The price of becoming a guardian is too high.
Empyrean’s angel of death had doubts. Obedience took more of her soul each day, a fact she knew better than the length of her blade or how many times she had killed. All action served Empyrean. The god of sun gods could not be resisted, nor understood, nor reasoned with.
Many lifetimes ago, she brought destruction upon her people because Empyrean presented a devil’s bargain.
A few may live, Pyr. If you wish to choose, you must kill and kill and kill until galaxies fear your execution of my will.
Pyr slaughtered the enemies of her new master for a thousand years, hating near immortality even as she craved it. For a time, she had been a battle god, but as Empyrean’s influence expanded, she became a shadow of the end times.
Pyr was death served in the darkness behind her master’s horde of Astral warriors. She was the assassin no one had ever seen.
She doubted the god of sun gods would grant her true immortality. Damnation stalked her with skill she had to admire. Dreams brought visions of her people, but she no longer awoke in tears.
Empyrean did not command her to mourn, so she did not.
Pyr’s people were a kind of human, very similar to those who had invoked the wrath of her master. They were bipedal, carbon-based life forms dependent on oxygen and water and emotion.
If she ever encountered a native of her long dead homeworld, that man or woman would have skin the color of a white star and hair blue as an Earth sky. Eyes like diamonds, lips the color of dried blood, and a physical form full of grace and purpose would be a reflection of her physical existence.
But she would never go home again. Her people did not love her, or know her, or search for her in the vast eternal night of space.
Her ship, Astral’s Revenge, drifted toward the planet anchor that tethered her displacement drive. She worked the controls of the ship, attending to details she knew better than her own name. Routine was never routine, she knew, but traveling great distances was familiar and comforting to her dead soul.
Today, like hundreds and thousands before, she would kill a mortal.
The FCF Impregnable held station at the outer rim of Urian’s orbit, displacement shields invisible and weapon turrets tucked tightly against the three kilometer fuselage. Pyr had studied the millennia of effort put into building the stolen vessel. Forged at a cellular level, the strength of the superstructure had allowed a god to escape a devil long before these strange humans co-opted the galaxy defender for their own use.
Or for the use of the United Earth Federation president, to be precise.
Only damnation could follow disobedience of Empyrean’s decree. No ship, not even a mobile fortress such as the FCF Impregnable (once known as Andromeda's Sanctuary) could delay the inevitable.
Today, the inevitable was Pyr.
She took inventory of the ways the ancient ship could block her mission. Humans, once they riddled out the fabrication plant, had added weapons they were most comfortable with: missile launchers, kinetic weapons, and two types of energy cannons—laser and plasma. The last of these was a hybrid, she thought, although she didn’t care.
This time there would be no fleet battle dashing through the void against impossible odds...