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Aberrant: Phoenix Rising - Chapter 1: The Delicate Sound of Thunder


jameson (ST)

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Southern Newborough is known for two things; it is a good place to trade scavenged junk, and it is the only part of the ciy which could never be called quiet. Many of the skilled workers live and work in the southern part of the city and the district is always full of the sounds of metal smiths, mechanics, and others.

The street is packed earth, packed down and saturated with oils leaking from pre-Burn wrecked vehicles. Right now the smell of oil and ozone was cut by the smell of fresh rainfall. The streets were muddy and potmarked with puddles, oil and grease swirling within the muddy waters.

In one of the larger shops near the wall Raider and Boothe look over the latest peice of tech Raider has unearthed. Overhead Courier circles down from the sky and lands, moving into Boothe's shop, a parcel under his arm.

Outside Adam stands on the wall ramparts looking out into the wilderness, his turn to stand watch for the day. Nearby standing in the middle of the street and oblivious to the rain Buzz lectures a child telling him to pay attention of his elders when he rides his bicycle. Gregory huddles under the roof of a local blacksmith watching the man as he works som recovered scrap iron into the forge, reshaping the twisted scraps into usable ingots.

The sound of rain is suddenly broken by a massive boom. At first everybody dismissed the sound as thunder but one by one people realize that the sound has no echo as thunder normally would. Adam is the first to see the fireball streaking through the sky from the North trailing smoke, ash, and fire behind it.

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As soon as he realizes that this fireball is not natural, Adam sounds the alarm, calling on the other guards on watch, and trying to estimate where this thing is going to land - assuming it's not an Aberrant on an inbound course. "Time to earn supper," he mutters to himself, and prepares himself to 'drop in' on whatever - or whoever - is blasting in.

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The sound of the rain mixed with the rhythmic clanging of the blacksmith's hammer were hypnotic. Gregory lazily watched as the heavily muscled man pounded out small circular objects.

"BOOM!" A sound shook the blacksmiths shop, and Gregory jumped to his feet in alarm. Something was wrong, because he heard the town watch set off the alarm. He scrambled out into the open to just in time to see what had made the sound.

Something burning was falling from the sky.

Things like this meant danger. He shifted his skin to blend in with his surroundings and moved towards the city walls.

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Courier circled one last time and then came down. That last circle had been part prolonging the joy of flight, and part marketing. The bundle was fairly small, one crumpled up I-beam, and the pay off was what he was always looking for, food. The nova hunger sometimes, well, make that never, made him wish for a return of the bad old days, but it could be a nuisance. Doug dropped the metal on the floor and started to unwrap it. He'd rip up the metal into something the weaker but more skilled blacksmiths could deal with and...

"BOOM"

Doug's first thought was that it was an aberrant attack and a throwing "pike" was in his hand at the same time he took to the air. Looking around he spotted the fireball... and hovered indecisively. If this was a nuke they were all dead and there was nothing he could do about it. If it were an aberrant then maybe it could be put down. If it was something else then he didn't know what to do.

Doug decided to fly towards the fireball but he'd keep low so if it exploded he might be spared the shock wave.

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"In my day, when we used to fly on our bikes, we were still mindful of some old fart like me walking around! See that's the problem with you kids! Got it too easy! Why after the Burn I had to eat dirt...!" his lecture and finger wagging is interrupted by a loud boom which knocks the kid off his feet and sends him scrambling for cover.

"Hey where are you goin'! I ain't done yet!" seeing everyone looking and pointing upwards he finally raises his glance, shading his eyes with his hand. "Hmmmph! You call that a fireball?"

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Gesturing again at the processor, "So yeah, I think three data crystals is pretty reasonable trade providing they have something interesting on them." He looked up to see if Boothe was in agreement. "If the brainiacs want that pre-burn clunker to work its this processor or nothing. These things don't grow on trees afterall..." He looked up startled as the alarms began to toll. He quickly slid the computer part into a hidden drawer in the counter without a pause, before heading to the door.

He looked back at Boothe, "I'd better get out there and do some recognizance. Maybe I can find out what's going on without getting my self killed."

Just as a normal person would have slammed face first into the solid wood door, Raider, sailed right through becoming transparent as he did. Once outside he began to float slowly up into the air to get a look at what was happening.

