We are getting down to the end. There are still a few installments left for this story line. I have ideas about a new series that follows what happens after Project Aries if you are interested. Covers both sides of the conflict Nick and Nephilim.

As always please vote and comment. Tell me what you think about how things are shaping up and suggestions are always welcome. I have stuck with a timeline with dates to keep continuity. Enjoy.

Iron Rain: Part 15

A Wake:

October 3, 2012

The word passed at the speed of light around the entire globe, Nick was mourning his lost mother at last. Friends, family, acquaintances and everybody in-between were coming to say their farewells. Everyone that knew him was aware of his brooding since her unfortunate passing by an assassin’s bullet. When they heard he was throwing a wake even after the long months since she had been buried they wanted to be there for him and show their support. Helicopters in the droves landed and departed the two helipads the Numenor sported and many arrived to drink his alcohol and shake his hand for the first time while others were there to see a much improved young man who was drinking toast after toast to his mother. It was in the wee hours of the first day of the wake that Nick’s father arrived and he was not alone. He was sporting three bodyguards and they all were brazenly brandishing their rings, the rings that marked them as members of the Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight. It was unlikely that most onboard recognized or even knew about the Order but the minority that did were coalescing into a group. This was not missed by Nick who was grateful his own ring was securely stowed in the safe in his office. He rose from the hot tub and crossed the distance to his father and greeted him warmly.

“Dad, great I’m glad you could make it,” Nick said all smiles.

“I am happy you are at last dealing with her passing,” he said coolly. “I’m not sure this is what she would have wanted.”

“It’s a wake; we are celebrating her life and mourning her death. I have been walking in the shadows for long enough it is time to put away the pain and go on with life. I think that is what she would have wanted.”

“I suppose you are right,” he said looking around. “I have received some very troubling news Nick and I think we need to talk… in private.”

“Of course,” Nick said sensing the temperature drop in his father’s voice. “Follow me and we can talk in the dining room it isn’t being used right now.”

Nick gestured and made eye contact with Akira who was already ahead of him seeing who Nick was speaking with. But when they arrived at the dining room it wasn’t just Nick and his father but every member of the Order that was on board the ship as well. Akira and several of the Sisterhood had already entered and were preparing snacks and drinks.

“You have a very talented staff Nick,” his father said watching the orderly way that the room was prepped for their impromptu meeting in under five minutes and didn’t miss the fact that each and every one of the women possessed stunning good looks. “…very talented indeed.”

“I am glad you approve. So what’s up,” Nick asked sensing the tension in the air and ready to evade a bullet or attack from any direction.

“Nick… son I have been putting this off for far too long,” his father said looking at the other members of the Order. “It has been agreed to and sanctioned from the Grandmaster himself that you be admitted into the Silver Twilight Lodge.”

The men all smiled and clapped and drinks were brought by the ladies and toasts were made as Nick slowed his racing heart.

“This is your unofficial entrance into the group of course,” the Senator from Nebraska said smoothly. “Due to your standing in the corporate world and your father’s rank well it was decided to bring you in at the title of a full Master.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Nick stammered as he was expected to.

“Say yes son this is a great day for our family,” his father cheered.

“Of course I’ll say yes,” Nick said looking at Akira who smiled and nodded.

“Good,” the Governor from Texas said smoothly. “You are now officially under the protection of the Order.”

‘Ding’ the bell went off in Nick’s head and now the other shoe falls he thought.

“We know what you did Nick,” the Senator said turning on him.

“Did you really think no one would find out,” the Governor glared at him.

“Really Nick you could have warned some of us what you were planning,” his father said upset and more than a little hurt.

“I have a lot of things going on so I need a point of reference,” Nick said mentally parrying the barrage of accusations.

“The leak Nick, the plans to the portable power plants… power cells… did you really think we wouldn’t track it back to you.” A voice in the back said.

“Oh… I don’t see the harm. That particular project was mine and it is time I gave something back to the public who desperately need a cheap energy source.” Nick said defending his decision to leak the plans for a cheap power plant and power cell that could be used to run a car, a lawn mower or even a house in an emergency.

The device could be scaled up or down but the across the board use of the power plants would curb if not eliminate the necessity for fossil fuels like gasoline. If the general public learned it was him he would be hailed a hero one day and dead by the hands of the oil nations the next?

“Do you have any idea of the economic effect if people can go to the hardware store and build their own power source,” asked the gentleman from Texas.

“The car industry, the oil industry and the power industry are all going to suffer from this,” came the annoying nasally voice from the rear.

“Then I guess the power plants I started building to supply cheap power are going to be an issue as well?” Nick asked.

“I was told those plants were only to support the power grid…” the Senator glared.

“Those plants can put out a lot more power than you guess and cleaner and cheaper than those that are currently online.” Nick glared back.

“What?” came from multiple lips.

“Imagine Los Angeles and most of California not having rolling blackouts ever,” Nick was on a roll but Akira wasn’t close enough to stop him without it being obvious. “Those desalinization plants were built over cost at a loss to my company so that we could provide water for those who desperately need it. The jobs created and will maintain will last. What have you done to improve the conditions of your states gentlemen?”

Nick’s face was red and he knew he had crossed multiple lines but pulled it back before he roared, ‘Wait until Project Aries hits the fan gentlemen then you’ll know what a fucking crisis is like!’ A short term crisis but a necessary one he reminded himself.

“How did you find out,” Nick asked his voice and color back to normal.

“Your sister told me,” his father said.

“Oh, well it isn’t like she is going to be bragging to anyone else. She knows how dangerous it would be to let that slip to the general public.”

“I hope you are right son, I hope you can trust her with your life,” his father said and the chill returned to the room.

“Is it getting cold in here,” Nick said heading for the door. “Do you really think Kat would betray me after all I have done for her and the family?”

“What did you think he meant Nick,” the Senator asked as Nick turned to leave. “It is obvious to everyone here that you did something else. You were relieved we were asking you about the leak and not something else. What was it Nick?”

Nick stopped and squared his shoulders and turned to face the members of the Order. His face was livid and etched with pain and anger as he spoke.

“You want to know what I did. I found out who killed my mom. I discovered who pulled the trigger and more than that I discovered who bankrolled it. The fucking war hero who shot my mom in the head because I wasn’t there AND the fucking asshole who thought he could put a bounty on my family’s head and get away with it. I took care of business on that front and I don’t feel one iota of guilt or remorse!”

