Friday, January 7, 2011

Uncharted, Part III

*Continued from Uncharted, Part II

Excerpt 1

It is estimated that the tunnels have been open since the year 949. In the early part of that year, all of the planets in the Solar System were aligned in the same 90-degree arc. For reasons as-yet unexplained, the gravitational alignment of the planets resulted in a tear in space-time and doorways (what the Order refers to as the tunnels) to other dimensions were opened. These Meean tunnels (so named after Jean Meeus) weren't hypothesized until later in the 20th Century and the discovery of the first tunnel in Poland (near Giewont in the Tatra Mountains) confirmed their existence.

The Order of Navigators, leading a pseudo-military incursion, has reportedly closed the Giewont Tunnel, though Navigator Sextant has so far refused to reveal the method of closure. Lacking conclusive evidence, as well as the order's reluctance to cooperate fully with Vatican authority, I am of the opinion that there are many more tunnels and that more creatures have come through them.

Excerpt 2 -

Given legends such as the Beast of Gévaudan (and several others), I believe that creatures have been coming through these tunnels for centuries. The irony that a Pope authorized the annexation of an atheist order of "Knights" for the purposes of protecting our existence only serves to reinforce how important and real this situation is.

Excerpt 3 -

That stated, the operational and administrative status is an affront to our Catholic beliefs. That you were successful in convincing Navigator Clock to disband their military arm (along with their assassination practices) bears poorly on our sovereignty and, in my humble opinion, our very legitimacy. We are more than capable of handling these Demons using our existing assets. My appeals to do so have been denied now for the seventh time.

Excerpt 4 -

It is with great regret that I resign from my position as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Cardinal Jonathan M. Grant

***

"Wow. He resigned?" Marianne doesn't know what to think. Cardinal Grant was who first informed her that the Order of Navigators were even real. She didn't know him well, but she considers him a mentor.

Compass, testing an algorithm on his computer, nods. He fails to mention that the military arm of the order isn't exactly defunct and that, with the Pope's reluctant blessing, Cardinal Grant will suffer a fatal heart attack by the end of the day.

Tired of watching the computations, Compass stands from his chair and heads for the door.

"Where are you going?"

"To the Library. Need some information."

"Can I come?"

Compass shrugs as he exits.

Watching from his high-backed smoking chair in the corner, Sextant - who had been frowning up to that point - lets loose a wry smile. It was strongly advised that he select a different Compass, but Sextant needed the apathetic humor that this Compass provides. Sextant recognized that his own skills and, indeed, his own discretions were falling by the wayside. While he wants nothing more than for his successor to be as empathic as possible, he needs his Compass to be as blunt and straightforward as he - Sextant, that is - used to be.

A long time ago, that was.

***

Even before Sextant became the head of the Order of Navigators, he was an accomplished navigator. Once a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, he had been aboard the HMS Repulse when it was sunk by the Japanese in the early days of the Pacific War. It was then that he'd met his predecessor for the first and only time.

Drowning in the South China Sea, somewhere East of Endau, a young British sailor prepared himself to pass through to the other side. Except... he didn't.

Prior to passing out from the lack of oxygen and the water pressure, that sailor witnessed the oddest of sights. A black man locked in a physical struggle with what could only be described as an octopus made of smoke. And a green turtle that, moments after the sailor spied it, exploded in a fissure of flesh, blood, and shell. Or, perhaps, imploded.

When he had come to, Sextant found himself lying on a beach in Sumatra, very much alive. The black man was reciting some strange incantations and carving symbols into Sextant's chest. Sextant tried to resist, but found himself too weak. And found his arms pinned by two green turtles, both of whom appeared to be smiling. To this day, Sextant swears one spoke just before he had passed out again. "Welcome," it had said. But, other than the first Clock he had worked with, Sextant mentioned it to no one.

Indeed, until he had met his first Clock the year after the Japanese surrendered - he'd been captured on Sumatra and spent most of the war in a prisoner of war camp on Hokkaido - he had no idea who that black man even was. When he'd woke the second time, the black man was lying dead beside him, and the green turtles were gone.

***

Sextant had been sleeping in his flat in London when his first Compass had knocked on his door. With him was his first Clock, a strikingly tall Italian woman with whom he'd have many sexual encounters until her death three years later (an untimely death, largely Sextant's fault).

"Who are you?" Sextant, then still operating under his birth name, had asked.

Both Compass and Clock were carrying pistols - American Colt 1911s, if memory serves Sextant correctly - and Clock had ordered Sextant to pack some clothes and come with them. In a position to cherish life as fully as possible, Sextant obeyed. By the time the DC-3 had landed in Switzerland, Sextant had learned who the black man was - the Third Sextant. He'd learned that prior to the First Sextant the position was known as Quadrant and prior to being known as Quadrant it was known as Astrolabe. He'd learned who Compass, Clock, and Spyglass were and what they did. He'd even learned that, from the time he'd been imbued by the previous Sextant to the time he'd been found by Compass, he had been growing younger and is, in fact, 12 years older than his body thinks it is.

Neither the Compass nor the Clock at the time expected Sextant to fall into line so quickly, but he had. And for no other reason than having seen an octopus made of smoke and being welcomed by a turtle.

*Continued in Uncharted, Part IV

The Complete Uncharted: Map One

4 comments:

  1. Re Excerpt 2: It also serves to illustrate how expediency and self-service can unveil the hypocrisy hidden beneath the mitre.

    "...is, in fact, 12 years older than his body thinks it is." Yeah, yeah, that's it. Me too.

    I'm loving this. You've got a winner here, Jeff. I think this is totally publishable, and has all the earmarks of a platform for a series.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, wait. Sorry, I lost my head. I forgot that you are not a writer. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What Jeff isnt a writer?? Go figure

    love the angles and names in this Jeff - a winner

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  4. Noice. Although I'll need to go back an reread once finished. Soz banjaxed my keyboard and some keys don't work.

    ReplyDelete

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