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Author Topic: Coryn's Saga Arc 3  (Read 14866 times)

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Offline Coryn

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Re: Coryn's Saga Arc 3
« Reply #135 on: January 27, 2019, 06:51:46 PM »
And here we begin 2019 with our next round of chapters! Hopefully I can keep up the same output I put out last year (technical difficulties nonwithstanding). Please enjoy!

OFF TO THE HORIZON
OFF TO THE HORIZON

It had been a week since Naomi had gone to visit Claire. That action was partially responsible for what Fuji was now bearing witness to, but he couldn't blame the girl for it. Too many factors were in play.
         He sat at the end of a long conference table. Steam wafted up from a cup of tea before him, but Fuji paid it no mind. He was intent on watching Coryn and his friends. They were gathered at the far end of the table, arguing. It wasn't a pretty sight.
         None of them were sitting anymore. October had accidentally snapped off a corner of the table. Coryn was pacing in frustration. It wasn't that they didn't have their spats, but usually these things weren't of any consequence. This was a little more serious, even if the right answer was staring them in the face. Fuji finally moved for his tea. They would get it correct eventually.
         “And that's why we have to go!” Shouted Coryn. “You've already put it off for a year!”
         Jack said. “Coryn's right Colt. Your arm isn't getting any better. Don't think we haven't noticed the glove. It’s all the way down now isn’t it?”
         “It's my choice.” Said Colt in defense of himself. “I handled the fight with Shiro just fine.”
         “He's still managing.” Interjected October. “We can't afford to have him benched right now!”
         It came back around to Coryn. “We can't have him ‘voiding out’ at a critical moment either!”
         And so it went. Colt's condition had grown to encompass his entire right arm. It was pure void from the shoulder on down. There was still conflict where it bordered his skin, but the truth was plain to see. Colton Lynch was losing the fight with the proto-human inside of him.
         Fuji continued to sip on his tea. This fight had been brewing for the last month and a half. They had put it off for the year Coryn was in hiding, but having Shiro return put the situation under a dire new light. When Naomi questioned them about Claire, it was just another reminder of the harsh reality they faced. Coryn was personally responsible for Claire’s current condition, having dragged her into that fiasco. He couldn't stomach the idea of losing Colt as well, especially if it came about via inaction. Thus, he finally brought up the looming elephant in the room.
         That was half an hour ago and had led to the four’s current predicament.
         They continued to argue for another few minutes, neither side managing to convince the other. At a loss, Coryn turned to Fuji during a break in the bickering. “I don't suppose you have any bright ideas? You invited yourself here for a reason, right?”
         Fuji sat his teacup back on the table. “Colton cannot fight.”
         “Now hold on!” Said Colt, but Fuji countered him before the cowboy could go any further.
         “And... you cannot go after Shiro with only three of you. Killing an immortal is no an easy task at the best of times, and these conditions are far from ideal. Shiro has become something I have never seen before. He will need to be dispatched completely. There can be no half measures.” Fuji fell silent again to let the words sink in. At last, October found the mark.
         “We need to wake Claire back up.”
         “But how?” Asked Jack. “I've tried slapping her already.”
         “Jack!” Yelled October.
         Jack shrugged at her. “What? It could have worked.”   
         Coryn spoke. “I have an idea.” The room turned to him. “We already commandeered tech from the Alliance to fix her up the first time. Maybe they have something to get her out of the coma? She may not like it, but I think she may forgive us if it's to get another shot at Shiro.”
         Colt said. “Do you really think they'll have something to do the trick?”
         Coryn sighed. “Maybe? There's a guy I know who specializes in people like us. If anyone in the Alliance knows something, it'll be him.”
         “Do you think…” Colt worked his jaw as the question formed in his mind. “You think he'll want a look at my arm?”
         Coryn smiled at Colt. “Yeah, I bet you could entice him to.”
         Just then, a London accent interrupted them over the intercom. “Ooooooh! Are we going on a trip? I'll have to pack something nice to wear! You can't just go to the Alliance for a visit without something proper!”
         Coryn snapped back at Moon. “You aren't going!”
