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Aberrant: Weirder Stuff this is an Aberrant game using an original setting.

In Aberrant: Weirder Stuff (henceforth AWS) you will play a Quantum Enhanced Human who must decide how to live with your new found powers and what role you will play in the coming world upheaval. It is a modern setting/Supers/Scifi/Weird Adventure which will run in a concurrent time line to our own reality. Focus will be Character Drama, Us against them, facing the Unknown, and Action. Oh and there may be sex.

The game will begin, but not be restricted to, a small town in Montana. The town is a Fictionalized version of Shelly Montana ( based on the town of Shelby  http://www.city-data.com/city/Shelby-Montana.html ). The general public are not aware of Quantum Enhanced Humans (Novas in base aberrant), although if your a nerd and google every weird thing in the world (I'm not saying it's aliens … but it's aliens) there are stories of... well weird shit happening, some of which are true.

Enhanced Humans first began manifesting about 10-15 years ago, although these early manifestations were primarily low level mega stat recipients and went undetected by even those who manifested. Over the intervening years more low level manifestations have occurred and were first discovered by the government agency responsible for creating them (unknowingly, more on that later). This discovery took place about 5 years ago . The exact cause of the manifestation of super normal abilities is not yet known but there are theories. There are few QEHs (Quantum Enhanced Humans) in existence all of which are from the united states and all who manifested in one of 3 locations and all of which are government employees. These couple of dozen or so QEHs possess powers that range from low level mega stats (1 -2 dot) to low level provable psychic abilities such as telepathy, esp, etc. The government is unaware of any massive super powered people and in fact there have been no such manifestations. Until now.

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  2. ABERRANT: WEIRDER STUFF - Melbourne's Most Wanted

