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[Fiction] Science and Moon Angels


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"At least it isn't raining." Deeth thinks to himself as he leans against one of the lamp posts in the park. He reaches up to adjust the ball cap on the head of the manikin torso he has enveloped to be more human like. The blank stare reflective of the boredom Deeth is begining to feel.

"Look mommy, what is that manakin doing here?" a young girl wearing a long blue dress says to her mother as they walk past the post on the way to the swings.

Looking towards Deeth and noticing the movement of the hat being adjusted, she pulls her daughter closer and whispers, "I don't know darling. How about some ice cream instead of the swings?" She moves a bit more rapidly down the sidewalk past the swings and around the bend, moving beyond Deeths vision.

Chuckling to himself, Deeth begins to send out "feelers" through the bushes behind him, allowing the tendrils to remain transparent so as not to be seen. Watching the people on the street as they bustle from place to place, and from car to building, Deeth muses about his lost past as he waits for Walker.

Looking down the streets of Chicago is not much entertainment. Deeth can see a few shops, and a Rashoud clinic down a few blocks. Seeing the clinic sign gives Deeth a slight shudder, and he wonders if Endeavor is doing all right inside. A second thought keeps him from venturing down to visit as he did leave the last one in a hurry and isn't sure if they are looking for him.

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Walker left the institute where he had been visiting Endeavor and walked down the streets of Chicago. He had arranged to meet Deeth in a nearby park to be picked up for the latest space expedition, it would have been quicker to warp straight there but Walker had to pick up a few people and wanted to conserve energy. Besides he had never really been to Chicago before and wanted to soak in the sights and sounds of the city. His stroll took him through the Loop, his mind recalled some fact about the name of this part of the city coming from the railway system or something. Walker moved effortlessly through the crowded streets, as usual the baseline population moved out of his way, avoiding the unusual and bizzare, the common man stopped to watch the glowing nova, clad in tie-die eufiber, curious no doubt but largely unnerved by this vista of the apparent supernatural forcing him out of his complancy and making him actually pay attention, as the nova passed out of view the common man sank back into his dream of rationality and normality.

Walker became aware that there was danger present he looked around and spotted a vicar standing on the steps of a nearby church, he was glaring at Walker with such hatred that Walker physically shivered. He noticed that the church had a big stained glass window at the front, a recent additon from the looks of it, the window depicted the Archangel Michael wielding a fiery sword casting Satan from heaven, Walker noticed that Satan looked a bit like Divis Mal. Also being trampled underfoot by the Strong One of God were a few demonic figures, their features strongly reminisent of other famous nova's, Walker spotted Pax and Rauol in the instant he looked but he thought it best not to linger. So he mearly smiled said in a loud clear voice, 'It is the duty of every human being to think god out of existance', quoting from a film he had seen once and passed into the crowd.

Soon Walker was at the park, some one had left a shop manikin by the swings, intrigued by the wierdness Walker moved over, he had sensed that a Nova was in that part of the park anyway. As he got nearer inky blackness flowed from the figure, forming a vaguely humanoid shape, apart that was, from the small tendrils of darkness radiating from it. Walker stopped to stare in awe at what he was seeing, this would give HP Lovecraft nightmares he thought.

'You must be Walker', said a voice emanating from the region of darkness, 'You're late'.

Walker sighed,'Everyone's been saying that to me lately, you must be Deeth, did I pronounce it right?'

'Good enough, did you know you are being followed?' Deeth asked Walker.

'Yeah', Walker didn't look concerned, 'Just some Michaelites didn't like the old glow-in-the-dark I guess, after all we must be demons if honest god fearing folk like them didn't erupt', he winked at Deeth, 'Let's get out of here'.

Walker truned away from Deeth and moved his hands in the air sketching the shape of a square, a large picture formed in the air, it's base resting on the ground reddish light spilled from the edges. The picture was of a brightly lit rooftop at night-time. Deeth flowed forward slightly, tendrils extending off his form and winding behind the gateway in space.

'Hey you can't see it from behind', Deeth sounded surprised. 'Or even from the sides'.

'Yes, it appears to be truely two dimensional', Walker replied, 'Also I can't hold it open very long' he continued apologetically.

Deeth flowed through the gateway, and Walker followed, the familiar sensation, like pushing through a bubblegum bubble or walking through a thick cobweb tickled Walkers face and then both novas were standing on the rooftop of the Amproom in Ibizia. The gateway which looked like a picture of the park they had just left winked out behind them.

