The Punishment of a God, Part 2
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Last Time on Nexus:
The Punishment of a God, Part 1

Falling. Chloe had no idea how long she had fallen, while thrashing around in complete panic, but it was in any case far too long to not die upon impact. So she was far more surprised when she simply stopped falling. She had reached the ground but her excess kinetic energy had apparently decided to pack it in early, thankfully preventing Chloe’s body from becoming very flat and very wide.

She needed about ten seconds to process this fact. Her subconsciousness meanwhile assessed her environment and reported its findings, after her face had gone blank.

She was still surrounded by darkness, but here it was somewhat lighter. And there were walls. Apparently metal walls, given the bolts. She estimated that she was in a two and a half meter high container.

Chloe felt as if she was being observed and took a look around. She learned two things through this. First, she knew now where the light came from, second, it was obvious that she wasn’t alone in here. Except that she wasn’t sure what the other one present was.

Her brain tried to convince her, that in front of her stood, or rather knelt, a man with a beard and a height of approximately five meters. He wore a long black robe. His eyes were completely silver, appearing like big marbles. This was, what she should see according to her mind. Her eyes had a slightly different opinion, because Chloe couldn’t determine if her opposite was located right in front of her or somewhere else in the room. She also didn’t know if he was faced towards her or how many limbs he possessed. And he seemed way to real. One could literally taste his presence. Chloe could only partly handle the fact that this man appeared more real than her. Additionally, he glowed from the inside…

The stranger examined her with a sad look. He seemed melancholic.

"Err… Hello?"

The man didn’t show any change in emotion. But he extended his hand and gently poked Chloe’s nose.

For some reason she suddenly got charged with static energy.

Her hair stuck out in all directions. Chloe didn’t know what to make of this but at least the man started smiling now.

She wanted to go home…

"Where am I here?" The giant tilted his head. Then he said something. Chloe did not understand his language but there were also other reasons why she couldn’t make heads or tails of the given information. She didn’t just hear him with her ears. Her entire body trembled due to power of his voice and her head felt as if he had to explode immediately.

But despite the voice, that seemingly strived to push her brain into a mixer, she realized one thing: The giant, or whatever he was, was finished. He was at the verge of death. But could he please stop talking?

Suddenly, there was movement in the container. The wall behind her went up and a man in gray everyday clothes appeared. And he had a rifle with him.

He was presumably just as puzzled as Chloe because of this encounter, but he regained his composure faster and yelled something in a language Chloe did not know. After she did apparently not show the right reaction, the armed one shouted something over his shoulder, causing four more men and a woman to appear besides him. All were similarly clothed and armed like him. The woman, she wore jeans white shirt with writing Chloe couldn’t read, subsequently entered the container to grab Chloe. The giant, however, pushed her down with a seemingly ponderous motion.

There was further shouting from the man and suddenly the cage got run through by glowing waves, as if all walls were smooth water surfaces. The big being screamed with its tremendous voice; a sound that sucked the strength out of Chloe's legs. When she fell on her knees, the static energy painfully discharged.

Since it required Chloe's full attention to not simply deliquesce because of that voice, it was easy for the woman to just grab her hand, pull her up and drag her behind herself. She, like the rest of her group, didn’t seem to be affected in the slightest by the tumult of the giant.

The wail became silent, when the container closed behind Chloe. She still got dragged further but since her ears weren’t ringing anymore, she finally had the opportunity to examine her surroundings.

The container she had been in was connected to a literal forest of glowing cables, tubes and pipes in all forms and sizes, which themselves vanished in the ground. The whole thing looked as if its parts had been cannibalized from other things before they had been build together here. Chloe asked herself involuntarily, why she hadn’t seen the connectors from inside. The room she was dragged out of right now was colored in derelict gray, cylindrical and certainly 10 meters high. Without the apparatus in the middle one could have conducted ballet lessons for up to fifty people in there for sure.

Chloe, at the moment in a state of shock where she still thought somewhat rational, struggled tentatively in the grip of her gripper, since the friction with the untreated concrete floor became slowly and painfully noticeable in her naked feet. She stopped these efforts when the women pulled her to herself and tipped with a meaningful look on a telescope stick dangling on her hip. Chloe started shaking and nodded hastily. At least she was now allowed to walk by herself.

A man with a white coat walked in front of the group which at the moment walked through a pale-grey and only scarcely illuminated corridor. Chloe got pulled forward with a fearful squeak and presented to the newcomer.

He looked like a scientist. He had glasses, tangled gray hair and a small beard. It followed an exchange in this language unknown to Chloe. In the process she and the room where she came from were several times pointed at. The whole thing finally concluded with her being shooed again by her escort and ended with a stop in front of a door that was opened for her with a quiet squeak.
Behind it was something Chloe to her horror identified as prison cell. There was a sink and a lidless toilet, a chair, a table and a bed. And Chloe, after she had been steered in with gentle force and the door was locked behind her.

