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About z-Dragonstorm

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  1. It took mere moments for Carol to return from her scouting mission. “Um, Beth, there’s somethings you need to know,†she said a bit breathlessly. She told the brunette what she’s seen; Beth could feel her expression harden with the news. “Alright, go join Beta team.†Beth waved to Kait, who stood nearby. “Attention here, guys.†Once everyone was looking at her, she said, “Here’s the new intel. The quantum surge fifteen miles from here is in the bayous. There are no longer people there but there are shamblers, about three dozen that Carol saw alone. That’s not all, of course. Every living thing is bigger, as an example, the mosquitos are the size of pigeons, so if you’re in the air, you’re going to have to deal with them. “Interestingly, she said that they’re acting like they’re patrolling, moving in patterns, and could be guarding something.†Beth looked around at each of them. “We’re going to get close, I’m going to draw one or three off, and we’ll see how tough they are. Once we’ve tested them, we’ll reassess and move on. “Amber, I want you especially to try your pheromones on them. I want to know if your powers have enough of an effect to risk you in the battlefield.†She glanced around. “Questions?â€
  2. “Yes, Carol, first please verify your radio is operational. Do a quick survey and come back; don’t get too far away.†Beth smiled at her before the speedster disappeared. “Kait - be careful, okay?†Beth nodded at Sonja as the other woman. “Yes, there’s no point in risking Ambrosia in the swamps if she can’t help. Oh, and please, both of you get a Q-scanner and strap it to you. Let’s get some readings on the primalgators if nothing else.†“Alpha Team, sound off and let me know if you’re not ready to go.†Her heart was pounding in her chest as the excitement of the mission built. The only thing that tempered her enthusiasm was the knowledge that Tom was going to worry until she texted an all-done message to him. This is the price I wanted to pay for the gifts I’ve been given, she reminded herself. “Let’s get this done and get everyone home safe.â€
  3. “Nathaniel, we don’t have much intel on what they can do, which means we’ll be learning in the field.†Beth’s sarcastic smile indicated her enjoyment of that idea. “As I said in the layout of battle plans, Otter,†Beth said, doing a remarkable job of holding onto her temper – she had little patience for repeating herself when giving orders, “You, Jason, and Rena will be going there in case she tries something. Rena’s powers work best on non-mindless opponents, Jason’s powers don’t work very well against Zone monsters, and you fare better in a city than a swamp. “Is that clearer?â€
  4. “That’s the other reason I want Rena, Otter, and Jason in New Orleans.†Beth looked grim. “If she starts to object to the measures we have to take to help people, I want someone there to oppose her.†Beth hesitated only a second. “I have no interest in her personal momentos,†she said softly but it wasn’t her ‘I’m pissed and talking softly to keep from shouting’. She glanced at Dr. Aziz and asked, “Does NovaStorm need us to grab things like that from her?â€
  5. Beth didn’t look surprised. She merely nodded and said, “That does make things easier. Anyone else?â€
  6. “But they're not tart,†Kaitlyn murmured, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes as too young to have manners made her way into the debriefing. Beth stared very hard at Otter for a long moment. “Death Otter, welcome to the meeting. Please be on time next time. And since you’ve missed this, we’ve already covered the part about treating your coworkers with respect. Name-calling is not appropriate in official capacities at NovaStorm.†The nova glanced at Aziz, who was giving her a “humor the crazy lady†look. Beth knew that Otter was a genius and she appreciated the other woman’s talents. She just wished that NovaStorm employees received a basic course on how to be professionals. Unfortunately, they had to coddled the talent to a certain degree or lose them to the competition. “I’m glad you’re here, Otter. We have a situation and we’re down a person.†In truth, they were down several people. Zil had taken some of their heaviest hitters down in Japan, doubling the loss NovaStorm had faced. Beth quickly summarized the issue for the new arrival. “Danielle, I appreciate your eco-minded thoughts, but part of our mission objective is to remove these creatures.