Split Worlds' Nirvana

Authors: Agent Q, O'Sliggity Slice

Chapter Three: Different Earths

A/N: If any of you readers are confused about anything about SWN, please feel free to ask me if it is about Deviance or the current Variable Earth storyline. My e-mail is , AIM sn is AgentQ168. To ask about BDM elements contained within this story, please ask Mr. Kaye at , AIM sn is LoZPirate.

Between Dreams and Memories, Beyond Dreams and Memories, its characters, settings, and themes are copyright© Daniel Kaye. All rights reserved.

Quick FYI: This chapter is the first in which all three Earths: Variable, Constant, and Tangent, appear.

--------------------

--------------------

CONSTANT EARTH: CORE CITY

BLITZ: ...There were two towers that originally bound the worlds together: Babel and Zeno. The tower of Babel served as a nexus of the Divine powers; conversely, Zeno served as the nexus for the pre-Divine.

(Blitz puts down the book he is reading and rubs his eyes. He checks his watch. It is 11:26.)

BLITZ: Guess it's time to sleep then.

(Blitz puts the book on the floor. He stretches out his limbs and falls on the bed.)

BLITZ: (thinking) Damned if I can even sleep. Too much crap on my mind. Stupid agents will be after me by tomorrow, no doubt. But that's the state of this world, ain't it? They don't like it, they get rid of you. But if they think I'm gonna go down so easily, they're dead wrong. Let's see, a few bucks oughta get me cross the border into Mexico. Yeah, that's my plan. Just freakin' high-tail it outta the country. Yep. Give up my fame, my fortune, my life, my money, my work, my joy. Ah hell. It wouldn'ta lasted much longer anyway. Too much corruption among my...the execs. Damn shame I couldn't fire them. Dipshits. All of them. And fatasses on top of that.

(Blitz continues to think himself to sleep.

Meanwhile... Two dark-cloaked men stand watch from a building across the street.)

MAN 1: He will find the most valuable prize of them all.

MAN 2: Of course. He has our intervention. Is he asleep?

MAN 1: Let us wait a while longer.

MAN 2: He has been like this for almost an hour now.

MAN 1: Patience, he cannot stay in this state forever.

MAN 2: A pity...The human body can only endure so much. Yet another flaw they possess. But it's intriguing, nevertheless, to wonder: how do they manage?

MAN 1: Wonder later. He's going...

(In the room... Blitz finally falls asleep from fatigue. The two men notice this, so they somehow leap across the roof of their building onto the roof of the motel. Not a sound is made.)

MAN 1: I'll keep an exit open. You'll leave the package.

MAN 2: According to plan.

(They part. The second man, who is to leave a package for Blitz, picks open the lock, and opens the door, noiselessly.)

MAN 2: Sleep well, Mr. Thorman. You'll have quite an agenda by tomorrow morning.

(The man places a box wrapped in a brown paper bag next to the book Blitz has been reading. Then, silently, and as quickly as he same, he leaves.)

MAN 2: Excellent. Now, if he truly possesses any skill, he should be able to find it.

(The two men regroup near before the elevator shaft.)

MAN 1: Everything's in place?

MAN 2: Yes. It seems as though our little friend might be more interesting than we previously thought.

MAN 1: How so?

MAN 2: I was unable to tell for sure, but perhaps he may have in his possession the Book of Cosmos.

MAN 1: Yes. This makes everything more interesting.

--------------------

--------------------

TANGENT EARTH: NAUMUR

(Naumur is an island located about three thousand miles off the coast of the mainland, Dyrce. The island covers only around five thousand square miles. There are no other islands within a thousand-mile radius.

But Naumur is known not for its civilization, but for its natural beauty. Palm trees sway in the gentle breeze, waves roll gently along the beach. A variety of songbirds unknown to any other place frequent this land; their songs fill the air. Among the other sounds are laughter, singing, and light, happy music. The smells in the air are mixtures of food, salt, and leaves.

Naumur was originally unpopulated. It was around three hundred years ago that the first settlers made their home here. These settlers are rumored to have come from a northeastern part of the mainland due to their pale skin, hair, and eyes.

Then again, at the same time, rumors exist of people who took refuge on this island to flee the wars taking place in the southern islands. Those people had dark skin, hair, and eyes.

