Kainudy has gone off to either grump, nap, or find something to eat. Leaving Devereaux standing in the street outside the "Chirr'T'Thar "embassy", which is also Chastity's home. Little did he know that, as he was talking to Kai and saying hello to her shuttle, someone on this same street is tinkering with something potentially dangerous.
Michael stands alone in his shop, hunched over a nondescript box, one side of it torn off by some unknown force. Thoughtfully, he jabs at the box with a wire.
Michael leans back slightly, muttering and showing the universal 'well what is this?' expression. He brings a candle closer to peer into the dark interior, while his hand with the wire begins to glow a bright blue. Sticking the wire into the box rewards Michael with a loud *pop* as his hand abruptly stops glowing and the hair on his arm stands on end.
Michael blinks as a few small lights come on inside the box, and it begins humming ominously. The box continues this action for a few moments, then stops as the lights fade, an amazed Michael peering at the curious thing.
Michael picks up the box and shakes it experimentally. It rattles a little.
Over on Nimby's Refuge, Jenora suddenly stops walking where she was and rubs her temple with a pained expression on her face.
Outside, Devereaux's head SNAPS around sharply and he stares intensely at the structure across the street. An intense electromagnetic pulse just blew past him like a hot wind, punching through the low-power EM shield he had erected around himself as a matter of Standard Operating Procedure.
Devereaux mutters, "What the fraggin'...?"
Elsewhere on Nimby, Ceres pounds on the holovid projector as her favorite romance show goes to static.
Devereaux looks up at the concealed shuttle, then around himself warily... with no obvious locals watching him, he ripples much like the shuttle did earlier, and vanishes completely from view.
Over on Nimby's Refuge, Jenora frowns, looking around, and takes off, flying quickly for a moment to get a better triangulation on the source.
Devereaux (cloaked) strides warily towards the building, conferring subvocally with Bob, whose heavy shielding protected him. Other devices may not have been so lucky, but an inventory can come later.
Michael concentrates on his hand again, glowing it blue. Then, picking up the wire again, reaches inside the box and touches inside it...Again, the *pop* and the box begins to whirr and its lights come on. "Ytutoo, ach gurti ti."
Devereaux closes his eyes as he nears the face of the building, extending his point of view into the interior and conducting a quick, thorough scan.
Jenora drops down briefly on Ceres. "We just got a big EMP flashing through here... I'm going to go check it out."
Ceres flicks her tail and nods to Jenora, "Good, let me know who it was, then I'll take it from there. They've made me miss my favorite show, "Only Five Lives to Live"."
Jenora chuckles, and flies off, heading over towards town at just subsonic.
Devereaux looks through the structure room by room, his visual reference point swiftly performing it's scan. It pauses as Devereaux 'looks in' on Michael, and the box.
Michael looks up briefly in Devereaux's direction, as if someone called his name, but shrugs it off and peers back into the box.
Devereaux hmmmms to himself. "Him..."
Jenora comes to a stop almost directly over Michael's house, looking down and around for signs of what created that EMP.
Devereaux's interest centers on the box. "That's it Bob, residual EM is strongest around that thing." Bob replies, "Scans confirm."
Michael peers at the box for a few more minutes and begins cleaning various bits and pieces off his counter.
Devereaux subvocalizes, "And the device? Analysis?" "Scans are inconclusive. Unknown, recommend further investigation." "You got that right."
Michael turns the box over and around, looking at the shiny panel on the underside.
Michael turns the box around, his now-blue glowing hand reaching for that metal wire again.
Jenora frowns, noting _something_ down on the ground, albeit cloaked fairly well... he's probably checking for the same thing. Too much of a coincidence otherwise. She drops down onto the street just behind the figure that seems to be looking at the house, throwing off a moderate amount of both EM and grav-noise in the process.
Devereaux watches... recognizes the glow... and quickly raps sharply on the door, hoping to distract Michael.
