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Card of Ten

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Card of Ten is a story written by LettuceBacon&Tomato. It was posted from January 11, 2009 to August 30, 2009 and can be read here.


SynopsisEdit

Part 1Edit

The story begins on February 28, 2009, only a week after the terrorist invasion. Dr. James Zanasiu is contacted by Agent Whittaker of the CIA, who informs him that a government blacklist has been placed on the surviving personnel from the terrorist invasion; the government cares more about saving face than honoring those who survived. In addition, the Einstein-Rosen Bridge which James and his team risked their lives to destroy has been rebuilt, and the government plans to send a team through it to see what they can find on the other side. James is given the option of assembling the team that leads through, mainly because the extreme unlikeliness of success deters them from sending more respectable and useful personnel. James agrees, seeing he has no choice.

At a briefing the next day, James reveals his candidates for the away team: Zachary Johnson, Dr. Rudyard Shelton, Neku, Snow, Hans Donitz, Werner Donitz, Victor Summers, Dr. Josephine Smithson, Siberys, Roy Hawkeye, Ryu Kagetora, and Lockdown. The goverment representatives are uncooperative, but eventually clear everyone on the team.

That night, the team assembles in the sublevels in front of the bridge. James asks one more time whether everyone is aware of the dangers in accepting the mission. Nobody backs out. James contacts Dr. Yuri Kerzach who activates the bridge from the control room. the team jumps through.

Something goes wrong, and James, Zachary, Shelton, Siberys, and Lockdown are the only ones to seemingly reappear in Pelvanida. Lockdown admits that he panicked and accidentally turned the bridge into anti-energy while jumping through. Shelton notes that the other members of the away team were trapped in the bridge, and on James' orders expels them into reversed coordinates. Taking Zachary and Siberys, James jumps through the bridge to rescue the others.

They emerge on a grassy plain at high noon. A forest and a medieval civilization are nearby. Hearing commotion in the forest, they rescue Dr. Joe, Hans, and Vic from a tribe of hunters. The team split up; Vic and Dr. Joe returned to Pelvanida, the others headed into town.

In town, they enter a rowdy playhouse, and witness Neku and Snow paraded on the stage like animals. Siberys defies James' order and attempts to violently rescue them, causing chaos and panic. Zachary, James, Siberys, Snow, and Neku are knocked unconscious.

Hans returns to the bridge and Pelvanida, where he informs the others of what happened. Shelton reveals that they are not in their dimension, but rather a similar one, the one they'd originally attempted to travel to. He notes that in this dimension, it is February 31 3009. He also reveals that in this dimension, Nevada has become a nuclear desert, and Pelvanida is protected only by a force field, which is weakened every time they use the bridge.

Meanwhile, James and his team wake up weaponless in a tent and meet King Gamas, the ruler of the civilization they've entered. He apologizes for how they've been treated, and offers to let them recover in his castle. James agrees to get his weapons back. During the walk, Gamas explains the geography of this world; "Gaman" is the name of the civilization they are currently in, and a rival group known as the Sapaar live underground. The two groups have been enemies since their inception, since both believe that their eponymous heroes founded civilization. At the castle, they briefly meet a girl named Seska, who shares her name with the wife of mythical hero Gamas, who the Gaman worship as their founder.

In the castle, James and his team are captured and imprisoned. However, they escape by threatening the king's life, and manage to reach the room where their equipment is being stored. They radio Hawkeye, who mentions that he and Kagetora are trapped in a cave outside the kingdom, under attack by the hunters. Hawkeye says he will find a way to reach James.

Outside the room, Snow and Siberys decide to abandon James' nonviolent plan in favor of attacking the Gamanians directly. Their efforts alert the guards to their location, and the team is divided. James, Zachary, and Neku escape into a tower, and attempt to escape through use of a rope to an adjacent tower. Neku is shot down by a volley of arrows during the rappel. James and Zachary are captured by guards, but are rescued by Hawkeye and Kagetora. The four then head towards the throne room, to capture King Gamas.

In the throne room, King Gamas hides Seska in a secret passageway, and posts extras guards at every entrance. To his dismay, Kagetora cuts a hole through the ceiling, and James and his team get in. James tries to persuade Gamas to stand his men down, but he only succeeds when Siberys reveals himself in the secret passageway, holding a knife to Seska's throat. Gamas concedes, and gives the order.

James tries to steer his team through the passageway but Siberys won't let him leave until Gamas also shoot himself, in revenge for what he's put them through. In desperation, James shoots Siberys to get him out of the way of escape. Before they leave, they reunite with Snow, who carries a badly injured Neku.

The team escapes through the passageway and into the forest where, pursued by the hunting party and the guards from the castle, they jump through the bridge, leaving behind a large amount of equipment Shelton had set up to take atmospheric readings and collect data.

Back in Pelvanida, Shelton explains to James and Zachary that they and all the members of the away team are anti-matter duplicates, and that due to the nature of the bridge there's no way home, at least not that he can see.

Part 2Edit

James and Shelton catalogue their supplies, and are both surprised to see a copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in there.

Shelton convenes a meeting in the projector room, and explains that to get home, the team will have to return to Gaman to calculate the length of a t-coordinate, the fourth dimensional coordinate the bridge uses to calculate time. He's rigged his Radio-flashlight to include a timer, in this regard. He says he wants Dr. Joe, Hawkeye, Lockdown, Zachary, and James to come on the away mission. Hans demands the right to go and try to find Werner, who was never found on Gaman, and James defends his right to go.

