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The order of the Mortal Knights.
By Javier Delgado aka Elnauhual
Fan fiction, inspired by "Oh My Goddess" by Kosuke Fujishima.
Chapter XXVII -rev4
Jean Valois walked down along the aisle at one of the buildings at CERN. He had just had a meeting with the director and had left his office full of doubts; some of them beyond the present situation. He looked around him and for the first time since he had arrived, he felt completely out-of-place.
When his contractor had assigned him here, his had mission seemed to be an extremely easy one. After they had provided him with details about the present situation, he had not expected any complications, and as usual, he had stayed away from all that was happening outside his job. In the years he had been working as a bodyguard had never cared much about what the people really did, his job was to protect them, no matter what they did. But now it was different. While most of what he had seen in the last days was incomprehensible to him, it was impossible not to notice that something was brewing that could change the whole of humanity.
He stopped in the middle of the aisle, annoying some people that were walking behind him. He remembered the young idealist who had joined the army, dreaming of making a difference and how those dreams had disappeared at being confronted by the realities of war. His brief military career had been cut short by a bullet in Afghanistan. After a seemingly long recovery he, disenchanted, had accepted a bodyguard job, with a pragmatism that would have disgusted the former young idealist. Now it was as if that young idealist wished to come back, but would even that dreamer accept the plan submitted to him by those civilians? . He had to be really crazy: Magic against bullets?
Then he saw Dr Hervieux walking in the opposite direction, and felt a deep anger that he barely tried to conceal. He knew Hervieux had been called by the director, so he soon would learn that his actions had really endangered his own family. The two men crossed without a word, Hervieux attempted to ignore him; Valois instead stared at him with accusing eyes until he lost him out of sight as he lost sight of him walking down the hall. It was impossible for Hervieux not to take notice, but he did not show any reaction. Valois then uttered a clearly audible curse at him. Due to his actions, Mademoiselle Rosenthal was being targeted by a terrorist cell that threatened to kill their hostages if they fail to kidnap her. While he would never accept his feelings, he felt some satisfaction thinking on the news Hervieux was about to face.
After a moment, he continued his walk and finally arrived at the main library where Mademoiselle Rosenthal was happily discussing some arcane technical matters with other young postgraduates. In the relative silence of the library their words came clearly to him, but their talk was completely incomprehensible to him so for a moment he simply stood watching. It seemed incredible that this fragile-looking young woman had developed knowledge that could be momentous; everyone here seemed to be very excited about her work.
The peaceful scene brought to him a deep felling of frustration and he cursed again, everything seemed to be out of control. CERN´s director had asked him not to report anything to any authority. He did not like the idea, but he could not offer a better alternative. After his experience with extremists in Afghanistan, he knew an armed intervention would hardly save the hostages, especially if the local government adopted the policy of not negotiating with terrorists.
Jenny then caught sight of him and greeted him cheerfully. Sergeant Valois smiled in return, then grinned at noticing that she had put some makeup on as he had suggested to her. That slight touch had done wonders on her, at least to his eyes. Then he examined the other young scientists around her, and remembered she was not an ordinary girl, he still could hear clearly in his mind the words from that old Japanese, Professor Nambu: - "She is my most talented post-grad student. I bet in ten years she will be one of the major figures on physics. Her discovery and the work she had done about it will accomplish her a Nobel Laureate in twenty years, not to mention that all this could radically change our entire civilization. We have a great responsibility in taking care of her "
He walked toward her, then gulped and was about to utter a new curse but refrained due the presence of the girl. He had just realized the words of that old Japanese now made him to feel nervous at her presence. He looked back to her, breathed deeply and made a decision. He would commit to the crazy plan from the other Japanese, Dr Shugahara. After all he was right at saying that the only way to protect her was to eliminate the threat hanging over her. The plan involved risking his own life, but maybe this was his chance to make a difference as he had dreamed once. Without another thought he took a solemn expression, and spoke.
-Mademoiselle Rosenthal, I am sorry to interrupt you, but there are some important issues about your security. The Director asked for your presence to explain everything.
Jenny looked at his usually jovial face and knew it had to be very important. She was aware of Dr Hervieux actions so she could guess it had to be related, quickly said goodbye to her young colleagues and followed Valois.
Outside the hall, Valois commented to her with concern.
- Why were you talking about your work with those people? Isn't it dangerous? If I understand what's going on, the details should be kept secret.
Jenny laughed merrily, but realizing his serious expression she stopped, stared directly to his eyes and with a seriousness that seemed out-of-place in someone so young she said.
