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Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history novel.
Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:39 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2409
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Chapter Three
Transtemporal Vehicle
Kleio, non-congruent


"Everyone okay?" Raibert asked. "Still got all your parts?"

"I'm fine," Benjamin said. "Just can't see a blasted thing. Ella?"

"Still here. Now what do we do?"

"We could wait it out," Raibert suggested. "Any microbot swarms should default to helping Kleio's systems boot back up."

The room shuddered and metal screeched in a distant part of the ship.

"'Should'?" Benjamin repeated. "With our luck?"

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Raibert unstrapped himself and grabbed hold of the table as he floated out of his seat.

"What are you doing?" Elzbietá asked.

"I'm going to force a restart of the bridge infostructure. Stay put."

Raibert spun around in the air, planted his feet on the table edge, and kicked off. He floated over to the wall and cushioned his approach with both arms, then felt around until he found the edge of a doorway.

"There should be a processor node behind the wall near each door," he said, groping for the seams in the wall panels. "I can manually activate the infostructure from there."

"You think that'll work?" Elzbietá asked.

"It should. You two hear that sound?"

The pitch black room fell silent as both his companions strained their hearing.

"Air is still flowing," Benjamin observed.

"Exactly. Which means we're not completely without power. This stuff is never meant to turn off, but something's scrambled it. Normally, Kleio would just clear the errors, but what if she doesn't have a connection to the bridge anymore?"

"When in doubt, reboot," Elzbietá said.

"Exactly."

He ran the edges of his fingers down a seam in the panel, found a corner and slid his hand across, then up at the next corner.

"Come on. Where's the release?"

"What’s wrong?" Benjamin asked.

"Nothing. It's nothing. I've got this."

Raibert locked his fingers into a knife-like shape and jammed them into the seam. He curled his fingers underneath the panel and ripped it free of the wall in one mighty pull. The rectangular panel twirled through the darkness until it clonked against something. Hard.

"Ow!" Benjamin yelped. "What the hell?!"

"Sorry!" Raibert apologized. "I didn't mean to do that!"

"I should hope not!"

"On the bright side, I did get the panel open." He fumbled against the processor node until he found the manual restart switch. "Fingers crossed?"

He toggled the switch. Data pathways opened in his mind, and virtual displays lit up around him.

"My augmented reality displays are back up," Elzbietá said.

"Mine too," Benjamin confirmed. "A shame they can't light the room."

"It's a start," Raibert said. "Can you tell how bad it is?"

"Looks like you were right," Elzbietá said. "Kleio's offline, and most of our systems are in standby. I should be able to manually restart them from here."

"Wait one—"

The lights switched back on, and gravity flattened Raibert against the floor.

"Oof! Second."

Philo's avatar reappeared. The Viking took stock of the situation.

"Raibert?"

"Yeah, buddy?"

"What are you doing on the floor?"

"I'm wondering that myself." He pushed himself up, brushed off his uniform, and returned to the table. "Good to see you back online."

"That makes two of us. Is it just me, or is Kleio offline?"

"She's off, all right." Elzbietá opened a map of the TTV and expanded it over the table. The Kleio's sleek, elliptical form materialized as a white, translucent schematic.

A solid line of red ran from the bow of the ship through the midsection and out a hole near the impeller spike at the tail end of the craft. All totaled, it had passed through eighty-two meters of the ship's one hundred fifty-meter length.

"Damn," Benjamin breathed.

"It looks worse than it is," Elzbietá reported. "Something hit us hard enough to punch straight through the bow here. It took out the main gun, clipped the central core there, and then busted its way out here. Besides the gun and core, our primary systems are intact."

"Is the core salvageable?"

"I think so. One of the swarms is rebuilding the critical pathways as we speak, but it'll be a while."

"Then we make do without her." Raibert faced his integrated companion. "Philo, I need you to take over her functions until she's back up."

"Consider it done." The Viking vanished.

"Now." Raibert leaned over Elzbietá's seat. "What about outside the ship?"

"Chronotons are still surging all around us, and we're being pulled deeper into the past."

"Can you get us back on track for Universe-T4's True Present?"

"I'll try." Elzbietá activated the impeller and eased power into it. The TTV schematic vanished, replaced with a graphical view of the chronometric weather around them. She struggled against the current for several minutes, and Raibert watched the kilofactor readout on her display tick down until it was almost zero.

"Nice," he said, grinning.

