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The Story Guide

DR: 1.4 Collateral Damage [Complete]

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11:48 PM

Deezy

The crash of lightning and thunder wasn't what woke her up - it was the sound of water shattering the glass of her bedroom window. It poured in like it had a will of its own, soaking everything. The apartment building shuddered and groaned under the assault. She heard shouts and screams as another wave battered against the steel and concrete, and that's what really woke her up. It was a wave. Lake Eerie wasn't that close and she wasn't on the first floor. Outside, she could hear the rising wail of the tornado sirens start up, warning people to get to safety. 

Inside, water sloshed again and she heard panicked tromping along both the inside stairwells and the emergency escape. "Keep going!" A young woman's voice rang out in panic.

Another voice, a man's, called back, "There's someone in here! The glass is broken, we can't leave her here! What if the water comes again?" A loam-skinned man around her age poked his head in her broken window, clearly clinging to the window-frame. "C'mon, get up! The Lake's going nuts and we have to get to higher ground!"

"The roof would've been higher!" the woman's voice snapped out in the night, only a little louder than the thunder crashing through the area.

The young man rolled his eyes and slipped inside her room, clad in boxers and hastily thrown on shoes, dripping water as he made his way over in sweeping steps meant to move broken glass and wood out of the way. Over his shoulder he called out, "And trapped us up there! Prolly get us knocked off and dead from that." To Deezy, who's wits were finally catching up and realizing this wasn't some weird nightmare, he said, "Grab the sheet if you're not decent, but we've gotta go."

Outside the window, Deezy could see another massive wave slamming it's way towards them.

 

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Deezy has total and instinctual control of her powers now. The wave is from the direction of Lake Eerie but is a tsunami-like wave, way too big and forceful for anything Eerie could realistically put out itself. Also, she's got maybe five to ten seconds before she and the two people she knows of are likely drowned or pulverized from it. 

This isn't direct combat, so I don't really have mechanics ready to go for it. If you want to roll for what she's able to do, that's fine, but I'm also just ducky with cinematics as Deezy gets her first moment of being the Big Damn Hero. Tag me in OOC, PM, or Discord if you want or need help with your first post. :)

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Decent? thought Deezy distantly. I'm all wet.

She was in her pajama t-shirt, a white one with a Dukes of Lazar emblem on the front, faded from age, that went to her knees. It stuck to her pretty good when it was wet, but that was not what she was worried about. There was stuff in her room. A box of parts. A project on the desk she'd been tinkering with. Stuff that shouldn't get wet. And it was about to get wetter. Everyone was.

It should have been terrifying, but it wasn't. Dorothy Zane, 'DZ' Klatta felt as if she were floating over herself, looking down at the problem as if it was plotted on a whiteboard. The apartment building here. The incoming wave here, with V as the velocity, M as the mass of the water in the wave, and an arrow indicating the average vector of the entire thing. Can you modify the parameters of the scenario so that the apartment building withstands the wave, suffering as little damage as possible?

The window of her apartment peeled away in front of her as she mulled it over, then spread down and out to form a ramp that led to the ground. A ramp she walked down barefooted, still in her jammies, as wind and rain pelted at her.

And, oh yes, the puzzle is timed.

Adjusting the building's material strength wasn't good enough. The water wasn't the biggest problem. The wave would crash down before it hit the building, then hit the ground and race along it, uprooting trees, cars, and other debris and carry it along. A thousand battering rams that were borne along by the flash flood.

In the rear parking lot of the building though, was everything she needed for a much better plan.

The building wasn't very large as apartments went. Student housing. Two floors, twenty apartments on each floor. In the back lot there were thirty-one cars. Every one of them shivered as Deezy's gaze fell on them. As one, the cars started melting away. Everything metal coalesced into a silvery puddle, leaving plastic, upholstery, garbage...even the colorful dust that had been paint ON the metal. The puddles drew together, then ran out in long lines to either side of Deezy...and it wasn't enough. Not remotely.

She frowned, and felt something buckle...something vast and invisible give way to her. Her awareness streamed into the air, into the pavement, into the dirt and grass and stone. Down and deep, so far that stuff wasn't stuff anymore, just the potential for stuff to be. And in that place, she made it the potential to be something else.