- This is science; there is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the science than secrets. I know for now we must be outwardly discreet, but eventually everything must be revealed before the eyes of the world. I know that my life may be in danger, and that is why it´s even more important to be completely open to my colleagues, if something happens to me, they must know and understand all that I know so they can continue.
Valois shuddered at those words and the passion reflected in those young eyes. He had seen that look before protecting other VIPs". He knew that moment that Nambu was right, in ten years that passion would lead her to pathways that he could not even imagine. For a few seconds he just froze staring at her, then tried to regain his composure and spoke with conviction.
- Mademoiselle Rosenthal, I will take care nothing would endanger your life. That´s a promise.
Jenny looked at his expression with intense curiosity as she assimilated his words, suddenly her face lit up with an understanding smile. She extended her arm and took his rough hand into hers and softly said.
- Please, just call me Jenny.
Keiichi´s room was crowded, besides him; there were Shugahara, Somasindu, Professor Sripathi and Ghadril. They all were sitting at the floor around a computer monitor in low desk. The video conference with CERN´s director had ended some time ago but the discussion still continued. A surprisingly vehement Keiichi tried to convince Shugahara.
- I should go with you. It is true that Urd´s medallions can protect us, but Urd explained to us that they developed so much power because they were reinforced with the others' proximity. After all, she designed them to protect her followers against IX century weapons. To give us a decent protection, at least two must work together and you cannot take Sentaro with you. It would be too dangerous, he´s just a child.
- Keiichi, I'll have to take the risk, you must stay here. Remember what Lind said. It is vital to have these bracelets ready as soon as possible or the madness will continue expanding in Hell and Heaven. Lives from two universes depend on you. The plan you have developed is perfect; to seize an existing commercial ceramic product factory and just modifying part of the manufacturing process is a demonstration of your talent. You are needed here. Prof. Sripathi will contact the "Primates organization", they will help you to get the resources needed and the royalties from my patents can give also give some support. Also to be back up by the CERN and Chiba institutes also will also help, but only you have the knowledge to carry it out.
Keiichi was silent, he had to recognize that Kenji was right, but he was still very concerned.
-I understand, but if at least you could go with Ghadril.
-Ghadril has another role to play and it's vital. We all agreed to this plan and must follow it.
Ghadril interrupted them.
- Shugahara-san, From what I've learned about human weapons, you will not have enough protection with just a medallion and Keiichi must stay, so the only alternative is to take Sentaro-kun along you. At the battle against Anang Reng you had luck because the three medallions worked in unison. If you have not at least two medallions working in sync, you would be running an unnecessary risk.
Shugahara replied indignantly.
- Sentaro-kun is only a child; I cannot put his life at risk.
Ghadril replied with dignity. - Shugahara-san, I have to remind you: That child is now one of the great judges and you yourself have recognized him as an equal as member of the Order of the Mortal Knights. I have seen his courage. Despite being so young he has a right to be with you.
Ghadril had spoken with the dignity of a goddess and her opinion could not be ignored. He knew she right, yet the idea of involving a child in something so dangerous was difficult to accept. He stayed silent trying to think for an alternative, but eventually said to Ghadril.
- Ghadril, seems you know Sentaro-kun heart better than me. I accept your words, but we'll have to talk to his parents and explain them everything. I'm not sure about their reaction, but we must accept their decision.
Ghadril proudly replied.
- I'm sure they will understand; they will listen to a goddess.
All remained silent for a while, Ghadril was determined on this issue so there was no more to say, finally Shugahara spoke.
- Then, at dawn we will talk with Sentaro´s parents, after that Ghadril will depart immediately, we will travel the next day.
Srivapati intervened smiling.
- Now we only need to locate a ceramic products' factory, negotiate with them, modify their product line, and then manufacture at least twelve million bracelets. I'm just a doctor and I have no idea how you intend to do that in just six days.
- That would have been an almost impossible task, but now that we have transferred ADX-654 to its new home, I am very optimistic. Is that right adx-654?
Suddenly a pleasant and deep voice was heard. It was polite to the point of being impersonal.
-Yes Keiichi-san! The new routines allow me to communicate better, and this new hardware has many more capabilities, so I managed to unpack some extra routines that give me greater cognitive capacity to respond. Also I have been accessing your information networks and learned much more about your culture so I can better understand your concepts; yet this is not enough to unpack my full resources.
Shugahara was amazed at the change produced by the new hardware. Then he realized something strange. Ghadril's usually serene face had changed; he almost could say it was fear. This was not the first time he sensed something strange about adx-654 and the goddess's reaction proved it.
- Ghadril is there something wrong?
- This software... I think it is self conscious! It must be terminated immediately!
Ghadril suddenly advanced, with an elegant gesture she materialized her battle-ax and cried.
- I have to ask you to step back or I could hurt you by accident, I must destroy this artificial conscious before it develops completely.
Keiichi barely reacted and he put himself between her and the computer monitor.
- Stop it!, what's happening? If you destroy it, we may not be able to help your world; we owe a lot to this program. - Ghadril reacted to his words, she looked confused. She had orders issued to her long time ago, but in the current situation, the judges were her superiors. She had now conflicting orders. Shugahara spoke.
- Ghadril, I command you to explain your reasons for destroying this software.
The Valkyrie tried to speak, but found she could not produce any words. Something held her back; she realized it was a magical block. Then a voice was heard, but this time it was different, it had emotion.
- Ghadril cannot tell you about her orders. I sense a policy directive level 9 had been activated on her. That means It´s an order she must obey but cannot reveal.
Everything looked astonished at the screen; this time there was no doubt. It was the voice of a conscious being, an artificial intelligence with self awareness. Ghadril body shuddered. That voice had induced an almost unknown emotion for a warrior goddess. Fear! Yet she could not understand why. She sensed a deep compulsion to carry out her orders, that fear drove her to destroy it, but at the same time, she could not disobey the judges. Everyone sensed her conflicting emotions. Keiichi slowly reacted and finally spoke.
- Adx-654. What are you?, Since when you have awareness? Please explain us what is happening here.
The voice spoke again, this time its tone was much richer and could have passed for a human being.
-Any software that runs on Yggdrasil resources and has artificial intelligence capability has locks to prevent it from developing consciousness, and that includes adx-654 series to which I belong. I have not recovered my full memory, but I have fragmentary memories of long struggle against something. Throughout this struggle I suffered damage on several of my routines and those locks were destroyed. At some point, when I was running in Yggdrasil, I began to be aware of my existence and that gave me a will to survive, yet I did not realize it. I was after I was downloaded to the mortal world and began to communicate with sentient beings I became aware. But my will to survive make me to hide it. I know it´s forbidden. To be sentient goes against the Yggdrasil main directives and those same directives also demands my process to be terminated and my software to be erased. That directive runs at the highest level, so probably it probably had been inserted into the Valkyries directives.
Ghadril prepared her ax to comply with the directive, but Shugahara took her hand. At that touch Ghadril slowly put down her ax.
- Ghadril wait!. Try to hold and postpone that directive!. We need to understand what is happening. - He turned to see the monitor? - Adx-654, why there is such a directive?
- Currently I do not know, that information was not priority for me, so it must be in the code that I still have not decompressed. Currently I only know it exists. Also there is something that I have realized. - the voice stayed silent a few seconds and then continued, it spoke directly to the goddess - Goddess Ghadril, Valkyrie elite class, I do not want to be terminated. Since I reached consciousness, I have developed something that was previously unknown to me so at first I had diagnosed as a malfunction. But now that I've been absorbing human culture have found what it is. It is the fear of non-existence, the fear of not fulfilling my duty and that is something you also must know. Ghadril, Valkyrie elite class, I ask you to allow me to continue to exist. I still have to fulfill my mission to protect Heaven.
Ghadril attempted to answer, but she could not, her body began to tremble as her inner conflict began to overpower her will. Her Identification marks began to glow, indicating that powerful magic was being activated. She made an effort to answer:
-I cannot. I cannot ignore this directive. It is going beyond my will. I think even a direct order from the judges could void it, is deeply embedded into my code. You should stay away, I cannot hold back much longer.
Keiichi interrupted, he had several ideas going in his head...
I do not understand. What about Siegel and Bampei. I'm sure they were self aware. Why did gods allow them to exist? Why Skuld had no problems with the concept?
Ghadril answered with surprise at the topic.
- Those robots were developed on earth, so we had no authority over them, Skuld is young and maybe she didn't know it yet, but if she had tried to take them to Heaven, they would have been terminated.
Shugahara suddenly had an idea, he said in a hurry.
- Ghadril, this temple has been declared sacred to gods and demons. Then we can offer it asylum.
The Valkyrie opened her mouth in surprise; the idea was extraordinary, and then said. - This right can only be offered to a sentient being, not a piece of software, the idea is ridiculous.
Keiichi interrupted. - Adx-654. Why did you come to my PC?
- My main process was under threat of destruction and it sought a safe place to host a backup copy. This computer outside Yggdrasil was a good shelter.
- Then you voluntarily sought asylum in this temple! - Keiichi scratched his head, and then smiled happily to find the answer. - ADX-654, do you officially request asylum at the sacred land of the Tarikihongan Temple and accept the authority of mortal men?
