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dablueeagle

Junky To Funky
 

The Accounting

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First Off... I am always up for assisting you in an assault, be it Henchlings or GoatFist Himself (The latter I wouldn't last a turn though, lol). Send me an invite, and if I'm around, I will take you up on the offer!

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Milestones:

I never thought I would put milestones in my lair, but...

-8/4/08-
> dablueeagle sliced and diced 'em with their Urbo-Saber! Sparky's health has been cut by 25%... Sparky lost 746 health.

My jaw dropped.

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Ok, so I'm pretty sure that nobody ever wondered about the origin of DablueEagle, but I'm going to give a slight explanation here.

Some of you know that I am in the process of writing a novel, and the main character is the world's First true Super-Hero, and his alter ego is "Eagle." Now, for the first time ever, both the prelude and the first couple chapters will be written here for you guys to see!

If you by chance read through it, please send me an Urbogram and tell me what you think, and I am my own proofreader, so speak up if you see any grammatical flaws.

And YES, the main character has the last name of 'Genious,' and that is how his last name is spelled, as opposed to 'genius!'

Prelude

Chapter 1:
The Champion


BEEP BEEP BEEP

The alarm blared and woke the slumbering champion from a deep dream, a dream so vivid; he could almost feel the pain in his shoulder from the event recounted in his dream. It had been so long ago, his time of greatest blessing. When he had been changed, changed to serve in a new and unique way, the One True God who is, was, and will always be The Three In One.

Gently rubbing his right shoulder, this champion stretched, and threw his legs over the side of his bed. Rubbing his eyes, he looked out the window of his apartment on the 317th floor of the Rising Building. Seven-hundred and fifty floors high, it was the first of the space-scrapers, but it no longer numbered even among the tallest hundred buildings.

The champion reached out his right hand and pressed the play button on his antique CD player. The song, "The End of the Beginning" by David Phelps began playing as he began to dress and prepare for the day.
As the last chorus of the song started, the champion was combing his hair, looking into a mirror and staring at his own strong, dark brown eyes and saw in the mirror that the last streak of brown had finally found its way out of his hair. Now it was a full head of flowing, silver-white hair he was brushing back and setting to rest on his thick and broad shoulders.

Apart from the white hair, there was no sign of aging on him. Although not bulging with muscle, his strength was obvious. His frame looked like that of a strong man of 30 years. His hands were large and strong; his left ring finger encircled by a bright golden band, a band that was first put on when his hands were much smaller and now squeezed his finger, a band that would not come off with any little effort.

Just as the song finished and this man began standing back from the mirror, he heard The Voice. That one Voice that he had learned to hear from his childhood and had been the one and only constant in his life. The words whispered to his ears were enough to bring a smile and tears of joy to his face. The words were words he had waited his entire life for, and now they brought to him a bittersweet joy.

SOON
SOON MY LOVE
SOON YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE

With tears in his eyes and a wry smile on his lips, our champion replied with a whisper.

"Well, this is one occasion that calls for a suit."

As he turned from the mirror, he paused, glanced toward the skies and said, "Thank You, Liege. It is time to come home"

/______***______\

As our champion reached for the handle for his stylized antique door leading to the hallway, he felt that sensation he always felt when danger was nearby. He hesitated, and fidgeting in his suit, looked at the door.

It was solid oak, framed with a light golden finish. In the center was a gold lion's face and mane, staring out with a sense of peace. Carved in the door itself was a beautiful scene of a meadow, clear but for a single tree above the lion, and a stream that ran to the right coming from the tree.

The champion stared at the eyes of the lion, and quickly, fear began seeping into his mind. He had purposely chosen a room with a window; if necessary he could always escape to fight another day. Slowly, he began to retract his hand, fear gripping tighter in his heart.

Then, seemingly by itself, his CD player skipped ahead a CD and began to play "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins, and in the three minutes of that song, the fear began to seep away. Our champion slowly started to reach for the handle, but surprisingly, he heard that familiar voice whisper one word.

WAIT

And so our champion waited. The CD player skipped again, and began to play "You Were There" by Avalon.

When that song was over, finally with a smile of peace on his face, the champion reached out and grasped the handle, turned it for the last time, and pushed the door open.

Standing outside the door was a monster. It was a great red Beast reaching nearly nine feet tall, with a giant muscular chest, streaks of black curving from one side, around his back, and onto the other side. Gargoyle style wings draped over his back, a mix of grey and red, with two tiny claws extending from the top ends and grasping each-other across his neck, turning the wings into a kind of cape.

The feet were sharp like razors. Each foot was a flat base, suspended by three long and sickly colored yellow talons, one pointing forwards, with the other two angling back. Its hands were shaped like a human's hands, except for three claws the same color as the talons on its feet, curving from the back of the hand, between the fingers, and coming to a point in the palm. Each of these claws were razor sharp and flexible, and were used like extra fingers.

The head was covered with bear-like red hair, and shaped like an upside-down triangle. Six black stripes ran down its face, like some three fingered creature had placed its hands against this monster's head and left black lines where the fingers touched. The eyes were yellow, but blazed with an inner red light. Where its ears would be, three yellow claws extended from behind the head and curved toward its face, the top two curving to the eyes, the middle two almost touching the nose, and the bottom two merged with the front of its jaw.

One man stood next to this monster, muscle bulging beneath his black uniform, six silver stripes on each shoulder showing him to be one of the most powerful men in the world. Two men in black jumpsuits with machine guns stood behind the monster, and two men with tazers stood behind them so that they formed a triangle. On each side of the door stood a man in the white special ops uniform, with hand sized laser generators aimed at our champion's head.

With an almost regal air, this monster spread its arms wide and said, "So here is the mighty Eagle, finally to be brought low." With a sneer spreading across its thin lips and a narrowing of its eyes, this monster added, "And don't think you can escape. I have finally grown stronger than you now, and none of your little machines can help you now. I doubt that there still remain enough active to grant you even a glide or to protect you from one small bullet. You are finally mine, Eagle."

Strangely, our champion smiled and said, "I am not to run from you Ichabod. You are to take me, and I am not to be here much longer. For you see, I am going Home."

Ignoring this last comment and sneering proudly, this monster said, "I am no longer Ichabod, Eagle. Although that name was gifted to me by my master and has been my name for centuries, I have proven myself by your capture, and have finally been given the title I have long used that is now my only name. I am Beast."

"John," pleaded the champion, sorrow filling his voice and face. "Do away with all this. We have both held many names over the centuries. I have been Ilom, Jeremiah, Vito, Deron, Illias, Zeshawn, among many other names. As you call me, I have taken on the title of Eagle, for the gift given me as I have waited upon the Lord, but you know my true name is Uriah Darien Genious. Call me such, as your name is John Verda.

