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 Splashdown {Open}

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PostSubject: Splashdown {Open}   Mon May 26, 2014 10:24 pm

Out in space, there is no sound. 

It is an open void, where particles and clouds of dust become nebulas and pulsating stars. Impressive planets hang high in the reaches of the nether, constellations are named billions of years after they are born. The world is watched from thousands of years in the future, while the space itself is ancient and unyielding, forever turbulent and clashing together like titans fighting for supremacy in what mortals would call eternity. Out in the reaches of the extra-solar, crossing a bridge between two worlds, the sheer weight of the universe is massive and omnipotent, and infinite possibilities await.

Space, thought the Scientist, was perfection. It was the beginning and the end, the balance between chaos and order. Something she hoped to attain. A perfect sense of control. It was in constant peril, yet it never seemed so peaceful, even from the viewpoint of a tiny circular window, in an equally small spherical escape pod. An escape pod that seemed to slowly tumble through the blackness of the outer universes, though the Scientist knew that, in reality, she was spiralling at distances of hundreds of astronomical units per hour, rocketing helplessly towards a blue and green planet known by the Reach as Earth. To her, it was simply a troublesome place to be.

 Within the pod, gravitational tethers and zeta devices stabilized the interior's rotation, and she felt only a mild wave of nausea as the craft exited solar system after solar system, speeding along a predetermined course towards the rock planet. The entirety of her pod phased in and out of shadows and light, and in the darkness, the Scientist could only see the blinking lights of the panels in front of her, and the expanse of space pressing down from the portholes to her sides. It was a cramped, claustrophobic space, the screens of trajectory information along with the buzz of her communicator at her side the only signs of life within the pod. 

The Scientist strained at times, to catch the view of an asteroid field or ringed planet coming into sight. With steel harnesses over her thorax and abdomen, her arms were all that really could move within the spinning, rotating gyroscope that was her transport. Sometimes she checked her communicators and, when the lights faded, the reflector discs at each side of the pod, but otherwise the only real effort that took place inside the escape pod was merely looking to her left. 

At least, she decided, she could observe the universe at peace. With hours left on the countdown to arrival, there was not much else to be done. And so, for the first time in weeks, Masasa found the strength to close her eyes and sleep.

❚❚❚

Rattling woke her up. Violent rattling, which was probably the worst kind when dealing with extra-solar activities.  She tried to sit up, only to come crashing back down, having forgotten her harness. She cursed, her voice a sharp, raspy hiss. What a wake up call. Straining to see past the bright yellow and orange alarms of the control panel, she immediately tried to see out of the porthole. To her surprise, it was nothing but stars still. Her scowl deepened, at least until something passed across her vision. A dark black anomaly, rectangular except for two large metal panels at its side, veered away from her craft slowly, its dented side reflecting off the light of the blue down below. Even more worrying was that there seemed to be several more where that came from. In fact, thousands of rectangular shapes and other detritus now began to appear within sight, all outlined by a blue expanse down below.

So she had arrived. The Scientist immediately swung into action, her fingers tracing over the golden highlights of holotech alarms screaming at her from the console. Her eyes were wide, breathing rapid as she tried to pull the pod back out, back on target. Land, she needed land! There was nothing but water below, and the infinity of space watching as she hastily wrote and re-wrote the co-ordinates, the escape pod dropping more and more towards Earth's gravitational pull. By the time she had set an axis, the atmosphere had swallowed her transport completely. And, like a gluttonous beast, it didn't let go. 

Alarms began anew, and life support's cooling phase began. The Scientist was locked in her seat, holding on for dear life as all around her, the escape pod rattled and shook. Reflectors broke off; She heard the screech of metal on metal rupture around the outside of the craft as it continued to fall. What she could see out of the corner of her eye was red, the outside shell white and beginning to spark. What had been purple and orange paint was burnt off, and the supports underneath were reaching critical temperature.


She was trapped in a spinning, smoking metal ball. 

At the last moment, the Scientist saw the pod's emergency beacon flare up, and then the windows darkened, trapping the Scientist in a void not unlike that of the night sky above. 

❚❚❚

After a few long, contemplative hours, the hatch to the pod finally opened. Immediately, liquid pooled inside. She had time to yell before it splashed over her face, and she gagged on salty seawater. Quickly, she pulled herself out of the escape pod, nearly falling over the round surface as it bobbed up and down along the ocean waves. The surface was slippery and wet. She carefully balanced herself on the edge of the hatch, the handles surprisingly cool and thus usable. Carefully, she guided the half-submerged vessel towards what appeared to be a shoreline in the distance.

