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Title: Darwin's Soldiers: Card of Ten.
Description: written by yours truly...


LettuceBacon&Tomato - January 11, 2009 06:34 AM (GMT)
I'm planning on writing a fan fiction based off of Serris' RP Darwin's Soldiers, which takes place after the events of the terrorist attacks on Pelvanida Base. Some of the characters from the RP will be appearing.

For anyone who didn't participate in the review, here's a recap: The RP chronicles a terrorist invasion of a government research station called Pelvanida, in the deserts of Nevada. A team of scientists, security guards, and the animal experiments fought them off, but not before the terrorists created an Einstein-Rosen bridge; a gateway though space and time. Card of Ten takes place very soon after the events of the RP.

I've already gotten Serris' permission to write the story, but I also want to get permission from the owners of the various characters.

I'd first like to say that the majority of the story follows duplicates of our characters trapped in a parallel universe, so your actual characters will not be harmed in any way. They also won't appear that much; almost all of the story will be seen through the eyes of the duplicates.

If you have any objections about your character appearing in the story, please say so here. (Also, if you don't have any objections, I'd love to hear that too.) The first part of the story will be posted next Friday, and will probably be updated once a week.

f-22 "raptor" ace - January 11, 2009 03:11 PM (GMT)
I have no objections you may use Hans and Werner in your fanfic.

Serris - January 15, 2009 03:06 AM (GMT)
I can't wait to see how a fan fiction based on my RP turns out! :!

I also allow you to use: Dr. James Zanasiu, Zachary, Dr. Yuri Kerzach, the Dhole, the Iguana guard.

Is it okay if I place some of the PMs you sent me here to help people understand it better.

In fact, I'm reconsidering allowing you to publish it (as a spin off like the Star Wars novels). But please wait until my novel appears in a book store first.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - January 15, 2009 03:52 AM (GMT)
Of course. If I ever tried to publish this, I'd contact you first and get your permission again. Sure, post the PMs if you want to, but most of the info I put in them are revealed pretty quickly in the story.

One thing I have to say is that I'm making some assumptions as to how the RP is going to end. If my predictions turn out to be incorrect, the first few chapters might have some minor changes, but nothing too severe, I hope.

The first section will be posted this Friday. Thanks f-22 and Serris for your support!

Serris - January 15, 2009 08:48 PM (GMT)
One of the things you might want to mention is the status of the characters. Perhaps they'd attain heroic status among everyone else?

LettuceBacon&Tomato - January 17, 2009 02:47 AM (GMT)
February 28th, 2009

Around the Pelvanida Complex, things were calming down for the first time that week, as government troops had finally arrived to hold back the masses of reporters, photographers, and journalists that had arrived in greater numbers than the terrorists who had attacked the base only week ago.

James Zanasiu watched the cleaning crews sweeping up debris around the main hallway. "Kinda strange that after all we've gone through, they can just bring in a bunch of janitors and pretend it never happened."

"Oh, we're not getting away that easy," remarked his companion, Zachary. "The families of the dead personnel are filing one of the largest lawsuits in U.S. history. This won't be going away any time soon."

"Do you think they'll keep the base open?"

"There's no way to tell. I doubt it."

Another scientist, Dr. Shelton, came up from behind. “Doubt what?”

“Hey Rudy,” said James. “We’re just discussing the fate of Pelvanida.”

Shelton snorted. “It’s toast. The government won’t want anything to do with this place for a long time.”

“Including anyone who was involved,” said Zachary. “Intervention by the Equestrian Scientific Union is the only reason I’m not sacked right now.”

“You think you got it bad?” protested Shelton. “At least you aren’t the poster boy of the whole thing!”

A few day before, Time Magazine had released a special on the ‘Pelvanida Incident.’ The front cover was a photograph of a bloodied, dilapidated control room, with an angry Dr. Shelton about to put his hand over the camera lens. The photograph had made headlines across the globe, including the Wikipeda page.

“Touché,” agreed Zachary. He looked around. “Where are the others? Werner? Neku?”

“Werner is currently testifying to the Supreme Court regarding the fate of the surviving terrorists. He’s agreed to in order to give his father immunity.”

Werner’s father, Hans Donitz, had been among the terrorists who had invaded the base, but later switched sides.

“The others are in various states of reclusion. Trying to avoid the public eye.”

“I don’t blame them,” said James. “I’m planning on moving to my cabin in Santa Barbara. Indefinitely.”

“I’m afraid that won’t be necessary,” said a fourth voice.

All three turned around. A short, balding man in a black suit stood, looking remarkably out of place amongst the workers skittering everywhere. “Dr. Zanasiu?” he asked.

“Yeah, that’s me,” said James.

“Please come with me.”

James exchanged a look with his companions, and followed the man.

The man led him to the control room. “We need a little privacy,” he explained, pushing the door open.

Inside, Dr. Kerzach jumped up from underneath a sparking control panel. “James!” he exclaimed. “I’ve almost got the intercom system working, but Shelton ran off… who’s that?”

“Leave us,” the man asked.

Kerzach looked confused, but walked out.

The man showed James his badge. “Agent Whittaker, CIA.”

“Pleased to meet you.”

“I’m sure you’re aware of the situation you and your comrades are in.”

“Pardon?”

“None of you will ever be able to receive jobs in the scientific community again. Your colleges have removed your names from their alumni lists, and the government has blacklisted each of you for the next decade.”

James shifted uncomfortably. “I guess I’m aware now.”

“What you might not be aware of is that your situation places you in a unique position to help the government.”

“How so?”

The agent smiled. “Think about it, Dr. Zanasiu. A team of top-notch scientists, coupled with battle tested psionic experiments, that have absolutely nowhere to go.”

“I still don’t see how that helps you.”

“We’ve repaired the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.”

James was taken aback. “You what?”

“The government saw an excellent opportun—”

“You fixed it? After the others and I put our lives on the line destroying the thing!?!”

“President Obama has issued pardons to each of you, so you won’t be punished for impeding scientific progress.”

“Impeding progress?” James was livid. “You don’t understand what you’re getting into!”

“The government is well aware of the risks involved.”

“Forgive me for saying so, but I highly doubt—”

“Dr. Zanasiu, please. We’re getting off topic. The government has given you the option of assembling and commanding a team to enter the bridge and report back regarding any scientific information you may discover.”

“It’s never been tested. Anyone who enters might just get wiped out of existence.”

“That is the risk involved, if you accept the assignment.”

“And if I say no?”

“Perhaps you can get a job teaching Biology at a high school.”

James sighed. “All right, then. I accept.”

Serris - January 17, 2009 05:34 AM (GMT)
It's off to a great start!

It's kind of interesting that no one's commenting about James and Zachary's heroics during the incident. But I can see why?

Still, it might be interesting to have word of their heroic activities come out.

f-22 "raptor" ace - January 17, 2009 10:45 PM (GMT)
Maybe a bit of the next chapter could focus a little on the Supreme Court hearing on the incident.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - January 17, 2009 11:15 PM (GMT)
@ Serris: The government's never been one for awards when their reputation is in danger. It might take another dimension to earn some respect.

@ f-22: Well, the next chapter's close. It is a hearing of sorts.

March 1st, 2009

The next day, James stood in a large briefing room, a collection of government officials staring down the table at him.

The man at the head of the table, an old, white haired man, stared at James through his bifocals. “Dr. Zanasiu, are you ready to brief us on your team?”

James nodded.

“Then begin.”

James clicked a remote, and the screen behind him switched to the first slide.

“This is Zachary, my assistant. He’ll assist me in any duties that need to be performed while on the mission.”

“And why can’t any of the other team members assist you?” asked Agent Whittaker.

James felt nettled. “They can. But I’d prefer an assistant.”

“ ‘Prefer?’ Not require?” asked the white haired man.

“If that’s how you see it, okay. Highly prefer.”

“We’ll see. Move on.”

James switched slides. “This is Dr. Rudyard Shelton. As primary expert on the workings of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, Shelton will be chief bridge operator, and expert on foreign technologies.”

“Is there any relationship to the late Commander John Shelton?”

“It’s his son.”

“Then yes. Shelton is cleared to go. Next.”

“This is PX-0715-91, also known as Neku. Next to him is the Siberian Husky, Snow. They were successful experiments produced at Pelvanida, and will serve as diplomats in case of contact with hostile parties on the other side of the bridge.”

“What are the chances of contact on the other side?”

“Unknown. No information can be gathered until we go through the bridge.”

“And you are factoring in the extremely low probability of life existing on any planet, let alone wherever you may go?”

“In our universe. Again, we know nothing about life on the other side.”

“You may take one of them, not both. Next.”

James sighed. “With all due respect, I doubt either will agree to only one—”

“Please, doctor. The matter is closed. Move on.”

“Fine. This is Hans and Werner Donitz. Both are extremely skilled in terms of science and combat, both of which will be important on this mission. They will serve to complete any function, military or scientific, which will be needed during the mission.”

“But they will not serve any function in particular?”

James hesitated. “No.”

“Which one is more qualified scientifically?”

“I guess Werner.”

“Then he may go. Next.”

James knew he couldn’t press the issue. “This is Vic Summers. A trained soldier, and battlefield medic, he will serve as our doctor, and perform any medical operations needed.”

“Approved. Next.”

“Dr. Josephine Smith. As well as being a commendable scientist in her own right, she has also been trained in supplemental bridge operations by Shelton. She is to serve as his and Vic’s assistant.”

“Are their jobs important enough to warrant an assistant?”

“If Shelton makes a mistake, we could be trapped on the other side for all eternity. And Vic, as the head doctor, may be the difference between a wounded teammate’s life or death.”

“Then very well. Dr. Smith is approved as an assistant.”

James frowned. “I’m team leader, and you wouldn’t even give me an assistant.”

“Who was the German? He can be your assistant. Please move on.”

“Siberys is a well-respected Pelvanida experiment. He will be in charge of keeping morale up for the other experiments, as well as keeping a tally on supplies.”

“But you will only have one experiment going, will you not?”

“That you’ve heard. I haven’t finished reading the list.”

“We’ll see how many more experiments are approved. Next applicant.”

“Roy Hawkeye, bioboosted cybersoldier, and Kagetora, trained in swordsmanship as well as firearms. They’ll serve as security.”

“Approved. Is that all?”

“No, sir. My last nomination is Robert Ludlow, also known as—”

“Robert Ludlow?” The white haired man picked up a piece of paper. “You mean the failed experiment?”

