~-AEST-Trouble Witches: Nest of Disruption~
~Waypoint 01: Summer Nights~
It is early evening at the Amethytus Estate. The star-filled sky is as beautiful as ever, with all of Staveltess' moons at least partially visible. The grey moon of Iyolotess is high, at what is essentially a noon position. The orange moon of Zoquaness is midway up in the sky, somewhat dull for once, and lurking behind it is the blackness that is the moon of Umiovess. Half-set over the southern horizon is the blue planetoid of Denrabesess.
The sky is not so clear to the north however, and flashes of lightning can be seen. A very distant rumble of thunder shortly follows. A swarm of Zebs buzz by overhead.
Within the center of the grand courtyard of the Amethytus Estate, there is activity in some of the quadrants around the great central tree. The tree itself stands a few hundred feet tall like a spire protected by walls. It is unlike the crystalline trees of the surrounding forest. Its trunk is so thick, it has been hollowed out to make a living place for Vormsi, and yet the tree remains alive and healthy. Within its branches, an intricate nest made of crystals of all different colors has been built by the Star Wyvern Celest'va. She is currently tending to the nest, using her beak to sort some of the crystals on one side of the nest. She squawks happily when she gets it right for herself.
Surrounding the tree, there are four quadrants within the half-mile-long courtyard, each with designated purposes. The western quadrant is the Animal Den, with a romping ground for the local Jaggies and their friends. It also has a passage to under the tree where the animals go to sleep. At the moment there are six Jaggies occupying themselves by terrorizing a Mellow that has strayed into the area. As it tries to flee, the Jaggies jump and snap at it, catching it and tossing it around, while others bark excitedly. With them is Veltadore, the Albino Jaggi with aspirations of greatness. And with him, is the Latias Tanya. She is giggling at the sight of the goofy Jaggies. Veltadore gives her a certain look as she giggles, and a mild blush forms on the sides of his muzzle. She looks at him as he gazes, causing him to immediately flinch and look in another direction.
To the north of the grand central tree, is a sprawling garden. The entire space between the tree and the artificial river that borders the central courtyard has been cultivated into a beautiful garden filled with flowers, small ornamental trees, a small fountain of the tiered-bowl variety, and the Garden Gazebo, set near the base of the tree itself. No one is here at the moment.
To the east of the great tree is the Battle Deck. A large, raised platform made of extremely durable wood fused with crystal, this platform is where Vormsi is most often found. It serves as a training area for combat under controlled conditions, using holographic opponents that have the potential to inflict serious damage. However, at the moment, the battle deck is quiet too. Vormsi seems to be elsewhere for once.
Finally, to the south of the great tree, is the Estate Onsen. A series of artificial hotsprings pools built to look natural, they are almost never unoccupied. The very air is steamy from the pools, which sport submerged glow orbs for a relaxed setting, as well as large rocks distributed somewhat randomly within the pools to serve as seats for the occupants. The area is completely open-air, with no barriers of privacy. The women of the Estate are like a large, extended family, and see no need for such a thing.
At the moment, there are six women in the Onsen, resting together within one of the pools, all of them nude. Bella Chimes is sitting with her back to an outer edge of the pool, with Dewdrop the Kadoatie resting atop her head. Ashei is sitting on one of the independent stones, with a folded towel serving as a cushion. Her legs crossed, she is running a washcloth along her arms. Princess Daisy is sitting in the center of the pool, the water up to her shoulders. She is talking to Misty Rains, who is sitting a couple of feet away from her, also deep in the water. Misty's hair is solid black, as opposed to the white it normally is when dry. The great, purple-skinned Mamono Apophis Itegpa'artap is laying back in the water, with her face and huge, yet proportionately-accurate for her size, breasts being the only areas of her body visible above the water surface. Her twenty-plus-foot-long snake half is stretched out along the border of the pool, her tail tip poking Bella occasionally. Bella swats at it every time she gets poked, and she gives Itegpa an annoyed look, though the snake woman seems completely enraptured by the warmth of the Onsen. Lastly, Fiquella, a catgirl of the Black Panther variety, with a pseudo-cute demeanor, is sitting on the edge of the Onsen pool, only her feet submerged, and she's slowly swaying them. Her black, velvety cat ear with a dyed-pink tip twitches, as she notices another woman approaching the Onsen.
Daisy, in the middle of a conversation with Misty, says, "And the general path the Outing Trails are going to take has been charted, but the forest is pretty thick in some places. They're calling for volunteers to help with the trailblazing."
"I am definitely gonna be involved in the parts that go near the rivers!" Misty replies cheerfully, as she sinks a little in the water.
"Hahaha, I figured! There's waterfalls and everything out there, and Zan plans for the trails to go near at least a couple of them," Daisy says, as she crosses her arms behind her head.
"Ohh, that sounds so beautiful..." Misty softly responds. She leans back, using her arms for support, imagining the cascading beauty of the forest waterfalls. Her breasts emerge at the water's surface. "I can't wait for this project to get underway. Zan has some of the best ideas!" she adds.
Tepia'su arrives, wearing just a towel, but the towel is so short that it only covers her breasts and stomach. Her extremely well-developed backside, as usual, is completely visible. But shortly, everything is visible as she takes the towel off and sets it on a stone bench with other towels. She steps down into the water. She also happens to step onto a section of Itegpa's tail, but Itegpa barely registers it. Tepia'su looks at her when she realizes she stepped on her, but just smiles softly when she sees that it didn't hurt. She wades farther into the water, and says to everyone in general, "And his sweet-tooth has struck again."
All of the girls flinch. Even Itegpa's attention is caught, and she looks at Tepia'su. Fiquella quickly becomes excited. "Oh great! What was it this time?!" she asks.
"A minicake. At twenty-one-twenty, after four days," Tepia'su replies, as she moves closer to Daisy and Misty.
The excitement is dashed, and all of the women groan. Fiquella flops backward onto the grass and mutters, "I didn't even come close. Darn it."
Daisy watches Tepia'su approach, and asks, "Who won?"
"Lazeoli. And she was nearly completely accurate," Tepia'su answers, stopping for a moment, with an arm akimbo.
The women groan again, and resume what they were originally doing.
~Waypoint 02: Of Past, Present and Future~
Tepia'su moves a little closer to Daisy, finally coming to a stop in front of her, and remains standing for the moment, looking for a good spot to sit down. Daisy becomes a bit flustered with having Tepia'su in full nudity standing right in front of her. It gets worse when, as Tepia'su remains standing there looking around further, she turns around, bringing her backside right in front of Daisy's face. Finally, Daisy slaps Tepia'su's perfectly-shaped backside, causing the woman to yelp. "Sit down already!" Daisy snaps, a strong blush of flusterment on her face.
Misty is very amused. Bella and Fiquella snicker. Ashei and Itegpa didn't notice. Tepia'su promptly sits down beside Daisy, and gives her a cute little smile. Daisy glares at her for a moment, but her flusterment eventually fades. After giving Tepia'su a wary eye and wondering if she did that on purpose, Daisy slowly continues, "Anyway... What is with Zan and Red Velvet Cake? He acts like it's dangerous and should be handled with care, but it's obvious to everyone he loves the stuff."
Misty is sitting upright again. "Maybe he's trying to watch his weight?" she speculates.
Some of the girls chuckle. Fiquella says, "Personally, I can totally get why Zan loves Red Velvet Cake so much. It's so red and velvety."
Bella gives Fiquella a weird look, and snarks, "Totally accurate description there, Fiquella. What part of your imagination came up with that?"
Fiquella claws at Bella and makes an annoyed hiss. Bella feints fear by cringing back while taking Dewdrop off her head and holding her against her bare chest. Fiquella continues to claw at Bella. Dewdrop mews quietly in confusion. Tepia'su gives them a soft look of amusement, and says, "...I guess it's just that he knows it's very rich, and should be eaten sparingly. Roxxie said the entries for the next pool will be accepted starting tomorrow, at the usual time."
The women quietly acknowledge. Ashei gently runs her washcloth down the tops of her breasts, and quietly comments, "I'd be opposed to the whole thing, if not for the fact Zan prohibits the use of money in it."
Tepia'su looks at her with a gentle nod and says, "Yeah, it's just for fun. The closest thing to gambling at the Estate. Sometimes though some of the women can take even that too far."
Daisy replies, "That rarely happens though, since everyone has something to preoccupy herself with here." She stretches her arms up with a soft groan, her breasts half emerging at the water's surface, and whispers, "Ahh, so comfortable."
Ashei looks at Daisy as she continues to rub herself with her washcloth, and says, "Daisy, I can see it from here, but how is your eye? You took quite a blow from those Human Genomes when they attacked the Estate last week, yeah?"
Daisy brings her hand to her face to feel her left eye, and smiles. She responds, "It's fine, Ashei. Thanks for asking. It was a sucker-punch, and I ended up in the water, but Risky Boots and Lazeoli were there to handle them. And Natasha healed the bruising rather quickly. Wouldn't want this pretty face tarnished by such an unsightly mark!"
A particularly audible rumble of thunder comes from the north. The women in the Onsen pay it no mind, as the pools have a canopy of foliage provided by the great central tree. The sky over the Estate itself is still mostly clear. Daisy chuckles nervously as the women remain silent, with amused looks, at her comment. Slowly, she continues, "A-anyway, I missed most of the action. I had to swim to the shore in my big dress, and it really dragged me down. By the time I got to the beach, the fighting at the docks was finished. I was kinda relieved. I heard they really caused a ruckus."
Bella scoffs, turning her attention away from Fiquella, who has a snagglefang grin as she tries to keep pestering her. "Pshh, we kicked their sorry butts. It takes a lot more than that to defeat us!" Bella declares.
Misty rests her chin in a hand. "I'm just glad that sort of thing rarely happens. This is a pretty safe world in the Wenonah Galaxy, and everyone is looking for ways to improve the security even more," she says quietly.
Daisy crimps the corner of her mouth, wanting to change the subject, so she excitedly says, "And then there's the ideas for pleasant things to do, too! I've been looking into something myself-" Rather raucous Jaggi yowling erupts from the Animal Den, briefly distracting everyone. While it continues, Daisy tries to keep speaking, "Uh... I've been talking with Galilahi about some various passtimes for the people here, and-" The Jaggi racket intensifies. Even Itegpa notices by this point, and the women look in the direction of the Animal Den.
"What the heck is going on over there?" Misty mutters. She stands up to get a better view, and water rushes down her nude body, causing a mild blush to form on her face.
Suddenly a Jaggi comes flying over the hedges that separates the Onsen from the Animal Den and lands with a wild splash in the women's pool. They shriek and shield themselves from the flying water. The Jaggi struggles for a moment and arights itself in the water, but freezes when it notices that it's being looked at by all of the women present. It slowly, nervously looks around at them. Ashei is staring, Misty has her arms akimbo, Daisy has an eye narrowed, Tepia'su has her head tilted sideways quizzically, Bella is thoroughly confused, Fiquella is laughing, Itegpa has already lost interest. The Jaggi makes an embarrassed little yip, and swims to the edge of the pool. It climbs out, and leaves the area through the brush. Misty watches it go, trying to figure out what happened. Bella also watches, and when it leaves, she says to Misty, "Did you see anything?"
"No. The bushes are too tall. Those animals are crazy," Misty replies, still looking in the direction of the Jaggi's departure.
