeting, his
gaze fixed on Pureheart even from within his fluid-filled capsule.  "But that's
the Captain's way, and her prerogative.  That aside, a pleasure to meet you,
lass!  You'll find no better ship to be on this side o' the galaxy, and I don't
say that just 'cause I'm plugged into it."  His face broke into a wide grin. 
"I've got reliable mates to keep the load off my shoulders, so if you ever need
a listenin' ear, just call for me.  I never sleep."

Pureheart brightened, finding the Core's joviality quite infectious.  "I will
definitely keep that in mind; thank you, T.L."

T.L. smiled and closed his eyes again, and the Captain turned to gesture to one
of the terminals where the serious-looking woman stood.  "Allow me to introduce
our chief engineer, and a most experienced huntress as well; Belisama Dinistrio,
who joined my crew from a world at war."

"There was little left for me there," the woman clarified in those same
synthesized tones, offering a hand.  Pureheart quickly rose and took it in hers,
feeling the warm, steady grip and for the first time looking into a pair of
amber eyes flecked with gold - a surprising amount of gold, actually.  "Call me
'Bell', if you prefer; it is rather less trouble."  She let go, a little smile
on her lips.  "Your arrival is most timely, as no one else is a suitable
candidate for my catapult and Laurel has told me you have much experience with

Pureheart made a nervous little 'eh?' sound, suddenly recalling the countless
times she'd been unceremoniously tossed off the deck of a Viverdean corvette.

Bell must have noticed her dismay, the smile curling up a little more.  "Rest
assured, this one is custom-built for you, not merely a repurposed drone
launcher.  No doubt you will find the Thunder Launcher's facilities much more to
your personal taste, whether we are at rest or in the midst of conflict;
tinkering and making adjustments both provide me a great deal of satisfaction,
so you need only ask if anything is not to your liking."

"Well, that's good to hear," Pureheart began, her obvious relief drawing a smile
from both Laurel and the captain.  "Do you think we'll have time to give it a
test run before we arrive at... wherever it is we're going?"

Bell shrugged.  "I have not calculated the route precisely.  Captain?"

"Time enough for that and more, I should say," Captain Calamity returned
lightly, eyeing the viewscreens briefly.  "But before you go running off, I've
yet to finish the introductions.  This is my medical officer, overseer of the
Thunder Launcher's defensive functions and a superb barrier mage as well; Dr.
Denver Wright."

The doctor turned from his terminal - and as he did, there was a quiet humming
sound for a moment, and the rustling of cloth as his right sleeve bulked out. 
"Protection in all forms is my specialty," he began in the same gruff tone he'd
used before, extending a translucent purple hand.  "Since you'll be here for a
while, I'd prefer you stop by the med bay prior to any gallivanting about. 
Always better when I have a good baseline to work with."

"I'll do just that," Pureheart promised, shaking with the doctor and finding his
grip warm and firm despite appearances.  "So much time in a stasis tank has
probably done /something/ to me I should have checked out."

"Quite.  But you're in good hands."

Pureheart paused, and couldn't keep herself from glancing down.

Dr. Wright chuckled quietly.  "Ever heard the phrase 'I'd give my right arm'? 
Well, you never know who's listening.  Taught me to be careful with my words."

She bit her lip softly.  "... was it worth it?"

"Oh, there's a little girl somewhere who'd think so, I'd imagine.  Not that
she'd know."  The doctor coughed quietly.  "Don't you worry about me, I worry
enough for this whole blasted carefree crew."  There was a hint of a smile
there, at least.  "I'll see you in the bay, then - so long as that sounds good
to you, Captain," he added, turning to address her.

"So be it, doctor," Captain Calamity returned with an even smile.  "As you say,
protection is your specialty.  Which leaves us one last introduction; or perhaps
I should say reintroduction in your case," she added, as Dr. Wright quietly
stepped off the bridge.

   What shall I say of Myriad?  We met
   Amidst the wreckage of an ancient hulk
   That held a flame of knowledge; long since snuff'd,
   Or so I thought.  But not this Goldenheart;
   No sullen ember, but a brilliant star
   To light the darkness, chart a course through it,
   And at the destination, start anew;
   Pursuing endlessly our hearts' desire.

Myriad folded their hands, delicate fingers interlacing with the soft whisper of
metal on metal, and directed their golden gaze toward Pureheart.

   My Captain doth exaggerate my charms,
   And speaketh not my flaws.  Yet thus she is;
   Forgiving, gracious, merciful, and just.
   A hundred beings - more, perhaps - survey'd
   The chamber where I slumber'd.  All but one
   Approach'd, to beg or threaten or coerce;
   But she - who valued /me/ above my wealth -
   Spoke words of welcome, and entrap'd my heart.

Pureheart gazed back at the silvery form and simply listened, almost entranced. 
She was starting to get the rhythm of the verse a little better, too.

   My loyalty should come as no surprise.
   For I have seen my Captain oft exceed
   Mere 'goodness', and attain true heroism;
   And doing so, she pulls her crew along,
   As inexorably as gravity.
   Thus are we all made better by her lead.

   (lightly) Now /you're/ the one exaggerating charms.

Myriad bowed, what Pureheart determined was a gesture of concession, and
returned to whatever they'd been working on previously.  The Captain turned to
her.  "Well then, Pureheart - I won't rush you, but I would suggest you use your
time wisely.  By my estimate, we have at least four days, and as many as seven,
before we arrive at our destination.  'Day' being an approximate term, mind

Pureheart stood a little straighter as she was addressed, the urge to salute
almost overpowering, but simply nodded.  "Understood, Captain.  If there is
anything you need of me, please let me know."

Captain Calamity's lips curled into a slight smile.  "Only what I ask of any who
come aboard: use your best judgment."

More information about the racc mailing list