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Author Topic: The Andromeda Effect ~ Alternate Timeline ~  (Read 18855 times)
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2010, 04:41:12 am »

Jack and Brantley had taken a coffee break in the officer's mess and encountered the Esmerelda's Chief of Engineering. When he heard what they were up to, he offered the use of one of engineering's portable air compressor & air tank sets, and a rotary tool attachment to handle jobs like drilling, screw driving, etc. ...

"BANG! BANG! BANG! *tinkle* *sawing noises* DriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllLLLLLLLlllllll... BANG! BANG!ARGGHHhhh

"Sorry about that, Jack!"

"Consarnitbloodyhammerheadowowowow... WATCH WHAR YOU BANG THAT THANG!"

"I SAID i was SORRY!"

There came a sound like a giant mosquito on mind-altering chemicals, and then a loud, almighty  CRUMPT, as if someone had just fired one of the plasma cannons -- which they had; Brantley had used a torque wrench and accidentally kicked the fire control wheel. Luckily, Jack had prudently taken the guns offline, but there was apparently still a slight energy charge in the gun that went off. The inner bulkhead which had been struck glowed cherry red for several minutes, before it finally cooled enough to fade back to its new permanent shade of blackened grey, with a black chrysanthemum shape where the beam had actually struck.

"WATCH where yer KICKIN, Brantley! You'll sink us and th' Esmerelda too, if you're not careful!"

Alkright, looks like that's about it. It'll take one helluva almighty blast to bounce her around now!

------------------------
Jack looked at the plans for the base, and imagined what it would look like flying down through the underground base and then back up and out again. "Miss Voltaire," He asked, "you're the one with the expert-ness on them there Andromeda thingers. If I kin git you into that enclosure, kin you git it and take it back on board th' Beau?"
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 04:47:43 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 #51 on: July 01, 2010, 05:15:58 am »

"Yes, I think I can do that." Alexis said, nodding. She had stayed on the Esmerelda when the Beau Rosin had gone after the Black Magic, and taken the opportunity while the others had been repairing the ships, to get cleaned up a bit and changed into something clean. Her scorpion, Ra, was partly curled up and dozing on her shoulder. (Donnavan had jumped nearly a foot when he'd first noticed Ra, he didn't like bugs.) "Though I'd like to something better than this cap-and-ball revolver I've got now." She said thoughtfully.

"Daniels!" Hayes said, as the young lieutenant who they had seen on deck when the Esmerelda first surfaced, walked into the room. "Show Miss Voltaire here to the armory, see that she finds a new weapon and knows how to use it."

"Alright sir. You're wanted back up on the bridge."

Alexis nodded, and got up to follow Daniels as both he and Hayes left the room. She returned a short time later with a short barreled .38 five-shot revolver in a simple crossdraw holster, and a cartridge belt with an extra ten rounds.

"How'll we disconnect the power to these devices when we get to the storage?"

"Let me look..." Tobias said, pulling out more papers but not finding what he was looking for, and eventually reaching for a thick book. "Knew this'd be worth the weight to bring..." He muttered, looking for the right page. "Should be fairly easy, there's a switch that disconnects main power here," He laid the book flat on the table so they could see the diagram of the large control panel. "and this other big one, here, disconnects the emergency generators. The batteries..." He flipped through a few more pages, muttered something, looked it up in the index, and flipped to a different section before finding what he was looking for. "The batteries are in a locked compartment under the floor. Why they put them there..." He turned the page. "But they also got put in later, so pretty much all you have to do is pull the plug connecting them to the bottom of the panel. Huh. Put 'em in a locked box and then don't even bother to..." He shook his head.

"Sounds like it should be fairly simple then." Donnavan muttered, although they couldn't tell exactly if he was being sarcastic or not.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 06:43:42 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 #52 on: July 01, 2010, 05:59:24 pm »

Brantley was as skeptical as Donnavan, and thought of past missions that went awry because of the hasty and wrongful assumption of the enemy's stupidity.

"Speaking purely as a rather paranoid field operative, and pardon my doing so,  but isn't there a good chance that if the cord is pulled, it works the same way as a deadman switch, and triggers an alarm or something? Or maybe the change in voltage causes something to be triggered elsewhere? Maybe one should carry a wire to bypass the circuit..."
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2010, 08:33:26 pm »

"Yes, it does seem like they might have wired it that way..." Tobias agreed, looking through a few more pages but finding nothing more. "It'd be a good idea to come up with a way not to  it. An alarm might not be much of a problem, but it's possible they might have put something else in there... Some sort of trap or defense mechanism, maybe."

---

'The air smells strange here. Sort of like fish.' Shi-iri remarked, half-questioningly, as she and the others were working on preparing their weapons and making sure everything was working properly, and going over the maps a few more times.

'Hm? Oh, that's the ocean, salt water smells a bit like that.' Frank replied, finishing the last strokes of sharpening his khukhuri.

'It is an interesting place, your world.' Shi-iri sent, working on repairing and adjusting a worn-out harness strap.

'Yeah, I guess... Never really thought I'd come back here, though.' Frank tested the edge of the blade and sheathed it. He started to work on making sure his other weapons and gear was ready. What was his world? Luna had been as much of a home as any, but not really, anymore... The Mad Badger, maybe, a ship he'd last seen, what was it, six days ago maybe? What they called standard days, anyway. It seemed more like weeks. A ship that wouldn't even be built, now, for another seven or eight years...

'I understand.' Shi-iri sent in a somewhat apologetic tone, catching his thoughts. 'I miss Luna, yet it doesn't seem quite like home anymore.' She half-stretched her wings and refolded them, making a few final adjustments to her harness before she was satisfied that it fit properly.

---

"The Esmerelda has been destroyed." Darrin had continued a conversation with his superior on the radio after Tobias left his office. He glanced up as someone entered, and waved them out after they left some papers on his desk.

"Good. what about the Stormwind?" The man on the other end, he only knew as Raymond, asked.

"The plane is here, took some damage but is being repaired. And I've managed to convince the pilot to work for us. He was skeptical at first, but I don't think he'll be any trouble."

"Good, everything here seems to be going according to plan. I should be able to give you some security codes to work with until we can meet." He gave a few sequences of numbers and letters.

"Alright, understood." Darrin said, finishing copying them down. "We've prepared a second transport for the devices, in case they're able to deactivate the first remotely. We found and disabled most of the remote cutoff switches, but we can't be sure we got all of them."

"Very well. Any word from the Chthuga?" Raymond seemed to dislike having to ask the question, as though it pointed to something he had missed on his part. "Or the Black Magic?"

"Neither have reported here, but then they weren't supposed to radio this location yet, unless something went wrong." Darrin said, trying to carefully to both not take blame himself, and avoid mentioning that if they hadn't radioed Raymond's location, something had gone wrong.

"Keep monitoring all channels. They probably forgot who's paying them and went chasing after some merchant convoy." Raymond sounded as though that was what he suspected, but not entirely believed.

"Alright. We'll do that." Darrin said, sounding slightly relieved. "I'll be waiting for your next contact." Darrin moved to turn the radio off, but Raymond added something, almost as an afterthought.

"Darrin, I don't suppose I need to remind you what will happen to you if you fail."

"No, sir. I'll make sure that doesn't happen." Darrin said with a somewhat forced laugh, turning off the radio. He couldn't quite keep from thinking of what Raymond had mentioned, and he turned to the papers on his desk, trying to forget.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 06:27:45 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #54 on: July 05, 2010, 12:29:04 am »

Bailey And Kirza had joined the others, sharpening their khukhuris, fieldstripping their weapons and cleaning them and putting them back together again, and in general getting ready for what seemed to be sizing up to be a major and complicated action.

Korza and Cartwright were standing watch with the Esmerelda's crew; more a diplomatic duty than anything else, though the Esmerelda's crewfolk did often say they felt safer with such a big, powerful-looking being on patrol.

Mingh helped Pulsifer with a long-overdue field-strip and cleaning of the pop-up Gatling gun and its mountings, getting it all cleaned and back together in record time, and (after giving due warning to the captain and crew of the Esmerelda) tested both the deployment and firing stages of the weapon, using blanks for the firing test. They also reloaded the rocket mitrailleuse and reloaded the hoppers for the Gatling's ammunition.
------
(OOC: More to follow, must go now and mow 'the back 40' Wink)
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #55 on: July 08, 2010, 05:04:51 am »

Alexis practiced unloading and reloading her revolver, and checking to make sure she could get it out of the holster quickly. Ra was more alert, sensing her nervousness, and waved his claws threateningly at anyone who came near until she finally coaxed him back into his box.

Donnavan prepared the plasma rifle he'd gotten from Selkio, having made a few adjustments so that it was more suited to a human than a dragon. He'd also gotten three more light throwing knives from the Esmerelda's armory. (The armory took up about three times the space normally used for small arms on a ship, and was well stocked with weapons of all types and time-periods.) "I wonder where Mr. Winkie's got to?" He muttered.

'I here,' Came a soft reply as the huge cat padded almost silently into the room. He had come on board with the others from the beach, almost unnoticed. He was surprisingly stealthy, even for being so big.

"There you are, where've you been?" Donnavan said,

'Near.' He yawned wide, sleepily as much perhaps as to see if he could startle one of the Esmerelda's crew that had just walked in. He settled down near Donnavan, and purred in a contented manner, with a slight mischievous look in his green eyes.

"Just a question," Frank asked Tobias thoughtfully. "Why'd the organization send you, if they have the ability to send these devices anywhere they want?"