The wave started to break terrifyingly close. The top of it curled over, and the weight of the water took its toll...nosing the wave over and down. The crash of it hitting was louder than the storm, loud enough to shake the ground. Spray from the rebound exploded upwards.

From the ground between the backlot and the wave exploded the wall. It looked kind of like a huge snowplow, slightly concave and coming to a long straight edge in the center. The bottom edge of it was composed of long spikes that angled down and back, scraping against the ground. As it took form, the weight of it sank it into the earth. It was taller than the apartment building by a good ten feet, and the top edge also had a series of baffles going this way and that. The whole thing was supported on the inside by a webwork of struts and girders that mutually reinforced one another, propping up the areas that would sustain the most pressure from the water's impact, and would be most likely to suffer impacts from the carried debris. It was made of a strange, dark metallic substance. If someone had asked, Deezy would have started to explain that it was a lamination of high-carbon steel and tungsten on the outer surface, over softer, more ductile steel several inches thick underneath...thicker near the base, thinning as it went up to keep the structure balanced properly.

She'd have gotten maybe as far as 'lamination' before the wave hit.

There was no hearing then, no speaking, no thinking. The world was just noise. Thunderous CLANGS rang out as debris slammed into the wall and was deflected to either side of it, skittering off into the side lot, or absolutely crushing a neighboring building on the other side. The water itself was a constant, continuous roar. It struck the barrier, and the weight of it pushed it down and back...driving those spikes even deeper into the ground. The more weight and speed the water had, the harder the barrier became to move at all. It cascaded up the surface of it, was caught by the baffles on the top edge and by being scattered in so many effectively random directions by those baffles, was changed from a plume of devastatingly heavy water that might arc over and still fall on the building...to a vast cloud of heavy droplets that fell down as extraordinarily heavy rain.

Standing behind the wall she'd created, barefoot in the back lot clad in a T-shirt and a pair of panties, Deezy created a little umbrella and surveyed her solution to the Wave + Apartment Building problem. She could have done it better, she saw now. A different shape could have diverted objects away from neighboring structures. Or she could have made it bigger. How big?

That question gave her pause.

How big?

She felt for the limit, and all perception of scale quivered and fell away. The smallest atom or proton...the distant spinning stellar architecture of a spiral galaxy...the elegant dance of gluons and quarks...the degenerate matter at the heart of a neutron star, slowly compressing to singularity... It was in some way fundamentally the same. The cosmos existed on all scales at once, simultaneously. The difference was perspective. The observer. The answer to how big wasn't outside, it was inside.

How big was Deezy?

She laughed into the storm. Laughed as the wall dissolved into dust and a smear of waste heat and light. Laughed as she grabbed potentials from the ground and the air to put a transparent dome over the whole block...a little 'oops, my bad' present for her clumsiness before. Her fellow building-mates found her there in a parking lot littered with the remains of their vehicles, sitting on the pavement and laughing up at the new ceiling overhead that the rain pelted madly down on, while more waves lashed against the curved surface of like a car windshield as it moved through a car wash.

She was, Deezy decided, going to be very big indeed.

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The boy, Dmitri Deezy recalled from the start-of-school mixer the apartment complex had thrown, stared up at the metal in awe. There was a small gathering of people, growing by the moment as others forced out of their homes or businesses made a mad dash for any sense of safety. Next to him, his older sister was staring at the metal, too, but her eyes were more calculating. She looked over at the laughing woman, eyes narrowed. "Can you do more?"

"Huh?" Deezy asked through the haze of all the new possibilities in her existence. 

"Can you do more?" the woman repeated, nearly snapping. "There's a whole city gettin' put under water by the Lake. Can you make more like this?" She motioned at the barrier. "Close to the Lake? On the shore? Walk us there and then get the Lake to stop drownin' us?"

Dmitri stepped, "What my rather smart sister is asking, in her own rude way, is can you save Cleveland?"

People stared at the mechanic, whispering about relatives and friends and the impossible woman in front of them. They stared and hoped.

In the distance, Deezy could hear the grinding crash of another wave headed their way.

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Deezy poked at the inside of her cheek with her tongue as she thought for a second.

"The lake..." she mused aloud. "Naw, it's not the lake that's drowning us." She looked back from the people in the parking lot out towards the incoming waves of water.

"You'd never get that much water coming off the lake naturally...so this is unnatural. And THAT means it can be stopped."

She nodded at that.

"So, yes. I can ABSOLUTELY do more. Just going to need to do a little shopping first."

Asphalt from the pavement marched up her ankles and legs, transforming into a black tarry substance as it went. Her 'jammies' similarly melted to goo, which met up with the stuff moving up her, and essentially encased Deezy in a kind of goopy black bodysuit that very quickly resolved into a kind of tightly woven rubberized fabric that looked a lot like neoprene...though it had other properties that she felt would be useful as well, including a tensile strength similar to ballistic fabrics. Around her neck the 'fabric' ballooned out into a sleek helmet, and metal canisters bubbled out of her back.

The wave crashed thunderously against the dome, vibrating it like a drumhead, but she'd made it of tough stuff, and the broad curve deflected much of its force along it, rather than taking it directly.

Deezy gave the other folks a thumbs up, and marched over to where the water was starting to recede again. A door would be a structural weakness, but also something she didn't really need. An effort of will transformed a portion of the material to air...and when she'd exited, she simply recreated it, meshing the molecules as tightly as they had been before. She still felt the universe burning under her hands, full of seemingly limitless energy to use or to dump excess energy back into. Was it vacuum energy? The threshold of some other universe pressing up against space-time from the other 'side?'

She didn't know. For the moment at least though, it was giving her the power to do things she'd only dreamt of...and she wasn't ready to wake up just yet.

For example, she'd always dreamed of having her very own Yamaha R1 superbike. Since she was a kid watching races, and hearing her dad rattle on about them. She'd seen specifications, even technical prints and diagrams. Not everything of course, but the blank spaces Deezy found she could sort of...fill in the gaps of.

What appeared in front of her was not a Yamaha R1 motorcycle...but it looked exactly like one. The engine, by necessity, was of her own design, as were most of the other components. The mass was drawn from the air and ground, shuffling protons hither and yon like a cosmic game of billiards to create elements and compounds as needed. Enough energy to fuel the United States for a decade went into this process...being pulled from that mysterious power that screamed underneath reality. The mental exercise of designing an entire high-performance bike from scratch in her head was the work of seconds.

Deezy laughed again as she got onto the bike and gunned the engine. There was an edge to the laughter though as she realized more and more that this was actually real, and that the changes were much deeper than just magical powers to make things appear. Her mind was different. Radically different. Her consciousness was still more or less the same, but...was that the most important part of her?

No time. Lake's still going crazy, and I need to get there before the next wave comes.

A spray of mud and gravel erupted from under the back tire as she peeled out and rode hard for Lake Eerie. Whatever was happening there was just as impossible as what was happening to her...which led her to a conclusion she very much hoped to disprove.

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The city was in shambles. Every building was soaked; debris and bodies littered the streets as she passed. Survivors shouted warnings or questions from rooftops - no one that could be anywhere else was at ground level by this point. The next wave was already barreling down the street. She pulled off into an alley created by one building leaning drunkenly on another. It didn't keep the water from getting to her, but between the armor and the lee of the building, she kept herself on the bike and thankfully uncrushed. Two more waves required sheltering detours before she made it within site of the shore. 

Lake Eerie was airborn. It roiled and danced with the clouds above it, drooping down to trail along the lake-bed and spitting out city-crushing waves when lightning lit it up from inside. Rain from the storm kept refilling the floating lake. Deezy idly wondered if the waves were somehow going through the water cycle quickly enough to be the rain from the clouds. The whole situation was crazy, so why not?

"I would say this is the Apocalypse, but I've never been religious and there isn't a Horseman of flying lakes." The voice startled Deezy; it cut through the sounds of the storm, strong and calm. The man was still walking - well, barefoot limping - towards her. His clothes were drenched and somewhat tattered but clearly an expensive business suit. Blue-hazel eyes were locked on her and despite clearly being battered and injured, he carried himself instinctive surety. "Nice suit," the man said conversationally when he reached her. "I don't suppose you have another?"

