Broken Horizons – Vol 13, Ch 19

The Skies Above

After five apocalypses, Cease All needed to catch her breath. Breathing however wasn’t something [Outer Space] made especially easy.

“Any chance I’m not catching you at a bad time?” Lisa asked via a private telepathic link.

Cease All refrained from laughing. She wasn’t actually in danger, but giving up air to the void of space seemed like a poor idea regardless. 

“Not at all,” Cease said, not working terribly hard to keep the sarcasm out of her mental voice. “I’m just hanging around here.”

There was a pause while Lisa either looked up Cease’s position or figured the situation out from the little info she had.

“Tell me, lie if you need to, that you did not wind up detonating the [Communications Relay] ship,” Lisa said, her voice dripping with exasperation.

“Oh, I didn’t,” Cease said, admiring the cloud of still burning, self-oxidizing debris from the [Communications Relay] ship that surrounded her.

“Good, good. Then since you’re on a still working ship, with a perfectly intact [Rift Generator], it won’t be a big ask if I needed you to get back here like five minutes ago?”

“If you needed that, and I can’t imagine why you would, I would tell you that I’d be glad to head back to wherever you are, but that I’d need at least ten minutes. Fifteen if you want Raid Team 3 to come with me.”

“Fifteen? So, they wouldn’t all, by any wild chance, be drifting outwards in an ever widening sphere away from a ship’s main reactor core would they?” Lisa asked.

“Technically, no,” Cease said.

“Uh huh, allow me to rephrase the question then,” Lisa said with exacting deliberation, “Of the members of the [Army of Light’s] Raid Team 3 who have not yet been picked up by a rescue craft, could their current trajectory be described as ‘blown the hell up’?”

“I mean, many trajectories could be described as that couldn’t they?” Cease said.

There was a long sigh on their private channel before Lisa spoke again.

“What color was the button? And please don’t say red.”

“More of a crimson really,” Cease said.

“And it was flashing, wasn’t it?” 

“Like a heartbeat.”

“Did you at least get the [Artifax] troops freed first?”

“Of course!” Cease objected, offended at the very thought. “They’re the ones coming to pick us up.”

“And how many people are shooting at them?” Lisa asked.

“Believe it or not, no one,” Cease said, which was why she was feeling rather positive about their excursion despite her present predicament. 

“No one? They’re all free?” Lisa asked.

“Yep,” Cease said. “We thought it was going to take a lot longer but it turned out once we got a few free from the [Command Bonds] that were shackling them, those ones were able to start breaking the others out too. We even had a bunch who managed to break free on their own once the [Central Monitoring System] was taken down.”

“The [Artifax] troops who were on board the Consortium ships and magically mind controlled just broke free on their own?” Lisa asked. “I thought that was impossible.”

“Apparently a few of them figured out the trick during the invasion when the [Hungry Shadow] took everyone over. There was some logic implosion there about being compelled to follow their superiors while also being absolutely disallowed from processing inputs from anything designated as an enemy.”

“That sounds somewhat mind breaking. How are they doing now?” Lisa asked.

“Surprisingly well. Once they got the whole ‘blow up everything Consortium related’ out of their systems, most of the [Artifax] calmed right down.”


“We transported some to help with the various apocalypses Penswell is managing. The ones who still had rage issues to work out needed to break more stuff.”

“And the rest?” Lisa asked.

“We can bring along the ones from the Comms ship if you like?” Cease asked.

“They deserve a break more than any of us,” Lisa said. “I’d say let them come along if they like, but encourage them to stay up there where it’s safe.”

“Well, safe for now right?” Cease said. “We’ve still got the Consortium’s sun killing fleet that we’ll have to deal with.”

“Apparently not,” Lisa said. “They got eaten by a dragon.”

“Uh, what?”

“On of the apocalypses spawned a dragon capable of eating the sun. A group of [Adventurers] grabbed the egg and the dragon imprinted on them instead. It was growing super fast, because ‘apocalypse’, so they jumped on it’s back, flew up to space and warped away. Penny wasn’t sure where they went, until they sent back a report with some selfies and the Consortium’s fleet mostly crunched up in the dragon’s mouth.”

“Huh. You know I thought my day was pretty incredible.”

“I know, right? We saved the world and yet it wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest if a few billion other people hadn’t been saving it too.”

“So, is the world really saved then?” Cease asked. “Do we finally have things under control?”

“Hmm, should I lie to you?” Lisa asked.

“Yes, absolutely,” Cease said.

“Then, definitely, everything’s good, nothing to worry about anymore. I just need you and our best Raid Team to get down here in about two minutes because there is a lovely underground park that I’m just dying to take a walk in, and it’ll be so much more pleasant with some meatshields…I mean dear friends…around.”

“I hate you,” Cease said.

“I know,” Lisa said sweetly.

“I should not let you talk me into this. I should not let you talk any of us into this.”

“Demonstrably true. Past experience proves that.”

“The whole raid team?”

“At least. My team will be there, and we’ll have some other helpers too.”

“Like who?”

“Obby’s wife and a few of their friends showed up.”

“Are they max level? I thought your team power leveled up from like 30 or so?”

“We did. It sucked. And as for Jin? Uh, I don’t know?”

“Look at her stats, what class is she?”

“She’s not,” Lisa said.

“Not what?”

“Not classed. She’s a monster. Like literally a monster.”

“And she’s married to your tank?”

“Not my tank,” Lisa specified quickly. “Our party’s other tank.”

“Oh, really, is that how it is? Gonna put a ring on it?”

“As soon as I find one with enough magic in it,” Lisa said.

