Chrono Continuum Chapter 67
"Alright," Gedd announced to his fellow passengers, "We're almost there. You ready to submerge, Epoch?"
"Sorry, Gedd," the ship responded, "But I can't go underwater. Not since I lost my hood, anyway."
"What," Gedd exclaimed. "Why didn't you tell us this sooner? We could've gotten you a new hood!"
Frog leaned forward, draping an arm over Gedd's front seat. "Feareth thou not," he assured Gedd, "Glenn and I shall helpeth thee."
Glenn nodded. "Indeed. So, be not afraid. Although thou shouldst rid thyself of thine metal appendages, if only for the swim."
Gedd nodded. "Thanks for the advice," he replied, and pressed the button on his belt. His arms and legs began to glow brightly, and then they were gone, revealing the human appendages underneath.
" 'Tis beautiful indeed," Frog noted absently, looking out the cockpit, at their surroundings.
Gedd absently glanced to the side as well, but found himself entranced by the view. They were only a few feet above the calm sea, flying at speeds close to sound, although Epoch was capable of going much faster.
Gedd gasped in pleasant surprise as they passed over a large school of fish, their scales glistening in the bright sunlight. He couldn't help but smile, even as they were heading towards the Water Generator, a place of danger that they might not make it out of alive.
Epoch gradually began to slow, and rose up a few feet. It ground to a halt, hovering above the still waters. Looking down, Gedd could just barely see a dark form, many feet below the surface of the water.
"So," he asked, "How are we going to get down there?"
"Like this," Glenn exclaimed, and jumped from the wing of the ship, landing with a splash in the water below. Reappearing, he swam underneath Epoch, to the other side, so as to be visible to Frog and Gedd. "I shall use mine water magic to create air underwater."
"Good idea," Gedd agreed, "But if Frog also does that, then how am I going to breathe underwater?"
Frog gave him the equivalent of an amphibian smile. "Trusteth me, Geddicus, thou shalt be in good health," he assured Gedd, and jumped into the water as well.
"You still didn't answer my question," Gedd called down, but the two knights were already beginning to sink down into the water. He sighed. "Here goes nothing," he called as he jumped down, hitting the water with a loud splash.
Opening his eyes, he found the water remarkably clear, and noticed that he could see Frog and Glenn perfectly clear. Neither of them looked to be holding in their breath. Frog gestured to Gedd, and the man swam down and grabbed the green knight's gloved hand.
With powerful kicks, Glenn and Frog began to swim downwards, towards the now visible Water Generator. At first, Gedd simply marveled at the veritable fortress that they were swimming for, but he soon found that he was running out of air. He began to tug on Frog's hand, gesturing that he wanted to go back to the surface.
Frog simply ignored his insistent tugs, and continued moving down through the clear water. Gedd held onto his breath valiantly, but finally could hold it no longer, and released it all at once. He began to cough violently, and could almost feel the water coming down his throat, into his lungs. But it didn't.
He looked around, surprised, and found that he was breathing normally, as if he wasn't underwater at all. This is amazing, he thought. Is this what it feels like to be a fish?
He calmed down, and began to think about how to get inside the Generator. Obviously, it wouldn't have any doors outside... Or would it? As they got closer, Gedd looked carefully for any sort of opening he could find.
As they finally reached the ocean floor, he spotted one. It looked like two metal interlocking slabs, pushed together. He recognized it as the entrance to an airlock. But it was large enough to allow in a small submarine, too much for just three people. So he looked more closely.
Aha, he thought triumphantly, as he spotted a miniature version of the original. He pointed the smaller door out to Glenn and Frog. Nodding, they swam towards it, stopping a few feet away, and let Gedd examine it.
The first thing Gedd noticed was that there was a green button on the right of the lock. Seeing no other means of opening the doors, he pushed the button.
The doors immediately slid open, letting seawater pour into the room inside. Gedd, Glenn, and Frog were caught up in the flow, and sucked into the room along with the water.
Once the room was filled with water, the doors closed behind them. There was a loud metallic noise, and grates in the floor suddenly opened up. The water level began to lower as the water filtered out of the room through the grates. Soon, Frog, Glenn, and Gedd were left standing, soaking wet, in the room.
"Well," Gedd noted, as his robotic arms and legs re-materialized, "That was interesting."
Frog nodded. "I toldeth thee to have no fear. I can breathe underwater, so I used mine magic on thee."
"Thanks," Gedd replied, and stepped up to the door opposite the one they'd entered through. Pressing a button similar to the first, he waited as the doors opened, revealing a dark hallway beyond. One by one, electric lamps hanging from the ceiling flickered on, illuminating the hall. Many doors were on both sides.
