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CHAPTER 50: HEART OF A BLACK HOLE

    The Tardais changes course, and speeds off toward the Zolfa sector. As it nears the penciled coordinates,
the Tardais fades into infinity. Somewhere on the other side of the known cosmos, the Tardais blinks back into
reality. For a moment, it streaks through space before vanishing again. Minutes later, the Tardais lands on a
slowly disintegrating planet. Micah exits the Tardais, and is surrounded by a slowly collapsing church cathedral.
At the far end of the room, a large book sits on a burning altar. Micah runs toward it, but suddenly it changes into
another piece of the translation and vanishes. The vaulted ceiling begins to collapse as Micah rushes back to the
Tardais. After he enters the Tardais and closes the door, the ceiling crashes down onto the Tardais. Moments after
the roof crashes down, the Tardais dematerializes. The Tardais partially materializes in orbit around the planet as it
implodes. This implosion sets off a chain reaction that supernovas the sun. This supernova destroys the entire solar
system. A large planet sized rock is all that remains of the entire system. The rock slowly drifts onward through
space. An object that will eventually cause Micah's current timeline.     

    "That was a close one."

    "I don't think we're out of it quite yet. Look over there."

    "Another black hole? Where will we end up this time I wonder?"

    "Who knows. We'll find out when we get there."

    The Tardais vanishes into the heart of another black hole. Instead of coming back out into space, the Tardais
lands in utter blackness.

    "What happened, where are we?"

    "I think we're in Z-Space."

    "No time or space. The core and heart of all black holes. The transit station to any destination in any time."

    "Where do we go from here? What's the next clue?"

    "It lies in the center of utter darkness. Below that in pencil is marked Ground Zero 3,9."

    From the darkness, the segment hovers in front of the door. It shimmers for a moment, and disappears. The Tardais
slowly dematerializes, then rematerializes at the Walls of Spartaeen. Micah steps out of the Tardais with a dazed
expression on his face. He has noticed Ted and Bigbunny standing before him, as they had been when he Xavius and
Ravik saw Ted and Bigbunny last. The holographic image of Ted continues his monologue.

    "you must protect Micah from any danger that he himself cannot protect against."

    The image of Ted flickers and disappears. Several minutes later, the image of Bigbunny flickers on and three words
of her entire monologue are ungarbled.

    "Hlo Mah. I lve yo. The ctr keys here. Gd lk nd myyulvetundrnd tmendtsmny crets."

    "Record image and audio. Run audio analysis and patch degradation of audio. Playback when complete."

    The holograph of Bigbunny flickers a moment, then disappears. From somewhere in the chamber, a short sequence
of beeps erupt momentarily from some hidden source. The image of Bigbunny returns, and her monologue is replayed.

    "Hello Micah. I love you, that's why I'll let you know a secret. Ted has mumbled many nights in his sleep. He always
mentions something about a key in the center of this chamber. If you're hearing this, then you must already know that I
am dead. I never got to tell you how much I love you. Good luck. May you live to understand time and it's many secrets."

     The image of Bigbunny fades away, and both holograph generators appear on the other side of the room.
The generators burst into flames, then explode. One faint tear trickles from Micah's eye as he walks toward the center
of the cavern. The center stone glows for a moment, and another piece of the tablet appears. After a moment, it flickers
and disappears. Micah walks back into the Tardais and flicks the tear away.

    "Well Micah?"

    "Two more pieces down, sixteen to go. Where to next?"

    "The book is very vague about the next segment. Something about books of opposing forces. A question mark is
penciled below it and followed by empty pages to the back cover."

    "The only place to find many pages must be Ikor's library. It hasn't been seen for more than a hundred years."

    "Then we'll travel back in time and find it. This is a time machine after all."

    "Let's do it."

    "When to?"

    "Let's start at the very beginning. The Non-Time beings."

    "Why them?"

    "That's where Ikor went after he left this cosmos of time."

    "Oh... Why did he leave?"

    "One of his many son's died."

    "Can I ask a question Micah?"

    "Yes Ted?"

    "Which of me was it?"

    "Both Ted1 and Ted3."

    "Oh..."

    As the Tardais begins to dematerialize, the tops of the stones begin to glow. The Walls of Spartaeen partially
transport the Tardais before it fully dematerializes. This partial transport sends the Tardais into non-time. The Tardais
vanishes from all time and space, to land in the unknown non-time.



