Saturday, March 10, 2018

Void: One Who Dies (Part X)

Since Camden was unable to attend his sister’s funeral, he and his closest friends held a small memorial service on Durus. Saga and Camden spoke in honor of her, believing themselves to be the only two people on the planet who actually knew her. One elderly woman, however, stood before the crowd, and revealed that Xearea had saved her life when she was but a little girl. That was the beauty of the Savior, that her legacy would never die, for how much she had done for the world. Few can say they touched so many people’s lives in their short lifespan. Xearea lived longer than most Saviors, according to salmon history, which provided some level of solace. But it did little to outweigh how little time the two siblings were ultimately able to spend together. Like their predecessors, Mario and Daria Matic, Camden and Xearea Voss were destined to live their lives separately.
Only a few months into the pregnancy, Andromeda was not feeling well. She was sweaty, and running a fever, so they decided they needed to go see a doctor. They thought about contacting Dr. Hammer, but they probably needed to reserve those calls for emergencies. It was probably just the flu, and a Durune medical professional could help with that. The world was using advanced electrical machinery on a global scale by now. This was a blending of technology and paramount powers. Instead of using telephone lines and radio signals, researchers were developing a metadimensional network to connect people using adapted time powers. They were still working out the logistics of supplying people with reliable interface apparatus. Though medicine was far beyond the singularity on Earth by now, Durune health now rivaled that of what Saga grew up being familiar with.
Dr. Pereira came back into the room after being gone for as long as doctors are usually gone for, likely having been drinking coffee in the breakroom. She had a concerned and sympathetic face on her face. She sat down behind her desk and slide over some papers, so she could rest her arms.
“We’re waiting,” Saga said.
Andromeda breathed heavily next to her, mouth covered by a barrier mask. “Remember your anger management classes.”
Saga never went to any real classes. Andromeda just scheduled time for them to talk with each other, and sometimes a few friends, once a week.
“I’m sorry,” Pereira said. “You are suffering from a viral attack that we’ve not seen before.”
“What about the Earthan database?”
“I do have limited access to that,” Pereira explained. “But I’ve done been able to find anything with its structure. Not that it would help. The virus originates from Durus, so Earth has never seen it.”
“You can’t be sure of that,” Saga said. The Deathspring caused a lot of cross-contamination, not just with people and animals.”
She shook her head slightly, and spoke in that calm but mildly condescending tone. “There’s been no proof of that. There’s a lot about this world we still don’t know. During the Mage Protectorate times, they would have simply teleported the disease out of her body. They never studied infection, so we don’t have a lot of records.”
“Then...why don’t you teleport it out?” Saga suggested. “Surely there’s a paramount here somewhere that can do that.”
Pereira blinked, but didn’t answer.
“Tell me there’s someone who can do that.”
“I’ve not been granted access to the paramount directory. We definitely don’t have anyone like that on staff.”
“Well, find someone who does have access.”
This would be another time for Andromeda to scold her for how rude she was being, but Saga could tell that she was scared for her life, and had no time for niceties either.
“It doesn’t work like that. I can’t just ask someone to access it for me. That would defeat the whole purpose of it being regulated and confidential.”
“Then defeat it,” Saga argued.
Pereira took out her notepad, and scribbled on it. “This is my contact in the paramount branch of government. You can request temporary access yourself. I obviously can’t make any promises about success, though.”
“This is a medical emergency, Doctor. She’s pregnant.”
“We can treat the symptoms,” Pereira said. “And I have people researching it conventionally, but there is no cure.”
“Does it have anything to do with the baby?” Saga asked.
She sighed and leaned back, but kept her back straight. “Baby is actually healthier than mom. It would seem that it’s...safeguarded against infection. If you’re asking whether the pregnancy itself is what’s causing Andromeda’s issues, that’s impossible.”
“I want her under close observation.”
“We can do that,” Pereira nodded.
“Hospital bed, 24-hour care, whatever she wants to eat. Everything. She literally built this world. Hell...” Saga looked around, “I’m pretty sure she even built this hospital.”
Pereira shook her head so Saga wouldn’t have to keep going. “She’ll receive the best care possible. We’re gonna do everything we can. You should go.”
Saga was tried to stand up, but Andromeda reached over and took her hand, frightened.
“I have to go to the government. There must be a paramount out there who can help you, and if I can’t find one, I’ll find someone who can find someone living at some other point in time, or in some other world, or even in some other universe. We’re going to fix this if I have to speak with The Emissary myself, and seek help from the powers that be.”
Saga contacted Camden as she was leaving the building, who activated his teleporter magnet, and jumped to her location immediately. “Morick works there now,” he said.
“He does?”
“Yeah, pretty low level, but he def has access to the directory.”
Though they were still on friendly terms with Morick, they didn’t talk all that often, and neither of them had his telemagnet code. So they had to find the nearest transportation pad in the city, and travel all the way to the capital. The paramount branch capitol was the most magnificent structure in the world. Its frame was built manually by human labor. Even if they thought they could have convinced Andromeda to build it for them, they wouldn’t have asked. They wanted it to be part of their history that they constructed it like people did way back in the old days on Earth. But of course, they didn’t want to be stuck with this plain facade with only one form. Like the background on a computer desktop, the capitol alters its own shape periodically, and randomly. It could look like Burj Khalifa, or Willis Tower, or Gherkin. At the moment, though, it resembled the One World Trade Center. It really didn’t matter what it looked like on the outside, for most floors were actually just in different pocket dimensions. Few people operated there in only three dimensions. Saga wasn’t sure why they bothered with a building at all.
