The Surge Team’s Coils

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  • #107

    For the New Year’s festivities, the Surge Team was readying itself for its shift, taking over the Tw’Elves duties.
    Energy forecast was set on “Mostly Calm with slight chance of Surges”. All of them knew that it was toned down to avoid any panic attack to spread like vegemoth on a buttered toast.
    Sir Ed Steam, toying with his enormous waxed mustache, had give them the usual pep-talk. “Ladies!” he’d hammered “don’t kid yourselves, surges are coming. But we’re ready, we’re always ready. No matter what the forecast says, our job is to be ready no matter what. And don’t forget, especially the young ones: all this tech is nice, but you are the last bastion to hold this mad world together!”
    Yeah, the tech was nice, all those shiny copper coils and batteries; and it’d saved their lives quite a few times. Cornella was proud to wear them and the Surge Team’s insignia. New Year surges were the wickedest, she’d only knew five, and was glad to have made it that far without barely a scratch, but the job was getting tiresome. Every year, it was worse and the stakes higher. She was slightly bothered too, by the fact that they were starting to deviate from their initial role, which was merely to absorb the surges and release them in less dangerous forms.
    Now, Sir Ed Steam had decided to exert more and more control and was lobbying for the Surge Team to get more executive powers. Also, it seemed he had decided to keep some of the surges in stored form “for preventive use”, whatever it means. That much was known by many although not overtly discussed. Covertness smelt of ominousness and destructiveness she thought guardedly.
    Maybe they would soon change their insignia, she wondered, looking at the enameled sponge that graced it.

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  • #2895

    Glo, ‘tis me or the story site is very very slow to load a new page today?”
    “Bugger if I know Sha! I s’pose it ain’t nothing to do with the rodents chewing cables in the cellar, init’?”


    In Langley’s most underground basements, the Department of Future Boons Investigations had diverted a significant amount of processing power towards a little known website that they had found held distinctive quantum resonance towards the actualization of future events.
    In short, they believed its random nonsense held key to future events. However the level of encryption had baffled even the most expert specialists.
    “Major! We had a breakthrough!” Johnny Ingrish passed his head into the smokey office.
    The Major didn’t like to be disturbed during his morning nap, but this was important. Indeed, a word too strange to be random had appeared a few times:
    Tartessos – Event probability: 103%
    103% ! Even the computers couldn’t think straight about it… It had to mean something.


    While her Western colleagues were busy chasing illegal time travellers in Spain, Katarina was busy overseeing the light flux changes at an Ukrainian old pyramid site.
    She’d read about the snow on the Gizeh site, and was quick to make the link between this pyramid and hers. In fact, the land had been under a spell of high temperatures and draught, unusual for winter. Intense continuous aurora activity was even spotted further north, sometimes lasting during the pale daylight.
    She wondered if this was localized or could have affected other parts of the pyramid network.
    She’d tried without success to contact Elza, her Middle East colleague, but she seemed to have disappeared without a trace… Not only was she unreachable on her com devices, but worse, her location chip was deactivated.
    Never mind those stupid techs, Katarina had the resources of a long lineage of shamanic priests running in her blood — finding a missing person shouldn’t be more difficult than doing some soul bits retrieval. Unless… Elza was deliberately hiding from the Team…


    The ten dogs circled the round kitchen table, all the eyes were focused on the left over roast potatoes including Mari Fe’s. Suddenly there was a little bang just in front her and she froze and glanced up. A mouse had appeared on top of the microwave, and he froze too, and stared at Mari Fe. Time stood still for a long moment as they looked at each other. Mari Fe wondered if he would like a Marie biscuit, remembering the last time he was here, and how he would only nothing else.
    It wasn’t until later that she began to wonder if anything had gone wrong with the teleport arrangements with Baltazar. It was a remarkable coincidence, the time travel mouse popping in like that unexpectedly, after such a long absence.

    AvatarWhite Panther

    The time travel mouse seemed rather anxious as it nibbled its Marie Biscuit: its long and coily whiskers were vibrating rather lazily, and he seemed to have been receiving transmissions from another dimension of time travelling.
    “Oh dear,” it squeaked to Mari Fe. “It seems like I shall have to postpone our little nibbling, a task does call me.”
    With that it disappeared. Mari Fe wondered what could’ve happened if she reversed time and revisited some memories. She decided to call upon the services of Terry, the time travel mouse, and he appeared.
    “Hello,” he warmly cooed.
    Terry, I need you to take me to a memory.”
    “And how does this memory play out?”
    “Well,” she began.


