The longer I looked at them, the more they seemed to change form. The demons wearing Viking hats and holding pitchforks began to shift into the angry masks of a Samurai warrior, to the large reptilian aliens from a movie I saw about a woman on a spaceship. They shifted until they became wisps of red smoke and blended into the redness of the Red Spot. We were alone.
I felt Daniel’s hand in mine.
“What did you see?” he asked me.
“Demons and aliens I think.” I replied as the serenity of the red smoke began to envelope me. “You?”
“Dinosaurs and clowns.” he said resolutely.
“The fears you brought from earth will be sent to our purgatory.” said a voice that seemed to be moving closer. “Welcome to Jupiter.”
We looked in every direction as the ground beneath us seemed to shift and move like a conveyor belt. As the smoke cleared a very old world looking pagoda styled Japanese garden came into view and we walked into the bridge overlooking the koi pond. They have fish here?
The voice stepped out of the red smoke behind us onto the bridge and materialized into a man with two heads, one of which was a woman. They walked as one. Like they were a husband and wife stuck in the same body more so than Siamese twins.
“What is this?” Daniel asked, motioning to the pond.
“We are sorting through your memories for a pleasant stage of discussion. This seemed relaxing.” the woman head replied sweetly.
“Who are you?” I asked reservedly and completely unconvinced we weren’t about to be attacked somehow.
“In your world we would be called a probe. Here we are referred to as a Relic.” the man answered. “Why have you come?”
“To complete a mission.” Daniel answered, squeezing my hand. I’m not sure if he was trying to be reaffirming or telling me somehow that he was worried.
“We have been waiting.” the woman said. “A Helium said you would come.”
I looked at Daniel.
“Angels.” he whispered to me. “What else did he say?”
“The Coolant is concealed. The Houred Clusters are turning. A light on the horizon stopped. You will break the tuft and block the Altar. Then your task shall be complete, your Helium stripped and your dust returned until the endness of your eons.” the man and woman head said as one.
It’s called blue speech on earth. Babble from a schizophrenic that makes absolutely no sense. But, then again… I don’t speak Jupiterian.
“Thank you.” Daniel said. “Point of entry?”
“The dark rift.” they said and walked away into the red mist they had emerged from.
“So…?” I asked completely lost.
“Yeah, I know. The Coolant is concealed means that the demon that was part of the apocalypse here is trapped in one of the moons. The Houred Clusters are the remnant of the Jupites. The people of this plant. They are turning into the walking dead as the Sines did, you remember, the race before Adam. A light on the horizon that stopped means that the days are numbered and will remain so until I break the tuft. They call doorways in space a tuft. They open every now and then and demons from other realms travel into this layer of space. Blocking the Altar means we have to stop the demon from succeeding. It cannot enter this realm. If it does it will break the Coolant free from the moon it is trapped on and they will head to earth. We don’t have escape pods. Not like they did here. But, they had eons to prepare for this.” Daniel explained.
“What about the dust and helium part?” I asked trying to absorb it all.
“My angelness will be striped until I am but the dust of a human and then we’ll go back to earth for our own apocalypse is pretty much what that meant.” he said somberly.
“How do we do all of that?” I asked feeling daunted and set up to fail.
“What you say shall appear here. Jupite’s were not allowed to speak for eons and communicated through telepathy. Most of them are scared and still do only speak to one another that way. Many believed that it was the spoken word that brought about the fall of their world. And in part they were right. A dark ambassador was sent here and his words opened the first wormhole that the Coolant entered through. The problem was, that doorway wasn’t supposed to open for 3 eons which would have given them time to escape.” Daniel explained.
“And you know all of this because?” I said staring at him.
“I was there. I got here just before the end. I sort of lost it once the boy I tried to save died anyway, then became reanimated by an evil spirit, then fed to the Coolant… Europa. It just ate him. The light in his body that could have brought him back to life was extinguished when she ate him. And I gave up. I figured that if I had the power to destroy people who really should be punished then it would make other people want to turn their lives around. It hadn’t occurred to me that I had done the same thing as Primus, just in a different way. I figured that out while I was in hell.” Daniel explained.
