Copyright (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0): 2017 David Noë
Co-authors/players involved: David Noë, Laura Loolaid, Kieyotie McDermott, Drew Eckhardt
The original forum thread ran from May 2014 to Oct 2014.
Read more about the Forum Leakage project here: http://bit.ly/2gkGNrm
Read previous post in this series: http://bit.ly/2A2TK2b
And now, let us continue to part 9!
Corey took a long, thoughtful toke. “A recap of what the fuck just happened? Anyone?”
Smith stepped out from behind the rubble, barely able to contain her chuckles as she saw Corey’s contorted expression.
Knux tried to hide his own snicker. He cleared his throat and forced a serious frown on his face. “From what I gather we didn’t time travel. It only seems that we did, but in fact, we have been pulled into parallel reality. Dimension. Timeline. Or something.” He shrugged.
Corey’s face settled into a pout. “From where I’m standing, the things we see here have already happened a long time ago. So what’s up with that?”
“Apparently, the time flow is not synchronized between these realities? So if we travelled between timelines, we’d end up at a different… er milestone? Makes sense to me!”
Corey huffed and spat. “Since when are there parallel timelines that you can travel between? I mean, come on!” He began pacing back and forth. “This is stupid!”
“Perhaps-” Knux rubbed his stubbled chin – “perhaps that is how things have always worked. We just didn’t have a way of knowing about it. What if that’s just… how reality, well, is?”
Knux stood, happy with his ability to provide a logical explanation. He cast a gentle magnanimous smile towards the others and nodded. Then the smile vanished, and Knux clutched his hair, a wild look in his eyes.
Smith examined the Elder with a frown, and waved her hand in front of his face. “Hey… you all right in there?” She turned to Corey. “Uh, I’m not sure what just happened. Your friend here… looks like his brain just crashed. Do we need to restart him or something?”
“Uhh…?” Corey shrugged.
Knux sank to his knees, and began mumbling to himself. “…all for nothing… haven’t changed a thing…”
“Does he often get like this?” Smith crouched by his side and looked up to Corey. “Do you know what he’s on about?”
“Yeeeahhh…” Corey lit another smoke. “I get how this must sound to you, but… we thought we’d figured out how to time-travel. Go back, fix things, you know. We thought we HAD fixed things. Saved loved ones, prevented disasters, you know the drill. If we have merely… side-stepped to another timeline it means we never interfered with all that. Everything is still happening.”
Knux was rocking back and forth, still sobbing and mumbling. “…for nothing… still happening… all gonna die…” He looked up, his natural eye dulled by tears. “And there’s nothing we can do to help!”
“Unless you find a way to return to where you came from…” Smith looked at the two men’s despair and hoped they hadn’t heard her wondering-out-loud. She stretched to hide her discomfort and let her eyes wander across the junk piles. Farther on the path, next to the hull of a toppled cargo drone, there were three human figures approaching. “Um, guys, you know these people?”
Corey glanced at Smith. “What people?”
“Look, look! I think they’re headed here.”
Corey squinted: a guy, large in size, and two women, one of them taking measured strides, the other skipping along the path. He nudged Knux, and pointed at the approaching group. “Un-fucking-believable…”
The measured-strides-woman waved and smiled.
Corey flashed a huge grin at Smith. “Allow me to present: Tanikki Kall’ovyj, Reesto Chelik, Mia Loki! Some damn fine crew I’ve had the pleasure to work with! Never expected to see any of them alive again,” he added quietly.
Knux got to his feet and brushed himself off. “You know it’s not really them-them, right?”
“Shut up, you twat, you’re ruining my moment.”
As the group drew closer, Tanikki spoke up. “Look at you! Not too shabby for an old man!”
“You ain’t so bad yourself, haven’t you aged at-all?”
“Technically I’m supposed to be dead, so, no.”
“So what brings you to our corner of the scrapheap?
Mia poked her head out from behind Reesto’s wide back, her dark eyes shining. “We’re improvising!”
Tanikki chuckled with a nod. “Lil’ Miss Space Cadet is right. According to the original scenario we were supposed to take positions at the bar, act naturally, and once you’d arrived, pretend we belonged there. Here. In this… you get the idea. But then you…” She drew an arc in the air.
“Yeah-yeah. They told us. We were early.”
“Right. So our handlers decided to skip the spectacle and send us to r-v with you directly.”
“We went to a briefing!” Mia clung to Reesto’s arm, attempting to spin him around.
Reesto stood his ground, smiled, and extended his right hand.
“Oh, right!” Corey waved his arms around with an awkward giggle. “Soo, introductions. Smith, Reesto. He doesn’t talk much. Tanikki… and junior surgeon here-”
Corey caught her high-five. “The one and only. Er… And our resident cyborg here…”
“Oh, that is engineer Vee-One. We were briefed about you.” Tanikki moved in for the jumble of handshakes. “Didn’t say anything about you, though.” She tilted her head and looked at Smith.
“Oh… I guess I’m not really supposed to be here.” Smith drilled dirt with her bootheel. “I just kinda hopped in on the ride.”
Corey stepped aside and climbed atop a little dirt mound. Taking his best captain-y stance, he let his voice boom. “People! Now that we have all gathered here, let us board and see what good old Alexis has to offer!” He fumbled with the security sequencer until the outer hatch popped ajar. “Yes-yes… through here. Let’s locate the command centre. Naturally we can’t expect the layout to be exactly-”
Tanikki put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s all right. We were just briefed, remember?”
“Right! Everybody follow Engineer Kall’ovyj!”
To himself, Corey mumbled: “That went well.”