Galthar was back on its feet after a few days. With motive-capable machines now talking and helping the citizens out, the damage during the crisis was fixed very quickly. While they may be considered newborns, the machines were actually adults, most likely because of how they were built long before they gained their new abilities. These new life-forms were classified as Arties and were given the further classification of Mechanica, living machines. “Are you sure you still want a crew?” Arsha asked Endea. “I mean, you can fly yourself.”
“I can,” replied Endea, “but I’d feel safer with a crew. I mean, at least Thangred can learn of any potential problems at a faster rate now that I can tell him what’s wrong.”
“True,” mused Arsha. She then turned to Hindra and Hunmur. “I understand Glathar’s going to be a haven in the event of Mechanicas being denied their rights?”
“It shall,” declared Hunmur. “They have as much right to enjoy the same freedoms as we do. I see no reason to impede them.”
“Whatever Anti-Mechanica Rights movement comes up will hate that a tech capital,” chuckled Endea, “is vouching for us.”
“Yeah, well, they can kiss my butt,” remarked Hunmur.
“I appreciate all that you’re doing, Your Majesty,” thanked Arsha.
“And we appreciate all that you did for us,” returned Hindra.
“May your future be blessed with knowledge and wisdom,” bid Hunmur.
“May your lives be long and happy,” answered Arsha in the correct manner. She and Endea returned to the Endeavor and made their way to the bridge. They noticed an extra chair set up between the Captain’s chair and the First Officer’s seat. It was a table chair and both Endea and Arsha were confused about its presence. Denstra cleared her throat.
“I tried to find a more comfortable seat,” she explained, “but all my family and I had was this, a spare seat from the dining area in our quarters.”
“It will serve,” assured Endea as she sat in it.
“Your next overhaul will need to include a seat for you,” mused Arsha as she and Denstra sat in their own seats.
“If Realmfleet grants it,” remarked Denstra.
“What do you mean?” asked Arsha.
“I’ve checked with Realmfleet and the overhaul logs,” replied Denstra. “The Endeavor’s reached its maximum of 25 overhauls. Any more overhauls will be deemed unnecessary and the ship will be retired from service.”
“But that usually means…” gulped Arsha.
“Scrapping!” finished Endea as she feared for her new life.
“Or being put up on static display,” interjected Nazay.
“Realmfleet’s already GOT a Dauntless-class vessel as a museum piece,” reminded Malak. “Only one museum piece per class.”
“That was before our ship started talking to us,” declared Arsha. “It’ll change when she gets the same rights as us.”
“IF I get the same rights as you,” sighed Endea.
“WHEN,” insisted Arsha. “You WILL see the dawn of sentient machine rights.”
“…Thank you,” bid Endea.
“We’ve got allies,” Arsha called to the bridge crew as she stood up and used the entire bridge as her stage. “We all took care of the Endeavor when she was just a machine and I have every confidence we’ll continue to do so now that she’s holding conversations with us. As far as I’m concerned, Endea’s as much of a crewmember as us, she’s a part of this family! I won’t turn my back on her, I refuse to. While we continue with our missions, we continue fighting to make sure her rights are brought to reality. I expect all of you to protect her with your life as I’m sure she will for us. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Ma’am!” confirmed the bridge crew.
“Good to hear,” answered Arsha. She then sat back in her chair. “Nazay, I believe we’ve got a mission in the Greltharg Merfolk Kingdom.”
“Course laid in,” reported Nazay. “We’re cleared for departure.”
“Nice and easy,” directed Arsha. The Endeavor rose from the landing pad and made its way to a Realmgate.
Yulduk’s corpse was far from Galthar’s northern border. It was already in rigor mortis and bowel evacuation. As it laid there, putrefying, the vortex of a Realmgate opened. It was smaller in scale, only large enough to accommodate a Troll, and released Dr. Borg, Tormo, and Jansha. It closed behind them as Dr. Borg ran an analysis on the body. “Only five hours dead,” she reported. “Perfect.”
“Look, are you sure you mastered the spells and tech?” asked Tormo. “We’ve only got as far as the simulations.”
“Now is the perfect opportunity to try a real-world test,” answered Dr. Borg as she set a pentagon of small devices around the body. She then keyed in a command on the display screen on her arm and the devices fired lasers at each other to form a pentagram. “Shanwey yat talyen falunar,” she chanted. “Shanwey yat talyen falunar. Shanwey yat talyen falunar. Shanwey yat talyen falunar. Shanwey yat talyen falunar.” This went on and on as she poured her magic into the corpse. Dark energies then penetrated the body and it convulsed violently. This continued until the corpse opened its eyes and screamed! The eyes were glowing blue as the skin turned ashen and blue lines of light snaked their way across various parts of the skin. “Shanwey yat talyen falunar! Shanwey yat talyen falunar! Shanwey yat talyen falunar! TEL!” The chanting stopped, as did the corpse’s screaming. It blinked and picked itself up as the pentagram was switched off.