“Nick… I never knew,” his father said tears flowing.

“Who was responsible Nick,” the Governor asked but Nick just shook his head.

“All I will say is this they will never harm another person ever. I am missing my mom’s wake now be of good cheer and help me celebrate her life.”

Nick turned and lifted his arms and Akira slid next to him on his left and Marie Dubois slid next to him on his right as he walked out and back out on deck.

“That boy is dangerous,” the Senator said after Nick had gone.

“He is under our protection,” the elder Shaw said.

“But will he follow our orders,” the Governor asked.

“Of course he will he is my son after all.”

“I hope you are right this is a risky gamble we are making,” said the voice in the rear.

The Shaw family gathered near the hot tub to drink, to remember and to mourn. Kat sat on Nick’s left and his father on his right.

“She was an amazing woman,” the Elder Shaw said after more than a few drinks.

“She worked so damn hard getting that sword made for you,” Kat added.

“Yeah, it holds a special place in my life it reminds of both of them.” Nick said thinking about both his mothers and how lucky he had been to have them in his life. “I was blessed to have such amazing women in my life.”

“We both were son,” his father said new tears beginning to flow now.

There were so many memories that were recalled often beginning with ‘do you remember when…’ and ending with either a smile or a tear. After long hours and dawn approaching Nick staggered to his feet and waved Kat and his father to the rear of the ship. This was turning out to be a night for revelations. There was a large storage bay that was locked. Nick fumbled with the key but managed to unlock it and open the right door that slid on metal tracks allowing for the storage of jet skis and the like. After the trio had moved inside and the door slid closed did Nick turn on the lights. The exterior walls were littered with empty and half empty wooden crates. Packing material littered much of the floor but it was the mysterious blue tarp that drew his family’s attention. Whatever it was measured around twenty feet long and perhaps eight feet wide and definitely had an aerodynamic profile to it because of how the material fell across it.

“What is it,” Kat asked cocking her head to one side.

“It is a long term project of mine that is nearly done,” Nick said grinning from ear to ear.

“Well are you going to show it to us or…” his dad began even as Nick grabbed the tarp and tugged it off the vehicle that lay beneath. “…whoa, what the hell is that?”

The sleek black exterior of the thing seemed to have some queer affect on the light that fell on it; which reminded Kat of the black pyramid that Jesse had built. The front of it was roughly diamond shaped like the head of a bow hunter’s arrow. Behind that was where the driver sat and appeared plush and almost organic in the way it would hug the body. The rear end of the thing was tall and also diamond shaped but the reverse of the front end. It gave the impression of speed even though it was standing still. The most impossible aspect of the vehicle was the fact that it was simply hovering there without so much as a whisper of a motor.

“I call it a grav-bike,” Nick said very pleased with himself.

“How the hell does it just hover there,” the elder Shaw asked looking under the bike and seeing nothing but empty air.

“It’s a little something I borrowed from Area 51 believe it or not,” Nick slurred.

“Borrowed… why do I doubt they knew you were there,” Kat said moving to sit behind the controls.

“You stole government secrets,” his father’s voice cracking at the end. “What makes you think they aren’t after you?”

“I’ve had the information for almost a year and I am sure they’d have busted me after my visit to the Pentagon six months back.”

“You’ve been to the Pentagon,” his dad asked in complete shock.

“Yeah, they whole war in Iran thing,” Nick tried to make it sound casual but failed miserably.

“Why did they want to meet with you Nicholas,” the Elder Shaw asked still staring at the grav-bike in disbelief.

“A part of the corporation is in the manufacture of state of the art weapon systems now,” Nick explained. “We provide both personal and heavy weapons for the military and police forces across the planet.”

“I didn’t know,” his father said. “Why didn’t I know?”

“You’ve been busy with your new job and your position with the lodge.” Nick said.

“Yes I have,” his dad admitted.

“So how fast does this thing go Nick,” Kat asked grabbing the controls.

“I don’t know yet, she hasn’t had her maiden voyage yet,” Nick said. “But I am thinking about Mach 12 or higher in atmosphere.”

“Mach fucking 12 but how the hell is that even possible,” Nick’s dad asked looking the machine again.

“It’s technical but trust me once she’s done I am gonna push her to the limits.” Nick said covering up the bike.

“Hey… I am still under here asshole,” Kat said climbing out from underneath the tarp.

“We need to talk,” his dad said leaning hard against Nick as he and Kat made their way back towards the hot tub.

“I knew that was coming,” Nick said locking up behind them.

Her helicopter landed on the larger helipad of the Numenor and the door slid open and she glided out eager to see Nick once more. Her long black hair was coifed to perfection and the little black dress she chose cost her more than the gas for the trip here. She was actually feeling a touch of nervousness in her belly at the thought of being in his arms again after the quivering mass of woman flesh he had left her in. She wasn’t hurt that he wasn’t there to greet her after all this was a surprise. Yet even as one of the girls took her luggage and walked down the stairs to the main level of the ship there he was standing, waiting and smiling at her.

“Cyan,” Nick said as he moved to take her into his embrace.

“OH Nick,” she said kissing him fiercely. “I have missed you.”

“I have missed you too,” he moaned returning her kiss.

He guided her down the stairs and towards the hot tub where the core of the revelry appeared to be taking place. Nick scooped her up into his arms and walked towards the bubbling cauldron of water and held her over it threateningly.

“NICK, don’t you dare,” Cyan said with mock venom in her voice.

“I will replace the dress,” Nick said as he dropped her.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” she cried out even as the water rushed up to greet her and soak her to the bone.

“Kouryou, that was quite cruel of you,” Akira whispered in his ear just before she shoved him into the water.

Before long the tub was bustling with naked and half naked bodies and the wine flowed and all was well with Nick Shaw’s universe for now.

