Apophenia Evolved

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Twenty

Enforcer Wade frowned as he entered the main security center for the Ark Tunnel Reactor. The room was dark except for the computer screens which cast strange shadows all around the room. The room shouldn’t have been empty. Even if the guard was stronger elsewhere there should still be people in this room. It was where all the security camera footage was and it contained the entire alarm system. If there was a security breach in the reactor then this room would be the first place that would know about it.

However nobody would know about it if there was nobody here. Wade lit several floating fires before continuing into the room. It was a large room, big enough for plenty of people but that meant even with his light the room was still covered with shadows. He tried flicking on the lights but there was no result. He could feel crunching under his feet and he understood the reason.

Shards of glass covered the floor. Looking up Enforcer Wade saw that the lights had all been broken out. Was this caused by Phantom Thief Rose, or maybe Lynn and that other girl, or was in something else. He moved over to one of the computer terminals and checked the monitor. Everything seemed to be working correctly. Why would somebody break the lights and make all the officers that were supposed to be here disappear but leave the computers functioning.

“This is quite a conundrum isn’t it?” Said a silky voice from behind him. He spun around to see Phantom Thief Rose standing in the doorway. She was wearing a Security Officer’s uniform, although how she had managed to get one which seemed tailored for her she didn’t know. She seemed preoccupied with looking around the room.

“Is this your doing? What happened to all the guards that were supposed to be stationed here?” Asked Wade. The balls of flame hanging around the room pulsed and grew bigger. Wade would be capible of cutting of Rose’s escape path instantly but he wanted her to feel that he was dangerous.

“No idea. I just got here myself. Maybe the found out something they shouldn’t have and then Professor Gray’s crony had to deal with them before they told you about it.” Rose messed with one of the computers and one the first try got the name and password of a security officer who had been too loose with his money in a bar several weeks ago.

“What are you doing?” Asked Enforcer Wade menacingly. The balls of fire grew hotter momentarily, changing color several times before settling down to red again. Suddenly all of the screens in the room were displaying the same same video. It was off the primary room of the Reactor. The reactor’s power gauge was already well into the red section which signified a dangerous level of power. Nearby the reactor was Professor Gray. He was connecting the Euclidian Key to the reaction using lots of cables and strange devices.

“I see. Professor Gray is just preparing the Euclidian Key to use against Lynn. The power overload must just be a coincidence. I’m so glad that you were right. I will cease by thief attempt immediately and turn myself in.” The sarcasm in Rose’s voice was very difficult to miss.

Enforcer Wade glared daggers at Rose and then back at the security camera feed. Those power levels were incredibly dangerous. Wade didn’t know much about how the Ark Tunnel Reactor worked but even he knew that what Gray was doing was foolish. Nobody would go through that much effort to stop an Esper, there were ways of dealing with even a level 8 Esper that didn’t require that much power. If there was the slightest mistake then the entire power plant would be destroyed, no even if there wasn’t a mistake it was likely that there would be nothing more then a crater in the ground when the Key activated.

Wade looked back toward Rose but she was gone. She had slipped away while Wade was looking at the screens and now that she was out of sight Wade wasn’t able to do anything to her short of melting the entire building. Leaving the security room, Wade began heading toward the Reactor Room. He had a few choice words to trade with Professor Gray. The first would probably involved a punch to the nose but he wasn’t sure how he wanted to follow that.

Once Enforced Wade had left the room, Phantom Thief Rose stepped out off her hiding spot. That trick worked so many times it was silly. Step into a hiding place while somebodies back is turned and they automatically assume that you managed to leave. Inspector Grim was getting better about checking places before he expanded the search but other people continued to make the same mistake. Well, you only learn from mistakes if you know you made one.

Rose stepped back toward the computer and flipped through several different security camera feeds. Eventually she found one that she was looking for. It showed two Student Council members walking though the hallways. Good, it looked like they were on schedule. Things were probably going to start going bad very quickly but they should have some time to spare.

She flipped through a few more of the video feeds before spotting the other person wearing a school uniform walking through the halls. It was the mysterious Esper Svenn. That person was turning out to be more of an issue then she had though. She had only barely managed to avoid running into him three times. There was something different about that youth. If Svenn and Wade were the only Espers here that were sent to deal with Lynn then one or both must be extremely powerful. From Rose’s experience, Wade was powerful and while he might be able to meet blows in a fight with Lynn, he would never be able to stop her from stealing something.

Therefore it must by Svenn which Professor Gray was banking on being able to stop Lynn. For that to be true he either needed to have a power which would neutralize a teleport or be of approximately equal strength with her to neutralize her long enough for the Euclidian Key to activate. Rose didn’t know how to effectively neutralize a Teleport so that must mean that he was a high level Esper. That made things difficult. She needed to avoid powerful Espers for her plan to have a chance at success.

However that was still step two. The first step was about to happen. Enforcer Wade would distract the unknown Esper Svenn so that Rose would be able to put the first plan into motion. She searched the controls for a minute before she found it. Then she pressed the fire alarm. There was an ear shreeking sound throughout the entire facility as the alarm went off and then the spinklers began to spray water everywhere.

Rose lifted up the umbrella which she had found in the locker room with the uniform she was currently wearing. It was there conveniently, many things were convenient for Rose because she planned for them. In this case she had bribed a security officer yesterday to convince them to bring the uniform and umbrella to work.

The computer were all beginning to shut down now. They were set up to shut down and preserve data in case they got wet. There had probably never been a real fire here otherwise those in charge off the building would probably have removed the sprinklers from the computer room. Rose sat down on one of the chairs which was still mostly dry and waited.

It didn’t take very long. Soon Inspector Grim and a half a dozen Security Officers burst into the room. “Hello Grimmy. I’m taking a back role in this theft so I thought we should have some fun together before everything exciting starts happening. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Rose.” Shouted Inspector Grim, forgetting to even add her title of Phantom Thief to her name, “I have no idea what you are planning, but attempting a Theft in the University District is against everything that you have previously stood for. I may have occasionally been lax on you in the Entertainment District but that isn’t going to happen here. This time you will really be arrested and the University justice is less forgiving then the Entertainment justice.”

“Arrest me? There are lots of things you should be more concerned about then arresting me. Things like, I don’t know, maybe the demolition charges that I have set all around the building.” Rose looked at her watch casually. There there was a loud, far off explosion. The building slightly shook like it was during an earthquake. “There goes the first one. It is only a matter of time before the others ones start to go off. You should probably get out of here now.”

“That’s it.” Said Inspector Grim. He was literally quivering with rage. He stepped forward and with one quick movement slapped a handcuff around Rose’s hand. The other end was connected to Grim’s hand. “I don’t know what changed but you are no longer Phantom Thief Rose, you are just a criminal. And since you are a criminal it is my duty to arrest you.”

Rose slowly stood up and straightened. At her full height she was just a hair taller then Grim when she stood like that, something Grim always resented. “Your right, I’m not a Phantom Thief now. I’m just a person, doing what needs to be done. What are you Grim? Are you an Inspector, arresting a criminal or are you a person who is doing what needs to be done.” She looked over his shoulder at the Security Officers behind him.

“Grim, get those people out of here. Once you have done that you can come back for me if you want. I won’t stop you then. However right now there are things that I need to do. I’m not playing by the rules right now, neither are you. So decide. Either continue to chase me or make sure this building is empty. If you don’t then a lot of people are going to die here.”

