**The story below is a draft **
The city was tearing itself apart.
Once the news of the impending arrival of the army of the Thousand Sons had been presented to the council the decision to hide the city away had been swift and decisive, with the objections of Davidian and several of the council wielding little sway.
The order had been given by the High Pentarct to move the marvel away from the eyes of the inhabitants of this world and the command was now trying to be actioned by the AI super computer, recently brought online to control the cities systems and the relocation, but something was wrong.
The shields had activated and the superstruts disengaged but as Davidian stood before Alyssa all around them structures shook and heaved. The tremors were slowly increasing and undoubtedly the structures were being placed under enormous stress but for how long could the incredibly strong materials the auto-builders had constructed the beautiful buildings, walkways and spires from hold out for under such demand?
She had returned a full 7 days after she had planned and when she came at last she come with words to speak that Davidian, at first, could not believe when he heard them. She was with child. His child. Several days after her return to her city she had begun to experience the symptoms she’d heard the nursing mothers describe to her from her early years and their instruction of the ways of men and women.
She tended to the duties that had demanded her return all the while hiding the nausea and bouts of sickness that plagued her, her personal hand-maidens were sworn to secrecy and helped her as much as they could, covering for her when the King sent for her with stories of her walking in the garden or bathing in her private chambers.
The subterfuge she was forced to employ meant much had taken longer than she planned and after many more days than planned she was at last free to return to the father of her child to discuss what this meant for them both and for the blending of two peoples that now grew within her.
When at last they re-joined each other’s company, the decision to hide the city cast a dark and ominous shadow over the future of them both. It had been decreed that once the city was hidden far beneath the depths of this worlds massive water expanses that none of the cities inhabitants would be able to leave until memory of the city had passed into the lost places of time.
Davidian was honour bound to respect the decree but his leaders but his heart and now his future was also bound to her. His conscience had prevented him many times from asking her to stay here in the city with him and it’s new intended resting place of far below the ocean depths and the life she led as head of her fathers court was a tie that she found herself unable to easily sever, needing Davidian to ask her to do it as much as he himself wanted to speak the request.
But here and now as the city shook for reasons neither of them knew all he could think about was getting her and his growing child as far away from this city as possible.
“Davidian! The Gods, they are angry with your city?” shouted Alyssa over the din of the cataclysm.
“Worse than the Gods, It’s the engines! I can hear them in the distance and it’s only increasing.”
Davidian spoke of the mega-engines that would power the gravlifters to move the city, they were charging way beyond the needed levels to achieve city-lift and if they continued they were headed for melt-down. Unless something was quickly done failure would lead to the city and a large part of this planet being vaporised, scarring its face forever.
“Damn it, I can’t reach Ezek or anyone else on the link.”
Davidian held his hand to his ear as he tried to listen for any communications on the communal link each citizen shared.
“Alyssa, prepare yourself.”
She let out puzzled syllables before Davidian picked her up and ran at his fastest speed towards the outer limits of the city. To her senses the streets and their features, beautiful statues of people she would never know and incredibly intricate fountains features, all passed her by in a blur of colour and stretched lines.
In just many seconds he had reached the city gates and knowing they would be shut in preparation for the move grabbed Alyssa tighter as he launched them both high clean over them in a single bound, impacting the dry soil the other side with a steadfast tha-dum.
He paused for a moments respite for Alyssa and after asking her if she was ok to which she dizzily replied ‘yes’ continued his sprint to safety.
As he began to run he felt the familiar forming of words deep in his consciousness that meant someone was contacting him on the link.
“Davidian? Can you hear me?”
“Ezek! I can hear you.” He replied back simply by thinking the words.
“Thank the maker! I’ve been trying to contact someone since this all started but no one is responding!”
“I’ve just left the city limits, the signal inside must be being jammed. Ezek what is happening? It’s the engines isn’t it?”
“What? Yes! But, how did? Ah, you can hear them can’t you? Yes, the engines, they came online out of sequence, much earlier than they should have, and once at optimum they’ve continued to increase. Davidian I’m stuck in the control tower but I’m locked out of most of the systems.”
“How is this happening, shouldn’t the AI be handling all this easily?”
In the now of the sun-drenched plains Davidian continued to race towards some distant hills that he knew were close to a nearby settlement that would be an ideal refuge for Alyssa from the danger of the ever-increasing engines.
“Yes Davidian it should but shortly after it began the relocation sequence it started to behave strangely, it is unresponsive to commands and systems are behaving erratically city wide. I’ve been able to break my way in to the AI sub-systems from the acceds I have here and the results are, erm, disturbing.”
“Talk plainly Ezek, time is of the essence”
“Yes, sorry, well the AI, I’m not sure, but, I don’t think it is alone…”
“There is a code structure the likes of which I have never seen and it is, well, ‘fighting’ the AI for control. This will sound crazy, but, I think it’s another AI…”
“How is that possible?”
“I don’t know but it’s definitely adapting to everything I try to do to stop it and locking me in this tower, that shows intelligence, intelligence beyond an AI even. This thing is fighting us and I don’t believe it’s an accident the engines are overloading.”
“How do we shut it down Ezek”
Davidian had almost reached the hills now and was preparing to ascend the steep faces to reach the summit and the village the protected summit harboured.
“I have an idea, but we will have only one attempt at its success, you’ll need to break me out of the control centre and I can tell you in person, I can’t trust that the link isn’t being monitored.”
“Ok, I have taken Alyssa to a safe place but I will head back and make my way to you. I’ll contact you again shortly.”
Whatever Ezek’s plan was one thing was certain, after it’s success and the shields went up ready for the moving of the city he would not be able to leave and Alyssa would be lost to him.
He finally reached the edge of the settlement on the high hills. From here you could see the entire valley and shining in the distance was his beautiful city, his peoples last hope.
“How do you manage to keep your senses at such speeds Davidian, you run like a messenger of the gods” said Alyssa as she woozily placed her feet on the ground and fought to gain equilibrium.
“Alyssa, I… I must go. I have been able to contact Ezek. He needs me, the city will be destroyed without my help.”
She stood and looked at him, the conflict of his desire to stay with her but his need to go that marred his face.
“Will I see you again?”
“I regret no choices I have made and there is no shame in following my heart or bringing the life that grows within me into this world, the consequences and crosses I shall bear.”