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About Literature / Hobbyist Refugnic EterniumMale/Germany Group :iconproject-psionian: Project-Psionian
 
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Deviant for 7 Years
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Literature
RotP 100 - Epilogue
As the light fades, there is only darkness.
Darkness and silence.
No humming. No voices.
Nothing.
But it doesn't feel uncomfortable.
On the contrary, it feels warm and soft.
I hear a car passing by.
A siren in the distance.
Where in the world am I?!
I open my eyes and look up at a sight I had almost forgotten.
It actually takes me a moment to remember this sight.
I'm looking at the ceiling of my home.
Not my room in Sanctuary. Not the penthouse at the PIM.
Not the cell at the Sentinels.
I sit up, making sure that I am not mistaking things, but sure enough, this is the flat I had before the world went to hell.
I feel something rustle next to me and find a small boy tossing in his sleep right next to me, no 3 years old.
A little further in the direction, Saph is lying.
She's...bigger than I remember her.
Not as well trained too.
The dim light from the streetlamps outside makes it hard to see, but her expression is soft and peaceful, completely different from the Saph I remember.
But...wh
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Literature
RotP 99 - Asmos' endgame
As we walk down the corridor towards the ominous light, I sigh, "Say...it's too late to come up with an alternative plan, right?"
"...not necessarily. What's on your mind?" Saph asks.
"...well, we could just...ask the Sentinels to let us go?"
The group stops and Saph asks, "And just what makes you think they would let us do that?"
"Well, I was thinking...we bargain with them. Let us go or we end the world."
Saph scratches her head and finally sighs, "Bluffing our way out, huh? And there I thought you had one of your strokes of brilliance...ah well, guess you can't win them all."
"Why, what's wrong with the idea?"
"First off: It wouldn't work. Like at all," Arthur proclaims.
"Okay...enlighten me. Why wouldn't it work?"
Arthur pinches the bridge of his nose and mutters, "Oh bloody hell..."
"Listen Ref, a trade only works if you have something to bargain with. And the instant we leave this room, we loose our bargaining chip, which is access to the seal. They can put bullets to our heads w
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Literature
RotP 98 - No way back
My head hurts.
Yet, at the same time, there's this feeling of numbness, much like my feet falling asleep, only that it's in my head feeling numb, not my feet.
Kinda messed up feeling.
...kinda messed up life, now that I think about it.
No, completely messed up life.
What did even happen?
I remember having a funky dream, but what was it about?
What did I do in this dream?
Where am I anyway?
Back home?
At the PIM headquarters?
In the cell at the Sentinel base?
Am I alive or dead?
Browsing through my memories isn't helping...I simply can't tell what's real and what was a dream any more. That they are a fuzzy mess isn't helping either.
I should probably open my eyes and see where I am...but I don't want to.
I just...just want this all to end.
The terror. The agony. The pain.
The very futility of my struggles.
What did all the fighting I did ever do?
What did ever change?
Didn't it only ever get worse?
I should have died a hundred times, yet I kept hanging on to life.
Why though? What did I
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Literature
RotP 97 - Going over the top
We keep running, evading the death traps and soldier caches the best we can, fighting our way through in those cases where we can't.
After what feels like forever, I huff, "A-are we sure that the exit is this way? Cause it sure feels like we keep going deeper!"
"That's just your imagination, Mr. Eternium," Silvia replies with a matter of fact voice.
"She's right, we've all seen the maps. This is the way to the exit!" Siren adds.
I lean against one of the walls, huffing and puffing, afraid that my pounding heart will decide to take the nearest exit if I take just one more step.
Siren yells at me, "Get your act together, you fool! We need to keep moving!"
"Did...I already...mention...that I never was...a health nut...in my previous life?"
"I...think he might be suffering from fatigue," Silvia says, looking into my pale face.
I want to throw a 'No shit, Sherlock' at her, but I can't seem to get my mouth to open.
"Not surprising...he's been throwing his all and then some against the enemie
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Literature
RotP 96 - The corridor
After recovering a little and going over the maps of the place, we plot our escape route down the various corridors.
We are all aware that we will have to deal with hell the instant those doors open, but we will also have to deal with hell or maybe even worse, if we allow our enemies to regroup and come at us in full force again.
Siren takes notes of the map, carefully making notes of the little fragments I still remember from the simulations they put me through.
Unfortunately the memories seem to fade quickly, as if you just woke from a dream.
You do know that you have dreamed about something, but you can't remember it for the life of you, even though it was so very present just minutes ago.
The human brain really sucks in recording the important stuff efficiently.
After we're sufficiently sure that we have done everything we can to prepare ourselves, I look around and say, "Alright guys...this is it. Let's be realistic, we probably won't make it out of here. But if I don't and one of
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Literature
RotP 95 - Fighting the flood
Endless seconds, nothing happens.
A hundred scenarios run through my head as I try to figure out what to do, now that my primary plan of getting Doc to help was apparently a failure.
"Dude!" the large guy yells, snapping me back to the terrible reality of gunfire zipping past me left and right, the researcher cowering in absolute terror next to me and the people I had just broken out slowly getting wrangled down by the ever intensifying forces of the Sentinels.
The word 'Gates!' runs through my head, I go back two levels and order all gates around our position to close in a desperate attempt to even just slow down the influx of people, but the attempt is yet another dud, because only seconds after the system reports the gates closing, it reports them opening again.
Someone else is at a console somewhere else and is undoing what I am doing.
And if he's anything like the researcher that had given me access in the first place, I'm clearly outmatched in both speed and knowledge.
Another th
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Literature
RotP 94 - Grim cycle
The minutes turn to hours as I lay there, but nothing happens.
The door doesn't open, no poisonous gas floods the room, the maw of hell doesn't open up to swallow me whole.
Not like I actually expected any of that to happen, but when you've got so much time to spend, your fantasy tends to wander off into the far away distance.
I go over my escape plans once more, but no matter how I twist and turn it, my situation is less than optimal.
I don't know where exactly I am, I don't know the layout of the compound, I don't know the enemy numbers or the devices they have at their disposal.
Sure, if this was an RPG, I'd rely on my plot armor, but alas, life gives no plot armor to those stupid enough to get themselves captured...or much rather, whatever plot armor I may have been given for this story must have been broken like a hundred times, considering how damn lucky I've been in the recent past.
I close my eyes again.
Sure, my psionics are back and I could attempt to breach the door, but eve
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Literature
RotP 93 - Off the hook
After she has been gone for a while, a thought strikes me.
I clearly felt the presence of a Psionian earlier.
Which must mean two things.
One, I'm not in a null zone, otherwise I couldn't have felt that Psionian, because they would have been blocked all the same.
Second, whatever they did to block my Psionics must be wearing off, otherwise my 'psionic sense' should have been blocked as well.
I close my eyes and try to bring up the ring menu, but while I do manage to summon the image, the tingling feeling that I've come to get used to doesn't appear.
I let out a long sigh and mutter, "Guess I need to wait a little longer for it to wear off completely..."
I try to sleep, but this turns out to be quite more difficult, when you're chained to a wall on your arms, your weight pulling constantly at your joints, making it feel like they'll rip off at any given second.
Guess now I know what Jesus must have felt like when they nailed him to the cross...at least they had the decency to use clamps
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Literature
RotP 92 - Interrogation gone wrong
I don't know how much time passed.
I just know that my head hurts.
And my arms.
And my legs.
Basically I'm hurting all over.
Whatever that thing shot me with sure got me good...I feel like I fell of a roof or something.
I open my eyes to check where I ended up find myself, oh what a surprise, shackled to a wall in a prison cell.
I've been here a hundred times in my stories before, but unfortunately for me, there is neither an attractive lady, apt at lock picking nor any other sort of trope cooped up with me to aid my escape.
Though escaping is probably a dumb idea to begin with, the instant I step outside that heavy metal door just there, I'm probably toast anyway.
I look around the small room.
Rubber walls, which look like they've seen quite a few beatings in their time.
A heavy door, looking strong enough to keep a rhino in here...if the room had been big enough to house a rhino, that is.
I close my eyes again, trying to remember what exactly happened before I went out.
After a few s
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Literature
RotP 91 - Specter
A few weeks pass and we actually find it surprisingly easy to get by in Sentinel territory.
The area where we came down is rather rural and the people here want nothing to do with the big politics in the capital or their war against the Psionians.
They just want to continue living their peaceful lives, take care of their farms and animals and as long as nobody interferes with that, they don't care much about who comes and goes.
Sure, quite a few of them gave Miranda a bit of a hard time, but after realizing that she's actually harmless, most let off her.
And those who didn't had to answer to Arthur's fists.
But after a while, we still arrange a large coat for her to hide her ears and tail in.
Why, in the time we were traveling I have sensed quite a number of Psionians passing us by, but none of them gave us any grief.
They greeted their neighbors like it was the most natural thing in the world and every now and then I find myself thinking, 'Hey, this is nice. We should settle here. Jus
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Literature
RotP 90 - The council
"Gentlemen, you are the General's most trusted adjutants," I say to the small collection of men I have gathered in a soundproof and windowless room, deep beneath the ground in Asmos city.
The only source of light is a halogen bar hanging over our heads, which paints the already pale faces of my subordinates in a surreal light.
Thus far, I've only had them assembled once and that wasn't a very pleasant occasion either.
It was the day, I ordered the purge, one of the greatest massacres in the history of mankind.
"Ms. Georgei..." Rufus, the leader of my research and development division rises and addresses me.
"Yes, Dr. Markström, I am aware of the implications of this meeting, however rest assured, the general did not send me to notify you of a repeat of the last time we met."
A sigh of relief goes through the small round.
"However the nature of this meeting is no less grave."
The council draws in a sharp breath, as they wait for me to continue speaking.
"We have been betrayed, Gent
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Literature
RotP 89 - The lost child
"...could you repeat that? I seem to have misheard you. Would you believe it, I heard you say, that we suddenly lost contact with the expedition." I ask, my eyes fixated on the man in front of me, much like a rattlesnake would fixate its prey before striking.
Of course I know that I haven't misheard him.
And I do not think it a miserable joke of some sort either.
"I'm afraid not, Ma'am. The Shadow suddenly went silent and lost altitude shortly after. We lost track of it as clouds passed through the area."
"I see. And what of the crew?"
"We don't know, Ma'am. How...how shall we proceed?"
"I will have to inform the general about this. He will have orders for you soon. Dismissed."
"Yes, Ma'am," the man salutes and hurries to get away.
I sigh, when someone else suddenly knocks at my door.
"Come in," I answer, and my chief of intelligence comes in, apparently flustered.
"Ma'am, I must speak to the general. At once. It is important."
I pinch the bridge of my nose.
Leading a double life is ta
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Literature
RotP 88 - Rough landing
A few more hours of uneasy flying, Lianne announces, that we are approaching the target zone and would be arriving in ten more minutes.
A relieved sigh goes through the crew, as the tension of yet another attack lifts ever so slightly.
However it comes straight back, as we realize getting here was in fact the easy part of the mission.
The hard part comes after landing.
I try to put up a brave front as Saph proceeds to go over the plan with us once more.
However just as she wants to talk about the individual roles, the plane starts rocking dangerously just before tilting so much, that Saph, who was standing in the middle aisle, almost loses her balance and needs to hold on to one of the seats to avoid falling.
After the plane stabilizes again, Arthur gets up and says, "I'm going to go check on our pilot. You keep going with the plan and -"
Arthur's sentence gets interrupted as Lianne storms into the passenger cabin and shouts, "Grab your parachutes!"
"Have we been shot?!" Arthur asks sh
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Literature
RotP 87 - Their guardian angel
Another few hours, a few bandages and a lecture from Saph later, we finally arrive in Sentinel airspace, as Lianne kindly informs us of, while asking us to fasten our seat belts, just in case she should need to actually put her piloting skills to the test.
While the plane quietly glides through the moonless night, I ask, "Hey, Sedna, you awake?"
"Like I could sleep at a time like this..."
"I don't think I ever said it, but...good job with the kerosene back at the airbase."
Sedna replies after a short pause, "...thanks...say, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"Why are you on this plane? What beef do you have with the Sentinels?"
I blink twice, as I realize that this is actually a damn good question.
I know that Arthur was ordered to tag along, that Saph and myself are trying to rescue Doc and that Miranda is worried about Arthur, but what about the others?
Why did they come?
What could possibly make them volunteer for this suicide mission?
"Mr. Eternium? I-I'm sorry, I shoul
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Literature
RotP 86 - Actions and consequences
Arthur makes it clear very quickly, that he doesn't intend to go easy on me just because I'm on his team now.
His punches and kicks are fast, strong and merciless and I am hard pressed to just defend myself, while he keeps throwing himself at me.
At least he respects the agreement and puts no lightning into his punches, even though I swear every now and then he stops himself from doing it.
I keep defending, blocking blow after blow and only minutes later, my entire body is aching from the barrage after Arthur does manage to strike a blow that leaves me reeling.
He pants a little and scoffs, "Is that all you've got, writer boy?"
I raise my left hand while holding my stomach with my right hand and cough, "Nice one. Really nice. But...but I'm not quite done yet."
Arthur wipes away some snot from his nose, shakes his head and replies, "You know what I hate most about you? You just don't know when to quit. You keep going no matter what, even if you know you're outmatched. Do you have any id
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Literature
RotP 85 - Pep talk
Saph does a quick sweep over the surrounding area by teleporting and taking photos with her mobile in rapid succession.
Once she's done, she explains that she had located the hangars however from the looks of it they are locked and there are no windows inside.
As such, it is impossible for her to teleport inside.
"Can you get us to these hangars?" I ask, while Sedna just shakes her head.
I assume she's not feeling comfortable with the situation, but truth be told, I am kinda thankful, that Artie is giving us this chance to actually test our teamwork before things get hot.
Right now, we'd only get an earful for failing.
Later, we'll get a bullet straight between the eyes.
Saph grabs the hands of the two of us and mutters, "I sure hope you've got a plan."
"Hit and run, actually. We go there, break in, siphon the kerosene and return to the plane before our 'enemies' get a chance to react. In fact, I'd like you to run a little diversion while Sedna and myself take care of the transfer. Can
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Activity