Devereaux ripples back into view as he does this, releasing the photokinetic bending of ambient light that kept his image concealed.
Jenora says "Hello" to Devereaux from right behind him.
Michael looks up from behind the box, mindful not to twitch the charged probe.
Devereaux subvocalizes to Bob, "Note, this one is at least a Grade 2 Electrokinetic."
Michael puts the wire on the counter and leans over to touch a mug he had on the counter. The glow on his hand discharges with a pretty audible bang. He puts the box under the counter and goes around to unlock his door.
Jenora walks up to the door as well.
Devereaux says, without glancing over his shoulder at Jenora, "Can I help you?"
Devereaux quickly sizes up the new arrival, physically and at least passively mentally.
Michael opens the door with a wooden squeak, and peers outside. "Hello?"
Jenora has pretty good mental shields. Physically she doesn't look all _that_ impressive. "I presume you're checking out the EMP as well?"
Devereaux notes the lack of passive scan results, but isn't surprised anymore... he's been meeting a lot of interesting people. "Quite. It's source is a box inside our friend's shop here."
Devereaux ahems as the door opens. "Michael? Hey, man, it's me, Devereaux. Remember?
Jenora grins, and waves to Michael over Devereaux' shoulder. "Why am I not surprised you'd be in the middle of this..."
Michael smiles to both. "Yes, I remember you two." He swings the door to his shop fully open and steps into the doorway. "What are you both doing here?" he asks with a smile.
Devereaux's mental 'vibes' aren't nearly as paranoid or guarded as they were when the two first met. He is, to Michael's senses, noticeably wary and cautious, but the sense of things hidden is gone.
Michael doesn't seem to react to either visitor with anything other than friendly surprise at their presence.
Devereaux chuckles, "I see you two have met. I'm here because that little box of yours just kicked off a massive electromagnetic surge."
Devereaux says, "I was curious."
Jenora says, "And I'm here for the same reason; it disrupted reception way out on the island."
Michael mmms? "Box? Oh! That. What does it do?"
Devereaux glances at Jenora in interest at the words 'reception' and 'island'.
Michael backs into the building and gestures his guests inside.
Devereaux nods and steps inside.
Jenora pads in quietly, closing the door behind her.
Michael picks the scorched cup off the floor where it got blasted to and absently puts it on a shelf.
Devereaux folds his arms and looks to the counter where the box has been placed underneath. "Whatever else it might do, it's a potent EMP source. Finding something like that on such a ba...basically undeveloped world is VERY interesting."
Devereaux grins wryly. "I have a keen interest in artifacts like that. We should probably all talk."
Jenora nods. "If it could give me a headache that far away it's pretty strong."
Michael gestures to several of the candles about the place, increasing the illumination as he heads around behind the counter, picking up a black box and putting it on the counter top.
Devereaux watches in interest, and says, "Neat trick, Michael."
Devereaux steps over for a closer look at the box.
Jenora nods, watching, her arms folded across her chest.
Michael's ominous box is about the size of two shoe boxes, and looks to have sustained heavy damage to one side of it. Its got a flat, black panel on the undamaged side, and various pieces of metal, clockwork, gems, and various other items, including what looks like pieces of Devereaux's ship hang out of the gaping hole.
Devereaux looks at Michael, then Jenora... the places his hand on the counter, the end of the wristband near the flat panel of the box. Two almost-invisible filaments extend from the wristband and set themselves against the panel.
Devereaux says, "Let's see what Bob has to say."
Jenora leans over the table to watch this process.
Michael peers around at the box and Devereaux's bracelet.
Michael says, "What's that doing?"
The flat grey display on the bracelet suddenly goes black, the previous depth of what couldn't have been more than a few millimeters suddenly seeming to be a deep, black display area. A small 3-D yellow sphere appears within this depth, and suddenly develops the black eyes and curved mouth of a Smiley-Face. It extends a yellow arm and hand, and waves to Michael with a wink.
