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Of Stars and Gems

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No one announced the arrival of Doctor Illuvatar’s oldest son. In fact, no one even knew that he had even arrived, so absorbed in the festivities (and cocktails) they were. Not that Melkor had expected any trumpeted fanfares as he landed his vessel on the landing pad that was situated on the roof. His father spared no expense when he built this mansion. It stood four floors high, with a fifth floor that was built into the ground and was used as his basement laboratory. Inside was every amenity that one might desire. The grounds were neat and tidy, with a large garden at the far back of the property. The garden was so wooded that Melkor thought that it should be its own miniature forest. Father would walk with us for hours though those trees.

 

Memories of his younger years formed in his mind, but he pushed them away.This was not a time for being sentimental. Pressing a button, the top of the craft lifted away, and he swiftly climbed out. Legs and back aching from the long hours of travel, he made his way to the small hatch door that led inside. The first things he heard were sounds of mirth. Polite chuckles of women, as well as boisterous male guffaws. The voices of his fawning followers, no doubt. Melkor followed the mutters down high ceilinged mirrored corridors that echoed, to the main gallery where Doctor Illuvatar liked to hold his affairs. 

 

The doors were guarded by two armed men. but Melkor was not intimidated. Shouldering past the guards without looking back, he went in. He could hear them yelling at him to come back as he attempted to blend in with the other guests. Idiots.

 

Lights that hovered overhead illuminated the large room in a soft glow. A stage had been set up at the forefront, for some display of scientific discovery would be shown. Nothing was there as of yet. People everywhere were milling about. Women in lavish gowns in all colors of silk and fabrics, gems winking slightly. Some wore their hair up, and some let it flow free. The men wore the uniforms of their trades. Green, if they worked with the plants that grew in the light of the two suns, brown if they dealt with the earth, blue for the water of the oceans, and white for the skies. Only a small number wore purple or black, such as the brothers Feantur, but they did not attend these gatherings very often. Irmo preferred to stay in his greenhouse, where he grew all sorts of herbs things for healing purposes. It was said that the Feantur practiced strange magic. The maiar that were also in attendance wore the color of those that they served. Melkor avoided it all and went straight for the adjacent lounge, where a few were standing around a curved marble topped bar. Bottles containing all various types of alcohol were set on shelves in a triangular pattern. Melkor took a seat on a shiny silver stool with a white cushion. 

 

To his right, another was staring down at their drink. Liquid glowed brightly in the glass. The man’s sharp profile was familiar. He wore his dark hair short, and the immaculate uniform was of one who served the judicial system. 

 

“Judge Namo? How nice to see you”  The man looked up, surprised to hear his name. The eyes of the judge widened with recognition. 

 

“Melkor? What in Arda’s name are you doing here? I thought that…” It was obvious that Namo was stunned. Melkor quickly ordered a drink for himself, but the bartender eyed him suspiciously.

 

“Do you have money to pay? This isn't free, you know.” Melkor waved a hand.

 

“The good doctor will pay for it.” he said, and turned back to Namo.

 

“Have you come back to follow Doctor Illuvatar?” the judge asked, lifting the glass to his lips. “He would be overjoyed to hear that. Or maybe you have grown bored of space? That must be it.” Melkor rolled his eyes, and took the cup from the bartender. Without a moments hesitation, he downed the entire concoction. 

 

“I don’t care about his stupid laws. You of all people should know that by now.” Melkor replied. The judge moved closer, putting a hand on Melkor’s arm. A strange light appeared in Namo’s eyes. He had seen that look before.

 

“His laws are what hold Timeless together. Keep it from falling into chaos like it once had been. Would you prefer chaos over this pristine beautiful order? And yet…” Melkor was silent for a moment, but said:

 

“And yet, what? Order and chaos mean nothing to me. I do as I please, and nothing else.” The bartender refilled his empty cup. 

 

“In truth, chaos does have its own beauty. An ugly beauty.” Namo replied. Melkor laughed and his next words were sprinkled with malice:

 

“Truth? You are one to talk, Judge Namo. I know how much you adore the truth. You love it so much that you have hidden it from my father, whom you claim to idolize and emulate. Tell me, do you remember that night when we we first met?” A pink blush colored Namo’s high cheekbones, and shifted his gaze away.

 

“No, I-I can’t say that I recall.”

 

“Convenient. Luckily for you, I haven't forgotten anything.” 

 

In no way could Melkor forget when he had first met Judge Namo, and could only reflect on it with a certain fondness. Back then, there had been something between them, when Doctor Illuvatar had first given Judge Namo the title of “vala”.  More lust than love, but still something. Nights of being tied up, feeling the slap of a whip to the buttocks. Namo’s lips pressed to his. Drugs stolen from Doctor Illuvatar’s lab that would cause a pleasurable high when taken in large doses. Secret trips to where the elves were being kept. They were so lifelike and beautiful, it was hard to resist when he suggested that they “play a new game”. Melkor would stand back and watch as Namo fondled the body of one elf A.I. or another. Of course, nobody would find out about their little secret. It was all fun and entertaining, until the good doctor had begun to get suspicious, and their “meetings” came to an end.

 

Melkor watched the slow drip of condensation slide down the side of his glass. 

 

“Does he know that you fucked his creations?” The judge cleared his throat nervously.

 

“I don’t think now is the best time to discuss such things.” Namo said through gritted teeth. Melkor twirled the liquid around in the cup, creating a small whirlpool. It went around and around again, over and over.

 

“I can’t say that I blame you.” Melkor said. “Who wouldn't find such specimens tempting. Without The Flame*, they are helpless, unable to protest. Perfect life-size dolls. Did you enjoy putting your cock inside them, those who are held so dear by the good doctor? What would he think of you if he found out?” The judge went as pale.

 

“You wouldn’t.” was all that Namo could manage to say. “You won’t tell Doctor Illuvatar.” Melkor smirked, and put a hand to his chest.

 

“I will say nothing of your…conduct, but only if you do something for me.” Hearing that, Namo regained his composure.

 

“You think you can blackmail me?” Namo chuckled. “There is no proof. They would call you a liar, and I highly doubt the doctor would listen to you.” Wagging a finger, the doctor’s son reached into a pocket, pulling out a small visual communicator. He held it up so that the screen faced the judge. 

 

“You are wrong.” An imaged flickered up, showing Namo from behind, pants down and a pair of limp legs wrapped around his waist. Seeing the picture, the judge’s jaw nearly dropped. He couldn't speak. Cornered. The image was slightly fuzzy, but it was clearly Namo. 

 

“What do you want from me?” Namo asked, defeated. “Money? A place on the tribunal?” Melkor shook his head.

 

“Only a small trifle. A specific set of code, holographic blueprints, and” he began, voice a whisper, “I want you to come with me. To the Angband. There, you will be given anything you like. The elf A.I. will kneel at your feet, once they have been properly assembled by my maiar. You will be worshiped. Or maybe, you would rather have me. Just get those things. You have my word as a fellow Vala.” The trap had been set. With the tip of a finger, Melkor just barely stroked Namo’s hand. A flurry of emotions passed over the judge’s face. The words had touched something deep inside his methodical head of his. 

 

“I could have you arrested and imprisoned for everything you’ve done.” Namo said,  snapping back to himself in an instant. “Doctor Illuvatar was too easy on you for your behavior. Compared to what you have done, fucking an unuploaded A.I. is hardly a crime. He should have given you over as a fugitive, you would have gotten everything that you deserve. But no. He pitied you, because you are his son and loves you. While the rest of us can’t stand the sight of you. Yet here you are, back to your old tricks.” The judge rose, and said:

 

“Take your blackmail elsewhere. I won’t have any of-.”

