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3.15 Tennial

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Teaser:

<a bunch of little kids, all about 5 years old, at a birthday party, with a mom bringing a cake out to the table>

Fi: You remember all those birthday parties when you were little, right? Did you think, after while, that you grew tired of them? They got a little more boring each year?

<the same bunch of kids, 3 years later>

<the same bunch of kids, 6 years later>

You need a cut off date SOMEtime. But what if they don't? What if that party keeps on going? Year...after year...after year...and it never stops. I wonder what the person would do whose birthday it is?

 

Molly walks in the Phillips household, just from getting the mail, on a very cold, snowy day. She walks into the kitchen, looking through it. "Jack! Mail for you!" she yells. Jack runs in, "Thanks mom," and grabs it. He rips open the faded envelope, and takes out an old, rotting, faded card. "Eww!" he says, dropping it. "What is it?" Molly asks. "Look at that card!" he says, pointing to it, as Fi walks in. "What's the matter?" Fi asks. "Who sent it?" Molly asks. "Sent what?" Fi asks. "This," Jack says, picking up the card. He opens it, and reads it aloud. "Happy X birthday Jacque. Thee Knights Tabel," he says. "What?" Fi asks, looking at it. "What's on the front?" Molly asks. Jack closes it, and all three of their faces freeze in surprise. On the faded white cover, is the same exact design on the spell book Aunt Melinda gave Fi. "OK...this isn't funny," Molly says, "Fi..." "Mom! I wouldn't do anything like this!" Fi says. "OK...what's the postmark from? Return address?" Molly asks. "Nothing. Not even postage," Jack says. "How? That's impossible," Fi says. "Not really. Anyone could just walk up to our mailbox and put it in there," Molly says. "But who would?" Jack asks.

Later that day, Fi is online, with Jack's card on her desk. As she examines it, she reads the signature, Thee Knights Tabel. She goes to "Go.com," and does a search on "Thee Knights Tabel." "One result," she sees, "The Arthurian Age." She clicks on it, and skims the long webpage. She stops when she sees "Thee Knights Tabel," and reads what she found. "Thee Knights Tabel, or The Knights Table, was the highest rank of knight there was during King Arthur's time. They were spread out through modern-day Europe, and gathered annually in a preselected spot. Many chapters had their own castles. Only one known one exists today, and it is in ruins," Fi reads. She scrolls down and sees pictures of a poor, run down castle, in ruins. One picture catches her eye, so she reads the caption, "a hallway." She thinks about it, and keeps looking at it, at the size and shape of the ruined wall. Suddenly, it comes to her. <FLASHES TO "BANSHEE"> "That's the same hallway the banshee took me down to fight for grandpa's life!" Fi says outloud. "What was that, baby?" Molly asks, walking by her room. "Oh, hi mom," Fi says. "What were you saying about grandpa?" Molly asks, sitting down on Fi's bed. "Nothing," Fi says. Molly sees the webpage, then sees Jack's card, "You're wondering about the card, aren't you?" "Yeah," Fi says. "Fi...it's probably just one of his friends playing a joke on him or something," Molly tries to explain. "Mom...who would do this, though? Who would find this design, and have a name that takes me to a webpage about a castle from the Arthurian time?" Fi asks. "It could be a coincidence," Molly says. "No...something else is going on here, mom," Fi says. "OK, Fi," Molly says, smiling weakly. She stands up, kisses Fi on the forehead, and walks out. Fi bites her lip and turns back to her laptop.

The next day, Fi is eating a quick snack in the kitchen before going to Candy's. She glances up and sees the calendar on the wall. She notices the date, and she reads it aloud, "January 13." She remembers when Jack's birthday is, and whispers it aloud, "August 20!" She drops her food onto her plate, and runs into her room, and dials online. "Come on...come on!" Fi says, as it dials on. When she is logged on, she goes to a site titled "Online calculator." She enters in the text field "8-20." She chooses from a menu "age by years" and there is another text box. She stops and tries to remember what she had learned in school about the Arthurian Age. She enters the number "1500," figuring out that the King Arthur's time was around AD 500. She clicks "Calculate." "Loading...Please Wait." The page loads, and Fi gasps at what she reads. "The results are: 1- 12 " she reads. "Baby! Come on, Candy's expecting you!" Molly yells from downstairs. "Uh...in a sec mom!" Fi says, making sure she read the page right. "If the slowdown in date is consistent with Pasedemia's Theory, where message is slowed 4.002 mi/yr, this is the date when it should reach someone today," she reads the rest. "Fi!" Molly yells. "Um, coming!" Fi yells, and just runs out, thinking about it.

That night, Jack has his vision again. He pans around the castle, then the red glow sucks him in. He walks down the "O'Shannon" hallway, without the pictures. He opens the two door, and sees the bright light. It subsides with the two torches moving out of the doorway. He walks into the huge, royal room, and walks onto the carpet. He walks down, with different people lined up on both sides of the carpet. Suddenly, one person bends down to Jack. "Carey!..." he says, in Jack's voice, but a little deeper. "I am not Carey...but I say, beware, Jack, beware," the Carey-look alike says, and goes back up. When he does, Jack can no longer see his face. Jack walks on, and another head comes down to him, taps him on the shoulder, and Jack jumps. "Jack, beware!" a Molly-look alike says. "Mom?" he asks. "No, but watch out!" she says, goes back up, and also disappears. He walks on, and yet another taps him on the shoulder. He turns and sees the old man from "Transit" coming down. He just smiles at Jack says "You're special." "What? No!" Jack says, as he backs away from it. He bumps into another knight that comes down and looks like Fi. "Jack..." she whispers, and touches his shoulder. "Fi!? What? Where am I!?" Jack yells. "Beware...and prepare!" the Fi-look alike, and retracts back up. Jack backs up into another knight, as it comes down, Jack can't sees it's face, but its hand touches him, and he immediately wakes up. He looks around. He takes a deep breath, and goes back to sleep.

