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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 5:46 am 
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Location: Texas
Mysterious Mynds 6 Eder Kira

“...we spend much of our lives seeing without observing.” –Andy Warhol
-------------------------------
JJ blinked. She was standing on the earthen bridge they had seen earlier. It stretched from one low cliff to another over a glistening pool, with metal rods joined by metal chains lining the sides, and ending on the other side between two low hills that kept her from seeing any further. The landscape was barren, but not rocky or sandy, and the air was pleasantly cool. The sky was thick but not dark with clouds, glowing with the light of whatever celestial light was on the other side of its dense mat.

There was a strange noise and suddenly Reid was next to her. “I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to that.” he moaned, clutching his stomach.

“Let’s hope not.” JJ grinned. She peered over the edge at the pool. “Looks like there’s a path down there across the water, and a small cave.” She noted.

“That’s probably where we’re supposed to end up.”

“Probably. Be sure to keep an eye open for those tablet things.” JJ reminded him, hefting her bag. She froze suddenly, then slung the bag off her back and zipped it open.

“What’re you doing?” Reid asked, watching in puzzlement as she rooted through the bag’s contents.

JJ sighed, sat down, and stared at the sky a few moments, eyebrows drawn, lips tight. Then she looked at Reid. “The tablet’s disappeared.” She told him.

--------------

“So any idea how this thing teleported back to its old spot?” Morgan was leaning against the wall, arms folded, eyes glaring at the small green book in the bag labeled “Evidence” on the desk. “Or appeared out of nowhere in full sight of three different forensic specilaists?”

Prentiss shrugged. “I’m open to suggestions.”

“I can search the web for teleporting books, but my inner eye of wisdom foresees I’m not going to find anything useful for you guys.” Garcia intoned from the laptop. “Also, I’m not getting anything on its image... no pictures of this book anywhere on the web.” She tried a smile. “Guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Dead silence.

“Sorry.”

“Thanks for the effort, baby girl, but it’s getting a little frustrating over here.” Derek rubbed his eyes. Glancing over at Hotch, he asked, “Shouldn’t we turn this over to forensics, have them cut it apart and see what’s inside?”

“In due time.” Hotch answered, also eying the clear packet. “Their tests will take time, and I don’t know how much of the book will be left once they’re done. Before all that happens, I thought it would be best if we learned as much as we could from the whole.”

Prentiss picked up the bag and felt the book through the plastic. “Hardback.” She observed. “Leather bound. This book is special to its owner, intended to last a while. Decorative and functional.” She turned it over. “The slots on the back look hand-made. The pages...” She fumbled to turn the pages through the plastic bag.

“Enough already.” Rossi snatched the bag out of her hands in irritation. “Stop treating the thing like it’s some sort of biohazard.” Opening the bag, he reached inside.

“David, I don’t think...” Hotch started to say.

“If we’re going to analyze this thing, we can’t do it through a glove box.” Rossi grumbled, picking up the book and taking it out. “Reid handled it for five straight minutes, and I’m pretty sure whatever it did was activated by his touching the picture.”

“We can’t be sure about that.” Hotch answered grimly, watching the senior agent warily.

“There isn’t much we can be sure of in this case, Aaron.” Rossi glanced up at him. “Sometimes you have to take a risk. Now.” Opening the book, he observed the odd island with its odd hut and half-pillars. He fingered the edge of the page. “These are very old-fashioned... high-quality paper, possibly vellum. The cover... I think you’re right, Emily. Leather, or something very like it. Calf-skin, possibly. It looks like the pages are actually sewn into the binding.” He flipped through a few more pages and raised his eyebrows at the flowing script. “Very close, neat writing.”

“Writing as neat and as small as that indicates a precise, exacting nature.” Morgan noted, looking over Rossi’s shoulder.

“Look at the font.” Prentiss objected, looking over Rossi’s other shoulder. “The hand is flowing and smooth, no signs of abrupt starts or stops, no hard lines at all. That indicates an artistic mind, more flexible and open to improvisation.”

“Perhaps the combination of the two implies that we are dealing with an unsub with an eye for details,” suggested Hotch, staying well away from the volume. “That enjoys very precise, detailed artistic work with added layers of complexity.”

