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Aberrant: 2011 - Intervention – Part One


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The Lower East Side, New York City, USA

Ravenshire’s life was bent and fractured, but not broken. He had missed a few appointments, but he had been able to reschedule all but one of them. His finances had managed to make an upturn without his guiding hand, the cleaning service had kept coming to his apartment, and they had even kept his refrigerator clean, if not stocked. His secure computer data had been on his laptop, which was in his car, which had spent his absence in the Pennsylvania Highway Patrol Impound Lot. His run-in with Dark Spiral had been more a bump in the road than pitfall, for which he was grateful.

As he flopped down on the sofa, Ravenshire opened up some of his client-files and began updating them form his Op-mail files. While the work went quickly, it was also somewhat depressing. 8 months since his eruption and he had less than a dozen clients so far, and only one of them was a nova. The rest were baselines who wanted the prestige of a nova money-manager. It was depressing enough that he bothered to read through the various job offers; Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nairobi, Goa, and St. Petersburg. Nothing particularly jumped out at him with these offers. He was sure that other novas would be offered more, but then he wasn’t a shining star were nova intellects were concerned. Still, it was uplifting to know that there were agencies out there that considered him valuable.

Ravenshire sent off very polite and appreciative refusals to the offers. He still dreamed about being totally independent … and totally rich. He wanted to be his own boss, keeping his own hours, and being free to go were ever he wanted. Considering a year ago he had been happily convinced that the best he could hope out of life was a comfortable mid-level corporate office, he couldn’t really complain about the distance he had troubled.

He logged off from his computer and set it on the glass-top coffee table then reached for his hot chocolate. After taking a sip, he rose up and walked to the sliding glass door that looked out over his narrow balcony and beyond to the New York City skyline. Ravenshire rubbed the warm mug in his hands. It was still very much winter this March in NYC and looking at it was still a bit chilling. He was glad to be inside and had no immediate plans for going outside.

‘Maybe I’ll go clubbing tonight,’ he wondered to himself.

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She was already displeased with this idea. Solstice's superiors asked of her one simple task: visit the nova 'Ravenshire' and politely give him the packet of information and make sure he was aware that Project Utopia was looking forward to working with a nova of his caliber very soon.

The spring breeze whisked gently through her hair as she soared through the New York skies at the comfortable speed. If anyone could have actually seen her face as she flew past they may have caught the hint of a smile at the winds caress breaking through her normally marble-like scowl.

So this is it? Millions and millions of investments Daddy has put in with Project Utopia and they reduce me, ME Summer Astovik into a delivery girl! Her thoughts were all she had in the sky. Here she was invincible, no one could reach her, no one could speak with her to tell her what to do, and here she was free. Oh..ho ho... heads are going to roll, you better believe it. I'm missing American Idol for this crap. I hope Daddy is TiVOing it like he said he would.

The occurrence of her father in two recent thoughts brought about a sudden altitude change as she coasted down into the concrete jungle of New York's skyscrapers. She rubbed the side of her face gently and as the bruises were healing at a rapid pace like they always did but her father's 'requests' were getting more and more violent. Recently he had begun demanding sexual acts from Summer even when she didn't need the SOMA he usually offered her as 'payment'. One such incident was nearly four hours ago and the few trace bruises of her saying 'no' still lingered on as burning in her nerves.

All in all Summer's life was going to hell in a hand basket pretty damn quick and she was either to young, stupid, blind, or all of the above to see it. With her flying done she walked slowly up the stairs of the apartment building that 'Ravenshire' supposedly lived in. The stairs were longer and it gave her time to fight the nose bleed that decided to come at the most inopportune moment, like always. It was her second one this week and she reminded herself to see a doctor 'or something' maybe tomorrow.

The doorway to the stairwell opened up and Summer's skin turned from its usually crimson red color into the alabaster flesh-tone of the nova goddess she believed herself to be. Her eufiber shifted and within seconds resembled a ice blue skirt and low-cut top and a pair of knee high boots with a heel that would be illegal in forty-nine states.

