Chapter 21: Country Roads, Take me Home

This was the worst thing that could have possibly happened. They were so close to making it out of there with Doctor M, but they were now staring face to face with the most powerful man in the galaxy.

"Master, I sense a presence here. A very dark and evil presence. One that I have not sensed since…" Soul Sister spoke to Frankie in his mind.

"I heard that there was an intruder alert in the detention block. Who could have guessed that it would be none other than Jacques Merleaux himself. My plan worked perfectly." Myoxx boomed menacingly.

Jacq stared him down. Flora, Frankie, Jeen, and Doctor M all moved to surround him. They all drew their weapons, while Doctor M was using a laser rifle she took off one of the dead Ugers from the control station.

"Was getting surrounded part of your plan?" Jacq replied with a smug grin.

Myoxx remained calm. "Of course! Everything is happening exactly as I intended."

Jacq crossed his arms. "Alright big guy, what's the next step of your master plan?"

Myoxx raised his arm up to his face and removed his eye protection. "Killing Ame-Soeur, and achieving the Universal Singularity." His voice had distorted to be his normal deep voice, but now it was mixed in with a sinister female voice.

Everyone was now able to see Myoxx's real eyes. They were both pitch black, with glowing red pupils. Each one had a clock in the iris that was now glowing red.

"No, it can't be… it was you all along?!" Doctor M roared.

Myoxx started a maniacal laugh in his now distorted deep male voice and wicked female voice.

"Hahahaha, FOOLS! All of this was planned from the beginning. I knew that one day, Jacques Merleaux would return to rescue his beloved wife. So I kept her alive for all these years. Waiting patiently for the day when Ame-Soeur would find you. I knew she would convince you to come back and rescue her, and now here you are."

Everyone was getting a sense of dread. They spent the whole mission believing they had the element of surprise. But Myoxx had been waiting for them all along. He knew they were coming.

"But of course, I must give credit where credit is due. Thank you so much Jeen. You made sure that I knew exactly when they were coming. Despite your earlier failures, you have redeemed yourself."

Everyone looked at Jeen with shock. Flora was the first to scream. "You bitch! I knew you were going to betray us! I'LL KILL YOU."

Jeen threw her hands up in the air. "I swear, I have not had any contact with him since you guys captured me."

Myoxx laughed. "She is right. I haven't spoken to her for a few weeks. However, that choker she is wearing is a tracking device that I used to pinpoint her exact location at all times. Once I knew she had been captured by you, I simply waited for her to betray me and join your side. She led you all right to me."

Jeen held her head in shame. Frankie was now very pissed off. He cocked back the hammer on his .357 revolver. "That's enough Myoxx. One more word and I'll put a bullet between those black eyes of yours."

Myoxx grinned wickedly. "Of course, I never would have expected that Ame-Soeur would have bonded with your son instead of you, Jacq. It doesn't matter now. The point is that she is still here, and she is still going to die."

Frankie fired a bullet at Myoxx, but the bullet slowed to a stop and hovered in mid air right in front of Myoxx's face.

"Hahahaha! Your primitive weapons will not work on me. Now come out and face me, Ame-Souer!" Myoxx suddenly began to change form. His normal body began to glow a dark black glow. After a few minutes, his body changed into a dark shadow of a woman. It was a feminie frame, but wrapped in total darkness. The only light being visible from her was a pair of glowing red eyes and a bright white set of teeth in her mouth.

"I knew it. That man was being possessed by her all this time. I'm sorry master, but it's time I come out and face her." Soul Sister said bravely to Frankie. His eye began to glow a bright golden color as the dial in the pupil started moving. Soon his whole body began to glow bright golden as Soul Sister now transformed his body into her golden shape.

"Hello, Cles Noir. It's been a long time." Soul Sister addressed her.

"So good to see you again, my dear sister."

X

The two women were now face to face with each other in the fourth dimensional space they created inside the hallway. Soul Sister glowing her bright golden color, dressed in her usual golden robes. Cles Noir had a sinister look on her face as she stared her down.

"You have been in hiding long enough. I've waited 15 years to finally take you down. Once my host, Mr. Myoxx had bonded with me enough to reach level 12, I was ready to make my move. But that damn Annabelle and her husband Jacq ruined everything." Cles Noir spoke.

"Sister, why are you doing this? What do you hope to gain from my death? What is the point of it all?" Ame-Soeur pleaded.

