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January 25, 2016 The beach at Lonely Point The dimensional incursion caught Taylor's senses like the whiff of brimstone - not Hell, exactly, but maybe worse. She knew the stink of the Erdes well enough and this one was particularly foul. As far as she could tell it was a one-off, somewhere just at the shoreline of Lonely Point; away from the base, near the small sheltered park in the area. An annoying way to start the week - but if she was honest, not an unusual one. - Sarah had been sent to the beach that morning with an assignment to meditate by the sea and then write a 250 word paper on her feelings about the dichotomy between land and sea embodied by her own 'chakra-sense'. Combining magic and secondary education sometimes didn't work very well. She had just found herself in a lotus position when suddenly the air opened up before her and a man leaped backwards through an invisible door. A big, beefy man in a brown uniform with a black hat, black tie, and the sort of pale skin that flushed ruddy red at the slightest provocation, it was easy to guess his politics. The swastika on his armband, jacket, and tie, all told that story. "Fools, you'll-hah, it worked!" He slapped himself on the thigh in triumph and turned around before fixing his gaze on Sarah. A suspicious look in his frankly quite piggy eyes, he said something in an Asian language that Sarah understood not at all. When she didn't understand, he tried again once, then again in English. "Me White Knight," he explained in a pidgin that would have sounded insulting to someone born at the time of Sarah's grandparents, much less now. "Me big cheese in skyboat," he said, pointing to the Heavens above, "You take me to chief, savvy?"
When the battle was done and the commandos defeated, Citizen floated out of the warehouse with his precious cargo tucked beneath one arm. "I've got it, guys!" He had both the truncated Erde-Tronik drive and the gold boxy storage medium from Earth-Prime in the same big black case. It would be up to he and Gina over the next few months, (probably as what would incidentally count as his graduation project) to integrate the Troniks together successfully but for now the backup was complete and the City of the Future (as he still sometimes thought of it, the very old motto that Tronik had kept even after the Exodus) was safe from the National Socialists. Assuming they got out there in time! "Wow!" He wasn't so focused as to not be impressed when he saw the battle with his own eyes; the smoking helicopters, the fleeing commando, the crack Nazi strike team that Young Freedom had taken apart with all of the skill and power of a master artist painting a portrait. "Nice, you guys," he said with a grin before disappearing into the Wonder Bus. "Now let me get the systems in here rebooted..." As the lights inside the Bus came back on, the other machines came out, Rogue in the lead in a humanoid body that looked like a human woman cast in the featureless nude, like something from a German Expressionist movie. With no explanation for the new shape, she cast her gaze from the scene of the battle to the heroes, back and forth, and for the first time seemed almost uncertain. "You did this. All of this, when you could have taken your Sharl and that city and..." She opened and closed mechanical hands before saying, decisively, "All right. All right, maybe you're right. Maybe there is another way to prosecute our war against the National Socialists." The group of robots behind her, which did not include her Sharl (who was in that system his counterpart was carrying) startled at that, but Rogue pressed on. "If you can fight the Nazis like this, teach them _fear_ without destroying them all, maybe we can try it ourselves. At least once, anyway. But you'd better take the Ragnorak with you. If we're not going to prune the humans back, it'll just look bad if we have it in our possession."
January 2013 Outside Heesterstadt (formerly Branson), Missouri It was raining when the Wonderbus arrived, a thick, icy-cold storm of freezing rain that would have surely been a blizzard had the weather been any warmer. Warm and insulated through the dimensional craft was, it wasn't hard to feel the chill outside. The bus had folded its way through space and time to come rumbling out onto a deserted stretch of concrete road by a grim, grey lake that might possibly have been more attractive in the spring. As it was, the whole world was grey and brown: the city across the lake, what was Branson on another world, was almost lost beneath the heavy fog which swaddled the area. Shifting his clothing over to the bland, servile pattern his counterpart had worn, Sharl peered through the front windows, just able to make out tall concrete towers and a massive, hovering flag projected against the clouds from the city below like a massive old-style holographic billboard. It was grim. "Everybody get changed," he said, calling back to the passenger compartment as he reached down to turn on the conventional gasoline engine. "The Tronik base is about five miles up this road! We're turning around..." He muttered a bad word in Lor, trying to remember how to work these stupid controls. With all the worries about fighting Nazis and transdimensional technology, maybe he hadn't paid enough attention to how to drive a stupid four-wheeled, rubber-tired bus! Why can't they just use antigravs like civilized people?
Continued from >Worn-Out Places The black dots faded, leaving behind them an ominous natural darkness. They were all standing on a cracked concrete floor, the distant sound of rumbling machinery and gunfire echoing in their ears. The air was rank and still with the heat of summer, and the sound of scuttling rats was at least as loud as the noise outside. And inside they were: the room around them seemed to be a damp, ruined basement, with only the broken remnants of stone steps leading up to ground level. As the heroes walked closer to the steps, thin rays of moonlight stabbed through the edges of the ruined ceiling. The bits of rubble shifted and moved under their strides, stirring up full regiments of fleeing rats in their wake. It was Trevor who recognized where they were first, thanks both to his piercing gaze and a sudden, nagging familiarity with the room. They were in the basement of the Rothsteins, the elderly Jewish couple who lived in the same sprawling block of mansions as his grandfather, a convival enough bunch whose main virtue as neighbors was being too busy with their poodle-breeding hobby to worry much about their elderly chemist neighbor and his quiet grandson. Standing in the rubble of their home, looking fresh enough to have been destroyed just a few years ago, it wasn't hard to guess what had happened. For his part, Edge led the way: with a gesture from him there were new stone stairs to climb, and he was up pushing open the door to gaze out at the scene outside. And what a scene it was: three night-black helicopters were whizzing by overhead, making a beeline for the shape of a very familiar house, leading the way behind a half-dozen armored vehicles coming out of a darkened city with a broken skyline lit only by searchlights. The Nazis were out in force tonight, and they were heading straight for the Midnight Manor. The helicopters were going to be in range of the Manor in seconds...