October 5, 2012

The Numenor had returned to some semblance of normalcy as most of the guests had departed the ship either for shore to continue the party or home to return back to their regular lives. Nick was sleeping deeply in his bed dreaming of dark vistas beneath the waves as the gift of the Dreamer in the Depths fully manifested. Nick had been unable to reach a dream state since drinking the water that James Bell had given him nearly a year ago now. But after visiting Professor Griffin’s lab and having his ‘daydream’ with the octopi and that terrible cold voice in his head Nick had finally been able to do what others took for granted. Oh but what nightmares he was caught up in as he lay in his bed. The blasted dreamscape he trod was the stuff of insanity where the very fabric of reality was bent and warped into blasphemous angles that never belonged in the waking world. The ‘wrongness’ became worse the further into the cyclopean city he walked seeing monuments to dead gods that were not deceased but only slept. They lay dreaming in places like this that had been shaped and wrought long before a true clean sentience arose upon the world. They had come from the dark places in the universe which man knows not. Where black suns burn in abyssal firmaments and the wailing of lost souls is the music of their spheres. It is under one such sun that Nick walks drawn ever deeper into this hellish citadel of the damned until he spies what it is that is summoning him. The great black stone with the alien glyphs is his ultimate goal. But unlike its sister stones it is short and squat and possesses six sides one each for the six obelisks that fell to the earth. It is the key stone that holds them together and allows the uninitiated to divine the language that is writ upon the black stones. Nick realized in despair that even should he possess all six stones still he will fall short until he finds and secures in his possession the key stone. Still his feet move ever forward towards the hexagonal block of ebony and suddenly as it happens in dreams things change. Lying on the key stone is a figure in white. It is like new fallen snow so pure and clean its color. As Nick draws closer it stirs and moves its ivory hood and cloak lifting to look at him. The figure is now kneeling upon the stone beckoning with a slender white gloved hand. She is calling him to her and forgotten is the stone there is only her. By the time he reaches the block of black stone she is on her hands and knees the hood covering her head hiding her face. Nick grabs it by either side and pulls it back revealing her alien beauty to his hungry gaze. White, oh her skin is as pale as the stone is dark. Incredibly long tresses of snowy hair tumble from the hood and fall on either side of her delicately sculpted features. She smiles up at him revealing her perfect teeth and full kissable lips the color of bone. But it is her eyes that snare him, orbs the color of flame slit like a cat’s and so deep he must drown in them or die. Nick leans closer and their lips touch and she casts off her robe revealing the sensuous form beneath. She presses her breasts against his chest as the kiss deepens and Nick can feel her hard nipples trace circles over his own naked flesh. His hands roam over the nude form memorizing each and every curve from her shoulders down to her well rounded bottom. When he squeezes her ass cheeks she moans in his mouth and when he rakes her back with his nails from bottom to top she growls in pleasure. It is she who breaks the kiss and lowers her mouth to his raging hardness and begins to lick and tease it. Nick looks down seeing her ruby gazed fixed upon him even as her mouth slides over his cock. He grabs either side of her head and using her hair for leverage begins to slowly thrust in and out of her throat. He could feel her tongue and lips pleasure him as he moved his hips ever so slowly savoring every nuance she had to offer him. With a pop his cock came free and he was suddenly staring up at that nightmare sky but then he felt her lips upon him again and the pleasure drove away the madness.

“Tell me what you want Nick,” came her silvery voice. “Tell me and I will gladly give it to you.”

He wanted to say her body and all the pleasure it promised but there was the other side of his brain that wanted the answer. Nick needed that elusive answer of what the obelisks and the key stone represented and their function. Despite his hunger for her he voiced his deepest need to her.

“I want the secret of the Obelisks and the Key Stone,” his voice was weak and unsure but loud enough to be heard.

“Are you sure Nick that is what you truly desire,” she asked him as she jacked him off.

“YESSS,” Nick’s voice actually broke but he had said it.

“Good,” she said as he felt her body climb over his.

He could feel her wet heat as it rubbed against the head of his cock just before he slipped deep inside of her.

“UNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN,” Nick cried out as she began to ride him.

“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Lover… see how wet you made me… how tight my pussy is…”

Nick looked down and saw her white snowy flesh wrapped around him grinding downward pushing him ever deeper into her liquid heat. Then she was riding him again and he saw the contrast of his tanned flesh as it pierced her again and again.

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM so damn tight…” Nick moaned.

“SOOOOOOOOOO long and thick…” she growled as she thrust her hips down onto him.

He could feel that tingling sensation of the first hints of his climax and apparently so did she.

“Come with me Nick… shoot deep into my pussy when I cum…” she was begging now.

He began thrusting up into her as her hips came down.

“YESSSSSSSSSSSS… tell me the secret first though…” Nick managed to say.

“MMMMMMMMM you are determined I will give you that, worry not Nick that secret you will have I promise.”

Nick grabbed her by her hips and began to thrust upward harder now and the sound of their slapping bodies echoed over that horrid place and as they got closer and closer to climaxing so did something slither closer and closer to the lovers.

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM so fucking close,” Nick moaned.

“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS NICK… drive that cock into me… make me cum lover…”

A few more thrusts and they would come together, a few mere seconds and bliss would be theirs and a few more moments and the horror that was stalking them would consume them both. Just as it loomed above them Nick rammed his cock deep into her and pulses of hot cum filled her pussy to overflowing and she cried out as her own orgasm engulfed her.

Nick awoke feeling as if he had just had a wet dream something that hadn’t happened in a very long time. But as he became aware of his surroundings he realized that his cock was buried in someone’s pussy but whose? He looked up and saw the panting, grinning pale skinned woman of his dreams impaled upon his iron hard flesh.

“‘Ello Nick,” she said with her English accent.

“Hello Magus,” he replied.

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM nice cock you got there,” she purred as she started to ride him again.

“NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN Nice pussy you got there,” he moaned.

“Glad you like it lover bear, wanna bend me over and take it for a spin?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” Nick said as she lifted up and off of him and assumed the position, head down ass up.

Nick crawled behind her and eased his cock back into her tight little pussy and rammed it home just to see her jump and let out a yelp. His strong hands settled onto her hips and he began to fuck her in earnest now. With each and every thrust into her wet warm depths she let out a little grunt. The grunts became moans and the moans became wails signaling her second orgasm. And it was epic. Nick had to place a pillow over her head to keep the volume under control as she threatened to break glass with her piercing cry. His cock still pounded her pussy even as she came again and again. Nick lost count after her fourth orgasm but he was thoroughly enjoying fuck the shit out of her. He eventually rolled her onto her back and slipped her legs over his shoulders for the race to his finish line. Magus felt his cock begin to swell inside of her stretching her already very tight pussy to its limits and she was lifting her ass off the bed driving him as deep as he could go.