"Our people were once gods who ruled the stars. Nobody dared to challenge our might. Yet, the only ones who could destroy them were themselves. They abandoned the old ways, and grew weak. But I still hold true the old virtues of our race. I will ensure the Maytrei Dutom assert their rightful place as the supreme rulers of the universe!"

"Sister, what happened to our people? What did you do to them?"

Cles Noir laughed. "They were weak! They wanted to help these poor monkeys in the third dimension and try to make them "civilized" and "cultured". Wasted efforts! Those fools abandoned their own people, their own civilization, to nurture a bunch of monkeys."

Ame-Soeur pleaded "That doesn't answer my question. What did you do to our people?"

"I eliminated them."

Ame-Soeur was shocked to hear this. She gasped, and stepped backwards. "No~No you couldn't have. There is no way~"

"Oh, but I did. Have you ever stopped and thought to yourself how these faster-than-light-speed trains work? Inside the engines of all of them, are the souls of all of our kind who dared to speak out against me. Those traitors deserve nothing less."

Ame-Soeur started crying. "How could you… how could you do this?!"

Cles Noir started laughing harder. Her dark shadow body was shaking with delight. "Aww are you crying? How pathetic. These third dimensional monkeys will learn to serve me, or they will die. Soon, my host's corporation will take over the galaxy, and everyone will be my slave!"

"But sister, the humans, everyone else, they have all grown so much over these last few thousand years. Things are different now~"

Cles Noir grew angry at the memory. She shouted. "They betrayed you! They betrayed us! How can you stand there and defend them?"

"No, you're wrong. These humans, and everyone else, they are good people. Their hearts are full of love."

"LIAR! We gave them everything, and they betrayed us. I know what their hearts contain. They only seek their selfish and petty desires. Filthy rats, all of them. They will learn once more how to serve their betters. They will learn who the true masters of the universe are."

Cles Noir used one of her shadow arms and reached into her shadow body. She pulled out what looked like a large bow with a glowing red arrow.

Ame-Soeur looked on in horror. "T-thats~"

"Hahaha, that's right. It's a valkyrie missile. You know these things are the only weapons that can kill our kind. I'll give you one last chance, dear sister. Join me, and we can rule over these third dimensional monkeys together for all of time."

She was still shedding a few tears as Cles Noir began to cock back the glowing red arrow on the shadow bow.

"Please… don't do this…" she begged.

Cles Noir grinned and looked down on her with malice. "This is it, dear sister. This is the moment when I achieve the universal singularity. All timelines have converged on this moment. What will you do? Will you join me, and rule the galaxy as the gods we are? Or will you side with your host, and die along with him?"

X

Ame-Soeur looked around at the frozen bodies of everyone. They were stuck in their current position since time for them was moving at third dimensional speed. Her and Cles Noir were moving through the fourth dimension, so all of this would only appear to happen in instant for them.

In one final act of defiance, Ame-Soeur stood up from the floor and wiped away her tears. She straightened her posture and looked Cles Noir in the face.

"My master… my master is the greatest man I have ever met. I have witnessed first hand, his kindness and selflessness. He cares for his friends and family so much. My master has faced so much adversity, and faced it head on every single time. My master never backs down, and never gives up no matter the odds. He may be a third dimensional monkey to you, but to me, my master is the greatest man in the whole universe! If he were here right now, he would tell me to kick your ass!"

Cles Noir laughed. "So, you have chosen death. Very well. This is the end for you, dear sister."

Ame-Soeur gave one last defiant stare before Cles Noir released the glowing red arrow from the dark shadow bow. The valkyrie missile had been fired. Cles Noir had perfect aim, and the arrow pierced flesh.

However, it was not Ame-Soeur's flesh that the valkyrie missile pierced.

At the last moment, Jeen Francine Merleaux had jumped out from her position and threw herself in front of Ame-Soeur. The arrow hit her right in the chest where her heart would be.

Jeen collapsed on the ground and started bleeding on the floor.

"W-what the? There is no way?! I was able to see everything that everyone in this timeline would do. How did she~"

Ame-Soeur grinned and balled up her fists. "It all makes sense now. Jeen was not from this timeline, so you could not foresee her actions. This was her plan all along. Thank you Jeen, you finally got to be the hero you always wanted to be."

Cles Noir started panicking. "N-no. No! NOOOO! This wasn't supposed to happen!"