"I think we can do this," Elzbietá breathed. "Just got to take it slow."

"Good to hear. Do you think this surge is—"

"Hold on!" She jerked the omni-throttle back.

A massive rocky object phased in near the Kleio, many thousands of times larger than the time machine, and Elzbietá skirted the Kleio over its craggy exterior. The obstruction vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

"Whew!" she exclaimed. "That was close!"

"Where did that thing come from?" Raibert asked.

"Some form of debris is being pulled into the past, same as us. It was only in phase with us for a few moments. I'll keep an eye out for more. It just caught me off guard, is all. I shouldn't have too much trouble dodging them now that I know what to look for."

"Hold up," Benjamin said. "Can you take us back and phase-lock with that mass?"

"Sure, but why would I want to?"

"A hard look at it might help us figure out what's happening."

"Good idea," Raibert agreed. "Do it."

"All right. Here we go."

Elzbietá reversed course and brought them within phase of the mass. Its massive bulk loomed ahead of them like an alien mountain range cut off from the rest of the world in a rough circle. Benjamin opened a video feed and began collecting data.

"Is that from an asteroid?" Raibert asked.

"If so, it's weirdly shaped," Benjamin said. "No impact craters on this side. Ella, can you swing us around to the other side?"

"Sure thing."

The view shifted as the Kleio flitted closer to the object's rough edge. Benjamin zoomed in, revealing the edge to be composed of thin layers of differing rock all piled on top of each other and compacted together. Smaller chunks floated near the edge.

The Kleio crested past the rim, and the far side of the mass came into full view.

"My God . . ." Benjamin breathed.

Elzbietá's jaw hung open in horror, and Raibert shook his head.

"What the hell is going on here?" he asked quietly.

"I wish I knew," Benjamin answered softly.

The Kleio sped past the gargantuan spires of a broken city, its vehicles and inhabitants frozen in place.

No, not frozen, Raibert realized. Paused.

It was a city torn from its world.

A city where time no longer existed.

* * * * * * * * * *

"There're Cyrillic characters all over the place," Benjamin said. "I think this city is from T4's Earth."

"Why do you say that?" Elzbietá asked.

"You know the years I was targeting with my theory? 1960 to 1980? Well, I chose them because I had a hunch the Cold War ended differently in T4."

"Raibert, do you know what could cause something like this?" Elzbietá asked.

"Not a clue," he said, shaking his head.

A boulder phased in beneath the city and plowed up through a street. It blasted through a skyscraper, scattering chunks of steel and masonry. Some of the fragments phased further into the past while others added to the cloud of detritus around the city. Another hulking rock crashed through the city at a diagonal, splintering a dozen towers. Piece by piece, the city was being ground up into its base components.

"If this really is from T4," Benjamin began, "then we were probably hit by a small chunk of T4's Earth. In fact, all the debris we've encountered so far could be what's left of the planet being sucked into the past."

"Don't take this the wrong way, Doc"—Raibert gave him a sad look from across the table—"but I hope you're wrong."

"I know. I just . . ." Benjamin paused and grimaced. "I'm just trying to make sense of this."

"Same here. I didn't mean anything by it."

"Hold on." Elzbietá sat up and expanded a sector of the city. "What's this?"

"What do you have?" Raibert asked.

"That's an impeller signature!" She highlighted the signal.

"Are you sure?" Raibert asked. "That's a really odd profile."

"No, she's right," Benjamin said. "It's weak and intermittent—could be damaged—but it's almost an exact match to what the Kuebiko spotted before it pulled out."

"More importantly, it's moving!" Elzbietá said.

"It is?" Raibert's eyes lit up. "Then that means it didn't suffer the same fate as the city. There could be survivors on board."

"Maybe," Elzbietá said. "It's worth a look."

"Well then!" Raibert sank into his seat and strapped in. "Sounds like we have a ship in need of assistance. Ella, take us in."

"All right." She cracked her knuckles and summoned the controls to her fingertips. "Hold onto your butts! This could get bumpy!"

She throttled up, and the Kleio dove toward the city. Pebbles pattered off the hull as she swooped in through the skyline. The top ten floors of a skyscraper tumbled lazily in front. The Kleio dipped underneath, and the patter turned into violent sleet.

"There." Benjamin pointed. "Hovering above street level."

A long, boxy outline lit up in the visual feed, a stubby impeller spike sticking out of one end.

