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03 June 2017 @ 04:39 pm
_Scrambled_ part 35  

Chapter Ebsa

"Six months. They were completely unprepared." Ebsa stared out at the group of gate makers sitting on the ground.

Wicked, in the driver's seat, hunched his shoulders. "If this is the right world, it was being considered for colonization. Nice place. Of course, adding dinosaurs was probably not a good idea."

Marc Keller—the Earther had been with the crew through five unsuccessful targets, now--winced. "We're still missing close to a thousand soldiers. We can only hope they took out the dinos before the Dinos ate all the civilians we're still missing."

Utly hunched his shoulders. "We're missing about five thousand, and maybe four hundred were retired soldiers. Light weaponry, and probably not a lot of ammo. Not to mention no livestock, no seeds, tractors, plows . . . city people. Bunch of professionals and retirees in those apartments. I almost hate to finally have the answers to who lived and who . . . we finally have to give up on."

Empty Worlds with gate crimps. Someone had checked them out sometime, but not settled, left no beacons or claim beepers. Ebsa pulled his thoughts away from the failures and focused on the bright light in front of the sitters.

The gate swirled open to a sweeping view of grassy hills and forested hollows. On the horizon, the tops of a few tall buildings.

The Earther pointed. "Found them. That's the top of U Thant tower to the right."

"Might be the tallest apartment tower to the right. I don't see the War Ministry building . . . " Utly shut up as Wicked drove carefully up to the gate and through.

"There, see? Nothing to it." Ebsa studied the terrain. "Go to the right around that grove of trees and up the next hill. We ought to be able to see the pinwheel from the top."

Nighthawk jumped in and slap-attached a corridor and closed the hatch.

Everyone grabbed as Wicked started down and across the hill.

"Hey! I'm being careful! I'm not going to roll it." Wicked scowled, and turned a bit more downhill.

"Again . . . " Christian Way snickered. Another Earther. The two witches treated her more like a pet than a fellow explorer after she'd run and jumped around the crawler, laughing, as it rolled. Everyone else had hung on for dear life while she acted like it was a hamster ball. It was pretty funny. And impressive, not that Nighthawk or Raven are going to admit it.

Wicked sent the Junkyard up the hill and stopped at the crest.

"Look! There's Main Accounting. Looks good. And the Military staging area." Mark squinted. "U Thant Tower's all that's standing there. The whole mall collapsed."

Utly was wincing. "The War Ministry is a pile of rubble. The lower buildings behind it are still standing. The apartments are showing some damage. Looks like one had a serious fire."

Ebsa squinted to magnify his vision . . . "I see people . . . we're being pointed at . . . so let's go meet and greet."

Marc was tapping at his comm . . . "Nothing for my main contacts. But they probably just don't have electricity."

"Umm. The Minister's comm isn't on." Utly shrugged, tapped. "Whoa! I have live carrier for the Black Horse . . . Captain Ahco? Agent Utly from Interior, we're here to rescue you . . . Damn, you guys have been building."

Cabins. Gardens. Fences. Horses. Every single one black . . .

:: Who are you? EBSA! ::

Ebsa winced at the mental shout . . . from the guy galloping toward them on a black horse. :: Hi Nick. So, do you guys still need rescuing? ::

:: No, but a lot of people will be glad to return to civilization. And some are leaving whether they want to or not. ::

Ebsa glanced over his shoulder. "Hey Ra'd, your doppleganger is here."

"Two of me. No one deserves that." Ra'd eyed Utly. "Remember that you are out of your jurisdiction. No shooting anyone unless they are trying to kill you. Especially my little sister."

Christian laughed. "Do I hear an unspoken belief that your twin can take care of himself?"


"Ha! Wicked? Drop me off here at Main Accounting. I'll talk to them, while you guys go on to the hub. Mark? The Army guys are all yours!"

They stopped long enough for her to drop off, then drove on.

Ebsa eyed the fast developing confrontation ahead. "Pull up about ten meters this side of the guy on the black horse. Marc and I will go talk to them."

Ra'd raised an eyebrow. "Don't trust my diplomacy?"