“He’s commonly known as Lockdown. Yes, he was a failed experiment, but he’s made great progress in controlling his matter-antimatter transmutations. He registered to come along to make up for the trouble he’s caused the scientists of Pelvanida Base.”

“Denied. Absolutely. He would serve no purpose—”

“All right, you know what?” James interrupted angrily. “Why do you care so much about denying my appointments? If I remember correctly, we’re all being sent on this mission to get rid of us! Zachary, Hans, Lockdown, we’ve all been blacklisted, and have no chance of accomplishing anything else with our lives! I’m sure you’ve read the statistics, odds are we’ll all die the second we go through the bridge, so why are you blocking people you want gone?” James stopped, taking a deep breath. “I want every one of my appointments approved right now, or I and everyone else in my team will refuse to partake in the mission, and you’ll have to risk the lives of useful soldiers and scientists!”

The room was silent for a very long time. James wondered if he’d gone too far. The white haired man finally looked back at him.

“Very well. All appointments approved. And I want you out of this dimension by the end of the day.”



LettuceBacon&Tomato - January 18, 2009 06:14 AM (GMT)
That night, the team assembled in the sublevels. Zachary reviewed James’ team. “You made some odd choices,” he commented.

“Yeah?”

“I mean, Shelton, Joe, Vic, I was expecting them. But Lockdown?”

“I saw a reason to bring him, so I did.” James shrugged. “It wasn’t easy to get some of these cleared.”

“I imagine.”

“Hey,” interrupted Shelton, “Are we gonna get this show on the road? This place gives me the creeps.”

“Sorry, Rudy, but the sublevels was the most isolated place they could have put the bridge. It wasn’t my decision.”

“Well, it is your decision to leave, so let’s get it on.”

“Agreed,” said Vic.

James smiled. “If we’re all ready. You have all read your briefing pamphlets?”

They all nodded.

“This is your last chance to drop out, no questions asked.” He looked at them one by one. “Shelton?”

“Did you even hear Vic and me thirty seconds ago? Come on!”

“Hans?”

Hans nodded. “I have nothing in this world. I’m quite happy to move to a new one.”

“Me too, dad,” said Werner, before James could ask.

“Neku? Snow?”

They both nodded. “Nobody in this world believes that a Siberian Husky and a dragon can have feelings for each other. Maybe in the next dimension, they will.”

“Josephine?”

“Please, Dr. Joe,” she corrected. “And yes.”

“Siberys?”

“Yes.”

“Hawkeye? Kagetora?”

Both nodded silently.

James saved the most unsure for last. “Lockdown?”

Lockdown didn’t make eye contact. “Yes.”

“Are you sure? We have absolutely no clue what will happen on the other side. We could all die instantly.”

Lockdown hesitated, but slowly shook his head. “No, I’m going. I’ve been nothing but trouble for you scientists the pass nine years. I’m going to start helping now.”

“You don’t have to prove anything, you know.”

Lockdown said nothing, but averted his eyes. James took that as a yes.

“All right. Let’s go.” He hit the button on his radio. “Kerzach, we’re ready. Go.”

“Roger, rerouting power to the bridge.”

The towering, mirrored frame of the bridge flared to life in front of them. Shelton stepped forward.

“These were the coordinates the terrorists had been planning to enter into the bridge,” Shelton said as he encoded them into the activation panel. “That means we can assume they go somewhere survivable.”

The bridge shimmered.

Shelton locked the coordinates in place. “If we’re going, now would be the time.”

“All right,” said James. “All together now.”

They stood in a row, in front of the bridge.

“Now!”

The thirteen of them jumped in unison.

Immediately, James felt a curious floating sensation as he shot through a blackened void. He tried to turn his head, and found he’d lost control of all motor functions.

Suddenly, he was sent tumbling by what felt like an atom bomb blast somewhere to his left. As he hurtled uncontrollably in the wrong direction while simultaneously feeling a sort of counter-force pushing him back, the only thing he knew was that something had gone horribly wrong.



Serris - January 18, 2009 10:26 PM (GMT)
Ooh. Getting more interesting.

Also, it might be interesting to hear the fates of the Dragonstorm scientists.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - January 19, 2009 01:04 AM (GMT)
James flew out of the bridge, sprawling to the ground. A succession of thuds told him his team was doing the same.

Shelton was the first person up. “What the hell happened in there?” he demanded. “I was positive we were going to die!”

“I’m sorry!” cried Lockdown, burying his head in his hands. “I didn’t mean to!”

“What are you talking about?” asked Zachary.

“I couldn’t control it, I… I…”

“You what?”

“I turned the bridge into antimatter.”

There was a strained silence. Everyone turned to look at the bridge, glittering behind them.

“I’m sorry,” Lockdown repeated.

James got up. “It’s all right.”

“No, it damn well is not all right!” Shelton burst out. “We could have all been killed, and as it is, I only see five of us that got through!”

James looked around. Besides the three of them, he also saw Zachary and Siberys. “Where are the others?”

“Well,” Shelton responded sarcastically, “they could be on the other side or they could all be—”

“Don’t say it,” warned Zachary. He crossed over to the bridge controls. “Is there any way to tell where they went?”

“There isn’t even a way to tell where we went. All it has is a coordinate set.”

There was a large rumble around them. Dirt fell from the ceiling.

“What was that?” asked Siberys.

“The bridge might be causing it,” said James. He commanded Zachary. “Shut it down.”

“No!” interjected Shelton, as Zachary reached his hand forward. “There are eight lives hanging in the balance, and I’m the one who knows how to work the bridge, so don’t touch anything!”

Another rumble. Lockdown coughed as he disappeared in a cloud of dust.

“Shelton…” asked James.

“From what I can tell,” interrupted Shelton, viewing the screen of code beside the coordinate system, “they’re in limbo. They’re stuck in the bridge until we eject them.”

“Can you do that?”

“Sure. But I’d have to send them the other way.”

“Back to where we started?”

“Yeah. Wait, actually, no,” he frowned. “The coordinates have changed. Inversed, actually.”

“Can you change them back?”

“Not without erasing the eight life signs still in the machine.”

James thought about it. “Okay, release them. Then we’ll go after them.”

“But I have no way of knowing where these coordinates go! I could send them into a planet’s core, or more likely, empty space!”

“Well, it’s not like we can do anything else!” said James. “Do it. Zachary, Siberys, you’re going in with me afterwards.” He unclipped his sidearm.

The gate shimmered. “Done,” said Shelton. “For better or for worse.”

“Well,” said James, “no use waiting around here, when the others need rescuing.”

And the three of them stepped back through.


f-22 "raptor" ace - January 23, 2009 05:14 AM (GMT)
that was good and a cliffhanger. I'm wondering what will happen next.

StarfallRaptor - February 6, 2009 05:21 AM (GMT)
Just dug this up, and I must say, I like it!

LettuceBacon&Tomato - February 7, 2009 01:06 AM (GMT)
James saw the darkness clear from his vision, and his feet landed on solid ground. “That wasn’t nearly as bad as last time,” he said.

“Ditto,” agreed Siberys.

They were in what looked like a temperate climate. A field of yellowing grass extended to their left terminating in misaligned hills. A coniferous forest was to their left.

“Looks like mid-summer,” remarked Zachary. “High noon.”

James hit the radio. “This is James Zanasiu. Is anyone reading me?”

No answer.

“Let’s fan out,” directed James. “We try the hills first.”

They crept across the grass, approaching the hills. “The landscape here is remarkably similar to the landscapes found on Earth,” Zachary noted.

“What are the odds of that?” asked Siberys.

“Shelton will know. For now, let’s focus on finding the others.”

They reached the top of the hills. Below, they could see a village not too far away. “Should we go there?” asked Siberys.

He was cut off by gunfire inside the forest to their left.

“That was an AK!” exclaimed Zachary.

“That’s go!” yelled James.

The three sprinted back across the field. As they approached, they heard more fire.

James burst into the cover of the trees. He spied the source of the gunfire crouched behind a bush.

James rolled across open ground and knelt beside the shooter, who he now recognized as Hans. “Hans, what’s going on?”

“I don’t know; I woke up and was under attack.”

“By what?”

“People with spears and crossbows.”

“Is anyone else here?”

“Dr. Joe and Vic. We got separated.”

James peeked over the bush. Figures dressed in dirty tan cloth were approaching, armed with medieval-grade weaponry. An arrow whizzed by his head. James fired a retaliatory burst. “How many of them are there?”

“It’s a hunting party. Too many too count.”

Suddenly, gunfire enveloped the hunters from both sides. James and Hans dove for cover.

When they got up, they saw Zachary, Siberys, Dr. Joe, and Vic drop from the treetops. “You looked like you were in a bit of a jam,” smiled Zachary, reloading his pistol.

James smiled. “We were. Thanks.” He turned to Vic and Dr. Joe. “What do you know about this place?”

“Nothing,” replied Dr. Joe. “We’d barely exited the bridge before I was almost impaled with a spear. “

“Have you located any of the others?”

“We haven’t had time. We were only here for a minute.”

James turned to the group. “So, do we return back to base, or search for the others?”

“I vote we move on to the village. See what they know,” said Siberys.

“I say we head back and think of an actual game plan,” said Vic.

“Whatever we do, someone needs to stay behind and guard the bridge,” said Zachary.

“I’ll do it,” agreed Dr. Joe, and Vic nodded akin.

James nodded. “If anything happens, go through the bridge to Shelton. Don’t wait for us.”

Both nodded, and the groups split up.


LettuceBacon&Tomato - July 31, 2009 05:25 AM (GMT)
All right, I'm reviving this story after an incredibly long time. I have it finished handwritten-style, but I need to type it up, which is taking some time. Here's the next part though.
------------------------------

As James, Zachary, Siberys, and Hans approached the village, James ordered, “Weapons at rest. We don’t want to startle anybody.”

They crossed the edge of the forest and walked through the outskirts of the town. The inhabitants continually looked up at them, some with less-than-friendly glances.

“James,” said Zachary. “They’re human.”

“I know.”

“Do you know why?”

“Another thing to ask Shelton.”

The town appeared rather primitive, mainly huts and wooden cottages. A large amount of noise was emanating from a tall, thick adobe structure to their left.

“Let’s check that place out.”

A guard made a halfhearted attempt to stop them, but it didn’t deter James and his team.

The audience, composed mainly of boorish, tipsy townsfolk, was laughing at a man with excessive body hair and an extremely fat woman on a stage. The woman was attempting to get her pudgy fingers through a small hole in a board which had bread on the other side, and the man was attempting to dance, but weights tied to patches of his hair would throw him off balance.

