17213Legion of Justice: Prologue addendum
- Mar 19, 2014This short selection follows immediately after the prologue, and immediately before Part 2: Who is Wondra?
While his teammates did their research, Rex had struggled with a growing foreboding of imminent doom, a feeling that he and the Legion were about to lose everything they had ever known, unless he did something - right now! In the past few days, he’d come to realize that his ‘one timeline only’ theory had some disturbing implications, but he’d managed to ignore these in the rush to prepare for their latest time jump. Rand’s assertions that the team wasn’t just a bunch of time ghosts that had materialized out of nowhere with a full set of shared memories… what if he was right and the timeline made adjustments to deal with such a thing? Suppose anomalies such as the Legion were subsumed by the time line – subtle alterations were made to time itself to account for them, and the anomalies were forced to change to fit the time line, and when the sublimation was completed, no traces of the former timeline remained, not even in the memories of the people involved? What if changes like this had already begun in the Legion in other timelines, but they had managed to escape those other lines before they were totally subsumed? Or what if they hadn’t escaped in time – and everything they now remembered was false?
As these thoughts flashed through his mind, Rex realized he was able to somehow ‘sense’ something with the part of his mind that controlled his power - something attempting to change him. Physically, it was as if billions of tiny fingers were pinching him, pulling, pushing, twisting at his body, trying to knead and shape it like a baker works with dough. He could feel an external ‘pressure’ on his mind as well, somehow trying to ‘reshape’ it – and there was an emotional aspect as well, a growing lassitude and apathy towards the idea of changing – what did HE care if he was changed? In his case, at least, any change had to be for the better, right? Everyone knew that it really sucked to be Rex!
‘WRONG!’ The strength of that mental screech stunned him! Rex had known many emotions in his life, but apathy was NEVER one of them. And there were worse fates than the life he remembered – suppose the time line decided he shouldn’t even exist any more? One thing Rex had never done in his life was give up and just let things happen – and he wasn’t about to start now!
Rex’s instinctive response to threats was to activate his power, and he did so now – and he instantly felt that threatening external pressure ease – whatever force had been trying to change him, his power was now protecting him! But, it was working in a way he’d never before experienced. Instead of moving him uptime, out of sync with the present, his power was now acting like a shield against that unknown force. He could still feel that evil pressure around him, somehow pushing against the shield he’d instinctively created. And he could sense that force still attacking his unprotected teammates. He didn’t even have to think about what he did next: he instinctively extended his power to protect his teammates and all of Knight Base!
He was almost thankful when the attack began; it gave him something other than his foreboding to concentrate on. He realized that, at least for now, he could maintain his newly discovered shield with a minimum of concentration. SO he was able to respond quickly when Gina gave her first orders in response to the attack,
Canary needed a sitrep. “Beck, what the hell was that? Why did it stop?”
“We are the target of a powerful energy weapon," the computer replied. "I've reinforced the force field, but I am unsure how long the field will hold under the current level of bombardment. The reactor is currently running above the prudent operational threshold.”
“Your best guess?” she snapped back. “Do we have seconds, minutes, hours?”
“It is only a rough estimate,” Beck replied stiffly, and Canary remembered how much he hated being pinned down on a ‘guess’. “At least 1 hour, no longer than 90 minutes, at this level of bombardment.”
“Who or what is attacking us?” Canary asked in return.
“The beam is blanketing out my sensors, and I am unable to discern the source."
"Well, let's get out of here, then." Canary shook her head. "No use fighting an unknown enemy with an unknown beef. Use a boom tube and put us halfway to Alpha Centauri. Execute!"
Nothing happened. Gina knew it took Gernsbeck no more than 2 seconds to calculate a boom tube jump. "Gernsbeck, what's wrong?"
Rex interrupted. "Our instruments show that space-time is roiled around us. Someone is using a Tyler Unified Field Distorter to jam our Boom Tube." He sounded indignant. Several months and 2 universes ago, Rex had worked out the theory behind such a jamming device, but he hadn't yet had time to build it. They'd just popped into this new era, and already someone had stolen his invention! And, it was getting harder to concentrate on shielding himself and his teammates. Much harder.
"OK, Beck, take us back to the 20th Century. 10 femptos after we left." Again, nothing happened. Gina sighed. "Of course, I should have guessed, the Tyler Disrupter blocks time jumps too, right? So we fight."
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