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  1. "O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world! That has such people in't!" - Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act V, Scene I ******* Morgan spoke, "Ship are you capable of unassisted flight if given proper commands?" The unemotional voice replied, "Yes. Please provide destination." He sighed, what he felt toward the AI was not quite frustration, nor was it quite disappointment, but there was a little of both in his attitude. The ship was beautiful and no doubt it was very functional, but it in no way compared to Lorean. "Please take us to Egypt, specifically to the Sphinx." The AI responded, "Unable to comply. No such place exists." Morgan wasn't a genius for nothing and realized his mistake immediately. "Take us to the location where the Sphinx would be located if it had been built." "Please strap in for atmospheric entry." Unlike aboard Lorean's bridge these seats actually had real harnesses attached to the chairs. Once everyone was safely strapped in the ship accelerated toward the surface. The ship slid into Earth's atmosphere the friction of entry far less than it would have been thanks to the aerodynamic shape and the advanced materials of the hull. Even so it was still several minutes before things returned to normal and the new unnamed ship settled into a relatively slow approach toward what would someday have been called Egypt. After nearly thirty minutes the ship came in low over the desert from the west and settled to the rock and sand just next to a large mound of sandstone over looking the Nile. Long before the ship landed Morgan was using his console to pull up information about the ship itself. Best to get to know their new home for the indefinite future. "Hey check this out." An image appeared on the main screen. It was a layout of the ship, including living quarters for four, a large area marked Lab, and a spacious cargo hold, a galley which doubled as recreation area. "Looks like Lorean included a library of all the best entertainment vids and holos, as well as a complete database of everything we discovered in our journeys. I'll definitely be able to continue Andrew's research and in a few years make the cure for anyone that we meet that needs it. Speaking of which, I intend to take mine now, but I think I would like to do it in the privacy of our quarters." Lorean smiled at Morgan and took his hand as they led the way below decks to their new rooms.
  2. When you are a Watcher... ((OOC Note: This story is set in a timeline that has no novas.)) Daniel awoke slowly. It had been one heck of a dream and he hadn't wanted to lose it. He had been flying and it had been freakin awesome. He could fly in his dreams and had been off and on for years, at least since he was a little kid, but this dream had been different. Before, the best he'd been able to do was get up to about roof height and skim along slowly or just levitate. Tonight he had zoomed up to the tops of sky scrapers around down town Houston and flown really fast and the coolest thing was looking down and seeing all the incredible detail. He could see all the equipment on the tops of the buildings and one of them even had a roof garden with a swimming pool, and he had flown down and looked closely. It was soo vivid. He had only been awake a moment thinking about the dream when his alarm went off. Groaning he hit the alarm. Where was the justice in the universe? After a dream like that he had to get up for school... it was the ultimate buzzkill. Daniel shuffled out of bed and into the shower. That woke him up, unfortunately it also meant the dream faded and was mostly forgotten by the time he was getting dressed. He checked himself out in the mirror as usual, the big pimple that was on his cheek yesterday was faded and practically gone. Thank you for minor miracles. It was going to be a good day, his short red hair wasn't trying to go in fifteen different directions but was staying where he put it. His green eyes weren't bloodshot from staying up playing the MMO last night until 2:00 am. He leaned back and stood up to his full 5'9 height to check out his clothes and noticed his sleeves and jeans were looking a little short, must be another growth spurt. His father was only 5'8" and he had already past what his parents had thought he would be. No one in the family that they knew of was taller than 5'9". He smiled at the thought, he would be fine with staying his current height, but it would be cool to hit six foot and he still had a few years. Jim, his father said he was still growing and filling out during his first year or so in college, that gave Daniel some hope, he was still a bit skinnier than he wanted to be but the weigh lifting and working out was taking care of that. He hated it, but made himself doing it after school every day for a hour in the gym. He didn't waist any more time with the mirror but raced downstairs to wolf down big bowl of frosted flakes cereal before heading off to school. Classes were more boring than usual, the teachers just blandly babbled on about the different subjects. He did surprise himself by understanding the math equations right off the bat and not having to have them explained a second time like usual. Other than that the day was the usual mix of socializing and boredom. Johnny and Sarah broke up and there was some drama from that when she dumped her tray of food on him and got sent to the office for yelling that he was an asshole with Mrs. Jenkins standing right behind her. He couldn't blame her though, even if Johnny was his friend he was being a jerk, he'd been talking to Britni every night this week on IM for hours. He hadn't even signed into the game last night and missed the raid. Daniel suspected he should avoid touching J's keyboard and mouse now... Daniel's first clue that things had changed came after school. He started his workout with ten laps around the track and it didn't even wind him, in fact he felt practically charged up like a battery. When he hit the weights he started with his normal routine and was surprised at how light the weights seemed. He added a pair of extra 5 pounds to each side of the bar and started again with the same result. There just wasn't any strain or burn even after doing three sets of 15 reps each. He replaced the two 5 pound weights with a pair of 10 pounders and started again. Still no strain. He doubled checked his count sure that he must have missed a pair of the big 25 pound disks. What the hell? That's 175 pounds, I've never done more than 175 before. He looked around to see if someone was playing some kind of trick on him half expecting to see Ashton jump out and say he was being punked or something. He put the bar on the floor and removed all the weights and put them back on the racks and noticed that they all seemed lighter than normal. Someone was playing a trick, had to be. He looked at the big fifty pounders closely and they sure looked real but they didn't feel like they weighed more than half what they said they should. He moved over to the weigh machines and moved the pin down to 200 pounds. Weight machines were easier to lift on than free weights, but 200 was more than he had ever been able to lift even on the machines. He sat on the bench and looked around the room at the football players that were working out but no one was looking at him or paying him any attention. This should prove it. The coaches might allow someone to pull a trick with the free weights, but no way would they allow someone to mess with the machines, they're too expensive and it would take hours to pull them apart and replace the weights with fake ones. He lay back on the bench and placed his hand on the grips spaced a little wider than shoulder width apart. No way was he going to be able to lift this one. He shoved putting all his strength into it and the weights shot up like he was lifting maybe 75. He lowered the weights back down and frowned and looked around. Still no one paying him any attention. Either this is real or these guys aren't in on the joke, no way they could keep straight faces. Moving the pin down to 400 pounds he tried again and could feel the weight and some strain but it still wasn't his max. He dropped it another fifty to the lowest weight in the pile. Sure enough he could lift it, but it was heavy and he could feel the strain. There wasn't a single football player in the school that could bench 450. He lowered the bar and moved the pin back to 150 where he would normally have had it. He also moved back to the free weights and grabbed a couple 25 pound dumbbells and started doing curls. They were just as light as he expected, but he pretended they were heavy while he watched the others. A pair of big linemen moved over to the free weights that he had been using at first and they loaded up the bar with 200 lbs, two of the big 50 pounders on each side of the bar, and at least two were the weights he had been using. They started their reps and by the tenth there was obvious strain, they were either incredible actors or the weights were real. He put the dumbbells back on the rack and decided to jog the three miles back to the house instead of catching a ride with Amy after band practice. He had to figure this out. He was till breathing steady when he got home and headed straight to the back yard, there was a big rock that was part of the landscaping that had been in the yard for ages. He remembered his mother insisting that it be moved to the flowerbed by the back door and it had taken his father and two of his friends to move it. Daniel bent to the rock and got a good hand hold on each side and lifted with his knees. It was awkward to hold but the weight was not so bad, he could have carried it if he wanted. His father couldn't lift it off the ground without help. He dropped the big rock back in place. That does it, I could believe the weights at school were a trick, but not this. What the hell is going on?
  3. Calvin yawned as he flipped through the textbook, more out of boredom than any need for work. He had finished all the assignments and studying here in the university library, and so had little to do for the next 20 minutes until class. Like his father, excessive idleness was killer. Sighing, he started to scribble some thoughts on the results of Kaiser Wilhelm's being accidental shot by Annie Oakley at the World Fair in the 1880's.