“And that’s how you became Ares. You never told me before. I get why now though. Well, I’m glad you repented and have a chance of not going back to hell now.” I said kissing his neck and hugging him tightly.
It was only then that I realized how badly I was shaking. I’m terrified. We have to stop a demon from another dimension from busting an apocalyptic siren loose then heading for earth. Just us. Two people. No backup. And this is what I have to do to get a vacation?
“What does Europa look like?” I asked afraid.
“She looks like a giant squid in some ways, but when she’s in her charming form, she looks like one of those hieroglyphics from Egypt. The ones with the head of an animal and the body of a human.” he answered as he looked around for where to start first.
“So, her people had been to earth before?” I wondered aloud.
“She made it this far and sent scouts to earth. They did not return once she had been imprisoned. So the invasion was not complete. In a lot of ways, destructive aliens are considered demons here. Europa is an evil spirit, but one that controlled a race of people who had the heads of animals and the bodies of human beings. Once she gets a whiff of you, she will undoubtedly take your form.” he continued.
“A shape shifter.” I said sighing. “So all of this didn’t happen very long ago then? I mean there are all of those theories about ancient aliens and such. That’s what happened?”
“Yeah. Although, they were going to eat everybody rather than consume the planet for natural resources like in the movies.” he said as my stomach turned.
“Righteous weapons, appear.” he said.
A pile of armor materialized at his feet. He put it on me dutifully and made sure I could move around freely.
“Let’s go.” he all but ordered.
“What about you?” I protested.
“Strictly speaking. I’m still an angel. Which means that you, Miss Nephilim and over 75% human, are going to be targeted. Not me.” he said smiling at how special I was.
“Why?” I asked sarcastically and a little upset I had to wear all of this junk when he didn’t have more than a tank top and some shorts on.
“Because, you are what Europa will send her imps to collect. She will attempt to eat you. Only human flesh can break her free. The wormhole we’re trying to close is from earth. Lucifer is who’s trying to get here. If he does, he’ll kidnap people while they are alive and send them here to be fed to her. Once she’s free, she will come to earth. And you think vampires are a problem.” he explained.
“How does he even know she’s here?” I asked worried.
“He fell in love with evil and Europa was her name. Wouldn’t he just love to have his girlfriend on earth with him? Where do you think he got the concept of vampirism from? It was all in her honor. I messed up the last portal because I saved you and your friends from the Southern temple. Lucifer had to have a certain number of burnt sacrifices to get the portal to open. He told Primus to perform genocide because it would help vampires stay in control, when really he was performing a ritual to open a wormhole before it’s appointed time. I was sent to hell as a way to keep me out of the way. The next doorway can be opened now because it’s time. I get one shot to stop it.” he continued.
“And you didn’t think I’d need to know any of this before we left? We had weeks. We still had almost a month after I finally let you in. Why didn’t you tell me?” I snapped at him.
“Well… it’s kind of illegal to talk about the apocalypse of other planets on earth. So, I had to wait until we were here.” he said sheepishly.
“Why is it illegal?” I demanded.
“Because we know in part and we see in part. The tower of Babel was an attempt to build a stairway, or bridge rather, to heaven… and other places. It was illegal after that. God didn’t want his children building a bridge to an open buffet once they arrived. Other worlds have been banned and only a few are brazen enough to disobey God and come anyway. Mostly because humans are highly favored by the Lord and they want to find out what you’re made out of that makes you so special.” he calmly explained.
The Japanese garden had re-submerged into the red mist.
“We have to go to the moon Ganymede. But, I suspect the Jupite’s are under duress there. The Red Spot is the only place Europa can’t get you Babe. But, it’s not meant to be a place to stay. It can get ugly here too.” Daniel told me as true fear crept into his eyes.
“Raphael promised I would make it home. I won’t get eaten.” I assured him.
It better be one hell of a vacation I get after this.
Postmarks: To be posted soon.
(Photo courtesy of: formyhour.com)
Music for this episode – Battle Scars by Lupe Fiasco