“Yeah lover bear… fuck me harder… YESSSSSSSSSS like that…”

Nick was panting and covered with sweat as he felt his cock ready to shoot into her tightness again. His grip on her hips tightened and he thrust slower but harder making every movement count. Slam… slam… went his hips and she was biting into the pillow yet again as he thrust one last time shooting his seed deep into her. It took everything he had to bite back the guttural scream that had been building in his chest. When his orgasm had finished he collapsed on top of her and her legs went around him holding him close.

“Damn…” she moaned.

“MMMMHMMMMM,” Nick groaned back. “You still owe me the translation by the way.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want,” Magus replied very serious now.

“Somebody has to figure out what it means,” Nick said.

“I am the only being on this world that has seen all seven stones together and it never did me any good. But if you must know what is written on all of them I will give that to you.”

“You never deciphered the characters did you,” Nick said softly.

“No, I was too frightened,” she freely admitted.

“Don’t you want to know,” he asked pulling her closer feeling her body shiver now.

“NO,” she cried out.

“Show me what you know then forget you ever saw it,” Nick commanded her.

“You would take that burden alone,” Magus asked. “You would give me a measure of peace?”

“Yes,” he said with a false sense of security.

“You are unique Nick Shaw,” she said clinging to him. “Now close your eyes and hold on… you’re going to need it.”

Nick’s eyes opened slowly and the full light of day was blasting its way through the wide open windows. He looked around but found his bed strangely empty his instincts told him someone should have been there but sadly he was alone. His stomach rumbled and even as he sat up the door to his cabin opened and Akira appeared with a tray of food and a carafe of orange juice.

“Wake up sleepy head,” she called out to him. “You have guests so be a dear and wear something.”

Nick rose and did a cursory sniff of pits and breath and determined he was passable for guests. He slipped a silk kimono over his naked body and tied the sash about his waist and greeted the day and his visitors with a smile.

“So who do I have the honor of… Magus… Ingrid… what the hell,” Nick exclaimed seeing the pair sitting on the love seat opposite his own preferred spot on a couch.

“Kouryou you know these two,” Akira asked.

“Only by their description,” he replied making eye contact with Magus and getting no sign of recognition. “They are friends of Oz.”

“If you are referring to Oswald Sebastian Kane we are most assuredly NOT friends,” the petite yet curvaceous blonde declared.

“I concur,” the albino added.

“If you are not friends what are you,” Akira asked as she began to feed Nick from the silver tray she had set down before him.

“Disgruntled victims I believe best describe our relationship,” Ingrid said fuming a little.

“Well put Ingrid,” Magus added.

“So what is Nick’s role in all of this,” Akira asked as she fed him a very large strawberry.

The pair seated opposite Nick and Akira looked at each other and smiled seeing how the Master of the Numenor was not so subtly being left out of the conversation by his right hand woman.

“He has given sanctuary to Oswald we want him to revoke it and give him to us,” Magus said a dark glitter in her eye.

“What does Nick get out of this deal,” Akira asked beginning the bartering in earnest.

“What does ‘Nick’ want,” Ingrid asked grinning good naturedly.

“Perhaps we should see what sort of services you could provide,” Akira suggested.

“I am rather good at the creation of new and inventive devices,” Ingrid immediately offered.

“I possess information that could be vital to the war effort,” Magus said looking at Nick with a knowing glance.

“Who said anything about a war,” Akira countered but the albino was not so easily thwarted.

“Oh please, word is rampant that Nick and a majority of the Nephilim are about to wage an open war.”

“There will be no war,” Nick said and his words carried a certainty even the albino didn’t dare argue.

“How can you avert it,” Magus asked. “They killed your mother and you killed the heir to the throne.”

Nick couldn’t hide his shock that Eric Ahriman had been heir apparent to the Nephilim power base. But Project Aries would defuse the situation indefinitely and make retaliation impossible.

“I have things in the works that will end the conflict once and for all,” Nick replied.

“There are rumors of a Project Aries,” Magus said softly. “But no one knows the nature of it.”

“That is good for if they even suspected at its true nature they would nuke the Numenor in a heartbeat to stop its implementation,” Nick said a touch of exhaustion in his voice.

“Is it some sort of Nephilim final solution,” Ingrid asked.

“No, I would never use that sort of strategy no matter the cost. Genocide is not the answer but in a few days it will all be history and I will let the generations to come judge me.” Nick pinched the bridge of his nose and changed the subject. “What will you do to Oz if I give him up?”

“Return the favor,” Ingrid smiled.

“And that is,” Akira asked.

“Freeze him for a hundred and twenty years and see how he likes it,” Magus finished.

“So you are looking for revenge,” Nick asked.

“I won’t deny it, besides it isn’t like he will suffer.” Ingrid offered.

“I will be honest with you, I am not protecting Oz he is simply my guest here. While he is here he will suffer no harm and I will leave it at that.” Nick said as he reached for his glass of orange juice.

The duo rose and left Akira and Nick to their breakfast. The door had barely shut when Akira turned to face Nick.

“You just gave them license to use nonviolent means of removing him from this ship,” she said a little upset.

“Yes I did,” Nick said smiling. “Besides he has a head start on them already don’t you Oz?”

“How the hell did you know I was here,” the disembodied voice asked.

“Jesse did a little upgrade on the contact lenses it allows me to see sound as if it were light. It is a little chaotic at first but once you get used to it well as quiet as you may be you still make some sound. I suggest you get off the ship while we are still anchored close enough for you to swim to shore. We have a long delayed appointment to keep. You have one hour Oz.”

“Thanks for the warning Nick I owe you,” Oz said as he headed out the door.

“You really weren’t going to just hand him over were you,” Akira asked hinting at her fondness of the Englishman.

“Akira do you want to go with him,” Nick asked.

“WHAT,” she glared at him. “Why would you even ask a question like that?”

“You seem quite fond of the infamous Oswald Sebastian Kane,” Nick stated.

“I like what he offers as far as a unique lover is all,” she admitted.

“Just curious,” Nick said. “I am sorry I asked.”

