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Child Of Darkness

Chapter Six


High above Motavia in the cold darkness of space, farther up than any mortal could live for a sustained period of time, circled the artificial satellite Zelan. Along with its sister satellite, Kuran, Zelan was responsible for maintaining all of Motavia's computer-controlled systems which, one thousand years after Mother Brain's destruction, had been reduced to maintaining a single system -- climate control.

Kuran was obsolete, its systems totally destroyed when Chaz and his friends purged a manifestation of Dark Force from it.

Nurvus, the planet-bound extension of Zelan's control system, malfunctioned, creating abnormal environmental disasters all over Motavia. When Rika first joined Chaz's party, Seed, her creator, told them to rescue the android Demi from the dark wizard Zio. Seed believed that Demi could determine and pinpoint what was wrong with Motavia's climate control system. It was during their successful rescue attempt that they discovered how powerful Zio's magic really was, unable to penetrate his Magic Barrier, and the planet's greatest Hunter, Alys Brangwin, fell victim to the Black Energy Wave.

They took Alys to Krup, Hahn Larsson's home town, where he could watch over her while Chaz, Demi, Gryz, and Rika sought out Rune, who was rumored to be at Ladea Tower. Demi's knowledge of machinery proved to be invaluable and soon they embarked on a journey to retrieve Rune via the Land Rover, a vehicle used to cross Motavia's quick sands with ease.

When Chaz, Demi, and the others arrived at Ladea Tower, Rune was at its entrance waiting for their arrival. Somehow, he knew of their encounter with Zio and quickly informed them of a magical item known as the Psycho Wand. At Ladea's topmost chamber, they appropriated the Psycho Wand, then returned to Krup where they stayed at Alys' side in her final hours. Her dying request to Rune was that he accompany Chaz wherever his fate would lead him.

Alys was buried in a grassy hillside above Krup. Chaz was so distraught over her death, he turned inward and did not talk to anybody. That night while he looked toward the stars and for answers to life's questions, Rika visited him. She talked, mostly nonsense as far as Chaz was concerned at the time, but he found her ravings comforting, soothing. She only had his best interests in mind; as a result, however, her gentle, caring actions made Chaz fall in love for her. After a while, Rika realized that she loved him, too.

Chaz's party, having journeyed deep into Nurvus' heart, met and defeated the dark wizard Zio. Demi knew her duty and merged with the computer system, shutting it down so that it would stop creating any new environmental disturbances. But after merging, she discovered she was unable to stop any of Motavia's existing disturbances. In order to take care of this problem, she asked Chaz to fly to Zelan and seek out her master, Wren, so that he might correct it. She provided them with an emergency shuttle craft from Nurvus and they entered Motavia's orbit with Zelan.

There they met Wren, a nine hundred ninety-eight year-old android assembled sometime after Mother Brain was deactivated. Wren, though having the body of a machine, possessed several Palman-like qualities, his markedly Palman countenance and jet-black hair most noticeable. Underneath a black body suit and what looked like impenetrable body armor was his internal workings -- circuits, transistors, modules, and the like. Though some thought differently, he was a living, thinking, feeling organism capable of experiencing emotions, pain, and loss. Taller than an average Dezorian, he loomed over his comrades like a protector. Immensely strong, Wren could lift over two tons without straining a single circuit. His appearance may have been intimidating to some, but those who knew him knew a gentle android with kindness and devotion at the core of his programming.

Wren revealed to Chaz and Rika that Zelan's sister satellite, Kuran, somehow overstepped its control. Originally, Kuran played a supportive role to Zelan, almost like a cushion to fall back on should Zelan ever malfunction. Now, Kuran was in control, and Wren's satellite was rendered powerless. Unable to do anything to remedy it, Wren was forced into inactivity as he watched Motavia's systems run amok. Knowing he could do nothing, he nearly blew some of his circuitry, unable to call up even a simple view screen. All the better, he thought, because at least he did not have to see what he could not stop. For months Wren watched, observing everything, searching for answers that would allow him to regain control of Motavia's systems.

And then it came to him, or rather, they came to him.

Chaz, Rika, and Rune arrived at Zelan in search of Demi's master and hoped that he could determine what was wrong with the systems that controlled Motavia's weather, among other things. They found Wren, dispensed with the formalities, and immediately informed him of Nurvus' current condition. Wren, in turn, informed Chaz of Kuran's apparent malfunction, somehow undermining Zelan's control. He also told him that if they could get to Kuran, he would be able to correct the problem. Wren joined Chaz's group and using the emergency shuttle, they headed toward Kuran.

