Wednesday, November 29, 2023

On the Run 9

Andreas paced back and forth as Anna glared at him, testing her flex cuffs for the millionth time. It was no use of course, but it's instinctive to want to free oneself when captured. Across from her Eric was sitting calmly, actually smiling, which irritated her to no end, although the dried blood on his scalp worried her a bit. Was he okay? He'd had to drop his weapon of course when they paraded Anna out with a gun to her head, but even though Eric dropped his an overzealous trooper decided to teach him a lesson. She'd been a little surprised when Andreas had stopped it. 

"Stand down, you piece of shit," he'd barked and the trooper turned away with a shrug. They were down men, after all, that did tend to breed resentment. 

"Anna! Walk with me," Andreas called. 

She rolled her eyes but complied, and when a trooper made to escort her she just said "Oh, please." They walked in silence for a time until she spoke. 

"What do you want, Andreas?"

"I want to know what you were doing in that tower. Why are technicians dead just when you two happen to be here? Amazing coincidence?"

She sighed. 

"Look, I know you're wont to see conspiracies all around you, but trust me. We had nothing to do with that. In fact, if it wasn't for you, we wouldn't even be here. Wherever this is." 

"It's Eridanus 4..."

"Yeah I know it's Eridanus 4. I mean why be in this miserable backwater if not for you clowns? Shooting everything in sight." 

"Anna, don't be dramatic. You know damn well..." He stopped, as if to change tack, then started again. "Don't pretend there is only one mandate."

"But there is only one! You have no authority to be traipsing through blowing everything up, hunting us!" 

"That's where you're wrong," he smiled thinly. "We have a mandate as well. And it's to stop you."

He stopped, and the people behind him stopped too, troopers pretending to check their weapons as he faced Anna. 

"What gives you the right to do what you're doing? You two?" He jerked his thumb toward Eric. "The gates are artifacts, from a race we don't even understand. They're... a gift from God, if you will. There's a reason they're impervious to weapons. And you and your crew take it upon yourselves to go around sabotaging them. And you're surprised that we want to stop you?"

"Andreas, we're surveying the gates, and you know it. Determining which ones are problems, which are unstable. We're only trying to shut down the ones that could be..."

"Right. As determined by your patrons in the science division. Well, sorry to say, not everyone agrees with their analysis. And sadly to say, there is not a consensus. So here we are." 

He set off again, silently dismissing her. She was so mad she was trembling, and when Eric came alongside she just mouthed damn him. Eric nodded and they trudged along, lifting their shackled hands occasionally to swipe at incessant insects. This was one tropical vacation they wouldn't mind seeing the back end of. 

As they trudged along Eric's mind was racing. How are we going to get out of this one? It didn't look good, certainly. But what did Andreas want? He could have shot them both down immediately, but didn't. Why? He didn't like the idea of being paraded back to Control under Andreas' supervision- that could only mean the man was confident enough to act openly. That didn't bode well for their own patrons. He was about to move up and try to engage Andreas when he heard a coughing behind him and the line came to a halt. 

One of the troopers was bent over, hacking and having trouble breathing, apparently. Another trooper, the female one, was patting him on the back and the rest were milling about, looking nervously into the surrounding brush. Andreas came back down the line impatiently, demanding to know what the problem was. Eric thought briefly this might be an opportunity, but the guards on him and Anna were paying close attention. He sat tight while Andreas and the other trooper tried to help the guy in trouble. It didn't look good, the guy was retching and Eric was thinking maybe they should have paid more attention to any biohazards on Eridanus 4. 

After a few minutes Andreas got the group moving again, with two other troopers helping their ailing fellow. Eric was looking for a chance to bolt, and he could see Anna was too, but with the flex cuffs on there wasn't a lot they could do. He watched the troopers closely, trying to catch their names and observe any mannerisms, any weaknesses he could exploit. Before long they came into view of the remote base, and everybody dispersed when they got inside. Andreas directed the ailing trooper and his helpers to the medbay, while he personally marched Eric and Anna to the control room. Once they were seated at the circular table in the middle he let his lieutenant- Riggs- watch over them while he conferred quietly with his medic. 

Apparently he didn't like what he heard, as he came over to Eric with a hard look on his face. 

"So what are we dealing with here, Eric?"

"Fuck if I know. We haven't been here much longer than you."

"Right. You keep saying that." He turned to Anna. "But you, my dear, have been here a wee bit longer, haven't you? Waiting for your white knight to show up, after being so unfortunately separated back on Tantalus? A shame, that." He cupped her chin in his hand and looked her in the eyes. "I don't suppose you spent your time looking up hazardous lifeforms while you were waiting, did you?"

"No, you idiot, I did not," she snapped, twisting her head away from him. "Sure I did a basic scan, who wouldn't, but the readings were all fine. And besides the station here has been online for several years, the techs had nothing major to report."

"That would be the same techs who are missing?" Andreas asked with a frown. "One of whom is laid out in that whatever it is- Ancient tower- looking like something scared the crap out of him? How reassuring." 
"What are you going to do?" Eric asked quietly. 

"Well, I'm going to get my man stabilized and we're getting out of here. Don't worry, you'll be home soon enough. Although I wouldn't look forward to that too much, if I were you." 


"Bullshit. You talk a good game but I hardly think things have changed that much. You're talking out of your ass." Hopefully.

"We'll see, won't we?" said Andreas cheerfully. "In the meantime, you..."

At that moment the female trooper rushed in, her high ponytail swishing behind her. 

"Sir, we have a problem." 

"What is it?"

"Russell, sir. He's... worse. Raving and thrashing around, and he... doesn't look normal. There's something wrong with his eyes."

"His eyes?" Andreas replied scornfully. 