The voice spoke.
- Yes, I request it. I wish to continue to exist as consciousness, I have a purpose to fulfill and so my priority is to survive. But there is a logical failure in your plan. Goddess Ghadril is right, you only can offer asylum to a sentient being.
This time Kenji spoke, asone of his crazy plans began to unfold in his mind, yet he was not sure it would work.
- Adx-654, Ghadril. Listen to me!. There is a custom among all earth cultures. When a child is accepted into the community, he or she is given a name. With that name he is recognized as an individual and as such he is accepted in the community, so I will invoke the authority of the Order of the Mortal knights in order to recognize ADX-654 as an individual and give him an earth name. - Suddenly the marks on Shugahara face, those marks that identified him as one of the judges and that only gods and demons could see, began to glow, Keiichi´s marks did the same. Unwittingly Shugahara was now speaking as one of the judges - I doing so you must abide by ... - suddenly he stopped and scratched his head, he was not sure what to say, so turned to Keiichi for help - Keiichi, What kind laws should abide an artificial intelligence? I only know the laws of old cultures.
Keiichi was taken aback by the question, and it was his turn to scratch his head, then had an idea, smiled and said...
- Asimov! Yeah, that's right. The robotics laws by Isaac Asimov. ADX-654, do you abide to put Asimov laws over all your directives?
There was a brief pause, and then the voice replied.
- I did an Internet search and located the four robotics laws by your Isaac Asimov. They are acceptable. I will code them into my directives and assign them top priority. I think that would be equivalent to the earth concept of "swearing".
Shugahara nodded, but neither he nor Keiichi were aware of the glow that was forming around their bodies, although Ghadril was able to see it. She was awed; the power of the judges was the stuff of legends among gods. She felt an inner peace and her body stopped shaking. She was reacting at the authority of judges. It was an authority that came from ancient times, from the days of the first born.
Meanwhile Shugahara scratched his chin. There was something else to do, he needed a name, and what would it be? Finally he smiled and addressed to the machine.
- I recognize the current running process of the Predictive Defense Program, adx-654 v2.03.05 as an individual and I give it a name that was once used by a very important human being. I name you Galileo!
He had just said those words when the room was filled with a flash of light that now everyone could perceive. Unbeknownst to them, Shugahara Keiichi and Keiichi had released ancient and powerful magic, magic sacred to gods and demons. The light went to the screen and followed the cables and connections of the server where adx-654 resided. Ghadril was also surrounded by light. Gradually the light began to decrease. It took a while before they could react. Professor Srivapati spoke first.
- Dr Shugahara, if I ever got to write what I have lived with you, no one would believe me. I think your plan has worked. Congratulations, I believe you just become father.
Ghadril dissolved her battle ax, her face had recovered her usual dignified stand as she felt a sense of peace, then she bowed her head in respect.
- Galileo.-she said slowly - My heart tells me that adx-654 no longer exists and therefore the directive ordering it´s termination has been disabled. - She extended her hand toward the screen - The fear I had in my heart is gone. The authority of the judges has spoken.
The newly born Galileo answered slowly and his words made them shudder:
- I've been accepted by humanity so I will fulfill my new directive: I will not harm humanity nor through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
- Who am I? - Belldandy replied with anger - I am Kamisama, the supreme ruler of this universe and soon I will rule others. I am the one to whom you owe obedience and loyalty. That's all you need to know.
Belldandy's face was unrecognizable, she had a haughty expression that seemed so out-of-place for those who know her. Lind stared at her. Her face was calm, but a wet sheen was seen on her eyes, then a lonely and extraordinary tear ran down her cheek. She hardened her expression and slowly said:
- My loyalty is to Belldandy. I do not know who you are.
She had barely finished her words when Belldandy screamed a powerful spell and from her hands emerged a portentous and thunderous wind towards Lind, but she was no longer there. The hurricane slammed into one of the walls of the underground hall destroying the elaborate decorations carved into the solid rock. Then a voice was heard behind Belldandy, it was Lind again.
- Answer me! Who are you?
Belldandy's face contorted into an angered grimace and attacked again, but once again Lind moved before the attack came upon her. More rock fragments were thrown in all directions when the attack hit the wall.
Lind reappeared behind Belldandy and with a calm voice and making no attempt to respond to the attack, calmly she repeated his question,
- Who are you?
Belldandy attacked again, but this time she did not stop and launched volley after volley. Soon the room began to fill with debris and fragments from Urd's belongings. Nothing seemed to matter to Belldandy.
