Time Keepers

By DavidFrenkel All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Action

Chapter 9

Unfortunately, Alex wasn’t going to the usual island, and was being rerouted, as he teleported as little bits and pieces of glowing chunks through time scape’s matrix. The magistrate and board had decided that it would be more fun for the spectators if they opened their new island, which they fittingly named pie island. It would also be fairer for the contestants who participated. They would make more money if the spectators were happy. The magistrate, Lucas, mostly brought it up it because he knew how much those AI’s talked – they never stopped- especially Alecia who he had met before. That AI would have told Alex a thing or two about the island, which would be unbelievably unfair for everyone else. Moreover, he had Charles to think about, and his unblemished record had to at least be challenged.

Now, if you looked at the island from above, it would look like a delicious chocolate pie was cut into ten pieces with ten different zones for each era to call home. And if you wanted to win the game, you would have to enter someone else’s home ground where you would lose some of your stats to ensure proper home field advantage. Alex arrived in his delicious slice along with Cynthia, and a few other victors from New York. What surprised him the most was that it looked like he had landed back in the heart of New York City, but he could tell that this place was different. There were little floating islands with palm trees hovering above the city’s grounds. Why did everything always have to be about New York?

He looked around at the familiar streets with the Bermuda sun blazing above him. There were the two iconic lions stationed directly across from him in front of the New York library. They looked like they were alive. Inside that building was the team’s relic, as Alex would soon find out.

Also, if you’re wondering the lions were alive, and they were the defenders of the territory. They were like guard dogs and loved getting pet. Who wouldn’t want to pet a giant lion? Interestingly, here time didn’t seem frozen, or at least as frozen. Not minding the frozen birds soaring in the sky, the street lights turned, and vehicles passed through them – there were no drivers in the car seats. Alex could hear people start talking, and saw flashes of glowing people walking around him, but soon discovered they were just holograms when a man passed through his body. Next, those same people disappeared like static on a tv screen, and a man in an adorned coat appeared hovering in the center of the sky. He and the other unacquainted four contestants looked up at the man. The referees had come out to explain the rules to the players. Oddly the man had five spikes sticking out of his head like an advanced devil from some unknown hell Alex never had the opportunity to learn about. He gestured for Alex and his allies to walk over.

“I’m sure you all are wondering what I would be wondering, and I am glad we’re all thinking the same thing at this moment. My name is Simon by the way and I will be the referee for this competition. If I were you guys I would also be wondering about these five horns on my head, and if I’m a monster. No, I am not a monster.” Simon continued. “I am going to answer all your questions, and more, but first I have to read a very short list of rules and give you all an idea of what your getting yourselves into. If you for some reason decide to opt out after hearing the rules, please go jump off one of those buildings. Wait, don’t do it, I’m joking.” Simon laughed and fixed his coat with his odd silver hands. “Now, time to get through these rules quickly. Time is what your all here for right?” Simon paused

Alex, and all the other four contestants nodded. That included Phillip, George, Cynthia, Susie, and Alex. They all had different reasons for being here, and all of them wanted a second chance. They were all feeling similarly afraid, but excited at the same time.

“Well you all have nothing to lose by competing in this round, but if you die remember you will never remember what happened to you. You aren’t the only year here, and there are nine other teams with nine other territories. Your job is to sack their bases and rob two relics before another team beats you to it. If you lose your relic, you can get it back from the other team, but I recommend you leave at least a few people to guard it here.” Simon stopped and pulled out something out of his pocket It was a picture of himself before his transformation. He zoomed in using the Ls on his long hands. He used to look like an ordinary guy.

“This is me before my transformation. Pretty aren’t I?” He boasted. “You will all be getting your new forms in a minute. We decided to let you enhance your looks for the duration of the competition, and everything else you will soon figure out. To keep it short you will be able to customize your bodies. I really can’t tell you anything else with the time we have. Good luck out there, and don’t lose.” Simon turned, paused, and then spun back around.

“Oh, I almost forgot I can answer four questions for you. Get together, huddle up, introduce yourselves, and fall in love if you get a chance to. I’ll be back in three minutes to answer your lovely, thoughtful questions.” Simon lowered his head and disappeared. He left Alex and his group along with the frozen birds, and small islands of palm tree islands floating above their sector. Eventually they ended up close enough that they could hear each other’s voices. Cynthia was the first to talk in the group.

“Well since he’s finally gone why don’t I start.” Cynthia joked and cleared her throat. She was wearing a red dress, with some stockings, and a bunch of bedazzling jewelry all over her body. She smiled, and her charismatic voice reached the ears of everyone in the group. Everyone along with Alex walked over to her and tried their hardest to calm down. On the other hand, Cynthia looked exceptionally calm perhaps because she had to. She regularly gave talks like these.

“I’m Cynthia. I’m happy to meet you all. I grew up not too far from here, and I want a second chance. I’m assuming your all the same.” She started. She looked over at her four teammates. A portly man went next.