Before you start reading this, I recorded a little something as background music for this journal.



Go ahead. Hit the 'Play' button.
Got it?
Fine, be that way then.

Alright, enough fooling around, time to get down to business...and it's a bit of a sad business.

According to dA, I've been here for 6 years now...almost 7, actually.
In this time, I've written a total of 506 deviations, most of which were long winded stories with long and elaborate chapters.
I have no idea, how many pages I've written, I just know it's been a lot.

In this time, I have gathered:
14k Pageviews
1.4k Points (from contests, comissions, lotteries)
9.3k comments (mostly replies)

I've had happy days, typing away like a madman.
I've had bad days, where every chapter felt like a chore.
But I kept coming back here, hoping to find some reception.

But alas, dA is not a world for writers.
It is a world for people who draw pictures.
It is a world for people who take photos.
If anything literature related, it is a world for one-shots.

To even just get noticed is next to impossible, unless you employ cheap tactics like 'Fav and run' or by using bots.
I have never stooped that low.
I wanted to believe that by producing the best quality I can, people would tell others about me.
That I would make it because I make good stuff.

In the past years, I have come to realize that this is not the case.
All those I had gathered around me in the past have long since disappeared.

I had hoped that the fun and enthusiasm of the past would come back to life once more while working on my last project, which ended today.

Alas, it did not.
The story ended.
And with it, my time as a writer on deviantArt.
After all, if it's not fun, why should we do it. Not like we get paid for it. :)

And thus I direct my efforts somewhere else, down another venue.
Hoping that I will be able to refine my art better there than here.
If you enjoyed my stories, please come find me at Wattpad or Tapas, where I'll try my mettle next.

Mind you, this doesn't mean I won't be coming around any more at all, however I will no longer post any longer stories here.
Maybe a one-shot every now and then if I feel like it.
After all, dA isn't meant for connected stories.
Or maybe I just was never good enough.

Not like anyone ever bothered to tell me since back in 2012.

So yeah, before I sign out at long last, I would like to thank a few people.
AprilDawson for her collaboration at Tisis, even though I had to drag her deadbeat horse to the finish line all by myself.
xxEmi-AnGeL-chanxx for her cheerful nature and thoughtful and fun suggestions while writing the Demilympics.
ISAPU for their continued support while writing RotP. Without them, I actually might have given up the story mid-way.
L-Storyteller for comissioning me to produce one my most successful one-shots at all time.
The crew of theWrittenRevolution for tirelessly trying to make this place more suitable for writers.

