Jump to content

Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - [Interlude - Butch #1] Day in the Life [FIN]


Recommended Posts

Date: April 1st

12:00 AM - 6:00 AM : Preparation

"Midnight to six, man...for the first time from Jamaica"

He danced. Alone. In his stateroom. Skankin' with Joe Strummer and The Clash (the Only Band That Matters!), just after midnight on April 1st, Butch was getting ready for his day. Listening to The Clash brought him back to the dancing days outside of Buffalo, when Sophie would watch him when Johnny Hellfire and the gang would go off and do...whatever it was they did. What was the guy's name...with the horns...Yuri, that was it. Loved music. Had stacks of old vinyl, boxes of bootleg cassettes, CD's, chips. And variety. Oh, man! One minute he'd be listening to The Sonics the next The Supremes followed by Iggy Pop then a little White Rain finishing with Purple Rain just to mess with you. No matter what, each time Yuri'd go on and on about the song, bands...anything and everything. The music was the only thing he said he'd ever care about again after playing the Elite game, making a ton of cash, and blowing it all on fast cars and faster women. Butch used to love listening to him yammer on and on while great tunes sonically surrounded them. Whenever the old warehouse was filled with music, Butch was relaxed.

So, first, The Clash.

Relaxation, a clear mind, and then the war.

"Cuz it won't get you anywhere...fooling with the guns...the British Army is waiting out there...and it weighs fifteen hundred tons."

Uncle Shen said they had three or four months before the Congo was going to become a warzone. The conflict would erupt in Angola, a carefully prepared conflict, from what Traveler said.

Butch skanked his way over to the bookshelf in his stateroom aboard Primus, and selected Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August even before he could articulate the thought that led him to that particular book. Back at his computer terminal, he pulled up John Keegan's The First World War.

"The new groups are not concerned with what there is to be learned...they got Burton suits, huh, you think it's funny?...turning rebellion into money."

His mind immediately had jumped to Europe in the years prior to 1914 an instant after he thought about the situation in the Congo. Before the First World War, all the major powers were banking on a war, and so they planned for it, obsessively in some cases. Rumor had it that von Schlieffen's last words were, "Remember: keep the right wing strong." How messed up was that? The last words the man ever spoke and it was about the same damn grand military strategy he'd been working on for forty years. Didn't the man have a life beyond that?

"I'm the white man...in the palais...lookin' for fun...I'm only, lookin' for fun."

And so fun for now would be plowing through a thousand pages of history.

"Down the road...down the road...down the road...came a Junco Partner...Junco, Junco Pard-ener...Boy, he was loaded...as can be..."

The next song on the mix, Butch selected because it contained the word "Angola".

He opened to the Foreward. Knowing that there was plenty of information to get through, Butch pushed on innerButch, forcing his eyes to move faster, his mind to process quicker...

Speed Reading
Butch has developed the Speed Reading enhancement...

Roll: http://invisiblecast...r/view/3235409/

Last 2 mega, so 4 successes...he's reading 8 times the speed of the average highly educated person...figure on approximately 500 words per minute for said educated person...he's reading 4000 words per minute...without losing comprehension


Reading is good!

"Singin' six months...ain't no sentence...and one year...ain't no time...I was born...in Angola...Serving 14...to 99"

And there it was. Less than a minute into "Junco Partner". Butch looked at the top of the page and saw that he had read just a shade over ten pages in thirty seconds. Whoa. Good work Butch's brain...


It took him thirty-three minutes to devour The Guns of August. The moral of the story? Plans fail. The Schlieffen Plan, Plan XVII from France, Plan B from Austria-Hungary, Russia's Plan G and Plan A. None of them worked. War is not quick when you expect it to be quick. Failure to update your thinking about war led to horror. Europe put a gun to its head, politically, in the years prior to 1914 and waited for an excuse to pull the trigger. They got their excuse...and pulled the trigger. An explosion of brains that lasted four years, and then a piss-poor mopping up job that led to the next war. The time after a war is sometimes more important than the time during a war...

"Christ," Butch said.

He started with the digital copy of Keegan's book.

