The stories of the Surge Team, always ready to save the world from out-of-place energy surges and their dramatic consequences…
Using some of the special artifacts collected during his team’s many missions, Ed Steam plans a daring and risky exit from this employer.
So the Story goes...
The lady from North Carolina, To put all her sniffles behind her, Said “My onion filled socks, Though the method sure rocks, Make the bedcovers smell like a diner”.
It was important to cure the cold quickly, because the lady from North Carolina had work to do. Ed Steam was getting too big for his boots, and his policies threatened to disrupt the vital surge work. Pearl Rider wiped her nose and shoved the tissue back in her pocket and sent urgent telepathic messages to her associates. Another surge tide had landed, a white tide of snow, which was expected to herald a surge southwards of the other dimensional aurora colours. The population had been on edge for some time, seeing doom and malevolent forces of outside control in just about anything and everything, so a sudden strong surge of the aurora was expected to create even further alarm.
“But Pearl” asked young Frank Lee Wright, “You’re asking the impossible! How can we divert and diffuse the surges at the same time as kidnapping Ed Steam? Surely the energy projection required would be too contradictory?”
“Ahhhh!” replied Pearl with a wise looking eyebrow wiggle. “This is a clue already, did you notice that sign that just flashed up saying “draft saved at 4:44”? Never forget all is in alignment, and we have non physical friends on the case.”
“But Pearl” replied Frankie, “How is that of any practical use?”
“The surge diversion is going well here, Pearl, for the moment. The energy has been channeled into street protests and the vibrations are being changed by an awful lot of banging on saucepans with spoons, somewhat noisy admittedly, but we’re a noisy lot here, and it’s going well. They’ve even adopted the word Tides to describe the surge diversion, and it’s alot more fun on the streets than some other surges I could mention.”
“No need to snort like that, Mari Fe” said Pearl. “We’ve just had word from the remote viewing team, and Ed Steam is in your neck of the woods, and one of your surges must be diverted to take him out.”
“The Three Kings Procession in a few days time might be an opportunity, leave it with me Pearl, I’ll see what I can do. I’d already planned to follow the Three Kings back home after the parade to ancient Tartessos, I’ve been collaberating with the time travel teleport portal people. Did you know that the Pope admitted that the Three Kings were from Andalucia? That was a result of the Occupy The Vatican Library Out of Body team. Anyway, maybe we can send Ed Steam back with them. He won’t be able to cause much trouble from thousands of years ago.”
“Mari Fe, if you’re planning to go back to Tartessos too, you won’t be much help here, will you?”
“Ahhhh!” replied Mari Fe with a cryptic smile. “You wait and see what I bring back with me!”
“Well as long as it’s not Ed Steam, that’s all. Leave him there!”
The cellar underneath the river island was a hive of activity. The Replicator was churning out little red amphibious flying cars like there was no tomorrow, which indeed would have been the case if the recent apocalypse hadn’t been deftly diverted in the nick of time. At high tide, when the Eyot was encircled with water, the cars would slip out of the ancient portal and drive out of the river onto Chiswick Mall, and on towards the various locations of the surge diversion team members. Those that were destined for locations other than London used the portal to exit via rivers in other places, such as Brattleboro, the Huangpu River, the Guadalquivir, or the Grand Canyon.
In the vast mudflats of the Guadalquivir river delta, a small group of mudlarks on a field trip from London examine strange geometric shadows of what look to be the remains of a ringed city. “L..l..l..la la la looks like that in in in ins suh suh suh insignia, d d d don’t it, mate?” stuttered Dennis.
“The one we found on that old sponge in the mud of the Thames?” asked his uncle Bob. “It does, now that you mention it. Must be a connection. Ok lads, fan out and keep your eyes peeled. We must be close to finding the portal entrance, and we need to find it before the Three Kings parade.”
Baltazar made a face as he swallowed the time travel sickness pill. “Could have made them smaller” he grumbled.
Intu rolled her eyes. “Stop being such a jess and take this” she said, handing him a smoking frothing potion in a tall silver cup. “For the side effects of the Replicator.”
“I hate this time of year. Trying to be in a hundred places at once, all because of that stupid tradition.”
“How do you think I feel?” asked Jesus. “At least you don’t have to wear a nappy.”
“It’s not a nappy, it’s swaddling clothes. Haven’t they finished with all that religion stuff yet?” said Baltazar. “Maybe if we just don’t turn up, it will bring the end forward? Can’t we just stay here in Tartessos? Bugger their parades, I’m not going again.”
Intu gasped. “Baltazar, you can’t let me down now. This might very well be the last time, if everything goes according to plan. I tell you what, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll arrange for you to meet the reindeer pee travelling salesman on the way.”
Cornella had been enjoying the bamboo shoots until she found out about the dog leg broth they were cooked in. “Really, I can eat no more” she said unhappily, pushing away the bowl and glancing around the room. “What the devil is that?” she exclaimed as her eye fell on the tall dark mysterious cabinet. “Where did that come from?”
Lord and Lady Appleton glanced at each other. “I told you to be more careful, Jedward” whispered Mirabelle. “What’s that doing in here?”
