Characters in this post
View character profile for: Cassandra Jones
View character profile for: Dr Jade Black
View character profile for: Jamie Eastlick
View character profile for: Jason Tanaka
View character profile for: Talon Joss
View character profile for: Thomas Plisken
"Okay," Talon stated, "I'll bite. What's a type X spatial anomaly and how do we stop it?"
"I'm surprised you heard that while you were doing your clothing shopping," Jade suggested in a manner of disgust.
"Query! Would you rather I still be uncovered?" Talon shot back at Jade.
It was the depersonalized voice of Tanaka that responded, "Query does not compute."
Talon looked at Jaime and Jade, whom he considered the most intelligent of the bunch of them. "So what do we do now?"
Jamie shrugged “We came here to disable the karma field. I say we should concentrate on that”
“But what about the anomaly?” Jade asked “Might it have something to do with the field?”
“Well, it’s possible, but I don’t even know what at type X spatial anomaly is”
“I’d assume it’s some sort of deep space phenomena” Cass said, gently untwisting the wires around Tanaka’s light bee “This station was moved here to study it, remember?”
“Yeah, that seems reasonable” Jamie nodded.
“Trouble is that we didn’t see anything weird on the way over here. The sensor readings were null”
“Maybe it’s sporadic?
“Either that or it’s stopped occurring” Cass frowned, lost in thought for a moment before tossing Tanaka back into the air again and letting him rez up “The thing that’s concerning me is all these bodies”
“What about them?” Jade asked
“So what are they doing here? - We’re almost extinct as a species, and yet here are dozens of human corpses on a deserted, alien space station. Why?”
Plisken cleared his throat “Alien?” he queried “I’d have thought it’d be human with a name like the ‘Kelvin Research Station’”
“That was just a best guess translation” Tanaka explained “Light bees come with most of the common galactic languages preinstalled. The real name has something to do with temperature; so, you know...” he paused and turned to glower at Cass “Please don’t do that again”
“Sorry” she held her hands up in placation “It seemed expedient”
“But what about the lotus flower?” Plisken wasn’t in the mood to drop this.
“It could be almost anything, it’s so highly stylised” Jade observed “Maybe it meant something different to the aliens?”
“Yeah, well, this is all very interesting,” Talon said, brusquely “but we still haven’t decided what we’re doing – Should we split up and search for clues?”
“It’s a big station” Cass shrugged “That might not be a bad idea, but let’s find a terminal with elevated privileges and find out what’s going in here first”
“We could use an engineering station to get hold of the schematics” Jamie agreed “They’ll give us an idea of where to start looking for whatever’s generating the karma field”
“In that case,” Plisken said “I say we keep going and see if we can locate either Engineering or the Command Centre”
“Agreed” Cass nodded.
Having finally managed to arrive at a consensus, the group resumed their journey, making their way further into the space station. The place was like a labyrinth of walkways, criss-crossing gloomy halls, filled with strange bulbous machinery, strung together with twisted, organic-looking filaments.
Other than the occasional corpse, the place seemed entirely deserted and, in spite of them remaining watchful, they saw no evidence of the erstwhile occupants, either dead or alive.
“Wow!” Tanaka exclaimed, as they emerged from a passageway, out onto another walkway, this one passing through the centre of a large, spherical room “What the hell is this!?”
The walls above and below them were clustered with hundreds of oval-shaped protuberances of various sizes, each lit with a soft blue from somewhere deep within them. Filaments arced across the room, spiralling around the walkway in a chaotically dizzying whirl.
Jamie shook his head, his eyes wide with wonder “Dunno. Power couplings? I’ve not seen anything like this before. Cass?”
“Nope. This is all alien to me”
“Wait up – Why’s he asking you?” Talon frowned “You’re just the Chaplain”
“I’m... well travelled; I've seen – Whoa!”
The walls shimmered as the lights in the oval things suddenly brightened to near blinding intensity, forcing the Dwarfers to shield their eyes against the glare.
“Move!” Plisken yelled, fearing the worst; but before anyone could react, the lights dimmed back down again, as quickly as they had bloomed.
“Oh” Jade’s mouth fell open as their eyes readjusted to their surroundings “How...?”
“I’d say this would count as an anomaly” Cass said “Either that or someone’s taking the piss”
Stood facing them on the walkway were their exact duplicates, albeit clad in very different attire to what they currently wore. The other Cass, for example, was wearing a heavy fur coat over swimwear; while Talon’s many accoutrements included a scarlet feather boa which nicely set off the mascara streaking his cheeks
The less said about Jamie’s crimes against fashion, the better.
Alt-Cass pulled a device out from inside her coat and held it up for a moment, scrutinising the readout “This is it” she said to the others accompanying her, who all waved and called their greetings.
“This is what?” Cass asked, suspiciously.
“Listen. There’s not much time.” her counterpart replied “This is a future echo; you can see us but we can’t see you. This place is a trap. The experiment with the anomaly went wrong and space completely fractured; it loops back in on itself and creates portals to other places. The karma field outside is just a by-product of the knot. I think the shape of the station somehow enhances the effect, but I’m not sure if that’s important”
“So, we’re trapped? How do we get out?”
“I don’t know” alt-Cass said after a moment “There’s no sign of the Dwarf outside, but bodies you’ve found are other crew members, who made it over and got trapped at the same time as you. We’re doing okay, but they weren’t so lucky”
“But those corpses are days, even weeks old” Plisken said, in astonishment “How is that possible?”
Alt-Cass shook her head as the lights started building in intensity again “Time’s up” she said “You guys need to run”
The other group shimmered from view as the lights became blindingly bright, but Cass was already moving “Go!” she yelled “She knows what she’s on about!”
For a moment, the sound of their feet hammering across the walkway was the only sound they could hear in the brilliant brightness; but as the lights dimmed down once again, a godawful noise echoed through the chamber from the hallway behind them.
Warped space, portals and future echos, oh my...
If we reallydid just see a future echo, somehow we’re going to work our way around to acquiring a change of clothes, or figuring a way off the station before it happens, or both
Before that, something’s heading our way – Do we want to hang around and see what it is or do we escape? - Where to we escape to?
Over to you :)