After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 2.2

When we last saw our protagonist:
"Apparently it was another of Willem's tricks," my husband told me.

"We had left Earth before the first of Perls messages even got there. As a matter of fact, we began receiving the whole conversation being sent back from the station, I'm guessing as a mockery from Willem."

I couldn't understand. "Why did he do that? He gave us hope that Earth was there, helping us."

John shook his head. "He gave us information through his AI that he controlled. He could make us believe what he wanted. And it was more play. I can imagine how he would have enjoyed watching this conversation himself. He would have been thrilled."

N21 2.6

When last we saw our protagonist:

Suddenly,we received a message from Colleen. “Rashda, we have something up here that you need to see.”

Smythe looked around at us all. “John and Rose, will you come with me? Winston, figure this out please.” Then he touched a button that put his voice through every intercom on the ship. “Mr Dodson, would you please come to the command center?”

Then we were off.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 2.1

Excerpt from N21 Part 2 Chapt 6 which directly precedes this.
When we last saw our protagonist:
Through the corridors, I could hear screams and panicked voices. A light went red. Thunk! Another light went yellow, while two more went red. Thunk! Thunk! I glanced at, then couldn't look away from the screens showing the bays. The first one, our home, seemed to be crumbling away as it slowly pirouetted, the distance between us growing.

I stared, and everything seemed to be happening at the end of a dark tunnel. The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the floor with Carla beside me, making sure I was alright
When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

"Perfect," Paula told her daughter as she saw the course come alive on the screen. It took her a moment to order it, however. While it ended with them intersecting, this would be dangerous. The course was theoretically possible, but it was closer than any sane person would want to get to a star. Hell with it, she thought. "Do it."

Rhoda committed them by pressing a button, and the engines fired. The ship slowed allowing their fall around the star to become stronger. A moment later, the thrusters realigned them, and the engines fired again, making them accelerate their fall while at the same time, angling them to where they would miss the surface and just barely skim the edge of the sun's atmosphere.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.12

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

What are you two doing here?” she asked, dumbfounded.

Staying with you and Dad,” Gina told her. “You don’t think we’d abandon you, do you?”

Who’s commanding Centaurus?” Paula asked.

I transferred command to Rick Johnson,” She told her mother-in-law. “Right before I transferred to here.” She stepped over to Paula and asked the old question of seafarers. “Permission to come aboard?”

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.11

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:
Normally the artificial gravity would compensate for any thrust, but Rhoda hit the retro engines hard. A few people stumbled, and the things on Vlad’s screen seemed to jump close.

Oh, no!” said Vlad. Gina and Paula hurried over and gave the screen a look. “Check it out, now,” Gina shouted.

Paula sat down at a spare computer and called up historical records. “It’s them.” Her voice was completely devoid of emotion.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.10

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:
“Sylvia told us that he doesn’t mind cross dressing for you. I’m sorry to ask, but do you feel the same?”

Why apologize? We need this information. Yeah, I have no problem doing the same for him.”

Okay, Reg, now look at yourself. Are you interested in men?” She shook her head. “Are you bi?” Again she shook her head, but this time a smile was forming on her face.

I see. I believe you’re right. You change sex, and gender to the same as the person who touched you!”

Paula nodded. Beside her, Fred’s expression was one of disgust aimed at his damned brother. What a complete bastard!

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.9

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

“No problem,” the chief of staff responded, giving Rhoda a smile. Freeman was certain that if they had been side by side they would have kissed.

Was Ronda fooling around on Phineas? And with another woman?”

“No, Mom! She wasn’t a lesbian. She wasn’t even bi! That’s me!”

Paula nodded, as did Fred.

They discussed things for awhile, then went to their own rooms to ponder things.

Fred was certain that he had missed something. Something vital.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.8

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:
The two women on the other side of the room were screaming for the men to stay away from them. For their part, the men got as far away as they could. Fred jumped away from his friend, terrified, and Paul turned and ran from the room. Part way down the hall, his pants could no longer stay up, and he, or rather she, had to pause to pull them up, then she headed for her office. She slammed the door shut and locked it. With a deadbolt and combination that only she knew.

She let out a sigh of relief, then stopped and wondered what the hell had just happened.

N21 2.5

When last we saw our protagonist:

He kissed me on the forehead, as I looked up at his face. “I know we’re not supposed to have a baby, but I like the possibility.”

I smiled and kissed him on the lips. Then I told him, “Me too.”

I put my head back on his chest. Soon, I felt myself drifting off.

