South of the Border Town


South raised his hands to ask a question to the Greyman, and no sooner than he did so did Jay issue the words 'Time to go' and activated the time drive. Greyman looked at where the Dwarfers had stood only a moment before, then turning to his companions. “Seeing as we only have a few moments left, ladies, I think it might be a good idea for us to make an--” he was cut off by a sudden 'swish' sound from behind him, as a small time portal opened and closed rapidly like a camera flash, letting a small glass drop to the floor and shatter. “...exit.” he finished. “Hm. Interesting.”
* * *
Reality blinked out around him and time time refocused itself before his eyes. The last time he had felt this was when he was falling through the time vortex created by the detonation of the Satrid, hurling him and his bedroom into the distant future.
Without warning his skin began to itch. He had time traveled under normal circumstances before, and feeling physically distorted was often a side effect, he though. Then his skin began to burn, and his blood felt hot, like when one touches a high voltage wire. 'Okay..' his mind starting to panic at the sensation, '..that isn't right.'
* * *
(About now-ish.)
Cass sipped her drink as the courier bashfully backed away from them, his eyes flicking back and forth. Eventually he turned and started walking away, but it was obviously an effort on his part. Jamie watched him walk until he reached the edge of town, passing by a wooden water tower. “Well I--” one of them spoke up, only to be cut off by the sounds of frantic splashing in the distance.
* * *
South dropped out of the time vortex, his world suddenly becoming very, very, wet. Apparently he had to force himself not to inhale as he realized he had materialized underwater. Then he felt an electrical shock that cut through him as he started to swim up. His lungs burned as he broke the surface, following another shock. “Ow! Ow!!” he gasped kicking his way to the edge of the large wooden cylinder he found himself in. “Ah! Damnit!! Ow ow OW!!”
He pulled himself up and over the side, falling onto a thin wooden platform. “DAMN that hurts!” he half shouted. “What the hell was that about?” He asked to no one in particular. Looking around himself, he saw that he was a good distance off the ground, providing him a decent view of the town below, arranged in a traditional old west frontier style, with most of the buildings lined up across from each other along a central street. “Well, if this doesn't look familiar...America? 1800's? Bloody hell, I need to get my bearings...” he heaved to himself, still catching his breath, water dripping down his face from his hair. Below he head laughing and looked of the side of the water tower. He saw a mustachioed man in an old wide brimmed hat looking up at hims smiling. “What the hell are you doin' up there? Had to much to drink have ya'?” The man called up to him. South chuckled and looked around, his time traveling experience kicking in just a tiny bit. “Aye, I must have! I can't even remember how I got here, haha.”
The man laughed. “Well, I think we've all had a night like that.”
“Right you are, sir. Umm...” South looked about, quizzically, “...You might think I'm mad, or still drunk, but...what year is it?”
The mustache laughed harder than before. “You really did have a dozzy didn't ya'?”
“Like I said I must have.”
“Haha, it's 1836 friend. I suppos you'll be needin' to know the month too?”
South chuckled as he wiped water out of his eyes. “Couln't hurt I suppose.”
“February. No get down from there before you fall from that headache you've no doubt got.”
The man laughed to himself as he walked away. “Much obliged!” South called after him. “1836, February...” he rubbed his face and stood up, drawing breath between his fingers and sighing as his hands moved to his hair. He stretched and twisted his back. “Wonder where the others got to?” he looked around at the town below. “And what was shocking me anyways?” He felt around and checked his person, for the first time noticing his clothes. “Oh, nice.” he smiled, examining the pleasant dark suit he was wearing, replete with a dark velvet colored vest and cotton waist coat. His had traced along his belt. “Ooh and I've got a gun!” he pulled from his hlster an ivory handled, nickel plated colt revolver up and out. His other hand found it's way to the other end of the belt. “Ooh, TWO guns, would'ya look at that?” He said aloud to himself as he smiled broadly. “South!” he heard someone call from below, “Is that you?”
He peered down across town to a Saloon where he saw Jamie standing just outside calling up to him. “Jamie! Yes it is, I'll be right down.” he holstered the guns and continued to check his person, finding that his leather satchel till hung from his shoulders. He groaned in relief and clutched it tightly to his chest, planting a small kiss on it. “Ohh, that's such a relief...”
He felt something squirm around inside and he lifted the flap. Reggie crawled out and up onto his hand. “Aww, Reggie..” he smiled and started talking like people talk to babies, “Good little beetle I though I'd lost you, who's a good beetle?”
“South!” Jamie called again. “A'right, keep your hair on! Geeze some people, eh?” he said as he pet Reggie down the back once more and placed him back in the bag. “Well, nothing in there that would shock me. How about in here?” He hauled himself up to look down into the tower's reservoir. “Nnnope. Nothing.”
He dropped down and blew out his cheeks before squinting into the distance and climbing down the ladder. Soon as his feet hit the ground he started walking towards the saloon, out of which a few men were being hauled at gun point. As he past by he snatched a hat off one of the prisoner's heads. “Hey! Gimme back my hat you low down...” South drowned out his colorful expletives as he testingly tried it on, before taking it off and fidgeting with the black brim while the man was reluctantly dragged away. As he walked inside the saloon he looked up at the bar and saw what crew had gathered there. Jamie there you are! And Cassandra, hello.” he smiled, “And Eve, let's not forget you.”
His smile faded. Apparently they were in surprised hat he was so enthusiastic after being torn from time and having their ship destroyed. He shyly pulled up to the bar. 'Actually this is the second time that's happened to me' he thought. “This all there is then? Where's the rest of the crew?”
“Well, Aremis is at the Alamo, where we need to be. Can't vouch for the rest of us.”
