Jump to content

Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Cosmos Nova - [CN] Work or play?

Mr Fox

Recommended Posts

It had been a month and a half since he had gotten out of prison. Just under a month and a half since he and Kei had taken her weather balloon rig up to the edge of the atmosphere and parachuted back down. That had been a exciting ride, one he wouldn't soon forget. At the time he was still in the process of making a deal with the bank to buy the old airship hanger, but he had invited her out to do some work on her rig. It had been fun for sure, but the balloon's gondola could use some updating, they had come up with half a dozen improvements to her rig right there on the spot. He could just imagine what they might be able to do with some planning and the tools and facilities he had now.

That was why it was it was time to give Kei a call and see if she still wanted to get together. He'd spent the last couple weeks cleaning out and organizing the facilities and he thought it was presentable finally.

"Computer, call Kei." His belt worn computer could take voice commands as easily and correctly as it did keyboard input.

After a moment there was a ring and May answered. "Konichi-wa."

Even two weeks ago he would have been stymied. He had been as awkward as they come when it came to speaking with women, but his little trip to Vegas had cured him of that, or at least given him a start on some badly needed confidence. He remembered the lesson he had learned and projected the confidence he didn't entirely feel.

"Hi May, this is Nate. How have you been since the cruise?"

"Good." She seemed a bit surprised whether it was because he was speaking to her with confidence, or from the fact that he was asking how she was doing instead of asking to speak with Kei he wasn't sure. "I am well. Is there something I can help you with?" Business-like as always.

He smiled though she couldn't see it, "Listen, I was trying to get ahold of Kei, is she available?"

"One moment, I will see if she can speak with you." A silence followed and despite his new confidence there was a slight twisting in his gut as he waited.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"May, we're Americans, he's probably thinking he dialed up the Department Zero main offices." Kei snickered as May called her over.

"Hey! Nate! Nice hearing from you again! Sorry about the greeting, May was waiting for a Department Zero representative to speak with her and she always gets nervous when talking with the Japanese."

On her end May whaps her one on the nose. "Oww... May!"

After an awkward moment or two, Kei continues the conversation. "Oh where was I outside of embarassing my best friend..."

Her tone gets playful again. "Hey, I know, how are things with getting that old airship hangar? I've REALLY been wanting to see it!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hiya Kei!" He listened and chuckled at the interplay between the two girls.

"... I've REALLY been wanting to see it!"

"Well you are in luck then. I've got the facilities cleaned up finally and I've got all the tools we need to get that rig of yours into ship shape." He grinned imagining her reaction to his next words. "I've got a runway if you want to fly your jet out here. It can handle small passenger jets so your hotrod ought to have no problems with a landing here. That'll give you a chance to get a good view of the place from the air as you come in. So what do you think?" He paused for a sec then added, "Or if you'd rather, I can always teleport to where you are and then port us both back, but we couldn't get your balloon and it's hardware that way."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei smiled. "Well, I can bring in the gear I have on the VTOL. Since I'll be flying solo I can use May's seat to carry some stuff and the rest in the personal effects bin for the RIO as well." The sound of her voice definitely suggested she was giddy with excitement.

"I'm going to need some leg-work on your end, Nate. I'll need the supplies I know you can get on your end. I'll send it via a text file to your e-mail. I'll bring the balloons since we're probably going to damage a couple. These are non-burst types usable for controlling altitude. We're going to have to adapt for carrying the helium tanks."

She grinned. "I ran a few ideas by Karrie, and she suggested some framework designs. Anyways I got a file in-bound now."

Required supplies
Multiple carbon fiber panels of various sizes
1/8th thick PVC piping
750 feet of 1 inch wide by 1/8th thick straps (talk to a car seat-belt manufacturer for this stuff)
welding equipment
multiple metal pipe fittings
50 helium tanks
50 feet of rubber tubing
4 15 person life rafts[/code]

"I'm going to bring the rest of the stuff we'll need. BTW, I will be using the flotation cells of the rafts for the flotation rings on the sides of the gondola. Yeah... no more soft raft seating for us!"

The sound of moving tools and bags is heard in the background.

"I'll cover the bills on this. On me."

"Oh... and order some pizzas. I'll be there this afternoon."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Pizzas, check!"

Nate considered the email for a second then said, "That's quite a supply list. I've actually got a fair amount of stuff already, but some of those items, like all the rafts, might take some time. I'll have one of my guys get on it and we should be able to get them here by the end of the day, or by tomorrow morning at the latest."