"Do away with the masks, the hiding, all this deception. You can still listen to me, can still come and be a child of the True and Living God, not a slave of Satan! God is merciful, if you will only accept his great mercy. Please John, listen to…"

"Silence!" Roared Beast. "I will not listen to your empty speech! Men, take him!"

"Listen, please," began the champion, but he could not finish, as his head was struck from behind, and the blackness of unconsciousness covered him like a blanket.

The last thing he heard was Beast's mocking laugh as guttural words came spewing from his mouth like a deadly poison, but above all that was the memory of those few small words.

SOON YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE



Chapter 2:
Center Stage

A brilliant light forced Eagle out of blissful silence and peace. It had been nearly six days since this heavenly champion's capture, and each of those days had been filled with torturous pain and sleepless nights. Every morning he was taken to a laboratory, and samples of his flesh and bone were taken for the mechanisms that lay dormant there. Though Beast had rendered him unable to use his machines, they were still useful for study and attempts at replicating them for others to use were already under way

Under Beast's order, Eagle was not permitted any sedative or anesthetic during the long proceedings, and so he was filled with pain from his first waking moments. Immediately after the surgeons were done with him, Eagle was taken to an interrogation chamber where Beast would meet and "interrogate" him for nearly ten hours each day. After this, he would be brought to a second laboratory where his psychological makeup was tested for hours, with studies on his pain thresholds tested at the end, until he was forced into blessed unconsciousness until the process would start again. Only his heavenly gift of healing kept him alive through this torture, for as he slept his body would regenerate and be whole again when he awoke.

On this morning though, he woke not in his heavily guarded cell, but bound to a large granite chair in the middle of a blinding white spotlight that encompassed a slowly rotating pedestal close to the ground. Except for the bright circle he sat in, the room was filled with utter blackness, the walls and ceiling too far away to see.

As he shifted his feet on the concrete floor and looked around this empty room, he noticed that he was no longer in his prison clothes, but rather in a facsimile of his Eagle suit. A plastic mock-up and blue coloring on his face gave him the appearance of the hero that he was, but his bonds to the chair portrayed him a hero in utter humiliation. He knew not what to do, so he bowed his head and prayed. He prayed to the One who gave him all that he had, and who would someday take it away, only to replace it with a blessing so vast that it could not be comprehended.

Finally, an echoing voice boomed through the room. "This is the official testimony of Uriah Darien Genious, whose aliases include Eagle, Deron, Ilom, Zeshawn, and Adair, among others. The judgment has already been passed as guilty of subversion of the government and attempts to revive a dead cult. The penalty: Death. This testimony will be translated into every language and dialect, and it is the order of our Premier Monarch that every individual is required to watch these proceedings from now until the carrying out of the sentence."

Eagle smiled and remembered the prayer of his youth, "Do not forsake me O my Liege, until I have declared your might to my generation, your power to all who are to come."

"Well," he breathed, "it seems that you have answered my prayer." For this was a very rare form of trial, it had in fact only been used twice in the nearly eighty years since it was first instituted. For the most notorious criminals or the most disputed cases, the Premier Monarch could rule that the entire proceedings be watched by any form of visual media. The government then took command of every screen and speaker and piped a live feed of the trial to them. Any who were found to have not watched the entire trial were punished immediately.

The proceedings took an average of four to ten days, usually in two to five hour segments throughout the days, except for at the end, where those sentenced were able to give an unrestricted account of their actions for any amount of time, interrupted only for questions from the twelve judges positioned in a circle around the sentenced man.

Eagle had never fully understood why this law had been passed, but now he saw that his Liege must have influenced the lawmakers for this time, the time of his story, this testimony of his actions, this accounting of his life.

"The twelve Judges have been seated and are awaiting the sentenced," The voice boomed. "The sentenced has the right to forfeit his right to a testimony and to proceed directly to the execution. Do you wish to do so, Uriah Genious?"

With a voice nearing the silence of a whisper, Eagle answered, "I do not."

"Then may the records show that Uriah Darien Genious has not denied his rights, and will commence with his testimony. All preliminary actions have been taken, and we now await only the readiness of the sentenced."

Eagle raised his eyes into the thick darkness before him and said, "Then let the proceedings begin."

These Things Recounted

Chapter 1:
The Beginning

"Hey, Uriah, do you mind if I sit back there with you?"

"Huh, what?" A rather befuddled Uriah said, having been woken from a rather vivid daydream, and quite unable to remember where he was.

The second time he heard the question it was tinged with sarcasm, "I said, do you mind if I sit next to you Mr. Uriah Genious?"

Looking around, Uriah saw that he was on a van, but for a moment, he could not remember why he was there, or what he was doing. Quickly, he grasped for his knowledge of where he was and remembered. He was on a van with only five passengers left, being driven by his Youth Pastor on their way to Uriah's dropping-off point after Tuesday night Youth Service.

Still slightly confused, Uriah turned his attention towards the speaker and nearly gasped. A very familiar face stared at him from the seat in front of his on this van, but in his puzzlement, he could not grasp who it was, only that this face was so full of beauty, that it could put even an angel to shame.

Abruptly, the person and name resurfaced in his mind, and he made a small smile of reproach to himself for being enamored with a face, even one as beautiful as this.

Suddenly quite embarrassed, Uriah shook his head slightly and gesturing to the empty space next to him replied, "Take a seat Miss Brianna-Raisa."

Hastily chastising himself for his sudden embarrassment in Brianna's presence, Uriah began to realize some of the distracting elements of the gift he had been given during his prayers the night before.

It was in his night-time prayers, he had been praying about matters concerning his life, when he heard a certain quiet whisper that he was only beginning to comprehend, and in an abnormal clarity, he was told that he had been given divine permission to begin courting.

Until that night, this 15 year old Uriah had been told in his prayer time that he was not permitted to even date anyone until he received heavenly approval, and in that one moment, he was given that approval to begin courtship.

As soon as he had been convinced that this had truly been a voice from heaven, Uriah's first question was, "Who, me?" That answer was quite quick in it's return, However, that answer to who he could court was much less forthcoming. Yet suddenly, Uriah had an inkling of someone who he would enjoy sharing his courtship with.

Again jolted away from his thoughts, this time by Brianna's unceremonious climb over her seat and subsequent fall into the empty space next to him, Uriah quickly compensated for this momentary lapse, and began to make friendly conversation with Brianna.

/______***______\

Nearly fifteen minutes later, Pastor Nate turned off of the highway and pulled into a Shell Gas Station parking place, Uriah's drop off point. Still smiling from his conversation with Brianna, Uriah made his way to the van door and hopped out of the van.