“Oh, ha ha, why that’s just a little trinket I picked up in Long Poon, Cornella. It’s nothing, nothing at all.” Lord Appleton cleared his throat noisily. “Just an old cabinet, nothing really.”
“What’s inside?” asked Cornella, moving towards the dark wooden doors. “What an interesting insignia, it reminds me of something.”
“Don’t open it!” shreiked the Appletons. “It’s, er, full of dog legs.”
Cornella frowned, wondering why dog legs kept popping up.
Snow had started to fall on the Egyptian Great Pyramid, alerting the team that some surge had reopened ancient portals meant to stay sealed.
Meanwhile, in a not to distant probable reality, Greenflow, the turtle, was hiding in his shell due to the loud racket that started just moments ago.
Bang, sounded his shell once again, an this time even louder than the last one.
“Holly Molly, that one was too close to be anything other than a sign,” said Greenflow.
“I had better pop out and take a look about and see what the dickens is making all this racket!”
Just then a tiny green snout eased out of a house, which was the brilliant green color, and with odd looking symbols etched into its body.
Greenflow immediately noticed a silvery shiny ball just inches from his nose, and it was ever so slightly embedded into the brown mud. “What could that be?” he thought.
Captain Yang Lang, or Goat as they called him, had reluctantly anchored the Aqua Luna at the Long Poon port to resupply for the next month. The Aqua Luna was his pride, an old pirate ship improved with modern tech, with sails bright vermilion, and polished deck of teck wood, smelling of the forests and brine. Years earlier, he’d vowed to stay off land as much as possible, and use her to remain away from the current lunacy that sprayed over the lands. But strange tides and surges on the ocean had warned him that it seemed to spray further than he’d expected.
To get to the bottom of it, he was having an appointment at the basement of an old derelict building, on the first floor of which artists had setup an organization named the Long Poon House of Stories; funnily, the basement was full of other kinds of stories. It had served as a training facility back when the Brits had dominion over the seas. It was now recycled into an archive facility for the Surge Team. You usually wouldn’t notice that, but if you paid attention, the bag of sponges sold at the Sinese medicine store full of dried animals, dogs legs and whatnots was unmistakable.
If there was one thing he’d never liked about the Surge Team, Goat was reminded as soon as he crossed the threshold, that had to be the Management.
Actually, the Management after years of past grandeur had been heftily trimmed down to just one person, an ageless expressionless Sinese-Bulgarian lady with a hairstyle as plain and ubiquitous as a bowl of steamed rice, the epitome of the chtonian tutelary deity, eternal Guardian of all thresholds.
“Good day Antonia.” Goat greeted her, faking the slightest bit of enthusiasm needed to sound polite. Of course, she didn’t answer. Like the Universe, looming and all powerful, all she needed was a request, or better, a long string of numbers from an obscure postal or bookshelf reference.
Chopping official documents, the lonely sound of a stamp etching the worn-out surface of her desk was all that troubled the dusty office reeking of onion.
“There’s been a delivery for me…” He waited patiently, savouring torturing her with his half-finished sentence. He didn’t have to wait for long though. Maybe she was in a good mood.
“Tracking number?” she grumbled without looking at him, fumbling into old logs and piles of carton boxes that may have been there, unclaimed since the time of Baltazar the Great.
“There” he handed her a torn yellow stained bit of paper where the numbers were written down in a ornate penmanship. The Management was a place of few words… and even fewer actions he bitterly thought.
Working her magic, she handed him the package, wrapped in old Sinese papers that smelt of decaying fish. He barely thanked her, without looking into her eyes, for he knew what was there to be read certainly had no lack of unpleasantness for him.
Little Jeffrey loved going to the library. It was not far from home and he was allowed to go there on his own.
On his way, there were many treasures.
One of them was a big giant Tesla Coil. His father had told him it was a fake and the real one was in the science museum on the other side of the planet with all Tesla’s inventions up to the electricityairborn car. Nonetheless, there were always many people playing around and at times lights and electric sounds would give you the impressions as if you were near the real one. Little Jeffrey knew exactly when to go to the library to see the lights and he enjoyed seeing the look on people’s face who were passing by for the first time.
But most of all, his favorite was the ship. His father had told him she was a real one and she has been put there because it was the favourite smuggling place of his captain. Little Jeffrey dreamt of her every night. He dreamt he was a pirate, sailing in the oceans with Captain Yang Lang. In his dreams, the ship could even go to the Moon with one of Tesla’s inventions powering her.
The Aqua Luna library was named after her.
Aqua Luna was was mopping the floor of the Surge Team’s HQ. She was not strictly speaking a member of the Team, and the only sponge insigna she had was her mop and the few sponges she used to clean the keyboards and the screens of “the deck” as they called their room full of computers and screens and blinking red and blue lights.
She’s been here for ages, since Lord Ed Steam had founded the organisation actually. People didn’t usually pay attention to her and she could go everywhere. Almost. There was a room where she couldn’t go and she didn’t know what was in there. Only the higher ranked members could penetrate this secret room. She tried several times to cast a glance just before they closed the door, but there always was some bloody smoke coming out of the room.