†Beth managed to smooth her expression to apologetic as she spoke to the new member of the team but Danielle had this annoying habit of making her feel like a bad person. “If you have moral objections, you and I can discuss them privately. Or you and Dr. Aziz, if you prefer.†Clearing her throat, she turned her attention to the rest of the room. “The three groups are Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Alpha will be composed of Sonja, Amber, Nathaniel, Cold Snap, Magnum Opus, and myself. Our goal is containment and destruction of the primalgators and their nests. We’ll be using my weather abilities and Cold Snap’s control of ice to negatively affect these things, while Nathaniel can help pen them in with earth. Amber, I want you to find out if these things respond to your pheromone powers, and Sonja, I want you to stick close to her to move her around and protect her. If so, you can aid with containment. Magnum Opus, you’ll be on-hand to help contain and combat. “The Beta group is made of Drs. Carter and Weaver. Your objectives will be to assist aerially and from the ground as spotters and medics. Kait, your help from the air will be awesome, especially to find these nests and watch our sixes. Dr. Carter, we’ll have transportation provided to you so you can get around the swamp.†Beth looked at the last three people in the room. “Jason, Rena, and Otter are Gamma Team, and you’ll be going to New Orleans itself. If the WitchQueen is complicit and does try to turn the tables on us, you three can handle her, particularly you, Jason. Your powers may be so-so against creatures of zones but you should be able to pwn the WitchQueen. Otter, the city still has power and I’m sure that’s all I need to say about that.†“And everyone, feel free to hit the armory for whatever weapons and gear you deem appropriate.†She looked around the room, raising a brunette eyebrow. “Questions or insights?â€
  7. “You, out!†Beth glared at Sakurako, her inhuman presence still heavy in the room. “You’re off-mission until you and I have a discussion. “You.†She leveled a finger at Jason. “You will treat your coworkers with respect regardless of your personal opinion. Name-calling has no place on any of these teams.†Crossing her arms, Dragonstorm waited for Sakurako to leave and Jason to gather himself.
  8. “If you feel that way, then stay home.†Beth had been lounging in her chair fairly casually until Sakurako finished speaking; now she sat up and stared hard at the other woman. “Of course, if you can’t do your fucking job, you should invoke your escape clause on your contract. “Yes, this job is dangerous. If you can’t deal with that, if you want to feel like you were left to be bait, you should leave.†Beth stood and leaned forward, her displeasure falling on the other woman like a weight. “If we can’t trust you in combat, then you know where the door is. You, Aziz, and I will be discussing your attitude after this briefing.†Turning to Aziz, she asked, “Has anyone spoken to the Witchqueen? Has she offered insight or intel? Is she going to view a strike on the swamps and the creatures in it as an attack on her?â€
  9. “Yes, because we would surely die without you along,” Beth said drily. There was still a hint of teasing to her voice but there lingered an edge of annoyance as well. Considering the looks she’d cast around the room during the wait for everyone to arrive, it wasn’t just Sakurako putting her on edge. ,, Sighing, she closed her eyes and rested her head against the back of her chair. Had her job always been this tiring? I’m getting old. It wasn’t the first time she’d thought that and it wouldn’t be the last. There was always an administrative position here for her, if she wanted it. ,, Despite her thoughts, Beth knew that it wasn’t about being tired or even liking her job. She’d taken an oath to fight for those who couldn’t, and being tired wasn’t part of that oath. She didn’t get to quit just because it wasn’t fun like it used to be. The rub was that the job hadn’t changed; her coworkers had and that was another issue entirely. Most of them made her feel old despite her vigor and health. ,, It was a matter of mind over matter: because she minded it actually mattered. ,, She put the thoughts from her head. “Anyone know what the emergency is? Any rumors or speculation?” She hoped it wasn’t a Zone-flare – she hated those.