Turning to grab his backpack, he glanced up at Pastor Nate, and asked, "Drama practice tomorrow, right?"

"You got it, Chief." Pastor Nate replied with a grin. "Pick you up at the usual time, right here?"

"Sounds good to me, Capt'n. See you then." Uriah replied. Turning to face the rest of the passengers, Uriah shouted, "See you guys in the 'morrow!"

Hefting his backpack onto his shoulders, Uriah slammed the van door closed and gave a half-salute, then waved as the van pulled away. After shaking his head at himself again for his initial uncharacteristic embarrassment with Brianna, Uriah walked under the overhand in front of the Gas Station to wait for his parents to arrive.

Still thinking of his conversation with Brianna, Uriah looked up at the stars as if seeking an answer to a question in the dark space above. He barely knew the question to ask, but he it was great vigor that he searched for the answer.

"Liege," Uriah prayed, using his favorite title for God, "if you wouldn't mind... And if it would not hurt B. in anyway... I would sure like to get to know her better... only as a friend, if nothing else."

Pausing slightly as he pondered the thought, Uriah glanced up again and added, "But first Liege, make me a man... such a man that a father would be honored to have a man like myself courting his daughter. Please Liege, make me that man."

Little did he know, but the answer to that prayer was already on its way.


Chapter 2:
Dimuchines

Hell on earth.

No other phrase could begin to describe the terror and pain this man was experiencing. He had never predicted the ending of his scientific career this way, nor had he ever expected that his life would be in any danger, but he realized with a sickening dread that his end was quickly arriving, and nothing he could do would stop it.

Horace Term's name had first entered the field of Robotics with his radical theory that machines could not only be controlled by a human, but that they could actually become literal extensions of one. When his paper was submitted for a doctorate in Robotics it had been largely ignored, until he submitted it for publication in a prestigious Scientific Periodical.

Within mere days, Horace was a highly desired speaker in forums and a respected name at many conventions. Within a year, his theory was a topic of common classroom discussion, but Horace had been slammed out of the spotlight as the various professors and professionals expanded on his theory, making his discoveries seem almost insignificant.

That all changed when Horace once again stunned both the scientific community and the world when he demonstrated a working model of machinery that was controlled by human brain-waves. He had only controlled a simple ignition switch, but that discovery had prompted literally thousands of requests 'en masse' for internships from the college community, and even more offers of partnership and copyright acquisitions.

After filtering through thousands of requests, he finally accepted a licensure with a large corporation which allowed him to keep any original technology he developed under his own copyright and secrecy, while demanding that any secondary improvements on that technology developed by him would be permanently licensed to the corporation with a generous disbursement to his account.

Realizing the need for assistance to further enhance his creations, he sorted through the internship applicants until he found Anthony, a 22 year old Micro-Engineering student from Oregon who proposed that Horace's creations would be enhanced if they could be miniaturized and Travis, a 24 year old Medical student from Louisiana who had suggested several unique uses for his technology in regenerative techniques.

Without bothering to do more than cursory overviews of their pasts Horace took them in for internships, not knowing that they had both worked together before, nor that they had run a small company that specialized in providing stolen technology to the highest bidder.

At least, until now.

Within three years, both Travis and Anthony had proven brilliant and devoted enough to be hired as Horace's full-time assistants, and within nine years after their initial meeting, their team had developed a prototype machine, the size of which was on the sub atomic level. It was a small robotic entity controlled by the human mind but had enough inherent Artificial Intelligence to slowly regenerate itself and replicate more machines from any raw materials it was in contact with. This self-propelled machine had proved rather bulky in the original stages, but when they had been sufficiently miniaturized, the scales in application were shown to be quite appropriate.

While individually insignificant, once enough of these machines were combined, they could form themselves into any object the controller wished. Since each of the components would be self-propelled the final product would have a "hover" or "flight" like attribute. Within six months, enough machines had been replicated to show an amazing amount of differing practical applications, and Horace had been ready to release information regarding the machines to the scientific community so that others could expand on his research with their own, but his partners convinced him that to do so would be unwise.

Instead, Anthony tried to convince Horace to sell this technology to the Military, since the technology could be used in many different field operations, and each individual Dimuchine was small enough to theoretically be able to pass through solid matter. Horace refused to sell it for military usage, for he correctly supposed that the army that had this technology would be unbeatable.

Completely trusting that his partners had the world's best interests at heart, and believing that Anthony's suggestion of military usage was simple naivete, Horace continued to improve on the design of the machines, and with Travis' help, he was able to develop an alloy designated Daniel Iago terM alLoy, or simply DIM-Loy. This alloy was able to be created with nearly any sub-atomic particle, since it was not composed of protons, neutrons, or electrons, as the previous prototypes had been, but was rather composed of quarks, the units that make electrons, protons, and neutrons, and as such, was nearly indestructible.

Heat only bonded these particles further together, while impacts to materials made from this alloy caused the materials to transfer the kinetic energy back into the object of impact, either destroying it or causing it to rebound toward the sender. Acidic compounds proved useless in attempts to destroy this alloy, and the sharpest blade was unable to even scratch the surface.

Only two weaknesses were found during the exhaustive tests. If an impact between two objects constructed by this DIM-Loy occurred, both could be damaged. It was such an improbable occurrence that substantial damage was taken by either object that it was considered insignificant, since the machines were able to provide self-regeneration.

After nearly three months of programming and testing, they successfully set the newly christened Dimuchines to begin forming his alloy, and creating more Dimuchines out of that alloy.

The second problem was that the mental controls were so intuitive that once the Dimuchines grew accustomed to the controller's brain waves, they could occasionally interpret thoughts not directed at them as commands, and attempt to carry the thought out. Only great training could overcome this drawback, and so an intense training program was created for Horace to obtain sufficient mental control.

One uniqueness, however, found during the extensive testing of the DIM-Loy was that when in sufficient quantities to be visible, the Dim-Loy mainly appeared in differing shades of blue. While small amounts turned yellow, white, or red, the majority proved to be of blue tints. After more testing, it was proven that such discolorations were caused by quarks from highly radioactive materials being used in the creation of the DIM-Loy.

While initially dismissed, after using the different color variations in the DIM-Loy to create Dimuchines, it was found that each of the different colors evidenced slightly differencing traits with the machines composed of them. The white DIM-Loy, by far the most common variation, provided an even harder surface than normal DIM-Loy, the yellow variants retained energy at a vastly superior rate than the others, while the extremely rare red DIM-Loy Dimuchines seemed able to both override commands given to other Dimuchines and burrow between other Dimuchines to force them apart.

