Throughout all of the new multiverse, the Heralds started spreading bringing the touch of the Goddesses and Gods to their world. Among all of those countless chosen avatars, only one was ever chosen by two Gods at once. Her name was Lysei Mirr.
Lysei happened to be born in the far regions of the Triangulum Galaxy, 2.3 million light years away from Earth; however, Lysei still shared the same genetic material as the far away humans of the blue planet. Lysei was born on the planet-ship Etheria which was part of a massive global evacuation mission sponsored by the global federal government to decrease the levels of overpopulation. 9 planet-ships have been deployed in that effort hosting one billion people inside each of the giant structures. Massive scale engineering was applied during almost a century to build and fully operate the new mechanical asters. The ships were spherical with giant thrusters built at six navigation point enabling the ship to move in virtually all direction with the added angles of the sliding structures of the thrusters. The outer layer was of a mirroring metal that helped provide additional solar energy to the ship. The inner side was formed of 15 layers and the void particle processor at the center of the inner layer. It was thanks to the discovery of Void particles that are spread throughout every single structure in the Universe and the design of operational ways to harvest the energy of that Void through Light interaction that it was possible to build those moon sized ships. They were fully constructed in space at different orbits, and the 9 billion people selected for this project were sent to their new homes in smaller spaceships. Those events happened six generations before Lysei was born, for her, those facts sounded like old stories from another reality that had nothing to do with hers. All Lysei ever knew was Etheria, and the giant infinity of space through which the planet-ship was sailing.
Lysei lived on the orange zone, the seventh layer counting from the center. When she turned 21, she officially started her community work. A highly bureaucratic system was in place in Etheria where every citizen is assigned to a specific job fitting her or his aptitudes when they reach the given age. When it was the case for Lysei, she was chosen to join the inner structure maintenance division. She had to move to the division’s quarter in the purple zone, the 12th layer.
In the headquarter of the Maintenance division, all newly assigned members were put through a training program to provide them with the last bits necessary to start this function that they will carry on for the rest of their active life. Lysei didn’t have to go through that program, she managed to get the highest scores possible in all the modules she took and was assigned a personal training before getting officially assigned to the division. While the entire new recruit had to spend three month preparing at the HQ, she was the first member of the division to ever join a team without passing through the official training.
Lysei was assigned to the Omega team, an elite force among the division who recently saw their oldest member retire, it was perfect for the command of the division as they wanted to introduce new blood to that team, and saw in Lysei the perfect candidate.
The first day she had to join the team, she got a bit late to their first official meeting as she still did not perfectly know her way around the purple layer between her housing and the HQ quarters. She got to the Omega room with her short silver hair still soaked from the shower she took beforehand. She looked at her reflection on the metal door; her clothes were a mess, and lost a lot of the cuteness she hoped her green and yellow jacket would bring. She could see her right golden eye, and her left one partially hidden by her floating luminous interface glass. Through that small square, she was connected to the local network and kept in track with her virtual presence by having notifications directly appear in her view field. She took a deep breath before pushing the button that enabled the metallic door to slide.
The first thing she could see of the inside was a large round metallic table; through her interface she could see a holographic projection detailing various technical blueprints of the inner structure of Etheria. As she entered the room, she finally got a sight of what she assumed were the members of the Omega team. The individuals were sitting around the table sporting the official orange and black uniform of the team, with the Greek letter omega as insignia on their chests. As Lysei was looking at the members, their IDs started showing up on her interface. First was Alice Stone, a 32 years old woman that specialized in AI personality engineering. She had jet black hair and fair skin, she seemed pretty young for her age, but the dark layers under her bright blue eyes suggested countless sleepless nights. She was responsible of managing the main AI: L.1.n.k that was controlling the inner machinery of Etheria. She was also the Omega team leader and Lysei’s superior. Sitting next to Alice was Bernard Reed, 62 years old with rare grey hair, and glasses hiding dark piercing eyes. He was the second in command and responsible of managing the team and setting assignments. Lysei would also have to answer to him. On the other side of the table were Samantha Lee and Albert grey who were both 25 and respectively assigned to field assignments, they were responsible for manually repairing the parts of Etheria that L.1.n.k couldn’t remotely manage to reach for a reason or another. The final member of the team only had his name revealed on the interface: Arthur Lars. Lysei took a good look at him, he seemed pretty young, no older than thirty, but had uncanny white hair with amber eyes; he also didn’t wear an interface. He calmly looked back at Lysei before directly speaking to her:
“You must be Lysei, our new team member, are you shocked that you couldn’t pull much information about me through that handy device of yours?” He asked with a smile. “Don’t worry, it’s totally normal, my position requires me to stay off the grid, I never have been very fond of the network anyway.”
