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17 May 2018 @ 12:00 am
_Serpent_ Part 3  

Chapter Three

"LAPD has two kids, says they don't speak English, nor anything else they recognize. Shall we go see if they belong to that strange lady?"

Eldon looked away from the monitor and nodded. "Hopefully they're old enough to know something. Part of the reason I can't read her is that she's not fluent in Anglish. She's working at translating so hard I can't get to her deeper thoughts. And then like most LEOs, she's naturally closed up and private."

Lyle looked at him in surprise. "You think she's cop where she come from?"

"Yep. Possibly military type, possibly a body guard. The kids evoke extreme protectiveness and loyalty in her, but not the deep gooiness of motherhood. I think she's their guard."

Lyle snorted. "And if someone read you, while talking about that herd of kids, most of whom are not yours, would you be all gooey?"

"Oh yeah. I'm a sucker for any tyke, and they all know it." They'd walked down to the dimensional lab while talking. The Corridor to his townhouse now had a guard right on top of it, with a gun pointed into his garage. "Be a good fellow and don't shoot the car, Okay?"

The marine snorted as they walked around his bullet proof barrier and into LA.

"What did you do with your cars?"

"Oh. I forgot I was carrying the Suburban around with me." He always had some stuff with him, but the suburban was lined with bubbles, as well as being very handy all by itself. He pulled it back out and hopped in. "Betelgeuse's got the Mercedes. We moved the Corridor ends so we didn't lead anyone straight home."

He followed Lyle's directions and parked in the lot of a small police substation.

A policewoman met them, frowning. "They look about eight and ten."

"Their mother, or at any rate the woman they were with, speaks English with a German accent."

"The pair of them aren't talking to anyone but themselves. I don't know what language it is, the few words we manage to catch could be German, for all I know." She looked worried.

"Well, let's see if we can get them to talk well enough to identify what language they're using." Lyle shrugged. "We can at least get them back with their mom."

But where their 'mom' was slim and athletic, with a strong boned face, these two were cute little snugglers, with curly brown hair and big brown eyes in well tanned faces.

They were huddled together in a large chair. The girl was perhaps eight, with tear tracks, and the boy ten, trying to look fierce.

"Ah." Eldon sank down to the floor at their feet. "It's okay now. We don't hurt kids." He tried to radiate reassurance and confidence and caring. "I'm Eldon."

The little girl sniffled a bit. "Sati. Mo frat etre Jau."

"Sati and Jau. You are safe now."

"Opo non sermo. Is vultus amo unus of lemma." The boy tried to edge forward, to get between his sister and Eldon.

"Is nullus metal." Sati scowled at her brother.

"I don't have any metal?" Eldon tried to work that one out.

"That's almost Latin that they're speaking. Let me see if I can remember any." Lyle pulled out a picture of the woman. "Est is vestri matris?"

"Operor non sermo sibimet." The boy, Jau told the girl.

"Nil." Sati was looking sulky.

"Ignori suus." The boy looked away from the picture.

Lyle grinned. "They're pretending they don't know her."

Eldon shook his head. "It's not funny. They're in deep trouble, and scared sick. But they're not scared of the woman. I told you I thought she was more of a guard than a mother."

Lyle tried his Latin again. "Est is a tutela? Operor vos fides suus?"

"Ignori suus."

Eldon nodded. "I dunno if that's 'ignore them' or 'play ignorant' but I think you've got it that time. Ask about their mother and father, and if it's safe for them to go home."

"Scisco super suum matris quod Abbas. Est is tutus pro lemma praecessi domus?"

The boy looked away, blinking at tears. "Domu est absenti."

"Absent home? Or you're absent from home?"

The girl started sniffling and Eldon pulled her into his lap. And spared an arm to hug the boy.

"Nos mos servo vos tutus." Lyle told them. "We'll keep you safe. Eldon, can we hide them in that commune of yours?"

"Ah. Good plan. Ask if they want their guard with them."

"Capiemus vos ut a domus per alius liberi. Operor vos volo vestri tutela advenio?"

They both nodded.

Lyle had to sign off on a bunch of paperwork, then they introduced the kids to the concept of seat belts. Lyle talked to his superiors, when they returned to the townhouse the guard, Rista, was there waiting tensely with a pair of Feds.