That night, I dreamed of having not one baby, but twins. A boy and a girl. I was ecstatic, as was John. We made Marc and Carla their grandparents.

A girl can dream, right?

N21 2.4

When last we saw our protagonist:

We were called to the command center to find a very grim faced Smythe there. “I’m very sorry for this,” he told us. “I’m able to see Earth now, even to zoom in and see cities.”

We watched as the scopes were brought online. All of the cities were seen through an orange haze, that billowed like smoke. There were no people to be seen although we could see what we thought might be the remains of many. There were craft that appeared to have once been smoking ruins. Some buildings were present, in a very decayed condition, but the vast majority were piles of rubble.

It appeared that Caesar was not happy being the only one gone.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.7

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:
We’ll have to take into account the mass of the people from N21 for our return fuel consumption. We will not accelerate too much that we don’t have the fuel to stop relative to Earth when we arrive back.”

Paul nodded. He wasn’t a ‘rocket scientist’ but he understood enough to realize what Smythe was saying. His last question was, “Who’ll command N22?”

“I will,” Smythe responded.

Fred considered for awhile. “Very well. How long until you launch?”

“I figure we can get the missiles taken care of in about six months, and by that time, I believe we’ll be in the correct position for our launch window.”

Fred nodded. “Go to it.”

N21 2.3

When last we saw our protagonist:

I stared at the head of my best friend. I don’t know how long it was, but I heard a man crying. I looked toward the body, and there was Marc. He had somehow collapsed on the floor, and his head was on her back. I had not started crying yet, but that scene broke me. Those two had loved each other so much. I felt a weight move from my lap, and saw that my husband had moved Kari’s head, and respectfully placed it on the floor. He took me in his arms and kissed me ever so gently, then he moved to Kari’s body and cut the familiar piece of her leg out and left the room carrying it. A few minutes later, he was back and took me in his arms and let me weep. I wanted so much to hold Marc, but he was unbonded. To do so would kill both John and me. John did something I’d never seen him do. He gently picked up Marc and hugged him. Marc was still weeping over the loss of his wife. We started to ease him to his apartment, when the strangest thing happened. We received an incoming communication!

N21 2.2

When last we saw our protagonist:

“John and I aren’t,” I argued, then I looked at John. “I’m sorry, Dear.”

“You’re right,” he said, smiling.

“No she isn’t. You three are needed as well. People look up to you and derive strength from your determination. I’m a glorified mechanic, but you three and Roman are all leaders. Don’t sell yourselves short.”

We were standing in the upstairs circle, and as we talked, I noticed that several people were making their way out of their homes, many holding hands.

“Looks like it’s working,” I told Marc.

John slapped Marc on the back. “Good job, my friend,” he told him.

“I’m glad. We really didn’t need the fear again.”

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.6

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

The next morning, he entered the courtroom and asked the jury their findings. He hardly had to ask. The man was guilty.

For the first time in many years, Fred felt that his conscience was clear. Without a moment’s hesitation, he sentenced the man to the punishment Paul had said the night before.

Freeman had accepted that he was a judge to this murderer, and a judge to his brother. He didn’t like the job, but as the president, it was part of his job description. He was determined to change that, but until it was, he would do the job to the best of his ability.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.5

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

Instead, he reclined his seat and just let the ocean current carry him for awhile. His communication system started beeping. Someone was trying to reach him, but he ignored it. It beeped again, and he picked it up, looked at the name if the person calling him, and threw it as far as he could. He saw no reason to speak to anyone at the moment. Besides, Paul would still be there when he got back to the capitol building.

He leaned back again and closed his eyes. Eventually, sleep claimed him.

N21 2.1

When last we saw our protagonist:

Morning seemed so far away, and I wasn’t sure what it would hold. Okay, I knew, but how would we all deal with Marc and Kari not being there for two years? I just couldn’t seem to make heads or tails of it.

As I continued looking out at the night, I whispered to my best friend, Kari, "Just remember that Rose loves you." Then I started to cry again.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.4

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:
Even Robson turned away at the end, but he heard the gurgling coming through the severed neck as the body’s reflexes tried to draw in another breath. He turned back, and wished he had not. The mouth was trying to draw in air, as if it was the head of a fish. The man spat on the face, then turned, grabbed a cloth and began to clean all of his equipment. He seemed unconcerned at the dying head, still trying to gulp in air. “Good bye, Willem Wallace,” he spat out. It was the last thing Wallace heard. Ever.

