IS ANYBODY THERE? PLEASE HELP ME! 882: Syncro Earth
Professor Salvador softly closed the door to his living quarters. It was centrally located on campus, close to the Core and the Oblivion Generator and the Sync Shield Revitalizer. And most importantly, perhaps, close to Professor Rivera.
He dropped his notebook on his desk, shut the curtains, and sat in his office chair.
“Lock up for the night,” Salvador commanded.
The room’s auto-processes began to churn. The door locked, the curtains solidified, and the area around his living space became triple warded. The bed sprung to life, psychically displaying his typical bed time routine for any scriers who somehow made it past the wards. Most nights it played him reading a well worn copy of his favorite novel, Urban Myths. He sat back in his office chair, waved his hand over the holo-projector to wake it up, and flipped through to his deepest, most guarded files.
He tapped the icon named <untitled 232> and opened the deep cover investigation on the Potter School he’d been conducting for several years now.
Everything he’d gathered was meticulously organized by time of discovery, nature of discovery, and loose threads that needed further investigating. Of those loose threads, several were now ready to be pulled.
Like Professor Rivera’s past.
From the secret files of Professor Emilio Rivera
Emilio: You again. What do you want?
???: I want to know more about you.
Emilio: Like what?
???: Like what a boy like you is doing all the way out here. Alone. It’s not a safe place to be, even for a sync.
Emilio: I want to be alone.
???: Forgive my curiosity. The seas of Oblivion are not easy to traverse, after all. Visitors are rare.
Emilio: Oh. Okay. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. Being curious, I mean.
???: Many who come here embody one of the four aspects. Which of the four are you? Hmm? The Saint of Pain? The Guardian in Darkness? The Eternal Wanderer? The Shattered Soul?
Emilio: It sounds like you already know.
???: Maybe. *A long pause* How long have you been coming here?
Emilio: Too long.
???: Well then, perhaps it’s time you got moving again.
Emilio: To where?
???: To wherever you came from. Tell me about that place. Tell me about… Earth.
Salvador had gathered about a dozen of these files from the hidden Potter School server. Each one made less sense than the last, but it pointed to something Salvador had suspected for a long time; that his old mentor had connections to the darkness, and perhaps, to the Dark Spectre.
That part of the investigation had hit a snag and for a while, Salvador couldn’t make heads or tails of these encounters. Then a break in the investigation, just last night, when one of the vaults under Club Tildi was broken into and an artifact stolen. That artifact, the Book of Black Hours, dated back to the dawn of the current Technic Age. It was a repository of technical knowledge that dealt mostly with another thread in his investigation that until now had seemed unrelated to the first.
As a member of Club Zinta, Salvador had very limited access to the Tildi vaults, but even he was aware of the pieces of Cosmic Warrior Armor that Tildi harbored. That armor, its design and construction, had sprung up seemingly out of nowhere some 1600 years back. And it was from a lost passage from Saint Arlo’s dialogues that Salvador found his next clue.
From the Dialogues of Arlo the Saint
17And I saw in that blasted land a black star rising from the earth. And it’s dark radiance terrified me. With no eyes to see it watched me. With no mouth to speak it called to me. 18I cried out in awe and terror. What do you want from me oh great and terrible star? The star black as night turned to me and said,
“Yo, what the fuck is this? Who are you?”
19I spoke with an awful trembling as my courage had just about left me. I said that I was a humble captain in the King’s army. That I had strayed from the path and now I was hopelessly lost. And the black star said to me,
“Wow, that’s totally fucked up, dude. Hey, you think you can help me out? I help you, you help me and we’ll both be better off.”
20I asked the black star what I could possibly offer a great and terrible force such as it. And the darkest star spoke to me with the voice of a thousand flames,
“Jesus fucking Christ, dude, would you relax? Look, just put me on, click the things on the side shut and then activate me with the special code and then you’ll become a cosmic powered super-soldier. You can run around being a badass wherever you go and I can finally get the fuck out of this ruined shithole. We have a deal?”
21I was close to death. I had no choice. I accepted the black star’s terms.
Salvador had been sure it was some kind of joke or forgery, something archeologists passed around for a laugh at Yule parties. But in the end he was able to determine its authenticity and that realization chilled him to the core. Serious scholars on the subject chocked the voice of the black star to delirium on Arlo’s part, from many days lost in the ruins of Maeljanista without food or water. But Salvador knew there was more to it than that. The black star was not just an advanced set of armor as the writings suggested. It was intelligent. And Professor Rivera was desperate to find it.
During the Turbulence, Salvador had encountered many strange and out of place things. Things that didn’t belong in this universe. The disciples of the Dark Spectre were zealous, violent, and wholly without concern for their own lives and were therefore perfect hosts for such paradoxes. Many a raid had ended with Salvador and his fellow knights questioning their understanding of reality. Many knights lost their sanity dealing with artifacts from impossible times and places, impossible people and animals, things that couldn’t possibly exist in this world, washing ashore on the black waves of Oblivion. And, at the center of it all, was Professor Rivera and his bottomless curiosity for such impossibilities.
Back then, he would have loved to haul Professor Rivera in for questioning about his proximity to so much strangeness, but the Sycamore Knights held Rivera in very high regard and Salvador’s efforts had ended up wasted on that front.
Until recently, of course.
The third loose thread, the mystery of Rivera’s secret lab. Salvador was sure he’d found it, but he hadn’t been able to get close enough to investigate any further. Something major was happening in that lab. Professor Rivera spent more and more of his days down there. So many students walked through those doors and never came back. That was certainly the reason this Julio boy was here. His connection to this place was undeniable and the boy’s conversation with the vampire swiped from the vault’s security tapes had all but confirmed it.
His sister. Amelia, was it? Curious. Very curious. Rivera had had an intense interest in her. She was disappeared in a matter of days. And now her brother was here. Released from juvenile detention some months back according to his record. Salvador wondered if he was involved. Juan. This had his stench all over it. And Julio’s remarkable gift. The white fire. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. But he couldn’t act without evidence. His observation would have to continue for now. But the time to act was soon. Very soon.