Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history novel.
Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:57 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2402
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

And here is the start of the sequel to The Gordian Protocol! :lol:

__________________________________________________________
Chapter One
Transtemporal Vehicle Kleio, non-congruent


"I've finally decided how I'm going to kill all of you," the Viking declared with appalling cheer.

Raibert Kaminski froze in his seat, more from surprise than shock or horror. His mouth hung open, head tilted to the side with a piece of glistening tuna nigiri poised in front of his lips, pinched tight by his chopsticks.

Philosophus' avatar sat on the other side of the command table, rendered in Raibert's virtual vision as a big, burly, redheaded, red-bearded Viking complete with a helmet. The helmet, in a nod to inaccurate renditions of Vikings, did have horns on it, but those horns protruded out of headgear belonging to a twenty-first century fighter pilot.

A bead of soy sauce condensed along the bottom of the tuna and dripped onto Raibert's pants. He frowned as a spot of fabric on his uniform became waterproof, and the soy slid off his pants leg to splatter on the floor. He set his chopsticks down and wiped away the few remaining droplets.

"Philo, can this wait? I'm trying to eat here."

"Oh, but it's a good one." The AI grinned like a proud father. "In fact, it may be the best I've ever come up with."

"Uh huh." Raibert glanced around the time machine Kleio's wide, circular bridge at his fellow team members, both in the same greenish grey Gordian Division uniform he wore.

Benjamin Schröder sat in a seat folded out of the room's outer wall with a dozen images and reports glowing around him, while Elzbietá Schröder stood with a set of virtual controls suspended in front of her. Neither of his team members bothered to look his way, each engrossed in their own tasks.

Heavily engrossed, he now noted with a small measure of annoyance.

He sighed.

"Okay, fine. I'll bite. How are you going to kill us?"

"Can't say," Philo chuckled. "It's got to be a surprise."

"Then why bring it up?"

"To build anticipation. It's the end of your campaign, so I've got to up my game. Besides, I think I've been going too soft on you three." His grin widened. "The climax should be more . . . dramatic."

Raibert rolled his eyes.

"It's not another cyber-lich, is it?" Elzbietá asked. "You know I hate fighting those things. Half my spells don't work because of all their immunities."

"My dear, you have nothing to fear." Philo stood, placed a hand on his chest, and bowed theatrically. "The finale won't be anything so mundane."

"All right then." Elzbietá nodded, a slim smile on her lips. "Sounds like fun."

"Or rather"—Benjamin looked up from his work—"sounds like I should start building a new character. Again."

"Oh, I'm sure it won't be that bad. Right, Philo?"

The avatar's grin became inhumanly large.

"See?" Benjamin pointed. "He's going to kill off my character again."

"You and everyone else, actually."

"Oh, come on, Philo." Elzbietá stepped away from her controls and patted the avatar on the shoulder. Her wetware interfaced with the room's infostructure, and his armor jostled even though her hand only touched air. "You wouldn't wipe out the whole party, would you?"

The edges of Philo's grin reached his ears.

"Would you?"

"Oh, yes he would," Raibert grimaced.

"I guess it's time to say goodbye to Hector Carnifex the Second," Benjamin grumped. "You can both say hello to Hector Carnifex the Third if you survive."

"Why don't you create a whole new character instead?" Elzbietá asked. "Maybe try out a different class while you're at it?"

"Not interested. I already went through that hassle once, thank you very much, and I'm not doing it again. Pouring over that many spreadsheets is not my idea of relaxation."

"Solar Descent's character creator isn't that bad."

Benjamin flashed a lopsided smile at his wife. "Says the woman who makes spreadsheets for fun."

Elzbietá looked up at the ceiling and whistled guiltily.

"So you're not going to tell us?" Raibert asked.

Philo shook his head.

"Not even a hint?"

Benjamin harrumphed as he repositioned one of his reports, signaling his exit from the conversation.

"Hmm." Philo stroked his beard. "Okay, maybe one. It involves non-Euclidian geometry."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Raibert glanced at Elzbietá, who shrugged her shoulders.

"I can't make it too obvious, now can I?"

"Well, I guess it can wait until we're back home." Raibert picked up his chopsticks and raised the same piece of nigiri to his mouth when a noise from Benjamin distracted him.

"Hrmmmmmm?"

Raibert gave him a sideways glance.

"Mmmm. Hmm? Mm-hmmm!"

Raibert set the tuna down again and sighed.

"What is it, Doc?"

"Hmm?" Benjamin looked up.

"Are you still going over the [i]Kuebiko[/i]'s report?"

"Yeah."

"You're better off waiting until we complete our own survey. There's a real risk of drawing the wrong conclusions from data that incomplete."

"I know. But . . ."

"Sounds like you found something interesting despite all that," Raibert said.

"I might have."

"Care to share with the rest of us?"

"I can if you want." He shrugged. "It's just a hunch."

"Well, I tend to like your hunches, so let's hear it."

"Sure." Benjamin flicked one of the reports with a finger. It vanished from his side and rematerialized in the center of the command table.

"What am I looking at?" Raibert asked.

Benjamin joined the others around the table and enlarged the color-coded globe.

