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Enewald

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Erhm.... :rofl:
Where is this shop of Nowhere & Never? :confused::rolleyes:
 

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Well, well, well... How many ways can I say the same thing, namely that the preceding update was weird? :)

To me, Molly's tale was actually more unsettling than the part with the Criminal. I mean, when someone is known as 'The Criminal' and makes his grand entrance by choking a man and mercilessly crushing his hand, you know pretty much where you stand. Evil? Check. Powerful? Check. Capricious? Check.

But the Molly stuff... It's all pretty normal, mundane, but it all appears to be a little bit off. And I'm not saying that for the throwaway last line in which she does drugs and attempts homicide (but not really). The desperate search for her floss, the rhyming and internal heated exchange (multiple personalities?), her reminiscing about playing blinking games with her sister... It all seems a little bit off (then again, so is much in your version of Haiti) and it leaves me more ill at ease than the beginning of the post.

So Molly: normal person with some quirks, harmless fruitcake or deranged psychotic? In any other story, I'd say that time will tell. In this one... We'll see. :)
 

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Erhm.... :rofl:
Where is this shop of Nowhere & Never? :confused::rolleyes:

In another universe. :)

I think he means Amazon.com? :D

Amazon.ht, actually.:D

Well, well, well... How many ways can I say the same thing, namely that the preceding update was weird? :)

To me, Molly's tale was actually more unsettling than the part with the Criminal. I mean, when someone is known as 'The Criminal' and makes his grand entrance by choking a man and mercilessly crushing his hand, you know pretty much where you stand. Evil? Check. Powerful? Check. Capricious? Check.

But the Molly stuff... It's all pretty normal, mundane, but it all appears to be a little bit off. And I'm not saying that for the throwaway last line in which she does drugs and attempts homicide (but not really). The desperate search for her floss, the rhyming and internal heated exchange (multiple personalities?), her reminiscing about playing blinking games with her sister... It all seems a little bit off (then again, so is much in your version of Haiti) and it leaves me more ill at ease than the beginning of the post.

So Molly: normal person with some quirks, harmless fruitcake or deranged psychotic? In any other story, I'd say that time will tell. In this one... We'll see. :)

Yes it is a bit strange, isn't it? This point is quite important, so it should be one that actually has a proper answer given time.
 

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King, ghost and coin make a cameo! Hail discordia!

23

Lois Mimsy walked through the Police Station in Saint-Martin precinct, feeling slightly confused. She turned a corner and saw Sergeant Bandersnatch at the front desk, and approached him.

“Sarge, have you seen Maurice and Anney? They went out to investigate that missing dog thing yesterday, and neither of them have been seen since.”

Bandersnatch shrugged. “Really? I hadn’t noticed. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”

“…” Lois said. She then realised that nothing had come out, and stamped her foot. “We haven't had any radio contact from them either. Sarge, if I may speak freely and state my opinion; I don’t understand why we’re devoting so many resources to looking for some dog?”

“Because it’s so cuuute!”

“I see. But what about Albert Louverture? Why aren’t we looking into what happened there, man? I’m interesting in that.”

Bandersnatch scratched his head. “Who?”

“Albert Louverture!” Lois said with growing frustration. “That crazy looking man on that rowboat?”

“I don’t recall anyone of that name,” Bandersnatch said in a mechanical monotone. “Now, go away and do whatever you’re supposed to be doing.”

“Aargh! Fine, then I shall!” Lois stared at him for an extra moment, but the sergeant was miles away, gazing lazily into space, face blank. She shook her head, muttering as she strode away, “People! I don’t know why I put up with them. Screw this crap, I’m getting my sorry ass a coffee. And then, and then...I quit! This masquerade is over!”

THE PREVIOUS DAY​
A puddle oozed on the pavement, and the clear salty liquid seeped into the drains as Molly walked away, clutching her head. A couple of minutes later PC Anney Burleigh came out of the baker’s shop where she had been making enquiries about Porridge. The shopkeeper had been unable (or unwilling) to dispense any useful information and Anney was starting to get the feeling she was on a fool’s errand. She knew that baker’s didn’t make porridge, that wasn’t what she wanted-no, it’s a dog, called Porridge-fine, never mind! Murder and arson was right up her street; looking for a mangy dog and jaywalking was not. On the plus side, the baker had given her a jam donut on the house. She groaned when she saw the damp stain, and took a bite out of the donut.