    Lilly was in no state to make decisions, or even think for that matter. Her mind was awash in pleasure and aching desire. Who she was with, where they were and what they were doing were not even concerns for her at the moment as she lay atop the bed, her back arching, abs flexing and breasts pushing out as she felt Devin's hand slip into her her skintight leggings, coaxing a small, shuddering moan from her for a moment before she grasped his wrist. She withdrew his hand, grasped his other wrist, and twisted, ending up straddling Devin, grinding pelvis to pelvis as she leaned over him slightly, her bare breasts heaving with each panting breath as she caressed up and down his chest and finally tore his shirt open nearly effortlessly. Lilly looked down at Devin, her long, dark hair (which Devin could count on a hand the number of times he had seen her wear it down) slightly disheveled and hanging down, nearly covering her breasts. She bit her bottom lip and dragged her nails lightly down his bare chest, not enough to truly scratch, instead just titillating him as she looked him over. Even before his enhancement Devin was a gymnast, and under the dark, loose clothing he would wear was a toned frame, a physique that Lilly appreciated. Lilly leans down, kissing Devin passionately, grinding teasingly against him as her hands caressed down his bare chest and back up, sliding down his arms to slip his shirt off and finally finding his hands. She interlaced her fingers with his as they kissed, her bare breasts on his chest as she panted and moaned into the kiss, her own desire burning as she seemed to try and work Devin into a state of mindless need. Devn's groan caused Lilly to sit up and slip off of him, standing before him as she mostly turned her back to him and slipped her thumbs into the waistband of her skintight, faux leather leggings. Her thumbs moved back and forth, from front to back, slowly easing the leggings down over her rear, revealing her firm, luscious bare rear. It was then that Devin realized why he could not seem to guess the color of her underwear... because the little minx had not been wearing any beneath the skintight leggings. Then agains, he remembered that he never did see any sort of panty line beneath the leggings... She looked over her shoulder at Devin, who though was watching intently, was also making swift work of his belt and pants. Lilly turned back to face him, nude. Her body was toned and athletic with her eight pack abs, yet still somehow feminine and just curvaceous enough. Her hands did not seem to know what to do with themselves, fidgeting a bit between trying to cover her hairless pelvis and trying to look 'natural' around her hips while her long, dark hair attempted to conceal her breasts. Then it occurred to Devin. Lilly was not so much more bare (though she was bare) as she was... vulnerable... a word that few would have ever used to ever describe her before her enhancement, much less afterwards. She was a young woman who could crush coal into diamond, rip apart tanks with her bare hands, and walk through a hail of anti-tank fire without a concern... and yet here she was, standing all but naked before Devin, with her seemingly ever-present guard down. Vulnerable. With her face full of desire and yet also a bit of uncertainty, Lilly bit her bottom lip and stepped close, kneeling on the bed, resting her strangely delicate hands on his chest as she parted her toned thighs and straddle Devin once more...
  3. Yesterday
  4. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    A Better Mousetrap The guards were scared even with Savant's reassurance that they were in no way responsible. Abel was still a couple of hours out dealing with a first contact so she was going through the facility. They had been cleaned out every single prototype they had been working on for the last four months, gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye. The security recorders registered the quantum surge which accompanies a teleport and they could make out the air disturbance of the rapid movement of the thief, but beyond that nothing solid to identify him. But she knew who it was. Well, she was relieved, at least the computer network is still intact. The nano-molecular machines had done exactly as programed and as soon as an intruder had been detected they had dispersed so the “thief” was unable to make off with any of the computer files or components. She shook her head. What a waste of effort on his part there was nothing here that couldn't be replaced, even if he had breached the network and stolen or destroyed the files it would have set them back any longer than it would take to reenter the data, after all Sage and She had perfect recall of every piece of machinery they had even thought about. And as for the prototypes Abel could reconstruct them from memory as well. All this proved is that Devin really had flipped. She turned and gave the worried Security chief a smile and a pat on the shoulder. “Well, Carl, looks like we are going to have to come up with a better mouse trap.” Superfluid Liquid Argon Magnetic Quantum Flux Reactor - SLAM-Q Reactor The third reactor pylon was in place and connected in the bowels of Irregular Solutions. Sean joined Abel in the adjacent control room and ran her eyes over the monitors and diagnostic readings with cool, penetrating eyes. "Everything looks good," Sean commented with restrained excitement. "It's all in the green from what I can see," Abel agreed. "We're a go?" "It's a go." In tandem, the two super-geniuses flipped a series of switches and levers. With their enhanced senses, they could hear the faint, pulsing hum beginning to emanate from the trio of SLAM-Q Reactor pylons, and through the AMP Glass window speckled with technical readout and displays, they watched the soft lavender light bloom to life from rings down the length of the glossy black pylons. With sensors set out earlier throughout Shelly, Sean and Abel watched the energy transmissions stabilize than expand outward in a ring. They were getting readings from the modest-but-growing IS HQ already of course, electrical components coming online, but with each sensor that pinged out in the town, their smiles widened. "72.874% of Shelly covered!" Sean crowed in delight, pumping a fist in the air. "Two more pylons, and we'll be way over 100%." "We did it," Abel echoed with cool satisfaction. "We've only started!" In an area less than the size of the average bungalow, the three SLAM-Q Reactors were providing energy wireless to nearly three-quarters of Shelly and there was room for four times that many reactor pylons. Clean, efficient, wirelessly transmitted, and nearly inexhaustible energy production, the only notable costs involved were in the start-up. The Irregular Solutions building was the first designed with such reactors in mind, but it was only the first. They would be a game changer. Industry would have more to innovate with and to pay their employees - she would propose they do so strenuously if they wished access to the new energy grid. Everyone else would have more to better and indulge themselves, no having to worry about electricity and heating/cooling. "Yes, yes, YES!" Description: A refinement of the SLAM-K Reactor, its energy output greatly amplified by drawing on fluctuating fermion and boson fields in a confined vacuum, using precisely aligned Key-M3 cells. Energy from a SLAM-Q Reactor can be transmitted wireless, the radius it can be transmitted increasing with proximity to other SLAM-Q Reactors. Transmitted energy can be drawn upon with a adaptor module plugged into a building's electrical panel or one plugged directly into a device. New devices can be built with integrated circuits to draw on the wireless energy of a SLAM-Q Reactor. SLAM-Q Reactors, in addition to transmitting wireless energy, can also be designed to transmitted other frequencies of energy, for communication purposes, more efficiently and securely. Applications: Power source for compounds, campuses, cities, and the like; Telecommunications Oh Look More Drama It was the first time Sara had been back to the place they had called home, Sara missed it but she couldn't stand to be here with Sean off doing Irregular stuff the only reason she came over was to help Sean clean the place up after her meeting with Deth Otter. Sara still thought that was not a smart move but it wasn't her place to interfere in that stuff anymore. She stopped in the door at the site of the mess the miscreant had left. "Oh my god, you weren't kidding." She had to take Sean's word that everything had a purpose it was all just chaos to her. Sean made a joke as Sara walked to the breakfast nook table the only orderly thing in the place. An envelope caught he eye, addressed to Sean from Playboy Enterprises. She picked it it up and held it so Sean could see. "Playboy?" "Oh! That." Sean affected nonchalance as she replacing a stack of books - mostly medical references and journals - onto shelves. But Sara knew her well enough to catch a hint of something more in Sean's tone. "Well, c'mon, are you surprised, babe? Pretty much every magazine, print and online, and news and entertainment program has sent me an request for an interview. But what am I going to say in Vogue or the Cosmopolitan? I did chuck the ones from Hustler and Penthouse." "But you kept this one?" Sara asked with suspicious lightness. "Look, when I was twelve, I was rooting around in the attic and I found a stack of what I presume were my dad's old Playboys. The symmetry of going from looking at Playboy centerfolds to being one is a bit titillating." Sara stared. "Y'know, girls aside, back when, Playboy surprisingly had some celebrated authors write articles and stories in their pages - Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, others - and some pretty candid and noteworthy interviews." Sean plucked the post-it notes and index card from her wall monitor, and carefully wiped away any smudges left behind. She wasn't a neat-freak by any means, but she had a particular way of organizing her books. Beyond the nudged stacks, even some of her fantasy and sci-fi novels had been shifted out of order. Bitch. "Some people really did read it for the articles. I figure, I could use Playboy to get a wider circulation for my ideas and point of view, for those who don't read Scientific American, Popular Science, Wired, and other tech blogs." Sara stared more. "There's women in the world that look like me, and Marissa, and... sigh, Courtney. I believe it serves everyone's interest that people get exposed and used to seeing people like us. Guys - and girls for that matter - are already whacking off to candid shots of me seen on the news and the 'Net. And it's not like I have the equipment to appear on the cover of Playgirl." Sara stared even more intently after a glance at Sean's underwear drawer, a brightly colored, capacious bra hanging out. Sean turned from picking up some scattered clothing to face Sara directly, heaving a put upon sigh that strained her sweater. "Okay, fine. I haven't completely decided yet, but the idea amuses me and everyone needs a bit of whimsy in their lives. I love building new things, developing new tech that can help everyone. I'm doing what I can to help you and dealing with the likes of Death Otter and the American government." Her tone didn't indicate which she thought worse. "And while I can find other purposes for doing it, I think doing an interview and pictorial for Playboy could be fun. Possibly even rewarding in a way - show that a woman can be super smart as well as super attractive. Sure, at times - most times - there are issues interacting with others when I'm 'on display' as it were, but I'm not ashamed by what I look like. Even if I clearly over compensated for the way I believed I was perceived before." Sean smiled wryly, giving Sara a heavy-lidded glance as she started putting clothing away in drawers or the laundry hamper as appropriate. "By the way, if you haven't read the proposal, they are also considering reinstating nudes back into their print editions. Pure coincidence, I'm sure." "You are really considering this?" Sara's voice was flat and caught Sean off guard. She hadn't really noticed the stare preoccupied with putting things straight in the jumbled mess DO had left. She couldn't shake the nagging feeling that something was missing. Then Sara had spoke. Sean analyzed the unheard tones of her girlfriends voice and realized there was a lot of strain present. She turned reading the body language, Sara had shifted there was a defensive posture present now. "It's an idle consideration, but yes, I am," Sean admitted cautiously, catching Sara's tone and body language. Even with her node locked down, it didn't take much for Sean to infer Sara's issue. Sean bumped the drawer closed with her hip, then walked over to join Sara in the breakfast nook, though keeping the small table between them. "I'm not trolling for attention, hon, not really, it's just..." Sean sprawled into a chair, long legs stretched out before her. "You know I get hit on and propositioned all the time. This is a way to control the attention I get, albeit in a limited way." She planted an elbow on the table and cupped her chin contemplatively in a hand. "Yes, I've mused on what it might be like to sleep with a guy, a Keyed guy, or some of the other Keyed girls I've encountered," Sean revealed honestly, even if Sara could tell it was a hard admonition for her, if not precisely embarrassing. "But that is all it is, musings, idle fantasies. I'm not looking for another lover, if that's what's concerning you, Sara." Sean chewed on a delectable lower lip and slid a hand across the table to towards Sara. A subtle wave of colors flowed through her auburn hair as her hold on her node slipped for a moment before she tightened the lock on it. Unlocked, she could persuade and soothe Sara of anything and would be able to tell exact what - if anything - was missing, but it wouldn't be fair to Sara. "Talk to me, babe," Sean urged. "I can made educated guesses, but I'd rather hear it from you." Sara flinch when she saw the wave of color go through Sean's hair, but she took Sean's hand and held it feeling the soft warmth. So much was going through her head right now. She had had no idea that Sean, her Sean the woman who she loved had these ...wants? "I just... I don't know what to say." She abruptly stood and went to the sink and poured a glass of water. After a long drink she turned back but stayed at the sink. "I was not expecting any of this. I guess some times I forget who you were. And now...I... " She started shaking her head and sucked in her lip turning her mouth into a thin straight line. Sean could hear Sara's heart rate skipping and realized she was starting to have an anxiety attack. Sean breathed deep and slow, full, firm breasts rising and falling, a hand rising and falling with them as she emphasized her inhalations and exhalations, giving Sara a template to follow to still her incipient anxiety attack. She wanted to go over to Sara and take her in her arms and kiss her. She wanted to throw her on her - on their - bed and make love to her, but Sara had put distance between them and she'd wait until Sara felt comfortable in closing that distance herself. She crossed her legs to help herself resist the urge. "Breathe, Sara, take it easy, I'm not going anywhere," Sean promised, keeping the frustration out of her voice. She was developing zero-point energy and a cure for Cancer and AIDS, yet couldn't help but feel she was failing her girlfriend. Still, Sara had been tougher than this before all the quantum fuckery in their lives. It hurt, seeing Sara so discombobulated after having her powers stripped from her. Sean desperately hoped Death Otter's tip about Operation Deadbolt panned out. "Who I was..." Sean smiled self-deprecatingly and glanced down at herself, the majority of her vision obstructed by a pair of prominent protrusions. "Yes, well, it wasn't entirely expected on my part either. The girls... " Sean waved a dismissive hand as she caught Sara's eyes with her own once more. "I'd never fault you giving a pretty girl a second glance - just for not giving me a heads up. I didn't mean I was really considering them - it was no more than saying I'd so do Scarlett Johansson or... or Jessica Rabbit after seeing them in a movie." Her lips twisted in a wry frown. If she put in the effort, she probably could get Scarlett Johansson into bed. "About the guys... I'm just... I wasn't expecting I'd be curious what it would be like to be with one. Academically, I can tell this one or that one is attractive, but I don't feel any particular attraction to them." Sara saw Sean do something she hadn't see her do since she was a boy - Sean blushed. She might have admitted to a vague interest in being with a guy, but she couldn't bring herself to admit to Sara she just knew how to fuck a guy, how to rock his world, and leave him begging for more. The knowledge had come with all the other knowledge stuff into her head during her metamorphosis. It was disconcerting that she didn't feel any shame or disgust at having the skills and knowledge. It was disconcerting to have the skills and knowledge without the experience. Sean winced. "I'm sorry, hon, if this bothers you. I hadn't meant to mention it. It's just a clinical curiosity - meaningless without an emotional connection. And the only one I'm interested in is you, Sara." She leaned forward, hands on her knee. "How do I convince you of this? You may have lost your powers - for the moment - but I don't see you as being...less. I see you." She sat up straight once more, mouth growing tight, but her turquoise eyes were bright. "I wish you'd see the same. Self-pity doesn't become you." "Is that what you think? That I pity myself?" Anger flashed across Sara's face, "You know what I lost my powers and when I lost that I lost the purpose I had found for myself. And yes that fucking hurt me but even while I was struggling with that loss all I could think about was you. Not tying you to my broken little self, To not hold you back from what you were and could be. And you convinced me that that wasn't the case that our love could weather it all even if I didn't get my powers back" The tears were running down her face in a steady stream. "But here we are now what two three months later," her voice is shaky as she is sobbing and gasping as she goes on almost shouting ,"and your wanting to pose for fucking playboy, " She throws the envelope in Sean's direction it flutters away, " and fantasizing about fucking some one else! A Key and a guy at that. Who got you all hot and bothered huh? Was it Abel, Alec? No I bet it was bad boy Devin. Is that who you have your sights on? Or maybe we should call up Chet and get him and Courtney over here I'm sure that would be a much better time than fucking your...sob.. girlfriend....sob..... after all you wouldn't have to hold back with them..." Sara losses it and buries her face in her hands and slides to her knees on the floor. "You're right, I wouldn't have to hold back with them." Sean's musical voice was sharp and biting and despite her despair, Sara glanced up at the tone, looking at Sean through her fingers. Sean looked deathly pale, angry herself and hurt. Her haunting turquoise eyes were hard, but glittered with unshed tears. Sara may have lost her powers and more than a few had called Sean a goddess, but Sara had wounded her - if not physically, it was no less a wound. "And yes, I've mused on seducing Chet and Courtney, making them beg for me," Sean continued relentlessly. "Fucking Abel and even Devin and his sister too. The things I could do and with Kia and Lilly..." Sean made a plainly feigned wistful moan. "I've also thought about tripping the goddamned President, Putin, and Prince Harry into bed, to get them to enact my ideas, and any number of actresses and Keys... But I've never acted upon those thoughts or even seriously considered acting on them." Sean stood up and began pacing briskly, arms folded beneath her breasts. "You said even with losing your powers, all you could think about was me. Well, even when you had your powers and I was thinking about you with 99.99% of my mind, I was musing, considering, extrapolating on a thousand - a hundred thousand - other things. My brain is always active, traveling down many paths and tangents, often to ludicrous lengths, even when I'm focusing mostly one thing. One person. It's how I can figure out and develop so many incredible inventions and ideas. It also leads me to think of things I'd never otherwise ever consider or act upon. It never, ever means I care for you less, Sara." Stupid, fucking, super-brain... She knelt beside her distressed girlfriend, putting an arm around her shaking shoulders. "I love making love to you - I love you. But I'd be lying to you - and I try my best not to - if I said I didn't miss what we had when you had your powers, what it was like." Sean closed her eyes and through her sobs, Sara could feel the tremble on Sean's limbs and breath. "You might not be able to feel that again, right now, but I still can." She barked a sharp, bitter laugh. "I masturbate a lot. Yet, I stay with you, stay faithful to you, by choice and inclination." Sean craned her neck and tilted Sara's chin up with a gentle, but forceful finger, meeting her eyes directly. "So every time you question why I'm still with you, worry that you're holding me back, or think I'm getting tired of you, it hurts, Sara. It takes agency away from my own feelings and decisions." From beneath the fall of rich, auburn hair on the left side of Sean's face, Sara saw a tear follow the elegant line of her jaw to dangle from her chin. It may have been the first tear she'd seen Sean shed since she'd become a Key. "Is this an issue for us? Of course it is, a crazy big one. But one I'm willing to try to work through , if you are." Her enticing lips tightened in a determined line. "Or even if you aren't." “I'm sorry baby I just get so emotional...” “Shhh, baby it's going to be okay..” The two lovers stayed like that for a long tome and Seans stupid fukcing super brain kept working...scanning, cataloguing comparing memory to reality. Where the hell is Felix's drawing pad? Looking Down From Above The expansion to give the Irregulars and other Human diplomatic personelle quarters on the station where almost complete. The mere preseance o fthe station Laurie had believed would cause all sorts of panic and worry. It's hadn't the most bothersome thing about it was the conspiracy theory that the station had always been here and that the T'Tauri had been responsible for all the ufo sighting over the years and years. They have claimed differently but for some reason this has stuck and a good many people of the earth believed it. They stood in the main Observation deck looking down upon the blue planet below. “Sara would love this view.”Sean said as she watched the clouds swirl miles below. “Sara used to have better views when she could do it herself.” came Laurie's dry answer. Sean cut her eyes and glared at her sister. “Why haven't you guys done something about Devin. I really don't understand. Why did you guys let him run off? How long do you think it's going to be before the idiot hurts someone?” The voice of the red head was worried and angry. Sean turned her back on the view and gave her sister that look of concern and motherly love. “Laurie, He has to decide what kind of man he wants to be, trying to make him go one way will just push him the other. Devin isn't a bad person he's just Devin. He'll come around.” Laurie lens her forehead against the clear pane and stares down at a cute cloud that reminds her of a flower. “I hope so Sean I really hope so.” Quantum Vacuum Thruster - Q-Thruster Sean tossed the plank on the ground. It wavered, wobbled, then steadied, hovering six inches off the ground, a soft, pulsing blue glow emanating from below. Sean and Abel shared a smile, then high-fived each other. "Now that is a Back To The Future Hoverboard!" Description: Derived from principles developed in the construction of the SLAM-Q Reactor, a Q-Thruster uses quantum vacuum fluctuations in the zero-point-field, specifically the manipulation of gravitic and magnetic fields. Q-Thrusters can be used for the creation of hover-vehicles without the disturbance caused by turbines, as well as flight that appears as practical levitation without the disturbance caused by conventional aircraft engines. Also far more efficient and practical for space flight, since no propellant is necessary. Applications: Transport, Terrestrial and Outer-Terrestrial, Personal, Public, and Industrial Emergency Emulated Parachute Pendant (Eep): A rhomboid pendant or brooch, powered by a micro-SLAM-K reactor and the heat and bioelectric impulses of the wearer. Adhered either to a PAM suit (or equivalent) or directly to the flesh, the Eep learns the physiology of its wearer and is controlled by the wearer's intent and natural movement. When the Eep detects its wearer falling at a certain rate, it activates automatically, slowing the wearer enough to prevent actual damage. It can also flight for a limited duration. Considered to have Gravitic Flight 1 and Quantum Rating of 1, and a quantum pool of 10. Flying Speed is 22m per action in combat, or 80kph outside of combat. It costs 1qp to activate and maintain, and Maintenance lasts 2 turns. Quantum Pools recovers at a rate of 1qp/ 2 hours or more swiftly when plugged into a compatible power source. Any rolls required when flying use Dexterity + Athletics.
  5. Last week
  6. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    Quantum Vacuum Thruster - Q-Thruster Sean tossed the plank on the ground. It wavered, wobbled, then steadied, hovering six inches off the ground, a soft, pulsing blue glow emanating from below. Sean and Abel shared a smile, then high-fived each other. "Now that is a Back To The Future Hoverboard!" Description: Derived from principles developed in the construction of the SLAM-Q Reactor, a Q-Thruster uses quantum vacuum fluctuations in the zero-point-field, specifically the manipulation of gravitic and magnetic fields. Q-Thrusters can be used for the creation of hover-vehicles without the disturbance caused by turbines, as well as flight that appears as practical levitation without the disturbance caused by conventional aircraft engines. Also far more efficient and practical for space flight, since no propellant is necessary. Applications: Transport, Terrestrial and Outer-Terrestrial, Personal, Public, and Industrial Emergency Emulated Parachute Pendant (Eep): A rhomboid pendant or brooch, powered by a micro-SLAM-K reactor and the heat and bioelectric impulses of the wearer. Adhered either to a PAM suit (or equivalent) or directly to the flesh, the Eep learns the physiology of its wearer and is controlled by the wearer's intent and natural movement. When the Eep detects its wearer falling at a certain rate, it activates automatically, slowing the wearer enough to prevent actual damage. It can also flight for a limited duration. Considered to have Gravitic Flight 1 and Quantum Rating of 1, and a quantum pool of 10. Flying Speed is 22m per action in combat, or 80kph outside of combat. It costs 1qp to activate and maintain, and Maintenance lasts 2 turns. Quantum Pools recovers at a rate of 1qp/ 2 hours or more swiftly when plugged into a compatible power source. Any rolls required when flying use Dexterity + Athletics. Meeting of the Minds or Do You Like me? I Mean Really, Really Like Me? Jack and Carolyn Cassidy stood side by side by the kitchen sink, doing the dishes by hand as they had done more often then not for the last twenty-five years while they listened to the murmur of their daughters' voices from the living room. The last few days had been the first time all three of the Cassidy children had been under the same roof since all this improbably craziness had begun. Children. The siblings could hardly be called children, though they would always be their children. If anything, they where interaction better, friendlier, now than they ever had before. Well, after Teagan had tried to reassert her dominance as the eldest sibling and Sean but her in her place rather more directly and forcefully than necessary, with perhaps more relish than Jack and Carolyn believed was reasonable to make up for years of teasing. At the moment, Sean's younger and older sisters were bantering about Sean's purported sex life, which made for great fodder in the tabloids and blogs, and the fanfiction already being written about her and any number of public Keys. Laurelei, their youngest, and the Ambassador and Liaison to the first alien race the human race has engaged in formal talks with, and barely sixteen and dealing with boyfriend issues. By all accounts, she wasn't Quantum Enhanced herself, but managed to deal with aliens, friendly and hostile, and all the Keys around her, with a jaded aplomb, and with all the old, pompous, politicians in Washington nearly as well, even if she cursed them all with an imaginatively dirty mouth when back home. Teagan, their eldest, and one of the youngest and one of the few women in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Always a great athlete, she'd come out of Ranger Assessment & Selection Program even more muscular and in better shape. She'd been irritated that her high school athletic records had been broken by Lilly Pryor, but as she was also Vanguard, she mollified herself by saying her records were only broken by a superhuman. She was more annoyed, jealous even, by her brother-now-sister. She was glad Sean had finally grown up and was able to defend herself. But did Sean have to grow up taller than she was, and turn into a super soldier that made her feel like a raw, untrained recruit. That not only her younger sister, but now her former brother were better endowed than she was felt like an extra taunting slap across the face. On the other hand, Teagan, now had a super smart, super agent of a sister, and she had no compunction about taking advantage of it for pointers and toys. Those Havoc guns were sure sweet. And Sean, their middle child, their only son, often overlooked and left to his own devices, now their daughter, she would never be overlooked, a polymath and beauty such as the world had never known. She'd already helped defend the Earth from an alien invasion, and now, with nearly every action, she was changing the World, her and the Irregulars. And despite all her brains and self-assurance, she was still having girlfriend problems. It was comfortably humanizing. Carolyn nudged her husband with a hip. "What did we ever do to deserved kids like ours?" "Is that pride or regret in here," Jack replied dryly, swinging the dishtowel over his shoulder and placing a stack of plates in the cabinet. "Both," Carolyn replied after a moment, retying hair as red as her youngest daughter's back into a ponytail to keep it out of the water. "They really are a blessing and a curse." ~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~ "Keyhole!" Laurie giggled, reading a fanfic on her tablet, then tossing it on the coffee table. "Keyhole! You're called the Universal Keyhole in this fic, because--" "I know why I'm called the Keyhole," Sean interrupted with a wry twist to her lips. "All the different Keys I've - supposedly - had inside me. I read all the fics and tabloids written about me in the mornings. I have a Proxy program round them up for me." She pursed her lips then took a contemplative sip of her coffee, finishing it. "Some of the fics are actually quite clever." "Have you ever had a Key in your Keyhole?" Teagan challenged and Laurie almost choked. Sean raised a brow but Teagan just bulled on. "What? You're built like a guy's wet dream - maybe not quite as trashy - who's to say you don't have a wet dream's sex drive and sexual proclivities." "No tabs in my slot... yet," Sean said with a smirk and both her sisters sat up in surprise. "Don't get excited, guys. It's more of a... academic interest, to see what it's like. I'm not particularly attracted to guys. Just Keyhole on Keyhole action for me. And on that note, since I don't want to get mean and turn the talk to your sex lives--" "I've have no problem with all the guys I hook up with," Teagan boasted. "-- I'm gonna step out. Got some things I wanna check on," Sean continued as she stood up and collected her coat. "Working on time travel now? Or a video game?" Laurie snarked. Sean rolled her eyes as she slipped on her boots. "C'mon! We've all seen Terminator and any number of other sci-fi series. Time Travel always ends badly. No, I'm trying to prevent Skynet." Laurie and Teagan shared a look then stared at impossible woman that used to be their brother. "Seriously?!" Sean's grin widened, then she stuck out her tongue at them when dawning horror began to rise in their eyes. "Relax, we're not there yet. Later guys." Her raised her voice. "Later Mom, Dad." Sean strode though the melting snow towards the converted barn, footsteps crunching on the soft snow. Stepping inside, Sean immediately stiffened with affront and anger. She tell instantly that someone had intruded into her personal space, and it wasn't just the index card taped to her wall monitor with post-it notes. With penetrating scrutiny, Sean glided through her apartment, noting any other incongruities. There was a new personal scent in the air that she didn't recognize, one with an almost electrical quality. Someone was careful - they hadn't left any trace evidence behind, like hair or skin flakes. On the other hand, several stacks of books had been almost conspicuously nudged. She made a circuitous route towards the huge clear glass monitor hanging on her wall, making sure there were no other surprises left behind. On the monitor, held there by a border of thirteen post-it notes, was a white index card made of expensive card stock. There was a message written on it in different coloured crayons. The lettering was shaky, imprecise, and childlike. Sean's lips tightened. Or made to look childlike, several imprecise letters were formed too consistently. "Huh." DEAR SHAN I LIEK U DO U LIEK ME IF YES CHEK THIS BOX |_| AND MEET ME WAIR U CAN C THE TEAM Sean's entrancing turquoise eyes narrowed as she focused on the index card. There were several smudges on the card, odd considering how pristine the index card otherwise was. She focused more intently. Each smudge was made from distinctly different types of dirt. Distinct to one with the eyes and knowledge to tell the difference. The smudge over the check box had a particular clay content consistent with a certain part of Shelly. She had familiarized herself with the topography of Shelly with all building construction going on. A cursory look on her smartphone showed there was a duck pond in the area - which she recalled - and an elementary school that had closed down, but there was plans to reopen with all the new influx of residents. The intentionally juvenile written suggested toddlers, clearing pointing towards the elementary school, while the mention of 'team' could mean an athletics team, it could also reference a group of swimming ducks. For someone like Sean, it was almost too obvious. The care taken in the message, she doubted anything else would be coincidental. She considered the message, the number of post-its used to stick it to her monitor, then the nudged stacks of books. "Ah." She'd always been good at math. Now, supercomputers were slow compared to her in regards to computations and calculations, and her memory was flawless. Calculating the angles by which each individual book was nudge, then converting to base thirteen gave Sean a set of numbers that revealed a date and time. Tonight. The numbers could possibly refer to something else - she could conceive of several off the top of her head - but the probability was unlikely. She