Title: Pavlov's Checkmate
Description: another story set in the DS universe
LettuceBacon&Tomato - August 24, 2009 02:19 AM (GMT)
This is another DS story I'm planning. I'm starting this thread early because I want to give DS RP'ers a chance to tell me whether they approve of me using their characters. In its current version, at least one main character has been taken from each user's roster, including some characters that have never seen the spotlight in my stories before. Please let me know if you don't want your characters to partake.
It includes aspects of Card of Ten, but is by and large its own story, starring the real characters from our RPs. It's set on Earth sometime after the (EDIT!
now third) RP. Updates to this thread won't start until Card of Ten is finished, which is wrapping up.
For those not privvy to Darwin's Soldiers so far, read my summation in the first post of the Card of Ten
Reactions to my other two stories have been mostly positive, so I hope you guys will enjoy this one as well!
f-22 "raptor" ace - August 24, 2009 02:33 AM (GMT)
You can use my characters in this new story.
Serris - August 24, 2009 03:28 AM (GMT)
Permission granted to use all characters.
I have not determined if this will be canon.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 2, 2009 07:50 PM (GMT)
All right, here we go!
For those who aren't privvy to the Darwin's Soldiers story: In the first RP, Pelvanida Base was attacked by terrorists. One of the terrorists, Hans Donitz, switched to Pelvanida's side and helped defeat them, but not before they built an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, a device capable of transporting you through space and time.
In the second RP, James and a large team of ex-personnel from Pelvanida Base discovered an unethical and illegal underground project called Dragonstorm. They invaded the base with intentions to shut the project down, and the RP is still ongoing. Pavlov's checkmate takes place two months later.
"…more reports coming in, an anonymous source claims that the recent shootings and car bombings at Las Vegas was a failed attempt at yet another terrorist attack…”
James Zanasiu changed the radio station in his car. A whole two months after the chaos James and his team caused, and it was still on every radio station and major news channel. The later takedown of Dragonstorm was still being overshadowed by the melee through Las Vegas that had occurred a month earlier.
“…so I don’t know what the commanders of Pelvanida were thinking, but personally, if I had had a helicopter crash into my base a few hours earlier, I would have taken steps to prevent the catastrophe that of course occurred later…”
“…Well, Bill, I don’t believe that the same people involved in the last attack could be responsible for this one. What I want to know is, what was so secret in Pelvanida that the government felt it necessary to blow it up?”
At least this time the actual participants were never disclosed. After publicly praising them for their work in shutting down Dragonstorm, the government didn’t want anyone to know of their involvement in the second raid on Pelvanida. James was okay with this. He didn’t enjoy his last experience in the media spotlight, and was grateful not to have to do it all over.
His headlight reflected off a green road sign: SANTA BARBARA: 20 MI.
Before the government had clamped down on everyone involved in the affair, James had left town. He hoped he could get to his isolated cabin on the beach, and stay home until everything blew over.
He stopped at a gas station to refill. The cashier leered at him over the counter.
“Everyone’s got something to hide, eh, shifty?” She smiled coyly.
James left in a hurry. He didn’t have much longer to go.
Twenty minutes later, he recognized the dark spot on the horizon as his cabin. He clicked his brights on against the darkening sky, and immediately saw something was wrong.
There were already cars in the driveway. James’ headlights reflected of the blue-red glass of police cars.
His chest tightened. He couldn’t try anything weird without giving his identity away. He ruffled his hair wildly, and was grateful he’d never gotten around to shaving the beard that he’d formed.
A sheriff crossed his arms and walked up to the car. James rolled his window down, trying to lower his voice more than normal. “What’s going on here, sir?”
“What’s your name?”
James thought quickly. “Nigel Munroe. Just heading into town to visit my son. He’s going to UCSB.”
“Have you seen any other cars on the road?”
The sheriff started writing on his pad. “We’re looking for the guy that lives here. Supposed to get him to sign something.”
The sheriff showed a picture of James, minus the beard, with combed hair, and looking significantly cheerier.
“If you see him, let us know, okay?”
James nodded. “Good luck.” He rolled his window up and continued driving down the road.
A confidentiality agreement, and a way of tracking him. That was probably what they wanted. Well, they didn’t have to worry. James had no intention of telling anybody about his involvement any time soon.
He couldn’t be positive the policeman hadn’t recognized him. He hadn’t asked for his license, which was unusual. James couldn’t afford to take chances.
Once he was in town, he ditched the car in an underground parking lot and hiked a mile inward to a nondescript hotel.
It was a generic hotel, with white walls, four-paneled windows, and three floors. Checking in under a fake name, he found he could get a pretty good room on the second floor. He knew the cops would be able to trace him to this hotel in time, but he hoped to be long gone by tomorrow.
The room had a bed, a table, and a television. Also sitting on the sink was one of those goody baskets stocked with candy and chips. James’ stomach growled, but he knew they charged you exorbitant prices for each piece eaten once you checked out.
Taking off his coat and shoes, James collapsed into bed, not even bothering to get under the blankets. All he needed was a good night’s rest.
That’s when his cell phone rang.
Curious, James looked up. There weren’t many people he’d be willing to pick the phone up for right now, but he should check.
He was surprised to see it was Werner. He flipped the phone open. “Hello?”
“Hey, not to be rude, but why are you calling me this late?”
Werner and Hans were living in a government-provided house in Nevada. Werner had taken a job at a gun store to earn them money.
“I just got back from work. Hans is missing.”
Serris - September 2, 2009 08:43 PM (GMT)
Mmm. Nice, off to a high octane start.
And I consider this story canon.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 3, 2009 05:15 PM (GMT)
James was taken aback. “Are you sure?”
Hans had been cleared of all personal charges in the terrorist attack, but their lawyer advised him to stay at home and avoid doing anything their opponents could use against them.
“Yeah. He’s gone. But I know where he went.”
“Well, I’m not supposed to do this, but because he’s gone missing I read through his mail. I want to show this one letter to you.”
James went back down to the front office and requested their fax number. Minutes later, the receptionist handed a piece of paper over, and James read a short letter addressed to Hans.
Red Dune Caves
October 25th, 2009
Dear Mr. Donitz,
Let me be the first to congratulate you on your successful acquittal from the crimes of your compatriots. Your remarkable ability to deflect blame coupled with your knowledge obtained while in the terrorist ranks makes you an invaluable asset to me. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind visiting me at the Red Dune Caves, on the outskirts of the Nevada Deserts, to discuss some services you could provide for me.
Please don’t involve anyone else. It would be a shame if others (say, your son) were brought to this.
“This doesn’t sound good.”
“It’s dated from a week ago,” said Werner. “He must have been worrying about this for a week and finally decided to go to protect me.”
“Hmm.” James crossed to the public access computer in the lobby. “The Red Dune Caves are at the edge of the mountain range, across the desert from Pelvanida and Carson City Camp. It’d be tough, but he could get there by foot.”
“We need to go find him!”
“Agreed,” said James. His heart sank. Time to drive all the way back to Nevada.
“I’ll make some calls, and we’ll see who else is available,” said Werner. “Thank you so much for helping us here.”
“Don’t worry about it. What’s a team for? I’ll cal you back.” James hung up and immediately called Zachary.
“James. What can I do for you?”
“I’m wondering if you’re available sometime in the near future.”
