Another Time, Another Place - Chapter 13 - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-19-2011, 07:18 PM   #1
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Another Time, Another Place - Chapter 13

My turn! Lucky number 13...?

As noted, this is the denouement for the Evil-U2 part of the story, the whole idea of which was Diane's.

However, the adventure is not over yet for our intrepid space-time-travellers.

A completely and ludicrously fictional adventure, of course.

From the last chapter:

"There hasn't been a king for many years," Morleigh replied.

Edge was struck with inspiration. "Queen Morleigh!" he shouted, and immediately most of the resistance echoed his cry, raising their fists and weapons into the rain.

"Queen Morleigh! Queen Morleigh! Queen Morleigh!"



Chapter 13

Three days later, a lot had changed. A short trial had been conducted, which everyone knew was mostly for show, before the lords, ladies and the guards who had remained loyal to them were taken to the mines in chains. Most of the previous inmates who had been sent to the mines were released and returned to their families, and the general consensus had been that the mines were the main source of Dublin’s income, and someone had to work them.

Early the next day, funerals had been held for those who had been killed during the coup. Some of the more vengeful citizens had wanted to merely burn the bodies of the lords' men, but Morleigh insisted that they been given a decent burial as well. She had also pointed out that nothing much would burn in the rain that had continued unabated since the night of the battle.

Morleigh's coronation had taken place that afternoon, as the skies cleared and the world looked washed clean of the lords' reign, and there had followed two days of revelry and catharsis, the like of which no one had seen before. By the time things had calmed down, almost every trace of the lords had been scoured from the castle, vast quantities of food and beverages had been consumed, and everyone for miles around had a severe hangover.

A rhythmic pounding was echoing painfully through Larry's head, driving him mercilessly towards consciousness. At first he thought the sound was just his pulse, magnified by the pain radiating from his brain, but after listening to it nauseously for a minute he realised it had a distinctly metallic and external quality to it.

Larry tried to gather his wits. The last three days had been a blur, between the trial, the departure of their doubles, the rain, the funerals, the coronation, and the party afterwards. That had been the blurriest blur of all. The drummer gradually came to the conclusion that he had woken up on a pile of material and pillows and cushions that had been shoved into a corner of the castle's banquet hall, and that a dozen other people had passed out in similar circumstances. He rolled over to his side, and a wave of nausea coincided with his recognition of lord Laurence's bed hangings, resulting in the sumptuous fabric being rather badly stained by partly-digested ale. Larry felt much better after that.

After a few attempts, he wobbled to his feet and staggered outside to find the source of the horrific banging. Other people were stirring, blinking in the bright sunlight, or dashing towards discreet places to vomit.

The sound was coming from the courtyard, and Larry's head hurt worse with every step he took. Finally he saw the blacksmith, hard at work over his anvil, taking things from a diminishing pile of metal torture devices and chains and hammering them into flattened, unrecognisable shapes.

Larry lost his urge to tell the smith to shut the hell up, and watching the thickset man work for a minute. The smith looked up eventually, and met Larry's eyes.

"Time this metal was put to better use," he grunted between blows.

Larry just nodded, and headed back inside, wondering if anyone here had invented paracetamol.

He found Adam vomiting noisily out the back of the kitchens. The bassist was a delicate shade of green, and his face was a study in self-loathing. He finally sat back, resting his rumpled head against the stone wall. He saw Larry and groaned.

"Oh god."

"Morning," Larry said jovially.

Adam squeezed his eyes shut and breathed deeply. "I fucked up, Lars. I don't even remember taking the first drink. Ten years! I've been dry for ten years, and now... urrrgh..." He leaned forward again over a wooden bucket, and Larry turned away until he was done.

"Ten years," Adam croaked again.

Larry looked down at him. "No one could blame you, after the week we've had," he said.

"I can blame me!" Adam replied, determined to wallow in self-pity. "I've thrown it all away. How could I do this to myself again?"

"Pull yer head out of yer arse," Larry snapped, equally determined to smack some sense into the bassist. "Have you shacked up with a supermodel? Have you missed a gig? Have you fucked us all over in the middle of a tour? No. You've been thrown into another dimension and seen yourself as a monster, and you, and everyone else here got it out of their systems the way humans have always done. Yes, you broke your ten-year dry spell. But unless you keep doing it, it doesn't matter. And you're not going to go back to how you were back then, are you?"

Larry's scowl seemed to have driven some of his words into Adam's scrambled brain. "Of course not. But..."

"But nothing! Clean yourself up, I think we'll be leavin' today. You'll feel better after a wash... and so will I."

The drummer stalked away, and Adam was left sitting on the cobbles, looking after him and feeling sick. But not as sick as he had before.