"The looks those guys are giving Nick? Let's not hand them two of you, until we test the waters." Ebsa popped the hatch.

"Christ almighty, that's Brigadier General Fu. Class One Badass." Marc followed Ebsa around the front of the Junkyard.

Nighthawk was just behind them, walking down the far side of the crawler to open the Corridor.

"Afternoon, Gentlemen. We're the rescue party. The corridor right there will take you to the gate. Through the gate you'll find yourselves on an Empty World we are using to sort people out and get them to the right home. Marc Keller here, is from the Earth's government and will explain your options."

The big Oriental guy was glaring at him. Flicked a glance at Nick. Showed his teeth in a hungry and not at all cheerful smile. "I recognized this as an Earth Colony. And under Earth laws, I demand the arrest of that mutant."

Mark paused, and Ebsa jumped back in. "Fifty or so years ago, when Earth and Empire first clashed, it created a split in both worlds. I am from the split that has not been involved with you, but I understand that the other One World has been unsuccessfully attempting to arrest him for years. I'm sure that as soon as we get diplomacy further underway, they will be delighted to assist you in that. Right now? No. Not going to happen."

:: What'd you do to piss him off? ::

:: Beat his army twice. Umm, cut a finger off every time one of his soldiers tried to kill someone. ::

Ebsa eyed the man's hands. Short two fingers on each hand. :: Ouch! ::

Marc had been explaining his government's position . . . ". . . and anyone who wants to stay can stay."

"Except, in this case, they can't." Nick stared down from the horse's back. "Fu? Round up your men and go. Now."

Fu glared at him . . . his lips pressed together in stifled rage. He turned to the troops formed up behind him and addressed them in Chinese. Six men trotted forward and jumped through the corridor.

Raven popped out of the top hatch and peered northward. "They're through the corridor, and through the gate."

Marc cleared his throat. "Any equipment that will fit through the gate, you can take with you, and, of course, your personal possessions."

Fu bared his teeth. "And leave this world in the hands of those Mutants?"

Nick snorted. "Minster of War MacU will also be leaving, whether he wants to or not. With most of his guards, I hope. That will leave people from five different worlds here, to mash up a government among them."

Marc eyed him. "So, who are you? The president or something?"

"Tyrant. They voted last month to make the title official and they re-elected me. Idiots. Obviously insane, but with the war mongers gone, they can vote more sensibly."

Nighthawk started laughing. "Old Gods!" She stuffed her knuckles in her mouth and stifled anything else she might have said.

:: That's my Ra'd's almost-wife. Who, by the way, is stewing around inside, so as to not complicate the situation. ::

Nick eyed the crawler, then returned his gaze to Fu, who was now in a quiet consultation with his officers.

"They're coming back." Raven called, seconds before two soldiers jumped out of the corridor.

One of them handed Fu a piece of paper. Ebsa couldn't see his face, but his back stiffened, then he shrugged. He snapped something to this officers and they scattered.

:: Ha! Ordered home. ::

Nick raised his voice. "If you need to forward orders to the soldiers at Main State, you may send one man."

Fu glared, then turned his back on Nick.

"Were there problems with Main Accounting?" Mark looked back and forth, then north, looking worried.

"Fu's soldiers raided and stole food. The female soldiers stationed at HQ here had some problems with them, so the whole home battalion shifted to Main Accounting. I had to . . . speak . . . to Fu twice before they were left in peace."

Ebsa glanced back at Fu's hands and . . . kept his mouth shut.

Utly stepped around to join them, grinning. "Captain Ahco is organizing things over on the other side. He suggested that they wait until we had this side settled."

Ebsa dropped his voice. "From the grin, can I assume success at locating a person of importance."

Grin. "Yep. Although Ahco says we may need to run him down and drag him home kicking and screaming."

Nick looked over and shook his head. "No, he's done a great deal of maturing these six months. He'll go home on his own. A probably try to come back and visit."

A column of vehicles emerged from between buildings. The lead car stopped to pick up General Fu, then drove through the corridor.

Fu looked straight ahead. Acknowledging no one. The soldiers climbed aboard the trucks and they were gone in minutes.

