Project Silence: Jumpgates
By Michael Cleveland
Abaric tapped his boot on the tarmac in an ever-increasing pace as the Laurencians around him scrambled to get their defensive positions. His wings twitched with nervous energy as he watched them preparing for battle - their battle, not his - before he calmed himself and reminded himself that had it not been for his coming to play cards at the airbase that housed the Sword's Tether, they would have had no warning at all. As he peered through his binoculars trying to find his would-be attackers he felt a flutter of air followed by a weight on his shoulder as one of Sigal's ravens landed on his shoulder.
"Reese wants to know how long we've got. What should I tell him?"
The Malakite listened to the pulsing in hisears, then spoke quietly. "30 seconds to a solid tone. Not sure what's causing it, but it's gonna be a whole lotta hurt when it gets here."
The bird shifted its weight from leg to leg anxiously. "Got it. I'm doing overflights of the base, but I'm still not seeing anything ei... ther. Wait a second. The shed by the flight line when they keep the mowers - there's four people people over there I don't recognize. See 'em?"
The Malakite of War turned towards the flight line, and immediately zeroed in on what the Kyriotate was seeing. Standing by the shed were several people in military fatigues that he realized were slightly different from the ones he would associate with the people at the Air Force Base. His eyes quickly locked onto the two on the outside of the grouping, who were looking back down the line towards him through high-power scopes of a type he didn't recognize, but his eyes slowly drifted to the two on the inside. As the raven chattered something Abaric didn't even recognize, he saw their hands moving in intricate patterns through the air and their lips moving as if chanting. The air suddenly grew colder as his instincts kicked in and he recognized the highest priority target on the field."
"That's them! Nail the ones on the inside! We've got to -"
Abaric's words were cut off by a high-pitched shriek in his ears as the Symphony sang out with the sounds of essence being shaped and songs being sung. As he blinked, the four people pressed themselves to the side of the shed, and then the four became six, then eight, and kept appearing two by two and firing on the tether's defenders. The Malakite started to swing a rifle towards the targets before -
The Malakite looked down at the crystaline globe beside him and shook his head ruefully.
"Head shots. Never going to get used to 'em. Bless."
The aliens have incorporated into their bases a form of dimensional gateway that allows them to move from their home dimensions to this one. Though our current lack of understanding of extra-dimensional science prevents us from making use of these portals to attack their homeworlds, our encounters with them have given us the rudimentary knowledge necessary to form gateways of our own. Preliminary analysis of the captured data from extra-dimensional strongholds has presented a means of instantaneous transportation between any two points on the globe, which our colleagues in Project Icehouse believe can be reproduced by our servicemen after proper training. The military applications of this are, as you can imagine, nearly immeasurable...
Unknown scientist, Project Silence Extra-Dimensional Research Division
Project Silence has learned a lot from its opponents. Old military doctrine required you to bring your entire force through land that the enemy controlled and knew like the back of their hands. This allowed for ambushes and gave the enemy more time to react to you. When faced with the alien threats posed by the extra-dimensionals, the more time it took to reach the objective translated directly into the more lives lost.
After the capture of several alien bases, however, the basic technology behind their bases transport pad, or locus, became more fully understood. With the information obtained from several Vapularian computer cores and the forced debriefing of a 'Creationist', members of the project have begun to duplicate the effects of 'Tethers'. The Jumpgate program was born out of this research, and has graduated from a experimental procedure to a tried and relatively reliable, if unsettling, part of the Silencer program.
After careful screening, people are selected to learn the science of Jumpgate creation. This involves no small amount of effort, as one learns that 'space' and 'distance' are relative. By use of psychokinetic energy, these people learn to connect two existing points in space. The initial outlay of energy is extremely taxing, but once the two points have been established, any number of people can use the gateway by psychokinetically 'pushing' their way through. Distance is not a factor - although the range of Gateway Technology is considered classified, it's known that pretty well any place on earth can be reached, so long as there's a Jumpgate officer on the other side to open the other point.
Gateways are considered unstable, but not in the sense that anyone has been lost during transit. Some people are incapable of making jumps opened for them - these people are often trained to be Jump Officers themselves, who then open points for others. This, however, prevents them from crossing themselves, as they use all their psychokinetics in opening the jumppoint. Also, the gateways are only rated to last for one hour - although they typically last as long as three or four unless shut down prematurely, a gate can be guaranteed to stay open for only the first hour. Gateways can also be used to transport material - up to three hundred pounds on material can be pushed across at a time. Attempts to transport more are unsuccessful in all but the rarest of cases, and every jumpgate officer has told stories of shipments over the weight limit arriving incomplete or... worse.
Use of Jumpgates is restricted, as the enemy can detect the transports in progress. All officers wishing to use Gating must receive approval from Command, as it has been discovered that the enemy can sometimes trace the gates back to their source. Jump points are heavily guarded, as once the gate is open it goes both ways. The Jump Officer must be protected at all costs - once the gate is opened, only he or his counterpart on the other end can shut it down prematurely.
Jumpgates are created using the Song of Corporeal Location. For more detailed analysis, see Liber Canticorum, Pg. 38-39. Jumpgate officers mark the locations of the gateway after its creation, thus removing the necessity for the perception roll to find the opening.
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