Welcome back to Time Crash. This is the third episode of an interactive story, where people from different times and places have come together due to a distortion in dimensions. What happens to them... well, it's up to you readers.
In the last episode, the five characters that got the least votes were condemned to be killed off in this episode. The same formula continues in each episode, although the amount will vary. This episode's first poll determines the three characters with the least number of votes that will be exterminated in the upcoming fourth episode. Also remember that the characters that get the most votes will be featured prominently in the next episode. You should notice the one new character, Rhodos from ancient Phoenicia, joining the cast, as well.
The other two polls specifies which actions you want the groups of survivors to do next. After this episode, the survivors are in two large groups, because last time the majority of you opted to gather the survivors around. Just read on to see how it all happens...
*****Bob, the Paramedic (Postmodern Time ~ Australia, 1990 AD)
Parker, the Schoolboy (Postmodern Time ~ Australia, 1990 AD)
Rhodos, the Aspiring Poet (Antiquity ~ Phoenicia, 1100 BC)
Ywen, the Maiden (Middle Ages ~ Scotland, 1300 AD)
Rhodos was confused. In one moment, he was doing his patrol duties which he fervently hated, and in another he was transported to this hellish landscape where nothing made sense. All he knew was that he wasn’t in Phoenicia anymore.
He was still standing on a piece of the wall encircling the perimeters of his hometown, but the town was gone now, as was the familiar salty taste of the sea in the wind.
Below the wall, he saw an intimidating wagon of iron protruding from solid rock, and three strangers who spoke in an unfamiliar language. Invaders! Spies! Hostiles! The words that the captain of the guard so often used rang in Rhodos’ mind. He knew it was his duty to protect the town, even though the town was nowhere to be seen.
Rhodos never wanted to be a guard. He would’ve much rather become a famous poet or a great philosopher. But his family was too poor to send him to Athens or the islands to learn those trades, so he had had to take the only job available for a young man like him.
His hands were shaking as he raised his bow and arrow. He had never actually shot a living target before, so he didn’t know if he could drive the spies away. But he had to try.
“Halt, intruders!” Rhodos shouted at the three people below him. His voice broke. He was faced with a young woman, a small boy and a man. They raised their arms and shouted something at him. They looked desperate.
No, they weren’t spies. They must be refugees, stranded on this frightening place just like him. He relaxed his bow, but his hands were slippery with sweat.
The arrow was released by accident. It flew in a beautiful arch, landing square at the young woman’s chest. The orange-haired woman’s eyes widened and she fell to her back, undoubtedly dead.
Rhodos slapped his hand on his mouth. The man and the boy looked at him in horror, and ran away. Rhodos sat down against the parapet and started to cry.
*****Anne, the Patient (Postmodern Time ~ Australia, 1990 AD)
Ashton, the Lord (Victorian Era ~ United Kingdom, 1880 AD)
Eleanor, the Prostitute (Victorian Era ~ United Kingdom, 1880 AD)
Ferid, the Assassin (Ancient Middle-East ~ Persian Empire, 200 BC)
Matthew, the Doctor (Postmodern Time ~ Australia, 1990 AD)
Anne sat up from her stretchers. She felt healthy enough to walk already, Dr. Matthew was just fussing. Right now the good doctors focus was on the corpse of the Iranian or Arabian or whatever-ian man. It wasn’t surprising to find dead people in a ruined neighborhood like this. Anne couldn’t fathom why the ambulance had brought them there, or why they had awoken in a cave.
Anne took a moment to observe the other people they had ran into. There was the dark-clad gloomy man that was obviously acquainted with the dead person, and a couple who looked like they were coming from a fancy-dress party.
Maybe they had interrupted the filming of a movie or a television series! Anne couldn’t wait to get back home to tell Tara, her gossip-loving neighbor, all about this. Anne wasn’t one to gossip much herself, she just shared information.
“I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do”, Dr. Matthew said shaking his head as he had done researching the body.
At that moment an ominous rumble came from the roof above the entrance of the derelict house. In a matter of seconds, a huge chunk of the roof came tumbling down on them. Everything was covered in dust.
Anne, who’s stretchers were a little further from the house, remained unharmed. As the dust settled, she saw the sinister man cowering next to him, and the fancily-dressed man lying next to a mount of rubble that had been the entrance of the house. To her shock, Anne saw a hand of a woman sticking out amidst the rubble.
