On Earth as it is in Hell Chapter 4

All But One

By Caleb Nova

"I think it was after I reached Garden when it really set in, when I realized where I was. I found myself wishing I had bought the damn game instead of renting it."

-Scott Keyor, Worlds Unknown

Deep beneath the watery depths in the tome of watery Ry'leh, the slumbering horror Cthulhu plagues the Dreamscapes of humanity with unspeakable terrors, as the dread Hounds of Tindalos manifest through the angles and destroy their helpless prey. Shudde M'ell and his Burrowers Beneath glide unknown through the mantle of the Earth and Yog Sothoth lies in his eternal prison since time immemorial, the Gate, the Key, the Keeper.

Or, at least they would be if this was a story of the Cthulhu Mythos. But perhaps in this strange multiverse of Gallern's Thesis, Kthanid and the Elder Gods do lie in eternal watch from Elysia, and Ithaqua does stalk the wintry wastes. All divided by space, time, and things unknown from ours and other universes.

But are these barriers spoken of by any means impassable? Or could a portal be opened throughout the unimaginable continuum, breaching the guards unseen and untouched, to cross the trackless cosmos to other worlds, other galaxies, and other universes. This has become only once, and only here.

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

The Portal glowed a shade of color that Hendrow couldn't quite place, a color that almost seemed to be on the very edge of the spectrum, something not quite clear to human eyes. It was quite disconcerting, and it hurt if you looked at it too long. He supposed that was why Julian and the others wore goggles. He mentally cursed himself for not looking into it before hand.

At that moment a tech who's tag said "Sullivan" ran over across the lead-lined floor to hand him a pair of the same dark goggles everyone else had. Hendrow smiled. Thoughtful lad, knew which side his bread was buttered on.

Hendrow turned back to his viewing, now made comfortable by the goggles. The room was the size of an aircraft hanger, although he still couldn't understand why they needed that much space for the portal. It in itself wasn't all that big. You could drive a truck through it, but it wasn't large enough to warrant the extravagant space. He might ask another tech about it, but he was sure the explanation would be incomprehensible mumbling about spatial physics or something else he knew nothing about. Sometimes he wondered if Julian knew what they were talking about.

He sometimes wondered if they knew what they were talking about.

But technicalities aside, Hendrow had to admit it was impressive. The future of technology was being created right here in front of his eyes. He had arrived earlier than required at the facility to ask some questions. He wanted to voice a rather large concern of his. Julian was reading something off a clipboard, and Hendrow judged this as good of a time as any to approach him. Hendrow cleared his throat. Julian didn't look up.

"Ah, Julian. I couldn't help but research this universe we are entering. The Squaresoft site was most informative, but I can't help feeling we are biting off more than we can chew."

Julian raised an eyebrow. "How so?"

"The game details have lent me some knowledge on the more disturbing aspects of the world-"


That brought confusion. "Pardon me?"

"Spherverse. Our space-time calculations have revealed that all micro-universes are shaped like spheres as far as the relative continuum goes, so we've dubbed them Spherverses."

"Yes, well, I see. Anyway, this Spherverse has magic Julian. Beings called GF's. Certainly some of their technology is archaic but in some instances, like Esthar, it can be far more advanced than ours."

"There won't be problem. This had already been studied, and the results are favorable."


Julian's face, as alway, revealed little. "They won't be able to touch us."

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

Deling is a windy city, and this did nothing but blow the rubble and bits of glass at Squall's face as he was plastered face-up against the door. At least, there had been a door there. Not even a second passed before the SeeD training so rigorously ingrained kicked in.

He rolled to his feet, grabbing the unconscious form of Selphie and moving into the hallway, keeping low. Irvine and Quistis were nowhere to be seen, but Scott was crouching in the far corner behind the double beds, apparently dazed.

Squall threw Selphie over his shoulder, turned to Scott and shouted, "Move!"

