FULL SCALE INVASION, PART TWELVE: Thimbolism
When you’re under three feet tall, objects sized for a more typical person will appear to be much larger. Thus any object which is truly out of scale, such as the house-sized thimble Alijda saw hovering in the air, seemed gigantic – more like a spaceship.
It was hard for Alijda to judge how the others around her were reacting to the object’s arrival. Largely because she couldn’t hear anything over Queeny, the city’s head of government, shouting “Go away! Go away!” into the megaphone she was holding. Yet the thimble maintained it’s existence.
Alijda’s companions, Kat and Para, drew closer to her. It seemed like Kat was doing so protectively, Para more seeking reassurance, but Alijda figured it was equally possible that she was merely seeing what she expected of them.
Honestly, the most pressing concern seemed to be one of gravity.
“We can’t hold it!” Tom yelled. He had joined hands with Michaela and Andi, the three of them standing in a line, both women with their arms in the air.
“Wait, I’ve got this!” Chris hollered back, trying to drown out Queeny. The hand she didn’t have interlinked with Kendall was tracing shapes or symbols into the air. “The rift, I can–”
The thimble smashed down, covering them, the lawn and wiping out the edge of the motel building too. Bricks and mortar rained down. Thankfully, the thimble’s opening was at the bottom, meaning everyone was simply engulfed by it, rather than flattened outright, and no one was seriously injured by debris.
There was a brief silence. The blue glow from the magic five pointed star on the ground made for an eerie light, coupled with the sun being filtered in from above, through the thimble holes. Then the magic went out.
“Kendall, keep boosting me!” Chris protested. “I have the wavelength, maybe I can seal–”
“I can’t channel the magic,” Kendall said, sounding surprised.
“Whaaat is even the hell?” Tom chimed in, releasing Michaela and Andi to look down at his own hands in surprise.
Queeny cleared her throat. “I’ve changed my mind. Everyone is under arrest for attempted murder. Mook, cut us out of this thimble with your laser thingie.”
One of the guards reached into his suit jacket, producing an object that looked vaguely like a screwdriver. He walked over to the perimeter of their temporary prison, pointed it at the thimble, and thumbed a button.
The thimble shuddered and rose maybe a foot into the air before smashing back down again. Mook blinked and looked down at his device in surprise.
Michalea cleared her throat. “Hey, um, did that thing just fire off the anti-gravity spell we’ve been attempting to use?”
“It sure wasn’t acting like a ‘laser thingie’,” Tom agreed.
The thimble shuddered again – and shrank in size, constricting around them.
“Quick, fire the laser again! Again!” Queeny shouted into her megaphone.
“No, STOP, you’ll kill us!” Alijda countered. Actually, she was pretty sure they’d be fine. If the thimble was acclimating, it would become light enough to lift before it smashed them all in together. But the hyperbole didn’t hurt, and self-preservation seemed the best tack to take to get Queeny on board.
Sure enough, “Stop, wait!” were the next words out of Queeny’s mouth. She eyed Alijda suspiciously.
“Give the laser screwdriver to one of THEM,” Alijda said, pointing at the Magic Users. “They know the spell it’s apparently channeling.”
Queeny’s expression implied she was not fond of the suggestion, but when the thimble shrank in a second time, forcing Chris and Kendall to step in closer, she relented. “Yes, fine, do that. You’re all still under arrest.”
“Really?” Kendall remarked. “Because if you arrest us, word might get out to the public that the government is trying to hide something by silencing us.”
“Hide WHAT?” Queeny sputtered. “You’re the ones who tricked me into coming here by leaving me that package! And then you tried to kill me by dropping an oversized object onto my head!”
“We’re under here too,” Andi pointed out.
“Plus that package was actually ours,” Kat interjected. “Don’t be upset with them.”
“And we weren’t trying to kill anyone!” Para protested.
The thimble shrunk once more, down to about half the size it had been on arrival.
“Let’s discuss this outside, maybe?” Michaela said. She held up Mook’s device. “If I hold down the button, will that sustain the spell?”
“Holding it sustains the laser, but it’ll shut down automatically after a few seconds,” Queeny said, before Mook could speak up.
Michaela pointed the device at the thimble. “In that case, we run for it in five… four… three…”
Alijda started running at ‘one’, knowing she was at a disadvantage in terms of her shorter legs. She charged out as the thimble levitated up, aware of Kat pacing her without overtaking – even though he was capable. Still being protective? The military man was bothering her more than she’d expected him to, though not in the way she’d originally expected.
The thimble now hovered about ten feet in the air, confirming Alijda’s suspicions that, for whatever reason, local technology was doing better in the hands of magic users. Michaela inched toward the perimeter as everyone else got clear, her arms thrust up, holding the laser device… and then the thimble shuddered and shrunk down again.
Whether it was that change, or the laser device powering down, Alijda didn’t know. But the thimble was falling again, and tilting, and there was no way Michaela would get out from underneath in time.
