Guest Post – Mirror in Time eARC chapter 4 by David Ellis Overttun

My wife, Natasha (@neoverttun), introduced me to The Swordsmith. She and Peter (@Eldrazi56) follow each other on Twitter. It is one of the blogs that I jump to when I take a break from the madding crowd. I particularly like how he and Vesna weave what they like and what they don’t like (where applicable) into a balanced review.

The site has a very Zen feel to it. I love the muted white background. It makes everything easy to read. Many sites do not take this into account, and there are color combinations that sometimes make the text almost impossible to decipher. Another thing I love about The Swordsmith is its minimalist layout. Often, sites are filled with superfluous doodles that distract from the whole idea of a blog — the posts.

So, of course, I had to ask for a guest post, and I was delighted and honored when given the opportunity to share my writing.

* * * * *

Our story so far…

ARC “Prologue” posted on Witty and Sacrastic Bookclub

ARC eChapter 1 – “Debriefing and Consultation” posted on From Belgium With Book Love

ARC eChapter 2 – “History” posted on On The Shelf Reviews

ARC eChapter 3 – “Newbie” posted on Like Herding Cats Blog

As night falls, a lone atmospheric vehicle has come under attack on its final approach to a highaltitude research facility known as the “Jomo Langma Mountain Observatory”. Stars that should fill the sky have been obscured by a random patchwork of contrails that have come to be known as “ribbons in the sky”.

In the report of the incident, we learn the flight was designed to draw out subversives. In that respect, the plan has been a resounding success. All six of the attackers have been shot down. However, Prefect Godvina, AV Sundog’s lone passenger, is now recovering in the Observatory’s medical facilities, a result of stress caused by the evasive maneuvers of the episode. Director Jo’el, head of the Observatory, has been keeping vigil at her bedside. His concern for her is personal. Was this the reason for her visit?

Prefect Tarsus, architect of the plan, is pleased on two fronts. About the mission was to be expected.

However, as to Godvina’s condition has come as somewhat of a surprise to Agent Thalia, Sundog’s pilot, and Agents Mica’el and Gabri’el, two of her escorts. It spoke to rumors of a prior relationship between the head of Security and the head of the Cosmological Data Collection and Compilation Center. These rumors are seemingly confirmed when an angry Godvina bursts into a secure room to confront Tarsus, and Thalia is later tasked with covert surveillance of the fiery Prefect to determine the exact nature of her visit to the Observatory.

Jo’el’s tenure as Director of the Observatory had been a direct result of the ribbons in the sky and their seeming adverse causal affect on seismic activity and climate of the planet. His research had led him to conclude the ribbons were an extinction event. He has found a solution, a portal to another universe. However, there was no way to access it. If only there was more time…

His plan: Go back in time before access to the portal becomes compromised.

He will not be going alone. His two lifelong friends, Chief Psychology Officer Auberon and Chief Physician Kyros, will accompany him on this oneway journey. However, temporal mechanics was not his main area of study. That is why he has asked Godvina to come to Jomo. He needed a sounding board, someone to check his logic and his calculations. There was no one better than the prefect of CD3C.

He had originally intended a purely academic discussion.

However, Thalia’s scrutiny has thrown a spanner in the works. She had been unable to eavesdrop on their meeting, a result of one of Auberon’s very unique abilities. It would only be a matter of time until it would draw unwanted attention to Jo’el’s plan. Now, he had no choice but to flee Jomo with his two friends and a recently recruited CD3C Prefect. Their objective: Exit a facility under military jurisdiction, make their way through some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet and head to the very people who attacked AV Sundog.

Do you fancy their chances? Read on and see, ARC eChapter 4: “Static”.

* * * * *

“What do you ‘see’, Auberon?” Jo’el asked.

“Agent Thalia has been just outside continuing her attempts to eavesdrop on our meeting.”

“How long do we have, Vina?”

“She will report her inability to surveil our conversation at her first opportunity. Unless there is an emergency, standard procedure is to use a secure room. If she is tailing me, probably not until tonight after I turn in for the evening.”

“Does that give you enough time, Auberon?” Jo’el asked.

“Should do.”

“Fine. We go about our daytoday activities as usual. Vina, make sure you take a walk after dinner before returning to your quarters tonight. We will meet you there.”

She gave him a quizzical look.

“Another one of TM’s superpowers,” Kyros said with a smile.

“We need to travel light, so pack only the bare necessities,” Jo’el added.

“As for me, all I need is my toiletries bag and another pair of underwear, so I can rotate. You know: one to wash and one to wear.”

“Too much detail,” Auberon said, shaking his head.

They emerged from Jo’el’s office shortly after. Kyros bid everyone farewell and proceeded to the medical facilities.