After several more months of designing and training, the team felt comfortable enough with the Dimuchines to begin application and control testing. The next several weeks were filled with great and wonderful discoveries, even as the team seemed to drift apart. Travis and Anthony both became more and more secluded, while Horace assumed that the stress of the research was finally beginning to wear on them.

However, the greatest discovery was something that none of Horace's team had even theorized possible. They had created the machines to have a both rudimentary visual and audio input devices, but their size had made it impossible for any of the team to discern images originally greater than one point five square micrometers from the output.

Anthony theorized that if enough machines were sending visual information to a screen, that the image might be pieced together, and after sending thousands in a formation of approximately 10 Dimuchines per cube micrometer, his theory was proved valid.
After sending the formation through the lab, Horace sent them through the wall of the laboratory and into an adjoining hallway. Suddenly, the computer processing the information sent seemed to overload, and Horace jerked the brain Input/Output device from his head with a strange expression on his face.

Horace insisted that the controls be intensely examined, but they only discovered that they were still in perfect order, so Horace reluctantly replaced the I/O device on his temple until he had given the Dimuchines an order to return to their storage containment fields, at which point he removed the headpiece again.

After heavy questioning, he revealed that something completely unprecedented had occurred. When the Dimuchines passed into the hallway there had been a visitor leaning against the wall the Dimuchines had passed through. When they accidentally passed through the visitor's head, they had intercepted the electrical signals sent by the brain, and sent a transmission to Horace of the visitor's thoughts.

What Horace kept secret though, was the nature of the thoughts. For the visitor had been contemplating the price Anthony had quoted to him for the Dimuchines.

Chapter 3:
When Death Comes Calling

As Horace sat at his computer, working feverishly, he could not help but feel a fool for not noticing this deception before; the deception that had been revealed only five short hours before. The question of what he could do still raced through his mind, not yet returning with an answer.

Desperate, he silently cried out, "God, if you truly exist, just give me a way to keep this power from evil men's hands!"

Suddenly, he had an epiphany. Quickly finding his personal notes on his research, he found the file he was seeking.

LAB NOTES : JUNE 12

UNIQUE DIFFERENCES IN THE BEHAVIOR OF DIMUCHINES REQUIRED MY PERSONAL ATTENTION. IT SEEMS THAT LONG-TERM ACCLIMATION TO MY BRAIN-WAVE PATTERNS HAD RENDERED DIMUCHINES SUSCEPTIBLE TO VARIATIONS IN MY OWN THOUGHTS.

VARIATION-R (EASILY DISTINGUISED BY ITS RED COLORATION) HAS PROVEN EXCEPTIONALLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO SUCH STIMULI, IN MOMENTS OF EXTREME STRESS, SEVERAL SAMPLES OF VARIATION-R HAVE BECOME UNCONTROLLABLE, THE HAVOC WRECKED BY THEM ONLY RESTRAINED BY THEIR SIZE.

FORTUNATELY, IS SEEMS THAT ONCE CONNECTED TO A BRAIN-WAVE PATTERN FOR ANY LENGTHY PERIOD OF TIME, THE DIMUCHINES BECOME DEPENDANT ON IT TO REMAIN FUNCTIONAL. AFTER BEING REMOVED FROM MY CONTROL FOR LESS THAN AN HOUR, EACH DIMUCHINE DESTROYED ITSELF EXPLOSIVELY, WITH SUCH FORCE THAT THE EXPLOSIONS WERE CLEARLY VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE.

I SHUDDER TO CONSIDER THE REACTIONS OF SOMETHING THAT SIMULTANEOUSLY REMOVED ALL DIMUCHINES FROM MY CONTROL. I MUST MAKE PREPARATIONS FOR SUCH AN EVENTUALITY BEFORE SUCH A POSSIBILITY BECOMES A REALITY, EX. THE EVENT OF MY DEATH

- HORACE TERM

Grimacing at the macabre humor concluding his note, Horace noted the irony was that his death might be the only way to keep the technology from his associates.

Quickly, he moved to the various containment fields erected for the Dimuchines, and disabling each one, he mentally called the Dimuchines to himself. Thinking quickly, he interfaced the Dimuchines with the research database, and downloaded all the research into the memory cores of the Dimuchines, in the eventuality that he could escape with all the Dimuchines, and then used to Dimuchines to destroy the original database.

Remembering that, against his protests, no backups had been made of his research, Horace was grateful that the inadequate record system was still in place, then frowned at the remembrance that security had been enhanced at his request. Now, the doors had been laced with DIM-Loy and the sensors and cameras outfitted to detect and contain the Dimuchines, if necessary.

Frustrated, Horace stared at the nearby wall and thought. Nearly a minute later, his reasoning fruitless, he again prayed, "You don't owe me anything, God, but I could sure use some help about now."

Turning to sit and think in his usual chair, Horace accidentally placed his hand on one of the blades used to test the Dimuchines and nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise and pain. For the Dimuchines in his control, there was no "almost."

Reacting to his spontaneous jump, they coalesced above his head, and continued the upward motion, clear through the lab roof.

In surprise Horace looked up, and out of habit, regained control of the Dimuchines and dispersed them. Unfortunately, all the rubble that had been on the Dimuchine structure began to fall, with no support underneath.

Instinctively, Horace closed his eyes while covering his head and ducking, knowing that he would be crushed anyway, but instead, he heard the crash of rubble just above him, and opening his eyes was greeted with pitch black. Removing his arms from above his head, he blinked as a half-sphere shield of Dimuchines dispersed from above and around him, rubble apparent on all sides.

Slowly realizing the true power of these machines, the color drained from Horace's face as he stared at the sky through the gaping hole in the roof. Glancing around, a sad smile crept on his face as he realized the means of his escape.

Slowly raising his arms, Horace found the Dimuchines forming a carpet under his feet, silently lifting him inches off the ground. Slowly, the machines wrapped around his body, encasing him in a blue bodysuit, and dipping slightly, shot through the nighttime sky.

/______***______\

"Amazing, my friend, I can't believe that you did that!"

Speaking to an old friend on his small black cellular, Uriah sat inside the Shell Convenience station, waiting for his parents to arrive.

"Carl, I can't say how proud I am that you have matured in your Faith so much. Less than two years ago, and I couldn't get you to pray in public, and now, you're off witnessing to a stranger, and bringing him to church tomorrow! I wish I was on that side of the country to see you now."

"Who knows dude, maybe I'll swing by and find you sometime!" Carl, the paragon of the "Surfer-Dude" stereotype, everything except the parties and the surfboard.

"Sure, if you can find me in this metropolis of a city; two-thousand people, two-thousand and one with the newest addition to the community!" Sighing with nostalgia, Uriah reminisced, "Have things changed much over there in good ol' Tacoma, Washington? Things still hectic as ever?"

