Excerpt from Work in Progress - The Price of Power

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Home seems like an excellent idea. I've had as much of a break from being Mom as I needed, and now it seems like something I want to do again. Suiting actions to words, I headed for the portal just outside where Goronos' office had been - most viceroys wanted their offices as conveniently accessible as they could. It was a walk of less than two ifourths. You coming? I asked Ghost Uncle.

When we popped out of the portal serving the parking garage, I was well inside my 'public' energy limits, so I teleported straight to where I'd left my Starbird earlier.

Which was where Paulos was waiting for me.

I'd gotten sloppy. I realized in retrospect, I'd let myself be predictable. I'd kept using the same parking garage for my Starbird every time. It really wasn't difficult to track vessels travelling from Sondergard to Sumabad.

But recriminations would have to wait until later. After I survived his blitz.

The first thing I felt was the weird multiple sensation of him holding spak open and duplicating himself. If I hadn't encountered it already in analyzing the two murder scenes, he would have had me before I even realized what he was doing. Instead, I had an instant to harden my shields and start drawing power while grabbing my sword out of its pocket.

Just in time, as two strong mindbolts hit me, one from each of the duplicate Pauloses. Either one alone would have been difficult for me to handle a few years previous and the two together would have put me down immediately, but Fourth Order me had no issues absorbing them and returning fire. I noticed that Paulos number one was the one holding the Temporal Anchor, so he had less spare capacity. I hit him with a mindbolt I couldn't have absorbed as a Second Order Guardian, and it killed him - just like that.
Since the Temporal Anchor was no longer being held open, Paulos number two simply vanished. He became nothing, as the events leading to his creation had never happened, and he was dead earlier in his personal Event Line than his current point in time. It was no longer possible for the second version of Paulos to exist, and so he didn't. Anticlimactic, yes, and it illustrated why duplicating yourself with a Temporal Anchor was leaving yourself vulnerable to an opponent who recognized the gambit.

Shields! The warning from Ghost Uncle gave me just enough time to harden myself again before another mindbolt hit me.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on November 12, 2018 12:37 PM.

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