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[Fiction] Combat expertise requested...


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I'll keep this quick and to the point. I need assistance in formulating tactics to use against a bodyjumping nova with telepathic abilities.

I've encountered a high taint nova able to convert their physical form to a quantum particle/wave combination and reside in the body of another being.

In retrospect I did well in our first encounter mainly through surprise and bluff. Three of my less pretty constructs ripped through opposite walls of the hotel it was holed up in and surprised it. When I followed through the door armed it felt the need to abandon it's host and tried to switch to the body of one of the children in the room.

Without quantum perceptions, it would have pulled off the switch with me none the wiser. As it was, I pressed my perceptual advantage and bluffed with a loaded weapon pointed at the head of it's new host body.

The weirdness went to new levels when I saw the quantum field detach from the little girl, Fatima, and coalesce into a vaguely humanoid form. It looked like pale irridescent green jello molded into the shape of a man. It also tried to use some kind of mental attack but I opened fire immediately as the quantum surged and caught it near point blank four times in the torso area. The quantum wave hit me, nearly overwhelmed me, with it's pathological fear and hatred of woman. Unfortunatley, gunfire didn't stop it.

Turning and leaping, this thing burst out the windows 12 stories up and was out of sight in the four or five seconds it took me to get to what was left of the windows.

I can't let this thing go, it's been abusing, mutilating and sometimes killing the children here. But I've never been faced off with anything like this before. My few advantages are:

- I can "see" this thing even when it's in a host.

- I can track it in a generalized way but only when it's using telepathy in a range that covers my physical locations.

- I can tell where it's been by the taint residue but only at extremely close range and only within a few minutes of it's passing.

- I think it's afraid of me personally. I may be the only person that's ever been able to "see" it when it's inhabiting a body.

The girls are safe and it seems to be laying low but I can't count on that lasting forever. I need to find this thing and deal with it before it overcomes it's fears and I become the hunted. Anyone have advice?

[This message has been edited by Wizard (edited 05-20-2001).]

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Damn, me and the gang where going to catch a movie. We dust off in twenty and can ETA Alexandria in an hour. (no, I don't use a plane).

Wizard, the best my team can do is isolate it from the civilian populous. I have yet to find another mentalist I can rely on. We will contact you when we touch down and we can see what can be done.

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Originally posted by Jager:
Wizard, the best my team can do is isolate it from the civilian populous

Understood. And thank you.

I've been assimilating it's botched attempt at telepathically overwhelming me. Personality profiling is not my field of expertise but I can hazard a guess or two about it's mental state. It is still (emotionally) a small child that likes to rip the wings off flies. People are toys to be played with. Used, then discarded when they're broken. Right now it's angry because I'm interring with it's play time and I'm about to piss it off a lot more. I think it feeds on the emotions of it's victims, symbolically if not in actuality.

I will meet you on the parapets of Fort Qaitbay in the Eastern Harbor. I'm near the area now and tracking it. I better warn you, it has some form of intuition and knows when it's in danger. I've spent the evening local time trying to get close enough for a clear shot with a quantum disrupter. Everytime I line up for a shot it makes a break for it. Initially, it tried jumping bodies when I got close but it has definitly figured out I can see it.

One more advantage, maybe. I've noticed that making a direct body shift from one host to another happens after it makes physical contact. I have no way of knowing if that is a requirement or a affectation.

Oh, I'm dressed as a beduoin man. It allows me a freedom of movement in public that a woman in public wouldn't have.

Last caution, weapons in public are going to bring egyptian security down on us hard like a bad day starts and twice as fast. Security's armed with russian SMGs and if they think they're in danger will hose down anyone and write it up as a terrorist attack when they're done.

Welcome to the middle east. Only two hours from Bahrain by air...
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Jager, Atwight gave me a thought for dealing with the bodyjumper. Can you multitask? It makes it easier if you can but it's workable otherwise. Have you seen the line of 3COM PDAs? Pax is wearing one in during the RUSCON aid missions. It a wrap around head mount with a transparent screen suspended over one of the user's eyes.

As soon as you arrive I construct one that is joined to my quantum field. You'll be able to piggyback off my senses and perceive in the manner I perceive. If I keep focused to the quantum imminent, that will decrease the synthasia effect.

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Can I multi-task? Man, I was multi-tasking when you were....well, nevermind. It's intuition shouldn't be a problem for me, but then, if it is a purely psychic phenomena, I can't hurt it and I am not hot on taking out its host.

Wizard, the red and black band with the off-white burnuse? See ya. Must be you, or there is more than one cross-dressing bedioun out here. Damn, its hot.

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"Welcome to Egypt. And thanks for the assist, Jager. This has been rough."

"Yeah, it's about 104 faren right now and sunset isn't for another 20 minutes. Wait until we move away from the water, and the city blocks the breeze. It'll feel like a 130."

"It's a not a purely psychic effect. The little spud got a annoyed with me and gave me this about thirty minutes ago."

[shallow knife cut running from above left elbow to shoulder of clothing. dark red limns the edge of the white cloth.]

"Sparky's apparently getting a little edgy these last couple of hours and tried to take care of me the old fashioned way. He took me by surprise by doubling back behind me in a host when I lost sight of him momentarily. He's tough but I pulled this out of the quantum matrix and gave me a squirt."

[Her hands, empty a few seconds ago now sport unusual BFG. Straight out of the latest scifi opnet flicks, it looks to weigh a good fourty pounds and lacks a traditional barrel. Wizard, still rushing on adrenaline waves it one handed towards the city visible from the upper levels of the fort and almost loses her balance.]

"Got a good shot in dead center with the QD and forced it right out of it's host. Unfortunately It made it to the other end of the alley fast enough to leap into a throng of passerbys."

