The Surge Team’s Coils

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    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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      Yikes” exclaimed Bee, who had heard Mari Fe’s remark about the jelly babies from her cramped position inside Vincentius’ shorts.

      “May I ask, Vincentius” asked Yikesi, “Why your penis is talking to me? I distinctly heard my name called from the vicinity of your Vincentius shorts.”


        Godfrey, I can’t help but wonder if all this imagined mayhem in my house (Mari Fe’s house, not Ed’s although Ed did choose some of Mari Fe’s furniture, when they were lovers in the past, as you know of course you old peanut) caused the electricity blackout lasting several hours last night.” mused Elizabeth. “I feel sure there is a connection, especially as the ten dogs all appeared (or not, as the case may be) to be wearing invisibility cloaks in the dark.”


          Mari Fe thought Yikesi was a bit too smug for his own good, especially for such a nipper whipper snapper. The five letter names beginning with E all said “Entry” and preceeded the names of portals. Mari Fe, although reduced to diminutive proportions, had not lost her ability to teleport, and had miraculously fallen from the teapot onto an Entry portal location on the map.


            When she began to focus her mind to the place on the map, something weird happened. The parchment began to wave under her feet, she almost lost her balance and her concentration. But she managed to hold her focus. She didn’t know what could happen because she knew nothing about the place. But she had done that before, just for fun. She was not one to go by the most elementary rule of teleportation : “you never go where you have never been before, lest you end up a part of a rock.

            She felt in her body the ripples of the focus, it was still wavy and unstable but the necessary vortex was begin to form.
            “Bee, help me”, she squeaked to her friend.
            Bee, who was still in Vincentius’ shorts, managed to get out, making the god giggle and blush under the disapproving look of Arona.
            She fall down just near her friend and took her hands.
            “Where are we going ?” she asked.
            “I have no idea”, said Mari Fe, “But I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. Hold tight, I feel the flush coming through!”


              Waking up (again) without the others noticing, Ed Steam mechanically went for his waxed mustache as he did whenever something like a haywire silly plot perturbed him, before realizing he was sorely missing this part of his definite features that earned him so much success with the ladies (and a few favors from the other gender as well, he wasn’t shy to admit). Anyway, rendered dejected by this, he grabbed his carefully concealed genuinely old pocket sundial dating back from the Egyptians, and turning with precise movements its gnomon to put it back to when it indicated a few hours ago, was brought back at the precise moment before he started to cut his signature waxed mustache.


                His razor blade in left hand (he was ambidextrous with a slight favour for the left side), Ed suddenly remembered his future struggle with the daft cumbersome vermillion man, so he quickly turned off the portal. Then, against all common sense and years of procedures, decided to put it into his pocket.
                Everything following came back at once, interspersed with bits of smashed objects and blurs. But something he distinctly remembered was that Mari Fe was in the apartment, although he didn’t remember bringing her home from last night. It was against company policy to sleep with subordinates, so it had to mean something fishy.
                Recalibrating the portal using the failsafe code, he directed it to the secret headquarters where he had started to stockpile dangerous artefacts collected from previous surge control operations, deciding it was the best course of action before assessing who was to be trusted or not in his Chicks team…


                  “I knew there was a subordination point here somewhere” said Janet. “Arona, bring that cat over here.”

                  EEEEK” shouted Pearl.

                  “It’s a clue!” Sanso said, “A location beginning with E with 5 letters!”

                  “Is it a mouse?” asked Ed.

                  “The dog just chased something behind the fridge” replied Pearl, “But it wasn’t a mouse. It looked more like a miniaturized story character.”


                    Quick witted Arona, realising their cover was blown, grabbed Mandrake and hid behind a hot pink leather chaise lounge in the corner of the room.

                    Mandrake, I think Yikesy might be going though another growth spurt,” said Arona, after a few moments spent reflecting thoughtfully on proceedings in the room. “Good thing I brought him that cute snuggle fit stretch’n‘grow set to wear for the mission.”

                    Mandrake rolled his eyes. “He isn’t a baby, Arona and you really shouldn’t make him wear those ridiculous outfits. Although, I must say, in this instance, for the sake of decency, it is probably just as well. But for goodness sakes, the boy is just about old enough to grow a moustache.”

                    “Oh well, I guess you are right. But he has such an endearingly ugly little baby face still, people often think he is younger than he is. I wonder if that strange woman in the red coat would take a photo if I asked her.”


