Saturday, January 13, 2018

Void: Falling Skies (Part II)

Saga and Camden lived together for years, starting in 2157. They both continued to try their powers to return to 2102 every once in awhile, but it never worked. Camden could only ever jump forward to 2257, or back to 2057. Saga couldn’t use her powers at all, though. She kept arbitrarily opening doors, picturing her destination in her head, but never succeeding. It was always just a door. Several months into this, a much older Xearea showed up during one of her floating holidays. Unlike most previous Saviors, she wasn’t expected to be on the clock 24/7. Life wasn’t as dangerous or difficult as it once was. There just weren’t as many accidents to save people from. Even when people were hurt, medical science had progressed enough to treat them successfully for pretty much anything. There just wasn’t much need for the position anymore, and since the powers that be could see the future, they always knew this was coming, and had come up with an endgame. Come Xearea’s death, they would choose one last Savior to serve Earth, and then completely shutter the program. At that point, if someone’s life was in danger, they would have to call upon the Kingmaker, the Runners, or some other traveler.
Xearea assured Camden that there was nothing he could do to get back home. She had already experienced 2102, and 2103, and so on. He never went back home, nor did she. At best, he could have had a few days with her before she had to go off on her own job, and they could enjoy those days together now instead. Sure, it wasn’t the same, and it certainly wasn’t fair, but it was also hopeless. All this had already happened, and going back in time would alter history too much, according to her. She was perfectly happy with how her life had turned out, and counter herself lucky to be seeing him now. As the Centurion, working primarily in the 20th century, Camden was never allowed to undergo longevity treatments in his original present, so he would have likely died by this point in history. What happened, happened, and could not have happened any other way, for they were all still alive. At least now he had broken his connection to the powers that be.
Over the years, there was a hint that there could be something romantic between Saga and Camden, but nothing came of it. Though she could never be as close to anyone as she had been to her one and only true partner, Vearden, Saga saw Camden as her new partner. They got to know each other well enough to develop a shorthand, and an unbreakable friendship. Today was May 18, 2161. They were walking back from the natural human grocery store when a van pulled up next to them, and matched their speed. The sliding door opened up, and a girl called out, “your ride’s here!”
Saga tensed up. “What?”
“Saga! It’s me!”
Saga got a better look, not having recognized the voice at first. “Paige? Paige Turner, is that you?”
“It is,” Paige replied. “Get in.”
“Where are we going?”
“The future. Tomorrow’s a bad day for salmon and choosers. Everybody needs to skip it.”
“What’s so bad about it?” Camden asked.
“We weren’t told that,” Paige answered.
“We think it has to do with syzygy,” a voice from inside the van said.
“We don’t all think that,” Paige argued.
“What’s Ssssssiiiiii—” began to ask, not even sure how to pronounce what the other one had said.
Another girl peeked her head out the door. “Syzygy. It’s when celestial bodies line up. Tomorrow’s Syzygy is important, though. All eight planets are going to line up, on the same side of the sun.” She stuck her arm out. “Hi, I’m Dar’cy.”
“Nice to meet you, Darcy,” Saga said, shaking her hand.
“No, it’s Dar’cy. My mother, Marcy is weird. I was named after her and my father, Darko Matic.”
“You’re Darko’s kid?” Saga asked.
“Yes. I was born on Tribulation Island...after you were torn out of time.”
“Oh,” Saga said quietly. Years ago, she was kidnapped by a very powerful choosing one, and forced to live on an island on another planet, along with all her friends. It was meant as a punishment for Leona Matic, who she held responsible for two of her siblings’ deaths. Every few years, she would remove one of Leona’s loved ones from the timeline, only keeping Leona’s memory of them intact. She would have to complete challenges to get them back, calling upon the aid of everyone who was still left, even though they literally didn’t know who they were fighting for. Once they were all finally returned to the timeline, very few people had any memory of the ordeal. To the ones without it, they believed they had lived on the island almost completely carefree the entire time. Saga had been removed from the timeline once before, though, which she assumed was why she knew the whole truth about that corrupted timeline. She came back to find Vearden had died while she was gone, so she immediately opened a portal to 1947 Bangladesh, and dedicated her life to helping people. This was why she had never had the pleasure of meeting this Dar’cy.
“What do you keep going on about?” Paige asked as one of the lucky ones, who couldn’t remember anything about the corrupted timeline.
A third girl showed her face. “And my name is Missy Atterberry. I don’t have anything to add to the conversation otherwise.”
“I’m Camden Voss,” he chimed in.
Paige nodded her head. “Xearea’s infamous brother. She didn’t tell us how hot you were.”
“Same for you,” he said, like he had known Paige’s inappropriate remark was coming.
Paige smiled. “You’re not on the list, but you’re salmon, so someone was likely scheduled to pick you up too, but you should get in, just in case you were missed.”
