Saturday, May 27, 2017

Flurry: The Man in the High Castle (Part VII)

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It wasn’t that much farther through the secret castle maze, though Serkan and Ace did get turned around a few times. The map wasn’t so much a map as it was a vague set of instructions. Imagine directions for the assembly of a piece of furniture that are in English, but with the words out of order. That’s kind of what it was like to read the map, but they eventually found their destination, though they still weren’t quite sure exactly what it was that had found.
A thirtysomething man was sitting at his desk in the middle of a field outside, his assistant off to the side, busy with her own work. They were halfway outside, but also not. The space above them would listlessly drift between a ceiling and the open sky, like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The man was casually talking on the phone, and did not appear to be at all surprised to see two strangers just waltz into his magical field office. He waved them towards him with his fingers as he was finishing up his conversation. “Yeah, don’t worry about. I’m sure ol’ Rothy boy is okay. All right, well give me a call when you find it. Thanks, Moomoo.” He cradled the phone and smiled at the two intruders. “You finally made it. I would love to say you made it record time, but the truth is you’re on the wrong side of the spectrum.” He glanced at his watch. “Most people find this place faster. That map there was stunting your intuition.”
“What is this place?”
“My home. Welcome to prehistoric Kansas City.”
“We went back in time?” Serkan asked.
“It’s more that we brought the past up to us, and merged it with the present.”
“Were you expecting us?” Ace asked of him.
“I knew that someone would notice the bad weather we’re havin’. I figured Kolby, or someone else from Beaver Haven, would show up, though.”
“What’s Beaver Haven?”
“A prison.”
Ace tried to get them back on track. “You’re the one creating the snow?”
The man looked at him like he was being just so rude, but then extended his hand. “Hello, I’m Keanu ‘Ōpūnui. Nice to meet you...you who would break into my home and toss around accusations.”
“You’re too young to be the founder of this company.”
Keanu shrugged. “My friend, Moomoo keeps me young, and also I think you already know that I didn’t really found this company in the 60s. I wasn’t even born yet!”
“Does that even matter?” Serkan asked.
“No, in our line of business, I guess not.”
“You treat time travel as a business,” Ace said, again accusatorily, and not in the form of a question.
“What else would the point of it be?”
“Does there have to be a point?”
“Good point.” He smiled at his own joke. “Look, that company website didn’t lie entirely, just about the details. I really do want to fix climate change.”
“Do you imagine that it’s working?”
“Well, this is just the testing ground,” Keanu said. “I’ll take care of the whole planet after we gather enough data.”
“This can’t possibly work,” Ace said. “You can’t just turn on the world’s air conditioning and expect to fix the climate. The underlying problems are still there. We’ll still have pollution, poor regulations, and other concerns. All you’re doing is covering it up. Will your weather machine last forever?”
“What weather machine? Do you think I’m just doing this with technology?”
“You’re not?” Serkan couldn’t think of any alternatives.
“We’re time travelers, of course it’s not just tech. You think my teleporting friend, Ophir ever drives electric cars?”

