Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 49
Ch.49

Trisha stood there in the doorway wearing pink pajama bottoms and a tank top. He reached out to her with his mind before he used his words. “It is you,” Ben said, running forward to greet her. She smiled at him and wrapped her arms around his neck as they hugged. “What happened to you? I thought you fell?”

“I’m still mad at you for what you said to me, but I’ll save that for later. We have to get to the top.”

They held each other as they spoke. “But are you okay? What happened with falling out of the Tower or did Baal just make that up?”

“No that really happened. I fell pretty far. I started crying like a little baby and the flying kid, Corvus, grabbed on to me and started yelling at me for crying.” She laughed a little then continued. “I was barely making any sense from all my whining so he wouldn’t let me go until I stopped acting like a child. He set me back inside the Tower and told me I wouldn’t get my amulet back until I can learn to grow up. I wasn’t far from my room so I threw these clothes on and ran up here after you.” She brought her face to his and they kissed. It was everything she wanted it to be, simple and clean. “I don’t want to leave here without you.”

Ben smiled and ran his thumb across her cheek. “That makes two of us.”

“What did you do to Baal?” She looked past Ben and saw the Demon’s body coddled by the naked girl. His eyes blankly staring at the ceiling as the girl tried to shake him back to consciousness.

“We were inside of each other’s mind and I think I destroyed his mental state. He’s not dead, and I hope I didn’t do any permanent damage.”

“What? How did you do that?”

“I’m not exactly sure. I just really didn’t want him to hurt anyone anymore and so… ta da.” Ben brought the ring to Trisha’s attention. “Does this remind you of anything?”

She took note of the gem inside the ring. “It’s an emerald like my amulet.”

“He was wearing it, and it glowed every so often.”

“Let’s try it out.” She took the ring from Ben and placed it on his right ring finger. The fit was identical to Baal’s and when Ben dawned the ornament, the emerald consistently glowed its green color. “Whoa.”

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s like the lights went out. Your eyes look different and I can’t sense you telepathically anymore.”

He telepathically said, but I feel fine.

“Neat-o it makes your powers invisible.”

 “That’s why I couldn’t see Baal’s true form until… I’m not sure what I did, but did you sense the blue flames?”

She shook her head. “What?”

“Never mind. We need to get going. If we hurry we can-”

“Wait, before we go. There’s a reason I put the ring on that finger.”

Ben looked at his hand. “And what was that reason?”

“You have to make a promise to me.”

 “Promise?”

“It’s not a big promise just a small one.”

“What is it?”

“Promise me that we can go on another adventure in the future, together.”

“Like the grand canyon?”

Trisha’s scoffed and said, “No. That’s lame, and you were supposed to say something romantic like ‘you’ll always be with me on adventures’ or something.”

Ben lightly shook her shoulders. “I don’t care where we go as long as I’m not surrounded by people who want to kill me. I mean seriously, even you tried to kill me.”

“It was just once, and you were being coy so I had to show you I meant business.”

“That was before you tried to molest me.”

She put her finger over his mouth and said, “Shh. I won’t stand for this. Just stand there and look handsome.” Despite the fact that ten feet away was a crying slave and a now mentally handicap superhuman, their reunion was heartwarmingly romantic.

 

An uncountable number of events were happening in all the backdrop of the world, but the machine that Lilly fed was the center of the universe for those in the Tower, as if the stars, beyond the open hatch in the ceiling, revolved around this event. The 280 degrees opening in the ceiling gave view of the surrounding mountain range to those within, and to those outside, was the final stage’s focal point.

Dr. Chen’s right eye twitched as he could practically see his dreams manifesting into reality in front of him. Not the augmented cybernetic mercenaries, the death of most of his Demons, nor the malignant enemy that was ready to take his life mattered to him. “It is only my dream that matters.”