also had an idea of who could have left the message, though it could have been a new or unknown Key. Sean considered innumerable - not to her - probabilities and permutations, cross referencing them with everything she had seen, read, or experienced. She didn't detect a directed threat in the message or in the aftermath in the meeting it offered. And she couldn't deny the curiosity was enticing. Since the time and place was already set, she couldn't set-up contingencies there first. Which didn't mean she couldn't scout out the area to look for any surprised her... admirer might have laid down for her, with the abilities and resources available to her. Nor despite sensing any threat, being prepared for any that might occur with the changing equations of the situation. Changing into her PAM suit - giving it the look of jeans and cable-knit sweater - and slipping on a pair of concealed holsters holding personalized Havoc pistols, Sean studied the meeting area from the comfort of her home. While Devin, Jaunt - or Ronin, now as he preferred - maybe have been able to use the holographic nature of reality to move between all points in space as though they were in some aspects the same, Sean could use the same frame of reference to perceive locations remotely. If there was a trap laid, she couldn't detect it, though a prepared Key could lay it down after she arrived. I'll have to do something about teleporters, or at least figure out a way to lock block a location to their abilities. Something like a Faraday cage to hedge out spatial distortions. Hmm... Sean took Little Bigfoot - her Cherokee/Challenger crossbreed of a car - the school, arriving fifteen minutes early. She parked in the empty lot around the side of building where her vehicle wouldn't be easily seen from the road. It was just past dusk, the air holding a clean, fresh crispness. Her hair, holding all the colours of the just passed dusk, seemed to almost glow under the rising star and moonlight and was tied back in a neat, short, French-braid, with loose locks falling down the left side of her face. As she glided towards the playground - an old one of solid, splintered wood, frayed hemp rope, chains and a dented slide - that stood a ways from the school and next to the pond, somehow appearing both innocent and dangerous, Sean scanned the area in a glance that seemed completely casual and was anything but. Winter was almost done, most of the snow gone. She was early and no sign of whoever had set up the meet yet. She stepped over sand still hard from winter and sat down in a swing seat. The tough rubber seat was silent as it bent taking her weight and the chains began to creak as she casually began to swing with light touches of her foot against the ground. Waiting... Sean could track several people in the general vicinity as she waited. At this hour, in this spot, there weren't many...a blessing perhaps, with her newly famous face. A couple of kids were off in the field a ways off, throwing a ball around. Their laughter and shouting carried dimly to where she was. Some old lady bundled up against the last chill of a fading winter threw breadcrumbs from a plastic bag to a few ducks, who scattered when a big old goose flapped down to grab its share too. No Keys though. A few minutes passed like that...pleasant and peaceful. The ballgame deteriorated to a wrestling match briefly, then morphed into some different ball game. The old lady ran out of bread and started shuffling back to the parking lot. She paused as she passed Sean and gave her a once-over through the darkened, overlarge lenses of her glasses. "Damn, son," she chuckled, "Life on the streets must be a bitch if you're trolling for johns in front of a school. That's kind of fucked up, yo." Her voice was cracked with age, with a throatiness that bespoke a lifetime of cigarette smoke. She was wearing the kind of things people wore when they didn't have to give a crap anymore: sweats, some kind of knitted shawl, old sneakers. Her skin was a few shades darker than 'white,' but still not particularly dark save where liverspots speckled her. Her snaggletoothed grin was mocking. Knowing. Sean stilled her swinging with a foot, then crossed her legs, tilting her head slightly as she considered the old woman. The mention of 'son' wasn't a definite clue - since going public, it had been revealed she had been born a boy and her cover as her own cousin hadn't been meant to withstand close scrutiny. But no unenhanced human would ever talk to her that way. Yet the old woman showed none of the outward physical or physiological indicators of being a Key. She focused her vision into other spectrums, her smooth, exquisite features not revealing her curiosity and surprise. The woman didn't have a Node, but there was a quantum pattern... clinging to, entwining her brain and nervous system. Like a invasive parasite or kudzu. Her perfect lips tightened in disgust and anger. Someone with her looks and presence could influence others with ease, in the simple course of being what she was, but she didn't completely subsume their will and replace it with her own. "You would know all about trolling, Allison," Sean replied, her faint smile edged, her melodious voice cool, as she referred to who the entity riding the old woman once was in turn. It was a guess, but an educated one, considering the other encounters they had had with her, her written threats, and extrapolating on the little they knew of her powers. It could have been someone else, but likelihood was remote. "I'm disappointed. I thought we were going to have a friendly face-to-face chat between us alone. Yet here you are, wearing a mask." The woman erupted into a breathy cackle of laughter at Sean's disdain. "My favorite part of that," she managed after a few seconds of mirth, "is that you don't even get the irony of you saying that to me. But it's cool, man. Though, if you'll take a little advice on trolling...if you want to try to get under someone's skin by throwing their old name at them..." She pulled her glasses down and threw Sean a wink. "Make sure they give a shit first. Otherwise you just look like a kid throwing a tantrum. Can't have that." "ANYWAY. In every way that matters, we're alone. Granny Goose won't remember any of this. She'll wake up after a nice nap, back at home...everything fine and dandy. Assuming you let her, of course." The old lady clapped her hands once and rubbed them. "So what did you want to have a friendly face-to-face chat about, Sean?" The hard look Sean gave the... being once known as Allison Bigby said she would hold to her claim that the old woman wouldn't be harmed. Her lips curved wryly. "Shouldn't I be asking you that... " Sean sighed, but would give her her props. "Death Otter?" The old woman smirked and barked in laughter. "Pft! You already KNOW I'll be getting to that otherwise why would I even bother? But here you are, bothering. And no police, no military...just you. So not only do you WANT something from me, but you haven't decided if you're going to let anyone else know about our little...tete a tete." She grinned. "That makes me pretty curious about what that something you want is." Sean gave her a small nod, conceding the point. She crossed her arms below her breasts, her unzipped leather jacket gaping slightly wider. "Fair enough," Sean admitted, her mellifluous voice floating on the air in amusement. "I was curious. I don't get to meet many people as Intelligent as I am, and one of them has been my best friend for the last ten years or so. And, let's not beat around the bush, I came because I wanted to get an idea of your intentions. You know what's out there, some of it at least, don't claim you don't. And it's likely worse than you know. I'm hoping to convince you that playing your game and trying to burn it all down is in your own best interest. There might not be an Earth to play with, if you keep on with your game." Sean leaned back, still perfectly balanced on the swing. "There are other reasons of course, and you might even learn what they are, if you answer in kind, question for question? Why did you make the offer? By the way, I appreciate the effort, but if there is a next time, just sent an email or text, hmm?" "If you think I'd ever claim to NOT know something, you haven't been paying attention," chuckled Death Otter. "Sounds to me like you're the one who's trying to catch up. But hey, I get it. You've been busy." The old woman's eyes glittered as she put her sunglasses back on, then she shrugged. "What am I up to? Besides EATING, and DRINKING, and PISSING, and SHITTING? I am, after all, a slave of the flesh. As are we all." She held her arms out to the side and twirled lazily around until she got wobbly, at which point she immediately stopped. "Two things! Not one, not three, not four but TWO! I want you to give me the answer to a question I'll ask. Then I want to give you the answer to a question you haven't asked." Abruptly she broke into giggles. "Okay, fuck! More than two. Like, a shitload more. Holy shit... But like, all the rest of it is incidental." "So." Death Otter took a bow with a grand sweep of her arm. "Do you want to hear my question first, or my answer?" Sean narrowed her eyes faintly. There was a hint of resentment in Death Otter's voice when she commented on being a slave of the flesh. She seemed capable of imposing her consciousness onto others. Was this is step on the way of learning how to upload her mind into a machine, an artificial body? A concern for later. And had the Key once known as Allison Bigby always possessed these mental/social incongruities, exacerbated by her Quantum Enhancement, or had they come with her metamorphosis alone. She had read her file and it didn't indicate she had. But Sean wasn't so sure. "Please, give me some credit as well. Unless you just wanted to flip them off - and you have much more imaginative ways of doing so, I'm sure - you would never had shown up with police or military lurking about." She smiled. "And yes, I haven't decided if I'm going to tell them yet." Sean smirked and dipped her head regally in response to Death Otter's flourishing bow. "Considering our previous encounters, I'll hear your answer first, then your question." "The thing you should be worried about is Operation Deadbolt," said Death Otter, with a nod. Then she patted around her pockets until she found a packet of beef jerky. On extracting a long rod of cured (probably) beef, she stuck it into her mouth as if it was a cigarette for a moment. "Can't really chew with these choppers," explained the Key after a moment. "Break her fucking teeth." "Alright, my question then is...why the fuck are you kids still working with the military? Jesus FUCK, people! I mean, alright a couple of you are fucking...related or whatever...but you and Brainburn are supposed to be smart for fuck's sake!" Operation Deadbolt. Despite the fact that project codenames shouldn't have any indication to the basis of the project itself, far too often, the allusion of the codename and the project were more direct than they should have been. Deadbolt gave Sean hint to several ideas of what the project was about. If Death Otter wasn't just trying to sow chaos, they had done a very good job of isolating anyone with knowledge of Project Deadbolt from her. Few would hide it from her, or offer it up trying to impress or ingratiate themselves with her. She'd have some questions she was going to ask personally in the next several days. "When you drop the lady off, maybe drop enough into her bank account for some new teeth, hmm?" Sean stood up from the swing and took a deep breath of the night air. Death Otter's question was one she had asked herself more than once and would again, she was sure. "Resources, access, and leverage," Sean replied simply, glancing down at the old woman. Standing and with the short heels on her boots, she had almost a foot on her. "The military-industrial complex has outsized influence on the country. And despite all its many faults, the US has a great deal of influence on world politics. Things have to change and while we have things the military wants, it gives us a means to direct that change, Death Otter." Sean's melodious tones were earnest, compelling, and determined. "The Earth faces an existential threat and if we're still fighting among ourselves, we're not going to survive. Maybe not individually, some of us, but as a species, as a society. I want the Earth to be ready to face that threat. Yes, yes, with what we can do, we can gather the resources ourselves. And we are working on that - Abel and I our making our own company to pursue our own ends. But governments and militaries already have infrastructure in place that can be retrofitted for our goals. And I don't have an issue working with them - not for them - for the benefit of all." She circled around the old woman with liquid grace. "Which leads to one of the reasons why I came to this meet. All the dirt you dug up on various government officials and appointees. I want it, Death Otter. We're in the open now, so your threat isn't quite as dangerous as it was, but I can find a use for it." Her smile this time was dangerous, predatory. Enticing. "If they aren't going to make policy in good faith that benefits everyone rather than their own pockets and chances of re-election, and a pretty face, a sexy voice, and cogent ideas aren't enough, I'll use other means at my disposal." Death Otter stood still as Sean circled her, curiously expressionless. Then she cracked a smile. "Well, if that's a thing you want, we can work something out. As long as we're talking resources and access, lets talk about what I'll need to do this thing for you." "Build a computer for me. Small enough to carry. Efficient enough to run on standard AC power. Strong enough to brute-force gigabit AES in...oh...lets start with a day and see where we get." Her hand fidgeted in her pocket with something for a moment. "So, taking over the world. What a waste." Death Otter plucked the Slim Jim out of her mouth and flicked it away into the tambark that covered the ground around the jungle gym. She turned and started to shuffle away, but then paused and looked back at Sean with an impish curl of her lips. "Almost forgot to ask...how's the missus?" "I can manage such computer," Sean admitted, making a graceful, negligent gesture. It would be simple to provide. The next generation in quantum computing she was developing would work above Death Otter's requirements when pitted against conventional computers. And as new q-puters began to roll out, reverse engineering would immediately commence on them. She wasn't that worried about Death Otter getting a small jump on the others. And if she could slip in some circumspect tracking programs in the device, so much the better. She had no doubt Death Otter would expect such, and if she couldn't find and disable them, then she deserved it. She would certainly analyze anything Death Otter provided her every which way for any surprises. Sean narrowed eyes as the old woman fingered something in her pocket. Shifting her perceptions on the electromagnetic spectrum, she saw it was a USB flashdrive... or something disguised as one. Had she brought the info already? Sean had expected the info would take up more storage than a typical flashdrive could contain. "Taking over the world?" Sean grimaced dismissively. "No, seems like far too much work and hardly worth it... as it is. No, I want to make the world capable of resisting what is coming for it, and worth triumphing over that threat." But when Death Otter mentioned Sara, Sean went still. Inhumanly still - statues would show more sign of life than she did in that moment. The impish curl on the old woman's lips slipped for a moment when Sean was suddenly standing in front of her, having flowed across the intervening space so swiftly she could barely register it. "What do you about know Sara and Cape Town?" Sean demanded in a low voice cold enough to freeze the cores of planets. In contrast, her turquoise eyes blazed as hot as suns, yet her expression was curiously smooth and flat. Death Otter had affected an off-hand tone, but there was so much more in it. There was the palpable sensation of immediate and lethal violence in the air, if Sean believed Death Otter had anything to do with Sara's situation. And in her eyes and expression, Death Otter could notice a hint of questioning calculation. If the old woman died while Death Otter was riding her, would Death Otter die too? It was an experiment Sean was fully willing to try if she was given reason. "Tell me." Otter cracked a much bigger grin then. "Ah, there you are. Man, it's so tempting just to dick you around and see how far you'll go, but..." She sighed and shook her head. "I know you guys intercepted a plane off the coast of South Africa. I know the plane went down, and there was some kind of big MURDERBEAST that the Teen Girl Squad wasted. Except...funny thing. Your girlfriend was definitely there, but hasn't been seen since. Not even on her usual PMS-vigilante rounds." The old woman peered intently at Sean over the rims of her glasses. "Something happened to her, huh? Something you don't understand, and that rules a lot of things out. Is she changing? All glazed over like a worm about to hatch?" Death Otter frowned and shrugged. "That was my working theory, but yeah, no, you're too pissed off. So it's a little more threatening." She chuckled. "Sucks to stare at something and just not know, huh? Reminds you of the way you used to be. Knowing you're overlooking something obvious, but you just can't figure out what." Sean's mouth quirked into a bitter smile as she stepped back a pace from Death Otter. "Yes, it does. And yes, it is." She sighed regretfully. "I can't say I appreciate the reminder." The tall, unbelievably gorgeous woman gazed back at the older, shorter one just as intently. "Is that all you know about it?" she asked doubtfully. "That's hardly more than what everyone saw on TV. C'mon, share it all, tell me something good, and I'll reply in kind. You'll want to know this. Trust me, it's more threatening than being covered in worn snot. Potentially threatening to you too, Death Otter." "Desperate's a good look on you," chortles Death Otter through an old stranger's lips. "But then I guess I say that to all the girls." She glanced around again, then eyed Sean speculatively. "You guys have a way of telling when new powers are manifesting. That's why you all showed up BEFORE anything weird happened. Passenger accounts more or less agree on that timing. First on the scene was...well, you know." She grinned. "Then BOOM!" Death Otter clapped her hands. "Shit went down inside the plane. THEN outside. It's timing, Cassidy. It's timing. Cause and effect. Tick tock GOES THE CLOCK!" She turned away and pointed up. "Sun goes DOWN, sun comes UP...new power starts exploding inside a PLANE full of helpless PEOPLE, they PANIC...oh wait, shit, did I say helpless?" "One of them's not helpless, maybe. One of them's transporting something. Not normally something he'd fuck with, but...people panic. They get stupid. They open boxes with dangerous, untested...stuff. And shit happens." Otter looked back around at Sean. "Shit like one power getting shut down hard. Shit like a giant uber-whale monster appearing literally the fuck out of nowhere. Probably NOT how it was supposed to work, but the Wright Brothers didn't fly the first time, did they?" She twirled a pirouette that looked incredibly out of place on the frumpy body she had and bowed. "And so, like any master teller of tales, I end where I began. The last thing I tell you is the same as the first thing I told you. Goddamn, I'm good. UNGH! Can you FEEL that?!" "Back to Operation Deadbolt," Sean muttered in disgruntlement, though even that sound could stir the loins with desire. "It comes back to that, does it?" Death Otter beamed, as though proud with a school child who had just earned a gold star and completely ignoring Sean's hooded glare. She tapped the side of her nose with a weathered finger. "Like a square peg in a square hole, it fits. FITS like a glove that doesn't acquit." Sean suppressed a sigh at the woman's antics, all the more trying coming from an old, weathered woman. "And do you actually know anything about Deadbolt, beyond the name and that it exists?" "Maybe yes. Maybe no? PERHAPS! Perhaps if I had a a certain tool, a distinct toy, that would help me win a particular game, I could learn more than maybees." The old woman trilled, her yellow-toothed smile ingratiating and almost pleading. Sean balled a hand at her side into a fist to restrain herself from pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration. But Death Otter had given her something to pursue in helping Sara. "I'll see what I can do. Give me a means to contact you, and I'll tell you when and where you can pick your new and extra effective... game piece." She gave Death Otter a warning glare. "No more surprise visits to my home, please." Perfect lips pursed in consideration. "We seem to have a mutual interest in the working and purview of Operation Deadbolt. What would you say sharing our findings on it? We have differing avenues to pursue that we could combine for our mutual benefit and enlightenment." The old lady laughed and slapped her forehead. "For someone who's supposed to be smart, you catch on slow sometimes. Why do you think I called you OUT here? When I find these fuckers, I am going to need you and your crew to go take them DOWN." She nodded at a bench not far from the swing Sean had been sitting on. "Look under there. There's a phone with one number in the address book. Have your girl call my girl, we'll do lunch." Death Otter tossed a little salute and turned to start trundling away, rubbing her hip irritably. "Gah...no wonder old folks are so grumpy all the time..." "She needs a hip replacement. Arthritis," Sean mentioned off-hand as she turned towards the bench. "Pay for it. As for the other... well, Deviants aside, you didn't strike me as a team player." She bent over, fishing under the bench, and found the phone, stuck there with gum. She harrumphed as she straightened, glaring at the cheap, disposable phone. It hadn't been active when she had first arrived at the park - she'd have noticed the cellular and electromagnetic emanations - but it was now. Sean peered at the phone - through the phone - making sure Death Otter hadn't added any extra components as a present. Then pulling a dedicated device from the pocket of her leather coat and connecting it to the phone, she scanned for any surprises in the software. Nothing. But someone else knew of their meeting, or there was a record of it. Fair enough - she could remember their meeting in every respect with perfect recall. She had also subtly modulated her voice so voice recognition programs wouldn't recognize it. Death Otter was still aggravating as fuck. She powered off the phone, pulled out the battery, then stuffed it into a different pocket of her coat and strode towards her vehicle, a new determination in her stride. Operation Deadbolt. It was a place to start, and if it lead to a way to help Sara, she would stomach dealing with Death Otter.
  7. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    I Don't Think That's a Good Idea Rashoud sat in front of General Pryor's desk, while her colleague, Dr Mizuki, stood by the wall sized aquarium, the General was seated behind the big desk elbows on the surface his chin settled on his clasped hands. Capt. McKeller, the seal, was leaning against the wall by the door. Phill Mason the Original Key was seated off to the side. His presence was more a courtesy than a need he could have easily shielded the room from anywhere within a couple of hundred miles. Rashoud was shaking her head as she spoke “...No I don't know, and that is why I am concerned. As best I can fathom, The human body , well everything really, gives off a quantum signature, when Sage attempted to read Sara her node latched on to him and drained every bit of quantum he posses even the small bit the physical body produces. And it still drained more causing the bodily functions to attempt to compensate to provide more energy which lead to cardiac arrest and death.” Pryor sat back suddenly “I thought you said her Node was non functional now.” Rashoud opened her mouth to speak then shut it and looked at Mizuki, who turned from the fish tank to face the General. “It is what we told her and the rest of the Irregulars. Her node has ceased to function normally but it is not dead as we have led her to believe. I had hoped to convince her to agree to more radical therapies but her involvement with Savant and now Sage's interference have made this unlikely.” The General and Mckeller exchanged glances, neither doctor seemed to notice. “I don't like this Jiro. We have been straight forward with them all along at least I thought we had. I really hate to think that what Devin was saying may have had some truth in it.” "General you and I both know that the Keys are a risk to the entire nation as well as the planet. There have always been the need for contingencies. There is no room for emotion in this thing. Avenger's node obviously puts others at risk. We believe she should be taken into custody and isolated while we research the problem.” General Pryors eyes go wide, but it is Mckeller who speaks first “I don't think that's a good idea Dr. You arrest Sara, and that is what this would be, and you play right into Devin's hands giving him more ammunition not to mention, pissing off the rest of the Irregulars. Nope not a good idea at all” Glucose-Protein-Enzyme Recovery Device - GluPER Box/Gloop Box Laurie looked at the thick, green... stuff in the mug her sister handed, which had just been extracted from something that looked like the cappuccino maker of JJ Abrams' wet dreams. She couldn't decide if the stuff had the consistency of a thick smoothie or if it was more pudding-like. "It looks like one of those kale-cayenne-crap smoothies," Laurie commented hesitantly. "What is this gloop made of?" "Try it first, then I'll tell," Sean countered, taking a sip from her own mug. Her exquisite face revealed nothing. Laurie sighed then took her own sip. It wasn't as thick as pudding, more like a protein shake, slightly sweetened drink. "You know, it's not that bad. Has a bit of a... berry flavour?" Laurie almost threw the protein drink in Sean's face when she found out what it was made of. Description: Using an adaptation of the SAPPER system and lasers, a Gloop Box breaks down and reconstitutes nearly any organic compound - including wasted or spoiled food - into a healthy and nutritious glucose-protein-enzyme liquid food supplement. Though the product has a scientific name, it is most commonly known as Gloop. Specifically designed to recover and reuse wasted biomass. Applications: Food Production, Waste Management 3D Food Printer - Cornucopia Processor Sean chewed on a big bite of hamburger, giving her highly developed taste buds. She could tell the very minor difference between the printed and natural versions, but the texture of the mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles felt right, taste was excellent and the beef patty was superb. There was something off about the bun, it wasn't bad, just different. She'd have to program an alternative for the picky and demanding. She eyed the mug suspiciously, steam rising from its contents. Version nineteen. She took a sip, let the liquid play over her tongue then down her throat. Her nostrils flared as a brief frown of distaste crossed her lips. The coffee was fine. It was adequate. But she had grown used to far better coffee than merely fine and adequate. On to version twenty - In the meantime, she'd have to buy her coffee like everyone else. Description: A more intricate and complex - and notably larger - advancement of the Gloop Box, the Cornucopia Processor can break down organic compounds - or often Gloop - in a huge array of sugars, proteins, and enzymes, then reconfigure them into an ever increasing variety of formulations, to 3D print different meats, baked goods, or entire recipes. The proxy program running the Cornucopia can learn preferences and tastes, process predetermined meals at predetermined times, learn new recipes via download or direct input, and can attempt new recipes via outside direction. Applications: Food Preparation/Production Gotta Get Away Lilly frowned as she looked at her phone. Sara still was not answering her phone. Lilly understood, mostly, but that did not change her desire to speak to Sara… to make sure she was okay… or at least as close to okay as was possible, given the circumstances. Lilly opened her texting app and started typing with the thumb dexterity one would expect from a teen girl. We were “The Irregulars” even before we got powers. You are still, and always will be, one of us. Powers were never what gave you worth or made you who you are. Never forget that. When you want to talk, or if you need ANYTHING, I, and the others, are here for you. It was not an ideal solution. Lilly was much better speaking in person, even extemporaneously, but the text got the basic point across. And if Sara did not want to answer her phone to let her speak, then the message would at least the be waiting for her whenever she was ready. Lilly sent the text and then slipped her phone in her pocket as she peeked out her window. Being up on the second story of the house, Lilly could see for a good ways and over the fence. She could see the cluster of news vans, mostly local media at the moment, but the national media would be arriving within hours most likely, gathered outside, and a little distance from, the front gate. The same had to be happening outside the homes of the other Irregulars in town, and likely the hospital too. For once, Lilly was actually glad she lived on base. Lilly slipped on a jacket and went outside. She wanted to drive her truck, but doing so would only make problems at the moment with the media outside the gate, waiting to pounce like vultures. Reluctantly, Lilly headed to the fences on the opposite side of the base from the gate. A security patrol vehicle pulled up toward her, and the guard got out, walking over toward her. “I’m sure you’re not lost, so is everything okay, ma’am? You do not really have much need to be out here.” he asked as he approached, having clearly recognized her. “Nah. I’m okay. I’m going to go for a run and just did not feel like heading out the front gate and deal with… all that.” Lilly answered. The guard nodded with a faint smile. “I hear you. Must be a pain to do anything off-base after that announcement.” He commented. “Pretty much. Yeah. So I am just going to hop the fence. I’ll be back later.” She informed him as she motioned at the fence with her thumb. “Hop the fence? I- I can’t really let you do that. Getting too close and climbing it would set off alarms and all that. I could maybe..” the guard said with a hint of worry before Lilly cut him off. “Don’t worry. I won’t be anywhere near it. Nice talking to you!” Lilly grinned and then crouched down. Small pebbles began to rolled away from where she stood and the bits of grass and scrub leaned away from here, blown by some unseen force. Then, in an instant, like a snap of a rubber band, Lilly was gone and arcing through the air. Lilly put down the cooler she had been shouldering and took a seat on one side of it, while opening the other half of the split-top lid and fishing out a dark brown, glass bottle from the slush of water and ice. She twisted off the cap, took a swig of the cold, refreshing beverage and let out a relaxed sigh as she sat there, watching the sun set. The blazing ball of light painted the sky in brilliant hues of red, orange, yellow and even purple, casting a long shadow behind the teen as she enjoyed the solitude, her beverage and the scenery. “So these are the Pryor Mountains? They really are beautiful.” Lilly said, talking aloud, despite the fact she was alone. “Named for Sergeant Nathaniel Hale Pryor, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who vainly pursued horses stolen from the expedition in the area.” She recited from memory. “I guess not knowing when to quit runs in the family.” She said with a shrug as she held up the bottle in a toast and then took a swig. “On the other hand, Lewis and Clark did consider you to be "a man of character and ability." I hope that too, runs in the family, because right know, with all that’s going on with Sara, Devin, the unwanted publicity and the fact the alien overlords are still on the way, and… other stuff… I am going to need all of the “character and ability." I can get.” She said, as if speaking to her long-dead relative while she dropped her empty bottle into the cooler to join it’s similarly emptied brethren, and grabbed another bottle, twisting off the cap and holding it up in another silent toast before taking a long drink. “Nathaniel... Natalie... Nate. Not a bad name for kid…” she thought aloud with a faint smile which slowly turned into a sigh. “Who are you talking to?” a voice came from behind and to her side, causing Lilly to look over her shoulder at it, finding a teen girl approaching. By the looks of her, she was Native American, which made sense, considering they were actually on the Crow Reservation. “Dead relative, I guess.” Lilly shighed. “Sorry for being out here without permission. I didn’t think I would be bothering anybody. I’ll go.” Lilly said as she stood and opened the cooler to drop in the bottle. “You’re not bothering anybody. And I won’t tell if you won’t” the girl shrugged. “In that case,” Lilly said as she reached into the cooler and pulled out a fresh bottle, offering it to the girl, “Want a drink?” “I don’t drink beer.” The girl said, almost offended. “Me either.” Lilly commented as she twisted off the cap, dropping it into the cooler as she offered the bottle once more. “It’s root beer. IBC. The best.” She grinned. The girl looked surprised, but nodded, stepping closer and taking the bottle from Lilly, who closed the lid on the cooler and took a seat on half of it again. “Have a seat, if you like.” Lilly offered and then took another swig off of her bottle of root beer. The girl nodded again and took a seat. She took a swig from the bottle and then held it out in front of her, looking at it. “You’re right. This is good.” She said in a bit of surprise, causing Lilly to smile. “So what brings you out here?” she asked Lilly. “Just needed some time alone, to think and decompress, I guess.” “Sooo.. alien overlords, eh?” the girl asked. “Huh? Well, uh, that’s like this thing..” The girl’s laugh cut off Lilly. “It’s okay. I know who you are. I mean, you are out here, without a jeep, horse, or even a trail for that matter.” The girl commented. “And I saw the rose garden press conference.” She added. “So you can fly too? I only saw the other two doing it on tv.” “Me? No. I can just jump really far, like the Incredible Hulk, I guess. Sorry it that’s a disappointment.” Lilly answered candidly. “I can run really fast though.” “It’s okay. I cannot fly either.” The girl responded and then took another drink from the bottle. “You?” Lilly asked. The girl nodded. “I am a “KEY”, or whatever they are calling us, too. The best way to describe what I do, I guess, is to say that I manipulate luck or fate. I can kind of see the future, or possible futures I guess, and then pick which one I want. It does not always work, but I am getting better at it. It allows me to see the past as well.” The girl explained. “Wow. That’s just… wow.” Lilly said in amazement. “I’m basically just tough and strong.” “If I try really hard, I can change the weather too. But doing so always worries me. Like, what if making it rain here, means I am taking rain from somewhere else on the planet?” the girl worried. “Look at the footage of floods in Asia. They would be happy for you take some rain off of their hands.” Lilly chuckled. The girl tilted her head and thought for a moment as a smile crept across her lips. “Yeah. I guess that’s true.” She mused. “I’m Pauline, by the way.” She added. “Lilly. Lilly Pryor.” She said, tapping the neck of her bottle to that of Pauline’s. “Nice to meet you.” “Lilly? I thought it was ‘Vanguard’ or whatever?” the girl said, emphasizing the codename with a dramatic, movie trailer narrator’s voice. “Ugh. Yeah. The codenames. Corny, I know. I’m ‘Vanguard’ because the vanguard are the troops in the front. ‘Tip of the spear’ and all that. I have no problem being the first one in. Any hit I take means one less for my friends to deal with.” “So you all are actual friends? I figured you were gathered up and put together in a team or something, kinda like a boy band.” Pauline asked, which caused Lilly to laugh. “Yeah. Naw. We are all friends, and we’ve been friends since before we got these abilities. I think it is that friendship that has helped us deal with everything, you know? Having others to lean on and supporting each other.” Lilly explained. “Huh. I never would have thought that. You being friends beforehand, I mean. I am sure having friends helps too.” “We could help you too, if you want. No pressure though. But if people find out about your abilities, especially your specific abilities.. well, people will want your help, and others will want to take advantage of you. I mean, how you use your abilities is up to you. Heck, if you are careful you can live out your life in peace, which is not something I would blame any KEY for doing. I mean, yes, you have abilities, but using them being a whole mess of baggage, good and bad, along with them.” “What do you mean? You are famous and will probably get offered all sorts of deal and stuff. I mean yeah, there’s the paparazzi, but normal celebrities deal with them.” Pauline asked. “I mean, the weirdness meter in your life gets cranked to eleven. All of your relationships, problems and all of that, just get that much more stressed and exacerbated. It’s… a lot to deal with. Hence why I am out here.” “Oh.” Pauline said softly, as she thought about what Lilly had just said. “Don’t get me wrong. With your abilities you might be able to avert disasters, save thousands, or millions, of lives, help feed the word and so on. I am not telling you to not use them. Personally, I think it would be great if you did those things, but you need to decide for yourself.” “I think I get what you are saying. Doing the ‘right’ thing is not always easy, I guess. Hmm… I guess it is actually the hard road to take usually, if you think about it.” Pauline thought aloud. “Tell me about it.” Lilly sighed. “But like I said, I would not hold it against any KEY to just live out a quiet life, even with the alien overlords on the way here.” Pauline nodded thoughtfully and took another drink of the root beer as she looked at the sun slipping down the horizon. “You know, thanks. I guess I just needed somebody to talk to a bit to clear my head some. I appreciate it.” Lilly said as she held her bottle up to Pauline in a toast. “And if you ever need to talk, need a friend, or need any help, here’s my number.” Lilly added as she pulled a pen from her jacket and wrote her number down on the back of the receipt from the country store where she bought to cooler, ice and root beer. “Thanks, Lilly.” Pauline said with a smile, taking the slip of paper and looking at it for a moment before she looked up again at the setting sun.
