Summary: Sort of sequel to my oneshot challenge Wiseman.
Author's note: My muse just couldn't leave this one alone so I'm going to indulge. As always I hope I get reviews. I'm interested to see what my readers think of this little weird cross. -Rei
"Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope" -Unknown
Musical inspiration for this fic: The Outsider by A Perfect Circle, Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, and Headstrong by Trapt
"Vesta Speak" 'thought'
It waited for the world to become new again, lingered without a single iota of hurry as the surface burned bone dry of life, entire oceans evaporated, leaving bottomless crevices exposed and aquatic life dead. Chemicals ignited into an uncontrollable blaze, razing the earth with fiery fingers, and noxious fumes polluting the air caught alight, turning it black with burned bodies becoming epidemic vapor. It watched as all fled the surface to escape the carnage their habitat had become. If they were lucky they perished quickly in the death traps they hid in. Anything was better than the sun sickness which wasted away in the brain, and caused skin to blister and peel away. Even starving from lack of food, water, and oxygen was preferable to the slow descent to primordial ooze.
Then came the rain. Glaciers once frozen for untold millennia melted and the few who survive fled again, in the wake of even more dangerous storms, which swamped their' vast underground lairs, and hollow caves with acid floods. The meager bacteria that served as food washed away, or became chocked with tainted water. They still ate it, and some managed to survive it. Still they endured ill-regular weather patterns, dodged volcanic eruptions, and killed whatever and whomever if necessary. But in the end, when all hope was spent and there was seemingly nothing left to exist for, a being of formless power took interest.
Unmoving it observed the amorphous force interact with the destruction that lay waste to the world in its touch. Recalled, even as both the shapeless being and the earth began to resonate with each other, this was not the first time this has occurred. The energy would propel itself through the weakened ozone of the planet, touching, and effectively changing all molecular structure it came in contact with. Even the hand-full of surviving homo-sapiens weren't spared the transformations. It was painful, it was difficult, and it was necessary. As their environment evolved around them from the molecular level up, so too did the survivors.
Their forms were re-crafted through fire, as the structures of their bodies were rearranged to be tempered like metal rather than burned if it was flesh. This "treatment" allowed for the "Ainur" to harmonize with the power giving them life. And from what little of their unconscious minds remained were communicated to it, Eru crafted the rest of Arda to suit the beings it had created. And when the resonance of Eru ebbed, the Ainur took over, intent to create "the vision of Eru" which was given to them in the form of what they perceived as music. Never knowing that they were once the very beings Eru had recreated from their cataleptic memories.
"Optimal habitation conditions won't be reached in centuries yet", Vesta's creation mused clinically still observing the chaos of Arda. And in the black of space, the artificial intelligence compared this convergence to those recorded by its creators. When first those who came before had entered what was known as the Milky Way galaxy, they had observed this phenomenon as it happened to the neighboring red planet. And wanting to gain the knowledge of Biosphereic creation for themselves, set out to track the power which seemingly dissipated after Mars ozone became thick enough to contain its own gravity. They never found it, and instead settled on studying, dissecting, and ultimately destroying all life on the planet.
Surprisingly the formless power hadn't returned, so those who came before moved on. Jupiter was their most important discovery. For when they collapsed the ecosystem of Jupiter, the formless power did return, to create from their destructive curiosity. This time, it was Saturn that was given the gift of life. Again too arrogant to learn from this lesson, those who came before continued their experiment. They moved to Terra, theorizing that the formless power that balanced the planets ability to have a Biosphere was directly linked to the condition of its neighboring planets.
But as powerful and innovative as they were, those that came before were powerful enough to create a planet. At best they could make a focus point from which gravity could be generated. To this end they crafted Terra's moon out of asteroids, and were able to establish enough gravitation pull to cool the earth un-inhabitable molten hot surface. And thus began their greatest experiment, and ultimately their downfall. Without a thought the last surviving visage of the gods of the old world watched.
Desmond woke up swinging, which he had been more awake to do so, would acknowledge that wasn't such a smart idea. As it was, he lay in his aquatic prison, coughing up vile curses behind the mask strategically placed over his mouth and nose. He immediately cradled his abused fist after its unfortunate rebound off the translucent shell of the not so surprisingly small confinement. "Log entry: Date 1M planetary rotations A.E. May 6th of the year 2984 Third Age by reckoning of current population. Subject Ducere Novo is activated."
Desmond glared as best as he was able through the solution impeding his vision. Everything ached, and his brain was desperately trying to catch up to what his instincts already gauged upon his awakening. He had only the vaguest idea what the fuzzy outline he was glaring at was. "What-" abruptly Altair's descendant was caught in another coughing fit, now registering the dry burn currently stripping his vocal cords of essential soft tissue. The temple's avatar ignored him, as she commanded the solution causing him to float to be drained from his tank.
Feeling himself starting to sink, the dark haired assassin desperately tried to find something to hold onto, only to let out a painful yelp as he felt something rip from his skin. Desmond looked down, and immediately wished he hadn't. Wearing only his birthday suit, the 24 year old could barely make out the reflective ends of thick needles sticking out of his various extremities. Following the quickly widening trail of blood flowing from his right arm, Desmond's gaze fixated on his inner elbow, where he had inadvertently jarred a particularly thick needle loose. "Moving is ill-advised at this time. It is recommended that you remain stationary until initiation protocol has reached 100% completion."