“That would make sense, given how this book is put together.” Rossi nodded, feeling the leather again. “Nothing left out. Nothing skipped over. Every last detail accounted for and lovingly hand-crafted in full. Even the hand writing.” He indicated the script again. “I could be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was written by a quill pen of some kind. And it’s an archaic style, if in a completely unknown language.”

“Made-up language.” Hotch corrected. “Let’s not forget that what we’re observing about the book is precisely what the unsub wants us to observe.”

“We’re a bit more skeptical than most, and we’re approaching this far more analytically than most of his victims would.” Rossi objected.

Hotch glanced at him. “You’re thinking of something. What is it, David?”

Rossi shut the book. “Suppose,” he answered, “that we show this book to an expert in the field.”

“A librarian?” Morgan suggested.

“An expert in the field it’s supposed to be in.” Rossi looked a little exasperated. “Suppose we show it to Dr. Watson.”

----------------

“Calm down, JJ.” Reid’s hand was firm on her shoulder. “You knew there was a good chance it wasn’t going to work.”

“I know.” JJ sighed, leaning back against his legs. She was still sitting in the path, the bag before her, Reid behind her. “It just... I thought we really had it worked out, for a minute there.”

“I think we’re close.” Reid suggested. “There’s probably just another step that we’re missing. I’m sure it’ll become clear soon enough.”

“It better. I’m getting tired of wandering around without any idea of where we’re going.” JJ stood to her feet and slung the bag over her back. “All right, let’s see what this place has to offer.”

The two of them walked across the bridge and turned at the end of the path.

There was a garden before them. Not exactly a flowery or a grassy garden, but nonetheless the benches, pavilions, and pagodas marked it out as a garden. A large grey tree was in the center of a clearing, with a thick plot of bamboo-like plants straight ahead and a fountain on a raised platform to the right. On the far left side, the path continued through the light-grey stone.

“Huh.” JJ managed.

“Study in contrasts.” Reid nodded. “This age is linked with the last—it’s artifice and opulence contrasts with the others wild natural format.”

“At least this one makes better sense.” JJ shrugged. “No lava formations. Although... does that tree look real to you?”

“It looks real. It doesn’t exist in any sort of database, but it looks real.” Reid glared at the plant.

“I wonder if it has...” JJ took a few steps forward, but something caught the corner of her eye and suddenly she took off running, completely skipping the garden and dashing off further down the path.

“JJ!” Reid was taken off-guard by her sudden rush, but he quickly hurried after her down the path. It skirted the edge of the garden and continued into a close canyon of sorts. Reid could see it turn off to the left and enter a sort of tunnel, but JJ was standing by a large black circular stone set into the stone wall on the right, so Reid jogged up to her to see what was so interesting.

JJ turned as he came panting up, and her eyes were alive. “I think I figured it out.” She grinned, and indicated the stone.

Set into the middle of the black stone—which, Reid realized, looked very similar to the door they had opened in the desert—was a stylized spiral handprint.

------------------------------

“It’s not a D’ni artifact.” Dr. Watson made no move to pick up the green book.

Morgan lifted an eyebrow. “Seriously? You expect me to believe you can tell that without looking at the thing?”

“I saw it.” Watson answered. “The D’ni civilization collapsed over five hundred years ago. This book can’t be more than a few months old.” He looked away. “Besides, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve seen one.”

“So you do know what it is.” Rossi nodded. “I thought as much. We have our lab technicians looking into it now, so you may as well tell us—what is it, and how does it work?”

“I don’t know.”

Morgan and Rossi exchanged glances. “Fine.” Morgan pulled a paper from the file and handed it across the table to Dr. Watson, who took it uncomprehending. “This is a federal warrant for all records and artifacts relating to the D’ni culture, ordering them to be turned over to our labs for investigation.”

“What?” Thornberry seized the paper and gave it a quick read-through. “This is intolerable... ridiculous.” He growled, looking up at them. “You can’t just seize the sole remaining vestiges of a mighty culture, that’s like getting a court order to seize the Chippewa museum!”

“Let’s just say that the state department isn’t totally convinced that the D’ni culture is a real thing, given that your organization is the only one with access to their ‘artifacts.’” Morgan shrugged. “If our tests conclude that the artifacts are indeed genuine, then of course we will return them with apologies...”