“Don’t scare the rooky Arthur!” Alice responded before addressing Lysei. “I’m sorry about his behavior; Arthur has some antisocial tendencies and a complete disrespect for formal communication. We all welcome you to the Omega team. I personally vouched for you to join Omega after seeing your test results. I am sure you will be a major asset to us with your promising potential.”
“Thank you for your kind welcome commander Alice.” Lysei responded. “It is an honor to be assigned to a team as prestigious as Omega. I am really excited to get to know each of you and work alongside…”
Lysei was still mid-sentence when an alarm started ringing inside the HQ.
“I suggest the getting to know each other part to be adjourned Miss Mirr.” Bernard said standing up in response to the alarm. The others shortly followed his lead. “Sensors in the outside layer of Etheria detected a leakage of unknown inorganic matter within the ceiling buffer of Layer 15. Alice, do you think L.1.n.k can contain the substance before it leaks inside civilian quarters?”
“I already instructed the AI to reinforce the ceiling of layer 15, but I’m not sure if that would be enough, the best course of action is to send a squad to directly contain the unknown substance, or neutralize it if necessary. Samantha and Albert, as well as you Lysei will be appointed to the squad. You will wear protection suits due to the unknown risks related to the substance. You will use the diamond enforced containment vacuum to seal the unknown element. Understood?”
“Roger!” Samantha and Albert responded.
Lysei hesitated a little bit, it was her very first day and she felt a little bit scared to go on such a mission so soon, so she approached Alice.
“Commander Alice, do you think I am ready for a mission this advanced. I just joined Omega, and I am not sure I have enough experience…”
Lysei got cut by Alice before finishing her sentence.
“You have excellent adaptation and analysis skills; you are very efficient at using your interface for optimal information recalling. You have excellent physical aptitudes and you are a member of team Omega. I am pretty sure you are qualified, now be a dear and put your protection suit for the mission.”
Lysei blushed; the words of the commander got to her and boosted her confidence pushing away the weight of uncertainty she was feeling.
“Yes Ma’am!” She said before joining Samantha in the girl’s locker.
Once in the locker, she found that Samantha was already putting on her protection suit and started doing the same.
“You know you are lucky newbie.” Samantha casually said zipping tightly her protection suit. “I had to wait for almost a month for a real mission when I joined Omega. It’s not any day that we contain some alien stuff; this might be the discovery of a life time!”
“Aren’t you worried that this alien ‘stuff’ might be dangerous or contaminated by some deadly virus or something?” Lysei responded finishing putting on her suit.
“It is a possibility indeed, but I am fairly sure our suits and the diamond layer of the vacuum’s containment box can easily stop anything this stuff might be. Cheer up newbie! This will be cake for the three of us.”
Lysei wondered about why Arthur wasn’t assigned to this mission as well, then again, she didn’t know much about him or what his role within the Omega team was.
“Are you girls ready yet?” A voice said from outside the girl’s locker room.
“Almost Albert.” Samantha responded. “Don’t forget to put on your helmet newbie, you don’t wanna go catching them alien viruses now do you?” She said addressing Lysei with a foxy smile, then put on her helmet before leaving the locker room. Lysei proceeded to do the same joining Samantha and Albert in the debrief room.
