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Hero
By Dark
HOMEPAGE

Presented by: Xenogears: God and Mind

Author's notes

First and foremost, this story and these author's notes contain big spoilers. Sorry, please complete the game before reading this one!!!

I have seen several fan fictions which deal with the formation of Id and what happened to Fei in Solaris. However I have yet to see one (which doesn't necessarily mean one doesn't exist), which deals with Fei's entire past. I'm sorry if this story shocks anybody, Fei's experiences are hardly pleasant and I don't really like writing about an innocent child in agony, however, my descriptions of what happened to Fei and how horrible it actually was may help you understand the formation of Id. I also attempt to try and explain what Krelian and Miang were trying to achieve. All Krelian's scientific babble is as genuine as I can make it.


Chapter One
Id and Ego


     "Fei! Fei!" The voice bounced and echoed across the stairway of their tiny house, the female cannonade voice that Fei well recognized. His mummy was angry. Timidly he slipped downstairs, peaking out nervously from behind the huge banister, a four-year-old scout approaching an enemy position. His face was blotched with blobs of color from the bright crayons he'd been drawing with, which gave him the look of someone with a leprous disease. Splashes of color also adorned his white clothing, staining the light durable material as if with blood. In one hand he held a number of sketchpad pages, the top page showing a childish but accurate drawing of a green-eyed cat sprawled languidly on a red cushion. Mummy always liked his drawings, she often said he had talent; he showed his daddy too, and he would smile and tousle the child's thick black locks and perhaps, if the boy was lucky, would sit and drawer with him.
     But daddy wasn't here now, only mummy. And mummy was angry. He edged round the door of the main living room to see her standing, a short woman but immensely tall to him, her brown hair flowing in two coriographed ebony wavers from the sides of the hair brush. She looked down at him, as she had so many times before, but now the expression on her face was different. She was not angry Fei realized, but if not angry what was she? Her lips curled back from her even white teeth in a strange smile, somehow cold and calculating. Her eyes had changed too Fei though, not the expressively beautiful brown he so loved, but a cold arctic blue, a deep indigo with something horribly hot at the depths. For a moment Fei stared into those pits of evil sky, then he turned and ran.
     Terror filled him, where was mummy? What had happened to her? The devil, it must be! The devil had come to his house and looked like his mummy. He turned and fled in panic, adrenaline for the first time in his short life thrilling through his small body. But hardly had he started to run than two hands caught him round the waist and lifted him. His mummy often cuddled him, but this was different, the hands were cold, hard like steel claws, there was no warm comforting feel, the devil had got him.
     Cold blue eyes stared into his, boiling his soul, he didn't understand what he saw there, he had never really seen evil, or that cold indifference before, he had no words to say what it looked like, except that it must be the devil. The devil that had been his mummy looked at him, and he felt her testing him somehow, looking at him the way he looked at the beetle his kind daddy had once put on his hand. He wanted to cry, or scream, but he was helpless in the devil's grip as if he had been turned to solid ice. With out speaking a word, the devil carried him into the kitchen and wiped the crayon marks from his face with detached thoroughness. She wiped his clothes too, sitting him on the kitchen counter while she sponged away the play stains. Fei sat silent, unmoving as a doll. Then suddenly, the devil noticed the pad and crayons he still clutched, with cold merciless grip she took them from him and threw both into the kitchen bin. Normally he would have cried, all his work wasted, and his wonderful crayons too, but today he didn't, he just sat and watched, unmoving on the hard cold kitchen counter, while the devil got her coat, and his. She had to turn away for him to reach the coats, and Fei half expected her to turn back with warm brown eyes, to come across and put her arms around him, and promise that that bad devil was gone, but she didn't. She turned back and her eyes were the same terrible blue he had seen before.
     Still without speaking, she set him on his feet, and pulled his arms into the sleeves of his coat. Then he felt her take his hand, restraining his tiny fingers and palm in a grip that was not crushing, but was unbreakable, and led him from the house.
     "Get in the car." She told him, her voice as cold as the wind that blew down from the mountains. Fei jumped to obey, he knew that it was wrong to take orders from the devil; the priest had said so, but the devil was his mummy. He pulled open the door of the car, and got in, carefully buckling his seatbelt as his daddy had always told him he should. The devil got in the front, and for an instant Fei looked at the neat pile of flowing brown hair and wondered why the devil had taken his mummy. Then with a roar the engine started.
     They drove for ages. Children do not judge time the same way adults do, but Fei knew it was a long while. Normally he would have been bored, but not now, he dared not move or speak, the devil was sitting there with her terrible blue eyes on the road ahead and Fei didn't want her looking at him. He wondered what the devil was doing, the priest had always said that the devil did something to human hearts, and fought with God. Where was God? Then, and suddenly the answer came. Daddy must be God! Daddy would come and make everything all right again. Fei put his hands together and asked God to take the devil away, to give him his mother back. But God didn't seem to answer, the drone of the engine continued like a frustrated bee and nothing happened. The devil turned to Fei, who hid his face from those awful blue eyes. "Don't be frightened Fei. You will fulfill your purpose." But Fei was frightened, and there was a cold quality in the voice that made the comfort sound like a tape recording. He didn't understand the last bit, what was a purpose? But he didn't want to know. Suddenly hatred filled him. He hated this devil that had once been his mummy. He wanted it to go away. He wanted to blow it up. But he could say nothing. Could do nothing. He could only sit and stare out at the scudding gray clouds as the car growled forward.
     Why couldn't he move? His daddy had once told him, that there was something you could do to somebody, Hyp-----hypotise (hypnotized) them. Maybe the devil had hypotised him, to stop him from screaming or calling out, to stop him calling God. But he had called God and nothing had happened. He felt powerless, all course of action closed.
     The car stopped on a long concrete strip. The devil got out of the front and opened his door. Without speaking a word she pulled him from the back seat and walked him briskly across the concrete. There was a machine waiting, a big white machine with huge men and women in dazzling white uniforms around it. Were they police? Were they going to rescue him? But no, they were opening doors for the devil and leading them both inside.
     "Where are we going?" He asked, he wasn't asking the devil, but a man in dazzling white who was sitting behind some controls. The man ignored him. Fei asked again, and a pretty young woman with a shock of glorious blonde hair seemed about to answer him, but the devil pulled him down onto a hard leather seat, and attached a seatbelt to him. The machine gave a shudder, and a whir like an engine, but there seemed to be no windows close to Fei, so he couldn't see where he was going. The young woman with the golden hair was walking over to them, as if seeing the fear in the child's eyes she stretched out one comforting hand, in the sleeve of her white uniform. Fei felt a warm pang of gratitude. This kind woman would protect him from the devil. Then the devil turned mummy's head and gave the woman the full glare of those awful bleak eyes. She spoke a few words that Fei couldn't understand (years later Fei recognized the words as the Solarian language. But adults say much that goes past four year old minds). What ever the devil said, it made the kind woman turn away, and Fei felt alone. A while later, the machine stopped whirring and Fei got out, the devil's icy hand around his.
     They were in a white place, with lots of strange machines and people in white uniforms rushing here and there. Off to one side, Fei recognized some huge metal shapes that must be Gears, with real guns and jets. Normally such a sight would have excited him immensely, but now in a peculiarly adult flash of perception he knew that Gears killed people.
     They walked quickly across the white place, and through a door into a long white corridor. Was this heaven? Everything was white, but somehow he knew that someone like the devil who had taken his mummy away would not go anywhere near heaven.
     They passed several solid looking doors, each adorned with a barred grating, through which a pale face peered. On that first trip Fei didn't make much of their expressions, such depths of fear and suffering were strangers to him then. But on further trips he began to recognize the hopelessness in their eyes, and the long for death. But just then he put them down as funny adults. It didn't occur to him that they might be locked in, he wondered why they stared out between the bars, rather than coming out into the corridor.
     At the end of the corridor, they entered a room that Fei recognized immediately as belonging to a hospital. Now everything seemed to fall into place, he must be ill and "Fulfilling his purpose" must be some kind of cure. Maybe that was why he was so frightened, maybe. Then a white-coated figure rose up from the depths of the room, and Fei's fear doubled. The figure was a man, tall and angular, with strange pale hair, which Fei couldn't be sure of the color of. His face looked to Fei like the face of a teacher; or the way he imagined a teacher to be, with a clear mouth and high forehead. But his eyes, in them shone the same terrible unstoppable purpose that had shown in his mummy's spooky new blue eyes. The man's eyes were cold and calculating, like scanners. Fei didn't know the meaning of embarrassment, but he felt it. The eyes seemed to probe him, exploring him with a cold dispassionate glare. "This is the Contact?" The devil nodded her brown head. "Excellent, we will begin preliminary tests of nervous stimulation and epidermal dendrite probes. How old is he?" "My child will be 4 this year." "Good, the sensory receptors in his nervous system should be fully live. If the initial probing is successful, I will insert a nanomechanical compound, which will assess the growth structure and wave patterns of the brain. It will, of course produce intense pain in the subject, but it's results are far more conclusive than a simple encephalogram."
     Fei understood little of this, but he was confident now that he was in a hospital, and this cold man was a doctor. He snatched at the one word he did understand. "Nervous, Yeah I'm nervous." The doctor's cold eyes slowly moved down to his face as if noticing for the first time that he was more than a specimen. "The boy is distressed, that is well. The extra production of serratonin will cause an increase in activity in the autonomic nervous system, this will make measurement of nervous stimulation far easier." "Is the pain necessary." Fei clutched the hand he held, because for the first time that day, the devil's voice resembled his mothers. He stared up into the dreadful blue eyes, and saw them soften, and take on an expression not unlike that of his mummy. The doctor looked back, and his own gray eyes grew steely, flint hard and mechanically aloof. "The nervous tests are necessary. If he is the Contact, as you believe, then his nervous system will be configured differently. By stimulating each neuron we can chart the impulse's path to the brain. We must establish whether this boy is the Contact, if so then he could be a great asset. The pain will be only a residual side effect." His mummy's voice sounded desperate now. "But we know he's the Contact ---" "Miang! It is necessary!" The doctor spoke slowly, and for the first time there was a hint of inflection in his voice. Fei looked up at the woman in wonder, no wonder she wasn't his mummy, daddy always called her Karen. This Miang lady must just look like her. Suddenly he felt very alone, small and lost, now learning that this woman who looked so like his mummy, this cold devil wasn't he started to cry.