Point of that is to explain why there are three distinct groups on the island: Northerners, Southerners, and "Mixed", as both Northerners and Southerners call them.

This division of nationality only increased with time. There was one incident, when an infant was discovered on the Southerners' part of the island. The child was pale in complexion, just like the Northerners. In a rare moment of interaction between these two groups, Anta Kusi, leader of the southern villages and Garth, leader of the northern villages, met in the heart of Naumur. Neither side claimed the child, but neither side wanted her to die, either.

To make a long story short, this child was given to the care of a village of mixed people, who lived near the middle of the western coast. The northern name given to her was Evelyn; her southern name was Karmara. This child was the one thing that finally brought the split groups together in helping to raise her.

20 years later...)

KUIME: Karmara, we go!

KARMARA: I'm coming! Just let me find my basket...

(Kuime is Karmara's southern aunt. She is short, but strong. Her features all match that of a characteristic Southerner, except for her speech, which is a mixture between the island tongues of the south and the dialect of the northern settlers.

Karmara is a Caucasian brunette. Then again, the continent Europe doesn't exist on Tangent Earth, but for the sake of comparison, let's just use this example. She stands half a foot taller than her aunt, but compared to her northern cousin, Jed, she is quite short.)

KUIME: Don' worry for that, I bringing mine. We only go out, get some plantains frying t'nigh.

KARMARA: Okay, let's go then.

(They leave for the marketplace.

At the marketplace...Not too much activity goes on here. The island is sparsely populated anyway, so not too many people are seen in the same place. The small population is also the cause for tight communities to develop. Within a village, neighbors are as close as family.)

KARMARA: Aunt Kuime, where's Cousin Martin? He's always here with his newest catch of fish.

KUIME: He pro'lly get big fish he talk so long for. All day, no stop, jus' big fish, big fish! Maybe he catch big fish, he so happy, he ask fish for marrying him!

KARMARA: (laughing) Aunt Kuime, don't be silly. There must be something important he needs to do. Otherwise I'm sure he'd be here.

KUIME: Ai, girl, you don' know Ma'tin. When you have first birthday, you know what he bring for gift? He bring fish! I tell you, little one, Ma'tin's munfa to fish.

(Karmara giggles. When she and her aunt stop, she turns away and looks down.)

KARMARA: Too bad he's not here. I wanted to tell him about my bird so much.

(Kuime gives Karmara's arm a gentle squeeze.)

KUIME: Maybe tell him morrow. Much time here, no worry. Firs', we find plantain. Else what we eat t'nigh?

KARMARA: You're right, Aunt Kuime.

KUIME: You never see me wrong, yes? Hah! Course I be right!

(They walk on and talk with light hearts as they look through foods and other goods to buy.

Meanwhile...In the center of the village Karmara belongs to, a tan-skinned, unshaven man of modest height brags about something. He uses emphatic gestures to show the size of a fish, perhaps?

One of his friends calls him Martin. He is indeed the same Cousin Martin referred to by Karmara and Kuime.)

MARTIN: This big, I tell you! Big, big, big! And I got this fish before all of you! How's that for a Northerner?

NABUNYE: Not bad, but there be bigger fish in sea.

MARTIN: And I aim to catch it!

(Naumur in the southern tongue means "happiness". It is a fitting description, especially if one lives there. Actually, the mainland is even peaceful. All of Tangent Earth is beautiful. The land is free from the heavy pollution of Core City in Constant Earth, and free from the demonic crises plaguing Variable Earth.)

--------------------

--------------------

VARIABLE EARTH: JOTUNHEIM, 4 DAYS LATER

KALIN: To clear up things, President Milenkov has informed me that he doesn't want to declare war over the borders of the Govannen Plains. At this moment, he is on his way here to negotiate a possible settlement. If you have any questions, please ask President Milenkov's representative.

(Kalin Dunne brushes back his black hair. He walks away from the crowd that is surrounding the stage. Domon Farrell, a slightly taller man, leads Kalin away.)

CONNER: As Senator Dunne has mentioned, the eastern nations have no intentions of going to war with the West. Any rumors contrary to this are false.

(Conner Davis stands tall and imposing on the stage before the press. He fixes his tie, and checks the sleeves of his grey suit before continuing...)

CONNER: That is simply all President Milenkov has to say. Any questions?

