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27 October 2017 @ 06:06 am
_Gate Team_ part 12  

Chapter Dino

Rael took a deep breath, and nearly choked. "One! What did they do to the air here?"

Xen laughed. "A little thick and humid, Spikey? Welcome to a typical dinosaur world. At least we're far enough north that it's not too hot."

"I'd say this qualifies as stifling." Rael looked around at . . . greenery. "I see the plants like the thick air, too. Did the dinosaur killer asteroid knock some of the atmosphere off?" She peeled off her jacket and wondered if she'd packed along any shorts.

"I've heard that theory, but not seen any convincing evidence. I suppose that if I poked around enough worlds I could actually see the end of the world. Maybe someday I'll have the time to do that."

Rael heard the wistful tones and nodded. "Going to quit Disco and go into private exploration?"

"Umm . . . I might have to maintain some sort of tenuous contact . . . "

"In case they need you to scare people into civilized behavior?"

That got a grin. "I'm not at all sure that actually works."

"It works for governments, by-and-large. Individuals? Not so much."

"I guess I'm just too chatty. But the witches are getting right to work, so why don't we stick the Great Stone Inn up on that slight rise there?"

"Good plan . . . now, I have noticed that your corridors have something on them that keeps your sea level to mountaintop corridor from turning into a wind tunnel. So can you keep the humidity and air pressure outside?"

"Good idea. And it's just a . . . physical effect to prevent the movement of air, sort of the converse of a one way pipe. A moderately strong no-way door. For liquids or gasses. I'll reinforce all the window effects too."

"Excellent." Rael started the ute and headed for the slight rise. "Where are we this time?"

"Asia. Siberia, I think."

"Why not Spain again?"

"Oh, the time differential is so extreme, and the continents not in the right place . . . There's not hardly an Atlantic Ocean yet . . . so this was not too hard to get to, and far away from your Fort Dinosaur and the marooned Helios."

"I see." She pulled and stopped in front of a fairly flat stretch. "Do we still have troops in Fort Dinosaur?"

"Nope. They pulled out last week, and we closed that Gate."

"We? Is it hard to close the gates?"

"We, as in Disco. No, it's easy, if you know how. Lon sent Nighthawk."

They were solid on the routine now. The guys on guard, Bunny nudging the witches and Q when they need to move or take a break. Xen and Rael setting up the Inn. Then Xen searching for more distant cones and herding them in to the gate makers, while Rael made sure nothing ate him.

The dogs roamed, and only went hunting on the breaks.

"I really hope they have sense enough to not try to hunt anything very big here."

Xen looked over at them. "I've warned them about the dinosaurs." Then he turned back to dig the four pits and drop the Inn into place.

Ha! If Paer could see how Disco lives when they're exploring new worlds, she'd call them spoiled sissies.

Xen snickered, and she tightened her shields. Again.

And listened in a bit while he herded cones.

:: To close a gate, you crash a fast spinning cone into the junction of the two gate cones. ::

A faint warning feeling . . .

:: Just telling her, Q. I won't interfere with your greatest gate swarm ever. ::

Rael dropped her contact with Xen and looked around . . . no danger.

Lots of gates, the lifeless melted landscape of Helios quite noticeable against the verdant greenery here.

"Greatest gate swarm ever?" Rael paced a bit further away, Ohhe walking over to join her. "Is Q actually capable of crashing worlds together? And what happens if they overlap, instead of just get close enough for the Helios merge machinery?"

Ohhe nodded. "It's scary to think that the Fallen could force a merge. But that would solve most of the problem . . . until the next time the depopulated Helios hits another world square on."

"Yeah . . . and Q is certainly giving the impression she really, really wants Helios to merge here."

"I just read a report from Ajha at the first listening post. If they're translating the Helaos correctly, the Helios are of the opinion that their world has slowed to the point that the next merge might stop them, rather than getting ripped out of their universe and carried along with the miniverse." Rael looked around. "This is a good place for Bad Men to die."


They traded, mixed up triads, put up double their usual number of gates.

The earthquakes got stronger and more frequent.

"Is it my imagination? I swear I can feel the attraction between the planets."

