Another one of those spur-of-the-moment sessions where I get an idea, and screw thinking it out. This is what happens when I just write.
I should do it more often.
This is related to some other pieces I’ve written about temporal defense, and may or may not be canon in regards to my project multiverse. Notice Ulysses.
On the bright and sunny surface of the facade that is Roger Harris Lunsford’s social face, the master assassin wears a pansy-colored multi-faceted happy-hippy rainbow attitude. It’s the style in this back-alley world at the ass end of Vega-332.
Jaxson’s Club 3X, in all its dark and stormy-cornered dampness, is ‘happening’, as indicated by the small gang of undulating half-naked men cutting their eyes to the doors, looking for the females promised but not yet arrived. R.H. Lunsford is among them, but stalking through them, trying not to let his shoes match the thump-thump rhythm of 3X’s unending neo-fascismo alternotrance-a-thon bass fest.
Along his route through sweaty male bodies, R.H. Lunsford identifies six members of the competing temporal raider clan he was told to be wary of. All six carry Ulysses-fabricated pulse stingers behind the facades of bulging man parts – everyone an asexual phantom.
But no sign of a target.
Lunsford slides through the last few cocks and reaches the 3X sidebar with his dignity intact. Fingering the bartender for a drink, he spits out his order and drops three times what it’s worth on the neon flux-patterned bar top. The bartender winks and gets the under-message, pissing out a two-tiered lollipop cocktail from the good tubes beneath the regular blood-laced pumps serving the rest of the human waste cases in this low place. No one notices the bartender literally vanish shortly after service.
The drink slides electric down the Lunsford pipes and for a few seconds R.H. loses contact with the tides that be. The scene slows down to out-time, and reality is bent. He can see the strings clearly – the chaotic impulses tracking time-criminals whose movements have left them etched out of reality by the residues of temporal penetration. Lunsford sees the telling glow on his own body just before realizing just how many of those six were out-time already.
Sound ceases as the wave patterns of poorly mixed trash trance slow in transience to a dull wiggle.
To any other patron in that den of wasted men, it appears that seven men suddenly blink out of existence.
What happens next does not matter to them. As soon as the out-time thugs have moved, the future has ceased to be. What troubles R.H. Lunsford most is the fact that there has been no indication any of the six are out-time. Somehow they’ve masked their hyperspatial movements in reality – and they have done a damned good job.
The fist at Lunsford’s left ear crackles in chaos as he speeds through out-time in an accelerated burst, thanks to the tempo-booster the barkeep has flooded his drink with. Lunsford smiles as he dodges the sluggish would-be time-criminal’s strike at seven times its speed – the rest of the humans in that place have become statues.
The fist misses, and Lunsford turns. Pushing his own fist through time and space alike, he obliterates the attacker’s chest and presses the mass of heartflesh through shattered ribs and out the back. Deftly, he grabs the pulse stinger from the fake horse cock facade at the front of the thug’s tights and fires three shots at the closest remaining thug before the first jaw has a chance to drop.
The stung thug starts to spark, and using a technique he’s learned on a mission in a temporally compromised Vega-79, R.H. Lunsford grabs the quickly dying man and pushes him into the next approaching thug before the sting jumps and fries himself.
As the two dead men slowly evaporate, Lunsford turns to the remaining three assailants still slow-dancing towards him. Vaulting off a trendy no-friction lounger, he skips through six feet of air and cleanly kicks a shock-faced head off its connecting neck. Landing behind another thug, he cuts an elbow upward and behind him, shattering the spinal column.
With only one attacker remaining, Lunsford spins on his heels, kicking the thug’s feet out from under him and catches the man’s stringy hair in his fist. Running up a column, Lunsford flips, taking the slow-mo assassin with him, and power-fists the thug’s face into the floor in a grandiose display reminiscent of cheap Saturday night cage match knockdowns.
Feeling the out-time beginning to push him back, R.H. Lunsford dons his spec-lens goggles and spots the target through Jaxson’s Club 3Xs walls.
Out-time pushes harder and the sound begins to come back. The statues turn to slow motion caricatures as time catches up with him. Sprinting to the door, past the sudden violence of the room that had been, at one time, ‘happening’, Lunsford catches the target by the arm, just as she enters.
As out-time removes him, he presses the chip in his thumb. Eternity knifes by as he and the target are removed from that which is.
With a thump, they appear in a blank white room.
“Miss Winters,” Lunsford states matter-of-factly. “My name is R.H. Lunsford with the Temporal Defense Initiative. You have been designated an Entity of Strategic Temporal Significance and have hereby been removed from the universe of your birth.”
The rail-thin blonde in too-tight white leather only shivers, her face readable only as shock.
“Momentarily you will be retrieved and treated. The Temporal Defense Initiative welcomes you, and hopes your stay here will be a pleasant one.”
Lunsford turns and starts to jump out, but surprisingly, the female responds.
“Where am I?” she stammers.
R.H. Lunsford, TDI Agent Supreme, turns to her and smiles. “You’re in Vega-1. The universe at the beginning of Split-Time.”
Quickly, before she can query further, Lunsford jumps to the Arsenal Station three parsecs away and retrieves a Verse-Killer, placing it carefully in his pocket. With another click of his thumbchip, he jumps back to Vega-332.
Jaxson’s Club 3X is a bloody disaster. The authorities have arrived and the majority of the half-naked men are being detained for questioning. The thugs are all dead and back in reality. The scene is quite vulgar.
An officer draws a gun, having seen the sudden appearance of Lunsford. “Freeze!” he barks.
“The Temporal Defense Initiative has deemed this universe infected and hereby has granted me full power to eradicate it from Split-Time. My apologies,” Lunsford says to the confused crowd. “Good day.”
Lunsford blinks out of existence and in his place floats a small hovering sphere of brilliant metal.
The officer approaches it cautiously as Vega-332 politely goes …
“They knew,” Lunsford states dryly.
His superior, the eternally-bearded Father Anders, munches his leafy meal.
“I think we’ve been compromised.” Lunsford pushes vocally with this last bit.
Anders drops his utensil to the plate which rests on the snow-white beard fanned across the wide desk. One might think it a holiday display complete with fake cottony snow scenes.
Anders purses his lips and stares down at his Agent Supreme.
“I just think–”
“And that’s the problem,” Anders interrupts. “Leave the thinking to me. You’ve done us a great service. Mark 173 was a valuable extraction. She could be the key to all of this.”
R.H. Lunsford presses his chin to his chest in shame.
“Furloughed. Today, and until I say otherwise. Go have your chip deactivated.” Anders is not in a forgiving mood. He goes back to gnawing on his salad, picking the occasional crumb from his beard.
“Thank you, Father,” Lunsford mumbles.
Before R.H. Lunsford can leave the room, Mark 173 blinks in. She’s still wearing white leather, but this time she’s smirking.
With a wink to Lunsford, she suddenly blinks out, a Verse-Killer floating in her place.
Lunsford jumps without thinking – he’s trained so well that it’s second nature.
Father Anders, however, drops his jaw and crumbs spill out onto his expansive white snow scene.
Vega-1 goes …