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Aug. 25th, 2008

writing

thorog

13: The Unlucky Chapter

Sor drifted into consciousness, aware of the fact that she was in the wrong bed, her clothes felt funny, and the ceiling was far too high. She lay there for a bit in a post-waking haze, trying to remember what had happened.

Ah yes, she thought. I'm in Victorian England.

She lay there for a bit, savouring the feeling that you get when you just realised you travelled back in time yesterday, before deciding the day's problems wouldn't just line up outside her bedroom. There was plenty to do, even if it was just exploring 1890s London, and she was damned if she'd miss that because she was too busy sleeping.

Ten minutes later (it turned out Victorian clothes were harder to get into than get out of), she was knocking at Kat's door.

"Mrnlfg," said Kat.

"Wake up! We're missing London!"

There was a thump as something hit the door.

"Kat," Sor said, "that's not a very proactive attitude."

There was no reply.

"Five minutes, then I'm finding some water to pour over you!"

"All right, all right."

Sor waited. Very soon, the door opened and Kat emerged, trying to simultaneously tuck her shirt into her pants and wipe sleep from her eyes.

"What were you yelling about?" she asked.

"London!"

Kat peered at her clone. "Um, yes," she said cautiously. "It's a city."

"We're here! In London! And everyone's wearing period clothing! It's
like the biggest ren faire ever!"

"You woke me up for this?"

"C'mon!" Sor grabbed Kat's arm. "We're going exploring!"

"Do you think that's a good ide-"

There was a muffled thump below them.

"The lab!" said Sor, still clutching Kat's arm. "Come on!"

* * *

It turned out the thump was not caused by an explosion of hazardous chemicals. Neither was it caused by a sudden collapse of an intense electric field. It was caused by machinery, but rather than a catastrophic accident that would leave crankshafts ruined and gear wheels all over the floor, it was Kathleen lugging a giant wooden box full of spare machinery out of a cupboard.

Kat and Sor was most disappointed by this.

"What're you up to?" asked Sor as the assistant dragged the crate along the floor to a (relatively) empty bench.

"I had an idea last night," Kathleen replied.

The two of them waited, but no further answer was forthcoming.

"So what's the idea?" said Kat.

"It's a secret."

"Oh."

The two watched for a bit as Kathleen pulled some machinery out of the crate and started assembling it on the bench. After a bit she looked up.

"It's really not that interesting," she said.

"Where's Katarina?" Sor asked, still feeling weird to be asking about her own whereabouts.

"She went off with the Professor to get your device-"

"Apparatus."

"-apparatus back. They should be back around lunchtime."

Sor turned to Kat. "So we can explore London!"

Kathleen muffled a snigger.

"What?"

"Like that?"

"Like what?"

Kathleen walked over to the two. "Well, you look like you've slept in your clothes," she said to Sor. She turned to Kat. "And if you wander around like that, people will think you're touched."

"I'm what?"

"Touched." She traced a circle in the air beside her head. "Looney. Mad."

"I'm expressing my individuality!"

"You'll be expressing it in a cell if you walk out like that. Hold on, I've got something that's at least slightly more appropriate."

* * *

Sor twirled. She wasn't much of an expert at twirling, but she always tried it anyway. She'd been taught at an early age that you didn't get good at anything unless you practised, and she saw a prime opportunity to get some practice in here.

Kat was sitting on the bed, slightly dejected. She'd liked those pants.

"I wonder if she'd let us keep these clothes," Sor said, attempting to check out her dress from all angles in the closet mirror.

"Probably not," Katters said, folding her jacket up. "Did you know, I was wearing my favourite shirt when we ended up here."

"I never really thought of myself as a blue person," Sor continued, still twirling.

"You're making a breeze," Kat growled.

Sor wandered over and sat down on the bed. "You're just upset because you don't get to go prancing around London pretending to be a man."

"Mrnph."

"Look on the bright side. You get to keep the suit."

"Really?"

"Well, it isn't actually anyone's, is it? It happened to appear with us."

"I guess."

"Come on! Let's go exploring!"

The two descended to the basement, where Kathleen was still tinkering with her machinery.

"How'd we look now?" Sor asked, twirling again.

Kathleen looked them up and down. "Well, you shouldn't get arrested now, at the least. Keep to the main streets, don't give anything to the beggars, and be back in an hour at the most, OK?"

"OK!" said Sor. She grabbed Kat by the arm. "Come on!" she said, "let's go!"

Kathleen watched as her clone let herself get dragged out of the room. She sighed and turned back to her machine.
Tags:

Aug. 24th, 2008

skullx orc

thorog

Time travellers and fridge repairmen, unite! We have nothing to lose but our CDs!

Yes, I'm doing some writing of a new chapter! Because I figure a 10 month gap between chapters is enough to get everyone's creative juices flowing into the metaphorical juicebox of this story. So I can drink it with the lunch of fanfic: my orange of pseudoscience and my salmon sandwich of suspension of disbelief (hoping I don't encounter the caper of slash pairing).

