FHD Remix Chapter 37

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Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 36: The Airlift

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt-MRp1Q3BI (c) 2000 Sparrow Music

Chapter 37 Let Me Not Forget

[This chapter features the song Tremble by Nicole Nordeman, second track from her album This Mystery. There is an homage to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home quite well buried.]

<Jack,> the Saviour whispers.

Jack fluffs up his feathers warmly. He loves to hear the voice of his Saviour. Right now he's standing on the wall near the West Wood. The groove in the soil that Lilith ran back and forth in trying to break the wall down is still visible in the dark soil, illuminated by the waxing moon just before it sets. On one foot of course.

<Jack,> the Saviour whispers again, < I'm so impressed by your humility, that you've never been jealous of the light given to the Haibane, and of Devon.>

<She's doing a great job, isn't she?> Jack thinks, knowing that the Saviour can hear.

<Yes, but not a perfect job. I need you to wield the light of war that I've given her, just once,> the Saviour asks.

Jack puts his other foot down and opens his eyes, suddenly alert, suddenly concerned.

<Fly north along the outside of the wall,> the Saviour orders. <You're looking for a round, two metre opening into the interspace about sixty metres above ground level.>

<My God, that's big enough for a Chomper!> Jack thinks.

<Have faith, brother. The light is no dimmer for crows than it is for Haibane.>

The raven soon finds the opening and flies through it, now heading back south inside the wall.

Tatakai is pushing her boat into the breeze. She hears it and looks up. As she expected from the sound, a row of six small eyes gaze back at her. Three are in each groove on either side of the round creature's nose. She can make out the creature's brain, showing through an opening above its nose, reflecting the light of the hikarinium bloom behind her. A Cacoe.

It opens its mouth and fires. Tatakai raises her hand and is stunned to discover that the Saviour's light is no longer at her command. She grabs the front of her hood and pulls it down over her face. In the boat she has no where to go. In the robe, she doesn't have much agility.

The pink stream of angry plasma hits her between the shoulders, but cannot penetrate the primitive, but very effective radiation robe. The force of the blast sends her back-flipping over the boat's railing, and into the water. She grabs onto an upright.

<Saviour!> she cries in her heart, her mouth too busy trying to keep out the moat.

The round Cacoe, which isn't any more maneuverable than Tatakai in her heavy robe suddenly takes more interest in another flying creature. It starts looking about.

Jack chooses a totally different style than Tatakai for his strike, using the light of war to transpose himself, very rapidly from a few metres in front of the Chomper, to the opening in its head, striking at the speed of a bullet, and the inertia of the Soul Cube.

<Tatakai, it is my light,> the Saviour answers, <And tonight, I have lent it to someone else.>

After the brilliant flash clears from her eyes, she spots the hellspawn creature spinning backwards in the air, glowing with her light. <The Saviour's light,> she winces. The defeated Cacoe bounces off the inside of the interspace, then hits the water with a splash. It floats on the water, half out, and dims to a speckled orange glow, sizzling in the water as it burns up.

Tatakai grunts loudly as she pulls herself and the wet robe out of the moat and back into the boat. On her face, her wet legs still poking out between the uprights of the railing, she coughs and pants, "Thank you, Saviour."

She hears a soft peep in the dark. Her lantern is out. She hears the peep again, and reaches gently for it beside her, the raven's eye reflecting the gentle light of her halo. She finds the lantern and gets it started again, then sits up.

"Oh, God," she cries, "Who wields your light now?"

Jack peeps at her from the railing.

"Campbell," she gasps in surprise, reaching gently over her shoulder. As he hops onto her thickly gloved finger, she asks, "Are you the new defender of Glie?"

The raven bows deeply, then spreads his left wing, leaning right to keep his balance on her finger.

Tatakai understands.

Jack pulls his left wing back before using both to take off and fly up, back to the north, cawing as loud as he can. She sees a star outside. Quickly she secures her lantern to the pushing pole of the boat and pushes it high up, resting it on the inside wall. Once her eyes have adjusted, she spots the opening easily.

Resting the bottom end of the puller, she holds up her gloved hands and closes her eyes. "In the name of the Saviour," she whispers, "be thou restored." The light of war, again at her command, instantly repairs the break in the wall.

She collapses to her knees and bawls, "Father, please, reveal to me my sin, that I may repent of it, and send your Saviour's love so that I may be healed of it."

God answers, < It is Menmo's place, this time. You are always forgiven, still your heart and set your mind at ease. Finish your shift. Jack has other things to do.>

"Jack?" she gasps as she stands and starts to lower the pole with the lantern on top, back into the water, "Father, who's Jack?"

The raven lands on her halo and squawks like a flustered pet asking for a treat.

"Oh?" She lets the pole slide slowly through her hands back into the water, then holds her hand up for him to perch on. Lowering him gently in front of her face, she says, "Jack?"