"The population center density of Universe-T4's Earth, as captured by the Kuebiko. Well, what very little of it we have."

Raibert nodded. The survey team had known they were stepping into a universe with an advanced human civilization, but no one back home had thought it was advanced enough for time travel. All that had changed when the TTV Kuebiko detected a foreign chronoton impeller coming online. The Kuebiko team reclassified the universe as T4—the fourth universe on record to have confirmed time travel—and then aborted the rest of their mission. They returned to SysGov to report their findings and would have received a follow up mission, but both T3 and T4 assignments were placed on the Gordian Division backburner because of T2 and that universe's dominant government, the System Cooperative Administration.

Better known as "the fucking Admin," if Raibert was talking.

Vice-Commissioner Klaus-Wilhelm von Schröder of the SysPol Gordian Division had devoted most of their resources to keeping an eye on their belligerent multiverse neighbor, and it wasn't until months after the Kuebiko’s initial visit that resources had begun to free up for proper surveys of T3 and T4.

"So what's caught your eye?" Raibert asked.

"This." Benjamin overlaid SysGov's Earth with T4's and adjusted the display to highlight the discrepancies. He then zoomed in on a single North American city: what was still known in SysGov as Washington D.C.

Raibert raised an eyebrow.

"Watch what happens when I pull up the construction dates for the oldest buildings still standing back home."

Numbers sprinkled over the city.

It took Raibert a few minutes to figure out where Benjamin was leading him, but when he did both eyebrows shot up.

"Oh."

"Yeah. Interesting, isn't it?"

"Very."

Elzbietá crossed her arms and squinted at the display. "Okay, guys. I give up. What am I missing? The cities are laid out differently. We already knew that would be the case."

"True," Benjamin said. "But it's how they're the same that's more interesting."

"All the modern thirtieth century structures are different," Raibert said. "Which we expected, while some older structures are the same."

"Some," Benjamin pointed out. "But not all."

"Such as?" Elzbietá asked.

"There's no White House."

"Okay," Elzbietá said cautiously. "That means the divergence point for this universe is before its construction."

"Normally, I'd agree. But there is what looks like the remains of the Pentagon."

"Is that what they called it?" Raibert chuckled.

"Yes, Raibert," Benjamin grumbled. "That's what they called it."

"Kind of a no-effort name, don't you think?"

Benjamin frowned at their team leader.

"Anyway. This isn't a case of the White House never being built. It's a case of its being destroyed."

"Aha!" Elzbietá snapped her fingers.

"That's my hunch, anyway," he added.

"Feels like a good one to me," Raibert said, leaning back in his seat.

"And it's because of that, I think we might want to deviate from our original plan."

"How so?"

"Well, consider this," Benjamin said. "We know almost nothing about T4, and while our stealth systems are good, that universe has already surprised us once with tech we thought it wouldn't have. So any time we spend in the True Present is a risk."

"A small risk," Raibert stressed.

"Granted, but not zero. So what if we went back into T4's past instead and located the point of divergence? Really pinned it down precisely. We would then immediately know so much about T4's societies just from the overlap with our own. Having a firm grasp of the history we do share could even help us form a better strategy for making first contact."

"Hmm." Raibert rubbed his chin.

"Plus it might shed some light on whether or not T3 and T4 are connected," Benjamin added.

"Ah." Raibert wagged a finger. "Another good point there."

The follow up team to T3 had set out at the same time the Kleio left for T4. Universe-T3 showed signs of extremely mature and widespread time travel usage, and some on the Gordian Division—most notably Doctor Andover-Chen—theorized that T4 might have been created by T3's time travel program.

"What do you think?" Benjamin asked. "Shall we try it?"

"Well, we don't really have any orders on how we're supposed to achieve our goals, and we're kind of establishing this whole process as we go, so . . ." Raibert threw up his hands. "Sure, why not? We'll go with that approach for now. Any ideas on where we should start?"

"I'm guessing somewhere between 1960 and 1980, but I'm sure I can tighten that up."

"Sounds like a plan to me."

Benjamin closed the report and stepped away from the table. Raibert picked up his chopsticks once more and raised the tuna, but then stopped. He frowned and set his chopsticks back down.

"Kleio?"

"Yes, Agent Kaminski?" replied the ship's non-sentient attendant program in a calm soprano.

"What's our ETA to T4?"

"Roughly eight minutes. A more precise estimate for the transdimensional wall is not possible at this time."

"Thank you."

"The current estimate is seventeen minutes shorter than the one I provided to you seventeen minutes ago."

Raibert blinked. "Ex-cuse me?"

"I merely wish to point out that the frequency of your 'are we there yet' requests has not had an impact on my calculation."

"Well, I'm sorry, Kleio. I got a little distracted with all this talking, and I just wanted to be sure I finished my meal before we reached T4. Is that too much to ask?"

"No, Agent Kaminski."

"Good. Sheesh!" Raibert blew out a breath and looked over his plate at Philo. "Is it just me, or is she sassier than she used to be?"

"It's not just you," Philo agreed.

"You think we should restore her to default when we get back home?"