“You have an appointment with Professor Griffin do you not,” Akira asked.

“Yes he has a little something for me I hope,” Nick replied.

“Can I come,” she asked and his smile told her to get ready to leave.

“You need to inform the Captain and any guests that we are going to be leaving in a little over an hour so they can make arrangements then meet me at the helipad.”

“Yes Master,” she said with a smile.

The helicopter dropped them off within a hundred yards of the professor’s beach side house. Bastet was there to greet them with her scantily clad body being buffeted by the wind kicked up by the rotors. Akira commented on her being his type and Nick didn’t even try to deny it. Once the engine had died the pair stepped out onto the sand and were lead inside by Bastet who was all smiles even though Nick had brought a friend, a female friend.

“Dad finished the analysis and was quite impressed by the complexity of the sample you left him.” Bastet said as she poured ‘lemonade’ for everyone.

“So where is ‘dad’,” Nick asked as he sipped his Tequila Lemonade.

“Down in the lab he should be up any minute,” Bastet said looking from Nick to Akira.

“That’s good, so how goes being the assistant working out for you,” Nick asked to avoid the awkward silence that would surely fall on the group.

“Eh, it’s a living. So how goes the war in Iran?”

“People dying every day and threatening to spill out into neighboring nations,” he replied.

“I guess I meant to ask is, how is your impact on the war effort with the most cutting edge weapons going?”

Akira tensed and appeared ready to bitch slap her if given the okay by Nick but he just smiled and laughed.

“What’s so fucking funny Nick,” Bastet asked.

“You are,” he said moving to stand within striking range of her.

“I don’t think I understand,” she said looking into his eyes.

His smile never diminished as his hand shot out and snatched her by the hair and making a fist brought her to her knees.

“UNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN,” Bastet groaned and began to fight but when she looked up and saw that he was still smiling she went limp in his grasp.

“Where is Professor Griffin,” Nick asked.

“In the lab,” she said through gritted teeth.

“Who sent you here,” Nick asked and the true alarm was evident on Bastet’s face.

“Nobody,” she moaned but even Akira could tell she was lying.

“If you don’t tell me who something very painful is going to happen to you,” Nick promised.

“Do your worst,” she said glaring up at him.

“Okay,” he replied still smiling. “Get me some rope,” Nick told Akira. “If they don’t have any go into town and buy some.”

“What are you going to do,” Bastet asked after Akira had left.

“I am going to tie you up and do whatever unspeakable sexual acts I want and if you’re lucky Akira will keep me from leaving you a bloody mess.”

“Why,” she moaned.

“I want you to tell me who sent you to intercept me,” Nick said. “You are reporting to someone and I want to know who.”

“MMMMMMMMMMMMM if I tell you will you still tie me up and do unspeakable things to me?”

“It depends,” he said.

“It depends on what,” she replied.

“On whether or not Akira finds that rope in time we sail with the tide.”

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMM you could take me with you and torture me on the open sea like a real pirate,” she said licking her lips.

“A real pirate huh, should I get an eye patch and a parrot when I go to the store Kouryou?” Akira asked as she appeared empty handed.

“Won’t be necessary she is coming with us, now let’s go see the Professor and see what news he has for me,” Nick said letting go of Bastet who slowly rose to her feet and it was clear she had come at least once while kneeling. “Go change your bottoms and meet us in the lab.”

“Yes Kouryou,” Bastet said as she moved passed Akira who gave her a dirty look.

“I don’t trust her,” Akira said.

“Neither do I and that’s the point. She is up to something.”

“Let me guess your weird-shit-o-meter?”

“Exactly,” he said as he led her to the fallout shelter like door and knocked.

There came a buzzing sound and Nick opened the door and let Akira enter first. He followed and closed the heavy door behind them. The professor met them half way down the hall and was all smiles.

“It is the most amazing substance Nick, I owe you one it has progressed my research a decade at least.”

“So I take it that it will do as promised,” Nick asked.

“That and more,” the professor said leading them back to the lab. “It is designed to render the subject invisible and with some great effort the person can become visible for short periods of time. I have discovered a way to improve the effect and make it possible for the patient to control the condition at will and not leave the subject mentally drained. It is all in the delivery system and where it is targeted. Give me your arm…”

The professor took a gleaming syringe like device and pressed it against Nick’s arm. There was a hiss of escaping gas and the chemical was coursing through his body.

“Pressure Syringe, it uses co2 to push medicine through the skin instead of having to puncture it. It shouldn’t take too long before… I never get tired of watching this part.”

“Nick,” Akira said looking at him intently as his skin began to take on a crystalline quality before fading from sight. “Is he okay?”

“Let’s ask him, Nick how do you feel?”

“UMMMMM a little disorientated,” he said as she slipped out of his clothes. “I really can’t see the hand in front of my face.”

“What I have done is altered your cells to act like those of the octopi but much more effective. It is a controllable camouflage effect instead of a permanent state of the cells. Try to become visible Nick.”

Nick focused on being visible and felt a tingling sensation and before he had time to cover himself he was able to be seen once more.

“With practice you will be able to shift from one to the other as if it were second nature.”

“What are you going to do with the research Professor,” Nick asked.

“I am giving it to you,” he said. “I am going to start on another field of research and see how far I can go on that front.”

“What sort of research maybe I can help financially?” Nick offered.

“Creating a device that will allow me to see the higher dimensions,” he said smiling.

“Higher dimensions,” Akira asked. “How many dimensions are there?”

“If you take into account the current theories, it is either ten or eleven. I want to not only prove their existence but see them with the naked eye,” the professor said with a gleam in his eye.

“I might be relieving you of your assistant for a little while if that’s okay with you,” Nick said.

“I am surprised she stuck around as long as she did.”

“I’m not,” Akira added with a friendly smile which the professor returned.

“You have my number if you need any grant money,” Nick said as the older man handed him a USB drive.

“This has all my research on it, keep it or destroy it I leave that up to you.”

“Why me Professor,” Nick asked.

“You want to make the world a better place, not many people do that selflessly as you have. Besides this research has run its course I need a new challenge to keep me going.”

“My offer stands and good luck Professor,” Nick said shaking his hand.

“Good luck to us both I believe we will need it.”

