A Kingdom’s Expansion

Submitted into Contest #196 in response to: Write a story involving a portal into a parallel universe.... view prompt

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Fantasy Science Fiction

“Dimensional walls have been breached.”

“Commence event horizon expansion.”

“Deploying Warp Grips.”

Dark, cold, and quiet save for a low hum; a laboratory staffed by no more than twenty scientists and engineers surround a centrifugal monolith of a machine where a tear in the fabric of reality lies in the middle, held open by robotic pincers and shielded by a thick glass cylinder.

“Has His Majesty been informed yet?” wonders a young researcher.

“Word has been sent out.” Reported another, older researcher. “His Majesty should be—”

The laboratory’s main doors burst open, and a squad of purple-armoured soldiers march inside, carrying advanced weaponry and clad in armour of otherworldly design. Emerging with haste from this human wave is a greying man wearing a purple service dress decorated with a multitude of badges and medals. “Presenting His Majesty Kaiser der Sekai Koenig Hiroshi Morgenstern Hakaimaru Faust Nobunaga von Lilakarten, ruler of this realm and all beyond!”

The soldiers stamp and stand in attention as a shadowy figure emerges from the door, whom the soldiers salute. Stepping out of the dark corridor is a young man no older than thirty, grinning devilishly from ear-to-ear. He wears an elegant purple suit-and-tie, crafted with the rarest dyes only royals could afford, shouldering a lavish fur cape of a now-extinct mammal; both embroidered with the House Lilakarten coat of arms: a jagged, claw-like golden crown. “Thank you, General Egos.” The young Kaiser thanked the older man.

The soldiers escort Kaiser Koenig to the massive machine, passing by staff kneeling in his presence. “Your Majesty,” Approaches the older researcher: a Pakistani woman with hair frizzled from extended hours, and wrinkles from years of loyal service. “We have located another universe fit for conquest. The landing point on its Earth is—”

“Please,” Kaiser Koenig extended his palm to silence the scientist. “Just show me.”

“You heard His Majesty. Expand the warp.” General Egos commands the scientist, and she takes her place at a console. The grasping robot arms tears the warp agape into a rectangle, flooding red light onto the devilish emperor’s smiling face.

“Where is it? A London? A Tokyo? Perhaps we dust off an old Atlantis stratagem if we happen upon those fishmen?” Kaiser Koenig stares into the warp, hypnotized by otherworldly shapes twisting and turning from beyond. When a white flash bursts from the warp, it fizzles away to reveal an image of a sprawling metropolis sat before a white-topped mountain range.

“Los Angeles, California. Trace atmosphere readings and chrono-analysis indicate this universe’s Earth is consistent with average early-twentieth-century Earths.” The scientist reported to them. “I will not bore you with further details, Your Majesty, but it is a fit staging point for invasion.”

“Nine-hundred-ninety-nine worlds we discovered, nine-hundred-ninety-nine worlds we conquered …” Kaiser Koenig extends his hand to the city before crushing his fingers into a firm fist. “May this day commemorate the conquest of the thousandth.”

“Should I mobilize the troops, Your Majesty?” asked General Egos.

“No need, General.” Kaiser Koenig steps closer to the machine’s protective glass shell, caressing the smooth, clear surface, and intimately tracing the shape of the portal with his finger. “The Kaiser der Sekai had the pleasure of solely conquering every hundredth world discovered without aid of his army, reminding that realm and all before it of the great power my family holds over them. This is one tradition I’m more than too happy to partake in.” Kaiser Koenig takes from inside his shirt a gold-chained amulet hanging a small, rectangular amethyst etched with the Lilakarten insignia. “With that said, it’s time for me to play with some new toys.”

He hovers his hand over the gem and it starts to glow, but retracts when alarms alert everyone to the Conquest Spark rattling and shaking. “The warp is destabilizing!” a junior scientist reports.

“But that’s impossible! The Conquest Spark has failsafes to prevent such errors!” The lead scientist panics when the glass shatters and the pieces vacuumed into the warp alongside the pincers that once tore it open.

“Get me outta here!” When soldiers come to Kaiser Koenig’s side, they are sucked towards the warp, and it didn’t help that some of these men bumped into other soldiers and staff, knocking them into the event horizon as well.

