Three's a Party
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? If you could leave the barriers of our world, and dance among the stars…would you? You could hop from planet to planet. Or even better…solar system to solar system. If you had the abilities to do this…would anything stop you?
An idle mind is a dangerous thing. Erin knew that best of all. He couldn’t help but to stare outside, several moons in several different stages, collectively taking up most of the sky. He used to listen to his father talk about his travels elsewhere. How the directions they brought with them from earth don’t even matter in the universe.
He would chime about how it was vast. Then the darker side of his father made more sense.
The women. The trade. The money.
And blood spilled.
Erin couldn’t fathom any of it.
Maybe the women. Women are good.
But love is a dangerous thing when you need to constantly be on the run.
Someone from the bar stumbled outside, with the typical glass smashing against a wall as the door slowly closed. He looked up at Erin and grinned, throwing back a shot and falling face forward at the same time. With this, Erin decided it was time to go and began looking for one of his friends, The Duke.
He was of noble blood, had the money…he was even fairly attractive.
But the Duke, also known as Demetri...was just like Erin’s father. Once Erin spotted him, he hesitated to walk towards his general direction. Demetri had found someone to ramble on about his horrible childhood.
We all know that’s the best way to get the ladies interested…
“You poor thing,” she cooed, rubbing his face.
Demetri nodded, still not noticing Erin had come behind him. Erin couldn’t believe she was falling for it.
“Let’s say you come over…for coffee or tea. Whichever. And we can talk a little more…” she whispered, raising an eyebrow.
Demetri choked on his beer at the sight of Erin. Yes, he had forgotten they had work to do. With a disappointed scowl, he excused himself from the table and apologized to his failed victim as Erin dragged him away and outside.
“And where…exactly…were you going to do that?” Erin asked, hands on his hips.
“She said she was inviting me…for tea or broth,” Demetri slurred.
“She said coffee or tea. No one drinks both. They drink one or the other... She was too easy…”
Demetri looked at his beer bottle, then back at Erin and cursed.
“You’re right. All I said was lonely and needed a hug…or something.”
“My relativity watch has been going haywire since the sun set. No one strange has walked into this bar so we need to go to another…”
“Ugh…” Demetri said, sloppily wailing his arms about, “because they hold a message that could the key to….”
“You can complain and make jokes all you want. You know just as well as I that if we don’t figure out who’s coming here and why…we’ll have another misused warp hole with my name on it!”
“Erin!” Cassandra whispered from behind a dumpster.
She motioned for him to come closer before she stepped out.
“There was a group of women who came out of nowhere while I was standing on a cliff's edge…”
“Dare I ask?”
“Drop off point…anyhow, they acted as if they didn’t even see me standing there…and a vehicle of sorts came right after them. I waved them down, hoping they would notice me but—”
“Did they appear to be triplets?” Demetri butted in, “because they’re actually the same person. She cloned herself…”
“That’s who we’re looking for. Have you seen her since then?”
“Actually, yes. They’re…she’s in the bar as we speak…”
“She knows I’m here,” Erin said in suspense.
Cassandra had a knack for becoming annoyed at Erin’s suspicious behavior. She glared and stared at Erin, who was staring back nervously.
“She let me walk out, didn’t she?”
Cassandra’s neatly cut bob began floating up, strand by strand, as did Erin’s hat. He quickly grabbed it and realized putting it on would be pointless.
“If the cliff is what you’re calling the drop off point...then what’s the bar?” Erin asked.
“A craphole?” Demetri shot out before puking at his own feet.
Cassandra remembered what Erin told her and ran to enter the bar first. As soon as she burst through, she began floating to the ceiling. Cursing and maneuvering through the air, Cassandra found a ragged post in the middle of the establishment, and held on to it. Once she secured herself, she looked around and saw nothing.
Except a huge portal swirling about, slowly sucking in glasses, chairs and napkins as it went along.
“No one’s here!” Erin yelled securing himself behind her.
“It’s a ploy…” Cassandra stated, “someone has to grab that device on the bar before leaving.”
Pointing to it, Erin nodded, trying to direct his almost weightless body towards the bar.
A ringing sound could be heard and as the pitch grew higher, the portal entrance doubled in size.
