I sit in one of the seats and watch my siblings.
Themis and Mnemosyne found Poseidon’s headquarters and office in a city called Singapore, a heavily populated city where his shipping company had found an enormous market.
“Did you see this?” Themis holds out the phone, “articles questioning how his company got to be so big in the past decade. One of his competitors lost three vessels in one month to freak storms, another one lost two the next. He’s become a lucky charm to his clients and hit’s made him very rich. I found this too.”
She dragged her finger across the screen to another series of news articles. She had taken to the technology much like Crius had.
“His shipping helped launch another business in Argentina, an agricultural conglomerate that just happened to have some of the most fertile crop harvests that year while others suffered. Run by this woman.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Cronus’ jaw so tightly set, for a moment I worry he might explode one of his teeth.
“That traitorous swine, I’ll gut her.”
“It gets worse. I found Dionysus too, he’s in Russia running nightclubs. And Hera is married to Zeus, though she runs some sort of medical facility. They’re all linked together, feeding off one another.”
Mnemosyne looked at the picture of her close friend and winced, he was hanging off two beautiful woman with a half empty bottle of alcohol in each hand. Hera was more respectable looking in her pictures, wearing a white coat.
Rhea didn’t look. She would be the most hurt out of any of us. Rhea and Hera were like family. Everyone was family to Rhea.
“What about the others?”
Themis shook her head and went back to the phone. Phoebe was still sitting with Coeus, trying to get him to talk but he just stared ahead blankly. Crius was sleeping on some of the seats towards the back of the craft. No one wanted to talk about it.
We’d left his body behind and it wasn’t right but we couldn’t go back. Not like they would leave a Titan’s body there anyway. The facility was useless without us.
I stand and go to the cockpit to watch the coastline drift by as we fly incredibly low.
“Gotta avoid radar,” our pilot says, “can’t get spotted now.”
I sit and stare.
“Can I ask you something?”
The pilot, Jeff it was, pulls me from my reverie.
“What are you going to do? When all this is over I mean.”
I look out the window again and close my eyes for a moment and remember Iapetus and Theia, their hopes for the mortals. Their faith.
“I will try to do it right this time.”
“So what’s our plan then?”
I smile at him. Mnemosyne says he’s a good sort, didn’t believe any of the stuff about gods right up until the last few hours when it was hard to deny. He had three little girls that needed backpacks and clothes and shoes and pens and a wife that loved him enough to let him take a job halfway around the world.
Apparently, he made a very delightful lasagna.
Whatever that is.
She’d spent some time prodding his mind to be sure he wasn’t going to turn on us.
He shrugs and shoots me a sideways glance.
“I’m not big on the god stuff but you’re real enough. And I guess you all seem decent, you could have killed everyone back there. Especially after…all that. You didn’t though, so I figure I’ll help you out. Plus it keeps me alive. And I like being alive.”
I don’t say anything.
“If that’s alright with you of course.”
“I appreciate it.”
There’s more silence.
“I’m sorry about your sister and brother.”
“Me too,” I go back to staring out at the coastline, “me too.”
It becomes mesmerizing and soon I drift into sleep.
Her smile is bright and infectious, even then. The sky is clear and the sun shines brightly on green fields and small huts. The mortals move about their days and wave, enjoying the warmth that brings their fields to life.
She kneels and scoops a small green bud from the ground and hands it to me, buried in a fistful of earth.
“Bury it brother, it can be yours!”
She laughs and joins a group in watching Cronus and his farmers work a plough through one of the fields. I see Coeus with a group excitedly writing on a piece of slate and sharing it with them, some formula or idea that’s come into that mind of his. Themis scolds a little boy who has stolen from his friend, pinches his ear and then sends them on their way to the river where Tethys, always playful, calls them over. A column of water shoves the boys into safe shallows and their laughter fills the air.
Oceanus heaves an enormous plank by himself, earning impressed looks from the men that help with the dock construction. They clap and cheer as he carries it through the shallow water along the beach edge and lays it out along the edge of the dock. He bows and his laugh is louder than anything in calm midday breeze.