N21 1.15

When last we saw our protagonist:

She started to cry now. I pulled her into an embrace. “Marc and I had decided if the six months were gone, before we ended up in stage five, we’d rather die, but we’re stuck. We can’t even end everything.”

“Are you sure they just couldn’t bring themselves to do it?” I asked.

“They really wanted to! She could move her other hand, but when she tried to bring a knife to her neck, it stopped.”

I felt like I had been deflated, and I knew I’d have to tell John tonight. We had thought the same thing.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.3

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

The old man left, and Freeman stood, walking up to his friend. “Is that really necessary?” he asked.

“Fred, you know Willem won’t give up that information easily. You told me once that one of the first uses for nanites was to stop shock in an injured person. Anything we do to get information will have to be extreme. You know this.”

“Yes, I do, but it seems that we are stooping to his level.”

“Do you want me to stop,” Paul asked.

Fredrik looked at him for a long time as he considered. Finally, he shook his head in the negative. He didn’t like it in the least, but It had to be done.

N21 1.14

When last we saw our protagonist:

“Wait a minute,” Kari said. “I thought they got their power from body heat.”

“That, I’m afraid, was a misconception.”

“How?” Marc asked.

“Think about it. Brownian motion needs fluid to work. When you take blood out of a person, that blood cools, so the brownian motion slows. This is just enough to where there is not enough power to recharge the batteries in a nanite. In a body, the nanites don’t stop as fast, as it takes time for a body to cool, but we’ve always looked at the nanites in the absence of body heat. We thought they needed the heat to work. In a way, they do, but that’s only because of the viscosity of the blood.”

I was starting to get it. “What if we cooled a body?”

“Even freezing a body would probably not work. As soon as we revived the person, the motion would start again. Just as we started working again, so would they.”

“Well, it was a thought,” I said.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.2

When we last saw Fredrik Freeman:

He was reluctant to take the power of the government into his own hands, as he wanted to distance himself from his brother. He tried to say no, but the people wouldn’t hear of it. He was their choice, and that was that. Eventually, he accepted the position. For a time. He told the people that there must be a set term. The government made that term be a millennium, followed by a possible second term, but that was the limit allowed. No way was someone going to be president for over ten thousand years!

Fredrik Wallace became the first president of the new Earth Republic. He was Willem’s brother, but they looked nothing alike. Their father had divorced and remarried in the time between their births. Also, while Willem’s mother had appeared generally Scandanavian, Fredrik’s had been African. Thus, the people did not consider the brothers to be any bit the same.

Fredrik wanted there to be even more of a separation, so before he took office, he had his name changed. He kept his first name, but his last name came to signify the people of the new republic. Freeman.

N21 1.13

When last we saw our protagonist:

Marc was pretty pissed about everything in general too. “I’m not sure,” he admitted. “The fact that they were killed, however, leads me to believe that they may have been onto something.” He sounded very mad as he told me his opinion.

“I’m sorry, Marc. I didn’t mean to sound like that.”

“You really didn’t,” he told me. “I think we’re both on edge. Let me do some more research and I’ll let you all know what I’ve found.”

“Okay,” I told him. I turned to John. “Let’s go back to your apartment. I’ll make some dinner for us.”

“I sincerely hope I can keep it down my dear,” he said as we stood. Well, him sort of.

After Caesar: N21 Chronicles - 1.1

Our protagonist is Fredrik Freeman.

Willem Wallace sat, looking over his domain. Not that he could see much, but he ‘owned’ the earth. When he came to power, or rather arranged his own rise to power, he wasn’t sure where he wanted his base of operations to be. London, Paris, Jakarta… He didn’t know. He wanted it to be perfect. He wanted the people to be compliant; willing to be led by someone with his special qualifications. To that end, he had a palace built in Death Valley of southern California, in the United States. He had considered the Sahara Desert, but he didn’t want his domain to be full of sand. Granted, he could program some nanites to make people willing slaves who continually cleaned his palace. By the time he was done, they would love being his personal slaves, but there would still be the sand. Going outside would continually be dirty with sand everywhere.

N21 1.12

When last we saw our protagonist:

A few weeks later, John and I met again where I first told him that I loved him. We were not sure what to do now. Do we give in, risking an eventual long term being miserable, or do we remain as we were, risking life and limb?

I know what I wanted to do, and I’m sure John did as well. The bond was getting deeper and deeper. So much so, that I sometimes thought I could feel his emotions when we were in our own rooms.

