Vol. 102: What’s in the box? What’s in the box?!
What’s in the box? What’s in the box?!
Raine grasped the lid of the box and the whole of the Multiversal Senate seemed to hold their breath. With a flourish Raine threw the lid across the room and looked inside. Packing peanuts. A collective exhale. Raine looked back at the senators. “They must have really wanted this to arrive safely.” Raine smiled.
“Careful!” The Naga senator exclaimed, “That packaging could be poisonous!”
The Animus Captain let out a sigh and spoke. “Please senator I’ve told you all a dozen times now. Nothing in the package is harmful. This is all quite unnecessary; the Animus and Grinders could have handled this package…” but she was cut off by another senator.
“Still the packaging should be collected and examined… Just in case…” a Human senator said. A few other senators nodded in agreement. The Animus captain rolled her eyes.
“Whatever.” Raine said as he began throwing packing peanuts out of the box all over the floor. Several senators jumped back from them as if they were live explosives. Several hit the Animus captain in the face as they were flung, and she emitted a barely audible growl.
“Ah here we are!” said Raine producing a very wide grin. He proceeded to pull out 2 medium sized titanium cases. He sat them onto the marble table where the box also set with a satisfying ‘click’. Both were highly polished. One was slightly pink, and one was stark white. They seemed to be tightly sealed and held close by two simple clasps. Raine ran his hands along their surfaces. “Oooooooo… smooth and shiny!”
“This seems a bit excessive.” A Dryad said sliding closer. “What’s with all of the packaging?”
“We know extraordinarily little about the Xerxes. Who knows why they do what they do…” a Centaur replied.
“Well let’s start with the pink one then.” Raine said sliding it towards him.
“Be careful!” the Naga senator expressed again nearly yelling it directly into the Animus captain’s ear as he stepped behind her. The captain remained stone faced but her low growl returned, slightly louder now.
Raine flipped the clasps on the pink case and an audible hissing of air could be heard as it unsealed. Raine flipped it open and a true oddity laid before him. The first thing everyone noticed when the box was opened was the extreme magic coming from… whatever this was. It appeared to be a large smooth mass of red organic material held between to planes of glass. It had a few simple jet-black markings on it. It was held in a sort of magical glass with a metallic rim holding the 2 pieces of magical glass on either side of the biological material. Raine held it up to the light and everyone in the room peered at it. The organic material inside seemed to slightly pulsate. As the Centaur senator moved closer, he gasped.
“Oblivion consume me!” he exclaimed. “Do you know what that metal is!?” the Centaur forced his way closer to get a better look. A few other senators in the room also gasped as they also realized what it was.
“Mythantium.” Raine said turning the edge of the object to the light. It let off an almost supernatural blue light. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen any…”
“Amazing…” a Human said moving closer as well. “Indestructible then?”
“It would seem so.” Said a Trementian flying above the shoulders of his fellow senators to get a better look.
“Neat!” Raine said placing it back into the case.
“But what is it?” a Mermaid said trying to get a better look herself even as it was being put away.
“No idea.” Raine replied nonchalantly, closing the case, and sliding it across the table casually. “There was nothing else in the case. Perhaps the contents of the next case will provide an explanation, otherwise you will have to get a Divinity Expert to identify it for you.” Raine had by now pulled the white case in front of him and made ready to open it.
A murmur of dissatisfaction passed among the senators, most griping that they had not even fully examined the first box, but they all fell silent as Raine unhinged the second case. As he flipped open the case it held what appeared to be a simple data recorder. An external hard drive of sorts, but very primitive looking. Dozens of generations older than what most other races were currently using, and pieced together. It looked like it had been literally glued together. Several large cracks were visible in it. Despite this it was meticulously clean. Even the glue that held it together looked to be shined and evenly spaced. Raine gingerly lifted it as if even he expected it to break in his hands. Much to his surprise it felt quite solid.
“What an antique!” a Swaft laughed. “Do we even have the ability to read such an ancient device?” several others in the room laughed nervously.
The Animus captain spoke, “I don’t believe we do aboard Elysium 12, but Unity should have equipment onboard able to read this.”
“But Unity won’t be able to hold nearly this many people.” A Lizard woman said.
The Animus captain looked slightly annoyed but then said, “Of course senators, I’ll get the ECC to bring the equipment we need here then. It will take a few hours if you all would like to reconvene then?”
The senators quickly passed a motion for a 3-hour recess. Raine placed the hard drive back into its case and similarly closed it. In short order the senate chambers had mostly cleared out. Only a few senior senators remained. And the vampires.
The vampires still filled many of the seats and they all continued to watch Raine with a smoldering intensity.
Raine once again opened the pink case and began to look over the biological object inside. A few senators gathered near him. “I sense this object will bring about great CHANGE senators…” Raine said greatly emphasizing the word change. He tilted it in the light so once again the Mythantium reflected its magical bluish glow.
“Perhaps you know more about this object than you are saying Raine the younger?” an O-Boy said mockingly.
“Perhaps I do.” Raine said looking at the O-Boy so intensely it caused him to step back.
Another senator began to speak on this but Raine quickly replaced the object and deftly closed the case with another satisfying click. He turned to the senior Naga senator. “Senator why don’t you hold onto this, just until we figure out exactly what it is.” Raine’s released a wide boyish smile at him and thrust the case towards him.
“Me?” the Naga senator said sheepishly, taking the case into his hands.
“Now see here Raine.” An elven senator chimed in. “I don’t care who you are, its not your place to simply give away…” but Raine interrupted him with a dark glare.
“No one is giving anything away my friend.” A cold presence emanated from Raine seeming to cover everyone in the room. A few of the vampires present gave off silent hisses and stepped back. “The Naga senator will simply be holding it for now. That won’t be a problem will it?”
“No…No problem…” the elf said obviously cowed. Indeed, it seemed everyone in the room was happy not to say more about it at the moment. Raine gave the room a much more genuine smile.
“Well then. Why don’t we all talk for a while. I would love to hear about how things are going in the multiverse since I’ve been gone.” Raine leaned back in a chair, put his hands behind his head and spreading his legs wide. His relaxed posture seemed to lighten the mood in the room.
The next few hours went quickly. Various Animus, Grinders, and members of the ECC came in and out hooking up equipment and cables here and there. At Raine’s urging many of the senators tried to catch him up on lifetimes of history and politics. But Raine proved to be an adept moderator and many of those present found themselves smiling and laughing as they relived some of the greatest moments gone by. There were of course many harrowing tales as well. Losses of worlds, galaxies, and universes by the Oblivion. The continued onslaught of the Dark Dwarf empire, famine, disease, war, and more. Many in the room wept during these retellings.
The vampires and the Nighttide were the most indignant. They complained openly to Raine about their enslavement by the Xerxes and the Dark Dwarves. They blamed him and The 5 for not being there to aid them. Despite this Raine remained coolheaded and showed great concern. When talk came up about Bloodspring, Raine congratulated them on creating such a fantastic magical achievement! They had done something only the Trinity had ever been able to do and in stunningly less time. These accolades gave pause to the Nighttide. Praise was not something they experienced often.
Many tried to ask Raine questions as well, but he always answered with a desire to answer questions before the entire senate. Surely anything asked of him would want to be heard by everyone, so reluctantly most acquiesced.
Finally, the Animus captain returned and told them all they were ready. Around the gigantic main senate chambers the seats had once again began to fill up. Many vampires were quite vexed because they had to leave as many senators and delegates returned to claim their seats. But soon things came back to order. The light dimmed as a few of the ECC connected the last remaining cables and 3 massive view screens descended into the center of the room.
The captain held a small remote in her hand and stood by. “When you are all ready then.” She looked around the room as if looking for missed danger.
Raine walked by and slid the remote deftly from the captain’s hand with such ease she didn’t notice until he rose it up and smiled at her. She quickly looked to her hand and then back to him giving him a low but subtle growl.
“Well then.” Raine said smiling and turning to the screens. “Let’s see what the Xerxes have to say!” and with that Raine pressed play and tossed the remote over his back in the direction of the captain. She had to lunge forward to catch it. As the video began to play, another slightly louder growl could be heard coming from the captain…
What would follow next would be considered by most to be the single most bizarre and awkward diplomatic presentation ever delivered throughout the entirety of the multiverse…
About the Illustrations: Here we have the beginnings of a Snish sketch and a Centaur!