Here’s Jake eating ice cream. It’s a pint in a flavor that he does not particularly like, but beggars can’t be choosey when raiding the company fridge in the middle of the night.
He is on a “round,” and is sitting in one of the subbasement research labs watching the hands of a clock move agonizingly slow toward the time he can go home. Bored he would do anything make time move.
Shoving a second spoonful ice cream into his gaping maw he decides he really doesn’t like the flavor and turns the carton around to read the words on it again. It says in black sharpie on the white carton, Proton Slush.
Disgusting, he decides and tosses the pint in the trash.
In the next instance, he thinks he may be having a stroke when the lights dim to a yellow flickering nothing.
He smells cedar burning on cold wet air and fat sizzling under a wick. Both make sense even though yesterday both would have been as foreign as space flight.
He needs a second for his eyes to adjust but before his vision and world return to normal the stink of unwashed bodies and fermented grain washes over him so quickly he retches and almost vomits.
Thankfully he manages to keep it in as in front of him is a piece of vellum with what looks like a child’s map drawn on it. A huge finger, (his finger?), points near the coast at a place called the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
“Jarl?” growls a deep nervous voice and Jake looks up and losing the contents of his belly the other way becomes a concern when he finds the owner of the voice is a grizzled piece of flesh with a jagged scar running from cheek to cheek and up through a lily-white eye.
Heavy furs drape his body and on his hip is a wicked chunk of black metal. An old but capable looking hand resting on the rough hilt.
Jake feels dizzy and leans forward. Two huge hands, equipped with fingers that look capable of tightening lug nuts, grab the table to keep himself from falling.
The buzzing in his head begins to abate as the din of arguing voices grows louder. He thinks the language sounds nordic with long vowels being yelled back and forth.
The biggest person Jake has every seen suddenly steps forward with a roar and slams a rough but wicked bastard sword onto the log holding the crude map.
The sword cuts the map in half and embeds deep within the wood beneath.
The sound is so impressive Jake reaches for his hip and grabs the Beretta automatic strapped there. Quicker than the big man can pull his sword free the first bullet kills him. The second goes through the still blue eye of the old man who called him Jarl.
The rest remain, willing to do their job if asked, but his fist is just beginning to shake with fear as the hairy giants wrapped in fur tighten in on him.