manicdak: (Sexyboy)
[personal profile] manicdak
Hello, I am going to be posting the super Rough Draft of the Nano Novel I worked on this last year...in hopes that I will stop being a lazy person and finish it. (I really want to!)

Title: The Unknown Galaxies
Chapter One: Tragedy on the Eel Sea
Warnings: Nothing except for F-Bombs probably.
Summary:

In which Alistair Soter is Kidnapped.



Alistair Soter was expecting a completely mundane day when he arrived at work one fateful morning. His partner in the detective agency, Mert Payngris, a human from the nearby planet of Dysprosia was sitting at her desk going over the many electronic files in their caseload. It was a thankless task, being in the detective agency. The life of a time detective was fraught with danger and unknown variables that event he best statisticians couldn’t account for. Time was one thing that everybody knew should have been left alone. There was no putting a lid on time travel once it had been invented, though. It was far too tempting a prospect to go and change the past, or to see what the future held in store.

Despite stories passed down through ages on every planet in the entirety of the known galaxies, humans somehow always thought they could do better. They would never learn that the past they remembered could never be changed. Any attempt to do so would only send a new time line spinning out far into the future, an alternate dimension that could never be accessed. Such attempts were dangerous and had been frowned upon even in the earliest stages of time travel. The Time Detective Agency had been founded to prevent such attempts at altering the time line. Futile as they were, it was still a worrisome thing to see mutant time lines cropping up in space/time where they had no place existing.

Dealing in time was a tricky prospect. The detectives were overworked with every simple meaningless fluctuation in the time, from the minuscule natural hiccups that caused deja vu to gigantic temporal rifts that could only be monitored and avoided as best as one could. Unless you had the not so good fortune to be stationed on Earth where the planet’s people routinely used their nearby temporal rift to traverse back and forth between two times on a daily basis. The temporal paradox seemed to work for their society, so the Detective Agency wasn’t about to step in and upset the delicate balance that had been struck in that area of space.

Detective Soter counted himself as one of the lucky ones. He had gone on several time missions before and he was quite proficient at his job, earning the respect of his fellow officers and quickly advancing in rank. He had been chosen to head up up the Agency base in the Zharan Galaxy, the wealthiest of galaxies in all the known galaxies. He was a young man and it was his dream job. He couldn’t have asked for anything better even if it did mean moving several billion light years away from his own planet of origin.

He remembered a time when he had first started there. He had been a homesick young man in a faraway place, surrounded by a culture that was far different than his own when he had befriended an ambitious young woman by the name of Aina Grey. They had quickly become an important part of each others lives.

They were so close that when Aina’s and her wife, Galiana, decided they wanted to have children, it was Alistair that they asked to be the father.

“Check it out!” He threw himself down into his chair in the desk across from Mert and grinned at her.

“Don’t do it,” she held a hand up and didn’t bother to look up from her reports. “I don’t want to know.”

“Oh, but he’s starting school!” Alistair said. He leaned enthusiastically over the desk and placed a stack of photographs in front of her.

Mert glanced up impatiently, but she couldn’t stay angry with Alistar for too long. He was grinning from ear to ear, his blond fringe of hair was hanging in his eyes.

“You are too much.” She laughed at him and picked up the photographs. “These old things!” She waved them momentarily in the air. “Why do you always insist on paper?”

“We like paper in the Milky Way,” Alistair said as he returned her laughter.

“You like destroying trees,” she muttered as she flipped through the many pictures of his son.

“He looks just like you,” she said.

“Yeah!” Alistair nodded happily.

“Fatherhood agrees with you,” she said.

“Yeah.” His happy mood suddenly turned somewhat sober. “I don’t know though. His mothers are his parents. I’m just glad I get to be part of his life. Y’know?”

“Uh-huh.” She handed the pictures back and he tucked them into his jacket pocket. “Something on your mind?”

“Yeah,” Alistair said. “I was just thinking about those cases. My people made mistakes, Mert. We were out there in time to rescue them, but…we might not have made it back. People who screw around with time, they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s dangerous!”

