26. Still Alive and Well

The force of the explosion has sent Linna and Nene hurtling towards the Earth, and with no power left in their hardsuits, there isn’t much they can do. They have little hope of saving themselves, let alone contributing to the fight. It is up to Priss to face Galatea alone.

Appearing before Priss, Galatea’s power is as strong as ever. Without the strength to keep her out, Priss can do nothing as Galatea takes control of her hardsuit, mutating it and turning it rogue just like every other boomer she has come into contact with. But that isn’t all Galatea is after- by extending tendrils from the suit to Priss’ body, she intends to download herself into Priss and absorb her as well.

Whilst Sylia and the others head for her childhood home, Nene and Linna continue to drift towards the earth. Unwilling to give up, Linna urges Nene to figure out a plan, only to watch in surprise as Nene starts talking to her hardsuit; by releasing the constraints on the suit’s form and function, the boomer core is able to take a new shape- that of an aerofoil that can more easily withstand re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Copying her, Linna also transforms her suit, and the two continue their descent.

Watching through Galatea’s eyes, Priss sees that her friends are still alive. Inspired by their survival, she gains the strength to throw off Galatea’s control, restoring herself and her hardsuit to their former state. In response, Galatea transfers her consciousness to the umbrella, the top of which takes on the form of her upper body. And now that Priss is no longer a part of Galatea, she is detected as a foreign body- something which Galatea’s immune system must destroy.

Avoiding a giant worm boomer and a number of attacking spheres, Priss prepares to launch a final offensive on Galatea- one which fails miserably when her suit runs out of power. Now adrift herself, it looks as if the battle is lost, until help comes from an unexpected source- the Moto Slave.

Designed to serve Priss, the Moto Slave was bound to her mind, and now it asks to be released of its restraints in order to help her. Priss agrees, and the Moto Slave transforms from its bike shape into a more humanoid form. Linking up with Priss’ suit, it shares what little power it has left after the skyhook crash, and agrees to help Priss in the battle against Galatea.

Hoping to catch Galatea before she realises they are alive, Priss and the Moto Slave make an attack run, shooting at the giant Galatea body. Following their attack, Galatea begins to change- but she is not falling apart, merely accelerating her evolution. And now that Priss and the Moto Slave have attracted her attention, they are in trouble. Covering them with the material that once made up the solar collectors, Galatea begins crushing them.

With little power remaining, Priss knows they must act fast. Shaping the material that has covered her and the Moto Slave, she creates a shining sword around them. As Galatea continues her song of evolution, the giant sword stabs down through her chest in one final, desperate attack…

The strike is fatal, but even as she dies, Galatea comes to a new realisation. The nature of being a god is not to assimilate everything into herself as she tried to do, but to be part of a cycle, of death, reproduction, and rebirth. Now, as Galatea’s consciousness is drawn together, she will be a part of that cycle- from death, to rebirth, as that consciousness explodes and her energy spreads through the earth. It is part of a new beginning for everyone; Linna and Nene, who have safely landed back on Earth; Leon, drinking in a bar as he waits for news; Sylia, Nigel and Henderson, as they watch Macky awaken and return to his former self, and Priss, who receives a parting gift from Galatea- a way to get back home.

Thanks to the angel wings added to her suit by Galatea, Priss has returned to Earth. Standing naked on a hill, she looks up at the sky and sings one last song. The battle is over, her old life is over- but who knows what adventures and experiences still await her in the future?

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