“No. The next two weeks begin the trials on the surviving Dragonstorm scientists. I’m working with the Equestrian Scientific Union to give testimony against Dr. O’Neill. What precisely do you need?”
“I don’t feel comfortable discussing it over the phone.”
“Then you shall have to fill me in at a later date. Good luck.”
“Thanks, Zach,” James furrowed his brow. Somehow he’d always assumed Zach would be available whenever there were missions to go on.
Zach seemed to pick this up. “However,” he continued, “this might not be a completely bad thing. Remember, Aisha is your assistant now, not me. Perhaps you should call her.”
“That’s actually a great idea. I’ll do that. See you, Zach.”
“And you, James.”
James used the operator to call Carson City Camp.
“I’d like to speak to Aisha Tennes. See if she’ll accept a call from Dr. Zanasiu.”
After verifying his identity, Aisha was put on the phone. “ ‘S pretty late, James,” she muttered sleepily. “Is something going on?”
“I don’t feel comfortable mentioning it over the phone, but—”
“Hold on.” James heard a click, and the sound quality of the call drastically cleared up. Aisha came back on. “Alright, security tele-monitoring turned off. It’s just the two of us now.”
James wondered who else had been on before now. “Hans has gone missing. Werner and I have location, somewhere in the Nevada deserts, where it seems he’s been coerced into joining some Richard Warden. We’re going to see if we can figure out exactly what’s going on and help him out if he needs it.”
“Cool. I can supply the weapons and a Jeep. When are we going?”
“James was surprised at her readiness to guarantee transportation and arms. “Your dad won’t clear this mission. It’s completely off the record.”
“I’ll tell daddy it’s for a date. To a hunting lodge or something. That’s worked before. What time?”
“You’re supplying all the stuff. What time would work for you?”
“Quickest I could get everything ready is tomorrow, 11 o’clock. That good?”
James formed a map in his head. A drive from Santa Barbara to Carson City would take about eight hours. He’d be getting up early. “That’s great.”
“Our Jeeps have room to fit 4 comfortably,” Aisha yawned. “If that’s it, I need to get some sleep now so I can prepare for our ‘date’ tomorrow.”
“ ‘Night. And thank you.”
James counted off the personnel in his head. Werner, Aisha, and himself. That left one slot left.
But Kerzach didn't pick up. James also noticed the messaging system had been taken off. Odd.
He dialed another number. It also had been disconnected, but James knew the government had done it months ago. Luckily, he checked his Instant Messaging system on the hotel computer and saw the person he wanted was online.
James: Shelton, are you on?
Shelton: By law, all scientists have to be online at least 17 hours a day. What’s up?
James: I was wondering if you had time to go on a trip tomorrow.
James waited. He assumed Shelton was slowly realizing what James meant.
Shelton: Oh. Yeah, I’m free.
James: You sure? Not everyone I invited can make it.
Shelton: Lemme check my schedule. . .still blacklisted. . .still disinherited. . .yeah, I’d say I was pretty free.
James: You’re still disinherited?
Shelton: Dear sweet mom hasn’t gotten around to changing the paperwork yet.
James: If you say so. 11 o’clock at Carson’s place.
The reference was to Carson City Camp. James hoped Shelton got the reference.
Shelton: c o soon!
The typo was deliberate; Shelton was referencing the periodic symbol for cobalt, showing he understood. James logged out of IM and recalled Werner.
“Zachary’s busy, but I got Aisha, and she’s going to provide transportation to the location. Shelton is coming too.”
“That’s good. Cale would like to help as well.”
“Cale?” That wasn’t a name James expected to hear. “How did he find out about all this?”
“I told Bailey, who was running the phone line at Pelvanida. He said Cale had received a similar letter, but ignored it. He patched me through to Cale, who feels if he had done something about Ricky when he learned about it, Hans wouldn’t be in danger. He feels obligated to make up for this.”
“He doesn’t have to do that.”
“I’ll tell him that if you like, but I don’t think he’ll listen.”
“No, we can use all the help we can get. Aisha wants all of us at Carson City Camp by 11 o’clock.”
“I’ll tell Cale. We’ll be there. James,” Werner suddenly said, “I just want to remind you that even if we do rescue Hans, the government is going to find out about this, and they won’t be happy.”
James knew. That’s what he’d been thinking about since the first call. “Since when have I cared what they think? We’ll get Hans back, Werner. Don’t worry.”
James hung up and trudged slowly back to his room. All the ground he had covered since leaving Nevada, and now he has to drive all the way back. In one night.
In his room, he eyed the goody basket again. His stomach was still growling.
“Aw, hell with it.” He grabbed a bag of cookies and started stuffing his face.
Serris - September 3, 2009 08:38 PM (GMT)
I like it.
Can you add Dr. Kerzach in here as well? I'm not sure what role he'd play in here but I think having him as one of the missing ones would be interesting.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 3, 2009 10:16 PM (GMT)
(OOC: Sure, I'll add a reference to the last post with James trying to call Kerzach.
I'm leaving on a one-day trip in an hour so tomorrow's post is being posted right now. The plot thickens...)
Four short hours and eight very long hours later, James welcomed himself back into Carson City. Before he reached the base, however, Aisha and the others met him.
On a long, desolate stretch of road between the city and the base, a Jeep rolled up alongside Jamesï¿½ car. Shelton saluted him from the passengerï¿½s seat, and Werner sat between the two.
ï¿½Sorry, James,ï¿½ said Aisha, ï¿½but youï¿½re going to have to sit in the back, like Cale.ï¿½
James crawled in. ï¿½Fine by me, just so long as someone other than me is driving.ï¿½
The Jeep rolled off the road and started down through the desert, making for the mountains on the other side. On the way, the teammates swapped stories regarding where theyï¿½d gone and what theyï¿½d been up to.
ï¿½Iï¿½ve been jumping around, canï¿½t really get any decent jobs,ï¿½ told Shelton. ï¿½Nobody even remotely scientific wants anything to do with me, but my tech and mechanic skills have been put to good work. Lately Iï¿½ve been working in Vegas, getting paid by casinos to find more ways to rip off their customers.ï¿½
ï¿½Iï¿½m training to get a pilotï¿½s license,ï¿½ said Aisha. ï¿½And most of my other time is taken up by school.ï¿½
ï¿½By the way,ï¿½ asked James, ï¿½who was monitoring our call last night?ï¿½
ï¿½Corporal Sternï¿½, said Aisha. "He volunteered to help out around the base. Donï¿½t worry, he wonï¿½t tell anybody. What about you, Cale?ï¿½
Cale, unlike the others, was a chameleon, a successful experiment produced at Pelvanida who could control and manipulate electricity.
ï¿½Still at Pelvanida,ï¿½ said Cale. ï¿½Serious restrictions have been put on my clearance levels, since my involvement in the terrorist attack, but Iï¿½m slowly getting involved in the electrical engineering department. Lightning-resistant equipment and whatnot.ï¿½
ï¿½When did you get your letter from Warden?ï¿½ asked James.
ï¿½A month ago. Said he could use my assistance for something, and threatened to make a pass on Slash and Agito if I refused. I ignored him. I figured they could handle themselves.ï¿½ Cale balled his fists. ï¿½I didnï¿½t think he would move onto other survivors and threaten them as well. I need to make up for my mistake.ï¿½
ï¿½All right, but remember our primary goal is to rescue Hans, not take down Warden.ï¿½
ï¿½That reminds me,ï¿½ said Aisha. She passed a folder back.
