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Sandman XI

Darian and Erin

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Darian was intrigued by the girl who didn't want to participate in the group therapy meeting. He finished it himself, but did not attend the tug-of-war the next day. Instead he searched for information about Erin White. Everything about her. He found out why she was in the meeting. Only survivor of a world full of zombies. Tended to make her violent. Jotting down everything think he could, he formulated how he would approach the girl. It couldn't be to quickly, it had to bwe smooth. She is sitting under a tree, reading a stack of magazines. He thinks she would be studying about this time,. Well, he is half right, she is studying news magazines.A vertible tower of them. Slowly walking up to her he greets her, "Hello, Erin, I am Darian," he smiles, "We met the day before yesterday in the group therapy meeting."

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Darian can tell that Erin is aware of him well before he starts talking. Even when she's reading, she seems to have one eye constantly on her surroundings. Still, she waits for him to come up before she politely sets aside the old Newsweek she's been reading. "Yes, I remember you," she says with passable politeness. "You made the floating machine. It was pretty neat."

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"Thank you very much," Darian grins and smiles, "I am proud of anything I do to help bring joy into another person's life." He sighs, getting the goofy look off of his face but still smiling. He sits down next to the pile of magazines. Picking up one, he thumbs through it, "I was wondering if you were busy? Or if you had some time to talk?" Noticing that the magazine was about a year old, he looks at the one on the top of the pile. It too is a year old. "Catching up on current history, are you," he ponders rhetorically.

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Erin shrugs. "Things are different where I come from," she replies, but doesn't seem inclined to elaborate on how. "You start feeling kind of stupid after awhile when you barely know who this Obama guy is, or think that Evanescence is still really popular. It's a school assignment, but it's stuff I really need to know, so it's better than, say, algebra." A small smile crossed her face before she changed the subject. "So did you go to that tug of war thing?"

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Darian's curiousity piques when Erin mentions it's different where she comes from. Did she mean the zombie invasion or was life totally different there. "I understand," he says putting the magazine, "Where I come from it is different also." He holds himself back from asking her about her world. "If you ever need any help with your studies, I will be glad to assist you." He shakes his head, "No, I did not attend the tug of war. I was a bit busy that day with some work."

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"Thanks," Erin says, again with the same half-smile. "I appreciate the help, but I don't think you probably want to offer. I mean, you're obviously meta-level intelligent, right? I can barely keep up in the basic stuff. You'd probably be ready to scream in twenty minutes or so after seeing me go around in circles." She leans back against the tree, absently running a finger down the spines of the stack of magazines. "If I could build things like you do, I don't think anyone would be able to pry me out of the shop."

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Darian laughs nervously, but tries to cover it. He used to think no one would pull him out of the shop either until he found him self a lonely wreck of a person that needed people more than he needed cold machinery. "No, I have a different way of teaching. Instead of boring you words I will show you the past, and possibly the future," he winks playfully.he pulls a smallish black metal box with a red button on it. Pushing the red button a 56 inch widescreen HD television pops out and floats in front on them. Pulling a remote off the side of it, he smiles, "Now this is what I call learning the fun way. This will show you glimpses of the past and the future. Not the produced TV stuff, the real stuff. Now I must warn you this isn't perfected yet. I have recieved rogue transmissions before. But then again, nothing is ever finished, only in transition to the next stage of development." He pauses, "Enough chatter from me. Pick a year, any year."

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Erin looks a little confused, but she's very impressed by the little box that produced the television apparatus. She listens attentively to his explanation, lacing her fingers together to avoid reaching out and touching the device. She's not sure that would be a good idea. Instead, she picks a year off the top of her head. "Um... 1992," she says. "That was the year I was born."

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As the two young heroes watched, the screen rippled and fuzzed a few times before settling into a clear, solid picture of the distant past of 1992. They were looking at a view of what was clearly the Claremont campus; though back then the school had been St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. Their view was late at night sometime in the summer, the campus itself looking still and quiet. Quark had been at school long enough, and was smart enough, to remember that Aquinas had been a much poorer school than Claremont was today. The grounds they saw were less well-tended, the buildings in more obvious disrepair. They were just about to adjust the view to something more interesting when two people walked into view of the "camera lens."

