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Author Topic: The Andromeda Effect ~ Alternate Timeline ~  (Read 18820 times)
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« on: June 02, 2010, 09:14:43 pm »

The Crossroads was having a fairly slow night, but the man behind the counter was a bit nervous. It was unlikely to remain slow, and the kind of business and things that had been showing up here lately were the kind he'd rather not have. He had developed a sense for that kind of trouble, and right now it was telling him to prepare for worse than the normal, (in whatever way normal might apply).His suspicions were confirmed, or at least he thought so, when a young lady, wearing a red velvet undercut jacket with brass buttons, a plain gray shirt, jeans and tall boots of matching brown, and holding a blue hat in one hand came in. Or rather, appeared with a loud electrical-sounding snap, with a half-cocked black powder pistol in the other hand and surrounded by drifting smoke, and demanded.

"Is it still 1863?!"

In another time and place this would have, at the least, led to odd questions. But the Crossroads was used to (whether the owner liked it or not) odd guests, even ones that didn't come in by any conventional manner. This was actually a somewhat normal occurrence, compared to the other things that sometimes happened.

"It's 1931, June second, to be more exact." Came a reply from behind the counter, as if it was a routine question. And a mutter, though no one really heard it, of. "Last time I ever take an offer for advertisements from that place."

'That place' was probably the printing shop down the street, the one that didn't ask questions about what or where the materials they printed came from (or went to, for that matter). It was rumored that the shop printed things that got distributed not only in odd places, but times. It had been one of the reasons, apparently, that the Crossroads had become so popular lately.

"Thanks, sorry about the sudden entrance, just got the thing working again. You said it was June second?"

"Yep."

"Alright." She said, and muttered as she walked up to the counter and sat down on one of the tall worn stools. "Year's still a bit off, and missed a day... Oh well, won't have to use it again 'till it gets fixed." She hoped that if she couldn't find Terrance, she would be able to find someone else who could fix it, and not ask too many questions.

"You gotta lot a nerve, showing up here. Where's that no-good friend of yours?" A man who looked a few years older than she was walked up behind her demanded.

"Stand off, Tony, it's still loaded." She said, setting the pistol on the counter but not taking her hand off it.

Tony laughed. "You'll be sorry."

She got up and walked toward the door, and came out into the open. The fading light was turning the landscape dusky orange, reminding her that year wasn't the only thing off.

Two of Tony's men were walking purposefully down the alley in her direction, and as she turned away before they could see her, she saw three more turn the corner from the other direction.

"Looks like I'll have to use it again after all..." She muttered with a sinking feeling, and ducked back inside the building.

"Whaddaya gonna do? You don't have a way outta here..." Tony said mockingly as she came back inside. Trying not to let on to what she was planning, she walked across the room as calmly as she could, avoiding the chairs and tables, and went through the back door. But there was one problem. She swore and cocked the pistol, aiming so it would look like she'd just missed, and waited for the footsteps to come closer. But not too close. She pulled the trigger and the pistol jumped in her hand. In the same instant, lost in the sound of the shot, there was a snap like an electrical discharge.

---

The Beau Rosin had just set down in the storage room inside the abandoned mining base within the mangrove-like swamp known as the Sea of Lygos, east of the Veritzeth mountains of Venus. The Badger's advance party was waiting there for reinforcements from the ship that they had left behind in the repair dock just two days ago. Although the Drene-Vah's fleet base had been destroyed and their plans of conquest temporarily halted, there was still a much larger main base to the north in the Veritzeth, and that would need a larger force to destroy.

Frank had come back inside the cabin of the Beau Rosin to help out with , when he stopped for a moment. For some reason, he suddenly recalled something, almost like dreams he'd had the night before and forgotten just after waking up... Very vivid dreams, ones that seemed more real than normal, and somehow it didn't seem like he was remembering them from a dream, it was farther back than that. It was one of those odd things that somehow made sense, but not in a way that was explainable...

South pacific, Philippines, maybe, it was late evening, and the air was tropical and there was the salt smell of the ocean, not too distant. They were in town for the night, not in a hurry... Donnavan was laughing and showing off his knife tricks, and a warm breeze was blowing through the palm trees. Everything was where it should be...

Except it wasn't... those same two men were there, hiding in the shadows, just enough light to make out their faces. One of them grinned unpleasantly, and the other pulled a revolver--everything shifted, somehow, backwards--He blinked, and looked around. This was the main office, and Raymond Lawrence, the head of research in the pacific was looking at him expectantly, as if waiting for him to continue talking. what had just happened?...


It had faded into nothing, and then another came, no sights, just sounds, voices.

...and what do you mean, won't remember?" A voice demanded, sounding oddly like it was supposed to be familiar, but he didn't know from where.

"'cause it didn't happen, when we jumped back it erased everything.
I only know it because I was in a different, waddaya call it, sync, or something. And when you drop us back when we're supposed to be, I won't either." Donnavan's voice, sounding tired and irritated.

"Well, you won't have to worry about them coming after you then." The strange-familiar voice said, in what seemed like a slightly relieved tone. "I'll explain to 'em what happened."

It was at about that time, he recalled afterwards, that things started getting weird.

---

And they started, to some degree, about half a minute later, when the young lady appeared with a loud sparklike snap in the middle of a strange room... a fairly large room, but with no visible doors that could have let in the small airship inside it?
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 09:59:04 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged

~-- Purveyour of Useless Facts, Strange Advice, Plots --~
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 11:49:24 pm »

SNAPZT!

Jack started up from the 'captain's chair' that he had unfolded next to the ship's wheel (the seat was built onto the port bulkhead), staring worriedly at the instruments on and around the control bannister, and mounted up above it on the mullions between the windshield panes. He checked teh Chronojumper and Chronojammer controls, and breathed a sigh of not-quite-relief; Nothing was wrong;  yet, he had distinctly heard a loud sound as of a crackling electrical spark. Mingh? he sent, (He was still bad at it, but it did have its advantages, he was finding), Did you hear that crackling noise?

Yes, Jack-Captain, and it appears to have come from the Starboard side, outside the field... you are far too loud again, she sent back, rubbing her browridge with her left claw.

Sorry, I'm not used to controllin' m' thought-volume. he sent, making a more-successful attempt at proper telepathy.

"Over here," Zhan said in English, looking out the  huge starboard-side porthole, and fingering the spring-operated gatling hanging in its yoke underneath it."There is a young human female standing there with a pistol in her hand."

