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Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - Working for the Man: Changing the game [Fin]

Dan Hawkins

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2007 Pakistan

“Delta One, do you copy?” Only static filled the ear but Jennifer Waters wore in her ear. This job had been nothing but a major headache since the word go. Rho One had dropped off the grid first. That was no real surprise. His natural form necessitated using his ability to bend light very early on, and he remained a rapid response reserve. Delta One had gone ahead with the mission, solo this time.

Everyone knew the base, a bunker complex hewn into a granite cliff here in Pakistan, was going to be a beast to crack if only because communications would be severely hampered. Ten miles distant, Jennifer and The Ops command team sat in their truck. Their mission was to record every facet of the mission. Evidently either the Lady at the Top had decided to take a real interest in this, or Whoever had paid for this mission was willing to shell out major money to make this happen.

When Rho’s camera went out, they all began to swear. All they had from him was audio, and all they could hear was the rustling of the wind. Delta had proven easier to deal with, The camera in the helmet he wore recording everything he saw. He’d gotten into the complex in the normal way. Hitching a ride in the incoming transport and hacking the systems to not record any alert of his presence. To the computers running the security system, he simply didn’t exist.

In the motor pool, half an hour after he entered, he crawled out from under the truck, glad to be alone. Armed primarily with his whip-knife and Penetrator pistol, He made his way through the base. The ops team got a first hand look at a nova who took an almost baseline approach to infiltration. He moved liked the wind, and the only warning anyone got he was present, when they noticed, was the whisper of the knife piercing their heart. Of the confirmed forty hostiles within the complex, Delta had already killed a dozen, and hidden the bodies. He kept the radios sending automated responses meant to sound like the last one with an accurate timestamp.

He didn’t plan to be in here long. The main control room marked the first use of the silenced Penetrator, a thing of sheer technological beauty. All three operators died silently without alarm, not a second after the two guards were dropped to kunai to the neck. Once at the mainframe, he began the download. This facility was off of everyone’s books, and had many secrets. There were a lot of things that sounded like black tech, but he wasn’t paid to be curious. Near the end, buried beneath three firewalls, and some impressive anti hacking routines, The Files marked “Sol” and “Luna” rested.

“I’ll be damned.” Looking at the pictures, he quickly called up a map. Sol and Luna were downstairs, at least eight floors. “Ops.”

“We read you Delta One. “I’m going for Sol and Luna.”

“That’s not part of the primary plan. Be advised Rho is off the grid. Advise return with primary objective.”

“Negative Ops, I trust my partner. I am moving to secure secondary objective.”

With that he slipped the hard drive he’d downloaded the files into into an impact bag and attuned it, Setting off for the lower levels. He took the stairs, knowing the elevator was a trap. Grenades cleared the way, and now he’d accounted for all but six of the Personnel of the complex. At the end of a long hallway a pair of heavy doors to either side marked his destination. He went to Sol first. Inside was a young girl, obviously a nova the way light radiated from her. At most she was ten. “You aren’t one of them.”

“No, I’m here to get you out.”


“Because people shouldn’t live the way you have been forced to.”

She looked up at him and her golden eyes seemed to burrow into his heart. “You won’t hurt us will you.”

“I want to help you.”

“I believe you.” With that she took his hand, and he led her out, opening Luna’s door. Luna was the exact twin of Sol, except Luna had silver eyes, not gold. Luna, this man will help us.”

“The others said that too. They lied.”

“He isn’t.”

“But what if he hurts us?”

“I won’t. I promise I’ll get you out of here alright.”

Luna took Sol’s hand, and nodded. “She trusts you, I will too.”

Thankful for small favors, Delta, the kids trailing behind him, made his way to the stairs. He got all the way back to the motorpool and then realized they weren’t alone. “Ops.” Static answered. “Rho.” Again there was only static.

“Sol, Luna, stay close by, and stay together. We have company.”

Dan scowled. They all wore armor, not bulky, general issue, but the high end stuff that marked these guys as professionals. “Damn.”

“Come along quietly, and we might not hurt you.” That they spoke English meant Mercs, he hoped.

