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A little jaunt


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From the gentle rise of the hill, with Freedom City visible in the distance, the little patch of forest is quiet and peaceful. A well-marked hiking trail makes it easy for hiker to enjoy their walk and escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city. It is everything a person looking to relax in a peaceful forest could want within easy access to the city.

Unfortunately that tranquillity was short-lived. From above, there is a faint whine that suddenly grows louder and louder but there is almost nothing to see. Suddenly, with a loud crash, trees are smashed aside as something large and unseen slams through them eventually coming to a stop. There is a flicker and a small previously cloaked ship becomes visible.

It isn’t large, somewhere between fifty and seventy-five feet long. Its dark coating is marred and potted from damage. As the trees left little more than scratches, they are likely residuals of some battle. The tail section, the engine specifically, looks badly damaged and is smoking slightly.

After several long moment of silence, there’s a hiss and a hatch cycles open. Amidst a cloud of fumes, a strange form stumbles out, and after staggering several steps away, collapses to the ground. The little suited alien is close to five feet tall, with hour arms. Its features are unseen as some form of badly burned and damaged space suit covers them. Slowly, the sounds of the forest return.

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Moira's decision to go hiking was a bit of a random thought. She just felt the need to grab a walking stick and see some of the wild outdoors. She had everything she needed: clothes, food, and a bunch of little things that the lady at the store sold her. She didn't know why she needed a few of them, but she had to be ready for the just-in-case-ofs.

A few hours into her trip, she encountered one of the things not covered in her just-in-case-ofs. The ship crashing was like a small dream. Everything slowed down and turned black and white for a few seconds as it slammed into the earth.

When she heard the thing start opening her curiousity was piqued. She readied herself for defense, but not in a threatening manner. When she saw the little man she was shocked and rushed to his his side, "Are you OK? Are you alive? Do you speak English? Say something, anything!"

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Moira gently rolls the little four-armed alien over. The suit is badly burned and no longer sealed from the various rents in it. As she lays the little 'guy' down again, the visor of his helmet slides up revealing a leathery three-eyed face reminiscent of a lizard would be your closest match. Bluish-grey blood leaks from the bottom of it's vertical mouth. It's eyes blink open slowly, taking a long moment to focus. They settle on her face slowly, the light slowly beginning to fade from it's eyes.

She hears a pained voice quite clearly. It isn't coming from the dying creature's mouth but she hears it in her mind. "...time. No time. You must carry it. Precious, must not be lost. Take it home..." One of the little alien's hands reaches up gently touches her face. She feels a sudden pressure on her mind before the hand drops away, falling to the ground.

Moira feels a sudden pressure on her mind building and then it is as if a damn bursts and she is flooded with images. They blur through her mind too fast to comprehend or even understand. The massive flow of information continues on and on, Moira's mind helpless to stop the flow. After an eternity that lasted only a few moments, the knowledge flow abruptly ceases. In the back of her mind, there is a large 'knot' of memories and knowledge that was not there a moment ago. While it is in her thoughts rather prominently at the moment, she can't understand it or even access it really.

In her mind, the voice speaks again, ever so faintly. Please, take it home... And then the voice is silent. Moira, her mind recovering from the rush, sees that the little alien is no longer breathing.

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Moira looked around. She knew that she woke up this morning, but this had to be the weirdest dream ever.

Looking to the ship, she wondered where the alien's home was. She would of asked it a lot more if it were alive. Maybe the ship has one of those life sustaining/rejuvenating containers that seems to be in every sci-fi flick. Picking up the body of the alien in a cradle position, she walked towards the ship.

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Moira carried the limp form into the ship. Vision was difficult with the smoke and fumes. If she had required oxygen to breath, she might have had some trouble. As it was, just the obscuring affects of the smoke bothered her. Of course, it didn’t help that the interior of the ship was built for someone smaller than a regular human. With a ceiling that topped out at six feet, it seemed a little cramped.