James opened it. It was an employment file on Richard ï¿½Rickyï¿½ Warden. The picture showed a thin, bony Dalmatian with a lumpy head and bloodshot eyes.
ï¿½Ricky was a security guard at Pelvanida,ï¿½ Aisha continued. ï¿½After 13 uneventful years as a night guard, he quit unexpectedly in March 2009.ï¿½
ï¿½Didnï¿½t that seem a little unusual?ï¿½
ï¿½Not really. Pelvanida received dozens of resignations and transfer requests after the terrorist attack. Warden never took another job, and disappeared from the public records after that.ï¿½
ï¿½Hmm. Any past criminal history?ï¿½
ï¿½Juvie Hall a few times when he was younger, but after he joined the workforce he straightened up, and had no more incidents.ï¿½
ï¿½He doesnï¿½t sound too threatening.ï¿½
ï¿½I would have said the same thing about Dr. Branston, before he had me tortured,ï¿½ reminded Shelton.
ï¿½Good point. Weï¿½ll keep alert.ï¿½
Ten minutes later he Red Dune Caves became visible. They were embedded into the walls of a brick-colored mesa, with the largest sitting atop a tall collection of rocks at the mesa edge. Tents and some collapsible structures could be seen on the mesa top. Large holes in the mesa walls showed that there were tunnels inside.
Aisha parked the car out of the mesaï¿½s earshot and they prepared to hike on foot.
James looked at the gun she handed him. ï¿½This is a hunting rifle.ï¿½
She shrugged. ï¿½I told them I was going hunting; what else could I bring?ï¿½ She offered one to Werner, but he shook his head. ï¿½Iï¿½m good,ï¿½ he said, holding up his Berattas.
Cale politely declined, holding up his fingers to reveal an electric current running between his thumb and index finger. ï¿½I can defend myself adequately without weaponry.ï¿½
ï¿½I donï¿½t do guns,ï¿½ Shelton. ï¿½I have a tendency to shook the wrong thing. Like my foot.ï¿½
Aisha kept the rifle for herself.
The team crept silently through the desert until the mesa loomed above them. No guards were in sight.
ï¿½All right, hereï¿½s the plan,ï¿½ said James. ï¿½Cale, go up there and pretend youï¿½ve changed your mind and want to join Ricky. Find a way to get us in, and see if you can locate Hans.ï¿½
Cale nodded. ï¿½Iï¿½ll contact you as soon as possible.ï¿½
He left the others and made his way to the mesa. For the next two minutes, James and his team waited. Finallyï¿½
ï¿½James. This is Cale.ï¿½
ï¿½Are you in?ï¿½
ï¿½Yes. Iï¿½ve searched the entire complex. The base is completely abandoned.ï¿½
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 6, 2009 05:31 AM (GMT)
College starts back up in about two weeks, so I want the whole story posted before that time. So updates might get a little more frequent. I hope you don't mind :)
James and his team climbed up to the mesa top. Just as Cale had said, nobody could find any personnel, dead or alive.
“This is so odd,” said Aisha, exiting yet another tent. “Most of these haven’t even lost their new-tent smell. This place wasn’t used very long before everyone cleared out.”
Shelton looked through some papers. “I can’t even tell what they were planning to do. Ricky and his men weren’t much for record-keeping.’
“What have you got?”
“Nothing. Loads of rubbish. Most of these papers are filled with half finished games of ‘hangman’—” He broke off. “This one’s got my name on it.”
Shelton handed him one of the papers, pointing to a hangman game near the top.
_S_ ___ _E_ ___ _T_ _O_ ___
James squinted. “That’s missing half it’s letters. It could be something else.”
Shelton shook his head. “The wrong guesses correspond as well.”
“Did you know Ricky before?”
“No, I’ve never heard of him.”
“Isn’t Shelton a city in Connecticut?” said Aisha. “They may be referring to it.”
James crumpled the paper up. “Let’s not read too much into this. Especially when it might not even be your name.”
Cale and Werner showed up. “We finished searching around the mesa,” said Cale. “We can’t find any signs of a large group of people leaving the mesa.”
“But remember that some time has passed,” said Werner. “The wind and sand could have covered their tracks.”
James rubbed his forehead. “So we still don’t know anything for sure.” He looked at the highest cave. “Cale, what was up there?”
“I didn’t look very closely, once I saw it was abandoned,” said Cale. “It was a pretty empty room.”
“Let’s check it out.”
The team started climbing up the stacked rocks to the cave entrance above.
Werner was the first to hoist himself into he cave. “Cale’s right,” he said “Pretty empty.”
James got to his feet and looked around. “Shelton? Can I borrow your flashlight?”
“Yeah,” Shelton grunted, not yet in the cave. He held it up over the edge. James took it.
The flashlight beam showed the room to be a massive cavernous one-room cave. A few tables were set up, and a dented file cabinet sat in the corner. That was it.
“Yup. Pretty empty.”
Shelton collapsed onto his hands and knees, panting heavily. “You made us all climb up here for nothing?”
“Sorry.” James turned to go, and the flashlight beam reflected off something on the sidewall. Something huge.
James’ mouth dropped open as the flashlight beam traced a massive metallic ring embedded in the wall. “Guys…”
It was the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
(Don't worry, this isn't a Card of Ten remake. They won't be leaving Earth this time :) )
“What the hell is that thing doing here?” breathed Shelton, his exhaustion forgotten as he stepped forward, staring at the deactivated bridge.
Aisha ran a finger along its smooth surface. “So this is that giant wormhole thingy you were all going on about.”
“ ‘Giant wormhole thingy’?” quoted Shelton incredulously. “This thing can take you to anywhere in the galaxy! To any time period!”
“No, it can’t,” said James. “We tried it, remember?”
“It spat us back out and shut down,” said Werner.
“Well, yes,” conceded Shelton. “But what if they fixed it?”
“ ‘Fixed it?’ The best top government sciences couldn’t figure to what was wrong with it! You think some rogues led by a night watchmen could in a cave?”
“That’s all the terrorists had when they came up with the blueprints! They only attacked Pelvanida for the materials, something a night guard could smuggle out while on the job!”
“But how did the bridge get here?” asked Werner.
“It was stolen three months ago,” said Aisha. Everyone looked at her. “From an armored truck taking it to Area 51,” she continued. “After initial searching failed, further attempts at locating it were put on the back burner following the Dragonstorm controversy.”
“Wait,” said James. “Are you saying Ricky and his men fixed the bridge, went through it, and never came back?”
“Someone who understood the bridge that well would have left men behind to reactivate the bridge and bring them home,” said Cale.
Shelton studied the control panel. “Well, yeah, but they did. The coordinates they traveled to are right here.”
“Where did they go?”
“I told you, right here. They traveled to the same spot. It’s the t-coordinate they changed.”
“I don’t know! I don’t know where it was going to take us the first time!” Shelton shook his head. “I’ve got no reference point, I can’t find out anything. It cold lead to any time in the past or future.”
James looked at the bridge. “This mission just keeps getting better and better. Well, it’s too risky. We don’t know anything about where this goes, or even if it works. Last time we tried this thing it could have killed us, and I’m not taking that chance again.”