"Mr. Graves!" It was shocking to see Gabriel Marquez up and around and walking. The counselor looked even younger than he must have been seventeen years ago; his face not worn down by cares. He was just catching up with a young man in the Aquinas uniform who had been walking quickly with his head down; a condition quickly explained when Quark and Erin saw the bruises on his face. "Mr. Graves" had a defiant, angry look mixed with hurt on his face; the look of an angry, injured teenager. "Mr. Graves...Michael." Mr. Marquez gave the boy a look of raw sympathy. "Mr. Graves, we can report this to the police. Your assailants-"

"They're punks is what they are!" said Graves angrily. "They're just lousy punks! Just because my dad works with his hands, they think it's all right to pick on me!" He spat on the ground. "But it doesn't matter. Another year and I'm out of here, and I never have to look at this place again. I've got my own life ahead of me."

Marquez and Graves talked quietly after that, and again Erin and Wander were ready to 'change the channel' when Marquez parted from Graves. "I promise you, Michael, that I will do everything in my power to see that you get some justice from your assailants." As the teacher left his student behind with those words, the teenager looked away, bringing his eyes into view via the camera.

"I hope so," the teen muttered. "Or I just might have to get some vengeance..." At his last word, his eyes suddenly washed over with white blue flame that blotted out them out entirely; the glow lasting until he disappeared from view again.

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Erin watches the snippet from the past with fascination. She's not entirely sure where the historical value is in this, she never heard of anyone setting fire to the school or anything like that, but she recognizes Marquez. "Guess some things never change," she murmurs, just a thread of bitterness in her voice. "He should've offered him a good game of tug of war." With a sigh, she lets that go and turns her attention to the far more interesting matter at hand. "Can you see any year with that thing? I want to see another one."

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"Well," Darian pauses uneasily, "These grounds did have dark times back before Duncan Summers bought the grounds." He pauses again to clear his throat, "Unfortunately, some were darker than others." He punches the remote again, "In honor of our," he stops to snicker, "'time travel' lets go back to a year that DeLoreans could take you anywhere in time: 1985!"

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This time the two teenagers found their perspective taking them far outside Freedom City, somewhere up in the far distant blue skies of the Earth. Suddenly, there was a loud screech of metal just off-camera, and as they watched an airplane came tumbling wildly into view! Smoke poured from two burning engines on the right side and metal fell from that same wing, the damaged craft tumbling wildly through the sky as more explosions ripped through the plane's engines. The craft was doomed and plunging fast, ready to crash into the mountains now visible below. Just as they thought they were about to witness something horrible, something amazing happened!

A bolt of blue and gold came plunging down from the sky, throwing itself against the bulk of the plane and bearing it up with a sudden, tremendous force. Their view got closer, and closer, and Quark and Erin both recognized the Centurion! The Man of Adamant, the legendary greatest of all heroes, strained and pushed against the bulk of the massive 747, holding up the collapsing plane through sheer force of will, the effort plain on his perfectly recognizable face as he caught the plunging jet and plucked it safely from the sky. With a final triumphant shout, he began guiding the plane safely back to Earth as distant, tinny cheers were heard from the craft.

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Erin watches the screen, transfixed as the drama unfolds. She braces and nearly closes her eyes as the plane plummets, then gasps with astonishment at the rescue. "Oh, wow," she says, an incredulous smile breaking over her face. "Did you see that? That was the Centurion! He was so awesome! If I could fly, I would want to be like him someday. Was that really from a camera, or did your TV just sort of... pick it up on its own?"

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Darian smiles, "Well, like I said, it is not perfect, but when it does pick up some cool things it picks doozies. I hope to have to perfected and possibly patented by the year 2017." He sighs, "Then again, no one will accept objects made of non-scientifically approved materials." He perks up, "Wait a second, let us look to the future! Now stay with me here. These are things not yet to come or maybe quantumly impossible, but it is always fun to watch." He punches the year in happily, "Maybe we will see what happens to you in 2017. I am hoping for something entertaining."