"Hectic? Dude are you joshing me? Oh man, it's always hectic, just like the U-Dude always likes it!" Laughing, Carl added, "I don't see how you made the transition, so quickly to your new place, what's the nearest big city? Bristol? Kingsport? Either way, not much going on!"

"Well, I wouldn't say that... The "U-Dude" might like it with contained chaos around him, but... Well... It's peaceful here, and I there is something that makes this place quite welcoming."

"C'mon Dude, what is it that could steal the U-Man from the city to the mountains of Virginia?"

"Well..." Uriah began, "Not as much a something, as a someone..."

"Dude..." A pause, Carl barely believing what he heard. "I got the right Uriah on the line, right? Mr., 'I Don't Date' and 'Yes My Last Name's Spelled Right Wrong' Genious?"

"First off, Carl... You got it! But there is a difference in what I am considering and 'dating.' Last night I was praying, and I am almost sure that the Lord said that I could 'court,' a big difference from dating, you can trust me on that!"

"Oh Dude, how so? And before you ask, yes, I'm serious."

"Well, Carl, when courting, there is an immense respect for each other. The guidelines set are rather strict regarding the relationship, and there is a third party who is privy to everything, as opposed to dating, when there is a great deal of 'alone time.' Even when alone, the courting couple keep themselves accountable to the other person, without exception. Other than that, if either person's parents or the third person feels that they have even come close to crossing any line, they agree to abide by certain pre-created restrictions."

"I guess," Uriah continued. "You could say that courting has a gigantic responsibility requirement, most couples who court even take the wisdom to not go so far as kissing until either engagement or the wedding."

"U-Dude, I don't think I could do that. I mean, that's part of it!"

"Aha, part of dating, my friend, not courting. Think of it like this, would you want the woman you marry kissing another guy?"

"Dude! No way man!"

"Exactly! I try to remember this, the courting period might not be as 'fun' as dating, but when marriage finally comes my way, I share it for the first time, in everything."

"Wow Dude... That's deep. Something I need to think about.

"Yeah, C-Man, tell me what you figure out, you never know, this might work for both of us!"

"You got it U-Dude! Oh, wait a sec."

Smiling, Uriah looked out the window to the street, thinking about what he just said, praying a prayer of thanks for wisdom in his words as he waited for the muffled conversation to finish of Carl's side.

"Dude, you there?"

"Am here, Carl."

"Dude, I'm sorry, I forgot to keep my eye on the time, I've got an essay due tomorrow, and I have to finish it Man, my teacher's going on vacation and wants them to grade by then."

"No Problem, man, I'll try to call you next week, alright?"

"Sounds good on this end, Dude, I want to finish this one, okay?

"Works by me Carl, talk to you soon."

With the precision of two who spoke on the phone regularly, in perfect unison, they said, "Stay Strong Man, Bye."

Hanging up, Uriah decided to wait outside, near the gas pumps. Waving to the cashier, who was busy helping a tourist with directions, Uriah pushed the door open, and walked into his future.

/______***______\

"I did it! I, the so-called weakling scientist did it! I saved the day!" Now several miles away from the lab, Horace was feeling more secure, until the Dimuchines encasing him began vibrating rapidly.

Horace barely had time to utter a confused, "What?" before a gigantic impact painfully jolted him, and tossed him miles across the sky.

Righting himself, Horace glanced down at his Dimuchine suit, and saw a gaping hole over his chest, right above the growing red stain covering his heart.




Chapter 4:
Transfusion

Terror gripped Horace as he felt the Dimuchines falling away from him, inactive and already beginning to degrade.

Peering at the gaping hole in the Dimuchine armor, Horace accessed the microscopic video feed coming from the machines, and gasped in surprise at what he saw.

His own blue Dimuchines were locked in combat with a small group of red Dimuchines. Though the Artificially intelligent entities were fighting bravely, the red Dimuchines were rendering Horace's inactive with simple contact.

Peering across the sky, Horace saw a small jet-like aircraft racing across the sky toward him, in the act of firing a red missile from a tube under the wing. In horror, he realized that the missile was no normal weapon of war, but a compilation of red Dimuchines, on an intercept course with him.

Trying to dodge them, Horace broke to the right, but the missile simply changed course and hit its target.

Fortunately, Horace had the state of mind to turn around, and have the Dimuchines hit his back and not the growing hole over his chest. Unfortunately, he realized that he was not going to escape this night after all.

He would be caught; the Dimuchines extracted from him, and without a doubt, the next war would be his own fault, the victor forever grateful for the invention of Dimuchines.

Even as Horace began flying away at the highest speed he could manage, he realized that the only way to win this night...

Was to die.

/______***______\

"He's outpacing us, Anthony!" shouted Travis, with extreme frustration mounting in his voice.

"Calm down Trav," Anthony began, his calmness a sharp contrast to Anthony's excitement. "His Dimuchines are being slowly destroyed by our own; he will slow down soon enough."

"I would still feel better if we were catching up with him, or even if you could interface with the machines the way he does, instead of using that laptop of yours!" Travis spat.

A calm chuckle, followed by, "As would I, Travis. However, we could never interface like he did, and we don't have the time now to find a way. Soon though, soon we will have all the time in the world!"

/______***______\

Horace knew what he had to do.

If the Dimuchines removed from his brain waves, they would all self destruct, but the only way to do that in a timely manner was for him to die. He knew he was running out of time anyway, the red Dimuchines were destroying his at an alarming rate, but then he remembered something.

The database back at his lab was still intact, and although only three people had a chance of decoding the information, one was himself, and he had deduced that the other two were currently chasing him.

Quickly, Horace formulated a plan, one that he was certain would work, but he knew he needed a contingency. If his plan failed, he wanted Anthony and Travis to have as little to work with as possible, so somehow, he would need to get rid of most of the working Dimuchines around him.

If he simply sent them away and his plan failed, his pursuers would pick up on them immediately, or barring that, would find them later with their own sensors.

Frustrated, Horace continued on his path flying over the country toward the Atlantic Ocean, and dropped his head in irritation, noticing a Shell Convenience station directly below him.

/______***______\

Sill in the jet and staring at Anthony's tracking data on Horace, Travis exclaimed, "What, why is he stopping? Is he giving up?"

"Not likely, Compadre, although he knows he can't do anything against us." Anthony replied, "I don't like the look of it though."

/______***______\

Thousands of calculations flew through Horace's mind in a moment. "Distance and its effect on the Dimuchines and their communication... No, Dimuchines far away will still destruct if I die, though in a much less volatile fashion." His memory that Organic material sometimes interfered with scans for the Dimuchines factored in and... "Yes," he decided. "The plan would still work." And then, closing his eyes, "At the cost of one more life."

