Chapter 10: As Time Goes By/The Secret Within
| The Mazkertis Paradox|
Chapter 10, Parts 1 & 2:
As Time Goes By
The Secret Within
|← Chapter 9: ...Is Not My Friend.|
As Time Goes By/The Secret Within is the tenth chapter of The Mazkertis Paradox. The reason it has two names is because Chapter 10 was split into two parts due to it being too long to fit in one post.
In Part 1:
- The Chousin reconvene in the Hyperdimension once again to discuss and examine the current state of affairs in the Original Universe in even greater detail.
- Tsunami reveals what caused the Living Stars to disappear from the Original Universe two years ago. This is presented in the form of a multi-part flashback sequence that takes up most of Part 1.
- Tokimi travels to Malchior IV in search of Quolas so that she can tell him what has happened to his masters.
- Quolas returns to Malchior IV in Etende's ship, which constantly emits an extremely rare energy signature. This energy signature is detected by a Lurian scout drone, which transmits its findings to the Republic of Luria's Galactic Reconnaissance Division. Immediately after this energy signature is detected, an identical signature is detected at the edge of the galaxy. Remarkable Silver notifies Lord Ascheron of the two energy signatures that match the Claws' ship, so Ascheron takes his ship to Kalta Thaea to brief Mazkertis in person.
In Part 2:
- Ascheron informs Mazkertis that the Claws are likely on Malchior IV and gives him their general coordinates. Mazkertis leaves to confront them alone.
- Tokimi tells Quolas what has happened to the Living Stars. He is very distressed by this, but his response is interrupted by the arrival of Mazkertis. In the ensuing battle, Mazkertis discovers the existence of the Chousin from Tokimi's mind, so he digs deeper into it, looking for something that can neutralize the Chousin to ensure that they will not interfere with his plan. When he finds what he was looking for, his right hand is severed by Quolas, so he flees.
- Raziel, Blue, and the Green Goblin investigate are sent to investigate the the source of the other energy signature that matches the Claws' ship, which turns out to be the Eclipse Spiral. They find and free Ludwig von Todesfal, then defeat him in battle, and spare his life on the condition that he swears loyalty to the Kindred of Dawn.
- Mazkertis appears on Jurai, the location of the someone who can defeat the Chousin according to what he saw in Tokimi's mind. This person is revealed to be Misaki Raregroove, aka the Counter-Actor. Mazkertis mentally tortures Misaki until the dormant Counter-Actor personality surfaces and escapes.
- September the Observer watches the Counter-Actor's release and muses on the sharp turn away from the Reckoning timeline that the current timeline is taking.
The tenth chapter is split into two parts due to it being too long to send at once.
Part 1: As Time Goes By
The Chousin gather in the Aleph point of the Original Universe. Using a memory tablet, Tsunami shows her sisters what she discovered about the disappearance of the Living Stars. It is revealed that, two years ago, the Kra'lythe gained access to the Knowledge Dimension and discovered how to access the Forest of Lights from there. Eclipse followed his acolytes inside the dimension and discovered how to increase his power by absorbing other Living Stars. Led by Eclipse, the Kra'lythe breach the Forest of Lights and attack its inhabitants, slaying some and wounding others. Eclipse absorbs Sun, the oldest Living Star in existence, before disappearing. Vrentus telepathically interrogates Genetoes to discover the Kra'lythe's plan of travelling to different universes to make themselves more powerful. The Living Stars decide to do the same.
Back in the present day, Tokimi decides to venture into the OU to tell Quolas and the other abandoned Sha'lythe what really happened to their brethren. Washu teleports Tokimi to the Malchior IV countryside, where she enters a church and meets The Norman. The Norman decides to give Tokimi the benefit of the doubt and tells her that Quolas is on his way back from Dominaria. Meanwhile, Washu and Tsunami go to the Aleph point of the Knowledge Dimension and try to find what universe the Living Stars are now in.