Tepia'su is smiling, with a soft expression, as she comments, "That's probably why Zan likes them so much." She looks at Daisy. "So, Daisy, you were saying?"
Daisy is silent for a second, and a flat look slowly overtakes her face. "I forgot..." she mutters.
Ashei sighs, resuming her washcloth bathing. Misty sits back down in the water and sinks down so that only her head from the nose up is above the water level. Her blush strengthens for some reason. Daisy lays back in the water, trying to remember, her breasts fully emerging on the surface of the water to float. Tepia'su frowns sadly, and says, "Aww... Well, I'm sure it'll come to you. But anyway, I heard you two talking about the preparations for making trails in the forest, and I've got my own little contribution I'm going to make to that. I was rummaging through the Spire's storage vault, and I discovered a large batch of Starlight Blossom seeds."
Misty's eyes widen, and she pops up enough to speak, "Oh wow! Aren't those the beautiful bulb flowers that glow more intensely with strong starlight at night?"
Tepia'su nods with a soft smile. "One and the same," she replies.
Ashei parts her legs to run her washcloth across the tops of them, but also looks up at the starry sky through the tree's foliage, as she quietly comments, "...The sky is always starlit here. You couldn't have picked a better ornamental plant, yeah?"
Tepia'su emits a pleased giggle, and avoids eye contact as she says, "Ah, it was entirely by chance. Like I said, I found them in the storage vault. Once the trails are finished, I'm going to plant them all along the ways."
"I'm looking forward to seeing them shine. They're going to be beautiful, I just know it!" Misty exclaims as she rests a hand on Tepia'su's shoulder. She smiles and nods happily.
As they converse, Bella sets Dewdrop into the water. Fiquella notices right away, and observes. The Kadoatie floats like a duck, and starts paddling feebly, barely able to move at any speed in the water. She isn't distressed though, and Bella finds the sight extremely cute. She watches as Dewdrop slowly moves forward a short distance, then manages to turn around and move back toward Bella. When Dewdrop sees how pleased Bella is by the sight, she mewls cutely. Fiquella smiles at the sight, as does Bella, who holds her arms out to the Kadoatie. Dewdrop swims into Bella's arms, and she hugs the Petpet.
A loud Jaggi yap is heard, and Misty flinches. When nothing happens, she looks at the others warily. "...I've been hearing about this rumor lately..." she begins. "You know the policy on rumors, yeah?" Ashei interjects, looking at Misty through the corner of her eyes. Misty shakes her head as she responds, "It's not about the Entourage. It's about some new team that's been developed by The Nebula." Ashei goes quiet with a slight nod.
Fiquella blinks, and says, "Wait, are you talking about what I think you are?"
Misty looks at Fiquella with interest. "You heard too, huh? Those combining vehicle pilots?" she asks.
Fiquella smiles, her fangs peeking out, as she responds, "Yeah! I heard they managed to level an entire Insectid base that had been giving some of The Nebula's stronger squads a hard time!"
"They liberated a colony of Bloomiens from them in the process, so they're obviously up-and-coming heroes!" Misty excitedly adds.
Bella sets Dewdrop back in the water and lets her float there, watching her. "I think I heard something about them too. Somehow they've managed to fuse a variety of vehicles with a tank, AND have them act as combining mecha. Wouldn't it be awesome of we had something like that at our disposal?" she says.
The girls hear a scoff, and look. They see Elbie and Arbie Gofer, also nude, standing in one of the other Onsen pools. The twins give them an annoyed look. They have a pair of large remote-control devices, suggesting they were about to test something. With a disdainful sniff, Elbie says, "High praise for someone we barely know, huh, sister?" "We do all of this for the Estate, and you never hear anyone praise us!" Arbie quickly adds with a similarly displeased look.
They huff, and press a button on their controllers. Suddenly a huge mechanical moray eel rises up from their pool, causing the other women to yelp. The eel looks around, energy crackling within its mouth and eyes. The Gofer Sisters' cores flicker, suggesting rapid private communication between the two. The other women watch fearfully as the eel "looks" at them. Itegpa notices, and a creepy smile forms on her face. The Gofer Sisters press another button on their remotes, and the eel retreats back into the water. Daisy quietly mutters, "I know which pool I'm never using again."
Ashei just sighs. Misty scowls at the Gofer Sisters as she barks, "I hope you aren't using the Estate plumbing for that thing!"
Arbie's disdain magnifies a bit as she gestures toward them with her free hand and exclaims, "See, sister? No respect!" "It is very frustrating," Elbie quickly replies, shaking her head with her eyes closed.
The Gofer Sisters press buttons on their controllers, and slowly sink down into the water, disappearing completely, leaving the women thoroughly confused. Misty, still scowling, puts her arms akimbo, despite sitting in the water, the action causing said water to roll a little. "I just know they're doing something with the pipes... I'm going to have to find out what," she grumbles.
"That thing was lovely," Itegpa ominously whispers, causing the girls to give her a horrified look.
Bella quietly mutters, "You would think anything snakelike would be lovely..." while avoiding looking at Itegpa, who slowly adjusts her gaze to focus on Bella.
Itegpa rises up from the water, which pours off of her nude body, and slowly shifts her entire self so that she is closer to Bella. The girl promptly becomes extremely nervous, and clings to Dewdrop. The Kadoatie is not afraid though, just puzzled. "Speaking of lovely..." Itegpa sinisterly whispers in a tone slithering with snakelike smoothness. She reaches to touch Bella's breasts, but halts when Bella shrinks back in great nervousness. Instead, she continues, "A certain someone amongst us has clearly been doing some growing. How long have you been with the Entourage?"
Bella stammers for a second, avoiding eye contact with the gigantic Mamono's inverted eyes, "Umm... two... two years. ...In fact, it'll be two years as of... tomorrow." She becomes distracted by this thought for a moment.
Itegpa chuckles, "Hmmhmmhmm..." and moves even closer, regaining Bella's attention and intensifying her dread. "And you were fourteen when you first moved in, correct?" she inquires.
Bella is trembling, Dewdrop just watches with a puzzled demeanor. "Yes... Yes I was..." Bella cautiously answers.
Itegpa gives Bella an unnerving little smile, her teeth visible during it, but then slides back into the water near Bella's left side. "Good for you..." she whispers, and manages to poke Bella's left breast from within the water.
Bella flinches, "Erk... Well, they're nothing compared to yours, right?" she comments as she looks at Itegpa's nine-inch breasts that, proportionately-speaking, fit with her overall size. But the sight of them, floating in the water, makes Bella blush with luminescence.
Itegpa forms a deadly little sneer with rather apathetic eyes as she replies, "And never will be. I shall forever reign as the champion of the busts. No one can even dream of surpassing me. But that's not a problem, is it?" She gives Bella a disquieting stare.
The other women take note of their own development. Aside from Tepia'su's relatively reduced size, everyone else is pleased with their sizes. Tepia'su can't help but feel slightly discouraged, though it doesn't show much on her face. Compared to everyone else here, her breast size is on the smaller end. However, most of her shape is in her backside, and while she's proud of that, this bust-size talk still leaves her feeling mildly inadequate. "Bust-size isn't everything you know," she comments.
Ashei adds, "Figure isn't everything, period. Zan's eclectic tastes are proof of that, yeah? We have Itegpa, and then we have the Gofer Sisters. Youvixia, and Kira. Risky Boots, and Elaxmi. He loves everyone equally. He has regularly stressed that personality and skills are just as important."
"Feh! Says the girl with probably one of the most perfect hourglass figures in the entourage," Fiquella says, pointing at Ashei's stomach.
Ashei falls silent, caught off guard by the remark, and looks at her own body. She gives the others a mildly puzzled look, and notices that they are amused. By what, she doesn't know, but they find her lack of self-consciousness either grating or funny, depending on who you ask.
Itegpa pokes Bella's breast again, and Bella whimpers, too afraid of the huge snake woman to snap at her. Dewdrop, however, is becoming annoyed. Fortunately, Daisy speaks up, "Leave her alone, Itegpa. She's still growing."
Itegpa just lets out a large yawn, her rows of sharp teeth and snake fangs providing a frightening sight. Bella tries to avoid looking at it, as she says, "Well at least I'm growing in the right ways..." She looks down at her more modest bust of about three inches.
When she does this, her vision distorts for a split second, causing her to flinch. She shakes her head to recover, and after a moment, dismisses it.
After a second, Fiquella flinches rather hard, and blurts, "Oh! That reminds me!" She scrambles along the pool edge and sits next to Bella, causing her to flinch too, especially when she leans in close to speak quietly, "The cat costume I'm making for Teresa is almost finished. Heehee..."
Bella immediately begins snickering rather evilly, Fiquella joins her, and the two start laughing. Everyone else, left in the dark, just sits there, staring. Itegpa peers at the two with one half-open eye. Daisy and Misty glance at each other, confused. Tepia'su smiles rather sadly, unsure of what to make of this. Ashei just closes her eyes and slowly shakes her head with yet another sigh. Then she gives them a slightly stern look as she says, "You know what Zan has to say about hazing, yeah..?"
Fiquella gestures dismissively and replies, "It's not hazing! She won't get hurt! Not physically, anyway..." She says this with cat grin, however.
"We're just going to have some fun, that's all," Bella adds, with a similarly mischievous expression.
Tepia'su slightly shakes her head, quite confounded, and asks, "What is all that about?"
"Just a little something Bella and I are working on. Not gonna tell you right now, though," Fiquella responds with a toothy smirk.
Ashei once again slowly shakes her head. She flinches when Daisy bolts upright, launching some water forward. Her breasts heave as well, and she exclaims, "OH! I remembered what I was going to talk about!" Shouting like that gets everyone's attention, and she continues, "Roller-skating! High-speed fun on wheels that DOESN'T involve go-carts! The go-carts would be fun too, but, well, there's a problem with both of these ideas."
The girls look around amongst each other. Bella, leaning back against the edge of the pool, goes out of focus for just a moment again, this time accompanied by a sharp, fleeting burst of pain in the head. She shakes her head to recover. No one notices, but Bella becomes aware that something seems to be happening. However, Tepia'su continues the conversation, "Sure, Daisy. We don't have a good place here at the Estate for that sort of thing though. Is that the problem?"
Misty seems interested as she adds, "The best place for that would be the Ballroom, but I think the maintenance Thyxies would kill us if we scuffed up the floor that much."
Daisy waves hand dismissively as she chatters, "I know, I know. And yes, that's the problem. It takes a lot of room. Not as much as go-carts, but still too much. I mentioned it once to Zan, and he said that it's a good idea, if we could find a place." She takes a breath. "I FOUND A PLACE! I've been talking to someone I know back in the Mushroom Kingdom about it. It might not be available for all of us soon, but I'm working out plans for use of a rink there," she finishes, quite enthusiastic. Tepia'su and Misty smile. Ashei raises an eyebrow at the idea. Itegpa completely ignores it, considering her snake-body is incompatible with skates, period.
Bella's vision goes blurry for a moment again, and now the pain has become solid in her head. She thinks, (What... What's happening? My head hurts... So woozy...) She clutches her head for a moment. No one notices, still, but for Dewdrop, who looks at Bella and mewls nervously, sensing something with her very low-level Psionic abilities.
