Log in

No account? Create an account
03 April 2018 @ 03:11 pm
Distractions, continued  

Which has forced it's way into this:

And continues with:

Chapter Two



“I don’t know where they went!” Q leaped up and bolted for the Comet Fall Embassy. Leaped through the gate, startling a pair of horse just taking aim at it.

“Sorry.” She sidestepped. Reached out mentally. :: MOM! DAD! ::

A double buffet of air as they teleported in hastily.

“They took Xen. He’s hurt and they took him. I can’t trace them. Can you try? It was a powered gate, and . . .”

Her dad grabbed her shoulder and pulled her through the gate. “From here?”

“Yes. They opened the gate in the plaza right there.” Q fought to steady her breathing. Calm her panic, as her parents both folded up to sit cross-legged on the ground.

Another deep breath as she sat and forced herself to relax. Reach for the blue.

:: The powered gate was coming from that direction, but collapsed before I could trace it all the way to its source. It was coming from a greater distance than I could see. ::

Her father’s magnification pulled back, further back, and the little universe sheets shrinking down to bright dots. Clustering, clouds of fireflies, and strings between, like branches holding up clusters of leaves, all leading back to the trunk of basic, unicellular life.

:: That’s very different from how I see the Multiverse. :: Q tried to look, to see which direction the gate had come from. Failed.

:: Show me how you see it. :: Dad was calm . . . but that deep power that had always been there was roiling close under the surface.

Q withdrew a bit, and looked out at the crystal of the Multiverse. The flaws and cracks that separated the major events . . . where they were, and where the gate had been. Across one crack and further. Her Dad reached through her vision to tag a universe, a second, then withdrew.

:: Did you see the gate go this far? ::

:: Yes it stretched much further . . . and then it was gone. ::

Her mother’s worry leaked a bit, was firmly repressed. :: Extrapolate. Gates wiggle around, but with a general area to search, to watch for their next gate opening, we should be able to find them. ::

Q followed her line further, across another crack . . . Dad tagged two more universes . . .

And she was sitting on the ground with a splitting headache, shaking.

“Q?” A familiar voice. A cold bottle pressed into her hands. “Drink.”

Oh. Rael. Of course the Oners would send her.

She drank and listened to the voices around her, people telling Rael what they’d seen.

“There was a circular rug, ten meter diameter, metallic copper colored, and as we saw, definitely an electrical conductor. A little fat guy on a fancy throne, six tall skinny guys on guard.” Lon’s firm clear voice. “It popped out of nowhere, no visible gate. The guards, three on each side, stepped off the rug to the side, like a ceremonial guard. Xen walked up to the rug and spoke, introduced himself.

“The man replied in English, very accented. ‘You may approach.’ He said.”

Q looked around. “So of course he stepped on the rug.”

Lon nodded. “’Are you the leader of the people who destroyed a world?’ he said. Xen asked if he meant the destruction of Helios, or the prior destruction by Helios. And the guy just nodded. ‘You destroyed a world.’ He thumped his staff, grounded the haft and aimed the top at Xen. The rug fibers stretched up a bit, and zap! Xen collapsed. The guards stepped back on the rug and the whole thing disappeared.”

Q nodded. “Xen was alive when they left. I would have felt him die.”

And he’d better still be alive, or I’m going to kill every single one of them!

Chapter Three

Wolf World

The trees were oaks and some sort of nut. Walnuts perhaps? He wasn’t sufficiently familiar with wild varieties to be sure. Couple of other types he was completely unfamiliar with, and when he found the stream, the eroding dirt cliffs and detritus below sported small willows until they ran out of dirt in the pebble and boulder filled streambed.

The stream itself was, now at the height of summer, a mere trickle showing between rounded rocks here and there.

Xen slid down a collapsed spot in the dirt cliff. Twenty feet down, they must have some pretty good floods in the winter, which I hope I’m not still here to see.

His bare feet were calloused enough to have survived the short hike, but shoes were definitely going to have to be on his list of things to do.

He heaved a couple of twenty pound cobble-sized stones out of the way and got a drink. And looked around for the next priority.

“One. Weapons, because while I can deal barehanded with a single wolf, if he’d had any friends, they would be chowing down on me right now. Two. Food. Which having weapons will really help catch.”

