Reality Abroad 2022

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- 7/30/2022 6:27pm

Okay, so the confirmations are just in. According to the Mandrake-Rukhavishnikova Equations there's a 99.88% probability that I'm now in the year 2425. And there's a 99.86% probability that I've landed in the Patagonian Republic.


But, on the other hand, I'm confined to my tempo-hab. Inside the whole time. Not allowed outside. For an unspecified emergency period. ABSALUTEY NO XCEPTIONS. THIS MEANS U! all the signs and announcements say. Something about an atmospheric inversion anomaly affecting the general area.

So I'm heading back to my own time and place as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I still have my chronopass and my 4D visa-free authorization. There's nothing to stop me. No point in sticking around in 2425. Nothing to see here.

Grant Warren
- 8/3/2022 11:03pm

I’ve been initiated into the Hall of the New Apes. That’s what the Canadians are calling themselves. They have a cave underneath the radioactive garbage mounds where they meet. It's like a secret union or a fraternal organization, but they accept anybody from the press gang crews, even if you're not technically a New Ape.

Down in the cave it's safe to take off our hazmat suits, and there you can see that the New Apes are completely covered with fur. And they're all about 7 or 8 feet tall. No tusks though, just big teeth, to go with their big hands and feet. And they've got a pretty musky smell. I guess things are pretty different in Canada.

They say that they are a parallel species to homosapiens that was nearly driven to extinction, but now that the homosapiens have almost destroyed the planet, they are emerging from their caves and planning to take control.

They also say we're ALL New Apes -- anyone who is oppressed by the homosapiens -- and that's why they accept anybody into the Hall of the New Apes. It's a really inclusive message, and they apologized for hitting me and taking my food rations earlier. That's just part of their tradecraft in terms of keeping their organization secret.

Apparently this cave is just one of thousands across the Inland Empire and the other brutal fiefdoms, and they're all connected through tunnels and an ingenious underground rail transportation system. Their capital is under Mount Shasta, where they're sending me for further training to do my part for the revolution.

Emerald Starfire
- 8/5/2022 10:48pm

We learned that no hotels will take you if you have a bug. People at the desk see you coming with that big cornstalk shrimp over your shoulder, peering around with its antenna eyes, they start shouting at you right away and pointing at the door behind you.

So Bets hides George in her backpack. Which means Nims and I have to stuff all the rest of Bets’ stuff in our backpacks. And though he squirms we've been successful more often than not.

Until now.

There was a big bang on the door to our room and it was Endicott Internal Security. They said we were in a lot of trouble for even having George in our possession, but they'd let us go if we left George behind and delivered a package to Nastrala, the Ninth Moon. There was a 9am shuttle from the regional spaceport tomorrow.

They told us they were leaving a guard at our door for the night, and not to try to run or contact anyone.

And they took George with them. He wasn't happy about it, but they put big thick rubber bands around his legs, just like they do to lobster claws.

Rosalie Francis
- 8/10/2022 10:43pm

The whole view of The Temple of Wrath or Justice on Merhj was suggestive of a frightful Inferno, with its rows of demon gods, hideous beyond conception, engaged in torturing writhing and bleeding specimens of humanity. Demon masks of ancient lacquer hung from the pillars, naked swords gleamed in motionless hands, and a somewhat less menacing person in a red fur suit who directed us to the snackbar and arcade in the back. Popcorn, corndogs, dogcorn and popdogs. Skee ball, pinball, ninepin and cornpin.

We ran out of local currency and retired to our hotel, where we were plagued by strange dreams.

Grant Warren
- 8/13/2022 11:34pm

Telos -- the New Ape capitol under Mt. Shasta -- is a bustling, pearly metropolis. Along with the New Apes, the city is filled with an equal amount of other bipeds, more or less like myself. There are the tall blonde ones in robes, and the short gremlin-like creatures, and other humanoids in varying costumes and dermatological flavors, like reptile, bison, bird, and alabaster.

I assumed we'd be training in stick fighting or perhaps small group tactical training, but I've tested through for the Econ division, where we're tasked with developing transformational models for the post-revolution economy. The biggest problem is infrastructure, as the homo sapiens have let most of it go. How will we continue to feed and grow the pan-unified New Ape states after the fiefdoms have been liberated? That's what my team gets to figure out.

I met a New Ape named Becky. She's in Econ division too. She's a little bit older than me but dreams of transferring to Psyhigh. I told her that if we make it through this she should come back with me. We've been spending a lot of time together.

Emerald Starfire
- 8/17/2022 11:30pm

The next morning there was another big bang on our hotel door.

