Strange World, Same Place

From the Story Arc: Time in a Bottle

Previous Story in the Arc: Prologue: Forbidden Tomes by Tesla's Revenge (Monday, October 30, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Intelligence Report 29901-R by Crimson Tao (Tuesday, November 07, 2006)

(posted Monday, November 06, 2006)

Chapter 1: Strange World, Same Place
October, 2006
Location: Atlas Park

Grigory came to consciousness again slowly, as though fighting his way up from a deep pit. The first thing he noticed was the complete lack of a time machine around him. “Obviously,” he thought to himself, “there are some adjustments necessary.” As he looked around further, there was also a lack of stairs, elevators, and in fact most of the interior of the building. He touched a control on his arm to activate the antigravs. Nothing happened. “More adjustments”, he mumbled, as he began to climb the nearest wall. Luckily the servos still work, increasing his strength, allowing him to climb out of the ruined basement. After a few minutes, he reached the ground floor, which was mostly intact. After checking the suits sensors, which told him that he had not moved in time, and was in the exact same spot as before. Except of course there was a basement before.

Grigory was somewhat worried about the basement, mainly the fact that there were other people in the floor above earlier, where now there were not. “Then again,” Grigory thought to himself, “if I were in a building where the basement disappeared, I might leave too.” Assuming that the rest of the scientists and technicians were outside, he stepped out the front door, which was surprisingly intact. Approximately 5 inches out the door, he froze. Grigory didn't care what the geo-sensor said. This was not New Russia.

The sky, it was blue. There was no dome overhead, keeping out the deadly radiation. He looked quickly at the radiation sensor on arm. There was zero radiation. Of course, he wasn't sure he could trust it. These people, though, wore no radiation suits, nor were they dying painfully, so there must not be any radiation. Finally, his eyes settled on a nearby wall. It was an advertisement for some sort of electronic music player. An advertisement, it could only mean this was a capitalist land, wherever it was. Finally, he noticed something that was perhaps even more interesting, and that was the reaction of the people on the street, specifically the lack of it. They acted as though a man in a metal suit walking out of a building was a normal thing. Some even waved. Grigory was about to run back into the building, missing basement and all, when he heard someone yell for help. Grigory knew some English, since some of the scientists in his group were from England. Regardless of where he was, Grigory could not ignore a call for help. A group of ruffians were trying to steal a womans purse. Even with many parts of his suit malfunctioning, these weaklings were no challenge. The woman thanked him, then ran off. To Grigory, this made no sense. Where in the world could a man in a metal suit go nearly completely ignored. He stood there for a moment, puzzled.

In that moment, a man stepped up behind him, then cleared his throat.

“Ni hao, comrade” Grigory quickly turned, and threw a punch in the direction of the voice. From behind him, the voice continued. "I am no enemy of yours. Yet. I am Captain Sun Kai, called Crimson Tao, and I could not help but notice you seeming somewhat confused."

Wary, but seeing that he could not possibly succeed in hitting this speedly Chinaman, he decided to go along with it. “Yes, I am lost a bit”, Grigory responded. “This is not where I expected to be.”

"Ah. Dui. The teleporters are are temperamental today. Many people come out a little off their coordinates.”

Probably not as far as I, thought Grigory, as he responded, “I see... so, where am I?”

“You are in Atlas Park.”

“And where is that?”

“Paragon City, of course.” Tao pauses a moment. “Perhaps you should visit a doctor.”

“That might be good idea.” Grigory responded, as he considered the fact that hospitals almost always have computers, and computers had useful information, like where he really was, and what this was all about.