CHAPTER 51: NON-TIME VS. TIME

    The Tardais sits at the edge of a large circle of green field. At the center of this area, TedCastle sits prominently.
Beyond the edge lies a multitude of different moments in time. Micah steps out of the Tardais and nearly falls into a
moment that is filled with fire. He reaches out toward it, but stops suddenly by a voice behind him.

    "I wouldn't do that if I were you. Unless of course you want to spend the next year in the Zilian War."

    "I don't want you two to come out here. I'll be back in a while."

    "Let me guess, Ted9 and an Earth android named Sil. You alone need to see these things."

    "What's this one over here? So much fire, death and destruction."

    "This is our war section. From up there we have the Angosian; the Zymian I, II, and III; the Zilian I, and II; the
Zychrinian; and Ikor's favorite, the Magic War."

    "The Ikor I knew didn't like war. I recall that he ran away from it."

    "True. The Magic War wasn't really a war though. It was an overabundance of active magic. He found that the most
spectacular part was the way that a non-magically trained boy ended a decade of turmoil. We studied him for many
years and never found an acceptable reason for it."

    "Who or what started it?"

    "The same thing that the original Ted tried centuries to completely vanquish. Ted is light, while the Shadow is utter
darkness. One cannot exist without the other. A singular event splits Ted into these two very different opposing forces.
You can only reach that moment when you truly possess the magic that Ted locked within you. To find the pages from
Ikor's library, find the thought globe. The pages are random memories that combine to form another one of your segments.
Farewell, and may you journey safely into the unknown."

     "How can I find..."

    Micah is suddenly enveloped in a light that consumes the entire non-time and he appears again in the Tardais. Many
of the console panels have exploded, and the room is full of dark vaporous smoke. Two bodies lie in a corner of the room
not moving. Moments later, the Tardais hurtles to the surface of Earth. Micah is thrown to the floor and knocked
unconscious. A hooded figure enters the charred remains of the Tardais and drags the three out into a smoke-filled
landscape. The smoke clears, and a small front lawn appears. The remnants of the Tardais explode, then vanish. The
only evidence of the Tardais having been there, is a deep square depression in the yard and three bodies splayed near it.

    "Micah, is that you?"

    "The thought globe..."

    "The what?"

    Micah regains complete consciousness, and stares up at the hooded figure. Most of the figure's face is hidden in
shadow, but a strong chin with a crescent shaped scar is visible. Micah looks around the small red stained, wood
paneled room. Sil lies unconscious to his left, and a sheet is pulled over the body on the bed to his right.

    "Are my friends okay?"

    "I'm not sure about him, but the old man died several hours ago. I didn't dare try to wake either of you, I wasn't
much of an advanced robotics person."

    "Why do you hide your face?"

     "It was horribly disfigured during a war. My face has remained hidden and so has my name for thirty years.
Ricky brought me..."

     "Ricky Ricanvos?"

     "You must be Micah."

     "Yes. Your voice brings back memories of another time and place."

     "You once loved me with your entire essence. A love that lingered with you like a shadow of pure darkness.
A shadow that you could never fully grasp. You eventually defeated the shadow, but the love continued as a faint
and distant memory. A memory that haunts you to this very day. I am unable to bring back the past, but you can.
Let me be what you remembered those many years ago."

    The figure removes her gloves to reveal severely scarred hands. Raising her hands to her hood, she slowly removes
it to reveal a face that is equally as scarred. The only part of her face that has remained unblemished is her deep blue
eyes that seem to stare out at Micah from years past.

    "Bigbunny Janon?"

    "Once long ago. The world now knows me only as the Shadow Lady. A woman who has knowledge of
surpassed magic. A rough potion magic that lets me live comfortably. After Ricky and Xavius died, I remain as
I am for the rest of time. Only your magic is capable of breaking this curse that I bear."

    The sheet covering the body of Ted falls to the floor in a heap as Ted's body flickers and vanishes. Sil's
unconscious form shrinks and reforms into a rectangular memory block. Micah reaches over and picks it up.
He holds it up to eye level and stares at it for several minutes.

    "It's amazing how an android can live for thousands of years and store his very being within this."