  4. Continued from HERE In the space outside time the Andrews survived on literal borrowed time. They worked quickly, knowing full well that their connection to the multiverse could sever and leave them trapped for eternity without completing their task. In null time no action is possible, no electron may move around an atomic nucleus, no chemistry can occur, even quantum phenomenon become frozen, unable to change because change requires time. Drawing power and time from the portals to their worlds, the Andrews worked, and in no time at all the generator took shape. Andrew's mind reeled, how was it possible for an infinite number of men to work on a machine of infinite time and yet complete that work in a finite time. Even a nova level intellect as advanced as his found the events hard to grasp. The device, if indeed you could call a machine of infinite size and complexity simply a device, was finished. Manned by an infinite workforce and powered by infinite power the machine had but one single function. Switches were flipped, countless dials were spun, and an infinite supply of buttons were pressed. The machine, powered by the infinite grandeur of the multiverse turned that energy back upon reality. The portals slammed shut, in the vastness of the multiverse an unknowable number of time and cross-time travelers found themselves forcibly shunted back into realtime their machines a ruin of melted parts, their bodies purged of the ability to breach the natural flow of time.
  5. Continued from HERE 2357 Andrew stood before the machine. Over two hundred years in the making, this machine would allow him to carry out the last wish of one of his freinds. He had worked inexorably, unfailingly, and at times stubbornly to this goal. He had finally duplicated through technology that which had only been possible for a nova; to rip a hole from one dimension into another, to breach time in such a way as to cross the barriers of causality and travel to alternate time-lines. Andrew understood madness and obsession well, he'd been in the grips of both at one point in his life. He'd often felt the seductive lure of madness to banish the real world, the world of hurt that he endured because he must. He'd embraced the obsession of his task and through it he'd advanced technology beyond what he had thought possible. By all rights the machine before him should not be possible. The energy required to do what he wanted to do via technology was absurd, and yet he had all that and more to spare. Andrew glanced at the helical crystal and mused that he had enough power to break every subatomic bond in every atom of the Earth itself, all contained in a device no larger than a bottle of juice. He smiled. All that power was still not capable of performing the task he required. He could engineer more, he could in theory harness the power needed to tear asunder all of reality. In an infinite universe there was, after all, infinite energy. It was, however, but one tool in his eminent victory. He performed the final checks and adjustments. His calculations were tuned to readings that were over three hundred years old, but Andrew knew that time would not change these things. In fact time was on his side. Time and the forces of nature and entropy. In the end we all die, even a nova cannot escape death forever ...
  6. March 27, 2049 - Murphy Hospital and Clinic, Topeka, Kansas Andrew sat at the bed and flipped through the pad in his hand. He reviewed stocks and bonds, research results, sales figures, and more. Anything he could to focus past the steady beep and the IV drip that, to him, sounded like a bad faucet. His left hand tapped on the micro thin computer as he scrolled through another dry report on some marketing pitch for the new photo reactive polymer that his company was working on. His right hand held the withered hand of the bed's occupant. An elderly woman, her hair think and white, her skin wrinkled with age. He felt the hand squeeze his ever so slightly and he turned away from the pad, a look of concern on his face that turned to a smile as he saw the woman's eyes open. "Happy 100th anniversary my love." The woman smiled faintly, "And?" she asked as though expecting something more. Andrew laughed, "Happy 125th birthday. I wanted to get you a cake, but your doctor said it wouldn't do." "You liar," she replied, her voice strong despite her aged body, "You just want the whole cake for yourself ... Dr. Murphy." There was mirth in her voice and her smile was as beautiful as the day he had met her. ***** July 4th, 1946 The second World War was finally over. Despite their efforts Andrew, Joani, and Ulric had been unable to overcome the force of history. They had been able to delay its start and greatly decrease its scope but it would still go down in history as the greatest conflict in world history. In the end it went down much as it had on Andrew's home world. Andrew had, despite the danger that he could in fact still die, fought in both Europe and the Pacific. Today though, he wad finally home, or at least finally back in the United States. There were parades and celebrations. People bought the GIs drinks, and women all but flung themselves at the returning soldiers. Through a crowded Times Square, he saw her. Christine had a smile that could stop a man in his tracks; it certainly stopped Andrew in his. For the first time in a hundred years or more Andrew felt the pull of sexual attraction. Like a serpent he wove his way through the crowd, stopping only when he lost sight of that smile, and continuing once he found it again. In the end their first meeting would be shared with millions as a photographer from Life magazine shot the handsome soldier sweep the young woman from her feet and kiss her deeply. ***** "Caught me," he replied, his smile light. "I love you as much today as I have ever." "My husband, the sweet talker. I'll forgive you this time." Christine took a labored, deep breath, "How much longer?" "Not long now I'm afraid, there's simply no more I can do. I knew the longevity drugs worked, I should have started you on them sooner, much sooner." His face bore a sadness more profound than any before it. In all his life he had never felt so helpless. She patted his hand, "It's alright, 125 years is plenty long to live. Sometimes I can't even imagine your life. Or I think how scandalized my parents would have been if they had known your true age. You've given me a wonderful life, I've no regrets except that I have to leave you alone." She closed her eyes, she couldn't bear to see him cry. After a long silence she said, "Though I do wish I could go flying one more time."
  7. Below was a PM exchange between myself and Sky regarding how Michael played Cody and the Cabal that I thought you guys might find amusing. I couldn't reveal this at the time to anyone lest it spoil the suprise. Enjoy. Leaving the timeline Mr Fox: Actually, you will find that Cody doesn't really want to press the issue about exposing their role in history... Leaving feels like the right thing to do, but now that Ulric has questioned exposing the group, it seems entirely reasonable to Cody to heed his advice. (This is not Ulric's doing, he's not pitting mega against mega here. Nor is anyone manipulating Cody, nor does he in any way feel manipulated, it just seems like the natural way things should be.) SkyLion: Why? Tell me more? Whats wrong with letting this world know the truth and allow them to make their own decisions??? Mr Fox: Well, there would be consequences to that action, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that Cody simply loses the desire to pursue that option as though he has been thoroughly convinced, even though Ulric made only the barest of arguments. Nor does it occur to Cody to think anything odd about that. The manipulator has been manipulated. SkyLion: Uhhhhh....I spend a willpower power point to throw off the manipulation. If its Ulric he can piss off. Charisma just makes one likeable. Its manipulation that makes people do what you want. And there is NO way Ulric just beat Cody in a competition of Mega Manipulation...or anyone else on the ship for that matter. And if its TP, then COdy would know...he has psychic awareness, plus his Mental Invulnerability and the extra protection of our (very strong) at this point link. Unless you can give me a valid OOC reason why I should go along with what you say I am going to be miffed... Mr Fox: Before I explain, let me say that I don't take things out of the control of a PC lightly. I know that such manipulations piss off the player. With that in mind, let me explain, but keep in mind that this is all OOC knowledge and Cody wouldn't have any clue whatsoever. First of all, Cody can't throw off something that he is not even aware of. Second, You are almost right. Almost no one on the ship has the ability to do this to Cody. There is one person though, although he is incapacitated at the moment. Even he wouldn't have an easy time forcing something like this on Cody, however... since you invited him into your mind, and have done so repeatedly for the last 60 years, he's had plenty of time to arrange things. Michael as benign as he is on this timeline is still the seed from which Divis Mal sprung on the original timeline. And he plans to be here long after the rest of you are gone. Worse, he couldn't have you guys going off and spoiling things for him at your departure. He has planned this since before Caroline. In fact the whole Caroline incident was actually instigated by him for the dual purpose of testing the group and getting access to Cody's mind. Tada!!! I've been waiting to spring this on you guys for a long time now. Remember though, that Cody doesn't have a clue. When you guys made that first gestalt I rolled dice for the both of you and he got the successes necessary to set his hook in Cody without him noticing. I saved the roll, but unfortunately, I had to rebuild my computer since then and don't have the numbers anymore, but if I remember right he got like 5 successes over Cody. So with all that being said. I really hope you are not irked by having a decision taken out of Cody's hands, but like I said, it was not something I did lightly and it was very much part of the plot as you can see, and it was a very long time in the making. Oh, and so you know, Michael's plan was to wave goodbye to you all when you left and part as good friends, but after you were gone to rule this timeline as a benevolent ruler. He set the hooks in Cody to accomplish two things. One, to ensure that you guys left in such a way that it would not disrupt his plans, and two, to ensure that when you did go that all the contacts, and manipulations and strings would be in his hands, and his alone. He didn't want you bringing others into the secret, or his own position would be compromised. Had he not been in a coma, he would have asked you out of friendship to consider not revealing the secret of the cabal since he would be staying behind and out of friendship you would have said yes and thought nothing of it. SkyLion: That Bastard! Well Played... Mr Fox: Thanks. I hope you don't mind playing that out. There is a small chance that the others might catch on, but Michael has worked very hard to ensure his position. SkyLion: What sucks is that you did something so crafty you cant even tell us. I can keep the OOC knowledge to myself but it must suck for you! And just so you know I was going to have Cody Scan Micahel way back and you got dodgy so now I know why. Also what would you have done if I had used my xp to buy more levels of invuln? Mr Fox: Oh, man you don't know how many times I've just been itching to spill the beans. Invuln wouldn't have mattered. You willingly let him into your mind. You opened the front door and made him feel right at home. It wasn't a matter of him doing what he wanted to do, it was only a matter of whether you realized he was doing it. That is the downside to the gestalt, btw. By allowing yourself to be so open to the other, you are making yourself vulnerable. If you hold back and shield the gestalt won't work. Michael was just crafty because he set guards in your mind against you getting tempted to scan or plant suggestions of your own in him. Mr Fox: Oh, and only you and Ulric have been told yet. It will still be a surprise to the others. If you hadn't forced the issue, it might have remained a secret either until after you left if I didn't think you were coming back to the timeline, or it would have been discovered if you ever returned. SkyLion: Us players are a crafty lot...obviously not as crafty as STs though...
