Jaunt Posted March 10, 2022 Share Posted March 10, 2022 (edited) Revelations & Rivalries “I heard that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” - Either of the Jauntsen Twins moments after a break up Branch-9 Underground Facility: Annette Giles’ Office Saturday, 7th September 2019 “Wyoming, Annette. Fucking Wyoming!” Taggert huffed behind the closed doors of Annette’s office. It was only the two of them in there as they often to speak freely and vent their numerous frustrations at the bureaucracy within their respective chains of command and myriad of small things that went wrong for them on an almost daily basis. “Who does that? I’ve calmed down, but I swear Annette, I could have rung that kid’s neck.” Annette laughed as the rim of her glass raised to her colored lips. She sipped her brandy and shook her head. “These kids are nothing if not impulsive, John.” Major John Taggart, the acting commanding officer of the Branch-9 Division sat comfortably in the large chair across from Annette who was behind her desk in her incredibly comfortable office chair. The two cubes clinked in his glass and sighed, shaking his head. “These kids are dangerous, Annette. They are impulsive, and out of control and… troubled. I won’t say they aren’t all incredible in a laundry list of amazing ways but are out efforts going to be worth the inevitable problems they are going to cause down the road. The Joint Chiefs are getting involved in this now. Children with, and I know you hate the term but, super-powers exist and… according to Devin Jauntsen’s testimony: ‘went upside the head, the side that looked like a cheese grater made love to it, of a dimensional horror from a realm where anuses were born.’ That’s a direct quote, by the way.” She laughed, craning her head back and setting her glass on her desk as she covered her expression of pure entertainment. These were the moments when her and John were allowed to drop the veil of professionalism and just be real with one another about all they had going on in their respective professional lives. “Oh god, I swear, if that kid was ten years older.” She mused as Taggart gave her judgmental, if teasing, look. “Fine, fifteen.” “I know that they’re difficult, John.” She started, composing herself and leaning forward onto her desk. “And you’re an Operator, single, military, and it’s all you’ve ever known, so dealing with this group of kids is and will remain, a daunting task. I sympathize, I do,” she chuckled. “But you and your men, when you signed that piece of paper you knew exactly what you were getting into. You trained, you worked hard, you studied and through it all you knew exactly what you were: the tip of the spear, and you were just waiting to be thrown at a threat to your nation and its people.” She steepled her hands and then separated them, blooming them out as her point expanded. “But these kids, John, didn’t sign up for this. Hell, we didn’t sign up for this. Other dimensions, worlds, supernatural powers and alien gods? They’re sixteen and from the methodical and cold Jason Bannon to the hyper-curious and inquisitive Cassandra, they are stumbling in the dark for answers and trying to make sense of nonsense. The Jauntsen twins’ home is a shambles, they feel unloved and lost. Cassandra’s family was splintered by loss of her father and now suddenly he’s alive? Autumn, despite her every attempt to find normalcy knowns in her heart of hearts that that side of the street is forever lost to her. They are lost, seeking answers, and they’re going to need men and women like you and me to mentor them and deal with all the set-backs along the way, and with Devin, I foresee many set-backs.” He sighed, heavily, shaking his head as his thoughts collected themselves. “I’m not good with kids. Hell, I went to my nephew’s birthday party in July, and I had nothing to talk about, with him or my sister and her husband. It’s all counter-terrorism stories and training and that’s when it dawned on me… Christ, Annette, I’m married to my job. I can hardly relate to my junior enlisted, let alone this gaggle of super-geniuses and professional troublemakers. I don’t even know where to begin with them half the time.” She grunted and raised her glass in solidarity. “I know the feeling. My niece is going through all manner of personal issues. She’s not much older than the kids we work with here, but I’ve been so wrapped up in projects here that I had no idea.” Reminded of something as she sipped her drink. “Oh, speaking of, I’ll be on leave here soon, I have to go to Brighton, I’m just waiting on the dates.” “Fair enough,” Taggart, nodded. He looked at his watch and sighed. “Shit. The twins are going to be here soon. Guess it’s back to being responsible adults.” ---===[***]===--- Branch-9 Underground Facility: Gym Throughout the gym soldiers and airmen performed their daily regimen of bench presses and squats. Devin had been here a couple times, but never really made use of the facilities since he had a gym at home. Also, like most military gyms, it was grossly over packed at almost all times of day, making it an absolute pain to keep a consistent workout going because he had to wait for several minutes for a machine to free up. Still, it was a great gym, with mirrored walls, two to three of the most standard machines in use for a full body work out and several treadmills and exercise bikes, including a large, matted vacancy in one corner of the room reserved for sparing and floor exercises. About twice the size of a standard boxing ring’s available space, it would, they hoped, provide more than enough room for today’s intended purpose. “Are you sure about this?” Devin asked as he and Aelwen walked through the gym, passing others involved in their