“Having in the interim done irreparable damage to priceless historical treasures!”

“Fine, fine, fine.” Watson waved Thornberry to a seat. He sighed. “All right, agents, I see where this is going. What do I do to get you to drop it?”

Rossi prodded the book. “This. You say you’ve seen it before?”

“Of course. And a hundred like it.” Watson shrugged.

Rossi and Morgan blinked. “A hundred? There’s more than one of these?”

“Yeesha’s followers use them.” Watson explained. “There’s a different book for every believer. Which means, by the way, that this...” He tapped the cover, “...is not the same one your fellow agents picked up.”

-------------------------------

“It’s exactly the same as the one in the desert.” JJ was staring at the stone door.

“How could we have missed that?” Reid shook his head. “That was the entire point of the handprints in the desert—they provided access to the door in the tree. We find the handprints—going through the ‘journey’ of each world—and that opens the door.”

“But there wasn’t a door like this in the last place—the one with all the puzzles and stones.” JJ objected, turning to look at Reid.

“Maybe. Maybe not.” Reid’s eyes had gone slightly vacant. “I think I may have seen something... back in that room with the vault. The only question is, what’s behind the door?”

“One way to find out.” JJ glanced back down the path. “Shouldn’t be too hard to find the ones here.”

“Be quicker to go back to the stone world.” Reid objected. “We marked all the handprints there already.”

“Quicker? With all those puzzles?” JJ threw him a disbelieving look.

“Tell you what.” Reid raised his hands. “I’ll go back to the stone one we were at and check that, you keep exploring here until you find all the handprints for the door.”

JJ frowned. “I don’t know... I don’t really like the idea...”

“We need to check sometime.” Reid shrugged his bony shoulders. “I know I’m not suited to this rock-climbing stuff... do you really want to do those puzzles?”

“No.” JJ dropped her bag to the ground and rooted out the small green book. “No way I’m going to remember how those go. Plus, I guess you’re the only person who knows where you think that door is. Fine, head back to the... house-place-thing and teleport to the stone vault world from there.”

As Reid put his hand on the picture and faded from view, JJ couldn’t help but have the nagging feeling that they were forgetting out some important detail.

----------------

“All right, so it’s not the same book. Where is the real one then?”

Dr. Watson shrugged. “With your agents, I should imagine.”

“Then you know where they are.” Morgan stated.

“Goodness, no.” Watson held up his hands. “I only know that each one of Yeesha’s followers has their own. If your agents picked up one of her books, then that is the one they will be carrying around.”

“But you DO know how this thing...” Morgan prodded a finger at the book, “...works.”

“No.” Watson shook his head. “Yeesha’s books are quite unlike anything the DRC has. We don’t understand why they work the way they do. She does things that... shouldn’t be possible.”

“You mean like the disappearing act.” Morgan raised an eyebrow. “You’ve seen it before?”

Watson chuckled unexpectedly. “Oh, there’s far more to it than that.”

---------------------

JJ had wandered all around the grey stone garden, searching for handprints. So far, she’d found four. She’d also found a book that looked like it went back to the red stone desert, but that didn’t exactly help her, any more than the several stone tablets (all still showing the underground city) that she’d found. It’d also rained—several times. For whatever reason, there seemed to be five-minute patches of rain every ten minutes.

For the moment she was standing in what looked like a classroom ampitheater, staring at the paintings on the grey stone wall at the front. They looked curiously abstract—unless she simply wasn’t understanding what she was seeing—gears and blocks in a circle, a strange compass-rose like symbol—it was all beyond her.

These two drawings, though, bore some promise. The one looked to be a large dome of some kind, with a city inside and a smaller dome atop it, with two strange pillars inside. At first, JJ had taken this to be the underground city referenced before, and the smaller cave a chamber hidden in its ceiling. But she had discarded that as soon as she had seen the second painting.

The second painting had the second smaller dome with the two pillars, but unlike its partner, this dome sat atop nothing at all. Instead, beneath it was a mass of dotted stars.

JJ wasn’t sure what to make of it. A spaceship perhaps?