Rose lifted her handcuffed hand and held it so that Grim could see, “Sorry Grim but today I’m cheating.” Then slowly the handcuff passed though her hand and then dropped, swinging back and forth with the other side still connected to Grim. During that one moment Grim was dumbfounded. Then he realized that Rose looked shorted, no, she was shorter. He looked down and then watched stunned as Rose slipped through the floor and was gone.

There was a long moment while Grim considered what happened and what Rose had told him. The reason she had called him out here, the reason she wasn’t acting like a proper Phantom Theft, the reason why was acting with assistants, the reason she had started the fire alarm, the reason she had set the explosives, and the reason she had spoke to him. Then everything clicked into place like the gears in a large machine finally in the correct position.

“This building is rigged to explode.” Yelled Inspector Grim at the security officers. “Make sure to get everybody out of here. You have ten minutes. Find anyone you can and make sure all off them leave. After the ten minutes are up I expect all of your to leave the building yourself.” Some of the officers looked at him in surprise, “Come on, do it. Lives come first man! Go! Go! Go! I’ll deal with the Phantom Thief. You work on making sure that everybody survives.”

Finally the security officers began to obey his orders. They are began running in different directions. Inspector Grim ran with them for a couple of minutes giving new orders to security officers which they came across. Soon most off the officers in the building had gotten the message.

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Nineteen

“Is this really going to work?” Asked Emiray. She felt that she was looking kind of silly in the black and blue uniform that the student council wore. The entire uniform made her uncomfortable, plus the silly armband which showed her supposed low rank in the student council made it all worse. What if somebody realized that she wasn’t an Esper, that could ruin everything.

“How should I know, it was Rose’s plan and she is the one who should be certain that it will work.” Lynn wore a disgusted look of her face. She was wearing the same style of uniform that Emiray was and she liked it even less then Emiray did. “I’ve spent more then a year trying to avoid wearing one of these and now here I am wearing one. Do you realize how hard it is for a level 8 Esper to avoid joining the Student council? They practically break down my door trying to get me to join and once they actually did break it down.

Lynn adjusted her hat, making sure that all of her hair was correctly underneath it. Nobody should be able to recognize Emiray but it was a different matter for Lynn, all the members of the Student council would certainly know her on sight and so would a great many of the guards. So she wore a hat to hide her hair and the makeup that Rose had provided in the bad had done wonders to make her look like a completely different person.

Sure the hat was against Student council regulations but the dress code was very laxly enforced when most of the members were high level Espers who generally liked to show their own unique style. The only part of the uniform which was always required was the armband that signified she was a member of the student council. The really ironic part was the if she had really been a member of the Student Council she would have a higher rank then her current armband indicated. An Esper’s strength meant a lot in the Student Council and Lynn would have had an easy track to becoming a Vice President if she had join. She might even have been able to become President if she had any talent at manipulation and politics.

Still even the lowly generally affairs officer armband irked her. She had always felt that the Student Council was too manipulative and secretive. They might have had too be with the highly political atmosphere that hung around importance in the University District. It was the sort of atmosphere that only really appeared when even the lowest ranking officials could wield enormous power. There was certainly more intrigue inside the Student Council then there was outside of it.

Lynn looked like a different person with the makeup and uniform but Emiray wasn’t even recognizable. The radically different clothes and the haircut seemed to change her into someone completely different. Without the work torn clothes and grease smears she seemed even younger. That wasn’t an issue, age didn’t matter to the Student Council only Esper power did. Emiray’s rank was only lower then Lynn’s rank, it was the rank that really amounted to no more then a servant.

The only thing that made them looked like their normal selves was that there were two of them. That might be an issue if they dealt with a real member of the Student Council, especially if there was one from General Affairs here. Two lowly members of the Council wouldn’t attract very much attention and they should be able to sneak in without arousing suspicion. Then the objective was to get as close to the Euclidian Key as they would get without alerting anyone. If they got discovered then the difficult part began. They would need to get close enough to the Euclidean Key for Lynn to touch to before they could make their escape.

Unlike most things Lynn knew it would be more difficult to teleport the Key, it’s construction had to make it especially spatially stable to that it could handle the teleportation powers. That had the side effect of making it difficult to teleport while it had any sort of charge.

R08 however wouldn’t be able to enter the reactor with them. It would be too difficult to explain the presence of a robot and why a couple of lowly members of the Student Council would need to bring one around with them. Instead R08 had been set up in a hidden location with all of the maps and plan information. Through the small transponders that they had they could keep in touch with R08 and each other if things when bad. They would need to remain silent on the channel until it was important though. There was no knowing if somebody would be listening and discover them.

“Is there anything else that still needs to be done before we are ready for the plan to begin?” Asked Lynn.

Emiray looked over the plans on the computer one more time. “No, we have anything we need. There is still three more hours until the estimated theft time. Rose’s plans say that the Euclidian Key should be ready to activate for until at least an hour before the announced time. Still I think we should hurry, they might have found a way to speed up the process.

Lynn nodded, “I agree. I guess it is time to go then.”

The two of them left R08 in the hiding spot and began walking toward the entrance to the Ark Tunnel Reactor. They were stopped by the guard who glanced at their arm bands and asked, “More Student Council huh? What is it that you need?”

The rehearsed lines stumbled for a second in Lynn’s mind before she finally managed to pull them out, “We are members of General Affairs sections three. We have been sent to make sure that the full report of today’s activities gets filed correctly.” One of the main duties of General Affairs was to take care of mundane affairs like reports.

The guard nodded, “Alright then.” The officer opened the gate for them and let them in. “You should go see Enforcer Wade. He should be near the security room. I’ll call you in so that he will be expecting you.”

Lynn tried her best to smile thankfully. Inside she was cursing. Informing the other members of the Student Council was the last thing that she wanted to happen. The longer it took for them to find out Lynn and Emiray were here the better. When two Student Council members failed to show up for a meeting it would sound alarm bell, probably literally in this case. “Thank you. We will make sure to go see him immediately.”

The officer nodded and the two of them walked through the gates and toward the reactor building. Once they had left the guard’s earshot Lynn said, “Already something is weird. I know of Enforcer Wade, he is a fire type Esper. His firepower is impressive but basically useless against me. Somebody higher up in the Council must be interfering if Wade in the one in charge. A rogue level 8 Esper like me should be dealt with by somebody more powerful then Wade. Also there is at least one other strong Esper here. Somebody is keeping a very complex spacial disturbance web across the entire place.”
“Is that a type of teleportation? I thought teleportation should only move things.” Asked Emiray.

“Only a little bit. It is like teleporting your senses elsewhere with the sole intention of detecting teleportation. It is a rather complex and tiring activity. Most teleports wouldn’t be able to accomplish it, especially one this wide. The weird thing is that is doesn’t feel like a teleporter is doing it. The web is unstable and rough, normally someone good enough to make one this large would have the skill refined. It is more like several Espers are maintaining it together, though that is no small feat by itself.”

“Are you sure teleportation is all you are capable? This spacial sensing thing doesn’t sound like teleportation at all.” Said Emiray.

Lynn was about to answer that it was just a differently applied method of teleportation when she actually stopped to think about it. She remembered that Rose had said that to get better she would need to cease being just a teleport and become an impossible multitalent. Sure, forming the web was a form of teleportation, the ability to detect other teleports was something all teleporters learned and the web was just expanding the range using spacial tunnels. However was her refined ability to detect the web really teleportation. It had been one of the tricks she had been unable to teach people. What if those tricks she that she had been unable to teach weren’t teleportation but were a separate talent entirely. Grudgingly Lynn said, “Who knows. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what is one talent and what is another, especially for high level Espers.”