  8. 1930, Andrew's secret lab, outside Topeka, Kansas Andrew looked at Ulric and Joani across the small round table. It was polished steel with a single pedestal that blended into the floor seamlessly. His lab was vaguely reminiscent of Lorean but the old fashioned (for them) glass lab ware lent an anachronistic feel to the room. Andrew looked mildly ridiculous in his farmer getup complete with stains on his "overalls" that were probably nothing more than cosmetic embellishments. He smiled, "So, we are, for all intents and purposes, stuck here to life out the rest of our unnatural lives. We know that in less than ten years one of the worst wars in the history of the earth will erupt and kill millions, we know that out of that will come a cold war and various smaller wars that will every day threaten to tear this world apart. And we know that we can change things for the better. "I know that we have far fewer resources that the cabal did, but I also feel that we have one thing that is stronger than in our days as parts of the Cabal; we have a strong moral center, and a willingness to do things the right way." Andrew smiles, "I've done my research in the past few months and I have verified that this world's Michael died as an infant, that Dr. Sir Hammersmith's machine worked for a few brief seconds before failing in an un-impressive pop of vacuum tubes. I can only assume that this world has been primed for our kind to emerge at some point, and once again we know that we need to be ready. We have the cure, and technology enough to gather all the resources we could ever need. "This time however there will be no meddling with minds, no secret plots. We do everything out in the open, we let the people of this world embrace us or destroy themselves out of pure free will. If we fail, we can choose to stay behind in our mess or we can flee through the arctic facility." Andrew offers the others his hands, "Will you join me in what I hope will be our last time through this period of history?"
  9. (OOC: This is a continuation directly from Departed) Lorean had arranged everything they wanted and left for good. They agreed to establish a base on the north pole - a fortress which only Joani could open if they needed to. It was the one way ticket back should they ever find the need to leave this place which Joani strongly doubted. Lorean also left the complete library archived in datacrystals which had documented everything they had done in their past. It was their lives put done to word, sound and picture – a past they wanted to forget and turn away from. They had found a nice house not far away from her parent’s farm. Andrew could settle down here if he wanted. That way they would be neighbours which appealed to Joani allot. The day of the crash was two days ago and Joani had watched from the distance repelling the urge to head out and prevent the plane from its fiery death. It was an indescribable feeling to witness the crash knowing that not only she had died there but also another 50 passengers and for a moment Joani felt like throwing up. She had to shut her eyes and ears to avoid hearing the screams of pain and death. A week later after the accident Joani decided it was time to do what she had come for. The funeral was a painful experience and she saw how her parents barely endured it. It was obvious to everyone that something inside them had died with their daughter and recovering from that wound would last a long time. It was evening already and Joani nervously looked at Ulric. She needed him for reassurance; he was the source of her strength, her confidence, her willpower. He smiled at her putting a stray gone strand of hair out of her face. “Give me just a few minutes then I call you in. From there it is your stage I’m only around to keep watch.” Joani nodded at him and gave him a brief yet passionate kiss. She took off and floated above the large house of her parents watching Ulric knock on the door and make his entrance. Time slowed down for her as she hoped that her idea would be well received. Her parents were in grief and she in some ways, too. It was a crazy idea but it could work out – at least her part and the way she felt was genuine. The door opened again and Ulric stepped outside looking up and reaching out with one hand for Joani. She slowly drifted down to him and right at that moment her parents saw her. Her mother held one hand up to her face in disbelief while her father pulled her closer to him half protecting her, half seeking comfort himself. “But this is… impossible.”, her father said while Joani landed gracefully right in front of him. For a moment they stood there, staring at each other unsure what to do, then her mother broke lose from her husband and embraced Joani. “You’re back! Thank god, you’re alive!” Joani hugged her mother and looked at Ulric somewhat surprised. He kept his façade but his eyes told her that he wasn’t expecting that reaction. She decided to roll with it for the moment overwhelmed by the sheer joy of her mother. Joani laid her arms gently around her mother and closed her eyes. After a long moment of silence and tears of joy Joani carefully pulled back. She looked at Ulric suddenly not knowing how to proceed. “Lets get back inside.”, he suggested going first to encourage the others to follow him.
  10. (ooc: this fic is a continuation from the last chapter of the main thread and details the events directly after Joani got transported back to Lorean.) Back on board Lorean Joani just managed to take few shakey steps before she collapsed. She wanted to scream it all out but her voice failed her. She wanted to cry like there was no tomorrow but she had no tears left. She barely felt the presence of Ulric who immediately asked Lorean to transport him to her quarters. He stood there for a moment unsure if he should come closer or not. “I need to leave this place, Ulric.”, she said after a moment of awkward silence. Her voice was broken yet full of determination. “Everything here reminds me too much of what has happened. I can't stand it anymore Ulric – I can't accept it. It drives me insane, I can feel it. I think I already lost something I can't get back. A part of me is gone – forever.”, the sadness in her voice was heartbreaking. “Will you stay with me at least until Andrew has given me the cure? I'm... I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm scared of taking it. I had terrible nightmares because of Andrew. He... he gives me the creeps.” Ulric was the only one who remained human throughout all the time. He was always there for her and she knew he wouldn't fail her. Yet she felt like she had to ask for this instead of expecting him to stay with her. Nothing could be taken for granted any more, not even the simplest of requests.