'Don't worry, it's usual to enter from the roof, you avoid the paperazzi that way' Walker said to Deeth.

'Ah right, I was wondering'.

The roof beneath their feet was throbbing slightly the bass of the sound system filtering up through the soundproofing.

Walker waved to the roof top camera, walked over to the door and said, 'Two please'. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a credit card running it through the reader beside the door. A brief pause and the door opened the repeatative beat marking out the bass line trembling the roof became audible.

'Sounds like it's kicking tonight', Said Walker, he and Deeth walked (dripped?) down the stairs the music getting louder, more complex tones becoming audible over the beat. At the bottom of the stairs was a set of heavy double doors circular windows in the door showed a dance floor beyond, multicoloured lights strobing in time with the music. Walker opened one of the doors and a wave of sound engulfed them both electronic music blasting out whilst a voice on the soundtrack repeated something about 'The Universal Mind'. Walker leaned over to Deeth and shouted.

'I've got to go and pick up someone else', Walker looked off into the smoky atmosphere, 'Anomie and Vixen are sitting over there talking', he pointed into the fluorescing CO2 smoke indicating the far side of the dance floor.

'Enjoy, I'll be back soon.' He turned and walked back up the stairs after a brief negotiation with the door man about entrance price, leaving Deeth watching interestedly the dozen or so novas who were visable dancing, drinking and talking.

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Looking over the throbbing throng of people, Deeth feels a bit intimidated. Turning to ask Walker a question, he notices that he is gone already.

"Anomie and Vixen huh....Guess I should head that way. "

Walking to the wall, Deeth puddles and turns transparent to avoid the crowd and odd looks he would get from moving through them. As he flows along the base he sees the myriad assortment of people. All clothing styles and hair doing things he didn't realize worked in normal gravity.

"Heh, I like that outfit, going to have to remember that"

Finding the table that Walker had pointed at, he realized that it was empty, but there were two glasses with condensation on them.

"I hope this is the right table."

Swirling into one of the empty seats, Deeth assumes a more solid human form. Still transparent, he quietly sits, waiting for the drink owners to return while watching the dance floor, wondering if he was a good dancer before he changed.

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He moves through the crowd like a warm breeze on a cold day. Both welcoming and suprising the people that he passes. He knows he has that effect on people. He knows why they feel that way, even though they are never likely to figure it out.

-a child's hand brushes his and she smiles. He feels the beginnings of an ear infection and he takes it away. Little effort. Her smile brightens, then they part and she is gone.-

-a man on his lunch break with a sinus headache. Neil brushes past him and takes the pain away.-

-a nice young lady, self-concious and mousy, brushes past him. He feels the cancer inside her and he turns back. His had brushes her shoulder and he asks for directions to the Sears Tower. She blushes slighlty and points over her shoulder. Neil acts the goof and shakes her hand. He feels the cancer move out of her and into him, where he quickly kills it. He thanks her and moves on. She is bewildered and then smacks herself for not asking the nice young stranger his name.-

Neil passes through the crowd and moves off to the street corner were he is to meet this Walker fellow. A pleasing, burning sensation courses through him. It is the fatigue come from his node. He senses the quantum start to flow back into him, and it feels so ... right.

'Yeah, its the little things,' he thinks to himself. He thinks about all the strange things that have brought him to the brink of Space Travel.

First year medical student turned doctor. The look of envy and awe on the faces of his fellow students.

-a slight smile

The look of horror on his mother's face. Her breaking down when her 'friends' come to kill him. The broken woman he hardly recognizes as he files the commitment papers.

-a tear rolls down his face-

Stigmata turning tears of blood into fierce Mauri facial tatoos, then into dragons, and finally into flowers and a pool that reflected the moon so perfectly.

-a sense of awe and peace-

The gathering of that impossibly-still group of men and women, paying almage to one of their own. The too human and yet utterly inhuman anguish, anger, and fear that he is just beginning to understand.

-pondering that Universal Question-

His father's face as he erupts. His father's face gone ... again, and the Job face taking over. Blaming him for letting their family die and his father just taking it. His father's face, blank and emotionless as mom is rolled away. Realizing it is the only way his father can deal with the pain. That his father still loves the woman who has tried to kill their only child. That his father can not forgive his own failings, even when he didn't fail at all.