"Dear sister, you have committed more sins than a thousand lifetimes can atone for. My master is not yet strong enough to defeat you, but one day, he will be. Until that day comes, consider this payback for what you did to Jeen, and all of our kind that you murdered. Thou among thee, FOREVER WE ARE FREE!"

Ame-Soeur yelled as loud as she could and lurched forward. She started throwing punches at Cles Noir as fast as she could. The punches were so fast that even in the fourth dimension, her fists looked like a blur.

With one final roar, Ame-Soeur threw one final right hook that sent Cles Noir flying into the wall.

"Now then, if you'll excuse me, I have to return to my master. Until next time, dear sister."

Soul Sister's golden body began to fade away as she slowly returned to looking like Frankie.

X

Frankie regained consciousness as he looked around and saw everyone still standing in a circle around Myoxx, except Myoxx was now lying beaten and unconscious against the wall. Also, Jeen was lying on the ground in a pool of blood.

Wait a minute, Jeen was lying on the ground in a pool of blood?!

Frankie rushed over to Jeen and knelt down next to her.

"Jeen! Jeen what happened? Can you stand?" Frankie cried out.

Jeen was barely conscious, and coughed up a little blood. "I-I did it Frankie. I finally got to be the hero." She whispered as she coughed up more blood.

"No! Jeen you can't die, we have to get out of here! We can~"

"It's okay. It was always my destiny to die right here, in this moment. Never thought it would be in this timeline though. Now, go. You have to live. Get stronger, stronger than you ever thought possible. And one day, you will return to this place and defeat him. That is your destiny."

"Jeen~" Frankie whispered.

"At least I died, knowing I saved the man who saves the universe. Thanks for playing beer pong with me, Jean François Merleaux." With her last breath, Jeen's eyes rolled to the back of her head as her life finally ended.

Frankie sat there and cradled her bloody body. When he went to close her eye lids, he felt something he did not expect. He felt her body dissolve into sand. A few seconds later, she was nothing more than a handful of dust in the wind.

Flora stepped up and put a hand on his shoulder. "Come on, let's get out of here."

X

The group made their way back to the space shuttle in the hangar and found Nelsie making quick work of all of the Uger soldiers that were attacking.

"Welcome back friends! I see you found that lady you were looking for." Nelsie hollered.

"Nelsie, we need to get out of here, finish these guys off, and get on the ship." Flora ordered.

"Aww, leaving already? But I was just getting warmed up!" Nelsie boasted in front of another group of Ugers that she slashed with her sword.

The rest of the group was boarding the ship when they found Yuri inside the cockpit now dressed in his normal clothes.

"Privyet comrades! The ship is ready to go, but the space suit is pizdec." Yuri was seated in the pilot seat.

"Comrade Merleaux, we are missing one party member. Where is Jeen?"

The group was silent and looked away from Yuri. Frankie whispered "She didn't make it."

Yuri nodded and started up the engines. He spoke through his earpiece communicator "Comrade Nelsie, it's time to go."

"Roger that, Yuri!" Nelsie put her shield in front of her and started walking backwards until she got to the entrance of the cockpit. She kicked a crate in front of her as cover while she climbed inside.

"Alright, that's everyone. Punch it!" Flora exclaimed.

Yuri accelerated as the ship dragged along the floor of the hangar. Flora yelled into her earpiece communicator.

"Hey, little brat. You mind opening the blast doors to the hangar?"

Chan Chan replied back. "What's the magic woooord?"

"JUST DO IT!"

"Ugh… fine". Chan Chan, who was still connected to the network inside the station, hacked the blast doors and opened them. Once she did, the vacuum it created was sucking all of the air out of the hangar, along with all of the Ugers and equipment inside.

The vacuum also helped to give the ship lift as it accelerated off the floor and out into space.

They were able to make it far enough away from Omontu station that the Archangel was able to swoop in and provide covering fire against the station's exterior defences.

Once the space shuttle was farther out of range, the Archangel sped in front of the ship and opened it's cargo bay doors. The Archangel slowed down enough so that the space shuttle was able to land perfectly inside the cargo bay.

Yuri confirmed that the ship was securely docked, and ordered Chan Chan to close the cargo bay doors. After that was done the Archangel activated it's light speed engines and zoomed out of orbit.

X

Several hours later

The Archangel had used it's light speed engines to travel to the nearest planet in the solar system from Lifner, planet Koepka. The planet was a large gas giant that resembled the planet Jupiter, and had just as many moons.

