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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:29 am 
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Mysterious Minds 3—Relto

Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds. --George Santayana

“No.” Agent Dawson shook his head. “I’m sorry sir, but we can’t find anything. No trapdoors, no projectors, nothing. It’s just an ordinary cave.”

“Clearly it’s not, because two of my people just disappeared in front of me.” Hotch snapped. “Now I need you to go over it again, and KEEP going over it until you can tell me how that happened. Go over it with jackhammers if you have to.”

“But the Native American representatives haven’t...”

“There is no way in fiery abyss this is anything associated with the local tribes.” Hotch shook his head in exasperation. “Take pictures of everything, try not to destroy any evidence, but tear this place apart.”

Dawson eyed him worriedly. “Strauss won’t like that very much.”

“I’m past caring about Strauss,” answered Hotch savagely. “Just get me some answers.”

“Where are you going now?” asked Dawson, as Hotch turned on his heel toward the tunnel exit.

“To get some answers from someone else.”

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

“Don’t even think about it, JJ,” Reid called, looking over the edge at the rope that disappeared into the boiling mists below. The other end was fastened to one of the strange stone half-pillars behind him.

“It can’t be THAT much further down,” JJ’s voice floated up to him. “I mean, we’re not really cold up here, and it’s not hard to breathe, either, so it’s not like we’re on top of a mountain or anything. Plus, with all this mist, it might be just a lake down there.”

“Or an ocean!” Reid insisted. “Or a boiling hot spring or a tropical rainforest or...” He shook his head and regained his composure. “It could be anything down there. And we don’t have to be THAT high for the fall to kill you, or even just badly maim you.”

“I’m gonna just drop a rock and see if I can hear it land.”

Reid pressed his face into his hand. “Why did I let you go over the edge?”

A light laugh echoed upwards. “Because it’s MY rope, and because I’m the only one of us who ever bothered to go rock-climbing at the gym. I’m dropping the rock now...”

There was a long, long silence.

“darn, how high up ARE we?”

“Definitely too high for you to survive a fall.” Reid felt it important to emphasize that point.

“Fine, I’m coming back up.”

Sighing with relief, Reid grabbed hold of the rope and pulled. JJ was a fine rock climber, and they’d thought the rope would only be a safeguard, perhaps to be abandoned later. But they’d found that the cliff-face was curiously smooth, and foiled nearly all of JJ’s attempts to secure a handhold.

It’d been bad enough for Reid, gradually lowering her down before. Now, trying to haul her up, it was a nightmare. JJ tried to help wherever she could, but still it was mostly all on Reid. He heaved, struggled, and nearly lost his grip several times, but at last it was done. JJ came crawling over the edge, Reid helped her up over the last bit, and then, without a word, they both collapsed next to each other on the grass.

For a while, they just lay there, breathing hard.

Reid sighed. “There’s got to be SOME way down from here. I mean, they got the building supplies here somehow.”

JJ nodded, but couldn’t help but feel discouraged. They’d searched the entirety of the island but found nothing resembling a way down. There were books, they’d discovered, hidden in the four pillars, but neither had dared to touch them. There were books in the house, too... indeed, books were practically the only thing IN the house, apart from a large empty wardrobe. JJ still wasn’t sure what THAT was there for.

But aside from that, there was nothing on the island but rocks, trees, and grass, and on all sides the plateau dropped sharply away into the mists.

Sighing again, Reid stepped back and dropped to sit next to her. “Well.” He muttered, checking his watch. “It should be night soon. That should at least give us an idea of where on earth we ARE.”

JJ gave a little snort. “You seem confident enough that we’re in your watch’s time zone.”

“What? Oh, no, I just checked my watch to see how far off the time we were. See...” Reid’s lecture tone entered his voice again. “The sun hasn’t appeared yet, so that means we’re either very early or very late in the day. But if it were early, there’d be dew all over the grass, given the climate. So it stands to reason that we’re nearing the end of the solar cycle in whatever region we’re in, which given that it’s only three o’clock in Arizona where we started, I’d say that we’re probably far to the east.” He glanced around. “Probably Africa, given the climate.”