He paused for just a second, "You don't mind spending the night I hope, this will be more work than we can fit in a single afternoon, and we'll want to test the results of our labor after all." There was an ever so slight emphasis on this that let Kei know there might be more to spending the night and testing the gondola than just sleeping and sky-diving. That was definitely new for Nate, he wouldn't have been that bold when they were on Connor's yacht.

"I'll be looking forward to seeing you and I'll have some pizzas so don't take too long getting here, the food is better when it's hot!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Easily done. And I have no important missions coming up so I can stay. That... and I move pretty damn fast. Fast enough where I can get to most anywhere in no time if there is an emergency. I just hope you don't mind having a F-35N parked on your premesis."

She giggled. "I'm pretty much packed, so I'll start heading on over in... 5 minutes."

"See you then!"

She hangs up, grinning from ear to ear as she puts her helmet on.

I'll let you do the fast-foreward to my arrival, Fox. I will be on over the weekend and Monday morning.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He had thought he was prepared for her visit, but the email supply list corrected that notion. He spent the next couple hours directing his minions to place the necessary orders and pick up the items on the list that his facilities didn't have.

He smiled at the thought of minions. Calling them that had a Bond film kind of sound, but he called them minions openly and they were all amused by it and if anything they wore the name with pride. Most of the time they called themselves Nate's minions, but sometimes when they were feeling over worked they referred to him as their Dark Lord of the Sith. It was all in good fun though. He might not pay them all that well yet, but they knew he was a nova with big ideas and they didn't doubt that their fortunes would rise with his.

Hank, the oldest of the men that worked at his airship facilities had actually called him "Darth" to his face when he had ordered the men to get out and pressure wash the runway to make sure there wasn't any debris that might get sucked up into the engines of Kei's fighter. "Clean the runway?!? In less than 3 hours?" When Nate just nodded seriously the man had rolled his eyes and finished with, "Whatever you say Darth Nate!"

Nate had allowed one corner of his mouth to quirk up in a smile, but his minions knew he was easy going, but meant it when he gave them jobs to do.

The time had passed faster than he would have believed and before he knew it the sound of Kei's jet could be heard screaming by overhead in a flyby that rattled the walls and shook dust from the old beams of the massive hanger. Good thing I didn't have the doors to the hanger opened, she might have flown through the hanger instead of just above it.

When she had done a lazy loop back around and decelerated for landing he was waiting out next to the hanger the great door on the south end of the building sliding noisily open. He was grinning as he motioned he to taxi the jet right into the hanger. As big as the plane might seem standing next to it, it was dwarfed by the old airship hanger which had once housed giant zeppelins. Turning the plane off and getting it all settled took forever to the impatient jedi. After Kei finally climbed down from the cockpit he swept her up in a bear hug that literally took her off her feet.

"It's great to see you again! I've been looking forward to this ever since the sky dive."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

"Oh, I know. It's also great that I got the time to do this between missions and what-not. Luckily the majority of stuff I requested is off-the-shelf material. Although I had some ideas for some additions for taking non-nova passengers."

She stretched out flopping down some mysterious red and white paneled fabric-like material that was sitting in the back seat that she used as a backup storage option since she was flying solo. Then she starts draggin material out from the rear personal effects storage.

"The fabric there is the balloon. I grabbed a bigger non-latex one for this project made of a material similar to a flight suit I've had comissioned. I was thinking instead of flying up to burst altitude this design can go up to an altitude then stay there. then just have it linger until the pilot of the rig wants it to decend at a safe pace. Of course the parachutes will still be installed for emergencies, and the gondola will still have all the basics you'd have expected before."

She grinned. She loved this garage-band style engineering. It wasn't Karrie quality, but it was fun none the less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nate chuckled thinking of the possibilities. "You know the company that owned the hanger before I bought it out was trying to do high altitude drones for broadband ISP service. It's funny but with just a little work I think the rig we are creating for the kicks of it, might actually work better than what they spent two years trying to create and failed."

He got a thoughtful look on his face and added, "How much do you think our rig could hold weight wise? Upper limit about 1000 pounds?" He was obviously doing some calculations in his head.

"What are you thinking?" Kei asked.

"I was just thinking that maybe we should make two prototypes, one for fun and one for profit. What do you think? I've still got the gear that Markham Bros. left behind. We could stick their router gear onboard one of the gondolas and try out a test just to see if it works? If it does, we could always re-engineer it with better specs and improve on their design. Hell, between the two of us we could probably scrap their gear altogether and build our own from scratch, then we wouldn't have any possible patent violations."

Seeing Kei's face darken a little at the mention of work, he added quickly, "That would be after we have fun of course!"

Belatedly he realized how that last bit must have sounded, but rather than back-pedaling to try and dig himself out of a hole he just grinned letting her take it however she would. Confidence, that was the key he had learned, and a confident man didn't scramble to correct an unintended sexual innuendo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei cared not for innuendo... intended or accidental... because she was a bit perverse minded herself at the moment.

"Well I want to make sure that, after factoring in the weight of the rig, and up to 4 passengers, that there is enough cargo allowance for each passenger to bring a pressure suit, a individual parachute with reserve, one oxygen tank, and proper safety equipment. Plus the rig itself will have to have a descent package in the form of a tri-parachute set-up, that can ensure a safe landing if two of the three chutes cannot open, adequate bouyancy on a water landing, and proper cushioning/shock absorbance for ground landings."

She adjusted her suit as she looked about, pulling more build stuff out of the other cargo compartment. She really didn't have room for belongings.

"Now, I just have two requests during my time here. 1: I am going to need a area in here to sleep and get decent. That means I will need shower facilities, and access to at least a variety of fast-food restaurants.

2: I will occasioanlly need your laundry facilitys if you got any. I'm pretty much wearing what I got on my back and..."

She pulls out the last thing, a small bag that could be used to carry a laptop. "... I have two outfits in this bag with a small bar of soap and my dental hygene products. That is all. Perhaps a nearby Wal-Mart would also be of use to get more basics."

She smiled. "As for the broad-band idea, that can be useful for more than that. It could also be used to extend communication ranges in search-and-rescue operations. Why you think everything here I brought is red or international orange? High-visibility. we could use the equipment as a "proof of concept" and work on our own stuff to make it official. Of course you'd expect me to think altruistically, but think of it. A Hurricane hits the gulf coast again. With one of these balloons operating at 80,000 feet it can serve as a com-hub for a 347 mile radius to the horizon! You can cover an entire state with one balloon! And Shortwave carries a VERY good distance without a repeater. We would have to, of course, figure a way to mount that gear on our Proof gondola. The other is just a recreational design, so we can swap cargo space with the recreational model with the radio equipment in the "serious business" model."

She leans on Nate. "Also, we get to hover around in the hangar here and test the balloons I brought to see if they'll do the trick, and test the pressure/helium regulators. These are designed to stay at a set altitude, not just keep flying up."

"I have to admit..." Kei's smile starts to beam, almost like a kid in a toy store. "...I love working with you... but I hope... we get to have alot of time to ourselves as well and..."

She blushes. "I don't want to sound improper... but... I would ask... if perhaps at some point... I could... move in with you."

The Minnesotan Nova bowed... quite out of character, but there was a time of a year before her eruption when one of her grandmothers let her live with them in Tokyo while her Parents sorted out their divorce. Kei picked up some habits. When she caught herself, she immediately straightened. "Damn... sorry... After living at my Grandmother's a few years ago, then spending that year during the relief and recovery efforts in Japan... I... picked up a few habits."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That last part shocked Nate; not the bowing, but the 'moving in' part. "Uh, just for the record, I wouldn't mind having you here at all. I think it would be a ton of fun, but only if it's on a non-committed basis. I just got out of prison, and I like you a lot, but I'm not ready to settle down yet. I hope that's ok with you."

He hurried on hoping he hadn't just ruined their weekend, but he'd rather be honest with her up front rather than getting involved only to hurt her feelings later. "I think we can find you the things you need, and the floating around in the hanger sounds good to me. I really like working with you too."

He took a breath and slowed down a bit, "If you do decide to hang out here, there are several smaller buildings outside the hanger itself, some were set up to be offices, some to be small hangers for planes that could easily house your jet. We could fix one of those hangers up with living quarters if you want."

He would have said lets get to the fun stuff right now, but he was afraid he might have hurt her feelings with his bluntness and didn't want to seem like a total jerk if he'd ruined the mood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei felt relieved. A second residence in this spot would be... useful. That and perhaps she was pusing it a bit too far.

"Those would be excellent. I would actually like to make this a spot I can use to refuel or simply someplace to stay when you can have folks over."

Smiling she scratches her head. "That and perhaps it would be a good idea to have the DSA share some of this space to use it as a base."