“Walk away, you aren’t close to ready for someone like me.”

The six mercs all laughed. “Old man, I think you have that backwards.” Sol and Luna had retreated quickly, and thankfully.

“Have it your way.” Electricity wreathed him, forming a defensive matrix, and beneath it another layer of purely magnetic power. The bullets they fired riccohetted almost perfectly, and Dan kept them far from the girls. He lashed out with his penetrator, missing the first shot against the female who’d spoken. The second shattered her faceplate and her face.

The other five seemed angered by this, and closed in on him. Attrition began to wear him down, and one managed to grab him, shattering his radius. The pain didn’t slow him down, as he continued to deflect blows and fend them off. At least they were limited to close combat, no powers other than speed and strength. One connected and sent him flying into a wall, leaving a huge dent, and stunning him. The followup blow hit him in the chest, cracking a rib, through the shield, and knocked him through the wall into the armory. Three of them stopped peering inside, their sensors in the helmets going on the blink. Two decided now was the time to look for the girls.

There was an explosion, tossing the three of the mercs into the air, Their suits burning from the fire. Delta Emerged from the hole in the wall. The recording helmet had been cracked, and part of the face shield was gone, Enough where you could see one of his eyes, which was enough to realize the DV Elite was pissed. Dropping the Grenade launcher, the camera and everyone else there got an eyeful as he moved as only electricity can, his speed almost too much for the eye to follow. Knife in one hand, the other wreathed in electricity, he permanently disabled the three mercs who’d began to stand, Ripping through their armor like paper, and planting them into the metal floor in three separate craters.

The twins watched in a mix of awe and fear. Their protector was not someone to trifle with.

“Oh Shit.” The two remaining mercs had little time, Delta was already in motion. Both shot at him, to no effect. He landed between them, slashing one across the chest with the knife. The other he hit with a bone-shattering clothesline, burying him in metallic impact crater. The one he cut tried to grab his arm, but he continued the turn, catching him with his foot in a vicious sweep that snapped his Tibia. While still in the air he pistoned his fist into his kidney, sending him flying. He knifed the first one in the crater, then moved to the last one, who was trying to crawl away. “You threatened them.”

There was no equivocation in his thought or action, As he finished off the last survivor. The girls had hidden, and not seen the last scenes of violence and gore, Explosions had that effect.

His armor was singed and cracked, but he made his way to them. They regarded him carefully. “I’d hoped you wouldn’t have to see that.”

Sol reassured him simply. “You protected us, you kept your word.”


Sol smiled to him. “Better than anyone else ever has, including our parents.”

Delta nodded. “We’ll discuss that later, once we’re safe.” He led them out of the Complex. “Rho, I need immediate Evac, right now.”

A quartet of bodies, more mercs, low level novas, all dead, dropped from above him. “Ever wonder what it’s like to hunt Ninja Delta? I know now.” The massive Tiger shaped nova shimmered into view, forming a gate. “Kids?”


“This changes everything.” Delta took a hand from Each of the girls. “We’re going someplace safe, trust me.”

Both of them looked up at him and smiled like the identical twins they were. “Okay.”

He lead them through. “Ops, mission complete, We’re all safe, we’re coming home.”

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They didn't go back to the main camp. Anna DeVries herself met them after the third gate. She looked pointedly at Delta, then at the children flanking him. His Extremely expensive armor was in tatters, torn, burned, all the plates cracked. He’d gone through a small slice of hell. Behind him, and a good foot and a half up, Rho’s pearly white fangs gleamed. It was a rare moment, she actually could tell he was smiling.

He came out from behind them, and knelt down, not so much bowing, but more so they could see Eye to eye. “This was what the mission was really about wasn’t it?”

Anna’s game face was firmly in place. “We had no idea, all I can tell you was that your client was willing to agree to a host of requests, in addition to substantial fees over and beyond to handle this extra bonus.”

Delta growled. “They’re people Anna. They have names, it’s not about the bottom line.”

“Indeed. Sol, and Luna.” She smiled at them. “I am Anna DeVries. These two gentlemen who rescued you work for me.”