“Eleanor! No, no, no!” the fair-haired man screamed, and started digging the mount. “No, I can’t lose you now! I can’t lose the baby that grows inside you! You’re all I have…” The man’s strength waned out quickly, and he fell on top of the rubble, sobbing desperately.
Tears filled Anne’s eyes as she realized that Dr. Matthew - the man that had taken care of him since she first got sick – was gone as well. This was no movie set, she knew now. She turned to look the dark man next to him.
“Who’s going to take care of me now?” she asked him in despair, grabbing his cape. He looked her in the eyes, but quickly turned his gaze away.
“Auntie Anne!” a clear voice shouted behind them all of a sudden. Anne turned to look, and saw the ambulance driver and a little boy he knew well. It was Parker, the shy boy from her neighborhood that she had looked after many times. Her heart filled with hope again.
*****Jeremiah, the Old Pirate (Pirate Age ~ Caribbean Sea, 1700 AD)
Rosette, the Pirate (Pirate Age ~ Caribbean Sea, 1700 AD)
Santiago, the Lieutenant (Pirate Age ~ Caribbean Sea, 1700 AD)
Uhla, the Shamaness (Prehistoric Era ~ Oceania, 8000 BC)
Their cutlasses clashed against each other yet again. Rosette knew that Lieutenant Santiago was physically stronger than her, but he couldn’t match the fencing techniques that she had learned from her late father Jasper. The two rivals danced the dance of death in the sand, knowing all too well that the other must die for the other to live.
Rosette was so intensively caught up in the duel that she didn’t even notice when the islander woman climbed down the rock she had been standing on and rushed to the shoreline, where Old Jeremiah was struggling with the net that was about to drown him. With remarkable strength, the islander pulled the net to the beach, and Jeremiah along with it.
“Stop, you two!” the old man croaked as he spat sea water out of his lungs. “Can’t you fools see that this isn’t the old Caribbean we’re at anymore?!”
Rosette and the lieutenant both ceased the duel, but kept staring at each other. Jeremiah limped in between them with his pegleg, while the native woman stood back and watched them. Jeremiah grabbed Rosette from the shoulders.
“Girl, didn’t your father teach you anything? Survival first! You can revenge Jasper later, but now we have to find out where we’ve stranded.”
The old pirate was the voice of reason, as always. He had been that to her father, and now he was that to Rosette. She looked past Jeremiah to the lieutenant.
“Truce, for now?” she asked. Santiago’s eyes narrowed, as he contemplated if a pirate could be trusted. He definitely knew better than that.
“For now”, the young officer finally said. The situation they were in had gotten him all fuddled up as well.
Rosette looked around. The sea was gone. The sky was gone. There was just this piece of land surrounded by an infinite emptiness. Rosette felt shudders running down her spine.
“There’s no point in staying here. Let’s go look for food. I’m starving!” she said with a relaxed laughter. There was no fear that a little laugh couldn’t drive away, her father had always said.
*****Cougar Claw, the Lakota Princess (Wild West ~ USA, 1840 AD)
Dancing Mountain, the Lakota Chief (Wild West ~ USA, 1840 AD)
Northfalk, the Sheriff (Wild West ~ USA, 1840 AD)
Sergei, the Commander (World War II ~ Soviet Union, 1940 AD)
Thurbaldr, the Viking (Viking Age ~ North Atlantic, 1000 AD)
Trigger, the Bandit (Wild West ~ USA, 1840 AD)
Trigger kept pointing his revolver at the bastard who called himself a sheriff. How dared he gunpoint Cougar Claw, who was completely without blame to the crimes Trigger had committed?
“Trigger!” the princess of the Lakota tribe, his lover, cried. “My father… He’s not breathing!”
At that moment Trigger saw a change in Sheriff Northfalk’s stiff posture. Trigger’s reflexes were fast, but so were the sheriff’s.
Two gunshots pierced the air at almost the exact same time. But someone had been ahead of both the bandit and the sheriff. The hulking warrior had thrown himself on Cougar Claw, and Northfalk’s bullet rebounded from his thick metal helmet without doing any damage.
Northfalk himself fell to his side with a bullet hole in his temple. The tension was over.
Trigger ran to the crying Cougar Claw and the warrior who still held her. The girl ran to the bandit’s arms. Trigger looked at the warrior and smiled.
The warrior smiled back, and nodded. Trigger realized that the man didn’t really understand his words, but understood what he said.
Suddenly another man rose from behind the weird mount of snow that had appeared out of nowhere. The man was clad in a military uniform and was carrying a gun.