Then Lynn though of something. If other teleporters were unable to detect a web then she could set up her own without being detected. If she traced the spacial tunnels of the current web she would be able to locate the Esper or espers that were forming it, all without being detected herself. The question was how to trace the origin of a spacial tunnel. That was when Lynn really smiled, she had found her chink in her mental block, something a more powerful Esper could accomplish. “Come on Emiray, we had a little bit of extra time. I have something interesting that needs to be done.”

“That sounds dangerous.” Commented Emiray.

Lynn ignored that comment. There was no sensible path that a spacial tunnel followed so she would need to invade the returning tunnel which brought the information back to the teleporter. She connected her own razor thin spacial tunnels, connecting and leeching off the small tunnels all around. Suddenly her she could feel the tunnels through the air connection her location to other places.

Emiray walked silently beside Lynn watching the blank face young woman. Eventually Lynn furrowed her brow and commented, “There are three minor teleporters keeping this web up, however they are in completely different places. Somehow they are connected so that they can synchronize the web. I’m trying to feel out how but there seems to be no spacial connection between them like they are all individually doing it but somehow managing to avoid missing areas or overlap.”

“On another important note,” continued Lynn, “It seems this method is capable of location the Euclidian Key. The Key has a very strong resonance and I am able to detect it. If the maps are correct then it is where we expect it to be, in the main reactor room.”

“Good, that is one thing we don’t have to worry about. But how do you think the minor teleporters are communicating? Cell phones?”

Lynn shook her head at Emiray’s question. “No, to be able to accurately maintain a web like this with three people you would need to be able to sense the tunnels that the other Espers are generating. These sorts of spacial tunnels are not detectable except at their origin, myself excluding, so they should be unable to do this from different locations.”

“What if there is a fourth Esper helping them? One capable of coordinating the efforts at a long distance.”

“Possible, given the situation. Although advanced planning and exact partitioning of where each Esper is in charge of could manage this. That would require practice though. Another possibility, although just as unlikely as the first. Either way we need to be careful.” Lynn paused and considered an idea, “I could cut off the warp tunnels by creating reverse flows at the same location. Although that would show that we are here.” And possible injure the people creating the web, reverse tunnels placed over current tunnels caused things to explode. She had learned that when first trying to figure out ways to get distance teleportation to work.

Monday, August 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Eighteen

Inspector Grim had just been informed about the capture of Phantom Thief Rose. Now he was being escorted through the complex to see the prisoner. He found it hard to believe that they had captured Phantom Thief Rose with only a handful of men and a boy but it seemed to have happened. Still, if the boy had been an Esper on the Student Council like the officer had said then it might have been possible.

“Here it is.” Said the security officer who was leading him. Inspector Grim had been irritated when he had arrived here and been ordered around by mere security officers. Since those and the Student Counsel was the closest the University District had to a police force there was no helping it, but what sort of place didn’t have a respectable police force.

Grim opened the door and stepped inside the room. There was a moment of silence before he said, “And how is this anything like capturing the Phantom Thief Rose?” The security officer looked at him in confusion before looking into the room himself. The room was empty except for the hand cuffs which were dangling on the pipe that they had been attached to. Phantom Thief Rose was missing.

“I can’t believe you left a Phantom Thief alone in a room.” Grim began shouting at the security officer, “What do you think a Phantom Thief does for a living? Wash windows? She could probably pick the lock with a toothpick. And how the hell did you let her escape this room? Were you sleeping or something.” Grim know that the officer could plainly see what he was talking about. Other then the door he had come in through there were no other exits to the room. No windows, no other doors, no ventilation ducts, nothing.

“Quickly, search the room. Just to be safe we need to make sure she isn’t hiding in the room and waiting to make her escape while we are distracted.” The officers who had been so reluctant to follow his orders before were now nodding and beginning to search the room. Once it was clear that Rose wasn’t hiding anywhere in the room Grim sent some of them off to go alert the Student Counsel about the escape.

The only thing that had been found in the room that was unusual was a single piece of paper with Rose’s scrawling hand writing on it. “Sorry Grimmy, but today is important so I am going to cheat. Try not to be angry with me.” Inspector Grim just balled it up and shoved it in his pocket when he had read it. He hated it when she called him Grimmy. It sounded silly.

Searching for Phantom Thief Rose was probably pointless but he send several more of the security officers off anyway. There was no reason to left Rose with a reason to relaxed. Grim had managed to gather quiet a crowd of security officers at this point. Without leadership from the student counsel he had managed to gain control of them rather easily. He knew what he was doing and people like this know to follow orders from people like him. Maybe these security officers weren’t so bad after all.

Professor Gray held the Euclidian Key gingerly. It was quite literally the key that would answer many questions. All of the data recording information had be correctly set up. It was a pity that it would need to be activated in the University District but the Ark Tunnel Reactor was the only source of power large enough to produce the necessary amount of power. When if activated it would provide new information. The research that had been done on Lynn was useful but without the scale and power of this experiment there was a limit to how much could be learned.

If the calculations he had received from Prometheus were complete then the Euclidian Key would temporarily unravel local space. Watching that would reveal who knew how much. Things like warp travel would no longer be impossible after observing such and occurrence. Such a colossal discovery would dwarf even the loss of life that was necessary for this experiment. Everybody in the reactor would die and probably a large section of the University District too, but it was all for the greater good. Professor Gray hesitated, he had always thought the greater good was what mattered, if he was willing to give his own life for that then why not other people’s lives.

Svenn was there next to him, “Best not to dwell on what is right and what is wrong. It is too late to now, you have already done too much. All of those feeling are temporal, they will leave eventually. Once records, knowledge left will last. Those are the things we must strive the discover and protect. People die, placed decay, only knowledge has the ability to last forever.”

Gray slipped the Key into his coat pocket, “Yes, of course Svenn. You are right. I can’t let my emotions trick me into letting go of the greater good.” Gray then looked up at the young man. “How is everything going. I recently complete all of my preparations. If everything is going well then I am going to begin bringing the reactor up to the correct power level. That might take a few hours but it will be done at least an hour before the announced theft time.”

“All the preparations are ready but I do have something to report. Apparently the Student Counsel member that was sent to capture Lynn and Emiray came back with a captured Phantom Thief. You were busy with preparations so I was going to inform you later. However the Phantom Thief managed to escape our custody and is now hiding somewhere in the building.” Said Svenn.

“What? How did she escape? Shouldn’t she have been guarded, she is a Phantom Thief after all.”

“It should have been sufficient. There room was guarded from the outside and there were no other exits from the room. None of the guards outside of the room noticed her escape but somehow she managed it.”

“You should be able to track her down, correct?” Asked Professor Gray.

“Yes, but that would require diverting my attention from the teleportation detection field that I am helping form. If I did that then Lynn would be able to sneak in without our knowledge. Since I can only assume she is able to sense the field because of the letter that was delivered I must also assume that she will notice if the field fails and will take advantage of that. Without me coordinating the efforts of our three teleporters they would be unable to maintain the field.”

Gray nodded, “I suppose that even if she is a Phantom Thief that there is only so much that she is able to accomplish. Increase the guard in the reactor room just to make certain that she doesn’t get inside. I’ll head over there with you to make sure she doesn’t make an early attempt at on the Euclidian Key.”

