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Chapter II



Continuum: Lambda.

Continuum Time: 4:23pm, February 10th, 2000 AD (local calender).

Location: Continental United States.

Enemy Forces: Approximately 1 platoon, early 1940s heavy weapons.

Lethal force is not authorized.

Warning: Recommend full strike team for this engagement. At least tw–

Warning overridden.

Warning: Civilians in area. Advise that on–

Warning overridden.

Attention Centurion Silverwind. Strategos Orion left the following message for you.

“You know, Alya, just because you can match an army by yourself doesn’t mean that–”

Message skipped.

-Combat log of Centurion Silverwind

Terra ducked as Hanns regarded the newcomer. “Silverwind,” he said in a low tone. He then pointed at the woman. “Feuer Frei!” Hanns yelled.

The guns roared as rounds pelted the statue where Silverwind stood, but she moved so fast that Terra saw only a blur. The woman jumped down into the maze of bookshelves as the statue shattered under the gunfire.

The gunfire stopped as Nazis scanned for Silverwind’s location. They moved forward, searching between bookshelves. Four of them stalked around the corner, rifles raised and ready to fire. They stopped before one motioned to proceed forward into the maze out of Terra’s sight.

An alarmed shout sounded from one of the soldiers. Gunfire rang through the library, forcing Terra to cover her ears again. When the shooting stopped, a helmet rolled across the floor into Terra’s view. Seconds later, a soldier flew over the shelves. He grunted as he struck the ground and rolled into a nearby wall. He did not get back up.

The remaining soldiers pointed their weapons toward the disturbance, waiting for Silverwind to show herself while Hanns dug through books nearby. Terra then understood. This woman, this Silverwind, somehow knew about this temporal intrusion. Hanns’s soldiers were trying to buy him time to find a book.

Six more soldiers moved to the center of the room toward Silverwind’s last location. They stood close by one another with bayonets attached to their rifles while one soldier drew a sword.

Silverwind stepped out to face them, drawing a silver sword unlike any blade Terra had ever seen. Its translucent edge glowed a faint blue and took on a static grainy appearance. Above the cross guard, a small orb burned bright blue.

She stood straight backed with feet together and lifted the blade in her left hand. Silverwind then placed her right hand behind her back and raised the edge of the blade a few inches in front of her face with the guard just below her chin. She held this pose for a few seconds as though saluting her foes. Her confident smile showed no hint of fear as she faced a heavily armed group of the greatest villains in all of history. In fact, she seemed impressed they were trying to attack her at all. Then she swung her sword out at an angle to her side as though to signal her salute finished and that she was about to attack. She did.

It lasted seconds. Silverwind moved too fast for Terra’s eyes. Like a whirlwind, she moved in a blur of motion. She seemed to strike each soldier simultaneously, dancing around them as though they were statues. All Terra could see was the woman’s long, shimmering hair trailing behind her as though she were a silver wind.

The soldiers all fell at once in a heap of broken bones and bleeding faces while their weapons lay cut in half upon the ground. Only the Nazi wielding a sword remained. He slashed at the woman as she raised her own sword to block. Blades met, yet there was no ring of metal meeting metal. Instead, the woman’s blade sliced through the Nazi’s sword with his own momentum. He stared at his clean cut blade with wide eyes before the woman struck his neck and he fell.

Silverwind faced the remaining soldiers. “All combatants, you are in violation of the Temporal Accords! You are ordered to return to your home time immediately! Fail to do so and the Aeon Legion will consider this a crime against Time and you will be dealt with accordingly!” she said in perfect English.

A hail of gunfire sounded from the room as the machine gun fired. More fire came from the anti-tank cannon shooting at a steady, but slow rhythm as its rounds punched through walls. Silverwind braced herself, raising her right hand to reveal a small device with a glowing orb that was attached to her forearm. She held it in front of her like a shield. Armor piercing rounds froze in place just as they struck a translucent field that emanated from Silverwind’s forearm device. Each impact sent a ring of energy rippling across a force field that extended from the orb of the device. The energy field was shaped like a buckler and Terra guessed it had the same function as a shield from antiquity, only more powerful and able to stop bullets. When Silverwind lowered her shield, the bullets remained frozen in mid air.

“Infinite!” Silverwind said, smiling. “I hate boring missions!”

The machine gun and cannon kept firing, sending tracer rounds streaking towards her. The woman’s afterimages flashed between bullets before she jumped over several bookshelves in an impossibly high leap. Soldier’s manning the machine gun tried to shift their aim, but the woman attacked too fast. A silver blade sliced through the machine gun’s steel without effort. The soldiers didn’t even have time to yell as she grabbed one and flipped him into the other.