    "He is within a smaller thing than that. A non-physical place that exists within your heart. The same place that
Ricky and Xavius reside in. Thank you for releasing me. For that, I give you this tablet. It contains the clues to
finding the remaining sixteen segments of the translation."

    Bigbunny seems to become transparent, then slowly evaporates. Micah now stands alone in the small room,
with a tablet at his feet.



CHAPTER 52: A RETURN TO MAGIC

    A memory... A distant voice of unimaginable power. A calling from the past. I pick up the tablet sitting at my feet
and see text etched on both sides.


These sixteen clues
will lead you toward
an unknown goal. Only
the bearer knoweth the goal.


I. A stone from the Castle of Dreams.
II. Mud from a bottomless lake.
IIV. A key from an invisible city.
IV. Olympia's sister in E-Space.
V. 33xy8.
VI. Bermuda's Mirror.
VII. Ikor's Mirror.
IIX. Seek out the two who create light.
IX. One's own statue.
X. A now useless Space-Gate.
XI. History Volume 00.01.
XII. A book of darkness.
XIIV. A book of light.
XIV. A long forgotten enemy maze.
XV. The body of one's own.
XVI. The Rock of Destruction.


    Ted had known the risks of the power he held in his spell book. Ikor had forgotten his own library, and somehow
I figured that sixteen was the likely clue. The title of a book I'd once seen Ikor reading. Then again... All of them
seem to be book titles, but that would be too simple. Still, the power calls out and beckons me onward. A voice
that belongs to a long forgotten memory. The memory surfaces, and I am thrown headlong into it. An endless dirt
path lies before me, disappearing over two horizons. A simple sign stands before me as a guide. Future/Past.

    Micah's mind floats onward into the dream, and his mindless body begins a five year journey back to Habdens.
It carries him through numerous countries and nearly halfway across a continent. After a time, he collapses at the
foot of a granite staircase. The heap of torn clothing and rags that he has become is found by several elderly wizards.
Within the dream, Micah wearily gazes into the infinity to which his path continues and falls down. He awakens from
his five year dream to a dark and unfocused room.

    "You need to rest. Your body has undergone many extreme climates, and who knows what else. We can't even
tell where you end, and the rags begin. All of your questions will be answered in the morning, but right now you need
rest. We will wake you at six, sleep well."

    The single remaining wizard in the room closes the door behind himself when he leaves. Micah looks down at the
heap of rags that he has become, and begins ripping parts of it off. After ripping for several hours, he falls asleep into
a dreamless night. During the night, the pile of rags grows larger. A five year pile of rags is removed from a man in one
night, and by morning Micah fully awakens from his five year daze. He mumbles to himself for a moment, then disappears.
Several moments later, he reappears in his own private chamber. Changing into a more suitable robe, he leaves his
chamber and walks down to his office.

    "Professor Jhan, a word with you please."

    "Yes Professor Stong it was a very difficult task that I had to undertake, and I am most sorry to have been away
for a month."

    "No? We found a stray the other morning, and now he seems to have vanished."

    "I am sure he would have thanked you in his own way. I entrust that you took care of the school for me while I
was away?"

    "Yes. I am glad that you are back. I also hear news of a peace treaty back on Tedland. You must have done
powerful magic to have ended such a bloody war?"

    "Magic has no place in wars. Only words of truth can end such things. Peace is a thing desired by many who
are unable, or unwilling to seek it out. It is a magic of it's own, a magic more powerful than what we as a whole contain."

    "As always, you speak in riddles. Good evening to you, and again, welcome back."

    Magic, a balance for all things. We are the players, both good and evil. Each side plays through it's part, and many
are unaware of this tide. A tide gone unseen and unfelt by the all-seeing non-time beings. The last incarnation of Ted
began to see the tide. A tide that swept him into the unknown, taking his secret with him. A secret not unlike the one
regarding my future/past. Many lost memories from other lives, fragments and shadows... Secrets unspoken and
forgotten in the depths of time. Pieces of some elaborate and unknown puzzle. In the last fading moments before
dreams are awoken, a darkness forms from these last thoughts and shroud everything with a dark nothingness.
Sleep had been dreamless again. Only a darkness that seemed to envelop... A brief memory of traveling into the
black hole. A remembrance of the lack of substance and all other things... Not good or evil, but the neutral emptiness
between. Morning dawns and a new day begins.