 

“Judge Namo, I did not think to see you here.” A voice interjected. Both Valar turned. Doctor Illuvatar had approached without either of them taking notice. A congenial smile on his face, he greeted then.

 

“Doctor Illuvatar.” hastily, Namo dropped to one knee in obeisance. Melkor remained standing. “Forgive me for not acknowledging you sooner.” The doctor signaled for him to rise. 

 

“No need for apologizes. However, I might like a word alone with my son.” Judge Namo bowed his head slightly.

 

“Of course.” before heading off to join the crowd of guests, the judge shot the doctor’s son a piercing glare. This wasn't finished. Father and son waited, saying nothing. Neither desired to be the first to speak. Melkor saw that he had a few more wrinkles around the eyes and mouth than he had before. Grey hairs were starting to fleck around the temples. The warm friendly smile had faded away.

 

“Doctor Illuvatar. A pleasure.” 

 

The doctor put a hand on his son’s shoulder.

 

“It is good to have you home, where you belong.” the doctor said, embracing his son. Part of Melkor wanted to embrace him in return, but resisted the urge. Not a time to be sentimental. Remember yourself. The plan. The Flame. That is all that matters now. Not father, not Manwë, not anything. The Flame would be his. 

Chapter Text

 

The laboratory that Doctor Illuvatar had on the Valinor was much smaller than what he had on Timeless, but he had to make do. He had to no other choice, if wanted to continue his work the way he desired to. 

 

The elf sat up on the examination table, Doctor Illuvatar guiding him with kind and gentle hands. Skin soft to the touch, large soulful grey eyes, the doctor could only feel awe at the body of his creation. Every movement was graceful, and without excess. Long lithe limbs, black hair tumbling down in waves, he was truly perfection. Immaculate and flawless down to the very circuitry. It was almost eerie, at times. Doctor Illuvatar reached out and took the face in his hands reverently. 

 

“Hello, my friend. You’ll be awake soon, I promise. Out of the dark, and into the light.” The elf only stared straight ahead, not paying any heed to the words. He did not hear them. Not yet, anyway. The eyes were open, yes, and he could move about. But the vital part had yet to be added. The part that would give him existence. The Flame. Doctor Illuvatar pushed back the mass of hair and placed it meticulously over one shoulder. At the back of the slender neck, there was a small hole for the insertion of cables and coils. Attaching a few wires there that linked together with a small computer, he began to hurriedly type. 

 

The beginning of the uploading process was always the most nerve-racking. Sometimes, the software would not interface correctly with the chip inside, and would cause a completely systems failure of the whole A.I. So far, it happened merely a handful of instances, but each time was horrifying to Doctor Illuvatar to say the least. Whenever a breakdown would happen, the doctor would have to take measures into his own hands. Deal with the situation the only way that he knew how. He had convinced himself that it wasn’t murder. No. Just…putting them out of their misery. That’s what it was. Of this he was completely sure; there could be no evidence of his…mistakes. 

 

They could not be allowed to roam about in a state like that. Who knows what they would do. I made the right choice. 

 

As the seconds ticked by, the doctor waited eagerly for the procedure to be complete. The first sign that it was done would be a slight twitching of the fingers and toes. The mechanical body testing its strength. Then would come a shuddering of its entire person. That portion looked akin to a seizure, to the untrained eye. Finally, there would be a quick dilating of the pupils as the optic machinery inside the metallic bone stricture went to work and adjust to the light. 

 

He could feel his excitement growing within his stomach when a small tremor started in one finger. It spread across the right hand, up the arm, and down the left. The muscles flexed. Head jerked to the left, right, down, and up. The eyeballs rotated once, finally finishing. Illuvatar remained holding his breath, hoping that everything had gone without a problem. Others he had awoken as well, that would be kin to this one. He had yet to name the A.I., secretly believing that it would be an ill omen to give them an identity so early on. But Illuvatar already had a moniker in mind for the elf that sat before him.

 

When the shaking subsided, the doctor slowly approached, inspecting with a critical eye. It was like he was looking at a completely different being. An expression of haughtiness appeared where once there had been none at all. Once lifeless, now animated and energetic. An arched eyebrow, hinting at some hidden jest. The upward quirk of the full lips. All too familiar, those mannerisms. He looks too much like… 

 

Illuvatar was aware that the elf now held his head just a bit higher than he had been before. A raging fire had been roused. The elf attempted to push himself off of the table, but, his legs still weak and unsure, gave out under his weight. He would have fallen hard, had it not been for Illuvatar catching him in his arms. With surprising tenderness, the elf wrapped his arms around the doctor, and pressed his face to the crook of his neck. Clung to him. Oh, dear sweet one. Take care for yourself. 

 

On Timeless, there had been a word word for a flame of the soul. This word was “fëa”. This elf surely had a spirit of fire burning within. Already proving himself to be more headstrong than the others by attempting to stand on his own two feet, and at such an early stage, the name spoke for itself. Fëanaró. The Spirit of Fire.

 

With the last of his strength, he hefted Feanor back onto the table. Breathing heavily, the Doctor Illuvatar said:

 

“Welcome, dear Fëanor. Do you know who I am? Where we are now?”

 

Fëanor opened his mouth, trying to imitate the doctor’s lips. Reaching out his hands, the elf grabbed Illuvatar’s coat. 

 

“I-I am Fëanor.” The words were somewhat slurred. 

 

“Yes, very good, precious. And I am Doctor Illuvatar. A good person. Your maker. Your teacher. Your father. And I love you with all my heart, dearest child.” Lovingly, he patted the hand that gripped at him. The elf looked confused. “You are safe here, with me. Wherever you go, you will never be out of my sight. Secure.” The elf did not understand (or pretended not to), becoming curious of his surroundings, and of the doctor himself. 

 

Fëanor traced the lines and whorls on the doctor’s upturned palm with his finger. Nuzzled his cheek, feeling the warmth.

 

“And I love you, good doctor Illuvatar.” Fëanor stumbled over the sounds in Illuvatar’s name, so took to calling him “good doctor”. That could be fixed later on, once the elf had more practice. Now was a time to play the benign parental figure. That was what Fëanor needed now, to be sure. 

 

For a long while they stayed this way, the affection swelling more and more in Illuvatar’s heart. He did not think it possible to have a favorite, but if he had to choose one, Fëanor was just that. The elf ran his fingertips over the doctor’s face, taking in and remembering every feeling and sensation. 

 

My son. My glorious son.

Chapter Text

“Judge Namo, you have been accused of conspiring against your fellow Valar. Planning in secret to steal my father’s work and attempt to profit off of it. Tampering with things that are not yours to meddle with. Is this indeed the truth? Speak now.” Manwë said before the tribunal of the Valinor. He looked regal in his blue uniform, his long white hair tied back, an image of white wings emblazoned on his chest. Shining brightly in his own glory. 

 

The Valar cast disdainful looks at the kneeling judge from their seats at the large half-circle table that encompassed the room. Doctor Illuvatar, who presided over the council, sat rigidly. Called the “Ring of Doom”, they met here only on important occasions. For justice to be served. To Manwë’s left sat Illuvatar at the head. Melkor was also in attendance, sitting on the other side of the doctor. At a place of honor. Menacing in his black and red, a cruel smile spread across Melkor’s mouth. The judge made a pitiful sight. Hands folded and head bowed in supplication, Namo kneeled to Illuvatar. 

 

“Please, I don’t know who told you such malicious lies, but you must believe that I would do no such thing.” Namo begged. “Your work is hallowed, and for your eyes alone.  I would never seek to take it from you or to go beyond my station. What you have heard is a complete farce. Who would be so petty as to disgrace me in your eyes?”  The doctor thought for a moment, and rubbed his chin. Manwë was about to speak, but the doctor quieted him.

 

“You deny this claim, then?” the doctor asked. Judge Namo stood quickly. 

 

“Of course! I would never-.” The doctor held up a hand to silence him.  Namo immediately closed his mouth, knowing better than to speak over the doctor.

 

“You insist on this, even though you were found in my labs with the plans for The Flame in your very own hands?” Illuvatar asked. The judge swallowed nervously, his stomach sinking.

 

“No! It is all untrue!” Namo cried “You must believe me!” Judge Namo’s normally stoic aura crumbled like sand. He was left a shaking mess. “I did nothing! I am innocent! Any who says otherwise is misleading you, doctor.” Illuvatar looked him over closely, letting the silence hang there and the tension grow. The only sound was that of a tapping finger.

 

“Who were you going to giving the information to? Tell me that.” the doctor asked. Namo made eye contact with Melkor, but was met with a dark predatory stare. He was waiting for Namo to make a mistake. Slip up. Melkor held the damning evidence over his head, silently toying with him. Daring the judge to make a move. 

 

‘Does he know that you fucked his creations?’

 

Melkor played the part so well, that of a dutiful son. Having spent so long at Doctor Illuvatar’s side, Namo was aware of the apparent blindness when it came to Melkor’s faults. Maybe it was unconditional love. Or perhaps it was denial. Whatever it was, the doctor never saw the dark core that existed inside of his very own son. And there that son sat, next to Doctor Illuvatar like one of the true dedicated Valar, smirking down at the judge. It made Namo feel sick at the very thought of the situation. 

 

‘What would he think of you if he found out?’

 

“Doctor Illuvatar, you know I am loyal to you.” Namo began, licking his lips anxiously. “I would do no evil against you. Not even consider it. Perhaps you should look to others in your inner circle. You have…spiders amongst you. Spiders who wish you ill…” Namo noticed the smirk on Melkor’s lips waver at the hint. You won't get away with this.

 

“Do you have something more to say to us, sweet Namo?” the voice of Melkor broke through his thoughts. “It certainly seems like you do.” The sneer widened once again. The judge took a breath, saying:

 

“I am guiltless. And if the good doctor is just, he would think on what I have said. I give myself over to his hands.” The judge, convinced that Illuvatar would see his innocence, did a deep bow.

 

Doctor Illuvatar nodded and motioned for two Valar, Oromë and Tulkas, to restrain Namo. The judge struggled in their iron grip, but it was of no use. They held him tightly. 

 

“So this is how it must be.” Doctor Illuvatar said. “Your behavior cannot be tolerated, I’m sure you understand. You have behaved inappropriately with the A.I. under my roof. My creations. Lied to me when I took you under my wing and gifted you with a chance at redemption. Because of you, my work could have fallen into wicked hands. I gave you the title of Vala of Justice. Well, that does not mean that the judge cannot be judged. The law is the law, after all. Even for you. For me. For all. And for acting in such a way, you must bear the punishment.”

 

The two bigger Valar pushed Namo back to his knees, forcing his head back. Melkor’s smug grin was all that the judge could see. Illuvatar stood from his high chair, hands behind his back saying:

 

“Namo Mandos of the Valar, you have been heard and tried. The punishment for your crimes will be as follows. You shall be put in solitary confinement until I see fit to release. You shall see no one during this time. Not even your own brother may have contact with you. And, to make sure that none of this ever happens again, your tongue will be removed. Here and now. Le it be done.” 

 

“What?! No! Please! I am innocent!” Namo cried out, frightened, throwing caution to the wind.  “Hear me! It was him! Melkor told me to do it! It’s him! This is all blackmail! Irmo! Tell them!” The brother of the judge, Irmo Lorien, a famous healer and apothecary, had been listening silently to the proceedings. When the judge called out to him, Irmo’s head shot up, surprised and saddened at the same time. Irmo said:

 

“Look to yourself, brother. I can’t save you from the truth.”

 

In one last frenzied attempt at forgiveness, the judge tried to throw himself down at Illuvatar’s feet. The hands that held him didn’t allow for it, but still Namo said with tears streaming down his cheeks:

 

“For the love that you bear me, I implore you, find it in your heart to forgive me.”

 

Illuvatar remained stern. Aloof and uncaring. The judge violently thrashed around, but was hit hard over the head with a heavy hand. The sobs and pleas fell on deaf ears as Oromë grabbed Namo by by the hair. Tulkas pried open the mouth. 

 

“Better get it over quickly.” Oromë said. Tulkas produced a long blade and held it under the judge’s tongue. The pained wails that issued from Namo’s throat echoed off the white walls. With a few deft strokes, the tongue was cut. Blood poured out of the wound, filling Namo’s mouth and spilled over his chin, causing him to gag and limply fall forward. The burning in his mouth was excruciating. A pool formed on the white tile floor. 

 

“Have that healed quickly so it won’t get infected. I don't want him getting ill. Then have him taken to the cells.” Illuvatar told Tulkas and Oromë before leaving the bloody scene. The Valar followed behind, none but Irmo giving Namo any sort of consolation. Irmo told him to be strong. The good doctor was only doing what he thought was best for them.

 

Namo softly wept, until he noticed that someone had stopped just in front of him. With the strength that was still left to him, the judge turned onto his side to look up. The smiling face of Melkor glared down at him. Merciless was the visage. Hateful. Victorious. 

Chapter Text

Feanor followed Illuvatar down many corridors, that lead down deep into the vessel. The elf had been learning swiftly and quickly, absorbing everything that Illuvatar had to teach him (and more so). So, Illuvatar saw fit to give the elf a gift. What could it be that he has for me? Feanor had no idea. Ideas anxiously flipped through his head in images. They stopped at a door, and Illuvatar punched in a long code on the keypad. The doctor asked:

 

“Are you ready to see your gift, my child? You have been very patient.” Feanor nodded. The door slid open, and another laboratory area lay within. A group of maiar wearing white stood around a table, tools in hand, working fastidiously. The sight of the maiar made the elf nervous. Never had he met anyone save the good doctor. Because of that, he was suddenly hyper aware of his movements. When they took notice of Illuvatar, the maiar quickly stepped away from the table and bowed. A few of them cast awed looks at Feanor.

 

“My friends, might I introduce Feanor.” Doctor Illuvatar indicated the elf, who could only stare. At a completely loss of what to do, Feanor copied their bow. “I’ve brought him here to show him my newest work. Move aside so that he might see.” Silently, the maiar moved away. Unsure, Feanor looked to Illuvatar. “Your gift.” 

 

The elf cautiously approached the table. On it, lay a most wondrous and beautiful thing. Still incomplete, an elf lay on the cold surface before him. Metal parts in the legs were still visible, having not yet been covered by synthetic muscle and skin. However, the face was finished. The elf was a male, Feanor noticed, like himself. Pale of skin, and dark brown of hair. The eyes were closed, but he still knew the color. Blue. A deep blue as the glowing liquids that the doctor sometimes worked with. He wanted to reach out and touch the sleeping visage. 

 

“Who is this?” It was the only thing that Feanor could say. “Is…is he my gift?” The doctor put a hand to Feanor’s shoulder.

 

“Yes. Aren’t you pleased with him?” Illuvatar asked. “I’ve worked a long time on him. Just as long as it took me to create you.” Feanor felt an emotion in his chest. One that he had no name for. It felt good. Feanor said:

 

“I am…happy. What do I call him? Who is he?” Tenderly, he brushed the hair out of the fellow elf’s face. 