  10. Beth sat cross-legged on the roof of the building, talking softly. The small laptop laying across her legs was “listening” to her, transcribing her spoken words into words on the document open. It was a special program written for her by Kait; it had learned what her pauses, inflections, and tones meant, and inserted the appropriate punctuation. It also made adjusted its programing if she manually corrected something, learning her style even more. It had seriously been one of the best birthday presents ever. ,, The early-morning sun pressed warmly against her as she spun out the final battle for Roccio’s army, an epic battle that would decide the final fate of all the characters who populated the High Peaks. She’d shifted her eufiber to “writing clothes”, a loose, comfortable pair of pants and an oversized shirt. It harkened back to the days when she wrote in her pajamas. Now she felt weird if she wore something else. ,, Her phone buzzed and Beth paused the program with a few taps on the keys. Picking up the buzzing phone, she raised an eyebrow at the encryption designations and names. Wonder which nerdling came up with those, she thought as she opened the text. She knew it wasn’t Kait; her friend would have used mythological creatures or esoteric numerology or something Sumerian. Kait never passed up a chance to indulge her love of mythology. ,, The message stopped her errant thoughts. She hastily stood up, gathering up her computer and phone, and shot into the air. As she circled around the building to the upper entrance, she changed her clothing to her suit. The gray stormclouds were darker and more ominous today, the sharp lightning strikes matching her rising anticipation. ,, She came in behind Seraph, her mouth curling in a wry smile as she heard Seraph’s remark to Max. “I see the kids are fighting already,” she teased gently, dropping into the seat next to Kait. She leaned forward to wave at Rena and started to snag a donut, only to think better of it and leave the box alone. “Might want to save it for whomever is causing trouble today.” ,, “Who says it’s a someone?” Rena asked her with a teasing smirk. ,, Beth shrugged good-naturedly, used to her smarter friends outmaneuvering her verbally. “Nothing. I just like beating up monsters with a personality. I feel less like I’m killing an animal just doing its animal-thing and more like I’m knocking down a villain.” She grinned widely and added a callback to their early days as the KC Angels. “I guess that’s just the superhero in me.”
  11. Beth was just as happy to fade into the background once Rena started singing and Sakurako started chattering on about her stuff with Kait. She could see the long-suffering look on her friend’s face, but Kait was capable of defending herself to the petite scientist. Stepping back and drawing Tom away steadily, she pulled them into a less populated area of the show. “How long will you be in Israel?” Beth asked softly as they walked together. “Two more days. Then I fly to Cypress for three days, then skip over to… somewhere in Germany and then home to London.” Tom sounded weary as he recounted his travel itinerary. “So you’ll be in Germany when the Expo is done.” Beth rested her head on his shoulder. “Any chance I can see you there?” “If you want.” He released her hand to put an arm around her shoulders and draw her close. “I’d like that.” Her arms snaked around his waist and he put his other arms around her as they turned to face each other. They stood together for a long moment, enjoying the quiet moment. Between their busy lives, they didn’t get moments like this often. A group of kids in shirts festooned with various Marvel characters walked by, gawking and giggling. Beth tried to ignore them but she couldn’t ignore when Tom poorly stifled a yawn. “You should get to bed,” Beth observed. “I should.” Tom looked reluctant to leave, which wasn’t entirely about her, Beth knew. The only way to have him back to Israel soon would be via a warper. If he used Novastorm’s warper, that meant he’d suffered an hour of nausea for the trip, and would suffer another on the way back. “Want me to go with you?” she asked, lifting her head to lock gazes with his blue-green eyes. “Yes.” His expression brightened as he spoke. “But can you really get away?” “For the hour or two it’d take to tuck you into bed?” Beth grinned as she brushed her fingers over his cheek. “Not a problem.” Thirty minutes later, they stepped through a warp into the living room of Tom’s suite. The location selection had been planned to accommodate the vertigo disruption that accompanied stepping through the warp. Tom swayed and made a choking noise the second he stepped through, and Beth caught him by the arm. “I got you,” she murmured as she walked him to the bathroom. They had just enough time to get his jacket and tie off before he knelt next to the toilet and threw up. As late in the night as it was, there wasn’t much left in his stomach. “Ugh,” he