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Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Fiction - [A&A] The Thieving Magpie


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Prologue

0030, April 1, 1940

Miami, Florida; US Coast Guard Base

It was quiet. A early spring morning, and it is a bit warm for the time of year for the night. It was a smooth 65 degrees, although it was forecast to hit the mid eighties that afternoon. Not that the weather was of particular concern to a individual walking where they shouldn't. She had gotten into the marina with skill. Her suit the hallmark of Nazi German engineering. Allowing her to breathe water, giving the woman a chance to use her dynamic talent for swimming faster than a torpedo while remaining undetected.

She snuck around to a side door leading to an open area in the marina, large enough for a heavy seaplane to move in, just what the stalker was looking for. A spotlight swung around and she with one hand gracefully gets under the dock, where she would plant part one of her device. A odd black box, attached under the dock pointing out, right where the main mooring would be for a seaplane. Then she sunk into the water and once she hit bottom, she planted her second device, seeing the searchlight in vain looking in it's usual pattern.

The second device was also black, but it had a bobber that popped up. She reeled a crank letting the bobber float higher and higher until it was about a foot from the surface, the bobber colored the same as the surrounding water. She moved some seaweed about, making sure the box the bobber was attached to wouldn't be spotted.

Then as quick as she came she started off, heading into the dark depths like a ghost from the depths.

No more that 30 minutes later she arrived where a German U-Boat sat, awaiting her arrival. Sitting some 400 miles off the coast. She crawled into the escape hatch and closed the hatch above her and let the chamber she was in vent it's water before a submariner opened the door leading into the sub. A man in a black SS uniform nodded to her.

"Captain Alexa, report."

He was her commanding officer, and he was eager to hear of her success.

"It was like taking candy from a baby, Colonel. The first device, the one with the bobber, was set to the proper depth so the self-attaching magnetic coupling would properly contact and trigger. The other box is tuned to the assigned frequency as you asked."

"Excellent."

"Once the seaplane they are going to use arrives to pick up the girl and her little toy, the Americans will regret interfering with the Fatherland."

"When is the Navy set to arrive in Miami?"

"Last I heard, while observing a couple stupid sailors standing around their patrol boat, by 3pm Today."

"Good, I guess their little advice of loose lips sink ships doesn't get heeded as much as it should."

The woman pulled back the clear facemask that lead to a complex backpack that was her air-supply when underwater. Her stunning blue eyes were compounded by the scars on her face from several battles with "Aces" from France, Poland, and England. She loved drowing every one. Hence her name "Sea Witch", when translated to English.

"The Americans should listen to their own advice. The less advangages they have to give to Britain when we strangle them, the better. The honor of killing the little prodigy Dynamic Britain sent will be a bonus. She's smart, but just as mortal as the pilots that will share her fate."

"Although when the device they're testing fails, the crewmen will be quite dead before she meets her watery grave." The SS officer mused.

"All in due time... all we have to do is wait. Once the seaplane, a Catalina, has sunk, all we have to do is collect the device."

"But what will keep them from getting it?"

"The sabotage device will put off a strong X-Frequency Aetheric Wave, from the interferance the two devices will create in harmony with the experiment, once the little girl's experiment is turned on. Actually, about 10 minutes into it's operation."

The SS officer knew what a X-Frequency Aetheric Wave would do to the human brain. It would send such an electrical shock through the nervous system that it would fry the brain while every blood vessel burst around it. That and there would be lingering effects for hours afterward. Only a Dynamic would withstand such energy and the ambient after-glow.

"Excellent. You've shown yourself to be a credit to the Fatherland, Katarina."

Katarina pulled out a mauser, and almost on the same reflex parked three bullets into his brain.

"Yes... I am... unfortunately a traitor like you, Herr Shwarzstadt, will no longer be tolerated."

She waved to a couple seamen that burst through the door.

"Sailors, take this refuse to torpedo tube number 4 and launch it into the sea. This spy for the British will no longer be causing us trouble."

They nodded and did as she ordered. "The British will soon pay for soiling the uniform of the Shustaffel! Soon indeed..."

She knew that the crew of the boat now could be compromised. She sighed, her Ubermenshen training kicking in. She reached into a foot locker near her and flipped a switch on a black box, then grabbed what looked like a yellow bag that looked too bulky to be just her personal effects. She then ran into the same escape tube as before. Then flooded the compartment as she pulled her facemask back down again, as a couple sailors ran to the door with confused faces. She kept a count in her head. There was a sonic device that she had placed in her foot locker that would wreck the integrety of the hull by popping every rivet around it. It would be hapening in one minute.

