Prologue

Aboard the Cometine worldship Gatlantis, a life-monitor shrilled, flat lined.

"There's nothing more I can do," said the physician and covered the body in a white sheet. He killed the alarm, washed the blood from his gloved hands and began to reset the surgical suite.

"It was… a hope," said Prince Zordar from the observation loft. "Jettison the remains."

The physician bowed. "Yes, lord."

"See to it no one discovers this." Zordar furrowed snowy brows. "Better the universe believes he died months ago."

"Discretion… will be my priority."

Zordar severed the audio link to the operating theatre below.

"Such mediocrity. Gatlantis deserves better, Father." Princess Invidia scoffed.

"Miracles are not ours to make," said Zordar.

"But they should be," Invidia bit back. "Isn't that why we search the universe?" She swept long, black hair over her shoulder and perched a hand on one hip. Her pale, white skin shone against Zordar's green hue, and steely black eyes bored into the doctor as he cleared the last of his instruments.

"Do not utter such untoward ambitions outside my chambers, child," Zordar growled.

"But Sabera–"

"–is the Prime Minister," Zordar said.

"And your consort," Invidia snorted.

"Sabera is my second-in-command, and she may do as she sees fit." Zordar grabbed Invidia's arm. "You, however, will do as I say."

Invidia twisted from his grip. "Sabera abuses your trust, Father. Even now, she takes us to the Diviner's door."

"Your mother's stories cankered your will," he snapped. "The Diviner's art is a myth."

"But the evidence–"

"–is less than circumstantial."

Invidia crossed her arms as the physician steered the corpse into the hall. "You once feared her too."

"But now I understand." When the surgeon disappeared, Zordar continued, "To seek power is to seek conflict. We seek the ultimate power—creation. Even if the Diviner stands in our way, we will prevail. We are unstoppable."

"You sound like Grandfather." Invidia rolled her eyes.

"He is right," Zordar retorted. "Gatlantis will conquer the universe. We've taken hundreds of worlds, daughter. Now, we conquer the crowning gem."

Invidia stared into the empty suite. A trail of blood still stained the table. "Origin…" she whispered. "How do you know its location?"

"Our dead charge brought information. Among his ship's records, we found it…"

"Will the Diviner not intervene?" said Invidia as a maintenance tech scrubbed the bloody table.

"Those stories," Zordar scoffed. "The conjurings of terror-muddled minds. None have dared breathe the Diviner's name in a century. No woman—no matter her power—can hinder us! That superstition should have died long ago." Zordar raised a fist. "You will not stop us!" he bellowed. "Our ancestors wandered the stars. Now, we take back our birth-world—our rightful inheritance!"

Invidia paled. "Father, someone will hear–"

"Know this, Diviner," Zordar snarled and approached the glass pane, one hand clenched around the other. "I will take what is mine, and if any oppose me, I will destroy them… even you, Trelaina of Telezart."


Notes:

Editing pass six completed on 9/16/2019