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Old 01-19-2011, 06:39 AM   #1
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Another Time, Another Place - Chapter 5

Hello again!

As always, this is complete fiction of the silliest sort, not to be taken internally seriously.

Last time, Larry had narrowly avoided a life of wedded bliss with his Neanderthal bride, and the boys are on their way to another unknown location...


Chapter 5

"Where are we now?" Larry looked at the blank screen, and Edge turned it on. All they could see was white.

Edge checked his instruments. "It's minus 57 Celsius out there," he said. "Don't open the door or we'll be frozen in minutes."

Bono's hand crept back away from the "open" button.

"I think we're on top of the ice sheet covering the north Atlantic ocean," Edge went on. "It's still an Ice Age, but only 15,000 years ago. The flux capacitor must have re-calibrated itself after the last jump…" Edge started opening panels and poking at wires. "I might have to re-program the interface between it and the phase shifter…"

Soon he was almost lost in a tangle of wires and blinking lights and electronic miscellany.

Bono and Larry were getting bored. They knew they couldn't go outside, but maybe they could explore inside. They didn't think the lemon was that big if their memories served them right.

Edge was lost in his own little world so he didn't notice them leave the room.

The first door they came across was just a closet. There was a broom and dustpan in it and little else.

The next door they opened led to a room that had two sets of bunk beds on opposite sides of the room.

"I don't remember this," Bono said.

"He must have added it," Larry told Bono. "I mean, we probably will have to sleep here at some point and it's better than the floor."

There were pillows and blankets piled up on one of the bottom bunks.

They left that room and found another door to their left. When they opened that one they found a small kitchen. All it had in it was a microwave, coffee maker and a four-slice toaster.

"Is it just me or does the lemon seem bigger?" Larry asked Bono. "I don't remember having this much room before."

On the other side of the kitchen was another door. This led to a washroom complete with shower stall.

They left the kitchen and went back to the room where Edge still had his head stuck in wires and Adam was just sitting reading a book.

"Where did you get the book?" Bono asked Adam, as he hadn't noticed it before.

"In the library," Adam said absently, turning a page.

"Edge? Why does the lemon seem bigger?" Larry asked. "I don't remember it being this big before."

Edge either didn't hear them or was ignoring them.

"There's a library?!" Bono was saying. "Edge, how can there be a library in here? And the bathroom and bedroom and everything else??"

Edge finally looked over at them. "What were you saying? I didn't hear."

He had heard, but he was trying to figure out how to explain it to them. Bono repeated his question with exaggerated patience.

"Well, the lemon is a bit like the TARDIS," Edge finally said. "It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. I thought it prudent to install some necessities."

The other three stared at him. "A library isn't a necessity," Larry pointed out.

"It is if you're stuck in a blizzard on top of a glacier while Edge tries to fix his time machine and you get bored," Adam replied.

"Are you going to tell us how that's even possible?!" Bono said, his brain bending under the effort of accepting this extraordinary fact.

"No," Edge said shortly.

He wasn't willing to admit that he wasn't entirely sure how it had happened himself; all he knew was that once he'd started hooking all the components together, particularly the flux capacitor, the dimensional (de)stabiliser, and the hyperstring harmony unit, the lemon had started exhibiting some odd characteristics. His personal theory was that the other rooms in the lemon were technically in different dimensions, and didn't exist in the same physical space as the lemon's main structure. Now, he was afraid to touch those components too much in case he undid something important.

He needed more materials to complete the guidance circuitry of the lemon, however, if they were ever going to be able to aim for a location with more accuracy than a 10,000 year (or kilometre) margin of error. If they were ever going to get home. And they would need to be a lot closer to their own time before he could get what he needed. A circuit board or two, copper wire, a soldering iron, various electronic components, and some powerful rare-earth magnets were at the top of his list. A gyroscope would be handy, too.

"Oh, by the way," Edge said, remembering something. "Whatever you do, don't flush the toilet while you're inside the cubicle. There's a button on the wall outside it, and for the love of God, seal the door behind you before you press it. I don't know where the, uh, waste material goes, but the toilet tends to suck all the air out of the room when it's flushed. Like an aeroplane toilet, but worse."

They were all staring at him again.

"I preferred to use the toilet in the house, when this was still in my shed," Edge went on.

"I nearly used it," Bono said, white-faced. "You could have said something earlier!"

"Well, now you know," Edge said. "Now leave me alone, I need to concentrate."

Bono went to lie down, vowing that he could hold on until they went somewhere where he could go outside. Adam continued reading his book, occasionally distracted by muttering and cursing and electronic 'beep's and 'fzzt's as Edge tinkered in the control panel.

Larry watched from the opposite side of the room, not quite trusting the rooms of the lemon that shouldn't be there. He saw Edge look at a wire in puzzlement, and follow it through the labyrinthine innards of the control panel, then behind the panel, along the wall, and into the sound system. Edge opened up the back of that next, muttered some more, then winced as ABBA suddenly blasted through the lemon.

"Sorry, crossed a wire."

A minute later, Edge was following another cable back out of the stereo, into a panel in the floor, back out again, and finally into a tangle of wires coming out of a pile of effects units. Edge pulled, and the end of the cable was revealed, as one that would be plugged into a guitar or an amplifier. He looked thoughtful.

"Of course... the signal chain needs a more coherent input! Haha! Why didn't I realise that before..."

Edge revised his list in his head. Circuit boards, wire, soldering iron, transistors and capacitors, magnets, gyroscope... and a guitar.

Shortly afterwards, he summoned Bono from the bedroom. "It's time we got a move on. The quicker we can land close to our own time, the quicker we'll be able to get home properly."

"Won't we be just as likely to end up millions of years in the past again?" Adam asked, putting the book down.

"From observing the waveform of our passage through the space-time continuum on our journeys so far, I believe I have narrowed the parameters down to a more manageable time span," Edge said. "There's always room for error, though, and we should be prepared for anything."

Bono's eyes were straying towards the big shiny Random button again, not bothering to try to work out what Edge's words meant.

"Can press it this time? Please?" He looked at Edge with puppy-dog eyes.

Edge glared at him, but couldn't think of a good reason to say No. "I suppose --"

Bono had pounced on the button before Edge could finish the sentence. The lemon trembled as the now-familiar special effects flashed on the view screen. The guitarist sighed, while Bono bounced excitedly on the balls of his feet. The sound system played a jaunty jazz tune.

After a minute, the lemon stilled, and the screen showed clearing smoke. An urban landscape became visible, tall buildings and busy streets filled with cars. Edge let out a whoop of excitement. "That looks like the late 20th century to me!" He consulted the computer that was built into the control panel.

"Might be closer to the mid-20th century," Larry commented, watching the screen closely.

"What makes you say that?" Edge said, trying to establish a more accurate time based on pollutant levels and local radio signals.

"All those cars look pretty old, '50s or '60s," the drummer pointed out. "I think we're causin' a traffic jam."

Edge rushed to the screen, and swore. A long line of cars was backed up behind them; they had materialised in the middle of a major road. A number of people had gotten out of the cars, and stood staring at the lemon in fright or astonishment.

"What if we've squashed someone?" Bono said in a panicky voice. "We might have killed someone important to history..."

"I'm pretty sure the proximity sensors would have prevented that," Edge said. "I just wish I'd finished the cloaking device..."

"It's just as well we're not invisible, or people would have crashed into us," Adam said.

"Shouldn't we move?" Larry asked, watching the growing traffic jam. A police car had appeared.

"If we travel through time again, there's no telling where or when we'll end up," Edge fretted. "I can get some of what we need in this time... But we can't stay here, either..."

"Can this thing still move about on its wheels?" Adam asked.

Edge smacked his forehead with one hand. "Of course it can... stupid of me. Hold on..." He moved to a different set of controls, turned a key, and the lemon's original engine spluttered into life. They trundled along at about 15 miles an hour, making agonising progress down the road.

