The fragment of residual intrusive energy that Al Rodnam, Mother Magdalena, and Amrita had all inadvertently brought to the Inner Earth Underworld when they originally entered it together from the portal at the Hollows Above had been perfusing through the Air there for the past several days now, ever-so-slowly making its way from where they had entered, to One of Twelve of the secret Stargate bunkers hidden in its dense, thriving jungles. It floated naturally into the One where Fletcher Munsin lay in a coma inside the strange metallic machine within.
Upon its entrance into the space inside, Fletcher Munsin received a slight, staticky jolt of mental arousal. And then a few more. His eyelids threw open.
* * *
That night, the only three entities alive atop Surface-Earth gathered around a fierce fire that Al Rodnam had been tending to since before dusk. The Moon was bone-white and full overhead now, no longer exuding the blood color that had stayed with it for so long. The mystic had summoned the other two earlier in the day, of which was again bright with Sunlight, and told them that he would reveal to them his plans for restarting humanity when they were to meet that evening at the council ring he had fashioned together in the center of the Hollow with charred logs that hadn’t yet disintegrated.
Lina and Rita had just pulled up to the location, had halted, and were now both staring wide-eyed at Al Rodnam, silently awaiting his Wyrds.
“I know what you wish to ask of me, Mother, and I can tell you: No. It was not I who had anything to do with the disappearance of your precious necklace. Although I may know about someone who did.”
Already Amrita was starting to subtley change colors as the mystic shot her a glance, her scales now ever-so-slowly becoming embossed with a glowing deep-red phosphorescence the likes of burning blood and amber. Lina pretended to be confused, her consciousness blocking out the quickening truth.
The old man looked up into Magdalena’s gaze. “But I suspect it ultimately absorbed off your neck itself into the ether, off to summon the Sun, that we were Once again ready for.”
Lina was flabbergasted. “I wasn’t necessarily ‘ready for the Sun,’ as you say. This is not my doing! I didn’t ask it to rise up at all!”
“Did you?” the old man asked quizzically, knocking his head to the side, his hand gesturing a studious stroke of his long, grey beard.
“I hate you!” The Mother was sincere.
“I know,” stated the old man simply with a steady, silent gaze into Magdalena. The Mother was not yet wise to the psychedelic color-changing of Snake-Rita.
“So tell me what the Hell we’re gonna do out here, old man!” Lina asked suddenly, impatience gripping her spine. Amrita remained silent, as she always did around Al Rodnam. As if she could make any noise anyhow.
The mystic paused momentarily before picking up a dirty stick of sorts that was on the ground nearby and started to scribble into the ashy dirt of the scorched Urth some drawing. As he sketched, he brought up the fact that Lina was now pregnant with a child fertilized by the sibylline Solaria Seed he had managed to procure and insert into her.
“Which I totally asked for, right?” stated Lina with coy sarcasm.
“You may not remember the orders given you by Solaria, Mother, but you were meant to begin physically procreating to the utmost in an attempt to rectify the new human condition! Besides, I know how wretched the idea of us having intercourse is to you.”
The snake cut in. “And how do you know about any divine orders given to Magdalena?” asked Amrita of the old man in an unencrypted telepathic thought projection.
The old man shot Rita a cold stare. “How do you?!” he asked aloud. The snake was still subtely changing into a deeper and deeper blood-red color. He again looked at the Mother. “Okay. Now, Lina,” he stated calmly, “I wish to know. What was it you said you first remembered some months ago after waking from that deep, dark sleep you said you couldn’t explain? Just before the perilous journey you and your friend here took to find me?” He went on etching into ash on the ground with his stick a drawing that Lina could not yet recognize.
“Well, I remember I was lucky for one, for still having Amrita with me. First thing I remember doing was finding her in my knapsack,” said Lina. “She was still a cat robot then.”
“Was it really luck though, Lina?” asked Al Rodnam.