“Well, I can’t speak for Ophir,” Ace said. “But we assumed you stole the machine from the future, which is something a normal person couldn’t do.”
“Ah, I guess that makes a sort of sense,” Keanu admitted, “but no. That’s not necessary; not when you can mesh instead.”
“What’s meshing?” Serkan was feeling dumb with all these questions.
“Meshes are like time windows,” Keanu said, excited to have the opportunity to explain this. “But instead of the proverbial glass, the window is opened. You can’t get through, like with a time door, but the environment can cross the barrier.”
“The window screen,” Ace said in understanding.
Keanu pointed to him like he’d won a gold star sticker. “Exactly. I open time windows, but leave the mesh in place. So I didn’t actually create the weather. We’re just sharing it with a different time and place; 1740s Arctic, to be exact.”
That was kind of cool, Serkan had to admit, but only to himself.
Keanu went on, “it’s a good thing I’m limited to this, otherwise I’d probably be like Kayetan, and not try to save the planet.”
“How many time manipulators do you know?”
“All of them,” Keanu answered ominously, but then he winked, as if to say, not really.
“You’ve still not explained how your time power can fix climate change. If you’re doing this yourself, rather than by a machine, then it’s even worse. You will one day die.”
Keanu opened his top drawer and removed an object from it, setting it on top of his desk. “Do you know what that is?”
Serkan peered at it, but it didn’t look familiar. Ace, on the other hand, thought he recognized it. “Well, it looks like the old Analion building. The one that shut down after a bunch of people died from their products, and the building itself.”
“That’s right. I actually once worked there, as one of its many vice presidents. But the building itself is what’s important. It houses what we in the business call an echo chamber.” He turned it over, like a professor at a technical institute, explaining the intricacies of a particular part. “A cone inside of a cylinder. Seems simple enough, but that’s just its basic shape.” He used his pinkie finger to point to various details. “Every line matters, though. Every corner, every room’s dimension; it all helps us focus our energy.” He tossed it at Serkan who had to think fast enough to catch it. “Here ya go, you can keep that one, I have loads. It might come in handy one day.”
Serkan looked it over himself. It seemed innocuous enough. “What does it do again?”
“I’ve told you that I’m a time mesher. That’s all I can do, but my friend can cross dimensional boundaries.” He removed another replica of the Analion building; one that was much nicer and sturdier. “We trapped his power in this thing so I can show you how people are reacting outside.” He smiled smugly and pointed his toy to the side like it was a remote control, but nothing happened. “I said, this is how people are reacting outside!” He inspected it to make sure it was working. Apparently what he didn’t know was that Serkan had the ability to prevent other people from using their own time powers.
“Having trouble performing?”
Keanu’s assistant stopped what she was doing, calmly stood up, and took a hammer from her desk. She began to walk around like she was in some kind of uncontrollable stupor.
“Wait, wait! Don’t do this!” he ordered her, but it was pointless. He directed his attention back to Serkan. “What did you do?”
“Oh, did you not know what I was?” Serkan asked him haughtily, smirking in a way that was a bit out of his character.
He went back to trying to stop his assistant, “nope! Don’t! I’ll get my powers back, and you’ll regret this.”
“We can’t let her hurt him, no matter her reasons,” Ace said to Serkan. He tried to approach the woman, but she effortlessly pushed him to the ground.
She lifted the hammer in the air, and Serkan squinted as he was helping his boyfriend back up, not wanting to see this happen, but also conflicted by how he was supposed to feel about it. His worry was unwarranted, however, for when her arm dropped, it was nowhere near Keanu. Instead, it landed on what was presumably the handle to one of his other desk drawers. Still in a sort of autopilot, she sifted through its contents, and retrieved what she was presumably looking for.
“Put! That! Down!” Keanu yelled to her like a disappointed father.
It was just a piece of paper, so Serkan wasn’t sure what danger it could pose, though to be fair, they couldn’t see what was on the front. The other two seemed to feel that it was important. She looked at him with a seething rage, and Serkan wondered if she was considering going ahead and using the hammer against him physically, even though she had theoretically gotten what she came from. She ended up deciding against it, but did feel the need to slowly raise her arm and show him her middle finger. To him she said, “you have already regretted this.” To Serkan and Ace she said, “it was nice to see you again as little babies. Adorbs.” She then switched her gaze to the paper, and literally disappeared.
As soon as she was gone, Keanu began to scream. He lifted his right arm, which was already bubbling in the midst of a strange temporal disturbance. The tips of his fingers disappeared, and then the rest of his fingers. The hand went afterwards before the effect continued up his arm, accelerating by every second. Time was somehow gobbling up his body, or at least part of it. The bubbling did stop once it reached his shoulder. The pain seemed to go away fairly soon thereafter, but his panic was not yet over. He kept screaming from having lost that arm. “Bitch paradoxed me!”
Serkan and Ace didn’t know what to think, but a part of them couldn’t help but be pleased.
“What are you so happy about? You’re about to die. Newsflash: this building never existed! It’s been paradoxed out of the timestream!”
“You mean...” Ace began.
Keanu nodded emphatically. “Yeah. You’re evidently immune to time powers, so I guess you’re stuck with the temporal corruption.”
“What is exactly is going to happen?”
No sooner that Ace uttered the words did the sky around them began to warp and collapse. The grass and trees before them shriveled up and disappeared. This destruction followed them from the distance, like a horde of oncoming langoliers. Once it had caught up to them, Keanu disappeared along with everything else, leaving them stranded in the middle of the sky, thirty stories up from the ground. They began falling towards the roof of the High Castle building, but it too disappeared before they could reach it. One by one, the floors and ceilings of every floor bent, shuttered, and blinked away so they could continue to fall towards their inevitable death.

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