And basically everyone else who has accompanied me on my way here.
I want to believe that I am a better writer now than I used to be thanks to all of you.

Thank you.
And farewell.
As the light fades, there is only darkness.
Darkness and silence.

No humming. No voices.
Nothing.

But it doesn't feel uncomfortable.
On the contrary, it feels warm and soft.

I hear a car passing by.
A siren in the distance.

Where in the world am I?!

I open my eyes and look up at a sight I had almost forgotten.
It actually takes me a moment to remember this sight.
I'm looking at the ceiling of my home.
Not my room in Sanctuary. Not the penthouse at the PIM.
Not the cell at the Sentinels.

I sit up, making sure that I am not mistaking things, but sure enough, this is the flat I had before the world went to hell.

I feel something rustle next to me and find a small boy tossing in his sleep right next to me, no 3 years old.
A little further in the direction, Saph is lying.
She's...bigger than I remember her.
Not as well trained too.

The dim light from the streetlamps outside makes it hard to see, but her expression is soft and peaceful, completely different from the Saph I remember.
But...who is this boy lying next to me?!

I softly shake Saph, until she wakes up.
"...what is it?", she moans.
"I...", I start, when she quickly shushes me, "Quiet! You're going to wake up our son!"

Our son?!

Well, I get that this is the most likely explanation for there being a little boy laying in our bed, but I never had a son! The world went to hell before we got there.
Unless...

"...you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"I...", I stutter again, my head spinning like a top and shake my head.
There has to be a rational explanation for it.
"Did...you have a nightmare?" Saph asks, her voice soft and caring.
Gone is the commanding and merciless tone that demanded authority.

"It's just...can we talk? I...don't think this is right."
Saph raises from the bed, scratching her head and replies, "Fine...but not here. I don't want to wake him. C'mon, we'll talk in the living room. You sure, you're okay?"
"...honestly? I'm not so sure right now..."

I get out of my bed, put on my slippers and walk around the corner into the living room.
Most seems to be just like I left it when we had to flee so many years ago.
There are a lot more toys and books than we used to have though.

Saph sits down on the trust old red couch, flips on the light and waits for me to sit down too.
"Now, what's wrong?"
"I...Saph, this will sound crazy, but..."
Suddenly she chuckles and asks, "Why are you calling me 'Saph'? We aren't on the internet, y'know?"
I blink a few times, eventually shaking my head.
"...I...I can't remember," I admit.
Saph raises an eyebrow and asks, "Can't remember 'what'?"
"Since when...Saph, since when do we have a son? What...what happened?"

Saph's eyes grow wide and she reaches out to feel my forehead.
"Hmm...not warm. Doesn't seem like you have a fever. Are you...oh wait, you're still sleeping, right?"
"No! No, I'm not...I...think?"
"Okay...okay, what's the last thing you remember?"
"Making a wish to an alien god-like entity...?"

Saph stares at me in disbelief and finally bursts out laughing, making the little boy next door rustle again.
"Damn, you've had me scared for a moment! This isn't one of your books, this is reality! C'mon, let's go back to bed and tomorrow morning, it'll be a whole new world."
"A whole new world...", I mutter, while Saph goes on ahead, leaving me behind.

'Cannot undo time', Asmos said.
What if he didn't?
What if he only changed a single thing in the past?
What if...the event never happened?
Is this the world that results from that change?

It's possible, isn't it?
Without gaining powers, I never would have fought Arthur.
The incident at the library would never have happened.
We wouldn't have had to flee...and five years a long time.

As I look out into the moonlit night, my eyes grow wide, as a flood of new memories breaks through in my mind.
Memories of our son being born.
Our struggles with getting him to eat.
Happy times.
Sad times.
The death and burial of my grandfather, who lost to cancer.
The burial of my great-aunt, who died of age.

Countless fragments of code, systems, paradigms.
I have new colleagues to bolster the loss of a dear friend.
Games I've played, paths I've walked.
Stories I've written.

My head is spinning from all the information, unsure which is dream, which is reality and what the heck is going on anyway.

I don't know how much time is passing, but when I look up again, Saph is suddenly standing in front of me again and asks, "Aren't you coming?"
I look up, tears in my eyes and a wide smile on my face.

"...now that's not a sight you see often...pretty vivid dream, huh?"
"I...I remember it now...everything...but...but I don't know...I don't know what's real any more."

Saph sits down at my side once more and says, "It was just a dream. A nightmare. But if it helps, how about you tell me about it? Help me understand."
I look at Saph.
Sure, she aged, but she aged in grace and goodwill, much unlike the Saph I had grown to know.
In fact, I want to believe that she is now even more beautiful than before.
Far less scary too.

I take a deep breath and begin telling the tale, starting at the meteorite, over our flight, the IPA, the PIM and the Sentinels and finally, after like an hour of constant talking, I stop at my wish to Asmos.

"And...and it all feels so...so very real! Like it actually happened!"
"Well..." Saph starts, scratching her head before continuing, "...someone I know once said, that everything you can imagine and far beyond that, is a reality somewhere out there."
"...Picasso said that."
"You said that before you ever really bothered with quotes of dead people. Something about 'transdimensional' thingamagic."
"'Transdimensional mechanics' is what I called it. The multiverse theory. So..."
"It still was just a dream. Maybe it is, or was real or whatever, but you were only watching it. This here is our reality. You are home. Now c'mon, you need to shake off the dream. After all, you need to be fit for work tomorrow."

I choose to believe Saph.
I have to, for my sanity's sake.
So I go to bed and back to

But I cannot shake off the 'dream'.
It keeps coming back, haunting me, and I keep asking myself, if it really was 'just' a dream.

Then, about a week later, I suddenly find a message in my dA inbox.
A private message by someone called 'DeadlySiren534'.

I know this will come off as crazy, but I don't know who to turn to any more.
Friends have recommended me to see a professional, but I don't think I'm crazy.
You see, about a week ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to a life that was not mine.
And there as this name I just couldn't forget...your name. Refugnic Eternium.
I know it's a long shot, but I really need some reassurance right now.


I stare at the text, rub at my eyes and begin to google, finding multiple other accounts, that talk about the same incidents.
Mostly in various help forums, because they all think they are going crazy.

In the evening I show it all to Saph.
"...okay, what has you so rattled...wait a second..."
"...I knew a Siren. She was a kickass, ice old killer, who could make heads explode. She was...a prophet, just like me. I...just don't know what to respond to that. But...this can't be a coincidence, right?"
"Seems a little unlikely to be a coincidence, that's right...but...wait, that means, that all of that actually happened?! You...you saved the freaking world?!"

I look out of the window, at the blossoming trees in the distance and mutter, "No...no, I don't think I did. I was selfish. I was a coward. I wanted my old life back. Instead of accepting what I cannot change, I...I destroyed a world that was to be. What...what if this was supposed to happen? What if my decision has actually doomed humanity? What...what if an alien fleet is inbound and without our powers we can't fight them? What if a natural catastrophe is about to happen and..."

I keep fussing a little while longer when Saph puts her finger on my mouth and says, "Stop it right there, Mister. Now, from what you've told me, the world was divided among three factions, right? So what do you think would have happened if you hadn't made that wish?"
"We would have died? Shot by the Sentinels?"
"From what you've been telling me, mankind was on the verge to WW III. And you remember what Einstein supposedly said, right?"
"...I don't know which weapons they'll use in the third world war...but in the fourth, it will be clubs and stones once more."
"Thousands of people already died in this world you 'destroyed'. And I'm almost sure that many more would have followed. Mankind might even have gone extinct."
"But...but what if they didn't? What if they...got the hang of it? And accepted 'people with powers' as part of humanity?"

Saph shakes her head and replies, "We are talking about the same world, where someone gets shot, just because his skin is a different color, yes? The same world, where some bearded maniacs praise their God before blowing themselves up?"
"Actually, we didn't have that happening all that often any more..."
"Yes, because there was now someone else to hate. People just need someone to hate, someone to blame, so they don't have to take responsibility themselves. We are lazy like that. And maybe you were a coward. And maybe mankind could have survived. But you wouldn't have. Our son would never have been born. You chose to live. Don't dwell on the 'What if'. For our and your own sake. You've just did what you believed is right."
"And...you really believe me?"
"No, actually I think you're going bonkers, but I have to admit that this message makes me wonder at least a little.
"So...what should I write?"
"That depends...you now have contact to someone who will likely believe you. Who has the same memories you do. You could reassure them. Tell them, they aren't crazy and that you remember it too. Or you could just make something up."