He held a clipboard behind his back with his left hand and twirled a pencil between his fingers with his right. I can only imagine what the world will be like after I am gone, but it will be a world that I have created, he thought. The pencil spun complete revolutions around his index before his middle finger would take hold of it again. My legacy will live on, and help the human race develop onward without the physically strong holding back progress. The pencil was spinning mid-thought. And I will succeed. Dr. Chen squinted his eyes and the pencil slowed down to hover just below his finger, held back by gravity’s pull.

“Sir, we have a problem,” an assistant said. The pencil fell and Chen turned around to find the back of a white shirt that was not a lab coat. A man in black slacks stood out amongst the assistants working at their terminal along the left wall of the floor. The sore thumb also lit a cigarette with his left hand. The assistant’s shaking only now became apparent to Chen as he held his elbow and said, “And then there’s that.” Across the large space, between the entrance and the machine, stood Gulo in all his abhorrence waiting for commands. A staff member at the right wall of the floor jumped back from his console in a panic from the winged boy who materialized standing on his keyboard. The scream set off a chain reaction as the blissful ignorance of their executioners’ arrival became apparent.

“It is a pleasure to meet you Dr. Chen,” Deus said as he strode into the room, patting Gulo on the back to acknowledge the validity of his existence to the mortals that stood before them. “I can say without a doubt that you, like me, are a pioneer of his craft.”

Senium was also there. He made his way to an empty terminal hub, while the rest of his teammates delved into “Theatrical Antics” as he called it. He smothered the technician that was sitting in a seat next to his, before he could run away, to feel like he was a part of the gang.

“Are you speechless of our success? I would not find that unusual given my teams lethality.” Deus walked to the center of the entrance space and put his hands behind his back in a relaxed fashion.

Dr. Chen crossed his arms. “I am not surprised and the missiles will launch. The serum will spread and this game will be over soon.”

“Confidence in the face of failure? I commend you Doctor. I have read your files Chen and I must say that I would like to have met you in another life. You are a prototype in your own right, but a prototype to a hated and despised future that the masses have deemed unworthy.”

“Your lot is no difference of opinion amongst the masses.”

Deus held in a laugh and said, “We will be the lesser of two evils Doctor. Once our benefactors handle the editing of this play, Madison corps’ cybernetics will be much sought after as opposed to the inhumane practices done by your hand.” Deus put a hand in the air while he said, “Do you not see that I have won this gamble?”

“You’ve won nothing, Jacob, and your company is just a puppet organization,” Dr. Chen said shaking his head.

“Do not be a sore loser.”

“I have lost nothing. From what I can see, the missiles will launch and my plan will be a success. The physically strong will meet their mentally superior demise.”

“From what you can see? What a suitable set of word choice.”

Dr. Chen was troubled by how much Deus really knew about him, having this being the first time meeting with him in person. Chen’s vision would become blurry at times and he was near death as is with the tumor taking its time to finish him off, but Bio-Machina was about to do the honors.

“Ignis, take care of the child in the restraints. She is the one feeding the machine. Senium, gather what you can and complete your tasking. Corvus and Gulo, you two will take care of the humans.”

Deus gave the orders but before the Bio-Machina could execute, Chen pulled out a concealed pistol and fired a round into Deus’s right eye. The leader’s head jerked back violently and his arms went out to balance himself before falling back.

“Such rash action must mean you are desperate.” Deus brought his head back with a smile of resilience and a missing eye. “I will do you the honors of finishing this dispute we have with my own hands,” he said, as he walked across the room to Chen.

Chen found desperation in each breath he drew as he fired more rounds into his rival. Each slug dove into Deus’s body, but were more or less sound effects than devices of threat deterrence. After the eighth bullet fired, the gun became three pounds of uselessness. Deus took a step onto the platform the machine mounted into, now face to face with the Doctor.

“So what does that make you after you kill me? Do you believe your benefactor will keep you on, or has there been another client of theirs in the works?” Chen lowered the pistol to his side and let it fall to the ground. He let the clipboard fall as well and then crossed both his arms and stuffed his hands inside his lab coat. “You must be very sure of yourself. I take great comfort in realizing there is no Deus ex Machina. You are still only a man.”

