Noises crackled in deep space... 'What luck for rulers that men do not think.' ... 'Men willingly believe what they wish.' ... 'Man's greatest joy is to slay his enemy, plunder his riches, ride his steeds, see the tears of his loved ones and embrace his women.' ... 'History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.' ...
They were voices. They weren't transmitted in any conventional sense — if such a thing as convention exists — but by an interested listener, amplifying the sounds, the words, of people across time. People he felt would understand him.
He was an angry man. He never used to be this angry, but he had a lot of things happen to him that made him mad. In turn, he had done a lot of bad things. They weren't 'bad' by his definition, but let's put it this way: the people to whom he did them would probably rather he'd thrown a birthday party for them. At this party, the man would be like a kind uncle who gave out all the presents and would probably wear a knitted pullover.
He actually was wearing a knitted pullover. It used to belong to an old fisherman, until one day a nice man came along and slit his throat. Except the man wasn't nice.
Angry (which we shall call him for a moment) walked around a room. He was not a well man. He was gaunt, little more than skin and bones. Had a great many injuries, a disfigured face on the right side and scars on the left. He also had a missing right arm above the elbow, which hadn't healed properly. This was unfortunate, as he had been right-handed. In his left arm he held a pike, which he dragged along the floor with him.
He wasn't just angry because of the physical things that had happened to him. He had been stupid. Looking back, this was the thing that grated with him most. He had been ridiculously stupid. He had been betrayed, but he acknowledged that he had been naïve. And this was hard to accept.
He deliberately prodded himself in the foot with the pike, which punctured the skin. He grimaced briefly, and then pulled it out and kept dragging it along the floor.
He was thinking. He had unleashed forces which he had learned to control. It had been a tough job learning to control the Blieg and his lost arm was a consequence of his early failure. But succeed he had, with help from controlling tools he had picked up on his travels. He had unleashed the Blieg on an unsuspecting universe... across time. But the universe had changed. He'd felt it. Holes everywhere in space-time had formed and this had allowed them to move in and out of time more easily. In a time of chaos, he was taking advantage of the situation. These beasts had no master, so he became their master. The voice they craved, to give them direction.
But something troubled him. Terry Horowitz should be dead. Yet he was alive. What was this mysterious force keeping him from dying, yet at the same time risking the stability of the universe?
He put his sunglasses on and sat down in front of a monitor.
Back where Terry Horowitz was planning a fight against the forces which the angry man controlled, the rank-and-file soldiers were being moved into sections. Names were being called out.
'Private Chestworth?' called a man holding a list of names, questioning the individual's existence and his proximity. The reply was in the affirmative.
Corporal Karl Boach was a rather cynical NCO who had spent much of his life following his father or being in the army and had learned to not do more than he had to. He wore the red coat-jacket of the British Army that he had been wearing when he escaped to here from the Battle of Waterloo.
'What the fipping 'ell are we doing?' he whispered to a comrade.
'Dunno, Boach,' said Lance Corporal Pat Cragg. 'But there's some weird stuff going on. I think we're better just following what's going on.
'Heh. Not so sure, Craggy.'
'Private Boach?' said the list-holder. There was no reply. 'Private Karl Boach?'
The men in the regiment laughed.
'What's so funny, men?' said the list-holder, rather flustered.
'He's 'ere, sir, but he's not a private.'
'It's bleedin' Corporal Karl Boach,' said Karl, 'I didn't fight all these years for someone to get my rank wrong.' Karl sensed that, in the recent confusion, things were likely to be a bit more lax with command discipline.
'Erm...' flustered the list holder, 'I'm sorry... I'll have the mistake looked in to...' He quickly scribbled something on the list and looked for another name.
Karl grumbled. 'Friggin' bookworm,' he said to himself. He looked up at the window where Terry Horowitz was talking to his friends and planning. 'What makes that bastard so great?' he grimaced. He looked up at the sky and it started to rain. He grunted 'great' and shook his head. He had no idea how bad things would get.