The tall, dazzling Magdalena looked over at a silent Rita who lay still in mocked innocence. Lina started to notice the reddish hue Rita was now giving off. “Definitely,” she exclaimed, nodding her head at Al Rodnam. “But poor Rita here can’t remember anything before you turned her into a snake!” she uttered unnervingly with harsh resentment. She again turned to Rita and was about to say something, but Al Rodnam quickly interjected.
“That’s for the better,” stated the old man, before quickly adding “but you, you do remember, don’t you Lina, what happens next in your story?” He continued with his sketch in the ash.
“Rita found what I eventually recognized to be the Sceptre and Amulet of Solaria,” said the Mother, “whoever or whatever Solaria is. As well as this sanctified dress,” she said, inflecting her glowing golden garb that shimmered with High brilliance about her.
“Ahh, yes, that’s where you first found your beloved stone amulet, my dear, is that correct?” offered the mystic. He cocked his head to the side. “Do you remember what happened when you first put it around your neck?” he asked.
The Mother did. It had seemed to melt away in her hands as she bent to put it around her neck, and then as she touched her neck, she had realized in astonishment that she was somehow already wearing that same amulet. Did it appear suddenly? Had it been on all this time? She didn’t know. And then it hit her.
“Yes, I imagine my necklace just evaporated off my neck and allowed for the Sun to return somehow. But how did you know… Rita, you’re turning red!” exclaimed Lina in earnest. The snake inferred nothing. Lina turned to the mystic, confused.
“The return of the Sun has allowed for the Moon to be untethered to it, the Moon no longer enraptured in its sway. The Moon has lost its deep-red color, and is starting to wane and wax again on its own, the loss of the blood-red hue seeming to somehow be strangely compensated by the transformation of the color tone of your little scaly pet here,” said the old man, pointing at Amrita, who lay still.
Magdalena was able to put her fascination with Amrita’s color change on hold because she was very curious about what Al Rodnam was going to say about what the hell they were gonna do next. She shot him a menacing glance. “Now I wish to know what the hell you would have us do to jumpstart this new generation of cosmic people we’re set to bring forth on this fully Scorched Earth! Let’s here your plan, old man!”
“So be it,” he replied and came right out with it. “What needs to happen first, as distasteful as it may seem to you, is you must somehow eventually obtain a sizeable sample of your son’s semen, so that we can then ultimately place it in this,” he said, holding up a glittering Sirian Space Crystal that strobed out a sparkle so lucent the Mother thought she may succumb to seizure if she looked directly at it for too long.
“My son??” snapped the Mother in scorn.
“Yes, your son, once he is born” stated Al Rodnam, inferring his focus on Magdalena’s pregnant tummy. He slipped something from beneath his robes and handed it to Lina. It was a glass vial. “Take this,” he said, “and use it to collect your sample.”
Magdalena started to become seriously frightened of the near-future prospects the fates had in store for her and her company and remained still as she mulled it over. The picture Al Rodnam was sketching was getting elaborate.
The mystic let her think about it for a few minutes as he sketched, then went on. “Once we place the sample in the Space Crystal, we let it be for several months. Then we’ll insert the finished product into you again. And the process shall repeat. You will continue to give birth until other females you birth are old enough to reproduce with other males you birth. This type of gender-spawning, through the sacred crystal, will eventually produce us a genetically-enhanced, divinely inspired being of whom you will call a Hankerhawk. Spawn Twelve Hankerhawks and you will then know what you must do with them next to continue the cycle.” Lina stared on at Al Rodnam in a daze as he Spoke, mostly numb.
He went on. “Another being you will eventually birth will be the sanctified savior who will take you and your tribe to the next level, a higher place,” he stated, “and you will know it is him because he will look like this.” The old man was now finished with his drawing on the ground and pointed it out to Lina. It was a detailed sketch of a face, and when Al Rodnam pointed at it again, fairy dust fell from his fingers, bringing the face to life with incredible detail and color. Lina gasped.
She didn’t yet know it, but it was the face of Fletcher Munsin. -MIKE EYE