Along the way, a saboteur damaged their shuttle, and they never made their destination.

Instead, they crashed landed on a small temple where they met a Dezorian Priest, Raja. He agreed to lead them to a town established by the space pirate, Tyler Jorann, under the condition that he be allowed to accompany them. Chaz protested vehemently at first, but Rika's gentle coaxing eventually changed his mind. In his eyes, Raja was merely a overworked religious freak looking for a second wind, but Rika saw something more in him, something that she knew would be a valuable asset to their quest.

Raja led them to the town of Tyler where they discovered its founder's spacecraft, the Landale. Upon inspection, Wren announced that it was in perfect working shape, Dezoris cold climate preserving its circuitry. Tyler Jorann crash landed on Dezoris, founding the town that beared his name. Without help from anyone, he built Tyler up from the ground, living by himself for many, many years. He eventually repaired the Landale and sealed it in an underground cavern, but chose not to leave his town. Instead, he died there, and left it to whoever should find it fit for habitation.

Chaz's party arrived at Kuran expecting to find a simple malfunction, one that Wren would be able to correct with ease, but found something more. After traversing through the satellite's inner workings, Wren announced that he could not repair Kuran one system at a time -- they would have to work their way into Kuran's Central Processing Unit and shut it down from there. The satellite, however, seemingly acquired its own collective intelligence and sent armed sentries to purge its invaders. They failed, and Chaz's group gained entry into its CPU.

There, fused into Kuran's circuitry, they found a manifestation of Dark Force. This entity was wholly responsible for undermining Zelan's control and subsequently was at the heart of Motavia's environmental disturbances. Chaz, Rika, Rune, Wren, and Raja battled Dark Force in a confrontation that would have surely been written about by Algo's greatest scholars had they been there to witness it.

In the end, Dark Force was vanquished, or so it seemed. Chaz and party were successful in their endeavor to rid Kuran of its parasite so that Wren could repair its systems, but it was a little more complicated than that. When Dark Force merged with the satellite, it damaged the systems irreparably. Kuran was little more than a lifeless husk drifting in the darkness of space. Without Kuran, Zelan would not have a backup system to fall back on, but at least now its control over Motavia's environmental systems were restored.

* * * * *

That was three years ago.

Unlike Wren and Demi, Zelan's systems were not designed to operate indefinitely. It was designed to take control of Motavia's environmental systems after Mother Brain's downfall, but it was originally believed that by the time Zelan's systems deteriorated to the point of being inoperative, society would have built a supplement or a completely new and more efficient system. Of course, that never happened, those who were responsible for Zelan's design long since gone, their knowledge lost in past generations.

As part of Zelan's maintenance system, Wren was created. His original programming was merely to maintain the satellite's functional systems, performing repair work when necessary. But, in the past one thousand years, Wren successfully overwrote his programming and became more than just a Systems' Operations Android, more than just a machine.

Within Zelan's system was all of Algo's recorded history, and knowledge enough to keep a person occupied for most of his natural life. Wren, however, was able to interface directly with the satellite and transfer its information into himself. From there he was able to program himself for defense, offense, the ability to emulate and actually experience Palman emotions, and even learned a few unique Skills.

But after almost seven hundred years, Zelan's condition was worsening, and Wren realized that he would not be able to maintain its systems alone. So, with knowledge gained from the satellite, he began to construct an android. Like all creators, he wanted to improve on his own design, so he designed a female android and designed her CPU to contain his knowledge, plus the ability to adapt and learn from making observations on her surroundings. Wren called her Demi (hence her frequent references to him as "Master"), programmed her with his learned talents, and sent her to Motavia where she would serve as his emissary to monitor and repair the planet's systems if they should malfunction.

After the Profound Darkness' demise, Wren and Demi returned to Zelan to continue to monitor it systems, even though they knew Motavia's environmental controls had degraded enough that they could not be repaired. Zelan was destined to become a lifeless husk as Kuran did before it, but they would keep it running as long as they could.

