Lords of Being
We're back in Bugtussle, Iowa. Most of the players are here, except for Rosamund, Neville, who's in Ames, Iowa, and Hellgrammite, who's in Denver.
Neville receives an email from someone who follows his blog, telling him about the frogfall in Bugtussle. After receiving pictures from the contact's phone, Neville jumps into his car and heads to see for himself.
Rosamund is meditating in Kensington Garden, London. Her form is that of a topiary in the shape of a woman. She's interrupted by the ring of a cell phone on the ground. Which is odd, since there wasn't one there earlier, and she doesn't own one of the noisy things. She's seen one of these before. It was from Loois. "Mulch," She curses. It's not quite clear where the voice comes from. Certainly the "mouth" doesn't move. She sends out a tendril and flips the phone open. A tiny voice can be heard, "Rosamund, can you do a consultation for us?"
"My place would be reasonable."
"No it would not. It was awfully clean last time. In fact I'd call it sterile."
Loois pauses to consider. "Tell you what. I'll just send it to you. Hold out your hand."
Rosamund does. There's a small Bang! and a frog appears in her "hand". "It's a frog."
"I would like your opinion on its state of health."
"Really. Is it healthy?"
"Gravid female frog. I believe the species is called Plains Leopard Frog"
"Can you detect any abnormalities about it?"
"No, looks perfectly healthy… Drying out a bit. Where did you get this?"
"You know the blockage that came down on the left side."
"Yes. I assumed that Order would deal with it. It's certainly taking them long enough."
"Several of them are in Iowa trying to deal with it. And Chaos is trying to help. Nobody knows about lifeforms. Could you take a look?"
"I do plants, but that's ok, these are green."
"Conference call" appears on the phone. Rosamund reaches for her toolkit.
Mr. Glass' phone rings. When he answers, he hears Loois' voice, "Would you mind receiving another of our colleagues? "
"Not at all."
There's a Bang! and a woman shaped topiary with a toolkit appears. With a second and third Bang! Zabeth and Mabel appear too. Splat. A frog lands next to them.
Mr. Glass eyes the form in front of him, and says, "It's best not to look up."
Turning to take in her surrounds, Rosamund can see people at the edge of town taking pictures and looking up. With a shimmer, her form changes into a human woman.
Mr. Glass reaches into his pocket and puts on another layer of lenses and looks Rosamund up and down.
Rosamund looks at him curiously, and then blushes. "Oh, I'm sorry. Dreadfully bad manners." With another shimmer, clothing appears.
Claude is still up in the air at the source. He has flaming red hair, green eyes and is wearing a red pinstripe suit. Fortunately, at 1500 feet in the air he's not *quite* recognizable as a human from the ground.
Collecting herself, Rosamund asks Glass, "So, how are you involved in this?"
"I could tell it was here. There wasn't anything I could do about it, so I contacted people who could."
Mabel reaches down to pet a dog. Which isn't there.
Rosamund asks the other Lords of Being, "What are we doing about this?"
Mabel replies, "I've tried unblocking it, and that hasn't worked."
Zabeth grimaces and adds, "It's stuck and trying to unstick it hurts."
Glass adds "Frogs just appear. There doesn't appear to be anything there."
Zabeth says, "I've had a satellite watching it. There's nothing interesting from above. The frogs just appear out of thin air."
Rosamund does life sensing. She can feel little sparks of life just show up, and start descending. Interestingly, she doesn't feel Mr. Glass. Or his friend who's up there. Turning to Glass, she asks, "So Mr. Glass. What are you?"
"Si. Or Silvester. Glass."
"And the guy up there?"
"What are you?"
"Are you now? That would explain why you're not showing up as a life form."
"I feel very alive."
"We'll come back to this. The frogs are just appearing."
Zabeth notes, "He's got a picture from the satellite on his phone thing."
Rosamund continues quizzing Glass, "The ones that are up there. Are they full size?"
"They're a range of sizes. The one that hit me was very large."
"Is this a where are they coming from. Or a when are they coming from."
"When... I didn't think of that." And he disappears. Well, actually, he ascends to the source next to Claude.
Rosamund mutters, "I could go up there, but…"
Zabeth gestures, "Here's pictures of the source. And going there would use a lot of energy."
Standing nonchalantly in mid air, Claude notes Glass' appearance. "Nothing's changed up here. "
"We have a couple of Ladies of chaos and one of order."
"Have they decided what to do?"
"No, but they're asking good questions."
When the next frog appears, Glass does some temporal analysis. It's *very* young. He descends and reports. "The only temporal anomaly is that I think the frog was just born. It's very young. Even the adults."
Zabeth considers this. "Are it the frogs that were young, or the plasma of the air?"
"I was looking to see if they came from another time. But it's the frog. There were no ripples in the timestream."
Rosamund asks, "So if they came from a different when which was forward, would they be very young now?"
Glass reiterates, "They're from now. Right now."
While Rosamund and Glass debate, Zabeth checks a naval website for celestial ephemera. Nothing especially unusual. No conjunctions or lineups or whatnot. And her associates on the other planets aren't reporting anything unusual. And no one that she knows of has ever run into a stuck blockage before.
Glass asks, "Is there anything unusual about this blockage."
Rosamund replies, "Yes. It won't go away. They always go away." She checks for balance. The right side is flowing fine. "Perhaps if I try to make it worse… At least it will be a change… "
The others wait. And then start checking to see if she's rooted here.
Finally, Zabeth asks, "Rosamund?"
Rosamund rouses. "I was trying to see if I could make it worse."
Zabeh has an idea and calls Loois. "Does your phone teleportation go off-world sometimes?"
"Did you want to be teleported to the space station?"
"Well, no. But Could you focus on where the frogs are coming from, and take something from there and send it someplace else? Perhaps that would bust the clog."
"You want me to teleport a freshly appearing something from somewhere? Perhaps. Are any of those folks still floating around in it?"
"Yes, Claude. You have his number."
Claude's phone rings. "Hello Mr. Neon. Please hold while I perform an experiment for Miss Zabeth…"
Suddenly there's a sucking sound from just in front of Claude, who floats back with a yell as he sees his half-life flash before his eyes. Then his phone squawks, "Thank you Mr. Neon. That will be all." With a click, the connection goes dead.
Whatever that was supposed to accomplish, the anomaly is still there.
A car drives up to the group standing near the base of the frogfall. Neville, a paranormal investigator gets out and gawks up at the frogfall. "My god, he was right! I've never heard of anything like this." He ducks back into his car, then emerges with a camera and starts taking pictures of the frogfall and the frogs. When he starts taking pictures of the group discussing the problem, Glass frowns. Suddenly the camera stops working, and the display shows white text on a blue background. Who knew that a Nikon camera could have a blue screen of death?
While he's thinking about it, Glass takes a moment to warp lenses in an expanding radius. There will be less to clean up after this is done.
Hellgrammite sends email to Clisk in London and Dr. Mabel in Copenhagen asking if anyone has tried clearing in concert.
A minute or so later, a response comes back that they're not aware of any, but that's worth trying.
Hellgrammite contacts Loois, who's happy to contact everyone who has a phone – that doesn't take any of his dwindling stores of energy. He gets through to a good percentage of the 27 Lords of Being on the planet. Once he's got them all on the line, he says, "Ok, everyone should try to unblock the clog when I say 'push' 5… 4… 3… 2…. 1… Push." Nothing happens. Nobody loses any psi points, and the blockage doesn't go away.
After dismissing the conference call, he contacts Zabeth. "I passed one of the frogs to Lady Diamond who confirmed Rosamond's opinion. She said they are in perfect health. It was striking how healthy this frog was. She then rambled on about the sad state of amphibians on this planet until it was time for the attempt to unblock the clog."
Neville collects a couple of frogs and puts them in into cages in the trunk of his car for later analysis. Then he pulls out a pad of paper and a pencil and starts sketching.
Zabeth asks Hellgrammite to check if there's anything disappearing from the opposite side of the planet. He gets a satellite feed of the appropriate patch of ocean. Looks pretty quiet. At least in infra-red. Is there anybody doing things that man was not meant to know? Zabeth checks with Ranmuson tracks most of the mad science going on on the plant. She confirms that there's nothing in the Indian Ocean.
Glass walks over the cluster of the Lords of Being. "I have a couple of questions for you. The blockage is on the orderly side right?"
"It seems to be physically located. Is this place any less orderly because of the blockage?"
Mabel replies, "Because there is a blockage, we've essentially got a blocked pipeline. Just because there's stuff blocked in the pipeline, it doesn't mean that there's an immediate effect."
"The actual anomaly is up there. Would it help if one or two of you were up there?"
It's a blockage of the Left side, so Mabel gets to go as the representative of Order. There should also be a representative of Chaos. With a sigh, Zabeth turns to Rosamund. "Rock paper scissors – one, two, three... Damn."
Zabeth and Mabel dematerialize and then start to rise. Zabeth calls out , "Race you!"
Neville glances up from his sketch and notices that two of the subjects have disappeared. He looks around but can't find them, so he walks over to the group. "Who are you people?"
"What happened to the two ladies who were over there?"
Clearly not getting anywhere, Neville returns to his sketching.
Two minutes later they join Claude at the anomaly, who politely acknowledges their arrival. "Ladies."
Zabeth replies, "Nice suit. Who's your tailor?"
Claude grins, "Las Vegas."
Mabel is all business. "Togther now. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0…" They push. 3 second pass. And there are no frogs. It's gone.
Zabeth asks plaintively, "Why did we have to be *here*?"
Mabel replies reflectively, "It didn't feel any different this time. Inverse square law, perhaps?"
They start back to the ground.
On the ground, they also sense the clearing of the blockage. Glass asks, Helgrimate, "Could you fill us in?"
"It just went away."
"It was them, then?"
Rosamund smirkes, "The lord works in mysterious ways."
Everyone's phones ring. It's Loois. I'm just patching through Mabel. The next voice you hear will be his."
Glass says, "I'm just finishing cleaning up. If you have any databases that you don't want scrubbed, tell me about them now."
Mabel replies, "That won't be a problem with our databases. Oh, and Lady Diamond doesn't want the frogs left behind. They should all be gotten to someplace safe.
Glass points his camera at Neville, sketching by his car. "And do you know this man?"
"Oh yes. He's got an open mind. And is quite relentless."
Suddenly the frogs all start jumping. Away. Neville looks up from his sketches, to see the frogs apparently going mad. He comes over to talk to Claude. "What got into them?"
"I have no idea." Suddenly there's a sound of breaking glass. Claude "absently" pushed a corn stalk, and it shattered like glass. Neville and Claude bend over to examine the corn-glass shards and collect samples. While Neville is occupied, Glass breaks into his car's trunk and frees the frogs, leaving frog-shaped rocks in their place. The frogs hop off into the corn field, heading toward the nearest water. Neville walks back to the car with Claude to deposit his new samples. As Neville places his samples in the back seat of his car, they suddenly change in his hands to normal pieces or corn stalk. When he looks back at the others, he discovers that he's alone in an empty cornfield.
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2009
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved