Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Advancement of Leona Matic: September 4, 2181

Vito was right when he claimed he could make anything invisible. Not only could he do it with other people, but he could protect an entire compound. All the survivors were living together in the original housing, save for a couple loyal to the Maramon population, which had grown to massive proportions. Seven-year-old Esen was still alive and breathing every few seconds, supplying the world with a current estimated thirty-four million people and change. Adamina was still around as well, though there was evidence to suggest she could control her power. Unlike Esen, she should be able to halt this miniature universe’s progression at will, but she had no reason to. With a Maramon being born every few seconds, they felt they needed all the space they could get, even though technology wouldn’t advance enough to reach beyond this one planet for many thousand years.
At the moment, there was still only the one orbital, along with its suborbital, the moon. There was also a full sun, which was Adamina’s greatest achievement to date, and led to the creation of a new holiday. Though, it was still unclear when that holiday would be observed, since no one really knew how long a year was, how they would break down the calendar, or how they would measure these celestial movements. Over time, Vito learned how to maintain stable invisibility of anything he wanted without him actually being nearby. This allowed him to venture out from the compound and gather intelligence on the natives. He was able to use his power to pose as a friendly, forming an illusion around his entire body that made him look like one of the giant white monstrous creatures. He learned many things about how they operated, and what kind of society they were forming. They were developing their own language, which Vito was studying, and teaching the other humans upon returning to the compound every week for debrief. The Maramon spread rumors that the gods who created their world lived amongst them, but they never found any proof that the compound existed, so the humans were safe...for now. Only an elite few protecting the children knew the truth.
When Serif returned to the timeline, she interrupted a deep discussion among the compound leaders, which included Saga and Serif. They were debating whether they should separate this dimension from The Warren entirely, whether it was time to do that now, and how they would go about even trying such a thing. Legal adult, Vitalie was apparently in the room as well, but she forgot to reveal her astral projected self to Serif, which made for some weird conversations to witness. She was presently in bed sleeping, which was the only way she could form a stable connection to this pocket dimension, leading many to believe it would one day soon simply break off on its own, and begin floating in the metaphysical bulkverse, completely independent of its parent universe. This would be ideal, if they also knew how to get out before it happened, and could trust that it would do so without human intervention, because they weren’t sure they could figure out how to do it.
“I may know someone,” Vitalie said after allowing Serif to see her. “There’s a woman in pocket one who has used her paramount power to reestablish order to the pocket.”
“How did she do that?” Saga asked.
“She threatens to end their existence. She claims not only to be capable of destroying a whole pocket dimension with nothing but a thought, but also that she’s already done so, and is the only thing holding it together now. She says it’s on a dead man’s switch, and if anything were to happen to her, the dimension would collapse, killing everyone inside.”
“That’s terrible,” Serif said.
“Well, it’s worked. Her threat created a peace the likes of which those people had never known, even while living on Durus.” She took a beat. “The point is, she may be able to tear pocket four away from The Warren, and into this bulkverse you keep talking about.”
“It’s the space in between parallel universes. It’s nowhere and everywhere, all at once,” Serif tried to clarify.
“Okay, that helped,” Vitalie said sarcastically.
“What makes you think someone who can destroy dimension could also emancipate one?” Saga posed.
“I don’t know for sure, but he might.” She pointed towards a young man sitting quietly in the corner.
He wasn’t a compound leader, but they were holding this meeting in the common area, and it was perfectly fine for him to sit there while they were talking. He was born with the ability to diagnose other people’s time powers, inherently understanding what they could do, even before they manifested. On Durus long ago, his bloodline was used to coordinate for the Mage Protectorate, placing mages in the optimal positions for defending against the monsters that once roamed those lands. He was the one who figured out that Esen could create whole people by breathing, and that Adamina could expand the dimension. “Me? I can’t diagnose someone without being able to touch them. That is—pardon the pun—vital.”
“Can you diagnose yourself?” Vitalie asked.
“What?”
“Yourself? Have you ever diagnosed yourself? Full work-up.”
“Well, no, that would be ridiculous. I’m part of a bloodline. We can all do this, and I’ve already proven my power.”
“Yes,” Vitalie agreed, for the sake of furthering her own argument, “but if you never diagnosed yourself, you don’t really know your own limits. Have you ever tried to diagnose someone as an astral projection?”
“Of course not.”
“So maybe you can?”
He took a deep breath. “I suppose it can’t hurt to try.”
“Great,” Vitalie said, having brilliantly come into her own as a leader. “Then let me tell you my tentative plan.”