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The screen rippled and changed again, the future coming into view for the two teenagers. They were faced with a handsome, square-jawed blonde man with bright blue eyes, sitting inside a small room that looked like the pilot's cabin of a futuristic spaceship. To their great surprise, he narrowed his eyes and looked right into the lens. "Shouldn't you kids be in school?" he asked with puzzlement. His eyes narrowing, he looked from Erin to Darian, settling on the inventor first. "Oh, it's you. You Claremont kids aren't tampering with the laws of time and space again, are you? Because I told Summers I wasn't coming back there without a really good reason."

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Erin looks from the screen to Darian, her eyes wide. "I didn't know this thing worked two ways," she murmurs under her breath. Surreptitiously she tries to lean out of the view of the screen, shamelessly leaving Darian to explain what exactly it is that they're doing. For her part, she's not even sure whether they're tampering with the laws of time and space or not.

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Darian's face turns pale white and he swallows hard. Even though he has never met Dr. Tomorrow before his reputation preceeded him. And who is to say that they haven't met before? Timey Wimey Ball, and all that. He breathes out and then smiles, "Dr Tomorrow, how good it is to see you. I was helping my friend with her history homework. We were not intentionally messing with the space-time continuum, sir." He turns to Erin, "This is Dr. Tomorrow, a gaurdian of our timeline so to speak."

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"Oh, I'm familiar with your case, Mr. Cale," replied Dr. Tomorrow. His initial irritation had faded, though, replaced with the look of a friendly adult who'd caught teenagers in their shenanigans. "But we don't need to worry about that right now. Look, I know you're just kids, and I'm not going to get you into trouble without an ample cause. Why don't you restrict your investigations to your temporal past and we'll call it a day, shall we? I have a business meeting coming up shortly, and I don't want to be late."

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"We won't look anymore," Erin promises, still leaning as far out of the frame as possible. "He was just trying to help me learn more about history and the way time goes, and stuff like that. It was just an honest mistake." She looks over at Darian, motioning him to turn off the machine, or at least change the channel. The last thing they need is any more regard from some super-scientist of the future.

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"Yes sir," Darian nods in agreement with the time gaurdian, "Only the past." When Erin mentions that they wouldn't use the time television again, Darian nods in agreement again with her, "Excellent idea. Hope to see you again someday, sir. Good day!" He turns off the television. "Well, that was certainly entertaining," he laughs lightly and puts away the device the same way he took it out. "Now," he says looking to Erin with a smile, "I am open for tutoring. Do not let my intelligence intimidate you, I have taught many before. Some with lesser intelligence quotients than yourself. All of these people have gone on to great success in their studies." He pauses with an embarassed expression, "Or I can stop bothering you about it."

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"I'm already getting a lot of tutoring," Erin says a little hesitantly, "but I'm not going to turn down any offers of help. After you study on your own long enough, your mind just starts wandering. What's your favorite subject?" she asked him. "Since I need extra study in just about everything, anyway."

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"Well, you are in good hands," Darian grins like he just won the lottery, "I do not discriminate in my studies. They are all my favorite!" Looking to the stack of magazines, he sighs. "Though I still say, 'History must be lived, not read'," he says pulling out a PDA, "What is the farthest back you are studying?"

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Erin heaved a sigh. "I've got to be proficient in US history from the revolution to the Civil War if I want to stay out of freshman U.S. History in the fall, but I'm also supposed to be getting up to date on current events. My universe branched off around 2007, so I don't really know anything that happened after that. Some things a little before are different too, so I've been sort of trying to cover everything. But a lot has happened in a few years."

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Wesley puts his hands together, he pulls them apart to reveal a 27 inch floating holographric screen. It's filled with all sorts of cyphers and arcane sybols. He blushes, "Excuse me, I have not cleaned up my work." sorting them all out, a small blue space appear pulling a pen made of light out of the space, he scribbles the number 2007 in the area. She sighs and mumbles, "I'll have to remember this all later." With a tap of his pen on the screen all the cyphers and symbols disappear. He, again, writes 2007 on the screen. "Now," he looks to Erin, "We need specifics. Any exact date and place you want to start?"

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Erin stares at him as he works, cocking her head and trying to understand what it is that he's doing. It's certainly very impressive, and perhaps a little intimidating as well, but it's definitely beyond her ken. "I don't know," she tells him. "I've been trying to study up on the Constitution because I'm sure it'll be on the proficiency test. Is this going to let us look again without getting into trouble?"

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