OK, I think I've driven this metaphor far enough. Snippet time!

...it turned out Victorian clothes were harder to get into than get out of...

I have nothing else to offer you right now.

Dec. 12th, 2007

writing

thorog

Chapter 12fth

"I apologise for the mess, I don't usually have visitors over. Or I at least get some warning." Professor Ruzicka (for it was he) placed his hat on top of a pile of books sitting on a table. "Please hang up your coats. Er, would you like tea? I think I still have a kettle here somewhere..." Without waiting for an answer, he wandered through a doorway into what looked like a kitchen.

Sor hung her travel coat up and examined her clothes again. "You know," she said, "this dress is actually quite nice. Do you think I could take it back with me?" She turned around. "Kat?"

Kat was kneeling down beside the table, reading the spines of the books without touching them in the manner of a customer in a rather expensive bookshop. "Why don't books have dates on the spines?"

"Because that'd be stupid." Sor wandered over and picked up a book at random, brushing the dust off its cover. "Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Volume 29, 1886. 1886? What happened in 1886?"

"I don't know. That was before TV, right?"

Sor opened the book and started leafing through it. "Look at this," she said. "It's like a...a..."

"A really old book?"

"Yeah. Listen to the titles, though! "A treatment of Hertz' photoelectric effect by superposition of complimentary cathode rays." What does that even mean? Or this: "A theoretical exploration of the effects of the luminiferous aether on the motion of the outer planets". Do they try to confuse you?"

"Well, that journal's a bit out-of-date," the Professor said as he re-entered the room, a sheet of paper in his hand. "I'm afraid I can't find the teapot. I could swear I had one here. Maybe it's in the lab..."

"Out of date?" Kat said. "The aether doesn't even exist."

The Professor looked up. "You're remarkably well-read, young lady. Michelson and Morely only announced their results a few months ago, and the community is still arguing over whether or not those results are conclusive."

"Well, um, they're right. Trust me."

"Kat," Sor said, "should we even be telling him this stuff?"

"He'll find out eventually anyway."

"Ladies, interesting as this is," the Professor said, "we should sort out why there are two of the both of you. Come, the laboratory's downstairs." He started off through another door without looking to see if they followed him, still reading the paper in his hand and frowning.

Kat glanced at Sor. "I think he's older than our Jan," she said.

Sor nodded. "Come on, let's see what the lab's like!"

The Professor took them through a couple of rooms - one that looked like a dining room and one that was some sort of study. Books and papers covered every surface, and dust covered those. In the corner of the study, a door stood ajar, and from behind it came the sounds of people talking. The Professor opened the door and gestured for the two of them to precede him.

They descended, a step at a time, into a world as organised and polished as the one above was dusty and cluttered. Glass tubing snaked its way along the ceiling between condensers, reflux tubes, flasks, measuring cylinders and beakers. Several dials and switches were connected to the tubes, and in a couple liquid slowly flowed, like marbles down a race. In the middle of the room, mounted on a table, a clockwork mechanism spun back and forth, its gear wheels clicking relentlessly. A lady, hair braided and hanging down her back, was seated at the table, a watchmaker's monocle to her eye as she focused on some piece of clockwork. Another lady, sitting at a bench against the far wall, looked around as they entered. "Professor!" she said, in slightly accented English. "We heard you come in. Did you bring guests?"

"Er, yes. Katarina and Kathleen, meet yourselves."

* * *

"So, wait, you came here on a refridgerator?" Katarina asked. "How does that even work?"

"I'm not sure," Sor said. "It was Kat and Jan who did all the sciency stuff. I'm just sort of along for the ride."

"But you must have some purpose on board."

"I really don't know. Honestly, we're not very organised right now. We've only just got the thing working, and Jan...our Jan...we kind of weren't able to get to him."

Kat was standing to one side, eying Kathleen. "So," she said cautiously. "You're me."

"Yup."

The two looked at each other intently. "And, you repair clocks," Kat finally said.

"It's not a clock," Kathleen replied testily. "It's a clockwork mechanism."

"Yeah," Kat said. "A clock."

Kathleen shot her counterpart and glare and turned back to her work. Kat wandered over to Sor and Katarina.

"...entropy gets reversed, I think. Anyway, what it ends up doing is reversing time, so you can effectively time-travel. Um, yeah. Kat?"

"I pissed my other self off!" Kat said, grinning.

"That's...not hard," Katarina said, a smile playing around her lips. "I don't suppose you know how this works?"

"To be honest, not entirely." Kat replied.

"Well, how do you understand it to work?"

"To be really honest, not at all. I just built it."

"So...you decided to travel time and space on the back of a machine whose processes you didn't understand at all?"

Sor and Kat looked at each other. "Pretty much," Sor said.

Katarina smiled. "It looks like you'll fit right in then."

