Ladies, Gentleman, ShadowRemix’s Wife,
May I present you,
Chapter 4) Oopsy Daisy.
The Emerald Coast Empire Crew were herded into the next room lined with runes and powerful looking sigils lining the floor, walls and ceiling.
“Now.” Bia exclaimed, moving to stand in the center of the group. “Vger has a map that will lead you to where you need to go. Whatever you do, tell no one who you really are, where you come from, nor your destination.”
“Yes, realities and all that, we are not simpletons.” Rina replied, then frowned as her eyes settled on Akhmin, who scratched at one of the runes.
“Preeeeetty.” the Anubis crooned.
Rina said nothing, but she did hide her face in the palms of her hands.
“Refrain from killing innocent people.” Bia continued unabated, focusing his gaze on Jerry, who also hid his face, though with the hood he wore. “You are the good guys.”
Jerry shrugged, and offered a soft meh.
“And do not make laser guns and technology well advance of the day.” Bia finished as he rested his eyes on Vger, who had been, the entire time, tinkering with his rifle.
“I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to get the proper materials to make this into a pulse rifle, but I understand.” the Engineer grinned reassuringly to Bia.
The Guardian nodded, then prodded at Akhmin with his staff to get the Anubis’ attention. “And I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if you keep your shape shifting to a minimal, yes?”
Akhmin grinned up at Bia, “All the shapes you say?”
“Telling Akhmin not to do something is like giving him step by step instructions in how to do it.” Vger noted, “But I will try to keep him in line.’
“Good.” Bia stepped out from them and towards the end of the room. “I can use the map to communicate with you, I will be watching you but there is only so much I can send back to you via common text.”
“Does it vibrate like a cell phone?” Mortimor chuckled.
“No. Also don’t let that map fall into the wrong hands.” Bia added. “Now if you will excuse me, I have to activate the runes in the adjacent room.”
The Hedgehog departed, and they all milled where they stood.
“Wish I brought a gameboy.” Mortimor commented.
“Akhmin can heal you of your boredom if you want.” Jerry offered.
“Heals?” Akhmin asked hopefully, poking tentatively at Mortimor with the end of his hammer as if asking permission to whack them with it again.
“No. And I am not sure that’s how healing works.” the Arctic Fox said with some disdain.
Akhmin, looking dejected, returned to inspect the runes once more. A second later however, the Anubis rose, and produced something from his pocket. Passing it to Jerry, the blood red fox perked his ears at it, then claimed it with a smile and a nod.
The Fox inspected it, turned it over and read the message to himself, before stuffing it away beneath his breastplate. “Mortimor opens his mouth about being bored, ‘heal’ him in the face.” Jerry instructed the Anubis quietly.
Akhmin nodded, and smiled mischievously.
“What are you two plotting?!” Vger asked accusingly, and both Jerry and Akhmin separated.
Vger narrowed his eyes on the two of them, and sighed, rubbing his eyes beneath his glasses. “This is going to be a long two days.”
Bia emerged from the door again, smiling from ear to ear. “Everyone ready?”
“Not really.” John spoke up. “Can I has Cheeseburgers?”
“Ah.” Bia narrowed his eyes on the big fox, shrugged and snapped his finger.
A mist surrounded them, then they suddenly found themselves being sucked in through the floor. There was an abrupt moment of panic before they found themselves free falling through a swirling fog of shapes and colors.
Then it all suddenly stopped.
The arrival was jarring, and all of them tumbled into the grass like they smashed into a wall.
John Bluefox was the first one to stand, and he rubbed his face where he may have run into a hard surface. “Ouch.”
“What the f**k was that and can we not do that again?” Jerry asked, gritting his teeth as he stood.
The rest slowly made their way back to their feet, and surveyed their surroundings. The first thing they sought was a Volcano, instead they saw an ocean, vast and blue to their west. To their north, at the end of a curling road, stood a city with a high, ominous looking tower. The east and south bequeathed them little more then woodland as far as the eye could see.
“Something’s wrong.” Vger noted, quickly unfurling the map. “Bia, I do not see a Volcano.”
It took a moment before black words formed in the upper corner. “I can see that. One moment.”
The map shifted in detail, as if zooming out from odd, parchment like GPS.
The rest of the staff gathered around Vger, looking down at the map. It seemed to scroll from one side of a world filled with large continents to another. Vger himself studied the terrain with interest, before recognizing something in the map. “Wait. Wait go back, there. Right there.”
Vger spread the map on the grass and pointed at it, and a small red blip appeared at his finger tip. More words replaced the previous “I can see-” with the words “Huh. That is odd.”
“Very odd.” Vger frowned. “The way it looks we’re on the far side of the world from where we should be.”
“Yes. She has thrown a barrier up.” Bia’s words scrolled over the map. “You bounced off it. Need to bring it down. Find shelter. Stay safe. Will contact you again soon.”
“How about scrubbing the op and sending us home until you get it fixed?” Jerry asked, furrowing his brows at the map.
“Lives at stake. Signing off now.” Vger read the message.
“Of course!” Jerry rolled his eyes as he wondered away from them. “Lives are ALWAYS at stake.” he grunted as he sat in the grass.
Jerry opened one of the side pouches to produce a cigarette he found within, stuck it in his mouth and snapped his fingers. A flame popped as Bia said it would, and Jerry lit his smoke, then doused his fingers with a quick shake.
