Messiah Complex was one of the first things I wrote when I was developing Force 11 for an independent comic company that folded before I even got close to finishing my first few issues. I wanted to know how the world ended before I really started to get into plotting the series, my plan was to tell the main Force 11 story first leading to the end and then following it with a series called the New Agers which starred younger characters from the main group, I really thought working backwards from the end to the beginning of the world would be an interesting .
Several of the original Force 11 cast have been re-imagined in Stand Alone - The Bank Job, and I will return to them eventually, but for now I am focusing on Black Sapphire's story.
“I am the Nameless of the Catalogers and once I dared to pierce the veil of the worlds, and I glanced into the previous universe, the dead world and watched it die.”
Last Legends of a Dying Earth - The Messiah Complex
‘This is how the world ends.”
Messiah floated effortlessly through the vacuum of space, but his thoughts were elsewhere...
Thousands of years ago he was a man, a man with a family, with a home. He stared back at the stars, and they winked.
* * * * *
"I can't believe he's still just floating there." Christopher Kolumns spoke for the first time in hours. He stood in front of the glass window, now opaque with the visions of space and the man known only as Messiah. "What do you think of that Kathleen?" He said to the owner of Anders Video and Repair and his boss. She looked up from her paperwork, it was after hours and they had already closed up for the night.
"I don't know what to think, he's supposed to be the destroyer of the world, I would think that he might be doing that. According to Jesuit and Peaches, it’s supposed to happen soon, within the next month or so. Maybe he's plotting..." She broke off as the windows picture changed. Messiah's body had completed its rotation, and he stared back at them as if he could see through the scrying pool. Then he spoke.
"I'm coming for you Pariah..." He mouthed and the window cracked and then shattered, “I'm coming soon." The glass settled to the ground, and CK waved his arms, and it started to reform in its frame. He looked down, his face sad. Kathleen walked over to him and put her hand on his shoulder.
"It'll be alright Christopher; there isn't anything on this world that we can't stop. Even some space god, I hope..."
* * * * *
Am I sad? Not Really
Do I care? Of Course
I have drunk the blood of thousands, thousands who gave unto me willingly.
Does this make me evil? I have yet to decide.
Wherever I go Death follows. Why?
Why you ask, it's simple.
Death and I are one.
We dance the dance of death. Till the music stops, till one is the other.
I am Messiah and this is my song.
Those words reverberated in his head as the first rays of Earths' sun washed over him. He was finally free of the prison the Elders had put him in. It had only been a thousand years of imprisonment, but he was free again. He turned quickly and pointed himself at the Earth and started his journey. His thoughts travelled back, back to the day he was imprisoned, so many ages ago...
* * * * *
"How dare you be so presumptuous Arien! You know I very well just can't destroy the world on your say so. Millions of lives will be lost; all those souls will go unenlightened. That is not what we do, despite our pasts," he screamed at the head of the council of elders. Arien stared at him, with a slight smirk on his face.
"You know not what you want, nameless one. I may have trained you in the way of magicks but what I grant I may take away; you would do well to remember that. This world has forsaken us and turned to the technological gods. Science is their way now, and I just cannot allow that. What is ours shall always be ours. If you are not up to the task then I shall send another it matters not." Arien stood, and turned. "You had better decide soon nameless one, or I will take your soul in its stead." Arien walked deep into the coliseum that made up the council’s meeting area. The other elders looked on, faces emotionless. They stood in unison and went their own ways. The Nameless Mage just stood alone in the silence. The sound of footsteps approached from the way Arien departed. He turned to see who was entering. He breathed a sigh of relief; it was only Pariah, Arien's lapdog. Still he waited for the Elder to speak.
"You realize that you have angered my master, nameless one. He is displeased with you and plans on killing you even if you do the task he asks. I'm on your side. Midgar, Earth, or whatever you call it, it has turned away from us, but maybe we can make them see the error of their ways. You should travel with your consort and see if you can sway their leaders. That’s just my advice though..." He turned without a sound this time and walked away, melding with the shadows as he passed through them. "Go now, it may be your only hope." The last word echoed off the walls, and The Nameless Mage made his decision.
* * * * *
Messiah travelled at the speed of thought, flying through the endless expanse of space towards the place he once called home. He cruised light years fast, passing planets and systems for which had no names, his thoughts only for Earth. He entered the Milky Way, as the human species called it and passed through the Sol system. Before he knew it he had passed Mars and was on his approach to his world. As he approached a large sphere blocked his view of the blue globe. He landed on the dark side of this rock. Its surface was long dead, abandoned by some long dead race, after its resources were expended. He felt no grief as he placed his hand on its surface, and felt its dying life-force. There was life still in this rock, this world’s only natural satellite.