“Oh. Oh wow.”

“Yeah,” Lisa admitted.

“Okay then, so which underground park are you taking us on a walk through?” Cease asked.

“The [World’s Heart],” Lisa said.

“Huh. Where’s that? I don’t think I’ve ever done that one?”

“No one has.”

“Oh, it’s one of the new ones they added in [World Shift]?”

“Not exactly.”

The Fallen Kingdoms

The trip down to the [World’s Heart] was unique in that the path literally hadn’t existed until they carved it down from the lowest point in the Sunless Depths.

“[Tectonic Cataclysm],” Mellisandra called out, invoking her highest tier [Earth] aspected nuke. In front of the triple strength raid party a thousand yards of stone vaporized  while behind them the tunnel collapsed further, burying the back half of the group alive.

“Yay, more digging dig people out,” Damnazon said as she, Obby, and Pillowcase started hauling boulders away from the people were were trapped and couldn’t free themselves instantly on their own.

Rip Shot emerged from the stonefall as a bolt of lightning, Matt Painting ghosted out of rubble no more solid than a dream, and Lost Alice poured from the tiny cracks as a cloud of mist. Despite their speed and effort though, the group was still swarmed by [Fallen Nightmares] well before everyone was free.

The Nightmares lived up to their name, with each being a match for a full party of max level [Adventurers]. This particular group of [Adventurers] however did not have the time to play with anything as minor as a swarm of raid killing bosses. 

And fortunately they didn’t have to.

They’d brought their own monsters along.

Fall in and start digging,” Jin commanded and the Nightmares came to strict attention and pitched in with absolute obedience.

“That’s cheating,” Obby said.

“Nope, I’m the [High Priest] of the [Empress Above All], commanding monsters is one of traits that comes with that,” Jin said.

“Cheeeating!” Obby said and stuck her tongue out at her wife.

“If she doesn’t complain, I’m not going to pass it up,” Jin said.

“The [Empress Above All] you mean?” Rip asked.

I believe she is referring to me.” The voice shook the world around them causing another massive collapse of stone, though this time the stone, and the raid teams, poured through a crumbling wall into a space that looked large enough to fit an entire other world.

“Hey there,” {Gaia} said.

Your coming was not foretold,” the [Fallen Kingdoms] said.

Where {Gaia} appeared as a fairly nondescript, dark skinned woman in her early twentys, the [Fallen Kingdoms] looked as though that same woman had was made of starlight and fairy dust and had then poured herself into a flowing robe made from liquid metal.

“I’m dying,” {Gaia} said.

“I know the feeling,” the [Fallen Kingdoms] said, her divine presence contracting as though she’d turned down the light of a sun to no brighter than a candle flame.

“Think you can help?” {Gaia} asked.

“I must,” the [Fallen Kingdoms] said. “If you’re not preserved, I will perish as well. Better that only one of us should pass.

“Yeah, about that,” Tessa said.

The Ghost Lands

Kamie Anne Do and her team had run to the end of the world and then kept going, so she wasn’t surprised that when they tried to run back there were no paths to lead them home.

“At least we got the last of the [Disjoined],” Battler X said. “The world’s got to be a better place for that right?”

“It’s a better place for everything we did,” Grail Force said. “This isn’t quite how I planned to go out, but I’m glad it’s with you folks.” There was a chorus of snuffles and grumpy whines. “And with our new friends,” she added, reaching over to scritch her [Hound of Fate] behind the ears.

“Seems like it’s an open question of whether we can even ‘go out’ from here at all,” Kamie, or Grace, or was there really any difference anymore?, said. “It’s so huge. What do you think it meant for?”


For a moment Grace felt like she was the tiniest of subatomic particles standing before the someone on the scale of a cosmic filament and the whole limitless gray plane she and her friends had been wandering through was far too small to continue the entity that spoke.

“Or I guess its just {[me]} now,” the entity said, with her first breath shrinking in scale to match Kamie’s group. “This is really fascinating. I had no idea we could be like this.”

“Like what?” Grace managed to ask through an ocean of confusion.

“Together,” the woman said. “Like you are.”

“I don’t think you’re anything like we are,” Battler X said, sounding as awestruck as Kamie felt.

“You’re right. We’re…sorry, I’m not,” the woman said. “I’m only a small part of you. Oh, allow us to introduce myself. We’re your homeworlds. I guess in this form you’d call us {[Fallen Gaia]}? [{Gaia’s Kingdoms}]? Nah, the first one was better. We’re a tight fit in here, since this was supposed to be Fallen’s resting place, and Gaia’s not exactly designed for this sort of thing.”

No one spoke for a long moment, which on Grace’s part was because despite all the impossible things she’d witnessed and done, she still wasn’t prepared to process that idea when it was literally staring her in the face.

“Why are you here?” Battler X asked.

“Because we’re dead,” {[Fallen Gaia]} said, with no particular concern over the idea.

“That’s bad isn’t it?” Grail Force asked.

“It’s the end of the word,” {[Fallen Gaia]} said.

“So everything we fought foe? The stuff we apparently died for? None of that mattered? The bad guys won? The world ended anyways? Both worlds?” Kamie asked

“Yep,” {[Fallen Gaia]} said. “Or, yes, both world’s ended, but you’re still here right?”

“So?” Kamie asked.

“Are you still fighting?” {[Fallen Gaia]} asked.

“We will if we need to,” Battler X said.

“And do you think you’re alone?” {[Fallen Gaia]} asked.

From the farther distance, Grace heard a horn trumpeting.

The same horn that began the theme music to [Broken Horizons], and behind it, millions of voices were raised.

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