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Different Outcome Part 1 - Different Outcome Part 2 - Different Outcome Part 3

"Different outcome, part 2"

a thousand years later.

Deetex was sitting in his office on Manhattan, working through papers.
The foundries had taken several financial setbacks following a patent infringement issue with Infinity Inc.

Chamberlains and officers had been bringing him reports all day, there didn't seem to be an end to the endless stacks of files he had to comb trough.

His door slid open, someone stepped in carefully, making barely any sound.

"You can put those files down on the table next to you" he muttered without looking up.
"I'll have a follow up for you ready in a minute"

The intruder didn't respond, didn't even flinch or move as far as he could tell.

He put his notepad down, and looked up.

So far everything has played out exactly as before... Almost.

"Miss Delahue, I've been expecting you."

"Deetex Seraphine, it is your time to be judged" she replied

He sighed, his gaze unchanged.
"I take it mister Rocker and mister Murphy have had their go then, very well."

Slowly he got up, taking his time to walk around his large desk and stand a few steps closer to her.

"There is, however, one slight issue, one tiny a problem with you being here... A technicality, really."

Slightly annoyed she crossed her arms over her chest, standing defiantly.

"And what would that be, Mister Seraphine?"

"We already have a Demi-god in our mids, Daemian?"

On que his apprentice appeared right behind her, his arm outstretched, his scaled sword suspended just a hair's width from her throat.
She caught her breath, she hadn't been warned about this, hadn't even known of this Man's existence.

"we meet again." Daemian whispered.
"My gods will rend you limb from limb for this." she hissed back.

"Now see, that's the problem... Your gods have already passed judgement here, and have found us suitable."

"What?" she gasped.
Deetex was enjoying this, gazing at the storm of emotions and confusion on her face.

"You see, while true I currently will not pass your judgement, you are, will or have already infected me with the essence of your deity, depending on your temporal perception."

Daemian nodded to an ornamental sword suspended by the wall "He even pushed that in your hands asking you to kill him were he rejected"

She didn't reply, glaring at the bureaucratic exec while Daemian kept his blade level.

Deetex strode up and down, trying to remember events he technically never took part of, but recollecting what he had been told, and what he knew was supposed to be true.

"Your noble intentions of a unified species and secured future are sadly overshadowed by the basic desire for survival.
While true our future paths have much in common, you are destined to find that the Empire will, in short order, achieve unity and so much more."

He stepped closer to Sarah, glaring.
"You, your deity and your plans are superfluous, destined to be outdone by the human race in all it's glory"

She stared in disbelief, but sensed no falseness in his claim.

Deetex continued.
"In something of about two centuries you would have attained your goal, external influence..."
"the mercury empire" Daemian interjected "external influence pending, however this is where your plans would end.
The Empire will continue, ever expanding, ever evolving, and with it the human race follows."

He stopped, quickly turned and faced her, staring into her eyes.
"but then... You already know this, do you not?"

She sensed his words to be true, and from either his penetrating gaze or the crushing weight of reality to be, she collapsed, dropping to her knees with a sign, her eyes filled with tears.

"I believe you are done here, I'll have one of my officers arrange transport to your next destination" Deetex concluded, as he headed back to his desk.

"I'll take her" Daemian added, sheathing his sword.
Deetex did not respond at first, looking at the duo as he sat down.
Finally he gave a quick nod, returning to his paperwork.
Daemian took Sarah by the shoulder and pulled her up, and gestures her towards the door.

It took the pair a while to reach the Manhatten spaceport.
Neither had spoken since they left the office, Sarah was still sobbing, while Daemian merely grinned every so often.

"Why are you amused?" she finally asked, just after he landed his shuttle.

"Sorry?" he replied, surprised by her sudden question.
"You've been smiling and grinning the whole way, what is so amusing?"
"Well haven't you gotten familiar all of the sudden." he retorted, dodging the question.

Sarah's eyes glowed faintly for a moment.
"In you, I sense the war god, Ghaal."
Daemian cleared all procedures as he docked his shuttle, locking it down but did not yet open the hatch.

"And...?" he inquired.

"And I sense more to the connection between us then mere rivalry, so I ask again, what is Ghaal, the avatar of conflict, death and opposition, planning now?"

Their eyes met as he stared back at her, locking gazes but neither flinching.

Finally he started laughing.
Quietly at first, but building up to a thunderous cacination.

Sarah merely stared at him.

He paused for a brief moment, then continued to chuckle.
Finally he stopped, taking a few deep breaths to calm himself and order his thoughts.

"You have a genuine interest in me, but you and that thing inside you really want Deetex."
"You overstate his importance" she replied.
He gave her a childish grin, letting her know he could see through her lies.

He leaned forward, and spoke in a conspiratorial tone, letting each word settle.
"It's a gamble, but here's what you need to do..."