Having nothing better to do, the three ventured out into the hallway, leaving a trail of water behind them. When they came to the first door, which was on the left, they examined the writing on the plague at about Gedd's eye level.
" 'Guard Barracks #1'," Gedd announced to his companions. "Looks like this place isn't run by robots, like the Fire Generator. We might have actual guards."
"Most likely slaves trained in battle," Glenn suggested. "The Kingdom wouldn't wasteth its upstanding citizens on guard duty."
Gedd nodded his agreement, but stiffened as he heard something. Voices. "Quickly," he whispered, opening the door, "In here."
"I tell ya," the captain complained to his sergeant, as they walked down the hall, toward the air lock, "Some of these new recruits are really messy." He pointed at a trail of water leading from the lock to a nearby door. "See, they don't even bother to dry off."
The sergeant nodded. "Yeah. What do you say we see who the culprit is?"
Opening the door, the captain and sergeant walked in, glancing around. The room was devoid of anyone, and the water trail had stopped.
The captain scratched his head. "I don't understand it. Someone had to have come in here. I mean, the door to the garbage chute is even still open."
Gedd's head burst out of the smelly, trash-filled pool of water, just as Glenn fell from the chute, almost on top of him. In another moment, so did Frog. The water was deep enough that even Gedd and Glenn couldn't stand up in it.
"What is this place," Glenn cried out, coughing and sputtering. "The smell is awful!"
"I think it's where they throw all their trash," Gedd replied absently, as he looked around. He pointed upwards, his arm no longer armored, to avoid being weighed down. "There's a ledge up there where people can directly throw their trash, if they don't have access to the chutes. There's probably a... Ladder," he cried out, and pointed toward one, that led up to the platform.
"Let us go," Frog suggested, in obvious disgust of the murky water.
Gedd nodded, and swam over to the ladder. He grabbed onto the slippery metal, and pulled himself out of the water, at first by his hands, and then with his feet as well. Once he was sufficiently high enough, he heard Glenn grab onto the ladder as well, and begin climbing.
But Gedd stopped as he heard a noise. It was a metallic clanking noise. He looked down, and saw that the dirty water was beginning to swirl around. "Oh no," he cried, "They're flushing this stuff into the ocean!"
He and and Glenn began to climb faster, trying to make room for Frog to get onto the ladder, but the amphibian was already caught in the flow of the murky liquid.
Acting quickly, Glenn lowered himself, until his legs were in the whirlpool. The water pulled his feet from the ladder, but he held fast with his hands. He reached down with one hand, yelling, "Grab my hand!"
On the next rotation, Frog reached up, and grabbed Glenn's hand. "Mine glove," Frog yelled, as his glove began to slip from his hand.
The glove slipped off, leaving Glenn with nothing but a soaked glove in his grasp. Frog was drawn down into the whirling vortex, out of sight. In a moment, the water, and all the trash therein, was sucked into a hole in the center of the floor. Holes all around the room opened up, pouring water in, until a new pool was created.
Glenn stayed where he was, holding the blue glove in one hand, hanging onto the ladder with the other. "Frog," he lamented.
"Glenn, come on," Gedd yelled from above. "There's nothing you can do! Frog's a great swimmer. He might still be alive. But whether he is, or he isn't, staying here won't help anything."
Wordlessly, Glenn pocketed the glove, and proceeded to climb the ladder. Gedd reached the top, and climbed over the edge. When Glenn got to the top as well, Gedd lent a hand.
They both turned to the nearby door as it opened. Two soldiers wearing grey uniforms walked in, talking to eachother, both carrying pails full of trash. Gedd gestured, and Glenn slipped back down the ladder, out of sight.
"Hi," Gedd greeted the two soldiers, grinning. They both stopped talking and looked at him quizzically.
Gedd clapped his hands together once. "Well, the problem with the flush mechanism's fixed, I'd better get going," he exclaimed, and pushed his way between the soldiers, accidentally knocking the hat off of the head of one of them.
"Hey," one of them yelled. Gedd turned around to see that they'd both turned to look at him. "Where's your ID," the soldier asked.
Gedd grinned. "Right behind you," he replied.
The soldiers turned around, just in time to see Glenn's fists before they were punched in the faces. The soldiers dropped, unconscious.
Gedd smiled. "I've got a plan."
"By the way, Glenn," Gedd asked, as he saluted another superior officer that passed by, "Where's your Masamune? You didn't leave it back with your clothes, did you?"
Glenn nodded. "Yes, Geddicus, 'tis there. But no one shall steal it. Masa and Mune hath made sure of it."
