Saturday, May 26, 2018

Missy’s Mission: Ghosts and Creatures (Part VIII)

The leader monster walked off, leaving Missy and Dar’cy to be escorted to the nearest alien building by a fairly large group of extremely cautious guardsmen. They placed them in what appeared to be their version of an interrogation room, and one came in to ask questions, first getting the basics out of the way, like their names, ages, and time of departure.
“Have you ever been to our world?”
“No.”
“Have you ever known anyone to come to our world?”
“We’ve never heard of this place.”
“Do you have more of those translator masks?”
“No.”
“Will you share with the other humans, so we can communicate with them as well? We would rather not have to request interpreters from West Borakon.”
“We will share,” Missy answered.
“You already have people who speak English?” Dar’cy asked.
He ignored her, and just moved on. “What is your business here?”
“Ours, and none of yours.”
He appeared to smile, but their faces were so strange that they couldn’t tell exactly. He asked them a few questions about who they were, which they generally felt comfortable revealing. Secrets weren’t really all that useful for them. They were in foreign land, and totally beholden to these...things. Once he was finished, he told them he would relay this information to the covfefe, who would meet with them shortly.
Missy couldn’t help but crack a smile. “The what?”
“Covfefe Junyj. You met him.”
“Is that where...?” Missy began to joke.
“Her translator must be malfunctioning,” Dar’cy interrupted. “I’ll take a look at it. Thank you.”
“Dar’cy,” Missy said, once their interviewer was gone. “Covfefe was—”
“I know,” she interrupted again. “Just let it go.”
Missy wanted to laugh again a few minutes later after guardsmen escorted them deeper through the building, and into an obnoxiously overdecorated office. The leader was waiting for them there, holding a glass of alcohol, presumably. He introduced himself as “Covfefe Junyj, Lion of the Lords, Savior and Deliverer.”
Before the conversation would continue, another monster slipped into the room and informed the covfefe, “he’s awake.”
“Bring him in. I suspect he’s connected to these other two.”
The servant left and returned with the man Missy and Dar’cy witnessed being sucked into the portal in the past, and later punched by the covfefe.
“Thank you all for coming,” Junyj said, but something was strange about the way he said it.
“We didn’t have a choice,” the man corrected.
“Quite,” Junyj agreed. That was it. His mouth was moving in sync with the words he was saying. He was actually speaking English, which would explain why this other human understood him. “You don’t need those things anymore,” he explained, confirming this.
As Missy and Dar’cy were removing their translators, Junyj offered them drinks, which all three refused.
“Do you all know each other?”
“We don’t know him,” Dar’cy replied.
He barely registered her response, and looked at her like he was trying to figure her out in a more general sense, and the words she uttered were less important than the way she said them. He regarded her position as partially in front of Missy. “You are her protector,” he guessed.
Dar’cy tensed up. “I am. You don’t wanna find out everything that entails.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. I like a strong woman. You would make a fine seventieth wife,” he said, raising his drink. “If my form does not displease you, that is.”
“Your form is irrelevant,” she replied. “I am uninterested.”
“I understand that you’re from a planet called Earth, but you arrived here from a place called...” he looked back at his notes, “Durus? Is that true for you, sir?”
The man said nothing.
“Look, human, I’m not a bad guy. I’m just trying to do what’s best for my people. It’s my job to decide whether the humans who invaded us are significant threats. I just ask for a little cooperation.”
“Bullshit!” the human man cried. “You’re the invader. Durus was overrun with your...temporal mistakes!”
He looked back over to the women. “They said nothing of that.”
“The monsters are gone in our time,” Missy said to the man.
“Good.” He directed his attention back to Junyj. “So we defeat you. That does not mean you did not invade us.”
“That world was meant to be unpopulated. We chose it for that reason.”
“You chose it as a staging ground, knowing it would get you to Earth. I spoke with Effigy. She told me everything.”
“Effigy?” Junyj didn’t know who that was.
“Uhh...” he stammered, “Ezqava.”
Junyj laughed. “I doubt she told you everything. She barely knows anything. Now, if you spoke with Shuhana, that is a different story. We are very interested in knowing what happened to her.”
“I don’t know. She was mentioned, I never met her.”
Junyj was notably disappointed. “From what I gather, Mister...”
“Bran,” the human said. “Detective Bran.”
“Detective Bran, you’re here by accident, no?”
“This is true.”
“But you two came here on purpose?”
“We...went out looking for something,” Missy began. “We didn’t know our mission would end up taking us here.”
“What are you looking for?”
They hesitated.
“I might be able to help you, but I need to know what you need.”
“We have time powers,” Dar’cy said bravely. “She’s trying to get rid of hers.”
“Oh,” Junyj said, scratching the back of his neck. “Well, you’re late.”
“How late?”
“Few thousand years,” he responded, almost doing a good job of pretending to feel bad for them. “Historians tell us of something that could do that, but it doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t even know what it was.”
“In that case,” Dar’cy said, “I need you to show me an object from that period of time. Do you have artifacts from your history, in a museum, or something?”
“Why would you need that?” He was suspicious.
“It might have trace amounts of the substance that removes time powers,” Dar’cy lied. Well, she wasn’t lying so much as coming up with a plausible story that might even be true. For all they knew, that was exactly what they needed to end this once and for all.
“That’s not going to happen,” Junyj said frankly.
Before Dar’cy could protest, the servant from before barged into the room. “We have to get you out of here, Covfefe! They’re attacking.”
“Who’s attacking?” Junyj asked, and received his answer right away.
A hole appeared in the servant’s chest, yellowish blood dripping out of the wound. Dar’cy pulls Missy out of her chair, and backs her up against the wall. A man was fast-walking into the room with his game face on. Without looking, he swiped the air in front of him, sending the servant’s head across the room in a million little pieces. “We are.”
“Lucius, stop!” came the voice of a man behind the killer. “I wanna speak with him first.”
“Curtis?” Missy asked. In her previous life of jumping around time, meeting other people like her, she came across a teleporter named Curtis. He could only jump as far as he could see, and compared to all the interesting people she had met over the years, he was fairly underwhelming. The gorgeous behemoth working with him, on the other hand, Lucius, was a god. He was tall, wide, muscular, and commanding. If he didn’t have superpowers, he would still be able to kill everyone in this room with one move, and without even looking.
“I thought I saw you in the ring,” Curtis said. “You’re here to get rid of your powers?”
“Yeah, aren’t you?”
He shook his head. “We’re here to kill him.” He gestured towards Junyj.
“Why?”
“If you’ve already met him, you know the answer to that question.”
They could hear the march of enemy soldiers behind them. Eyes fixed on Junyj, Lucius reached his fist behind his shoulder, then opened his fingers. They could hear the screams of monsters as they were being torn apart, and no more footsteps.
“Mister Covfefe,” Curtis said to Junyj. “You are a joke on my planet. Literally. I’m killing you here for the satisfaction, but have no fear, I’m going back in time to stop you from existing in the first place. Your whole universe will be destroyed before it begins, and Durus will be a safe zone.”
“Curtis, that’s a major alteration of the timeline,” Missy warned.
“That’s what we do.”
Junyj sported that same sinister smile. “It doesn’t matter. You can’t go back and stop my universe from being created. As soon as it broke free from your universe, it became fundamentally independent. At that point, you can create as many contradicting timelines as you want, we already exist.”
Somehow, Curtis grew even angrier. “That’s not what we were told.”
“You were told wrong,” Junyj said simply. “Or it’s hard to hear through that dark skin of yours.”
Lucius, the one with the darkest skin of them all, waved his hands in venn circles, separating Junyj into his tiniest bits, which then faded away like sparks from a reciprocating saw, cutting through bolts. “Racist mother fucker,” he said in a deep Michael Clarke Duncan voice.
“I wasn’t done with him,” Curtis complained.
“I don’t care,” Lucius said.
“Do you have a plan to get out of here?” Dar’cy asked Curtis.
Curtis sighed. “That wasn’t part of the deal. We’re here to destroy the universe, whether it be now, or a thousand years ago. Our survival is not required.”
“Required by who?”
“By whom.” Curtis corrected.
“Required by who?” Missy repeated.
“We don’t know.”
“Well, before you destroy the universe,” Dar’cy began, “could you let us get to a museum?”
“Dar’cy, we can’t let them destroy this place. It’s unethical,” Missy whined.
“It’s also not our problem. What we came for is in the past. I can get us there, but I need something that existed back then.”
“I know just the thing,” came the voice of someone in the doorway. It was one of the monsters of this world. She held her hands up defensively when Lucius offensively held up his own. “I just want to help. This is a diverse world. We are not all like him,” she said, suggestive of Junyj.
Everybody hesitated.
The woman continued, “look, you can clearly kill me with the snap of your fingers, so if you don’t like where I take you, you can always just do that. I wanna help.”
“Why do so many of you speak English?”
“Don’t worry about it,” the woman said, walking away, hoping they would follow, or at least not kill her.
She led them across the city, which was eerily vacant of the monsters. “We’re now in a transitional period,” the woman explained. “Half the population exists a third of the day. The other half exists for another third. In between, nobody exists, except for a select constant, many of which you just killed.”
“Why is it like that?” Dar’cy questioned.
“Our population is too great,” she went on. “We don’t have enough room for everyone, so we take turns. The empty third is...so the universe can breathe. It’s part of our religion.”
“Why are you helping us,” Curtis demanded to know.
“You’re the gods,” she said matter-of-factly. “You think we can temporarily remove half our people from time all at once? We learned that from you.”
“We’ve not been treated as gods,” Dar’cy pointed out.
“How would you treat your gods if you met them, and found them to just be regular people?” She opened a door. “Everyone’s an asshole, even to people they like.” What a cynical view.
She walked them through a maze of historical artifacts, until finding the one she was looking for. She admired it reverently. “The Wrench of Creation,” she said in a breathy voice.
“That’s Étude’s,” Missy realized. The ship that brought them to Durus in the first place did so in order to retrieve The Last Savior of Earth, an important teleporter that the powers that be used to save people’s lives. It was pretty much the only decent thing the PTB did impulsively and voluntarily. Étude’s womb mother, Andromeda died months before she was born, leaving the fetus to develop in an artificial uterus. She left her daughter a plastic wrench toy that symbolized her paramount power to build structures at will, which she did to create nearly all the major buildings on the planet. On its own, the wrench could do nothing. It was just sentimental.
“How did that get here?” Dar’cy asked.
“It’s always been here,” the woman said, as if the answer could be nothing but.
“If it’s really been on this world since whatever can remove time powers existed,” Dar’cy said, “then it’ll work.”
“Oh, you can’t touch it,” the woman warned. “It’s a holy relic.” Her body was torn apart into its constituent atoms.
“God..dammit, Lucius!” Missy screamed. “Will you stop just killing people!”
He made this face like it was the first time anyone thought to suggest such a thing. He answered genuinely with, “I shall consider it.”
“What’s done is done,” Dar’cy said as she took off her shirt, and used it to break the glass between them and the wrench. “It’s time to end this.”
“We can’t go yet.”
“Why not?”
“There are two dozen other people here looking for the same thing. We have to take them with us.”
“I’m not that strong,” Dar’cy reminded her.
“We have to find a way,” Missy said plainly.

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