Vaquero de Alta California
- Jan 20, 2018
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March 8, 1936
Your transatlantic voyage aboard the luxuriously-appointed LZ 123 Mecklenburg was expected to be anything but eventful. Gossip was in the air even as the dirigible lifted off from Frankfurt-am-Main, what with the Huns reoccupying the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty of Versaille just yesterday, but the excitement of your fellow passengers was contagious and almost no one spoke of ominous events that seemed so far beneath your spectacular airship as it gently floated away from current events. Though strong headwinds over the Atlantic slowed your crossing, you had every confidence that the 60 clockwork-like Teutonic crewmen would deliver you on schedule to Lakehurst, New Jersey. For many of the 36 passengers aboard, it was their first flight; for many others, it was their first trip to America; for some, it was both. But it was not to be.
Midway across the Atlantic Ocean, the skies all around you turned a strange color midway between salmon and grapefruit as weird beams of yellow light flickered and shot all about you from above, seemingly originating from the mysterious blackness of space itself. Try as they might, the crew of the Mecklenburg could not stop the airship from spinning out of control as if caught in a whirlpool, only this vortex appeared to be tugging and twisting the airship up rather than down. Passengers and crew alike screamed and bawled hysterically, confused by the bizarre happenings. The captain wept openly, fearful and at a loss to explain the inexplicable.
The only man among you who didn't exhibit utter shock by the strange turn of events was a certain Dr. Christof Alois Klingermann of München, a scientist and recent shipboard acquaintance of Stoil Spisarevski, a Bulgarian national bound for Princeton, and Major Tiberius "Rex" Hunter, late of Gormenghast, England. Dr. Klingermann, in fact, seemed almost increasingly vindicated as the situation worsened. But suddenly, before anything more could be observed, everything went inviolably black aboard the Mecklenburg; you could not see your own hand before your face.
The spinning of the dirigible accelerated to an intolerable degree, causing the less fortitudinous and durable among you to lose consciousness. As the velocity of the spin increased further still, even the strongest among you began to black out, every man jack of you, but not before they heard the frightening scraping and clanging sound of the Mecklenburg airship being ripped apart at its very seams...
The next thing Klingermann, Spisarevski, and Hunter remember is regaining their senses as they lay amongst the debris of the Mecklenburg's erstwhile smoking room, pieces of shattered furniture and light fixtures strewn all around them on a rolling, golden plain that resembled nowhere so much as the wine country of Tuscany, though how you could have ended up in Italy of all places is as unimaginable as the whereabouts of the remainder of the dirigible, its passengers, and crew is incomprehensible. Fortunately the three of you seem relatively unharmed and intact, suffering nothing worse than scrapes and bruises.
As you survey your surroundings, it rapidly dawns on you that, as the sun is in the sky and it's daytime, the sky should be blue, but it isn't. Eerie pink clouds drift through a pale orange sky. What's more, you observe in the orange sky numerous moons of varying sizes and proximity. Focusing your attention on your more immediate surroundings, you realize now that you are in the middle of a field close to what looks for all the world like an oxcart crossroads. On the eastern horizon you see black plumes of smoke rising from an unknown source. One road leads that direction, while the others lead in the remaining three cardinal directions.