Chapter 76:

(Finale) Weight of the World (3/3)



Stark couldn’t understand what she was looking at—it was quite nostalgic, in a way.

As the sheer whiteness build and grew over the horizon, she snapped back at the equally confused, equally scared, people she helped.

“Go!” she shouted. “I don’t know what this is—and that’s super, super bad! Now go!”

Now that she saw the civilians off, as they kept looking back in horror as if this was some ruse Stark was planning—now Stark had to deal with the all too natural feeling of existential dread and the feeling of oncoming death.

“Alright alright alright alright alright alright alright—” she let herself skip in speech. It was that kind of worry she felt that causes her to do so.

Her eyes, hidden but constantly on, examined every detail that was before her. Ultimately formless—due to the non-Newtonian movement, slow but steady—as if everything in it’s path is an inconvenice but can be dealt with.

Familiar. Familiar?

Stark gasped.


Now knowing what this force was capable, already separating the island in two—Stark rushed in. Due both to her siVis-enhanced speed and the force’s constant movement, they quickly met head on.

In an instant, Stark enhanced her hands, arms, upper back , and mirrored it with her lower body. As her body parts shifted and flickered against the aimless wisp and ethereal rays emitting from the surface of this thing, Stark grunted—hardening her arms into pieces, and pushing them together to draw from her available strength.

It did precious little.

Stark witnessed her own fingers begin to curl up and even against themselves as she continued to lose this game of might.

But that wasn’t the worst part—for her.

They began clawing at her—getting under her skin to the point it itched, flooding her fight-or-flight to the point of irrationality, and if she wasn’t a stronger young woman: the auditory hallucinations and the rawness of the intrusive thoughts digging into her mind…

It was all too much.

She shrieked, a pitiful sound, as she proceeded to backflip away multiple times, to gain ground over it—to get away from it, whatever it is.

She looked at her hands, and realigned them—hardened them in panic. Looking them over, and despite being okay again siVis’d or not—looked uncanny due to the fright.

“I-it’s—” Stark stumbled, her tongue drying and the hold over her mind loosened. “It’s siVis powered by the Shift… It’s the naked desire that they want and forced upon the world…”

She looked up, as it still approached on.

“This is bad. This is bad. Bad bad bad bad bad—”

She grabbed her head, then banged on it with her fists.

alright alright alright alright alright alright alright

She had to stop this thing.

But to stop it, means to smother it.

She looked to her sides, seeing to abandoned cars.

She then performed a cartwheel, skillfully circling around the vehicle with her siVis’ help.

As she lands on her feet, skidding away from it but still faced towards the car, she extended her arm.


The call echoed and repeated, soon it was like she was miming imaginary weight between her and the car, but the reaction of her tugging and grappling with the air was genuine.

And as if she was being lifted and pulled away from the Earth, she chose each move she wanted to start with.


Using her arms as if she was wrangling the car, she circled around it, with her legs straight forward as she’s lifting her upper body up, literally orbiting around it with increasing speed.

She proceeded to let go, using her whole body to jerk towards the force, as she became the “center of gravity”, as it were, launching the car like she was throwing a toy version of it, landing a dead hit at the “base” of the sphere.

Another activation call, another “Well”, and she orbited and launched the other car, compacting it somehow as it made impact.

She needed to move quick, as she landed back down onto the streets—skidding backwards with seemingly no end, leaving skidmarks as she does. Glancing at two buildings and sighed to herself.

“Well—it’s either me or the incarnation of literal malice that’s going to ruin them—I’m sure I can make my case when this is all over…”


She thrusted her arms forward, and took a thunderous leap. She eyed the building on her right, shifting her arms towards one of the ledges of it’s windows, and jerked herself aimed for it. Landing backwards with her arms anchored onto both the ledge and the wall, she rose her leg and thrusted it forward.


The part of the building affected, struggled to keep itself in place but couldn’t break apart into debris, and became a brick and layered lance of sorts as the “tip” landed before the compacted car.


Lunging forward towards the other building, and once latched on, quickly making a lance of brick that landed ways away and opposite from the other. The two lances created a makeshift net of sorts, as the cars started to buckle and instantly pressed against this net.

“alright alright alright, what else what else what else what else—” Stark searching and sweating to keep the heat on.

Something sparked within her head, as she looked toward the street itself.

