Saturday, January 6, 2018

Void: Threshold (Part I)

After the death of her partner, Vearden, Saga felt a void in her life. The only way she could keep it from swallowing her up was to throw herself into her work. When she first discovered she was a time traveler, she felt trapped and helpless. She had no control over her life, and was beholden to the whims of a mysterious group of people pulling her strings. After getting a small taste of real power, however, she discovered how to seize her own destiny. She tried to use her new tricks to relax, but that only lasted a few days before her deep depression started taking over her. She decided the only way to keep herself from thinking about what she lost was to stay busy.
She ran all throughout time and space, opening magic doors from mission to mission. She used her experiences as a nurse to treat injured warriors, and provide medicine for people living in eras before medical science had caught up her. She helped in other ways too, executing plans in historic revolutions, and taking power from tyrannical leaders. She made a name for herself as being the hardest working temporal manipulator in the timeline. But she was working herself to death, and this could not last forever.
At present, she was slinking around the lower levels of the Rice-Eccles Stadium, during the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. KISS was performing on the stage above, under threat of a series of bombs that would kill thousands, and injure many more. Saga was there to stop it, which was foolish of her, since she knew next to nothing about explosives. She was about to turn a corner when she heard voices. She pressed herself against the wall and carefully looked around the edge to see what she was dealing with. Two men in military garb were standing over one of the bombs, apparently putting it in place. They were just having a casual conversation while they were installing it too, like this was just a lazy Sunday. She took a deep breath, checked the bullets in her gun, and jumped out. “Stop what you’re doing!” she ordered.
The men stopped and looked at her.
“You are not a security guard,” one of them said.
She pulled the hammer back. “Neither are you.”
“Well, technically we are,” he replied, not scared at all of Saga, or her weapon.
“Voss, get back to work,” the other one said.
“Do you have any idea how dangerous it is down her, lady?” the one called Voss asked of her.
“Agent Voss, would you please disarm this bomb before we all die?”
Saga lowered her arms slightly, but kept the gun in the ready position. At least she did so to the best of her ability. Though she had spent a lot of time in war, she never truly learned how to use these things properly. It was probably pretty obvious to these guys too. “You’’re agents? You’re trying to disarm them?”
“That’s right,” Agent Voss confirmed.
“Why aren’t there more of you?” Saga asked.
“Why would there be more?” Voss volleyed.
“Because there are two dozen bombs, and only sending two guys seems a bit...inefficient.”
“Other agents are busy with other things.”
“Other agents. In the FBI? Homeland? Something else?”
Agent Voss just smirked.
“Agent, I don’t know how to do this!” the other one complained.
Voss looked back. “Yeah, neither do I. This one is different.”
“How is it different?” the other agent asked.
Voss turned back around. “Look at these wires; they’re not even color-coded. This was designed to not be disarmed. We could slow it down by freezing it, but there’s nothing else we can do.”
“Why were the others not built like this?”
“Because it’s complicated as all hell, and it wasn’t necessary. As soon as this one goes off, the ones we supposedly disarmed will go off in a chain reaction.”
“Can we move it?”
“That’ll set it off too. We remove it from the column it’s strapped to, and we have about five seconds before it’s all over.”
“Five seconds?” Saga asked for clarification, holstering her gun. She looked around for the nearest door, which was not super close, and maybe not close enough.
“That’s right. You think you can get out of the building that fast?” Voss asked, laughing.
“Well, I can get out of the building, but I don’t think I can do it that quickly. How fast can you run?” she asked him.
They were both thrown off by her demeanor, which was completely serious.
“You think you can get to that door before it explodes?”
Agent Voss looked down to it. “That’s about thirty yards, so yeah, probably, but it leads to a staircase, so it wouldn’t do us any good.”
“Can you? Or probably can?” she pressed.
“I definitely could if I injected myself with adrenaline, and there was some magic portal over th—” He stopped. “Is there a magic portal over there?”
Now she was the one smiling. “Not yet.”
He smiled back. “You’re a choosing one.”
“I’m halfway between salmon and chooser.”
“Never heard of that.”