 

“Your half-brother.” the doctor said. “Fingolfin. Or, in the language of your circuitry, Nolofinwe. Miriel’s software, unfortunately, could not be replicated because of the update. It was for the best that I went with a new model, Indis. I merged Finwe’s programing with her, and the result was this lovely specimen.”

 

“Fingolfin.” Feanor mimicked. 

 

“Yes. That’s right. He has been asking for you.” Feanor’s head perked up.

 

“He has? Does he really want to see me?” 

 

“Of course. Would you like to speak to him? He isn’t quite ready yet to walk, but he can talk to you.” With that, the doctor pressed with a finger on a spot on the back of Fingolfin’s neck, bringing the elf to life. The eyes opened, blinking twice. Illuvatar asked:

 

“Hello, Fingolfin. How are you feeling?” Fingolfin moved his mouth but no words yet came. “Some error, Feanor, nothing more. Fingolfin, this is your half-brother. Feanor. Do you remember me telling you about your half-brother?” With some difficulty, Fingolfin attempted to shift his head up and down (in some semblance of acknowledgement). Feanor laid a hand on top of Fingolfin’s, holding it tightly and asked:

 

“When will he be finished?”

 

“Soon. I promise you that.” the doctor responded. A rare smile flitted across Feanor’s lips. 

 

“May I stay with Fingolfin? It would only for a minute or two. I just…want to hold his hand. He seems so alone here. And cold. Keep him company, like you do with me.” A need to hold his half-brother in his arms overwhelmed Feanor. He seems so lonely…I just want to warm him…The doctor sighed, saying:

 

“My child, I have already allowed you much more time than I should. Fingolfin is still very malleable. I cannot allow it. Forgive me.” Before Feanor could beg him to stop, Illuvatar pressed spot again on Fingolfin’s neck. The elf went stiff, a long exhale the only sound. Eyes closed. The hand that Feanor held went cold. All of sudden, Feanor felt rage. Anger that the doctor would do this. Frustration at the fact that, with the flip of a switch, Illuvatar could take away the life that he had given them. It was wrong. All wrong. And as quickly as that anger had flared within him, it went out. The walls began to shift. The software in his head began to overheat. 

 

A loud vibrating hum filled Feanor’s ears. He was overthinking again. Illuvatar had instructed him that it would overwhelm his circuits, but there were times when Feanor could not avoid it. His mind would continue on, farther and farther, until he could not control it. You must learn to calm yourself, Feanor. Now, he tried to ignore it, shaking it off. Pretending that it was not happening. 

 

After a long silence, the doctor spoke:

 

“When he is finished, you will meet with him again. You have my word.” Feanor said nothing, too consumed by his thoughts. He could not let the doctor see. And he did not. As they left, the maiar put Fingolfin into a clear glass box. Very coffin-like, the maiar locked the lid tightly. Returning Feanor to his rooms, the elf memorized the route, devising a plan to get back to those secret labs. 

 

Fingolfin. I will come back to you. You have my word.

Chapter Text

Slowly, Fëanor came back to consciousness. His vision was blurry as he forced his eyelids up, but his healing protocol took care of that. No longer was he tied up and stuffed into the back of a small space jumper. He recalled being hit over the head with a blunt object. Voices. Head spinning.  

 

Bound naked to crossed metal beams that formed an X shape, legs and arms spread apart, he took stock of his surroundings. The lighting in the room was dim, but Feanor could see that he was alone. Buttons gave off short flickering bursts of illumination. Devices of all sorts lined shelf after shelf. Though he did not know their exact uses, the sight of the them made his stomach clench. 

 

What did Melkor mean to do to them?  

 

It was then that he remembered Fingolfin. They must have been separated at some point. Fëanor pulled at the restraints, but could not get free. At that moment, the door opened with a hiss. A man with long silvery hair entered, wearing black from head to toe and three white gems sown onto the breast. He held a box that was covered with designs. His expression was unreadable. Fëanor recognized the man to be Lieutenant Mairon. 

 

“What’s going on?” Fëanor asked, but was only ignored. Mairon placed the box down lightly, adjacent to the X. Opening it, the elf could see what it contained. Mairon reached in and pulled out a thin implement with a sharp edge. 

 

“Welcome back to us, friend.” Mairon said, examining the instrument intently. “The captain will be happy to see that you’ve woken up. He wouldn’t want you to miss any of this.” Fëanor could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest. The door again slid open, and Melkor sauntered in. He seemed pleased that his prisoner was awake. Quickly, Mairon placed a cushioned chair in front of Fëanor.

 

“Do you know where you are?” Melkor asked, and sat down.

 

“N-no.” 

 

“You are on my ship. The Angband. What do you think of it? Is it not the most glorious vessel ever to venture through space?” Fëanor said nothing. He could feel Melkor’s eyes roving over his body. Snatching the instrument from Mairon and placing the sharp edge to Fëanor’s chest, Melkor traced the lines of the star image that had been permanently etched there by Doctor Illuvatar. The elf didn’t flinched. Melkor said:

 

“Such a fine specimen you are, my lovely Fëanor. Truly beautiful.” Melkor pressed harder with the razor-sharp blade, with the intent to draw blood. “Did you know, I was there when my father brought you into existence. Your first awakening. I saw it with my own eyes. Your very first breath. Everything. I saw my father teach you to walk. To speak. To function on a basic level. And from that moment, I knew that you were exquisite. A marvel of creation, all the way down to your intricate circuits.” Blood oozed out from the small cut. Melkor continued:

 

“I asked my father about the Flame, but every answer lead only to another question. I wanted to understand it, to know how a bundle of metal fibers and lithe machinery could ultimately add up to create your very self. How did he do it?! How could he create something so perfect with his own hands? I was so keen to know, back then.” He chuckled, lightly touching the blood bead with a finger. 

 

“That stupid old fool. No matter what I said, he wouldn’t reveal his secrets to me. His own son, mind you. I assure you, my brother Manwë was ever the favored one. But that matters little, now. I have you here in front of me. And I shall see what makes Fëanor so particularly extraordinary.” Melkor threw the small blade to one side.

 

“Why are you doing this?” Fëanor angrily demanded. 

 

“Shut your mouth, elf, or you will find yourself missing a few parts!” Mairon shouted, leaning towards Melkor’s ear. “Captain Melkor, the Ungoliant system is rather close. Perhaps we should fling the elf to…her? She hungers, and I am quite sure that this elf would sate her for at least a few hours.” Melkor waved off his second in command with an air of disinterest. 

 

“No. I wish to examine him further. Perhaps, when we are finished, we can throw some left over bits for her to gobble up. She will thank us for such a bountiful feast.” An evil smile spread across Mairon’s face.

 

“We do have the other elf, captain.” Hearing for the first time about Fingolfin’s whereabouts brought Fëanor to full attention.

 

“What have you done with Fingolfin?!” Fëanor cried out. “Let me see him!”

 

“If you are a good boy, I might be so inclined to arrange such a meeting. But, for right now, you will remain where you are.” Melkor motioned, and Mairon moved the elf’s head to one side. Fëanor could sense that an object cold and metallic had been inserted into his right ear. It tickled slightly as his inner workings were manipulated. Then, all at once, something inside him was switched on. Melkor chucked knowingly. 

 

“Doctor Illuvatar was smart.” Melkor said, tapping his head. “He aimed to make it so that his creations felt no pain. And yet, he couldn’t resist. He hid your pain, but not deep enough. Mairon, give me the claw-toothed one.” Obediently, Mairon rummaged through the box until he found what had been requested. This new blade was long, with serrated edges and a curved tip.

