Sunday, 20 March 2016

Aberrant - It All Comes Crashing Down

Adam arrived at the St John mansion to find the gates torn down and tyre tracks everywhere. Chunks of the building were strewn around the grounds. Adam started forward through the mud, blood and bodies, through the shattered rooms, to find Alastair on his knees in front of a fireplace, head bowed, arms limp at his sides, covered in wounds and no pulse. Behind him was Jen, curled on her side and also apparently dead. No sign of his wife or daughter or Holly or the rest of our team in the soot that covered the room; scorchmarks originating from Alastair. He shouted for Remi in the hopes the Cajun's powerful telepath would be listening, and Remi appeared seconds later. He could feel the traces of Mark's warp, with seven travellers not going far, maybe the Hub. Adam told me to meet him there as Remi, swearing vengeance, carried Alastair and Jen's bodies through a warp of his own before returning to take Adam to the Hub. Smoke-filled and alarms blaring.

Meanwhile, as Pax and I raced toward London, I phoned Rachel, the only member of our team currently unaccounted for. She must have known something was up because she actually answered and I spoke to her for the first time in years; since before Nicky was born... since not long after Adam and Sam had been married, now I think of it. It was wonderful to hear her, even under these circumstances, and I was disappointed when she said she could not come herself but would send some friends.

By the time we got there, Remi and Adam had tracked down our group, hiding deep in the Hub. We could feel the nodes of 5 other novas prowling the halls, no one we recognised. Remi took Sam, Holly, Nicky and other survivors to his boat, but exhausted as they were Jean, Mark, Stef and Robert wanted to stay - we couldn't stop them, but begged them to stay safe and out of sight. This was our turf and we weren't about to back off. We needed a plan, dammit. And of course, this was our turf: we knew it like no one else. 

Adam, Pax, Remi and I made our way to the room Adam and I knew best: the training room. Once safely there, Stef used her connection to the CCTV to track the invaders down, then controlled the lighting to lead them to us. 

They entered. All taller than me - most novas are - but the woman who went from stationary to a blur of speed beside the tallest, broadest of the men was as skinny as I am. Adam, the only of us who could match her speed, raced to intercept her as the huge, bulky guy lumbered at me: speed vs speed; brawn vs brawn. I flew up and chucked fire at him, but he shrugged it off, so I dove and used the momentum of my flight to slam him into the depths of the swimming pool. Lightning crackled above the water and I could see the damage Adam was doing as he pulled the metal tracks around to try to pin down the speeding woman. Bursts of energy from Pax lit the room, penetrating the water as the tall guy and I punched each other until eventually we emerged, rolled back onto the floor.

It was an exhausting fight. Adam, Pax, Remi and I are strong, but found ourselves evenly matched, and they had a fifth. We were starting to tire.

A crack started at one edge of the ceiling, quickly zig-zagging to the other edge. I braced myself - against another blow from my opponent, against whatever new threat was arriving. The ceiling peeled back and Divis Mal levitated slowly to the ground. For the briefest firing of synapses, I thought he was leading the attack against us, but then he laid into those attacking us and I realised with a different dread that this was the backup Rachel had sent. A fifth person on our side, however, swung things in our favour, and things became more chaotic. Ice erupted through an aggressor as he aimed a blow at me that I hadn't noticed, and I saw the ice-figure hovering above the newly opened hole.

A shuddering in reality, and Alastair appeared before us, dead-eyed, emotionless, and devastating. He evapourated our opponents. 

The ice person left the scene too fast for me to follow, but once I was sure everyone was safe I flew to the airport in Ireland, just in time to see a dozen bodyguards disembark the aeroplane, ahead of a woman the spitting image of Holly. I went to follow her, when the ice figure spoke. "Let her go. She's got the message." The voice was not Steve's as I was used to hearing it, but I was sure now. He left again, and I returned to the remnants of the Hub.

Divis Mal had left by the time I returned. Remi had retrieved Sam, Nicky and Holly from his ship, and organised the survivors to tidy the least damaged rec room and search out other survivors. On my return, Pax left to moderate Project Utopia and Team Tomorrow's response.

The devastation was shocking, but Alastair's decision to drop to a skeleton staff when he heard the rumours meant there were fewer colleagues to mourn. Peter had been on duty and we found him hiding in a locker he'd previously equipped as a bolthole. He was there in the office block the day Adam and I erupted. I should have realised he might develop PTSD... But his many boltholes around the venue saved lives. 

We settled back in the rec room and Remi made coffee. The television, by some miracle, still worked so we turned it on to see what the news was reporting. Mostly, of course, the massive destruction of London. Then it moved on to report on a series of murders and the destruction of a church in America - the Church of the Archangel Michael, the group who attacked Adam's premiere just a few days ago. Phillip 'Hyperdrice' Dean was indeed announced as a suspect: they had footage: either an incredible forgery, or Adam must have been controlled because I couldn't imagine my friend, my wonder-twin, carrying out attacks so brutal. The murders had taken place in that gap earlier when I couldn't get hold of him when Steve ran off. I looked around, and noticed he, Sam and Nicky were gone. He wouldn't answer my desperate shouts. None of his or Sam's phones were on.