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Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - [Interlude.Beta] A Jungle Den

Quantum Fire

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Time: Month of April, 2027

Participants: Members of the Dragons Den, Jason, Einherjar, others as suitable

It had taken some time to get everything together, but after the recent assassination attempt, the Dragon's Den was moving the a number of the children to the Congo, and they presently had sent a request to Jason, as a Nova mother to take care of the formation and maybe even act as den mother to the children. Part school, part training ground, part home, the den was suppose to be many different things to the young novas who lived as part of it, most of them became nova's in their teens, but an eruption can also occur earlier in life, and some of them were indeed, 2nd generation, though not all that many. The Den was not actually closing up shop in Japan either, they were simply diversifying, the idea of assassin's had the leaders of the den worried someone might use something more area affecting, like a bomb or a missile, or a quantum blast.

So, Kami had been sent ahead, begged to be allowed to go ahead, actually, to see about negotiating with Einherjar, in truth, the nova king didn't exert so much influence as to prevent folks from setting up in his country, but his clear support, not to mention that of Jason's, would make any attacks on the young nova's very problematic.. and with that support, they could protect their charges better.

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Kamiko started setting up in the meeting room saved for diplomatic meeting. She lays out datapads, solid-state thumb drives, even some good old notebooks and pencils. She was a fan of the antiquated. There is something to computers, but nothing seemed to have more weight to it than words on paper to her.

She pulls out her personal datapad as Sakurako walks through a warp opened by Kamiko with the last bit of supplies. "This is it right here, Kamiko... should be all the tech at least for the meeting you'll need."

Kamiko looks up, she's not really took too much care of her hair in the past couple of weeks and has been focusing on getting as much of information on the candidates as she could. "Thank you... again."

"Kamiko... Your mother would be proud of what you're embarking on... although... I'm worried you'll bite off more than you can chew, dear."

"I know... I'm scared of that myself."

"If you think you're in over your head... at any time... call me. I can advise you, I can help. My hands are tied past material support. Not too sure where Long's restrictions are... but I am sure he wouldn't want to cause an international crisis either. You are on your own."

Kamiko looks down. "It's what I asked for... I have to live with that choice."

"Right, Kami. But don't be afraid to say you're over your head... That's all I ask. I am sure his Majesty feels the same."

"Alright... My Tesseract is about to close, you should get back."

"Okay." Sakurako says, straightening the hair on Kamiko's head then kissing her gently. "Allistar and Kyoko left us a fine daughter."

Sakurako starts to leave. "Don't forget to pay your respects tonight..."

"I know."

Sakurako walks out as the Tesseract closes behind her and paper gently scatters to the floor like fall leaves.

"God help me I know..."

She walks over and clears the head of the table where Ein usually sits. She sits to the left of the throne on the left side of the table and starts going over what she playfully calls the "Hatchling File".

"So... I guess this makes me the first out of the eggs."

She sends a opmail to everyone concerned inviting them for the meeting. Then takes a deep breath.

"It's begun..."

She's left a paper crane on each notebook. A sign of her intent and wishes. This is for everyone.

"Computer..." She speaks to her datapad in Japanese. "Begin logging in meeting minutes, registering newcomers based on voice authorization. Activate Administrator duties to username: Kami, Password: Logos."

All the datapads light up as they network into their wireless and secured datahub. She pauses the recording system since the meeting hasn't started.

"Excellent... Mom can code a symphony."

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Starseed was standing on the deck of her cruiser, looking at the the hard-copy in her hands as if that would help make sense of it. She'd been to a public library to access her web-mail and watch some episodes of the old 2015 Fire-Blood-Girl. Love that show. She'd not been doing anything except fan club memberships - not messages to Mother, not anything about Novas even - except the news sites, but that's passive aggregate media. So how the message got to her was so strange.

Who sent it? I don't know anyone! Well, not true - but sort of true. She knew people, but she moved around alot. The people she knew, the people who wanted her to be family .... well they had changed Mother. Rather not think about that right now ...

What is it? Hanaryuko ... the term didn't bring up much of any use on the opnet search. She wish she actually spoke Japanese - not just a few anime terms. Of course, she chose a different, clean terminal and was careful getting to it ... but after about five minutes her clone had decided that the search wasn't a good idea and neither was waiting around to be confronted by some MIB types or something. Her double had left as casually but as sneakily as she had come .. and she'd even altered herself with liminal form for the occasion. Incognito girl clothes and all. Whew, this sneaky stuff was fun but too much work for potentially nothing.

