26 October, 2009

Rewritten from the Archives: Nightmare's Edge III

(Since this one never managed to get published anywhere, I took the liberty of rewriting it. It is in the same vein as the previous Nightmare's Edge story. The difference with this one was the serious science fiction elements I added to it, and a background on the character. Those who also know me too well will instantly see the influence of one of my favourite sci-fi series. I decided to update some of the elements as well as the writing to go with it. I had not seen the copy of the the story in quite some years. Incase you are wondering why III, It was the third in the series I was working on at the time. I have so far been unable to locate the second story.)

In the beginning, I had been a Time Tracer. Traveling for countless centuries and doing battle with countless unspeakable evils, I'd grown tired. Seriously tired of the running, fighting and death. My life at times was meddled with by outside forces and sent on assignments I rather skipped on. Feeling tired and old, I decided to end the drama.
One staged accident later, with my death widely reported to go with it, I found myself burning through Time and Space.
The destination: Earth
The time period: The early 21st century

I found myself landing in the United States of America. Smiling, I grabbed a careully prepared backpack. I managed to get the co-ordinates right for once, landing where I wished. I paused only long enough to set the camoflauge control, and make a note that I landed on target. (A first in 500 or so years!)
Stepping outside, my smile grew wider. I had landed during the Earth Fall season for the region. A mish mash of colours greeted my eyes as I walked to the door of a modest looking house. My smile faded, realising that I had too many keys to root through.
After several minutes, and three return trips to my 'shed', I located the right key. Entering the house, I saw it was in the same state I'd left it. A bit of dust had landed in places, but that was minor.
Settling in, I found my way to a computer terminal. Interfacing it with the planet's Internet system, I quickly worked my way through various government sites. Identity firmly established, I powered the system down and hid it in the wall. I feel asleep smiling, relaxed for the first time in so many years.
No one knew I was alive, let alone where I disappeared to.

Awaking to a beautiful day, I walked into the nearly town. Leisurely strolling through the streets, I beheld many amusing sights. The people passing barely noticed me, suiting me perfectly.
Walking along a store caught my attention. Intrigued, I deceided to enter it. Greeting my eyes as they adjusted to the darkness, computers of all description littered the room. I meandered about a bit, taking in the systems, some old for the time period, others extremely modern. I paused before several of the older systems that bore a card. Reading each brief history I found memories flowing of other systems in other times on other worlds.
I hailed the gentleman at the counter for more information. I listened as he explained various bits of history about the machines. I followed him about the store as he spoke, intrigued and the like. After a good 30 minutes, I bought several of the antigues and two of the modern computers from him, plus anything else not nailed down for each system.
Transaction concluded (Who says a large amount of cash or credits doesn't work wonder.) to his satisfaction, I asked for him to deliever. A little more cash and the promise everything would be delievered the next day, I departed.

I spent the next day unpacking and setting up. I acquired two modern PC's, a Commodore 64C and a Commodore Amiga 4000. The gentleman at the store had been all afire about the Commodore systems. I still wondered at the military rank of the computers.
Speculation waited as I taught myself to use a system a day. After a week, I felt assured of my mastery of such simple things. My smile returned, as did my amusement at the situation.
I spent the next several days working out a plausible occupation to keep me in the shadows. After much searching, I turned to a talent of my youth, called desktop publishing on this planet. I figured maybe, just maybe that the days spent as the editor of the Colrion Royal Time Academy hololetter could be transferred to paper and the like.

I'd been working on a newsletter for a client most of the night. Nearly finished, and with a deadline a couple of days out, a break was called for. I pushhed away from the PC and turned to the Commodore 64C. As I reached for the disk to the game I was failing miserably at beating, the clock caught my eye.
Frozen at 9:26pm. I felt my hair rise and...
I chastised myself. Panic faded, reason returned, logic simply throwing out that the clock hasd stopped on its own accord. No monsters need apply. Logic drove me to pull out the pocket watch I carried for time and tricks.
Frozen at 9:26pm. My skin now joined my hair in the danger feeling.
Shaking my head, I cast about for explanation. Time slip suddenly came to mind. I began counting time units in my head.
Reaching 60 seconds, I stopped. Too long for a time slip. Worry replacing the earlier panic, I directed my movements to the nearest window. Moving the curtain aside, a glowing orange greeted my senses. Groaning I looked about as far as I could.
Absolutely lovely, I thought sourly, and I was going to beat that game tonight to.
A flicker from the edge of my vision caused my head to turn. An object slowly faded into my view. First sight of it caused a groan to escape, followed by a whistle of contempt. It was a seriously large mega-mainframe system.
A Supreme Totaliras.
A living computer.
Bent on the conquest of everything organic in a quest to rid the universe of 'plaugue'.
Apparently, I thought drawing back the curtain fully, the blasted machine detected my presence on this planet.
Wondering, I noted my computers showing as connected to the Totaliras. I turned to look at it for a count. Deciding the thing wasn't going to read my mind, I voiced my contempt.
"Pick your weapon and have a battle of wits?"
The Totaliras sprang to life. Muttering darkly about Galactic Games Channels and Let's Make a Deal, I strolled slowly over to the PC. Mind running furiously, I pondered alternatives and plans. My best weapon would be shielded by the Totaliras.
Entering into the system I saw what I was going to be up against.
Solving the Galactic Riddle of Light equation.
Inspiration struck home in a flash. Firing the PC into a defrag, I vaulted to the Amiga. I punched in some commands to a simple 3D model I was running, then ran across the room for the 64. Reaching it, I tossed the disk into the drive for the game I was vexed by.
Crashing into the opposite wall, I rose (In some considerable pain.) to confront not one, but two Argulian attack droids. Scrambling and throwing anything not nailed down, I managed to knock one droid down and evade the other. Typing faster than anything, I managed to get back to the 64 and finish typing the load sequence.
I found myself bodily removed and about to be tossed out the window. Calling upon a guess, I dangled the pocket watch across the visual sensor of the droid. This distraction proved just enough to allow for a simple magic trick.
A simple manual screw driver to said visual sensor.
Rudely dropped I bolted from the room. Racing out the front door, the Totaliras sat, running furiously. My trick of computers had it confounded, but this was not going to last. Casting about, I needed something to destroyed it. Quickly.
A crashing sound reminded me the time for contemplation was extremely limited. I needed a virus...something totally foreign.
The potted plant at my feet went sailing through the air. As it arced towards the Totaliras, a three thoughts flashed through my panting mind.
Firstly, the thing's shield better be down.
Secondly, the plant was dead so no harm to it.
Third, my aim is hopefully better than the last time.
The pot, dead plant, and soil exploded on impact. To the instant, smoke poured from the Totaliras. Smiling I raced past the incapacitated droids to my computers. One last magic trick to perform.
I quickly (23 seconds quick) cobbled a space shooter game into a gold chip from the Amiga. Running back out to the smoking, sputtering Totaliras, I jammed the chip into it. I was rewarded with instant success, as the coding of the game fried the bloody thing.
Watching everything fade into view, I stared for a count at the spot where the contemptible machine stood, letting the frustration ebb away. Satisfied, I smiled and marched into the house.
"The more advanced the technology, the easier it falls to primitive assault."

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