“That is your choice to make,” said Werner, “but Hans is my father, and I’m not giving up on him. I’m going through.”
“As am I,” agreed Cale.
James looked from Werner to Cale. He realized neither were going to back down. He sighed, swinging his rifle off his back. “Fine, majority wins. Let’s get this over with.”
“Oh, boy! Ever sine I heard about this thing, I’ve wanted to try it out!” exclaimed Aisha.
“Now hold on!” Shelton interjected quickly. “Let’s not make the same mistake they did! Someone other than just me needs to stay behind for back up!”
“How do you know we’ll even be able to call for back-up?” asked James.
“I don’t, but it’d be nice to have that option.” Shelton folded his arms. “You were the one preaching caution ten seconds ago.”
James looked from Werner to Cale to Aisha. His eyes fell on Aisha.
She sighed. “Just because I’m the one without family or a personal vendetta with these people?”
James nodded. “Knowing this bridge, we’ll probably just get shot back out, and you won’t miss a thing. Shelton, dial it.”
Aisha glared at Shelton. “You’re just afraid to be in this creepy abandoned base all on your own.”
“You know it,” said Shelton. He set the control panel. “I’m adding one to every coordinate, since we don’t want you flying through at the exact same time they did. You’ll need some wiggle room. Bridge open.”
A wave of blue and white space-time fabric wove into existence inside the ring. “Power supply secure,” reported Shelton. “I’m going to search around for more information while you’re gone.”
“Don’t hold your breath.” James stared at the looming bridge. He tightened his grip on the rifle. “Go!”
He, Werner, and Cale jumped into the bridge.
Serris - September 6, 2009 05:43 AM (GMT)
The faster updates are cool with me. Will you still be able to continue Darwin's Soldiers II or should I place your character "in stasis"?
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 6, 2009 05:47 AM (GMT)
Naw, Darwin's Soldiers II is the one thing I plan on continuing during the school year. You can keep me in :)
Serris - September 6, 2009 05:52 AM (GMT)
Okay, I assume updates will be less frequent and I will slow down my posting.
Eagerly awaiting the next update.
Caustizer - September 6, 2009 06:08 AM (GMT)
I have a question regarding my involvement in Darwin's Soldiers 2.
Is Fredrick Clyco a counter-productive character to intrude in the RP with? I get the feeling that, unlike with the fanatsy roleplays, DS is more like a story written by a few seperate writers rather then a welcoming RP.
Don't get me wrong, but it's the genuine feeling im getting from it so far.
Serris - September 6, 2009 06:15 AM (GMT)
Caustizer, please take discussion of the RP to the Darwin's Soldiers II RP discussion thread
As for your question, DS is very plot driven but every player has the right to throw in a plot twist whenever they want. And no, your character is not intruding, indeed we can enter your character into the RP with little problem.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 6, 2009 06:17 AM (GMT)
I'm the only one writing extra stories about Darwin's Soldiers, much as I'd wish others would do it so I could read them. The rest of the users merely participate in the RP like any other. It's a very open and inclusive RP, don't worry about disrupting the story for any reason; the whole Dragonstorm plotline was introduced into the first RP with no regard for the terorrist main plot, and it spawned the RP we're all doing now! Who knows, maybe Clyco and his weapon could cause the impetus for Darwin's Soldiers 3!
And there aren't just a few writers. Here's the list of all users that have participated in Darwin's Soldiers:
Serris, f-22, Starfall, LB&T (myself), Mirumoto_Kenjiro, Nick22, lbt/cty
_lover (has dropped out), and now Cautizer! And that's not counting all the people on the Furtopia forum.
EDIT: And now Noname!
I'm glad a Canadian has been introduced into the mix; chalk up another country with a DS representative! (Also, up until now, my character Dr. Shelton had been the only foreigner. He's not alone anymore!)
On another note, now that the character has been introduced into the RP, I'm going to expand his cameo callout in the third post of this story, to explain why he's still at Pelvanida and not Canada.
Serris - September 6, 2009 06:23 AM (GMT)
Hmm. I may decide to cook up a DS story (aside from the fact that I'm already cooking up a novelization of the first RP and possibly a novelization of this one).
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 6, 2009 08:04 AM (GMT)
To James’ surprise, he was not thrown forcibly back out, but instead after a brief trip through blackness landed safely on his feet somewhere completely new.
It was close to twilight, his first sign something was off. The other was that they were now below the mesa, rather then at the top.
“It worked!” said Werner excitedly. “It worked! We’ve moved!”
“It’s night now,” observed Cale. “Are we in the future or the past?”
Werner tapped his watch. “This receives its time via radio signal from an atomic clock.” He read it.
“What does it say?” asked James.
Werner was silent.
“December 8, 7:25 pm. 1990.”
“1990?” repeated Cale.
“We’re in the past,” said Werner in awe. “We’re 19 years in the past!”
“Shhh!” hissed James.
Dark shapes appeared at the mesa edge. Voices wafted their way.
James whispered. “They might have got a glimpse of the bridge. We need to get away from this area.”
“I suggest we head into the caves under the mesa,” said Cale.
James nodded. “Agreed.”
They sealed the mesa wall until they reached an opening leading into the inter-mesa complex. Two men were in the room, facing away. James readied his rifle and peeked through his scope. “There’s no night vision on this…” he muttered.
“Let me,” whispered Cale, his skin flushing dark to match the surrounding environment. He tiptoed toward the men.
From there James lost sight of him until both men grunted as their heads smashed together. “You can come in now,” Cale said, flashing back to visibility.
James, Werner, and Cale headed deeper into the tunnels. At the first junction, they had to choose between a lit-up passageway to the left and one with noise floating down it from the right.
“What do you guys think?” asked James.
“Left,” said Werner. “Away from the noise, which is probably people.”
“Right,” said Cale. “We should stay in the dark.”
James thought for a minute. Finally he pointed. “Coriolis Effect dictates we go counter-clockwise. Left.”
The lit passage eventually came out in a makeshift infirmary. Some empty cots were set up and medicines sat on stools, but nobody was around.
“Guess we head back and go right.”
As they approached, they could make out the canned voice of a radio speaker. It seemed to be instructing someone.
“…Chinese naval base, off the coast. Cold as blazes this time of year. You’ll have a Type 81 assault rifle and a Type 77 pistol, just in case.”
James and his team reached a corner, and peered into what looked like a locker room. A group of men were huddled around a radio embedded in the ceiling. The speaker had a very gruff and commanding voice.
“…extremely valuable and must be handled with care. Report to the ITG in ten minutes.”
Once the radio cut out, the man under it swore loudly while the others laughed at him.
“Why do I always get the Chinese missions?” he spat angrily.
“Well, you right well look like one already!” laughed a comrade.
“Yeah, be glad you aren’t Russian or Scandinavian looking,” nodded another. “Stevens loves to gripe about Russian winters.”
Some of the men were leaving. James and his team darted back to the empty first room.
“What were they talking about?” asked Werner.
“Sounded like that man was being sent to China,” said Cale. “To retrieve something.”
“Could they have the bridge?” asked Werner.
James shook his head. “The reason they’re stuck here is cause the bridge stayed in the present. I do want to know what they’re using to travel, though.”
“Could be something like planes,” suggested Werner.