Devereaux looks at the display. "He's greeting you. Bob, what are you doing to the box?"
Michael blinks and backs his head off, a little in surprise.
Bob replies crisply, "Assembling a full 3-dimensional schematic of the box and reverse-engineering the circuitry and connections within, compiling a model of likely functions."
The 3-D display area extends into a fair-sized trapezoidal projection above the wristband, for all to view, and a wireframe of the box and its contents quickly begins drawing itself. "This device centers around a complex silicon/nitrogen binary chemical/electrical circuit of indeterminate but highly advanced origin, non-analogous with any known Terrestrial technology. Plus more than a few additions and modifications by Michael." The cobbled on pieces highlight in blue, the original systems in green.
Bob's smiley-persona reappears in a corner of the display. "Are we getting all of that, kids?" he asks with another wink.
Jenora pbpbpbpbts at Bob.
Michael blinks, utterly lost. "You mean it makes these little things over here light up?"
Michael picks the box up and shakes some dirt out of it.
Bob says, "Note the open spacing of parts, most likely for heat dissipation. I surmise that a primary function of the device is/was to lay down a significantly powerful broad-band EM overload field, rendering all nonshielded circuits within a wide range completely nonfunctional. There are also indications of communications jamming and anti-scan devices, as well as what may well be the remains of an optical-holographic cloaking projector. The modifications Michael has made are... are..." Bob sounds puzzled, and intensely curious, "Unidentifiable."
Devereaux's eyebrows furrow at this. "Sounds like..."
Bob finishes for him, "Technology nullifier."
Devereaux looks to Michael. "The X'Chakk that captured my ship used a focused pulse weapon of a similar but directed type to disable and capture my ship."
Bob continues trying to puzzle out Michael's modifications as all of this being said. A low whistle of amazement suddenly sounds from the display area.
Jenora hmmmmms. "Interesting. Very interesting..."
Michael says, "Interesting."
Michael smiles, proud of his work, laying his hand on what looks like a bird's skull that's been wired into the apparatus.
Bob says, "Preliminary weathering and decay dating indicate an age on the order of 15 to 20 thousand Standard Years."
Bob continues, in a slightly frustrated tone, "And I STILL can't figure out what Michael did to this thing!"
Bob says, "By the way, estimated range based on these preliminary analyses would put the optimal field radius at something like 500 to 1000 miles.
Devereaux says, "Michael, where did you find this?"
Devereaux's eyes fairly gleam in interest.
Jenora hmmmms. "That's too young, I would think, actually, for some of the local 'ancient' tech."
Michael says, "You could say I inherited it."
Michael notes that scattered about the shop, usually hidden on top shelves are bits and pieces of this and that...What seems to obviously have been just scrap or trash from some ancient technological race. Nearly all of them are seriously damaged or far beyond reasonable repair. "There are these things all around. Here, look at this!"
Jenora leans back against a wall. "There was a very high-tech race here, but our better estimates put them at closer to half a million years ago... of course, there have been other bits and pieces since then."
Michael reaches over and picks something off a high shelf, a coiled wire. "See? It looks like a wire, and you can bend it all up." Michael proceeds to bend the wire into knots and swirls. "And then, you get it cold..." he dumps it into a nearby bucket of water, and it forms itself into some kind of cursive alien language.
Jenora says, "A memory metal."
Michael says, "Interesting, isn't it?"
Devereaux says, "Memory metal."
Michael smiles toothily, bending the wire back and forth.
Devereaux nods to Jenora.
Devereaux says, "This planet must be swamped with archeotech."
Jenora says, "Yes. Some of which is pretty dangerous, as we already ran into one artifact that shot back at us."
Devereaux says, "What was that?"
Michael wriggles his nose. "I apologize for that...I had no idea it was so dangerous. I would have destroyed it."
Devereaux smirks. "Someone poke around a sentry weapon?"
