Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to another Story Time With Tim! If you’ve been following along, you know I am Timothy Scott Purvis and we are fast approaching the end of Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age! This is the next to last chapter of this fairly long novella! It’s true, the whole work runs around twenty eight thousand words. One of my longer works only recently surpassed by a novella I wrote in 2020 called The Day The Laser Died. I’m looking to see if I can get that one traditionally published. If not, it’ll likely be available by early next year on my personal author’s site.
We shall see.
Anyhow, thanks for stopping by to read some more of this work! I hope you enjoy the story! Have you not been following along? Is this your first time here on my page and reading this particular story? Well, why not hit these other links and get caught up on Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age!
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter One The Voice of God
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter Two Coalition of the Willing
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter Three Stronghold for the Damned
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter Four Ark of a New Covenant
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter Five Followers to the Way
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter Six Architecture of War
Holy Shards: The Thirteenth Age: Chapter Seven Before Dawn’s Eve
Alright, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get to the next part of the story! Thanks for reading and see you again next week!
DISCIPLES OF CHAOS
Artificial lightning pulsated in the atmosphere of the once shiny blue globe that was their world Earth. Political fallacies and over confident egos were now making her devoid of life. Well, perhaps the cockroaches would survive after all. At least, that’s one of the thoughts that spilled through Alexia’s conscious mind as she stared in horror at the viewscreen from where she sat in a chair on the bridge.
Pam and Robert sat beside her staring at a console and its numerous buttons and gadgets.
Alexia didn’t buy it, at first. She had run through the ship looking for a door that would open up to the outside world, proving once and for all that it was just a deranged dream invented by a psychotic lunatic. Uday had pursued her, desperately trying to prevent her from doing something completely stupid. Such as draining all the atmosphere from the one vessel containing the last remnants of a doomed civilization.
‘But, I… we’re the only ones at war!? Right!? Not the whole world!’ she had screamed at Uday. However, Alexander had some idea of what was going on. The very second nuclear warheads started launching at the United States, the government responded in kind. And then the other nuclear nations got in on the act, sacrificing humanity to a death pre-determined by a handful of people.
She still didn’t believe it, didn’t want to believe it. Until she stumbled across a window showing only the starry backdrop of space beyond. Then she had just passed out.
That had been several hours earlier. There was nothing left for her to do but stare out at the cold abyss watching everything she had ever loved disappear underneath a thermo-nuclear fireball. All those she had known and cared for were handed over to the shadowy fingers of oblivion.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Pam stated, interrupting Alexia’s thoughts.
She watched Pam staring at the viewscreen and wavering ever so slightly back and forth while Robert tried to steady her by wrapping his arm around her shoulders. The two braced their heads together and stared at the image silently. He wasn’t able to say anything. Nobody was. What was there to say?
A whiffing sound reverberated from behind them prompting Alexia to, happily, look towards the source. She saw Kylie leading two children onto the bridge. The one she concluded was the son of Jean Sommers. It struck her as odd, just then, that Kylie had been in a position to bring the children to the Ark, let alone to board the Ark. It was a quick thought that caused Alexia to wonder just how she had made it past security.
“Kylie,” she spoke to the woman as they all found seats at varying locations. “How is it you came to bring them here? Did you know this would happen?”
“…Perhaps it can be attributed to ‘woman’s intuition’?” she replied showing little emotion outside of mild curiosity to the question. “Besides, it would seem that God has guided us all to be here, in this ship.”
Alexia huffed and stared back at the screen. “I highly doubt that, Kylie.”
“You do not believe in God?” Kylie tilted her head slightly to her left, emulating any number of animals she had seen.
“How can you believe in an entity that would allow that to happen? Why bother with all the bibles and the sacred texts? Why allegedly send your son to die if all you’re going to do is destroy the planet anyway?” She let loose a slight sob as she replied, keeping her back to the woman. “I’m an atheist anyhow. This is just further proof that God doesn’t exist.”
