Chapter 68: Gate Crashers
We left our heroes in the pantope Emerald Metaphor, zooming in on the
hunting lodge in Novarus where Admiral Yanov lives. It's currently
a-buzz with paramilitary activity. We shift to freeze-frame and zoom in
on a freshly-launched aircar. Inside, we see several figures, variously
uniformed or suited up. Some are in the white ablative armor we have
become familiar with. Some are carrying personal force field packs,
with accompanying shimmer. Some have both. One figure in both, toward
the front, is sitting in a captain-like position. The armor is less
heavy-duty than some, and the figure is slight. Might this be Ms.
Yanova herself, whom we believe to be persecuting us for her own unknown
We decide to investigate that later. For now, we record the coordinates of this place and moment, then try to move in on the hunting lodge itself.
As the window moves in, Tom notices his feel of control getting loose. Dafnord gets a Bad Feeling (tm) and urges him to disconnect. Tom tries to...
But the view changes to someplace foggy. Then Tom notes the window frame, usually sparkling green, has turned aqua. Brunalf, the neo-cat, sees that the whole area around the window looks funny. "Soft spot!" he announces, and seals up his egg-ship. Tom tries to shut the window again, but fails. Robbie notes that the laptop on the helm registers no coordinates, just as when the window IS shut.
Dafnord pulls out Umbra. Markel readies his quarterstaff. And just in time. Two figures leap out of the "window," in white ablative armor. Battle commences.
The cat lofts in his egg, gets shot at, and promptly gets enveloped by foam from his own safety devices. Braeta throws lightning bolts at the two, but must not have had time to work up much voltage, because all that happens is that one staggers a bit. Gannar, the android with aluminum bones, on the other hand, edges away from her. Robbie muffles the head of one attacker with ectoplasm. Obedan rushes into the tent to fetch his bazooka-blaster. Shots fly.
Then the other two doors open. Another pair of armored troopers leap in. Then another pair.
Daphne the pixie, picking up on Robbie's idea, flits in and wraps a foe's helmet with a scarf. One of his buddies shoots at her, crisping her a bit, but also shooting him in the head, so it's kind of a win...
Dafnord wades in with Umbra. Tom grabs mental control of the other omniport and opens the window into the Nones's hanger, under another foeman, who tries to trigger something on his belt but drops anyway.
Braeta clobbers a guy, tries to throw a lightning bolt, and bursts into flames. (Oops.) Robbie starts summoning gun platforms out of the armored airlock. Cantrel appears at the tent door and starts lasering foemen. Kate grabs a crateful of stun grenades, with TK. Obedan reappears with his bazooka.
Meanwhile, the foe are shooting at all of us, crisping the pixie again, throwing some blaster bolts into Markel's dragon, the Gargoyle, Dafnord, and Gannar.
Tom, crouched well down behind the emerald lectern of the helm, tries to close all the portals by sheer force of will. Hell, this is his pantope, his little reality--
But all that happens is that the doors to the airlock and the tent snap shut.
The Gargoyle charges one trooper. Another, the one Tom dropped, reappears in the hole, hovering. Robbie loads blaster bolts into him until he finally drops. Braeta, meanwhile, is battering the luckless trooper under the Gargoyle.
Kate lobs a stun grenade through one of the new gates, adding range with TK. There's a boom and a bit of a tingle. Two troopers fall into the pantope, out of the gateway. A third falls out of one of the other gateways, showing us that the three of them are all connected.
The trooper under the Gargoyle is a real champion for his side: he manages to shoot Braeta with his rifle, despite the bad conditions (under a mythical stone monster, being beaten by a demigoddess). Unfortunately, Braeta doesn't fall down. Instead, she pulls him out from under the Gargoyle and throws him at another trooper. Ouch.
Markel sics his dragon on one trooper. Daphne, meanwhile, peeks through the only gate that stunned troopers haven't fallen through. She sees a dim-lit room with a dozen or so fallen troopers, but three or four still up. She doesn't get a closer look, because one takes aim at her and fires. She flees at the same time. Skeet shooting with pixies.
Braeta takes a look through the door, too. Two blaster bolts strike her, but the daughter of Zeus only staggers. "Four through that door, two by that one, one by this," she reports, pointing. Robbie chucks grenades through the doors, while keeping up steady fire from his gun platforms. Kate tosses another stun grenade for good measure.
At this point, the doors wink out. We have five deeply unconscious troopers in here with us. At least, they're all unconscious after the Gargoyle finishes pounding on the one in a berserk rage (after which Braeta throws up, and Katrina and even Robbie turn faint).
Tom, meanwhile, is deeply worried about the implications of the attack. Yanova has access to some unknown level of transdimensional technology. Her troops were able to invade the Metaphor, even though our connection to spacetime was in freeze-frame mode. He sniffs about psychically. Nothing. Whatever. He feels the state of the pantope's psi pattern and concludes that their method of invasion was to somehow backtrack on his window connection. That might mean they can't just gate in on us any time they please. We hope.
Clearly, we must strike back soon. Our impulse is to snatch Yanova, but that might not be at all easy, and we aren't sure what to do with her once we get her. And it would be very handy to get Salimar by, with her own interdimensional powers.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.