Her mama had told her many times, ‘Aqua Luna, there is no smoke without fire’. There must be a huge fire inside that room for it’s always smokey.
The door opened again, but she was too far and she only could see the fumes again. ‘Could that be a dragon ?’, she thought. But what use could the surge team have of a dragon. Aqua Luna knew for sure that dragons were real. Her Mama had told her so when she was a kid, and she trusted her Mama, even when she was shouting at her. ‘It’s for your own good Aqua Luna”.
This time it was that young woman, Cornella who went out. She seemed concerned and she was talking in her unicomp.
Pearl wrapped the jars of apple pie moonshine carefully inside a beach towel, and placed them in the middle of her suitcase. Her flight was at midnight, and eveything was ready for her trip to Andalucia to assist the surge team on the night of the three kings parade. But there was a problem: the snow had all but submerged her house, her car was nowhere to be seen beneath the white drifts, and the roads were silent and impassable. Pearl called Skye in London, and asked her to send a red car.
Belle Endwhistle received the telepathic call from Skye while she was floating on the cool aqua pool in The City. Belle, affectionately known as Bee, was one of the surge teams helpers from the “other side”. She had always had a particular fondness for cars, hats and vintage designer dresses; before the surge team was initiated, she had often turned up in dreams, driving a flying red car and wearing a variety of outlandish hats. Bee been delighted to accept the offer to chauffeur the fleet of red cars, and always enjoyed meeting old friends on the physical side.
At approximately 11:11 Pearl heard a whoosh and a whoot, and then a loud thump. “Hop in, Pearl! toot! toot! Oh, and sorry about the porch swing, didn’t see it under all that snow” Bee was grinning from ear to ear. “First time I’ve used the snowmobile ski option, it’s a riot, haven’t quite got the hang of it yet though, but boy is it ever fun!”
Pearl laughed and hugged Bee. “It’s great to see you! I love your hat!” It was an elaborate blue turban, over the top with feathers and jewels. “Looks fabulous against all that snow, very delft. You know, you could have just used the portal to avoid all that snow! Janet!” Pearl spotted Janet in the back of the red car, who was picking herself up off the floor, and adjusting her pointy hat.
“But the journey was so much fun!” Janet said. “We bumped into Skolt, the travelling reindeer pee salesman, in Minnesota.”
“I hope you saved some for me!” replied Pearl. “I’ve got the moonshine, let’s party!”
Mari Fe looked out of the window for the 57th time that morning. They should have been here by now, where the devil are they? It wasn’t like Bee to be late. I’ll give it another hour and then I’ll have to call Skye and see if she knows what’s happened. But Mari Fe was reluctant to speak to Skye in case Skye asked her to elaborate on the three kings parade plan for Ed Steam. The fact of the matter was that Mari Fe had completely forgotten what the plan was.
Dru Hammond’s flight was being delayed at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Not the most brilliant idea to fly with Air Frange for this mission, he thought…
He held from well informed source that airports days were counted, and that airports would soon become deserted museums – in truth, teleportation tech was being developed and soon would be mainstreamed by Ganga, the mammoth merger of Amazoom and Koogle companies.
That was why he tried to enjoy this vintage means of transportation as much as he could now, and collected plane tickets from all possible flight companies from around the world.
Dru was an auditor from Passadena, working for the Team, or actually for Ed Steam, the boss himself. His mission was usually to discretely assess the Team’s strengths and shortcomings. However, in this case, he was sent to Malaga for the Three Kings’ Parade, and there was a catch to his assignment. But he wasn’t at liberty to think too much about it. Ed had means to read minds, and thinking too much wouldn’t do him any good. So instead he tried to focus on something innocuous, like fluffy white rabbits dancing in a snow field.
The security check was taking forever. After an unending stream of Italian tourists, there was a Frenchman stuck into the security gate with a folded drying rack that he was trying to bargain his right to carry it into the plane with lots of ample movements, while the gatekeeper was stubbornly nodding his head.
Dru after some initial irritation started to find the whole barter amusing. His flight wasn’t boarding before four more hours, so he had time.
He suddenly wasn’t as much amused when, after relenting and letting the security guy take the rack back to be sent in the cargo hold, the French guy accidentally let his suitcase drop and burst open, revealing a clunky mess of things among which: a heavy black hammer, a humongous book as large as the suitcase itself, crockery, tin canned foods and lots of multicoloured clothes pegs.
All his auditor’s instincts were crying at him right now that without the shadow of a doubt this man was a dangerous terrorist, hiding under an innocent awkward guise. Sighing of relief when he overheard he was going to Shanghai instead of his European destination, he wondered what terrorists would do in a world of easy free teleportation…
Mari Fe’s neighbour, Rogelio, called round with a bag of oranges, jogging her memory about the three kings parade plan. Rogelio was playing the part of Baltazar in the parade, but he was going to be kidnapped and substituted with the real Baltazar from the past. The real Baltazar was to lure Ed Steam into the portal, with some assistance from the surge team, and take him back to Tartessos.
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.
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.