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Aberrant: 2011 - Isn't Life Grand?


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Ravenshire still remembered flying. Not flying under his own power, because that wasn’t something he could do, but being thrown so fast and hard that he had achieved the dubious distinction of level flight. He had hit something hard right after that. In a detached manner, he realized that he obtained what were most likely a concussion, and his left clavicle snapping like a dry twig. With a dry, dark comical wit, Ravenshire’s next thought was how the later balanced out with his previously broken right leg. He also remembered her.

She stood over him then; dark olive skin and a crackling aura of black lightning dancing around her. Andhra “Dark Spiral” Haurgupta smiled at Ravenshire in her utterly enchanting, psycho-girlfriend kind of way.

“You’re still conscious, my love. Good,” she purred. “I would be so disappointed if you passed out on me now.”

“Oh,” Ravenshire gasped out through the pain, “I thought your disappointment was why you threw me over here.”

Instead of responding, Dark Spiral stepped on his shattered collarbone. Ravenshire’s vision spotted over as the pain pushed him to unconsciousness. Only the taste of blood in his mouth, caused by him biting through his lip, kept him going. He tried to respond, but all he could do was let out a low moan.

Dark Spiral knelt down, heels on her haunches, and brushed his hair out of his eyes.

“I don’t like seeing you suffer Ravenshire,” she whispered to him, as if they were lovers.

‘Then why the fuck did you destroy my car, throw me over her and then step on my freaking broken bones, you psychotic bitch,’ Ravenshire thought. For the moment, survival instincts kept his acidic tongue still.

She continued, “You know we are the future. I want you to embrace that destiny. This pathetic little baseline infatuation is unhealthy for you.”

“I’m beginning to see that,” Ravenshire let slip.

For a second, she almost believed him then her smile hardened and she poked at bone sticking out of his shoulder. She tweaked the fragment ever so slightly, but with amazing results. Ravenshire had a painful intake of breath and his teeth ground together.

“You are such a beautiful nova, Ravenshire,” she said, going back to her nice-girl, ‘I love you so much’ attitude. “It pains me to see yourself this way. Such wasted potential.”

Instead of replying, Ravenshire used his right arm to pull himself into a sitting position.

‘Okay, there’s always the reasonable approach.’

“Andhra, I …” he began, but Dark Spiral responded by slapping the knee of his broken leg. Ravenshire screamed.

‘Point: Don’t use her real name,’ Ravenshire reminded himself.

“ … Dark Spiral … Dark Spiral,” he quickly corrected, “I’m not as powerful … advanced as you are. You know I can’t do anything.”

Dark Spiral smiled so sweetly when you spoke her name … her nova handle, because it spoke of her new life in the Teragen; that and she liked the way her name rolled off her lips. Yeah, they had a fucked-up relationship. Maybe he shouldn’t have been the one to give her the damn new name in the first place.

It had been in Paris, one year earlier. Ravenshire had been transferred in because of his lack of recognizable power. Andhra had been brought to Paris because the facility researchers in Mumbai couldn’t help her control hers. In the end, something between them had clicked. He had connected with her, helped her shattered sanity back to a firmer foundation, and even suggested she find help outside of Project Utopia. Her tortured existence had helped him come to grips that perhaps power … her kind of power had too high a price. Maybe he had been lucky to erupt without any if this was one of the other possible outcomes. He had been caught up in his own self-pity and she had felt out of control and helpless despite her power. Together, they had left the Paris Rashoud facility and started their lives over.

Ravenshire had gotten them a flat together, helped her find novas on the Opnet that would show her other ways to come to grips with who and what she was, and even gotten her the GPS unit so she could fly to her first meeting. When she had returned, things had changed. Andhra had gotten religion, which was fine for her, but the words of Divis Mal held no kind of salvation for him. Ravenshire had been happy enough that his friend had found some framework to build her life on, but he had different plans … and that had left to their first fight.

Suddenly, she was professing her undying love for him, declaring devotion to Divis Mal the Savior, and a total non-acceptance of his plans for his own future. She was no longer Andhra, but Dark Spiral. Andhra was no more, or so she loudly proclaimed. Ravenshire to become a facilitator of nova-baseline relationships was akin to heresy in her eyes. Something in the way she was acting had convinced him that taking a walk to ‘think things over’ was the best idea. Ravenshire walked right to the airport and away he went.

As he had learned about 90 seconds earlier, she hadn’t ‘gotten over it’ as he had hoped. Nope. She had been training with her Teragen buddies and when they felt she was ready, they had let her know were he was. His car had been the first casualty, followed by his tailored suit. His reaction hadn’t really helped things. He had surprised her with his raw fury. She had hovered up to him while he was still in the car, the airbag deflating. Ravenshire had kicked the driver’s side door into her when she was close enough. Instead of running, he had grabbed the by her braid and slammed her forehead against his hood. Maybe if he had started to run right then he might have escaped her. In retrospect, it would have been the smarter thing to do.

Anyway, Ravenshire had opted to start screaming at her.

“What the fuck is this about? Why in the hell are you attacking me?”

Even though Dark Spiral had pulled her punch when she lashed out, Ravenshire had gone careening away. He broke his leg on landing. Despite their obvious mismatch in power, Ravenshire had remained defiant. Black lightning crackling around her fists, Dark Spiral had proceeded to break him down between Teragen-inspired rants and professing her love for him. Calling her crazy had earned him his dalliance in fist-assisted flight.

“Dark Spiral,” he quickly corrected, “I’m not as powerful … advanced as you are. You know I can’t do anything.”

“Yes, my love, but I can help you become so much more than what you currently are.”

She was so genuine … so sincere that Ravenshire felt his anger and his fear fading.

“I can’t … not now,” he stammered weakly. “I’m not ready yet.”

Something changed in Dark Spiral’s eyes.

“By the Goddess, you’re bleeding. You are bleeding all over the place.”

‘No shit,’ Ravenshire thought. ‘You’ve busted me up all to hell.’

At the same time, Ravenshire could feel himself losing consciousness. With his emotions ebbing, the pain and blood loss were taking there toll on him. Dark Spiral’s voice became urgent … almost panicky.

“I’m going to get you some help. Hang on, my …” and the world went dark.

Ravenshire had woken up in a local hospital. The sheriff’s deputy that had come to interview him had told Ravenshire that another nova had dropped him off at the Emergency Room and then flown away. They had found his totaled car as well, but there was no sign of his attacker. Ravenshire elected to keep his mouth mostly shut. Making her an outlaw wouldn’t really help him much and only isolate her more. It wasn’t like surrounding himself with baseline security would be all that worthwhile. He lost three days to his concussion and blood loss and over a month to convalescence. Dark Spiral was still out there and he would have to plan his life around her until he found a way to finally deal with her.

Isn’t life grand?

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