“How did we get main power up and running again?” Mason asked confused.
Their original estimate had been in the order of weeks, but the fusion generators were roaring back to life now. When operating normally, they would be silent and undetectable to humans, functioning at frequency ranges that were beyond a human’s ability to detect. In contrast, the ramp up procedure made them impossible to conceal. While the machinery whirled back to life, the sound increased lock-step with the power levels, reminding him of gas turbines spooling up on an airliner.
For a moment, the building vibrated in harmony with the generators. The startled group looked to one another because this scenario was never meant to happen. If this were to turn into a positive feedback loop, the building would come crashing down.
Fortunately, the speed increased just enough to cancel out the harmonics. Soon, the main power would be restored and they could get some answers, or so they hoped.
Brett, who was preoccupied with the generator start-up routine, answered once he was satisfied, “Breanna activated a repair drone.”
“So I leave for a couple of hours and you find a repair drone that none of us knew about?” Mason asked.
Brett shrugged before answering, “She found it while snooping around in the inventory database.”
“Breanna!” Mason yelled, but by now, the generators were nearly silent, so it came across like he was furious.
“What!” Breanna snapped back. A few seconds later, her head peeked out from the floor above and she asked, “You called, Oh Captain, My Captain?”
“Stop that!” Mason exclaimed before adding, “Why were you searching through the inventory?”
Breanna was enjoying getting under his skin. While this had been a rough night for the lot of them, she was still bored of these petty squabbles. She needed an escape, but for now, the where and the who was still up for grabs.
Breanna let out a long woeful sigh before replying, “I thought it was time well spent compared to staring at a blank screen.”
“So, you didn’t know we had one?” Mason asked.
“No,” Breanna said in a bored tone. “Did you?”
The act of throwing the question back in Mason’s face was her way of avoiding conflict. While Brett could get away with his antics, she had no such leeway.
Georgians in their true form functioned like insect colonies here on Earth. Enclaves of Georgians were primarily composed of female workers, a small group of drones, and the Queen. Mason, Brett, and Breanna had all been workers, so gender had not been a factor until they were selected for this expedition.
Mason and Brett ended up with naughty bits on the outside and quickly developed traits that came with that toolset. Mason became the authoritarian ass who led by edict, while Brett played the part of the court jester.
Breanna had been assigned a female body, which opened up a whole array of alternate attack vectors. While the men could draw conflict by threatening some unwritten patriarchal rule, she possessed the ability to bypass most safeguards all by using her assets against the opposite sex.
Although effective, Breanna soon learned that she preferred the company of other women. There was a softness, a connection that existed during those liaisons that eluded her with men. Her age of discovery coincided with the Roaring Twenties, an era when empowered and hedonistic women were also open to exploration.
While Mason questioned Brett on what was known of the repair drone, Breanna pulled out her mobile from the depths of her pocket. She flicked through the interface until a certain name made her heart skip a beat. Without a second thought, the fiery redhead sent out a ping into the night.
“Am I going to get a reply?” Breanna hoped.
Mason tapped Breanna’s shoulder and asked, “Is everything okay?”
Breanna fumbled with the phone until she managed to press the lock button. The screen went black, and left behind the reflection of a hysterical woman.
“Fuck!” Breanna exclaimed. “Don’t do that.”
“Sorry,” Mason said in that sorry, not sorry tone.
“Yeah. Yeah,” Breanna replied while ignoring the giggle-snort that Brett made. “I’m sorry. Did I miss something?”
Mason gave her a curious look, as though he was trying to peer into the depths of her soul. Since they were no longer linked through cybernetic implants, the man gave up.
“Can we confirm—,” Mason said.
“The gain in mass?” Breanna answered while interacting with her station’s interface. She paused for a moment before adding, “The original estimates were correct.”
“That’s impossible!” Mason blurted out.
“Well, normally, yes,” Breanna said.
She switched to her phone and scanned trending headlines. There were a few articles of note, so she pushed the content onto her workstation’s display to show the group.
The first article started off with the image of a man in prison attire. The headlines read, ’Man who rode lighting, back from the grave?’ Immediately, to the side of the mugshot, they displayed the picture of a man they apprehended earlier tonight. Either they were twins or—
“Says here that police arrested a man trying to break into his former home. Authorities are baffled. Dental records and fingerprints were matched to those of the convicted serial killer, Adam Graves. The same man who was executed last year for his string of sex crimes that culminated in a series of horrific murders,” Breanna summarized. “The thing is, this man has no scars from the police shootout.”
The second article was more graphic. It contained a picture of a skyscraper superimposed over a dilapidated neighbourhood block. Some developments did integrate existing building faces into the design, but this was something else entirely. The front face of the larger structure was blocked by two boarded up buildings. In between, there were dumpsters, full of trash, which were fused in the front doors. Of course, the most disturbing element, were the people embedded into the structure. Men and women in suits were now literally part of walls erected a century ago.
“What the—,” Mason and Brett said.
“The article states that this neighbourhood was torn down shortly after the last municipal elections,” Breanna said. “Now it seems that both events happened simultaneously.”
“So—,” Mason tried to ask.
“Correct,” Breanna said. “These humans can’t create matter, or at least not on this scale. The disturbance we saw appears to have resurrected alternate timelines and integrated them with our own.”
Mason turned to face Brett who, by now, was white as a sheet. It was one thing to make a mistake that knocked out their systems. Mishaps like that could be remedied without alerting the world to their presence. However, this was a fuck up of epic proportions. People were sure to remember an alternate version of events and start asking questions. News of this event was already spreading like wildfire which would only add fuel to the fire.
“Oh shit.” Brett said in an attempt to deflect.
Breanna smiled, knowing that this court jester was about to be put in his place. She only wished that she had a big bag of popcorn on hand to enjoy the show.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!