“Also,” said Svenn, “That Inspector, Grim I think he name was, used the escape to take command of many of our security officers. It may become an issue. Should I make sure he is sent away?”

Gray shook his head, “No, let him do what he can with them. He is experienced with dealing with Phantom Thief Rose and should make sure she doesn’t bother us anymore. Give him a squad to control and make sure that the others are placed either under your control or the Student Counsel.”

“What is Enforcer Wade decided to break the commands of the student counsel and oppose us. He has an independent streak in him and had a chance to speak with Rose during the helicopter flight here. He may begin to look into what we are doing and then try to stop us.”

“If he does then I will expect you to deal with him. Your level is higher then him so that shouldn’t be an issue.”

“Yes, he is only a level 6. I should be able to handle him as long as he doesn’t join forces with Lynn. My current network had enough Espers in it that he should be quickly dealt with if necessary. Although again I wouldn’t be able to keep up the teleportation detection field if that happened.”

“I understand, don’t oppose him unless absolutely necessary.” Gray stood up and began moving toward the door, making sure to shut his computer behind him “Come on then. We should get to the reactor room and begin the increase in power. If you see Wade then tell him it is in preparation if Lynn decides to attack early.

Enforcer Wade looked at the phone he was holding in his hand. He had just gotten off the phone with the Student Counsel 2nd Vice President. The things he had been told by the Phantom Thief Rose during the helicopter flight had been bothering him. He knew he couldn’t trust the words of a Thief but he had decided to give a call to the Vice President just to check things out. The call however had made him even more worried.

He had been told directly by the Vice President that there was no point in asking questions like that and that he should just follow the orders that he had been given. Wade didn’t like following orders just because he had been ordered to do so. It really cut at his nerves when that happened.

He didn’t yet know what is was but something was definitely fishy about this entire situation. A level 8 Esper had gone rouge and only he had been sent to deal with the problem. With a level 8 Esper only another equally powerful Esper should be able to handle it. Normally one of the Vice Presidents or the President himself would make a person appearance to deal with it, possible even multiple of them.

Instead it was just him, no not just him. He knew there were other Espers here as well, although he didn’t know how many or how powerful they were. That man, Svenn, was almost certainly an Esper and probably quite strong. A level 5 maybe. Nothing that Wade wasn’t capable of handling, although now knowing what Svenn’s power was could mean trouble if Wade was surprised.

A security guard was approaching him. “Enforcer Wade, I have bad news. The Phantom Thief Rose managed to escape from under tight guard and we have yet to recapture her.”

Wade ground his teeth. Things were going from bad to worse. Lynn could start making a move at any moment and now the Phantom Thief had escaped. “Tell me everything that happened?” Said Wade in impatience.

The security guard explained the situation, both Rose’s escape and how Inspector Grim was beginning to take charge of the search for Rose. Wade nodded as he listened. The looked up at the officer, if he remembered right this officer should be trustworthy. “I need you to do something for me. I want you to go report directly to Svenn and help him however you can. However I want you to keep an eye on him. If he does anything strange come and report directly to me about it.”

The guard nodded but asked, “Do you not trust Svenn, do you think he is in league with the Phantom Thief?”

“Not exactly but something is wrong about this entire operation. Something strange is happening and I don’t like the smell of it. The way things are currently looking the University Security force and the Student Counsel is going to take the brunt of whatever is going to happen. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. Now remember, take care and report anything strange to me.”

The officer nodded and began heading off. Wade didn’t waste any time and began heading toward the security station for the Reactor. If there was a place where they could be caused the most damage it would be there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Seventeen

Three Hours Ago

Rose was wearing her Phantom Thief outfit. It really was the be set of clothing that she owned. Practical, comfortable, and stylish.

She tapped her watch and the door into her workshop slide closed making the entrance invisible again. There there was a grating sound, she knew her entire workshop was lowering into a lower apartment floor. It would be bad in the University Security found all of that stuff, plus she didn’t want her motorcycle to accidentally get damaged. Rose then switched her watch into safe mode. It won’t be able to help her like that but nobody would be able to distinguish it from a regular watch.

Rose looked at the spot Lynn and Emiray had been standing just a few minutes ago. She had wanted to tell them the entire plan but there were several reasons why she hadn’t been able to do that. She hoped that the two of them would be alright on their own.

She strapped on a small bag around her waist that carried all of her useful thief tools that Lynn hadn’t taken. She pulled out a small stun gun and raised the power on it a little. It was a newer model, much like a regular gun except with non fatal consequences. The security almost certainly weren’t using live ammunition, the Entertainment District wouldn’t allow that sort of things, so they were going to be using a weapon like hers. Of course they would be wearing armor which would protect them against her weapon. Without a direct hit on an unarmored location she would be unable to take them down.

She waited next to the door for the security to approach. Then one of the officers kicked in the door and two of them stepped into the room. Rose had been waiting for that moment. With to clicks and an electric sounding bang the two officiers where on the floor. She had managed to hit both of the in the groove at the neck where the armor barely covered them.

Rose then retreated back through the living room, keeping out of the way. There was certainly more then two. There were probably 10 or more, plus an esper or two. She slipped into her bed room hand put her back to the wall. She could here them starting to enter her main room, this time being more careful to avoid being hit. She wouldn’t be able to get another easy shot off like she had before.

She peak around the corner and saw that there were seven of them, at least that she could see. The Esper was not visible, probably waiting for Lynn to make her appearance and then make a surprise attack. That sort of thing worked on most people, even level 8 Espers. Rose supposed that once they realized that Lynn wasn’t here that she would be the person surprised.

There, she moved just enough to give her a clean shot and one of the security officers went down. She managed to pull back fast enough to see the stream of needles going by. One hit from one of those and she would be immobile for hours. So they were using that type of stun gun, unlike the electrical version that she was using.

She now kept her back to the wall. Now that they knew where she was it would be difficult to get another attack like that. She could probably hide under the bed or in the closet to catch another one or two of them off guard but then she would be caught by the rest of them. She guess it was time for the escape plan. She moved over toward the other side of the room and pulled the concealed latch, opening the door which lead into the apartment next door. On one side of her apartment was her secret workshop while the other had this secret exit, all self respecting Phantom Thefts had a few extra escape plans.

She pulled a sleeping gas canister out for her bag, pulled the pin and through it through the door into her living room. The soldier’s helmets probably filtered gases but it would buy her some time. She moved it the other apartment, which was empty. She owned this apartment too, to make sure she could escape at any time.

Even though it was supposed to be empty she was careful. The officers might have suspected that she would have a secret exit here and placed guards. She closed the secret door behind her and crept through the apartment to the door. She peeks through the peep hole and seeing nothing, opened the door a creak to look outside.

There were two more security guards standing outside of the door to her apartment. She wouldn’t be able to sneak out without both of them seeing her. She pointed the stun gun at them and shot once, then twice. The first one crumpled into a heap before he even realized what had happened, however there was a long enough gap between the two shots that the second guard managed to scream a warning before he too collapsed.

Not wasting any time Rose darted from the apartment and began running down the hallway toward the stairs down. She could hear commotion in her apartment she they must not have been effected by the sleeping gas, but luck seemed to be on her side and they took a while to exit her apartment. The gas must have at least hindered their visibility.

That is when she saw the young kid at the end of the hallway, near the stairs. The boy was wearing a school uniform. She couldn’t turn back now, so she pointed the gun at the boy and shot. The air between them suddenly grew and the air seemed to boil between them. The electrical charge that had been going toward him was gone.