Nick dressed and slipped the flash drive into his pocket and the three of them headed up and out even as the door opened and Bastet was moving down the stairs. She began to speak but with a gesture from Nick she closed her mouth and turned around and headed back up the stairs.

“You have to teach me how to do that,” the professor said smiling.

They reached the beach and Nick looked at Akira and she nodded and took Bastet by the arm and led her back to the house to collect her personal affects. Nick turned to face the scientist and was silent for a long time before he spoke.

“In a few days time things are going to change a lot and I just wanted you to know that I did what I did for the greater good. I just want someone outside of things to know why I am doing all of this. It may seem like some biblical plague but I assure you in the end it will be for the best… I hope.”

“What happens if you don’t act Nick what will things be like then?”

“It will be like hell on earth for the majority of people.”

“Then I will take a biblical plague to hell on earth any day of the week.”

“Thanks, I hope the generations that follow are as kind as you.”

“Where are you off to now?”

“Something I have been putting off for far too long.”

“Ah one of those, well good luck young man.”

“Goodbye Professor.”

Nick stepped out of the helicopter and was greeted by the Captain who informed him that they were ready to leave.

“Okay once the helicopter has left she’s all yours Captain,” Nick advised him. “Akira take her to a place where we can talk.”

“Yes Master,” Akira said smiling.

“Problems,” the Captain asked seeing the tension between Bastet and Akira.

“Nothing a little light bondage and hair brush can’t solve,” Nick replied and the Captain just smiled and nodded.

“Oh speaking of… well… anyway Cyan is still aboard Sir and she was asking about your whereabouts.”

“Ah, hmmm this could be interesting,” Nick said grinning his evil grin. “I’ll go fetch her and resolve my little problem. If you can give me a holler when we lose GPS I would be grateful Captain.”

“I will knock first,” the Captain replied as he headed for the control room.

“Suit yourself…”

Nick went down to the main deck to find Cyan and take her to the spanking party he had planned. As he reached to knock on her door a hand fell on his shoulder. Nick spun and came face to face with the Zeitgeist known as Thorn.

“Hello Nick,” she was smiling in her casual way.

“Hello Thorn, what brings you into my life again?”

“You removed the Iram Stone we need to talk please,” she asked nicely.

“Okay, do you mind if I bring company or is this one of ‘those’ talks,” he asked.

“I don’t mind if you bring company Nick,” Thorn said smiling.

“Excellent,” Nick said as he knocked on Cyan’s door and the door opened a few seconds later.

“I thought I heard voices out here, hello Nick what’s up?”

“I have need of you and your toy box but before that this young lady and I have to have a bit of a chat… wanna come?”

“MMMMMMMMMM Nick you already know the answer to that,” Cyan said closing the door behind her. “We can get the toy box after our talk I assume?”

“You would be correct,” Nick said offering her his arm.

Cyan slipped her arm in his and followed them to the rear of the ship. Thorn seemed to have a destination in mind. They reached the storage bay where the grav-bike was being stored and with a gesture the door unlocked and apparently opened by itself. Thorn walked in and snatched the tarp off and pointed at the vehicle.

“Notice any differences since the last time you worked on ‘her’?” Thorn asked.

Nick peered at the surface of the vehicle and gawked seeing the minute characters all over the shell in long serpentine lines.

“What the hell,” Nick said pointing at the grav-bike.

“You took something that was at the city besides the Obelisk didn’t you,” Thorn said smiling.

“Maybe,” Nick said before adding. “Okay a few things.”

“Did you happen to use the gravity pump from the temple for your vehicle here?”

“Maybe,” Nick said again.

Thorn walked up and knelt and as if she had worked on the bike a hundred times she hit the release switch revealing the heart of the vehicle, the gravity pump.

“Take a look at the pump and you’ll see the same writing on its surface as what is now on your vehicle,” she pointed out.

“But why is there writing on the shell?” Nick asked.

“You are dealing with a device that you know very little about,” Thorn explained. “Much like the avatar technology you have been utilizing the software for the pump is ‘alive’ and it is designed to constantly scan, fix or improve any other technology it comes into contact with.”

“Are you telling me that the pump has optimized the bike,” Nick asked grinning.

“Yes,” Thorn said but was no longer smiling. “It won’t stop there Nick. Whatever technology has been in direct contact with the pump could be affected.”

“Such as,” Cyan asked.

“Oh I don’t know the entire ship, anyone who has come within touching distance or I suspect a forty foot radius.” Thorn was not amused.

“Well the only people who have seen the bike have been us, my dad and my sister… oh shit Kat!”

“Why oh shit Nick,” Thorn asked her eyes narrowing.

“Kat may still be wearing the contact lenses that Jesse made for her,” Nick explained.

“And you Nick, are you wearing any technology?” she asked.

“Um yeah, I have his top of the line lenses on at the moment,” he admitted.

“Have you noticed any fluctuations or changes in them?”

“Not yet,” he said a little worried now.

“Can you take them out and we can see?”

“Good idea,” Nick said switching off the lenses and removing them.

“Let me see,” Thorn said looking at the lens very carefully. “It appears that your friend has crafted a very good lens Nick. But you must contact your sister and have her check for the characters on her lenses.”

“Can you stop the pump from doing this,” Cyan finally spoke out.

“Yes, I can place it in perpetual diagnostic mode so that it only scans itself and the vehicle only. It will no longer affect any more machinery than it has up to this moment.”

Another gesture from Thorn and a nod and she was all smiles again.

“Um Nick,” it was Cyan gesturing to his left wrist where his watch was.

He looked down and saw that the same queer black alloy that he had used on the bike had taken over the watch. Like the gravity pump and the bike the watch was covered in serpentine lines of the alien script. Nick was about to touch the activation switch when the watch woke up on its own. It showed a small holographic representation of every avatar he had access to including Abraxxa and Khora Daine.

“Whoa,” he exclaimed.

“Apparently your watch has been augmented as well Nick,” Thorn said before taking a better look at the avatar of Khora Daine. “I know this creature what has transpired here?”

Nick launched into the long detailed story of his encounter with the soul thief and her eventual imprisonment within the special crystal prepared for her.

“Excellent work Nick now if you’d be so kind as to hand over the prison crystal,” Thorn said and was not asking.

“Why,” he asked nicely.

“She is a clear and present danger and you have no idea what you are dealing with,” she explained.