“There are only two of us.” She flipped her smile upside down. “Well, now there’s only one.” She started walking towards the door. “Get ready for my signal.”
While Voss was removing his outer garb that was restricting his movement, the other agent questioned him, “are we sure we can trust her? Just because she’s one of you doesn’t mean she’s one of the good ones.”
“You’re gonna have to learn to trust people, Fortier.”
“I was trained to not tru...” Saga walked out of earshot of their inside voices, and stood at the door. She took another deep breath, and concentrated. In order to transported something from one time and place to another, she could just walk there. But if she wanted to move an object elsewhere without going with it, she needed a door. And she needed a door on the other side too. There weren’t many doors in history safe enough to throw a bomb through. She risked hurting people with most of them, but there were a few where she could be certain nobody was around.
“Can you go ahead and open it!” Agent Voss called up to her.
“! I’ll die if I do! I’ll open it at the exact right time! One I do, push the bomb through it, and run to the side as fast as you can!”
“Okay!” he called back after a thoughtful pause.
She was just glad the bomb was on wheels. Fortier jabbed something into Voss’ leg, and then quickly undid the straps. Voss bolted towards the door, pushing the bomb in front of him like a deadly shopper on Black Friday. The casters were making too much noise for her to hear, but she imagined the clock beeping down from five. When he was as close as he could safely be, Saga pushed open the door, and flew out of it into the vacuum of space. She was holding onto the hatch of Sputnik 2, which had just begun orbiting Earth in November of 1957. She knew she would be opening a gateway to the black, but she didn’t know it would try to pull her through. As death expanded inside her body, she watched the force pull Voss and the bomb towards the same fate. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. He seemed well equipped to handle it, though. He jumped out of the opening and wrapped his arms around her. The next thing she knew, they were landing on the grass, on the surface of some planet. A dog was barking next to them. Then she blacked out.
Saga woke up in the hospital next to Agent Voss, who was eating pudding and petting the dog. Upon seeing her awake, the dog jumped off his bed, and onto hers.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“2057,” Voss answered.
“Is this Laika?”
“Who?” he asked.
“The dog. The space dog. Did we save Laika?”
“I don’t know about that. I saved you, after you saved tens of thousands.”
She massaged her head and sat up. “You’re a time jumper.”
“Salmon.” He reached over and mimed shaking her hand. “The name’s Agent Camden Voss, but my the powers that be, and my superiors, call me Centurion. Are you thirsty?”
Just then a past version of Saga walked into the room, holding a tray of food and water.
“I don’t remember this,” Future!Saga said.
“I’m going to have my memories erased later,” Past!Saga explained.
“Eh, time travel, right?” Camden said. He finished his pudding and swung his legs around to sit on the edge of his bed. “Speaking of which, let me know when you’re well enough to leave, and if you wanna leave. I need to get back to my sister. She’s become the new Savior.”
“She has? When?”
“2102. If I don’t get back there soon, I may never see her again.” He closed his eyes. “I may never see her again either way. My limitation is that I can only go backwards or forwards by exactly one hundred years. Which means, if I try to go back to the future, I could be either forty-five years too early...or fifty-five years too late.”
“I’m sorry,” Saga said. “I thought jettisoning the bomb into space was the only way to stop it from hurting anyone else. I never meant for you to go through that door.”
“It’s okay. Like I said, you saved everyone in the stadium. That was my job, and I failed on my own.”
“I’m ready to go now,” Saga said, struggling out of bed. “Whew.” She was lightheaded. “And if it doesn’t work, I’ll get you back to 2102 myself. It’s my fault I’ve stolen time from you and Xearea.”
“How did you know her name?” he questioned.
“Eh, time travel, right?”
“I don’t think you’re actually ready.”
“I was dying when you pulled us out of 1957, so I think I can make it.”
After a few more arguments, Camden agreed to try to jump them both to 2102, along with their rescue dog. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and they just ended up in 2157. Even worse, Saga was unable to do anything either. She was just too weak to use her door-walking time powers. But she knew she would get it some time. She just needed to rest for a couple of days.
For some reason, though, her powers never came back to her. And so they lived in a time period outside of their choosing for three and a half years.

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