You Know the Rules

 

Turning around, Martin saw an impossible man. Though at least 9 feet tall and athletically built, he had a face that looked like an old shoe. His skin was battered and scarred, the largest and most notable of which being that the skin on the right hand side on his scalp and forehead was burned horribly at some point.

 

“Oh, hi T”

 

“I told you to leave him here and I would meet him”

 

“I thought I'd stay and... keep him safe” Milia did some mock warrior moves.

 

“The boy is safe here and besides, what can you do? You're non-corporeal?”

 

“Um ...”

 

“You weren't thinking of listening in were you?”

 

“No, me no, no, I was...”

 

“Milia, you know the rules!”

 

“But he's SO interesting! Did you know he has not said a word since I told him I was omniscient. Smart kid – disciplined - far more that most his age. Please tell me who he is.” Milia was clearly jonesing.

 

“Milia, GO!”

 

“Fine” Milia made a little face and vanished.

~ Mass Escape at Alterra Prison ~

ACT 2:

Through a Looking Glass

Not Knowing is the Enemy of Science

 

The sun normally shone late into the afternoon in early 'spring' near Cape Columbia at the northernmost point in Canada; later still nearly 200 miles farther north. Though you could hardly say 'spring like' about the frigid waters and frozen tundra through which the science vessel Ice Breaker sailed on a mission to measure the change in water temperature from previous years. It was however another mystery that perplexed the crew and experts aboard ship... Today, while prepping to sail to port to avoid the cold of night, Physicist Doctor Michele Parsons noticed that rather than getting darker as sundown approached the sky seemed brighter and brighter.

 

“Doctor, we need to sail south in case it does begin to grow dark.” Captain Howard Helberg was a cautious man; you had to be to sail such unpredictable waters and live to 67 years of age, as he frequently reminded anyone who argued for taking bigger risks.

 

“Captain, whatever is causing this effect is something we have no precedent for. In the face of all we could learn from it, I will gladly risk my life.”

 

“And mine and everyone else aboard too?”

 

“Yes, yes. I do think your lives worth risking in this.” Doctor Parsons was more than sure. “Given what is going on in the world, our lives are a pittance compared with gleaning new knowledge.”

 

“Shelly, you think this is connected to the vanishings?” Doctor Lenard Galecki, fellow physicist and Parson's fiancee was skeptical.

 

“I'm sure I don't know, but not knowing is the enemy of science. We have a chance to find out and I refuse to waste it.”

 

“Well I'm with brains over here. I like you Len, I do, and I think your girl is near unbearable but she is way smarter than both of us, so I'm going to take her side.” Doctor Raj Nayyar had known Lenard since college and the two were best of friends. Despite finding Parsons to be a massive annoyance when it came to professional concerns, he had to side with the smartest genius in the room.

 

“Well...” Helberg sighed, trying to think of a decent argument, “I'll be at the helm should you all see sense in time.” Knowing neither reason nor intellectual prowess was on his side he gave up arguing.

 

As the Ice Breaker moved through icy water, in search of whatever had caused the sky to stay lit well past sundown, the scientists and crew looked skyward. There was however, nothing unusual above to explain the phenomena. Instead, as a deckhand first noticed, a large structure made of stone and ice had emerged from the water where none had been before.

 

“For some reason I can't see it through my binoculars. There's some interference I've never seen before... We need to get closer.” Said Dr Parsons

 

“Len, I don't know, I've got a bad feeling.” Dr Nayyar was keen to make a breakthrough, but didn't feel much like dying for it.

 

“Me too, but knowing Shelly, a feeling is the last thing that'll stop her.”

 

“If you're too whipped to say anything, fine.” Nayyar had had enough. “Dr Parsons, this is gone too far”

 

“Just shut up and help me set this thing up.” Dr Parsons had begun to change to a stronger lens on her camera but she would never get a chance to finish.

 

As the barge approached the mysterious structure Captain Helberg caught sight of a figure. A tall slender man wearing ornate robes stared back at him. Helberg turned to inform the rest of what he had seen, but before he could make a sound he suddenly clutched his chest, as his heart stopped and he and every other occupant of the ship suddenly fell dead.

A Pebble Standing In Way an Ocean

 

Despite the crisis, the halls of government were calm and collected, at least on the surface. The politicians made their usual rounds putting forth solutions that barely helped or even made things worse. To one capable of looking into such phenomena however, things were far from stable.

 

“Has anyone seen my briefcase?” Congresswoman Emma Montez was confused; her staff were making mistakes she had never seen them make, and acting as if the crisis didn't really bother them. The politician assumed one of her competitors had been tampering with her staff - it wouldn't have been the first.

 

“I think Al had it...” Said Vera Goldman, one of Emma's most trusted staffers, who had been running the office for her since the beginning, even then a seasoned pro. Vera was in her 70s and ran circles around staffers half her age. Given the risks Vera had taken, fearless was a pale description. Her lack of concern terrified Emma.

 

“Okay... Did you see where he went?”

 

“I think he's in meeting room 3.” Muttered Vera

 

“Thanks...” Emma sqeeked halfheartedly as she walked down the hall and reached for her phone, speed dialing her most trusted ally.

 

“Sorry this number cannot be reached, so just face it, you're stuck!” said a gravelly voice on the other end of the line, without even a ring. Emma had been intimidated by the worst of scum bags during her career but this was new.

 

Thump, Thump! Thump Thump . . . Emma's heart beat so loudly she could hear it. Her mind raced but the politician could see no alternative... If Emma wanted to know what was going on she would have no choice, so she opened the door and went in.

 

“Hello Emma” said a woman in a white and red cloak sitting in what resembled a throne, in what should have been a meeting room. Instead, it was a long hall with stone walls and grotesque statues lining each side of it. A gold colored rug lay in the center of the hall, leading to an elevated level upon which sat a severe looking woman of impossible stature.

. . . . Over 10 feet tall. Emma would have thought she was standing on a pedestal under her cloak if she had not stepped forward, descending stairs to stand before her. Emma tried to stay away but her legs carried her forward without her control.

 

“Who are you?” Emma begged “What are you?”

 

“Ah, it matters not, at least not to a pebble standing in way an ocean.”

 

“You're trying to take over?” Emma half asked half accused.

 

“My dear we took over a long time ago.” Said the woman as she put an arm nearly as tall as she was over Emma's shoulder and guided her up the stairs, Emma almost tripped on steps made for a giant, but her legs were not under her control and she couldn't have fallen if she'd tried. it was as if she were held erect by a force no one could see.

 

The woman took her up to the stage and over to a wall made of windows looking out over the capital as if it jutted out some 30 feet into mid air from her office building.

 

“You see those people down there, they're mine... all mine... a few like you have managed to stand in my way. but today that ends. I have gathered all of you in various rooms and your time has come.” As the woman spoke, Emma gasped and the woman tapped her on the shoulder gently. The room was ordinary again but Emma's state of being was far from normal.

 

To an observer the process took only an instant. For Emma however it took an eternity as from the spot the woman tapped, every atom in her being separated and burnt in a spark of light.

 

“I could make this quick...” Said the woman, her voice fading, “but where's the fun in that!”