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[Plot Thread 4.1] Wisdom in the Dragons Eye


Nina
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Grace had made it plain and clear that she had wanted to care for Konami when everything was settled. 

 

Once it was ascertained that he had no surviving family he was brought back to the states, much of the red tape on immigration was eased by Layton Industries ties with the Republics government. Back in Houston at the NovaStorm Campus, every effort was made to make the young boy welcome and at home. Despite his older appearance, his age was determined to be only eight years old which made him the youngest QED on record so far.

 

His older appearance was due to an adrenal gland malfunction which had caused an early onset of puberty a  condition called peripheral precocious puberty. The condition had not been diagnose due to the remoteness of the island he and his family had inhabited and thus had gone untreated.  Testing showed that part of the problem with his generation of Quantum was due to this condition which seems to play havoc with the Quantum regulation. Once treatment was begun for the condition and his puberty development was slowed his quantum generation stabilized but it is still much lower than a normal Nova but it is presumed that it will grow as he ages and develops further. As it stand Konami has the physical development of an eleven year old but is only eight. Furthermore his Quantum abilities are also in flux, and so far has displayed a number of powers but none of them appear to be permanent.

 

During the time of testing, Grace when her job allowed it spent time in Houston with the boy and once it was determined that he was going to be ok she was allowed to take him home to Chicago.

 

It didn’t take long for the boy to settle in, he proved quite intelligent, and warm and bonded easily with Grace. Despite the loss of his family and his home while these things saddened him did not make him depressed or melancholy. Grace had begun studying his language when they had first brought him back from the island and he in turn was quickly picking up English so communication while not yet perfect, was acceptable.

 

During the few months of summer, since their arrival back in Chicago, Konami had shown not signs of active Quantum power. He was a stronger and quicker than a child of his age but not to a degree that was easily noticed unless he was exerting himself in which case it was obvious that he was much stronger than a child his age should be.

 

And he was going to be starting school next week.

 

Grace leaned back in the elevator car as it whisked her up to her floor, it was later than she had intended, but luckily she had a babysitter who didn’t seem to mind. Tonight had been trying. The last big fund raiser of the season and as the Gladys Clubs face now, as well as her exploits with her fellow Novas who were called as group, by various names coined by the local News media both print and television, names such as The Female Furies, Danger Girls, The L-Force (the indie newspaper that had stated calling them that claimed the L stood for Ladies but it seemed implied, without proof, that it was actually Lesbians.). Regardless of the names or the source Karen had forbidden any of the three to acknowledge any of those names and to simple refer to themselves by their code names, Apex, Centerpoint, and Dauntless.

 

This fund raiser had been the premier anti cancer gala of the season. All the big names in the city were there and many from out of town. Several other Stormers had been present but none with the superstar celebrity of Apex. Usually this was a mingle and milk sort of affair and dinner, where various awards that didn’t mean anything but made people feel good about themselves and then a few entertainment shows followed by dancing and drinking. Her job was to let people stand near her awesome presence and bask in her glory. All very cynical but it did bring in the checks. But then tonight had turned a bit nasty.

 

It started when a group of doctors from the Cancer center down in Texas, in Houston no less, had gotten a bit vocal about how the promise of a cure is just around the corner according to at least a dozen Stormer backed medical groups. That these claims had been made within weeks of the end of the storm and the rise of the stormers, how funding had been cut to legitimate researchers to fund these Nova and Psion groups but outside of a few individual cases nothing was to show. At one point one of the doctors who knew of Apex’s association with NovaStorm, confronted her and demanded answers. Grace handled it well and forestalled a scene but it still left her drained emotionally.

 

The elevator halted and she exited and went o her apartment. She paused outside and listen at the door. It was quiet, she unlocked and went inside. It was dark except for the lights in the breakfast cove where he could see Temple Fair sitting with a few books and her laptop open on the counter.

 

Temple had been very helpful with Konami, helping them both learn each others language and Konami liked her. Aloof, moody, and withdrawn most of the time, when with Konami Temple was almost like a regular teenager. She often came to watch him when Grace knew she would be late as she genuinely liked the young boy.