Melkor said, bringing the blade’s tip to Fëanor’s nipple. “Let me do with you what I wish, and I may put you in the same room with your precious Fingolfin. Whatever is left of him, anyway…” The sudden shock of the sensation caused the elf to suck in air loudly through his nose, tears pricking his eyes. Was this the pain that Doctor Illuvatar had spoken of? “Do you consent?” Another twist.

 

“Yes. Do whatever you want to me. Just-just don’t harm Fingolfin.” Fëanor responded, moaning. Melkor rose from his seat, holding the weapon in place with a firm hand, and then twisting. 

 

“I think I shall.” Back and forth the knife was jerked, causing wave after wave of anguish.

 

“You really do feel pain.” Melkor said with fascination. “I wondered whether my father would be so stupid as to add that one element. How do you like that, Fëanor? Does it feel good to have those pain receptors in you switched on?” The pain overwhelmed Fëanor’s head, but he was able to ascertain that Melkor had pressed his body close, the arousal evident. The elf could feel the breath on his face. Violently, the blade was wrenched out, spraying redness. The splatter had spotted Mairon’s clothing with reddish-brown dots. Melkor backed away to view his work. A large weeping gash was what remained at the center of the star. A bleeding star. Farther inside the cavity, there were sparks. Mairon leered, almost giddy, and pointed.

 

“Look!” Indeed, the second-in-command was astute. The hole was already beginning to create replacement muscle and skin, overlapping the damaged tissue. In a few minutes, the wound was nearly gone. Fëanor gnashed his teeth at the sensation. The healing, though precise and thorough, was not pleasant. 

 

“By the gods.” Melkor breathed, staring at the new skin that had formed. With a curious finger, he poked at the spot. Smooth and perfect. No sign of the previous injury was evident. Melkor replaced the blade after wiping it clean on a cloth provided by Mairon. 

 

“I’m not through with you, elf. So don’t get it into that little head any idea of escaping.” Fëanor pulled at the restraints, the metal creaking.

 

“Let me see Fingolfin. I’ve agreed to your terms and allowed your amusement. Bring me to him.” Melkor shook his head.

 

“Yes, you have agreed. However, I have not stated anything about “when” I will allow it. Lieutenant, keep him quiet.” Using a ball gag, the second-in-command made sure that no more words would be spoken out of turn. Fëanor thrashed his head in defiance, but Mairon’s hands held firm. The strap was tightened. Saliva collected around the ball, dribbling over Fëanor’s chin.

 

Fingolfin. Where are you? Have they given you to the Void? 

 

Melkor leaned forward, studying the limp flesh. 

 

“Surely this must work as well?” said Melkor, probing at the flaccid cock that hung between Fëanor’s legs. “Or has my father kept you virgin as well? That will change. Mairon, I command you to service him.” There was a clatter of metal as the second-in-command dropped whatever he was holding.

 

“Captain, are you sure-?” Melkor forcefully took Mairon’s face in one hand, shoving him towards the imprisoned elf.

 

“I said now. Use your hands, if you must.”

 

The service” that Melkor had spoken of was like nothing Fëanor had ever experienced before. Mairon kneeled down before the elf. A deep hatred was mirrored in the two pairs of eyes, the blue and the grey. The second-in-command opened his mouth, extending his tongue. There was a jolt of…some sensation when Mairon touched him there; a feeling that the elf could not name. His hips pushed forward against the working mouth. Mairon’s head continued to bob rhythmically, slowly at first, but moving faster with every tantalizing lick and suck. Melkor watched on, completely absorbed by Fëanor’s response to the stimulus. 

 

“Stphm.” Fëanor could only manage garbled speech because of the gag. “Stpmhit!” He thought that he would burst if this continued, wanting to weep. Suddenly, Melkor pushed Mairon away from the organ. It stood out straight and stiff, white liquid leaking from the tip. Desperately, Fëanor thrust his hips outwards, finding only air. He tugged at the straps that held him and cried out, not with pain, but with frustration.

 

“Plfff. Plfff.” Fëanor pleaded. “Plfff…” Tears streaked his cheeks. Melkor looked down at the straining cock with naught but a fleeting glance. Mairon, waiting for an answer from his captain, remaining kneeling on bruised knees and wiping his lips with the back of a hand.

 

“No. I don’t think so.” Languidly, Melkor stared straight into Fëanor’s haggard eyes. “My father made you with his very own sweat and blood, my friend. He claimed you to be indestructible. Your software un-hackable. The Flame being something beyond thievery. I find that hard to believe. And I do plan to find out. What he has kept from me for so very long will be mine, even if I have to rip it right out of your pretty head. Nothing that those stupid useless Valar followers can do will save you. When you’ve broken, I shall send you back to the good doctor, hacked to pieces. I am sure he will enjoy putting you back together bit by bit. And,” Melkor’s voice dropping to a whisper, “I will make sure that you endure every brutal second of it.”

 

And with that, Melkor left, with Mairon trailing shamefully behind. The only sound was Fëanor’s heavy panting, arousal having been left completely unsatisfied. 

 

Fingolfin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It wasn’t hard to escape the room in which Doctor Illuvatar had left him. Everyday, Feanor watched Illuvatar lock the door behind him with a special numbered code, changing it every day. The doctor hoped that, in doing so, there would be no chance of anyone remains the sequence of digits if anyone happened to see. In this, he greatly underestimated his elves. Feanor especially. Not only did the elf remember the most recent code, but recalled every one that had been used previously. In his head, the hands of Illuvatar quickly went from one button to the other. Pausing on one button, and then moving on. Certain numbers, the doctor used more often. The man was smart, but still predictable.  5-4-19-20-99-85-36. 

 

The unbreakable plastic that kept Feanor in his rooms slid up without any issue, allowing the elf to slip out undetected. If the wrong numbers had been entered, a loud alarm would sound. Not this time, though. He took a route that was seldom used, a secret way (a path inside the walls) that only Doctor Illuvatar knew of, to get to the lab. It was a narrow, dark and suffocating corridor, forcing Feanor to crouch as he walked. The elf remembered Illuvatar saying how he had these hallways built into the ship so that he might go about his business, completely unnoticed. So he could keep an eye on everyone that lived here. There were small holes in the walls that allowed him to see outward. When he finally stopped, he could see the laboratory just beyond. Voices could be heard, shouting at one another. Voices that Feanor did not recognize.

 

A group of maiar were hustling around, and Feanor observed them, listening intently to what was being said. They were hard at work on something that lay inside a transparent coffin-like box.  On the surface of the clear box was the image of a star, Feanor immediately recognizing it. Fingolfin. One spoke, saying:

 

“Have you finished with that one yet Mairon? Doctor Illuvatar wants it done by tomorrow.”

 

“No not yet. The doctor will just have to wait. He is crazy for wanting this done so soon. What does he think we are? Those Valar? Huh? We can only work so fast. Eonwe, you told me yourself.” The maia called Eonwe shook his head.  

 

“Fine then. I will let him yell at you when he sees that this work isn't done. Or maybe, I will tell Aulë. He would do something about your insolence. Or, Doctor Illuvatar could just have you ejected into the vacuum of space. That would be entertaining to see, don't you think? Aulë’s pupil careening through the blackness, body ballooning up and skin boiling. What a sight that would be!” They all laughed. All except for Mairon. Hatred at Eonwe’s words caused a hard expression to form on the maia’s face.

 

The maiar began to remove their gloves and coats. Eonwe said: 

 

“Just for that, you get to clean up.” 

 

They left together, leaving the humiliated Mairon behind. Angrily, Mairon carelessly dropped the instruments back into their respective places around the lab. He stopped to look down at the unmoving elf and shrugged his shoulders. 

