Excerpt (of a story in development)
Lights flashed outside the window. Just two. Rose adjusted her step and the angle of her sword. Two light darts deflected off into nothing. “That’s two more lives saved”, she thought. The arc of her sword was well timed, as usual, and a Flicker ceased to exist as well.
Flair was in fine form this moment as well. Five ended in one stroke. She wished she could watch him work, but she had her part to play and had to remain focused. A flash, another Flicker ended and a dart deflected into a crossover. She allowed herself a smile when she heard the pop of the closing crossover.
They made a good paired-team; better than most tri-teams. She, focused and steady; the rock of the pair. Flair, the tempest; his only grounding seemed to be Rose. Seven more Flickers ended by Flair. Two more flashes, two more lives saved and another crossover closed.
One crossover left. Flair was already carving up the fleeing Flickers. A flash, aimed at Flair. Rose smiled, moved beside Flair, deflected and the last crossover closed. “The rest are yours Flair”, she whispered.
With Flair happily ending the few remaining Flickers Rose surveyed the area completing their report. Typical Scottish stone castle. Larger than most but nothing out of the ordinary. 2 Flickers appearing just outside the castle walls this time. One guard killed before their arrival. Three crossovers, sixty Flickers, none survived. No other vibrations even close to the Flicker range. Cleanup not required. Rose checked her watch and signaled Flair.
She signaled again, adding the passion he responded to. He appeared and smiled, all Flickers ended. Decon was quick and with Rose stroking his hair they opened a crossover and stepped through to Command.
“Why do you put up with him?”
“You’re just jealous Major.”
“It is true I would love to have you on my team but you could do so much better then ... Flair. He is like a ... big puppy dog. And barely smarter than one.”
“I like puppy dogs”, Rose smiled.
Major Roscoe shook his head, grabbed the rest of his gear and headed to Command.
Flair looked up hopeful. “Can I join Roscoe on his mission?”
“No Flair, we need to replenish. And, call him Major. You remember what happened last time.”
“Yes Rose”, Flair pouted.
Ten minutes later Flair was happily trying to devour the roast pig, the dinner special in the officer’s mess. Being good at ending Flickers had its privileges.
With Flair otherwise occupied Rose headed up to Central. She hated this part of the job and envied Flair. Security can be such a pain in the neck, a necessity in these times, but still a pain. Central wisely excluded Flair from having to report personally. They could ill afford to lose anymore security guards.
“Captain Rose, reporting to Central.”
“You know the drill.” Yes she did. She took this time to collect her thoughts.
What was life like before crossovers and Flickers; before ... Tippor’s Experiment?
Dr. Seymour Tippor. He is the one who suggested a form of time travel was possible using the newly discovered crossovers. Tippor’s Experiment, while ultimately a success in travelling back in time, had an unexpected and deadly consequence; Flickers. Those sparkles of light inside diamonds and other gems; they are alive. And, were confined inside gems until crossovers were discovered. In ‘present time’ they are relatively harmless, a curiosity, winking into material form, flickering for a few seconds then back into a gem. Seems Flickers are intelligent though, quickly figuring out not only how to use the crossovers to move in and out of their gems, but also travel back in time. In ‘past time’ they are a threat to our very existence.
Moving mater through a crossover to ‘past time’ alters it; speeding it up in a sense. Coming back to ‘present time’ alters it back, usually. Spend too much time in ‘past time’ and the conversion back does not go well; unrecognisable blobs and death is the usual result. More than 7 seconds of ‘past time’ and the risk of contamination becomes too great and returning is almost certain death. We are still not sure what happens to those that get trapped in ‘past time’. Luckily while in ‘past time’ ‘present mater’ is difficult to see if moving and experiences time about 50 times faster; 7 seconds in ‘past time’ is nearly a 6 minute experience.
Moving energy through a crossover is a different matter all together. It is changed and, for the most part, dissipated as it reaches ‘past time’. Energy powered systems (electrical, nuclear, magnetic, plasma, etc.) and energy storage devices are drained upon arrival in ‘past time’. Even chemical energy is unpredictable. Energy associated with biological mater, if properly protected, transfers back and forth well; in most cases. Mechanical devices and basic material are all that properly protected humans can take with them.
Flickers. They pass through, but alter in a way that allows them to generate ‘light darts’ that can kill. And killing they were, in our past, until we discovered some of us could see and end them in ‘past time’. Flickers have also found a way to encourage crossovers to form allowing them access to the past periodically without human intervention. How and why this is happening is still up for debate, as communication with Flickers is dangerous and still mostly guess work.
We can track them, and Command does, sending special teams back to deal with each occurrence. Life is relatively stable again however; the majority of our resources now go to ...
“Captain Rose. ... Captain Rose! ... Central will see you now.”
With Rose stroking his hair they open a crossover and step through to ‘past time’.Taking a moment to attune, Rose looks around thinking to herself, “Inside a small, empty wooden building this time. One door. Flair already heading out. One window. Looks like a ... wooden palisade surrounding.” Lights flashed outside the window. Just two.