Chapter 83: Finessing the King
We were fast-forwarding through the history of the captured nephilim on
Yazatlan, helping Braeta, Greywolf, and the others prepare for a mass
exodus, when Greywolf came staggering into the pantope with the news
that Obedan was dead, killed in a palace coup when he refused to
mysteriously vanish away, Arthur-style.
On the other hand, the only reason Greywolf thinks him dead is that he heard Obedan scream agonizingly in the midst of a pitched battle. Good, but not conclusive. We resolve to try extracting the stubborn git and hope for some non-lethal explanation of the scream.
We take out a week while Greywolf heals in the autodoc. We then re-connect and back up three days; we are now one day before the coup takes place (since it took Greywolf a couple of days to make his way to the pickup point). Greywolf guides us in to the capital city, in window mode. It look vaguely Arabian-Nights-like, with that grandiose touch nephilim like. We slide into the palace and look over the room where the principal battle will be. We also get a look at Obedan's rival, one Taloc, a big nephil of Arabic or Turkish cast.
We decide to snatch Obedan up into a hole in the air, and so take a little time to practice the move, using some rocks in a nearby forest. We're going to use telekinesis, and this doesn't work smoothly across pantope doors, so the practice is worthwhile. Braeta's efforts reduce her rock to powder, for instance...
We then return to the room in the castle, fast-forward a bit, and watch. We resume normal rate when three guys in black hustle into the room, evidently checking it out. We then see Obedan and an earlier instance of Greywolf back into the room, followed by a fourth ninja, also backing in. A fifth one comes hurtling in, trailing smoke. Obviously, battle is already in progress out in the hallway.
We can't hear through the window, but we see Greywolf grab Obedan by the shoulders and argue. About the proposed vanishment, the current Greywolf tells us. Then a blaster-bolt or a fireball or some such comes zapping in, followed by another guard in black. (The current Greywolf tells us the zap came from Talon's chief aid, who is a "wizard.")
We now cut to 50 percent normal speed, and watch events in slow motion. Everyone in the room is facing the door (if they're conscious). Two soldiers try to burst in and get cut down by Obedan's men. Greywolf and Obedan stop arguing and trade glares. Obedan appears to give in, looks resigned, and heads to a door on the opposite side, with Greywolf.
When Greywolf opens the door, two spearmen try to thrust in. Obedan takes them out himself, then chucks Greywolf out the door, slamming it shut. Exit the earlier Greywolf.
More soldiers come pouring in. Another fireball seasons the brawl, winging one of Obedan's men. At this point, we freeze-frame and move the window to a point above Obedan. Then we start up and open the door, pulling Obedan up into it just as a fireball hits the guard in front of our nephil-king. Obedan jams his arms against the sides of the pantope door, resisting us, and gets to see the last two of his guards take a sword in the gut on the one hand and burst into flames on the other.
Obedan screams The Scream. It's motivated by agony and anger, not death throes. Good. We're now in open waters, causally speaking.
Tom widens the doorway a little more than Obedan can span, and we pop him in. Tom snaps the door shut, cutting us off from the timeflow of the fight, leaving Obedan suspended in mid-air on Kate's TK. He still manages to spin around an hurl a sword at Greywolf. Greywolf knocks him out with a well-placed punch. Kate lowers him to the ground, and we have lots of people stand over him with stunners in hand.
We decide we really ought to try rescuing those guardsmen of his, for both ethical and political reasons. So we unpack a carton of stun grenades, open a door to our spaceship, the Munch, back on Hellene, and tell the autodoc to expect incoming.
We then re-connect to the battle and neatly open a door under the feet of the guard who took the spear in the gut. He drops onto a cushion we thoughtfully supplied. He must not have been as hurt as he looked, because he pops onto his feet with a dagger at the ready. Kate and Robbie stun him, since explanations would take too long, and load him into the field autodoc here in the pantope.
We then rewind a few seconds and similarly drop out the guy who was fried by that last fireball. We then stun him as the only humane thing to do, then play a fire extinguisher over him. He'd be in agony if he were conscious, but he's actually not going to die very soon, so we put him aside, saving the autodoc for someone more critically injured.
We rewind again and go for a guard who was impaled on a sword. Unfortunately, he's in the act of chopping the guy who's impaling him. This makes it messy. We open a window above the two, and Kate stuns the enemy. Robbie then encases our guy in ectoplasm and Tom renders the sword soft with his newly-learned psi-skill of Tempering.
Tom then jumps aside as a fireball comes through our aerial door. We freeze, rewind, and move the door under the guard we're going to extract. We not only get him, we get the guy he's fighting with, and the ricochet from the fireball we just dodged. (Time-travel's great; you can be threatened twice by the same hazard.)
More enemy soldiers come pushing through the door. One manages to poke Kate with a spear. In a scrum of telekinesis and stun beams, we manage to beat them back and close the door.
We then rush the impaled guard into the Munch and give him to the autodoc. Then we fast-forward the door to the Munch by a day, leaving Markel there to handle any emergencies. None arise, and in a few moments (pantope time), the impaled guard is stabilized.
Meanwhile, Greywolf hastens to Kate's side, to tend her spear wound. He puts an amulet on her forehead and bandages her up with Tom's help. When the guard is out of danger, we move her to the Munch's autodoc and do some fast-forward time in the autodoc.
Next, we pull similar tricks for the burn victim. Next come two who were blasted by the fireballs and just keeled over rather than bursting into flame. One is still alive. The other is dead. Well, clinically dead. We still give him to the Munch's autodoc, which is able to revive him. In the end, we run the Munch autodoc for about three weeks of its time, getting everyone healed up.
Desmond then explains to the conscious guards, enough to keep them quiet.
Daphne offers to "appear" to Taloc and urge him to behave gently, now that he's got the kingdom Obedan more or less owed him. Greywolf likes the idea, since otherwise he fears Taloc might be a harsher ruler than they wanted for their scheme. Desmond also approves.
We'll also have Desmond make a dramatic re-appearance (he'd vanished Merlin-like earlier in their crafted saga), and predict Daphne's coming. We could then continue fast-forwarding, having Daphne show up repeatedly but irregularly down the years.
They seek her here. They seek her there.
Desmond asks to be dropped off near the city for a few weeks, now that the coup is accomplished. We will oblige.
But that's all just planning. Right now, Obedan, for whom only minutes have passed, starts to rouse from Greywolf's punch. Greywolf prudently withdraws to the tent. Desmond and Braeta approach Obedan, limbering up their tongues.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.