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    Thread: Sara's Conundrum

    1. #1
      TXU Hero kevin398's Avatar
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      Cool Sara's Conundrum

      Sara’s Conundrum

      Chapter 1: Training to fight Death

      Sara was a nice young lady, decent to look at and very friendly. She had a lot of friends but when she got tested in school she had abilities many of them didn’t have, and after some preliminary tests she was transfered to a school for special people known as Slayers.

      Their world all but ended a few centuries ago, and now millions of odd creatures swarmed the planet killing and eating the spirits of everything they found. They were both material and energy based creatures and the more they ate the bigger they got, and so they sought out creatures with higher spirit energy, and Humans were at the top of that list.

      It had long been mentioned some people had ‘real spirit’ when they fought or did contests or other things, and it was true. Someone with a lot of energy had an advantage over other,less motivated individuals.

      Also, these people were a bit more rare, and while it was said anyone could attain this ‘spirit’ by looking hard, over the centuries it was proven not to be true. Attitude was not the same as Spirit Energy and while one might wain in hard times, the other was as constant as the sun.

      So today people get found early, then trained to be the saviors of others, and Teams get made and placed to patrol, and through them the millions of creatures are slowly being lowered to what they hope will be a more manageable level.

      They could now teach you to have even more energy, if properly motivated and taught. It was not as simple as being born with it, that part was certain, but being motivated to help or defend meant something too... and ones energy could surge when it was needed...helping you to survive.

      There were a million Slayers around the world, and they were at a disadvantage because the number of Demons they found never seemed to get less no matter how many they killed.So it becomes a perpetual job, training slayers to fight enemies that never seem to end, and then another generation after them.

      Slayers are like the Police or Military of the past, only today they fight for the survival of their entire race and being eaten by a Demon is not the type of thing any Humans wants to see happen, and after a while some Slayers retire with mental problems from seeing just that, and the thought that they couldn’t save that person when the time came. Seeing a screaming, crying person you personally know being bit in two and chewed up is not something you want to see, if ever, but its a reality in this world, as many agree and look sadly thinking it.

      Sara was one such individual, her Spirit Energy dwarfed her friends by a good amount and her ability to use it was second to none in her little school where she lived. Now she was in a different area and bigger school and here she wasn’t as impressive, since many others with the same kind of Energy were brought here to train. What had started out as her being a top end student with huge energy, now made her dead average as even others there laughed at her attempts to catch up.

      But having it is not the same as using it, and they found that out quickly. If you have enormous energy you might not be able to channel it properly. So scoring high on the retention test doesn’t mean you can become a great Slayer, as one loud young man found out the first time on the practice range.

      They were taught to ‘throw ‘ their energy, like a ball on a ball team and you formed your energy into a ball, and tossed it back and forth, and the entire time you needed to hold that orb together even when it was flying to the other person. It was a mental test and a skill you would need later, and while some could do it all day like it was nothing, it was exceedingly hard for others.

      When it was Sara’s turn she easily formed the ball, round and blue, and tossed it gently to her partner who caught it and passed it back. It really was just that simple, but others formed a ball all right, but the minute it left their hands it was gone, and the teacher yelled at them for not concentrating hard enough, and they had to try again and again, until they could do it.

      Fundamental Lesson Number 1...Control... and many had to really strain to hold that thought and even the slightest sound or motion caused them to lose it in a second.

      “If you cant play ball with someone this close how will you hold your power together during a battle?” The teacher would scream, and many who could do it easily tried hard not to laugh to loud at those that just didn’t get it at all. “Again!” he screamed as a few looked like their heads were going to split, holding them between their hands and screaming it hurt...but they really didn’t understand that trying to force the thought isn’t the trick... and it took some a week or more to get it right.

      Chapter 2: Weapons

      When weapons training started the school had a good idea what each was capable of. The young man with the big attitude could form almost anything...if he never had to let go of it...so he got told and trained to make a spear, long and sharp. Then others with more control could do other things. Sara could manipulate her energy really well, even thought she only had a small amount compared to a few others. But she was told not to worry, she was average in retention, not low at all, and her ability to make and hold objects even after she released them from her hands helped her a great deal.

      So while others trained to stab and slice, she got trained to make different things, and throw or drop them on command. Laying an explosive device behind you as you travel can be really helpful when you’re being followed, and throwing small charges can hurt or take down several small creatures at once, cutting down their numbers when they gather close together.

