Veiled Empyrean VI (Dopinephrine 7.6) .pdf
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D o p i n e p h r i n e
ENISON pushed his ship faster through Byzantine space, racing against a swarm of enemy
vessels rising from the planet to intercept him. Alethar’s fleet was not far behind, trying to cover
the High Priest of the Indigo Order as he returned to his flag ship. At last, the two fleets would
be reunited to stand against the enemies of Olympus.
Enison took stock of their forces as he nimbly steered his craft through the rushing opposition.
The Indigo fleet remained intact and battle ready. Enison had great faith in the discipline of his
men, and knew that his fleet was operating as efficiently as possible. Alethar’s fleet had suffered
a few losses, but remained strong and ready to fight. The official Olympic fleet also contained
The Daedalus, helmed by the remarkable Hiratio and carrying Khawla, the Princess of Byzantine.
The ship carried the entire drone race, outfitted to operate as heavy shock troops if needed. The
unified fleet of Olympus would be significantly outnumbered, but the combination of Indigo
and Olympic power with the intrepid drones and wisdom of Khawla made Enison smile. It was a
good set of assets for the coming battle.
The Olympic flagship aimed its shots carefully, pulverizing ships one by one as it cut down the
brush threatening to block Enison’s path. As a large group, the caliphate squadrons could swarm
the Indigo ship, but if they were kept under fire Enison could easily stay well ahead of them. His
ship was more nimble than those chasing him, and Alethar made quick work of the pack.
A Byzantine warship de-cloaked behind Enison. Wide and flat, it moved quickly to catch up to
Enison’s small craft, forcing him to push his ship into a dive to avoid its rapid cannon fire. The
enemy ship was large and menacing, but Enison gave little in the way of a reaction. Being
intimidated would do nothing to help the situation. Better to focus on escaping the superior
Alethar barked orders to his crew as the new ship appeared between himself and Enison’s
fighter. The Olympic fleet moved as one to give chase, pushing to get close enough to fire.
Alethar launched a volley of missiles at the sleek craft, hoping to at least slow it down. Little
would protect the priest from the heavy weapons chasing him if the blade-like ship got a clear
Enison quietly monitored Alethar’s wide volley, knowing instantly his pursuer would not be
dissuaded. He calmly reached up and flipped a few switches set just above his higher eyes,
extending maneuvering thrusters and throwing his ship into a sharp 90 degree turn. The enemy
ship blew past Enison before quickly correcting and spinning to reacquire its prey. Enison
glanced back, pleased with the few meters he had gained. He watched as Alethar took
advantage of the split second window and placed a few disrupter bolts in the Byzantine ship’s
The compact Unity Arch in Enison’s cockpit came to life as Enison dialed his fleet. His lieutenant
appeared almost instantly, and Enison gave a few quick orders before cutting the feed again to
concentrate on the task at hand. He praised Malachi once more in his mind for designing the
Unity Arches; their transmissions could not be intercepted by anyone without an Arch of their
own and considerable knowledge of its design. No need for codes, and no threat from
A well-placed cannon shell from the warship exploded over Enison’s port wing, sending debris
sprinkling away into space. His stabilizer had been destroyed, which would make the ship much
less maneuverable. Enison’s eyes narrowed as he searched for an advantage. Another volley
would be on him in a few seconds.
The Olympic fleet fired a massive spread of missiles at the warship, forcing it to roll away from
the assault, sending its own fire harmlessly into space well wide of its target. Enison grinned as
he imagined Alethar whooping on his bridge. The moment was over too quickly as alarms went
off in both men’s proximity systems; an ocean of ships was moving like a furious wave towards
Alethar and Enison.
The Indigo flagship rushed towards the smaller vessel, the rest of the fleet close behind. Its
holographic projectors shone in space, displaying a hundred Indigo battle cruisers Enison didn’t
have appearing from behind cloaking systems they couldn’t use. The trick worked, keeping the
wave from crashing down on the ill-positioned fleets. The Byzantine ships slowed to readjust in
a unified vector on the new targets, but they had come into weapons range, sending a tide of
fire across the gap, nearly blinding Alethar with its brilliance. Enison flipped a final switch as a
thousand bolts engulfed his ship. Particle transport beams swirled around his body, depositing
him on his flagship’s bridge in time to watch his personal vessel explode on the viewscreen.
Enison calmly took his seat, relieving his grinning lieutenant.