Crius is plotting out a course with some of the older and a handful of younger men, men that will soon take a voyage onto the oceans to explore distant lands. He shows them Coeus’ device that will help them gauge distance by the stars.
Mnemosyne and Rhea sit with the mothers and their babes, Mnemosyne telling a story that enthrals the youngest children and Rhea, the gentle one, that soothes crying babes.
Cronus had been right to pull the earth into their form, Iapetus had been right to give them life.
He watches from his hill, ever content to simply exist among these mortals. They will die but they will live. A gift even if it has an end.
Phoebe’s hand touches my shoulder and I turn to her.
I recoil; her face is blackened and sags, dripping with ethereal ooze. She looks at me with eyes that are as black as night. Black blood pours from her mouth when she speaks.
“Death will come.”
Thunder roars and the sky turns black, the sun blotted out as tendrils of soil creep up from below and ensnare my feet. I see the others but they walk freely. They are not themselves. They are hollow and cold and make a circle around me, chanting something. The same black blood drips and seeps from their mouths and eyes and ears.
It’s a hissing word that I can’t make out. The mud claws up my legs and torso, pulling my arms down. I strike with my chain but I have no fire, no power left. I am drained as the mud claws my arms down and then my neck and begins to claw into my throat.
I can’t breath. I can’t move.
She stands near me, shoulders sagging with some burden. She looks to me. My sister.
They all shriek the word and surge forward, sinking dark blades into her body. She screams and disappears under a seething mass of arms rising and falling as her blood cascades through the air.
I try to scream but no noise comes out.
They leave her lying there and come towards me, raising their blades, screaming and shrieking as their arms descend towards me and-
I sit up in the seat and scream. I am in the cockpit again and Jeff is staring at me with panicked concern, leaning as far away as he can.
“Um…are you okay?” he says, visibly relieved when Cronus rushes into the cockpit.
I rub my eyes and force the dream away, trying to forget their faces.
“Just a dream,” I say, “just a dream.”
I stop. Cronus stares, Jeff watches me carefully from the corner of his eye.
I remember that day. Iapetus had given life to Cronus’ forms and the mortals had become our wards, the village had grown quickly and that was where everything had started. That was the day we became gods to them. It wasn’t a dream. It had happened. Not all of it but I remember that day.
I push past Cronus and out to the others, where they stare at me, except Phoebe. She looks down at the floor. I grab her by the shoulders and she looks up slowly, into my eyes.
She closes her eyes and the tears squeeze out past her eyelids, dropping to the metal floor.
“I know everything brother, everything that can come and has been is happening now. All at once.”
“No!” I shout it, “you knew she would die!”
She doesn’t speak.
“Why? Why would you let it happen?”
The word. That word. They screamed it over and over again as they cut her. It hadn’t come from Phoebe. Not her. From him. His eyes are distant but he looks at me, or through me, maybe both.
He goes back to staring at the wall. Phoebe sits and cries.
She opens her eyes and looks into mine. As if there is nothing else.
“Because we cannot change our fates. And we are fated for death.”
We sit in a long silence until Jeff interrupts it.
“We need to stop. We either need to find an airfield with some fuel or we need to get ready for a less than pleasant landing.”
“Where are we?”
“Egypt, there’s a small airfield not far from here that might be good enough. If it’s not…well it’s a long walk to Singapore from there.”
“Do we have a choice?”
“Always a choice, in this case it’s a difference in the quality of the landing.”
When we land Jeff opens the side doors to the craft but only Cronus and I get out with him. The airfield is a dusty strip with a metal roofed building and small tower beside it. There’s two large cylinders tucked behind the squat building and a handful of lights behind rusty metal cages.
We approach, hearing laughter inside the building.
“Military trucks,” Jeff whispers, pointing to two large vehicles to the side of the building, “try to be careful.”
Before either of us can speak the door swings open and a man stumbles out into the night, illuminated by the caged lights. He wanders to the side of the building and unzips his pants.
