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Everywhere Girl #2 (of 4): Weighty Concerns
by Denny Hill 2 (firebomb@technohol.com)
Copyright 1999, 2001 All rights reserved.


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Think of being at the lowest point in a city, where there's all manner of tall spires of glass and steel and other stuff stretching into the sky all around you. Now, directly overhead, our girl Franky is falling straight towards you at breakneck speeds, a glowing sphere of energy right in front of her. Also, she's being chased by this spiky, muscular red monster thingie, who's about to grab her ankle. Looks pretty grim, eh?


(That should do for a 'cover', shouldn't it?)


-------------------------------------------------------


Franky was swimming through the Between again.


She wasn't alone this time, however, for her ersatz instructor, the blonde bombshell known only as Psychoturge, was monitoring her progress. "Reach out with your mind, Franky. Feel the space around you. Feel the time around you. Feel the ... feel ... feel the awareness around you." Psychoturge paused for a moment, and after a quick brainstorming session, continued. "More importantly, tell me what you sense."


"I sense that I am currently brushing up against a European battlefield in 1942. There are seven distinct temporal windows opened up around me, observing the conflict here and recording it for future posterity. And I feel, I feel, I feel a great sense of hatred. Wait, now it's drunken ecstasy, for I've moved on to a drug-filled brothel in San Francisco, in late '75. And now, I'm elsewhere, away from the earth altogether, feel... feel! Malice! Rage!! Hunger!!! Arr!!!!"


Psychoturge slapped Franky in the face several times, until her perceptions returned to the here and now, as it were. Her mind had apparently been overwhelmed by whatever space-time she'd crossed over suddenly, and she'd likely had enough for one day. Waving her arms about in an intricate pattern, the psionic mage opened an extradimensional gateway from the Between to her home, where she and her compatriots rested when not on some job or another.


The transit from reality blender to stately loft on Planet T was simply too much, and the two women had to rest a moment to get their bearings. Seeing their arrival, a man with crimson flesh and nothing on but a loose pair of spandex shorts ran up to them, insuring that they were all right. By the time he got to there, however, the women were mostly fine, and shooed him away. "Back off, Sammy, we're okay."


Shotgun Sammy, Kedae expatriate and ardent technophile, sneered at his boss. "I was only trying to help, rag." He returned to his place on the couch, and resumed the reading of some technical manual or another, occasionally brushing his long black locks out of his eyes as he did so. Meanwhile, Psychoturge made sure her student was in fact all right, and then checked her comm-box to see if any prospective employers had tried to contact her while she was out.


Clicking on the holographic communication unit, she called to Franky. "Go to your room and meditate for a couple of hours. Try and digest what you've seen, and what you've learned, today." That, at least, would keep Franky busy for some time while she tried to come up with some other lesson to help her on her way. This whole instruction thing wasn't really her bag, and frankly, Psychoturge wasn't sure how to proceed.


Her knowledge involved bending magic with her psionic powers, not space.


***


Franky did as she was bid, and made her way back to her room. It was quite a spacious affair, and had a nifty balcony looking over the neighboring buildings here on this sector of Planet T. She still marveled at the sight, this world of unending artificial features, of endless building after building. The nigh-infinite spires of glass and concrete, of pulsating biological constructs that housed strange races unknown to man, and more.


It was almost overwhelming, but Franky took it in stride. She was learning more and more every day, about herself, the infinite planes of existence that lay around her, and this place, a bizarre world covered with industry owned by the even stranger Thaumatech corporation. Outside of an ordinary space-time string, the world lay in its own microcosm, one generated by the world around her, that put one in mind of a certain 'chicken or the egg' paradox.


She couldn't help but think about the last few months, after Psychoturge hauled her out of the Between and discovered her inherent 'potential', so to speak, towards learning about a space-warping discipline of psionics - psimotive power, she called it. Supposedly, Franky's lengthened exposure to the caustic nature of the Between awakened this potential, but Franky wasn't sure about that. Maybe the process that brought her back from the dead had done the job.


Not that it mattered. Either way, she was learning. Once she'd experienced her first awareness of the space-time around her, Franky only wanted to learn more, more, more! She was starting to believe that her would-be mentor, Psychoturge, was tiring of her endless questions, but she simply couldn't help herself. Her mastery of her first 'power', her multidimensional awareness, had started opening doors in her mind that refused to close themselves.