  8. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    It was Worth a Try Sara Hutchins hated hospitals. More now since she lost her powers than she had before she had gotten them. Sara sat in the cold examining room on one of the chairs provided not on the examine table, she refused to sit there. She looked at the other chair and wished that Sean were here. Two months since the revelation of the existence of the Keys. Two months of craziness and strangeness. Two months and the world was strangely both unrecognizable and eerily the same. Some two dozen new Keys had come forward or been sighted, all across the globe. England, Italy, Croatia, Korea, Israel, Bolivia, The Philippines, Tasmania, Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Scotland, as well as the USA, all had one or more Keys Revealed and recognized. According to Drs Rashoud and Mizuki there were probably 3-4 times that many who have gone under the radar for a multiple of reasons. According to Abel he had used his machine and had gotten readings on no less that 130 distinct Key signatures. Some could fly, some were superspeeders, or super strong. None showed the High degree of powers that the Irregulars had developed but then they were new. At first the world was amazed and freaked out but that only lasted a little more than two news cycles. And then on to the next tragedy or political crisis. People just seemed to accept superpowered beings as real a hell of a lot more readily than anyone had thought. One of the first Keys a scientist from the Portal project who was also a psychologist theorized that the public accepted it because it wasn't any thing new, it was just real now. After years of being bombarded with fictional super powered people, finding out they were real was in someways a bit anticlimactic. The same with the Trans-Portals. When they were announced and demonstrated a month ago it was all ohs and ahs was on every channel and social media blog. And today when the first working Portals would be going live connecting New York to Los Angeles, Tokyo, and London, well it was going to be a spectacular show but at this point in time it didn't really effect even one percent of the population and the only reason the ribbon cutting would get all the attention was because Several Keys would be present chiefly Sean. Which was why Sean wasn't here with Sara, waiting on another disappointing examination of her dead head blob. Abel was rushing past security and into the new wing of the hospital. Time was at a premium. There were so many things to do so much going on at any given time. Today was the first time Abel had had time to actually go see Sara since she had lost her powers. He had conversed with Sean and Alec but neither could shed new light on it, really it wasn't a medical problem. It was a Quantum problem. One he hoped his abilities could help with. He paused outside the Hospital here in Shelly where his dad worked now full time and looked over all the new construction. It was progressing at a fantastic pace in fact all of the growth in the town was speeding along. Soon Shelly would be a city not just a town in the wilderness. He had to wonder if that was a good thing. He noticed that several people had stopped and were staring at him he didn't know them personally and he wasn't in his PAM Suit but obviously he had been recognized. With a nod at the strangers he went on inside to check in with Dr Rashoud. The door opened and Sara looked up expecting to see Dr Rashoud instead she found her self looking into the eyes of Sage. “What are you doing here? Has something happened to Sean?” she asked alarm edging into her voice. “No Nothing like that Sara. Sean is fine. I'm here I guess sort of officially. I want to talk to you about your powers.” He said as he took a seat in the chair next to Sara. He wasn't sure where to begin. Sean had warned him about how sensitive Sara was to anything about her powers. He had read all the files both Sean and Alec had complied . Had met with Dr Rashoud and went over the material she had supplied. But he had sensed that Rashoud had been holding back so he did that one thing he had been reviled for that he seldom had done before. He scanned the doctor. Rashoud had nothing because there was nothing to have, at least as far as normal human technology could be concerned. The means didn't exist for them to understand exactly what was going on. They'd done extremely limited study of dissected undeveloped nodes, butno key had died, so they never were able to study a live one He suppressed the revulsion at finding the doctor wished to get sara to agree to remove hers so they could study it. Given that there was no telling what would happen to Sara without it, that was an occurrence he'd move to block at all costs. Then came the shocker he had almost canceled the meeting with Sara, deep in Rashoud's mind he found Evidence of another Telepath at the base, a powerful one too. The Shields on both Doctors and the General were his doing. He'd been present at the Chicago portal experiment, and was one of the first keys. It was exhilarating in a way to find there was someone else like him, though he did know of other telepaths. This was one that was close at hand, and had been for some time. He cursed mentally for not putting it together sooner. This telepath was why the town just accepted so much strangeness. Still he had helped them all, so he wasn't necessarily an enemy. Abel quietly resolved to track this down later, when he wasn't supposed to be focusing his attention on Sara. So here he was sitting next to his friend and wondering how to proceed Pinging her node returned nothing, and he could feel her drawing in the ambient quantum. He knew channeling any into her did nothing. Her node was a ravenous quantum absorber, but no one knew where all that power was going. Sara sat back a skeptical look on her face. "So you a doctor now too?" she wished she had a cigarette. Her left leg started bouncing rapidly up and down Abel noticed, he also noticed that she didn't seem to notice. "What's to talk about? I had powers now I don't." She went on before he said anything. "Technically, no I'm not, but I am doing a great deal to remedy that and a number of other things." her nervous twitch with the leg was new he didn't recall her doing that before. "You did have powers, but do you remember them? How it felt to fly, to do all the things you did. I promise stirring up memories isn't my goal here, there is a reason I'd ask this. Recall that we all know all our abilities, innately, and more, we knew how to control them. Do you still remember all of that?" He was about to ask telepathically if she could remember the voice that had spoken to her, but stopped, remembering any quantum channeled at her would be absorbed, and it was very difficult to break the flow. Instead he wrote it out on a piece of paper, knowing she'd never revealed this to others. "Do you remember the voice that spoke to you so many times?" he waited for her to write her answer down next to the question. "Of course i remember all that shit, I'm not a moron Abel." the blond scowled and scribbled uncomfortably, "How could I forget being able to fly faster than anything blow shit up.." "Sara, I don't mean remembering that you did those things, I mean do you remember how?" Abel said soothingly. Sara glared at Abel, her thoughts none too nice. When he failed to react to her thoughts her brow furrowed. "You can't read my mind." Abel wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement. "No, I can't." his eyes narrowed. "Any use of any power or ability on you automatically fails." he looked at her squarely. "After we got to you in South Africa, you nearly drained me completely, before I could control things, You're like a quantum black hole." He shook his head. "I wasn't poking around, just the normal inability to control my power, when I got into close proximity, my power tried to activate, and your node drained nearly all my power in one go. Admittedly that experience prompted a reaction within me, so now that doesn't happen, but it's not something I want to go through again." "It isn't just me, nobody's abilities work on you. You drain all quantum from around you, and we have no idea what your body is doing with all the quantum it absorbs." "That's what Sean keeps saying. I just thought she was trying to make me feel better, Keep me hoping." her voice trails off and she looks away but not before Abel can see a veil of guilt wash over her features. She finally looked down at the paper he had given her, her brow furrowed again. "The bear?" she queried. "Utterly silent." In truth he'd wondered about this as well, but there had been nothing from Hooli. The Other one is also silent now as well. The Deviants, Courtney, Chet, and the others have all been outed as well, though they're not part of anything else." She held up the paper, unasked questions hanging in the air as she drew a breath for a heavy sigh. "That's not anything can help with sorry. So why am I here today?" He took back instead of talking and scribbled using his own ability encode information "They want you to agree to let them remove your node so they can dissect it. Do not let them convince you to do so. We have no indication you'll survive, or that it will grow back." While she read that message Abel frowned, trying to think of that other reason that he was here. How to broach it with out doing so. He wanted to give her hope, and she did know of his other ability, and wondered why they were dancing around the issue. Still he was glad she had the sense to not ask it verbally. Abel weighed things rapidly and came to a decision. He had learned a lesson and wouldnt do the same thing twice even if it hadn't really happened. "Sara, do you remember the winter formal? All the things that happened there, and the things that didn't?" he placed just a bit of emphasis on the last. Sara looked Abel in the eye trying to guess what he was getting at. She thought she did. "Yeah that was kind of a trippy night." she said as she scribbled on the paper and handed it to him. What you did to Clair? Can you do that to me? “That was the last time we were all together for a normal time “ he said outloud as he wrote rapidly then handed her the note.the note read “It went haywire last time, because I was too involved, this time it's going to be all you Sara, I won't get in the way. If you really want this, reach out your hand and nod. I don't make any guarantees, but I'm willing to try." He watched as she read and when she finished he laid his hand palm up on the table, his eyes narrowed, a certainty in his eyes. He owed this effort to her. Sara looked at that hand. She remembered the...weird episode at the Christmas dance things that happened and then didn't. Abel had awakened Clair's nascent powers and sorta created a monster. But that had been Claire and Claire had never been the most stable of people. But she, Sara, had had those powers and they had been taken away from her by some unknown force, a force which was still out there. Accident or on purpose Sara had had her life altered again, against her will. She liked having powers, reveled in being a force for good in a world increasingly covered by darkness and evil. She wanted her powers back, wanted to be special again, wanted to be a Super Hero. Sara reached out and placed her hand in Abel's. In for a penny, thought Abel as Sara's hand clasped his he looked up, locking eyes with hers. For the first time he noticed how dark and brown they were , eyes that reminded him of mysterious secrets, dark to cover the pain of ignorance, opaque to cover the want of another. In that instant he activated the Catalyst Power and dove into her mind, there was no turning back. The node is the center. It connects the being with the Quantum Universe. It regulates the flow directs the power makes the impossible possible. It makes man transcend to god. Abel didn't see thoughts detected no consciousness as the Catalyst accessed the node but he felt the pull. Sara was gone, the hospital room they were in was gone there was only himself and the Node. He fell, the node drawing him in he shrank as it grew. An organ of matrices and shears, sub-quantum constructs organic, mineral energy. Shapes , geometric, symmetrical, spatial. The power flows from him through him into the node and he fell. Abel's sense of self, of time was lost , he entered the node, a universe unto itself, of energy and possibility, planets, moons, stars and galaxies. Deeper he soared. Here were the hopes and dreams of humanity, the future and the past. Color, sound, texture, and taste. One by one these thigs, the abstractions of reality, he fell past leaving the multiverse behind he fell into darkness but ahead was light and a glow which blinded his mind there he found Sara. Shhe was motionless naked psyche, floating in cruciform, the energy of the universe surrounding her bathing her it was her and cloaked about her energy form a dark energy wreathing the Sara center trying to invade. He fell into Sara. Abel opened his eyes, emergency lights were on there were nurses and doctors rushing about. A steady flow of oxygen from the mask on his face. He knew where he was but he was disoriented.t he room spun and shifted as if gravity had a hard time finding where it should be. “He's awake doctor.” a voice cut through the fog Someone leaned over, it took a moment for Abel to focus. It was Dr Rashoud. “Can you hear me Abel?” “Sara?” “Don't worry about her she is fine,” Rashoud held her hand up in front of of Abel's face three fingers folded under, “how many fingers am I holding up?” The main lights blinked and came on the emergency lights switching off. Someone mentioned the power was coming back all over town. Abel tried to read the minds of those around him to find out what was going on but nothing happened. He looked back at the fingers “Two. I can't read.. I feel.” “Don't worry Abel it is just temporary. You will be fine. You node is active and you are recharging it will just take a little while.” “What...what happened?” he felt drained weak, his voice a croak. He registered pain in his chest. “You did something stupid. Sara said you tried some sort of mind scanning trick and that it back fired. What ever it was caused a blackout over half of the town and well, to put it bluntly, it killed you. Your heart stopped. Abel for almost a minute.” He lifted his hand to his chest but Rashoud stopped him. “That will fade too it is where they used the defibrillator. What were you thinking? Did you think Sara's problem is mental, that she shut her node off subconsciously?. She held a cup of water up for him a straw stretching to his lips. He sucked in the cold electrolyte infused water. “Something like that Doctor.” He looked away. “Something like that.”
  9. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    "Super Sayan Ronin!" Three months had passed and every day Devin was out with Apollo on the various uninhabited islands of French Polynesia training. For three months Quantum Enhanced Humans had been outed and the world had developed into a strange mixture of peace and absolute chaos. On one hand the world seemed to have embraced the Keys, while the rest of the world seemed to be not taking their arrival into the public spotlight all that well. You couldn't watch the news without seeing Keys being the top story of the evening or midday, or, whenever. Ronin didn't pay the outside world any mind. His focus was on training and Apollo was working him like he was thirty million years old as well and had the stamina of a god. Still, he endured and showed up to his lesson everyday. They needed a separate isle to train on, unlike Charlie, Ronin was on a level of power that Charlie hadn't quite reached yet. When these two sparred, they shook the earth, tore through vegetation, and leveled mountains. The others usually kept their distance in a yacht off shore watching with binoculars. Being close to them in a battle was not a good idea. Apollo stood on the sands of the beach, he was massive, almost a mountain himself. He wore simple white linen pants common among the people in the tropical islands. The dark skinned man was the picture of human perfection, not needing body fat to sustain himself he discarded it from his avatar form a long time ago. Hitting him was like hitting a bank vault door. His hands were almost the size of Ronin's head and the fact that he has almost foot over the teenage rebel was not something that gave Ronin the advantage. Ronin stood much like Apollo, no shirt and toned with thick corded muscles. His lean, gymnast's frame gave him a small Bruce Lee build compared to Apollo's unstoppable mountain of a man physique. He was in black, flowing linen pants it contrast to Apollo's white. “You claim to control Space and the distances therein.” Apollo said calmly. “Yeah, I can teleport. Distance isn't a factor to me.” Ronin replied, continuing a few preparatory stretches that he really didn't need. “I can slow it down and reach speeds that are nothing but a blur, human eyes can't even follow me. Chances are yours couldn't either.” Apollo smirked. “That a fact?” “Dunno, not sure how keen your vision is,” without warning Ronin took off and the sands of the beach split like a 'V' in his wake. When he moved this fast the world seemed to slow to a crawl, his perceptions opened up to a realm where he could keep up with everything while he moved at such extreme velocities. To the world around him, time had stopped. He smirked and prepared an attack, ending this battle before Apollo had the opportunity to strike first. His smirk fell to a frown as he watched Apollo's eyes slowly move towards his trajectory, in the small fragments of time that science hadn't even found a measurement for, Apollo was perceiving him without even moving! That pause of astonishment was Ronin's first mistake. With a loud 'smack' Apollo's open hand gripped him by the face, palming his head and face in a single monstrously strong grip. Ronin's body tried to keep moving and he swung forward like clothes on the line in the summer sun before Apollo introduced him to the ground in a thunderous shockwave that left Ronin the sole occupant of a crater once the explosive impact of sand had subsided. “Too slow.” Apollo mocked him. Ronin stood up, wobbly, as everyone out on the boat winced on his behalf. Pandora, of course, didn't need vision enhancements. She smiled and folded her arms. If there was one thing she knew about Ronin, he did his best work when he was enraged and wasn't thinking clearly. “No one is faster than me,” Ronin boasted in a weak tone as he spit a wad of blood into the sand. The god clasped his hands behind his back and walked around the crater. “My mind processes billions of equations in units of time you don't even have a word for yet. I didn't move faster, I did math. Ronin, plus speed plus trajectory... you get the idea. I didn't move faster, I estimated where you would be and counter attacked. I've been in more battles than there are stars it seems, boy. Stop trying to win and start thinking.” Ronin pursed his lips and was off like a shot, his speed kicked up the sand again and in a volley of attacks he and Apollo were in full kung fu mode. Their fists and feet moved at speeds that would have snapped human bone even before it hit the target. Punches broke the sound barrier and each and every movement thundered with the sounds of explosions complete with shifting sands, shaking trees... and one rocking yacht. It was known that the 'gods' couldn't teleport, but Ronin knew they were so damn fast, they didn't need to. Apollo's movements were so precise and calculated that he could block attacks from angles Ronin didn't even think possible. He was a purple blur around the god, the more power he exerted the more visible his power became. Speed and teleportation allowed him to strike Apollo from every angle, and on some occasions all angles simultaneously! Apollo blocked every attack. Pandora smirked as she noticed that Apollo, while he'd turned to face his attacker on multiple occasions, he'd not actually taken a single step outside of the small area he'd begun in. Ronin couldn't budge him. Ending the volley Ronin threw a final blow and Apollo raised his arms up in an 'X' to block the blow. The impact pushed Ronin backwards and he slid back in the sand thirty or more feet, his arm still extended in a punch. Apollo braced himself and still, hadn't moved an inch. “Well, at least you have your razor wit to fall back on.” Apollo mocked him again, looking and sounding positively unimpressed. Ronin purple anima faded and flickered out. “What do you want from me, dude? I'm giving you all I have. You're a GOD, I can't hurt a god.” “And that is why you fail.” The god popped his neck from side to side, cracking cartilage with ominous popping sounds. Ronin's eyes went wide and he looked at the divine warrior in astonishment. “D-did you just Yoda me? You did not just Yoda me... oh, oh ho... it's on. Bring it on Bitchtits, I'ma smack the black off you.” He made the first move again, dashing forward at breakneck speeds and throwing the first punch. Apollo caught his wrist effortlessly and positioned himself to brace for the next attack that would come via teleportation. Ronin didn't teleport though, he simply used his momentum to swing up and behind Apollo delivering a solid knee to the back of his head. Apollo let go of his hand and then Ronin ported away, grinning as he saw Apollo do something he'd not done during a training session in many millennia: he took a step to catch his balance. If he was impressed, he didn't show it. “Good. Now, you claim to be the master of space, yet you are locked in only two dimensions. Not much of a master. You control the very power of the Void, Ronin. Why do you waste your time with these simple direct approaches?” “I can move in any direction I want, I teleport, Apollo.” “Then you fall.” He said simply. “A master of space is locked in whatever space he chooses. Come, your next lesson.” Apollo rose into the air as gravity effortlessly freed him from its grasp. “Dick move, dude.” Ronin protested, shaking his head and sighing. “Dick move.” Apollo chuckled. “Give up if that's what you want, there's still plenty of black left on me, boy.” The god blocked the first attack, smirking as gravity claimed Ronin, causing him to teleport again, in predictable patterns. This went on for minutes ending with Ronin on the beach, tired and looking up at Apollo. “There's no way, that's cheating!” Tease protested, looking through her binoculars. “Devin can't hit him while he's in the air.” “Trust in Apollo, child.” Pandora rested her hand on Mari's shoulder to comfort her while her bother received a beating. “Achilles learned from Chirion, Chirion learned from Apollo. Take heart that he knows what he's doing.” “Come, boy, you're starting to bore me.” Apollo mocked him from the air. “Master space, or concede defeat.” Ronin leapt towards Apollo who simply shifted to the right and punched him so hard he flew back to the earth, slamming into the sand with a geyser of sand as an exclamation. Again he leapt up and again he was swatted down. He teleported behind Apollo but in the three dimensions of the sky evasion was a simple trick of upwards and downwards now, not just left and right. He caught Ronin's leg as the kick he launched missed and with a spiral of movement hurled him to the ground below. Moments before Ronin hit a portal irised open and swallowed him, the other end was above Apollo and it spat him out, landing him on the god's back. He couldn't see the god's expression, but had he been able to he would have seen the surprise in his expression. “Cunning, I'll give you that.” His opponent spiraled around in the sky, moving in all directions in an attempts to shake the young man off him, but Ronin's grip was vice-like. “Yeah, I'm full of surprises.” He mocked back at Apollo now, not quite sure what he was going to do now that he had a hold on the Sun God. “I'm not. Like you, I'm pretty direct.” He launched himself backward, towards the only small mountain on the island. Being only five by five miles, the island was pretty small but had plenty of trees and rocks, and even a small mountain jutting from its surface. The very mountain that Apollo launched himself into, back first. A circular indent appeared on the mountains surface as the stone cracked on all sides, veining out from the center. Ronin held his grip. The god slammed against the mountain again, and again. “He's going to kill him!” Tease shouted. “Apollo! Stop!” Ronin coughed up some blood, spattering droplets on the back of Apollo's neck. Still, he held tight. The god may have been impressed with the boy's tenacity, but it wasn't accomplishing much. He needed the boy to learn, and learn fast. His brethren were on the way and he needed warriors up to par. “Perhaps your sister will fare better. At least she can admit she's fake. All illusions and lies. You claim to have mastered something yet all you show me are tricks. Now, I'm bored.” Like he was nothing more than a child Apollo plucked Ronin from his back, forcing him to let go or tear his own arms off, and cast him to the earth like... well, a vengeful god. Ronin hit the ground, slamming through trees with enough force to break each one save the last few he bounced from as he cascaded to the earth, leaving a small trench that served to slow his decent. As he recovered Apollo slowly descended to the ground like some super hero from a comic. “Where's that glow, boy? Doesn't matter, I've wasted enough time on you. Consider yourself honored. Because of your obsession with power I shall grant you a boon. I will show you true power before I end this. You, Ronin, are not worthy.” His body flared with light and he became as incandescent as the sun. Ronin had to shield his eyes as from the light and the heat was... intense. His skin was as black as obsidian as a corona of sunlight surrounded him. He moved forward with speed and grace due only to a god and slammed a fist into Ronin's gut. He cried out in pain, coughing as air left his lungs he struggled to grasp the air that was his life. He plucked up the Key like he was a feather and hurled him through the air. Ronin slammed a tree, breaking the trunk and it fell over with a loud creaking complaint. He took a knee, gasping for breath, but knew he didn't have much time before Apollo would follow up his attack. He looked to his right and eyes the trunk of the tree lying on the ground. He gripped and swung with all his might. It came to a dead stop at the command of Apollo's grasping hand. “Here, allow me.” From the yacht they could see the tree rising and falling above the treeline like crazed farmer's wife swatting at mice with a broom. The thunderous smashing sounds echoed through the horizon. The god tossed the tree aside. Ronin was nothing but a broken heap in long canal of impacts from the tree. “Trouble teleporting, boy? I've canceled your ability to... 'jaunt' as you put it. It bores me. Your portals will not function either, and,” he chuckled. “Doesn't look like you're in any shape to run. It's just you and me. No escape. How do you human's put it? Time to man up.” Ronin swiftly rolled out of the way as Apollo's fist smashed into the ground. He swung again and again with Ronin now on his feet he swayed and dodged each as they came, he wasn't bad on the offensive, but he couldn't do it forever. Apollo came on strong, swinging wide letting Ronin know that next hit could possibly kill him. The tightly spaced trees served as no protection. Trunks splintered and barely impeded the arc of his swings as he tore through the foliage to get to his failed student. He swayed and dodged, but finally Apollo caught him with an upper cut that sent him flying high into the sky. With god-like speed Apollo was waiting for him at the peak of his ascent and with a disappointed look slammed him to the earth with a powerful blow capable of rendering bones to powder. “Pathetic. Die now, and stop wasting my time.” He spiraled towards the earth and saw the beach rising up to him through bruised eyes and injured pride. He fell, and the breeze of the decent was almost enjoyable as a part of him, at this point, was simply ready to give in. His perceptions caught the words Apollo had spoken and with nothing more than a thought his decent ceased. “Woah,” Charlie commented softly. “He stopped.” “Great, now he's flying. He's going to be insufferable.” Tease commented while rolling her eyes. “We may need to move the yacht back a bit.” Pandora held out her hand the yacht began slowly moving away from the island even further. “The greatest epiphanies of power are gained in moments of... distress.” Charlie sighed. “That can't be good. Your brother is already less than stable.” Tease didn't say anything to him, still refusing to speak to him after three months. Slowly Ronin rose up, his body evening out to where he was upright as he floated up to meet Apollo. Patiently Apollo watched him, smirking as his student rose to him, having mastered three dimensional movement. What happened next, he hadn't planned on. The icy glare of Ronin rose up and locked on Apollo with death-like intent. “Well, do-” “Did you just command me?” Ronin cut him off, his face locked in a scowl. “I don't take orders, not from the military, and especially not from any 'god'.” Apollo saw the murder in his eyes, a sight he'd learned well in his long years of existence. “Ronin, you've done well, don't take any of this person-” The blow came faster than anything Ronin had ever thrown before. Apollo's head jerked to the left from the impact. Another, then another. Apollo defended himself as best he could but the whatever he triggered in Ronin the boy had increased his speed several times over. They battled in the sky, head to head they were incredibly skilled, their attacks slamming into each other and the impacts echoing throughout the in sonic booms and circular air currents. Then the anima returned. The harder Ronin battled the purple anima sparked across his frame as he tapped into that inner strength and dormant power. Apollo could have crushed the boy anytime, sure, but he was impressed with the power and speed the boy had gained in a simple lesson of 'fight or die'. He humored the boy, keeping his power at only a little above what Ronin was capable of, but still the boy was getting faster and faster. Perhaps Ronin was right, perhaps his, and the power of all humans, was limitless. Ronin's last blow knocked him backwards against the large mountain, not far from the crater Apollo had made with Ronin not long ago. “I will learn. I will defeat any and all in my way,” Ronin said with evil in his eyes. “I was clear, Apollo. I don't serve. You don't order me to do anything, least of which,” his eyes exploded into purple energy as his anima exploded and flared to a new intensity of power and brightness. He held out his hands where black orbs where speckled white dots of the infinite cosmos twinkled within. He'd mastered three dimensional movement it seemed... and something more. He swayed to his left, clutching the two orbs together until they fused into one largest orb. “Die.” In Street Fighter flair he thrust his palms out and the orb generated a pure blast of gravitic force that contained all the cold, crushing fury of a black hole. The blast slammed into Apollo threatening the god with utter extinction were his defenses not honed to perfection through millions of years of existence. It tore into him, pushing him into the mountain, but also tearing at him in all directions at once. The blast extended three feet taller than Ronin stood and three feet lower than stood, nearly ten feet in all directions forward in the blackened beam that projected the stars of the cosmos within it were consumed by Ronin's defiant pride. The mountain was gone, at least, a large portion of it. Apollo hovered there, but he was far from unscathed. For the first time in time immemorial, he'd actually felt something from an attack. Perhaps there was hope for these humans, yet. Ronin met his gaze and scowled still. “I'll die when I'm damn good and ready.” Apollo smiled, dropping his avatar form he faded back into the appearance of an average human. He smiled wide and clapped his hands three times. “Today's lesson is concluded. Well done, Ronin.”
  10. OOC Thread for AWS Discussion