Shaking her head, she turned away, back toward the garden. She tried to ignore the huge block of stone levitating above a monument on the far side of the garden, and also the giant gourd-like plants inflating and deflating off to her left. On the whole, she decided, it was best that Reid had left when he did.

Something new caught her eye, and she bent to pick a piece of paper off the bench. It was a drawing... very similar in style to the one she and Reid had found in the stone ruins. But instead of a stylized tree, this one indicated a mountain with a bunch of squiggly lines drawn inside. Like a volcano, or a waterfall.

The sudden juxtaposition of the images took her by surprise, and JJ laughed aloud, suddenly realizing where the other handprints were. Contrasts! That’s what this was all about. The grey stone garden contrasted with the red stone desert. The constant rain and carefully arranged vegetation of the one was meant to contrast with the dry air and bare stone of the other, just as the lava had contrasted with the waterfall. The two worlds constituted a whole. That was why there was a book to return to the red stone desert. JJ felt certain that that was where the last three hand-prints were.

She was just turning to run down the path when she heard the scratching.

It was a dry rasp, like the clicking of nails on stone. JJ might have missed it, under the rumble of yet-another encroaching rain shower, except that it corresponded with a tiny flicker of movement she’d caught out of the corner of her eye, and slowly, she looked up.

It was like a great black beetle, roughly the size of a scottish terrier. JJ would not have thought that so big in a movie, but in life, it was terrifyingly large—too large to be real, and yet the tapping of its claws were undeniably life-like. The thing perched, crab-like, atop the shelf of rock on the far side of the garden, and seemed to be contentedly munching on the lichen that lined the rock. It was paying no heed to her or anything—indeed, JJ realized, with a thrill of horror, she had probably walked right beneath it several times without noticing.

A rain-drop on her head startled her from the shocked-still stupor, and JJ bolted down the path, away from the dog-sized insect and toward the book that would carry her back to the red-rocked desert. But even as she did so, the thought sprang unbidden:

I’d like to see Spence explain THAT.

--------------------

“Books... similar to these were common in ancient D’ni culture.” Watson’s voice had adopted a faintly lecture-like quality. “It’s why the Writer’s Guild was so prominent. They had whole worlds, or ‘Ages,’ open to them through their books.”

“These books would teleport them to different places?” Morgan’s face clearly expressed his scepticism.

“That’s actually a point of controversy.” Thornberry spoke up. “Traditionally, yes, the concept of the Great Tree of Possibility held that the linking book simply teleported you to the world you described...”

“The, er, finer points of the process are somewhat obscure.” Watson held up a hand to forestall Thornberry. “Suffice to say it’s a whole field of study in and of itself. The important thing to know is that Yeesha’s books operate differently than most. For one thing, they teleport with the user, while traditionally such books stay in the age they were placed. But more than that, Yeesha’s followers claim that she is able to change the conditions of an Age by changing the writing... an extreme taboo in D’ni society. Moreover...”

“Look, I don’t care what magic stuff the records say D’ni could do back in the day.” Morgan interrupted. “Where do they teleport TO? New Mexico? Canada? Turkey?”

Watson stared at him a moment. “He doesn’t... you don’t understand.” He insisted. “There’s no way of telling where the Ages are. No way of getting to them, except through the books. The books take you to whatever sort of world is described in the writing. Whatever conditions the Writer describes, that’s the Age you link to.”

“Meaning what?” Morgan had a bad feeling.
“Meaning they could be anywhere. Not just on the world, but in the universe.”

----------------------

Reid had arrived back at the island without incident, and teleported to the stone-ruins easily enough. Going through the puzzles again was simple, if a touch repetitive. Finding the hand-print cloths was slightly harder—he hadn’t always been paying attention when JJ had found them—but far from impossible.

And now he was standing on the path to the vault, just having come back from touching the last hand-print, and he was realizing a simple flaw to the whole plan.

The door he was supposed to enter was a good twenty feet below, on a narrow shelf above a bottomless chasm.

It had seemed so simple in principle, he mused. He’d remembered the door’s location well enough, he just... hadn’t quite made the logical leap to the literal leap that would be required to reach it. If he’d just remembered to ask for JJ’s rope... but no, that would be more necessary in the desert. There, real climbing would be involved. Here, he just had to fall.