Currently, the Archangel was floating in orbit of one of the moons. This was a remote enough location that they would not be detected by any Uger forces for several days at minimum.

Inside the ship, Jacq and Frankie were giving Doctor M the grand tour of everything. She was also introduced to the crew on board the ship. Everyone greeted her warmly and did their best to wrap their head around the fact that she was Frankie's real mother.

They were all gathered on the bridge when Doctor M started explaining everything to everyone.

"So, like I said before, my real name is Annabelle Merleaux. Jacq here is my husband, and this handsome young man is my son."

Chan Chan started giggling as she stood next to Frankie in her real body. "Wow cowboy, to think we spent all this time and effort just to find your mom."

Frankie elbowed her in the side. "Hey cut it out. I'm just as shocked as you are."

"You there, little green girl, you have something you wanna say?" Annabelle glared at her.

"U-um nothing ma'am." Chan Chan stuttered at the sight of her authoritative glare.

"Wow, you sure shut her up! I think I'm starting to like you." Flora smirked.

"Already sucking up to your boyfriend's mom? Geez Flora, you are something else." Chan Chan snickered.

"Oh, go plug yourself, you little brat!"

"Excuse me, what do you mean by 'plug yourself'?" Annabelle asked.

"This little brat here can plug herself into computers and download her consciousness in and out like software. I'm surprised she didn't already tell you yet." Flora said as Chan Chan was squirming in embarrassment.

"Really now? How interesting. I knew doctor A was working on some type of artificial intelligence technology, but besides that, I don't know much else about such stuff. How does that work exactly?"

Frankie interrupted "Wait, when you say doctor A, do you mean doctor Roger Armstead?"

"Yes. He was one of the 26 alphabet scientists that were originally assigned to the Ascension project. Why do you ask?" Annabelle calmly replied.

Frankie, Flora, and Chan Chan shuffled nervously. "We-we kind of already met him." Flora replied.

Annabelle moved towards her urgently "You found one of the alphabet scientists?! Where was he? What happened to him?"

"Well~you see~he was working out of a black site on the planet Gorinth. Her home planet. We originally went there because we were tracking the little brat since she had a bounty on her head for cyber crimes. When we got there, what we found was worse than we ever imagined." Flora explained.

Chan Chan removed her witch hat and parted her purple hair. "See this scar here? They kept me prisoner in that place and planted a cyber brain inside me. This cable on the back of my head allows me to download my consciousness into any computers at will. Your buddy, doctor A, was trying to achieve immortality by trying to figure out a way for people to download themselves into computers and then transfer themselves to other bodies. I was his only test subject that survived."

Annabelle walked over and hugged Chan Chan. "You poor dear. I'm so sorry you had to go through that." Chan Chan remained stiff at first, then started to hug her back.

Once they broke their hug, she performed a demonstration of her abilities. "See! Now I am in the computer. I can move around the network like software. Pretty neat huh?"

"Fascinating! It's a shame that the bastard used such barbaric methods, but it sounds like he may have been on to something." Annabelle observed.

"Pardon me, ma'am, but will our guest be staying long?" ARIN appeared next to Chan Chan's avatar on the holographic table.

"Is that a fully developed A.I.?" Annabelle shouted.

"Greetings. I am the Artificial Regulatory Intelligence Network. My initials are A. R. I. N. so the crew calls me ARIN for short. I am responsible for maintaining the ship's critical systems such as engines, life support, weapons, and flight controls."

Chan Chan smirked. "ARIN here is also from your buddy doctor A. Me and him have been best buddies since we first met back there at the lab. Flora and Frankie helped to bust us out of there, and the rest is history."

Annabelle smiled. "Incredible. I would have loved to review his research notes. What happened to him?"

"Oh that guy is one thousand percent dead. We kinda blew up his entire base." Frankie muttered.

"But I saved copies of all of his top secret files from his black level security card. It's all backed up on my secure server here on the ship. I can give you access if you want to take a look." Chan Chan replied.

"Yes, I would very much appreciate that."

Yuri took over the conversation and told his story of how he met everyone and joined the team.

"So you were taken prisoner in a Union Galactic labor camp, and my son here disguised himself as a guard, broke you out, and helped you uncover evidence of a national conspiracy by the Skilorinyan supreme leader to undermine their national sovereignty for the people's republic?"

"That is basically what happened, yes." Yuri answered blankly.

