Chapter Fifteen: Arrivals
Darwin, Australia, Terra;
“I need transit papers in five minutes.” Rachel called out to her team as they made their way out of the building. “Set up a perimeter just incase we need need to Quarantine. I need aether stabilisers and ion field generators set up. Have paramedics on standby.”
As the black clad soldiers swarmed the area, and the civilians left the park, knowing better then to stand in their way. Young private ran up to the lead agent with the requested papers, handing her a tablet computer. Three sentient life forms, two native, she was right about that at least. Their IDent cards made it easy to identify them.
“Blake Archibald Indigo Steorra, Lieutenant of the Terran Ministry of Defence, Agent of the Office of Joint Services.” She read off the tablet. “Age fifteen, Surprised. Species; Human. White flagged. Lilith Charlotte Weli’sol Wells, Freelance Journalist, high school student. Age fifteen. Species; Human... and no data on the third transfer.”
Rachel wasn’t listening. She was eyeing a human woman with an eighties style hair cut, wearing a black suit, a pair of sunglasses, and a spare amount of make up that relied on her natural beauty. The woman was just standing there, with a briefcase by her left, and her face expressionless. She mouthed what looked like ‘They are coming.’
“Ma’am!” One of the naga soldiers hissed as the space inside the perimeter distorted. There would be a ripping sound, a flash of light...
“Joey!” I roared at the open door as I heard a strange but familiar language growl and chirp though the open door of his IT lab. The dark skinned human was struggling to understand the reptilian language.
“Clair! I have no idea what your saying! Turn off that add on!” Joey yelled at the computer.
“Sorry.” Clair apologised in English. “Just arguing with the locals. You might get along with them Koraian. Former conquers now peacemakers. Almost like the Guadisaurs of Everglade.”
“I’ll keep that in mind mammal.” I growled.
“Back to the names again I see. Joey?”
“Just processing the data.” Joey answered. “The Resource satellite has found twenty sites that would be suitable to hold a large number of living humans. And there’s something else.”
Joey hit a button on an open file. Sounded like a conversation in Cypaurin but I could be mistaken. Since it’s not standard in a Digi-Plot's translator software, I had to go by ear that what ever the two parties were talking about, it wasn’t illegal.
“I could...” Joey started.
“Don’t bother. Now we know for certain that Aries is behind this.” Clair answered. “Play it again.” He did and the silence was eerie to say the least. When her voice did come back, anger and hate saturated every word. “Slave labor. Just when I thought these people couldn’t get any lower.”
“...only ten days till Christmas.”
A loud bang forced something else to my attention. I turned my head to see something panting in the darkness. In the greyscale I could tell the woman wore a lot of blues, long blond hair, clenching a bow in her hand and a handbag hanging open, her arm thread though the handle.
She looked calm, in control, scanning the room with her vibrant blue eyes, sizing up possible threats, possible exits, anything that could be used as a weapon at short notice. She didn’t hold herself like a soldier, more of a scholar with experience on the battlefield
She pulled a phone out of her pocket and the side of it against the wall. It beeped twice.
“It is not a matter of luck, it is just a matter of time.” She muttered to herself in a greek, maybe Italian accent.
“That one up there is Mars. Not a bad planet after it’s terrafromed, as long as it’s done right. Where I’m from, noble gases, iron oxides and carbon monoixde got into the upper troposphere. Unsafe for conventional heavier then air travel and a lot of the cities on there have to watch the air quality constantly. At times it’s breathable, other times it feels like your choking on the air.” I explained to her. In the past few minutes, she managed to hold a human form, more for her sanity then for my convenience. The tail stayed, and to Charlotte’s amusement, it keep finding itself tied around my waist, no matter how many times I’ve pulled it off. “But the sunsets, it’s like the sky’s on fire, and the wines from the eastern continent... the grapes absorb a lot of processed monoxide and the spring harvest produce some of the richest flavours in the commonwealth.”
“I should try it some time.” Anna sighed, her form changed, and she pointed her beak to the ground. “How did you find me?”
“I told you. I work miracles. I even have the sainthood to prove it.” I answered and Charlotte laughed. “And before you ask, bringing down a daemon that found it’s way into medieval Rome was not an easy feat, even if I did cheat and used a... I’m rambling on aren’t I?”
“Don’t worry. I don’t mind.”
“Well if you haven’t noticed, I’m in a hurry. But then again. Maybe not. Dreams are strange things. I mean, just look at us here. Charlotte is somewhere in another universe, I’m in a drug induced coma with a probe stuck to the base of my skull and your calling out across your fae heritage, amplified by a griffin's natural psychic talent. I love new things. An entire reality open. Dimensions where the laws of physics were made by madmen. A version of Victorian London that’s about to enter the space age. Greek Mythology come to life. Colonies on Mars.”
“Is there a point to this?” Charlotte asked.
“No. I just feel like rambling on.” I answered. “I enjoy moments like this when the last thing I need to worry about is the gun pointed in my face, or the impending doom caused by an aether even, or someone’s obsession for fudge, or even that sudden nagging feeling that I’m missing something.”
“Like?” Anna asked.
“Like the fact that Jamie disappeared and you’re here... So...”
“Stand up. Charlotte. I’ll need some help.”
“You’re not...” Charlotte started.
“I am.” I told her.
“Clair. You better have a look at this.” Joey interrupted her rant after he ran down the numbers Jamie texted me. First one lead to a large complex under Singapore. The next was outside Brisbane Australia, the third on the Texas-Mexico broader, then outside Manchester, England, under Istanbul, Turkey, near Atlanta, Georgia, Geneva, Switzerland, Bogota Colombia, and one in the state of New York.
“Hello Operator. How’d you... Where...” Clair stammered.
“Jamie sent this message about three hours later.” I explained.
“The message was on a fold back loop. Someone used the multi diminutional nature of the subspace to send a text message in to the past. There’s temporal protocols to prevent it but someone altered the internal clock on Jamie’s phone and gave it the wrong time stamp.” Joey explained. “Simple.”
“But there’s way too many for a small force to tackle at the same time.”
“Time travel?” I suggested.
“Too risky.” Clair answered as the call waiting button appeared on screen. It was Blake’s caller ID. “He’s out of the dream state already?” Clair asked, the same button would have appeared on her device.
“News to me.” I told her.
“Ready?” I asked the two woman as we stood equal distance apart in the shape of a triangle. They nodded and put their hands, or in Anna’s case, claw forward. I held my concentration on the mana exchange. I had to focus on a place and time... remember... Just remember.
“Bla...” Anna started but I hushed her quite. “Just feel the universe slipping away. Imagine the echo opening, the storm above us twisting into a vortex...”
“Freeze! Commonwealth agents!”
All of us were surprised to find ourselves in daylight. We expected the skyscrapers, being surrounded by men and woman with guns. But what starteled Anna the most was the cargo ship in the air above her heading south.
“What’s... What is this?” Anna demanded. “What’s going on?”
“Boarder Control love.” We turned to see the only person standing close to us, not holding a gun to our heads, a suited Cypaur woman with a Commonwealth Agent badge attached to her belt. “Blake Indigo, Charlotte Wells, Do you or your companion have anything to declare?”