"Ladies!" the Professor called. Katarina and Kathleen both stopped what they were doing and hurried over to the bench where he was fiddling with some piece of machinery. They started talking in low tones and passing pieces to him as he assembled...something.

"It feels really weird," Sor said to Kat. "Watching ourselves, I mean."

"You told them we came from the future?"

"Well, yes. They're us, Kat. If we can't trust them, who can we trust?"

"Sor?"

"Yes?"

"They're us."

"Well, OK, I guess. But, look, are we?"

"Are we what?"

"From the future."

Kat paused. "You mean...from their future, right?"

"Well, yeah. They're us. Unless you think history's recycling the same few people over and over again, that doesn't happen. I'm sure Jan'd be bragging if he found a scientist with the same name as him."

"So how're you planning on checking?"

"I don't know. How much history do you know?"

"You know I suck at history."

"Hm. Well, we could-"

"Excuse me, ladies!"

Sor and Kat looked up. Their counterparts had moved away from the bench and were talking quietly to each other. The Professor was still standing at the central bench, carefully lowering the machinery he'd been working on into the clockwork contraption. "If you'd like to come here, you can see the marvels of our current age!"

Sor and Kat filed over to where he stood, and watched expectantly. This wasn't the Professor who'd let them into the house and wandered off to find a kettle. Something was noticeably different now he was in his realm of machinery and science.

He flicked a switch on the machinery and turned to a bank of dials beside it. "Kathleen," he said, peering at several readouts, "would you be so kind as to engage the primary current?"

Kathleen reached over and slowly pulled a large lever towards her. A gentle humming filled the room, and the clockwork gently began to move. Gears spun, counterweights pirouetted, escarpments ticked over. The Professor stepped back, a smile on his face.

"There we go, ladies. Finally, a working model of Babbage's analytical engine. Much less powerful than he intended his to be, of course. Katarina, pass me the punch cards, please. With these we will try a mathematical sum." He took the cards off his assistant and started to feed them into the machine. The hum increased, and different parts of the machine sprung into life. Suddenly the Professor frowned. "Hold on," he said, and there was a thunk, followed by a tch-thock tch-thock tch-thock and the jangle of something come loose.

"Kathleen!" The Professor called. "Turn off the electricity, please!" His assistant quickly reversed the switch and the humming stopped abruptly. The clockwork gently coasted to a halt, until silence once again reigned in the room.

Katarina bent down and recovered a small brass gear-wheel that had come off of the machinery somewhere, while Kathleen gently removed a side of the machine and pulled out a mangled punch card. "I think it's the secondary reciprocator," she said. "We might have to give it a bit more room in the backswing, or somehow stop the cards from running through during that period."

The Professor sighed. "That does sound reasonable. Maybe tomorrow. I have an appointment with that insufferable fool Simpson about my progress." He started for the door. "I'll start dismantling the reciprocator tomorrow morning."

"Uh, Professor," Katarina started.

"Yes?"

"What about our guests?"

"Oh, yes. Show them to the bedrooms here. I'm sure they'll do." And with that he departed.

Silence. "So, uh, that was the Professor," Katarina said. "He can get rather absorbed in his work at times."

Kathleen had picked up the remains of the punch card. "By 'at times', she means 'all the time'. You'll get used to it, or you'll go insane." She peered at the card. "I think it's punching something, though. Or trying to."

"So that's what this is?" Katters asked. "A giant computer?"

"Computer?" Katarina said. "I guess it computes sums, yes. But it's not that big compared to, say Schikard's mechanical device or even the one suggested by Babbage."

"Uh, yeah. You know how Sor said we come from the future?"

"You mean this works?"

"Well," Sor said, "that's the interesting bit. Is there a chance we could get dinner ourselves?"

* * *

Kat reflected that it didn't matter how you did beans, they still tasted, when you got right down to it, like beans. But it was better than nothing, and by her reckoning she hadn't had anything to eat for a good six hours, what with inventing the machine, grabbing Sor, ending up in Victorian England, meeting herself and witnessing the failure of the world's first computer. She shovelled a second helping onto her plate as Sor answered the girls' questions around mouthfuls of dinner.

"We both come from America. Kat's from California, I come from Boston."

"What about your Professor? Did he migrate there too?"

"No, he's from New Zealand."

"But he must have visited to give you the plans."

"No, he just emailed them to Kat."

"Email?"

And Sor started off about the internet.

So it went. Kat was content just to listen. She managed to pick up a bit about her counterparts, but not much. Sor's clone, it seemed, was actually from Russia, but her parents emigrated to England just after she was born. Kathleen was born in London itself, to working-class parents, and had run away from home at an early age. She said this proudly, as if daring anyone in the room to deny it. Katarina merely smiled and continued eating, as if she knew something more than what her friend was telling.

"And what about the Professor?" Sor asked. "Where does he come from?"

"His family's from Poland, but they emigrated here a long time ago," Katarina said. "They made their way up in the world - it's partly why he can afford to fund his laboratory without much outside assistance."