Moon fell silent for a moment, his disappointment clear on his non-existent face. “I said I was sorry…”
         Fuji interrupted Coryn, who was clearly about to start yelling at his erstwhile traveling companion. “Coryn, tell me you did not allow him access to Alliance technology.”
         Coryn waved his hands around in a feeble attempt to cover up his guilt. “No! I mean... maybe a little. Look it was really important at the time. And I made sure he didn't get away with anything he shouldn't have.”
         Fuji huffed. “That is what worries me.”
         And suddenly, it was entirely different argument.


         Meanwhile, a different, if not unrelated conversation was happening in the castle’s barracks. Katsumi, Samantha, Camarin, and Eva were cloistered in a cramped dormitory. They were lucky enough to each have a room of their own, but that morning they had gathered in Camarin’s room. Trophies from archery contests littered the shelves, and she had plastered the walls with posters from her favorite stage productions. It had been Camarin’s room since she was a little girl, and she had made it her own in the intervening years. The room was not unfamiliar to any of them however, and they occupied places that they had known many times before.
         It was not a planned meeting, but they knew it was coming. The girls were close and had been so most of their lives. They had always spent a lot of their downtime with each other. Still, this had a different feel to it. They had had so very much downtime recently, and it was starting to become irksome. At first, they had spent the extended break recovering from their fights with the nega-girls, and their shock from having encountered Shiro again, but that phase had passed quickly. Now, they were blowing through their normal routines by midmorning, and with nothing happening on their own Earth to cause alarm, they were slowly giving way to cabin fever.
         Eva was balancing herself on one hand, the legs of her sweatpants piling up around her knees. “So, if you look at it rationally, there is really no reason for us to keep recording new numbers of pi. Sure, you could the argument that we still don’t know if it’s truly irrational or not, but at this point does it even matter?” She had always been good at math, but at eighteen, Eva was beginning to explore some of the deeper uses of calculus. The girls had finished their mandatory studies in the previous year, but each was pursuing their own interests. They knew they could only physically stand up to being priestesses for so long, and Eva had it in her mind that she would teach mathematics after ‘retiring’. To practice, she had taken to giving lectures during these off hours, although it was hard for her not to get distracted. “I mean, irrational numbers are cool and all, but after a certain point it just doesn’t become useful to run it out to more integers. At what point does precision cease to matter even at the sub-atomic scale?”
         Unsurprisingly, the other girls did not share Eva’s gusto for numbers. Sam had her face pressed into her hand, and looked about ready to fall asleep right there on the floor. “Eva, please, I don’t even remember what ‘integer’ means at this point.”
         Eva sighed and eased herself down into a sitting position. “Alright. Come back tomorrow for another hour of Professor Kapel’s class.”
         “You’ll need to go to university if you’re going to be an actual professor someday.” Said Camarin, who was busying herself up on her bed by bending some paperclips into little stick-figures.”
         Eva shrugged at her. “I bet I could get my bachelor’s online. I know most of it already.”
         Katsumi said, “Nerd.” teasing Eva a little bit. Eva just tossed an errant sock in Katsumi’s direction.
         “I’ll be sure not to hire you as my assistant.”
         “Do math professors even get assistants?” Questioned Katsumi from her perch on Camarin’s desk.
         Eva waved it off. “I will!”
         Just then, a London accent interrupted them over the intercom. “Oh, I do love a woman who’s interested in academia! Did you know I started my career academia? I siphoned off a few thousand pounds meant for the football team at my sixth form from some well to do alumni!”
         Almost immediately, Camarin had an arrow pointed at the small intercom above the door. “I swear to God Moon if you’re spying on my bedroom!”
         Moon immediately backtracked. “Ayh! I’m not spying on anyone! I just happened to overhear is all. I’m plugged into this thing remember. It’s hard not to overhear. Now listen, I know you four are bored, and I just overheard the most interesting bit of gossip down in what’s left of conference room five.”
         Katsumi leaped to her feet. “What’s left of it?!”
