Light In The Sky : a Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts.

January 2, 2018 | By | Reply More

‘At least he didn’t leave us impoverished,’ Courtney Adams said, looking at herself again in a shop window. She was wearing a long skirt and short coat, topped by a floral hat. ‘We could have been left in the gutter.’

‘It’s all about status, Court,’ Lancier said looking down the road at the people crossing at the junction. ‘Sara told Max stories about us to show we were the good guys. If it was the Pattern who got him, then they don’t know what they released but it shows he’s still basically a good guy.’

‘I can’t understand, Chris, is why didn’t Sara just let Tollver wipe Max’s memory?’

‘Max’s power is rooted in his subconscious just as Mary’s is. Very rarely does her true self creep out. She really does live in her fantasy world. The only difference with Max is he keeps his suppressed. Well, with Sara’s help. This is one of his unleashed fantasies and he chose steampunk.’ Lancier continued, ‘Sara wasn’t stupid. Her telling stories of what we do was to instil in him that he was part of our community but not ready to join us. It kept the prying aspect of his mind under control. He wanted to know what was going on.’

‘How do we know it worked?’

‘We’re still here.’

‘Polly says Sara and the Baroness are still missing.’

‘Everyone who went to her has also gone missing as well but I doubt that’s the connection. We’re still here after all. Whatever was done to him, whatever he thinks he’s doing seems to be done to protect us in his own way. Max’s probably stashed them away somewhere with their own problem.’

‘Are we going to track him down?’

‘I think that’s what the others tried. No. He’s going to want to find me.’

‘Is that safe?’

‘I’m Earth’s meteor deterrent. Max can’t do that. At least, I hope he can’t. Sara instilled the desire to find me if he ever had one coming down. We’re due one about now and I’m not sure how I can stop it from here.’

‘We…yes…we are. It’s almost as though another player is increasing the times you spend in space.’ Looking at Lancier, she mouthed, is he listening?

‘And with no way up to the ISS, I’m going to have to bounce it from here.’

‘All well and good, Chris, but you haven’t been boosted lately. You’re going to need Sheena.’

Lancer lowered his voice and took Courtney’s arm in his as they walked and whispered more in her ear. ‘I don’t think that will be an option. We need to be careful in conversation. If he can change your appearance than how much of a Blank are you to him?’

‘I was wondering about our immunity?’

‘No idea. It could be superficial or he might just be hearing only one side of our conversation. It took a while for him to assess you. Look at that double-vision you had for a while.’

‘He changed the whole world. That powerful?’

‘That powerful.’

‘Not for the books.’

‘Understood but won’t they notice when we get things back to normal?’

‘Mostly not…I hope.’

‘When are you going to start?’

‘I already have. Details went to the press with a little help from Polly this afternoon.’

Down the road, a newsboy was calling out the news in a joined word way. They strolled down and Lancier bought Courtney a newspaper.

‘You made the headlines. Real name as well. All for Max?’

‘I doubt if a Mr. Jones would spike much interest.’

‘And tonight?’

‘Just need for people to see the meteor coming towards London to stir some action.’

‘Can you sustain it for that long?’

‘If I get a good meal and a snooze for a couple hours. Have we got enough money for a decent hotel?’

Courtney inspected her purse. ‘He didn’t leave us broke.’

‘Find somewhere we can eat in our rooms and a suitable balcony. I might as well be comfortable.’

 

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

 

Three days later there was no reaction. With Lancier asleep, Courtney recovered the newspaper left outside their hotel suite with their breakfasts. The serving staff had religiously obeyed their orders not to come in. Lancier had been creating quite a lightshow with the meteor edging towards the Earth but much of his concentration was impinging on the thoughts of any people awake. It was a long way off. Illusions weren’t Lancier’s forte but he could impose the thought. People were interested but not unnerved. She also had to remind herself that there was also another real meteorite out there still heading towards Earth. Getting things back to normal to tackle it was the main job.

