The ice giant Rosen is only a pale crescent in the violet sky of its largest moon. Ivodus looks up and thinks it looks like the closed eye of a sleeping god. Or a dead one. This place sets off strange and indistinct memories, more feelings than specific recollections, and he doesn’t like it. It is irregular. Unpredictable. These things are the Enemy.
Still, the feelings persist, familiar and uncanny like a prolonged déjà vu. He abandons his duties. Sometimes the unpredictable can be bound to the deep rhythms of complexity through exploration. His angel, hovering always at his shoulder, makes its objections known but does at long last acquiesce. It can persuade, but not control. Ivodus withdraws from the conquest of the city and wanders away, guided by his feeling like a divining rod. The silent fist-sized angel follows.
He looks upon the skyline. The shapes of the megastructures are like the teeth of a key. This configuration unlocks nothing, but perhaps from another angle. He continues his circumscription of the city until the sky glooms over into dusk. Distant flames beyond the city backlight the buildings like a false sunrise. He’s too far from the action and his tether is out of slack. He is at his tether’s end. Ivodus considers, and his angel expresses its disapproval. But it cannot stop him.
He is a shadow. Black plated combat armor. Black cape. Black helmet, inside and out. Black pulse rifle. Black angel. Black memory. Kilometers of black umbilical tether connecting Ivodus to the drude ship high above. It supplies him with air. Air is made of molecules, and molecules are machines. These machines are the source of his world-conquering power. But could he survive without this hyperair, breathing the unfiltered atmosphere of this foreign moon, if only for the sake of vanishing these unwelcome feelings?
Yes. Ivodus uncouples the tether so that he may continue his exploration, but with his first inhalation he has no more need of another step. His angel has known all along, and knows now too that he has discovered it for himself. It shoots away toward the drude ship. Ivodus fires particle beams at it, but already the concentration of hyperair in his body is diluted, and his aim lacks precision at this distance. No matter. He remembers now: this was his home, once. Before the abduction. They’d set him to slaughter his own people. But now he knew. Now he could redirect his efforts.
He would destroy angels tonight.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page. Image by Amir Zand, used with permission.