On the face of the building, she somehow stood upright for a moment. Proceeded to bend down onto her knee with the other foot flat and her leg propped. She rose her hands forward, palms open and fingers spread.


She launched herself like a speeding rocket, her fists tighten to anchor her to the streets, using her hands and upper body to hoist upwards, making her pressed together boots the center of attention.

She landed so hard, that the street itself buckled instantly, forming said crater around her.

But that wasn’t enough.


Launching herself from the ground, she repeated her assault against it again and again and again—the series of craters side by side and begun to create a large ditch in her wake.

As the makeshift net and the car stoppers were beginning to buckle against the force again—the force crashing them into this amalgamation of stuff, they landed into this ditch—thus becoming a dam.


Stark, who was then closing her eyes and focusing on her work, found herself floating and more or less paused in the air.

“Ah yeah—” Stark remarked. “Thanks for kicking in—maybe I shouldn’t have… Uh, made you only for ‘at my limit’ times—”

She surveyed the area, noting that the force is indeed slowing down… But the power behind it is still very much potent—wearing down the siVis warped dam despite doing it’s best to keep it at bay.

Stark started to freak out, grabbing at her head, even audibly sputtering.

“what do I do—what do I do?!”

She glanced at the ground again, and tightened her fists.


She slammed down onto the street, letting the crater develop as she looked up out of it. S

She then looked at the frontal slope, and then readied her hands.


“Really hoping for that this debut’s gonna go well…!” Stark grimaced.


She kicked the slope upwards, causing it to raise up against the impact.

She kicked upwards again, defying gravity.

Stark grunted, starting to wince and face twisted with pain, as she continuous kicked upwards, a steady stream of action that caused the slope grow into a massive, shielding landmass, blocking the force’s path.

She gasped out in pain, instantly falling, trying in vain to course correct and land on her two feet. But she held her back, rubbing it, groaning in pain that’s showing no signs of stopping.

“Still—” she instantly gulped, less about the spit in her mouth and more trying to swallow the pain itself. “Tears up the back fierce…Off the rotation and into the thinkplace with you, buddy… Oh god, I think my back’s twitching--

Hunched back and exhausted, she looked upon her work. She hated the fact that her body’s reminding her that she’s like this versus the pain of her back or the anxiety she felt about whatever this thing is.

She shook her head, wild, knowing that it added to the pain. There’s no need to let her wander off like that—to give into the very feelings that she’s literally fighting right now.

She owed it to herself, dang-it.

“Now then—” Stark grunted to herself. “I sit myself down, hope that some help arrives, and make sure I trap this thing with whatever I have left… See, Stark. The one time you got outta the house so you could sit in the park alone—and the world proves that it still needs fixing—”

Her head quickly snapped, at hearing such a horrible sound.

The force was consuming all of Stark’s efforts.

Within moments, and while completely stationary, the sphere overpowered the dam, and soon overpowered the mass wall, all being engulfed within it’s white, searing light.

Stark just gawked, having her hands up and opened, but at her sides—like a small child being absolutely terrified.

“The power… It’s still strong. It’s going to eat everything without moving now…”

And as she stared in despair, the sphere continued to dine on the nearby buildings that once bested it, but now becoming wreckages.

“What can you do…?” She said to herself—not a question but a quiet wail. “What can you do against such reckless hate…?”

She felt her eyes start to burn, as her body tensed and released itself as she started to sniffle. Quickly putting her hand to her hidden eyes, and wiped the tears as they started, looking down in defeat.

Squeezing those eyes, hidden by her wild hair, so she could catch the tears before they rolled down her face, and the excess was cleaned by her worn fingers that still twitched in pain.

But it was that pain, that difficulty, that gave her that precious second of reflection.

Still silently weeping, she then looked at her hands. Bare, twitching, worn.

It was this sight, that give her the energy to relax her face from sorrow.

And as she reached up to her face once more, wiping these tears, she slid her hand up to her hair, and slicked it back.

Revealing her now-pink, pale blue eyes. The structure of which, combined with her stress lines that curve from them and as well as the bags under them, gave off a sense of perpetual desolation.

But, with her brow furrowed and her lips tight—gave off the air of a determined defeatist.