“Damn Maurice, thanks a lot,” she said with mouth full, and before smiling slightly. “Ah well, means more donut for me, don’t it?” PC Maurice Molyneux did this a lot, and it was starting to annoy Anney. What was most irritating was that it wasn’t even an original idea, as she had read several books by a popular author featuring a character of a similar disposition, even in the same kind of job. But seriously, doing it in broad daylight on a busy street? Anyone coulda seen him! she thought with dismay. He might as well have just done it in the road!

“Better call this in on the radio,” she said, after swallowing the last remnants of her snack. She pressed the button, but there was no response. “Hello, can anyone hear me? Is anyone there? Ah, damn it!” The display on the front was blank, and it was completely dead. “Well this sucks,” she said with a sigh.

Anney found a bench, and sat down, fanning herself with her hat. Maurice wouldn’t be back any time soon, and with no further leads, there seemed to be nothing else to do but head back to the station. But…they weren’t expecting her back for another few hours, and she was due a lunch break. It wasn’t far to the beach, and Anney fancied an ice cream. Food didn’t do much to her shape, but she liked how it tasted so consumed a fair amount, if only to keep up appearances. Maybe also a burger, she thought as she made her way.

Port-au-Prince didn’t have very good beaches, and at this time of day it was mostly empty. But nonetheless, Anney was drawn by the lure of the sea; a vast sparkling azure expanse, so intriguing and enticing, so powerful and beautiful. Anney found herself drifting towards the sea whenever she was unsure where to go or what to do, and after a fifteen minute walk through the city the buildings came to an end and sand began.

Once she had got her burger and ice cream from a stall on the promenade she found a free parasol and sat down on the warm sand in the shade, gazing at the ocean. Needless to say, she was quite astonished when a door suddenly appeared a couple of feet away from her, and three odd figures came tumbling through. One was dressed in the finery of kings, with a crown upon his head, and the other was some kind of robotic coin wearing sunglasses. Above them a ghost hung, waving its arms in a stereotypically ghostly manner, wailing and moaning terribly. The robot cautiously approached her, and said,

“Oprostite, ali-“

“Sorry, but I don’t speak…Slavic,” Anney said, interrupting.

“Where are we?” the robot said in bad French. “Is this France?”

“France? No, this is Haiti,” she said, with growing confusion.

“Haiti? Kako na zemlji smo završili na Haiti?” the robot said. The king and the ghost looked bemused.

“Nikada zaboraviti da,” the robot said to them, before turning back to Anney. “What is the year?”

A mischievous smile crept across her face. “It’s 1836,” she said, walking away and leaving the three inter-dimensional figures in bemusement. She wasn’t sure why she said it, but it had seemed like the right thing to say at the time. It had just popped into her head, an inner voice urging her to say it for a giggle.

When she turned and looked around, they, along with that spectral door, had gone. She shrugged, and took a bite out of her burger. It was not very good, so she wrapped the remainder of it in its napkin and when she went back into the city she tossed it into a bin. Suppose I better head back now, she thought. She was in a part of town she didn’t know too well known colloquially as the Borogoves, a poorer part with shiny white buildings and dusty black streets with little traffic. She knew she would come to the Boulevard Dessalines, the road that would take her back to the city centre if she kept walking straight ahead, so that’s what she did. It involved cutting through a couple of dark alleyways, which on the whole Anney avoided but this time thought she would risk it.

It turned out to be a big mistake. She entered the alleyway, with it’s high buildings on either side obscuring the light. She weaved through some large bins, and a few yards from the open road she suddenly felt a terrible dizzying blow to the back of her head, accompanied by the sound of shattering glass. Ah damn it! she thought, going weak at the knees. She collapsed in a heap, and everything went black.
 

Enewald

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Why would she say 1836?
Is she really so mean or just odd?
King???
Robot?
Slavic???
 