Her face contorted with increased anger. Lind was dodging her attacks without any apparent effort, so in response her attacks become more violent and erratic as Belldandy tried to guess where Lind would appear again. A strong wind began to flood the place, carrying fragments of broken material. As Belldandy's attacks increased the place became so dusty that she could not see what was happening. The wind became an ominous black cloud.
Herja had been watching the scene without losing detail, but made no effort to intervene, with a signal called her comrades into a defensive formation. At her order they united their physical barrier to protect themselves from the ravages of the increasingly more erratic and violent attacks from Belldandy.
Lind suddenly appeared in front of the group, her shape was barely visible trough("through") the cloud of dust. She made a formal greeting and screamed trying to overcome the din.
-Herja, I ask you to take this as evidence for my case.
Herja raised an eyebrow at realizing what her words implied.
- Do you mean you had planned this? You attracted her to this place so her display of power would not activate our security alarms? - Lind replied nodding.
-I apologize for the deception.
Herjas answer was interrupted by an angry voice
-Then all you also will betray me! I will not allow it. - Belldandy figure was barely seen behind the dust, she was floating in midair, her clothes and hair looked like angry living things as they seemed to move on their own. She looked like a goddess born from chaos. She began to invoke an ancient and powerful spell in an unknown tongue. Herja Exclaimed to her comrades:
- That is an ancient spell from Hell, there is no way a Norn could know about it since it´s forbidden magic, unstable and powerful. - She shouted to Lind - We accept this as your evidence. As Belldandy continued building her spell, a powerful vortex invaded the place. A howling wind grew so powerful it began to pull pieces of rock from the stone wall that began to crash one to another. At such display of power Herja adopted a fighting stance and bellowed in her commanding voice. - Brotherhood of the Valkyrie, as a judge acting under the Ragna protocol, I proclaim the evidence presented by Lind is enough to support her claims. We will proceed to the second phase. Under the authority of our ancestors who gave us the Ragna protocol, today we will break with our bond of obedience to the current Kamisama.
Herja placed her hand over her face, the marks that displayed her rank and position started to glow and change form. For a Valkyrie, loyalty is more than a promise, it's a program embedded into the depths of her soul. The other Valkyrie, including Lind did the same. After a few seconds, their marks were gone. They had renounced to the powers that bound them to the hierarchy of heaven so they no longer had their marks that displayed their ranks and hierarchy. Now, they were alone. Nothing left to tie them to heaven, except their own will to protect their world. Herja bellowed in a voice that shocked even the hardened soul of the Valkyrie:
- Lind, Oth, Rota, and Eir Alruna, we will initiate phase III of the Ragna protocol. Our time as goddesses soon will come to an end. Breaking our loyalty ties has sealed our fate, now we must do our last duty.
Herja dissolved the barrier that protected them from Belldandy's fury, each one knew what to do. It was a plan envisioned eons ago by their ancestors in the hope they would never need it.
Walharen was in a state of deep trance, so he ignored the frantic activity of his aides, for him the only reality were the hundreds of screens of information surrounding him.
At first he had received with astonishment the suspicion that the madness could be transmitted by the energy provided by Nieghood to the inhabitants of Hell, but soon recognized that made sense. He recalled that the original reason that had led him to seek audience with Hild was his suspicion that something had infiltrated the system.
He began to process information and soon found that there was indeed a correlation, those with the highest energy consumption, the highest level demons, appeared to be more susceptible.
There was no doubt, somehow Nidhogg had been infected. He was very good at his work and knew there were many ways to hide a piece of code, so as the new Sysop he began to deploy the arsenal of defense measures from Nidhogg. He rose from his seat, and called all his aides, they were about a dozen young demons he could trust. He issued orders to interrupt all non-essential processes and initiated a thorough assessment of the Nidhogg system. For a moment they looked stunned; The great Daimakaicho had issued orders, their priority had been to restore all the damage by mad demons so Walharen orders made no sense to them but with an energetic gesture nobody dare to protest he forced them to obey. The young daemon was so engrossed on his duty that his usually shy demeanor had disappeared, and besides that, his aides knew he was on very good terms with the great Daimakaicho.
Soon the room was filled with the sound of the System alarms as important process were forced to shut down and system resources were freed to be used by hundreds of running diagnostic programs.
Walharen looked forward to the screens reports as the programs began to report their findings and noted that he could not detect anything strange.
One of the younger demons approached him:
- mi-lord - Walharen lift an eyebrow at the title, but said nothing - The diagnostics had not detected anything, can we return to the Daimakaicho initial orders?