They entered through the lobby, presented their credentials, and took the Instalift to the seventeenth pocket dimension, where Camden believed Morick was working. He greeted them at the entrance, having been alerted to their future arrival by a seer. “How can I help you?” he asked of them.
“We need the paramount directory,” Camden requested.
“You’ll need to file a formal request. They’ll monitor your activity, but it shouldn’t take long for them to approve your application.”
“How long is not long?”
“Three days,” Morick replied. “It doesn’t actually take that long to process the form. It’s a waiting period, to prevent exploitation. That’s the minimum, for people with your clout. Other people wait weeks.”
“We don’t have three days,” Saga said.
“Then you don’t have access.”
“Morick, please. Andromeda is sick.”
“Go to the doctor.”
“We did. She sent us here. To see this man.” Saga handed him Pereira’s note.
He kind of laughed at it. “This guy can expedite your application. For a favor.”
“What kind of favor?”
“The kind you don’t want to give. And it’ll still take at least one day.”
“Well, what kind of favor do you need?”
“The kind that you can’t give.”
“Try us,” Camden said.
“It wouldn’t be you,” Morick said. I don’t need to go as far back as 2069.”
“You want to time travel?” Camden asked.
“He wants to go home,” Saga understood.
“I’m done here, but the government won’t approve my time travel application. I was hoping working here would give me an edge, but I still keep hitting walls.”
“You want me to open a door?” Saga asked, but it wasn’t really a question.
“I believe that my time wants me back,” Morick claimed. “That’s when your powers work. They answer to the timestream, not the government.”
“I can’t give you something I don’t have,” Saga said to him. “I’ll be glad to send you anywhen you want to go, but that’s out of my control. You know that.”
“Just try,” Morick pleaded.
“You won’t help if we don’t help you?” Camden criticized. “Andromeda’s your friend too.”
“I want to help her,” Morick said truthfully. “This is not me having leverage over you. But if I don’t get out of here, I’ll be in big trouble for helping you with this. The door isn’t payment...it’s part of the plan.”
“Cross your fingers,” Saga said. She walked over to the nearest door and opened it. It seemed to have worked, but without crossing over, there was no real way of finding out whether this was the right moment in time. She told him as much.
“Anywhen is better than now,” Morick said, walking towards the doorway. He took a datadrive out of his pocket, and handed it to her as he was leaving.
As soon as she closed the door, she received an emergency alert for Andromeda’s telemagnet code. She took Camden by the shoulder and let them both be drawn back to Andromeda’s location. She was lying on a hospital bed, shaking and bleeding. Blood was seeping out of her pores like sweat.
“What the hell is this?” Saga cried.
“Hematohidrosis,” Pereira answered while she was trying to save Andromeda’s life. “New symptom of the virus.”
“Then fix it!” she continued to scream.
“I don’t think that I can. I might be able to save the child, but we would have to take it out now.”
“It’s been, like, sixteen weeks!”
Pereira stopped for a second. “I know. It’s not likely to survive either, even after a caesarean. If we don’t try, we lose them both.”
“Camden, you need to—” She was going to ask him to interface with the datadrive, but he was gone. She didn’t have time to look for him, though, because then she heard that dreadful constant beep. Andromeda had flatlined. “Bring her back,” Saga ordered.
“I can’t, she’s gone. The baby won’t live much longer.”
“Bring! Her! Back!”
Pereira reluctantly tried to resuscitate her, but it was obviously not doing any good.
Camden returned with something Saga didn’t recognize, and asked the doctor to stop. “Install this.”
She looked at him like he was crazy. “I can’t do that.”
“Yes, you can.”
“What is it?” Saga asked.
“It would be unethical. You can’t just jam this into your skull and expect it to start working.” Pereira was having none of it.
Saga pushed the doctor against some equipment. “I don’t know what that thing is, but if you don’t do exactly what he says, I’m going to murder you. I have done it before.”
Scared for her life, Pereira asked Camden to get on the table face down. Then she drilled a hole into the back of his head, and inserted the object he had returned with. Saga just stood there, stunned. “You’re supposed to have a week to acclimate. We don’t know where this technology comes from.”
“What technology?” Saga asked, still unable to move.
Camden took the datadrive out of his pocket, and placed it into the device that was now theoretically attached to his brain. “I don’t have that kind of time.”
His body jolted, and he snapped his eyes shut. After a few beats, he reached his arm towards Saga, but kept his eyes closed. “Telemagnet code Umbrella-Racecar-Husband-one-zero-eight,” he said at first. After another beat, he continued, but it looked like he was in some pain. “Resistance override authorization Temple-Algae-Volunteer-two-one-six.”
Saga hastily input the code, and forced a woman about Andromeda’s age to teleport to their location. Normally, they would request an appearance, but the override—which was very illegal to have—took care of that for them.
“I was told this day would come. What year is this?”
“Do what you do,” Camden ordered her.
“What does she do?” Pereira asked.
“My baby is dying. Do what you do,” Camden begged.
The woman placed her fingers on the stomach of Andromeda’s dead body. A reddish-orange light emanated from the womb. She then removed one hand, and pointed it towards the middle of the room. The same light began to form and grow. As it did, a figure inside of it also began to take shape. In only a few minutes, they could see that it was a fetus. It stayed floating above the floor, this suspended gestational bubble. Pereira pointed some instrument at it. “It’s alive. The baby is alive, kept in this...magic womb.”
The woman activated her teleporter to return home. Camden gasped for air, then fell down. And Andromeda. She was still dead.

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