Wren sat before his control interface just as he did every day, sometimes for days at a time. Since he required no rest to restore his physical vigor, it was not uncommon to see him there, seemingly lifeless, incredibly statuesque. He was programmed to emulate unconscious bodily functions such as blinking and breathing, but that was for the benefit of being around Palmans so they would not feel uncomfortable in his presence. In the absence of Palmans, however, he did not need to perform such things, making an already deathly appearance more convincing. Otherwise, Wren was the spitting image of a Palman, despite his amazing mechanical body. Anyone who got to know him would soon not notice his differences, just as Chaz and his friends did.

But possessing emotions and other Palman-like qualities had its drawbacks. For one, despite his every effort to keep busy, Wren could not help but feel bored at times. Demi was there and she was excellent company, but travelling with Chaz gave him a chance to leave Zelan for the first time in nearly a thousand years, and that was no small gift to him. At times Wren considered disabling his internal chronometer so he would not experience time's passing, but decided against it for fear of missing his daily duties.

Wren's primary directive was to remain on Kuran indefinitely to take care of its systems provided the satellite would remain operative or until he was no longer needed to monitor them. The android was forced to defy his directive and leave Kuran because of extraordinary circumstances. Demi, having been created by Wren, had no such directive to function by and could travel about freely, but chose to stay with her "Master."

Master.

Wren wished Demi would stop calling him that. He stopped thinking of her as his creation a century after she was activated and started thinking of her as a friend. Whenever Demi referred to him as "Master," she would only remind him that both of them were artificial -- alive, but not alive. Demi was not, by no means, unintelligent, she just had a glitch that kept her calling him that, plus she felt it was more appropriate since Wren was her creator. One time he had asked her to either call him by his programmed identity or "Father" because at least then he could deal with it. She tried it for a while, but went back to her own ways after a few months. She said that she felt uncomfortable calling him "Father" and that it was awkward. Wren did not believe her and jokingly said that she was doing it just to get on his nerves.

In the last year they had hardly seen each other even though they were on the same satellite. Most of their time was spent rushing around Zelan trying to prevent its systems from a cascade failure. They hardly spoke, merely acknowledging each other's presence upon passing. Despite their best efforts, however, Zelan was deteriorating too rapidly, its systems not equipped with self-regenerating circuitry as Wren and Demi were. Try as they might, moving faster than any Palman, Motavian, or Dezorian that has ever lived, they were unable to prevent its inevitable collapse.

Motavia was drying out, returning to its natural state. Rain fell, but only on occasion and when it did, the water just seeped into sandy soil and disappeared. People who lived on the outskirts of towns moved closer in, to be closer to more readily available water supplies and to their neighbors. Towns were becoming crowded, sickness and disease spread easier. Violent sandstorms swept across Motavia's surface, covering everything in their paths.

When Wren and Demi left their friends to return to Zelan, Wren announced that they would remain there until the day came when they were no longer needed to maintain Motavia's systems, but he did not realize that it would be so soon. Neither he nor Demi planned for what would happen when the time came. Neither was prepared for superfluity; consequently, they were genuinely frightened of their future.

Demi returned from her rounds, as menial as they were considering Zelan's state of disarray, and discovered Wren still seated at his control interface. She considered leaving him to his musings for it was his only time to see peace in between his rounds. But something drew her back, something which told her to go and talk to him. "I finished my rounds," she announced, smiling warmly at her Master. Wren once told Demi that her smile would send surges coursing through any android's circuits. "The tertiary backup system failed again. It seems that there's insufficient energy to keep it functional and the solar collectors are sending intermittent power surges. I'm afraid that the surges have caused irreparable damage, though I did my best to prevent it from happening."

Wren nodded, acknowledging her presence.

"Master --" Wren swiveled around and faced Demi. She was small in stature, petite. She, too, possessed an entirely mechanical body, though hers looked more smooth and softened, rounded in places where Wren's was not. She had a full range of motion and was as motile as any Palman. Her hair was a light lime green color, which softened her features. If a Palman saw only Demi's visage, he would swear he was looking into an extremely attractive female's blue eyes.

"Demi," Wren said to her, "why must you still call me 'Master?' My internal chronometer ages you at three hundred twenty-seven years. You are like the Palman who still calls her father 'Pappy' or 'Daddy' as an adult. I stopped thinking of you as my creation after the first century and started thinking of you as my friend and confidant. Every time you refer to me as that, it gives me surges."

"Force of habit, I guess," Demi told him.

"Is that all you think of me as -- your Master?"