The mix switched over to some Pantera. Johnny Hellfire had a soft spot for thrash metal, and his son had apparently inherited the same weakness.

"It's forcing you down...and it's grinding against you...let the war nerve break"

Ok, so Tuchman's book focused on the earliest part of the war, causes and failures of the plans. Keegan took it beyond the first month, expanded it out, which was a nice change of pace. Pages turned. Pages turned. Pages turned.

"Immune...stronger than all..."

And thirty-eight minutes later, Butch had finished. He knew all about the Marne and the Somme, Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes, Gallipoli, Caporetto and Isonzo, hell, even von Lettow-Vorbeck's guerilla campaign in Angola.

He pulled up a map of the Congo and stared at the border with Angola, 2,500 klicks of potential. Stared and stared and stared...

"When suddenly...Johnny...gets the feeling...he's being surrounded by...horses...horses...HORSES"

Butch turned away from the map and stared at the speaker. Patti Smith? Man, this was a weird-ass mix. Yuri would've been proud...

But that border wasn't the only possibility, was it? Who knows who else could use this as an opportunity to take a stab at Einherjar's kingdom? Surely not Zambia. Uganda's border was pretty small, but they were never the most stable nation.

He studied topographical maps. He scanned the limited intelligence he was able to get his hands on. Estimated troop numbers. Reports on technological level of their equipment. It wasn't enough. Take a look at those GNP's. Could they reasonably afford an Elite or ten?


"Christ," Butch said. "Enough to drive a man crazy with all the possibilities. And hang on a minute. I just read a thousand pages in an hour."

He paused. Patti Smith's poetry diverged gorgeously four and a half minutes into the song.

"And I'm talking to myself," Butch said. "Great."

He made his way back to the bookshelf. There. Hemingway. Literature. Take a step back from the planning. A Farewell to Arms. Now, he could plow through it in less than an hour...

Twenty-five minutes later he felt a slight twinge in his...I don't know...soul?...when Frederic Henry walks out of the hospital into the rain. If he wasn't careful, Butch might have even cried. Manly tears. Of course.

"For I am a Rain Dog, too."

Tom Waits? Really? Damn, Yuri had given him one hell of a music education...

Over the next three hours, Butch read The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast, tired of Hemingway, and switched to Faulkner's A Fable and then Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front.

It was 5 AM by the time the report "All quiet on the western front" indicated the end of the novel and kicked you with the awful realization that one soldier's life was apparently worth the square root of sweet fuck all. Getting up from his bunk, Butch stretched and yawned. For the next hour he shut his eyes, cleared his mind, and went blank.

At 6 AM, the alarm he had set went off. He changed into his gear and made his way to the corner of the submarine bay where he had hung the heavy bag, prepared to work out for an hour or so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6:00 AM - 9:00 AM: Quiet

The submarine bay was open enough for Butch's purposes. The air was cool, the room bright, and very quiet. In the corner, a very thick looking heavy bag, just screaming to be hit, hung from a chain.

Butch was dressed in a stained old Metallica tour shirt that belonged to his dad, athletic shorts, and tired looking sneakers. From a duffel bag, he pulled out a jumprope, a great piece of equipment for footwork training. Then he removed a gray hoodie from the bag and pulled it over his head.

Jumping rope was all about rhythm, agility. Butch took a deep breath in, then out. He stood on his toes and swung the rope, left side, right side, without jumping to help him focus. Left side, right side. Left side, right side. Then, smoothly, he opened the rope out and began to jump. One, two, one, two.

The bay was filled with the click-click-click-click of the rope hitting the ground.

Butch moved forward, jumping. One, two, one two. He moved backwards. One, two, one, two. He swung the rope, left side, right side, left side, right, side. Then he began to jump again.


A steady beat that he hardly noticed. His mind was clearer than it had been in days, and he felt at peace.

Before he knew it, a half hour had passed. Butch pulled the sweatshirt over his head and, along with the jump rope, tossed it over to the bag. Then he began to wrap his hands the way his father had taught him. Slowly, carefully. He could have done it with his eyes closed at three times the speed he was working at, but that would defeat the purpose according to his father. It was all about discipline. Controlling yourself. Even though you could do something, that didn't mean you had to. In fact, the challenge of control could only make you stronger.