      She became an all purpose Slayer, and many were shocked she could do so much. But she got taught that you can only do what your Spirit Energy allows, and if you overdo it then you’ll suddenly become just as helpless as anyone else.

      “There’s a daily limit..” The teacher added after a question abut just this thing. “Once you’ve used it up then your abilities are gone until you rest a while. So don’t ever go off alone, Teams protect each other.” he mentioned and todays lesson was over.

      But she did decide that knowing this she needed backup to her designs, and so after talking to and watching a friend she could make a short sword in an instant, and it used much less energy and concentration to make it happen.

      “Now you’re covered even in hand to hand.” Got mentioned, and she agreed and started practicing with it out of class and on weekends.

      Physical Fitness was also stressed. If you’re a hundred yards from shelter and being chased by a hoard of creatures then you better be able to make it, or you’ll surely wish you did. So Sara started jogging each day, starting out at a hundred yards, then slowly gaining until she could run for a good while without stopping for breath.

      In an emergency its all up to you, and so there’s no one to blame if things go badly.

      6 months into training and they were doing attacks by 3d creatures on the holo-range. In some instances they seemed almost too real, and half the class saw what it would be like to fail and be eaten, and that was a powerful incentive to get better fast.

      But others took it in stride, and Sara left a few get closer so she could use her sword, and even the instructors nodded appreciatively to see it. She was rapidly becoming the all purpose slayer, and they knew a lot of serious Teams that would want someone like her with them in combat.

      The training also showed them the many types of creatures their computers had seen and added. The worst were ape like creatures with bright red eyes and drooling moths. They were quick and could climb easily, making them a real threat even when you thought you were safe. Then others like lizards, running in packs, and even humanoid shapes all dark and nearly indistinguishable from shadows. But together they were a serious threat to civilization, and had been for years. But with todays advanced training they were losing faster than before, and the Leaders of their world were hoping that someday they would get the upper hand.

      Sara’s senior year she was in the top 5 for Slayer Recruits, and she got told at least 4 top of the line Teams were fighting over her. It was something to hear for a girl that left a small town not more than 2 years ago, but she took it in stride and on graduation she got orders to report to Chambersburg, and Team 4 who obviously won the fight for her.

      It wasn’t that far away, but not as close as she had hoped. She had friends to visit on days off here, but a couple hundred miles away she knew no one, but she knew she would meet new people and get along, its just the way things were.

      Her Team Leader was a guy named James Hudson, and he introduced her to everyone else, and they smiled and welcomed her with open arms. The Team had 5 members, counting her. The tall Team Captain, his Second a young lady that was as tall as many men and strong looking, another smaller young lady who seemed a little shy but smiled a lot, and a young man that seemed to think the world revolved around him.

      He started hitting on Sara the first day, and Helen, the Second grabbed him by the top of the head and squeezed until he swore he wouldn’t do it again, but they all knew better.

      “If he bothers you too much just punch him...” Sara got told as the young man’s eyes popped and even the Leader agreed that he needed to cool it on Team members, and finally he agreed, sadly.

      “He’s our sniper...” Sara got told as she smiled and nodded she understood.” He thinks that makes him cool or something but trust me..it doesn’t.” Helen added as the young man looked sadly away.

      Chapter 3: Patrols

      Sara settled in and at 7 am the next day they were on their first patrol.

      They drove a large heavy armored vehicle, tall enough you had to climb inside and with 4 doors to make it easy to get in and out of quickly in emergencies. Nothing more than an armored jeep it had lots of room for the Team and their hardware.

      They had a base set up in an old school building and from there they traveled out into the countryside looking for trouble. They had cameras set up every so often on trees etc, and that helped to see what was happening even while they were back as base.

      But today was just a normal patrol. Nothing had been seen yet but they knew it was only a matter of time, since creatures were constantly drawn to the city looking for the energy that lived there. And driving along slowly through the countryside was like a magnet to creatures looking for food, and more than once trips like this ended badly as groups of creatures attacked together and overran the Teams the vehicles carried. So they were always on edge while out, and for good reason.

      They were about 5 miles out when a call came in, another Team 10 miles to the South was having a bad day and were calling for assistance and so they turned and ran that way at best speed.