She stepped out in her full form and smiled at Erin. Luckily, he had reached her device but unlike Cassandra, Erin was unarmed.
“Mr. Bailey…I never took you for a thief,” Madeline stated, “a nicely dressed prick, but never a thief. You’ve sunk so low…”
“I can't imagine why I’m about to entertain this, Madeline, you know you’re prohibited from time travel,” Erin shot back.
His hope was that she didn’t notice where he put her device.
“This is coming from the man who’s on a mission to save someone who shouldn’t exist,”
Madeline said, pointing her gun at Cassandra.
Then, she split, sending her clone in Cassandra’s direction.
“She’s not connected to anything and she can walk without floating!” Cassandra yelled.
Once Madeline’s clone made it to Cassandra, she snatched her down like a runaway balloon. As soon as Cassandra’s feet touched the sticky bar floor, the clone bowed as if to gesture a fight starting.
When Cassandra pulled out her foldable spear, and activated the electrical surge, the clone doubled itself.
“You said she cloned herself,” Cassandra said as they circled each other.
“I say a lot of things.”
Meanwhile, Erin was tucked under the bar, trying to deactivate Madeline’s time traveling device.
“There’s a bounty on both your heads,” she said softly, “hers is more of course. But I need the money.”
Madeline cloned herself again, when Erin took note of something. Whatever Madeline had on her person, the very same items were duplicated. The question was…did her weapon still work?
Four shots went over his head where the clone stood. That was a great answer.
“Erin!” Cassandra yelled as she twirled and twisted her spear, “Please tell me you’re almost done!”
With a stiff foot, the third clone kicked at Cassandra and smiled in delight as she flew across the bar and into a table.
Cassandra grunted and stood, assessing any possible damage. Then without hesitation, she readied her spear again.
“I’m as close as I need to be!” Erin shot back as he scurried along the bar floor, “it is beyond me why I bother wearing creams and white!”
“Because you’re in love with yourself,” Madeline stroked as she stood right above Erin.
She knocked off his hat, and pulled him up by his curls. This unimaginable moment didn’t stop Erin from defending himself. He quickly unsheathed his throwing knife, directing it into Madeline’s shoulder. Once she dropped him, he fell and scooted back into Cassandra’s feet.
“Anything?” She questioned, now fighting both clones simultaneously , “I can’t keep this up, Mr. Bailey!”
“It’s worth a try…” he said hesitantly placing his finger on Madeline's device.
All three clones stopped, laughing in unison at Erin.
“My genetic coding cannot be replaced.”
“No,” Erin said, rubbing the device in his hair now, “but anything can be duplicated!”
The loud ringing noise erupted again as the portal hole grew to take up the left half of the building. The clones then doubled as did Madeline, making it eight. Cassandra kneeled next to Erin to strap him onto her as he prepared to finish the job.
“You may be smart, Erin, but you were never as strong as me!” All eight screamed.
As they were trying to pry them apart, Erin shot Cassandra a look of fear. Did she take to heart what Madeline just said? Perhaps she ignored it and thought it was only words with no meaning?
Seriously, who doesn’t say things during a fight?
Cassandra knew that look as she fought and struggled to keep Erin close.
“And to think,” all eight continued, “you picked the half breed to protect you!”
“Anytime would be great Erin!” Cassandra yelled as she scooted away from the portal, though its force was beyond comprehension,
Lightning began creeping out and striking random spots in the bar. Erin finally freed his hand and pressed the button to stop the time warp before it got any bigger.
The room stilled for the briefest of moments as he watched Cassandra lunging her spear into Madeline. She picked the right one. Some way, somehow, with the other seven surrounding her…Cassandra picked her out.
The remaining clones wailed in pain and slowly began piecing apart as their remains flew into the closing warp. All but Madeline were left. Cassandra pushed her off and stood as she calmly jerked out her spear and she looked down upon her.
“There were two of us…and eight of you.”
“Three!” Demetri yelled, flattened out on the floor by the front door.
“And you still lost…”
Erin was looking sadly at Madeline as Cassandra walked off to leave.
He was now the owner of her time traveling device, and he knew something Cassandra didn’t.
As Madeline closed her eyes, she spurted out a small laugh and passed with a smirk on her face.
Why make only eight?