That seemed to bring Scott out of his stupor, and his eyes focused, quickly taking in the situation. There was a time to fight, and there was a time to run. Running seemed like a good idea right now, so he lifted himself up with a overturned table and had made it halfway to the door when something flew through the gaping hole to the outside into the room. A wrecking ball?!?! Was his mind's only impression before whatever it was slammed through the opposite wall and into the hallway, throwing Squall and the unconscious form of Selphie with such force, that Squall smashed through the plaster and wood wall and Selphie flew completely through a door on the other side and out a back window, falling into the small lot behind of the hotel. Scott was only pushed back by the passing force of the object going both ways, and manage to only fall down without serious injury.

Untouched by the path of destruction, he crawled along the floor until he reached Squall. It was apparent that Squall wasn't getting up anytime soon. Dammit to hell! With Irvine and Quistis gone and Selphie somewhere out back, the calvary was him, and he could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs. For one cowardly moment, he tried to convince himself that it wasn't his fight, and he was tempted find Odine himself. But his military training reasserted itself, and he prepared himself. They might take him, but they wouldn't take him easy.

Picking up a solid piece of the shattered wooden door frame, he positioned himself in the corner of the room behind the remaining bed, which was lying on it's side. The other had been carried out when the wrecking ball thing had receded. The footsteps grew closer, and he moved his eyes back and forth between what was now the new door in the wall, to looking outside through the completely destroyed wall. He fervently hope they didn't climb up the front of the building to come in that way. He might be able to hold the door for awhile, but fighting on two fronts would finish him quickly.

Then the soldiers burst into a room at a run. The man at point saw Scott a half-second too late and the board smashed into his uncovered face, sending blood and not a few teeth splattering on the wall and floor.

As the leader hit the floor the second and third soldiers brought up their guns, shouting to the others in the hall. Scott ducked beneath the line of fire of the one closest to the door and swung the club in a tight arc against the soldiers kneecap, bringing a satisfying snap. The man screamed something as he fell and loosed two wild shots over Scott's shoulder into the ceiling.

Plaster dust and chips flew into the remaining man's eyes, momentarily blinding him, choking in agony, a quick side sweep to the head brought him down in a crumpled pile. Scott didn't hesitate to bring the club down, slamming on the last conscious man's head. All in a days work.

Just as his mind was swept up in victorious exultation, a clank and rattle of something bouncing off the wall announced the one thing he had fervently hoped against. Grenade. Then everything went black.

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

Selphie woke up. Immediately after doing so, she started to wish she hadn't. Her head felt like it was coming apart and she was sure her right ankle was broken. Good thing they hadn't trimmed the hedges recently, or cut the grass. Sloppiness wasn't something to be admired, but she was feeling very grateful to the minimum wage.

The back porch light wasn't on, it was turned off with all the other lights when whoever had attacked them cut the power. She wasn't sure where her weapons were, they were presumably lost in the explosion. On the whole, this situation sucked, and it most likely wasn't going to get any better. She needed to either find Squall, or find a way to contact Garden. Cid had to be told of this situation.

She had a mission, she had a plan..... She had a concussion. Selphie tried to stand up and promptly fell back down.

This might take some work.

Steadying herself on what looked like some misbegotten lawn gnome, she forcibly pushed herself to her feet and stayed slightly hunched over until the pounding stopped. She wasn't sure how serious the head injury was, but she didn't want to fool around with head injuries. She needed a doctor, or at least a good nights sleep, neither of which was available.

There might be a communicator in the hotel, but whoever had just wrecked the building had probably cut all the lines, power or otherwise. The best bet was not the police station, the invaders might actually be the police. No, the main chance was either access to a toll or private communicator.

She straightened up quickly, a mistake, when footsteps and murmurs could be heard moving up the side of the hotel. Both sides, if her hearing could be trusted after the tremendous blow, or blows, her head had received.

She broke into a jog, but it was too much, so she lowered herself to the damp grass and crawled at what seemed a agonizingly slow pace, but was actually fast enough to reach to fence ahead of the searchers. At the price of some pain, she vaulted the fence and tumbled into the bushes on the other side. Lights swept the ground as the soldiers carefully checked the back yard.

Fugitive was not in the job description.

Chapter 5

Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic