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The Reunion of a Scout and a Genius

The Sailor

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Claremont Academy

7:00 am, Thursday, March 31st, 2016


It was a typical Thursday for Casey, classes were light as some students would be coming back home after Easter, while some had been back before hand. While the weekend itself was set up to be time off, around Easter things were allowed to be semi-flexible to the needs of their students.


Casey woke up as her smartphone started ringing. She had set it in front of a stuffed animal, a cat-like cartoonish detective of a character her long-absent friend had left before going on a sabbatical with her Family. It was only to be three months, but it had been left open-ended... and Sakurako had been gone longer than that... and without contact the whole time. What was odd is it came from an unusual e-mail address in a text.



MG. Meet me at 4pm, courtyard. Bring something to keep you dry, there's a forecast of light rain in the area...
	01110011 01100001 01101011 01110101 01110010 01100001 01101011 01101111


Edited by Sailor
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Casey frowned as she looked at the text, for a few seconds puzzled by the series of numbers at the end, but then I light bulb went off in her head.




In a flash, she hit the books, in the most literal sense possible: her pride and joy, her 2010 edition of the Encyclopedia Britanica, the last edition to be printed on paper. The thirty-two volume set was bought by her dad once her powers manifested, as he knew all too well how much quicker the physical copies were than the Internet for someone with super-speed. Seconds later, the letters appeared on page of notebook paper on her writing desk.


s a k u r a k o


The blonde heroine's face lit up; she was back, Saku was back! It had been several long months since she'd seen her friend, months when there'd been really no one to talk to about community improvement projects, composting or the other incredibly dorky stuff the Girl Scout found so exciting.


Now how the heck was she supposed to stay focused on schoolwork until four freaking pm?


Somehow, she managed it, though it was like a form of torture; four o'clock found her out in the courtyard, wearing rubber boot, her rain slicks and a waterproof daypack over one shoulder, her amazing eyes scanning the whole yard, eager to catch her first glimpse of her best friend.

Edited by Heritage
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4pm came... then 4:01...


It seemed like something was up until Casey heard the sound of waterproof fabric and plastic being hit by the rain.


"Finally a familiar face after 5 months!"


Casey turned around, seeing Sakurako in a white and pink bodysuit, in fact it looked like Sakurako had done some changes to her usual kit. "It has been... quite a loooong family trip. I'm never trusting when my folks say "oh we'll just be gone a month"... I mean thank god I made my sabbatical indefinite... otherwise I'd have a lot of explaining and begging to do."


Sakurako's hair was longer. Much longer actually, although it was in a single bun, so it managed to sit within the bubble-helmet of her suit. What was also evident was the scar over an eye, and she looked a couple inches taller... and no sailor collar?


"I see the school's still standing. Bit dissapointed." She said jokingly.

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There was a rush of wind, then a friendly freight train slammed into the young inventor as Casey flew over, crushing her in thankfully non-lethal bear hug that quickly went airborne, spiralling into the sky and stopping just before they cleared the roofline.


"Mmmm, I missed you so much!"


Then she drifted back down to the ground and gently deposited her friend on the lawn, stepping back to look her over.


"Wow, look at you! You grew!"

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"Had to take care of my Grandfather's final worldly affairs... and arrange his new surroundings. That caused things to be a 5 month ordeal."


"Oh no no, he's not dead... just when someone's lived as long as he has he wanted a change of scenery. Thing is he's a bit..." She sighed.


"He's a bit picky. You'd think a 120 year old immortal would be a little less choosy."


Sakurako hugged Casey, smiling. "Sorry I couldn't call... trans-universal communication charges are a monster to deal with."


Sakurako pulled out a plasticized rain hat, it looked military surplus with it's ocean camo pattern, and deactivated the bubble helmet of her suit, putting the hat on quickly, letting her hair out of it's bun as well to make it easier to wear. "So, what's been happening? No alien invasions? No body snatchers?"

Edited by Sailor
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Casey snorted. "What, are you kidding? We've had alien invasions every dayAnd twice on Thursdays." The blonde heroine sighed. "Well, it's good to have you back; I really missed you!" She looked around. "Do you have any bags? And did make any cool inventions while you were gone?"

Edited by Heritage
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Sakurako smiled, then looked up. "Well some answers are coming down... and into the outdoor pool..." She sounded slightly frustrated. "Come on!"


The two started to run as space-capsule like pod started coming down by aero-foil like parachutes. "My folks are in a seperate escape pod. We had to bail from the spaceship we stole a few universes back to escape from the clutches of some space pirate... long story. Needless to say making trans-universal jumps with a warp drive sort of breaks the warp drive. We bailed before our ship was caught in Jupiter's gravitational field. You... might have saw on your Facebook feed some comet or asteroid hitting it making a harmless lightshow. That... was our ship."


"My folks I think landed at some deserted pacific island for some R&R. It's their anniversary after all. Me... I decided to come home. While this was still high I decided to put the pod on auto pilot and hopped out to fly down. I was running late as I wanted to nail the landing but the weather conditions were just a bit too unpredictable today."


The escape pod lands in the pool, bobbing for a moment before bright red with white stripe floats pop out, stabilizing it in the water, extra floats pop out at the top, probably a over-turn precaution. A raft pops out near the entrance. "Hehe... seems the upgrades we made to the ship's kit are working out." Sakurako says as she gets to the pool's edge. She takes her hat off and hops into the water... what was odd was... Sakurako actually looked like she was swimming just fine as she starts swimming over to the pod. "Come on! Fly on over. I got my personal effects inside!" She said, climbing on to the float with the rope ladder that had popped out and crawls into the pod through a opened hatch. "We can talk more in drier conditions!" She mused with a smile as she disappeared inside. "Hinocorp Aeronautics will swing by to pick up this thing over-night. No muss, no fuss..."


"Also I can finish out the rest of the year on time with the rest of our class... no matter what. I can do the catch-up work in a fortnight after all!"

Edited by Sailor
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As was often the case when her friend described something, about half of it went over Casey's head; it wasn't that she wasn't smart enough to grasp Saku's words, but more the sheer volume of content that could be a bit overwhelming. But 'flying' and 'help' she always understood, so she dropped her pack and floated over to the pod, eager to see what surprises were tucked inside.


"Your side of the room is just how you left it; I did dust from time to time, but otherwise it's untouched." Then she shook her head in wonder as a few more details from her friend's trip began to register. "So Jupiter, huh? Wow, that's intense! My dad can actually survive in hard vacuum; maybe I'll figure it out someday, and I can join you next time."

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"Your body should have the skin tension at least to hold homeostasis while in vacuum. Probably can hold up against micrometeorite impact and protect against interstellar radiation... But if we ever go up if you think you can do that I'm bringing a emergency bubble just in case." She said. "Thing is I know you breathe... perhaps if we start slow with a bubble-helmet like arrangement with a counter-pressure suit..." She said, her voice trailing off.


Saku scratches her head. "Aww, nevermind this isn't the time for that. Besides there's a couple emergency pressure suits over there on the floor."


There indeed was a couple, white with red striping. They looked quite baggy, probably designed to be "one size fits all" for humanoid forms. "I was trying them on. I was thinking of coming down looking like an astronaut, but those suits get puffy when used. I mean real puffy. Didn't like it. Not like my suit. Practically just the interstellar equivalent of keeping a life vest under your seat on a airplane those baggy things are." She said sticking out her tongue. She actually was a little displeased.


She sat in one of the orange cushioned seats, looking at two yellow bags. "At least my personal effects I had along too can't wear this suit all the time."


Casey noticed that the old sailor collar from Endeavor's suit was also lying about. So were a couple of her school uniforms that were part of her collection. "I did a few aesthetic modifications to my suit on the trip from Jupiter... To be honest, thinking about home changed me a little."

Edited by Sailor
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  • 2 weeks later...

Casey floated over to the pod and easily hefted the two yellow bags. "Nothing wrong with trying out a new look; I've been thinking about a more adaptable suit myself. Switchable from normal to stealth mode, maybe a few different styles of camouflage..."


She looked around the small capsule. "Anything else we need to grab?" Words really couldn't describe how happy she was to have her friend back; Saku was always more of a doer and planner than she was, and she'd really missed the sense of direction the young inventor provided. "Also, have you eaten? You know I'm always up for grabbing a bite!"

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Sakurako's stomach growled. "I've been on rations for about 2 months. That's how long it took with the boost from the impulse ring that was attached to this pod when it launched to get back here."


"I still got my credentials on the Claremont servers, so my ID still works here, thank god, that and we could just order some pizza... I've not had a proper slice since I left Earth." She said with a smile. "This thing'll be in the pool alllllll day until Hinocorp picks this up."