"I warped in here immediately after to make our rendevous. We may have a break from the whole situation. It can't have had much of a chance to recharge and I've been wearing at it for a day. The flip side of that is that I'm coming up on fatigue as well."

"I'm not normally this confrontational but if this things gets away we'll never find it again. Here's sensor headgear, unless you have a better idea we need to get back to the hunt before the trail grows cold"

[Faint bags under fierce violet eyes, an errant tuft of curly blonde hair working out from her headgear, Wizard does not present the epitome of the professional soldier. As she hands over a piece of electronic headgear its evident that she's tired and mightily pissed off.

The headgear itself is labeled 3COM Op Link PDA but oddly light. When placed on the head it activates automatically (because she thought it should?) and the world becomes a strobing overlap of images. The fort structure itself is stationary but your team displays as solid images overlain with transluscent duplicates. Faint quantum glows emanates from everything. Wizard is, well Wizard is a beacon of Q energies. Quantum 6.]

"I think the clock is ticking here."

[This message has been edited by Wizard (edited 05-20-2001).]

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Hang in there Wizard, your no longer alone.

(Jager moves through the bazaar, liberating some more appropraite attire)

(sniffs the air-scans with the head gear)

Okay, I think I've picked it up. Sort of an acidic sent. I think that the host body is running on overdrive, major kidney activity.

Replay some of your past activity.

Done. Okay, it as a semi-solid base form. Seems to completely dominate the host.

I think we have something here. It is burning out its host, but it suffers under the physical limitations of a baseline. A baseline on Mite, but not nova-tough.

Any idea what will happen if you hit me with that thing? Are best chance may be for me to jump it and you blast us both.

It just jumped into the woman wearing the black. It's on to me. It's cutting back toward your position.

Going Active. Here it comes...

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Wizard, I am glad my suggestion inspired you. I have sent Tesseract to lend a hand with the capture, he should be there now.

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Your both are drawn to a large concentration of quantum energy that instantly coalesces into human form 5 meters in front of the possessed woman. She comes to a halt as I raise my hand and allow the energy inside of me to burst forth, releasing a twisting pulse of fragmented reality that screams towards her. She leaps to action instantly, throwing herself left and through a crowd of onlookers. My spatial distortion strikes a potters wagon across the street, reducing it to fragments.

"Damn, I hate danger sense," I say, my voice an almost a hypnotic melody of 5th dimensional static. "Jager, I'm Tesseract, Atwight sent me to help. The son of a bitch has skipped to that Egyptian security officer 2 blocks down and is heading out of the city."

Wizard, you copy that?" I say into the micro-radio secured to my wrist.

I start after it, my eufiber outfit shifting from the blue jumpsuit I first appeared in to resemble the native clothing style. "You coming?"

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Crap, crap, crap. Tesseract, switch to a less visible form quickly. Islamic country and all...

Wizard, I lost it. I am going to the roof tops. I think that Tess has got it on its last legs. It can't keep doing this.

The last victim is down and unconcious, so it must be drawing from their life essence.

Yep, slight smell of blood. Must be having internal bleeding.

Wizard, can you patch in to the local EMS and have an ambulance sent to my coordinates.

Folks be careful. It might kill the next person it gets into.

Another person is down. It has jumped again. Tess? Wizard? Can either of you sense where it has gone?

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Originally posted by Jager:
Folks be careful. It might kill the next person it gets into.

Another person is down. It has jumped again. Tess? Wizard? Can either of you sense where it has gone?

"A moment," murmers Wizard.

I feel the quantum fire, banked far too low. Too much power used in too short a time. Push it aside, deal with fatigue later. Feel the fire. Enough. Quantum equals life. If necessary I can reverse the flow and life = quantum. Not yet required. Hold the fire. Squeeze it down into a tiny ball and then let it go.

Quantum fire roars and ignites my nervous system. Perceptions, already heightened beyond the design specifications of the wetware are boosted still higher. I can feel the molecules dancing against my skin as and the universe seems to slow. A sickly sweet scent fills my brain. The trail of probability corruption reeks of rotting fruit and graying mist rapidly dissolving in the evening air.

"There. To the east," points Wizard. "I can see the trail but only for a few more seconds. Tesseract, can you get me on scene? I have a plan but we need to finish this in the next two minutes to three minutes or we can expect Egyptian Security, Patriot Novas and maybe even a visit from the Bahrain R.F. I'll explain as we go."

"On scene, Tesseract needs to isolate the host from the crowds without harming them. If we can't do that we need to pull back right now or this is pointless. Jager can follow using the sensor set and looking for the quantum release from Tesseract's holding action. As soon as Jager is on scene he needs to engage and allow Tesseract to maintain crowd control. I'm gong to draw a bead with the quantum disruptor while it's engaged and knock it loose from the host. Once out we hit it hard."

"Here's the dangers:

1. It jumps Tesseract and gains a quantum source to replace the one it's been burning all day without recharge. If that happens we're screwed. Not likely since it seems to need contact to jump and Tess has range weapons. It can jump without contact but only by regaining it's own form and then it's a target for any weapon on scene and I blast it with a particle beam. If it does happen, I need to close and try to blast it with a quantum disruptor to knock it loose.

2. It jumps Jager and, again, we're screwed. More likely unless you (Jager) have range weapons to hold it off and you've been holding them in reserve up to this point. If that happens, I have to close and blast it with the quantum disruptor until we knock it loose from Jager's body. Once it's out in the open we hit it, not the host, with everything we've got that's not going to level the block.

3. All hell breaks loose and T2M shows up. In that case we claim," here Wizard smiles, "to be newly erupted in the wake of this Terat attack and are defending the city. When they gang up on sparky we evacuate."

"Have I missed any major contingencies?"

