An ethics-oriented weblog celebrating effective altruism, philosophy, and other beliefs Eric holds. Also: a place to post random thoughts.
01 July, 1995
The Third World
Sabin took one last look at the desolate world. “Yet another loss.”
Raistlin agreed. “Twice this has happened. We’ve annihilated two whole worlds.” Raistlin held up his necklace and a rip opened up in front of him. “Let’s hope the next world doesn’t share the same fate as ours.”
The triad walked to the rip, weary of their travels and adventures. Little did they know how troublesome their next venture would be.
Shadow appeared first. His first observation was that his ears popped. Cautiously, he listened and smelled his surroundings. It seemed that no one was there. He lit a candle and saw that it was a metal room, and there was indeed no one there. He motioned for the others to enter. They came in one by one, Sabin first with Raistlin following not far behind. The room was barely large enough for the three. It was completely metal, and every single wall, ceiling, and floor included was completely flat.
“Either the craftsmanship is good, or there is some very powerful magic here.” Raistlin touched the walls. There were no indentations or imperfections in the whole of it. “I believe, ” as Raistlin took another look around him, “… that we are stuck.”
“Maybe I can force our way out.” Sabin started to attack one of the walls, but Raistlin stopped him short.
“Not yet. Maybe later. Let’s try finesse before brute strength.” Raistlin’s words rang true.
Shadow searched the room for anything that looked even remotely different from its surroundings. He found nothing. Shadow searched again, and again found nothing. Again he searched – but to no avail. Raistlin stopped him before he could search yet again. “You know as well as I do that further searching won’t change what you’ve already found.” They stood there, dumbfounded at the purpose in constructing such a room, until Sabin came up with a good idea.
“Maybe we should get some rest since we’re not doing anything anyway.” Raistlin agreed, and they started to make room for them to lie peacefully and rest. Shadow squatted down, still looking at his new surroundings, keeping first watch as always. Sooner than even he had expected, the wizard and the brute both fell asleep.
As soon as Shadow felt his eyes getting heavy, he started to wake Sabin. But as soon as he was within a few inches of Sabin’s body, he froze. He had heard something. He knew it. He could feel it. His body started to tingle, and Shadow was now fully awake. His eyes scanned the room. All was the same. But the vibrations were unmistakable. There were others here. He looked in the direction of the sound. They were behind that wall. His hand reached to a pocket on his foreleg. He took the object from his pocket and laid it on the offending wall. It stuck there like a suction cup. Then he gently nudged Raistlin. Raistlin awoke easily, but was unaware of what was happening. Shadow whispered three words.
“Protect us. Now.”
Raistlin knew Shadow was serious by those words and immediately put up a shield of protection around the three. Shadow nodded his thanks and pressed a button on his lapel. The object that had stuck to the wall immediately exploded.
The wall had been torn through and Raistlin’s shields were destroyed. Sabin woke up, groggy as ever, and the shields had depleted Raistlin’s energy. Thus it was up to Shadow to take care of whatever had made the noise behind the wall.
Two men stood there, one black and one white, both looking very surprised by the explosion. Shadow took advantage of their reaction and dispatched them both without problem. He noticed that their strange clothing was oddly identical, except that the colors were different shades. His eyes moved toward his new surroundings. This room was adjacent to the first and identical as well, except that it was more rectangular, like a hallway, and at the opposite side of this hallway was a door. The natives had been speaking here in this room while touching some type of box.
The box was on a table of some sort, made especially for the use of holding up the box. The box was metallic on all sides, except the side that they had been touching. On that side, it looked to be colored glass. Shadow assumed a candle must be lit inside the box, for the glass was glowing. He looked closer at the glass and saw that whomever had made that glass was certainly stupid, for the coloration was ugly, and nothing could be made of the shapes and lines he saw there.
Shadow turned toward his companions. “Come.” Shadow was notorious for not speaking much at all, but lately he had refrained more than usual.
Raistlin stood with little trouble, though still drained of his energy. Sabin stood with more trouble, for he was notorious for being groggy whenever he first awoke.
Shadow lead the group, while the other two helped each other walk. When Shadow reached the door, he motioned for the others to stop. Then he opened the door, slowly and cautiously. Inside he found no one, but was astounded at the layout. The room was huge, like a cathedral back home, he thought. Doors were abound here, as though it were some sort of octagonal foyer. What’s more, another of those boxes was on the far wall. And even more interesting was the floor, for on it was painted a large F.