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Deuce! Nvr mind--

24​
Wholly unholy, holly and ivy and all kinds of ruins and temples and dead gods. What is holy, really? Am I holy? Some would say so, I’m sure, but most would laugh in their faces and call them superstitious goats, goats are funny. Don’t you think goats are funny, with their beards and gruff goatish ways? This was my ambition, but to reign is worth ambition, but not in hell or heaven but here on earth. Something strange on the way to the ocean. I mean really? I want to see with mine own eyes. What a sight to see! Ragged and tattered, but those two so brave and strange in their ways. A bad wind is blowing, an evil wind but my good friend Mr Criminal is just a debt-collector, that is all. He looks dangerous, but when you get down to it that’s all he is. Sure, he dances and grins and people die; fine, lots of people die, but it’s the right season for it so it doesn’t matter. But she, oho shesheshe won’t be so forgiving. She just wants to rule, and a man who is under her spell will curse and spit and rage against her but she will just smile an enchanting smile and giggle a piping giggle and you will know that all is lost. All ye who enter this place, give up hope. Danger lies ahead.

My favourite girl though, she will get some help. The cities of gold, lost to the minds of men, shall be rediscovered by a woman. Not just a woman, but the woman. Antillia in spirit and flesh. A light piercing through the veil of illusion. Now that really is something worth believing in. Salvation. Delivery. Till kingdom comes, her will be done. Never never never mind. I’ve got a worm in my brain once again, slain and contained within a glowing orb that is the eye of Madame Tzarsou as she laughs melodiously. Onwards!

---​

Things were going to plan. Molly had managed to arrive on time with a suitcase bulging at the seams, threatening to explode like a kettle shaking with the rage of boiling water contained within. Pierre’s eyes widened.

“What on earth do you have in there? We’re only going to Havana for a few days at most.”

Molly shrugged. “Don’t ever question a woman about the contents of her luggage. It’s, like, the law or something.” Pierre sighed, and walked to the desk. A pretty Indian lady in a smart blue uniform smiled at him, and he bought Molly her ticket. Molly dragged her suitcase through the Airdock, and came to an abrupt halt beside Pierre and wiped her brow.

“Phew, it’s hot today, isn’t it?” she said brightly. She was happy. Today was a good day. An airship! She was going to go on an airship! Pierre walked towards the terminal building, and motioned for her to follow. Once she caught up he handed her the ticket.

“Uh, thanks. I’ll pay you back at some point.” She smiled and looked at the ticket, and the smile quickly evaporated. “Wait, it cost how much?”

Their luggage was taken, and it was a quarter past three. They had a forty five minute wait, so Pierre got them some coffees and a newspaper. The terminal building was decorated in drab blues designed to make passengers as depressed as possible. It was as if the architect thought; these people are about to board an airship! Any exciting decor will cause an overload in their brains, and that’s a mess I don’t even want to contemplate. A great multi-panelled glass window overlooked the runway, and once Molly had her coffee she went over to it and pressed her face up against the window like a child looking into a sweet shop, and caressed those majestic skyboats with her eyes. She could spot three airships currently at the airdock, and one in the sky that was just departing on the first leg of an air cruise. From Haiti to Hong Kong, with many stops along the way. Saint-Jean! Barcelona! Recife! Cape Town! Mogadishu! Calcutta! Hong Kong! That last one was a place Molly always intended to visit. She liked any place that rhymed.

“Off to see the wonderful wizard of...Havana,” she muttered to herself over and over, too quiet for anyone to hear. She had learnt her lesson after that incident at the Pink Cherry Bar back home in Falmouth. She briefly wondered if she was still barred from that god-awful dive for life, and then went back to gazing at the airships. Pierre occasionally looked up at her, shook his head and tsked to himself, and then went back to reading his newspaper.

An hour later they were on board, and heading for Havana.
RANDOM NONSENSICAL INTERRUPTION...WHOOPS, TOO LATE.​
Anney woke up in a strange place, confused. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, but normally her head wasn’t aching or throbbing quite this much. Nor was an old, dark skinned man leaning over her, face full of concern.

“Buh,” she said, and the old man stroked his silver grey beard.

“Buh, huh? That can’t be good. No good at all, missy.”

Anney forced herself to sit up, bleary eyed, and some memories came back. There had been the beach, and some people...no wait, that was a dream. Wasn’t it? Then...

“I was attacked. In an alley, by some lowlife. Where am I?” She looked around, and found that she was in a cottage that could best be described as rustic. There was something bubbling on the stove. The old man shrugged apologetically.

“This is my house. When I found you, you were unconscious and had a nasty head wound. That was a week ago.”

“A week? Damn, you're kidding right? You ain't kidding? Well ain't that something! And what are you cooking? It smells delicious!” Anney said, suddenly realising how hungry she was.

