another place, another time

Author: David VC / Labels:

The ebony-furred neko in the cabin of the airship The Bloodwing's Revenge adjusted the knobs and dials and switches on the baroquely decorated console and looked up at the mists swirling within the mirror.

"Logging Dr. Mason's genetic code and chronological age at the time we departed the Steamlands for Seraph City...that should get us right where we need to..." He stopped in mid-sentence as his ears lowered in alarm at the scene that coalesced on the screen before him.

A line of prisoners in sackcloth chained in irons, secured to a filthy wooden bench. Their faces wrapped in satin masks. The men were silent, slumped in despair, save for the one at the end, his chest rising and falling in a slow gruesome rattle that broke the relentless drone of the airship in which they were secured. He collapsed in the lap of the prisoner next to him. Dark blue eyes widened as they gazed down at the man. They were both devoid of honor, devoid of identity. But something stirred in the heart of that one...

He looked up to the edge of the room, tight enough to equally qualify as a hallway. "OFFICER! This man is dying!" He shouted in an American accent. "We need to get him to a hospital immediately!"

"The prisoners shall remain silent!" Bellowed one of the two gray-uniformed guards in a rough voice, reciting an order more proper than his ordinary speech.

"Listen to the man's breathing!" The prisoner held his shuddering companion, and rose with him as far as the chains would let him. The prisoner sitting beside him looked away, desperately trying to ignore the confrontation.

"SIDDOWN! I ain't gonna ask you again!" The guard poked the man in the collarbone with his club. "If 'e dies, we dump'im once we fly up to New Newgate! Do ye wan't his servin' o' gruel or not, ye grubby wretch?"

The prisoner's voice rose with an anger and indignation betraying his pathetic state.

"Listen you half-toothed Cockney GOON! This man is in respiratory arrest! We need a small blade to open a tracheal..."

The club arced across his jaw in mid sentence, knocking him backwards onto the shoulders of the other nameless prisoners.

"Oh, Doctor Yankee thinks he's wearin' a surgeon's mask?" The guard pulled him back up by his filthy robe. "Ye won't be havin' any teeth left in yer gob to spit out when I'm don wi' ye!"


The android slid out from the compartment where she was refitting the engines, her coveralls and the rest of her brass shell left exposed were smeared in grease. She laid down her wrench and pulled off her gloves as she leaned over the neko's shoulder and squinted at the screen.

"No, Koen. That's not..." Qlippothic looked down at Koen as her voice softened. "Not our father. Look at the dimensional coordinates." She pointed to the dials. "Sensors indicate the event you are watching is three quarters of a mile below London...and they are already airborne."

"But Qli! He's gettin' the crap kicked out of him!"

"We don't know why he's a prisoner. This Darien could be twisted and evil for all we know..."

A bell suddenly clanged furiously from inside the machine as the image of a snake faded in and out of focus, blocking the brutality on the other side, its burning eyes staring back at the neko and the android, who leaped from their seats to flip a series of wooden levers down as quickly as they could without damaging the delicate machine.

"Something's trying to intercept the transmission and break through!", Qlippothic warned.

"Engaging emergency shutoff!", shouted Koen.

The beast's hissing nearly mocked human speech. It could almost fool the listener into believing it said "PARABOLA" before the Time Window winked into small dot of light and went completely black.


Merriwether said...

Of course it would be "parabola..."

Welcome to Fallen London officially, my American friend.

HeadBurro Antfarm said...

Brilliantly done, my friend!

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