Avalanche – Snippet 07
Through his new senses granted from telempathy, however, he could feel what it was like for Vickie. As a geomancer, energy came to her through the earth, usually, and that was how her senses interpreted this. As a great upwelling of renewal and refreshment; from behind her shields a single image of friendly lava escaped. Her eyes widened, and her skin, which had been pale with fatigue, took on color again. He was reminded of how pale little Thea became pink when she stole energy from her “victims”–willing or unwilling. Vickie stood straighter, and let go of the wall, as her mouth formed a silent “oh” of surprise.
It was Sera who somehow understood when to cut it off, and actually eased off, rather than cutting off. She had the skill and appreciation for the power that they shared; while it was all raw and untempered for John, Sera was able to turn it with gentleness and control. Vickie stood there, blinking, for a few moments, licking her lips.
“Why do I taste scotch and cinnamon all of a sudden?” Vickie asked, her voice sounding much better, all of the dullness of her exhaustion gone from it.
John kept hold of Sera’s hand. He didn’t need it for their connection, but he still liked being in contact with her. “Just a taste of heaven, comrade. Still up for coffee?”
Of course Vickie couldn’t just rest. That would be too easy, and folks like them never had things that easy. It’d sure as hell be a nice change, though, John thought. He felt Sera’s agreement through their connection, and sent some other thoughts about what would be nice for the two of them. She blushed a little and wrinkled her nose at him. Odd, now that they were…whatever it was that they were…she was much more human in her expressions than she ever had been before. He wondered how much of that was due to her time being corporeal, and how much it was due to them being reunited.
And how much she’s learnin’ from me, maybe.
Vickie had the TV tuned into some Overwatch feeds, four of them, split-screen, and kept an eye on them while sipping on coffee with a liberal dash of a cheap single-malt in it. “I just keep this around for doctoring coffee,” she explained, as she offered some to John, and he gave her a sideways look at the brand. “No point in wasting the good stuff when I’m already covering the flavor with coffee, cream and sugar.”
“Fair enough. Can’t say I’m a stranger to the practice myself.” He proffered his cup; Vickie splashed in a good sized dose before recapping the scotch.
They all sat down; John and Sera on the couch, and Vickie in her favorite recliner. She sipped her coffee, kept one eye on the television and the other squarely on John. “So. Suddenly you can go all remote-viewing on me. You–” she pointed at Sera “–I kind of guessed you could do that, from the way you popped up when you were needed, before. But this is a whole new thing for tall, dark, and inflammable, here. So…anything you want to tell me?”
“Your honor, I plead the fifth,” John said, holding his hands up in mock surrender, mug still in one. “To be quite honest, it wasn’t all me. It was both of us, together. We’ve got a bit of juju when it comes to fighting. Seein’ things that can happen, that might happen, that will happen in a fight. With my reflexes, Sera’s experience…we just make sure we’re where we need to be, when we need to be there, and do what we need to do to have the fight go the way we want it to.” He took a long draught from his spiked coffee, wincing slightly from the fumes. I think the scotch she put in here is part diesel. “What we did when Metis got hit? It was…I don’t know, extendin’ that same sort of feelin’, that same sort of sense outwards. It isn’t easy; took damn near everything we had, keepin’ things stretched out like that.”
“We were trying to sort the futures, looking for troubles,” Sera said, as he paused, somewhat at a loss for words. “I think that the only reason we were able to reach as far as Metis was because of your Overwatch…the connection with you, with John, with Bella and Bulwark, Natalia, and Ramona, and–” She hesitated.
“With Moji,” Vickie supplied, her voice flat as she fought to contain her emotions. “The people wired with Overwatch 2.”
“Part of it’s magical, right? Maybe we tapped into it a bit. I mean, we’re all pretty damned close besides, and a lot of what we were doin’ seemed more ’bout feelin’ than it did knowin’, if that makes any sense?”
Vickie shrugged. “Your guess is probably better than mine. If it was strictly magical I could run the analysis on it….”
“Might make good fodder for a witch research paper. ‘Effects of the Celestial in relation to Thaumaturgical Whatsits’. If we live through this damned war an’ there’s anyone left alive to read it.”
“I wouldn’t live through trying to look at it, never mind the war. Your Celestial stuff does not like anyone trying to analyze it.” She ran her free hand through her hair.
“No,” said Sera. “It does not. It has nothing to do with you, Vickie. It just does not approve of mere mortals–so to speak–attempting to understand and use it. I think you surprised it a little, the first times. I cannot think of anyone who has come so close to being able to analyze it before. In truth, it was lucky for all of us that John and I were able to moderate; the reaction could have been much more…energetic.”
Vickie gulped. “Do I want to know what that means?”
“Well…you could have been reduced to a pile of ashes. Or struck by lightning.” Sera cocked her head to one side. “I doubt it would have been so simple as a plague of boils.”
Vickie noticeably shuddered. Sera chuckled. “I am pulling your appendage, Vickie,” she said, her eyes smiling.
John raised an eyebrow. “Leg, darlin’. Appendage can mean a whole lotta things.”
Vickie looked from Sera, to John, and back again. “You ain’t right, angel.” She shook her head as John laughed at her. She’s stealin’ all my best lines. “Look, I know it’s tedious asking these questions, but I’m trying to get a feel for what you do now. So what was it like when you two knew Metis was getting hit? Was it a real vision, or what?”
John was the first to speak. “It was real. A ‘moments before’ kind of thing; like, you see an airshow disaster. You watch the plane plummetin’ to the ground, you can visualize what’ll happen…and then it does. This was more; it was like gettin’ hit by a truck. No warnin’, no preparation, no control. You saw what it did to us; we were laid out, completely. If it weren’t for Overwatch, we wouldn’t have had any other way to know it was happenin’, right?”
Vickie shook her head. “I have no idea. Maybe? Maybe not? I don’t ‘do’ visions or precognitive stuff. The most I can do is look into the past or the present, and it takes me a lot of prepwork to do that much. Earth isn’t an element that lends itself to scrying or remote viewing, that’s more an air, water, or fire thing. So, what happened when you staggered into my Overwatch room?”
“Nothing at first,” Sera replied. “We were still…involved in the confused sensations of the attack itself. And then, we had stretched our battle sense to cover all of Atlanta, because we needed to protect you, and we knew that you were vulnerable and vital. We found no danger to you, to Atlanta, in the moment, or as far as we could stretch ourselves into the future. Then, something shone brightly to us, here, in this apartment, and we sought it out, knowing it was important.”
“It was like a searchlight, comin’ right out of your monitor. The one that was focusin’ on Moji.” All three of them were quiet for a few moments; the wound was still fresh. Even in a war such as this, where so many had died, and often many of them at the same time, the new losses didn’t hurt any less, at least for them.
“I…think when we knew how important that was, we must have unconsciously followed John’s Overwatch connection to him.” Sera bit her lip. “I cannot explain it, otherwise, and John’s connection to Moji was more powerful than mine. I linked through him, rather than on my own.”