sǝlɔɹᴉɔ ǝɯɐs ǝɥʇ



Scene Title sǝlɔɹᴉɔ ǝɯɐs ǝɥʇ
Synopsis It begins at the end.
Date January 12, 2019

A shimmering field of green and blue light rustles like a celestial curtain against a bright, sunny sky. The air is thin here, making the sky a darker shade of blue in spite of the hour of day. Snow blows in wind-whipped streamers across the bowl-valley depression, strewn with frozen concrete debris and twisted rebar. Three helicopters are parked on evenly dispersed concrete helipads frosted with patterns of ice, bright orange tents are arranged near the concrete ruins, each large enough to hold dozens of people.

One enormous piece of concrete, half buried by the snow, has a metal sign riveted to it that reads: Moab Federal Penitentiary

Mount Natazhat


January 12th

11:24am Local Time

"Neutrino readings are at peak."

Inside one of the temperature controlled arctic research tents, a collection of winter-jacketed scientists observe readings coming out over several laptops. A delicate array of electronic devices sits in the center of the tent, with a single dish aimed skyward. "We're picking up a massive release of charged particles, the flare is hitting the earth right now." Among the scientists, Alice Shaw stands with brows furrowed and gloved hands clasped together in front of her.

"Get her," Alice says to a tall man beside her in a dark black parka. He nods, stepping away and hurrying out of the tent. "How long will the flare last?" Alice asks of the researchers, who are tabbing through multiple screens displaying oscillating wave forms and colorful gradients shifting from red to purple through the color spectrum.

"Eight minutes? Give or take?" One of the scientists replies back, looking over his shoulder. Alice nods, drawing in a deep breath and clutching her hands together tighter. The flap to the tent opens, spilling in with blisteringly cold wind. The man in the black parka escorts a shorter woman inside, her fur-trimmed hood up and a scarf covering her face. She hurries over to Alice's side, taking her hand, and then looks to the sensors and the scientists.

"One chance, dear." Alice says softly, looking to the bundled woman, then escorts her over to a clear space on the floor of the tent where there is just an unoccupied hospital bed, laden with heavy blankets and fluffy pillows with no occupant. The hospital bed takes up nearly a quarter of the tent in what appears to be a tremendous waste of otherwise cramped space. The woman in the parka nods, then starts to pull down her scarf as forking lines of rainbow colored light begin forming in the space at the corner of the tent, cracks and fissures accompanied by screeching musical notes and discordant chimes. Alice takes a step back, brows raised, jaw tense.

Then, there's an explosion of displaced air and an elderly man appears in the bed along with a blonde woman standing at his side, looking around with wide and bewildered eyes. The scientists in the room bolt upright and stare wide-eyed at the figure. Neither Alice nor the woman beside her seems surprised though.

"Arnold, Aria." Alice takes a step forward, "it was a success."

arnold_icon.gif aria_icon.gif

Alice comes to stand beside Arnold, taking his hand and looking at him with a nervous tension in her eyes. Blood trickles from Arnold's nose, one hand clasped at his chest and expression twisted into one of pain. "Arnold… Arnold…" Alice squeezes his hand gently and brushes hair back from his face, "Arnold, one last jump. You're at the finish line. We have to close the loop." Without opening his eyes, Arnold nods and releases Aria's hand. The blonde, stumbling away from Arnold, looks at the woman unwinding her scarf that is moving toward the bed. It's only then that she realizes what she's looking at, lips parted in an expression of disbelief.


Alice motions for this Aria to take Arnold's hand, and she does so, as she's been trained to do. Arnold's grasp is feather-light and trembling. Soothingly, Alice brushes her hand through Arnold's hair and leans forward to place a kiss to his brow. "December 1st, 2010," she whispers against his forehead. "Not a moment sooner, nor a moment later." Teeth clenched together, Arnold keeps his eyes closed and nods twice in as rapid a succession as he can manage. The Aria that he'd delivered to this time watches the events unfold around her with a hand clasped to her mouth, as her past self prepares to travel back in time to…


Brows furrowed, Aria's memory of the events is a blank slate. She remembers Claudia, remembers a man with dredlocked hair, remembered Arnold and a white room and… nothing. She remembers this moment, though, with a sense of gut-twisting vertigo as she watches herself take Arnold's hand and Alice whisper something to him. She remembers her training, remembers the mission that she needed to complete at any cost.

With a rush of displaced air, Arnold disappears from the bed along with Aria's past self. She feels a weight sink to the bottom of her stomach, she feels like she just watched a piece of thread pass through the eye of a needle. Alice turns back, looking at Aria with eager anticipation in her eyes.

"The storm is over," one of the SESA scientists says, "the flare is now past the Earth."

"The window has closed."

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