He stretched his hands once, twice, content that the job he had done was sufficient. Then he approached the heavy bag and began his routine, using combinations he had watched his father practice years ago. Butch couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 at the time, but he remembered very vividly seeing his father move around the bag in that warehouse in Red Hook every morning. He hit the bag for another half an hour.

Content with his workout for the day, Butch left the submarine bay.

The submarine was quiet, hauntingly so, as he made his way back to his room. For a moment, he hoped for someone, anyone, to be walking in the halls, but everyone was off doing their own thing.

Maia, Cora, Justin, and Uncle Shen had left the day before to go off and train. Contemplate the Great Node and ponder the sound of one hand clapping. Ok, maybe not like that. Still, there was an air of mystery surrounding the Qi Meng training. The rest of them? Who knew?

He paused at his door before entering, looking left, looking right, but no one was moving about the corridor. Primus was a lonely place at 7 AM...

For the next two hours, he reviewed some texts about immunology and virology that Alex had forwarded to him in an effort to expand his medical knowledge. It was nowhere near as exciting as the reading he had completed a few hours ago.

Nor could it distract him from the twinge of loneliness that remained from earlier...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Procrastination

By 9:30, he had already begun the letter 5 different ways before deleting in frustration. Sometimes he got two sentences in to the first paragraph. Sometimes just one. A few times he even second guessed himself on the salutation. The letter was to be sent to Sophia Rousseau requesting a sharing of information that would hopefully provide Alex with some valuable intel to analyze and lead them all closer to sticking a fork in the eye (maybe even a good old knife to the guts, or baseball bat to the cranium if they were lucky) of Proteus,.

Human intel, that's what they needed. Alex's gadgets would be great, for sure, but they needed them before they could get regular targets for surveillance as his brilliant sister put it during the...meeting. It still made Butch shudder to think about that failure of a few days ago. Anyway, to speed things up, it might be helpful to have some leads on surveillance subjects. Who better for that than the Aberrants? They had an almost 20 year head start on investigating the shadow arm of Utopia responsible for Motherhunting, so it made sense that they might have an idea of targets of interest. They might provide names of people they've already looked into, but could use a fresh set of eyes on. If the braintrust among the family couldn't get anywhere with that information, Butch didn't think there would be anyone who'd be able to.

The letter needed to be written, but Butch just couldn't get past that second line it seemed. Frankly, he should have started the letter immediately following the meeting a few days ago, but he didn't. That stupid fucking meeting. What a brilliant idea on Butch's part. Really. Put the family in a room together and try to have them agree on something. Super smart? Nope. Super stupid? No doubt. It still bothered him.

Perhaps that was why he seemed to be putting off this letter...

However, it could just be pure and simple procrastination. Butch was, after all, only a teenager and your average teenager in school knows a great deal about procrastination. Give a student an assignment and of course they'll keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off until the last possible minute. There was no deadline on this letter, but it needed to be done sooner rather than later.

He just couldn't seem to get it together.

Instead, he left the unfinished letter up on the screen of his terminal and bounced a tennis ball against one of the bulkheads, mindlessly, for a half hour.

Then he pulled up some old cartoons, almost twenty years old. Today, Butch chose Kikjak: Urban Defender, Season One something he hadn't seen in quite some time. When he was a kid, his dad used to steal all sorts of stuff for him to keep young Butch occupied. Cartoons were always his favorite, and there was something about this particular series that rang true with him. Maybe it was because of the setting. Detroit after N-Day was only a slight improvement on pre-N-Day, and it certainly had the need for a public defender. Say what you will about the at-times irritating walking bilboard that was Kikjak, but the creators of the show had plenty of surprisingly gritty and realistic stories set in a tough urban environment. Butch knew his fair share of tough urban environments, so the cartoon made him feel...better somehow.