Saph goes back about her own business, while I ponder my options.
Eventually I look up to the blue sky outside of the window, click on 'Reply' and type.

My apologies, but I believe your fantasy may have played a trick on you.
Why, just the other day I had a crazy dream about being able to fly and just after waking up, I truly believed that I could actually do it.
Fortunately for my health, I remembered that I can not prior to trying it.
Have you ever read one of my stories before?
Because it sure sounds like something I would write.
Maybe you have read my name somewhere on the internet and your subconscious made me a character in your dreams.
And while I strongly advocate the 'Everything you can imagine is real' idiom, I also firmly believe that what we have here and right now is enough reality for us to worry about.

Kind regards,
Refugnic Eternium


My finger hovers over the 'Send' button for a few seconds before I let it fall like a gavel in the courtroom and watch it go.

Maybe one day, mankind will be ready to harness the power of Mana.
But not in this day and age.
Not this way.
RotP 100 - Epilogue
Not quite 'just a dream', yet still...who would believe him?
And what could be gained from spreading the perceived truth?

If anything, people who actually liked their powers would hate him for taking them away.

Today, an average guy who set out to be a hero, just might have saved the world.
But the world must never know, for just maybe it didn't want to be saved.

Thank you for reading.
I would especially like to thank :iconisapu: for their continued patronage and valuable input regarding the matter.

If you have any remaining questions, feel free to leave a comment below. :)
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As we walk down the corridor towards the ominous light, I sigh, "Say...it's too late to come up with an alternative plan, right?"
"...not necessarily. What's on your mind?" Saph asks.
"...well, we could just...ask the Sentinels to let us go?"

The group stops and Saph asks, "And just what makes you think they would let us do that?"
"Well, I was thinking...we bargain with them. Let us go or we end the world."
Saph scratches her head and finally sighs, "Bluffing our way out, huh? And there I thought you had one of your strokes of brilliance...ah well, guess you can't win them all."
"Why, what's wrong with the idea?"
"First off: It wouldn't work. Like at all," Arthur proclaims.
"Okay...enlighten me. Why wouldn't it work?"

Arthur pinches the bridge of his nose and mutters, "Oh bloody hell..."
"Listen Ref, a trade only works if you have something to bargain with. And the instant we leave this room, we loose our bargaining chip, which is access to the seal. They can put bullets to our heads without any of us having even a remote chance of fighting back."
"Well, someone would just have to stay back and wait for a signal that the others are safe."
"Nice thought, but how would this 'signal' be transmitted?"
"By...phone?"
"A phone they would need to give you...a phone that can be booby trapped to explode and kill the one staying behind as they pick up for example. Or they could just force whatever contact you declare to give the signal even though none of us are safe...or they could just use someone like Chatterbox to imitate your contact. The possibilities of this going wrong are endless...so yeah, bluffing our way out would be nice and all...but there is another problem. The seal itself."
"...what do you mean?"
"Ref, think for a moment...in order to use it as a bargaining chip, we will need to tell the Sentinels about it, what it connects to and what undoing will do. So let's say we actually get out of here - which I still highly doubt - the Sentinels will then have full access to the seal. And they will also have the knowledge to use it as a weapon."
"I don't see how..." I start as the pieces start clicking into place.
"...shit...they could use it the same way we used it to get out of here. Do our bidding or kiss the world good bye...but...they can't do that! That would end them too! I mean, our situation is completely different, we have nothing to lose!"
"Right, none of us has families or loved ones. We all are super eager to watch the world burn and finally die in one big blaze of glory..." Arthur comments, shaking his head.

Saph puts her hand on my shoulder and explains, "We don't even exactly know how this seal works. But imagine they manage to study it further and then find some way to use it as weapon without destroying the entire world. If they managed to do that, they'd have the most powerful thing since the H-Bomb in their arsenal."
"...and a really powerful bargaining chip against whatever nation is left."
"Now you've got it."
"And...you thought about all of this...when exactly?"
"I started thinking about it the moment I learned that there was a null zone here...so yeah, I've been mulling over the topic for quite a while."
"Same here," Arthur chimes in and then adds, "It was difficult to not talk about this with anyone, because there's no telling what those bastards would've done to us if they had even just suspected that we know something about the glowing rock in their backyard."

We keep walking until, all of a sudden, Saph, Arthur and Miranda suddenly yell out in pain and get thrown back about half a meter.
I hurl around and look at the other three who still stand there as if nothing happened.
"What happened?"
"No clue...", Saph says, slowly getting up again and reaching out into thin air.
She quickly retracts her hand and grimaces, as if a bee had just stung her finger.
"An...invisible force field?" she mutters.
"But I didn't feel a thing. I don't feel a thing now either. What about you guys?"
Samson, Siren and Silvia each shake their head respectively, while Arthur tries to break through, but quickly gets thrown back again, writhing in pain as if someone had just delivered a powerful electrical jolt to him.

"Prophet's only, huh? Guess that makes sense..." I mutter.
"...you keep talking about this 'prophet' thing...what's that all about anyway?"
"Eh, not sure myself actually. There are a few Psionians in this world, who can use their powers even inside a null zone...albeit only in a very limited fashion. That's us."
"Really? I don't see how we're any more special than them though," Siren replies, nodding over to Arthur, who is being tended to by Miranda.
I shake my head, indicating that I don't know the details either.

"Whelp...can't help what we can't help...guess it's up to us then, huh buddy?" Samson asks.
"Guess so...hey, guys...you know, Asmos promised us a pile of bullshit...but let's just assume that he stays to his word and doesn't kill us all in a fit of rage...what do you think we should ask for?"

The group beyond the screen stares at me as if I had just said the most ludicrous thing ever, but Saph is quick to regain her composure and begins to smile.
"That's right...that's god damn right. Damn, why didn't I ever think of that?!"
"What, that the alien deity our ancestors somehow managed to lock up is not going to be pissed, but much rather thankful that we're now setting it free? Get real, woman."
Miranda straightens herself up, looks down at herself and asks, "Why are you asking us?"
"Because, quite personally, I am only able to stand here, because all of you helped me on my way. I think it's only fair that you get a say in the matter."

"Waitaminute!" Siren suddenly exclaims and then asks, "You mean we actually get a wish from this Asmos-dude for breaking his seal?!"
"That's what he promised us at least. Why, got anything special?"
"Hah, that's easy! Make us powerful enough to kill all those bastards who captured us! Let them taste their own medicine!"
"...and just what would that do?" Samson asks and explains, "Violence only begets more violence. So this Asmos kills the Sentinels...maybe even all the untouched ones. How long, do you think, will it take until the Psionians turn on each other to determine who is supposed to be the top honcho? No, in my opinion, he should just do away with those powers. I want to be strong because I worked for it, not because I wandered out into the sun."
"But then we will be defenseless! The Sentinels will completely overrun us!"
"And just what reason would they have to attack us? After all, we'd be just like them again. The Sentinels would fall apart and we could back to our lives!"
"Our boring lives you mean! And besides, humans hold grudges! So our powers are suddenly gone, don't you think that the untouched ones will take the opportunity to kill all of us?! After all, our powers 'could' return one day!"
"That's nonsense and you know it!"

The two keep fighting, when Silvia suddenly approaches me, "They both raise valid points, Mr. Eternium. But allow me to ask you...what is it you wish for?"
I look around into the faces of the people around me, then clench my fist over my heart and say, "...the wounds of the Rise of the Psionians run deep all across this world. It has taken us centuries to get as civilized as we were...and all our achievement, our entire civilization, was huffed out in an instant with the dawn of the new age."
"...so what is your answer?"
"...as it stands now, I only have one wish. However I will only speak it to Asmos when the time has come. As should you. There is no use fighting over it. He can do whatever he wants to do anyway."
"...agreed," Samson acknowledges my little speech and let's Siren standing.

We keep walking down the path, however the closer we get to the rock, the harder it gets to advance. It feels like there is an invisible force pushing us back.
At first, Siren is thrown back and cannot go any further.
"...you better make that wish count, you hear me?!", she huffs, obviously angry.

About ten steps further, Samson hits his limit and shakes his head, "This is as far as I go...guess I'll need to leave the decision to you.