“So we owe you our thanks?” Luna looked at her.

“No, nothing so banal as that. The two of you are probably the best kept secrets in the world. Or you were. Now though you’re free.”

“Where do we go?”

“I do have an idea on that score.”

“As do I.” Kaien Hirota emerged from his own gate, alone.

Anna nodded. “Sol, Luna, this is Mr. Hirota. He’s the nova who hired Delta and Rho to go in and rescue you.” It was almost an accusation.

“Yes, I thought the facility might be hiding these two. I hadn’t expected more trouble though. Ten nova operatives on site protecting the Facility is unheard of. We will all have to be careful now.”

The kids moved closer to Delta, hiding behind him. He looked up. “You contracted me to get the data. Not the Kids.” He handed over the hard drive. “That’s my part in this bargain.”

“That’s correct Delta. Still arrangements might be made.” He looked to the girls, then To Anna.

“Despite the military might you have under arms in the form of all your Elites, You cannot keep the twins safe. Not indefinitely, and it would be almost impossible to disguise their real nature. You know this.”

“I offer you all a chance. I know a place where they can be safe, and largely free to be themselves. It would mean relative isolation, and near zero contact with the outside world, but that is better than dying in some facility.”

Anna looked to Delta, who looked down to the girls. “Would Delta get to come and see us?”

Kaien nodded. “That is up to him. I believe that being able to protect yourselves would be a major benefit. If you’re willing Delta, I’d contract for you and Rho to tutor these two in self defense, and any other subject you feel competent enough in to teach.” He looked over to the two Elites and their paymaster. “Would that be something amenable to you? It would have to be off the books of course, as I imagine the recording of this mission will be. Your Ops team will need to be either brought in, or cleaned. I will arrange for that as well, provided you agree to this.”

Delta knew it was too good to be true. But Kaien raised so many good points, things he couldn’t argue with. He himself had gotten in once to prove a point. Rho was even better at it.

He looked down at the twins and nodded. “If this is what you want then you’ll have it.” He looked up to Rho, who nodded. “We’ll be tutors for you.”

He looked to Kaien, and there was a hardness in his tone. “I’m willing to trust you with them, now and when I won’t be there. We all are.” He indicated Rho and Anna. “Do not betray that trust. Sol and Luna are truly special and if there were any option other than yours, I’d consider it.”

Kaien smiled inwardly. Delta wasn’t just a dumb grunt. Still a honeyed tongue could win battles as well as grit, gore, and guts. “I will give them all the freedom I can, so long as their safety isn’t at risk. Once they are ready, They will be free to choose their own path, as children often do.”

He shook hands with Anna, smiled. “I believe then that this concludes our business this evening Miss DeVries. I will make sure you get a copy of the drive, and protocol for status reports. It’s been such a pleasure to see you again.”

He opened a gate and nodded. “If you’d bring them through, we can get them to a safe house I’ve arranged.” The next three Gates ended up with them deep in Northern Siberia. It was cold but none of them showed its effects. Kaien pressed a button on a remote, and the side of one of the mountains shifted, revealing a long smoothe tunnel deep within. It was dark, but once they’d emerged within, they were greeted with warmth and far more light than expected. “Welcome to Shangrila. This is my winter home, and now, Your home, Sol and Luna. There’s fresh water from the glacier, we have a variety of plants engineered to survive down here, and plenty of space. “

The last part was true, the cavern was massive. “This was once an Oil deposit, but it’s long since tapped out. Abit of reinforcing here and there, and it is now a structurally sound stronghold.”

He looked to Delta and Rho. “Still think I’m a bad man?”

“Yes.” They answered in Unison.

The twins were lost in the awe of the place. “Good, then we all know the truth about each other. With that established, we can move forward, and make sure these young ladies live up to all the potential they have.” Sol and Luna chose that moment to look back at Rho and Delta, both smiling and rushed back to take their hands, leading them to explore their new home.

“That’s right. No matter the beastly appearance, or the armored heart of the soldier, Unadulterated wonder, awe, and innocence will always win out.” He smiled. “Train them well, for they will be the future of the Game.”

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