He watched five episodes back-to-back, completely forgetting about the letter, the failed meeting, and anything else that was weighing his powerful but young mind this day...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Lunch Break

A snippet of Isaac Hayes' theme song for Kikjak: Urban Defender played over the rapidly advancing credits. Five episodes was enough for now, Butch thought. He had not eaten yet and decided it was time to get some food.

He made his way to A-Three on Primus, where the lounge and kitchen was housed, but still did not see anyone along the way. The kids were probably somewhere being taught by Aunt Serenity, Butch thought. They'd probably get a lunch break soon. This on top of their breakfast and mid-morning snack. Nova-sized appetites...

From the walk-in freezer, Butch removed a fresh package of bacon and a pack of frozen hamburger patties. In the refrigerator, he found some sliced cheddar cheese, and then got two hamburger buns from the dry storage pantry. He found a grill pan and placed it on the stove top ready to cook the burgers. Then he found a frying pan for the bacon.

Butch was a fan of somewhat chewy bacon especially on a burger, so it only took a few minutes to cook the meaty pork strips. At the same time, he grilled up four hamburger patties, fully prepared to eat two cheddar bacon double cheeseburgers for his first meal of the day. Thank God for his quantum abilities, which let him load up whenever he wanted on delicious food that would instantly clog the arteries of your average baseline. He removed the burgers from the pan content that they were still juicy and rare. Frankly, he could have eaten a raw hamburger patty and been fine. His body would have destroyed any bacteria present and digested it the same as anything else. But a good burger brought him back to the days when his dad, Johnny Hellfire, would do his one-man-barbecue trick and torch a beef patty in his hands in whatever abandoned warehouse or barn or slum building they were hiding out in at the time.

Satisfied with his cooking, Butch sat down in the lounge and plowed through the two bacon double cheeseburgers in record time. They were delicious and satisfying and helped take his mind off of things. He looked up and saw his Aunt walking towards the kitchen.

"Something smells good," Aunt Serenity said.

Butch finished the last bite of the second burger.

"Afternoon, Aunt Serenity," he said. "How're the students behaving today? Any good April Fools' pranks?"

He peeked around Aunt Serenity and saw Eric and Zia in tow. When he mentioned the April Fools' pranks, Butch winked at them.

"Nothing yet, Butch, but the day is young," she said smiling. "Everyone's being very good today."

"What did you guys work on today?" Butch asked.

Zia rolled her eyes and said, "Math."

Eric nudged her with his elbow. "Don't roll your eyes. I like numbers."

"Ok, kids," Aunt Serenity said. "What do you want to eat?"

"Two sandwiches. Turkey and cheese," was what Zia said. "But I'll make them myself." Over the past few weeks, she was becoming more and more independent and was more resistant to help of any kind. Even when she got a bit prickly, it still managed to come across as cute. The young empath just couldn't help it.

"What about you?" Butch asked, pointing at Eric. "How about an awesome burger?"

"I want fish sticks. But only half the bag. I had a whole one yesterday. Thirty fish sticks!"

"Impressive!" Butch laughed.

"I know! That has to be a record, right?"

"Has to be," Butch said, nodding. "You hold the Primus record for most fish sticks eaten for lunch."

"But then I felt a little gross," Eric said, frowning slightly. "I'll break the record some other time. So only half the bag today."

"So, how many is that, Eric?" Aunt Serenity asked.

"Fifteen," Eric said. "That's easy."

Butch walked back into the kitchen and began preheating the oven for the fish sticks. Aunt Serenity emerged from the walk-in freezer holding the bag of fish sticks. Zia was taking care of the sandwiches herself. Still, Butch kept his eye out while she used a rather sharp knife to cut her sandwiches in half. He pulled out a baking sheet on the counter top, and Aunt Serenity placed fifteen fish sticks on it.

"Everything ok, Butch?" she asked in a quiet voice. "I heard music pretty late, so I know you were up."

"I'm fine," Butch said. "I was reading. Planning. Thinking."

"You've been doing that a lot lately."

He shrugged. "Plenty to think about."

"And you've seemed a little bit on edge the past few days."

"I'm fine," Butch said. "Just a lot to deal with is all."

She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Well, if you ever want to talk, I'm up pretty late myself usually."

