wonder_city: (Default)
[personal profile] wonder_city
We're coming up on the end of this first episode of Compass Rose, so I'll probably be alternating with Wonder City until we get to the last part.

As you may recall, the Witch Queen was bored...

Christopher was babbling out the story of the Terrible Roommate, the Cake Disaster, and the Unfortunate Sports Bar to the Witch-Queen, who was leaning over the fence like a cowpoke. Tom, who had heard this saga before, tuned him out and examined her near vicinity for anything that looked as though it might be used to pick a lock. Unfortunately, trees are conspicuously absent of useful lockpicking materiel.

She peered up at the roof of the cage, wondering if she could work a wire loose, while Christopher nattered on about rotten food and inexplicable fire escape incidents to an oddly fascinated Witch-Queen. Suddenly, Tom was struck by a wave of dizziness.

“And then, just to top it all off, we discovered that he was responsible for the constant toilet clogging! I don’t know if I should tell you that story, it’s kind of gross...”

Tom opened her beak, but before she could say anything to interrupt the flow of Christopher’s banal narrative, she toppled over onto her back.

Maybe the brain transfer is failing. Maybe I’m dying. Maybe I’m allergic to myself!

She felt as though she were drowning. She couldn’t make a sound because she couldn’t breathe.

“So she left the cake in the kitchen while we went out to get frosting for it. We really ought to have known better.”

Gray waves, like interference patterns, began to interfere with her vision.

I just wish I didn’t have to listen to this old story again.

As if in accordance with her wish, her hearing began to fuzz out, interrupted with bizarre bursts of white noise. She wondered if it was the blood rushing in her tiny bird skull.

“And when we came back, you wouldn't believe what we found in the kitchen...” But then she couldn’t hear Christopher’s voice at all. Her vision went black. She couldn’t breathe. She was drowning.

Then a hand grabbed her by the hair and pulled her up and out of some kind of fluid. She gasped and opened her eyes.

The Dean frowned, gave a small nod, and released Tom’s hair. Tom realized that she was sitting in a sort of glass coffin filled with blood-temperature goo, and that there were wires in some rather uncomfortable places. “What the--” she coughed.

“Give yourself a moment to breathe,” advised the Dean, and turned to another coffin. Predictably, it held Christopher. Tom noticed that he was wearing a minimum of clothing and looked down in a panic to discover the same was true of herself. She swung herself out of the water, ripping off electrodes as she did so, and looked around. Her clothes were neatly folded on a pillar nearby.

“I don’t want to know who undressed me, do I?” she asked, while she dressed with a rapidity worthy of someone who has just heard her lover’s parents pull into the driveway.

“Probably robots,” said the Dean, resting one hand on the open lid of Christopher’s coffin. “What was he doing just now? He’s very resistant to being woken.”

“Telling a story to the Witch-Queen,” said Tom, jamming her filthy sneakers onto her feet. “I should have thought of the Matrix solution, I just couldn’t parse being a bird.”

“That explains it,” said the Dean, sounding irritated. “Here, give me those,” she added, reaching for the wires which had been stuck to various parts of Tom’s body. She examined them, then put them into ports in the back of a boxlike object which Tom couldn’t help thinking looked rather like a console of some sort. The front of the box was hollow, and the Dean reached into it and began to manipulate something.

“What are you doing?” asked Tom, more diffidently than she had planned.

The Dean sighed. “Well, I had intended to create a distraction,” she said. “But it seems the distraction does not need my help.” She did something and a screen on the wall flickered to life, showing the scene in the garden or pen from the point of view of the bird-waldo Tom had so recently inhabited.

“Oh, bugger me with an angry porcupine,” said Tom, as she saw what was going on.

“...Quite,” said the Dean.

Date: 2013-02-01 11:17 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
You really love cliffhangers, don't you? It's hard to wait between installments. I'd been wondering about Tom and Christopher actually being changed. It didn't seem likely.

Thanks for writing!

Date: 2013-02-13 06:30 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
This whole episode is a string of cliffhangers! Think of them as commercial breaks. ;)

Date: 2013-05-03 03:06 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
I was thinking it might be some very good illusion; good on the Matrix angle! :D

I can't wait to see the thrilling conclusion!


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