“You know what you needed to do, Stark—” she told herself, starting to walk forward. “You just hate it—a flaw in your worldview. Being hands off, solving things from afar, little by little—it’s not enough when you’re dealing with the source of everything you utterly despise about this pathetic race of egotists…”

She started to shift, raising an arm as it turns into translucent, constantly moving pieces—as her orange poncho covered body and black jean covered legs and to her booted feet. A cloud, walking mass of pieces with darkened shadows that were once her pitiful eyes.

Becoming a human, with all of the sum of her parts showing the vibrance of the whole.

“You go up to them—getting into the source of the problem—and apply everything you got directly!”

She rushed over and slammed her hands into the massive sphere.

Like before, it pushed her into a place of powerlessness, beating down malice—hate—selfishness—reminding her that she’s those things too, but it makes her weak and them strong.

But she’s pushing back that it’s right. But she is just a person. And just one person can do so much with the little given to them.


Nathan crossed his arms, smiling. Ontop of a large building and on it’s edge, knowing that others would see him, counting on that.

He watched the carnage before him, yet so below him. But there was a twinkle in his textureless eye, and he even allowed himself to chuckle in excitement.

“What a mess!” he exclaimed. “But a new method—a new method and side to both siVis and the Shifts, something that could prove to be the key of everything I’ve worked for these long would-be-years…”

He looked at his pieced together hand, and proceeded to move it about.

“No more rules, no more asinine blocks or limits from a dead woman long gone—I can finally just reap from this cosmic power directly and become a being with no need for struggle, no need to even be living. Strong as the elements, will last the test of time like them as well—but can wield and think with that power as well.”

The man looked positively giddy, crossing his arms once more with a terrible grin.

“If this so-called New Era is the end of normality—then soon my transcendence will bring about the end of humanity!”

As the winds blew against him, he willed his cloak to be put on and even seal up. He cocked his head to his side.

“Too bad I’m not like these recusants,” Nathan admitted to himself. “At least they’re giving people the chance to live in this.”


Jackie, Maddie, Aiko, Tracy, and River floated within a pitch-black void.

They drifted, but at different speeds and away from each other. Some were on their backs, others their sides, and one on their belly.

They were practically corpses. Covered in grim, hurt, and cracks. Even their clothing didn’t matter, as it was covered in vile scoot and copper red.

Then, Jackie’s hand began to twitch. Then, the fingers flexed weakly.

But as soon as she remotely picked it up, everyone was smashed by a grotesque fist.

It was a twisted tower of illness and spite. A mountain of decaying flesh, urban wreckage, and the worst that the Shift Noumena has done—piled onto each other, and blended in.

The Megaplex Nulgarrt was switched into the forearm, various places and locals were dotted across like pimples.

But the main attraction, were the laughing faces that were jutting out of every single surface. Every face could be anybody, can be interpreted as many people. The overall point, was to show how reality was mocking them.

It slowly rose up, it’s sludge covered the poor girls. Their bodies, understandable after being hit with sudden pain, twitched.

So the fist pounded them flat again. Rose, and the mire practically covered them head to toe.

Tracy made a pathetic whimper, and the fist made everyone pay. Aiko tried in vain to get to her backpack, instantly beaten. Maddie simply took a breath. Flattened.

The laughter got more jubilant. Louder. Deranged.

So, it happily punched the girls again, over and over, despite them not doing anything this time. Over and over, over and over, again and again, again and again.

Until they all collectively awoke.

Jackie could only see in front of herself, seeing the rest of the girls being pinned down by debris in various ways. Maddie’s legs are trapped, Tracy’s against the “wall” but covered in dust from the chest down, River is face up with various wood or pipes both piled on and locking her in due to sticking from the ground, Aiko was hanging from the “ceiling”, wrapped up and dangling from her backpack.

Jackie didn’t breathe, more like wheeze in a frenzy before gulping, tasting the dust coating her mouth. It became agonizing, as the others added to the noise with their own impaired and damaged, heaving, breaths.

She scrambled in vain for something, anything, for some kind of base or advantage or fucking anything to get out of here.

What became wheezing soon turned into whimpering.

Jackie wanted to cry, couldn’t help herself but to cry in pain. But like her likely crushed lungs, the coating from the wreck is drying her eyes out.

After everything. Is this truly it?

Soon, Jackie couldn’t understand where reality began and where it ended.

