A week ago I published the first chapter of my first story and guess what? I liked so now, let’s go with the second chapter…
The vortex opens next to a rocky wall which surrounds an enormous city.
This place, named Akustem, was one of the last cities of the planet.
Billions of years earlier, this city was considered majestic – it contained the most advanced forms of technology. But then something happened. A giant time paradox interrupted the space-time structure, meaning that old and new matters existed in the same sphere. The laws of physics fell apart so that not even the work of Pauli, Heisenberg or Einstein could explain what would come next.
Khard is thrown outside the singularity, followed by Oscar Numa. As a prisoner, he didn’t enjoy the travel.
Let’s backtrack. Just a few seconds before, the house had witnessed the most epic kidnapping in its history. It was an operation Khard had been planning for a long time.
The b-plot consisted of a series of simple instructions:
1 – Khard needed to give Numa a bracelet that had been passed down through the family. It was crucial he was careful with this because, after 800 years, the bracelet had begun to corrode. But, if he acted too soon, it would be impossible to create the link with the desired gene.
2 – Once this was achieved, it would be possible to create a genetic modification of the offspring in order to activate the bracelet and then exert almost total control over the owner of the device. Khard knew that this gene needed to be deeply rooted, but was also aware that the taste of egg in the omelette would be perfect for masking the taste of the bimolecular compost.
3 – The deactivation of the chaos-quantum stabiliser would be essential to kill the electro-time momentum that could avoid the creation of time singularity in the house at any time.
Keep aluminium far away from this device.
These words were clearly written on the box of stabilisers of the first generation. The series C45-789-fg3 was more likely to be corroded from Al or Au particles into the cooling system.
4 – Deactivating the stabilisers allowed for the creation of a big time corridor, powerful enough to pass the time crash inside the universe.
Khard knew well that any advanced cyborg was capable of sending a huge quantity of data to any computer at their moment of death.
Note: Cyborgs are not immortal.
He looked again at the message he’d received a few minutes earlier:
Data transfer 100%
Data pack 4α-134.5.4 transferred.
The hardest part was now to collate all the data in his finger transmitters.
Now the only problem was the need to establish a huge gravity field in order to decelerate the jump and not crash into the barrier. Khard is unsure how to achieve this, and so is relieved to meet with Denis.
He confirms that all that is needed is to press the relevant command on his device.
«Mr Numa, welcome to the end of the world» says Khard, freeing his prisoner from the bracelet. «I hope you understand that you can’t go anywhere». Mr Numa looks disgruntled. «Why did you bring me here?».
«I’d like to show you the consequences of your stupid idea». Khard stands, considering this, and then amends his sentence almost immediately. «Well, okay, it’s not entirely your fault. The end of the universe is partially caused by the star beings of the galaxy sector 85u – but I’m sure you’re aware that I don’t really care about them, as they’re not even sentient».
They walk through the city while what looks like an enormous carpet of scars covers the sky above them. «In fact, it’s really just a single star» explains Khard. «A single star that is born and dies every hour or so». «I suppose you’ll tell me that could be a consequence of this time catastrophe» replies Mr Numa.
The central street of the city is busy and full of life, although it’s difficult to tell if it is day or night as the sky is split between darkness and sunshine.
Khard’s claudication exhausts him, and so he needs to sit down on a bench to relax for a while.
Behind the men is an excavation of an ancient city that’s been buried for billions of years. In its place is now a huge mountain. Everest, as it is known, was reduced to just 1500 metres and now exists as the highest mountain on Earth.
The night sky was not how Numa remembered it, for very few stars were visible. All that once were there had died.
Everything mankind knows is facing an imminent death, one which will occur in just a few hours’ time.
At that moment, something catches Numa’s attention. He sees a man watching him from the other side of the river. He recognises him as a scientist who had been at the reunion. «How did he get here?».
«What?» asks Khard. Numa points to the man and Khard jumps to his feet. «He was at the meeting».
Numa nods, looking afraid. Neither man has noticed that, by now, there is no one in the city around them. It takes Khard a few seconds to realise this change. «Oh, no, no, no».
«We have to go. But listen to me, don’t look into their eyes».
«Whose eyes? Where is everyone?».
«They are at home» replies Khard. «Nobody here stays outside after sunset».
The men spend almost half an hour walking through the empty city before reaching the base of a tall hill. They are trying to avoid the figures now moving around them.
«We must to reach that house» says Khard, indicating to the building at the top of the hill.
«What are those creatures?» asks Numa.
«Time ghosts. They are echoes of past lives that managed to cross the fracture».
Numa nods. «And why can’t we look into their eyes?» he asks, as some of the creature appear on the road next to them.
«They are vapours of energy and consciousness.They are close to total entropy and can’t easily read our minds. They become aggressive if they don’t understand why we’re looking».
The stronghold is surrounded by a ruined gate. «I suppose this once was beautiful before the cataclysm» Khard says as he climbs over the ruins.
A scream shatters the air next to them. A woman is standing by one of the ghosts. It’s difficult to say exactly what happens next, but safe to say the woman will now always be catatonic: the creature absorbs her energy almost instantaneously.
Automatically, Numa makes a move to help her, but Khard stops him before he does something stupid. Still, it is too late: the small movement has caused the creatures to sense their presence.
The cry of the creature is deafening and creepy and resonates deep inside the pair.
Khard blocks the door of the house they’ve run in to, but knows it’s not enough to keep the creatures away for long.
«We must get to the centre of the building» Khard urges, while Numa closes each door they go through behind them.
The central room is completely circular.
Images on the wall depict the cataclysm and the events that follow.
-The ghosts emerged from the fracture and almost exterminated the planet. Few places survived. The people called the creatures: Kronog. They started a war against the inhabitants of the planet and learned how to defend themselves. They had to hide from photons, but at night it became easy for them to walk into the cities-
After a few minutes, the creatures can be heard approaching. Numa and Khard need to move.
«How can we survive them?» asks Numa, as a young boy appears in the room.
The boy is dressed in a form of armour – or perhaps it’s more relevant to say, an exoskeleton. He may well be a military force.
«Khard, the machine is almost ready».
«Thanks Lurath» responds Khard, who has begun to operate a computer screen. «Mr Numa, Do you know of a phenomenon called the Hundredth Monkey Effect?».
Numa nods. «Yes. It says that if an idea is thought by a large number of people, then the idea will start to expand faster than ever».
«Fantastic» replies Khard, while activating some sort of engine. «See, ideas are easy to plant, but what happens if one can directly transmit images or compose information?». Numa can’t understand why Khard is remaining so calm amidst the chaos.
«Creatures that exist in the time vortex can’t leave it. They are like fish stuck in pipes, they must wait for some generous person to make a breach in the pipe and free them».
The creatures are, by now, incredibly close – but the man is still speaking as though nothing is happening. He remains composed even when another exoskeleton-clad man enters the room, holding a prisoner whose face is covered by a kind of hologram.
«Of course, we all have you to thank for allowing us to live freely outside of standard time» says Khard. He looks directly into Numa’s eyes as he gives the order for the face of the prisoner to be revealed. It is the exactly copy of Khard: a hateful imposter.
At this point, it’s hard to understand who is the copy of who.
– Edited by: Imogen Stirling
First chapter -> Here (Previous chapter)
Third chapter -> Here (Next chapter)