 

“Not like you're going anywhere anytime soon, my friend. Heh.” the maia chuckled and smirked. You won’t be able to do anything about this, either.” the maia said out loud to no one. Mairon reached out, and with a quick swipe, slapped the unresponsive elf across the face. The force of the blow made Fingolfin’s head turn so that he almost seemed to be looking straight at the hidden Feanor. It made Feanor flinch, seeing the synthetic blood drip from the elf’s nose. Made him want to push the maia away. Hit him just as he had hit Fingolfin. How could the doctor, in all of his benevolence, allow his followers to act this way? Mairon slapped elf a second time but, becoming bored, decided to abandon his fun. 

 

“Such a stupid elf. Can’t even fight back.” the maia said, removing a glove one finger at a time. “Why Melkor wants you, I have no idea. You are all useless puppets.”

 

When Mairon had gone, Feanor believed it safe enough to emerge from his hiding place. Placing one foot tentatively on the cold floor, the elf cautiously kept his senses on high alert.  How long would it take for someone to notice that he wasn’t in his rooms anymore? Feanor wasn’t sure of the answer. 

 

Gazing down at the inert form of his fellow elf, Feanor thought to himself:

“You are perfect. How could someone be so cruel to someone so flawless?” Feanor lightly caressed the cheek, which was cold and without a flush of red. Cleaned the blood from the nose. I won’t let them touch you like that. Ever again. His fingers wandered, searching for that place where Doctor Illuvatar had pressed. Just behind the neck. When he did, pressing gingerly against the skin, nothing happened. The eyes remained fixed. Staring at nothing. 

 

Please, wake. Dearest Fingolfin,  need you with me. Stand by me.

 

The elf not respond. In a last desperate attempt, Feanor climbed into the long rectangular box, squeezing in next to Fingolfin. There was not much room, but Feanor managed either way. The closeness gave him a feeling of relief, as he slid his arms around the slender waist. Nuzzled the dark hair with his nose. 

 

I won’t let them let lock you away like this again. Perhaps, if I beg the good doctor, he will open your eyes again. Maybe, he will listen to me. Tell him what that one did to hurt you… The doctor will know what to do. 

 

Feanor closed his eyes, feeling relaxed for the first time in so very long. Comforted. Loved

Chapter Text

“It’s been far too long.”

 

Doctor Illuvatar crossed the marble floor, putting a hand to Melkor’s shoulder. The grasp was firm, but still loving. Nurturing. Melkor wondered at the grip. It lingered for a moment, but Melkor quickly shrugged it off. The party guests continued to whisper excitedly amongst themselves, thrilled to have had a chance to see the glorious Doctor Eru Illuvatar with their own eyes. Not very many on Timeless could say that. Some spoke loud enough so that Melkor was able to catch snippets of the conversations. 

 

Who is that black haired one there? Is that the doctor’s oldest son? The rebellious one? What was his name….Mekor? Melko? Something like that? I can’t remember. 

 

Quickly, Melkor grabbed his drink from the bar and took a swallow of whatever was left. The taste was sour and metallic, making him grimace.  

 

“Are you enjoying yourself?” the doctor asked amiably, slipping his hands into his pockets. As always, Illuvatar was dressed impeccably. He wore a perfectly tailored grey suit, with a white circular ornament pinned to the lapel.  Grey hairs were starting around the temples, streaking his black hair.  

 

“You always know how to throw the best parties, father.” Melkor replied. “Don’t your friends ever get bored of your talks? I know I certainly have.” Illuvatar chuckled.

 

“If ‘my friends’ are so uninterested, then why have they come here?” the doctor asked. “I haven’t forced them to attend. They are here for knowledge. My knowledge. The scientific marvels on display, that any of them would pay dearly to see. You have been in isolation for far too long, Melkor. Either that, or space has done something to your head.” With a finger, Doctor Illuvatar pointed at his son’s forehead. Melkor shook his head, saying:

 

“Space has done nothing to me, father. You are wrong in that. It is this fame that has given you an overinflated ego. Although, I do enjoy seeing Manwë strut around like the bloated peacock that he is. And yet, if you ask him about your work, your so-called ‘scientific advancements’, does he even bother to know about them? Understand what they are? I think not. The others are just the same. They treat you like a god. Is that what you are? A god? I never took you for one of those righteous idiots.” Again, the doctor laughed.

 

“Hardly. I have my faults, just as surely as you have yours. I don’t claim to be perfect.” Illuvatar replied, taking a glass of something from a passing maia.  “And your faults, if you don’t mind me saying, are hard to miss.” Melkor scoffed and said:

 

“You are so fond of pointing out my wrongs. You always have been. Why not take a long hard look into a mirror.” Pulling out a lighter, he lit a cigarette, puffing a cloud of smoke in the doctor’s direction. Flicked the ashes so that they landed on Illuvatar’s shiny shoe. Inside, Melkor laughed. He could see on his father’s face the anger that was being dammed up behind the smooth facade. It was subtle, but still visible. The twitch of an eye. The slight gritting of the teeth. Melkor wondered what he could say that would make the dam break and flood… 

 

Finally, the doctor spoke, his voice faintly shaking:

 

“Fine. If you insist on being like this, blaming me for all of your bad decisions, you can do that alone. I had hoped to welcome you home with open arms, but it’s obvious that you only desire a fight. And please, refrain from tormenting Judge Namo while you are here. If you do insist on pestering someone, bother Tulkas. Perhaps he might knock some sense into you. I’ve tried, Arda knows I have.” The doctor turned away, leaving Melkor by himself. Sitting back down on the stool, he ordered up another drink for himself. 

 

Time went by, and Melkor watched the partygoers try to get the doctor’s attention as he went around the room. Greeting all of the guests was always something that his father enjoyed doing. “Going among the people” he liked to call it. After going through two more smokes and two extra cups of alcohol, the room began to waver. 

 

Just as Melkor was about to stand and leave, a woman approached. He had noticed her watching from the far end of the large room as he drank himself into a stupor. Melkor pretended to not notice her, but eventually she did move closer. Her black hair was styled up so that it was caught up in a net of silver. A spray of black feathers sprouted out from it. Her long dress matched the color of her hair, hugging her curves. A plunging neckline. Long thin neck. To Melkor, she did look beautiful. An unnerving sort of beauty, but still stunning nonetheless. Pale skin and full red lips, he knew her immediately. 

 

“Hello Melkor.”  She gently caressed his cheek with her fingertips, causing his skin to prickle. Her dark eyes shone with an alien light. It caused Melkor’s stomach to do flips inside of him. Or maybe that was the drink.

 

“Ungoliant.” he said, greeting her nervously. “I didn’t think that my father still kept you around.” She smiled, a single white fang showing between the two blood-red lips. Ungoliant asked:

 

“Of course. What reason would he have to send me away? Stupid fool. I love him.”

 

“I’m sure that you do.” 

 

“Give him pleasure, anyway. At least for a time.” Melkor rolled his eyes at her words, but that only caused his head to spin more. Why did his father’s bar have to be stocked so well?

 

“I don’t care what my father and you do together in bed. I am not interested. The only thing I want to know is if you have it? Do you?” Ungoliant’s smile grew.

 

“Getting right down to it, then? Yes. I have it.” Somewhere, from inside her dress, she pulled a single tiny disk with small lettering written on to it. “This is what you want, isn’t it? Here it is.” Melkor reached out to take the disk, but Ungoliant suddenly pulled it out of his grasp. 

 

“Not until you give me what is owed.” she said, waving the small disk in front of him. Taunting. “This does not come free.” So eager was Melkor to have what she held, he shoved a hand into his jacket, producing a clear gem. A hungry expression flickered over her face.