“Chicken soup.” He stood up and walked over to the stove, and poured some into a bowl. “Home made,” he said with a wry wink as he brought it over to her. She took a couple of mouthfuls, and nodded.

“That’s really nice. Are you not having any?”

The old man laughed heartily, as if at a rude joke. “Why would I? I’m not trying to drug myself.”

“Drug? Oh for god’s sake...”

She fell asleep in an instant, and the old man took the half eaten soup and took it to the counter. He glanced back at her, and sighed. “Sorry, girl, but I don’t have a choice. There’s someone very special waiting to meet those blue eyes of yours...”
 
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Enewald

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Better being kidnapped than going to Mogadishu. :rofl:
 

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I'm on vacation, so I'm taking a bye on real thinking, but they were entertaining updates. I'm not familiar enough with your old AARs to catch the reference, sadly, but I enjoyed the romantic description of the airships. Ah, to travel the world in luxury in a majestic airship (and preferably not get roasted in a hydrogen explosion in New Jersey)...

Wouldn't the old man have been better served by simply delivering Anney to [wherever it is that she needs to be delivered], instead of nursing her back to health for a week, only to drug her back to sleep? Then again, narrative imperative is rather strong in this story, isn't it?

You'll get more substantive comments once I'm back home. Maybe. :)
 

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All airships are filled with helium by law, so no explosions.

The old man had his reasons for doing what he did. Maybe he wanted her to see his face? Or maybe he wanted to make sure she was okay? Or some other reason? Who knows? :)
 

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It's magnificent, but it's not SPARTA

25

This is our fight. Nations against nations, conflict from Europe to Asia to the Americas; the greatest war ever seen by man. France, so bitter and desirous of nothing but the reclamation of the glory she so richly deserves, tired of the humiliation she has endured over the past century. The German Empire, conservative and backward, struggling against both external foes and a bubbling surge of internal desire for reform and change. This is the tale of two countries locked in conflict, and the personal journey of two men, two soldiers, in the Great War, 1940-1950. This is-

Molly felt a tap on her shoulder, and took out her earphones. Pierre grinned, and handed her a packet of crisps.

“I’ve seen that film,” Pierre said, nodding towards the large screen on the table just in front of Molly. “Watching it, you’d think that France and Germany were the only two countries involved in the war.”

Molly shrugged, and opened the crisps. “Thanks. It’s not something that’s ever really interested me. I’m only watching it because The Glass Girl doesn’t seem to be working.”

Pierre sat down and stretched. He looked around the luxurious, spacious hull of the airship Dessalines, and let out a satisfied breath. Some people questioned why anyone would want to travel by airship. Those people, Pierre thought, are fools. Oh sure, aeroplanes are faster and somewhat cheaper, but in an airship travelling isn’t a chore, but rather an experience, a thrill. I must include airships in my story, he thought with a nod. He took out a small notepad from his jacket pocket and made a note of it. After a moment he frowned, realising what Molly had said.

“It never interested you? A million Haitians dead, British bombs falling in Kingston and Saint-Jean and Port-au-Prince, German agents blowing up our factories? It’s not like much else has happened in this nation’s history, after all.”

Molly smiled slightly in acknowledgement, but remained silent and went back to watching the film. The Greatest War of All, a multi-million dollar epic made in a country that hadn’t even been to war for over a hundred and fifty years. Pierre let out a silent laugh. They were probably only showing it because of that one Haitian character that appears right at the beginning.

He spent half an hour with pen in hand, writing down any ideas that came to mind, until Molly took out her earphones and said, “So, this story you’re going to write. What’s it about? Apart from the Fountain of Youth, and stuff.”

Pierre looked up, surprised that Molly was suddenly taking an interest. “Oh, well, er...it’s about this guy, you see, this archaeologist guy, Minnesota Johnson, who, er, goes in search of the Fountain and finds it. I’m still working on the finer details, but I plan it to be a pretty straightforward adventure story.”

“Minnesota Johnson? I hate to say it, but it all sounds a bit familiar...”

Pierre scrunched his brow, and sucked his teeth. “Hmm, you’re right. It’s still in its early stages, so nothing to worry about. You’re talking about the movies about that palaeontologist guy, aren’t you? What’s he called, Ohio Smith?”

