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Aberrant: Quantum Zero - Quantum Zero


ProfPotts
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One Thing at a Time:

Watching Mike get settled, Masters takes a last glance at Nate & Emma & steps out of the lab once more, passing through the 'airlock' doors. A short trip down the corridor brings him to the small waiting area where he finds young Will Henessie making use of the snack machine which had been on Mike's mind a few mimutes earlier (Novas & their snacks... ::rolleyes ). Gesturing for the young man to sit, Masters slumps into a chair himself,

'Not much the likes of you & I can do to help in there,' the old man comments, shaking his head a little, 'the waiting is always the worst part...'

Sighing Masters sits forward in his chair & looks Will in the eye,

'Look, I still need someone in Japan, Will - & it looks like Blaze is going to be out of commision for a while. I'd really prefer to keep you here until you've finished "learning the ropes" but - if you're up for it - I think you're ready to branch out a little...' flashing a small smile he adds, '... just don't tell your dad...'

Leaning back in his chair again Masters steeples his fingers & looks at Will over the top of them,

'If you're interested then you can take the sub-orbital: I'll arrange for my nephew Takashi to meet you on arrival - he heads our Asian concerns as the managing director of Masters International Automations. Actually he's been quietly pressing for some Nova support for a while now - but until today there was never any evidence of any particular threat. Still, having said that, I think you'd better arrive in your business threads - you're still here to learn the game, after all...' ::sly

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[...]Nate blasts the titan with 'both barrels': powerful eruptions of white-hot plasma churn into... & through... the giant, blasting out of its 'stomach' & blazing a trail high into the sky! Instantly long cracks spread throughout the body of the giant, & a moment later it crumbles into boulder-sized pieces - which Nate helps to the ground by flinging them as hard as he can! The component rocks impact the desert sands like flaming meteorites, further shattering into pebble-sized bits [i think ya' got 'im, Tex ::sly ]!

"Booyah!" Nate grins and punches the air as the flaming debris peppers the landscape. ::ultracool

Hovering above his defeated foe Nate's vision suddenly begins to dim, as the world blurs & fades around him...

...

'... that the people don't understand these proclaimations, Great Ones: your reduction of resources for the army alone leaves the Empire open to...'

As his dizziness fades, Nathan finds himself resting his head in his hand, feeling the sounds and smells of a different age hit him. Still confused and hearing concerned voices from another age echoing in his head, the glowing nova takes a moment to steel himself before daring to open his eyes and look around...

The portly robed man standing before the throne Nate realises he's sitting on is cut off by the clear, confidant, words of the woman seated in the throne by his side - a woman who is the spitting image of Emma!

'My dear Lord Khepri, do you doubt the ability of my husband & I to defend these lands? The resources you speak of have been reallocated to improve hygene, build schools...'

Dusky skinned Emma appears just as exotically beautiful as ever, only she's clad in the garb of an ancient Egyptian Queen - gold-trimmed white linen dress, golden sandels, heavy royal pectoral & serpent-crown, with additional golden armlets, braclets, & rings. Her kohl eye make-up is absolutely amazing, & a fine dusting of gold power covers her skin - but it is her straight posture & commanding gaze which really makes her seems different: this version of Emma radiates a supreme royal confidence which the girl Nate knows would never be able to pull off...

As Nathan hears Emma's normally sweet, shy voice fill the courtyard like she owns not only it but the whole world, he ignores the rest of the crowd and turns to look at his... wife..? The idea at once seems the most perfectly natural thing in the world and at the same time feels like the spearhead of all the ways the world around him is the wrong one...

As his inhuman eyes fall upon his Queen, they flash a little brighter, and he can't help but smile a little. Taking comfort in having at least someone familiar around, he relaxes and takes the time to study his surroundings a bit more.

Nate himself appears to be dressed in the male version of Emma's outfit - gold-trimmed white linen kilt, golden sandels, royal pectoral across his chest, & blue & gold headress proclaiming him divine royalty. In his hands he finds he's holding an ornate, styalized, shepherd's crook & farmer's flail. His personal glow seems to have an impressive effect on the whole ensemble.

*Hey...!* Nathan thinks to himself, grinning. *This looks kinda cool...*

The twin thrones are set on a raised dais in an large open flagstoned courtyard beneath a clear, sunblessed, day. Hordes of courtiers & officials crowd down either side of the courtyard, & a few token guards stand at the entrance, khopesh swords at the belts, spears & shields in their hands. The portly 'Lord Khepri' standing in audience is dressed in richly adorned robes of many colours, & seems to be a wealthy man of some importance. As Nate's attention is drawn back to the man, Lord Khepri is replying to the Queen's worlds,

'True, Great Queen: but schools for the masses - your schools accept anyone, not just those of the appropriate priestly bloodlines! You invite anarchy to our eternal lands! The people need order! The people...'

The Queen holds up her hand, palm out, instantly silencing Khepri,

'I doubt that you have "the people's" interests in mind, Lord Khepri, or their words in your ears: your concerns are those of the old ways, the ways of privilage & hidden gods. My husband has wrested control of this nation from the corrupt hands of the priests of Amun-Ra , the hidden one, & has brought to the land the light of the Aten, the visible sun-disc who's invisible power is attainable by all. The power possessed by my husband & I isn't our right as rulers - we have just been blessed enough to have obtained it first - others will follow, & all will eventually take one step closer to the power of the gods which you & yours, Lord Khepri, so jealously guard as your own. We live in the dawning of a golden age for mankind - where universal brotherhood will be achieved, & freely shared power will make all men equal. If you quake at the idea of education for the masses, then just imagine how you will be left behind by the greater changes which are to come...'

*What is this? Mass eruption next? Is that what Akhenaten was about..?*

Nathan focuses on the queen's words, his mind racing as he tries to catch up with events and come up to speed with the whole kingship idea...

Khepri appears hard pressed to contain his outrage &, for a few moments, just stands there fuming. As he does the Queen turns to Blaze,

*Oh, crap... focus, Nate. You're a king. Yeah right.... ::rolleyes *

'My love,' she says quietly, 'what is your opinion on...' her words fade as she takes stock of Nate's expression, & a look of concern touches her own fine features, '... my love, what is it? Have you... have you travelled once more to the future? Do you recall anything more of that other life?'

"I... er..." Nathan blinks, the background glow from his skin growing as he looks for the right words. "Yeah, I guess you.. uhm.. you could say that, m-my dear.."

Shaking confusion from his head again, Nathan grits his teeth and takes the mental plunge into character, reaching out to touch 'Emma's hand as he faces Lord Khepri.

"Lord Khepri, I have seen the future, and I know the road ahead for Egypt. In a hundred years you will be but a memory, one of many the children of your servants - er, or their children, maybe - will learn about in school. My advice to you is that you choose wisely when you decide how you want to be remembered. That will be all."

After dismissing Khepri, Nathan turns back to his queen and whispers

"I need a break, Em.. er.. my love. Can we go somewhere private for a few minutes...?"

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A brief moment of thought sends The Stranger scampering from his hiding place & up into the rigging above the stage - his skill & agility proving more than a match for the Templars' technology as he makes the acrobatic dash without them showing any signs of having noticed him. Of course, the fact that they seem focused on the action front-stage probably helps a little... From his new concealed vantage point John can clearly make out Ms Cable, bound below him, the unknown Nova on stage with his two 'demonettes', & Vinnie standing in front of the stage with his one... ::devil

Seeing Ms. Cable alive brings a mental sigh of relief to the vigilante above her. Immediately, he starts taking a closer look at her bindings and surroundings, trying to see if there's any way he can manage to free her.

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Feeling more or less secure in her current hiding place, Slither decides to hold for now, letting Ghost take the lead; he seemed to be favoring diplomacy in his dealings with the supercharismatic guy, which may or may not be a good thing. Leaning against the wall, she closes her eyes and lets his words caress her, his voice so pleasant, like floating down a river on an inner tube on a lazy summer day...so nice to let someone else do the thinking for awhile. If Ghost was foolish and just plain rude enough to switch to violence, she supposed she'd have his back, unless this guy Adam had a better suggestion...::unsure

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Impending Doom:

"If you're wondering why I'm just doing what you say without questioning you, it's because if you're right, it's something my friend would want to know. And if you're lying, then I'll get to eat you alive for interrupting my girlfriend while she was saying something."

The crewman stares at Glacier with an expression of 'terror so far gone that he's been rendered senseless' on his face... ::blink ::ohmy

... Eel giggles.

"I'm sorry, baby -- but actually, I'm with Terry on this one, and if something's about to go badly wrong, we need to know about it."

Eel frowns,

'Hey - what makes you think I'd want to ignore the monkey? I'd kinda' like to know if this "all in danger" includes us as well as them before I make my mind up as to what we do about it...' ::rolleyes

"Start talking."