Half hysterically Desmond mused the only way this could get any creepier is if the voice giving him instructions had told him to keep his arms and legs within the ride until it came to a complete stop. Once again, the dark eyed man was gripped in another coughing fit, only half aware of his continual descent to the grated bottom of his upright tank. All the while his mind was a canopy of wild, malformed thoughts and emotions urgently gouging bloody strips out of his already splintered psyche. Suddenly his eyes were no longer hindered by the solution that had kept him suspended, and he was finally able to look upon his captor.
She was a dark haired apparition staring at him under a crown of copper curls. The opaque robe draped across her levitating form only added to her ghost-like quality. And the empty gaze now locked with his dumbfounded one was a jarring slap in the face needed to recall his last memories. Lucy, 'Oh god make it stop, please don't make me do this.' Being trapped within the Animus by the assassins, 'I want out. Don't you see this is useless, you've fucking bled me dry.' Escaping the assassins and dodging Templars was by no means without unrelenting pursuit spent the majority of the time exhausted, and in almost constant injury. 'What was the god forsaken point? Don't they get that the world is going to end?'
Pushed almost beyond the point of breaking, both from the stress of his ancestors' memories, and weight of his own problems, Desmond gave in to Juno's demand, and went looking for after those who turned away from war. He soon learned that, Vesta was one of the few of her kind that had sympathy for the race that they had created, and ultimately enslaved. She brokered peace between the two factions at the cost of exile, and lost her life when once again her race put their pride before the good of all. But the fallen one had left behind a long legacy of solutions, where her fellow siders of humanity only had warnings.
The former bartender had gone looking for a way to end the mess that his life had become. And he had found it, in the death sentence of the entire human race. "You," Desmond flinched as his feet hit the grates. His legs were unable to hold his weight, and buckled causing them to fold, even as the dark eyed assassin instinctively braced his arms against his plastic prison. The barrier holding him upright fell away, causing Desmond to completely collapse. Harsh breathes echoed the seemingly endless black he occupied. It was only after an untold amount of time that Desmond registered that it wasn't black, cloying his vision, but a sticky mess Bistre mane.
Angrily shoving away the dark mass away from his face, Desmond hissed as the needle imbedded in the back his hand jerked. Painful shock set in, and the assassin too tired to stop the mental fatigue from causing him to mechanically removing the equipment from himself. The temple's artificial intelligence surveyed its charge's vitals, as she observed him removing homo-stasis regulatory equipment. She catalogued every wince, aborted movement and sound that was particularly painful. The assassin would need to be treated for his ails later. Obviously being in stasis for millions of years wasn't agreeing with him. "Where are we," Desmond's voice was a rough croak from complete and utter disuse.
But he still forced himself to voice the question as best he could. It was made infinitely easier with the mask that had been feeding him oxygen was out of the way. The back of his head ached from the length of time the band had held it in place. Idly he wondered just how long he had slept. His body felt almost as alien to him now as it did when he had been unceremoniously been shoved into the Animus for the first time. "What was once Kione, Gaia, and Terra, and you called Earth, is now called Arda." Still the calm of shock persisted. "What country?"
"The land mass has shifted too much for me to make a comparable analysis of our exact location in relation to any country relevant to your understanding" Suddenly a projection of a map appeared, displaying just how much Desmond's home had transformed. There was nothing, nothing left of the earth that he vaguely knew. None of the continents he knew should be there, weren't anywhere to be found. In horror, his hands stilled in their task of removing the various needles attaching him to tubes of unknown content. "Damn it Vesta give me your closest guess," he snapped after another moment of helpless rage.
"The closest geographic comparable I can make at this time is southwestern Turkey, boarding what was once the Mediterranean Sea. The sea is now a lake called Nenuial, it feeds two opposing rivers, the one without a name branches to the south on the other side of the hills guarding the lake opposite of our current location. The Brandywine has no such safe guard though we are closer to it." An indicator flashed on the map of 'not earth' zooming in until it focused on a representation of where their current location was.
"It has been roughly 3 million years since you were placed in stasis subject- "My name is Desmond, use it!" "Desmond, Abies Alpha landed 7 thousand years ago, and has been buried under the ruins of Annuminas which has been abandoned for 2." Vesta continued to explain as if the assassin hadn't spoken at all. "As it stands I will be unable to support my systems for much longer, you must acclimate yourself to your current environment if you are to have any hope of restoring your order." Not for the first time, Desmond thought that knowing so much sucked out what infinitesimal common sense the computer had been programmed with.
"And exactly how in the hell am I supposed to do that," he hissed forcing himself to stand on coltish legs, grown weak with millennias worth of disuse. "And even, by some miracle I could do this by myself, why would I even want to." Vesta said nothing, just stared with empty eyes as she pointed a translucent finger behind him. Defiant, he turned ready to rip into whatever flimsy excuse Vesta would produce. He choked on the scathing words he wanted to say as he was confronted with the helpless visages of six interred children. "FFFUUUCCCKK MMMEEE."