It was in the Congo. Lots of Nova business going on there, and the GPS point was at the Palace of the King of the Land in that corner of the world. The exact GPS point should be on the grounds, and from EarthView photos it should be on the grounds. Even though the public shots were blurred some simple math put it on a sort of grassy colored pixel. Probably, with a great degree of certainty, outdoors given the architecture and scaled dimensions taken from travel-guide panoramas of Kinshasa. The library was a little old, so she was sure it wasn't networked as much as it could be. So far, she'd been OK at the 'spy-craft' of the situation ... but it had gotten her not much of anything either.

So there was only one thing to be done. She would send another her into the meeting, and hope she didn't spook any trigger happy guards. She called out to the aft compartments "Number three ... remember that message? Its time to go check it out."

Number three replied "Alright. Normal dress? Security of the gate zone?"

She replied to her third self "Standard uniform. Take my real data-band for notes and clips, but don't break it! ... Gate zone, well ummm ... it should be OK."

Number three looked at her "If I get blasted to stray particles I will probably end up breaking my favorite data-band. But its your call."

At that point, the two smiled at each other with the knowing grin and both said "this is going to be fun!" but slightly out of sync. with each other. With a tiny fraction of power flowing the gate shimmered into existence - focused with the wave-guide effects of the servitor ship around them. Number three strode through holding her head high, her uniform a pristine pressed white glowing under the azure aura that protected her.

In a moment she was standing on the Palace Grounds, looking around and calling out "Hello, I'm here for the meeting? I think I might be a bit early ..."

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Kamiko looks out of the window, bored, until she spots someone looking like they stepped out of some sort of science fiction story standing on the diplomatic gardens outside the meeting hall. She opens the windows and shouts out. "Hello down there! The meeting is up here at the meeting hall. Come on in... either fly up or take the stairs... I won't judge!" She says with a warm, almost joyous giggle.

"Who's this refugee from some space opera? Nah won't judge. They're probably living the dream. Maybe they've actually been to space? I really gotta know now... wait... wait until they arrive up here first before drilling them." She thinks in a internal monologue.

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Looking up at the Nova girl in the window - the nova who knew about the meeting, maybe the one who sent the message. She didn't get any warning signs ... Admiral Ackbar wouldn't be freaking out just yet. Starseed smiled and waved to her, saying "Oh, OK! Hello ... coming straight up!".

Living up to expectations was a good thing, so she silently lifted off the ground and flew a smooth arc toward the window. Starseed wasn't one of these Nova beauties but certainly she would be considered cute by baseline standards - number three even had make-up on from having prepared for that trip as incognito girl before she was copied - so at least she was looking good.

Almost setting foot next to Kamiko but staying a centimetre or two off the ground, she extended her hand in a firm (that's confident, yep) handshake "Hi, I'm Starseed. Thank you for the invite ..."

From the way she looked around the room, it was obvious Starseed was trying to glean info ... and more than a bit obvious that there were many questions held on the tip of her tongue. Her smile, however, told that she was excited - maybe just holding it back to stay sharp.

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Kamiko adjusts her glasses before accepting the handshake. "Kamiko... Kamiko Hideyoshi. Might recognize the family name." She says with a smile. "I'm from the Tokyo branch of the Den of the Dragon."

Her english seemed very American for someone from Tokyo, she spoke with a clean, New England accent. Then again, she looked American with her blond hair and semi-Caucasian looks. "Hmm... Rank?" She says, looking over the uniform Starseed wore. "Looks like a very official uniform. Although it doesn't look like any common uniform for a military power... very clean lines."

She grins..."How do you get one?"

Of course her outfit looked more like a uniform as well. A light khaki blouse that looks like one made for hiking with lots of pockets and a unstriped sailor collar of the same color and a slightly darker scarf, a dark tan utility skirt, knee-high and thick stockings, and brown, ankle-height hiking boots. She also wore what looks like a load bearing vest with various pockets and doo-dads and she seems like a safety-minded sort with a first aid kit clipped onto the belt of her skirt. The only really odd thing is her glasses, and her eyes. The pupils were cross shaped, and her irises are a beautiful golden color.

Also for the moment as she starts recalling details, a slight flicker of golden sparks appear around her head like a halo orbiting around the words "remembering..." in several different languages drift about in a obvious anima banner.

Using her Eidetic Memory to recall any details about her... She'd just have Starseed's name on the mailing list to be honest if what Starseed's player told me is correct. But I am also remembering every detail of her that I see and hear as well.
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"Kamiko ... nice to meet you." said Starseed, thinking she's very pretty, very nice eyes ... darn, I don't have my colored contacts in ...

Fingering the rank pins and grinning "I'm an executive officer, equal to captain but in a support role ... and thanks, I collaborated on the design. We're not tied to any world government or major group or anything. I run with a small crew of ... independent operators. We're all Nova, with autonomous servitors as crew because we haven't started recruiting yet."