"I see it. Smaller than I expected."

"We might have enough room to stash the whole thing in the cargo bay," Raibert said.

"We do," Philo reported. "It'll fit if we jettison the main gun's wreckage."

An oblong boulder phased in and smashed through several towers. The top of one spun over and its antenna spire scraped against the Kleio's hull.

"Then let's grab it and get out of here," Benjamin stressed.

"Better than sticking around in this mess," Elzbietá agreed. "Philo, take control of the outer hull. I'll move in to scoop it up."

"Ready."

The Kleio skimmed above city streets full of automated vehicles. The bulk of its prog-steel hull knocked over lampposts, severed cables, and demolished billboards. The other time machine floated ahead of them, closer to the ground. Elzbietá brought the Kleio even lower, slowing until she came to a stop next to the small, primitive-looking craft.

Philo split the bow open to form a wide, hungry mouth that vomited out a heavy, twisted cylinder.

"Bay open and wreckage jettisoned. Gravity in that section is disengaged."

Elzbietá licked her lips and switched the omni-throttle to a finer control mode. She eased it forward. The front lip of the Kleio's hull crushed a flatbed truck and smeared its wreckage across the street. She added a little more power, and the impeller spike of the other time machine slipped into their cargo bay.

She cut power to the thrusters, let the Kleio coast forward until the entire time machine was inside, then applied a burst of reverse thrust.

"We've got it," Philo said. "Closing the hull and ramping up internal gravity."

"Nicely done," Raibert said. "Any problems?"

"Its impeller is creating some chronometric drag," Elzbietá said. "But our impeller is way more powerful. We can compensate."

"Good to hear." Raibert unstrapped himself and stood up. "Doc, come with me. Ella, keep us safe?"

"I'll take it from here," Philo offered. "I'll move us out of phase of the city and stay clear of signatures that might come into phase with us. We should be safe for now. If the current gets rough again, I'll let everyone know."

"In that case, Ella, you're with us."

Benjamin and Ella both unstrapped and joined Raibert. The three of them passed through a prog-steel shutter, hurried across the corridor, and took the counter-grav shaft down to the bottom of the three-story-tall cargo bay.

The black hull of the primitive time machine sat at an angle. Its impeller had impressed a groove across the right wall, and a corner of its boxy main body was jammed against the left. Impact dents covered most of the surface, and the tip of the impeller had skewed slightly to one side. Raibert ducked underneath the impeller spike and rounded his way toward what he assumed was the front.

"Everyone ready for an impromptu first contact?" he asked.

"Not really," Benjamin grumped. "I wish Kleio was back online so we could load up on Russian linguistics."

"Speaking of which, do either of you know what that says?" Elzbietá pointed to the Cyrillic characters emblazoned across the time machine's flank.

"Nope," Raibert said. "You, Doc?"

"I relied on auto-translators for this sort of thing even back in the twenty-first century, let alone after I got my wetware upgrades."

"Then I guess that's another wait-for-Kleio question." The flat front of the time machine formed one big window, but dirt and grease clouded it, and the interior wasn't lit. Raibert approached a side hatch near the front window.

"There're bloody handprints on the hatch," Benjamin noted. "And these could be bullet impact points."

"That's a little ominous." Raibert knocked three times. "Hello! Anyone in there?"

Benjamin rounded the corner to the front window and wiped away a circle of grime with his sleeve. He shielded his view with both hands and pressed his face against the glass.

"I can see someone inside!" he said. "A young woman. She looks injured!"

Raibert tried the hatch.

"Locked!"

"Then bust it down!" Elzbietá said.

Raibert backed up for a running start, then sprinted forward and smashed his shoulder into the hatch. It didn't budge.

"No good!"

"The window!" Benjamin pointed, backing off.

Raibert hammered his fist into the window. A previous impact had already weakened it, and a web of cracks spread out from his fist. Two more strikes, and the window shattered, jagged edges tearing at his sleeve and synthoid skin. He raked his arm across the opening, breaking off glass teeth, then grabbed the ledge and vaulted inside.

A young, athletic woman with an oval face lay sprawled across the floor next to the pilot seat, dirty-blonde hair tousled and blood leaking out of her nose and mouth.

"Philo, warm up the medical bay!" Raibert slipped his arms underneath the woman and lifted her up. "You've got a patient incoming!"


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:25 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Great, now you decide to blow a Slavic city into space&time.