It took a while until she had processed the happenings and realized that she was obviously stranded here. All while not even knowing why she had come here. That damn notebook! If Chloe had just accepted that she has lost her shoes, then none of this would have happened! But no, of course she had to yield to her greed! She was trapped. She would never go home again…
Chloe broke out in tears.

Two men in white coats met a floor below at the urinals. There was a little conversation between them through which they both didn’t notice, how a black dot formed in the door to the toilets. It grew and filled the entire door frame after a second. They also didn’t notice how two hands reached for them.
But they noticed, how they suddenly got pulled into the blackness.

A little bit later the same blackness appeared in the door to a broom closet nearby Two people in white clothes exited from it. One of them held a little, cuboid device in her hands.
"Hm, we have to take a left…"

She didn’t know how long she had cried, but a sudden "squeak" announced a visitor. It was the scientist from before. He entered together with a folding chair and an apparent guard, who immediately pulled Chloe to the table and placed her in her own chair. The scientist took a seat on the opposite site of the table and started to speak. He spoke a lot, but Chloe didn’t understand any of it. Until she realized that he seemed to be trying different languages.

"Uh, I can’t understand you?", she attempted to help him.

The man knit his eyebrows in confusion. Then he murmured something to the guard, prompting him to take out a device similar to a taser. He walked unaffectedly towards Chloe, who sat paralyzed by fear…




The guard turned around instantly to investigate the source of that noise but all he saw was a fist that promptly made contact with his face. It belonged to a brown haired man with a white coat shirt and shoes and black pants, who immediately followed up and punched the downed guard until he went unconscious. While doing that, he displayed the sort of stoicism possessed by pig butchers after more than twenty years in the business.

"Dean, don’t kill him, or at least not completely."

Chloe, still baffled by the things that had happened, stared at the second newcomer, who had knocked down the scientist with a frying pan she had carried in with her. It was obvious that she was her savior, but Chloe would have never imagined her that way.

There are a lot of blonde jokes. All unjustified, so Chloe thought; but the young woman here created the impression that every single one applied to her. She also wore a lab coat, but beneath that tight blue pants. The same also held true for her blue shirt and her black sneakers. She looked like she dressed as if she expected to appear on TV at any moment. "Dean", who now walked towards her, murmured something unintelligible and examined Chloe with a deadpan expression. He appeared menacing, probably because of his size and wide back.

Meanwhile, the woman stowed away the kitchen implement in a black woman’s handbag on her shoulder. It took the pan in completely, despite it being logically unable to fit in there. Afterwards, she rummaged around in it and finally pulled out a device with the since and form of a calculator. After the activation, it made sounds like a Geiger counter.

"Bullseye!", she rejoiced then and extended grinning her hand for a greeting.

"If I may introduce myself, Elli is my name."

Chloe shook the hand absentminded. That went way to fast for her…

"And you are?"

"Chloe Winter", Chloe stated, before she could catch up to the present.

"I’m very pleased", Elli answered and pointed towards her companion with her thumb. "That over there is Dean, by the way."

"Hello", Dean responded dry-witted.

Chloe's brain finally reached a familiar operating speed again and deemed it appropriate to let her ask some essential questions.

"Wait, hold on, Who are you? And what are you doing here?"

"Well, regarding who, we are tourists," Elli explained as if Chloe had started a chat about the weather. "And we are here, because somebody performed a botched portal jump. And I want to know how."
She winked at Chloe while saying this.

"Portal jump?"

"Yes. Of magical nature as it seems. If the readings I’ve got are correct, you were lucky to get out somewhere at all. Or unlucky as well…"

"Where am I anyway?"

"You were thrown into another universe. Directly into a facility of the Saiga Factions. They are self-proclaimed world-savers; more on that matter later. In any case, the Reality of your portal was to low, and-"

"Another universe!? Like parallel worlds and stuff?"

Elli seemed to search for the right words for a short while but didn't find any.

"Uh, yeah," was the answer.

Chloe’s stomach fluttered.

"And… can I go back again?"

The expression of the woman became even brighter.

"Sure. I bring you back, you are being unjustly incarcerated here as I heard. But as it looks like we have to do something first."

"Err, and what?"

"I wouldn’t have become aware of you if you had just screwed up a portal jump. That happens all the time. There was a massive fluctuation in the space-time continuum of this universe when you got here and that now it clings on to you. Best thing would be if I demonstrate it to you."

In front of the entrance a black dot appeared. It grew and almost immediately blackened the entire area of the door-frame.

"This is an entrance to my Nexus", Elli explained. "For now, imagine it as an ultra-highly advanced spaceship. We got here with this. Try walking through it."

"Through it?", Chloe affirmed skeptically.

Dean demonstratively stuck his hand into the blackness. It sunk in without resistance. Chloe shrugged resignedly. It would only get crazier anyway. She stood up and approached the portal.

When there was only half a meter left between her and the blackness, she felt how something started to hold her back. A force that grew exponentially stronger the more Chloe advanced towards the portal. As if she and the entrance where two identical magnetic poles, repelling each other. When she jumped tentatively, she got immediately yanked backwards.