When Quolas returns in the Claws of the Phoenix's ship, Tokimi introduces herself and takes him inside the church to deliver the news. Unknown to them both, Quolas was followed by a Lurian spy drone, which had been programmed to follow and observe vehicles bearing energy signatures similar to that of the Claws' ship. The drone transmits its findings back to the Galactic Reconnaissance Division on Kyras. Lord Remarkable Silver, who is overseeing the spy drone operation, realizes that they have found the Claws' ship. Moments later, a second drone returns its findings, reporting that it has discovered a space station at the edge of the galaxy which shares the same energy signature. Lord Silver calls Gabriel Ascheron to tell him the news. Ascheron himself takes his ship to the Kindred of Dawn's base on Kalta Thaea to inform Mazkertis of the Claws' location and the existence of the space station.
Part 2: The Secret Within
Inside the Kindred of Dawn's base on Kalta Thaea, Ascheron tells Mazkertis the news, and the wizard decides to go to Malchior IV to exact revenge upon the Claws himself. Meanwhile in the church, Tokimi breaks the news about the Living Stars to Quolas, and invites him to join the Chousin. Quolas declines her offer, saying that he is part of the Claws now. Suddenly, Mazkertis arrives and engages Quolas in battle. Tokimi uses her balancing powers to even the odds between them, but Quolas is thrown out of the church and locked out. Mazkertis telepathically attacks Tokimi in a bid to gain information, such as her identity and allegiances. He discovers the existence of the Chousin, and also the location of an opposite, but dormant force, who can counteract the Chousin's powers if set loose. Mazkertis's telepathic intrusion is interrupted when Klak arrives to let Quolas back in the church, and the latter cuts off Mazkertis's hand. Mazkertis escapes through a portal to the location of the Counter-Actor, much to Klak's dismay.
Meanwhile, Blue teleports herself, Raziel, and the Green Goblin onto the mysterious space station. They discover that it is overlooking a time-locked galaxy, the Five Empires Galaxy, and that it is deserted. Once their presence is detected by the station's computer, a message displays on the monitors reading "We are on the storage deck. Free us". Blue and Raziel take the elevator down to the storage deck to investigate. Once there, Blue discovers a row of stasis pods, each containing a strange character. She opens one of them to satisfy her curiosity. Its occupant is Ludwig von Todesfal, who has been trapped on the station since before the Uterio War began. He uses his powers of silence to dampen the voices of Blue and Raziel, and demands that they take him off the station. Interpreting this as a hostile act, the Green Goblin sneaks up on Ludwig and attacks him. The other two Kindred aid their ally in the fight against Ludwig, and eventually emerge triumphant. Ludwig begs them to spare his life because he could be of use to them. When Gobby asks him what use he has, he tells them that he is a member of the Council of Great Beings. Blue teleports the four of them back to Kalta Thaea so Mazkertis can meet Ludwig and decide what to do with him.
Mazkertis himself lands on Jurai immediately after escaping the church. After emerging from a corn field, he finds a house matching the description of the one he saw in Tokimi's mind. He makes a makeshift bandage for the stump of his hand and removes his mask to make him seem less threatening. When he knocks on the house's door, Misaki Raregroove answers and ushers him inside so that she can attend to his injury. During their conversation, Mazkertis discovers that she is the mother of Zev, one of the men who crippled him in the Dark Mirror Universe. Once she finishes tending to his injury, he accidentally projects a murderous thought into her head, causing her to grab a knife and hold it against him. Mazkertis begins telepathically attacking her, hoping to trigger her transformation into the Counter-Actor. He is successful and the Counter-Actor emerges, nearly killing him. Mazkertis escapes seconds before the Counter-Actor destroys much of her former home and shoots into the sky.
Outside, at the edge of the corn field, September the Observer observes the Counter-Actor's escape, and wonders what would have happened if the Living Stars had kept to their oath of protecting time. He walks into a portal and disappears.
- The Chousin
- Cithus (flashback only)
- Eclipse (flashback only)
- Etende Rhaloff
- Gabriel Ascheron
- Genetoes (flashback only)
- Green Goblin
- Ludwig von Todesfal
- Misaki Raregroove/The Counter-Actor
- The Norman
- Remarkable Silver
- Sun (flashback only)
- TBS (flashback only)
- Vrentus (flashback only)
- The first part of Chapter 10, As Time Goes By, takes its name from the working title of an episode of Heroes Reborn (which was later renamed to "June 13th, Part Two"). Originally, As Time Goes By is the name of a song from the classic film Casablanca.