Read Chapter 1 here
“I suppose that clears up…well, very little if I’m honest.”
“‘fraid so Agent Carter, you’re guess is as good as ours” Jack says.
“The woman’s voice, it must be coming from somewhere. We could try communicating with her.” Chekov offers, having finished his brief, but detailed, recap of the events of the last few minutes.
“And how exactly would you suggest we do that?” Holtzmann queries, her tone equal parts genuine confusion and mockery.
“Hello, is anyone there?” Belle asks, looking up.
“Welcome Belle French.” responds the Delhi woman’s voice.
“Hmm” murmers Peggy, smiling at Belle. “That’d do it”
“Miss, can you tell us where we are?” she continues.
“You are in the block room, Agent Carter. Your team has been gathered for a mission of grave importance.” At the uttering of ‘grave importance’ the monotone voice becomes serious and pleading.
“Who are you?” asks Belle.
Chekov begins scanning the room again with his equipment, seeking out a source for the sounds.
“I am not of your concern, Ms French.” She sounds defeated, not imposing.
“I think you are, you brought us here. That is of our concern!”
“You are incorrect. I did not bring you here. I merely, amended your journeys.”
“Well, thats all very technical of you, but I don’t care all that much.” Jack snaps. “Are you going to be sending us back any time soon, I have a date to get to.”
The voice is silent.
The four lost individuals stare at one another, in a circle. Chekov emerges as though from far away, rapidly expanding in size as he nears them.
“What happened?” he asks somewhat oblivious.
“Jack yelled at her” Belle remarks, sheathing her dagger and folding her arms.
“I didn’t yell!” he yells.
“Excuse me, oh great voice in the sky” says Holtzmann.
“Yeah, she’s pissed.”
“You should apologise” Peggy tells Jack, beginning to pace the white room.
“For what? For asking my kidnapper to send me home? Who’s side are you on?”
He looks to each of them, Belle turns away and Holtzmann rolls her eyes.
“I’ve been trying to scan for where she is speaking from and it is not clear, it seems to be everywhere. I’ve also walked far enough away that I could not see any of you and found no walls apart from that which we are seeming to stand on.”
“Meaning?” Peggy asks.
“Meaning, I do not think we can leave without her help.” Chekov tells her.
“So, you should probably try to apologise.” he tells Jack.
“Fine…fine.” Jack swishes open his coat, planting his hands on his hips.
“I’m sorry!” He bellows upwards.
“Thank you Captain.” the voice responds softly.
“Do you have a name?” asks Carter.
“Yes. Please call me Ekta.”
There is a collective sigh. Naming a thing does tend to make it less scary.
“Please gather.” As she says this, like on invisible conveyor belts the five people are shifted around the room until they are standing in a line, facing one side.
“We need your help.”
The space in front of them grows dark, the first time any part of the room has been anything other than bright white. As it fades to darkness, shades morph creating layers and shapes.
“Our world has been usurped. We have been attacked, killed. Few remain.”
A wave of heat pulses out at the five, causing them each to take a few steps back. Flames erupt from the darkness, along with the outlines of trees. In the distance, tall, grey buildings with curved walls and turrets shine.
“O boji!” shouts Chekov
“What is it?” Peggy responds.
“There, in the distance, behind the tree line. Children are running. On fire.” He turns his face away.
The others peer into the distance, Jack begins to run full pelt towards the fire to where Chekov was pointing. But as he runs, the view moves further away from them.
“You are not there.” Ekta says. “Not yet.”
The view spins away, like wet acrylic being smeared. Just as quickly it falls back into view. This time, they are nearer the tall buildings. They can feel warmth behind them, the flames. Now, in front of them is an icy coldness. Holtzmann pulls up her googles, which have begun to frost over and breathes out, white puffs appearing.
“The fire was to keep us in. While we froze”
“Who did this?” asks Belle, tears forming in her eyes.
“A monster. A man. He cracked our world, tearing it apart without purpose, save destruction. We were just in his way.”
Again, the image is wiped away, this time like dripping the image slides away. The ice covered walls of the building disappears and the metallic underside is revealed. Heat leaves the room, being replaced by a cool breeze.