         “Calm down!” Cautioned Moon. “You don’t want to go down there right now! Those freeloading immortals you so graciously put up here are having a bit of a go at one another. They’ll be over it soon, but for now they’re still too distracted to actually leave yet.”
         “Leave?!”
         Moon feigned surprise. “Didn’t I mention just now? I heard some gossip. They’ve got a mission to go on.” There was a pause, followed by a murmur from Moon. “To the Alliance…”
         The girls exchanged some quick glances, reached a mutual decision, and rushed out of the barracks.

         Back in the conference room, the Five and Fuji were concluding their argument. There had been a few chairs damaged in the exchange, but they had agreed on a tried and true method for ending fights. “We’ll talk about this later!” Shouted Coryn, who of course never had any intention of bringing it up with Fuji ever again. He made for the door. “Everyone, grab your stuff. We need to get a move on.”

         An hour later, the Five were taking stock of themselves in the castle’s main lobby. They had spread out on the side of the room. Colt had insisted he take time to clean his guns and sharpen his blades. The others knew that his swords and knives were already freshly honed. They knew that the firearms had been rendered immaculate the night before. Colt was pulling out his favorite delaying tactic, and the other three could only sit back and let it happen.
         October was taking the opportunity to rework her coat. The trench coat had mostly been shredded below a certain latitude, which was only partly her own fault. But now she had trimmed it off completely at the waist. She was in the process of hand stitching a new seam. Her rhythmic punching of the needle created a metronome for the immortals to follow.
         It had sent Jack straight to sleep. He had traded in his hand made mess of leather and belt buckles which he called a jacket for a simple cotton affair after much deliberation. Although Jack had still salvaged a single buckle, which he fastened around his arm in solidarity. He had pulled up the hood to hide his eyes from the light, but Coryn could still see Jack's face from where he sat against the wall.
         Coryn had already sharpened the spare trench-knife he kept on his ankle, and had begun to tie and untie his hair into braids and ponytails. Finally, he settled on a loose ponytail that left his bangs intact. Just as he did, October finished up her seam job, and tried on her work. Satisfied, she jumped down from the stairs, and shook Jack awake. “Alright, wrap it up Colt. If we sit here any longer I'm going to start in on group uniforms. I know you don't want that.”
         Without ever looking up from his work, Colt directed a finger to the ceiling. “We'll go after you're done with them.”
         At the cowboy’s warning, the rest of the Five looked up. Sure enough, after a moment of silence they heard footsteps racing across the old wood above their heads. Coryn let out a grown as he climbed to his feet. “Crap... Who told them?”
         The four girls burst out from the top of the stairs. They were dressed in street clothes, and were making a beeline for the Five. Katsumi was taking the lead. “We're going with you!”
         Coryn shouted back at her. “No, you're not!” The two groups met at the base of the main stairs, and Coryn continued his line of logic. “You need to-”
         “Give us one good reason!” Camarin had cut him off. “We've been here doing nothing for a month and a half! Naomi obviously isn't going anywhere, and you're going after Shiro!”
         “We-!” Coryn began yelling, but he cut himself short. After a deep breath, he started again with a softer tone. “Look. We are not going after Shiro. Yet. Yes, we are leaving, but we're just going to run an errand to the Alliance.”
         “What do you need with them?” Asked Eva.
         Colt spoke up from where he sat with his weapons. “We're just picking up a package. There's no fire.”
         Of course, they hadn't told the girls about Colt's condition. Even if they knew about his unique nature, there wasn't a reason they had to be clued in. With luck, they wouldn't need to get dragged in any deeper to the Five’s problems. With that in mind, Coryn turned back to the girls. “See what I mean? Just a boring old errand.”
         Eva was pouting. “Sure. Just an errand that requires all four of you?”
         October intervened. “Now, now. You'll take note that we've only shown you places roughly around your own time-frame. The Alliance is millennia ahead of you. And as much as we like you four, we can't just go exposing you to technologically advanced future cultures…” Memories of their encounter with the Bounty Guild flashed through her mind. “Err… on purpose. It's great that you're interested, but one step at a time, 'kay?”