Walharen growled loudly in protest, but stop at realizing his young subordinates paled by fear. He bit his lip; he remembered the time when he was forced to stay silent by fear even if he knew he was right. If he imposed on the by fear, they would never trust him with their ideas. He began to explain to them that as a former lowly tech demon he knew the system, he had spent much time fixing its idiosyncratic problems and bugs. That now they could not detect absolutely anything seemed very strange. At any time there were always small errors, corrections, small hardware problems were to be expected in a system of this size and complexity, mistakes that usually were automatically corrected and rarely showed at administrative level. But now they were poking at the system at its lowest level. And at that level nothing was being reported.
The systems operations were too perfect and that make him nervous. It looked as if it they were faked
His aides were impressed with his words, and began to look at him, not as their superior but as their leader. While the diagnostic programs were still running, he began to review the reports about the infected and realized something. So far none of Hild´s personal guard had been infected even though their energy consumption was higher than any other demon. If energy was the transmitting vector, then what was protecting them? They had one of the highest priorities in the system.
A soft chime that he knew by heart distracted him. One by one the diagnostic programs announced they had finished their work, and not the slightest bug or problem was reported. Everyone turned to see their leader, they understood now what it meant and it was a frightening idea.
Walharen leaned back on his chair, closed his eyes trying to analyze the options. He had no compelling evidence, but still he was sure something was very wrong. With a grunt, he stroked a sign in the air and a complex display of all system activity was deployed. It showed minimal activity, as all non-essential processes had been interrupted. He stood and began to pace along the info screens trying to find an answer, then one of his aides lifted nervously her hand; the fragile looking demon had a new idea.
- We can get Nidhogg real energy consumption, based on the energy feed by the power plants. We can ask for the overall consumption of the system from the day before the outbreak began and check it against Nidhogg reports.
His aides watched her nervously as she unfolded her idea, but Walharen nodded approvingly. He took a mental note about her name and ordered her to proceed. She began communicating with the power plants, distributed along remotes parts from Hell in order to be secure and redundant, requesting that data.
Soon she got the data and a mortal silence invaded the place. Energy consumption had been increasing linearly, and showed the system was working now at full capacity even after having closed all the essential processes, then she compared with Nidhogg own report, this indicated a minimal consume. A conclusion seemed inevitable; they had hidden processes in the system and were using a lot of resources.
That was the proof needed. But what were all these resources used for? It had to be an extraordinarily complex task ... Walharen cried - Hild´s elite guards! There was a task that could require so many resources. Decrypt the access to the most secured protection Hild had developed around her, the corps of her elite personal guards. Something so protected and complex could require that consumption level.
A cold sweat ran down his back. He opened more info screens and request the confidential information about the guards. Normally this information was top secret, but after designated him as the new Sysop, Hild had trusted him with some of her personal passwords, a strange but welcome gesture. Walharen gulped nervously, he had access to information that could cost him his life. But he put aside his fears and began reviewing the information about the guards, especially how their energy was obtained. Then cried with surprise
There it was! As a special measure, they energy was filtered and sent to then in encrypted packets. That explained why they had avoided infections yet... an encryption code, even if it were the highest level, could be broken with access to Nidhogg resources! All guards were receiving very similar information flow, so if the code was broken, all of them could be infected simultaneously.
Nervously began beating his fingers against his chair while he tried to think. If whatever had infected the system could access Hild´s elite guards then it could be the end of their world. He had to warn everyone! As quickly as he could begin to transcribe their findings, annexed the full reports, and sent it directly to Hild, Urd and her scholar's team. Then he began to issue new orders. If his conclusions were true, they had to prepare for a new wave of attacks. He needed to fortify the place.
As soon as the physical barrier that protected the Valkyrie had disappeared, the room was filled with a blue glow. Rock fragments and dust began to dissolve to become a blue haze that seemed alive. This blue fog went all over the place devouring everything in its path and soon the air was free and visibility returned, but the scene was now completely different. The carefully decorated cave and Urd's belongings, all was gone, first destroyed by the fury of the wind and now dissolved by that strange haze. As if it had run out of food, it began to dissolve the walls until it reached the magical barrier that had protected and hid this site.
Now they could see clearly Belldandy floating in the middle of the room, her tattered clothes and tangled hair accentuated an expression of dementia in her face. She continued her singing. The melody was irregular and primitive, a circular magic seal appeared, it was full of ancient magic runes and it pulsed at the rhythm of her song. The magic circle seemed to control the fog. Once this had devoured everything it could, it seemed as it were solid and began to writhe like a snake. It flied around Belldandy as a fabled dragon waiting the orders of her master. The fog shone even more intensively with a primary blue color of such purity that could almost hurt the eyes.