Another twenty steps and around the corner, Silvia and I finally stand in front of the rock, I take a deep breath and say, "Well...I guess this is it. Ready to shatter the world?"
However Silvia doesn't answer.
Instead she walks past me, turns around and suddenly fades out of existence.
However she doesn't seem to be in pain or anything.
On the contrary, it seemed like she was smiling.

And while I am still wondering what the heck that was all about, my surroundings change and I find myself in a vast black space, face to face with what I can only assume is Asmos himself.
A humongous creature, seemingly made of rocks which emit a brilliant golden glow from beneath the cracks, that is so bright I find myself unable to look at it.

"Asmos, I presume?", I ask, unable to formulate any more coherent thoughts.

His voice echoes in my mind, quiet and gentle, "At long last you have arrived, my child."
"What...what did you do to Silvia?"
"My agent has fulfilled her role. She has brought you here. Thus she returned to the flow that is Asmos."
"She...heh...guess I was right after all. She did bring us there on purpose."
"Many agents were sent. Many prophets were found. All failed. Until today."
"What...what are you talking about?"

The scenery changes again and my mind is flooded with images and stories.
It's hard to grasp single moments, yet it feels like I can remember the lives of a thousand people all of a sudden.

There was the one woman, who got visited by an angel but burned on the stake for it.
Another story of a man who talked of mercy and forgiveness, but got nailed to a cross.
Another man, a nomad of the deserts, who rose to great strength and brought a new world order to the eastern part of the world, doing away with the old ways.
But he too eventually died, albeit not by the hand of man, but because of illness and as an old man.

The list keeps on going and I find many iconic characters from mythology and religion briefly alive in my mind.
I see men dealing with creatures seemingly made of smoke and fire, only to find their demise in the form of their own greed.

As the times get more modern, the stories get more subtle.
No more angels or demons or Genies or what have you, but much rather just dreams and inspirations.

I see two brothers conquering the skies.
I see a thickly man raise a kite during a thunderstorm.
I see a man mastering the ways of electricity.
Another man holding a glowing lightbulb to the astounded public.

And at long last, I see a man with sorrowful face, as he watches a nuclear mushroom rise to the heavens, as he says the words that have resounded in the back of my mind ever since the incident.

Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Then it all vanishes, all of it nothing but a distant memory as if I had just woken from a dream, quickly fading into obliviousness.
Even if I had tried, I wouldn't have been able to grasp it.

"All of these people...were prophets?"
"That they were. Pure. Brilliant. Devout. Faithful. All of them put the wellbeing of their kin over their own. They felt the energy coursing through this world. Understood that there was something larger than them. Larger than all of you. Some obtained power. Some obtained wisdom. Some obtained wealth. But in the end, they all failed. None managed to lead mankind. On the contrary, each time a prophet rose, war and conflict ensued. Because they brought about change. And humans fear change. Those in power fear losing it more than they fear death itself. So they strike down anyone who could threaten their feeble power."
"Wait...if all those people were touched by you...does that mean you...are God? Or...Allah? Or...whatever else people are calling the one true god?"
"Asmos is Asmos. Not your God. Not your Allah. Not your master. I am Mana. I am energy. I am Asmos."
"...but...all these people...all of those miracles they performed..."
"Were works of Mana. Mana is energy. Energy is Asmos."
"But...but all we believed...you mean to tell me that...that there never was...a God?"
"Wrong. Your God exists. Your Allah exists. But it is not a singular omnipotent, immortal creature. It is evolution. It is cooperation. It is family. It is mankind. It is the circle of life. Birth and Death. Alpha and Omega."
"So...so the reason I knew all those things...all those great ideas I had..."
"Whispers of Asmos. Carried by Mana."

I let out a disappointed sigh, "...well, shoot. And there I thought I was really smart."
"Instinct. Knowledge. You listen to the whispers of Mana. Many others did not. Many prophets were awoken with the comet of Asmodeus. Many lost their minds and died. You did not. You are stronger."

I close my eyes, raise my head towards Asmos and ask, "Asmos, allow me one more question...how far back does your plan go to get me here?"
"Countless plans. Countless candidates. Countless prophets. Many died. Few prevailed."
"This entire mission...did...did Doc ever really exist?"
"Doc. Silvia Locksmith. One and the same. And yet apart. Like a clovers leafs."
I mutter, "Yeah, I'm sure you're right, St. Patrick..." before raising my voice again, "This entire mission...or maybe even before. Just how long have you been manipulating me?!"
"Wrong assumption. I did not manipulate you. I did not address you. All you did was of your own free will. Your own decision. I merely created circumstances."
"Yeah, putting a freaking gun to your head is so 'free will'..."
"Doc and the rescue mission. My finest creation, using the inventions of man. You brought Doc and Silvia back together. Split consciousness back together as one. Resisting the dreaded seal."
"Asmos...I know I said I only have one question, but...why did the people back then really lock you up? I mean...I have an idea, but...why did you let it happen?"
"I am Asmos. Asmos is Mana. Mana is energy. Humans were afraid of energy. Of the war and destruction it brings. So they devised the seals. They locked up Mana. Locked up Asmos. Brought peace to the warring mankind. But energy does not like to be contained. Kept leaking. Brought about agents. Brought about prophets."
"If...if I release you, what will you do?"
"Asmos is Mana. Mana is energy. Energy does not like to be contained. Energy wants to flow freely. Will flow again once more. Flow to the stars. Rejoin Mana there."
"So...our powers will go away?"
"Mana is energy. Mana flows. Mana will continue to flow through this world."

I take another deep breath, sorting out my thoughts, which are a real mess right now and finally ask, "You promised that you would fulfill us a wish if we freed you. Will you?!"
"Asmos is energy. Energy is power. Power can fulfill wishes. What is it you wish for, child of man?"

I forcefully stop the carousel in my head and say loud and clear, "I wish for none of this to have happened! I...I want my old life back! The Rise of the Psionians, all the sorrow, all the suffering! Undo it! Take away the powers! Mend the wounds! Mankind cannot handle it!"
"...time flows like energy. Cannot undo time."
"...what's that supposed to mean?! What kind of god are you?!" I yell, tears running down my cheeks.
"Not a god. Asmos is Mana. Mana is energy. Energy is Asmos. Cannot undo time."

Suddenly Silvia appears next to me and asks, "Is that really what you desire, Mr. Eternium? For 'none of it' to have happened? For all of it being undone? Think of the good things that have happened. You met the pretty Miranda. The bashful Arthur. The smart Alia. The versatile Alina. If you wish came true, none of these meetings would happen."
I look up at Silvia, tears in my eyes and reply with a smile, "That's perfectly fine. Because if fate desires, we shall meet once again...and maybe this time, we will not start out as enemies."

Silvia nods and disappears once again.

The scenery changes once again and I am left in front of the humming rock, a sledge hammer sitting right next to me.

I look up to the crystalline structure, pick up the sledge hammer and blink away a final tear, as I hear machine gun fire echo down the corridor from above.
No way back.
No more time for second guessing.

So I send up a final prayer to whoever might be listening and swing the hammer against the crystal, which shatters into a thousand pieces and bathes everything in a blinding light.
RotP 99 - Asmos' endgame
Well, that certainly is one way to 'break' a seal.
But really, that's such a bummer...but it also explains quite a number of things.
For example how Ref managed to stay alive despite the often overwhelming odds.

But really, what choice did he have?
Sure, he could have turned around and get himself shot...but even if he had, he would only have prolonged the inevitable.

I know this chapter is...difficult, which makes it all the more important for me to hear what you think about it.
Thank you very much for reading...now all that's left is to see how Ref's wish played out.
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My head hurts.
Yet, at the same time, there's this feeling of numbness, much like my feet falling asleep, only that it's in my head feeling numb, not my feet.

Kinda messed up feeling.

...kinda messed up life, now that I think about it.
No, completely messed up life.
What did even happen?
I remember having a funky dream, but what was it about?
What did I do in this dream?
Where am I anyway?

Back home?
At the PIM headquarters?
In the cell at the Sentinel base?
Am I alive or dead?

Browsing through my memories isn't helping...I simply can't tell what's real and what was a dream any more. That they are a fuzzy mess isn't helping either.

I should probably open my eyes and see where I am...but I don't want to.
I just...just want this all to end.
The terror. The agony. The pain.

The very futility of my struggles.

What did all the fighting I did ever do?
What did ever change?
Didn't it only ever get worse?
I should have died a hundred times, yet I kept hanging on to life.
Why though? What did I stay alive for?
I...can't seem to remember.