“Federals.” Sabin was the first to say it, though everyone thought it at the same time.
“But how can there be Federals here? That makes no sense.” Raistlin was right. How could Federals exist on this world?
Shadow voiced the answer. “They must have achieved inter-world travel just as we did. Only they must have gotten it long before us.”
“That means that the MagiMaster may not have been the true leader of the Federals. Maybe even he had someone over him.” Raistlin shuddered at the thought.
Shadow cocked his head to the left. Sabin started to ask him what was wrong, but Shadow motioned to stay quiet. Suddenly, Shadow grabbed Raistlin and threw him toward the high ceiling. Shadow jumped up after him while grabbing some kind of mechanism from one of his back pockets. Quickly, he attached the mechanism to his waist and expertly lassoed Raistlin with a line. Then he attached the line to his waist. By this time, Shadow had reached the crest of his leap toward the ceiling (now four feet away), and had started on his descent back to the ground. But instead of succumbing to gravity, he shot at the ceiling with an automatic grappler on his wrist. It connected, and he hung there, with Raistlin, scared out of his wits, hanging from Shadow’s waist.
Seeing as how all of this took less than two seconds, Sabin, still down below, hadn’t even moved yet. But he wasn’t that stupid, so when he saw Shadow leave abruptly (not knowing where he and the mage had disappeared to), he started to hide. But the room had not been made for hiding. He had managed to scramble to the bottom of the painted ‘F’ on the floor before one of the doors bounding the sides of the octagonal room opened. And out of it came two very large men. Sabin looked at them. They looked at Sabin. Then one of them said in a calm voice, “Security to Cargo Bay B-12.” Sabin thought it odd for him not to yell this obvious command for security. Who in the hell could hear such a statement at that volume?
Then the other said to Sabin what Sabin had been waiting for. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing, little man?”
Sabin looked at the two huge men. “I’m gonna beat your sorry ass into a bloody pulp within the next thirty seconds.” Sabin had that determined look in his eye. He knew his comrades had deserted him, but he also knew it would only be temporarily. They’d come back if he needed them.
The two men smiled at Sabin’s statement. “Come over here and try it,” one of them said.
Sabin walked up to the first one, getting right in his face. Sabin frowned at his enemy. The huge man then made his second mistake. He taunted Sabin. “What’s wrong? Did mommy forget to change your diaper?” Sabin’s fist flew into the guy’s face, knocking at least three teeth out and severely damaging his jawbone. Needless to say, he went down.
Then Sabin looked at the other guy. “I got fifteen more seconds to beat your ass.” Sabin threw his fist again, this time into the other guy’s stomach, knocking not only the wind out of him, but also cracking multiple ribs.
Sabin smiled. “Anybody else want some?”
Suddenly, out of the same door the two painfully beaten men had come from, came five more people. All five were much smaller than the two previous bloody-pulp-asses. Sabin laughed at them. “You wimps are guards? Hah!” One of the guards, who looked to be the leader of the group, pushed a small button on the object she held in her hand. From the outward end of the object came a narrow red beam, which immediately extended to Sabin’s body, hitting him square in the chest. Sabin’s face went blank, and his body fell lifeless to the ground.
Shadow and Raistlin, watching from above, saw the scene and were terrified. Neither of them had ever seen anything like that. Shadow was about to jump down to help his fallen comrade, but was unsure as to whether or not Sabin was even still alive. Instead, he attached the line Raistlin hung from to the mechanism on his wrist. Then he detached the object from his body, so that Raistlin now hung by himself from the ceiling. Shadow climbed down to Raistlin, at the end of the rope. Whispering, he said, “Stay here until your magic recovers. I’m going to follow them. I’ll be back as soon as possible. If you’re not here when I get back, I’m going to have to assume you’re dead. If you know that you are going to die, be sure to hide your necklace in this room. Whomever survives is most definitely going to need it.”
Raistlin nodded. “Be careful, Clyde. We don’t have Garamonde to back us up anymore. May true goodness be with you.”
Shadow nodded to his friend. This might be the last time they see each other. Then Shadow concentrated on below once more. All five guards struggled to carry Sabin’s enormous weight outside. Shadow monopolized on their inattentiveness by crawling down to the side wall. He waited until they had left the room, then he got down and followed behind them, as invisible as the air around him.
Posted by Eric Herboso at Saturday, July 01, 1995
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