Chronicles of Han Storm - Book 1
Han Starts working with his abilities, confirms his destiny and comes face to face with his previous life on Creata.
*** Nineteen ***
The aircraft and crew were the same that brought us to Prosia. The Captain introduced himself as Captain Heraldt and the assistant and co-pilot simply as Nic.
We were left mostly to our own devices throughout the flight to Atlantica. Panam saw that we all had enough to eat. I practiced to refine my skills with the electronic equipment, being careful not to disrupt the aircraft’s equipment.
We also started on Racewater and Panam’s training regarding the safeguarding of their thoughts.
It made an interesting game to them to see if they could hide their thoughts from me. They very quickly managed the fundamentals and could soon feel when I tried to access their thoughts, successfully blocking me.
Nic broke up our game by announcing that we were going to fly over Atlantica in five minutes.
The airfield we were to use was situated near the most southerly tip of the huge island. It was the only place with a long enough airstrip to land our aircraft.
We all restrained ourselves in the seats, each one making sure he sat next to a window.
It was a spectacular view. I had never imagined such green in all my life. There were no mountains, just gentle rolling hills of the most emerald green you have ever seen. Clumps of pink and purple on a darker green background looked like it could be flowering shrubs. I could not see any tall trees.
We flew over a few tiny settlements and then over a bigger town, all the time losing altitude and speed.
We finally glided onto the landing strip and Captain Heraldt hit the brakes, bringing us to an abrupt stop. As the aircraft swung back towards the airport buildings, one wing extended over a cliff. We had barely made it.
We were met by what looked like the local Law Enforcement Agent. He was a middle-aged man with broad proportions around the waist, wearing a light tan coloured uniform.
Introductions followed swiftly with nods and we were escorted to a marked vehicle.
People kept on staring at us as we drove through the town. It did not seem as if they saw a lot of strangers around here.
The town itself was an ancient place. It was very solidly built with most of the houses being from the same rock as the surrounding area. Mosses grew everywhere. The sun had disappeared and drizzle was wetting everything.
We stopped in front of an old building that stood apart from the others. Following the Agent into this square, double-storey building, we passed a counter behind which stood two other uniformed men.
They greeted our agent with smiles, barely acknowledging us, before continuing their paper-work. The opposite wall sported a row of empty holding cells.
We entered the Agent’s office and he closed the door behind us. Shuffling behind a desk, he indicated that we should take seats too.
Racewater and Panam took the chairs. I preferred to slouch with my back to the wall near the door. It seemed an unconscious positioning to be near the middle of a building.
The Agent glanced at me, then placed his intertwined fingers over his huge belly and relaxed back into his chair.
“So! You are the fellows that are to help me?” he announced.
Racewater relieved the tension.
“We have received a brief indication as to why we are here, but I would like the whole story from you please.”
The Agent sat up, resting his elbows on the desk, looking straight at Racewater.
“In early Spring our community lost a girl of almost seventeen years old. We looked everywhere but could not find her. No body was washed up on shore. She simply disappeared, without a trace.”
I quickly calculated. This happened about three months ago.
“The girl was not known to go anywhere without permission and there were no strangers around, so you see, we were devastated when we could not find her.
Since that date we have lost four more girls. Vanished from their beds, without a trace. Parents are running scared, barring their doors and windows.
Atlantica is not such a huge island. We have organized search parties and have covered the area from coast to coast. Every inch of it. Five times already – with no results.” He sat back, looking helpless.
Racewater glanced at me. It had been a long flight without rest. He made up his mind.
“We will refresh and rest now and start first thing in the morning. Would it be in order if we could have a look at your files this evening?”
The Agent pushed a pile of files over the desk towards Racewater. Placing them on top of his own folder he stood up to leave. “Now, who can show us where to rest?”
The agent called one of the uniformed men to escort us to the boarding facility. We retrieved our bags from the vehicle and walked the short distance to another double storey house.
This house was surrounded by blooming flowers and looked a very feminine place. The assistant left us at the door.
