Monday, October 30, 2023

On the Run

He fell to one knee as he came through the Gate. The nausea was worse than ever and it took a moment to catch his breath. He looked around and to his left was water, as far as the eye could see. The booming of the surf was at least familiar, and the sky looked more or less the right shade. To the right was jungle, a riotous profusion of sound and color. Tropical, he thought with a smile. You always could pick 'em, Anna

So, first things first. He checked his weapon, wincing at the charge on his pulse rifle, and checked his other stuff. Everything seemed in order. He scanned the area, carefully looking for any sign of movement or hostiles but could see nothing other than various birds. He looked back at the Gate and saw that it was quiet now, maybe inert. Thank you, he mouthed to anyone who was listening, and then sat down with his back to it, exhausted. He felt like shit. 

Later he stirred- had he fallen asleep?- and noticed the day seemed to have moved on. He was sore but otherwise feeling better, so he got to his feet with a grimace and started moving. The jungle was the same everywhere he looked, and the beach he was on seemed to be a sheltered cove, he could see the headland forming a sort half moon. Cozy. He skirted the jungle for a bit, looking for any sign, but there was nothing. Then he saw it. Something sticking up from the sand. Was it... yes! A proximity alarm. Hope flared in his chest- it had to be Anna! Who else? The beacon had brought him here, to this place... it had to be her.  

As he approached and looked it over he could now see two others, half hidden by foliage. So someone clearly wanted to know if anyone came through the Gate. No doubt the alarm had already gone off, somewhere. Was there a base here? Heart racing, he plunged into the trees and thought about calling out, but decided against it. Not a smart thing to do. He wouldn't go far, but he needed to know if she was close. The day was hot and insects were everywhere, he had to swat them out of his eyes. With all the thrashing he was doing she would probably hear him coming a mile away. 

The ground began to rise and the trees thinned, and he quickened his pace. There were some heights ahead and he hoped he was going the right way. He could see something else now, as well. They looked like towers, in the distance, over the treetops. Strange though- they had a different shape, almost domed at the top. Hard to tell for sure though in the haze. He turned in that direction, wondering exactly where this was. What planet was he on? He went a little farther, trying to decide if he should go back, let her come to him, and was just about to turn back when he came into a cleared area. It had clearly been carved out of the surrounding jungle, and he immediately knew what it was. So there was a remote base here after all. 

No sign of activity, all was quiet. He was scouting the area with his eyes, from the treeline, when he saw someone in the entryway. Quiet and partially in shadow. Probably watching him. He hadn't exactly been quiet. He squinted, trying to get a better look. Was it her? He decided on the direct approach. Slinging his rifle over his shoulder, he came out of the trees slowly, hands up. He could see that whoever it was, they were armed. The weapon was definitely pointed at him. He swallowed and kept on. Somehow he knew. As he approached the weapon lowered, and he heard an intake of breath. Then she came to meet him. 


Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Sands of Time 61

 It was time. The beacon changed everything. Someone... alternate Jon... wanted him to come... somewhere. 

So he was going to. 

Somehow he knew this glowing blue beacon would take him... wherever alternate Joon wanted him to go. A trap? Very possibly. But then again alt Joon had had him dead to rights, and had only talked. Why lure him now to his death?

Hillier would accompany him. He didn't dare take Maia, not after what the other Joon had said. 

"Some of us have her, some don't. She doesn't always survive."

Maia had agreed, it was too risky- she didn't like him going but she also realized she could be a liability. And she felt better about him having Hiller, although she'd told the bitch to watch her hands. Not everyone was crazy anout the idea of him going- just the two of them- to track down the missing team, if that was where he was going. But he didn't want to risk an entire team on something so slim. 

One thing he was bringing- as insurance- was one of the teleport devices Hillier's people carried. 

"I still don't like this," said Mallory. 

"I know," said Joon. "I'm not crazy about it either."

"Keep him safe," Mallory said, turning to Hillier. 

Hillier snorted. 

Howie gave a long keening wail- he didn't seem to like this either. Then they were gone. 


