The second Blue Flame novel –
There is a wiki database to reference names, although you can certainly ask me questions as well.The Other Side of Life
Chapter Twelve: Part Two
The presentation closed with the expert promising all that he would be spending time with the painting going over the facts presented and others that he had gathered, or would be gathering, and present a final assessment. Greg told the assembly that there was some reluctance among the immortals to allow the Dumonistat government to have possession of the painting, but that at present all felt that it would be of more benefit with them. He thus termed the painting a loan, although in shaking hands with the expert all understood that there was no immediate desire for the artwork to be returned.
Greg found himself further held up by members of the Pranashall Consortium who wanted to introduce themselves to him. Understanding that the gatherings of the diplomats occurred regularly, he found himself feeling a need to speak with those that came up to him. He thus found himself actually feeling tired when he finally approached the door to his apartment.
Vefillaya was at the door, and after kissing him she turned to a couple that were present while saying, “I told Uncle Wenelsa that his comments about me were inappropriate.”
The man stood while replying, “Ah, Vefillaya, you said that he could handle himself under pressure. He did well, and I want it said that he should have no problems at meeting our larger family.”
The lady beside the man sternly stated, “It was however inappropriate. Still, my husband is not the only member of our family that can be rather rude.”
Greg enjoyed spending time with the man that would have gained the physical possession of Vefillaya. He did have a rather strong personality, but that actually matched the way that she had spoken about him. The feelings of his wife also spoke of a graciousness in not having to share her husband with another, and she patted her belly speaking of the blessing that her time with her husband had presented.
They were enjoying a meal when Vefillaya suddenly made an exclamation and rose. Greg turned in the direction she looked to see a large rotund figure collapse to the floor. The Flame made itself apparent as the intruder was enveloped in a sphere while Greg spoke.
“Chisel, why in the world did you come here?”
The words came out in a broken manner between gasps, “Because… I don’t… want to… die.”
While Greg had the monitors of his front room relayed to his own recorders, certain connections in the communication network had been retained. Being a diplomatic vessel, there was a high degree of privacy in what was said, although to assure the safety of all on board there were words that would cause the computer intelligence to override privacy settings. The stressed name of the master of the vessel was one such word, and after speaking it his voice quickly returned over a speaker, to which Greg gave commands.
“I need a stateroom. Send an atmospheric worker, as I cannot really know what type of atmosphere I will need.”
“Of course, Greg. I take it from your voice that a desperate situation has developed. Will you also need medical assistance?”
“Yes. Definitely. We have an old man, but again I cannot presently say more.”
It did help that as the Flame he had control over elemental forces. While gravity was artificial in the ship, he could still overcome the effect to have the body of Chisel lifted from the floor. Greg found himself also able to make some repairs in the body that had the man breathing easier. The exact race of Chisel was however unknown to him, along with specifics of his native world. All that Greg could do was act to try and make him comfortable.
Coming out of his room, the voice of Captain Negallin directed Greg to the chosen stateroom. An atmospheric worker met him along the route. It was a strange feeling knowing that he had created the proper conditions for Chisel, although having no way to relay what he did to the worker. Greg however did have a knowledge of chemistry, so could work with the technician to play with the atmosphere Once the Flame allowed that the air would support the elderly man, the atmospheric worker left to be replaced by a medical team. Greg again found himself unsure what was needed, although did his best to relate what he could.
Chisel did not allow him to leave the apartment, but as the man settled on a bed he shouted to be heard over the medical team around him, “Greg, check on my replacement! I don’t think that he is like Bo Drell. He might be good, but I think that he is part of a corporation.”
Greg knew that the doctors could not understand the man. Jirdan was coming into the room with an environmental suit, so there was a possibility that the translation software would soon help with communications. Greg however wondered if he should stay as he spoke to Chisel.
“I am worried about you. You said that you were an old man, and what I see confirms that. You said that was a strong possibility that I could not replace you the way that we managed for Calliope. I thus don’t know what to do, Chisel.”
“I don’t have family, Greg. I can die here as well as anywhere. I however trust you. Check on things.”
Greg did not like those words, and spoke to let the man know the predicament he felt had resulted. “But you did come to me, Chisel. That is an honor.”
“No, Greg, it is just who you are. You are Life. I came to you because I don’t want to face Calliope. If you see her, tell her not to come to me.”