Rose felt the gun in her hand begin to grow hot and she was forced to throw it away before it burned her hands. She had suspected the boy had been an Esper, no kid like that lived in this apartment, but she hadn’t expected that a fire esper was going to be sent to stop Lynn. This kid was obviously fairly high level too. Rose kicked down the door of another apartment and was about to enter when a wall of fire blocked her path.

She turned back to the boy and then back over her shoulder. A wall of fire was there too. Slowly Rose raised her hands signaling defeat. The raging fire behind her lowered and several of the security officers come up behind her one of the pull out handcuffs and locked her wrists together. The other began searching her.

The bag around her wast was swiftly taken away from her although it took them several minutes more to be certain that she wasn’t carrying anything else dangerous. Once they were satisfied they stepped back and let the boy take a step forward. Rose noticed an armband around his right arm. So he was a member of the student council, that explained his presence here and his high level.

“Where are the others?” Asked the boy.

“They aren’t here anymore.” Rose decided to answer truthfully, at least mostly truthfully. That made it easier to slip small lies in when she needed them to count. “Lynn brought Emiray away while I stay behind to distract you and make sure they had enough time to escape.”

“I see.” The boy motioned to the security officers, “Take her up to the helicopter. We are going to bring her back to the University District. The other two are most certainly going to be heading there. We can use her as a hostage to ensure their cooperation.” The officers saluted and they forcefully brought her up the stairs and onto the roof. Here there were several helicopters. Some of the officers were carrying their stunned compatiated up onto the roof.

Rose was forced into one of them and the boy took a seat across from her. “If you try anything then I am going to burn you until you stop. I hope you understand that.”

Rose nodded as she sat down in between two security officers. Once a couple more hand taken seats near the boy the helicopter began to take off. Moving through the sky it was bringing them toward the University District. It would take a couple of hours to get there by helicopter, by that time Lynn and Emiray would probably be worried about her. However Rose would be at the University District before them.

Rose had to conceal a smile. Things were going according to plan.

Rose had kept silent most of the trip. The officers surrounding her seemed to glare down at her even though most of them were about the same height as her. Eventually when she saw that the University District was getting near she asked, “What is it that Professor Gray is attempting?” Asked Rose.

“I don’t know what you are implying,” Said the boy. “Professor Gray is acting in the best interest of the University District. A criminal like you wouldn’t understand.”

“Yes, I find it difficult to understand why somebody would want to help Professor Gray activate the Euclidian Key using the full power of the Ark Tunnel Reactor. Or why he would any to do it in the first place.”

“I’m afraid that you are mistaken then. Professor Gray is only helping us protect the Euclidian Key from thieves like you and Lynn. If it gets activated then that is Lynn’s fault. If she plans on stealing it when she should expect that we would us it to keep that from happening. That is the only reason the Euclidian Key is being kept at the Ark Tunnel Reactor.”

The helicopter began to pull into a landing stop outside of what looked like a large power plant. Rose recognized it as the Ark Tunnel Reactor. She had looked over the floor plans enough that it wasn’t very difficult to recognize. “No wonder you where the one to retrieve Lynn. You don’t know what is really going on do you?” Asked Rose with a mocking smile on her face. “Had you gone up against Lynn then you wouldn’t have had a chance. You were sent because it didn’t matter if you succeeded or not.”

The boy glared at Rose, “I was not sent anywhere. I was assigned this task as part of my duties to the student counsel. You on the other hand are a theft, collaborating with criminals to steal the Euclidian Key. Why should I believe anything you have to say to me.”

The guards pushed Rose out of the helicopter and onto the landing zone. “Because you care about what is right don’t you? Don’t let the sweet lies fool you. Don’t let my words push you around. Find out for yourself what is really going on.”

“Take her to a storage room and lock her inside. Make sure to post guards and send for that noisy Inspector. Hopefully he will leave off of us if he get what he has been looking for.” Ordered the boy.

Rose cooperated with the guards as they led her into the facility. The room that they led her too was small and was generally used as a storage room given the stuff that was scattered around. The officers removed the cuff from one of her hands only to attach it to one of the pipes running through the room. Then they made about clearing the room of everything. They must have deemed the random things around the room were to dangerous to leave with a Phantom Thief. Eventually they left her alone in an empty room.

Alone she smiled to herself. “Hello ladies and gentlemen. Watch in amazement as I am locked inside a box and then miraculously escape.” She the began her magic trick. The guards outside never saw her escape.

Friday, February 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Sixteeen

Rose eventually woke up and crawled out of bed. She was still tired but when she looked at her bedside clock and saw that it was already eleven. She yawned and began putting on her clothes. Finally she managed to stumble into the living room still yawning. “Oh Lynn, Emiray, I see you are both already up. Did you have a good nights sleep, where you able to find something to eat this morning.”

Emiray looked up from a book that she had taken from one of the shelves around the room. Rose had a surprisingly large collection of history and culture books, probably a result of being a Phantom Thief. A Phantom Thief needed to know what was valuable to select correct targets, “Yes, everything was fine. Also, your shirt is on backward.”

Rose looked down at her shirt and realized that Emiray was right. “I’ll change it later, first I need to get something to eat. I’m starving.” Rose moved into the kitchen and past Lynn who was sitting on one of the stools starting off into space. “What is wrong with you Lynn, you seem about of it. Did you not get enough sleep.”

Lynn turned surprised before responding, “Oh, Rose, good morning. No I had enough sleep, I got to bed before both of you after all. I was just thinking that is all. I was just thinking about that a stronger teleport then me would be able to do that I can’t.”

“Huh, Aren’t you the strongest teleporter? Someone capable of doing things that is stronger then you? Would that really be teleportation at that point?” Asked Rose as she open up the fridge an looked inside. Eggs sounded good, Rose usually liked eggs. She pulled them out and began making herself some breakfast. “Did either of you want some eggs?”

Lynn was looking at Rose as Emiray mumbled an affirmative from across the room. “What do you mean they wouldn’t be a teleporter?” Asked Lynn.

“What, are you taking me seriously?” Rose tried pondering the question to find a real answer while she continued cooking the eggs. “I suppose, Well, since you are the strongest teleporter then you must know everything about teleportation. If there was a teleporter that was capable of doing something that you couldn’t then that person wouldn’t really be a teleporter. I mean, I can’t think of anything a teleporter could do that you aren’t capable of doing. The University District says it is impossible but wouldn’t somebody like that be a multi-powered person. Then they would be a Teleporter and still be able to do things that you aren’t capable of doing.”

Lynn sighed, she had hoped that Rose would be able to see something in the problem that Lynn couldn’t but she guessed that wasn’t going to happen. “So your saying that to get more powerful I would need to become a multitalent.” She laughed softly, “You are right about something, multitalent is impossible…” She paused for a moment considering. Sure, multitalents were supposed to be impossible but hadn’t she already done something that was impossible. Even if it was a strange possibility she would need to file it away for future study.

“Don’t give it too much though.” Said Rose. “I’m hardly an expert on theses things. I’m only really good at stealing things. The way to be a better thief is not luck or quicker reflexes. It isn’t the ability to pick locks or outrun police officers. If a thief only has those skills then they would get caught eventually. The skill a good thief needs to have to do heist after heist is to be able to plan. They need to know what could go wrong and how to deal with it if it does. So when you can’t pick the lock or outrun the police officers you are still able to pull it off.”

Rose pushed some of the finished eggs off onto a plate and handed it to Lynn, “I suspect that the same can work for you. Even if there is somebody more powerful then you then if is still possible to pull off a win. You just have to know what you plan to do when you finally meet them.”