Enison recognized the central portion of the Byzantine front as the warships meant for the
conquest of Olympus itself. The amount of fire power ahead of them was overwhelming, but
Enison was privately relieved the two fleets had been reunited. His worst case scenario for far
too long had been the Indigo fleet forced to stand against those warships alone as they
departed Byzantine for Olympus. It still surprised him they had never made that move.
Alethar’s fleet moved into position alongside the Indigo vessels, mingling the two into a single
Olympic Fleet, positioned and ready to face the oncoming forces of Byzantine. Enison’s
lieutenant reported that the Indigo leadership was in talks to take emergency command of the
Wulthaire government, making Enison meet the younger priest’s eyes with all four of his own. If
the Nereids were taking such drastic actions, Hades must be posing a greater threat to the
planet than anyone had thought possible. The fleet would be needed to defend Olympus if the
androids failed to stop the mad god. If Wulthaire was defeated, the Norn’s beast could easily
move on to the pale blue dot they all thought of as home. The war had reached its final boil;
Enison knew he was living a day that would decide the course of history.
WULTHAIRE glowed before Hades. He squinted at its light, finding normal space too bright after
millennia trapped in Yggdrasil. The teeming life crawling on the planet’s surface called to him,
like the song of a seductive virgin. They were aware of his existence, nestled in childhood
memories and old myths. It was fertile ground, and Hades meant to sow his seed.
Vaguely aware of the Caliphate’s undying belief in him, Hades craved the fearful worship of new
followers. His only goal was freedom from the Norn; if he could instill fear in the Nereids, their
belief might give him enough power to snap the leash of the Trinity. He would crush the
Empyrean, pulverize the Caliphate, and then move on to Olympus to claim his ultimate revenge.
When the galaxy burned, and his name dominated the stars, then he would find the ultimate
release in true death. No more chains, no more agony. He would embrace his slumber amid the
ashes of his wrath.
Hades screamed at the ripe planet, announcing his arrival with untethered rage. He demanded
the fear he was owed, and felt it ripple up from the small world. The panic of the Nereids whet
his appetite, heightening his thirst for power. He plunged towards Wulthaire with vulgar
craving, too distracted to notice the twin yellow tears in space that appeared beside him.
The Android hit him like a meteor, sending him reeling away from his target. Hades roared in
surprise as the metallic man gave chase, striking his weathered face again and again. His
enormous fist rushed to hit back, slapping the Android with full strength. Hades barely had time
to blink before the second attacker hit him in the temple, sending a sickening crack through his
Areia glanced at Athlon to see him rushing back into the fray as she hit Hades again. The
androids were determined to keep him away from the soft target of Wulthaire, and Areia
clenched her teeth as she tried to swallow her fear. Hades filled her with dread, but she knew
she must not be deterred. Her fist found its target once more before she sped backwards away
from the monster’s wildly swinging hands.
Athlon ignored the tactical analysis being fed to his cognitive center by his sensors, choosing
instead to throw himself at the forgotten god of Olympus without prejudice. Hades had to die,
and Athlon meant to kill him.
Areia adjusted her movements to her father’s, trying to take advantage of the targets his furious
melee presented her. She ducked and dived around Hades’ assault, choosing her movements
carefully while Athlon attacked in direct, rushed strikes. The older android payed no attention to
avoiding Hades movements, taking blow after blow without so much as slowing down.
On Wulthaire, the Indigo Order was prioritizing emergency evacuation protocols. Cadence, the
High Priest of the Nereid Order relayed Enison’s warning to his lieutenants, sending them
scrambling into action. The governor signed an order giving Cadence emergency powers over
the government and military, and the priest quickly mobilized the remaining Nereid fleet,
sending ships to the major population centers to load civilians for departure. Plans for such a
mass evacuation had been drafted, but never put into practice. Cadence urged his people to
remain collected as they surged into action.
Chaos was fairly minimal, but Cadence saw fear peaking through the brave faces the people
wore. It wasn’t every day that a childhood nightmare came out of deep space to threaten your
whole world. Gasps from the masses moving towards transports called Cadence’s attention to
the sky; tendrils of burning energy lashed towards them from the battle overhead. Two silver
streaks moved with incredible speed to shield the planet from the deadly rivers of Yggdrasil,
and Cadence knew the Champions had come to help. He couldn’t help but grin as he felt the
thrill of hope Athlon had given to trillions over the millennia. Wulthaire did not stand alone.