Reading the newspaper, Courtney checked that the approaching light from the sky with measurements were there. Equally, there was a reference to the British Rocket Group getting ready to send a missile up. A missile that was going to be targeting an illusionary target. Was this Max’s reaction or the people with the steampunk technology doing their best? Could they have a real missile? Something that could get into the stratosphere and hit an illusionary target. What would happen if it missed?

‘Chris, you awake?’

She kicked the bed. ‘Wake up, Chris. We might have a problem.’

She waited for the Psionic to wake up properly, pouring a cup of tea for herself and emptying the jug of milk into the other cup for him. Avoiding juniper was easy, they just avoided pubs and gin, caffeine less so when they were out. No one could understand Chris not wanting tea or coffee without a little spiking. It was more a puzzle why they hadn’t come to Max’s attention. I bet the other Psionics never had any problems getting his attention.

‘Breakfast will get cold, Chris.’

The tray rattled and slowly the plate of bacon and eggs floated into the air into the arms of Lancier as he sat up. She threw a knife and fork his way and watched him effortlessly spin them in mid-air and land right way up into his hands.

‘You’re looking uncomfortably powerful, Chris. There didn’t seem to be any vector forces when you scooped that plate. Is that the Max effect?’

The plate of food floated there as he ate. ‘I’m sensing vectors all around. Max’s reality isn’t that stable. It should bounce back to normal once we get him to change his mind.’

‘But he’s also playing with the same energies you manipulate.’

‘Meaning?’

‘If he’s controlling this much power, he might think he can cope on his own or why else is he getting this missile targeted? He needs to know I’m here if he can’t.’

‘People can think for themselves, even in this changed reality.’

‘And the fall-out?’ Courtney mouthed to the fake.

‘I doubt if it has the range.’

‘Do you want to take that for granted?’

‘No! We’ll go after breakfast.’

 

IIIIIIIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

 

It was late afternoon when they actually arrived at the British Rocket Group unit. En route, Lancier decided he needed to share off a variety of scientists and had met several of them at a couple of universities. That and a suitable grey wig for a disguise.

‘Are you sure you can juggle so much knowledge at one go, Chris?’

‘Enough to pass through and ask them the right questions.’

‘Who are we supposed to be?’

Lancier stopped in front of a sentry. ‘Hello. My name is Quatermass. This is my assistant, Paula. We are expected.’

‘Wait here.’

Another sentry came out of a shed with a list and they consulted it. Lancier closed his eyes in anticipation of what the sentry needed to see.

‘You’re on the list, Professor, but not who you want to see.’

‘I’m a consultant. Missile trajectories need to be checked. I’m here to see every scientist involved.’

‘I’ll have to ask as escort to accompany you, Professor, we have an emergency on.’

‘I’m here to provide the answers your team need. Can we get a move on.’

As they walked behind their escort, Courtney mouthed at Lancier ‘Quatermass?’ and received a wink back.

In the main laboratory, they studied the formula on the blackboard as various scientists assembled behind them.

‘You aren’t going to get enough altitude.’ Lancier turned and looked at the scientists. ‘If you destroy the meteor at this height all the debris will pour down on London. Any large piece hitting the Thames will flood all these areas. Do you think Parliament would approve of being flooded?’

Courtney watched their faces gape. No one was contradicting the Psionic, so they must have already known. Tweaking would be easier.

‘We’re trying to minimise damage.’

‘Clearly not enough. Higher in the stratosphere, at least the winds can direct the debris into the sea. Have you got access to the Lancier device?’

The scientists looked at each other but no reaction.

‘It was used to stop all the last major meteorite collisions.’

The jaws began to drop again.

‘The device is classified but the name isn’t. You’ll need to talk to someone at government level to get it in here. We then save London properly.’

After they acknowledged the plan, the pair of them returned to their hotel, a message card was waiting for them at their suite door.

‘Nice try, Mr. Lancier.’

‘Shit!’

