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Community

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community
kəˈmjuːnɪti/
noun
2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

"This feels like the end," I said, quietly, to Marv, as we sat in the empty canteen sipping coffee. I'd never much liked coffee, not being a fan of warm, bitter mud, but two months stuck in a converted car park changes your priorities. There wasn't much to do in the hideout, other than sit, drink, talk, read. We couldn't go out - I didn't want to risk the fully covered religious outfit again - and the novelty of our presence soon wore off. I think it maybe wore off when we busted down doors and knocked out some guys. Never a good first impression.

Marv flexed his new hand. They'd given him a new arm, which was a thing they could do, which looked almost exactly like his real one, other than being a few shades too light. Matching Marv's skin tone wasn't something they were used to. A doctor had visited Marv everyday for the first month, taking tests, measuring up, and then one day he'd gone into surgery for a couple of hours and he came out with two functional arms. Nobody seemed particularly amazed other than us. Marv was grateful, and thrilled, but afterwards he'd sat quietly with me, opening and closing his new fist, and he'd said, "imagine if they'd shared this technology with us."

At first, the gang wanted to talk to us and pick our brains. Some of them were gathering specific information on Locque, while others just wanted the chance to talk to the natives. A fair few of them had been in the group for years without having much to do or any real direction, as the days of there being a serious movement against dimensional fiddling were decades past. We represented something important and life changing for them. But even that passed after the first few weeks, and we became part of the furniture.

So, yeah. A boring coupla months, and that was following on from being stuck in a cargo ship. We seemed to be going from one confined space to another. Enough was enough.

Tonight, then, was going to be the real deal. Ever since we got here I'd been struck by the similarities between Locque and Earth. There was a ton of surface differences, obviously, but underneath we seemed to be driven by the same things. We ate the same food. Our cultures intersected all over the place and there were even festivals and holidays which mirrored each other. But Halloween? That was a new one.

None of the rebels seemed to really be able to define it properly; it seemed that its origins were lost way back in the mists of time. Some thought it was a good excuse to dress up. One guy I spoke to said it was a celebration of the dead. Another that it was about ghosts and sins. Seemed like one of those things that had warped over the years. Regardless, everyone was super excited about it, both inside the hideout and on the streets.

We didn't need costumes, Marv and me. They assured us that we already looked like monsters and would blend in just fine. Not that they phrased it quite like that, but that's pretty much how it came across. Even our own team had trouble seeing us as real people.

Marv grunted. "An end of being cooped up in this place," he said. "Tonight, we finally get to go back home."

"Well," I cautioned, "back to Locque. The other side of Locque. We've got a long road home."

"Yeah, Kay," he said, "but being in the right dimension is a really good first step."

The canteen door banged open and Joe Sek entered, sliding a seat up between us. "We're good to go," he said. "Everything's in place. You two ready?"

"Been ready for months, man," Marv said.

"Good. You have your transmitter?"

I held up my wrist, which now had a fancy device a bit like Furey's wrapped around it. "Right here."

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