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Supercape

Space Safari: Push, Blueshift, and the Ooze.

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Target 2

Target 2 was a on a rocky, desolate world. Gravity a little high, a nasty methane atmospehere - but at least one you could breathe even if it would probably stink to high heaven.

Not a world you would bring a flamethrower too, he concluded.

The world was riddled with caves, and treacherous ones at that, it was highly seismically active, and subject to frequent earthquakes, cave ins, and volcanoes. Magma flooded many systems, and formed new ones.

It looked, he concluded, pretty dangerous.

And yet, a silicon based life form had managed to evolve there. Some kind of slime that lived off heat and silicon and, as far as he could see, could regenerate in a heartbeat. Sure, it moved slowly. Sure, it would be easy to find. Getting to it, subduing it, and getting it out of the cave would be a whole new ball game.

He had pulled a few names out from the hat, so to speak. Ones he knew. Recklessness seemed to him to be the defining quality, but what did he know? it was anybodies guess how to get this one.

Push seemed to him to be a good man for the job. At least he could stop the caves collapsing around him.

Blueshift was smart enough, and seemed to come up with something for the job each time.

As a bonus, he knew them both, and both had been in outer space before. A good a choice as any...

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"Well, atmosphere's breathable. You were right. Thankfully." Blueshift commented when they first set foot on the alien planet. "Killer hot, though!" She looked down at a nearby lava flow that was creeping slowly past them.

She reached to her belt, and withdrew a small round disk. She attached it to her suit just below her neck. The suit blue power lines glowed around it as the small temporary upgrade went to work lowering her body temperature to a comfortable level. "Ah, much better."

She turned to Supercape, "Okay, 'Cape. Agreed to help. Came on short notice. Now hand it over." She held her hand toward the other hero, palm raised expectantly, "Gonna need to see all the data on the ooze. Everything they gave you. Seeing those transportation equations wouldn't hurt either. I can pick through them while hunting. Also if there's something in there that gives a hint on how it should be contained or transported, we'll need it."

"You ready for this, honey?" She eyed Push. Though she already knew what his answer would be.

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Push walked down the ramp, hands in his pockets, hammer over his back, and gas mask over his face, feeling a mite smug. He knew that sucker would come in handy eventually; and the filter he'd put in was nice and minty fresh. Of course, he'd have to swap it out later, but hey! The rebreather was in his bag as well, in case of emergency; a tunnel collapse could be disastrous, and always best to be prepared.

Not for the first time, he looked back at the ship and up at the sky, keeping the part of his mind that was going a bit nuts over the fact that he was in space again quiet as best he could. Job to do now, freak out later. Actually, more work to do after that, so he'd have to table that freakout.

"Ready and waiting. Just remember, 'cape, you owe us one of those old-school English breakfasts after this is said and done." he joked, his voice coming out a bit distorted from the mask.

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"Ill buy you both kippers" replied Supercape, handing over both the data disk and the transport circlet to Push.

"The...errr...thing seems to be a silicon based life form, from what I can tell. Its quite an esoteric life form for sure, very unusual biochemistry. It lives..."

He tapped his foot on the rocky, sooty planet beneath him.

"...down there. In the caves. Very geologically active this planet, from what I understand. Never studied much geology past school myself, but you don't have to be much of a geologist to see that..."

To punctuate his point, a distant volcano spewed forth an ash cloud with a rumble. The atmosphere was not too hot - the sun was distant, but very dusty. Supercape coughed.

"The, er, ooze lives in the cave systems that have been created by magma flows. Oh yes, um, still some magma down there so be careful chaps..."

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"Oh, yea, 'Cape!" Blueshift chimed in after that comment about breakfast. "I love those 'eggie in a basket' things you guys cook up. I love breakfast too. Perfect time for Coffee!"

Blueshift reached down to her belt as she accepted the data from Supercape. She turned a dial on her belt, and a surge of power seemed to flow outward to the rest of her suit. The baby-blue power lines that ran like large veins through her suit glowed red now, spreading out from the central point of her belt. "There, should keep me protected from the heat and any noxious fumes we encounter. Also..." She looked around, using the heat sensors on her visor to analyze a few of the vents of heat coming out of the rocks around them. Finally, she pointed at one of them. "There. That one looks big enough for us to enter. It's showing some lower heat signatures as well, so it's either more ventilated below, or just less dangerous in general. I'd say that's our starting point."

She started walking toward it, and half turned to regard Supercape, "Smoke me a kipper! I'll be back for breakfast!" She quoted Ace Rimmer with a huge smile on her face.

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Supercape gave them a friendly wave.

"Don't be too blasted long, and give me a call when you are coming back..." he shouted at the two departing figures.