 

“Hey how was your evening,” Temple asked Grace, as she closed her book?

 

“Long and not all that fun. Is he asleep?”

 

“Yeah, we had a good evening, we watched a documentary on super volcanoes and played some games then he went to bed. I was just catching up on some home work. You need anything else?”

 

Spoiler

First of the new threads. It is primarily a Grace Thread with Konami and Temple as guest staring. Sean and Brigit and Deezy could also make appearance as the story unfolds. but they will also have their own threads coming up.

 

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  • 2 months later...
Spoiler

That which is not dead can eternal lie, and in strange aeons, even death may die... Anyway, something of hopefully more than 4 sentences, lol. Will edit if needed.

 

Grace felt a little guilty about leaning on the younger Stormer's (frankly amazing) ability to work with Konami, reminded too much of her own parent's... care by proxy that had marked her own upbringing. What was the curse about how you became your parents? But free time, like just about anything else 'extra', was something that tended to be used up, even if she did have the perk of no longer needing to sleep. Or eat. Or drink. Or breathe if it came down to a crisis. She'd worry more if immunity to harm wasn't her power's hat. Made the art of social drinking even easier at these dinners. Needed it when people got prickly at her. She didn't blame the Texan doctors their frustrations, but she'd be lying if the tiniest little voice deep deep deep in the back of her head didn't want to leverage her ability to chuck a car across the city into her 'social fu' and short circuit the whole unpleasantness.

 

Not that she ever, ever would. Always try to deescalate. If she wasn't being an example of how *not* to break the world, what right did she had to take in a child?

 

"We're good, thank you," she offered with warm sincerity, shedding and hanging her jacket, "Give Ryan and Deezy my best wishes."  

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"Will do, see you Thursday, bye."  With a little wave Temple stepped away. To Grace it was if the girl just sort of twisted in upon herself, there was no sound, no movement of the air, just a slight change in the temperature where she had stood and she was just gone. It was sort of unnerving still.

 

Grace recalled Temples last words. Thursday? Oh Christ, Thursday!

 

 

Thursday Evening....

 

Grace arrived at the Gala event in a Escalade Limo, supplied by Karen, and was immediately greeted by flashes of cameras, the red eye tell-tales of video takers and small recording devices thrust toward her and the usual barrage of media questions of the grilling a Stormer was still subject to.

 

The Gala was a celebration of Mayor Edwina Buckley's seventy-fifth birthday. The long serving mayor of this once great city was a staple and one of the best loved in the city's history. Entertainment and Political celebrities' were in attendance as well as the rich and powerful. This was the kind of event where deals were made and pockets were lined.

 

Grace cut her way through with, as her name implied, all the grace and poise she carried. She answered a few questions, making the kind of statements that had little substances but were quotable and satisfied the paparazzi's with a few semi-posed stances to allow those massive payoff photos to be taken.

 

Once through them all and inside, she grabbed a drink off a waiters tray, and headed into the throng. She mingled, spent a few minutes each with several important members talking up the foundation. She listened to the speeches, thankfully she wasn't giving one today, and then retreated to the sidelines as the music started up and couples entered the huge ballroom dance floor.

 

Several Hollywood celebrities', both male and female, made to approach the beautiful Nova, but a smile kept them at bay without angering them or making them feel rejected, it was a smile that could have launched a thousand ships after all.

 

"Would you like another drink, or perhaps care to dance?"

 

He had come out of nowhere, Grace hadn't seen him approach and the words, so close caused her to tense but then she saw who it was. 

 

Tommy Long, looking dashedly handsome in a tailored tux, held a champagne flute out toward her in offering, a pleasant smile upon his face.

 

Tommy Long

1014986636_TommyLong.thumb.jpg.bdfda6ca23bc60cfbe5e58b6401367ef.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

The practiced smile on her lips froze for a few heartbeats, long-drilled lessons holding it in place while new instincts checked to see if anything had changed, looking for monsters in the proverbial rafters. Nothing. Just the society dance of seeing and being seen by the right people at the right place and right time. And he'd hardly come dressed like that to burn the place down. Mhmmm. There had been no spate of arsons to indicate him going mad with power that she could tell, so...