Chen threw his hands forward each holding an uncorked vial of different colored liquids. When the two substances splashed against Deus’s chest, they combined causing a chemical reaction that hissed and spit smoke. The chemicals aided each other in eating away through Deus’s chest as they then leaked down inside his body. Some cybernetics became exposed revealing just how little organic substance was left inside the leader. All of the liquid burrowed deep and leaked out his thighs still making its own path through any material it touched.

Deus frowned at the damage done to his body, and he figured out that his pain receptacle cutoff switch only nullified eighty percent of the agonizing infliction he undertook. I will correct that discrepancy back in the lab, he thought to himself. “Still you fight me, mortal?” Deus grabbed both of Chen’s wrists and snapped them in the palm of his hands. “I am above your kind, cur,” Deus shouted over Chen’s screaming.

A flare of pain shot from the base of Deus’s spine and crawled up to his brain. A few functions shut down in his body and his visual display filled with warning signs. Deus looked over his shoulder and saw Ignis standing at his back with his red hand melting into his body. “You have aligned yourself with these cretins, my child?”

Ignis smirked and said, “Deus, it’s been fun, but if I let either of you win, then the level of chaos will decrease. I hope you can understand that.”

Deus let go of Chen and turned to strike Ignis, but as he did, Gulo came from his blind side and opened his mouth wide to engulf all of Deus’s head. The two massive men struggled with each other for a few seconds, and the sound of grinding metal came from their conflict. Gulo firmly gripped Deus’s shoulders and jerked his head to the right.

His neck was a jagged remnant of what his skull use to attach to. A bit of Deus’s jaw was still intact, but the back of his skull and upward was gone. Some of the staff members still conscious loosened from their paralyzing shock and began to evacuate. Now that Deus faced him, Ignis punched his hand into this abdomen in an attempt to make a solid hole through his former boss.

Deus’s voice came from the pit of his throat. “I am so ashamed that my children would attempt such a low tactic towards their own creator.” His decapitated body moved flawlessly as it grabbed Ignis by his collar and lifted him off the ground. “This is no doubt another anarchic impulse from your rotted grey matter, Frans.” Deus tossed Ignis halfway back towards the entrance then turned to strike Gulo off balance with a right hook.

“All of you who conspire against me will perish,” the body said.

Ignis sat up and glared at the headless leader attacking his pet. “Damn cyborg. I’m really getti-”

“Bzz!”

The battle torn Samael punched Ignis in the fold of his neck on his left side, after walking on scene mid-decapitation.

“Stings bitch,” Samael said, as Ignis took to the floor for cover.  Ignis’s hand grew a shade brighter as he reached for Samael, but before he could make contact, a tendril came down and wrapped around his wrist to hold it in place. “You may think you’re hot shit, but not while I’m around. What was that your boss called you? Frans?”

A smile filled Ignis’s face. “A star shines brightest when it burns up.” Ignis grabbed Samael’s ankle with his other hand and held tight. His hand then lit up in flames as the artificial flesh oozed from his second metal hand. Samael slung Ignis back at Deus and leaped backwards to save himself from any permanent damage.

Samael landed on his back and sighed. “When I get back up I’m kicking your ass.” He still ached from the wounds of Shax’s fight and the reemergence into full Demon status. Sam propped himself up by his elbow but decided to wait there for now and flipped off Ignis where he lay.

“Are you always getting beat up now?” a small voice said beside him. Magnus and Neko joined the party. “Do you need more help?”

The battered warrior rolled his eyes. “I don’t need help from anyone,” he said as he got to his feet and stood as strong as his body would allow him.

“You can stand down now and there will be no shadows cast upon you,” Magnus said looking over Samael.

“Save it, Samurai.”

Neko jumped in between Magnus and said, “But we’re here to save the day.”

A torrent of loud tears interrupted their conversation. Deus’s body was taking a thrashing, as Gulo was blood hungry from his snack, now ripping into the main course. Gulo’s claws ripped chunks of silicon flesh and carbon nanotube muscles and stuffed them into his mouth after each blow. Deus was trying to beat the beast into submission but the last order that Ignis had given him stuck inside his warped mind.