Fiquella is smiling as she comments, "That does sound like fun! I know I can handle it, but I have to wonder about some of the klutzes here at the Estate. Might wanna bring along a med-kit, cause I bet there will be some sore rumps and sprained wrists. Right, Bella?" Bella is still clutching her head, trying to get her vision to focus. "...Bella?" Fiquella echoes, now looking concerned. The others now notice Bella's behavior as well, and everyone looks at her.
"S-sorry... I'm feeling kind of weird... My head hurts... Excuse me..." Bella mumbles.
~Waypoint 03: Association Disruption~
Bella picks up Dewdrop, turns, and tries to climb out of the pool, but yelps when the pain in her head suddenly surges. She promptly slips, and with a big splash, falls backward into the water. Dewdrop leaps out of her arms onto the pool's edge and starts squealing in fear. The women also yelp. Fiquella shrieks, "BELLA?!"
Bella has gone still, submerged in the water. Itegpa rises up suddenly, water flying off of her, her ominous eyes staring fearfully at Bella. Before anyone else can react, Itegpa lunges down, grabs Bella, and effortlessly lifts her out of the water, holding her up with her hands gripping Bella's sides. Bella's eyes have gone extremely wide, with a horrified and pained expression. A faint glow emanates from the center of her pupils. The other women scramble over to her. "Bella! Bella! What's wrong?!" Daisy frantically shouts.
Bella twitches slightly, but is unable to say or do anything. The commotion has quickly caught the attention of the Jaggies, and they, Tanya and Veltadore peek through the bushes to see what's happening. Itegpa, noticing the strange glow from the center of Bella's eyes, narrows her own, and hisses, "There's something... I sense something is happening..."
The glow within Bella's pupils is getting stronger. The girls move to look at Bella's face, and Fiquella, unnerved, whispers, "I see it..."
Daisy grips Bella's arm as she exclaims, "Bella! Say something!"
Bella remains unresponsive, her face locked in the expression of great distress, and the glow within her pupils intensifies until her whole eyes are glowing. Itegpa grits her teeth, feeling erratic dimensional energy emanating from Bella. The others cluster closely around, while Veltadore and Tanya pass worried looks at each other. Misty, trying to remain calm, speaks up, "Girls, hang on... I think I've seen this before... We need to wait."
Fiquella snaps her head toward Misty and snarls, "Something is happening to Bella, and you seriously expect us to wait?!"
The others are very worried, but acknowledge, and they observe. Bella's eyes become translucent, and the effect ripples through her body, giving off the appearance of miniature shockwaves of erratic subatomic energy. Bella's pained expression softens slightly.
Within her mind, she has been flung into a subdimensional vision, complete with sensory experiences. She finds herself flying through the sky of another world. She is nude, still, but her thoughts are far from concerned about this. As she flies, she finds herself feeling the heat of flame, and suddenly notices a large train on an elevated track racing headlong beside her. Unable to control the movements of her body, all she can do is think to herself, (I can see... a train... Is it on fire? Everything's on fire!)
Indeed, the train has suddenly ignited. It is racing so fast, it is as though the sheer friction with the wind has caused the train to burst into flames. But that doesn't explain all the flames suddenly surrounding Bella. The sky is red, the ground is charred, and fire dances about like an army of demons everywhere. Some of those flames take the shape of short-haired men in jackets. Bella feels hot, and fearful. But suddenly, Bella rises quickly into the sky.
With the others, they continue to pensively wait for Bella, watching the shockwaves course through her body. When the shockwaves come into contact with Itegpa's hands, she winces, and finds her grip on Bella failing from Bella's gradual shift out of phase. Tepia'su notices Itegpa's pain, and frets, "Itegpa?! Did that hurt?"
"Yes..." Itegpa hisses, and her eyes begin to glow with Dark energy. "But don't worry... I've got this," she adds, as she focuses her power.
Itegpa's hands begin surging with Dark energy. When Bella's distortive shockwaves hit Itegpa's hands again, the Dark energy absorbs it. But the pace of the shockwaves rapidly intensifies, until Bella is rippling with dimensional distortions, and becomes almost entirely translucent herself. It is as though she is slipping out of dimensional alignment. Itegpa notices this right away, and focuses tremendous Dark energy into her hands in order to keep holding Bella. Itegpa's face shows fierce determination. The others notice this, but are aware that, when Itegpa actually feels motivated, she is extremely powerful, and thus know they can rely on her in this critical moment.
Bella soars through the sky, high and wonderful. The sky may be red, but it reminds her of a beautiful sunset. She flips to face up, and sees endless red. But the flames of the land below continue to spread, and Bella flips to face down. She recoils in fear of the flames, and looks forward. She can make out something. As all of this happens, her thoughts are detached, as though she were observing herself as well as what she sees, and she thinks, (I'm flying... The sky is so beautiful... But there's fire everywhere! I! ...I see something... A castle... It's familiar- ...There's a giant energy sphere above it!)
In the distance is a large castle. One that should be very familiar with anyone native to Bella's home realm. Above it is a giant, black sphere-shaped distortion. The train from before rushes headlong toward the castle, and the appearance of a galaxy forms within the great black sphere. Bella shrieks as the train collides with the castle. At the same time, the spherical distortion plummets suddenly. The castle is engulfed in twisted and distorted flames. Bella stops flying, hanging in the air. She looks around at the surrounding flames of destruction, and becomes engulfed in terror.
In the presence of the others, Bella twitches again, and her expression becomes pained once more. Misty rests a hand on Bella's arm like Daisy, and firmly, yet fearfully, says, "Hang in there, Bella..." The others nervously watch, and wait.
Bella continues to observe the flames, and suddenly finds herself recognizing the buildings being consumed by them. The flames rush and dance through the streets of a city surrounding the castle. Everything is on fire. Bella gazes upon the sights, thinking, (I recognize this place... It's my...)
Suddenly there is blackness. Then there are stars slipping by as though Bella were flying at warp speed. She looks in the direction she seems to be flying in, and sees a beautiful, long-blonde-haired man in a black cloak. He has his back to her, but slowly turns his torso to look at her through the corner of one eye. He becomes the only thing she can see, in massive close-perspective. (Who is that? A man? I don't know him. His face... is...! INSANITY!) her thoughts scream.
The man's calm expression suddenly turns terrifying, forming a wide grin with glowing eyes. There is a flash, and the very space around Bella cracks apart. Then SHE cracks apart.
With the others, Bella lets out a scream, and the dimensional distortions of her body suddenly burst, discharging erratic dimensional energy in a shockwave through the air around her. Itegpa jolts hard from the burst, and the other girls jolt as well, shielding themselves. Misty and Daisy, who are too close to react in time, fall backwards into the water, into seated positions. Fortunately, no one seems actually harmed by it. The distortions of Bella's body subside very quickly, her eyes returning to normal, and she starts panting. Her vision finally recovers, and she finds herself in Itegpa's grip, being stared at by everyone.
Bella groans, holds her head, and pants as she says, "My head... It... ...It doesn't hurt anymore..."
Fiquella slowly lowers her shielding arms, and her eyes widen. "Bella!" she shouts.
"Bella! Are you ok?!" Daisy exclaims as she sloshes through the water to get to Bella again.
Bella slowly looks around, and responds, "I... Yes, I think I am..." After a moment, she stops panting, and notices that she's still being held up by Itegpa, who is monitoring her carefully. Bella mumbles, "Itegpa...?"
Itegpa narrows her eyes. "Are you sure you're ok?" she asks.
"I think so... It was like a... nightmare..." Bella quietly replies, holding her head again for a second, looking around as though making sure she were truly back in reality.
Itegpa sets Bella on her feet in the water. Dewdrop immediately pounces at Bella, and she catches the Kadoatie. Dewdrop nuzzles her chest and mewls in distress until Bella can calm her down. Itegpa and Fiquella stay close to Bella, and she sits on the pool's edge. The others remain clustered around her. Tanya, from her peeking spot at the bushes, has a particular look of disturbance, and Veltadore notices.
~Waypoint 04: Ripple-Effect~
After giving Bella a quick look over, Ashei says, "Misty, you said you've seen that before, yeah?"
"I have... I don't know much but, I have..." Misty quietly replies, moving to sit on the edge of the pool beside Fiquella. She keeps her eyes on Bella.
Bella, holding Dewdrop close, looks at Misty uncomfortably. She is still trying to shake the disturbance of the experience, and even though the Onsen is quite warm, she is shivering slightly. Misty frowns sadly at the sight, and looks down at the water as she explains, "I've heard reports, and at least once before, seen that happen. There's something called... D.A.D... I forget exactly what that stands for, but it has something to do with the damage to a person's home realm extending to the people of that dimension, even if they happen to be living in another one at the time. Sort of a ripple-effect. Even if a person who still has affection for their home realm is living in another realm, damage or disruption to their home realm can have weird effects."
Itegpa realizes that this isn't going to pertain much to her, and immediately begins to struggle to maintain attention. She sinks a little, her hips becoming submerged in the water. Bella, however, pays close attention. "I saw visions. Does that have anything to do with it?" she asks.
"I think it's one of the potential symptoms, yeah," Misty replies with a slow nod.
Daisy narrows an eye, having moved to stand beside Bella. "You make it sound like a disease," she comments.
Itegpa sinks a little further into the water, which submerges her stomach. Her eyes are half open now.
Tepia'su, moving to get closer to the others, rests a hand on Daisy's shoulder as she says, "No, Daisy, it makes sense. Every one of us still carries the resonance of her home realm within her, and since the Multiverse is like the surface of water, one disruption carries across the Multiverse, but only affects the people who are on that particular wavelength." Misty gives her a pleased look when she uses the water analogy. Daisy finds her curiosity piqued, as she does understand what she means.
Fiquella folds her arms under her bare breasts, looking somewhat confused, and annoyed by this. "...And I'm supposed to understand this?" she complains.
Itegpa looks immensely bored, but is trying to keep up. Her breasts float in the water as she sinks a little further. Bella is gradually becoming more nervous.
Daisy flinches, and looks around at everyone. "Wait a sec. If that were the case, then why didn't Bridgette experience something like that when her home realm was falling apart? It had THREE static points, and was such an old and weakened realm, she should be dealing with this D.A.D. all the time!" she exclaims.
Misty forms a half-smile, and says, "She would... if she was still mentally attached to her home realm. She hates Neverland, remember? She doesn't want to go back. If something like this happened in Medea, Teresa wouldn't notice either. A person has to be mentally attuned to their home realm for this to hit them. And then there are just some people who don't get affected by dimensional stuff. Bridgette has detached herself from her home realm, and is not on the wavelength anymore. But everyone knows that Bella is still fond of her home realm, right?" Bella nervously nods in acknowledgement.
Itegpa lets out a huge yawn again and sinks even further, the water up to her shoulders, her breasts now half submerged. Bella, however, is growing ever more nervous, and her trembling does not stop, which distresses Dewdrop still more. "So, what does this mean? I saw fire everywhere in my vision... Is my home realm on fire? Is Eihemland in danger?" she shiveringly asks.
Thunder rumbles in the distance, and the starlight is beginning to dim a little from approaching clouds. Lamps distributed throughout the Grand Central Courtyard slowly emerge from the ground, and activate, producing a soft white glow that keeps the area from becoming too dark. Misty, Tepia'su and Ashei give Bella a concerned look. Misty answers, trying to keep from sounding too grim, "It may be possible. There is more than one way to become alerted to a dimensional disruption. Oh yeah! 'D.A.D' stands for 'Dimensionaly Associated Distress'."