I was having a hard time sleeping too. He had told me of the same problems. It was such that when I fell asleep, I was jerked back awake almost immediately. I was now getting very little sleep at all, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep going like this. I don’t know how, but I knew if we had sex, I would no longer have this problem.

I told John of it, and waited. I had no idea what he would do, but I didn’t expect his response. He leaned over and kissed me.

I know the nanites beheading their host is strange, but then again, my muse appears to have an much odder imagination than I have.

N21 1.11

When last we saw our protagonist:

Kari continued. “The length of time between the switches seems to lengthen each time. Right now, we could go back to our room and have sex, but we wouldn’t change.”

“What if I were to touch you?” Brandy asked her.

“That’s an idea,” Kari told her. “We could try it.”

Brandy and Kari both removed their gloves, and Brandy reached out to touch Kari. While it was plain to see, Kari did not move her hand toward the other woman, it was not her that changed. Instead, Brandy changed back into her old self.

As soon as the change had completed, both Brandy and Ralf started to convulse, as if they were in pain. Quickly, I reached out to touch Brandy’s hand. Once more, she started to reform. She became a woman very quickly. Once it was done, however, she seemed extremely weak. I suppose I would be as well, had I changed twice like that. I watched as she took one last breath, and that was it. She died.

We had no time for grief, however, because there was obviously a bond between Brandy and Ralf. His convulsions started in earnest. He let out a scream, whether of grief or pain, I wasn’t sure, then he collapsed. He too was dead.

N21 1.10

When last we saw our protagonist:

“You don’t have to do this, John. I’ll take my chances,” I gently told him.

He shook his head.

Could I do this, not having any idea of the risks for either Randy or John? What if there was some change we hadn’t seen yet? God only knew what Caesar had arranged. I gave voice to these fears, and it didn’t change Randy’s resolve at all.

“I’m aware of the risks,” he said, "but we have to know what will happen now.”

John nodded as well. I knew there was no way I was going to dissuade him. I had seen this determination too much over the years but what if he changed too? I took a deep breath and touched Randy’s hand.

I watched, fascinated as Randy seemed to melt and reform. I knew it must have been similar with me, all those months ago. When it was done, I looked at John. I had been so interested in what was happening with Randy, that I hadn’t even glanced at this man for whom I was obviously developing feelings.

N21 1.9

When last we saw our protagonist:

“I guess the feelings aren’t reciprocated.” he said sadly.

He was turning back when he stopped. He heard me say, “They are.” He turned back, confusion on his face. “I backed away, because I didn’t want to turn you into a woman, John.”

He stared at me, then seemed to realize what I meant. I stepped back to his side, and stared at our friend. The Medic walked around us and gave us his report. He was still clearly disturbed by us. I wasn’t sure if he was afraid or angry.

I was having feelings for the man standing to my left, I had no fear of the man on my right, and I was pissed beyond measure at whoever had done this to my friend.

May God help the person when I found out who it was,.

N21 1.8

When last we saw our protagonist:

“No thanks, I’ll walk.”  He looked both disappointed and relieved as he shrugged.  “No problem,” he said.

“I also want to tell you of a development from yesterday.  Marc and I didn’t want to mention it in front of the other men without your approval.”

“And what is that?” I asked.  “Was this whole helping me move just to give me some news?”

“That’s ridiculous, and you know it,” He answered.  He stared at me until I nodded, signifying he was right.  He started the tractor moving, and said, “I’ll tell you when we get into the passageway.”  A moment later, I thought to myself, to hell with it and I ran up to the trailer, grabbed the tailgate and jumped on.  He stopped the tractor and looked back at me, smiling.  I stared defiantly at him.  A few minutes later, we entered the corridor to take us downstairs.

N21 1.7

When last we saw our protagonist:

“John,” I said, my voice trembling. “We need to bury the hatchet between us right now. We are doing exactly what Caesar wanted.”

“I know it,” he said. “I don’t know what I can do about the fear, but I will try to not let it rule me. Deal?”

I almost laughed. “Deal, but it’s a good thing we’re not in the same room,” I commented. “This is where we’d be tempted to shake hands.”

He stared at me for a moment, then burst out laughing. “Yes, We would.” A moment later, the smile left his face and he turned to where I knew Marc would be seated. “How many reports of changes?”

“Fifty-seven so far, and they keep coming in.”

John’s face went white. “I need to get off here now.” He looked back at me. “No offense.”

“None taken.”