“Seems to be some sort of freak show,” commented Zachary.

“It’s disgusting,” said Hans. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Agreed,” said James. “Come on.”

They turned to leave, but before they could, a loud voice boomed from on stage.

“Friends, all my friends, lend me your attention please!”

The fat lady and the hairy man were being led off, and a tall, smiling man was addressing the crowd.

“Did he just speak English?” gasped James.

But before he could ponder this unexpected change, something more important caught his eye.

“It’s Snow! And Neku!”

Their team members were being led onstage. Snow was locked in a primitive muzzle and leash, and Neku had ropes forcing his hands together.

“My friends, these two beauties were brought in minutes ago by Menken, everyone’s favorite butcher, and his sons, and they’ve graciously sold them to this show, just for you! Have you ever seen anything like them?”

“Why don’t they use their powers?” whispered Zachary.

“Dunno. Listen, let’s get back stage, and when the show’s over—”

“No way, I’m rescuing them now!” Siberys whipped out his pistol.

“Siberys, wait!”

Siberys fired three shots into the air.

Immediately, pandemonium ensued. James found himself cut off from his team as hordes of frightened drunken townsfolk barreled past him for the exit. James kept his eye in Siberys. Who was heading for the stage.

Siberys vaulted onto the stage, firing at a man trying to lead Neku backstage. The man bolted, as Snow broke free from her captors and ran for Siberys. Siberys pointed his gun in that direction, but James pushed his pistol down. “You idiot! You could have killed somebody!”

Siberys yanked his gun back. “Hey, I was willing to rescue them before they were championed around like circus animals!”

“Let’s discuss this later, and get out of here.” James spied Zachary in the remaining crowd. He waved trying to get his attention. “Hey, Zach!”

Zachary turned, but suddenly a man from behind clubbed him over the head. Zachary collapsed to the ground. Simultaneously James heard a similar noise behind him. He whirled around.

Neku and Siberys had fallen, and a man’s fist was swinging at his head. Stars erupted into his vision, and he fell backwards, landing on the theater floor with a sickening thud.


LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 1, 2009 03:37 AM (GMT)
At the bridge, Dr. Joe and Vic looked up as Hans limped towards them. “Hans, what happened?” asked Dr. Joe.

“We were attacked. They got the others, I think.”

“Did you find anyone?”

“Neku and Snow. They got them too.”

“Let’s get back to base,” said Vic. “We can discuss it with Shelton.”

The three jumped through the bridge, reappearing on the other side amidst what felt like an earthquake.

Shelton looked up as they appeared through the bridge. “Thank god, shut it down!” he commanded Lockdown, who did so immediately. The shaking stopped.

Dr. Joe looked around. “This isn’t where we started, is it?”

Shelton shook his head. “Almost, but not quite. It’s still Pelvanida, but this dimension’s.”

Dr. Joe looked around. “And what exactly is this dimension? And why is it so unstable?”

“It’s not unstable now. Follow me.”

Shelton led Hans, Dr. Joe and Vic to the ground floor, to a rec room with a large window streaming red light. Dr. Joe gasped at the outside scenery.

The Nevadan deserts had always been dry and unfriendly, but the deserts they were looking at now could only be described as barren. Jagged maroon rocks encircled blackened craters with obsidian shards peppered everywhere else under spiraling dusty winds. Decayed black clouds hang over the remnants of a mountain range in the distance.

“Behold the landscape of Pelvanida desert, February 31st, 3009.”

Vic snapped his head to look at Shelton. “Did you say 3009?”

Shelton held up a battered PDA. The date was flashing in the upper right hand corner. “Apparently Caesar’s leap year thing was changed somewhere down the line. You’re looking at a textbook case of a landscape after a nuclear fallout.”

Vic looked around. “Earth is dealing with a nuclear fallout?”

“Not our Earth. The Earth of whatever dimension the bridge has taken us.”

“So is it 3009 on our Earth?”

“There’s no way to tell. The timelines are unrelated.”

“But why is this one so unstable?” repeated Dr. Joe.

Shelton pointed out the window. “The same reason we’re not dying of radiation. The former inhabitants of Pelvanida constructed a force field to protect the base.”

“And it’s instable because…”

“Because every time we activate the bridge, it puts major strain on the force field.”

“How many times can we activate the bridge and remain safe?”

“Indeterminate. But not many.”

Hans looked back down the corridor. “We need to rescue James and the others.”

Shelton nodded. “But let’s not waste our bridge activations.”

Dr. Joe shrugged. “We only need one.”

“Two.”

“Two?”

Shelton nodded. “Because if the force field goes completely, we’ll need another to evacuate the base.”

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 2, 2009 01:33 AM (GMT)
James groaned, and opened up his eyes. He could tell he was on an inclined table of sorts, as well as tied up.

He saw Zachary to his left, and Snow to his right. He assumed Neku and Siberys were somewhere close by as well.

“Zach, you awake? Zach?” he asked.

“I am,” said Snow.

“Snow, are you and Neku okay?”

“Physically.”

James could tell the tone in her voice. “Snow, I know things haven’t started off great for the two of you. But once we get out of here—”

“I’m not leaving. Not until I find those men who shot at us, tied us up, and sold us to that horror show!”

“Snow,” James paused, choosing his words carefully. “You’re not thinking clearly right now, which is understandable. But our goal should be to escape, not to wreak havoc. You saw what happened when Siberys flew off the handle.”

“I agree with him.”

James sighed. “You all agreed when you took this mission that I was in charge. And I’m telling you, direct all your focus for escape!”

“Oh no, friend, you don’t need to do that,” interrupted a smiling, rotund man dressed lavishly, who had just come through a door with two standing guards.

“I’m so sorry for the misunderstanding. My name is Gamas, king of Gaman. I do hope you’ll forgive my subjects’ actions.”

James tried to it up. “Maybe. Perhaps you could untie us first.”

“Of course.” The king clapped twice. The two guards stepped forward, and loosened the ropes. James got to his feet.

The king smiled warmly. “The moment I heard of your plight, I rushed to make things right. I assure you, I knew nothing of what they had done to you.”

Suddenly, there was a blur to his left. Snow, who had just been freed, had bolted forward and had pinned the king to the wall, snarling.

James jumped forward. “Snow, stop! Back down!”

“Guards!” the king yelped. “Be gone with this brute!”

“I’m the brute?” Snow hissed. “Did I whip and beat two unarmed foreigners into submission, then drag them like puppets onto an unfriendly stage?”

“Snow, get down! Now!” James pulled her off with effort.

The king got to his feet shakily. “I’m sure the men were not aware you were anything more than animals. If they had known—”

“You mean the fact that we were begging them to stop wasn’t enough?”

“Snow,” hissed James. He straightened up, and addressed the king. “We really should be going now.”

“Nonsense, you can’t go! You haven’t gotten to experience just how friendly Gaman can really be!”

James looked at his team. “That’s all right. Maybe later.”

The king’s face fell. “If you insist. I have no way of forcing you to stay.”

James turned to leave, but Zachary interrupted. “Wait, James, our weapons.”

James checked his holster. “What did you do with our weapons?”

The king’s smile didn’t falter. “We had them moved to a secure location. So we could study them.”

“We’d really like them back.”

“Of course. But first I’d like to show you my kingdom.”

James saw he was cornered. “If you say so.”

The king beamed wider. “Excellent! Follow me!”

And he skipped gaily out of the room. James exchanged a look with Zachary, and followed.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 3, 2009 01:11 AM (GMT)
(Two updates of nearly all talking. I combined them to get them out of way. Don't worry, it gets interesting next update!)

“Gaman has a long and rich history, as I’m sure your home does,” explained the king, as he led them through town. “Our various lands occupy the whole of the lightened world.”

“The lightened world?”

The king nodded. “About a day’s walk from here is a land where the sun never shines. That land is not of Gaman.”

“Gaman. Where does the name come from?”

“Gamas was the founder of this kingdom. All those you see before you come from his lineage. He was the first man ever.”

“I see.”

“We have all dedicated ourselves to live by his writings, which have been passed down for hundreds of years.”

“Didn’t you call yourself Gamas?”

“It’s the tradition. All kings renounce their old name and take the name Gamas upon crownship.”

“I see. This Gamas sounds like quite a guy.”

“You should read his writings. Amazing.”

“They’re still around?”

“Sadly, no. But they have been passed down by word of mouth and only in the last hundreds years have they been written down.”

They were at the foot of the castle. A lone girl in the courtyard leapt up and ran to greet them.

“Seska!” exclaimed the king happily, throwing his arms around her. “Friends, meet Seska!”

“Seska,” repeated James. “Nice name.”

“It’s the name of Gamas’ wife,” said the girl. James looked at the king.

“Oh no, not me,” explained the king. “The true Gamas. You see, along with his writings, the only other statement that survived was a description of his wife, Seska. The name Seska has since been passed along to he girl that best fits her description. The latest is our darling here.”

James extended his hand. “Pleased to meet you.”

The girl just looked at him.

“Now, for a tour of our castle,” said the king, but James interrupted. “No. We toured your kingdom, now you fulfill your half of the bargain. Return our weapons.”

“Of course,” The king took the guards and started conversing with them.

“Where are you from?” asked Seska.

James wasn’t expecting a question. “Somewhere a long way from here.”

“We’re talking another dimension,” commented Zachary.

The girl looked confused. “I don’t understand.”

“Its all right, we don’t exactly either.” James looked around. The king was returning. The guards were marching into the castle.

“My men are retrieving your weapons. Now, let us tour the castle. I think you’ll be impressed.”
_______________________________________________________________

In the quiet field, a circular wall of space time fabric suddenly congealed, and out of it stepped Shelton and Dr. Joe.

“Well, that was certainly an easier ride,” said Shelton, as his feet touched the ground gently.

Dr. Joe, pistol at ready, glanced at Shelton. “How quick can we do this?”

“Beats me. I don’t know how fast this thing works.” He hit several buttons on a hand held electronic board.

“What is that thing, anyway?” asked Dr. Joe.

“Salvaged it from a biogeography station. Reads on the climate, layout, and habitability of the outside environment.”

“What does it say?”

“Everything seems normal.” Shelton frowned. “Wait…”

“What?”

“The soil.” Shelton knelt down and laid his hand on the ground. “It’s showing unusually high temperatures.”

Dr. Joe looked at the ground. “Okay. So it’s hot around here.”

“Must be hot at night too. The temperature’s too hot to have accumulated in one day. There must be heat being vented from the other direction too.”