Fiquella jokes, "I didn't think it had anything to do with fathers."
Misty ignores her, as she looks directly at Bella, and says, "You need to tell Zan about this. He's the Dimension Lord, after all. He'll know exactly what's going on if you explain it to him."
Everyone watches as Bella stands up at the edge of the pool, an alarmed expression on her face. Itegpa's half-open eyes follow her, curious. Bella turns, gently sets Dewdrop on the pool's edge, and steps out. She takes off for the Southern Haven. The women watch her go, concerned for the situation, but confident that Zan will be able to take care of it. Itegpa realizes something, and a naughty, toothy smirk forms on her face. "Zan's in for a surprise..." she quietly comments, retaining the mischievous look.
Tepia'su watches Bella go, saddened by her plight, and replies, "I know. There seems to be a rise in problems around the Estate."
"Not that this is one of them," Itegpa says, turning her dark eyes to look at everyone with a clearly suggestive expression.
Ashei narrows an eye, unable to get what Itegpa is hinting at, and mutters, "...What?"
Itegpa, smirking still, tells them straight, "Zan's about to get an eye-full of nude Bella Chimes body. Soaking wet, no less."
The women flinch, and suddenly realize what Itegpa realized immediately. Bella took off for the building without grabbing her clothes, or even a towel. Fiquella busts out laughing. Misty and Daisy start giggling. Tepia'su smiles cutely. Ashei is amused too, but only mildly so.
Dewdrop waddles over to the stone bench with Bella's folded clothes on it, and hops onto the bench. She climbs onto the clothes, circles atop them a few times, and lays down. She mewls once, with a hint of worry in her tone. Tanya slowly nods her head with a serious look, and Veltadore notices. They and the Jaggies return to the Animal Den. The women return to their original spots in the Onsen to continue their conversation.
Within the Auditorium, Byzantian Fandango, or Zan, as the Entourage calls him, is with several other women. They are standing on the observation platform before the large, central holoprojector. A large stage-like platform, it can project three-dimensional holographic images as high as the ceiling. At the moment, the holoprojector is displaying an overhead view of the Marble Zone ruins of planet Mobius, while a number of display screens amidst the projection are showing various hazards and points of interest within the ruins. With Zan on the observation platform are Bridgette, Teresa, Cerebella, Lily Flyer, Tina the Mawile, Youvixia, Cici'ciel, and Jazzie Barbara. Zan, using a fork, eats the last bite of a Red Velvet Minicake, as he listens to Bridgette talk, "I'm sure there's something of value there. But why the place is volcanically active, I have no idea."
Tina, a Mawile with an attitude and a little, earth-tone safari vest, raises her little hand and comments, "Yo. You seriously want a Steel-type Pokemon like yours truly to go to into a place flowin' with lava?"
Bridgette folds her arms, looking at one particular display on the projector showing plumes of lava. She replies, "That's what Contour Barriers are for, Tina. We'll obviously try to avoid that as we chart the place though." Tina looks extremely skeptical.
The northern door of the Auditorium dilates open, and Bella runs in, still dripping wet and nude. Everyone turns to look at her, and various reactions follow. Before they can say anything, Bella shouts, "Zan!" and runs toward him.
Youvixia forms an extremely naughty smile, her tails slowly swaying, as she smoothly comments, "Oh wow. Someone's desperate for the Hotshot's attention!"
Cerebella lets out a laugh. "What a sight!" she exclaims.
Teresa, however, notices the distressed look on Bella's face immediately, and mumbles, "Bella..?"
Zan's eyes widen, and his cybernetic one glows slightly stronger at the sight. He only briefly glances at Bella's nudity, before focusing on her face as she urgently approaches him. He sets the cake container and fork on a railing counter. Cerebella, Tina, Youvixia and Jazzie become highly amused, Lily and Cici mildly so, and Bridgette becomes annoyed at being interrupted. Zan and Teresa, however, sense that there is something amiss. He turns fully to face her as she comes up the platform to him. Bridgette, though, blurts, "...I was TALKING here!"
Teresa points a palm at Bridgette as she says, "Hang on a moment, Bridgette!" Bridgette scoffs, and keeps her arms folded in irritation.
Zan holds a hand toward Bella, and says softly, "Bella... What's wrong?"
Bella reaches Zan, and grips his arms. Giving him a frightful look, she shouts, "Zan, I just had the most bizarre experience!"
"Running around in the open, nude and soaked, can do that," Youvixia comments, keeping that naughty smile.
Teresa quips, "Quiet, you!", causing Youvixia to chuckles at her audacity. Zan cautiously says, "Go on."
Bella keeps her eyes fixed on him as she tells him of what happened, "I was sitting in the Onsen, talking with the others, when my head started to hurt. My vision got blurry too. Then... according to Misty, I experienced something called 'Dimensionally Associated Distress'." Zan's cybernetic eye shifts to the Alarm Icon the moment he hears that. Everyone else becomes curious. Even Youvixia, when she realizes this is not a silly situation afterall. Bella continues, "I couldn't move. I fell into the water, but Itegpa pulled me out. I started seeing this elaborate vision... Fire... A train... A castle... A blonde-haired man..." Zan's expression darkens on hearing the last descriptor. The others slowly look around at each other in perplexity. Bella keeps going, "The place I saw on fire looked familiar. I think it was Eihemland! Misty said that I might have experienced some kind of side-effect of dimensional damage! Zan, I think my home realm is in danger!"
Zan, in grim looks and grim tone, replies, "Hmm. That does sound like a symptom of D.A.D... And you said you saw a man's face?"
"Yeah. He was wearing a black cloaked suit, and had a rather feminine face with long blonde hair. But when he looked at me, all I felt was evil power and great fear," Bella replies, eyes full of concern.
Zan closes his eyes for a second, and mutters, "...This is serious, then. To see a person in such a vision, that person must indeed be strong enough to cause dimensional damage." He opens his eyes, looks at the others, and announces, "Looks like we may have another Interdimensional Static exploitation going on. I'm sorry, Bridgette, but we need to postpone this briefing. I'm going to take Bella to the MedLab to get her checked for traces of D.A.D."
Bridgette sighs, and shuts off the Holoprojector display. "Alright. This can wait. The Marble Zone isn't going anywhere," she grumbles.
Tina snarks, "Unless it sinks into the lava or somethin'." Bridgette rolls her eyes, unable to disagree with that.
Teresa quickly says, "I'm going with you, master."
Zan nods. "Very well," he acknowledges. He turns to step down off the platform, and Bella stays with him, clinging to his arm. Teresa moves to stay close to Bella, clearly quite concerned.
Bridgette looks at the others, and says, "We'll continue this briefing once we've finished this situation, ok?" They acknowledge.
Zan, Bella, Teresa and Bridgette head to the northern entrance to the Auditorium. The others, but for Lily and Jazzie, leave through other entrances. The two who stay head to a side terminal and begin talking.
~Waypoint 05: Origin of Distress~
The MedLab is the primary Science Facility of the Amethytus Estate. Located on the second floor of the Western Haven, it is mainly used for research in all types of science, in limited degree. One of those is Medical Science, and that particular section of the lab doubles as the rarely-used hospital for the Estate. Due to Zan's determined efforts to research technology that prevents injury, the Medical Bay sees little use. The rest of the lab, however, is frequented by several members of the Entourage, and one in particular, Kira Daidohji, has practically made it her second bedroom. The lab is filled with science experiments in the works, shelves with science journals that would be out of place in the Library, and elaborate chemistry setups related to elemental research. Among the notable features of the MedLab are a miniature gantry for the production of automatons, a Dimensional Agitator for experimental portal creation, an Elemental Fusion Cell for merging of elemental items to produce more advanced types, a large formation of Khaydarin Crystals connected to Protoss research, and a copy of Mabelline's Dreamnest machine. There are other notable devices here, some of which may be a bit egregious.
At the moment, Kira Daidohji is indeed here, though she is currently doing nothing of importance, watching a computer terminal display a diagnostic of a large beaker containing an unnerving Zerg biomass that has been growing for the past several months. Natasha is also here, in the Medical Bay, examining a set of medical injector units. Helping her is the snow-white Usul named Mitsie'minnie, who comes up to her with a tablet displaying information on the units. Natasha smiles warmly, and Mitsie returns the smile with a happy one of her own.
As Mitsie goes back toward a shelf with empty containers, she eyes a refrigeration tray. Amidst the ice and some containers of chemicals, is a stash of the special milk that Kira likes to drink. But then she passes a nervous glance at Kira, who passes a stern glance at her. Mitsie swallows hard, and keeps on going.
She flinches when one of the entry doors to the MedLab dilates open. Zan, Bella, Teresa and Bridgette enter. They head toward the dimensional study section of the MedLab. Natasha, Kira and Mitsie immediately notice one thing: Bella is nude. And she's still dripping wet. Kira grits her teeth with narrow eyes, and jumps off of her chair to approach them.
Zan sees Kira coming, and says, "Kira, we-" "Bella, you're getting water on the floor! You're going to contaminate the chemicals!" Kira suddenly shouts, completely cutting Zan off.
Kira's interrupting Zan brings out a glare on Bridgette's face. Natasha notices Bella's soaked condition too. But she quietly goes to a storage locker, opens it, and takes out a clean, white towel. Bella looks down at herself, blinks, and mumbles, "...Oops..."
Teresa, with a mischievous smirk, adds, "You're naked, too."
Bella blushes with embarrassment. She looks back up at everyone, and says, "I was... so fixated on getting to Zan that I forgot my clothes."
Natasha approaches and gently hands Bella the towel. With a quiet thank you, Bella starts to dry herself. Kira stands there, arms folded, glaring at Bella. Then she notices Bridgette glaring at her and flinches. She realizes that she interrupted Zan, but shrugs it off. Bella looks down at her nudity again as she uses the towel on her hair, then looks at Teresa, her blush subsided. "Teresa, could you go get my clothes? I left them on a bench at the Onsen," she asks.
Teresa nods, and replies, "Yeah, ok." She heads back the way they entered and leaves the MedLab.
Bella continues drying herself, and her long hair. Mitsie uses a hand towel to clean up the water Bella dripped onto the floor. Natasha watches Bella. Looking her over and not seeing any sort of injury renders her curious, and she asks, "Is everything ok? Have you been hurt, Bella?"
Bella shakes her head, and replies, "No... Zan?" She looks at him, still quite concerned with the situation.
Zan nods, and says, "We need to run some tests on Bella. She may have experienced Dimensionally Associated Distress, and it might be pertinent to a developing situation in Eihemland."
Kira, returning Bridgette's glare with one of her own, narrows an eye on hearing the situation, and says, "Huh. Well, that shouldn't be a problem. Uh, by the way, the Gofer Sisters were here a minute ago, chattering about their mechanical eel getting stuck in a main water line. Sounds like the Twinpints are bored."
Bella stops drying herself for a moment, with a stunned look. It would seem Misty was right. Zan, meanwhile, facepalms, and explains, "The upgrades and expansion of their subterranean factory is not finished yet, so they must be occupying themselves. I'll be sure to talk to them about that." He finishes with a sigh.