“I likely was. Missed, that is. I don’t know that I’m salmon anymore. I fell off my pattern.”
“Believe me,” Paige began, “they will find a way to get you back on it. Leona has fallen off hers many, many times.”
“Yeah, and we need to get going,” Dar’cy said. “We’ve yet to pick up Ulinthra.”
“Where have I heard that name before?” Saga wondered. “I associate it with...Harrison. Harrison the android, yes. He was on Tribulation Island long before any of us, I believe.”
Awkward silence since there was no reason to reply to that.
“Well, we should go,” Missy said.
Saga and Camden gave each other one look. “No, thanks,” she said politely.
“What?”
“We won’t be joining you. Safe travels.”
“I don’t think you understand,” Paige said. “You’re in danger here. It’s only for one day, though. You’ll blink, and it’ll be May 20th. Maybe the 21st.”
“That’s okay,” Camden said. “We’re fine here.”
“But you don’t know what’s gonna happen.”
“Ya know, people who can’t see the future do that all the time,” Camden told them. “That’s just...life, for them.”
“You’re not one of them,” Dar’cy pointed out. “Is it a pride thing? No one’s going to think less of you for avoiding something dangerous.”
“No,” Saga said, “we just don’t find it necessary.”
“Saga, it would be like me telling you there’s a cliff ahead, and you just continuing to walk towards it anyway. That’s not rational.”
Saga shrugged.
“Well, we’re not in charge of you, but we strongly urge you to get the eff out.”
“We appreciate the concern,” Camden said. “If something bad is coming, we’re gonna wanna be here. My sister certainly is.”
Another silence, but this time not so awkward, just reverent.
Paige frowned.
Dar’cy didn’t seem to care one way, or the other.
“Kay, byeeeeeee,” Missy said.
They left Saga and Camden to continue their errands.
The next day, they started feeling a strong vibration all over their house. It intensified, gradually becoming a full-on earthquake. This was it. This was what their friends had been talking about. Why would they need to skip over the day, though? Earthquakes don’t happen all over the planet at the same time. They really just needed to travel somewhere else, if even that. This wasn’t so bad. They had the impulse to go outside and look around, though. As soon as they stepped out, they could feel a warmth bearing down on them from the sky. They looked up.
“Do you see that?” Camden asked.
“What is that?” The sky was rolling like waves, floating from one direction, to the other. No, it wasn’t waves, nor was it the sky itself. It was just the shape of an object, coming towards them. An invisible object. An invisible, massive object.
“Is that, like, the fraking moon, or something?” he asked in shock.
“I have no frelling idea,” she responded. “It’s almost like the sky is falling.”
“What’s happening to you?” he now asked of her.
“What?” She looked down at him. His body was rolling and waving also, like an invisible force was warping all around him. She looked down at her own body, which was doing the exact same thing.
“I think this is what the ladies were talking about,” he guessed.
Pretty soon, they could feel themselves being pulled from the ground. The object in the sky was luring them to it, like a magnet. They flew through the air, completely helpless to it, and moving faster with each passing second.
In moments, they were standing safely on the surface of a different planet, watching the Earth fly past them now. This wasn’t the first time Saga had traveled to another world, so there was no need to panic. But somebody needed to tell Camden that, because he was currently freaking the freak out, having never experienced anything like this in his life. He was looking around like a paranoid chicken in a slaughterhouse.
“Calm down,” she tried to tell him.
“What is this? Where are we?”
“Somewhere new.”
“You’ve never been here before?”
She took a deep breath. “No, I don’t think so, but it’ll be okay. Feel that? That’s air. We can breathe, check. Vegetation, check. We’ll have something to eat. Water? There’s vegetation, so probably. Probably somewhere.”
“That doesn’t mean it’s safe! We have no idea what’s going on, or what’s going to happen!” he cried. “And where’s Xearea? Did she come here too? Is she back on Earth? What if a bridge fell on top of her?”
She took him by his trembling upper arms. “Camden. You were a secret agent...in a secret agency...protecting humans...who didn’t know you existed. You can handle this.” She started the patterned breathing techniques she had taught oh so many mothers in labor when she was a time traveling nurse.
He mirrored her breathing. “All right. You’re right. This is nothing.” They could hear footsteps approach them from the side, moving quickly. Camden tensed up again, and sent his body into the fight stress response. “Why didn’t I bring my weapon?”
“Because you didn’t know you were coming here,” Saga reminded him, knowing it wasn’t a real question. She prepared for a fight as well.
A man stopped a few meters in front of them. “Did you see something fall?” He started searching the ground. “I was on my way to Watershed when I swear I saw a bright twinkling object, coming straight from Earth. I must have horribly misjudged where it landed.”
“Uhh...no, I believe that was us,” Saga said tentatively.
“You’re from Earth?” he asked them.
“Yeah, you’ve heard of it.”
“Of course. From the histories. What are your names?”
“Saga Einarsson. Camden Voss.”
He shook their hands. “Ludvig. Now that we apparently didn’t crash into Earth, I believe I can take you to your friend.”
“Our friend?”
“Yeah. Hokusai Gimura. You don’t know her?”
No.

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