Saturday, May 14, 2016

Second Stage of Something Started: Observers (Part V)

Vearden never had a thirst for blood, and never thought he would kill anyone, not a human anyway. But this was different. Saga was in danger, and that always put him in a special state of anger. This Makarion guy had been toying with them for the last couple days, which was annoying, but their whole lives were meant to be nothing but challenges. Once he made them play the golf game of death, though, there was no saving him. Even if he had never killed anyone himself, he enjoyed putting people in no-win situations. He was basically just the character of Jigsaw, but without the tricycle. He was having the Colosseum built for nefarious purposes; there was now no doubt about that. Someone had to do something about him. He had to be stopped. Might as well be Vearden.
Unfortunately, he was growing tired, and the blood rampage was wearing off. Presumably, Gondilak could keep ahold of it indefinitely, but Vearden was human, and had his limits. In a matter of only seconds, they were really just two men fighting. It wasn’t epic or badass. There were no jump kicks or backflips. There was just sweat, skin, and spit.
“Stop right now!” Saga ordered.
Vearden immediately backed off, not because he saw the gun in his partner’s hand, but because he trusted her.
Makarion backed off because of the gun.
“Now we’re here to help people,” she continued. “That’s what we do. We may be freelancers, but we don’t kill people! You corrupted our morals. You turned us into killers. That is not supposed to be the deal.”
“You’re not here to help people,” Makarion explained angrily. “You’re here on a whim. The only difference between that other planet you were on and this island and is now it’s my whim. You don’t serve a purpose, Saga. You’re just a game piece.”
“Well now I’m a game piece who has a gun, so you’re gonna open that stargate and take us back to Stonehenge where we can sort this all out.”
“Who has the gun?” Makarion snapped his fingers, landing in the familiar vague shape of a gun. The sound of a real gun went off, however.
Vearden thought Saga had shot Makarion, but it was the other way around. In Makarion’s other hand was another revolver, a slight wisp of smoke curling out of the end. But it wasn’t another revolver, it was the same one. He had used his ability to steal it from Saga. Vearden wanted to go help her, but his masculine instincts kicked back in, this time without the benefit of the blood rampage.

The two men began to fight again, but this felt much different. Vearden could see the scene change behind Makarion’s shoulder, as if there were a portal. But they were not in front of a portal, they had just straight up teleported. He looked behind himself to see what was very clearly The Constant. It was a special building in the middle of nowhere Kansas. Construction workers had built it underground an unknown amount of time ago, designing it to accommodate salmon on vacation. Almost nothing in it had changed since Vearden had first taken refuge long ago. The Concierge was still there, and as young as ever, even though she would have to be at least centuries old. Makarion jabbed him right in the face, so Vearden lifted his leg and slammed it into his stomach, forcing him to trip over the coffee table. No, it didn’t collapse under him, because no one wants to own a table that just falls apart so easily.
“Dad? What’s going on?” His daughter, Laura was there, along with Saga’s son, Samwise. Some girl he didn’t recognize was with them.
The Concierge pursed her lips and waved her finger around. “Nope, nope, nope! This is 2034, you are absolutely not supposed to be here right now!”
“The year 2034? What?”

Before he could ask further questions, Makarion had recovered and tackled him to the floor. No, the ground. It was grassy and dewy. They were in Stonehenge, just like Saga had wanted, but in what year?
“Okay, this is getting weird, Makarion said. He climbed off of Vearden and crept forward. They could faintly hear voices on the other side of the stones.
Vearden crept alongside him, more curious about what was going on than he was angry at Makarion. Saga was shot and hurt, so he would need to get back, but that apparently wouldn’t happen for another few decades. The Delegator would know how to return to her.
They drew closer and could hear him speaking, “that’s the brilliant thing. Every salmon is given assignments. It’s my job to dole them out. But you’re different. To my knowledge, you don’t have any responsibilities. It’s my assumption the powers that be want to see what you do on your own.”
They peeked out from behind one of the stones and watched as Mateo and Leona disappeared from sight, leaving the Delegator alone. “I know what this is. This is when Mateo and Leona first come here. This is...” he had to think about the history. He knew entirely too much about all of them. “This is the year 1517.”
“Saga and I left 1517 and came here just before meeting you.”
The Delegator had come up to them as they were looking away. “Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet. You’ve just stepped into your own past. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, and I don’t wanna know. I just want you gone before the past version of yourself shows up and wonders why there’s another him.”
“We have no idea how we got here,” Vearden said honestly.
“I might have an idea.” He tentatively lifted his hand and slowly moved it towards Vearden’s arm.