"His parents pay for his lab?"

Katarina lowered her eyes to the plate. "Well, his inheritance does."

"His...oh." Sor looked at Kat, as if for help.

"Is that why he always seems to wrapped up in his work?" Kat asked.

Katarina opened her mouth, but Kathleen beat her to it. "Yes," she said. "It hit him hard. He throws everything he has into his research now. We can but hope that one day we'll make a breakthrough big enough to keep this place off. He's not making money, and he needs to live on something."

They kept talking for a bit, and soon the girls excused themselves for sleep. "Our rooms are just down the hall from you," Katarina said. "Call if you need anything."

Kat and Sor made their way to their own rooms. While not exactly spacious, they were still adequate for what both of them hoped were temporary lodgings. The rooms had gas-lamps, and Sor sat staring at the flickering flame for a while before finally blowing it out and crawling into bed. It occurred to her that with all the things that had happened that day, she didn't have a change of clothes for tomorrow, and then sleep claimed her.
Tags:

Oct. 24th, 2007

Boston Sorcy

kdsorceress

Not that Narbonic influenced this in the slightest. Nope.

Sor shrugged. "Eh. Let's just pop the CDs in and see where we go. We can learn to navigate along the way."

Kat paused her work for a moment. "That seems like a phenomenally bad idea. What if we wind up in prehistoric times or something? We could get eaten by a dinosaur! Anything could...hap...dammit Sor, you're not even listening to me, are you?"

"You mentioned dinosaurs. My brain has an automatic switch off when people mention dinosaurs, because it gets all distracted and shit. Because dinosaurs rock. And anyways, do you have a better plan?"

"..."

"That's what I thought." Sor picked up a coil of wire from the mess of beading supplies on her floor, and began to wrap it tightly around the CDs, to keep them together. "Ready to go?"

Kat grabbed the other end of the wire and attached it to the fridge firmly. "Ready to go. Hop in!" The two girls climbed into the fridge, and Kat began fiddling with the dials and buttons.

There was a loud noise.

14000 kilometers away, the other pom-pom fell off the ceiling and landed on Tho's sleeping form.

*************
There was a smokey bang, causing the clones to begin coughing and waving away the sudden mounds of smoke. "Belgium!" Kat swore loudly, as she began to get an idea of what had happened. "The zarking apparatus is busted!"

The smoke began to clear, causing the two girls to blink at the unexpected sunlight. "I thought you said it was stupid o'clock in New Zealand too." Sor muttered as she crawled out of the fridge and stretched. "Ow. My ribs hurt. Is time travel supposed to make your ribs hurt?" she rubbed her side absently for a few moments before she realized the problem.

"Hey Kat?" Kat clambered out of the fridge and gave Sor an impressed look. "Was I wearing a corset when we left?"

Kat studied her clone for a few minutes. "I'm pretty sure you weren't. The bustle's new too." Sor gave her a look, and sighed.

"Shit."

"Yep."

"You look quite dashing though."

"Yep!" Katters twirled, admiring her new tailcoat. It was a lovely light brown, and faintly pinstriped. Very tenth Doctor, really, although more Victorian.

"So, how come you get to be a tranny and I'm stuck as a trollop?"

"There's about six obvious answers that I could give you but won't. What year do you suppose it is?"

"No idea. Don't the stories usually have us finding a newspaper right about now?"

Kat looked around reluctantly; she would have been perfectly happy to keep admiring her clone's new attire. They were perched on the side of a dirt road, with a city about three quarters of a mile off in the distance. Besides that, there was nothing of interest.

"Fucking stories." she muttered darkly, jamming her hands in her pockets. "Hey, I've got a pipe!"

"Bully for you." Sor picked up a rock and thew it at the surrounding air. It bounced off down the road in a reasonable sort of way. "Hey, we're not stuck anymore!"

"Ooo, good. Hang-on, someone's coming! Sit on the fridge and show some leg or something."

Sor gave her clone a look of utter disgust, and sat on the door of the fridge in a huff. "I am so not a whore."

"No, you're a trollop, you said so yourself. Look innocent. Excuse me sir!" The last was to a handsome young man who was riding a light grey mare down the road. He reined in his horse and dismounted.

"How can I help you, sir?" He asked to Kat, causing Sor to send him a quick dirty look, and stand with a flounce.

"My navigator got us a bit lost...hard to explain, really. Could you possibly just tell us where we are? And what day it is, perhaps." Sor smiled sweetly at the man, and he gave her a puzzled look.

"Katarina, is that you? Goodness, how did you get out here? I thought you and Kathleen were going to be in the lab all day working! Really, you ladies are never going to get anything done if you keep going for long walks all day. I would've thought you to be more professional!"

The two girls exchanged a swift look. Finally, Sor spoke.

