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[Fiction] Dr. Troll - The War Out There


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[For canon consideration]

David saw Andrew Petrie crossing the lunchroom. Normally, the scientific crowd stayed well away from those on the administrative side, and Petrie was no exception. The guy ran human resources for a variety of projects at this center, as well as coordinating with other project directors globally within Project Utopia. Not only did the researchers have to justify their own needs for personnel resources to him, but he was also constantly recruiting people for other ‘high priority’ projects elsewhere. Normally, an out-going, serious man, today he was ashen-faced.

David motioned him over and robotically, Andrew swerved and came over to his table. He sat his tray down, mumbled a thank you to David, and started eating. His fork half way to his mouth, he stopped. Without preamble, he blurted out,

“Geode is dead.”

Keemi “Geode” Makebe was one of David’s neighbors. He had two kids; ages five and twelve, and his wife worked over in one of the Materials and Applied Mechanics labs. They had only worked together for about two months when David was starting out when Geode had been talked into joining Operation Genesis, talked into it by Andrew Petrie. Keemi’s wife, Elise, had taken care of David’s house when he had been at the hospital during the birth of his little boy and had welcomed them home with warmth and advice for the new parents. Now, Keemi was dead and David had no idea what would happen to her and her children. David made a mental note to let Emily know as soon as possible.

“Was it in Genesis?” David responded.

“No,” Andrew said, shaking his head. “He had transferred on to another project.”

Andrew looked around to see if anyone else was listening in, which was a futile effort, considering the perceptive abilities of the handful of novas here, but David understood the impulse amongst the security conscious.

“Geode had become involved with a new directive. We have been noting an alarming increase in the abduction of new eruptees in the past few years and we just can’t let that kind of thing go on.”

David nodded. Like many novas, he was vaguely aware of nova eruptions gone awry, but with a different spin on it than the one he heard inside the Project. Like most, he believed that the truth lay closer to what Utopia was saying and held that too many were willing to believe the worst about the Project. The rampant distrust toward the Project caused him to shake his head in dismay. How many had no idea how hard he and his fellows worked long hours and with great effort to make things better for everyone? There was no Great, Dark Conspiracy, but people didn’t want to believe so many, with so much power, were actually acting with a degree of selflessness never seen in the world before.

Together, nova and baseline, the two men sighed.

“How did it happen?” David asked.

“Well, I’m not exactly sure, but from what I was able to gather, he was attacked by several novas while in the midst of an investigation. It doesn’t look like it was the Teragen, this time, but the Heaven Thunder Triad, but I don’t have any details.”

David thought about that. Geode was tough. He had impressive mastery of both Earth and Magnetism, and could transform his body into a towering colossus of magnetically-fused rock. He had been an intelligent, resourceful man … but David also knew he had been no soldier, or hired killer. Keemi had been a college student in Cameroon when he erupted. His family had been well-off in that country … his father being a doctor in the Ministry of Health, he recalled. He had been a scientist, first and foremost. A father and a good man with no propensity toward violence, still, he had chosen to take Utopia’s fight into the field. Now he was dead.

The two men finished eating in silence. David didn’t know anything that would assuage Andrew’s guilt. Andrew had talked Keemi into going out into the field. Out in the field, Keemi had developed the hunger to do more. The few times David and he had met, Keemi had talked about Genesis; its troubles, setbacks, and successes. As an African, Keemi had been disheartened by the native’s resentment of the project, even though they would see their marginal existence improved dramatically. The loss of Antaeus, Teragen attacks, elites sent out to ‘aggressively’ defend corporate interests … all these things had strengthened Keemi’s resolve to do more. David had liked that strength of spirit about him.

Back at the Lab, David couldn’t help thinking about all the various novas who had passed through his research community and had gone out into the field, both baseline and nova. Normally, when he got the Op-mail to consider such a transfer, he deleted it with a chuckle. No one needed a rampaging green horde splashing over the Saharan dunes. David still believed that, but now there was an aching sadness to go along with it.


He got off the phone with Emily and they were going to go over to Elise’s to see what they could do. He tried to get back to the project at hand. It had very real and important applications. It would make things better for a lot of people. Still, now he thought about it in the greater context of the world. There was a war going on. It wasn’t an open, nasty war. It was a quiet war. A dirty little war that few people saw and even fewer understood. It was a war for the future of all mankind. A new strength had been handed to mankind, and now there was a struggle on just how that strength would be used … destructively, or for the common good.

David was fighting that war, a few tiny steps at a time. So were his wife, and their colleagues, and all the others working for Utopia. There was a war going on and he was doing his part, but there was this growing hunger to do more.

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