Welcome to Asgard....
Over the Rainbow
Victor Dumas fades from one dimension and appears in the other. He places the dimensional beacon and waits. A short time later, one by one, the other heroes appear nearby.
The group finds itself standing a free-floating mass of rocky ground about the size of a football field. Stunted trees and a number of weeds grow out of the rough soil. The sky all around is night black interrupted by countless twinkling lights of various colors. At one end of this floating island is a wide rainbow of obvious solidity that forms a long, arching bridge from the heroes' location, across empty space, and to a much, much larger floating island that glows like a beacon.
The terminus of the rainbow bridge is an enormous greenish-golden wall made of some sort of stone or metal or combination thereof, all topped with fantastically shaped, colorful towers and statues. The wall is surely over one hundred feet high and stretches left to right for what must be miles. A gigantic gatehouse shaped like a dragon's head sits at the wall's center, offering the only obvious portal through the formidable barrier.
Aside from this awe-inspiring, alien spectacle, there is nothing else. No sign of life other than the group of heroes is anywhere to be detected.
Emerald starts to shed the clean suit. Even beneath his mask his amazement is apparent. "Asgard," he mutters. "It really is here. That means the bridge is called," he pauses for a moment, trying to remember. "Bifrost. That's Asgard proper over there," he gestures to the large island at the other end of the bridge.
Immediately upon his appearance, Union staggers, nearly collapsing before mechanically catching himself. *Don't vomit. Don't vomit. You're inside a helmet...Don't vomit.* The sudden shift in magnetic field orientation and strength had played havoc on Union's interface systems, which in turn disrupted the bio-electric systems connecting Union's superhuman reflexes to Adrian's mundane frame. He takes several halting steps forwardhis inhuman grace combining oddly with a total loss of balancethen stands stock still, obviously bracing himself.
*I feel like I just got off a carnival ride. Balance is shot. Have to shut down the suit and restart under the new EM field conditions.* A slight flicker of energy accompanies the cybernetic command, and Union sags, sitting on a rock and overlooking the impossible scene. *Even with the shutdown, the bio-electric charge lasts 15 to 30 seconds. Then I'll give it a minute and restart.*
Dumas just finished packing away the beacons so they would be hidden behind a rock and camouflaged and then stood up and looked around.
"Glad to see you all made it. I guess our path is laid out clearly for us. I wonder how high we can go before we pass through this atmosphere? It would be important to know for scouting purposes. I can check it out if no one else wants to?" Victor waits having already taken off his clean suit.
"Good -- don't want to find ourselves running out of air in the middle of a fight." Aegis looks around in some amazement at the place they've appeared in. Good God. She has to force her attention back to the group and away from the bizarre setting -- this isn't really a good time for playing tourist. "We may need to reconsider the chances of being able to sneak in. Emerald, you seem to know something about this place, do you have any idea what we can expect by way of guardians?" Mythology has never really been an interest of hers. The place looks quiet, but it's also a lot bigger than she'd expected it to be.
"I did a little reading on it," Emerald corrects. "Some friends of my father were really into it. There's a guard on the bridge itself, I think. As for sneaking in, I doubt it," Emerald pulls of the last of the clean-suit. "Valkeries, giants, trolls, and all sorts of gods are all through Norse mythology. Better stay on our toes."
After a few seconds Adrian's equilibrium returns, and the world comes into clearer focus. "Now that is one impressive view..." the voice is soft and echoes oddly, as those nearby her the armored man's unfiltered voice for the first time. It is a rich baritone, with an accent that speaks of a lifelong presence in New York City. It is also full of awe at a sight that puts the Grand Canyon and Niagara falls to shame.
*Lights on.* The circuit to restart the armor works fine, and the suit reacts naturally to the new local fields, feeling out their strengths and directions. Union extends his EM senses to get a better understanding of what he's going to have to work with in this strange unearthly realm.
"Aegis, everyone, I'm not getting any readings analogous to our worlds industrial electromagnetic fields. That corresponds with what we expected, but I this it means we can confine our nasty surprises to ones we had planned for, rather than worrying about Tanks or Planes." Union tests his new field configuration, rising gracefully to a comfortable 10 feet in the airunder the helmet Adrian smiles *OK, it's working...Good.*
Union orients himself with the rainbow bridge and points one finger towards it. "Odd as this sounds, North is 'That Way'. With that as a guide I have a good chance of keeping us from getting lost in there."
Aegis nods, running a check on her own armor as she speaks, finding everything working properly, "Good. Do let us know if that seems to change, though -- I'm not sure I want to count on anything here behaving the way we think it will." Staring at the huge expanse of wall, she shakes her head a little. "Well. I have the feeling that if we hang around here too long we're going to get ourselves noticed, so perhaps we'd better get a move on. How's our atmosphere look?" she asks Dumas. "Can we go over the wall, or is it going to be right in through the front door?"
Victor was just floating down in his phased mode and landed gently and then became solid.
"Approximately one hundred yards of breathable air around the bridge.
"Might I suggest a different approach than just walking over the bridge? I detected breathable air underneath the bridge as well. Perhaps we can 'fly' under it until we get to the gate. Then either tackle the guardian or look under the floating island for passageways. From my schooling, I remember tales of dwarves living under Asgard. Maybe they have an entrance underneath that we could enter through and make out way into the fabled city from below?"
Victor waited to see what the others thought of his idea.
"It's worth a look," Aegis opines. "If we do manage to get in without raising a ruckus, what does everyone think about trying to find a native for questioning? We could spend years searching that place if we don't know where we're going."
"Makes sense to me", says the Captain, seeming a little preoccupied.
"Darkangel," he asks," you seem able to move around in pretty crazy ways-any chance you could pop in and out of their town, castle, or whatever once we find it? I know you can walk through stuff, Dr. Dumas, but walking may be too slow."
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al