Jack looked, swore, and switched on the loudspeaker on the deck, and spoke into it, his drawl thick as a syrup pie: "Young woman, please drop yer weapon. We're a warship attached to the Command of the Aether warship HMAS Mad Badger, and are currently in a state o' war wit' th' Drene-vah sect of Moon Dragons; we are, therefore, awn high alert." He punctuated his words by opening the gunports on both sides of the ship and running out the plasma guns in their half-turrets; they hummed with power as the electric gatling on the deck in front of the cabin also turned to point dead at the young lady.

"Jack, are you tryin' to drop it in the pot before we even find out who she is?" Bailey demanded. He opened the cabin door and walked out on deck, Kirza accompanying him. unsling yer rifle, but don't point it at her, Kirza, he sent, maybe we can keep this from getting any uglier.

"Miss, you are in a very dangerous situation; pardon my presumption, but also one in which you do not possess all of the facts, Bailey said, reasonably, "This is in fact a dimensional vehicle as well as physical, and it is surrounded by a field that will repel your bullets, even though we can converse through it, and we can shoot back through it. You are, therefore, at an insurmountable disadvantage. I suggest you do as this vessel's captain demands, and drop your weapon."
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 02:52:42 am by MWBailey » Logged

Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2010, 04:40:20 am »

She had quickly lowered the pistol and tossed it to the side, and then raised her hands to about shoulder height. It most likely wasn't 1878. And as she tried to make some sense out of what the captain, apparently, had said, realized it was entirely possible this wasn't even the same dimension.

"Sorry, sir, it was not my intention to appear threatening. I left from where I was a bit... suddenly, this wasn't where I thought I'd end up." What on earth, or wherever this was, was going to explain this? "I was having difficulty with my time transporter." They'd probably never believe it anyway, so she might as well tell the truth. "What, or where is this?"

"Where did you come from? You'd better answer our questions first." Zhan said.

"Old hotel called Crossroads, about 1931. Don't know where it's located, really. Before that, July third, 1863, Gettysburg. Had to get out of there in a hurry too, my transport quit working about five days before that. Only just got it working again, and went back to Crossroads, when I had to leave again. My transport doesn't seem to be working correctly, I don't suppose this is anywhere near Kentucky. Oh, I'm..." She had been about to tell one of the several she used when she couldn't be sure that it was safe to give her real one, but something told her not to. "Alexis Voltaire."
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 05:55:36 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2010, 06:33:10 am »

Gettysburgh... Jack wracked his brain trying to think of where he'd heard that placename (the American Civil War had occurred on his home timeline, but not the way that it did on many others. Still, if she meant the Crossroads Hotel in Chicago...). Miss, d'you mean the Crossroads in Chicago? and do you know a feller named Brantley?

Bailey, for his own part, was more than slightly bumfuzzled. he did not recognize the place-names the young woman mentioned, but the bit about a transporter... He wondered what her unit looked like.
-----------
Mr. Winkie, up in the treetops over the rock, stretched and inhaled -- and stiffened, inhaled again...Donnavan! Donnavan was here! He leapt down from massive branch to massive branch, finally making it to the ground and sniffing around the fallen masonry and ramshackle metal siding, wooden half-rotted walls, and finally found a tunnel entrance at the back of teh ruins of a building that still sported a Dry Goods sign on one wall. He ran down the corridor that he found himself in, crashed through a door wthat hung by one hinge, and down another corridor, growling happily as the scent of his favorite huiman became stronger in his nostrils...

In teh Storeroom, they heard teh approach of teh ecstatic direcat as a series of crashes, booms, and running many-legged feet (it sounded klike at least three normal terran tigers running down the corridor outside, and then that growling roar...

"Um, Captain Pulsifer?" Zhi Selkio said, "You might want to let the young woman in and close the field again before she becomes Direcat-food..."
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 06:36:39 am by MWBailey » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2010, 04:00:51 pm »

"Whatinna heck's a 'Direcat?' " Jack wanted to know. "Oh, alright, there ya go." The sphere dropped, and Jack said through the loudspeaker, while talking to Zhi Selkio about the approaching threat, "Please step a'board miss, thar's a dire... uh... a big" there were whispers off-mike "...Cat? whats wrong with a li'l' bitty cat?" OOOoohhh, ten foot long cat, Ok..." he came back on teh mic and said, "Better step aboard right smart, miss, there's a ten-foot-long cat comin' down the hallway." Only then did Jack think to check the Scan-tank, and the picture he saw caused him to grab the mic again and scream for the young woman to "MOVE IT! That thang's HUGE!"
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 03:33:04 am »

Alexis scrambled up onto the deck of the ship as the sound of the direcat came closer. As soon as she was on, the bright field was turned on again. Just in time it seemed, as the sound of the huge cat came closer, until it was right outside the door.

The sound of running paws stopped as the cat leaped, and several seconds later the heavy blast doors shook with a THUD. They held, but the bolts of the top hinges had been pulled out of the wall by the impact.

---

Mr. Winkie circled and growled, and put his four front paws on the door and leaned on them. They creaked slowly inward, falling to the floor with a heavy thump when the bolts on the bottom hinges broke with a clang. He sniffed the air and bounded into the middle of the room, looking up at the ship, but coming no closer to the bright field surrounding it. He mrooowed, and waited expectantly, tail twitching.

He had long curved white fangs like a sabertooth, but he had a slimmer build and a long tail. His fur was tan colored, with a pattern of dark brown stripes along his back and neck that transitioned into spots like an jaguar on his flanks and lower legs. Inside each of the ringed spots was a smaller spot of bright green, and his eyes were the same color.

---

Donnavan woke with a groan from where he had fallen asleep sitting in the chair, and said something that sounded like "...a minute."

"Wierd..." He muttered, after taking a moment to figure out where he was. "dream... haven't had a headache like this since the Philippines." He stood up slowly and looked out through the window and the field. "It's alright, you can turn it off, it's just Mr. Winkie..."

Frank gave him a worried, and somewhat lost look. "...What?"

"He's tame, well sort of... comes around the station sometimes..." Donnavan tried to explain, wincing and mumbling something none of them could catch, ending in something that sounded like "...the rest... not as loud."

'Donnavan says I say safe, yes?' Came a quiet voice, apparently from the cat waiting outside.
Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 04:40:28 am »

Jack heard teh cat's voice, as well, and so did Bailey; the others showed various degrees of amazement and smugness, Zhi Selkio looking about equal parts of both, but also somewhat nonplussed.