"Professor Akchizar, I would presume. I'm sorry, but I'm not Katarina. Or, at least, not the Katarina you're looking for. I think." Sor trailed off a bit and looked to Kat for guidance. "I...Sorry, what kind of lab do you run?"

The man frowned in confusion, then walked around Sor slowly. "I run a scientific laboratory devoted to making the world a better place through turning scientific fiction into reality. Currently, we're attempting to construct some of the twentieth century ideas that Mr. Verne has recently published, it's fascinating material." He finished his circuit, and tilted Sor's chin up gently. "This really is extraordinary, you are the spitting image of one of my assistants. I'd suggest witchcraft, if I knew it wasn't impossible."

"Did you say your other assistant was named Kathleen?" Kat asked skeptically, as she pulled off the thin wire frame glasses she was wearing, and shook her hair out of the top hat. "She wouldn't happen to look anything like me, would she?" The stranger gave a double take, and took a moment to study Kat as well.

"Besides the unseemly clothing, you look practically like her reflection. I've told you ladies that if you wish to wear mens clothing in the laboratory, that's your own lookout, but you're absolutely not to wear them outside." He paused, and rubbed his head. "But you're not my assistants, are you."

"I'm Sor. Call her Kat. We're not your assistants, but I think we might as well go meet them. See, we're a bit...stuck at the moment, and you might be exactly what we need to help..."
Tags:

Sep. 9th, 2007

writing

thorog

Chapter the 10th

"OK, there’s one foolproof way of fixing this." Kat was tightening a bolt on the fridge apparatus. There had been a heated discussion over whether it qualified as an apparatus or a contraption. Kat had won on account of being the one with the menacing spanner.

"What’s that?"

"Get Jan to do it."

"Does he even know what’s going on?"

"We can tell him."

"Oh, yeah! Hold on, Dimi’s downstairs."

"Er, Sor-" Kat began, but the girl was already running off to power on her computer. Kat sighed and returned to work on the bolt that was persisting in being loose.

"Hey, you know, I reckon I could make this thing a whole lot better just by moving some of these pipes around. I could even put outriders on this thing....maybe lower it...Sor?" She turned around, to find Sor frozen in a rather comic stance, mid-run, clearly overbalanced, ten feet from the fridge. "OK, so, no feedback from her," Kat thought to herself, as she turned back to the piping.

After a few minutes she decided that she should probably do something about the statue of her clone that should by rights have overbalanced by now. She put down the spanner and grabbed hold of Sor’s waist. It was like pulling a rag through treacle - she half expected a sucking sound as she slowly dragged the girl’s body towards the fridge. Then, with a sudden silent pop, they tumbled back in a heap.

"Argh," said Kat, who was currently being elbowed in the stomach.

"That’s strange," said Sor.

"No, I generally make those noises when people collapse on top of me."

"No, the way I bounced off the air. Hold on." Sor got up and made to walk back out of the vicinity of the fridge.

"Wait! What do you mean bounce off?"

"Like this." And she took a step away from Kat, and froze again. Kat blinked. Then she got a thought, picked up a piece of paper, balled it up and threw it past Sor. It stuck in the air. "Hrmph," she muttered to herself.

A couple of minutes later, the two Kats were sitting on the fridge, looking at the starburst of paper balls hanging in the air ten feet from them. Kat balled up another sheet of paper and tossed it half-heartedly at the barrier. "It must be the fridge. It’s keeping us from being frozen along with everyone else. But it only does a little bubble. Outside of it...molasses."

"So, um, what do we do now? Jan’ll be frozen too, won’t he?"

"Probably." Kat heaved a sigh. "I hate to say it, but I think we’ll have to get ourselves out of this fix."

"No, hold on! If you...do your thing and teleport us to Jan's house, then we could get him in the field, then he'd be able to help us, right?"

Kat held up the Assassins CD. "We need to fix it first, remember."

Sor's face fell. "Oh. Crap. Um, CD's downstairs. I'd grab it but....yeah." She pointed to the paper balls.

Silence.

"We could push the machine down the stairs?" Sor suggested.

"Only thing I can think of." Kat got off the apparatus and started inspecting it. "OK. You push from here, and I'll pull from here, and try not to break anything."

Sor sighed and grabbed the fridge door, trying to avoid dislodging any pipes. "When we get out of this mess, you're rebuilding this so everything's inside and can't be broken and stuff, all right?"

"All right. Now. Heave!"

The two of them strained at the fridge, but it wouldn't budge. Neither of them were the strongest of folk, and Kat had had to add a bunch of stuff just to make it work in the first place. "Why," she thought as she strained to pull it even an inch, "couldn't it have been a time-travelling watch?"

After several minutes, Sor collapsed against the side of the fridge. "It's no good."

"You can't say that!" Kat was also feeling the effort.

"Yes I can. We've been trying our hardest, and we haven't even moved it an inch. It's too heavy. We're stuck here." She clambered back onto a nearby section that looked like it would support her weight, and sighed. "We're stuck in my own bedroom. We can't even get out of my house. Our first adventure, Kat, and already we've failed."