Lynn hurumphed as she took the plate, “Both of you just seem so full of advice today.”

“If you didn’t want to head it then don’t ask for it. I’ll give you that advice for free.” Laughed Rose as she took two more plates into the living room and handed one to Emiray. “Eat while you can. Peaceful things never last for long and you want to keep your strength up for when the bad stuff happens.”

It wasn’t very long after that that Rose’s watch began to beep. She looked down at it and smiled softly. She clapped her hands together and said, “Alright everyone. It is time to get ready. We will be heading out soon.”
Lynn furrowed her brow before saying, “It is only around noon. There is still another eleven hours to until your given time of theft. Didn’t you say that was when it was going to happen. While it might take a while to arrive there if we went the normal route, I will be able to get us there in half an hour without hurrying.”

“NO, SHE MEANS THAT THEY ARE ON TO US.” Said R08. It had been keeping out of the way for a while and Lynn had almost forgotten about it.

“What do you mean they are on to us?” Asked Lynn.

Emiray was looking at Rose’s watch, “She means that since the letter was delivered to the University District they have come looking for us. They know we are with the Phantom Thief Rose so it was only a matter of time before they found us.”

“But isn’t this a secret hideout? How would they know this is where she lives?” Said Lynn.

“No honest Entertainment District citizen would even think of coming and looking for me here.” Said Rose, “However, these are probably University Security who are blatantly ignoring tradition. Sadly I’ve lived here long enough that it probably didn’t take them too long to discover this location.”

Lynn went over it, “I see. An Entertainment District secret won’t hold water when you are threatening to steal from the University District. The Entertainment District can’t also legally stop them because you are tenically a wanted criminal here.”

“Grab the bags we will need. We need to get out of here quickly to avoid being caught. Lynn, I believe I can trust in you to make sure we can make our get away.” Said Rose.

“No problem. Once all our stuff is here it won’t take me but a minute to get far away from these people. However I could go deal with them now if you want me to. I handful of University Security shouldn’t be a problem.” Said Lynn.

“Ah, but they almost certainly have a high level Esper with them. It would be crazy to go against you without some sort of plan do deal with you. Since they know you are here with me they have a plan. We just need our plan to be better. That is why we need everything prepared before they get here. Emiray, Rob, have you gotten what we need?”

Emiray and R08 were both bringing large bags in from the secret workshop. Rose nodded and said to Lynn, “Good, take these, Rob, and Emiray three blocks north. I’ll meet you there in three hours.” Rose pulled out a flashdrive and tossed it to Lynn, “If I’m not there then then use these plans. It will be more difficult with one less person but you should be able to accomplish it without me.”

“Wait, what are you doing then? I could just take you with me. Why are you staying behind.”

“Didn’t I tell you Lynn? The most important thing about being a Phantom Thief is the plan.” Rose tapped her head with a finger. “The plan is all in here and ready to begin. Once you leave and I go out there the steps will be in motion to bring us to the Euclidian Key. You have to trust me on this one, I don’t have time to explain.”

Lynn glared at Rose. Then why hadn’t she explained earlier when they did have time. Was that part of the plan too? “Alright, I’ll wait three hours but you had better be there.” Then without waiting for everyone to get close to her she just open up the spacial tunnels and move all of them except for Rose outside of the building. Sixteen quick teleports later she was certain what nobody would be able to know where they had gone from the building.

“What is that woman thinking? If there is a plan here then I don’t know what is it.”

“Neither do I, but that is probably part of the plan. Right now we just have to trust Rose and follow her instructions.” Said Emiray, “So right now we need to find a place to hide for the next three hours while we wait for Rose to come join us.”

Three Hours Later

Emiray, Lynn, and R08 were waiting at the corner three blocks north of Rose’s apartment. “She isn’t head yet. We can not continue to wait for her any longer. We only have 8 hours to take the Euclidian Key back.” Lynn said as she held up the flash-drive that Rose had given her before they parted.

“Rose packed her laptop among the gear we were supposed to bring with us. We can use that to access the drive.” Said Emiray as she pulled out the laptop. It was a small laptop, most suitable for traveling. Lynn nodded and took the laptop from her, turning it on and inserted in flash drive.

The drive contained a large list of files. Maps, security guard routes and many other things. Lynn pulled up the plan and began reading through it. “This is strange.”

“How so?” Asked Emiray as she looked over Lynn’s shoulder to read the file with her.

“These plans only refer to me, you, and R08. Rose isn’t anywhere in them. It is like she never actually planned to do the job herself. I bet she is just leaving all the real work to us so that she can get more sleep.” Grumbled Lynn.

“Why would she go through the trouble of making such detailed instructions if she knew that she wasn’t going to be able to join us. No, that actually makes more sense, if she knew she wasn’t going to be able to join us then she would have to create more detailed instructions so that we would be able to accurately follow them.”

Lynn scowled as she scrolled through the instructions. ‘Well, I guess we should start at the beginning then. Since it recommends that we relocate to the University District we should do that. If we keep waiting around here then some more of the University Security might fine us and that would be annoying and would delay us.”

Then why began their journey back to the University District. Lynn took the trip slower then she had on the way to the Entertainment District to kept I easy on Emiray. She also kept the very high in the sky so that if anyone was looking up then they wouldn’t be able to notice the three of them.

She finally landed on the edge of the University District, far enough away from the Ark Tunnel Reactor that there couldn’t possible be any guards watching for them here. She checked her watch again when they stopped. Only 7 hours left, reading through the instructions and the trip over here too longer then she had expected.

Looking over the instructions she saw that they were still on time for the timetable that Rose had devised.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Organization Fractal [Trappings and Stunts Part 1]

I've been playing Starblazer Adventures recently and a post over on the FATE blog got me thinking about how the different Fractals interact with each other.

In particular I wanted to be able to describe the different organizations in the game in a manner which provides rules for their interaction with characters. I'll try to provide updates as I add Trappings and Stunts.

Arms (Type)

Many organizations have armed forces. The skill level roughly represents size and quality. Organizations with more than one military arm (such as land or space forces) select this skill more than once to indicate the relative strength of each. This is my first draft at providing Trappings and Stunts to the Organization skills which explain both how they deal with other Organizations and how they deal with Characters.

[T] Armed Forces

When Characters deal with the organization, the default minion quality is your Arms. You can generally muster 10 minions per rank of arms in any region you Control, Sway, or Influence. Mustering more then that requires troop redeployment. [DESIGN - How many minions a organization should be able to bring against Characters is just a guesstimate.]

[T] Warfare

As a combat skill, Arms is rolled to make attacks and maneuvers against other Organizations when you are using skilled soldiers to get the job done. This deals physical stress to the organization.

[T] Military Defense

Arms may be rolled as a defense against Arms attack of the same or similar type.

[S] Special Forces

You have several groups of elite forces within this branch of your armed forces. Once per session you may either: Gain +2 to any one Arms roll, as if you had spend a Fate point to invoke an Aspect or gain +1 to minion Quality for one scene.

[S] Large Armies

You have large amount of soldiers. You can take an extra minor physical consequence which represents your extra forces. Also your Armed Forces are considered two ranks higher for the purposes of how many minions you can bring to bear.


A measure of how advanced the organization is in relation to another. A higher technology represents no just access to advance technology but how widespread it is in the organization.

