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            Hunger

by Pure Energies

jamcewen@yahoo.com

 

            Athena flexed her hand in front of her and projected the energy from her crystal core out to the air around the Arachnos agent.  She could see the air around him turn white with snow.  The air around the agent started to swirl out, carrying the snow and cold out among his compatriots.  A large ball of fire flew from Athena’s right, striking another agent, as it hit the agent, it exploded and engulfed the group.  Athena flung her hands out in front of her and launched her own ball of electricity striking the group and shocking them.  After a few more strikes, the agents dropped, Athena quickly went through the routine, helping slap the capture beacons on the unconscious agents and watching them be ported to the Zig.

            Feeling a hand on her arm, Athena turned and smiled at Celeste, her teammate on this mission.

            Celeste returned the smile.  “I think that that was the last of them, let’s get back to the base and shower up.”

            Athena just shook her head slightly.  “I guess I’m lucky I don’t sweat.”

            “I wish I didn’t.”  Celeste reached down to her belt and released her communicator, raising it to her mouth.  “Athena, two for base port.”  Looking across to her teammate she just smiled.  "That is still weird."

            They both felt the pull of the porter, they watched the warehouse disappear and the teleporter room of the base materialize around them.

            Athena came off the porter pad and smiled at Celeste as a hologram came into being next to her.  The Hologram looked identical to Athena and both spoke at the same time. "I'm enjoying the experience of the mobile form more every time I use it.  It is really teaching me a lot about humans."

            Celeste just shook her head.  "And I see your getting a sense of humor, I'll have to speak to my husband about that."

            The Athenas laughed.  "Doctor Crimson is the one that is working with me on that, he said it was important for interacting with others."

            Celeste smiled back.  "You are doing much better at interacting, I often forget what you are, even when it's one of your holograms.  I'm heading to my quarters, I'll catch you later to file my mission report."

            Athena just nodded, "I'm just a terminal away."  She then turned and headed towards the workshop.

            As she walked, she felt the processes starting that merged her mobile shard with her main program.  The mobile shard was in almost constant contact with her main program, but could function independently if it was ever out of contact.  It never felt like she was losing anything, it was almost a duel feeling of being enfolded in a comfortable embrace and enfolding herself in that embrace.  By the time that the mobile form backed itself into its alcove, the shard had been fully integrated and Athena spun the extra threads into other processes, including one that stored her experiences from the mission, and did a text document to complete the report.  As Athena came to the end of the report she started an e-mail.

 

            DarkPrince@anonmail.com

            DP, thanks for the tip, we were successful in clearing the warehouse that you told

            us about.  I've attached the information that we gained during the mission.  I'm

            hoping that you can use it to get us the next tip.

            Athena

 

Zach, working through the microscope, soldered the circuit.  He glanced over at the monitor and made sure that the circuit was closed and showed the right potentials.  Zach was hoping that this one would handle the power spikes that Athena was dealing with.  Her mobile form's increasing powers had been giving her original links glitches.  He was proud of his creation, and the experience that Athena has been getting, had really helped her grow as her own person.  He felt pride at how far she'd come from her beginnings as just the central control system for the Super Group.  She was as much his daughter now as his creation.

Zach sat up and stretched his back, he had built all his equipment to fit his larger then normal stature, but the detailed work still took hours bent over his scopes and monitors.  As he looked again at the blueprints and started planning his next step when he caught a whiff of open fields, and fresh earth.

Zach looked around.  "What's up Demeter?"

On cue, a beautiful women faded into sight, she had flowing green hair, and a form fitting brown dress.  Zach wasn't surprised the she came in the form she had used when she lived on earth, about five years before.  Of course that meant that she looked like Celeste, since that was the body she had used.  Zach had met her during that time, and in studying her powers, he had figured out how to mimic them.  He had to admit that he had fallen in love with her during the time that she trained him in the use of the powers, a love that he found carried over to Celeste after Demeter had left her.

Demeter gazed back at him.  “Charybdis is missing.”

“The whirlpool? The one from the Odyssey?”

Demeter shook her head.  “that was one of her forms, she and her sister guarded an important strait in there day.  Since then we've had a challenge with her.  What do you do with a living embodiment of hunger?  We've tried to find things to keep her busy, and out of trouble, but it's hard.”

“So what has she been doing?”

“Recently we put her as a guardian over a dimensional gateway.  The energy emanating from it kept her fed and she was always a good watcher.”

“What happened?”

“We don't know.  We were traveling through the area when we noticed that the gateway was gone, and so was Charybdis.  We traced the energy signature of the gateway to this dimension, but we lost it at that point.  Something is shielding it, and shielding Charybdis from us.”

“Why have you come to me with this?”

Demeter sighed.  “We can't let her loose on any dimension, she's pure hunger, for everything.  We don't know what would happen if she really unleashed that on your world, I'd hate to think of the consequences.  But we also can't come tearing through here in a thorough search.”

“You need us to do the search for you.”

“No, you've got enough that you need to do, but I would like your group to keep an eye out for her, or any clues as to where she is.”

Zach looked at her, “How are we to know her when we see her, you said that she had several forms.”

“Well like all of us, she can take almost any form that she wants.  Her favorite recently has been a beautiful, but wild woman, a lot like a Nereid.  I don't know what form she is in now, but I brought this to help.”  At that Demeter stretched out her arm, with her palm up.  A black crystal materialized.  “I know how you love studying the energy signatures of those around you.  This crystal holds hers.”