His Magical energies started flowing into the rock, charging the rock and the beginnings of life within with his life’s energy. He spent the next day’s recharging the moon. But his thoughts were elsewhere.
* * * * *
He stood in front of his wife, the most beautiful woman he had ever known. But she was no longer the woman that he had wed years before. His own twisted desires changed that. During a period of depression, he had tried to stop his own life-force and destroy the soul that linked his with the Elders that commanded him. He had summoned all of his magical energy in his body and held onto it, until it expelled explosively. His home was destroyed, and he was killed in a sense. From that day on he knew nothing of the man he once was, and will forever be referred to as the nameless one, or the nameless mage. He stumbled through the wreckage, trying to find one scrap of the man he once was, but found nothing. Until he heard a moaning coming from some rubble far off. He quickly went to investigate. Pulling at the chunks of his house he uncovered a strange creature. It was a naked female, her breathing was shallow, and came in gasps. He pulled more from her body and saw that she had large black wings and hooves where her heels should be. She started to move of her own accord, and stood. Her back arched and her magnificent wings unfolded behind her. That’s when he saw her face. The face that he had fell in love with, attached to the body of some creature. He started to cry, but the tears would not come. His ducts were dry, and would never again shed a tear of sorrow or happiness. Angered at this misfortune, and his incompetence he picked up a broken piece of glass and drove it into his heart. Pain coursed through his body but no blood welled over the wound and glass, and he still lived.
"I am cursed!! Damn you Arien, Damn you and the elders, Damn you to the hells..." The woman that was once his wife knelt beside him and held his hands together. Tears ran down her face, as she spoke.
"Master, what is it that troubles you? Have I not been satisfactory? Have I angered you? I am sorry. You must punish me." Her eyes stared into his, and he found he still loved her, for her core personality was still present only blocked from escaping. So he stood and helped her to her feet. Magicks flew around her and she was clothed in a brilliant gown. Then he led her away to find them a new home.
But that was so long ago, he now had a different agenda. He was to travel to the Earth and see if he could persuade the world’s leaders to forsake the technological marvels they had come to know and love. Those deities would be their downfall. He had to make them see that. He waved his Angel over to him; she walked over and stood behind him, her breath on his neck. She stood only inches above him but it seemed like feet. She was a frightening specimen, but he loved her anyway. His wife was in there somewhere but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t speak to her, but he kept on trying. He spoke to his Angel and told her his plan. She only nodded at the end, and started gathering his equipment. When his bag was packed they set off.
* * * * *
Finally the pockmarked rock was charged with his life’s blood. It pulsed with a new ambient light, a shallow blue-green. He released his hold, and punched the stone. The stone pulsed outward, in waves, as it started to break apart. The ripples grew, into many, reaching higher and higher into the vacuum.
The explosion was felt on Earth as the moon became a bright spot in the sky. The disruption of its orbit caused tidal waves that attacked the coasts, Hawaii, Japan, and many other islands were destroyed in minutes. Farther inland earthquakes racked the major cities, leveling most. Smaller cities were left intact, only to be struck with tornados and storms. Within days most of the Earths populace was dead, and the rest were killed days later when the moons fragments crashed to the surface. Nuclear winter was a thing of the past. The only hope the world had left was in the central American town of New Angeles. With the team called Force 11.
* * * * *
Pariah stood amidst the carnage, and rubble of the town. The rest of the team stood behind him, in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie Center. Messiah floated above the ground in front of Christopher, energy swirling around them both. Anger crossed CK's face as he spoke.
"Why did you do this, I'm not the man you think I am! I just found a book, damn it. I'm not a god." He stared into Messiahs eyes and energy flared deeper into his soul. "Let’s finish this then, but if I win you had better fix the world." He clenched his fists, and started forward.
"Fine then, I will do as you bid. Keep in mind that your friends may not interfere. Shall we commence with this game??" Messiah’s eyes also struck up a new color as energies poured from them.
"This is it team! Wish me luck..." He leapt in...
* * * * *
"Fine then, I will do as you bid. Keep in mind that your friends may not interfere. Shall we commence with this game??" Messiah and his Angel of Death stood in front of Pariah. The town around them in ruins, as were all the towns they had come to on the nameless ones mission to reunite their religion.
Pariah stood defiantly against the onslaught of words, and looked over his shoulder. The warriors he had gathered stood ready to attack. This Force of nature was no match for them but the rules of combat forbid interference from outside forces. As much as it hurt him, he turned to his gathered forces, ten men and women from varied backgrounds, but all linked in mind and body. Friends forever.