workouts. They seemed a bit out of place amongst the larger, older men and women who’d made the military their career and the two of them were barely in the middle of their high-school years. Aelwen, or ‘Ellie’, as she had become known to those down in the facility, allowed an eyebrow to raise quizzically at the Earth-born male’s inquiry. “I offered, did I not? Why would I offer only to mean the complete of my intention?” As they passed by the others, she got a few looks from both the men and women; with her long, blonde hair pulled up, spandex shorts and sports bra on, they could see the numerous scars she sported on almost every curve of her body. Most looked like they had healed exceptionally well, but she had more just from her Teulu training than every soldier and airman in the gym combined from their entire lives. “I’m just saying, I’m fast. I’m not sure you’re ready for just how fast, though. This could be embarrassing.” He shrugged, not looking back at her as they approached. “Fast. Like… an arrow?” She asked. “Like a bullet.” He corrected her while tossing her a pair of padded sparing gloves. “I’m all aquiver.” She said in her typical, expressionless Teulu demeanor. Most of the military staff within Branch-9 were well aware of who Devin and the other ‘special kids’ were, but far less than most had ever seen what they could actually do, their skills and ‘powers’ were nothing more than scuttlebutt and watercooler rumors. When it came to the military, the Fellowship were lucky if they’d even get a ‘hello’ in the hallway as they passed them by. “Careful, kid.” Warned a deep voice belonging to Sergeant Thomas, a large black man at the peak physical readiness. He approached the boundary of the sparing area and slung a towel over the back of his neck. “She’s a lioness.” “Making friends, I see.” Devin quipped, allowing himself a grin. She hadn’t quite considered it that way until after Devin had said it out loud and offered Sergeant Thomas a look, who in turn offered her a polite and respectful nod. “I suppose I am. And you? Are you still hurting inside? Anger still gnawing away at your heart?” “Eh, not so much angry anymore as I am just depressed and over it.” He shrugged, strapping up his fingerless padded gloves. “She wasn’t my girlfriend before I poured my heart out to her, she’s not my girlfriend afterwards, either. I’ve lost nothing and gained nothing. Way I see it I broke even.” “Have you not lost a friend?” Ellie asked while pulling her ponytail up through her head guard. “For all the good those do,” scoffed while chuckling. “She’s with Jacob, so it’s not like she’ll have time to waste wondering about me or how I’m doing. The Fellowship doesn’t think all that highly of my sister and I, if they think of us at all. So that’s dead in the water. Honestly? I think I’m good just saving the world on my own.” “Well then,” Ellie craned her neck from side to side, limbering herself up as she walked to the center ring. “I threaten your world, ‘Jaunt’ of Earth. Come… save it from me.” She urged him forward, taunting him Morpheus-style, beckoning him with her outstretched hand. She clicked her mouthpiece into place. “Like a bullet.” He shook his head as if trying to ignore her taunting, chuckling at her trash talk. “I’m young. I’m handsome. I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat. You know who said that? Muhammad Ali.” And he crossed the distance from his corner of the matts to the center in a single jaunt of violet streaks. The subquantum particles excited, giving a visible spectrum of violet energy that traced his short hop’s trajectory as he appeared in front of Ellie taking a wild swing at her. Still firmly planted she leaned to one side, raised her hand, took his wrist and twisted it downward while slamming the inside of his elbow with her other hand. In one swift motion she controlled all of Devin’s momentum and he flipped ass-over-head onto the matts. “Bullets miss.” She said as she knelt beside him. “If you ever dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize. Also, Muhammad Ali.” She patted him on the chest and stood up. Devin disappeared and reappeared exactly where he was lying down, except now he was on his feet, rolling the shoulders, he took a few steps back and forth to walk out the slam to the matt. “Alright, alright… you have game.” He nodded. His first teleportation towards Ellie had earned him a few head turns from those in the gym, as the sudden color caught their eye. Now, after his second, a few had stopped their work outs to see what was going on and if some of the rumors of the special kids were true. “I didn’t know the Teulu trash talked,” he smiled. “And Muhammad Ali, really? What are they letting you read in this place? I’m having a talk with Annette, that is way to advanced reading for your age, young lady.” She managed a smile, as Devin’s sense of humor was starting grow on her. As she had anticipated, the adrenaline was already cancelling out the negative feelings in his mind and heart. “I’m picking up numerous bad habits among your people,” she admitted. “My home does not have ‘pizza’, and I now find that fact to be unfortunate.” Before he knew she on him, two straight jabs sped past his field of vision as his spatial awareness kicked his perceptions into overdrive. A right-cross, another jab and finally a spinning kick that he ducked under before finally jaunting a few feet away from her to recompose himself rounded out her initial volley of attacks and there in front of the now growing crowd of gym goers Devin and Ellie were fully engaged in a brawl of parries, dodges and evasions. Edited November 23, 2022 by GDP_ST Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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