Wow, I'm feeling intimidated. Nathan started this crazyfun round robin writing exercise at his blog (the explanation and beginning can be found here). So far, I think everyone will agree that this has been fun to see how all sorts of different people from all over the country (is anyone international?) try to create one coherent story with some interesting rules. And now it's my turn again and I'm not totally sure what to do. But here goes. (Gotta get it done now 'cause I know I'll be busy at work tomorrow and I know how ya'll don't like to wait too long for the next part).
Part 20 can be found here.
When last we saw the story:
Billy Chenolla looked straight into Gareth's eyes and cut him off with a question that caused the man to turn from off-white to purplish-red in the space between two heartbeats.
“So,” he said so bland and casual it burned, “who's Sophie from Shinola?”
The dual personality that was once just Blink but was now Sophie/Blink blinked. The Tragethen empire's plan to create a terraformed series of parallel universes was mounting. Sophie had overlapping visions: a vision of a strange tropical island and a big man in blue; a vision of a literary agent with the hots for her mandroid that was reading about her life; a vision of her parents, but it was her parents from an altering timeline; and a vision of a woman whose brain had been downloaded into a computer. Things were getting worse quickly.
Sophie rose out of the fetal position and stretched her many-limbed, furry body. Reality shifted again, sliding through a kaleidoscope of sights before it stopped. No longer was Sophie in a phone booth in Amsterdam, now she was in a closet. But not just any closet, it was the closet on the Tragethen battle cruiser that had picked her up after attacking not-Sophie. After the attack and the pick up, Sophie was in such a state of shock (hence the fetal position) that she shut down and Blink took over. They bolted, amid the cries of the surprised Tragethens, and found themselves hiding out in the closet.
"We're back to where we began," Blink said through their mind-link bond. "The attack is progressing. We must act now if the Earth is to be saved."
Sophie didn't respond, her mind was still struggling to cope with everything that had happened to her over the last few hours.
"Sophie, honey, we've got to work together if we're going to save the Earth and your parents."
From the recesses of their shared mind, Sophie peered out cautiously. "Ok. I'll be strong," she said. "What do we need to do?"
"Well, first we need to get out of this closet, and then we need to find the weapons control system. There's a reason the SpaceForce was looking at you for candidacy, and because of that, I'm confident that you will be able to take control of the weapons array of this ship to destroy the terraformer in orbit around the planet. As for stopping the Trageth from coming back, I'm still unsure of that."
Blink felt Sophie's mental nod, and the two moved on, cautiously opening the closet and peering out into the curving metal corridor. They didn't see any Trageth, but Blink kept them from rushing out. They listened for signs of others while Blink adjusted his/their physology. When he was done, they set out down the corridor, using the modification to run silently along the ceiling.
They moved blindly from one corridor to another until something in Sophie's mind clicked. "Wait, turn back," she said. "Go down that last corridor we just past. Something tells me that the weapons systems control will be that way."
Part 22 is here.