Seeing the massive hangar that at one time housed the largest flying aircraft in the world, she started to dream. "You think... I could be the captain of a airship?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nate grinned relieved that she hadn't taken things badly. "You certainly could, but keep in mind that I'll be building my spaceship in here so it might get a little crowded. I don't think my ship will take too terribly long to build." He frowned a little, "I'm not too keen on the DSA encroaching on my home though. Having you and your jet here is fine, but no official presence please."

He gestured toward a number of large open bins, "Those are the raw materials for my ship that I've been collecting, you are welcome to use any that I don't need."

He motioned over one of his people, "Please start work on making some personal space for Kei over in hanger 2 where her jet will be parked. Pretty much mirror what I've got in hanger 1 for now, but leave room for her jet to be tractored in and out. She'll want workshop facilities similar to mine."

He turned back Kei, "That way if you are visiting and the main workshop is busy with one of my projects you'll still have what you need to work on one of the gondolas or whatever."

He smiled and took her arm, "How about I show you around and give you the grand tour before we get started on the projects." He was thinking the tour just might end in Hanger 1 where his quarters were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei smiled. "It would be an honor." Kei said with a grin.

"And you said spaceship? Like a star-faring, space tripping, vacum scoffing spaceship?"

She blinked... she was thinking too pedestrian in concept. "And all I wanted was to bring back the greatest class of aircraft ever invented and into the modern era..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Bringing back the airship is a pretty cool thing. I'd love to go cruising around in one." He thought about it then finished, "You could really enjoy the scenery from one of those and if you used modern materials and techniques coupled with old world style and luxury, I'll bet people would pay a decent penny to travel in one."

"As for the spaceship, I figure yeah. They call me a Jedi, but what kind of jedi doesn't have a spaceship?" He grinned. "It won't have star travel at first, it'll be limited to the solar system, but I figure NASA, corporations and other governments will pay to have their science and exploration gear transported around the local area of space for now and to other nearby solar systems in the future."

He frowned, "I've been working on a new material for use in space, one that will be more resistant to minor impacts from micrometeorites and be stronger than conventional steel alloys. I think I'm on the right track but I haven't perfected a manufacturing process yet. All I can do is hand make it so far using my Sith Alchemy."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Wait... Sith Alchemy? Isn't that like... dark-side stuff?"

She scratched her head. "Then again, I could use a polymer that is quite light that can be used as the rigid ribs of a zeppelin superstructure."

"Explain to me how this works."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He chuckled at her reaction. "Don't worry about it, there is no such thing as a real Dark-side. It's basically the same thing that Rob does with his manipulation of matter at the molecular and atomic level, it's just that my subconscious is addicted to the damned Star Wars mythos, so without a lot of training and work, I have a very hard time mastering quantum talents unless I can relate them to a Force talent; in this case, Sith Alchemy."

He walked toward one of the side rooms where he had one of his labs. "Here let me show you. I call it Hull-Steel, it's not really steel per se, it's an alloy made of titanium, tungsten, chromium, and iron mostly. There are other elements in it, but those are the big ones. The cool thing is that it is transparent by default." Grabbing a panel about the size of a book he handed it to her. It was smooth as glass but lighter than a piece of glass or steel would have been in the same dimensions.

"With a slight alteration I can make it opaque, but the cool thing is that it is extremely strong. Go ahead, toss that onto the concrete floor as hard as you want."

She looked a little hesitant for a second then seeing that he really did want him to throw it she gave it a good throw. Rather than shattering the way glass would have it bounced off the concrete and ricocheted into one of the work benches but remained intact.

"Nice one." He chuckled and pointed to the ground, "You chipped the concrete of the floor." Sure enough there was a small gouge in the floor. Retrieving the sheet of hull-steel he held it out for examination. There was a hint of a ding where the corner hit the floor, but there wasn't a scratch in the surface and it was perfectly see-through.

"Once I get the manufacturing process worked out I'll have a gold mine on my hands. Funding the spaceship should be easy then."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"That... that stuff is amazing!"

Her eyes were as wide as saucers.

"That stuff opaque is just what I was looking for in a frame!"

She looked at the brick some more, using her microscopic vision she could see that it's integrety was still viable. Both for a pressure hull or the frame if a zeppelin.

"You... you've outdone yourself!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Nate beamed. "Thanks, I'm glad you like it. I needed something to make the hull of my ship out of that could survive both the vacuum of outer space and the heat created by reentering the atmosphere."