[This message has been edited by Wizard (edited 05-21-2001).]
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Might I suggest you find its maximum possession range and kill everything within that range? Your friend is left without a body and you hit him with a missle from outside his range...simple.

If you want to make it hard on yourself quantum drain the SOB and watch him pop out of the body he's in, then beat him around the head with a big stick.

Third suggestion, warp him and the body he's in to the sun...pop goes the Telepath!

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...Hazzard's on our frequency. Tess, keep after this thing.

Hazzard, could you please just stay in the bistro and sip your turkish coffee? I forgot how much you liked that stuff...or was it just the atmoshpere?

On it. Great, either that cop is having an extreme diabetic episode or, HUD comfirms it Wizard, thats our 'boy' and he is heading back for the station now.

I can see Tess overhead. Alright, on three...

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Wizard, stay on that rooftop overlooking the square and get that QD ready. Jager I got a bead on him, Prepair whatever firepower you got and be ready to use it.

Wizard, he's in a temporal lock and I can't hold it forever, get him out the host now. I,ll be ready to shunt him to the roof across the way from you. That should clear him from the civies. Everyone set?

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Tess has the cop and sparky caught in moment of time. This would be sad if this thing weren't so dangerous

"On it, Tesseract."

I don't even have to search for the quantum disruptor template, it's already at the edge of my thoughts. I've used it too many times in the last day. A little juice and voila! Instant BFG. I love being me sometimes.

The gun hums in my hand and the sight locks the target.

"Welcome to my neighborhood, Sparky."

I squeeze the trigger. And all hell breaks loose. The beam crosses the temporal freeze and time snaps into motion with a flare of lightning and crash of thunder. The egyptian flares sickly green and the smell of rotting fruit sweeps outward from him.

I hold the trigger knowing the beam won't last for more than a few seconds before it eats through the quantum charge but it's enough. Sparky seperates from the cop with a sound like meat tearing and drops rolling across the brick of the narrow street.

I shift, holding the beam on it, hosing it down with quantum eating fire until until the power pack dies and the beam winks out.

"Jager! Tesseract! He's all yours. I've got the cop."

Reality hates when I do this too often, but I reach into the quantum for another pattern. I can feel tension build then give way as my construct appears. Smooth, metalic and shiny. Looking like a cross between a man and a grasshopper with a dash of cool tossed in for effect.

"Hopper, protect the cop and get him out there now." I yell pointing below, trying to be heard over the noise Tesseract is making below.


The construct leaps from the rooftop and lands close enough to put the cop within reach of it's overly long arms. I'm impressed despite knowing it's one of mine. With the cop being taken care of I turn my attention back to Jager and Tesseract.

Again, I am impressed. Now with the speed, precision and raw power wich Jager and Tesseract are unleashing. I feel a momentary pang of guilt, then I remember what sparky did to Fatima and her sister Nyla.

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I can feel Tess stretching out his/her powers and establishing a frictionless membrane seperating myself and Sparky from the rest of the crowd.

Mind kicks into overdrive. My hand passed through it with only minimal disturbance and my back-kick with a little quantum juice is equally ineffective. For not the first time, I wish that I had atleast considered some form of energy attack. Oh, well. My mind races for the next option.

Sparky leaps at the membrane and gets the not so pleasant suprise of hitting a temporal barrier.

"Bad Sparky!", I quip.

It lashes back at me and almost pushes me into/through the barrier. A wave of fear/hatred/despairation flood over me as my defenses clamp down. No contact. I feel its fatigue. Wizard has run "her(?)" to ground.

Thinking of Wizard (and her little jumping buddy) gives me the answer. My toes dance out the coordinates as my hands slam Wizard's quantum giftie over her/its head(?). My other foot crashes through the membrane. Now would not be the time to find out that Atwights gizmo comes with a money back garauntee. I didn't pay for it. I wonder if Sparky likes sand.

With a flash, Sparky and Jager blink out.

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The Time/Space anomoly wrenches through me as Jager and "Sparky" wink out of existance. I turn to wizard and shout "Make a Time/Space anchor now! I have an idea but I need a way back."

Not waiting for a response, I turn back to the spot that Jager vanished from. I was feeling drained, but I reached out to the continuum. I find their warp trail and without another thought, slip sideways.

PAIN! Intense pain. I feel my body stretching, twisting, becoming one with.....with what? "Where am I?" I sream to the void. I am between. Between? "Between what?" I call out, tears running down my cheeks that are both there and not there. Worlds, I am between worlds, do not worry the pain will pass. With that my body snaps back to normal and the pain ends.

"Who are you?" I say out loud. I am you, you are me, we are. "That makes no sense," I say in return. A space out of space and a time out of time, Jonas. We are everything and nothing, all things are possible. You are here for a purpose, the end draws near, go to the one you seek.

Harmony and purpose fills me I look around realizing for the first time that I can see in this place. I am in darkness and light, I feel warm and cool, I taste bitter and sweet, I hear the cacaphony of creation and silence of purgatory, I sense.....Him. The one I seek is all around me, I am confused. Jager........Jager. I feel the connection, it's strange, like it's there but not there. I refocus, attune my senses to the spatial ripples and quantum that is the trail.

Quantum flows through this place like the water of a river, it ebbs and flows with unsensed tides. there are colored (?) pools that seem to draw the quantum flow and then there are islands of nothingness that seem to repell it as well. If anything is in that nothingness it is beyond my ability to percieve it. My purpose comes to me and I focus on the connection, on the wake it leaves in the natural quantum flow.

Shock overcomes me as I see the connection, it streams away from me, almost immediatly fragmenting, smaller lines flying off into different directions until it is not one trail but thousands, millions. I weep. My task seems hopeless.

There is no time here, but it seems like years as I search, each line, each thread, each possibility. I have seen hundreds of Jagers. His childhoods, His loves, His agonies, His victories and failures. Hundreds of worlds have I born witness to, and still more possibilities stretch out before me. Hopelessness overcomes me, I drift unknowing and uncaring, again for what seems like years. A thought nags at me. An idea worms its way through my subconscious. Understanding comes over me. I am looking for the wrong person!

Instantly the quantum flow fills my senses. The wake is there, splitting and fragmenting as before but I ignore it. I focus and concentrate, and IT reveals itself to me. running parallel, inside and way from Jager's trail is the other's, "Sparky's." One single thread, it does not split or fragment. I reach for it, touch it, make it my own. I know where/when they are. I hope I can reach them. Will is all here and I will myself to them. I feel the motion my mind creates to make sense of this place. The perception of time and space is what keeps my mind sane. I hear a voice cry out in pain and I understand. I speak to myself, calming, reasuring, as I have done in the past and I will do again. I am nearing my goal.

The end. Of time and space. Of life and death. And there they are. Frozen, one moment of time stretched to infinity. Man and monster locked in a grip of life and death. I see them and know instantly the answer. My will extends forward, touching the time fragment they are trapped in. Little effort brings it down, they break apart not knowing where they are, and I strike. Eufiber claws over my fingers whip forward like lightning into the monsters forehead. I yank them free and bring sparky's node with them. It screams, shreaks, and starts to disolve. I extend my hand and Jager is drawn to me. I see his face and the questions it holds, but I cannot answer. Again I reach out with my power, feeling for the way home. Locating what I believe is the correct quantum flow, I propel us toward it. God, I hope Wizard has that anchor up and running. This is going to take all of my remaining energy, I need that anchor to breach the wall between worlds.

Well, here goes nothing...........

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The Time/Space anomoly wrenches through me as Jager and "Sparky" wink out of existance. I turn to wizard and shout "Make a Time/Space anchor now! I have an idea but I need a way back."

Too late Wizard screams out, "You want to make a what?!" Tesseract is gone. The silence which fills the streets in the wake of his departure is jarring in the aftermath of the frantic quantum displays of moments ago.

"First things first," she mutters aloud then raising her voice to carry to the rooftops across the street she orders, "Hopper, take the man to the hotel where I was staying. Place him, with care, in the main lobby. If he wakes before you arrive say to him; Al salaam a'alaykum ismi abrar hopper auliya - intah fahamt. Speak nothing else until you arrive. Afterwards depart the hotel and leave the city by the shortest possible route, preferably by the sea. Be careful not to injure anyone and if pursued evade them as best you can."


"Then go!" she shouts testily. Turning from the sight of the Hopper leaping rooftops with a man cradled like a babe in it's metallic arms she struggles for a solution to Tesseract's cryptic request.

Examine the problem logically, she thinks. Tesseract was sent by Atwight. Atwight knows and corresponds with Jager on the OPNET, where both of them knew what she was doing in Egypt. Supposition; Tesseract is aware of what Atwight knows concerning the quantum events in Oregon, also described on the OPNET. Conclusion, Tesseract entered the probability matrix assuming she would be able to guide him back after he assisted Jager.

"Okay, now what?" Furrowing her brow and swatting a loose blonde curl from her eyes she considers the ramifications. If Tesseract thought she could affect time and space directly he was in for a big surprise when he returned. If he returned. Crap.

He felt he would need a guide back and apparently didn't know how to guide himself. Unfortunately, with all possible quantum potentials to choose from, finding a man she knew almost nothing about was next to impossible!

Turn the problem around. She couldn't find Tesseract or Jager without knowing something about where they went. Though earlier she had found Sparky when he disappeared by looking for the probability corruption of his path. Where Sparky was, would be where Jager and hopefully Tesseract would be. Guiding them back along that path would be another story. She could see the probability trails but Jager and Tess apparently couldn't.

Yes! Jager could! He still had the headgear she'd given him to track Sparky. Though the last she'd seen it he had been jamming it on the parasite's nebulous cranium. The headset was linked to her perceptions on the quantum level. It was for that reason she had restricted her perception to the quantum here and now and avoided expanding to encompass the larger sets of probabilites. By expanding her perception, the headgear would likewise increase and hopefully allow them to backtrack their own probability distortions.

Sitting down on the stone rooftop, shifting her robes for comfort, Wizard relaxes her mind and feel her limited store of remaining quantum. It wouldn't last forever but it should be enough to achieve the desired results.

If they thought to use headgear. If they had the headgear. If... too many variables. Her only other choice was to try and hold the probability trail, which she knew from Oregon wouldn't work, or pump raw quantum into the already distorted probabilities which could cause any number of unpleasant effects. She'ld save that until her energies were close to gone.

"We do what we can do," she murmurs aload. And stokes the power with her mind, forcing it to compress before releasing it in a surge that sweeps through her nervous system, boosting. Again, her perceptions heighten beyond that which is describable in words and the universe opens itself to her scrutiny. The difficult to describe colors of the music.

[This message has been edited by Wizard (edited 05-23-2001).]
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Perceptions fade to white as Jager's contra-temporal "blinders" kick in. In the second that is not a second he realizes that something has gone horribly wrong.

"Great, Atwight's portal and Wizard's headset just had a meeting and decided that they didn't want to work together."

He 'knew' more than sensed something close to him as well as something else closing in. He just didn't know what.

"I've been in worse situation. None come to mind right now, but I am relatively certain that 'nothing' here is trying to kill me."

Wait, Wizard's headset was still in Sparky, and still in his hands. He just couldn't sense it. All Jager had to do was let down his defenses to feel out Wizard's Quantum residue and home in on it.

Pain seared through a mind ill-equipped to handle the quantum/probability flow he was racing through. Jager fought down the instinct to retreat into his shell, even though he could feel his mind beginning to unravel.