     "What about emotional damage?" The woman's voice was steadier now, as those cold blue eyes looked over Fei with a soft sad look. Though he cried she didn't put an arm round him, as mummy would have. She just looked from him to the doctor with that sad look in her indigo eyes. "Emotions are merely the result of neuro-chemical interactions in the forebrain. What you call fear is only the result of an excess of serratonin. The feeling you know as happiness is only a build up of endorphins. Such things cannot be taken into account by serious scientists, I have made a study of pain in humans, if there is no physical damage the subject recovers quickly, any emotional ----- or should I say chemical side effects are negligible. When he matures I may undertake a course to repress such impulses, as I have done. Now this delay is wearisome. Place the boy on the examining table and we shall commence." "As you wish Professor Krelian."
     Mummy or whoever she was picked Fei up, and he could feel the coldness radiating from her arms as if he had been picked up by a woman made of snow. He lay quiet, feeling as though he had been 'hypotised' by all the long words the doctor had said. He was sure they were special medical words about what was wrong with him. Willingly he lay down on the long hard metal table. With cold fingers the woman snapped the steel cuffs over his wrists and ankles so that he lay on his back staring at the white lights set into the ceiling.
     "What are these for?" Fei asked, jingling one of his cuffs. But mummy and the doctor-man had walked over to the other side of the room and were talking. Then the doctor-man came back, holding a small device like a watch. "A monitor of his vital signs." He said, clipping the watch to Fei's bare forearm. A machine started to beep, rhythmic sounds coming one upon another as Fei's tiny lungs drew in air and pushed it out again. The doctor-man wheeled over a huge device that stood beside the bench, part of it hung down towards Fei, a long gantry like device, ended with a long thin metal splinter that pointed down towards Fei's body. The doctor-man began to turn a knob on the side of the machine and the splinter came down, down, down towards Fei. Then it touched the skin of one bare arm, and Fei screemed.
     Pain exploded through Fei's body. Not in waves, but in a constant flowing river of agony. He had never felt anything like it before; it covered every part of him, skin, hair, toes, fingers, eyes, a constant blanket of agony. He screamed, tears running from his eyes, he tried his best to thrash against the cuffs but it did no good. Words started to be mixed in with the terrible high wending of Fei's scream. "No please no more no more I'll be good I I mummy make it stop mummy mummy please make it stop ---"
     It went on for what seemed like hours. Fei's throat grew hoarse from screaming until he could only whisper, more and more tears running out of his eyes. The doctor-man sat to one side, studying a screen with an expression of complete calm, writing notes smoothly on a clipboard.
     At last it stopped and a cup containing water was put to Fei's dry lips. His body shook and shivered, and sweat had broken pout all over him but the pain was all gone. His mother released him and with cold uninflected words told him they were leaving.
     Fei hardly noticed the trip back, he sat entranced, his eyes inward. Why would his mother do that? What had he done? Did she hate him? But soon they were home. His mother went into the kitchen and reappeared with a meal that Fei picked at darkly, casting sharp suspicious glances at the woman who had hurt him. She must be a devil, a nasty devil. He hated her.
     That night he lay awake, drawing. But his drawings weren't of household objects or familiar things; they were of people and places he had never seen before. The images just popped into his mind. A young boy slightly older than Fei himself, staring in wonder at a funny looking yellow and red picture, another man with long hair and a smart suite looking into a huge glass tube in which a girl floated with long green hair. This man was a doctor Fei knew, but not like that horrible cold man. This man was kind. Then there was that other picture, of a brave soldier man, with a gun in his hand, and a battle going on in the background.
     The next day the woman called him again, this time he begged, pleading, crying even before they got to the car, but it was no good, almost a repeat of the previous day. The machines, the doctor-man, the pain, the woman who wasn't his mummy, and the doctor-man talked with long words again, then he came home, exhausted and drew his friends again.
     The characters he drew became almost real to Fei. There was the boy called Abel. The kind old doctor was called Kim, and the soldier's name was Lacan. They were all good people Fei knew, good and kind. Not horrible like his mummy, they would never hurt him.
     The pain never varied over the next few weeks, except for the silver helmet, which produced an explosion of intense agony in his head. Each night Fei would come home with the woman who he was now growing to truly hate, eat his food and go upstairs to draw.
     It was perhaps a month later that daddy came home. On a night when rain and storm surrounded the house like the black pain injected into Fei by the long steel probes. Daddy stumped in through the door, shaking rain from his long blue cloak. Beneath it he wore the familiar fighting suite that Fei recognized. His mustache straggled across his strong tanned face like a dead snake. His kind brown eyes glowed in the electric light from the hall. Fei had charged down stairs as soon as daddy came through the door. Daddy would help. Daddy was great. Daddy would see through the hated woman in no time.
     But daddy seemed not to notice. Fei saw him walk across the hall and embrace the woman who wasn't mummy, kissing her lightly on the cheek. "Karen! How's life without me? Zephyr wants me to go on another mission to the thousand islands in two days but I thought I'd stop by on my way." "Kahn darling." What ran through the woman who wasn't mummy's voice could almost have been called love. Fei skulked at the top of the stairs, watching in disbelief as his father embraced the woman who wasn't his mummy.
     "Fei! What're you sneaking around up there for boy? Come here. How's the drawing?" Fei dashed downstairs and threw himself at the strong man's feet. Kahn lifted him up in both strong tanned hands and laid him across one shoulder. "What're the tears for?" Kahn asked, as he saw the wet stains on his son's cheeks. Fei raised his eyes to his daddy's and started to speak. "Mummy, she isn't mummy she's the devil. She takes me to a doctor and he make it hurt. It hurts daddy, it hurts!" Kahn looked in consternation over Fei's head to the brown haired woman. "What's he talking about Karen?" The woman shook her head, her deep indigo eyes mystified and innocent. "I don't know. He must be imagining it, he has a very active imagination." Kahn looked down at his son's tear streaked face. "Was it a bad dream Fei? It must have been. You know your mother would never hurt you." "But she did. She's not my mummy, mummy's gone." "Fei! I'll have no more of this. I know it must be hard for you and your mother. That's why I don't want you and her falling out over some silly game. Now lets have no more of this." Fei didn't reply but buried his head in his father's leg; it's false comfort filling him. His daddy didn't care. His daddy didn't believe him. But it was true. It was all true. For the first time in his short life Fei contemplated the enormous idea that adults were not all wise.
     Kahn lifted the boy up again and carried him upstairs, turning to remark to the woman who wasn't Fei's mummy. "He must be tired. It's past his bedtime." He carried Fei into his room and gently laid him in bed, covering him protectively with sheets and blankets, pulling their soft folds about him. But Fei knew that no amount of warm softness would save him the next day, or the day after, from the tortures that the doctor-man inflicted. He hardly felt his father's rough tussling of his hair, he was too aware of the memory of that murderous pain. "Good night Fei." Kahn's voice whispered, and then Fei heard his father tramping from the dark room, shutting the door behind him.
     Fei lay in the dark, turning over onto his back. He looked over to the dim black shape of the curtain. He used to imagine monsters lurking there, but not tonight, why should monsters bother to sneak into little boy's bedrooms when they would see him in the white room the next day? His daddy had failed him. His daddy wouldn't listen. And it was that night, after rejection and in fear of pain that Fei first thought of his Hero.
     That first night the Hero had no face, no personality, he was just the Hero, the one who would sweep into that horrible whiteness and smash the pain machines, blast the doctor-man, blow up Fei's false mummy. The Hero was strong and powerful. The Hero feared nothing.
     Days passed, sometimes daddy would come home, but Fei never tried to talk to him about the regular routines of screaming mind-numbing agony he endured. It was no use. Occasionally Daddy would offer to draw with Fei, or try and teach him a few numbers or words. But Fei was increasingly disinterested. He didn't like daddy. Daddy was bad. Daddy could be blown up with the rest. More and more Fei thought of his Hero, when he screamed and the calm doctor made his notes, the Hoero was there, a presence in Fei's imagination. Fei could not stand up to them but the Hero would.
     The doctor-man removed the helmet from Fei's head and turned to the devil, his eyes blank as ever, his voice speaking it's terrible long words. They ignored Fei as they talked, leaving him strapped on his table, trying to recover sanity from the agony the helmet had given him. "I believe that is the final probing. I have obtained all the necessary readings to formulate statistical analysis." "But how will you analyze the results? You have no comparison." "That will not be difficult. If this boy is truly the Contact, then his nervous readings must show marked deviations. The deviations will be extremely significant and their level of significance can be analyzed with a statistical test." "But won't such a test take time?" The doctor-man nodded, his expression blank. Fei lay quiet; he knew if he spoke they would both ignore him, he was nothing to them. Though he could not imagine the reason the devil brought him here for this continued pain, he knew it could not be anything to do with him. For a while he assumed he had performed some terrible wrong that required this terrible new kind of spanking. But soon he realized this could not be. Mummy; and the woman who pretended to be mummy, always explained why they were punishing him, and here there were no explanations, only constant and unrelieved agony. "The analysis of the data will require several months for a significance reading. I intend to perform the same experiments on a number of Lamb children of similar age and physical type that will also take time. Return with him in seven months and I will continue the experiment." "Yes Professor."