Wispy aberrations formed from the dusk that leaked from the ceiling, showing the girls the writhing, poor and unfortunate souls that became Shattered. Much worse than what they are, became such against their wills. They’re out there, helpless, just because they were too slow, too weak, in the end.

They all then thought, in their separate ways, about how all of this amounted to nothing. As this Shift-like influence continues on, it might hit their loved ones, as they’re trying to escape on the ferries. So even doing this—trying to fight this, amounted to nothing. The only reason to turn this pain and misfortunate around, and it’s instantly null and void.

It didn’t help that this was visualized. Images that look like their loved ones, forms wavering feebly against the air, before being consumed and disappeared.

This sorrow was draining what little strength they had. One by one and little by little, they started to surrender to the unconsciousness dragging them down from within.

All they wanted to do was to gain control of their lives again.

All they wanted to do was live through this.

All they wanted to do was not die young.

All of it, starting to slip away from battered and beaten hands.

But there was something. Maybe it was siVis. Maybe it was simple human self-preservation. Maybe neither and was an instance of adject chance.

They all thought, somehow connected within this moment, about that sentiment. Sorrow draining the strength they had left.

Strangely enough, that was a choice.

None of this was in their hands, but the small moments. They could’ve just saved the woman but ended up saving six more. Even if they meet the same fate as the rest, they saved them. As much as that choice was taken away, they still achieved it.

This flared something within. It was only then their siVis activated to this spike of emotion—each of them flashing with hazy light as they bodies glowed.

But it was true—at the end of the day, they did have control. As little as it is, and how easy it was to brush it away—they did have something that they did. A chance.

A mosaic began to form above them. It was a patchwork structure, that showed the small moments of their journey. The arguments, the small victories, the harsh truths. The entire experience, laid out in a violent but branching tree that seemed to come out of all of them.

A chance is a small second to change.

And as those changes pile up, it becomes growth.

Growing means that you can build with these chances, strengthening them.

It was in their hands.

It was in their hands all along.

Jackie started to groan, using her arms to push herself from the ground. Despite using siVis, unconsciously even, her arms still shook and the details of the parts within her arms buckled and showed this. Really, it was her groaning out in stress, pain but determination that was the most constructive thing she did.

“l… Look at… Me…”

Her gaze looked towards Tracy, desperately trying to get out of her pit. She struggled, she grunted, and soon her hands were freed. It was clear that this amount of action and strain isn’t what she’s used to, but she pressed on, wailing and screaming as she got everyone’s attention.

“Looook—aaat—meeee…!” she struggled to shout.

She fought, her hands rising up, and finally thrusted her arms outward—causing the creaking ceiling to move upwards.

Most of River’s pipes fell away while leaving a decent amount left—giving her the briefest time to use her own ability to fade out of the jail and flop forward onto the “ground”, Aiko was dragged up, but the momentum and her struggle caused her to fall out of her backpack at least, landing on her side as she curled up in pain. Maddie, while still under the pile, was given enough room to wiggle out of her trap painfully.

All that was left was Jackie, who continued to struggle under the weight.

The rest crawled towards her, their siVis use fading in and out, and everyone leaned against the structure crushing their cohort. They tried in vain to lift it up, but were clearly struggling.

The sight of this, the flicker of a breakthrough, and the emotional weight that hovered above her in the form of the tree—it made her use the little strength she had left and targeted the places she was struggling at.

And as she begun to lift up the thing weighing her down, she in turn accepted the various things that forced her down—the tree collapsing into her as she’s accepted her new lease on life.

The girls, seeing that she’s lifted the thing on her own, instead, focused their precious strength in pulling her out and quick. Yanking her out as the thing slammed onto the ground.

Everyone found themselves, exhausted—panting—on the ground together. Knowing that they’re within a quickly mutating situation, they needed the time to simply breathe. To simply exist.

“Tracy—” Maddie panted out.

Tracy could only make a whine-grunt.

“Happy that—you stepped up—but maybe don’t—forget that you’re holding up something that could crumble on top of us.”

She quickly glanced upwards, noting that the ceiling is still being held up against other trash and realized how costly it was that she let go.

“FUCK!” she exclaimed. “I’m sorry, I’m not used to doing these things--!”

Jackie rose a hand, in hopes to stop anymore skits happening. “W… What now…?”

“Isn’t that… Your usual job…?” River asked.