We were received by a friendly aging woman. “I have single rooms ready for you gentleman. You can take any of the first three rooms. The ablutions are at the end of the hallway. Dinner will be served at seven in the dining area.”
She handed us our keys and we made our way upstairs to the sleeping quarters. Racewater placed me in the room between him and Panam. “In case you need us.”
I opted to head straight for the bathroom.
The ablutions had two separate full bathrooms, some extra toilets and two showers with their own dressing cubicles. I chose one of the full bath areas to freshen up in.
I felt strangely detached from everything as I ran water into the bath. The hot water was soothing to my body and I began to relax.
*Why do I feel this way? So utterly detached from everything. As if I am here, but not part of any of this?* I asked Sensaii.
*This is your way of preparing for the next step. A lot would be asked from you soon and this is your way of safeguarding your body and spirit until the time for action is needed.*
*I am somehow apprehensive about all this, as if this is not something that belongs to this world.*
*There is a first time for everything. I am sure you would be able to cope with whatever happens.*
Sensaii knew I was unconvinced, but made no further comments.
I felt much better after the bath with a set of clean clothes and the thought of dinner to cheer me up.
I had heard Racewater and Panam coming into the showers. Panam was still busy but Racewater joined me in the passage back to our rooms.
“We will have a bite to eat and then I want you to take a look at those files. Maybe you can pick something up from the images.”
I nodded back at him as I dropped my bag off in my room.
An array of food was set out over low burners to keep it warm. Only three sets of plates were on the table. We were to dine without interference.
I scanned the room for bugs but found none. Panam joined us and dinner proceeded in total silence. Even the usually talkative Panam was subdued.
After dinner, we did not even need to discuss the issue. Panam and I fetched our bags and took them to Racewater’s room. We all felt that we needed to stick together.
Panam locked the door behind him, pocketing the key.
He dragged the chair nearer to the bed. Racewater sat on the bed and I took the floor in my usual cross-legged sit.
Racewater placed the files on the carpet in front of me. “The newest file is on top. Do you feel up to this in this strange environment?”
“No, I am extremely apprehensive. I have scanned the area and there are no bugs, but I cannot help feeling watched.”
“I am feeling the same way” Panam commented.
“Same here” Racewater confirmed.
We sat in silence for a while. I was trying to think of the safest way to investigate this phenomenon. Whatever was happening here was not supposed to be happening.
“Right!” I stood up. “I have never before explained some of the things I do. It is time now for you to learn.
Under controlled conditions, I can expand my senses, either individually, enhancing hearing or sight, or all together, taking in everything within an area, becoming one with everything – all at once. It has its disadvantages and I am not sure what I will run into.
Under these strange circumstances I think this to be the best and safest option to investigate this phenomenon.”
“Can you do this from here?” Racewater wanted to know.
“Yes, it would be the safest for my body.”
Panam dug out some injections from his bag.
“I’m ready too.” He smiled at me.
I stood up, taking a solid stance. The three of us made a triangle.
Closing my eyes, I allowed myself to expand.
Growing to incorporate all around me, I felt my body’s vibration heighten. I pushed myself further outwards, ever growing, ever taking in everything.
Scanning the surface of every living entity, I became the earth, the plants, the houses. I felt everything. I felt everyone.
I felt the ripple in the surroundings.
It was not correct.
I backed my senses to the point where I had briefly detected this wrong feeling.
I came across the same rippling effect.
It was an airy draft on an otherwise thickly mattered plane.
A part of my consciousness stopped in front of the draft.
I recognized the problem immediately. Matter was pierced here.
The draft moved away.
I moved with it.
This was not an accident.
This was on purpose.
Who on our planet had this knowledge?
A time rift was a serious problem.
Someone from a parallel world could gain entry. It was like hacking your own Planet, but in a parallel Universe.
I felt sure that this rift was created by someone who knew how to manipulate the matter. This entity was the one ‘watching’.
This entity was able to scan this Plane for what it needed or wanted. It was curious about me, but neither did it want to be pinned down, hence the movement in the rift.