“Africa, huh?” JJ looked out over the misty expanse and couldn’t help but feel that it did NOT look like Africa. “Well, that’s something. How long should it be?”

Reid shrugged. “An hour. Maybe two, but that’s stretching it.”

“Perfect.” JJ let herself fall back on the grass. More from boredom than from any real expectation of success, she checked her phone for what seemed like the twentieth time. She frowned. “Still no bars.”

Reid nodded. “Africa.”

Groaning, JJ pressed her hands to her forehead. “I am SO suing Verizon when I get out of here. Them and their stupid ‘Can you hear me now’ ads.”

“There’s only like 140,000 cell towers in all of Africa.” Reid frowned. “And those tend to be centered around urban areas. West Africa is pretty well wired, so we must be further east yet.”

“Terrific.”

For a moment there was silence. Real, complete silence. It struck JJ that there wasn’t even the sound of waves lapping or birds singing or even insects chirping. There was only the sound of the wind, whistling over the island. It was... eerily quiet. More quiet than anything she had ever heard.

Finally she couldn’t take it. “Any ideas as to how we ended up in East Africa?” She asked.

“Not necessarily east. We could be in the Northern or Southern regions too, or even on an island off shore. And really, West is still a valid possibility since there are plenty of areas in...”

“So you DON’T have any idea how we somehow came from New Mexico to the other side of the Atlantic.”

Reid bit his lip. “It’s possible...” He stopped. “Well, assuming that...” Again he stopped. “I think... well, I consider...” He wagged his head from side to side, his fingers playing with each other feverishly. “Not... really.”

JJ looked at him. “Really? No idea at all?”

“The only explanation that makes sense is that we were somehow drugged... a toxin laced onto the pages, maybe, or an odorless gas that was released...”

“Really, Reid? Odorless gas?”

“...and it knocked us out and we were... somehow transported here.”

JJ waited, but it seemed that was all that was coming. “And they did that... why? Just for kicks and giggles?”

“You know, that statement originally came from...”

“And they reset your watch and both our phones just to convince us no time had passed?”

Reid winced. “The other option is that, again, we were drugged, but it was a hallucinogenic. In which case, this island, that house, and you are all probably just figments of my imagination.”

“Really. Well, I can tell you the FIRST problem with that theory...”

“See now, if you’re going to say that you’re NOT a figment of my imagination, than that’s exactly what my figment version of you would say.” Reid cut her off.

JJ stopped, looked at him suspiciously, then continued, “Okay, then the SECOND problem with that theory is that if this whole place...” She waved her arms vaguely, “...is just a creation of your mind, than your mind is VERY boring.”

Reid looked around him. “Well, that depends what you mean. In some respects, this is a VERY creative mindscape, though it’s possible that it’s just a result of that strange picture being the last thing I saw before the drugs took effect. From a psychoanalytic perspective, it might be interesting to surmise what it says about my subconscious that I’m now having dreams about being stranded on a desolate island with a...”

“Reid.” JJ stopped him. “The sky is blue. The grass is green. Gravity and physics in general seem to be functioning precisely as they’re supposed to. Neither one of us is in our underwear. For a hallucination, this one seems very... plain.”

Sighing, Reid gave a rueful nod of agreement. “It definitely seems more grounded than most of my previous episodes.” He admitted. “And it doesn’t feel the same, either... usually when I’m on a high, I’m either paranoid or blissfully apathetic.”

“So what are you now?” JJ looked at him.

Reid looked back. “Stressed out.”

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

The door to the interrogation room crashed open and a grim Hotch stalked in, followed by a dark-looking Rossi.

“You seem stressed out,” noted the heavyset man on the other side of the table.

“Stressed out?” Hotch raised his eyebrows. His voice was low and dangerous. “I’ve got a hundred possible homicides, a vast cult-like network, and two agents who just vanished in front of me. So yeah, I’m stressed out.”

