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Blue Foreboding

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A flash of blue. Spectral after-images in slow motion overlayed onto the world around him, vivid as any lucid dream. He instinctively reaches for the sword to fight what's coming but it doesn't need to be there now, it's become part of him, inside his soul, and it doesn't wait for battle any more.

Colony Six, a building site, as most of the place still is. His viewpoint shoots up to the top of the scaffolding where Reyn stretches his arms and yawns. His huge arms knock a bucket over, spilling the contents out over the edge and sending them plummeting to the ground. Sharla, underneath, pointing the construction projects out to Otharon as she gives her report on the latest inspection...

Shulk dashes forwards, opens his mouth to yell, mentally inputs the commands for the Monado's turbo setting, but then another vision blinds him again, overlapping the first in what is now a swirl of blinding mental images.

Riki swimming too far out to sea after an elusive fish as a giant wave hits the coast line...

A particularly large bear (there are still dangerous animals in a world, it turns out, even without purpose-built monsters) wanders too close to the settlements, seeking food for her cubs...

Unused to the slight language change in the new world, Melia stumbles over the syllables of a complex and potent spell...

Dunban forgets he's getting on in years and overstretches himself during training, his sword slipping from his grasp just as Werner walks by...

Until he's roused by a soft, insistent female voice and a strong but sleek metal hand on his shoulder, shaking him back into reality, he didn't realise that he had completely spaced out. At some point he had collapsed onto a bench, his head buried in his hands, eyes scrunched up, swearing at the voices to shut up.

"You're acting like a lunatic in the middle of the street again," Fiora told him, smiling. The smile held no hint of mockery, just genuine concern and affection and maybe just a hint of gentle amusement. He hadn't told her that he still had the visions but they hadn't forgotten what it meant when Shulk started spacing out with a haunted look on his face and trying to hide the blue light that streamed from his eyes. She sat down on the bench beside him and took his hand, leaning over...

He suddenly jumped to his feet, "Sharla! The building site!"

A cyborg hand firmly pulled him back onto the bench, "You still need to rest! Sharla's fine. Reyn's not, he jumped down to shield her and she still yelled at him and threatened to give him the sack if it happened again," she laughed, "Riki's soaking wet and stinks of fish despite not having actually come back with a fish, but he seems not to be too bothered about it. Melia's soaking wet as well, the Tower of Magic has automatic sprinkler systems. Anyway, she's gone off to heal Dunban because the the idiot..."

"I think I get the picture," Shulk groaned, "My friends are better at looking after themselves than I give them credit for, aren't they?"

"Yes, they are. You're not their dad, you know, you don't have to look out for all of us all the time."

"Fiora, I... I can't turn it off. I've tried meditation, ether shielding, learning the shut-off commands Alvis taught me... nothing works any more. This world is just too different. It's like my whole system is panicking because it doesn't know what to do, what to expect."

"And of course you still didn't think to tell the rest of us," she sighed, "What else are you hiding from us? An arranged marriage to a Nopon?"

Shulk knew she was trying to make him laugh but he didn't feel in the mood. His head was still pounding, "I can do other things with the Monado now, you know. Well, I say 'can'... it's more 'don't know how to stop'. Time slows down or speeds up if I think the wrong thing... yesterday I accidentally switched off the world's recognition of my front door as a viable exit to the next location.... I even create things out of thin air sometimes, and then I have to hide them until they fade away. You don't want to know what pops out of my head sometimes..."

"I can imagine. Thank the B... thank the world it's not Reyn!"

"That's exactly the problem, Fiora. As far as the Monado is concerned, I AM the world, I AM God. I have root access to reality but I don't know the programming language or even where the terminal is."

"I thought you told it you didn't want there to be Gods any more. That the world should just grow as it will."

"Well, it seems to have interpreted this as 'Shulk volunteered to personally make sure the world grows as he thinks it should do at all times' or something. I wish I knew where Alvis went. Maybe I should go and look for him... maybe I should leave civilisation behind until I'm safe again..."

"Or maaaaybe... you should tell your friends who've been through this sort of thing before with you and are probably the only people on the planet qualified to help you out if you do start hurting people around you or even undoing everything we've fought for!" she told him firmly, then grabbed him by the arm and yanked him to his feet.

"Ow! Arms are supposed to stay in sockets!" complained Shulk as she practically dragged him down the street to where Sharla had finished yelling at Reyn and it was Otharon's turn to discipline him. Shulk had not seen such a look of utter crushing defeat on the man's face since the incident with Veteran Yozel. Reyn looked like someone had kicked a giant puppy when he was sad.

"Reyn, go and find the others," ordered Fiora, "Shulk has something important he wants to share... don't you, Shulk?"