I faded in and out of consciousness. Chained to cold metal. With faint memories of the other man speaking,

“We’re not headed home…”

“This ship was set by its captain to auto-pilot. Back to its home once a rift opened. Where its origin signal was a match…”

“I thought we would be fine…”

“So long without a rift, their rift opening…”

“What were the chances…”

“But we’re headed there now…”

“I couldn’t stop it…”

“They wouldn’t listen…”

“They’ll be in here for us soon…”

Cold and quiet. I was alone.

I recognized this place. This was an interrogation room. In Antarctica.

The walls were frosted. There was a mirror, which was a window. And a frozen metal door.

If I was in here, then… that would mean they detected nothing xeno inside of me. Otherwise I would be in frozen light.

“What is your name and date of birth?” An older woman’s voice spoke over the cell’s booming intercom.

My name? What was my name? How could I forget such a thing. I leaned upward, thinking in a daze. I could remember details from my relative recent past, knowledge of technology, but anything social from before…

“What is your name and date of birth?” The older woman’s voice repeated.

I looked up at the mirror, the window, and spoke gently. “I don’t remember.”

“What is the identity of the man you were recovered with.” The woman asked.

I thought for a moment… he was an… engineer… but I wasn’t sure. What is an engineer? The pilot… the captain… what was I?

“Executive. Primacy. Echo. Paragon.” The woman stated.

“Pardon?” I replied, unsure of the meaning.

“Shelton. Moscow. Assembly. Eden.” The woman said over the speaker.

I was silent in reply. Confused at the intent directed toward me.

The other man… the one who saved me? I couldn’t remember his name either. Nor could I picture his face. I only remember seeing him in his suit, a face of metal, a dead dried up skull, covered in plastics and composite materials. I could not envision my face. Nor my own past life. It was a blur behind a countless era of other knowledge. I looked in the mirror and saw myself, but it did not seem like me. This person I did not know. Would a tree recognize itself as a sapling?

I remembered the dark star.

I remembered the voice of my core.

I remembered the many dreams and memories of that last xeno race.

I remembered… the plea… to make it stop.

My first crew… I remember… that they were there… but nothing else… the man who watched over my true body… another version of me… taller… stronger… closer to… an ideal… but this body… was nowhere near that… ideal…

I could not remember myself, or anyone human that I ever knew outside of this life. Not truly, not on a personal level. Even this role that they made me to play seemed alienating to me. A bitter taste in my soul that did not represent truth.

Something was detached, broken, stolen or locked away. My core. My tether to my true body. I had been ruptured, mended, but not properly. Not made whole, only left incomplete. A mockery, a simulacron.

I looked down at my palms. This was not my body. But it did not reject my spirit. Or whatever splinter of my spirit which remained within it.

There was no further sound in that room but a quiet drone of noise from the ambient cold.

Except… my vision… I could still see with my ascended eye. I moved it forward and around me, away from that body and cell. I found the source of the woman’s voice and watched, listened.

“Anomaly 14-73-11-B is non-responsive to priority debriefing model codes as well as priority lock codes matched for ship records. Likely severe brain trauma. Negative for xeno cells. Negative for MAIA. Negative for XIVA. Body has been partially reconstructed with nano-technology following a non-standard protocol. Deviations in heart reconstruction merit further study. Memory loss possible side effect of invasive procedure. Recovered deathrat IDs do match ship records. Both Anomaly embed IDs do not match ship records for either anomaly. Mismatch likely due to report of Anomaly 14-73-11-A following debriefing and review of Anomaly 14-73-11-A’s suit records…”

My ascended eye was suddenly smashed by a powerful force and withdrew back into me. Alarms blared all around me. Had my sight been detected? A field of oppression had been projected all around me. It swept across the entire vast structure of the underground base. I had felt… this feeling before… multiple times, to varying degrees. Radiation designed to block out the cosmic gaze? Or… the natural effects of a certain dominant presence.

An unfamiliar voice spoke over the speakers of the cell, and further away as well.

It was of a man I did not know. He spoke with authority and direction.

“This is your commander speaking. A deep breach spawning has been detected. All personnel stand by for potential hostile arrival.” That man said.

Alarms remained blaring. The oppressive aura was sustained.

I waited. The cold of the cell clung to me. If it were not for the insulated garments I wore, my flesh would have burned from the frigid bite.

Some time passed before relief washed over me. The breached closed? But the alarms did not cease. No, instead a new set of alarms began. More bright and urgent.

From my cell, I could hear the sounds of weapons fire. Energy. Phase. Kinetic.

I projected my ascended eye outward. I first searched for the containment chambers. There were many things I wished to observe, but I felt there was no time. My living body was not there.

I focused on speed, observing as much as I could see. This Antarctica was unlike any I had been before. It was more advanced compared to what bits of memory I had of my original home. But less advanced compared to the Antarctica where my living body now rested.

I searched for the man who spoke and soon found him.

That man was at control with other officers. Some I felt I recognized, but they were smudges in my memory. They all were observing monitors displaying the carnage outside and inside of the base.

They watched in horror as thousands of spiraling cosmic servants had poured out of the now steaming depth of the frozen sea and up onto the ice leading toward the massive front gates of the base complex. Like the crimson one I had confronted in the tomb, they shimmered with sparks of bright and dark red. They soared at great speeds over the landscape, unmoved by artillery strikes. The beasts ripped open the main gate. Slicing open layers of thick metal with their tendrils. The reinforced walls were like ice to an infernal flame. All attacks against them nothing but futile. These people did not yet have any true power granted by cosmic might. They were defenseless. I heard screaming and then observed death throes. Over and over.

They were coming directly for me.

To claim what I denied? To put down a defiant light, no matter how minuscule it was in comparison?

I looked up with my sight. The pyramid was still there. Frozen under the cover of deep ice. Just as it had been in every other version of my home world. Another kind of lingering eye and presence. An old god splintered across timelines, now forever dead in every space and time, a bastion long forgotten.

The tangling monsters tore through the base relentlessly, with a pure purpose to reach me. Soon they did. I watched in fractions of a moment as a tendril cut through the door of my cell, and in another moment was before me.

In that time precipitating bodily death, I wondered if I could defend myself from even one of these creatures. There was no access to my inner core. The vault with more of me was locked away. The link toward my true body severed. I had been abandoned.

Would this be the end for me?

The Pyramid Will Live Again!

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