N21 1.5

When last we saw our protagonist:

For a moment, my vision blurred then it seemed as though I pushed my fists into my eyes, as all I could see was multiple colors swirling around. There was a disconnect between before the blurring and after. It took a moment for me to realize I could see fine again, but then I noticed Perl standing right beside me. I jumped away from her, terrified, and she looked at me wide eyed.

“STAY AWAY FROM ME!” she screamed. There was no need to scream at us, because every one of us seemed scared spitless of her. We were all as far away as we could get.

She kept her gaze jumping from one of us to another. Anytime any of us moved, she flinched. She kept bringing her gaze back to me. No, not me. The open door behind me. I started to inch to the right, where Carter stood. Interestingly none of the others bothered me in the least. Just her.

As soon as I was far enough away, she bolted. Each of us seemed to lose our tension. Whatever it was, it seemed to make us scared of certain others. ‘Total Fun’ was upon us.

N21 1.4

When last we saw our protagonist:

A screen came alive and we saw a man. A human, but not someone we knew.”

“Hello, people of N21,” he said.” I am President Freeman of Earth. I know when you were sent away, Willem Wallace, or ‘Caesar’ as you referred to him, was the ‘Chancellor’.

“Approximately three hundred years after you left, Wallace had shown enough of his character to make those of us still on Earth recognize what you had long ago seen. There was an uprising, and we were able to remove him from power. He was in prison until we received a signal from you.

“Every computer around the world came on at the same time, and showed Wallace seated at his desk. He told us that we were all going to join him in a celebration of your exile. We saw what your camera’s recorded, Wallace telling you he wanted to ‘play’; the death of your maintenance worker. Then we saw a bay of the station open, and the people dying on the floor.”

For a moment, Freeman stopped. He looked somber, then rubbed his face with his hands.

“Wallace was questioned at length. That was an experience I never want to have again. He was, quite simply, insane. He wanted to toy with you as a cat toys with it’s prey. Revelling in your suffering was what he wanted most of all.

“He tried to bargain with us with his knowledge. He wanted freedom, but we refused. It took several months to obtain what we wanted. He spent that entire time in and out of consciousness. It wasn’t pretty. What we got from him, we want to pass on to you.

“There are several… surprises, in the computers of the station. They have been left there. There seems to be no way to remove them from the memory. Even a complete shutdown will reload the same information when you start them again.

“Much of what is programmed will be worse that what has already happened. Some not as bad. We will append a file to this message that will tell you what we have found. I hope you can find something on board that we didn’t think of here.”

N21 1.3

When last we saw our protagonist:

“We’re going to leave the galaxy,” John observed. “He turned to me. I’m curious what you meant when you said we couldn’t turn back.”

“Simple,” I replied. “The planet no longer exists as we knew it. We have only aged a week, and our technology hasn’t grown. Theirs has. By over a thousand years.”

“More,” Marc said. “We were accelerating until we lost the engines.”

None of us felt like speaking. We just looked at the screen that held our future.

N21 1.2

When last we saw our progagonist:

John looked around at those closest to him. “Well?”

What a question. Do we open it or not? We had thought we were prepared, but were we? We didn’t want to die. We truly had nothing to lose, but life itself. To hold on for more, or not?

Very quietly, and with more calm that I found somewhere, I said “Open it.”

N21 1.1

Our Protagonist finds himself exiled to a space station with several other "undesirable" people in a world where conformity is paramount.

This story started out based on a lucid dream, but quickly grew away from that, into wherever it's at now.
Some say the music is a spirit all of her own, others say she is just your imagination.
One way or another...
I have a very strange imagination.

Netherworlds - Chapter 7

This wasn’t actually the first time nanites had been a terrorist threat - some Islam terrorist group had been trying to release a variation of GDD.
All it did was convert people into corpses. By eating their brains. Nanozombies. Urgh…

They wiped out the threat with massive a massive EMP - electro-magnetic pulse. Huge success. Nanobots all wiped out. No deaths. Pretty much a first for the US. *giggle*

After GDD, they tried the EMP solution.

It… didn’t work.


Chapter 7

By Taveena

Netherworlds - Chapter 6

“My dad went… kind of insane after Mum died. He wasn’t violent… I guess I’m lucky there. He got angry, though… at me. But he wasn’t actually a bad guy. He wound up getting drunk a lot lately. But he… didn’t take it too well that he was losing his only son. He… kinda let it slip at the pub I’d caught BS. People started making fun of me for getting the “queer virus”… and he reacted badly.”


Chapter 6

By Taveena

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