 

“Here. Have it. Aüle’s prized Gem of Timeless. Do what you will.” Melkor dropped the gem into her open palm. Ungoliant examined it closely, turning it this way and that. Did she think it was fake? 

 

When she was finally satisfied, she handed over the disk without any hesitation saying:

 

“You had better hope that Doctor Illuvatar doesn’t catch you with that. Nobody on Timeless even knows that it exists. Nobody, except for you, me, and the doctor himself. Take care, my darling one.” 

 

She flashed him another smile, and was quickly gone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Aping my soul,

You stole my overture,

Trapped in Gods program,

Oh I can't escape

 

Who are we?

Where are we?

When are we?

Why are we?

Who are we?

Where are we?

Why, why, why?*******

 

--------------------------

 

Excitement was all that the doctor could feel as he guided his craft towards the Valinor, passing through a large opening in the side of the ship. The anticipation was almost too much for him to bear. How wondrous it would be to observe them in their “natural state” again. 

 

What happened while I was gone? Did they create chaos? Anarchy? Or did they merely go on with their lives? Where they even aware that I had gone and left them to their own devices? Completely serene in their naiveté. Independent organisms with their own wants. Their own desires. Beyond what I might want for them…  

 

He feared the latter more than the former. Was that not what he had made them for? To be a powerful independent species, yet still under his control? That was it, surely. Yes. He had programmed a setting in to their very core, that would keep them in line. They would not break their leash as long as the internal setting remained unchanged. It was not cruel, not at all. Just keeping them safe. Safe from…what? What was there to protect the elves from? Nothing could hurt them, not under such a watchful eye as his. The Valar vowed not to touch the elves. Illuvatar had seen to that. If a threat existed, it would come from the outside. Elsewhere. But who could possibly want to take the elves from their home?

 

Plenty. 

 

Their coding was perfect. Flawless. On Timeless, Doctor Illuvatar had been greatly envied. Other scientists had their eyes on his work, so the doctor found a need to hire people that would act as his personal guard. At all times, Oromë and Tulkas followed behind, as close as his own shadow. The two did not completely believe what Illuvatar was teaching, but that did not bother the doctor. Money spoke louder than words, at times like this. And Illuvatar had an endless purse, and a very generous hand. 

 

He made sure to pay the two of them well, and they asked no questions. 

 

“Guard my person at all times, to you understand?” he had instructed the two burly men. The doctor only got a grunted response. 

 

“Watch my elves even better, and you will get more money than you will know what to do with.” Illuvatar recalled how their eyes had shown at the sight of such amounts of money and gold. That had been enough to convince them to do anything. Even sacrifice themselves, if it really came down to that. It had been easy to persuade the-empty headed idiots. And they did well. Although, in the end, there was not much for them to do. No one was stupid enough to attempt at attacking the doctor physically. Not yet, anyway. But he still had his suspicions. But they did their job, being great glorified bodyguards for the great Doctor Eru Illuvatar. 

 

I’ve been successful, so far. Hopefully my luck will hold out. Just for a little bit longer. Until we get the Valinor safely to Beleriand. Once we get there, everything will be as it should. The elves will have a place for themselves. To live and grow as any good living thing should. And with my eyes on them as well as those of my Valar, it will be a Utopia… I will make it so. 

 

He thought of how content all of his creations would be, once they finished the Beleriand. Finwë and his sons and wife, and the others as well. Imagined the things that Fëanor would make, the gems and metals that he would craft. Illuvatar knew that there was a growing love between Fëanor and the half-brother Fingolfin, and did nothing to intervene. They were made together. And so, they will love together. Newly awakened, the doctor knew that Fingolfin would make the elf happy. On the Beleriand, they could have a chance. Away from the prying glances of the jealous. Those who wanted “The Flame” for selfish reasons. To sell for riches and power. For pleasure. And if not Beleriand, somewhere else would do. Some far place. The Flame was too precious for any misstep. 

 

Swiftly, the doctor docked the ship on the landing pad. The door lifted upward, and he pushed himself out of the cramped vessel. Immediately, he knew that something was wrong. No maiar were in the launching area for the incoming ships. One maia at least should have met him. However, there was no one to be seen amongst the other crafts that sat untouched. An eerie feeling formed in the pit of the doctor’s stomach. 

 

He went through the corridors, expecting to see someone, anyone, but there was not a soul in sight. Aulë’s normally busy forge where he made his high tech circuitry was abandoned. Varda’s was not sitting at her large telescope, where she normally mapped the stars and planets that passed by. And, most importantly, his own son Manwë did not sit the captain’s chair in the control room.

 

What is all of this? 

 

It was very sudden when Illuvatar finally found someone. A lone maia, running in fright nearly ran straight into him. When the maia saw who it was that he had almost toppled over, he fell to his knees, crying:

 

“Good Doctor, forgive me! I did not mean to-.”

 

Illuvatar grabbed the maia’s arms and asked:

 

“Where is everyone? Why is my son not at the helm?! Where is he?!”

 

The maia was silent, and the doctor shook him hard to get an answer out of him. 

 

“Tell me now!” 

 

The maia hesitated and flinched, but eventually answered.

 

“In the enclosure, Good Doctor.”

 

Why would they be there? Confused, the doctor snapped:

 

Take me there now.”

 

The terrified maia jumped at the doctor’s anger and bowed. Illuvatar followed the maia to the habitat in which the elves lived. Their safe haven. What could have happened? Signs of life became more abundant the closer they got. Maiar all crowded around the door that lead in to the habitat. They were whispering to each other, some with tears in their eyes. 

 

Illuvatar shoved one out of the way when he spotted Eonwe with his shoulders hunched. He was clutching something to his chest.

 

“Eonwe, what in Arda’s name is going on here? Where is Manwë? Where is my son?” Doctor Illuvatar grabbed the maia’s shoulder and spun him around. Eonwe continued to force his shoulders upward to his ears, attempting to hide what he held. 

 

“Please, I didn't want this to happen!” the maia wailed wildly. “Please, Good Doctor, I-I didn’t mean for any of this!.” The doctor felt anger rising at being kept in the dark. Reaching for what the maia held, he said:

 

“Tell me what is going on!”

 

Eonwe looked up at the doctor with tearfully. Something about the expression on his face made Illuvatar’s heart sink. The elves. Something was wrong with his elves. Slowly, Eonwe held out what he was so desperately was clinging to. 

 

The severed head of Finwë stared back. The once beautiful face had been ferociously smashed in. Only one grey glassy eye remained, the other a dark gaping socket. Every tooth had been removed. The nose broken. Black hair carelessly sheared too close to the scalp. Loose wires hung from the neck. 

 

And, for once in his life, Doctor Illuvatar did not know what to do. In his disbelief, he managed to say one thing:

 

“Who…who did this horrible thing?”

Chapter Text

“I’m glowing bright, obsidian.

Axolotl amphibian.

Un-elemental chemicals.

Got me growing six black tentacles.”*****

 

------

 

 

“It’s time, Melkor.”

 

The small craft that seated three rocketed through the blackness of space, not taking a moment’s hesitation as it went. Melkor at the helm, with Mairon and Ungoliant on either side, he pushed it as fast as it could possibly go. He could not pass up this opportunity. Not when it was so close. He had gotten word from an “inside source” that his father would be leaving the Valinor. For what, he did not know. Doctor Illuvatar was a secretive one, to be sure. When he received this information, Melkor knew that he had to jump at the chance. Obsessed was he by his Elves, the doctor never left them alone for very long. The fact that he was leaving the ship was something to be taken seriously, if Melkor desired to get what he wanted. 

