Where the Hell Have I Been???
Well, this is a pretty picture. It’s nearly five-and-a-half years later, and I’m not a millisecond older! The world is…changed…but it’ll be awhile before I catch up with all the changes.
So, where was I? No, I mean it…where was I? It’s hard to describe a place with no time, I was there, and I was gone, and it’s five-plus years later! I remember things from before, though.
September 21, 2009
I had gone down to Antarctica with Skye, to visit her family. Discovery Day was approaching and I wanted to be there for their unique holiday. It marks more than the day that the Elysian artifact was discovered, leading to the establishment of the colony, it’s a rite of passage, as well. September 23, 1959 was the day that the little group of scientists first set foot on the Elysian space habitat. That ancient construct hidden away in the asteroid belt had been ticking away for millennia, working like the day it was built. It maintained an environment that our paleolithic ancestors would have been right at home in. The flora and fauna inhabiting the habitat dated from 90,000 to 35,000 years ago.
But, the habitat did more than maintain, it repaired. Each of the scientists was suffering some ailment or other, the habitat’s sensors detected these deficiencies and corrected them. Tiny service drones, easily mistaken for biting insects, swarmed the humans and inoculated them with the nano-spores that the Elysians use in place of crude medicines. The nano-spores went to work and repaired what was broken and unlocked potentials that had been, for whatever reason, unrealized.
Elysians –we tend to use the term for the elevated human “Elysians” and the ancient ultra-humans who inspired a lot of our myths and legends, both, but this is referring to the elevated human type in the modern colony –developed super powers, as a result. Their powers tended to fit into the classic range, with a higher percentage of powerful psis, at the beginning. With time and preparation, more exotic abilities are possible. Young Elysians are encouraged to find their “true form” on Discovery Day, the day when they are finally inoculated with the transformative nano-spores.
Discovery Day transformations have been documented before, but Skye told me there was no substitute for actually witnessing it.
When we arrived, Sun Dog was overhead, casting his light and warmth over the city. He’d been doing that since his Discovery Day transformation and was one of the reasons the Antarctic colony was so successful.
The flight down, under our own power, had been tiring, and I spent a few minutes basking in his rays, to drive away the fatigue. I still get tired, even if I can charge right back up, but it would help me get through the meet-n-greet that I was expecting.
Skye’s family was a trip. Her father is a transportal engineer, her mother is a hyperspace mathematician and her eldest brother, builds transportal gates. They ARE the transportal business, in town.
I was in guest lodging, the hotel industry in the Antarctic city is rudimentary, at best. It’s set up sort of like college dorms, which I guess is to be expected from a society founded by professors and doctoral candidates, right? I had my clothes hanging in the closet nook, and was lounging around in sweat pants when the alarm came.
I was glad, then, that the latest version of my suit is so easy to slip on. I had just settled my new face mask in place when the tremors started. A touch of thermal energy to the “window” caused the transparency to melt back into the frame, only to re-form, after I’d flown out the window.
Over on the west side of town, there was pandemonium. Smoke was rising over the buildings and reddish lightning was arcing across the domed sky. I rode to the sound of the guns and I wasn’t the only one. In a society of super-normal folk, a significant fraction of the population have powers that are useful when the fertilizer strikes the ventilator. My earbug crackled and I heard Skye calling me. Her voice was thick with emotion, her father and brother worked in that area, the west side of the enclave is where the transportals are anchored.
I’ve been here a few times, but I still have trouble navigating, I couldn’t tell her where I was, just where I was headed. A few seconds later, I saw her ahead of me, her wings beating furiously. I was directly over Discovery Park when something exploded.
A short distance ahead, a building began sinking into the dust and smoke. Pieces of the light, stone-like building material flew a short distance, before falling to the ground. Dust billowed and filled the streets and alley passages. I clicked on my mask’s breath shield. The eye protection and breath shield were the main reasons I’d switched to this new mask.
Noises were rising out of the dust cloud that didn’t fit with collapsing buildings and injured residents. I could hear shots being fired, blasters of some kind, and what sounded like war cries. Then I saw the first of the riders.
Big, armored men –at least they were shaped and proportioned like men, who knew what was under the armor– riding on the backs of strange, scaly monsters. Some of them had two heads, the monsters, I mean. As far as I could see, no two were alike. The riders were laying about with some kind of lance weapons, my senses told me they were firing high-energy plasma bursts.
I rolled and dived into their fire. Time to charge up. I told Skye what I was seeing and she would pass it on.
I drank in five or six blasts, my nerves were humming and I put a fair bit of their juice into a punch to the lead beastie’s head. Staggered him a bit, but he charged at me a second later. I grabbed some sky. Difficult, within the limits of the dome. More blasts caught me. They hadn’t figured it out, yet, so I let them keep tagging me. I wasn’t near capacity, yet, and I knew I’d need whatever I could get from them, to stay in this fight.
I saw a big Elysian bruiser wade into the park, getting bigger with each stride. By the time he clashed with the nearest rider, he was eye-to-eye with the mount. Fists the size of SUVs smashed into the critter’s snout and it howled. The rider was thrown to the ground by the beast’s gyrations. He landed on a stone plinth, and I didn’t see him move, again. I did snatch up his weapon and suck it dry.
More of the locals had joined the fight and more of the armored invaders kept filtering out of the western quarter.
The transportals! It was obvious, that something had happened and someone was using them to invade. But, were they here for the city, or was this the prelude to an invasion of Earth?