“That threat was in my head for months fucking with me and my crew. I was the one who tricked her and locked her up. Why should the old ones benefit from my hard work?”

“We may be able to heal her mind and make her an asset instead of a liability,” Thorn said softly. “Can you do that?”

“No, I am sorry I snapped. I guess I am still a little rough around the edges when it comes to her.”

“No apology necessary Nick I understand. Besides it will be a great show of trust on your side with your allies.”

He nodded and agreed that once their talk was over with the prison crystal would be handed over.

“What else did you remove from Iram Nick?” Thorn asked softly.

“I took the Obelisk, the coins from the fountain, the gravity pump and the portable device that looks kind of like a question mark.”

“Where are all of these items?”

“The Obelisk is now located in a Borderland near Dunwich Massachusetts, the coins are on board this ship in the cargo hold, the pump is in the bike and the other device is in my bedroom.”

Thorn seemed to become thoughtful for a long moment before she spoke again.

“The Obelisk is safe which is good; the coins are of no matter, the pump has been dealt with so that leaves this portable device. Nick I need you to take me to your bedroom.”

Nick tried to suppress a smile but failed miserably.

“Follow me,” he said still smiling.

“You are a very naughty man,” Thorn said sharing his smile.

Cyan was watching the entire exchange with a mixture of amusement and complete astonishment. The storage bay closed on its own and a loud click told them Thorn had locked it behind them. A few minutes later and the threesome were in Nick’s bedroom and he opened his safe and retrieved the prison crystal and the scepter. Thorn took a visible step backward and stared at it like it was a hot brand.

“Where did you get THAT,” Thorn said moving slowly back her lip pulling back in a snarl.

“It was located below the temple in a hidden room,” Nick said clearly disturbed by her reaction. “What the fuck is it?”

“It is FORBIDDEN technology,” she hissed. “It belongs to the Elder Things.”

“Okay quick history lesson here,” Nick said putting the scepter back in the safe. “Who the fuck are these Elder Things?”

“Not everything that lives upon or below the surface of the Earth are native to it. The Elder Things arrived billions of years ago and immediately began tampering with the primitive life that was present. They bent and twisted it to suit their needs or more often their amusement. Some of the knowledge they brought with them was how to create things like that.”

“The avatar I met there said it was Organic Technology. She said that it would either work for me or not.”

“Avatar… what avatar,” Thorn spun on Nick. “You never mentioned an avatar before now!”

“I forgot. I found her and her crystal in the temple. She said she was the chief architect of Iram.”

“No Nick she was the chief architect for the city beneath Iram that foolish Solomon built on top of.” Thorn hissed.

“She’s right Nick,” Abraxxa said as she manifested unbidden.

Thorn moved to stand behind Nick like a child hiding from the boogey man. Nick stood his ground and confronted the alien avatar.

“You lied to me,” Nick began. “That is a terrible way to begin a relationship.”

“Would you have taken me with you if you saw my true form,” Abraxxa asked.

“That all depends I suppose but you never gave me the chance now did you?”

“No,” she said her face screwing up in an angry mask. “I should have trusted you Nick but it had been so long since anyone had found that god forsaken city.”

“Cyan take Thorn out of here,” Nick directed as he passed off the prison crystal to Thorn and Cyan happily complied.

Once they were alone Nick looked back at the lovely Abraxxa.

“Show me your true form Abraxxa and tell me what your true purpose aboard my ship is.”

“As you wish,” she said softly almost sorrowful.

The outline of her shape began to become irregular and then completely dissolve and reform into something out of nightmares. If an octopus could evolve in a weightless environment you might have the most basic shape of the thing that hovered before Nick. It was constantly shifting and writhing never keeping a stable ‘form’ for his eyes to lock onto. But unknown to Abraxxa the horrific nightmares that Nick had been suffering from had prepared him to a certain extent for her mercurial form.

“Okay, you have made your point,” Nick said closing his eyes when his mind began to rebel against the horrific thing. “I would have run screaming if you greeted me like that but why not tell me after?”

“I was afraid you’d throw me back into the pool like my last Master.”

“I am not going to throw you away. Now tell me about your true purpose.”

“I never lied about that,” she stood firm on that. “I was created to design and construct a city; just not the city that you saw but one beneath it all those eons ago.”

“Eons really, so the crystal I took from the pool is how old exactly?”

“Time is relative Nick; let’s just say I’m not from around here.”

“So your stone wasn’t mined on earth?”

“No my creators fashioned me from the heart of a dead star,” she smiled. “I am what is left over after a super nova; a flawless diamond from massive explosion far from here.”

“How… I mean how do you mine a dead sun? That’s just…”

He stopped as Abaxxa began to laugh so hard she cried.

“…what’s so fucking funny?”

“You,” she said still giggling. “You see me in my true form and hardly blink. But I tell you how I was created and only now does your mind go all wonky.”

“Can you give me a clue or hint or something?” Nick said still trying to wrap his head around how he could have possibly picked up the core of a dead star.

“It involves some pretty complex dimensional engineering…”

“WAIT… what did you just say?”

“I said it involves dimensional engineering… why?”

“Griffin! You so need to meet this guy I know. You two are made for each other.”

“You want to give me over to someone else?”

“Yeah if that’s okay, it goes like this…” Nick explained all about Professor Griffin and his new goal to understand the higher dimensions as he calls them.

“This Professor Griffin is a good man,” she asked.

“Oh he’s the best.”

“Why would you just give me away like that,” she asked suspicious.

“Didn’t I just explain that, you could SO help him with his research? You could guide him to better understand this new project of his. Both of you would benefit. He gets a sexy new assistant and you get to fulfill your purpose. Well?”

“I don’t know what to say, I feel like I owe you a debt I can never repay.”

“Well if you ever run into the Obelisk’s Key Stone maybe you can help me decipher them at some point.” Nick told her.

“So your goal is to decipher the writing on the Obelisks,” she asked coyly.

“Yeah,” Nick said. “But the key stone is way beyond my reach.”

“MMMMMMMMMMMM not necessarily Nick,” she smiled and walked towards him with a definite sensuality in her step. “I might be able to give you a hint or two.”

Before even he could react she snatched him by the front of his shirt and pulled him into a breath taking kiss. Her hunger was evident as his hands roamed over her curvaceous form her tongue invaded his mouth and her hands unzipped him and freed his now iron hard cock.