Taking a good few deep breathes to try & fight down the image of himself being eaten by a glowing polar-bear thingy the crewman just manages to regain enough wits to talk when Terry (having successfully evacuated the rest of the crew without incident) floats down the corridor to join them. On his way he noticed that several small leaks have started to develop in the walls of the structure - the pressure causing the incoming water to spray dramatically, but not yet in amounts enough to be any sort of immediate threat.

Clearing his throat & moistening his lips the crewman's eyes dart between the taint-fest which is the Terat Novas, finally settling on addressing his comments to Terry - the least disturbing of the trio,

'Sir,' he begins, bowing low, 'this facility is powered by an experimental fusion reactor: it's designed to take in sea water & convert it into plasma energy. The damage we have sustained has caused the reactor's safety measures to fail - in a matter of minutes it will go critical & explode. The resulting fireball is almost guaranteed to trigger an eruption of the volcantic region we're positioned on. If that happens then the resulting environmental disaster will be catastophic: Japan alone will be hit by tidal waves & earthquakes the likes of which she's never yet experienced - not to mention the effects on other countries nearby! There could even be a chain-reaction setting off the volcanoes linked to this one...' the man shakes his head with the sheer horror of it all, then fixes Terry with a desperate stare, '... I can't get into the reactor room anymore - it's already far too hot for any human to survive long enough to do anything helpful. I'm begging you - seize whatever shreds of humanity you have left & try to prevent this disaster you've set in motion...'

Once Upon a Time...:

Linking with Blaze's mind Michael Davison finds himself falling... no, drifting... down through a Sunlit sky, until he's hovering above the courtyard of some temple or palace which seems to be right out of ancient Egypt... Although the people present (dressed in ancient Egyptian style garb) don't seem to be speaking English, he realises that he can understand them perfectly anyway: he recognises Nate & Emma as the Royal-looking pair seated on twin thrones. After a moment more Mike realises that he's naked, able to hover & fly, yet no-one seems able to see him... ::blink

Recalling previous practice with his abilities Mike decides that he's in Nate's mindscape - floating in what appears to be a memory of some sort. It's unusual: Mike's pretty sure that there's another mind present apart from his & Nates - yet he can't seem to latch onto it... logically it must be Emma's mind, but it seems somehow shielded from him. Still, he has no way of knowing if the memory he's witnessing is Nate's own, or something being shared by Emma...

Although still not fully sure of the extent of his own abilities Mike has the feeling that he could, by force of his own will & powers, manipulate events unfolding - even to add or delete things or, potentially, strengthen the recall to make the memory clearer... On the other hand, he's not too sure what that would do to Nate & Emma in their current states... ::unsure

... as Mike contemplates his next course of action, events continue to unfold...

"I... er... Yeah, I guess you.. uhm.. you could say that, m-my dear.."

Emma / the Queen takes her 'husband's offered hand, gracing him with a brief expression of concern she tries to hide from the courtiers...

"Lord Khepri, I have seen the future, and I know the road ahead for Egypt. In a hundred years you will be but a memory, one of many the children of your servants - er, or their children, maybe - will learn about in school. My advice to you is that you choose wisely when you decide how you want to be remembered. That will be all."

Somewhat taken aback Khepri opens his mouth to respond, but then appears to think better of it - instead mumbling the usual expected pleasantries as he bows his way back to the crowd...

"I need a break, Em.. er.. my love. Can we go somewhere private for a few minutes...?"

Nodding the Queen turns back to the assembled court,

'My husband has just received another vision. We will retire to contemplate this latest...'

'Hold!'

The cry which interupts the Queen comes from a figure which seemingly just appears out of thin air in the middle of the courtyard! Gasps rise from the crowd, & the few ceremonial guards present begin to rush forward - only to be stopped by a wave of the Queen's hand. Clad head to toe in desert-style robes the figure's face is hidden, but his voice strong & clear,

'Great Ones,' he begins, adressing the Royal Couple, 'I too have seen the future, & it is not what you would have us think. Your time, the time of your kind, is not now - it can't be now. Such fundamental changes to mankind can't be rushed - not without dire consequences: war, destruction, even the ultimate death of the world. You dabble in things best left alone. Although your hearts are in the right place, mankind is not yet ready to ascend to the heights you promise. I beg you to stay your hands in these matters, to live your lives as worthy rulers, but not to advance this agenda you propose. I say this as one who has seen what is to come, not as an empty threat: if you try to do these things, I will stop you.'

All eyes turn to the pharoah...

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Zanzibar Nights:

"First of all... only my grandmother calls me Vincent."

Adam smiles slightly,

'As you wish, Mister Gigante - we can keep this formal.'

"Second: Do you really think my family would honour any.. arrangement we make here and now, under these circumstances? Not only am I talking to the FBI's most wanted con man, he's got a hostage and has me surrounded..."

Holding up his hands in mock surrender Vaughn shakes his head slightly,

'Let' see... none of those charges were ever proved, you have a hostage as valuable to me as mine is to you, & I seriously doubt that you'd have come here alone if you thought being surrounded by my Templars was in any way a disadvantage to you.' ::sly

"Now, although you and me might be able to work something out... Surely you see they have no choice but to treat my opinion of you with extreme scepticism...?"

Vaughn sighs,

'Yes,' he admits, 'I get that a lot. Look, Mister Gigante, the point I'm trying to make here is that all parties can profit - instead of slaughtering each other. While I may have a reputation for a certain amount of... charm, shall we say?.. I also believe that you're a man not without wits & resources of your own. I'm not about to ask you to sign anything in blood here & now...' Vaughn chuckles at his own wit [ ::rolleyes ], '... just promise to consider what I propose when you leave this place.'

Taking a step forward Vaughn glances at Dee where she remains by Vinnie's side, then looks again back at the Elite,

'You're already aware, I'm sure, of the "Demon's Blood" my group produces?' at the mention of the drug Dee looks up with longing, but quickly she averts her eyes. Vaughn ignores her & continues, 'We propose to wipe out the scourge of drug addiction from our streets - through the use of Demon's Blood. It erradicates other addictions, leaving just the one, generally harmless, longing for the Blood itself. We produce the substance - but with the help of your family we could distribute it much more effectively. I know it's asking a lot for your people to give up their concerns in the illegal drugs trade - but this simplifies everything for you: just one product to worry about, & one which won't kill off the addicts & cut your flow of revenue. Your people will destroy their competition over night - the Blood can only be obtained from us, & I'm offering an exclusive deal.' Glancing once more at Dee Vaughn smiles slightly, 'I could even be pursuaded to throw in a sweetener or two if you're so inclined, Mister Gigante...' ::devil ::sly

Above the criminal negotiations The Stranger [comes complete with Stranger Belt accessory! ::biggrin ] notes that the manacles holding Ms Cable are locked with your basic padlock rather than anything fancy. He also postulates that the 'device' surrounding her would only block Quantum powers from passing over its threshold - it wouldn't block physical movement in any way, shape, or form - so a guy like Vinnie couldn't teleport into the ring, but he could simply walk in.

Of course, the issue really isn't so much freeing Ms Cable, as it is being given the opportunity to free her... ::sly

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'Hold!'

The cry which interupts the Queen comes from a figure which seemingly just appears out of thin air in the middle of the courtyard! Gasps rise from the crowd, & the few ceremonial guards present begin to rush forward - only to be stopped by a wave of the Queen's hand. Clad head to toe in desert-style robes the figure's face is hidden, but his voice strong & clear,

'Great Ones,' he begins, adressing the Royal Couple, 'I too have seen the future, & it is not what you would have us think. Your time, the time of your kind, is not now - it can't be now. Such fundamental changes to mankind can't be rushed - not without dire consequences: war, destruction, even the ultimate death of the world. You dabble in things best left alone. Although your hearts are in the right place, mankind is not yet ready to ascend to the heights you promise. I beg you to stay your hands in these matters, to live your lives as worthy rulers, but not to advance this agenda you propose. I say this as one who has seen what is to come, not as an empty threat: if you try to do these things, I will stop you.'

*I know that... Everybody knows there was never a nova age in Egypt, but..* Nathan glances at his queen out of the corner of his eye as he listens, *..but she doesn't know that. And what's so bad about schools, anyway? And did this happen to Akhenaten too? What did he do? Will I mess up Emma's memories if I do something else? Am I him..?* ::confused ::wacko

All eyes turn to the pharoah...
Nathan raises his hand to his face for a second or two, massaging his temples, then pinching the bridge of his nose before he faces the stranger. The glare from his shining eyes sharpens a fraction as he frowns, raising his hand. For a second the crowd is suspended in silence.

"Ok, hang on. First thing first. Who the hell are you?"

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Zanzibar Nights:

Above the criminal negotiations The Stranger [comes complete with Stranger Belt accessory! ::biggrin ] notes that the manacles holding Ms Cable are locked with your basic padlock rather than anything fancy. He also postulates that the 'device' surrounding her would only block Quantum powers from passing over its threshold - it wouldn't block physical movement in any way, shape, or form - so a guy like Vinnie couldn't teleport into the ring, but he could simply walk in.