“Do not vorry, I am not enemy”, the soldier said with a strong accent. “My name is Sergei. Vat is yours?”
“Trigger”, the bandit replied. “And this is Cougar Claw. Dunno ‘bout that guy.”
The soldier called Sergei turned to the big, red-bearded man. “Navn?”
“Ah!” the man exclaimed as he recognized the word. “Thurbaldr!”
“Good, ve are all introdjuced nov”, Sergei said with a thin smile. Trigger had seen that smile before, and he did not like it.
Together the men put the bodies of Northfalk and Chief Dancing Mountain into one of the boats. Cougar Claw fetched the oil lamp from the shack, and they sprinkled some oil on the bodies and lit the boat on fire.
As they watched the modest funeral pyre, two groups of people came to them, attracted by the flames. The other group consisted of three men, a small boy and an older woman pushed in a bed with wheels, and the other had two women, a soldier with a plumed hat and an old man with a long beard. Trigger wondered how many other people there were in this strange place.
*****Dereq, the Spaceship Captain (Space Age ~ Earth’s Orbit, 2200 AD)
Ghast, the Black Knight (Middle Ages ~ Scotland, 1300 AD)
Huang, the Apprentice (Mysterious Orient ~ Ming Dynasty China, 1500 AD)
Morrigan, the Witch (Middle Ages ~ Scotland, 1300 AD)
Vanya, the Explorer (Space Age ~ Earth’s Orbit, 2200 AD)
XETA, the Android (Space Age ~ Earth’s Orbit, 2200 AD)
Zhu Que, the Mystic (Mysterious Orient ~ Ming Dynasty China, 1500 AD)
Dereq wasn’t as fascinated by the android calling himself XETA as the explorer Vanya was. Dereq was sad for losing his trusted Starduck, but he was also anxious to get away from this nightmarish place.
The captain was used to the freedom of the endless space. He had seen strange worlds that stretched the boundaries of human imagination before, but he had always been able to escape those places. Now he was stuck, and he didn’t like that one bit.
An annoying noise made him look back at the smoking remains of his spacecraft.
“Uh, I don’t think we should stay here for long”, he said to Vanya. Crashed spaceships can be very fickle, if you catch my drift.”
“But what about those two up there?” the explorer asked and pointed at the two oriental people peeking down from the tall pagoda. The lower floor of the building was completely crashed, so there was no way down from the upper floor.
The young girl in the pagoda asked them something in Chinese, but Dereq just shrugged. He couldn’t understand a word she had said.
“I can translate”, the android suddenly said with a wide smile. “She asked: ‘Can you help us?’”
“Wow! How do you know that?” Vanya asked, even more excited than before. I picked you up from the other side of the galaxy! How can you know how to speak both English and Chinese?”
“Simple. I can talk in every language of the Earth”, XETA answered sincerely. “Do you wish to reply to that girl?”
“Uh, yes…” Dereq said, thinking of a way to get the girl and the old codger down. “Tell her to jump from the edge of the roof. I’ll catch.”
XETA translated his words, and the girl nodded. She said something to the old man, who pointed her to go first. Then the girl crept to the edge of the roof, flung herself over it and hung at the edge a while before dropping down to Dereq’s arms. The old man did the same, although with much more care than the young girl.
The Chinese introduced themselves through XETA as Zhu Que and Huang. As they conversed about where they had been stranded, Dereq started to appreciate the android’s abilities. From the corner of his eye, the captain saw Vanya observing the android’s every move with great curiosity.
“Listen, we have to get away from that machine”, Dereq finally said. “It might go boom any minute now.”
Zhu Que nodded after hearing XETA’s translation, and together the five of them slid down from the hill where the Spaceduck had crash-landed. They soon ran into two very sinister figures: a woman with skulls in her black dress and her guardian who was wearing a heavy black armor. Vanya instantly hid behind Dereq’s back.
“It’s them! They think I’m the bride of Satan or something”, Vanya whispered to Dereq’s ear.
All of a sudden, the witchy woman and the knight knelt before them.
“Our Lord of Darkness! We are at your servitude!” the woman said, and raised her zealous eyes at XETA.
*****That was that for now. Remember to vote for your favorite characters, and please feel free to give suggestions and feedback by posting on this topic as well. Time Crash is all open to interactivity!
Don't forget to tune in for Episode Four, where at least three more characters will be lost. Who will survive, who won't - it's up to you!