Once she reached there, she floundered to hop out of the craft entirely. The bottom of her tunic was soaked in the process, but she didn't seem to care. What did trouble her was the absence of any sound. Her communicator sputtered, nothing but a buzzing white noise emanating from its body. After trying a few times to make contact with the flagship, she gave up on it. Around her was nothing but sand and waves, and the broken hull of the escape pod the only technology in sight. In all effects she was alone and without contact, stranded on the shore of who knew where. 

But in the distance, she made out, were the lights of some civilization not far from her. And, she noted, a large mountain in the distance. It began to click that she might know exactly where she had landed afterall. Whether that was a good thing or not, she didn't feel like sticking around to find out. 

Grabbing her blade and the broken communicator, she kicked the vessel back into the sea, its dead and charred shell no longer of any importance to her.  As the enormity of her situation dawned on her, she decided it was probably best to start running. She needed to disappear, quickly, before anyone noticed her arrival. Shelter, to avoid unwanted attention. And third, most importantly, she needed a plan.

Because if there was one place the Reach did not wish to land, it would have to be along the coastal town of Happy Harbor.

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PostSubject: Re: Splashdown {Open}   Thu May 29, 2014 1:13 pm

Whistling a little tune Max found himself walking out of The Bugles head quarters in upstate New York. He was a free lance writer while in school and he managed to pull an account in for a small story on the meteor shower that would be happening this weekend and the paper was going to pay for his travel expenses as long as he stayed on the east coast. A knowing smirk found itself to his face as he thought of just where to go, a place with a great view of the shower, a sweet beach, a justice league base, and a possibility for an even better story on the league to land himself two pay checks instead of one.



ϟ ϟ ϟ


His fingers drummed along the steering wheel of the beat up Toyota Avalon while he sat in stand still traffic along the interstate. It was memorial day weekend and everyone was out, traveling on camping trips, going to cook outs, heading to visit family members, the usual. It wasn't so for Max, he was on a job and he was bored out of his mind in the stand still, no one was moving and he wanted to know why. His appetite for having to know things often got him into trouble but it helped feed his journalistic life, it often lead to interesting stories, to uncovering lost tales, finding missing puzzle pieces, and solving crimes. It was this horrible need to know things that made him look around to make sure no one was looking into his car before his right hand left the steering wheel and touched the radio. The music kicked out and a high pitched buzzing noise emitted before Max vanished, turning into a jolt of power and leaping into the radio, his electrified body scrambled down the wiring of the radio, to the battery, out toward the head lights before jumping into the rear lights of the car in front of him and moving through that car to another and so on until he came to the front of the line.


At the front of the congestion rested an over turned semi truck. He wanted to rip his hair out in frustration because there wasn't a thing he could do about it until he noticed high way equipment. A heavy construct grade fork lift rested a mere thirty feet away, it didn't take but a split second for him to jump to it and sync with the wiring, the engine, the controls. It barely took any time at all to way lay the semi truck with the prongs of the fork lift, pushing it over so at least one lane of traffic was open to get the flow going. On lookers watched in stunned, not seeing a driver on the fork lift. Max sat in his car smiling, remembering the shocked looks people held. He hummed more song lyrics while traffic started moving again, pushing him to happy harbor.
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PostSubject: Re: Splashdown {Open}   Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:25 pm

She pushed back long, dark branches, peering through a thicket of  trees and down a long, sloping hillside. Her robe was frayed at the edges, from where it had snagged on the thorn-covered bushes strewn about the forestry, and the yellow mouth-slip fastened to her uniform was chipped. Small, shallow breaths fogged up the yellow mask. The Scientist passed through, ducking her head before the branches swung back into place, and she continued on her way.

The Scientist had arrived to a rough outcropping on the fringes of Happy Harbor. A cluster of packed together stone, black with high, serrated edges outlined the edge of the hillside. When she touched on it was hot to the touch. She rested on their broad, flatter backs, trying to catch her breath, and looked over the side. Beyond was a steep, barren woodland, patched with tiny clusters of trees and brush, and similar areas of pointed, knife-like rocks. Beyond that was the expanse of the town, low buildings visible from here, arched high above long cables of wiring that seemed to extend towards the sea. She could see the docks, rolling beaches, a lighthouse not that far from her position. Long streets of primitive paved walkways merged into the city from the east, and she could see a huge line of automobiles that appeared as specks from her distance. Nothing but tiny ants. On the other side loomed a huge, dark mountain. It might have been a trick of the light, but she swore she saw a thin trail of smoke drift up from the base, mingling with the clouds...

Suddenly she was ready to keep moving again.

Time was not on The Scientist's side, it seemed. Hours had passed since initial touchdown and the sun had risen high, scorching the planet and everything in it, including the stranded alien. She settled low to rest under shade whenever she could, and felt as if she were moving slower than a Krolotean trapped in a reversed conveyor belt. Twice she had spotted a human; Once when she had decided to travel along what appeared to be a dirt road, and the second when she caught sight of a helicopter passing just over the canopy. It seemed to be one of the human's media helicopters, the "birds" that always seemed to have an eye on the ground, and a mouth to report it with. The Ambassador had loved those birds; Like any media outlet the meat used, he enjoyed the exposure. Now she was trying to blend into the trees and not be sighted by them. It already appeared that some human meat along the coast had spotted the escape pod, possibly her foot-prints hidden in the wake. How long would it take before her entry reported and sent for investigation?