“You’re just now figuring this out?” Mert said as she ran her hands through her silvery hair. “It’s pretty much the entire job description.”

“Yeah, I know, but we’ve never had much activity in this sector until recently,” he said. “It’s like I was lulled into a false sense of security, or something. I’ve got a kid now too. ”

“So you’re quitting?”

“Heck no,” he said. “Never. I love this job too much. It’s just a lot to think about.”

“So,” he said, returning his attentions back to the work at hand. “Anything good in here we can give to those two?” He pointed out a detective duo across the room. One of them, the older one, smiled enthusiastically and gave Alistair a thumbs up. The younger one just frowned.

Alistair turned back to Mert and reached over the desks to grab the holobook full of cases that she had been flipping through when he had arrived.

“Nothing really,” she said. “Just your average time slips, and the like. I think we’re safe for now.”

He grinned at her.

“Well, let’s do something about that.” He flipped on the book so that he could go through the cases himself.

Mert smiled back at him and turned her attentions to a different book.

They spent the better part of the morning sipping on their coffee drinks and going over new cases and filling out electronic paperwork and checking up on old cases before they were closed for good. All and all it was a rather predictable and uneventful day. Alistair was looking forward to heading over to Aina and Galiana’s flat for a celebratory dinner and to hear all about his son, Robin’s, first day of school.

Mid-afternoon found Mert’s interest piqued as she came across an interesting case. She pulled it up on a holographic screen and asked Alistair’s opinion.

He only glanced momentarily up at it before shrugging it off as another naturally occurring anomaly.

“I think you’re getting lazy,” Mert muttered under her breath and Alistair had cause to feel taken aback.

“What do you mean? I’m not lazy!”

“Complancent then,” she said. “This could really be something. Look, the time signature came in last week and there isn’t a corresponding one going out.”

“Past or future?” He asked.

“What is it always?” She muttered. “Nobody wants to move forward. You can’t change the future.”

“You can’t change the past either,” he said. “Not really. Right?”

“Well, no…but…” She paused to think carefully about her words.

“Let me put it this way,” she said. “People don’t think they can change the future. They don’t really care because to them it hasn’t happened yet. The past though? The past is trauma. The past is pain. Everybody has regrets. Everybody wishes they could go back and change things. People from the future just think they know better and I’ve never met one that has. Have you?”

“No,” Alistair admitted. “You’re right. You really think we should check it out?”

“Yeah.” She nodded. “Look…” She punched up a map of Dysprosia on her nearby computer and placed a marker at the point where the time signature had arrived.

“I know an awesome eatery right near there,” she said. “We can go there and ask around. See if anything strange went down. I’m sure there were witnesses.”

“Witnesses are completely unreliable when it comes to Time Travel, you know that, Mert!”

“Sometimes they have good information in their addled brains,” she replied. “YOU know that. You just want to hang out here on Utopia bragging on your kid all day.”


“Okay, okay!” Alistair held his hands up in defeat and smiled sheepishly. “Why are you so hostile all of a sudden anyway?” He stood up from his chair, and pulled the jacket that hung on the back of it over his shoulders.”

“Bored,” she admitted. “Hot and bored. This planet is boring, and I’m in the mood for some good eel brains, and this place has the best!”

“And…?”

She frowned and petulantly crossed her arms. Alistair had been her partner for years and he knew her better than anybody. She knew her ulterior motives would be exposed the moment she had suggested the trip.

“I want some fried sand squash and eel brains,” she said. “This place has the best food. I’m not joking. It’s right near the Eel sea…”


“If by best you mean…” He made a gagging noise and rolled his eyes to the back of his head as if the thought of such Dysprosian delicacies was enough to kill him right there.

“Shut up!” She stood up and slapped him playfully on the arm. “You know…if you tried it then you might like it!”


He chuckled at her.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “The taste buds might jump for joy, but my eyesight is still sending signals to my brain…not to eat a thing that looks like a brain. Besides…I’ve been living on Utopia for so long kind of just the thought of meat makes me want to wretch.”

“Now you’re just complaining,” she said as she slipped on her own jacket. “Let’s go!”


“Lead the way!” Alistair held made a sweeping gesture with his arm and Mert marched by him as he laughed.

If nothing else it would be a fun afternoon on the Eel Sea with his partner and friend.

***
The nothing that Alistair hoped would make his afternoon a pleasant experience away from his desk turned out to be a something when they questioned the locals and found out that a strange man had appeared on the beach the night before.

He’d been screaming manically about how “it worked!” Then had promptly taken a dive into the nearby sea.


Nobody had seen him since.

“This is depressing now,” Alistair said as he walked along the beach with Mert by his side, kicking the greenish sand and looking out over the water. “I don’t know if I feel like tackling eel brains right now.”

“He might still be alive,” Mert said quietly. “We’ve got local law enforcement on the case now.”

“He’s not alive,” Alistair muttered. “There’s a reason people don’t swim in the Eel seas, Mert.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I know. I’m just trying to be optimistic, but...”

“They should leave this to the experts,” he growled. “It’s such a waste. He’s changed the future all right...by dying and never going back. We’ll have to get a future division out here to inform the family as soon as we find the body. If there is one.” He shuddered and muttered ‘eels’ under his breath.

“And we’ll have to stay late now and file paperwork!” He groaned and tugged his hair down over his eyes then brushed it away in frustration.

“I won’t get to see Robin tonight,” he said. “And I promised. I’m a fucking terrible father.”

“I’ll take care of it,” she said. “You’re the boss. You should learn how to delegate...”

“Or not take on cases ourselves.” He glanced sharply at Mert who returned his gaze with an expression that was shrouded in guilt.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just thought we needed to get out. You’re right. We’re here to run the division and hand out the assignments...”

“Stop it,” he said. “Stop it. I’m sorry. It’s alright. I’ll see Robin tomorrow and at the weeks end. Don’t worry.”

“Okay,” she said.

“Hey!” He bumped shoulders with her and pointed to the restaurant on the pier that they had planned on stopping for lunch before the rogue time traveler was discovered.

“How about some eels?”

“Really?” She perked up. “You said...”

“Well, I am kind of hungry and I do like sand squash, so...”

***

Aina Grey had been quick to admonish Alistair once he returned to Utopia after his afternoon of dealing with local Dysprosian law enforcement and watching his partner happily munching down on eel brains. Aina had been none too happy to hear that he was going to take a rain-check on their plans for dinner. She told him that he shouldn’t make promises to a little boy that he didn’t intend to keep if he was going to be a part of his life.

He’d turned off his ICD and sat in silence at the thought of Aina’s words. IF he was going to be a part of Robin’s life. As far as Utopian society was concerned he was not the parent. He could have gone about his single life without any obligation to the Greys, but they had wanted the boy to know his father. Alistair had wanted that too, and all he had to do was be there.

“But I can’t even do that,” he muttered to himself.

He was alone in the office he shared with Mert. The rest of the detectives were either on cases throughout time, or had gone to their homes for the day.

He watched from his vantage point on the highest floor of the precinct building, as Gamma Circadia fell slowly out of sight, and yet the sunlight light remained. He knew that Beta Circadia was already rising at a point out of his range of vision. If there was one thing he missed about his planet of origin the most, it was night time. Though there was something to be said about the way a sun change lit up the reflective metals of the city’s architecture as far as the eye could see.

By the time he had finished filling out a report to file with the intergalactic main office, it was well into the sleeping hours. He wouldn’t even be able to stop by and say a quick hello to Robin, who was surely asleep. Aina was already angry with him, and he didn’t want to incur her wrath any further. He knew Galiana would managed to assuage her and take him out on the balcony for company and tea until she calmed down. That was Galiana, always the calm diplomat, but he didn’t feel like he should intrude on their family.

He wondered if that was what he was to them. An intrusion. He knew in his rational mind that they would never look at him that way; that he was a friend to the family and they were happy to have him, but he still couldn’t help but feel sorry for himself when he went home to sleep alone when the working day was over.

He made his way out of the office and to the nearest drinking establishment. He was feeling mighty sorry for himself at that point so he pointed the barkeep towards the most expensive looking bottle of lilly wine and purchased the entire thing. After a few hours of moping, Alistair began to feel the effects of the alcohol and looked around to find someone spill his guts to.

He attempted a conversation with the barkeep, who was game, but too busy to stay and listen for any extended period of time. Alistair cast his eyes around the bar once the barkeep had fled to serve a group of enthusiastic young teenager girls that had only just entered. He finally caught sight of a solitary figure at the opposite end of the room sitting in the shadows with his head bent over a glass of brackish grey liquid.

Alistair grasped his bottle of wine in one hand and his glass in the other and approached the stranger. It wasn’t something he would do on a normal day. He didn’t often drink at all.

Having shed the bonds of restraint, Alistair had no problems with stumbling up to that stranger in the dark corner of the room to share the strange events that had been his day.

The man watched him slosh his cup down on the table as he fell into the bench across the way.

“How’s it going, stranger?” Alistair said. He smiled, happily drunk and intermittently hiccuping.

“Terribly, as luck would have it,” the man replied. His cold features were impassive and Alistair could tell that the Golden Utopia was his home planet from the pallor of his skin against the shock of thinning black hair upon his head.

“Can’t be as weird as my day,” Alistair declared. He pushed the bottle of wine at his new companion, who accepted it without a word and poured it on top of the caustic looking drink that was still sloshing around the cup in front of him. The liquids didn’t mix and the clear, light pink transluscene of the wine settled on top of the the grey sludge of the mystery spirit.

Alistair forgot about his weird day for a moment as all of his drunken attention was suddenly focused on the stranger’s drink.

“Wow,” he said. His voice was filled with an uncontrollable and childlike awe at the immisible liquids in front of him. “What is that you’re drinking.”

“Grackle,” the stranger grunted. “What are you doing here?”

“Just needed a friendly face to commiserate,” Alistair replied.

“I look like a friendly face?”

“Well…” Alistair paused and squinted at the man who scowling hard at him.

“I suppose not, but…”

Alistair launched into a long winded explanation of the eel sea and the time traveler.

“And the worse thing about it…you know besides the fact that the guy jumped into a sea full of man eating fish monsters?”

“I don’t really know what could possibly be worse than that.” The man had remained mostly silent up until that point and had listened with intent to Alistair's babbling rant.

“The worst part is,” Alistair said, “ That this man was from the future, obviously was from another planet. Who knows why he traveled back to Dysprosia. It was probably a mistaken coordinate. We’ll never really know now, but it is close to Utopia. He could have mistaken it for the Golden Sea. Now, that’s a body of water that you can swim in without being murdered.”

The man nodded thoughtfully.

“But the water in the eel sea is purple with microbes,” he said.

“Have you ever time traveled?” Alistair asked, but waved away a response before the man could attempt to answer.

“Of course you haven’t. Most people are happy to live their lives on their own planet. Maybe take a space plane to another nearby planet once or twice in their lives.”

The man grunted a response and Alistair took that as permission to continue.

“Well, it fucks up your brain for a few seconds…or more, depending on if you’re new at it or not. It makes some people really sick,” he said. “So, yeah…he could have made that mistake, but like I said it wasn’t the worst part.”

“I’m dying with anticipation,” the stranger said, but Alistair was too thick with drink to notice the sarcasm.

“Nobody said a damn thing,” Alistair said. “Nobody alerted authorities. There were four or five local eel fishers out there on the pier that day who watched a man inadvertently commit suicide by eel, and they didn’t think to say anything. What kind of world do we live in?”

“It doesn’t get any better,” the man replied.

“Yeah,” Alistair agreed. “It doesn’t.”