-pain bleeding out over his features, as the healing continues-

Walker sees the young man standing on the corner as he approaches. He is just a tad to serene to be human. As he gets closer, he can feel an ever-so-slight tingling sense come over him and the young man turns to greet him. He smiles and says,

"Hello there. You must be Walker. I am Neil Preston, but just call me Neil. So, were do we go from here?"

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Walker moves down the street towards the man standing on the corner seemingly lost in his thoughts. Walker's node tells him the man is a nova, he's waiting in the right place, so this must be Neil Preston. His assumption is proven correct by Neil's warm greeting.

'Pleased to meet you Neil, yes I am Walker, next stop Amproom, Ibizia. Would you prefer your photo in the papers or out of it?' Walker asked this question refering to the crowds of jounalists who lurked ouside the night club, waiting to get an exclusive picture of some nove media darling stumbling out the door in the early hours of the morning. Neil considered this for a moment

'The quiet way I think, I can find crowds rather tiring.'

Walker nodded and turned towards a nearby wall, 'Just step into the picture', he said. The wall apeared to shimmer slightly then an image of the roof top entrance to the Amproom formed on it's suface.

Neil and Walker passed through together, crossing the vast distance between continents in a single step. The only sign of the distance the sudden shift from day to night. On the roof top Walker stopped for a moment and turned, the moon was just rising and Walker stood staring at it's stark beauty and serenity, feeling an almost magnetic pull, knowing that another journey as simple as the last could put him on it's surface. Hold your horses he thought, be there soon enough. Walker paid for Neil's entrance and the two of them walked down into the din of the Amproom.

Soon, Walker and Neil were turning from the bar and walking round the edge of the dance floor. As they reached the table where Walker had seen Anomie and Vixen earlier, Deeth suddenly darkened into view. Walker and Neil sat down, Walker doing the introductions, Walker looked round the dance floor, not spotting the two others, he leaned over towards Deeth.

'Hey, where is everyone?' he asked. Deeth shrugged, the movement spreading through his form like a wave, 'No one here when I came over' he stated, raising his voice to be heard.

'Well they were here' Walker seemed confused continuing to look round, then shook his head, 'Vixen seemed a bit nervous about coming here, some one threatening her just cos she's with Utopia, maybe they got one of the back rooms?', Walker turned his attention to his large drink instead.

Noticing that Deeth didn't have a glass he asked, 'Do you want something to drink? I recommend the Ampwells they've got a real kick.'

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Watching Walker approach with a newcomer, Deeth reverted his pigment to its natural obsidian color.

Walker introduces the newcomer as Neil Preston and began questioning to the location of the two girls that should have been here.

After taking a large swallow of the drink he carried, Walker looks towards Deeth and asks, "Do you want something to drink? I recommend the Ampwells, they've got a real kick"

"Naw, I haven't had anything to eat or drink since I became who I am. Haven't really missed it now that I think about it." Looking at Neil, Deeth wonders what he does for a living.

"On second thought... I think I will try one of those." Forming a solid hand, Deeth waves to one of the wandering waitresses and points at Walkers drink. "I want one of those please" Deeth grins as the waitress shudders a bit and nods then walks off. Within a few moments, Deeth is sipping on one of the special drinks, not really noticing any odd effects, though enjoying the slightly burning taste.

"This is good.... Not sure how alcoholic it is though"

"Do you have any way of contacting the two girls? I hope they are ok. Can they take care of themselves pretty good? I saw some pretty big guys glaring at some of the girls walking around earlier. They disapeared a little while before you showed up with Neil."

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Directly behind Deeth, a voice echoes from nowhere. "Anomie had to take off for a moment, but I'm still here. Testing out my own personal S.E.P. field, but I'm still here."

One second, it was as if no one was there - the next, it was as if she was there all along. Her most striking feature was her fur - it covered her, from the tip of a foxlike head to the tips of her twin tails. She was wearing a sleeveless open vest and denim shorts, the pockets stuffed with personal electronics and gear. She smiles a tooth grin at the assembled novas. "Hi. I'm Vixen. And you guys must be Neil, Walker, and Deeth."

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Walker blinked a couple of times and looked at Deeth and Vixen. 'No need to be cautious, I bought everyone here so we could have some fun!' He said grinning round at everyone. 'What's the worse that could happen to you in a Nova only bar?' He took a big gulp of his drink and decided to break the ice a bit more.