Of course, the issue really isn't so much freeing Ms Cable, as it is being given the opportunity to free her... ::sly

Extremely unhappy with the manner and topic of these...negotiations...The Stranger decides now might be a good time to start changing the subject. Using the subvocal microphone attached to his throat beneath his mask, he tries to contact Vinnie's other helper on this little mission. "Slither. I think I can free Ms. Cable fairly easily, but I need a distraction. Something that's enough to at least get the attention of the guards that are closest to the stage long enough for me to get her free. Don't move until I say, just think about it."

While Slither mulls that over, the vigilante addresses Ghost next. "This is Stranger...I have an idea for how to free Ms. Cable and get us all out of here with as little bloodshed as possible. The lock holding her restraints is simple; seems like Adam here is depending on the dampening field more than he should. I've asked Slither to create a distraction when I say. When that happens, I will be at Ms. Cable in seconds, and get her free. As soon as I remove her from the dampening field, you can teleport her to safety and then come back for Slither and myself. If we're quick enough, we should be able to get out with no casualties. If you're even quicker, you might be able to grab Adam too, on the last trip. Shrug your shoulders if you understand and approve."

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Sighing Masters sits forward in his chair & looks Will in the eye,

'Look, I still need someone in Japan, Will - & it looks like Blaze is going to be out of commision for a while. I'd really prefer to keep you here until you've finished "learning the ropes" but - if you're up for it - I think you're ready to branch out a little...' flashing a small smile he adds, '... just don't tell your dad...'

Leaning back in his chair again Masters steeples his fingers & looks at Will over the top of them,

'If you're interested then you can take the sub-orbital: I'll arrange for my nephew Takashi to meet you on arrival - he heads our Asian concerns as the managing director of Masters International Automations. Actually he's been quietly pressing for some Nova support for a while now - but until today there was never any evidence of any particular threat. Still, having said that, I think you'd better arrive in your business threads - you're still here to learn the game, after all...'

With a nod and a thought Will's euphibre shifts into a blue pistriped suit.

"To Japan then, take care of Nate while I'm gone".

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'Sir,' he begins, bowing low, 'this facility is powered by an experimental fusion reactor: it's designed to take in sea water & convert it into plasma energy. The damage we have sustained has caused the reactor's safety measures to fail - in a matter of minutes it will go critical & explode. The resulting fireball is almost guaranteed to trigger an eruption of the volcantic region we're positioned on. If that happens then the resulting environmental disaster will be catastophic: Japan alone will be hit by tidal waves & earthquakes the likes of which she's never yet experienced - not to mention the effects on other countries nearby! There could even be a chain-reaction setting off the volcanoes linked to this one...' the man shakes his head with the sheer horror of it all, then fixes Terry with a desperate stare, '... I can't get into the reactor room anymore - it's already far too hot for any human to survive long enough to do anything helpful. I'm begging you - seize whatever shreds of humanity you have left & try to prevent this disaster you've set in motion...'
Glacier starts walking speedily towards the reactor room (assuming he knows where it is), gesturing for the others to follow as he does.

"Tell me what to do to halt the reactor's breakdown.."

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Once Upon a Time...:

Linking with Blaze's mind Michael Davison finds himself falling... no, drifting... down through a Sunlit sky, until he's hovering above the courtyard of some temple or palace which seems to be right out of ancient Egypt... Although the people present (dressed in ancient Egyptian style garb) don't seem to be speaking English, he realises that he can understand them perfectly anyway: he recognises Nate & Emma as the Royal-looking pair seated on twin thrones. After a moment more Mike realises that he's naked, able to hover & fly, yet no-one seems able to see him...

Recalling previous practice with his abilities Mike decides that he's in Nate's mindscape - floating in what appears to be a memory of some sort. It's unusual: Mike's pretty sure that there's another mind present apart from his & Nates - yet he can't seem to latch onto it... logically it must be Emma's mind, but it seems somehow shielded from him. Still, he has no way of knowing if the memory he's witnessing is Nate's own, or something being shared by Emma...

Although still not fully sure of the extent of his own abilities Mike has the feeling that he could, by force of his own will & powers, manipulate events unfolding - even to add or delete things or, potentially, strengthen the recall to make the memory clearer... On the other hand, he's not too sure what that would do to Nate & Emma in their current states...

Mike looks around at the surroundings, instinctively covering his naked body with his arms, even though he had finally realized that no one could see him. He could still feel the butterflies in his stomach from his initial descent before he had found that he could control it, even fly. It started to make sense; he was inside Blaze's mind, and that was where Mike's unique gifts have given him power; in other people's minds.

He wasn't really worried about himself, he was fairly certain that nothing here could hurt him, but he was worried about Blaze... and Emma. If he tried to do too much, he could damage their memories, their minds; or even worse, awaken Nefertiti in the real world. He decided to watch events unfold for now.

As the new stranger appeared, Mike slowly descended, hovering just above the man. Testing the limits of his new powers, he imagines a set of robes, identical to the newcomer, clothing him as well.

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Clearing his throat & moistening his lips the crewman's eyes dart between the taint-fest which is the Terat Novas, finally settling on addressing his comments to Terry - the least disturbing of the trio,

'Sir,' he begins, bowing low, 'this facility is powered by an experimental fusion reactor: it's designed to take in sea water & convert it into plasma energy. The damage we have sustained has caused the reactor's safety measures to fail - in a matter of minutes it will go critical & explode. The resulting fireball is almost guaranteed to trigger an eruption of the volcantic region we're positioned on. If that happens then the resulting environmental disaster will be catastophic: Japan alone will be hit by tidal waves & earthquakes the likes of which she's never yet experienced - not to mention the effects on other countries nearby! There could even be a chain-reaction setting off the volcanoes linked to this one...' the man shakes his head with the sheer horror of it all, then fixes Terry with a desperate stare, '... I can't get into the reactor room anymore - it's already far too hot for any human to survive long enough to do anything helpful. I'm begging you - seize whatever shreds of humanity you have left & try to prevent this disaster you've set in motion...'

Terry eyes the crewman with his dark orbs

"Events you've set in motion by placing such a dangerous power source here...and an experimental one at that."

Glacier starts walking speedily towards the reactor room (assuming he knows where it is), gesturing for the others to follow as he does.

"Tell me what to do to halt the reactor's breakdown.."

Terry nods

"Cool the reactor Glacier, buy us some time. I will make sure that this aberration doesn't destroy everything...and that nothing's left to rebuild..."

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Past Times:

"Ok, hang on. First thing first. Who the hell are you?"

Floating unseen above the robed visitor to the Pharoah's court Mike contemplates 'creating' himself a set of clothes... of course, since he's undetectable to everyone else in the mindscape, & knows that his 'body' is nothing but his own self-image visualised within that mindscape, the concept of - basically - tricking his own mind into imagining that he's actually clothed seems somehow a wasted effort... While altering things within the mindscape would amount to altering the memories playing through Nate's head, altering Mike's own perceptions of events would, at best, be counterproductive... ::wacko Suddenly Mike recalls the classic retaliating jeers of the nerds at school as he realises that the day has finally come when studying something scientific, like psychology, would probably have helped him out more here than his long career as a jock... ::sly

While Mike tries to get to grips with the (un)realities of his current situation, the robed stranger replies to 'Akhenaten's question,

'My name, Great One, is of no consequence,' he responds - even as he does so his form begins to blur, almost as if he were moving at incredible speed, although he remains for the moment where he stands; his final words sound as if they drift back to the court over a great distance, 'if you have truly seen the future, then you know I speak the truth...'

Uttering those few final words the stranger vanishes, just as he arrived...

::blink

... The world fades to white...

::blink

... The Queen's chariot skids, then tumbles, as the driver is transfixed by a spear hurled from within the caves ahead: Nefertiti's yell can be heard above the sounds of the battle as the chariot crashes to its side & she's thrown clear, rolling across the night-dark desert rock as the soldiers of the Royal Scorpion regiment try to catch up as best they can on foot!

Still trying to get used to the sudden jumps in time Blaze finds himself hovering in a starlit night sky as below him maybe a hundred or so Royal soldiers - each carrying shield, spear, & khopesh sword & clad in linen kilt, sandels, & headress - surge forward, shields held high, in an attempt to protect their Queen from the rain of spears which erupt from the cave mouths in the rocks ahead. Lurking in the cover of those caves Nate can just make out the forms of the many robed men whose weapons now pepper his own charging army. Several soldiers manage to form a defensive ring around the fallen Queen - but she soon pushes herself to her feet, looking more angry than hurt: & quite majestic in her golden breastplate, skirt, sandels, & crown which surely must be more ornamental than practical.

Using the moment afforded her by the shield-wall of her troops the Queen glances towards her fallen charioteer then, with a shout of determination, casts her hands forth towards the caves: a golden nimbus of solar fire begins to dance across her skin, followed by gouts of flame erupting from her hands & scorching the cave from where that first spear issued. The soldiers of the Scorpion regiment let cry with a cheer in response to the Great Royal Wife's powerful magics, then leap forward - at her command - to take the high ground whilst they have an opening...

