Eldon threw himself through the gate, and looked around. Two special guys, Ernie, Lyle, and Bark. “Everyone else safe? I want to close this last gate.”
Rista staggered through pushed by Horus. “. . . Commander said my sister and her husband would be happy to hear the news.”
Rista and Bark both lit up. “They’re alive!”
“Yes. Eldon? Can you close this gate and open one inside the fortress?”
“Yeah. Let me close this one, and I’ll give it a try. I may need to eat and sleep before I can concentrate hard enough.” Reminded, he pulled a bubble off his right arm—the not dangerous side—opened it and pulled out a couple of grocery sacks of sandwiches and canned sodas.
He popped a soda and chugged half of it as he sat and looked at the inbetween. Another cone to crash into the gate and break it, then grab one before all three get away and start looking for the right world . . . the two gate scars . . . whoa, there was a huge one from the powered gates. Umm, alright, there was the one in that city, and the one in the stinky barn. No, don’t attach . . . drift over that way and uphill, over a ridge, further up . . . damn that was one bloody huge fortress . . . Now the cone can attach and grab another, twist tails and let ’er drop right in front of him.
Lyle spoke, from behind him. “Shields, Eldon. They’ve got guns pointed at you.”
“Oh Damn! Did I miss and get it out in the Cyborg camp?”
“No. It iz our people.” Rista stepped around him and he hastily shifted his physical shield to cover her until she walked through the gate.
Horus and Bark were on her heels, and Eldon stretched and stood up.
“Let me know when they wave us through.” He finished his soda and grabbed a sandwich. “I think I should leave this gate open, so they can evac if they get over-run.”
The head special guy . . .
What the hell was his name? Lyons, Emilio on his camos” Sounds backwards.
“So . . . we’ve got this saying, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ But that isn’t actually true, and the Romans we learned about in school were bad ass, attacking other people, taking slaves and shit.” Lyons looked around at his people. “So keep your eyes and ears open, and hopefully a thousand years has mellowed them, but we don’t want them deciding we’ve got a world they want.”
Eldon nodded. “Right. Maybe, if they want to evac, we should be clear. This Empty World—that’s a world with no native population—is theirs, but any further travel will . . . well?”
Lyle nodded. “Depend on diplomacy, and not involve armed soldiers? Because while the one thing we don’t want is those Cyborgs homing in on Earth, the other thing we don’t want is several thousand trained Roman soldiers deciding to take over LA.”
The other special guy call out, “They’re waving us in!”
Lyle nodded. “Ernie, stay here. Captain Lyons? Why don’t you and I go represent Earth.”
Lyons nodded, then they both looked dubiously at Eldon.
“I’ll try to mind my manners.”
Lyons winced. “Duran, stay here, split the watch with Fielding.”
Eldon stepped through the gate, into the aftermath of a battle. Or bombing at any rate.
A wall surrounded about ten acres of open ground. Flat, on average, probably, hard to say, really, as it was pocked with the craters of explosions. Over lapping, with ridges of loose dirt everywhere.
“Huh. Those mortars did a real number on the ground, but not much structural damage.” The walls looked like concrete, plenty of chips and pits, but nothing larger. The roof was dark, rusty looking with bright streaks.
The man that had both Rista and Horus standing at attention, eyed Eldon. “Yes, we can hold out as long as the food lasts.”
Or that broadcast power? I wonder if the Cyborgs themselves depend on it?
“Oh, well, as far as food goes, we grabbed a roomful of stuff. Where’d you like me to put it?” Eldon smirked as they all looked back at the gate.
Horus cleared his throat. “Commander Arconus, this is Eldon Brown, a magician from another cross dimensional world. He is not from, but is currently living on a World called Earth, that Lyle Hemmingway and Captain Lyons are from.”
Eldon nodded politely, pretending he didn’t notice all the hostile looks and deadly weaponry suddenly aimed at him. “This is my first encounter with these Cyborgs. I can probably put you in touch with Disco. Umm, the Department of Interdimensional Security and Cooperation. They . . . try to prevent interdimensional wars, but it’s a big Multiverse, and they may not have encountered the Cyborgs.”
Lyle was looking a bit confused and Eldon realized he’d been talking in that Latin-ish language. “I just mentioned Disco. You guys may be coy about them, but these guys need help.”
“Vhy are de . . . coy?” Rista looked at Lyle.
Eldon snorted. “They’ve got hundreds of member worlds. Only five of six can open their own gates. That Earth wants to learn how to do it first, so they met the Greater Multiverse, as an equal of those Gate Makers.”
“And we would go to them in need, like beggars? I think not!” A man walking in from the side. Curly dark hair, swarthy complexion, medium height, but muscular and athletic looking. Definitely used to giving orders.
All the Romans straightened up and slapped their left pecs with their clenched right fists.
Huh. That’s not how the Romans in the movies salute . . . of course they make up a whole lot of hooey . . .
The woman at his side ignored everyone but Horus. Who grinned back, looking relieved.
Rista, still rigid, nodded to her. “I have left the imperial children with a good family on Agent Hemmingway’s World.”
The pair . . . Emperor and Empress, Eldon was will to bet . . . stared at Lyle.
Lyle raised his eyebrows. “Guests, not hostages. We are not yet at war with these Cyborgs. And in fact were unaware of them until Center Em arrived on our world with your children. We will keep them safe until you have a safe place for them.”
Lyle spoke clearly, with pauses for Eldon to translate. He glanced back at the gate. “In fact, that leads to a world with no intelligent life. It is one of a string of gates we built to complicate the Cyborgs following us home. We have no other use for that world. You may have it, if you need to evacuate civilians.”
Oh, way to go, Lyle! Please keep me completely out of this. I already can’t believe I volunteered to open a gate to Embassy.
The Emperor, or whatever they called him, inclined his head. Very slightly. “Thank you. I will send men to examine it.”
“There is only wilderness. No buildings, no broadcast power. But perhaps it is an improvement on the siege.” Lyle bent his head a bit more than the Emperor.
Eldon shuddered at the thought of even trying proper protocol. “There’s hunting. Dangerous predators, too, but at least they aren’t armed.”
“We can leave the gate open, and you can all come and go.” Lyle inclining his head again. “I need to report back to my superiors.”
Captain Lyons nodded as well.
“Right.” Eldon looked around and shrugged. Grabbed the bag from the kitchen raid, held it out over a fairly flat spot and popped it.
A large roomful of food hit the ground.
Eldon turned and walked through the gate.
Lyle and Lyons followed.
Lyle half laughing. “Eldon, you not only know how to make an entrance, your departures are pretty impressive as well. Let’s get home. Eldon after we go through the corridor, please pop it. They can run around and explore without us having to worry about them following us home . . . easily.”