The girls stewed, but Jack, now fully awake, piped up with a compromise. “Look, we'll bring you back some knick-knacks!” The rest of the Five shared a concerned look, but Jack pushed through it. “Nothing crazy! Just a memory cube, or a tesseract, or something?”
         October rolled her eyes. “Alright, just as long as it's not dangerous.” She turned back to the girls. “Believe it or not, it's generally frowned upon for immortals to ‘cross contaminate’.”
They still didn't look satisfied, so Coryn made one last attempt to mollify them. “Look, I get it. We've dragged you into… well, a lot of stuff we really shouldn't have. But you've already done more than anyone expected you to. We just… don't want you paying for our mistakes anymore.”
         Katsumi still didn't seem to like his answer, but she let down her confrontational facade and relaxed her body language. “And what was the last time you managed to make anything go your way?” She sighed. “At least tell us what exactly you're doing there. What's this ‘errand’ of yours?”
         Coryn shrugged in an attempt to make it look like no big deal. “That tube we ran Claire and Naomi through? It’s commercially available stuff, right? We bought it on the open market. And well, we’re looking for a way to wake Claire back up. But we don’t know what to do, and I got an old friend over there, name of Eidon Julle. He’s an expert on immortals you see? Well, he’s the closet thing the Alliance has to one at least. If the Alliance has got anything lying around to help with our particular problem, he’ll be the one to talk to.”
Sam raised an eyebrow at Coryn. “They have experts on immortals?”
         Coryn said. “Sure. That’s how they ran into me.”
         Sam said. “And you’re all going because…?”
         Jack stepped in. “Because…we said so? And we’re the adults here?”
         Camarin scoffed at him. “We’re all at least eighteen.”
         Colt came up to the group. He was holstering his pistols and seemed fully packed. “No offense girls, but in comparison, you might as well be embryos. Trust us. We’ll be back in a jiffy.” He turned to the rest of the Five. “I’m done. Let’s get a move on.”
         In a response to the cowboy’s words. The Five started taking steps back from the four girls. October tried one last time to appease them. “I’ll find you come good stuff. Don’t worry!” And with that, all four of them disappeared in a flash of white.

         Coryn had taken the lead, and the rest had followed his energy signature across the dimensional leap. He knew best where they were going, and a moment later, Coryn arrived smooth has you like in a metal and plastic lined corridor.
         While the touchdown was calm, it was the last thing that was. Coryn was immediately bowled over by a creature rushing down the passage. The long limbed being had run directly into the immortal, and they were both sent toppling to the ground. Coryn was taken off guard by the impact, and only gained a vague awareness of the teaming mass of sentiency around him after hitting the floor. This level of activity was not normal, and it caused Coryn’s heart to skip a beat, although he pushed the feeling down for the time being.
         From the commotion he heard above him, Coryn guessed that the rest of the Five had suffered a similar fate, and were fairing about as well. Not worried that they were in any danger of being trampled however, Coryn turned his attention to the being that had gone to the ground with him. Looking up, he saw a tall, bi-pedal alien atop him. Its eyes were wide and nearly completely black. Instead of skin, it had a metallic carapace, which was divided into an uncountable (although someone had surely calculated them somewhere along the line), series of strips and plates, which glided smoothly past each other with each moment the being made. When they spoke, the gliding metal plates around their mouth added an extra layer of hi-pitched sound, which although not unpleasing to the ear, took a moment to adjust to.
         “Oh my! I am so sorry I didn’t see you there! Someone must have flashed a light in my eyes because…Oh please, let me help you up.”
         They reached out a hand to help Coryn up, and he took it with a smile. They wearing a science officer’s uniform, and a petty officer’s at that. Coryn read the name on their tag as ‘Xiua’, although he could have been mistaken. The being was a Siiran, one of the three founder species of the Alliance. Coryn had picked up their spoken language rather quickly once upon a time, but for some reason their written tongue had always eluded him. She was also a female, judging from the deepness of her voice, and the intricate designed etched into the carapace plate which comprised most of her head.