You are well-spoken for a cat, Zhan sent

And Bailey said, out loud, "so, that was you outside the hangar a few hours ago? Interesting." I wondered why a huge predator would paw the door that way."

I wanted with Donnavan. He is friend, I lonely.and he stuck his head over the railing, and let Donnavan rub him under the chin, where almost all cats apparently love to be scratched or rubbed. his fingers digging in as Mr. Winkie purred loudly enough to cause the ratlines holding ship to envelope to shudder, for all teh world like a tabby by the fire in some cozy cottage in teh country  -- except that most country tabbies aren't ten feet long, usually do not have six powerfully-muscled legs, or sport huge 8-inch canines , resembling large curved daggers...
----
Bailey and Jack turned to teh Young woman who had just joined them aboard teh Beau Rosin, and Jack askedsomewhat brusquely, "What's yer business here, again? Ye said you were in The Crossroads? Would that be the Crossroads Hotel in Chicago, or Purgatory? No threat is tio be implied by the question, I assure you, but be advised that Bailey, here," he indicated MW ,"can flit along right behind ytou wherever you run to." Or at least he hoped Bailey could do that; Jack really had no clear idea of the exact extent of Bailey's abilities as regarded dimensional travel.
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2010, 05:46:15 am »

"To answer you first question, I don't know why I'm here, exactly. I was trying to get back to Kentucky," Alexis said. "Wherever here is. I think it was the Crossroads in Chicago that I was at, I wasn't there for very long though. And I don't have any intention of leaving suddenly," She said, with a look, but not a suspicious one, to Bailey. "If my transport is this far off, there's no knowing where I'll end up next time I try to use it. I guess I'm here until I can get it fixed or fix it myself, or find another way back. And your previous question, I believe I've met Brantley once, but I don't suppose I could say I know him."

"You're a long way from Kentucky, miss Voltaire." Frank said, a bit sympathetically. "This is Venus, the Sea of Lygos, more specifically. 1898, June... third." It might have actually been anywhere between the second and the fifth, as far as he knew. The length of the days on Venus made it difficult to keep track.

"I guess that would explain a lot..." Alexis said with a hint of amusement, looking over to the big cat, his eyes closed and purring contentedly like a small engine. "Sorry that I showed up like that," She said, looking back to the others. "didn't mean to surprise you."
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 06:13:38 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 06:57:57 am »

"Wellll..."Jack drawled, "Seeing as how you were at the Crossroads Hotel, it's understandable; that whole part of the Marina district is known fer goshawful effects on out-of-adjustment dee-vices, and if there's any disturbance anywhere else in th' multiverse, th' Crossroads tends to get the brunt of th' mis-traveled people. Has sumpin' ta do wit that ol' rock in the middle o' th' lake, a feller told me once.

Miss Voltaire? Bailey said. "We don't really have very comfortable accommodations aboard this vessel -- no, calm down, Jack, she's obviously designed for no more than five persons, and we're now upwards of 12 or more; its a wonder she can fly at all, to say nothing of provide sleeping quarters for everyone. looks like we'll have to sleep in shifts if we're to get any shuteye at all...

Anyway, miss, you might want to grab one of the old sailcloth hammocks down in the hold for a bedroll, and see about setting it up out here on deck. Don't know as its safe to sleep in the storeroom itself. There's a big room downstairs with about a thousand big rats in it. no telling whether or not they can get in here, now, with the door down and the door-frame so torn up."
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2010, 05:50:33 am »

'Rats no problem, not come near now.' Mr. Winkie purred, looking without shifting away from the railing, to the door. 'Fear to come close where hunter was. Make hard to catch, able to smell too good.'

---

Once Alexis had gotten things arranged, she disconnected the transport device from necklace chain of electrum and set to work on it. It was shaped similar to a pocketwatch about two and a half inches across, and the outside was a polished dark silvery metal that resembled lead. It was etched on both sides with a ring shaped spiral or vortex pattern, and engraved on one side in fancy script was Andromeda 440.

She opened the device and lifted the hinged piece on one inside half that looked like a cross between a clock and a small control panel. Underneath were many layers of gears, and the tiny indicators that read whether or not they were in tune all showed them to be working perfectly. She sighed, and closed the panel. Exactly how it had been when she'd left the Crossroads. One of the problem was it didn't have many parts that could be repaired with ordinary tools, or those that could be easily carried. The design of the transport was rumored to be alien in origin, and few things about how it worked were well understood. Fortunately the parts that were most difficult to fix seldom needed repair.

She took a thin hex key and removed a series of tiny brass set screws on the edge around the other half, and took off the ring holding a thin disc of gears in place. She disconnected the gears and carefully lifted out thin disc. Underneath and protected by what looked like a glass shield were four bright points of light circling clockwise at varying speeds around a fifth stationary, slightly larger and dimmer point. The points were six small, perfectly round spheres of shining metal. It was the device's core and what made it function, as well as it's power source. How powerful it was exactly, she didn't know, but it was much more powerful than most other devices of similar size. When it was powered up it had five fields corresponding to each of the five points, very similar to the fields of the Beau Rosin, the innermost of which functioned as a protective barrier.

But what she was paying attention to wasn't the spinning points, it was the small white disc underneath them. It was the dial that set the time constant* from the rotational rate of the points when it entered space-time. Later versions of the device had been equipped with an adjuster that allowed this to be changed by hand, but this one didn't have it. (The later versions, the Andromeda 550s, had an unfortunate tendency to cause spontaneous black holes and had resulted in the destruction of the only prototypes that had been built.) The dial was only supposed to move when it recalibrated after moving through time. But now had just moved a small amount, very slowly, counterclockwise.

"Oh... this, this can't be good." She muttered.

The dial had stopped moving, but now the spinning points had also changed, speeding up a fraction. The device was in perfect tune, and it had apparently not been when she had left the Crossroads, which was impossible. It wasn't impossible that it would end up this far off course when it was in tune, it was just a very bad sign. She replaced the thin gearworks on top of the spinning points, and reconnected them. They whirred, very softly, and one of the dials marked 'aetheric pressure' moved back a few numbers, resting on -3. That shouldn't be happening at all, it had read 6 just half a minute ago. Not unless something had been disturbed in relation to time and aether flux*.