'I'm Walker, that's short for Walker Between Worlds, a name I chose because that's what I do essentially. Not just from the warp gates I open up but cos I can talk with animals and plants as well, so I also walk between the worlds of the sentient and the so called lower lifeforms. Having a fair amount of money I don't need to work, so I devote my time to my hobbies, which are doing environmental work and exploring the universe. What does everyone else get up to then?'

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"Well, right now I'm taking it easy - I jsut had a nasty case in New York, telepathic assesment of people that have been mentally programmed into living toys." She shakes her head. "God help the one who did this if I find him. I have enough money to live a comfortable life for the next year or so, so I'm taking a break from freelance work for NSI."

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Visably startled by the appearance of Vixen, Deeth grins when he sees her.

"You know.... you sure are one foxy la...umm..." discression being the better part of valor, Deeth coughs and quickly sips some of his drink.

"Uh-yea... Walker.. I haven't been doing much, I have some money I got for a bounty on some goons in L.A. but haven't spent much. Hard to spend money when you don't eat or drink or have a place to call home."

Looking at Vixen, Deeth considers a third drink and wonders if they are supposed to be alcoholic or just juice.

"These Amp things are good. Not much kick, but they have a nice aftertaste."

"So, Vixen... Need a suit?" Deeth winks with that not so serious look and chuckles.

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"Foxy Lady! Hmmm! Never head that one before." She grins, and flicks a tail absently. "Yes, I need a suit. I got a lot of weird superpowers out of eruption, but the ability to survive in a vaccum isn't one of them. Why, what are you going to do? Act as my own personal clothing for this trip?" She winks back at him.

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If a tar maniquin could be blushing, Deeth would be red. "I can protect you from the elements, but I don't have the ability to make air....or at least I don't think I do."

Pausing and seeming to space out, Deeth looses some of his solidity as one of his hands begins to change into a variety of fabrics and materials.

"Nope, I don't think I can make the air." With a slight frown, Deeth motions for a nearby waitress.

"Please, bring this fine looking lady one of these. Only make sure it is strong, these seem to be watered down or something. Oh, and bring me one too please" Deeth smiles at the waitress and hands her some money.

Finishing off his third drink, Deeth shifts his coloring and texture to that of a "Zero G" dance outfit, similar to the one on the dance floor, only in dark grey and light blue. Pushing the pulsating collar frills out of his face, Deeth turns to Walker.

"What kind of things are we going to find up there?"

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"Look, sir, either order something or let someone else have that stool."

Anomie sat at the bar, looking at nothing in particular. Slowly he drew his gaze to the bartender, the same one that had been trying unsuccessfully trying to engage him in conversation for the past five minutes. When he leveled his eyes with hers, her saw her step back slightly, and heard her quick intake of breath over the sounds of the club. Quickly he dropped his eyes again to keep from further disturbing her and uttered the first thing she heard him say since taking up his place at the bar, "Shirley Temple, please."

As the bartender hurried to get his order, he mused about her all to typical reaction. 'Damn my eyes,' he thought bitterly 'some Novas look completely normal, but I had to get stuck with eyes that scare some people on a primal level'

"Wow! Is there any place in particular we are going?"

He picked up on Neil's question from the other side of the dance floor as easily as the rest of the conversation between the others occupying the table he and Vixen sat at before he excused himself. She was a nice girl, but he wanted some time to himself to think things over. Still he listened in when everyone introduced themselves after they arrived and their chit-chat afterwards.

'Do I really want to get involved with other people again?' he thought while staring at the drink that had just been placed in front of him 'I mean think about it Anomie, whenever you windup in a group, something bad invariably happens. Do you want the past to repeat itself?'

A new song started to play over the speakers, causing him to stop his internal dialog for a second as something about it tickled him as familiar. After a few seconds he thought with a small smile on his face 'Ah, it's a remix of a song I loved as a kid.' After a little laugh at how the song made him feel a little old he went back to looking at his drink and was going to continue his train of thought when he was disturbed by the man next to him.

"Turn off this baseline crap," he screamed at the DJ "and put on some good Nova made stuff!"

It was obvious that no one except those nearby heard him over the sounds of the music and conversations going on, but it still rankled Anomie.

'Damn supremest.' He thought with disgust, his mood chilling considerably.

The man, who had been enjoying a good laugh with his companion quickly turned around and stared at Anomie, eyes wide while he continued to look at his drink on the counter, a small frown on his face. The man just as suddenly looked away and visibly shuddered as he stood up and excused himself from his friend.

Anomie watched the man through the mirror behind the bar as he quickly made his way to the exit.

'I still got it' Anomie thought, a slight smile tugging at his lips.

He grabbed his drink and spun on his stool to look across the club. He quickly spotted everyone through the crowd sitting at the table. 'Why not, I'll join them. After all, what's the worst that can happen if we're staying in system.' With that he got up and made his way to the table.

"Hello again Vixen, Walker. I'm Anomie, who might the rest of you be?" he said, hiding a smile.

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'Anomie, glad you're still here', said Walker signing for the waitress as he downed his drink. The others made brief introductions while Walker told the waitress she better bring a tray of drinks, he winked at the others, and passed his credit card for her to put behind the bar.

'I tell you', he said to Deeth, 'those Ampwells have a way of creeping up on you, but it is still possible to be largely immune'. He grinned and rolled his eyes in sympathy. 'Seeing as everyone is here now, I'll go through the plan.' He gulped at another drink as they arrived at the table.

'We'll get everyone suited up tomorrow morning, Endeavor said I could borrow her space suit for Vixen, it's hinopolymer, that's her creation sorta hypoallergenic eufiber, so it will conform to your physique. As soon as everything is checked and ready either me or Anomie will open up a warp gate to the south pole of the moon, that's where we're going in case you all forgot'. He grinned once again, sniggering slightly.

'I'm in favour of going through one of Anomie's gates, just because I'm always curious to see how someone else's warp gates, or whatever, will differ from my own. Once there we're gonna be spending a day or so on the surface of the moon, I'm going to be taking some equipment along and drilling some samples to see how extensive and easy to mine the ice deposits are, cos one day someone might want to build a base on the moon, so stuff like that is useful to know'.

Walker who was becoming quite animated in his speach, rather fast and loud, seemed to become distracted. He looked round towards the dance floor, 'Overdose Twins' he said naming the artists responsible for the slightly different strain of Ibiza style hardcore techno that was being mixed into the music, 'I love this one', he turned back to the others, 'Anyway, yeah, err, I'll go over the technical details of the suit operation tomorrow, but basically it's just watching the readouts and making sure they don't go into the red. What ever you guys want to get up to feel free, but don't stray too far from either me or Anomie just in case we need an immediate evac'. Walker paused to take another drink from the tray, 'Any questions?' He asked.

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'Hey, yeah, bring a frisbee along, don't know whether it would work in space, isnit something like a helicopter? You know air pressure beneath the leading edge', Walker swept his hand out in a twisting motion like someone turning a plate. He stopped talking and watched his hand with interest, moving it back the opposite way his eyes fixed on a point slightly behind it.

'Hey Deeth try one of them yellow bananary ones, I think it's got DMT in it'. He sighed contentedly and sat back his head tapping in time with the music as a grin spread across his face, 'Gotta love that Spanish post N-day liberalisation'.

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"I've got a question. What about pressurization? Will we be shot through this warp as soon as it's opened as air pressure equalizes? Will radiation pour through, irradiating the environment? And how does the warp work, anyways? If it's a fix spot in space we'll shoot right past the moon - is it keyed to the moon's gravity field?"

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Walker rubbed his chin for a moment before speaking,

'You know, I really don't know exactly what my warp gates actually do'. He frowned momentarily, marshelling his thoughts, 'You're right though, air should rush through the gate pushing us through, yet it doesn't. I've noticed a slight resistance as you walk through the gate, I imagine that has something to do with it, but I couldn't tell you that was definitely the case. You can look through the gate and see what's on the other side but radiation doesn't leak through. When I step through onto another world the change in orbital velocity should fling me into space or smash me into the ground'. Here Walker demonstrated by flining one arm into the air and bringing the other down in a fist so it crashed onto the table, almost spilling a few of the drinks.

'It doesn't, so I guess that what you said is the best explanation, it's keyed to the different gravities, different velocities, momentums, etcetera'. Walker nodded to himself his eyes wide, as though actually thinking about this for the first time.

