The Edge of Infinity

Fiction detailing the ongoing events on the Homeline and numerous parallel Worldlines.

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arcanus
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The Edge of Infinity

Post by arcanus » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:49 pm

Menagerie 2012, Isla de la Juventud – Greater Antilles
Discovered in HLD (Homeline Date) 1997 Menagerie was discovered to be a pristine world where evolution had inexplicably followed a different path in every ecosystem.
Confirmed as having no indigent intelligent life it was opened to research, tourism and limited settlement (largely to support the former), thirty years later it had a million residents scattered across the globe.

Susan Wallace had moved quickly arriving via cargo conveyer from Homeline Havana to Menageries Habana and then by contragrav vertol to the resort of Bibijagua Beach on the Isle of Youth.
Her trail immediately took her up to the Xenozoological Research facility in the pine covered hills above the port of Nueva Gerona, the more she looked into Stuart Arving’s offworld activities the more time she discovered he’d spent on Menagerie.
The mention of her former mentors name to the research staff had immediately ingratiated her to the staff and fortunately had avoided awkward questions, so far so good.

Wallace had climbed out from a tree platform adjacent to the facility, the building itself resembled a tiered series of levels fitted to the Cliffside and immersed within the thick trees.
Following the lower outcroppings of rock running from the cliff a line of tree platforms and houses had been built to aid observation and research.

She reclined on a sturdy branch and consulted her tablet, as twilight crossed the horizon she paused rubbing her eyes and looked out across the Gulf of Batabanó to mainland Cuba.
Slowly she reached into the large pockets of her cargo pants and equally slowly withdrew its content, the most noticeable aspect of Menagerie was the quiet, the sound of the forest, of little in the way of machines or humanity.
She waited until the source of her discreet observation was just below her, a long neck started to crane around the tree trunk, a long jawbone stretching open revealing row upon row of fangs.
It quietly leaned forwards until its head appeared to her right, again she slowly raised her right arm as if stretching and fired.
The discharge was a quiet thump, the bizarre creature recoiled, screeched and then plummeted into the undergrowth below, Wallace peered over down watching as it twitched and writhed, the sonic stunner would only lay it low for 10 minutes, hopefully teaching it wariness in the process.

She frowned one of this World lines natural oddities, its body resembled that of a large dog, its legs ending in hoof like feet only curved into claw like protrusions, the oddness however was despite its mammalian form it had a reptilian tail and serpent like neck and head.
All of this covered in a tiger orange fur with leopard like markings, a long mane flowed from it neck, lengthening from its back and then fanning out from its tail.

“Questing Beast” mentioned a foreign voice, her attention was drawn to a stocky man balanced precariously on a neighbouring branch, she regarded him quietly, rugged, hard, outdoor shorts, trail top, body warmer and wide brimmed bush hat.
The man wasn't regarding her however, looking down the 50 or so feet at the stunned creature, thoughtfully, Wallace noted the machete sheathed on his side and the bulky rifle slung over his shoulder.
She waited until he looked up at her, she guessed he was late fifties, maybe early sixties, although probably fitter than men half his age, from his tan rarely indoors.
“Hazard, Jim Hazard” he said by way introduction
“Susan” she replied “Ranger or random guy who wanders around?” she added
He frowned at her initial terseness, then grinned “Ranger maam”
“Kentucky or Tennessee?” she replied
“Close west Virginia”
“What kind of creature is that” she asked looking back down to the creature and noticing that it was beginning to stir
“Not from any family of animal you’d recognise maam” he replied
“Susan” she corrected
“There’s over 200 different animal families on The Zoo, Questing Beasts are someway to the left of a lizard and a mammal”
She nodded, it was hard to comprehend something that wasn't from a family of animals she’d recognise, but that was the appeal of this line, not just variations on theme but completely new families or branches of flora and fauna.

“Thank you Mr Hazard, good to know you’re around”
“Looks like you can take care of yourself Miss Wallace” she nodded in response, hopping from the branch back onto the tree platform and started back to the research centre, distantly she could hear the evening revelry of tourists on the Bibijagua Beach resort.

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