The Andromeda devices weren't illegal, exactly, but having one could raise a lot of questions. They were capable of causing a time displacement unique to the devices and how they operated, the Andromeda Effect. At first the Andromeda Effect had been used to 'undo' past events and prevent them from causing damage in the future. They apparently erased the events completely from a timeline, and left no detectable signature or disruption in the timeline. But the problem was that the device did not erase the events, it actually disconnected the fragment of the timeline in which they had occurred, and the fragment was very unstable. A chance occurrence could cause it to 'snap back' and cause changes years later in the timeline that were usually permanent. Because the Andromeda Effect left little or no record or trace in the timeline of having been used until it began to destabilize, preventing such a chance occurrence was difficult if not impossible. Places where the effect had been used could be found and corrected, but doing so became more difficult the more the fragment destabilized, and once it had started to do so completely it was almost impossible to reverse.

There seemed to be one connected to this device, and now for some reason or another it was starting to 'snap back'.

"Is there something nearby that might be causing an aether flux disturbance*, or some sort of time anomaly, something that would cause an effect like a timejump*?" She asked, hoping she was wrong. "Because otherwise there might be a problem."

---

*I have no idea what those actually mean.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 06:56:07 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2010, 07:13:35 am »

"So that's what an andromeda looks like." Jacks voice came from over Miss Voltaire's left shoulder. That one looks like what Miss Sally called a '400 series.' Jack's speculation was somewhat surprising, and probably would have surprised Brantley himself if he had known; he knew that Sally'd discussed other timetravel devices with Jack, but even though jack was something of a pass master at working on large-scale travelling devices, it was unusual that She had revealed the 400 series, the product of Grimalkin Corp's Xenotech division, and her personal crusade for regulation.

The 500 series had indeed been a particularly catastrophic line, and both she and Brantley and a whole Cadre of her own terrestrial "Aunt Sally" division's best crack agents had spent better than the equivalent of a decade wiping away the traces of that disaster. Even Jack had been pulled into the fight, and had effected the demise of many of the black holes caused by those devices, simply by going back and preventing the series of events that caused them. It was not for nothing that the Beau Rosin and its captain were considered invaluable  universal constants and were thus protected at every unpredictable turn.

here,miss, Jack said, kindly, handing her his own set of Pocket Device Tools. the're a float-grip in there for moving things like that disc. you ought to be careful, though, out here, with that kind o' device, Miss Voltaire; Brantley says there's so many crossing timelines here, its like 'a bowl of dimensio-temporal spaghetti." The aetherphone suddenly started ringing, and Jack went to answer it, a worried look on his face...

"speak o' th' devil, and  he calls me on a busted aetherphone...
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2010, 04:27:18 am »

Alexis began to check for parts that might be out of tune. It was less likely to have caused the kind problem that would have brought her here, but it was possible. She hoped it would end up being something like that. The indications might have been wrong, and it might have been nothing more than some sort of readjustment anomaly. It would be difficult to fix, but then just about anything would be better than what else might be happening.

One of the problems with the unstable timeline fragments the andromeda effect produced was that they were 'attracted' to the devices that had created them. Once a fragment started to destabilize, it could cause the device to end up off course, and send it where it was likely to cause the fragment to destabalize even more.

Going back to Gettysburg looking for the last piece of information had been a waste of time, and now this... She sighed. Very little about this seemed to make sense anymore.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 04:30:18 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2010, 05:11:49 am »

Bailey was on the aetherphone when Jack made his way past Zhan, Mingh, and Korza, all of whom seemed fascinated by 'Mr. Winkie,' who (almost in an un-catlike manner) was enjoying all the petting and attention the were administering. he squeezed past, and entered the cabin, barely avoiding Shi Iri, who was coming from the opposite direction as she spoke to Kirza about something-or-other, and both headed out onto the deck, both climbing onto one of the ratlines that secured the envelopeportion of teh ship to the  scow, and climbing up to the top of the envelope, apparently unworried about what might happen up there if the field were suddenly interrupted. He locked the Travelling Field controls in the 'on' position, and locked the setting of the machine with an actual hex-wrench lock that would only allow the main control to switch it off, which precluded the accidental tripping of the switch. He hoped.

"What do you mean, Officer Brantley?" Bailey asked. Oh boy, jack thought, Brantley's gone and mentioned his cop status, that doesn't bode well. Wonder what it is this time, did I somehow fart my way from travelspace to threadspace and bunk up the causal Maitre D or whatever the hell he calls it?

Jack-captain? is something wrong?

Sorry, Mingh darlin', didnt mean to upset you, I was just thinkin' it doesn't usually bode well when Brantley gets all cop-official on everything.

Brantley again? Korza chimed in, he just left, what's going on now?

Shi Iri expressed lack of knowledge, and Kirza answered in the overmind, that it was to do with their new passenger; she had heard it via the overmind from Bailey..

Well, let me talk to him, and we'll see, Jack said.

"Sorry, Jacck, it was ringin' and I just picked it up outta habit," Bailey said, adn Jack answered,

"It's OK, Bailey, Glad you did; he mighta hung up otherwise."

He took the receiver and listened for a bit, and his face changed very little, except for a slight change toward the end.

"I don't understand why she won't let you cme and deal with this yourself, Brantley," Jack said, somewhat exasperatedly, "I'm not the Customns cop; I can't arrest anybody unless Miss Sally authorizes it... No arrest? She's in the clear? Then Why in tarnation did you call?... Kardalga's left crutch, Brantley, just because we's a-layin' low don't mean we got nothin' ta do! Oh, alright...

Well, just be sure you come and handle it yer own self if it drops in th' pot like you say, then. ..Alright, thanks for th' heads up. yeah, yeah, yeah, 'bye and all that."

Jack hung the Aether phone back on its hook. "well that were a whole kertettle o' nothin' much..."

"Looks like we gots us some explorin' ta do, folks," he said over the loudspeaker. "Somebody close by's operatin' a rogue pocket device. No, Miss Votaire, he didn't mean you," Jack said to Alexis' startled look, they've got yer device on scope, and its not the one causin' the problem, but it is affecting the...the...what'd he say... the fragment? Is that about right?" he asked miss Voltaire, as if certain that she would know what he was referring to better than he.
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Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2010, 11:06:55 am »

"Yes, but... Damn, if that means there is a fragment..." Alexis said, thinking a moment before continuing. "If there is a fragment, and it's destabilizing enough to cause problems like this, it might be pretty close to destabilizing completely."

