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All The Go Inbetweens: Strangereal Stories That Never Were

alternate universe AC04 AC05 Original Characters

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#1
DemonSomething

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No matter what, we are committed to helping our allies in Osea. No man, woman, or child will starve as we stockpile food for what we thought we would receive. We can help, and we will.

-Republic of Anea Foreign Minister Dalija Brecher [1]

* * *

Ebersole, Osea, January 29th, 2002

 

 

The SUV hit a massive pothole, shaking the occupants of a once luxurious Danvers Explorer. Jason looked back in the rearview mirror to make sure none of the precious contents in the back had been disturbed.

 

“So,” he said, “Weren’t we planning on sending in road crews to fix up the supply routes?”

 

“Nope,” his passenger drawled, a woman with unkempt brown hair, and a grimy windbreaker and jeans, “The Provisional Gov is using most of the labor crews to build more housing blocks near Bana.”[2]

 

The south of Osea was too warm for snow, so brown lawns sat around moldy subdivisions and cracks were visible in the concrete of strip malls. The Explorer thankfully had the privilege of a clear road, the only major thoroughfare in Ebersole with such a status: the rest clogged with cars trying vainly to get from here to Bana or St. Hewlett. The crews came out here at least a little bit.

 

“You’d think they’re giving up on here entirely,” Jason said, taking a hand off the steering wheel to brush a dangling lock of blond out his eye.

 

“Look around,” his passenger explained, “there isn’t a lot here to give up on.”

 

It was true. Oured Department was on sandy soils, with not a lot of farming potential, in addition to extraordinary population density. Not a good spot in the New Osea. Jason passed by a shopping mall, which had burned from an unnoticed gas leak a year ago. It’s black streaked concrete mass was a waypoint for the interstate on ramps. Jason passed by the last of the outlying parking lots, and then turned left onto the westbound TOH 5. Its initial purpose of 70mph motoring was long since gone; cars choked most of the highway, and deteriorated and pockmarked asphalt handled the rest. They were getting close to the Zone. Jason decided to be risky and do 40, crumbling shoulders and bridges be damned.

 

His passenger noted the speedometer.

 

“I know this highway is like the ones back in Port Edwards, but we’re going to hit something.”

 

“Relax, Ashley,” Jason said, “It isn’t like this is our car or anything.”

 

This comment took Ashley down a trail of thought she had probably thought too much for the past two years. She slumped into the leather of her seat and looked out the window as the houses and strip malls grew closer together, and progressively had more damage to facades and windows, as if to swallow up the lives that had been there.

 

“I wonder whose car this used to be,” Ashley thought, her lips pursed as Jason swerved to avoid a derelict white convertible with a slashed top and missing wheel.

 

“Probably one of the families in those houses back there,” Jason said, pointing back to the old mall, just barely visible on the horizon.

 

“At least it was good shape when the White Shield found it,” Ashley concluded, knowing full well what happened here.

 

“It’s just so awful, you know,” she continued, “All these people here, in the metro area for the second largest area in the world, and then all this happened. I mean, it was supposed to happen to us. Y’know, Stonehenge, the Erusea tensions, the 98’ Rebellion…”

 

“Yeah, but it didn’t. It sure sucks to be here, but hey, it could be worse. It’s snowing about two meters in the North right now. Comms have been out with Sudentor for eight hours.”

 

“Yeah, but they can go a few days without too much worry. I’m more concerned with the Belkan government in Kitzingen. The higher-ups haven’t been able to send much over there, and the Oseans take whatever we try to send through them.”

 

“Guess they’re still angry over the war,” Jason hypothesized, “or they’re just that hungry. But it’s so lame how this all happened. All of the farms are there, it’s just the highways.”

 

“That’s modern agriculture for you,” Ashley said, “You need literal tons or fertilizer and electricity for refrigeration.”

 

“Not to mention all the rail and road links. Speaking of which, have they got relief flights into November City yet?” Jason asked.

 

“It’s not a target. At this rate, the dieoff rate had to have been too high to really make a difference. Better to focus on everyone streaming into Bana and Apito.”

 

“It’s stupid, I mean, such death, just over highways?”

 

“Well, there was also the Bannion secession. That closed off the Eaglin Straits Bridge, and then poof, no more grain trucks from the North,”[3] explained Ashley, looking out her window to see a very large crater, with the surrounding ring of devastation coming almost up to the highway in a wall of wood, steel, concrete, and cars. The highway soon left the ground and began the final elevated section into Oured

 

“Well,” Jason said, “at least there are good little Useans like us to volunteer for White Shield instead of college this year.”

 

“Yup, saving the motherland and all.”

 

The gray sky stood above them as the highway left the inland suburbs and began to run by the south bank of Oured Bay.