"Well, they can send it anywhere, but they really can't sent them through time. Don't ask me to explain, there's a lot of physics I don't understand... or anyone else understands, really. It's got something to do with the properties of the nuclear materials and how it interacts with aether. But it's dangerous, sometimes just the material itself goes off like nothing they've ever seen before. I don't think anyone's figured out exactly how or why."

---

"I'll be on this frequency." Tobias said when they had nearly everything ready, writing down the radio frequency, and then the time and coordinates. "I'll head back to the hangar just where and when I left, and stay in second phase, so you won't see the plane. I'll use the interrupter, shifts the phase into first for a moment to fire the weapons. It can't be used for long or it'll overwork the core, since it takes so much power. But the plane is near-undetectable, I don't think anything of ours can see it anyway, and nothing can touch it, in second. I'll take out the entrances to the lower levels and keep the rest of 'em busy on top while you get below."
« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 05:46:08 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2010, 05:02:54 am »

Jack had found, of all things, a a drum of Diesel in the hold of the Esmerelda where he and Brantley had been working on teh Beau Rosin. He nearly simply attached a cable to it and then to the winch to haul it aboard, until Brantley hollered at him and demanded that he ask permission first. "You keep actin' like a pirate, bucko, and before long you'll be one!" Brantley told him angrily.

Later, after the insisted-upon permissions had been asked and granted, and all the equipment had been checked and double-checked, and then loaded, Jack put out the gangramps. The party boarded the Beau, and they 'set sail' for the underground portions of the base, Jack holding grim-faced to the wheel, Brantley pacing back and forthg with a vengeful air, and the whole ship's company gung-ho to set things right...
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Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2010, 08:52:33 am »

Darrin had been negotiating over the radio with several high-ranking officials when the sound of shots came. First it was an odd sound that he didn't recognize as the Stormwind's laser weapons, followed almost immediately by the explosion of them destroying one of the anti-aircraft turrets. At almost the same time rapid bursts of small arms fire started. He hastily cut off the negotiations, blaming a technical problem that needed immediate attention, and turned off the radio. He hoped that none of them had heard the gunfire over the radio.

One of the base personnel, wearing the new blue uniform they were using instead now of the green ones, ducked into his office and reported. "Sir, we're being attacked-"

"I know that!" Darrin snarled, in his haste forgetting to take off his headphones, and was halfway out the door before the wires coming sharply taunt reminded him. He yanked them off and threw them back into the room. "Who is it?" He asked as he quickly made his way to the central elevator. He regretted now having moved his office up to the first level.

"An airship, we're sending-" The messenger was interrupted by a thunderous explosion that could be heard distantly overhead. He continued. "And some sort of plane they've never seen before, needle-shaped with no markings. Could be-"

"DAMMIT!" Darrin yelled, knowing exactly who it was. He ran for the elevator, impatiently waiting for the doors to open when he reached them. The heavy reinforced doors closed behind him with a thunk, and the elevator quickly dropped with the hiss of steam-powered hydraulics. Noisy and always needing maintenance, but they kept working when most of the power was diverted to the transports or other places in the base that needed a lot of electricity. Darrin punched the access code for the fourth level into the panel just inside the doors, and ran for the transport room as soon as the doors opened again.

---

After saying farewell and thanking to the crew of the Esmerelda, Tobias boarded his own ship, and locked the ramp into place. The engines started up with a faint hum as he engaged the secondary drive, and then the third as soon as there was enough power. The Stormwind disappeared from the Esmerelda's hold in a vortex of blue light, and emerged 7,800 miles away and forty one years in the future.

Tobias returned to the hangar in the New Mexico desert just how and when he had left it. The hot bright sunlight filtered down into the otherwise empty darkness from high dusty windows. but he kept the Stormwind in second phase and waited, only a few seconds, for confirmation that the Beau Rosin was here. He then quickly maneuvered the plane up and out of the hangar, leveling off about seventy-five feet over the base.

---

The Beau Rosin had appeared much closer over the base than those watching the scanning screens and looking out over the empty desert from watchtowers had expected. They managed to sent only one device after her before she got below ground, and it came only after she destroyed an anti-aircraft turret that fired at what amounted to point-blank range, ineffectively, at her on her way down. Partly they were hesitant to use anything so close and risk their own structures, having never expected an attacking ship to get so close unnoticed. And they apparently figured it wouldn't take much to bring her down, they sent one of the small devices. Close as it was, it would have been overkill for any normal ship.

But the explosion only sent a slight tremor through the Beau Rosin as it surrounded the ship in a sudden flash of aurora-colored fire. The only damage it did was to destroy a few close buildings and trucks, and flatten one of the hangars almost directly below them.

Tobias's plane could be seen for an instant as the intra-lock lasers fired with a bright white flash, destroying one of the truck-mounted anti-aircraft turrets in a violent explosion of orange fire.

The plan was for the Beau rosin to leave the advance party in the main hallway on the fourth level near the central elevator shaft. The Beau Rosin would then go to cut the power to the transports, which would probably be simplest, from what they could see from the design plans of the base, by destroying the two sections of wall the power cables were concealed behind. hopefully they would also be able to find the andromeda device. Zhan, Bailey and Kirza, and Brantley would disconnect the power supply to the devices. After taking out the guards on the three rooms, the others would get into place to defend the positions until the devices were disabled and the Beau Rosin could pick them up, not knowing how long it might take to disable the devices or what kind of forces were defending the base.

---

"The airship's gone, but what about the plane-" Darrin started to say as he entered the transport control room.

'No sir, the airship's still attacking, the device didn't work." One of the technicians sitting behind a scanner screen reported.

"What do you mean, it didn't work?!" Darrin demanded, this time almost with a note of panic.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 09:58:07 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #58 on: July 14, 2010, 09:07:34 pm »

The device had exploded, all right, but not lethally -- at least, not lethally to the Beau or any of her company; in fact, about all it did do in the immediate sense was to rattle a few nerves and destroy one sub-dimensional version of the target's surroundings -- but in larger terms, that one near-non-event meant that in the grand Multiversal Scheme of Things, there would be one timeline in which the devices would not have to be turned off; they were simply destroyed by one none-too-careful placement of a timetravelling explosive countermeasure designed (fatally, it turned out), along the same lines as the devices themselves; and thus the vast plan of the illuminati failing to work in that world sent reverberations all through the totality of the Space-Time Multiverse, since the Plan had included occurrences interlaced  through and across Space-Time -- occurrences which were now failing to occur with catastrophic (for the Illuminati Plan) results.

Already, tiny threads of causality, some of which were the ones that the Beau was using to stay in third level, began to unravel. This manifested itself in Darrin's world as a seemingly never-ending sequence of both major and incredibly minor things going wrong, often in a chain reaction from an otherwise innocuous non-event, through the exponential sequence to a major, history-changing lack of an occurrence... In other words, Murphy's Law, as applied to the Illuminati Plan, enacted on a horrendously large scale. One by one, the subverses began to fail to follow the Plan, and the would-have-been Illuminati Trans-time Hegemony began to fail, first in Isolated locations, then increasingly-complex and numerous cascades of failure.

To Jack, in the collection of Subverses where he and the Advance Party were working, it manifested itself as a feeling of one having crossed a bridge wider than expected, and one which could not be recrossed, since it fell into the canyon behind one. There were also the sudden lurches of the earth and the distant bangs and booms sounding as though through the very earth itself. Jack, Mingh, Brantley, and Alexis' solution was to have the field envelop the areas in which they had to get out to work within the Beau's travelling field, thus shielding it from timequakes and whatever else might develop. the time came for the planted explosives to go off, and to fire away at the remaining sections of wall that could not be mined in time, with the rockets and plasma guns.

lets let 'er rip, Boys and girls! Jack cried, and let loose a war-whoop of delight as teh wall erupted into a series of titanic explosions, and the plasma bolts and rockets hit home and caused a second holocaust of destruction.When it was all over, Jack began to notice that little things that had manifested themselves, like the varnish on Mingh's leather harness, or the oiled deck outside the cabin, changing back in subtle ways to the way that they had been before the whatever-it-was had changed everything and re-wrote history; then, the exploded wall itself disappeared, and Jack and Brantley both realized Simultaneously what had occurred, and Brantley hurriedly augmented the ships Jumper with his own pocket device, and they sprinted back and picked up the advance party. "Everybody hang awn, " Jack yelled, It's gonna get rough, and there's no tellin' where" -- the scene visible through teh field flickered to a vast starfield, -- "we will" -- the scene flickered again, and they were above the glowing destruction of the Drene-vah peninsular base on Venus -- "end up" -- and they were back in the Mangrove Sea, hovering above a mangrove hummock, looking at the body of a well-dressed man -- and then back again...
Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2010, 04:39:02 am »

Tobias took out the other two anti-aircraft turrets easily, and then destroyed both the corner of the main building where the entrance to the underground levels was, and the small 'hangar' that concealed the second. Shots rang off the fuselage and underside of the wings, but with the turrets gone he was he was free to make open strafing runs in first phase, leaving trails of death and destruction until he saw nothing moving above the ground.

---

The driver of one of the truck mounted anti-aircraft guns had backed into a hangar for cover when Tobias had started his attack. Now that he saw the plane was visible and open to attack, he signaled for the gun crew to get ready, and pulled out into the open just as the plane was about to pass overhead.

The plane disappeared in a flash of light, but the gunner could make out two thin trails of gray smoke that had been following it, and he saw them make a tight circle as the plane came around to attack. Just before the flash of light came and half a second before the lasers fired and cut the truck in half, the gunner pulled the trigger.