Molly nodded, and raised her eyebrows. “I’m afraid so. So why’s this guy called Minnesota? He’s not named after a family pet, is he?” Molly said with a laugh and a wink.

Pierre let out a short laugh, and quickly crossed out ‘named after his cat’ on the page in front of him. “Uh, no.”
 

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Minnesota Johnson? Nah, that would never work. You'd have to abbreviate his first name to 'Minny', not exactly an awe-inspiring name (just picture the scene: the female feisty sidekick is shackled to a wall, the Nazi goon/undead creature/deadly contraption is advancing on her remorselessly and then she yells out: "Minny, save me!", and then you're left with the indelible image of a grown person in a slightly creepy larger-than-life Minnie Mouse costume greeting customers at Disneyworld). Then again, 'Ohio' is completely inabbreviatable - unless you consider 'Hio' a fitting name for an action hero (cue the 'Seven Dwarfs' theme).

Nice glimpse at the alternate history of Haiti, with the sketches of the 'Greatest War Of All'.

What's a 'Glass Girl', by the way?
 

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Minnesota, Ohio, rofl... :rofl:

:D

Minnesota Johnson? Nah, that would never work. You'd have to abbreviate his first name to 'Minny', not exactly an awe-inspiring name (just picture the scene: the female feisty sidekick is shackled to a wall, the Nazi goon/undead creature/deadly contraption is advancing on her remorselessly and then she yells out: "Minny, save me!", and then you're left with the indelible image of a grown person in a slightly creepy larger-than-life Minnie Mouse costume greeting customers at Disneyworld). Then again, 'Ohio' is completely inabbreviatable - unless you consider 'Hio' a fitting name for an action hero (cue the 'Seven Dwarfs' theme).

Nice glimpse at the alternate history of Haiti, with the sketches of the 'Greatest War Of All'.

What's a 'Glass Girl', by the way?

Mindy? Soty, possibly? It's probably a good thing Pierre is scrapping that idea.

The Glass Girl? Just the title of a movie that Molly wanted to watch, but for some reason couldn't.
 

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Smells like...something

26

The University of Havana was located on the outskirts of the city, on a spacious campus with modern buildings, all concrete and glass and jagged edges. The airship Dessalines had landed in Havana Airdock without any trouble, and Pierre and Molly had taken a stuffy taxi to the university to meet with Professor Toussaint as arranged, the driver of which was a large man with a floppy moustache and who drove with the steering wheel in one hand and a cigar in the other.

“I can’t see any drug dealers anywhere,” Molly said, gazing at the city through the cab window, before she frowned in horror. “Oh god that person is jaywalking! This place is truly the wild west, a new Babylon!”

Pierre rolled his eyes, and the taxi driver said in a heavily accented voice, in between puffs on his oversized cigar, “You should come on a Friday night. Arriba! Anyway, strange girl, jaywalking isn’t an offence in Havana. That’s a poncy Port-au-Prince thing. This is Havana! A real city.”

“Arriba?” Molly whispered worriedly to Pierre. “Is he Mexican?”

“He can’t be. He doesn’t have a sombrero.” They both watched as the driver reached into the glove compartment and took out a bottle of tequila, which he took a swig out of. They gulped.

“He has the cigar though, which is stereotypically Cuban. Half Mexican maybe?”

“Who cares?” Molly whispered, with wide eyes. “I just don’t want to die.”

They survived, and the journey took just over half an hour. The taxi driver dropped them off outside the Administration Centre, at the centre of the campus. Pierre paid the man what he was owed and hurriedly grabbed their bags, while Molly eyed the various students that passed with dark, suspicious eyes.

“Do you know where we’re supposed to go?” Molly said as Pierre came to a halt beside her.

“When I spoke with Toussaint’s assistant over the phone, he gave me instructions. I wrote them down. Wait a minute.” He pulled out his notebook and flicked through, until he found what he was looking for. “Ah! Here we go. We need to go to room C203, in the Fidel Castro building, wherever that is.”

Molly laughed, and rolled her eyes. “Why do they always name buildings after obscure celebrities? Wasn’t Fidel Castro host of some rubbish game show, or something?”

Pierre looked sidelong at her, and shrugged. “M. Castro was quite a big star in Cuba, from what I’ve heard. He even brought out his own brand of cigars. I smoked one once, at a party held by my friend Stephan. It revolutionised my view of tobacco, let me tell you.”

