This is the first story in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok and Valkyrie: Saga settings, and sits between both. I hope you enjoy it. For the full story, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
The ground shook, rattling the shelves of tools and threatening to topple the computer screens in the small control room.
Stevens cursed and grabbed the monitors. “No, no, no. Not now.”
“What the hell was that?” Stern asked. He’d slopped hot coffee all over his white shirt.
“Probably a mine collapse. There are several major shafts running through this area.” Stevens straightened his chair and grabbed the PC’s mouse. “Diagnostics all green. Nothing in the envelope, and the seals are all good.”
“We should manually inspect the exterior. Call it ‘protocol.’”
“Right, Did you ever get to listing emergency procedures for earthquakes?”
“Haha,” Stern said, mirthlessly, “I’ll get to it. Just after I finish writing emergency protocol procedures for dealing with aliens, pixies, and hippies.” He grunted a laugh.
Suddenly the lights flickered. Both men leaned forward to peer through the perspex viewing window, into the hanger beyond.
“The Landing Pad was built for a single purpose,” Stevens said, speaking into Stern’s camera. “The saying goes: ‘build it and they will come.’ So we built it.”
Stevens stepped aside as Stern began his long pan, which took in the hanger and all of its modifications.
The Landing Pad, as they’d dubbed it, was a medium-sized airplane hanger, an old military building they’d bought and repurposed. The hanger was purposely empty except for a large square marked out in yellow and black chevron tape on the concrete floor. The square was exactly a meter from each wall, and the space it marked out was empty — the envelope.
There were four red lights, one in each corner, at eye level. All of them were off.
Besides these, the hanger was featureless, although sensors and cameras were carefully tucked away into the girders that make up the hanger’s skeleton. Heavy white plastic sheeting covered the walls and ceiling between each girder, overlapping and carefully bonded together to form an airtight seal. Behind that, the corrugated iron sheeting of the hanger had been carefully reinforced and sealed as well, to prevent anything bigger than a bug from getting in.
“This structure is a marvel of ‘can-do’ engineering.” Stevens said, “It’s a science project on a massive scale. This is what happens when men with a passion for science put their efforts and their money together. Some called us mad. Some said it was a midlife crisis, but here we are.”
Stevens stood in the centre of the envelope with his arms outstretched. “This is the world’s first monitored teleportation landing pad. It is a safe zone for machines, for vehicles, to teleport into, perhaps from a different time. We will provide a live feed and a freely accessible archive of the 24-hour video footage, of the envelope and Landing Pad via our website, which you can find in the links below.”
Stern zoomed in for the finale.
“We predict,” Stevens said, “that our first arrival will occur within moments of the project’s completion. Join us live in three weeks, on December 6th, for the launch of our live feed. Till next time, teleport safely.”
That had been two weeks ago.
The four warning lights flashed, bathing the Landing Pad in red, strobing light. The two men gazed through the perspex, into a confusing conglomeration of substance which their minds, at first, failed to comprehend. Then they discerned figures, bodies in battle with dark masses that bore sharp black fangs down with savage fury, ripping the throats of the human figures in a frenzy of bloodlust. The vision dissolved into a red mist, and then nothing.
The red lights blinked twice, then went dim.
The yellow glow of the hanger’s overhead lights took their place, revealing a scene that was unchanged from moments ago, the envelope empty again.
“First contact,” Stevens mumbled, fumbling for a pen, a phone, he wasn’t sure what.
“Get on the phone Stevens.”
“The news. The President. Someone important, you ass.”
Stevens didn’t seem to register, and was mumbling to himself. “They’re early. The vents aren’t even closed yet. I still need to test the scrubbers. Anything could leak out.”
“Screw the scrubbers. We’ve been broadcasting, look. The feed’s live.” Stern pointed to the screen.
“We’ve been streaming for a minute. Look, it started just before the quake. You can see it on the log.”
Stern grabbed Steven’s phone and started dialling. “Crap, this is bad. Start the lockdown.”
Suddenly the earth shook. This time, tools cascaded from the racks, clanging to the floor. Draws of filing cabinets rolled open and a coffee cup smashed to the floor. The red warning lights began flashing their steady pulse and a siren began its droning wail.
Stevens took a deep breath. “Something’s coming through.”
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The Rising Phoenix Games dude.
Rodney is a writer and editor of tabletop RPGs and a painter of Orks. He is worryingly fond of mill decks in Magic: the Gathering and a self-confessed Japanophile.