---

After leaving the advance party to disable the devices, the Beau Rosin got to the room where the andromeda device had shown up on the scanner. The room was brightly lit by several wireless lights and filled with strange polished mechanisms with thick tangles of wiring of all different sizes running from them. Despite this showing up like an overgrown forest on the scanner, the device had been easy to locate, not only because it put off a powerful signal, but because it was resting on the center of an otherwise empty table.

Alexis snatched the device from the table and scrambled back on board, ducking instinctively as one of the base's security noticed the ship and fired a few quick shots through the open door at the end of the room. The shots merely glanced off the Beau Rosin's fields, and Alexis scrambled back on board, and a few seconds later they got to work on disconnecting the power.

---

Confusion in the transport control room immediately followed the failed counterattack on the Beau Rosin, first from the realization that she had survived a direct hit without any apparent damage, and soon after that when everything just started going wrong.

No one noticed a minute later when one of the technicians, a younger man who was wearing the blue of the Organization, but had been working at the base for several months now, glanced quickly around the room and slipped out the door.

He broke into a run as soon as he was out of sight, not heading for the central elevators, but for a locked room marked 'supplies', where a backup elevator was hidden. Someone of his rank shouldn't know about them, and if it had been anything but a real emergency, he wouldn't have risked it. He stumbled as several explosions shook the floor, but quickly got to his feet and unlocked the door with a key he had taken from a hidden pocket. The elevator only went between the fourth and the third level, and the door was locked from inside on both floors, but the key worked for both of them.

He quickly got to the security rooms, glad to see that there was no one there. It took only a moment to change into the old green uniform he'd stashed in one of the unused lockers, find the key for the cell at the end of the row, and lock himself in. He slipped the key between a gap in the cement floor and the wall that he'd made sure was there months before. He never thought that he'd need this plan so soon, but it was working well so far.

It was only a matter of time, and probably not much of it, before the Organization's forces were defeated. The Airfleet, or whoever it was attacking, would let him out when they found him, thinking the Organization had put him in here. After that it should be easy to get the information Berlin would want about any damage caused by the attack, and the state of the base. Now all he had to do was wait.

---

The two guards standing watch at the storage room had been alerted of the attack, and as soon as they saw someone come around the corner that wasn't base personnel, they opened fire. Frank had been half expecting it and had his rifle ready, but his first shot missed, and he ducked back behind the corner for cover as the guards emptied their clips into the wall.

He didn't have time to fire a phase match, so he adjusted the dial in front of the trigger to a close approximation, and turned out into the hallway and fired two shots as fast as he could. The second shot was unnecessary, and it impacted the far wall with enough force to crack the thick concrete and caused a piece of the floor to break and fall into the room below it.

Zhan was following behind them, and Shi-iri moved out of the way to let him past.

"We'll hold it here." Frank said, and Zhan returned his nod, carefully stepping around what remained of the guards and disappearing into the room.

---

The devices rested on heavy shelving inside the room like rows of huge lead eggs, some cylindrical but most oval or round, the largest perhaps a foot and half across. There was a steel cap on the end of each with a combination lock dial, and they were secured in place on the shelf with another locked mechanism.

Zhan noted that two of the devices were missing from this room, and got to work on disconnecting the power from the rest. The first two switches were easy, but the third, the battery backup, was more complicated. There was some sort of trigger circuit connected to it, and a slightly more complicated one than they had expected. The bypass they had made for it would work, but it would take time to connect it properly.

As the explosions of the rattled the floor, Zhan turned his head when he heard something roll off the small table near the door and hit the floor. He cursed quietly when he caught, or thought he caught, the dull gleam of lead as the object rolled out of sight. He hadn't been able to see it well enough through his bad eye to be sure, and he couldn't leave the wiring he was working on now, since he was having to hold several stripped wires from touching each other.

'Can you see what that was?' He sent to those outside, with a mental indication of direction and what he thought the object might be. I might be nothing, but if it was one of the devices, and it got hit...!

---

'I'll try...' Frank sent back,  to reload his revolver. He didn't want to risk using the rifle again and collapsing the place, after seeing what the missed shot had done to the floor. He looked over to Shi-iri, and she nodded quickly after checking the power level on her plasma gun. 'I'll hold here.'

He was just able to catch sight of the lead cylinder as it rolled across the floor and out of sight into the hole the rifle shot had made. 'Not sure some kind of lead cylinder, fell through a hole in the floor-' He started to send a mental image of it when there was the sound of another explosion, but much closer, and a cry of pain from Shi-iri that he both heard and felt.

He ran back around the corner, aiming without thinking and taking down one of the guards at the same time as Shi-iri's blade struck another. Relieved to see she was still on her feet, Frank shot two more around the corner, and seeing no one else, turned to Shi-iri as she tried to reassure him she wasn't hit bad.

---

On the floor below Donnavan had only gotten a few shots off with his plasma rifle before a returning shot hit one of the insulated leads on the side of the barrel and shorted out the power. Two of his throwing knives found their marks, and the third was in his hand ready to throw, his long dagger saved for last, when heard the double-click of a hammer being pulled back behind him a split second too late for him to turn.

But the shot went wild when something knocked the guard down from behind, and as Donnavan turned the guard's yell was quickly silenced by Mr. Winkie's long teeth at his throat.

'Good, you quick.' the cat sent, with something like a half-smile. 'But keep wary, ears in all directions.' He turned his own tufted ears at a distant sound too faint for Donnavan to hear.

'Power's disconnected.' Zhan reported, at about the same time as the two others sent the same. Donnavan and the others heard Jack's yell soon after, and quickly got on board the Beau Rosin.

---

As soon as Tobias saw the truck pull out of the building he switched back to second phase. But unknown to him the engines had started to smoke as they got hot, so little that it would never be noticed at a normal altitude and normal conditions. But here the Stormwind was hovering and maneuvering less than seventy-five feet above the ground. Tobias pressed the trigger and the plane shifted out of second phase, and the moment it did the lasers fired, cutting through the thick steel armor around the gun and touching off the powder in the shells with a massive explosion.

But before the plane could return to second one the shots from the doomed gun hit the windshield, and another tore through the horizontal stabilizer on the left wing. Tobias fought with the controls as the plane started to tilt, the right stabilizer humming up to a screaming whine as it tried to compensate. The Stormwind had never been built for gliding or anything close, and it accelerated forward at an awkward angle as he tried to stabilize it and lose altitude slowly enough to land. The system overloaded and the power went out at thirty feet, and he barely managed to get the plane level before it slammed into the ground.

---

Darrin ran into the control room of the third 'backup' transport, one that hadn't been designed for weapons and still had power. He set the controls for time and location, put in a minute delay, and got inside the transport room, leaving the door open behind him.

One of the devices in the storeroom on the floor above had been left on a low table when the attack came, and as an explosion came, it caused the device, a small cylindrical one, to roll off the table. The device hit the floor, bounced at just the right angle on the one part of the casing that wasn't lead, and out into the hallway, and a second explosion from another direction sent it rolling to where the concrete floor had been broken earlier. The slight slope turned the device just enough to pull it down and through the spot in the floor where a piece of the ceiling below had fallen away... where it hit the floor underneath with a solid thunk of lead this time, and in further defiance of probability, tipped over and kept rolling, right through the door Darrin had left open.

The device rolled onto the platform just before the field formed around it, and slowed to a stop. Darrin looked down, noticing the device, but he didn't quite have enough time to fully comprehend what it meant before the transport powered up and sent him back to 1890, where a ship that had got a trace on the beacon Alexis sent was waiting in Manila bay...

---

The first slanted light of evening was starting to glow yellow outside when Tobias regained consciousness a few hours later, slowly and not too clearly. It took him a few moments to figure out what had happened and where he was. There was hardly any light coming in through the broken windshield, half-covered by a thin layer of red sand and dirt. The controls were dark, and the radio was dead, he noticed without exactly realizing at first what it meant. Couldn't call the others, didn't know what had happened, even... Dust, outside. Broken windshield, must have...

Crashed. The shots from the last gun just before he'd destroyed it, fire, the plane falling. And now... here. Survived it, somehow. The others... he had to do something, but he wouldn't be able to, power was out. Emergency radio, in the back, of course. He tried to get up, but didn't get very far. With some relief he found he could feel everything, he hadn't broken his neck at least... He thought he heard voices outside somewhere, but he couldn't make out the words.

He started to reach for his pistol when white hot pain stabbed through his right arm and shoulder. He stopped and tried to look over to see what was wrong, that hurt too, but not as much. Afraid of what he might find, but the light was too low to see. He tried to move his other arm, and found that it didn't hurt much. Pulling the glove off with his teeth, he reached over slowly to his right arm, finding sharp jagged edges of something slick and sticky with blood. Glass, he realized, looking at the fading dusky light through the broken windshield that had been shattered into needle points around a hole where the round had hit it. Wasn't supposed to break, but then it wasn't supposed to take a direct hit from something that big. He blinked a few times, trying to clear his vision, taking a few breaths.

He froze, trying to listen as the voices came closer.

"...Where the hell... ...did this?... ...mighta been a strike force, but where... ...come from, or left?" He could make the words out more clearly as the two people came closer, and it sounded as though they were searching. "...Lookit that burn mark, nothin' causes that short of intra-lock laser."

"Whattabout that wreck there? Doesn't look like one of ours."

Tobias tried to move his good arm to get his pistol, but just couldn't reach... He gritted his teeth and reached over toward the holster an inch at a time, the pain pulling him to the edge of blacking out. It didn't occur to him yet how he was going to pull the pistol out of the holster, much less aim and shoot. He was focused just on getting to his weapon... The footsteps were coming closer.

"Wow, yeah. Looks like some sort of classified, maybe..."

"No, waittaminute... that is one of ours. Seen it in the sky not too long ago."

"If it was one of ours, like you say, how'dya know it isn't one of theirs now, that got captured?" The other voice sounded slightly alarmed.

There was the slight metallic sound of something contacting the metal skin of the plane. "No, she's got intra-locks, musta been what caused all this-"

"What've you found here?" Another voice yelled, more distant. Tobias felt the pistol under his hand, but he couldn't quite seem... to...

"Anyone in here?" A voice yelled behind Tobias, startling him. He tried to respond, but couldn't at first, and coughed a few times. It wasn't the organization, they'd shoot, not ask questions. Probably.

"Yes," he managed to say, loudly enough to be heard. There was light coming from behind him, he must have lowered the ramp. He didn't remember unlocking it, but looking over to the controls he realized that he had, at some point.

"You hit?"

"Yeah." Tobias tried to turn his head to see who it was behind him, but he couldn't quite look far enough around. He heard someone outside call for a medic. "You Or-.. Organization?" Tobias asked, wanting to make sure.

"Hell no! We're United States Airfleet!"

---

Tobias woke sometime later in the base's medical wing with his right arm and shoulder bandaged, trying to figure out how he'd gotten there. He'd managed to get out of the plane, that much he recalled, but after that everything just sort of faded...

"Seems we owe you a lot of thanks for what happened." Someone said, and Tobias looked over to see James Douglas, commander of the New Mexico Airfleet. "And it seems pretty obvious you didn't do all of that yourself. But damned if we can find who did. What happened?"

Tobias started to tell him, when what Douglas had said about not finding anyone sank in. "the ship, the Beau Rosin, you mean she isn't here?" They'd be better at explaining this, but why weren't they here? The device hadn't done any damage, he'd seen the ship just after that. But it seemed like the explosion might have also done something... else.

"No." Douglas said, looking at Tobias like he might be slightly delirious. "What ship?"

"Airship, timeship, called the Beau Rosin. Somehow they got involved in this mess, met 'em on the Esmerelda..." He sighed, realizing he would have to tell everything from the beginning, and started to explain what had happened since Darrin had sent him out the night before. Douglas looked surprised when Tobias told him about the dragon corps, but not in disbelief.

---

When the Beau Rosin returned to Los Alamos, many things had changed. The flag flying over the base was now the Stars and Stripes, although with twenty-one stars and a different pattern than any from the Badger's dimension had seen before. There were wide black burn marks on the ground that intersected with what was left of several trucks and smaller buildings. It was also several hours later than when they had left, and the light was fading to the deep red and brown of the desert sunset.

'I think we did well, Jack-captain.' Mingh sent with a grin to her new companion.

Despite how close she'd been to the exploding grenade, Shi-iri had only gotten a few nasty-looking but fortunately not deep cuts on her chest and foreleg, and Kirza tended to her after she'd bandaged a cut on Mordheim's leg. Though they didn't know it at the time, the domino effect of failure caused by the missed time torpedo had worked in their favor, and few of them had been hit.

There were two armorclad airships and one huge, heavily armed aerial warship hovering over the base, and as soon as they noticed the Beau Rosin they readied their guns, but didn't yet aim them or fire.

A short message came over the radio on the frequency Tobias had given them, but a different person was speaking. "You've just entered a highly restricted-... Just a moment." There was a few seconds of silence, and then someone else said over the radio. "This is James Douglas, in command of the New Mexico State Airfleet. Is this the RTAF Beau Rosin?"
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 01:08:24 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
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« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2010, 04:22:21 am »

Jack answered over the wireless, "This is Captain Jack Pulsifer, and yes, this is the RTAF Beau Rosin. I am handing the handset to Malcolm Brantley, US Customs, and Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally."

The officer on duty in the control room placed a call to the CO, who authorized a set of action protocols, and within 60 seconds the entire base was locked down and teh control room crew were waiting to hear from the Beau Rosin's onboard agent.

This is Agent Brantley. Until I am instructed otherwise by Miss Sally, we are at green alert. Everything looks and feels as though it has been restored to optimum former status, but numerous checks, both on and offworld, need to be completed. Until that time, I defer all command to your regular commanding officer, who will report to me should any problems surface or erupt. The Advance Party of the HMAS Mad Badger , includung the Dragon Corps Troopers, are our honored guests; without them, none of use would now be here." Brantley clicked off, then said to Jack, "Now we get to see, in the next few minutes, just how normal everything really is..."
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« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2010, 04:05:19 am »

"Have you got a scanner of some kind?" Douglas asked. "Good, good, there's a big open space underneath the hangar with the red number 3 painted on the roof. It's not quite empty, but there should be enough space. You should move your ship out of sight, there's been more than enough secrets revealed today. We don't know who may be watching, or more importantly who they might be reporting to. I'll try to explain as best I can on the ground."
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 07:39:52 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #62 on: July 22, 2010, 03:24:30 am »

Jack did a quick head-count, made sure everyone was aboard, and then phased into the space indicated, but kept the systems up just in case something should go awry.

"Well, I guess we wait until whoever commands these boys and girls," he said, indicating the security guardsmen filing in and keeping their hands away from their weapons in a rather deliberate manner, "shows up and tells us what's what."
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« Reply #63 on: July 23, 2010, 06:58:00 am »

"Alright, I'll see if I can explain what the situation here is." Douglas said, after introductions were made, and those on the Beau Rosin had explained as best they could, from what they knew, about what had happened. "Well, I guess there's some history you need to hear first though. In 1922, the first successful test of a nuclear-aetheric device took place here at Los Alamos. The second, third and fourth times it was used, it turned a total of sixty square miles of grassland into glass, and made an area about twice that size uninhabitable for the next several hundred years. It ended a war and made the United States a world power overnight. Then in '26, Germany detonated the first of many of their own devices. Their design was copied, badly, from one of ours. Their devices are about as effective as ours now, and the radioactive contamination they leave is worse than even our first designs. Alright, the situation as it stands. Though they'll never openly admit it, we believe Germany wants to defeat us or force us to surrender without a nuclear exchange. Because for one thing, as many weapons as both sides have now, there wouldn't be much left over if that happened. We have an advantage in that we can send one of our devices anywhere we want in zero time, meaning no flight time or any way to stop them. We'd use this to take out their devices before they launched, and faster than they could react, except we don't know where all of the devices are. They keep a few of the big ones off world, and they have one hell of a powerful aetherfleet... A more immediate problem, is that most of our radar-tracking system has been put out of operation in the past four days. Two stations are still working, fortunately the ones that cover the east coast, but everything else, both here at Los Alamos and elsewhere, is down due to 'technical problems'. We suspect it may be sabotage. If they know we can't see what or if anything is coming, they'll try to force a surrender without firing a shot. We don't know whether this is connected to the Organization's attack here, but I don't think it is. It looks as though the Organization was attempting to repair the damage, not that they got very far."

"So the damage was done before they took the base over?" Zhan asked.

"Yes, about two days before. We weren't able to find who did it, and now it looks like we won't be able to."

"Hmmm, are you sure the Organization isn't working for Germany? They might have just made it appear as though they were making repairs." Zhan said.

"Doesn't seem likely, considering they probably never expected the successfully take back the base." Donnavan said. "Why would they leave a false trail, if they didn't expect anyone to find it?"

'True." Douglas said. "The Organization seems to be as much against Germany as the United States, if not more so. From what we've found, the reason they wanted Los Alamos so bad is they want to destroy Germany's military power."

"So... They wish to end the conflict?" Zhan asked.

"In the most destructive manner possible." Douglas said grimly. "They don't care if Germany launches their entire arsenal at the United States in retaliation for what would appear to be an attack from us. In fact it's exactly what they want, so far as we can tell. It's absolute madness."

---

"When can we expect the reports to be out, Hawkins?"

"The reports will be out in the morning, but possibly sooner." Hawkins said quietly over the radio. he stopped, looking up and listening when he heard someone walking down the distant hallway.

"Everything is going well then?" His contact asked.

"Yes, the reports are still secure." Hawkins said, using the prearranged code that meant he had been let out without any unexpected troubles.

"Can we expect them as soon as tonight?"

"I am not allowed to say when, but I do not think it will be long."

"Very well. Preparations are already being made."

"Good." Hawkins turned off the radio with a quiet click, and left the dark office. At least Darrin had left one good thing, a secure radio that couldn't be traced. The code was just for extra precautions, more from long practice than necessity. The base was locked down for now, no one in or out, but it wouldn't be much longer. He went to an office across the hall, opened the top drawer of the filing cabinet under the desk, and retrieved the key he'd left at the back under the files. The key that went to the car with the new experimental steam engine, that Darrin had conveniently left parked closest to the garage exit. The base was locked down for now, no one in or out, but it wouldn't be much longer. And when that happened, he'd be gone before anyone knew it.

---

"The reason I'm telling you all this," Douglas said after a moment. "is that we've seen what you can do, and word's gone all the way to the top.  We want your help."

Frank looked to Shi-iri and the other dragons and troopers. The general feeling was that they were willing, but uncertain yet of the situation. Could helping here and now alter something? Something that wasn't supposed to be changed? He wondered, sensing many of the others felt the same. They'd prevented the Organization from taking the base, but then the damage they'd done had been reversed with the timeline reverting to normal.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 06:52:19 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #64 on: July 31, 2010, 04:38:24 pm »

Brantley stood with the rest, wondering what should be done, who should do it, and if the 'who' were they themselves. He also wondered, with a little shiver of trepidation, just what had happened to Sally... and if A.U.N.T.S.A.L.L.I. had been erased; they weren't even part of this timeline, really, or rather they could be considered part of all timelines but separate from them in a special way, but Sally and the Committee had said that the Drene-vah, and the Organization had affected all of the multiverses. Could this 're-write' have written A.U.N.T.S.A.L.L.I. and the Committee out of the picture along the way?

A ringing in his pocket seemed to offer an answer to that question...

Moments like this always made Brantley somewhat giddy, both with mirth, and with a certain degree of trepidation; Sally was, after all, a being whom even the Old Ones found intimidating,despite her petite build and diminutively exquisite beauty...

"BRANTLEY! WHERE ARE YOU!? ARE YOU THERE?! OF COURSE YOU ARE! WE'RE PICKING UP YOUR RATHER UNIQUE VITAL SIGNS! YOU"RE STANDING THERE WITH THE DEVICE IN YOUR POCKET AND SMIRKING, ARENT YOU! AREN"T YOU?! ANSWER ME, DAMMIT! PICK UP AN--!" Brantley pulled out the pocket device and opened it. He was smirking, damn him, because there was humor in the situation; like in a play, one of those military farces, when someone asks 'where is God in all this? Why doesn't he open the heavens and speak?' And then the chaplain's letter pouch starts making talking noises...

He turned off the public speaker feature and put the earphone to his ear, speaking into the device, and said, after a few seconds, "BOO!" and nearly burst out laughing when the shouting on the other end increased in crescendo once again.

"Yes,  love, I'm alive, of course, so's everyone else, including Mr. Twinkie-- (a rather loud and indignant telepathic snort, and Donnavan's pet/friend said in his head, WINKIE! not TWINKIE!) oh, I am sorry, Mr. Winkie." He suddenly turned rather pink and said, "yes, I love you as well, of course I do, its just...well, I AM standing in the midst of the Beau Rosin's crew, and Jack, and the New Mexico High Command...yes, THAT thread... don't know about the 'plane for certain yet... Oh, yes, and Bailey too, fellow's a regular walking murder spree, I'm afraid... (Bailey, overhearing this, brightened up and smiled as if hugely complimented) yes, Nightshade hit that part of his personality on the nose, I think..." His voice became grave and then slowly less so," ...'Muddle through?' is that the best idea the blasted Committee can come up with? Well, should we be workin' with the New Mexicans, then? What do you mean, make up my own mind!?" Brantley's voice began to sound slightly outraged, "Why can't the bloody task force just come charging in and interdict the whole thread-bundle...oh, yes. I see, so it's up to me and the long-sufferin' Dragon Corps. Oh, yes, stout bunch, those people. What? Oh...alright. see you relatively soon, love...what, here? with the Dragons and everybod--ok, alright, its ok, of course I still do." Brantley made a kissing noise, turned dark pink, and then laughed nervously, then warmly, and then said,"alright. Bye for now..."
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 05:21:41 pm by MWBailey » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #65 on: August 04, 2010, 08:52:25 am »

"We'll need some time to consider things.' Frank said to Douglas, after Brantley had finished talking to Sally.

'Of course," Douglas replied with a nod. "Anything you need, supplies or anything else, just ask. There isn't a lot of space here right now, but we can find accommodations for you and the dragons, if you want."

"Aye, that would be welcome." Shi-iri said. "We are all in need of some rest, I think."

"Yes, it's been a long day." Frank said, realizing then how tired he was, and that they'd probably been up for over eighteen hours. It had been a long week, and they had more than earned a break.

---

Tobias met them later at dinner in the mess hall on the first level. His right arm was wrapped in a sling and he walked with a slight limp, but he seemed to be otherwise alright. "Did I miss much?" He asked, taking one of the empty chairs near the end of the table and digging into a bowl of beef stew.

"Not much." Frank said. "We went through some sort of re-write that reversed a lot of things, and hopefully got things back to some sort of normal. And we seemed to have jumped ahead about four hours. You alright?"

"Yeah," Tobias said. "Feel sort of like I've been hit by a truck, but not bad, considering."

"Sorry to hear about your plane." Selkio said. Douglas had told them some of what happened after they had gone... where and whenever they had been.

"Hey, any landing you can walk away from... or something like that." Tobias said with a slight grin. "They said there doesn't seem to be any major damage to the frame or engines on the Stormwind. Needs a stabilizer and some new wiring, and probably a few week's worth of work, and I'll get her flying again. A few of the higher-up's weren't exactly happy about me giving you information like I did, but I guess since it all turned out okay I'm not really in any trouble."

---

They'd been given a couple of fairly large rooms under hangar 3 that had been used as storage and a makeshift barracks at one time, but were now empty aside from some old bunks, and a large stack of empty wood crates in one. They pushed several of the bunks together to make room for the dragons to sleep, after making sure the frames were sturdy enough.

Frank thought over the things that would need to be done in the morning as they got a few things stowed and got ready for bed. Kirza had suggested that they contact the tribes on Luna in the morning, and see if they find out anything helpful about what the other moon dragons knew about this time. Zhan said they would be able to speak freely using mental speech, since neither he or any of the other dragons had been able to detect anyone here at the base or nearby that might be able to 'listen in'. Their weapons would need checking over and cleaning as well, and the timing for the phase match on his rifle seemed to need tuning, something had probably gotten out of adjustment over time from the long use. He leaned the rifle against the wall next to his bunk. He wasn't all that sure what to expect of this time either, and wanted to keep a close eye on it. A weapon to end wars, Maurtin had called it once. Was there even such a thing? He wondered as he closed his eyes.

'Goodnight.' Shi-iri mumbled sleepily, yawning and shifting her wings slightly as she went to sleep.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 03:37:26 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
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« Reply #66 on: August 06, 2010, 05:50:46 pm »

Frank woke early but rested, at about the same time as the change of watch would have sounded on the Mad Badger. He reached over for his pocketwatch where he'd left it on the low table next to his bunk. He opened it and wondered for a moment at how odd it was that they'd somehow ended up in a time zone where the rising of the sun actually matched the time his watch said it should come. Except it didn't, he realized as he got up and noticed the second hand wasn't moving, it was just that the damn thing had stopped again.

---

The morning sun slanted bright through the open hangar doors and down to the underground part of hangar 3 through a door someone had left open. It was already growing warm aboveground even though the sun had only been up for an hour or so. The base was still on lockdown, of a sort, (much to Hawkin's aggravation.).

Tobias's plane had been moved into the hangar sometime that night. The silver metal skin was dented and scratched, one of the wing flaps and the tip of one wing was bent around the hole through it, and the windshield and the roof of the cockpit farther back had a hole through it as well. The plane looked in bad shape, but as Tobias had said, there didn't seem to be any damage to the internal framework.

---

Alexis woke later, almost annoyed that the others hadn't bothered to tell her that they'd gotten up, but more glad that she'd been able to sleep in. Ra skittered happily across the floor, chasing bugs and fighting with the local scorpions. He was unwilling to stray far from Alexis, for reasons she'd never quite understood. He was about as smart as a housecat, and obeyed as much most times, but he was strangely loyal.

---

After a quick breakfast, the dragons and troopers gathered back near the Beau Rosin, and tried to contact the tribes on Luna.

'We seek counsel,' Kirza, Shi-iri, and their companions, and Selkio sent together, hoping it would be enough to reach one of the dragons on luna. 'Are there any that sense us?'

'Aye, young one.' Came an old-sounding voice that started out faint in Shi-iri's mind, but quickly grew clearer, and soon the others could hear it. 'I am Kithah-Tahl, keeper of the cliffs of Saliko. It is long since I have spoken to you. And others.' He said with some surprise, sensing the others in the group. 'I am honored, Tihar-Kor, fierce-warriors. What is it you seek?'

'Counsel of the state of the countries of Earth, of Men. Maybe it sounds strange, but we aren't in our own time.' Frank sent. 'We don't know much about this time, or what to expect of the United States of this time. They've asked us to help them, and we want to find out what we can to decide if doing that is the right course to follow.'

'Perhaps I may be of help to you.' Kithah-Tahl replied. 'The United States are much as they have been before, they were your home-country once, you know enough of their history, I think. They have not lost the course they seek to follow, in fight or peace. Much as my own kind sees otherwise, in counsel I say they follow a just course. Many of our kind think they fight for foolish reasons, but it is perhaps easier for an outsider to pass judgment than one who has fought for the cause being judged. Men fight much, but they seek good through it, or try to.'

The others talked for some time, asking questions about what the dragons knew and thought of the conflict between the Unites States and Germany, and how other things had changed. A few other dragons of the tribes joined in the conversation, and many more were listening. An hour or so later, most of the questions had been answered to satisfaction, and Kithah-Tahl had been about to bid them farewell, when another voice joined in.

'Desza, wait.' The older voice sent, speaking in a combination of draconic and slightly uncertain english. 'You may be in more Valath, danger than you realize, Tihar-Kor. I can say Kehav, little, but I will tell you what I know.' She paused.

'What is it?' Shi-iri asked.

'The way is Tare, dark. I can see little, but be wary.' There was a short conversation in quickly spoken draconic with another one of the tribes, and the old one spoke again. 'Deha, not human-tribe you talk of. Other, Tare, darker, hidden. Some dark powers gone now, destroyed and not returning. But others seek to take Rethasvah, chief's place of the dark powers. Much Sela, kirva dance-fight, over chief's position. Sometimes Sela just show, sometimes not. Sometimes chief position lead to real fight.'

