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Offline Saffa

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2013, 11:26:15 PM »
I think I might just have provided the setting for that particular appearance. ;)

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Offline BulbasaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2013, 12:16:20 PM »
You definitely altered my original plan for that scene, that much I will say, Saffa.  But, for the better.  Most certainly for the better.  ;)

Chapter Twelve

For the first time since the destruction of the Swiss facility, all of RAF filed into the Media Board.  There was a feeling of unease in the air.  They could all sense that their short time of peace was coming to an end.  What else, after all, would the staff need to gather them all together to tell them?

Richard quickly got down to business, knowing that he had a lot of material to cover.  Between the disappearance of the backup copies, and the missing Po, and then the unraveling of time itself.  It was a lot to take in.

The crowd sat in somber silence, absorbing the news.  Indeed, it certainly seemed like the happy times were over.  Although many of them had expected this, from the moment they had heard Estrid's mirror-wave call, it was still a serious blow.

"Now, we need to figure out what to do," Richard said, almost expectantly.  As if he was waiting for someone to jump up and raise their hand and have the answer.  "Queen is our most pressing problem.  My guess is she may even be connected to the backups, and . . . " he trailed off as he looked at Anna, who was hugging herself in such a desperate way it was like she was trying to will Po back into her arms.  Richard left the sentence hanging, not wanting to voice aloud his concern that Queen might have taken her son.

"Anyway, there's nothing we can do from here, if she really is in the real world," Richard went on.  "I'm the only one who could do anything at all, and Queen will be far more powerful than I am, out there.  We need to find a way to cross over."

"We shouldn't have destroyed the reverse teleporter," somebody muttered, and there were a few morose nods of agreement from the rest of the crowd.

"Wait, wait," Seal commented, standing up to let herself be heard.  "Don't we have a Time Matrix, too?  There should be one in the Animorphs Board, right?  If Queen can use hers to wreak havoc in time, can't we use ours to go back to the real world and stop her?"

"I think it's the same one," Aquilai said, from the chair next to Seal.  He said it quietly, almost sadly, like he was delivering bad news.

"What?" Jess wondered, looking at Aquilai sharply.

"It's the same one," Aquilai repeated, speaking louder and a bit more confidently this time.  "There is only one Time Matrix.  What, do you think it's a coincidence?  The thing that started this all off, the thing with the power to alter reality and create a new reality, just happens to be an object from a book series we all read.  And, oh, by the way, just happens to be something we have one of?"  He sounded angry, but not really at anyone in particular.  Like he was angry at reality itself.

"How can it be the same one, though?" Blaze wondered from across the room, but it came out like a rhetorical question, because he was already putting the pieces together.  They all were.

"They said that there was a false positive during one of the reverse teleportation tests," Myitt said distantly, recalling what she had heard at the Swiss facility, as recounted to her by the former innerworlders, Bloodbane, Shade, Becky and Kyris.  "They said that the scientists' data told them something had come through, but they never found it.  Whereas they had found the Time Matrix a couple decades prior, in Egypt.  And from that we concluded that the Time Matrix had appeared, and somehow sprung back in time."

Aquilai nodded.  He had heard the story before.  And, in fact, he had been pondering this information for a long time.  Long enough to figure out, or at least guess at, what the other RAFians were only just now putting together.

"But what if that wasn't the whole story?" he wondered.  "What if it was us, steering the Time Matrix to that time and place?  We may have aimed, or, well, we may aim, for the time and place where they were doing the reverse teleportation tests.  That's where, and when, the barrier between our worlds would be at its weakest.  And then, once through, we would immediately pull a u-turn, to 1988.  A year before it would be found.  Should be fairly simple, since we believe that's where the Time Matrix 'wants' to be.  But we'll still have to time it just right, because we can't stay in the Swiss facility for more than a fraction of a second or we'll be seen.  After that, we simply leave the Time Matrix where it was, or will be, found."  He rubbed his head, annoyed by the interchangeable past and future tenses.