"So what happens if this fragment destabilizes?" Someone asked.

"When a fragment gets made, it disconnects it from the timeline. So whatever happened in that timeline fragment no longer exists in the present timeline. When it destabilizes, or 'snaps back', it essentially forces a re-write of the timeline to include the events in the fragment. When that happens, everything in the present, here and now, if this one destabilizes, can end up very different. It gets worse the longer in the past the fragment happened. Usually it's pretty bad even if it's recent, considering that the andromeda effect was used to 'undo' events, and created fragments like this because what was in them was something that couldn't be allowed to happen... If this device is affecting the fragment but isn't what caused it, it might still be connected to it somehow... It's odd that whoever has the device that caused this fragment would still be here." Could anyone have followed her here, someone who had an andromeda? "Not unless... This could be worse. It might be that someone else knows about this fragment, and they're trying to destabilize it. I know it sounds crazy, and it is. Usually it's people that don't know the full effects of what happens when the fragment 'snaps back'. But it might be that someone wants the things that got undone to re-occur, and they're trying to make this happen."
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 10:09:58 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2010, 06:08:37 am »

The man checked the small device again, looking around nervously into the semi-darkness. Evening had come with little warning under the deep canopy, and the light had all but faded in a short time. The lantern didn't seem to show much beyond the closest of the huge tree trunks and the hanging vines. It might have been just a trick of the dim flickering light, but the orange flowers of the hanging vines seemed to follow the glow of the lantern, and their petals twitched oddly. It also attracted hundreds of creatures whose eyes could be seen just on the edge of the darkness. Some of them were huge, appearing in one place and then disappearing, only to shine yellow again from some other spot. And some of the biggest of them seemed to have four eyes, a larger and a smaller pair. Most were tiny, but there were hundreds of them, all waiting silently and rarely moving or blinking. There were few sounds other than the occasional swish of the dark water and the drone of the night insects, and once the loud screech of some unfortunate creature being eaten.

If it wasn't for the fact that the device was set to take him back when the job was done, he would have left an hour ago. He checked the safety on the heavy double-barreled aether gun for what was probably the hundredth time. He wasn't even sure it would be any use against creatures the size that some of them appeared to be. The lantern light flickered and dimmed slightly.

It wouldn't be long now. He hoped.
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MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2010, 06:17:13 am »

"I can think o' one group o' people who might want to change the recent past, Jack said, "eh, Mingh?"

Aye, Jack-Captain, the Drene-vah may indeed be trying that very thing; the innards of Miss Voltaire's device looks very alike one of their ritual teleport designs I saw once in a cave that we raided back in the first purge - at least that's what the one we tortured said it was. Mingh sent. Jack relayed that to Miss Voltaire by calling it through the now-gapped-open windshield-pane in front of the wheel. "These Drene-Vah are a bloodthirsty lot, Miss Voltaire; they'd not stop at destroyin' the universe, I'm thinkin', to keep their little coup-de-tat alive... 

Jack stepped slightly to the left and dusted off yet another instrument that had not been used much recently. It was basically the same thing as an aether signature tracking device, and it was hooked into the scan-tank; he had simply forgotten to disconnect it. It had been what detected the blossoms of energy-flux caused by the plasmic cannon's impact detonations that showed up as floral-like representations in the 'tank's display, so in truth it  had been used, but only passively, and only at its current near-null setting.

He spun a couple of rheostats, clicked a potentiometer around, pulled two of the ten small levers down and one lever up, and when the green lights in the middle of the device's control panel began to alternate with the red and amber to either side, he turned on the scan tank, put the ship into third level travelspace, and began to rotate the ship in place to the left. He flipped a lever on the Fire Control section of the controls, and opened the unused weapon blister on the top of the envelope, and heard Shi Iri's and Shi Ki Kirza's excited mental noises as they noticed the turning of the ship and the blister opening up.

"Please get in the envelope section through th' Blister, Ladies," he said, "there oughta be more than enough room. I ain't put a weapon up thar yet." When he saw in the 'tank that they were inside the envelope section, he closed the blister over their heads, and popped open the hatch in the floor of the envelope, and then the one in the top of the forward cabin directly beneath it. "Come on down, ladies, he said, we're about to go in search of a rogue Andromeda machine. I'm tracking for energy flux signatures now. Zhi Selkio, you back there?" he called back to the back cabin.

Selkio answered that he was. Jack called back to him, "would the Drene-vah know time-travel spells?"

Selkio had started explaining why it was unlikely, when Jack suddenly said, "Wait! SHH!" He had put an earphone in his ear, and spun down the contact screws on the flux-tracker over the earphone's leads. "Nope, Never mind," he said, "That's not a spell, the signal's too regular and too quick to be a chanted flux disturbance."

The ordinary fabric of time and space was composed of an outer staticky, entropic layer,  called 'flux,' according to Miss Sally. Below that layer and protected by it was a further layer of less-entropic energy, under which lay the causal "threads" of the  threadspace that chronojumpers used and chronojammers disrupted when they were used to travel through time. It was also what was fragmented when the Andromeda devices were misused. the flux layer had to be agitated, disturbed, in order for the other layers to be reached and opened and the threadspace to be interacted with.

Machine-operated agitation was regular and precise; chanted, spell-based agitation was irregular and imprecise, for the same reason that drummers among all musicians were both loved and criticized; no drummer can maintain a perfect beat indefinitely. By the same token, no chanter or group of chanters can keep up perfect meter, and usually speed up and slow down all over the place.

The regular, even hum that Jack heard in his ear was the steady, machine-regular beat of a pocket device, and it was only a few hundred yards ahead among the trees!

Jack eased the Beau forward, careful to stay in travelspace and invisible, and above all silent. When the 'tank showed the ship to be right beside the shape of a man fidgetting with a large aetheric rifle and the device in hand, he whispered to the others, "everybody be silent, now, 'til we've materialized; the amber light on the 'jammerbox will turn on when that happens." The light came on, and twelve fire and energy arms clicked loudly on, and Jack said in a normal voice over the loudspeaker, "Hands up! Drop th' gun, an' DON'T drop th' device, mister," and he pulled and  pointed his Mauser at the man, through the open starboard porthole.