     The woman who wasn't his mummy came over to Fei and released the clamps and helped the shivering boy off the table. Fei looked up at her with cold unfriendly dark eyes, how he hated her. But it was wrong to hate her. After all she was almost his mummy. She walked him quickly out of the horrible white room and down the icy corridor, her hand enclosing his. Must time she would walk in silence but today she talked, her voice sounding kind and tired, almost like Mummy's voice used to sound. "Oh Fei ---- I do love you. You're going to be great you know Fei? That's what all this is for, to make you powerful. You are too young to understand now but one day you will thank us." She stopped in the corridor and looked down at the tiny boy with his sweat soaked dark hair falling over his haggard face. "But it hurts mummy." Fei spoke quavering, looking into those indigo eyes and seeing something almost soft in them. "I know it does sweetheart, but it's all for you. Doctor Krelian is working very hard, just to help you be stronger. That's what all this for Fei." And taking his small hand in hers, gently she lead him away.
     That night Fei woke up crying, he had dreamed of a huge cold scientific face with great indigo pools of eyes, laughing at him. And he knew that as he lay under that terrible stare, pain would come in waves and engulf him. He didn't make any noise when he awoke, for that would wake the woman who could be his mummy up. With a trembling little hand he turned on the light and sat with his crayons. He pulled a sketching sheet across his knees and looked at the drawings of Abel, Kim and Lacan. But they were nothing to him now. His Hero was all. He shut his eyes and his small soft face creased with concentration as he tried to conjure up the face of his hero. But nothing came, Fei thought of the pain and the hard cold faces and eyes of the doctor-man and the devil who might be mummy. But still nothing came, and he put the pad and crayons away, turned off the light and got into bed to sleep.
     In the months that followed Fei's life almost returned to normal. The devil put up a display of being Fei's mummy so convincing that it might be true. Her eyes remained the terrifying indigo, but less and less Fei saw the icy steel that had characterized his visits to the white room with its pain machines. His fourth birthday came in glory, and Fei forgot his experiences when he opened the red wrapping paper to reveal a brightly colored kite with red and yellow stripes and a long tale like a comet's. For the next few months Fei was happy, forgetting his Hero and the pain. He would sit with daddy or mummy, and though he was far quieter than he used to be, his father seemed hardly to notice on the rare occasions he returned home.
     The snow was falling when mummy called Fei up one morning. Almost instantly he knew what was happening, as soon as her voice drifted up the long well of the stairs with the same almost angry note Fei knew. He burrowed into his bed, wrapping the blankets and sheets about him, trying to stuff them in his ears to cut out his mummy's horrible persistent voice. Then the voice stopped, Fei held his breath, would she give up and go away? Then suddenly a hand grasped the blankets and wrenched them away from Fei's face. The woman who was not his mummy stared down at him with deep blue anger in her eyes. "Come Fei. The doctor must continue his tests." Numbly Fei got out of bed and began to clean his teeth, wash and get dressed. The devil watched him with a cold indifferent anger. Fei looked at her glacial face, so like his old mummy's, but so different, and he almost cried again. But he would save his tears; he would need them later under the doctor-man's pain machine.
     "Your hypothesis was proved correct Miang. This boy does indeed appear to possess a most unusual nervous system." The devil looked across at the man in the white coat and it seemed to Fei that her skin was paler under the harsh white of that cold sterile torture room. "Did you doubt it? So you put my son through intense pain just to prove a thing I already knew?" The man in white's voice was sharp and cutting, his gray eyes, usually as cold as a pair of scanners, suddenly flickered with annoyance and mania. "You understand the necessity, the Miang consciousness should make you understand. The identity of this boy had to be scientifically proven. Please do not waste my time with petty emotionalism on behalf of a child who is diametrically apposed to our purpose. If it is impossible to use the power latent within Har's Contact, I would rather terminate him than allow him to stop us awakening God." The devil said nothing, her face twisted into a steel mask, indigo eyes blazing. The doctor-man looked her over slowly, as if seeing her for the first time. He laid one hand on one of his machines as if for support. "You are an inferior Miang, though that does not surprise with me with your low genetic compatibility. It seems that more than your hair remained unchanged. Though other incarnations retained the vestiges of their personalities, you have retained more than most. You even contemplated ceasing this experiment for the sake of sentimentality. It would be most advantageous if you were to die before the final awakening, I do not believe I can rely on your support." The devil said nothing in answer, simply stood and looked for one instant defiantly into the doctor's unstoppable gaze. Then she lowered her deep arctic eyes as if in shame. "It matters not. The successor I have trained to receive the consciousness will be far less prone to bursts of pity. I am undertaking her education personally, making certain that there is no weakness in her as there is in you." Still the devil said noting but stood like a machine with a broken connection, eyes cast down to the white tiled floor, cold hand wrapped around Fei's fingers like ice around a frozen animal. "I wish to discover where in the boy's brain the power resides and how to ignite it. The power of the Contact is etheric in nature. I believe that if the brain is scanned using my nannomechanical method while the body is subjected to low grade ether waves of differing frequencies, we may be able to produce some kind of response and determine in which region of the brain and which particular neuron's the power resides." "But there are over 100 different frequencies, it will take years." "We have years!"
     This pain was different to the others; the explosive agony around his head was there. But the terrible whitish light that surrounded his body seemed to burn and tingle his skin, though it caused him no hurt. Again he screamed and called out for his mummy, as the agony continued in an endless stream, his voice gushing out to a hoarse whisper until all he could do was ooze tears form both brown eyes. But after several hours he was released trembling.
     That night he drew his hero's face. It was a cunning, twisted face, but why not? The skin was a pale blanched white, and the hair that straggled around the Hero's head was the color of fresh blood, glorious red hair that would gleam in the light. The Hero's eyes were a bright gold like the sun, a free glowing happy color dancing with pleasure. The Hero was strong and powerful. He screamed war cries as he smashed the nasty machines into fragments of twisted metal, his teeth set in an animal snarl.
     They returned to the horrible white room for almost a month. There was the same agony in his skull and continuous white light causing hot burning in his skin. But every night Fei would draw his Hero, and as if in sympathy the other phantom friends seemed to disappear from Fei's imagination, leaving only the Hero.
     On the 25th day the doctor-man shook his head as he released Fei from the cuffs. Fei had struggled particularly hard that day, and the steel bands had cut into him leaving sore red patches in his skin. But that pain was nothing to the burning agony of the white light. "I have tested him for three hours on each of the first 25 ether frequencies. I will analyze the results. Please return in six months with the boy. If I find the anomaly I am looking for in a particular region of the brain we can begin the experiment in earnest." "Yes Professor." The devil's voice was sharp and clipped, and there was no hint of wrath as she grasped Fei from the metal bench. As always Fei couldn't understand the long complex words, but he understood the bit about not coming back for six months, and there was a pathetic warmth in his eyes as he looked as his mummy.
     "Professor. Fei is attending school soon. I wonder if it would be best for him to remain in Solaris rather than return to our home. I could fake an accident to put my husband off the scent. If Fei were to talk of this at school ---" The doctor's face remained expressionless as always. "I cannot have him here, this project is known only to the Gazel, the Emperor and we too. Anonymity is the best secret. I will implant a behavioral block to stop the boy from talking of this. It will not last long with one of his age but it can be renewed. I often use such blocks to stop Lambs from committing suicide during an experiment."
     The doctor placed the helmet over Fei's tangled hair and for a second Fei screamed again. His hands reached up to the helmet to tear it from his head but the woman who wasn't his mummy caught his hands and held the struggling child while the doctor looked at a display. Then he returned with a small gun-like device, which he aimed at Fei's head. A pencil thin beam of blue light struck Fei and his scream was choked off. His stomach started to churn and heave, and the devil removed the helmet as he bent over and was violently sick on the tiled floor. The bile burnt his mouth and steamed as it stained the immaculate white of the tiles. "It is done. I have used a concentration of nanomachines to construct a temporary pathway of reinforcement from his Hypothalamus to his cerebral cortex. Every time he attempts to speak of these events a vomiting response will be triggered."
     That night he thought of the Hero again, seeing the Hero's bright, fire bright golden eyes, the glory of his hair. The Hero would grab the woman who wasn't mummy and break her. The Hero would rip off the doctor's arms. The Hero would destroy.
     The next three years passed like a blink. There were three more months spent in that white room of pain. And each night Fei would draw the hero and plot revenge. While lying under the agony of white light he could almost hear the Hero's voice, a shriek of mental defiance, as Fei's own throat gave vent to his pain. He no longer called out for his mother, for that would be useless, she wouldn't care. But when he was not in pain he was happy. He started school and proved a bright pupil; understanding words and numbers extremely well. He got on well with other boys, in particular a quick whetted adventurous boy called Nathan, and Markus, a somber blond haired dependable child. They went on picnics, played at pirates and Gear pilots, gunned each other down in garden battles rapaciously.
     The behavioral block that the doctor had installed in Fei's brain was only used once. It was when Fei was six, returning to school just after another pain session in the white room. "You're back Fei. That's great, were you ill?" Fei shook his head. His experience of adults two years earlier had taught him not to mention the lab. "What's wrong Fei. Your better now aren't you?" "No miss." "Well didn't your parents take you to the doctor? Your mummy told me that you'd been ill." It was break time, Fei was eager to leave the dimness of the classroom and get out into the sun. He was a truthful boy so he tried his best to tell what truth he could. "My mummy took me to a doctor." "Oh, and he gave you some medicine?" "No. He ---" And that was enough. The pathway activated, Fei felt his stomach wrench ad bile burn his throat. Now he realized the significance of the blue gun the doctor had used on him. Even if he could find somebody who would believe him, some kind adult who could take him away from the pain, he could never speak about it.