"I'm sorry I brought you here but..." He whispered as magickal energy flew out of his palms and struck them all one by one, linking them for one final breath. Their eyes rolled back in unison, and they fell to the ground lifeless. Their souls coursed through his veins, and his power grew. He turned for the last time, tears running down his face, and he cursed as he leapt in...
* * * * *
Messiah stood over Pariah's body, lying in a pool of his own blood. He stirred, and looked up at him. He spit blood out, and straightened himself. He brushed the dust a rock from his clothes. Blood poured from a wound in his side.
"It was a mistake making me bleed, Alistair." Messiah stared at him, his true name revealed at last. Memories flooded back to him, his wife, and his child. The death of both of them, and then from the darkness of his mind their faces, their faces...
* * * * *
The nameless one held Pariahs lifeless body in his hands, the power expended during the conflict. His Angel was dead at his left side, killed by a stray magical bolt. The town’s rubble burned around him. He stared into Pariahs eyes as the last bit of life turned them grey.
"Fath..." The one word made his soul run cold. He had killed his son. The only one who had kept his memory alive, and with his death all was lost. He dropped the body to the ground.
More energy fell from his hands as the ground opened up and swallowed their bodies, those of his son, his angel, and the ten soulless forms of the purest men and women on the world. He turned for the last time and walked into the horizon...
* * * * *
The ground crackled around Christopher, as his blood poured into the cracks on the ground. Slowly skeletal hands pulled their way to the surface. The ground broke and many skeletal forms pulled free. Only one stood at the head of the pack, clothes still lay tattered on its skinless frame. Its skull turned upward and looked at Messiah, its skeletal grin made Christopher’s blood run cold. 'What have I done??' He thought. The lead skeleton lurked forward, arms outstretched, reaching for his blood.
"Why Father, why did you kill mother and I, why?" The voice came not from the halting figure but from Messiahs' own head. Green energy coalesced around the figure, and it started to look more human. Flesh covered the energy, and muscle grew beneath. Eyes slowly filled into its sockets, and it stared at Messiah. The same way...
* * * * *
Arien stared at him. He couldn't believe what the nameless one had done. Most of the human race was wiped out during the conflict with his son. They were beginning to see that they needed gods in addition to technology, the religions would become one, and the human species would become a peaceful race, no more wars, no more poverty, but now, now it would struggle to survive, its religious and technological levels forever halted. Beliefs would disappear, and new religions would surface. There would be cults, and planet wide wars that would make them slip farther into its past. Everything Arien had hoped to achieve was gone, all because he had been angry at the other deities. He knew now that one could not live without the other. Some day they might survive, pull themselves out of the primordial ooze once again, but that day was far from near. 'I must punish him forever.' He thought to himself.
"Nameless one, you know why I have called you here today. For your crimes against humanity, you are to be imprisoned, imprisoned in your own mind until the rays of your beloved sun pass over your body once again. Into the depths of space you will float, you won't die mind you, just float with no power to your limbs, but your mind will stay intact. Do you understand?" Arien looked at the nameless one, waiting for a response.
"Yes master I understand." He bowed his head, as a single tear ran down his face. The last sensation his body has for a thousand years.
* * * * *
He painfully looked away from his son’s visage. He had called himself Messiah, because he had planned on heralding a new age for humanity. He had failed, just as he had failed in the past, just as he fails now. His son looked at him with a longing that he could not feel. Tears started to pour from Messiahs face, and he smiled. He waved his hand and swirling energy engulfed the skeletons and his son once again. They vanished without a sound, their dust settling to the ground at Christopher’s feet. Chris looked up, the fight renewed.
"Your death will bring many souls the peace they deserve!!!" He screamed, air whipping around his body as they clashed for the final time. The fight raged for hours until Messiah finally fell. The battle had drained him completely and a smile crossed his face, just as the last energy went about its task. The world started to renew itself as a white glow emanated from Messiahs fallen body.
"I kept my promise; the world would be as it once was." He sighed as his last breath left his body. The white glow continued to grow until there was a bright flash, and...
* * * * *
Pariah stood over his father’s body, destroyed by his own magicks. His mother lay some twenty feet away, horribly mangled by the explosion that took his father’s life. He couldn't understand why he would do such a thing.
"Some things will always remain a mystery." His words fell silent against the dead air around him, "Nothing will grow here, a memorial to you Father, and Mother, it will remain new, as your spirits fly with the angels." He took flight, and never looked back.