“Stop you damn dog,” Ignis shouted.

No matter how inhuman Gulo might be, his stomach was still organic. The beast’s innards were tearing apart by the ingested alloys and spilling stomach acid into his body.

Corvus’s plan to follow orders ended when he saw what was happening to Deus. He realized he would be next since he was not a part of the overthrow and activated his cloaking device.

“It seems that you have ensnared yourself, Ignis,” Magnus said.

Ignis plainly observed the three adversaries standing in the middle of the entrance clearing. He glanced over to Senium and could see he was not finished extracting data. “My mom did always tell me that people who set traps eventually find themselves inside of one.” He smiled. “I’ve gotten out of worse.”

Deus’s torn body fell backwards to the ground hardly resembling what it once was. Wires and small internal machines flickered and sparked inside his chest cavity. Different colored fluids poured onto the floor and covered most of his remains. Gulo stood over the body and roared in triumph, but in the middle of his shout, the beast coughed. His head dropped and a long heave of air sucked into his gullet. After the third heave, Gulo coughed blotches of blood and matter on the floor. The beast then glared at the small party of enemies standing near the entrance and roared again, this time spewing blood and anger.

 “Let’s stop him,” Neko said.

She took a step forward but Magnus blocked her path with the back of his sword.

“It will not be necessary for you to get involved. I will slay this beast,” Magnus said.

She looked up at him with eyes brighter than the light reflecting from his sword. “Wow.” She struck her pose, crossing her arms above her head, and said, “Go get em’ Magnus.”

Gulo stepped down from the stage and past Ignis, ignoring his orders to stop. The beast growled at his new target, put his claws out, and charged. After a small coughing fit, a shrill yet dark voice said, “Mag-nus.” The jagged metal tearing into his intestines meant nothing to him and the blood filling up what was left of his stomach, slowly rising into his esophagus, was only an annoyance. The empty hunger had consumed his mind, guiding his actions as each stride cleared more distance than it should have, and each breathe he wasted howling, was replaced with another draw of borrowed oxygen.

Magnus ran at the charging brute, his sword at his side. It was only on a rare occasion that there was no time for Magnus to decide where to strike. The opportunity to succeed was there, but the chances of losing were everywhere else.

In his peripheral, Magnus saw a glint of light follow the blade’s movement as it swept from his left to his right.

Gulo grabbed Magnus by the neck and lifted him into the air. The beast opened his mouth wide, allowing the blades within his maw to throw a show of blood. He brought Magnus’s head closer to his mouth, and the saws in his throat spun at max speed, but then the beast lost all his strength, the blades stopped spinning, and his mouth hung open.

Magnus landed on his feet as the beast was unable to hold him any longer. The beast fell backwards from the stomach up and his lower half fell forward at Magnus’s side. The samurai whipped his sword out, throwing off the tainted blood, and in one smooth motion placed his weapon back in its sheath.

“You did it, you did it,” Neko cheered.

“Show off,” Samael said.

Magnus did not have time to enjoy his victory. His eyes were set on Ignis who was talking to the broken Dr. Chen near the machine.

“Listen doc, I’ve got a real bad itch that I can’t get rid of,” he said.

“Stay away from me. You will not stop my plan.”

“I need some of the good stuff.” Ignis covered Chen’s mouth with one hand and opened his coat with the other. The hand around Chen’s mouth began to steam as Chen’s lips were singeing together. “Let’s see…” Inside the left flap of his lab coat were rows of small vials he carried. Most of the vials contained clear liquids with different colored caps, but one vial’s yellow glow stood out to Ignis. “You don’t say? This is exactly what I need.” Chen screamed behind cauterized lips and red steel. “This might come in handy, but…” Ignis opened the other side of Chen’s coat and saw a special slot of syringes inside. He pulled out a syringe and ripped the plastic wrapping off. He popped the cap on the small vial of Ascension Serum then carefully poured it into the syringe. He placed the plug back into the tube then flicked the needle a few times.