                      Eventhough Stu was not very bright, he had always been successful with women. Thanks to his young and handsome body. He’s been working at the gas Station in Cottonwood since he was 15, he’d figured out at that time it was the best way to meet women. Some of them were even coming as far from Phoenix, and his boss was rather content about it too. He’d even encourage his employee to take off his shirt more often.

                      Days were following days, and it was the same routine, washing cars, filling gas tanks, meeting women. Nothing particular had even happen in Cottonwood. Of course there were often weirdos as they were close to Sedona. Some of them were asking if he had seen any ETs lately, or some guys asked him once if he’d ever been probed by aliens.
                      It was all part of the job, and he didn’t really pay attention. His best response was no response at all and play the dumb. Except with women. He would always find something to say to make them laugh and he especially loved to see those sparkles in their eyes, that’s when he knew he could ask them anything.


                        There was something familiar with the road. The trees, the warmth. It was a fine weather for the season. Almost 70°F. Janet Mendyourhall had a strong feeling of déjà vu. She was on her way to Sedona to attend the annual Glasnik meeting. The Threshold to 2013. Since she had been posted to the West Coast, she was to attend every psychic or ET manifestation in the area. And believe it or not, there was a lot of them. The Lightbearers, Glasnik, The Crimson Feathers, and all the less famous ones like Birgitt’s Wheel from Germany, the reincarnation of Von Bingen.

                        Janet was trying to go to those events with an open mind, which usually means that as a premise you didn’t believe what you were going to see. And she had seen a lot of crap and a few gems.

                        She realized the car needed gas, luckily she was not far from Cottonwood. That name triggered steamy memories and a blush on her face. She had always loved meeting that young boy, he had such a sense of service, and such a wonderful body. She turned left without even thinking of it. The sun was high in the sky and the light was playing through the trees, still green her mind registered.

                        When she arrived at the station, the boy was discussing with another woman in a red car. Her hands squizzed the wheel and her lips tightened. That feeling of déjà vu again.


                          While stroking his mustache fondly, Ed Steam had the clearest realization that although he’d done that quite a few times in the past mostly to his advantage, it was a lot of work to rewrite timelines and figure out the hows and whens of everyone in his team.
                          Maybe it was actually time for him to restore the original timeline while disappearing — by faking his own death to be certain nobody would thwart his carefully thought retirement plan. Then, he could also stop dyeing his mustache he figured… So many things to take care of, retirement would be so sweet.
                          Although the Egyptian timeturner gave him all the time in the world, he actually felt like he’d lost already a great deal too much of it, and started to enact his plan without further ado.

                          Procuring a body double was actually not so hard. The last surge had brought a few of them in Thrifteen’s Alley in their Moreguest Facility. A switch and a twist of the pocket portal and a zap and a blink of the miniaturizer was enough to get there and come back in seconds with a frozen pocket-size life-suspended body from the testing stock, with convincing enough miniaturized slim lips, safely put in a test tube in his waistcoat pocket.
                          A six-shot cudgel from his artefact war trove was all he needed to make sure the amateur assassin in red robes they’d hired would be taken care of easily.
                          Then, an enscombulator bedazzler ray spray would be enough to convince Mari Fe she’d managed to hit him, buying him time enough to then deminiaturize the thawed slim-lipped body double, to slip in his stead.
                          Last, but not least, he would then have a few seconds to discombobulize Mari Fe while disappearing with a backup transportable portal. The plan was perfect. The original timeline restored in pristine conditions.
                          Only for a few minor details of course. He’d almost forgotten to reprogram the mini-man in his pocket with enough memories for him to be a convincing Ed-himself sans la moustache of course. At least, for the short time he would survive (surge victims discovered still alive were placed in life suspension by the team, but this was mostly for medical analysis as they usually wouldn’t survive their conditions).
                          Oh, and the bloody mustache of course… A squeeze of foolicle solventilator would be enough to make it temporarily invisible.

                          Simple enough… Well, sandbagging Mari Fe would have probably conveyed similar results with minimal efforts, although the elegance of his plan, as well as the fact that he was loath to hit ladies did unmistakably weight in favour of it.

                          And with that, he would be back in time for dinner.
                          In fact, he already was.


                            Pedro was birding again: “Do you know why I’m so fond of the time-space continuum,?
                            Besides that I thought it up… Besides you being in it… Besides puppies and kittens…
                            It’s because it can all seem so logical… so predictable… so real, when you want it to. Or, in the twinkling of an eye, you can choose to remember it’s not.”

                            “What an outstanding ball of blue bull’s dung,” Janet Mendyourhall laughed at the notification from her mobile that had distracted her from ogling the gas station boy.