She could *see* the very lines that comprise the fabric of space. Furthermore, if she concentrated, she could even exercise her will on them and bend them somewhat. Voila, instant gravity - or anti gravity. She'd been playing with this newfound skill for a few weeks, now, and had gotten progressively stronger in her manipulations. She even managed to levitate that goofy demon, Sammy, off the couch while he was sleeping with a planar physics book on his head.


The look on his face when he woke up was priceless.


Pushing aside the comical memory, Franky got back to the business of meditating, and as she was prone to doing, went out on her 117th story balcony and started clearing her mind and relaxing her body. Franky then went into a meditative trance, and her subconscious did, indeed, begin to digest and decipher the many experiences she had during the day. All the worlds, all the eras, all the new little secrets about space and time, body and soul, began to make more sense.


***


Meanwhile, Psychoturge found that, in the last four hours, she had indeed received some job offers for her little mercenary squad - four, in fact. Pouring over the various tasks at hand, she immediately rejected the two assassinations, since both the employer and target were Thaumatech execs, and that's only asking for trouble; intra-corporate warfare was generally frowned upon by the Thaumatech high-ups, especially if the assassins got caught.


Psychoturge put the third contract up for later thought, as it could involve the means to improve her and her father's mystic researches; it was a raid on the temple of some dark god or another, and jobs like that usually involved plenty of collateral booty. The last one was the one she decided to accept on the behalf of her mercs, the Departure, as it was something they all needed a bit of practice on: bodyguard work.


Most of the fellows in her hit-squad were only good for blowing things up, and Psychoturge was trying to change that. That way, they had more options in the future, and all. Calling everybody in, she waited a good half hour for her boys (and girl) to assemble from their various time-killing ventures across Planet T, and told them what was up. "Great. That means anybody we gotta hurt has to come to us, right?" That was Organ Donor.


"Right."


"But Sissy... that means we gets no booty, nothing to pawn or study, hmn?" That was Codger, Psychoturge's father and one totally senile bastard. The group didn't keep him around out of sympathy for Psychoturge, mind you, for despite his spiky leather bodysuit (a definite fashion no-no for a ninety year old man who drools), he's quite the magical powerhouse. Point him the right way, and he could magic up quite a lot of trouble if necessary.


"Not unless any troublemakers bring it with them, but I have a contract next week that might..."


"Good then! But somebody better give us some trouble, 'cause I want to BURN 'em! Burn 'em crispy!" That was Bar-B-Q, the group's resident insane mutant, who is totally fascinated with the sheer destructive power of the fiery energies she can generate. She played with her impressive mane of red hair, which almost shimmered in a fire-like display of light, and straightened out her yellow and orange spandex bodysuit - normal for supers from her world.


"Er, right. Again, I'm sure we can do that next time, people. Looting and killing, sure. All you want."


"Great!" That was the last member of Departure, the so-called Gun Toting
Psycho. Just imagine a giant muscular man, draped and oozing with all manner of
weaponry, assault gear, and belts full of accessories. "I haven't given my
babies any exercise these last couple weeks, ever since that idiot Kedae thing
ate my arm!" He pointed to his new arm, grown with Thaumatech medical
technology, replacing the one bitten off in a recent demon assault.


"Of course, Psycho."


Shotgun Sammy, on the other hand, simply said "Yeah!" to that, and grabbed his high tech namesake, a shotgun with various parts forged of some unknown, powerful metal alloy. He then put on twin gun belts, belts that held all manner of custom made shells - some explosive, some shrapnel, some simply bizarre. Sammy made a quick inventory check, making sure he had all the proper ammo, and smiled. A lot.


"Yep. Let us go, then, shall we?" Psychoturge then forged another mystical portal elsewhere, crossing the space between her loft and the business quarters of the body offering this particular contract. She only hoped that her boys (and girl) didn't have to defend their new boss against anything particularly nasty, or she'd be forced to re-negotiate the terms of the contract offered her. Most forcefully, in fact.


***


Franky was out on the balcony, her mind in tune with the fabric of space around her, and she was watching with fascination as various flying vehicles and people passed by. The tiny ripples in the local gravity field they made with their personal, tiny gravitic fields was a symphony of chaos and motion, and Franky was in awe. Awe, that is, until something tore the fabric behind her asunder, ripping its way into Thaumatech's little universe.


Something bad.