Sensing that she might ask about it's survivability after a re-entry he added, "It's not meant to do that repeatedly, but only in emergency. Normally it will have shields to protect the ship and anti-grav to keep it from having to make a full-speed descent, of course I haven't invented those yet, but one thing at a time." He chuckled.

He wasn't entirely sure what to do next, "That was pretty much the tour. It'll be a couple days before your hanger will be set up, but until then you can stow your clothes or whatever in my space."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei grinned. "Thanks. I did bring a couple spare changes of clothing as I work."

"What sort of power source are you thinking of using for her when she launches? Hell, how do you plan on getting her into orbit, yet alone space?" She scratched her head. "And I hope you make room for an escape pod or two."

She cracked up laughing. "Sorry... just that here I am using technology based off of work from the 1800's, and here you are about to tell Dr. Robert Goddard that he's out of a job."

"Seesh, and here I am, the Last Goddamn Aviatrix, the Nova Ace herself, and I wanna build a zeppelin someday... you'd think I'd be the one building a craft like what you're dreaming up." She says, massaging her head, perhaps reveling in the irony of her situation.

"So, outside of the business, what do you do for fun out here?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well, I did have an almost unavoidable need to build a spaceship considering the powers I erupted with thanks to my subconscious." He shrugged.

"As for the how, I am going to have to invent the means, but for power I was planning on using quantum capacitors and batteries. For a while now novas have been building devices that store the quantum energy needed to make their functions possible. The capacitor I have in mind will just be taking that same principle but applying it on a different level. I will have to figure out a way to integrate it with regular systems though, and that will be a little difficult I suspect. I'll need to convert the quantum into plain electricity." He smiled as if to say 'yeah, I know it's going to be a pain in the ass to figure out'.

"Getting it up and out of the atmosphere and back again will require anti-grav, or more precisely gravity control, that way very little thrust energy will be needed."

Smiling he stepped in closer and put his arms around her waist. "I want to talk all about those things, but first, I'd like to spend some time with Kei the cute girl I started to get to know on that balloon ride, there is plenty of time for Kei the super awesome engineer tomorrow."

This was a different Nate, gone was the nervous, unsure young man that had fumbled toward a romantic time on the balloon ride a month and a half before. At least on the outside.

Inside Nate's stomach was doing flips, but he'd learned the lessons well, that confidence is what attracts a woman and not hesitation and fumbling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei played with Nate's short hair.

"Sure... where do you wanna begin, Master Jedi?" Kei said with a honest smile. "To be honest, I can appreciate the time away from my responsibilities, and be my own woman. You... hell, you're the first thing I've been thinking of since the yacht trip."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That brought a smile to Nate's face, no man could hear those words and not be pleased. "Well, I thought we'd begin in my quarters and then go wherever the moment takes us."

He touched her flightsuit, "Do you want to change out of that, or shower after your long flight? I've got an awesome big rain shower and I know you love the water." He smiled remembering the swim and the fun on the yacht.

He led the way out of the lab and toward his personal building. After the previous owners had been evicted he had put a lot of work into making his rooms as comfortable and luxurious as possible. He knew a psychologist would say it was in reaction to be confined with no comforts at all for five years, and he knew they would be right. He had money again, and he had space so he was using it.

As, they walked into the outer door he threw the bolt and gestured grandly, "Welcome to casa de Nate!"

The floors were done in expensive hardwoods, the walls in plaster treatments and exposed brick, the result of which was a warm and cozy feeling despite the large size of the rooms. He gave her a quick tour and showed her where she could put her personal effects for the weekend and then moved to sit on the couch in front of a nice fire.

This was the point at which she could bolt if she chose, otherwise things were about to get 'cozy'.

He gestured for her to sit with him on the couch. "So what do you say, some water fun or would you prefer to just get comfortable?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kei smiled. "That would be welcome... the shower... thanks..."

She blushed. Would this be like that time over the Atlantic. "I can't take a shower in this... unless I was water-ditching training... Then again I've had my share."

She smiled, playfully sniffing. "You smell like a Bantha... you should take one too."

She grinned. "Always great to have someone who can wash your back... right? Particularly someone you can trust."

Her eyes shined. She's gone after guys before, but this was more than just wanting a fling that was spurned. Hell, she's never actually gone through with anything other than a date that failed because she was a awkward nerd. There was more than lust there was... a brighter, more enlightened spark behind her now.

"What you think?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites


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

  • Create New...