"We're all going." Perry climbed into the very back of the vehicle. "This is Fred Mitchell."

Fred joined him, and the woman sat in the middle, with the children. She was very tense, looking for a way out.

Eldon drove across town and up into the San Bernadino mountains. A dirt road to a small flash flood control dam, and a sudden turn into a cliff and they were popping out of a mountain side five hundred miles to the north. He drove down hill and a bit south to the hacienda. In anticipation of lots of kids, it was quite large.

Betelgeuse walked out to meet them, and then the little witches and wizards poured out to see the new kids.

The guard loosened her grip on the kids with an obvious effort of will, and they were pulled back into the house in an irresistible tide.

Betelgeuse looked the woman straight in the eyes. "If you bring any harm to any of these kids, I will kill you."

"I am here to protect Sati and Jau. And dat includes keeping dem safe from you."

"I don't break into people's homes and try to kill them. Now, why don't you tell these people exactly what it is that is chasing you?"

Rista scowled, then relaxed. A bit. "A Vorld ve call da Drei Mächte Bündniss. Dey found controlling their own world insufficient, and have since captured at leaz ten oders. They are currently moving in on at leaz five more. I vas an active spy, infiltrating deir portal ministry. Ve hoped to eider contact dose oder people, and make an allied opposition to the Drei, to learn how to travel between worlds ourselves, or to sabotage the Portal itzelf long enough to deal wid de forces in place on our Vorld already, before ve had to face de armies dey could import so quickly."

She hunched her shoulders. "None of it proffed practical. But I did learn enough to be able to zet the parameters for the destination. Vhen they overran the Imperial Palace, I took de children with me, to infiltrate one laz time. I hoped to use up deir power and slow dem, and simultaneously reach so far dey couldn't find uz. But ve set off an alarm, dey were right on my heels, so I sent the carrier back through the portal to hit any vehicles dat were traveling close behind. I didn't realize how fiolent de reaction would be. Vas anyone killed?"

"No. It was an office building, deserted except for cleaning staff at that hour, and they all got out all right."

She closed her eyes briefly. "Good. I do not know how to repay the damages I caused. But at leaz there are no deaths. I do not know anything about dis place."

"The kids speak something close kin to Latin." Lyle led the way inside. "So lets start with the Roman empire, and go from there. Here the unified empire was defunct from about oh, three hundred AD or so. And gone entirely less than two hundred years later."

Her brow wrinkled. "Three hundred AD? This is the year 3203, counting from the founding of Rome."

"Rome was founded in 753 BC. Umm, a bit under twenty-eight hundred years ago."

Eldon shrugged. "Time doesn't run at the same speed on separate Worlds. So don't sweat it. You sound like Rome never fell?"

"It fell several times, but always rebounded. The Empire conzistz of all of Europe, Indus, nordern Africa, and all of Neronia. The Chi-an Empire encompaszez the remainder."

"Neronia?" Lyle asked.

"Da two continents in da western hemizphere."

"Ah. North and South America. You are currently on the west coast of North America. Our countries are smaller and much more numerous. This is the United States of America. A federated democracy, well armed and over complacent."

"I see. Dank you. The differences, de split vill have been someding dat happened prior to the collapse of your Roman Empire."

Eldon nodded. "It sounds as if we're closer to the Drei-guys than you are. I'm not from here, so I've been studying the history. They had a war a bit more than a century ago. Germans under Hitler against the rest of Europe. They had a treaty with Russia. Japan was technically an ally, but located half a world away, it was a mere technicality. It sounds like the Drei came out of that. Here Hitler turned on Russia and attacked. There, it must not have happened."

Rista nodded. "Many of deir historians claim de turning point in deir war of conquest was de swarm of meteors that hit the North of Neronia, which was technically neutral, but tending toward allying against the Veirmacht. De disaster kept dem occupied at home, dere were horrible fires dat destroyed whole cities."

Lyle looked fascinated. "That would do it."