BOOM! The air vibrates with a force unseen. BOOM! SMACK! The sound is like meat being used to shape metal. It stings the air. A sound like shattering glass follows a final BOOM!
As though appearing through a screen in front of them, a jagged black sigil appears. It looks like black Tetris pieces melted together. As they stare at the black mark ahead of them, an armoured claw-like hand pierces the darkness.
“Freedom” groans and deep voice, hints of hiss tinging the word.
“But he didn’t do this. He broke into our world, taking out our defences, leaving us open to assault from the Dragon Lords.
Deep breaths are heard among the company, rage building, fear rushing through their veins at the images in front of them.
The image fades to white again.
“We need you.”
“We need you to help save us.”
After a few moments of stunned silence, Agent Carter speaks.
“I have several questions. But first I have to say…I’m so sorry this happened to you. Though I feel quite out of my depth, I will do what I can to help.”
“Da” says Chekov. “I do not understand how this is possible, but I know what is right. If you require my assistance, I am ready.”
“Oh count me in. I’ve never been partial to the oppression of anyone. What do you need from us?”
“What the Captain said” Holtzmann says, nodding at Jack.
“Me too. I’m sorry Etka, for your people and your world. How can we help you save it?”
After muted sobs, she replies, “Thank you.”
A whirling portal of blackness with glowing white sparks, like stars, funnels into appearance in front of them.
“Walk through and I’ll explain everything” Etka says.
Belle and Peggy step forward first, followed by Chekov and Jack. Taking one last look around the block room, Holtzmann steps forward, remarking, “Once more unto the breach.”
Through yellow tinted frames, Holtzmann steps into a swirling mass of confusion. Well, those were her thoughts anyway. Like becoming play-doh for about three seconds, she emerges on the other side eye level with Belle’s thigh high dagger.
“This is certainly an improvement.” She says.
At this comment, Belle turns around and looks down at her.
“Hey! What are you doing down there? And why do you lunge everywhere?”
Standing up fully, she replies “Lunges are good for the glutes. I’m also very partial to a firm posterior and lunges are important for that. I think. Do you lunge?”
Belle turns away, unsure how to take her reply. She joins to huddled trio of Jack, Peggy and Chekov, who are staring out a wall to ceiling window. It’s evening and shooting stars illuminate the sky. They are several stories high.
“I haven’t been this high since I was in Rumple’s tower.” says Belle, reaching a gloved hand to the glass. As her fingers make contact with the glass, it flashes to life, a circuit board of lights appears on the window. It grows showing a map overlayed on the window, circles over distant buildings and rotating wheels twirling in the corners. She snaps her hand away in surprise.
“Amazing” Chekov says.
“Ekta?” Peggy calls.
“I am here Agent Carter” Ekta replies. Her voice sounds near, almost like the sound is buzzing into their ears directly instead of filling the space, like in the blank room.
“And where is that exactly?” asks Jack.
“My body is deep within the citadel, protected. But within this building I have a voice everywhere.”
“How is that possible?” asks Holtzmann, who is standing firmly erect and peering out the corners of her goggles suspiciously.
“Our homes, our buildings are interactive. We operate with sensory technology built into the air.”
“Like nanobots?” asks Jack
“Yes, Jack, similar” says Ekta. “Though our advancements differ to that of your Earth. In many ways, we use what is called magic, as well as technology. I am orchestrating some of the senti-mites into your bodies, this will allow me to communicate with you even outside the tower.”
“That’s great, or terrifying seeing as we still don’t know you very well, but what exactly are we supposed to do next?”
“Yes, I rather agree with the Captain. Ekta, are you telling us everything?”
“Ruuuuuuuuuunnnnn!!!” screams Holtzmann suddenly. A coarse, venomous screams following her alert.
“Go now, I’ll explain later!”
“Where?!” shouts Peggy.
“This way!” Jack bellows, pointing to the right side of the window which has lit up with fuchsia and saffron coloured arrows.
As Holtzmann races past, grabbing Chekov and pulling him with her, Ekta’s voice becomes quieter, speaking directly into each of their heads; or ears probably.
“Follow the lights, it’ll lead you towards a tunnel!”
