Z. The End

“I’m sorry,” she signaled. “Truly, I am. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But at the same time, 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 longer any trace of your existence. By then, maybe even our memory of you will fade.”

V. The Plan

Atop the main island she saw a white-walled monastery. She landed nearby—beside a great gray stone statue.

The statue intrigued her. It was a giant bird atop a stone box sheltering a tiny man with its wings.

She turned to the monastery and waited. She might have waited minutes or years, so disrupted was her conception of time. Eventually she saw Nemo exit the monastery; she recognized him by his navy robes and the swastika she’d carved on his forehead. Nemo approached her and bowed. “Akayama! Oran dora.”

“Virgil Blue,” she said. Nemo nodded. “I must ask you for a favor.”

“Anything,” said Nemo.

Nakayama squawked. “You speak! You speak English!”

T. Wings

The white light collected on either side of the Galaxy Zephyr’s spine. With the blare of Gnostic archons’ trumpets, sixteen white wings erupted, each longer than the Galaxy Zephyr was tall. Every feather was a jet engine.

Lucille snickered. “Not a bad look.” She flipped her hair back, and the Galaxy Zephyr grew a silvery blue ponytail like that of her late mother, Princess Lucia. “Charlie, Daisuke, Eisu, Feito, each of your teams takes the four nearest wings. Learn your controls.”

R. The Wheel of Fortune

“You heard her!” Lucille shouted in her microphone to the ten thousand pilots of her Galaxy Zephyr. “Transfer power to our heart!”

Feito saluted on Lucille’s main monitor. “Are you sure, Commander?”

Eisu saluted beside his sister on the monitor. “Without power, we can’t even try to escape the thumb.”

Daisuke saluted above Feito. “Commander, I recommend fleeing at full speed.”

Above Eisu, Charlie lit a cockroach and puffed. “Transferring power.”

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