"We can use my TARDIS to move through time after that, since we'll have to leave the Time Matrix behind," Aquilai continued.  "My TARDIS, of course, isn't as powerful as the Time Matrix is, but it's better than nothing."

"Wait, how can one time machine be more powerful than another?" someone wondered from the crowd.

Dino would have smirked, if she'd had a human face.  Oh, she knew quite well, as the owner of probably the stupidest time machine ever invented, how one time machine could be more powerful, or, in her case less, than another.

"Where the Time Matrix follows the multiverse theory, my TARDIS does not," Aquilai explained.  "When the Time Matrix alters the past, a brand new timeline is created.  It can, therefore, actually alter history, such that it is completely different from how it would have gone in the original timeline.  The TARDIS, on the other hand, must stay within its own timeline.  If the TARDIS goes back in time, then, the past will have already happened the way that it happens.  You can do whatever you want, but then that's how it will have happened, in your own past."

He shrugged.  "There's a few exceptions, of course, since logic doesn't always apply to Doctor Who.  But in general, the TARDIS cannot actually alter history.  Granted, it can still tie knots in time until it's reduced to a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey, stuff.  But it's still only that one timeline."

Phoenix stood up.  "My time machine is the same way as Aquilai's.  Plus, mine can only carry two passengers.  So we'll be using the TARDIS for the most part."

Dino spoke up, adding, <Same with mine.  Technically mine can create alternate timelines, but they will always collapse again at some point.  And, um, mine can't really be aimed.  You just have to cross your fingers and hope you hit somewhere near the time you were trying for.  If you hit within roughly a million years, well, that's about the best you can do.  And even that takes several tries usually.>

"Alright, so we have a plan," Richard said, rubbing his hands together as he got down to business.  "First thing, we need to find the Time Matrix."  He pointed at Cloaky, Lumy, and Blue.  "You three, the construction site.  Cloak, you can use your terrakinesis, Lumy and Blue, you'll need shovels."

The three of them hurried out of the auditorium and off to the Animorphs Board.  Richard realized that Cloak probably could have accomplished the task on his own, but he didn't want to send any RAFian anywhere without backup.  Not at a time like this, when too many things were already going wrong.

"Wait," Myitt said, wrinkling her brow like she was straining to remember something.  "They said, the Swiss people said, that they knew that the thing that came through the reverse teleport was an object.  Something about the coding being static, or something.  But, that means, there weren't any life signs.  So, how could it have been us?"

"I don't know, maybe we find a way to hide our life signs?" Aquilai wondered.  "Actually, yes, come to think of it, we'll have to.  We need a way to protect ourselves.  Queen has the Time Matrix.  What's to stop her, from finding out our identities, going back in time, and deleting us from history?  No, we can't risk that."

He stood up and abruptly walked out of the room.  "I'm going to work on something," he explained as he left.

"Wait for me," Goom said, following the Time Lord.  Whatever he was up to, Goom was sure he could help him get it done faster.

Terenia realized something else.  "We can't send everyone into the real world," she pointed out.  "We'll only get one shot with the Time Matrix, and we're going to be limited by how many people can touch a ten-foot-diameter sphere at once.  I'd say, maybe twenty or so.  Besides, we may need a contingent of RAFians to stay here on the forum, in case Queen attacks here.  The real world is our top priority, but we can't leave RAF defenseless, either, or Queen may be able to use our own technology against us."

Hands shot up across the room as RAFians volunteered for the mission, but Richard made a calming gesture with his hands.  "We don't need to decide just yet.  Think about it.  We have, well, we have at least until Aquilai and Goom are done working, and the Time Matrix is unearthed.  Then, when we are ready, we will choose who goes, and who stays."
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 09:42:34 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline BulbasaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2013, 12:34:24 PM »
Chapter Thirteen

It wasn't long at all before Cloak, Lumy, and Blue returned.  They and the Time Matrix simply popped into the room, appearing out of nothing, with each of them pressing a hand against that deceptively simplistic off-white sphere.  The three let go of it almost as soon as they had arrived.  It was impossible not to be intimidated, by an object of so much power.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forum, Goom and Aquilai worked together to complete their inventions.  The devices looked rather like oversized wristwatches.  Mostly black, but with blue and white highlights where wires and gears could be seen.  The face of the 'watch' was black, with a glowing blue stylized letter 'R.'

Two circular pads were visible on either side of the emblazoned face, within plastic attachments that flared out against the straps.  One larger, maybe quarter-sized blue button, the other smaller, dime-sized, and white.

They were finished.  A murmur of muted excitement greeted Goom and Aquilai as they returned to the auditorium, various other RAFians straining to see what the two were carrying.

"I know they're a bit clunky," Goom apologized, as he lifted a simple plastic tray, showing the inventions to the rest of RAF.  Aquilai was carrying several more trays, covered with enough watches to give one to each RAFian.  "But it's the best we could do.  We don't have time, right now, to streamline the design."

"In addition to hiding our code and any life signs, they should actually insulate our timelines from changes," Aquilai said proudly.  "See, each of these contains a saved copy of each RAFian's timeline.  Which means, for one, that we cannot be deleted from history.  If Queen, say, goes back in time and kills our parents, well, unfortunately this won't save our parents.  But we will still exist, because the connection to our former timeline will still exist."

He smiled his satisfaction, proud of his inventions, before going on.  "This connection to our own timeline, also means that we will remember our history as it is supposed to be.  However, we will, also, remember the timeline as Queen has altered it.  Which means we will be able to sense the changes as they occur."

"They also contain human forms," Goom noted smugly.  This part was his work.  "For those RAFians who aren't human, we've compiled human disguises for you.  Think of it like a cross between a morph and a solid hologram.  It's technically a projection, but it will make you the same size and shape as your human self."

He wrinkled his brow.  "It's a bit hard to explain, but just trust me, it'll work."  He held up a watch, and pointed at the pad on the strap.  "See that button?  Just to the side of the face of the watch?  The blue one?  That's what you press to switch back and forth.  We were able to get it to respond to psychic commands, so it won't go off if you press the button by accident.  There has to be intent behind it."

"If it responds to psychic commands, why put a button at all?" someone asked.

"The button opens the channel for the watch to hear your thoughts," Goom explained.  "If they were hearing your thoughts all the time, not only would that consume a lot of energy, it would also leave you open to hacking and spying attempts, people trying to spy on your thoughts."

<What about those of us who don't have hands in our natural forms?> Dino wondered.

"We've made sure every RAFian can press the button," Goom assured.  "For you, we can attach the watch to the inside of your 'hand,' so all you have to do is clench your fingers.  Even the Yeerks have pedipalps they can use, we just program the watch to shrink and stretch with their form."

Goom and Aquilai handed out the devices, and the RAFians put them on.  Several RAFians flashed back and forth between RAFian and human forms, as they tested out the blue button.

Dino clenched her two-fingered hand until she could hit the button with one of her claws.  The 'button' was really more like a touch pad, and it briefly glowed a brighter shade of blue as she had touched it.  She switched to human form with almost jarring suddenness, like somebody changing the channel on the television.

The watch was now around her human wrist.  She kinda liked the way it looked.  Like a spy gadget, but with the obvious RAFian touch of the 'R' on the face of it.

"We should call them 'Marks,'" Dino suddenly blurted.  She smiled knowingly at Cloak, who, she realized with a slight shock, she was seeing in human form for the first time.  Cloaky smiled back.

"They aren't quite the same as the 'Marks' in my story, but they're kinda similar, I suppose," Cloak allowed.  "They protect us from harm, they mark us as RAFians.  Yes, I can see that."

"What does the white button do?" Steph wondered, turning her arm to better inspect the device, the Mark, on her wrist.

"Ah, that's the communicator," Goom said.  "That should allow us to communicate, even across the barrier between RAF and the real world.  Punch it, and think or say who you want to talk to."

"Steph, come in Steph, over," a voice immediately crackled over Steph's mark.  Dino's voice.  "Roger that, Dino, over," Steph answered, pressing the white button on her own Mark.

"Okay, good," Goom said.  "Everything works.  We're ready."

Immediately the room erupted in murmuring, as RAFians debated amongst themselves, who should go into the real world, and who should stay in RAF.  Hands shot up, once again.  The Media Board suddenly felt like a classroom.

The RAFians who finally decided to go to the outside world were Aquilai, Gaz, Saffa, Lumy, Demos, Jess, Noelle, Russell, Estelore, Dino, Bear, Phoenix, Shock, Terenia, Myitt, Underseen, Cody, Seal, and Tony.  Nineteen RAFians.

And one unexpected guest, who nobody even realized had showed up to the meeting.  Rachel.  Rachel the Animorph.

"Guys, if the world needs saving, I want to be there," she said to the crowd, putting on a fearless expression.  " I've been told that I'm a RAFian, now.  Whatever it was you did to us when you were fighting that, that thing."  She didn't really mean to glance at Anna, but that's where her eyes went, anyway.  She quickly looked away again.  "You made the six of us, a part of RAF.  Whatever that means, I'm still not quite sure.  But it clearly means something to you all.  Something that runs deep.  And, as an Animorph, I have some idea what that's like."

She crossed her arms.  "Point is, like it or not, I'm a member of the team," she said.  "I'm going."

Tony held up his hands, not wanting any trouble.  "Hey, I'm not stopping you.  But what about the other Animorphs?"

Rachel sighed.  "It isn't their world, you know.  Not mine either.  The difference is that I don't particularly care.  A world is a world, and yours needs me more than theirs does.  But, the others, they would still rather stay where they are.  They each feel like they have enough on their shoulders."

Myitt gave Rachel a scrutinizing look, like the Animorph was a puzzle that Myitt was trying to figure out.  Rachel quickly returned a much more hostile glare, and Myitt skittishly looked away.

The RAFians who had decided to stay behind, all had their reasons.  Goom felt he needed to be here if Aquilai wasn't, to take care of anything technical that went wrong on the forum.  Cloak had been torn, between the two worlds, but in the end he had decided that RAF was his true home, the home that was most worthy of defending.

Marie, AniDragon, Donut, and Goose each felt, a little sadly, like they wouldn't be much help in the outside world, anyway.  Nate, Steph, Ash, Faerie, Blue, Parker, Alic, Tyler, Estrid, Pokey, Weathel, Rad and Blaze all felt that they would be needed to defend RAF itself, that there were already enough powerful RAFians going with the away team.  Someone needed to stay behind, and guard the home base.

So it was decided.  The away-team RAFians each quickly threw together, in backpacks or whatever else they could find, the things that they needed.  Nearly everyone was wearing a pack with the basics, a shredder or a dracon, some simple canned foods and perhaps a bottle of water.  Sunscreen, too, at least in Gaz's case.

Russell had decided to bring along his escafil device.  Terenia and Myitt both packed portable Kandronas that they had taken from the Animorphs Board.  Dino tucked her Sario Ripper, a jury-rigged 'time machine' fashioned out of two dracons welded together end to end and wired up to fire at the same time, into a rather haphazard-looking holster on her hip.  Phoenix and Aquilai both simply held onto their own time machines, as they reached out for the white sphere of the Time Matrix.

"Hold on tight," Aquilai said, and the RAFians were suddenly watching their bodies from inside out in a dozen dimensions, as they flew through time and space.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 09:01:55 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline Saffa

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2013, 12:34:42 PM »
*reads the passage in the middle over and over again*

WHEN will my aunt show up with those Doctor Who DVDs already? I still need to get my head around all this...
Quote
[...] big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey, stuff.
Aw, damn, you got there before me! :(

And how come everyone seems to own a time machine? Or is this something from way before my time?