"Told you most splits were based on astronomical happenings." Eldon stepped over to check the kids' room. Nightmare, Oppression and Persuasion were showing Sati how to play a board game. The boys were building something in the corner. Three twelve year olds, Jau who was probably ten, and Rejection who was five. With only four boys to the twelve girls, Rej had always trailed after the older boys and been shut out of the girls games. It looked like the segregation was going to hold, with Jau bridging the age gap between older and younger boys.

Rista prowled to watch for a moment, then eyed him.

"Jou say jou are not from here? To me you look very like de cyborgs de Drei make to fill the ranks of deir armies. Genetically engineered, and den mechanically augmented." She brows creased. "I keep speaking as if ve, as iv Rome still stands. But vor two generations dey have been eating away at us. Ve beat dem back, and dey turned to consume Chi-an. Den dey returned to roll over us with all of Chi-an's army, and deir own combined. I vear it is all gone now."

"Well. Like I say, time moves differently in different places. On one world, time passed quickly, and they developed genetic engineering. They didn't like the results, and exiled the engineered to other Worlds, as they had discovered transdimensional travel. They chose Worlds with problems, worlds where we would most likely die, without them feeling any guilt. My world is called Comet Fall. The Earth we came from suffered from wars and rebuildings. They lost tech, but eventually re-discovered transdimensional travel and built an Empire of Worlds. Eventually they encountered the One World, which also traveled the Worlds. And then they re-discovered Comet Fall. After some unpleasantness, we have established a World where everyone can build an embassy and talk to all the other embassies. Where they, umm, have an organization that tries to keep the peace and investigates cross dimensional crime and so forth."

"Jou are a policeman?"

"Err, no actually I'm one of the criminals, hiding out here and trying to outlive my unfortunate youth."

She frowned. "How can a criminal organization grow so large that it can open portals?"

"There's more than one way to do that, and ours is . . . economical."

Lyle's phone buzzed. He listened for a moment.

"Eldon, we've got reports of something weird happening by the lab."

Joe Wojo Jrwojorider on May 17th, 2018 05:26 am (UTC)
very good
This had been removed by the time i read EVERYTHING in your LJ. So nice to finaly read of the cyborgs. Thanks as always for your posting
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2018 06:46 am (UTC)
RE: very good

Same here. I agree. Is Eldon really hiding out? I thought Xen told him that they weren't chasing hors who went straight. The Fiend knows where he is. 😀
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2018 11:24 am (UTC)
Re: very good
Disco acts when requested by one of the other worlds. Eldon's now the big hero on the "Castles of Air" Earth. But what happens when the "Lodge in the Mountains" Earth is contacted?

"Wait,we can ask these D-cops to find the Animal-head bank robbers? Cool!"
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2018 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: very good
Disco still cannot act without an extradition treaty with Eldon's current world. To do otherwise would be an act of war which Disco tries really hard not to commit, to the point of tolerating slavery on Embassy, including in the common areas (God of the Sun).
cnmckenney on May 17th, 2018 11:01 pm (UTC)
Re: very good
Actually they don't tolerate slavery in the common areas, only in the individual compounds. If a slave makes it into a common area he is free.
matapampamuphoff on May 18th, 2018 01:20 am (UTC)
Re: very good
Mind you, the Arbolians' pushed the limits. (cough) For the purpose of getting Warric out where he could rescue Q.
(Anonymous) on May 18th, 2018 01:51 am (UTC)
Re: very good
And then they grabbed him again, while in the common area. Also, Xen allowed an attempt to recapture Warric after he finally escaped. Although admittedly, he got some push back over that.
matapampamuphoff on May 18th, 2018 01:18 pm (UTC)
Re: very good
"Look, I appreciate your trying to not be biased toward the man who saved your sister. But don't go overboard We don't really care if the Arbolians are in a complete snit."
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2018 07:43 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: very good
I dunno, it might be more like "Well, they averted a war with dinos and let us catch that one terrorist . . . we could decline to press charges on the non-rapists.

And if they want Rior, well, the line starts way over there!

(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2018 05:51 pm (UTC)
you look very like de cyborgs
I've been trying to figure out how Rista immediately picked Eldon out of a crowd and identified him as a cyborg (apparently at a distance).