Chen forced his mouth open to yell, “if you do that then you will destroy this whole place.” His eyes were sharp and empty.

“I’m not one for power, but I know someone who’s powerless right now.” Ignis took a few short steps to Lilly and leaned over her. “Let’s give you the key to yourself,” he said.

Magnus ran forward to seize Ignis.

“Stay away from me,” she said, her voice frail from the machine sucking all of her energy away.

Magnus jumped onto the platform and reached for his sword.

“Hold on.” Ignis let the syringe fall to her lap and turned to grab Magnus by his elbow of the same arm that reached for his sword. Ignis used his other hand to reach between Magnus’s legs and then bent down to get underneath the Samurai. Magnus found himself hoisted into the air, thrown with ease, and toppled to the ground a few feet away from his opponent. “You’re not the only one that has moves around here.”

Ignis picked the syringe back up and took hold of Lilly’s left arm. The restraints binding her to the chair gave little room to struggle, but she used all of the room that was given. His palm grabbed her elbow and the needle hovered over her vein.

“Please stop.”

Her arm moved around underneath the needle. “Please relax.” He then back handed Lilly across the jaw hard enough to temporarily stun her. “Much better.” The needle pierced into her, the tube emptied, and with that, a high dose of Ascension Serum flooded into her system.

“Get away from her,” Ben’s voice demanded from across the room. He entered as he saw Ignis standing over the one person that started this journey for him. He held Ignis with his mind and aimlessly tossed him aside even though the surge of energy he had earlier subsided, and his power nearly depleted.

Ignis was tossed with enough force to send him into a computer station along the right wall of the room. His body demolished the computer desk and hardware components. He pushed aside the pain and got to his feet, holding his left side tenderly. “It’s time to snip your little operation short,” he said to Senium who stood four computer terminals down from where he landed.

“Is the show over?” Senium asked. Two cigarette butts were on the ground at his feet.

Ben left Trisha at the entrance and ran past Samael and Neko without saying a word. Samael sneered as he saw Ben, and Neko waved. Magnus stood up and held his sword in a defensive manner, facing to where Ignis was standing when he threw him. He relaxed his posture after he saw Ben jump onto the platform and run to Lilly’s side.

Corvus deactivated his cloaking device and appeared by Trisha. He looked at her with a frown and asked, “Did you learn your lesson?” He held her amulet in his right hand.

She smiled in light of the events and said, “Thanks for helping me out back there. I think I should let you keep it.” She gave him a hug and kissed him on the cheek.

Corvus blushed and held the amulet out in front of him. “I can’t get it to work. I want you to have it back.” As Trisha took the amulet, Corvus disappeared again. She could hear his fading voice say, “I should leave while I can. I quit.”

“Lilly,” Ben said, standing in front of where she sat.

Lilly was still. Her face angled at the ground and her hands were hanging off the end of the armrests. Her knees were pointing inwards and her shoulders were down. From within her mind Ben felt a small signature of Lilly’s telekinetic energy change in characteristics. Deep inside her subconscious he felt something awaken; a massive figure beneath the surface of her being, rising from the depths.

He took a step back. “Lilly?”

Chen crawled across the floor to the main control panel on the machine. He elbowed his way onto the seat of a chair and used his trembling legs to get up to the controls. His hands were useless but he needed only to press a small sequence of numbers and his end game would come into effect. A small screen on the status panel read sixty percent. “It will have to do.” He carefully palmed a nob to a specific adjustment, flipped three switches, and uncovered a red button from its safety guard. He did not hear the tearing metal sound Lilly made as she stood from the seat, taking the restraints along with her.

“Snap out of it,” Ben said. He was on the edge of the platform, three paces back.

The chains around her ankles snapped in half. The pink glow of the chains around her wrists grew brighter before bursting with pink liquid. The visor around her head slowly fell on its own accord and Ben saw her face for the first time since she was taken away.

Her eyes were glowing pure white.

“Speak to me, Lilly.”