“Whatever. Come on, let’s try and find this professor person.”

There was an information kiosk in the Administration Centre, and the bored looking woman behind the counter gave them a map, after they had spent an hour wondering aimlessly trying to follow a set of instructions that didn’t make sense and ended up squarely back where they had started.

Second time around they managed to find the Fidel Castro building. They entered through a side door, and after some searching managed to find room C203, with a plaque below saying “Experimental History Laboratory 1”. They knocked on the door, and were rather startled when it was immediately opened by an albino man, in a white coat.

“You are Pierre le Grand, yes?” He looked at Molly, and nodded. “I see you’ve brought a friend.”

Pierre snapped out of his fugue state, as it fell into place. “You’re Toussaint’s assistant, right? The one I spoke to on the phone?”

“Yes, that’s me. Come in, the Professor is waiting for you.”

They entered the laboratory. It was a large room filled with rows of computer monitors attached to large pieces of machinery, with a window that filled almost one entire side of the room, overlooking some trees and a lake. At the far end of a room was a grey haired man, hunched over one of the monitors, who seemed to pay no attention to Pierre and Molly’s entrance.

“Professor? Professor Toussaint?” Pierre shouted, to no response on Toussaint’s part.

The albino assistant shook his head, explaining, “He can’t hear you. Earphones. The Simulation has a musical score that is rather repetitive and...addictive. I warned Professor Ibsen about it, but he didn’t listen.”

“O...kay,” Molly said, as the assistant went to attract Toussaint’s attention. “What’s the Simulation?”

Pierre shrugged. “I don’t know, but I’m sure we’re about to find out.”

A few moments later Toussaint came and greeted them, with a large smile filled with black, rotten teeth. He was, as far as Molly could tell, in his fifties or sixties, with white hair and keen, crinkled eyes. “Welcome, Pierre, to my laboratory!” he said, shaking his hand, before turning his attention to Molly. “Well hello, and who is this lovely creature?”

“Er, I’m Molly,” she said, cringing slightly. “I’m with Pierre. I hope it is okay, my being here.”

Toussaint threw his hands in the air. “Of course, the more the merrier. What are you?” he said, examining her face closely as one would regard a fine piece of porcelain. “You look like a mulatto to me.”

Molly was taken aback by his bluntness. “Um, yeah, I guess. My, er, father is from Ukraine, and my mother’s black Jamaican.”

“Your father is a fairly recent immigrant, yes? So sad what happened over there, so sad. Anyway, come, I must show you the Simulation. My life’s work, you know,” he said with a wink to Molly.

Pierre raised his hand. “Well actually I wanted to speak to you about-“

“You must have had a long journey, would you like some coffee? Claus, make some coffee, would you?” he said, not waiting for a reply. “How many sugars?”

“Uh two,” said Pierre.

“Yeah, two for me as well,” Molly said.

Toussaint smiled, as the albino Claus scurried away. “It’s always exciting to have people take an interest in my work,” he said. “Have you read my paper, 'What if Haiti Failed to Control the Caribbean?' It’s my finest work, I think.”

“Uh, no, sorry.”

“Oh,” he said, face falling slightly. “Well you should.”

There was buzzing in Molly’s ear. She swatted the air, to no avail. “So what exactly is experimental history,” she said, blinking and shaking her head, trying to distract herself.

“It’s all to do with this,” Toussaint said, leading them to one of the terminals. “The main focus of my research is the possibility of alternative routes that history could take, like alternative realities, that sort of thing. Hence the Simulation; a computer program that can create a possible alternative historical scenario and log everything that occurs so that I can track the changes. Professor Ibsen-” his face soured slightly, “also added the option for someone to take control of a country and guide it in a certain direction, an ahistorical path of the experimenter’s choosing. He even got the students to write up what happened in these scenarios and post them on a forum on the Grid, as a sort-of project. Pointless if you ask me, but there you go. Reducing the Simulation to nothing but a mere game to be played, but that’s Professor Ibsen for you.”

Claus came with the coffees, and Molly soon lost track of the conversation between Pierre and Toussaint. She smacked her ear and took a sip of hot coffee, burning the roof of her mouth in the process. The buzzing remained.