Hokusai had a week ago finally figured out how to reopen the pocket dimensions. It took all these years because she needed to invent a few things along the way, using the synthesizer, for which she didn’t always have the necessary materials. She tried printing her new objects by using scraps from the material reclamator, but this was not going to be enough. She needed more, but Paige was unwilling to provide her with anything. She spent a not insignificant amount of time just pleading her case for letting her cannibalize the ship just a little bit. Unfortunately, with no proof that what she ultimately created would do them any good, she was unable to secure authorization. Frustrated, and at the end of her rope, Hokusai decided to tear apart her own bed, leaving her and Loa with nothing but a mattress. Paige was not happy about this executive decision, but was presumably tired of fighting with her about it. If she wanted to sleep on the floor, then fine.
Hokusai first came up with her idea from an old television show that hadn’t been created until after she left for Durus. On her down time, she would go through the library database, not looking for inspiration, but just needing to clear her mind of the problem. Some escapist entertainment was the only thing keeping her from literally banging her head against one of the UbiƱa pockets, in a desperate attempt to get it open. She had no idea she would get any help from the library, but this show included a plotline where characters used something called a dimensional assimilator to automatically transport people from several other pocket dimension, back to their home world, all at once. That alone would do her no good, since there was not enough standing room for everyone inside the pockets, especially not since more had been born since. She would have also needed to somehow prevent pocket four from coming through, since there were now tens of millions of individuals living there. The show did allow her to rethink the problem, though, and come up with something that could work.
She used the synthesizer to create six dimensional generators; one for each pocket. Instead of trying to restore the links between the ship, and the other dimensions, what she needed to do was shift parts of the ship into six new pocket dimensions, each one precisely tuned to the properties of the one it’s trying to access. She spent the last several months tirelessly building these new structures, using their bed, as well as several other things Paige eventually agreed to hand over. In the end, they looked like bathroom partitions, extending the pods by about a half meter. This made it hard to walk from one half of the ship to the other, but most people still there were willing to suffer through that for the sake of getting their people back. They still had not yet heard from Leona, so it was even more important to get back into those pockets, and find out what had happened to her. Today was her day, though, so if they didn’t do it now, they would have to wait an entire year, and that was not acceptable. Fortunately, Vitalie was back with a tentative plan for solving everybody’s problems.
Vitalie’s plan was a good one, but it was predicated on the idea that Hokusai could establish a connection between the Warren, and the pocket dimensions indefinitely, which was not the case. She spent most of the day letting the diagnostician help the dimensions destroyer figure out how to destroy part of a dimension, thereby closing it off, but not the whole thing. They were approaching midnight, though, and if they didn’t get this done by that time, Serif could be stuck in pocket four forever. Not to mention the fact that they still needed to figure out where Leona was. She went into a weird sparkly portal in Annora’s quarters, but never came back.
Vitalie raced back and forth between the dimensions, mustering all her strength on retargeting faster than she ever had before. As soon as Hokusai activated these things she called dimensional generators, the alarms began to blare, making it abundantly clear to Hokusai that this was a temporary solution. Unlike Annora, she did not possess a natural ability to create pocket dimensions. Nor did she have enough time to study a stable pocket to create one. In the end, she was really just going off her minimal exposure, substantial education, and massive intellect. She warned Vitalie what was happening, so Vitalie went into crisis mode, taking over the ship, with no protest from Pagie. She ordered Loa to look for a way to get Leona out of pocket seven. She told Brooke and Paige to block the entrances to the pockets, because people were starting to come through. Of course, this wasn’t doing much good, as people were desperate to leave their prisons, even if it meant running into a new one. Vitalie came out of her pocket in physical form and ran into pocket one to retrieve the dimensional destroyer, and escort her to pocket four, leaving her at the entrance while she made sure all the humans were going to come through. They were already running up the hill to get to the exit.
“Where’s Serif? Vitalie asked.
“She went looking for Vito,” Camden answered, ushering his people though the portal.
“Where was Vito?”
“He was kidnapping Adamina from the temple.”
Vitalie put on her game face and took a deep breath. “Get everyone through.” She reached out and sought Serif, since she didn’t know exactly where she was. Once her mind found her, she sent her astral projection towards her, and watched in horror as Serif ran through the valley, holding onto little Adamina’s hand. They were being pursued by a horde of Maramon, angry about one of their primary gods being stolen from them. Vitalie wanted to help, but could do nothing as a disembodied consciousness.
“We’re coming!” Serif yelled.
“Where’s Vito. Can’t he turn you invisible?”
“He didn’t make it.”
“The exit is going to close! You have to get there now!”
“If we don’t get there in time, close the door and cut this dimension away from the ship!” Serif commanded, out of breath, but pressing forward. “You need to end this whether we’re back or not! Do you understand?”
Vitalie didn’t want to do that.
“Do you understand!”
“Yes!”
“Then go. You’re distracting me, and I want you to help find Leona.”
Vitalie disappeared, and sent her mind to dimension six, where Loa was standing in front of where the entrance to the portal would form, had they any way of opening it from this end. She used her remote viewing power on the wall, and opened one of her windows. It was showing the corridor of a block of prison cells. Four of them were occupied; two by Leona and Ecrin, and the other two by men neither Loa nor Vitalie recognized.
“Are your windows two-way?” Vitalie asked.
“Not through this,” Loa answered. “It’s taking everything I have just to keep it open. We can’t communicate with them.”
“I can.”
Vitalie sent her mind back to her body. They could now see Serif and Adamina running towards them in the distance, the mob right on their tail. “Don’t let the monsters get through,” she ordered the destroyer. “If that means Serif and the girl don’t make it, then so be it. But you better goddamn wait until the last second.”
She ran back through the portal, and into the ship. She struggled through the crowd of overzealous passengers, and grabbed Paige by the arm. They ran into pocket six, which was the only one still populated, since the people in there were still operating under Ecrin’s command. Vitalie combined her power with Loa’s, to send Paige through the window. Without hesitating or asking questions, Paige used her incredible strength to tear the bars off, and free Leona and Ecrin. She pulled them back through the temporary portal just in time for Loa and Vitalie to both pass out from exhaustion, trapping the men in there.
Ecrin’s security force carried them out of the pocket while Leona followed. When she entered the ship, she found it to be larger than it was before. It had somehow grown.

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