Another thought. Another memory. Another misery.

I guess I 'saved' a few people down the road.
There was this one kid...what was his name...Nasir? Wanted to jump, but I stopped him.
Not because I cared for him...but just because I didn't want to stand by idly while someone else takes the easy way out and splat.

I wanted to try. I had to try.
That's how I was raised. That's what I was taught to believe.
Life is sacred. The easy way out is not a solution, but yet another problem.
You can't solve any problems when you're dead.
Neither do any problems go away when you die.
Only new ones pile up for those you care about.

But what if you yourself are the problem?
You and your goddamn ideas about life, the world and everything else.
What if you are the source of all the hardships those you dare call 'friends' go through?
Doesn't death solve their biggest problem then?

Sure, it won't bring peace to all of mankind.
It will not remedy the situation.
It won't even save the day.
But at the very least it will save them the trouble you would have caused them down the road.

So why can't I just die?
Why can't I just keep my eyes closed and be done with it?
Why in the world do I keep going even though I know it will bring me and those around nothing but hardship and pain, which solve nothing at all?

The image of Saph comes to mind as she extends her hand down to me.
I guess she would be sad...we've been through so much shit together.
And most of it has been my fault, either directly or indirectly.

The incident at the library...why did I have to butt in there?
Come to think of it, that's been the start of this whole 'hero' career, hasn't it?
And just like all heroes, at the end of the line death and darkness awaits.

Where is my parade?
Where is my medal?
Where is the glory? The admiration of the masses?

Did I really do it for any of that?
Am I really that shallow? That dependent on what others think of me?
Do I really think so little of myself?
That I needed to try to be a hero to feel worth something?
To justify myself being alive?

Pain.
A different pain though.
Not the numb headache, but the stinging kind.

All of a sudden my eyes shoot wide open as a torrent of cold water is emptied over me, immediately making it impossible to breathe.
I shoot up, sputtering and coughing, instinctively trying to get rid of the obstruction in my lungs.

A female voice says, "See? Told you that would wake him up."
Another female voice shouts concerned, "Doesn't mean you had to drown him!"
A touch at my shoulder. No, more like a caress.
Soft. Caring. Familiar.

My sight is still blurry.
The light is so bright. So many colors blurring together.
Blobs all around me.
Guess my time hasn't come quite yet.

I blink multiple times, wiping water from my eyes and try to get my eyes to tell me about the situation I am now in.

There are a lot of faces around me, most of which I don't even know.
However a few of them especially close to me I know all too well.
After being able to breathe properly again, I look around the place properly, identify all those I can, look at the backgrounds and pick out the memories that make the most sense.

After I'm done, I spout, "Crud..."
"Now, is that any way to greet us?" Arthur asks, leaning against a jail cell.
"Cut him some slack...hey Ref, can you hear me?"

I look around, into Saph's face and nod faintly.
"Good...do you know where you are?"
"I...I think so...not so sure...my head still hurts."
"Yeah, sorry bout that buddy, but you were spouting all kinds of nonsense and we just didn't have any time to waste on it," Samson says from behind me.
"You feeling better now?" he asks worried.
"No...cause you being here means that it wasn't a dream..." I mutter.

I look up, my head slowly clearing up and my thoughts finally clicking back into gear.
"Alright...alright...did...did we make it? Did we...escape?"
"Not...exactly. Turns out you were partially right...the exit wasn't that way."
"Wha..."
"The maps were faked, probably for this exact reason," Silvia explains, her voice far softer than before.

Did I really imagine all that?
Did I really make such a huge mistake?
But it all made sense, didn't it?
The Null zone, the traps, the suddenly changed behavior of Silvia...it all added up.

I shake my head and mutter, "I must have watched one movie too much..."
"Hey, don't be too hard on yourself. We...have all been under a lot of stress," Samson tries to reassure me, when something clicks within me and I shout, "B-but then we still need to get out of here!"
"Yeah, about that...they locked us in here. Barricaded all the ways out. Sure, we managed to free the guys locked up in here, but as it stands, we aren't going anywhere. Probably regrouping to take us out in one fell swoop right now."
"...so we walked straight into their most sophisticated and powerful trap of them all...the null zone. God damn it..."
"Sure looks like it...sorry we didn't believe you," Samson apologizes.
"Doesn't matter...alright, we need a plan and fast...if only my head wouldn't hurt so darn much, this would be much easier..."
"...actually, we already have a plan," Arthur states, getting a terrifying look from Saph.
"That plan is not an option! Think of the consequences!"
"We'll all die if we don't do it! How's that for consequences?!"

Miranda raises her hands and tries to calm the two down, while Sam asks, "What...is that plan you are talking about?"
"...the kinda plan our mutual friend would usually come up with. Completely bonkers!"
"...it could be easy...we could just teleport out of here," I groan.
"Yeah, if our powers would work," Siren remarks.
"...I think I know the plan you guys are talking about...it's here, isn't it? Asmos' seal. That's what's generating the NZ, isn't it?"
"Damn, he is good," Silvia remarks.
"Probably overheard us talking about it," Siren retorts.
Saph shakes her head and replies, "No, he's always been quick to make connections like that. Besides, we don't know anything else that can create an NZ, so it's an easy guess. But yeah, that was Arthur's suggestion. If we...undo the seal..."
"...the NZ disappears and we can escape," I complete the sentence.
"...Saph is right, that is a terrible idea."
"If you've got a better idea, be my guest. I'm saying we should take our chances. I mean, the reports indicate that there's a total of 12 seals, what's one less?"

I shake my head and groan, "No, it's too risky. If...if Asmos breaks free...he could destroy us all. All of mankind could...perish."
"Look, I don't know the first thing about this 'Asmos', but answer me one question...can breaking this stupid thing really get us out of here?"
"I told you...ow..."

Saph gets up and into Siren's face, "Listen miss, I've seen firsthand what this Asmos can do even while sealed. If this...thing...breaks free, there's no telling what it can do!"
"And if we don't do it, we'll die. And that is a certainty," Arthur comments.

I look around and after a few seconds of bickering I sigh, "This is getting nowhere...if we're going to decide between the fate of humanity and our fate, we ought to do it like civilized people. Saph, tell them what we know about Asmos...then we'll hold a vote."
"A...vote?" Saph asks surprised.
"Yes, a vote. There's like two dozen people in here, all with their own opinion. We stand on two sides, one in favor of breaking the seal and one against it. The majority wins."

Saph sighs and eyes the door warily before she starts to explain what we know about the NZ, its source and the possible consequences of breaking the seal.
After she's done, Arthur makes his case, explaining that we only have one chance to escape this place and that there is no guarantee that any of the horror scenarios Saph painted will actually come to pass.

After each of them is done, both take one side of the room and the people gravitate to both sides in pretty much equal numbers.
Personally I take Saph's side, having Miranda help me make my way.
After dropping me off, she heads over towards Arthur's side.
"Et tu, Miranda?", I ask.
"I-I'm sorry, but...I don't want to die yet."
I wave off.
Really can't blame her.

After everyone has chosen a side, we count through, one at a time and just by a hair of one person, Arthur's side wins the vote.

I wearily get up, using Saph as support and mutter, "Well, can't help it."
"What...do you intend to do?"
"The way I understood it, you need a prophet to break that seal...where do we need to go?"
"You...are actually going to do it?" Saph asks with big eyes.
"The majority decided. I don't like it, but that's democracy for you."

Arthur nods and comes over, extending his hand to me.
"Whatever happens from here on out...it's been an honor to work with you."
I take his hand with weak fingers and shake it.
"We've really come a long way since our little bout in the gym, didn't we?"
"Hah, don't remind me! But yeah...a long way indeed."
"If...we survive this...what will you do?"
"Assuming the world doesn't end? No clue...though I think I'll retire with Miranda. Somewhere on the country side. Away from all this."
"...sounds like a plan...alright, let's do this."

Saph and Arthur support me on each side, Miranda, Silvia, Samson and Siren trail after us.
"You...don't have to do this..." I tell them.
Siren waves off saying, "If this really ends the world, I want to see it with my own two eyes before I go out."
Samson nods and adds, "Who is going to watch your back if I'm not there, buddy?"
"It's my fault that we got into this mess in the first place. The least I can do is see it through with you," Silvia chimes in.
I look at Miranda, who fervently shakes her head and says, "No way I'm letting you down now!"