“I think Pelvanida would notice planes shooting off across the desert.”
“Did Pevanida exist in 1990?” asked Cale.
Werner checked his watch. “We can head back in five and follow that that man to see what he uses to travel to China.”
“Let’s go now. We don’t know how much time the hike takes.”
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 6, 2009 09:34 PM (GMT)
When they reached the locker room, the man was alone, and now dressed in a Chinese Naval uniform. James could see rows of other outfits from around the world in the lockers behind the man. After a few seconds, the man took a different exit, and James and his team followed cautiously.
The tunnel started sloping upwards until it was more of a crawlspace than a passageway. James, Cale, and Werner were forced to go single file.
The man finally exited out a hatch. Stars shined above them. When James was sure the coast was clear, he led the way onto the mesa top.
The top was virtually abandoned. Apparently after leaving their tents in 2009, Warden’s men never bothered to set up a new camp, opting instead to live in the pre-made tunnels.
The man made his way to the higher cave. A criss-crossing metal ramp led the way up to the beckoning cave mouth.
“That ramp will wake up the whole mountain if we try to go up it,” whispered James.
“But if we climb, we won’t reach the cave in time,” whispered Werner.
“I’m the fastest climber,” said Cale, flushing his skin to black again. “I’ll report what I see.”
Cale disappeared into the dark. For a few seconds, James and Werner watched the man in the Chinese uniform cross back and forth up the ramp. Then he disappeared into the cave.
“Other people are in here,” Cale reported over the radio. “He’s standing at attention. One of them’s—”
He broke off.
“Cale? Cale! What do you see!”
“It—it is not the Einstein-Rosen Bridge,” said Cale. “But it is close. More rudimentary.”
“They’ve got a bridge!” exclaimed James.
“It’s not as advanced. It’s smaller. But there he goes. It does indeed work.”
James started for the ramp. “This is serious. We need to find out what they’re doing, and how they built themselves—”
A flash of light, a loud bang, and James heard Werner cry out. James whirled around.
Men had reappeared in the same hatchway James and his team had exited from, and were firing on him. Werner lay on his back, clutching his side. James returned fire feebly, but the hunting rifle was not made for rapid fire. Ducking from another round of fire, James ran for the only cover he had: behind the rocks supporting the cave.
Reinforcements were coming from out of the cave. James took sight and sniped one off the ramp. He wished he had thought to take one of Werner’s Berettas for more close-range combat.
One man rounded the corner and James shot him. But he was still holed up, men converging from above and around, on a mesa with nowhere to run.
At least he seemed to be a little more skilled than his attackers. With just his rifle, he sniped four of the five men climbing down from the cliff face at him. The last was using the rocks to keep out of his line of fire.
“Tricky little…” James muttered to himself, starting up the rock face at the man. At least he’d have cover up there.
Men had surrounded the rocky face, and some were starting to climb after him. James kept going, peering around. Where was that one…?
A whirl to his right, and the lone soldier got a kick knocking James’ rifle to the side. James parried, grasping for his rifle, but his attacker flashed a light in his face, then locked his head.
“Augh!” James cried, covering his eyes.
The man loosened his grip. “James?” Hans gasped.
A man called from below. “You got him?”
“Yeah!” called someone halfway up. I see ‘em! Donitz got ‘im!”
The men cheered. James got one look at Hans’ horrified face as the others grabbed him and hauled him down the rock face to the circle of men below.
f-22 "raptor" ace - September 6, 2009 09:44 PM (GMT)
Serris - September 6, 2009 09:47 PM (GMT)
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 7, 2009 01:33 AM (GMT)
They kicked James to his knees, and lights flashed on around him.
“Disarmed, and then full-Nelsoned him!” the man repeated to the man in the middle of the lights. "Donitz had his number!"
The man stepped into the light, and James saw it was Ricky.
Ricky socked him across the face. “What’s your name?” he growled.
James realized he was the voice from the radio. He said nothing.
“Who cares what his name is?” said one man. “Le’s just shoot him!”
“Wait, we should find out how he discovered this place!” interjected Hans.
Ricky nodded. “But if he ain’t willing to talk, no reason to waste my time.” He drew a knife and pointed it at James’ head. “Last chance. Name.”
James glared back. “James.”
Ricky didn’t lower the knife. “All right, James, how’d you find this place?”
“I’m an archaeologist. I was searching the desert for anything interesting and stumbled across the mesa. I saw lights inside so I decided to investigate.”
Ricky scoffed. “Sure. You’re a damn good fighter for an archaeologist.”
“Would you rather I say I’m a government agent? They know all about you, and you’re next on their list.”
“Did you come alone?”
They all started laughing. James realized they already knew about Werner.
“Glad we got us one of them smart government agents!” smiled Ricky. He put his knife away.
“What should we do with him, sir?” asked a man.
“Lock him up with the others. If he is working with someone, we can use the hostages as leverage.”
A man roughly pulled James to his feet. “Git moving!” he ordered, gun brandished.
James saw two men carrying Werner. He wasn’t moving.
James looked at Hans, who wasn’t quite able to meet his eye. James bowed his head and let himself be taken back into the mesa catacombs.
They walked back through the locker room, took several passageways, and emerged in a dark room near the bottom of the mesa. Three tied-up figures were already in the room.
As soon as the door was shut and the guards left, James rolled Werner over and checked his pulse. “Werner. Are you all right?”
Werner nodded. “I tried to give you cover while on the ground, but they took my weapons.”
“Me too. It’s all right.” James checked the wound. It was a nasty puncture, that appeared to go through Werner’s side. “I wish I knew more medicine, or had something to work with.”
One of the figures behind them let out a muffled grunt, trying to say something. James looked over, walked to it, and pulled the hood off.
A tied and gagged Shelton stared back at him.
Serris - September 7, 2009 01:58 AM (GMT)
Oh, things are getting interesting.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 7, 2009 06:38 PM (GMT)
James quickly pulled the gag out. “What on Earth are you doing here?”
“I’m not Shelton,” the man said quickly. “Let me explain. But first, let me and my companions loose. You’ll recognize them also.”
James got to work, and was even more surprised to find Zachary and Dr. Joe under the other hoods.
“James!” exclaimed Zachary. “I never expected to see you here!”
“James?” repeated Dr. Joe incredulously. “How did you get here?”
“I was just about to ask you the same thing!” James pointed at Dr. Joe, then Zach, then Shelton. “You’re supposed to be at Crimson Base, you’re testifying to the Supreme Court, and you’re on the other side of the bridge we used to get here!”
“Technically,” reminded Shelton, “as it’s 1990, I’m still in Europe, and that hasn’t happened yet. But like I said, I’m not Shelton. Nor is this Zachary or Jospehine.”
“Do you remember your first attempt at using the Einstein-Rosen Bridge?” asked Zachary.
James nodded. “It failed.”
“No, it didn’t. At least, not completely.”
Shelton took over the story. “Remember Lockdown? During the trip through, Lockdown panicked and overloaded the bridge with antimatter. It created an antimatter bridge, which finished the journey, complete with anti-matter copies of your team.”
“Copies?” James looked at the three of them. “So you’re—
“Yep,” Shelton nodded. “You wouldn’t believe what we went through to get home.”
“But there were at least ten people on my team…”
“Not all of us made it back.” Shelton paused. “It was thanks to the sacrifices of James and the others that we got through.”
Dr. Joe and Zachary looked down.
“So, the others. They all died?”
“Not Lockdown,” said Dr. Joe. “He made it through with us.”
“We reemerged in Pelvanida on June 1st, 2009. Ricky, the night guard, was the first and only person to encounter us. We told him our story, and he offered to take us to the guard post and alert someone to our presence.”
“What went wrong?”
“I quickly realized we were heading the wrong way,” said Shelton. “deeper into the desert. When I called him on it, he stunned us.”
Zachary took over. “When we woke up, we were tied up in what we later learned was the cave atop Red Dune Mesa. Ricky had friends in the Caron City lowlife, and they were forming an organization, revolving around the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.”
“Their plan was to use the bridge to steal weaponry and technology,” added Dr. Joe. “And possibly recruit others.”
“But they needed to build a generator to power the bridge,” jumped in Shelton. “And I told them I couldn’t do that without knowing more about the bridge’s construction.”
“They tried to force Cale to join them and power the bridge for them, but Cale couldn’t be intimidated,” said Dr. Joe.
“So they blackmailed Hans,” said Zachary. “As a former terrorist, he had been involved in the bridge’s creation and understood everything about it.”
“And so Hans and Shelton worked overnight, since Ricky threatened to kill one of us for every night that passes and the generator isn’t finished,” said Dr. Joe. “How they got it done in one night, I’ll never know."
"Hans had most of the breakthroughs," jumped in Shelton. "My biggest contribution was a compensator that rounded coordinates to the nearest 'safe' set, so people didn't walk into space."
"Long and short it worked, and the first target was chosen," continued Zachary. "1990, when Pelvanida was first built.”
“But I forgot to tell them one important thing,” said Shelton. “Namely, that once we go through the bridge, it won’t come with us.”
“It worked,” said Zachary. “We trapped them in 1990, with no way of damaging any more timelines.”
“Ricky wasn’t too happy about that,” said Dr. Joe. “To punish us, he killed Lockdown.”
“And he threatened to kill Zachary and Dr. Joe if I didn’t build him a new bridge,” concluded Shelton.
“So you did?” exclaimed James.
“What could I do?” protested Shelton. “I couldn’t let him kill Zachary and Jospehine!”
“I didn’t even know you knew how to build one!”
“Yours doesn’t. And even still, Hans and I only knew how to make one that travels in 3 dimensions on Earth’s surface. I still don’t know how the original bridge mastered time.”
“Ricky mentioned an ITG over the radio.”
“That’s it. I named it. Intraorbital Tri-Dimensional Gateway.”
Werner shifted his position, groaning slightly. “That’s very interesting.”
Dr. Joe knelt over him, tearing the hem off her shirt and using it to mop the blood. “This is bad,” she said. “I don’t know how much I can do.”
There was a noise outside the cell, and Hans appeared, face pale. “James, I’m so sorry!” he exclaimed. “I didn’t know it was you, if I had—”
“It’s all right, Hans,” said James. “I understand.”
Hans fished the key out of his pocket and unlocked the cell. He rushed to Werner’s side and sat on his knees next to him. “I’m sorry, son,” he said. “I was afraid Ricky would hurt you or attack you if I said no, and your life was just turning around with your new job and everything…”
“It’s okay, dad,” said Werner weakly. “I understand why you did everything. I read the letter. Next time, let’s face our problems as a family. Together?”
Hans held his hand. “I promise.”
“It’s not over yet,” continued Werner dizzily. “We’re here to get you out of here.”
Dr. Joe looked up. “He needs medication, the damage is pretty severe. We're losing him.”
“There’s an infirmary not far from here,” said Hans. “We can easily get there.”
“We can’t just go for the medicine,” said James. “Some of us need to head out and stop Warden, or we’ll help Werner but still be locked up.”
“Shelton and I will head for the infirmary,” said Zach. “You and Hans make your way to the barracks and gather support.”
“I know other personnel who feel like I do,” said Hans. “I can convince some of them to help stage a takeover.”
Hans unclipped his pistol and gave it to James. “First we need to get to the armory,” he said.
James nodded. “Let’s go.”
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 8, 2009 06:29 AM (GMT)
The teams split up at the nearest junction. “Exactly how many men are we counting on?” asked James.
“There are only four or five I’d trust enough to arm,” Hans replied.
Two hallways later, and they reached the armory.
“All right,” said James. “Now we—”
Suddenly Hans ripped the pistol out of James hand and pointed it at him. “Get moving,” he growled, pointing at the way back to the jail.
James was stunned until he saw a giant hulking guard had just entered the room.
“This man escaped from the cell,” said Hans. “I’m taking him back.”
The man nodded. “I’ll sound the alarm.” He crossed to the radio embedded in the wall.
“No!” Hans said hurriedly. “Ricky doesn’t want panic to spread! He wants to keep the break quiet.”
The man furrowed his brow. “I guess…”
Suddenly an alarm went off. “Jailbreak! The prisoners have escaped!” the radio yelled.
“Hey, that wasn’t me—” the man started, but Hans pistol-whipped him over the head.
“That was Stevens,” Hans explained. “He would have torn us limb from limb.”
James looked at the alarm. “Zach and Shelton must have been seen. We’re running out of time.”
Hans opened the armory, taking an AK-47 and passing James an 89 Howa. Then he passed James a helmet.
James put it on. “I can’t hear a thing.”
A radio cackled near his ear. “These have radios in them,” Hans explained. “And flick the eye screen down, you’ve got night vision. We stole these from Great Britain.”
Now armed, Hans and James approached the barracks.
“3. . . 2 . . . 1!”
Hans and James burst in. Ten or twelve men looked back.
James recognized one. “Kerzach!”
Kerzach looked back at him.
Hans kept his gun in a non-threatening position and removed his helmet. “This is Donitz. The prisoners and I have started a takeover, and anyone who wants in can join us and escape back to 2009.”
The men were silent, but no objections were raised.
Hans pointed out four of them, including Kerzach. “These are the ones I know I can trust,” he said.
“And I can vouch for these two,” Kerzach motioned to the men on his left.
The remainders were tied up. “Sorry about this,” said Hans. “You might be on our side or you might not be, and we can’t take any chances.”
He turned to the newly-recruited men. “Let’s get to the armory and stock up.”
On the way, James turned to Kerzach. “What on Earth are you doing here?”
Kerzach looked sheepishly at the ground. “Remember I changed my identity to Steven Irving? Well, I had to sneak into Pelvanida late and change a bunch of files to keep from getting discovered. Ricky discovered me and promised to keep quiet, but later threatened to expose me if I didn’t join his organization. So I decided to go willingly and be a member rather than a prisoner.”
“Is there any other random people going to show up that have no business being here?” James asked Hans exasperatedly.
They reached the armory the men stocked up on weapons. “Someone’s coming,” reported Hans from the doorway.
“Are they friendly?” asked James.
Hans peeked out the door, then retreated into the armory as their attackers returned fire. “No.”
Three men took up positions at the door. “They’re pulling back!” Kerzach said.
“Obviously they don’t want to fight us when we’re in a room filled with weaponry.” James cocked his rifle. “Let’s stop them from getting back to the mesa top.”