‘Double shit! Well, at least he acknowledged your existence, Chris.’

‘He must have really looked.’

‘What can you tell from the note. Is it really by him?’

Lancier sat in the chair, the wig whirling around in the air, studying the card and envelope before closing his eyes. Courtney sat down and watched from another chair. He was reaching out and there was nothing to do but wait.

After an hour, Lancier opened his eyes. ‘He’s not in one place. Very mobile.’

‘Under duress? The Pattern?’

‘Not close enough to find out. He’s blocking or something.’

‘It was a good first attempt. You didn’t even expect a response.’

‘Let’s eat out. I could do with looking at people for a change. No offence.’

‘No offence. I was getting tired of these hotel meals. Anywhere in particular?’

‘Let’s wander. Build up an appetite.’

‘Good thing you don’t drink or this would be a pub crawl.’

 

IIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

 

Mid-evening they dined in Pagani’s Restaurant in Great Portland Street. An art nouveau restaurant with its walls decorated by signatures of famous celebrities from the Victorian period.

‘Anyone who is anyone dines here,’ Lancier explained.

‘I thought it had closed, demolished in WW2?’

‘This is Victorian London. Max decided to reopen it. Must have fallen in love with the photos. We’re living in Max’s illusions.’

‘Physical illusions? This is good Italian food. I’d be worried about my weight if I ate too much.’

Lancier looked down at his own plate. He had chosen simpler foods while Courtney worked her way through the menu. They had gotten a late table by his explaining to the maître d’ he was a magician holidaying from Europe and gave an impromptu performance in the middle of the restaurant scooping up objects and rotating them in the air allowing other people to put all kinds of obstacles in the way, under and over, to show there were no hidden wires. They hadn’t been bothered while they ate.

‘We ought to use a magician’s cover when things get back to normal, Chris.’

‘I thought you were going to object.’

‘Only when we can’t explain it. You seem unsettled.’

‘I was hoping to step on someone’s toes. Not necessarily Max but certainly the Pattern would like to know what was going on and seeking us out. Not a sign of them or the Vampiri.’

‘It’s almost an insult that he’s ignoring us.’

Lancier urged the maître d’ forward with the bill and they left after he left the money and tip. Outside, it was dark with only the whispering gaslights to mark their route.

‘No problem with so many people? You’re not always that keen on London.’

‘The shield is still holding. I don’t get many opportunities like this. I don’t know how Sara tolerates it so well.’

Courtney held onto Lancier’s arm, who didn’t object. They were close but nothing ever happened beyond that. There was always the fear that it would change their working relationship. She might be able to keep it away from the other Blanks but Lancier was an open book to the other Psionics. Not that they would disapprove but after Philadelphia Craven had enabled a share of mind-shielding for public activity they had been out in the field far more than home.

As they took a short-cut across a park, Courtney looked up into the sky. ‘I thought you’d stopped that meteor faux now that Max figured it out?’

‘I haven’t re-enforced it. Why?’

‘It’s still there.’

‘You shouldn’t be able to see it.’

‘Something’s up there.’

Lancier looked up. There was a brighter light than usual in the sky. ‘That’s the one I was basing it off. It’s early.’

‘Maybe it’s Max, having his own revenge. Showing us he can do as well as you and bring it closer.’

Lancier stiffened and Courtney let go his arm. He was reaching out and needed his full attention.

‘It’s definitely real and early.’

‘Max real?’

‘Who knows the range of his talent. I doubt if London ever received a direct hit from a meteor. We’re in the wrong part of the hemisphere.’

‘Maybe it’s someone from the space station wondering why they haven’t had any messages.’

‘No, they’re in a different orbit.’

‘We need to get to Greenwich and have a look through an observatory. See if any Norms are seeing what we see.’

The proof was there, too. The astronomers were abuzz and besides themselves. The biggest contention that it would burn up in the atmosphere than land on Earth. Lancier spiked the queue to have a brief look ahead of most of them as well and shook his head.