... Mike, almost as confused as Nate by the sudden shift of scene, finds himself hovering just above the battle as ancient troops surge beneath him & spears fill the air - when one passes right through him without impediment Mister Davison decides that he must be intangible as well as invisible... ::unsure

First Class:

"To Japan then, take care of Nate while I'm gone."

Shortly after, William finds himself on board one of Masters' sub-orbital jets: this one decked out to be the most plush of private planes: after the initial hard climb the aircraft levels out & Will has to decided whether to focus his attention on the view out the window (the stars are crystal clear in the vastness of space above, & below is far enough down that the curvature of the Earth can be seen ::blink ), or the view inside (the two 'air hostesses' Masters has employed are, as one would expect from a guy like the old man, absolute stunners ::drool - the African girl speaks with a charming French accent, & the Thai hostess keeps getting this cute little smile every time she catches Will's eye... ::blush ).

It's after maybe ten minutes of level flight, when the hostesses have left to fix Will a snack (Nova munchies), that he hears a rather suspicious bumping noise coming from the luggage compartment at the rear of the plane... ::unsure

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Cool It!:

"Events you've set in motion by placing such a dangerous power source here...and an experimental one at that."

The crewman opens his mouth, as if to protest, but then appears to think better of it, & instead trots along after Glacier (at a safe distance, although he still shivers in the chill air left in the path of the bear)...

"Tell me what to do to halt the reactor's breakdown.."

As the group reach the short, airlock style, corridor linking to the central fusion plant the crewman stops - already the great heat being generated can be felt, even through the twin reinforced bulkheads. Looking at Glacier, the urgency of the situation seeming to have countered his native terror of the tainted Nova somewhat, he tries his best to explain,

'There's an emergency manual shutdown system: the large central instrument panel on the opposite side of the reactor control room. You'll see a locked cover in the centre of the panel... I don't have the key so you'll need to remove it by force... inside there's a level - pull it out until it clicks & turn it one-hundred & eighty degrees clockwise. That should blow the generators which power the plasma ignition system, & flood the chamber with coolant.'

"Cool the reactor Glacier, buy us some time. I will make sure that this aberration doesn't destroy everything...and that nothing's left to rebuild..."

A look of intense concentration forms on Terry's face, a shudder passes through the facility, a bead of sweat trickles down the side of Terry's cheek, creaks & groans echo throughout the undersea structure as it's strained to its limits... Suddenly there's a cracking boom as the entire structure rips free of its foundations & begins to rise rapidly towards the surface! As the facility lurches upwards the crewman is thrown off his feet & smacks his head off the wall, falling unconscious to the floor. Eel sways with the motion, bracing one hand against the side of the corridor,

'Wow, Nathanson,' she comments with a genuine look of admiration in her eyes, 'that's pretty hardcore!' ::blink

Terry finds himself unable to reply through gritted teeth - it feels as if his head's about to burst & his veins about to pop, but he's doing it, he's actually managing to twist gravity enough that the facility is 'falling' upwards!

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Extremely unhappy with the manner and topic of these...negotiations...The Stranger decides now might be a good time to start changing the subject. Using the subvocal microphone attached to his throat beneath his mask, he tries to contact Vinnie's other helper on this little mission. "Slither. I think I can free Ms. Cable fairly easily, but I need a distraction. Something that's enough to at least get the attention of the guards that are closest to the stage long enough for me to get her free. Don't move until I say, just think about it."

Carla is relieved to hear the Stranger's voice - at least someone was not enamored of Master Adam; still keeping her eyes on the proceedings, she broadcasts a whispered reply.

"I do good distraction; in fact, I already have a few ideas. Let me know when you want me to move."

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First Class:

Shortly after, William finds himself on board one of Masters' sub-orbital jets: this one decked out to be the most plush of private planes: after the initial hard climb the aircraft levels out & Will has to decided whether to focus his attention on the view out the window (the stars are crystal clear in the vastness of space above, & below is far enough down that the curvature of the Earth can be seen ::blink ), or the view inside (the two 'air hostesses' Masters has employed are, as one would expect from a guy like the old man, absolute stunners ::drool - the African girl speaks with a charming French accent, & the Thai hostess keeps getting this cute little smile every time she catches Will's eye... ::blush ).

Will lets out a near silent chuckle, and very deffinately out of earshot of the hostesses whispers to himself "Masters you old dog, you never cease to amaze me".

Returning to the captivating vision outside his window, his mind heavy with thoughts of Blaze's fate, the events of the past few months, the burden of his newfound responsibility, and the revelation of his nova name Prophet a name he didn't quite chose for himself or may have later in life he's not quite sure Paradox is so confusing.

It's after maybe ten minutes of level flight, when the hostesses have left to fix Will a snack (Nova munchies), that he hears a rather suspicious bumping noise coming from the luggage compartment at the rear of the plane... ::unsure

No one could have got onboard with the old man's security being so tight, surely... Can't take that chance, not after all that's happened Lighting up the interior of the craft in a brilliant red flare, William Henessie channels his more distructive powers and his hands blaze with crimson light, while his body becomes engulfed the warm glow of his protective field.

Facing the luggage compartment Will booms "Show yourself!"

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Open emergency panel by force, pull out level, turn one-eighty degrees clockwise.

"Got it."

Glacier opens the door, using force if necessary, and charges into the engine room, keeping an eye out for the instrument panel.

Terry finds himself unable to reply through gritted teeth - it feels as if his head's about to burst & his veins about to pop, but he's doing it, he's actually managing to twist gravity enough that the facility is 'falling' upwards!

"Hwaaa! I'll kill you Terry!" the group hears Glacier shout in surprise from the engine room as gravity is suddenly reversed.

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Stowaway:

"Show yourself!"

In response to Will's demand there are a few more bumping noises, followed by some muffled swearing...

... a few moments later the door to the luggage compartment slides open & young Natalia Masters tumbles out! Pushing herself to her feet she brushes her platinum blonde hair out of her pale blue eyes, & sets her hands firmly on her shapely denim-clad hips. Along with the skintight jeans she's wearing a simple plain white T-shirt with a rather battered old leather flying jacket over the top, & trainers on her feet. She casts a rather pouty glance at the glowing Nova,

'Geez Will,' she says in a reprimanding tone, 'no need to be so pushy. I'm just hitching a lift, that's all.'

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Stowaway:

'Geez Will,' she says in a reprimanding tone, 'no need to be so pushy. I'm just hitching a lift, that's all.'

Will's stunned expression is hard to conceal ::huh . Disengaging his powers he aproaches Natalia, suddenly having that all too familiar guilt pain weigh heavily in his gut whenever he's been near the girl since her kidnapping.

"Nat, what are you doing here? You know what, it doesn't matter, I won't be able to convince you to go back anyway... My only question is, why Japan?

He says suddenly not caring that Masters would probably have his head for not trying to get his granddaughter back home. For some unknown reason Will was alittle releaved to have her onboard with him.

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Sub-orbit:

"Nat, what are you doing here? You know what, it doesn't matter, I won't be able to convince you to go back anyway... My only question is, why Japan?"

Natalia unconsciously takes a step backwards as Will approaches her, then hugs her arms around herself & turns away from him,

'I like Japan,' she replies, trying to ignore the tension in the air, 'uncle Tak is great fun - I'm pretty sure he'll smooth things over with granddad without sending me back to captivity. Besides,' she lets out a heartfelt sigh & sinks into one of the plush recliners which furnish the aircraft, pulling her legs up & staring out of the window at the awe inspiring vista, 'I really needed a change of scene.'

After a few silent moments gazing out into space Natalia murmurs,

'You know Will, my folks are out there somewhere - doing whatever super-important work granddad has people doing in space... I don't know, maybe I should do that too, you know - jump planet...'

She stares out the window for a few more long moments, then turns back to Will - although she refuses to look him in the eyes, instead focusing on a loose thread on her jeans, causing her long hair to fall forward & conceal her face,

'I...' she begins, voice barely above a whisper as she struggles to get the words out, '... thanks for... thanks for saving me, Will...'

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Sub-orbit:

'I like Japan,' she replies, trying to ignore the tension in the air, 'uncle Tak is great fun - I'm pretty sure he'll smooth things over with granddad without sending me back to captivity. Besides,' she lets out a heartfelt sigh & sinks into one of the plush recliners which furnish the aircraft, pulling her legs up & staring out of the window at the awe inspiring vista, 'I really needed a change of scene.'

The faintest of smiles crosses the young nova's face for a moment "I think I understand...".

'You know Will, my folks are out there somewhere - doing whatever super-important work granddad has people doing in space... I don't know, maybe I should do that too, you know - jump planet...'

"What does your gut tell you? I mean other than 'Oh no! Space sickness!'" he blurts out to lighten the mood just alittle. "Is it to get away from everything?" Will regreting asking as the words leave his mouth.