Michael distractedly pokes around inside the box.
Jenora nods to Michael. "It was an old... base, in effect. A small storage place. Perfectly safe to just about everyone; it seemed to wake up when the Chirr't'tharr arrived, and take shots at them."
Bob's schematic keeps rewriting itself here and there. He finally murmurs, "Devereaux, some of these modification are..."
Michael oh's, "I thought you meant this." He pulls out a gold and silver necklace with a flawless, star-shaped blue crystal about the size of his fist on it.
Devereaux says, "Sounds like the Chirr'T'Tharr tripped functioning defensive sensors and..." He hmmms and looks to Bob, then Michael."
Michael holds the crystal up to the light admiringly.
Bob simply says two words. "Project Cagliostro."
Devereaux's eyes widen slightly, then he nods faintly, and turns his attention to the jewel."
Jenora blinks at Michael's necklace. "Ah, right, that too." She smirks. "What's left of a half-charged mining laser. Designed to punch holes in rocks in space. Pretty lethal in an atmosphere."
Devereaux says, "That crystal looks... familiar."
Michael says, "What is that?"
Devereaux ahs and nods. "I knew it. Lasing crystal."
Jenora says, "Now, what was that about Project Cagliostro?"
Devereaux looks around, gaze sweeping the room, and the bits of technology. "All very fascinating... wish they did me a bit of good."
Michael blinks, most of this talk going over his head. He coils the wire and puts it back on the shelf, leaning over the counter, listening intently to Devereaux.
Devereaux shakes his head. "Nothing, just something from home. A scientific theory."
Jenora says, "Oh...?"
Michael says, "If it is nothing, I am sure you can tell us."
Devereaux shrugs and grins. "Sorry, folks. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." He chuckles and says it casually, playing it up as a joke.
Michael doesn't seem to have heard that joke before. "Then it is something after all."
Devereaux shrugs again, "Yeah, I guess you could say that. It's not my secret to tell, sorry."
Michael raises his eyebrows for a moment, peering at Dev..almost as if through him.
Michael smiles and turns, putting that box of his under the counter.
Jenora raises an eyebrow; she _has_ heard that joke before. "Ooookay."
Devereaux is no stranger to that look, using it himself.
Devereaux says, "So anyway... Jenora, you said something about reception on an island?"
Devereaux says, "I take there's an enclave of technology around here somewhere?"
Michael mutters to himself in his native language as he secures the box.
Jenora smirks. "Well, the Chirr't'tharr are a space-faring race... I'm not one of them, by the way, I just know some of them and am tagging along for now. So yes, you could say they have technology... why?"
Michael says, "They have cheese machines, too."
Devereaux says, "Because I'm looking to hook up with a group in more... technological surroundings."
Devereaux says, "I was just talking to Andromeda and Kainudy of the Embassy."
Devereaux jerks a thumb over his shoulder, towards the house across the way.
Jenora nods. "Andromeda is one of the Chirr't'tharr, and in fact is the sister of the leader."
Devereaux says, "Actually, I'm looking for a replacement spacecraft, and a way home."
Devereaux says, "Or what passes for a leader among them?"
Michael stretches, making a few comfortable, but a little gross popping sounds.
Jenora hehs. "About right."
Devereaux nods. "Then I'm all hooked up. Can you tell me where this island is, exactly?"
Michael points to the rear wall of his shop, but points towards the island nonetheless.
Jenora nods. "It's an island, just a couple dozen kilometers out into the bay.
Devereaux nods. "Thanks."
Michael says, "So should I not put energy into this box here, then?"
Devereaux says, "Ah, no, unless you want the Chirr'T'Thar very upset with you."
Devereaux says, "You have a craft nearby, Jenora?"
Jenora says, "Not just yet, no; not until we can get some shielding set up."
Jenora shakes her head. "No, I came by myself."
Michael hmms, thoughtfully.
Devereaux says, "Really. How did you get here?"
