Flames and screams filled the night sky as a catastrophe currently swept away the Spire City. Tall buildings flanked a stone corridor where a handful of people ran along to reach a landing platform where several regimentary discus waited. A young boy of small height was among the people fleeing, but he wasn't alone. He was holding the hand of an even younger girl with him, and both nearly avoided being trampled by the seemingly giant humans running around them in a panic.
The sky above, darkened by black clouds thrumming with electricity, sent chills down the boy's spine and, for a moment, almost everything around him disappeared as he watched flashes form in the dark shapes looking down upon his world. He was taken out of his brief daydreaming violently by an explosion raining debris down upon the fleeing populace. Several more 'civilians' burst out of the building entrances and windows to the left of the pathway and started cutting into everyone using whatever house utensils they were initially given access to. Their eyes were bloodshot and their clothes just as red, yet they didn't seem to revel in such actions. That is what the boy felt, but he didn't linger. Even he knew he had to get to safety.
Using their small size to their advantage, the two children rushed between the legs of the crowd towards the platform, intent on getting away. Finally, the end was in sight, but a male figure jumped in front of the child. He held a simple hammer and drew it down to attack the child, but the weapon did not connect. The man screamed in agony as giant ebony hands grasped around his body and skull, filling him with a bright light and cracking his form like a vase before letting it explode. The boy fell to his rear and stared at the giant standing before him. It glowed bright and purely, yet its actions and girth terrified the child. Looking to his side, he noticed the girl hadn't reacted and looked on towards the void with a blank expression stamped on her face.
Zenith awoke in his chambers, taking a minute to let the cold sweat gradually end and forcing himself to breathe in regularly. He chuckled in response to the dream.
"Every night you try to terrify me, but it won't work," he spoke to seemingly no one. "I don't reject that history."
A female mechanical voice echoed loudly in the black chamber, preventing Zenith from falling back asleep.
"Running diagnostics on limbs and organs before integration.
Preparing body for integration," it said.
The lights went on, almost blinding the man while he groaned in pain. A reclinable table upon which he rested slowly arose from a mess of wires, tubes, and cables surrounding and brought Zenith to his feet without releasing him. Due to the prosecutor's heavily mechanized body, Zenith had to sleep in an incubation for regular diagnostics and cleaning of filters. His 'bed' resembled a giant black box accompanied by multiple machines all around it.
Some containers placed against the wall absorbed and filtrated the toxic chemicals created by his body and the machines and would display their status and the chemical composition of the extracted compounds via small monitors on their surface.
Behind the 'bed' were several computer monitors and holographic, solid light keyboards to work with the machines and perform routine setups and system checks. They were currently staff by three members of the Imperator Craeft Cnyttel who each wore single piece, baggy, mahogany-red suits with a filter and visor built into the head portion.
"Diagnostics complete," the mechanical voice spoke. "Removing filters."
Three ridged tubes detached from the cybernetic implant on Zenith's face which stopped just short of his eyes.
"Inserting collector vials."
Three mechanical arms extended and unfolded from the ceiling. All three held tiny, glass vials which they placed into three ports in the implant and spun them in perfect synchronization to prevent the vials from falling out.
"Daily supply of filtration vials ready for retrieval."
"It's done, prosecutor," one of the three operators said.
"Thank you," the prosecutor replied as his arms were returned to their rightful spot. "Another day, another search for the inevitable encounters."
Before he could leave, one of the operators stopped him. "I must know, prosecutor. You..." She was nervous and it was demonstrated audibly by the quieting pitch of her voice. "You're over five centuries old, yes?"
Her comrade bumped her arm, signaling her to get back to work.
"Yes," Zenith replied calmly.
"Then why do you persist? You're the only non-pillar scieldan to have lived for so long, but to live through this kind of life..."
There was a long pause. "It is my devotion to my duty that forces me to live so long. The pain the cybernetics induces onto what remains of my body is not a problem."
"I...see." The woman returned to her post. "I will keep that in mind..." She obviously didn't believe Zenith but refused to go any further.
The prosecutor was clothed with a long trench coat which was a velvety black on the outside and a deep, metallic green on the inside. His pants followed the same design, but his gloves only followed the color scheme as he requested they be black atop and green on the palms. Over his heart, upon his trench coat, was a sigil comprised of a single, open eye and a finger in front of it and suggesting one to 'hush'.
He was in the destroyer he had acquired some time prior to taking Killigan Ghor and giving him an offer of such rarity that even the richest of people would not be able to afford. With its hook on the hull rotating and grabbing whatever strand of mana it could touch, the vessel was more than capable of sailing indefinitely, but that wasn't why he had such a vessel.