Retracting her awareness to the area immediately surrounding herself, Franky examined Departure's rooftop loft and found that there was something amiss inside. This wasn't like when Psychoturge forged her portal links from one universe to another. No, something clawed its way to Planet T from elsewhere in a sloppy, sloppy way. It came from earth, her earth, in fact. And elsewhere, as well, for its morphic field was rather messy.


Hearing it grunt as it randomly destroyed things, Franky prepared to flee when she realized she had nowhere to go. Besides, she couldn't just leave the loft, as this thing would likely still be here when the others got back. So, pulling out her knife, she entered her room and peeked through the crack in the door. Reeling from the sight, Franky realized that she was looking at the same Kedae that assaulted her in the Club Invertebrate!


The shambling mound of claws, spikes, and crimson musculature suddenly spun on a dime, running towards Franky's room. She, then, ran back out onto the balcony, looking over the cavern of steel that lay between her and the safety offered by being in any one of the buildings across the street. She then slowly turned around, and saw the thing was looking at her. In her mind, she could hear it talk, each 'word' bearing untold menace.


"You! You're with them now, hey? Well, I shall enjoy twisting your flesh in new and uncomfortable ways! Hell, I shall enjoy having my way with you and all of your new friends! Come here, girl!" It moved closer to Franky, who was now climbing over the balcony railing, exposing her back to the stream of traffic all around her. She grinned a manic grin at the Kedae beast, and stretching her arms wide, said "Come get it, freak!"


Franky then backed off the railing into the sky, and started applying her gravity bending abilities in a way she and Psychoturge had discussed before. As she sailed down towards the ground level of Planet T, Franky could hear the Kedae monster leap off after her, and continue speaking in her mind. "Silly flesh, did you really think I couldn't follow? I will taste your meat before you strike the ground, suicidal thing!"


As she sailed down, narrowly avoided by traffic passing her by, Franky concentrated her will on the area directly in front of her. Two feet before her head, space began to twist and contort, and resolved itself into an artificial gravity well, approximately equal to the g-field of Planet T. Sensing the creature gaining on her, Franky applied a terrified amount of mental force into the gravitic construct, and accelerated downward.


By keeping the enhanced G-field a set distance away from her, you see, Franky could effectively keep falling into it, though at speeds much greater than your standard terminal velocity, for its inherent potential was now much, much greater than Planet T's gravity well. The only problem was that she was now falling to the ground at a greatly accelerated rate, and that... thing was still gaining on her. She'd have to try something incredibly stupid to get away.


As she approached the surface, Franky gave her compact gravity ball every erg of will she could muster, which was quite a lot considering her wish to live. Feeling yet another burst of acceleration, she then altered the movement of the gravity well by ninety degrees, sending it moving directly parallel with the planetary surface. This caused her to dip down for a second, and then shoot off in a high-speed orbit around her construct that almost made her pass out.


But she didn't hit the ground. Unlike her would be ravisher, who nailed the street at about the speed of sound in a horrible wet meat slapping sound that put a humanoid hole in the surface that extended about fifteen feet down. Ready to pass out thanks to the terrible centrifugal force being applied to her body, Franky's gravity construct lost most of its inherent force, and she eventually fell to the ground as it lost its ability to suspend her over it.


She hit hard, but at least she was in one piece.


About six hours later, the Thaumatech security force had finished with her, having interviewed her in depth over this destruction - she was a newcomer to Planet T, after all. However, they eventually bought her story, as the Kedae soup down the street was quite a compelling addition to her argument. The security force then scooped up every last diabolical molecule of the monster and carried it off for proper incarceration, and left Franky to her own devices.


Though she was tired, Franky wished to play with her newfound ability to 'fly' again, and as such, she rebuilt the gravity well over her head, though just powerful enough to cause it to lift her bodily off the ground. She then began to steer it around the immediate vicinity, looking as though she was surfing without a board as the gravity well above her carried her around. After about an hour, Franky then went home, only to find everybody was already back.


Which meant she'd have to explain just what happened to her. Again...


-------------------------------------------------------


Tune in next time as Franky joins Departure in a raid on an abandoned temple to some unknown (to them, at least) elder god. Supposedly a simple job to acquire a tablet of power, the group finds more than they bargained for when the patron deity of the temple investigate the intruders - and things get really ugly! Will Franky and company escape the particularly grisly fate this dread being has in store for them, or will Franky's tale end early? Find out in thirty...


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Everywhere Girl #2 (of 4): Weighty Concerns
by Denny Hill 2 (firebomb@technohol.com)
Copyright 1999, 2001 All rights reserved.


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