Superhuman meat was not a favorable encounter. To be frank, The Scientist would rather have drowned in the escape pod than be caught and tried by the Justice League. Worse yet, by the Guardians of the Universe.

And so she had found herself always fiddling with her communicator, during those frequent stops when shade was found. The Reach tech was busted, chewed up by being even remotely exposed to billions upon billions of joules during atmospheric re-entry. Wireless communications was impossible; Even the chip for basic calculations had been fried. Not even a satellite on this planet could be reached, never mind one located from outside this solar system. It was frustrating, to say the least. It was not like the Scientist could not fix it - she had dealt with communications problems before the first time the Reach had landed on Earth - it was that she lacked the materials to fix the communicator. And as another attempt to re-configure the device brought a shower of sparks leaping up from the communicator, The Scientist found herself muttering curses in garbled Reach tongue louder and louder every time.

Perhaps, once she found shelter, she would find some means of procuring a lab. Maybe, once that lab was found, she would get some Reach tech, or even that shoddy Lex-corp funded Earth-Reach tech if any still existed; Whatever worked. It was the only reassurance the alien had, stranded as she was, and so she was motivated to keep walking. She reluctantly slipped off the edge of the rocks and continued travelling across the hillside, pushing through tangled forest and hissing a little as yet another branch scraped across the back of her leg. 

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PostSubject: Re: Splashdown {Open}   Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:11 pm

Max’s eyes were glazed over as he finally rolled into happy harbor. The town was awash in light from the meteors and from the camera flashes. It was all he could do to not set up in the first thicket of people he saw, wanting nothing more than the photograph the scene before him. He could feel the energy crackling in the air as he stared around in awe. It danced and sparked off his skin in such a way that he wanted nothing more than to join it; to become the living energy bolt that he truly was.

Young lovers sat holding each other on blankets as they watched the stars, children ran wild between the parents screaming in delight, and said parents merely smiled as they watch the stars and heard their children. The familiar tiredness of the ride had finally left him, and he begin the setup; pulling his tripod. He fixed the camera top the tripod and pulled out a notepad he would snap a photo here and there, but his pencil would be a fury across the page. He was an amateur photographer, but a professional writer and he was here to catch a great story, a story about a meteor shower possibly about Mount Justice. He kept finding himself staring at the mountain is all he could do to stay in this crowd of people and keep writing, his hand was separate from his mind absently jotting down details about the meteor shower.

His camera would go off in increments of five minute segments, but all the while he wasn’t really there. He was stuck deep in his mind, dreaming about what Mount Justice looked like on the inside. Ever since The Reach had invaded Earth and kidnapped him, forcing him to become what he really was. He wanted nothing more than to join the Justice League and fight against the cursed aliens that mutated him. And now he was within throwing distance of their base, and he hoped that something interesting would happen, something terrifying, something that require hero. It’s wrong for me to think that, but I really want to show my power and earn some respect, as well as get the opportunity to fight The Reach. At the end of this thought he berated himself, knowing that that wasn’t what a true hero would say, he knew right then that he was a far way off join the Justice League, but if he got to fight aliens in the meantime, everything would be good.

He smiled himself as he turned back to the meteor shower, and heard a child laugh. Tonight there is nowhere he’d rather be than Happy Harbor, he closed notepad and slid the pencil in the binding. Once finished, he walked blindly through the crowds, knowing not where he went only that he was enjoying himself and he is getting paid for it. Deep laugh ripped from his throat as he thought about getting paid for this was him was as if he was robbing the Bugle and they were happy with it. I think it much better for the young man, he saw a blonde headed girl staring at him and he winked at her, before moving on.

He wasn’t even remotely aware of the alien until he found himself on a deserted beach and saw the wreckage for himself. He knew right away it was Reach related, he could tell by the symbols drawn on the metal, the scarab like design, the burn patterns, even the smell of the aliens. He felt his temper rise as if molted lead course through his veins with no sign of cooling down. Sparks danced across the hair on his arms and the sand under his feet vibrated as he felt the energy inside him well up. It wasn’t until he managed to pull his anger in that he noticed footprints in that split second he felt his skin dissolve and turn into pure energy. His finite body no longer existed, he was electricity incarnate, he was pure power with a mind, he was lightning with the purpose, and his purpose was now clear. His energy form shot up the trail that was clear while his mind raced, rapidly could begin to deduce the path the alien took.