:edit: after reading chapter 13 -

Aww. The Marks. The feels. :')
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 12:39:46 PM by Saffa »

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Offline BulbasaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2013, 01:14:40 PM »
Yanno, I'd never noticed until writing this, how many RAFians had time machines.

Aquilai has one because he's a Time Lord, that one's obvious.

I have one because I'm a dinosaur and I like to drop in on my dinosaur friends every now and then.

Phoenix has one because . . . okay I actually have no idea why.  But it's an inside joke that's been floating around the forum since way before even my time, I think.  *shrugs*  Because RAF logic, that's why.

Chapter Fourteen

The twenty RAFians' journey through time looked very different from the inside, than it did from the outside.  The RAFians staying within RAF, those not touching the Time Matrix, saw only a simple blink, as the twenty just disappeared into thin air.  One moment there, a split instant later, gone.

From the inside of the voyage, though, time itself seemed to slow down, as the forum warped and twisted, inside out, fragmenting into pieces that could be seen from every angle at once.  The RAFians seemed to be outside their own bodies, watching themselves, as they all touched the thing that was pulling them through time and space.

There was almost a feeling of movement, physical movement, as the scene shifted and changed.  For just a brief instant, they saw the inside of a different building.  But the RAFians only just had time to catch glimpses of white walls and steel and concrete, before there was a sudden jerk, like a speeding vehicle changing direction, and the facility was replaced by sky and sun and sand.

Their vision slowly faded back to normal, the fragmented pieces of their bodies merging back together into coherent forms, as time seemed to speed back up to its usual speed.  The Time Matrix sunk slightly into the sand, like an egg in a nest, as they all looked around, shielding their eyes from the harsh Egyptian sun.

They quickly got to work, rolling the Time Matrix into a nearby valley between two dunes.  The wind would do the rest.  Sand was already beginning to swirl around the sphere, as though the desert itself wanted it hidden.

As they climbed back up the dune, back towards where they had left their things, a strange sight began to appear, just a vague mirage at first, then more and more solid.  The thing made a noise like a metallic wind, rising and falling in volume, as it flickered into existence.  It was a TARDIS, they realized.  Because it looked exactly like Aquilai's own TARDIS.

Indeed, the figure that stepped out, was Aquilai.  The RAFians turned to look at the first Aquilai, the one who had arrived via the Time Matrix with the rest of them.  Yep, he was still there.  There were now two Aquilais.

"What are you doing here?" the first Aquilai hissed sharply.  "Crossing your own time stream like this?  Don't you know better than to-"

"Save it," the second Aquilai interrupted harshly, clearly in no mood to talk.  He drew a shaky breath, trying, almost failing, to hold back a sob.  "He will follow me here soon.  I don't have much time."  He walked towards Terenia, wordlessly motioning towards her backpack.  She looked confused, but quickly opened it, revealing the Kandrona inside.

The first Aquilai decided to shut up.  If this future Aquilai was willing to risk crossing his own time stream, he realized, the situation would have to be desperate.

"What's going to-" Lumy began, but future Aquilai cut him off.  "Spoilers," he said simply, the one word excusing his unwillingness to explain more.

Still not speaking, not trusting himself to speak, the future Aquilai immediately set to work on Terenia's Kandrona.  The way he worked, there was a futility to it.  As though he already knew that whatever he was doing, it wasn't going to work.  But he was desperate enough to try it anyway.

Of course he knew it wouldn't work, the present Aquilai thought.  He had already stood here and watched himself fail, hadn't he?

The future Aquilai cursed, waving his sonic screwdriver more and more frantically as it became all the more obvious that there was nothing he could do.  Finally, he slumped, giving up.

"I tried," he said, the words coming out like a sob.  "I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry."  He looked at Terenia, barely able to meet her gaze through the sorrow etched across his features.  "You told me it was no use, but I had to . . . I couldn't . . . I couldn't just stand there and watch . . ."

Cutting himself off before he could say anything more, he ran back inside his TARDIS, and vanished without another word.