As Kaiser Koenig witnesses the Conquest Spark’s machinery pulled into the warp, one remaining soldier takes his wrist. “Your Majesty, fo—”

Then, General Egos electrocutes the soldier with his advanced sidearm, then glances at his Kaiser.

“General, what’s the meaning of this?!”

“Sorry, Your Majesty, but the Lilakarten Empire doesn’t deserve to be controlled by a child like you.” General Egos converts his sidearm into a lethal pistol with which he aims at the Kaiser.

Filled by rage at this betrayal, Kaiser Koenig swiftly kicks the gun out of General Egos’ hand and tackles him. “Fifty years of service, and you do this?!” he squeezes the traitor’s neck with all the rage in his heart.

Even has he’s being choked, General Egos rolls over to switch their places, quickly getting up and stomping the Kaiser’s face. “I’m loyal to the Empire. Not you.” General Egos reaches for the amulet around the weakened Kaiser’s neck and takes it. “The Royal Arms in my grasp… I never imagined I’d get this far.”

“You never will.” Kaiser Koenig swiftly pistol-whips General Egos’ chin with his own discarded weapon, creating an opening to allow him to retake the amulet. Instead, they both play tug-of war with the chain, neither seeming to gain the upper hand.

“Let go, you traitor!”

“Raaah!” With all his strength, General Egos pulls the chain harder and kicks Kaiser Koenig’s chest, causing him to lose his footing. Assisted by the gravitational pull, Kaiser Koenig tears the chain apart, freeing the gem.

General Egos tries to grab the amethyst before him, but is too late. Both Kaiser Koenig and the gem are sucked into the warp before the rest of the machine collapses into itself, and the warp ceases to exist. The laboratory falls quiet, and what was left are the General and the lead scientist, who picks herself off the floor. “It looks like your plan worked, General, although at the cost of my best men and women.” She sounded almost resentful.

“No, it didn’t. Like the Lilakarten he is, Koenig took the Royal Arms with him into the warp.” General Egos growls. “I can sit on the throne, but it’s just a chair. If I am to fully assert dominance over the nine-thousand-ninety-nine universes, I need that amulet and the power it holds within.”

“Then we’re in a bind.”

“That’s where you come in, Doctor Ibrahim.” General Egos added. “Rebuild the Conquest Spark, find the Royal Arms, and make sure His Majesty doesn’t come back. If not, I won’t fulfil your end of the bargain. Am I clear, doctor?”

“Yes, sir.” Doctor Ibrahim reluctantly salutes.

Sunlight, a grassy hill, beautiful flowers, and life of all kinds as far as the eye can see. In this majestic place, a hijab-wearing woman no older than her twenties takes stunning pictures of her surroundings, when the lens of her camera falls upon a pink shape resting behind a tree. Concerned, she approaches the tree, finding a man wearing a bleached-pink suit-and-tie. “Yo, you okay?”

With a groan, the man awakens and clutches his chest. “What? Where am I? How’d I get here?”

“What’s your name?” asked the woman.

When the man tries to gather his thoughts, he struggles to find any semblance of a memory; nobody he recalls, no places he’s ever been, almost nothing. Almost. The one thing he could find was a voice echoing through his head. “Koenig…” Slowly, it fades away, splitting whatever words he can hear in half. “Koen…” With a final ring, the voice ceases at “Ken.”

“I think it’s… Ken?” he told the woman.

“Well, Ken, did you get hammered at some bigwig’s party, or something?” the photographer probed him.

“I… I can’t remember.” The more Ken tries to remember, the more he panics.

“Hey, it’s gonna be fine. Let’s see if the police can’t I.D. you and find your folks.” The woman shakes his shoulders assuredly.

“Yeah… yeah… that’d be great, thank you.” Ken nodded, tired and confused.

As the woman nods with Ken, she sees a phone beside his foot. The man steps away as the photographer picks it up, finding it has a gold-and-pink case, matching the colour of Ken’s suit. “This yours?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure.” Ken scratches his head.

“Looks like it’s dead. I’d charge it if I could, but I don’t think I have a charger for it. I’ve never seen a port like this before.” The woman offered, still observing the device’s nooks and crannies up-close. “C’mon, let’s get you reported before your parents, or your frat, or whatever gets worried you went missing.”

“Hey, I never got your name.” Ken asks her as he follows closely behind.

“You can call me Aadilah, Aadilah Ibrahim.”

THE END

May 06, 2023 02:34

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