AFTERSTORY 02 – PORTENTS OF NIGHTMARE
“Commence the unsealing of subject ‘BRIAN’. All staff, be on high alert.”
In the quarantine laboratory of a research center, a certain superpower was attempting to unseal a hibernation capsule that they had acquired in utmost secrecy from a country to the west.
The capsule had been excavated from the ruins of a military compound in the western country. There were suspicions that the compound had been the location for an experiment to connect to another world, and for testing the new weaponry system that made use of the unknown form of energy gathered from said world.
Yet the weapon testing had ended in the complete destruction of the military compound.
Just what had happened?
Details were unclear even now, but the current theory was that it was an accident, one that had happened when the weapon platform nicknamed ‘The Girl of White’, or ‘Whitehare’, had ran out of control. The vast area that the compound used to occupy was now an icy wasteland, the horrifically low temperature having destroyed everything inside it.
Afterward, the country’s army began to examine the area through long-range reconnaissance. They discovered the underground section of the base several months later, from which they excavated several objects of interest.
The building had collapsed. A part of the surface structure had fallen into the space that served as the foundation. Seemingly due to the ‘accident’, everything excavated were frozen, and they continued to be so even after they’d been sent to various laboratories for further examination.
Among the excavated objects, the capsule was the most intact. It was sent to a lab with a researcher that had been bought off by the superpower. The researcher then defected to the superpower country, bringing along the capsule.
The capsule was transported to a research center used for space development that was situated in the outskirts of a city. With the use of robotic arms and avatars, the unsealing of the capsule commenced in the quarantine lab.
When it was first found, all the machinery connected to the capsule had been pulverized. It was a miracle that the capsule itself still remained, even if half-crushed. The name plate was barely legible on the surface full of scratches and cracks, and the letters spelled out ‘BRIAN’.
“...surface temperature... minus 136.6 degrees Celsius. Scans show a very faint organic signature inside.”
“It doesn’t match anything on Earth, if the results are to be believed.”
“So extraterrestrial, then... or could it be extradimensional?”
“Even assuming that this is actually life, it’s not carbon-based like us... this is life as we’ve never seen before.”
High officers of the government and the space agency were watching from behind thick glass. The robotic arm carefully pried open the warped door of the capsule. With a pair of forceps, a remote-controlled avatar scraped off the strange frozen mold-like substance inside.
“Avatar Control Division, reporting in. The low temperature is causing a delay in the response time of the avatar, as well as some other minor glitches. The operator has requested a raise in room temperature.”
“Is it going to be a problem?”
“We are unsure. The quarantine lab used to report normal ambient temperature, but now the object has lowered it to minus 62.7 degrees Celsius. It should still be well within operating temperature of the avatar, however...”
While humans still hadn’t abandoned their dream of one day reaching the stars, the development of avatars meant that most space programs now used them for dangerous work outside of spaceships.
Was it truly just the temperature that had caused glitches in these space-rated avatars?
“No point in having the work be delayed, I supposed. I give permission to raise ambient temperature.”
With the permission of the president of the space agency and the high government official, the quarantine lab began to warm up. The remote-controlled avatars resumed their work.
They didn’t know that this cold was a curse by the Girl of White.
The heater was running, yet the immediate area around the object continued to retain its low temperature. One of the avatar operators turned impatient. As soon as permission was granted, they raised the temperature of the forceps themselves and made contact with the substance.
It was the beginning of disaster.
“Active life signs confirmed in the substance!”
“Following procedure, immediately force-disconnecting all avatars!”
“Avatar 03 isn’t responding to force disconnection!”
As the other avatars vanished, having been disconnected, only the avatar making contact with the substance still remained. Some grey-colored substance clung to their fingertips.
“W-What the hell’s this?! It’s moving! IT’S MOVING!”
“Calm down, 03. Damage to your avatar won’t hurt your real body!”
“I’m going to break your connection terminal! Brace for impact!”
