Author: Jae Miles, Staff Writer

It’s astonishing just how beautiful space is, for all that it’s largely empty.
“Kaelen!”
Mother, mother. Even from half a light year out, I can feel you. My view narrows… There.
She’s standing on a rocky promontory, guards at her back, encampment beyond them. Blackened dust picks out the lines of faces, turns tear tracks into ashen paths. Red-eyed and dark haired, Lilifar cuts a proud figure, shroud thrown back in defiance of the biting wind.
“Stand with us, my son. Your power isn’t divine. It’s a side effect. They tried to make a super being. Some would say they succeeded.”
Many more say that I’m evil incarnate.
She continues: “We must abide, must hold out until the fleets return from punishing them.”
I switch my gaze to systemwide. The asteroid belt is gone, replaced by a ring of Kementer vessels. In an age of technological wonders, the ancient problem of two armadas sailing past each other occurred. One of the first things I did was to extend my new vision and behold the devastation we wrought upon them. What those on Earth refuse to accept is that the Kementer will not ‘rush home’. Our invaders have become a fanatical instrument of vengeance.
It’s only to be expected. One of the things that makes us hate each other is how similar we are. Their quadruple eyes and grey skin allow us to pretend they’re different, and vice versa. This war will be a turning point. If only the voices of reason can gain traction. If they fail to stop the obsession with vengeful slaughter, it’ll lock both sides into a mutually destructive downward spiral.
Governments call me a traitor for not annihilating the Kementer forces, refusing to believe the truth: my destructive powers cannot be that selective. Blind arrogance and anger wilfully refusing to put down the sword and search for an even more painful, yet peaceful, solution. ‘Bigger guns’ is their only answer – just like the Kementer aristocracy.
What to do? I am the accidental, flawed pinnacle of a project designed to produce an answer to Kementer super-soldiers. The energies directed into the cauldron that contained me failed to transform me into living steel. Instead, they put me in touch with something that identified itself as ‘Ysrafil’. It knew the strings that penetrate everything, knew how to manipulate them, had not the power to do so. As the energy surged destructively through me, it made an offer. I accepted. This awareness is what remains of the two of us, fused in a moment where Ysrafil turned death into creation.
“Kaelen! They’re talking about taking the Kementer with us! Of destroying Earth as they invade.”
Stubborn defiance taken to a blind conclusion.
I seek an answer. What arises is drastic. Possibly irrevocable.
I check on the fleet before deciding: they’re returning after learning of the attack on Earth. They intend to annihilate every Kementer in this system.
Time for sanity to prevail is what they need. Maybe I can give them that. Dropping to stand atop Everest, I slowly secure all the resonances in a sphere with radius stretching from myself to the orbital mass that swings unseen beyond Pluto. Time passes. Mother calls. Skirmishes occur. I realise the coming apocalypse is inevitable. Time will not heal. But –
I can stop the killing.
A solar system suspended within a moment, dreaming of better things. It’s not a solution, but it is a respite. Not being a god, it’s the best I can do.
The fleet enters my sphere of effect.
With a smile, I include myself.
“Be still.”
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