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You grit your teeth and bear the pain as you have done so many times before. You clench your fists, nails biting into your palms to do anything to take your mind off of literally being torn apart. As you suspected it doesn’t help but you continue the action anyway.

After what feels like millennia to you, you are finally able to step out of the twisting vortex like portal, and the shield disappears having performed its last action to either help or harm you. You want to feel its loss but you can feel nothing but emptiness and betrayal. You have nothing left but yourself, and it is like the first time you woke up in this hellish place.

You blink your eyes blearily, and look around you. The pallid twins stand before you, the somber one garbed in all black, a leather glove on the hand not holding her twins, and the coquettish one clothed in all white, her unheld hand covered with silk. Their expressions seem similar, yet polar opposite.

What do you do?

Talitha cackled maniacally, and turned to face Myos before the other man had even hit the ground. Without a second thought, he released the armor that protected him and dove to catch Zeke. Myos leaned over him, wondering how such a small wound and so little blood could take the best friend he ever had in his life. His rusty fringe brushed the others face, and Myos closed the now dead man’s emerald eyes - a color so similar to his own, now lifeless beneath him.

“Pathetic isn’t he?” The Empress giggled, covering her cupid pink lips with the tips of her fingers. “He did everything I asked...leading you all here, gaining your trust, informing me of your actions along the way, just so he could rule with me,” she laughed again, this time harsh and cruel. “As if I would ever let that pig of a man even touch my throne.” Myos was frozen in the shock of the moment, unable to do anything but listen to the crazed woman and cradle his former friend. “Did you know I’ve ruled over this colony since it was on Earth? I don’t look it, do I?” She twirled around like a little girl showing off a new summer dress, twisting and turning a lock of her pigtail between her slender fingers. “Several hundred years old...but it’s all worth it. Technology has come far, hasn’t it? Imagine if I looked my age! I’d just drop dead, wouldn’t I?” Talitha giggled again, turning to one of the many reflective walls to fix her appearance. Like Narcissus drawn to the pond, she couldn’t help but look at herself. Myos was disgusted.

“Why? Why would you do all of this...you have everything, why try to take everything away from humanity? Free will is a basic right,” Myos spat, gritting his teeth and tensing his jaw as if he were going to lash out like a hungry wolf.

“I’ve been doing it slowly over the years...or hadn’t you noticed? I thought you were intelligent my little hero,” the Empress purred, fluttering her long lashes, “complacency kills, dear boy. With nothing to do, nothing to improve, humans just sit around and stay stagnant. Necessity is the mother of invention, and if I provide everything then you silly lambs don’t need to think on your own. I just finally got around to really making all of you my pretty dolls.” She clasped her hands in front of her, looking like a kid in a candy house. “And once you’re gone I can finally do that, can’t I?”

“You think this will end with me?” Myos set the other man down gently, placing him as if he were only sleeping, before the redhead stood up tall, shoulders back and staring the woman down. “I started a revolution, people will hear about this, word will spread of what I tried...what YOU tried to do. I’ll be a martyr, a hero. I’ll have died for a just cause and you’ll be a villain. I’ve already incepted the idea; it just has to be carried out.”

“What idea? I’ll just strike all of you down until you learn to keep your mouths shut,” Talitha snapped, her innocent persona gone and replaced with a more dangerous one, like that of an Amazonian.

“You can’t restrain an idea with idol threats, your majesty,” Myos snapped. “Once something starts creeping in your mind, you won’t just bite your tongue to keep silent. The promise of death or torture won’t fucking stop this thing and it travels from ear to ear in these closed in walls you shut us in,” he began to take powerful steps closer to her, punctuating each new thought, “we WILL revolt because YOU can’t tell us not to raise our fists in anger and the way you’ve treated us. You can’t censor it either, we won’t write it down, it’ll just EXIST and fester in the virtual space of the mind,” Myos got the crazed, feverish look in his eyes as he filled himself with the power of his own words. “You can NOT tell anarchy to stop in its tracks, when its feet only exist in the minds of the oppressed. There is a force out there, greater than your stupid brainwashing, greater than just you or me or anybody, greater than your empty lies of solace and comfort.”

Myos had the powerful woman backed into a corner; the Empress so entranced by the rhythmic force of the young man’s words, hadn’t realized that her slender frame was now pressed against the wall with a tight hand wrapped around her throat. “You could try all night to kill me...but you could never stop the stars from shining.”

Then he squeezed until the small body he was holding turned limp under his hand.

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