“My name is Lilith. I’m a Demon, Ben, and I cannot stop what is about to happen.”

“Are you going to die?” He reached for her but before he could put his hands on her shoulders, her Demon Radiance filled his mind. The sudden shift in mood shook Ben to the core and forced his perception to shake the world that he saw. Every part of him became cold, and bitter winds reached inside his heart. There was still lighting in the room but even the sun would seem dark to him at this moment. Everyone he knew became a faded memory. Along with his memories, taste, smell, and touch faded in luster and became corroded recollections.

“It’s sorrow, Ben. I can’t hold it in any longer.” Lilith was compelled into Demon form as her mind bathed in the heavy dose of Ascension Serum, losing all control of her powers. Her clothes shaped into a glowing white silk dress that reached the floor and her nails and hair turned just as white. “I’m so sorry.” She began to cry glistening tears.

Darkness spread from her and filled the room, leaving its occupants in their own endless worlds of sorrow. Chen hovered above the red button, but lost all interest in his plans. He frantically searched for the motivation to continue inside his mind, but there was only sorrow and shortly after, his mind collapsed killing the doctor. Ignis and Senium made their exit before the darkness could reach them, getting away with the devil’s luck and the last bit of data in hand. Magnus stood still clutching his sword tight while memories of his fallen sister filled his heart with doubt. Samael was on his knees trying to fight the ghosts from his past as they reached out for him. Neko rolled on the ground screaming for Magnus to come save her.

Trisha stood with the amulet in her hand. The darkness had surrounded her and reached into her heart. Trisha held the amulet close and thought about Ben. The telekinetic energy from her mind naturally flared up from all the activity around her, and charged the amulet, but she did not transform into Ishtar. The amulet’s green glow shined within the darkness and she was unharmed.

Ben could feel Lilly’s sorrow reaching deep inside his heart, but as it found his center, there was the light waiting for it. The light shined and the blue flames rose from his body once more to create a barrier between him and the darkness.

Standing there in front of Lilly, he saw two rivers of tears run down her face and her shoulders jumping up in small intervals. The Serum was overcharging her mind’s energy capacity and was not letting her go. He stepped forward and reached out for her, his flames flickering wildly at invisible winds. Words did him no good here, they were too afraid to leave his mouth. I have to keep pushing, he thought to himself. His right hand rested on her neck and his left hand rested on her waist. Her crying lessened and she put a hand on his elbow and the other on his shoulder.

It’s going to be ok.

Ben, everyone is going to die. I can’t control this.

Her words came from her head and pounded in his eardrums. The strength of just her telekinetic voice was hard for him to undertake.

I understand that you’re scared, but you have to focus on me right now. Ben thought of the machine. Channel your energy into me.

You will die if I do that.

Ben leaned his head forward and rested it against hers. Everyone else will die if you don’t. He brought her closer to him and held her gently. There’s a light within you Lilly, and I’m here to help you shine.

Lilith directed the immense flow of energy emitting from her body into Ben. The flames that covered him died out as the darkness consumed him.

The tears started to run down her face again as she held Ben in her arms. His body began to fall, but a warmth filled the air around her. She felt him stand by the power of his own feet and Ben’s flames exploded into a blinding light that pushed into the physical world turning the Tower into a lighthouse.

Time was abstract to those still alive at the top floor. What felt like a short interval of time the light eventually dimmed around them. The physical world came into perspective again with the Tower still holding them above the earth.

Samael was the first to look around the room. He saw Neko standing next to him wiping her eyes of tears. Magnus approached them and sheathed his sword. From behind the three, Trisha walked to the stage and climbed to where Ben and Lilly stood. Lilly was back in human form and held Ben. He hugged her back and patted her shoulder as he let go. Ben turned to face Trisha and then held her.

“You did it,” she said.

“I guess I did.” His joints ached, but he didn’t show it. Both of his legs were only something his torso loosely balanced on, but he stood like a soldier. He let out a sigh of relief and brought her closer. “We reached the top.” Then they kissed.

 

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