“Oh.” Melanie sat up. “I sent for Jillian and my brother immediately on realizing what we were dealing with.”
“Okay. We can wait for them.” Glen sat down on a chair while Melanie lounged on the couch. After a while, Glen’s stomach grumbled. “So, does she ever feed us?”
“I wish you would stop calling it a she. It is an it, and no it hasn’t yet.”
The wait was not long. Melanie and Glen heard the subtle whine of Gaian guns trained on the Nelkorian, seeking to break down the defensive, mental shield, wanting only to leave a stain on the earth where the Nelkorian once stood. In this case, the Nelkorian did not have an army or the kind of sophisticated weapons needed to return fire and being as young as it was, it probably needed all of its strength to ward off the weapon. Glen had his ears open and more importantly he had his mind open. He heard the cry when it came.
Immediately Glen left that place and Kartesh, his resident expert in abominations arrived and smiled for Melanie. Melanie shivered in awe, but just a little. Kartesh was only a lesser goddess after all, and not a natural born one at that. All the same, Melanie felt blessed when Kartesh took her hand and they vanished from the locked room to appear on the street. The whole front of the building was dust and they could see the Nelkorian struggling to fight off the attack.
There was a white, shimmering light in the sky no bigger than a doorway, the only sign of the presence of the Gaian. A beam of intense blue-white light came from that door, but it stopped a few feet from the Nelkorian like it was being held back by an invisible shield. It did appear to be inching closer, however. Meanwhile, the people in the street were stumbling about. Some were unconscious. Some were screaming. The Nelkorian could not maintain possession of those hundred or more people and defend itself at the same time.
“Ah, here she is,” Kartesh said the words as if she was waiting for this very thing—a thing which scared Melanie half to death. Mama came. There was a hole torn in the air where before there had been nothing to see, and the creature descended to stand beside her child. Immediately, the beam from the Gaian ship began to push back. Poor Ethan and Jillian looked to be in trouble.
“Help them,” Melanie breathed.
Kartesh merely smiled and patted Melanie’s hand to reassure her. She raised her voice. “Everything and everyone stop right where you are.” Everyone, Gaian, human, Nelkorian, and everything including even the beam of power being projected from the Gaian ship froze in place. “Not you, Melanie dear.” She patted the girl’s hand again and the girl moved.
Kartesh walked right up to the Nelkorians, and Melanie followed, but stayed one step behind just to be safe. “Now, let’s see,” Kartesh said, and her hands went up. Slowly, but with absolute, surgical precision, everything Nelkorian that was above and beyond a normal, human genetic type was removed and vanished, like it never existed. Melanie watched as the bulbous heads shrank to normal size and faces formed, not like the out of sync, fake face of the girl, but real, live, normal and even average human faces—though Melanie thought the girl might be called cute.
When she was finished, Kartesh turned to Melanie and whispered. “Michelangelo, eat your heart out.” She grinned, but honestly worried. She would not violate their minds by implanting a reasonable life story. The violation of the mind was precisely the objection to their former existence, so what they did with their life at this point would be up to them. Kartesh did not necessarily see that good would come of it. Maybe this idea was a mistake.
Melanie tapped Kartesh on the shoulder and pointed to a police car at one end of the street. lights flashing, siren blaring though they could barely hear it. The police looked stymied, like there was a giant bubble of force around the whole block that they could not break through. “Okay.” Kartesh patted Melanie’s hand once more and they vanished from the street to appear in the Gaian ship which was itself parked in a different dimension. The Gaian weapon turned itself off, on Kartesh’s instructions, and everyone moved again.
Jillian went to her knees and pulled Ethan down with her. Melanie took a second to orient herself and ran to the others. “Jillian,” she said as she hugged the woman. “It’s alright. She’s a friend of mine.”
Kartesh paid them no attention. She watched and listened to the Nelkorian mother and daughter as they realized what had happened to them. They were ordinary humans now, just like everyone else. The young girl’s eyes got big, but she said nothing. The mother wailed.
“Alone. All alone. How can anyone live like this? How can you be so cruel? Curse you, forever. Help me. I am so alone.”
Kartesh envisioned the mother committing suicide in the near future. She could not see enough to know if the girl would ever talk. She was only a lesser goddess, after all, and time she went home. She turned. “The Nelkorians across all of the worlds in every parallel dimension will all be restored to normal, human stature as we have done here. We have been the nexus. As we have done here, so I will do in all worlds. God forgive me.” There was a little tear in her eye when she vanished and Glen came back with the same small tear.
“Well,” Glen said and he clapped his hands in an effort to change the mood. “Good to see you again, Jillian. Would you folks mind taking me up to Chelsea? I parked my car up there and I don’t feel like walking.”