---

It took most of the rest of the day for the four members of U2 to pull themselves together and break the news that they would have to be on their way.

Queen Morleigh had taken Edge aside (calling him Dave, as everyone was doing), and quietly panicked at him before they left.

"How am I supposed to be a queen?" she asked him, her calm facade finally cracking when they were alone. "Holding together a collection of villagers all with one aim was hard enough. I went along with this because it was what they all wanted, and we need someone who everyone knows and trusts. But me? Dave, I don't know how to do this."

Edge knew she could never show this fear and uncertainty to any of her people, and it touched him deeply that she was showing it to him. "Morleigh... your majesty," he amended, and smiled. She thumped him on the arm.

"You know I'm not really a queen. I've got no right to any titles, we don't even have royalty in America."

"Every noble and royal family had humble origins," Edge said. "You've as much right to queenliness as any of the first monarchs in any country. But what's more important is that you will earn it." He met Morleigh's eyes. "I know I don't know you very well, but I know my Morleigh; I can see what you've done here, and how everyone looks up to you. You are a very capable, wise, and beautiful woman..."

Morleigh let forth a disparaging snort. "Now I know you're flattering me." She raised a hand to the scars on her face, but Edge covered it with one of his.

"These scars don't matter. They are badges of your strength. You will always be beautiful, inside and out." To me...
Before he could over-think it, Edge leaned forward quickly and kissed Morleigh's scarred cheek. He leaned back and smiled again. Morleigh looked flustered.

"Find some advisors you trust, and listen to them," Edge said, trying to give some useful advice to the new queen of Dublin. "But the decisions must be yours, and you have to be firm. Don't be afraid to make mistakes... it will happen, and you'll learn from them. Most importantly, believe in yourself. Nothing you can do would be worse than what those lords did." Edge scowled.

"Can't you stay a bit longer? You said I need advisors. I trust you."

Edge shook his head. "We don't have any more experience in being monarchs than you do. Less, in fact. It's been all we can do to keep the four of us operating as a unit for so long... and no one here needs to see our faces in positions of influence. They need you, and you don't need us."

Morleigh sighed. "I know, you're right. I just needed a moment of weakness, you know?" She was visibly resuming her queen-mode, Edge saw.

"I know."

--

It was early evening, and the light was sliding golden across the bare field where the lemon had landed, an eventful week or so earlier. Edge remembered the remote control as soon as they came in sight of it, and swore for five minutes before Bono could work out what was wrong.

U2 had been followed by a large delegation of the townspeople and villagers, led of course by Morleigh. Bono went and explained to her that Edge had lost the doohickey that let them open their time machine from the outside. He still felt like death warmed up, suffering the effects not only of two days of rich food and strong drink, but also his troublesome allergy to red wine. Which he had consumed rather a lot of, if his last fuzzy memories could be relied upon.

Morleigh asked one of her attendants if any of the servants remembered seeing a strange black object in the laundry room after Dave had been questioned by Lord David; fortunately one of the laundry women had, and even more fortunately still had it with her. She brought it forward, trembling, and Edge thanked her as profusely as he'd been swearing five minutes before.

Everyone gaped appropriately as the sparkling lemon opened and the stairs descended. Edge and his band-mates turned to face the delegation, the moment of farewell upon them at last.

Morleigh stepped forward, accompanied by the blacksmith from the castle and a cook.

"We can't thank you enough for what you've done," Morleigh said with no preamble, and Edge didn't think she was using the royal 'we'. "These are merely the smallest tokens of our gratitude."

The smith took another step forward, and offered Edge an elaborate puzzle, made of interlinked metal rings. Edge took it and said "thank you" before wondering about the origins of the metal.

"Did this used to be....?" he asked, a sour feeling in the back of his throat.

The smith nodded, and shot a glance at Larry before returning his attention to Edge. "We can't start completely fresh, Mr Dave. We've only got what they built, and we have to rebuild it. We have to turn what they gave us into something better."

Edge turned the puzzle over in his hands, and thanked the smith again, more sincerely. He hoped Morleigh would keep this guy around.

The cook then presented them all with a huge basket full of fresh bread, cheese, fruit, cold roast meat, and four bottles of liquor that had somehow survived the party. The four men all gave profuse thanks, and if anyone noticed that Adam's smile was a trifle fixed after spotting the bottles, no one said anything.

"We don't have anything for you," Edge said, a little abashed by the generosity of people who had already lost so much.

"You've done more than we can repay you for," Morleigh said in a don't-be-silly tone that Edge recognised.

