“And that's what you told Michael?”
“Jesus... you have any idea how insane that sounds?” Ursula said as she lounged on Chair.
“I've thought long and hard about this and it's the only thing that makes any kind of sense. That explains everything.”
“I'm glad Chair is okay. I thought he might have got lost, or killed. We'd kind of forgotten about him in the heat of the moment.”
“Oh these things?” Ursula said, patting an arm rest. “They're resilient little buggers. Besides, how'd do you think I found you in the first place. I said I had a bug. Small and hidden isn't always better, sometimes what you need has to be in plain sight.”
“How long till we get there?”
“Less than an hour. I hope Michael's all right.”
“He'll be fine. He knows what he doing... well, he doesn't, we've kind of been chasing phantoms and running from one hiding place to the next since we met.” Gabriella chuckled.
“Our friend Michael doesn't seem to have very much in the way of any information. I don't know about you but I hardly know anything about him.”
“No, me either, but that's hardly surprising, he doesn't know anything about himself either. Everything he did know, now he's found out it could all be a lie.”
“I guess. That's got to be tough. I know how that feels. This body isn't mine and me, I'm not even a real person.”
Gabriella got up and put a hand on Ursula's shoulder. “You're real to me.”
Ursula squeezed Gabriella's hand. Her hand lingered, her fingers stroking the soft skin of Gabriella's fingers, then pulled away.
“Nothing. Everything. I don't know. I'm just going through a lot right now I guess. I'm confused, I don't know what is right or wrong any more.”
“It isn't me is it?”
“No! Christ, no! No, it's just that I've spent my entire life betraying people. I've even betrayed myself. Somehow, I know that whatever happens, it's going to end badly.”
Gabriella sat on her lap and kissed Ursula long and hard.
“You saved my life. That's a happy ending. And this,” she said, kissing Ursula again, “this is a happy ending too. You're not cursed, Ursula, you're not evil. You're just you.”
Ursula blinked back tears and kissed Gabriella passionately. “I've never known anyone like you.”
Gabriella just smiled, her lips still pressed against Ursula face. Ursula picked her up like she was nothing and Gabriella gasped with shock.
“Where are we going?”
Ursula carried her to the bedroom. “We're going to have our happy ending.”
* * * * *
Michael was tired of waiting, with what he had learnt he was getting antsy. He needed to see Triad now, he just hoped it was all right, after seeing what had happened in the Aether he wasn't sure. He was in the display chamber where he had first been introduced to Triad. The floor was littered with foul smelling gore where the nodes of Triad it chose to expose to it's visitors had been ripped apart, no doubt by more possessed Neutrals. Where they were now he didn't know, he hoped they were far away from here. He left the chamber and explored the corridors, looking for a passage that would lead to the areas below where the real Triad resided. Not once did he come across a body of a Neutral.
If demons can cross through now, then why hasn't that thing passed through? Why isn't Tetherson here? Maybe he can't. Maybe it's simply to large to cross over, it could be nothing is large enough to contain it, the other Triad would of course have it's own signature that would block it much like the original Triad. Or me. Then how would he even exist? All things Aetheric are shadows of their real-world counterparts, except demons. He claimed to be a hive-mind, he must have fused with demons, it's the only things that makes sense. But how? Why?
As he was thinking, walking along the corridors he heard a distant noise, a hammering of some kind, of blunt instruments drumming against metal. Curious, he headed the towards the sound, crouching low to avoid being seen in the dim light. As he approached, the sound got louder and louder until he finally stuck his head around a corner and pulled it back rapidly in fear. Tens of Neutrals were hammering at the door, maybe fifty or more, beating with their fists, their heads, their claws or whatever they could grab hold of. Some had ripped metal piping from the walls and were beating the over and over against the door. Occasionally, one Neutral would get in the way of another and be struck down as a pipe or claw crushed their grey, pale-skinned, bald heads. Bodies lay on the floor, their skulls caved in were they had obviously met a similar fate earlier.
Crap, how can I get past them? Michael thought. I can't Dive again, I still can't control it, who knows where I might end up, and I'm so close. There must be another way.