The man did not drop the aether gun, but whirled around and fired, the energy splashing against the first-level travelling field. Jack fired, as did Frank, Bailey and  Kirza -- and the device dropped down between the roots of the mangroves...
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 03:47:17 am by MWBailey » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2010, 07:46:29 am »

The man fell back into the dark water, and three enormous pairs of jaws grabbed him and dragged him under. The water erupted with the fury of the creatures fighting over their prize.

From between the mangrove roots and halfway out of the water, the device gleamed silvery in the dimming glow of the lantern. It had been apparently pre-set for time and location, however, because it suddenly powered up by itself. The four rings flickered to life and almost in the same instant, it vanished with a loud electrical snap.

The splashing soon quieted, and and the dark waters stilled, rippling now and then from insects skimming the water, and from the watching eyes of the creatures rising again to the surface.

Zhan growled in frustration, but said nothing.

"Do you think you can track where that device just went?" Frank asked Jack, happening to look at the clock as he entered the cabin. It didn't seem like it should be dark outside already, and the length of the days made it hard to even keep track of where the sun should be. It read... it didn't matter what it read, because it probably didn't match Venus time anyway. He just kept checking it out of habit. But as he watched the second hand on the clock started to slow, almost imperceptibly at first, and then slower and slower... There was a strange, subtle feeling almost as though a balance had shifted, a balance that no one even noticed because it was always the same, unchanging. but the balance of forward slowly, slowly became neutral. The second hand stopped, and the balance waited there a moment in time, and then very slowly but speeding up, tipped the other direction. The second hand started again, moving once... backwards. Just on the edge of perception there was an odd high-pitched sound, and then everything went black.

---

a burst of fire from an armorclad airship tore the water in front of him. He kept going up the beach, holding a rifle that felt at the same time familiar and strange, a much different design, smaller and heavier. he shouldered it and fired, shots as quick as he could pull the trigger, and then the metallic sound of the clip, reload, start firing again. Keep going, up onto the hard packed sand, the turbines of an armorclad roared overhead, theirs, loosing incendiaries into the jungle in front of them, even this far away the blast could be felt. Shots and screams, someone falling to his right, blood in the water, reload, keep firing. The enemy rushing out to meet them, bayonets fixed and yelling, smoke from a crashed ship drifting across the battlefield, making it hard to see, sight picture automatic, aim and shoot. Last shot, sound of the clip, the soldier in front of him staggering back but not falling, reload. The soldier raised his own rifle, fired, onetwothreefourfive, the impact throwing him back onto the sand. A glimpse of the sky, torn apart by fire and smoke trails of incendiaries from the armorclads, the rifle under his hand, breath catching in his throat, watching his life ebb away red into the surf of some unknown beach...

---

He was laying flat on his back on the sand and salt grass, breathing hard and his heart racing, more glad than anything else to be alive and looking up at the stars and listening to the waves on the distant shore. That hadn't happened... but it hadn't been a hallucination or a dream, he was absolutely certain of it. It had been real.

"That was a hell of a trip." Donnavan said, from somewhere in the darkness.

"Yeah."

"Why are we here?"

"I think... it was a snapback effect, the fragment destabilized." Alexis said, from somewhere farther away.

The air was noticeably thinner than Venus, and it felt much cooler but not cold. The slight breeze was warm, and rustled the palm fronds overhead. As they got up they noticed a glow in the distance, flickeing yellow like old electric lights. Everything was oddly quiet, and there didn't seem to be anyone around.

"Doesn't that look a lot like the old place...?" Donnavan said, as they came near the old building that had been built into the wrecked hull of an airship. A faded sign over the door read. 'Marshall's Tavern'

"...I think that is the same place. We must've..." Frank said, and then asked Alexis. "what did you say happened?"

"I think the fragment snapped back into the timeline. When it did it re-wrote everything, and for some reason it must've brought us back to the same place and time it started at. It's attracted to things that were connected to it, somehow... Might be why I ended up where you were, when it pulled the device off course, and why I'm here now." She opened the device in her hand and adjusted one of the controls, and then moved one of the switches down. The device chimed softly, and she closed it carefully and reattached it to the chain. "Alright, I set a beacon to this place, I'm not sure where the ship is. It probably didn't get affected by the snapback the same way as you were, and since it was out of phase I don't know what might have happened." She looked around, it was still dark but the first hint of dawn was showing in the east. "I'm not sure where we are, either..."

"If you'll believe it, cause I'm not sure if I do," Frank said. "Manila Bay, about 1890."
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 12:38:26 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2010, 10:58:16 pm »

Klaxons suddenly started going off in the part of Chicago's Undertown that the A.U.N.T.S.A.L.L.I. organization had set up shop in; extending to nearly a thousand feet below the mud on which Chicago ultimately rested (and into several encapsulated dimensional zones as well), and well down into the bedrock, the facility housed workshops, barracks, Timeports and harbors, ingress and egress complexes for various types of men-o-chronowar, interdiction ships, and troopships and the troops to fill them. In all, nearly three million people, and the materiel and renewable and self-sustaining supplies to sustain all of them, all under the direct command of Miss Sally and the Committee.

And at this moment, EVERYTHING was being mobilized.

Gunships and corvettes, armored airships, Aether-capable star frigates, battlecruisers, gunships, even an entire gold legion of space marines, and all their weaponry, including ordnance that could crush several planets and implode scores of suns, were loading up and taking off, mustering in the huge Null Threadspace rendezvous bubble in the Region Between. Sally and her Committee fellows prayed that the force would not be needed, but as the standard-seconds clocks ticked around their faces, it became more and more apparent that the situation was even more dire than expected, as even the Drene-vah proved powerless to stop the massive turnback and rewrite of time that was occurring in the pan-multiversal regions of the Solar system, centering n Venus. The battleship Schatzenjaeger, instead of being merely damaged, was rendered nearly unusable, and it turned out that the normal British and combined fleets of all nations' Aetherwarships that had attacked Mars were rendered inoperable; only the HMAS Mad Badger, the HMAMS Jaguarundi, the HMAS Khukhuri and the RTAF Beau Rosin still functioned for certain. No one was able to ascertain whether the Sutter's Revenge still currently functioned; it seemed that she must, for a long-term probe showed her returning from a long sojourn hiding in the Oort cloud, but was found to be thirty years in the newly-reconstructed future; there was no sign of her engines' signatures in the here-and-now

