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Old 02-26-2011, 07:52 PM   #1
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Another Time, Another Place - Chapter 15

Here we are again, time for another adventure in the DUMASS.

This is quite obviously fiction... if anyone thinks this really happened, I still have a lovely bridge in Sydney for sale.

It's probably worth keeping in mind for this chapter that the band in this story is from early 2004, so pre-Vertigo era... What's the future for them could still be the past for us.



Chapter 15

They stayed on the island until Larry's shoulder was all but healed, and the wound had become a new pink scar. Most of Bono's bruises had faded to an array of sickly colours by then, and they all felt much better for staying in one place and doing nothing for a couple of weeks.

They were all getting very sick of sandwiches and coconuts by then, however, as well as sand getting in everything. Three of them were quite red from sunburn too, although Adam had turned an alarming shade of orange-brown instead.

"I think it's time we continued," Edge said one morning, as Larry pulled a face at his breakfast of yet another salad sandwich.

"Are you sure you can't make that thing give us toast? Or cereal? Or anything except sandwiches?" the drummer grumbled.

"Sandwiches seems to be its default setting for food," Edge said. "I don't want to risk getting too specific with it."

"I'd almost eat a chicken now, I'm so sick of bloody sandwiches," Larry muttered. "Let's just get out of here. Can you land us in a restaurant?"

"Not yet," Edge smiled. "I've made a few adjustments, and I'm hoping I can get us somewhere we can get the rest of the components I need to finish the guidance systems."

"Are we going home now?" Bono's face lit up.

"Not quite yet," Edge said. "But soon, I hope."

Bono seemed to have been cured of his urge to press the Random button, so Edge pressed it this time.

There was a short burst of jazz music, a flash of pyrotechnics on the view-screen, and a 'bing!' sound.

All of a sudden instead of humans in the lemon there was a cat, a goat, a turtle and a chicken.

The cat startled itself, jumped across the room and hid under a chair.

The turtle just popped back into its shell and the goat baaaa'd loudly in an alarmed manner.

Then the cat noticed the chicken, and crept out from under the chair, eyeing it hungrily. The chicken squawked and tried to fly up to the control panel, but didn't succeed very well. After a second, more successful attempt (the cat looked disappointed), it waddled over to where a red light was flashing and tried to peck it. After realising it was pecking the wrong button it flapped awkwardly back over to where the Random button was and pecked it like mad.

*flash-whiz-BING*

Edge fell off the control panel. They all looked at each other with a disbelieving look, as Edge coughed out feathers.

"What...?" Bono began, but Edge cut him off.

"I don't know, so don't ask."

"But..." Larry snuck a quick look at his rear end, and was relieved to not see a tail.

"I don't know!" Edge checked himself for more feathers.

Adam was feeling his collarbones and blinking.

"We weren't really...?"

"I'm surprised you didn't turn into a pig," Larry sniggered at Bono.

"Miaow," Bono replied to Larry, who scowled.

"Um," Adam said, finally wrenching his thoughts away from what had just happened and looking at the view-screen.

Edge was bending over the instrument panel again, where the dimensional indicator was shining a reassuring green. "Atmosphere and everything looks good, and lots of radio signals in the air... I think we're in the right time!"

"Um," Adam said again, staring at the view-screen.

The others turned to look and stared as well.

Over the lemon soared a gigantic four-legged construct that looked like nothing so much as an alien space-ship. Round orange things appeared at intervals on its pale webbed exterior skin, and a tall orange spire rose through its centre, hung with all manner of equipment and wires and lights... and a mirror-ball...?

"Is it aliens, Edge?" Bono asked in a small voice.

Edge pressed a button, and the view on the screen swivelled around, revealing a drum kit, several stacks of amplifiers, and an empty stadium.

"Hey... this is Croke Park," Larry said, his perception shifting suddenly. He looked back at the drums.

"But what is that thing?" Bono asked.

"I don't know, but that looks a lot like my kit," Larry noticed.

"And that looks a lot like my gear," Edge said, studying the stack of amps on the left side of the stage.

"But we've never had a stage like this," Bono said, sounding awed as he took in the huge claw-like structure and the bridges connecting the central stage to a circular catwalk. "You could have the audience all the way around... except there's Hill 16 there."

"We've never had a stage like this," Edge said, "... yet."

They all looked at him.

"We're in the future," he clarified.

There was a knock on the lemon's outer surface. Edge swivelled the external camera downwards, and they saw themselves standing on the stage at the lemon's base, smiling and waving.

Bono took a step back. "It's not more bad-uses, is it?"

"No, it's just future-uses," Edge replied. "We're in our own dimension, and we're not going to turn evil in the space of a few years."

"Or ever," Larry said firmly.

"How do you know it's just a few years?" Bono asked.

"The computer says it's 2009," Edge said. "Let's just go down and say hello, shall we?" he added as he pressed the "open" button and the steps descended.

Soon they were all standing face-to-face with themselves, again. Future-U2 looked amused while the lemon's occupants were more on the apprehensive side. Bono covered his own nerves up with his usual swagger.