Once she opened the hatch outside she heard the sonic weapon activate, and on queue the hull split dead-center, a burst of air and fuel entered the water. Once she hit the surface she turned a knob that was attached to a gas bottle on the bag she carried and it deployed into a single-person raft. Her bag with her personal effects and her SS uniform was sitting dry as a bone in a clear bag made of aetherfiber. She wasn't left in the water long as a black flying-wing aircraft landed nearby her, it's pontoons unfolding from it's wings. Then it opened a hatch. She climbed in as a luftwaffe pilot saluted her.

"Was the mission a success?"

"Yes, unfortunately those onboard U-555 needed to be terminated as the crew was found to be harboring a British spy masquerading as a SS officer. They were showing signs of defection."

"Unfortunate." The pilot said turning the flying-wing aircraft around. "We don't have much fuel, but we will be rendevousing with the Graf Zepplin near the agreed point. It will refuel us and allow us to return to Berlin."

She nodded taking her seat. "I do love technology... it makes my job so much easier."

That Morning

0830, Pensacola Naval Base

A group of Navy Airmen, all mixed ranks were sitting at their table enjoying Breakfast. They were stationed there for rescue duty as pilots trained in using fighters for carrier flight. They were supposed to be on duty, but their captain was grounded with an intestinal infection and they were pulled from the active roster for the next week as a precaution.

Commander Peter Trenton, sat eating his scrambled eggs, looking over his compatriots. Bored out of his mind. "Shit... Why you think they pulled us for whatever the Captain caught?"

Lieutenant Alex Aceworth, son of the American Aetherfiber Tycoon Alex Aceworth Senior, Drank some Orange Juice, smiling. "Ever thought that we might have whatever is ailing our captain in our guts too? I mean, we don't stray very far from each other as we're practically on duty every hour, sir."

"Nugget, we're off duty... we can speak freely."

Everyone here that was a pilot had some form of combat experience except for Alex. Pete got sent back stateside from his time as a Flying Tiger with the Captain, he was a bit unhinged after a couple of his men were captured by Japanese and sent to a labor camp. The Captain himself was discharged, but he ended up re-assigned to Pensacola's training facility to help train new pilots in carrier warfare. The name Nugget annoyed him.

Ensign Thomas Allen, on the other hand, accomplished rescue swimmer and medic sat with his elbows on the table absentmindedly looking outside. "Whatever... that just means the best team isn't on the field." He said, looking at the baseball report. "Well... they're saying the Washington Senators would be the team to beat."

Alex rolled his eyes. "If Minnesota could just have a baseball team."

"Don't it snow this time of the year in Siberia, Nugget?" Commander Trenton snarked as all Alex could to is stare holes into Trenton's head.

A sailor sitting near the three stoot up quick and shouted "Admiral on deck!" and the three stood up out of reflex, facing the Admiral that walked in with their Captain, Captain Morris Williams dressed in his full flight gear.

"Gentlemen. At Ease." Admiral David Cartwright, a 30 year veteran of the Navy, serving since the before the Great War, and becoming a Dynamic because of it put his cover under his arm. "You're having breakfast. You'll need it soon enough. I am in need of your skills today."

The captain smiled. "Alex... this is going to be your first flight you're commanding. Pete's going to be with me on the ground, but Tommy's gonna be your copilot on this."

Alex blinked. "Huh? Tommy isn't even a pilot."

"Yah, I am. I got a commercial licence before enlisting, and I got some time on our Catalina already."

Alex remembered the time when Pete was having one of his flashbacks and Tommy had to take the wheel.

"Alright... but why the change?"

"Risk management. I'll explain en-route to Miami."

"You guys got 30 minutes, then get in gear." The Admiral said, leaving as quickly as he came in. The Captain right behind.

"Well... seems Cap was in good spirits." Pete said.

Alex stroked his chin. "Whatcha think is going on?"

Tommy sighed, putting his last bite of breakfast in his mouth. "Don't know, don't care. All I know is I get to fly today!" He said with a grin.

"Not so fast, kid... you're not flying to Miami, only when the Admiral has us doing his little errand." Pete quickly responded, feeling his status as the #2 pilot threatened by a hotshot.

"Now now, let's not get hot under the collar." Alex said, standing up and finishing the last of his juice. "It's probably some sort of tour that the Admiral is giving some Congressman or something... I keep seeing that guy whenever some top brass or politician is sleazing around."

Alex smiled. Knowing a good showing might put him in the running to joining up with the Flying Tigers or perhaps head to England to bolster their pilot roster. Under the table, of course.

"Let's get ready, and get this handled."