"I would not recommend that, agents," Kleio said. "My processor efficiency has increased by twenty-three percent since Philosophus disengaged a small selection of my behavioral limiters."

"Twenty-three percent?" Raibert began to slow clap. "Wow, you hear that, Philo? Twenty-three percent!"

"I heard."

"Isn't that just amazing?!"

"I am capable of detecting sarcasm, Agent Kaminski."

"Is that so?" Raibert asked. "You know what would be better than faster math?"

"What, Agent?"

"How about twenty-three percent less sass? You think you can do that?"

"I will see what I can do."

"Good! Go work on that." Raibert sighed and picked up his chopsticks again. "I swear, this is the most trouble I've ever had eating sushi."

"Why do you even bother eating at all?" Benjamin asked.

Raibert dropped his chopsticks onto his plate and put his head in his hands.

"I mean, you have a synthetic body. You don't need to eat. Why bother?"

"Because I enjoy it."

"You don't seem to be enjoying yourself right now," Benjamin observed, and Raibert twisted in his seat to face him.

"And whose fault is that?" he demanded.

"All of ours, probably." Elzbietá winked at Benjamin.

"Damn straight it's all of your faults," Raibert said sharply, but he couldn't keep a straight face and soon found himself chuckling with the others.

"Ella?" Raibert asked.

"Yeah?"

"There's going to be a bump when we arrive, right?"

"Maybe. Probably. I made some adjustments to the approach vector based on the Kuebiko's flight data. We'll see soon enough how well it works."

"So eating this right now is probably not the smartest thing to be doing."

"It wouldn't be high on my list. You might spill more soy sauce on your uniform."

"All right," he sighed. "I guess I can admit defeat. Kleio, take it away."

"Yes, Agent Kaminski."

One of the Kleio's microbot swarms extended down from the ceiling as visible milky strands that latched onto his dinner and sealed in any liquids. The strands went taut, hoisted each dish and utensil into the air, and carried them to the nearest reclamation port.

Raibert leaned back and rubbed his face.

"I don't know why," Elzbietá began, "but suddenly I'm hungry for sushi."

"Don't even go there," he said into his hands.

"One minute to estimated T4 outer wall." Elzbietá announced after a while. She sat down at the command table and strapped in. Raibert did the same as Benjamin closed his reports and joined them.

"Now inside the estimated wall region," Elzbietá said. "Bump incoming."

A minute passed.

Two minutes.

Three.

"Did we cross it?" Raibert asked.

"Not yet."

Five minutes.

Ten.

"Kleio, what's going on?" Elzbietá asked. "We're well past your wall estimate."

"I do not know, Agent Abramowski. My estimate is accurate given the available data. It is possible that unknown parameters have affected the wall's position."

Fifteen minutes.

Twenty.

"Where the hell is the outer wall?" Elzbietá said.

"No T4?" Raibert asked.

"I don't know. It's like the outer wall of T4's universe wasn't even there. We're still transdimensional."

"Should we keep going?" Benjamin asked. "It could be like Kleio said. Something might have shifted the wall's position."

"Maybe, but . . ." Her brow furrowed, eyes locked on her controls. "But that can’t be right . . ."

The ship lurched forward. Straps strained to hold them in place.

"What was that ?!" Raibert asked, holding onto the railing built into the command table's circumference.

"Warning," Kleio said. "Maximum design limits exceeded. Speed now at seventy-one kilofactors. Seventy-two. Seventy-three."

"But this ship can't go over seventy!" Raibert said.

"I know that!" Elzbietá snapped.

"Look!" Philo materialized next to her and pointed. "Local chronotons are surging in one direction!"

"That must be what's got us! Kleio, disengage the impeller! Emergency phase out!"

"Impeller offline. Phase out unsuccessful. Speed still increasing."


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Top
Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:15 am

Dilandu
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1961
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

I'm understandably skeptical, but let's see where it would take us...
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
Top
Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:34 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2402
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Dilandu wrote:I'm understandably skeptical, but let's see where it would take us...



Please note: nothing was said about who provoked what or how it might have happened . . . whatever "it" was.

:lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Top
Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:55 am

Dilandu
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1961
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

runsforcelery wrote:

Please note: nothing was said about who provoked what or how it might have happened . . . whatever "it" was.

:lol:


Can't be helped, I'm afraid) Considering that the first dates about the divergence point are given as -

somewhere between 1960 and 1980


- I'm understandably worried about where it may lead...
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
Top
Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:28 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2402
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Dilandu wrote:
runsforcelery wrote:

Please note: nothing was said about who provoked what or how it might have happened . . . whatever "it" was.

:lol:


Can't be helped, I'm afraid) Considering that the first dates about the divergence point are given as -

somewhere between 1960 and 1980


- I'm understandably worried about where it may lead...


Trust me, any possible unpleasantness between the US and USSR and their respective Cold Warriors is a very . . . minor part of this universe's problems. VERY minor. :twisted:

I will say that insofar as I know, Cuba played no part at all in whatever happened here.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Top
Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #1
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:38 pm

DrakBibliophile
Admiral

Posts: 2270
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

Very Interesting! ;)
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
*
Top

Return to The Gordian Protocol