"What is that?", Chloe asked.

"Your space-time position got locked on this universe", Elli said. "Meaning, you cannot leave this universe. For something like this great amounts of energy are needed. Your portal jump alone cannot have caused this. Did something happen to you after your arrival?"

Chloe remembered how ruggedly she had been brought here and the man in the box. Didn’t he…

"Some big guy charged me with static when he touched me. Does that help?"

Elli smiled and raised an eyebrow.

"Oh yes. Has a lot to do with quanta and String-Theory but the static charge means that the guy was very sloppy. Could you describe him?"

"He was about five meters tall and stuck in a weird machine."

The woman furrowed her brow while trying to make something out of this information.

"We will have to ask for directions for that one", she finally concluded. "Dean, wake up the egghead, Chloe, take this."

With those words Elli gave Chloe something that looked like a small gray band-aid.

"That is a reusable translation sticker", Elli explained. "It will allow you to comprehend language and writing of the people here and to express yourself to them. Stick it behind an ear of your choice."

"This is a thing?", slipped amazed out of Chloe.

"In the future, yes. I have a lot of stuff from the future, got a time-machine. Now stick it on."

Chloe did as she had been told. Suddenly she could actually filter information from the whimpering Dean was currently wringing from the scientist through the use of moderate force.
"Please stop punching me!"

"OK," Dean said tersely, grabbed the man by the shirt collar and pulled him into an upright position.

"Hello!" Elli greeted him, as if she had just met an old friend on the street. "May I ask you something?"

"What?“ the man grunted. "Look, this is all one big misunderstanding. Whatever you have locked up here, it really doesn’t have anything to do with this girl here, but it apparently fixated her in this universe. Could you tell us what it is and where we find it?"

While saying this, she made a face like a tourist asking a native for directions.

"Why should I? Who are you-" the scientist started before Dean raised his free fist with a meaningful look. "Okay, okay! I'll talk! He is on level 2, Room 110F!"

Elli again raised an eyebrow.

Chloe realized that she must have had much practice in expressing her mood just with her eyebrows.

She rummaged in her purse and finally retrieved a black orb from it, no bigger than a marble. Before the scientist could react in any way, she flicked the object with a skillful move into his open mouth.
"What you just swallowed there is a micro-bomb," Elli explained. "Which I can detonate via remote control. Even if you are on the other side of the planet. I believe I don’t have to tell you under which circumstances it will blow up. ’Cause you are a bright one, aren’t you?"

She again demonstrated practiced proficiency in the handling of her eyebrows to let her expression appear sadistic. Chloe found herself wondering if eyebrow Olympics existed where Elli came from.
Given what this face promised, the scientist nodded hastily.

"So, do you tell the truth?"

The scientist nodded hastily again.

"So, you are either one of the greatest pansies I have ever witnessed or extremely good in mind games. Whatever of those two holds true, I still don’t know what it is that keeps my little friend locked here. So, would you kindly?"

"It is Ku!", it came quick like a shot.

"Ku?" Elli echoed and slowly became annoyed. "Which Ku? There are universes where this is the most common first name!"

"The god Ku!" her eyes widened.

"Like in 'Ku, the Destroyer?"

The scientist confirmed with a nod. Elli and Dean exchanged a glance. Chloe thought to spot something like dark fascination in the eyes of the woman.

"That is interesting… I will not ask for the 'how' but why did you catch him?"

"Because he is a weapon. We want to use his might to power a weapon capable of destroying other realities. For deterrence. So nobody gets the idea of mounting an invasion-"

"That is so typical for your lot," Elli interrupted him with an annoyed eye-roll. "Dean, knock him out, we are going. They will soon realize that I inserted a loop into their surveillance feed. Oh, that will be great."

She entered the room giggling while Dean with moderate effort and only minimal noise disturbance did as he had been told. Afterwards he went to Chloe.

"Is she always like this?" she asked.

"Yes, sadly. She lives for adventure," was the resigned answer.

Dean grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her towards the door. His hand felt hard. Chloe tried to free herself from his grip.

"Hey, I can walk on my own!"

"Not here," Dean objected without loosening his grip in the slightest.

"If you walk around freely, you only draw attention. But if you are taken along by a scientist…"

"I see."

Elli stuck her head through the door. She had an expression that would have well-suited a child who couldn't wait to open Christmas presents.

"Hey, what are you waiting for? The Saiga Faction here will not be blind forever."

Signing, Chloe got on the move. She had no clue what the had engaged herself with here but something told her that it was better as if she stayed here. While walking, she turned a last time to the knocked out scientist who still lay motionless in her cell.

"Do tell, did you really give him a bomb?" she asked Elli.

"What? No, that was a glass marble. I bluffed", Elli responded and followed with an evil chuckle.
Chloe asked herself involuntarily if that really was better…

Next time on Nexus:
The Punishment of a God, Part 3

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