Areia cried out as the power of Yggdrasil rushed across her body, burning her but stopping short
of dealing permanent damage. Her body could withstand the weaponized energy, but it was
incredibly painful. Areia thought of Hades being exposed to it for millions of years, and she was
filled with pity for him. Of course his mind had snapped; who could withstand this pain?
Hades ceased his attack, and after a moment the remaining bits of Yggdrasil evaporated in
normal space. Athlon blinked up at his enemy and shuddered as the pain subsided. Hades was
attacking with everything he had; if the androids couldn’t stop him, Wulthaire would meet the
same fate as Athena: plunged into Yggdrasil and destroyed. The Nereids could hardly deny the
existence of a god they could see and feel, and their terror in death would make Hades even
Athlon thought of Athena’s terror as she had been pulled into the depths of Yggdrasil. She had
died a warrior’s death, but had deserved so much more. Athena was a lover of peace; dying
afraid in conflict was not a dishonorable death, but it was also not the one Athena would have
hoped for. Athlon couldn’t help but allow his anger to surge even higher. What could be more
important now than revenge?
As if to answer that question, Harmony’s emotions washed across Athlon’s mind. She too felt
fear. Her homeward hung brilliant and prone in the path of danger. She was focused on
monitoring Athlon’s systems, and trying to find a weak spot that could be used to circumvent
Hades unnatural strength, but Athlon could feel her desperation to protect Wulthaire.
Athlon forced himself to slow down. There was so much more at stake than his own emotional
crisis. A misstep here might allow Hades to seize on the Nereid’s fear, plunging a second
civilization into slavery to his insanity and drive for power. Athlon looked at his daughter, strong
and resolute in her assault; now was a time for calculation, not passion.
The Android reengaged, this time with a clearer mission. He had to draw Hades away from
Wulthaire until a weakness was found. Athlon buzzed Hades face, flying so close he could see
the cracks and wrinkles in the god’s tormented flesh. Areia circled the enormous head before
her to match Athlon’s strategy, striking Hades in the back of the head, drawing his attention
away from Wulthaire and towards the pests attacking him.
Hades roared once again at Wulthaire, reminding the insects crawling on its surface of his wrath
before spinning to face the hateful androids. Areia sensed that their attack was doing little real
damage, but hoped that whatever was happening below would lead to an escape for the
Nereids. If Hades simply ignored the Champions, Areia feared he would have little trouble
enveloping the world.
With a long breath, Hades seemed to come to the same realization. He swung one last time,
hitting both androids with a massive palm, sending them both spinning off course with a direct
hit. He snorted at the mortals and turned his attention back to his prize. His eyes lit up with
desire as he sped towards his prey. The seeds of belief in him were already sown; now was the
time to strike, claiming the faith of the fearful in a final assault to devour the race terrorized by
Cadence leapt aboard the last ship as it lifted off from the Wulthaire capital, rushing to put
distance between itself and the target of Hades’ wrath. He hurried through the crowds packed in
the corridors to the bridge, trying not to break his gaze from the wide viewscreen scrolling a
situation report across its surface. 34% of the citizenry had been evacuated. Every possible
square foot of space had been filled.
The bridge was full of Nereids, looking at him with terror and mourning in their eyes. A family
cried quietly in one corner for a relative lost in the chaos. A young mother sang to her infant
from the floor near the secondary ops console. Inside of two hours, the Nereids had been
transformed from a strong, thriving civilization to a collection of temporary refugees. Cadence
closed his eyes at the thought before ordering the ship to increase speed.
The viewscreen changed images to show the bizarre battle taking place above his world. Hades,
now undeterred by the champions struggling to catch up, was moving to envelop the home
they had just abandoned. Cadence thought of the hundreds of thousands with nowhere to run.
His every instinct demanded that he open fire on Hades, try and draw the demon’s attention
away from his beloved home. The tiny Indigo Priest looked back down at the mother, clinging to
her child, her song now silent. Tears ran down her face as she rocked her baby. They were the
Cadence spat and ordered his ship to move away from Hades. As the rest of the ships formed up
on his own, Cadence reached down to his command console and enhanced the view of the
androids, racing fearlessly after the behemoth bearing down on Wulthaire. There was no
question in his mind that they would do all they could. He stared at Areia, moving nimbly
through space with speed he could not imagine, heading towards an unbeatable foe with
nothing but her own body and wits to protect her. Cadence longed for power like hers, yearned
for the ability to stand up to monsters that few others could face. He admired her, and thanked
her in his mind for her effort. Without it, he had no doubt that the people around him would still
be watching the battle helplessly from the surface of Wulthaire.