(Many hands go up. Conner picks out one from random.)

REPORTER 1: Mr. Davis, do you have any idea as to the status of Ganaedan and Kriist?

CONNER: As of this time, they have informed us of no plans for aggression. However, I can only speak for Tantalus at this time.

(More hands. Another is picked to ask...)

REPORTER 2: What about the mobilization of your troops?

CONNER: After we received reports of Zaqa'ari's abandonment due to an unknown reason, we decided that it was in our best interest to increase our security measures.

(Another...)

REPORTER 3: Do you know if these rumors of "winged monsters" and "giant worms" are indeed experiments performed by an unknown organization?

(Conner looks surprised.)

CONNER: As far as I know, the people who witnessed the creatures did not survive. Rather, secondary accounts were given. I will say right now there are no secret groups doing such perverse experiments.

(One reporter speaks without being called upon. This annoys Conner.)

REPORTER 4: There's news that an airship carrying one of President Milenkov's top bodyguards crash-landed in Denores. Do you know who this person is, if they're still alive, and if they were attacked?

CONNER: What? Denores? But why would they be in Denores?

(Conner hastily leaves the scene. While he leaves, the crowd starts blurting out questions in hopes that he may answer...)

REPORTER: Are you aware that Denores is a neutr- Where was the airship head- Who is this bodyg- Was this the ship Presi- Who else was on the s- If a western nation is found to be respon- Why didn't you kn- Does President Milenkov kn-

(This mob follows Conner to his minijet. They stay extremely close to Conner, asking question up until he boards the craft and closes the door.)

CONNER: Shit, that's one hell of a crowd.

SIEGFRIED: You need a drink or something?

(Siegfried is another one of President Milenkov's bodyguards. Conner is as well, since they all wear grey suits.)

CONNER: I'm fine. Just give Alexei a call. Tell him that Cye might be in Denores and we're going there right now.

SIEGFRIED: Gotcha. I'll call him up now. You're gonna fly?

CONNER: Sure.

(Siegfried disappears into the cockpit. After three seconds, he reappears...)

SIEGFRIED: Done. He says that after we find Cye, we are to meet him back in Tantalus. He said something about Vlad defying orders again.

CONNER: Not surprising. Did you suggest Alexei fire him?

SIEGFRIED: Yeah, but the President said that Vlad was the most reliable financial backer.

CONNER: No kidding. He's getting bribes left and right.

SIEGFRIED: Yeah, I know he's a crook, but at least it won't get us into war.

CONNER: I don't know about that. Something tells me that at least one of those bribes had something to do with what went on in Zaqa'ari. Now, enough talk. I think those damn reporters are trying to break in.

SIEGFRIED: Gotcha. I'm sending out a signal to track Cye now...He's in the southwest quadrant of Denores, and I think he's in Vince's place.

CONNER: Figures.

(Conner gets in the pilot's seat. He flips a few switches, leans back, and lifts off.)

SIEGFRIED: Uh, Conner...

CONNER: Yeah, I know. The reporters...They shouldn't have been so close anyway.

(The small plane gains altitude until Jotunheim is a tiny speck far below. It speeds eastward for Denores, where Conner and Siegfried hope to find some answers.

Meanwhile... In Zaqa'ari, the golden mist materializes once more. This time, it takes on the form of a human.

It leaves the palace in pursuit of Nihil and Ragnals, who are almost at the exit.)

NIHIL: Variable Earth is quite different from Constant Earth.

RAGNALS: That's a given.

NIHIL: But I mean, at first, I thought it would just be slightly different in regards to the history. I thought everything would be essentially the same, but I never expected something like this.

RAGNALS: I can't say much to that. This is my first time returning to a material world too.

NIHIL: But we agree now that the monster was a demon, there are no survivors here, and that golden mist is the cause of this.

RAGNALS: Right.

NIHIL: Hey-

(Nihil hears something behind him. In a flash, he draws his gun, turns around, and points it at a stranger's head. Ragnals has his weapon aimed at the man's head a moment later than Nihil.)

MAN: W-wait! Don't shoot me. I am a citizen of Zaqa'ari. I think I am the only survivor, and I wish to accompany you away from this cursed place.

RAGNALS: You know what happened here?

MAN: Yes. It was at first something ethereal, like smoke.

NIHIL: Golden in color?

MAN: Yes! But it changed.

RAGNALS: Into a monster.

MAN: Not just any, but Pious himself!

(Nihil and Ragnals look at one another. Obviously, the name means nothing to them.)

MAN: Truly, you don't mean you don't know Pious?

NIHIL: We come from a distant land. Perhaps we were not here at the time.

MAN: I suppose it is possible...

RAGNALS: Speak. Who is Pious?

MAN: He's a Youkai archdemon-one of the most powerful too. For many years we lived in fear of Pious and his followers. It was eleven years ago that he was finally vanquished by a small group of brave heroes. Or so we thought.

NIHIL: Describe Pious' abilities.

MAN: He cannot be harmed by ordinary means. No Youkai can. Only black magic, another demonic entity, or a Weapon of Purity can harm him.

RAGNALS: He may have quite a few resistances, but he's still vulnerable.

MAN: He knows powerful incantations! Mostly, his magic is demonic, but there are some spells that are even more horrific!

STRANGER: I think I can describe those spells better.

(Nihil and Ragnals turn their weapons on the new stranger. He doesn't even flinch.)

STRANGER: Ah, those weapons will be of little use to you. Observe.

(The stranger mumbles incoherent words. Instantly, the man who claims to be the last survivor clutches his chest. He falls to the ground and writhes in pain while Nihil and Ragnals watch his body bloat and his skin bubble.)

STRANGER: That is the least a Youkai can accomplish. Shall I show you more?

NIHIL: How about I show you my power?

STRANGER: That is unnecessary. The reason I haven't killed both of you yet is because my master Pious is rather impressed with the way you managed to kill one of his most formidable beasts. I now offer you a chance to fight with him to better this world.

RAGNALS: How about we just shoot you.

NIHIL: Ragnals, wait. Pious may be a demon, but I don't think he's more powerful than us. It may be wise to have access to his knowledge.

(Nihil lowers his gun. Ragnals does so too, but hesitantly.)

NIHIL: We first wish to know the conditions involved.

STRANGER: Conditions? As in "what are the strings"? Very well. You will not be allowed in Lord Pious' presence, and you will not question his decisions.

RAGNALS: There's more.

STRANGER: No more than that. If there are any additional strings attached, feel free to shoot me as many times as you want.

(Nihil steps between Ragnals and the stranger.)

NIHIL: If the conditions stated are the only ones we must obey, then we accept.

STRANGER: Good. Then I leave you each with a squad of eight soldiers at your disposal. Lord Pious' first order is for you to go to Ganaedan in the northeast. Take this map with you. The coordinates are written on the back. Once there, seek out the governor, Leon. He shouldn't be too hard to find. Kill him. You will be paid well.

NIHIL: Wait, why must we kill him?

STRANGER: Forgetting one of the conditions already, are we? I'll let it go this once, but be more careful next time.

(The stranger hands Nihil the map, and changes back to the immaterial golden mist.)

RAGNALS: So now we're working for a demon. You know how often people make deals with them and have an eternity to regret it?

NIHIL: It fulfills the first task, doesn't it? Sixteen allies gained, all on the first day.

RAGNALS: Still...It's strange to have us working with demons, even though Octavian planned it. It's bizarre, even for him to do this.

NIHIL: It doesn't really matter. We have our own agenda here.

RAGNALS: Of course. But shall we kill this Leon first?

NIHIL: Yes. Then we'll search.

RAGNALS: But you're sure it's here?

NIHIL: It once was. But I can still sense the energies.

RAGNALS: And now we are headed to Ganaedan, which is across...the Aquamagne. Do we plan on swimming?

(Nihil takes a look at the map.)

NIHIL: Let's find some transportation. And let's hope the technology here is advanced enough.

--------------------

--------------------

CONSTANT EARTH: CORE CITY, THE NEXT MORNING

(Blitz wakes up. He stretches and yawns. After stretching for thirty more seconds, he gets out of his uncomfortable bed.)

BLITZ: (thinking) Damn this place is cheap! What's that bed made of anyway, concrete?

(Blitz goes to pick up his book and in doing so, discovers the package left the night before.)

BLITZ: (thinking) Someone must've broke in at night while I was sleeping! Shit shit shit!

(He checks his room to see if anything is out of place. He finds nothing.)

BLITZ: (thinking) But why is this here? I guess it can't hurt to open it. If it was those agents, they would've wakened me up.

(Blitz carefully tears off the brown paper wrapped around the box.)

BLITZ: Shit...This is some box.

(The box is made of silver and decorated with diamonds.)

BLITZ: Let's see what's inside...

(Blitz opens the box. A folded sheet of paper falls to the floor. Blitz picks it up, but doesn't read it. Instead, his attention is focused on the marvelous necklace before him.)

BLITZ: Woah. I can pawn this off for at least twenty grand.

(The necklace is made of mostly gold. Two ends of the gold chain meet in a clasp, and through the chain hangs a clear spherical stone with a diameter about that of a quarter.

Blitz admires it for a long time. He spins it around in front of him, watching the light play off of it.)

BLITZ: (thinking) But why am I left with this?

(Blitz remembers the folded paper. He unfolds it and reads it...)

BLITZ: (reading) Mr. Thorman, We know your time runs short. By the time you read this, you will have about five minutes remaining before they come for you. Follow the directions stated below this message. They continue on the back. Keep in mind, Mr. Thorman, that these directions are the key to your freedom. If you follow them correctly, we think you'll make it through the end.

(A knock at the door. Blitz jumps quite visibly. He fears that the government agents are after him, so he doesn't answer the door. Instead, he reads the mysterious directions...)

BLITZ: (reading) There may be a knock at your door. If so, that is the manager. He will tell you that there are three men waiting in the lobby for you. Those three are after you. Do not take the elevator. Take the stairs to the second floor, and exit through the fire escape near room two fifty-five.

(Blitz folds up the paper and sticks it in his pocket. He puts the necklace back in the box, and then wraps the box in the bag. He then puts on his jacket and throws the box and book into his briefcase.

Blitz opens the door. It is the manager.)

MANAGER: Mr. Thorman, there are three men waiting for you in the lobby.

BLITZ: I'll be there in a few minutes. Just gotta wash up.

MANAGER: Whatever.

(The manager leaves. Blitz listens to the footsteps as they recede. When he is sure the manager is gone, and no one else is in the vicinity, he runs out of his room to the staircase.

Meanwhile... Downstairs in the lobby...)

MANAGER: Mr. Thorman will be with you shortly.

(Three men dressed in blood red suits wait for Blitz. Although Blitz doesn't know it, these men are the Red Death of the Collective.)

DEMISE: We should be pursuing Ragnals, waiting for an opportunity to kill him.

PLAGUE: He is traveling with Nihil. The Collective ordered us not to engage Nihil.

SPITE: If we snipe him...

PLAGUE: Let the Collective's prized experiment take care of Aicpalastaen's little soldiers. There's a greater power that can be found here. And I think this one we're after may be able to lead us to it.

DEMISE: Thorman.

PLAGUE: Yes. I sense a strong supernatural presence around him.

SPITE: There are two distinct powers radiating from him.

DEMISE: Then that means...

(The manager comes back. The agents immediately stop their conversation.)

MANAGER: Has Mr. Thorman come yet?

DEMISE: No.

MANAGER: He should be down here shortly then.

DEMISE: Good.

(The manager nods and walks back behind his desk. The agents resume their conversation...)

PLAGUE: We have confirmed that one of these energies is linked to Babel, but the other one is unknown.

SPITE: We can always ask the Collective.

DEMISE: And let it know that we defied it? No. The consequences would be harsh. Better we risk the unknown and capture Mr. Thorman now, before he learns to use Babel's power to its fullest extent.

PLAGUE: I agree with Demise. The Collective would certainly punish us for coming here. However, we must also take caution when dealing with Mr. Thorman. This other presence...

(Meanwhile... Blitz has made his way to the fire escape and is currently climbing down.)

BLITZ: (thinking) Stupid piece of shit's rusted through! I can't even get a good grip on the rungs.

(When he is only four feet from the ground, Blitz lets go of the ladder instead of descending. He lands on his feet and reads the directions.)

BLITZ: (reading) They don't know you're escaping this way. You have about six minutes before the manager spots you. Take a right turn halfway past Sky Ave. There you will see a Chinese restaurant. Go inside and ask for Timmy Hong. Tell him "the clock is set." He'll take care of the rest until you stop. When you stop at your next location, read the next set of directions.

