Lonely Divide

By rziefel All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Action

Chapter 18

Chapter 7.1

Learning Things

You are Rose, and you are not sure if Clayton is going to like what you have to say.

"I'm not sure you're going to like what I have to say," you say to Clayton the next afternoon. As promised, you looked into imbuing magic onto one of his cyber limbs, more because of your curiosity then wanting to do him any favors. "I've got good news and bad news."

He gets out a coin. "Okay, heads for good news, tails for bad." He flips it with a flourish, can't the man make a simple decision without resorting to these sorts of methods? Humans... "Heads! Give me the good news."

"Well, the good news is we found out before we wasted a bunch of time, money and effort trying it?"

"So it's not possible then?" He looks disappointed.

"The bad news is also kind of good."

Nom he just looks confused. "You're making less sense then usual."

"Magic is making less sense then usual. Let me start at the beginning."

"Please."

"Basically, your cybernetics interfere with both ESP powers and magic both directed at you, or used by you if you had those backgrounds."

"Wait, I'm resistant to magic because of my cyber limbs?"

You nod. "Apparently, just having a small cybernetic implant installed gives you a plus two bonus for resisting both types of powers. For every ten points you take after that, it's another plus one."

"Not that I'm complaining, but why?"

"I guess because you're technically less alive? Or there's some kind of interference because of the body/machine interface? It's not really clear, but it's been observed, so I have no reason to doubt the people that told me. All I know for sure is that people with a lot of cybernetics tend to make wizards spells backfire more often then not, and play havoc with ESPer abilities too."

"With all the stuff in my skull it should add up quick, even though I'm not a full body replacement or anything. Sweet!"

"No, it's not. Don't you see? If you get hurt, I have a huge penalty to healing you with magic. I can't cover you with illusion, or give you armor of magic, or anything. So yes, if an enemy wizard tries casting a spell at you alone, you're set. But you can't just turn it off if you want to."

"Oh." He considered. "So that's why turning one of my arms into a magical item is out too?"

"Exactly. As an object, sure, if you wanted or were even able to detach it in the field, it would suddenly be an imbued item. But plugged into you, it's got electricity and whatnot going through it, plus your life force or whatever I guess creeps into it, and then it takes the penalty again. So it might work, but you'd need a PC to do the imbuing, not an NPC because they couldn't roll high enough."

"That's why that hole in space rippled when I walked through it!"

"Yeah, one minor mystery solved, I'll have to be careful of that in the future. Wouldn't want it to collapse when you went through it. I didn't realize it at the time, healing you back at the warehouse because I'm so great at magic, but there is a danger there, so we'll have to be careful in the future."

"Yeah, good to know." He seems a little freaked out. "And they didn't tell us about this when they got us together because..."

"There isn't a lot of research in this area, mostly magic users stick to their own, while cyborgs do their thing, you know how that goes."

"Discrimination."

"Yeah. If I were a religious girl I might also blame it on a Narrator oversight, after thinking of the idea and getting it shot down by the Creator, he needed a reason, and that was it."

"But you're not?"

"Not as such. It might also explain why it was never mentioned before this. Maybe it was forgotten, but now he's realized it and so making sure it comes up. Anyway, we're actually one of the most varied party of adventures in recent history, so the vibe I get in the halls is that something big is coming for us to handle."

"Something that needs all of our different skills, you mean?"

"That's it. Well, I'm off. Hope you're not too disappointed!"

"See you later. Thanks for looking into it for me."

You flutter away, giving a wave behind you, bored with this conversation and wondering where Jaden is.

You check the obvious place: the gym. Oddly, she's not there.

You check your room. Not there. Bathroom? Nope. Running laps? Eating in the mess hall? Checking out cute technicians working on planes at the airfield? (You don't mind if she looks, as long as she points them out so you can look too) Classrooms? Guard Station, signed out to go into town? Too bad you didn't activate your Detect Enemies spell while you were hurriedly flying from place to place, you might have noticed the person taking more then a passing interest in you as you flew between buildings. But you didn't, and thus like the sky your ignorance remains wide and unbroken.