    I was. Need some time to finish it up. Been chipping away at it.
  11. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    Quantum-Fractal Computing - Quanputer/Q-puter "Okay, what am I looking at?" General Pryor demanded. "Why does it look like the Irregulars are in Lord of the Rings? When did you guys have time to film this? It looks exactly like the movies." Sean smirked. "We didn't. Neural Networking and a far more powerful computer let me replace the original characters with us. If I spent the time to be a little more hands on or give the proxy program more time to develop and gave it the proper directives, I could have reworked the dialogue and action as well." She waved a glassy, black device the size of a typical smartphone, drawing attention away from the monitor. "This has roughly as much computing power as nearly every classic computer on base right now. Admittedly, the programs it can run also take a great deal more processing power, but what it has left over can give a Cray Jaguar a run for its money." "That's super cool and all," Lilly said, "But why did you cast Devin as Gollum?" Sean gave Lilly a level look with a faint twist to her lips. "It fits, and I'm still pissed at him for the way he handled things with Laurie." Description: An evolutionary leap in computing, Quantum-Fractal Computers are magnitudes more powerful and efficient than classical computers. Qbits are represented by Bloch-spheres, which use Quantum Gates and Algorithms organized in Fractal patterns, which largely solves the problems of scaling and quantum decoherence, as well as making them very stable systems. The coding in Quantum-Fractal Computers also possess a strange, artistic beauty of their own. Built largely on a nanoscale and solid-state hardware made of AMP Glass and Key-M3 cells, Quantum-Fractal Computer are very durable and longlasting and don't suffer from heating/cooling issues or the build up of particulate matter. The design does mean replacing hardware components does take far more specialized tools and training, however. The efficiency and processing power of Quantum-Fractal Computers are largely necessary for most, if not all, of Savant's inventions and technology, and are used for practical holography. Some can operate with more standard fare, at a lesser degree. Practically invulnerable to intrusion by classical computers, Quantum-Fractal Computers can make partitions and simulate classical computing structure to interact with them. Applications: Innumerable; Holographic displays and entertainment -Typical Q-Puters provide +2 Dice on associated rolls and the difficulty to hack such computers or use powers such as Cyberkinesis is increased by 4 Large memory storage and retrieval (LAMSTAR) deep learning neural network - Proxy Programs Description: Advanced, semi-autonomous artificial neural network programs that can be programmed and trained for a wide variety of purposes. Simplified versions are used on household appliances, others can be used to automate vehicles or industrial machines. They can operate as Persona Assistants or assist human operators in their tasks, just as tailoring education to specific students with human oversight, aid in medical research and review, enable more precise and swift IRS audits, track trading patterns, can fashion artificial actors/entertainers in some capacity. Proxy Programs be used in innumerable fields, mostly to speed and simplify human endeavors. Applications: Innumerable -For game mechanics, use the Agent Programs (with variable statistics) from Aeon Trinity Rosetta Savant: A program that allows for real time translation of audio and visual media, with a much higher degree of fidelity than current programs. The IQ Test Jimmy Falon – And our next guest is in the news well some of the news, if your into science stuff, and with the way the world is these days, who isn't! Please welcome Dr. Indra Rashoud! [applause as a short older woman handsome but not pretty, of middle eastern decent walks onto the stage and takes a seat. She looks a bit unsure of herself] Falon – It's a pleasure to have you here Doctor. So tell me how does and Iranian-American... Rashoud – Just American. Falon – Pardon? Rashoud – Just American I don't hyphenate. My grand parents and Parents were Iranian, My parents were naturalized and I was born here to two full citizens. I am an American. Falon – Ah yeah Okay, Apologies. Umm. So how did you get involved with the Keys? Rashoud – You mean the Quantum Enhanced Humans. I was doing research when the first QEH were discovered by Project Stepping Stone. My specialties are in Bio- Engineering and Genetic Mutation I am one of the leaders in the field world wide so I was consulted along with my colleague Docor Mizuki Jiro. Together We discovered the Node which makes it possible for Quantum enhancement. Falon – Is the the same Dr Mizuki whose daughter is also one of the Irregulars? Rashoud – Yes. Falon [seems a little out of sorts by his guest super straight answers] Wow, guess that keeping it in the family. Rashoud [sits waiting for a question] Falon [ looks around then back at Rashoud] Okay So you work with the Irregulars on a regular basis? Rashoud – Some of them Yes. Savant, Sage, and Archangel... Falon – Who the fans have dubbed Doctor Angel cause he is really in the news with new medical treatments and discoveries. So Doctor what's it like working with people who are so incredible much smarter than everyone else on the planet? Rashoud [tilts her head and gives Falon a look that says your an idiot] Well, first of all, they are not smart than everyone. Their enhancement allows them to process information and data at a much greater speed and efficiency. But it doesn't mean that they are smarter. [Falon looks at the audience and raises his eyebrows] After all information and data are the same regardless. Falon – Oh come on Doc, Sage and Savant have been pumping out new inventions and refinements of old gizmos faster than bunnies have babies. [He glances at a card] 127 patents filed in the 3 months their super thinktank company has been in existence. Seems pretty smart to me. [Rashoud looks on in Uncomfortable silence] [Commercial break] Nanotech Multitool - Savant Multitool The silvery rings on Sean's left hand seemed to melt and flow down her long elegant fingers, forming gleaming tips that to point that vanished from sight. But not hers - focusing her eyes, Sean could resolve the tendrils of the micro-manipulators as she bent over to repair the nano-circuitry on the malfunctioning SLAM-Q reactor. Description: A mass of re-configurable nano-machines, derived from study of T'tauri tech, a nanotech multitool often takes the base appearance of a bracelet/cuff, a series of rings, a glove, or a block of apparent metal the size of a Swiss Army Knife. Activated by voice command, holographic projected display, or linked to a minicomp, the multitool can shift into a large variable to programmed tools to aid in a variety of tasks. Applications: Many, mainly as a universal tool for many tasks. Savant Multitool: Counts as necessary tools/equipment for most Engineering, Intrusion, Medicine, and Arts tasks, as well as certain Survival tasks. Provides +2 Dice on appropriate rolls. Can also be formed into a simple weapon that adds +2 Dice to Damage Rolls, and changes Damage to Lethal (equivalent to a knife) Let's Do Brunch Mid morning in San Francisco, The Ramp on the bay. Not the most elegant nor prestigious eatery in the city but one that was always busy and had affordable(for the locale) good food. The two beings sitting at the table closest to the rail overlooking the piers and the bay were drawing a few looks but not as many as they would have a few months ago. Strange how the novelty wore off so quickly. G'rree'k, a T'tauri, was on his third burger while his taller companion Lodd, who was one of Guatal Feem who had come to the city recently for the exchange, was sampling pretty much everything the restaurant had on it's menu. “So you guys really don't get any nutritional value what so ever from anything here on earth?” The shorter of the two ask the taller. “None, all hollow calories, but by the enumerator the flavors, Apelon has a singular biome and aside from the addition of artificial flavorings our food is somewhat...unimpressive.” the alien picks up his glass and sucks the straw for a long time. “And we would never have thought of adding flavor to water and carbonation. These humans are genius.” G'rree'k nodded, “They are something that's for sure.” After the announcement that the United States had an alliance with a star-faring nation known as the T'tauri, thos beings had elected to open a diplomatic mission and insisted that it be in San Francisco. After contacting the Guatal Feem they also opted to open a mission and exchange in the City by the Bay. For the last several months members of the two non human species had become a common sight in and around the city. “I guess we had better get down to business,” said Lodd pushing his plates to the side, “The science council is very interested in your matter conversion transporters...”
  12. OOC Thread for AWS Discussion