The cockpit was very small, but that was normal for a destroyer-class ship. Shaped like a tear drop, the entrance to the cockpit was quite large but narrowed down at the nose. Zenith's area was bizarrely designed and one could have easily confused it for an office complete with desk and shelves holding various books in a field of anti-gravity thanks to a sustained spell cast by a magus. The pilot of the vessel sat in the middle of the crew who were cramped together.
Their seats helped alleviate the issue as they were angled downwards into the hull with the touch screens and monitors directly shining at them and allowing for direct and rapid action. Only the pilot had a large seat sitting upright on a short walkway and a full view of the mana windows allowing him to see outside and react properly. It was also quite dark as all light depended on the orange screens popping up nearly every second as the crew blasted through the windows, assigning tasks to other members aboard the vessel.
"What is my task today," Zenith asked. His voice was as digitally distorted as always, but the crew had grown used to it.
The pilot split his dashboard in half and folded the pieces underneath his arm rests before spinning his seat to face the prosecutor.
"We have several tasks right now. However, the ot--"
"Which ones are closest?" Zenith interjected.
"Okay, rude?" the pilot whispered to himself. "There are fourteen, but eleven are currently already being investigated. Two of the remaining three are typical 'influence' alerts." The pilot leaned against his arm rest and huffed at the idea. "These can be investigated by the local claenseres. The Echenhoffs were founded just for the little things like this, no?"
"They might have been founded to let the higher ranking officers focus on more, potentially dire situations," Zenith's facial implant whistled briefly while he spoke. "But that doesn't dismiss the necessity for one."
The pilot sighed in annoyance but still gave the prosecutor a smile. "Whatever you say, sir."
"One thing, though." Zenith put a hand to his chin and looked away, as if thinking very hard. "I don't like your attitude. Curve it down or you'll find yourself piloting a strike craft on one the planets at war. There, your 'attitude'," Zenith emphasized the word with air quotes. "Might be more appreciated."
The pilot straightened up immediately. "R-right sir. Whatever you say, sir."
Zenith huffed exhaled loudly then returned to his desk to think. "What is the other task?"
"Well, we've heard reports of someone spreading the word of a new god of sorts? But we're not entirely certain."
The crew around stopped fiddling for just a second after hearing what the pilot had mentioned.
"New god?" Zenith repeated.
"Y-yes. So far, there haven't been any incidents, but that--"
"Could just be to keep us from growing suspicious." Zenith tapped his desk, opening up a holographic map of the Milky Way galaxy. "So many reasons, so little time," he mused. "Alright. Let's go there. Where there are new gods, there's bound to be the ones we're more..." Zenith cleared his throat. He would have spat if he still had a fully functional mouth. "acquainted with."
The view outside was no longer just of the vast, dark emptiness of space, but that of a blue crack just about to rip open and engulf the ship and all of its passengers.
"The tear to Mana Magis' realm will be ready in a few minutes," the pilot informed the crew. "We haven't used the mana hook in a bit and the drive was down for maintenance while you slept.
"I see." Zenith yawned quietly and stretched in his chair. "Did we received any news while I slept?"
"Yes. The Calaghi Sector was attacked three Earth months ago and nearly destroyed by a new alien."
"WHAT?!" Zenith's roar of anger startled the crew. "What was it?!"
"We...We're not sure, sir. There's an utlenda carver still studying the remains of the alien, but all reports indicate to them being dead before they were even...well, for lack of a better term; 'killed'."
"Who directed them?"
"Well, the reports indicate that a spear wielding alien displayed intelligence beyond that of the others, but that something intervened before the bregu of the Emperor's Guard could terminate it."
"Is he dead?" Zenith inquired.
"No, sir. It looks like the tinkering he did with his armor helped protect him from most of the damage, but he was still in need of immediate attention."
"And what of this 'deus ex machina'?"
The pilot looked through the files on his dashboard and scratched his head in confusion. "I'm not sure. It doesn't say, but there were reports of a small figure appearing on radars before vanishing completely. It appeared right before the titan of the Crimson Gaze was disabled momentarily."
Zenith spoke as though out of breath. "It disabled a titan? With how many hits?"
The crew created a moderate brouhaha after hearing the information, but Zenith was not fazed. "I see. Perhaps this is what I've been fearing for so long."
"And what is that?"
"A physically manifested deity, but that is why the Magus Imperators run through the Terran Expanse to prevent such things from occurring. I will need more information on this later, but that is just a leisurely acquisition of data. Now, can we go?"
"Then activate the drives!"