“Hurry! It’s getting on my arm! My arm’s going grey... aaaaAAAAHH SAVE ME! OH GOD, SAVE ME!”
The grey consumed all of Avatar 03, and it disappeared. A moment later, so too did the strange substance vanish like dust.
Shocked silence descended on all those witnessed the scene. It was then broken with a scream from the Avatar Control room.
From the calming spiritual world of the World Tree where my family was, I returned. My two kins lying on my chest woke up as well. I gave them a pat with my finger.
“Good morning, Blobsy, Panda.”
They snuggled into my chest again. With the two in my arms, I stood from the World Tree’s roots, poking Palesnow in my subspace storage with a finger, and I looked up at the green canopy that covered the sky.
“Hey, World Tree. I’m going out for a bit.”
The World Tree’s branches shook, turning the sunlight that slipped between the leaves into a kaleidoscope.
I heard someone calling for me.
It was the voice of the elven boy that had given me my name.
We’d made a promise to meet again once, long ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a spirit of the land as he believed me to be, and I looked different now, too. There hadn’t been a chance for us to meet.
That aside... I’ve only just gone to sleep for a few years. Apparently that was enough for the idiots to start forgetting the pain.
I placed Blobsy and Panda back into my subspace inventory. After so long, I once again walked as a Goddess of this world.
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Joker]
・Dea Ex Machina. An artificial goddess born in cyberspace. Possesses the right hand of a Demon to destroy all, and the left hand of a Goddess to save all.
[Magic Points: 550,000/550,000] 50,000 ↑
[Total Combat Power: 605,000/605,000] 55,000 ↑
[Unique Skill: <Causality Alteration> <Dimensional Manipulation> <Consumption> <The Divine Language>]
[Racial Skill: <Fear> <Mist Form>]
[Superb Identification] [Deity Form (❤)] [Subspace Inventory]
[Overlord] [Goddess of Yggdrasia]
...I’m just imagining the changes. Yeah. Must be my imagination.
So anyway, since I was an artificial goddess, I wasn’t actually bound by the Naming, but that still didn’t change the fact that he’d done it. I probably had a link to him in some form.
It was why I knew where he was. I could see what was happening near him too.
Don’t worry... I hear you. I hear your voice.
Upon my activation of the skill to cross through space, the world itself, as though to celebrate my descent, dramatized my arrival with mist.
Really, the World Tree was so sweet on me.
Right, so... beastmen and... a fishman, I see. It wasn’t that the will of just humans alone were weak. It was all humanoids.
The beastmen had regretted their past. They’d fought for the sake of the world.
So I gave them mercy.
The mist that grew from my divine left hand burned all the beastmen, incinerating them until their souls were purified, which were then returned to the World Tree through the Sapling. One day, they would be reborn in this world.
“N-no, no no no, I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s them, it’s them!”
The final remaining fishman tripped over himself to run away, all the while passing the blame over to the beastmen.
I hadn’t seen any fishpeople in the fight before. They had ran away from both the humans and the war, it seemed. I didn’t blame them for it... but that didn’t mean they would be forgiven for inflicting the pain that the beastmen had once suffered.
I didn’t suffer fools lightly.
The blizzard from my demonic right hand froze the fishman whole while he was trying to run away, freezing him down to his soul. All of his existence disintegrated as specks of ice.
I heard the whisper of the elven boy. He was staring at me with his face bright-red, for some reason. I saw myself and my own faint smile reflected in his eyes. I’d changed so, so much from being the white cloud that he had once seen me as.
“It’s nice to see you again.”
I said my goodbye and gave him a pat on his cheeks, and I left.
I thought I heard him call my name then.
I flew far up into the clear blue sky. Beautiful nature, healed from its wounds, spread across my eyes.
But... I felt uneasy. I didn’t know why.
Maybe I should take a look at the mortal world, I thought. I headed for a human town.
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