Scraping and pounding grows loader as something begins to reach the team. Peggy, Jack and Belle, briefly spot the looming shadow of something akin to a giant lizard, a forked tongue flitting out of great jaws.
Another screaming roar and the pace increases as they race after Holtzmann and Chekov.
“Faster! You must run faster!” Ekta warns.
Jack pulls his guns from their holsters under his jacket, reading to fire at the stampeding creature that is approaching them. They turn down the long corridor which appears to be made of markless grey metal, save for the glowing arrows.
“In here!” Chekov exclaims ahead of them, his head and shoulders appearing between two panels on an inside wall. Peggy and Belle change direction, heading for the opening. Jack turns back, the scaled face of a dragon nearing them. Firing a few blue bolt shots from a pistol, he sees them refract harmlessly off the creature.
Peggy reaches out from the room, grabbing Jack by his coat collar and into safety.
“Hey! Watch the coat!” Jack exclaims as the wall seals behind them and the thumping sound of the approaching create abruptly stops. “I’m really running out of these coats. Y’know they didn’t make a infinite supply and I keep getting stabbed while in them.”
“Oh I’m terrible sorry for stopping you from being mauled, Captain Harkness. I had some deluded idea that you might be of some use.”
“Thank you Agent, but I could have saved myself.”
Peggy squares up to Jack who is examining his coat collar for rips.
“You might be able to save yourself, but it didn’t look like you were going to do it.”
“What can I say, I’m fearless.”
“Idiotic more like”
“Hey guys, I think you should get over here” interrupts Belle.
Peggy and Jack both turn to face her. She is standing behind Chekov and Holtzmann who are frantically tapping on walls and screens on the other side of the room.
Taking in the room around them, they walk over to the others. The room is sparsely furnished, with tables and seating emerging whole from the walls, as though they have slid out fully formed. The back wall, where Holtzmann and Chekov are working is another floor to ceiling window. In the darkness outside, there are small torches. Like, the ones you’d find in old fairytale castles or at medieval festivals. The torches are slowly getting closer as, Jack and Peggy now realise, the room is descending.
“What’s happening?” Peggy asks.
“We’re trying to figure out where we’ve going” Holtzmann replies.
“The room activated itself when you got in.” adds Chekov. “these systems are fairly intuitive but there are references I don’t yet understand. We’re attempting to halt our decent.”
“Why?” asks Jack, “don’t we want to go down, get out of here?”
“I REALLY wouldn’t suggest that” Holtzmann says.
“Look” Belle tells them, gesturing to the woods below.
Huge bushes rustle and tall trees shake in the darkness. Although they can hear nothing outside the room, it quickly becomes apparent that more of the creatures they have just escaped from, can be found lurking below.
“Ekta, stop this!” Jack yells.
“This is the only way out. You have to trust me.” She speaks calmly.
“I don’t like this” murmurs Chekov.
“Ekta, this isn’t fair. We want to help you, but you need to tell us whats going on? Where are you sending us?” asks Belle.
“I’m sending you to join the survivors. They’ll meet you at the base of the building.”
“Too late to stop now” comments Holtzmann.
The room comes to a slow halt, the ground coming into clear view. On the other side of the window they can now see eight waiting figures, some cloaked, others in ornate armour in various hues. Coming to a full stop the window fades away and the cool night sky hits them.
Belle pulls out her knife, Carter her gun.
“Friend of foe?” asks Holtzmann as one of the armoured figures turns to them.
The knight speaks, a commanding voice, “you want to hurry up before we become a last meal?”
Looking to each other, they run towards her as they hear a crash from above.
“Run!” she yells, pointing her sword at the sky. Twisting the blade, she fires emerald fireballs out of its tip. Looking skyward, they see that the creature which was pursing them has smashed through a window on the upper floor and taken flight, circling in a speedy decent towards them.
As the team races to the knights, who fire at the soaring dragon heading for them, a metallic screech signals the arrival of a hovering vehicle.
“Get on!” yells the knight. She drops to one knee as the creature lands. It causes a small quake in the ground, the force of which knocks all five of our time and space travellers onto the hoverbus.