Star Ocean The Second Story

2001: Another Star Odyssey (Home Again)
By Paul Beaudoin

* Chapter 18: The Trouble with Gods *

The figure that stood before them was like none they had ever seen. He was gigantic, seven feet tall if he was an inch. Muscles possible only through constant strength training and a few illegal substances bulged over his entire body. His long, golden hair fell in curls across his broad, muscular shoulders. A crest, which looked like three overlapping triangles set in a row, was tattooed on the back of his hand, and again on his forehead. But possibly his most distinguishing feature was the golden glow that emanated from him.

"Dear Tria..." Rena said to herself.

"You called?" the man said, with a voice like a thunderbolt.

"Tria? The god of Creation, Tria?" Noel shouted. "Right here?"

"Yes," Tria said. "What's so hard to believe?"

"Nothing..." Claude said. "Yet everything. I mean, Orin's body disappears and then suddenly you're here!"

Tria smiled. "I'm surprised you didn't figure this out earlier. Even the name was a bit of a giveaway, Orin Good Facet, I mean, come on..."

The four looked at the god with blank faces.

"It's an anagram. For 'god of Creation'," Tria said.

"Oh..." the others said in unison. Then Chisato spoke up. "Why are you doing this? You know, trying to destroy the universe?"

"I'm not destroying the universe," Tria said. "The last phase of my plan was to put the Crest of Enchantment on the Crest of Annihilation, and then invoke them combined."

"You want to destroy Nede? Why?" Noel shouted.

"Because it's not natural," Tria said. "Nede was destroyed for a reason, and it was meant to stay destroyed. You humans..."

Claude coughed politely.

"Nedians," the god corrected himself, "Think you can play God and do whatever you want. It's not right, and I decided to stop it."

"Oh," he added as an aside to Claude. "Don't be so smug. You humans aren't much better when it comes to these matters."

"But why go to all this trouble?" Claude said. "Couldn't you, you know, wave your hand and zap Nede out of existence?"

"Actually," Tria said, looking as embarrassed as a god could, "I couldn't. Three reasons mainly. One, I'd also be getting rid of you guys, who are innocent pawns in this entire ordeal. That'd be bad for my image. Second, as far as godly powers go it's not a part of my contract."

"I thought you were a god," Rena said.

"A god of Creation. Meaning I create things. Not destroy them. Third, I had a bit of an argument with Conam last week and we're not speaking right now."

"Conam?" Chisato asked. "Who's he?"

"She, actually," Tria said. "The goddess of Destruction. Didn't you pay attention in theology class?"

"Still, you can't do this!" Rena shouted. "It's not right!"

Tria chuckled. "I'm a god. Who are you to tell me what I'm doing is right or wrong?"

"He does have a point," Claude said.

"He's right," a voice behind him said.

"Mayor Narl?" Claude shouted in disbelief.

"Upon hearing the full story," Narl said, "I realize that this is unnatural. Please let him continue with his plans..."

"But..." Rena said.

"Don't worry," Narl said. "By the way, you might want to have these little guys back," he said, handing the twins over.

"I'll make sure that you get returned safely to Expel," Tria said, hoping to improve the situation.

"One more thing," Rena said. "About the Wise Men..."

"Yeah?" Tria asked.

"I know that you know they're violent, reckless, unfeeling, and more than a little stupid..." Rena said, "but they're our friends...could you possibly spare them?"

"I think so," Tria said. "They have a punishment far worse than death coming to them soon anyways..."

Tria turned to the Crest, and took a second Crest out of his robes. The two merged, creating an entirely new Crest. He then said something unintelligible, invoking the Crest. The ground began to shake violently.

"There..." Tria said. He turned to the four, and said, "You'll be back on Expel before you know it." They nodded in thanks, and soon a flash of light engulfed them. When it subsided, they were nowhere to be found.

"Mayor," Tria said, turning to Narl. "I have just one question. Why are you always so damn calm during these situations?" The ground rumbled even more intensely.

"I guess one has to be when one's a semi-omniscient ruler of an entire planet," Narl said. "That, and a lot of downers help..."

* * *

Indalecio sat in his chair, reading a book entitled "A History of Rock on Nede," the consolation prize given to the losers of the contest. Very soon, he found himself reading at a very high altitude, accelerating downward at about ten meters per second, every second. The other Wise Men found themselves doing much the same.

"Great, not again..."

* * *

Claude, Rena, Chisato, and Noel appeared on Expel's surface, just outside of Linga. Claude and Rena's ship also appeared a short distance from them. "I guess everything's about resolved, then," Claude said, with a tone of satisfaction in his voice.

"Wait," Rena said. "Do you hear something?"

"Like what?" Claude asked.

"Kind of like a screaming noise, from way up above..."

The four strained their ears, and did manage to hear a faint screaming. It increased in volume almost constantly. Eventually, a figure dropped out of the sky and landed before them with a very loud and convincing thud. Nine more instances, happening in much the same way, followed.

"I see you're okay," Claude said. "Sort of..."

"Ugh..." Indalecio moaned from the ground. "Get me some aspirin or something..."

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