Maeldune slowly opened his eyes, the bright daylight caused a wave of pain to wash over his bruised skull. Squinting, he slowly gazed round the room. It was illuminated by three windows, two smaller, round windows and a larger rectangular one. The room itself was broadly circular and seemed to be formed from a single piece of solid wood. As Maeldune was able to open his eyes further, it became clear to him that this room was in a large hollow tree. Noting the presence of a ‘Net terminal, as well as a Bio Generator and a transporter to move between floors, he concluded he was in a Community settlement.
Maeldune tried to remember how he had got here. The thumping pain in his head increased, by way of response. He remembered going into the carriage in the tunnel. Then there were flashes; of piles of bones, of slabs of meat suspended from hooks, of mouths filled with teeth filed to points. Then only blackness. Maeldune shuddered and gently probed his head for injuries. There was a lump the size of a chicken egg on the back of his head. Hearing a slight noise he turned to see Eris emerging from the transporter, a platter piled high with obscure foodstuffs held in both hands.
‘You’re awake,’ she said, ‘I was beginning to worry’
‘It feels like a construction bot ran over my head, what happened?’
‘What do you mean, when?’
‘When were you interested in, in particular. You’ve been asleep for four days.’
‘All right then, I remember going into the carriage in the tunnel and nothing from that point onwards.’
‘Basically, the strange tunnel people tried to kidnap us. You heroically fought off the first wave, single handedly, and then challenged their leader to single combat. After defeating him in spectacular fashion, you commanded the tunnel people to escort us through it in safety. We were then lucky enough to come across a couple of Bio Engineers in a personal vehicle and they brought us here.’
Maeldune stared at Eris in disbelief. Smiling, she looked back, and as Maeldune caught the gaze of her gleaming golden eye, he felt a surge of memories.
‘Of course! Now I remember. Ironic indeed, that after such precise fighting, I would slip and bang my head afterwards.’
‘That’s what I thought,’ said Eris, ‘I’m glad your memory has been restored. Now, do try some of this food, this Travellers House is maintained by a Bio Engineer and the Generator is the latest refinement.’
* * *
The next day, Eris procured a Harmoniser for Maeldune and with his health restored, they set out to explore the settlement they were in. Maeldune was clad in a well tailored suit, varying shades of red in colour that Eris had selected for him, his apprentice was clad in a simple white shirt, a short green kilt and calf length strapped sandals. Eris had already explained to the Chronicler that they were in a place called Ys by the Community members who lived there. The settlement was a large one, several times the size of the Avalon settlement. Most notably, the entire settlement was constructed below the level of the sea, with the tides held back by a vast sea wall. This were constructed from materials which had been specially crafted by Bio Engineers to be of varying and controllable permeability. The pair exited the tree house and wandered in the general direction of the Ys Academy, the heart of the settlement.
From the doorway of a Persian styled tower, a dark, tanned woman with green eyes watched carefully. Focusing her mind, she called out telepathically.
Found him. He’s on his own, shall I take him now?
Negative. Observe him for now, still can’t get a lock on him.
Maybe he has a personal warp generator, I’ll stay close by. Tell Raoul to get a move on.
Maintaining mental contact, the woman strolled down the avenue after Maeldune and the apparently unnoticed Eris.
* * *
‘Good Afternoon,’ said Maeldune, ‘my name is Mungo Park and this is my assistant, Eris. I was wondering if there were any Chroniclers in the building I could speak to?’
The holographic display on the reception area wall sprang to life. In front of Maeldune and Eris were suddenly twenty or so revolving, translucent heads. Maeldune passed his hand over one of them and details of his name and probable location in the complex were revealed. Maeldune strode confidently down one of the white marble hallways that radiated from the reception area. The hallway was decorated on either side by numerous screens displaying holographic renderings of events from the history of the settlement of Ys, focusing principally on the construction of the sea wall. Several displays showed the wall holding back the sea, while letting marine craft pass through it.
‘Mungo Park?’ said Eris.
‘A former incarnation,’ replied Maeldune, ‘I explored parts of Africa during the peak of the British Empire. Not my finest hour, if I’m honest. The man we’re going to see knows me as Mungo, rather than Maeldune.’
‘Ah, so if anyone asks after Maeldune, they will draw a blank. Most cunning, I am privileged to have so resourceful an instructor.’
‘And I am delighted to have so perceptive an apprentice’
After about a half hour of wandering and doubling back, Maeldune and Eris finally located the Chronicler they were seeking. The door frame to his office had no actual door, the frame instead merely acting as a anchor point for floor length strings of beads in dazzling, psychedelic colour combinations. Maeldune brushed aside the beads, calling out a greeting as he did so. The room they entered was dominated by a large eye shaped window, looking onto the Geo Engineered inner gardens of the Academy. The right hand wall of the room was taken up by floor to ceiling shelving, designed in the fashion of large pigeon holes. It was filled to over capacity by piles of scrolls and writing tablets. The left wall had mounted on it, a huge screen which displayed a holographic orchestra performing a series of movements composed by the twentieth century maestro David Bowie. Scattered around the room, were numerous piles of cushions and low tables. In front of the window, on a dais accessed by four steps, was a huge free standing bath, the overall design of which was reminiscent of a winged dragon. In the bath was an olive skinned man, with curly blonde hair and a short beard. He had his eyes shut and was conducting the holographic orchestra with an elaborate back scratcher. He seemed not to have heard Maeldunes’ initial greeting.
‘Apollonius!’ Maeldune bellowed, ‘Turn the music down.’