"Well, that was unsettling," Terenia muttered as the TARDIS flickered back out of existence.  She was shivering slightly, even though the desert sun was blazing hot.  "What the heck was that?"

"I don't honestly know," the remaining Aquilai said, looking puzzled.  He walked over to look at Terenia's Kandrona for himself, pulling out his own sonic screwdriver as he examined it.  "Hmm," he commented as he worked.  "Well, I can't find anything at all wrong with it.  Your Kandrona seems to be perfectly functional."  He made a couple more passes with the screwdriver.  "And I can't even see any potential problems, anything that might break.  So I wonder what could have happened?  Maybe you're going to lose it, and he was trying to set it up with a homing device, or something?  But, no, that would have been an easy fix, no way that would have stumped him.  I mean, me."

"Besides, if you lose your Kandrona, we'll still have mine," Myitt commented reassuringly.  "Whatever happens to yours, I doubt it'll happen twice."

"Maybe we get separated somehow," Terenia commented worriedly.

Myitt moved closer and put an arm over Terenia's shoulder.  "We won't get separated.  I won't let anything come between us."

Aquilai frowned.  "But it's already happened, hasn't it?  Is it something we can still change?  Why would I have come into the past, if it were something that could just have been prevented in the first place?  Wait, no, better question.  If there was anything we could do to prevent it, why not tell us so?  He seemed pretty desperate to stop, whatever happens, yet he doesn't even tell us what's going on.  That would seem to indicate there's nothing we could have done."

Terenia, standing there with her arms crossed, looked more and more distraught as Aquilai spoke.  Her heart was in her throat by the time he had finished.  She knew he just wanted to figure out what was going on.  They all did.  But for him to say that there was most likely nothing any of them could do, well, that certainly wasn't what Terenia wanted to hear right now.

Once he'd finished, Aquilai glanced over at Terenia, and saw her expression.  He hung his head, abashed that he had spoken like that without any consideration for how Terenia must be feeling about all this.

"Just for the record, though," he added hesitantly.  "We have no evidence that you're actually going to die.  Only that I am going to think that you are.  There could still be another way, that I just hadn't seen yet."

Saying it out loud, that there was a chance that Terenia could die, was actually just about the worst thing Aquilai could have done.  As long as it remained unspoken, it was only a hunch, nothing more than a niggling little paranoia in the back of Terenia's mind.  But now, with the words hanging in the air, the possibility felt nearer, not further away.

Terenia shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts, and took a deep breath to try to ease some of the tension she was feeling.  "Either way, there's really no sense worrying about it, is there?  Either we can prevent it, or we can't, but in any case the worst thing we could possibly do is lose our heads over it."  She took another deep breath, hoping to prove the point that she was handling this rationally, but the air caught in her throat and came out more like a gasp.

"You sure you're okay?" Bear offered.

"I'M FINE!" she exploded, making everyone jump.  "I'm fine," she said more calmly.  But she still sounded far from fine.
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Offline Saffa

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2013, 01:21:43 PM »
More than fire or death or the dark, the scariest thing ever is facing your own future.

Uh, someone remind me why we're in Egypt again?

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2013, 02:28:29 PM »
Because, according to Bloodbane and co., that's where the Time Matrix is going to be found by CERN.  So they can create the internet.  With the Time Matrix in it!  Paradoxes, oy.  :P

EDIT: Just edited chapter twelve to add that the Time Matrix was found in Egypt.  Yeah, I should have specified that sooner.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 02:35:53 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2013, 02:37:14 PM »
...wibbly...wobbly. ..oh...lordy.

Expecting new chapter when I come back from my shower!
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 02:41:31 PM by Saffa »

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2013, 02:54:11 PM »
You make these so fat.
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2013, 03:09:14 PM »
Yeah, and I thought my chapters were long. But they make it nice to read, somehow. :)

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2013, 11:00:15 PM »
Yes, yes they do.
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2013, 09:11:48 PM »
Apologies for the wait.  My muse got distracted again.

Oh, you guys like fat chapters, do you?  COMING RIGHT UP.