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Jimmy Boothe looks up from the processor, his eyes magnified, buglike, by the engineering goggles he wore. Blinking at Raiders abrupt departure, he places the goggles down and rushes throws the door open.

Staring up at the glow of the arcing fireball, he quickly tries to estimate its landing point. Rushing back inside he grabs the makeshift first-aid kit off the wall and snatches up his tool belt. Pausing briefly, he decides that he needs to be swift.

Moments later, Raider hears the rare sound of a vehicle engine catching as the adjoining garage-door begins to rise.

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Courier starts to fly off toward the object before realizing that the objects speed is incredible at least 3 times his own best speed.

On the ground Raider is looking up at the fast moving fireball while trying to gain altitude, although his reduce density makes limited "flight" possible, it's only about as fast as he can run/swim. The object is tracking quick fast toward the south and is obviously losing altitude as it goes.

Gregory strips off the jacket he was wearing to ward off the chilly autumn rain and presses his back against the blacksmith's shop. His skin begins to change color and apparent texture blending him into the weather worn wood grain.

A rumble of an engine is heard from within the massive building which houses Boothe Mechanics. The sound is strange enough to garner the attention of some of the children who watch transfixed as pre-Burn engine moves an old 4x4 "jeep" out of the garage. It is a testament to Boothe's wealth that he is willing to burn gas to power a vehicle.

Buzz stands in the middle of the road lecturing nobody regarding the fact that fireballs in his day were far more impressive. He's so engrossed that he barely notices the jeep pulling out behind him.

Up on the wall the alarms are signaling full alert. Adam leans out over the parapet and watches the fireball preparing the energies for a warp gate. As he watches the object cut through the air headed south he allows the quantum to dissipate and be reabsorbed by his node; the object his moving much too fast for a gate to get him anywhere near it.

Overhead as the town watches the fireball explodes sending tendrils of fire and smoke in every direction. Out of the fireball a small object can be seen still tracing the original path though apparently slowed by the explosion.

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"My God..." Boothe whispers as he watches the spears of fire begin to fall. As he begins to accelerate the 4x4 he glances up, and sees Raider drifting upwards.

"That bang was a sonic boom!" He shouts "That rules out most conventional weapons. If you can fly faster, please feel free to investigate. Else, you are welcome to travel with me!"

He slowly moves down the rugged path, awaiting Raiders reply.

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The detonation startle Gregory. He watched as a small object emerged from the smoke and fire and continued moving south.

what is that? he thought to himself, as he began to pick up speed, heading in the direction of the object.

There was a vaguely familiar rumble, from somewhere nearby. He had heard something like it before at a small town bordering the "Dead lands", as he called them. The villagers used some old piece of 'machin'ry' to turn a grindstone. It was all very complex, and he never understood how it worked. Why would they be running their millstone now? he wondered.

His skin began to get goose bumps in response to the chilly weather. He was now curious why the 'machin'ry' was moving. He was not even sure what a 'machin'ry' was, but he was intensely curious. He figured he might as well try to cut it off, on his way to see where the flying object was heading.

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Courier realizes he is chasing an optical illusion and halts. He puts his throwing pike away and shifts from survival mode to business mode, and then he attempts to open the link to Raider.

Assuming he’s successful:

*Hey there Raider. That’s not an Aberrant and it’s not close. The scale is different than it looks at first glance. It’s not meters away, it’s… what… maybe a 100 miles away? What do you think, maybe something the old-timers left up that’s finally coming down? Salvageable? I’m guessing it’s a hour’s flight.*

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Buzzkill steps aside as he hears the jeep approach and waves it down so he can get in.

"Well my day's been lousy as it is, might as well go check out some dangerous phenomenon, eh?" He sits down in the jeep without waiting for an invitation. After a second or two he turns to James.

"Well are going or what? Geez, in my day we'd be tearing after that thing!"

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Raider receives the thought from Courier and makes the mental adjustment. Hmmm... if that thing is a hundred miles away, it must have been pretty big before the explosion.