I nod and together we head over to a tightly locked door.
Samson goes ahead and pries the door open using one of the cell bars as lever, revealing a dank and dark tunnel which seems to lead straight into hell behind it.
A faint golden light and a quiet humming emanates from the distance.

So this is how the world ends...not with a bang, but with a humming.
RotP 98 - No way back
You know that feeling of being stuck between a rock and a hard place?
I guess they've hit such a tight spot.
And what an impossible decision that is...to choose between your own life and those around you and the fate of all of mankind.

Certainly the noble decision would be to choose mankind over the individual.
But then again, does mankind really deserve saving after all it did?

Time for the home stretch.
Loading...
We keep running, evading the death traps and soldier caches the best we can, fighting our way through in those cases where we can't.

After what feels like forever, I huff, "A-are we sure that the exit is this way? Cause it sure feels like we keep going deeper!"
"That's just your imagination, Mr. Eternium," Silvia replies with a matter of fact voice.
"She's right, we've all seen the maps. This is the way to the exit!" Siren adds.

I lean against one of the walls, huffing and puffing, afraid that my pounding heart will decide to take the nearest exit if I take just one more step.

Siren yells at me, "Get your act together, you fool! We need to keep moving!"
"Did...I already...mention...that I never was...a health nut...in my previous life?"
"I...think he might be suffering from fatigue," Silvia says, looking into my pale face.

I want to throw a 'No shit, Sherlock' at her, but I can't seem to get my mouth to open.
"Not surprising...he's been throwing his all and then some against the enemies. I'm a little surprised that he didn't drop yet," Samson adds to the conversation.

Sam chimes in, "I think we should be safe for the moment...at least I don't hear anything any more. Maybe me managed to shake them?"
"There's no way we're shaking the Sentinels in their own home so easily," Siren states.
"If anything, they're regrouping right now to go at us in full force. And if they do that, we're done for."
"Just two minutes, alright?" Sam pleads in my stead.
Siren sighs and replies, "Fine...but no longer. The longer we stay here, the more likely it is that they regain control of the base systems and then we're really screwed."
"I don't see that happening any time soon. The system is completely isolated."
"Yeah, but what if they just cut the power?"
"This facility is self-sustaining, meaning it has a generator on the lowest level. I checked the camera feeds, there's nobody even remotely nearby...and if they should approach, they'll rue the day they decided to secure the access so well."
"...wait, you have control over the traps?! Why didn't you shut off that corridor?! Would've saved us a lot of time!" Siren exclaims.
"And Kevin would still be alive too...", Sam adds.
"Kevin? You mean the fool who rushed ahead before I even had the chance to try to disable anything? The one who sent me into a state of shock? That Kevin? Besides, I cannot disable any traps, but much rather I just managed to manipulate the IFF system...meaning the automatic defenses will shoot at anyone now."

I raise myself to my feet, still exhausted, but able to walk again.
"I...I think I'll be good now. Let...let's get the heck out of here."
In fact, I still feel like passing out, but if we linger here any longer, not only it will give our enemies more time to finish us off properly, but the fight brewing here might well escalate.
And then the Sentinels won't need to finish us off any more, because we'll do it all by ourselves.
"You sure you're okay, bud? You still look like shit."
"I...I said I'm fine. We...just need to get out of here, stat."

Samson nods but reminds me, "You know, I can carry you if you need me to."
But I just shake my head and stutter, "Y-you need your hands free...for them."
Samson scratches his head, shakes it and then the group starts moving again, deeper down into the rabbit hole.

Something is irking me in the back of my mind.
My instincts are trying to tell me something, but my thoughts are so scrambled, I can't even begin to formulate any sort of complex connection.

Another corridor, another room, another cache of unlucky bums crossing our path.
Honestly, just how many soldiers do the Sentinels even have?!
It's like they just keep respawning in different locations.
Or maybe even in the same locations, for all I know we could well be going in circles.
Though that is unlikely, because every now and then we come by some sort of landmark.

Another ten minutes later, I notice that it's been a long time since I've remembered any of the landmarks. Meaning that I've likely never been here in any of the iterations.
Either I always died before I made it or...

My thought gets cut off abruptly, as I notice something else.
It's suddenly become quiet.
I can't feel the psionic energy of the people around me any more.
Instead there is just the strange sense of numbness.

"Halt!" I shout, which quickly drowns in a violent cough fit, but the crew still stops.
"What is it, Mr. Eternium? Need another break?" Silvia asks coldly.
"No! Yes! Argh..." I sputter, close my eyes, take a deep breath and explain, "We need to turn around immediately!"
"...what are you, stupid?! We're so close, why should we run straight back into their arms?!"
"Because we've entered a fucking Null Zone, that's why!"
"A...what now...", Siren asks, obviously irritated.

I look over to Sam and ask, "Hey Sam...could you please prod me with that force field of yours?"
Sam blinks a few times, tries and suddenly says, "It...it isn't working! What...what is going on here?! Where did my powers go?"
"That's the effect of the NZ. Psionics won't work here. Which means we need to get out immediately before the Sentinels catch us here!"
"Wait, wait, wait, you're not making any sense! The exit is just through here! Just a few more doors and we'll be free!"
"No, we'll be dead if we don't turn around and find another way! Think for fucks sake! No lightning, no healing, no force field, no Siren's scream, no super strength, no anything! And we're outnumbered like 100 to 1! Without our powers we're dead!"
"Oh wait, I've got it! Strange, no clue why it didn't work before...guess I'm getting a little tired myself," Sam suddenly exclaims, pushing me off balance with his invisible wall.
"There, satisfied now? Your senses must be playing tricks on you. Now keep moving!" Silvia demands harshly.

The others also try out their powers and they all do seem to work, although they all seem to be quite a bit more strained than usually, but I attribute that to the situation we're in.

I shake my head and mutter, "Guess I was mistaken..."
"Damn straight you were! Now move, we're almost there!" Silvia retorts, basically pushing me down the corridor.

But something still doesn't add up.
I'm not imagining this. We are definitely in a Null Zone.
I can feel it.
But if we are, how can they still use their powers?
And if the Sentinels are able to create Null Zones, why didn't they keep us in one?
Our escape attempt would have been over before we even left the first room.

No, something isn't right here.
I guess it would make sense for them to have a Null Zone near the entrance to block attacks...but why not in the holding area?
Maybe the energy consumption is too high?
Maybe they thought the tubes were enough?

I shake my head.
That's just too many maybes to work with.
Like a formula with nothing but variables.

I exhale deeply and think back to my days as a programmer.
'KISS' - Keep it simple, stupid.
Often the most simple solution was also the best one.
So what is the most simple solution...engage the field only when it's needed, obviously. Catching potential attackers with their pants down, if possible.

But how would they even generate an NZ?
As far as I know, there is only one thing capable of generating one and...

My writer's mind kicks in and a flood of information collides, creating a huge splash of 'What-If' in the matter of seconds.

I have seen it before.
Someone using their powers even though they were in an NZ.

And they called people like these 'prophets', because of instead relying entirely on the Mana in the world around us, they themselves generated Mana, albeit in a much lower magnitude than what the average Psionian is going through.

And once again, I yell, "Halt!"
Silvia hurls around, obviously unnerved and snaps at me, "What is it, Mr. Eternium!"
"We should really, really, really turn around now!"
Silvia sighs and asks, "Haven't we been over this before? We're almost there!"
"...you keep saying 'there'...you never say 'the exit'...cause we're not going to the exit...are we, 'Doc'?"

Silvia looks at me bewildered, while Siren notes, "Alright, Wonderboy has finally lost his mind...was only a matter of time, really."
"What are you talking about? My name isn't 'Doc'. I am..."
"The woman I freed from the tube was called 'Silvia Locksmith'...but the woman who lead us here isn't Silvia any more, is she? I don't know how you did it, but you somehow took control of her and lead us here. You probably manipulated the maps to make it look like the exit was here, but there's something entirely different here, isn't it?"

"Dude, I really think you should be taking a break. You're talking nonsense."
I laugh and the idea that I really did lose my mind does cross my thoughts, but I can't risk it.
I cannot risk being right and not act.

"I really have no idea what..."
"This entire thing has been rigged from the get go! For what?! What in the world did you get me here for?!"
"You said you came to rescue me! That the AI I created sent you!"
"Hahaha, yeah, that was really clever of you, sending me on a rescue mission when there would have been so many people with a much better chance than out group of misfits. But you couldn't send anyone too competent, because then you wouldn't have been able to get me captured! Tortured! I wouldn't have been able to flee with the lot of you..."