“I thought you were eager for a fight.” Rina shot after him, but Jerry did not reply. As she turned to the map, Vger was already rolling it up again.
“If I guessed right about this map, we’re nearly five thousand miles from our destination.” Vger stuffed the map in his belt. “Bia is right, we need to find shelter. I would say that city.” Vger gestured towards the town. “Maybe we can secure passage to a boat or something. And maybe a few barrels of Port to go along.”
“But we’re supposed to find shelter.” Mortimor objected, lookin concern. ‘Wait for him to get a hold of us.”
“We have an ocean between us and the objective, we need to close the distance at best speed while Bia figures out how to bring down the barrier.” Vger explained. “We need to push forward.”
“Your still up for this then boss?”
“Set backs happen. We must be bold and push forward!”
“Your starting to get thirsty aren’t you?”
“I said bold and push forward to the closest tavern that serves some sort of wine before I produce a wrench. Move!” Vger instructed fiercely, pointing in the general direction of the town.
It may have not been a good idea.
Rina, neither a recluse to what friends she did had, nor a social outcast all together on her off time, was used to being leered at with less then gentlemanly remarks aimed at her. The people they passed by on the road however, were staring at her.
Staring at her.
She checked herself to make sure her wardrobe was not malfunctioning in anyway, but continued walking.
The rest of the group also noted that she was getting undo amounts of attention, as more then a few had to be shooed away.
Then one particular individual in robes gaped at them as they drew closer to the city walls.
“Caught yourself a Bird did we?” they asked with a grin.
“Excuse me?!” Rina asked, even her eye twitched lightly as just being called a Bird.
“It speaks Common so Musically!” the robed Mobian continued to smile. He was a green feline of some sort, with a white chin fur. “Wait, why is she not in bonds?”
“She is coming willingly.” Vger countered quickly. “An Emissary!”
“Diplomacy this far from the lines? I did not know the Arch Bishop is seeing anyone from the Avian Empire. Has he rose that far in standing since I last met him?” they asked themself. “Then again why would he see an Avian in the open if he was not trying to broker peace, or, heh, is there other reasons?”
As they speculated, they took their eyes off the group, and looked off to the side. “Yes, yes an Emissary, just like you said.” they leered. There was an exchange of bows between Vger and the robed Cat before the cat wondered away, cackling to his own joke.
“I think there might be trouble.” Mortimor chimed up.
“Yes, I think we put a cover on you, someone have a blanket?” Vger asked.
Akhmin threw a blanket over Rina’s shoulders, and quickly covered her head. “There, night night time!”
“Will be soon.” Rina frowned.
“I can send Jerry around the walls to see if we can reach the Harbor without going into the city proper itself.” Vger offered. “Or we can just make camp in the woods.”
“We need supplies as well, we do not have enough food for more then a few day.” Rina noted. “Unless Bia is going to magically sling us a wheel of cheese.”
They looked around themselves a moment. When nothing happened, Vger shook his head.
“You and Akhmin find a place to hide in the forest.”
“That would be wise.” Rina nodded, “But why are you leaving me Akhmin?”
“Because at the moment, his head is shaped like a carrot.” Vger replied calmly.
Rina glanced at Akhmin, and nearly recoiled at the odd, triangle shaped head that rocketed skyward. “Its good for the eyesight!” the Anubis declared.
“We’ll go into the city, secure a boat, supplies. Then meet you out here and find a way to smuggle you in. Obviously something is happening between this Avain Empire and this place.” Vger explained. “I can leave Jerry or Mortimor as well.”
“I do not need them to watch over me. I do not even need Akhmin. But, your right, my appearance is throwing people for a loop, and Akhmin would defiantly throw everyone off a cliff.”
“Shush Ahky.” Rina patted Akhmin’s head, and the Anubis sat on his hunches as she did so like he was some sort of feral dog. “Still, I can take care of myself, and I can watch after Akhmin.”
Jerry snorted. “I’ll stay behind, keep away anyone nosing about.”
“I really don’t need your help.” Rina scowled at the Fox.
“Jerry I have a different job for you, we need information.” Vger quickly pulled Jerry over to him as he turned their backs to Rina. “We get in there I want you to do what you do.”
“Kill everything that moves?” Jerry asked hopefully.
“Um. No. MARS had you gathering Intelligence at times right? I need you to get a lay of the land while the rest of us look for a ships captain and the sort.” Vger grunted.
“Jerry was in Intelligence?” Mortimor looked skeptically at Jerry.
“Mobile Assault and Reconnaissance Specialists.” Vger explained, looking to Mortimor. “MARS. Trust me I know what I am doing.”
“Only because your sober.” Jerry grunted. “Fine. I’ll poke my nose around the City for a spell, where do you want to meet?”
“The closest tavern between the City Center and the Harbor.” Vger instructed. “Once we got everything secure we need to devise a plan to sneak Rina and Akhmin into the City. Mortimor, you and John are going to be needed to restrain me. If not a little.”
“Yes. Not to much alcohol. I have to stay sober.” Vger nodded. “Lives are on the line you know.”
Jerry offered a disdainful grunt.
Rina shook her head.
Both Mortimor and John exchanged looks, before rolling their own eyes.
“Oh I am not that bad when it comes to booze.”
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