Sunday September 7th, 2014

The exercise:

The 7th already? That means two things. One: Max is now two months away from turning two years old.

And two: it's time to get back to Vancouver Irrealis.

Had a pleasant day off. Went for that hike we'd hoped to do last weekend, did a few errands, and had a couple families over for dinner on the deck this evening. Max had a blast running around and playing with the other three kids.

One of whom was also named Max.

And was born two days after our Max.

It's a strange, small world some times.


"Well that was... unexpected." Rewand offered a weak smile and ran his fingers through his thin hair.

"Where did you go?" Tristam asked as Anne-Marie rushed to her grandfather's side. "Do you remember anything?"

"Oh yes, I remember everything. I'm fine dear." He tried to shoo Anne-Marie away but his hands were shaking too badly for the effort to be taken seriously. "As for where I was, I'd say it could best be described as... inbetween."

"What, like limbo?"

"I seemed to be... hovering between this world and yours. I could see your visitor... but I could also see an empty room that looked much like this one. The Icepol are crawling all over this building in our... reality, but in the other almost everyone was asleep in their beds."

"Are they getting close?" Anne-Marie asked, giving the ceiling and walls nervous looks.

"No, no. Terpe is doing a fine job of getting them to inspect the most harmless areas of this structure. I believe we will be safe here until morning, at which point we will need to begin tracking down Nkare... before it is too late."

"Too late?" Tristam swallowed hard. "What else did you see?"

"In your world there is an important gathering of some sort two nights from now. A conference perhaps? I saw newspaper headlines with varying takes on the same theme above the picture of a man. I didn't recognize him... which is no surprise... but an influential international figure it seemed... I believe he is Nkare's target."

"Tristam?" Anne-Marie saw the blood drain from his face and seemed unsure as to whose side she should be at - her grandfather or Tristam's. "Who is he?"

"His death would throw the city... the country... the entire continent into chaos." Tristam felt a tightness in his chest and a clawing at his belly. "A perfect cover for an overtake."

"Who is he?"

"Geoffrey K. Wilkerson." Tristam swallowed again with great difficulty. "The President of the United States."


Greg said...

That sounds like you had a good day off after all that work! Well done :)
Hmm, Geoffrey Wilkerson definitely sounds familiar ;-) I wonder how he made it all the way up to President...? But other than that, this is fascinating stuff; we now know what Nkare's up to, and it's bigger than I was expecting! And a clever plan too, I think. The story's gaining pace at just the right time, so excellent writing Marc :) Oh, and I liked Tristam's steady going-native-isms: "A perfect cover for an overtake." sounds perfectly irrealis!

There was a silence in the room for nearly a minute after Tristam spoke, broken finally by Anne-Marie. "That's big," she said. "I didn't think...."
Rewand shook his head vigorously, keeping time with his hands. "I'm sure none of us did," he said. "I think Terpe would have said if he'd thought...."
More silence followed.
"Where did that child go?" asked Tristam suddenly. Both of the others looked at him, both looking puzzled.
"What child?" asked Rewand as Anne-Marie said "Back to wherever... oh!"
"You exchanged, I guess, with a child," said Tristam. "I've seen him before, when I waiting near some trees for Anne-Marie to finish work. He was a little bit weird, I kind of thought he might have been another cross-over. He spoke to me, but I don't remember what he said. It was just a bit... well, everything was kind of... odd. Back then!"
"And I exchanged with him?" Rewand's hands stopped shaking with the intensity of interest he was showing.
"Yes," said Anne-Marie. "But you didn't overcross, at least not properly. So how could you exchange with him? Or is he somehow wandering around between the worlds? This is so confusing!"
"This is disturbing," said Rewand. "I thought we understood how the worlds lappedover, and this is different again. We should wait for Terpe to get back and see what he's got to say. He knows more about th-"
"He doesn't!" Anne-Marie's voice was sharp. "You know you know at least as much as him, you've both been working on this together."
Rewand's hands started trembling again. "He knows more about the technology used-"
"Again, no! He knows more about who goes over and when, but not how they do it. We all know about as much as each other."
Tristam looked down at the floor; the device was still flickering colours across its surface, and he found himself very reluctant to touch it. "I suppose we could experiment," he said, his voice conveying his reluctance all too clearly. Both the others shook their heads.
"Tell me more about this child," said Rewand at last. "And let's get a box or something to cover that thing with. I don't want anyone accidentally triggering it." Anne-Marie stood, seemingly glad to have something to do.
"He was a boy," said Tristam, thinking back. "Maybe not yet a agerteen? He seemed young to me. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans..."
"The shirt-t had a ganslo on it," said Anne-Marie coming back with a cardboard box. "It said, Free Red 5. Probably a band name. Do you think he knows Nkare?"
"Maybe he knows where to find her," said Tristam. They all looked down at the plain brown box now concealing the device.

morganna said...

As they stared at it, the box suddenly popped off the floor with the boy underneath it.

"Hee, hee, can't catch me," he giggled. "I know more than you know." He was holding the device in his left hand. He held out his right hand to Tristam. "Come with me, to see what you can see!"

Tristam looked around blankly at the others. Anne-Marie grabbed his hand, and Rewand's with her other. Tristam shrugged and grabbed the boy's hand.

The world spun into blackness with swirling streaks and sparks of rainbow light across the darkness.

Then, with a sickening thump, they landed in a room much like the one they had left, but with subtle differences, like the lighting and all the people in the room.

The boy bounced up. "Welcome, welcome to my home!"

A women who looked much like the boy, and wearing a larger version of his Free Red 5 shirt came up to them. "I hope Ertrob wasn't too difficult. He was the only one who could be sent to fetch you -- it seems he can't be tracked through the spacehyper, unlike the rest of us adults."

Anne-Marie and Rewand were still looking stunned, so Tristam shook his head. "Nnno," he stuttered. The trip had been much more jarring than the one that had brought him from his own world.

The woman smiled. "It is startling to come through the spacehyper that way, and Ertrob isn't very good at bracing the others with him yet. Have a seat, and let me get you some tea. Then we can talk about what's happening to our worlds."

Marc said...

Greg - I like to think this is a distant (or perhaps not so distant) relative of our dear mayor :)

I'm so pleased you picked up on the exchange aspect of what happened. I wanted to include that as well but I didn't want to go overboard and end up writing ten pages!

And I do appreciate the additional Tagged reference :D

Morganna - more intriguing developments! I like that this transition was bumpier, due to the reasons you explained.

And now... where are we and what comes next? Only three months left to figure it all out!