“Ah, the Alamo...thought there was something familiar about February. The barman walked up to South, who nodded “Whatever you have.” he said in answer to the question he knew the barman would ask. “So what's our next move?” South inquired, reaching to place his hand on the glass that the barman had just slid up in front of him so that he could steady it while the barman poured. The instant his fingers touched the glass it vanished into this air with a sharp rush of air, causing the acidic brown liquid to slash over the counter. The barman stepped back in surprise. “Mother of God....” he said, nearly dropping the bottle. “South, what the hell was that?” asked one of the crew. South, equally surprised by this, gingerly reached across the counter and testingly picked up another glass. “I uh. I'm an illusionist. Don't worry just a trick.” he chuckled. “Well give a man a warning before you go doin' your fancy tricks in his bar, why don'tcha?”
The barman angrily poured South his drink. 'Well that explains the shocking' thought South. As he finished pouring he walked over and joined the crew. As he sat down all eyes were on him, and he gave them a tight lipped smile. “Explain.” Cass said simply, a certain tone of violent annoyance in her voice. “Well...I think that that was some kind of residual temporal anomaly.”
“A what?” asked Eve. “Don't know,” he replied, “but it sounds good.”
“Do things normally disappear when you touch them?” asked Jamie. “No this is new.” he replied. Cradling his drink close to his body. “Answers. Now.”
South sighed. “Okay, you know my occupation, right? I'm a biologist who was studying the effects of time travel on DNA onboard a ship with an experimental type of time drive?”
“You know that ship was destroyed when the drive overloaded. That created an enormously intense field of time energy that shot me three million years into the future, that's when we met. Well...i started to continue my work on the Dwarf. I ran a few tests on my own DNA to see what an unprotected trip through the time vortex propelled by that much energy would do to a person on the genetic level...” he held his breath for a long moment, “...and I found something.”
“My DNA has been supercharged with time energy from the Satrid's drive core. I'm seething with it.”
“Son of a bitch!!” yelled Cassandra, “You didn't think to tell us this earlier!? If you're bleeding time, what makes you think Brittany can't track you?”
“I thought of that. She can't.”
“And why not?”
“The energy is unlike anything else in existence. It's unique to the Satrid. The core was made to be unique, nothing else can generate the same signature.”
“How do you know she didn't find a piece of the ship? If it's charged like you she has a template with which to track you.”
“Think about it.” South said calmly, “If she could track it she would have been waiting for me outside the resort when I arrived. Even with the paradoxes you had in place she could have sent herself a message and known where I would be. She would have been waiting.”
“You don't know that. Nothing happened until you arrived though a giant space hole.”
“No I don't. Greyman picked away at your paradoxes, remember? It's likely his meddling that brought Brittany's Host onto us. If the robot's were his then her forces didn't arrive until after there was already some meddling with time. I'm willing to have a little faith in the idea that in spite of my being a beacon of Satrid time engine energy, the only people who could track me are people from my crew.”
“So that's what this is? You want to get home? Our home has just been destroyed! As far as Earth goes, we can't just hop back three million years and pick up where we left off either--”
“I want to know they're alive!” South snapped, slamming the glass down on the table hard enough to crack it. “They're the only family I had, and I'll be damned that if there is any chance they survived I'm not going to look for them. My only hope of finding them is find a way to track the energy in my blood. The big hamster said they probably followed a similar trajectory through time as me, so I guess they're about three million or so years from here, but where? We were on Earth when we detonated, and I ended on the wrong side of the fucking universe!”
He trailed off. “I am more than confident that I can't be tracked because of this. Other wise we might be covered in time agents already. Hell, we're more likely to be tracked by the signature from the time drive that brought us here.”
They sat in silence for a while. Cassandra was still angry, but what he said did make sense. It was likely Greyman's meddling and two hundred years of picking through the paradoxes that put Brittany on their trail. Another point in his defense, she thought, was that the instruments she had set up on the Dwarf to detect time anomalies in their vicinity hadn't detected anything unusual about him. Perhaps he was untraceable?
“Alright...say you can't be followed tracked because of it. What now? Why are you touching things and making them disappear?”
“My guess would be that our recent couple of jumps caused an over flow of temporal energy, if that makes sense.”
She looked at him. “It does.”
“Does it?” he asked. “Yes. Time travel does leave residual energy imprinted on the traveler. If you're already fully charged up with something unique, the other imprint might slide off you, so to speak.”
“Would it be permanent?”
“It shouldn't,” she sighed, “it should just wear off.”
South blew through his lips again. “I'm sorry,” he said after a moment's silence, “I should have told you sooner.”
“Damn right you should of!”
Jamie cleared his throat. “So what have we decide to do? Join the Alamo no, or wait for the rest of the crew?”
“Maybe you should ask him.” said the blacksmith from the bar. He gestured to a dark figure moving towards the saloon doors who pushed them wide apart and stood in the shadow of the doorway.


<OOC ->

Sorry for the long post, and for being away for a while, real life etc.

So, now the crew know about South's time energy mutation problem. I tried to point out that it shouldn't be a big deal or anything, but it's a thing anyways. Each time they jump through time South runs the risk of creating a temporal anomaly close to him until the excess time energy dissipates. (This could have some funny results, like an strange object from the future arriving in the past near him, or things disappearing around him and materializing later in an awkward situation. It shouldn't effect people or living things since they'll just absorb the excess time energy he's putting off. This isn't a power, it's only temporary when he time travels, like a side effect.)

Also, who's at the door? The ominous entrance could belong to anyone really, but so far I don't think anyone's seen hide nor hair of Jay.



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