"Of course not, Mas -- uh, Wren. Like I said, it's a habit, a bad one, I might add, that I've developed over the centuries. Don't take it personal." Wren grunted, a sign Demi recognized as frustration. She knew that he was used to being in control but lately everything seemed to be out of control. "Zelan has only one backup system left. When it goes, so does the entire satellite."

"Did you bypass the tertiary systems primary energy collector and reroute it to the quaternary's so that it could infuse energy directly and not receive the power surges?"

"Yes." Wren sighed, another sign Demi recognized. This one was despair.

"Zelan is dying, Demi. What are we to do?"

Despite the fact that Wren was her senior in both age and experience, he often asked for Demi's advice, an act that endeared her to him. She sat next to her creator and lay a comforting hand on his shoulder plate. This startled him for it was not often they came into physical contact with each other; in fact, there was really no reason for them to touch unless they were performing diagnostics on one another. Wren never even thought of invading Demi's personal space by touching her, but she was programmed to adapt to different situations as they were presented and react accordingly.

"There's always the Landale," Demi said to him softly. Wren stood up from his seat and glared at her, surprise in his expression.

"Demi! Bite your lingual unit! How can you even suggest we abandon Zelan?"

"Wren," Demi rebuffed, "you told me yourself that your primary directive was to remain on Zelan until you're no longer needed to keep its systems functional. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to perish with it. I believe Zelan's creators designed it to last indefinitely, but it's not happening that way. Your programming allows you to adapt and you programmed me to be able to do the same. I am obligated to stay here with you because of a promise I made, but once Zelan is deactivated permanently, my pact will be dissolved. I will return to Motavia to live out the rest of my existence and I want you to come with me. Who knows, maybe the Palmans will find us a useful and integral part of their society."

"They will not accept us."

"How can you be so sure? Chaz, Rika, and the others did. Remember what you told Daughter, Wren, remember? You told it that throughout the millennia all machines and AI's have came and went, but Palmans, Motavians, and Dezorians continue to survive. Why? Because they have the ability to adapt. Wren . . . we have the ability to adapt. If they don't accept us, then so be it. We already have friends on Motavia that will welcome us with open arms."

"But Zelan --"

"Is dying!" Demi returned, raising her voice. Wren could not remember her ever doing that before. She must be adapting, he thought. "You said it yourself not ninety-four seconds ago! You want me to say it, Wren? Huh? Fine. When Zelan is dead, I am taking the Landale to Motavia and if you're not on it, I will leave without you."

Demi's emotional outbursts often caused Wren some discomfort, but he never let it get to him. She was more prone to them and once he offered to tone them down for her, but she declined, saying that they were as a part of her as an arm or a leg. Despite his calm and cool nature, he was also prone to having outbursts, but only three or four times in his one-thousand year life span.

He was about to have his fifth.

Wren's fingers sank deeply into his control interface, causing sparks and intermittent flashes to light up on the paneling. He felt the urge to reach back and rip Demi's cranial unit from her body, but fought it back. His emotions were getting out of hand. She was his creation, the closest thing he had to a real relative, and now he was having thoughts of harming her? No -- no matter what, he could not bring himself to do such a thing.

Demi realized that she overstepped her boundaries, but there was no turning back now. She made her point and now she had to live with it. She gave Wren an ultimatum, something she never in a thousand years would have done had their situation been different. He was, after all, like a father to her, and a daughter should always be faithful.

"Do as you must," said Wren without even facing Demi, anger and hurt in his voice.

"Wren?"

"Leave me! I must get back to my duties." Demi fell back, shying away from his rage. She turned on her heel and walked to the door.

"I'll be waiting, my friend." Wren's head jerked up as he veered around to look at Demi but only caught a brief impression of her static trail. She called him "friend," a word that never crossed her lips when referring to him.

This day is full of surprises, Wren thought. She must be adapting.

* * * * *

Demi returned to her quarters, kicking a chair across the room in the process. "Why does he has to be so stubborn?" she asked of nobody. The android sat down on her bed.

Demi often tried to closely imitate Palman habits. While Wren's quarters was a large, bare room with a single chair and an energy/control interface panel, hers was filled with material possessions -- a bed, chairs, lamps, memorabilia. She needed none of these, but having spent time with Palmans she discovered that she liked them. Wren told her once that she thought she was more Palman than android, but she was fully aware of who and what she was. In one of her outbursts, she responded by telling him he would never be more than the sum of his parts. Though he told her otherwise, she knew that her words hurt him and did not go without guilt.