How do you get the uniform? Good question ... she thought to herself, saying "As to recruiting, its not exactly what I came for. I've been thinking alot about bringing other Novas - and baselines too - into the project to better prepare for our first interstellar test. So far we've kept to the system - as far out as the Oort cloud."

She paused, thinking Kamiko, you are flattering me but you are also curious ... so maybe its good to add a little show to my tell ... holding out her hand a hologram of the ship in space appeared. The display image slowly rotated, showing a scene of operations near Pluto's tiny moon. Some essential facts and figures about that particular design, mainly dimensions and scale data, scrolled by in a floating sidebar.

As the image slowly turned in place, Starseed added "So now you know a bit about me. What about you? To be honest, Miss Hideyoshi I don't know much about you or this group. You do have a nice conference space though ..."

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"Ah, you can thank His Majesty Einherjar for that. Don't tell him I refer to him as His Majesty... sort of annoys him but I tend to stick to protocol... but anyways I'm really just getting started with them myself. I and my parents help with the operations of the Den of the Dragon. They assist young novas into assimilating into society. Part educational support, part training support, and they help young novas, particularly reclusive ones, in regards to society in general. A noble purpose education..."

She walks to the head of the table and places her hand on what is usually Einherjar's seat. "His Majesty is very much behind the effort as well, that is why he is allowing us to found a branch of the Den of the Dragon here in Kinshasha."

"As for me... I'm not really anyone special. I volunteered to assist in the effort and to learn more about the Congo branch of Hanaryuko. I'm, as I stated before, new. But as my adoptive father says; "Best way to learn is to go in head first. You'll either break your neck or see the wonders below the surface." Although I don't like that philosophy personally... encourages dangerous ignorance towards water safety."

She smiles as she adjusts her glasses. "I kid. I get what he means. Sometimes you just gotta jump. Don't know how many times I had jitters learning how to skydive."

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"Sometimes you just gotta jump in ... sounds like something my Father would have said." she replied with a momentary hint of sadness. Then in a happy tone "Thats what I've been doing, in space. As soon as my powers were up to it, I went out. Then I realized that doing it alone meant much less than sharing it with others ... really making an effort to reach out takes a bigger effort. Plus ..." she said with genuine passion "it might solve some of the problems here - at least in the long term".

Walking around, taking a seat, she continued "A King, well that explains what my next question would have been ... which was how you got my e-mail address. Lots of backing. Exactly how isn't important at this point, but it does tell me that if I am going to be operating planet-side I need to make some friends. My family, we had run ins with the authorities ... you can probably look me up. My birth name was Jennifer Reid. Daughter to Nancy and Jian-Ping Reid. Mother was a physicist working alot out of caltech. Careful though, you might get a red flag if you don't look me up covertly. I'm told a group named the Directive ran the operation."

"I don't have any money, I don't have any names to drop ... but I would like to learn more about the Den of the Dragon. Would be pretty cool to meet an actual King too ..."

Even though she was discussing some heavy stuff, laying her history bear ... Starseed had calculated the risks. Sure, there were risks ... but on the other hand she really liked Kamiko. So sometimes you just gotta jump in ...

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"My story is far more... similar... except my birth parents met their end at the hands of a Terat. They were Qi Meng practicioners... This particular Terat took offense... treated it like they were heretics."

She sits down in the lead chair. Looking at the table. "This terat was an engineer, a scary one in skill. He sabotaged a plane they were goign to fly in with only a line of code. It hydraulics the hydraulics from the controls and well... it was turned into a missile. It hit a Kuro-Tek facility in Japan the Terat took some offense in. The reason why I know this is now this guy is hunted. By me... by my adoptive family... thing is he's dissapeared off the map. Serves him right. He killed the best friends of two of Japan's finest."

She starts making a sheet of paper fold into another paper crane. "I... really have to swallow back my anger sometimes regarding that... I knew my parents. More than most."

"But... Long and Doryoku have been excellent parents. They adopted me right away as a last favor to my birth parents. Also I've had alot of mentorship from them too. Also had the honor of working along side Nippontai... nothing major. Some humanitarian efforts and stuff. The only thing I assisted with in the news was that incident in Jinbocho that got some news because it involved some new street drug."

She sighs. "As for friends... the only ones I got are the paper familiars I can summon... they... don't got personality."

"I think you and I though... we'd get along very nicely."

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Starseed remained quiet when Kamiko told of her parents, and the Teragen ... but Star knew how the Teragen could twist people. She didn't like to make broad generalizations - but she just didn't hear good things about these people. "Yeah, its complicated ... I don't like to paint groups with a broad brush ... but I can't say I have much love for Terats either" ...

... "Nipontai is very cool. I am guessing you might have some investigative powers, given the information richness of your anima? Are you a detective type? ... I ask because my recent efforts in that area didn't go so well. I guess I am just better getting information through a telescope, not really trained for investigation. It just always looks so much easier on the screen!"

Then, a thought occurred to her and she perked up "Can you survive in space? The hulls I have been working with don't sport life support at the moment because no one on board needs it ... but if you can visit you should come up". Starseed added, with pride "We've been making great progress with assembling a large aperture telescope. Its only an optical array right now, and its turn of the millennium tech ... but thats for later. If you let me go, I'll talk your ear off about anime, or sci-fi or even better space."

"Please, go on about the Dragons Den. I don't want to hold things up with basic questions at the meeting - when everyone gets here ..."

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She smiles. "I'm a natural detective. All it takes is observation, patience, and being aware of your suroundings. Most people walk through the world with blinders, you know? I see things more... in depth. Not even a power really it's me. Just me. But I think that draws from my inquisitive nature, not any true detective skill in general."

"I could... survive for a time on your ship, but once the juice runs out... well... let's just say either have a emergency bubble on stand by or prepare for a burial in space." She says with a grim look. "I'd take a space suit along... if only so I treat my adaptible nature like a fallback. Sort of like knowing how to swim as a sailor. You know? Then again... I don't swim without a life jacket anyways so yeah... I'd have to ask mom, she has a couple spare space suits from JAXA and she can let me borrow one."

"Don't worry about "stupid questions". I got some myself. I got alot to learn and the only way you learn is with questions. The only stupid question is one that's not asked."

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"OK - looking forward to meeting everyone though. Do you know who else is coming? ...."asked Star, and she continued

"Oh, you really don't need a suit unless you want to do EVA. Radiation conditions, thermal management, magnetic flux, even relative humidity is easy to manage in the ship because the double hulls are really sturdy stuff - living energy actually. I just haven't gotten around to stocking any air supplies. If you brought a few big cylinders of compressed air and an industrial carbon dioxide scrubber then we'll just pressurize the crew compartments. Put it all on a push cart and we'll roll it through the gate. You could probably skip the scrubber, the difference between carbon dioxide and oxygen at room temperatures is nothing for our metabolisms - if I gauge your description correctly. Its what I was working towards, but other projects just got in the way. Not rocket science either, as all the components are available in a good dive store." she grinned "I think you'd love the view of Saturn's rings"....

She added, after some consideration "I do have quite a bit of potable water up there in the ships core though, use it in mirror making. The only provisions are candy bars though ..."

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"Excellent." Kamiko says. "Although... until you get the tech down... I'll stick with a space suit. Trust me, the model my Mom developed will be quite alright. Of course... If you got the equipment I could help get it up there and maybe... maybe get some assistance if necessary. I'm not a engineer. I understand the science clear enough. And I've... read enough articles about what happens in a vacuum to... be a little paranoid. Although once that's fully set up... could I get one of those uniforms to wear while I am onboard? I'm sorry that REALLY looks cool."

She scratches her head, embarassed she just had a full on geek-out. After recollecting her thoughts she returns to her train of thought. "Normal diving I understand plain as day though. Nice thing about adapting to your environment is you're able to go deep. And surface fast if need be. Of course I'm limited by my gear and I don't dare yet to go where I don't feel confident but... I've seen the Titanic. Up close. My adoptive parents have weird concepts of field trips."

"As for who is coming, I don't know. The file itself... the one with the names... is encrypted. A pretty good one in fact. All I know is messages were sent."

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There was a knock and a young man, a nova, walked in. At first glance, there was something 'off' about him - something in the way he moved, how he breathed and how he looked, yet he appeared so human.

There was a smile on the young blonde man's face and reminded Kamiko a little of what Einherjar might look like without facial hair, and without twenty years of hard living. For his part, the boy seemed surprised when he saw more than one woman in the room.

"Hello, I'm Shaman. I can here to welcome a 'Kamiko' to the Congo," he continued looking between the two, apparently not sure which one was Kamiko, "I'm Einherjar's son."

'Like that explains everything.'

'What if they think were, you know, Lady's Man Numero Uno?'



'You say that like its a bad thing.'

'They look a little young.'


'Let's keep it to a meet and greet.'

'Keep it smooth.'

'No problemo.'

"So, I'm here for a Keep and Greet .... I mean MEET And Greet! Meet and Greet.'

Shaman turns a deep shade of crimson.

'Smooth like an avalanche.'

'Shut up.'

"Ahh ... which one of you is Kamiko and, well, it's nice to meet the one whose not to."

'Good recovery.'

'You think so?'

(Gibb's slap)

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Kamiko stands up when Shaman enters the room. "Hello... I'm Kamiko, Kamiko Hideyoshi. Over here is Starseed." Kamiko says, gesturing over to Starseed as well. "We've been taking about things and history and stuff. Pleased to meet you." She says with a bow. "And if you're Einherjar's son, does that make you the crown Prince of this Kingdom? Just so I ask."

"Ever been to space? Or the Titanic? In person?"

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'Okay, at least they aren't beating me to death with presence.'

"First off, I'm Shaman, nothing more. Just me," he says, motioning to himself. "Einherjar isn't going anywhere so there's no need for a Crown Prince.

"Secondly; no, I've not been into Space nor have I been to the Titanic ... or did you mean Titan? Doesn't matter, I haven't been to either one."

'Now what do I say?'

"I'm a more down to Earth kind of guy. I talk to plants and animals. I get a feeling for the life energy around me, so I'm not sure what I would feel in Space. I wouldn't be afraid to go, though. It would be something new, and new is usually good."

"I would much rather talk about you two, Starseed and Kamiko Hid -E- yoshi?"

"What brings you to the Kingdom? Are you refugees?"

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"Not a refugee. I volunteered." Kamiko says with a smile. "I'm just the civic-minded type. I guess that's my birth mother speaking. Although my adoptive mother encourages it. I find it... a positive world view to be sure."

Kamiko seems to be speaking from a logical standpoint, as if such thought is hard-wired more than taught. "I don't mean to be clinical about it... sometimes that's who I am. When your best friends are books and professors... you tend to not socalize well if you've not been around your peers."

She softens up a little. "I... guess I am a refugee... looking to know what it's like to be... with average people. OR average novas in this case."

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Shaman laughs abruptly, "Well, there are novas here, but I'm not sure how 'normal' they are. In my brief experience, they tend to be powerful and multi-faceted. I can recommend you check your logic at the door. You will find yourself ... well I did ... acting foolishly. They have that way of warping the mind. I don't blame them, but it's what happens."

He tilts his head slightly,

"We do have someone here with a Japanese surname - Sakura, The Blossom Princess, I think."

"There is also Bombshell, who everyone knows, The Mirror Queen of the Teragen, and Morrigan (who is kind of scary)."

"If you really lose your mind, there is always the Rainbow Room. There always seems to be over a hundred novas there at almost any time. My one time there was ... memorable. If you care to go, I'd go along."

Looking at the two young women, he adds,

"I don't think there is an age requirement for the place."

'And do you know that best part about that idea?'


'If anything happens to them, Dad will kill us.'

'Ahh ... thanks.'

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Kamiko strokes her chin. "I'm sorry... That place isn't my cup of sake. I guess the Rainbow Room doesn't provide the right stimulation I crave. Namely of the intellectual type. Although I tend to go for other pursuits for entertainment. I plan on whitewater rafting the Congo river later. Probably later today even."

She claps her hands once. "Hey... after we've gotten our introductions and collaboration done here we could go on such a trip! If... you guys like that sort of stuff."

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With Shaman having walked in, Starseed stifled the questions she was going to ask about King Ein. Girl stuff that he might not understand - and his son! Whew, she had almost put her foot in her mouth.

"Hello! Nice to meet you. I'm not a refugee either ... I just don't have a place to live on earth. I got the e-mail too. Kamiko and I were early I guess ... wow, nature powers are cool. I have energy based powers ..."

On mention of the rainbow room, and also of Shaman being a Prince Starseed blushes a little - just a touch. She really is still a young woman ... and a bit inexperienced in scenes like that. No, scratch that ... she thought ... totally inexperienced.

"I can't go unless Kamiko goes, because we had already been planning a trip" she says, backing up for her new friend "but maybe after that. There are alot of famous Novas there ... and you should definitely come with us on a trip!"

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"Why don't we start with a trip upcountry - get to know each other better," he says with a grin. "The Rainbow Room is not a place to go alone, or friendless."

'And we speak from experience.'

"By the way, to make me an official in the New Novas Club, 'Hello, I'm Shaman and I was raised in a cabin located in North-western Canada, until two weeks ago. I like Nature Powers and long walks on Glaciers."

His smile is innocent and his tone joking. "My turn-offs are power-gaming and leaving people feeling small."

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"Canada! We - my family - had a cottage on Victoria Island ... and I grew up in California mostly. Recently I spend most of my time on remote islands or in space. Mostly in space, but I love eating fresh fruit. Chocolate too, but that is beside the point." she said.

At more talk of travelling together in the country, Starseed nodded in unmistakable approval.

"You're really the King's son - making you a Prince. Sorry if its not my place to ask ... but why not live in the Palace?"

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Kamiko blushes at Starseed's remarks.

"Hehe, now now... if he doesn't want to be called a prince it's best to honor his wishes."

She grins from ear to ear for a moment. "You think I like being called Kami all the time? Enough to give me a god complex."