The cannon fired again, but she dodged the shells with impossible speed before jumping onto a vertical wall. She then ran on the wall as though it were a floor. The soldiers angled the cannon upward and fired. Shots hit around her as she weaved between the rounds with inhuman reflexes.

Stray hits sent large chunks of marble downward towards Terra. She scrambled out of the way as debris rained around her.

Silverwind jumped on the top of the cannon. The gun’s two crew members tried to draw their pistols, but were too slow. The woman crouched and kicked one on the side of the face while jabbing the other in the throat with her hand. She jumped down, slashing at the cannon with her blade. A bright light flared from the edge of her sword as it hit the cannon. The cannon exploded and Terra fell to the ground, hands covering her head as small bits of smoking debris fell around her.

After a smoldering wheel rolled by her, Terra opened her eyes to find Hanns who stood next to the SS soldier. He held a book in one hand titled World War II: The Turning Point and his glowing watch device in the other. Hanns pointed at Silverwind before uttering something to the SS soldier. The SS soldier snarled and pointed his rocket propelled grenade launcher at the woman, but shifted his aim to the cowering library patrons.

Hanns eyes widened when he saw where the SS soldier had aimed. He tensed and yelled before he tried to grab the weapon away from the SS soldier. The weapon fired, missing the civilians and instead exploded above them.

A heap of debris fell toward the library patrons. Terra closed her eyes, cringing at the inevitable outcome. The screams suddenly stopped. She opened her eyes enough to see Silverwind standing in front of the patrons. The debris now drifted down slowly, like settling dust.

“Hurry! Take cover around the corner over there and don’t move!” Silverwind shouted.

The SS soldier fired with a submachine gun while Hanns retreated into the maze of shelves. Shots impacted on her shield as she covered the retreating patrons. When the last patron cleared, she charged the SS officer so fast it seemed as though she appeared in front of him in an instant.

Their hand to hand fight was as short as it was brutal. Within a single heartbeat, the elite and feared SS soldier lay on the floor in a heap of broken bones. He groaned, unable to move.

When the remaining Nazis began throwing grenades, Terra crawled behind a large chunk of marble while keeping her head down. She noticed Hanns hiding behind a shelf. He wiped the sweat off his brow as he worked with his pocket watch device. The gunfire fell silent.

A flamethrower armed soldier approached Silverwind. He aimed and shot a stream of fire at her. The fire froze in midair on Silverwind’s shield. She struck him and he fell incapacitated. With the final soldier beaten, Silverwind searched between bookshelves for Hanns. “This is your third infraction Hanns. One more time and they’ll authorize lethal force.”

Terra’s eyes widened. She’s holding back? Terra thought.

Hanns activated his hand held device, forming another green glowing sphere in the center of the library. He shouted more orders in German and the remaining soldiers dragged the unconscious bodies of their fallen comrades into the portal. Hanns then grabbed a nearby book, tearing out a clump of pages before hiding out of Terra’s view.

Silverwind patrolled between book shelves at a slow, but steady pace, searching for Hanns. When she neared the end of the aisle, Hanns darted in front of her a few paces away. He drew his pistol with his right hand while keeping his left hand behind his back. He fired.

With her usual blindingly fast reflexes, Silverwind brought up her arm to shield herself. As her shield activated, Hanns threw a wad of torn pages at her that he had kept hidden in his other hand. The pages froze in midair, obscuring Silverwind’s view.

Hidden behind the frozen papers, Hanns fired several shots. The shots impacted the woman’s shield. She charged, grabbing Hanns’s right arm and breaking it. Hanns had switched the pistol to his left hand during the distraction. He aimed point blank at a gap in the armor on her abdomen beyond the woman’s shield. A shot rang out.

Blood seeped out of Silverwind’s mouth as she swayed.

Hanns wasted no time and kicked the woman to the floor. He holstered his pistol and used his unbroken left arm to pick up the history book he had dropped amid the scuffle. Victorious, Hanns limped towards the portal in the center of the room as his broken right arm dangled to his side. His men had already retreated into the portal.

Terra sank behind the marble debris, trembling as her thoughts raced. Hanns had won. He held the history book in his hand. If he made it back into his own time, history might be forever altered.

Hanns took another step closer to the portal.

Terra slid down further onto the floor, trying to control her rising panic. Maybe another sword wielding time traveler would stop Hanns? She could stay behind her happy little rock until this insanity ended.

Hanns took another step closer to the portal, standing a few paces away from Terra now.

Terra gritted her teeth to stop herself from trembling. She had always been like a stone; trod upon, ignored and beneath the notice of everyone, even Hanns as he limped past her.