Chapter Two
Ideal Self




     When Fei was eight, his not quite mum called him to the white room as usual. He came unwilling, submission in his deep brown eyes, his feet shuffling. He could read well now, but was still unable to read the signs in the white corridor, or on the white machine that took him to the doctor's torture room.
     "He is maturing correctly. He will be extremely physically athletic." The cold scientist's tone was almost bantering (since he started his own course in experimental science, Fei thought of the man in white as the scientist). Suddenly Fei felt anger rush through him, hot and red. Why did they hurt him and then not even notice him. For the first time in the years of visits he turned on the white clad scientist. "What's it all for? ---- No! No! Don't turn away. You hurt me and never speak and you don't even tell me why!" For the first time the cold implacable eyes looked straight into his, and he felt his flame of youthful defiance wither under their icy glare. "The pain is but a side effect. You must learn to pay it no attention, you must learn to blanket your emotions and look at the world empirically. You are too young yet to comprehend the power within you or your own destiny. But be assured that we are working in your best interests as well as our own." Fei's mum stared at him in blank cold anger, her arctic eyes blazing blue. "Do not question Fei. Everything the doctor says is true. Stop this petty defiance and lie down." The shock was almost as painful as any of the scientist's nervous probes. Fei had done wrong. Guilt like a knife swept through his mind, guilt and fear. He resented the Hero he had made, resented the symbolic resistance in those increasingly less childish pictures of the man with the twisted pale face and bright golden eyes. He hated his Hero. He hated the world. "I have located his etheric frequency and neurological region of the Contact's power. I believe the best way to release this is by simulated contact with the Wave Existence." "How?" The scientist seemed almost smug as he coupled on the handcuffs and anklets to Fei's unresisting body. "Another mind with the same etheric frequency connected to the boy in a multi-neurological circuit. It was a technique I developed for combining the minds of Lambs to create an efficient collective consciousness. Unfortunately I could not destroy the individuality of each mind so the technique was unsuccessful. But it will accomplish this purpose. I have isolated several participants with the necessary latent ether capacity in the correct region of their brains; the temporal lobes. It may take an hour for each participant to integrate fully with the boy's mind, but we have time."
     The first participant was a hulking demi-human, his face a mass of battle scars. As usual, Fei had understood little of the scientist's talk, but was glad when the electrode strapped to his head caused no pain. The demi-human was similarly arrayed in electrode crown and a slight hum filled the white space that so short a time before had been full of screams. Fei's first feeling was one of relief; there was no pain. But after several minutes he felt it, small tendrils of awareness invading his consciousness. It started off as a simple knowing of the other's presence, but the feeling grew. Soon Fei could empathies completely with the other; understand his feelings and thoughts, a miracle of self-knowledge flowing over him in a wave. Then he felt the other's self, more than just a moment of empathy such as any lover feels, but truly the other self, like a dark confused barrier at the side of his mind. And with this peculiar melding, he felt the other looking, probing, feeling. There was no awareness of memory or personality, just the knowledge that the other was there and that the other knew he was there. He felt naked, mentally raped even as he mentally raped the other. Then something in him rebelled, a cutting blur of light and fury slamming up from the lower levels of Fei Fong Wong, slamming up and into the other. It smashed like a blow of pure fire, and once more the white tiled room was fully of pain, not Fei's pain but the pain of the other, he leaned back clawing at his head emitting a hoarse scream of pain, his scarred face wrenching in anguish then he fell to the floor, and his skull struck the tiles with a sharp crack. "Dead, internal hemorrhaging caused by extreme mental stress. I feared it would take several attempts before we could find the perfect melding. But they are all expendable, we must just keep trying."
     That day was the worst Fei had ever known. There was no physical pain; the feelings of knowledge of other awareness were not unpleasant, but each time Fei felt acceptance of the other, and knowledge of another being, something deep within his mind flared up like the fires of hell and they fell dead. That first day, a man in crumpled white, a female demi-human with long silver, a child only slightly over Fei's age, and the original scarred battler, all Fell to Fei's mind. After the second death Fei screamed, as he had never screamed before, trying to warn his potential victims. "No! It'll kill you!" But they still acted as if they didn't hear, placing the fatal crown on their heads like some doomed monarch, and falling to the floor stricken. Tears ran down Fei's face, a flood of guilt and salt sorrow for his own murdered victims.
     "I didn't want to kill them, I didn't want to." He murmered over and over again, an endless literney of grief for dead he had never known, but had been more aware of than he was aware of the existence of Nathan and Markus.
     The woman who wasn't mum and the scientist talked for a while, but Fei didn't even attempt to listen, he was mourning his own dead. When the woman unlocked his chuckles he walked behind her like a sleepwalker, trudging as if weary from some long grueling journey. In the car on the way home he spoke, his voice hoarse with tears. "I never want to do that again. I killed them." "Oh Fei, don't worry about them, they were pointless individuals with no part to play in the scheme of things. They mattered not at all, yet in helping with your realization of destiny they may help with the ultimate good of humanity." The woman spoke as if they were so many flies, and Fei shut up, knowing that it would be as useless to speak of the lives he had ended, as it was to struggle against his behavioral block.
     In his room that night, Fei's Hero was almost a living presence; he drew a life sized copy, adding in the plain red jacket and black trousers and boots that the Hero wore. The Hero's pale face was twisted into an expression of utter hatred and indignation at the lives he had ended, his golden eyes blazing with righteous fury like small suns of hate and pain. By the crown of his ruby fire hair, Fei wrote in black letters the name of the Hero, a name for a person that had taken five years in the making. It was an insignificant name; only two letters Fei thought best spoke the hero's character. He didn't even know then, of the dark and hideous region of the human mind who's name the Hero bore. In black letters, as if on a most wanted poster Fei wrote the name: Id.
     It was a few days, and sixteen murders later that Fei's Hero grew to anthropomorphic strength. The woman who was his mum was out, leaving him alone in the house for the first time. As soon as the door closed anger built up in him, blazing molten lava hatred, leaving him, she was leaving him. Fei huddled on the floor of his bedroom like a wolf at bay, his teeth bared. The cool blue light shade shone aquamarine rays down on him, collaring his white shirt a soft moon blue, it fell on his new tanning skin, glowing with health like a well fed snake. His dark hair, already growing long fell over his shoulder blades, down to where his already strong hand held his head, aching and heavy with murder.
     The light fell, blue on his pale white skin, air shimmering around his body. He stood slowly, his ruby hair blazing like his bright gold eyes; the hatred filling his newly altered body. One slim hand came up to touch his face with wonder, wondering at the power that flowed through the Hero's----no Fei's--------no Id's veins with such rage. It walked out of the door with a resolution Fei never showed, his hands clenching into pale deadly fists. She would die, the woman, the devil, Id would destroy her. It would cause them pain he knew, but why should he care for Fei's pain or his own. He was a creature of pain and nothing more, a catalyst of torment. But she was not here. He walked into the bedroom that was as much hers as it was his father's, that absent figure who was a guilty as the woman, equally deserving of death. But no living target appeared for Id's destruction. Then the malevolent golden gun sites of his gaze fell on the vase. The special wedding present five hundred years old and antique that Kahn had given to his wife on the day of their marriage. If not the woman herself it was something close to her. Id picked up the slim vase and gently poured out the water, crushing each perfect living flower under his boot as it fell on the carpet. Soon, only the dry vase was left, beautiful blue stained glazing, an intricate pattern of leaves spiraling around it. His body slammed forward, grinding the delicate, beautiful thing into the wall, blue fragments pouring down in a stream from his hand like blood. He crushed slowly until his pale leprous hand was plastered fingers straight against the wallpaper and his mother's wedding present was nothing but a pile of bright dust. He lowered his tanned hand, staring in shock at the pile with his expressive brown eyes full of sorrow. His already good looking face creased, and tears came to his eyes as the guilt within him filled to overflowing.