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 8, 2009 10:40 PM (GMT)
They eventually reached the infirmary. Shelton and Zachary were nowhere in sight.
“Do you think they were killed?” asked Hans. James didn’t answer.
They emerged at the T-junction. Hans took three men down the right hallway, while James, Kerzach and the two remainders approached the locker room.
Ricky’s men were attempting to get up the crawlspace. Those who weren’t up yet fired at them. One of James’ men fell.
James sniped the man halfway in the tunnel, giving them time as the survivors pulled the man out. James saw Kerzach taking cover behind the lockers.
“Cover me!” James dove to the side, avoiding the return fire, then shot one man in the leg. Crawling into the clothes locker, he dropped to the floor as bullets ripped through the wood and uniforms above him. He started army-crawling to the end of the locker, which filled the wall.
He heard someone fall from his team. He didn’t know if it was Kerzach or not.
He was at the end of the locker. Cocking his rifle, James kicked the door down and fired at the first man he saw. The next he cracked across the skull with the butt of his rifle, then quickly re-loaded—
A shot pinged off his helmet. He staggered backwards, stars erupting into his vision. He lost his aim.
The amount of gunfire in the room suddenly increased, but when James hit the floor and his vision cleared he found he was still in one piece.
Hans and his men were in the door, barrels smoking. Behind him, Kerzach was leaning against the splintered locker, breathing heavily. “Are you all right?” asked Hans.
James nodded, getting to his feet. “Some of them got away.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Hans. “We’d have to go up there to stop Ricky anyway.”
James looked at the crawlpassage up. “They’ve got someone waiting there to shoot us.”
Hans nodded. “They definitely have the mesa top by now. But it is the only way up.”
James shook his head. “There’s another way. But first, Kerzach you need to go back to the infirmary and grab as many of those medicinal bottles and stuff as you can. Get it to the cell block, Werner’s badly injured. Can you do that?”
Kerzach nodded. “I’ll hurry.”
“The rest of us,” James thumbed back down the hallway. “This way.”
He led them back to the first room, open to the mesa wall. The breaking of dawn was visible outside. “Let’s get climbing.”
Serris - September 9, 2009 05:04 AM (GMT)
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 9, 2009 07:32 PM (GMT)
James slung his rifle over his shoulder, hoisted himself onto the mesa ledge and started scaling the mesa wall. His men followed him out.
The climbing was quick and silent. Finally, James rolled over the top and braced himself.
The mesa top was empty.
“They’re all in the cave,” said Hans. “Probably planning to transport themselves to safety.”
James’ blood ran cold. “We have to stop them!”
Gunfire rang out from the cave at them. Gunners had taken positions in the rocks and were firing down at them.
One of them had a stationed machine gun. A row of dusty bullets peppered the mesa edge, missing James by inches. His helmet thankfully blocked the deafening sound out.
James flipped his night vision visor down and scoped the machine gunner, quickly dispatching him. “Cover me!” he yelled, making a run for the ramp. “I have to get up there!”
“You won’t make it in time!” said Hans, firing at the cave. “He’ll have the gateway up and his men through in seconds!”
Inside the cave, the survivors from the locker room battle had just arrived.
“Get it on!” ordered Ricky to the man at the control panel. “Fall back coordinates!”
“Sir, once we go there, we’ll be trapped again,” complained one soldier.
Ricky jabbed his thumb at Shelton and Zachary, both roped together in the corner. “We still got the doc, and someone to threaten. We’ll make him build another one.”
“Sir,” reported another. “Nguyen’s due back from China in two minutes. If we wait for him…”
Ricky shook his head. “I don’t want to spend any more time in this base than I have to.”
The gateway flared to life.
“Quickly! Go! Go!” Ricky yelled.
The first men headed for the gateway, but suddenly it fizzled out right before they ran through.
“What the—?” breathed Ricky.
Beside the gateway, Cale flashed into visibility, his right hand sparking with the electricity he just absorbed.
“Good evening,” he said, pointing his hand at the gate team. A blast of electricity threw the men into the cave walls. “I received a letter, wherein you offered me a position with the organization. I just came to let you know my decision.”
“Shoot him!” yelled Ricky.
Cale rolled to the left, shooting two more lightning bolts and whisking invisible. “Being a prompt fellow, I decided to let you know 19 years in advance.”
“Where is he?” yelled one man. Most of the man had retreated, guns out, to the far side of the cave.
A blast of electricity went off right in the middle of them. As the men dove for cover, Cale reappeared, using a super-heated blast of lightning to smelt a gleaming thick glass sword.
“Heart-warming as your efforts to blackmail me were, I have to decline.”
He dove forward, slashing and swinging. Men fired everywhere, but he was like liquid, sliding between his attackers and dispatching anyone who was close enough.
“Somebody get a clear shot!” Ricky yelled. He bolted over to his prisoners in the corner. Slitting the ropes with his knife, he pulled Zachary to his feet and looked over.
Cale stood in the center of the cave, Ricky’s men strewn about his feet.
Ricky held the knife up to Zach’s throat. “Don’t try anything,” he hissed. “Don’t come any closer or he dies!”
Two-thirds of the way up, James slid under the ramp for the umpteenth time. Bullets left dents in it above him.
He peeked out, returning fire, and advanced to the next rock level. He was almost there.
“Keep it coming, Hans!” he radioed.
“They’re not making it easy!”
James was out of ammo. He dropped him gun and ventured unarmed to the next rock level. It was up to Hans to clear the path for him now.
Cale stopped, warily.
“You,” Ricky ordered Shelton, “Get the gateway on.”
“To where?” asked Shelton, scrambling to get to the controls.
“Don’t care, but make it safe! Your pal’s coming with me!”
Making sure to keep Zachary between himself and Cale, Ricky crossed to the now-activated gateway. Hurling Zachary away at the last second, Ricky dove through.
Zachary staggered to his feet. “He’s getting away!”
“Don’t worry!” yelled Shelton. “We’re fine!”
Zach stared at the wormhole. “Where did you send him?”
“A spot two feet in front of the gateway. So when he exits the wormhole, he falls right back in. He’s stuck in a loop until we feel like letting him out.”
Suddenly there was a blur. James was running for the gateway.
“Wait! James! No!”
James dove in.
Serris - September 11, 2009 01:33 AM (GMT)
Oh my! Giant twist! James is now stuck in the time loop! I'm looking forward to the continuation.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 11, 2009 11:13 PM (GMT)
Sorry for not posting yesterday, things have been busy, and they still are. here's a small update, and the conclusion will be tomorrow! Another story coming to an end!
James found himself back in a black void, floating forward. There was no way to know if he was rotating or staying upright. He tried to get his bearings, but that proved impossible with nothing to stand on or even a reference point.
He floated weightlessly, looking for Ricky. But there was no light at all. Not even the night-vision visor could see through the pitch-blackness.
A flash of light as he exited the wormhole, and just as quickly a return to darkness as he reentered it. But he’d seen Ricky. He was to his immediate left.
A knife stabbed into his helmet, sending it flying off and stars erupting into his vision. Ricky had obviously seen him too. James swung his fist but connected with nothing. The floating was making any attacks difficult.
Another brief flash, and James saw Ricky’s enraged face bearing on top of him, knife held high.
James cast his arm out and caught the arm as it stabbed down. Swinging with his free arm, he felt his fist connect with Ricky’s face.