                              The aftershock of the surge at the Three Kings’ Parade started to hit full blast at the portals initial location, thus effectively linking old mummies energy to the bodies there that were hit by Mari Fe, and for he most part still lying unconscious.
                              The combination of energies started to make them arise and walk like mindless zombies, intoning old guttural sounds in cadence in a language that sounded like Italian poetry.
                              There you had the Balthazar, Rogelio, Dru and alter-Ed who all woke up at once, and even Sanso who had been hit (while impersonating a Portal Worker) started to feel oddly strange.

                              Noticing the atypical occurrence, Arona, whom Janet seemed to have had taken a sudden liking to (blame it on her Yankee side), started to look at her brood and rally them for a safe and prompt exit.
                              “What is it Arona dearie?” Janet didn’t seem worried. She was a Surge Team member after all, and a zombilic epidemic (zombies energy coming from wormholes) wasn’t anything she couldn’t handle.
                              “I fear that although your presence is most delightful, we shall be on our way.” Arona’s old sabulmantium had shown persistent and remarkable hints of dragon energy in this dimension that, although a bit different and looking in her mind’s eye like red flying snakes bearing impossibly long mustache, resonated quite well —not to mention she was eager to part with such bizarre company.
                              “Alrighty, let’s keep in touch dearie,” Janet added, covering their escape, not without winking at Sanso as he was the last one to leave through the map portal, leaving her to look for her missing flushed friends, Mari Fe and Pearl.
                              Unbeknownst to everyone, the picture-taking lady had camouflaged herself to look like a red sofa nearby the hot pink leather chaise lounge in the corner of the room, and was documenting silently the promising epic battle of Janet and Riff Raff against the zombies.
                              And for sure, Janet was still ready to make good use of the pocket-sized forklift to move away all cumbersome bodies,… as there was bound to be casualties.


                                In the meantime in Long Poon, Cornella was irritated by her last Naza Fecebook update. It appeared THEY had noticed something about the sun that the Surge Team was not aware of yet. How could that be so ? She thought momentarily about the invitation she received last week about a costumed party in Tartessos (did she get the name right ?) and maybe too many of the operatives chose to take their vacations then. She would not be surprised if she checked on Maya, the vacation software of the company.

                                But the fact that was bothering her was that the sun wind was hotter that it should be. Wasn’t it a surge, for Roaster’s sake ? Her damn cell phone wasn’t working in the lab with all the security mesures and she wondered how she could have received the update from fecebook, but shit always finds its way, doesn’t it?

                                On her way to the lab, she was ranting about all that. And she had to go through the mist again. It was primarily intended for disinfection. An idea Ed got when he came back from a trip to France where it was customary to get sprayed on your face by the stewardesses before landing. And maybe he watched too much spy TV series, but that was another story Mari Fe told her once. How did she knew that ?

                                Blinded by the mist, she eventually found the door. She was holding her breath not to get too intoxicated and it was always a pain to type the code to get out. She’ll have to mention that to Ed soon. But she always forgot.

                                Taking a deep breath in, she didn’t notice Aqua Luna struggling with the keyboard of Cornella’s computer.


                                  Humans were not the only one worried by all the surges or strange events happening on Earth, or under Earth. I’m not talking about Lemurians or Atlanteans having taken refuge in the center core of the planet or anywhere else. I’m talking about a people counting more individuals than humanity could ever add up.

                                  Ant 23532353577321 of the colony under the hill didn’t have a name. But it had been chosen for a very important purpose by the Queen. At first it wondered why it was so that such a small ant among the countless other ants would be chosen. Its little brain even began to wonder about chance and probability, but in the end when the Queen summoned it, she told Ant 23532353577321 that something happened when she expelled the 23532353577321st egg. An impulse of the Queen that she herself didn’t quite understand. And the Queen was quite intelligent because she could use the countless minds of her ants to think and to analyze and to evaluate. But an impulse, she couldn’t understand because everything she ever did was calculated and carefully thought.

                                  Anyway, that impulse led to a change in her hormonal system at the very moment that she designed the egg. It was not a worker egg, neither was it a soldier egg, nor a prince or a princess. The Queen herself didn’t quite know what it was but she was sure Ant 23532353577321 was special and doted of unknown qualities. During the few ant years that had gone by since that moment, the Queen’s gigantic mindnetwork came to the logical conclusion that it could be a consequence of the surges. BUT, the smal spark of Ant 23532353577321’s mind, introduced the unexpected in the equation and the reflection, and the Queen wondered if Ant 23532353577321 came here for a purpose. Logically, another question followed : what purpose ?