     When mum returned he ran to her, tears streaming from his eyes. "I smashed it, your special vase, mum ---- I'm." Without speaking she enfolded him in her arms, synthetic, comfort and warmth flowing from her the same way it did from a fan heater. As she tucked him into bed later, he wondered why this guilt, why was it that he felt more sorrow of the breaking of an inanimate object than the breaking of so many animate lives. His mum's words came back to them, and he wondered for a second if she was right, if they were just cattle to be slaughtered.
     The next day in the white room, so arctic cold and clinical, the scientist shook his head slowly, his cold gray eyes almost puzzled. "I cannot conceive of any reason why this Contact is failing. The only hypothesis I can presume is that there is some unforeseen factor that is influencing the rejection of the participants." The woman glanced sharply at him with her lightning eyes under the soft brown hair. "Perhaps the petty emotionalism you put so little faith in is causing this. Zohar is reputed to be a being of perfect goodness. It may be that the Contact can not integrate his mind with the mind of another unless they are a total innocent." "That is possible Miang. It may be that your own emotionalism has led you to a solution. But the finding of such participants for this experiment may be difficult and time consuming. I will have my assistant Hyuga devise a psychological test for innocence. He is young and an extremely proficient scientist but he has not yet learnt to control his emotionalism." "Does he know about this project?" The Scientist shook his head again, a characteristic gesture it seemed, a hang over from long ago days when he could communicate by all the subtleties of body gesture and poise, the days when he had still been human inside. But those days were long gone. He was now nothing but an empty shell, as much a machine as any gadget of metal.
     They didn't return to the white room for a good year. Fei felt glad, since that dark night when he had smashed mum's vase, a strange calm had fallen over the house. The woman with the blue eyes almost became Fei's mum. So loving was she. Fei would watch her cutting sandwiches for him to take on some wild excursion in which Nathan, Marcus and he would become soldiers lost miles behind enemy lines, with nothing but their wits and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of fire-power to dispatch the unseen enemies. He would watch her slim pale fingers ---- her once tanned skin had lost its luster. He would watch with strange speculation. The sun would glow through the glass of the kitchen window and light up the back of her plane utilitarian clothes with a miasmic bright fire. Was this the same cold automaton who casually dismissed death and pain as irrelevant. But a year later he was put in no doubt of that.
     As always he woke with the knowledge of what would happen to him hammering through him, a strange premonition of evils to come. But he had to obey, she was his mother, whatever kind of agonies she put him through, he owed her allegiance. Fei was returned to the stark white room, the elusion of peace was shattered. The scientist showed no signs of change; he was the same gray white pale haired demon he had always been. Without speaking Fei was strapped to the table on which he had suffered and caused death. The electrode crown was placed over his head, the same way it had been before. Then he saw the bearer of the mind he would destroy and tears filled his eyes. She was an unremarkable girl; her face frightened, long dark hair straggling in dirty tangles from her head. But it was the look in her huge frightened eyes that made Fei weep. It was a look he had seen on the faces of young children, a look of total incomprehension. "No!" He screamed at himself, as the strange awareness of another existence amplified until it filled his mind. "I don't want to kill you!" But he could do nothing. In agony he stretched at the steel cuffs, straining to tare off the hated killing crown and stop what he was about to do but he could do nothing. He looked into the girl's eyes, and saw the instant at which she died, the flame of incandescent power roaring from the depths of his mind into hers. Destroying. Killing. And he was sad. The other victims in those few days were the same, all young, some male some female some demi-humans. Some just out of childhood, some close on 25, but all bore the same angelic accusing eyes that made tears run down Fei's tanned cheeks. He hardly hear the scientist's order to return in six months, he was staring at the dull eyed corpses of the innocents he had murdered.
     In the next few months Fei threw himself into play and school with a manic exuberance of energy. Frequently mum would come up to his room where he was hovering over a historical document or genetic diagram and almost order him into bed. In his games with Marcus and Nathan increasingly Fei took the lead, walking along walls over long drops rolling himself down steep almost vertical grass banks. Climbing to the top of tall trees and diving from their branches seeming uncaring about his own safety.
     "You're crazy Fei. I don't want to sound like your mother but you'll kill yourself." Marcus spoke cautiously, not wanting to impugn his own reputation as a daredevil. He was a big boy with shoulders that would be broad and strong when he grew older. His face wasn't precisely handsome, but there was plain good sense in the already strong lines of chin beneath the thatch of straw colored hair. "Your nuts Fei. Did your mum put you on drugs?" Fei shook his head stubbornly. "I'm fine." With a swing of hands and feet he slung his tiny body back, hooking his summer bare legs around a branch and hanging upside down like a monkey. Beneath him the dense thorn bushes that grew in clumps around the tree's foot raised hungry tendrils up to snag hanging boys.
     Fei moved out slowly along the branch, upside down, his hands holding on to the rough warm bark, the sky beneath him looking like blue and white carpet, the thorn making strangely festive ornaments on the green ceiling. Then the branch creaked. Fei felt his weight slip, the branch creaked again more ominously and started to bend down. There was an ominous cracking noise. Fei clung on from his strange hold as the branch swung here and there. Then suddenly it broke. He didn't feel himself fall, the only thing he knew was lying on the grown with scratches from the thorn and a aching skull. "You alright Fei?" Nathan asked. He was small, wiry, athletic and scruffy, usually the most daring of the group with a thatch of red hair straggling untidily. "Fei." Fei replied groggily getting to his feet. Marcus slithered down the tree and Fei leaned on his shoulder to stop himself falling over. "Thanks." "What the hell were you doing?" Nathan asked. "Nothing." Fei replied a little huffily.
     Looking out from the thorn bushes towards the road. Fei caught his breath. A woman was walking down the road with a child dangling and dancing from one hand. The child was tanned and strong looking, with long dark hair reaching down in untidy curls. It wasn't that Fei recognized the child, but rather that he recognized the look in the child's fresh and grubby face. "What is it? Wow that must have really been a knock on the head. My dad once told me that people can go nuts from getting bashed on the head." "Fei's not nuts ----- I don't think."
     Fei ignored his friends conversation. He stared after the child, the summer sun burning his eyes and aching his dark head. The innocence in the child's eyes had razored into him like a knife. Then suddenly he threw up, the response partly the scientist's tampering but mostly revulsion at himself. "He must be sick." Nathan aserted in a confidence but worried voice, his dark eyes going to Fei's contorted face in worry. They escorted him home, Marcus supporting his body and Nathan going along in front like a picket in front of a convoy.
     When they reached Fei's sturdy dependable house Nathan knocked nervously on the door. As if she had known that he would knock, the devil opened it, her indigo eyes wearing an expression of false softness. Fei felt hatred fill him. How dare this woman claim to be his mother and then hurt him? Make him kill. But Nathan rattled off an explanation, and she was shooing the boys inside, half carrying Fei and clucking over the bruise on his forehead like a chicken. Then he felt the indignity of bathing, but the sting of antiseptic didn't matter, he hated her, though he loved her at the same time. Then he was between cool sheets and falling fast down into a dreamless sleep.