Chapter Fifteen

Terenia nervously rubbed her arms.  Feeling somehow hesitant about what she wanted to say next, although she wasn't quite sure why it should bother her as much as it did.  "Um, I feel like I should probably, you know, feed.  While I have the chance."

"The TARDIS has a swimming pool," Aquilai commented, as he led the way inside the blue police box.  "It isn't chlorinated.  You can set up your Kandrona in there."

"Thanks, Aquilai," Terenia said gratefully, as she and the other RAFians filed inside through the doors.  Nobody commented about the fact that the TARDIS was bigger on the inside than it was on the outside.  Mostly it looked like Aquilai's profile thread, which most of them had already seen.  An open space, like the bridge of a spaceship, with a big metal catwalk that encircled a pillar of alien gadgetry, and split off to go to other various areas.

"Wait, whyyy does your TARDIS have a swimming pool?" Seal asked.  She was the last one inside, and closed the door behind her.

Aquilai shrugged, and said, "Why not?"

Seal didn't have an answer to that.

"I think I might take this chance to feed, too," Myitt put in.  "We have no idea what's going to happen.  We should probably, both, stay fully charged."

"Good idea," Aquilai said.  "I'll stay, too.  Just in case anything happens, I want to stay with the TARDIS."

"Implying, what, that the rest of us will be going somewhere else?" Jess wondered.

Aquilai shrugged again.  "I don't see why we should all stand around and twiddle our thumbs while Terenia and Myitt take a swimming break.  You guys should get out, enjoy life a bit.  It's been a while since any of us have been in the real world.  Surely you miss it, just a little?"

Tony nodded, just a slight motion of his head.  "Yeah, I guess, it is kinda nice to be back.  Hey, we should go to the mall or something."

Dino breathed a wistful sigh, remembering past trips to the mall with RAFians.  Then, suddenly, a different idea hit her.  "You know what?  Maybe we should all take this chance to feed.  No RAFcon's complete without a trip to Cinnabon, is it?"

"Yeah!" Bear agreed enthusiastically.  "Hey, there's that one in Dallas.  The one we took Pokey to.  I liked that one."

Aquilai fiddled with some buttons and knobs on the control pillar of the TARDIS.  "Dallas, Texas, present day, earth," he muttered to himself.  The TARDIS began to emit its characteristic metallic-wind sound, but this time the sound seemed to be coming from everywhere.  The floor shifted unsteadily under the RAFians' feet, as the very room they were standing in careened wildly through time and space.

The sound and the motion slowly died down again.  It would seem that they were there.  But, of course, the TARDIS didn't have any windows, so it was hard to be sure.  Rachel was the first to open the door to the outside.  She peeked warily, checking to see if there was anyone around who might see the TARDIS.

She gave a nod to the others.  It was clear.

The RAFians emerged into a loading bay area, outside a plain grey building that looked like it might be the back end of a warehouse.  The TARDIS was well-hidden, behind a pair of industrial-sized dumpsters.

"Meet back here in an hour?" Aquilai said, and the others nodded their agreement, as he, Terenia, and Myitt headed back inside.

The remaining seventeen RAFians all filed through the tiny alley that snaked around the dull grey building, doing their best to look like they belonged there, on the off-chance that they were seen.  Even though they were pretty sure that they could come up with no possible explanation, why a massive flock of no less than seventeen people had suddenly decided to go for a stroll through a loading dock.

Fortunately, though, they managed to get out of there before anybody showed up.  They emerged, from behind what turned out to be a Walmart, into the parking lot of a plaza, surrounded by shops.  There, at the other end of the parking lot, was the Cinnabon.

The RAFians enthusiastically took off.  Rachel lagged behind a little, rolling her eyes, but smiling anyway.  Lord knew, she'd been dragged along to plenty of Cinnabons.  Yet, there was something oddly endearing about the others' excitement.  It reminded her of Ax, somehow.  Annoying, but in a good way.