A couple students milling about peered over the fence, Sakurako peeked out and waved and there was an aqkward exchange of waves and people leaving. Some accepting this was the eccentric genius' latest pet project gone wrong...


She sighed. "Cannot be any sooner... this is making a scene."


She went back into the pod as the last of her bags was taken outside, packed with what she had scattered about in the pod. She started turning off all the systems. "You know... Casey... I wanted to ask you something..."

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"Oh, I could definitely murder a pizza," Casey said with enthusiasm as she dropped some more of Saku's stiff next to the pool. "Have you tried Chicago-style deep dish? There's a place at the Millennium Mall food court that opened a few months ago; they have thin crust, too, if you prefer that. We can grab two, one for me and one-" She looked somewhat embarrassed by her big appetite. "Uh, you know, to split."


When her roommate started to ask her a question, she politely turned to face her, adjusting her glasses. "Sure, what's up?"

Edited by Heritage
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"I tend to get very hungry personally, so two pizzas will do..." Sakurako said. "While I was out there... you know... space and stuff, I made a realization. There's so much here and out there. Places to be and see..." She leaned on the door way. "It's a big universe out there. That and there's so much left to see here. Ocean depths to explore, the hidden spots."


She grinned, Casey knew that face, it was when Sakurako had an idea. "Come with me." Her innocent grin showed just a hint of mad scientist. But the good kind... the "Doc Brown" kind...


"Science isn't in the lab, it's going to meet the unknown, and I intend to meet it. I'm already starting to engineer the craft, both in my head and as a blueprint... but this isn't a one-person adventure. That and on the side there will be disasters to handle, people to save... The Noble Endeavor will get us there."


"Life isn't going to be boring, it'll be dangerous... but I wouldn't have anyone else by my side through it all. Besides we'll need something to do after we graduate from Claremont." She said with a grin. "If we're lucky we can do this between any college we do... or any other plans..."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Oh, I'm going to college alright," the blonde heroine said with a vigorous nod. "Northwestern University. Medill School of Journalism. Full scholarship." She'd known since she was ten years old.


But then she put together everything Saku was saying, and an incredulous grin spread across her face. "Wait a minute. Are you...are you building a spaceship?!" The possibilities boggled the mind. "I guess...I guess it's not much different than taking a year off to tour Europe." Then she laughed and covered her mouth. "Well, other than the whole 'flying into space' part; that would be new!"

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"Well, it would be space capable... I might not start going out into deep space until I got the math down on a FTL engine and the astrogation involved. But getting to orbit or to Mars or some other planet would be easy. It'll be the full package for terrestrial use though. Fully amphibious, and can carry some passengers... trying to design it to potentially carry the crew of the ISS. If I can make arrangements right, potentially assist in an evac of the Lighthouse."


She adjusted her suit. "But having something that can jet us around the world reflexively would be highly, highly useful in disaster relief and in fast-responses to any metahuman crisis."


Getting the last of her things poolside she leaned a hand on her hip. "My folks still don't get why I'm going head long into the "capes and tights" family business. They thought having a direct back door to Hinocorp's R&D department would get me a lucrative job from jump. My folks don't get the fact I'm well beyond what Hinocorp could sell. That and... I'd rather stringently look over what I make to see how it would get used. I don't want to create something that would end up being used by the wrong hands and cause more suffering than intended.


"I brought that up to them and I was over both of their heads. And they're the smartest people I know. No knock towards you, Casey, but I'm starting to think I talk another language even to people that understand most of what I talk about."


She took a breath... "But saving lives? Fighting the good fight? I'm all for that."

Edited by Sailor
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Casey laughed heartily. "No, you definitely speak another language, I just hope that someday I'm fluent!" Then she pulled out her phone and placed a call to La Dolce Vita in the Mall. "You know what, I think I'm going to get a sausage stuffed pizza instead; do you still till want the deep dish, and if so, what do you want on it?"


After the order was placed (the pies would be ready in about half an hour, more than enough time to fly over and pick them up), the teen powerhouse put her cell away and returned to the conversation at hand. "Well you know I'm all in; let me know if you need any help with construction or any kind of testing; this will be a lot of fun!"

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During the 30 minutes a retrieval team showed (semi early) causing a minor scene as they hooked up the pod and heading off to wherever they were taking it. By the time the Pizza was ready Sakurako had moved to a Gazebo near the pool, and she had a covered privacy screen erected, looking like she was changing clothes when Casey had returned.