Swooping down, Horace saw a young man standing right outside the station, and he reached out his hand.

/______***______\

Stretching, Uriah was about to reach in his pocket for his cell phone to see where his parents were, when he heard two words, "Forgive me," and felt a gentle touch on his shoulder.

Quickly turning, Uriah saw no one around him, so he simply shrugged and assumed it was his overactive imagination. Feeling a slight burning sensation in his shoulder, he shrugged once again, and reached for his cell.

/______***______\

"He's on his way again, Travis. Maybe something happened to his Dimuchines and they stopped responding for a moment."

"Anthony..." Travis started, "I don't like this one bit. Something seems wrong here."

"What can go wrong Travis?" Anthony smiled in response, "We've already won! What can he do now?"

/______***______\

Rising from the Shell Station, Horace felt a sick feeling in his stomach.

He knew that by commanding most of his Dimuchines into the body of the young man, he had just sentenced the boy to death, but he didn't know what else he could do. Then he remembered that two impossible things had happened earlier that day, and they were both preceded by something.

Horace continued to fly, albeit at a slower speed, toward the ocean, and as he flew, he whispered; "God, please, spare that life. I may have just done something completely wrong, but please turn any evil around me tonight into good."

/______***______\

A smile creeping on his face, Anthony turned to Travis and announced, "I think we have him."

"Is he captured yet?" Travis retorted.

Sighing, Anthony returned, "Not yet, but look out the front window, that speck fight in front of us is him! He has slowed to a stand-still, and he is nearly half-a-mile above the ocean. What choice does he have? He can't fight us without Dimuchines, and he can't run any farther! What can he do?"

"I don't know, Anthony, but..." Travis paused, "Oh no."

"What is it?"

"What is the Dimuchine ratio, compared to his body?"

"Seven point two percent, Travis. Why?"

"How many of those are ours?"

"What?"

"How many of the Dimuchines are ours, Anthony?!"

"Almost..." Dread covered Anthony's face. "Nearly half of them."

Quietly, Travis said, "That's not enough for him to fly here, in fact, it's barely enough to hold him up."

"What do you think happened to them, Travis?"

"Isn't it obvious, Anthony? We can't catch him before our own Dimuchines destroy his, and there are not enough of ours to carry him if necessary. We never expected this to happen. We carefully calculated exactly how many of his Dimuchines would be destroyed, and that number has been exceeded eight-hundred fold."

"So what? He dies, and we just have to re-interpret some of his work, this is definitely not the worst thing that could happen!"

Uncharacteristically softly, Travis asked, "What happens to his Dimuchines when Uriah falls to his death, Anthony, and they lose connection to his brain waves?"

"Lots of little explosions where he left them, I would think."

"No, Anthony," Travis said as he watched Horace begin to fall. Sighing, he pointed to the dashboard that was beginning to turn blue. "He didn't leave them everywhere. He sent them here.

Looking at Anthony's horror filled eyes, he continued, "Not lots of little explosions."

"Just one big one."

/______***______\

Hanging up his cell phone, Uriah sat on the curb after finding that his parents would arrive in around five minutes, and debated sending a text message to an old friend to pass the time.

Stretching, he noticed a slight pressure starting in his shoulder, and then running into his chest and head, quickly increasing and becoming a fiery rage.

Confused, he barely had time to utter, "What's going..." before his conscious erupted into a flood of pain, as his shoulder, chest, and forehead bulged and exploded.

/______***______\

""


Chapter 5:
Old Death

As the ambulance sped through the short distance to the local hospital, Uriah's screams pierced the night sky. Bordering on deliria, Uriah was only dimly aware of the frantic EMTs working around him, only partially realizing the gravity of his situation, but he did know one thing, if nothing else was clear. He must pray, for death was within his sight.

He knew nothing, but he could still feel, though only one thing he felt.

Pain.

He could feel his blood moving, red and white hot fire, burning through his veins. He could feel his breaths, sandstorms of grinding agony through his chest and lungs. He felt light, flashes of suffering burning his eyes, and he could not even trust his eyes, for strange shapes and images began to appear in distorted terror. He could even feel his own thoughts, orange bursts of shrieks, torrenting through his head.

He could barely remember it, an explosion that he only seemed to hear, followed by what felt like an explosion inside him, then falling over with pain as his skin began to boil a shade of blue.

Then someone must have called the hospital because there was the ambulance and...

He knew he must pray, for if he did not die, he did not know what he could do.

/______***______\

Not too far away, a man could be seen sitting on a rooftop, breathing in the night air. He looked out across the town, his eyes catching an ambulance speeding toward the hospital. Not knowing why, his mind was drawn to it, as if something earth shattering depended on that vehicle's success.

Suddenly, a second being shimmered into existence beside him, sitting to his right, a calm peace on his face.

Softly, the newcomer said, "Scriptos, my friend, witness the birth of a miracle."

Scriptos turned toward the newcomer, long flowing hair nearly blending in the moonlight with his darkly tanned skin, streaming along his back. His eyes, black as the night, stared at him, piercing and questioning at once."

"Oh? Is this to be a second Bethany, with Lazarus to rise from the grave, for I feel naught but death here, old friend Michael?"

A soft and solemn laugh twinkling in dark blue eyes which were peering out from his cropped blond hair, Michael gestured toward the speeding ambulance and replied, "Maybe a Lazarus in flesh, or possibly not; but truly one in spirit and soul.

"His name is Uriah, and he is why you have been called here. Come Scriptos, follow me and see this new thing that our Master has called to His service."

The two men stood, and for a moment, they appeared as they truly were. Great giants, bare chested, strong and glowing with an inner light, enormous wings appearing and unfurling in a strange motion from behind them, snapping in the wind as they leaped from the roof...

And there was nothing.

/______***______\

Finally, the ambulance screeched to a halt outside the Emergency Room. Uriah, now soaked in sweat and blood pouring from his injuries and pores, was quickly wheeled into the doors as a team of nurses attempted to stabilize his condition.

Going through his pockets, a nurse found his Cell Phone and scrolling through the list of contacts, found his parent's cell number, and dialed it to notify his relatives of what had occurred.

Within moments, calls were being made to people throughout the country, starting a chain of prayer that would continue, for some, the rest of their lives.

/______***______\

"I'm telling you, no one likes me enough to do that!" insisted Brianna as Pastor Nate continued to drive the church van.

Having dropped of the rest of the students, only himself, Brianna, and his own twelve year old son, Jared, remained in the van.

Heaving an overdramatic sigh, Pastor Nate replied, "It doesn't matter what you believe, or how strongly you believe it, someone has specifically requested that I place this forty dollars in your Spring Conference account. Now I just need to know, are you going?"

