Sunday, August 3, 2008

Adept Tales 01 "Mission 1"

The wind swept deserts of Nevada could be very dangerous. The wind blew harder here sending shards of sand into Tash’s face. I must be close. She pulled out her trusty C69 Rail-Pistol and continued forward. Or at least that’s what she called it. It’s doubtful it’s ever been seen anywhere else. It was like that when you were an Adept. Everyone had their own little toy or creation. Everyone wrapped up in their own little world, and this chick really got herself wrapped up in a doozie.

Tash had been out of Sage’s training program for about 6 months now, but this was her first real assignment. That’s not too cliché. Should’ve brought Ensign Ricky to back me up. Nerves usually came out in sarcasm. Well, nerves and most emotions really. It’s not like she was green though. When she first manifested she became a vigilante of sorts in her city. That’s what drew Sage to her. At least that’s what they told her. But something about this girl she was after was different. She didn’t pop on any of the normal radar. The first Sage got wind of her at all was 3 months ago when a biker gang claimed to have come across a sand witch in the desert. The local authorities thought it was some kind of joke, but Sage makes a point of at least trying to look into any strange activity reported in Norm society, so they sent some feelers out. What they came back with is what gave Tash the wigs.

According to Sage Intel whoever was out in that dessert has never had any contact with other Adepts. It’s like some kind of Adept dead zone. Population density versus square miles or something. Tash didn’t really understand the math, but what it meant was there were no other Adepts to challenge her out here. It meant this chick, for god knows how long, has been living out in the desert, alone, with the ability to shape reality around her with no idea why she’s able to do it or anyone to mediate her. It meant Simple Sally probably has one hell of a god complex and an appetite for destruction. If the biker’s statements were any proof, this is one twisted sand bitch. Sage policy though is to at least try to rehabilitate. This was supposed to be strictly a snatch and grab operation, but somehow she doubted it.

The wind seemed to get more and more furious as she continued on. Sand slammed into her with surprising force, nearly knocking her to the ground. Fuck this. Tash activated the armor hidden under her cloths. Metal alloy of an unknown and technologically advanced origin surrounded her and left her looking like a futuristic super soldier. The sand and wind were no match. That was easy. Either she’s not that powerful or she wasn’t expecting to be resisted.

Her answer came thundering into her mind. She saw the sand grow dark and furious in front of her. A shape of a women barely on the outline moving in, then the gravel sound of sand slammed into her ears and into her mind, shouting with a voice of fury, “How dare you defy me!” Tash fell to her knees, hands to her head, C69 forgotten in the sand. The voice ripped her to shreds from the inside out. The fury of sand, shards of infant glass tearing at her soul.

In agony she managed to say in an almost inaudible whisper, “Activate sound filters.” The click and hum of advanced electronics manifested into her helmet, then silence. Free from the voice and the fury of the sand, Tash threw her self backwards, backpedaling on the ground away from the shape in the sand. It regarded her with eyes of darkness. ‘It’ now because Tash was no longer sure this was just some crazy girl. Something else was at play here. She could feel it. Almost as if the shadows heard her thoughts, the darkness began to swarm around her. Like a see of blackness it rose on all sides, blotting the desert sun already diminished from the sandstorm still in progress.

Training, reaction, finally kicked in. Flip kick back to her feet, a Turbine-X950 Super Shotgun in her hands. Click-click, Boom! A barrage of shrapnel flew into the sand figure, scattering particles of its makeshift body into the wind. Click-click, Boom! Another and another as she stepped closer and closer, each shot whittling the creature away.

Beneath the sand the shadow began to grow, filling the empty spaces with a solid void. As Tash gazed into that emptiness she began to slow. Click…Click……Boom. Her mind dissolved into that nothingness, floating toward the safety of oblivion. Just then a tiny little dot of light caught her eye and as she watched it, it grew. It began to shine brightly, illuminating the dark, and suddenly she found herself back starring at the sand-shadow beast, shotgun forgotten held loosely at her side. What happened? Oh yea! Re-energized, she blasts into the sand with renewed determination. Click-click, Boom! One after another, but this time a light surrounds each shot, shredding the darkness.

As Tash watched the darkness subside, she noticed the sandstorm begin to die down. More then that it seemed to be running from the dark. Perhaps rehabilitation isn’t out of the question. As the final shots chased away the shadows, the wind died down to a whisper, the sand parted and fell revealing a woman lying still on the ground. Tash moved cautiously forward, C69 back in her hands now instead of the sand shredder, eyes never wavering from the figure on the ground. She began to stir. ‘She’ again because whatever ‘it’ was, was gone. The face turned to Tash was sharp with dark features; sand worn and hard, but a weariness shown at the eyes. She had the look of the betrayed. Like one who was promised the world and failed to get delivery. Shocked, alone, afraid.

Gun still pointed Tash released the visor of her armor, revealing her own face. “I’m from Sage. I’m here to take you in. What’s your name?”

The woman looked up with sullen eyes, “Sandi. My name’s Sandi.”

“Will you come with me willingly Sandi?”

Sandi’s eyes began to drift up with watery abandon, face poised on the verge of collapse, but the floodgates held. She seemed to pull herself back from the edge, composed for the moment. Eyes still diverted though, looking somewhere up and to the right, but not really looking at all.

“Sandi. Will you come with me?”

Her eyes came back to Tash’s with a measuring look. In that moment Tash saw something she hadn’t expected. Intelligence, but more than that. Something on the edge of that look struck Tash as devious. As a calculated gesture of measuring the odds. Part of Sandi wanted to take the fight further. But in the end her eyes reflected their master’s surrender, “I will.”

With those two words Tash felt Sandi’s resistance slip away. It was over. The C69 went back to it’s home on her hip as she extended a hand to Sandi. As they headed back to Tash’s XJ-50 HoverCyke she began to feel better the further they got from the dead zone. Strange, because she hadn’t realized anything was wrong, but as they moved away from the scene of the battle, a sensation of dread she hadn’t realized she had began seeping away. She saw that Sandi seemed to perk up too, though she was still defeated, in more ways than one. She's going to need a lot of help, but that’s what Sage is for.

As they got to Tash’s HoverCyke the sun was just reaching the tips of the distant mountains. Well, as far as cliches go, riding off into the sunset ain’t bad. I even got the girl. Looks like mission 1 is a success. “Too bad Ensign Ricky didn’t make it.”


“Nothing Sandi, nothing.”


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