"You," Dorothy said, "are taking all this remarkably well." She wasn't sure if she was suspicious or admiring, but he seemed nice enough. And she already knew the design for the suit, so why not? The pavement in front of the strange man bubbled and bunched together and then receded leaving another suit similar to her own lying in a shallow bowl-shaped depression. She'd made it bigger than hers, eyeballing his size as best she could.  It was the same matte black as her own, with 'KLATTATECH' emblazoned across the front in yellow. "Help yourself!"

His eyes did widen at the use of her power, but in the end he just nodded.  "Yes. What would be the point in taking it any other way? Panic isn't working out for most of the city." He worked himself into the suit quickly and efficiently, then looked at her and the writhing sea above them. "I don't suppose you can pull it down? It might not solve all the problems, but it would keep it from drowning the shores quite so easily." 

As if in answer to his affront, the lightning coursed through the mass of water, sending another monstrous wave out - this time to the north instead of over Cleveland. "Otherwise, we should take the bike and leave."

She patted the bike. "Go for it. I dunno about pulling it down...but there's gotta be something holding it UP. Or someone." Gazing up at the anomalous aquatic mass, Deezy rubbed her bottom lip consideringly. "You didn't happen to see this start did you? I'm Dorothy, by the way. Folks call me Deezy." She reached out and put a hand on the corner of one of the buildings nearby; a rundown old bar that had by now definitely seen better days. The crumbling brownstone bricks twirled around her hand like cotton candy, and she pulled back out a set of binoculars to try to get a better look at the lake.

"Davian," the man said, giving her a curious look as she offered her means of escape. He sat down on the bike, but didn't move yet. "I did see it, actually. I was on a boat for a business meeting. We got tossed back here when the water started running up. If there's someone behind this..." His voice trailed off, his expression pensive. "There was a feeling, just before it began. I cannot quite explain it." A pause. "You seem to be able to control matter, Deezy. Change it. Do you think you could change Eerie? Turn the water into something less destructive?"

Deezy bobbed her head slowly at the suggestion, then said, "Teeeeeeeechnically yes, but that'd actually be a really bad idea. Can't really just make it all disappear, you know? That much water turning into air means like..." she laughed suddenly... "a huge explosion, basically! Plus a whole lot of falling, suffocating fish and stuff..." Lowering the binoculars she asked, "The feeling. What was it? Did you feel lighter? Or maybe like you were being pulled?"

"There's a lot of energy in a weather system," replies Deezy consideringly. "Disrupting that means releasing even more. Doing that without leveling the city... It's just, this is clearly not a natural phenomenon, so there must be a source. You were on the lake. You didn't see anything that looked like it was making the water go up?" She looked back at Davian. Even as she did though, a thought was percolating through. Her analysis was incomplete. Air was a fluid. The movements of the fluid could be interfered with...requiring it to use more energy to move, slowing it and disrupting it. Could she turn the energy of the storm against itself perhaps?

He shook his head, flinching when another wave spilled out from the lake - this time to the west. "No. The storm appeared. There was a crash of lightning, then the water started flowing the wrong way on the lake. By the time the rain started, half the lake was gone."

"You twitched just now," Deezy said, eyeing Davian more closely. "Are you okay?"

"Not looking forward to the next time it spills on us," he said dryly, nodding at the lake. "If we're out of ideas, then a second bike and getting out of here seems in order."

"The water sloshes out," Deezy muses, "then somehow gets back into the air and rains back into the lake. We interrupt that, and the lake runs out of water. But then again, there's lightning inside the lake every time a wave comes out." She shakes her head. "I gotta get up there."

Davian gave her a look and started to speak, then pulled himself back. "That seems suicidal, frankly. What about a lightning rod? You could make one on the lakebed and see if you could draw the lightning down." He shrugged, "Otherwise, it seems you can create as you please. Make a plane. Or a stairwell. Hmn. Escalator, perhaps. It's a big lake."

"That's just it. I can't counter something I don't understand," said the mechanic as she shook her head. "Something's going on in the center of the lake, and I need...OH!" She snapped a finger. "Drone. Remote feed. Needs to work in air and water, but I think for air it can just have some kind of solid fuel booster...fire it ballistically into the lake, then have it drop that bit off and move it through the water..." As quickly as she talked, strands of matter stretched up from the ground, twining and weaving together, changing in color and shape as the machine she was describing took shape. Then she looked at Davian again. "I'm going to seal myself in a bubble here in a second, so I can set up the controls and monitoring station and keep it safe from water. You want in or out?"