Kat stood up and walked over to her. "Don't say that. There'll be a way out of it. Somehow. Just give me time to think."

"Here, take this."

The Kats jumped. Firstly, because they'd got used to the silence, and secondly, because Jan was standing in front of them. Only it wasn't the Jan they knew. He looked older, and had the beginnings of a beard (or possibly just overgrown stubble), and dirt on his face. He was dressed in a tattered t-shirt and jeans, and he was holding a CD in his hand. Finally, he was glowing a slight, but noticeable, red.

"Jan!" Sor half-said, half-yelled in surprise. "How did you get here?"

"Never mind that. No time. This," he thrust the CD at them, "contains an audio recording of the Gettysburg address. It'll work for what you want it to. Now, I've got to go." He tossed the CD at Kat, who caught it awkwardly. "You two just keeping doing what you do best." He grabbed a cellphone from his pocket, hit a button, and held it to his ear. "OK. I'm done here. Reel me in."

"Hold on!" Sor said. "What do we do best?"

Jan was starting to fade. "Why," he said, "annoy me, of course." He winked. And then he was gone.

The clones looked at where their friend had been. Kat was the first to speak. "Sor, I think we just experienced, first hand, a Deus ex Machina."

"You know what this means, though?"

"What?"

"We get out of this fix." Sor was grinning. "Not only do we get out of it, we find Jan, and we get to have adventures in time! It works!" She laughed, grabbed Kat by her arms and hugged her fiercely.

"OK." Kat was grinning too. "But first, let's get this thing working." She grabbed the CD and slotted it into the toaster. Grabbing a roll of string from her belt, she tied things together. "And that should hold until we get access to something more professional. Now...ah yes. The second problem."

"What's that?"

"I, uh, I don't know how to navigate."
Tags:

Sep. 7th, 2007

Boston Sorcy

kdsorceress

Hell hath frozen over!

Space, Time, and Jaalami:



--Where have you been?--

Kat paid only cursory attention to IM these days. Only the fact that it was from Sor made her accept the message.

--Busy. Long story. How're you?--

Nearly three thousand miles away, Sor sighed, through gritted teeth. She had grown used to her clone being online pretty much any time of the day or night. But in the past two weeks, Kat's appearances online had become rarer and rarer.

--Katters, it's three thirty in the morning! I snuck downstairs just to try and see you! It's been weeeeeeeeeeks!-- Sor rested her chin in her hands moodily, staring at the screen. She realized she was acting almost unforgivably emo, but right now, she didn't much care.

Kat looked down to the corner of Riin where the clock was.

--Sor, what time did you say it was?--

--...--

--No, seriously.--

--Ignoring the fact that you can always just scroll up and look, it's three thirty AM. 3:33, to be precise. What's with you and Tho being so ruddy interested in time all of a sudden? You're driving me crazy!--

Kat looked back down at Riin and smiled wickedly. It had to be some sort of sign.

--Sor...-- she started, trying to think of the most infuriating way to put it. --Lets just say that I know something else that you don't.-- Kat snapped closed her laptop with a smirk, and snuck over towards the garage.

Nearly three thousand miles away, Sor muffled her face with a pillow and screamed with frustration.

*************

"...yes, you could arbitrrily set the controls like that, but I don't see why you'd WANT to. Anyways, don't you have ANY clue what time it is?" Tho was pacing his room in his bathrobe, hoping to whatever dieties might be listening that his parents wouldn't walk in and want to know what he was doing on the phone this late at night.

"I happen to know that it is precisely three thirty-three AM." Kat chirped, far too cheery for someone awake at that ungodly hour. "And can you do me a favour and get me Sor's longitude and latitude?"

"Yes but why--" Tho cut himself off midsentence in order to squint at the clock on his desk. "Kat, when you said three thirty, did you mean my time or yours?"

If mad scientists bounced, Kat would've fallen off her chair in glee. "Tho, remember how I broke the time machine?"

"No."

"Of course not."

Tho pounded his head gently against the wall. "Did you have a point?"

"Not really. I just may be a genius. What're Sor's coordinates?"

"Why?!" Tho was clutching his head in annoyence by this point, half-wondering if having a time machine was worth the trouble.

"Because she's lonely!"

"Oh, and you're just going to zap over there and visit her, are you?"

"That's the plan. Ha! I knew I had it somewhere!" clutching her prize, Katters scurried to the computer room to get the other half of what she needed.

"Had what? Look Kat, it's three fucking thirty in the morning. This phone call will probably cost a fortune. Can I go to bed?

"Yeah, no problem, just give me Sor's coordinates and I'll let you get back to sleep."

Tho sighed and rattled off the numbers. "I hope you know, you're driving me mad."