  11. There was a slight drop in everyone's stomachs that was the usual sign of a jump, but it seemed smaller and less noticable than it ever had in the past. Lorean spoke, "I've jumped to the timeline that was specified, but out at the edge of the solar system so that I can scan communications and databases for information before we show up in Earth orbit. Go ahead and continue your conversation and have a snack if you want. This could take some time. A good thirty minutes passed when Loren interrupted, "I found something when scanning the news archives that I think you all should see before we procede further. Keep in mind while watching that this timeline has no known Novas or Psions." The 2d video appeared on the front screen. The video faded in from black, on screen the fimilar face of Wolf Blitzen appeared looking serious and somber, "This is Wolf Blitzen reporting live from the deck of the air craft carrier USS Ronald Reagan." The camera panned out and then did a sweep of the deck where several fighters were waiting, ready to be launched. As the camera swept further in it's arc out to sea it was apparent that the carrier was surrounded by an entire battle group. Once the camera settled on Wolf he continued, "The last time I stood on the deck of an air craft carrier reporting the news it was at the height of the second Gulf War. What I have to report today is far more momentus despite the fact that there has been no loss of life. We are just moments away from the time appointed by the mysterious man known only as Genesis." The camera zoomed out to reveal the broad unnaturally shimmering landmass on the horizon behind Wolf, it was liking seeing it through a curtain of watery glass. From there it zoomed in on a tiny speck siloutetted against the sky resolving into a man floating in mid air with his arms spread wide facing away from the camera and toward the land. When the camera moved back to Wolf he continued. "While we wait, let's take a look at the first appearence of this Genesis as he was interviewed by Hollywood Insider reporter Donna Clark two weeks ago." ***** There was a transition as the scene disappeared and then resolved on Donna Clark. She was wearing a fashionable raincoat and hat, her long blond hair blowing in the wind. As she stood on the rainy boardwalk she looked somewhat like a modernized version of Ingrid Bergman at the end of Casablanca. A little unhappy to be standing out in the weather, she realized that the camera was rolling and gave a perfect Hollywood smile, "Donna Clark here. I am out in this weather thanks to my editor, may he never score under par on the golf course again." She grined at her imagined audience's reaction to one of her typical witty faux confidential comments. "Let me tell you ladies that I wouldn't be out here on a Santa Monica boardwalk in this kind of weather for anything less than a serious scoop, and from the picture I was shown you are going to wish you were here too. Mervin my hated editor may have done me a favor this time. The guy I'm supposed to be interviewing is a serious side of beef." Looking past the camera she nodded in the direction of someone approaching, "And here is the man of the hour now." The camera turned about and a tall extremely well toned man was striding purposefully up the walk. As he arrived and planted himself next to Donna, it was apparent that he was more than just merely good looking, he could easily be the most beautiful and perfect male specimen ever seen with wavy blond hair and piercing blue eyes. He smiled at Donna, "Good afternoon Miss Clark, pleasure to meet you." The camera remained focused on the two of them and it took a full three seconds of dead air before Donna snapped out of her near trance and stumbled out the words, "Uh, thank you." After another second she faced the camera and with a breathless look of delight and just a little malice, "Eat your hearts out ladies, he's all mine!" Looking back to the tall man, she asked, "So what is your name, handsome?" The tall man looked down at the petite reporter and responded, "I have gone by many names in many places. You may call me Genesis, that name suits me at this time." Donna Clark blinked in surprise at the name. "That's not really a name, but if that's what you want to call yourself..." She looked like she was about to say something suggestive but fought down the urge and instead asked, "So, to what do we owe the pleasure of interviewing you today? Are you going to be cast as the lead in some hot new Hollywood movie? Is that why the unusual name?" Donna looked back at the camera with another mischevious grin and addressed the audience at home, "No matter what the studio's do, he'll be staring in my fantasies this season!" The big man smiled down fondly at the reporter like a father to a wayward child. "Miss Clark, I have a simple message I would like you to pass along to the governments and people of the world. All shipping should stay clear of these coordinates." He handed over a small card with a series of printed numbers on it. The camera performed a close up making the coordinates readable for a brief moment then zoomed back out to focused on the the two people. Donna asked, "What is special about these coordinates and why should people stay away from them?" With a very serious look the man calling himself Genesis looked into the camera, "That area is in the Pacific Ocean in international waters. No one claims that area since there is no land there for hundreds of miles in any direction. I now claim it. The reason no one should venture there is that it means death for anyone who comes too close. In ten days at 12:00 noon local time, I will finish my work. At that time I will have further words for the people of Earth." He smiles slightly, "I know you must think I am mad, but when you share this information with the governemts of the world they will investigate and discover that I am not." He reached for Donna's hand and without understanding she allowed him to take it. With charm that melted away any concern that the man before her was beautiful but insane, he kissed the hand, "It was a pleasure to meet you Miss Clark." With that he took two steps backwards and rose into the air obviously unsupported. As he did it became apparent that the wind whipping Donna Clarks coat and peppering her with rain wasn't touching Genesis. Slowly he turned and gained both altitude and speed racing out over the Pacific in the direction of the coordinates. The camera zoomed out and quickly panned around in all directions looking for any equipment or tricks that might explain how the beautiful man pulled off the flying trick. When it was again settled on the Hollywood reporter, she was staring off in the direction Genesis had departed in. Turning back to the camera and with a subdued tone of voice, "This is Donna Clark reporting live from Santa Monica." ***** The view transistioned back to Wolf Blitzen aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. "It appears that something is happening. The hazy barrier that scientists speculate is some kind of energy field appears to be disapting." The camera zoomed in on the distant land mass to show a rocky coastline mixed with sandy beaches and inland from the beaches, lush foilage leading up into a mountain range that appeared to surround the island except for one spot. In that place a river emptied out into the ocean through a natural break in the mountains. Wolf stood there for just a moment almost speechless. Finally, he said in a husky voice, "Amazing. Ten days ago, this was nothing but an expanse of empty ocean and now there is a new island, or given the size perhaps a small continent. It is like the ledgend of Atlantis in reverse..." He interrupted his musings as the camera quickly cut away to a view of the mysterious Genesis. He was lowering his arms and turning to face the waiting fleet of warships. He moved toward the fleet with deceptively fast speed, but slowed and stopped, floating in air just off the side of the deck and waited patiently. After a few moments of tense silence with Marines taking up firing positions and aiming their weapons at the unconcerned man, a high ranking officer made his way sedately across the deck to a spot near where the stranger floated waiting. Seeing the officer come to a stop, the man known as Genesis spoke loudly and clearly enough to be easily heard by the microphone. "Admiral Kerrignton, may I have permission to come aboard?" The tension visibly eased from the Admiral's shoulders and he gestured toward the deck, "Granted. Welcome aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. It seems you have me at a disadvantage sir. You know my name, but I do not know yours." Genesis smiled and it was like a sunrise after a dark and terrible night. "But you do. I am called Genesis. It is not perhaps a proper name as you are used to but it is the one I wear." The Admiral visibly glanced toward the new continent sitting off the starbord side of his ship and said in a somewhat awed voice, "I suppose I can see why you call yourself Genesis. May I ask what you are?" If the large man was offended by the question he didn't show it, "I am neither god nor demon nor any other such being. I was born a human being like yourself, but that was eons ago." Again a certain amount of tension seemed to leave the admiral, "My next question, what are your intentions toward the United States of America and to the other nations of the world? Do you come in Peace as the old saying goes?" Genesis chuckled and even through the 2D medium of the recorded image it was hard not to feel joy just hearing the warm sound of the man's amusement. "I do come in peace. Not to be immodest, but I come to offer all peoples of the Earth the benefits of my wisdom and experience. I have knowledge that can assist in curing many diseases and reversing the negative effects of polution and damage to the environment." Gesturing about the group gathered on the windy deck of the warship, "But first may I suggest we adjourn to someplace out of the wind, with perhaps a few comfortable chairs thrown in?" Admiral Kerrington smiled obviously taking a liking to the large man. "An