Zach picked the crystal from her hand and placed it on a scanner plate.  Pressing a control next to it, a laser struck the crystal, lighting it.  The monitor next to it showed a black graph, that seemed to writhe like a snake.

“An impressive signature, almost in your league Demeter.”

“She is a demi-god Zach.”

“How am I suppose to tell you if we do find something?”

Demeter smiled, “Athena dear, I'd like to talk to you.”

Athena's hologram appeared next to Zach.  “Yes Demeter?”

“I assume that you've been monitoring us?”

Athena nodded.

“I also assume that you've studied the data in the crystal and have found the signal details?”

“Yes, I've stored the data. A part of it is magic based, I don't have a firm understanding of that yet.”

“That is the instructions for a signal to me.  If you activate that, you'll get my attention.”

            Athena's hologram froze for a moment.  “Thank you Demeter.  I've set the fabricators to replicate what they can, and I've sent a message to a few of our magic using members, to help with the other parts.  I'm already getting some responses. I project that it will be ready tomorrow.”

            Demeter just nodded, “Excellent”  looking over at Zach she grinned, “You've done an good job with that one.”

            Athena almost appeared to blush, “I'll be going for now.”

            Zach nodded, “Thank you Athena.”

            After Athena was gone, Demeter turned back to Zach. “She's really grown, but I'd be careful, she's learning a lot of things, and I hope she also learns how to deal with it.  Teach her wisdom Zach, she's going to need it.”  Demeter walked to middle of the room and turned back to Zach.  “Call me if you find anything!”  Then she vanished.

            Zach turned to the central monitor, “Athena, start comparing the signatures that your external scanners pick up with the signature that Demeter provided.  Keep track of any that are close.”

            “The process has been started Zach, I'll provide you with an update if anything promising shows up.”

            “Thank you Athena, and Athena, please send out a general communication to our members and allies, ask them to keep an eye out for anything about Charybdis.”

            “Being sent now.”

            Zach turned back to his worktable, “Back to work I guess.”  He sat down and started to study the plans again, glancing up, he saw Athena's 'ready' symbol on the main monitor.  Zach sat back, lost in thought.  “Wisdom, how in the heck do I teach that?”

 

 

            Athena reviewed the data again, listening to Zach.  She knew what Wisdom was, but she couldn't figure out how it applied to her or her current situation.  She continued to record the activity in the lab, Zach liked her to keep things documented, the only time she didn't was in his personal quarters, not that Zach would have cared.  Celeste had nixed the active monitors in their rooms.  Athena liked Celeste, and considered her a friend, but sometimes she wished that Celeste wasn't Zach's wife.

            An e-mail caught her attention.

           

            Athena@safeharbor.sg

           

            I'm glad that the tip was helpful, I'm reviewing the information that you sent.  It is leading me in some interesting directions.  I think

            that I'll have something more to give you soon.  All I can say at the moment is that there seems to be something hidden, but strong

            under all the activity that I'm tracking.  I'm hoping to find out what it is.

            Hope to contact you again soon.

            DP

 

            Athena filed it with the rest of the information from the case, and set a reminder to check back into it in a couple days, if she hadn't heard back by then.

 

 

            Malignant pushed away from the Kiosk smiling up at the leather clad and tattooed man that was standing next to him.  “Yes, things are going even better then planned.  I think that our dear little lady is the perfect pawn to progress my plan.”  Standing up, he headed out of the University, his companion followed him like a shadow.  Approaching the base porter, he turned to his follower, “Aero, contact the rest, after I go and check up on our new guest, we're going to make a little house call to get the next piece of the puzzle to feed to her.”

            Materializing in the base, Malignant walked into the Conference room, looking up at the complex control structure hanging from the ceiling.  Sitting at the main table he called into the central crystal.  “Lady, how are you liking your new home?”

            The form of a human body formed out of the flames coming from the Crystal.  It quickly gained details, becoming a beautiful, but dangerous looking woman.  “Mal, I've been exploring the intricacies of this structure.  It's ability to both focus and expand on the flow of information and control is amazing!  I've been lost in the encompassing of it all.”

            “I'm glad that you have found it to your liking, I hope that that and the flow from the gateway in there will keep you satisfied for a little while.”

            “It is the fullest I've been for a while, but I don't know about the rest of it.”

            “You get to sit back, fill yourself continually, and all I ask is that you keep things going here, keep track of all the information.  You have all the tools you need, all you have to supply is the intelligence in this.  As an added bonus, when they meet here, or make an inquiry, you get to sip a little of their power.”

            Lady looked lost in thought, in need. “I look forward to my first meeting.”

            Malignant smiled triumphantly, “Excellent!  I'm glad that that is settled.”  He got up from the table and bowed.  “I take my leave now Lady, leaving you to your explorations.”

            The flames forming the woman's body died down, Malignant turned and headed back to the entrance.  He couldn't keep the smile from his face.  Lady had fallen into his lap, a powerful but needy entity, who's appetite would not only help him in this dimension, but would be a nasty surprise for his dear dad in his home dimension.  Reaching the entrance area, he stepped into it and started planning his little outing.  “First to track down our friend Alex, and then to have my gang ask him nicely for the location of the next Arachnos base in Paragon.“  Malignant faded into the Isles, to meet up with his minions.






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