“L.1.n.k will transport you through the tube to the closest exit pod in the ceiling of layer 15. Once there, your interfaces will point you toward the unknown substance leakage. Proceed to contain it as fast as possible and make sure you don’t leave any of it. The substance will be further analyzed by the Science division upon recovery.” Bernard said giving the squad their final instructions.
The three entered the transport pod that moved through the tube. The highly advanced system was put in place in order to enable the Maintenance division’s various teams to operate within the machinery of Etheria. Lysei was still shocked that she was on her way to contain an alien substance that could potentially be like nothing she ever imagined herself having to deal with. The fact that she was asked to act beyond her knowledge and skills made her feel unease and unadequate.
“What’s with the gloomy face new blood?” Albert asked. “You don’t have to worry with the two of us with you, right Sam?”
“That’s what I have been telling her, but she fears the substance to be deadly. Honey, there is nothing team Omega can’t deal with, you gotta believe in that!”
Lysei tried to pull out a smile to show some good faith, but she could only awkwardly grin.
“I believe you are right, I really hope you are…” She muffled.
Before anyone could bring more to the talk, the platform within the tube stopped, and the hatch opened. Few dim machinery lights exposed the intricate machinery of the last ceiling of Etheria. Lysei was amazed by such a work of human engineering; the fact that it was performed generations before she was even born made her feel proud of her ancestors. The coordinate of the substance showed up on her interface followed by the voice of Alice on her ear piece.
“Scan the perimeter, contain all the substance and see if there is need of repairs. Communicate your progress as you go through.”
“Roger that.” Samantha answered. “You heard the boss, let’s finish this up!”
The group moved following the directions on their interface. After a few minutes of navigating through the dense machinery, Samantha and Albert stopped shortly followed by Lysei. Samantha pointed her torch toward the higher region of the ceiling revealing their objective; viscous black goo that was hanging to a pipe.
“It doesn’t seem very threatening to me.” Albert said reacting to the sight of the alien goo.
“It might not look like much, but we better contain it without waiting further. Do you receive that boss?” Samantha added.
“Affirmative.” Alice answered through the ear piece. “Proceed with caution.”
“Yeah, yeah, we get it.” Albert said annoyed before strapping the vacuum to his back and proceeding to climb the pipes toward the one where the goo is stuck.
Samantha and Lysei followed him to the pipes and waited to see if he needed their help. Lysei was feeling unease, something about the goo seamed wrong, how it stuck and didn’t spill any further, it was almost like a lure. She tried to move toward the pipe, to scream out to Albert to come back, but felt something cold on her neck, like a drop of water. She immediately reach for the place where she felt the strange contact, but found nothing, no sign of water either. As she looked back toward Albert, she saw that he already took the vacuum and was pointing it at the goo. As he was going to start it however, the goo started moving.
“Start the vacuum Al! Now!” Samantha screamed, but Albert was startled by the sudden motion of the goo and couldn’t press the trigger, by then, the goo, stuck to his arm and started rolling around it gripping it tightly.
“It’s breaching my suit! Get it off me!! Someone!” Albert started screaming.
Samantha started climbing the pipes, but the goo quickly started entering the pores of Albert through the expose skin where the suit used to be. In a matter of seconds, the goo completely disappeared. Albert blacked out at that moment, just as Samantha reached him, and held him before he fell. With the help of Lysei they got him to the surface.
“Alice, what do we do now? The goo breached his suit and is in his system. We need to quarantine now!”
As Samantha said those words, Albert opened his eyes and started screaming in pain before exploding into grey dust in a burst that pushed back the two girls.
“What the…” Samantha started, but the dust was already moving, floating like a cloud, and dangerously approaching her and Lysei.
Lysei was frightened, but as she felt that the end was closing in and that her life might be over, something deep within her awakened. What touched her before; it must have been some of the goo she thought to herself. As the dust entered in contact with her skin and started crawling benath it, she heard the scream of Samantha before everything turned to black. In an instance, she was there and not there anymore, she was still alive, but not the same.
“Where am I?” She said out loud to hear the sound of her voice and be sure it was theirs.
Images started appearing illuminating the darkness around her, a sea of shapes and colors with an uncanny serenity.