excellent suggestion and one I was about to make myself." He looked to his aide, "Allow Mr. Blitzen to accompany us along with his crew." Looking to the men with the rifles, "At Ease!" The camera jostled and bumped along as it followed the group into the conning tower of the ship and eventually into a large briefing room dominated by a table covered with a large map of the Pacific ocean and already containing satellite photos of the new continent of Atlantis. After the men were seated and refreshments provided the conversation continued with Genesis beginning, "I know that many in the military forces around the world must be frightened by the power I have, but they need not fear. I will maintain a ban on venturing into these waters by all except those who are invited. In turn I will respect the soverignty of the nations of Earth and only enter your territory at your leave. That holds true for the United States right down to the smallest countries. Your laws hold within your borders and I will respect them, both just and unjust alike." Becoming more serious he added, "Please ensure that your superiors in Washington understand that my own soverignty over Atlantis is not to be tested. No one is to approach without my permission. In the weeks and months to come I will be inviting many from around the world to come to visit and even to make their homes there, but under no circumstance should Atlantis be approached without permission." ***** The image faded from the screen. Lorean spoke, "While that has been playing I've scanned a great deal of news records and government files. There have been half a dozen recorded attempts on Genesis' life since his arrival, obviously without success. He seems to have built a capital city at the center of the Atlantis landmass and invited select individuals and their families to live there." On the screen pictures appeared of the city. The center of the city was dominated by a massive pyramid of gleaming stone, and the architecture of the rest of the city seemed to be much like a modern interpretation of ancient Egypt. From the images it looked very clean and the citizens appeared to be quite happy. "Those who have accepted his invitation, renounce their citizenship from their nation of origin and are given citizenship as Alanteans. It seems Genesis is the ultimate authority on Atlantis although beyond that there doesn't seem to be any actual government. He or his advisors appoint people to perform certain tasks and they do with amazing success...." Lorean trailed off her jaw droppping open for a moment before recovering. "Ugh, there's more, I'm scanning in chronological order. Ten years after his arrival he...." She stopped again, "I'm sorry, you just have to see this." ***** A more mature and much more professional looking Donna Clark sat behind a news anchor desk and looked up as the camera faded in. "Good evening, this is Donna Clark bringing you this special report. We have just had word that Genesis will be making an announcement shortly, we go live now to Atlantis." The image of an elegantly decorated room behind the reporter zoomed to fill the screen. Standing at the podium was a middle-aged man and a caption appeared denoting the speaker as Daniel Fitzroy chief aide to Genesis. The sound cut on in mid sentence, "...have said in the past. So without further ado I give you Genesis." Genesis entered the scene from off screen and took the podium and smiled out over the gathered reporters. "Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, as always, it is a pleasure to adress you all, I have important news to share with you." Looking away from the gathered press, he looked directly into the camera, "Today marks a new day for the human race. Thanks to the remarkable strides Earth's doctors and scientists have made over the last decade the worlds population has increased to 7 billion. Along with all of mankind I rejoice that such great strides have been made in the peace process, that war, famine and disease has been reduced considerably since my arrival." His smile turned into something of a grin, "Some of the world leaders have not always been so appreciative of this fact and it has been a rocky path, but one worth treading. As wonderful as it is that the human race now numbers over seven billion, even with the recent technological advances, that number is straining Earths' resources. Therefore I have acted. Much in the way I created Atlantis ten years ago, I have now terraformed Mars. The red planet is now green and has mass and atmosphere comparable to Earth's. Colonization will begin immediately, and anyone who wishes to relocate may do so by applying to the Atlantean office of immigration. The same immigration rules will apply to Mars as currently exist for Atlantis. There will be no preference given for citizens of any one nation, race or educational background. I welcome this opportunity to help the people of Earth and am very pleased to be able to make this announcement." Genesis' smile was warm and happy and like all images of him the viewer was hard press not to feel comforted. Like a cloud passing over the sun his smile disappeared as he continued, "Along with this announcement I must also issue another. It grieves me that I must make such a proclimation, but the actions of several governments over the past ten years make it necessary. Immigration to Mars will only be allowed through Atlantis, do not attempt to circumvent my proscriptions. Moreover, as I give a fully inhabitable world to Mankind as a gift, I must also forbid any approach of the planet Venus. I claim Earth's sister world as my own, not out of greed, or for my own sake but for the sake of it's people." The smile began to return and bloomed as he continued, "That is right, mankind is no longer alone as the only sentient species within the solar system. Your brothers and sisters on Venus have evolved over tens of thousands of years and have chosen to leave you in peace and though they greatly desire fellowship with you, I do not believe mankind is yet ready. Soon, perhaps within a hundred or two hundred years the two species might live in harmony side by side, but not yet. In the mean time, be welcomed to Mars and enjoy the ease on resources that this gift brings." The camera zoomed back away from the screen to include Donna Clark looking quite shocked and speechless. ***** Lorean stopped the footage. "As an interesting footnote to that announcement. Several governments were toppled by popular revolts within a year because their leaders were not allowing citizens to immigrate. All of those governments were hostile to Atlantis. For someone who 'respects' the laws of other nations Genesis seems to get what he wants without ever taking any obvious direct action." Knowing Lorean as well as you do it is not hard to dectect a note of pride in her voice. "There is more, volumes and volumes of data, but I think those highlights give you a decent picture of what is going on in this timeline. Genesis is obviously a Watcher, though not much like the memories I have of them. This one is doing a lot more than just passively observing."
  12. 12/24/06 NOTE: Those joining the game late can create their own character if they'd like, and don't have to go with the method described below. Just PM me for details if you'd rather create your own. ********* Character creation rules depend on how the players would like to start the game. Keep in mind, whichever way you choose, I give out experience pretty generously, so if your character is not just the way you want them at creation, they won't be that way forever. Option 1: 30 NP Novas, standard rules, core books + brainwaves. No more than 3 in abilities before bonus, No more than 5 quantum, period. You come up with your story and how you came to erupt. Option 2: You make your character PRE-eruption and spend bonus points. (Bonus can not be spent on post eruption things like quantum) You PM me with a list of your top 5 choices of what powers you would like your character to have. We then rp your eruptions in the game. I create your POST-eruption character sheets using 40 nps. The first abby game I ran I did it by Option 2 and the players really enjoyed the 'Christmas morning' aspect of not discovering what powers they had until their eruptions happened. Option 1 is easier on me, but Option 2 has some serious potential for fun, and it really removes the 'my character is all about this power' problem. The following applies to either choice: If you pick Mega-Int, don't spoil the plot. It is a mystery based game, if a mega-int 5 nova put his mind to it he should really be able to solve it without much effort, but that would ruin the story for everyone. Also, the players need to get together in the Character Discussion thread and decide on how they are connected. I want more of a connection than just 'oh, we all erupted at about the same time'. I'd like ties between the characters going back before their eruptions. Something that binds them together and promotes loyalty to each other. Finally, whichever choice you make, I want strong characters. Be sure to focus on your backstory and who your character is before his/her eruption. The powers your character has or will have do not define them, their personality and life experiences do. I would like you guys to vote here and let me know which choice you'd like. I'll do this as a group. If the majority votes for Option 1 however, and some of you would like to choose Option 2 we can still do that on an individual basis via PM.
  13. Back aboard the ship everyone appears in the teleporter room and Meri can't help but notice that this room looks exactly like the transporter room from the old Star Trek show. Morgan is waiting and greets everyone. "Welcome back. Meri, I am Morgan, welcome aboard Lorean the most advanced ship in human hands, or perhaps I should say Nova hands. Lorean has prepared quarters for you, but if you would like I'm sure someone here can show you around the ship." He smiles and adds, "Oh, and Lorean is not just a ship, she is actually sentient, if you get lost you can always just call out her name and she can help you no matter where you are on the ship."