In the middle of carrying out his business he sweeps his head and his eyes settle on the three men coming towards the building in the night. I can see how it must look. One wearing a uniform. The others carrying a sickle and chain.
That cannot look good.
He shouts something that sounds vaguely like an alarm and struggles with a weapon on his hip, drawing it out and shakily aiming at us. A moment later the door bursts open and a half dozen men pour out into the night, most carrying rifles.
“Jeff, please leave.”
He slowly backs away and disappears into the night.
“We just want some fuel!” I say, raising my hands and stepping forward slowly, “that’s all. No trouble.”
“Trouble?” one of the gives a grin that’s missing more than a few teeth, “trouble.”
They open fire. Their rifles spew flame from the end and bullets fill the air. I feel each impact, a dull thudding against my chest and legs and arms. One hits my forehead. When they are done Cronus and I still stand. They do not have the forged ammunition.
I flick the chain and the end knocks out any teeth that the speaker had left, his body crumpling against the building. Cronus is faster and closes the gap, slashing with his sickle across two of them. They scream and fall to the ground. Before he moves again I wrap two in the chain and send a burst of flame along it’s length, engulfing them in blue fire.
Cronus picks one up by his collar and tosses him into the wooden tower with a sickening crunch of bone on wood. The last two flee to a truck and it roars to life, trundling down the roadway and gaining speed. It suddenly stops, metal crumpling and glass shattering in the night.
Water slithers towards us and leaps into Tethys’ hands.
“Subtle,” she says mockingly.
A shot echoes in the night and another soldier drops, he had been fleeing out the back of the building.
Jeff stands from his kneeling position and offers an awkward smile.
“If they get away they talk, they talk and we get caught. At this point I’m sort of in for a penny in for a pound. Fuel?”
When we are airborne again, Cronus rubs at some dried blood that covers his knuckles. As he scrapes it away, Phoebe looks to him and then to me.
“We are fated for death. Our or theirs. It always leads to death.”
Zeus stood in his second office, this one in a complex his company had built in New York State, a sprawling facility that technically housed their research and development arm. It did house research but not the energy kind. There was not much in that field that Zeus didn’t know about already.
The development was unique in it’s own way. Or had been.
The Smith was gone and he’d taken the damn Cyclopes with him.
Nothing was going right for him now, not since the Titans had escaped because of some idiotic plan to empower one for more valuable study. He had told them not to let any of them near their sources of power. He should have been there. If he’d had the chain from the beginning maybe none of this would have had to happen.
It was too late for all that.
He turned as his door opened.
“Sir, the Egyptian authorities are reporting a squad of soldiers has been killed at an airfield. They’re putting it down to local militants but-“
“-it’s them. Let Ares know, maybe his men can intercept them before they disappear. It’s only a matter of time.”
Derek nodded and left. Zeus was reminded of himself when he looked at the younger man. That was the point though. If they looked too different it wouldn’t work. Immortality in the modern era had become so complicated with photographs and media coverage. He couldn’t just slip under the radar anymore. Now he had to raise up some young executive that would eventually replace him and when the time was right he would slide into their place, with their name and his legacy would continue.
It had worked so far, though a few times he had come close to being revealed. Money did wonders for some. Others disappeared.
He took a few steps and locked the door to his office, walking to the wall and removing a rather large and flattering painting of the Olympians that he had become fond of. Behind was a large black safe. He entered the combination and rested his palm on the scanner, rewarded with the sound of the safe unlocking.
He slowly opened the door, bathed in pulsing blue light. There was only one bolt in the safe. There was only one bolt left. He shut the safe again, comforted by the sight of his remaining power.
He needed more. He had some tracking the Smith but that was a temporary fix, he needed the chain. He needed Hyperion dead.
It would be his. The Titans would underestimate them, they could never see power beyond their own. That was their flaw.
“The sky is my domain now,” he said to no one in particular, staring out over the compound, “come and take it.”