muttered as he sat back against the wall next to the toilet. Beth handed him a glass of water and got a murmured, “Thank you.” “No problem.” Beth sat next to him on the floor as he swished and spat the first mouthful. She wasn’t sure the water would stay down but she knew he probably wanted to clear out his mouth. “I should have thought about this part.” He glanced ruefully at her, sipping from the glass. “This is not the memory I wanted you to have of tonight.” Beth kissed his cheek. “It doesn’t bother me, so long as I don’t have to clean it up. Besides, you are suffering this just because you wanted to surprise me.” The actor smiled weakly and put his head on her shoulder. A moment later, he gasped, “Oh, god.” He handed her the water and turned back to the toilet. Sixty minutes later, Beth helped him to his feet. “I’m sorry, but I’m ready for bed,” Tom told her softly. “I guessed.” Beth smiled comfortingly as she unbuttoned his shirt. “Can I stay until you fall asleep, though?” He nodded and she helped him out of his clothes and into his flannel bottoms. As she turned down the covers and slipped into the bed, she changed her uniform into a tank top and flannel boxers. The nova laid down first and let him curl up against her, his head on her shoulder. “You know,” Tom told her after a moment of settling, “I’m not going to be awake long. You are too comfortable.” Beth chuckled. “You’ve mentioned that before.” “Yes, but I’m pretty sure the word I used that time wasn’t ‘comfortable’.” The heated note in his voice made her wish that he wasn’t so tired. “I think,” she murmured as she tenderly kissed his hair, “you’re right.” His fingers lazily played over the ribbing on her shirt. “I’m always right.” “Of course you are, dear.” She kissed his hair again. She felt his face shift as he smiled but after a while his smile faded. Then he faded, his body relaxing against hers. Once she was sure she was asleep, she slipped out of bed and grabbed her phone. Out on the room’s balcony, she called Novastorm and arranged for a warp back to the Expo. She wanted to stay, but she had work to do. She had to find Jay and talk to him, as well as catching back up with Maxwell, as she’d promised. Then she had other demonstrations of the Quantum Harp in the coming days. The warp opened and Beth cast a longing glance back at Tom’s room. Sighing, she returned to work.
  12. “Pinkie, I’m pretty sure that was a joke.” Beth made the remark drily, her left eyebrow rising when the pink-haired scientist stopped rambling. “Rena knows that you guys do real, actual science.” She bit back further sarcastic remarks. “Tom, this is Saku… Sakuro… I’m sorry. I call her Pinkie.” Beth smiled at the smaller nova with a touch of fondness. “Pinkie, Tom Hiddleston.” “Delighted.” The Brit extended his hand and shook hers when she offered it. “I enjoyed your presentation on your aircraft.” “Thanks!” Sakurako said happily, always glad to have her planes praised. She opened her mouth to explain more about them when Beth saw the coming deluge and cut her off. “Wow, did you guys hear Ricardo’s talk?” she said quickly. “That kinda blew my mind.”
  13. “You’re one to talk,” Beth teased, feeling ambivalent about the way Rena was talking to Tom. “Your voice could sing birds out of trees. Literally.” It wasn’t jealousy. She knew that Rena would never do anything to Tom. There was the nasty little memory of Tom asking about expiration dates, though, and for the first time, Beth wasn’t sure that dating him was the right thing to do. “I’m delighted to meet you,” Tom added with a smile, casually steering the conversation back to safer ground. “Beth has told me so much about her friends.” “All two of them,” Beth added drily. She didn’t mind having only two people she was close to; she preferred having two close friends to many distant friends. So few people understood what being a nova was about but Beth was lucky that her two closest friends had gone through it with her. Rena gave her a slightly chiding look; she didn’t like it when Beth talked down about herself like that. Beth had no issue with it naturally, and just smiled serenely. “Wanna find Kait?” “If she’s not busy, yes.” Rena grinned. “I need to catch up with her, too, and I have a gift for Daniel.” Beth chuckled. “BluRay or video game for your boyfriend?” “That joke will never get old, will it?” Rena laughed despite shaking her head. “Nope. He’s off playing with the giant computers. Kait’s under the balloon with the LED that’s attached to Pinky.” Beth had given Sakurako the nickname partially out of an inability to not mangle her name. Eruption had gifted her with prose, not elocution. She glanced up at Tom. “Let’s go find her – I think Tom wants to bask in her brilliance, too.” He laughed. “We’re starting to get a lot of brilliance with the present company. I should take care that it doesn’t overwhelm.” Beth smiled, a bit sadly. “Novas can do that.”
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