“Well, I’m not from around here. My names George. I’m from Minnesota, and I don’t even know a tiny bit about the big apple. I grew up in the mini apple, and its my first time in this city. I just want to get the reward and get out of here.” He explained. He rubbed his big belly trying to comfort himself. He was a rather anxious man but was very motivated. He would be an important member of the team. The fledgling in the group went next.

“Nice to meet you George! I’m Susie, and I also happen to be from New York like you Cynthia. I’m quite young compared to you all and last year I lost my brother in an unfortunate car accident while I was in college. I’m here to have a second chance for him. I’m sure you all have stories like I do.”

“Really glad to have you with us, Susie.” Cynthia replied. “I’m glad I’m not the only girl here, and that I’m not the only one with a tragic story. My fiancée killed himself last year because of a miscommunication on my part. I just want to go back and have a second chance with him. I assume if we win we will all get a reward.” She finished as that unfortunate suicide letter flashed through her head. It was covered with his blood. She was soon interrupted.

“That’s if we can stay alive. I’m Phillip from Boston by the way. I’m not even sure why I was chosen to be honest. I didn’t have any parents growing up, so I never had very much to lose. I pretty much just want to get rich and live a happy life.” He finished

“That’s a respectable reward. I’m glad we have you here Phillip.” Susie welcomed.

Everyone looked over towards Alex who was standing there intently listening. He cleared his throat and looked at his teammates. He felt like his troubles were minor compared to the rest of the group, but it was all relative. Cynthia gesticulated at him.

“Oh, I’m Alex, sorry but I guess I have a habit of listening without talking much. I’m from New York like Cynthia and Susie. I work a few blocks away from here around time square. I want to start over just as bad as you all, but I feel like I don’t deserve it when compared to the rest of you. I just want a second chance with my wife and kid. I scared them away a year ago, and it would be nice to have a chance to do it over.” Alex sighed

“You don’t have to compare yourself to us. You’re a dad, Alex. I would do just about anything for my kid. I’m glad to be working with you my friend. I also have some problems with my wife that I’m hope to resolve.” George explained with his enthusiastic Minnesotan accent.

“Glad to be acquainted with you all.” Phillip interrupted. “Now we have to think of four questions you guys. Anyone got any ideas?” He asked. They all pondered.

“I think it would be good to ask about the other teams. It would be better if we knew about any surprises that might show up along the way.” Susie pointed out

“Well you have a very good point there, Susie. I think that’s a wonderful question to ask. How about we also ask about the customization he was talking about. I think it would be wise to know.” Cynthia said

“Wait, shouldn’t we just keep our questions about the other teams, if possible, to see what we can get out of him. We’ll be able to figure out the everything else. Plus we should try and ask opened ended questions. The more he takes the better.” Alex joined in

“I agree with Alex. The more generalized the questions the better. It will be for us in the long run.” Phillip entered

“Alright, well let’s go with that.” Cynthia led

The group talked for three to four minutes before Simon showed up again hovering above them. He leaned down and looked over at the group who were chatting it up at the steps of the library. They weren’t exactly sure what to ask him yet.

“I’m sorry to have to interrupt, but the match will have to begin in the next ten minutes. Please hurry up over here so I can answer your questions.” Simon yawned and sat down with his feet dangling in the air.

“Sorry, so sorry! We had to decide on our last question.” Cynthia ran over with Alex and the rest.

“Just hurry up over here, dear. I don’t want you all missing out on this wonderful opportunity.” Simon encouraged

The group all looked at Alex. He was designated the questioner by the rest of the group. It was a lot of pressure, but he did it for his colleagues. It was the same way in school. A lot of people would put things on him once he sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He was one of those unfortunate introverts that was gifted with being good at speaking. It was the hell of every introvert to have that gift. He looked up at Simon, and cleared his throat

“The first question we all have is if there are any big differences between each of the player’s territories? Pretty much what happens to us when we enter into a different area?” Alex asked

“I guess I get the privilege of answering your question, Alex. You will all lose one point to a few points of your stats depending on the time zone you enter. The closer it is to your year the less you will have to worry about a penalty. For instance, if you happen to enter Rome’s territory, you will lose five points, but if you enter old New York it will only be one point. It wouldn’t be fair otherwise.” Simon elaborated. “Now, what other questions do you have for me?”

“Got it, Simon. Tell us what the limits of the questions are, and are there any questions you can’t answer?” Alex and the group decided on this question after much deliberation. It would be better than losing questions they couldn’t ask. Cynthia also demanded he asked this question second. He didn’t understand why, but it just felt right. He watched Simon nod his head like he was proud to answer this question.

“I can answer anything if it isn’t about the player’s abilities on the other team, or the inside of their bases. Every other question is fair game, as long as you ask it in the right way, and I have the information in my files.” Simon responded

“Then for the third question. Which areas do you think we should invade, and can you tell us why recommend it, along with how to get there?” Alex boldly asked

Simon giggled. He was shocked by how brazen the question was, and he crossed his arms before leaning down and staring at him. He couldn’t believe their gall, but he had no reason not to answer Alex. He finally pulled out a small rule book out of his pocket and quickly skimmed through the pages. Nope there wasn’t any rule that said he couldn’t.

