Chapter 137: Found: One Missing Martian
We will start with a retrospective. During the evacuation of the City
of Bronze, our heroes rescued a little old lady from the city's
dragon-lord. She pitched in by unexpectedly diverting an energy bolt of
the dragon's. This roused our curiosity, so we questioned her in the
pantope when things were a bit quieter.
She admitted to being fay. A very, very old fay, and, of course, part of the Fay Remnant. She belonged to a group whosimply tried to stay out of the way of mortals, while remaining on Earth. By the 20th century, though, it was very hard to hide a sizeable community on Earth, so they moved on to Mars as soon as it was plausible for them to do so -- "passing" as human long enough to set up a dome colony far off by themselves.
We instantly recognize this as describing the Missing Martians we tracked down, long ago in Episodes 39, 40, and 41. What we didn't know was where they vanished to. They threw in their lot with the Nephil Remnant and settled the unnamed nephil colony we stumbled across in Episodes 22, 23, and 24. That planet, you may recall, was almost wholly sacked by the dragons, by the time we found it, though there were still a few resistance fighters left, we suspected.
The good lady, who goes by "Machwena," is not only a Missing Martian, but a witchwalker or something like that -- master of the geometry-dictating powers that let one cross worlds and, as we saw, confuse a missile as to its whereabouts. She could have walked off Yazatlan herself, at any time, but did not have much of anywhere else to go, and did not feel it was appropriate to abandon her fellows, few of whom were also witchwalkers.
It is interesting to note that the Missing Martians were on the CoDominion timeline, while the lost nephil colony was on the United Earth timeline. This is the first indication we've had that the arcane remnants work across timelines.
Machwena, however, seems not to understand this situation herself. At least, she is confused when Tom talks about timelines. This comes up when Tom tells her that Olam Nephilim is on the Falkenstein timeline, where dragons and fays are public figures in what passes, there, for the mundane world. That surprises her considerably.
However, Machwena is pleased, if confused, by the new turn of events. She is likewise confused by the appearance of the pantope -- a perfectly normal reaction, even in a witchwalker. Tom explains it a little, in general terms, along with the existance and nature of Lanthil, and why we're involved in rescuing the captives of Yazatlan. She takes it all in, as best she can, and we gate her into the Tellemataru, commending her to Morniesul and telling her to drop in at Lanthil if she wants.
We can always use a friendly witchwalker.
Once the hurly-burly's done, And the battle's lost and won, We find our heroes back at the ranch, catching their breaths. They have e-mail. Oh, do they have e-mail. Dafnord takes a peek and finds one major thread is a lot of calls from Cantrel, at Jumping Jacks. No surprise. Dafnord straightens his uniform and calls.
He catches Cantrel in his pajamas. Perfect timing. Cantrel is not as upset as usual, though. He just wants to know what happened to the Munch. Why, for instance, did it emit large blasts of gamma and gravitational radiation -- enough to attract the attention and concern of the Hellene Orbital Guard?
Dafnord explains that it was on the receiving end of an interdimensional attack from dragons, but the hurly-burly's done; they lost; we won. Oh, good; then he can tell a suitably editted version of that to the Orbital Guard, who will want to know...
Good night, Commandant.
Well, parts of the Munch are still habitable. We know, because we were using its autodoc not long ago. We gate to the bridge, to ask Edvard how things are going. We are a little surprised to find Edvard himself, a large cube of circuitry, sitting in the middle of the deck. Maybe this is so some of the repair robots can get at him, because a quick cyberclair by Robbie reveals that he certainly needs fixing up. When he speaks, he gives a good computerized impression of someone trying to talk despite a stiff blow to the head.
>From Edvard's report, it soon becomes clear that he and the rest of the ship need lots of repairs. Especially the engineering section, where we used to have three pinhole-effect generators and now have two and a lot of radiation. But Edvard and the Munch are from about fifty years in the future. We bought them in Martshayla Port.
Not a problem. Tom has an apartment in Martshayla Port and soon gates the pantope there. (We then make a short forward hop to get past the time when the rest of us are still there.)
We find we can certainly buy what we need in Martshayla Port -- for about five times as much money as we have, in this period. Time to do a little time-trading. Chocolate fruit? Nah, we're fifty years in the future; the chocolate-fruit fad is long gone, or the Surgeon General has discovered it causes thrumps, or something. Dwarf-grown gems, on the other hand, with their "richly textured psi," went over well once before.
We gate over to the New Dawn Yards, in Lanthil of 30 years in the future, and drop off Runyana, who says she ought to be able to get some good gems from a trader friend of hers, Abdulla, in return for a large shipment of gift-wrapped chocolate fruit. Good old chocolate fruit.
We skip ahead, day at a time, for nine days, and pick up Runyana and her gems. Then off to Martshayla Port to use them to buy spare parts for the Munch. That done, we gate back to the Munch, where Gannar takes it down for repairs in a black hangar at Jumping Jacks.
Now what? Well, Tom, for one, wants to get off the pantope. The thing was dimensionally crumpled in our recent battle, and being aboard it for any length of time gives him a grinding headache. He must see about repairing it soon -- bit at a time, while popping aspirins betweenwhiles, at the ranch or someplace.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.