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PostSubject: Re: Splashdown {Open}   Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:11 pm

All the dirt roads, the Scientist found, lead to mankind. As daylight waned, the little mountain trails that she had been following were being overrun with fleshy, meaty human faces. The dirt was trod on by shoe, sandal and wheel tracks, all pointed in the same direction. Where she spotted them, they walked in all shapes and sizes, parading in groups through the forest paths. Some had furry creatures at their sides - canids by the look of them, but heavily in-bred - and many slobbered and barked around their owner's feet. The tinier humans, their offspring, slobbered also, but less so. She heard them as they laughed and jeered and raced ahead of their exhausted, tired parents. It was an annoying, teeth-grindingly chipper sound, and sometimes she wondered if they were mocking her without even seeing her.

Every male and female human, every kid and dog and vehicle that went past was another bout of anxiety for the fugitive alien among them. She had to be oh so careful, she found, clinging to the sides of the pathways, half-crouched, watching the humans go by with wary eyes. She had to methodically trace and re-trace her steps to avoid walking right into the open. She had to time herself to dart across a path into another section of forestry without being seen. The trails had been her only way out, and now they were blocked by bodies milling for the cliffsides. She couldn't sweep down the mountain; Firstly it was too steep, and secondly the humans were actively going up above her. A great multitude of them were finding rest stops on the trails too, and weren't leaving them even as she waited for them to go. The flat rocks from earlier now seated a family of four, their eyes inclined towards the slowly darkening sky. At the top of a hill a meager cloth tent had been set, and a telescope stood on a tripod with its single optic pointed towards the horizon. Another camp was overflowing with the sound of singing; Humans vocalizing in their gutteral language as they sat in cushions around a fire. Smoke from campfires drew thin grey circles in the evening air, and the faintest smell of primitive cooking meats or sweet sugary things on sticks came from everywhere. The Scientist found that last part the most distracting. 

It was becoming increasingly apparent that going downhill would have to wait, or she would be quickly spotted by the onlookers up high. No, the only way was up. She needed a shelter to recooperate, to tend to herself, to fix what was broken. And she couldn't have that shelter be in the eyesight of every hiker in Happy Harbor. The Scientist decided to diverge from the path, away from the laughter of children and "Kumbayah"s of the humans singing, and drew herself up the mountain.

Beyond her, the beginning flashes of meteors brightened up the sky.

❚❚❚

As another helicopter flew up ahead, the Scientist bent down low. She waited until its loud rotor passed overhead and she quickly scampered over the break in the trees, barreling into a set of bushes, curling her fingers around the bark of a tree. Her breath came out in short gasps. The Reach had no use for sweat glands, but she could feel how heavily she breathed, and found her hands clumsy and stiff. When she muttered to herself, her voice was an agitated rattle, venom in her words. And her eyes were focused on one thing.

If she had been taking the trail, she would have missed the old shed, half-buried in the trees itself. In the light of the meteors soaring overhead, it was a pale, red-grey, made of rotting, soft slabs of wood, discolored after what could be years of neglect. One side sloped into the mountain, leaving its roof askew, a part of it even opened up towards the sky, but it was a shelter. And after climbing the mountainside for an entire day, the Scientist was loathe to complain. She tried the door, found it locked, but quickly opened up her blade and sliced off the lock. The shed seemed to sigh when she did, and the door eased aside. 

Inside, the floorboards were equally soft, dipping into the ground at some places. The place was sparse save for what looked to be shelf of dirty, opague jars. She avoided them, as they smelled hideous even from the other side of the room. With great care, the alien settled down to sit under the single window of the shed, and exhaled, leaning back on the knotted planks of wood. Somehow they didn't sag and split apart at her weight, as much as she thought they would. She felt a wave of exhaustion burning over her, and tried to steady herself, focusing on the sky she could see from the open door.

Meteors flashed overhead like the strobes of her escape pod's alarms, beaming bright overhead and disappearing into the distance. Masasa had seen meteor showers before homeworld; The Reach often documented them as they flew across the sky, recording and naming them as they went. Her interests in the Muta-Gene kept her away from purusing detailed astronomy studies, but she'd always found the meteor showers quite beautiful and radiant. Perhaps when she got back to the home planet, if ever, she would take the time to look into the recordings herself.

The Scientist opened up her communicator, staring at the hunk of twisted metal that used to be her contact home. She flipped it upside down, trying to memorize all the parts she needed, scouring her memories to remember the locations of the Earth-Reach manufacturers. Even their less sophisticated replications of Reach technology would be enough to send a distress call home. And she could inform them of her impending research operation, provided she were supplied with resources and a laboratory to work from.

For a moment, she wondered, perhaps she would be redeemed if she turned in Black Beetle to the Guardians of the Universe. As soon as the thought came it chilled her to the core, and she let the idea go.

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