Kylie stared at the woman vacantly as the two kids watched the scene unfolding between the two women. Quietly, they took each other’s hand and just looked to one another.
“I guess it’s a moot point to mention that kidnapping’s illegal,” Alexia turned a teary face gaze towards Kylie and forced a smile.
“To kidnap, one must first force their will upon another. Jason and Elisa chose this path.” Kylie responded with an even tone.
“Doesn’t matter. You’re the adult and you brought them to the Ark without their parent’s expressed consent…”
“I can’t believe you’re getting into this now!?” Robert glared at the two as Pam chewed on her thumbnail.
He looked from one woman to the other in complete disbelief.
“You’re right…” Kylie began, sensing his disapproval of their argument. “It is a moot point.”
Goddamnit! Joseph’s face tightened in fury. Why, Tatanka,why!?
“Why!?” His bellowed scream of rage reverberated off the walls in the room he made his private quarters.
He picked up a chair and slung it at the window looking towards Earth. The chair ricocheted off the sturdy material and slammed to the floor. He watched it settle in frustration. Debris from broken furniture, scattered items, and damaged walls served as testament to his anger at that moment in time.
How could you let this happen!? This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go! I’ll… I’ll have to start over now… He coldly stared into the black abyss surrounding a dying world. He let loose slow, shallow breathes and remained motionless for a time. Then he closed his eyes to focus on what he had to do next.
The initial riggings didn’t take long at all. The explosives, detonator, and timing device had been connected with record speed. There was enough C4 planted on the backs of the consoles and electrical monitors to blow a hole four blocks wide.
He was about to make his exit when those people had shown up. He didn’t get a good view of them, but he could see their feet from where he lay in the shadows behind some massive instrument of science. He could tell they were looking out at the massive screen at the far side of the room, which he managed to angle himself enough to get a look at too. When he’d first come to the room and started hooking up the explosives, he had been momentarily distracted by warning alarms and even more so when the ship had taken off. Or at least when they made it seem like they’d taken off.
Puzzlement and a slight tinge of fear was what made him watch the screen turn on and show the Earth being lit up like a Christmas tree. He almost laughed.
Really goin’ all out with this bullshit, ain’t they? Get done. Get the hell out. Then send them to oblivion with their mystical shit. He’d gone about his business and was eager to leave, when they came.
Five hours passed when, finally, the group had dispersed and left the room. He was so overjoyed at the chance to be able to move that he wasn’t paying attention as he rushed out into the open and towards the elevator shaft. It was there that he was forced to come to a stop and stare at the opening elevator. A young girl walked off it and seemed to be in a hurry to get something she may have left. He’d been so eager to move, he hadn’t thought of making sure nobody else was coming back.
The little girl stopped and stared at him. He was too stunned to move as he looked her over. Then the girl rushed forward with a wide smile and leapt into his arms.
Uday sat with his family in what was the cafeteria. Though, it was more of a fine dining and lounge facility. They were quiet as they reflected on what they’d just experienced and gave silent prayer to Allah for having spared them their lives.
Rini came up behind Uday, as he knelt before the window looking out at Earth.
“I guess you weren’t quite the madman I took you for,” she sighed with a smile.
Uday patted the hand she placed on his shoulder and stared out to space. “Allah works in mysterious ways. We must be thankful for this task he has given us.”
“So, we must remain in orbit for a whole year?” She looked at the Earth and shook her head wearily.
“Unfortunately, yes. The Lord must have the time needed to purify the lands, to make it safe once more for us to live upon her sacred soil. It won’t be so bad. It’s a very large ship,” he smiled at her pleasantly.
“Praise be to Allah for his greatness and recognizing your wisdom.”
He waved his hand in the air, dismissing the last part of her comment. “It is only by Allah’s wisdom that we are here.”
“You are too modest, Uday.”
“I don’t know where the exit is, to tell you the truth, daddy. But, if anyone would know, it’d be Uday,” Elisa informed her very quiet father as they approached the dining area. “I think you’ll like him. God told him to build this ship.”