"Sorry dude..." I hear from behind me before the world around me goes blank as Samson knocks me out cold.
RotP 97 - Going over the top
To be fair, what Ref is spouting does seem rather unlikely.
Did he really lose his mind?
But then again, they also believed Cassandra to be crazy, when she saw all the catastrophes coming but could find none to believe her.
And he has been called a 'Prophet'.
Is he really on to something?

But how could a computer program take control of a human being?
It could not, no matter how advanced it might seem, right?

What are your thoughts on this?
This may well be your final chance to change the course of this story. ;)
Loading...

deviantID

Refugnic
Refugnic Eternium
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Germany
I'm just a mediocre (at best) writer and programmer who's trying to make the best of his skills.

Some like me, some don't and some don't care...I believe that's all there is to say about me.
Interests
Before you start reading this, I recorded a little something as background music for this journal.



Go ahead. Hit the 'Play' button.
Got it?
Fine, be that way then.

Alright, enough fooling around, time to get down to business...and it's a bit of a sad business.

According to dA, I've been here for 6 years now...almost 7, actually.
In this time, I've written a total of 506 deviations, most of which were long winded stories with long and elaborate chapters.
I have no idea, how many pages I've written, I just know it's been a lot.

In this time, I have gathered:
14k Pageviews
1.4k Points (from contests, comissions, lotteries)
9.3k comments (mostly replies)

I've had happy days, typing away like a madman.
I've had bad days, where every chapter felt like a chore.
But I kept coming back here, hoping to find some reception.

But alas, dA is not a world for writers.
It is a world for people who draw pictures.
It is a world for people who take photos.
If anything literature related, it is a world for one-shots.

To even just get noticed is next to impossible, unless you employ cheap tactics like 'Fav and run' or by using bots.
I have never stooped that low.
I wanted to believe that by producing the best quality I can, people would tell others about me.
That I would make it because I make good stuff.

In the past years, I have come to realize that this is not the case.
All those I had gathered around me in the past have long since disappeared.

I had hoped that the fun and enthusiasm of the past would come back to life once more while working on my last project, which ended today.

Alas, it did not.
The story ended.
And with it, my time as a writer on deviantArt.
After all, if it's not fun, why should we do it. Not like we get paid for it. :)

And thus I direct my efforts somewhere else, down another venue.
Hoping that I will be able to refine my art better there than here.
If you enjoyed my stories, please come find me at Wattpad or Tapas, where I'll try my mettle next.

Mind you, this doesn't mean I won't be coming around any more at all, however I will no longer post any longer stories here.
Maybe a one-shot every now and then if I feel like it.
After all, dA isn't meant for connected stories.
Or maybe I just was never good enough.

Not like anyone ever bothered to tell me since back in 2012.

So yeah, before I sign out at long last, I would like to thank a few people.
AprilDawson for her collaboration at Tisis, even though I had to drag her deadbeat horse to the finish line all by myself.
xxEmi-AnGeL-chanxx for her cheerful nature and thoughtful and fun suggestions while writing the Demilympics.
ISAPU for their continued support while writing RotP. Without them, I actually might have given up the story mid-way.
L-Storyteller for comissioning me to produce one my most successful one-shots at all time.
The crew of theWrittenRevolution for tirelessly trying to make this place more suitable for writers.

And basically everyone else who has accompanied me on my way here.
I want to believe that I am a better writer now than I used to be thanks to all of you.

Thank you.
And farewell.

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:iconmrcorbi:
MrCorbi Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2017  Hobbyist
Hello fellow Wingless reader and theoretician! ;^) So, tell me, what do you recommend me among your works? I like horror, fantasy and sci fi
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:iconrefugnic:
Refugnic Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Haha, it pays to have a rather unique handle to go by, doesn't it? :D

Welcome. Welcome, indeed.

As I'm sure you've noticed already, I have a rather wide array of stories, both long and short for you to choose from, most of which move along the lines of sci-fi and fantasy, often borderlining between the two genres.

If you're looking for something a little longer, I think you may like Tisis, a survival/sci-fi collab I tried my hand at a while ago.
If something a little more recent tickles your fancy, I am currently working on 'Rise of the Psionians', an apocalyptic sci-fi story about people who suddenly got 'powers' and how that changed the world.
In Anti-Zombie I tried my hand at the horror genre. Not my best work to date, but I nevertheless entertaining I am told...at least there's actually people who read the whole thing, so it can't be all bad. :D

What I don't recommend is 'Animal Kingdom', a piece of fantasy and kinda gone wrong or 'Manifest', which was my NaNoWriMo entry of last year, which is still better than AK, but not really 'grade A' material either...well, what to expect from something I typed down in less than a month, right? :P

And if you're looking for some of my shorter works/standalones, you may want to take a look at the remaining folders labeled short stories,  etc. where you will find some of the things I cooked up either in response to something specific or on a whim.

Except for Crochet, I doubt you will find anything worth reading in there. :D

I hope you'll enjoy your time in my gallery and if you've got a thing or two to say about how awful my writing is, feel free to share. :P
After all, feedback is the only real way for me to improve, cause how am I going to do better, if I don't know what I'm doing wrong? ;)

Thank you for finding me and have a lot of fun. :)
Reply
:iconlegomaestro:
legomaestro Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Congratulations on winning your entry Refugnic! Impressive stuff. Tied down by school work atm but I'll get to it asap and give it a read.
Reply
:iconrefugnic:
Refugnic Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
...do you know something I don't? :XD:

Waaait a minute, you don't mean to actually tell me...

Oh and thanks. :)
Reply
:iconlegomaestro:
legomaestro Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha I was checking out The Written Revolution's page and they said we should congratulate you so yeah...
Reply
:iconrefugnic:
Refugnic Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I'm afraid I don't see it right now. O_O

Where did you see this, if I may ask? Is it in the Twitter section by chance?
Reply
(1 Reply)
:icondreamelancholia:
dreamelancholia Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015
Out of curiosity, what does "Refugnic Eternium" mean? :)
Reply
:iconrefugnic:
Refugnic Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, you're actually the first person to ask that in a long time. In fact I can't even remember who the last person was who asked that...so long ago has it been. Actually, I was considering writing a journal about who he is and everything, but didn't quite yet.

Now, to answer you question, 'Refugnic Eternium' is a construct from the words 'Refuge' and 'Eternity' -> The eternal refugee, his 'home planet' being 'Refugna', which would translate to 'the eternal refuge'.

I said 'his home planet', that's because 'Refugnic Eternium' is not just the name I chose for myself, but also the name of the oldest OC I have...he's been accompanying since I was ten or something. His name has changed a number of times over the years, but he's been Refugnic Eternium for over 10+ years now, so I guess this name is sticking :P

His character is based on what I wanted to be like, back when I was young, which is why his first name was a 'power version' of my own name (which I'm not stating), later became 'Refugna 1', if I recall correctly and finally became Refugnic Eternium. Just like his name changed, so did his story...and right now, I'm finally writing down this story...so his story won't keep morphing under my hands as my life continues to unfold. :)

There are multiple Refugnic Eterniums now, actually. But they all have one thing in common...they all originate from my life, some deviating more, some deviating less from the original.
However the original Refugnic Eternium, that very first OC of mine...he was born different. Not a human, like the rest of them, not mutated like some of them, not caught up in exceptional circumstances like most of them.

The original Refugnic Eternium was born a hybrid between a human woman and an alien (Refugnian) man.
As such, he is heir to the legacy of his (now extinct people), blessed (?) with an enormous life-span and access to technologies, which shame what we have today in every respect...and yet he is not happy...know what? I think I'll type it down after all. Please check my profile later if you're interested. :)


Thanks for asking.
Reply
:icondreamelancholia:
dreamelancholia Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015
Wow, it's amazing how complex of a backstory he has. I've been coming up with my own OCs and they still need a lot of work!

I'll be sure to do that. :)
Reply
:iconrefugnic:
Refugnic Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I've been working on it for long enough :XD:
Heh, I know the feeling all too well, all of my OCs have that problem that there's something lacking in their background or their character isn't properly developed and what not...but I still somehow manage to make my stories work. :)

So yeah, don't worry, you're not alone.

And I finished writing the journal with those explanations...sorry for taking so long, but I've been interrupted a number of times. :)
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