  14. Meredith had never known a living world as a nova. She'd clung to a fiction of social existence, going through the motions of having others in her life to keep herself within the boundaries of sanity that so many other survivors had abandoned. She'd been an art student. A sculptor. Beyond that she'd had no idea what she wanted to be; as unformed in her own way as the materials she shaped. Then the meteor had come, and questions of the future faded to irrelevance. Survival, both physical and psychological, was the paramount. And then she'd been saved. Meri knew that nothing could convey what that meant to her...but even so, she asked the Lorean to help her by making a list of things that each of the ones that had plucked her from the surface would really like. If there was anything better than shopping for herself, it was shopping for other people. ...but she'd pick some things up for herself too. And so she asked to be set down at the nearest convenient shrine to consumerism there was...a little place called the mall. In a blousy orange and white sun dress and a wide-brimmed white hat with sunglasses; all things she'd cobbled out of materials on the ship...she set forth to buy some nice clothes that wouldn't turn into anything unpleasant, and a library of books on whatever caught her eye, and food...no! Chocolate! (if anyone wants to go with, they're welcome, otherwise I'll continue this tomorrow evening)
  15. Dreaming Joani woke up with a gasp and looked around a bit startled by a strange noise next to her. “Shh… it’s just me, Joani. I found it! I found it!”, even though he tried to speak quietly she could clearly identify his voice – it was Andrew. “Found what?”, she asked as she slowly turned to face him sitting at the edge of her large bed. “The Cure! And like I promised you’re the first to get it.”, Andrew reached with his hands to her in one hand holding a large syringe and with the other he supported her head. Before she could respond or act he plunged the syringe right into her forehead where her Node was and pushed. Joani felt an intensive pain spreading through her head which nauseated her and then the room started spinning. She stood up, stumbling half blind through the room while Andrew kept talking with excitement. “I was so close to the cure all the time but I never realized. But now everything is going to be alright Joani. Taint won’t affect you ever again, like I promised. Without your node there is no Taint!”, he proclaimed cheerfully. Joani couldn’t believe what he was saying, “What have you done to me?!”, she screamed at him still stumbling. Then she fell backwards and hit a cupboard with her head. She could feel the pain, her skin getting punctured where the solid surface of the cupboard pierced her delicate skin and dug itself deeper into her flesh. She reached with one hand to her head feeling the intense pain and felt something liquid covering the tips of her fingers. Her eyes had trouble focusing but she could tell that it was blood she felt… her blood. Everything went red, then she passed out. -- Joani woke up with a gasp and looked around confused. She felt a strange pain on her forehead and reached carefully for it. There was a small indenture which felt a bit like scar tissue. Suddenly she was fully awake again. She was in her room – alone. Usually her eyes would’ve adjusted to the darkness by now but she felt have blind. She fumbled for the light switch and flipped it on. A dreadful feeling spread across her body and she tentatively squinted her eyes to use her x-ray vision but failed. She got out of her bed feeling awkward and clumsy and walked to the large mirror standing next to her wardrobe. What she saw terrified her. Her body had changed dramatically. Her peaked Nova physiology was gone, her vibrant eyes and beautiful facial features gone. She looked… plain and normal. Shaking her head in disbelief Joani walked to back to the bed and tried to lift it. She refused to believe what has happened but reality caught up with her. The bed was simply too heavy and she couldn’t even make it budge an inch. Frustrated she tried again and slipped falling backwards against the wardrobe bumping her head – which resulted in a bruise which throbbed painfully. She got back on her feet and looked at the mirror and screamed at herself “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – The mirror crashed and with it her image then the world went dark again. -- Joani woke up with a gasp and almost jumped out of her bed. She was in her room and the lights were off but she could see perfectly. She walked nervously to the mirror and recognised herself and smiled relieved. She undressed her robe and checked her body to be sure everything was alright. She closed her eyes and concentrated using her super-hearing. She could her Ulric breathing peacefully in their bed and expanded her awareness to beyond the room. Outside she picked up all kinds of noises which she easily identified. Satisfied she opened her eyes again and opened the wardrobe. Within a blink of an eye she was dressed in her new Supergirl uniform and went to the window. Looking back at her husband she smiled and looked up to the sky. She needed to clear her mind and flying was the only thing that helped her relax and gather her thoughts. The dream felt more than just a dream to her and she didn’t like the feeling she had in her guts because of it.
  16. After the tense ordeal on the surface, Cody had sat down in the quiet of his meditation chamber, lighting a single scented candle more out of habit and atmosphere now than any need for an external focus. As he was sitting in stillness, Kyria entered the room and sat down easily opposite to him, crosslegged. Her presence was at once soothing and jarring. The scent of her called to him, her raw physicality reminding him of somthing had had let fall by the wayside decades ago. As an explorer of the mind he had let his physical needs diminish before the vast and open astral sky upon which he soared on wings of thought and memory. Now, this amazing creature, so fresh and unburdened by the heavy toll of years had reached out to him upon his lonley and lofty perch and reawakened in him the lost desires of the flesh. He could smell her arousal, the unquenchable thirst of her youthful vibrancy an unmistakeable pull as she reached out with her thoughts and carressed him. Her thoughts were a soft wind and mighty waterfall at the same time. Cody laughed at himself, old enough to be her great grandfather...and yet if anyone was a sutiable match for him was it not the gifted daughter of his best friend? Someone whom over the years had forged a connection that not even his venerable mentor Steven could accomplish. All of these thoughts, desires and doubts, were made transparent to Kyria as she effortlessly entered his mind, past the hardened defenses he had hidden behind for so many years. There was a question there, addressed to the innocence of her longing and the core of his hesitation even as he longed to reach out and fullfill his role as a man. That question was, *Why me?*
  17. The aftermath of the Alien confrontation the Cabal was kept very busy for several months. The President addressed the public and made most of the details of the situation known to the people. All of the members of the Cabal were proclaimed Heroes and given the Leagues highest commendation. Not everything was made public of course, even the President doesn't know about the Cabal's long history, though he perhaps suspects this crisis was not the first time you have all worked together. He chalks up your preparedness to Amber's precognitive abilities, but has asked no awkward questions. Joani and Omar were kept very busy for weeks assisting the relief and rebuilding efforts. Steve did indeed find Avantech to be swamped with the effort of building a fleet of new Lorean class starships. Modern human tech could not come close to the real thing, but the President was so impressed with Lorean that he named her the prototype and first of the new class of ships and placed an order for 10 to be delivered within 3 years leaving Steve to scramble to design the new ships to be as close to the real Lorean as he can get. Michael, Cody and Kyria found themselves thrust into the spotlight in a way that they never had been before and for many weeks after the Commendation ceremony they found that they had little time for anything but public appearances. Oddly, it seems the massive Gestalt was not entirely a one way phenomenon. Everyone the three met after the event seemed to get a quizzical expression on their faces and within moments of the beginning of the conversation would say something to the effect of, "you seem very familiar, it's almost like we've met before." Andrew spent much of his time in an effort to unravel the mystery of the Proxies physiology. As the months past however, the conclusion became inescapable that the Proxy physiology was at least as complicated as that of Novas and would require more resources and time than he could afford to devote. In time he redoubled his efforts to resolve the taint issue. Morgan did all that he could in healing those injured in the attacks and worked to assist Andrew in his research. As the months drew on he became more concerned at his friend's obsession and distance from the others, but said nothing knowing it was a race between finding a cure and losing a friend to the disease of taint. Ulric for the second time in his life found himself thrust back into the center stage of politics. The League requested that he come out of retirement and take an active hand in the rebuilding efforts. It was after all his Unity Song which had saved humanity and been the rally cry for the human species. Aside from their public lives Joani and Ulric made all possible free time to spend with their children and grandchildren. Meanwhile, Gabriel was promoted two ranks for his exemplary service during the crisis. He was as far as the public, and even the President is concerned the captain of Lorean during those critical days of the crisis, and were it not for him the plot would not have been discovered in time. Kara followed in her mothers footsteps and was asked to lead a new Paragon's team established to evaluate possible alien threats. Lorean, the woman, spent her months in preparation for the day of their departure, insuring that all her agents and information networks would continue in her absence and funnel their vast accumulated knowledge to Michael since there was no question as to whether he would stay or go. She also made arrangements for the data collected in her absence to be burned to permanent storage and kept for her return. Lorean, the ship, spent her time making minor modifications and developing the code needed to overcome the programming that Max had slipped in 80 years before. She also closed the loop by giving the code to Max and instructing him in how it was to be done. Probably the most difficult thing to deal with in the aftermath was the two remaining Proxies. The Alien's were true to their words and did not lift a hand against humanity, and that included the prisoners. Their 'killswitch' was not activated. Adam, turned out to be of great benefit, he allowed full access to be scanned by Michael, Cody and Kyria. Michael took the risk alone, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Adam was truly repentant and wanted only to make up for his transgressions. While inside with the full consent and even assistance, Michael made certain modifications to Adam to ensure he could never become a threat again. In the months that followed he proved himself worthy of trust helping Michael undo some of the damage done by his fellow conspirators. Martin unfortunately, committed suicide in his cell, saying before he did that he couldn't live with what he had done. Like the crisis itself there was hope and joy to balance the sadness. After it was over many people wanted to know who had begun it, and eventually the questions lead to a young child, who looked up at the camera crew and news reporter and with the innocence of youth said, "It was the old woman. She smelled like Grandma, but she held my hand when I was crying." Eventually Hilda was tracked down and interviewed and spent nearly every day on one talk show or another. On the Tonight Show, she said, "It seemed like the end of the world, you know? The entire world was in chaos and everywhere people were crying and frightened and it was like the End of everything. So I did the only thing I could think of, I sang the song that started it all. Like a circle... it began with the Song, I thought, if it's going to end then it should end with the Song. I felt an absolute conviction that the Song would make it all better, and sure enough it did. Unity, it's what I believe in." Both the current President and former President Ulric appeared on the show to surprise Hilda and present her with Leagues commendation. Hilda had steadfastly refused to accept any money or other acclaims for what she had done, but when presented with the commendation by her hero Ulric, she broke down and wept, but did accepted the award. The moment instantly became one of those absolutes in the history of media that is graved in the memories of the people. Despite the pain and sorrow of the early days after the crisis, hope had indeed bloomed with the singing of the Song and it was a renewed and invigorated humanity that began discussions of what should come next. The answer was a resounding SPACE. The human race seemed to feel an almost palpable destiny to move beyond the solar system. ________ Six months after the Crisis, as it had become known, the members of the crew were finally able to gather to discuss their own next move.