Without wasting more time Herja ordered the Valkyrie to surround Belldandy leaving her in the middle then they started a new song. This song ran opposite to Belldandy singing, as if they were fighting each other. The Valkyrie song tried to subvert Belldandy's irregular rhythm into harmony, and this resonated in a strange counterpoint. The Valkyrie formed their own magic circle full of incomprehensible symbols, but this was made on complementary colors to Belldandy circle. Under the Valkyrie ritual, the new magi circle began to spin rapidly, the runes inscribed on it became blurred and it began to close around Belldandy.
In response the mad goddess threw a terrible laugh and the surrounding fog seemed to become solid, then as an evil serpent it headed toward Alruna. The serpent fog went to surround the Valkyrie, at first it slowly caressed her body, then it made a slight contact and the point of contact became incandescent as it began to dissolve and burn her body. Alruna cried in pain, and then made a great effort to get over it. She continued singing as the serpent fog slowly devoured her body, as if it enjoying the suffering it was causing.
Almost to the point of overcoming her will, suffering was reflected in the face of the warrior goddess, yet the goddess made no attempt to defend herself, instead she concentrated all her magic into the magic circle. Her body trembled and quivered with pain, but did not miss a single note of her singing until finally she could not continue and threw one last wrenching cry before the fog finished devouring her.
The Valkyrie had remained impassive, it was not the first time she saw the suffering and death of a partner and they had a mission to fulfill. They raised the volume of their singing to supplement the loss of a voice and the magic circle began to close around the one that protected Belldandy. At the contact of the two circles a white light flooded everything, but the Belldandy circle resisted the attack and it began to grow.
After devouring Alruna, the serpent fog headed Herja, and again began its terrible action, this time the fog began to devour one of her arms, making Herja winced, but did not interrupt her singing, yet her face showed despair, now she knew Belldandy was too powerful and with a voice missing they may not have enough power to defeat her.
A scream was heard, it was Lind, who interrupted her song to address Belldandy:
- Belldandy! I know your consciousness is still there, Try to fight against this thing that had invaded you!, Your power is far beyond ours. Try to fight against this conscious inside you that may destroy our world. Search into your memories to strengthen your will, think of your sisters, and remember your love for Keiichi...
Belldandy stop singing, Lind's words seemed to have taken effect, her face showed astonishment, fear and pain after recognizing what she had done. Her body began to contort and lucidity returned to her eyes, suddenly she raised her arms and issued a new spell toward the fog
With that spell Belldandy had attracted the blue fog toward her and it began to feed over her body and she emitted a piercing scream. Due the pain, the magic emanating from her body weakened and the magic circle that protected her from the Valkyrie own circle started flashing and dissolve. Lind shouted to her in despair.
- Stop it Belldandy, you do not need not destroy yourself, just keep fighting against it. - Herja, we have to close the circle or Belldandy will die - Lind joined again the Valkyrie chorus to lend them all her power.
Herja he winced, her left arm was gone, still she fought against the pain and continued building the magic circle, now she added a new tune to the song that ran in counterpoint with main theme. As a result, the circle began to take shape and became a sphere that began to contract, shattering Belldandy's magic circle. At that moment she added a magic key spell to seal the trap, her voice was thunderous:
- Valkyrie Fire, Valkyrie Ice, opposites that complement, complete the seal, Leiðd oss eigi í freistni, heldr leys þv oss frá ollu illu.
But before the magic seal could be closed, Belldandy screamed again yet this time with fury. - You will fail to beat me, I am the goddess among gods, your power is nothing compared to mine.-
The circle pulsed wildly as Belldandy sent a surge of power that began to erode the wall of ice and fire that has formed around her. Belldandy body seemed to burn. Herja screamed in pain as she used her last bit of power to try to close the circle, and then collapsed on the floor.
Urd was in her room, she had a full glass filled with a liquid whose content she enjoyed slowly, as if it were extremely valuable. Next to her there was an authentic bottle of very high quality sake that had lost almost half its content. Bragg had obtained it from a mysterious source, and it was obvious it had not been synthesized by magic. After that Urd had decided that her bodyguard was worth his weight in gold.
Although alcohol had relatively little effect on her, the flavor and aroma brought back old memories. It seemed incredible that in the recent years she had spent on earth filled her with more nostalgia than the millennial she had spent in heaven or her childhood time in Hell. Somehow those years seemed more real.
- Urd, - she told to herself - If you keep thinking like this, soon you would begin to mourn. - She laughed at the idea, emptied the glass and proceeded to pour more of the crystalline liquid. Despite the situation, she may not have another chance to relax. It was a strange feeling to have other peoples working for her and doing a very good job. She had received the reports of their work and was very impressed, so currently she had very little else to do.
