Home of the monthly side story contest and DiE related side stories.
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Okay since the last few have died off, with little interest we'll try something different. First story to be posted starts a timer that lasts, generally, till the end of month. As Lucy poked the thread last she gets to pick a topic.
This month's topic is
Bridging the Gap
Bridging the Gap
Once again we've had a large time skip between chapters. Though a lot of characters spent this time recovering or moving around, a lot still happened between chapters with several characters and within the war itself. This prompt is to write a story either about what your character(s) were up to during the break, or just a general headcanon that you have for what happened in DiE while we glossed over.
~If this should end in fire, then we should all burn together~
The Modern Prometheus
"G'night, Iron," Val said, waving to her friend. "I'll see you in the morning." Iron Mare gave Val a look as if to chide her for still being hard at work in the lab at this hour, but didn't say anything. Val smiled at her until she left the lab, the door whooshing softly as it closed.
"Finally," Val said, sighing. Alone at last. Now she could get back to work on her little side project. Valence slowly trotted to her locker, and extricated a bundle of charts and a basketball-sized metal disc, with odd geometric shapes all along its edge and a sack of assorted gems. She had not forgotten about Noir's portal device- even with the move, and the baby, and the war effort, it was always there. Burning away at the back of her mind, consuming every quiet moment. Keeping it hidden had been easy- the proof-of-concept, scaled down version was small and easy to hide, and she had been meticulously crafting the requisite gems- layering the atoms slowly, meticulously, for hours upon hours upon hours, each hour of intense focus and concentration growing the stones an all but imperceptibly tiny amount, until at long last, a complete stone, the size of a marble, lay glittering in the wake of her efforts.
No, hiding it wasn't the hard part.
Noir's efforts translating the schematics were flawless- his attention to detail and meticulousness were well suited to the task- seeing his writing made her smile, every time. It had been a big part of her life on the Daffodil, staying up late with Noir, working on these charts and schematics, trying hard to suppress the butterflies in her stomach so they could work, even though he sat so close to her she could taste his scent on the air...
she shook herself out of her reverie, reluctantly coming back to the present. There would be time for romance and longing fulfilled later. There was work to be done. Val laid the schematics out on the nearby table, before using her magic to pull on a pair of goggles, covering her hooves with disposable slippers, and extricating a small audio recorder. "Portal device, version beta-two. The use of a pure white diamonds on alpha version resulted in molecular destabilization of the outer rim as the device rotated when a charge was applied. I believe the interior refraction index of diamond may be too great, so I have replaced the diamonds present in the original schematics with yellow diamond for beta version. Version beta-one overheated at position four- cobalt doped yttrium aluminum garnet. I believe this may have been a translation error, and have replaced it with a neodymium doped YAG. This leaves me with a few other alternatives to solve this single-point overheating issue without removing the YAG entirely, which as far as I have been able to determine is a vital component," Val said into the recorder, setting up the device and attaching a cable to the fitting at the top. She ran the cable over to a Vandergraf Generator and switched it on- the voltage required for a full-sized version were massive, but for this small-scale test, the generator was sufficient.
As the belt on the generator turned and the air in the lab took on a slight twinge of ozone, Val circled the device carefully, monitoring the structure and the gems themselves to see how the forces applied affected them. So far, so good- the yellow diamond absorbed less current, and the neodymium YAG warmed, but did not crack- and small lances of purplish light flicked between the YAG and the other gems crisscrossing the disc's edge. Val carefully scribbled down her observations, before tuning up the voltage on the generator.
The center of the disc began to glow, as a subtle, whispering sound emitted from it. Valence was puzzled- it hadn't ever made a sound before. She turned up the voltage a little, to see if the sound increased incrementally in proportion to the voltage applied. The moment she did, there was a pop, then another, then a loud crackling sound as the disc flashed brightly, rising three feet into the air, and with a loud crack, a pattern of swirling silver light played out across its surface. Val's eyes widened in amazement- maybe this was it, it was finally working! She peered at it from behind her desk, and it seemed- for a moment- like there were images om its surface. Grass, sky, a sun...
Then the whispering noise returned, only it was louder, harsher. Almost angry. A stiff breeze whipped up, inside the lab, causing her charts and graphs to flap noisly as they struggled against the weight of her hooves holding them down. The wind blew up her lab coat, making it flap angrily about her shoulders before it broke free and sailed towards the disc. Various odds and ends clattered off her desk, before being caught in the increasingly fierce gale and sucked towards the disc. Each time an object touched it, there was a flash of purple light and a crackle, before the object vanished- gone to whatever was on the other side.
Which meant there was another side. Valence grinned broadly, even as she squinted in the face of the gale. It worked! The device worked! It was just a matter of tuning it to Noir's home dimension, which would be made all the simpler once he was here with her working on the full sized version- he could simply visually confirm if the images on the other side corresponded to his world. And if that proved to be too vague, she could just use a sample from one of the objects he'd brought with him to determine the resonance of his home world. That was cake compared to the six months' effort it had been to build, test, rebuild, and retest the thing in the first place.
She looked around for something to hold her charts down with so she could turn the generator off, before using her magic to grab a nearby stapler and using it as a paperweight. The wind seemed to be getting stronger though, so she'd have to move fast. She dashed over to the generator and switched it off- but nothing happened. The wind was still getting stronger, sucking up more and more detritus from around the lab. Valence dove back to her desk just in time to snatch up her charts before the stapler whooshed off her desk, flying erratically into the portal. The humming sound that had accompanied it grew halting and erratic, as the light it emitted, which had been steady while the generator was running- flickered and spasmed, before abruptly shutting off completely. The wind and the humming died at the same time as the light- leaving the portal hovering in the middle of the lab for a split second.
A moment of utter terror seized her, as she ducked under the desk just in time to avoid the blinding flash of light and the deafening crack as the portal device imploded on itself. A terryfing howl and rush of brutal wind threatened to dash her against the wall, but she held on, squeezing her armful of charts and notes for dear life as the world around hear burst into a frenzy of sound and force for a single, furious instant, before all was mercifully still again. Valence carefully opened her eyes, though nothing in all her experience- which had included a large number of bizarre explosions- could prepare her for what she saw.
From where the device had once been, extending out about eight feet in every direction, was nothing... like a giant ice cream scoop had carved out a perfect sphere in the exact spot, slicing through stone and metal and dirt, annihilating everything in its path, consuming the very air itself. She understood now where the wind and the noise and the light had come from- the portal had created a vacuum, and the air all around her was sucked in to fill the sudden empty space- a vacuum caused by the sudden, rapid annihilation of matter. The portal device hadn't opened to another world, it had inverted the matter in the lab, turning matter into antimatter, turning every atom of every harmless scrap of paper or pencil shaving into the deadliest bomb ever conceived. There would be no armor that could protect against it, no shield to deflect it. Indeed, there couldn't be- any ordinary substance that touched it would simply cease to exist, and in its death throes, a puff of radiation would split the very light itself into fragments of furious color.
Words came, unbidden into her mindspace, words that Noir had told her back on the ship, about a famous scientist from his time who had worked his whole life to create something- and been horrified at what his efforts had wrought. At the very moment of his stunning and unprecedented success, this otherwordly scientist- Oppenheimer, that's what Noir had called him- looked out on at his creation, and uttered, "Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds."
"What have I done..."
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