                                    “Moscow?” asked Mari Fe, “Moscow? In the middle of winter? Do we have to, Pearl, I always end up in Russia in the winter, you know how I feel the cold. There must be another way!”

                                    Pearl was poring over a map of Moscow, in Russian, and didn’t answer.


                                      Pearl sighed. “I can’t find the location. Even the dog leg method didn’t give me any clues. I’m going to forget this for awhile and have an hour on Flackbook.”

                                      Mari Fe breathed a sigh of relief, and tried to erase Moscow from her mind. But before she had time to refocus, Pearl shouted “Aha! Katarina inserted the address on my newsfeed. Here is it, Mari Fe, look!”

                                      It said:

                                      “19 January at 15:00 in UTC+03

                                      Каждую субботу начиная с 08.12.2012 на Лубянской площади / Every Saturday Moscow, Russia, Bolshaya Lubyanka 2, 107031”

                                      Mari Fe groaned.

                                      “There’s more!” Pearl said, “Baku / Azerbaijan “ ‎12.01.2013 Армия во время митинга в Баку”. She looked at her watch, and frowned.

                                      Mari Fe, prepare for teleport right away. We have less than 6 minutes to get to Azerbaijan. Toot! Toot!”

                                      “But I only have one pair of thermal socks and one Norwegian wool sweater!”

                                      “Oh cheer up, Baku is among the world’s top ten destinations for urban nightlife, so I’ve heard. And Baku hosted the 57th EuroVision Debt Contest in 2012, too. We’re going to Fountain Square you’ll love it.”

                                      Mari Fe set a strong intention to arrive in summer.


                                        “Looks like Ed Steams’ own impetus was his downfall Janet said solemnly after she covered the mustacheless body with a white bedsheet.
                                        “Damn right you are, Janet.” Riff Raff nodded. “I wouldn’t have recognized him without his mustache though…”
                                        “I think it’s safe to say that Pearl and Mari Fe’s plan was nearly a fiasco, but in the end, he took the surge full blast. Not quite the end we had in mind for him, but what’s done is done.”

                                        The zombies hadn’t been difficult to subjugate however, and although Riff Raff nearly had his brain eaten out, there had been no spread or civilian loss to deplore. That much was good, Janet didn’t like the whole body moving business one bit. The Moreguest Facility was such a drab place, at least she could go straight back to her post in beautiful sunny West Coast.

                                        On the table, an egg-shaped translucent gem was beaming bright green. Janet took it thoughtfully, carefully placing it in the diplomatic case. “Strange that Ed died from the surge while the others recovered once the zombie energy had been sealed into the rote.”
                                        Riff Raff was more pragmatic. Or maybe eager to get back home too. “He was a man consumed by his quest for artifacts, let’s not dwell on things past.”

                                        Using the portal from the bathroom once she decontaminated and recalibrated it, she’d sent everyone, their clothes doused in moonshine to some dark alleys in Granada, where they would probably be picked by local officers alerted by the usual racket made by the transspace portal, with no memory at all and alcohol breath. At least the nosy auditor would be in for a trip.

                                        “Hey Riff, give my regards to Midgenta” Janet bear-hugged her friend, throwing the diplomatic suitcase with the pocket-sized forklift into the glove box of the red car, and disappearing in a trail of fine caliche billowing behind the vehicle wheels.


                                          Interestingly, it seemed you had to be shrunk to be able to properly use the portable portal map, but once you were transported to your destination, there was no use of gum-bears or jelly babies to get back to your original size.
                                          “How clever this is!” Pearl was the first to notice.

                                          There was another marvelous property of the Universe that Mari Fe didn’t count on, or maybe only vaguely so, but which did come in handy, once more: the Universe responded to the energy of her intention rather than to her words.
                                          When they appeared at their destination, in the dead of night, it was not summer— but still winter. Which actually doesn’t really mean anything, because summer doesn’t even exist in some place, of course, and when it does, it doesn’t even occur at the same time in all places.
                                          Actually, the Universe, or Pedro, as some like to call them, was aware that what Mari Fe meant when she said (repeatedly) “I want to arrive in summer” was in truth “I want to be warm.”
                                          And curiously, winter in that place, as in Russia, had been exceptionally warm, as her colleague Katarina had noticed.


                                            The obituary posted on the local network was short but came as a shock to everyone.
                                            Ed Steam lost his life today on the field. May he rest in peace, he who had been like a father to his team, and a guide to most of us. He and his stash’ will be missed.”
                                            Even old retired operatives code-named Hyphen and Dash couldn’t believe their earpieces.

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