Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
I watched the traffic. It was not as thick as usual, of course that was because of the air traffic. A wyvern flying north to south flew past at the speed of heat, ducking to avoid a hippogryph coming east to west. I made a note to contact traffic in this area. East-west traffic was supposed to fly at 20 meters altitude, north-south at 40. That hippo was flying too damn high. The light changed and a Unicorn bugled, then raced down the street, a young boy on it’s back. Why did parents get the damn things? They only dealt with virgins after all, and once you lost that you had to get something else. A giant with a bus logo stomped by, two people in wheel chairs strapped to his arms giving an entirely new meaning to the short bus. Just another day since the Shift.
They started calling it the Shift because the original name, ‘You did what?’ has to be explained even to those of us who lived before it. You see, a bunch of writers have suggested what would happen, mainly in fantasy or Sci Fi. The idea of parallel worlds and the authors believed that we here were connected only a little, like dreaming, and what you’re dreaming is really something happening in that other world.
Now hold that thought.
Add to that the idea the one where there are things defined as legends or folklore that are endemic. You have shape changers from Werewolves to were-spiders. Vampires, giants, elves or faerie of some kind across the world. Every race and people have the equivalents. But anyone who said they saw them ended up in rubber rooms before the Shift.
At the start of the new millennia, a group of scientists around the world began working on something they called a Quantum resonance field. They believed the Earth had a specific resonance signature, something that made it a life bearing planet. If this was true, we could stop trying to find planets by looking for gravitational eddies in other star systems, light occlusion by bodies passing through the visible light listening to radio static or other suggested things. Merely set the device to that setting, and every planet capable of bearing life as we know it would pulsate.
Of course it might have military uses. Say an enemy on another planet had such a device? You reset Earth’s field so it becomes unappetizing. So all right it would be too late if we knew they were there with light lag speeds, but the military takes the long view. So it got a lot of funding in a dozen different countries. Then one of the eggheads decided they had to test it. They didn’t even know what it did yet.
For those interested, back in 1945 before the test of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity site some of the theorists suggested that when the bomb went off, the thermal pulse would ignite the atmosphere. Bang, blackened planet! But they set it off anyway.
As Terry Pratchett commented once in a book, if there was a lever that would end the world, and you marked it with a glaring sign and painted it bright red, it would get pulled before the paint dried.
So on April Fool’s day 2001, someone pulled it. One minute, everything was normal, the next we had a lot of visitors.
We found out what happened the first time after the Shift. The people on the other side of those barriers kept records. You see, at one time half a dozen different realities were running around here. All of those legends were real, angels and demons lived among us dragons did eat maidens, elves raced men at crossroads.
But we were by no means the dominant species. Elves live so long it might as well be forever, Angels delivered diktat as if they were in charge, and one of them leveled Sodom and Gomorrah because he thought they were disgusting places. Demons either made deals with humans or tormented them depending on their attitudes.
It was more interesting because a lot of people became what they had been all along. You see about one percent of the population are those who didn’t leave.
Elves, trolls, dwarves, even angels and demons were revealed as their true selves. Sure screwed up the election when people saw who got elected.
But mankind had one thing the others didn’t. That was the scientific method. Men developed what we can only define as magic, and found a way to block them from here. That was done about six or seven thousand years ago. One minute, they were here, the next they were gone. But there was a price. The Magicians who cast that spell, led by Merlin (Yes, that Merlin) sealed their own power out to keep them away. Magic also became a legend.
They’d figured out what we did back then, and just shutting off the field didn’t send them away again. It could have been bad. Six thousand years and they were still pissed at us. But we’d spent six millennia at war. A dragon didn’t have a chance against a Tomcat with missiles. Magic didn’t affect sonar, radar or infrared sensors, so we had the chance to kick their butts if they really wanted to get down to business. And magic was back in the world with a vengeance.
So we came to a modus Vivendi. They wouldn’t mess with us, we wouldn’t mess with them. Yeah, like that worked. Between demons and angels, elves and human politicians it would have been hell without some kind of law enforcement. We had magicians, and normal humans brave enough, but they needed more than that
That’s where I came in.
My thoughts were broken half a block from work. One of the neighbors of the station had built a Japanese Garden, including a little bridge. When he’d died, he’d left the land to the city, and they’d razed the building but left the garden and the bridge that went from his property to the station parking lot. I started across it then stopped.
It would be an Oni, a Japanese Ogre that oozed from below the bridge ahead of me. I stopped, looking at it levelly.
“What manner of creature disturbs me?” It snarled. From behind me I heard an answering snarl. What was it, a mated pair?
“Listen Oni-san, me you don’t want to mess with.” I told it calmly.
“Amd what do you think you are, little human?” It growled.
I reached out, and the sword was there. “You’re worst nightmare.” I replied. “Captain Morgan, Metro PD.”
It looked at the sword, then gave the deep bow of an inferior to a superior. “Pass, honorable one.”
I’d spent a decade working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire out on the Left Coast. I’d fallen in love with the sword, the feel, the heft, the clean movement. I did my four in the Army and I had spent a year in Europe traveling to learn from sword masters afterward when it happened.
I’d been in a small inn in a German town on the Danish coast. I dreamed of walking a path I knew very well, finding a cave. I walked in, past guardians of light, to an ancient tomb. On the stone was a sword, undimmed by years. I touched it, and it sang to me, calling me. Then I woke up.
My car threw a rod, and I had to wait for it to be fixed. With nothing better to do, I went hiking. I was less than a klick from the town when I recognized that same familiar path. Not knowing why, I followed it. There was a cave, and I went in. There were figures, light refracting from cave water and crystal to form humanoid shapes. They were guards I knew, but guard for or from what I never knew. I just knew somehow I was allowed.
I went past them, and there was the tomb and the sword. I walked up to the stone, looking at the face so like my own. I hefted the sword. It was an ancient design; long, slim, unlike anything I had seen in a museum. It felt as if it were made for me, but this was an historical artifact it what muswh have been a tomb never discovered. I left it there.
I tried to show people where the cave was, but the tide had risen, and we couldn’t. So I forgot about it.
That was in 1998.
I went home, migrated to Las Vegas and joined Metro PD.
April Fool’s day I woke up and the first thing I ended up in was one hell of a firefight. A local Hispanic gang was all trolls, and their Jefe decided to take the entire barrio. I went in with twenty normal humans and faced the dozen of them, barely fazed by regular ammunition. My men were slaughtered, and they were closing on me when it happened. I threw my empty pistol down, and then I felt a weight in my hand, whipping it into Jefe’s face. His head came apart, and I was moving.
Every move was poetry I had never learned to write, songs I had never learned to sing, but they felt right.
Our backup arrived, and they carried out the five men so badly wounded none survived. They also carried out the bodies of all of the dead. Fifteen dead cops, 12 dead gang-bangers.
Only I walked out of that building untouched.