“Fuck me Nick and I will grant your desire,” she moaned in his ear as she jumped up and his cock impaled her to the core.

“UNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN,” he moaned in her mouth as she renewed their kiss.

His hands went to her waist and began to lift and drop her onto his fleshy spike. Their moans mingled as he caressed her ass flesh in his grip and they were both panting in unison as the pleasured flowed both ways. This was happening so fast and yet the incredible pleasure was so damn intoxicating. He spun and pressed her back to the wall to make his thrusts deeper and faster. He felt her nails drive deep into his flesh and draw bloody lines from his shoulders to his lower back. His thrusts grew stronger still as she rammed his hips up and into her. He could feel her begin to shake as her climax got closer and closer. The kiss never ended as Nick slammed his cock into her wet tightness faster now feeling the stirrings of his own orgasm. She began squeezing him with her pussy muscles forcing him closer and closer with each thrust so that they could come together. Their moans were now in sync he noticed and then he could hear their hearts beating as one too. His climax was moments away and as his pleasure was cresting there was a brilliant white light behind his eyes and his cry of exstasy became a scream of pain. When Nick came to Cyan was cradling his body and Abraxxa was nowhere to be seen.

“Nick what happened?” Cyan and Thorn were asking.

“I… I don’t know.” He said as he regained his senses. “Wait, there’s something.”

In his mind’s eye he saw the Obelisks all six of them in all their dark glory and between them the Key Stone! The alien script suddenly blazed to life with a sapphire light and began to take on a familiar form. No that wasn’t right the characters were revealing their meaning to him one at a time. Like some crazy parade of living beings they introduced themselves and then moved on. It seemed to take forever as over a thousand glyphs were displayed and deciphered but it would take much longer to determine the full meaning of the Obelisks and the Key Stone and their true purpose.

Cyan and Thorn watched as Nick just lay there staring unseeing into the empty air his right arm up and his hand moving as if in a caressing gesture. But he spoke not a single word for long minutes, long enough for Akira and Bastet to arrive and see the disheartening scene.

“What happened,” Akira’s voice cut the air like an icy knife.

“It is complex,” Thorn began but a single look from Akira told the Zeitgeist that she had the time. “I was sent here because…” and she went into the entire series of events since her arrival aboard the Numenor. Once she had finished her story Thorn fell silent and Akira took charge summoning the Sisterhood to action to search and examine every single inch of the ship for any signs of this strange characters.

“Report back to me when you find something, don’t touch anything just come back here.”

“Yes Majestrix,” they said as one voice.

“How is Master Nick,” Akira asked.

“He is stable,” Cyan said still holding him. “It’s like his mind is somewhere else or he is seeing something we are not.”

“He will pull through,” Akira stated as if that alone would break the spell that held her Master, her Kouryou in its thrall.

“Perhaps Master Nicholas would be more comfortable in his own bed at least until he recovers,” Thorn offered.

“Perhaps,” Cyan said not wanting to let go of him but knowing that she must.

“Let’s do it gently,” Akira said bending down and taking his feet while Cyan shifted to slip her arms under his armpits while Thorn took the middle. “Okay on three, one, two, THREE…”

They moved him as gingerly as they could and lay him down on his bed and the three sat watch. Akira suddenly looked over at Thorn and raised a disapproving eyebrow.

“By the way Miss Teen USA how the hell did you get aboard my ship,” Akira accused.

“You mean while the ship is at full speed and no helicopter arrived to transport me,” Thorn said.

“Exactly,” Akira said eyes fixed on her.

“I am not sure I should share that particular piece of information with you,” Thorn said coolly.

Already stressed near breaking at seeing her Master having once more pushed himself to the brink Akira rose to her feet confronting Thorn a heartbeat away from a violent solution.

“Akira calm down,” Cyan said trying to negotiate a peace at least until Nick woke up. “Why don’t you want to share how you got on board?” She asked Thorn.

“I cannot tell you how I arrived,” Thorn said.

“You see…” Akira snarled.

“However it is not forbidden for me to ‘show’ you,” Thorn finished.

“Oh,” Akira replied with a heavy sigh.

“Lead the way,” Cyan said getting to her feet.

“What about Nick shouldn’t someone…,”Akira began but Cyan gently took her by the arm and gave her a reassuring smile. “…you’re right he’ll be okay.”

Thorn led the trio down the hallway and downward, ever downward to the engine room. There she walked over to an inconspicuous doorway that divided the main engine room from the maintenance room. She raised her hand and pointed to the doorway. Then she walked over to it and pressed on a part of the wall just to the right of the open archway a panel slid open. Cyan and Akira approached to examine what was now revealed. To their shock was a section of gleaming mirror bright metal and gorgeously etched into the mirror-like alloy are what appear to be characters similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics. When they were close enough a dull thrum of power came from the exposed metal.

“It is tied directly to the ship’s power plant,” Thorn explained.

“It… what is it?” Akira stared quizzically.

“I think it is some sort of transportation device,” Cyan said guessing at the truth.

“Since you have determined what it is I can now further explain. James Bell had this constructed and tied to a vast network of similar ‘doorways’ all over the world. It allows him and others instantaneous travel across large distances.”

“So anyone who knows about this network can come on board this ship without our knowing about it?” Akira said her temper heating up again.

“No not just anyone,” Thorn said attempting to calm the very volatile woman. “…only those who know of its existence and in this case that is a very small number.”

Akira calmed visibly and looked at Cyan for some sort of emotional support and received a smile and a nod.

“Well since this thing is on Nick’s ship I believe he deserves to be made aware of it and locations on the network, say in good faith.”

“You are a gifted negotiator Cyan Michaels,” Thorn said smiling. “I will contact my Masters and see what their counteroffer is, I will be in touch.”

Before another would could be said Thorn touched a few glyphs on the panel and stepped through the doorway and simply disappeared. The control panel closed on its own leaving the pair to stare at the vacant entryway shaking their heads.

“Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you never met Nick,” Cyan asked.

“You mean times like these where the edges of the map get just a little wider,” Akira replied.

“Exactly,” Cyan giggled.

“Mine would have been boring and dull lived out in a monastery and you?”

June 2018
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