    "Good morning Headmaster Jhan."

    "Good morning Professor Haffin. I hope that your dreams were more revealing than mine."

    "Still nothing?"

    "Just an enveloping darkness that seems to be waiting. A sign of changes are on the horizon. I can see nothing
beyond, nor can I see what the changes are. The unseen tides of time are beginning to shift balance. Deep unnamed
powers growing restless. Unseen forces brewing..."

    "I shall never truly understand any of your riddles. We will speak again tomorrow, good day to you."

    "The same to you Haffin."

    I leave the comfort and safety of my office to walk down the infinity hallway, a hallway of such power that few have
ever seen or walked it. The hallway vanishes and is replaced by darkness. The darkness solidifies and gains shape.
Shadows of a long distant past echo through the darkness. Echoes of voices that once shared a moment in time, deep
within the heart and mind of Ted.

    "Hampron, I don't expect you to understand why I've built it. I only hope that you can understand why I built all of you.
You are the only family I've ever had, or ever will have. I poured my heart and soul into this. I can't just throw it all away."

    "You might not have to. We can get you away from here. Create a set for you to be a part of. The invasion is a very
real thing. Don't listen to what others say about it, this war will begin any day now. We can get out of here, create a
family, have a life. Your work doesn't have to end like this."

    "I can't be a part of that family. I cannot let them see the pain I have caused all of our kind. I was the one who first
contacted the alien life-force out in the vast expanses of space. I will leave here, but I will not participate in the development
of this family. I leave that task to you Hampron. One day, I will return to that family you create. Only then will we all truly
understand what we are made of. We are the dreamers who dream a reality into life. One day..."

     "I will send the ship tomorrow. Can you have everything prepared?"

    "Yes."

     The voices fade, leaving images of the last moments of life in their wake. For the first time, I can see death, walk
toward it, touch it, feel the currents that lie secretly in wait. Shadows of the past... I turn away from the shadows and
walk onward into the far distant light ahead. A glimpse of the far distant future... The Tardais control room standing
before me in the shadows beyond. Within, Ted and Bigbunny standing behind the main column, while the asteroid
streaks through deep space. The turning point in time, the one thing that could change all of the present timelines
and future timelines. The friend I once knew would still remain with me, maybe one day he could be given another
form in which to live again. The images fade into the shadows again and vanish. In the end, all of Ted will die... A
darkness that is the darkness within our collective souls, something never truly destroyed. A memory of the first
death of Ted that I witnessed, the death of Ted1. The image surfaces and presents itself in the shadows before me.

    Micah and Ted sit in a small unmarked car of sorts. Ted is behind the wheel casually talking to Micah. A conversation
forgotten until this very moment. A conversation that was never meant to be remembered...

    "Micah, I must tell you something very important. You must never tell anyone about it. I had the dream again, the
one involving our death's. Don't say a word, just listen. Something about this dream seemed real. If felt like it was from
you, but it wasn't somehow. In the dream, I saw you... Not really, but you in the future somehow... older. He knew about
it, he knew what I had called it. I haven't told anyone about it yet. Not even the construction crew know what all of the
pieces that I have them constructing. I have to scrap the entire program. Throw away the entire infernal device. Burn all
of the evidence of ever having built it. But somehow, there's a need to build it. Something that keeps pushing me to build it."

    "That project is your life's work. You spend days on end in that building of yours, tinkering for hours on end. No one in
or out, not coming out to eat for days. You can't be expected to throw it all away. You have to continue with the project,
or it will nag at the corner of your mind like all your inventions often do when you drop then for several days."

     "I must, for the sake of myself and your future well being. My project now seems to be the one thing that will unravel a
deep dark secret that I fear may cause our future selves too much pain to bear. He showed me that I die many times, that
you too will one day die in pain."

    A light from the sky shoots down and envelops the car. In moments, Micah is vaporized, leaving shards of flaming car
behind. A vague memory of a cleanup crew arriving on the scene several hours later to clean up the large metal shards
littering the roadway. Ted is thrown from the place and vanishes somewhere into the unknown.