The giggle she lets out is almost a classic schoolgirl one.

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Shaman blushes,

"I have a room, but I really use it. I like feeling the rain, and the morning breezes coming through the trees. I've been like that since I was nine."

He looks to Kamiko,

"I'm used to talking to bears and wolves. I would much rather deal with their sense that I am 'something else' than having to deal with being callled a God, or even 'Divine Spirit'. I mean, I don't know what I want in life. How am I going to help someone else with theirs."

He furrows his brow,

"I guess I can heal the wounds and summon the weather, but to me that's like breathing, or maybe running up slope. Is it that way for you? I guess I'm trying to say, do you hear a sense of power in your soul, or is its just some sort of power you cut on and off?"

"I always feel like I'm on the ice looking down into my reflection, but I can't punch through to get at my real self."

Shaman shakes his head,

"And now you probably think I'm crazy."

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"That isn't crazy at all. Either of you ... it sounds like all of us still have to find a path. I thought I knew what mine was, and to an extent I do. For me, its out there" she said, gesturing to the cosmos "but getting ready to leave, I got to thinking about how much less it meant if I didn't take culture with me."

She paused, contemplating how to explain ... and continued "I know enough to paint a picture of our society for any other beings we might meet. But I think that if I just went now, maybe we wouldn't come back ... and I have no baselines on my crew. I am missing novas with different ideas, I am missing a range ... to travel Iike I dream of - I need to take along that spectrum of experience currently lacking."

"Plus, not to be dark, but I sense that this might be the last chance to really experience Earth. This planet, this society ... its in danger. So I decided not to just leave. So for me, my path takes me here - with people like both of you. With baselines too ... if that all makes sense?"

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"You know... stop right there."

Kamiko takes a firm but respectful tone. "I do not like the term 'Baseline'. They are Humans. As diverse as the stars in the heavens. Comparing them to a average is like trying to find a 'typical nova' as was mentioned earlier..."

"I can understand that feeling of dread. Thing is... willl you just enjoy Earth before the fall or are you willing to endeavor to stop it? If you knew your friend was drowning, what would you do? Get him and save them yourself? throw them a life ring and hope they can make it on their own or callously leave them to their fate?"

"One day I will leave... Earth isn't big enough, I'm afraid, for a hungry mind like mine; but only when I feel my time is done here. Not sooner."

She smiles again, patting Starseed and Shaman on the shoulders. "I trust we make good lifeguards, no?"

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"No, no ... I mean, yes on the life guard. But thats not what I meant about, well humans without eximorphic ability. They have a totally different perspective, and arrive at really efficient solutions for things sometimes because of their different perspective. They are as much a miracle as any of us. That's precisely why I want them on my crew ... but well, the ships only have stale air at the moment. Many Nova's aren't bothered by not having a life support system to carefully balance a few percentage points of CO2. But non-eximorphic humans, they really need fresh air all the time."

she pauses again ".. thats all I mean by baseline, its not derogatory ... but in my recent work, I am keenly aware of their needs relative to us. Keenly aware of their remarkable potential as well."

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"I'm not sure, but I don't ever remember feeling human. I don't think of the term baseline, because I don't think of novas and humans being the same thing. I feel things that no human will ever feel. I will do things that no human will do. I will live longer too, with the corresponding increase in brain function. I have heard of novas and humans having these discussion, but I had never understood the basis ... until I came here. Those of us born novas are different. Having never erupted, how can we truly understand what a human feels. The opposite is true."

"Now, that doesn't mean I don't care. I doesn't mean I think I'm better than a human. It does mean that I have embraced my difference, not run away from it. I don't think any kind of cruelty is warranted toward any life form and those that abuse mentally, or physically, earn my ire. Right now, I just don't have the power to do much about it. One day, though ... well, I'll know more when I get there."

"So, who are you and what do you do ... beyond flying space ships and feeling the need to protect others?"

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Oops, she'd not introduced herself to to Shaman. "I'm Starseed, and I was born a Nova like you. Home schooled alot, trips to the country, spent lots of time at universities when I was a little older. Mother worked at one. Then my family was attacked, broken up, and I've been ... commanding space ships. Getting used to operating in space, really. I'm a good organizer. Also I like to watch shows on the Opnet, read, and I like sweets."

"I'm also glad to have been invited here. Its nice to meet people, make friends" she said grinning at Kamiko. "I would like to help people too - people in the Den is a good start. There are probably many like us who need help, but also I think I have tons to learn too." she added.

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"I guess that's why we're all here then. The thing is, I AM curious as to who's in the heirarchy of this particular branch and what the intent is of those involved."

She scratches her chin. "For all I know I got drafted to bloody lead this whole shebang. I don't know how to train and mentor those that might be 4 or 5 years my junior! I'm 15 years old for christ's sake."