  18. (ooc: this happens just before Chapter 9 starts) The crisis had an cathartic effect on her. Helping the people of her beloved Earth and straining herself to her limits seemed to give her more strength and power in return. Gabriel and Kara did their best to help wherever they could and Joani was extremely proud of them both. She could show them how much she cared for them and her actions spoke more than words could ever amount to. Joani felt a change within her. It was something that grew constantly over the past weeks. She had pushed herself to yet unknown limits and her body kept responding to the tasks adapting accordingly. She felt stronger and faster, more attuned to herself. It was less a burden and more something she had accepted and she knew her time has come to go. Although she had never been part of the initial cabal she felt strongly connected and dedicated to it. The time to move on had come though and she had to make sure that the gap she left would be filled by someone who was just as dedicated as she was – her daughter Kara. Being her firstborn Joani felt a stronger connection to Kara which didn’t mean she loved Gabriel less – it was just different and very hard to explain. She had called Kara to meet her at their house in St. Tropez – the time for private meetings had become scarce over the last years and she was looking forward to talk to her daughter. Joani held a small package in her hands. Inside was a new costume of hers, the one that Earths people had become to recognize by just having a glimpse at it. The package was folded showing the S-Shield on top and Joani carefully followed the outlines of the diamond shaped frame with her fingers that surrounded the “S”. She could hear her daughter landing smoothly on the patio and entering the house. “Mom, I’m home.”, Kara said in a low voice, knowing that her mother would hear her even if she was on the other side of the planet. Joani closed her eyes savouring the moment – home – how much did that word mean to her. Kara entered the living room where she saw her mother standing with her back to her. Even though it was dark she could tell that her mother was wearing a different costume… the design and colors had changed and she wondered for a moment if it was really her mother who she saw. Joani turned around to face her daughter wiping away any doubt about her appearance. Her new costume was black and closed the bare mid-riff gap between her chest and her skirt she used to wear. What used to be red outline against a yellow background was replaced by silver and black, giving her a much darker and somewhat more impressive appearance. Somehow the tag “Supergirl” didn’t fit that well anymore. Kara’s eyes fell to the package her mother was holding and recognized the emblem immediately. She looked up to her mother with her mouth half opened her eyes speaking for herself. “I think its about time to pass the mantle, Kara.”, Joani gave her daughter the package and smiled warmly to her. “And there is something very important I need to tell you… but first we have to make sure no one listens.” Joani mentally contacted Lorean and instantly mother and daughter were teleported on board the ship in Joani’s private quarters. Kara was still a bit confused by the sudden change of location but she trusted her mother. “Mom… I can’t…”, she looked at the package and back at her mother. “It’ll be alright, Kara. Trust me. I will leave this Earth, Kara, and I don’t know how long my journey will take. All I can tell you is that we are embarking on a quest to find a cure for Taint and prevent other catastrophes. Catastrophes much worse than what happened here. When I decided to go public with my powers and help Earths denizens with all my dedication I wasn’t alone. I’ve met people whom I call more than friends today. Without them all this, you and your brother… would’ve never happened. I owe them who I am and what I got although they would never hold me accountable for it. We’ve established a peaceful and striving society full of tolerance and good will. Something we all have worked very hard for.”, Joani was taking a short break before she continued. “Mom… I know that… but I don’t understand what…”, Kara said but Joani interrupted her daughter. “What I’m trying to tell you is, that these friends are not from this Earth… they are Travellers from a different Earth, a different time where our kind and the baselines will fight a terrible war. They are convinced that we can change that fate and our home - what we established here is the perfect proof for that. I love you with all my heart, Kara. Giving birth to you and Gabriel is the best thing I have ever done in my life and I consider this the golden times of our lives.”, Joani was close to tears but she continued nonetheless, “But the time to move on has come and I always dreaded this day but I know they need me, as much as they need your father. Gabriel and you – you are old enough to carry on without us and I ask you to be Earth’s Supergirl in my stead.” Kara’s expression turned from utter disbelieve to acceptance. Somehow she knew her mother was right and deep inside of her she half expected that this day would come. The only thing she wasn’t prepared to hear was that her mother would actually leave to a different time – a whole different universe. That went a bit farther than she had imagined. Kara took the package looking at it for a short moment. “I won’t fail you, Mom… and I love you.”, as soon as she had said that she embraced her mother and they both held each other for awhile committing that moment to their memories forever.
  19. Andrew stood in is lab on board Lorean and stared at the holographic DNA strand displayed in front of him. Andrew marveled at how long it had evaded him; marveled at how nobody else had seen it. One gene; one little gene separates human from nova and psion. Andrew pushed a button and the “Latency Gene” exploded into view as the holographic systems zoomed in on the fourth chromosome pair’s evolutionary time bomb. Dr. Goldfarb saw that a single gene was present in novas, psions, and humans who were latent for both. One little gene, without it a human has no potential for becoming a psion or nova. Flip that toggle switch one way though, and you get a psion. Flip it the other way; a nova, and the threat of taint looming over one’s head like some Sword of Damocles. Andrew reviewed comparison of nova, psion, and baseline genetic structure. A series of other genes were shown to be affected by the activation of the Latency gene. He saw that this one gene wasn’t the only controlling factor. It interacted with a series of other genes; some were affected in both novas and psions, others were affected in only one or the other. Andrew had a eureka moment, It’s the other genes, the other changes that occur once the gene expresses. How could I not have seen this earlier? How could nobody have thought of this? I wonder if a flaw in those genes causes novas to accumulate the genetic errors that express taint. Maybe we are the dead end evolutionary path? Through the night and well into the next day Andrew worked, comparing genetic scans of people from before and after their power activated. His scans compared taint susceptible novas to psions, both before and after their genetic switch had been flipped. The more he saw the more he became convinced that his discovery was going to lead to the cure. At long last, I can be free! Overtired, overworked, and overeager Andrew made the rash decision to mix the proxy genetic material with his own. Returning to his home lab he removed a sample taken from Adam and processed it into stem cells. From studying his feeding process he was aware that his body integrated the cells into itself through recombinant DNA that altered the new cells to match his own. He modified the cells to produce their own recombinant DNA; he would alter his genes by stimulating those that were active in the proxy but unchanged within himself. Injecting himself with the proxy stem cells Andrew concentrated on his own cells. For a moment everything seemed fine, Andrew focused on the state his body was supposed to have, internal organs, bones, nerves, and the like. Out of the composite a skeleton, organs, muscles, nerves and more formed. For the first time in more years than he cared to remember he had a heart that beat blood through his body. All of this had been within the grasp of his power before but required that he commit at least a fractional level of concentration upon it. Now Andrew relaxed and let go; if the taint was cleansed he would hopefully regain his human body without the need for concentration. Instead pain lanced through him like a hot poker driven into his mind. Confusion roiled within his body as the competing DNA struggled for dominance. The agony seemed to stretch to infinity but in truth Andrew remained conscious for only a few seconds, not even long enough for him to contact the others for help.
