Glorianna Glory was unique amongst Citadel operatives. In truth, that wasn’t so unusual among the Citadel’s higher ranks, especially within Intervention Prime. Bruce ‘Overkill’ Richards was the Citadel’s only field certified Richads type, not to mention absolutely terrifying under the right conditions. Jerome Flux was both the strongest cryokinetic and pyrokinetic on active duty. William Power was… well, he was William Power, the first Operative.
No, what made Glorianna unique was that unlike every Operative on record, she wasn’t Empowered. Sure, all she had to do was touch one of the many crosses placed at strategic points of her uniform and she would transform into that absurd thing but that wasn’t because of her power. No, that was thanks to her mother.
Mom said it was a gift from God, a literal miracle to show her daughter the way and a mercy on this poor, benighted country. Glorianna said it was a routine, though unusually strong, Empowerement that her mother had received while the two were arguing about religion. It definitely didn’t prove her mother right. Glorianna was still an atheist and would probably die one, even if she did turn into something that looked and acted suspiciously like an angel every time she touched a cross.
She’d never realized how many cross-like objects she touched in a given day before her mother’s Empowerment.
This is why she was irritated when she stepped through the hazy window that Lauren Ring had opened in the air and went from the Hub to Phoenix in a heartbeat. At least Ring’s portals were less creepy looking than the Gatekeeper’s. She just couldn’t open as many or keep them up as long, not that it would’ve mattered. They wouldn’t let long term Gates stay up in a Border city, too big a risk. Even as Prime departed, the Gate network was already closing, shutting down one by one as the Gatekeeper prepared for a possible deployment. It’d take most of a month for it to be reestablished.
Her thoughts wandered as Bruce gave out orders. He wasn’t speaking to her, not really, just it. The thing that took her place would know what to do, like always. She touched the cross at her throat and there was a brilliant light. It seemed to shine for ever and a moment.
She hated this part, the sensation of being a passenger in her own body, an observer.
The messenger let out a portion of its light, the light it carried as a gift from HIM. The poor boy, tormented by a mother’s misguided love and broken body was healed. The damage to his arms and legs, to his spine and ribs and so much of the fragile flesh within was washed away beneath a tide of HIS love. The messenger frowned once it was done. The boy’s eyes were still burnt away, were still being burnt away by the tiny lights that someone had conjured and placed there.
Good. She recognized the boy from Bruce’s ‘special’ class of trainees, didn’t like the idea of what was in store for most of them.
The messenger touched the boy’s forehead and let its peace flow out. If it was HIS will that the boy’s injury remain then so be it. The messenger’s place was not to question but to obey. Still, it could offer this slight grace before moving on to the rest of its task. The boy’s restless stirring stilled, quiet beneath HIS mercy, the loving regard the messenger had shared.
At least she could help him this much.
The messenger spread wide its wings and, with a single beat, it was elsewhere. There were people beneath, HIS children, so lost and frightened that the messenger’s heart nearly broke. The messenger spread wide its arms and let the light flow freely. The children beneath felt HIS grace and were comforted. Their panicked exodus slowed before resuming in a calmer, more ordered fashion. The messenger’s wings spread wide once more and it was off to another location, heedless of the handful that had been burnt by HIS touch.
Glorianna felt a moment of vicious satisfaction. Analysis had investigated before and would again. Every single person that died under that light had done… terrible things.
After a time, the messenger grew weary. The light it bore was not its own and, though HIS power was inexhaustible, the same could not be said for the messenger. Soon it would have to retire, to let little Glorianna walk the world once more. The messenger hoped that she would take comfort from the messenger’s acts. That was why the messenger was here. Not to work these little miracles, though the good they did was a sign of HIS love for HIS children, of course. No, the messenger had been sent for a simple purpose, to show her the way.
Pfeh, subtle Mom.
The messenger had just enough light left for one more thing before it left. The messenger journeyed to the city’s heart, the place of healing where a battle raged. The messenger looked upon the scene and considered. Glorianna’s comrades where here, those who bore their own fragments of HIS light. They fought against an abomination, one who had been gifted with HIS light and turned it to a dark purpose, to steal the precious lights of HIS children and take them for itself.
The messenger watched as the man who had been gifted with some portion of HIS understanding, that portion relating to martial conflict, fell to the ground. The messenger was not concerned, for the messenger knew that his body and soul had been fortified by she who held the red light of preservation.
Fuckfuckfuck… Bruce- He’d be okay but Retcon had barely recovered from that godawful training exercise he’d used her for. She wouldn’t be able to reset anyone else today, maybe not for a week.
The messenger saw the man who bore the light of the sun’s fire and the cold between the stars unleash his might. Almost half of the place of healing was trapped within ice as he froze the air itself. He used the heat from that to burn the foul one but it resisted. One of its stolen lights had some dominion over heat and another, no, several of the others could be used for many purposes. They had been set in place to protect it from such things. The messenger was not concerned for Glorianna’s comrade for it knew that he could change his body into a pattern of lightning within fire, proof against most forms of harm.
Flux almost never cut loose like that, too much collateral. Sometimes, she forgot just how impressive her teammate could be.
The messenger beheld the one who lead Glorianna’s comrades, like unto Michael himself in his prowess. One of the foul one’s stolen lights let it spread itself, be in many places at once. It used that light to make more of itself and attack the leader with many selves. The messenger knew the leader was in no danger. He was filled with HIS glory and proof against the creature’s stolen power, could even weaken it when they clashed. More, his body was as unflagging as his will.
She’d had a huge crush on Power when she was a kid, every little girl did at some point. Moments like this were why it’d come back with a vengeance when she’d actually met the man.
The messenger’s attention turned to the sky above. One of Glorianna’s companions was there, the boy the foul one had stolen the light of being in many places from. He fought on so many fronts at once… The messenger looked closer and saw that his light was one of communication. Like HIS voice, the boy’s thoughts would be heard and echo among all his selves. That light’s nature was of inclusion, not meant for conflict. His enemy had turned that light against him, inserted itself into that communion. The boy struggled to resist, to keep himself apart but the nature of their lights worked against him.
She remembered Hector, how worried he’d been for his mom during the Interruption. Dammit mom’s angel thing, help him!
The messenger acted, spread HIS grace across the heavens and let it touch all of the boy’s many selves above. They burned but the messenger knew that there was no cause for concern. All was as HE willed. This would not return the boy’s stolen light to him. Nothing would save the creature’s death, but the messenger’s act and HIS blessing would keep it from growing worse. The creature would gain no more from this boy.
That- that wasn’t what I meant! He better be okay. Bruce might need him for Janus, but even without that, he’s a good kid. He doesn’t deserve to die here.
The messenger felt the light within growing dim. What, already? That had been the last of the messenger’s role in this place. They still need us! A beat of wings and-
Glorianna was back, standing before Laura Ring’s gateway. She stood aside as Bruce came through, noted the command for minimal communication, then left. There was nothing else she could do here.