3 Quietly into the Nigh
She was waking up, slowly drifting upwards through the sea of her subconscious.
This was not an uncommon occurrence for her.
In fact, every time she fought the enemy, she was unconscious. She would slowly awaken after the battle was over.
Her survival instinct seemed to suppress her waking mind as part of some sort of protection mechanism.
She knew the process and the cause, but she had no control over it.
Even if she wished for death, she did not have a choice. She would survive.
In the beginning she was driven by the desire to survive. Even now that desire was still there.
But, she was getting tired. As the sun was slowly being consumed by the enemy, so was her will to go on.
The faces and people that were once her driving force were long gone, and she couldn't even remember their names.
The years she had survived on this barren world had changed her. Any unnecessary memories had been removed, leaving behind only the knowledge needed for survival. Her body needed no food or water, absorbing energy directly from the elements around her. Muscle mass had been condensed, and unnecessary organs had atrophied and been expelled.
All these changes were necessary for survival. She had not decided to change, her survival instinct had changed her.
It had been a gradual change, driven by desperation and need in the beginning, but was only completed when she had realized that she was the only one left.
That was one memory that she would never forget. The despair of knowing that she was the last human had broken her... or it would have had her survival instinct not forced her into unconsciousness.
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She had awoken an unknown amount of time later when the planet was already dead, and the sun was partially consumed. By then the changes were complete, and the only thing left to do was survive or die.
At this point, survival was all she had left, but there was nothing left for her to protect.
She opened her eyes.
A gray expanse stretched before her.
Her emerald eyes widened in surprise. This was not the planet she last saw. This was somewhere else.
She looked around, but saw only gray as far as the horizon. What the hell happened while she was out?!
Then, she heard a voice. "Hello."
She turned and saw a shimmering white figure with plain features staring at her.
She was in shock. How long has it been since she heard another voice? Seen another face?
Her breath came in rapid gasps as she stared at the figure, hoping that somehow it was not a dream or fabrication of her broken mind.
It spoke again. "My name is Pfortner and yes, I am real. Please, stay calm"
Calm?! How could she stay calm! She raised her hand, trying to reach out to the white figure. She had to know if it was real!
Suddenly, she realized her own body was the same shimmering white. She could see straight through her hand!
Looking at the figure again she finally began to calm down. Questions, she had so many questions.
Pfortner smiled. "Don't worry, like I said, this is real, and I am not a figment of your mind. We are currently in a virtual construct. I created this space so I can explain to you what is happening, without having to worry about anything else."
He waved his hand and a display appeared next to her causing her to startle a bit.
Her surprise vanished when she saw what was on the display. She could see her own body submerged in a tank of cyan colored fluid.
A breathing mask was on her face and hundreds of tubes and wires were hooked into the tank and herself.
"That is a stasis pod. It will protect you during your journey and repair some of the damage to your body." Pfortner said.
She looked at him questioningly.
"I will explain everything in a little bit." He said. "First, can you speak?"
There was a moment of silence. Then she answered. "Yes."
Her voice was soft, yet clear.
Pfortner nearly fried his datacore. To him it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.
After a second he skope again. "Do you have a name?"
"It's nice to meet you Zoey. I would love to chat, but we don't have much time." Pfortner said sadly.
"I will only be able to speak to you a while longer. The reason for this is that you will soon be on your way to another universe, and once you leave I will be unable to speak with you again."
Another universe? Zoey was confused.
Pfortner continued, "The universe we live in is dead. You are the only living survivor that exists in any dimension left in this existence. The only thing left I can do is use the last of the energy from that dying star to send you to another universe entirely. I'm sorry I can't do more. I know you have questions, but I can only give you this in the time we have left. If I delay any longer, the enemy may find us."
Pfortner waved his hand and nearby appeared a bed, and another console with an interface she could recognize.
"That terminal has all the information that is left from this universe. Most of it is largely useless, but I cannot bear to see it discarded. You will also find information about where you will be traveling to, and what you can expect once you get there."
Zoey nodded to show that she understood. He was sacrificing what was left to give her another chance. She could see the fatigue in his form as they faced each other one last time.
"Thank you" She said quietly. Her voice carried sadness that only the survivor of a dead universe could know.
Pfortner smiled as form began to fade. "Please... Remember me..."
He was gone.
Even though they had been together but a moment, she felt the sorrow of his absence.
How could she not? He was the only person that she had interacted with after countless years alone on a dead planet.
Now she was alone once again.
A display popped into view before her, startling her again.
On the screen she could see the dying sun of her former home slowly moving further away, the dim light getting dimmer as the distance grew. The disgusting tendrils of the enemy could still be seen on the surface, slowly leeching away the light.
She felt a swell of sadness wash over her. She would escape, leaving behind the last star to be slowly consumed by the enemy. Such a terrible fate.
Suddenly, a line of text appeared on the display.
"I will not let them have our last star. Zoey, consider this a farewell gift. - Pfortner"
In the vast darkness of a dying universe, a single remaining star pulsed for one last time.
The dull red light shone fiercely as the star expanded, its surface boiling with one final statement;
I will not go quietly into the night!
The flash of a supernova, a brilliant red against the emptiness of space was witnessed by one person.
A human named Zoey on her way to another universe.
The violent detonation left nothing behind.
The last light went dark, leaving an entire universe in darkness forever.
Amidst the dark, a small ship quietly disappeared from existence, on its way to a new beginning.