Xen was looking also, but to him, at this close range, the crumpled-paper membranes were static—moving so slowly they might as well be frozen. Of course they're only separated in non-spacial dimensions, not, not really physically separated . . . kind of. It's just our weird perception that gives us the illusion of . . . Oh, eff it all, leave the explanations to the physicists.

"Well, that's four hundred gates. What do you think? More? Maybe spread them out all around both worlds? The worst that will happen is Helios getting a dinosaur invasion, which. all things considered would be fitting."

Q snorted and pulled her perception out of the inbetween, shrugged off the loose mental link they'd been holding.

Xen did the same. Stretched and stood up. The other six witches and the their guards were looking at them. They all looked happy and eager.

Scar grinned. "So? What continent do you want to move to?"

Q grinned back. "North America, the West Coast's about opposite here, and we can stay away from the Helios there."

"You like earthquakes, do you?" Xen eyed her.

"Well, don't you think they deserve a few closer to home?"

"All right. We'll move in the morning."


"Let's leave the Inn bubbled until we see what sort of earthquakes proto-California is prone to." Xen eyed the sharp peaks to the north. "And volcanoes."

Rael consulted her computer . . . "There a subduction zone all along the coast of North America. No specific mention of volcanoes, but most subduction zones have them."

"That's not a pterodactyl."

"Good. Last thing we'd need is another aerial attack . . . " Xen followed Scar's gaze, zoomed in his vision. "Oh, that's a plane . . . or one of your antigravity aircars with a bit of wing . . . Unmanned surveyor? I'm not feeling anyone . . . oh shit, I think there's Helao in there . . . there's a second one . . . "

He broke off check the witches—oblivious in their triads—and Ohhe diving into the ute and grabbing the radio.

Xen threw an illusion over the entire area. Probably too far away even if it would work on their squirrely brains. I need a physical effect, light warps . . .

"Q, wake up. We've got a problem."

"I'm not asleep . . . oh crap! Did they detect the gates? Ha! I'll bet they think their own people have found them. What shall we do to them?"

Scar shot a glance her way. "You mean with them?"

"Not really. But I suppose I shouldn't be too nasty."

Xen grinned. "Or we could let them go home just in time for the last merge."

Q threw a corridor south and chivvied the witches into the utes.

"Go. I'll hold the illusion and follow you." Xen waited until they were gone . . . looked back at the wallowing overloaded aircars.

Soldiers who just wanted to go home . . . to merge with terrified teenagers . . . He sucked the power out of the hot humid air, and threw it at the aircars. Watched the burning wrecks fall, then turned and stepped through the corridor. He popped it behind him. 

ekuah on October 27th, 2017 01:52 pm (UTC)
Not only Soldiers
'Soldiers who just wanted to go home . . . to merge with terrified teenagers'

I'm betting there were also some higher ups in there, trying to grap a prime merge candidate.

By the way. Your mentioning of 'If Paer could see how Disco lives when they're exploring new worlds' gave me the idea for the perfect wedding present from Nighthawk and Ra'd to Paer and Ebsa:
A professional kitchen with a full size lunch room for Ebsa.
And a top notch infirmary with intensive care unit for Paer.
Both in handily bubbles to be attached to a crawler.
So when they are again on a mission across, they have all the necessities for their professions with them.
(Anonymous) on October 27th, 2017 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Not only Soldiers
Would Paer want an ICU, or just a bunch of beds in bubbles to stash the very injured until they can get to a proper hospital with the staff that an ICU needs?
ekuah on October 27th, 2017 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Not only Soldiers
'just a bunch of beds in bubbles to stash the very injured' and a full rack of Wine of the gods.
Maybe this is Paer's idea of an ideal ICU.
matapampamuphoff on October 27th, 2017 05:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Not only Soldiers
These are the soldiers that Ebsa, Ra'd, and Nighthawk encountered in Fort Dinosaur. They'll be officers, but no politicians.

The purpose of a dozen or so merge candidates _there_ is that if they merge, this batch takes the kids into the Shadow Zone to merge with doctors, and the people there also have a bunch of kidnapped late-teen-to-early-twenties kids for them to merge with, then you've got a bunch of soldiers who can move freely in and out of the Shadow Zone, fetching and carrying materials and people.

The girls might be in case of female techs early on. Or, you know, if no body wants them . . .