She could hear occasional sparking sounds as well as a faint bleating sound that occurred at regular intervals, every few seconds. Dull lights flashed red in time with the annoying sound. Entering through the hatch, the small hallway left her a few options. Despite the difficulties affecting her senses, she found a small room with a few ‘beds’ in a small room just down the hall from the hatchway.

After laying the alien down, she became aware of a slight vibration through the floor of the ship. It was barely noticeable at the moment but it seemed to be slowly growing worse.

Dark Star flew through the area, questing for the strange ripple his senses had picked up a short while ago. He was going slow so as not to miss anything. Whatever it was had been going rather fast but had been invisible to normal senses. Of course, as he got closer, the small plume of smoke was enough of a give away that his enhanced senses weren’t needed.

He floated to the ground and surveyed the craft, letting letting his senses reachout to see the interior. It was a little hard but he noticed a few things. He was no mechanic, and certainly not with alien technologies, but the inside looked like a mess. There was a woman inside as well though she didn’t seemed bothered by the toxic fumes. Even as he watched, Dark Star could tell the ship’s emissions were changing, becoming stronger.

He moved slowly forward towards the hatch, not knowing what to expect. He yelled, not concerned with being silent, “Hello, inside! I’m not certain but perhaps you should exit post-haste. I’m getting some increasing readings from in there.â€Â

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The voice from outside sounded like it knew what it was talking about. Cradling the body of the alien up again, she made a quick exit out of the shaky ship.

When she finally got out of the claustrophobic nightmare, she saw that the voice had a face, well sort of. She looked to the tall dark figure with confusement, "I think this alien wants me to take it or something of it's home."

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Dark Star looked as she exited the ship. There was certainly something…inspirational about her. She was beyond the pale as the old saying went. Combined with her apparent immunity to the smoking interior of the ship, it solidified the idea that she was a super of some kind in his mind. He backed away from the ship with her to a safer distance.

His attention was drawn to body she held. He paused. “That’s a V’rthe I think. He was rather far from home,†he trailed off lost in thought for a moment. Bringing his mind back to the present he elaborated. “A peaceful group of aliens. Minor psionics or something. Advanced technology but pretty small cluster of worlds. Close to two thousand light years from here, in the Perseus arm. A little spinward of the Crab nebula if memory serves.â€Â

He looked up at her once more. “I’m afraid ‘he’ is dead and beyond anything I can do. Perhaps if I’d gotten here sooner.†He shook his head and paused for a moment. “I’m called Dark Star. Can you tell me what happened? You said he wanted you to take him or something home?â€Â

Behind them, the ship shuddered and groaned. Cracks slowly started forming over the hull, glowing from some interior light. Slowly, before their eyes, the ship began to collapse inward upon itself, materials groaning and screeching. Within a few minutes, the ship literally folded in on itself until with a loud bang until there was nothing left. All that remained to show that even existed was the damage it caused and the dead alien.

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Moira watched in awe as the ship went through it's death throes. She forgot about the alien she was holding, the dark figurethat told her everything, and even the natural scenery. It was beautiful in it's destrction, and she and the dark figure were the only ones to witness it.

After a somber moment, she looked back to the informed individual. "So, how are we gonna get him home? Or his package? Wait, he touched my head before he died and said to take it home. Then my brain went numb," she paused for a second and then looked in horror to Dark Star, "Did they put something in my brain?! Like in the movie where the alien put something in the human's mouth and another alien burst out of the human's chest!" Still holding the dead alien in her arms she tried to grab at Dark Star's non-flesh form, "I dont want my head to explode like that!"

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Dark Star watched with interest as the vessel imploded. He didn’t see that happen too often. But soon it was gone and he was drawn back to the woman before him who seemed to be on the verge of panicking. Her hand passed through him as he did his best to assuage her anxiety and calm her down.