     The image fades and Micah's thoughts return to the darkened hallway filled with shadows of the past. Echoes of the
past haunt him, memories from another lifetime. A thought passes through his mind briefly touching two moments in time
together. A mirror... A common ordinary object that reflects only what is placed before it. Micah stares into this mirror and
sees the face of Ted staring back. A glimpse of the dream that Ted had spoken of. An asteroid streaking through the
vastness of space, glimpsed for only a second, causing an unending cycle of pain. The memory of Ted3 sacrificing his life
to end the River of Blood. Yet the river never ended there, it never truly ended. Every Ted had the memories of every other
Ted before him, except the final moments of death. One congruous line of events, never marking the death of one and the
arrival of the next. Moments that were eventually discovered before the death's of each Ted. Shadow in the back of the mind,
constantly nagging, always lurking behind the next bend in the road. All the shadows drift away, leaving Micah splayed out
on the sizably large stone staircase near the front hallway of the school. Moments later, he is discovered by several teachers
walking in from outside.

    "What do you think happened to him?"

    "I have no idea. Whatever happened, he seems not to have won the battle."

     "If it was a battle that he fought."
    "Let's get him up to his room."

    "Maybe when he comes to, he can tell us what happened to him."

    The two teachers carefully lift Micah up off the floor and carry him to his chambers. Once there, he is placed in his bed
and watched after by both teachers. Within Micah's mind the dream continues, resulting in the eventual possession of another
segment of the translation. One that does not originate from within the dream, but one that returns from a long journey.
The other Micah enters the school and walks toward his room. He never sees his other self, but instead sees another
segment of the translation. At the same moment, he also gains the memories of the now departed other Micah.



CHAPTER 53: THE TARDAIS REVISITED

    "A mirage in the desert can cause one to lose their way... His entry continues briefly and becomes scrawled. At the
bottom, the rest is covered with blood."

     "Headmaster Jhan?"

     "During class call me Micah. Your question?"

     "What does all of that have to do with the onslaught of the Magic War?"

     "Everything. You see, the Magic War wasn't even a war at all. It was later classified as a war due to the indeterminable
loss of lives during that period of time. This journal was one of the few texts fully documenting this event. Any other questions?"

    "Yes. Micah, who wrote this journal? Did he survive through the so-called war?"

     "To answer both questions, the author of the journal stands before you. Tomorrow we will continue our discussion on
the usage of magic in wars, class dismissed."

     The room empties and Micah remains alone in the room. The balance of power sways again and shadows form from
the shapeless aether. Shadows of things that once had substance. Things that always remain behind... things one can
never truly see. Shadows holding loss and sorrows from the past. Micah stares blankly into the nothingness for a time,
then promptly vanishes. Appearing again in his robotics lab, he puts the finishing touches on an android vaguely similar
to his friend Sil. From one of his many pockets, he removes the memory block that is Sil's soul. Micah carefully inserts
the block into the android and steps back. He closes his eyes for a moment with the hopes that the memory block still
contains the life essence of Sil.

    "What happened Micah?"

    "The Tardais crash-landed on Earth. Ted9 died and you barely survived. The Tardais was completely destroyed."

     From the other side of the room, a rumbling noise erupts from inside a huge wooden crate. Micah glances at Sil for
a moment and cautiously walks across the room to the crate. He reaches out and carefully touches the crate... Seconds
later, the crate crumbles into small pieces on the floor. The Tardais stands tall and looks relatively new.

    "I thought the Tardais was destroyed?"

    "This isn't the same one, this one looks brand new."

     Micah walks toward it and instinctively reaches toward the Tardais door. His hand presses against it for a moment,
and the door clicks open. Micah pokes his head inside the Tardais for a moment and comes back out. He kicks the
remnants of the crate aside and laughs.

    "What's so funny Micah?"

    "You won't believe what I found inside."

    "What?"

    "A note from myself. A thank you note from a past self who I saved in the Bermuda Triangle. I remember that he had
to return to his own time-stream and continue his task at hand. Didn't really realize that somehow he was going to do
this... he never forgot my kindness."

    "Guess he decided to return the favor."

    "Guess so."

    "I hate to bug you at a time like this, but my legs don't seem to work."

    "I was kind of hoping that you'd know. You're the first android I've ever built. I can't seem to find any problems, but
maybe your built-in diagnostics could locate the problem."