His hands were still there and they were still holding...something.

Now the pain was so real that his mind was trying to shut down. It was as if he could feel every cell being ripped apart within him. His mind wasn't ready for this.

"Concentrate, old man. The headset."

Sparky was still attached. Reality splintered as he held on to him/her/it and through him/her/it away. The women in his life, both beautiful and terrible seemed to look back at him, disapprovingly. He held on.

"Man, this is going to suck."

Within himself, he found his focus in his rapidly diminishing conciousness. The 'third eye' opened up to him and let the pain burn its way in. He knew this was going to be bad. He so much wanted to just lay it all at Wizard's feet. Blame Wizard. But, that just wasn't right.

"Jager-man, you jumped in feet first again."

He noticed the figure staring back with him. Androgynous, afraid and hateful, its mind shattered by the 'in-between'.

"Great and now I have to open my mind up to this thing."

The two minds merged as Jager attempted to reach back down the path to Wizard. It knew Wizard, too. His/It's mind flowed togtether.

"Something about lighting the flame within...not accidental...find/hurt her(?) >confusion<...who...>too much emotion<...

Understanding came crashing down before the beast. Old instincts, walled away, came rushing forward. So soulless and methodical, its presence crushed the boy and girl aside like so much chaff.

'Jaeger' reached back down the line.

"Wizard, this is Jager."

Essence collided as he reached out, moving like a shark through the temporal stream, seeking survival. Back in the mili-seconds surrounding the exlposion.

"Wizard, bring me back."

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Jager can't percieve me? Of course! I can sense in this place because I am connected to the continuum, Jager, to my knowledge, isn't. I need to stabilize the place, create a, bubble. Yes, thats it! I reach into myself and feel for what power I have left. Quantum wells up inside of me, not much, but it should do.

"Ok, I hope this works," I mutter to no one in particular. Slowly I release the quantum. The continuum shifts and ripples around me and slowly inches outward, into a perfect sphere. It expands and encompasses Jager, finally settling. The strain to keep the bubble intact is unbelieveably difficult but I manage to keep some of my composure.

Jager looks at me a little suprised. "Still......breathing......I see," I wheeze and smile weakly at him. "I......haven't been........>cough<........able to find......our way...back.....>cough<...Any ideas?"

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I'm sitting impatiently in the hard cold seat of the air skimmer. Wizard's last message has me gravely concerned but I am afraid to warp to her location. God knows what another spatial rift in that location will do to the local quantum field. Turbulence disturbs me from my thoughts "Sorry there boss," Evelyn calls back from the pilots seat. "Just a little air turbulence, nuthin' major."

"How long until we arrive?" I ask in reply. "2 minutes," is the answer I get.

Those two minutes drag for an eternity but finally, I feel the craft landing. It is rough and bumpy, god how I hate hard-tech, but a bio-skimmer would be too conspicuous.

I exit the skimmer quickly and make my way over to the blonde haired woman standing in the middle of the otherwise empty square. The local quantum field is.....wrong. Too much quantum used too quickly in too small an area. Wizard is watching me with aprehension. I can only imagine her thoughts as a six and a half foot tall, transleucent, gold skinned alien slowly makes its way to stand in front of her.

"Greetings Wizard, I am Atwight. It is good to meet you in person. I am here to help."

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And Atwight soke thusly:
"Greetings Wizard, I am Atwight. It is good to meet you in person. I am here to help."

Wizard, staring at the tall slender creature in wonder, murmurs "You shine." And it's true. In the quantum world this being blazes with potentials so utterly improbable and yet incorporated into it's very being. She had only seen those that were in the throes of taint poisoning before. The ones so reckless in their use of quantum potential that it had damaged their patterns and twisted them into caricatures of themselves. But Atwight...

"Wizard, this is Jager."

Jager's essence speaks to her in a sad slow rythym of oddly echoing harmonics, like the blues played on an old guitar. There is a sense of disorientation and flux, of otherness that overlays his colors. He is in a bad place somewhere between the probability sets of potential universes. That place ancients called chaos when their stories talked of the gods and elemental forces.

Sparking her perceptions with quantum too often in too short a time she feels her nervous system strum with the scent of citrus as well as a burgeoning headache. Her body becomes an instrument breathless, pausing for the clue that will direct the tempo of the song. The moment stretches and then it comes:

"Wizard, bring me back."

"Jager, what are you doing out there," she chides and focuses on her remaining store of power. So small and he is so far away from even the potential to exist. Yes, quantum equals life and it is time. She reverses the harmony within herself and now life equals quantum. With an fluid gesture of her hands she prepares to release her remaining power as a rainbow song attuned to the particular probability that leads to Jager.

"It helps," she explains to herself, "that the potential for him to reach that point is so very low in any of the universes."

"All magic is," she continues in a singsong voice, a soft blue glow beginning to spill from her eyes, "all life is, is change. Here to there and back again. We are wonderous not for our power... any decent star has more of that than I'll ever have. Rather, for the manner in which we focus that power to do that which no sane universe would ever allow. I'm certain they're all quite disapproving of us."

The song erupts with a life of it's own and seizes the probability trail which in turn resonates with a rising note of pure energy. The small woman's quantum strums the trail and retunes it to a less fracturous state, its hum ionizing the surrounding air and creating an oddly soothing counterpoint.

And with that, Wizard crumples disoriented to the hot stone.

Reality has been compared to many things. One particular theory postulates an infinite number of universes strung together as beads on an inconceivably vast string stretching into the infinite. Were a sentient of such a disposition to view reality, altogether aloof from any one universe, they might in fact note the existance of more than one string of beads twisting together in a constantly shifting configuration.