She took a quick once over of her reflection in the glass of a fire extinguisher case as her natural vanity reared it's ugly head. She slouched to one side, thinking something was missing. With a graceful tug she slid the band out of her hair that kept it in a pony-tail letting her ice blue hair tumble down and rest near the mid-length of her back. "Eh," She complained slightly, apparently not pleased with her appearance. "Oh well. It ain't like I plan on sticking around."

A mere twenty paces later Solstice gave her hair yet another check in the brass doorknocker of 'Ravenshire's' apartment before pounding rather loudly on the door.

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Ravenshire was dressing after his shower when someone did a passable job of driving his doorknocker through the door.

‘Am I being served,’ was his initial, darkly comedic response. ‘I imagine I would have to have done something with somebody to be getting one of those.’

Daniel made his way to the door tapped the view-panel and took in the image of his caller.

‘Okay, I don’t remember getting a call-girl’ was quickly followed by ‘Summer “Solstice” Astovik - Utopian nova - Fire/Ice bodymorpher.’

All of this whirled through his mind as he reached for the doorknob.

‘I wonder what the hell she’s doing here,’ he thought as the door opened and he made sure a neutral expression was on his face. Other data stepped forward from the symphony of thoughts in his mind, her responses on the Op-boards, her known public appearances, and other information pertaining to Utopia’s presence in New York.

“Hello,” Daniel said, extending his hand toward her. It was forward, but he wanted to keep the initiative on an even keel. “Why don’t you come in?”

All the while Ravenshire struggled to keep eye contact and resisted the urge to soak in one of the most beautiful physiques he had ever seen. Her alabaster skin danced with the low-level light coming from his apartment, increasing the mystery of her look. Her heels actually propelled her height over him ever so slightly. For his part, Ravenshire’s dark blonde hair contrasted ever so slightly with his dark eyebrows. His eyes were a pale-blue, but strangely more curious than lustful. Otherwise, his soft-grey shirt was loose and his tailored tan slacks cuffed above his bare feet.

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Hmm. I'd give him about a six. She thought to herself as she stepped inside 'Ravenshire's' apartment. She glanced around at the furnishings and saw that the nova was doing well for himself but was far from the type of gentleman Solstice would be remotely interested in. Okay, a five.

"Thank you," she faked a smile but like every other lie in her life it was perfectly executed. Daniel saw only sincerity and eagerness in her expression. "I won't take up too much of your time Mr. Ravenshire. I'm sure you know why I'm here, I'm called 'Solstice' and I work with Project Utopia."

A thick, heavy manila envelope made a 'thud' sound as it hammered into his chest. "That's for you, I'm here to make you one of those 'come work with us' offers. So, what do you say?" Solstice stood facing Daniel with her arms crossed over her chest and tapping the heel of her boot lightly.

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Ravenshire took in the words. The words didn’t match the body language. That was odd, because he had gotten very good at penetrating deceptions.

‘Maybe she’s just lousy on the delivery,’ he thought. Instead of answering immediately, he went over to the envelope and pretended to examine the material. He sat down and spread some of the material out. While still pretending to read, Ravenshire asked, “So what do you think? I mean, you’ve spent some time in the Project. What has it done for you? I’m an independent nova. I do what I want, when I want, and keep my own schedule. Why give all that up?”

With the last question, Ravenshire looked up at the sincere, yet icy goddess before him.

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Diplomacy? Great. She hated talking to people like Ravenshire. He was... well, lower class and normally she wouldn't waste her time with him. Lately however her superiors faith in her abilities as a Utopian had been waning and this little project was a way to get back in their good graces. For now, she would have to do what just came naturally to her.

She'd fake it.

"I'll not lie to you Mr. Ravenshire, it's a job." The Spinner of Tales began. "There a lot of hard work involved but think of the good we can accomplish together as novas."