"So, when did we get invaded by aliens?" he asked.

Future-Bono just smirked. "Nice hair," he said, eyeing his younger self's long hair.

They had all been making note of the small changes that five years had wrought, aside from the fact that the time-travellers had a lot more stubble. Future-Bono's hair was much shorter and he had a different brand of sunglasses on, while future-Adam's hair was even more silver. The only visible difference in future-Larry was that he'd cut his hair too, and with his beanie back on, future-Edge looked much the same as he did now. Or then. Or... Edge was going to give himself a headache if he thought about this too much. He could see his Bono going cross-eyed even now.

"I understand that you can't tell us anything that's happened in the intervening years," Edge told his future self, "but we need some additional components to finish the guidan--"

"Here," future-Edge said, smiling and handing Edge a heavy duffel bag.

"Aw, can't we even tell them about that..." Future-Bono's question was cut off by a subtle kick from future-Edge.

"No," the slightly-older guitarist said. "You promised you wouldn't say anything, or I wouldn't have let you out here at all." Future-Edge scowled repressively, and future-Bono subsided, muttering.

Both Larrys snorted.

"Hah! Just you wait until--" Future-Edge punched future-Bono in the arm, cutting him off again, but Larry looked alarmed.

"Wait until what?"

"Oh, nothing," future-Bono said, with an unconvincing air of innocence.

"He's just trying to wind you up," both Edges told Larry in unison.

Larry looked to his future self for reassurance, but met only his own stony countenance. That was hardly fair, the drummer thought. If something awful was going to happen to him, possibly involving giant prehistoric cats, the least his future self could do was warn him about it. He glared back.

Edge was checking the contents of the duffel bag, which contained everything he needed, and a few things he hadn't even thought of. "This is great, thank you... of course you would know what we need," he smiled.

"Does this mean we get home okay?" Bono asked. "I mean, if we didn't get home, you wouldn't be here, right...?"

"He can't tell us, Bono," Edge said.

"It is a logical conclusion," future-Edge smiled, looking even more amused. Edge wondered if he had always been such an insufferable smart-arse.

"I don't suppose you have anything to eat?" Adam asked, peering wistfully towards the back-stage area. "We're a little tired of sandwiches..."

"The cupboard can do more than that," future-Adam said.

Future-Edge shot him an annoyed look.

"Oh come on, you tried it out later on anyway," future-Adam said defensively. "What's wrong with saving myself a few unappetising tuna-salad sandwiches?"

"How come you didn't punch him?" future-Bono wanted to know, rubbing his arm and frowning at future-Edge.

"If he does test it sooner than I did, we wouldn't know the difference, would we," future-Edge said testily. "Either we're remembering it the way he's going to do it, or else another universe just branched off where he tries it earlier than I was going to... have done... before... ah, feck it." Future-Edge threw up his hands, giving up on fathoming temporal mechanics again.

"It's nice to know some things don't change," Adam mused, observing all the disgruntled glares passing between his band-mates, present and future.

"I think Larry remembered the sandwiches more than the rest of us, I believe he prepared a relief package for himself," future-Adam said. "So, I suppose I should remember that he had it from when we were you, after we met us and got to this point... um..." future-Adam trailed off, having tied his own brain in a knot as well.

"He seems a little pre-occupied right now," Adam said.

The two Larrys were still death-glaring each other, and seemed prepared to continue doing so indefinitely.

"Wow," Bono said. "Isn't this the sort of thing that makes the universe implode? Unstoppable forces and immovable objects and all that?"

Edge could almost see a red laser-beam connecting the drummers' eyeballs.

"Fifty euros on our Larry," Adam said.

"You're on," Bono said. "Future-Larry has more glaring experience behind him..."

"Yes, but our Larry's been living on sandwiches and trauma for the last few weeks. There's a lot of rage there," Adam said wisely. "Although if the wind changes, they might stay like that forever..."

They all watched the impasse for two minutes. Then, with a sound like space-time rupturing, an incredibly noxious fart interrupted the silent duel.

The two drummers winced, gagged, gasped and, eyes watering, finally blinked and looked away. There was a great chorus of coughing and everyone moved at least ten metres away from the Adams. They exchanged a long-suffering look of brotherhood.

"That's not fair!" Bono said from one of the bridges. "You interfered with the conditions, the bet's off."

"It wasn't me," Adam said indignantly. Future-Adam smiled a small smile.

"It was a draw anyway," future-Edge pointed out from behind the drum kit, holding his nose.

"I think we've imposed on your present for long enough," Edge said. He made his way off the other bridge, cautiously approaching the lemon. "Thank you for the components..."

"Don't mention it," future-Edge said. "Especially if you land in the past," he added with a wink.

Larry was still holding his nose. "Will this stench clear by tonight? You don't want to gas your audience," he said.

"We've got until tomorrow," future-Adam said matter-of-factly. "It's due to rain, that usually helps."

"Gotta love Dublin in the summer," future-Larry said. "You'll appreciate this," he added, and wheeled a large cooler towards Larry. It held a wide selection of vegetarian food, and nary a sandwich to be seen. Larry thanked his future self fervently.