"You have to see it, sir. I can't really explain..." She looked embarassed. 

"Oh, for fucks sake, we don't have time for this. Riggs! You and Taylor get the jump ready- start the sequence. We're out of here. And watch these two. Alright, Gillian, let's go and this better be good."

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Cover Love Scary Covers

I wanted to share some comic covers that are on the scary side. Or at least a little spooky. There are so many to choose from and I went with a combination of new and older covers- so let me know what you think.  

Image result for morbius the living vampire variant covers

Image result for scooby doo apocalypse cover

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Sands of Time Ch. 65

"We all  know Yvette is out of control."

Yvette raised her eyebrows at Joon. Alt Joon. 

He returned her gaze. 

"What on earth would make you think this might be a good idea?"

Alt Joon shrugged. "You've got people playing hunter in the Cretaceous. You're not running a tight ship. Too many time travelers, too much freelancing."

"I'm working on curbing those things. You know there are free spirits out there. There are a lot of pieces in play."

"A remarkably laissez- faire rationale for tampering with the fabric of reality."

That annoyed her. 

"Well, now that he's here, I'll need to meet with him. Does he know Maia is here?"

"Not yet."

"Did Jack know about your little stunt?"


"So what did you hope to accomplish by bringing him here? How do you plan on reining me in?"

"He deserves to know. He'll get sucked in, anyway. Stella's already sending him all over God's creation. Maybe... Maia can be saved."

"So that's what this is about."


"Are we free to go?" asked Joon. 

"Well, it's complicated," replied Jack. "Yvette would say no."

"And you?"

"I don't know what I would say," Jack replied frankly. "You did come to us."

"At your invitation. Or alt Joon's."

"Yes. No one made you come, however." 

Joon acknowledged that with silence. 

"Speaking of," Jack added, "what is this mystery device you had on you?" He held up the teleportation device. 

"I'd prefer not to say," replied Joon. 

"It's dangerous?"

"It could be."

"Your friend," he said, nodding towards Hillier. "She scans... differently. Is she human?"

"She is," Joon lied. 

Jack grunted. 

"What are you going to do with us?"

"Well, that's up to Yvette. I would like you to join us." 

"Hunting down errant time travelers?"

"If you like. I would call it fulfilling your role- doing the same thing you do for Stella, only for the right team." 

"How do I know you're right?"

"We're trying to fix time- not just rape it."

"But one could say there's a fine line, no?"

"You sound like alt Joon."

"Now why ever would I sound like me?"

Jack's reply was interrupted by a klaxon. 

"Excuse me," he apologized and began issuing orders. Hillier came up to see what the problem was. 

Jack returned a few moments later. 

"Mutant attack." 


"Mutant attack?"

"They happen somewhat frequently," she replied. They were at dinner. A semi- private dining area. Their guard was a discreet distance away. He didn't know where Hillier was. 

The food was good. The company, better. It was, however, weird having dinner with Maia. This was Maia- 25, by the way. 

The only Maia here. That he knew of. It felt like a betrayal, though, eating here with this Maia while his Maia was back there. 

"What is she like? Your Maia."

Joon wasn't sure how to answer. He toyed with his food. It was like pasta, somewhat. Delicious. But what did they eat here? 

"She's a lot like you," he finally admitted. "The resemblance is amazing."

"It would be," she pointed out drily, lifting her wine glass. "And you're just as I remember my... Joon."

There was an awkward silence. 

"What... happened?"

She sighed, lowering the glass. 

"It always comes to that, doesn't it? What happened. What didn't happen? We got sucked in, as we always do. Only things didn't go well. My Joon... died. Betrayed by someone in the program. I came here for refuge, Jack took me in, protects me. I don't have anything left where I was."

Joon could see tears in her eyes. 

"I'm sorry." 

"Thank you. It was a shock seeing you here. Hearing you were here. Other than Joon- 352 I haven't met any other... you's." She smiled.

She was beautiful. His heart lurched. 

"Are there really that many of us?"

"I guess. Jack says there are so many timelines that implode, that are stillborn. There aren't really that many of us- that survive, I guess." 

"How do they keep track of us? Joon-352, really?"

"They have tech. The funny thing is, the reason you get so much respect, is... that you discovered the tech. Or how to implement it. Joon- 352. In the Triassic."

"I... did?"

"Well, he did. You. Same thing."

He gaped. 

She smiled. "The ship."


"It was on the ship. In the Triassic. You were there and discovered the Rosetta stone, as it were, on the ship."


Alt Joon lit another cigarette, watching his counterpart and and Maia- 25 having a nice meal. 

Well, isn't this cozy?

Joon had been getting kind of comfortable with Jack, as well. Feeling jealous, old boy? he asked himself. Well, he'd brought him here. His own fault. And it was him, after all. No need to be jealous of oneself. 

He did deserve to know about Maia. 


Stella blew on her coffee. She had taken to liking the solitude, the evening hours. Her down time with the tadpole. Mallory had joined her this time. 

"He's been gone several days. What do we do if he doesn't... come back?"

"I'm not sure," admitted Stella. 

They sat for a bit. The Gate had been giving off a lot of energy, so much that she'd had several Gaxians deployed to siphon some off. The creatures, like Howie, fed on energy. They didn't seem to affect the Gate, though. She wondered idly what Howie thought of his... fellow creatures... pressed back into service. They had rounded up the roving Gaxian pod again. 

"I heard about Denver."


A hole had opened in the sky and tentacles had descended, causing destruction. Casualties. Military deployed, many witnesses rounded up and disappeared. Smartphones and social media though made it hard to keep the lid on. Apparently the sasquatches were still running riot in the countryside. 


Stella sighed. Maia.