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Kail
Monkey wrenches for all!
Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:43am
66.138.57.55

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- A.D. 1794 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Though Visa and Asiv failed to detect signs of radiation, dark energy or any other technological hallmark, the beauty of the Scottish countryside allowed Cylecks to take the disappointing news remarkably well. So pleasant were his surroundings that the reploid even looked forward to the long walk ahead of him to reach the distant settlement.

During the course of his leisurely constitutional, however, the angelic reploid happened upon a trio of kilted highlanders in the midst of a philosophical debate. (It was the so-called Scottish Enlightenment, after all.)

Upon seeing Cylecks one of them greeted him in Scottish Gaelic, saying “Madainn mhath.”

“Uh… hello, friends.” the reploid replied awkwardly, trying to sound as Old World as possible.

((Cylecks, we’re detecting four more humans twelve meters to the southeast.)) Visa reported.

It was then that the mercenary noticed the way that one of the highlanders kept a hand on the basket hilt of his sheathed claymore, and the way another pretended to use his dagger to peel an apple. “Highwaymen.” he groaned inwardly.

“Well, well.” the red-bearded Scot laughed. “It’s not every mornin I get to take the money off a half naked Englishman.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- A.D. 85XX -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Kaze gazed over the strange buildings of Ruminoa City. It didn’t seem like such a bad place. He began to plan how best to explain himself to the townsfolk. His thoughts were interrupted upon spotting something among the buildings that filled him with dread.

One of the robot warriors that he and the other Freelance Reploids had encountered at the end of time: an Enforcer. As it stood guard in the street the people of the city moved about the motionless sentinel without paying it any attention. Apparently, Kaze guessed, he’d arrived in a time after Malegaunt had decided to let his hand be visible in the ruling of the world. But whether or not the people yet knew the existence and nature of their self-proclaimed sovereign was still a mystery to him.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- A.D. 1945 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Vier ducked into the captain’s tent unescorted. They’d given her some overalls taken from a dead Panzer mechanic and now she truly looked the part of a farm girl.

“Come in, Fraulein.”

The captain was a young man, only thirty, but seemed much older. He had dark blond hair and razor sharp cheekbones, and may have been handsome before the war but now his Aryan-blue eyes had seen too much and his whole demeanor was darkened by it.

A deep paper-thin scar cut across the captain’s left cheek like a jagged lightning bolt. It echoed the twin lightning bolts of the Waffen-SS insignia on his uniform. His uniform jacket was unbuttoned for here in his tent formalities such as dress protocol were relaxed. Beneath it was a white undershirt and the sight of it made the man look a bit slovenly.

Vier noticed a Luger pistol resting on the table next to a glass of wine. Watching her eyes the captain smiled, saying “Don’t be afraid, my little edelweiss. It won’t harm you.”

“I’m not afraid.” Vier replied sincerely.

“Good. Fearlessness is required in times such as these. Please sit down.”

“Thank you, sir.”

This response made the officer smile again and he took a seat across from her. From a stainless steel case he produced a cigarette and, while lighting it, explained “We don’t have much time so I’ll make this brief. The war is not going well. It is much worse than the ministry of propaganda has made public. Recently the Russians broke through the Eastern front in Poland and now the Red Army is blazing across East Prussia on their way to Berlin. It is the duty of every good German to defend the Fatherland. Are you a good German, Fraulein?”

“Yes, sir, of course!” Vier responded instantly.

The captain took a long drag from his cigarette and blew the smoke slowly before saying “Good. Very good. Soon every citizen of the Reich will be called upon to do his duty. Old men… children… I see no reason why women should be deprived of the privilege as well. They can pull a trigger as well as a man. Even better, perhaps. My soldiers described your skill and valor to me as though you were some sort of uberfrau.”

“I do my best, sir.”