Eldon tends to glow more strongly even than high Oners and that would certainly stand out on a non-magical planet. But there has been no hint that Rista is magical so presumably she cannot see glow. If she did see glow, I would think she would react when she saw Betelgeuse, but she didn't.

If Rista is going by visual features (and perhaps also movement style) she has to be incredibly observant to have picked Eldon out of a crowd at a distance given all of the chaos of her arrival. Based on Eldon's past criminal history hiding out on non-magical Earths, I did not think that his physical appearance was particularly remarkable among natives. Eldon has morphed a lot, using both potions and spells, so it seems unfortunate that he would end up looking exactly like a genengineered cyborg.

When Xiat came across Eldon in Black Point Clan, she saw a remarkable god-like depth in his eyes. But Xiat is magical, so it is unclear how much of that was due to Eldon's glow and whether a non-magical person would also see it.

As I recall from Utopia, the DMB brought cyborgs with them but also made cyborgs out of natives as fast as they could go. Obviously the natives-made-cyborgs would not be genetically engineered and would look like natives apart from their augmentation. But maybe these are only for temporary use until the invasion foothold can grow up new batches of genengineered cyborgs.

(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2018 06:00 pm (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
Rista's father was a Cyborg. From Utopia, I recall something like half of them have some degree of magical ability and thus didn't need the radio. Rista may have enough of the magical genes, even if she's had zero training, to see Eldon's glow.

(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2018 06:49 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: you look very like de cyborgs
Rista thought that other than skin color Eldon looked just like the Nazi ideal, including face shape and nose. So maybe just coincedence.

(Anonymous) on May 18th, 2018 01:54 am (UTC)
Re: Re: you look very like de cyborgs
Eldon regards Caucasians as very, almost unnaturally pale. Although he could have the bone structure, he certainly does not have the skin tones of a Nazi. Then again she does think that he is a bit dark.
ekuah on May 17th, 2018 07:34 pm (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
I had mentioned this point when Pam posted this story the first time.
She explained it with, that Rista somehow saw him put away the Suburban.

Edited at 2018-05-17 07:35 pm (UTC)
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 17th, 2018 09:11 pm (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
== One of the dozen Bündniss languages she'd learned. Damn, damn, damn. She'd dumped the kids on a World with at a minimum, a significant Bündniss presence. Dimensional shortcuts on the surface, a science center of some sort, and now medical facilities and personnel. She froze suddenly as the significance registered. What were they going to do to her?==

So Risa can see Dimensional shortcuts?

So Eldon's glow and the bubbles too?
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2018 10:26 pm (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
She ran into a weird door in the garage of a townhouse and out into a large industrial looking building, with an armed guard in a uniform.

In Utopia, Halberd's first captured Cyborg talked about the people wired into the gate machinery. So we can conclude that they've got dimensionally-able mentalists.

Rista, observing from concealment to see if any cys had gotten through the gate before the explosion, spotted a person with glow coming from somewhere else to check out the explosion. He disappeared his vehicle, observed the scene and then headed back home. She followed to see where Cy HQ was . . .

When I finally get around to writing this up, I'll add things that explain all that.
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2018 10:31 pm (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
I'm afraid tomorrow's snippet is all there is.

I really need to finish _Marooned_ so I can free up the brain space for _External Relations_ and kick that out the door next month.

And then _Cooking Hot_.
cnmckenney on May 17th, 2018 11:04 pm (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
Yea! Lookin' forward to gettin' back to Cookin' Hot.
(Anonymous) on May 18th, 2018 01:55 am (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
Very much.
mbarkermbarker on May 18th, 2018 06:52 am (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
Wait a minute. You're going to leave us hanging with something weird going on at the labs? Oh... I will not write fanfic, I will not write fanfic, I will not... but what if... no, no, no...
(Anonymous) on July 27th, 2018 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: you look very like de cyborgs
But in "On The Run" it appeared that the Cyborgs did not have bubbles. At least there was no indication that they even knew about them and any civilization using powered gates that had bubbles would use them to cut down on gate times (unless the person in charge was an arrogant moron as on One world at the beginning of "Project Dystopia").
(Anonymous) on May 18th, 2018 02:02 am (UTC)
Hooray. More Ebsa.