Gedd shrugged, trusting Glenn to know about his own sword. "If you say so. Now, let's see... Where could the main power source be, I wonder... This place doesn't seem to be built like Gaspar and Melchior described the Fire Generator to be. We might have to ask for directions."
Glenn nodded, making sure not to let the hat fall off his head, and reveal his green hair. He whispered, "P'raps thou shouldst. Mine speech may prove suspicious."
Gedd agreed, and they continued walking, until they passed a man in a lab coat.
"Excuse me," Gedd called, causing the man to stop and look at him, irritated. Acting nervous, (he didn't have to try very hard) he asked, "Um, my friend and I are new here, and we... missed the tour. Could you tell us how to get to the room where the power is drawn from the water?"
The man sighed irritably. "Alright, rookies, listen up. You take this next right, then go down two doors, until you see a door marked 'Connector 2'. Go through that door, through the following room and the door on the other side, and turn left. You'll come upon a door that says 'Water Room'. Go in there. Someone there can show you around. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got things to do!" And he walked off.
"Thanks," Gedd muttered, and he and Glenn kept walking, taking the appropriate right.
"Ah, Geddicus," Glenn asked, "How shalt we disable the machine, with all of the workers?"
"I think I've got a plan, but we'll have to stop by an equipment room on the way."
"Alright, everyone," the soldier shouted through some sort of face mask as he and another soldier entered the Water Room, "you all have to clear out. There's a dangerous gas leak in here. Some of you may already be experiencing symptoms."
One scientist stepped away from his work station. "What are the symptoms," he asked suspiciously. "I feel completely normal."
The soldier nodded. "That's the first symptom," he replied. "The illusion that you're feeling fine. Now, come on. We'll handle your jobs until the gas leak is repaired."
The scientists began to file out the door. As the last one came, he turned to the soldier that had thus far been silent. "Why are you wearing scuba masks," he asked.
" 'Tis a gas mask, not a scube mask," the soldier replied, and pushed the scientist out the door.
Once all of the scientists were gone, the second soldier pulled off his mask. " 'Twas a surprise to me that thine plan hath worked," Glenn announced, as he walked past the first soldier.
Gedd shrugged as he pulled off his mask, and followed Glenn to the machine. "It was a long shot, but it worked. So quit complaining." He pulled out a small metal box with a dial on it. "If I place this charge in the right place, it should short out the machine, or so Lucca tells me. Wait here as I try to find that place."
Glenn nodded, and let Gedd search around. He took the oppurtunity to examine the room around him. A bridge connected the platform they were standing on to the door. The platform itself surrounded a gigantic machine, reaching up to the ceiling, and going down through the platform.
Glenn leaned over the edge of the platform, hanging on to the railing. Below them was a huge whirlpool, easily large enough to suck down Guardia castle. It didn't seem to be created by the machine directly, so how was it maintained? Perhaps the magical nature of the machine itself kept the whirlpool going.
He stood back up as he heard the familiar sound of a door opening behind him, and turned to the door they'd entered by. "Geddicus," he called.
The middle-aged man ran over to him, box still in hand. "What is it?"
Glenn pointed toward the door, and Gedd's gaze followed his finger. In the doorway were three people, none of whom Gedd had ever seen. But Glenn recognized them all.
"Well, well, well," Clairdena noted aloud, her voice carrying over the sound of the swirling water like a bell over a stream. "What have we here? Two helpless travelers?"
"Worse," Flite replied, grinning, "an old man, and a knight without his impressive sword. Right, sis?"
Lilia simply nodded, not looking as eager to fight as her allies. "You two shouldn't have come here alone," she told the two Travelers.
"But they didn't come here alone," a voice announced, echoing throughout the room. Everyone's attention was drawn to a large bubble rising from the whirlpool below. The bubble floated over between Glenn and Gedd, and popped, letting a short figure drop down. He stood. "I came with them," Frog announced.
Clairdena shrugged. "So what? It may be three on three now, but it's hardly an even fight."
Gedd smiled. "I wouldn't say that," he warned her, and pressed the button on his belt. The mechanical arms and legs materialized, and Gedd flexed his muscles, wiggling his claws like fingers. "I think the odds just got a little better."
Glenn smiled as well. "And they shall soon get better," he announced, and held out his hand. With a flash, the Masamune appeared in his hand, and his soldier uniform was gone, replaced by his normal outfit. Reaching into his pocket, he threw the dried glove to Frog, who caught it, and donned it.
Flite growled. "Your tricks won't save you. We'll crush you like the insects you are!"
Frog shook his head, and let out a ribbit. "Brave words, from one who shall soon perish."
Clairdena stepped forward. "Enough chatter. Prepare to die!"
Gedd laughed. "You first."
"Ah, the masamune...I bet you're just dying to use it."
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