‘Compared to my version, this is far bigger. I doubt if this is Max’s doing. He doesn’t intentionally grandstand from ego.’

‘What can you do?’

‘It’s not close enough yet. I’ve looked at their predictions and it’s still a couple days off. We have one more visit. I’ll leave a message at the British Rocket Group base and hope Max has been watching the place.’

‘What are you going to say?’

‘Give the co-ordinates and say if it’s not one of mine. If it isn’t one of yours then you’ll need me and Sheena.’

 

II

IIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

 

It took two days before another note was fed under their door.

Lancier, slipped a reply note quickly under the same way and it was snatched away, already anticipating the question with an answer and hoping the runner would see and return it quickly.

Courtney compared Max’s note with a copy of Lancier’s.

‘Why Sheena?’

‘He’s not saying much, is he?’

‘Probably afraid we’d learn too much.’

Courtney unfolded Lancier’s duplicate note and read aloud, ‘She picks up the fine debris and helped me last year. I can’t do it alone.’

‘No precog?’

Lancier raised his eyebrows. ‘No. I’m not that good. Anticipation of what he would ask. Pretty obvious really. He would need to know why I need Sheena. Max has his own limits without some direction.’

‘I wonder who his messenger is?’

Courtney opened the door and faced a blizzard of snow as someone walked through.

‘Hello Cookie. Hope you’ve got a loo. I need to dump.’

‘There’s a commode.’

‘Great. Better than a hold in the ground, don’tcha know?’

They looked at each other and left Sheena and opened the door and stood in the corridor. The snow had gone and the hotel corridor was there again, as they pushed it to.

‘Does this mean we could all be within a few feet of each other?’ she asked.

Lancier shrugged. Not too likely. Let’s find out where she’s been.’

‘I hear you. Narnia. Me and Whitey been dining with Tummy the faun. Only problem is he hasn’t got an inside loo.’

‘How is he doing that?’

‘No loo? I dunno know. He’s half animal.’

‘Different realities.’

‘Pocket universes. He’s just opening them up.’

‘It’s not getting easier.’

Sheena came to the door. ‘What’s up?’

All three went back inside.

‘Sounds like something from Donovan, don’tcha know.’

‘Huh?’

‘First there’s a meteor, then there isn’t, then there is. Max has no control of it then?’

‘I don’t think so. We think he has limits.’

‘We can’t let the British Rocket Group fire a rocket at it. They’d still create the same problem. I doubt if either of us can collect all the debris.’

‘We sure as hell can’t get a rocket ride into space.’

‘I was thinking more of deflecting it. It’ll be close enough tonight with your help. I told Max you can help with small particles and ranging.’

‘From where? Doubt if Max left us any skyscrapers. Do you think he would dream one up for us?’

‘I was thinking more like Hampstead Heath. We wouldn’t be disturbed at night up there. Get it to bounce off the atmosphere. Can’t risk it getting as low as I did with the atoll.’

‘And me?’

‘Something’s bound to drop off. Maybe give them some fireworks.’

Sheena looked intently into Lancier’s eyes, before sparkling herself. ‘Yeah, Lancey. That would be cool.’

‘Maybe they won’t send you back to Narnia.’

‘I want to eat before we start, don’tcha know.’

‘Chris has found a great restaurant’, Courtney finally added. ‘You’ll be well at home in your new clothes.’

Sheena looked down. ‘At least Max didn’t lose my leather. Just my cd player.’

 

X

X         X

x          x          x          x

II

IIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIII

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

 

That night, Lancier and Sheena looked up at the stars and at the approaching light of the meteor. Courtney was looking around to see how alone they were.

‘It’s a big one, alright, Lancey. Why is it lit up like a comet?’

Lancer shrugged. ‘There’s a lot of vectoring energy around. Maybe its burning its way into Max’s reality. I did wonder if it was Max doing a fake back at me but then he wouldn’t have brought you back.’

