Thursday, 17 October 2013

Part 3

La Catástrofe Aethér
What the Consulate scientists were working on in the lowest, most secure levels of the extraterrestrial complex will perhaps never be fully understood. However, the pinnacle of their work was surely the invention of portal technology—the ability to transport a living person from one place to another almost instantaneously, by passing through a portal of pure Terrestrial Aether. Philosophers posit that the Aether is in fact the building block of all matter in every dimension, existing simultaneously in all time and space. By passing through a portal, one effectively folds reality itself, stepping out at the pre-defined point unharmed. Although the initial test subjects reported strange sensations, unexpected side-effects, and glimpses of realms beyond the veil, the invention is celebrated as the future of French dominance over the world. Work commenced to iron out the problems, and in the spring of 1849, the ‘Port du Aethér’ was constructed, with stations situated all across France and the Low Countries. The Consulate is jealously protective of this technology, as the builders of Aetheric portals required access to pure Terrestrial Aether—the very substance from which France had derived its new-found power.
            However, the construction of portals large and small, and in such vast numbers, had never before been tested. Most were man-sized portals, designed to send travellers to their destination in single-file. Others, like the ones in Paris and Calais, were large enough for steam-engines to pass through. However, when the Port du Aethér was finally brought on-line, disaster ensued. No longer confined to simply transporting a single person between two points, the intricate web of portals and inter-dimensional routes caused confluences of raw Aether and other alien matter to pour into our dimension. The energy of distant stars, radiation from parallel universes, and sanity-splitting extra-dimensional beings flooded through the gates, and continued to do so until all of the energy that powered the Port du Aethér was expended. Cosmic storms wracked the land, coruscating energies washed over the skies, and great dimensional fluxes blinked randomly into existence, wiping town and cities from the map in an instant.
            Overnight, the Consulate was destroyed, along with most of France. The nation that had flirted with ultimate power became nothing more than an irradiated wasteland, inaccessible due to the otherworldly fires and clouds of noxious gases that continued to erupt across the land. The Low Countries did not escape unscathed; huge tracts of coastline fell into the sea, and the major towns were leveled by gigantic tidal waves, which flooded the land and killed tens of thousands of people. From the North Sea to the Straits of Gibraltar, the oceans roiled with chaotic energy, making travel by sea an impossibility in those regions. Western Germany, the Iberian Peninsula, Northern Italy and Switzerland also felt the after-shocks of the most horrendous catastrophe in the history of the world—a catastrophe that threatened to wipe every man, woman and child in Europe from the map.

            Despite the calamity inflicted on the west, the main power of Prussia escaped the worst of the fallout from ‘La Catástrofe Aethér’, as it had became known, and King Frederick suddenly found himself the ruler of the most powerful nation on the continent. Great Britain, meanwhile, found itself isolated from the rest of Europe, cut off from the continent by churning, unnatural seas and violent electrical storms.

1 comment:

  1. Highly enjoyable, looking forward to yet more.