But that was only the start of his worries. As Reid stared at the far-below door on the narrow shelf, with no obvious path up or down, he had to wonder:

What if this doesn’t work?

-----------------------------

JJ smiled triumphantly as the stone hand-print in the center of the door lit up. With a rumble, the door before her sank into the ground, revealing a long, dark, tunnel. JJ grabbed her flashlight and strode confidently forward...

The flashlight died, there was an odd sort of croaking, and suddenly JJ felt the now-familiar sensation of being teleported somewhere...

---------------------

JJ found herself kneeling on a rough rock surface, with bits of pebble and gravel undergoot. Getting up, she looked around. There was ample light from a series of flaming lanterns nearby. She was in a small, dome-shaped cave, on a small shelf of rock, above a great dark chasm. She could see three other such shelves in the cave, each on a separate wall, each with its own pillar.

Pillar. JJ studied the one on her own shelf. It was just before the edge of the shelf, covered in strange, scrolling figures and ornate images. About shoulder-height on her, it ended in four curious horns at the top.

“Your journey has begun.”

The voice came out of nowhere, and JJ whirled around to confront the speaker, but there was no one. Only on the wall behind her was a glowing picture of a vaguely humanoid figure with stick-like arms, carrying a staff and wearing a gas-mask. Beside it on the wall was another handprint.

“You can’t imagine how these small things affect the future, but someday you will; you will return.”
The voice continued as JJ stepped forward. “Many paths have brought me to this place. The path of my great-grandmother, bringer of destruction. The path of my grandfather...”

JJ tuned the woman’s voice out as she studied the figure. It looked familiar, and she wondered where she’d seen it before. Experimentally, she touched the handprint on the wall. It lit up, but did nothing more.

“...and of my father, my dear father, the caretaker of burdens. And I knew that at the end of such great...”

JJ touched the glowing gas-mask figure. The voice suddenly fell silent.

Odd. JJ mused. Mystical, and yet with a weird sort of logic. Was this meant to be Yeesha? It didn’t look like the hologram they’d seen. But what kind of cult would give you an off-switch? She touched the image again.

“Your journey has begun...”

JJ groaned and moved away from the wall. There was a symbol on the ground beneath her feet too, she noticed, some sort of elaborate x-shape in a box. It vaguely reminded her of the beetle and she shivered.

“...the Cleft to find it.”

JJ’s head mean person/people up, and she suddenly wished she’d been paying better attention. The voice continued. “The Cleft. The fissure in the desert, the wound in the Earth, the path to things beneath the surface. It was there I sought to find my purpose. It was from there I came to know the dead underground city of D’ni.”

----------------

“Okay, so let's forget about the universe-teleporting-magic-ancient books." Morgan said, rubbing his forehead. "Let's get back to this D'ni place. That's on earth, right? Where is this underground city?”

Watson pressed his lips together and said nothing.

“That sort of information is private and extremely unrelevant to this investigation.” Thornberry snapped.

“The fiery abyss it isn’t relevant.” Morgan scoffed. “We’ve got friends who are missing, that according to you were kidnapped by some sort of ancient artifact that teleports people away. Seems to me like the capital city would be a logical place to send them.

“And don’t bother telling us that you don’t know.” Rossi interposed. “Interrogations get irritating when people start lying to us.”

“We do know where the capital city of D’ni is, yes.” Watson admitted. “But we’ve kept its precise location under wraps while we’re working on renovations. The last thing we want is a bunch of...” he waved his arms vaguely. “Amateur tomb robbers or Indiana Jones wannabes running through the place destroying priceless cultural artifacts and going off willy-nilly to every random location.”

“We’re professionals.” Rossi assured him.

“Extremely curious and motivated professionals.” Watson raised his eyebrows. “What happens if I tell you a certain location is too dangerous to look in, or ask you not to open a particular millenia-old tomb? You wouldn’t destroy the place accidentally, you’d tear it apart purposefully.”

“You seem to be an intelligent man, Dr. Watson, but I’m not sure you understand your situation.” Morgan leaned back in his chair. “Two FBI agents are missing. Have you any idea what sort of effect that has on the federal system? I can make a phone call and get subpoenas from a federal judge on every single file that the DRC has, to say nothing of your ‘secret city.’”