The raven nods.

"Jack Campbell!" she cries, "I really did have that name, Campbell?" Gently she strokes his head. He doesn't seem to enamored about the rough leather, and so ducks her touch until she holds it still, then cuddles his head into her fingers. "We were married once?"

The carbon colored bird extends his right wing around her left hand, as though to pull it closer.

With no other way out of the interspace inside the wall, Jack remains with Tatakai for this night. She shows him how to gather hikarinium flakes. Due to the dexterity of his beak, sentient ravens being "naturally" immune to delta radiation, he is far faster at it than she can be in the wet robe. She decides then, to lower the drop keel of the boat and crank up its telescoping mast, climbing up the sixty metre column, inspecting the wall's inner and outer surfaces all the way up, and all the way back down.

Two Cacoe bang agains the outside of the wall, taking turns ramming, chomping, and spitting green plasma at the weakened spot. Suddenly with a flash of the Saviour's light, the pending breach is instantly repaired, and both hellspawn drop dead out of the sky, bouncing down the tapered monolithic wall's outer surface. So far do they have to fall, that they never make it to the ground, shattering into cinders on a bounce. The glowing red pieces roll down the wall.

Erebus lowers his optical binoculars, too narrow for his eyes, so he's only looking through one barrel. "Crud," he mutters. Only half as tall as his Cyberdemon incarnation, the still huge all-organic creature drops on his rump. "It's creepy how she does that."

Tatakai slowly climbs out of the suit room, the raven still on her shoulder. She's wearing only her thermal underwear suit, emerges from the stair's entrance into the Haibane Temple, now Glie's high security prison.

"Cranky day?" Leroy asks.

"Oh, no, it's just uh," Tatakai sighs, slouching her shoulders, "Personal. We all have our own relationship with God, and I realized ... that mine isn't quite as strong as I thought."

"Stronger than mine," he smiles.

On returning to Old Home, about a twenty minute walk, she's gets back, in her shoes and coat, sets herself down at the guest room table.

"Menmo," she sighs, lifting her log book from her coat pocket, "We have something to talk about."

"I know," Menmo answers, "but it is for all three who bear the light. I'm trying to get this song right."

Tattered sheet music lies on the table. Menmo has made her own copy, which now sits on the piano's easel. She puts her hands to the keys and plays the introduction.

"It's beautiful," Tatakai comments.

With one hand, Menmo plays the melody that goes with the words, and upon hitting the first bridge, returns her other hand to the keys and plays both the melody and an underlying harmony at once. After a couple brief measures with just her right hand again, she pauses.

"Sorry, I'm going to ruin the surprise for you," she sighs. She starts playing a melody very similar to the introduction as she sings, in a different, far slower and more desperate melody, the chorus to the song she's just discovered:

"Oh let me not forget to tremble
Oh let me not forget to tremble
Face down on the ground do I dare to take the liberty
To stare at you
Oh let me not
Oh let me not
Forget to tremble"

Tatakai lies on the floor, unable to move, clutching her logbook.

"Tatakai!" Menmo cries in concern, dropping to her knees beside her fallen friend, leaning over and brushing the blonde hair from the casualty's face.

"Oooooooh," Tatakai moans, tears flooding out of her eyes, a solid sniffle, "I think I'll make it." She hands Menmo the logbook.

Menmo reads the night's page quickly, then closes it. "Oh, no," she moans, tears in her eyes.

"What is it?" Tatakai asks as she pulls herself up to a seated position, "It isn't too bad, I hope?"

"No, it's not that," she says, handing the logbook back to its owner, "Just after I pulled this song off the shelf at the library, the Saviour said that Shimoni and Yaiba were having problems, and that you were to help me."

"If this is how you reacted to the song," she pauses, "I- I'm scared," she sobs, "Could a song kill people?"

"How did you react to it?" Tatakai asks.

"I was reminded, just how small I am. How small all of us are, that God really has the power and cause to just," she waves her hands in front of her face as though to bat away a mote of dust, "Poof! That we really are, moment-to-moment, absolutely dependent on his love and mercy."

Jack stands on top of the piano, body feathers puffed out, beak held up slightly, like he's really in charge right now, proud of being small.

"Never to see it as ours to do with as we please," Tatakai sobs.

Shimoni and Yaiba arrive home, faces long, having been crying together. In alarm, they rush to Tatakai's side.

"Oh, no!" Shimoni cries as Yaiba kneels next to her.

"Not you, too," Yaiba laments as she brushes strands of wet hair from her friend's face.

"Me, too?" Tatakai asks.

"Our lights have quit shining," Shimoni laments.

Tatakai holds up her right hand. For a moment, in a manner somewhat remiscient of the dark, inferior light of an Arch-Vile, the Saviour's light of war crackles at the tips of her fingers, and her wings glow.