  20. Over the course of two days of tireless work on the parts of Steve, Andrew, Cody, Michael and Amber, you have narrowed the field down to 5 candidates as your potential spies. Three assistants to Department heads all in positions of access to the appropriate docs and information to leak the technology, and two actual department heads that were in already in trusted positions and were not required to undergo scans. Also of note, Lorean has become a media sensation. While there has been some grumbling that the public was not made aware of the second ship, the overall response is one of great relief in the foresight of creating the second ship. It has been made public that Enterprise was destroyed by aliens, but the public has been urged not to overreact. It is currently being portrayed as a tragic mistake, and the people are being reassured that a meeting with the aliens has been set in order to resolve the situation. Publicly everything is calm, but orders have been issued for several new ships to be constructed. The President has told you privately that they ships will be equipped with weapons and defenses unlike the Enterprise which was intended for exploration purposes only. The orders have not yet been issued for the the ship upgrades since that would put the technology into the hands of the spies you are hunting. As of two days ago, the entire human output has been geared to advancements in space and production of more ships in the event that peace talks fail. The President has personally assured you all that even if this situation is resolved peacefully, he will continue to pursue these goals so that the human race will never again be placed in such a precarious situation. On the third day the group gathers again for the testing of the final 5 candidates. Everyone is present in the event that you may all have to take action immediately, to prevent escape or sabotage. To start with Steve asks Amber to see what will happen when Cody and Michael scan the head of the Procurements department. Amber gets the familiar look of concentration, then opens her eyes wide in surprise, and yells out, "DON'T!" (In order for her precognitive abilities to work Cody and Michael have to be actually preparing to do a scan.) After a moment she calms, and explains, "I don't know if he is a spy or not, but if you had scanned him it would have set in motion a very bad chain of events that would have led to the destruction of the lunar shipyards." Seeing the look on Cody's face, she adds, "No, I don't know how he could even be aware of you scanning him, but that's what I saw." The next person on the list is the head of the Biotech department which is non other than Gemma the Psion that invented the technology and who has been involved in the project from the beginning. She wasn't scanned because she developed the tech itself and it wasn't deemed necessary to scan her since she invented the tech. Amber concentrates and after a moment smiles. "If you scan her she will know it, she is a strong Teep after all. She will be annoyed about it, but it will not lead to any difficulties or discoveries." Next is Gemma's personal assistant. Amber concentrates, again as Cody and Michael prepare to reach out for his mind. This time Amber's eyes jerk open and she physically reaches out and gives both Michael and Cody a shove as she shouts, "STOP!" She looks shaken and sits down quickly being assisted by Steve. "I'm sorry, but that was close. Gemma's assistant Maury Leftowitz is one of your spies. Worse, he's not supposed to be a Psion, but if you had scanned him Cody would have been killed and Michael would have been severely damaged mentally." Moving on to the final two one turns out to be innocent, and the other, the assistant to the Director of the Lunar shipyards would have caused the same problem as the head of the Procurement department. Scanning him would have led to the destruction of the shipyards. When it is all done Amber sits looking very tired and drained.
  21. OOC: The following takes place during Chapter 8 immediately after the bombings. Down on earth, in a large house, in a dark room Andrew stares at the Television. His expression is one of abject despair as he view through split screens the carnage wrought by those terrorists that they were unable to identify and unable to stop. Explosions at the world's major government buildings, innocent civilians killed, and all because of the changes they wrought on this earth. What have we done … have we helped at all or just made things different? Andrew could watch no more and yet was unable and unwilling to turn the images off. Instead he forced himself to watch as he sunk deeper into despair. At first he had helped, providing his medical knowledge to the triage teams and doing all that he could but by the end of that day the constant work, the massive amount of energy he had expended creating untold liters of blood for donation had left him wiped out, exhausted to the very core of his being. He had retuned home and begun watching the news, watching with horror the thousands of people he was unable to help. I tried, I did all that I could, I gave more blood and triaged more wounded than any man could do, than any ten men, and yet I barely scratched the surface of the suffering … He thought back to the decision that changed his life and, directly or indirectly set him on this path. When he had heard the offer and seen the proof from Omar and Steve to join an interdimensional crew of explorers he had jumped on it. His life had been in shambles and there was little to keep him from seeing the potential for a new life. He had been selfish of course; he had left his family behind without so much as a note or a letter goodbye. Then not a week later he had undergone a metamorphosis that seemed part miracle and part science fiction and comic book wet dream. After that he had felt empowered by his abilities, he had joined the crew because of what it would give to him and now with his powers and his full knowledge of the crew’s mission he had the power to change things for the better. I was a fool to think my powers could change the world, the only thing I have changed is myself, I’ve become a monster, eating the flesh of others to survive. Scant months later the dimension hopping had stopped and it was then that his life began; as he found a calling, a duty, and a responsibility to this adopted world. Some seventy years later Andrew sat and stared blankly at the images of horror being broadcast from around the world. He thought back to his world, to the horrors that his actions and the actions of the other had prevented; World War 2, The Cold War, the threat of mutually assured destruction by nuclear weapons, the wars in the Persian Gulf, and more. We can’t stop it … it’s mankind’s nature to destroy itself. Have we done anything worth while? We came to this world to help, and yet it is being torn apart yet again because of us. Andrew hurled the bottle in his hand at the screen. An explosion of glass, plastics, and liquor showered down to the floor. He screamed until his throat was raw and then he curled inward, unconsciously drawing in on himself. Seventy years we’ve worked to make this world a paradise and yet we cannot even eliminate the simple threats from within, the threat of human nature. Seventy years and all I have to show for it are a tortured soul, a ruined body, and a hunger for flesh that I cannot quench. When will it stop? Will we ever find peace?
  22. After resting for a good long time and spending a day in seclusion and meditation to clear his mind Cody asks Lorean politely if she will call together a meeting of the command crew, as well as Kyria. When all have assembled and been made comfortable he begins. *I know we have all been put through the wringer for the last several days, and it seems that decades of work are all about to be for naught. I have an idea for addressing this, but first I have something to say.* *I would like to aplogogize for my many years of abscence and withdrawal. I thought I was helping, doing good work behind the scenes but the trauma of recent days,* he looks at Kyria in what might be a meaningful way but its difficult to tell through shiny opaque metal. *has shown me how that distance, that secrecy has served only to wound and weaken our team. I am sorry. I should have been here more for all of you, as you made yourselves at home. Created families. I have always had one foot out the dimensional door. Never let anyone is here.* He taps his forehead. *As for our current dillema: We have created a world in our ideal image, through manipulation. Through subtle layers of influence and camoflauge. Through our own hubris and sense of pride in what we knew to be true. We have saved this world from the spectres of our own history and we are now walking an uncharted path.* *I think it is time we let our child grow up. If we can be victorious in this crisis...if we can keep our house of cards from shattering around us...we need to tell this world the truth. We cannot protect them from the ravages of human nature. Whomever is behind this most recent plot, just like Caroline is driven to power, or at least resentful of that which we have wielded.* *I propose that if we succeed, we tell the people of this Earth the truth about us...about our arrival here and our work to prevent the cataclysms of another place and time. We offer them our own history, show them their own, and let them decide if they will follow in our footsteps or revert to the old ways of fractured peoples and petty war-profiteering. In order to drive home the stakes of those decisions, we reveal as much as we dare of the alien foes arrayed against us, across multiple timelines.* *When that is done, those who wish to remain home, here, with their new lives and new familes, may do so. Those who will join me in exploring the megaverse will take Lorean and leave, lest the people of this planet go to war over the ability to surf the currents of time.*
  23. The door swished shut behind her and Kyria leaned up against it, letting the artificial gravity pull her to the floor. She's managed to hold herself together for most of the evening; it wouldn't have done to be seen as weak or disappointing to her father's associates. Now in the new room that was hers at least for a while, she let herself feel the silence again. *Father? Please wake up. I don't know what to do. I'm not ready for this. What if I make a mistake? I'm not you. I can't replace you. What if they fail because I'm not as strong as you? Please, please wake up.* She knew he couldn't hear her. She knew if he had been able to, he'd have told her it didn't matter. Earth needed protection and guidance and that was why she was born; if her start was a little rocky, then she'd simply have to learn to adapt. She hiccuped through her sobs and hugged her arms to herself.
  24. {This happens after Meeting of the Minds} Ulric had to control himself while in the meeting, his need was so strong. It wasn't a lover's need, but that of a husband for his wife, his partner, and the other half of his soul. Ulric had signaled Joani once he felt sufficiantly alone. As he waited he looked out into the great unknown. Now he could really come to grips with the rootlessness that opened up before him ... them. He could never leave without Joani, no matter how wrong he felt it might be.
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