Natasha returns the focus of attention back to Bella, and says, "Bella, can you tell us what symptoms you had?"
Bella slowly nods, and as she uses the towel to dry her legs, says, "I first had... blurred vision. It came with sharp pains in my head. After a point I lost all of my strength. If Itegpa hadn't picked me up, I might have drowned in the Onsen water..." She shudders at the thought.
Bridgette blinks, honestly quite impressed. "Wow, Lazysnake Itegpa saved a life? I guess all it takes is proper motivation," she remarks.
Zan looks to the side when Bella bends over to dry her lower legs, but has a soft smile and the Approval Icon in his cybernetic eye, as he says, "That's good to know... I'll be sure to thank her for that later."
Bella looks over at Zan, and stands up straight. She continues to speak, "Mmhmm. Then I had an elaborate vision... Fire everywhere, a speeding train, a familiar castle, which the train crashed into, and the face of a powerful and frightening man..." She wraps her hair up with the towel, slowly becoming a little calmer, and not shivering quite as much now that she's dry.
Zan looks at her again, his eyes focused on her face. "And you are sure that the place you saw was Eihemland?" he inquires.
Bella's calmness fails to maintain, and she replies, "Yes. All of that was accompanied by weird energy surging through my body. When it ended, at the peak of my head pain, I could feel all of that energy discharge from my body. The others that were with me looked like they had just watched a car accident. I'm worried about my old home now, too." She looks to the side, trying to maintain her composure.
Kira puts her arms akimbo, and says, "Sounds like D.A.D. to me. Let's get you on an analysis bed." She turns to walk toward one.
Bella undoes the towel her hair is wrapped up in, hands it to Mitsie'minnie, and goes over to a bed. Remaining nude, which doesn't bother anyone here, she climbs on and lays back, and Kira and Natasha move mounted scanning units over her. Kira initiates the scanning system on the control terminal, while Natasha places an analytical headpiece on Bella's forehead. Kira stays at the terminal to input commands and watch the scan activity, while Natasha uses a hand scanner to make sure Bella hasn't suffered any physical harm. She is relieved when she finds none. Mitsie'minnie puts the towel away. Bridgette stands by Zan. She rests her chin in a hand. "I've heard of D.A.D. before, but why would Bella get it?" she asks.
Zan looks at Bridgette for a second, then around at everyone else as he speaks, "Do you know exactly what it is? Everyone carries within themselves the original dimensional harmonic frequency of their home realm, no matter what other realm they go to, and no matter for how long. No matter how far from their realm they get, they can still be affected by catastrophic events in their home dimension." When he finishes, he falls quiet, looking at Bella with concern.
"Tepia'su gave a pretty analogy with a comparison to the surface of water, with ripple effects," Bella comments, not moving on the bed as she's scanned.
Kira rolls her eyes, with a flat expression, as she snarks, "Pssh, sounds like something Misty would say."
Natasha leans close to Kira. "Hush," she says softly. Kira flinches, and has to restrain herself from snarling at the motherly Natasha.
Zan forms an impressed look as he slowly nods and says, "That's pretty good, actually. If Bella's home dimension is experiencing a dimensional disruption of a significant enough level, she herself may be affected by it."
Bella closes her eyes, thinking about all of this. "Misty mentioned though that someone has to feel affection for their home realm too, right?" she asks.
Teresa comes in, carrying Bella's clothing, but looking a little ruffled herself. She comes over and sets Bella's clothes on a table near the group. Natasha notices Teresa's dishevelment, and quickly moves to check her over. "Teresa, what happened?" she asks.
Teresa rolls her eyes, looking quite rumpled. She replies, "It took so long because Dewdrop wouldn't let me pick Bella's clothes up. She was sleeping on them, and when I tried to move her, she started squealing really, really loudly." She starts fixing her pigtails.
Kira looks at Teresa, snickers, and comments, "Like a car alarm?"
Teresa blinks. "...A what?" she asks.
Kira's amusement disappears, replaced by a dull look, and she mutters, "...I keep forgetting you came from a Dark Ages realm..."
Teresa, already annoyed to begin with, becomes slightly moreso as she murmurs, "Are you insulting me?"
Before Kira can speak, Zan continues the main subject, "...Yes, Bella, that is correct. A person needs to be mentally linked to their realm through one sort or another, such as affection." He looks at Teresa, and quietly adds, "Thank you, Teresa."
Teresa hugs Zan and gives Kira a glare that Kira finds more amusing than anything. However, Zan and Bella look at Bridgette. Bridgette tilts her head quizzically. "What?" she asks, wondering why the attention suddenly shifted to herself.
Bella cautiously says, "Misty said that's why you didn't experience this D.A.D. when your home realm had three Interdimensional Static points."
Bridgette looks away, folding her arms, and mutters, "Don't even get me started. I wouldn't care if Neverland fell into a Sinkhole or something."
Zan gives Bridgette a mildly distressed look. "What about all of the innocent people in that realm?" he asks, trying to conjure up some sympathy.
Bridgette just closes her eyes. "Meh," is her only response.
Zan just sighs. He shortly turns to look back at Bella, and explains, "At any rate, what is really getting to me is the fact that Bella saw an unfamiliar man's face. He must be the source of the dimensional disruption to show up in a D.A.D. vision. Eihemland may have an intruder taking advantage of the Static, or there may be someone actually creating the Static. But that description... Effeminate, long blonde hair, black cloaked suit... It's eerily familiar to me somehow." He trails off, putting a hand to the cybernetic half of his face in thought.
Teresa keeps an arm around Zan's own, and looks up at him as she asks, "Yeah, you don't know that many feminine men, do you master?"
Zan looks at her. "I've met many, actually, in my travels. But never personally enough, unless they were a powerful villain I had to fight at a point. That's what worries me," he responds, and Teresa can see said worry in his eyes, his cybernetic one showing the Concern Icon.
The computer system linked to the scanners signals a completion of its scan, and everyone but for Bella clusters to look at the results. Zan crimps the corner of mouth for a second, and mutters, "Well, there it is."
Kira announces, "Confirmed Dimensional Resonance Agitation within your Personal Wavelength."
Natasha adds, "In other words, you experienced a strong case of Dimensionally Associated Distress," and rests a hand on Bella's arm to show some comfort. Bella quickly begins to grow agitated again.
Zan's Concern Icon grows a little stronger, and he says, "Kira, please check Eihemland's Wavelength for Interdimensional Static."
Kira grunts, hops off the chair she was using and heads to a different, larger computer system built into a wall. Natasha gently removes the headpiece from Bella, and moves the scanning arms out from over her. She leans closer to Bella for a moment and asks, "And you are sure you aren't feeling any leftover pain?"
Bella, moving to sit on the bed, replies, "Aside from being really worried about my home realm, no, Natasha. Thank you."
Natasha gives Bella a gentle nod, and moves to put the item away. Bella climbs off the bed, and stops when she finds herself standing in front of Zan, in all her beautiful nudity. Bridgette lets out a soft huff of amusement, forms a smirk, and teasingly says, "Look what she's doing, Zan."
Zan keeps his eyes on Bella's face, and gently comments, "Yes. Bella, you are very beautiful."
Bella forms a blush, her body language suggesting that she is completely comfortable with standing before him in complete nudity, and replies, "Thank you, Zan." She looks down at herself again.
Teresa snickers quietly. Mitsie resumes helping Natasha sort things out. Bridgette lays a land on Zan's back as she leans closer to him and teases, "I bet you would like her to stay like that, wouldn't you?"
Zan gives Bridgette a mildly amused look. "She can do what she wants, but I doubt that will be her decision," he responds in a mature tone. Bridgette just gives him a flirty little smile and another soft huff of amusement.
After a moment, Bella begins to put her clothes on, though it could be noted that there is a distinct lack of any underwear amidst her clothing. Teresa helps her, though it isn't necessary. As she does, she recalls something, forms a smile, and says, "That reminds me. I saw a notice that your second-year anniversary is tomorrow!"
The Alarm Icon briefly forms in Zan's cybernetic eye. He ends up watching them, as Bella draws up her skirt, and she responds, "Yeah. Two whole years here. I love the Amethytus Estate, but I'll never forget my own home realm. Zan, if something is wrong with my realm..."
Zan's Alarm Icon is gone the next instant, and he nods as he replies, "I understand."
Natasha, standing beside a tray table and checking a medicine sample, comments in a sad tone, "It is a shame that something like this should happen on such an important date for you."
Mitsie, however, suddenly grows excited. "Or maybe it's destiny! Bella Chimes' triumphant return to Eihemland to save it from evildoers!" she proclaims.
Bridgette narrows an eye. "Mitsie, Bella was part of a villain group back in her home realm," she responds.
Mitsie's ears sag, and she looks sad. But then they bolt upright again. "Bella Chimes' triumphant redemption!" she exclaims.
The girls and Zan chuckle. Bella puts her shirt on. Kira can just barely contain her angry irritation at the group's banter. But when the computer signals completion of analysis, Kira's attention focuses on it. She reads the data on the screen, and frowns. Zan looks at her. "Kira?" he quietly says.
Kira, keeping her eyes aimed at the screen, responds, "Brace yourself, Bella."
Bella whimpers slightly, and puts her cat-hat on. It wiggles slightly, and she pets it. Kira proceeds to speak, "Interdimensional Static is confirmed in Eihemland. What's more, this Static seems to be extremely active. It definitely looks like it's being used as a passage from a different realm into hers." She narrows her eyes. "I can't get a reading on the other side though... ...Something's interfering with it. Stupid piece of junk!"
Zan flinches at the sudden outburst, and replies, "It's not junk, Kira. If something's interfering with it, it may be that powerful man Bella saw in her vision, or some sort of jamming technology. It's not rare for technologically advanced factions to discover Interdimensional Static and try to cover up their exploitation of it."
Kira just reacts, "Hnn..." and continues to study the problem, muttering.
Bella, however, is becoming upset, and says, "Zan... My home realm... I don't hate Eihemland!" She comes up and grips his arms again, shaking him as she pleads, "Zan, we need to save Eihemland! If there is some evil faction more powerful than my mother in that realm because of that Static, we can't ignore it. Please, Zan, we need to fix that Static!" She stares intently at him with trembling eyes.
He forms a warm smile as his eyes stay fixed with hers, and he gently replies, "Of course, Bella." He rests his hands on her shoulders, and she feels slightly safer. "Nothing would stop us from deciding to do that," he adds. Bella gazes at Zan, sensing he's about to say something more. "And it pleases me to see you so diligently desiring to save a realm you once caused trouble for. For that reason, I am going to put you in charge of this mission," he finishes.
Kira narrows an eye. Bridgette smirks. Teresa grins. Natasha smiles warmly. Mitsie'minnie becomes excited. Bella stares wide-eyed at Zan. Then, a big, confident smile forms on her face. "Awesome!" she exclaims.
~Waypoint 06: Complexities of Gravity and Adequacy~
Bella finishes getting dressed, cinching up her tie. And as she does, she grows more eager and determined to show that she has become a hero. Excited by the prospect of going to her home realm, she begins to chatter, "Eihemland's a wonderful place. Have you seen the forest of Magorok? It sprawls for miles of lush greenery, and my little sisters practically idolize the place. The Rime Peaks, with their sky whales and beautiful giant snowflakes will leave you breathless. The city's what I love the most, though. The trains are amazing works of engineering on par with my own skills, and everyone loves using them. Oh, I can't stand the idea that something bad might be happening there!"
