“Remember when owning something meant you knew how it was made and therein how to fix it?”
“I remember it being pretty regular, yeah.”
“And then times started changing. More things were being made that sparked wonder in people but not everyone could gain the education needed to necessarily know as much as they desired or were raised under that ‘doctrine’ of being informed.”
“Engineers were building architectural marvels and the evolution of machines was progressing faster and faster.”
“And not everyone could hold up to or afford that information standard, just to learn how W-beams are arranged in a building. Then, over the generations, this extended to what had been perhaps general knowledge – depending on your heritage, social group, family employment and the same of all your neighbouring persons – of, say, how the roof of a basic cabin works.”
“And that’s why Gaige’s parents never put him under any pressure to go to university just to understand the world. There are manuals and textbooks, standards and code books that inform a person of all the things they ever need to know. To his parents, a doctorate just meant studying really hard at one little area for a handful of years and therein you ought to study what you enjoy.”
“So what is Gaige’s doctorate in?”
“He still won’t tell me.”
Morgan didn’t want Gaige to be right. And Gaige didn’t want Caellis to die. So in the end, the only person getting their way was Caellis.
Short on time, Gaige made final adjustments to the device as they ran down yet another steel panel corridor. He shocked his thumb, pulling it away fast enough he almost backhanded Morgan in the face before shaking said hand and sucking on the finger.
Narrowly ducking out of the way, Morgan frowned at Gaige’s new acquisition. “I thought you weren’t allowed to work with bioelectrogenesis?”
“You know? I’m tired of that,” Gaige sighed, gesturing forwards with the device and the precision Phillips screwdriver. “One disparaging comment about the engineer tester and everyone thinks I was the one who rigged the model to electrocute him. I’ll have you know that was Bowman.” He pointed the miniature screwdriver at Morgan for emphasis before returning to fiddle with the device, without using the tool.
“Bowman never did anything like that.” Caellis turned to him, almost tripping as they careened around a corner until Morgan grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him along.
Gaige threw his hands into the air, the device clattering about alarmingly. “Exactly! That’s why it was so perfect!”
“Oh, I know it was Bowman,” Morgan informed them matter-of-factly, slowing them down for a second to point out a closed valve on the device. “He asked me about epidermal static resistance…” Both men looked absolutely horrified. “What?! I caught that guy staring at my breasts!”
“Everyone stares at your breasts, Morgan,” Gaige returned, mumbling around his focus on device, and taking a good few moments before realizing the implications of exactly what he sad. He made cautious eye contact with the woman. “They’re extremely… aesthetic?”
Morgan smiled something between gratitude and and the purest intention to do retributive harm. “Thank you, and I know. That’s why I keep vecuronium bromide and a concrete-filled wiffle bat in my car. Also, that time I gave you smallpox.”
Gaige faltered. “What? I thought that was for giving your electric eels ecstasy.”
“Alliteration aside, they’re actually knifefish.” Caellis nearly slammed into a structural column trying to get back into the conversation.
Morgan looked entirely affronted. “You two had a living breathing biocycle autorganic in your hands and didn’t call me?”
“Well, we did call you.”
“We are here, now, aren’t we?”
“Yes, but only after you butchered it. I’m entirely disappointed. Is there another one? Do I get at least a cursory examination?” Neither Caellis nor Gaige moved to make the slightest response. “No? Well then, that’s all for naught and I’ll gladly be strangling the both of you now.”
“Now, Morgan, we all know you’re too short. Even with your kitty heels on.”
The residual momentum from blasting the door knocked them down the hall three feet.
“It wasn’t me! It was the science!”
“And that’s why I can identify all four dozen types of chemical weapons prohibited by the Geneva Protocol and the Chemical Weapons Convention in ball-and-stick model on sight.”
“That’s great Morgan, but it doesn’t actually help us.”
“It does if we use phosgene to disable the pathology wing to get to the second floor, physic’s bio lab.”