 

Melkor had contacted his “inside source”, telling them that he would be there soon. To be on guard. Watch for the arrival of any unlabeled ship. And not to speak of this to anyone. When he had mentioned the plan to Lieutenant Mairon when preparing to leave, the maia only questioned the sanity of the decision. 

 

“You seem to think that it will be an easy thing to get to the Elves. Do you really think the doctor will leave them unguarded? I believed you to be an intelligent man.” Melkor bristled at the veiled insult. 

 

“If you have any better ideas, please, I would love to hear them.”

 

“Allow me to go with you, for one. What will I possibly do if I have to run the Angband all on my lonesome?” He hated the Lieutenant’s insolently sarcastic tone, but he did eventually relent. Occasionally, the up-jumped maia did speak wisdom. 

 

“Any idiot with half a brain can run this hunk of metal. It isn't very difficult. I would be more useful at your side, don’t you think? Let me go with you. And, by chance, maybe another as well?” Of course, Lieutenant Mairon was right, as he always was. For the most part. Melkor asked:

 

“Another? More people will make us easier to spot.” Mairon’s hidden smile was full of cunning.

 

She wouldn’t. Surely, she will help us. She did, after all, follow us here. She had might as well prove her worth. Ask the Lady Spider for her assistance.” 

 

The Lieutenant was speaking of Ungoliant. The Lady Spider. The idea of her made his stomach crawl, as if bugs were creeping around inside of his guts.

 

“Must we?” Mairon was aware of the captain’s disdain of the Lady Spider, but she was useful to them, with her knowledge of hacking, cloaking devices, and other such things. Having spent so long in the company of the doctor, Ungoliant would know more than many others. In the end, Melkor agreed to take her along. Although, it did nothing to lessen his anxiety. The Lady Spider’s loyalties were flimsy at best. She had turned on him once, and, if given the chance, would certainly do it again if it suited her needs. He would have to keep a close eye on her, untrustworthy creature that she was. 

 

The three of them were silent as they flew, until Melkor relayed to them the plan. He would bring their unmarked craft to a small hatch in the side of the Valinor as the Lady Spider hid them from sight. Waiting for the Doctor Illuvatar to leave, they would slip in just before the air lock closed. No one would see, or even suspect, the naive thing that the doctor was. Melkor had full faith in the proposal, believing it to be fool proof. Mairon had other ideas, and felt no reluctance about sharing them.

 

“Captain, with all due respect, can we trust your inside source? What if he is telling all of this to the doctor? He will be ready and waiting for us.” Melkor smirked, saying:

 

“My course can be relied on for anything. Don’t be so suspicious, and you need not worry. Everything will go according to plan. We will go in, get the elves, and get out again. No issue. Now stop talking so I won’t crash this thing.” 

 

“And what if they don’t go easily? Did you ever think of that?” Of course Melkor had. They were all armed with the best weapons that he could get. Guns that could shoot three energy beers when fired. Knives so fine that they could cut through anything and did not need to be sharpened. The Lieutenant sighed and sat back in his seat, annoyed at being brushed off. He would get over it, sooner or later. Melkor responded: 

 

“If the Elves attack us, we will kill them. Simple as that. Ungoliant, are you ready?” The Lady Spider nodded, holding a device in her slender hand. “Good. We can proceed. Make us invisible, Lady Spider.”

 

“Let me keep one of them.” she said, licking her lips. “One of these elf beings. I want one. They make me hungry…”

 

“If you can catch one, be my guest.” Melkor said in response. 

 

“Prison on Timeless sounds like a wonderful experience.” Mairon murmured under his breath.  

 

Ungoliant did as commanded, pressing a few buttons on her device. From the outside, the vessel seemed to melt away into the inky blackness, becoming one with the surroundings. They held their breath. Just as expected, the door slid open, allowing a single ship to exit. The doctor’s craft. Flying by without a single concern, it shot off into the dark void. 

 

That was the cue. Melkor pushed the throttle forward, and they jerked ahead through the opening, nearly hitting the door as it slammed shut sealing itself. No loud alarm alerted their arrival. Absolutely nothing. Haphazardly, Melkor docked the ship. 

 

How trusting are you, father, to be this careless? Or have I missed something?

 

It wasn’t long before the group was sprinting across the cold metal floor of the hanger, where all manner of vessels sat untouched. Weapons at the ready, they moved silently and deftly.

 

“Will we meet your source?” Mairon whispered. Melkor put a finger to his lips to silent the talkative Mairon. Ungoliant covered them from behind. 

 

Unknowingly, a pair of eyes watched the group from afar. Saw how they stole into the Valinor on noiseless feet. A screen showed their planned direction. 

 

——-

 

They passed a few maiar on the way to the enclosure, but managed to avoid them all, hiding in unused corridors and shadowed doorways. In his mind, Melkor had memorized the code that would get them in. The keypad looked new, as if it had been recently installed. Ungoliant and Mairon watched eagerly as he punched in the numbers. On one try, the entrance slid open. 

 

Your elves giving you trouble, father?

 

“I’ll go in first. You two follow.” Melkor said in hushed tones. Cautiously, they went in. The enclosure was more of a garden, in truth. Such greenery. Trees, plants, grass. Even the scent of organic things. Leaves crunched under their shoes as they went along. A rustling sound made them jump, but it turned out to be nothing. 

 

Where are they? They’re around here somewhere, I know it…

 

Suddenly, a stir of the brush around them alerted them that someone, or something, was observing them. Had the doctor put another sort of creature in here other than those elves? Melkor felt a panic begin to rise in him. Pointing their guns, the group waited for whatever it was to show itself. The gun in the Lieutenant’s hand was shaking.

 

Out of the trees couched cautiously a thing of surpassing beauty. A man. No. More than a man. An elf. Dressed simply, but that did not take away from the loveliness. Melkor found himself captivated, as if in a deep spell. Lost and in a fog as he gazed at the face. The man said nothing to them, looking as much in awe at them as they were of him. Quickly, Melkor remembered himself, and lunged forward. Hitting the elf over the head, it fell. However, that did not mean it was out for the count. It fought Melkor with surprising strength, taking a swipe or two. The elf managed to get Melkor across the face with it’s nails, making him curse. They fought on, until the captain got the upper hand. 

 

“Go! Find the others! Get Feanor and Fingolfin! Now!” Mairon and Ungoliant rushed off through the twilight. Straddling the elf’s hips, Melkor got his hands around the neck. The elf struggled underneath, but was losing the battle. Tighter and tighter he pressed on the windpipe, listening to the desperate gasping sounds.

 

“Father thinks that you are unbreakable? I beg to differ.” he said as he shook the elf violently. “I hate you. Hate you, you hear me? Die. Die. FUCKING DIE! WHY WON’T YOU DIE-!”

 

A horrible crack, and the deed was done. The elf’s head fell backward, completely limp and hanging at an unnatural angle. Blood seeping from between his lips. Melkor couldn't help but sneer. 

 

“See what I’ve done to your favorite creations, doctor? Take a look. They aren’t so perfect now, are they?” 

 

Pulling a knife from a pocket, he set to work. One by one, Melkor yanked the teeth straight out from the gums. Red synthetic blood sprayed all over his clothing, soaking in to the fabric. Once finished with the mouth, he moved on to the eyes, tearing one right out of its socket. Then the hair, hacking away at the locks. And finally, finishing on the neck. Pressing blade to skin, he began with a sawing motion. Back and forth. Back and forth. Until the ruined head was separated from the body. Truly a gruesome sight. 

 

Before leaving to follow his crew members, he took one last blow at the face. Smashing it in and breaking the nose with a crunch. The rush of adrenaline that ran through his veins was unstoppable. He felt invincible.

 

Melkor smiled, carrying the severed head in one hand.