"Funny, she said the same thing. ByeTho!" the phone clicked, and Thorog collapsed onto his bed with a sigh of relief. He stared at the ceiling for a few moments, then rolled over on his side and fell asleep. He didn't notice that his clock still said 3:33.

*************

"Katters, you are a GENIUS!" Kat muttered happily as she tinkered together the final bits of her machine. She filed a mental note to thank Zebra later, for introducing her to Assassins, and entered the last bits of data she needed.

Grinning like a loon, she jumped into the fridge and wrapped Taw around her neck for luck. If anything, her grin only intensified as she pressed firmly on the big red button attached to the old toaster.

Sor raised her head from her arms at the sudden noise, trying hard not to look as though she'd been crying. It took her a moment to comprehend what she was staring at, and she felt her brain begin to reel through all the clever things to say to someone who had just appeared in your living room in what looked like a broken refrigerator.

Finally, her mind settled enough for her to speak. Half bewildered, half shocked, and half impressed, she leaned her chin in her hand and said simply "Clone of mine, what HAVE you gotten yourself into this time?"

Katters blinked, and without hesitation replied "A fridge! Why, can't you tell?"

Sor facepalmed.

*************

Fifteen minutes later, the two girls sat side by side on the fridge, drinking soda and talking rapidly.

"So, how'd you get it to come HERE?" Sor asked, leaning her head on her clones shoulder. "I mean, I get all the rest of it. Except the pom-poms. I'm still not exactly sure what's going on there."

"Oh, you'd have to ask Tho about that. And don't call them pom-poms, he gets all touchy about that." Kat took another swig of her soda and went on. "I was listening to this new musical I just bought, Assassins, pretty much all day yesterday --today, really, and I suddenly remembered that there's this band called The Presidents of the United States of America--"

"--Yeah, I've heard of them, didn't Weird Al parody them or something?--"

"--Yeah, Gump. So, I figured that since Assassins is all about killing the president, the two albums would want to be as far apart as possible and repel against each other. Anyways, I rigged up a bit on the time fridge that, when the two CD's repelled, would transmit the energy into momentum. From there, the fridge's power could keep it moving." Katters looked down into the hollow toaster. "Looks like I lost the "Presidents" CD though, so I think we're stuck."

"Don't worry, my dad's got a copy of one of them. I'm sure he won't mind me using it. We can use fishing line to tie it to the fridge or something so we don't lose it again. So, why now? Why not wait until the morning or something?"

Kat waved her hand airily. "Oh, our times finally matched up for some reason.. It was precisely three thirty-three AM for both of us. Tho too, I think. I just took it as a sign."

Sor frowned and pulled out a smallish gold pocketwatch. She examined it for a moment, then held it up to her ear to ensure that it was still ticking.

"Kat, love? Either my watch has stopped working, or we're in a lot more trouble then you and Tho thought."

More then halfway around the world, Tho awoke with a start as his pom-poms crashed about the ceiling, one of them falling and nearly hitting him in the head.

The glowing red letters on his clock still said 3:33.


(((A/N: No, I've no idea who introduced Katters to Assassins. Zeebs just seemed a likely candidate. Also, I'm sorry it's so long --I just needed to get all the pseudoscience in there. Who's next?)))
Tags:

Sep. 3rd, 2007

Yay!, yay

artemisfowl2nd

(no subject)

Meanwhile, Kat chewed on a pencil as she carefully carried Riin out to the garage. In the garage, the Time Machine sat, like a hulking beast, obtrusive to all the senses. Social forces, when repelling and attracting each other, don't smell particularly good.
Or was that the raspberry fizz? It did get particularly hot out there.
Done setting Riin up, Kat quickly logged on and checked her email. No word from Jan. She sat and waited.
It was four in the afternoon, no one was online, and Kat was getting twitchy. She continued gnawing on her pencil, refreshing the deviantart page obsessively and occasionally glancing up at the time machine.
Time machine. It was so weird to be physically looking at a time machine.
Still no email.
It was four thirty. She'd been good. She'd sat there, not touching it, for over half an hour. Anything that happened afterwards was therefore Jan's fault for keeping her waiting.

The fridge was in pieces. Approximately three and a half very large pieces, with Kat sitting directly in the middle.

--Rar!

Riin dinged and Kat swore. She very quickly put the pieces back together and leaped at her computer.

--I didn't do it!

--What?

--It's fine! I didn't touch it!

--...

--I mean. Hello! How are you doing?

Jan groaned inwardly.

--What did you do?

--I already told you, I didn't do anything.

--...

--Okay, fine, I took it apart.

--Kat!

--I put it back!

--Our chance at time travel and/or millionaire status and you take it apart!

--I PUT IT BACK!

--Does it still work?

--Hold on, I'll check.

Kat threw an away message up and hopped back over to the time machine. She was sure she put it back together correctly. She'd been the one to put it together in the first place, after all. She checked the ammeter real quick and something about the fridge caught her eye. There were screws holding most of the things together, and Kat was sure she'd used phillip's head screws, because the grand majority of screwdrivers in the house were also phillip's heads. However, all the screws were flat-heads.
She shrugged and flipped the switch. Nothing happened. The ammeter read one amp.

