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Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - [Interlude] Shouldn't Dad Be Doing This?

Adrian Moss

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{March 25, 2027}

Shaman didn't really know how to respond. He had the impression that this was something important - something he should be worrying about, but he didn't know what it was. He was meeting Justin, Maia's boyfriend, which sounded nice, but there was something else to it. He and Maia were siblings. As far as they could tell, they were it. With Einherjar, they were all that survived of their respective families.

The young nova realized that Maia had another family of sorts. She had grown up with other young second generation novas and shared a great deal with them. Somehow this was different. Maia had brought Justin to 'home' to meet her father. Ein was simply too busy. Ever since Shaman had passed on the cryptic warning he'd received, things had been subtly busier at the Palace.

That led to the current situation. Instead of it being the four of them, Einherjar in the lead, it would only be the three of them, fending for themselves. On the plus side, Shaman reasoned, they could probably talk a lot more about the world and how they saw themselves in it. The earlier meeting with Maia's 'family' had been more confusing than reassuring. He wasn't sure if that was the normal or not. Now he'd have the chance to find out.

The rain parted over the city as the afternoon rains passed into nothingness under the burning spring Sun. The meeting was in Shaman's bedroom, which was cavernous. Three ceiling fans stirred the air. Gossamer white linen shielded the windows as well as French doors that led out onto the veranda. The fan-driven breeze stirred the drapes. Shaman sat back in a whicker, high-backed chair, feet bare, with his usual jeans and white t-shirt. His hair was slowly growing long. A hint of beard was starting to appear, but he still cut the figure of a young man, not an adult. Drinks, iced tea and lemonade, sat beside him. There were four other chairs present, but only two were close to his own.

He doubted he would be waiting long.

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Maia looked to Justin and nodded. "He won't bite."

"I realize that Maia. He is still your younger brother, and I'm older, and until recently, I was baseline. The world looks very different to us, and to him. What I've heard, his upbringing was nothing like yours."

She shook her head. "So? It will be fine Justin, I trust you both."

That said the two of them set off from her room, both clad in Khaki shorts, sandals, and for him, a white buttondown, and hers was turquoise.

Shaman's introduction to everyone hadn't gone well in Mia's estimation. At least three siblings had revealed possession of world changing power, in terms of destructive force. She sighed. She and Justin didn't have nearly so drastic abilities, but she knew her own were no less world changing if revealed.

Justin reached out and knocked at the door upon their arrival. "Shaman, it's us."

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Shaman popped up out of his chair. He looked over at Justin for an uncomfortable moment.

'We should do something.'

'There is something I wanted to remember to do, but this situation seems so strange.'

'I got it!'

The lanky nova strides forward to Justin and extends his hand.

"Hey. Come on in and sit down. It is good to finally meet you."

'Finally? We didn't know we had a sister a month ago. How long does he think its been?'

"I'm sorry Dad's been so busy recently, but that's the way it is. Oh, and Morrigan may be stopping by sometime soon, if she can break away from her duties for some family time. I asked her to stop by. I hope that's okay."

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Maia nodded. "Our Elder sister is always welcome Shaman."

Justin nodded. "I actually haven't gotten to meet her yet. I've heard alot of the stories, but I'd say that matters little, except as a warning not to make any potentially threatening movements."

Maia looked to Shaman. "Einherjar is a monarch, he does have many civic duties, especially with everything going on. We can't expect him to drastically change his way of doing things to accomdate us. He's extended his hospitality, and accepted the truth of the matter regarding us, but like me at least, he still probably needs time to adjust to this."

She smiled. "Finding out I have a half brother, a half sister, and an elder adopted Sister is alot to take in, considering until that revelation, I'd thought my father had died before my eyes as a child."

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Shaman: come on in and have some tea or lemonade.

Maia: Thanks, it's unseasonably warm today

Justin: Well considering where the country sits, every day is liable to be quite warm Maia.

(Shaman gestures - room cools slightly) How's that?

Both move to the offered chairs, sitting next to each other.

J: That's nice Shaman, thank you.

S: No problem.

M: so what was it you wanted to talk about?

S: I admit to an ulterior motive for this meeting. I find myself confused by the world. I don't even know where the 'Children' stand. That meeting was ... confusing.

M:All meetings with my siblings tend to be, even pre apothesis.

J: I wasn't there, but Maia filled me in. The things your siblings are capable of, and more than that the casual way they're admitted do, that does worry me.

S: Really? That's not comforting. I was hoping with my power would come greater understanding. I mean, we should all be working together. There are other forces in the world as powerful as you and the others.

M: I know that. You ever try to herd cats? that's a tiny inkling... well ok for you that's a bad analogy because you could do something like that. Still, it's difficult to get on the same page. We all agree the mother-hunting must be stopped. The means of doing so however is not a source of agreement

S: Who can we count on then if we don't have a unified goal and means? Is the Teragen an option? Aberrants? I don't understand anything about those groups so I don't even know if I should ever ask them.

J: They are options, not the best ones though. Speaking as someone who knows what it is like to be a baseline, the Teragen's denial of humanity is something that causes a great deal of ill will. The flaunting of societal laws, the violence exhibited by many of them, not all mind you, this has colored thegeneral consensus of most of the world's population against them. They seem to revel in their inhumanity and that is not conducive to bringing about a united front.

M: They engaged in motherhunting as well, all the factions did. Some had more altruistic motives, but some didn't.

J: The abberants are the perpetual underdog. Forced to live in a state of relative paranoia about who's watching them Their trust would be hard to gain, let alone the ability to bring them into a coalition to end the threat to the children

S: Having never been a human, I still find it a bit hard to understand a denial of one's history. I mean, you used to be an un-erputed nova/baseline and now you are a nova. What's the big deal? I don't like the whole 'Inhumanity' thing. It doesn't make sense either. The Aberrants need to understand we want to save kids. They can help us ... you two find and protect those being hunted. (shakes head) It just seems obvious.

S: Who else has been gathering 2nd gen children?

J: Utopia obviously. There's no way Glory is a first generation. I can imagine the Aberrants and Teragen both have Second generation members as well.

M: I know of at least one, Cora's boyfriend Norman is one of the Teragen 2nd Gen novas.

J: as for denying one's history, consider man people always wish to be more than they are. Some few do get this in being novas. When you've supped of the power of a nova, it is intoxicating. Nothing prepares you for it, and many only seek more.

J: some pursue this to the point of ignoring all other things, like the corruptive influence of tain and how it strips away humanity.

S: Justin, I don't get that either. Power is power. It comes along and pushing it seems foolish. Is there such a crisis? As for the other thing, are the Teragen 2nd Gen different from the rest of us? I get the feeling that terats are different than other 1st gen novas. Is that so? And, if it is, how does that influence the relationship between us and them?

J: I've not met one, so I can't really tell you.

M:Norman is different from us, at least that's the feeling I got when I met him. I should note Shaman that we're very different than first gen novas, and we do feel different to them as well. The Terats I've met aside from Norman have made my skin crawl.

J: Consider this. For Novas like you and Maia, it is very difficult to gain taint. It's much easier for me. The Teragen rely on taint to further change them in something called Chrysalis. I can't explain it, there's little public knowledge there, but I'd wager they're adapted to allow them to gain taint normally.

S: The Teragen has zip interest in me at this time. The one's I've been made aware of are attracted to the power the Apothesis brings. I'm not sure they are interested in us. I've also been ignored by Utopia, but then I've never met one and none of them have come to the Congo.

M: With Einherjar in charge, you likely won't see one here unless they're invited for a reason, or attacking.

S: Taint gets me too. Isn't that doing something wrong? It feels - unnatural. Maybe that's my unfamiliarity with it.

S: Maia has brought you up to speed on that? I'm not sure how much is safe to say here.

J: It's a sort of backlash. Pushing too hard to fast. Something Maia did, granted for my benefit, but something that has affected us both

J:Maia and I have no secrets

(Shaman sighs) Good. I'm not sure who I can talk to about it. I've told Dad. I know he's working on it, but I don't know what's he is planning or who he's told.

M:regardless of safety concerns, we owe Einherjar. When we were recovering from my enhanced eruption of Justin, he gave someplace we could be safe and recover. I'm not someone who fails to repay a debt.

J: the question is, do you want to know? Your Father is a King now, but he was once a vicious powerful and lethal Elite. War was his business, and he was among the best at it

J: He won't handle it with kid gloves, and A man like him has allies he can call upon.

S: I've been taking care of myself for so long that it sometimes escapes me that I'm still a kid in most people's eyes. That and I have no clue on how to organize my room, much less a kingdom's military. I also believe he's keeping this as much as a secret as he can. If we blow it this time, we may not get a warning when they come at us a different way.

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J: If it takes a next time, it's most likely that they won't come from any conventional direction

S: Assassinations?

M:War might seem the last option, but in truth it makes an excellent cover

J: Or a Nuke.

S: (snorts) No way I'd survive a nuke. If I wasn't around and Einherjar was dead ... I

wouldn't know were to go.

M: You'd come with us. It's that simple.

J: What your sister means is that you're welcome to come with us, assuming any of us were to survive a nuke

S: (looks down) But what would I do? What would we do? How would we strike back? Would we strike back?

J:Endure, adapt, Survive

S: That's what I was thinking. I wasn't sure if that was cowardice or not.

J: vengenance is not significant motive

*Maia looks at Justin sternly easily readable that Revenge could be a motive to her*

M:If something happened to someone I cared for...

S: I'm trying to find a balance between personal survival and survival as a race. I feel I should do something for other novas, especially the young. I'm not sure what.

J: you would do something foolish and passionate.

:S: (arches an eyebrow)

J: there's alot to be done for your generation, too much. Just finding novas like the two of you is difficult

M (looks at Justin with an icy glare)

S: Whoa now. That's why we're all talking about this. I think too many people are making assumptions about what other people do or want. We need to KNOW what's on our minds.

M: I know that

S: Do you want to make a plan for the three of us? A go-to-hell plan? I'd like to hook up with the brothers and sisters, but I'm not sure how they would react and what they'd do.

J:They will go off on their own ways

M: YOu saw how things went. Cora will push for direct militant intervention

S: That's sad. I think there is so much more we could do together ... okay, what you could do together.

S: (Shaman perks up)

M: Alex will withdraw, Butch Will Plan, Pip would Mourn

:M Warren will tinker with the the timeline, and Darrik will worry about his burgeoning family, making what deals he hast to

S: So it will devolve into the Teragen and Utopia again?

J: it sounds like it doesn't it?

S: Am I sounding pessemistic when I say that it all comes down to the power? Either the Teragen wields it, or PU, but if we are on our own, they will eventually 'deal' with us.

J: It's how you use power Shaman, that matters

M: Having it does little, aside from arranging a detente

J: or spurring others to strive for more and more.

S: Can we shift the balance of power? We of the second generation. When I first say you, Maia, Cora, Warren, Pip, Darrik, and Butch, I really thought you guys could do anything you put your minds too. Since then though ... its like its all falling apart.

*The couple shares a look"

M: I have no doubt that we could if we pooled our power shift the balance of power rrevocably

S: Like bears, when you were young, you were bound by fear of the greater world, but as adults that fear is gone and so is the need to congregate and watch each other's back. The problem is there are bigger bears out there and no one seems to see it.

M: the problem is Shaman, I could do more than simply bring us together. It goes back to how I helped Justin Erupt

:I can overlay my power onto another, giving them access to every power I have, that they are strong enough to wield, and at the same time, I can access their powers.

M:all of them

J:There is always someone stronger

S: So you can really use some allies then. It makes sense. Do the others know this?

M: No. Alex likely suspects it

J: As casual as some were about how they could destroy earth as we know it, do you blame her for not telling them?

S: I'm sure you have a good reason, but why don't you share it with them. Cooperatively, you could do much more. They might actuallly bring you in on their plans and you could unite them by utility.

J:Or give them enough power that they decide to do something on their own

[s: Could you force someone into Apothesis? (waves hands) Not me. It will happen to me when I'm ready, but in general, could you?

J You may gather this, but frankly some of Maia's siblings scare the hell out of me, Their approach is utterly inhumane. I realize this is because they have no concept of what being human is, but still, The power possessed by apothesized Second generation novas gives some merit to the terror felt by Aeon, Proteus and the likeI don't know. I don't like using that power.

S: The problem is that we exist, and we will continue existing. Trying to wipe us out puts them into a fight we don't want and they probably can't win. Something doesn't make sense about his. Maybe it's because I'm not human too. Foxes don't go after wolf pups because most wolf pups are too tough, and all it does is teach the wolves to hate foxes.

M: not all baselines are rational brother. Some see something only to fear, and they are very good at elimanating what they fear.

J: As you are someone who knows what it is like to be hunted I'd think you would indeed understand the feeling. Those who hunt novas fear the potential you have.

S: I guess I was thinking that such a large organization wouldn't totally and so secretly succumb to such evil. I'm used to thinking on an animal level and this makes no sense. Maybe they know something we don't know.

J: Who's to say it's all of Utopia? look at how much good they have done

M: Fear is a prima instinct Brother

S: Not Utopia, but Aeon. Fear is normal, but is it normal to fear the lightning because it might cause a fire? Deal with a fire when it happens, but don't stop the lightning from happening. That would cause unforseen consequences. I know we are not animals. We over-complicate things. We think in layers upon layers. I'm not raging against that, because that would be equally unrealistic. I'm thinking that if we would just put our heads together, we'd waste less effort working at cross purposes. Part of me wants to know why Aeon is doing what it's doing. Part of me won't care what the answer is either way. What will it


M: the only thing we all agree on is that it has to stop.