Alijda didn’t even think about it. She teleported over, grabbed for the older woman, and teleported them back to her prior location. Which at least signified that her own brand of “magic” was unaffected.
The thimble crashed down onto the ground for the last time, having shrunk to be about the size of a small shed. And this time, it kept shrinking, while above them, the rift, or rip, or whatever it had been, closed up.
A crowd of onlookers was gathering. The crazy splash of colour caused by their outfits made Alijda wonder if the townsfolk ever tried to coordinate better, for meetings at City Hall, or the like. Wait, the dizzy sensation wasn’t merely due to their bright outfits…
Alijda fell to the ground. Everything around her wasn’t quite in focus. It had been the teleporting – she shouldn’t have done that. But the jolt of fear was quickly replaced with a feeling of resignation. Fine. If she was going to die, at least it had been for a purpose.
She wondered fleetingly whether she’d get buried on this world, or whether Alice would transport her body home.
“Okay Queeny, good idea,” Kat announced loudly. “You should bring all of us somewhere to get statements, while filling Chris in on the information from our package. Because that information is the only way we can save this woman, who has valuable intelligence!” He gestured towards Alijda.
Alijda half smiled. It was nice of him to try. But Queeny didn’t seem too pleased by having words put into her mouth. Then again, the head of government had yet to seem pleased by anything.
Alijda closed her eyes. The last thing she heard before falling unconscious was Queeny’s megaphoned voice saying, “Let us through, nothing to see here, merely a shrinking thimble, move along…”
As had happened after being knocked out by the fairy dust, it was the sounds which came to her first. Again, Alijda gave no hint of movement. It wasn’t voices she heard this time though, the noises were resolving themselves into some sort of classical music. And the fabric beneath her was silky.
She risked cracking an eye open. The light around her was bright, making her wonder first whether there was an afterlife, and second whether it was run by Alice’s God. The huge head belonging to Para that swung into view chased those thoughts from her mind.
“Are you awake? Are you okay?!”
Alijda brought one hand up to block her ear, the other to her forehead, to shade her eyes. “Hi! Can not shouting be a thing?”
“Oh, sorry – but I’m SO glad you’re back! I’d hug you, except, um…”
“Yeah,” Alijda sighed. “Incredible shrinking girl is still a thing.”
“No, you’re okay now!” Para assured. “I mean, yes, you’re under a foot tall, but you won’t shrink any more. Chris was able to cast the spell in time, and I’m hoping I can rework my density calculations to restore you to your proper size. Makes hugs difficult, that’s all.” She tapped her index fingers together.
“Mmm hmm. I suppose it makes clothes shopping easier, I can wear doll outfits.” With effort, Alijda pushed herself up to take in the room.
She was lying on a pillow, on a couch, in a room that seemed to only have a lamp, a chair and a small table as other furnishings. The classical music was coming from a phonograph in the corner. “Where are we?”
“Not yet. We’re still running on Queeny’s goodwill. Thanks to the intelligence you gave to her.”
Alijda squinted. “Intelligence I gave… while unconscious? Do I talk in my sleep?”
“No. Well, I don’t think so,” Para amended. “See, it’s like this. Chris wouldn’t have stumbled on the information if it weren’t for her needing to interface with technology in order to use her magic to heal you. So in that sense the intelligence is from you.”
Alijda pushed herself off the cushion, onto the couch. “Wait, you mean that magic-technology blending thing is still an issue? Then what’s with the functional phonograph?”
Para turned to look at it, then turned back. “The technology of this world is okay. But anything that came through dimensional rifts now seems to need magic to work in any way. Magic which can’t be channelled in the usual way. It’s all a bit confusing.”
“Prelude to the invasion?” Alijda hypothesized. “So how did Chris fire off her spell on me?”
“Oh, Chris interfaced with the USB drive that Kat took out of that secret room in the DEO. Hence, information.”
Alijda lifted her eyebrow. “The…” Right, when she’d teleported over to grab him, he’d said ‘It’s been thirty seconds, all I’ve found is this–‘ USB drive? Okay then. “What exactly did Chris find out?”
Para bit down on her lip. “I’m not sure I’m the best person to explain about Clyde. Kat should be back any minute though. We’re under a bit of a deadline now too – you were actually out for a whole day. Do you feel… normal?”
“Doll sized normal. What are you getting at?”
Para sat back, her bunny ears twitching. “We kinda need to know – are you currently able to teleport someone of my size? Or are you limited by the scale of your own body?”
“Beats me. One request before we try anything though?”
Alijda pointed. “Turn off that music. The last thing I want right now is to be reminded of Chris’s oboe.”
VOTING WILL CLOSE LATE ON TUESDAY MAY 17th EDT
EDIT May 18th: Leaving it open for a bit longer. Might not need to reveal this one next time. Probably closing May 24th.