As soon as he took hold, the scene changed again. Fire raged all around them, burning trees and stealing their oxygen. A fiery branch fell down between them. “Get us the hell out of here!” Vearden yelled.
“I can’t do it on my own!” Makarion called back, trying to breath through his sleeve. “Something happens when we make physical contact!”
“Okay, you come to me!”
“No, you come to me!”
“Goddammit, get the hell over here!”
“Son of a bitch, fine!” Makarion looked all around him to make sure nothing was going to kill him. Vearden was torn between wanting something to snap him up, and needing him to get back to Saga. “This is the Yellowstone fire of 2039,” he informed him, for no apparent reason.
Vearden tried reaching for him, only to be rejected. “Don’t you want to leave?”
“I think you may be in control of this,” Makarion explained. “I can control where I teleport, but I can’t travel through time. You can travel through time, but you can’t control it. I think we combined our powers.
“I told you when and where we are so that you understand this power. Concentrate on when and where you want to be, and that’s where we’ll end up.”
Vearden closed his eyes and thought about the island where they had left Saga. But he didn’t want to land back there at the exact same moment. He wanted to get there before so he could stop her from getting shot in the first place; perhaps even stop them from having to kill the brothers. He could feel Makarion’s hand on his shoulder, and he instinctively reopened his eyes.
They were standing on a bridge in the dark. A train was coming right for them. “That didn’t work,” Captain Obvious said.
Between them and the train were three figures which disappeared just before being run into. “Ya think?”
“Just take us anywhere.” He placed each hand on either of Vearden’s shoulders.

“Not again.” A man Vearden didn’t know was rolling his eyes at them. “I just got rid of you people! Literally ten seconds ago!”
They found themselves in a pristine room that looked like a laboratory or something. “Where are we?” Makarion asked.
The man scrunched his face in disgust and pointed to the wall with his middle finger as if they should already know the answer.
Out of the window they could see planet Earth. “Is this the moon?”
“No, it’s Mars, dipshit,” the man said, of course sarcastically. “I am Commander Parker, King of the Mascos!”
Makarion squinted his eyes and asked, “who like us have you met?”
“I dunno, a bunch of people. I didn’t care about their names.”
“Was one of them named Mateo?”
He sighed out of exhaustion. “Yeah, I think that’s what they said.”
“Just as I suspected,” Makarion said, nodding his head.
“Shut up.”
“We’re jumping into important moments of Mateo’s timestream. God, that guy’s so important, and I do not know why.”
“Well, how do we get back?” Vearden demanded to know.
“All we can do is keep trying.” This time, Makarion cupped Vearden’s cheeks in his hands, but not in a good way, because he was a psychopath.

As Makarion was releasing his hands, they could hear an alarm blaring, and a voice on the intercom. “That is it! I’m calling in the cavalry. This is who we’re lookin’ for!” The walls around them turned out to be computer screens. Each panel was displaying a picture of Mateo Matic. Horace Reaver was in the midst of trying to capture him, as always. But that battle had already been won from Vearden’s perspective, so there was nothing left to do about it now. “Bring him in and I’ll write a blank check!”
“God, I hate that man so much.” Makarion had a deep scowl on his face. He really meant it.
“He sounds like your kinda guy.”

Makarion squeezed Vearden’s arms against his body with the fire of a thousand suns. “Don’t you ever compare me to Horace Reaver ever again! You under-fucking-stand me?”
Vearden nodded then looked around. They were outside, and it was a bit difficult to breathe, so they must have been pretty high up in the air. It seemed to be some kind of town. Three men were sneakily running across the lawn. One of them was Mateo, the other was Reaver, and the third was someone Vearden didn’t recognize.
Makarion looked horrified. This was different than his hatred of Reaver. “I don’t wanna be here. Not again.”

They were standing in a gigantic cavernous amphitheatre. The ceiling was showing the sky in various locations, like a constantly changing portal. Vearden wanted to admire it, but Makarion would have none of it, and they did hear what sounded like rushing water barreling towards them from the corridor behind them. “Ugh, I don’t want to be here again either!”

“Hello,” Doctor Baxter Sarka said to them. “Sorry, I was just doing a consult here. I’ll leave you two to grieve in peace.” They were in the special graveyard where salmon are buried. Vearden had only been there once, but he remembered it as an impactful experience.
“That’s okay, we were just leaving,” Makarion said.

A young woman was staring at them midstride, like a cat burglar who had just been caught. Vearden and Makarion were standing on a mattress in the middle of the floor of a warehouse. How odd.
“You understand how time travel works, yeah?” Makarion asked.
“Um...” she began.
“Causality, paradoxes, E-T-C?”
“I do.”
“Then when I tell you to forget you ever saw us, you recognize the importance of that.”
“I do, yes,” the woman replied.
“Perfect. Byeeeee.”

“Oh my God,” Vearden said. “Where the hell are we now? I just want to get back to Saga.” They were in a cemetery, but a much larger one than before.
“She’s right over there.”
Vearden looked to where Makarion was pointing. He could see an earlier version of himself, along with an earlier version of Saga. This was March 21, 2014; the night Mateo first began his pattern of jumping forwards one year every day. They were there to witness it that night; after finishing their first mission, and before going back in time to live with Samuel and Laurel.
“And there’s Mateo,” Makarion moved his hand to a separate group of people. “And there’s also Mateo.” He was right. Birthday boy, Mateo was standing in the middle of the crowd, hanging out with his friends. But another Mateo was standing with two guys he didn’t recognize, and the girl from the warehouse jump. That must be Leona. He wished he had known that then.
Vearden threw up his hands and plopped down on the ground. “We’re never getting back!”

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