Denso's home dimension of Ramanujan
“You guys are whacked!” Josh gasped. “I can’t lead you! I don’t even know how to work the stupid burn band!”
Starla’s voice instantly broke in over the burn band communicators. “I have preset your burn band for Cadavra, and for your return burn. That much is easy.”
“Gee, thanks!” Josh said with sarcasm lost on inorganic Starla.
Me? Leader of a band of interdimensional warriors? They must all be nuts, Josh thought! I’m not a leader! Then, he thought further. Possibly Fractal wasn’t really the leader, either. The leader of the DimensioNoids was more likely the ethereal, peace-loving, glowing ball of energy, Starla.
“For your safety, I hope Chaos will be drawn to the diversion,” Fractal said, tugging Josh from his thoughts.
“He hates you, doesn’t he?”
“If he knows it’s you attacking, that should be enough to attract him to the decoy,” Josh concluded.
“Oh, he will know it’s me. My lightning bolts will make it obvious. He knows them well.”
“Good—I guess,” Josh said with a cringe. “Chaos and I fought each other many times as children, and a few times as mortal enemies,” Fractal recalled.
“Once, you had the opportunity to kill him,” Spindle noted.
“I was strong of body, but weak of will,” admitted Fractal. “I could not bring myself to slay my own brother. I assure you, I shall suffer no such weakness again.”
Starla appeared, ﬂoating in from the main tunnel. “You’ll have plenty of time for rest before nightfall in Cadavra. Will you be cleaning up as organic entities like to do after a messy mission?” the light entity asked.
“Oh, yeah!” Denso shouted, jumping up from his tactics bench. “Gotta clean away the blood and sweat.”
“Yeah, I could use a shower, myself,” Josh said. They all looked at him quizzically.
“This shower term is—unfamiliar,” Starla stated, “but I understand the sonic chamber is quite refreshing.”
Sonic chamber, Josh thought, How bizarre was this going to be?
Josh followed Starla and the others down the main tunnel. They entered a side tunnel they’d passed upon Josh’s arrival. Metal doors hummed open. Starla remained in the corridor while the others went in. Denso didn’t even bother removing his shoulder mount and gravity belt.
“Enjoy,” the light entity said, then the doors closed.
Inside, dozens of tiny portals opened in the ceiling and a high pitched hum ensued. Josh ﬁrst felt his ear drums tingle, then his skin began to experience a prickly sensation. He saw the dirt nd stains on his jeans and sweatshirt disintegrate and fall away. His skin felt clean right through his clothes, and he was, as Starla had promised, quite refreshed. The others stood eyes closed faces upturned, ﬁnding the experience most enjoyable.
“Is it sound waves?” Josh asked.
“Yes. Most invigorating, don’t you think?” Fractal replied as the hum diminished and the portals closed.
“Yeah, I guess,” the boy said, “but I kinda miss the chill of water evaporating. You know, on your skin.”
“Sounds dreadful,” Spindle shuddered.
“It’s how we clean up in Solaria,” Josh explained. “Soap and water. But this sonic thing. It’s okay.”
“Give Starla the speciﬁcations and it will construct one of these soap and water cleaning systems for you,” Fractal offered. “Your comfort is important to us, Joshua Miles.”
As they prepared for the assault on the time accelerator, Josh was fascinated to watch Denso break down, repair and clean the components of his shoulder mounted battle array. Ramanujans did not have any inherent special powers, but relied completely on their mammoth muscles and their mechanical accessories. Ramanujan electronics were simple wires and switches not nearly as sophisticated as Starla’s futuristic electronics. Once Denso removed the shoulder mounted launcher and opened the cowling, Josh could see how eight missiles, each the size of a large ﬂashlight, ﬁt into the system. The emitter for his death beam and a powerful searchlight were also built into the unit.
At just the moment Denso needed it, Starla ﬂoated in levitating a new missile to replace the one expended in Denso’s ﬁght with Chaos. Denso snatched the new missile our of the air and locked it in place, clanked shut the cowling, and hoisted the unit back onto his right shoulder. It reattached itself with metal bands that came out of the mount as it strapped itself ﬁrmly to Denso’s shoulder and back.
“What’s with the shades?” Josh asked, referring to the tiny black lenses snugly ﬁt into the blue man’s eye sockets like the kind of protective shields sunbathers wear.
Denso explained. “Ramanujans are very strong, but we have weak eyes. Our dimension is dark, so the sunlight of just about any dimension blinds us. These allow normal vision, but they also provide me with the capability of seeing in complete darkness.”
“I know not this term. I can see images of the heat given off by any living thing, or by machines, weapons, and most terrain.”
“Infrared,” Josh concluded.
“There is a third advantage,” Denso went on. “They protect me from Chaos’s mesmer eyes.”
“Yes, he was using those big reds on me when you came burnin’ into my room,” Josh recalled.
“Chaos can bend you to his will. I am the only one who can resist his hypnotic spell—except for Fractal.”
“But Fractal doesn’t wear dark glasses.”
“He doesn’t need them. In his youth he was so often subjected to his brother’s evil stare, Fractal has become—immune.”
Josh looked over at Fractal, who paced the room, contemplating their dangerous mission. What must it have been like to grow up with a brother that lorded powers such as evil eyes over you? How could one grow up as anything but introspective and sullen?
Josh returned to Tempo’s tactics bench. Immediately, the electronics hummed on and the view screen ﬂickered to life. Josh squinted against the glare.
“Yes, Joshua Miles?” the calm, unemotional voice said over the speaker in Josh’s burn band.
“Can you shut down the electronics in Tempo’s tactics bench, please?”
“As you command,” Starla said, seeming almost insulted that it was not needed.The electronics and view screen shut down. Josh closed his weary eyes. His mind was racing, but his arduous day had exhausted him, and he quickly fell asleep. For the ﬁrst time in many nights, he had no nightmares.