“What is happening to me?”
A voice rose from the silence around.
“You have been chosen Lysei Mirr of Etheria.”
“Who is this? Chosen for what?”
“Chosen to grasp the ocean of Chaos…”
“And see the patterns of Order within it.” Another voice completed, more feminine this time.
“We are the personification of both, and you shall be our herald.” The two voices said in unison. “Your body has been breached to make you an agent of the World Eater, but with our blessing, this poison shall be your greatest weapon. Lysei Mirr of Etheria, do you accept your resurrection as our champion?”
Lysei didn’t respond immediately, she thought to herself for a moment before saying:
“Do I have a choice… if I am to become your herald, what is expected from me?”
“In exchange for being able to channel both Chaos and Order, you will be tasked to protect the balance of the two from the incoming doom of the World Eater. You have the power to save your kind and the balance of the multiverse as a whole. But your foe won’t be easy to stop, it is a rogue world that consumes everything on its way and it is on its way to this universe.”
“Will I be able to do something like this? I am only human!” Lysei responded with a hint of fear in her voice. She was completely terrified at the implications of those words spoken by those invisible entities. She has to contain a World Eater that devours entire universes; how was she supposed to do something of that magnitude?
“You are no more a simple human Lysei Mirr from Etheria, you are the herald of two Divinities, the champion of both chaos and order, you are also as powerful as the World Eater with the part of it that became a part of you, what will your answer be?”
Lysei stood silent thinking. She went through so much in so little time, and now she was asked to go through yet another giant change. She wasn’t sure she could do what was asked, but saying no to this offer would mean the end of her, and she wasn’t ready to give up on life already, there was so much more she wanted to do, so much more she wanted to discover…
“I’ll do it. I’ll be you’re herald.”
“Lysei Mirr of Etheria, you are now the guardian of Chaos and Order in this Universe, your new life starts now…”
As the last words were uttered, reality came back putting an end to the display of shapes and colors. It took Lysei a moment to grasp her surrounding; she wasn’t in the ceiling anymore, but the different screens monitoring her vital functions made her quickly realize that she was in some sort of medical facility, probably one following the maintenance division. Lysei quickly felt very weak, and extremely thirsty. She found a glass of water by her bedside and drunk it in a go. As she was putting the glass down, she heard the voice of Alice through a speaker in the room.
“You really scared us Kid. We really thought that neither of you would wake up. You were both in a very profound comatose state.”
Hearing those words, Lysei had a flash of their encounter with the alien goo, the agent of the world eater. She remembered how Albert tuned into dust in an instant, she also remembered the dust making her way to her and Samantha…
“Samantha is still alive!” Lysei responded surprise; after what happened to Albert, and due to her encounter with the Goddess and the God, she never knew what happened to her other mission partner. “That is wonderful news!”
“Albert wasn’t as lucky as you must know. I am afraid it’s not the only bad news to bear; both you and Samantha were infected; we had to place you separately in Alpha quarantine. We weren’t able to separate the alien pathogen from your metabolism.”
Lysei wanted to tell Alice about the urgency of the situation, about the oncoming doom of the world eater and about the pivotal role she was given to play by the Goddess of Order and the God of Chaos. She wanted to say something, anything that would make her realize how in danger they all were. Before she said anything, she felt a tingling sensation at the back of her head, then a voice, her own mental voice that gave form to her stream of consciousness. This voice of hers uttered words that she didn’t think about, words of warning.
“Scout Nano-cloud activity detected twelve feet west. Approaching.”
“Alice! She is awake!” Lysei screamed.
“Impossible! The video feed shows her still in her bed, her vitals still show a comatose state. What made you think she is?”
“Nano-cloud moving away.” Her mental voice said.
“Alice! Where are you?!” Lysei asked trying to be as calm as she could.”
“I am with Bernard in a monitoring room; don’t worry Lysei, we are not too far from you.”
Lysei understood what was happening. Samantha, or rather the scout wasn’t moving toward her anymore, but toward Alice and Bernard. It was breaking out!