    “Well, that’s just it, Terry. If I could remember, I could play it out myself.”


    As quickly as the mouse had appeared, it vanished. Mari Fe rolled a smoke and sat down, and tuned into FBF2. She was pleased to see Tanit had reactivated her tiles. Then she frowned. Coincidentally, Tanit had reappeared on FBF2 at precisely the same time as Elza had deactivated her surge team location chip.


    “Excuse me, are you listening to me?” Lady Em Dash had been telling her old friend, Sir Hyphen, about her latest adventurous escapade at the Mondaytorium, and was rather perturbed to see the Sir Hyphen was not listening with the attention she would have expected.

    “Oh, I do apologise, Em—I am a little distracted. I received an interesting communication the other day—an email— and . . . well, I really can’t make any sense of it at all. It is rather on my mind, I’m afraid.”

    “Really? Would you like to tell me about it?”

    “I am starting to wonder if it is some sort of code.”

    “Sounds fascinating!”

    Sir Hyphen grinned apologetically. “I know it sounds strange, and I am really not sure it is the mystery I am making it out to be. It is just that . . . well it is from my old friend Lord Lemon . . . I have not heard from him for years, and, out of the blue, I received this rather strange email. He is usually so wise, so erudite, so profound even, that it disturbed me rather.”

    Lady Dash nodded. “Emails are so old fashioned, aren’t they. What did it say to perplex you so, my friend?”

    Sir Hyphen, not being one to speak in haste, considered the question for a long moment while Lady Dash, who did most things in rather a rush, tried her best to be patient.

    “That’s the problem really—it is more just that it felt a bit . . . and it makes reference to Sir Ed in several places, which is, of course, disturbing in itself. You do remember Sir Ed don’t you . . . Sir Ed Steam?

    Lady Dash blushed and rolled her eyes.

    “Yes, I thought you would. Anyway, the rest of it is . . . most of it really . . . is just . . . gobblydeegook, for want of a better word. Which is why I began to wonder if it might be some sort of code. Here, let me read you some of it:

    Deep within the Furcano, the Mother of the Blubbits was growling. Her belly actually. She’d spent days and days, like every good blubbit alien mother, spawning a furry and ungrateful progeny like every good blubbit alien mother, spawning a furry and ungrateful progeny, a reproduction of the future, much less messy and incommodious to just write new characters into a story than giving birth . . . “


    Madam Li was gorgeous in her red silk chinese dress. She might be the eldest of the Team, but she appeared to be one of the youngest. She was proud of her Chinese ancestry. The two golden dragons on her dress emphasized her silhouette and her hair artistically arranged like an empress.

    She had just received the invitation to the Tartessos’ 3 King’s parade. Eventhough she didn’t much like travelling, it might be an occasion to go somewhere warmer. It was snowing again in Shanghai and she had been sent there to investigate this strange occurance in that part of the country. Not that it was really strange to her, she had been raised in Harbin, and its ice festival. But having cars half burried in snow in Shanghai was not a normal sight.

    At the moment, she was staying at an over-heated serviced apartment near the Pearl Tower of Shanghai. One of the perks of being part of the Team. Ed had always offered them a good salary and an apartment provided with the job, and they could use the red fleet whenever the wanted.

    When she had tried to open the window, and didn’t succeeded, the night sight from her window gave her chills. Reminding her that she so loved this city. All the lights, blinking in and out, creating organized or random patterns at every corner. The city had changed so much these last years.

    Madam Li put the invitation on the table, she would think of it later and checked with the red fleet to book a flight as soon as she had found out about all that snow in Shanghai.


    Terry was a bit confused by all these blinks in and out. He needed some cheese and decided to focus the multronic stream of his TTI (Time Travel Implant) to a fridge in the region called Spain.

    Unfortunately, the flux went right through a mousehole and he didn’t quite get to Spain. He was in a dark room. Noises were muffled here and there was no smell he could recognize. Before doing anything foolish, he turned on his night vision and everything appeared with cartoonish colours and enhanced black edges. It was the only one available when he borrowed it from Dr Frankenlaughner’s lab. You got used to it, eventually.