“Alright I will answer that question, but I’m going to count it as two questions, Alex. Luckily, there is nothing in the rules that says I can’t give my opinion. I hope you guys know there is no correct answer for this question, and you will be risking a lot listening to me.” Simon mentioned

“It’s worth the two questions, and we trust you Simon. I can tell just by looking at you that you’re a good man.” Alex flattered

“Well, no wonder your asking the questions. You’re quite charming.” Simon smiled. “I recommend you go to the two territories at the end directly opposite to you. You’ll luckily be able to walk through the neutral zone on your way there, and from that point it’s a straight shot to your opponent’s zone. Follow the two signs directly across from you. They will be written in ten different languages, and obviously you will be able to read one of those languages. One of them will say something about Rome, and the other sign should be right next to it with a Japanese statue by the walkway. The rest you all should be able to figure out.” Simon explained.

“Now you all should find a customization window pop up in a relative minute or two. The battle will start soon after – You’ll have ten minutes to select. I wish you all the best of luck, and hope that you win. May your year shine on the time line and your history be favorably rewritten. Love you all so very much!” Simon’s big eyes blinked, and then he bowed to the group. He left the group and vanished to the room for the referees.

“Wait, what’s this customization he was talking about?” Susie commented as soon as he left.

“We just got to wait a minute and find out. I’m sure it shouldn’t be too bad. I heard that there are people watching us, and they wouldn’t want to turn you into anything hideous. The audience wouldn’t like that.” Phillip conjectured

“Sorry to interrupt, but that screen just popped up in my face. Are any of you guys seeing this?” George inquired

“Ugh, yeah I see it in front of me right now. Some of the options are quite menacing.” Cynthia replied.

“It’s funny It looks like I’m a Sim. He laughed and scrolled. “Did any of you guys ever play that game? Regardless, I guess we should all choose our characters, and then talk with the time we have left.” Phillip propositioned.

The five of them stood there like the five points on a star clicking away on a screen that only they could see – well not including the spectators. George was the first to finish his customization. Phillip had the pleasure of watching them change in front of him as he was still deciding. He made sure to check every option unlike George.

Now, George’s transformation was interesting, at least, if not odd. He had decided on a set of extra arms that popped out of his body to wield a set a set of weapons – two ballistic shields, and four long spears. It was a combination deal, and he got a discount from the system, which made the selection possible. Two other people bought into the deal as well, but Cynthia didn’t. She went next.

The lass looked down at her body after finally choosing something. There was about over a thousand options, but she settled for what she always wanted to be, angelic. She had put her points into agility tech, and each of her points was well spent. She bought an expensive set of metal wings. Interestingly, they had little thrusters, but also flapped. She tried it out and started floating and flying after finagling with her new ‘bones’ for a minute. This is wonderful. She thought and giggled. A unique gauntlet was on her right forearm, and it had a small, hidden sword sprung up and ready. It was reloadable, and a set of different sized blades were strapped around her curvy hips in that red dress.

On the other hand, Susie was having difficulty deciding on her new look. Should she try and be a ninja, or wield these interesting chakram? She decided on the latter, because she had watched Xena before and kind of idolized her. If you don’t know who Xena was, she was well a warrior princess who fought demons – the female Hercules and was pretty, bad ass. Susie’s set came with modest armor, and hover blades. It was usually better to choose the set. Those blades attached to the bottom of her Ugg boots and let her hover off the ground.

Alex was too distracted to notice the two girls playing around and practicing up in the sky. He wasn’t one to gamble, but there was a random set that kept calling his name. Well, it shocked him, or something on his body shocked him, and that thing was Maverick. He knew that random set was good. In fact, it was the best deal in the entire armory. Finally, Alex just clicked on it after realizing that it was probably the little man in his pocket telling him to choose it. He didn’t feel so good after.

Phillip was also finished with his choice and decided on a pair of longer legs, and a set of long claws. Frankly, he was of modest height and always wanted to be tall. He sprung up and out to a proportionate nine feet. He decided on choosing one of the body upgrades and would later be happy he did. The reach of a nine-foot tall man with long wolverine claws was not something easy to handle. The two girls looked over at him and gawked.

Well, it’s about time you hear about Alex, and his getup. It was like a man had just walked out of heaven. He had a shining broad sword strapped to his back, a set of white wings, and a shield that orbited around him. He flapped his wings and went over to the two girls who were floating in the sky and joined the group for there discussion. Luckily, Alex had Maverick with him, and he took the risk. No one ever took the risk, so the admins decided to increase the reward for the brave soul who risked it all. Maverick knew that. Alex rubbed his pocket in appreciation.

The battle was about to begin.

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