"Thanks," he said. After cleaning his plate and the grill pan, Butch said goodbye and went back to his room with a can of orange soda. There, he queued up the next episode of Kikjak and relaxed. Before he knew it, he had sat through the next five episodes of the first season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3:00 PM - 11:59 PM: Business

"Fine," Butch said aloud to himself. "Time to get to work."

He banished the cartoons folder on his terminal, grabbed a yellow legal pad and pen, and turned his music on random. The insistent guitar notes of Dramarama's "Anything, Anything" pulsed from his speakers. Pacing back and forth, he tapped the pen on the pad in time with the song. The lead guitar dropped out, the bass kicked up, and the lyrics began.

"Okay, what is it tonight? At least just tell me what the hell is wrong.

Do you want to eat? Do you want to sleep? Do you want to drown? Just settle down, settle down, settle down..."

After a moment, Butch scribbled, "To Do" at the top. Quickly, he had the following down on the page:

To Do

1. Write Sophia Rousseau for target list

2. Arrange meeting with Cyrus Katrak and the Daedalus League. Refer to Uncle's contact procedure.

3. Arrange meeting with Thomas Sering and the Protectors. Refer to Uncle's contact procedure.

4. Analyze five high potential invasion scenarios against the Congo

5. Read military analyst Peter Ibisevic's two volume account of the Storm Wars

6. Watch Gaal and Najarian's documentary about the months before the outbreak of the Storm Wars Storm Warnings

The list was entirely manageable, and Butch was glad to have set out what he hoped to accomplish for the rest of the day. While he was productive in the early hours of the day, the rest of his time had been spent avoiding things. It took thirty seconds to scribble out the list.

"Is something wrong with me? Is something wrong with you? I really wish I knew, wish I knew, wish I knew

I give you candy, give you diamonds, give you pills, I'll give you anything you want, hundred dollar bills..."

Thirty-odd seconds. Why the hell couldn't he have just done that before? The guitar dropped out again. The bassline continued, the drums pulsed.

He flipped the page and picked up drafting the letter he had attempted to write earlier.

"Madame Rousseau,

I hope this message finds you well. My family is looking to amp up our efforts in our combined struggle against those who would see my generation eliminated especially Project Proteus. Given our successful past endeavors, we were hoping to continue our joint venture in a similar vein and down new avenues. My technologically gifted (understatement of the century) and brilliant (also, understatement) sister is looking for targets to monitor and surveil connected to Project Proteus. Any names you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Please also consider sharing names of persons of interest who you might already have surveilled to no effect or appeared benign on the surface but suspicious underneath. Any and all information regarding the enigma known as Nyx, a name provided by the agent forwarded to you recently, is also appreciated. Bear in mind that any and all information we accumulate will be shared with you and your organization in good faith.

To that effect, attached you will find data that we have acquired regarding the Nova sterility conspiracy and motherhunting activities of various interested parties. Information comes from several sources, as you will see, including your own organization. While some of this may have already been brought to your attention, it might be helpful to know that others are aware of this information as well. A leaky ship doesn't do a lick of good.

Finally, it has come to our attention via reliable sources that in the coming months, trouble for all of us will develop in central Africa once more. Forewarned is forearmed.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please continue to utilize accepted contact protocols as previously arranged for safety purposes. Be well and thank you for your time.


John Lee Cole, Jr."

Content with the letter, Butch typed it up. He attached the dossier that Anna DeVries had provided for them weeks ago and then logged the communication for encryption and transmission the next time Primus rose to comm depth or deployed the comm buoy.

The scratchy sound of an old recording crept out of the speakers followed by two strums and then the low growl of Blind Willie Johnson followed by a woman responding:

"Tell me who's that writin'

John the Revelator"

It was a fantastic version of "John the Revelator", but he actually preferred the a-cappella Son House recording of the same traditional folk/gospel song.

He drew a firm line through #1 on his list. Flipping the page, Butch began his message to Cyrus Katrak, the defacto head of the Daedalus League. Following the meeting a few days ago, Uncle Shen gave Butch contact information for both Katrak and Thomas Sering, the leader of the survivalist group called the Protectors, who had set themselves up in Antarctica.