Several days later Deetex finally found a moment to himself.
The legal suits had stagnated severely, neither corporate entity settled, and the arbitrators involved had to completely overhaul all their documents.
It was so easy to abuse all the little loopholes and oversights in the colonial legal system, it was a blatant miracle whenever anything really drastic got resolved.

He took his private shuttle and headed to the only place he really considered home, a remote planet in the edgeworld clusters, far away from commerce and tradelanes... To the house he build up from the ground itself... To the tomb of his petrified wife.

It had been many years since his last visit, he had made some interesting and promising discoveries since then.

Because he was pressed for time, Deetex decided to use his personal ship's prototype -and highly illegal- jump drive, bridging the gulf of space in hours rather then days.

As he approached the planetoid he sensed an an usual tension in space.
Something was happening, and he sensed it was very wrong.
Abandoning all common sense and flight procedures he pushed his ship's engines in hard acceleration, firing his after burners and shot straight down to the planet's surface, the blazing friction of re-entry scorching, then melting, the hull of his ship.
As his ship peeled away all around him he dove in headfirst, breaking the sound barrier several times over.

His body formed a pair of mechanical wings, Which he kept retracted for a brief while.
Once he breached the lower atmosphere he unfolded them, spreading the wings and feathers wide, stabilizing his flight, and headed to his destination.

His landing was inelegant and thunderous, pounding the ground sending up clouds of dust and debris.

He hadn't mastered the ability to teleport himself quite yet, according to Daemian it would take several more decades before the power manifested, or outright surrendering to Delahue's infection to rocket his evolution.
"or was it the stress of the situation, I can never tell" Daemian had teased.

"Delahue!" he proclaimed, recognizing  the uneasy feel he had earlier.
He tore the doorway to his manor from its hinges, barging in and making his way to the lab.
What he saw there took him a full minute to process.

Calisto's preservation tube had been shattered, her lifeless body stood in front of him, radiant and very much alive.
Slowly she turned to face him.

With an ever more sinking feeling of dread, Deetex slowly started piecing together what had happened.

As she faced him, staring in his eyes, she spoke.
"Hello my love"
The words were right, but the voice wasn't.
He stared back, instead of seeing Calisto's sharp grey eyes, he gazed upon lavender eyes he knew only too well.
"Delahue... What have..." he started to whisper.
Something snapped in his mind, a blinding rage overcame him.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!" he demanded, his voice loud enough to send the whole manor shaking, windows broke and objects toppled.

She nearly fell backwards in the blast, slightly confused she tried to get her balance.

"I have merged with her body and mind, in her Essense lies the key to our mutual future, we..." she tried to explain.

Deetex starters trembling, clenching his fists and started breathing heavy.
With infinite restraint he managed to hiss one single word.

Sensing his anger, Sarah dropped her haze and quietly replied.
"Daemian said it was..." she didn't finish, as she saw this pushed Deetex over the brink.

Deetex lunged forward, grabbing her by the throat, and leaped upwards.
The sheer force of his bound tore the entire planet apart in his wake, as his seething rage propelled the two across the stars.
In mere second he traversed the many millions if light years, straight to the corporate headquarters on Almere Prime.

Smashing through the outer wall, he stomped his foot down as he stopped, still holding Sarah firmly at arms length.
He pushed her away, motioning her to a corner of his office, sparing her not a single glance.

"Daemian Blade!" He yelled, causing the whole citadel tower to tremble.
"Come here, now!"

But Daemian did not appear.

Several armed soldiers and a ranking officer barged in after a few minutes, quickly prompting the Grey Paladin elite guards in the room to de-cloak and take up arms, forming a stand-off.
"Sir, you, you're here?" the officer stated.
"I thought you were still on Manhatten."

"Where is Daemian?" Deetex replied, stepping towards the officer while signaling the paladins to stand down.

"He... We don't know, he hasn't been seen on Almere in a while now."

"If he doesn't want to be found, he won't be." Sarah muttered.

Deetex signed with frustration, raising his fist.
He wanted to cause hurt, he wanted to attack something and utterly destroy it, not having felt this anger since his wife was first taken from him... and Daemian made an excellent scapegoat.
Now, thanks to the meddling of his lieutenant and this... Thing, this host to an alien deity, his anchor to humanity, his sole reason to perpetuate his existence had been taken from him.

"Who is this, sir?" the officer asked, a puzzled look on his face as he stared at the breathtaking beauty of Sarah's new form.

Deetex was leaning against the large Window frame, staring outside, gazing upon the many thousands of residents that call this fortress-city their homes.

In the distance he could make out each and every single individual, their faces, their behaviour.
He saw a group of children running, playing... one was holding a miniature model of a Leviathan.
He saw a couple strolling down a street, a happy couple that laughed as the children shot past, not a care in the world.