Jenora says, "I flew."
Devereaux ahs, as that reminds him... he draws his las-pistol from its holster... and puts it back in disgust when he smells carbonized circuitry.
Devereaux says, "Without a ship?"
Michael peers at the device.
Michael says, "What is that?"
Jenora nods. "Without a ship."
Devereaux snaps the holster closed. "Class XV Laser Sidearm."
Devereaux hmmms, eyes narrowed. "How do you do that?"
Michael looks from Dev's pistol, to his arm, and back to the pistol.
Jenora smiles back to Devereaux. "Localized gravitational distortions. To wit, I dig a hole and fall into it."
Devereaux says, "I could fly, but its an impractical use of my strength."
Devereaux says, "Ah!"
Devereaux says, "THAT I can understand."
Devereaux says, "You have a gravbelt or something similar?"
Michael sits back on a stool, listing intently, although also deep in thought.
Jenora shakes her head. "Built-in."
Devereaux says, "Ohhhhhh... gravitokinesis!"
Jenora says, "I suppose you could call it that."
Devereaux, for the first time on planet, looks deeply impressed.
Devereaux says, "That Discipline is only just coming into use back home."
Michael's sight seems to linger inordinately on Devereaux's chest.
Jenora says, "Well... it's a long story in my case."
Devereaux nods. "An inborn Talent? A latent ability that was cultivated? A artificially instilled ability?
Jenora says, "More an artifact of what I am. Let's discuss it later, shall we?"
Devereaux says, "If you wish... may I ask one thing?"
Michael mutters something guttural, and his eyes begin glowing blue.
Jenora says, "Go ahead."
Devereaux says, "Are you a product of genetic optimization?"
Jenora seems a little distracted by whatever Michael is doing.
Jenora grins to Devereaux. "No."
Devereaux is looking sidelong at Michael as well, curiously. Even Bob has paused his study to observe.
Devereaux says, "Oh."
Devereaux sounds almost disappointed.
Michael is still peering quite intently at Devereaux's chest.
Devereaux looks down, then up at Michael. "Stop that."
Michael looks up at Devereaux, mutters another thing, and the blue glow fades from his eyes.
Devereaux nods. "Sorry, that's private."
Michael smiles, "It couldn't be more or less."
Devereaux says, "What?"
Michael says, "Do you really wish to involve another in your secret?"
Michael smiles pleasantly at Jenora.
Jenora smiles back at Michael. "We'll see."
Michael lifts his eyebrows and nods.
Jenora says, "Shall we be off, anyway?"
Michael smiles and leans against the back wall.
Devereaux says, "Certainly. Have a destination in mind?"
Jenora says, "Nimby's Refuge."
Jenora says, "The island I was talking about before."
Devereaux says, "Yes. Let's."
Bob ends his scans, retracts his probes, and says, "Sounds good to me!"
Devereaux says, "I'll, ah, meet you there."
Jenora nods to Devereaux.
Jenora waves to Michael. "See you later."
Michael hops off his stool. "Thank you both for stopping by and telling me what that thing is."
Michael says, "Sorry about your side arm, janos. I will compensate you, if you wish."
Jenora says, "Or at least part of what it is."
Devereaux waves, with the arm that holds Bob. "My pleasure."
Devereaux Hmmmms... "How attached are you to that crystal?"
Michael says, "I will trade you, the crystal for your side arm?"
Michael pulls it out of the box it was in.
Devereaux says, "Sounds good to me."
Devereaux hands over the burnt out laspistol.
Jenora pushes open the door, and heads out. "See you there, then."
Michael takes the slagged weapon gingerly.
Devereaux accepts the crystal with a nod and smile. "See you there." He turns, and a faintly shimmering distortion appears in the air before him.
Michael hmms at the object, wondering how it comes apart...
Jenora just pads off down the street for a ways before taking off.
Devereaux steps into the portal, which closes neatly behind him.