WorldEmber2018

Tale #6: Jump!

In 24GE during the implementation of the Declaration of Existential Independence, secret negotiations with the Clockwork Avatar Sanatana were executed by the Faculty of Clockwork Theology of Borealis with the support of the Council of Faculties. Special exceptions were introduced into the suppression field of the DVF Suppressors to allow for a narrow vector of connection for the souls of Borealis's inhabitants, code-name: "Lifeline". This allowed the willful pursuit of clockwork spirituality and connecting to the cycle of rebirth by citizens while still making magic within the limits of the city virtually impossible, since DVF suppression prevents the circumvention of the inverse square law for DVF-based effects.

- Fact taken from Old Tim's One Hundred Facts about Aqualon, Volume 2.

 
...seven-four-eight seconds. Warning: if you discover active legacy technamagic devices anywhere within the city limits, immediately inform the Hierarchy. DVF Suppressors will be spooled up and ready to activate in seven-three-nine seconds. Please stay clear of the old city core during this process. DVF Suppressors will be spooled up and ready to activate in...   The female voice continued to echo through the city's public address system, counting down the time to ultimate isolation.   "Did you get it?! Did you get the formula?!" the man in the dark mantle urged Klarie on. It was prof. Jahnsburg, her old mentor.   "Y-yes! Are you sure this will work?" she asked nervously.   "Nothing is certain. If everything goes well, we'll be off just before the countdown ends. Now hurry! If we don't get to the city core in time, we will be left behind." He put his hand on her shoulder and moved her along.   There weren't many dark corners in the central pathway system of the city, but below, they could scamper through the shadows that now lingered all around. With the DVF suppressors about to start, much of the city had been put on emergency power only. A security precaution in case there might be energy problems during the start-up.   ...Please stay clear of the old city core during this process. DVF Suppressors will be spooled up and ready to activate in five-eight-eight seconds...   "Why do they want us to stay clear of the core? Is it dangerous?" Klarie was filled with fright. She had never done anything wrong, and now she was about to become a traitor to her beloved city.   "Not directly, no. They just want no one to tinker with the jump drive. But we must! This is our last chance to remain free! Everyone has already gathered in the right places. We'll jump away any moment now. It won't be easy at first, but we will keep science free, Klarie! You are doing a brave and honorable thing!" prof. Jahnsburg insisted. "Quickly now!"   They hurried on. The city core was not far away. Klarie had been supposed to get the formula hours ago, but terrified she might be caught, she had been a lot slower than previously projected. What if they didn't make it in time and they needed it? This tiny but significant bit of knowledge inside her information bladder contained the secret vector, the corridor that would be outside the DVF Suppressors' influence. If the jump did not happen before the activation, or was somehow retroactively affected by it, this data would ensure their safe voyage.   five-two-five seconds. Please- warning. Warning. Please proceed to your designated emergency locations. Severe magic activity has been detected in sector zero....   "Oh no!" Klarie exclaimed. "Oh no, professor what is happening?!"   Prof. Jahnsburg had stopped in his tracks, taking off his hat, his wispy white hair slightly charged in the underground air. "Gates and gears beyond! Sector zero is the core! They have spooled the engine up without us!" He looked about frantically, unsure what to do next. His face showed that he was clearly being torn apart right now. "Blast it! Back, Klarie, we have to turn around and run!"   Again, he put his hand on her shoulder and pushed her forward, breaking out in a run himself. "Damn it! Damn it!" he kept cursing under his jagged breath.   "Please, professor, I am scared!" Klarie yelped, fear in her eyes, "what is happening?"   He could no longer reply. As she turned to look at him, she could see how he had stumbled over his long coat a few meters back. She just wanted to go back and help him up when a wall of eerie, amber light encroached upon them, washing through the underground passage way from where they had initially wanted to go: the city core. Small blips of lightning erupted haphazardly inside the energy field, and to Klarie's great horror, the professor could not get back up on his feet in time. "Professor Jahnsburg! You have to get out of there, I think the core is about to-" A blinding light blast forth from the bowels of the corridor, blinding Klarie momentarily. When her sight returned, the professor was gone, and so was a large segment of the city: it's central area. The corridor now led into a large crater and water from the sewers was leaking into the newly formed cavity, cut-off pipes no longer leading anywhere. "Jump..." she breathed, lifting her shaking hand to her mouth. There was no chance the professor could have survived the spacial turbulence at the outskirts of the translocation field.
— From "The Cost of Independence" by Klarie Aurel


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