     He woke in darkness, but that didn't matter, his golden bright eyes could see well in the dark. He stood slowly the sheets falling away from his lean powerful body like waves away from some surfacing sea serpent. He moved through the darkness, the darkness of his house and room and mind. But Id was used to darkness, a part of it. Id the Hero of dream and nightmare, an angel with death in its clotted wings and power in it's veins. Id knew it hadn't the right to exist; after all it was nothing, only an alternating of a twisted boy's mind, and the release of power. It was not a person, just a volcanic upwelling of rage and anger, formed into a destroying Hero with blood in his bright red locks of hair.
     Destroy, that was his purpose, destroy the world, destroy others, destroy himself, it didn't really matter which. But today it would be others.
     Id walked to the window, his pale face furrowed. He looked down onto the road, searching for a target. There it was, a dim figure trudging slowly up the pavement, with a distinctly dejected look. A man, a woman, his own father, Id didn't care. Why should he? His job was simple.
     With quick dark movements of his pale hands he opened the window so that a flood of sweet summer perfumed night air wafted into the bedroom, but no amount of sweet air would penetrate the feted consciousness that clung to Fei's mind like a dark fog. Id's fingers crackled with power, sparks flying from tips as the ball of energy it was creating grew into an incandescent block. It was dazzling blue white like a distant frosty star. Id laughed, amazed and arrogant, applauding his own power. Then with a negligent toss, he hurled the blazing ball of ether out of the window. The figure straightened and jackknifed backwards as the force and energy of the deadly fireball burnt itself into the body. Then soon the body was dead, the screams that had floated up to Id; male Id noted clinically, growing first to pain wracked gasps and then fading altogether. Id climbed back into bed, shutting the window, satisfied with his night's murder, rubbing his corpse-hued hands in an almost childish display of glee.
     And a little later in the year there was murder of innocence. Then again the next year more innocents died by Fei's mind in the white arena of the torture room. Machines cold and sterile ringing Fei's emotion wracked body while mother and the scientist watched with impassive calm.
     After several more innocents the scientist looked down at Fei, his eyes steely gray and painfully penetrating beneath his strangely colored hair. "It appears that your hypothesis was incorrect. The innocence or guilt of participants appears to make no difference to the outcome of the mental link. I have been visually observing the boy and I have noted that with the destruction of each participant the boy's irises appear to alter their color. I do not usually pay attention to bodily expression but it almost appeared that for a single millisecond the boy's eye pigment appeared gold. It strikes me that there may be something in the boy's unconscious mind that is causing these difficulties in reaching the boy's innate power." The scientist drew one hand mechanically through his strange pale locks, the first gesture of worry Fei had ever seen in him. "I am concerned Miang. The boy is now almost twelve years of age. He will soon enter puberty, and so will at any time be at risk of coming into contact with the antitype. If he encounters the antitype then he may realize his power independent of us. A Contact in full possession of his power would be an extremely grave danger for our plan Miang." "I know, but I have kept a careful watch on his social activities. I can recognize the antitype when it arises and destroy it if necessary. Now as to your problem." She gave Fei an almost scolding look, as he lay, his back pressed into the cold gray metal of the bench, the cuffs on wrists and ankles hard as ever. "The unconscious mind is manifested in dreams I believe. If he were to be monitored during sleep he may reveal the source of this problem." "You are correct. Will it arouse any suspcions if the boy remains here during the night?" "No. I will tell his father that he is sleeping at a friend's house." "Thus security is maintained. I have several probes that will asses the conscious and even preconscious regions of the mind. I will take his mind apart searching for the power." A strange mania seemed to grip the scientist, he stood clenching his fists at his sides, the lights gleaming in his hair, his normally dull eyes suddenly blazing. "We must have his power to awaken God! I will get it even if I have to probe the Id itself!"
     Fei strained against the bonds, sweat standing out on his face, his tanned skin standing harshly over his muscles. His red hair fell in a pool behind his head, he jerked his pale limbs and the steel rings shattered as if they were paper. He stood slowly, his bright red suit an anachronism against the cool minimal white of the room. His golden eyes raced over the hated scientist and the even more hated mother.
     "The Contact power. Altering his appearance ----" The scientist didn't finish his assessment. Id's hand flashed out in a quick darting punch, cracking into the man's chest, white skin and white cloth meeting with a heavy thud. The scientist fell backwards crashing to the floor. The hero leapt forward, catching a delicate computer screen with one flailing boot. He pounded and smashed, hands twisted metal, wrenching delicate probes and glass instruments to scrap.
     "I! Am! Id!!" His voice howled, rising above the sounds of destruction like a horrible chainsaw scream.
     "Die!" He snatched up a glass thermometer, which he hurled to smash a computer screen, the mercury smoking out like a burning chemical death.
     "Die!" A quick spark of ether energy set light to a pile of paper notes which he blew all round the room.
     "Die!" Glass beakers of un-namable chemicals whirled and shattered in the flaming paper, columns of fire in chemical blue or insidious green blazed up merrily like fireworks.
     "Die!" He turned to face his mother and the tall figure of the scientist. Their eyes met, deep, dark, blue, calm, impassive, and the fiery gold blazing with power. "I'll! Kill you!"
     "No." Her voice was very quiet, hardly audible above the flames. "You won't kill me Fei. I'm your mother. You could have been an angel, but you chose against us. You disappoint me Fei. What would all those you killed think if they knew their deaths had been in vain?"
     Sorrow filled him, deep sorrow. He raised his tanned hands to his face, but he was not powerful, not anymore. His victory was hollow and empty as the echoing white tiled room. "Come home." She took Fei's hand gently, and led him from the room, delicately sidestepping burning wreckage and helping her stumbling son, the scientist following behind.
     Neither of them spoke that night. Fei sat silent alone with his guilt. His hero had failed him just as his father had failed him, the ultimate power was nothing but evil. He had no reason to live, no reason. With purposeful steps he strode out of his room. The room where he had shared solitary happiness and created his first drawings, the room with it's familiar lines of bed, chair, table, carpet, which were etched on his memory the way fingerprints are etched on the skin.
     With a movement like a sleepwalker he opened the door, his hand on the handle like a tanned spider, his brown animal eyes staring out into the corridor. She was in her room he knew, his mother the one he had hurt. He tiptoed past her door with calm steps, but she wouldn't care for him, she never had. Like a knight going to fight some nonexistent dragon he walked downstairs. He didn't bother to turn on any lights, why should he, the dark was good enough for him. But even in the dark the phantom images of his childhood stared out of him like the images of things in his room, door, kitchen, stairs, banister, walls. Almost as if on impulse his tormented mind recalled that his father was coming back. He hung his head in shame in the dark, what would his mom tell dad? He had been bad and wrong. Why had he smashed the scientist's lab? He didn't know, but he knew it had been wrong. He wanted to run, to escape to leave. Trembling, he opened the great front door, that door out of which he had gone so little time before. Almost as if dreaming he stepped out into the star-studded night, where would he go? What would he do? It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. He was only a boy, he was no Hero, no artist, no soldier or scientist. As mimicking an event deep in his future, with shame in his heart he stepped out to meet his future.
     Miang/Karen was reading in her room when she heard the door slam. Fei had left. She thought he would. He was not the first Contact to become psychologically unstable she knew, the coldness told her that, the ice blue compulsion that had twisted her purpose, allowing her to torment her own son for reason that were her own. But God must awaken, the God that rose above all purpose of friends or family. Krelian was right she thought, she was an imperfect incarnation, for she did feel love for her son. In her deepest soul she knew who and what Id was, the distillation of all those feelings Fei had thrown down the base of his mind, a hate filled personality in control of the Contact power, and in her heart of hearts she felt sorrow. Hearing the wooden slam of the door she ran to the window and looked down. The night was dark but in the dim glow of the lantern that always hung in front of her door she saw a head of deep dark hair, and a dim sheen of a pale t-shirt and tanned skin.
     The fourth Contact was leaving, going out into the dim misty night and she knew what he was doing. She knew the effect of the psychological games she had played with her son's mind ever since his infancy. She remembered her own words and cursed herself, Karen cursed. Miang cursed. Their reasons were different. Miang feared the destruction of her plans, Karen feared for her son. For once in their long co-existence the twin personalities; no less different than gentle Fei and psychopathic Id, agreed, they must stop the Contact from leaving. Karen wanted so much to love her son, to say she was sorry. Miang howled, as it seemed that her chance to gain a Contact's power was leaving. they must follow.