         It was only now that Xiua processed Coryn’s lack of uniform, which clashed wildly with the expected Alliance staffers passing through the facility. She had also become aware of Colt, Jack, and October. Xiua emoted confusion in her own Siiranian way, and looked back at Coryn. “I’m sorry, but who are you exactly?”
         Siiran females averaged about eight feet tall, so Coryn had to crane his neck to its limit to see her face in the cramped corridor. He motioned at the rest of the Five to close ranks, and with Xiua they migrated to the inner wall of the curved corridor. Now out of the worst of the crowd, Coryn spoke. “Assuming no one has seen fit to demote me, I’m Commander Sken. I’ll take it you’re Petty Officer Xiua?”
         Xiua replied. “It’s ‘Xiua’, Commander. My sincerest apologies for knocking you over sir!” She was of course, speaking her own native language. Within Alliance space, ambient translation fields were common place. But certain words were always marked to come through untranslated, names chief among them. Coryn filed the correct pronunciation, and continued. “My lack of uniform is strictly need-to-know Petty Officer. Don’t mention I’m here. I’ve been on a mission outside of Alliance contact for some time and just got back. Why is Julle’s facility in an uproar? What is going on here?” Coryn waved his hand over the mass of beings rushing past, and Xiua snapped a salute.
         “Sir! The Alliance has issued a general retreat of all Alliance personnel and civilians from Prime!”
         Now, the alarms were going off on full blast in Coryn’s head, and he didn’t doubt they weren’t in his friends’ as well. ‘Prime’, as it was known, was the Alliance’s home universe. It had been born there, it was where they were currently. At the time, the Alliance was merely a pact formed between the Milky Way, Andromeda, and Triangulum galaxies. Over tens of thousands of years, they had grown into a multi-dimensional civilization, but throughout it all, Prime had remained their spiritual home.
         “All personnel…” Thought Coryn. “All civilians…” A new thought found its way into his mind, and he blew past Xiua. Coryn was squeezed in tight, but he pushed on to the far wall. There were quadrillions of beings living within Alliance space in Prime. To evacuate that number was an impossible task, even for a Type IV civilization such as the Alliance. After a few yards, he found a small control panel. He frantically located the button he was looking for, and slammed his finger into it. Slowly, the wall in front of him folded way, replaced with a panoramic view of the outside world. It revealed some of the titan, orbiting space station which they stood in, and beyond that, the vastness of space. Beyond that however, was the Earth. Coryn had been before, but this Earth was a closed off zone. Most of the planet had been abandoned for nature to reclaim, and now only a select number of major population centers remained. Coryn couldn’t see any of it however. All he saw was a vast, all-encompassing storm. Dozens of eyes of dozens of storms were racing across the planet at speeds which no normal weather phenomenon should have been able to muster. Bolts of lightning lit up whole continents at a time. Several arced out into space, only terminating a distance far too close to comfort for the orbiting station, as the high energy blasts impacted its shields.
         As alluring as it was, Coryn broke his gaze from the planet below. The next two things that caught his eye were his friends, and an airlock. “Xiua, take those two to Julle’s lab!” He pointed at Colt and Jack. “October, airlock, you and me!”
         October was already making her way upstream, with even less regard for the passing beings. “Way ahead of you!”
         Behind her, Xiua was shaking her head in confusion, but Colt was already pulling her back from the wall. “No time to waste miss. We need to see your man on the double.”
         As Jack, Colt, and Xiua were swept away, October met Coryn at the airlock. Coryn had already brute forced his way through the safety measures on the inner door and was holding it open as October passed beneath his arm. “October, what do you sense down there?”
         October cleared the seal, and Coryn let it slide closed behind her. “Divine energy. There’s a god down there.”
         Coryn took deep breath as he worked through the last few commands on the console. “And here we told the kids it would be a short trip.”
         October smiled softly. “Lying to your kids is part of the job honey.”
         A large red button rose out of the console, and Coryn bashed it with his fist. The outer door hissed and opened at an agonizing pace. October and Coryn were met with the cold, silent reality of open black. They took each other’s hand as their body’s acclimated to the change. It was a survivable leap, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t going to hurt. With one last glance at each other, they braced themselves, and leapt into the void beyond.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF