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Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - [Interlude] The Enigmas of my Mother[FIN]

Adrian Moss

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{Afternoon, May 15th 2027}

Horizon had gone back to his quarters and Shaman was finally finishing up in the King's quarters, explaining what he knew to his Father, Morrigan, and Esperance. They didn't seem displeased. They didn't seem overjoyed either. It had been an easy assignment and little he could have screwed up about it. As he walked to the door, Esperance looked to him,

"There is a man here to see you. He claims to have information about your mother. He is in the Indigo Room. Don't take too long. Don't go anywhere. We may have another use for you soon."

"Yes ma'am," Shaman replied. Where was he going to go? The Rainbow Room? That emotional buzz saw ... he wasn't in the mood to go there. He would have preferred to walk in the gardens and think of Coraline, but that would have to wait. His mind turned to his 'guest'.

'That's curious. Who in the hell would be wanting to see me ... about Mom?'

'Yeah, like who's that? We don't even know her.'

'Knew her.'


'Is this going to be anything I want to hear?'

'Let's find out.'

He walked into the room and saw two guards come to attention. Sitting at a table nearby was a rather shabbily dressed man with a hungry look about him. His overcoat was a light gray, with one of those wide collars. His hair was graying and uneven. His shirt was collarless, a faded blue material. His pants were equally faded, once being a rich brown, but now headed toward beige. His shoes were worn boots, brown leather and rubber soles and toe guards. Shaman took this in but an instant before approaching.

"Hello, I'm Shaman and who would you be?"

The man chuckled,

"I thought you were going by the name of Allen Reeves, but Shaman works. Can I have a few minutes of your time ... in private."

The man looked warily at the two guards.

One guard looked to Shaman and handed the Boy-Prince a necklace with some sort of broken wheeled device attached to it.

"He had this on him. He insists that it is yours, My Prince."

"I am Roger Caldon, but I was also once known as Jinx. I was a friend of your Mother's."

"You already told the guards that. Why do you need to see me alone?"

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"Your Mother would have wanted it that way. She didn't trust often. Besides, I'm not sure about who you can trust here."

Shaman grunted in a non-committal way.

"I trust the guards here with my life. I don't really have a choice. Anything I know is going to be found out by them eventually, but if you want to have the illusion of privacy, we can walk in the gardens."

Roger nodded. "Illusion beats reality more times than most people imagine. Lead the way."

Shaman looked at his Mother's friend then shrugged.

"The gardens are down this hallway. It's the big, green thing," he joked. "You can't miss it."

Now he was getting nervous. Once he was past the surprise of being found out by someone who know his Mother, the thought of actually finding out about the woman who had given him up filled him with a certain degree of trepidation. They walked down the hallway in silence. At the entrance to the South Gardens, Shaman dismissed the accompanying guards.

For a minute, man and boy wandered the gardens before Shaman broke the silence.

"How well did you know my Mother?"

"Were to being," Jinx muttered. He looked to Shaman, a sad smile on his face. "I had something memorized, but it no longer seems appropriate. I thought you would somehow be younger, or at least feel less mature."

Shaman stared and waited for the older man to continue. He certainly didn't feel all that mature. Perhaps it was his size.

"I knew your Mom back way back when we all worked for DeVries - Einherjar, Infinite Codex, MidKnight, Coral, and me. Einherjar pretty much did his own thing. He was pretty independent even back then. We all knew he had plans way beyond being a Nova-for-Hire. That ... that was something Infi was attracted to."

Jinx took a deep breath. "Infi and I were close, but only friends. I was kind of wild and unreliable in those days. Still, MidKnight, Coral, Infi and I were sort of a team. More of a conspiracy actual. We were looking for a way out, but it was more about setting ourselves up somewhere as independents without burning ole Anna."

"Why didn't you just leave?" interrupted Shaman.

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"One: we didn't want to piss Anna off. Two: we wanted more experience and a bigger rep. Three: we weren't all that good with our money. Only Infi seemed to be able to put some cash away. Her private work cost a great deal of money and working R&D only paid for so much."

"Anyway, we had this twenty year plan created by Infi. . She figured that by 2020 we would all be prepped and ready to go. The three of us would be famous, and she would be the brains and inventor. In reality, I only think she was serious about it. MidKnight and Coral become a couple and began looking toward their own future - with kids. And that was where everything went sour."

"See, we had all heard about the Aberrant's Big Reveal, but we didn't take it seriously. Then I was on this mission with two other stealth novas in India when I came across this cache of data. Being curious and stupid, I brought it back to Infinite Codex to see what I could sell it for. It really freaked her out. Only later did I get to know why."

"See, she was already pregnant with you. She figured out that Project Utopia had this secret program to sterilize novas and kill their children. She trashed the data and told me to forget about even getting that cache. She told me to watch my back because whomever this stuff belonged to would kill to keep it quiet."

"A few days later, MidKnight and Coral get married and quite DeVries. I wasn't there for the ceremony. What can I say. I was unreliable. They went into retirement. They made a big show about not being able to conceive, but wanting to adopt some baseline child. Since they were all second tier Elites, they didn't stay in the limelight long. A few months later, they silently slid off the grid. Later I figured out Infi helped. Hell, it was her plan."

"About a year later, she came by to see me. We had a talk. She didn't tell me about you then. That would come later. Basically she wanted to see that I was okay, and if anyone had come sniffing around. My name is ... was Jinx. I was invulnerable, or so I felt. If they had been watching me, I missed it. She departed for parts unknown and went around screwing with my life. Five years later, I screwed the pooch royally and I was 'invited' to leave DeVries. From that point forward, life was hand-to-mouth for me. I kind of slid into obscurity."

"Then Infi found me again. We had a long talk about all kinds of stuff. She had been working on the whole sterility thing with the Aberrants. She'd also been working on another side project, which is why she had come to me. She had become concerned that Project had tagged her for special attention, so she couldn't go to you directly. She wanted to keep in touch with me so that you would know what she was up to ... in case she wasn't around."

"Are you saying she is dead?" Shaman said with a sudden sense of pain and fear in his heart. He had never known the woman, but somehow knowing she had avoided him in an attempt to keep him safe traded one hurt for another.

"I don't know," shrugged Jinx. "Two years ago she came by and wanted me to hang on to that gizmo for her until she came back for it. If she didn't return, she wanted me to give it to you. She said it was something that might make up for all the years apart. I haven't a clue what it does, and you know as much about it as I do."

Shaman looked over the object in his hands. It was warm to the touch. It seemed to have sort of gears within gears inside its slender body. The Boy reasoned that even if he had some knowledge of engineering, it wouldn't have helped him. For starters, were was the power source?

He looked over to Jinx.

"What was she like - my Mother?"

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He looked over to Jinx.

"Is there anything else you can tell me about her?"

Jinx shook his head as he said, "Brightest woman I ever knew. She had two real gifts. One was Quantum Physics, whatever that is, and the other was the ability to make us Neanderthals understand enough to get by. You could be in a conversation with her, but only afterwards did you realize that she'd been dumbing things down for you. She really tried to help people that way."

"She was always reading something. She was starving for knowledge. That was something she could never get away from. Even on vacations - or on the run - she made time to read. She was lightning quick with stuff like that. I would be on page three and she would slam down the seven hundred page thesis God knows what."

Jinx looked into the gardens, away from Shaman,

"She wasn't a fighter. She wasn't anti-violence, or anything like that, but she avoided violence whenever she could. Maybe that is why she surrounded herself with elites. If violence came her way, she would be able to deal with it by saying, 'go get'um!'" I guess that's why she left all of us behind, your Dad included. If she was in trouble, she didn't want to bring it down on any of our heads."

"My Dad barely knew her," Shaman told Jinx.

"Funny how that worked out. Einherjar could never belong to any woman, but it didn't stop more than a few from trying. Knowing what I know now, I don't think she was trying for to ensnare him. I think she wanted you. She wanted you to be like him, but like her two. A fusion of thought and power."

"I'm neither," was Shaman's response.

"Maybe not yet. I never knew her to be wrong about anything she really cared about. She really understood novas - the quantum side of them anyhow."

"She always told us that the node was an accident. It was flawed. She just couldn't figure out how to fix it. I think you were the culmination of her work on that point."

"And the device?" the younger nova asked.

"She knew about channeling quantum. I guess that device does that. Whether it does it for you, or for anyone, I don't know. I'm the messenger, not the User's Manual. Good luck figuring it out."

"Is it dangerous?" Shaman questioned.

Jinx snorted.

"I don't think it will kill you, but that doesn't mean it won't hurt. She was peculiar that way. If the weapon didn't kill you and killed the other guy, it worked, right?"

"Was she pretty?"

"Not really. She was slender, attractive enough for someone who ate irregularly and took a day or two longer than necessary to shower. She dressed up nice, but she didn't have killer looks. Anything you get in that department is Father's doing."

Shaman squeezed the medallion.

"Kid, she wouldn't have left you unless it was to keep you safe. She didn't want you living like a fugitive. Did you have a good life growing up? Were you safe?"

"It was okay," was Shaman's response. "For fifteen years I was okay. I knew the people raising me weren't my parents. That hurt a bit. I didn't know what to do about it until someone came and killed them. Then I came here."

"Dad is ... well, he's the King. He only has so much time, and I can't say I'm at the top of his priority list. Besides, I'm a teenager now. What are we going to talk about?"


"Not your fault. I hope Mom is alive. I would like to see her sometime. Talking to her would be nice. Just seeing her."

"If I see her kid, I'll let her know."

"Is this it then?" was Shaman's response.

"Yeah," was Jinx's reply. "I'm not much good at this family stuff. I did what I said I'd do. I wish you luck with that ...and at staying alive. Take care, kid."

With that, Jinx headed out of the gardens. Guards intercepted him and escorted him out of sight. Shaman turned the medallion over in his hands as the turned to look down at it. Like his Mother, it was an enigma. There, but not there.

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