He had no idea what movie she was talking about (he hadn’t seen one in decades) but got the point regardless. “Ma’am, you’re fine. You’re alright. I don’t think anything like that happened. Even if something was physically implanted, I would be able to heal the cellular damage. However, from what you said, I’d guess that knowledge of some kind was given to you. Something ‘he’ didn’t want lost with his death. Calm down, everything will be fine.†He used his telekinesis to gently lift the body from her assuming she wasn't gripping too tightly, and laid it gently on the ground. He'd have to take care of that as well. Perhaps a burial in space or maybe even take the body home.

Once she seemed a little calmer, or at least not on the verge of panicking, Dark Star’s face frowned, or would have if it had features. “If it was just returning the body or an item, I could bring it myself. If you’re right however, then you need to go. A telepath will need to read and retrieve whatever-it-is. I could take you easily enough but I don’t have any kind of space suit or vehicle to carry you in.†He paused. “I suppose I could contact the SCC and see if they have a small pod or something that has oxygen and the like.†He hadn’t had to carry another person with him before. But in theory he should be able to, assuming they could survive in space of course.

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Dark Star nodded slowly. At least she seemed calmer. "Well, you said it needed to be brought home. Earth certainly isn't it's home. Hence, space. And given the ship, I'd have guessed it was damaged in a fight or something though I don't know how or why it came here."

He shrugged. "No idea exactly where the telepath would be. I'm sure there are some on Earth. But that's not what you told me he said to you. Hence my suggestion to get to the planet where his people come from." He slipped into scientist mode for a moment. "As for getting there? Well, it's 2000 light years away. So traveling at the speed of light would take 2000 years. You need a vessel to travel in that is FTL capable. We don't exactly have a lot of those technologies commonly available here. It's quite a haul even for some of those new ships Daedalus has produced. Assuming we could get someone to agree to take you on one of them, it won't be a short trip unfortunately. They are capable of doing about 25 light years...so maybe an 80 year trip. One way. I can get there in maybe 9 hours or so but I can't keep you alive in space." He shrugged. He had yet to encounter anything that traveled faster than he could.

"I might be able to head out and contact some old associates of mine and see if they could send a faster ship. Theirs are significantly faster. Probably would still take a few weeks just to get there of course. And that's after me convincing them to come pick you up." It never occurred to him to not help. Regardless of the fact that this was something he had plenty of experience in, it had more to do with the fact that he could help. Therefore it was his responsibility to help.

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He nodded. "I'm sure you're feeling a bit out of sorts. I would be as well. But unless you can survive in space without protection, we'll need something like a suit or a ship. Heck, even even if you were wearing a spacesuit, I'm not sure I could get us there before the air ran out." He shrugged.

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Moira looked around to see if someone was watching. She knew noone was around for miles, but maybe it was a subconcious thing. Getting close as she could to the dark figure, she spoke in an almost whispered tone, "I don't really need air." She cleared her throat and spoke up, "So the only real problem we have is transportation."

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He looked at her curiously for a minute before nodded. She must have been trying to protect her secret identity. He understood that easily enough. “There is no one around as far as I can see and I can see pretty well. Your identity is safe.†He nodded to her. “Could I know your name?â€Â

“I did notice the fumes seemed to have no effect on you but it would have been rude to mention. If you are certain that you would be unharmed from the conditions in outer space, I can easily carry you. We can leave whenever you’re ready I suppose. Do you need to get anything before taking off?†Such as your hero costume, he thought to himself. He didn’t want to impinge on her identity, though in honour and fair play he supposed he would have to reveal his to her as well at some point. It would only be fair.

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"My name is Divine," she says with a bit of hesitation. She was just getting used to being called by a code name. O'Ren gave it to her and it sort of stuck. Most of the time she would call herself Moira, but if she ever needed something to impress people with, she'd use her code name. Now there was that little thing about a costume.

"As for needing anything, how long is it going to take you get to the intended destination? If you can just blink us right there, no. If it's going to take us years, well, I'll need to prepare for that."