He took a long last look at his home, silently begging those left behind for forgiveness, and
promising to return for whatever was left after Hades’ attack. Then, he ordered the Unity Arch
online, calling Olympus to ask its queen for the welcome he knew she would extend.
Areia messaged Athlon quietly, tugging his attention to the fleeing ships. He had seen them
too, and felt both hope and dread at their implication. The Nereids had perhaps made the only
move they had left, but the undeniable conclusion was that they saw little chance of victory over
Hades. Areia urged him to see the potential the tiny fleet represented, and remarked on the
Nereid’s effort to get off world with such efficiency. Athlon fumed as he pushed on, refusing to
accept he was not strong enough to stop the beast ahead of him, but Areia saw things
differently. Their attack might not have done much to stop Hades, but it had bought Wulthaire
enough time to launch its lifeboat. Areia believed she was seeing her first victory. Her father
winced at the words, considering the state of a galaxy in which the next generation saw the
avoidance of total loss as victory.
Hades’ eyes bulged as Wulthaire grew before them. The terror of the Nereids was palpable, and
he drank it in like too much wine. Intoxicated, Hades felt a grin that cracked his ancient lips for
the first time since he had been given the moniker. His alien mistresses would soon lose their
grip on his leash. With a final scream, Hades extended both arms and opened Yggdrasil before
him. The fear of the Nereids rose even higher as an inescapable tunnel into chaos rushed
towards them, and Hades coughed as his throat tried to laugh with the pleasure of their belief.
The undertow swelled beneath the androids, sending them crashing through space away from
their target. Athlon cursed as Harmony yanked on her controls, trying to get them back on
course. Hot tears filled her eyes as she lost view of Wulthaire. She forced Athlon into Yggdrasil,
to get a look through the vortex rushing to gobble the world up, but no amount of speed could
push them past the force of Hades’ tunnel. Icy fingers seized Athlon’s spine as he realized the
scale of the impending apocalypse.
Areia dipped into the Titan’s realm as well, and looked up to see the planet emerging. Hades
was drawing the entire world into Yggdrasil. Energy crashed into Wulthaire, choking off the light
of its sun before smashing into its surface without mercy. The picturesque jungles were blown
apart, flames and splinters replacing ancient ecosystems and natural wonders. Wulthaire
cracked and burned in the extreme conditions of the alternate reality, and in an instant, the lives
of the terrified people living on it were snuffed out.
Harmony screamed in sorrow inside Athlon. The Android cried with her at the tremendous loss
of life and culture. Hades closed the hole and his torso heaved with satisfaction, his thirst
quenched at least for the moment. He rolled his shoulders and turned to face the androids.
Areia was stunned. The loss clawed at her heart, and she screeched at Hades with a sound that
surprised even herself. She understood evil, had witnessed it in Athena’s memories, but could
barely contain the rage that seeing it first hand had awakened in her. Her eyes were a wild blaze
as she soared past Athlon, rushing towards the monster.
Areia reached out with her mind. She couldn’t stop her imagination from picturing Athena
dying in a similarly horrific way, pulling on her earliest memories to paint the vivid nightmare.
She let go of her own abilities, feeling her way through her actions instead. With a thought she
seized the dead planet, finding the rich deposits of treble matter locked in its crumbling crust.
She reached deeper, finding treble matter blended in Wulthaire’s core, and took hold. With an
ounce of effort, she lifted the planet by herself, and swung it hard. Hades turned too late, and
Areia brought Wulthaire down on him with all her strength.
The sound was deafening. Athlon’s mouth fell open at the display, and he reversed his thrusters
to move out of the way as the planet broke in two, splitting on either side of Hades, suddenly
dwarfed by the remains of his meal. His body was motionless, and for a moment, only the
echoing booms of the impact could be heard. Then, like magic, the flesh fell from Hades body,
leaving his withering bones burning in Yggdrasil. They decayed as time caught up with the
corpse, crumbling away into dust. Death had indeed finally found the prisoner of the Norn.
Athlon blinked at his daughter, and slowly closed his mouth. She met his gaze, her eyes filled
with a combination of surprise and rage. Renewed rumblings pulled their attention towards the
burning halves of Wulthaire, collapsing and dissolving before them. Harmony sobbed softly,
and Athlon tried his best to soothe her. His rage had been subsided by Areia’s display and the
death of Hades; he took advantage of the quiet in his mind to touch his friend’s emotions, just
to show her he was there. Harmony clung to Athlon’s presence, their thoughts mingling into a
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