Breakfast, however, may have to wait... he thought. In retrospect, perhaps he should have brought along some food, but hopefully Blueshift and Push would have the job done sharpish.

Down in the caves...

The caverns were hot, dusty, but beautiful. Crystals and metals ran everywhere, suggesting the planet would probably be a miner's paradise - if they could tolerate the horrible geological activity. A faint yellow glow even emitted from the cavern walls, possibly some kind of primitive algae, although how it survived flowing magma was a biologists conundrum.

The cave was not, by any means, easy to traverse, bending, splitting, and creasing. Tunnels and cracks branched off with a variety of sizes, from tiny hand sized tunnels to huge faintly glistening caverns. As they descended, the heat waxed and waned, but overall, things were certainly becoming hotter...

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Push had felt the flames of hell brush across his skin, had faced demons with brimstone and magma for breath. And he'd have given a lot to be fighting them instead of trudging through the caves he now occupied. Reaching up with his coat arm, he wiped his forehead for the thousandth time, his hat, part of his scarf, and cuffs completely drenched in sweat. Most unpleasant. Still, it wasn't that much worse; nothing to do now but soldier on.

Not for the first time he cast a few thoughts Supercape's way, idly wondering precisely why he was gallivanting off across the stars again looking for some strange and esoteric creature. He...well, he'd be hard-pressed to say trusted, he didn't know the guy that well, but he did like the somewhat stuffy caped crusader; that wasn't the issue. But he'd had enough trouble dealing with black magicians summoning nasty things from beyond, that drawing a parallel with science and nasty things from space wasn't that far off. He shook his head, trying to clear away the paranoid musings, and returned his attentions to Blueshift as she hopped over a rock, trying (and failing) to avert his gaze from certain areas of her suit.

"Hey, Blue, any thoughts on how we're taking this thing down? We're talking a big moving ooze, and I don't do liquids so well. Lots of movement in different directions, y'know?"

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Landing just in front of the rock, Blueshift's keen eyes spotted a small fissure nearby in the cave wall. She was unaware of his eyes, as usual. Blueshift as a rule was too socially unaware to even fathom that she was an attractive person, let alone identify when someone, even Push was undressing her with their eyes. She moved over to the fissure as she responded to her boyfriend, "Sadly, 'Cape's info on the creature is pretty lacking. I'm still not even really sure of it's composition. He mentioned it was silicon based, but that could mean so many different things," She was leaning over, peering into the crack in the wall with a small light. She looked at him over her shoulder and smiled, before returning to her search, "Hmm, no real way to tell if this goes anywhere from here. Good thing I brought help!" Blueshift straightened up, and unhooked the chassis of her robotic assistant from her belt. She powered on Mac, and within seconds, the little robot was zipping around the caves like an excited fruit fly.

"Oh man! This is COOL!" His LEDs were glowing a multitude of different colors, "Where are we? Alien world... Caves... Oh, righteous! We're after that monster you heard about from Supercape, aren't we? Sweet!"

"Calm down, Mac." Blueshift was encouraged by his high spirits, she smiled at her invention, "Come on, I need your help. Can you see where this passage goes, neither Push or I would fit down there, but you can. Relay anything you find to my visor. We're going to head further into the larger tunnels. I'll radio if I need anything. Oh, and stay out of sight just in case!"

"Roger, fearless leader!" Mac saluted with one of his spindly robotic arms, just before zipping off into the smaller side tunnel.

"To actually answer your earlier question," She turned to Push again, "I'm likely going to have to see this thing and possibly even analyze it before I know how we might be able to take it down and capture it."

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GM

The caves went deeper. The caves went hotter. On at least one occasion, a rapid retreat from a swelling of magma was required. The infra-red vision of Blue Shifts hot suit was to thank for spotting the heat signature of that in time.

After some time, and after some distance, a larger cavern was found, peppered with small pools of semi-molten magma, and larger bubbling pools of sulphur.

As the two heroes and MAC explored the cave, the creature was spotted.

Or at least, it fitted the description.

It moved at a snails pace. It was large, and almost translucent, a reddish grey colour. It could only be described as an ooze, flowing over the rocks, and seeming to drink the minerals and heat around it. The slimy trail behind it left a blackened and scorched earth.

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Push simply stared at the ooze. Then he looked at his hammer. Then he looked at Blueshift. Then back at the ooze. Then he made a distinct sound of disgruntlement, and crossed his arms. He pondered sending a somewhat impolite message Supercape's way, then sighed and turned back to Blueshift, leaning on a handy rock. Then promptly jumping off it with an yeouch, the back of his suit sizzling a bit.