 

“There it is,” Ashley said as what once was Oured came to view. The center of the city was a complete ruin. Airbursts had leveled entire districts, leaving empty patches in the skyline like gap-toothed teeth. Craters pockmarked the earth where thousands once lived and worked. The Oured Bay Bridge had collapsed entirely, leaving very little left besides the on-ramps. Massive amounts of plate glass had shattered off buildings, leaving very little left on buildings and a lot on the streets below. Thankfully, the highway itself had been swept off and cleared of cars for this segment, so Jason was able to finally floor it, accelerating to 80. Ashley took out a map of Oured from the glove compartment, dotted with red X’s.

 

“I’ve got the list of shelters here. We should be able to start delivery starting…here,” Ashley trailed off.

 

The former skyline of the Financial District came to view. Oured Bay Center, once a tall, black gleaming monolith to Osean excellence, was gone, in addition to the three white towers of CentralBank with their slanted roofs. The entire lower half of the Oured Peninsula, not to mention the surrounding areas and Bright Hill, was gone. In its place, a circular continuation of the bay existed, swamping the nearby towers in nearly two stories of water around the crater itself.

 

In his shock, Jason almost missed his exit. He quickly swerved to the right to get off and braked hard. A piece of cardboard with an arrow drawn on directed him to the left. A block down, the cars were off the street, and the glass repaired. Electric streetlights flickered, but were still on thanks to generators. The first shelter in Oured marked the beginning of Jason and Ashley’s work.

 

“Well, ready to feed the starving?” Jason asked as he put the car in park, and people began to pour out of buildings.

 

“Don’t say it like that. These people were stockbrokers, bankers, artists, before all of this. Besides, it was only ten hours.”

 

“Ten hours what?”

 

“That’s how far off the predictions were. For Ulysses. I mean, this could have been us. The FCU was prepared, but probably not that prepared.

 

Jason felt a knot in his gut for that. Scientists had predicted Ulysses XF041994, but not to the exact hour. Someone had conjectured it would hit Usea, and they were wrong. And millions of Oseans, Belkans, Ustians, Sapinians, and others had paid for it.

Jason waved to the eager and hungry crowd outside, got out, and began to unload the first boxes of MREs.

 

 

This is is my first story, and pretty much my first post on ACS. Please read and comment, and hopefully I should have a few more AU short stories, most likely from this universe.

 

[1]- Yes, Anea united in 2000.

 

[2]- Currently the defacto capital of Osea.

 

[3]- The area around the Bannion Sea is equivalent to Ireland. Long an assimilated part of Osea, Ulysses provided a chance for pro-independence politicans to break away, leaving them one of the most intact nations in the Osean continent.


Edited by DemonSomething, 29 January 2014 - 04:53 PM.

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#2
Jim

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Well this is certainly new, I wouldn't have thought of an alternate history in Strangereal. Looking forward to seeing where you're going with this.


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#3
Georgia Ace

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Hmm, I could easily see this happening in canon. Keep going, I wanna see where this goes.
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#4
Condor 216

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Already followed and commented on FF.net. Keep up the good work.


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#5
Yellow 13

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Good reading.  Keep it up!  tumsup.gif


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#6
Muscle Man

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Good shit. Can't wait for the next part.
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#7
DemonSomething

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Well, a new chapter, a new universe. Please rate and comment, and don't worry, I'm almost certain I'll go back to Alt!Ulysses

 

April 19th, 2023

* * *

Caitlin dashed from her backyard and into the hills. She couldn’t see them yet, but the motors and whirring of rotor blades was audible in the noonday haze. She at least had the insurance and ownership documents to the house in her pack with some food, just like Mom and Dad had practiced. She stumbled on a rock, picked herself back up, and kept running.

The idea of the Yukes finally coming to land troops in St. Hewlett wasn’t especially shocking, after all, she’d only been four when the war started and the harbor was bombed, and the fighting had always been a constant. She hoped Dad would stay just a little safer than her, working logistics at a forward base in Dresdene in Yuktobania. Mom was elsewhere, and they were to meet at Grandma’s in rural Eaglin if separated.

 

She finally burst from the scrub and onto the actual public hiking trails. Caitlin stopped to catch her breath, and looked behind her.

 

Her town of Playa Palms was a tony stretch of nice houses and low rise office buildings at the terminus of the elevated highway into Hewlett. The first Yuktobanian hovercrafts were already stopped at the beach, and Caitlin could see military vehicles and infantry troops almost four blocks inland. Definitely too close for her.

 

She took off running again, ignoring her already aching legs. Ignore it. Make it last. You’re almost there. There’s definitely a way out of here. She bolted out of the forest and into the State Park parking lot, picking up more speed now that she was on flat asphalt. She spotted something beautiful, an abandoned Belkan sedan sitting pretty, doors open and everything. She sprinted just a bit faster, and then…

 

Caitlin went sprawling on the ground, her pack shooting off her arm an ten feet forward towards the car. She curled into a ball and groaned, trying to wipe off some of the road rash from her forearms. Nothing seemed broken, but damn, that hurt. Just as she began to totter back on to feet, a form appeared from behind a locked pickup. Caitlin saw the boots. She knew that uniform, everyone knew that uniform. Caitlin got the pleasure of dealing with her first Yuke.