He got up and climbed boulders over to a tangle of driftwood. A nice sturdy club was procured. “I’d call myself a cave man if I had a cave . . . Hmm, stone age stuff. What are all these rocks? That one looks like chert, that would be useful . . .” He collected a dozen pebbles with of a good size and heft for throwing. Then a larger chert cobble, almost spherical and . . . whatever that dark gray rock was, and granite, probably not too useful . . . found a nice hard boulder of a convenient size and started banging rocks on it. The chert was tough, when it finally broke there were a few edges that would be useful, even if not exactly sharp . . . the dark rock shattered to show a glassy interior.

“Obsidian! The stone age has arrived. All right, I need flakes with an edge for knives, and the bulk of this other cobble would make a nice traditional hand ax if I can shear off the sides without shattering the whole thing . . . so when I catch something edible I can dismember it and . . . hmm . . . figure out how to make a fire.”

He beat on rocks for awhile, then rearranged his orange garb so he had folds and pockets for his throwing stones and sharp chips and the “hand ax.” And decided to see if he could bring down a rabbit or bird, before he worried about how to cook it.

He trudged back up to the meadow, and walked up wind. It took three stones before he actually hit a rabbit, and then he had to grab it as it scrambled to its feet and wring its neck.

And pick up the stone beside it, and turn . . . to not throw it at the grubby wolf who was staying well back, not meeting his eyes, turning his head away.

Xen sighed. “Okay, Grubby. You can have the parts I don’t need.” He knelt to keep an eye on the wolf while he skinned and butchered the fat little bunny. “There’s only about one foot’s worth of future leather here, but it’s a start. So I need the brain, the idiot wolf gets the rest of the head, the entrails, the ribs . . . And that’s it.” He looked at the wolf. It wasn’t quite groveling. “You need to lean to hunt.” He piled the parts he wanted on the skin, gathered it up and headed back to the stream.

Gathered wood of various sizes, tinder, made a pile of little shavings . . . striking rocks together didn’t produce much in the way of sparks. So it was down to rubbing sticks together. “And bless my dad’s library, I think I know how to do it. Except that for a drill I need a cord . . . ” He fingered the orange material, heavy woven cloth, synthetic, but not much stretch. “Just what I need . . . and a bowstring later, too.”

And tough. Even the obsidian had a bit of trouble cutting off a slice. “This is a good thing. I need tough.” He picked up a stone and shied it at movement. In the long shadows. A yelp, and a gray shadow slunk away.

“I’m only tolerating you hanging around because it saves me from talking to myself.” Xen shifted his rabbit skin closer to his pile of tender and unraveled and twisted cords. Then used it to bow a springy green stick into an arc. Then the hand ax to split a dry chunk of driftwood into some flatish pieces, a strong dry stick, and he was ready to give it a try. The thinner flat piece across a dip in the rock, which was full of his shavings. A loop of cord around the straight stick, upright on the flat piece, the other flat on top to hold it and put pressure on it, then he could saw the bowed stick back and forth to twirl the straight stick. “This, Grubby, if you are still hanging around, was probably the first fan belt ever invented. In even preceded the fan. And I think I have to go faster.”

Easy, no. Doable, yes.

And he was hungry enough that barely seared rabbit was delicious.

The fire was relocated half way up his dirt ramp so he could sleep on dirt instead of boulders.

For some value of sleep as his burns and scrapes chimed in loudly once he wasn’t busy.

As soon as it was light, he banked his fire, ate the last two lumps of rabbit, and eyed his chest. Very red. He flipped a mental coin and headed upstream looking for anything useful.

Where the dirt cliffs hadn’t collapsed, there were layers of disintegrating weak sandstone, a layer of white sand, more sandstone, red clay . . .

I’m going to need some bowls.

He dug back into to the bank to find damp malleable clay and formed a couple of crude bowls. Set them on a boulder to dry.

I’ll experiment with firing them.

He walked on, wondering why that spot on his back was itchy almost to the point of hurting . . .

Feeling as best he could, that spot that was so hard to reach with either hand . . . a small scab, a long lump under the skin. As if an inch long cylinder had been implanted under the skin.

Tracking? Kill switch? Slow release methalformalin?

He hissed as he scrapped off the scab. Now what? I can’t reach in to where it lodged, can’t grab it to pull, I can’t push it up from the bottom . . .

He walked around a boulder as high as his head . . . leaned back against a bump the right height, got it under the lump, dug it way in . . . and bent his knees so the rock pressed up on the lump, scraped down the boulder. “Oh, shit, damn, ow, ow, ow!”

He panted for a moment, reached over his shoulder, felt . . . there was a stub. He got his fingernails into the sides and pulled it out. Eyed the long bullet shape. And ugly red brown, staining his fingers. He snapped it in two. Solid red-brown.