“Hmmm. I was afraid something like that might happen.” Jeff Zandi scratched behind his ear ruefully.

“Afraid?” Rossi questioned. “You didn’t mean for the cave to be found?”

“No, you would have found the cave eventually. I just... didn’t think you’d touch the book.” The man shrugged. “Usually you official types are so careful about handling artifacts.”

“’Official types.’ You’ve had problems with the authorities before?”

Zandi smiled. “I watch a lot of crime dramas.”

“What about your father?” Rossi pressed. “Did he watch crime dramas?”

“Not so much. He was more from the Perry Mason era anyways,” answered Zandi. “Dad was an archaeologist, he went more for the historical shows... hated Indiana Jones, though. Said it was too fanciful and made archaeology to be a joke.”

Hotch and Rossi exchanged a quick glance. There’d been no noticeable reaction at the mention of the father. “I can assure you, Mr. Zandi, I am not laughing.” Hotch took up the thread. “That cleft, and those caves... that’s not your father’s work, is it?”

“You kidding?” Zandi blinked. “That stuff there is what my father spent his life for! Although...” he seemed to consider a moment. “...I suppose you’re right. In a way. I mean, my father and I both have a fascination with ancient cultures, particularly the Dunny culture, but I suppose that he wouldn’t approve of... what I’ve done with it.”

Dunny. There was that word again. “I’m something of a researcher myself.” Rossi said. “Why don’t you tell us about this ‘Dunny culture,’ Zandi?”

The man shook his head, still smiling. “Sorry. It’s not something that can be described, only discovered. The Dunny culture is too complex and rich.”
“And what have you done with it that your father would disapprove of?” asked Hotch, leaning forward.

“Left it all out in the open, for one.” Zandi shrugged. “Dad would have tagged every object—well, he DID tag every object in that cleft—and put it all behind glass in a museum somewhere. But that...” A peculiar smile lit up his face. “That wasn’t my way.”

“If your father put it all behind glass, how’d you get it back?” Rossi asked. “Our records show he left you nothing but the land itself.”

Zandi looked confused, then his face cleared. “Oh, you think THOSE are artifacts in there now?” He gave a light chuckle. “Goodness no. I mean, the windmill perhaps, but that place was all empty when she arrived. All that stuff in there is hers.”

“She?” Rossi raised an eyebrow.

Now Zandi looked surprised. “Oh come now. You must know who I’m talking about. Yeesha. The Desert Bird. The Grower, who will restore the Least to Dunny and return it to its old glory.”

“Sounds like something of a Messiah.”

“Messiah is... a bit strong.” Zandi frowned. “But she is the sign of the re-awakening of Dunny. Already the gathering is beginning... soon all the scattered will return to their home.”

“Because of Yeesha.” Rossi said.

“Of course. She calls them. They all hear the dream, they all come, they all seek the journey.” Zandi smiled. “And they all enter the tree.”

“And disappear, like my agents?” asked Hotch.

Zandi waved away the menace in the man’s voice. “Be assured, your agents are quite safe. I am surprised to learn that two of them linked out, but it poses no problem. They have embarked on the great journey of the ages, and when they return, they will be much changed.”

Somehow, this was even more disturbing. Hotch leant fully over the table and stared into the man’s eyes, their faces inches apart. “Where. Are. They.” He hissed.

Zandi frowned in thought. “To be honest, I’m not quite sure.”

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

“What time is it?” JJ asked, still staring up at the sky.

The grass slightly rustled as Reid sat up to check his watch. “Five o’clock in New Mexico.”

“Shouldn’t the sun have gone down by now?”

“Yes.”

There was a long silence.

“Henry will be wanting his supper right about now.” She murmured.

She heard Reid turn to look at her. “I didn’t even think about... I’m sure Hotch and Emily will...”

“I left him with his aunt before we flew to New Mexico.” JJ closed her eyes. “He’ll be fine. It... was just a thought. I hope Strauss doesn’t send out any reports to our families, though.”