'I...' she begins, voice barely above a whisper as she struggles to get the words out, '... thanks for... thanks for saving me, Will...'

Feeling his whole body tense as parts of his mind scream and break NO! She can't thank me! It was my fault! NO! It's not right... She'll hate you if you don't accept it, that is if she doesn't already.... Will takes control of himself once again but can't bring himself to speak and just nods exaggerated enough for her to be able to see the motion ::closedeyes .

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A look of intense concentration forms on Terry's face, a shudder passes through the facility, a bead of sweat trickles down the side of Terry's cheek, creaks & groans echo throughout the undersea structure as it's strained to its limits... Suddenly there's a cracking boom as the entire structure rips free of its foundations & begins to rise rapidly towards the surface! As the facility lurches upwards the crewman is thrown off his feet & smacks his head off the wall, falling unconscious to the floor. Eel sways with the motion, bracing one hand against the side of the corridor,

'Wow, Nathanson,' she comments with a genuine look of admiration in her eyes, 'that's pretty hardcore!' blink.gif

Terry finds himself unable to reply through gritted teeth - it feels as if his head's about to burst & his veins about to pop, but he's doing it, he's actually managing to twist gravity enough that the facility is 'falling' upwards!

"Hwaaa! I'll kill you Terry!" the group hears Glacier shout in surprise from the engine room as gravity is suddenly reversed.

Terry makes no attempt to reply as he concentrates on the still delicate situation. The station was rising...but there was also a ship somewhere above that could overturn should the station rise out too fast.

Eyes now closed, the nova tries to slow down the station's ascent as it reaches the surface...Once he no longer feels the waters resistance on the station, the nova lets the station fall upwards as fast as he can...

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Melting Moments:

"Got it."

As the first airlock-style bulkhead slides closed behind him & the second begins to open Glacier feels a wash of intense heat from the reactor control room: the inner door jams half-way, but even with just a small portion on the inferno exposed the temperature is so high that it would be fatal to any baseline. Grasping the edge of the jammed door Glacier half-forces, half-rips, the thing clear so that he can step into the control room proper.

The control room proves to be a circular area surrounding the plasma chamber itself - a metallic sphere maybe four meters across which takes up the centre of the room. Several small windows of clear, thick, vitrium glass reveal the blinding white-hot energized gas which broils & surges within the sphere. Heavily insulated cables run off from the sphere into wall mountings, & the walls of the control room itself are lined with banks of sophisticated monitoring & regulation equipment. Or, at least, they used to be...

... Fire dances across every surface of the room, the wall monitors are all shattered & melting, here & there still-live systems spray electrical sparks to add to the chaos - a glance at the plasma sphere itself reveals slowly spreading cracks across its surface...

Just as John's taking in the devestated scene the whole facility surges & leaps under his feet as Terry does his stuff - while Glacier's personal gravity is left alone, the sudden upward movement still causes him to stumble & brace himself against a wall: hyper-cold & intense-heat clashing to cause gouts of steam to fill the air, & the surface of the wall to explosively shatter!

"Hwaaa! I'll kill you Terry!"

Regaining his balance John makes his way round to the manual shut-off panel... only to find that too has melted! Ripping the panel away from the wall his worst fears are recognised - the mechanism inside is nothing but useless slag...

... Suddenly both a blinding light & an even greater heat radiate from behind Glacier - turning he sees that one of the cracks in the plasma sphere has widened & superheated star-stuff is starting to spiral into the room! Even though he's enduring the heat & fires, John's pretty certain that actually coming into direct contact with the plasma would be a Bad Thing™...

Outside the connecting corridor to the reactor room Terry waits to feel the water resistance on the rising facility lessen... but the facility was really far underwater, & all too soon he feels the effects of his surge of power begining to fade. Try as he may Terry can't keep the facility heading upwards - as his power levels drop back to their normal thresholds he feels the area he's controlling gravity over shrink, along with the intensity of his gravitational field, until he's just managing to maintain a neutral zero-G. Unfortunately the mass of the facility beyond his control starts to drag the whole thing back towards the ocean floor - albeit at a much slowed pace thanks to Terry's efforts.

Looking a little worried Eel asks,

'What can I do to help?' ::unsure

Land of the Rising Sun:

Natalia remains quiet for the rest of the journey - curled into her chair & staring out of the window. Of course, since the entire trip from New York to Tokyo takes less than forty-five minutes the silence isn't really that bad...

Following the hyperjet's drastic descent & a perfect, smooth, landing the plane finally rolls to a halt & the two hostesses (both of whom tactfully make no comment about Natalia's sudden arrival) open the door & lower the steps. Waiting outside is not only a polished black limo, but a polished black flying limo: the air-car is currently landed, but looks as sleekly hi-tech as anything out of a sci-fi animé. Standing next to the car are a rather gorgeous Asian woman in a mini-skirted chauffeuse outfit, & a strikingly handsome Asian man in, perhaps, his late thirties clad in an impeccable, but understated, business suit. Spotting the man as she emerges from the aircraft Natalia's expression bursts into a beaming grin ::biggrin ,

'Uncle Tak!' she yelps, leaping down the steps to be swept-up in the Japanese businessman's embrace - his smile almost matches hers ::smile , although he manages to keep it in check with the sort of reserve Will has come to expect from the old man himself. Finally setting his 'niece' down Takashi exchanges a few words of Japanese with her (Natalia appears to speak fluent Japanese!), before taking a step towards Will & offering his hand in a Western-style greeting,

'Ah - the younger Henessie,' he says, still smiling, 'I hear we have a great deal to thank you for - I'm sure your father is very proud. Welcome to Japan - I am Takashi Masters, it is an honour to meet you.'

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Melting Moments:

As the first airlock-style bulkhead slides closed behind him & the second begins to open Glacier feels a wash of intense heat from the reactor control room: the inner door jams half-way, but even with just a small portion on the inferno exposed the temperature is so high that it would be fatal to any baseline. Grasping the edge of the jammed door Glacier half-forces, half-rips, the thing clear so that he can step into the control room proper.

The control room proves to be a circular area surrounding the plasma chamber itself - a metallic sphere maybe four meters across which takes up the centre of the room. Several small windows of clear, thick, vitrium glass reveal the blinding white-hot energized gas which broils & surges within the sphere. Heavily insulated cables run off from the sphere into wall mountings, & the walls of the control room itself are lined with banks of sophisticated monitoring & regulation equipment. Or, at least, they used to be...

... Fire dances across every surface of the room, the wall monitors are all shattered & melting, here & there still-live systems spray electrical sparks to add to the chaos - a glance at the plasma sphere itself reveals slowly spreading cracks across its surface...

Just as John's taking in the devestated scene the whole facility surges & leaps under his feet as Terry does his stuff - while Glacier's personal gravity is left alone, the sudden upward movement still causes him to stumble & brace himself against a wall: hyper-cold & intense-heat clashing to cause gouts of steam to fill the air, & the surface of the wall to explosively shatter!

,,

Regaining his balance John makes his way round to the manual shut-off panel... only to find that too has melted! Ripping the panel away from the wall his worst fears are recognised - the mechanism inside is nothing but useless slag...

... Suddenly both a blinding light & an even greater heat radiate from behind Glacier - turning he sees that one of the cracks in the plasma sphere has widened & superheated star-stuff is starting to spiral into the room! Even though he's enduring the heat & fires, John's pretty certain that actually coming into direct contact with the plasma would be a Bad Thing™...

Outside the connecting corridor to the reactor room Terry waits to feel the water resistance on the rising facility lessen... but the facility was really far underwater, & all too soon he feels the effects of his surge of power begining to fade. Try as he may Terry can't keep the facility heading upwards - as his power levels drop back to their normal thresholds he feels the area he's controlling gravity over shrink, along with the intensity of his gravitational field, until he's just managing to maintain a neutral zero-G. Unfortunately the mass of the facility beyond his control starts to drag the whole thing back towards the ocean floor - albeit at a much slowed pace thanks to Terry's efforts.

Looking a little worried Eel asks,

'What can I do to help?' ::unsure

Terry sighs and opens his eyes, looking at Eel

"We need to help Glacier with the core...Go to engineering and blow whatever generators you can see! I'll see what I can do with the core itself."

The nova flies towards the power core, noting the unconscious crewmember on his way in. Gravitic forces pull the crewmember slightly away around a corner.

"Glacier! You've got to fight the heat, keep it cool!"

Terry looks around trying to find anything that could help defuse the situation

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... Suddenly both a blinding light & an even greater heat radiate from behind Glacier - turning he sees that one of the cracks in the plasma sphere has widened & superheated star-stuff is starting to spiral into the room!

Glacier dives out of the way, his anima turning opaque and white as he rolls to the side of the room. [Dodge and activate FF].

"Glacier! You've got to fight the heat, keep it cool!"

"Fine!" Glacier yells.

The crewman said I was trying to flood the reactor with coolant. Well, there's plenty of coolant on hand...

