Rachel in Infinity City: Part 17

Samita didn’t say anything, and honestly, I had been kind of rude. Not that Tara seemed to hear.

She waved us forward, following Travis toward the corner—though not too closely. She didn’t have a death wish. Travis had already reached out, stuck his claws into one of the wooden beams that held up the floor above us and ripped it down.

He didn’t even act as if there were any resistance. In one moment, the beam was holding up the floor. In the next, it was in two pieces, both of them dangling from the ceiling. In the moment after that, Travis ripped a hole in the floor large enough for any of us to crawl through.

Tara turned toward us, and said, “Quickly, now. Samita and Rod, please climb through. Travis help them up. I’ll go last.”

She didn’t say anything, but it wasn’t as if I needed help. I turned intangible, and floated up through the ceiling. I was still carrying my costume—not my regular one, but what Nick called a “stealth suit,” the version that could fit under my clothes. So far as I could tell, Travis and Tara weren’t carrying theirs. They must have changed while they were in the circle.

The bluish glow must have given them some kind of privacy.

I turned completely invisible as I passed through the wall, coming out in an alley, but not much of an alley. The door where we’d come in with Julie opened into an alley wide enough for a small car. The alley on this side looked like it would barely allow the door to swing open.

As I hung in midair, the side door did open, and I was wrong. It hit the wall of the building next to it, a brown, brick building with barred windows. Samita stepped out, followed by Rod, and then Travis and Tara.

I floated over to them, and turned visible.

Tara didn’t wait, “Quickly, this way!” She led us into the alley that ran in between the back entrances of two rows of buildings. She led us down the alley. All the buildings we passed had wooden loading docks, and stairs in the back. I’m sure I saw a wagon wheel behind one of them.

I didn’t have time to really look at it because Tara shouted, “Over here!” Then she ran between two buildings out of the alley.

I followed her. We all followed her.

We came out into the street. On one side (our side), all the buildings still looked like they’d been abandoned sometime in the late 1800’s, but on the other side of the street, all the buildings looked like they’d been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Well, maybe not Frank Lloyd Wright himself, but maybe a less imaginative, and slightly insane student? They looked as though someone had liked the Guggenheim Museum, and designed variations on it all the way down the block.

All the buildings were white. Some were shaped like cylinders that bulged outward at the second floor. Others were bulging rectangles or squares, some of them with balconies, and windows that jutted out above the street or even other buildings.

I wanted to point out what it was to somebody, but I didn’t get the chance because of, well, you know, survival.

Breathlessly Tara looked up and down the street and said, “They’ll have discovered we’re not there by now, and they might be getting a little desperate.”

“Desperate, how?” I asked, because that didn’t sound good at all.

Tara checked the alley we’d just stepped out of. Aside from a dumpster (and probably rats), it was empty.

“Desperate enough,” Tara said, “to call for help. The True don’t like each other, but they hate  crossbreeding between their groups even more.”

She took a breath. “I”m so sorry I got you into this, but they didn’t used to come this far.” She took another breath. “Anyway, Rachel, you and Travis have team communicators, right?”

I didn’t have time to say yes before she continued.

“Get into the air, and tell Travis if you see more of them coming. Meanwhile, we’ll try to lose them, and I’ll see if I recognize where we are. Julie can’t have taken us far. We have to be close to your reality. It’s just a matter of finding landmarks.”

I did take to the air, flying above the architectural nightmare below, searching the streets and alleys for people running, or cars full of identical soldiers.

It was still early in the afternoon. I could feel the sun, and a light breeze. It felt like a good day, or like it should have been one—if we weren’t hiding from fanatics in an unknown alternate universe. At that thought, I felt a brief, but visceral fear, because we weren’t just running, we could already have lost our home universe forever. Sure, Tara might think she could find her way, but I knew people got lost permanently.

Ask Dixie Superman about that sometime—assuming the guy wasn’t dead.

I pulled out my phone to make a test call. Travis and the others were walking between two of the white buildings toward the next block over.

I tapped my phone’s screen. It said, “Infinity City Cross-Dimensional Network. Connect?”

I hesitated, but clicked on the connect button. It opened to our home screen which looked normal—except that at the top it said, “-0.27 Realities.” Weirder, on the “Team Members” list it showed Travis and myself, but also:

∞ Ghostgirl
∞ The Rocket

24 thoughts on “Rachel in Infinity City: Part 17”

  1. She can see them on her list, so they can see her (and Travis) on their lists.

    While she may get away with Ghostgirl, who I assume is her alt, not noticing unless Rachel tries to send out an alert, I’d be surprised if The Rocket doesn’t have it set so he receives a warning if new names (of people he hadn’t given communicators to) turn up on the team comms network…

    Of course, the heading of “-0.27 Realities” may imply this isn’t the first time that this’s happened to The Rocket…

  2. I wonder about the significance of the infinity sign.

    Just something seems a bit off about the racist tyrant police types hating interbreeding enough to work together over it. Which, ironically, creates more of a chance for interbreeding.