“What, into the planet’s core?”

“Maybe. The readings don’t make sense.” Shelton looked at the sky. “It’s noon now. We’ll take another reading at night and compare the two.”

“Wait!” interrupted Dr. Joe. “It’s noon? It was noon when we were first here. That isn’t possible.”

Shelton frowned. “I’ll need more equipment to make an accurate reading. Let’s head back through.”

They leapt back through the rift and disappeared.


LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 4, 2009 03:19 AM (GMT)
The front room of the castle contained tapestries and servants milling back and forth. When the king entered, everyone turned and bowed.

“Thank you, friends! Please say hello to my guests!”

The servants started clapping them. The king turned to face them, beaming. “See? We really are a friendly people.”

James said nothing. He felt Snow shift behind him.

“Come!” The king led them to the largest tapestry, showing a man atop a mountain. “This is the true Gamas!”

The man portrayed on the tapestry reminded James of a Greek god. Large bushy eyebrows obscured the eyes, a thick beard flowed in the wind, and muscular arms held aloft a cloud-parting book. Below him, light shone through his hands, enlightening the miles of land below.

“Did he really look like that?”

“Unlike the statement of his wife Seska, sources differ as to what he looked like. But it is agreed he was a great man. Follow me, and I’ll show you even more.”

They left the front room and continued down a dark corridor. James couldn’t see the end.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“The treasure room. It will fascinate you.”

“This doesn’t look like the way to a treasure room.”

The king said nothing. James felt Snow nudge his leg.

“There are guards behind us,” she whispered.

James turned to look, but just then a trumpet blast echoed down the corridor.

“Oh no!” exclaimed the king. He opened up a nearby door. “That was the call that Sapaar have attacked! We must get you to a place of safety!”

“No, that’s not—” started James, but suddenly behind him, Syberis spun around, hitting one of the guards with a right hook.

“Syberis!”

Snow leapt forward to help, but the other guard drew his spear and hit her in the shoulder, sending her spinning. He twirled his spear, leaving it inches from Syberis’s throat.

“There’s no time for this, get in the cellar!” cried the king.

The first guard got back to his feet, also drawing his spear. The two advanced threateningly. Syberis didn’t back down.

“Quickly, quickly…” begged the king.

One of the guards jabbed Syberis in the side. He grunted, stepping back. Soon, the guards had them in the room. Half of the room composed of a large jail cell.

“This is all for your own safety,” smiled the king, as the cell door closed behind them. Still smiling broadly, he locked the door with a large key and left the room.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 4, 2009 08:42 PM (GMT)
From behind bars, James watched the stone faced guards take their places outside the holding cell. Then, he turned to Siberys and Neku and asked, “Can you guys pry open the bars with your powers?”

They looked at each other. “I don’t think we have powers any more,” said Neku.

“I tried to use mine back at the stage,” said Siberys. “No dice.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

James looked back. “Well, we need to find a way out of here. Any ideas?”

“Shelton and the others are still out there. And we haven’t found Hawkeye, Kagetora, or Werner yet,” said Zachary.

“We need to find our equipment and use our radio,” said Siberys.

“And kill some Gamans while we’re at it,” snarled Snow.

“Now, let’s not get hasty,” said James. “If we can settle this peacefully, then that’s what we are going to—”

A door opened from outside the cell, and the king approached the jail.

Siberys jumped up. “You. Let us out.”

The king spread his arms apologetically. “I’m sorry, but you’re safer in there. The Sapaar attack is underway. We’re beating them back, but it’s a brutal fight.”

James cocked his ear. “I don’t hear anything. We’ll take our chances.”

“I’m afraid that’s not advisable.”

James was about to turn away in disgust, but spotted Zachary, who was out of the king’s sight, tearing the hem off of his lab coat. He frantically signaled James to stall.

“Wait, Gamas. Who are the Sapaar anyway? Where do they come from?”

“The darklands.” The king’s face grew pained. “The Sapaar are a misguided people, a pitiable race.”

“Why are they misled? Who do they follow?”

“They to live by Gamas’ teachings, but they do not believe Gamas wrote them. They believe he stole them from a being named Sapaar.”

“Who’s Sapaar?”

“That’s just it; there is no Sapaar. There couldn’t be. Gamas and Seska were the first humans; there was nobody there to steal from. It’s ludicrous. But the Sapaar do not listen to reason. And they don’t quit. Now, I must command my troops. Farewell.”

The king turned to go, but Zachary jumped forward, makeshift lasso in hand. Throwing the lasso through the bars, he roped the king around the neck and dragged him to the ground, gagging.

The guards ran forward, but Zachary held the loop tight. “Stop. Do what I say, or he dies.”

The guards stopped.

“Unlock this door, and put your weapons down,” he ordered.

They did so.

“Snow, don’t touch them,” James ordered, as he and Neku picked up the two guard spears.

“James,” said Zachary. “We need to know where the weapons are stored.”

James pointed the pointy end of the spear at the king’s throat. “Where’s our stuff being held?”

A minute later, the team left the cell and began sprinting down the left corridor.

At the specified corridor, the guards were startled to see a posse of angry scientists coming at them. One of them had just enough time to raise his staff. James parried high, then swiped low, knocking the guard’s feet out from under him. The other turned and started sprinting down the hallway.

“Snow, no!” ordered James, who was snarling and preparing to give chase. “Stand guard with Siberys!”

Snow reluctantly complied, and the others entered the room. Their equipment was sitting on a large table, and the light on one of the radios was beeping.

“This is Roy Hawkeye, I repeat, Lieutenant Roy Hawkeye. Does anybody read me?”

James picked up. “This is James. Hawkeye, you hear me?”

“Hello?”

“Hello? Hawkeye?”

“This is Hawkeye, to receiver. I have discovered you must depress the call button in order to communicate. Over.”

James let go of the call button. “Why do you have to do that?”

“Hello, James. I don’t know.” Hawkeye sounded strained. There were echoes of gunfire.

“Roy, what’s going on?”

“Kagetora and myself are holed up in a cave on a mountain side. We are under attack, but our attackers seem rather primitive. We are holding them off for now.”

“I wish I could help, but we’re attempting to escape a castle now.”

“A castle? We can see it from here. We will come to assist you. Hawkeye out.”

“Hawkeye, wait! Do you know anything about Werner?”

There was no reply.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 6, 2009 04:39 AM (GMT)
Outside, even though the guard’s footsteps had long since faded, Snow continued to glare down the empty hallway.

“Frustrating, isn’t it?”

She looked back at Siberys. “You don’t know the half of it.”

“I think I do. They kidnap you and your mate, beat you, and parade you around like animals.”

Snow growled.

“But the worst part,” Siberys continued, “is that James won’t let you fight back.”

Snow’s hair bristled.

“But James isn’t here right now.” Siberys leaned in close and whispered, “I think like you do. Gaman deserves to be punished. Let’s give it what it deserves.”

Snow sprang up on all fours. “You mean it?”

Siberys picked the staff up from the unconscious guard. “Yes.”

Snow smiled, and charged down the hallway, Siberys behind her.
____________________________________________________________

Back at the rift, Shelton and Dr. Joe were setting up several information-recording devices. Lockdown stepped though the rift, lugging a half-meter rectangular control panel. He dragged it over to Shelton. “Is this right?”

Shelton looked up from his retinal scanner. “Aye. Put it over there.”

Lockdown looked at the various devices. “How do you know what they all do?”

“Trial and error. I think I’ve got a good hang of things. I’m picking up loads of data.”

“Are James’ and the others’ locations some of it?” interrupted Dr. Joe.

Shelton refocused the scanner. “No. I’ll get back to work.”

__________________________________________________________________
James, Zachary, and Neku exited the room with all the gear. “Where’s Snow and Siberys?” asked Neku.

“I don’t know,” said James, advancing cautiously.

Footsteps came from the other end of the hall. “James!” alerted Zachary.

Guards came around the corner, swords drawn and bows cocked.

James, Zachary, and Neku opened fire. The leading guards fell, but more came. Arrows whizzed past their heads as the swordsman moved to the back.

The three retreated down the hallway. More spilled from an adjacent hallway, forcing them to go an uncharted way.

“This way!” At the next intersection, James headed left. They saw a flight of stairs spiraling up.

With the high ground, they were able to hold the guards off until they reached the door at the top, a heavyset wooden slab. They piled through it, and barricaded it shut.

James looked around, panting. They were in a tower, showing the rest of the castle grounds below them. Junk, such as clothing, parchments, a trumpet, and some light arms, was stacked around the walls.

“Look!” said Neku, panting. They could see Snow and Siberys, attacking townsfolk in the courtyard below.

“What are they doing?” exclaimed James angrily. “I told them not to harm anyone unless absolutely necessary!”

“We need to get down there,” said Neku, watching Snow nervously. “We have to help them!”

“Might I recommend we head for him instead?” Zachary pointed at the king, who could be seen passing a window with a team of guards down a faraway corridor. “We capture him, we end this battle now.”

“Agreed,” said James.

Zachary grabbed the spare bow and began tying a rope around the shaft of an arrow. “Belts off, everybody. We’re going rope sliding.”

“But James,” protested Neku. “Snow is—”

“We can do more for Snow if we get the king to end this quickly,” said James. “Now give me the radio. I need to set something up.”


LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 7, 2009 01:22 AM (GMT)
A swordsman made a pass at Snow’s head. She rolled under the swipe, leapt on him, and clawed at his back.

Suddenly, a jab to her side flung her off the swordsman. The first of a wave of guards flipped her with his staff, sending her crashing back-first to the ground.

“Snow!”

The cry came from seemingly nowhere. All at once, every pair of eyes turned to look at three men attempting to scale from one tower to another on a rope.

______________________________________________________________

“Oh, crap.”

Zachary, James, and Neku saw at least a hundred bows from various places tilt up to aim right at them.

“Is it possible to slide faster?” asked James, though he knew the answer. “Neku, you really need to work on your timing!”

“Fire!” yelled someone from below.

Two rounds of arrows flew straight at them. James clutched his belt and shut his eyes.

When he opened them, the skies were clear, and Zachary was still ahead of him. “They shot too high!” Zachary yelled.

“Let’s hope we don’t tempt fate twice!”

Zachary hit the window sill on the other side and tumbled into the tower. James was right behind him.

He hit the ground and rolled. “Zachary, Neku, we did it!”

An empty belt slid in after him.

“Neku?”

James and Zachary stared at the tower window for a moment, until both heard a sound behind them.

“Freeze.”