“Certainly, so long as you’re willing to testify before the judge that the basis of your suspicion is seeing two people vanish into thin air.” Thornberry smirked.

“I’ve got plenty enough to convince a judge without ever mentioning that.” Morgan countered. “Would you feel comfortable airing your grievances about how federal agents destroyed the culture of a magic underground civilization that no one has heard of?”

Thornberry and Watson exchanged glances. “Perhaps something could be worked out.” Watson allowed, tapping the binding of the book. “But we would need to secure the right papers.”

“Are you sure, sir?” Thornberry studied the archaeologist.

“Perfectly.” Watson nodded. “This back-and-forth questions game was getting irritating, and we cannot allow obstructions to our work.”

Nodding, Thornberry rose. “I will... make some calls.” He answered. “But you may not question or intimidate Dr. Watson in my absence. Remember that you have nothing official to charge us with.”

“Yet.” Morgan answered, also rising. “So long as you continue cooperating, I see no reason to add ‘obstruction of justice’ to the list.”

“How generous of you.” Thornberry snorted, and passed out the door.

----------------------

“Many stories were there for the D’ni to learn from, but they didn’t hear them...”

JJ sighed. The dialogue was beginning rather to drone on, and it’d yet to say anything of real interest. She’d hoped, when the voice had mentioned the cleft... but it just went on and started talking about life lessons and the D’ni. Nothing about getting home or explaining what was going on.

“...the Garden Ages of the proud are beautiful, but they are built on the backs of the Least. The Ages like Kemo and Gira are a sampling of the playthings of D’ni...”

Pushing herself off the wall, JJ walked to the edge of the stone shelf. She could see where the wall dropped away on the opposite side of the cavern, so there was some sort of pit beneath them, but she was curious if it was too deep to see the bottom. Or who knew, maybe there would be some sort of ladder on the side or...

JJ peered over the edge, and into a gaping abyss of gleaming stars against the blackness of space.

JJ’s hand flew to her mouth and she stumbled backward, her arms flailing. By pure accident, one of her hands brushed the ornate pillar on the edge of the cliff. Without warning, the pillar turned black and broke apart into little gleaming specks that dropped to the floor and trailed off the cliff’s edge like water. They vanished into the star-studded void below.

“...And now to these pillars,” said the voice around her cheerfully, as JJ stood, frozen in shock. “These four pillars around you are the very being of the Bahro. You must take them. They will bring a great treasure to Relto, your Age, the Island in the Clouds.

Relto. JJ’s mind caught onto that. So that’s what they called that place.

“Relto will be their keeper for only a brief time,” said Yeesha’s voice, and then fell silent.

JJ groaned. If only the voice hadn’t taken so long to get around to the actual point... She shook her head. Well, there was no use moaning about it. She couldn’t exactly un-break the pillar, and honestly she wasn’t sure how she would have “taken” it back with her to the island anyway. Or if she wanted to. What the heck was a ‘Bahro’ supposed to be?

One thing was clear, and that there was nothing further to be done in this cave. JJ looked down at the stars again and shook her head. She could hardly be looking down at the sky, and yet there was no way for those stars to be a reflection—the ceiling above was hard and rocky. Perhaps they were glowing crystals set in the rock—but they certainly didn’t look like it.

It didn’t matter. JJ took out the small green book and opened it. She noted with satisfaction that the volcano/waterfall page was now grafted into the binding, as the previous one had been. Touching the picture, she felt the familiar feeling of teleportation...

----------------------

...and again the familiar feeling of the ground under her feet. JJ looked around at the island—relto, she internally reminded herself—with interest. The mountain at the back didn’t seem to have turned into a volcano, so they probably had a waterfall somewhere, and there was a pillar floating above the....

JJ froze. There, in the middle of the island, the same pillar she had seen in the cave was floating above one of the half-columns. As she watched, it slowly levitated downward and melded with the half-column.

JJ blinked. Slowly, she walked around the pillar, studying its intricate carvings from every angle. There was no sign of a split where the pillar met the half-column. Tentatively, she touched it. Nothing happened.

Standing back, JJ considered this development. Okay, so that’s how you were supposed to bring the pillars to the island. She didn’t quite see the point, but that would probably be explained later.