With increasing desperation you head over to the ESPer classroom and find Jake, you ask him if he can track her down.

"Sure thing," he says, pulling out a cell phone. "Can't you carry one of these?" he asks, puzzled, shaking it. "With a shrink spell on it, I mean."

Oh. You hadn't thought of that. You've never really been separated from her for very long, maybe it's time to look into something like that? He calls her and tells you where she is.

"She's where?" you ask, thinking you didn't hear that properly.

He tells you again.

You shake your head, there must be some mistake.

You flutter over to a building you've largely ignored, and slip in through an open window. Books surround you, and you hear the quiet conversation of people scattered about the place. Why is Jaden in a library, you ask yourself. You don't need the curiosity background to feel the need to find out.

"It's all the fault of that girl we rescued," she explains, books piled around her. You see a variety of subjects displayed, from avionics to cybernetics, textbooks and technical manuals, mostly. "When she said she wasn't going to let her stats define her future, I started thinking about mine. Did I just want to keep studying Kung Fu forever? I haven't been all that useful to the team yet, and maybe I should trust the Narrator that he has a plan for me, but I want to do more, even if I probably won't be any good at it."

"I'm sure you can be," you say, knowing she has Insecure. "So what are you thinking of learning?"

"Making stuff," she says proudly. "After all, we're on an army base, they have labs and equipment, and if I'm making stuff to take on missions, they'll even pay for it. They do want us to come back safe, after all. Stuff I custom make for myself is going to be better then stuff made by NPCs, which will only be average, right? I could just buy stuff, or check it out of the armory, but most of that stuff is NPC made. Average, but not great. I don't think they'll have a problem with me making gadgets for the field that I use on missions. Especially because I'd have to leave them when my term of service is complete, so others can check them out after I leave. I'm thinking of breaking up my combat skill group, getting my Close Combat up to a ten, as my Kung Fu is already at an eleven, that way my delay is a two, and then start putting XP into electronics and robotics!"

She seems quite excited by this, more so then you've seen her in past months, so you're pretty happy for her. You even see a way to be near her while she's working.

"That's great," you say, getting a little excited yourself. "Maybe I'll pick up the planet Saturn and learn the Augment Skill spell, that would certainly help with making stuff, right?"

"You would do that for me?"

"Sure, why not? It would come in handy otherwise, right?"

"I think you're right! Thanks, Rose."

"Sure," you say, looking around. "Now if you can just get me down a book on Saturn magic, we can both get started!"

You both pour over your respective tomes, this being a metaphor for studying, rather then being literally about liquids, when suddenly you have a thought.

"Wait a second."

"Yes?" says Jaden, looking up.

"You've trained in martial arts to the peak of physical perfection, right?"

"And beyond, thanks to my backgrounds, why?"

"Now you want to learn how to make gadgets?"

"Is that a problem?"

"I just don't want to see you running around in tights, with a cowl and a bat shaped cape, that's all."

Jaden thought for a second, then started laughing. "Oh wow, you're right! I didn't even think of it that way. Wow." You join her in laughing until someone shushes you.

Another two weeks pass, and you get your Saturn rating up to a 3, meaning any skill you specify when you cast it gets a +3 bonus, and easily pick up the level three spell Augment Skill. Jaden busies herself learning Electronics, taking a class and learning to solder, how to run wires, how current flows through chips, that sort of thing. Boring! You check in on her from time to time, and in the course of the two weeks she gets her rating up to a 4, while getting her close combat to a 10 like she wanted and cannibalizing her Off Hand skill from an 8 to a 7, as it only helps at a rating of one, five and ten. As she's not going to bother getting it up to a ten, she figures she might as well put the XP elsewhere. As it is, attacking with both her primary and off hand only raises her delay by four, hard to beat that!

Sargent Draughon seems pleased by Jaden's choice of gadget making, he says often times PCs into that kind of thing don't have the physical stats to be deployed in the field, so her combination of making and refining her gadgets combined with her fighting skills should be a real asset to the team. He apologizes though, he can't give her any more time even though she still has XP to spend, another mission has come up, so it's time for us to move out again.

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