When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Week 1, Finding Henderson
We left our heroes still on the pantope, tuned in to a point on the north coast of the island continent of India, shortly before the end of the dinosaur era. We had decided to pull out the stops on technical level and were worrying if we are going to be the cause of the dinosaurs' demise.
Pfusand asks Tom just what these "dinosaurs" are, anyway. He answers, and supplies a number of images from the library. She asks if they died out instantly or over a few millennia. Over a few millennia. Then why not jump forward a few and see if they're still there? If they are, we needn't worry about starting them on the downhill slide. Various people discuss this pro and con, but in the end we decide not to bother, for fear of timelock potential.
We then spend nine weeks training. During that time, Tom produced a bazooka capable of taking out large dinosaurs, Daewen produced a glare-rifle made of Glamour (for temporarily blinding the enemy), Chris figured out Metabolic TK all by himself, and Sophie made Jonathan one of her Lorien-cloaks.
We must now decide where and when to show up. This is even trickier than usual, because of the way the Calvary Syndrome keeps throwing off the coordinates. At length, we are able to locate the original diadem-given coordinates on a map projected on the Map Room table. Daewen photocopies this only a sheet glamour-silk for later reference.
Since the Calvary Syndrome won't let us land right on the place-and-time given, we choose a place up on the north coast, on the same side of the river as our destination, about fifty miles away. We will leave in mid-air, via aircar, with the pantope set up to come back on a pre-arranged random schedule. Victoria and Tyrell (and Puck) will stay aboard, as usual.
We load up on weapons -- mostly energy guns and swords -- hide the aircar in wide-spectrum invisibility, then Cloak all the glamour and other psi.
Tom tries to open on the selected point, but the Syndrome also keeps steering us toward an attractor and we open up there. It's a place in the rocky foothills. We photograph and memorize the place, the close and try again.
This time Chris is steering. After two tries, he gets the coordinates right, opens on the proper place ... and finds a monsoon in progress. (It IS India, after all.) Humph. He moved the window to a point above the storm -- yes, it's a full-blown monsoon. We fast-forward a week and find we've moved toward the attractor. Chris corrects this. The monsoon is now over, so we make our way to the garage, pile into the aircar, and launch.
We are hardly out the door when the RADIO (how quaint) in the aircar comes to life, spluttering in one of the English-family languages: "Gods in their heaven, what's the matter with you?!" We don't answer. Meanwhile, Sophie gets a signal on the detector -- a clear line pointing toward the center of the Calvary Syndrome area. "Yes, you, the humans in the aircar!" the radio continues, after a pause. We are still to startled to answer. "Lee! This is Henderson! What the #@&% is going on? Kill the psi!"
Henderson?! The ubiquitous Mr. Henderson? Tom grabs the mike: "Uh, Captain Lee Verger is unavailable Mr. Henderson. We're acting for him. Why do you--" "Oh no!" He's recognized us.
He tells us to back off from "their perimeter." We should come meet him in the mountains. On the way, we should fly the aircar higher than animals can go. Radio is a safe channel; "they" don't listen to it. We follow his radio beacon, straight into the strange attractor that has been pulling at us all along.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.