"It's like you said, a token," Edge said. "We couldn't have done it without you. You got me and Bono out of those cells, you did most of it yourselves. Wait a minute," and the guitarist dashed up the steps and into the lemon, casting about desperately for something to give Morleigh.

All he could see was electronic components. He had no time to make a song, or to teach a U2 song to any musicians here. Then he giggled because he was standing in a time machine, fretting about having no time. But there was nothing here to use as a gift... his eyes fell on the closet. It had served them well, providing sandwiches, cotton clothes and lengths of sheeting as needed, but it hadn't seemed capable of anything much more complex. Nothing inorganic, certainly...

Edge had an idea. He needed a gift for Morleigh, something no more complicated than a sandwich. Something that would be useful, and beautiful...

He yanked open the closet door, and smiled at what he saw.

"He's a genius, you know," Bono was explaining to Morleigh as everyone waited for Edge to come back out of the lemon. "He built that thing out of an old stage prop in his shed... but sometimes I wonder if all those brains haven't made him a bit unstable. And after this last week..."

Edge re-emerged then, carrying an armload of fragrant flowers and a heavy book. Larry and Bono exchanged a familiar 'where-did-they-come-from' look, while Morleigh was trying not to look too touched. She accepted the flowers graciously, handed them to her cook, and looked a question at Edge as he gave her the book.

"It's the life story of a very famous, courageous and respected leader from our history," Edge told her. "His name was Martin Luther King. He wasn't a king himself, but he led an oppressed people closer to freedom and equality, and he deplored violence. I hope you'll find it useful," he added.

"Thank you, again. For everything," Morleigh said, meeting Edge's eyes earnestly. "I hope you find your way home."

"I hope you build a good home here," Edge replied. "With these people behind you, I know you can."

Finally, the goodbyes were spoken, and U2 ascended into the lemon. The view outside disappeared as the lemon closed, and they all watched the waving group of people for a minute on the screen before Edge shook himself and started pressing buttons.

Bono looked at the Random button, but looked away again without saying anything.

"Where are we going now?" Adam asked.

"I don't know," Edge said, his voice suddenly uneven. "I don't care. We still need more components, but first... I don't know."

The lemon had powered up, and Edge stabbed at the Random button viciously, as if daring it to deposit them somewhere worse than where they'd just been.

In complete contrast with Edge's mood, the lemon's sound system played something instrumental, mellow and atmospheric as the psychedelic special effects swirled on the view-screen. Bono thought it might have been one of Brian Eno's tracks.

The gentle music seemed to last for a long time, and after a while Adam, then Bono and Larry, sat down against the wall of the lemon and drifted off into their various thoughts. Only Edge remained standing, watching the instruments closely. Finally the music faded, and Edge relaxed a little at seeing the dimensional indicator shining a steady green. They were back in their own timeline.

He made a few more checks at the control panel, glanced at the view-screen, glanced at his bandmates, and then disappeared through the door that led to the bunk room.

Larry, Adam and Bono looked at one another. "Where's he gone?" Bono asked.

"Never mind that, where are we?" Larry replied. He stood and looked at the view-screen, which showed an idyllic tropical island scene. A crescent of white sand stretched to meet crystal blue water, the calm lagoon surrounded by a ring of coral, and the beach fringed by gently waving palm trees. Coconuts littered the sand where the trees were growing.

Adam had stood as well, and inspected the control panel dubiously. "Do you know how to tell if it's safe to go outside?"

Larry came over and scowled at it. When that didn't work, he tried reading the various dials and indicators.

"That says 26 degrees C," he said. "That green light means were in the right dimension, and the lights under ‘gravity', ‘atmosphere', and ‘radiation' are all green, which I think means it's safe."

"But what time period is it? Are there people out there?"

"How should I know?" Larry grumbled. "Go outside and ask the first dinosaur you see what time it is."

A warm, salt-scented breeze wafted through the lemon; the rhythm section turned around, and realised Bono had already hit the "open" button and gone outside.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:30 PM   #2
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I may have had the idea but you made it make sense.

Well, if you can call going through time and space in a lemon making sense.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:18 PM   #3
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Nice.
Wherever they've landed it's beautiful.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:11 PM   #4
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Now why does it NOT surprise me that Bono once again went head first without thinking?
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Galeongirl View Post
Now why does it NOT surprise me that Bono once again went head first without thinking?
It does seem to be a theme with him doesn't it?
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:40 AM   #6
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He is useful for keeping the story moving though.

Thanks for the comments!


Chapter 14 going up now...
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:49 AM   #7
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Bit late commenting, but I just read your whole story 'till this chapter.


Fantastic. I can imagine every part of it. Especially Bono's obsessive compulsive button disorder,
and the Edge in black leather....
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