--Yeah, it still works.

--What?

--The time machine, it works as well as it did before I took it apart.

--...You took it apart?

--Uh

--Why'd you do that?

--I was bored. I told you already.

--You couldn't have. I just got back.

Kat checked the clock. 4:29. Now that was just downright odd.

--Ohhh-kay. Well, in that case, I didn't touch it while you were gone. But just so you know, I'm the genius, this time.
Tags:

Aug. 31st, 2007

Yay!, yay

artemisfowl2nd

Writing the next bit

But giving Sor the usual two days to claim the next chapter before I finish and post it.
writing

thorog

Chapter 7 - In which machines don't work

"OK, so, now we've switched the field phases around this should work?"

Kat wasn't used to the phone. It was a foreign beast, unknown and dangerous. She preferred to talk to people face-to-face, or online. Besides, she thought this phone got far too much pleasure from sitting against her face.

"It should do, although I guess the ambient magnetic field might interfere...I don't know."

"Gee, thanks for reassuring me."

"Well, I don't know what's going to happen. If I did, it wouldn't be called research. Now let me calibrate my SFMU."

"Esseffmew?"

"My social force measurement unit."

"Oh, right, your pom-poms."

"They're slightly more complex than pom-poms. They've been totally re-hauled since the last trial."

"How do you re-haul pom-poms?"

"They're now attached to springs and measures, so that I can at least get a decent idea of the distance and intensity of the spike. And I increased their sensitivity."

"What? How?"

"I spent last night hugging them."

Kat put the phone down for a bit and went through her own private mantra: "Jan's at university, he knows what he's doing. Jan's at university, he knows what he's doing. Jan's at- oh, hell with it." She picked up the phone. "Ready?"

"Yup."

She flipped the switch.

Suddenly, she was exactly where she started. Nothing appeared to have changed. She picked up the phone. "Um, Tho?"

"Yeah?" Jan sounded preoccupied.

"Nothing happened."

"OK....so describe it."

"Nothing?"

"Yeah."

"I flipped the switch and nothing happened. The fridge is humming, but I haven't travelled in time or space."

"OK...time....or...space..."

"In fact, I could have replicated this whole thing just by using a normal fridge."

"Hold on....normal...fridge..."

"What're you doing?"

"Writing everything down."

"Why?"

"When in doubt, write everything down. Check the currant pull."

"You know I'm no good at sports."

"The ammeter I told you to put on the fridge. What's it reading?"

"Oh. Um. One."

"One? One what?"

"One..." Kat squinted. "One amp. Um, isn't that a bit small?"

"Yup. It's working! I thought so!"

"But I'm still here."

"But it's repeatable. At the worst, we're millionaires and have saved the planet from global warming."

"That's a pretty good worst. What about your end? Did you get any readings with the hug machine?"

"The SFMU," said Jan, putting emphasis on his carefully-constructed acronym, "registered a disturbance of 5.4 millimetres north and 5.8 millimetres east."

"Is that good?"

"Well, it means I can start taking measurements. Tell you what, I'll hang up now and I'll email you what I have tonight, OK?"

"OK."

* * *

It was actually several hours later that Jan started calculations. Watching the SFMU in action, he'd thought of several ways to improve its accuracy, and he wanted to work on that while it was still light.

Now it was dark, and he was kneeling on the bedroom floor with a map, a corkboard, a safety pin and a piece of string.

"5.4 north.....5.8 east..." He punched some numbers into a calculator. Those were pretty good measurements, but it'd be nice if he could up the sensitivity again. Maybe with smaller bits of string...

He stretched the string out. Give it a millimetre either way for error - he wasn't too sure about his equipment...and if he bent the string a bit it could just pass it through the south of California, still nowhere near Kat's house.

Jan swore quietly. It must work! It was too simple not to! Unless the curvature of the Earth had something to do with it....and he'd been receiving ripples from it travelling the other way around the Earth too...and what if it travelled through the Earth?

He got up and jumped to his computer, to start reading up on the subject of earthquake detection. The string had fallen in a perfectly straight line along the ruler. If you curved it a bit, you could imagine it passing along the south border of California, and maybe even looping back around if it were some new force that no one had ever dealt with before.

Or you could just follow it straight and end up in Maryland.
Tags:

May. 20th, 2007

writing

thorog

Just a note on time

I know we haven't had any updates for ages (it's for, Sor, honestly, we understand you're busy. We'll just bug you heaps when it gets around to summer holidays until you write a chapter), but I thought I'd put something in here.

For this story I'm assuming it's happening as of around November last year. This is why I've just finished university, and it's summer over here. This means you two haven't met yet in the story. Of course, this hasn't been explicitly stated, and much like theatre sports, the door isn't red until you state that it's red.

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