"Fun? Never thought of it like that... then again I've not really had my fun just yet."


"Every time I've wanted to see the Moon in person, I've had my trip cancelled by one group of adults or another." She said, sounding frustrated. "But I might be able to squirrel something for the summer. If I can get my parents to sign on."

She pulled a valve open and the pneumatic structure collapsed with a sigh. Sakurako walked quickly under the Gazebo looking at the pizza. She was wearing a basic shirt and jeans at this point with some comfortable sneakers. She moved some of her longer hair out of her face. She didn't like how her purplish-pink hair had grown out. "Then again, if we wait a year we could celebrate our graduation with a 3 day vacation."


She tossed her suit to the side, taking a seat at the table. "Of course, this summer was there anywhere you were interested in?"

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Casey began to tear into her own pizza with gusto, then thought about Saku's question as she chewed a mouthful. "Mmm, I guess it's kind of boring compared to the Moon, but I'd still like to go to Europe. Fly to the top of Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower, ride in gondola in Venice. See the Mona Lisa." She shrugged. "I know it's kind of a cliche, but I still think it would be cool."


But then she pondered her friend's earlier statement and frowned. "Mmm...I do not think my dad would sign off on the space trip, now that I think about it. Or at least not without a lot of convincing." She sighed and took another piece. "Maybe if I first show him I can go overseas and prove I won't die or get pregnant, then space won't sound so bad. Either way, I should start working on him now." The blonde teen giggled, then showed Saku her biggest puppy dog eyes and 'sweetest little girl in the world' smile as she clasped her hands and practiced. "'Daddy, can I pleaaaase go into outer space? I've been getting all A's in all my classes!'"

Edited by Heritage
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"World tour huh?"


Sakurako sat back in her seat. "Three months to do some good. Sail the seven seas... Might be a good test to see if we get along well with each other."


She started nibbling on her Pizza, but drinking her soda with a gusto. "Man, haven't had a good soda in months... You'd think we'd not be the only ones that discovered the magic of carbonated soft drinks." She said with a happy sigh. "Yeah it's gonna be hard to establish ourselves as heroes I think. We should look at a niche we can fill I think..."


She steeped her fingers. "Perhaps your father might have clues as to how to do this proper. That and when I show him the plans for our costumes and the safety considerations I'm taking into account, he might loosen up... then again he might just ground you for life from me." She stuck her tongue out. "All my folks need is a comprehensive plan and my showing I'm ensuring we're safe every step of the way. Then again my folks just like to see what I'm doing, I think. Half of our current Patents are of my design. How you think I got a swole wallet lately?"

"Although our ship eventually will take more than cash. This summer might be the last free summer I got until Graduation."


"I'm devoted to this, though. I wanna do the right thing. Just saying what could be done to help others to me... doesn't seem like enough."

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  • 3 weeks later...

At the mention of her father's work, Casey grew somewhat uncomfortable. "My dad is...very old school, very traditional; he still sees me as 'daddy's little girl' even though I'm practically bulletproof. It was a big leap letting me come out East. But, he does have a lot of experience with the whole hero thing." She paused and looked thoughtful for a few seconds. "Actually, I think he's even been to outer space; he was seriously freaked out when the Lor homeworld was destroyed. Which might not make him super into the whole space thing, now that I think about it..."


The blonde powerhouse was quiet for a while as she chewed her pizza between mouthfuls of Coke, looking off into space as she pondered her future. At length, she wiped her hands and face with a paper napkin, then nodded with firm resolve.


"You know what, let's do this; let's start working on the ship and let's start training. I mean like hardcore; if I want to convince Daddy that I've got what it takes to survive out there-" And here she emphatically jabbed a finger into the sky. "Then I've got to be able to show him what I can I do." Casey hopped up to her feet and adopted a dramatic pose, legs apart and fists clenched at her sides. "I need to be tougher, stronger and faster than ever before!" She looked down at her friend, her eyes alive with passion and hope. "Will you help me, Saku-chan? Will you help me be all I can be?" 


And then just as suddenly, she giggled and covered her face. "Oh God! Never tell my dad I quoted an Army recruitment ad!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sakurako shook her head. "No but I can make US the best superheroines we can be. Physically I am not the finest specimen. You know a few things that could get me up to snuff. After all being an astronaut in of itself is a massive physical endeavor... I discovered that myself, and genetically I'm predisposed to not being the strongest about. Happens when you're genetically engineered in-utero. But... I am sure I can still overcome this."