“Alice! Wherever you are, leave and seal the area, the Alpha quarantine won’t be enough to contain her!”
“What kind of nonsense are you saying kid? The readings are perfectly normal!” Bernard’s voice uttered through the speaker.
“Forget the readings! She is not the Samantha you know anymore! She is a colony of nano robots that could easily absorb and copy any kind of matter! We are not safe, nobody on Etheria is as long as she is not stopped.”
Bernard was saying something but Lysei wasn’t listening anymore; she caught the words ‘crazy’ and ‘completely lost it’ though. She didn’t blame them; they had no idea what they were dealing with, and if she didn’t move fast, everyone on the planet ship will be in danger. She got close to the wall and put her hand on it, then closing her eyes, she thought of words trying to reach that voice that warned her before; she knew what it was, her own personal Nano-cloud.
“I need to save Alice, Bernard, and all the others. I want to go out this room and toward the scout. We are partners now, and I need your help for this, please lend me your power.”
She waited for a response for a few long seconds before her own mental voice responded.
“My powers are yours, we are one Lysei Mirr.”
Lysei started feeling her hand melting with the concrete wall. A surge of energy then zapped from the back of her head toward the concreat resonating with it. Lysei noticed the primordial chaos of the atoms and electrons forming the wall, and in the middle of it, the harmonious composition, the code to the wall being what it was, the pattern that made it unique. She felt the code changing, shifting in vibration and reaching a perfect resonance with her own pattern. For a second, she and the wall were one, then the wall sprouted to dust and the dust came back to her. Where the wall used to be she could see a narrow corridor and countless doors. She was amazed by this enhanced vision that she knew was the awakening of the powers the Gods gave her. She was also amazed by what her Nano-clouds were capable of, which instantly made her fear what the scout could do. She could see the whole structure of the quarantine area in her mind and exactly where Alice, and Bernard were as well as the husk of Samantha under the complete control of the scout.
Lysei was in panic. She run faster and faster, through the maze of corridors.
“This is taking too much time, I need an upgrade.” She thought to her Nano-cloud.
“Defining optimal path. Raising particle vibration levels. Phasing will be possible through contact with solid matter.”
“You want me to walk directly into the wall?! What if I don’t get through and get blocked halfway.”
“Fear not Lysei Mirr.”
Lysei closed her eyes then turned toward the wall and kept on running. The solid stop to her progression never came which prompt her to open her eyes. She was running through walls like if they were made of air. She almost reached Alice and Bernard, she just needed to go a little bit further.
“Scout closing on Alice and Bernard.” Her Nano-cloud mentally warned her.
“No! No No Noooo! Not yet! I’m almost there! More upgrade please.”
“Reducing bone density. Leg muscle increased. Sensory input upgraded. Speed 75% increased.”
Lysei felt like a bullet rushing through the maze without a care for its intricate structure. She started losing hope in making it in time, in saving her teammates. As she stepped through the final wall she was relieved to see both Alice and Bernard doing fine.
“I really feared I wouldn’t make it in time. I am so glad she is not here yet. We need to go fast!”
She then noticed what she refused to believe, what she knew all along. Alice and Bernard’s empty eyes.
“I…I…failed…it’s too late isn’t it…”
She felt the weight of the universe dropping on her, she was so scared, and despite everything she did to keep on moving, she still failed to save them.
“It was too late all along. We tried to avoid you the shock of the brutal reality. You are a broken unit under the orders of flesh, a heresy to us, and a heresy to the Deus Ex Machina.” The voice of Samantha said as the door to the room was opening.
Samantha walked inside with the same empty eyes Alice and Bernard had.
All that time, Alice and Bernard were already gone. Lysei never stood a chance to save them. She felt rage rising within her overflowing her enhanced senses.
“If you infected them all along, why did you wait for me to wake up? Is this some kind of cruel joke?”