[T] Research Facilities

The organization controls Labs and Workshops capable of creating and repairing technology. The organization can provide Characters with access to Labs and Workshops with a quality equal to their Technology. [DESIGN - Maybe just Workshops and put Labs somewhere else]

[S] Cutting Edge Workshops

The organization has highly advanced Labs and Workshops, granting a +1 bonus to the quality of both facilities. For even more advanced workshops, consider either the Capitol Ship or Stronghold stunts.

Friday, January 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Fifteen

Lynn woke to find herself lying on the couch in Rose’s living room. She still remembered the dream about her past. It had been a turning point in her life. The new discovery the she had uncovered was quickly incorporated into the standard teleporter training plan. Once it was explained to a teleporter that was a least level 3 they would be able to use the trick themselves.

However the thing that had really changed for Lynn that night had been something else. She quickly grew stronger from that day, quickly becoming level 5 and exceeding all of her friends. It had only been a couple of years since then, she had been acclaimed as one of the fastest growing Espers. The fact that she had so quickly became a level 8 however isolated her.

Most of the new discovers she had made on her way to her current strength had been shared with the University however some of them hadn’t been replicated by other Espers. She had tried to explain her corrective teleports which allowed for extremely accurate long distance teleports but nobody had been able to replicate her achievements.

Rapid predetermined teleportation was likewise another trick she had been unable to teach. That had been disappointing because those two tricks combined was what allowed her to teleport faster and farther then any other teleporter before her and were a major factor in her rise to level-8-hood.

However that was the past, something that had happened a few years ago. Now however she felt the same sort of feeling that she had then. The spacial tunnel opened and she was in the air. There were a couple of extra almost imperceptible flickers and she was high in the sky above the Entertainment District.

This high in the sky the stars were easily visible and very bright. The light from the city below her barely hide their luster. She reached out toward the stars like she had once done years ago. This feeling, the feeling of uncertainty. It felt like an old friend that she hadn’t seen in a while had come back to visit her. How long had it been since she had felt like this, a year, two years? It felt like a lifetime.

Yet, hanging in the sky, using the momentum of occasional teleports to keep her from falling, she felt that nostalgic feeling once more. The desire to be more powerful, to reach beyond what she already had, to not be content with the moon but to desire the stars. She had been unable to recognize it year ago but now she clearly felt it, that barrier that her mind had erected in front of her. The mental block that prevented her from becoming more powerful.

The wall was a hard a stone, comprised of her uncertainty of whether getting through this wall was possible and the fear of what she would be able to accomplish if she did get through it. Until just a minute ago she hadn’t recognized that the wall even existed. Now it was there, looming on her mental horizon. However now she desired to get past it, to exceed her own strength, to be strong enough to protect the entire Academy District from the Euclidian Key. No, to be strong enough to protect Mü from whatever might happen in the future.

The desire was just the smallest crack in the wall of her fear and uncertainty but it would be enough. She decided to bring down the wall, reach beyond the moon and toward the stars. It might take time to tear down the wall but tear it down she would, stone by stone unless every block of it was gone.

Then she started to fall. She had released her corrective teleports that had been keeping her airborne and now she was in free-fall. She closed her eyes and felt the wind streaming by her and waited as the ground got closer to her. She had wanted to be able to fly and she guess that this was good enough.

When Lynn stepped in from the balcony she found Emiray moving around the in kitchen. Lynn glanced at the clock. It was still a while until dawn. Even at the altitude she had been at it had still been dark. “Aren’t you still supposed to be asleep?” Asked Lynn. Lynn had gone to be early to she had gotten enough sleep but Emiray had probably been up hours after Lynn had gone to bed.

“Oh, sleep, I’ve got plently. I’ve had a good four hours and that is enough for me to keep working all day.” Said Emiray as she managed to fish out a bowl and spoon from somewhere.
“Four hours? What sort of robot are you? Can you really function with that little sleep?” Just the thought of getting that little sleep made Lynn sleepy. She did find it amusing however that her death defying stunt through the air just now hadn’t even pushed away the last remnants of tiredness. Humans could get used to the strangest things.

“Four hours is about how much rest Rob needs to recover its energy cells so I guess I must have adjusted to that schedule. Now it seems quite normal to only be getting four hours of sleep. It is actually harder to sleep longer, I’m too used to getting up and going to work in the Belly to break the habit today.” Lynn shrugged as she searched though the cupboards for something to put in her bowl.

“Rose said she was a bad morning person and the we should help ourselves to breakfast when we got up. She said she would join us later but probably not before ten.” Emiray managed to fix a box of cereal and stared at it quizzically as if she wasn’t quiet certain if that was what you really ate for breakfast. She was more used to jerky and other long lasting meals with the occasionally hot meal created by a lucky animal trap.

“Emiray, have you ever had a mental block? Like maybe you wanted to get better at Engineering but you found it difficult to until something special happened to you?”
Emiray poured some of the cereal into the bowl and then began to eat it without milk. “I suppose, although it wasn’t quite what you describe. Engineering has a lot to do with study and practice but both of those eventually come down to motivation. If an engineer is motivated to get better then they will, it is as simple as that. Now there was once a time when I didn’t want to keep being an Engineer. My uncle taught me everything he knew about being an engineer but when he died,”

Emiray paused with a look of pain on her face, “When he did I wanted to stop being an engineer. I wanted to escape from it all, to run away and never look back. Eventually I managed to realize that if I did then then my Uncle would truly be gone. That everything that he taught me, all those precious moments together with me, would all be wasted. It was that thought that eventually rekindled my passion for engineering and got me learning again.”

“I’m not certain if that is a mental block like you mentioned but it did keep me from learning more engineering.” Said Emiray. She stuck another spoonful of dry cereal into her mouth before continuing, “I don’t know why you people like this stuff. It isn’t really that great.”

Lynn laughed, “Well, most people eat cereal with milk.” Emiray glared at Lynn with a ‘Why didn’t you tell me that earlier?’ look. Lynn continue to distract Emiray way from that annoyance. “I suppose you can call that a block. It is close enough I guess. Yours was more situation then mine but I guess the final effect is the same.”

“Is there a reason that you are thinking about this now?” Asked Emiray as she open the fridge door and pulled out the half gallen bottle of milk inside.

“It’s just,” Lynn hesitated, “If the Euclidian Key really does get activated using the Ark Tunnel Reactor then I don’t know if I will be able to stop it. I’ve grown so used to being strong enough to handle anything that I feel uncertain at the prospect of unknowing. Now that I want to get stronger I realize that I don’t know how to get stronger. It is a strange mental block I suppose.”

Emiray pondered those thoughts as she took her first bite of milked up cereal. “After I came back to engineering after my uncle died I was given my own post in the Belly. That meant I was alone, except for Rob, and I had to deal the the problems that I found down there by myself. I said that getting better at engineering requires study and practice but there are some things that you can’t study or practice for. Sometimes an engineer is given a problem that they don’t know a solution for. What do you think they do in that situation.” Emiray waggled her spoon at Lynn in question.

“Ask one of the most experienced Engineers what they should do?” Asked Lynn.

Emiray shook her head, “No, while that might work for a regular engineer, a master engineer can’t do that because they have nobody to go to for advice.” Emiray raised her spoon before continuing. “When you find a problem for which you don’t know the solution, the correct answer is to create the solution.”

Lynn looked confused at the younger woman, “And how does that help be get stronger. How can I just create the method for getting stronger.” However she did understand what Lynn was getting at, she had invented dozens of techniques that improved the usefulness of teleportation. However those didn’t effect a users raw power, how much energy an Esper was able to use. That was something that seemed to grow naturally as an Esper trained until it reached a certain point.