"Dear Mr. Katrak,

Greetings, sir. Recently, you received a message from an old acquaintance of yours, my uncle Shen, also known as Traveler, indicating an interest on our part for a working relationship directed at offworld exploration and potential colonization scenarios. The capabilities of several members of our group have the potential to greatly aid your organization's goal of 'exploring the frontiers of space for the advancement of scientific knowledge and the benefit of the people of Earth.'

Believe me when I say that members of our group will push those frontiers beyond your wildest imagination.

If possible, I would like to arrange a meeting to discuss potential areas of intersecting interest to our two groups. Please let me know if this is of interest to you, and we can hammer out any details at a later time.


John Lee Cole, Jr."

Done and dusted. Butch typed up this letter and logged it for transmission per instructions from Uncle Shen provided after the family meeting.

One more thing to scratch off the list. With his pen, Butch crossed out #2 on the list.

Silence. Then, Jim Morrison's poetry echoing as if from inside a quiet church.

"When I was back in seminary school, there was a person there who put forth the proposition that you can petition the Lord with prayer...petition the Lord with prayer...petition the Lord with prayer..."

Silence, anticipating the tortured shout:


Fade. Then, gentle guitar and piano, followed by the crooning baritone voice of Mr. Mojo Rising.

"Can you give me sanctuary? I must find a place to hide. A place for me to hide.

Can you find me soft asylum? I can't make it anymore. The man is at the door..."

Butch enjoyed the first few minutes of "The Soft Parade" by The Doors, and then began the third letter of the day.

"Dear Mr. Sering,

Greetings and salutations, sir. Recently, you received a message from an old acquaintance of yours, my uncle Shen, also known as Traveler, indicating an interest on our part to form a working relationship and mutual assistance agreement. While our group is not looking to extricate ourselves from society in the same manner as yours has, we believe that we can assist your group in a variety of ways from providing technological support to scouting viable locations for offworld settlement if you and your people so desire. The capabilities of members of our group have the potential to provide you with undreamed of areas of growth and expansion. There is also the potential for us to direct your way those we may encounter who share your desire for a safe, peaceful, self-contained community.

If possible, I would like to arrange a meeting to discuss potential areas of intersecting interest to our two groups. Please let me know if this is of interest to you, and we can discuss details at a later time.


John Lee Cole, Jr."

And that was that. Again, Butch typed the message and placed it in the outgoing message queue that Alex had set up in Primus' communications network. With a sense of accomplishment, he crossed # 3 off of his list. Looking at the clock, Butch realized that the messages had only taken approximately half an hour to write, proofread, and arrange for delivery. For some reason, it felt as if he had completed a full day's worth of work.

At his terminal, Butch pulled up several maps of the Congo. The insistent opening of Jimi Hendrix's version of "All Along The Watchtower" poured through his speakers.

"There must be some kind of a way out of here

Said the Joker to the Thief

There's too much confusion

I can't get no relief"

For the next three hours, Butch delved deep into the minutiae of potential invasion corridor scenarios into the Congo. If Uncle Shen said the problem would begin in Angola, then most likely the invasion would come from across the jagged border with that nation. The potential for various allied forces from other surrounding nations was something to consider, but the first shots would likely come from the south. A strike-hard, strike-fast strategy would involve a thrust towards the capital. Butch focused on a variety of scenarios of highest probability for this type of invasion.

After he had painstakingly analyzed the five most likely, Butch began reading a detailed account in two volumes of the so-called Storm Wars. For two hours, Butch was deep in Peter Ibisevic's military analysis and felt content that his knowledge of the history of the area and past military campaigns was sound. Next, he watched Gaal and Najarian's documentary, which Butch found sincere and contained excellent footage.

It was 9:30 PM by the time he finished the documentary. The page with his To Do list on it was now completely crossed out, and he felt a strong sense of accomplishment. For the rest of the evening, Butch finished five more episodes of Kikjak: Public Defender and watched the day wind to an end as 11:59 PM April 1st became 12:00 AM April 2nd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...