The knife arm remained taut. Ricky’s free arm clawed James’ shirt angrily. Then it groped up, found his throat, and started strangling him.
James choked. He couldn’t force Ricky’s hand without letting go of the one with the knife.
Another flash, but this time there wasn’t as much light. Not all the darkness in his vision is coming from the bridge.
With his ebbing strength, James swung his foot, connecting with Ricky’s groin. Both arms loosened, and James took a small breath and bit Ricky’s hand.
He was rewarded for his escape with a sock to the face. James’ head snapped back, barely keeping hold on the knife hand.
Ricky forced his head into another headlock, and was whispering in his ear, but there was no medium for the sound to travel through.
A flash. James discovered they were spinning. This didn’t help his equilibrium.
Ricky forced the knife closer and closer. James needed both hands to keep it back. He felt himself getting choked again.
Hurtling through nothingness, the only two beings in the universe fought over a single knife…
Serris - September 12, 2009 05:00 AM (GMT)
Wow. A very unique battle; a battle in zero-g.
LettuceBacon&Tomato - September 12, 2009 08:23 PM (GMT)
Aaaaaaand. . . the conclusion! This one's a bit longer than most posts, mainly because I'm starting school again, and probably won't be writing any new DS stories any time soon, so I thought it deserved more closure than the last two. I'll of course continue to follow the RP.)
“Shut it down!” yelled Zachary. “Get him out of there!”
Shelton fumbled with the controls. “I’m on it, I’m on it!”
With a flash the gateway shut down, and James came tumbling out. Behind him was Ricky’s body, the knife protruding from his chest.
Zachary ran to check on James. “Are you all right?”
James got to his feet shakily. “Yes. Excuse me.”
He stumbled over to his dented helmet which lay further beyond the gateway. “Hans, what’s the status on Werner?”
“Kerzach just told me. He’s stable, and Dr. Joe says he’s going to make a full recovery.”
James exhaled. “That’s great. Get everyone up here; it’s time to go home.”
“How are we going to get home?” asked Cale. “This bridge only operates in three dimensions.”
“Wait!” Shelton snapped his fingers. “Did you say your Shelton was on the other side of this bridge?”
“Yes. He said he was going to check around for anything else unusual.”
“Look around this room,” said Shelton, pointing at the various equipment. “Is any of it still there in 2009?”
James thought. “We saw that file cabinet in the corner.”
Shelton crossed over, opened it and took out a piece of paper. Sliding a green pen out of his coat pocket, he scribbled a note on the back, put it back on top, and shut the cabinet.
“Now we just have to wait,” he said.
Five minutes later, the familiar space-time fabric of the original bridge formed, and Shelton stepped through, confused, holding the paper.
“Did you actually write this? It looks like my handwriting.”
James took the paper.
Shelton: Dial the bridge to these coordinates, increase the t-coordinate by .01
P.S. you might need some more transportation.
James handed it back. “No, I didn’t.”
“Then who?” Shelton looked over James’ shoulder, and saw himself. His mouth dropped open. Then shut. Then open again.
Chuckling slightly, James stepped back through the bridge and reappeared in the present day.
The room was swarming with soldiers. James looked around and saw Aisha.
“We weren’t so lucky the second time we tried to sneak out of Carson City Camp,” she explained.
General Moby walked over, flanked by four soldiers. “Head in, men.”
The soldiers nodded and exited through the bridge.
“Cobalt squad,” explained Moby, as James watched them go. “Officially, they were the ones who traveled through the bridge and shut down Warden. Completely authorized, of course.”
“Don’t worry,” said Moby. “Nobody’s going to know you or your team were involved. Other than Aisha, who ran the bridge, none of you were ever officially here.”
“Maybe,” said James, “but if there’s one thing all this has taught me, it’s that the term ‘official’ says more about what the public finds out then the government.”
“True that,” agreed Moby. “But remember that this is much different from the Pelvanida incidents. For one, it was a smashing success. An openly hostile rebel group was shut down, a valuable piece of technology was recovered, and the public never found out. There’s no need for heads to roll.”
James nodded. “Still, even if they leave us alone, I doubt they’ll rescind their scientific bans. I’m still out of all the jobs I want.”
“Ah, but only for ten years,” Moby reminded, “and if you ever get desperate, we can make ten years go by fast.” He pointed over his shoulder at the Einstein-Rosen Bridge. James raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
The first of the 1990 survivors were coming out now. Both Sheltons emerged, chatting excitedly, and Zachary was helping the wounded get to the Jeeps.
“James!” one of the Sheltons waved him over.
James obliged. “Which of you is which?”
“I’m me, and he’s him,” said one helpfully.
James rolled his eyes.
“I’m the alternate,” said the Shelton that was covered in scrapes and scuffs. “And we’ve decided, to reduce confusion, I’m going to go by our middle name, Oscar.”
James looked at Rudy. “Your middle name is Oscar?”
Rudy changed the subject. “We were thinking, Oscar doesn’t have a scientific ban on him, does he? He can get a job with the government.”
“Technically yes,” said James, “but the government’s never been one to listen to technicalities.”
“They will when I’m the only person who knows the t-coordinate conversion scale, not to mention being the foremost expert of bridge operations on the planet,” Oscar jumped in. “That gives me a bit of authority. And I’m going to need assistants, right?”
James smiled. “You mean…”
“Any of you who want to come work with me are welcome to.”
“I get dibs on best positions, though,” added Rudy.
“No, you don’t,” countered Oscar. “You think you call the shots just because you came first?”
“Think again.” Oscar looked over at Dr. Joe and Hans, who were just emerging. Werner was on a stretcher between them. “Got to go, I have to tell Werner about himself, he won’t believe it…”
And he left, followed by the disgruntled Rudy Shelton.
“James?” Zachary had come up behind him.
"Call me Steven."
Steven nodded silently. He stared at the activity around him. “Thank you for rescuing myself and my companions.”
“Don’t mention it.” James smiled wryly at watching Dr. Joe trying to push an excitedly babbling Oscar away from an interested Werner. “I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through to get home.”
“No, you can’t.” Steven reached into his pocket and pulled out a bunch of slips of paper. James saw they had the names of his team members on them.
“The first thing I’m going to do,” said Steven, “is finish a book chronicling what happened to our team, the trails we faced, who sacrificed themselves. So my teammates won’t be forgotten.”
James nodded. “You’ll never get to publish it.”
“Someday I will. Maybe in a hundred years. Secrets can only be kept for so long.”
“That’s the spirit,” James clapped him on the back, and they climbed back onto the mesa.
Werner’s group was waiting for a copter approaching to lift them off the mesa. Aisha was back with General Moby, trying to convince him to let her go through the bridge. Kerzach was picking out the helpful gang members from a line up. Cale wasn’t talking or socializing with anyone, but looked immensely pleased with himself.
“Yes,” said Steven absent-mindedly. “Your team is whole and all alive. Appreciate that very much.”
The helicopter took off, sending dust swirling around James and Steven’ feet. They watched it hover for a second, then set off slowly for the buildings in the distance.
“Are you going to take the next copter back?” asked James. “Or a Jeep?”
Steven shook his head. “For the first time since I existed, I have all the time in the world. I think I’ll walk.”
“So will I.”
They climbed down the mesa and started the long walk home.