A dozen guards were at the door, spears pointed right at James and Zachary.

“Come quietly,” the leader ordered. “Or die.”

_________________________________________________________

“Neku!”

Snow leapt to her feet. Others were running for the fallen figure, but she outstripped them all.

“Neku, are you okay? Neku…”

Neku wasn’t conscious.

“Neku, I’m so sorry…”

Snow looked up to see guards coming from all sides. She kept herself between them and Neku, but the circle was closing…

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 7, 2009 07:35 PM (GMT)
James and Zachary, hands on their heads, were marched in between the armed guards.

“Zach,” whispered James, “Neku. Is he—?”

“Possibly,” Zach whispered back. “There’s no way to know.”

“We need to get him back for medical help as fast as possible.”

“Of course. How do you propose we do that?”

James saw a flash of black to their left. “Get down!”

They hit the dirt as a black-robed figure burst out of the bushes, dual blades drawn, and felled three guards with one swipe. Simultaneously, gunfire erupted from the bushes. The remaining guards scattered, and James looked up to see Kagetora re-sheathing his katanas.

“James. Good to see you alive.” Hawkeye stepped out of the bushes, gun barrel still smoking.

James smiled. “Thanks to you. But we’re not out of the woods just yet. Follow me!”

James, Zach, Hawkeye, and Kagetora sprinted down the hallway.

_________________________________________________________________

Snow snarled, and snapped, but the spears grew closer and closer…

She heard the figure beside her groan. Neku was coming to.

“Neku, can you understand me?”

“Snow. Is that you?”

“Neku, get on my back now.”

“What?” he gasped. “It hurts all over…”

“Just do it!”

Neku reached up and grasped at the nape of her neck. Snow hoisted him the rest of the way on in a flash.

“Hold on!”

Bursting through the line of spears, Snow raced for safety.

“Where are we going?” Neku feebly asked.

“To find the others.”

“How?”

“I can smell them.” Snow gritted her teeth. “Just hold on. I can get you out of here.”

________________________________________________________________

“And I want extra guards posted at every entrance!” the king ordered his men. “I don’t want any one to get through!”

He and Seska, the young girl, were in the sealed room at the end of the castle.

“King Gamas?” asked Seska nervously. “Am I going to be okay?”

“You’re going to be fine. They can’t possibly beat triple protection at all three entrances,” said the king. But he still looked worried. He crossed to the bookcase.

“What are you doing?” asked Seska.

The king slid the bookcase open, revealing a secret passageway. “Just to be safe, my dear,” consoled the king, pushing the girl into the passageway, “If you hear anything unusual happening in this room, I want you to escape down this passage. Is that clear?”

The girl nodded, as the bookcase slid shut.

The king sighed gratefully, and turned around, to see Kagetora standing across the room.

“What?” he gasped, drawing back.

Kagetora shrugged. “There’s more than one way to get into a room,” he said.

James, Hawkeye, and Zachary dropped down from a newly made hole in the ceiling. “Gamas, I want you to call your men back now,” said James, firearm brandished.

“Don’t be preposterous. You’ll never get out alive!” the king scoffed.

James stepped forward, lowering the pistol. “All right, let’s be reasonable. I don’t want to cause any trouble, you don’t want any more trouble, and all I’m asking is the right to leave, which is what you want. So, just let us go.”

“I refuse.”

“King Gamas, I don’t want to use violence, but I will when it means getting my team home safely!”

“You’re bluffing. You wouldn’t dare harm me.”

“Oh yeah?” an unidentified sixth voice sneered. “Bluff this.”

The bookcase swung open, and inside was Siberys, with a knife to Seska’s throat.

Serris - August 8, 2009 03:02 AM (GMT)
This story is quite interesting and the fusion of Furry science fiction and medieval is unique.

However, I do not consider this story canon.

Serris - August 11, 2009 04:37 AM (GMT)
Hmm. It's getting interesting.

I just wonder, since you haven't been updating it daily, has this story been finished?

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 11, 2009 05:05 AM (GMT)
No, it isn't. I thought nobody was reading it, so I had planned on letting it die. I'll keep going, though.
Also, Schrodinger's Prisoners is finished. I hope you liked it!
___________________________________________________________

“I won’t say this twice!” Siberys growled. “Call your men off, or she dies!”

The king gaped like a fish. James stepped forward. “Siberys, put the knife down.”

“You stay out of this, James!” he snapped. “I’m getting what we want. You,” he ordered the king, “order your men to stand down or I kill the girl.”

Seska looked fearfully at the king, then James, then back at the king.

“Okay!” the king exclaimed, “I’ll do it! What do you want me to do?”

James held out his radio. “Talk into this. Give your orders into this small box, and the men will hear it.”

The king took the radio and said, “Men, this is King Gamas. Stand down.”

His voice traveled from that radio to the one in the junk tower, which, using the trumpet as a megaphone, broadcast his words across the castle.

“You heard me right. Put down your weapons.” The king looked at Siberys. “Is that good?”

“Yeah,” Siberys said. But the knife didn’t move.

“All right, Siberys,” said James. “He did what you wanted, now drop the knife.”

Siberys didn’t move. “Now it’s your turn, James.”

“What do you mean?”

“Shoot the king.”

“What!?!”

“Either give me the gun, or shoot him yourself, and this girl lives!”

“Siberys, we can’t do that! You just promised to let the girl go!”

“A gun, James. Now.”

James didn’t move. “Siberys—”

“Last chance,” Siberys pressed the knife closer. “5…4…3…2…1…”

* * *
Snow tore down a hallway, Neku attempting to hang on. He was giving a slight yelp with every bound.

“Hold on; it’s that door there!”

Just as they reached it, a gunshot rang out from inside.

Both stopped. Snow cautiously pushed open the door.

Siberys was on the ground, dead.

“Siberys!” Snow gasped.

James re-holstered his pistol and looked at them. “Again, Neku. Your timing.”

Seska and the king were huddled in a corner. Zachary motioned to the open bookcase. “Shall we get out of here?”

James nodded. The team left the room and began hiking down the earthy tunnel.

“There’s light up ahead!” Zachary called out from the front.

Suddenly, a loud voice echoed from above the tunnel, sounding amplified as if from a loudspeaker.

“To all who can hear, this is King Gamas! The invaders attempted to kill Seska, and are now escaping! Flood the forests, search the fields! Don’t let them get away!”

James broke out in a run. “Let’s move it! Come on!”

The team bust out of the tunnel, finding themselves at the edge of the forests. They could see people charging them from the castle grounds.

“Faster!” James laid down cover fire, but knew he missed anything. The team sprinted for the bridge.

In the fields, more townsfolk came from all three sides, armed with knives, pitchforks, and clubs.

“Keep going! We’re almost there!”

At the bridge, Shelton looked up from his makeshift research station. “James! I have something really important to tell you!”

“Later, Shelton! Get this equipment through the gate!”

“I can’t do that! It was an act of Congress getting the stuff out here!”

“To late!” As townsfolk stormed their position, James pushed Shelton through the gate. The team followed suit.

Once they were all through, Lockdown shut the gate down. James got to his feet. “Where’s Vic? We have a medical emergency!”

Dr. Joe and Lockdown grabbed Neku ad helped him off to the infirmary, snow trailing worriedly behind them.

Shelton jumped to his feet, holding the view screen he had on Gaman. “I’ve got enough on here to show you what I’ve found out. Follow me.”

Serris - August 11, 2009 05:16 AM (GMT)
I'm reading it and archiving it as well.

I absolutely loved [i]Schrodinger's Prisoners[i]. The twist at the end was totally unseen and the foreshadowing leading into Darwin's Soldiers II was perfectly placed.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 11, 2009 11:28 PM (GMT)
This next section is really important, so pay close attention to what's being said. I'm going to explain it OOC at the end to make sure it's clear. This was the intended reason why this story can fit canon-wise with the rest of Darwin's Soldiers.
______________________________________________________________________
Shelton led Zachary and James to a room with a large projector set up, and showed them a large square diagram.

The diagram had a large jagged vertical line right down the middle. The left half was labeled “Matter universe.” The right half was labeled “Antimatter universe.” The lower left corner of the diagram showed a circle labeled ‘A.’ The lower right hand corner showed an identical circle labeled ‘B.’ The upper left hand corner had a concave ring labeled ‘C.’ Arrows connected A to B, B to A, and B to C.

“Now, I’m going to show you what happened step by step. We start off here, at A, matter Earth. As we go through the bridge, Lockdown changed the bridge into antimatter. But that’s not all. He changed us into antimatter as well.”

“Us?” James looked at himself. “I’m antimatter?”

“Not exactly. You’re not James.”

“I’m not?”

“None of us are ourselves. We’re antimatter copies, duplicates of the originals.”

“What happened to the originals?”

“Same as us. They got ejected out, only they wound up back in their universe, the matter universe. To them, the bridge looked like it just didn’t work and they could move on with their lives.”

“So where are we? Us duplicates, I mean.”

“Here, at point B. The antimatter Earth, at antimatter Pelvanida.”

“And we’re antimatter.” James was having trouble digesting that specific part.

“It explains a few things, like why the radios need to be off to work, why the bridge coordinates got flipped, and why,” Shelton held up his hand, “I’m suddenly right handed.”

“And what about point C, the ring? What’s that?”

“First, let me explain how the bridge works. When its functioning properly, the bridge uses the coordinates you entered to create a giant ellipse out of the universe, with your coordinates as one of the focal points.”

“But an ellipse has two focal points,” said Zachary.

“Right. And, in the matter universe, Pelvanida Base is one of the focal points. And the other—” Shelton tapped the point C on the screen, “is here.”

“Gaman? The planet we just left?”

“It’s not a planet. Not per se. It’s a giant band of packed soil, revolving around a sun. We landed on the inner surface, which explains why it was always noon. And, assuming the distance from the sun to the band is roughly the same as the distance from our sun to Earth, the climate and the force of gravity would be the same.”

“But the band would have to be slightly further from the Sun than the Earth’s orbit, since otherwise heat would build up on the inside,” Zachary pointed out.

Shelton nodded. “Right, the atmosphere on the inside of the band is hotter than usual, but I think access heat drains off into space, keeping the inner surface habitable.”

James looked at the diagram. “The king mentioned a race of people called Sapaar who live in the dark lands.”

“That would be the outer ring. I don’t know how they counteract centrifugal force, possibly by living underground, but the excess heat vented through the soil would keep them from freezing to death. I guess. I haven’t thought about them.” Shelton scratched his head.