    dave were you going to do a tease entry?
  13. OOC Thread for AWS Discussion

    Postez mes minions, postez! J'attends des centaines de messages à mon retour! ... ... FRENCH POAST!
  14. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    Superfluid Liquid Argon Magnetic Kinetic Reactor - SLAM-K Reactor Sean finished connecting the new engine to Little Bigfoot. She reached around and pressed the start button beside the steering wheel. A barely perceptible - well, barely perceptible to any but her and others with comparable sensory acuity - hum filled the air, and a soft lavender glow emanated from the open hood of the custom vehicle. Lilly peered inside, seeing a circle of flowing, glowing purple liquid contained by the smooth, futuristic looking engine that looked like it belong on a spaceship rather than anything terrestrial. "So, what kind of mileage does this thing get?" "Indefinite." "Indefinite?" "Close enough. I can hook you up, if you like," Sean claimed with satisfaction, closing the hood and rapping it with her knuckles. "The wheels will completely wear out before the reactor will have to be serviced. Which reminds me, I need to develop longer lasting tires, maybe airless... " Description: A reactor that harnesses the kinetic energy inherent in a superfluid, its endless rotation propagated magnetically. Argon is almost entirely chemically inert, and as a superfluid in the reactor, it both creates and stores the energy. Intrinsic to the design, while a SLAM-K reactor could power a destructive device, in itself, the reactor can't suffer a critical overload, instead simply dissipating the energy almost entirely harmlessly. It also fluoresces a pretty lavender colour. Applications: Power source for a variety of devices, especially vehicles, satellites, and other items that don't have ready access to being recharged otherwise. Yes, You Can Get There From Here Watching a person just like yourself step into a floating mirrored disc in New York City and in less time than it takes to blink, step out again in London or Tokyo was amazing. What was more amazing was doing it yourself. Jason Sellers and his best friend, Pete, stood in line waiting their turn Jase, as his friends called him had won a lottery for a three day Portal Tour and today was the day. First would be a stop over in London for Lunch then a quick walk back to the station and astep through to Paris for shopping and a night in the City of Lights, The next day Berlin and Moscow and a night in Tokyo. The final day would see them stepping through to Sidney, Buenos Aires and Los Angeles before arriving back in New York.. Cheap Virtually instantaneous travel to the far reaches of the globe given free of charge to the government of the world. It is estimated that the Portal system will link every major city on the planet to central hubs by the end of next year. Within another two years when the newly developed Quantum Fusion reactors are supposed to be made available worldwide, even the smallest cities and towns will have access to one or more portals. Could be bad news for the airline industry. Talent Scout Abel Flew through the sky, Approaching Mt. Rainier, doing something he very seldom allowed himself to do. He opened his mind to the world, search for someone. It wasn't that the task was hard, he was easily among the top Telepaths in the world, but saying that he was hunting for someone specific, or at least with a certain set of abilities. Given that there were more new Keys showing up, It was an expanding search, but still there were not so many as he couldn't count them. Recently, Jaunt, now calling himself Ronin, had left the team, hellbent on pursuing his own idea of how the world should be. As opposed to reverse engineering the alien teleportation technology, something he wanted to do, but had put it at lower priority than the join research being conducted with Sean. Instead Abel opted to Search out another nova with at least somewhat similar abilities to Ronin, To replace his powerset. It was a cold, clinical way to look at things, but all the same it was the truth. They needed someone who could facilitate rapid transport anywhere in the world to better respond to any threats that would crop up. Money was no issue, Given the research and arrangements already in place, but Abel had wanted a way to recruit new Keys without making them beholden to the government, which could change. To that end, he'd proposed Irregular Solutions to Sean initially and later the others, so that they could officially liscense technology, and recruit and nuture new Keys. There were only a handful with the powerset Abel wanted, mostly as he wanted a way to transport groups of people at once, as opposed to one at a time. The young man's name was James Henry Harrison, a sixteen year old only child. His Father was a Captain in the Air Force, having served mostly in the Pacific Theater before finally his current posting at McChord AFB in Tacoma. His mother was a nurse, and had dutifully moved with her husband through each of his postings. James was their only child together, and had grown up to be a fine young man, though he was afflicted with a certain wanderlust. He wasn't happy being in one place too long, loving Nature. He loved the outdoors, fishing, camping hiking, They were all passions of his. His manifestation as a key was an extension of this, and his personality. Always known to be lucky, he became even moreso, and to some extent was even able to alter probabilities in his favor. The Potential of such ability was immeasurable, but it was his ability to create stable portal connecting virtually any two points on the globe at once that drew Abel directly. Certainly this new power allowed him to go anywhere, to be anywhere, satisfying his wanderlust in a way that would never have been possible for a normal human. His ability to perceive the world had been expanded as well, as Abel knew from reading his memories. Abel had done a detailed scan of the young man, a small part hating invading his privacy, but at the same time he needed to know if he could be trusted. He could feel eyes upon him, and saw himself through James' eyes. With that he ceased his mind reading, and descended to where James had set up camp. "Good morning." Abel smiled as his feet touched the ground, inwardly impressed by the fact James seemed at ease. "You're Sage, one of the Irregulars that the President Introduced." James was shorter than Abel, several inches under six feet, but he was a bit younger too. He had brown hair which he kept cut short, and his eyes were a rich dark brown color. Like Abel, he was clean-shaven, and carried himself with a relaxed, but not slouched posture. Abel simply nodded. "I am, though when not in the field on a mission, I go by my given name, Abel. Feel free to use that. We're not that far apart in age." James gave him a nod, still somewhat in shock at such a visitor. "Fair enough Abel, I'm James, though I wager you already knew that." He gave Abel a knowing smile, and continued. "I guess I'll get to the point, what about me merits the attention of One of the Irregulars? I've not done anything wrong, really, aside violate some borders. Why are you here?" Abel took in the view looking towards Tacoma for a moment before turning to him again and nodding. "So long as you do no harm on your excursions, I see no reason for them to really be an issue. As to my reasons for being here, I'll be blunt as well. I, well, we, the Irregulars, could use your help. I know you have the ability to create stable portals between two points on the globe, and that's something that will greatly help us in our peacekeeping efforts, as well as emergency response. I believe you to be a reasonable young man, and that to show how sincere I am, a personal visit is warranted. " "That's pretty honest. Aren't you worried I'd try to jack up my fees with such honesty?" It was a fair question and one Abel had already thought of, and was sure he'd be asked by more than James. Still, he already knew none of those he was planning a personal visit to would do this, so Abel shook his head. "You're not that kind of person, and at the same time you're curious. Yes you have powers that are special, but you are more than your powers. If I thought you to simply be out for money, I'd have gone elsewhere. I need someone who aspires to more. That's you." "Well said but how exactly can you be sure, what's more, what's in this for you?" James asked, his tone abit sharper, hinting at a teenager's innate skepticism. "You come to work with me, and by extension the Irregulars. We'll help you develop and master your powers, and at the same time, lend us your powers when we're asked to undertake missions for the betterment and preservation of the world. " Every word Abel said was true, and to be honest, this was good because Abel wasn't the best at lying. mostly if he didn't think someone needed to know something, he just didn't tell them. "That sounds like it would work well for both of us, but I gotta tell you, though i grew up a military brat, I'm not cut out for it myself." It was said with typical teenage rebelliousness against authority, which Abel understood. "I'm not asking you to go on missions, just to facilitate our transport. I want that to be clear. Of course, if you choose to go on those missions, I'll see that you're compensated for the danger, but it's not something I plan to ask of you. You're the first of the Keys, as we are called, I am looking to recruit as it were. Not everyone is on the same level, but that doesn't matter as much as you might think. It's not just what you can do, right now that's important. I didn't start with the power I have now. You, all of us Keys, have so much more potential than you can imagine. I choose to invest in that potential, to nurture it if you will, to believe in all of us." There was a touch of idealism in Abel's voice, a quiet surety in his words. "So what I can do now is only the beginning?" James seemed to be somewhat impressed. Abel knew then that he would agree. The knowledge that there was so much more possibility out there for the keys was an incredible lure, and the ability to pursue it at a pace he set himself, well that was icing on the cake. Abel chuckled softly. "It's the tip of the iceberg James. I am not kidding when I tell you that our potential is nearly without limit. Training and hard work will open many new doors to you, and monetarily, well you'll be well compensated, enough to fund your excursions however you wish. All I really ask is that when I call, you're ready to answer." James looked at Abel, holding his gaze. He anticipated what would come next. "Can I ask you something Abel?" The elder Key nodded, knowing the question without his powers. "How do you know so much about me?" Abel sighed, and then his eyes narrowed. James heard Abel's response clearly, though his mouth didn't move. I know you because the power I manifested with is Telepathy James. A multitude of thoughts went through James' mind, and Abel weathered them all, and smiled. "Just as some cannot turn off their enhanced reactions, durability, strength, or perceptive enhancement, I too have been unable to turn it off until recently. Understand I don't go prowling like some voyeur, or pervert, It is simply how my mind has functioned since my own manifestation." They sat there for a bit, neither of them speaking, and to be honest, Abel wasn't reading his mind. He'd mastered his power, and no longer did he read minds constantly. James in that time seemed to come to a decision, though he'd never taken his gaze from Abel. "Okay, I'm in." Abel looked at him, a thin smile on his face but not showing a hint of shock, obviously James had more to say. "You could have lied to me, told me anything else, and I'd have probably believed you all the same, but you just told me the truth. You clearly weren't reading my mind just then, not that I'd know it, but you'd have reacted I'm sure. More than that, you trusted me enough to tell the truth." Abel nodded. "It isn't good policy to lie to someone you're trying to both recruit and befriend. The first step is often an act of unrequited commitment, an act of trust. I know you to be worthy of such." If Abel hadn't known better, he'd have sworn James was blushing abit at his praise. "Alright man, we can hammer out the details over lunch. I imagine you've got some sort of training area and headquarters?" James seemed to be acting his age now, abit excited about the new prospects open to him now. Abel nodded. "Yeah, in Montana. I'll give you the location so you can swing by. You should be able to meet everyone for a round of introductions. Nothing all that formal, As I'm sure you'll want to talk this over with your parents. I can give you a day or two to arrange it if you like, and I'll meet with them, explaining things, as you are technically still a minor. I do ask one thing, Do not reveal the nature of my powers to anyone. I'm not ashamed of them, but at the same time, I don't want to risk gross overreaction from others over something like that." James gave him a smile. "Yeah, that sounds good Abel, it's a deal." He reached out his hand which Abel took, sealing the deal with a handshake. After a chat, Abel excused himself, having exchanged contact information with James, and doing a minor upgrade to his phone. "This will let me reach you, or you reach me, anywhere. " James smiled, and looked up as Abel began to rise into the sky. "Thanks alot Abel, for believing in me." Abel smiled back, he could see that his words had touched something in James, giving him hope for future successes.. "This is only the beginning James." With that he flew off, the blue aura of his telekinetic power surrounding him. James stood there watching him go as long as he could, and he swore he could still feel the tingle from the handshake of perhaps the most handsome man he'd ever seen. It was confusing, but all he knew was that he wanted to help Abel, to make things better.
  15. Aberrant Project 8 - THE VIGNETTES