The man in the bathtub opened an eye and regarded his visitors. Flushing slightly, he barked out a command, and the display fell silent. He took a second look at Maeldune.
‘Mungo? My dear fellow, when did you arrive in Ys? And who is your delightful companion?’
‘It’s a pleasure to see you again, Apollonius. This is my apprentice, Eris. We’ve just got here, I thought I would look you up.’
‘Throw me that toga, would you, old boy. The water is becoming tepid and somewhat disagreeable.’
Maeldune picked up a toga from one of the piles of cushions and threw it at Apollonius as he stood up in the bath. As he stepped out of the bath, he wrapped it expertly around himself. Although the garment had seemed a plain white when Maeldune picked it up, with every movement Apollonius made it shifted through a kaleidoscope of colours.
‘Nice toga,’ said Maeldune, ‘where did you get that?’
‘The Bio Engineer who supervised the sea wall project with me, made it for me as a completion gift.’
‘Nobody realises you were involved, you have effectively been bought off with a shiny bit of material,’ said Eris.
‘I didn’t know you were part of that,’ remarked Maeldune. Apollonius’ eyes bulged slightly.
‘It was my idea! Are you telling me that Bio Engineer is taking all the credit?’
‘I’m afraid that’s what it looks like. Still you got a nice toga.’
‘All that work for a bit of shiny material! This is an outrage!’
‘This would be a good time to test your attempt at recreating Roman wine,’ said Eris.
‘What was that my dear?’ said Apollonius
‘I was just saying how upsetting this must be for you.’
‘You’re right, it is upsetting. I have just the thing, however. I’ve been attempting to synthesise authentic Roman wine. Would you two care to join me in a goblet or two?’
* * *
After the eighth bottle of wine, Apollonius’ mood changed from melancholy to vengeful. Eris sat demurely sipping only her second goblet of wine, while Maeldune, having drunk the most, was staring at his open hands in apparent amazement.
‘I should teach that Engineer a lesson, show him who he’s messing with.’
‘I can shee through my fingersh,’ announced Maeldune.
‘It’s late,’ said Eris, ‘he’ll be asleep. We should go to his room and steal the key to the sea wall. Then you can get your revenge.’
Apollonius stared at Maeldune in wonder. ‘My dear fellow that is a brilliant idea. Do you have an idea to get him back?’
‘I can see sound. It looks like ripples on a pond.’ Maeldune looked around proudly.
‘I have a couple of ideas,’ said Eris, ‘let’s get the key and head to the control area.’
Apollonius clapped Maeldune on the shoulder. ‘I knew I could rely on you, Mungo. You’re very lucky to have such a wise mentor Eris’
Eris nodded her agreement and, as the two men lurched drunkenly out the door, she gave a small smile and picked up another bottle of wine. Whistling a discordant tune she followed the staggering pair.
* * *
They were not long out with the grounds of the Academy when Eris noticed they were being followed. As they rounded the corner, Eris lingered in the doorway of the building they had just passed. After a few moments the green eyed woman rounded the corner and padded after the two men. As she passed the doorway, Eris’ hand shot out and grabbing her collar, dragged her into the shadows. Eris stared at the woman, her golden eye gleaming with menace.
‘You look familiar,’ said Eris ‘it’s Medea, isn’t it? The Mechanic.’
Medea swiftly took in the woman facing her. She noticed the golden eye. Her own eyes suddenly widened in fear and apprehension.
‘I see you remember me. Excellent, now listen carefully; you never saw me, all you saw were Apollonius and the man in the red suit. Now wait here and when you hear a rumbling sound, run very quickly in the opposite direction.’
Medea nodded obediently. Eris smiled and patted her on the cheek. ‘Good girl.’
* * *
By the time the three had got to the marine docklands of Ys, Maeldune was all but unconcious, upright only through the efforts of a struggling Eris. She paused then addressed Apollonius.
‘Eris seems a little worse for wear,’ she said,’ I’ll just leave her here for a while. We can pick her up on the way back.’ With that she dragged Maeldune over to a tear shaped enclosed vessel. The upper dome opened to a small gesture and Eris shoved Maeldune into the passenger seat. He began to snore.
Apollonius stared owlishly at Eris. ‘It seems your apprentice can’t take the pace, Mungo old fellow.’
‘Indeed she can’t,’ said Eris, ‘come let us extract your revenge.’
* * *
Near the seaward edge of the docklands, they came to the sea wall control room. Apollonius, was swaying dramatically by this point, having drunk the remainder of the last bottle of wine. Eris produced the Bio Engineers’ key and entered the small building, followed by Apollonius. He sat down in one of the chairs and promptly fell asleep, snoring thunderously. Eris grinned, and inserted the key into the control array. Her hands blurred as she disarmed the various fail safes and then began to open all of the shipping channels. An alarm began to sound. She frowned and it was abruptly cut off. Making sure that she had reduced the wall integrity to the minimum possible she then slammed her fist repeatedly into the array, rendering it unusable. She turned to face the snoring Apollonius.
As Eris ran outside she could hear a noise like thunder from the direction of the sea wall. She laughed merrily and sprinted to the craft she had left Maeldune in. As she climbed in, the first section of the sea wall cracked, then shattered swiftly followed by the entire right side of the construction. A vast tidal wave of sea water swept towards Ys. Cackling with glee, Eris sealed the craft and fired the turbine propelled vehicle forwards into the deluge. Another section of the wall gave way as she passed and, for the second time in history, the settlement of Ys sank beneath the waves.