Z. The End

Professor Akayama unfurled both wings and blasted steam from her lab coat to sail light-years from the Galaxy Zephyr. As she flew, she siphoned mass from the Galaxy Zephyr until it was merely its original robots and her wingspan could have enveloped the observable universe. On her wings she grew eye-spots, and with these eye-spots she signaled a last message to the Enemy Hurricane’s scattered humanoid particulates.

Z picta.png

“I’m sorry,” she signaled. “Truly, I am. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But did you really think this could end any other way?”

The Enemy Hurricane’s particles signaled back, “What did you do?”

“Space-time is expanding,” signaled Akayama. “Soon it will expand so quickly that it will be impossible for anything to travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. You’ll drift farther and farther away, faster and faster, until billions of years hence your images are Doppler-shifted beyond ultra-violet and there’s no trace of your existence. By then, maybe even our memory of you will fade.”

“We’ll recombine,” signaled the Enemy Hurricane. “We’ll join together once more, and then—”

“No you won’t,” signaled Akayama. “Just as you drift away from us, you drift away from each other. Eventually even your individual bodies with be sheared apart.” As she signaled, the Enemy Hurricane felt this shearing force. Expanding space-time stretched their humanoid forms into snakes and salamanders. The stretching opened wounds which bled teeth. “Eons hence, even the subatomic particles forming your atoms will be torn apart.”

The Enemy Hurricane just squealed in pain. Akayama sighed.

“Tell me,” she signaled, “do you fear God?” She received no answer. “If there ever comes a time you could be called dead, Lucifer will drag you to his darkest pit. You might shout to God for mercy—and I will look down in pity, and remind you, you had your chance.” Akayama shrugged. “Oh, I almost forgot.”

She shook one wing and a tiny green speck fell from her sleeve onto her longest feather.

“Although you’re suffering, o Hurricane, understand that your thousand pilots are safe and sound. I’ve snagged them from the Hurricane Planet allied with me. Out of curiosity I fed them through the machine learning algorithm which recreated Earth, to reduce them to their most basic form. I’ve met humans whose psyches could hold half of all living creatures. I’ve met humans whose compassion extended to every sentient being. Anihilato’s complicated form reached every corner of humanity’s deepest, darkest, most vile crevices. But you?”

She raised the tiny green speck. It was a frog; it was almost cute.

“You ain’t shit.”

The Enemy Hurricane didn’t respond. Maybe it was too far away, or maybe its mind was clouded with agony.

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Charlie pointed to his main monitor. “Look! The professor’s coming back.”

Lucille folded her arms and tssk’d. “She didn’t even ask before she stole my robot’s mass. We’re barely a kilometer tall.”

“She gave you that mass,” chided Daisuke, “and she knows what she’s doing.”

While the ten thousand pilots watched Professor Akayama grow near, she shrunk as she left galaxy clusters in her wake. She popped off her wings and they decomposed into dark matter. Her compound eyes disintegrated and every facet became a gargantuan star.

“Beautiful,” fawned Feito. “There are stars everywhere!”

“Better than that!” Eisu scrolled through historical records on his monitors. “The stars are back where they used to be a century ago! She’s putting the universe back to normal!”

The whole crew gasped as Akayama shed her robe and it condensed into the Milky Way’s celestial belt. She expelled the sun and moon from her chest, and the combined Zephyr drifted gently against the moon’s surface and rest there beside the military base.

Akayama’s body shrank and shrank, leaving each planet of the solar system behind her. She deposited Earth last.

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Lucille stared agape at Earth’s gleaming oceans. She eventually regained composure and pulled her monitors close. “Zoom in! Start scanning! Are there any forms of life?”

ZAB responded in its computerized monotone. “Only one. Akayama.” The monitor magnified the image of Earth and zoomed in on the fertile crescent. All over Earth, buildings, roads, and infrastructure were present, but no humans were to be seen. Only Akayama herself stood tall over the landscape, almost six hundred billion tons of colossal bird-thing.

“She’s—” Feito covered her mouth. “Is this appropriate to watch?”

Akayama laid an enormous egg and deflated to a tiny fraction of her volume.

“It’s hatching!” said Eisu.

A peculiar gas streamed from the egg’s cracks. The gas spread to cover Earth in seconds. “Those are all Earth’s single-celled organisms,” said ZAB. The cracks widened and dark rivers poured to cover Earth’s landmass. “The insects and small creatures.” The cracks widened and torrents surged. Lucille didn’t need ZAB to tell her these were the larger species; she saw in her monitors elephants, tigers, wolves, and every other manner of animal running for their habitats. Even sea creatures rolled across the deserts, and she understood that Akayama had supernaturally bolstered these specimens to make the journey to their original homes.

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“Where are the people?” asked Daisuke.

“Look!” Charlie made the combined Zephyr’s right arm point to Akayama. Her feathers fell from her flesh, and each one became a human being. The feathers drifted and tumbled with the wind to deposit each person where they belonged. With each feather, the bird-thing’s body shrank.

ZAB clicked through thousands of calculations. “They’re all there,” it said. “Everyone—no, everything is accounted for, down to the last microbe.”

Lucille leaned away from her monitor’s camera so her crew couldn’t see her wipe tears from her face. “Yappari sou da. Akayama Hakase.”

“Wait.” ZAB’s monitors flickered. “There are two Akayamas.”

“Huh?”

The monitor zoomed in. Professor Akayama’s human body lay nude and unconscious in the sand before the body of the bird-thing. It loomed motionless above her, about twelve feet tall.

The crew of the combined Zephyr watched breathlessly as Akayama’s human form stirred awake. She felt her own body, first, before standing and noticing the bird-thing before her. She cringed in fear, then reached out to touch its featherless flesh.

At a touch, it disintegrated. It just blew away in breeze.

Z picte.png

It left only a fresh white lab coat on the sand. Akayama donned it. She patted her pockets, and found a cricket and a lighter. She indulged in a good smoke.

“It’s over,” said Lucille. “It can start again.”

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