It all seemed to center on the year 1890, on a beach on the National Island of Manila, in the South Seas of the Pacific Ocean on Terra. And horror of Horrors, Khaisin Shah was in command of the airship SS Chthuga that sat approximately 1000 yards off of the beach where Frank and Donnavan walked toward a familiar old bar...
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2010, 11:17:03 pm »

And barely a thousand feet to the rear of the Chthuga, Sergeant-Major Malcolm W. Bailey of the Royal Indian Air Security Service held in his hands an aetheric bomb of half-mystical components, including an incredibly-unstable power-collection grid, various secondary incendiaries, and enough steel pellets to fell an army. he and his compatriots sat their positions aboard the lifeboat-blimp, the last of the blimps of the RIAAS Sultana, painted black and armed as heavily as would allow her to be fast and take off from the ground. Bailey knew everything that had gone before, but was determined to not let the Chthuga escape this time, either, and he mourned the loss of Kirza, and swore to foil the Illuminati and decimate the Drene Vah -- again...
---------

Jack awoke from what he first deemed to be one of his earth-side saturday-night benders, back when things were still simple and he flew from time to time and bar to bar, playing his banjo and having a grand old time. Then the mindvoice of Mingh impinged upon his reverie.

Jack-Captain, I know not what has happened, but the others are gone and we are alone. I hear your reminiscence, and I mourn with you for those times, and wish we could share them, but we are here, now, together -- wherever and whenever 'here' is...

"Alright, Miss Mingh," Jack said, somewhat more gently than was his habit, "But how do you explain your hanging for dear life onto my leg?"
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 12:36:13 am by MWBailey » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 05:25:30 am »

Frank slung his rifle over one shoulder as they walked up the beach. Somehow, it and the other weapons they had been carrying were still here with them. He tried to reach Shi-iri, but he suddenly found she wasn't there. Her presence had always be there in the overmind, waking or sleeping, and now she... Wasn't gone exactly, he realized with mixed relief and dread as he tried to reach her. She was somehow very distant, but not like a separation of physical distance.

'Shi-iri?'

There was no answer.

He sent again, trying every way he could think of to reach her. Nothing came in response. He didn't know what else to do, fearful that she might not be able to answer, or wasn't really there at all... But after a few seconds her call came, very distantly. He answered, trying to find her, and the slight link became clearer.

'Shi-iri... I was afraid you were gone.' He sent, worry and fear that he might not be able to find her again changing to overjoyed relief at hearing her respond.

'I had feared the same...' She sent back with the same feeling, but with worry also. 'There are others nearby I think, I do not know how many. Mordheim and Shi-Mori are both here, but the others are distant, somehow. I cannot reach them, I can only sense that they are there. I think we can find them, but it will take some time... Are you on the Beau Rosin?'

'No, she isn't here. What about Bailey or Kirza, Or Jack and Mingh? Are they here, even distant?'

'I do not know... I cannot find any of them, except maybe Bailey, but that is only traces of traces.' Shi-iri sent, very worried.

'I am here...' Kirza's voice could be heard, very faintly and distantly a few moments later.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 05:28:24 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2010, 06:52:42 am »

We are here, sent Mingh, I think we are above Venus, but I nearly lost Jack-Captain overboard. her mind-voice was fairly dripping with mortification and relief

I hope that never happens again, sent Jack, I owe Mingh my very life. He was still recovering from awakening dangling by one leg, apparently a mile above the clouds of venus, within the field but only just, saved from falling away completely by Mingh -- who had grabbed on just in the nick of time. He said out loud, "Miss Mingh, if you'll have me, I-I'd be honored to b-be... He paused, then visibly gave himself a mental kick for his pride, and said, "oh what the hell, I want to be your Companion. Can I?"

And Bailey Heard Kirza, and paused in his slaying long enough to call out mentally, Kirza? Is that you? Thank God, I thought you were gone!

Some time passed as the others all sent and talked and tried to figure out what was happening, and then the scant three cultist survivors of the revenge of the Sultana's security sergeants rose from the surf not twenty yards from where Frank and Donnavan stood -- and then Bailey was there, and killed all three, chopping them down even as they raised their cutlasses to attack the pair before them. The last one fenced for a while with Bailey, but in the end, the wilder and wilder slashes of the cultist's desperate cutlass moves were his undoing, as Bailey ducked under the fellow's guard as the momentum of the cutlass swept the weapon past ineffectually. Bailey took him in the abdomen, and then detached certain body parts, making it impossible for the cultist to continue...

Soon, Bailey stood up from his grisly work in the reddened surf, and walked forward, saluting with the khukhuri, and saying, "Hello Frank. Fancy meeting you here, ah? Er...where, exactly, are we? And exactly when?"
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 06:54:37 am by MWBailey » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
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Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2010, 04:12:09 am »

"The Philippines, as near as I can tell, the year's around 1890." Frank replied, sheathing his half-drawn blade. "It's good to see you're here. The others seem to be somewhere nearby... I don't know why we're here though."

Alexis looked at one of the dials on her device before closing it again. "Yes, it is 1890. I think somehow something that happened at this place and time was what started the fragment. Why we ended up here... the snapback had something to do with it, but I don't exactly know either."

The pale glow of dawn was growing brighter, enough to see the outlines of shapes outside the circle of flickering electric light. The light was mounted on the top of a tall pole fashioned as a crude sky-beacon, warning airships of the high rock point that was visible as a black shape on the fading blue of night above the wreckage-turned-tavern. It was apparent that the airship, the wrecked hull of which was now layered with pieces of tin to keep out the rain, had crashed into that same rock years ago.

There was the sound of wingbeats, and Shi-iri, followed by Shi-Mori, Kirza, and two others came into view far down the beach over the tops of the palms.

'We have not found Zhan or Selkio, but I think they are here somewhere...' Shi-iri sent.

'...Aye, I'm here.' Selkio sent faintly. 'I'm coming...'

Zhan had just sent something when a sudden bright flash lit up the bay like green lightning. As they turned to look, and then watch, one of the ships near a small island at the bay entrance disintegrated in a blueish white explosion that became a spreading multicolored shockwave of fire. And then just as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone, leaving only bright afterimages. The surface of the bay didn't appear to have been disturbed, and there was no sound or shock from the blast. Aside from the ship that had exploded being gone, it looked as though nothing at all had happened.

Only a few seconds later the bow of a submersible broke the surface of the water with a loud whoosh, about thirty yards away. It plowed into the sand of the beach, stopping about ten feet away from the water's edge. The deck was only eight feet or so above the water, but the submersible was huge and built like a partly streamlined, watertight surface ship. A hatch opened and three men in uniform walked out on deck, two carrying rifles, and one talking into a small radio.