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1145, Eastern Time

En Route to Miami, Florida, 1500 feet

The sound of the Catalina's engines was a welcome sound. Having the wheel was a distinct honor, as Admiral Cartwright was sitting behind him in the cabin. A thunderstorm had started nearby, causing the team to take off earlier than expected.

"So... now that we are off, time to fill you in on the mission. We're going to be picking up a British girl in Miami. She goes by the name Wendy Ravensworth."

Alex quirked an eyebrow. "That name has a long history with my family, Sir."

"I'm aware. Your Father served alongside Brigadier Peter Ravensworth in the trenches. Wendy is his only daughter and is a Dynamic, like myself. She is also an incredible genius."

Alex looked out, watching the squall nearby.

"So... why are we playing taxi driver to some British Schoolgirl then?" Peter chimed in, while Alex got a look of consternation. "Pete... That girl my family owes plenty to. That and Wendy is known in Aetheric Research circles. She's well on her way to become the Madame Curie of the Aetheric Sciences world."

"You know a lot of trivia, Nugget."

Captain Williams growled. "Stow it, Blockhead." He snapped at Pete. "Alex isn't a combat pilot, well not yet. Don't start with that cliquish bullshit. It didn't help in China and it won't help here."

Alex slumped back in his seat while the Admiral cleared his throat. He was good friends with the Captain and allowed some... dereliction of decorum from the Captain and his number one. "As I was saying. Now I expect you guys to treat Wendy with some respect when we pick her up. Well, Alex and Tommy. You will be carrying a special device that has been cooked up by the Royal Navy in conjunction with Miss Ravensworth and the US Navy. What I am about to say doesn't leave this cabin, boys."

"This device uses Aetheric Wave Frequencies to detect the alteration of electromagnetic fields as a Submarine passes through the water. We got a sub that we have as part of this test run that will be the target you need to detect. It is a 500 by 500 mile grid divided into 10 sections. We'll be putting on a external fuel-tank as well on the aircraft to allow for such a long-distance trip."

"You will also change out of your flight overalls into a Class-1 Aethersuit, as if there is a malfunction we expect at worst the device to put off at worst a C-Frequency Aetheric Wave burst. While not a health risk, without proper protection the wave will knock you unconscious and well... we can't have pilots sleeping on the job."

Alex smiled, knowing he would finally get to wear something his dad cooked up in a lab for light-duty protection in low-frequency aetheric laboratory. "So when do we put on the rainsuits?" Alex joked, as they were bright yellow like a rainslicker.

"Well, we'll be arriving in Miami soon I hope." The Admiral said, as indeed the Coast Guard base that they would be heading into was below.

It wasn't long before they were on the water and pulling into their prepared stall. As they slid in, the device left behind connected with the hull, pulling up the black box and connecting it to the bottom of the hull. It also caused the other black box to discharge a small bit of aetheric energy to activate the attached device on the plane. All it needed now was for the experiment to begin.

Everyone not assigned to the flight left the catalina, as a woman wearing what looked like a baggy yellow hard-hat diving suit carting a large wheeled briefcase behind her headed up to the plane. There was a second box being carted over by a team picked from the Coast Guard on station at the base. Specially trained in handling Aethertechnology, bringing the experimental device on board. Alex stepped out, to greet who was obviously Wendy, although only her face was visible through the clear glass front of the helmet.

"Hello, Name's Alex..."

"Yes, Alexander Aceworth Junior. Lieutenant US Navy. Charmed." She said, taking the helmet off. Although her greeting was a bit short. "Luckily I'll be trading this suit in today for one of your fancy Navy issued designs." She said with a smile. Her reddish hair and freckles with the round, thick glasses only engendered a sense of cute intelligence.

Alex looked back at her case which looked like the airline to her suit went to. "External air supply?"

"Yes the new Mark 2 Rebreather unit. I keep it in the case unless I want to actually wear it as intended. Saves on back fatigue."

Alex nodded. "Well, we should get suited up for this, as I wager you don't want to be kept waiting too long."

Wendy shrugged. "You're actually quite early. That's good actually."

Over the next couple of hours, Alex talked with Wendy as they suited up with Tommy. By the time they were done, they had loaded the final bits of the device into the Catalina. As Alex got the portable re-breather on, putting the modified parachute on over it, Wendy walked up. It seems she's done this before and looked like a pro, although her choice of wearing RAF issued gear was to Alex at least, telling.

"How did you get all that?"

"I was with the WAAF until my powers activated. The Ministry of Defense didn't want to waste my skills putting helium in barrage balloons so they decided to let me play with their toys in their toybox."

She put on the facemask of the air supply on over her now cowled head. "I've had to fly a few times across the pond as it were. Even went through all the survival training. Had to only use it once though."