Crackling black claws emerge from the large paws of his bear anima, and Glacier slams a mighty paw into the reactor room wall, trying to tear a massive hole in it.

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Land of the Rising Sun:

'Ah - the younger Henessie,' he says, still smiling, 'I hear we have a great deal to thank you for - I'm sure your father is very proud. Welcome to Japan - I am Takashi Masters, it is an honour to meet you.'

Will takes his hand "The Honour is mine, Mr. Masters" Lot's of Masters in my life lately... Will says respectfully.

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Rising Heat:

"We need to help Glacier with the core...Go to engineering and blow whatever generators you can see! I'll see what I can do with the core itself."

Eel nods, sparing Terry any of her usual backchat,

'Right,' she agrees, undulating quickly round the corner... Terry moves the KO'd crewman after her, although the zip's already showing signs of light burns, despite the one remaining sealed bulkhead between them & the plasma core...

... forcing that last bulkhead aside with his powers Terry feels like he's entering a wall of heat - the control room ahead of him is ablaze, with leaking plasma-streams whipping about like crazed tendrils...

"Glacier! You've got to fight the heat, keep it cool!"
"Fine!"

Rolling aside Glacier manages to avoid the worst of the plasma-stream - it just catches the edge of his force field, hissing into steam as it does so. As Glacier punches his claws through the wall, Terry begins to gravitically rip the pipework off the spherical core - trying to pull it free. Insulated cables pulled apart by Terry shower electrical sparks into the room (from the ends still attached to the core), just as Glacier rips a fist-sized hole in the heavily-armoured hull...

... High-pressure sea-water blasts through the breach in the hull, slamming into Glacier with enough force that even the bear is hard-pressed to maintain his footing... hard-pressed, but still strong enough to manage it. The water which impacts Glacier's hypercold anima instantly freezes showering off him in small shards & chunks of ice, just like those which stream off him when he's swimming: the scattered ice shards then explosively burst into steam as they hit the incredible heat coming from the sphere! Within moments the chamber is filled with boiling steam, plasma, & a storm of lightning as the (now unregulated) vast amounts of power being generated by the plasma sphere discharge into the moist air - the two Terats feels as if they're in the very heart of the inferno... ::devil

[Although the Force Fields of the two Novas are preventing them from taking any actual damage at the moment, the environment in the chamber is seriously reducing their dice pools...]

Since neither Terry nor John are what you'd call 'scientist' types they're both unsure as to what they expect to happen as the sea water continues to flood the chamber - but as far as they can tell it mostly seems to be filling the room with steam, with no real signs of the core cooling any... & an ever-mounting pressure begining to build... ::unsure

VIP Welcome:

"The Honour is mine, Mr. Masters"

Masters gestures to the car, & the chauffeuse quickly moves to open the back door for the small group...

... Suddenly a figure descends from the sky, bathed in translucent golden flames, & hovers above the aircar! The figure's skintight white uniform - emblazoned with the red circle of the Japanese flag & accessorised with hard-armour knee, forearm, shoulder, & neck plates (& sporting high-heels!) - does nothing to hide her athletic Nova-physique. Lens-like discs on the armoured plates glow with a golden light mimicing that of the aura surrounding her. Will instantly recognises the woman as Kou ('Phoenix') - the leader of Japan's Nippontai Nova team. Folding her arms across her chest Kou peers down at the small group, but before she can speak Takashi Masters grins & waves,

'Kou,' he exclaims happily (in English), 'you're right on time! I'd like you to meet my niece, Natalia, & this young man is Willian Henessie,' he indicates Natalia & Will, then adds, with a sly smile, 'he's a Nova... but then I imagine you already know that, right?' ::sly

Kou's eyes narrow as she focuses on Masters,

'What's your game?' she demands (in Japanese), 'Flying hyperjets & Novas into the country... It's enough to make anyone suspicious...'

Masters manages an Oscar-winning combination of 'hurt at the implication' & 'gently amused' as he shrugs & offers,

'The jet's a toy - with all the proper flight plans & landing clearances booked, of course. Will here is an old family friend - you can check that too if you like, although I'd much rather you took my word for it: after all, you used to trust me when we were dating...' ::wink

Kou glares at Masters, her aura flaring briefly as she does so,

'Don't kid yourself, Takashi,' she fairly spits the reply, 'I trusted you even less then... & was proved right...' ::angry

Takashi's expression is pure innocence as he spreads his hands wide in supplication,

'Kou, honey - you know the twins didn't mean anything to me! It wasn't what you think! They were just rehersing their act for the circus...' ::innocent

Cutting Masters off with a pointed 'harumph' Kou turns her attention to Will,

'Welcome to Japan, Henessie-san,' she says (in English), bowing her head slightly, but keeping her eyes on Will the whole time, 'I hope your visit to our country will be... "uneventful"... I trust you understand..?' ::glare

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Rising Heat:

Eel nods, sparing Terry any of her usual backchat,

'Right,' she agrees, undulating quickly round the corner... Terry moves the KO'd crewman after her, although the zip's already showing signs of light burns, despite the one remaining sealed bulkhead between them & the plasma core...

... forcing that last bulkhead aside with his powers Terry feels like he's entering a wall of heat - the control room ahead of him is ablaze, with leaking plasma-streams whipping about like crazed tendrils...

Rolling aside Glacier manages to avoid the worst of the plasma-stream - it just catches the edge of his force field, hissing into steam as it does so. As Glacier punches his claws through the wall, Terry begins to gravitically rip the pipework off the spherical core - trying to pull it free. Insulated cables pulled apart by Terry shower electrical sparks into the room (from the ends still attached to the core), just as Glacier rips a fist-sized hole in the heavily-armoured hull...

... High-pressure sea-water blasts through the breach in the hull, slamming into Glacier with enough force that even the bear is hard-pressed to maintain his footing... hard-pressed, but still strong enough to manage it. The water which impacts Glacier's hypercold anima instantly freezes showering off him in small shards & chunks of ice, just like those which stream off him when he's swimming: the scattered ice shards then explosively burst into steam as they hit the incredible heat coming from the sphere! Within moments the chamber is filled with boiling steam, plasma, & a storm of lightning as the (now unregulated) vast amounts of power being generated by the plasma sphere discharge into the moist air - the two Terats feels as if they're in the very heart of the inferno... ::devil

[Although the Force Fields of the two Novas are preventing them from taking any actual damage at the moment, the environment in the chamber is seriously reducing their dice pools...]

Since neither Terry nor John are what you'd call 'scientist' types they're both unsure as to what they expect to happen as the sea water continues to flood the chamber - but as far as they can tell it mostly seems to be filling the room with steam, with no real signs of the core cooling any... & an ever-mounting pressure begining to build... ::unsure

Terry's Baritone voice booms through the chaos

"GLACIER!! WE....NEED...TO COOL...THE INSIDE...OF THE CORE!!!"

Through wisps of steam Glacier can see that Terry is actually standing on the ceiling, water gushing on the floor "above" him, as he screams

"I CAN TAKE YOU...IN...THERE...YOU'LL HAVE TO...GIVE IT YOUR ALL!! WE'LL ONLY HAVE...ONE SHOT"

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... High-pressure sea-water blasts through the breach in the hull, slamming into Glacier with enough force that even the bear is hard-pressed to maintain his footing... hard-pressed, but still strong enough to manage it. The water which impacts Glacier's hypercold anima instantly freezes showering off him in small shards & chunks of ice, just like those which stream off him when he's swimming: the scattered ice shards then explosively burst into steam as they hit the incredible heat coming from the sphere! Within moments the chamber is filled with boiling steam, plasma, & a storm of lightning as the (now unregulated) vast amounts of power being generated by the plasma sphere discharge into the moist air - the two Terats feels as if they're in the very heart of the inferno... ::devil

"GLACIER!! WE....NEED...TO COOL...THE INSIDE...OF THE CORE!!!"

Through wisps of steam Glacier can see that Terry is actually standing on the ceiling, water gushing on the floor "above" him, as he screams

"I CAN TAKE YOU...IN...THERE...YOU'LL HAVE TO...GIVE IT YOUR ALL!! WE'LL ONLY HAVE...ONE SHOT"

"GO!" howls Glacier.

He relaxes his body, and waits for Terry's gravitic powers to sweep him up. As he relaxes, he focuses his mind, stretching the outer limits of his quantum abilities, making it cold, cold, cold...

Maybe that practice with that bitch Psyche wasn't a total waste after all... Here's hoping.

[He's preparing a power-max, timed to coincide with his impacting the reactor core. The main goal is to add the Aggravated extra on to his Immolate, with any extra success going to his soak (if I can do that).]

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"GO!" howls Glacier.

He relaxes his body, and waits for Terry's gravitic powers to sweep him up. As he relaxes, he focuses his mind, stretching the outer limits of his quantum abilities, making it cold, cold, cold...

Maybe that practice with that bitch Psyche wasn't a total waste after all... Here's hoping.

