24: The Day That Never Came
Dante slouched at his desk and studied the predictions running across his wallscreen. If the calculations were correct—and they had been every single day for two months now—then Theia would be a hundred-three thousand, two-hundred and seventy-two kilometres distant. He could have worked things out to the nearest centimetre, but he figured that too pretentious. After all, he had to present these figures to a general audience who wouldn’t understand such subtleties.
Theia was falling, yes, but at such a rate it would take hundreds, if not thousands of years before it brought its cataclysm to bear. By that time, technology would be so sufficiently advanced that even a moon would bend to its will.
If only people would listen to science instead of fantasy. Dante scratched his sandpaper stubble and glanced at the Tablet sitting on his desk. It had shown him the truth, the way to understanding, the path to enlightenment—and yet he could not share it, even with his closest of friends. Instead, he had to find his own ways to guide them from fantasy to reality, just as the Saptamatrikas had done before him. It was a slow process—the world did not change on a whim—and Dante was only one voice in a million, but one day, the world would be free.
Free from delusion. Free from fantasy. Free from the Dark.
That was what his mother wanted. That was why she surrendered herself to Arided, six years ago. Now Dante could understand her actions—and why she had never returned. After all, who would willingly give up Paradise for the savage world outside its walls?
Dante swigged back the last of his coffee. He still couldn’t quite accept the aftertaste, and there were now more drugs than actual coffee in the mix, but it did its job. Byron had warned him he was becoming dependant, but what did Byron know? It was no worse than Horatio and his protein drinks, or Katrina’s fixation with chocolate and tea. Byron was an addict—he grew his own drugs! Joel Gibson was an addict—he stunk of nicotine and had yellow teeth! But Dante was just doing what all Malkuthians did. The Tablet said so.
And, soon enough, he would be among them, striding through the celestial gardens to greet his mother. She would understand. She would be proud of him.
And there they would stay, in the place where there was no darkness.
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If you want, you can now loop round to chapter one and start the cycle all over again!