    Copyright Infringement? The frame shook as the cameraman shouted and laughed trying to keep the shot on the burly young man slashing three one foot super sharp claws through the junked land rover rusting in the middle of the junk yard. Whelps and catcalls from the other kids present. “That just like fuckin wolverine” came a female voice with a strong Australian accent somewhere out of the camera eye. They Kid with the claws bounded around whooping and hollering cutting up the wrecked cars with obvious glee “That's right! That's Right! I'm the fookin Wolverine! WOO HOOOO!" he shouted also with that easily recognizable accent as he danced around like an idiot. Really? You've Never Read a Lesbian Romance? She felt the eyes. No one had spoken to her, but they all stared, whispered. She hadn't been there on the TV with the Others. But she had sat at their Table, Dated Her. Was she like them? If so why was she here? She heard the whispers but not well enough to know what they said. Not any more. Sara Hutchins shut her locker, and glared back up the hallway catching several kids hastily looking away from her. It was her first day back at school, and she already considered it a mistake. Like everything else. The big reveal had taken place only four days ago. The Irregulars, four really beautiful teens and a goddess, all spiffy looking standing with the President on a stage. The band played, speeches were made, Abel and Alec had flown for the cameras, and within ten minutes Sean had been on the cover of every digital magazine and news service and her image had been re-posted a gazillion times. Sara had cried. While their names hadn't been mentioned it hadn't taken the media long in identifying the Irregulars through those images. Yeah the world had changed and so had Shelly. It seemed that with the Irregulars being revealed to the world a fog had been lifted which had kept Shelly in a perpetual haze for the last four or five months. Chaos had reigned for the next day as Parents realized that their kids had been going to school with super people and had been exposed to god knows what. In short order it was apparent that the Irregulars wouldn't be returning to Shelly High. The same with Courtney and her little group except they were outed by their other school friends. Yeah the Irregulars wouldn't be back at school, but Sara decided to go back. She had gone into the base to meet with Dr. Rashoud and have more tests run. She wasn't super anymore, and as far as the doctor could tell her node had gone completely dormant even though it was still absorbing the Quantum energy which came in contact with her and that energy was simply disappearing. With that being the case Dr Rashoud didn't believe that her powers would return. Sara was a normal baseline again every vestige of the previous changes gone as if they had never been. Sara had nothing else left but school. Ironic since she was the one who had wanted to quit but now she needed that diploma. She could have Ged'd it, but she didn't want to do it that way. She felt, no needed to take back some of the dignity she had lost and this was how she was going to do that. Sara walked through the hall passed the other kids she was going to her stoop outside the west fire exit. She paused when she got to Sean's old locker. Her heart skipped a beat her chest grew tight. Sean had become the face of the Irregulars, of the Keys in general really. And Sara had done her best to avoid her, not easy when her picture was everywhere you looked. Sean had been busy for the a couple of days and hadn't been able to see Sara or talk to her since she didn't answer her pone and hadn't returned texts. So when she got a chance and was back in Shelly Sunday evening she had drove to the Hutchins home. The Sheriff answered the door. He looked at Sean when he answered the door. anger flashed across his features immediately replaced by a look Resignation. “She don't want to see you. But I think I'm just gonna go see about getting a burger at Bunnies.” Sheriff Hutchins reached up and took his hat from the hook beside the door and slipped by Sean leaving he door open in front of her. Sean could hear the soft chords of a guitar. They were sad, hesitant. She entered the house and went to Sara's room. Sara sucked in her breath when she heard the knock on her bedroom door. Dad would have just called out so it had to be her. "Come in." She said softly her hart palpitating at the thought of seeing her. The door opened and Sara had to do every thing in her power to not jump up and rush to Sean. Sara was sitting cross-legged on the bed the guitar balanced on her lap an full ashtray off to her right only a nudge away from falling to the floor, the room reeked of cigarette smoke. Sean stopped in the doorway, she could see the longing in Sara's eyes, but her posture was defensive almost skittish. Sean leaned back against the wall next to the bedroom door, crossing her arms under her breasts. Even powered down, she could see the reticence in Sara's posture despite the longing in her eyes. A longing reflected in her own. Glancing around the room, she couldn't stop her lips from tightening at the sight of the ashtray. Lacking what she had once had, Sean felt a stab of melancholy that Sara had returned to old habits. "I've missed you, Sara," Sean admitted simply. Dressed casually in jeans and a video game shirt - though one tailored for her contours rather than squeezing into one of her old one - Sean looked like a slumming supermodel rather than the veritable goddess appearing in all streams of media. Even her voice was the one Sara remember Sean having as boy, if richer and more mature. It wasn't a strong urge, but Sean still felt a stab of guilt at considering releasing her hold on her Node. A word, a glance, and she'd be able to pull Sara out of her self-pitying funk... and it wouldn't solve anything, just hide the underlying issue. This was something Sara was going to have to work through in the meantime. "Everyone wants to talk with me now," Sean said with a wry twist to her lips. Little of what most people wanted to talk with her about was of any relevance. "When your voice is the one I want to hear." Sean huffed, blowing a lock of hair from her face, as she uncrossed her arms and strode across the room as nudged the ashtray back from the edge of the side-table - it had been bothering her as soon as she had seen it. She pretended not to notice how Sara had flinched and drawn back before she could stop herself. "I understand, Sara, I do. I think I do." Sean spun the desk chair around - hiding the flash of hurt in her eyes - and straddled it, resting her arms on the back. "Give me time, babe. I'll figure out what's happening, I promise. And then... then we can determine where to go from there." “God Sean,” Sara said looking away her eyes brimming with the tears she refused to shed. “There isn't anywhere to go from here. I'm normal again and Rashoud says my node is dead. With out a node I can never get it back.” She stands and faces Sean. “I'm sorry Sean but look at you, just to come see me you have to cut yourself off. How long can you do that. How long until you start resenting the time away from who you really are. Time you could be doing your inventing your super smart whatever. Time instead you had to shut down to spend with me.” She walked over to Sean but stayed out of the personal space they once shared so intimately. The tears were streaming now, “I want you so much but if I give in to you I would be taking away who you are, simply because I can't be with you when you are who you are. Your like a drug. One I can't control.” Sara closed her eyes and reached up and touched Sean's cheek softly. “I have to live with never hearing you in my mind never sharing our love making as we did. I can't ask you to do that to yourself. To pretend to be normal when your with me. I don't want to be a burden or something to pity. And I don't want to rob you of your life.” There was a flash of guilt in Sean's eyes. Everything Sara had said, she had considered, to an extensive and thorough degree. Sean knew how her presence, even the idea of who and what she was could sway others, especially now with the revelation of Keys and the Irregulars. She could have had her pick of potential lovers, female or male, human or Key. But the guilt was buried under her own rising anger and frustration. She put one arm around Sara's back, her other hand mirroring Sara's as she wiped tears away from her cheek. She tilted her head down, pressing her forehead against Sara's. "And I don't want you giving up on yours," Sean countered in a fierce, low voice. "What we had was incredible, yes, but our relationship started without either of us having super-powers. We have a chance to explore that again." Her lips curved in a brief, wry smile. "Though this time, I'm the taller one with the bigger breasts." Sara opened her mouth to protest, but Sean stilled her with a finger across her lips. Sean urged to her to her bed and sat down beside her. Sara couldn't help but watch as Sean crossed her legs. She noted that Sean had let her hair grow longer - currently a deep, rich auburn, rather than the eye-catching sunset hues that already some were trying to copy, poorly. "Yes, I love what I've become, what I can do, but I'm not going to let my entire live be dictated by what I can do for others. I need time for myself, making time for myself, and I'll do so however I see fit. Sometimes, I just want to go out and get a cup of coffee instead of being... fawned over." Worshiped, in essence. "You're not taking anything away from me. I'm making a choice." Sean's eyes and tone firmed as she shifted on the bed to face Sara directly. "But you are taking something away from yourself Sara. Possibility. Potential. You're wrong, you're not normal, however you feel and whatever Dr. Rashoud says. In week, I'll know more about Key physiology than she'll ever will." Sean didn't sound boastful, just self-assured, as though it was simply fact. "I've read your chart and have already begun running simulations. You do have a node, and it's far from dead. If you were 'normal' that wouldn't be case. You node is just working... differently. It's drawing energy in, but instead of sending it through you, it's sending it... elsewhere." Her lips tightened in frustration. "Just because we haven't found out where it's going or how to reset your Node doesn't mean there isn't a way. But I - we - can't do it without your help, Sara. You have to want it too. Do you?" Sara had listened and now she nodded her head. "Okay, I hear what your saying and I do but what if Rashoud is right. What then?" SHe reached over and took Sean's hand and twined her finger into her's. "I don't know if I can take having my hopes dashed if it doesn't work out." Sean raised their twined fingers to her lips and gave them a light kiss, then held them to her chest. She could feel the warmth of their hands between her breasts and gave Sara's fingers a soft squeeze to still the faint tremble in them. "Then you find something else to hope for, babe," Sean said with firm sympathy as she leaned closer. "Better to have hoped and been disappointed then to never have hoped at all, to paraphrase another saying." Sean flopped back on the bed, keeping the fingers of one hand twined with Sara's. She stretched out her arm, holding the back of her neck with other hand. She watched Sara over the impressive rise of her chest. "We've both had experiences that lead us to be cynical about people. Despite that, I still hope for better, even if I expect to be let down. Life is hope, Sara. Without hope, what's point?" Sean's gorgeous eyes, the same eyes she had had as a boy, only more so narrowed. "And don't take that last as a challenge. We know someone named Pandora. There's hope out there, we just have to want it and look for it." She flashed Sara an easy, wistful smile. "Hope is what got me to ask you out in the first place, Sara." A Company for the Times Irregular Solutions is an Independently owned and operated Research and Development Company Founded by Abel Cross and Sean Cassidy. It is through this company that the two Keys create new technology for the betterment of mankind. The company also opens its doors to offer training and careers to new Keys in a benevolent, nurturing environment. They lead the world in advanced medical research, robotics, cybernetics, and enegy research. While a relatively small company, they seem to have near limitless funding, and insist on hiring the best people to staff the company. Even so there's only Fifty people, including the three newly recruited Keys, Abel and Sean. Though the Other Irregulars are not formally listed as employees, most have willing given time to help in their areas of expertise. In terms of research, Abel and Sean do a great deal of the heavy lifting, though they do have a baseline staff who handle other viable projects, and they are allowed to propose their own ideas, in fact Abel enjoys seeing what they come up with, now that they don't have to worry about a corporation's bottom line. With regards to the Key staff, Abel is personally helping educate the Keys he's recruited, helping them to master and further develop their abilities and potential as Keys. While participation in Missions the Irregulars take on is not mandatory, nor is combat training, such is offered, once a key has been fully prepared for it. Abel is somewhat protective of the keys in the company's employ. Abel and Sean alone handle weapons research, and all files are kept on perhaps the most secure server in the world.
  16. AWS VIGNETTES The episode in South Africa was the Moment the world changed. Never mind what had happened before, The manifestations of the Keys, as they had been dubbed, the Revelation of Hostile Aliens, even the nearly earth shattering battle in China, none of those things would have as meaningful an Impact as the scenes portrayed on television and computer screens, on phones or by eye witness. They saw a man flying towing a broken airplane, they saw multitudes, it seemed, of identical young women coming and going through a hole in the sky bearing and caring for the injured from the plane, they saw the most enchanting female the world has ever seen so beautiful that she couldn't be real, and they saw her run up the side of a 500 foot radio tower. Yes the world changed that day and would continue changing. The revelations by the US government of the existence of Projects Stepping Stone and later Guardian Shield, the confirmation fo the existence of Alien life outside of our world, some friendly, The T'tauri and the Guatal Feem, and some not, like the now extinct Asheen. New scientifc discoveries, a system of teleportation devices that would revolutionize travel and make the world even smaller. And of course, the Keys themselves. A Desert Wind The five men had grabbed the three girls from their village, mothers and father brothers uncles had objected pleaded but the Kalashnikov's had cowed them and so the teenage girls were left to their fates. Sarema, Nanni, Yamma were all 14 and were now going to be the brides of Jihadist, meaning they were going to be raped and forced into slavery by the supposed holy warriors. Yamma and Nanni were frantic crying begging, Sarema just stared at her captors hate boiling inside, when the men came for them that night Sarema's head filled with pain and she blacked out only to awaken momnets later with a filthy Jihadi tearing at her clothes No! She screamed Not a plea but an out rage. Sarema became the wind, the air devil! She twisted and flew from jihadi to jihadi the force of her spinning wind form tearing them limb from limb. When it was over she gathered her sisters and taking the dead men's jeep she drove them back home where she would let no one threaten them or her village again. Phoeban Tutelage When one imagines training, one generally does not imagine Twister being part of the regimen. But as Charlie learned, when you're being taught by a billions year old superhuman, the definitions of appropriate curricula and training materials is a very flexible one. Twister on crack, it should be amended. When one possessed superhuman dexterity, exploring the lengths to which you could bend was a great way to hone and push your limits. Or so Apollo held. Charlie thought this sort of stretching would hurt more, but something he'd not realized with the first day of sudden introduction to being a Key, was that his transformation was very much physical, not just becoming air or stone or liquid at contact. He'd already learned over the past weeks that he was stronger, tougher, quicker, than any Olympian, but his mentor was clearly driving Charlie hard to push his limits and beyond, to unlock his 'Second Wave' potential. Forget breaking bricks. Charlie had to smash down titanium and engage in ascetic feats such as going without food and water for one whole week, mainly to demonstrate to him that yes, he could do those things. And this, this was all preparatory conditioning in Apollo's eyes. It would be some time before the elder being would show him a single kata. Or as it turned out, a boxing stance. "You're kidding, right?" Charlie asked, dumbfounded. "What? Were you expecting some esoteric Kung Fu style?" Apollo rhetorically asked. "Well, we'll get to that eventually. Boxing is actually a rather straightforward and effective martial art - and since you can turn yourself into metal, or water, or air, or more, giving you a broad range of hard and soft styles to work with will pay a lot of dividends." These sessions were training ones, but even restrained, Apollo was not sparing the rod, and Charlie was constantly left feeling beat up at the end of them. But more was to be explored than the physical. Apollo popped the question one day, after the practice of dodging blasts of light where Charlie was getting the hang of evading them. "So tell me Charlie. Where do you see yourself after this?" Charlie had given it some thought, so he answered right away. "Well, generally I had been thinking reaching out to the Irregulars, though..." "Though?" "That thing with Jaunt, Ronin if he insists on calling himself that now. When we met he was talking about the good of the world directing the group and then several hours later, boom. He's all, I want power, left the Irregulars, 'I'll win the war as I choose, without rules or restraints.'" Charlie's face showed his thoughts. "It's fucking unnerving. Did something happen, or was he just like that bitch of a sister of his all along." "It doesn't sound like you approve." Apollo noted. "Hell no." Charlie replied. "Morality is not simply defined by how much power you have. Being superhuman, or super-god does not create a right of superiority. And I was getting that kind of vibe from him. Besides, 'The laws are mine, not thine, who can arraign me for it?' Those siblings of yours we're going to have to fight? They're basically this whole mindset taken to its fullest extent. I don't plan to become what I fought against." Another thought occurred to him. "Also, it's stupid. Does Ronin really think he can take 12:1 odds against people older than the earth itself who are galactic conquerors?" "He can do things that we can't." Apollo pointed out. "You all can, it's why we reached out to you." Charlie frowned at his teacher. "Please don't tell me you're encouraging this." "Simply pointing it out, kid." Apollo remained inscrutable in his expression. Charlie recalled that Pandora had seemed reluctant about Ronin's change of heart, but Apollo had simply made a comment about growing up... The blast of light launched him off his feet and threw him into the wall at the other end of the room. "Surprise attack. Now more dodging!" Meeting the Neighbors Blitz had been in almost constant consultation with Stepping Stone since his return to Earth and now that the Threat of theAsheen was gone He finally revealed a secret he had been keeping. The address of the Guatal Feem. The portal blazed and Abel stepped through he was followed by a couple of scientist explorers and Sgt. Julio Sanchez. Waiting for them bouncing and wagging his stubbed tail was Blitz and another Being a Guatal Feem. “Bright Morrow, travelers.” it said the voice was fluid and melodious it's English impeccable. “I am Knurt, and I welcome you to Apalonn.” The Humans looked out at a beautiful world one which the inhabitants had melded their technology to coincide with instead of replace, it's nature. Abel Smiled this is worth all of it. Amorphous Metallic Polymeric Alloy - AMP Glass "Babe, really?" Sara arched a brow at the sheet of apparent glass dominating a wall of the converted barn that had become home. "Do you think that's a big enough TV?" Sean chuckled, pausing playtesting an expansion to her multiplatform video game Endless Odyssey, and looked over her shoulder to give Sara a grin. "Please! It's more than just a TV, and I could literally build a house out of it." Sara lifted her other eyebrow to match the first and Sean added, "Not that I have any plans to... Maybe just a room. It wouldn't be a holodeck, but it would be way better than VR. Hmm..." Description: Despite the name, AMP Glass, is not a polymer - though it does have some polymer-like characteristics - and is properly classified as a metallic glass, possessing a disordered atomic-scale structure strengthened with a ductile, dendritic cystalline lattice. AMP Glass is a highly versatile material, with five times the tensile strength of most titanium. It has superb resistance to deformation, scratching, chipping and corrosion, lacks the brittleness of standard glasses, has excellent electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity. Like true glasses, it softens and flows when heated, allowing for easy processing and recycling as well as allowing for injection molding. It is also biocompatible, has special magnetic properties in certain forms and can be infused in nearly any colour or level of transparency/clarity Applications: Many and Varied. Monitors and Screens, HUDS, Holographic Display Systems, Computer Hardware and Telecommunication/Fiberoptic Systems, Glass Batteries, Construction Material, Medical Prosthetics and Bone Replacements, Surgical tools/scalpels, and Bladed Weapons, among others.