"Courier, are you able to bring others into this link with us? I'd like to organize a search party as quick as possible. That thing had to be visible to a whole lot of people, not all of them nice folks." He pauses for a second in personal thought before adding, "Especially get that new guy, Adam, he's got the ability to open holes in space that cover large distances. We can use his ability to get us close, then you can fly a spiraling search pattern until we find it. And have everyone you think would be a good person to bring along, meet us at the Shop, ok?"

Raider thought that would make a good meeting point. Ever since he and Boothe had started to collaborate and pool their knowledge, he found that the "Shop" was beginning to become like a second home to him. Besides his own home and it's hidden underground lab were practically next door.

'I'll just grab my tools and meet them at the shop,' he thought to himself.

*Raider moves as fast as he can straight to his house, to grab his 'kit'. His kit consists of all the tools and equipment he usually takes on his scavenging expeditions.*

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Buzz's eyebrows furrow for a moment as he casts back in his long lifetime's worth of memories.

"Well" he begins with a creaky voice "fireballs were happenin' all the time see? It wasn't exactly common place though. A firework show is exciting no matter how many times you see it. Why I remember the Nova, Solarflare, he's dead now. But he could put on a fireball show that would make this look like a sparkler! It was 2058, I was taking my sweetie Christina to the 4th of July holiday, that was in honor of when President Bush discovered the Potomac River, and we went to the Midway. And Solarflare was there, and hooey! Was he one ugly Nova!"

"So anyway, are we going or what?"

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Jimmy considers Buzzkills words.

"Well, hopefully thats all this is: A fireworks show. But unfortunately, in todays day and age, I dont think were that lucky."

His eyes stare blankly for a moment as he recieves Courier's mental communication. He sends back his agreement to persue the... whatever it was, that fell.

Turning back to Buzzkill, he says

"Well, what do you think Buzz? Up for a trip into the Badlands? We could probably use your experience out there."

As he watches Raider enter his home and waits for him to emerge, he shifts the jeep into park and adds:

"Just going to wait a moment for Radar..."

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"Yes... hello Gregory."

Jimmy gingerly holds his hand out the drivers side window, pleased he hadn't taken his work gloves off yet. Shaking the young man's muddy hand he then lets his hand rest outside the car, surreptitiously trying to let the rain clean it off.

"My name is Jimmy. This antediluvian gentleman in the passenger seat is Buzz."

Jimmy glances towards Raiders home, checking if the nova was coming yet.

"We are rather in a hurry towards that explosive detrius that is traveling southward, but how can I help you? "

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Hi Jimmy, hi Buzz" Gregory said with a smile, wiping the mud from his hands.

"I wanted to know what that sky thing was too." Gregory was staring at the odd metal box as he spoke. He then looked at the occupants and noticed that they were not like most of the townsfolk. "I also see that you not like most of the people around here. If you are going to seek that flying thing, can I come with you?"

An innocent smile crept across his face. "Please?"

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Quote:
Originally posted by Courier:
If Adam doesn't have a link set up Doug will look for him and verbally inform him.
Being on guard duty, at the source of the alarm, and an obvious nova, Adam is not a hard person to track down. Once Courier informs him of where they want to be going, "Well, sure, I suppose. Lemme just tell the shift Sargeant where I'm going, so that he doesn't dock my pay, or anything like that." He glances around, then leans closer to Courier. "That is all they do, right? I heard one guy talking about tar and feathers, and a couple of horses, but I thought he was just joking."

Once the shift Sargeant is informed, Adam will head over to Raider's shop, going over in his mind the landmarks he knows in the direction of the fireball so that he can land everyone as close as possible. "Hey, Raider. What's the big deal about the fireball, anyway? It missed us."
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About the time that the 4x4 drove up to the front of the shop Raider sailing out through the wall of his own house and across the street where the others were beginning to gather. Becoming solid, again you notice that Raider is wearing a full toolbelt and a pack slung over one shoulder.

He looks at people disembarking from the car, "Shall we go in and see if anyone else has shown up?"

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Raider held the door open for everyone as they walked into the shop. When Adam spoke up, Raider looked over. "Hey, just the person I was hoping would show up." He paused and walked in after everyone else.

"Yeh, didn't hit us, but I'm thinking it came out of the sky. That means it likely might have some pretty impressive tech. Most likely pre-burn whatever it is."