“Well, I’ll be damned. Your supervillian tendencies actually pay off.”
“They always do.”
“For the better,” Gaige clarified.
Caellis, “Our better, actually. Need I remind you, Gaige, we’re not doing much benefit to the ‘greater good’ by blowing up bureaucratic organizations?”
“It’s all subjective, really,” Gaige commented, sagely.
The Seer’s Guild held meetings in the half-basement of the municipal record’s building. They had lobbied for a space in Vamscht Community Center down the street from the Department of Sartory, but conventions dictated a more lenient spatial awareness between the Halls of Justices and what was considered a grassroots organization by some and the Final Council by others. Additionally, Josnika informed the guild’s Maestrei that the space they were looking at would be flooding in two month’s time and the partial-lease agreement required the leaseholder to compensate for a percentage of repairs.
Markandrex muttered something about fine print and gripped their tea in hands patterned by vitiligo.
Seers, in all the variety of Seeing, when gathered were a diverse collaboration. Seeing was genetic, random selection, cultural and or pre-destinal, and occasionally came with other genetic, magical markers, and or non-magical, non-genetic markers. Additionally, people are diverse firstly; thusly a guild meeting of Seers was more similar to an anti-oppression poster campaign than any media random selection of any given population.
“And then you shot him.”
Caellis gave Gaige the most surly look he had the entire while. “He was going to kill someone. Most likely Morgan.”
Morgan looked up from dipping a bag of tea into a steaming My Science Is Better Than Your Science mug from the theoretical physics department. “And I’m the only one here who has access to the weapons division.”
Both men turned to look at the entirely undisturbed woman who looked like she rather enjoyed sitting in a desk chair to a concerning amount of borderline gratuity. Mostly because her bare calves were wrapped around each other while one foot bounced in the air somewhere between listless boredom and forced patience.
“I’m saying I agree with Harland.”
Gaige threw his hands into the air. “Everyone sides with Harland!”
“That’s because you’re a megalo and egomaniac,” Caellis commented casually.
So amused, Morgan lost track of making herself tea.
“And everyone hates you,” Caellis added, as Gaige said the same towards Caellis. They glared at each other.
“If you two were any more adorable, I’d have issues resisting pumping you full of drugs that would make you rip each others’ clothes off,” Morgan sweetly called out, finding the tea in her hands again and taking an entirely too innocent sip.
Gaige stuck out his tongue instantly while Caellis gave a full body shudder. “You are a horrible, horrible person, Morgan,” Gaige said, taking a few steps away from the two. “I’m going to have to ruin something you love now.” He turned back to the man groaning on the floor.
Morgan positively ignited the room with a grin. “Why? Because I ruined something you love?”
Caellis jumped in horror at the proposition that Gaige loved him or any aspect of, and set himself towards Morgan imposingly. “Findley, I have a gun and I will shoot you if you don’t stop that.”
Her smile didn’t drop a single ounce. “Oh, I’ve been shot by an adhesion pneumatic triggered rubber bullet before. It’s really not a threat.”
A particularly loud, interrupting whine emanated from the heap of limbs rolling on the floor.
“I think he’d like to disagree,” Gaige interpreted most wisely.
The Hellborne Universe’s Masterpost has been updated.
What is? There are names next to shorts, the last few links have been added, there’s a posting schedule, and some of the information has been updated.
Additionally, if you have any questions, the FAQ (the hyperlink of my name in the sidebar) is something that also exists now! Along with minor changes to the theme for better navigation and legibility.
“Remind me again, what this door is for again?”
“Don’t worry, it’s not a big snake.”
“What kind of snake, Caellis.”
“The – oh, shit, I just forgot,” he snapped his fingers, uhm-ing. “You know, the one with the venom that it spits at your eyes and blinds you.”
“Yes, I happen to know exactly what kind of snake you’re talking about. Do you want to have a try getting through the door now? I think it’s your turn.”
