The Light That Failed Pt 21

From the Story Arc: A Fine And Private Place

Previous Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed, part 20 by Red Saviour (Monday, October 10, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 22 by Gaia's Soldier (Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

"Find the false Bella."

Her last words before the curtain of time came down rang over and over in her ears. She looked down at the unconscious form of Belladonna. This poor child had been through so much already. She was resolved to not let this be the end.

The time dilation was having multiple effects, all positive. From the clock on the wall, eight hours had passed outside of it, but according to Shyft's watch, it had only been a few minutes. Bella would have only had half as long passed. Two minutes. The waves of healing energy had turned into a flood. Bella still wasn't responding, but it was stabilizing her slightly. It was as if hundreds of healers were pouring there all into her. C'mon devutchka, we will pull you through this one.

Other than the sound of her own breathing, Shyft was in total silence. It was good. It allowed her to think. "Running numbers" as she liked to call it. The DNA sample Zack had gotten for her was unstable. It wasn't his fault, but she looked over at the poor boy. That knowledge would do him no good. He sat just outside of the bubble. Shifts of healers had changed. Frenetic movement on the other side of the curtain told her many had come and gone. He was a rock, unmoving from his spot. "Don't worry Zack. I will save her. We will save her."

Her mind raced. There was still only one answer. Find the false Bella. They could get a DNA sample from her, voluntarily or not. Shyft could use that as a framework and rebuild Bella's genetic matrix from the ground up. Tricky work, and she'd only get one try...but she had an army of healers to back her up. Still, there wasn't much wiggle room. One error in the mathematics, and Bella would degenerate into a puddle of radioactive goo. CeCe shuddered and pushed the image from her mind.

What of the other other Bella? She had appeared in Eden earlier in the day and even assisted with helping the Woodsman. Shyft pulled the shard of the Titan Bella had given her out of her pocket and focused on it. It didn't make any sense. This was priceless and irreplaceable. Bella had simply handed it to her saying "I need you to have this. I cannot take it with me." The words haunted Shyft. She kneeled down next to Bella and caressed her cheek. Was that really Bella? Was it another copy? CeCe smiled sadly. Probably a flare up of Bella's telempathic powers. She had heard of telepaths projecting their psychic essence before. Eden was a place of life. Was Bella aware of her predicament and simply trying to say good-bye?

"Nyet, Bella. You will not fade into darkness yet. Not while I still have enough fight for both of us." Shyft stood, and turned back around. It was morning on the other side of the curtain. Zack was still motionless. For a long time, she thought him a poor choice for Commissar, without discipline or heart. She bit her lower lip. She now saw what others had seen. The boy had resolve.

"Szdarovya!!" A sudden bolt of inspiration hit her. Eden was the key! The Devouring Earth were creatures of mixed genetic makeup, even more mixed than Bella's. Everything said they would reject themselves and dissolve...but they had the fungus, cairns and crystals that altered, healed and stabilized their forms. If beating on Crey would do no good, perhaps the genetic monstrosities would be of help. She quickly wrote it up, balled up the wad of paper and tossed it as hard as she could at the curtain. It struck, frozen in time for a moment as it crossed the horizon then pushed through popping out onto the floor.

Comrades, I have an idea. If you cannot get me the false Bella, I have a different task. The small emanating pets the Devouring Earth create are needed. Gather as many as you can and bring them here.

Now she could only wait and pray.