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Doug says to Adam,

"Adam, out in the field, it'd probably be a good thing if I could talk to you mentally. That way when I find it, I could tell you where it is and you could open the gate to there without me having to fly back and verbally tell you."

"A link is like... like a telephone or radio. Either of us can hang up and it's not intrusive. Ask Raider or Jimmy about it, they've used it in the past."

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Quote:
Originally posted by Fox:
Raider held the door open for everyone as they walked into the shop. When Adam spoke up, Raider looked over. "Hey, just the person I was hoping would show up." He paused and walked in after everyone else.
"Yeh, didn't hit us, but I'm thinking it came out of the sky. That means it likely might have some pretty impressive tech. Most likely pre-burn whatever it is."
Adam raises what would be an eyebrow, if he had hair. "Sounds sweet. We all get a cut?"

Quote:
Originally posted by Courier:
Doug says to Adam,
"Adam, out in the field, it'd probably be a good thing if I could talk to you mentally. That way when I find it, I could tell you where it is and you could open the gate to there without me having to fly back and verbally tell you."

"A link is like... like a telephone or radio. Either of us can hang up and it's not intrusive. Ask Raider or Jimmy about it, they've used it in the past."
He thinks it over for a minute. "Well, it sounds ok I guess, but just so you're aware, my transportation is through bombing bay doors. Unless you can jump pretty high, it's gonna be pretty hard for me to retrieve you." He glances over at Raider before continuing. "If we're ready to go, I think I can set us down a couple dozen miles out, and you'll see what I mean. Just, ah, be ready to go quick, because it doesn't stay open very long."
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Quote:
BlueNinja:He thinks it over for a minute. "Well, it sounds ok I guess, but just so you're aware, my transportation is through bombing bay doors. Unless you can jump pretty high, it's gonna be pretty hard for me to retrieve you." He glances over at Raider before continuing. "If we're ready to go, I think I can set us down a couple dozen miles out, and you'll see what I mean. Just, ah, be ready to go quick, because it doesn't stay open very long."
Doug says,

"Jumping isn't usually an issue," (A close look would see that Courier is actually standing a couple of inches in the air)

Doug reaches out to touch Adam saying,

"I need to touch you to set this up..."

(assuming he allows it)

*It works like this...*
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Adam frowns, then realizes that Doug is standing above the floor, and automatically flinches back for a moment until he gets ahold of himself, then reaches out his own hand.

*Um, well, this is certainly different.* He tries turning it on and off for a minute to see if he really gets it.

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Frowning briefly then forcing his face into more neutrality, Jimmy opens the rear door of the jeep.

"Sure, hop in Gregory."

Jimmy quickly drives back into the garage, and turns off the rumbling vehicle. He leads Buzz and Gregory into the large open area of the repair shop. He smiles and nods at Raider, then stops and nods at Adam. He is never completely comfortable with the nova, as his reputation for combat is well known and earned. Still, he nods in recognition and steps foreward.

"Adam. Good to see you again. I suppose in this instance you particular skills would be most usefull." He gestures to the others. "You know Buzz, and this young mud-shaped man is Gregory." He turns back to Raider "So, whats the plan to get to that projectile? We can take my jeep out... and perhaps in additon Adam can provide an entrance large enough for the vehicle?"

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Quote:
Originally posted by James:
"Adam. Good to see you again. I suppose in this instance you particular skills would be most usefull." He gestures to the others. "You know Buzz, and this young mud-shaped man is Gregory." He turns back to Raider "So, whats the plan to get to that projectile? We can take my jeep out... and perhaps in additon Adam can provide an entrance large enough for the vehicle?"
Adam looks outside at the Jeep, does a quick mental calculation, and shakes his head. "Even if I could open bomb doors large enough to fit the Jeep, would it survive falling ten feet straight down? I mean, I might be able to fit it if you took off the windshield and the roll bars, but ... well, not if anyone was riding in it."
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Jimmy watches Gregory step outside then speaks to the rest.

"So, whats the plan? I'd hate to be the busy-man on this, but while we stand in my garage discussing the feasability of jeep to warp transit other novas are beating us to the prize. We need to head out."

The eagerness in Jimmys voice shows through as he urges the others to haste.

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