"Hoooooot! Ow! Gah..okay...so we found Cape's new pet. And I don't reckon he's real friendly. Looks like...really big ooze. And it's...melting the rocks. Leaving an awfully clean trail behind it. Think he wants it for housecleaning?"

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GM

As Push touched the ooze, it reacted, rippling slightly.

As well as the acidic touch, it seemed to, well, rear itself, as if an angry horse, or snake. Even though it had no - visible - eyes, it seemed to turn and look at Push, swaying slightly.

Its intentions, much less its mind (if it had any to speak of) and emotions were, of course, quite impenetrable.

After a few moments, it sunk down to the ground again and started slowly crawling its way back on the route it had taken. It looked like it was heading towards a slightly warmer area (although everywhere was warm), or possibly towards a richer seam of some mineral or another.

One thing was clear. It didn't like being bothered.

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"Housecleaning? Unlikely. And everything in here is hot, sweetie. Can you tell me what kind of hot it felt like, at least? Was it 'stick your hand on a stove hot'; was it 'Hydrofluoric hot'; was it 'Sriracha in a paper-cut hot'?" Blueshift moved up to the ooze like thing.

MAC whizzed up to the creature and regarded it. Some of his lights changed colors and he beeped once or twice. Finally, he swiveled to face Push, "I don't think it likes you," he teased his creator's boyfriend.

"You don't know that, MAC. That could just be an indication of a survival instinct, which doesn't necessarily require intelligence or emotional presence. For now, let's follow it." She advised, "I need to gather some more samples before I know what we can actually do with it."

She moved forward, and pulled a small object from her belt, "Be careful, Blue Leader!" MAC piped up as Blueshift reached down toward the Ooze.

She scooped a small amount of the creature's slimy trail into a small glass vial, ensured that the vial would remain in tact, and then placed it back on her belt, "Preliminary scan indicates the secretion is quite acidic. But I'll need to run further tests before I know what it is. Or how to capture it, for that matter. I can tell you that it is indeed silicon based, as Supercape said."

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"I've never seen such a powerful acid before!" Blueshift observed once her analysis was complete. "It looks to be a byproduct of it's digestive system. Meaning it's mouth is it's entire outside. Ew. At least I hope that's it's mouth. More Ew."

She cringed slightly before continuing with her results, "It's funny that it doesn't dissolve this stone, though. The stone seems ordinary enough that it shouldn't affect that. Perhaps this acid is incapable of dissolving superheated non-living matter? Thus preventing the creature for dissolving straight through to the center of this planet? Perhaps that's why it needs to use the existing cave system instead of dissolving a system of tunnels itself?"

Suddenly, Blueshift noticed another fine detail, "Push, look at that," She pointed to a spot far behind the slime where it had passed by a while ago. The leftover acids that had been coating the rocks in that location had begun to dissolve the cracks between the rocks, though they'd only just begun they were now moving at a stead pace. It indicated that the dissolution of the bits of earth between the bedrock had only begun minutes after the slime had passed by. "It's like a shark. It can't sit still or else it'll die. Except in it's case, that means sinking to the center of the planet..."

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Push tilted his head as he ran through what Blueshift was saying; the principles of movement were not news to him, given that he dealt with the fundamental energy of it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, beyond the basic scientific theory, most of what he did was trial and error. Ideas ran through his brain, mostly half-baked ones based around his somewhat rudimentary knowledge of physics (damnit, he was a mechanic, not a doctor!), and most of which would probably have ended up with either him or his significant other melted. He let the haft of the hammer hit the ground and leaned on it, looking pensively at the ooze as it ponderously moved along. He'd toyed with trying his kinetic sight on it, but given what Blueshift had said about it moving, and the fact that it was mostly ooze, he theorized that the amount of kinetic energy swirling both in and around the thing would be most definitley sizeable to the point of blinding.

"Well, if it needs to keep moving, we'll need a container that lets it do so...hmm...what if we built some sort of spherical trap, and drew it in? Close the lid, and then it can walk a treadmill to it's heart's content until we get back to Earth."

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"Like giving it a giant hamster ball to run around in? Hah! I love it!" Blueshift smiled a wide, goofy smile. "Push, you're a genius!" She gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

"A hamster ball? Really?" Mac chimed in sarcastically, "That's all my brilliant creator can come up with?"

"Hush, you!" She scolded the floating robot, "We're going to need something to hold it in. We're really lacking for raw materials, though. Hmm. It doesn't go through the rocks all that well..." The gears in her head turning faster than the speed of sound, she looked back at her boyfriend, "Push, can you create a hollow ball out of the rocks around it? Then either you can levitate it, or we can roll it back to the surface?"

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"That's...uh..."