Being like a stone wasn’t so bad though. Most left her in peace but she never did anything brave. Stones didn’t need to be brave unlike the heroes and heroines of history she admired. Those heroes and heroines would have urged her to act right now.

Hanns took a step away from Terra, walking past her.

Sweat beaded on her brow. She knew it was suicidal to try to stop him. Hanns was a trained soldier and armed. Terra was a nearly graduated high school student without a direction in life. He was from an age of warfare and strife. She was from an age of sitcoms and video games.

Hanns took another step. He now stood a few paces away from the portal.

Terra sat alone with only her thoughts. She could just sit there, close her eyes, and wait for it to be over. It would be easier to be like a stone and do nothing. But she was the only one who could do something now.

Then she felt anger sink into her stomach. How dare Hanns! she thought. How dare he wreck my safe library, putting everyone at risk for his own ambition! It was just like the bullies at school. No one ever stopped them just as no one was left to stop Hanns.

Terra then realized that right now, she was time’s only defender. No one was going to help her. No one was going to save her. Evil was about to win and only she could stop it. It was her chance to be a heroine.

Terra set her jaw and stood to search for something, anything to use against Hanns. She grabbed a loose fist size chunk of marble before she charged. In spite of spraining her ankle, she caught up to the limping Hanns just before he took the final step to the portal. She raised the rock as high as she could before smashing Hanns on the back of the head. He crashed to the ground, book falling out of his hand onto the floor a few steps away while his gun fell into the portal.

Terra smiled, dumbfounded, not at the Nazi soldier in modern day America, the time travel portal, or the silver haired soldier with strange powers, but at her own hands. “I… I did it! I stopped him!”

Terra’s smile vanished as Hanns groaned before standing and rubbing his head. She paled, hesitating as an angry Hanns turned to her. He clenched his left fist, but instead of striking Terra, looked to the book.

Terra yelled, shaking herself out of her panicked state and dove after the book. Hanns ran as they both grabbed the history book at the same time and pulled at opposite ends. Terra was thankful for Hanns’s numerous injuries as he was still strong enough to match her with just one arm. The tug of war went on seconds longer before Hanns dragged both Terra and the book towards the portal.

Before Hanns gave the final tug, a light breeze blew around Terra. Hanns’s eyes went wide at something behind her. Silverwind descended towards Hanns, her blade pointed at his chest. He let go of the book, falling back into the portal before the blade could stab him.

The portal dissipated, leaving a small crater at its epicenter. Terra gazed at Silverwind with wide eyes. She searched for a bullet wound on the woman but no trace of damage remained. After surveying the room for stragglers, the woman sheathed her sword.

As the silence returned, other survivors emerged. Terra appraised the damage; marble pillars not smashed to pieces appeared riddled with bullet holes and chunks of marble and burned books lay strewn across the floor mixed with empty bullet casings and scorch marks. A fire remained frozen in midair while the debris from the grenade blast still fell in slow motion. No one seemed hurt. The Nazis had recovered all their fallen comrades before disappearing through the portal.

The woman scanned the room. “No deaths on either side. Good,” she said before touching the convex glass face on her forearm device. “Mission accomplished. Minerva, Restore this area.”

For the first time, Terra looked at the woman in detail. She appeared in her mid twenties, with silver hair that reached halfway down her back. The tanned hue of her skin contrasted with bright, sky blue eyes.

Terra couldn’t help but feel envious. Not of Silverwind’s beauty, but her power. This woman stood without a single scratch amid smoking ruins, a breeze flowing through her silver hair. An immortal with power over time itself who used that power to stop villains and save the innocent. A real heroine.

Terra wondered, just for a moment, what it would be like to have such power. What would she do with that power? If she had that power, she wanted to be like this heroine.

“Who are you?” Terra asked at last.

“Me? Don’t worry. You won’t remember I was here,” she said. “What is your name?”

Terra observed the blue light overhead again. The same ring descended over the library, however this time it restored the building to its previous state as it fell, erasing all the damage caused by the battle. Terra shook her head and looked at the woman again. “Name… Yes! My name. It’s Terra. Terra Mason.”

“Well Terra,” the woman said as she looked Terra up and down, “You should know that your tactics were awful. A direct charge against an armed foe? You should have at least tried a flanking maneuver or engaged in a ranged attack using commandeered weapons.”

“Um. What?” Terra asked, her brow furrowed.

The woman turned to walk away from Terra as she touched the glass face on her forearm device. “Minerva, access Saturn City Archives for a person named Terra Mason, age late teens, reference year two thousand on Continuum Lambda, eastern continental United States.”

Terra raised a finger to ask another question when the ring passed over her, erasing her memories of the library invasion and returning everything back to normal. At least for now.

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