“Ugh! My head!” groaned the corpse as it massaged its head.
“And you are?” asked Dr. Borg. The corpse thought for a moment before remembering who it was.
“Yulduk,” answered the body. “I was the Collector for Galthar. I was sick of Hindra and Hunmur’s reliance on Realmfleet. We’re the richest kingdom in the Mid-realm! We ALL can afford to pay! But, no, they likened my collection methods to rape and thus scuttled my arrangement with…” He then remembered. “Reb Rojam, she…no…NO!” Yulduk then screamed in rage. “She DARED stab me in the back! Pirates are under my beck and…wait, she LITERALLY stabbed me. In my head if I recall.” He felt around his head and found the stab wound. “How am I…did you bring me back?”
“I did,” confirmed Dr. Borg. “I didn’t want a zombie, so I found old tomes relating to creating undead like you.”
“But…but…if I am what I think I am,” muttered Yulduk, “then you should be in pain from the damage to your soul.”
“That’s where the pentagram generators come in,” explained Dr. Borg. “They constantly replenish my soul as I perform the ritual. However, I only needed to use it once. You can easily make more of your kind now with no damage to your returned soul. Tell me, do you seek vengeance against Galthar for not recognizing you for what you are?”
“…On Galthar AND the Scarlet Stream pirates!” declared Yulduk.
“Join me and I can grant you vengeance!” promised Dr. Borg.
“Well, there’s nothing for me here,” mused Yulduk. “Why not? I accept!”
“Welcome to the Realm Trinity Empire, Yulduk, the first of my Revenant army!” declared Dr. Borg.
“Before we go,” answered Yulduk, “I have something that may interest you.”
“Oh?” asked Dr. Borg. Yulduk produced a phial from his robes. In it was the pink mist.
“Scientists from both the pirates and Galthar have confirmed this to be the Breath of Life,” he explained. “Let it touch your machines, shut them down, let them start themselves back up, and you will have talking vehicles, ready to obey you.”
“Now this IS a promising start to our partnership,” praised Dr. Borg as she accepted the phial. “Come, let us go back to base. We’ll need more soldiers.”
“I’ll find more freshly dead corpses to make Revenants,” promised Yulduk.
“Excellent,” proclaimed Dr. Borg as she opened the smaller Realmgate. “Let’s go.” All four then entered the Realmgate, letting it shut itself behind them.
Arsha and Endea made their way to the All-Ones Shrine on the ship. They needed to talk to Sentriam or Benthe about how they found the Breath of Life. The Priest let them in and the two knelt at the altar. Arsha led the prayer. “Sentriam, Benthe,” she began, “we invoke your names to speak with you directly. We have news that may trouble you as it does us. Please, hear us and speak to us.” The candles’ flames turned pink as pink mist covered the area. The mist then formed two upper torsos within the pews. One was masculine, the other was feminine. More details appeared to reveal Lady Sentriam and Lord Benthe, two of the Pink Divine Ones of Love.
“This is most unusual for you, Your Highness,” rumbled Benthe softly. “You don’t call on any of us that often.”
“What could concern us as well as you?” asked Sentriam.
“It concerns people like me,” explained Endea.
“Who are you, my child?” asked Sentriam.
“Lady Sentriam, Lord Benthe, I am Endea, the living extension of the Endeavor,” introduced Endea. Sentriam and Benthe’s eyes went wide.
“She came to life by accident,” explained Arsha. “This was interfering with her systems.” She produced a phial of the Breath and gave it to the two Divine Ones. Sentriam examined it closely.
“How is this…?” she spluttered. “Benthe, this is the Breath!”
“Bu…but how?!” gulped Benthe. “We sealed it all away after the Great Fracturing!”
“My first notice of the stuff,” replied Arsha, “was when I was Reb Rojam’s prisoner.”
“Whether she’s found it by accident or on purpose,” continued Endea, “is a mystery.”
“In any event, the two of us need to check the seal and see how much escaped,” declared Sentriam. “Thank you both for bringing this to our attention.”
“Endea,” called Benthe, “tell me, have you been mistreated since coming to life?”
“Not yet, but I anticipate it,” sighed Endea. “I mean, let’s not even start with the money-people.”
“It’s always them that argue against progress,” muttered Benthe. “Still, just know that you DO have Divine Ones rooting for you, wanting to help you in any way we can.”
“I’ll try and do things with the means I have before asking for Divine Help,” replied Endea.
“That is all we ask in return,” assured Sentriam. “Just try your best.”
“I will, My Lady,” promised Endea as she bowed her head. She was then embraced by the two before the mist vanished and they departed.
“Well, that’s promising,” mused Arsha. “Your brand of life is well on its way to being adopted into their care.”
“I hope so,” muttered Endea. They got up and left the Shrine so they could return to the bridge.