Molly idly gazed around the laboratory, while words drifted past her. The albino Claus was working on something in the corner, and as her eyes flicked through the room, they settled on something interesting, a long cylindrical piece of glass on a golden plinth, on the desk at the front of the room. She wandered over to it, and picked it up. At first she had thought it a paperweight or snowstorm; close up it gave away no clues, but as she looked into it, she felt herself becoming hypnotised, as if some kind of energy was passing between it and her mind. She took it back to Pierre and Toussaint, who were deep in their conversation.

“...of course, the question of determinism versus free will is crucial to the entire discipline of experimental history. It has been theorised that in a purely deterministic universe, there could be no alternate realities at all, as everything is set in stone and there’s no possibility of separate realities splitting off if no decisions are being made.”

“But that’s not entirely true, is it?” Pierre said. “Surely the possibility of quantum uncertainty allows divergences even without a conscious being making decisions.”

Toussaint smiled, pleasantly surprised. “Ah! Quantum theory adds a whole new dimension—if you’ll excuse the pun—to the debate. Then you have to try and work out whether sub-atomic quantum fluctuations are actually random and undecidable, or whether there is some greater determinism at work that we haven’t yet identified...”

Molly cleared her throat, and smiled as they both looked up at her. “Sorry to interrupt your little chat, but what about the Fountain of Youth and the black stones? Isn’t that why we came here in the first place?”

“Black stones?” Toussaint said vaguely. “You mean Piedras Negras, I suppose?”

Molly blinked, stunned. “Um, I don’t know. What’s Piedras Negras?”

“Oh, it’s a Mayan ruin on the Yucatan peninsula. You didn’t know that? Don’t they teach anything in schools these days? Honestly!” he said with a roll of his eyes and a sigh. He looked at the cylinder in her hands. “Oh, you appear to be holding my libido. I was wondering why I was feeling so aroused.”

Molly’s eyes shot down at the cylinder, and she quickly put it down on the side and discreetly wiped her hands on her clothes. “Your libido?”

“Yes,” Toussaint said brightly. “It was a gift from a friend of mine, a voodoo priestess in fact. An amazing woman, for sure. Pure concentrated orgone—sexual energy, if you will.”

“I...see.”

“Anyway, do you not want to see the Simulation, Molly? I’ll let you have a go, if you like?” She swatted the air again, and shook her hair. Toussaint laughed. “That mosquito seems to have taken a shine to you.”

“Yeah I know, damn thing.”

Wait a minute, Molly thought. No! This isn’t funny! This whole thing’s been a joke, hasn’t it? Argh, you made a mosquito bite chunks out of me to make a joke work, you bastard! Not funny. Not funny at all.

Yeah, but at least you finally found out what the black stones were, Molly. That has to count for something?

Yes, Piedras Negras. Is that our side of the Central American border or not? I hope it is.

I’m pretty sure it’s not. But you’ll have fun finding out, Molly.

“No! Damn it!”

Was that a denial?

"Shut up!" Pierre and Toussaint looked at her strangely, and Molly blushed. “Sorry about that.”
 
Last edited:

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“...Professor Ibsen-” his face soured slightly, “also added the option for someone to take control of a country and guide it in a certain direction, an ahistorical path of the experimenter’s choosing. He even got the students to write up what happened in these scenarios and post them on a forum on the Grid, as a sort-of project. Pointless if you ask me, but there you go. Reducing the Simulation to nothing but a mere game to be played, but that’s Professor Ibsen for you.”

I thought that name sounded suspicious when he was first mentioned in the post. :)

I liked the update, it revealed a little background, made me feel a little more at home in that weird, Haitian-dominated universe you're creating. The bits about Cuban jaywalkers, Cuban-Mexican cabbies and the obscure Fidel Castro were quite funny. :)
 

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A map of Haiti, please? :p

I have one, but it's on my other computer which I don't have access to at the moment. Basically, it's all the Caribbean islands, plus the Yucatan and Belize and bits of South America.

Oh yeah, and Somalia.

I thought that name sounded suspicious when he was first mentioned in the post. :)

I liked the update, it revealed a little background, made me feel a little more at home in that weird, Haitian-dominated universe you're creating. The bits about Cuban jaywalkers, Cuban-Mexican cabbies and the obscure Fidel Castro were quite funny. :)

Thanks. I couldn't resist making the reference.


The next update is the 27th, which of course means it will be THE END of the first section. Due to this, it will be all kinds of epic.