“Solid methalformaline or some such. Old Gods, that would take years to dissolve.” He looked at the stain on his fingers. “And I probably have quite bit of it still smeared in there. Damn.”

He started a split in a small length of driftwood and shoved the gunk in to the crack, so he could carry it without touching it. Scrubbed his hands, and walked on.

A small waterfall, a dozen feet high, splashing on rocks, filling a green-slimed pool. The trickle of water enough to stand under and wash . . . “I need lard, and something to soak wood ashes in for lye. Make soap. Because while I have an improved immune system, I have no idea how well it is or isn’t working and . . .” He held a hand out into the sunshine and squeezed . . . nothing. “No healing spells, so some nasty harsh lye soap may be my sole resource for . . . infected burns and cuts. Damn.” He kept his shoulder under the trickle in hopes that the methalformaline would wash out a bit.

Movement down stream. A slinking gray form.

“Any little bit helps, right Grubby?” Xen looked up hill to the south. “So why don’t we take a look at the far side of the stream, eh?”

He eased back into the orange thing and started climbing around rocks and up a cut in the low cliff. A game trail, the marks of deer hooves in the dirt. Xen followed it through the trees.

Deer. How do I kill a deer? A bow and arrow will take too much time. A spear? If I had a rope I could try a big noose snare.

Spear? Apart from my lack of experience throwing a spear, an obsidian tipped spear would be cool.

The path took him to another meadow. He backtracked to chop down two young trees, growing straight and tall to reach sunlight in the forest. Sliced off the few branches, and shaved points for a pair of six foot long spears.

I’ll definitely have to try some obsidian spear points.

He spotted the wolf watching him.

“Spears. Bound to come in handy.” Xen turned back to the meadow, stopping to look at a trio of young bucks. They looked back, then returned more important matters, butting heads and wrestling with their new racks.

The wolf flattened and slid off to the left, getting downwind of them.

Xen turned the other way and walked along the edge of the meadow. The bucks stopped and watched him for a moment. He ignored them, and they decided that he wasn’t hunting them.

The wolf charged out of the woods. The deer bolted, but one had been too slow. Grubby had him by one back leg, hanging on as the deer kicked frantically.

Xen sprinted across the meadow, new spear in hand and stabbed it deep into the buck’s chest. One last convulsion, and it was down.

Xen kept a threatening gaze on the wolf as he cut the deer’s throat.

“Good wolf! I’m going to have to think of a better name for you. Not wolf, on account of that’s my dad’s name.”

The wolf backed off, growling and whining. Lips back from teeth.

Xen nicked the skin of the deer’s belly, got a finger in to lift the skin so he could cut it without cutting into the intestines and contaminating the meat. Pulled the guts out. Found the liver and cut it out. Cut it in half and tossed one chunk to the wolf.

“You deserve it. And fear not, you’re going to get a hell of a big feed off this fellow—and so am I.”

Chapter Four

“. . . and neither Xen nor the new people,” PooBah and his court, “have returned.” Rael was keeping her face neutral, not able to fake anything else.

/// must figure out where to slot this in, and who’s in what position///

All three directors and the President were looking perturbed.

“So. An all new, completely unknown, dimension traveling civilization. Who think we destroyed a world. Who took out our, Disco’s, strongest magician right off the bat.” The president sat back, eying Rael. “But Q says he was alive?”

“Yes.” Rael forced her hands to relax. “Unconscious.”

“Right. At this point we don’t know enough to do anything but guess and jump to conclusions. Rael, go back to Embassy. I want you there when they show up again, or Xen gets himself back home. Aid Disco, at your discretion, and please try to keep Q from doing anything that might get her killed.”

Rael nodded. No tears allowed. Professional. I’ll be where I can help. Where I need to be.

1stew1stew on April 6th, 2018 08:05 pm (UTC)
Hmm...Where to put it.
-Right before or After she finds out she's pregnant?
-Figures out she is already a mom?
-Decides she wants kids bad enough to quit spying/and or bubble kids after seeing Paer's or Xiat's
-Just figures out she can teleport as well?
matapampamuphoff on April 6th, 2018 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Hmm...Where to put it.
I don't have a big slot to stick it in, time-wise until after Children. I could stick it in after _Lucky Dave_ or make it the first challenge of Izzo's presidency. Or put it after the Cyborgs. Meh, no rush. It can happen anytime.

Edited at 2018-04-06 09:32 pm (UTC)
James ResoldierJames Resoldier on April 10th, 2018 03:21 am (UTC)
Re: Hmm...Where to put it.
I like the thought of it being Izzo's first major challenge.