3.17: Firing Line

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“What’s your suggestion?” Michaela asked.

Kat gestured at Bonnie. “As she said, a firewall. Literally. To push back the invasion. Does anyone have magical experience controlling fire?”

Michaela shook her head. “We tend to steer clear of the elemental magic. I might be able to craft an illusion of fire?”

“That won’t convince them,” Kat sighed. “It’s fine, I can do it. I just hope it doesn’t get me fired, pun not entirely unintended.”

“How can you make a real fire which is not only big enough, but created fast enough so that the invaders don’t have time to stop you?” Bonnie challenged.

“Erm. With help,” Kat said. “Like, if Andi can run fast and drop some matches…”

The thunderclap in the air made everyone turn their heads. A second dimensional rip was appearing, roughly 100 yards away from the first one. “Oh, that can’t be good,” Para sighed.

Kat wasn’t sure if the bunny mathematician was referring to the tear itself, or the red dragon that flew through as it opened.

On the bright side, either the dragon was small, or a larger one had been reduced in size by the transition – the winged animal wasn’t much larger than the size of a house. On the down side, the dragon didn’t look happy.

It seemed even less pleased when one of the invaders let out a shriek and fired a projectile weapon at it. The dragon responded by breathing fire, setting a wide band of the grassy field by the train station alight.


3.16: Perchance to Dream

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Kat watched as Alijda and Chris – or rather, Axiom – flew through the dimensional rift on what appeared to be a throw rug. He didn’t question it. Partly because he didn’t know the specifics behind the current magic-technology blend, but more because he didn’t have the time to think about it.

Four masked men (women?) had emerged from the rip between Earths, carrying some sort of ray guns.

For a moment, the arrivals seemed disoriented. Possibly an effect of being shrunk down, Kat reasoned, given the difference in scale between TechWorld, and the world they were on now. Either way, that moment gave Tom the time he needed to act. He sat up from the ground and took aim with his walkman.

“Click,” the young man with the bright red hair intoned, pressing the eject button.

Instead of spitting out a cassette, when the walkman popped open, a pulse of energy shot out. It travelled the 50 metres necessary to strike the first of the masked men. In the process of reaching for his head, the guy seemed to freeze in place.

Tom slapped the walkman closed and took aim again. He managed to get off two more paralysis spells before the last of the individuals realized what was happening, ducking behind one of his companions, out of Tom’s line of sight.

“How many shots do you have with that?” Kat asked, on the ground next to him.


3.15: Rescue Strangers

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Some people were good at waiting. Alijda really didn’t understand those people. After all, it was during the waiting that the demons would creep in, telling you that you were worthless and alone, making you second guess all of your decisions. In this case, the key decision burning at Alijda was the one that had her accompanying Chris on the mission to retrieve Clyde. Why had she insisted on that?

Alijda burst into tears about 36 hours after telling Kat and Para that she was going, bar none, so that any consequences would all be on her. Alijda’s sobs attracted the attention of Chris herself, who was sitting on the other side of the room. After a good couple of minutes of crying, the brunette drew in a long breath, and strode up to the Magic User.

“I’m sorry,” Alijda sniffled. “This was a bad idea.”

Chris dropped the magazine that she’d been busy ignoring. “What was?”

“Having me here.”

“Oh? Why?”

“Because I’m a damn DOLL!” Alijda said, rage surging up through the sadness. “It takes forever to cross a room, I can’t handle doors, I’m bathing in a sink and drinking from a thimble – what use am I going to be on your rescue mission?? If I were a character in my own fiction stories, I bet a majority of readers wouldn’t even want me to be the one doing this. You better go find Para instead.”

Chris half smiled. “Bit late for that,” she noted. “The tech glasses were fitted for someone of your size. Besides, didn’t you insist to me that you’d be the best person to deal with a technological world?”

“I have an exaggerated sense of my own importance,” Alijda concluded. She pulled the glasses off her face, wiping tears from her cheeks. The spectacles had been fitted with a microchip and imbued with magic, to allow the wearer to take readings of things like the dimensional tear.

“Para can re-fit these. She’s great at that square-cubed stuff. Here.” Alijda tossed the glasses onto the floor, then turned away. “Go find her, I’ll be hiding in a cabinet somewhere until this is all over.”


3.14: Bad Plan

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Para wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. She wasn’t upset by that though, as the only person in the room with access to the entire story was Chris – the member of the Magic User’s Club who had interfaced with the USB drive taken out of the Department of Extra-Dimensional Objects.

Granted, Kat and Queeny seemed to know at least part of the story as well. Para wondered whether Tom, also sitting at the conference table, was as confused as she was. At the least, she knew that Larry, the DEO agent and most recent arrival, was completely in the dark.

“What do you MEAN the truth about what happened to Clyde?” Larry sputtered. “He died, because of our premature use of portal technology. We shouldn’t have been so arrogant as to try and generate our own method to traverse dimensions without proper testing.”

“Oh, drop the front!” Queeny shouted. Fortunately, the head of government hadn’t shouted it into her megaphone. “We know Clyde’s really alive.”

Larry gripped the door frame. “How DARE you! Bonnie has been doing her best this past year, there’s no way Clyde is pulling the strings!”

“That’s NOT what we mean,” Queeny declared. “If you keep playing dumb…” She waggled her finger.

“Queeny, isn’t it possible he truly doesn’t know?” Para ventured. “I mean, I don’t really know what this is about Clyde, and I’ve been in the room longer than Larry.”

“You mean Bonnie could have been keeping the truth a secret?” Kat mused.


3.13: Transformation

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It’s strange, the common bonds that can bring people together. Kat was reminded of that fact after their retreat to City Hall. With the shrinking Alijda having been brought to a convenient break room with Para, Kat had set his goal as having both Queeny and the Magic User’s Club on board with helping him to save his companion… his friend.

“We can argue later about who was in the wrong here,” Kat began. “Right now, our focus HAS to be on keeping that woman from shrinking away to nothing!”

“Wrong!” Queeny shouted into her megaphone, making Kat smack his hand against his ear. “You’re not even from this world. You can’t waltz in and tell us, the local government, what our priorities should be!”

“She’s right!” Chris asserted. “Society has to have rules. We can’t break them without considering the consequences!”

“Are you two willing to let someone die because you delayed?” Kat protested.

“Magic and technology seem to be going haywire,” Chris noted. “Unless we know more about what’s happening, we could make your friend’s problem worse.”

“Exactly!” Queeny agreed. “Maybe this mystery spell I have will go wrong, and make that woman grow to be the size of that thimble, destroying this whole building. We don’t know!”

Chris eyed Queeny. “You know, for being a government person, you’re making more sense than usual.”

Queeny lowered her megaphone. “And you seem a lot more practical to me than I’d expect of someone who believes in magical abilities.”

“Awesome lesson, individuals aren’t necessarily the same thing as their collectives, blah blah, can we leave yet?” Tom asked, stifling a yawn.

Kat saw the opening. Despite having some reservations, he decided to take it. READ MORE

3.12: Thimbolism

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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.