Setting the t-coordinate forward, the team travels to Gaman, where they emerge in an industrial factory-based society. Their presence causes panic among the collective inhabitants. Zachary reaches the bridge, and James tells him to wait one day and then reopen the bridge for the others. James and Shelton are separated from the other members of the team.

They travel to a nuclear power plant, and Shelton expresses surprise that it even exists. Inside, they attempt to steal power for the bridge, but are captured. Before being knocked unconscious, James learns that the Sapaar have taken over the planet.

Elsewhere, Dr. Joe, Hawkeye, and Lockdown examine a library and discover a control panel that shows them the power levels of various buildings. Before they can act on this, they are also captured by Sapaar guards.

The team including Hans wakes up together in a jail cell, where they meet Premier Jacade, who informs them they will be putn on trial for their crimes against Gaman and Sapaar. After a disastrous court scene, they are rescued by Werner, who is now an older man. Werner frees them from jail and takes them to the Union headquarters, an underground resistance movement of Gaman against their Sapaar suppressors. Werner bumps the planned attack against the Sapaar forward, to take advantage of his old friends being around to help. Hans leaves James' team, saying that he'd rather be with Werner on Gaman than return to Pelvanida.

As Werner and Hans prepare the coup, James and his team have a brief visit with an intelligent Gamanian rebel known as The Professor, who gives them the data they need to solve the bridge's t-coordinate. While returning to the nuclear power plant, James and Hawkeye knock out some guards, and Shelton makes the discovery that the guards are wearing tinted contact lenses to protect their eyes from the sun, since a history of living underground has weakened their eyes to sunlight. James forms a plan to make use of this.

James, Dr. Joe, and Lockdown arrive at the nuclear power plant, and attack the plant with Werner's rebels. The fighting does not go well, until Shelton and Hawkeye, who infiltrated the base from behind, cut the lights to blind the Sapaar. As Werner and his men gain the advantage, James is captured by Jacade, who reveals that Seska is being held hostage in the weapons development room. James escapes, and the team regroups in the weapons development room. After freeing Seska, James and his team witness Jacade activate the rocket barrage that will ultimately destroy the planet. The team escapes into an underground hangar, where they find a shuttlecraft.

Hawkeye integrates the cybernetic part of his body to fly the shuttle, and sends his organic self to the control room to open the hangar doors. The shuttle escapes the power plant and returns to Pelvanida.

In Pelvanida, Shelton tells the team that the force field is so low, four people need to stay behind to prevent the base from automatically shutting down the bridge in the middle of transporting its passengers to Earth. If all four fail to prevent a pulse from reaching the CPU, the bridge will shut down early and everyone inside will die.

Through drawing slips of paper, James, Seska, Kagetora, and Vic are selected to stay behind. Neku and Snow also tell James that they plan on leaving Pelvanida in Hawkeye's shuttle, rather than return to their original world.


The bridge is activated, and Shelton, Dr. Joe, Zachary, and Lockdown begin their travel back to Earth. Seska almost immediately fails her efforts to prevent her pulse, and James loses his when he goes to check on her. Grabbing Seska, James decides to try and get her back to Gaman. As Vic loses his pulse, James switches the bridge coordinates to Gaman and dials the t-coordinate back, so they travel to a time before Gaman is destroyed. The bridge abruptly turns off despite Kagetora maintaining his pulse, but Hawkeye reroutes the power in his shuttlecraft to get James through.

James and Seska travel through the bridge to a barren wasteland. James realizes he's transported them to a time before humans have even evolved. Seska removes the book of Shakespeare from her pouch, and reveals that Shakespeare is Sapaar, the name has change over centuries of time. James realizes that Seska is the original Seska, Gaman's wife, and he is Gaman, his name also having changed over time.


CharactersEdit

TriviaEdit

  • This is the first Darwin's Soldiers story started, and Serris has stated that its idea of the government's response to the Pelvanida Incident was one of his influences to starting Survival of the Fittest.
  • This is the longest Darwin's Soldiers story, almost four times as long as the average length. The second longest to date is its sequel Ship of State.
  • For the longest time, this story took longer than any other story to post, taking eight months from beginning to end. It was finally surpassed three years later by Ground One.
  • The fates of those who made it back to Earth are explored in Pavlov's Checkmate, and the fates of the anti-matter Hans and Werner are explored in Ship of State. The fates of those left in anti-matter Pelvanida are explored in Ground One.
  • Hawkeye and James are the only teammates to go on both away missions. Vic is the only teammate who went on neither away mission.
  • Card of Ten's two dates (February 28th 2009 and February 31st 3009) are the first and most prominent time stamps in both Darwin's Soldiers canons. Because of this, the Darwin's Soldiers Wiki uses them to place all of its events in the same timeline, despite other smaller references disagreeing with them.
  • While it is not explained in this story, it is revealed in Ship of State that Seska did not successfully escape to Pelvanida like the others; rather, an anti-matter duplicate of her did.
  • Seska is the only inhabitant of Gaman to explicitly appear in both parts, though Menken the butcher is mentioned in Part 1 and appears in Part 2. Both play major roles in Ship of State.
  • Jacade is the only Sapaar to receive a name. Trano from Ship of State becomes the second.
  • In anti-Pelvanida, Shelton is aided by a customizable unit converter built by Ender McThair. This small piece of information reveals that the Pelvanida they've reached is the Pelvanida from Furtopia, and therefore all the characters from the 1st Furtopia RP are anti-matter.

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