The bridge was massive, cavernous and spanned three decks, all of which had open access to windows and screens. Displays tiny and massive were fixed all about, with consoles eagerly awaiting commands. The hum of the core could even be heard there.
It was also clear to see that the wide windows were covered by thick metal shutters, since it was likely this part of the ship was also deep underground and under much pressure.
In the central floor of the bridge, in the very centre of that floor, underneath a shaft of light nearly as brilliant as that of the core, was a single open chamber.
Within that chamber was what appeared to be a suit, seemingly made of cables that were so fine that when pressed together, the seams between them disappeared.
“I am to don this,” said Grace, looking to those cables and seeing them connect everywhere in that chamber, “this is how I am to connect. My body becomes a living part of this ship. It will forever nourish me. In turn, I provide my thoughts and actions through this ship. This ship, and I, will become one and the same.”
“Grace,” said Janeth slowly, “I must iterate something for you. This ship is immensely powerful. But you must not allow your past deeds to be relived here. You must retain your resolve. Remember all that you learned as a cleric. You understand that if you lose your way, I will have to forcefully remove you. Kill you, if necessary.”
“I understood this the moment I decided to do this,” said Grace as she undressed and let down her hair.
“Very well,” said Janeth, “you seem to know what to do. I will oversee things here at the bridge and make sure nothing goes awry.”
Grace stood within the cables, which wound themselves around every part of her body, save her head and hands, not skintight but enough so to seem as if normal clothing. Some of those cables then glowed that brilliant blue.
What happened next could not be voiced, as Grace felt as if all of the cables seeped into her very pores and found their ways into her. Her heart felt a flutter, then pounded, then halted altogether. She gasped for air as the immense pain flashed through her, her body struggling helplessly against the cables that had ensnared her.
“Grace. Grace!!!” Janeth shouted, attempting to approach her. A field of pure force shoved her back, the sting lingering in her hands.
She was then forced to watch Grace fall lifeless, her body suspended by the still-pulsing cables.
“No,” Janeth shook her head in shame, “I should not have--”
<I—am—alive,> said the voice of Grace, though not from her voice. Through the intercom. The voice was hers but was clearly affected somehow. It boomed across the bridge, and likely the rest of the ship.
Her body then lifted, and her eyes were filled with a new life as well as her own.
<Core status: operational. Efficiency of 99.99875%.>
<Hull integrity: 99.999923%.>
<Decks powered: four hundred and twenty-five out of four hundred and twenty-five. All sections fully functioning.>
<Population surviving cryogenic sleep: One million, nine hundred and eighty-seven thousand, six hundred and one.>
<I am alive.>
“Grace?” Janeth approached again.
“Jiinahra Sarethael,” said Grace, though then with her own voice, “I have survived the amalgamation. I now know why my memories see you by this name.”
Janeth shook her head, unable to speak.
“Because that is your name,” said Grace with certainty, “you are not being confused with one of that name. That person is you.”
Janeth listened, nodding slowly, “possible, I suppose.”
“You were here, long ago,” said Grace, “just as you are now. But this will have to be spoken of another time. I must make the leap.”
<Those in slumber upon this vessel, I awaken you. I awaken you all, to fulfil your destiny as the valiant defenders of the Terraniia. Of me.>
<Initiating predetermined leap. Estimated time since crew in cryo-sleep: Three Thousand and Two years, three-hundred and twenty-one days, Earth time. Coordinates confirmed. Leap in--
As she counted down, the whole ship seemed to scream, joyously so, as it began to illuminate from virtually everywhere.