"Jack!" Fi says the next morning, shoving papers in his face. "What is this Fiona?" Jack asks, agitated. "Baby, let him eat his breakfast!" Molly smiles. "But, Jack, do these ruins look familiar?" Fi asks. Jack looks at the printed pictures. "No, why?" Jack asks. Fi just grabs a pen, and starts scribbling on one of the pictures. Molly, curious, walks over. "What are these of Fi?" she asks. "There," she says, and holds it back up to Jack. What she had scribbled was the hallway as she had seen it in "Banshee," and Jack sees it in his dreams. "What is that Fi?" Molly asks again. "Jack...just tell me. Have you ever seen this hallway before?" Fi asks. Jack gets chills up his spine as he thinks about his dream, and wonders how Fi knows about it. He just answers, "No. It's just a hallway," and he goes back to eating his breakfast. Molly picks up the paper, and asks, "Fi, what are these little boxes on the walls that you drew here?" Fi looks at it, "Oh, those are just pictures and plaques hanging on the wall. As Molly looks at them, she gets a chill up HER back, as the pictures that Fi saw appear on the paper. "Mom?" Fi asks, as Molly is transfixed by them. She goes to touch one, one of her and Rick. As she does, she sees a flash, and finds herself in the dark, black space that she has been in before. She looks around, panicking. Then she hears voice. She turns to her left, and sees Rick, surrounded by numerous creatures. "Rick..." she says quietly, reaching out to him. As the creatures crowd closer and closer to him, Rick yells an incantation, and is boosted into the air. He lands near Molly, but no one can see Molly. "Rick," she says again, going to touch him, but stops and turns around when she hears another voice behind her. She turns around. She sees the same thing happening to Fi. The creatures crowding around, Fi yelling the incantation and being boosted into the air, landing by Molly; all the same. "What?" Molly thinks, "What is this place?" Then, Rick yells, "Molly!" and Fi yells, "Mom!" at the same time. She turns around, but as she does, finds herself back in the kitchen. "Mom? Are you OK?" Fi asks. "Y...yeah," Molly says. "It looked like you were asleep with your eyes open," Jack laughs. "Yeah," Molly fakes a laugh. She picks up the paper again. She only sees what everyone else did.

"Happy X birthday Jacque!" Fi reads, looking at the card in her room, "Jacque...is Jack...in French, I guess. Happy birthday...it was his birthday. And the card was sent to arrive on August 20th. But it got lost or something...and over time has stayed in the mail, just floating around. And we got it on the calculated date...but what is the X?" Fi grabs a calculator and types in "2001 - 1500." "501. So Jack would be 1500 years old, and it was from his birthday in 501. Yeah," Fi laughs. But then she thinks, "Who would do this? And how did the X get on the card? Numbers don't just change into letters." "Hey Fi," Carey says, knocking on Fi's doorpost. "Hey Carey, come in," Fi says. "So what's this about Jack getting some card?" Carey asks. "Here, take a look at it," Fi says, handing it to him. "Wow...really old," Carey says. "Yeah. I have an idea, but it's too weird..." Fi says. "Even for you?" Carey jokes. Fi laughs, "Yeah, even for me. Listen to it," and Fi tells him what she thinks, what she just thought aloud to herself. "You're right...that is weird," Carey laughs. "Yeah, but can you think of something better?" Fi asks. "I still don't get the age part," Carey says. "What about it?" Fi asks. Carey thinks for a moment, then asks, "So...you think Jack's 400 years old?" Fi laughs hard, "No, Carey! I thought he was 1500 years old!" "And the 'X'?" Carey asks. Fi, calming down, responds, "I still don't know. Weirder things have happened, but I just can't see a number turning into a letter on a piece of paper." "Maybe...I don't know, but maybe...it did happen?" Carey asks. "Maybe," Fi says. Then Jack walks in. "Hey Carey," he says. "Hey Jacque," Carey snickers. "Ha ha. Can I see the letter, Fi?" Jack asks. "Sure," Fi says, and hands it to him. "X..." he mutters. "What?" Fi asks. "The X...it isn't unknown! It's for the number 10!" Jack says. "Did Roman numbers exist then?" Carey asks. "Yeah, I just checked it out," Jack says. "Where?" Fi asks. "My history book. I was writing a report for homework and came across Roman numerals. I saw the 'X' and it hit me," Jack says. "Well, Jack, it looks like you just solved your own mystery," Fi smiles. "What? No...I just thought I'd...uh, never mind," he says, and walks out. "Well, Fi, good luck," Carey says, "I gotta run." "OK, bye Carey," Fi says. He walks out, and Fi smiles. "Happy 10th birthday Jack!" she translates from the card. Then she notices something else, "This card is in Gaelic...how do I know what this meant? How did Carey? How did anyone know what it said if none of us know Gaelic?" She looks at her laptop screen. She notices an icon on the webpage she's on, "Online Translator." Fi thinks, "Did we translate that in our heads? And if so, how did we learn the language?"

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