He glanced down at his drink momentarily and didn’t notice the knowing grin that spread across the strangers lips.

“We should have handed the case over to one of the other detectives,’” he said. “Mert wanted to go for eels, though. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“You’re a detective?” The man replied. “Interesting.”

“Most of the time it’s really not,” Alistair replied. “Especially when you’re the head of the division handing out orders. It’s good to stretch your legs out once in a while, but the more time I spend thinking about this case, the more horrifying it really is. Not materializing in the middle of a tree horror, but still…”

“Yes, well…you have to know what you’re doing,” the stranger said.

“Yeah, exactly,” Alistair nodded enthusiastically. “Even then it’s still really dangerous.”

“Yes, well, the future isn’t all bad,” he replied. “There will be advances.”

“Sure, of course,” Alistair said. “Always going forward.”

The stranger didn’t reply. He stirred his drink around and took a sip. Alistair tried not stare.

“I think I should try some of that,” he said. Before the stranger could warn him against it, he had gone to the bar, ordered a double grackle and returned with a giddy smile on his face.

“Perhaps you shouldn’t,” the man said.

“No, I’m getting really drunk tonight,” Alistair said. “I was supposed to see my kid, but… Had to stay late doing paperwork. People sure do like to keep track of their shit, right?”

“You have a kid?”

Alistair nodded and took a sip of the thick gray liquid, promptly gagging on it as he attempted to choke it down.

“That is awful!” he said. “It tastes like… It tastes like burning!”

The stranger nodded and Alistair promptly took another swig, immediately surrendering to a sudden onslaught of giggles.

“Yeah, I have a kid!” he said, once the giggles had subsided and the question the stranger had asked minutes before registered belatedly in his brain. “I have pictures! On Paper!”

He yanked open his jacked and pulled the photos he had shown Mert earlier in the day from the inside pocket and flopped them down in front of his companion who merely looked down at the on on top with a disinterest that Alistair mistook for interest.

“His name is Robin,” he said.

“What did you say?” The stranger said. His attention was suddenly focused sharply upon Alistair where it had only been tolerance previously.

“Robin,” Alistair repeated himself, full of grackle and completely unaware of the sudden shift in mood.

“His mothers are the council Greys,” he said. “You’re a Utopian. You know them.”

“I know them well,” he growled. “I know them well. Why don’t you drink up.” The stranger picked up his own glass and held it aloft. Alistair obediently followed suit.

“To the Greys,” the stranger said.

“To the Greys!” Alistair repeated enthusiastically. He downed the rest of his grackle in one giant swig and managed not to hurl it all back up, a feat which he was extremely proud of in his drunken haze.

He leaned back with his head against the old worn leather of the booth as he regarded his new friend through sleepy eyes.

“I feel like you know so much about me,” Alistair said. “I don’t know anything about you.”

“I am only a friendly face,” the stranger said.

“C’mon,” Alistair whined. “You gotta give me something to work with. Like a name. How about a name.”

“A name you say?” The stranger stroked his chin for a moment and then took another sip of his grackle wine drink. “I don’t suppose a name would do any harm.”

“There’s the ticket,” Alistair said.

The stranger reached into his pocket then, the small grin on his face grew wider and wider and a feeling of suspicious dread finally managed to poke its way through the fog of Alistair’s drunkeness. He had completely let his guard down and he knew it. He tried to struggle into a more upright seated position, but it seemed as if the heavy hand of the grackle was pinning him to the spot. He couldn’t even muster up the energy or the coordination to attempt an escape when the man pulled a small rectangular box from his breast pocket and lay it on the table in front of them.

“So, you say you want a name?”

The man reached over and grabbed hold of Alistair's wrist. He had only the wherewithal to manage a single distressed whimper. As a defense mechanism, it was sorely lacking.

“My name,” The stranger said. “Is Ganix Viernes.”

He depressed the button on the device he held in his hand.

They were gone. It was almost as if they had never been there at all.



Next time: We catch up with Ehrenfried and Robin on the Nature.
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