'A power vacuum.' Zhan sent quietly. 'With the illuminati gone, of course others will be wanting to take the position that they had.'

'Aye, many. Ones you fight before maybe, and Rhassin-Tare, masked ones. Others, not clear. I tell you what I see, Tihar-Kor, and what I hear others see. Fair winds to you.'

'Aye, fair winds,' Kitha-Tahl sent, and added. 'Unless there anything else you wish to ask?'
« Last Edit: August 07, 2010, 07:30:33 pm by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #67 on: August 09, 2010, 01:25:58 am »

"Old One, please pardon my presumption," Kirza sent, following the form for introducing an unknown (as in the human 'wildcard' sense of the term), "there is one here among us who is of The Army of Time, and whom, I should say, is kin of the dark powers who have departed. He Is Brantley, of the Customs Department of another Earth than this one, and the Fiancee of Miss Sally, leader of the Timewarriors for the Peace, who may or may not be known to you. He wishes to know..."

THere was a flurry of seemingly-random thoughts, and apparently a short 'tutorial' of how to properly speak mind-to-mind with the Dragonkind, and then Brantley's gruff, but resp[ectful, voice intoned into the overmind, "Greetings, Old one and friends. I am Malcolm Wendell Brantley, United States Customs Department (of a different-but-adjacent plane and multiverse) , Retired."

He continued, "I am also, as Shi-ki-Kirza said, Kin of the Dark Powers that have departed from this plane, and many others, by dint of the implantation (against my will) and flourishing of certain organs from various individuals of that...tribe...for lack of a better term. I have been recognized among them as  Branthuga of the Winds of Time, and direct kin of Chthuga, once Of Parhoon, now Of Fire. I do not usually appear as they do, but can approximate their form through arduous and excruciating transformation." He did not mention the single Tentacle, the one that acted much the same as a prehensile tail sprouting from the small of his back, that he chose to retain after the Battle of the Mountain Base."

"I do not intend to brag, but to inform, should you not feel that I am worthy to speak to you, being kin to the Old Ones.

"My Question, though, is a weighty one: How stands the State of Time here-and-now? Is it solidly grounded, or do odd phenomena (memories suddenly untrue, odd outcomes of situations that do not follow the logic of the sequence, or anything similar) still, as yet, occur?
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« Reply #68 on: August 16, 2010, 12:50:42 am »

'You are welcome to speak.' Kitha-Tahl sent in an understanding thought-tone. 'You may be kin to the Old Ones, but you do not seem to be of the dark as they. We know some of those you speak of, Tihar-kor of those you call Time Army. They spoke with us when some of our kind went to earth to train for the Dragon Corps, and at times before. We support your cause, as we support theirs. To answer your question: Aye, we know what you mean, odd occurrences and outcomes. Some of us have seen many strange things, and for some while we were not sure of what we were seeing, or whether some of us were seeing true.' There was a mental sound like an amused chuckle. 'I believe time, here-and-now as you say, is returning quickly to what you call a grounded state. But some things persist, we have seen little of what such things might cause, and little is fixed in time, as yet. I cannot tell you much, but this is what we know.'  A few other dragons sent agreement with this, felt on the edges of what Kitha sent. 'If we see or find anything important, we will send word.'

After a short discussion, they told Douglas that they were willing to help. Frank, Shi-iri, Bailey and Kirza, and Zhan spent a few hours discussing the current state of the conflict with Germany, and what the Airfleet knew and suspected about what the Organization had been up to. There wasn't a definite plan about what they could do yet, but the Airfleet was considering many options.

They spent most of the rest of the day relaxing, checking over and cleaning their weapons and repairing things, and talking with Tobias (Who was grumbling about not being able to work on his plane yet.) and some of the others at the base. Zhan seemed oddly happy, in an edgy sort of way, and seemed to be still getting used to the fact that the Drene-Vah had been affected by the rewrite and were actually gone, at least in this time. Most of the dragons had gone out to stretch their wings, and were enjoying the thermals rising from the hot sand. When the alarm sounded and Hawkins made his escape, Cartwright and Korza, Shi-mori, and Selkio had sent that they were heading back since it was getting dark, but they were still too far away to get back in time.

No one at the base was quite sure yet what was going on, or had any more than a suspicion that Hawkins was a spy, but they knew something wasn't right.

"He's probably headed for Mexico Wells or Santa Fe," Douglas quickly told the others while his airship was being readied. "The car he took is fast, but the range isn't much further than that without stopping for fuel or water. We're sending out the two fastest airships to both airports there, hopefully we can intercept him if he comes through or tries to leave by that route. We haven't got anything fast enough to catch up with him or find him in the dark, and he's a ways out of scan range now. D'you think you can to go after him?"

---

Hawkins received word that the base was no longer on lockdown about an hour before sunset, and he waited until it was nearly dark before he made his way down to the underground garage. He started up the car, watching the steam pressure build quickly on the gauge, and when it was ready he drove slowly up out of the underground garage, around one of the partially-wrecked hangars, and stopped at the gate. It took the guard about ten minutes to realize that while the pass Hawkins had showed him had been legitimate, some things didn't quite match up.

The alarm was sounded and he was soon followed, but the pursuers were unable to catch up.

The last rays of sunset blazed bloodred behind him, and the dark was coming quickly. Hawkins kept the pedal down, letting the six-cylinder steam engine accelerate until the sleek black car was going down the empty desert road at over a hundred miles an hour. The muffled roaring of the wind outside was louder than the quiet sound of the engine, and the cloud of dust kicked up by the tires was lost in the fading dusk. He kept the lights off for now, there wouldn't be anyone on this road until he reached Mexico Wells, a tiny airport town outside of Santa Fe that was used to bring supplies for the base at Los Alamos. It was light enough still, just barely, to see.

The roads looked different in the almost-night dusk, and it gradually grew too dark to see properly. He turned on the headlights, the beams throwing a bright, and what seemed to him far too easily noticeable light across the ground in front of the car. He should still be far enough ahead of them though, he thought as he sped off into the dark.

---

---

Hungry, so long had they hungered, once their world had started to grow cold and dim...

Their food source dwindled, and with it came great wars, wars of fire and destruction, until only few of their millions remained. Those wars had allowed them a few hundred more years. Lean, starving years in which they sought escape. thinking, planning. Always hungry. Slowly, slowly their bodies became accustomed to the cold, the hunger. They became colder themselves, though fire would still take them in death.

Still they hungered, searching endlessly in the icy dark beneath the surface, futilely seeking new deposits of their food source. But it was dwindling from their world, meager scraps of a once bountiful world. Those that still held belief prayed to their gods. But their hopes were few, and they grew hungrier still.

Until one of their gods answered them, and gave them hope.

Their god brought them thoughts and memories, of heat, a world with an envelope of choking gas under a blazing sun. Things that lived in the primordial gasses that still clung to their world. Short lived, feeble things. They expressed disgust at the thought. But their god showed them more...

They caught one of the creatures when it landed in a strange vessel on their world, and examined its memories curiously. It had come from a bright blue and green world, what it knew as a new world. In the creatures memories there was heat energy, energy from the void itself, they knew this, and some other form of hoped-for energy that they could not understand. But there was one other energy, energy that they knew well. Food, life energy! The creatures had used it to power their constructed vessel, using a crude method of extracting heat. Such inefficient use, so much waste appalled them. But it told them that there was food, so much more food where this thing had come from.

They tore the creature's constructed vessel apart in a frenzy, feasting until they were hot with new energy.

The feeble creature did not live long without its own atmosphere, but they cared little. It had told them that others would return, would seek to find it. It had dared, quiveringly, to threaten them with the thought.

They would need more ships, they realized, to reach this new world. They cooled, reserving their energy, knowing they might not find more until they reached the creature's home world.

Another ship came, in time, and the captured it easily. But when they examined the means of controlling it they found that the ships were hopelessly complex, and that they could not link with the vessels the way they could with the creatures that had built them. They could barely tolerate the choking atmosphere that the creatures needed to survive, so bringing a few of the creatures to pilot the vessel would not work. They also realized from the gathered memories that the one they had captured first had been correct, and that the creature's race had powerful weapons, and many more vessels that could destroy even them before they reached this new world. It seemed almost hopeless then, that their years of seeking escape had been for nothing, and that their race was destined to die out slowly in the cold.

But their god showed them another way. They could change, slowly over hundred of years. They would adapt to this primal world, and they would make the creatures change as well. The way these creatures had built vessels to journey through the airless void and supply atmosphere, so they would use these creatures as vessels to survive the atmosphere of their world.

They captured more of the creatures, and proved that the changes made to both they and the creatures would be enough to survive on this new world. They gathered ships, and used the memories of their new vessel-creatures to pilot the ships on a course for the journey to a new world. They slept, and dreamed of what the creature's memories had showed. A great city, and three fascinatingly straight-sided mountains gleaming white beneath the sun...

---

Heat, not the clean, hot fiery blaze of food, but bitter heat, air heat, blood heat. But it was heat, and he relished it all the same. He listened to talking nearby, his mind not understanding much, but the host's translating instantly.

"Tony! Get back in here, they'll be out looking for us tonight, Molly says."

Tony, the host quickly identified the name as it's own. A new host took getting used to, but after so long the reflexes were well-remembered. Tony grinned, licking blood from his curved fangs. "I don't think they'll be looking for us tonight." He called back, letting a still figure slump down the wall.

"Well get in here anyway, thinkin' ain't knowin'."