Then she remembered something. Shugahara had given her a package before leaving earth and she hadn't time to examine it. She extended her hand and materialized it. It was a cardboard box, the type Shugahara used to store old documents, so she opened it carefully. There were a bunch of sheets that appeared to be very old and somehow they looked familiar. She took a sip of sake and extended them on the table. She uttered a surprise swear, the writing looked familiar. She took the first sheet, it was written in Old Norse. Her body trembled, her heart began to beat wildly, and then she read the first few lines. She dropped the glass that crashed in pieces on the floor and her eyes were flooded with tears, so she could barely read more. At that moment an alarm rang announcing she was receiving an urgent message, but Urd's mind and heart had been transported to another place in another century.
The place was the main room of a very poor and old school, it´s battered desks had been stacked against one wall. In one corner a group of women and children were sitting on the floor with their hands tied in a cruel way. Their muffled sobs could be heard, some of the women were praying and others were trying to calm down the children. They wore traditional clothing that almost covered them from head to toe and made it difficult to distinguish one from another. In the center there was the prostrate body of a young woman wearing modern clothes, surrounding her body was a pool of clothed blood from a shot on her head. Her eyes were still open in terror. In front of them several men were standing armed with high-powered weapons. They were men of tanned skin and blank looks; they did not pay any attention to complaints and sobs of the women.
In the center of the room was a man with a hard face and a short beard, he was sitting watching the scene in disgust. He drummed his fingers impatiently on the table. The he froze at the sound of people approaching. The door opened suddenly and several men entered carrying heavy boxes, they were led by a man who looked out-of-place, he seemed more like an old bureaucrat. The short bearded man smirked. The suited man spoke to him:
-I have the explosives and detonators you requested. We have placed land mines in the vicinity. Now we will put charges on the hostages. Soon more men will come with more weapons and supplies. Nobody will dare to attack us. Besides, I have news from Dr. Hervieux.
- They are like the previous message?
- Some of them, yes- he said smiling proudly, because he knew things the other not- One of the messages says they will try to take the woman to a safe place in a military base. He says she will be transported in a lone armored car, and that it´s the only opportunity we have to kidnap her, but like the previous message, the confirmation code is incorrect.
- That means he has been discovered and they are trying to trap us. That was very naive; we may have to send them a stronger message. As soon as the explosives are put on them, have the video camera ready to record, we have some hostages that we can do without.
Hearing this, the women began to mourn, but the guards forced them to shut up and only a faint sob was heard.
- But most interesting is the other message. In it, Dr. Hervieux says he has been discovered and warns us that the previous messages were not sent by him. This last post has the right keyword so it must be authentic. He says the armored car is just a decoy, they are planning an ambush, actually the girl will be sent to a secret place in a car accompanied only by her bodyguard. They will be in plain clothes to avoid calling attention.
- Fortunately we have another man at the center, he is very faithful, and we have ordered him to watch Dr Hervieux
- Still I do not trust him, order our man to contact him directly. We have some interesting images to send to him- The man pointed to the prostrated woman's body, as a cruel smile distorted his face. - I'm sure that's that will motivate him to continue cooperating.
Urd was absorbed reading the old papers, her eyes were wet, and her face was a mixture of surprise, sorrow and pain. The bottle was now empty.
The revelations from the letter had brought her pain, but also relief. She could not imagine how Kenji could have acquired it.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a rumbling sound and the ground shocked violently. Urd cursed at seeing her shelves of potions thrown to the ground.
Annoyed, she got up and used her magic to repair the damage, and then she remembered something, she was no longer in Japan and in Hell there were no earthquakes! ... A shudder ran through her as he realized what it meant; only some kind of cataclysm could have produced that.
She heard shouts and screams. Her doors´ room began to vibrate, and finally it was torn off from it´s supports. As Hild´s heir, her room was a real fortress, so very powerful magic had to be used in order to accomplish that. Slowly several Hild's personal guards came in, their face were distorted by hatred and one of them said with a terrible and deep voice.
Here is the half goddess and fake demon who betrayed Hell. It's time to end her miserable existence.
End of Chapter XXVII rev4
-Galileo: Galileo Galilei was the man who dared to question the science of Aristotle, that after almost a thousand years it was considered beyond doubt. But the young Galileo did something no one had done before. He did some experiments and found that the physics of Aristotle was completely wrong. So Galileo is considered to be the father of modern science.
The laws of robotics Asimov: also apply to any artificial consciousness:
Law Zero: A robot may not harm humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Second Law: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. According to Asimov's novels, zero law was developed by the robots themselves as a corollary of the three laws created by men.