She leaned back. "To be honest this will be a few stages. Designing and building the ship will take a few years... two or three tops. During that time I need to build contacts with the various space agencies around the world. We'll be sticking close to Earth to start once we start getting into orbit. Assisting astronauts in need of help or helping maintain satellites. That is beside all of the terrestrial rescues and emergencies we'll have to get involved in." Sakurako said.


"To be honest we'll have to make a business of it to cover our costs. If I can get my planned concept together I could start offering our services on the side when not doing the hero thing to get research satellites into orbit, or to extend the life of existing scientific instruments in the safety of a pressurized clean-room/cargo bay combination, instead of having to risk astronauts doing spacewalks."


"Of course we don't have that luxury with the ISS, but we could bring emergency supplies on-demand if need-be, and be on call to quickly abscond astronauts to safety if needed."


"It'll mean we'd be on call, 24/7... but it would be worth it in the long run with the networking we could do."


"It's a pretty heavy load... but that's what I'm staring at... and if I can get a reputation of reliability, I could get other metahumans on board too. Make this a new team perhaps. You're a good judge of character, and could be the face of the team, Casey."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Casey was listening intently as Saku laid out what the future held, nodding every now and then; she liked what shevwas hearing, though the bit about her friend bring genetically engineered in uturo was kind of creepy. 


She seemed to take it in stride; maybe that's normal for super-smart parents?


"We should make sure the ship has a Soyuz docking module, and any other standard airlocks anyone's currently using, so we can be hood at rescues. Or could you make, like, a universal adapter that can reconfigure itself to different styles?" She paused, seemingly surprised by her own idea. "Wow; you should probably patent that if you make one. That could make usus some more money!"

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"Can't really do universal adapters... but I could design a soft solution that presses against the rim of the doors of a airlock to serve the same purpose. Most of those hulls are magnetic enough after all. Then again the Russians and the US have started to use common designs, even with their political differences. I guess Astronaut safety is something that any space agency can agree on."


Sakurako sat back in her seat, taking a drink of her soda. "Man... haven't had anything sugary in a long time... even with the universal nature of DNA, there just was nothing that came close to a proper soda..." She said before continuing her thought. "Making two docking ports will be easy enough in any case. Particularly as what I would be using is the remains of a crashed spacecraft a recent Claremont graduate and myself found around last Summer. My parents have the craft secured at one of their Aeronautics facilities. Of course UNTIL and AEGIS have gone over the thing with a fine-toothed comb first, but it's become my hobby to look it over and "humanize" the build."


"The FTL on it is shot, but I'm working on a replacement that is compatible with it's power supply, although it's terrestrial engine is more than functioning. We might be sticking close to Geostationary or the Moon to start with, then expand once I get the modified Alcubierre drive put in. I think I have figured out how to get the Casimir Vacuum to work out, and I have a functioning failsafe to ensure that there isn't a post-warp energy discharge either in the embarking system or the destination. Interesting how Hawking Radiation works out when not working with a Singualrity..."


"Took some eleven dimensional calculations and some new physics to describe the process... ugh, had to go full Newton and invent new calculations just to make it work... it'll take 100 years for all the papers to trickle out at this rate, although I had all the time in the world back out in space anyways..."


She grinned. "I hope the in-utero engineering talk didn't spook you... my folks are both sterile. They had to use their DNA from their bodies to make me... in an artificial womb. Long story on that... and that's how I ended up with a sister that wants to either kill me, use me for some sort of experiment, or bring me to the dark side... depending on the time of the month."


Sakurako got serious. "If you end up sticking with me after Graduation... we're gonna have to face that, too... my folks gained many enemies in their career as capes, and I've inherited every last one."

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As was often the case, about two-thirds of her friend's side of the conversation sailed well over Casey's head, but the last parts she got. "We all pick up enemies one way or another; my dad has tons of 'acquaintances' who want him dead, and sooner or later, they'll probably figure out I'm his daughter." She shrugged. "It's all good; Dad already had the talk with me." But then she got a little pink in the cheeks. "But not, you know, that talk. Though Mom...well, she's a doctor, so-" She did her best to hide her embarrassment behind a huge swig of Coke.


"So, FTL, huh? Wow; we'll be out of the Solar System before we know it!" Soooooo much easier talking about superhero stuff!

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