He clearly debated for a moment, then shrugged. "In."

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Translucent membranes spread out ahead of the two and behind them, lacing between buildings, then forming curves to direct water over and around, rather than take the full force of waves themselves. The drone was just outside of it, on a webwork of metal struts that raised it up and aimed it at the roiling lake in the sky. Her binoculars melted and became a hand-held remote control. Meanwhile a television-style screen moulded itself into a nearby wall within the enclosure....along with a plastic block that was wired to it, like some kind of battery. Deezy pushed a button on the TV and the screen lit up, showing the drone's viewpoint.

Almost immediately, the launch was tricky. Firing a rocket into a storm was far from optimal conditions. It was seized by the winds circling the lake and dragged around with it...but fortunately, the rocket was fast enough and stabilized enough that it managed to stay pointed at the water even as it was blown sideways. Of course, it didn't hurt at ALL that the lake was a HUGE target either.

Though Deezy had anticipated a need for lights on the drone, as it broke away from the rocket stage and started moving via the propellers, both she and Davien could see that there was no such need. The water was shot through with arcs of some kind of lightning, though it seemed strange...wrong. It was some how 'dark' in hue, and unlike an electrical arc it was enduring...twisting constantly through the lakewater in long strands that periodically flared up with bright light. Each time it did, freshets of water tore out to splash over the devastated city again.

She squinted a little and muttered, "What IS that...?" as she maneuvered the drone through the lake, seeking a point of origin. However, before the machine got to the center, the dark 'streams' of power curved unexpectedly UPWARDS. Deezy followed them until the drone bobbled to the 'surface' of the lake, suspended high in the air...where the tendrils vanished into the clouds.

"It's not the lake it's the STORM!" Deezy exclaimed. "Davien, are you still on the bike?"

She looked before he could answer and saw he was still straddling it. "GOOD! Lets go!"

Clambering over onto the seat in front of him, part of the protective envelope vanished into air as she started it up.

"Are we leaving now?" he asked, unable to hide a little relief.

"Not REMOTELY," was her reply through a daredevil grin. "I think I got this!" The tires skidded on wet pavement before catching, and sending them out into what remained of Cleveland.

The first leg of the journey didn't take long. She drove until she found an open plaza space, with a small park-like area with benches and a fountain, though it was in bad shape now from the repeated lashings of water and wind. There she left Davien on the motorcycle to approach the fountain's basin, clapped her hands and dropped down to plant her palms on the concrete sidewalk adjoining it. There was a tremble, and something erupted from the fountain from underneath. A rising spire of metal and stone, thick and tapering as it rose up.  A dish-shaped concavity formed around it and spread steadily outward as it went, the mass of the plaza being diverted into the tower taking shape. Then enormous vanes unfurled from four sides, equal and opposite one another. The storm winds flared them out, pulled them tight...and the entire structure began to rotate.

Deezy ran back to the bike and jumped on again. "Gonna need these all around the lake!"

Davien stared in admixed wonder and horror at the defacement of his city. "...what?! Why?!"  

She gunned the engine and chuckled. "Break up the wind feeding the storm, then use the power to heat up a charge plate under the lake and pull the charge out of the water. Between the two...that should get rid of most of the energy that's keeping this going. Then we can see what's REALLY going on here. Hang on! Gonna hafta pick up the pace!" The tires squealed again, and they shot off!

One by one, the windmills went up. They got a little better each time. More strength let them rise higher. Better wind collection let them work more efficiently...but even more importantly, let them interrupt the circling winds even more. These were not the 'standard' designs used for power generation, that carefully tried to balance out their disruptiveness with power generation. Deezy's windmills were monstrosity, intended to destroy the wind even as they ripped the power out of it. That power was sent through cables thick enough to climb inside of that snaked in thick, waterproof insulation towards the lakebed.

It quickly became apparent that building them ENTIRELY around Lake Eerie wasn't practical. Deezy couldn't drive the motorcycle at full speed in the storm, and even if she could have it would have taken hours to get all the way around. However, she also determined that encircling the lake completely wasn't necessary. Disrupting even a significant portion of the 'storm spiral' would cause air to splash out in all directions rather than form the neat and self-sustaining vortex that was necessary to keep the pressure systems intact. More windmills over a smaller area would suffice...so the giant towers eventually marched northward along the lakeside from Cleveland like gigantic telephone poles...each perhaps only a quarter mile or so from the last, and clearly visible. The windmill blades added a torrential roar to the sound of the storm, a whirring, chugging din that could have been a titanic locomotive.

From there, she went to the lakebed, and was forced to trade her motorcycle for something that looked more like an ATV. Davien, given another choice, opted in to take the ride with her. At this stage there was just nothing else to do. Even if he died, to die chasing a huge electrical cable that snaked under an entire Great Lake that swirled overhead like the Red Freaking Sea on Moses' watch was the only poetic end to a life well lived.

Towards the center of the lakebed, where one could just see the ends of all of the cables, an enormous plate of metal took shape from the ground, creating a kind of platform. Deezy surveyed her work, nodded, and said, "Okay. Lets go."

Davien arched a brow at her. "We're leaving? Now?"

She looked up, then at him, then said, "It'll fall." He got an 'ah, yes' expression and nodded. "Right. She then elaborated, "And this thing we're standing on? It'll be electrified." Davian nodded again. "Like, a LOT."

"Leaving it is," he said firmly. "Shall we?"

The followed the first cable to the shore, and then Deezy put a hand on it. Elsewhere, up the way, the end of the cable melted into the metal platform, and its electrical potential changed as it connected to the windmill. She and Davien then rode down the line again, connecting each one in turn...and each one in turn added yet more gigajoules of potential energy to the giagantic plate under the water. And with each connection, those flashes in the water occurred more and more deflected downward...sending sprays of water down, instead of over the city and land.

Finally they stopped at the final windmill and looked up at the sky.

"When will we know it's working?" asked Davien.

Deezy shook her head. "When it stops, I guess. All this should be making it a lot harder to keep it going. If they're like me, maybe they can keep it up a little while though. Might need to keep building more."

Davien looked back over the row of windmill towers leading back to Cleveland. "What'll you do with all this after it's over?" he couldn't help but ask.

She shook her head and shrugged. "Whatever. Can take 'em down, or change them to just give power to the city. Lake effect winds and all that. Shh. Watching now."

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The sprays of water from the floating lightning came faster and brighter. The platform was drenched within the first minute, the water running in the proper downward direction to the lakebed beneath it. Lightning finally touched down on the metal, sending out a ringing tone that rippled through the air with a palpable force. 

Not actually quite what should have happened. Huh. Deezy though to herself, but following that curiosity wasn't possible because that tone was ringing the clouds, too. The sound was shaking apart those dark tendrils within the water and the clouds themselves seemed to be....shattering, was the only word Deezy could put to it. Next to her, Davian winced again, his eyebrows drawn together in pain. And then lake released

The rushing torrent of water downward wasn't smooth or gentle. The lake slapped against its bed and rose again like a torrential yo-yo. Water sloshed against and over the edges of the lakebed, but the waves were tiny in comparison to what had brought Deezy to the shore. The lake shuddered and rippled back and forth, but after several minutes of grumbling, it finally settle back in - about a foot lower than it's usual depth. Rain came down in torrential sleets, but the clouds left above were rapidly dwindling. Ten minutes later and both the sky and lake were eerily placid. The storm was defeated. 

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"So," Davian said, giving Deezy a smile, "how do I get out of this?" He gestured to the suit she'd formed around him.
 
She looked back at him, momentarily nonplussed...then erupted into laughter. "Oh hey, yeah. Design flaw!" she chortled. "You just strip away the excess nuclear particles and dump the excess energy into...whatever the hell THAT stuff is..." As sun started breaking through the rapidly scudding clouds, she waved a hand to let him know she was doing something, and the armored wetsuit evaporated, leaving Davien in his rumpled...now rather sweaty...clothes.

She then removed her helmet as well. "Gotta say, you kept your head. This isn't your first weird floaty-lake magic storm, is it?"
 
He chuckled, "First one of those, but after board rooms and corporate take-overs and my parents, floating lakes are only mostly terrifying, not completely. " He started to adjust his tie, well, the remnants of his tie, then shook his head in amusement. "Let's do proper introductions. My name is Davian Layton, and you are Deezy....?"

Davian Layton. Heir to Layton Industries. One of the largest tech conglomerates in the world. One of the larger companies in the world period. Deezy had just saved the life of a billionaire.
 
Ah shit, Deezy thought, and quickly evaporated her own wetsuit. Leaving her standing there in a T-shirt. Her cheeks suddenly turned BRIGHT red as she hurriedly created something approaching a business suit around herself. "Deezy's just what people call me," she explained in a rush. "Dorothy! Klatta. I, uh, work over at the garage..." She gestured vaguely at the crumbled skyline of Cleveland. "...very possibly seeking new work now. Nice to meet you!"
 
"And you. You work at a garage?" He asked with acute interest. "A mechanic, then?"
 
She shrugged and smiled. "Yeah, well, I mean I didn't go to school for it or anything, but I kinda learned from my family. And my uncle runs the place, so..." Then she rallied and added, "BUT he wouldn't have hired me if I couldn't do it." Then she paused and got a crestfallen expression as she looked at her hand. "Holy cow, this is kinda going to change everything."
 
Davian chuckled, a pleasant timbre to his voice. "Finally hitting you what all you just did?"
 
"It's just hard to put into context," she said, and wiggled her fingers, as if trying to figure out how they worked. "When I was in the moment...it was all just a kind of...puzzle. Like a word problem in my head, even though I was running around in the middle of it. But now..." Deezy shook her head. "Now I have to live with it. Now it's all just messy..."
 
She felt the warmth of a hand on her shoulder. "It's going to be okay," Davian assured her. "The question you have to ask yourself right now is: Do you tell anyone? Do you go public with this or do you ask for assistance in keeping your life quiet? Either way is fine, but you're going to need help either way. Really think through what your ability means. What it would mean to a company, a government, or even to the entire world's economy. That is the level of power and change you can affect now."
 
"Yeah," she breathed, "I mean, I could be RICH, but like, what's even money now?" Then she paused, sorting through the complex branching possibilities, and slapped her forehead. "I can just...make things! I mean, legit make them. Not..." Deezy snapped her fingers melodramatically and created a butterscotch candy which she then set about unwrapping. "...not like that. For real! " She worked her hands then, as if grabbing something and releasing it. "I need stuff. A building...or at least land to build on...and...someone to teach me about finances, and marketing...heck about everything! And this thing with the lake, I have to figure out what THAT was all about! And what even happened to ME?"

She shook a finger at Davien. "I've got a lot to do. Need a ride anywhere?"

He chuckled again and said soothingly, "Hold on a moment, Deezy. How about this? I can help you with the finances and marketing and," he waved, "all of that. Partners and in repayment for both likely saving my life and for giving me a front row seat to all of that." He waved towards the lake this time. "And I can get you in touch with the best medical care and some of the finest scientists in the world for all the 'why's' you want to look into. But that didn't actually answer my question."

He put his other hand on her other shoulder, wanting her full attention on this. "Do you want to be known? To have everyone looking at you and marveling but also jealous? To be in the history books and everything that comes along with such scrutiny? You only get a short window to decide that for yourself."
 
"Oh right." She squinched her forehead for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, probably can't avoid it. Sooner or later it'd get out, and then it'd get ugly because it'd seem like I'm trying to get an unfair advantage, and it would seem super-shady that I never told anyone... If I just tell the truth, it'll be complicated, but at least it'll be honest."
 
He nodded, taking a deep breath. "Then yes," he said, finally answering her question, "I do have somewhere to go and I would encourage you to come with me. My mother employs the best PR firm on the planet or so she claims. I'd like to go put them to the test with you." He stepped back, holding out a hand to her, "If you'd allow me to repay your kindness with my own."
 
"Your mother? Why does she....? You know what? It's as good a place to start as any." Deezy shook his hand, beaming happily, then gestured at the motorcycle and climbed aboard. "Hop on! You can tell me where to go!"

Davian gave the girl a small, almost hidden, smile as she climbed onto the bike, taking up the seat behind her. Brave new world, indeed.

FINI

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