“I wonder if that will be enough.” the Nazi mused. “My unit has been ordered to Berlin to assist with the city's defense. Will you come with us and do your duty for the Fatherland?”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The hardest part Axel Cossack had had in getting into the Red Army was finding a uniform that fit him properly. After bloodbaths like Stalingrad the Soviets were so desperate for troops that they didn’t care if the volunteers had their stories straight or not. Especially regarding soldiers like Axel. His tactical skills and natural abilities as a reploid quickly distinguished him as a kind of hero among the Russians. His comrades even came to look up to him as a godlike super soldier.

In reality Axel didn’t give a fig about Russia, the Party or the war. His research had uncovered that his one ticket home, the Pendant of Pentane, was among numerous other occult artifacts collected by the Nazis in their bid for world domination. With travel across Europe prohibited by the war, Axel figured the best way to get into Germany was with the Red Army.

He gazed across the Oder River from atop a Soviet tank and wondered if he’d be able to find the Pendant of Pentane when he reached Berlin. He had no way of knowing what else he’d find there.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 485,293,176 B.C. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Ho there!" shouted the Australian. "Where’d you come from?”

The intruder was so unexpected that it sent the group of khaki-clad humans scrambling. Most grabbed nearby rocks or camping equipment to use as impromptu weapons, but the Australian himself pointed a large caliber firearm big enough to take down an elephant.

Maq gave a lop-sided grin as she strolled into the camp and commented "Nice fire. Mind if I join you?”

"...crickey..." the Australian whispered. He and the others had thought they were prepared for and expecting anything that this pre-historic time could throw at them, but the sight of a gorgeous young woman casually sauntering into their camp was a shock that left them all dumbfounded.

The situation was made even more surreal by the fact that she wore a tight fitting one-piece swimsuit. Still wet from her swim in the ocean the shapely girl looked like Ursula Andress rising from the sea in Dr. No, or perhaps the more appropriate comparison would be Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

It was the Australian that regained his wits first. He lowered his elephant gun and greeted her with a hearty "G'day, Sheila. You can warm yourself by my fire anytime. Name's Muldoon. Quigley Muldoon."

"Maquestan Crasher." she replied.

A human with shaggy hair and a beard held on to his makeshift club and asked "Where'd you come from?"

"The future!" Maq exclaimed and posed dramatically. After a gleeful moment of watching the human blink in stupefied bewilderment the reploid returned to her normal stance and inquired "Got anything to eat?"

Quigley answered “You betcha. We were just about to fire up the old barbie."

It turned out that half of the campers were scientists and the other half were members of a film crew. While the friendly Australian introduced Maq around to all of them, Cameron Black, the shaggy-haired human and director of the movie, conferred quietly away from the others with the lead scientist on the expedition.

"What do you make of her?" Black muttered.

The Ph.D. adjusted his glasses nervously while keeping his eyes on the intruder. "I wouldn’t even want to form an opinion without further data."

"Well one thing's for sure, I just found a way to inject a little sex appeal into this documentary." the director stated with a flicker of a smile. "Whatever you do, do NOT let her know we brought extra clothes."

Back among the group, Quigley finished introducing Maq to everyone. Everyone except for one man who sat all by himself gibbering unintelligibly. Looking again Maq noticed that the man's hands and feet were bound.

"Oh, that's Prescott, one of Cameron's mates." Quigley explained. "He didn't seem to take to the new environment too good. Complained about nightmares the first night, then he got violent. Stabbed one fella with a tent stake. Had to tie him up, poor bloke, just to keep him from hurting himself or somebody else. "

Maq could now hear what Prescott was saying, but didn't understand it. "Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

Quigley shook his head. "Try not to listen to his nonsense. It gets stuck in your head."

Spittle dripped down Prescott's chin. "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!"

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 11,626 B.C. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Demios stayed in the hills for days observing what he took to be the lost city of Atlantis. Nothing concrete was known about this civilization and he thought it best to gather info before making contact.

On the third day the mercenary’s multi-spectral sensors picked up traces of some new kind of energy two miles down the coast. Being sure to stay hidden from the Atlanteans, Demios trudged to the source and of the energy fluctuation and found… nothing. His scanner was detecting unexplained activity in a clump of trees.

