Author's Note: You may NOT reproduce this work without my permission. How to Kill a Phoenix is rated T, and might contain questionable themes and subtexts.

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters and real life people are all unintentional. The views expressed in this work of fiction are not really representative of my own beliefs. The words and actions of characters in this story are not an endorsement of any political or personal ideals, nor are they meant to be interpreted as indicative of the beliefs of any other persons or organizations.


"In the historical record, the phoenix could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the Empire, consecration, resurrection, or life in the heavenly Paradise." - R. Van der Broek


In the gloom, the boy with dark brown hair proceeded carefully across the room towards the mass of metal and wires in the center. His steps were soundless. It was supposed to be a delicate operation.

A floating ball of black dust followed by his side, its movement pattern hinting at intelligence.

He reached the machine. It almost looked like a piece cut out from a huge model of a futuristic city, with pointed metal spires, complicated furrows, random points of light, and a barely understandable network of cables.

"Rain, do you hear me, over?" a girl's voice came out of the floating dust ball. "Is everything ready yet? It's already two minutes until the appointed time." And then it added in an afterthought, "Uh… is this channel secure?"

"Is everyone else already on their assigned coordinates?" he replied, focusing his sight on the machine.

"Affirmative. But Will is eating a chili dog, even when I'd told him off. He said it helps him to steel his nerve – to use a more family-friendly phrase."

Rain snorted derisively. "Tell him a human-chili dog hybrid isn't pretty."

"Hup-hai! Okies!"

Rain pressed a palm on his forehead at the exclamation. He took a deep breath. "Astra-2, commence security bypass."

A different voice, this one gender neutral, emerged from the dust ball. "Affirmative. 37 seconds remaining."

"Hey, Rain," a young man's voice came out this time. "Tanya said you have a self-righteous, unprovoked hate on chili dogs. Why all the hate, man? What could you possibly have against them steamy wieners sandwiched in manly hot sauce? Okay, okay, joking aside, I hope you're all steady and chill. No pressure. We all know this decision is going to be the hardest on you. I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your father. Um… we got your back, okay?"

Rain didn't react to the transmission. Instead he pondered the question, how do you stop a villain capable of killing a phoenix? How do you stop a man capable of destroying a whole universe and creating a new one in its place?

By gaining that very same power itself.

"And, well… remember that we're pretty much in the same boat. It's hard on each one of us too. This is basically goodbye to everything and everyone we know, unless… well, nothing goes wrong, which is not very likely but we hope it goes like that. Eh, no response? Ah, okay, I know it's your emo façade thing or something, but I know you're listening. Best of luck, Rain."

Rain shrugged before turning to face the machine. Finally, the gender neutral voice returned. "Security bypassed. Uploading starting coordinates, aligning with the target person's location at the destination…"

Rain raised his eyebrows, but his voice remained the same low drawl, "Um… Astra-2, I didn't forget to pack in my Combat QT, right?"

"Affirmative. Combat QT Astra-3 is safely inside me."

"Astra…" the boy sounded unsure. "We're fighting someone who got that outlandish power to influence fate, aren't we?"

"In a way." There was a few seconds' pause before the floating ball spoke again, "Coordinates uploaded. Scanning passengers…"

Rain heaved a sigh. Goodbye, father.

A flash of light, and the boy was gone.