Warp Riders – Chapter 37

The Bosun had learned some pretty unsettling things about their antagonist.

First, he – because there was indeed a person at the center of the blue glow, a full-on wizard, with a beard and robe and too many arms – also had an Orb. That was probably the most notable information.

Because whatever he was doing to attack them with an Orb, it was much, much scarier than the gently inert Orb she was used to.

The second, possibly obvious, equally as upsetting fact, was that he was doing some sort of bullshit with time.

She’d watched this aura of his un-grow trees back into the sand. He was pulling ancient buildings back up out of the ground beneath them, and while his glow held them they looked newly built. She found herself hanging from one by one hand as it shot up into the sky, and though she let go immediately and took a hard landing, her hand – well now it had a lot less scars on it than she remembered.

Not worth thinking too hard about, though. Just don’t touch the blue stuff.

The good news was that all the tasers and fuzz grenades the Engineer’d hacked out of scraps were doing SOMETHING at least. They’d driven him in a wide arc around camp by channeling him on either side with fuzz grenades and motion triggered taser mines.

They weren’t doing anything as far as slowing him down, but he didn’t seem to want to cross the live charges, and that wasn’t nothing.

Thing was, they were running out of anything that could generate a charge. And they’d been running hard – she could see the Engineer ahead, head between her knees as she tried to get it together. This was not going to work.

“It’s time!” she shouted; “get the stove! I’ve got him!” 

And that did get his attention; he was definitely driven by sound. He turned towards her, and she threw a line of kitchen utensils into the earth in front of him; the Engineer’s hacked zappers were live, and they all sparked.

The blue tendrils winced back, and he roared, and for a moment it looked like she had driven him off the path a bit, and she whispered “Thank fuck!” – but then, behind her, raised voices came from an invisible, camouflaged tent, and his horrible changing face whipped around, and the Bosun had to leap out of the way of an arrow of that blue aura, which withered her electric fence to dust as it pushed out towards the camoteched tent.

“Hey!” – but he wasn’t listening to her anymore. She saw the Engineer, pouring raw plasma ammo into the camp stove’s modified fuel chamber. “Watch it! The tent! Grenades!”

The Engineer saw the glow, saw its target, pulled out all the fuzz grenades she had, and one by one, threw them expertly onto the ground between their attacker – this fucking time wizard – and their crewmates. For a split second she thought they’d done it – and then the glow split itself in two and drew a large circle around the fuzz grenades. It fully surrounded the tent. Almost immediately, stones were piling up, columns and walls, and the Bosun watched that goddamned time wizard walk – or float – or whatever, right up to it.

“Shit. Shit!”

The building rose impossibly high, each block torn from the soil around it, and she had to push back to stay away from the blue. The pop and crackle of the fuzz grenades fully activating was audible behind the stones.

“We’ve fucking trapped them with the taser fog.”

The Engineer limped around the rumbling stone tower, the camp stove held carefully level in front of her. They looked at each other. 

“We need the Navigatrix out here.” She looked at the Bosun with a wild look in her eye.


“But she’s in there, maybe getting electrocuted.”


The rumbling settled as the final stones were lifted to the top of the tower, and the time wizard walked around it to stand with it at his back. The Engineer gently put the camp stove down.

“I have an idea, but it’s a terrible one.”

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