Push looked somewhat lost as he turned to face the various rocks. And then looked at the ooze. And then he rubbed the back of his head.

"I don't think that's feasible; I can lift singular rocks and stuff, but I can't stick them together or anything like that. And even if I did, ten to one there'd be leaks. Melty oozy burny leaks."

He spread his hands, shrugging, then rubbed his chin, pondering. His eyes briefly flashed with energy as he took a look through his kinetic senses at the creature, then promptly winced and put a hand over them; the nexus of energy that was the ooze was practically painful to look at.

"One sec, tho'. Maybe we don't need an exterior orb..."

Push lifted his hands up, his eyes squinting at the creature as he manipulated the energy needed for the trick he was about to pull off.

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GM

It seemed they did not!

The ooze was lifted within the crackling sphere or energy, its acidic secretions belching of smoke and fumes that would no doubt be toxic if not contained within the orb of telekenetic power that Push had created.

The construct shot out the odd erratic bolt of power, testifying to the chemical reactivity of the ooze and the power of Push.

And in the distance, a distant rumble could be heard. And the heat started to rise...

Over head, as a tremor hit the cave, a little dust fell from the roof...

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"Crap!" Blueshift tapped at her visor, making a quick analysis of the tunnel system they were in, "Looks like it's time to get out of the kitchen, you two. We got what we came for, and I personally don't want to stick around to find out how hot this oven gets! I got the map up here," She tapped her noggin twice, "So just follow me and we'll be out of here in a jiffy!"

With that, Blueshift dashed off. Her perfect memory served her well, allowing her to remember all the twists and turns of the tunnel they'd used getting down there. Just in case that some how failed her she had her visor set up to detail the tunnels with the lowest temperature that still lead to the surface.

Blueshift sped around corners and leaped over falling rocks with her boyfriend and assistant robot hot on her heels. She ran so fast at one point she had to use her booster to ricochet off one of the cave walls just to round the corner at top speed.

Finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. With the lava coming up behind them, Blueshift put on the afterburners and practically launched out of the hole followed by Push. The slower jets on Mac meant he was just ahead of the lava, as he shot out of the mouth of the tunnel. As a geyser of hot magma poured out of the hole, one slug of molten rock shot out and hit Mac right on the tail end of his chassis, it was all the little robot could to do replay a recording of a famous sci-fi robot as he recoiled from the hot rock as his pain sensors registered off the charts.

"I'm okay, I'm okay!" he managed after a few seconds.

Blueshift wiped her brow, and removed her headset, after they got to a raised level where the lava couldn't spread to. It was still stiflingly hot in the area, but first things first, "Push, the ooze, how'd we do?"

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Notgoodnotgoodnotgoodnotgoodnotgoodhothothothothot!

Push was off like a rocket behind her, feeling the raw heat of the lava on his coated back. The ooze roiled and boiled around the field as it flew ahead of them, the kineticist slamming into the odd wall (fortunately rebounding off even faster thanks to his own personal field), struggling to keep up with his far more graceful girlfriend. With a mixture of terror and exhultation, Push let out a loud whoop as the three shot out of the mouth of the tunnel as if from a cannon, soaring across the skyline and hitting the ground in a picture-perfect three-point landing. The Ooze floated down like a feather shortly thereafter, taking up a bobbing position beside his head, and he let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

"Fine! Fine! I'm...okay. Okay. Nothing singed. I think." He turned his head to check the back of his coat, and patted out a small flame that was cooking the end of his scarf. "Uh...never mind."

He looked at the Ooze, and turned his hand for a bit, causing the ball to turn about a bit. The kineticist tilted his head, and then looked at the ship that was to take them and it back to Earth.

"Uh...how are we gonna store this thing on there?"

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For once, Blueshift was at a loss, "Actually," She stared dumbly for only the slightest moment at the ship, "Hadn't thought that far ahead. To focused on other things. Had to catch it first. Then, well, lava." She shrugged.

"Really though. Not an issue." She opened up a panel on one of the devices strapped to her left wrist. "Just hold tight a little longer. Hailing Supercape. He'll know what he wants done with it. Hooray! Non-issue!" She said, with mixed excitement and sarcasm.

I really didn't think that far ahead. Come on, Blue, you're slipping!

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"Ah well done!" replied Supercape over the airways. He could easily pick up radiowaves with his own brain, and a simple nudging of atoms could send some radio signals back.

"Can you bring the er thing over here, I have set up a spatial displacement area, thanks to the discs Mr. Flowers gave me. Once you we are ill in the target zone, I can just whip us all over to..."

"...er...well, I don't actually know where, to be entirely truthful...but I guess its Mr. Flowers' reserve. That's where the last two creatures went. "

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