Dismissing the floating pillar for a moment, JJ looked back to the mountain. The waterfall could really only be in one place. Quickly jogging up the hill, she smiled at the sight of a spring bubbling out of the mountain’s peak, cascading down to collect in a small pool before spilling down the edge of the island into the murky mists below

Despite everything, JJ could not suppress a smile. Food and now water. And more than just drinking water—the waterfall made for a natural shower, and it even looked pretty warm.

A noise made her turn around, and she grinned again to see a new pillar, floating in the air,
descending to join its partner half-column. So things had gone well with Spence, too. He should be here soon, it was a pity he’d missed the physics-defying pillars...

JJ’s hands flew to her mouth as a terrible realization seized her.

Reid doesn’t have a book!

---------------------

Hotch looked up as Rossi and Morgan exited the interrogation room. “I’ve got Strauss on the line.” He said, indicating the phone at his ear. “As soon as Watson gives us the location I’ll have federal agents converging on the location.”

“Better get some archaeological specialists too.” Rossi recommended, peering through the glass at the pudgy doctor. “To help us handling any artifacts we find.”

“C’mon, Rossi.” Morgan shot him a look. “You really think these guys have real artifacts?”

“I think I don’t want them suing the bureau because we didn’t take the proper steps.” Rossi answered, looking round.

“I don’t think I need to remind both of you that we’re not likely to find Reid or JJ anywhere near that city.” Hotch pointed out. “If Watson was in any way involved with their disappearance, he never would have given us the location.”

Morgan nodded. “But it’s a start. We can find more people to talk to, maybe someone more directly associated with Yeesha’s group.”

“Plus, studying this ‘D’ni culture’ of theirs, real or not, will give us a better idea as to the cult’s mindset and obs...” Rossi broke off. “What’s Watson doing?”

Dr. Richard Watson, in the interrogation room, had the small green book open on the table in front of him. As the agents watched, he placed his hand on the picture, and dissolved away, book and all.

---------------

“The bones of Guildmaster Kadish speak louder than words. His bones are the bones of D’ni...”

Reid sat hunched against the back wall, considering. He’d listened to Yeesha’s speech about three times now. He’d thoroughly inspected the walls and the floor, even lain on his belly to stretch out way over the edge and see where the stone shelf ended. He’d touched all three symbols—the gas man, the hand print, and the circle left by the dissolved pillar—in all the different possible combinations.

Nothing had done any good. He was still stuck on a narrow rock shelf, in a cave somewhere, above a sea of stars.

“Guildmaster Kadish built Ages to protect the extra, and when the Fall came, he clung to his possessions over all else. And so you see only death in his vault. Extravagant death. It is an image of D’ni.”

Reid sighed and punched the image of the gas-masked man, plunging the cavern into silence. He supposed he could wait for JJ to show up with the little green book—he could see the missing spot across the chasm where she had presumably found the other pillar. JJ would remember how to do the puzzles, it shouldn’t take her long to work all the way back to the door.

But would she know where the door was? Reid realized he’d never really mentioned where he’d seen it. And even if she did, what if the doors only worked once? What if, after you grabbed the pillars, the doors didn’t open?

He glanced at one of the two shelves still sporting pillars. Those must be for the worlds they hadn’t yet visited. Even if the doors didn’t work, JJ should be able to get to them. But what good would that do if he was over here?

Reid eyed the distance between the two shelves. It was big, but not un-jumpable. Theoretically, anyway. Now that he thought about it, Reid realized he didn’t exactly have a good idea of how far he really could jump. Still, there was no time like the present to find out.

Backing up a few steps, Reid dashed forward and leapt into thin air, scrambling for the far side.
He missed the opposite shelf by about ten feet and fell, screaming, into the starry abyss.

---------------------------

Reid didn’t know how long he’d been falling when he landed face-first onto a very solid object.

And oddly enough, it didn’t even hurt. It was a very soft fall, as if he’d stumbled and toppled onto the grass.

Opening his eyes cautiously, Reid saw, yes, grass, and yes, dirt, and also some pebbles and some stone pillars and a hut and it was the island again.