Natasha watches Bella chatter, forming warm smile, and comments, "Seeing such a change of heart in you is wonderful in its own right, Bella."
Bella nods slowly, slightly distracted by the less positive memories. "I definitely regret my past actions... But this might be a great way to make up for them!" she exclaims.
Teresa puts her arms akimbo, smirking, and looks at Bridgette. "She's so excited now. It's like, the total opposite of you, Bridgette," she remarks.
Bridgette imitates Teresa's posture. "You too, you know. You wouldn't want to go back to Medea for any reason," she responds.
"Yeah, well, at least I didn't wish that my home realm got sunk in a sinkhole," Teresa retorts with a confident little sneer.
Bridgette furrows her brow as she replies, "I didn't WISH for that, I just said I wouldn't care."
Teresa maintains her smug little expression as she turns her head away. "Pretty much the same thing," she quietly remarks.
Bella cuts in, "And you all are going to help me!"
Bridgette, Teresa and Kira flinch, and everyone goes quiet. Bella, now standing proud, announces, "As my first action as leader of the Eihemland Rescue Team, I will assign my party members!" She elegantly gestures toward Zan. "Zan, I'm obviously going to have you help. You're my right-hand man!"
Zan finds this quite amusing, so he reaches out with his right hand, gently takes Bella's right hand, and kisses the back of it, causing her to blush slightly and immediately bringing about amused reactions in everyone else. "I shall lend you a hand," he replies, after the kiss.
Bella is stunned with a blush for just a moment, then slowly resumes her montage, "...Teresa, you're coming too. I want you to get to see my home realm." She forms a little smile with a snagglefang.
Teresa keeps her arms akimbo, and replies, "Naturally," her head held rather high.
Bella, slightly less elegantly, continues, "Bridgette, Kira, I'll have you all come along too. You've been there before, Bridgette, so you already know what it's like. And I just need to fill out the party."
Bridgette folds her arms, with a mildly annoyed look. She passes this look at Zan, and he returns it with a soft, forgiving expression. Kira, however, pulls back in great irritation, and after a scoff, responds, "So, what, you're just going to arbitrarily choose people? You need to be more careful with your decisions! Zan, this reeks of disaster in the making."
Zan gently gives her a gesture to ease up, and replies, "Now Kira, let Bella do her thing as acting leader. Our job here will be to support her, ok? And this will be your first chance since going to Medea to go on a mission."
Kira places the side of a fist against her forehead, eyes closed tight, as she mutters, "I'd rather stay in the MedLab."
Natasha steps closer to Bella, head tilted slightly. "What about me?" she gently asks with sincere eyes.
Bella gives her a soft, somewhat apologetic look, and says, "I think five people should be enough, Natasha. Thank you for helping me here, though."
Kira facepalms with an exasperated grunt. Mitsie looks disappointed that she didn't get picked, and whimpers, "Aww..." her ears sagging again.
Teresa gives Bella a concerned look as she asks, "Is that why you're not going to take Scytillia, too?"
Bella slowly nods. "Yeah, we will be more than enough. She'll get a chance to see it another time, and if you've gone first, you can tell her things about my realm when we make another trip," she explains, and Teresa forms a smirk.
Natasha rests the side of her tilted head in a hand, as she replies, "Hmm, very well. But remember, I'm just as capable of supporting you on a mission as anyone. I used to be a Shining Force captain you know. No need to hold me back because I'm the Estate doctor."
Bella surprises Natasha with a hug, which causes her to smile warmly and accept it. "I know. Thanks again," Bella says as she hugs her. When finished, she turns to face the others, and announces in an overly authoritative tone, "Now, team, the next step is to collect some flight gear! Eihemland is a sprawling country, and we're definitely going to need the advantage of flight to make any progress. Let's go to the Starport!" She promptly heads to the exit without even waiting for them.
Kira refuses to get out of her computer chair as she grumbles, "We haven't even left the Estate yet and she's already getting on my nerves. Where did all that fretful worry go?"
Bridgette is rather wary of Bella now, and replies, "Apparently it transformed into gung-ho determination."
Teresa, however, is amused, her arms still akimbo. "That's Bella for you; quick to take the lead, and very enthusiastic when motivated. She's right, though. We'll be more than enough. I don't know why you're complaining, considering the five of us are unstoppable, right?" she says, clearly using a goading tone. This succeeds in catching Kira's attention. Teresa chirps, "Let's help Bella!" and follows after her eagerly. Zan follows as well. With reluctance, Bridgette and Kira also follow. Natasha sighs, but has a soft little smile. Mitsie'minnie watches them go.
The moment they exit the MedLab, Mitsie'minnie promptly makes a beeline for the refrigeration tray. She hops up onto its edge, and eyes one of Kira's milk bottles. She reaches out, and grabs it with her little paws. A loudly audible clearing of Kira's throat comes from behind, "AHEM."
"MEEEP!" Mitsie squeals. She slowly turns to look at Kira in terror.
Kira is standing there, glowering, arms folded. Evidently she anticipated this act of milk thievery. Natasha, watching, places a hand over her mouth as she softly mutters, "Oh dear..."
Mitsie, trembling as though she were staring at death itself in the face, stammers, "I... Kira... I... wanted..." If not for the fact that she's already covered in snow white fur, she would probably have gone completely pale.
Kira stares very intensely for a second, then lets up with a sigh. She turns to walk to the door again, while waving her hand dismissively, and says, "Go ahead..."
"Wha?" Mitsie reacts, no longer trembling, but now confounded.
Kira briefly stops walking away, looks over her shoulder, and says, "You do realize I like to share my milk, don't you? All you gotta do is just ask! I'm not that selfish!" She resumes leaving, passing through the dilation door.
Mitsie stares, then quietly responds, "O-oh... Thank you..."
Natasha smiles, and speaks in a motherly tone, "Let that be a lesson, Mitsie. It's better to ask for permission, than for forgiveness." Mitsie nods, and takes one of Kira's milk bottles.
Kira rejoins the group outside, and Zan gives her a gentle head rub for being generous. She wildly swats her hands at him and yells at him for treating her like a kid. This just amuses him, but he does cease the head rub. Bella's group leaves the porch of the Western Haven.
After several minutes of walking, the group arrives at the Amethytus Starport. Located midway between the Northern Haven and the Amethytus Guard Spire, this facility is used for parking and maintaining the Estate's Air and Spacecraft. But aside from any personal construction projects one of the Entourage women might be undertaking, the facility is not used for the actual construction of aircraft. That is mainly done in the Gofer Sisters' underground factory, which has the facilities for such a task. At the moment, there are only a handful of vehicles in the otherwise spacious hangar, those being a TIE Interceptor, a Covenant Banshee, and a number of Ride Vipers. Zan keeps his TIE Defender mounted to its pylon on one of the open air landing pads out front beside the control tower.
Zan stops when he sees the emptiness of the hangar sprawl out before him, and groans, "...All this space... I keep forgetting that we still have all this space... It AGONIZES ME." His voice echoes into the chamber as though it were a cavern.
The girls snicker. Bella pats his shoulder teasingly, and says, "Don't worry, Zan. We'll fill it up in time."
Zan mutters, pretending to be extremely disturbed, "Note to self, hunt down more aircraft schematics."
Teresa blinks, looks around, then looks at the others as she asks, "Wait, where is that Lambda Shuttle we used last week?"
Bella replies, "It's still being repaired in the Gofer's Factory. The ramp joints and security locks were so badly broken they had to be completely rebuilt, and having that Ghost blow up inside the shuttle wasn't good for the interior, either."
Bridgette tilts her head back, looking quite annoyed. "All because that green jerkass had to go and yank it open the way he did..." she mutters.
Kira is also looking around, having not been in the Starport recently. "Weren't the Gofer Sisters going to build more fighter craft?" she asks, looking just a little surprised herself.
Bridgette crosses her arms behind her head, looking around with apathy. "They were, but they needed more room in their factory first. Something about the construction of capital ships taking priority," she replies.
Kira flinches very hard, stares at Bridgette, and exclaims, "Hold on, they're going to build capital ships? Where the heck are they going to get the resources?!" She immediately gives Zan a very concerned look.
He, however, looks back with genuine perplexity. He replies, "We actually have a pile-up of resources. They have plenty to work with. When's the last time you checked our Resource Data?"
Kira didn't know this information was publicly available, but tries to hide this fact, harshly folds her arms, and looks away for a second as she snaps, "Hmph! Then I guess you wouldn't mind if I expanded the Astrometrics and Elemental Fusion Lab sections of the MedLab!" She looks quite ticked off.
Zan simply says, "Actually, no. If you want to do that, go right ahead." Kira flinches, and her angry face quickly eases up.
She is quite surprised by this, but it definitely improves her mood to learn she has permission to do it. As the group heads to a storage bay in the back of the hangar, voices catch their attention. "Zan! Bella!" Tanya calls out.
Bella's group looks as several of Bella's friends approach them. Her interest in aircraft, as well as her personality in general, has helped her become close to several of the cat-like members of the Entourage. There are exceptions, of course. Those that approach include Tanya, followed by Cheshire, the agile espionage expert Malin, Teresa's and Bella's closest friend and Varkolyn fanatic Scytillia, and Fiquella, who is wrapped in a towel at the moment. One that is just barely enough to conceal her upper and lower critical points, and the entirety of her backside is visible, due to the presence of a black, velvety panther's tail, which the towel rests atop the base of. Bella smiles as she sees them approach, and responds, "Guys! Hey!"
Teresa quickly notices Scytillia's hidden face, and forms a mild look of dread, her pigtails sagging just slightly. She mutters, "Oh... Oh no... Scytillia doesn't look pleased."
Bella notices now, too, and grimaces. "...You're right," she replies quietly.
Bridgette narrows an eye. "How can you tell under that mask?" she asks, unable to even SEE most of Scytillia's face.
Teresa gives Bridgette a skeptical look, and says, "Friends can tell that, Bridgette. Can't you tell when Zan isn't in a good mood just by looking at him?"
Bridgette emits a soft grunt, looks at Zan, and can see that he is in a pleasant mood at the moment. Though when he notices that she's looking at him, he puts on a faux-wary look, causing Bridgette to huff in amusement. "That's different," she comments.
Teresa rolls her eyes. Zan chuckles softly. Bella's friends meet up with her group at the entrance to the storage bay. Fiquella pokes Bella's shoulder as she exclaims, "Going off on a mission, I hear!"
Scytillia folds her arms firmly, and adds, "And without me," in a grim tone.
Bella and Teresa urgently approach Scytillia, and Bella rests a hand on the side of her arm as she quickly responds, "It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, Scytillia. It wasn't anything personal. I just don't think we need more than five people."
"We'll take you next time! Really!" Teresa adds, trying to soften Scytillia's subtle contempt.
Scytillia is silent for a moment, and adjusts her mask slightly. "Yeah, fine," she mutters.
The two look a little concerned, but their attention becomes redirected, when Malin inquires, "When's the last time you went to Eihemland, Bella? It's been forever, hasn't it?"
Bella nods, feeling rather enthusiastic. "It has! I love Staveltess, but Eihemland is special too. I shouldn't have waited this long, but I kinda forgot before now," she responds.