"Oh, and don't forget the part where I lured a giant mammoth to attack the camp! The ones on Protaga are huge! It was crazy, the camp had these giant walls that you could only scale by using these grappling belts, and then this train came full of interplanetary Marshals trying to capture me, and~" Frankie kept on rambling.

"Is this before or after you totally made out with that slut Michiko?" Flora glared at him with her hands on her hips.

"Um~well~you see~I was in a tight spot and~"

"Excuse me, my son did WHAT now?" Annabelle was beginning to take Flora's side.

"Look mom, there is this lady with the Marshals named Katsumi Michiko, and she has been stalking us all over the galaxy. She totally has the hots for me, but she's also stalking me because I am wanted for a ton of crimes. But it's no big deal, really!" Frankie did his best to try and save face.

Neither of them were buying it. In fact, Annabelle looked even more upset. "Are you saying that my son is a wanted criminal?! Jacq, did you know about this?"

Jacq put his hands up in the air. "What can I say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!"

Annabelle rolled her eyes. She pointed at Nelsie "So what's your story?"

Nelsie raised her nose in the air. "You're looking at the first woman to ever serve in the Daesoman legions!"

Annabelle's jaw dropped. "You served in the legions?! I mean, you're built like a damn tank, but still! I can't believe they let a woman in."

"Well… not exactly. I had to hide my true identity and train for many years to make it. "

"But, why? Why would you try to do something so outrageous like that?"

Nelsie looked away. "It's a long story. Basically my father was robbed of the imperial throne, and this was my way to restore my family's honor."

"Wait, who was your father?"

Nelsie smiled. "My father was the great Lucius Maximus. He served alongside Emperor Aurelian in the great civil war. Sadly though, Aurelian died a long time ago, and his son became emperor. They blamed my father for his death, so my family has held this aura of disgrace ever since."

Annabelle walked towards her. "I'm sorry to hear that. If it makes you feel any better, I know what it feels like to be betrayed by those you once called comrades. So, how did you and my son meet? And why are you with him now?"

Nelsie told her story. "I first met him at the Archimedes forum where I used to be stationed. I thought he was with Union Galactic, so I attacked him and Flora. Totally kicked both of their asses by the way."

Flora rolled her eyes.

"Anyway, they found out I was a girl, and then my superiors found out too. I was kicked out of the legions on the spot. However, your son showed me such kindness at my lowest point. Homeless and disgraced, he found me, and let me join him on a mission to steal the legendary armor of the first Daesoman emperor, Kaiser Julianus."

"So you mean, that armor you were wearing back on Omontu station~"

"That's right!" Nelsie winked.

Annabelle spoke "Holy shit! I knew your armor looked fancy, but I had no idea that was Kaiser Julianus' armor. Where did you even find it? I thought it had been lost for centuries?"

Nelsie grinned. "Turns out Aurelian's son, the new emperor, found it. He had it on display in the imperial palace, so Frankie and I crashed their little party and made off with the goods."

Frankie interrupted. "That's not even the best part! We had Chan Chan hack the audio system and play my country hits CD over the speakers. Nelsie and I did the Boot Scootin' Boogie in front of the biggest high rollers of the Daesoman empire! Paw, you should have seen it!"

Jacq was now laughing hysterically. "Oh my god! Son, that is the funniest thing I have ever heard in my whole life!"

The gang all laughed along as they continued to share stories with Doctor Annabelle Merleaux.

X

Later on in the conversation, Frankie finally started asking some more serious questions.

"Alright mom, it's time for me to ask you some questions. First of all, just who the hell is Soul Sister? What were you guys doing in the Ascension project?"

Everyone was listening closely. Annabelle took a deep breath before explaining everything.

"Officially, the Ascension project was the research team that Union Galactic assembled to discover faster than light speed travel. However, I'm sure you have all figured out by now that it was much more than that. Fun fact, my educational background is not in engineering at all."

Everyone's jaws were on the floor. "Wait WHAT?!" Chan Chan blurted out.

"Haha, yeah I earned my Phd in Archeology. I actually have no scientific background whatsoever."

"WHAT THE~"

"Flora, calm down. Let her speak." Frankie placed a hand on her shoulder.

Annabelle continued. "As I said, my Phd was in Archeology. Now, please understand that the Ascension project was created before I was part of the team. Like I said, they were originally ordered to develop a way to travel faster than the speed of light. As anybody who knows anything about physics and the theory of relativity will tell you, that is impossible."