Greg felt that Chisel should know that Calliope had no way of knowing who called her. She simply felt a signal and responded to it. There was also another fact that Greg felt the old man should have been aware of.
“You don’t need Calliope to die, Chisel.”
“I know that, Greg. I am breathing easy, and the doctors are getting some base-line readings about me. I thus should be all right for the moment. Check on my replacement.”
Greg spoke with Jirdan to relate what he could of the person. While Chisel spoke of his trust in him, Greg felt that they really did not know each other. All that Jirdan could be told was the man’s name, and that he had been the personality for Eternity.
Vefillaya was waiting for him as he left the stateroom. He kissed her, then told her that he would probably be very tired and distraught when he returned. She promised to be waiting for him as he rushed to an elevator.
When Calliope had been replaced, Greg knew what to do to call her replacement to him. He however basically knew nothing of the duties of Eternity. All that he could do was make a call and hope that it would be answered, although he knew from experience that the signals for a new replacement were easily ignored.
“Who are you?”
Hearing the voice brought Greg relief, but it also surprised him. He had actually felt the source of the threat upon Chisel to be from the Suderling Union. The one that had tried to steal the persona of War had been from Greg’s adopted galaxy. The one Greg faced however was not a form that was recognizable, and his curiosity stated that he was not a known threat.
“I am the persona of Life. The one that held your position came to me. He was old when he became Eternity, and has served in that capacity for a long time. Even so, he came to me because he was not yet ready for death. He sent me to check on his replacement.”
“I am well, thank you. What are my duties?”
“I have no way of knowing. Chisel, the one you are replacing, was always there to speak with, but we never really discussed work.”
The creature appeared of a tri-symetric design like the Cladastians, although not as true to the standard. Two tentacles came out of a lower section acting as if two sturdy tails supporting one thick leg. The upper body had three sturdy appendages equally spaced about the body along with three tentacles. The head was strangely flat with the eyes on one side and a single mouth at the base of what Greg could only assume to be a neck was from where it spoke.
“It is nice to meet you.”
“The same here. I guess that I wish you well, as I going to bring back a report to Chisel.”
“Could I speak to him?”
Greg laughed, then said, “Sure, if you can find the way.”
Returning to the Apostle, he went to Chisel’s room first. Captain Negallin was at the door speaking to a medic. Greg stopped glad to hear that Chisel was doing well, although found himself having to answer questions. Hearing that the man had come to Greg so as not to die brought the medic distress, as he claimed no knowledge of the life form while stating that what readings he did gain were not good. The information caused Greg to move on into the room.
“Greg?” came a weak voice. “Did you meet him?”
“Yes, Chisel, I did. I didn’t recognize him, Chisel. As I have been studying my new home, I can assure you that he is not from the Suderling Union. He seemed to be nice person, although very unsure what his powers were.”
“You have to be old, Greg, to understand. You cannot understand unless you are old.”
“Well, I am not old, Chisel. Even including my years as the Flame, I am not old at all.”
The man moved a hand to grab Greg’s as he said, “You are a good Life. Keep doing whatever it is that you are doing.”
“You know that you are making a previous Life, Denidroe, into being a liar.”
The laugh sounded more like a cough. “Yes, when I cross over, I will apologize to her. There were three between her and you. They were not good. I cannot say how many Eternities there will be until another stable one will be found.”
“He wanted to meet you, Chisel.”
“What did you tell him?”
“That he would have to find you.”
Greg had hoped for another laugh, but considered the movement of the head with a nod to be a better response. “That was a good answer. You did not know what you were doing. None of us knew what we were to do. There are urges, but no clear direction. We are more personalities than necessities. That is why Calliope is a good Death, and you are a good Life. You have good personalities.”
“I like most of those in Peace. I even like you, Chisel.”
The man gripped the hand tight as he said, “Thank you for using the present tense, Greg.”
“Are you dying on me, Chisel?”
“I told you that I was old, Greg. I also told you that if I was replaced that I would not last for you to replace me.”
Greg could only wonder about things even as he tried to put the situation into some perspective. “But you also told me that you came to me because you did not want to die.”
“I was worried, Greg, that I would have a replacement like Bo Drell. If so, maybe I would have had hope to hold on.”
Both men turned as a female voice said, “Greg?”
Greg did not have to turn to identify the lady, but kept his focus on the one on the bed as he declared, “I did not call her, Chisel. I did not speak to her.”