Cheshire approaches Zan and stands in front of him. They make eye-contact, and say nothing at the moment.
Fiquella pokes Bella again, causing her to flinch, and in a sincere tone of relief, says, "I'm glad that incident in the Onsen didn't actually injure you, Bella." A dark look forms as her personality shifts, and she speaks in an unnerving tone, "I don't know what I'd do if my chewtoy was broken." The poking finger's claw peeks out just a bit.
Terror quickly envelops Bella for a moment, and she pales just slightly, as she reacts, "Ah-hah... Yeah, I... I survived, so..." She snaps back to normal, read: proud, and continues, "Oh, and Zan put me in charge of the Eihemland Rescue Team! I'm going to lead us to a resounding victory in this mission to save my home realm from evil invaders!"
The women snicker a little, flustering Bella. Cheshire, meanwhile, subtly rests a hand on Zan's arm. She whispers to him, "Please be careful. I sense danger in this mission."
Zan rests a hand on Cheshire's arm as well, the Appreciation Icon in his cybernetic eye, and he quietly replies, "No mission is without danger, but thank you for the warning, Cheshire." She slowly nods without a sound. Teresa and Kira overhear this, and give each other unnerved looks. Fiquella's cat ear twitches, and she frowns.
Bella, however, gives her friends a valiant look, then proceeds to go into the storage bay, which is an open-topped enclosure utilizing a ten-foot-tall chain-link fence made of sky-blue metals. The fencing allows for racks and shelves to be hung off of the network, from which also hang myriad tools, aircraft parts, the occasional decoration, and a napping bunk for the regulars to rest at. It is located at the rear of the hangar, beside a small office room, and even has a vault for the storage of any valuable aircraft-related items. The others wait for her outside the enclosure's entrance gate.
After a moment, Tanya's demeanor changes, and she says, "Oh, by the way, I heard that Misty and the Gofer Sisters got into a bit of a scuffle over their use of the main water lines for their robotic moray eel. You heard the thing got stuck in the pipes, didn't you?"
Zan stares, then sighs with exasperation, and comments, "That situation is just getting worse all the time. The combination of boredom and Gofer Sisters truly has a volatile result. They picked a cool creature to base their robot off of though. Did they manage to get it unstuck?"
Tanya shakes her head softly. "Not so far. Worse still, with it stuck in the main line, the water's backing up and the river and Onsen pools are draining," she adds.
Zan blinks, thoughtfully places a hand over his mouth, then remarks, "...Now might be a good time to clean them then. That hasn't been done for over a month."
Tanya's eyes widen, and she becomes enthusiastic. "Oh! That's a good idea! I'll let everyone know!" she declares.
Fiquella's ears and tail sag, she grimaces, and mutters, "Ohh... Count me out." Tanya gives her a disdainful look.
Kira has become very wary, and comments, "Now I'm GLAD I'm going on a mission to another realm." Tanya gives her the exact same look.
Within the storage bay, Bella goes to a large rack mounted to the back wall, rather than the surrounding fencing. On display on the various holsters of the rack, are a series of different personal-flight items. Bella takes down two surfboard items, identified as GravBoards, which sport built-in Anti-Gravity Modules, allowing them to fly at nearly any elevation within atmospheric conditions; and a backpack-shaped device, identified as a GravPack, with the same function, but of a different format. She hauls them to the rest of the group, and upon reaching them, announces, "Here you are! GravBoards for Zan and Bridgette, and a GravPack for Kira!"
Kira looks it over somewhat apathetically, and mumbles, "Hm, good choice, I guess."
Zan, however, becomes enthusiastic, with the Excitement Icon in his cybernetic eye. "Man, I haven't used one of these in forever!" he exclaims, as he checks it over.
Bridgette gives her GravBoard an extremely unsettled look, and she adds, "Me too, because I suck at using them. I've never been good at riding these things."
Kira takes off her red Japanese schoolgirl backpack she normally wears everywhere, and puts the GravPack on. "Well you better learn quickly then, cause with Bella in charge, we'll be flying around a lot," she remarks as she does. She puts the items of her normal backpack into the GravPack.
Bridgette, annoyed, just carries her board for the moment. Zan activates his and hops onto it right away. He floats there with an impressive stance. Teresa smiles, and brings out her own GravBoard. She hops on it, and flies circles around Zan. He chuckles. Tanya giggles. Fiquella watches for a moment, smirking, and comments, "The Tarbaby is as much a fan of Zan as ever."
Malin forms a cute smile. "Aren't we all fangirls of Zan?" she asks, watching Zan more than Teresa.
Fiquella points at Scytillia. "She isn't," she states bluntly.
Scytillia adjusts her mask again in a manner suggesting discomfort, and responds, "I keep telling you, he's just my boss, and a friend."
Bella forms a sour look and cuts in, again, "Okay! We're ready! I think. Bridgette, Kira, can I count on you to help me with this? We need to save Eihemland from whoever's burning it up!" She gives them a genuinely pensive look.
Bridgette nods, with a calm, but serious expression. "I will help, Bella," she replies. Bella smiles.
Kira rolls her eyes, responds, "Yeah, yeah," then takes on an arrogant air as she gloats, "With me coming along, any fire we face will be doused in an instant." Bella smiles still.
"Thank you," she says softly. Then, to the others, she announces, "We're going now! Thanks for seeing me off."
Tanya, Fiquella and Malin acknowledge enthusiastically, while Cheshire keeps a grim silence and watches Zan. Scytillia folds her arms again, then points at Bella and Teresa. "Just remember, Teresa, Bella. Next time you go to either of your home realms again, I expect you to take me with you. We're a power trio, remember?" she says earnestly.
Teresa smiles softly, nods, and replies, "Of course, Scytillia. I promise!"
Bella also nods, and apologetically says, "I promise, too, Scytillia. This was just such short notice and all."
Scytillia brings her hand back into her folded arms, but nods softly.
Bella looks around at everyone, then heroically shouts, "Let's go!" She brings out her staff-sized wrench, sits on it, and flies to the exit of the hangar. Zan and Teresa follow on their GravBoards. Bridgette flinches at being left behind, yelps, "Hey! Wait up!" and runs after them. Kira activates her GravPack, and flies after them as well.
Cheshire whispers in an ominous tone, "Zan..." Tanya, Malin, Fiquella and Scytillia give her a worried look.
Zan, Teresa, Bella and Kira fly out of the hangar bay. Bridgette runs out, and growls. She activates her GravBoard, hops on, and flies up and out to catch up to them. Immediately though, she starts moving erratically, and with quiet yelps, she struggles to maintain her balance on the thing. Zan looks back, points, and he and the others turn around to move and get beside Bridgette. Bella, quite surprised at her terrible flight movements, remarks, "You're gonna have to do better than THAT, Bridgette! At some points, I expect us to be flying a hundred feet or more in the air!"
Bridgette, frustrated already, shouts, "Shut up! I'll get it!"
"Bridgette..." Zan says gently.
"I'll get it..." Bridgette repeats, wobbling and staggering on the GravBoard.
They resume their flight, getting higher in the air, and heading south. They pass over the Northern Haven's rooftop deck, where a miniature crystal gate is located. This gate serves as a shortcut quick access point for the Amethytus Guard to jump from their Spire in the north, to the Amethytus Estate proper quickly, in case of emergency. It can be used in reverse too.
Bridgette staggers suddenly as they fly along, and with a shriek, she tumbles, her board darting out and upward from under her. Bella's group yelps, as Bridgette falls into the grand central tree. With a leafy crash, her shriek stops, and Teresa, Bella and Zan give each other shocked looks. Kira struggles not to laugh. Squawking is heard from within the tree. Bridgette's GravBoard floats in midair, doing nothing until Zan retrieves it. He prepares to head down to the tree, when Celest'va flies up out of it, with Bridgette hanging on to the Star Wyvern's snake body. She screams, "UN-FREAKIN'-BELIEVABLE!" and is quite red in the face.
Zan, seeing Celest'va provide a crash-recovery service, sighs in relief, and sets the board in the air for Bridgette. He gently takes her hand and helps her onto it, as he tenderly says, "Please calm down, Bridgette... It was just a minor spill."
Bridgette points angrily at Teresa, causing her to flinch, as she snaps, "Even the klutzy Tarbaby can handle one of these boards easily! Why can't I?!"
Zan holds her hand as he replies, "You're just out of practice, Bridgette..."
Bridgette shakes her head angrily, and shouts, "No! It's not that! I've NEVER been able to use these stupid GravBoards!" She stomps the thing, and it wobbles erratically, causing her to stagger.
Kira smirks as she remarks, "Maybe your sense of balance sucks? I've heard you were quite the klutz too."
Bridgette's eye twitches, and she snarls, "Ergh! I'm better than that now! I'll get this... I'll get this!" She wobbles on the board, trying hard to keep her balance.
Zan gifts her a compassionate look with the same Icon in his cybernetic eye. "I will help, ok?" he says softly.
Bridgette gives him a soft, upset look, and grumbles, "Ok..."
Teresa, standing perfectly still and balanced on the airborne surf board, adds, "And I've had plenty of practice riding brooms. I might, on rare occasions, trip or something," Her use of the word "rare" makes Kira snerk in derision, causing Teresa to pass an annoyed glance at her as she speaks, "but riding flying tools becomes second-nature after a while."
Bridgette just rolls her head and mutters, "Yeah, yeah..." She continues to wobble.
Zan gently speaks, "Calm down, Bridgette, calm down... You will certainly not be able to handle it if you're frustrated." She scowls. He faces Celest'va, and adds, "Thank you, Celest'va." He gently pets her bald vulture head.
Celest'va squawks happily and nods. She watches as Bella's group resumes heading south. Now, however, Zan is holding Bridgette's hand to help her maintain her balance on the board, and even then she swerves occasionally.
They pass over the Southern Haven, the rooftop deck of which has been completely covered over by a large nest of crystals, leaves and other assorted objects. The girls take a quick look at it as they pass by. Bella crimps the corner of her mouth, and comments, "I guess the rumors that Diasidia has eggs in that nest are bunk."
Kira replies, "They might be covered over to maintain warmth, you know," and also peers as hard as she can at the nest, while still moving forward with the group.
Bella blinks, then acknowledges this with a gesture of her head. "Oh yeah. I'd check, but she gets mad when we try to," she says, just watching as they pass the nest by at a safe distance from it.
They do not stop their southward flight, and head onward, passing over the garage. They notice Thysty, Lily Flyer and Jazzie Barbara there, and Thysty waves at them. They return the wave, and maintain their flight south to the Amethyst Gateway.
Within a few minutes, they reach the ziggurat-shaped structure, and just fly straight in to the pavilion atop it, at the back of which is the fan-shaped cluster of crystals that are the Amethyst Gate. Bella's group lands, and Bridgette nearly falls to her face when she hops off her board. Thanks to Zan's hold on her hand, she ends up swinging around and into his chest instead. She clings to him for a moment, then looks up at him, and he gazes back, the Love Icon in his cybernetic eye. She forms a mild blush, and whispers, "Thanks, Zan..." He, smiling lovingly, replies, "Anytime."
Standing between the group and the gate, is the great Nargacuga, Melaya, one of the four Gate Guardians. She is laying down at the moment, but tilts her head in curiosity when she sees them come in for a landing, and begin their approach to the gate. She sits upright, and comments curiously, "So what's this, now?"