“Okay,” said James, “so what about going home? Can’t we just travel back through the gate to matter Earth?”

“Yes, but there are a couple problems.”

“Like what?”

“Remember, the bridge has four coordinates you can alter to change where you go: x, y, z, and t. t is obviously time, the fourth dimension. Now, we’re here,” Shelton pointed, “at anti-Earth. With the current coordinates, we can travel to Gaman and back to anti-Earth. What happens ifwe change the x, y, or z coordinates?”

“We’d travel to a different point in space,” said Zachary.

“Almost definitely empty space,” agreed Shelton. “Where we’d die instantly. So we have to keep those coordinates the same. What happens if we change the t-coordinate and attempt to travel back to Earth?”

Zachary nodded, understanding. “Earth would be at a different point in it’s orbit.”

“And again, we’d walk into space. But since Gaman is a band, no matter what t-coordinate we plug in, we’ll still land on solid ground.”

“So the only coordinate we can safely change…” said Zachary.

“…is t, traveling to Gaman.”

“What if we keep the same t coordinate, and travel back to Earth?” said James. “We’d be sure Earth was there.”

“That won’t work either,” Shelton moved his finger from B to A. “Remember, at the exact original coordinates, our matter counterparts are just jumping through. And when identical matter and anti-matter collide—”

“—both are annihilated,” Zachary finished.

James looked from one to the other. “Then what do we do?”

Zachary glanced at Shelton. “We’re not sure yet.”

“Then keep thinking. I’m going to check on Neku.”

___________________________________________________________________

James entered the makeshift infirmary. Vic had Neku on a stone table, with a wadded-up lab coat or a pillow and a large piece ripped off for a tourniquet.

“In have him sedated right now,” said Vic. “I managed to get the arrow out, but he fractured several bones in the fall. He’ll heal, but his limp will never go away. And I can’t tell while he’s knocked out if he’s suffered any brain damage.”

James looked at the fallen figure. “On our Earth, he had the power to regenerate damaged tissue, but he said he lost his other powers when traveling through the gate. Do you know if he lost that power too?”

“It’s innate, so he might have kept it. I don’t know.”

Snow whimpered from beside him.

There were some choice things James wanted to say to Snow about her performance off-world, but he realized now wasn’t the time. And that the time would probably never come.

“Just take care of him, Vic.”

Vic sighed. “What are you thinking we do next, James?”

“We find Werner,” said Hans. “He’s still out there.”

James nodded. “Shelton’s devising a plan to get home, but even if he does, one thing’s certain: whatever we choose to do, we have to go back.”

_________________________________________________________________

(The important thing to notice here, is that these are not the characters we've had in the RP. These were copies accidentally created by the Einstein-Rosen bridge due to the anti-matter overload. This was how the events of this story could take place without affecting our characters on Earth.)

Serris - August 12, 2009 01:20 AM (GMT)
Ah. So the events here don't affect the "real world" of the RP. I might actually consider this story canon (the part about the Einstein-Rosen Bridge being repaired and being used for experiments but it fails <to the real characters>.)

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 12, 2009 07:29 PM (GMT)
Were this a book, I would put a large page with the words Part Two between the last post and this one. But this isn't a book, so I'll just have to tell you. Hope you like it!
_________________________________________________________________


March 1st, 3009

“…seven pistols, three pocket knives, five radios, not counting the one in my flashlight…”

James sat quietly as Shelton briefed him on the equipment he and his team had.

“…and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” Shelton finished, dropping the massive tome onto the stone table.

“Who brought that?”

“I’m not sure. Nobody fessed up.”

James chuckled. “Okay, then. How are we doing on morale?”

“Good. Hans’ cards are helping.”

“Neku?”

“He’s woken up, but can’t leave the infirmary. Snow hasn’t left either.”

“Is that all?”

“Almost. We elected you president.”

James double-taked. “You what?”

“Well, think about it. We may be the only ones left in the United States. It was a completely necessary move.”

“Who’s Vice President?”

“That’s your job. The president appoints the vice president.”

“All right. You be vice president.”

“Me? Not Zachary?”

“He’d hate such a worthless job. He can be Secretary of State.”

“Gee, thanks. Well, now that our nation’s had its seventh president named James…”

James smirked. “Is that all for this briefing?’

“Pretty much.”

“Have you made any progress regarding how we’re going to get home?”

“Yeah, but I was going to save that for everyone.”

James stopped him. “First, I have a question about that.”

“Shoot.”

“On Earth, whenever Lockdown turned something to anti-matter, it vaporized. Since we’re anti-matter, won’t that happen to us if we step on matter-Earth?”

Shelton shook his head. “The Pelvanida staff and I made a scientific mistake when we said Lockdown turned items into ‘anti-matter.’ Anti-matter is just as solid as regular matter. The correct term could loosely equate to ‘anti-energy.’ Lockdown turned matter into anti-energy, which had the same effect as if he turned it into regular energy. Does that make sense?”

James nodded. “Enough. If you’ve got a workable plan, then let’s go tell the others.”


The two of them exited into the hallway.

Shelton cocked his ear. “What’s that?”

Music was playing through the Pelvanida speakers.

And there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again…


“Vic and Snow hooked Neku’s headphones up to the base’s intercom. They thought it would help him relax.”

“Yeah? Well, it’s helping this base run out of power!” Shelton angrily stormed towards the infirmary. James continued to the briefing room.

Zachary, Dr. Joe, Hans, and Vic were playing poker. Zachary looked up.

“Hello, Mr. President.”

James rolled his eyes. “Have everyone assemble. Shelton thinks he knows how to get back to Earth.”

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 13, 2009 07:15 AM (GMT)
Fifteen minutes later, everyone was assembled in the projector room. Neku was on a stretcher beside Snow and Vic.

Shelton addressed the group at large. “Our main problem, I’ve realized, is that we don’t know how much each coordinate of the bridge’s control is worth. When we change the t-coordinate from 35 to 36, we might have moved a minute or a millennia, there’s no way to tell.”

“So what do we have to do?”

“We have to go back through the bridge to Gamas with the t-coordinate changed. We figure out the time difference from our last journey over there, and we’ll be able to adjust the t-coordinate to a setting that lands us back on Earth when its in the right point in its orbit.”

“What about Werner?” asked Hans.

“We’ll attempt to locate him while we’re over there.”

“Who exactly is ‘we’?” asked James.

Shelton looked down at the roster. “I had briefed Dr. Joe on the equipment we’d left behind on Gamas, and how we can obtain data from it. Therefore, I’d like her along in case we happen to run into any of it. Hawkeye, I want you for security purposes, not to mention your ability to tie into mechanical systems with your genetic implants, and Lockdown, you’re coming to test a theory.”

“Why?” asked Lockdown.

“It’s possible that your inability to transmute matter is because you’re surrounded by anti-matter. On Gaman, you might still be able to do it.”

“How would that help us?”

“If the Gamans are as friendly as last time, we might be able to convince them that Lockdown is ‘magic’ or something, and not to mess with us.”

Zachary shrugged. “Maybe.”

James stood up. “Sounds good to me. People going off-world, get your gear ready—”

“Wait,” interrupted Hans. “My son is out there.”

James nodded. “All right. You can come too.”

“James,” said Shelton. “Can I talk to you?” He took James aside. “I didn’t want to say this in front of Hans, but it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to find Werner. And I don’t want him refusing to leave or running off we’re down to the end.”

“I see what you’re saying, Rudy, but he has that right. We can’t stop a father from looking for his son.” James turned back. “Hans, you’re coming. Now, everyone, get ready. Bus leaves in fifteen minutes.”

____________________________________________________________________

Ten minutes later, the team was assembled.

“Why are you taking that?” James asked Shelton, who was clipping his radio-flashlight onto his belt.

“It’s the most important piece of equipment we’ll have on this trip.” Shelton put it to James ear, so he could hear the ticking.

“It’s got a timer in it, which will keep track of exactly how long we’re on Gaman. The anti-Pelvanida equipment we took with us had timers that used magnets, meaning they’ll have gone haywire the second they landed on core-less Gaman. If we find some of it and access the databanks, we can see the exact moment the times changed from normal to crazy That information, along with the information from this flashlight, will let us know how long in the future the new t-coordinate took us.”

James nodded. “I’m not positive what you just said, but it sounds good.” He turned to the group at large. “Are we ready to go?”

Everyone nodded.

“Before we go,” said Shelton, “I have to tell you there is some risk involved. I chose to increase the t-coordinate by 50, so hopefully we go 50 days or so. We don’t want to run into ourselves. However, this may result in a serious jump forward, possibly to a time when Gaman is no longer habitable or has ceased to exist. Anyone who wants to wait here at Pelvanida is welcome to, no questions asked.”

Nobody moved.

“All right, then.” James turned to Vic. “Activate the bridge.”

The bridge flared to life.

“Altogether now,” said Shelton, and the team jumped through.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 13, 2009 09:03 PM (GMT)
James once again felt that curious floating sensation, until he eventually touched down to find himself in a world absolutely nothing like he was expecting.

Dirt and grime hung in the air. Buildings of clay or stone bricks were stacked next to each other down a poorly paved road. The road and alleys between the buildings were crowded with people.

People who rapidly began noticing them. Sharp cries filled the air, and people drew back from them.

James tried to calm the masses down. “Listen, people! We haven’t come to harm anyone! Just answer a few questions, and—”

He was cut off. “Intruders!” A man shouted. “The intruders have returned!”

The crowd started getting antsy. “Intruders! Intruders!”

James felt the crowd pulsing around him. His gun was knocked out of his hand. With a wave of frantic people pressing him down on all sides, he unlocked his sidearm and fired into the air.

Instantly, the crowd parted around him, and he staggered towards the bridge. Zachary was the only one in sight.

“Zachary!” James forced his way to him. “We’ve lost the others!”

“It would appear that way!” Zachary had his pistol out, but seemed unsure as to what to do with it. “We need to hut the bridge down!”

“Agreed!” James fired again, clearing a path to the bridge. “Zachary, get back to Pelvanida and tell them to shut it down!”

“Then what?” Zachary yelled.

“In exactly 24 hours, turn it back on! If we’re not back then pick a new t-coordinate and get what you need to get home!”

“Understood!” Zachary paused, then saluted James. “Good luck, friend!”

James lost sight of him I the crowd, as he felt himself dragged into the street.

He forced his way onto the dirt sidewalk on the other side of the road, elbowing past frantic people. A sharp flash of light from an alleyway temporarily blinded him. Staggering closer, he saw Shelton waving him over, flashlight in hand.