 

“The hell do you want?” she asked, spitting slightly on the ground in an attempt to look defiant.

 

The Yuke soldier paused for a moment, looking for the right words. It was then that Caitlin realized that there was no way he could be more than two years older than her. Hell, he still had freckles. A lock of blonde hair dangled from his helmet-the Yukes must be getting sloppy with regulation haircuts-and his thin lips were pursed in nervousness.

 

“Where are you going?” he asked, his accent surprisingly light.

 

“Far away from you,” Caitlin replied, trying to growl a little. She regretted her lack of firearms. If only she had taken the time to get to the safe in the office, it wouldn’t have taken too much time; she still could have gotten out…

 

“No, where were you going. To the city?”

 

“No, I was going where no one was going to find me,” Caitlin said, the nervousness slipping into her voice as fear came to the front of her mind. She was going through all the potential scenarios here, and she didn’t like her odds one bit…

 

“Would there be room for two in this undisclosed location?” he asked.

 

Okay, way too creepy for her. She backed off and started to run towards the car in slalom, hoping that he wasn’t that good a shot. He ran after her, catching up quickly by running in a straight line. He was fast; Caitlin had to give him that.

 

“WHAT DO YOU WANT?” she asked desperately as the Yuke grabbed her arm.

 

“Stop it. I’m trying to defect here!” the Yuke shouted.

 

“WAIT, WHAT?”

 

“Take me with you!”

 

Caitlin stopped. This was definitely not what she was expecting.

 

“Wait…how old are you?” she softly.

 

“Seventeen.”

 

“Damn, are they drafting that young in Yuktobania? I mean, I’m seventeen too, but I wasn’t planning on enlisting and shipping out for another six months…”

 

“Yes, they are. I know really good Osean, and I don’t want to fight. You look like you know where you’re going.”

 

Caitlin paused. This still was odd. He didn’t feel dangerous at this point, but he still had weaponry, and he was still a Yuke.

 

“No, I don’t know,” she lied, feigning dramatic desperation, “Dad’s overseas and Mom’s back in town. Your people’ve probably already gotten to her!”

 

“The hell if I know! I was part of a scout squad that arrived three hours ago. I heard the crafts come in, aren’t there Osean forces to deal with?”

 

The sound of an explosion behind the Yuke confirmed his question.

 

“Yes, yes there are,” Caitlin replied, letting a bit of a smirk come to her face.

 

“Look, I just want to leave here as much as you do and we both need that car. You know the terrain, and I’m not useless. Here, take this.”

 

The Yuke let go of Caitlin’s arm and handed her his pistol. Caitlin held it. 9 millimeter, full magazine, she could tell from the weight. This guy was beginning to grow on her.

 

“Fine, I know where I’m going. Normally it’s a ten hour drive, but considering the present circumstances, I have no goddamn idea exactly how to get there or how long it’ll take.”

 

“And if we run into others?” he asked.

 

“You are now officially an Estovakian exchange student. They don’t have a lot of those anymore, but no one will doubt you too much.”

 

“I guess I can pull off Estovakian,” the Yuke said, his accent shifting slightly, to what Caitlin guessed an actual Estovakian accent sounded like.

 

“Good, I guess we’ll get moving.”

 

The pair, now somehow united, finally ran towards the car after Caitlin retrieved her pack. It was about a decade old and scuffed up, but pretty much all cars were like that due to the war and the UN economic sanctions. Caitlin took the driver’s seat. Three quarters of a tank of gas, an automatic-Hallelujah, she found the only automatic Belkan car in all existence!-she could definitely deal with this situation. She put her newly obtained 9 mil on the dash, closed the door, buckled up, make sure the Yuke was as well, and started the engine.

 

Caitlin pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. The explosions behind her were getting closer, and she was passing a few other people on foot. She saw two familiar figures, and quickly hit the brakes. Caitlin rolled down her window.

 

“Tristan, Jenny, how the hell’d you get out of town?” she asked to her friends, who had somehow appeared. They sported heavy military grade packs loaded with supplies, and she could see their belt holsters. Thank God.

 

“Cait, how’d you get out here? And who’s you’re new friend?” Jenny asked.

 

The Yuke replied in his new accent, “ I’m from Estovakia.”

 

“Um…cool then,” Tristan mumbled. He nervously stepped towards the car.

 

The Yuke and Caitlin shared a glance. Caitlin unlocked the doors and let her friends in.

 

“Okay you two, I’m headed for Grandma’s in Eaglin. We’ll probably have to ditch this car, so don’t get too comfy.”

 

“Good, we’re the only ones who made it out from the neighborhood,” Jenny explained, “Fuckin’ Yukes.”

 

Caitlin watched as the Yuke cringed slightly. Defector or not, she didn’t know him. She was way over her head at this point, and din’t know whether this was going to backfire horrendously. Cailin shifted the car back into drive, and quickly accelerated as the first of the Yuktobanian forces began to head past town. 


Edited by DemonSomething, 01 February 2014 - 11:30 PM.

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