“No… I mean… We saw… Went through that, yeah…?”

The silence was all that was needed.

“Then… We could walk away from this. We could find a way… To survive and get away. Do our best and… Basically, our lives could be anything we try to… Make it as. So not forcing…”

“Y’know…” Maddie sounded wistful. “It’s funny… We’ve been through this schtick over and over… You would think we would’ve opted for yes at some point…”

“We can focus on surviving… But what’s a few more people to help out to survive with us…?” Tracy answered with her question.

“Yeah. This is what this whole thing about, yes? Making a tragic mess into just a terrible day?” Aiko confirmed with a question of her own.

River only looked around her, silently and with purpose.

“…I think I have a plan…” River said.

“Please…” Jackie retorted. “…A-as in, tell us, not…”

“It’s fine, I was only hurt for a second,” River then coughed for a spell. “Okay… We can make a tunnel. Tracy uses her Perspective Flip with Aiko’s Immaterial Girl—shaping it and then using the excess junk to create support beams, in a sense. Two ways—we use siVis hearing to figure out where the Center is and where the vans are. We transport the Shattered out of here. Is it… Good?”

“It’s all that we have…” Jackie nodded. “If it isn’t… Then we have to make it good.”

“Add the fact that even our siVis is fucked up…” Maddie looked at her constantly flashing, trembling, hand. “This could be it, girls…”

“Then let’s do a good enough job… That instant medical service is guaranteed,” Jackie flopped onto her belly. “We crawl and only exert when needed… First, let’s find the sufferers…”

Jackie closed her eyes, and let her ears give her the guidance she needed. The rest soon followed, hoping their ears tell them something, anything.

Crackling of still falling debris. The muffled sounds that couldn’t fully penetrate through their heap. Things that sound like other things, tricking the ear.

But Maddie was the first to perk up, pointing to her left. “There! Over there!”

“Alright folks…” Tracy crawled towards Maddie’s left. “I need you all to direct me.”

The others nodded, looking towards the mess that blocked the way.

Tracy moved her arms, despite them aching and popping with sounds, making a heaving motion forward.

Within seconds, a tunnel was fully formed from the mess, only creaking under it’s weight and Tracy’s inability to hold it for long.

Aiko quickly looked for anything to latch onto, and saw the various junk that were the “walls”, instantly drifting into the various objects in a row, creating stability before tossing herself out.

“Holy—” Jackie said in amazement.

“Yeah, did ya’ see all that~?” Aiko said, before holding her head. “Ugh… Speeds up the weakness, though…”

“Then we do this slow, but steady. We can’t rush this, but we do have to keep in mind lives are on the line.”

“Mhm, totally, no pressure at all—” Maddie relied.

“I’m so happy that even at the possible end of what we know, you’re still sharp, Maddie—” Jackie joked.

It was lethargic method, but soon through Tracy’s battering and Aiko’s support, they were able to create a tunnel out—going back into the dead of forced-upon night.

As each of them crawled out, they heard the groaning, the screams, the crying. They looked around and saw various hands, other limbs, faces… Twisted, but in dire need. Reaching out for them.

Jackie looked up towards the peeled open Center, flickering wires and smoke bellowing out of the immense gash.

“Girls… See to the people out here… I’m going to see to the people in there.”

She turned to them, looking at them with a gentle and scared expression.

“If there’s really no one left, then I’ll try to bolt out. You’ll know that I’ve made it once you see people escaping and I promise you that you’ll see that…”

They all nodded at her.

“Run if you see any of those terrors…” Tracy’s voice wavered. “There’s nothing wrong with self-pervasion.”

“There’s nothing to worry about!” Aiko strained to exclaim. “With that determination, you’re basically a god!”

“Just… Just don’t add to my list of things I’m depressed about letting down and not giving my all to,” River said softly. “The list is long enough…”

Maddie stood there, arms crossed, looking around as if she was being pressured.

“…If you do die, Jackson, then that means everything I said to you was right,” Maddie panted a bit, still doing it despite it being minutes since. “So go in there and win.”

The young woman found herself smiling. And if it wasn’t for the clouded face, would’ve cried as well. But she turned around.

Jackie sighed to herself, and then inhaled.

She marched forward, before twinging in pain, and then continued to larch forward. Nothing stopping her, but herself.

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