“Director Jo’el, I wondered if I might discuss one of my case files with you. It will not take long,” Auberon requested.

“Of course. Prefect Godvina, I will meet you in Observatory 1 in about…”

“Half an hour,” Auberon replied.

“Agent Thalia is following Prefect Godvina,” Auberon whispered as they walked away.

Thalia was unseen as she followed Godvina at a distance. The most accomplished members of the Security Forces were able to use their shadows to bend light and render themselves invisible. This confirmed that the CD3C Prefect was the Agent’s target. But, in any event, it would be impossible for her to monitor more than one person’s movements at a time. This would allow the other three the freedom to complete the preparations for that night’s endeavor.

* * * * *

“Agent Thalia requesting a secure link with Prefect Tarsus.”

She snapped to attention and bowed as the hologram of Tarsus appeared before her.

“Good even to you,” he said, returning her bow. “Report.”

“I have been monitoring the movements of Prefect Godvina as instructed. One unusual item noted. There was a meeting that she attended this morning that I was unable to monitor.”

“Location?”

“Director Jo’el’s office.”

“Other attendees?”

“Director Jo’el, Doctor Kyros and Advisor Auberon.”

“Did you record it?”

“Yes. I have analyzed it but have not been able to come to any conclusions.”

“Transmit.”

“Transmitting.”

“Please give me a moment,” he said. “Computer, play transmission.”

Most people would think nothing unusual about a static hiss. However, to Tarsus, it had a very distinct signature. His eyes widened.

“Transfer this link to your nexus on a secure channel. Proceed with all possible speed to Prefect Godvina’s quarters and take her into custody. Call for full backup. Proceed with extreme caution. Once the room has been breached, make sure someone is standing in the doorway at all times.”

Thalia thought it a strange course of action but knew better than to question her superior. She emerged from the secure room and dashed down the corridor. “What did I miss, sir?”

“One of the individuals in that meeting is Transcended.”

A short time later, she was in front of the doors to Godvina’s quarters with a cohort. She extended her shadow into the room. “Sir,” she said in a low voice, “the trace on Prefect Godvina’s nexus indicates she is in her quarters, but I do not detect her.”

“I repeat. Proceed with extreme caution.”

“Computer, open these doors. Authorization Agent Thalia.”

The doors opened and everyone poured into the room.

“Sir,” Thalia said a short time later, “she is not here. We found her nexus underneath her mattress.”

“Locate the other meeting attendees.”

“Computer, specify location of Director Jo’el, Dr. Kyros and Advisor Auberon.”

“Director Jo’el, Dr. Kyros and Advisor Auberon are in their quarters.”

“Did you hear that, sir?”

“Yes, make sure this room is secured and under guard. Then, proceed with all possible speed to Director Jo’el’s quarters, same protocol.”

Thalia and the guardians went to each room. Each yielded the same result, a nexus underneath a mattress. A subsequent search of the facility came up emptyhanded. The four had simply vanished.

* * * * *

Of course, they make an exit! Not much of a story otherwise. Well, I suppose I could have had them captured then escape, but, nah…

From their preparations, it seems they will not be making their way down the Mountain.

Sidebar: The meager personal articles that Kyros intended to pack comes from my own personal experience. I once (well, actually it was twice) attended a 10day aikido seminar in Mexico City with a group from my dojo. As you might expect, we all packed accordingly, all except one of us. Let’s call him “Ligero”. (It means “lightweight” in Spanish.) Well, Ligero didn’t want to practice. He just wanted to watch. He showed up at the airport with a carryon a little larger than something that might hold your lunch. Of course, we questioned him. He told us it contained his toiletries, a Tshirt, a pair of socks and a pair of underwear.

At the hotel, we doubled up. Luckily, I was paired with someone else. However, his roommate told us about Ligero’s nightly routine that included the day’s laundry and flossing his teeth (apparently, you can hear the flicking sounds) while taking a bath.

As Jo’el predicted, Tarsus discovers Auberon’s transcendence. This is the perfect segue to Natasha’s visual.

It is her rendering of the static hiss recorded by Thalia, and the subsequent disappearance of a person of interest.

However, what we don’t know is how they did it, kind of like in Now You See Me. We also don’t know whether they are still on the Mountain or if they made it off.

* * * * *

Other books by D. Ellis Overttun

Terra Nova Book 1 – Universe: Awakening

Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary

Terra Nova Book 2 – Genesis: Vision of the New World

Themes in Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on The Book Hole

Terra Nova Book 3 – Prophecy: Eve of Darkness

Themes in Prophecy: Eve of Darkness posted on The Bookwormery

Through My Wife, Natasha, on Twitter: @neoverttun

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