S3E05: Tiamat Awakens
I paced the cold metal floors of the command center, fury burning through my veins like molten iron. It had been nearly forty sun cycles since we were forced to flee and abandon the Black Cube to whatever wretched force attacked us. Cycles on cycles wasted here in this remote hideout we now called Puma Punku, hidden away in the mountains while Enki rebuilt his precious civilization of fleas.
Aff… The anger consumes me when I recall our chaotic arrival on this isolated location. We had intended to quickly establish a new stronghold, but no sooner had we begun erecting our makeshift structures when that sinister force invaded our minds, bringing searing pain and inducing twisted compulsions and odd behaviors. It was as if some malevolent entity had reached into our very skulls in an attempt to possess us. Many of my finest warriors were incapacitated during those first harrowing phases, overcome by the influence of this alien presence.
It was only through extreme discipline and the hasty construction of SI-shielded chambers that we managed to regain control. Even now, we were forced to take precautions anytime we ventured outside the underground fortress that had become our haven. The nefarious force continued to probe our minds if we did not shield ourselves, threatening to once again disrupt all rational thought and action. It’s frustrating!
This was surely the same entity that had attacked us at the Black Cube, I’m sure of it!
The one Enki had recklessly awakened with his accursed actions… how he has managed to do it? It really goes beyond me… for now!
This… probing menace, seemed determined to undermine my actions and conquests…or perhaps it simply reveled in chaos and suffering. Either way, it is a threat that needs to be eliminated.
But how do you seek and destroy shadowy phantoms?
If only I could confront Enki and his wretched kin face-to-face, the threat would be quickly neutralized under the might of my fleets and warriors. But that smelly rat is hidden somewhere!
I keep getting reports of the progress Enki and his humans had made in rebuilding their civilizational pockets. It seemed that despite their brief lifespans, the humans bred and spread faster than the a great Plague. Everywhere my scout teams journeyed, they found evidence of thriving human settlements, with stone and mud structures sprouting up quicker than weeds after rain.
This only fuels my rage to even greater heights. How is it possible that barely a 25 cycles turn have passed, yet Enki’s slaves have already managed to infest the planet once more? They were like insects, these humans…vermin that multiplied and consumed without thought or restraint. Enki and his witch daughter were fools to champion them.
Oh, how I yearn to crush the fledgling human hives scattering across the globe.
My hands itch to clamp around Enki’s throat and squeeze the life from him for his repeated insults and defiance. But I know decisive action would only play further into my enemy’s hands…the puppet master behind this probing menace seems intent on goading me into reckless aggression.
No, I must keep my anger sheathed and stay vigilant for the right opportunity. When the time is ripe, I will unleash the full fury of Tiamat like meteors raining divine judgement upon the wicked. Enki’s world will burn…the humans will be culled or subdued… I just need time and patience.
Enlil: “What now?!”
Nergal: “My lord Enlil, our scouts have detected movement from Enki’s flagship halfway across the planet.”
“Soooo… Enki emerges from his hole at last? After all these cycles scurrying like a rat in the darkness?”
“Indeed. Long range scans indicate he is en route toward the human city of Babylon with a full retinue. It appears he intends to make his presence known.”
My hands clenched into fists, rage simmering in my gut.
“No doubt the coward believes himself safe now, with his human pets multiplying across the land like a plague.”
I rose from my throne and stalked toward the display of our world hovering above the central dais.
“But vermin can be exterminated. Their infestations cleansed from even the darkest corners.”
“Nergal. We go to the tech chamber… do not delay yourself! It is time I reestablished contact with our orbital sentry – the one asset Enki knows nothing about.”
A cold smile curled my lips.
“The one who shall be the blight upon his grand designs… we will re-enact the Black Knight!”
Upon reaching the tech chamber sealed behind shielded doors, I interfaced my neural implant with the central computer. Instantly, code streamed across my mind and I sifted through data and subroutines with practiced efficiency. Before long, the uplink with our orbiting Black Knight satellite blinked active once more.
Like an unseen eye in the heavens, the stealth satellite had lingered above this world, forgotten by all but me. And now it awakened to my command, ready to be the silent instrument of my will.
Through its powerful optics I gazed down upon the bloated human civilizations infesting the planet’s surface like mold upon a spoiled fruit. Soon they would wither and rot, once my plans came to fruition.
“The time has come for Tiamat to rise from its slumber, Nergal. We will strike at Enki and his pets from the shadows, eroding their will and seeding chaos through subterfuge. They shall suspect nothing as their world unravels around them. And when at last my storm hits, they will be swept away by MY fury!”
Nergal: “By your command, my lord. We are ready to…”
His words were suddenly drowned out by an urgent incoming signal. With annoyance, I silenced him with my hand and opened the channel.
Voice: “My lord Enlil! Something is happening outside…the probing menace that has long plagued our kind here…it seems to have simply vanished! Our warriors walk freely under the open sky with no ill effects!”
For a long moment, I stood stunned in silence. Could this be some ruse by Enki to put us off guard? But no, the shock and confusion in the sentry’s voice was real. Something fundamental had changed.
Signaling Nergal to join me, I swiftly made my way to the fortress entrance. As the massive psi-shielded doors rumbled open, pale sunlight streamed into the gloom. I stepped forth and gazed upward with wary eyes.
The unseen force that had hounded us here for so long… the sinister will that had sought to invade our minds and turn us against one another… its oppressive weight seemed to have lifted from this place. For the first time in countless cycles, my thoughts felt clear and focused beneath the open sky.
Nergal strode up beside me, his expression mirroring my own astonishment. Other warriors began to emerge from the depths, their faces alight with relief and jubilation.
But deep in my core, suspicion still stirred. What cosmic alignment or arcane workings could have brought about such a monumental shift? I reached out with my thoughts, probing at the space around us for any sign of deception.
Yet all I sensed was a profound absence where once lay a swirling chaos. Somehow, against all reason, the dark veil had lifted from this world.
For now, I knew we must seize this opportunity without hesitation. Tiamat’s destiny would have to wait. With the shadow force vanquished, the stage was set for more direct and decisive action.
“Rejoice, my warriors!” I cried out, raising a fist toward the cloudless azure sky. “Too long have we suffered in darkness – but a new day dawns at last! Now is the time to regain what is rightfully ours! Onward, to victory!”
A great roar went up from my assembled forces, their weapons glinting in the sunlight. Our long-awaited hour had come. The final reckoning between Enki and myself could no longer be postponed.
Soon, all the wrongs would be righted, all scores settled. My brother and his blighted horde would pay for their hubris.
This world and its inhabitants would kneel before me once more.