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Aberrant RPG - Mega-Strong Titan

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Aberrant: The New Flesh

Musings

2015-Travis Eaton looked over the land he’d just cleared, taking a deep breath of the dry air that swirled around him. His eyes, solid blue and crystal-faceted blinked in the bright African daylight, as a sun-browned hand wiped sweat from his equally tanned forehead.

He glanced at the pile of junk he’d made, old cars and tanks and other machines of the generations-long wars that had plagued this region, shook his head and chuckled.

Five years before, he’d been working at a call centre. He’d had friends, an occasional beer night, and all the Nova action he’d needed right on his TV.

An average life. Then a chain of events had taken him from an ordinary life, and dropped him into an extraordinary one.

He picked up a bullet-torn tire, hefted it in one hand easily, despite the fact the tire and rim weighed nearly 70 kilos, and remembered that day…

***

He was in a foul mood.

Travis’ car had a flat tire, he was late for work, it was raining, and to top it off, the mother of all headaches was beginning to pound behind his eyes. The screaming child in the bus seat behind him didn’t help either.

He grit his teeth, determined to knuckle through this latest headache, just as he had with the one just the day before, half a bottle of headache tablets waiting in his cubicle, beckoning like the Holy Grail in his mind’s eye.

He looked out the window, trying to distract himself from the pain. He caught a glimpse of his reflection; saw a face that women seemed to like, blue eyes they said were like crystal, and short cropped brown hair, made black by the rain that had slicked it down.

He closed his eyes and nearly retched as a new flash of pain exploded in his head. He could have sworn he felt his entire brain writhing in pain, but before he could examine the feeling further, likely just before passing out, the bus gave a lurch to the side. He heard people and metal scream, then the window seemed to reach out and everything went black.

***

Blinking his way back to reality, Travis looked up to see the first of a line of clouds beginning to sweep over the area, the low growl of thunder rumbling along. At the forefront of the clouds was the Nova urging them on, a young man named Rodeo Cloud. He’d taken the name jokingly, because his eruption, besides giving him the power to control the weather had also given him bright-red curly hair, like a clown. He’d said, “I feel like I’m at a Rodeo when I’m in the sky, riding the wind like a bronco, controlling where the clouds and rain go, like a Rodeo clown directing a bull from the fallen rider.”

The name, Rodeo Cloud had been a pun he’d made up at the spur of the moment, but the press and the Utopia Publicity Department had run with it. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Emmet (Rodeo Clouds real name) didn’t really give a damn what people called him, just as long as he was in the sky.

Travis didn’t care either.

He dropped the tire back onto the pile, heard the pile shift slightly with a squeal of metal…

***

He blinked his eyes open, rain coming through the shattered window, broken pieces scattered around him like shrapnel. People were still screaming, as if trying to be heard over the roaring sounds coming from outside.

Peeking out, he saw two figures, just two. They were battling, going back and forth, power flaring around them as one threw a bolt of crackling red electricity, only to have the other dodge, and return with a lightning bolt of purest silver and gold.

The dodged bolts smashed into cars, buildings and perhaps people, but Travis couldn’t tell. His headache had returned, and it was like a spike being slowly driven into his brain.

His vision blurred, tears poured out and mixed with the rain. Then everything seemed to go silent, except for the crying of a child.

He followed the sound, and looking outside saw the carrier lying on its side, the child seemingly unharmed, not much more than a baby as it screamed and shook, face turning red, and hands grasping, perhaps for the comfort of its mother, whose fate was unknown.

The battle was swinging back towards them, and Travis knew, in this strange state of unfeeling grace, that the baby would die, as would they all, unless something was done.

He moved, forcing himself through the window, clothes shredding and the weakened metal protesting his passage. Ignoring the screams behind him, signalling the return of his hearing, he grabbed up the baby carrier, swung it around, and used his own body to shield the infant.

But a quirk of fate had swung the battle back around, giving him a chance to get the child out of harm’s way, and he did, standing and running to a storefront where an old man was screaming into a phone, a woman, likely his wife beside him.

That’s when, in the reflection of the rain streaked glass, Travis saw…himself.

Wearing clothes too small for him, his muscles bulged out like a weight lifters dream. His chest was a deep V, and his abs, visible through the ripped shirt bulged out, like rocks had been implanted under his skin. He’d been in reasonable shape before, but this…this was…eruption.

He stood there in the rain, studying his body, then, the truth dawning on him…he looked at his face.

It was the same as before, except that the planes of his face were sharper, the jaw more pronounced, the jaw line more defined.

But it was his eyes that drew his attention. As he leaned towards the glass, he saw his eyes had become almost crystalline in appearance, the blue facets glinting in the sporadic glare of the lightning bolts.

The lightning bolts…

Travis handed the baby to the storekeeper through the broken glass of the door, his wife immediately at his side, looking at the whimpering baby. Then Travis turned back to the battle, and snarling…charged.

The two Novas were still flinging bolts at each other, still unheeding of the damage they were causing when Travis ploughed into them, flinging them aside like they had been hit by a truck. One, tougher than the other was quickly on his feet, and swung his arm like softball pitcher, the under hand pitch throwing a bolt, missing Travis in its unaimed haste.

Travis stepped up, and punched the Bolt thrower, the impact snapping his head back and deforming the others face before physics took over, and the force lifted him off his feet and flung him into the air, coming down half a block away.

His blood pumping, heart pounding and his chest heaving great lungfuls of air, Travis realized he’d never felt so good, so right. He knew his place in the universe, if only for an instant, as his node finished it’s formation, all pain gone.

A moan broke through his reverie, and he looked over to see the other Nova clamber to his feet.

Rubbing the back of his head, the Nova looked around. “Jeez, thanks man. That prick caught me with my back turned. Bastard,” he said, kicking a chunk of debris. “But, guess it all worked out in the end huh? “ He brushed at the dirt on his costume, torn and shredded leather dangling from seams, uncaring of the destruction around him. “He’ll never get it now.”

Anything else he was going to say was choked off as Travis seized the torn costume and slammed the Nova back into the bus that Eaton had crawled out of, the hole in it's side where he'd squeezed out gaping like a wound.

“WHAT!!!” the nova shrieked when he could again take a breath. “What the Hell!!”

“What were you fighting over,” Travis said, his voice quiet and low. He slapped the Nova lightly, but enough to knock his head back into the bus. “What was worth all this…” he gestured, indicating the damage, the debris and the moaning and sobbing victims.

“What do you think, man?” the other said, as if he thought Travis, as a fellow Nova should know. “The name, man. The name. We were fighting for StormHammer. “

“A name?!”

“The name is everything, man. Trademarks, copyrights, products…reputation. Everything! ” The nova said, beginning to babble as he realized the Nova holding him didn’t care about the prize he’d fought for.

Travis growled, “Was it worth this,” and drove the others head into the bus, denting it. Another punch and the novas’ head was completely through the dented shell. Unconscious, the nova moaned, hanging there.

Travis raised his head, and let the rain wash over him.

***

Travis felt the first few raindrops hit him, cooling his skin. Like that first day, he raised his face to the heavens, and let the rain hit him, blinking as drops washed away sweat, as it had washed away the blood on that fateful day.

The day the universe had come knocking and Travis Eaton, now known to the masses as Warblood, had answered.

***

Finis

Chris “Quest” Chase

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