“I have to say”
“The most intelligible thing you’ve ever said was ‘you’re welcome’.”
“Well, if came out more like…” Gaige’s lips twisted and the sounds that came out of his throat were dragged back by a lethargic tongue. “Mrrfmmmwelcomefrrr.”
“There is no way I could hate you more than right now.”
Gaige’s makeshift brace snapped under pressure.
In all their combined scientific knowledge, frightening IQ and, frankly, Caellis’s extensive experience of ‘getting into places’, breaking into the Trans-Atlantic Institute of Sciences should be easier. They had easily bypassed all technological and human forms of security and were now having issues getting through the door.
A small door, not necessarily designed for humans, but a mere door.
“Why don’t you just cantilever it?” Caellis asked, craning his head a little further to impossible limits of his spine to get a better angle on the issue.
On his back with his head dangerously close to being slammed on, Gaige’s biceps shook as the held open the door. “That would be too easy wouldn’t it?” He was all manner of terse and tense and teeth gritted because this was probably the hardest and stupidest thing they had done since weeks ago when the whole escapade started.
Caellis rubbed his chin. “Yeah, probably.”
While Luna retained some abilities of her genetic domain and all their magnitude of power, none of them had any bearing to the general populace. Not in a way that made her of any worth on the black market.
Furthermore, any of the more outdated, cliche and outright scam tactics were outright ridiculous. A fine and primary example of this was Seer’s Eyes being a popular – and completely superfluous – item or items to purchase. Any practical use of Seer’s Eyes had long been discredited, and they were considered ‘hokey’ to have in one’s collection. Generally, a person’s abilities weren’t confined to a specific body part.
Additionally, Luna was blind. She laughed, loudly, at the notion of being enucleated of her eyes for some purpose; it was beyond insulting and well into the realm of pure, concentrated ignorance.
To start, your front light isn’t working. You click it multiple times but not even a flicker threatens the existence of three in the morning, it’s been a while since you’ve biked this late. Your rears are your primary concern, so the white light to guide your way that isn’t, is strapped on for redundancy.
The ride is seven kilometres of – mostly – straight bike-route road. The night is minutely chillier than you are adorned for and your gears are set low enough to get home sometime in the future and high enough for comfort and to keep your arms across your chest. Your hands only ever touch bar to brake at lit intersections, tapping the bike cross button with an elbow to encourage a flash of red light and “bee-doop”.
An entire herd of taxis are nearly the sole population of the streets, wandering about in pockets of concentration.
The streetlights are plenty but thin through this particular residential area. Over the last three years, you’ve worked nights for the majority and to you this is 3pm. Houses surrounded by hedges line your sides, passing a cross street you turn to see a long-haired black cat stock-still, a single paw lifted from the pavement immobile. Its position is faced across the intersection, stopped just at the white line across the road. You question the reality of the moment.
At the hospital grounds the sprinklers are on. A security guard walks down the sidewalk with clipboard under one of his swinging arms. His keys jangle with every step and once you pass you swipe a hand at your belt loop to feel and hear reaffirmation that yours are still there. Ahead of you, everything is red.
The intersection, still ahead, is further lit by orange hands. Even the lights of Emergency, as you pass it, are a yellow hue rather than the caustic florescence of the buildings remaining on the block.
You wonder what your bed feels like and if you’ll ever get home. The taxis have thinned and disappeared.
A park is covered in darkness. Massive trees line its perimeter, streetlights line the street and cast elongated shadows across the wide, grassy field. The moonlight doesn’t penetrate the unseeable expanse and you feel as though some great beast could be hiding there, could manifest from the shadows growing up out of the earth into a hulking figure.
You overshoot the street you wanted to turn down and have to bike up a mild incline that is a steep hill when you turn North. The sun is making its preparations behind the mountains most Eastward, most visibly. It’s three thirty in the morning.
The Trans-Atlantic Institute of Sciences was in the middle of the United States of America, despite the name. It was almost predictable, really, because it was so illogical.