    The room was still dark, but a cartoonish dark. That was mysterious. A squirking sound, like an amazonian squirrel, startled him. His curiosity was picked. He took a piece of what was left of his Marie biscuit and began to walk as silently as he could toward the squirrel sound.


    Lulla Spinosa and Vera Pappaloosa were set to meet in Pohnpei , at a few nautical knots and cable length (as the gulls fly) from the Marshall Islands in the beautiful deeply aquamarine middle of the Pacific Ocean. 🐳

    Lulla was the first to arrive, and feeling hungry after the sea trip with the amphibian red corvette, bought a pan seared squid skewer from the street vendor at the jetty. Something Vera would certainly have disapproved of, with her uppity glances, perfect gloss lipstick and mascara. Not the kind to nibble on such barbaric foods. Anyway, too bad the street vendor had run short of garlic, she would have gladly paid extra for it, just for the priceless look on the princess’ face while they would ride for the next hours in the confined car to their assigned destination.


    The package was labeled in Sinese. Goat was fluent in a few languages after many a travel, and although Sinese wasn’t his mother tongue — he was only half-Sinese from his father’s side, he could read it well enough, and make himself passably understood in most of the Colonies.
    It was a code, or more precisely, a reference. It said 时间舱23号, which you could probably translate as “Time capsule #23”. Back in the days, the Surge Team would bag and tag any strange artefact they confiscated during their missions, and usually would archive them in such capsules.

    Although the concept of Time-capsule in itself for the old teams was soon to become somewhat of a mind puzzle if you thought too much of it, it still held value of… archaeological, rather than historical sorts for their descendants, such as himself. Of course, if you’d like some wild flowers, you’d rather pick them directly in the dewy meadows or mossy forests where they grew instead of taking them from the interstice of an old moldy book between the pages of which it had been laid down to dry, wouldn’t you. Now, anybody could easily become an historian with complete immediate sensory experience of past times at their perception tips —much like how it started, back in the twenty hundreds, with everyone able to become an amateur geographer in minutes with instant access to the satellites maps of Earth.
    But being a map reader would never suffice to make you a sailor.

    So, of course, Time capsules somewhat felt like such old dry plants if you were an historian. But if you were looking for ancient treasures or secret powerful artifacts, you knew you couldn’t just bring them from the past lest you disrupt the chain of events leading you to it. Many had gone madder than Lord Elmed trying to figure out safer ways. Time capsules were such a way.

    “Now, I guess that fishy stench was there for a reason after all,” he sighed: to keep intruders and medlers off of its content, surely.


    Sir Ed Steam looked at his last acquisition, Henri Butter’s Marauder Map. Its reach was currently limited to the saucerers’ school perimeter but he had already thought of several means to extend it.
    At this very moment, his old friend Lulla was on her way to Pohnpei and would soon meet with the man he needed. She didn’t know she was about to meet him, but it really mattered not. All he needed was the events to be triggered and all would go according to his plan, like a domino trail.


    Yann was proud of himself, he had answered his first phone call in Chinese.

    When they first arrived at the hotel, it was a wonderful and colorful place, all those reds and warm yellows, with well chosen touches of blue and green. The morning light was illuminating the lobby in a soothing way, it seemed as if it was gently brushing the leather of the armchairs and sofas. He noticed an old cleaning lady carefully sweeping the tiles of the floor one by one.

    “I love this place”, he had told Yurick. “It’s so peaceful, I feel energized.”

    The big smile on his face stayed there even when he first realized noone in the hotel could speak English or French, or even Javanese. Yurick was speaking Chinese after all.
    But Yurick was not always here. He had to go out for a meeting with a certain Lulla for work. And Yann desperately needed to call a taxi. So he plucked up courage and called the hotel management.

    “Ni hao [incomprensible Chinese words] ?”
    Did it really ended with a question mark ? Yann was not sure. “Ni hao”, he said. He was so concerned by the thought of his awful pronunciation that he missed what the person answered.
    “I number 447 (translated from Chinese). I wanting taxi.”
    “[incomprehensible] 47 ?”
    “No. 400, 40, 7.”
    “Ah! 447. You are the French guy. (translated from Chinese)”
    “Yes, French guy. I wanting taxi.”
    “Ok, [incomprehensible]. Ok ?”
    “Ok. Thank you.”

    He hanged up the phone with an artificial sense of trust. That, he had learnt in that country was primordial. You launched your rocket of desire to the universe and trust that it would all end up as you desired. With that philosophy you better be clear with what you wanted.


    Sir Ed Steam admired his reflection in the mirror for a few minutes. It was such a pity to have to cut off his beautiful waxed moustache, especially as it was such a hit with the ladies, however, if his plan was to succeed, he needed to be able to pass unrecognised. Still, it really was a dreadful shame . . .

    “The key to a good moustache wax is being firm yet yielding, stiff yet malleable with staying power,” he mused out loud. Sir Ed made his own moustache wax out of beeswax and petroleum jelly. His was a connoisseur’s moustache requiring maximum grooming and a whole lot of wax.


    Mari Fe was wondering how long Ed was going to be in the bathroom. There had been no further sightings of the time travel mouse, and still no sign of Bee and the red car, and no sign of Baltazar arriving from Tartessos either. And just a few hours to go until the parade!

    Mari Fe decided not to worry, and trust that everything would work out. But deciding not to worry wasn’t the same thing as changing her energy, as she was reminded when she heard the sounds of shouting and breaking glass coming from the bathroom.

    Ed!” Mari Fe banged on the bathroom door. “Ed! Open the door!”


    “It’s a good job I’m firm yet yielding, stiff yet malleable with staying power, Mari Fe” gasped Ed as he opened the bathroom door.


    Mari Fe didn’t like to ask what he’d been doing in there, but she did anyway. “What on earth have you been doing in there Ed, or shouldn’t I ask?”

    “You may well ask! I’d like to know why you don’t have some control over the portal in this bathroom, Mari Fe! What a place for a portal, I mean really!”

    “Uh Oh” she replied. “Did you end up somewhere else?” Then her hand flew to her mouth. “Or did someone else appear here?”

    Ed flung open the bathroom door, revealing a large man in vermillion robes lying on the floor. “I don’t know who he is, but he met his match with me. He grabbed me from behind with stiff yet malleable staying power but I managed to knock him out.”


    The man in vermillion robes was indeed the real Balthazar. Mari Fe had scheduled the portal to bring him from the past earlier, and it was quite annoying it all happened while Ed was in the bathroom.

    What was he doing there anyway ? She hold a gasped back when she realized about his moustache. It really was changing his face and she noticed for the first time how slim his lips were. It was all camouflaged by his waxed moustache before and now, naked in the open. She blushed at the words in her head, she had imagined something else.

    The man in the red robes moaned. She had to take care of the situation before Ed realized what was going on. He was not to know. She didn’t think and took a heavy china cup from her new Ikea poplar shelves, and smashed it on the man’s head.

    “Firmly handled, Chicken”, Ed said, “But why on earth would you do that ?”


    “I wish I knew, Ed. And don’t call me Chicken!” she added crossly. Mari Fe wasn’t sure what to do next. She needed to keep an eye on Ed, but she needed to revive Baltazar and get him in place for the exchange of the Kings during the parade.

    “Help me carry him up to the attic, Ed. I’ll tie him up and we can decide what to do with him later.” and then exclaimed, “ Oh lordy, what now!” as the doorbell rang. It was Rogelio from next door, the man who was to play the part of Baltazar in the parade.

    Mari Fe didn’t know what to do so she hit him over the head with a handy tagine that was displayed on her old Micronesian teak cabinet.

    “Firmly handled, Chicken”, Ed said, “But why on earth would you do that ?”

    “Don’t call me Chicken!” Mari Fe replied, thinking to herself I really must stop resorting to violence. “Help me carry him up to the attic, and we’ll tie him up with B… with that man.”

    Halfway up the stairs Mari Fe had an impulse to hit Ed over the head, with the detachable head of one of her mannequins. Plunging headlong from one disaster to another, she wished she had done it after the other two bodies were already in the attic. Now she had three large men cluttering up her stairs, and nobody to help her carry them up to the attic.

    “I’m in a pickle now”, she said. “I hope Bee arrives soon, with Janet and Pearl.”


    While Baltazar was unconscious in the attic he had a strange dream . He was being handcuffed and arrested for being an illegal immigrant.

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