Nigel awoke with a start. It had been over a decade since he had suffered under Holys control during the Month of Shame. He had tried to travel back in time and save the Quall Hives. To re-enter the Temple of the Rogue HiveQueens, even though Yoba Sabot had told him what he wanted was impossible. At age six impossible had seemed an absurd statement made by cynical adults.
Now at age 17, he was far more aware of the impossibility of certain goals. He had seen Lainey Hayden die, seen Churchwood die, seen Damsk die, and seen Hourglass die. And each loss had hardened the child a little bit. It had never made him cruel but it had made him strict. Losing Gilox Teddyheart had also changed Nigel. He no longer called Qu’oa the Teddy Bear Queen, nor did he consider them gods. But he did see the Quall as a benefit. Especially the Quall connection and the wisdom of their aeons of collected memories.
The door to his chamber opened and Nigel was surprised to see Claude Vysen.
“Time Shredder Vysen, what is the good word?” asked the young dimension walker, Nigel.
“Today is the day my young ward. Today is the day,” said Claude Vysen, “Remember when I brought you to this new timeline over ten years ago? It was after you tried to rewrite the Emergence of Holys, and could not. You were a child. Overwhelmed and afraid, but now you are a man. A man who must choose the right course of action. A man who must show love and support to all humans. But these are sometimes hard paths to walk. Today is one of those hard paths, my ward?”
“I have hidden here, working alongside the Cult of the Horned Dog and the Unity and Yoba Sabot to find a solution to the dangers of Holys. There is none. If only I would have allowed Yoba Sabot to innoculate all the Quall hives instead of just our enemies in the Cult of Ayx. Have you visited the timeline we came from? The one where Qu’oa’s forces were under attack by the Cult of Ayx?”
“No I have not returned. Instead I have waited for today. Today the solution to the Holys problem will be shown to you,” said Vysen slyly. And when you see it, then we will return and save your Queen and my own timeline from all dangers…”
Vysen helped young Nigel get into the ceremonial robes of a Dimension Walker. The pair walked together from the beauty of their quarters to the dark depths of the floating city station known as Unity Core. They rode a secret elevator to a hidden room in a central tower of the city. There was a computer, a massive computer incorporating the head of a Quall Hivequeen.
Nigel felt sick to his stomach as he saw that computer. He saw the head and recognized the face of Ar’yay Hivequeen, long killed off by the Unity and their Beacon City allies. Was it cloned, was it stolen? What was this abomination?
Yoba Sabot approached with joy. This timeline’s version of him was just as blobbish and easygoing as the one from the timeline they had escaped. He greeted Nigel, “You have grown into such a fine mine, Nigel. I have some great news. It has taken us half a decade, but Unity Prime and I have a new innoculation, something that will finally protect us all from the Hive King.
“But wait…” asked Vysen, “If Prime is here, won’t holys know?”
“I have succeeded in turning Prime into our own Hiveking, something protected from Holys,” said the Ydyara not really understanding what he was saying.
“You are putting Unity Prime over the Quall Hives?” Nigel said with passion, “That is not the solution Yoba Sabot.”
“He and I have talked at length, and it is the best path,” said Yoba Sabot, “But here is the necessary part to it all, the Hive Queen Brain Computer. The Unity had been using it to spy into the Quall Hiveminds to keep ahead of Quall activities.”
Vysen leaned in and grabbed Nigel’s sleeve, “You know this place now, when we return home, you can lead the team to recover this computer.”
Nigel was going to argue but there was a flash of blue light, and he found himself aboard Captain Grynngrenn’s frigate. Hourglass and Churchwood walked by him, and said, “Nigel…is that you? You disappeared for about 48 hours and now you look really different. Did you clone tube malfunction?”
“I’m not a clone, Timmy,” said Nigel.
To Nigel’s shock, walking down the hall was Claude Vysen, not the young one who had taken him to the other timeline to grow up. It was the old, bearded Claude Vysen, the one Nigel had thought had died on destroying the planet being overrun by E-strain.
“Don’t bother the Dimension Walker, Brethren,” said Vysen stroking his beard. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a holographic display that showed multiple I.R. documents showing Nigel’s new age, and his rank as full dimension walker within the I.R. recognized faith the Cult of the Horned Dog. It also showed a full passport, bank account in his name, and a rank of junior operative within Sector General Deer’s special operations command.
Churchwood nodded and walked on.
Hourglass said, “Hey Nigel, no matter what happened, its good to have you back.”
For Nigel it had been 10 years, for them two days. He sighed.
Vysen laid a comforting hand on Nigel’s shoulder, “Life moves in strange directions. Sometimes we respond, sometimes we react, sometimes we are reacted to. Don’t think long on the timeline you were hidden in. I only hope I have given you the way to defeat Holys and his Hiveking.”
“Yes I know what we need. We have to secure the Queen Brain Computer that Unity Prime has hidden. In the other timeline he had it at a location, and I have the coordinates. Please tell Captain Grynngrenn I will need some special forces for this mission,” said Nigel slowly.
“Shall I request Lieutenant Damsk?” asked Vysen.
“No keep Damsk out of this one,” said Nigel, “This could be a suicide mission, and Damsk always did right by me and deserves a long healthy life.”