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DS nodded and chuckled. “Please to meet you Divine. A fitting name for you,†he added with a compliment. “As I said, I’m Dark Star, though DS works too I suppose.†It was shorter and sounded less 'pretentious' he supposed.

Still chuckling, DS nodded. “Years? Not even close. It’s only a couple thousand light years away after all. It’ll take us maybe 9 hours, one-way of course. A pretty short trip really. It isn’t teleportation of course so not just a blink. ‘Sides, what’s the fun of just getting there? Too much too see out there.â€Â

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  • 4 weeks later...

Moira thought about all of those sci-fi movies she had seen. Her mind wandered as she wondered what new worlds she could discover on the trip. A smile crossed her face when she thought about making her own little planet. The joyous thoughts came to an end when the sharp memory in her head made her remember why she had to go into space. Shaking her head she came back to reality. "Well, if we're going to be visiting, maybe I should pack some stuff," she looked over the the lump of stuff that she bought and then back to Dark Star with an annoyed sigh, "Real things."

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He nodded her. "I can wait for you here or simply transport you to where you need to go in a few short moments. I am at your disposal for getting you there. We'll go whenever you like. Once we're done and this is taken care of, we can make a few stops on the return trip home if you wish. Trips into space, especially your first, can be a fascinating experience."

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"Ah...I was thinking of simply flying you but keeping your identity secret is more important. Why don't I drop you at the edge of the city? Or you can walk back from here I suppose. I'll take the remains up for a space burial, so to speak. I'll meet you wherever as soon as you get whatever it is you need." He didn't know the burial rites for the species but carrying the corpse seemed a bit...excessive to him. Though if it was a problem, he could always return it to his people at a later date.

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Moira thought about it for a moment and then gasped, "You're not gonna fling him into space are you?" She holds the alien close to her, "We have to treat the dead with more respect than that!" Gently laying the body on the ground, she walks over to the pile of hiking junk, "Luckily, I happen to have a shovel."

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DS shook his head. "Burial in space is quite respectful and numerous cultures out there do so. Kind of like the old sailors did. Burial at sea." He paused. "I'm somewhat nervous about burying him here. What if someone noticed the ship and the energy and eventually comes looking? I would not want anyone to dig up and disturb the body." He paused again. "Honestly, I was going to bring it out there and set it on a course towards their home system. If 'his' people have specific rites, it can be easily retrieved. If not, then burial in space will do quite well."

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Moira stopped digging through the pile of junk and looked to Dark Star with a sigh. Standing up, she wielded a small spade and pointed it loosely at him with her other hand on her hip, "I guess you know more than me. If you're sure his people will find him, we'll do it your way."

She began packing the hiking gear back into its normal cases and bags, "I have a car near the road. You do what you have to do with the dearly departed." After finding a piece of paper and a pen, she scribbled down an address, "You can meet me here." Whe she tried to hand it to the insubstantial hero she blushed, "Well, you can meet me there," she said showing him the address on the paper.

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He nodded. "Eventually they will. Or if more immediacy is needed, he can be brought home quicker that way." He chuckled as she tried to hand him the paper. "Understandable." He read the address. "Very well, I'll meet you there shortly."

He gestured, telekineticly lifting the body and floated it next time him. Nodding to her, he slowly rose until he was a safer distance. Once clear, he accelerated to maximum speed, towing the body behind, breaking orbit in moments. He headed out-system for a couple minutes and got his bearings. Once set, he gave the body a big push towards home. "We commend you body to the deep. Rest in peace." There might not be anyone around, but it still felt right to at least say something.

With a final look, he turned and flashed back towards Earth. Getting to the city took only a few moments. Finding the actual address took several more minutes and he did so concealed. He had no idea of her identity, though giving him her address was a sign of trust. He would not endanger that by flying around to be seen by all. He moved through the door and extended his senses through the wall to make sure he wasn't going to surprise someone when he became visible. After that, he would simply have to wait.

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