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chapter_8 [2009/12/11 18:20] (current)
doan created
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 +Dr. Andonuts found his son hiding in a bin in the garbage tip outside the old factory.
 +
 +Although he had been trained from birth (even a two-year-old can hide in a container... in fact, they really enjoyed it) Jeff was not yet skilled enough to hide from Dr. Andonuts. The scientist was as good at spotting other people hiding in bins as he was as hiding in them himself – there could be fatal consequences for failing to notice an escaped convict, malicious ghost or stray dog hiding in the bin you were about to stick your hand in. Bins weren't just stealth facilities and free accommodation either – some of them contained free food. When you were a penniless scientist, mocked by all as a madman, the contents of a bin could mean the difference between eating for a week or starving. Dr. Andonuts had already spotted half a hamburger, a banana and a slice of carrot cake that had hardly been touched at all and didn't look a day over three weeks past the sell by date. His mouth was watering. He hadn't had a chance to eat in the coffee shop because that fat pig Brick Road had eaten all the communal coffee beans and Leder said he would rather stick his head  in a blender than lend Dr. Andonuts money. He saw several interesting objects poking out of the garbage tip that he thought would make serviceable components for some of his projects. For instance, that spring sticking out of that upside down armchair would be just right for fixing the quantum gauge on his Phase Distorter. He scratched his head and frowned. It was bad practice of him to use a Phase Distorter that wasn't quite fixed, especially to cross a distance this long – he shouldn't really be using a Phase Distorter at all, if his suspicions were correct, but he had no alternative at the moment - it was okay because it was for his son. 
 +
 +Oh yeah, he thought, that's what I was doing. Rescuing my son.
 +
 +“Son?” he called out.
 +
 +The bin lid lifted and a head of decidedly unstylish blonde hair with the fringe cut right down the middle poked out, followed by two round eyes under a much larger, much rounder pair of spectacles and a mass of freckles.
 +
 +“Dad?” exclaimed Jeff, “Oh, Dad! Thank you for responding! I was worried you wouldn't...”
 +
 +“This better be a real emergency! I'm a busy man!”
 +
 +“Dad, can't you feel it as well? Its all around us in the air! Something's VERY wrong with this place. I know you said this was the safest place for me right now but I really really would like it if I could evacuate.”
 +
 +“Something in the air? Something wrong? What kind of unscientific nonsense is this?” he snapped, “I can't see anything different from the last time I visited you at all. I'll just get out my scanner and...”
 +
 +Dr. Andonuts dropped his meter and ran. As soon as he had turned it on, every single dial – time paradox, Pauli exclusion factor, Giygue-class psychic, quantum nonlocality, time lag – either span around and around backwards or beeped, flashed red and scrolled nonsensical characters down the screen. Then the meter exploded.
 +
 +“M... maybe you're right...” he stammered, “I should r... run some more tests...”
 +
 +“Dad, there's something else.”
 +
 +Jeff bent down and picked up a box-shaped machine.
 +
 +“This is a radio I fixed, dad. Its been working fine for ages. But these days, when I switch it on...”
 +
 +He demonstrated by pressing the 'on' button. Before he had even tuned it in, a song started playing. Dr. Andonuts recognised the band as DCMC. Except the music was wrong. So very wrong...
 +
 +One. Two. Three. Five. One. Two. Three. Five. One. Two. One. Two...
 +
 +“Let's get out of here!” yelled Dr. Andonuts. He could already see the distortion crawling through the gaps between dimensions, leaking from sound into vision, taste and touch, from space into time, punctuality and even narrative.
 +
 +“Dad, there's someone else who needs to come with us. A friend.”
 +
 +“Honestly, boy, we can't take people from out of an area contaminated with this much distortion! You don't know how much of it has affected their personal timel... oh...”
 +
 +Dr. Andonuts looked over his son's head and into the hollow eyes that glowed with a spark somewhere deep inside, at the expression engraved on that face.
 +
 +“Muon.” declared the Golem, pointing behind him, his huge arm indicating the entire garbage tip with one sweep. Despite the vagueness of the gesture, Dr. Andonuts could tell what he was pointing to.
 +
 +A graveyard. The entire place was a graveyard. Lumps of inert clay, broken, distorted, falling apart, piled up without ceremony in heaps among the other rubbish. Some had been broken in accidents,  some had obviously just worn away from overwork. Many bore black marks that looked like scorch marks from strong electric shocks. Others looked like they had tried to break themselves.
 +
 +Dr. Andonuts wondered why he hadn't noticed them at first. For that matter, why he had never noticed them back when he worked at Chimera Labs. The factory wasn't that far away, he could see it from his office window. The Pork Troopers had told them there were clay things working at the factory or something, but they had also told him he didn't have to worry about it. Dr. Andonuts had told them that clay was really inefficient to work with and he could make them something far better to automate the entire factory with but they had said the clay worked just fine.