We opened it, but this time it wasn't the secret police guys. It was a giant bug! Just like our friend George, but so big it had to crouch its cornstalk shrimp head down to look through the door.

"Hi," it said. "May we come in?"

Our own little George scampered in behind it, then leaped up into Nims' arms and licked her face with its proboscis.

It turned out those people who came to our room weren't really Endicott Internal Security at all. They were bug traffickers! Somebody in their underground criminal network must have spotted us and thought three young girls travelling alone would be easy to trick and intimidate into sneaking a backpack full of bug eggs to Nastrala.

"George is still very young," the giant insect said. "In a few more seasons he'll master your language. But he was lucky to be born free on Endicott at all."

Apparently there's a market for bug blood. People make some kind of drug out of it. They're setting up farms to harvest them for their blood on Nastrala. That's what the eggs were for.

"So, we're not in any trouble or anything?" Bets asked. "We never planned to take him off planet, I promise..."

"Oh no, not at all," the big bug chuckled. "George is quite capable of taking care of himself. And he's a good judge of character."

George nuzzled up against Nims' neck. Nim nuzzled him back.

"George subdued the traffickers himself," the big bug continued. "He brought their dessicated corpses back to the hive all on his own, didn't you dear?"

George let out slow creaky chirp, and we all laughed.

Rosalie Francis
- 8/23/2022 11:35pm

The Labyrinth of the Sacred Crocodiles afforded endless matter for marvel, as we went through from a court to the chambers beyond it, and from the chambers to colonnades, and from the colonnades to other rooms, and then from the chambers again to other courts. This is the labyrinth, filled with smiling faces eager to refill your cup... costumed staff waving huge fans made of ostrich and peacock feather... still others far beneath in the sub-basements, toiling under heavy chains, crumbling under our weight...

The Crocodile Priests and Priestesses invite you to linger, but there's this way the staff looks at you... petulant, not-quite-dangerous but just letting you know they're looking forward to the next time around, when we all change places... that makes this one of the shorter stops on the Grand Tour.

Grant Warren
- 8/25/2022 9:50pm

Things are really heating up here at Telos. The radioactive fiefdoms of the Inland Empire made an unexpected move against the New Apes, and now we’re gearing up for full scale war.

Ranks of the goblin-types march through the pearly halls of Telos, rattling in their wooden armor. New Apes drive oversized troop carrier monster trucks, zooming by in endless caravans. The blonde ones in the white robes fly attack saucers through the grand cathedral in tight formation.

Neither Becky or I are front-line material, so we’re in 3CI, setting up communications and intelligence. They say there’s no way they could make it all the way to Mt. Shasta, but it’s all still pretty scary.

Emerald Starfire
- 8/28/2022 11:18pm

Nims & Bets and I were a mess saying our goodbyes on the platform. The central teleportation station is on Grundlage, the biggest of all the moons of Ishtr, and it was packed with the summer tourists making their way home.

So many tears but so much laughing too. I know we'll all keep in touch but it just won't be the same not being around each other every day, eating together, sleeping in the same rooms. This summer totally changed our lives, in ways that people who haven't traveled alone just can't understand. We all swore to meet up next year and do the archipelago water world of Fontaine, where they have floating islands and you can find your own and if you can make friends with it you can ask it to go anywhere you want.

Back at Psyhigh they asked if anybody had any symptoms or physical issues to report, and I don't figure it's worth telling them about my little rash. It's itchy and bumpy but I'm trying not to scratch. It looks a lot like the bug egg infestations they showed us pictures of but I'm sure it's nothing. Nims & Bets have it too, but you know, that kind of stuff just happens when you travel.

Can't wait till next summer!

Grant Warren
- 9/4/2022 7:16pm

The battle was a disaster. The New Apes were completely blindsided—double-crossed by an extraterrestrial faction who threw in with the Inland Empire at the last minute. The tiny gray ones with the big eyes.

Mt. Shasta is a crater now, pummeled by the alien force beams. Becky and I were evacuating when the tunnels collapsed and we were separated. I can still smell her musk on my hand.

That’s when Psyhigh decided to retrieve me from my Reality Abroad program. I guess we do get implants. One moment I was choking on dust under a mountain and the next I was on all fours back at the school’s teleportation station.

The school counselor gave me mandatory reality adjustment therapy, but I don’t need it. What I need is to teleport Becky out of there too. That was the first thing I asked for but nobody will give me a straight answer. Something about “because it hasn’t happened yet” but I know it happened because I was there. I do not need their dumb therapy. I need to break into the teleportation station myself and just do it.

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