"Oh?"

"Yeah... engine failure. Long story short spent a week in the north sea making my best driftwood impression. Thankfully a Royal Navy ship spotted me. Didn't have much time left as I was starting to get a bit cold in that other suit you saw me wearing."

"I wager so." Alex said, something seemed slightly off about Wendy's story. Dynamics don't need to worry about things like the cold or even breathing, didn't they? The Admiral could even be shot and he would just pluck the bullet from his clothing like nothing happened... were not all Dynamics alike?

Alex, Tommy, and Wendy start getting into place. Tommy was already getting into pre-flight checks.

"So, Wendy... how's your dad?"

Wendy paused. "He's dead."

Alex had a look of shock. "Damn... Pop's not going to like hearing that."

"Oh, it's quite alright. Father lived a good life. And he sent a message I should deliver to you."

Alex looked more interested now. "It's... things are going to become very complicated in the future. Step carefully."

Alex nodded taking his seat. "Tommy, got the flight check all done, yet?"

"Absolutely. We're fueled up, the external tank is all set, and the tower has just given us clearance to take off."

Alex nodded as people got clear of the aircraft and he took the throttle for the first time. Wendy couldn't help but stand between the two pilots and watch them take off. "This never gets old, flying in one of these. Well... any seaplane honestly. Two thirds of the world is covered by ocean, and this plane gives us access to it all... and any runway to boot."

She smiled, looking at the other pilots. "I will notify you when it is time to prepare for activation."

Alex and Tommy made sure their airlines were properly connected. "You know, these suits aren't too uncomfortable, your Dad knows his stuff."

Alex smiled. "No kiddin. Although it seems Wendy over there enjoys it best."

Wendy sat next to her invention, her legs crossed as she read a book. "Couldn't do this in that old relic. It's a surplus suit from 1920. But... something has me worried."

"What's that, Wendy?"

"I was hearing a report this morning from a Coast Guard patrol. They were talking about seeing a oil slick not too far out from where we are. Here is the odd thing, although no one as of yet confirmed. Someone thought they saw a dead body wearing a Shustaffel uniform. There were two more, but their bodies weren't in good condition, wearing German Navy seaman uniforms."

Alex adjusted the straps to his parachute a little. "I wouldn't be surprised if a German U-Boat got out this far to watch what we're doing... but what you suggest, tells me that they ran into a spot of trouble."

"Perhaps. Both of the Seaman bodies had rescue equipment on. Rebreathers. But the pressure got to them. But the oddity was the SS guy... three bullet holes from a small caliber firearm in his head."

Alex and Tommy look at each other with their eyebrows quirked. Wendy adjusted her suit. "I'm going to let you in on something... as your Admiral vouched for you two... What does the name Shwarzstadt mean to you, Alex?"

He knew that was his mother's maiden name. "Well, other than that's family on my mom's side..."

"Well... the SS body that washed up was your uncle then on your mother's side. The War Department and the Ministry of Intelligence both cross-checked... He died spying on the Germans and trying to find defectors and mutineers. He was trying to get his hands on the code-system for cracking Nazi communications. Seems his mission failed."

"How would you know this?" Alex asked.

"I am connected to the US Navy Technology Research Division, and I have security clearances enough to know certain operations if they go belly-up. It helps me step out of the way or avoid stepping on any toes. I make it my business to know."

"Great... another spook." Tommy sniped. "Last set of spooks almost got Pete and Cap sent to a Japanese hooskow."

Wendy quirked her eyebrow. "That... was a failure of intelligence analysis. The situation in China is as fluid as the water below us. Even more so is Japan's imperial desires in the region. I don't claim to be an expert, gentlemen. All I know, is that I've been to Hong Kong and that is a real center for double agents. I've... loosened a few tongues on matters oriental."

Alex smiled. "A little thieving magpie."

"What?" Wendy inquired.

"A Thieving Magpie. They steal what they want for their little nest. What do you want with this experiment, red?"

Wendy quirked her eyebrow. "To give the Germans what-for. Many merchant seamen have lost their lives to U-Boat incursions. Royal Navy Sailors as well. I for one want to stem that tide. If we can't crack their codes the next best thing is to eliminate the element of suprise!"

Alex smiled, returning his gaze to the air in front of him. "Well, if that little tinker-toy of yours works, Wendy, then we're all set. Although that is a pretty big rig."

"That is just the power coupling array. It is not integral to the design. The real device is right here..."

She pulls out a wooden box, and opens it after opening a clasp.