 +
 +“Muon.” declared the Golem again, this time more firmly.
 +
 +“Okay, you can come with us.” decided Dr. Andonuts, sighing and shaking his head, “But you have to run. I know you're big and made of clay, but no lagging behind, okay? I have to rescue my son!” 
 +
 +The Golem nodded and lumbered along behind them at a surprisingly fast pace.
 +
 +
 +
 +He ran through the pitch darkness.
 +
 +The streets of the massive capital city were wide and open. Unlike Fourside, no heavy traffic blocked his path – Moonside had fewer inhabitants, or at least, fewer of the kind that drove cars and went to work, or for that matter,  had two arms that could grip a steering wheel or even perceived time in a straight line for long enough to do a day's work -  so all he had to contend with was the occasional clock melting over the asphalt or fire hydrant leaping out and attacking him. He ran full pelt, leaping over obstacles without thinking about it. His speed was motivated by more than just impossibly strong coffee – it was a primal adrenaline, the purest manifestation of the flight instinct. He barely noticed the surreal beauty of the city, every building, road and tree outlined in neon lights the colour of the System itself, an abstract painting come to something above and beyond life, something that would be there when death was gone. The colours faded and swirled to an oil painting in his eyes as he sped past them. Jumping up and grabbing a bright purple-outlined tree branch, he swung up and vaulted over the wall.
 +
 +He was out of the city. Beyond the boundaries of anything even vaguely approaching sanity in Moonside. It was a place that should not be. Even more than Moonside itself, a place that should not exist. If it did, it would not be made for humans to visit or comprehend, would not be on any tourist map.
 +
 +He found himself running through a field. In the clear sky, eternally midnight, shapes flitted, dove and swooped, saucer shapes that glowed blue, green, yellow and purple. He could hear the eerie noises they made, like the background hum of a thousand computers in slightly different pitches and tones. The noise you're not supposed to hear because it is absorbed by the background music. But there was no music here.
 +
 +He kept running...
 +
 +He almost ran into the figure as it materialised in front of him. Bright orange, it did not so much stand out but blend in perfectly in a way that made him, the field, the darkness, the entire Universe look like they didn't belong.
 +
 +He swerved and tried to run in another direction. It didn't so much move as simply change the fact of its location to match the direction he was running in.
 +
 +“This was a bad place to run to.” it said, “Its trespassing. I don't like trespassers. You don't want me to not like you.”
 +
 +“I won't go back with you!” he yelled.
 +
 +“I don't mean to harm you. I couldn't harm you if I even wanted to. Even if I was programmed to want to harm you. I don't know what the consequences would be. From the evidence I have collected, I suspect it would be catastrophic to the entire Multiverse.”
 +
 +“But you can still imprison me. Forever.” he gasped, looking up at the figure defiantly, “They have to know. THEY HAVE TO KNOW!”
 +
 +“Ah, so you remember now.” replied the figure with such calm in its voice that it could be a recorded message and he wouldn't be able to tell, “Do you realise how dangerous that information alone is? We're not one hundred per cent sure that it isn't viral. You should be in quarantine. I wish I could just erase those memories, but...”
 +
 +“YOU'RE NOT ERASING MY MEMORIES!” he yelled, “And I am... NOT... GOING... BACK... IN... QUARANTINE!”
 +
 +“Let me make a deal.” said the figure, “Your favourite place in Eagleland is the Hotel in Twoson, right? Well, how about instead of taking you back to Quarantine, I put you up in their Grand Excelsior Suite free of charge? I have a permanent reservation there, you know. You'll be under constant guard, of course, but hey, having elite guards around can be fun, makes you feel important, you can pretend they're your personal Commissionaires. And we'll properly patch over your memories this time. I have a patch that's got excellent childhood memories. Playing baseball, climbing trees, catching fireflies, the whole package...”
 +
 +“Don't you understand? Its isn't fixed! IT... IS... STILL... GOING... TO... HAPPEN!” he screamed. A sudden wave of flashback hit him and he fell to his knees, clutching his head.
 +
 +“That's why we can't erase your memories.” it replied, appearing closer to him and placing a hand on his head in an oddly reassuring gesture, “And why we need your co-operation. Because we're going to stop it happening. Moor Ecivres, can you stand before me and honestly say you love this world so much that you're willing to do absolutely anything in order to still be here tomorrow? Because if you can't, you don't belong here.”
 +
 +“I... I swear...” he bowed his head, “I swear by... by Mother... by the Motherland.”
 
chapter_8.txt · Last modified: 2009/12/11 18:20 by doan
 
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