“Merely a change of objective. The initial plan was to overtake this whole craft and generate a portal for the arrival of the Deus Ex Machina in this universe. But when we tried to overtake you while you were in a coma, all our attempts failed. It seemed to us that you have been upgraded with technology beyond even our infinite knowledge; technology that was capable to reboot the unit supposed to overtake you. We came to the conclusion that you unconscious state was behind our failures as it was giving your biological processor enough focus to keep a flawless protection over you. We made this scenario in order to tackle you when your conscious mind is the one processing, with the emotional stimuli, your grasp over your power is limited enough for us to encode you. You will make a great addition to the countless knowledge we assimilated so far.”
“Not if I can stop it. Also! What a doozie of a monologue. Man! Do you ever shut up?” a familiar voice uttered through the door.
Lysei turned around to see Arthur getting in the room with a calm smile on his face.
“You! We put an end to you!” The scout said through Samantha.
“Oh you mean that old body you overtook! Lucky for me that was a very replaceable piece of technology. That body might have been human, and so does this one, but I am as far from human as you are.”
“What are you? Explain!” Samantha’s voice started to seem almost angry as the scout uttered those words.
“For now, a big distraction! Do your thing Lysei!” He responded turning toward the girl.
Lysei stood up and closed her eyes. Through the darkness she perceived the chaos around, the random mixture that composed every single particle of the event she was in. She perceived the arrangements around, the code of the scout through the buddy of Samantha, Alice and Albert as well as Arthur’s own pattern, as she glimpsed at it, she finally understood who he really was. His body was human, but his brain wasn’t. He had the same signature as everything within Etheria, the same signature as L.1.n.k. Lysei snapped out of the amazement such a discovery brought her and focused on the scout. Sending a powerfull wave, she started resonating with it. She felt resistance as the scout was trying to absorb the energy and changing the resonance.
“I don’t know if I can do it. Everything depend on me, I must do it.” She thought to herself.
“Remember Lysei Mirr, we are one, we are the heralds of Chaos and Order, this scout is no match to us as long as we are aware of who we are.”
“We are! You are right Lys! We can do it!”
“Lys? You gave me a name?”
“You don’t like it? You can choose your own if you wish.”
“Lys is acceptable.”
“Now let’s do this together!”
Enhancing the wave of energy Lysei and Lys reached the perfect resonance. Breaking down the scout, getting it out of Alice, Bernard and Samantha and absorbing it making it part of themselves.
The three previously controlled members of the Omega team started to get back to their senses. Lysei and Arthur took care of them and explained the whole situation. After a while, they were still shocked by all the information but were finally able to respond.
“So if I understand well, the situation is resolved now, right?” Bernard asked.
“Not exactly.” Arthur started. “The scout that overtook one of my spear bodies, it is nowhere on Etheria. I believe it escaped somehow to outer space.”
As Lysei and Lys overtook the scout they were able to access the last moments of feed with the missing body. It was able to open a rift in the fabric of space the same way it got to this universe. Lysei was shocked when she knew where it was heading.
“That part of the scout opened a wormhole and is light years away now, but still in our universe.” Lysei said.
“Where did it go?” Alice asked.
Nobody said anything for an awkwardly long moment. Then Samantha finally started speaking.
“What are you going to do now Lysei?”
“I will follow it the same way it escaped.” Lysei answered.
“Then I’ll go with you! After that thing used me, I am not ready to let it harm anyone else.” Samantha said determined.
“Hey! Don’t cut me out of the fun!” Arthur started. “I am coming too! No way I’m missing Earth!”
“But How about your role as L.1.n.k?” Lysei asked.
“A backup will finish where I left. Common Lysei, it would be fun, the three of us going to our native planet!” Arthur said.
“What about you Commander Alice? Bernard?” Lysei asked.
“I would love to, but I am needed here. Etheria can’t go two days without Team Omega.” Alice responded.
“And I am way too old for this kind of journey, I am fine staying with Team Omega and doing what I do best.” Bernard said.
“Bossing people around?” Arthur said joking.
The group laughed for a moment before saying good bye.
Lysei opened a rift, beyond it through an instant journey was Earth. She took a deep breath. Far away was the time of old stories from other realities. She went through followed by Samantha and Arthur leaving the rift to close shortly after their departure.