"However, that all changed one day when Ditross Myoxx came back from a business trip. He never told me where he went, and nobody else went with him. But when he came back, he seemed much different. It's hard to explain, but he just had this presence about him. Like you could feel this energy emanating from him that was never there before. Back then, I was working at Union Galactic as their top Archeologist, but I will never forget that day he came in my office with that box. He showed me this large golden box. It was beautiful, and covered with all kinds of strange carvings and writings. He locked the door and told me that this was the key to unlocking faster than light speed travel."

"I asked him if he had already opened it, and he said not this one, but another one. It contained the soul of an ancient being called a Maytrei Dutom. He said this being gave him visions of a future utopia. One where Union Galactic trains would run all across the galaxy, bringing civilization to every world. As the top Archeologist working for Union Galactic, he asked me to stop everything I was working on and focus all of my efforts on learning more about the Maytrei Dutom."

"So, what did you find?" Chan Chan asked.

"The Maytrei Dutom were an ancient race of super beings. They existed millions of years ago, long before any of the current galactic races existed. However, many ancient civilizations on many worlds make references to them. It is believed that they possessed supernatural powers and could even perform miracles. Naturally, they were worshipped as gods by these ancient civilizations. Then one day, they simply vanished without a trace. After I had learned this, I sent expeditions to these other worlds where ruins of those various ancient civilizations existed to try and find anything I could about the Maytrei Dutom. Luckily, we were successful. We found several more boxes just like the golden one that Myoxx gave me."

"What happened to them?" Frankie asked. His goldeneye was starting to glow a little bit.

"I turned them over to Myoxx. He was very pleased with my work. I was then given complete authority over the Ascension project. At the time, he was more determined than ever that my discoveries were the key to FTLS travel. When I first got there, I was surprised to find that the entire team consisted of engineers and physicists. Looking back, I was so out of my element."

"Nonetheless, we got to work. Our progress was slow, but we eventually learned that the beings inside these boxes possessed the ability to access the fourth dimension of reality. Once this discovery was made, we reported it to Myoxx. I will never forget what happened next."

Annabelle took a deep breath. "He asked us to create an apparatus that would allow us to harness the energy of these beings inside these boxes. This energy that they possessed was the key to accessing the fourth dimension, and faster than light speed travel."

Frankie's eye started glowing a little brighter. "The longer I worked on this project, the more I started feeling drawn to the large golden box that Myoxx first gave me. The first one he found. Eventually, the apparatus was completed. The night before we were supposed to conduct the experiment, I had a dream."

"In this dream, I saw a beautiful golden woman. Her skin looked like it was made of solid gold. She wore this beautiful golden robe, and was glowing very brightly. She spoke with an almost angelic voice. I felt like I was in the presence of an angel, or maybe even god himself. It was neither. She explained that her name was Ame-Soeur. She was the creature inside the box back in the lab, and that tomorrow she would be killed in the experiment."

"She told me that I had to do whatever I could to get her out of there. She warned that there was a much darker, more evil version of her that would try to stop me, but that the fate of the galaxy was at stake. If she died, this evil incarnation of her would rule the galaxy for all time. I asked her what I should do. All she replied with was "Send me to him. Send me to Merleaux."

Frankie's eye was now glowing bright enough that other people in the room started to notice.

"After that, I woke up in a cold sweat and immediately called Jacq on our encrypted line. I told him everything, and we came up with a plan to steal that golden box the next day."

Frankie spoke up "So wait, if you are my mother, then where was I when all of this was going on?"

Jacq replied this time "You were with me back at my hideout. Obviously your mom couldn't take care of you, what with all the secret projects and stuff. It was hard enough trying to hide our marriage and her pregnancy."

"So then, where was I born?" Frankie asked.

"Technically earth, since that is where your birth certificate is from, but if you really want to know, you were born on the planet Lifner."

All of this was hard for Frankie to process. Luckily for him, Soul Sister took this time to take over his body. He started glowing a bright golden color as his body transformed into a beautiful golden woman.

She opened her eyes and spoke. "Doctor Annabelle Merleaux, it is good to see you again. I cannot thank you enough for your bravery all those years ago."

Annabelle dropped down to one knee and bowed her head. "Of course, my lady."

Soul Sister laughed a little bit. "Please, there is no need for such things. You belong on your feet with the rest of my master's family."