"We found the time disturbance signature, it doesn't look-Yes sir-" The man with the radio said. "Yes, I understand sir." He said finally, and clicked the radio off. "You've just entered a restricted time-space." He said to those on shore, slowing at the sight of the dragons, but then continuing. "You're going to have to come with us."
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2010, 05:27:11 am »

Now, just hang on, Bailey said, an edge to his voice. He was wearing the black tunic of an RIASS night fighting commando, with Lt. Commander's bars on the epaulettes (apparently he had not been demoted  in the new causal re-structuring, but instead promoted several levels up), and whilehe was still carrying a huge Kothi-Mora khukhuri, it was not the same one he had had before the whatever-it-was. HE wa salso wearing a completely different revolver, one whose cylinder carried ten .454 rounds, and had kicked like a mule whjen he fired it not thirty minutes before. That, the tunic, the huge knife (it was a whole two inches longer than the fore-arm-length monster he had carried at Parhoon), and the flat-black-laquered steel pith helmet all bespoke of a far different cumulative reality than the one he had originally inhabited.

Now, just hang on, in case you haven't noticed, our Dragon Companions cannot fit down that hatch, there -- and just who are you people, anyway? Are you Secret Service or A.U.N.T.S.A.L.L.I.? He pronounced the acronym as 'Aunt Sally,' and the man with the radio looked as if he had swallowed a gutta percha golf ball slowly enough to taste it.

"How did you hear of--?" teh man took in teh dragons again, and bailey, and teh huge Khukhuris tehy all bore, and then said to himself "Right, stream thirty-nine, Dragon Corpsmen." he clapped a hand to his face, covering eyes, nose, and mouth, and slowly wiped it downward; a gesture of frustration and a silent plea for strength in coping."You're some of that lot from Pulsifer's blimp, aren't you? I'm not allowed at my level to tell you who I or we are, but I can tell you that the Captain is taking orders from someone you'll remember from recent events...

The captain's voice roared from the radio, "LOOTENANT! What in the SAM HILL is taking so Long?!"

The hapless fellow explained the situation, and orders could be heard in the background noise of the radio. Suddenly, the upper bow of the vessel split open, and a ramp was extended down to the beach at the water's edge. "Gentlemen and...er, Ladies," the lieutenant said, glancing at the dragons, "if you will just step this way..."
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Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2010, 05:36:42 am »

Once everyone was on the ship the ramp was raised and the bow doors closed, surprisingly quiet, behind them. There was a series of loud clicks as the locking mechanisms engaged that held the doors closed, and the engines hummed beneath the deck. A slight shudder ran through the ship as she backed away from the beach, and then she tilted slightly down and to port as she turned and made for deeper water. The forward hold just past the doors appeared to have been used for shore landing vehicles but was currently empty, and there was enough open space in it for all of them. It seemed that Bailey might have been the only one of the group changed by the rewrite, possibly because he had been outside the Beau Rosin's field when it happened.

"I think they're still trying to get something sorted out on the bridge, but Harrison here can tell you some of what's going on." The young lieutenant said, as an older man came down from the upper deck.

"Alright," Harrison said, and muttered something. He looked like he hadn't slept in a few days. "This is the timeship Esmeralda. We're not part of A.U.N.T.S.A.L.L.I., exactly, but we work with them. Mostly fixing things that get messed up in the timestream, changing events and that kind of thing. That explosion that just happened, we think, was caused by someone trying to bring an aetheric-nuclear device back in time, it went off when they arrived. Whether that has anything to do with the 'rewrite', I guess you could call it, that just happened, I'm not sure. We're also tracking a rouge timeship, a zeppelin called Black Magic that came into the area. We don't know if she has anything to do with this, or is just showing up to watch the trouble and see if she can cause any."

Alexis was standing and listening behind most of the others, when a sound like muffled scratching reminded her suddenly of something. She pulled a small round wooden box out of one pocket and carefully opened it. A bright blue hand-sized scorpion uncurled himself (Or so the friend who had given her the scorpion claimed he was.) from the small space and stretched his legs, and chittered quietly. He crawled out of the box and up her arm with a soft metallic clicking, from between the joints in his blue legs tiny gears could barely be seen. He looked somewhat delicate, but his reinforced joints were stronger than they looked, and the venom in his curled tail could be deadly, if he chose. He was biomechanical and bioelectric, and gained some of his energy and electricity in some unknown manner through being near his owner or other living things. She stroked the faint compass-rose design on the scorpion's back, and he settled on her shoulder and watched with bright eyes.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2010, 08:54:01 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2010, 11:57:41 pm »

"So, when is this thing supposed to come back? You said it would be back before we even knew it was missing."

"Just wait, might be a flux disturbance preventing it from recalibrating" Darrin said calmly.

The supervising official began to look suspiciously at the chief researcher.

"If you've lost that device, Darrin, they'll have you-"

"Hold on, here it comes!" One of the technicians said, after checking some of the indicators from where he was, seated behind a reinforced triple-paned lead glass window. There was a snap, and it took them a moment to figure out that the device actually had come back, and was resting on the floor.

"Dammit, he didn't come back!" One of the other two technicians said, and both of them rushed into the room, ignoring the safety protocols. Darrin waited, not looking the least bit alarmed.

"Is this part of your plan?" The official demanded. Darrin said nothing.

One of the technicians slowly picked up the device, and opened it. He looked at it first with confusion, and then slowly horrified understanding.

"What in... what have you done?"

The official saw Darrin's slow smile and reached for his sidearm, but Darrin was quicker. Before the other man could draw his pistol Darrin had pulled a .38 revolver from under his coat and shot him four times in the chest. He reached down and picked up the official's radio communicator, and pressed a sequence of buttons.

"Bring that device here. And seal the base." He said to the two shocked technicians. They didn't move.

"I thought we agreed on this. Do it, or you end up like him!" Darrin said, turning on them and pointing the revolver through the open doorway. One of them slowly handed him the device, and they wordlessly got back behind the controls, one of them glancing up at the chief researcher, but Darrin kept the revolver pointed at them.

"All inner levels are sealed." One of the technicians said.

"No, all of them. The outer levels, outside buildings, and the gates. Seal everything."
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 08:59:13 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
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