The traffic jam followed them for ten minutes, until they found a vacant block of land that was strewn with rubble and building supplies. Wincing at every bump, Edge eased the lemon off the street and parked it in the corner of the lot. The cars behind them roared past, honking their horns angrily. Finally the police car pulled in behind them, flashing its lights.

"Oh shite, what do we tell them..." Edge chewed on his fingernails. They shouldn't have been seen at all...

"Leave that to me," Bono said breezily. "Do you know when we are, exactly?"

Edge turned back to his computer and pressed a few more buttons. "Aha... 1963, Washington D.C. At least they'll speak English."

"Okay. Open it up!" Bono checked his clothes, then decided they could pass for 1960s-wear. Jeans had been around forever, right?

Apprehensive, Edge opened the lemon. Bono strode down the steps as they extended, and went to meet the wary-looking policeman.

"Sorry about that!" Bono was saying cheerfully. "Just shooting a film, science-fiction, you know... Thought the studio had organised traffic control but there must have been a communication failure."

"I haven't heard about any movie being filmed here," the cop said suspiciously. "Where are the cameras?"

"They were on a truck, they got ahead of us at some traffic lights and we lost them. Honestly, monkeys could have organised this better... I'm so sorry about the traffic jam. There weren't any accidents, were there?"

The cop was staring at the lemon, then dragged his attention back to Bono. "People were saying that thing appeared out of thin air..."

Bono laughed. "The magic of movies, nothing more! Clever lighting, a smoke machine, mirrors... some people are easily fooled. We depend on it in our business! Special effects, always boosts sales at the box office." Bono gave the policeman a friendly clap on the back.

"I've never seen a spaceship like that before," he said, gazing up at the lemon again.

Bono beamed at it like a proud father. "The props guys really outdid themselves this time. It's worth a Golden Globe at least, if not an Oscar."

"Are you guys actors then?" the cop asked, peering at them all.

Bono gave another hearty laugh. "Lord, no. We're just the drivers and operators. You don't expect the stars to get their hands dirty actually doing something useful!" He chuckled again. The policeman gave an understanding sort of smile.

"You won't be leaving this, uh, spaceship here for long, will you? The owners won't appreciate you occupying their construction site, I'm sure."

"Oh, no," Bono said, waving his hand. "The truck from the studio will come along later and take it back. These builders will never know we were here."

Up in the lemon, Edge wondered how Bono planned to acheive this. He had been pleasantly surprised by Bono's quick thinking, and immensely relieved that the cop seemed to be buying the story. Now all Bono had to do was get rid of him...

"What's the name of this movie?" the policeman was asking. Edge could practically see the cogs whirring in Bono's head. Luckily for him, 1960's science fiction films didn't have very imaginative titles.

"Attack of the Giant Space Lemon," Bono said after a brief pause. "It's a working title," he added.

The cop nodded thoughtfully. "Looks like it'll be a great film," he said, gazing at the lemon once more. "Well, I'll keep an eye out for it in the cinema," he grinned. "Mind you don't cause any more traffic jams!"

The cop got back in his car and drove off, and all four bandmates heaved a collective sigh of relief. Bono climbed the stairs with shaking legs. Adam and Larry gave him a round of applause.

"Top-notch performance," Adam said.

"Easily worth a Golden Globe," Larry added.

Bono gave a little bow.

"So," Edge said, compelled to bring them back to reality. "How are we going to pretend that this giant space lemon has got on a truck back to a movie studio?"

The singer waved vaguely at the pile of building materials. "We can cover it up with some of that, can't we? Couple of big tarpaulins... planks and scaffolding..."

Edge frowned. It was risky, but it was better than nothing.


Several hours later, the four of them had managed to construct a very unsafe-looking scaffold around the lemon, although the top was still poking out and there weren't enough planks and tarpaulins to cover most of the lemon's gleaming surface. Edge stood scratching his beanie for some minutes, then rushed back inside his creation.