I felt a pull to return to my body.
I left this environment, once more becoming the individual.
My life-essence was running low. A burning pain in my chest brought me all the way back to my body.
It collapsed into the waiting arms of my friends.
They lay me on the bed. Panam brought the bottle with bitter herbs to my lips. I drank deeply, gratefully feeling the integration of spirit and body.
He took one of the injections and looked at me, inquiring.
I declined. I had more urgent work to do.
Struggling into a sitting position, I grabbed Racewater's arm.
“I need to go away for a while. I am leaving my body in your care. Do not disturb me. Just see that it keeps on functioning until I am back.”
I knew that the rift was already closing.
I had to hurry.
Lying back down, I allowed my spirit to slip out of my body, leaving an astonished Racewater and Panam staring at it.
A thought took my astral body to where I had last seen the rift.
This was going to be tricky.
I picked it up a few hundred meters away from the original opening point. It was moving out over the ocean, already closing up.
Another thought took me out over the sea.
Slipping into the rift, bright white and blue lights danced around my consciousness . . .
I stepped out of the time-rift into what looked like a teenager’s bedroom.
This was amazing.
How did a boy find out how to create a working worm-hole?
I suddenly realized that this was as much training for my future as it was a task to find the missing girls.
Turning, I could see the door, and a boy of about sixteen or seventeen staring at me.
“What are you? You are not a ghost, I know those. It was you who found my entry. You followed me here. What do you want?”
He was scared and excited and obviously psychic too, to be able to perceive me in astral form.
“I came to fetch the girls home. Their families are grieving for them.”
“They do not want to go home. They wanted to come here with me.”
“And where do you let them stay? Your family definitely does not know about them, do they?”
It occurred to me that we were conversing in the same language but with a slightly different accent. Was this parallel world so much like mine?
“In the basement. You are right, they are in hiding here.”
“Who gave you the right to play agent? Those girls chose their time and dimension carefully for their own growth. You might be hampering them severely. Did you think about what you were doing before you invited them to join you here, with absolutely no way to return home if they so wish?”
“No.” He sat down on the bed, still holding a control of some sort in his hand.
I noticed that the still opened portal was becoming smaller all the time.
“How did you do it?” I quizzed him.
“We had a science project for school and I started fiddling around with my uncle’s stuff in the basement. I came upon a plan for a stable worm-hole that one could use to go places. I thought that it could lead to great adventures.
I made a miniature version first, but it did not work so well. I presented that as a theoretical for the project and received great marks.
Anyway, I started working on the bigger version as soon as I could. I seemed to just know what to do and when to do it. When it seemed to be ready, I tested it and travelled to your world, where I met one of the girls.
She came back here with me. She hated her life there and did not want to return. She also had friends that wanted to get away from their homes, so we went to fetch them.”
“You also like to play at watching the people in my world.”
“Yes, it is extremely interesting. They are so – primitive.”
“We might look ancient, but it still does not give you the right to place a whole population in panic. They are mostly a simple people and do not understand these things.
How much control do you have over your portal?”
“Not so much” he admitted, “it keeps on shifting position, but it mostly stays in the same region, as if that is the only entry point to your planet. I find that there is a six hour window period where I can get a nice open stretch to actually visit there myself.”
“And that window is closing now, is it not?”
“Yes, it is almost closed. You do not have your body here, and I do not know what would happen if you get stuck here. I suggest you try and get back to your own space in time, before it is too late.”
“And I suggest you speak to the girls and have them ready to travel by tomorrow morning, or at least have something ready to give their parents.”
I looked at his computer on a desk in the corner. It looked like an ordinary computer and one of the disks positioned in front of it, like a normal disk we used on Creata. Just maybe they were the same format.
“I personally would like a disk with the information you have, and I suggest you do not use your portal again after this. You might attract a lot of unwanted attention.”
“I already have. How can I find you, I do not even have your name.”
“I am Han Storm.”
“I am Hack Brannigan. Pleased to meet you. Travel well.”
