In the past five minutes, I’d learned that my god wasn’t alone in the universe and that my nightmares were created by an evil version of myself.
I also learned that he didn’t fight fair, and how it feels when a bullet pierces your lung.
I then quickly learned what it felt like to get shot in your leg, hand, and shoulder. I reached out with my power tried to pull his soulfire from him. I was too weak.
Convinced this was how I died, I prepared to explode. I could at least take this jerk out with me.
Walking towards me, he smirked again. His sword touched my neck and he said, “You don’t have to die today. I could burn out Sol’s influence and give you a new life with a real god. Denebola is merciful and gives his emissaries gifts beyond your imagination.”
“Your god has more than one emissary?” I asked, coughing up blood.
“Millions!” he replied. I coughed and thought of the implications of having an army of me.
I shuddered at the thought and hoped Sol had some sort of trick to save me. “Phoenix!” I said into the com I’d been keeping open. I also hoped that my crew were listening.
The ship turned itself on and I heard the hum of the engines and suddenly we were in subspace.
Without a fantastic targeting computer, a prophet, or a Precog, you’re just as likely to appear inside a sun as you are to get to your destination. Space is vast and filled with a lot of nothing, but space drives are like tiny pieces of metal and suns are like giant magnets. The reason we don’t go much past our solar system isn’t a lack of power, it’s a lack of ability to calculate where to come out. Even a Precog can make a mistake. A short jump will land you dangerously close to a planet. A long one will almost always land you inside a star.
That’s exactly what happened to the Robinson. My crew lobbed it at the sun. Like throwing a marble down a funnel, we appeared in the middle.
There was a split second when we came out of subspace that the other man scowled and then we were completely engulfed in fire.
I thought I was going to die, but as the ship around me vaporised, I started to heal. All around me was wonderful warmth and love. I could see the beautiful colours of the sun that should have blinded and killed me. It was all wonderful. Of course I was naked again, but I still had the sword.
Unfortunately, so did the other guy. “You knew we could survive inside a sun?” he asked and his words were in my head; they felt slimy.
“Nope,” I replied.
His face fell and looked at me in wonder. It was the first time I saw on his face what I had seen with my power. He was dying. The power was eating him alive. “You are either a fool or you are more powerful than we thought possible.”
“As epic as sword fighting another prophet inside a sun sounds, I don’t like sword fighting naked.”
He laughed and he looked me in the eyes. It was like being hit by a small planet. Our minds locked and I saw a battle that was ancient, and made us seem pitifully small. I saw the stars themselves fighting and the destruction it caused. I saw Sol trying to save sentience while the others tried to enslave it. Then I saw flashes of what was going to happen, what had happened, and what was happening now. In essence, I saw everything and it gave me a headache.
We were no longer fighting as ourselves. We were conduits for the fight between Sol and Denebola.
When it was all over, I knew Sol had won. I hoped I’d helped somehow. The other prophet had the bad form to smirk as he turned back into stardust.
I have no idea how to explain it, but I felt pride from Sol. He was proud of me. The feeling was quickly replaced by a series of visions.
When the visions cleared, I was kneeling in the centre of my ship’s bridge, sword in hand, and still completely naked. Even with the serum, I was weak and needed a little time to recover.
I felt hands gently place a robe over my shoulders and looked up at Suzie. I imagined a million things to say and instead asked, “May I?”
She grabbed the scruff of my hair and pulled me into a kiss. When the kiss ended and the jeering from the rest of the crew stopped, I said, “We have funerals to prepare for and family to notify. How’s Travis?”
“I’m fine. Tougher than I look.” He looked pale and sick, but he had both legs and was conscious so the doc must have done something right.
“Great. We’ll start with Teddy’s parents on Venus.” I hadn’t been back since I was excommunicated and had caused a civil war. “While we’re there, we’ll have to save the Venusian royal family.” Everyone looked at me disbelieving. “Don’t worry, I have a plan.”
They all laughed. It was a wonderful sound and I appreciated it. Things were about to get a lot worse. I had seen the ships coming, each with a crew of nightmare creatures and prophets. Worst of all, their sheer numbers meant they wouldn’t fit in our solar system. We were outnumbered by so many I didn’t know what to call the the number.
In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.