     Micah transports Sil and the Tardais up to his room. Micah pushes the Tardais into a corner of the large living area
and sets Sil down on a nearby couch. Micah lies down on an adjacent sofa and picks up an old torn copy of some
unknown book. Morning arrives and the sun shines in, casting a bright semicircle of light on the floor. After a moment,
Micah puts a bookmark in the book and sets it down before walking to the door.

    "I'll be back after a while Sil."

     Micah walks into a classroom full of waiting students several minutes later. Standing behind his desk for a moment,
he pulls back his chair and sits down.

     "Due to an inconsistency in the flow of time and space, one can only surmise that magic has its own inconsistency
and is disrupted when displaced. A truly scientific answer, but one cannot always believe the scientific rumors that one
hears. Magic is not explained with science. The time travel spell is, in part, limited due to the fact that the spell requires
an almost unmentionable amount of energy to cast. The last one to cast it twice ended up painting all of the south wall red."

     "Couldn't he have just miscast the spell?"

     "No. He successfully cast it once. He went into the future almost a complete hour. He appeared later and the next week
he tried again. He finished the spell and boom... a blood painted wall."

     "Ouch."

     "True, but the spell did work the second time. His remains stay in constant time-flux. Appearing promptly in five minutes
and vanishing promptly on the hour."

     "How often does this occur?"

     "Every day at 2:55PM. You can set your watch by that wall. Even when the time changes, it seems to change with it.
Tomorrow we will review disarming and incapacitation spells and their involvement with the magic war on Tedland."

     The time travel spell wasn't a spell that one could just cast. The caster had to know specifically how far that they
wanted to go, and where one ended up once they altered time. Putting aside all of that, Sil's immobility was probably
more important than me sitting here thinking of the many unchangeable things going through my mind. I pondered Sil's
problem as I left the classroom and went back to my room. I reach my doorway, and Sil opens the door.

     "I figured out the problem."

     "That appears obvious Sil, what was it?"

     "A loose wire in the B-Panel-Quad."

     "How small was the loose wire?"

     "Almost invisible at first glance."

     "Amazing..."

     "What's amazing?"

     "I just saw another piece of the translation there."

     "Where?"

     "Inside this panel here."



CHAPTER 54: TIME CHANGES

    From somewhere, time rewinds and chooses a different path. Time has already changed several times before this.
Time has that funny way about it, one never truly knows how a single event can change everything. The year 30742
comes and goes without incident... Ted1 is still dead, and Ted2 never becomes lost. The Hotel De Grande becomes
just another insignificant place and is another dot on an unimportant Earth map. Micah still meets Sil on Earth at the
intersection. He still sees the destruction of the man and all of his machinery into R-Space and is warned of this by
the appearance of Ted in the side of the hull of the Titanic. In a past echo, Ricky remains on Tedland and Dasto is
never thrown through time. Dasto never has the accident when creating Micah the android, and successfully creates
him. He never creates an android Ted, but meets him several days later when he staggers back from his encounter
with the time scoop. Micah meets Hampron Jhan at TedCastle in the year 67030 and learns the truth about Ted.
Ted2 eventually dies of old age and is quickly replaced by Ted3. Ted3 finishes the Tardais and gives it to Micah as a
birthday present. The time collision on Earth in 1980 never happens. Micah never meets Siadrat, nor does he ever
meet the little man. The poem goes unwritten... Aliens never attack the Crestfallen, and Micah never lands on the
Zychron. Xavius Jhan meets Dr. Ravik after his encounter with a comet, that destroys his ship. They both go on to
later explore the outer reaches of the Tedlandic Space Quadrant and after forty years, the truth about Earth.
The Walls of Spartaeen go undisturbed. The IRIS system is perfected by Micah, with the aid of Ted3 in the year
97006. In the year 97008, Ted3 shows Micah his magic spell book and Micah's journey begins. Before leaving, Ted
hands Micah a tablet that contains clues to the whereabouts of the pieces of the translation.


1. A stone from the Castle of Dreams.
2. Mud from a bottomless lake.
3. Olympia's sister in E-Space.
4. Coordinates “33xy8"
5. Bermuda's Mirror.
6. Ikor's Mirror.
7. Seek out the two who create light.
8. One's own statue.
9. A now useless Space-Gate.
10. A book of darkness.
11. A book of light.
12. A long forgotten maze of one's enemy
13. The Rock of Destruction.