There was an awkward round of hand-shakes and man-hugs as U2 bid farewell to their future selves and climbed back into the lemon.

"Well, that wasn't weird at all," Bono said, waving his hand in front of his face to dispel any traces of future-Adam's emissions.

"We have what we need, which is the most important thing," Edge said, rummaging through the duffel bag. "Although I'm not sure what we're supposed to do with this..." He held up a tube of SPF 45+ sunscreen. He shrugged and put it back.

"Have we got enough battery power for another jump? Or can you fix it before tomorrow?" Larry asked.

"It'll take a while to complete the circuits and calibrate everything," Edge said. "We have enough power, I just hope we end up somewhere where I can work in peace." He checked over the instruments again, and pressed the Random button.

Dramatic orchestral music filled the lemon's interior to accompany the special effects outside. Edge wondered what the lemon's disappearances looked like from outside, but he supposed he would have to wait until he'd become future-Edge to find out. He made a note to have a video camera handy, then wondered if future-Edge had had one just then.

Edge hoped he wouldn't have to meet any more versions of himself. Besides being sick of the sight of his own face, with or without facial hair, it got too confusing.

The music and special effects stopped in due course, and the smoke outside the lemon cleared to reveal the surface of Mars. At least, that was what it looked like to Bono.

"Edge!" he cried. "You said we couldn't go to other planets! How come we're on Mars??"

On the screen, a vast red desert stretched from horizon to horizon, broken only by bizarre formations of red rock. There was no life to be seen at all, just harsh sunlight and red dirt.

The others had all backed away from the door, sure this time that there was an inhospitable environment on the other side of it. Edge checked his instruments calmly and said, "We're not on Mars."

"Come on Edge, look at it! It's all red and lifeless!"

"The sky isn't red," Edge pointed out. The red desert was capped by a vast dome of azure sky, utterly free of clouds.

"Oh."

"Besides which, the DUMASS doesn't have the range to reach any other planets, or even the moon. I've programmed it to stick to the Earth, which is enough."

"So does that mean it's safe to go outside?" Adam asked. He'd been getting used to sunbathing on the island.

Edge handed him the tube of SPF 45+. "I believe we're in the Australian outback. It's 43 degrees Celsius out there, and there's much less ozone in the upper atmosphere than there was on the island."

Adam reconsidered. "Perhaps I'll have a nap inside," he said, and headed for the bunk room.

Edge looked at Larry and Bono. "What about you? I need to concentrate on finishing the DUMASS, and I can't do that with you two bickering constantly."

"We'll be good," Bono said, but Larry grabbed the singer by the arm.

"We'll find something to do," Larry said. "Are you sure all those other places in this lemon are... y'know... safe?" he asked Edge.

"I won't be touching any of the dimensional (de)stablisers," the guitarist said, digging through his bag of goodies. "If you see something too weird, just come back here."

Larry and Bono finally left the control room, and Edge breathed a sigh of relief. He surveyed the guts of the DUMASS, and got to work.
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
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Thank you for posting it! If I *ever* get my computer back I'll do the next three.

I think I'm getting withdrawls from not being able to listen to itunes..
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:47 AM   #3
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Larry v Larry staring contest - love it

Edge wondered if he had always been such an insufferable smart-arse was also a great moment. The great thing about this fic (well, one of the great things) is that you never know where they are going to end up next.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:49 PM   #4
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"No," the slightly-older guitarist said. "You promised you wouldn't say anything, or I wouldn't have let you out here at all." Future-Edge scowled repressively, and future-Bono subsided, muttering.

Both Larrys snorted.
Brilliant! I can't stop reading this!
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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Ack! That was pretty funny. The future U2 was pretty awesome.
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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Croke Park! Sing for your sanity!

Nice cameo there. Wonder how many more U2's we're going to encounter.

And heh at Bono turning into a cat. Mwreow Larry indeed!
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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.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:08 PM   #7
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Croke Park! Sing for your sanity!

Nice cameo there. Wonder how many more U2's we're going to encounter.

And heh at Bono turning into a cat. Mwreow Larry indeed!
I know! Couldn't resist it.

That's it for the doppelgangers, I'm afraid...

Ah, I think we may have confused you... Larry was the cat (which is why he scared himself), and Bono (recently a goat) was just teasing him by saying "miaow". Sorry!
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:18 PM   #8
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And thanks GG and everyone for your comments! Glad you're enjoying it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:22 PM   #9
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I know! Couldn't resist it.

That's it for the doppelgangers, I'm afraid...

Ah, I think we may have confused you... Larry was the cat (which is why he scared himself), and Bono (recently a goat) was just teasing him by saying "miaow". Sorry!
Ah lol, I wasn't 100% sure about that. Well the chicken and turtle were quite all right. But the cat tried to eat the chicken.. so I assumed it was Bono since Larry's a vegetarian. Goat works for Bono too I guess, he sure is as impulsive as a goat, and chews on whatever his mouth can find.
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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.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:57 PM   #10
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Well, Larry was just saying he could almost eat a chicken...
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