Seriously, I start to suspect that you just love to blow up everything Russian. ;)
------------------------------

- 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)
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by Joat42   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:53 pm

Joat42
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1439
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:01 am
Location: Sweden

Dilandu wrote:Great, now you decide to blow a Slavic city into space&time.

Seriously, I start to suspect that you just love to blow up everything Russian. ;)

I think you are missing the point. The woman is probably the only survivor from that Earth unless there are more timeships from it.

An event of the magnitude inferred probably means the rest of that Earth is tearing itself apart. The city was located on a piece of Earth that had a size many thousands times larger than the ship, which means that it's at minimum 300 km across. Removing that a large mass from a continent tend to do Bad Things™ to the Earth as a whole - like making volcanoes go a tad active among other things.

It could even mean that the whole T4 timeline is breaking apart and is being sucked backwards in time to a nexus-point which also means that our intrepid heroes have other problems on their hands, like other timelines being impacted.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:14 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Joat42 wrote:I think you are missing the point. The woman is probably the only survivor from that Earth unless there are more timeships from it.


...To be precise, I was joking...
------------------------------

- 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)
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by Joat42   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:52 pm

Joat42
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1439
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:01 am
Location: Sweden

Dilandu wrote:
Joat42 wrote:I think you are missing the point. The woman is probably the only survivor from that Earth unless there are more timeships from it.


...To be precise, I was joking...

Oh, I know. But still.. ;)

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:33 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2409
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Dilandu wrote:
Joat42 wrote:I think you are missing the point. The woman is probably the only survivor from that Earth unless there are more timeships from it.


...To be precise, I was joking...


Oh, I figured that! However, this particular city comes from North America, Cyrillic lettering and all! :lol:

And the truth is, I just like to blowup things, some of which happen to be Russian.

It's all a coincidence — I swear! :twisted:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by Joat42   » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:01 pm

Joat42
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1439
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:01 am
Location: Sweden

Dilandu wrote:
Joat42 wrote:I think you are missing the point. The woman is probably the only survivor from that Earth unless there are more timeships from it.


...To be precise, I was joking...

runsforcelery wrote:Oh, I figured that! However, this particular city comes from North America, Cyrillic lettering and all! :lol:

And the truth is, I just like to blowup things, some of which happen to be Russian.

It's all a coincidence — I swear! :twisted:

I wouldn't at all be surprised if you put stuff in the books just to rile up some of the regulars here... ;)

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:25 pm

TFLYTSNBN
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1519
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:58 am

runsforcelery wrote:

Oh, I figured that! However, this particular city comes from North America, Cyrillic lettering and all! :lol:

And the truth is, I just like to blowup things, some of which happen to be Russian.

It's all a coincidence — I swear! :twisted:



This seems to be an alternate timeline in which Russia didn't sell Alaska to the United States or relinquish California to the Spainish then Mexico.

Perhaps Russia even won the Crimean war and as a result extorted the Oregon territories and British Columbia from England?

This planet didn't just blow itself up. It appears to be the result of a large, relativistic impactor that would liberate most of its kinetic energy in the planetary core.

I notice that the sole survivor is "a young, athletic looking woman." First thing her rescuers need to do is throw her into the shower.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol Snippet #4
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:26 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

TFLYTSNBN wrote:
This planet didn't just blow itself up. It appears to be the result of a large, relativistic impactor that would liberate most of its kinetic energy in the planetary core.



Frankly, this is impossible. Such impact would not left anything recognizable thrown to space.

Looks more like the planet was... partially displaced. Different parts moved differently among the spatial & temporal dimensions.
------------------------------

- 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 #4
Post by Theemile   » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:23 am

Theemile
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Posts: 3530
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: All over the Place - Now Serving Troy, Mi

TFLYTSNBN wrote:
runsforcelery wrote:

Oh, I figured that! However, this particular city comes from North America, Cyrillic lettering and all! :lol:

And the truth is, I just like to blowup things, some of which happen to be Russian.

It's all a coincidence — I swear! :twisted:



This seems to be an alternate timeline in which Russia didn't sell Alaska to the United States or relinquish California to the Spainish then Mexico.

Perhaps Russia even won the Crimean war and as a result extorted the Oregon territories and British Columbia from England?



I was thinking the same thing - either that or this is a Universe where the crappy ABC TV miniseries from the 80s "Amerika", where the US President sold the country to Russia actually came true.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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