[He's preparing a power-max, timed to coincide with his impacting the reactor core. The main goal is to add the Aggravated extra on to his Immolate, with any extra success going to his soak (if I can do that).]

Apparently when Terry says the inside, he means the inside...Space seems to stretch between the core and Glacier as Terry opens a warp between the two...all Glacier need do is take a step...

...

into the middle of burning plasma. ::jaw ::blink

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[Okay, so delay Glacier's power-max until he's through Terry's gate. In fact, as a Survivor, I bet he'd have to spend a Willpower in order to walk through it at all.]

Flaming debris and rushing water glancing off his hard anima, Glacier stares through the warp into the glowing hot core.

...a snowball's chance in Hell...

Still, the crewman said entire nations could be flooded. And he had no reason to lie. There's too much at risk.

Glacier looks over the warp, catching a last glance at the sinuous, seductive and, to him, beautiful, Eel, as she writhes out of the dangerous chamber on her way to the engine room. He hopes with all his heart that he survives this, to feel her lips against his again...

...as he steps through the portal. ::ohmy

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'Welcome to Japan, Henessie-san,' she says (in English), bowing her head slightly, but keeping her eyes on Will the whole time, 'I hope your visit to our country will be... "uneventful"... I trust you understand..?' ::glare

"Perfectly, Phoenix. No frightening the populous with nova powers for me, I'm just here to see the sights". ::biggrin

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Snowballs' Chance:

Steeling his will, fighting back the instinct to flee, to survive, Glacier steps through Terry's portal: from the proverbial frying pan of the devestated control room, into the very literal fire of the heart of a star...

... & screams.

Roaring with the primal rage ripped forth by sheer agony as his flesh, even within his protective anima, begins to melt from his bones Glacier tries to focus as Psyche taught him, tries to... but it's no good, it's too little, a tiny spark against the raging inferno... begining to black out John finds Psyche's words eclipsed by those of the Terats... desperate, he lets loose the bear - lets the full fury of his powers erupt out of him, doesn't try to cage them as Psyche would have him do, but guides them as they burst free... You're a Monster John, don't fight it: revel in it, use it - you are power incarnate, you are primal cold, no heat can stop you, nothing can stop you - unleash your true self: be free!

In the control room Terry just has time to note the wall of blue-white light & absolute cold rushing towards him from the sphere before it engulfs him, snuffing the chaotic storm in the room as it passes, chilling him to his bones - a cold even deeper than that he's felt in space...

...

...

...

... Terry's not sure how much time has passed when he opens his eyes again... minutes... seconds... more... less..? ::confused After a few moments he realises that he's completely submerged, & also that it's pitch black. His gravitic powers appear to have left him intact, & he's pretty sure he would have noticed an explosion on the scale the crewmember described... so did they stop it?

Suddenly Terry feels tremors passing through the water, violent vibrations... then his world is once more illuminated: for one daft moment the stray thought passes through his mind that he's in the presence of an angel - but his rational mind quickly takes over as he realises that the sinuous figure floating in front of him, glowing with beautiful multicoloured pastel bioluminescent light is the far from angellic Eel...

With Eel's glow illuminating the place Terry can see that the control room is mostly toast - added to the damage from the overloading plasma core there's the hole Glacier punched in the wall, & another, larger, hole which Eel seems to have ripped open in order to get inside. Floating in the centre of the room is - in the place of the plasma sphere - a scintillating, multifaceted, ball of ice! ::blink Sparing no more than a glance at Terry Eel swims over to the block of ice - then insinctively backs off as it's illuminated from within by a blue-white light: moments later cracks spread across the surface of the thing, then it explodes, showering the room with fragments of ice which proceed to slowly drift upwards. From the centre of the ice emerges the bear-anima of Glacier - looking exhausted, but none the worse for wear...

Mind finally managing to focus again John realises that he's alive, & that he managed to snuff out the plasma core! It was intense - he let out the fury of the beast, but under his direction - & it felt good... maybe that was what the Terats had been trying to tell him..? Coming to his senses he spots both Terry & Eel floating in the water staring at him - & Eel's skin is covered in patches of glowing light like some ephemeral spirit creature of myth - even more beautiful than ever! ::blink

The Good Guest:

"Perfectly, Phoenix. No frightening the populous with nova powers for me, I'm just here to see the sights"

Masters & Natalia both grin, & the chauffeuse hides a giggle behind her hand. Kou seems less amused but, with one final glance at Takashi, rises back up into the sky, before flying off to parts unknown...

Clapping a hand on Will's shoulder Takashi Masters says,

'Ex-girl-friends,' offering a conspiritorial wink ::wink , 'you know how it is...'

Without further ado Masters ushers his guests into the limo-style backseat of the aircar, where he joins them. The chauffeuse gets in the front &, with a few swift taps of controls, takes-off: the vehicle rises gracefully into the air, supported by powerful, & surprisingly quiet, fan-jets, hovers for a few seconds, then banks & zooms out into the Tokyo skyline. Once more Will & Natalia are graced by a magnificent view - this time of the gleaming skyscrapers of the city as their ride snakes between them, high above the terminally congested roads below.

'We've got a lot to talk about,' Masters says to Will, after giving the young Nova some time to enjoy the sights, 'but I'd be a poor host if I didn't let you two rest up a bit & eat a meal before we got down to business.' As he speaks the aircar reaches it's destination: one of the larger, newer, skyscrapers - all gleaming mirrored glass - with the Masters International logo formed into the glass itself. Climbing to circle the top of the building the aircar passengers are given a great view of the skyscraper's rooftop landing pad - nestled neatly next to the full Japanese gardens & swimming pool! Once the aircar touches down & the chauffeuse opens the door Will is further treated to the scent of cherry blossoms & flowers. As the passengers get out of the vehicle an attractive (naturally) Japanese woman in a rather flattering business outfit trots over to Takashi, PDA in hand & phone in ear, & starts to talk to the boss. Holding his hand up to pause her Takashi turns to Will & Natalia,

'I've got several urgent matters to attend to - Lin will see to your needs,' he indicates the chauffeuse, then adds as he turns back to his assistant, 'I'll see you both for dinner.'

As Takashi & his assistant head off, deep in discussion, the chauffeuse - Lin - steps over & bows,

'If you'd like to follow me,' she offers in (slightly accented) English, before leading the way through the rooftop garden to a set of stairs leading down into the building...

... The interior of MI Tokyo manages to be both hi-tech - with advanced materials used in the design, holographic displays, & automated aid everywhere - & classically elegant - with traditional Japanese designs used all over, a stone garden here or water feature there, paper screen walls, hanging lanterns, & the like. After changing into indoor footwear Lin leads the two guests to private rooms - Will finds his room is a rather spacious affair (especially for Tokyo), with a futon & other traditional Japanese furniture, a desk with a built-in computer & communications system (the screen is a wafer-thin slice of glass which looks more like a piece of art than a peripheral), & an ajoining bathroom (complete with circular wooden hot tub - ready filled with steaming water!).

'Please call if you require anything at all,' offers the chauffeuse, indicating the appropriate button on the communications suite, before leaving to show Natalia to her room down the hall.

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With Eel's glow illuminating the place Terry can see that the control room is mostly toast - added to the damage from the overloading plasma core there's the hole Glacier punched in the wall, & another, larger, hole which Eel seems to have ripped open in order to get inside. Floating in the centre of the room is - in the place of the plasma sphere - a scintillating, multifaceted, ball of ice! blink.gif Sparing no more than a glance at Terry Eel swims over to the block of ice - then insinctively backs off as it's illuminated from within by a blue-white light: moments later cracks spread across the surface of the thing, then it explodes, showering the room with fragments of ice which proceed to slowly drift upwards. From the centre of the ice emerges the bear-anima of Glacier - looking exhausted, but none the worse for wear...

Terry mouths the word "Wow" ::blink

Quickly regaining his composure, the nova looks at Eel and Glacier and points to his eyes with both fingers and gestures at the station. He then makes a crushing fist as he indicates that they should have one last look around to make sure that the station is adequately "destroyed".

Once they're satisfied with the outcome, the nova opens a warp to the Blackburn hotel...

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Past Times:

...

... Mike, almost as confused as Nate by the sudden shift of scene, finds himself hovering just above the battle as ancient troops surge beneath him & spears fill the air - when one passes right through him without impediment Mister Davison decides that he must be intangible as well as invisible... ::unsure

Instinctively flinching as the spear flies towards, and then through him, Mike pauses for a moment to take in his surroundings. Realizing he has absolutley no idea what's going on, he chalks up History as another one of the classes he should have probably spent more time paying attention in, and less time studying the weekend game strategy.

Shrugging, he floats down into the cave, trying to get a better look at what Nefertiti is attacking....

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...

...I'm cold.

Glacier slowly comes to, and realizes that he's completely encased in a shell of ice...

What is this? Am I... is this chrysalis?

He flexes his muscles, and the coccoon shatters, freeing him instantly.

Heh. I guess not.