    1) Get Outed as a Quantum Enhanced Human (Short Term) 2) Get into a QEH fight she can effectively contribute to in someway (Short Term) 3) Reconcile with her family (Long Term)
  18. Character Thread for AWS

    Human Name: Jeane Hebert Allegiance: Herself! Ht: 5'6 Nature: Thrillseeker QEH Name: Working on It! Age: 16 Wt: 116 Concept: Ironclad Rebel Description: Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, Jeane is lithe and graceful with the musculature of someone who does a lot of running and fighting. She takes little care for her appearance and clothing beyond the basics of good hygiene, favoring neutral-colored clothing and hair tied back in a ponytail. Often as not bearing the physical marks of her misadventures, she can tell a story to go with every scar. Personality: Always up for a challenge of the physical variety, impatient when it comes to mental challenges, and stubborn to a fault, the main thing keeping Jeane from flaunting her quantum enhanced status in everyone's face is the fear that she'll be a small fish in a large pond forced to do what others tell her if the news reports are anything to go by. She's had quite enough of that in her home life, thank you very much. History: It's two o'clock am somewhere, and Jeane Hebert's parents often want to know where their daughter is. The eldest of three siblings, Jeane Hebert is the daughter of Dan Hebert, a marine officer, and Sarah Hebert, a part-time social worker. She's moved from home to home growing up, and resorted to battling the resulting social upheaval by virtue of a blunt, fearless persona. Home life is more... Complicated. Competition with a brilliant 13-year old sister named Samantha. A 8 year old brother named Paul who can do little wrong. Conflict with a Mother who just doesn't understand Jeane's need to be her own person. One big festering ball of resentment at her Father's extended absences from home ever since he shifted into the officer side of the Corps to make his family more secure. Guilt at said resentment every time he manages to wrangle a little time for small activities like helping her get her learner's permit, the basics of self defense, and the odd camping trip. Jeane got sick of trying to work out a home balance and decided to just do the minimum to avoid grounding so she could get out there, and be herself til all hours, just this side of breaking the law in her adrenaline-fueled shenanigans. Which is where quantum enhancement found her walking home from Granby High School in Norfolk, VA five months ago. Jeane blacked out, woke up looking at a circle of concerned friends from the pavement, and got up feeling better than she ever had in her life, head buzzing with a fistful of new skills and abilities. There was an itching in her hand of ever-flickering shapes that only she could touch, an armory hers for the taking and using. Jeane kept the impulse at bay until she dodged her way past another family argument into her room and securely locked the door behind her. The blood-red glow of the dagger appearing in her hand made her squeal in delight behind one hand, poking an effortless hole in her wall with the tip. So cool. And that was just *one* part of *one* trick. Then a mental voice that sounded frustratingly like her Mother asked the big question, 'Now what?'. Jeane didn't, and still doesn't have a clear answer to that. She's maintained her unsteady routine for the most part, damping down her powers 95% of the time to keep her regular races against her circle of friends and rivals challenging and finding abandoned corners of Norfolk to push herself to her slowly-increasing limits. She wants to do something with this gift, even has a few ideas, but for the first time in a while, the blonde daredevil finds herself uncertain if she wants to leap forward.

    ST #1: Decide whether or not to join the Irregulars. ST #2: Talk and settle things up with Mom. LT #1: Protect the world.

    ST 1: Help build a positive Image of Keys in the minds of humanity. ST 2: Maintain a steady tempo of technological and quality of life Improvements for the world at large. LT 1: Discover what means was used to depower Sarah, and develop solid defenses against it in order to protect the other Keys, and Irregulars in particular. LT 2: Nurture and train any Keys he can, bringing them under the Aegis of Irregular Solutions, to give them the widest range of options within the bounds of Law. Yeah, i realize I'm setting Abel up to be Professor X to Devin's Magneto...
  21. ABERRANT: WEIRDER STUFF - Melbourne's Most Wanted

    Lilly felt the railing disappear. They fell backward and instinctively she tensed up, bracing for a fall... onto a soft mattress. They were in a dimly lit room swimming in a sea of pillows and an overly fluffed comforter. The dim lights offered just enough light for them to barely see one another. She'd heard that Devin had crashed in a few empty houses all over the globe. Celebrities or wealthy people who maintained several homes all over the world and certainly couldn't be at all of them at once, so when they weren't there, he would crash. Ninety-three percent of people didn't security cam the bedroom, and at the moment the two of them were comfortable with those odds. Not that either were in any state of mind to consider math... She could hear the ocean, the roar of waves crashing against a shoreline. There was a warm breeze billowing gently through the air and the whole room smelled of fresh, salty sea air. She took a deep breath as Devin's hand slid down her side as his hips pushed into her pressing into her with a sensation that brought her attention back to her lover and not where they'd landed. He was atop her, his movements never faltering as he continued his lavish attention to her body. Brazenly he slid his hand down her chest at the line where her top met her skin. At the curve of her breast he slid the top away exposing her soft, delicate skin. His thumb gently traced over her nipple, quickly followed by lips that seemed dedicated to keeping her mind in an erotic haze. His tongue gently flicked and he backed away with a slight breeze from his lips that chilled the dampness of his tender kiss. He was hesitant in his flirtations, kissing and touching her all over, exploring her body like a young man who was experiencing a woman for the first time should. He didn't want any of this to end, sure he'd watched enough porn on the internet (his collection was neigh legendary back home), and Lilly was certainly thankful he had. He had no fear of exploring her curves, kissing every inch of her skin and pinching and squeezing everything she didn't have nailed down. Thanks to the internet, despite them both being virgins, Devin seemed like he'd done this hundreds of times before, despite simply mimicking what he'd seen on screen for years. Like all teens, neither wanted to make the ultimate move, despite he dry humping beginning to chafe. He slid to the slide, laying next to her, his lips pressed firmly on her, as their tongues gently danced and tease one another. Thankful she wasn't the sort that thought tongue kissing meant choking her partner to death with it. He figured it was an all or nothing game at this point, and it was either going to happen or it wasn't. He squeezed her firm backside one last time (for luck) and traced his hand around her hips and up her lean, toned abs with his finger tips, arousing a shivering response that he answered with a deeper, more passionate kiss. She whimpered and softly moaned, keeping amazed that woman that could crush coal into diamonds could be this passionate, serene and gentle. His hand slid downward, passing under the waistline of her tight clubbing pants and Lilly suddenly realized that she had a very important decision to make...

    ST #1. Continue blaming and holding the Irregulars accountable for whatever it was they did to her brother that make him evil. (It's not accurate, nor fair, but doesn't have to be.) ST #2. Try to help the Irregulars pick better styling choices (because O. M. G.). They have an image now... LT #1. Find out what's wrong with her brother and rescue him from the 'Dark Side'.

    ST #1. Instill as much chaos and disorder within human society as possible. ST #2. Establish a base of power. LT #1. Discover and train as many new Keys as possible and use them to topple human governments.

    Put your character Aspirations in this thread I need 2 short term and one long for each character For an idea of what aspirations are look at my last houserule entry Thank you
  25. Earlier

    "I know," Kia agreed. She sat down on Lilly's bed and watched the monitor on her computer from that distance, still giggling a little at the kitten's antics until the video ended. "I was starting to get worried I was forgetting HOW to chill, you know? Like, how long can you be on edge and worrying all the time before it just sucks the fun out of everything?" She reached down absently to get a handful of Ritz crackers from the plastic bowl on Lilly's nightstand. The secret to eating them without getting crumbs everywhere was just to eat one whole cracker at a time. Then there was no explosion of tiny golden-brown baked goods. And they called Sean and Abel the geniuses! Once she'd swallowed, Kia asked, "What do you think happens now though? I keep thinking...okay, aliens are gone, day's saved, good job guys lets get back to our regular lives now. But...is that how it's going to work? I mean, I'm graduating soon. I was telling Abel I was still wanting to get a degree and he was all, 'well I can teach you stuff better than they can,' and I guess that's true but..." She shrugged. "I don't know. It's not the same." "What about you?"
  27. In keeping with our TV show tropes this last chapter that we just finished was the end of Season 1 of AWS. Your Project 8 Stories take place during the hiatus before Season 2. Season 2 will be starting soon and with it new story lines, new characters and some production changes. I have looked back at AWS from the very beginning up to now and have seen some things that worked, some things that worked well, and some that didn't work at all. NEW HOUSE RULES FOR SEASON 2 ASPIRATIONS (paraphrased from the Trinity Core Rules) Each player chooses Aspirations: two Short-term and one Long-term. Aspirations are a player’s goals for his character, not necessarily the character’s own goals. A player wants his character to get into a fist fight, even though his character might be the kind of person to abhor physical confrontations. Aspirations are story moments a player wants to see happen. Achieving Aspirations is the responsibility of the entire group. While a player should always be watchful for opportunities to achieve his aspirations for his character, he should also watch for opportunities to set-up his fellow players to achieve theirs. If all of the players achieve their short-term Aspirations in the same session, all of the players present get Experience. The Storyteller will also use the Aspirations as guidance for the types of stories players are interested in playing and will provide opportunities for the players to achieve their Aspirations. Aspirations should always push action, not restrict it. This means that players should phrase their Aspirations as something to do rather than something to not do. “Don’t get into a fight” removes a character from action. In contrast, “Use your words for once” keeps the character in a potential conflict, but nudges them toward using a different resolution tactic than usual. Short-term Aspirations are something a character can achieve in a single session. The aspiration may be a scene a player wants to see happen, an ability he wants to use, or a character moment he thinks would be interesting or cool. Examples: Use your words for once, Solve it with science!, Have a heart-to-heart with a teammate, Snag a big scoop, Coax a secret from a mark Long-term Aspirations are something that takes an Arc to achieve. A long-term Aspiration may be how a player would like to see his character grow or change. Examples: Betray the Transcendent Alliance, Build a working freeze ray, Bring Jackal’s killer to justice, Find my twin sister This addition should help me better include everybody in the action and tailor some of the episodes for each character. INITIATIVE Initiative has been a problem due to not everyone being able to post in a timely manner, not necessarily through fault of their own. This is my way of hopefully fixing initiative going forward. Player Characters now always have initiative and go first in a turn. All PCs will act before NPCs and Adversary Characters. Order of PC actions will be decided by the Players. You can discuss how and what order you wish to go in this will allow you to do set ups and removes some of the problems with a set initiative order. Or you can just decide to go in a first come first act order. I don't care. Just remember once your character acts in a tun she must wait until all other characters act before getting to act again. Now while the standard order is all PCs then all NPCs that can be changed. As Storyteller I can interrupt the PC actions with one of my own. How ever doing this will give the players a benefit which I will discuss below. Since with these new turn rules in place the old initiative score is now pointless. If you have spent any points on raising your initiative you may take those points back and use them elsewhere. MOMENTUM Momentum exists outside of the game; characters do not know it exists and only experience its effects. It is a tool for players and enables them to affect the game’s dramatic pacing. Momentum can add dice equal to Momentum used to a dice pool, or enable additional attempts at complex actions, perform stunts, wow the ST etc. Players share Momentum in the Momentum Pool. This Pool may hold up to three times the number of players worth of Momentum at a time. When a player wants to spend Momentum from the Pool, he states in a spoiler that he is doing so for the action and what he is using the momentum for. A player can choose to spend up to one third (minimum of 1) of the Pool at once. The pool receives one Momentum for a regular failure and two for a Botch on any rolls PCs make. The pool also receives one Momentum when the ST interrupts the PCs action order to allow one of her NPCs to take an action. With changes to initiative and the addition of momentum it is incumbent on the players to really keep track of what is going on in each characters posts. If you spent BP you get the BP back and can spend them as BP if you spent XP you get XP back Hopefully this will work out. As always if you have questions catch me in chat or pm me.
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