Lords of Being
Chapter 30: Red Sun at Night
Our heroes tracked Clisk to a storage unit in the North of Barchester where it was keeping Roper drugged. After being questioned, Clisk demanifested and fled the unit.
We return to Totleigh. Tim is overjoyed to see that we’ve retrieved Roper. He and Roper end up wrestling on the ground with Hookie running around them and yapping happily. Mabel spent the ride back coming up with a cover storey. She spins a tale involving investments in the development of cheap, locally produced African solar cookers to save the few trees that are left. The Blood Diamond brokers are against anything that will get the peasants out from under their thumb and were behind the dognapping. “And the less you know about it, Tim, the happier you’ll be.” He looks suitably awestruck.
“What should I tell the kids?” There are six teenagers who come in daily to help.
“Tell them that Roper was kidnapped by someone who wanted to influence my business dealings and leave it at that.”
The Courtiers suddenly feel a blockage. They wait a few moments in the hopes that someone else will deal with this one. After a minute or so, the blockage goes away. The Knights didn’t feel anything, so this was a “standard” blockage.
Captain Barron asks, “Where to now?”
Mabel responds, “Are we going to track Clisk down again?”
“Are we? As far as I could tell, he just disappeared.”
“There were possibilities in Manchester, and Hellgrammite can check out locations on the net.”
Hellgrammite reports on the information he found on Clisk’s computer. He kept in contact with a wide array of metaphysical beings. There are a number of references to names that Hellgrammite doesn’t know, but appear to be Lords of Order stationed elsewhere. Some may be higher up in the Hierarchy of Order. Clisk heard from them regularly. Some of the source names look Hebraic, which is the local convention for referring to Angels. Some of the sources are clearly Guardian, Guiding or Angels of Death. This makes sense, given that we know that Clisk is known to hang around with the dead (ghosts) and dying. And of course, he does know the three insertion teams.
Hellgrammite copies the contents of the computer onto a spare drive, copies the contacts from his phone, and bundles up all of Clisk’s belongings in a duffle bag. He takes the bag out to Clisk’s rental car which he drives to a remote parking lot. After locking the duffle bag in the trunk, he calls the rental agency and reports the car as abandoned to the rental agency.
Captain Barron again raises the question of where we’re going next. Hellgrammite and Glass want to use the higher capacity network connection at the plane, but there’s no reason for us to go anywhere immediately.
Mabel introduces Neville to her library, which has books on Barssetshire and its local legends. She’s helpfully corrected the inaccuracies in red pen.
Hellgrammite coordinates with Ragnison and Diamond about the information on Clisk’s laptop. Ragnison is going to pass a lot of this information on to Peggy and Terry in Chicago. They’re also tied into the metaphysical “net.”
Ragnison asks, “Could Mr. Neon transfer to my place?”
Hellgrammite passes along the request, and Glass allows that as long as Lady Diamond is with Ragnison, Glass can ferry Neon to her; Glass has entangled one of the silicon atoms in Lady Diamond’s phone, and Neon still has his (one) entangled atom in Glass’ laser. This will also make it easy for Neon to come back, when we need him.
Ragnison thanks him. “As you know, were trying to form some more teams. You lot are the only Elemental Knights we know of.” He then asks Neon if he’ll help found another team.
Glass leaves Neon with them, and returns to Totleigh.
There’s another blockage. A second within a couple of hours is almost unheard of. Someone else clears it once again. Prior to The Breakdown, there was about a blockage a month. The pace of the blockages has been picking up since “The Breakdown,” but this frequency is unexpected.
The second night in Totleigh, Neville dreams that he is sleeping in a sleeping bag cradled at the bottom of the dish at Arecibo. He wakes to see a big bubble floating down out of the sky. On second thought, it looks like a broken fragment of a Christmas tree ornament. There are also pieces of other globes that come drifting down, fading out as they slowly they waft down. A second wave follows the first. Ominously, these get a little closer before fading out. A third wave is getting closer still, and then Neville wakes up.
Neville relates his dream over kippers for breakfast in the morning. Just after he relates the story, there’s another blockage. Glass can feel that it’s westward from here. Almost due west, and a little downward. Glass pulls out his myPhone and brings up the triangulation software. Once the first reading is registered, he blinks to London, and back. The blockage appears to be in central Canada. Barron pushes away from the table and goes up and packs.
Mabel takes both Roper and Hookie, and we pile into Mabel’s van and have Tim take us back to the airport.
We fly back through Reykjavík. As we’re refueling, we get a request from Security. This plane was carrying someone who was assaulted in the airport the last time we were there, and they’d like to speak with her again.
Glass accompanies Mabel to the terminal. When they arrive at the Security office, they’re escorted to a conference room, where the Security officials want to know if Mabel has heard that the two people who were arrested have escaped.