"I just can't believe that someone would do that for me! Are you sure that it was this Brianna that this money is for?"

Seeing his Dad give yet another exasperated sigh, Jared leaned forward and said, "Bri, just accept this gift or don't! I know that you'd love going, and the hotel that the youth will be staying at is one of the best..."

"You know guys, I really and truly want to go, it's just... It's just that I promised my boyfriend that I would not go on any more trips without him, we missed each other so much last time I did, and now he's both keeping me to my word, and not willing to go!"

Pastor Nate threw one hand off the wheel and said, "Just another example of why I don't approve of teenage dating!"

"That's exactly right Dad," responded Jared, "but you know... I think I could see Bri and Uriah some time... Couldn't you?"

Taking a breath to answer, Pastor Nate found himself grateful for once, that his cell phone rang. Excusing himself from the conversation, he did not miss the furtive glare shot at Jared from Brianna."

Several moments and one sentence later, he was all business as he closed his Cell Phone. "Alright Brianna, I'm gonna need to see if I can get your parents to meet us at your exit and get you the rest of the way home."

"What's up Dad?" inquired Jared.

"Uriah's at the hospital, the ER, and I need to get down there and see him."

"Whoa whoa, Pastor Nate," said Brianna, "he might not be my boyfriend, Jared, but he is one of my best friends, and I'd like to go with you guys if you're going to see him."

A moment's hesitating, and Pastor Nate turned the van off onto the shoulder. "Call your parents and see what they say."

/______***______\

Across the country, another older teenager sat in his driveway, staring at his new car, and contemplating how amazing it was to simply sit and see this new thing. Gently holding the keys, he stood to unlock it, but suddenly stopped. A look of terror quickly flashed across his face, but was quickly replaced by one of both peace and determination.

He quickly spun on his heel and raced in his house. Grabbing the phone and hastily dialing a long memorized number, he closed his eyes and rubbed his unkempt beard while waiting for the answer.

"Hey Novi, this is Matthias. I know that we were going to go out tonight, but something has come up. I need you to come here quickly. It's time to pray."

/______***______\

And not so far from this man of faith was another, just getting off the phone with Uriah's parents, who was calling this family to prayer. And another, reading an e-mail, and many other like Matthias, one by one seemingly spontaneously dropping into prayer, few, if any, realizing the gravity and effects of their prayers that night.

Chapter 6:
New Life

Breathing heavily from his rapid passages across the earth and back, Sageiro barely had the energy to extend his wings for the quick transit back to the hospital. After only moments of swirling blackness, he appeared with a barely audible rumble in a sterile and empty hospital room, Number 714 he quickly noticed.

Leaning forward he barely had time to catch his breath, when a commotion at the door caused him to raise his head. Too exhausted to do anything, he felt, rather than saw the hand reach over to grasp his shoulder, and he shimmered out of sight.

/______***______\

"Get him in here Nurse, Now!" a doctor shouted over rising clamor.

"He's abscessing badly; his body seems to be attempting some form of acclimation or rejection to... something." supplied another nurse.

"Just get him in here, room 714!" replied the Doctor. "Has he been identified and his family notified?"

"Yes, he's a 15 year old male, Uriah Genious, and his parents and younger sibling are on the way."

"Alright then, let's see if we can't give them more than a corpse to look at when they get here."

/______***______\

"Is he alright?"

"Yes Scriptos, he is fine, simply worn from his journey. He should come-to soon. See, he awakes even now."

Gasping, Sageiro shook his head and rose from the floor. "Michael," he slowly whispered, "The Faithful have been alerted... Prayer will rise high tonight..."

Leaning down to whisper, Michael said, "Well done Sageiro, now rest, Scriptos and I will watch over the called child tonight.

With unconsciousness already claiming him, Sageiro opened his eyes and whispered, "Is this finally him, is the Child we have long awaited?"

"You mean the Final Champion?" Michael replied, "None can know but God himself. Perhaps he is the warrior to usher in the final glorification of Almighty God... Or maybe he is the beginning of something else, new, great, and earth shattering."

"But rest now Sageiro, rest and pray that this may be the beginning... The beginning, of New Life."

/______***______\

"Are you sure you're gonna be alright Jared?"

"I told you Bri, Uriah is my friend, I don't care what he looks like, I want to see him! Would you do different?"

Acknowledging his reply with a nod, Brianna quickened her pace through the hospital. "C'mon Jared, we've got to catch up to your Dad, he's almost to Uriah's room."

Nearly sprinting to keep up with Brianna, Jared looked at her with a hesitant expression. "Brianna, I was not supposed to say this, but if Uriah dies, I know that I'll regret not telling you."

Turning quizzically, Brianna said, "What do you mean?"

"Uriah and I were talking before service today, and he told me something that happened when he was praying last night. He said he was praying about me, that I would become a "mighty warrior for God," and he heard a voice. He said that he was certain that it was God, and that He said that Uriah was allowed to court now."

"But Jared, Uriah doesn't even date!"

"He's been waiting Bri, waiting for permission from God, and now he has it. Anyway, when he said that, Jason and I were both there and Jason had to run out, but not before he jokingly told Uriah, 'You and Brianna should get married now!' And well... When Jason left, I told him that seriously, you two should get together."

Becoming slightly red, Brianna turned her head and replied, "Oh, and what did he say to that?"

"He said that was the prayer of his heart."

/______***______\

A deep, reverberating voice, "Awake, Human."

Uriah's eyes blinked open, as he regained consciousness, laying on his back on a cold marble floor. "I... I can't see."

"That, Human, is because of one simple fact."

A slight fear gripped Uriah as he asked, "And that would be..?"

"You are dead, Human. Dead, and waiting outside Heaven's Gates."

Confusion first, "I'm.... Dead?"

A pause...

Then raw, unrestrained, exhilaration. "I'm Dead!!!! I'm Home!!! I made it Home!!! When do I get to see..."

Another pause...

Then Uriah's shaking voice, "Why can't I see?"

"Because, Human, although you have died, your time is not yet over. Your worship has yet to begin on earth."

Uriah took a deep breath, gathering his courage, and spoke. "Explain, please."

"Your body has been filled with technological creatures that have ravaged you from the inside out. Your body has already begun the deterioration process, there is no way you can be returned by humans.

"However, The King has a purpose for you yet. He wants you to go back as His Herald."

"What!?" exclaimed Uriah. "You mean... God wants me tp go back? My Liege-Lord, Jesus? Why?"

A short but knowing chuckle, and in a softer tone, "Who can know His ways? I've served Him since my creation far before the earth was made, and still what I know is so small, concerning Him.

