The people of the sun fortress had begun rebuilding. There were a few survivors who had managed to evacuate, but four fifths of the city's population had been killed by the Metatron. The rest was silent. They were still searching the ruins for bodies.
Jhin and Melissa still felt guilty for what had happened. They couldn't stop the machine in time, and now others had paid the price. Not them, but others had reaped the consequences for their actions. People who had just wanted to live.
Not wanting to be noticed, they inched their way through the ruins to find what they wanted. After a bit of moving rubble around, they found it. Stairs going down in an underground tunnel. They went down.
This was the solar underground. The only way to communicate with the sun. After great efforts, the inhabitants of the fortress had achieved a great technological feat : a satellite orbiting the sun.
The underground was square. It was dark and damp, its stone walls carved with symbols and stories told by the people above. After some time, they reached the end of the corridor. They arrived in a large circular room. The walls were all carven with stories relating to the sun. In the middle was a computer terminal and a metallic disc linked to the computer by wires.
The solar satellite had a strange atmosphere. It was built with corridors curving, following the curve of the sun. Hallways perpendicular to the curve linked them together. The floor was tiled in a black and white checkered pattern, and a grey fake ceiling loomed overhead. Plexiglas windows ran the length of the halls. They advanced in the weird and strange space.
The sky beyond the windows was clear. It was perfectly black, and was it not for the glare of the sun, it would be dotted by countless stars. The temperature rose as they approached the observation room, despite the remarkable insulation. It felt like a school corridor.
Eventually they reached the end room. It was in the middle of the arc closest to the sun. A round room with windows stretching from floor to ceiling toward the sun. The windows had a special coating that dimmed the sun's light somewhat.
From this close, the sun was imposing. It filled the windows, showing only a minuscule part of its whole.
Just now, they realized the absurdity of the situation. Puny flesh beings, two puny flesh beings, and a metal stick, against one, giant star. Against something which had lived for billions of years. Something that had given life to the world for eons.
How... how did one even fight the sun ?
A strong voice rang in their head. "So you did come, in the end. I saw you destroying Ubu. Great work."
"Are you... the Sun ?
-Yes, the very. I know who you are. Since your birth, I have watched you intentely, just like I watched everything that exists.
-Were you not given consciousness just under two hundred years ago ?
-I suppose so. But I do have memories of everything I have witnessed.
-And your conclusion ?"
"At first, I was interested. Life was very interesting to watch. Countless beings were born, and died, all in endless evolution. Then, the creators arrived. While they created all of this world, I still cannot remove my contempt for them. They spread their seeds, and started the tribes. And now, see what happened. Countless wars started, all destroying more and more.
"But, I realize, even if they hadn't done that, nothing would have changed. War would still exist, because of the primates. They changed, and changed so much that they dissociated themselves from their own source. They began to destroy the world around them for their own benefits, and to destroy each other. Humanity had chosen the path of destruction since the very beginning.
"And over time, since the event in which the primates died, I have gained sentience. I have grown contempt, hatred, anger, wrath. I hate humanity, and the Argillacreantis, and the Ideals, and the Pennalegis, and every tribe.
"All I want, is to go back. I want to go back to how the world was before. When it was just me, unthinking, content, watching life develop below. Without any war. Without any hatred."
"So," started Melissa, "you want to remain as an impartial observer. You want to just watch the world without interfering. Is that right ?" The sun confirmed.
"But then what if even after you create that world and achieve that state again, wars start again ? What then ? Will you just destroy over and over ? Isn't that interfering ?
"If the world chooses a path, you can't decide to steer it again. You say you want to remain as a simple observer, and yet so far all you did was simply... to interfere. To steer."
The sun remained silent. Both Jhin and Melissa were sweating, their throats tied. They remembered the world below. They remembered the trees of the forest in the time before dawn. They remembered the peaceful villages. The wildflowers dotting the steppe. The white desert dust. The ruins of the city. The azure waters. They remembered the people. Those who had hated them, those they had hated, those who had helped them, those they had helped.
Deep down, since they had entered the solar underground... they knew. They wouldn't be granted a return trip.
This was the end.
They had to make it count.
They realized what they already knew, and put themselves in position.
Melissa held Deicide toward the sun. She and Jhin infused the blade over and over with constructs. They filled it with energy. The blade was a ship, a ship that contained their wishes for the future.
They would send it to the sun's core, and there it would destroy it. "I see," said the sun, a final farewell. "It was good knowing you."
Melissa and Jhin looked at each other. In the strong and stark light of the sun, the shadows on their faces were exaggerated. They smiled.
A black sword against a white orb.
A white sail against an even brighter light.
The window shattered.