He shifted his focus, saw the waiting group of soldiers in the reflection of the glass, staring at him.
He caught himself staring back at only one face, and she stared right back at him.

"Leave us." He ordered.
All but Sarah and a lieutenant remained behind.

As the office cleared he turned and took a seat behind his desk.
"Sarah, what you have done... I can never forgive you for this, were it any other two people I would've destroyed you utterly."
He didn't spare her any glance as he continued.
"I am however incapable of doing so for the past and future we once would have shared, the likeness to my wife is your one and only shield in this matter."

"What are you..." she started, Deetex interrupted.
"Daemian is not as fortunate however, his rebellious and defiant nature has led him to act in a manner I would not have deemed possible from the likes of him, this sole act is an outright declaration of war upon me personally."

He picked up a data pad, staring at the pad's screen without actually reading it.
"You, however...."
He sighed again, finally looking up to face her.
"I will give you a ship, the only ECL we have, you will set sail in it and never return."
This made the remaining officer look up in shock.
"Sir, you can't."
"You, Sarah Delahue, are hereby banished from the Sirius colonies and the Empire to be, in perpetuity."

Sarah's expression changed to that of horror and dread, she could not believe he had just hamstrung her plans like that.
She wavered in her stance, almost dropping to her knees before the officer took a hold of her.
"Lieutenant, you will escort miss Delahue to the ECL, then ready your troops for deployment, it is time to lay the foundations of an imperium."

As the officer gestured Sarah to the doorway, Deetex steepled his fingers.
Mere moments before the door slammed shut, she could have sworn she heard him sob.

Within the hour Sarah had been escorted to the bridge of the Mercury Foundries' only prototype ECL ship, a heavily modified Leviathan she had been told, build to test a theory, but whom's project had been scrubbed before it could be tested.

It took the largely automated ship very little time and almost no user input whatsoever to prepare for departure, before Sarah knew it the ship had cleared the APOS docks and was heading out into space, it's engines blazing.

After she had cleared the solar system's natural dark-matter barrier and the ship's cruise engines fired, she broke out in tears, crying loud and long for her lost opportunity.

She wept for days as the ship kept cruising in a straight line, ever increasing the distance between her and Sirius, ever further away from her would-be husband now nevermore.

Finally, after a week had passed, she sobered up, and sat straight, staring out the armored viewport at the stars shooting past.

"And I thought Ghaal had a temper" someone said behind her.
The ship was supposed to be completely deserted, and yet...
She recognized the cocky voice, the sound and feel of it, the subtext in every word.
Slowly Sarah turned.
"You... Bastard... " she whispered.
As she faced the source of the voice, she was surprised to see Daemian in the corridor, casually leaning against the bulkhead, a broad grin on his face.
She jumped up from her chair and bound towards him, clawed fingers outstretched, ready to rend him limb from limb.
"You bastard!" she yelled.
He raised a palm, keeping his cool.
In a heartbeat she did, halting dead in her stride, ready to pounce at a moments notice.

"Why am I a bastard?" he asked.

He could see she was genuinely upset, not surprising at all.

"You ruined our plans, your gamble completely backfired, how could you..."
She didn't finish, fixating on his amused face.
"Is everything a game to you?"

He stopped smiling, standing straight and headed to the command chair.
"Sit down"

Without question she obeyed, uneasy by the control he seemed to have over here.
Was it because he bore the essence of Ghaal, the wargod within him? Or was it something else.
She sat down, crossing her legs and placing her hands on her lap, patiently waiting for him to take his seat and tell his story.

"After this ship was finished, I had the Extreme Conditions Leviathan program cancelled, as a marauder it serves a very limited purpose beyond that of a well-defended mining vessel."
He raised a hand over the armrest, it's holographic terminal flickered to life and started highlighting certain sections of the ship.
"I had it modified slightly, it's not entirely impossible to keep this ship in space indefinitely."

"do you have a point?"

"My point, my dear, and I will add I am surprised it has escaped you, is that you have been send into exile with a ship that will last as long as you will.
We, you, me, Ghaal and Aos, all knew full well that Deetex Seraphine, the Mercury Emperor to be, could not be won over without outright removing that which made him your prize husband."

He watched as she tried to piece everything together.

"You've been banished, and the one being I can not defeat declared war on me... Yet nobody knows"

A surge of hope shot through Sarah, still not understanding entirely but his choice words reflected deeper plans.

"You claim I ruined the Sarmich' plans... Destroyed their destiny and shattered their future... I say I just single handily preserved our species for all eternity."

She fell quiet, no more grins or tears, the realization settled in and all the pieces fell in place.

Finally she reacted.
"Oh you... Bastard..."

Daemian smiled again, stood up and headed to the helm station, taking her by the shoulder.
"Come on, let's explore the stars together."