Author's note: I noticed there weren't really any Drifter's stories on here, so I decided to take a stab at writing my own, because it's an awesome series. I'll try not to make any of the characters too OOC. Thank you for giving my story a chance, and I hope you enjoy reading it!
I own nothing but my OC.
—∞— Scene transition and/or time lapse
–∞– shift from one separate group's perspective to another within the same ongoing scene.
Flashbacks and changes in POVs will be labeled as needed (unless stated otherwise, it will be third person omniscient)
SOUND EFFECTS WILL BE IN ALL CAPS
Chapter 1: Transcending Times
"Hey, Dennis, is it just me, or does something feel really… off… about this whole thing?" Tori asked her fellow firefighter as they carefully made their way up the stairs of the tower they had been dispatched to, keeping an eye out for any signs of danger. They had already managed to direct a few survivors that could still walk on their own out of the building, they wanted to rescue as many people as possible. However, they wouldn't be any good to anyone if they got themselves killed by rushing and carelessly underestimating the danger they were in. Even a seasoned career firefighter like partner, who had years of experience on the job, could be caught off guard by backdraft or find themselves surrounded by flames if there was a hidden void in the building's structure to spread through. It's not like they could take their time leisurely memorizing the entire layout of a 110 story building like this when there were people trapped inside and dying every minute they delayed, you know?
"No joke, Captain Obvious." Dennis deadpanned, unimpressed. "It's not everyday a plane crashes into tower like this, let alone two at time! And you wonder why people still call you 'Probie'…"
"I know that!" She huffed indignantly, stepping to the side, as he motioned for her to keep a safe distance while he checked the door to make sure it was safe to open. "I just meant—"
"—g—t—!" her radio squawked suddenly. It sounded like their captain was trying to give them an update or something, but there was so much static and interference, that they had no idea what he had just said. She exchanged a concerned glance with Dennis, wondering what was wrong with the radio. Dennis grabbed his own handie-talkie, hoping it was just a malfunction isolated to Tori's due to a weak battery or something.
"This is Ferguson. Can you repeat that? Over." He said, furrowing his brow slightly as they waited for a response. Their only response was a heavy, static filled silence. This was bad. Very bad. Neither of their radios were working, which meant they were completely cut off from communication with the command center… Trying to fight a fire while rescuing people in a high-rise structure like this without constant updates on the state of the building and everything else going on around them was like trying to deactivate a bomb in the dark…
"What now?" Tori asked, furrowing her brow slightly in concern. It was dangerous to wander around blindly without being able to communicate with the others, but they couldn't just leave when there were still people who were trapped and needed their help…
"We'll finish searching this floor as planned… then we'll go back down and check in at the command center." Dennis decided, clenching his fist with determination. Tori nodded, smiling slightly, as she gathered her own resolve and steadied her nerves, preparing herself for whatever might be waiting for them on the other side of the door. They cautiously opened the door and stepped out of the emergency stairwell and onto the floor.
"This is the FDNY! If you can hear us, then please respond!" Tori announced as loudly and clearly as possible through the mask of her respirator. The smoke on this floor was much thicker they were definitely getting close to the main fire…
"Da… re… ka…?" A woman's voice called out weakly somewhere to their left. It took Tori a moment to realize she was speaking Japanese. Was this woman a tourist? Tori shook her head to clear her thoughts. That didn't matter right now.
"Anata wa doko ni iru?" Tori responded loudly, asking where she was, while cautiously moving towards the direction of the woman's voice.
"What's that? Chinese?" Dennis asked, raising an eyebrow. He had never heard her speak anything other than Spanglish or a bit of Italian here and there.
"It's Japanese." Tori replied as though it should have been obvious, sweat-dropping. She was glad her grandfather had insisted on teaching it to her now. "Doko ni iru no!" Tori tried calling out again.
"Ko—koff!—Koko ni… iru—koff—yo…" The woman responded weakly from where she had been hiding behind under a table, coughing from all the smoke. Her sooty cheeks were streaked with tearstains. She must have been terrified being trapped in a strange building all by herself…
"Nakanaide. Daijoubu desu yo." Tori reassured her, smiling kindly, as she helped the woman out of her hiding place, keeping her low to the ground to avoid the smoke since she didn't have a mask or respirator like them. "Taskete ager—!?" Tori and the others gasped when a great shudder traveled through the great structure.