Reid gave a little chuckle. “Hotch must be having a great time explaining this to Strauss.”

“Hotch probably isn’t explaining anything to anyone right now.” JJ pointed out, eyes still closed.

There was a silence. “Of course...” Reid nodded. “...in order to take us away, they’d need to incapacitate the whole group... a small, enclosed cave like that could function as a gas chamber very well.”

“Or at any rate, if we DID get...” it sounded ridiculous to say ‘sucked into the book’ “...magically teleported somewhere, maybe they got teleported somewhere too.” JJ took a deep breath. “They might be as trapped as us.”

Another, much longer silence.

“So.” Reid swallowed. “No rescue party.”

“At least not from our team. There were lots of agents there, though, I’m pretty sure SOME of them must have escaped to get the cavalry. But still, I wouldn’t...” JJ opened her eyes and sat up as Reid’s stomach gurgled loudly. “Sounds like you’d like some supper yourself.” She grinned at him.

Reid had the grace to look embarrassed. “I didn’t have much of a lunch...” He confessed.

Still smiling, JJ grabbed her survival pack and rooted around in it. The smile on her face slowly vanished, but she still managed to produce two energy bars, one of which she handed to Reid. “Here. Eat up.”

Reid looked at the energy bar disconsolately. “That’s all?”

“There’s maybe four more bars left in there, but that’s it.” JJ pointed out. She looked a little nervous, and just a touch grim. “That won’t last us more than a day or two, Spence. If we want food and water to last longer than that...”

Reid closed his eyes. “We’re going to have to go through the books.”
------------------
“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” --Mark Twain

-------------------------------
A/N: Now up on FF.net!https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10181626/1/Mysterious-Mynds and OpenUru! http://forums.openuru.org/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=901 (A week or so behind)
In case anybody's wondering, "Dunny" isn't me being ignorant, that's just how the word sounds to the BAU, so that's how I spell it in conversation.


Last edited by Afalstein on Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:39 pm 
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I am so enjoying this… Thank you!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Location: A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.
Looking forward to further instalments!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:42 pm 
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Immensely enjoyed reading this latest chapter. Feeling a lot of tension... OMG, please don't stop writing until you get them back home! :shock:

[Reveal] Spoiler: Typos
Afalstein wrote:
So it stands to reason that we’re nearing the end of the solar cycle in whatever region we’re in, which given that it’s only three o’clock in Arizona where we started, I’d say that we’re probably far to the east.”
Did you mean New Mexico here?

Afalstein wrote:
JJ stopped, looked at him suspiciously, then continued, “Okay, then the SECOND problem with that theory is that if this whole place...” She waved her arms vaguely, “...is just a creation of your mind, than your mind is VERY boring.”
"Than" should be "then."

Afalstein wrote:
In case anybody's wondering, "Dunny" isn't me being ignorant, that's just how the word sounds to the BAU, so that's how I spell it in conversation.
I guessed that, but I'm glad you confirmed it.

Afalstein wrote:
Also working on putting it up on OpenUru.
Yays! :D

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:35 pm 
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This is absolutely positively awesome!!!
I love CM and I love URU, what a better merge of two greats.
Too bad the producers of CM could not run with this it would be a blast!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:56 pm 
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angelmyst wrote:
Too bad the producers of CM could not run with this it would be a blast!!!
I know, right? If this goes the way I think (hope) it will, it would take them a whole season to play it out. And, although it would be very cool to see the ages as if they were real, it would also be fun to go the other way and see the CM crew as animated characters in Uru. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:59 pm 
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I don't know CM but I'm enjoying it too - well written! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:48 pm 
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I can't wait to see what Garcia comes up with when she does a google search for D'ni. In the Uru lore afterall D'ni and the Myst games are both real. So is she going to come up with loads and loads of references to Myst and Cyan and the games etc. Or does this all take place in a world where the Myst games never existed etc.

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:28 pm 
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You have talent Afalstein.
Enjoying myself. :D


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