 

The smile unfroze, Grace's lips quirking upwards warmly as she accepted the flute of champagne.

 

"I don't believe we've met, Mr..?," she lied smoothly, a glint in her eye giving away the game she way playing.

 

"Long but please call me Tom," he responded just as smoothly, a parry to her thrust, "Not that introductions are needed for you, Miss Williams."

 

She stifled the impulse to snort in amusement several layers deep in her mind as she sipped the champagne. Oh. Just as well he was here to talk and not cause trouble. He was more than just a pretty face with a power. This was the one she actually liked as opposed to something to hold while talking polite business, "Please call me Grace. It would be my pleasure to dance. And talk after."    

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They danced and by the simple fact of what the two of them were, that dance became a work of art. Their movements became the music, their hearts the driving rhythm, for the 4 minutes of the song, which no one could later recall what it was, even the band, the world fell away and the center of the universe became these two incomparable beings.

 

The music ended on a lingering note, Tom looking down upon Graces serene face, then the crowd broke into a shower of applause. The two made their way upstairs to a balcony overlooking the city. once they were alone with drinks in hand Tom leaned back against the rail his back to the city. "I have not seen you in headlines, Apex I mean, once i stared looking for Grace Williams, there you were, mostly on the society pages."

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  • 2 weeks later...

In a way, that suited her. She didn't want Chicago focused on the fact that it was playing host to someone who could level a good portion of the city with her bare hands.

 

"You haven't exactly been holding the city hostage atop a pillar of living flame yourself, Tommy," she teased, one hand brushing a non-existent strand of rogue hair behind her ear, "I've been putting my degree to work putting the team together and working with something who needs... help adjusting to our condition. No need for Apex to leave craters in the sidewalk crossing the city in a single bound. Yet."

 

The blonde juggernaut laughed softly at her own joke. Reflecting back to the hours spend down in an empty Novastorm testing chamber with Konami whenever his powers cycled into a fresh, confusing configuration, trying to help him get a 'feel' for what it meant to have all the powers, not hurt himself or others. He took coaxing especially with some of the more offensive combinations. Made her angry at the twist of the Storm that would afflict a child with something like this. It was all too easy to picture a world where the shine of Stormers wore off enough that the less photogenic and protected of them might very well be rounded up, secured and studied like monsters instead of human beings. Or simply killed outright.

 

Like she had tried to Konami at their first meeting on that beach.

 

Putting aside a thought that would have kept her awake at night if she still slept, "What have you been up to that brings you out here on this extremely pleasant unexpected meeting tonight?"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tommy has an amused look on his face, "I am not a monster, Grace. Like you, I do do no flaunt my power, like you, I only act to protect my people and their communities. It was unfortunate that we met as we did, first impressions and all.  Those gangs and the violence they breed is a blight innocents are often hurt. if the police would do their job, then concerned citizens would not have to interfere.

 

As for what I am doing here, Hu Chiang is an old friend of the mayors, I am here in part as his body guard, and to get the lay of the land so to speak. I was hoping your partners would be here. I was hoping to meet them. But I am also glad they are not because that allows me to spend time with you instead of working."

 

He smiles a charming and dazzling smile at Grace full of promise and invitation.

 

Spoiler

Hu Chiang is the cultural elder of the Chinese community in Chicago. he immigrated (fled) to the united states during the cultural revolution in China in 1967. He was an academic scientist in physics and worked at the Fermi labs after becoming a US citizen in the 1970's. He is wise. out spoken, and while legally an American has never forgotten his heritage and champions the Asian causes. the Chinese and in truth all of the Asian communities (excepting the Japanese) put their trust in him. While never holding any political office he does have great political sway that reaches all the way to Washington. While Not a criminal (although he is suspected) he is tantamount to a Godfather figure among the Asian gangs. he is in his late eighties or early nineties but still very active and his mind is a sharp as ever.

 

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