‘Why London?’

‘I think it’s the nature of the reality shift. Max can’t control everything and the way we’re trouble magnets…’

‘Brings a meteor to you than you travel to it. Gotcha, Lancey. There’s a lot of energy about.’

‘I felt it, too. Look at what you did earlier in Pagani’s. Having long earrings all go horizontal was something.’

‘You said nothin’ too extravagant but it was hard resisting.’

Courtney returned. ‘Not even dog walkers. I take it you did something, Chris?’

He nodded. ‘There’s always a chance we’d find some potential Blank. You’d better stay at the bottom of the hill, Court. We’d going to direct some of this energy we’re feeling. Any boost we can get, we’re going to use. Don’t know how far out it would spread.’

‘An’ just in case Max sends us away, you know where to go, Cookie?’

‘You think it likely?’

‘Like keepin’ us on tap, don’tcha know.’

Lancier nodded. ‘No sense having all of us together. If anything does happen, you know who to contact, Court?’

‘Aslan.’

‘Right.’

‘Enjoy the fireworks, Cookie. I’m going to have fun.’

Courtney gave Lancier a hug and a kiss on the cheek. The two Psionics watched her go down the hill.

‘How long have you been both together alone in this reality, Lancey?’

‘A couple weeks.’

‘Neither of you made a pass at each other?’

‘No. Safer to keep it as unrequited love.’

‘She’s worried about you, don’tcha know? You ought ta think about that, Lancey. Life don’t last forever.’

‘When did you turn marriage councillor?’

‘You do realise what’ll happen if we screw up this time?’

‘Let’s be optimistic, can we?’

‘She’s safe, Lancey.’

They both looked up and then touched hands. Energy started to circulate in waves around them and then went straight up into sky in a concentrated ray of force. As it hit the approaching meteor and suddenly there was a blaze of firework lights as it hit the atmosphere and its ash began to smoke across it. Suddenly, the ask sparked into a gigantic firework display.

If the Londoners were asleep before, they wouldn’t be now. Well, not unless they were really plastered. The sparks were spreading over a wider field, as far as the eye could see. Courtney was paying less attention to that and more to the top of the hill where there was a blaze of energy swirling around. What was Max going to make of that and would he interfere? Maybe he would think that for once this was outside of his power range.

As to the meteoroid, it was less about destroying it and more about pushing it away from the Earth. Max had let it get too close. It was on the edge of the atmosphere. All the other occasions, Lancier had had a bigger margin gap to move the meteoroids away. They might push it into a higher orbit and wait for a second opportunity when it realigned the next night.

Or not!

There was a secondary sweep from the top of the hill. They weren’t going to do that. The ground shook beneath Courtney’s feet. They were driving more and more energy upwards. It couldn’t be all their own. They were drawing on energy Max was using to creating and maintaining the reality. That could be even worse.

The discussion over their last meal was about the nature of this reality. How much of was their own reality or one of several pocket universes he had tapped into. Sorting it out would be more than taking down Max. They would need his co-operation to restore things to normal.

Finally, there was a bright flash. When Courtney’s eyes cleared and could see into the sky, all there was were the stars in the sky. She slowly made her way back up the hill. There was no sign of Chris Lancier or Sheena Ramone. Not even melted footprints into the ground although it was very glaciated. They had been there. The grass was burnt away or smouldering.

Had they been consumed in the energy or had Max sent them into another reality? She struggled to a park seat and sat and waited, controlling herself enough not to weep. She was alone. There was little she could do here and sooner or later, the local constabulary would be looking around. All she could do was obey her last order. Go and see Polly Kettle. She could only hope that both of them had been sent to Narnia and not dead.

end

 

Psi-Kicks, The Stable Consultancy, Blanks,

Chris Lancier, Sheena Ramone,

Courtney Adams and Polly Kettle

© GF Willmetts 2018

All rights reserved

Ask before borrowing

Category: Scifi, Short fiction

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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