Chapter 55

 

Like a raging bull, Truth returned to the lead platform of the four remaining installations.

Only then did she take the time to tally the loss of one of her platforms, the one Danny had rammed the Enqelins’ orbital into.  That only contributed to the boiling rampage stinging her insides; she did not have a body, yet she could still feel the familiar sensations, another something borrowed from her—from Arras.

Pacing from one installation to another, scouring each one from top to bottom, Truth took note of the situation at hand.  Now, without Ridarin and its operator, Truth was relatively powerless.  And he would come for her.  They would come together.  To kill her.  To kill her together.

This was an entirely new feeling to Truth.  She had never felt this about Arras, not ever.  Only Danny had ever earned this kind of burning contempt from her.  Yet she had never felt something so intense before, either.  Was this betrayal?  Truth had never tasted that before.  It was bitter, and it burned.  She had experienced something like this before, but only ever for him, never for her; only for the intrusive man, never for the woman who had helped her emerge from darkness into light.  Yet now it was as if Truth had been robbed by the very person who had given her life.  She knew what it was like to have someone take away something she wanted, but now it was not him.  Of all people, it was her.  It was Arras.

Arras Enqelin had robbed her.

Truth tried giving her everything she had, including herself.  That was because she was everything Truth had left.  But now she herself had fled from Truth.  She had willingly fled.  More than anything, Truth wanted to throw the blame onto Danny, or even Ila, but she could not.  She knew what had happened.

Arras Enqelin saw her for what she truly was, then rejected her.  She had cut Truth off—denied her and cast her aside!

Well, that was fine.  What was there left to mourn or rage against?  Arras took away everything from her; Arras was everything to her.  If Arras was gone, then Truth had nothing.

There was nothing left.

Nothing left.

Nothing.

The automatons on Earth suddenly went inert, dropping like ragdolls to the pavement, their weapons cold and innocuous.  Assault craft that had before established air superiority over DC and other areas of the world fell like idle stones from of the sky, crashing indiscriminately onto the surface, as inactive as the automatons.  Militaries and police forces around the world were reluctant to accept such a miraculous end, but soon, with civilians out of the way, they turned their full attention to demolishing the dead machines, lest they rise again.  Even so, the word traveled fast that the enemy had gone utterly quiet, leaving their equipment behind—was this a surrender?

Truth’s mind was foggy, blurred by an unfamiliar flow, yet her desire was clear.  Her anger spilled over, and she roared through all four remaining platforms—the final fragments of Rededication.

The platforms reactivated their main propulsion systems.  Slits of electromagnetic thrusters kicked in at the root of their tripartite wings.  The exhaust of the engines came as thin waves of ions, flurrying off the ends of the stations’ serrated wingtips, sparkling off and fading into cold, dark space like dying embers.  And as the flurry picked up, the platforms accelerated, moving vigorously and ravenously like hunting wolves.

The four platforms, each measuring six miles wide and approximately twenty miles in length, skulked toward the Earth.