Chapter Three
Strong Authority Figure.


     Kahn loved walking under the stars, the wind ruffling his dark hair; so like his son's. There was no green in the verdant landscape that surrounded him, only a little circle of moving emerald from the beam of the flashlight he clutched firmly in one hand. About him the stars gazed down through scattered clouds but he ignored them. Few men could find their way the several miles from where he habitually parked his Gear to his house, but it was a route that Kahn knew so well he could have attempted it on a pitch black night even with out the comforting light. He walked quickly, his long muscular legs clad in their martial art dress eating up the scanty distance in large chunks. He wanted to get back in time to see Fei. In the dark his brown eyes gleamed. He loved his son, and his boy was just about old enough to start learning the self-defense training that had taken Kahn so many years to perfect. Tomorrow the Shevite agent promised himself, he would begin the boy's training. Zephyr would be glad to have another operative and Isac; Kahn's current junior partner, was almost good enough to go on his own.
     It was a happy man that strode back towards the dark house, while his desperate son slumped across the dim fields under the stars, and implacable as a dark wave Miang/Karen followed, her shape black against the stars like a hunting owl.
     What brings such meetings together? Fate maybe, or the will of God. But if it was fate that had arranged that dark communion on that night of stars and power, then fate is truly cruel and blind as blackness. If the will of God, then the name God is not appropriate and Satan would serve better. It may have been neither cosmic force, only a dark ill tossed throw of the dice of chance that brought that disastrous meeting, but whether chance or destiny the world would have been much brighter if the three players on the chessboard; Fei the confused and desperate pawn, Karin the ice queen, and Kahn fearless knight, had not converged with the black king.
     "Thou art the father." Kahn whirled, instantly taking a defensive posture. But he saw nothing. The voice was low and resonant as if coming from the depths of a deep ancient grave, but a grave in which dark forces still lurked. "Who's there!?" Kahn's voice came out higher than he intended. He forced himself to relax and leveled the flashlight. There was deep malevolent laugh, filled with a sadist's joy, and something hard slammed into Kahn's hand, sending the flashlight spinning away like a comet, to land a few feet away, still giving out a narrow beam of emerald onto the grass. Clutching his wounded hand and trying to stifle a gasp Kahn peered into the darkness from which the blow had come and could dimly make out a black shape rising like a mountain though it was only man sized. "Who ------aaaaagh!"
     A hand with finger stiff, clad in some hard gauntlet by the feel of it smashed into Kahn's belly, cutting him short. He fell winded; he was kicked twice before he hit the grass. Kahn had received one of the most intense martial arts trainings imaginable but compared to the dark figure he was a child.
     A foot slammed into his back. Stifling a cry, he rolled and came to his feet, launching a desperate punch at what he thought was the dark figure's throat. His hand was seized and he heard the bones of his wrist crack as it was twisted in an iron grip. Then quick as lightning a gauntleted hand smashed into his face and Kahn felt blood on his lips. He kicked out desperately but his foot sheered empty air, but the kick had saved him, for the axe like chop that should have broken his spine only glanced off the hard bone of his shoulder blade.
     Fei heard his father scream and anger filled him, hurting Dad as well. He ran forward, all despair forgotten as he saw his father, his face bloody staring up with terrified brown eyes at a dim black shape that towered over him like an avalanche of black snow ready to fall and crush him. He looked round desperately in the meager light of star and fallen flashlight, as if expecting to see help. He saw mum, her coat wrapped tightly round her, arms folded, blue eyes dim pits in the starlight staring on calmly. "Mom help Dad" He yelled uselessly as he saw a dark fist fall to Kahn's upturned face, spouting blood in the starlight. Miang looked on calm, she had wondered when the residue of the third contact would come, he was powerful even without the Contact's abilities, five centuries of experience lay behind him. Karen screamed within her, she must help the man she loved, she must help Kahn, but as if in grim mockery of Krelian's laboratory she stood by calmly and watched the dark man hit her husband again and again. Kahn would die.
     Fei stood straight and tall his tanned face contorting with grief as another blow knocked his father to the ground, blood spraying out like lurid confetti. It was over, all over, Dad was dead and Mom wouldn't do a thing, his last friend his father was dead, the dark man had killed him.
     "I want to Die! Daddy!!" The reversion to that childish address did nothing; Kahn lay face down on the dark grass, blood pumping steadily through his hair. Fei felt anger build, white and hot and red, ready to destroy himself, to destroy the world. He threw his head back like a wolf howling at the moon, howling for the one friend he still had left, the one solid bastion in his collapsing life. Even if it was a bastion of terror and hatred it was still his last friend.
     "Hero!!!!!!!!!" He raised one pale hand, his hair blood red as his father's life ebbed away. He would die. This was his fault. The power gathered at his pale hand, and as his golden eyes filled with tears the Hero loosened his will on the thing that would end all his misery. The mass of flaming ether energy blazed through the night, an unstoppable mass of destruction, deadly and inevitable. As sure as the clear stars that ringed it, anybody court in its path would be destroyed, burnt and flung aside with the contempt of all explosions.
     The Hero stood flaming in the fireball's path, Id's golden eyes reflecting the blazing death that was coming towards him, Id's twisted face inhuman with glee. Pain was coming, pain and death. It loved pain. Had been weaned on agony. It didn't really matter whether the agony was in Id's own body or the bodies of others, all was sweet and glorious to the pain giver.
     But the fireball never reached the creature, for with a suddenness that was shocking, for Mum, her brown hair flowing, threw herself into the path of the blazing death, sacrificing herself for the twisted thing that had been her son. It didn't matter nothing mattered anymore. The Purpose cried out it's nameless demand denied for the first time in it's ten millennia of existence, but Karen didn't listen, why should she, it only caused her pain. She stood in death's path and preyed that the fire of her son would purify her of the evil she had committed under the name of Miang. The fireball expended it's force on her like a rock, her pretty face fried and scarred in a blaze of pain, her graceful body broken and flung away in a screaming heap, but she had succeeded, the fireball's force was stemmed and it's creator was saved. Id took in the bloody whimpering thing with scorn and laughed, first softly, then loud and long, twisted merriment filling his golden eyes with hatred.
     "How superb!" The Hero screamed in his insane voice, a voice that brought gooseflesh to the skin and terror to the brain. "How exquisite. It's so right that you should die hahahahaha ----- In! Pain! Hahahaha ---" He reeled with his chainsaw mirth, ignoring the gentle tears that flowed from the dying woman's eyes. The moment stretched forth under the stars, full of black joy and glee like cyanide. But Id wasn't given time to gloat for long.
     "Very impressive." The voice that drifted out of the shadow's like black wind was as unstoppable as the fireball that had gone before it. But there was nothing bright or blazing about that voice, it was a truly dark sound, deep and resonant, filled with an infinity of evil like any instrument of torture in the white room where Id was born. "Thy power is indeed great. But a word to the wise; destroy not thyself until all other things are obliterated, that is thy first lesson."
     Id spun round, the golden pits of his eyes leveled at the blackness, who was this interloper, well it didn't matter he would die however impressive his speech was. As if embodying the night itself a figure emerged, cloaked in absolute darkness, the black gauntlets of its hands seeming to pulse with dark light. The starlight picked out its steel mask, then died as it encountered the swallowing black holes of the eyes.
     "----- Who are you?" Fei's Hero asked in its razor-sharp voice, a trace of uncertainty crossing his twisted face. "I am Grahf, seeker of power. Dost thou know me?" For the first time in his black existence, the force of hate that called himself Id felt off balance, his homicidal fury meeting a force far older and more powerful. "Know you? How can I know you? I've never seen you before." The steel mask seemed to swim closer, the empty dark eyes becoming intent. The voice that emerged was like a black snake, quiet and slow and deadly, probing into the depths of the darkest soul. "Thou knowest me, because I am even as thou art. The lust that burns in my immortal soul burns in thine also. Thou and I are brothers in destiny." The voice rose to a roar of fury like trumpets at the gates of hell. "We shall become one!" The Hero stepped back, lids falling over his deadly golden suns of eyes. "I don't need a brother, I kill things!" A chuckle floated out of the night, sinister and low. "Thou art pert, but thou wilt learn. Join me, and I shall give thee cities to destroy, thy strength shall bear down the rocky peaks of mountains, and thou wilt trample civilizations into the dust." "Really!" Id's insidious voice was heavy with sarcasm. "And when do I get to kill you Mr. Grahf, how about now!" Fei's Hero launched himself at Grahf, teeth spreading back in a feral snarl, pale deadly hands curving into claws. Death shone out of its golden eyes. But quick as Id moved Grahf was quicker, his dark hand hardly seemed to move, but a shadowy gauntlet slammed into Id's contorted face, hurling him backwards to sprawl on the blood stained barren ground. "Do not try to kill me!" The dark voice was somehow more evil in it's triumph. "Thou hast not the power, I could destroy thee with a thought as a man crushes an irritating fly. But join me." The voice grew fervent, and the black holes of the eyes blazed into crimson fire. "Join me, and together we shall unmake creations, cities falling into dust, humanity dying into the screaming void." The golden eyes of the bloody Hero blazed with an unholy desire. "Yes!" He hissed. "Yes! Yessss! Yesssssssssss!!!" And as Grahf and his apostate faded into the night, the laughter of true evil echoed in the darkness.