"Shit! It's coming down!!" Dennis yelled, quickly taking the woman's other arm so they could move faster as the ceiling began to cave. They had just barely reached of the of the door to the stairs, when Tori felt an intense wave of heat wash over the back of her neck, causing her to glance back over her shoulder in alarm.
"!" She exclaimed, startled to see that the collapsing ceiling had ignited in a rich flashover. In the three seconds it took Dennis to open the door, Tori's decision had been made. "RUUUUN!!" She shouted furiously, pushing her older partner and the Japanese woman through the open door, before immediately yanking it shut again to keep the roaring inferno from escaping out after them.
"TOR—!?" Dennis began to yell at her not to try to be a hero, but it was too late. That idiot had locked the door to prevent it from being blown open by the flashover!
"Shit!" Tori gasped, squeezing her eyes shut, as she reflexively raised her arms to shield herself, even though she knew it was useless against such intense flames as their heat washed over her, while dangerous debris from the floors above came hurtling towards her simultaneously.
"…?" Tori said as she lowered her arms slightly and risked opening an eye to take a peek, confused when the intense heat suddenly dissipated completely, and she realized she didn't seem to be buried under a mountain of debris either… "What the heck…!?" She exclaimed, shocked, to find herself standing in a stark, white, and brightly lit hallway instead of the World Trade Center. This strange hall didn't have any signs of fire damage or smoke, and it was lined with various different styles of doors. Smack dab in the middle of the hall, was a desk that looked as though it would be right at home sitting in the local DMV. It even had one of those 'take a number' machines on it amongst the rest of the strategic clutter piled up around the spectacled Caucasian man who was occupying it…
'Oh, God… I've died and gone to hell, haven't I…?' Tori thought, sweat-dropping, as she paled slightly with trepidation. It seemed only natural to her for hell to be modeled after the DMV, given the tortuous experiences—not to mention excruciatingly long waits—she had to endure every time she had to pay them a visit… Tori was a bit taken aback when the man at the desk smiled at her, slightly amused, as if he knew what she was thinking. Tori blinked. Well, if that wasn't disconcerting…
"Um, excuse me, but… where am I? And who are you?" She asked warily, really hoping the answers wouldn't be 'Hell' and/or 'Lucifer, prince of darkness'. Unfortunately, the man didn't seem to care much about answering her question, because he had turned his attention back to the papers on his desk and had started scribbling something on them. "I said, excuse—!!" Tori began again, taking a step forward. Her mild annoyance at being so blatantly ignored quickly turned to surprise and shock when an odd stone door beside her began sliding open and sucking her inside. "Wha—!?" She cried incredulously as she struggled in vain to scramble away from the intense gravitational pull to avoid being sucked into the strange portal. The man calmly took a drag on his cigarette and exhaled the smoke as the door shut itself behind her. Aside from the mysterious man, the hall of doors was completely empty, once again.
"Next." He called.
"Oomph!" Tori grunted when she fell from the portal that had opened up in the darkened sky a few feet above the ground. 'At least I didn't land on my oxygen tank…' Tori thought, sweat-dropping. That would have really hurt her back, not to mention the possibility that the breathing apparatus could have been damaged. 'And just where the heck am supposed to be, now?' She wondered, raising a dubious eyebrow as she took in her current surroundings. She seemed to be in a very rural area, because she was surrounded by trees, but there had to be people somewhere in the area, because she seemed to have been deposited on a trail that had been recently traveled, judging by the fresh tracks… which most likely belong to two children since they were smaller than the average adult's. It also looked like they had been dragging something heavy between the two of them.
Tori pulled out her flashlight and squatted down to take a closer look. She had no clue what was going on or why that guy had dropped her here, but she did know that where there's footprints, there's people, and where there's people, there's generally food, water, and information—things she really wouldn't mind having right now… but now that she could see traces of what suspiciously looked a lot like blood had been left behind by whatever those kids had been dragging, she wasn't so sure that was a good idea…
'But, maybe I'm just being paranoid… If I'm out in the country somewhere, then it wouldn't be that strange for people to be out here hunting. This is probably just from a deer or something…' She told herself reasonably, trying not to let her imagination run wild. Just because some really weird crap had happened to her in the last chapter didn't mean the locals were about to go all 'Deliverance' on her ass… right?