He used the control in his hands to increase the energy feed to the portal and it opened a bit wider, but with a lot of resistance.
I knew Hack had spoken the truth. I did not know what would happen with me stuck here without my body and no trail to follow back to it.
As I slipped back through the time rift he had artificially created, I knew I trusted him to try and keep it open for as long as possible.
I returned to my body with a memory of blue light caving in on me.
Jerking myself upright, I had a crushing headache right away. Panam was at my side, a syringe in his hand.
“Half” was all I managed to say before he found my vein and peace enveloped my body and spirit.
The sun was barely rising when I struggled out of bed, waking Panam and Racewater. Panam was up immediately but Racewater was a bit grumpier.
“You look fine this morning” he complained. “You gave us a terrible scare with going away so far that your body started fading on us. And then waking up bright and chirpy and making us get up too.”
“We do not have time for this. Find us a vehicle. We need to go pick up the girls.”
Well, that captured his attention.
“I will contact the Agent immediately” he replied.
We were all dressed and hurrying downstairs by the time the Agent and his assistants arrived.
There were two marked vehicles ready to go. The Agent took us in his vehicle and the assistants followed. I had described the meeting place I saw in Hack’s thoughts to Racewater earlier, therefore the Agent knew exactly where to go.
The Agent raced down narrow lanes at break-neck speed. Judging from the huge smile on his face, he did not often get a reason to go full throttle.
We came to a huge field covered mostly in grasses. It was at the edge of the cliff from where I had followed the rift out over the sea.
Stopping in front of a little building near the edge, Racewater requested everyone to stay near the vehicles.
I walked to the point where I had picked up the rift the previous night. Expanding my senses, I started taking everything in, concentrating specifically on disturbances in the Matter.
I stood motionless. It was easier for me to concentrate with closed eyes and keeping my body perfectly still.
We did not have long to wait.
The rift was opening. The air danced and shimmered, but not out in the open as I hoped. The rift was opening inside the little building.
Indicating to Racewater to wait where they were, I walked over to the building.
The rift was most definitely opening inside.
The door was unlocked and I went inside, not bothering to close it behind me.
A bright blue light appeared in the one corner of the room, growing from a small ball of static fire to an opening large enough to admit an adult.
Hack jumped out of the opening, looking flushed with the rush of adrenaline. He grinned a greeting at me, then turned to help the first girl out. Three more girls followed.
The worm-hole danced and shivered and Hack kept on glancing anxiously at it.
“It is not stable any longer” he answered my unspoken question. “I do not know why, but it is best I get back soonest.”
He gave me the requested disk. “I made sure there are no viruses on it. We do not want your technology infected with something.”
“Thanks for this. It will help us greatly. And thanks for convincing the girls to come back.”
“Rabecca wrote a letter to her parents in a way they would understand. The rest made a vow never to speak of this to anyone. I hope that is to your satisfaction.”
The home-made portal danced again. More static crackled inside. We knew our brief meeting was over.
We suddenly stepped up to each other and shared a brief, awkward hug. Then Hack turned and jumped into the portal. He was barely gone when it closed completely behind him.
I could not follow his progress as the rift in the matter had also closed. For all purposes, this never happened.
I felt sad and concerned. I would never know if he made it safely back home.
The Agent and deputies were overjoyed to see the girls troop out of the building. One of the girls handed the Agent a letter. He stared at the handwriting, then slowly broke the seal.
He sat down on the grass, tears streaming down his face. Rabecca was his daughter. She had decided to stay with Hack because she was in love with him.
I knew what that was like. I battled with it every conscious moment not spent concentrating on something else.
I went over to the Agent, touching his shoulder.
He looked up at me.
“I saw her. She will always love you. This was her choice, her destiny. This was what she wanted.”
I walked back to the vehicles. The assistants were already taking care of the girls. We waited for the Agent to get a hold on himself and then drove back to town.
There were no further questions asked from us and we were dropped at the boarding house.
Copyright © H Gibson Chronicles of Han Storm. All rights reserved. 2009-2015