Nick slid off the horse and led her forward. Ebsa got a look at her face and winced.

"Oh! Poor baby!" Nighthawk's hands reached for the horse.

"We think she was right on the edge of the . . . effect, with her head turned a bit." Nick handed her the reins and turned to face the man approaching . . .

"So. Little Brother. You're a tyrant?"

"The only way I could get them to leave me alone is if I only came around to beat people up." Nick stared up at Ra'd. "How old are you? I . . . hadn't realized how much . . . we resembled father."

"Thirty. Assuming you emerged at the same time we did . . . you'd be nineteen?"

"Twenty, I suppose. Maybe."

"And Ebsa gave you the Wine of the Gods?"

"Yes. Amazing stuff. Abbas has decided to wait and see if his magic develops more strongly."

Nighthawk walked over, grinning. "We have a spell that suppresses hormones, if he wants to do puberty now. Our wizard gene is like that, and most of the boys like to get the deep voice and so forth, so they don't get teased by the other kids."

The man trotting up on another black horse was wearing the Black Horse Guard uniform, slightly battered. He blinked at the two Ra'ds.

"The Nuke in the Gate caused a split between worlds." Ebsa told him. "This Ra'd is a very highly regarded Exterior Directorate Agent. Not that you appear belligerent, but . . . Umm, hi. We're the rescue crew."
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on June 4th, 2017 02:48 pm (UTC)
= Marc Keller here, is from the Earth's government and will explain your options.=

"He's from the government and is here to help you"
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on June 4th, 2017 03:20 pm (UTC)
=Nick stared up at Ra'd. "How old are you? I . . . hadn't realized how much . . . we resembled father."

"Thirty. Assuming you emerged at the same time we did . . . you'd be nineteen?"

I can't parse 'same time' so perhaps needs some attention?
matapampamuphoff on June 4th, 2017 03:48 pm (UTC)
Emerged from the bags after the same wait?

Or leave that unsaid and put in, "there's an eleven year time slip, so you're nineteen?"
ekuah on June 4th, 2017 07:53 pm (UTC)
Maybe "out of the bag" for the same time?
Assuming they/he entered the bag as the now two separate world were still a single one, they would be now the same age.

By the way I see a potential problem here.
The insides of the bags are not part of dimension, right?
How did it duplicate when the dimension split?
I'm guessing that they are outside our usual for dimensional world, but still an integrated part of the world.

I really see a headache coming if Embassy should ever endure a dimensional split. Would all the permanently connected world split too?
matapampamuphoff on June 5th, 2017 12:13 am (UTC)
The handles were there, so I'm assuming it split when the universe it was tied down to split. Otherwise, I have to pitch months of work . . . or is that play?
ekuah on June 5th, 2017 07:32 am (UTC)
The handles were there...tied down to split.
That more or less what I meant.
'they are outside our usual 4D world, but still an integrated part of the world'

when the bubble are linked to that world:
-open bubbles
-Cometfall style gate
-attached bubbles
-dimensional bags
,then they ARE PART of that world.
So they will split, merge or perish like the world they are linked to.

It something completely different if it would be a free floating bubble.
Interesting thought:
Can free floating bubbles drift between worlds?

Both things, the behavior of the linked and the non linked bubbles would be worth of Q's interest.
In the end, she is still learning about the multiverse.

Edited at 2017-06-05 07:36 am (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on June 5th, 2017 11:05 am (UTC)
Re: The handles were there...tied down to split.
Eldon regularly casts himself adrift in a bubble. Or will when I finally get _The Last Merge_ finished.
ekuah on June 5th, 2017 02:20 pm (UTC)
Re: The handles were there...tied down to split.
Forgot that.

But still this whole issue (or non-issue, since it is solved now) could be addressed by Q when the first encounter Nick.
So it would be addressed for the readers too.
(Anonymous) on June 4th, 2017 09:50 pm (UTC)
Leave unsaid - the other makes my head hurt.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on June 4th, 2017 09:51 pm (UTC)
Leave unsaid - the other makes my head hurt.