“No, not how to get stronger,” Said Emiray, “What it means to be stronger. Instead of wondering how to become stronger, instead think about what you would want to be able to do if you were stronger.”

Lynn thought back to her dream and the memories that came with it. “I see, I already had the solution in my hands but confused it for something else. I knew what it meant to be a stronger teleporter, to do what none had done before. It was once I had accomplished that that I became what I am now. Now that I am the strongest teleporter I need to decide what it means to be a stronger teleporter. It can’t just be speed or distance, those come with being a stronger teleporter they aren’t what make a stronger teleporter.”

Emiray nodded in approval, like a teacher regarding a student that did well. Lynn found that fairly annoying considering she was older then Emiray. Emiray said, “Since you have found the right question, you just need to find the right answer.” Emiray shoved the last spoon full of cereal into her mouth and the set the bowl down of the table, “Now I’m going to make sure that everything is in working order, it is always a good idea to double check things before everything gets dicy.”

When Emiray left Lynn sat down on the couch and looked blanking at the vacant television. Even if she knew the right question she didn’t know if she could find an answer. Over the last couple of years she had burned through her ideas about what a teleporter should be able to do. Now that she could accomplish all of those she didn’t know what a stronger teleporter would be able to do that Lynn wasn’t already capable of doing.

It was a conundrum alright and Lynn didn’t even have a the faintest clue about how to solve it, she just knew that she wanted to solve it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Fourteen

Yeah, I know it has taken me forever to finally get around to posting these again. I managed to finish my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and now I'm going to start posting them again.

The Past

“Again.” The voice through the speaker system blared down at Lynn. She closed her eyes again and concentrated. She shifted the ball in her hands toward the slot for it a few hundred meters away. There was a blare as the sensors recorded that she was off by several inches again.

“That is enough Lynn. Please report to the results room.” She sighed and opened her eyes again. The Esper level test was going badly for her. She had hoped to have gotten better but it seemed that it hadn’t happened.

When she arrived the the results room she receives the paper with her results on it. Like it had three months ago the paper said that she was a level four Esper. Three months and her results hadn’t improved at all. It had been nearly a year since her power had increased at all. It had been nearly a year since she had started her special training. Maybe is was about time that she gave up on that and continued with her real training again.

She sighed and slipped the piece of paper into her pocket. With the end of year Esper tests over it was time for her to enjoy her new years eve. She didn’t really have any plans, most of her friends were going to go celebrate their increased scores however Lynn didn’t really feel like doing it. One of them had managed to reach level 5 this time, Lynn was happy for her but it also made Lynn feel inadequate.

Lynn had managed to reach level 4 before her friend and now she had been passed by, in fact most of them were beginning to get better then her. She wondered the streets of the University District trying to decide what to do. Nothing however stuck her interest and she ended up reaching her apartment. She unlocked her door and slipped inside. She could have probably teleported inside, she was capable of short personal teleportations but it seemed like too much of a pain.

She sat down on her couch and flipped on the TV. It was talking about the new year and what the different news casters were planning for their new years resolutions. She remembered the resolution that she had made last year and felt regret at not having accomplished it. She stared at the remote that she had set down on the coffee table.

She closed her eyes and mentally reached toward remote willing it into her hand. When she opened her eyes the remote was still on the table. Of course it was still on the table. No teleporter had managed a reverse teleporation, the ability to move an object at a distance to the teleporter. She had told herself last year that she would be the first one to do it, that she would spend all year trying to accomplish it.

It had been a year since then. A year of trying and failing to do the impossible. She hadn’t initially thought that it would be impossible, she had thought that if she just put in the time and effort to try it then she would be able to do it but life wasn’t that easy.

She had tried everything she could think of. She had thought that she would be able to bring things back through the spacial tunnel that was created when she moved an object somewhere else but that proved to be a faulty assumption, the spacial tunnel collapsed after the object finished moving through it and the attempts just ended up making things explode. While some people might think that would be useful it was hardly what she had been attempting.

Reversing the tunnel didn’t seem to work. Whatever it was that she did to create it in the first place was enough beyond her that she had no idea how one would reverse it. So in the end months of wasted effort was spent trying to accomplish something that dozens of Espers before her must have already tried and failed to do.

Now she had a year of failure to show for her stupid new years resolution. If she had practiced the standard way then maybe she would have been a level 5 too now. She looked at the TV again. There were only a few minutes left to go until midnight. It looks like she really did fail last year’s resolution. It was probably better just to give up.

She wondered what she should make for this year’s resolution. Maybe she should aim for becoming a level 5 Esper, that seemed like an reasonable goal. Most people’s powers peak out at around there so she should be able to accomplish that too.

She stood up and moved toward her balcony, opening the door and stepping outside. It was cold but not to much so. Mu was almost always a reasonable temperature. The concentrated for a minute and then opened up a spacial tunnel to move herself onto the roof. Once it was completed she panted, it was always more tiring then she expected.

She laid back on roof and stared up at the stars. She had always loved looking up at the stars when she had been a child. She father had been an astronomer and had told her all about the stars. The brightness from the city all around her made the stars dim and difficult to see but she could still make out many of the constellations.

She didn’t mind being a teleporter but she had really wanted to be able to fly. If you had asked her what Esper power she wanted it would have been telekinesis. Powerful Espers with telekinesis were capable of lifting themselves in the air and flying.

She reached out her hand toward the sky as if trying to grasp at the stars. What was it that she really wanted. Why was it that she was trying so hard at this stupid resolution. She wasn’t really sure herself. The stars seemed so far away, so very far away. How far would she need to reach to catch them.

She heard the tolling of a bell somewhere off in the distance. It was almost midnight, it must be the countdown before the new year. It would be easy to just give up on her resolution and pick up a new one, one that she knew she could accomplish. But what then, won’t that just be the same as giving up. Was it wrong to give up on an impossible task. Lynn just didn’t know.

The bell tolled for the seventh time. She felt like she was running out of time to decide what to do. A silly idea really, the changing of the year didn’t really mean anything. The bell tolled the eight time. How high could she reach, she wanted to know that. It was part of the reason she had volunteered to be an Esper in the first place. If she gave up know would she ever be able to reach the stars.

The bell rang the twelfth time and Lynn sat up. She should probably get back to the apartment. She looked up once more at the stars. She wasn’t ready to give up now. It didn’t matter if it took another year or ten, she wasn’t going to give up on making her resolution. Espers were supposed to do the impossible, however was her plan any different.

She stood at the edge of the roof and looked down at her balcony. It took her a moment to focus and open the tunnel to it and she stepped through. Stepped through? She stood on the balcony and walked through it in her mind. Somehow the process seemed different then it had a couple of minutes ago. She stepped through the mental steps she had used to teleport herself. They seemed clearer to her then they had previously.

There was something different about how she teleported herself and how she teleported objects. She closed her eyes to remove the visual distractions. Then she opened up a tunnel in preparation of teleporting herself. However she just stood there keeping the tunnel open. Then she reached out, felt herself being pulled in by the tunnel. The remote on the table, she felt it, like she was touching it with her fingers. It was like she was letting her senses, her awareness, get sucked through the spacial tunnel. She could feel the remote like she was holding it in her hand, then in a random stab in the dark she open up another tunnel, this open leading back to herself. She funneled her awareness through the new tunnel and then, she was holding it.

The remote was in her hands.