Scene 26  1560 4D

The whole chamber flared with orange light, the walls and floor shuddering, the ceiling dripping thick, pale-green, transparent fluid that ran down to the surrounding walls and the floor. Derizan, Ajina, Denzari, and Selech stared around wildly. The dim coloration of the chamber’s surfaces had gone from a dark brown to a deep blue-black. The light from the pedestal had changed to a fiery-bright red-orange.

Wylwood Panel

“Selech! What did you do!” shouted Derizan. He looked for the shaft up which they had climbed. It was gone – the floor was flat everywhere. He muttered into himself, I’m calling you, Fiarsinhilh, if you’re there. He felt no response.

“I didn’t think I touched it!” Selech waved his arms, panicked. “I was trying to be careful!” Fury rose in Derizan, but he took a deep breath. No sense in feeding the panic right now.

Denzari pointed. “There! It looks like some kind of door in that wall.” Derizan and the others came over to see a vertical oval outline, its edges pitted with the passage of immense ages. Mounted on it was a waist-level metal bar across its width, apparently for opening and closing it. The bar had rotted and weakened showing broad streaks of dust and decay.

“What do we do now?” Ajina asked. “Can we get back again?”

A calming presence came to Derizan, and Fiarsinhilh whispered in him, “Oh, dear. That took you a long way in time and space, and finding you was hard.”

Derizan turned away from the others and whispered, “Where are we? Is there some way to get back to our family?”

“When you triggered the panel, you traveled many thousands of years and many light-years. This world died long before your kind took ship to find Tarnus. Its beings, human and other, perished. It was another place much like Earth – the Earth where your kind first rose to spirit.”

“But you found us in a few moments!”

“I live where time and space take different sizes. But that is not for you to understand.”

“Derizan!” It was Selech, his voice strained. “Do you think we can get back?”

“Let’s look at the panel,” Denzari suggested. “Maybe it gives us some clues.”

They gathered around the pedestal. “Look,” Ajina said, “Two of the symbols are different from the others. They’re more complex.”

“Yes,” said Selech, “That one – the top one of those two – was the one that was bright when we came up here. The orange one,” and here he pointed at the one above and to the left of the one that was bright before, “must be where we are now, because now it’s the one glowing brightly. It’s the one my finger must have contacted.”

”But it’s a different color,” Denzari pointed out. “We don’t know why there are different colors.” They stood and studied the panel in the light of its symbols.

Derizan sighed. “The only way I see to recover ourselves is to reverse the process. If we try anything else, it is going to get us deeper in trouble.”

Fiarsinhilh whispered in him, “This place was called the Wylwood Station by its makers. Most of these symbols transfer between places on the same world. I know that world well. The two that Ajina noticed are apparently there on Tarnus.”

Denzari frowned. “Let’s not be too quick to act.” He glared at Selech.

“I agree with Derizan,” Ajina said. “We don’t know how time passes in different places. We may wait too long, and we might never see the family again.” She pointed to the more-complex symbol Selech had first indicated. “Let’s get back.”

Derizan nodded toward Selech. “Just in case there are differences when different people use this thing, you had better be the one to do it.”

Selech stepped up, squinted, and reached toward the complex symbol. In that moment, the symbol marking their current location flared bright red, on and off five times, and then stayed lit. Everyone froze. Derizan felt Fiarsinhilh say, “Something is coming.” He repeated the words to the others, adding, “Let’s get out of here before we dig any deeper. Now!”

Selech stabbed at the symbol. Light blazed.


Next scene.

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