She pauses "...sorry for taking Jesus' name in vain if you're christian... but my point stands... What do I know? Not a whole lot. I'ma good organizer... I love helping others. It feels like my purpose in life."

"Isn't that what we all want it to know we have one?"

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'Did she stay starshipS?'



'Reality Check!'

"Did you say Starships, with an emphasis on the multiple?"

"I mean, how do you keep them hidden from, well, just about everybody?"

He looks to the ground an waves his hands defensively.

"I'm just saying, that what you are saying is hard to believe. Like, who knows about this? How were they built? For that matter, did you imply they were crewed by novas? How many ... wow. Sorry, this is a lot to take in."

Looking to Kamiko, "Helping others is good ... too, but don't you need an end to your efforts? Helping forever seems kind of ... a bottomless well. Someone is always going to need help somewhere. How do you decide were to go and when."

"I guess I'm a man ... kid of simple goals and tastes. One of my current goals is to travel the full course of the Congo, and climb the Himalayas. Pretty selfish, but I've never really thought about the details of life, just the big picture."

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Kamiko giggles. "Do people sweat a gumball machine's cost? No... the minor things in life seem to correct themselves when major crisises are resolved. Things just... get better."

She then snaps to a realization. "What's so weird about Starseed? It's the nova age... it's like being marveled by a wizard's spells in a world of magicians."

"You walk the congo all you like. I'm riding that bad boy."

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"Its a valid question. When I was little I discovered I could weave energy patterns. My mother taught me alot about science and engineering. I am no Nova Einstein who can desribe the universe in a single equation or anything ... but I passed lots of masters level courses. So I used to play space ship as a kid ... and weave small ones. Now I can gate anywhere ... and I weave double hulled energy ships. I also crew them with servitors that I weave. Then for officers I weave copies of me ... since really I am just a very complicated energy form."

She added "There are further complexities but I do most of my work past the asteroid belt. I like Saturn orbits actually ... Beautiful and no one out there - space being huge. Lots of water there for the taking. I use water for a variety of things ... like shielding between the hulls and lately in mirror making. Lots of what I do sounds more complicated than it is actually. Like mirrors for optical wavelength telescopes are really just eighteenth century tech in most ways."

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Sakura sat in her greatroom and stared at the OpBook on her lap, as she had been for the past twenty minutes. There was a brief message there, an invitation to a meeting about branch of the Den of Dragons opening in the Congo. The first one outside of Japan, if she remembered correctly. And that was the crux of the problem. Japan. She hadn't been hom- there since she'd been abandoned with Shen. The closest she'd come was flying over the Yellow Sea once while making her way from Siberia to the South Pacific; a Nippontai member had even spotted her and flown over to greet her. Upon seeing her Japanese features, even mixed by her Caucasion blood, he'd smiled and in polite, formal Japanese offered to give her a tour of Tokyo and an introduction to the rest of the Nippontai kamis. She'd almost frozen, lost her winds and fallen into the ocean; instead she managed to croak out, "Iie!" before curling herself up in a bubble of fasttime and flew until she couldn't see him or any hint of the Japanese coastline. It had been rude; she'd been raised better than that, even by her father's family. This invitation, perhaps just going to the meeting could be something of an apology.

Besides, you can't run forever from your past. It lives in you and will poison your future if you let it fester. What will you tell your children of their family, both true and biological, when they ask? Or of the place you were born, even if it is not exactly the Japan of this world? To be a strong person takes courage; to be a good parent takes wisdom. You must learn them both, now.

For once she didn't argue with her better angels; instead she slipped off the couch, and adjusted her silk into the kimono she'd seen her aunt wear around the Imperial Palace. She had worshiped the beautiful outfit and the gentle way uncle's wife was treated by her family and the visitors that she played hostess to. She let her skin fade from the cinnamon-bronze she'd adapted at the Kinshasa palace to her natural tones; she'd inherited that much from her father and it made the Japanese features of her face come to light. Usually, she looked Caucasian or some mix with the local population, but now she looked as she did as a child - someone caught between the Imperial Family of Japan and an white American goddess. She paused at the mirror on the wall near the door, taking time to place her hair exactly how she wanted it and hold it in place with invisible silk threads. She looked every bit the Imperial Princess she'd been born and never allowed to be. Well, except when they formally bartered me off to Shigeo, and even then I was in little more than a yukata!

Everything in place now, including her courage, she made her way to the meeting room. She held her head high as servants and staff gawked, knowing in her heart that they were not like the people that had derided and abused her as a child, but still feeling that tremor of unease and the urge to run back to her rooms and hide away. Courage. Wisdom. My children. That was enough to stiffen her spine and get her the rest of the way to the meeting room. She stepped in hesitantly, glancing at each person in there - with a small smile and a little lessening of her fear at the sight of Shaman- and said, "I was sent a request to come here....?"