The other three looked at each other in puzzlement until he came back out a couple of minutes later, his arms full of what looked like a very large cotton sheet.

"Where did that come from?" Larry asked as they all helped to drape it over the lemon's exposed surfaces.

"The closet," Edge replied distractedly.

"What closet?" Larry asked. "The only closet we saw only had a broom and dustpan in it."

"Oh, just a closet that you probably didn't see," Edge said vaguely.

Bono had been trying to think why Washington D.C. in 1963 sounded familiar to him. Who was around in Washington in 1963? Then it hit him... Martin Luther King, Jr. He turned to Edge.

"What date is it? Exactly?" Bono was bouncing on his toes in excitement.

Edge had tuned in to a local radio station while they were building, and had discovered the date.

"It's August 21, 1963," he said. "Why does that seem familiar…?"

Bono let out whoop of delight. "The March on Washington! The March for Jobs and Freedom! MLK is going to be giving that speech in a week's time! Can we go? Pleeeeeaaaase? Pretty please, Edge? I promise I won't touch anything…" Bono was desperate to see such an important historical event with his own eyes. To actually be there...!

Edge's eyes widened, then he frowned in thought.

Bono misinterpreted the guitarist's thinking process, and pleaded some more. "We can't miss an opportunity like this," he said. "It's like Larry said, why did you build this if you weren't going to use it? You've done an amazing thing, Edge... You've achieved the impossible, don't you want to take advantage—"

"You can stop flattering me," Edge said, although he was blushing in a pleased sort of way. "Of course we can Dr. King, but we have to be very careful." He pinned the others with a stare that he hoped would impart the seriousness of the situation. "We must remember the Rules after all," he said, giving them a death glare.

"Of course we'll be careful, won't we?" Bono said, bouncing on his toes again and looking at Adam and Larry, who nodded dutifully. Edge's glare seemed to bounce right off the singer, and he resolved to ask Larry what his secret was.

"Tell me the Rules, then, Bono," Edge said, looming over him. Maybe he couldn't glare like Larry, but he could still loom.

Bono shrank back ever so slightly. "I won't press any buttons," he said in a small voice.

"What else?"

"We won't tell anyone about the future," Adam piped up.

"And we won't drop any handkerchiefs," Larry said, having remembered Edge saying something about this earlier.

"So..how are you going to get the things you need to fix the lemon with, Edge? Do you actually have money in this thing?" Adam asked.

"Not the right sort of money, and not enough of it in any case. We're going to have to get some local currency." Edge said. He realised that all the coins in his pockets were euros, and that the dates stamped on them were 2002 and 2003. Completely worthless, in other words, and dangerous if they got into circulation here.

"What about credit cards?" Bono asked.

"Look at the date on your card, Bono, and then ask that again," Edge said a little testily.

Larry checked his pockets. "I think my wallet is back in the 21st century. Maybe we should get jobs," he said in a joking way.

"That's the only thing I can think of," Edge said quite seriously. "I don't have any records of lottery numbers for this time and place, so we'll have to do it the hard way."

Larry's grin fell away. "What? Won't that mess up the time line?" he asked.

Edge looked uncomfortable. "It can't be helped," he said. "We've already landed in full view of a street full of people and lied to a policeman, we'll just have to hope that blending in quietly and earning a bit of cash won't do any more damage."

The other three looked at each other.

"Anyway," Edge said briskly, "I think it's time for a bit of dinner and an early night. It'll be a big day tomorrow and we'll want our wits about us."

They all dined once more upon sandwiches that came from somewhere inside the closet, although Larry, Adam and Bono couldn't see exactly where.


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Old 01-19-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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Now it starts getting interesting....

Not that it wasn't before..but this was the part where we started thinking we had a really good story.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:11 PM   #3
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It gets better and better!
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:35 PM   #4
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Gotta love all the things that come out of nowhere and the rooms inside the lemon.
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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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