Forcing his way out of the flowing mass of people, James collapsed in the safety of the alleyway. “Well,” he exhaled. “This isn’t good.’

“No, it isn’t,” Shelton agreed.

“Why is everything so different?”

“Possibly we’ve traveled too far into the future. To this planet’s Industrial Revolution era.”

“Well, we need to find the others and get out of it.”

Shelton peeked back into the streets. “The gate just shut off.”

“Good. Zachary managed to get back.”

“When are we going to get back?”

“In 24 hours. Or never.”

“Oh.” Shelton understood. “We have five missing teammates, one of whom might have died hundreds of years ago, and you told him one day?!?”

“It seemed like a fair amount at the time.”

“I bet.” Shelton tried to get a reading with his scanner. “I can’t get a fix on how long it’s been. Too much has changed. We need to find some sort of time keeping device. Maybe some textbook or something will have mentioned our last arrival, they seem to still remember us.”

“Lucky us. We’re famous.”

“Infamous, more like.” Shelton pointed to some more refined buildings past the rows brick ones. “If we’re going to find anything useful, it’ll probably be in there.”

“We can’t head that way until we’ve found our teammates.”

“Use your radio. Tell them where we’re going.”

James held it up. “Dr. Joe, Hawkeye, Hans, Lockdown. I’m with Shelton, and we’re heading towards the buildings to the right of the original road. Follow us if you choose, but know that our only ride home is going to be right here in exactly one day.”

The road was completely empty. James and Shelton looked both ways, then darted to the other side.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 14, 2009 07:40 AM (GMT)
“How we supposed to get in?”

James and Shelton were outside the refined building. A lone guard stood at the entrance.

“We wouldn’t want to walk through the front entrance anyway,” said James. “We need a more secluded way in.”

Strafing around the corner, James spotted a window that was near a tree. “There. That’s our way in.”

“Nuh uh,” Shelton shook his head. “I don’t climb.”

“All right, wait here, and I’ll open a ground floor door for you.”

Five minutes later, Shelton heard a door open further down the building side, and aw James waving him in. “Shield your eyes,” cautioned James.

“Why? Ow!” cried Shelton, covering his eyes. “Why’s it so damn bright in here?”

“The whole place is like this. Your eyes will adjust.”

“Did you see what kind of building this is?”

“I’ve seen two different areas. An oil refinery, and a nuclear power plant.”

A nuclear power plant?!?”

“Follow me, I’ll show you.”

“They shouldn’t have nuclear power plants yet! Are you sure?”

“What’s that look like to you?”

The majority of the floor they were on was missing, showing a large cylindrical on the next Workers, with no protection whatsoever, milled around it.

“Those guys must have a life span of like, twenty.”

“Not out problem. The generator seems a bit crowded for us. Let’s go up. If they have nuclear power plants, they probably have clocks. We need to find one.”

“I’m not sure what help just a clock will be. We need more like a calendar. Look out!”

A guard had just turned a corner. Shelton and James darted down an adjacent hallway.

“James, did you see his eyes?” whispered Shelton.

“No, what was wrong with them?”

“You should probably look for yourself.”

James peered around the corner, and gasped. The man’s eyes were solid black!

No iris, no sclera, just small spheres of black, which were currently looking around the hallway, as the guard moved thankfully away from them.

James and Shelton waited for the guard to turn another corner. “Shelton, how could someone’s eyes get like that?”

“I can’t imagine any evolutionary correlation.”

“Could they be synthetic?”

“Maybe. But we haven’t even figured out how to make working eyes yet.”

The next hallway had a directory on the wall.

“See anything useful? A clock tower?”

Shelton studied it. “There’s no ‘You Are Here’ on this stupid map.”

“We just passed the giant reactor in the middle. We’re right here,” James pointed. “Look, we’re only a few hallways from an energy storage room!”

“If we could get some of that energy, we could boost the power to the Pelvanida shielding!” Shelton exclaimed excitedly. “That’d be huge! We wouldn’t be on a deadline for getting home!”

James cocked his pistol. “Let’s give it a shot. Stay here and give me directions via radio.”

“Roger.”

James left Shelton and sneaked down an adjacent hallway. “Shelton. I’m at the first T-junction.”

“Left.”

The next hallway rounded a corner and continued for a long ways.

“James,” radioed Shelton. “You’ll be passing through another T-junction. Go straight, but the hallway you’ll be passing by has a red line. I don’t know why.”

James saw it up ahead. “It means guards. Don’t worry, I can get past them easily. Just don’t say anything until I call you.”

James crouched low, and began tiptoeing quietly past the guards, whose backs were turned to him. He was almost past when…

“James, come in. Do you hear me? This is Dr. Joe.”

James stiffened up. Both guards turned around, guns out. James hit one with a fast uppercut, sending him spinning to the floor. The second swung his rifle at James’ head, but James ducked and side-swiped the man with the butt of his pistol. He then finished off the first one with a boot to the head.

Panting, he unhooked the radio. “Hi, Josephine. What is it?”

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 15, 2009 01:56 AM (GMT)
“I was receiving strange readings on my scanner once I left the main road, so I followed them to a mall library. Dr. Joe looked behind her at Lockdown, who was buried in a dusty book. “Lockdown is here with me, and Hawkeye’s guarding the door.”

“Interesting. I’m actually on a search of my own right now, but call me back if you fid anything else. Just next time, send a quiet warning first.”

Dr. Joe put her radio back in her pocket. She held the scanner out. “The readings are coming from this room, but that’s as precise as the scanner can get.”

“Mmm,” said Lockdown, still reading the textbook. He wasn’t reading.

Dr. Joe reviewed the shelf. It must be behind one of these.” She scanned the shelves, hovering over a thick red book called The Gamas Delusion. “Hmm. This book is certainly the brightest thing in the room.”

She pulled it out, and saw behind it, not wood, but the left border of a screen. She quickly slid the other books off the shelf.

A panel was embedded into the bookcase. The majority of it was taken up by a long screen, but around the edges were rows of black buttons and colored dials.

She checked the dials, curious what they stood for. “It appears to be a power display,” she muttered to no one in particular. “These dials must refer to different sections of the building.”

The screen showed a map of the library, with different sections colored the same as one of the dials. The dial corresponding to the section she was in was the only one with a power reading.

“This might be useful later. Hawkeye, could you download this map into your memory?”

“Pictures are pretty complicated, so I try to stay away from them,” he called from the doorway. “I cold remember a description, though.”

“First let’s see if anywhere else in this city has more interesting readings.” She hit a different black button. The screen shifted to what appeared to be a military barracks. No power readings anywhere.

The next three buildings had only minimal or no power readings. She was just beginning to wonder if any significant power levels existed as she skipped to the top button.

The screen had to zoom out the show the entire layout of a massive building. Three of the ten dials spiked.

Dr. Joe gasped. The building appeared to be a power plant of sorts. The largest reading was coming from a large square room in the middle of the complex. The power level was so high the room had been given its own dial.

“Hawkeye, get in here. I want to show you something.”

Lockdown looked up. “What is it?”

“I’m getting a power spike from some sort of plant. I don’t know how to get there from here. I hoping Hawkeye could use his cybernetic implants to link with the system for more info.” She paused. “Hawkeye?”

There was no sound from the doorway. Drawing her pistol, Dr. Joe cautiously crept to the doorway and looked into the hallway.

Hawkeye lay on the ground, unmoving.

Dr. Joe turned to look down the other end of the hallway, but before she finished a blue stun beam blasted her onto the floor beside Hawkeye.

Lockdown jumped up and put his hands in the air as two guards armed with stun rifles burst into the room.

“Follow us, old man, and don’t try anything funny,” one growled.

___________________________________________________________

James emerged from the seemingly endless hallways into a more comfortable room. An empty desk sat in the corner, and papers were stuck on the wall.

“This sure doesn’t look like I’m nearing an energy storage room. Are you sure I’m going the right way?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah. You should be in the foreman’s office,” Shelton radioed back. “That’s funny…” James heard him mutter to himself.

“Shelton, what are you focused on?”

“There’s a big empty room on this map.”

“Empty?”

“No tags, no labels, one door. No apparent function. Odd.”

“Odd, but not particularly pressing. What’s the next way to the energy room?”

“You should be right outside it.” James could tell Shelton was still focused on the empty room on the map. James looked around. “There’s only one other door, not counting the one I came through.” He tried it. Locked. “I’ll see if there’s something in the desk to pick the lock with.”

James crossed to the desk, but before opening it, spotted something on the desktop. “Shelton?”

“Mm?”

“You said Seska was dead by now?”

“Who?”

“The girl. The one we met at Gamas’ castle.”

“Yup. Gone, dead and buried.”

“Well, she’s on this newspaper.”

“What? No way.”

“’[i]Chief Executive Jacade watches the premiere performance at the newly constructed performing house with his courtesan Seska.[i]’ There’s a picture of her right here.”

No answer.

“Shelton?”

Suddenly James heard the clicking of a gun behind him. He spun to the left as a stun beam flew through the spot where he’s just been standing.

Two guards, guns out, were in the doorway, flanking a tall, sallow hunched man. All three had black eyes. James recognized him as the man from the photograph.

He raised his hands slowly. “Hey, no need to start shooting, we can discuss this like civilized men, can’t we?”

The guards cocked their rifles.

James dropped the photograph and his gun. “My name is James. What’s yours?”

The guards stepped forward. James addressed the pale man. “What was the name for kings again? Are you Gamas?”

The man smiled. “No. We are Sapaar.”

A double shot blasted him into the wall.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 15, 2009 07:31 PM (GMT)
James woke up when he heard a metal door creak open. He opened his eyes and sat up, to see he was back in a jail cell. Lockdown, lugging an unconscious Dr. Joe; and Hans, who was carrying Hawkeye, were ushered in with them. The door clanged shut behind them.

“Are you all right?” asked Shelton. James saw him in the corner, scribbling in the dust with a stick.

James got to his feet. “I’m a little sore, but fine.” He looked at Lockdown. “What happened to you guys?”

“We were attacked at the library. They marched us here.”

“And Hans? What about you?”

“I was walking the streets, asking about Werner, when they arrested me. Apparently my only crime is being dressed like you guys.”

“Sorry about that.” James turned to Lockdown. “Have you tried using your powers? Can you vaporize the bars?”

Lockdown curled his hand around a bar. “Guess not.”

James sighed and looked around. “Is there any other way out of here?”

“No,” said Shelton.

“What are you doing over there, anyway?”