She approached him, as if to see exactly what it was he was looking at scattered across his table. In reality she had discovered how easily distracted men became around her quantum-forged body. "You get to see the world," she cooed. "Hang out with others like yourself. And a guaranteed payday." Solstice lowered her head as she walked behind him almost resting her chin on his shoulder. Her breath was warm as it brushed his earlobe and her scent was intoxicating. "We know you're getting job offers Mr. Ravenshire. But surely, none have quite the amount of zeros involved that Utopia is offering."

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Ravenshire turned his head until his eyes met hers, merely inches apart. His breath had the air of fresh cinnamon. His eyes drilled into her with a sincere intensity. Solstice’s body was enticing and she moved with such an uncommon grace that it was difficult to stay focused on what she was saying. Still, his mind retained a strange clarity despite his physical discomfort.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find your offer enticing, Miss,” Ravenshire said in a calm, even tone, “but I already get to see the world and meeting new and different novas isn’t always what its cracked up to be.”

Ravenshire takes a deep breath.

“I write my own zeros, Solstice, and while they may not be as … big as what Utopia offers, they are something I feel I’ve earned … and deserve.”

His voice carries neither contempt nor condescension. Instead, Ravenshire exudes a calm and curious nature. This close, Solstice can virtually see the quantum flash within his eyes. Something within Ravenshire is helping him look past her goddess-image while seeking something else inside her.

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Ugh, are all of them this frickin' full of themselves? Solstice thought to herself resisting the urge to roll her eyes at him.

"Look, Mr. Ravenshire, I'm not with Utopia's HR Department, kay?" A wry grin crept across one side of her lips. "Please, do not for a moment assume I care whether you join Utopia or not. Regardless of whether you do or don't, I still get a check."

She stood up straight and traced long nail of her index finger smoothly across his shoulder to the back of his neck. It sent a chill down his spine as she spoke. "However, I happen to know that middle school children have been more successful at building a client base than you have. I also know," Her finger tip reached the end of it's journey enticingly chilling the nerves after having run the full length of his shoulders. "A certain Terat wants you quite ruined." She leaned with all her weight on side tapping on her glossed lips with the same finger she teased him with just moments ago. "Oh... what was his name...? Dark Sparrow? Spiral? Dark Spiral, that was it."

Solstice grinned evilly on the inside, but kept her thoughts in check. "How long do you expect to last our here Mr. Ravenshire? He's found you once, and can do it again. Strength in numbers Mr. Ravenshire, strength in numbers. One Terat knows better than to take on a Utopian in New York. We run this place, everyone knows it." She stood a few steps away know with her arms folded tightly across her chest.

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There’s nothing quite like being smacked with the Reality Mallet. Ravenshire weighed her words. She was right. His client list was infantile and Dark Spiral was only going to come back again. He had done so wonderfully against her last time and …

Ravenshire gazed up into the Utopian’s eyes looking for something. What he was looking for was some level of compassion and understanding. It wasn’t there. She was enticing – chillingly so, but there wasn’t that humane quality that would have welcomed him. Instead, what Ravenshire saw was yet another person who expected him to fail. They expected it and would take some small joy in it. He blinked once and stood up.

Standing up was almost a mistake. Ravenshire wanted her, with some outward sign of his lust. He didn’t give in or deviate his course. Instead he kept his eyes locked on her eyes and his voice flat.

“Thank you for your company’s fine offer, Solstice, but I think I’ll save myself.”

Those words were tougher to get out than he had imagined. He wanted see what she looked like naked … and sweating … beneath him. He wanted to find her special places and make her scream.

But wanting and doing were two separate things for Ravenshire. He made the conscious effort to be patient. If not her … most definitely not her, he would find somebody to share an experience with. With that resolution, warmth emanated from him; a calm self-assurance that came from the illusion that he was mastering his own destiny.

“Can I show you out?” he added with a bit more control than he had shown previously.

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