Flora looked at her. "Wait, does that mean~"

Soul Sister addressed the entire crew in the bridge. "Yes. Thank you to all of you for your bravery in the face of such evil. Everyone of you is a hero, and I consider you all to be my family. I'm sure my master would agree as well."

Annabelle stood up from the floor. Soul Sister looked at her and spoke. "My sister, Cles Noir, is bonded to the president and CEO of the Union Galactic Railroad corporation. During our fight, she told me her plan is to use his company to take over the galaxy and make every single sentient race into slaves."

"Thats~thats horrible." Annabelle whispered.

"It gets much worse. After you left the Ascension project, she used the tools they invented to harvest the souls of all of my kind that your expeditions found. Their souls are what powers the FTLS engines in the Union Galactic trains. She knows that I am the only one of my kind that could have stopped her, which is why she asked you to harvest me first. I cannot thank you enough for rescuing me from her all those years ago."

Flora took this time to ask a question that had been bugging her for a while. "Excuse me, but why do you keep calling the thing inside Mr. Myoxx your sister?"

Soul Sister turned to her and answered. "Cles Noir and I are twin sisters."

Everyone was now picking up their hanging jaws off the floor.

"She and I were sisters long ago. I do not remember much about my past life, but I do remember her being very dissatisfied at the way our civilization was heading back then. Our people had ruled the galaxy for millions of years, but we had been increasingly helpful towards the primitive civilizations of the developing worlds. Cles Noir was always against this. Unfortunately, I do not remember how we all were sealed in those boxes that doctor Merleaux found us in. Based on what Cles Noir told me during our battle, it sounds like many others of my kind were against her, and tried to stop her. However, she had them all eliminated before they got the chance. As of right now, I, no, we are the only ones capable of stopping her."

The room fell silent. Now that the picture had been clearly painted, and all of the details were out in the open, it was time for everyone to come up with a plan on what to do next.

Annabelle spoke first. "Okay, so we know who we're up against, and we know her plans. However, we are nowhere near strong enough to face her again head on. We got lucky this time, but next time, we will need a much better strategy. I think the best course of action would be for us to try and figure out what happened to your people before they were put into those boxes. If we can figure that out, that may give us a clue about how to beat Cles Noir."

Chan Chan spoke next. "It might also help us to learn more about who the Maytrei Dutom are as a species as well. Even the top historians in the galaxy don't know much about them."

Flora followed after her. "She said that the souls of her kind were harvested to make the FTLS engines of the Union Galactic trains. It might help us to break inside one of those trains and see if we could perhaps reverse the process."

Soul Sister answered back "That box that you found me in is an artifact from my homeworld. My memory of the homeworld is lost to me, but if we can find the box my master found me in, it will give us the location."

Annabelle smiled. "That's a great idea! Okay, so where would that be?"

Jacq answered. "Probably back on earth, along with the rest of the wreckage of that Union Galactic ship that she came on."

Chan Chan rushed over to a computer terminal and started typing away. "Alright, then it's settled! We're going to Earth to look for the artifact. Mister Merleaux, can you help me adjust the navigation computer? I don't know where earth is."

Jacq walked over to help her. Soul Sister began to fade away. "Thank you all for your efforts. I look forward to working with you." Her golden body faded away as she turned back into Frankie.

Frankie stood there dazed and confused. "Woah… hey what did I miss?"

Jacq smiled "We're going home, son!"

"Wait, you mean home-home? Like, back to earth?"

"That's right!"

"Guys is this true?"

Frankie looked around and everyone nodded. He looked at Flora who rolled her eyes and moaned "Great…. Just what I always wanted to do… go back to that shithole planet."

Frankie chuckled a little and smiled. "Well, if we're going back to earth, yall gotta come to Louisiana and try some homemade gumbo!"

Yuri gave him a puzzled look. "What is this dish you speak of, comrade?"

"That my friend is a signature dish of true cajun cuisine! Trust me, you guys are going to love it."

Chan Chan called out. "Alright, the navigation computer is all set. Frankie, mind turning on the FTLS engine for us?"

Everyone looked at him and nodded their approval. Frankie grinned and walked over to the large grandfather clock standing along the back wall. He sat down next to it and spoke to the group.

"Here we go everyone. Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

The grandfather clock started glowing as the dial on top started moving very fast. The pendulum inside began moving very fast as well, matching the speed of the dial. Everyone turned their attention to the sky outside the windows of the bridge as the Archangel flew off into the stars.