    I guess it’s like if the KKK and Black Panthers came together to fight against mixed race marriages. Maybe hit up the karaoke bar afterwards, sing possibly the funniest damn version of “Ebony and Ivory” ever seen.

  3. Well, maybe the infinity symbol is just an indication of being in Infinity City/ on the Infinity City network. Or maybe the symbols indicate those team members are the ‘home team’ for that reality.

    I wonder if the “-0.27 Realities” indicates that the system is sophisticated enough to make some sort of measurement of how far out of their own reality Rachel and Travis are… if the team communicators could end up being a tether to their native reality in the absence of the CDPS’s

  4. PG: My assumption is that the True are in the awkward position of not trusting anyone who’s not one of them, but also not trusting other versions of themselves.

    At the same time, they find that alternate versions of themselves are pretty much the only outsiders who they can connect with and trust, and whose values they understand. And they need to work with others to get things done. Ironically, getting too close does cause problems, usually violent ones.

    So I’d say it’s less like the KKK getting together with the Black Panthers, and more like groups of the KKK that split off from each other (due to disagreeing about who they hate most) helping each other.

    They may disagree about who they hate most, but they still basically hate the same people.

    Eli: Seriously, what could go wrong with this?

    Dreamer/Avid Reader: What’s even more fun is that this chapter doesn’t contain the complete list of people Rachel sees on the phone. There’s still one more to add.

  5. Oh and right now what she probably really needs is Lee/Gunther…. but it’s probably someone close to useless like Sean… But it could be interesting if it was someone like Red Lightning.

    Hmm…. I don’t remember, does Lee transcend realities?

  6. Ah, of course, I see what I got wrong there. It’s like the KKK teaming up with Nazis or some of those Norse wannabe white supremacist neo-nazi types. I don’t know all the names of the groups, but they split as well. Should have remembered that.

    Was already a bit iffy on the Black Panther teamup just because they haven’t done anything as bad as the KKK. Now lets hope I haven’t thrown the comments into a shitstorm.

  7. Fox News does. Apparently a member of the New Black Panther party stands outside a polling place every now and then during an election so Fox News claims voter intimidation and so on.

    Then again, these are the same people who accused the Distributive Property in math of being liberal indoctrination.

  8. Ghostgirl sounds like the 70’s. It could only get more seventy-like if it was something like Black Ghostgirl . Maybe at minus point two-seven in the reality axis, mamma Klein got her powers and kept to the family business, but never managed to get a clue like Doc. Nation did…

    1. Maybe it is meant to distinguish her from an older male Ghost? Rocket and Ghost had a son or a son and daughter. So either that Rachel’s father or uncle is a Ghost too. Or not, that’s guesswork at this point. Or maybe that’s not Rocket II showing up on the network.

  9. In Nick and Rachel’s universe, the Rocket (Joe Vander Sloot) and Ghostwoman (Romy Vander Sloot) had four sons and a daughter (Joan, Nick’s mom).

    Ghostgirl happens to be a literal translation of Geistmädchen, Romy’s original codename (from back when she and the Rocket were on opposite sides).

    It’s also a fairly obvious option in English (but would have been less lame in the 1960’s or so).

  10. Oooh! “Ghostmaiden” — now there’s a great code name! Well, it is until she gets married. Then she’d have to change it to Ghostmaid, which sounds much dowdier (even though it reminds me of a significantly un-dowdy character from the Xanth novels). Of course, if you do a bit of fiddling on the translation back to German, it becomes Geistfrau, which, depending on the connotation (at least, the way I understand it) could sound like someone to be dismissed as inconsequential, or someone to be taken very seriously, like a Mama Bear.


  11. Thanks… I’ve liked the name for years.

    That said, I thought I’d mentioned Geistmädchen before, but maybe not. You’re reacting as if it’s new information…

    I suppose that we haven’t seen Romy in action during World War 2 yet (this will happen eventually), so I suppose I could have skipped that.

  12. Hey, great series as always and I’m hoping to catch the current updates soon enough.

    I also found a sentence that sounds weird to me: but they didn’t used to come this far.

  13. Yeah, that sentence scanned oddly to me as well. (Never came this far before? Never went this far overboard? Never used to go this far? Dunno.)

    Also, not sure whether to faint or squee over the possibility of pulling in alternate League members, not to mention the idea of Rachel meeting herself. I dare say this is the first section where I’m actively pleased (as opposed to passively) that it’s an archive with no waiting, so I immediately get to know what’s next.

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