Book 7, Chapter 103 - Superstar

Chapter 103: Superstar

“Hellflower, hang back for a minute.” As everyone was leaving Cloudhawk held her back. Once they were alone he asked her a question. “What do you think about what you just heard?”

“Fascinating. It’s a valuable research topic.”

“You don’t think it’s fantasy?”

“Of course not.” Hellflower wasn’t like the others with their confused frowns. Her eyes sparkled with curiosity when she heard Cloudhawk’s hypothesis. She smiled at him. “When humans didn’t know how to harness fire they thought it was a gift from the gods. Before discovering electricity, it was a power from heaven. Ignorance and a lack of imagination are the limits of our species. As a scientist I know there’s a system for everything. We just need to learn the system.”

Cloudhawk nodded. “Good. You’re a scholar from birth, different from the others. I want you to focus all of your energy on this project. I will give you as many relics as you need to disassemble. Any resources you need will be provided.”

Hellflower was thrilled. 

“But that’s not the only reason I wanted you to stay back,” Cloudhawk revealed. He paused for a moment before continuing. “I believe the gods will make their move in the next dew days and I still haven’t found a way into Gehenna. The only way I can think to do it is with Ark Base’s support. I need your help with this.”

Ark Base had more energy and power than it let on. It’s help with the Green Alliance was icing on the cake – until Last Judgment. Now that relics were no longer an option, the ancient humans’ high technology would be crucial. At least until Cloudhawk figured out his armor.

Ark Base was an artifact from ages past. Despite the many limitations of original man, they had spent the last thousand years developing ways to protect themselves. They had generations of technological breakthroughs to share.

In addition to their knowledge of ancient earth, they also had help from a super-intelligent machine. This ‘Father’ spent over a thousand years learning, improving, enhancing Ark Base through constant trial and error. Over the course of its lifespan it had learned more than the ancient civilization ever had.

As long as Last Judgment had them wrapped up, the sophisticated tech of old earth would serve them well.

Ark Base’s support wasn’t a happy addition anymore, it was necessary for survival. Cloudhawk wanted all humans – past and present – to stand shoulder to shoulder against this threat. He wanted Father to stop standing in the fucking way.

This wasn’t just his fight. They were fighting for the whole species. If new humans fell it was only a matter of time before the gods crushed Ark Base.

The two set off at once across space and dimensions, to Stony Plains. Cloudhawk deposited them within the massive encampment his people had set up. With Ark Base’s help a number of large factories had sprung up. Eboncrys was refined here then made into weapons and ammunition.

Cloudhawk’s landing point was fixed. There was a crew responsible for watching it, many he had sent here with the first wave but also several in thick chemical suits.

Those were original humans from Ark Base. 

When the gods invaded earth, they poisoned it with radiation. Whatever particles they used mutated humanity on a genetic level. Furthermore, humanity was forced to adapt quickly to their new environment when the old civilization was destroyed.

Ancient human DNA wasn’t equipped to deal with the radiation. If they walked around exposed, they would quickly suffer from malignant tumors and fall ill. They had to take special medication and wear radiation suits, and even then had to limit how much time they spent on the surface. Going outside was only done when necessary.

Lately, more and more ancient humans were making surprise decisions. They elected to leave the safety of Ark Base and find ways to survive in the surface encampment. Cloudhawk admired these friends of their cause, who gave up security to help them build factories for the war effort.

Hellflower asked them. “Is everything normal here?”

“Yes ma’am. Production levels are excellent, you’ll have plenty of ammunition for the front.”

“The war between the gods and Southern Capital has already begun. We must make sure our production rates and supply lines are stable. I demand maximum efficiency!” With that she spun toward Cloudhawk. “Time is short, we won’t waste time. Let’s head to Ark Base.”

He nodded his agreement. Mental power spread out from him, warping space. Two figures stepped inside and vanished from sight. The rest of the production base watched in admiration – especially the ancient humans. Back in the Base they’d heard of Cloudhawk and his powers, but hadn’t seen them first hand. No amount of advanced ancient tech could do what he did.

Ark Base was heavily guarded, but its traditional defenses were nothing to Cloudhawk. He hadn’t the time or patience to announce himself. He’d been here before and knew precisely where it was, so a few short blinks later he stood in the heart of New Earth.

Even Father, whose power extended all through the base, couldn’t stop Cloudhawk from entering. He wasn’t the same man who visited so long ago, his master over space had grown. Teleporting was quick and almost imperceptible.

Here we are again. Cloudhawk and Hellflower appeared among the tall buildings and well-planned streets. Cars shuttled back and forth through the simulated atmosphere. There was even some technology that made the ceiling look like the sky. It was surprisingly vivid.

It was like stepping back in time to the golden age of human civilization. Here they stood in a metropolis, sometime before the gods took that all away. Cloudhawk felt at home.

He shook himself out of it.

Ancient humans led good and happy lives, kicking around for only a hundred years or so. Was it really necessary to drag them into war, Cloudhawk wondered? Would he be delivering destruction to another beautiful utopia?

His wavering resolve did not last. Cloudhawk knew why he was here and why it was important. He knew what had to be done. Anyway he didn’t expect them to fight on the front lines. All he hoped was that they would give his warriors all the support they needed in the way of technology. Risks were minimal if they stuck to providing logistics.

“Let’s go.”

“No need to rush, someone will come for us.” It wasn’t the first time Hellflower had paid Ark Base a visit. She was familiar with how they ran their city. “We can wander around here until they do.”

Well, it wasn’t like they could do window shopping. Immediately after appearing, the pair were already garnering a lot of attention. Neither were trying to hide their appearance. Cloudhawk was still wearing the frightening and fractured Cuirass. Hellflower’s silver hair and alluring figure were hard to miss and eyes flocked to her like moths to a flame.

“Isn’t that na scientist, Hellflower?”

“Asking mu questions ‘gain.”

“God, never thought mu see such beauty la. Would love her autograph!”

“Who na man with her? Strange lookin’.”

“Who cares ba! I only have eyes for la mei de Hellflower!”

“...”

A crowd had gathered and muttered among themselves, taking pictures of the two. Hellflower seemed accustomed to the treatment and faced the cameras with winning smiles and a natural posture.

Cloudhawk wasn’t expecting this sort of welcome.

A few moments later vehicles pulled up nearby and reporters filed out. Hellflower was a celebrity here. Her figure was on par with the hottest stars and her temperament was like a gentle flower that fought through the grit of the wastes. She was precious, as precious as a rare rose. As for her skills and intelligence? She was a woman that came about once a millennia!

Each time she came Hellflower made sure to liaise with New Earth’s scientists as well. She was responsible for huge leaps in scientific understanding, as well as precious resources and materials. Often she taught classes at the various universities throughout the city and held titles of honorary professor at them all.

It was unfortunate that her visits were so erratic. She rarely appeared in the public eye. Pictures and video were rare, circulated ad nauseam on the internet. Anyone would kill for a chance to get close to her.

“The battle between new humans and alien invaders is set to begin. Our soldiers will stand on the front lines, fighting the creatures that seek to destroy your native planet. We have come to ask Ark Base for support – support we will pay back in spades. With me is an emissary of the Green Alliance...”

Hellflower calmly and expertly answered the reporter’s questions and addressed the crowd. Meanwhile, Cloudhawk listened politely. He understood what she was trying to do. She was a celebrity, the face of New Man. Her pleasing features and great contributions ingratiated the ancient humans to her people. In the eyes of New Earthers she was a representative for her race. Her efforts brought their people closer together.

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