"Alright, I'm comin'." Tony called back. He entered the back door of the alley across from the old inn, and shut the door behind him. He squinted a moment in the soft gaslight, and strode past the few men gathered around a card table. One of them looked up, but said nothing. They knew better than to question their boss, at least so directly. He gathered a few things that Tony had that might be of interest, a few weapons and enough money to get a quick airship to New Mexico. He went back downstairs, heading for the front door this time.

"I'm going out." Tony said to those waiting.

"Where you goin'?" One of them asked, who he knew as the second-in-charge.

"Down south a way's. Checking out some information from a few contacts. No new moves are to be made, unless the others act first." Tony knew exactly what to say that wouldn't arouse suspicion. Besides, these men might prove useful later.

The man nodded, finding this sufficient explanation. Tony walked out without another word, heading for the airport. The Organization's move might prove an interesting turn of events, and he had been called down to watch. (Little did he know that by the time he got there, the Organization would be under attack within a day.)

Tony watched the moonrise on the cloudy horizon from the window of his cabin. The sun on this world burned and was blindingly bright, and the changes made to the creature prevented it from seeing as well as it once had in the light. But the night, the dark... so much better! He had heightened the creatures senses, it's strength and speed. They were still feeble, these creatures. He much preferred the strength of one of the other four-legged creatures. He dreamed often of being one of them, a quick striped creature, lounging in the palace of some long-gone prince. But a host of this type was necessary, when they were so close to this world becoming theirs, and few of them left. There were newcomers, of course, but they lacked the knowledge that hundreds of years had given those who came first, and survived. But once they had begun to make this world their own, they would need such host-vessels no longer!

---

---

In a short time the horizon showed the sky beacon of the town's airport ahead of Hawkins as a bright white vertical line in the sky. Glad that he had taken the right direction, he quickly turned off the main road and headed down to the storage sheds on the outskirts of town near the airport, turning the lights off as he did so. The reflected lamps of the nearby airfield provided enough light to see by.

The lights were off in the place he was supposed to meet the others in, an old unused building covered in old rusting corrugated metal, but the wide double doors were open. He drove slowly in and parked the car. Someone closed the doors behind him with a boom that was magnified by the empty space, leaving him in darkness.

But when he got out, the man standing there was not who he had expected to meet. He didn't seem to be Airfleet, but Hawkins bewildered mind was unable to place him. He was better dressed than a worker here at the airport would be, and he wasn't in any kind of uniform, even of any mercenary group Hawkins knew of. The possibility crossed his mind that the man was working for the military, but a lot of things about that didn't quite add up. But Hawkins was very unsure of the situation, the man had a look that suggested he didn't mind killing people. And he was holding a double-barrel shotgun pointed directly at him.

"Don't make any quick moves." Tony said. "Now back away from the car, slowly."

Hawkins took his hand away from the revolver concealed under his coat, and did as he was ordered. Tony nodded to two men behind Hawkins that seemed to have come out of nowhere, and they quickly bound his hands behind his back and took his weapons. "Put him in the truck, we want him alive for now." Tony said, turning to look more closely at the car.

Hawkins tried to get away before they could finish binding his hands when Tony turned away, but he soon found that he could do nothing. The last thing he heard before something heavy hit him on the back of the head was Tony's voice.

"Take our guest down below," Tony said as the others  "And get rid of the car, They'll be looking for it. Make it look like a wreck just outside the south end of town. And be quick, the Airfleet could be here any minute."

---
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 01:25:28 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #69 on: August 16, 2010, 10:07:33 pm »

A runner from the Base Command Center arrived at the belowground hangar where the Beau Rosin was currently parked. "Captain Pulcifer,, Officer Brantley, Command wants your help in tracking down a suspected spy who has just escaped; we think he may have been involved in some kind of accident and getaway, or vice versa, but we can't really locate him, apparently." After Jack and Brantley phoned 'upstairs,' they were informed of the particulars, and at Brantley's request, a blood sample that had been taken from Hawkins during a routine visit to the clinic a while before was brought down, accompanied by Douglas.

"The Wreck is just south of Mexico Wells, at a highway junction close to an old trading post called Badwater. An old Ute and his Navajo wife run it. They've kept the place failing successfully for forty years, and they get a lot of nighttime steamskinner* traffic, so they were up and awake to hear about the report of the wreck from them."

Jack Sent to Mingh to come a-runnin', we got us a mission, and she and teh others replied that they would meet the Beau at Mexico Wells and all would continue together from that point. Jack went below and heated the glow-plugs, and cranked the diesel til it caught, and then started everything else up as well. Soon, the first-level sphere was in operation and they phased up through the ceiling into the garage above and then out through the wall and roof, the aether prop finally kicking in and shoving the little ship along at a much faster clip across teh prevailing wind than the New Mexican Military Escort zeppelin was able to match; Jack kept having to slow down and wait for them to catch up.

They finally reached teh Badwater Trading Post, and Millie Tsosie, teh Wif e of teh Station's owner, got aboard and guidfed them along the road to where teh slightly out-of-period car rested, sideways in teh dry ditch, as if it had simply failed to make the corner of teh highway and the road from the base. But there were a few weird things about this accident.

For one, the car didn't appear to have skidded at all before it ran off into the ditch; it was as if Hawkins had decided to simply drive off the road...also, it couldn't have been going very fast on teh rough road as it was, but it was going, estimating from depth and angles of the tire tracks, and teh amoundt of damage to teh front end, at about half teh speed that most people would drive on this section of teh road. But most unsettling was the fact that the tracks headed into the ditch from the wrong direction!

"Now, thats extremely odd," Cap'n Mulroney of the Escort zeppelin Taos Spirit said.

"How so?" Douglas asked.

"Well, for one, the tracks are a-comin' from teh Mexico Wells Airport about ten miles away down the highway, and down a side road. look, you can see the mud from the flood control dam in the bottom of Denito Wash, where the airport road cuts across it, I'd know that yellow sandy clay anywhere, I used to play around there as a boy; but another thing. There's blood on the steering wheel. Not so's you'd really see it much, but it's there, I can see it. Or maybe its brown-red paint of some kind.

Brantley pulled out his pocket device, and his watch, and the blackbox as well. He sat on the driver's side of the vehicle (it had been dragged out of the ditch for searching), and set the blackbox and the watch on the seat beside him, and got out his penknife. with the penknife, he scraped some of the dried blood from the steeringwheel into his handkerchief, and transferred the dusty sample to an aperture in the cigarette case, and added a small bit of water that he requested from a bystanding guardsman.. he took a small sear from Hawkins sample, and added it to a second aperture in the cigarette case beside the first, and then pressed a series of buttons and slid a couple of the sliders, and a reading showed up on a tiny LCD screen on the facing panel of the case: 'Negative.'

"It's not Hawkins' blood,' Brantley said, "and it has a really odd composition; the instrumentation says its human alright, but most likely mixed with an anticoagulant similar the sort that occurs in Vampire Bat saliva (you really don't want to know where we got that bit of data, believe me)."

"Now, as to where this car actually came from, I was getting some odd readings a minute ago, and until Cap'n Mulroney mentioned the airport, I was certain that my instruments had taken a few too many hard knocks." He explained that the tire tracks showed traces of aviation fuel, as if the vehicle was driven through a few or one really big puddle of the stuff on the way there. There was then a beep in response to Brantley's pressing yet another button, and he said, "and it appears that the aviation fuel also shows up in the sample from the wheel. There's a further issue that I'd rather not say out here in the open," he said in a low-voiced aside to Douglas.

They finally decided, on the arrival of the Dragon Troopers (an event that elicited a cry of alarm and then curiosity from Mrs. Tsosie and alarums and shouts of violent surprise, and not a few what-the-hell-are-those's from the servicemen present), to pile aboard the airships and track the tire tracks back to their source. The Beau took the lead once again, and they slowly made their way along the airport road, making note of and following several deviations and backtracks that invariably led back to the same road and the same backward tracking toward the airport. they finally arrived at the shed where Hawkins disappeared several hours earlier -- but there they were stumped. there was no trail beyond there, save for the one from the Base, which the Spirit followed, and radioed that it made almost no deviations from leaving the base until ending at the shed.

"So, Where did this Hawkins fool go?" Mingh asked, irritably.

"Don't we all wish we knew," Jack said, glaring at Brantley. "What about you, Mr. Malcolm Wendell Brantley?" Jack snarled. Where'd the bushwhacker run off to?"

Brantley had a suspicion, but it was a crazy one. Both his various instruments and his Martian side were telling him, screaming at him, where the young fellow went, but he was having trouble believing them...



---------------------------------------------
*Steamskinner: driver of a steamwagon shipping vehicle; name derived from the old term 'muleskinner,' for someone who drove mule wagons for similar purposes.

« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 10:19:33 pm by MWBailey » Logged
Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #70 on: August 19, 2010, 07:22:34 am »

"Dammit, we're being followed." Tony said, listening to the headphones of a portable radio in the back seat of the truck.

"Not followed, tracked, there's a difference." The man on the other end of the radio said in an irritable tone. "They probably won't find us, especially not if your plan works out. Quite clever, if I might say so."

"It had better, else you'll have more to worry about than them." Tony replied, and hearing no response, turned off the radio.

"What're ye plannin?" The driver asked curiously.

"Hawkins' gang had a few things set up, Roy was kind enough to let me know." Tony said with dark amusement. "And the beauty of it is, they'll never suspect anything different."

---

Jake crouched low in the dark beside a building a few dozen feet away from the shed where Hawkins was supposed to meet his contacts, and swore loudly when the two wires he connected refused, again, to spark. "You've screwed up the connection again, pah, and you said you used to be an explosives expert." He spat, wiping away blood again from a split lip that Hawkins struggling had given him.