Of course such a being would have to be certifible to even consider remaining in the utter chaos surrounding such clusters. As unforgiving as the universe can be, it's nothing compared to the spitefulness of untamed chaos. Still, in the short time one could exist in utter and true chaos, the most remarkable sights can be seen. Such as a lightning-like bolt of pure quantum potential leaping along a trail of improbabilty careening off random universes.


The great ghost dance had been going on for three weeks before the U.S. cavalry made it's charge. Even the plains indians were a bit surprised when the dead chose that moment to rise and defend their people from the whites. For years after the people of the plains would tell stories of the battle to take back their lands from the invaders, and of the lightning that tore the sky that one night...

In Jager/Parasite's hands the headset begins to vibrate, softly at first then with growing intensity.

The drought ended that night for the desert nomads when the skies unleashed a torrent of water that their descendents would call The Flood. For fourty days and fourty night it rained. In the end the world was swept clean as if by the hand of god...

The distortions twisting and clawing at Tesseract's shield fall back into a darkness which can only exist in a place which has never known light. And as if from faraway in the distance, a faint trill of music growing steadily stronger is heard.

The lightning arcs across the depth of space changing nothing more than the course of a particularly fast moving asteroid. In time the reptiles of the third planet would evolve to sentience. Mammals would never have a chance.

Quantum potential following the path of least resistance blazed by Jager and Tesseract, grown fat on the quantum scraps of a dozen universes, reaches the end and implodes beneath their feet. For a timeless moment all is quiet as the implosion drags raw chaos into itself.

And then there was light.

There are many theories concerning parallel universes. Arguments on what creates a branching of universes and why some events have no effects. Most theories seem to agree that a shifting in quantum potential is required.


The light forms structure and structure forms substance. A universe expands from potential and anchors itself to another universe far away, the one possibility that allows it's creation. An obscure event in a medium sized universe remarkable only for a minor variation in the one of Newton's Laws of Thermodynamics.

For lost travelers, that thin thread of connection is a candle in the dark of night.

[This message has been edited by Wizard (edited 05-24-2001).]
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"Atwight, have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing goes quite right," asks a blurry eyed Wizard rhetorically.

Stuggling to sit up for a moment, she finally gives up and settles for rolling on her side and curling her legs up beneath her body before continuing.

"Sorry to zone out there but I could hear Jager calling to me through my link with the construct I gave him. They were lost... in the bleed between potential universes. Nasty place to be. I used what I had left to send a quantum charge up the path he and Tesseract left to help them. On the positive side, that should be enough to illuminate their path back to us. The down side is that the probabilities are highly stressed and the signature from that parasite Jager has with him is damping my perceptions."

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Jeager knows that precog is the poor man's telepathy. He feels something out there, then it fades, flickers just beyond his reach.

He hits something and the he/she/it recoils in his brain. He kills the reflex to kill it as it is his only link.

A barrier of some kind. Postulations? Defenses retract and he passes through.

"Tesseract. Funny finding you here." His voice/thought is cold and emotionless.

Another voice rises up within him/them.

"Let's go home."

"That would be the problem," Tess replies. "You seem to have gotten us lost."

Options fly blindingly through his head. The plan is seized upon. Inhumanly quick, he lashes out at Tesseract and drives his fingertips through her temple. Her body quivers, stunned. Sparky moves through him and into Tess, but howls as Jagers restrains it at the last second.

Link established. Sparky is reduced to a quantum bridge between the two other novas. Even more pain sears Tess's mind as the multitude of thoughts cascade through her mind.

Then, she seizes upon the image. Wizard, exhausted, sitting on the ground. Jager's plan clarifies as she begins folding space back in upon them all.

"Why couldn't he have just expl..."

Space folds back out before Atwight and Wizard. Three novas appear; two immediately start falling to the ground. The third, Jager, seems oddly different. The headset dissolves, its life drained away prematurely. Atwight's 'device', burned out by a strain it was never meant to handle, starts falling towards the ground.

Wizard slumps noticeably, her quantum spark dying and wounds lascerating her from within.

The Parasite has been stopped and its unconcious form lies, jello-like body hardening, at her feet. Tess, though seems semi-catatonic. Her hands twitch and her eyes move irradically under half-open lids.

Depite the pain, the music refuses to fade completely away. She stares up at Jager and he is so much more in focus. No variables, past or future.

"How very odd."

Atwight's mind clicks through the nano-seconds. His novas senses assure him that the threat has passed, but a century of living under human perceptions cry out a different message. Jager seems 'older' somehow. Atwight realizes his next actions, his next words are very important.

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Atwight considers the four novas before him. Thoughts, ideas and possibilities cascade through his mind in an instant before he settles on a course of action. He knows there is little time before they have unwanted company, he hopes it is enough time.

Slowly and cautiously, Atwight bends to the near lifeless form of Wizard. He looks up at Jager-who-is-not-Jager tensing, readying to strike. "I am only going to help her," he says and turns his attention back to the blonde woman. His pattern shifts and flows, the light streaming through his body shifts in hue and intensity. In a moment a trunk-sized being, much like a starfish made of a supple crystaline substance materializes out of his body. "She must live my friend," he whispers to the being, and it crawls over to the prone woman and positions itself over her.

Atwight turns his attention back to Jager. He has been watching Atwight the entire time, muscles tensed, eyes of the hunter assessing his prey. Atwight rises, again slowly, his quantum senses already probing Jager. As he finds what he is looking for, confidence flows through him, so does his respect for the man before him. Focus, he thinks to himself.

"Your inner barriers are falling, Jager. Your journey beyond space and time is merging you alternate selves. You are becoming one. Who are you?" It is not so much a question, but a demand for an answer and is asked with confidence. This is not the reaction Jager is expecting, not what he wants. In that moment of confusion and indiscision, Atwight strikes.

Strands of quantum lash out at Jager and attach themselves to his quantum pattern. Atwight notes the unnatural weave of the patten, blocked at certain points, forcing the quantum to flow in different directions accross Jager's pattern web. He senses that these blocks come not from without, but from within. Atwight works quickly, finds the barriers that have been breached, and rebuilds and strengthens them, within the span of a thought. He releases the pattern and reels backward, Jager's fist has connected with his jaw, no real damage, but the man is fast. The hunter has found his prey...

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"Have you lost your damn mind," Jager screams, finishing his jump past Atwight.

Barely, just barely, does Jager reel in his self-control. Quantum energy glides silently along his hands, caressing his fingertips and moving along the edge. He wills the killing instincts away. Within him, he can hear Jeager fighting against the walls, stalking behind his eyes. Atwight is waiting.

Atwight can 'feel' the air slicing along his hand, the molecules themselves parting for his casual swing.

'Good thing it was just the fist,'he thinks. Deflecting that would require a little more finesse than he had been forced to use recently. Still, he had been right, as always. Seperate the shadows from the man and this realities Jager would emerge. The 3% probablility of contact spoke for the strength of those shadow selves.

"We had better get moving," Jager said as he picked up Wizard.

"I have located Wizard's other construct. Best not to leave any loose ends. Evelyn, please place Tesseract in the skimmer. Jager," he said, motioning toward the skimmer,"if you please."

Evelyn lowered her aim and moved to obey. Already, the police could be seen fighting their way up through the crowd.

Atwight cacooned the Parasite and lifted it onto the vechile as Evelyn helped Tess up. Tess's mind was clearing, but she seemed unfocused. Jager knelt down and waited.

"Company in 34 seconds, Atwight, and I surely don't want to try and answer all of their questions right now."

As the vechile slipped upwards and skimmed over the building tops, Wizard began to stir. Quickly, the group jumped into her quarters and Atwight 'dismissed' the skimmer while Evelyn closed the shutters.

As Wizard sat up, she noticed the still form of the parasite lying cacooned on the floor.

"Well," she began,"..."

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As Wizard sat up, she noticed the still form of the parasite lying cocooned on the floor.

"Well," she begins, drawing her legs beneath her smoothly and turning to examine this group more closely, "welcome back you two. I see you found your way home from the wilderness. Can anyone explain to me in simple terms what two were doing there to begin with? I almost couldn’t; wait a moment.”

Startled, her hands touch her abdomen, her chest and finally brush her temples knocking errant curls from her face. “I was hurt,” she states apprehensively. “Badly. Now it’s gone. Like it never happened.”

Jager hears fear, and more than fear in her voice. Frowning, he wonders why this should bother her more than anything else that’s transpired in the last few hours? She hunted a body-jumping nova, if not professionally at least with enthusiasm. He and Tesseract had leapt to the furthest reaches of unbound quantum potentials. Lost himself amid his alternates. “Why is this of concern?” he asks cautiously.

Smoothly, Atwight steps in to offer an accurate if incomplete explanation of how she was healed from the strain of converting her life energy into quantum. She gratefully accepts the explanation and visibly relaxes; drawing a deep breath to calm herself while her heartbeat gradually slows. “I imagine,” murmurs Atwight looking sidelong at Jager, “that it must sometimes be difficult to tell objective reality from the possibilities. The inexplicable becomes cause for concern.” He is rewarded by a sudden nervous smile flashing across her features, grateful for the quick understanding tendered by the gently speaking nova. Not a smile to launch a thousand ship, probably not even one, but honest.

“There is a more pressing issue,” states Tesseract pointing to the still form of their prisoner.

“Did you have any thoughts on that matter?“ inquires Atwight calmly.

“One,” states Wizard stonily. “Kill it. This, thing plays with people’s minds. Steals bodies to have its kicks and leaves them dead or paying the price for its actions. It’s like an indestructible drunk with an endless supply of cars. What else can be done, rehabilitate it?” Then with quiet fury she adds, “It preys on children.”

"Is that really what you want?" asks Atwight genuinely curious.

"No. No, I don't kill anyone. But I won't let this parasite go out and do again what it did to my girls."

An uneasy silence fills the pause.

[This message has been edited by Wizard (edited 05-25-2001).]
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"Be careful what you ask for," Jager sighed. "I am not up to making that call right now. Still, it's your case and if you want it wasted, I'll do it."

The question hung in the air for several seconds. Alien emotions played along Atwights face.

Slowly, Wizard shook her head.

"If it has to be done, I'll do it. I have never given into the that 'violence will solve my problems' shit, anyway."

The ghost of the children stared back at her. She looked down.


"If we inform the authorities, the Parasite is off to Bahrain," said Atwight. Tesseract shifted uncomfortably. Evelyn kept a watch through the blinds.


"It would be kinder to put a bullet in its head. Besides, the things it now knows about Wizard wouldn't make any of our lives easier. Me, I am used to living on the run, but Atwight, you have people to protect. I don't think Wizard wants to go down that road."

"It will kill again. Kill children. I feel that need etched into its soul." Atwight and Jager nodded. "It is as twisted up in this as any of us. We have been luck and it bears our curse. That is why we are here, I think."

The song chirped and tingled through her. She felt the Parasite beginning to stir; its nightmare receding. The riddle crystalized.

"Atwight failed to do something in the past?" she queried. "Jager, you are still a child right now, aren't you? And, I am here to witness its present."

"I think I know what we should do..."

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"Uhh, If i could say something first, We got two other problems to worry about," Tesseract quickly interupts. All eyes shift to him/her. Atwight cocks his head slightly.

"You have changed, my friend. What has happened?" He asks.

Wizard looks puzzled "Since when have you been a woman?" she asks, "I thought yyo were a guy."

Tesseract smiles self-conciously "I am a guy, but something happened when I went after Jager and the parasite. I think I merged with another me," He turns to Atwight brushing is now shoulder length aubern hair out of his eyes. "Can you help me?"

Before the golden alien can answer, Jager says "You said there were two problems, what is the other one?"

Tess, looks at Jager and the others. "There are Novas here, Probably Utopia. I've been scaning the the are where we fought, just to keep an eye out. A team of 7 is investigating the area and talking to witnesses. It won't be long before they start probing with powers, know what I mean?"

Atwight moves to the window as Evilyn stepps out of the way. he extends his hand and touches the glass. Those with the capacity sense the release of a large ammout of quantum energy. The air seems to shimmer around the enigmatic being and the room falls silent. Jager glances at Wizard who seems awestruck at the quantum cascade Atwight is producing. He looks at Tess and Evilyn, "What is he doing?" he whispers and recieves only shrugs as his answer.

A moment later, Atwight seems to come back from where ever he was and turns to others in the room. "Tesseract is correct. Utopia is investigating the incident and I predict they will discover our general location within the next 20 minutes. We should not be here when that happens," he states matter of factly, in his calm reassuring voice.

Jager looks at the others and smiles "Well then, lets get on with this. So Wizard, you were saying you know what to do......"

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Originally posted by Tesseract:
"Can you help me?"

Wizard chews her lower lip and ponders for a moment before speaking. "First, I would have that eufiber shape some upper body support specifically in the chest area. Otherwise, if we have to make a break for it, you're going to end up with black eyes. Second, I would avoid sudden movements until you get use to your center of gravity being lower. Beyond that, I have a lot of advice but since you're not likely to get lucky in the immediate future it can wait. It's a good look if you decide to go with it."

A moment later, Atwight seems to come back from where ever he was and turns to others in the room. "Tesseract is correct. Utopia is investigating the incident and I predict they will discover our general location within the next 20 minutes. We should not be here when that happens," he states matter of factly, in his calm reassuring voice.

Jager looks at the others and smiles "Well then, lets get on with this. So Wizard, you were saying you know what to do..."

"More accurately, I can see the path," responds Wizard. "The crest of the probability events are beginning to line up one after another. Like dominos, each interconnects with the following in a precision order sequence that becomes inevitable."

"You make it sound," argues Tesseract, "as if there is no free will involved. That it's all preordained. No choices."

"You have free will, Tess," Wizard rejoins. "As does Evelyn. Even Atwight has choices and he's part of the trigger event. Jager's choices are..." her voice trails off but her eyes watch Jager intently.

"Nonexistent." He speaks without emotions. A wooden voice the comes from far away.

"Existent, though extreme," she amends. "Your choice involves primal issues. To be or not to be. You could choose to invalidate the probability sequence at the cost of becoming other than what who you are. Survival of the body at the cost of self. For the same reason I must bear witness. Not because it's 'ordained', rather because of who I am."

Evelyn's watch chirps and she announces, "Fourteen minutes remaining," evidently for the benefit of the lesser powers present. Wizard couldn't imagine Atwight himself needed the prompt.

Wizard begins to talk faster. "Atwight knows where we need to be but you, Jager, only you understand why."

"Chalk it up to lack of quantum. It took me too long to realize there is no variation in your quantum aura in the past or the future. There is only you. There can be no event in the past that you have not experienced or future event which you will not experience. The probabilities are about to cascade and they revolve around you. You as you were."
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Jager shudders as Wizard's condemnation sinks in. No matter how much he tries to make ammends for all the shit he has done in his life, those demons never seem to rest. He shakes his head.

"Oh, well. I'll deal with this shit when it arrives," he says with deep resignation.

"Now, we abandon Parasite to Utopia, and, yes, I know what a cop-out that is. I am not ready to start killing all over again. None of us have that right."

"Sorry Wizard, but nothing is going to bring the victims back to us. Those that have survived must move forward."

Atwight remains unreadable, but Tesseract and Wizard harden at the news. Finally, Wizard nods her head. This isn't the time to be judge and executioner.

"Let me gather some things and we are gone," she says.

"Tesseract, prepare for the first warp. I will arrange for a little 'distraction' for our pursuers", says Atwight quietly. Behind his eyes, he sees another battlefield in another time.

"Always the children fight and learn the lessons the adults are to afraid to teach them. I must do better."

Wizard hurries down the hall and gathers a small girl to her; the sister of the last victim.

"I can loose the rest of this stuff, but we had better hurry."

Tesseract folds the space within his/her mind and masters the reality to her calculations. The Warp forms. As she moves forward, she stumbles slightly. Jager notices and gives her a weary smile.

"Don't you dare laugh," she says, adjusting her eufiber to her new anatomical 'features'.

The weary team moves through the gate and into the wooded scenery beyond. Seconds later, T2M members from the UN mission to Palestine, Assuran and Diovanna, burst into the room. Assuran scans the room, linking his data to T2M Centrals tracking facility. He knows that the area is rife with Quantum distortions and he and his team are going to get to the bottom of this.

Within minutes, the warp is traced to an Antartic location. Assuran smiles, knowing that no one escapes Utopia once they are on the trail.

Many miles away, Atwight finishes erasing the quantum distortions and grants himself a small satisfied grin at his handwork.

"How long before Utopia will come popping in?" questions Jager.

"Oh," Atwight remarks, "there already all over us right now. Let's just hope they dressed warmly."

Wizard smiles down at the frightened little girl with her. Though this is far from over, she knows that she has bought some time for all of them. Together, she and her charge look over the Himalayan lowlands and breath in the clean fresh air.

"Tomorrow," she murmurs. "We can start again, tomorrow."

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