Being something of a journeyman scientist, Demios experimented with the anomaly for hours. He ran various scans, passed his hand through the empty space and even tried talking to it. The only data gleaned from the study was the undeniable observation that the fluctuation was growing rapidly.

Just as Demios was about to give up his tests for the day the unexplained anomaly finally exploded into a time portal just like the one that had carried him there. The strange energy signature he’d observed must have been the reverse echo of what was to comimg.

Demios’ first inclination was to jump through the portal to escape this prehistoric time, but then realized it may very well be a portal from the same place he’d come from. It could send him right back to the end of the world. Instead he decided to wait and see who came through.

While waiting, Demios couldn’t believe his luck. Of all the times in history and all the places in the world a time portal could potentially open, the odds of it randomly occurring just miles away from where he himself had appeared only days ago were astronomical. He wondered if it had anything to do with the strange city nearby.

The mercenary’s suspicions about what lay on the other end of the new portal were well founded, as it did indeed turn out to be coming from the exact same time that he himself had fled from. But he was mistaken to expect a fellow Freelance Reploid to emerge. Instead the vortex spat out the shining metal body of a solid omnium robot. It was the Enforcer that had been sucked into the portal that the they'd had created.

The hulking automaton got to its feet just as the time portal slammed out of existence. Demios swallowed hard when the indestructible titan’s glowing eyes turned towards him and its voice rumbled “Lawbreaker.”

The merc's mind was suddenly filled with a horrible thought. Not only could this mechanical monster wipe out the nearby city, but with its nearly eternal power supply it could walk the earth destroying everything in its path for thousands of years. That is, unless he found some way to stop it.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- A.D. 1099 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

In a dungeon beneath the streets of Jerusalem a Christian awaited his own death. Before it came he was visited by a strange man dressed in the robes of a Saracen prince, but bearing none of the markings of Islam.

“What is your name, Christian?”

The prisoner struggled to speak, for by that time one of his eyes had already been plucked out.

“Roger, Duke of Lunel, son of Richard of Burgundy, vassal of Raymond of Toulouse. I was born in the year of the incarnation of our Savior 1066.”

“There is a mercenary amongst your army, a man of unusual quality. Do you know of whom I speak?”

“I do.”

“Tell me what you know of him.”

“At Antioch he sustained a mortal wound from which he did not die. Some claimed it was a miracle and proof that our cause is just. Others said it meant he is a witch in league with Lucifer, but none dared denounce him. He has Godfrey’s favor.”

“Ah. It was his misfortune to arrive in Europe of all places. When I appeared in the desert they called me a djinni and honored me. But you don’t have any clue what I’m talking about, do you?”

“What are you going to do with me?”

“That isn’t for me to say. You’re the prisoner of the governor, Iftikhar ad-Daula. I hear he intends to hang your limbs from the walls of the city before it falls. But if you tell me what I want to know then I promise you will receive a quick death and a Christian burial.”

The chained man considered for a long moment, then nodded once.

“I want to know all there is to know about this mercenary. What is his name, what does he look like, his habits in battle, everything.”

Twenty minutes later the strange man left the cell and stepped over the dead body of the dungeon’s guard. A slit throat had been cheaper than a bribe.

A black-clad warrior stepped from the shadows and asked the strange man “Did he tell you what you needed to know, sire?”

“He told me enough.”

“Do you want me to kill him as well?”

“No, let the Christian rot in there. We have more important work to do making preparations to capture the mercenary.”

“My lord, why do you care so much about a single Frankish hireling?”

“Because if I’m right then he comes from the same land as I. We’re both lost here in this place, but together we may be able to find a way home. That’s why I need you and your assassins to capture him alive and not kill him. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Prince Clockwise.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 38,329 B.C. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Sion Laiken sat atop a glacier and wept.


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NRP - I actually have a lot to say about Laiken in the Ice Age, but that's going to be another long post and I don't have time to write it now.

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