"Sometimes I can be so cruel to him," Demi spoke again, the walls of her quarters an excellent audience, "I'm surprised he's kept me around for so long. Well, let's see, I'm disobedient, unthoughtful, brought to anger easily, incogitant, and incorrigible. I'm the perfect partner!" Returning to her feet, she kicked the cold, metal chair again, breaking it.

Demi approached her control interface and entered a code into its digital keypad. Lights activated in sequence and soon a panel popped open, exposing a monitor and an interface where she could link directly with Zelan. Inserting her hands, she felt her own circuitry amalgamating with the satellite's -- the connection was complete. She immediately began accessing memories stored in her central processing unit to be displayed on the monitor.

Demi saw images flash before her eyes, images that filled her with warmth and happiness, fear and despair. She saw Chaz, Rika, Rune -- all just like they were standing in front of her. Though there were many painful memories, the good ones far outweighed any that would cause her neural implants damage. Images of Zio filled the screen, of her resulting abduction, and rescue by Alys, Chaz, Rika, Hahn, and Gryz. She remembered travelling into the heart of Motavia's Plate System to deactivate it, and finding her most powerful offensive weapon -- the Phonomezer, a weapon which emits highly intense, concentrated soundwaves causing auditory and physiological damage in organic systems, disrupting circuitry in machines. Feelings of victory coursed through her transistors after first seeing their liberation of the Psycho Wand, then Zio's downfall.

Demi reminisced often for it was her escape from the reality of Zelan's death. She knew it was dangerous -- spending almost as much time in her past as she did in the present -- but with Wren refusing to accept that his duties were ending, she had nothing else to do. She could have continued doing her duties, as redundant as they were, accomplishing nothing except watching the passing of time.

They used to get along magnificently and would never tire of each other's company. Now, Demi was only annoyed with him whenever he came near. Part of it was that she hated seeing him waste his talents, for he was capable and deserving of a whole lot more. She disconnected herself from the terminal and returned to her bed. "His talents are innumerable," she spoke to the lamp, "and yet he wastes away on a damned satellite just because his creators who have been dead for a millennia programmed him to do so. I don't buy that. Wren defied his programming before and left Zelan so I don't understand why he can't do it again. Maybe it's me. Maybe if I just back off a little, he'll come around eventually. Lately, I have been a -- what's the Palman equivalency? A bitch? Anyway, perhaps I have been nagging too much. The thing is, we don't have much time, as we both know. I've done my best, and Zelan only has a few more days before it's rendered inoperative. Who knows, maybe it's for the best.

What am I saying?!

Snap out of it, Demi! My neural pathways must be degrading or something. Here I am talking to a lamp about leaving the closest AI I have to being a true friend, not to mention my creator. If I leave Wren, then he'll stay here, alone, with nothing to keep him busy, no one to keep him company. I know he acts callous and unfeeling sometimes, but underneath that tough chassis I know he is gentle, compassionate. If I left, he'd be nonfunctional within a year. But I can't help to feel torn about this, choosing between a live world and a dead satellite. I have to think about my own well-being, as selfish as it may seem. Like biological systems, I am programmed for survival. Staying aboard Zelan would be suicide, and I can't bring myself to commit such an act."

Demi sat up and slammed her fist on the metal bed, producing a hairline fracture in its structure. Over and over again, she pounded against her bed, exerting her anger against it, until a corner came completely off. "WREN!!" she screamed in frustration. "Why do you have to be so stubborn! What are you afraid of!"

Suddenly, Demi felt a surge in her head. First, her optical pathways went dark, then she felt her CPU begin to shut down.

She fell silent.

When Demi left the control center, Wren felt like an entire moon was lifted from his shoulders. She was intimidating, to say the least, but he knew exactly how to deal with her. Sometimes just ignoring her was the answer, but their last confrontation was different. He was afraid that what he did, or rather, what he was not willing to do, may have pushed her over the edge.

And why should she not be angry? he thought. After all, it was I who asked her to return to Zelan with me when I knew she wished to remain on Motavia. She felt obligated to come with me. Although it is selfish, I just did not feel the need to be alone again after being with Chaz, Rika, and everybody else. Now, she wants me to leave with her, but all I can say is that my programming will not allow it, which is not entirely true. She believes me because I am incapable of lying, but there are certain facts I am leaving out. Should Zelan become nonfunctional, my obligation to my creators to maintain it will no longer hold any validity. Demi knows that; she is not dense. Then what is keeping me from leaving with her? Is it some type of fear? Of what? Maybe it is that annoying little electrostatic interference inside my CPU that says that Palmans, Motavians, and Dezorians have no use for me, that they are completely self-sustaining and I would be as useless there as I am on a dead satellite. I do not know. There must be a flaw in my programming.

Wren moved over to a series of screens and began toggling between any of a number of monitors that watched over every operation within Zelan -- every room, every corridor, every access tunnel, even outside. Activating one of the external monitor, he saw Motavia, once a shining blue-green jewel, iridescent, glorifying, but now more of a browning smudge against the ebony blackness of space. Motavia was returning to its original state, a dry, barren wasteland, and Wren was beginning to realize for the first time that he was unable to do anything about it.

How unappealing it looks, he thought.

But then again, how can anybody defy the laws of nature? Motavia's orbit is closest to Algo, so its climate would naturally be dry and hot. Motavians adapted superbly, but of course they are indigenous and had eons to adapt. They also happened to adapt easily once the Climate Control System was introduced. Once the planet's climate reverts, they will be right at home, but Palmans will suffer.

Wren switched to another monitor, this one within Zelan. He saw a small figure enter his viewable area and kick a chair across the room. Demi, he thought. "I would do best to keep out of her path for a while."

Everything was much quieter since most of the satellite's systems did not function any more. Back when Zelan was first built, it was very clamorous -- at times one could not hear himself think. But about fifty years ago, a disturbing quietness began spreading. Each month a new system would fail, having either an infinitesimal or significant effect on Zelan depending on its importance. Now, anyone could walk through several rooms and corridors at a time and not hear so much as a whirr or a blip.

The android Wren continued his duties, coming upon a room that housed Zelan's life support system. Like most of its neighboring systems, this one was inoperable; any biological life form that stepped foot on the satellite would soon find itself suffocating since it was devoid of air. Being androids, Wren and Demi did not require a nitrogen/oxygen rich atmosphere to function. The heating/cooling system was beginning to malfunction, however, causing them concern because they could fully sense deviations in temperature. If it got too cold, their systems would freeze. If it got too hot, they would suffer from thermal breakdown.

Again Wren switched monitors, this time to another external one. Far off into the distance of space, he observed Dezoris: Planet of Ice. In a way, he felt a kinship with those living there for they both lived in places of extreme coldness and barrenness. To Wren, Dezoris was nothing more than a planet, but to those who lived out their entire existence on that planet, it was home.

He remembered his last trip there, with Chaz, Rika, and Rune. They went to Esper Mansion to retrieve Elsydeon from a cavern beneath it. Chaz discovered his role as a Protector of Light, that it was his destiny to seek out and vanquish the Profound Darkness. Wren accompanied him the entire way and in the end, played an integral role in helping Chaz. He enjoyed their time together, as brief as it was. What mattered most to him was that he felt he belonged, that they needed him.

I wonder how Chaz and Rika are doing, he thought.

Dezoris looked quiet, peaceful from this distance. It appeared almost glassy due to its surface reflecting light from Algo, light sufficient enough to illuminate the planet, but not warm it. The reflected light emanated out into space, giving the planet an aura of sorts. A glassy, bluish-white jewel it was, one that was aesthetically pleasing to Wren.

Wren increased magnification a hundred times, bringing his view two hundred thousand miles away. Now, he could distinguish some of the planet's features, but mostly high mountain peaks that extended far above Dezoris' cloud cover. He noticed something odd -- the cloud cover was unusually dense. Again, Wren increased magnification, this time a thousand times, bringing his field of vision into Dezoris' exosphere.

What he saw almost shorted out his optic sensors.

Powerful blizzards, far too numerous for Wren to count, raged across the planet's surface. He saw swirling clouds grow and spread out in its atmosphere like slime. It would only be a matter of days until all of Algo's light was blocked out totally. Dezoris would plunge into a fearsome winter, one that had never been seen before in history. Wren could not help but notice that the clouds seemed to be spreading out from a single point, but his technology could not penetrate the clouds. He could do nothing.

Dezoris and all of its inhabitants were doomed to die.

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