Reid sat up and looked around. Hut. Pillars. Mist. Fruit trees. The waterfall was new, but aside from that, it was very plainly the same island. He’d fallen into a sea of stars, and landed on the exact island he’d started on.

It wasn’t something he did often, but Reid felt an impulse to break into hysterical laughter. Of course he was here! Of course falling into space brought you to this island! Why not? Why should things start making sense now?

All of a sudden, there was the now-familiar sound of teleportation, and JJ appeared, eyes red and face tear-streaked. When she saw him, she let out a little cry and rushed forward, seizing him in a hug. "I couldn't stand to lose anyone else..." She murmured.

Reid was too surprised to do anything but hug back.
-----------------------

“The doorman at the hotel says Thornberry went in, but there’s no one in his room.” Morgan voice was thick with disgust. “No sign of the book Rossi mentioned either.”

“I thought Watson said the normal ones didn’t teleport with their users.” Hotch looked to Rossi.

The elder analyst shrugged wearily. “Maybe he was lying. Maybe someone else picked it up. Who knows? It’s gone now.”

Hotch breathed a long sigh. “So, not only have we lost our two major persons of interest, we’ve also lost the only two concrete leads we had in this case.”

“Maybe not.” Prentiss reported, coming forward. In her hand was a file of land records. “I think I know where D’ni is.”

“See everything, overlook a great deal, fix a little.” –Pope John XXIII
------------------
A/N: Well, that took longer than I thought. I debated about how much to reveal about D'ni and the premise of Uru in this chapter, and also how to get the book out of the BAU's hands. At one point, SHIELD agents or X-Files people were going to show up and seize everything, but I discarded that idea as too outlandish for the BAU world.


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 1:53 pm 
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I am thoroughly loving this...as a huge fan of CM..and a lover of all things Myst, you have captivated me. I check often for your new chapters. Everything about this is awesome. I was a bit taken with the fact that the Relto book worked in the Bahro cave for JJ...but you are forgiven...especially when you allowed Reid to jump into the starry abyss.

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:18 pm 
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Hmm, I'd always thought that the Bahro cave and its effect on the Relto book was our first clue about the Bahro culture, their nature and their strange powers...

Interesting that Thornberry has a Relto book too; perhaps he retrieved and used Watson's back at their room? It should be easy enough for the team to get another one in the hidden Bahro cave at the Cleft though. :)

Excellent, engaging prose as always, Afalstein (and with a couple entertaining word-substitutions thrown in for good measure)! :D Keep up the good work!!

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:04 am 
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You know, I didn't even know that the relto book didn't work in the bahro cave. It was always so much more simpler to jump. However, I don't expect this story to get much in to the Bahro, except by implication.

Thanks for the comments!


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 6:32 am 
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Afalstein wrote:
You know, I didn't even know that the relto book didn't work in the bahro cave. It was always so much more simpler to jump.


Understandable. Also, it would have made it that much harder to rescue the stranded agent who, understandably, wouldn't have leaped willingly into a bottomless pit. Also, since they don't know anything about panic linking, would they have even tried to activate the relto book while they were falling even if they had it?

This is a fine alternative universe storyline and I find it humorous to see how the D'ni magic is bashing against the rock hard rationalism of true hard-nosed realists which the agents are. People literally disappear in front of their eyes, and it is all just an 'unsubs' parlor trick. The two agents trapped in relto would rather believe the various ages they are exploring are just made up places like Disneyland, but created by some cult (which would have to have more money than G-o-d to be able to pull it off) rather than face the truth of what is happening to them, although by episode 6 I can see this view is beginning to change....

Good Job Afalstein , and I'm looking forward to many more chaplets - no pressure! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:42 pm 
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Patiently.....not really....awaiting #7.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:57 pm 
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angelmyst wrote:
Patiently.....not really....awaiting #7.


+1 :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:20 am 
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angelmyst wrote:
Patiently.....not really....awaiting #7.


Haha, I was getting ready to hunt down this last chapter and make a similar comment when I saw this. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:56 pm 
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Mysterious Mynds want to know!! lol

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:52 pm 
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Oh wow, these were posted over a month ago. Sorry! #7 is underway, and nearly completed. I just got sidetracked by some other story projects.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:12 pm 
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Thanks....I understand busy.;-)

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