'I should freeze solid or burst into flames with the difference in potential energy if I warped from the bottom of a mountain to the top of it'. Walker shook his head and looked directly at Vixen,

'Sorry, can't tell you why but it just doesn't work that way. My gates are like a picture hanging in space showing a different place. You can step into the picture and be in that different place. That's all I can safely say about it'.

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"Like that movie with that ex-Nazi who kept stepping into paintings. Okay. Now, do we have radio gear capable of contacting Earth, and someone down here who'll be able to pick up the signal? Just in case, you know."

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'I've got something that Teknokat whisked up for me, or should that be whiskered up for me', Walker giggled at his own inane joke.

'It'll be able to reach earth and it can get you opnet access as well, so you won't get stranded up there. I need it to talk in space anyway, no air and no mouth'. Walker indicated what happened when he was in an airless environment by covering his mouth and nostrils with a hand.

'I attach a little microphone to my throat and subvocalise, computer picks it up and sends it on the radio. It's got an armband keypad and roller ball, pretty simple to figure out, just click on the sattelite dish icon or send a priority opmail'.

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Thinking about the opnet and its construction, Deeth muses to himself as he watches Vixen's muscles flex and pulse as she converses with the others.

"If the opnet is made of eufiber, I wonder if I could become part of it, or maybe travel through it." With a giggle, Deeth talks just a tad louder. "I guess I could rent myself out as a patch cable"

"You know, these drinks don't have much kick to them, but after a dozen or so..."

Glancing around the room at the undulating mob, Deeth begins to consider whether or not he can dance.

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"Technokat? Is she, you know..." She waves her hand a bit, hunting for the words. "Like, me, I guess? Furry and stuff? No, I guess she wouldn't be come to think of it, if that picture I saw at Endeavor's was accurate."

She looks at Deeth. "Er, Deeth, are you sure you're gonna be good for this trip? I mean, don't the pilots say '24 hours from bottle to throttle?' I figured the same would apply for novas about to step into a radioactive void..."

"But yeah, that's all my questions. If you guys are ready - honestly ready - then I'm ready too."

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With a sigh, Deeth melts into his chair, only to reform as an 18th century Victorian evening gown.

"I am ready, I figure I should dress the part you know" With a chuckle, the dress waves at a passing dancer who takes a second look at the gown, and a glance at the others at the table before bustling further into the crowd.

"So, who is the DD on this trip?"

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With a puzzled look on his face, Anomie glances at the new form of Deeth. "DD? I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to say."

After a moment his puzzled look turns into a wry grin "And if you are dressing the part for a trip to the moon, shouldn't you be dressed as a 60's leisure suit?"

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"DD, Designated Doorwaycreator" Deeth chuckles a bit as he thinks about the 60's leisure suit.

"Well, since the romanticism of the moon has declined over the years, I figure an outfit more in line with a time when the moon was full of mystery would be more appropriate."

Pushing the empty glass in front of him to the center of the table, Deeth reforms into his "normal" form, albiet wearing a tye dye shirt and huge bell bottom pants.

Winking at Anomie, Deeth stands up. "Okie Dokie, I think I am ready to do this."

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Walker looked back towards the others from his abstract contemplation of the forms writhing on the dance floor.

'Excellent, there's no rush but where was everyone planning on staying tonight? I've taken the liberty of booking a few rooms at a local hotel if everyone wants to make a move. But if anyone needs dropping back at home you're gonna have to give me a couple of hours to recharge my batteries', Walker emphasised this point by reaching eagerly for another drink. How quickly he was about to drink it depended on what was said next.

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Walker grinned and winked as he tossed Vixen a set of keys, 'Let it never be said that I can't take a hint', he said taking a large gulp from his drink. Lets face it, he thought, this ampwell's gonna be gone pretty soon anyway no matter what anyone says.

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Deeth muses on the possibilities ahead of him, looking across the floor to the waitress and his clothing slowly begins to reshape as his clothing changes from the 60's hippie clothes to a full grey spandex body suit. Outfited with various pockets and flaps, tinted aquamarine, across his chest and legs, it finishes reforming and he stands.

"Well my pretty, as you are leaving, and the estrogen level at the table has dropped. I believe I will join the party here and await the doorway."

Deeth turns to Walker as he sets his nearly drained drink back on the table, "Hapen to know how late this place stays open?"