Zan replies in all seriousness, "A situation has developed in Bella's home realm of Eihemland. She has taken on a leadership position in a mission to that realm to clear up some Interdimensional Static and a possible enemy invasion." Melaya arches an eye ridge.
"And I anticipate a perfect success," Bella adds in a grandiose tone of pride.
Melaya narrows her eyes, which proves a frightening sight on her beaked, cat-like face. She growls, "You haven't even gone to the realm to assess the situation, and yet you already anticipate 'perfect success'?" She leans in close, causing Bella, who is tiny in comparison to the massive panther dragon, to become incredibly nervous. "You should work on your humility just a little more before you take on leadership positions," she warns.
Bella, quite intimidated, stammers defiantly, "B-but, Zan said I could! A-and besides... H-how could I ever get any experience as a l-leader if I never take on the role?" She closes her eyes to resolve herself, opens them again and announces in all confidence, right to Melaya's face, "I anticipate a perfect success because I am completely confident in both myself, AND my team mates. Zan's coming! Teresa's coming! And we already know how skilled Bridgette and Kira are!" Bridgette and Kira become pleased to hear this, and their opinion of Bella's decision improves slightly. Bella continues, "And I have to go! My home realm is burning, and I have to save it! I have to!"
Melaya stares into Bella's eyes for a moment. She emits a soft, steady growl from deep within her throat for several seconds, then quietly replies, "...Hmm... Well, if Zan was the one who assigned the position... And you have clearly steeled yourself for this, so..."
She moves off to the side, out of the way of the group, then gives Bella a stern stare and continues to emit that soft growl as she adds, "Just remember, Bella, as the leader of this group, you are responsible for anything that happens. Bring them back safely, or else."
Bella, nervous again, acknowledges, "I will succeed. I promise."
Zan gently nods. "Thank you, Melaya," he says, getting a nod from her.
Bella's group approaches the gate. They face each other, and Bella, after a brief moment and a soft clearing of her throat, mumbles, "...I do have to admit one thing though. ...I forgot where the Amethyst Gate leads to, in Eihemland."
Kira and Bridgette immediately facepalm with groans. Teresa sighs, rolling her eyes. Zan takes this in stride, as he calmly states, "It is set in Rime Peaks. If the realm has been invaded, that should be a good point of entry, since the area is largely uninhabited."
Bella nods, trying to maintain her confidence, and replies, "Ok, good! Brace yourselves then. The first thing you will see is arctic beauty."
Looking a little wary, Teresa comments, "And arctic cold, I imagine..."
Bella nods, noting what needs to be said. "Does everyone have their Contour Barriers?" she inquires.
The group checks and confirms that they've brought their Contour Barriers, and activate them, creating the powerful energy shields that fit snug against the contours of their bodies, and become invisible a moment after activation. Zan then speaks in a valiant tone, "Proceed, Bella. Lead us to victory."
"Yes!" she shouts, and turns to go up to the Amethyst Gate, where she lays a hand on it. The gate activates, a portal forming within the fan-shaped cluster, and she exclaims, "Let's go!"
Zan, Bridgette, Teresa, Kira, and finally Bella, leap into the portal, and it closes behind them. Melaya watches them go, and sighs softly.
~Waypoint 07: Reverberation~
The Interspacial Causeway can best be described as a tunnel through the fabrics that separate one universe from another within the vast multiverse. These fabrics are impenetrable to all but one particular type of technology. Since they have their own unique frequency, and if that frequency can be identified, it can be neutralized in order to pass through. The multiverse was once a solid structure, each realm completely separated from each other, like a multitude of individual rooms inside a giant structure. But as is expected from time, the foundations, walls, ceilings, anything that can be described as barriers that separate the various realms, began to erode. Then the Andromedan Menace appeared; the ultimate enemy of the Amethytus Estate, and really, anyone who values the integrity of the multiverse. The multiverse is now cracked severely, realms bleeding into each other through the holes known as Interdimensional Static. Creatures and people from one realm have accessed other realms, with results for better or worse. The Amethytus Estate is one such example of a better result, and it is not the only conglomeration of denizens from different realms joining forces for the greater good.
From the perspective of those using the Interspacial Causeway, it appears as extremely fast, winding, almost warp-speed flight, within a deep blue tube-shaped tunnel with translucent walls. Beyond these walls, hues of purples, blacks and blues, and beyond them stars of all different colors, inch along, creating a strange contrast of speeds. While nothing is technically supposed to naturally exist in the empty void that is the gap between realms, it has long since become filled with objects, and even the occasional creature, most of which have slipped into the gap through the cracks of the multiverse, and found itself able to thrive. As Bella's group flies, they observe the beautiful sights of the void beyond: A comet speeding across the void, extraordinarily-shaped nebulae, a cluster of sky blue asteroids. They also observe objects that are not quite as beautiful. One such object is a wreckage of a huge space ship, likely destroyed during improper slippage into the gap between realms. And mixed with everything else they see, there are small pieces of random debris floating at various distances. Bella spots one particular object, and becomes appalled. "A tire? You gotta be kidding me! Zan, we need to do something about this mess too!" she exclaims.
Zan, staring at the tire as they pass it by, mutters, "I concur..." The others scoff in displeasure as well.
Their high-speed flight through the causeway continues, and they take note of other large pieces of debris, along with that same comet moving along at the same speed as them. In time, they pass close by a big, green planet, though it is not spherical, but is quite oblong and horizontally-superior. Bridgette blinks, smiles, and comments, "Hey, look! It's planet Boggob!"
Teresa stares at the peculiar planet, and develops a repulsed expression. "...That big, ugly thing is a planet? It looks more like a big, squashed rock with moss growing on it," she remarks.
Zan, however, also looks pleased to see it, though there is also just a hint of curiosity on his face. He replies, "It's a tropical, jungle planet. Interesting that we should get to see it like this."
Not long after moving beyond, Zan flinches. Swimming within the void, is a Marble Worm, a large xenomorphic creature that resembles a row of creamy-white spheres of marble. He smiles, and the Delight Icon forms in his cybernetic eye. "Oh! Now I am not surprised to see one of those things in the Subdimension Zone," he comments, and watches the creature sway about in the void beyond.
Teresa stares at it in amazement, and asks, "What IS that thing, master?" Zan just smiles at Teresa, watching her with pleasure as she watches the entity.
They continue on, shortly losing sight of the creature, though Kira spots another; a bizarre creature that can only be described as a curtain of tentacles, appendages and a snake-headed tail. It actually "watches" them pass by it in the causeway. Her eyes go wide, the scientist within her squeeing with fascination, and she mumbles, "Whoa..." She stares at it, and quietly adds, "What a specimen."
Teresa's mouth falls open in horror, her pigtails sagging in disturbance, and she shudders. "That... That thing was freaky..." she mutters under her breath.
Zan scoffs, catching them by surprise. He says, "I am hardly surprised to know the Unknowns of Gaia-7 got in here... This is the kind of place they belong, really."
Teresa stares at him, noting his amused expression, and also Kira's fascination, and closes her eyes. "I don't wanna know," she says bluntly.
They speed along, approaching their destination. However, as they travel, Zan's Alarm Icon suddenly forms in his cybernetic eye. He narrows his eyes, detecting a disturbance in the causeway. "...Something's happening..." he mutters, causing the girls to look at him. He looks around, noticing very minute arcs of energy forming on the walls of the Causeway, and growls, "...There's a disruption in the causeway..."
Teresa blinks. "Wh-what?" she responds, and starts looking around, trying to find what has caused Zan to say such a thing.
Kira also says, "What?" and looks around, not entirely familiar enough with causeway travel to know what to look for.
Bella sees the disturbance energies, but replies dismissively, "Well my home realm is dimensionally breached. It's probably just a side-effect-" A loud roar suddenly fills the causeway, and everyone's eyes go wide. A huge, rolling wave of energy blasts past the group, causing a rippling effect in the causeway walls. Everyone, originally in flight stances during the traveling, starts spinning uncontrollably from the impact. "WHAAA!" Bella screams in fright.
The Alarm Icon brightens in Zan's cybernetic eye, and he yells, "A REVERB WAVE!"
Teresa, spinning rapidly as she flies through the tunnel, screams distressfully, "MASTER! I CAN'T STOP SPINNING!"
Kira, spinning wildly, shouts in confusion, "WHAT THE HECK?!"
Bridgette, quickly becoming dizzy from the spinning, cries out, "AUGH!" and struggles to stop spinning.
The roar fades, then intensifies again, and another reverb wave blasts past the group, increasing their uncontrolled spinning. The girls start to scream steadily. And cracks begin to form in the walls of the causeway. "MASTER! HELP!" Teresa screams, trying to grab hold of Zan as everyone spins.
Kira, utterly confused, shrieks, "WHAT IS GOING ON?!" and tries to look around as she spins endlessly.
Zan shouts, "HOLY CRAP!" and is unable to stabilize himself.
Bella shakes her head, screams, "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!" and tries to stop spinning.
Bridgette shrieks, "ZAAAN!" as she flails, trying to grab him as Teresa is.
The roaring fades, then intensifies, and a third reverb wave blasts through. The walls of the causeway shatter like glass. They immediately reform, into a cluster of smaller tunnels, and each member of Bella's party gets sucked into an individual tunnel. The views beyond the walls are no longer visible, the walls of the causeway solid and a malevolent shade of reddish-black. Teresa reaches for Zan, and squeals horribly, "MAAASTEERR!" as she disappears into a tunnel.
The Terror Icon takes over Zan's cybernetic eye, and he reaches for her, shouting, "TERESA!" as he does. Then he sees Kira fall into another tunnel, and similarly shouts, "KIRA!"
Bridgette wails, "ZAAAAaaa-" and disappears into a tunnel.
Bella screams, "NOOO!" and disappears into a tunnel.
"AUGH!" Zan exclaims as he gets sucked into his own tunnel. He continues to spin rapidly, and whispers, "I... girls..." He brings a hand to his large cybernetic ear, starts transmitting, and shouts, "Bridgette! Bella! ... Kira! Teresa! Someone answer!" but gets nothing but silence. Then he notices something happening to the walls of the tunnel, and stares in shock and fear. "...What is this?!"
Zan notices that tiny little tunnels have formed all along the walls of the tunnel he has been pulled into. He yelps when his GravBoard suddenly yanks from his arms and flies off into one of the microtunnels. Then his left foot Plasma Cell rips free. He cries out at the sight, as his right hand, right foot and left hand Plasma Cells also rip free and all dart off into the microtunnels. His Contour Barrier crashes, and pops free from his suit, causing the Terror Icon to intensify in his cybernetic eye. It flies off into a microtunnel. His neotech tie comes undone and flies off into a microtunnel as well. He stares in utter horror and disbelief. "...My gear..." he whimpers.
Another reverb wave blasts through the tunnel Zan is in. Without his Contour Barrier to absorb the shock, he is immediately rendered very dizzy, his vision blurring terribly, even in his cybernetic eye, and sparks arc all over his cybernetic components. He groans, "...Crap..." continuing to spin and fly through the tunnel at top speed.
Ahead, Zan sees the light rushing toward him that is the end of the Interspacial Causeway fragment he has been pulled into. He can't do or say anything as he plummets helplessly toward it.