Time Flies

From the Story Arc: Phoenyx Ascendant

Previous Story in the Arc: Complications by Seraphym (Tuesday, March 14, 2006)

(posted Thursday, September 28, 2006)

John jogged out through the whirlpool-lightshow of the Portal Corp. gate, his suit still smoking. Infernal. Again. Y’know, that’s the kicker about a multiverse of infinite proportions and dimensions; endless versions of the same bad-guy. Using the bite-switch in his helmet, he keyed up the Berkut suit’s internal chronometer on his HUD. Plenty of time. He kicked off from the entrance/exit ramp for the portal, propelled through the air through the subtle manipulation of his Kheldian energy.

Sera was oddly both hyperaware and unaware of the passing of time, but it had occurred to her with force this morning how differently the years had passed Underhill and in the World Above. Today she had been laboring beside Social Medicine and Kid Crisis in the Rikti Crash Site, hoping to clean out some of the infestation before it managed to burst through the last line of defense and spread into Crey’s Folly. This was not aided by interference from Crey…it had been a long and tiring day, but at least, as she left via the Portal and began the flight home, she had something to look forward to.

Aedan and Caradoc Ap Dylan were both patrolling around King’s Row that night. Astra would be spending the night with Shuma across the hall, both of them studying for their respective college courses. Ratt was busy on a patrol of his own, helping to set up the infrastructure for resistances in portal dimensions under siege. The house would be, in a word, empty.

There were boxes and containers filled with a wide assortment of foods and goodies from Thea in the kitchen; John had dropped in on her and Alexei right after the family had all started their daily schedules. Since he’d talked with her earlier in the week, almost everything was ready by the time he had gotten there. She’d been gracious enough not to tell anyone else about his requests. “You go on now, Chonny. Alexei and I vill be quiet as church-mice.”

The children would all be off on their own concerns tonight. Sera had not been home since she and John had left for their patrols early this morning, but she had stopped by HQ long enough to consult with Vickie before starting the “grind,” and now she stopped by again to retrieve what she and Vickie had decided on. One of the many benefits of knowing someone with as many ties to Underhill as Vickie had, was that amazing things could be accomplished in next to no “real world” time. Tucking the flat little package in beside her PDA, she lifted off again, a song in her heart.

John had never known Sera to be particular about flowers, so he got about two of everything he could afford to; not a mountain of flowers, but it was a nice hill, all the same. The florist, an older gal in a corner shop in one of the Row’s nicer sections, gave him the “discount” with a knowing look in her eye. With hurried thanks, John took his purchases and flew out the door. Time was running out, and he was pressed now.

Finally, everything was set.

Technically, this would be their 19th, counting Underhill time. But, chronologically as far as Topside was concerned, it was their first. John smiled to himself. Doesn’t make it any less special of an anniversary.

Sera paused at the door, self-consciously smoothing down the skirt of her outfit. Would he remember it was the dress she had worn for their wedding? She balanced the two rings in her palm. John hated ostentation, so these were neither gold nor silver…instead, they were made of tiny bits of “souvenir” metal scavenged from past patrols and missions. A fragment of hoverbot from Striga when he had proposed, a bit of the armor from the Underhill Unseleighe they had escaped from with the help of their own children and a then-Nictus named K’takei. A sliver of Portal metal from the mission they had first taken the children on, the first mission of the whole family together, closing access into their own world. And a tiny fragment of one of Neuron’s robots, from the mission that had finally caused them both to be awarded the coveted “Hero of the City” title, although for John it was the second time. All had been somehow fitted into a miniature mosaic pattern of feathers and waves, representing her nature and his, with a tiny Anarchist “A” where a gem would be, inside the CCCP star. And engraved inside the band, “Death will have no dominion.” Something very special, for what was, after all, their first anniversary.

She took a deep breath, and opened the door.