Glass frowns, and admits, “Yes, we are aware of this.” We weren’t expecting them to be able to hold onto a Lord of Chaos and his acolyte.
The Security officials ask for any additional information that Mabel can give them that might help them track down the escapees. Mabel has nothing to add.
While Mabel is speaking, Glass mails a message, apparently from an Email address in Langley, W. Virginia. It contains information on Hanuman’s aliases and his acolytes. Especially the one who had the computer. It doesn’t claim to be from any U.S. government organizations, but the location is not subtle, either.
Glass and Mabel are thanked for their cooperation and they are sent on their way.
From Reykjavík we fly to Halifax and then on to Thompson in Northern Manitoba. Thompson is several hundred miles from the anomaly.
By the time we get to Thompson, Glass and Catalyst know that the anomaly is underground. And it’s physically bigger than when we were in Winnipeg. It will erupt above ground… soon. There’s nothing showing up on the satellite view. Yet. Nor are there any reports of seismic activity. Just after we land in Thompson, the two Knights can “see” the anomaly suddenly grow. To the Courtiers, it suddenly gets more intense.
Moments after the plane has come to a halt at the terminal, Glass deplanes. Slipping out of the building, he stops time with his wristwatch, and runs towards the anomaly. As he gets closer, it becomes clear that it’s very big. Kilometers wide. He lets time resume it’s normal course and looks for a sandy spot at an edge. When he finds a nice sandy lake shore, he precogs for the eruption. Suddenly all of the grains scream “Its coming!” He backs up, and then watches in slow time. The anomaly erupts up, and then he can sense smaller anomalies appear inside the large anomaly. He slows time further, and goes in to investigate. There’s something like a 3D-tangram, or modern art. It’s vaguely animal shaped, made mostly of rounded triangles, with a “single quote” shaped piece for a head. It’s a dull glossy gray, except for the edges where it’s extremely shiny and looks very sharp. Despite the severely slowed time, the “headpiece” turns and points at Glass. He cranks the watch towards “stop” and runs outside the anomaly, and then pop, he’s on the plane, next to Neville.
After backing a few paces away from Neville, Glass adjusts his watch until time is moving at its usual pace once more. “Good dream. It was probably accurate. Creatures are appearing in the anomaly. Not of this plane, or world or existence. I recommend we fly away from this thing.” Fewer than 5 minutes have passed since he left the plane.
Suddenly there’s another growth spurt, and the anomaly now encompasses the plane.
Captain Barron has working with Catalyst to complete the post-flight checklists and calls from the cockpit, “We have a development here.”
All of the Courtiers push on the anomaly together.
Glass and Neville go forward. Barron is pointing at the sun, which is heading towards the horizon. It’s blood red. Laser red. “A moment ago it was orange.”
Glass says, “We’re in the anomaly; nothing good is happening.” He then turns to the copilot, “Catalyst, if you can spare any manna, I could use a charge.”
After a nod from Captain Barron, Catalyst rises from the co-pilot’s chair and puts a hand on Glass’ shoulder. He then goes back to help the Courtiers.
Glass suggests that Neville sit down and strap himself in.
Barron points at a light on the dashboard. “This is wrong. The indicator should be orange.”
Neville pulls out his phone and examines its display. The blue background and grayscale image look normal. Barron asks Glass to show a rainbow on his phone. After a few taps, a standard color sequence is displayed. It goes red/scarlet/sulfur yellow /yellow/green/ blue/violet. There is no orange.
The light in the plane hasn’t changed. However the portions of the dogs that are tan or brown have changed. They now look grayish.
Neville looks outside. While the sun has turned blood red, the leaves are their normal color. As are the clouds in the sky.
The Courtiers are still pushing on the anomaly. They can feel themselves chipping away at it, and after a minute, it suddenly pops and is gone.
In a blink, the sun is its normal color, as are the indicator lights and the spectrum on Glass’ phone. Catalyst comes staggering back to the cockpit. By concentrating, Glass can feel the 5 or 6 little ones are still here. He reports this to the Courtiers, who cannot feel them, and sketches an image of the creature he saw in the anomaly on one of the glass partitions.
Mabel asks, “Are they moving?”
Glass concentrates a moment more. “Yes. They’re gathering together.”
Rosamund frowns. “We gotta go hunting. Fast.”
Glass agrees, “Any creature that comes teleporting in, in the middle of a world-breaking anomaly with a blood red sun, can’t be friendly.”
Rosamund repeats, “We need to go hunting fast, and we need to let Ragnison know about this.”
Glass dials Lady Diamond. “Diamond, we’re going to need backup.”
Last Updated: Dec 11, 2009
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved