Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Sands of Time Ch. 45

"Someone on Stella's team?" 

Hillier smirked. 


"That's your job to figure out."

Joon left, frustrated. Dunn had given him access to the offices used by Valerus when he'd been here. Apparently Leo had liked to leave things in different places rather than organize everything. Or spread out his notes in case of a situation like this, rather. It was the middle of the night but he needed to understand. 

Hillier was becoming more of an issue. 

Later they toured the ruins. The structures were natural, built of stone and excavated from the very hills. There were tunnels- miles of them- extending through the complex, and most amazingly of all, there were machines. Still humming, in working order, self maintaining. They'd been here when the humans arrived and apparently had not stopped since.

No one knew what they were doing. 

Only a small portion of the complex was functioning this way. Most of the rest was quiet, dusty. Who might have built all this? They walked through galleries, long tunnels, rooms that might once have provided quarters for Ancients. 

Joon stood on a blacony, overlooking the great grass plains. Strange winged shapes overhead gave great piercing cries. 

Were we meant to explore these places?

Hillier appeared next to him. 

"You're quiet."

"It's disquieting to learn how little we know." 

 "You're a thoughtful human. Too bad there aren't more like you."

"Hillier, you'd kill me in a heartbeat."


"What's your name? Your real name?"

"I'm not sure you could pronounce it. And we're very private about our names.

Maia came over. 

"What's all this?"

"Oh, and it was such a nice conversation." 

"I was just asking Hillier what she thought of those machines."

"We've heard of such things. My people have been exploring for eons- using the Gates- and we've encountered things. Similar worlds. Remnants of the Ancients." 

"Did the Ancients build the Gates?"

"We think so."

"Have your people ever encountered Incursions? The problems we're having?"

"Well, your people are extraordinarily short sighted, so no. Although to be honest I'm sure there have been problems somewhere." 

"If this has been around for eons, I find it hard to believe other civilizations didn't have trouble too."

"The Ancients did go missing. So..."

Cloning vats. 

Mallory was trying to wrap her mind around everything happening here. The good news was that reinforcements had arrived and were supposedly working their way through the complex. The faction under Rodriguez would soon be ousted, hopefully, from Ops. Then their team could return. 

Stella walked up. 

All around them were tanks of greenish fluid. Some occupied, some not. People, some half formed, and other things. Best not to look too closely. 


"Come on. You knew we were doings things here. You didn't sign up for Disney World."

"How do you think they're doing?"

"Well, reports are that the strike teams have gone through. Where to? Poseidon. Maybe others."

"Joon had no idea what he was getting into." 

"I suppose not."

"What happens if we close it? The Gate, I mean. Is it all lost? Everything we've accomplished?"

"That's the question. We've learned to work the Gate, mostly. But if we shut it down, permanently, do we ever get to go back?"

"What are they doing back there? The adjustment teams?"

"I don't know. Not really. I've been against it. We've done good things. Resources, opening up new worlds. Discovering the crystals, which make the Gates work." 

"I know the team in the, I think, Triassic... was mostly to see if we could do that? Collect samples?"

"Which is itself dangerous, let alone make changes."

"the fact that they haven't returned is... alarming."

"What happens if we close it? The Gate, I mean. Is it all lost? Everything we've accomplished?"

"Wait, what just happened?"

"That, my dear, was a temporal flux."

Joon had collected more of Valerus' work. If they closed everything down it would at least be invaluable to have his recollections. He was standing near Maia as he saw Dunn approaching.


"The Gate is open. If they were coming, seems like they'd be here." 

 "Perhaps. The other possibility is they go for Ymir or Poseidon. First."


"We put you at risk here."

"Well, going to another planet with only one way home..."

"What do we know about this?" 

"Elysium. We think Earth sized. Temperate. We don't know much beyond the immediate area- we haven't scouted the planet- but it's nice, and extensive ruins."

"How far have you explored?"

"Not very far." 

There was a sudden flash. 


"I think... that's our Gate." 


  1. Oh My! & cloning too! Very cool ending to boot! Oh, I like Hillier in spite of it all (✿◕‿◕✿)

    Funny, when you mentioned cloning I had worked on a short story..although, it's not science fiction..but..anyway, another Lake Story. I am trying to do a Lake Story at Urstyle but I haven't had much luck in anyone really wanting to join, well..two..and that might be all I get, but I have been doing my best to come up with something. The short story I posted yesterday was the first. Although, I like my second one better, but it's with some characters I already right about. The latest one, is a little like something that actually happened..I just won't say which part (✿◡‿◡)(u‿ฺu✿ฺ)

    We have visited, heard about somebody's wedding, thinking about grilling, but of course, we have homemade margaritas to count on. I hope you are having a good weekend, too. Thanks for this latest installment. I really like the convesations between Joon and Hillier!

  2. Nice installment, Greg. Keep up the great work.

  3. I was trying to imagine the ruins based on your description and all I could think of was some found-footage horror-style games I've been watching lately. I can imagine standing in front of the vastity of those tunnels and it does sound scary, especially with what little everyone knows. It was a very interesting chapter. 🙂

  4. That temporal flux doesn't bode well. And I'm very curious about who those Ancients were.

  5. Interesting! I'm definitely wanting more about the ruins!

  6. The more Stella shares the more obvious it becomes that they don't understand the full implications of the Gate and all they're doing. Not good.

  7. I love the inclusion of the mysterious ancient machines!