“No, Greg, it is okay.”
“Chisel, you came to me not to die.”
The hand holding Greg’s released him to move as it to take that of Calliope as Chisel said, “She is a friend as well, Greg.”
“No. Chisel, you have to tell me. You are the oldest of us immortals. You have to tell me if there are answers that you know. Do you know of things in Peace that we have not yet rediscovered?”
“I can tell you, but it will not answer your questions, Greg. It is one of the problems with being Eternity. I know how meaningless it all is. The answers are personal. They may or may not be always there, but their discovery is always something personal. Others can discover the same thing, and may not see, or see something completely different. That is why it is the personalities of the immortals that is what is important. What we do is secondary.” Chisel held up both hands, then said, “Life and Death, it is good that the two of you get along.”
Calliope said, “You are one person that I will refuse to touch, Chisel.”
He pointed at the lady and commanded, “Then you go find my replacement. If you return saying the same, I will suffer without complaint.”
Greg noticed the chill that had came to the room to have suddenly disappeared, and spoke to the elder. “I trust her opinion as well, Chisel. While she is gone to speak to another, let the two of us talk. I have never really spent time talking to you.”
Chisel once had family. He actually had a rather large family. He however became sick, and after splitting his estate found no one to care for him. While alone in a hospital, he turned his attention to other matters. He did not get specific, but Greg assumed that it was something paranormal, as Chisel did admit that he felt the study to have opened him up to become the personality of Eternity. His family had long since died, and he told of his heirs not being careful with their fates. He thus considered other immortals as his family.
Greg learned that there were twenty immortals. Most applied to all, but some really only had applicable work among some of the more esoteric life forms. He spoke of the energy beings that he had recently helped, and Chisel spoke of meeting other really bizarre beings as well. He then mentioned those that had the jobs of the more extreme immortal personalities.
Both stopped talking as the voice of Calliope said, “He is not nearly as old as you, Chisel. He did initiate it, but I don’t believe that he will last at his position.”
“That is all right, Calliope. It is higher powers that then will choose the replacement. Just as in the case of Greg, the choice is bizarre, although generally a good one. Come and kiss me, Calliope.”
Greg felt the lady put a hand on his back as her voice sounded as if she was crying. “I don’t want to, Chisel. I want to stay here and talk with you as well.”
“Unlike Greg, you and I have spoken with each other numerous times. It is time to say good-bye.”
“I have put off passing over long enough, Calliope. I should have friends, family, and other people to come to know. It is not a bad thing, Calliope.”
“It is, because I am going to miss you.”
“That is why I want you to kiss me. The memory will help me as I deal with missing you as well.”
Greg felt the lady cry on his back for at time, then she brought her form erect. He saw Calliope come before him to approach Chisel. He noted that she appeared in her normal form. She came upon him as a friend, and not as a representation of Death. The embrace and kiss was warm, although she wailed as it quickly turned cold.
After holding Calliope for a time, she finally let go feeling the call of another. Both promised to speak some more later. Greg then left the room to speak to others.
Captain Negallin was outside, and Greg could see that a nearby monitor showed the scene in the room. “I could see and hear what others could not. We did not have him long enough to get a good translation routine established, but I could at least understand Calliope.”
“Well, he was a good man. The universe might seem disrupted until a new Eternity is established. Cremate the body.”
“Of course. I am sorry that we could not do more for him, although it seems that he knew that he was going to die.”
“He did. He came to me simply to assure some things. Calliope actually helped. He went feeling that everything was as it should be. I guess that is the best way to go.”
“I believe so as well. Your wife mentioned that you said that you would be tired upon your return. I told her that I would send you to your room.” As Greg turned, a pseudo-pod from the captain touched him to have him pause while more words were said. “I heard you ask him for answers. What was his reply?”
“He said that it was all personal. He said that whether the answer existed or not, those that found might not see, or see in ways that others would not. What was discovered thus was not important, but the personalities of those that sought was what was truly important.”
“Both you and Calliope accepted that answer.”
Greg shrugged as he said, “Whether or not it is true, the words did fit Chisel’s personality. I thus accepted the answer as being proper for Chisel.”
“Then I will release you to your room, Greg. While I cannot speak of matters concerning the realm of immortals, I can say that for a number of hours I will not have the troubles of the Suderling Union bother you.”