Inside was a brass sphere, about the size of a softball in her hands. "This is the Aether-circuit that provides the detection field. It will interface with this screen." She said, pointing to a screen that had an arc of what looked like green electricity on the side. "If there is a disturbance of the natural electromagnetic signature of the water below, it'll become quite obvious as the line on that screen will warp according to the disruption. A German U-Boat will create a good spike. Probably an American one as well."

Alex whistled. "Well... all that from one little ball."

"I'll never look at grapefruit the same way again, that's for sure." Tommy added.

"So... why don't we pop it in?" Wendy said with a happy smile.

Alex and Tommy nodded, lowering their facemasks.

"Cormorant to Nest, this is Cormorant calling the nest."

"Roger, Cormorant."

"Beginning fishing."

"Understood Cormorant, happy hunting."

Wendy put the orb into the rig. It started to glow a smoky blue color. The reading on the screen nearby started to show the water and waves below.

Meanwhile outside the aircraft, the black box attached to the undercarriage of the plane began to tick. It started to open, revealing a large diamond, surrounded by copper wires and a odd glowing coating over them. The coating hardened, and changed the color of the copper to a golden sheen. It too, started to glow, but with a reddish tinge.

This didn't register on the screen near the detector... no one knew what was about to happen, 9 minutes from now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

8 Minutes later...

Alex kept an eye on his grid location, making sure his understanding of his map and the overall situation was meshing together.

"Entering grid E-4 now, Tommy. What's our fuel guage?"

"Barely moved. We should hopefully get half of the grid done before having to make a re-fuel."

Wendy smiled. "Nothing yet on the screen. Although..."

"What?" Tommy asked.

"There's something off on the readout. It's picking up on an elevated aetheric activity level."

Alex pulls up his facemask for a moment to massage the bridge of his nose. He felt a headache coming on.

"Alex... you should put that mask back down, you..."

Alex wiped his nose and saw a trickle of blood on his hand. He immediately put the mask back down. "Wendy! Shut that down!"

Underneath the plane's belly, the device went off, putting off a bright red flash of etheric fury. It interfaced with the device on the plane knocking Wendy into the bulkhead, knocking her out, and sending a greenish blue pulse of high-frequency aetheric waves through the plane's interior, popping rivets and bursting fuel lines.

It hit Tommy, immediately causing multiple brain hemmorages, it didn't take long before unconciousness and death set in.

When the wave coursed through Alex, a different effect happened though...

The plane careened, smoke trailing from the engines into the Atlantic. Alex did all he could to pull up, but with only one pilot all he managed to do was turn it from a unsurvivable crash into a emergency.

His head hit the dashboard of the aircraft, and his lights went out.

2 Minutes afterward...

Back on shore, a radio report came in from a fisherman nearby of seeing a red flash of light followed by seeing smoke on the horizon to his east. About where the plane should have been.

"What you make of the report, Admiral?" A Coast Guard officer asked, looking to start sending ships out.

The Admiral adjusted his uniform. "We have to hold back for now. This mission was already compromised, and we don't want to tip our hand just yet. We definately don't want our test sub to surface to join any search."

"Thing is, more than likely all on board are dead. That red flash only means one thing."

Pete and Captain Williams sighed. The Captain himself cursed under his breath. "Fuck... X-Waves, weren't they?"

"Yeah. Thing is a massive amount of power is needed to set off something like that. Or have a complex series of devices designed to interact in unison." The Admiral responded, dissapointment in his voice. Then a Coast Guard crewman ran up to the Admiral. "Sir... this was found under the dock near where the catalina docked on landing!"

He holds up a black box, inside was a series of crystals and coils, as well as a bolt of Aetherfiber forming a battery. German writing was inside the odd black, waterproof box.

"Son of a... put the base on high alert and ready a retrieval team at once!"

"Shouldn't we mount a res..."

The Admiral scowled. "That's a order!"

"Right... Yes, sir!" He runs off to his superior to let him know and get things underway.

"What should we do, Admiral?" Captain Williams asked.

"I have to speak to my superiors in DC. This is very, very bad potentially."

10 minutes later

Alex comes to in the water... a brass ball, some smoke still occasionally puffing out of it was in his hand.His facemask while cracked was still doing it's job, as well as the rest of his gear. He looked about.

"W... WENDY!"

"He.... Here!"

Wendy was struggling in the water, her gear was heavily damaged, in fact her suit was torn to ribbons. Same with her life preserver. "I... Can't swim!" One of her legs were broken too.

He rushes over as best he could and holds on to her. He reached behind him. "Damn... hopefully my raft isn't wrecked like your gear..."

He pulled a handle and the sound of a gas bottle filling into a single-person raft gives him some relief. "It's not a boat but..."

He eases her into the raft, setting the ball next to her.

"You were... crazy to go up that fast... we were down 100 feet!"

His eyes widened. "How did I..." He knew the bends should have gotten him but...

"Forget that... you should be... aaaaahhhh..." Wendy was interrupted by the pain in her leg. "I hope some rescue comes soon."

"I would hope so." Alex said, setting his parachute next to her and opening it, not caring how awkward it was.

"W.... what are you doing?"

"Some good old-fashioned boyscout first aid. I'm going to make a splint here."

He rips some of the parachute material off with some of the parachute lines with a knife, some more rigid portions of the pack's support on it's back, with some of the damaged portions of Wendy's wrecked re-breather.

"Alright, keep your leg still as I set this up."

It was excruciating for her but soon enough her leg was immobilized. "Alright... Luckily it wasn't a compound fracture."

"How do you know?"

"Well... your leg isn't twisted weird or a bone isn't protuding from your leg... logic would dictate that it is some sort of other fracture. Might need surgery, might not..."

She sighed, still in pain. Alex frowned. "Sorry... the first aid kit is on the plane... not that I remember how we got up here in the first place.

He takes off his rebreather, then his life preserver, putting it on Wendy. "But... you'll need this..."

"No I won't... your injured, and this suit is airtight. I'm managing."

He wasn't doing too bad treading water. "I..." Wendy said, some worry setting in.

He looked back to the water again as a storm began to finally roll in.

"I know... Tommy was your friend."

"No kiddin'... he didn't ask for this."

Wendy laid back. "None of us Dynamics did either."

Alex turned to her. "What did you say? You're the only Dynamic here!"

"It's clear to me now how you survived. Your exposure to low-level etheric waves of various frequencies were the start throughout your youth. Then the sudden shock of a X-Frequency wave."

Alex was taken aback. "W... What are you getting at?"

"I'm not sure what you can do, but for the few moments after a Dynamic gains their powers, they're tougher and more resiliant than normal as their Aetheric template takes shape."

Alex leans back suddenly. Floored.

"Son of a... What grade then?"

"Probably a Level 3. Although you're really not showing."

He hears the bone in Wendy's leg ckick. "There... the bone just welded."

"Huh?"

"I can... recuperate once I'm out of water. It interferes with my Aetheric signature."

"What else can you do?"

"Other than I'm super intelligent and I can turn invisible? Not much. It's all skill for me otherwise."

She takes a marker from what was left of her suit and writes an equation on the raft. "Can you read that?"

"Hah! It's incorrect in three spots. You forgot a simple operation."

He points where the error was, but then drifts back a little. "That's... Wait... That is a Aetheric Equation for interaction with a gravitic field matrix! Well, it would be if you swap the variable for the aetheric constant with the speed of light, and move this here..."

Wendy looked right at him. Her nose no more than a few inches with a smile like a cheshire cat. "My father came up with that equation... as a test to see if someone is a Dynamic Intellect... you definately pass... The mistakes were intentional. Not even Einstein, the greatest normal mind around could crack that as there are variables that even he isn't even aware of just yet."

She drums the marker on the side of the raft. "You're good... real good."

Alex smiled. "Well not gonna help us keep dry..."

She looked up seeing the bolts of lightning. "I don't weigh that much, with the newtons of displacement this raft has we both can fit."

She scooted over as best she could, letting him climb in. "I'm no swimmer, that and once it really starts raining my powers will switch off again."

"Complete immersion shuts you off?"

"Yeah... then I'll be exposed to the elements."

He stroked his chin, a girl like her could survive the storm, but if she was still potentially in some health risk shock could still set in. He checked what was left of her gear.

"There is enough of your suit and your raft where I could make a poncho out of this stuff... luckily your suit above the shoulders is undamaged."

She smiled. "Get to it, we don't got long."

It didn't take long, as the raft she had while it was punctured enough to be useless as it's original function, was perfect with a slit made in the middle to fit her head through. He made a makeshift hood as well over her head first, taking the facemask of his rebreather and fitting it over her face, before slipping the makeshift poncho over her. "Think that'll do?" Alex asked.

She checked to make sure the rubberised cloth for her head fit tight to her face. "Nicely."

The rain hit soon after, with a strong wind. Wendy instinctively clinged on to Alex with a scared look on her face. She hated storms.

He moved a lock of her red hair. "Don't worry. We'll get through this."

She buried her head in his chest. "I'm... I'm scared."

"Never thought you'd say that." He said, embracing her. Watching as the equation dissolved in the spring rainstorm.

"This squall is going to be around for a few hours. But I'll be here with you till we get to dry land."

When she looked up, her green eyes told the tale. "I... I..."

He held her close. "Yes?"

"Thank you."

The thunder and lightning cracked around them. It was going to be a while, as they wouldn't dare send anyone out in this, and the sub would probably have orders not to surface at minimum the end of the excersise. Once it checks it's radio though they'd probably start to look.

His thought was interrupted as Wendy clutched Alex tightly. "Lightning scares you?"

"If it hits us close by, yeah!"

"Why's that? We're out of the water surrounded by rubber."

She points to the brass sphere. "If that thing caused the accident... a stray spark of voltage will get that going again and..."

He looked at the device with some trepidation. He pulls out the neck of his suit and drops the orb into it. "Not anymore. Insulated."

"Hopefully there won't be a hit nearby then..."

He pulls her low into the raft. "We should try to keep our heads down. The lower we are the less likely we will be hit."

She clung to him. "I hope you're right..."

What they didn't know, was that this was a Storm in the making. In a few days time it would become a late-season Nor'easter further north and east. Rescue would be not forthcoming for quite a while.

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  • 1 month later...

USS Bluefin

April 1, 1940, 1900 Hours

"This isn't normal.." The captain of the submarine, Lewis Peterson said, massaging his chin. "What time is the mission concluded?"

"2100 Hours, Captain." His first officer replied.

"We should have been found by now... Conn, any further sound from that loud splash we picked up on around 1410?"

"Negative... Although I thought I heard the sound of bubbles rising not too long afterward, and the sound of metal tearing."

The Captain agonized on a decision. Somehthing has to have happened to the scout plane sent to look for them using a new device.

"Raise us to periscope depth."

"Belay that order, Ensign!" The commander barked. "You may be the captain here, but I am with Naval Intelligence. I'm in command of this operation."

The Captain pulled out his sidearm, immediately escalating the crisis. "Now you listen to me, mister. I have a hunch that there is a crew in distress. This operation was FUBAR the minute we picked up on that splash. This is my ship, my responsibility."

The Commander drew his sidearm. "Don't make me confine you to quarters, Captain. I'm willing to forget this happened."

"Lieutenant..." The Captain motioned to his security chief. "Your call."

"Commander... stand down or I'm going to knock you out and launch you out a torpedo tube."

The whole crew stood by their captain. They faced U-Boats before covertly, and the Captain was there all the way. The Commander stowed his sidearm.

Captain Peterson scanned the surface of the water with his periscope, feeling the more violent water near the surface and seeing the storm was going full throttle.

"Conn, can we contact Miami?"

"No need, they're already coordinating a... Recovery mission with the Coast Guard?"

The Captain glared at the Commander. "Lieutenant Gates, take him to his quarters and cuff him to a pipe. He just cost us a fine crew."

"Yes Sir!" The Lieutenant said, forcing the Commander off the bridge.

"Conn, set a course for where you heard that splash... At the very least if Aceworth's kid is alive... that'll amount for something."

Back on the stormy Atlantic in a rubber raft...

Wendy clutched Alex, still afraid. She shivered from the wind and her own fear.

"Wendy... tell me about your childhood."

"What?"

"Yeah... what did you do as a kid? Well before you won the Lottery."

She looked at Alex with her blue eyes, sitting up a little letting her head rest on the side of the raft.

"Well... It wasn't special. I kept to my books. Until I met someone late in my grade school years."

"Heh, Who?"

"Never could sort him out. An older gentleman. Went by the name of Smith... Professor John Smith. He tutored me in various classical languages and taught me a little on Atherics. Then one day I had a bicycle accident that should of killed me. I was hit by a delivery lorry."

Alex winced. "Damn... Is it always with some disaster?"

Wendy adjusted her facemask. "Sometimes... it's usually an accident or some violent crisis that triggers an Aetheric Cascade in someone's latent Aetheric Lobe Node."

She points her finger between Alex's eyes. "Right there. That is where the magic starts. It's a bit of extra brain matter that sends little supplimental nerve bundles through your body near your main nervous system. It's like a second nervous system in fact. It allows the Human Body to channel and control Aetheric energy. We're not exactly sure how... the leading theory is that the human mind can alter reality through Aetheric influence. Some theorize that Aetheric energy permeates all dimensions, allowing for such alterations."

She attunes to what she was wearing and goes invisible for a few moments. "See? I can synchronize my aetheric aura with what I have posession of, including what I wear."

Alex whistled.

"Professor Smith helped me understand my new condition and pointed me in the direction of the Ministry of Intelligence once I was 18. It's where I got my "polishing" as it were. Soon after, Germany went Facist and started goose-stepping all over Europe."

"Sounds like a stroke of providence."

Wendy became visible again. "Indeed. I got in with a special organization, based under the British Museum. We collected found wunderwaffe weaponry or other technology that the Nazis have started to field."

Alex's eyes widened. "You mean they got Dynamic brains on their side?"

"Oh yes. Seems though this time... The Yanks just scored one." Wendy said with a smile.

The storm calmed around them. There was even some light from the moon starting to filter through the clouds.

"We survived..." Wendy said. Going back to hugging Alex.

He just patted her on the shoulder. "We had to. For Tommy."

Wendy nodded. "Right. For Tommy."

Alex then saw a white flare head up into the sky.

"Holy... what is that?"

"I don't know. Alex, you got a flare gun?"

He looks, and sees he indeed had one flare round he could use with his M1911 sidearm. He loads the round up and fires it upward, it shining a reddish light.

Back on the sub they see Alex's red flare, a man on deck in yellow rain gear and a kapok life vest fired off a green flare to show he saw the flare.

"Outstanding. Get us in closer!" The captain shouted from the conn tower of the submarine. "We got survivors. Report that to headquarters!"

"Aye sir!" A seaman acknowledged, moving the ship in to pick up the two.

"Yes! It's the Bluefin!" Alex shouted. He waved, some light from the flare still overhead lighting the area.

Wendy looked over to the approaching sub. She took off the makeshift poncho, and made sure there was a good amount of air in the life preserver Alex let her use. Topping it off.

"I think we won't be swimming, Wendy."

"I'm a bit of a clod... I think I'll keep this until we get to dry land, thank you."

Alex laughed. "Scaredycat."

5 days later.

Alex was adjusting his dress uniform. He has already been to the memorial service for Tommy, and had reported what happened to his superiors. It felt odd now having the rank pin of a Lieutenant Commander on his lapel. Things were moving in a odd direction lately behind the scenes, it made him curious. He stepped out to meet Wendy on the Tarmac.

"Wendy... I guess this is..."

"No it's not."

"Huh?"

"I'm heading to Washington DC. I'm meeting with someone at my station in Naval Intelligence. Seems that some stuff got discovered on our saboteur."

"The Sea Witch? I know. One of the higher-grade minds on the Nazi Payroll. She'd be Shustaffel if she wasn't a woman."

Wendy nodded as a old man, supported by a cane walked up to the two. "Lieutenant Commander Aceworth, I presume?"

"Yes? To whom I owe the honor?"

"I'm Professor John Smith... at least for now. I go by many names, actually. Being able to change my appearance is my specialty."

"Sounds useful. Why the old man routine?"

"Because I am. I'm almost 80. I've not actually aged a day since I became a Dynamic. Being old seems to command some respect. I like that."

Alex laughed. "Well... Wendy has a good mentor."

"No, she has a good guardian. In you. I already talked with your new superiors at the US Navy Technology Research Division. They wanted me to give you your mission first hand."

He hands Alex a sealed envelope, when he opens it he sees a confidential communique addressed directly to him signed off by FDR and Winston Churchill. He whistled.

"So, I'm going to England?"

"Yes, my boy... we have a change of itenerary. We'll be taking a seaplane to Cardiff, then by car to London."

A Catalina gets wheeled out to the tarmac.

"Well... I'd better get geared up then." Alex said with a smile. "Anything new found?"

"Not yet... that's why we requested to send you in. We can train you in finding unique objects, and train you in self defense in the process. We know this war will progress and we might have to send you behind enemy lines."

Alex hrmphed in agreement. "Indeed. I look foreward to putting a boot to the hun."

Wendy smiled "I get to help as well right?"

"No child." The Professor quickly declined. "You're better off on the home front. I owe your father that."

Alex held up his hand. "Wendy was a brave girl, Professor. I can use all the help I an get really. I'm new to this Dynamic stuff."

Professor Smith smiled shifting his form to a younger version of himself. "Trust me... I can handle myself." He tossed his cane to Wendy. "If she goes on any missions, I'm comin' along."

Alex rolled his eyes. "Just remember, I got three rules. One, buckle up. Two, I choose the flight route. Three, your charge over here is to learn how to swim at some point."

Wendy glared as Alex smiled from needling her. "Now if you'll excuse me... seems I gotta get ready for flight. I'm sure you two are trained in how to bail out of a stricken aircraft?"

They both nodded. "Good..."

"Because I love to fly a bit... dangerously." Alex said with a grin. Before heading to the hangars where the pilots get set to fly.

"Is he always like this?" Professor Smith asked Wendy.

"Lately... Yes."

~ Fin ~

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