Coming to his senses he spots both Terry & Eel floating in the water staring at him - & Eel's skin is covered in patches of glowing light like some ephemeral spirit creature of myth - even more beautiful than ever!

"PblblbEebbll!" bubbles Glacier happily, pointlessly emptying his unused lungs. He then wraps his fishy lover in a massive bear-hug, kissing her enthusiastically in spite of his own fatigue.

Quickly regaining his composure, the nova looks at Eel and Glacier and points to his eyes with both fingers and gestures at the station. He then makes a crushing fist as he indicates that they should have one last look around to make sure that the station is adequately "destroyed".

Glacier pretends not to see him. Terry gets the distinct impression that he might end up having to do this part himself. ::sly ::wub

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Keepin' it Brief

"Thank you" Will give a respectful nod.

Once they've left him alone, Will gets out his phone and calls Masters (da udder won) "We've arrived in Japan, I say we because Natalia hitched a ride in the back of the plane, though I get the feeling you already knew that. If it helps she just wanted to get away from the States and see Takashi, I can't say that I blame her."

"What's happening with Blaze? Is he going to be alright?"

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Mission Accomplished:

Leaving Glacier & Eel to enjoy each other for the moment Terry takes his time to make sure that the undersea facility is reduced to nothing more than some nice new pieces of debris for coral to make its home on - taking special attention over anything which looks like it could be expensive... ::sly

Eel, meanwhile, makes good on her promise to show Glacier just how much more fun she can be in her native environment. The sex is indescribable [which is probably a good thing for me as ST, right... ::devil ::wink ]...

***

Eventually the Terat team emerge from Terry's warp, back at private bar of the Blackburn hotel in New York, Eel still with her arm around Glacier & her head resting on his shoulder, a contented smile on her lips. ::wub

Two figures await the Terats: the first is PathFinder - as alluring as ever, her perfect, slender, figure shown off to good effect by the skintight faded blue jeans & short, midriff-exposing, vest top she's wearing. The white vest has the word 'Supervillain' plastered across the chest in bold red letters. Brushing a strand of white hair from her equally white eyes the pale-skinned Terat steps across to Terry, slips her arms around his neck, & kisses him passionately,

*I knew you'd be okay* her thoughts mingle with Terry's own, *but that didn't stop me worrying - I guess I still have some baseline weaknesses to yet purge*

Remaining pressed close to Terry PathFinder glances across to Glacier & Eel, then smiles,

*Those two had fun* Terry feels her thoughts, full of amusement... & arousal... *I hope you don't feel you've been missing out...* Emphasizing the thought PathFinder runs her hand across the contours of Terry's chest & stomach, & he can feel her passions rising... ::blush

Leaning against the bar the second figure waiting in the room smiles at the antics of the two Terat couples: a slim Creole woman with dark, wavy, hair & dark eyes she sports gently pointed ears, a pair of small horns sprouting from her forehead & deer-like cloven-hooved, fur-covered, legs (complete with fluffy tail). Her only clothing is a breechcloth & bikini top, both decorated with beadwork which seems to be in some sort of tribal design, & a choker-like bead collar. All in all she looks remarkably like some mythic 'faun' &, appropriately, Eel grins at her & says,

'Hi Fauna - mission accomplished.'

In response to Eel's declaration Fauna's smile widens ::biggrin ,

'Wonderful news,' she replies, trotting over to greet the returning Terats, a slight accent of New Orleans French to her voice, 'Greenwar thanks you once more for services rendered - to us, but more importantly to the planet.'

Eel places a webbed hand on Fauna's shoulder,

'Glad to help,' she says, adding with a wink ::wink , 'I think even Officer Nathanson there enjoyed it in the end, & I know my man had a good time...' she slips another coil of tail around Glacier & kisses him once more.

Fauna lets out a light laugh,

'Lots of love in this room I see,' she comments, before glancing Terry up & down & asking, 'she called you "Officer" - is there something I should know?'

*She likes you* PathFinder's thoughts caress Terry's mind *she's impressed with your success on the mission & finds you physically attractive... she's also prone to acting on instinct - if I wasn't here I'm sure she'd have propositioned you by now...* with a sly feel to her thoughts she adds *would you like me to leave?* ::sly

Thanks for the Memories:

Floating down to the recently blasted cave - now being charged by Egyptian soldiers - Mike peers inside to see half a dozen or so charred corpses, some still smoking. Perhaps more interestingly, beyond the corpses, further back into the cave, he sees... nothing... or rather, the 'scene' just seems to end in a white haze: it takes a moment, but Mike realises that, if he's witnessing a memory, then the best he can do is witness what was originally seen or, at least, sensed on some level - trying to go beyond those limits is like leaving the play area on a computer game: there's just nothing there... ::confused ::wacko

Reporting In:

Phoning Masters Will finds that his call is answered by Ash, Masters' assistant - which is pretty much the next best thing,

'Mister Masters isn't available right now,' she explains, adding, 'for the reasons you may expect - he's still tied up with what was going on before you left.'

"We've arrived in Japan, I say we because Natalia hitched a ride in the back of the plane, though I get the feeling you already knew that. If it helps she just wanted to get away from the States and see Takashi, I can't say that I blame her."

'Yes,' Ash confirms, 'Natalia is a resourceful young woman when she wants to be - it's impressive that she managed to get on the plane at all - but we are aware of the situation. I think I speak for Mister Masters when I ask you to make sure she's safe whilst you're over there... I know you will anyway, but just to confirm it - Natalia's safety trumps any other priorities you may have.'

"What's happening with Blaze? Is he going to be alright?"

'I'm sure he'll be fine,' replies Ash, adding, 'this is a secure line, but I feel that some things are still best not discussed in such a manner - in this day & age you can't be too careful. I'll make sure you're kept updated on any changes in the situation, okay?'

As the phone call winds to a conclusion the door to Will's room quietly opens, & a good looking teenaged Japanese girl, dressed in nothing but a towel, softly walks in, with more towels & some bottles of soaps & oils in her hands. Will judges the girl to be maybe fifteen or sixteen, with a pretty good figure for her age & shapely legs. Her long black hair falls to the small of her back, & her dark eyes are rather gorgeous. Stifling a giggle the girl steps silently across the room towards the bathrrom door - then freezes, & slowly turns to face Will as she finally realises he's standing there! Blushing all over ::blushing she appears really flustered, then manages a deep bow, & mutters,

'I... I'm sorry, Henessie-kun, I... I presumed you'd be in the bath...'

... as if that explained everything... ::unsure

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The Warrior King

As the fires of the sun burst from the Queen's hands to burn the enemy from their hiding place, her husband dives in as well, argent shining swords materializing in his hands as he flies into he caves under the cover of his love's attack. As the inferno clears a little, the robed fighters find the shining, bright and lethal presence of Akhenaten among them, blades of searing white slicing through armor and shields as he throws his enemies aside like ragdolls.

Nathan doesn't try to make sense of the flashes now. His instincts take over as the noises of the battlefield wash over him, and he finds himself a little thankful for a situation he can handle. He doesn't stop to contemplate whether these men are already dead and only replaying their final struggle in his mind, or if he's actually there. He doesn't make any choices, beyond the immediate concerns of a warrior king in battle. Now and then, he looks to his Queen, both loving and fearing this side of her...

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*I knew you'd be okay* her thoughts mingle with Terry's own, *but that didn't stop me worrying - I guess I still have some baseline weaknesses to yet purge*

*Caring for other novas is not a baseline weakness...especially not when we're trying to surpass ourselves. It looks like I still need to practice a bit...thank you for warping out that last crew member. He knows we could have left him behind...this is a good step for Greenwar and the movement as a whole.*

Remaining pressed close to Terry PathFinder glances across to Glacier & Eel, then smiles,

*Those two had fun* Terry feels her thoughts, full of amusement... & arousal... *I hope you don't feel you've been missing out...* Emphasizing the thought PathFinder runs her hand across the contours of Terry's chest & stomach, & he can feel her passions rising... blush.gif

*I knew you'd be here..besides, I like legs.*

Fauna lets out a light laugh,

'Lots of love in this room I see,' she comments, before glancing Terry up & down & asking, 'she called you "Officer" - is there something I should know?'

*She likes you* PathFinder's thoughts caress Terry's mind *she's impressed with your success on the mission & finds you physically attractive... she's also prone to acting on instinct - if I wasn't here I'm sure she'd have propositioned you by now...* with a sly feel to her thoughts she adds *would you like me to leave?* sly.gif

*Let me correct that last thought...I like smooth unhairy legs.* ::wink

Terry nods at Fauna's comment

"I was a cop once in New York. I think Eel thinks that my making sure we had a plan and executed it as a team makes me cop-like. There's no time for 'pretty please with sugar on top' when we're out "the job" so to speak.

Terry looks at Eel briefly

"I'm sorry if I was bossy, Eel, but it took us less than ten minutes to destroy that station in an eco-friendly way."

Turning back to Fauna Terry smiles

"Good thing Glacier came along, impressive to say the least. Glad I could help..."

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