Chapter Four
Conflict Resolved


     Fei was dreaming, his Ego diving deep into the unconscious, in that place he knew so well. The worst part about the dream was that he knew he was dreaming. He knew that if he could just wake, it would stop. Everything would stop! But he couldn't wake. He couldn't slap himself to wakefulness for the steel bands that held his wrists and ankles prisoner were unmovable. He shut his child's eyes and willed it to end, but even through his shut eyelids he knew that the metal probe was coming slowly, slowly down, pressing pinning him down like a man might pin a bug onto a plaque. He could see the two sets of eyes too, one indigo and filled with a terrible detachment, the other gray and cold as the steel that encircled his limbs. Then he felt the end of the probe touch him, it was cold and hard, and he knew that in a second if he didn't wake the doctor-man would turn on the current and the pain would come, the pain, the pain, the pain.
     Fei's own voice woke him. A small whimpering sound, the sound a hurt child makes was coming from his lips. He sat up in bed the sweaty sheets falling from his trembling shoulders. Beside him he knew his wife was sleeping peacefully, her face pillowed on one outstretched arm, her long hair falling on the pillow beside him. His dark eyes took in the dim dimensions of the room, trying to convince his adult mind that he was not in Krelian's laboratory. But however much he tried to rationalize his fears, the sweat and the trembling persisted. He started as his peripheral vision saw a hulking black shadow, dark as fear and deep as his unconscious. His eyes locked fully onto it and he saw it was just the gathered curtain. In the faint light of blurred stars he examined the familiar bedroom, table, bed, chairs, shelves, wardrobes, curtains, all homely and familiar, just like the pretty brown haired face of his mother had been before - he tore his mind viciously away from his past, he was stupid, waking like this. But stil the hang over of dread from the nightmare persisted.
     Carefully, trying to avoid waking his sleeping wife he slipped his bare feet onto the floor. As his soles met the carpet a shock ran through him, almost as if he had been expecting to land on red hot metal. But it was just the familiar soft roughness of carpet. As carefully as a sentry on guard Fei groped his way across the room and out onto the landing. Stubbing one toe slightly on the nulepost at the top of the stairs, he eventually located the bathroom, bracing himself before entering it's tiled darkness. Groping his way to the basin, trying to dispel all the associations the white tiled floor evoked, Fei washed his hot face, removed his silk pajama jacket and spread the cool flannel across his heaving chest. When he felt sufficiently cool he turned and made his way more confidently back to the bedroom; holding his pajama jacket loosely out in front of his naked chest as if trying to ward off an attack.
     "Fei?" Elly's whisper was soft and sleep fogged though they were alone in the house. Fei felt a pang of guilt; he hadn't meant to wake her. "Elly ---- I'm sorry I didn't mean to ---" "Oh never mind I'm a light sleeper. What's wrong?" She had almost lost her Solarian accent in the six months of their marriage, but at times a hint of it still returned to her sweet low voice; as now. "Was it a bad dream?" "Mmmmm." Fei said miserably, sitting down on the bed beside her. Reaching out one slim hand she flicked on the bedside lamp and the whole aspect of the room changed. Before it had been an unknown dark land, peopled by phantom night terrors, now it was a cozy corner, just him, Elly and the light.
     "Oh Fei." She slipped an arm round his neck and drew him down beside her, thoughtfully leaving the light burning it's message of hope against the dark. "Do you want to tell me about it?" Fei swallowed, but his momentary nonchalance about the dream was evaporated by the look of loving concern in Elly's beautiful violet eyes. "It was Krelian ---- and his experiments." He said slowly his words hesitant. Elly wrapped both arms around him and held him close, her warmth flooding into him, strands of her flowing chestnut hair; disheveled from sleep, tickled his cheek. His liquid brown eyes met hers and he was astonished to see tears in the depths of those violet eyes. "Elly." He said in surprise. "There's no need to cry about it. It was just a bad dream." "I know" She whispered. "But you've been through so much and helped so many, I just don't understand why you can't rest." "I've been hurt Elly. ---- And I killed my mother." He said, his voice shaking a little.
     With gentle fingers she began to comb his long dark brown hair, stroking smoothing, trying to dispel tension with the mere physical contact warmth and closeness. "But it doesn't matter Fei, it's ancient history now. Why can't we let go of the past?" Her voice was almost an appeal as she drew Fei's head in her arms and rocked him gently; maternally. Fei did not answer her but let himself be rocked, feeling the empathy and love for this sweetly strong person who was no longer a soldier. All night terrors were banished as he felt her arms encircle him. Krelian was gone, Solaris destroyed and all fear was gone forever.
     "I sometimes wonder why you bother." His voice was hoarse, drunk on the heady brew of love and old grief. "Oh Fei. Kerenye Sel Keren." The beautiful Solarian sentence; "My Darling I love you." One of the few Solarian phrases Elly still said frequently, flowed into Fei, it's meaning becoming clear, the meaning of those words in whatever language stretching and blanketing them both in warmth.
     The light from the tiny bedside lamp burned bright in the dark, creating a tiny pool of peace and love. But it couldn't rival the great ocean in the minds of Fei and Elly, the wide ocean of light bright warm security in which they both floated, each taking strength from the other and returning it like a self-perpetuating generator.
     A moment stretched to a second, a second to a minute, minute to hour and hour giving way to another and another.
     The scudding clouds of black that had obscured the stars moved away like curtains rolling back from the window on the universe. A million points of cosmic fire beat down upon the planet, and from one warm window a single beam of warmth answered them.
     The past is dead. The future is sure. The present is love.

 

~ End ~