Tell a Story Day: Part 8

I’m participating in a fun chain story as part of “Tell A Story Day” (which will be on April 27th). This chain story was organized by M. Todd Gallowglass of Genre Underground. I met Gallowglass at WorldCon last year, when we were both participants on a riotous panel on storytelling, and I’m very pleased to be a part of this tale, which is turning out to be quite fun.

You can read the previous story sections here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

 

All caught up? Okay, here we go:

 

The lawyer sighed the sigh of the endlessly put-upon. He’d spent mountains of coin on law school, for what? To serve summons in grungy bars, weave through bar fights and catastrophic magic?

For not the first time, he was glad that he’d taken a magical theory course before becoming a solicitor…sorry, lawyer. They’d managed to stay clear of the dimensional inversion, but now the elf had a getaway route. And not one that would be easy to return from, even if they did catch him rapidly.

“The gateway is unlikely to remain stable for long. Are you waiting for an invitation, perhaps?” the android said.

“Someone needs to update your humor algorithm,” the lawyer said as he stood up. “Are you coming?”

The android joined him, and the two walked forward into the light. The lawyer remembered to hold his breath, since he had no particular interest in having his soul (yes, he still had it. He’d passed on the junior position with Stoker & Benchley) sucked out his nostrils by the aetheric pressure differential.

The lawyer closed his eyes, and the light surrounded his body. He felt a slight tug, and then vanished.

***

The android processed its surroundings not like a human, with their limited focus, but as a true intelligence, aggregating all inputs at the same time.

Towers scaling more than one hundred meters high.

Darkened clouds registering high mana saturation.

Hundreds of lifeforms, each with pH ratings of 11 or higher.

Millions more active heat signatures across the spectra of mechanical sentience.

But more than anything, gears. Hundreds of gears, valves, tubes, nuts, bolts, and more. The android was lost for a moment in repeating a memory subroutine from its earliest backup.

They’d come home. The realm of his creation – Assembly.  The android turned to see the lawyer exhale, his cheeks reddened. The human gasped, but found his breath after several moments. The android spun its head to see in all directions, applying a thermal filter to discern the most likely escape path that the meddlesome elf had taken.

“Query: Why would the elf wish to retreat to Assembly?” the android asked.

“I don’t know, but if we don’t find him soon, we never will.”

 

The next installment of the story comes from R. K MacPherson: Part 9

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