Sakura's Dress

Sakura's Aura
Object of Desire roll for the scene (only affects those are meeting Sakura for the first time):

Last six dice are Megas, as always.

[shae] 11:52 pm: Object of Desire Roll:

Shae *rolls* 16d10: 10+6+1+7+10+7+6+6+10+3+4+4+7+3+5+9: 98

[shae] 11:52 pm: Rolling Quality Feminine for those that it applies to:

Shae *rolls* 3d10: 6+4+5: 15

9 successes

Players that would be affected by Object of Desire need to roll 10 successes on a Willpower roll to resist the aberration. Full description and rules can be found on Sakura's sheet under the Object of Desire aberration listing.

Sakura is giving off pheromones: Arousal at Toxin Rating 3, Interrelationship at Toxin Rating 3, and Coercion at Toxin Rating 2. The rules for resisting the pheromones are listed on her character sheet under the Body Shift power. The pheromones also do not cause those affected to focus on Sakura, they are merely affected by the pheromones. Arousal makes them think of paramours and be inclined to flirtatious and similar activities, Interrelationship makes people desire to get along better, and Coercion causes people to be nervous or jittery.

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Kamiko looks the newcomer over. "Miss Sakura isn't it?" She says, bringing her hand out for a handshake.

All pheremone toxins are null and void.

Discerning Mind
[Kamiko] 12:16 am: Last 3 are megas kids.

Kamiko *rolls* 8d10: 5+4+8+7+1+1+9+4: 39

Kamiko *rolls* 14d10: 8+7+10+9+10+7+3+6+1+9+6+8+5+9: 98

9 Successes, Missed by 1.

Kamiko steps back... She thinks before speaking again, re-offering her hand. "I'm Kamiko, Kamiko Hideyoshi." The trembling of her hand shows something is...off, but she can't quite place why. Then her want becomes insistant. She will return this polite gesture... it would be an honor... she just has to.

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Sakura kept her sigh in check; meeting new people was always hard. The image of the king throwing Tahir across the arboritum flashed across her mind, but she kept her face carefully neutral. She'd been about to bow when the blond girl extended her hand. She shook hands and replied, "I am Konohanasakuyahime."

She glanced around the room again, obviously nervous herself, and motioned to one of the carefully laid out collections of writing and electronic supplies, "May I?"

At an affirmative nod from the young nova, Sakura sat carefully, making sure her kimono was properly arranged, before smiling nervously again at those already gathered in the conference room. "We seem to be a bit early," she noted with a tone of polite chit chat.

Sakura's Formal Name
For those with a good knowledge of Japanese history (I'm assuming Kamiko), Konohanasakuyahime was the goddess that became the mother of humanity. Her name references the short, ephemeral nature of the cherry blossoms; her sister's name meant the strength and durability of stone. That Kono was chosen over her sister is an explanation in Japanese myth of why the lives of men are short and ephemeral.

The name is more of a title and has been used historically by the Imperial Family of Japan as an honorary title for princesses, usually when they are young. Japanese royalty often have only titles instead of what Western cultures would consider a first name, though they often have shortened versions of titles or nicknames that are used by other family members and close personal friends.

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Player Note
Understood... but a long name like that is sort of hard to remember... and Sakura much easier. But I will try.

"Ah, my apologies, Konohanasakuyahime." Kamiko says in a polite and respectful tone... in fact a tone of respect and trust. "I assure you using the name Sakura was only... a convenience for all involved. Some aren't native Japanese speakers like I."

That moment... will be a moment long remembered. She felt an earnest heart strong in conviction. Kamiko felt... she could trust her. At the very least if she needed someone to be a mediator for her or someone else.

"And... I was setting up earlier and Miss Starseed and Mr. Shaman appeared rather early."
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Sakura flushed and realized she was letting her nervousness make her act...overly formal, cold. "Please, call me Sakura. I'm sorry. I'm..." She shook her head. "It's a long story, and not...it doesn't matter. Just call me Sakura."

For all her formal wear and unearthly grace, the flower-haired nova looked absolutely flustered now. She managed at smile at Starseed and a murmured, "Nice to meet you."

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Starseed was overcome, by unusual sensations ... she felt at once stimulated and draw in to the situation. It was subtle, powerful but mostly below her level of awareness. She did feel as if she had to get more involved ... and this was someone really famous ... but it took her a few moments to really speak ...

"Hello! Nice to meet you ... Miss. Sakura. Apologies, I don't speak Japanese. It is an honor to meet you. Are you going to be leading the group?"

Aura Effect
Emotional Shield 5, negates the effect of Sakura's aberration.

However, pheremones got me!

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