(Blitz runs out of the alley and onto Sky Avenue. He runs along for almost half a mile until he sees a Chinese restaurant called Hong's Chinese Food To Go. He steps in.

The air is thick with smoke, but it is no worse than the pollution outside. The lines are short, but small groups of darkly dressed men stand against the walls, watching.)

BLITZ: (thinking) Gangs, I'll bet. Hope they don't recognize me as a former billionaire.

(Blitz gets in line. He doesn't have to wait long for his turn to come.)

BLITZ: I'm looking for Timmy Hong.

HONG: You're talking to him.

BLITZ: Wait, don't you own this place?

HONG: Can't you read the sign?

BLITZ: Why're you working behind the register then?

HONG: Only four people work here. Now, you want to buy, or are you just going to ask stupid questions?

(Blitz leans against the counter, unsure about whether the enigmatic statement is a secret or not.)

BLITZ: The clock is set.

(Hong shifts his eyes at the three groups of supposed gangsters. He signals them, and they approach.)

HONG: Yu, close the restaurant. Come with me, Mr. Thorman.

BLITZ: Wha-How'd you know my name?

HONG: You received directions, so did I.

(Blitz decides to question no further. Instead, he follows Hong and two other men dressed in dark blue to the storage room.)

HONG: Han, give Mr. Thorman a weapon and two extra clips.

(Han hands a loaded, heavy black pistol to Blitz along with two clips.)

HONG: Spare your bullets. We'll be running more than fighting. Han, Yu!

(Hong directs Han and Yu to move several large crates from the wall, revealing a dirty picture.)

BLITZ: Secret passage?

HONG: Smart kid, ah?

(Hong lifts the picture and pushes against the wall. A small opening appears.)

HONG: Mr. Thorman first, then Han, then me, then Yu. Go!

(Blitz squeezes through the small opening and barely manages to wiggle his way to the other side. Han, Hong, and Yu all make it through easily.)

HONG: Han, start the car. Yu, move the weapons from the trunk to the backseat.

(Blitz looks around the room he dropped into. He sees various firearms stacked against the wall. Three cars are parked in the center. One of them starts.)

HONG: In.

(Blitz gets in the car. Hong and Yu get in after him. The garage door opens, and the car speeds away.

Meanwhile... Back in the motel, the three agents have been waiting for five minutes. They begin to get suspicious.)

SPITE: Thorman must be trying to escape.

PLAGUE: That's impossible. He couldn't possibly know we're here.

(Demise beckons the manager to come. He does.)

DEMISE: Did you see Mr. Thorman leave?

MANAGER: I'm not sure if it was him, but I saw someone run through the back. Got out through the fire escape.

(The three agents immediately dash outside and get inside their car. Demise takes the wheel.)

PLAGUE: This is impossible. Mr. Thorman doesn't have the ability to sense our presence.

DEMISE: Perhaps someone warned him.

PLAGUE: The manager?

SPITE: No. He's too simple to realize who we really are.

DEMISE: It no longer matters now. Mr. Thorman couldn't have gotten far on foot. We shall track him down, and we shall have him.

(Demise steps on the gas pedal, and the vehicle speeds up, passing other cars on Sky Avenue. The exhaust from their car is purely black, thick and opaque. It is a force of darkness not be reckoned with.)

--------------------

A/N: Wow, spring break's over in two days. I can't believe it. It's been only ten days. Ah well. Anyway, some of you probably have your Mary Sue alerts on now (Karmara/Evelyn). Plus the fact that the little island is so peaceful, nothing could go wrong. But what's that you say? It's soon going to get worse. Geez, it's been done to death... Well bite me. Yeah, Naumur's going to get a bit...worse. Typical, I know, but it'll work out. Promise. But what I do have going is getting Nihil on Pious' side. I hope you're happy, Dan, because that was your idea. But it's a pretty good idea, and there's something cool I may be able to do with that. (I wonder what Dan's thinking about how the story will go.) Oh yeah, I also really want to know how you guys feel about the Constant Earth main character, Blitz, and your thoughts about his future contribution to the story. So if you have questions, comments, suggestions, advice...hate mail, contact me. Or if you just don't like me, contact Dan. Our contact info's at the top.