J: I am comitted to helping make that a reality.

M: There's something you should know though.

S: (Shaman is attentive)

M: Uncle took Cora and showed her one of the reasons they fear breeders

M:There was a nova who incubated her young in living humans, which eventually killed

them, like some insects.

M: She was forced to choose

S: If your live cyle requires the death of another sentient being, you can expect to be

treated as a disease. I don't mind humanity defending themselves. I mind them pro-actively defending

themselves from something that is not known to be a threat. What did Coraline choose?

M: What do you think? (looks down)

S: She killed it. In the end, I feel she would always chose to save as much life as

possible. If a parasitic nova couldn't be 'cured', it would have to be put down unless its means of procreation

spread with each offspring.

M: agreed

S: That's something else on our plate then - policing our own. Anyone have a clue on a

common set of beliefs? What's unacceptable to me may be okay for Alex. What do we do then? Does she

let me act on my own moral code? Man, this is complicated.

: J: So far I've seen most of this group work mostly within societal norms

S: (looks down and furrows his brow) I hope that holds up.

: S: Darrik and Pip made me feel ... funny. Same goes for Sakura. It was like my instinct

was going one way, but my brain was going another.

M: well you aren't entirely normal in that regard either

(Maia smiles slyly)

S: (chuckles) 'What do you do? - I split mountains. What do you do? - I talk to cats."


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  • 4 weeks later...

S: Have you ever thought about working with anyone outside the group?

M: Jason mentioned being able to talk to someone in Utopia. I've agreed to meet with this person once my Training with Uncle is done

S: That's promising. I have no clue just how evil Utopia is, but there have to be good people inside it. Right?

M: I like to believe that yes. They can't all be a part to what's been going on.

S: Has anyone thought about approaching Glory? She's got to be one of us.

M: her ability rightfully intimidates even us.

S: If we can't convince her to be on our side, eventually they will send her to fight us. That I don't look forward to.

J: if she is an enemy, it will be unpleasant. She will most assuredly not be alone.

S: Yeah. Pax won't be a breeze either and there has to be thirty members of T2M. Hey, do you think Uncle Shen could train me at some time? I feel like I'm two steps behind all the time.

M: I can ask him.

J: Pax is one worry yes, as are many of the others. The teragen as well has many members who I'd not like to face on a battlefield.

S: (Sigh) What are the odds they are going to start picking us off one by one? Teragen and Utopia. One day, one of us is going to do something so public that we can't be ignored. Then what?

M: we deal with it as family.

S: (Smiles) That's a good thing to think about. Does your Uncle Shen have allies? I'm not asking who, but I'm kinda hoping he's not flying solo. As you've shown, he knows a lot. From what I've seen, that makes him plenty of enemies.

M: He's got a number of them I'd say. I've met at least 3 all of them powerful novas like us

M: Our Father is certainly one of them.

S: And Jason.

M:I'm sure he has other students as well, that if he called, they would answer.

S: I don't mean to be a downer, it's just that I see things from an animal's perspective. No one gets displaced without some sort of struggle. Unless we break the cycle and move off into space, I see conflict. I'm not sure that the others see it that way. I think you two, and Cora feel that way. I can't get a read on Alex. I'm not sure about the others.

J: what would you do Shaman, if it came to violence?

S: that would depend on the situation. I'd fight if I had to, or to defend others. I would run if I could. I guess it depends on who I have to protect.

M: Alex has always been a difficult read. As far as my view, you're wrong you know.

*Maia and Justin share a Look*

S: (curious) What am I wrong about?

J:Maia sees baselines differently than her siblings, her view is more favorable. If not for the state of the world, the dangers present everywhere, I expect I would still be a latent Shaman.

M:welll...probably yeah.

S: That's something I'm still not used to: someone being a latent one second and a nova another. I don't know how that feels. I probably never will.

M: You will one day, Apothesis is as close to it as we get and that instant, you will be amazed.

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  • 1 month later...

M- I was in the middle of fighting powerful novas when I apothesized

S: What are we going to do about the rest of the novas, Maia and Justin? The unerupted? Are we even factoring them in? The'll make the next second gens.

S: What happened?

: S: What was it like?

M- I got hit, harder than ever before, he actually managed to hurt me. then all I could think about was if he could hurt me, he could kill everyone else, and something, snapped

: J- The unerrupted won't be the next second gen's, though if they errupt they could give rise to more. In time the second generation will give rise to the third.

S: I've never felt that way, but I imagine the triggers are different for different people.

S: Thirds ... damn.

S: (Looks between Justin and Maia)

M-Alex's was brought on by deprivation working in her lab

J- Not any time soon, if you're thinking about your sister and I, Shaman. Neither of us is really ready for that.

S: Justin, that's a good thing to know. There might be some pressure - an arms race if you will.

J-I'm sure, if every second generation apothesizes at the level of Maia and her siblings, I'd say the world simply couldn't support it

M-Add to that there are Teragen second generation novas that are just as powerful if not moreso

J-and let's not forget the third class, the Trogs

J- They suffer the effects of taint profoundly moreso than even first generation novas.

S: Oh crap. Who helps them get by?

M- no one generally. They're usually so far beyond the realm of humanity in all aspects, they cannot be helped

J- as much as I don't like the motherhunters, there are some few good reasons for what they do

S; (Looks confused) What do we do about them then? I mean, do we need

to do anything about them?

M-we let them be, help them if we can, and if the need is dire, we end what suffering they can cause

S: By the Node, if they are as strong as you, Maia, what chance do normal novas have?

M-they aren't always. but if they are, or like any of my siblings, then it would be a terrible fight

S: It's not just. It's the damage we'd cause. I remember Dad's attack on the Chinese coast with that storm. (shakes head)

M-Yes the level of damage is potentially massivre

S: (pauses)

S: I feel sort of bad for wanting to take it easy.

J- you shouldn't you never know when the opportunity to do so will arise again

S: Not that kind of easy, though I think I know what you mean. I just don't want to Apothesize. I know I'll be different.

M- what makes you say that?

S: How can it not? If I keep up with my current vein of power, I'll have awesome control of weather patterns, the ability to manipulate the flesh of most living things ... how do you get ready for that? If something's wrong, I can fix it, but how do I know what to fix and what to let alone?

J-You be yourself, and trust those around you to rein you in if the need arises.

S: (snorts) It's the 'be yourself' part that bothers me.

M- I don't see anything wrong with you, aside some self-image issues


: S: (grins back) Self-image issues? Like what? I thought I was backwoods casual ciche.

M- You're a good young man

J- Sure you've been thrown in the deep end off the bat, but in all fairness, you're doing fine Shaman.

S: Maia, Justin, do you ever worry ... nah. Do you ever feel you are fullfilling some sort of role, for the creche, or some greater whole?

M- Ask the first question as well, there's no secrets here. To answer what you did ask, no, I don't

J_ I am simply me, and while I might aim to do good works with the power I've been given, at the end of the day I am simply me

S: I answered that one myself. Do you worry about screwing up? But you probably do, but you don't let it slow you down.

M- that sums it up nicely yes. We all make mistakes Contrary to what the newspapers say I am far from perfect

S: Thing is is, Maia, you are the Mountain. We have a Traveller, a Brain, a Self-Actutalized, a Universal Concioussness, The Light ... We seem to be more than just people, we are also concepts. The Blossom Princess, The Storm King, the Blood Goddess, the Mirror Queen ...

M-that may be how others see me

M- that isn't how I see myself

S: Yet we approach the world according to our strengths. It's only natural. You're not a berserker, but you are direct and clear in what you want and what you mean. No one I know doubts you say what you mean. You are the Mountain.

J- and who are you Shaman?

S: Nature.

J-so youu worry that like nature you will be red in tooth and claw, that on your whim life begins and ends?

More like growing things - the life aspect of rain, vegetation, and animals. I don't see myself as an engine of destruction. Maybe fierce storms.

J-Well I'm sure you'll be be your father's son in some respects

S: Maybe in one or two ways. I think my youth will be a little less wild.

M- good I don't want to be an aunt to even more little ones so soon. Darrik's are going to be more than enough

S: I think its a matter of him doing what's right for him, than something I'd want to step into.

: M- true enough

M-You know I will always be here to help you Shaman

S: Thanks. You may come back to regret that. I may do things I need some guidance and protection from, even if its' from myself.

J-That's what family is for Shaman, and friends.

S: (grins) What's next? I mean, for us three. I'm going to stay here. You've said you guys have somewhere to get to. How are we going to stay in touch?

(maia shakes her head) I don't know

M-where we're going, contact is going to be almost impossible

J-we'll be gone several months

S: Back here, the first of July?

J-probably even longer than that

M- It depends on whether Uncle considers us ready..

S: Damn ... the war is coming. I don't like the prospects of it coming down without you.

M-You'll have Cora and Warren, and Alex. There's little I'd put beyond those three's capabilities.

S: True enough. I'd still like to see them bring some extra help in, if possible.

S: Know any good mercs?

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