"It ain't my fault!" The other man, Rawlins, complained from somewhere nearby. "I'll go an' check 'em again, if I hafta!" He started to get up.

"Alright, but be quick." Jake said quietly.

"Jus' a minute!" Rawlins whispered back, working quickly and quietly in the darkness. The circuit had to be rewired from a remote unit that would have been triggered from on board the airship Hawkins would have escaped on, and it was tricky work. "Alright, got it!"

"Good, then go!" Jake whispered, turning his head to watch Rawlins disappear around the corner to start the car they'd stashed in one of the nearby buildings. He looked back and touched the wires together experimentally a few times, and finally saw bright sparks. Maybe the old fool did know something after all, he thought, as he finished setting up the mechanism.

They had to be careful, these days, especially with the rumors that had followed from Los Alamos. But no one would really question the disappearance of a group of spies in enemy territory any more than they would question the fact that they might leave traps behind. Hawkins method of escape had been anything but subtle, and he and the others with him had planned for being followed.

Unfortunately the fire had been originally planned more for distraction than as a trap, and they hadn't had time to add anything to it. Once the fuel was ignited, it should take some time to follow the trail leading to the other fuel cans.

Jake didn't stay to watch, but followed Rawlins into the darkness and got into the car. Jake kept the lights off, but both he and Rawlins could see easily in the light from the crescent moon. In ten minutes they turned onto the highway and kept headed west, but taking a different route than Tony had. Jake checked the fuel and water gauge, and saw that both were full. That should give them enough to reach the Arizona state line. After stopping for fuel and water, they'd most likely be able to reach the dig site before sunrise.

---

They found two empty brass shotgun shells just inside the back door of the shed, and drying bloodstains mixed with buckshot holes on the far wall, but little else. The shed seemed to be empty except for some old dusty machinery along one wall, and a few odds and ends that didn't seem to be out of place.

'Odd,' Shi-iri sent, sniffing the air. 'Smells like fuel, like what you found on the car. Can't smell anything else.'

Zhan stopped suddenly as he started toward the far end of the shed near the double doors where the car tracks lead out, backing up a pace and turning. "Aye, it's all over the floor. They must have driven through it on the way... out..."

"Must be a leak, or something. I wonder..." Frank said, looking around for a source. The building hadn't been used in what looked like several years, and the fuel tanks had long since been moved. But there were three large metal fuel cans on the floor next to the door, all missing the caps. One of them had been tipped over into what looked like a pile of old used machinery parts and garbage piled up beside one wall, and the fuel had followed the slight tilt of the floor down towards the door and gathered in a large pool.

"No, it's-" Zhan stopped, hearing a muffled 'pop' like a blasting cap going off. As he turned toward the sound, he saw smoke curling out of the pile of junk, and realized what it meant. "Out, get out now!" He yelled out loud and in mental speech, heading for the door and motioning the others to do the same.

---

A bump in the road woke Hawkins where he was laying in the back of the truck. He turned his head slowly, but was unable to see anyone else there in the dim moonlight. He tried to work on getting loose, but both his hands and feet were tied now, and they seemed to have used something stronger than rope. After a few minutes, he gave up and lay still.

The sound and rattle of the loud diesel engine changed, and the dim moonlight vanished as the truck eventually slowed, and came to a stop. He could hear talking outside, and strained to make out what it was about as it came nearer. The voices seemed to echo strangely, and all he could make out was something about a dig site, and the name Jake.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 01:51:28 am by Alexis Voltaire » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #71 on: August 22, 2010, 04:49:36 am »

Jack threw the rope net-ladder over the side of the Beau, and dashed into the cabin, and threw the throttle lever all the way open, while simultaneouslyyanking down on the ascent lever hanging from the ceiling of the forward cabin and spinning the ships wheel hard to starboard. Brantley, below, stuffed his instrumenst into teh big leg pockets of his trenchcoat, grabbed onto the net ladder as the ship began to rise, and grabbed several of the others and yanked them over to teh netting. "HANG HOOOooo!" he yelled, and held on for dear life, as did the others, while the troopers soared off into the sky, and the Beau Rosin rose into the air and away from the suddenly-igniting pool of fire and tarry smoke.

He reached over and grabbed the arm of one of the Base officers as his grip loosened from the rapid ascent, and held him up until he could get a renewed and better grip. Jack rapidly traversed the desert floor and set back down as quickly as possible, letting the netting's passengers let go before he set down all the way.

"By the Gods,That was close," Bailey swore vehemently, and Kirza added, "Thank the powers for Zhan's nose and timing!"
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Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #72 on: September 13, 2010, 05:48:48 am »

'Everyone alright?' Shi-iri sent as the dragons made a few low circles, landing near where the Beau Rosin had come down. Everyone sent back that they were, though Selkio had a close call since he had been the last one out.

The sound of a siren started to rise and fall a few moments later, and the two airport security personnel that were on night shift showed up in a truck. Several other vehicles and the two fire trucks from Mexico Wells were close behind them, as the airport wasn't big enough to have its own fire crew. Soon the commander of the Taos Spirit and several others were trying to explain what had happened.

the fire crews soon put the blaze out, but not before the fire had blackened the walls of a few of the nearby buildings, and the shed had nearly collapsed as the fire had burned through the old wood framework.

The airport's owner and operator, an older man by the name of Marshall had come down when he heard what was going on. "Wasn't much of a loss at least," He said to Douglas, breathing a sigh of relief that the fire had been put out quickly. "Belonged to some half-crazy prospector and by the name of Rawlins, got himself blown up in the Chuckwalla mine a year or so back. Course that ain't the only story you'll hear from the locals." He added, rolling his eyes.

"Hmm, you said Rawlins?" Douglas asked.

"Yes, why d'you ask?"

"Oh, nothing really." Douglas said dismissively. "Might be something, but I'd have to check on it."

"Oh, alright. Well, let us know if it does. Can't have people setting fires like this for no reason, like there wasn't enough trouble 'round here already." Douglas hadn't told him anything yet about Hawkins escape.

---

"Well, at least that seems to be taken care of," Douglas said, returning to where the troopers had landed some distance away from where the shed had been a few minutes ago. He sent the few base personnel that had hitched a ride on the Beau Rosin back to the Taos Spirit where the others were, glancing around to make sure that no one else was nearby that shouldn't be, before saying to Brantley. "You mentioned something you didn't want to discuss openly, back by the highway?"
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


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

rtafStElmo
« Reply #73 on: September 14, 2010, 05:13:17 pm »

Brantley uncharacteristically hemmed and hawed, trying to fine a way to say something that even he, in his wide experience of the unexpected and unexplainable found to be rather irritatingly weird and inconveniently true. What he was about to impart should be, HAD to be impossible; everybody knew that they were just a fable, a story told to entertain and scare and horrify the listeners around dark hearths in the cold of winter, but unfortunatyely, he once again had to peel back the scab on the wounded reality of yet another ravaged world.

"Well," he said, "I realize this is going to sound absolutely unbelievable, but when I mentioned the fact that the blood was in a dilute form due admixture with vampire bat saliva or a similar anticoagulant, I actually held off from mentioning exactly what it was in teh blood. You see, it's not from a vampire bat; its from a subversively-altered human, one who has become a 'host' to a parasitic and overtly-vampiric spacefaring being."
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Alexis Voltaire
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


Shàlle We Dànce?


« Reply #74 on: September 16, 2010, 08:09:50 am »

Douglas looked more than a little surprised at first. "well..." He said after a minute. "I wouldn't believe you, but what you say rings true with the 'local legends'. The town of Los Alamos itself, about ten miles east of the base, is deserted, the official reason is because of the danger of radiation from the badlands to the northeast. The locals around here will tell you the same at first, but if you stay around long enough you'll hear other things, about how people started going missing. The Navajo talk about the disappearances being caused by some kind of ancient evil creature that had visited this area in the past. Not a lot of people give them any thought of being real, but it's true that a few people did disappear and were never found. There's also some... classified information at the base about what had happened to some of the people that were found later. We thought it might be caused by some kind of wild animal, maybe something that was affected by radiation. But the attacks stopped about the time that Los Alamos was deserted, and nobody at the base gave it much thought after that."

He looked out toward the smoldering ruins of the shed, the rising smoke coloring the moon in the east a dull reddish orange.

"Seems that these creatures might be connected to this somehow, I'm going back to the base to do some checking on a few things." He thought for a moment. "There's a place in town right off the highway called Silverstrike, a lot of the airport workers go there. You might be able to find something there about who set this up."

---

"Everything's clear." Roy said as he came toward where the truck was parked down the tunnel, ducking under one of the leaning beams.

"Good." Tony said, moving to unlatch the tailgate of the truck. "We got what we were looking for."

Hawkins felt the bonds at his feet being loosened, and hands pulling him out of the truck. His thoughts of escaping were fading fast. He could hear people talking, but looking around he couldn't see anything at all, and he was sure they hadn't blindfolded him. There was no way the others could see in this darkness. He waited for someone to bring a lantern, or switch on a light, but there was nothing. Someone put a hand on his shoulder. Hawkins jumped at the touch, looking around but unable to see who it was.

Someone laughed beside him. "Be good, and maybe we'll let you go." a woman's voice said teasingly.

Tony chuckled, and Hawkins almost stumbled as a hand grabbed the back of his collar and roughly shoved him forward. "Take him down below, and see that he isn't hurt. We need him undamaged for now."
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