"!" Tori said, whipping around, when she suddenly sensed a killing intent from behind, drawing her fire-axe from where she kept it tucked into her belt, next to the Halligan. She now found herself face to face with a beautiful young man whose face was half hidden in the shadows of the night. His long hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and he was wearing clothes that resembled an outfit worn by one of the characters in a historical anime she had watched a few years back… But, most importantly, this mysterious stranger had his drawn bow and arrow trained on her, ready to strike the instant she made a single wrong move… A bead of nervous sweat slid down Tori's cheek. This guy was dangerous, she could sense it. Although Tori had undergone some pretty intense military training herself, she could tell this guy was on a whole different level. This guy was a real warrior who had been through countless battles… even a greenhorn like her tell at least that much. 'If it comes down to a fight… my only chance is to settle this with one strike!' She thought, tightening her grip on the axe, as she grit her teeth, preparing herself. If she missed, she wouldn't get another chance. She had to take him out before the gaps in their strength and actual battle experience had a chance to catch up with her!
"Eef yoo move, I'll kiil you! Eef yoo screem, I'll kiil you! Whai yoo headed to ze cassle!? Woot do yoo want!?" The deadly archer said gravely in some strange language she had never heard before.
"… Eh?" Tori asked dumbly, tilting her head slightly to the side in her confusion, as she sweat dropped. What the heck kinda language was that supposed to be!? It seems she must have done something she shouldn't have, because the next thing Tori knew, an arrow was speeding straight towards her.
"!" Yoichi said, surprised, when she managed to deflect his arrow with her strange, brightly colored axe. It had been a while since he'd last seen someone do that. "Wow, you're pretty good~!" He praised her in Japanese, grinning. He had figured she was warrior of some kind, on account of that helmet and that strange equipment she was carrying, but he certainly hadn't been expecting to see something so interesting…
"Wait… Did you just speak Japanese?" Tori asked, raising both eyebrows slightly in surprise. She had been about to launch her own counter attack, but realizing she could suddenly understand him had thrown her timing off, and maybe now that they could communicate, she might be able to convince him to back off or at least make him give her some answers while looking for another opening. Yoichi blinked, feeling slightly surprised himself.
"Oh! Don't tell me you also hail from the Land of the Rising Sun?" He asked curiously. First those two elf boys had brought an injured samurai to them earlier, and now this girl had just strolled up to them on her own two feet? It was just raining Japanese today! Although, Yoichi hadn't expected to hear his native tongue being used by a girl with such foreign and exotic looks… It was hard to see the subtle traces of Japanese blood in her face by the dim light of the moon, and he had never met a Japanese with eyes those colors… It could just be a trick of the light, but it looked like one was blue, while the other was green…
"Land of the…? No, I'm from America." Tori replied, wondering why his way of speaking sounded so archaic, though it did match his costume. She was glad her maternal grandfather was always watching period dramas about Samurai and Ancient Japan in the original language, or she would've been totally lost. "Can you tell me where we are?"
"What? So, you're not Japanese after all?" Yoichi said, sighing in disappointment. Well, at least she could actually speak their language. "And what's this 'Amerika' place you mentioned? I've never heard of it."
Tori's eyes widened. He had never heard of America….!? That latest piece of information, combined with his clothing and speech pattern, suggested something rather disturbing… Maybe this man really was from ancient Japan…! I mean, think about it—if she can suddenly get plucked out of modern America and get chucked into this freakin' place, then is it really that farfetched to think the same thing could have happened to someone from another time period…?
Tori visibly paled when yet another, even more disturbing thought occurred to her.
"Uh, that might be kind of hard to explain, so… putting that aside… This might sound like a strange question, but… You're still alive, right? Please tell me we aren't in the land of the dead…" She asked tentatively. It would truly, deeply suck if it turned out she really was dead, because she sincerely doubted this place was Heaven, you know?
To her surprise, Yoichi actually began to laugh, as though she had just said something incredibly amusing.
"Hahaha~! Don't worry, you're not in the Land of the Dead, not yet anyway!" Yoichi told her, grinning, as he finally lowered his bow. It seems she was the same as them after all. "Since it looks like we're in the same boat, I guess I should bring you to the castle to meet the others."