“Is that so?” the man replied and slowed them both to a stop in the hall, as he knelt before the girl. “Look, Elisa, if I can avoid talking to anyone, that would be wonderful. Now, if you could just go inside and casually ask, then come and tell me.”
“Why do you want to know so bad? It’s not like you can go back to Earth. It’s been… hurt.” She stood still, feeling sad.
“Look, I understand how you must feel. It’s awful. But they’re lying to you, baby. Earth hasn’t been hurt or even destroyed. It’s right out there,” he replied, trying not to choke on the words.
“Where were you?” she asked after a moment of silence. “And how did you get on board?”
“What, you aren’t happy to see me?” he mocked a surprised and hurt expression.
“It’s not that…” She drew back slightly. “But, when I was in the hospital, they said they couldn’t find you. That you had just… disappeared. Mommy was… she’s gone, y’know? And now, here you are. It’s all so… strange.”
“Your mother…” He drew nearer and placed his hands on her shoulders to look her in the eyes. “Honey, I snuck on when I found out about the Ark. I have been looking for you since the school bombing. I… know about your mom. And I’m sorry. But, now isn’t the time for that. You have to find out about the exits. It’s our only hope. Elisa, please just go ask.”
He watched her looking at him in suspicion. This prompted him to further ad lib. “Don’t worry, Elisa. I’m here now. I love you and would never leave you behind.”
“I… I don’t believe you.”
“You don’t believe me? You’ve been yammering your head off since you first saw me and now you suddenly don’t believe me? I don’t have time for this, sweetheart. Just go in there and…” He paused upon seeing a native woman round the bend in the hallway.
She looked at him and paused in mid-stride. She looked like she was about to make a greeting, but he’d had enough of the play acting. He grabbed his daughter and pulled out a small handgun from a holster attached to his rear waistline. Holding it to her head, and getting a firmer grip on the struggling child, he made his demand. “Tell me where the goddamn exit is or I’ll shoot the kid!”
“Shut up, Elisa! Time to help daddy out! Find out where the fuck it is! Move it!” he commanded of the woman as she held her hands up.
Alexia had been heading towards the lounge when she ran into a man knelt before Elisa. She hadn’t seen him before, not even amidst the thirty-two crewmen that were still on the hangar floor when the evacuation order was given. Which made her a little nervous. Still, she felt it wiser to just be nice and say ‘hi’. That was when he grabbed Elisa and held her hostage. She held her hands up and led them into the lounge area where Uday and his family were.
“Nobody move,” the man demanded when he saw Uday turn and almost jump from his seat. “And you, are you the one that built this monstrosity?”
“Wh… with help from others, y, yes. What do you intend to do?” Uday inquired, as he placed himself between the man and his family.
“First, you’re going to tell me where the fucking exit to this farce is! Then,” he said and chuckled. “Some goddamn Muslim is going to get what’s coming to him. Don’t tell me, and the missus and young’uns will be joining you. You know, maybe I’ll have a little fun with your lovely ladies first!”
The man laughed and motioned towards Uday’s wife and daughter, which made Alexia’s stomach churn.
“I’ve got a third option,” a voice stated from behind everyone in the lounge.
People turned to see Joseph brandishing a handgun that was pointed at the man.
“Daddy?” Elisa cried as she saw Joseph.
“You really are a lowlife! To use your own daughter to further your own, selfish agenda!” Alexia shouted angrily.
“Zip it, bitch,” The man suggested firmly which caused a steadier aim from Joseph.
“Doesn’t really matter, now does it? I’m guessing you’re our terrorist,” Joseph said flatly as he walked further into the room.
“The… terrorist?” Alexia stepped back a few paces and stared at the man, stunned.
“No… my daddy would never do anything like that!” Elisa pled, refusing to believe what she heard.
“So, what if I am? Soon, it won’t matter to you, anyway,” he responded with a wicked smile. “Your voice sounds familiar. Do I know you from somewhere?”
Joseph kept his weapon trained on the man and stared at him for several seconds. “Pal, I could be the President of the United States of America and you still wouldn’t know who the hell I was. You live in a self-absorbed, delusional world full of lies and hatred. Put down your weapon and let the kid go.”
Jason stared in horror at the scene playing out in front of him. Alexia stood to one side with her hands up in a placating gesture of surrender while her partner Joseph pointed a gun at the man holding Elisa hostage. Uday and his family huddled off towards the windows unable to do a thing about it.
Panic was overtaking him, as he saw his best friend struggling. The man held the weapon to her head, but it wasn’t firmly to her skull and he looked to be about to re-aim the gun at Joseph. A thought came to him; a crazy thought.
“Hey!” Jason shouted as the man twitched in anticipation of lifting his weapon.
Jason vaguely heard Alexia yell out “Jason, no!” But it was too late to stop, as the man cast his glance at him and Jason seized upon that one moment of distraction to push the man’s gun arm up towards the ceiling and to grab Elisa from his lessening grip. The man was too stunned to say anything, to do anything.
Jason felt the floor on his shoulder, but still held on to Elisa tightly. He never wanted to lose her again. Then he heard the gunshot. Seconds passed of deadly silence. Elisa sat up and stared in horror.
“Daddy! No!” she shouted and leapt up.
Joseph was examining the body for a pulse and searching the man’s pockets. Then, he stood up when Elisa rushed over to throw herself next to where her father lay dead.
What have I done? Jason thought as he saw Joseph shake his head slowly and turned to leave the lounge.
“I can’t believe the terrorist was on board this entire time,” Robert stated as he looked at the body covered with bedsheets.
Forty minutes had passed since the incident and the fuss was spreading through those on board. Pam continued to examine the corpse and shook her head. Meanwhile, Uday paced the floor on the other side of the room.
“This cannot be happening!?” Uday shouted as he walked around nervously. “Not on Allah’s sacred vessel.”
Alexia saw Kylie standing at the secondary entrance to the lounge where Jason had rushed in, effectively becoming a hero in her eyes. But Kylie showed no emotion, as she stared at the body on the floor. Earlier, she had come to get the children when she heard what had happened.
“Any idea why he’s been involved in this? Is he the guy responsible?” Alexia shifted her gaze from Kylie to Pam and Robert.
“People like this seldom work alone,” Robert solemnly spoke and got to his feet.
Pam took finger prints and hair samples with a small field kit she had in her purse in the advent that, should they ever get back to Earth, they’d have some evidence to cross check. If there was even an organized government left to rely on anyway. Just the act, though, felt good. A familiar act to settle the gut over all else that had transpired. Helped her to not think about that truth or the situation.
“You know, I didn’t want to bring this up before…” Robert came to Alexia’s side and looked at the body and then back out the window. “Especially since I had no idea this guy was with us. However, my contact that I always use?”
Alexia looked at him and waited for him to continue. “Yeah, what about him?”
Alexia felt a sting hit her like a punch and knew the surprise was evident on her face. Robert placed his hand on her shoulder. Of course. It makes so much sense now.
“Excuse me,” she replied and turned to leave the lounge.
Robert stood and watched her go as sunlight bouncing off the Earth cast an eerie glow across the room. “Of course.”
Joseph stood on the bridge looking out at Earth slowly rotating below the ship. The clouds of puffed up explosions had ceased and he’d been trying all the communication frequencies to see if anyone had survived the attacks. So far, he’d only met silence. He shook his head slowly and fidgeted with a device in his hand. One that he’d found on the man he’d shot. He knew what it was, but was hesitant to consider the implications of his actions if he actually completed the mission. What a dilemma.
The click of a weapon being cocked caused his body to go stiff. He stopped twirling the remote detonator that he held and turned to see Alexia aiming her gun at his chest.
“It’s over, Joseph. Don’t move.”
We are now at the end of this week’s offering. Next week, the final part of Holy Shards The Thirteenth Age. I hope you’ll come back then to finish the tale off! And, once again, thanks for reading and coming back each week. I appreciate it more than you know.
~Timothy S Purvis
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