"He wants you to return, to be raised in Him, blessed with that which was to kill you, (how, I know not) and with His own gifts, to be revealed in you as you learn to Live in Him.

"And yet, He has instructed me here, for this; God Almighty requests this of you, it is not a demand. What say you, Human?"

Uriah chuckled and sighed, "What do you think? God Himself asks something of a Nobody, what answer can there be but 'Yes?'"

"Then here is your first lesson, Human. It is a question, for you to learn; How do you Live in Faith? How do you Love, in your Christ?"

"This will take a while, won't it?" Uriah asked.

"You will know the answer soon enough, but it will take all your existence, to know the answer well.

"Now go Human, your time has come to return to you life on Earth."

"One last thing... Who are you?"

"I am a Messenger of Covenanted Protection, Aminar, the Friend of the Champions."

/______***______\


As Brianna and Jared neared Uriah's room, they heard the heart-wrenching cries of his Mother. Although Brianna had only met her briefly, even the sound of her wailing brought tears to her eyes.

She thought about bringing Jared back to a waiting lounge, but before she could act, he burst forward to see his Friend, Uriah.

Following quickly, she stopped cold when she saw the paramedics raising the blanket to cover Uriah's dead, pale white face.

In shock, she slowly walked forward, placing her arm around the shoulders of the weeping Mother, looking over at Uriah's Dad, head in his hand, shaking, racked with sobs, silently screaming his agony. [ AUTHOR'S NOTE: I really need to figure out Bri's reaction.]

Gathering her courage, Brianna looked up at the dead body of Uriah, and let out a shriek, bringing the nurses scrambling back.

She had seen his chest rise.



Chapter 7:
Clouded Visions

Sitting across from each other on Matthias' front lawn, he and Novi bowed their heads in prayer for Matthias' friend, Uriah.

Although they had been praying for well over an hour, neither Novi nor Matthias grew impatient with the other as they voiced their prayers. Even though Novi and Uriah had never met, she knew him through many conversations with Matthias, and she listened in agreement while he prayed; "I don't know what's left to pray, so I guess..."

He paused, tilting his head, as if listening to a silent voice.

"O Lord, open his eyes, that he might see... See what is Real."

Realizing that he was finished, Matthias stood and helped Novi to her feet.

"Matthias," Novi began; "What did you mean, when you prayed that he might see?"

Taking a deep breath Matthias turned and replied, "Honestly, I really don't know."

/______***______\

With Uriah's family, Pastor Nate, Jared, and Brianna peering through the door to Uriah's room, having been rushed out by several nurses as multiple doctors ran test after test on the rather uncomfortable Uriah.

Shaking his head, a doctor walked to the huddle outside Uriah's door, glancing up at the expectant face of Uriah's mother.

"I can't understand it, much less explain it." Began the doctor. "Fifteen minutes ago, that body had no life left in it. The forehead was split open, shards of the skull piercing his brain, his shoulder looked like an explosion had taken place in it, and his body was deteriorating so quickly I almost thought I was in some nightmare. Now... He is in perfect condition. He even has perfect vision, as opposed to his 40/80 as was reported."

In slight awe, the doctor concluded, "He was dead, now he's not. I don't know how, I don't know why... It's like nothing I've ever seen before!"

/______***______\

At any other time, Uriah would have been growing impatient with the growing stream of questions the various Doctors were peppering him with, not to mention the tests they continued to put him through.

Twenty-four hours ago, he would have sighed in irritation, and tried to make the best out of the situation, while still doing all he could to hurry the doctors along, but now none of that seemed important.

Instead, he was busy analyzing a strange buzzing in his head, that when he mentioned to one of the many physicians around him, was told jokingly told that it was probably a side effect of being dead!

In addition, Uriah constantly saw blurry and shifting shapes around the firm outlines of the doctors, and when he stated this, they became excited and began speaking over each other, deep in discussion about hallucinations and penduncular hallucinosis and other terms he had not understanding of.

When Uriah told them that he thought that when he concentrated on a part of his hand, a very small portion turned a shade of blue, it drove them to even more discussion and scribbling on note pads as Uriah sat there, quietly laughing as he finally captured the humor of the moment.

Feeling a tap on the side of his skull, Uriah turned and saw no one there, but then noticed his family, Pastor Nate, Brianna, and Jared on the other side of a sound proof window, all peering in at him.

Uriah gave them all a self-mocking grin with a small wave of his hand, attempting to convey that he was alright, and as all turned away bur Brianna, he gave her a slightly worried look, and glanced to the door leading outside, as if to say she should get some sleep.

/______***______\

Brianna smiled as she turned away from Uriah as she imagined that she could hear what he meant by that smile and look. She could almost hear his voice saying, "Hey, I'm alright now, but you need some sleep! I'll probably still be here tomorrow... Just take care of yourself too, ok?"

Shaking her head, she yawned and stretched, suddenly tired, just as Pastor Nate yawned himself and said, "Well, we should probably get you home Brianna, it is a school day tomorrow."

Looking over at Jared already curled up in a chair he smiled and added, "And if I don't get home soon, I'll miss sleep tonight... the third time out of the three days we've had so far this week."

Glancing up, Uriah's Mother looked at Pastor Nate and said, "Thank you for coming Nate, it meant a lot to us."

Turning her gaze to Brianna, she continued, "And Brianna, you don't know how much it must have meant to him to see you here."

Looking back through the glass into Uriah's brown eyes, Brianna replied slowly, "Probably not, Mrs. Genious, but I think I might be able to guess."

As they started to leave, Pastor Nate carrying his son out, Brianna thought she heard Uriah's voice whisper, "Good night Bri... Thank You for coming, my Friend."

Whipping around, Brianna looked at Uriah, still behind the soundproof glass barrier, smiling gently at her. Grinning, he lifted his hand in his signature half-salute, and she shyly waved good-bye.

As she and the two Seanans drove off, she couldn't stop thinking about Uriah, about hearing his voice, and wondering what might come next.

/______***______\

As the last nurse finally left, carrying a fist full of tubes red with Uriah's blood, Uriah lay flat, exhausted, and ready to finally sleep. Glancing around the room, he noticed that those strange, transparent, indistinct shapes were still scattered around the room.

Concentrating on one such shape to his right, Uriah stared at it, concentrating harder and harder, until he felt something abruptly click in his mind.

Suddenly, for the second time that night, the world changed around him. The walls and the bed he was on suddenly became wispy and unreal, as the cloudy shapes before him coalesced into solid beings, human shaped, and varying greatly in sizes.

This was finally too much for his mind, and as he gasped for breath, the figures faded again into obscurity, the rest of the world re-solidified, and he lapsed into unconsciousness.

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