The other side was a great room with a raised catwalk and a sunken area full of machinery, technicians, and obviously the Gate. And lots of soldiers. They were immediately disarmed and herded into a waiting area until a man arrived to see them. Joon looked around while they waited. He was impressed with the sophistication and apparent efficiency of the operation. And the technology. Everything was so... different. Monitor screens were holographic, hovering in air, and technicians had what appeared to be cybernetic implants or even personal bots floating around their heads. 

Workstations were wraparound and appeared almost... alive. The technicians seemed almost connected to their machinery in some cases. One in particular got up and as he did so a wire connecting him to his station detached itself, almost as if alive. 

The man sent to fetch them arrived with several guards. He was tall, strongly built, with dark hair slightly greying and a short salt and pepper beard. Mid forties, maybe. Striking blue eyes. 

"I'm Jack," he introduced himself. "I'm assuming you're Joon."

Joon nodded. "Jack Tyler?"

"The very one. And you are?" he asked, turning to Hillier. 


He nodded. "This is rather a surprise."

Joon held up the beacon. 

"Perhaps someone is expecting us."

"Joon! Of course. Have you... met our Joon?"

"I have," Joon replied. 


Joon wasn't sure if Jack was bemused or annoyed. 

"Well, we'll sort him out soon enough," Jack said. "In the meantime, welcome to our Sanctuary."


Jack watched as Joon made his way through the complex. Alt Joon. The Joon who'd come via the Gate had called him alt Joon. He'd smiled. 

He knew alt Joon as Joon-352, but did it matter? He'd been with Mallory-3 just now. That was still happening, evidently. 

Why would Joon summon Joon?

Time to find out. 


It was all bad. 

Mallory was pinned down. Bullets were flying and energy weapons- they were hopelessly outgunned- were hitting dangerously close. She had sand in her eyes. They'd walked into a buzzsaw. 

Stella had sent Lawson and his best men to secure the Triassic base. Mallory had insisted on going- she wanted to see Pangea. 

She was seeing it all right. 

The Gate was still open. They could see the control center on the other side intermittently. They had come through, the security team fanning out, while she had stared in awe at the ship. Canted on its side, the sunlight gleaming off its ovoid shape.

And then the shooting had started. 

They had no hope against superior firepower. They couldn't even pin down where the attackers were- they were too well concealed. She and Lawson and a few troopers were hunkered behind a tree, taking fire. 

They had to reach the Gate. 

Another trooper went down next to her. Most of the team were already gone. Mallory had a pistol and knew how to fire it, but wasn't sure if she was hitting anyone. She heard a screeching cry overhead and was momentarily distracted by a huge creature winging overhead. A pterosaur. 

For a moment she marveled- she had seen a pterosaur- before reality intruded. Lawson grabbed her, bleeding. He shoved her towards the Gate. 

"Go! You have to get back."

"What about...?"

"No time. Go!" He turned away and laid down suppression fire, giving her a chance. 

She took it. 

She ran, seeing sand erupt around her as lances of energy came close. She dodged and weaved, and then her heart leapt into her throat as a man, in body armor- futuristic looking, visored, couldn't see his eyes, appeared before her. 

He had her. 

She raised her weapon, knowing it would be useless, but then a fusillade of bullets hit the man, dropping him with the impact even though they didn't penetrate the armor. She looked back. 


He gave her time, and she was so close. Then she saw Lawson go down. She started to scream and then realized she was moving, almost there. The trooper was back on his feet, about to burn her down. 

She could see Stella.  

Friday, October 27, 2023

Sunday Post #528

This week I took the girls shooting. We shot .22's, a .38, a 9mm and a .45, plus some rifles too. They're a better shot than me! A buddy of mine has quite a few guns and belongs to a gun club. My daughter has been asking me for a while so we finally went.   

I love this time of year when the leaves are blowing- I was coming home and it was blustery, and it was like the leaves were dive bombing my car. 

Let's see, what else? Oh, I need to show this magnet I picked up at the comic store. 

And... there is now a Godzilla channel on Pluto TV.      

This week's discussion post is Why Dragons Are Like Cats    

Here is this week's lyric. 
It ain't the way you move
It ain't the way that you move me

Here is the lyric f/ last week and the answer      

I can breathe again 
I can breathe again 

   Song of the week