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Walker shrugs, 'Everytime I've been kicked out of here the sun is coming up, dunno if that's official closing time or not'.

Walker looked round at the lights weaving patterns in the sworls of smoke, stirred by the air currents of people talking and moving. Each pattern seemed to be loaded with significance hinting at a deeper meaning and connecting somehow with every other object in the universe. Walker bathed in the narcotic induced sense of intimacy but already his all too efficient bodily processes were metabolising the chemicals. Nova enhanced organs breaking them down into substances that would sustain him and replenish his spent energies. The last traces of the drugs evaporated and so did the sense of things being connected in a vast holism, replaced by simple aeordynmaics and photon wavelengths interacting at random.

Anomie and Deeth seemed to be locked in conversation, so Walker shifted round in the seating so he was within comfortable earshot of Neil. Walker had noticed that Neil had seemed to be quite quiet all evening and he wanted to enquire if everything was OK. He knew a little of the Preston family situation, such things had a way of getting round, and understood that things must be difficult.

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'Everone seems so ... blase about this. I used to think of space as being so impossibly far away. Unreachable. Now, it seems okay with everybody that I am just going to walk out into the great beyond. No training or what I used to consider real prep work. Am I really that tough?'

'Hell, I never thought I would go to the Amp Room, yet, here I am. I still feel so plain.'

"Huh? Sorry Walker, just being introspective. I haven't been doing the whole nova thing for very long. It all can seem so dream-like on occasion."

"Do you think you and Vixen can check me out on the space suit I will be using. Also, do you think I can ... well, ... touch everybody before we set off? It will allow me to imprint a base reading for everybody. It also will help tell me how and what to fix on the various members, god-forbid, if anything goes wrong."

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Walker considered what Neil had said,

'Don't worry about the suits, we'll have at least four hours tomorrow before we all go. I understand your trepidation, it kind of brings back the whole, one small step, one giant leap idea doesn't it? You know, just walk into the gate and POOF!!', Walker clapped his hands together. 'There you are, somewhere else. Can be pretty daunting and frightening it would give anyone pause for thought'.

Walker leaned forward in a conspiritorial manner, 'Even me with my years of experience still finds it easy to feel like a small child helpless in the face of the enormity of it all. And that's both space and being a nova, it's so contrary to the way one has to live and think as a baseline, turns everyones ideas upside down'. He took a sip from his drink and continued. 'There's no grading or level system for Nova's, no ones a Nova first class or second class, we're all just creatures trying to make our way in the universe as best as we can'.

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"Thanks, Walker."

"All of this", he motions to the Amp Room crowd, "and us", he motions to the assembled group, "is new to me."

"Part of me feels unsettled about facing what seems to be such an alien and hostile environment. That's normal. What really creeps me out is the fact that I am not afraid. Not in the core of me. Not in the new me."

"Does that make any sense?"

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Walker nodded vigourously and rubbed his chin, 'Yeah, that makes sense, couldn't tell you exactly what kind of sense, but it does make sense in that funny Nova kind of way. Not being a mind reader I can't tell you what's going on in your mind right now. For me it was like looking at a new world after I erupted, quite literally in respect of my senses, but also metaphorically as if that node in my head was subtly changing the way I thought'. Walker looked thoughtful, his brow creased in concentration, though his lips held the hint of a smile.

'Greater changes came later, but that's a story for a different time. My trick was to go with the flow and not resist the changes up here,' Walker tapped his expansive forehead. 'I wasn't developing any bothersome mental perculiarities so that strategy, for me, was a sound one. Trying to resist a change in your attitudes is the more dangerous course in my view. Why should we be afraid, of what exactly? Caution yes, but fear no, it has happened, we have erupted. Mark well the event but don't fear it.'

Walker grinned suddenly and snorted a laugh, 'Here enedeth todays lesson', he said in a joky pompous voice.

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"Well guys, Since we are going to be heading out into the great mostly unknown soon..."

With a wink to Vixen and a tendril salute to the other guys sitting at the table, Deeth fades into the crowd behind him, groping and gyrating with the rest.

After Deeth has disapeared into the crowd, a ghost like tendril snakes up the edge of the table and reforms into a hand. After depositing some money under Deeth's empty glass, it waves and snaps back into the crowd, goosing a tall girl in a miniskirt on the way back, prompting her to turn and slap the leering man behind her, sending the man hurling through the air.

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