“Re-drawing what I can remember of the map,” Shelton said. “If we have time to make another run for the plant’s energy, we’ll need whatever info we can get.”

“Did you say plant?” Lockdown interrupted. “Dr. Joe mentioned a plant!”

“What’d I mention?” Dr. Joe groaned, coming to.

“A plant.”

“Ah, right.” Dr. Joe sat up. “I’d discovered a power reading indicator in the library. It showed me different buildings in the city, and the power outputs of various sections. The biggest readings came from a large power plant.”

She stopped when a man entered the jail room, and stared at them from the other side of the bars. It was the pale man from the photograph.

James crossed over to the man. “I remember you. What was your name again?”

The man ignored James, speaking to he group at large.

“We do not forget what happened last time you invaded our lands. You will be tried for your crimes.”

“What crimes? Why are we in jail?”

“Your trial will take place after an extended rest period. Until then, you will remain here, at your leisure to come up with any defenses you may have for your actions.” The man turned to leave.

“Wait!” James exclaimed, pressing up against the bars. “Where’s Seska?”

The man was gone.

“Seska?” asked Dr. Joe.

“She was in a newspaper. She’s still alive.”

“No, she isn’t,” said Shelton, still drawing in the dark.

“What makes you so sure?” exclaimed James angrily, but even Dr. Joe looked unconvinced.

“They did pick their Seskas because they fit some description,” she said. “That could explain why they look alike.”

“Maybe,” said James. “But you didn’t see the picture. It was her.”

“Same age?” asked Hans.

“No, now she’s around twenty.”

“Then how can you be sure it’s her?”

“I don’t know!” James turned away. “I just do! Will all of you stop grilling me about it!”

The rest of the wait passed in uncomfortable silence.

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 16, 2009 10:56 PM (GMT)
Early the next morning, the team was escorted blindfolded to a large courtroom. When the covers were removed, they saw a large congregation of people peering down at them.

The man from the jail cell smiled at them from an elevated podium across the court. “State your names.”

No one spoke.

“You,” the man pointed at Hawkeye. “State your name.”

“Don’t say anything,” warned James, but Hawkeye just stared stoically back.

Everyone is the courtroom started chuckling.

“You refuse to say your name?” smiled the man. “Why do you refuse?”

“We’d like to know what we’re in for,” sad James.

“That should be obvious.”

“Humor us.”

“For invading Sapaar with aims to destroy us.”

“We had no such intentions. We merely came for information.”

“Prove it.”

“Why don’t you prove we had malicious intentions?”

“You attacked guards, viewed confidential information, and refuse to cooperate with this court.”

“Fine. My name’s James. As leader of this team, I apologize for what happened, and we’ll gladly leave.”

“Not yet. First you must pay for your crimes.”

“What’s the punishment?”

“Lifetime imprisonment.”

“For breaking and entering?!?”

The man shook his head. “For murder.”

“I didn’t kill any of those guards.”

“I’m including your previous crimes from the last time you came here. You massacred a hunting party, slaughtered castle guards, and threatened the life of the king and the royal Seska.”

“Those were crimes against Gaman, not Sapaar. Besides, the man who threatened Seska wasn’t operating under my orders.”

“We conquered Gaman, so the crimes were on future Sapaar soil. Besides, our witness has a slightly different story.”

A woman stood up from the congregation and walked to the witness stand.

“Seska!” gasped James. “You’re alive!”

She looked at him and the rest of the team, emotionless.

“But that’s impossible,” James heard Shelton mutter. “Feudalism to factories in one lifetime?”

“State your name,” commanded the man.

“Seska,” she said quietly.

“There, you see? Look how quickly things get done. Now, do you remember any of these men?”

“Yes,” she said, pointing at James. “That one.”

“What’s his name?”

“I never heard.”

“What do you remember about him?”

“He said he came from far away. He was friendly.”

“Friendly? But what happened once he arrived?”

“I don’t know for sure, but later that day King Gamas took me into his seclusion room and hid me in a safe place, telling me if I heard anything unusual to escape down the passageway.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well, I heard people break into the room where the king was, so I ran down the passageway, but at the end of it somebody was already there…with a knife…” she started to choke up.

“Then what?” repeated the man softly.

“He—he threatened to kill me.”

“And tell me, was this man one of the invaders? Part of the ‘friendly man’s’ team?”

Seska nodded.

“Now hold on!” said James. “Siberys wasn’t acting under my authority! Everything he did was his choice, and I and everyone else on this team disagreed with him!”

“You have no way of proving that. And nevertheless, you are responsible for bringing him.” The man turned to the congregation. “What’s the verdict?”

“Guilty!” roared the crowd.

“It’s unanimous!” cried the man joyfully. “Take them away!”

“Wait!” cried James.

“Forget it, James,” said Dr. Joe, looking at the guards coming to escort them away. “We’d lost this trial before we entered the room.”

LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 17, 2009 11:21 PM (GMT)
A popular character finally reappears!
______________________________________________________________

The guards escorted them back to a large cell, shutting the door behind them and leaving.

Once they were gone, Shelton burst out. “It’s impossible!” he cried. “How can she still be alive? There’s no way a civilization can advance that quickly!”

“Maybe it was the Sapaar,” said Dr. Joe. “We didn’t encounter them the first time, maybe they were always this advanced.”

“No, they discovered this technology at the same time as the Gamans. The Sapaar were just better at understanding how useful it could be.”

Everyone looked at Lockdown, who looked surprised at himself. “How did you know that?” asked James.

“It was in the history book I was reading at the library. The Sapaar heard news that the Gaman had discovered some extraordinary technology. They stole it, duplicated it, and used it to conquer Gaman.”

Everyone was silent. “Did the book say where the technology came from?” asked Hans.

“It doesn’t have to,” interrupted Shelton. “It’s my research equipment we left behind when we first showed up. We should have realized this was going to happen.”

“Wow,” said Dr. Joe, “we’ve sure messed up this world’s balance of power.”

“Wait, I’m not done,” said Lockdown. “The book mentioned something even more important.”

“What?”

“The book’s author called it the ‘Blended Time Paradox.’ One of the devices the Sapaar recovered was a time-keeping device. It read an easily distinguishable sequence of numbers, but when they accessed the timekeeper’s logs, they found that the pattern was different was different further back.”

“How so? The time kept by the clock changed?”

“Yes. The book gave numeric examples, but I can’t remember what they were.” Lockdown furrowed his brow.

“James,” Shelton said, “we need to get those numbers. They could be the key to figuring out how long each t-coordinate is.”

“All right, but first we need to escape.”

“Can I help?”

A man had just appeared outside the cell. He was dressed in worn worker’s clothing, and his hair was lighter, as he looked at his old companions and smiled. “I thought I’d never see you again.”

“Werner!” Hans jumped up, and rushed to the cell door. “My boy, you’re alive!”

“It’s good to see you, dad,” said Werner, hugging him through the bars.

“Glad to see you’re all right, Werner,” said James. “I’m sorry we couldn’t find you.”

“I understand. I heard what you went through.”

“What about you? What happened to you?”

“Well, when I jumped through the bridge I got trapped in there. I could sense others around me, but I couldn’t see anything.”

“You were in limbo. Same thing happened to us,” said Dr. Joe, nodding at Hawkeye.

“When I got ejected out the bridge, I wound up in a large lake. There were people with spears and dogs on shore. I knew they would attack me if they saw me in my uniform and with my equipment, so I took it all off and hid in a small outcropping of rocks.”

“In the lake?”

“Yeah. I told them I was a traveler, that had been bathing. They accepted it, and left me alone. That night, I made my way into town and stole a set of clothing. I ingratiated myself into the town life, and heard of what happened to you. Including Siberys.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

“Me too. But I knew you’d come back, so I’ve made a lot of friends and contacts, so I’d know when you finally returned. So when someone told me a man named Hans was looking for me, I couldn’t believe it!” He spread his arms. “This is great! You can help liberate us from the Sapaar!”

“Uh, Werner…” James exchanged a glance with his team. “We’d love to help, but that’s why we came back.”

“Oh. Then why?”

“We need whatever information we can get on the Blended Time Paradox. And we cold use our weapons back.”

“And my flashlight,” added Shelton. “Most of all.”

Werner looked from Shelton to James. “I’ll do my best.”

“James, Rudy, can I talk to you for a minute?” interrupted Dr. Joe.

She took them aside. “Now, I don’t know why we’re turning or back on a former crewmember, but I think we should help Werner and the Gamans.”

“Josephine, I don’t think you understand,” interjected Shelton. “We have less than a day before our only ride home shows up, and we need to get those numbers so we can figure out the length of each t-coordinate—”

“Kind of makes you wish we had some allies, huh? Besides, it’s our fault the Gamans even need to liberate themselves.”

James and Shelton looked at each other.

“Werner has waited maybe twenty years for us to return, and he’s offered to help us get anything we need,” Dr. Joe reminded. “We need to at least meet him halfway.”

James thought about it. He glanced at Shelton.

“Don’t look at me,” said Shelton. “You’re the boss.”

James left the two and walked over to Werner and Hans. “Okay,” he said. “We’ll help defeat the Sapaar. But some time today, the bridge will reopen for only a few minutes. If we don’t leave at that time, we and the others at Pelvanida will never get home.”

Werner nodded. “Then we don’t have much time.”

With a thin sliver of metal, Werner picked the lock to the jail. “Follow me,” he said, and led the way down the hallway.

Caustizer - August 17, 2009 11:59 PM (GMT)
This story had the potential to succeed in its introduction but unfortunately the lack of suitable background information really hurt it. :cry When you note the lack of reviews its not entirely surprising because of how the story is tailored to fans of the RP and not to the normal forum goers.

This all is not to say that it is a bad story... in fact I find it flows fantastically and meshes well together between chapters. The key failing here was that I had to take the time to research what Darwins Soldiers was when I first glanced at the thread and to be perfectly honest I still don't entirely know what it's all about.

It's common wisdom not to judge a book by it's cover, but unfortuneately with Fan-Fics the first post is often what makes or breaks it because after that people lose tolerance for it's short comings. I know that because I'm just as guilty as anyone of this practise... though through no malicious intent of my own. I, like many, simply don't have the attention span to look too deeply into a story I don't understand.

Even a brief blurb at the beginning for people who aren't familiar with the concept to introduce your story would have been suitable to the normal readers and would have got you a more solid viewer base.

Anyway, that's my two cents. :angel

:goodluck

Caustizer - August 18, 2009 12:00 AM (GMT)
Sorry double post.




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