"The light given to me never quit shining," Tatakai says, then points at the raven sitting on top of the piano, "but it was put under his command instead of mine for a minute or two."

"Who's that?" Menmo asks.

"Jack Campbell," Tatakai answers softly.

"What!!" she gasps, "In your log, I thought you were talking about one of the Toga. This little crow took out a whole Cacoe??"

Jack smacks his beak, <Could use a little more salt.>

"It's no less of a miracle when the Saviour does it with my hands," Tatakai says.

"What's a Cacoe?" Shimoni asks.

Yaiba stands there stunned, turns to Shimoni, and whispers, "Something you don't want to meet in person."

"Menmo, let's sing your song," Tatakai sighs, "I'm sure we'll survive."

"It's, uh, not my song, actually," Menmo says as she returns to the piano. "It was written and performed by a Nicole Nordeman, part of something called This Mystery. It's called uh," she grasps her quaking right hand in her left, "Tremble." Finally, she regains enough composure and takes the keys.

As Menmo plays the song's introduction, Menmo looks up at Jack and notices that he opens his beak as though to sing the gentle scat during the song's introduction.

"Have I come too casually?
Because it seems to me
There's something I've neglected

"How does one approach a diety
With informality
And still protect the sacred

"'Cus you came and chose to wear the skin of all of us
And it's easy to forget you left a throne

"And the line gets blurry all the time
Between daily and divine
It's hard to know the difference"

For Yaiba, Shimoni, and Tatakai, who experience the divine on a daily basis, they all see the irreverence with which they have treated the light the Saviour has bestowed upon them to use at his will.

"Oh let me not forget to tremble
Oh let me not forget to tremble
Face down on the ground do I dare to take the liberty
To stare at you
Oh let me not
Oh let me not
Forget to tremble"

Menmo's hands fall from the keyboard, unable to keep playing. Yaiba and Shimoni weep on the floor. Yaiba squeaks the second verse.

"What a shame, to think that I'd appear
Even slightly cavalier
In the matter of salvation

Do I claim this gift you freely gave
As if it were mine to take
With such little hesitation"

Tatakai sings this part

"'Cus you came and stood among the very least of us
And it's easy to forget you left a throne."

The three who know the song, Menmo, Yaiba, and Tatakai, join together in the chorus. Menmo plays, but her playing is ragged and full of errors. Somehow this can't dent the beauty of the timeless melody.

"Oh let me not forget to tremble
Oh let me not forget to tremble
Face down on the ground do I dare to take the liberty
To stare at you
Oh let me not
Oh let me not
Forget to tremble"

Yaiba cries as she remembers the bridge.

"The cradle and the grave could not contain your divinity
Neither can I oversimplify this love!"

Shimoni tries to sing the chorus, knowing inside that she very much needs to.

"Oh let me not forget to tremble"

As great as her need is, Shimoni isn't strong enough to continue. Neither is anyone else. Jack remembers the song more completely than everyone else, the gift of the raven. He suddenly opens his mouth and sighs, remembering Nicole's scat in original song. This prompts Menmo to start playing the melody again on her keys, better than before. Shimoni gathers her strength and finishes the chorus at her own pace.

"Face down on the ground do I dare to take the liberty
To stare at you
Oh let me
Oh let me not

Menmo finishes her melody. After a pause, Shimoni expends the last of her strength in the final two words.

"To tremble"

Menmo kneels beside her and said, "I didn't know you knew the song before."

"I didn't," Shimoni sobs, "I thought I it was too slow and broken ... I even missed a word."

"You sang it exactly as it is written," Menmo shows her on the sheets, "The Saviour is still willing to do miracles through you."

"His light," Shimoni sighs, "Aw, it's no big deal, I said to the guy. And he said, It is a big deal, we'll die without this water," Shimoni bawls, "And I couldn't even finish his garden! God, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry! Glie needs this gift, even if it isn't put in my hands, we need your rain."

"My light will heal you," Yaiba sobs, "That's what I said, and it didn't work. Yurushi's still in his splint right now. How dare I call it my light." Yaiba holds up her hand, "Please, Father," she begs, "In thy Saviour's name, let this light of yours shine again."

Yaiba's wings and hand flashes. The others are startled.

Shimoni, hopeful again, runs outside, onto the short grass, she holds out her hands and sprays water from them again. In renewed joy she spins around, becoming a pretty fountain in the morning light. By the time she stops and returns to the guest room entrance, she is soaking wet.

Tatakai embraces her like that, "Remember who we're working for. These are his tools, not ours. Remember that every stricken enemy, every healed scar, every little shower is a full-blown miracle," she sighs in reverence, "from the Father's hands to the Son's, the Saviour's to our own."

Next: FHD Remix Chapter 38: Flashover!

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