Lumy led the way through the door of the little shop.  He looked over his shoulder, making a mental count of the rest of the group.  "Table for, uh, seventeen, please?" he said apologetically to the lady at the counter.

The waitress's eyes went wide, but she quickly managed to hide her shock behind a smile.  She pointed at the seating area, and said, "Feel free to pull those tables together."

The RAFians patiently waited in line at the counter for their food, idly chatting while they killed the time.  A couple other customers began to walk through the door, took one look at the line, and quickly decided to go elsewhere.

But, in the end, the staff was surprisingly quick at getting enough cinnamon buns ready for everyone, and it wasn't long before the RAFians were seated and enjoying warm gooey deliciousness.

"So, Estelore," Seal casually wondered, between bites.  "How exactly did you get through to this world?  Your star form, and all?"

"Well, our forms are connected," Estelore explained.  "When the human form was brought across by Time Matrix, our star form followed suit, in the same relative location compared to our human body.  Of course, we made sure our star form was plenty far away from us, before we made the transition, so we didn't mess with earth's orbit or anything."  They smiled sardonically as they swallowed a bite of cinnamon bun.  "What, did nobody else happen to notice the sun suddenly shooting away from the sky, back in RAF?"

"Well, we were all in the Media Board at the time," Cody pointed out.

"Fair point," Estelore allowed.  They took another bite of cinnamon bun, then laughed at something that had just occurred to them.  "Some astronomer is looking at the night sky right now and having either a field day or a panic attack.  We aren't sure which one."

There were too many people for them to all be participating in the same conversation.  So, across the pulled-together tables, other conversations were going on.

"Have you ever been to a Cinnabon before?" Phoenix politely inquired of Saffa.

"Nope," Saffa answered.  "We don't really have them in India."  She took another bite, and grinned.  "This is amazing, though."

"I know, isn't it?" Phoenix agreed.  "They don't have them in England, either, so I never got the chance to try it until my first trip to the states."

Saffa nodded.  "I know we're here on a mission, but it's amazing to get to travel like this.  Never thought I'd get to see America."

Phoenix grinned, a knowing smile.  "You'd be surprised.  There was a time I never thought I'd get to see America either."

The RAFians sitting near Rachel, meanwhile, were trying not to stare at her, as she picked at her cinnamon bun.  They all wanted to ask her what her life was like, the life of an Animorph.  But it was hard not to be intimidated, even now, by a figure so well-known to each of them.  She was no older than Seal, that was the weirdest part.  Yet she had the utmost respect, of RAFians twice her age.

Meanwhile, in still another part of the table, a few RAFians were getting down to more serious business.  Wondering where to go from here.

"How do we stop this?" Noelle was saying.  "How do we even begin?  We have to catch Queen, but she could be anywhere, not to mention anywhen.  What are we supposed to do?"

"I think the first step is to find out her endgame," Jess replied thoughtfully.  "I mean, we know she's been messing up time, but I don't think it's necessarily just random chaos.  I mean, a war with Texas?  What is she hoping to accomplish with that?  If she just wanted slaughter, she'd go for a world war.  No, there's a point to it.  I think there's a bigger picture.  We should go into the future, to see where she's going."

"That's a good idea," Gaz agreed.  "Once we learn what she's hoping to accomplish, then we can come back and know what exactly we need to stop."

The RAFians were mostly finished with their cinnamon buns, at this point.  Seal was still eagerly licking the plate, to which Rachel was sighing as she slowly shook her head.  Which only made Seal laugh.

They ordered three cinnamon buns to go, and headed back to the TARDIS.  Relaxed and refueled, and ready for whatever their future held.
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2013, 09:27:35 PM »
Aww... Now I want more than ever to come visit you guys. :'(

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2013, 09:28:45 PM »
I know! We have to wait till you graduate college!! Sad. But, when your 21, I'll be nineteen, and probably will be able to see you!!
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2013, 09:33:51 PM »
Well, when I'm 21 I'll be able to travel too (though I'll have to get my passport renewed) so there's always hope. :)

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