      “That’s Team 7...” Sara got told as they ran and she nodded she understood. Creatures aren’t usually well organized but they do travel in family units it seems. So one large mature animal and then smaller ones, sometimes quite a few of they haven’t been in contact with Security before.

      “Need help...trapped inside our vehicle now, killed a few but they just keep coming...” Was the call and they all gritted their teeth and ran even faster. They an into an old deserted town and in almost the center they saw the vehicle sitting, now swarmed by over a dozen large reptiles, clawing and trying to get inside.

      “How much can the windshield stand?” Sara asked quickly as the Leader said the vehicles were armored and the glass was bulletproof, and she agreed and asked for them to stop here, now still 50 yards away and he agreed as they all piled out.

      “Semi auto...” Sara heard as the sniper went to his alternative gun and set up beside their vehicle waiting on the word to attack.

      “Allow me...” Sara said and cupping her hands over each other she concentrated and in a minute she held 6 large marbles and she gave them a hard throw and they landed short of the animal group but not my much. “ OK now.” She hinted as shots ran out and the animals turned to see the new threat and started running their way.

      But the minute they started towards them the distance closed quickly and one by one they stepped onto those marbles and lost legs and even got thrown into the air by the force.

      “Nice... grenades...” James said, as Sara smiled and said they were mini-mines and that each could hurt something this size badly. “you just paid for your weeks salary.” he hinted as he got his gun out and started shooting too. By now there was only two left moving and one of the combat specialists ran in and cut one up quickly with a sword, and the last one got killed by the snipers automatic weapon.

      The people in the other vehicle slowly got out and two of them needed medical treatment. The two Teams worked together and after a while everyone that needed it had some bandages and healing done for them.

      “We saw three on our local cameras.” The Leader said as James listened.” but when we got here the place was swarming with them. We threw a few grenades into the mess and got a few shots fired, but we got over run.” he added as James agreed against so many they had little chance.

      “They’ve probably been gathering these old houses.” James hinted as the other man agreed.” So when you came rolling in they rushed you. happens form time to time just be more careful.” he added as the man agreed they were careless today.

      “I better get my people some medical care.” he said and they got back into their vehicle and turned and ran back the way they came.

      “Even the best among us gets careless sometimes.” James hinted as they split up and checked all the houses for more and after a while they went back to their own patrol and finished their day with another mishap.

      “How many of those little mines can you make in a day?” Sara got asked and she thought about that and said maybe 20 or so and the Team got the biggest smile and James said he was glad she joined them then, because none of them had any explosives skills and they do come in handy.

      “I use explosives at a distance and a short sword for self-protection.” Sara said as everyone nodded they understood. Throwing explosives takes a lot out of you, but something you hold in your hands takes next to nothing at all, and without that fact half the Slayers out there wouldn’t be doing their jobs today.

    2. #2
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      Chapter 4: Training

      For two weeks they fought and laid around waiting on the next battle. It got to be a boring little rut, but it didn’t last. Sara got summoned back to the main camp and once there she went to a meeting with some other young soldiers. They filed in and sat down in an auditorium and after a few minutes three older officers came in and one stepped up to talk.

      “You’ve all had a little time to see the real world now, so we called you here to see if any of you wants to try and change their specialty, this will be the only time we ask this, so if you find that doing what you are now isn’t good for you...speak up now.” he said and there was a lot of mumbling and a few did put up their hands and when asked all had reasons why.

      The list ran from..” I thought it would be easier’ to ‘ I just don’t like this and I saw something cooler’ and even the teachers smiled and shook their heads at that one.

      “Very well then, those of you wishing to retrain, follow Captain Harris now.” He said as a few got up and left the room. “I take it the rest of you are doing OK the way you are?” He hinted as everyone nodded and a few even smiled that he was asking them roughly the same question again.

      “So then, is there any questions about what you’ve already been doing?” He asked as a few put up their hands and he answered them as quickly as they ask. So after a few more sillier questions than hers, Sara put up her hand and the officer pointed to her next.

      “Is there training...or some exercise that lets us gain a bigger Energy Reserve?” She asked as a few chuckled at that and one or two yelled right out that it was impossible. But the Commander disagreed, and everyone got quiet again.

      “You’re just out of school with only a few weeks basic experience yet. When I was in your shoes my Energy Level was around 45%, but now after years of hard work its over 69%, so yes...just doing the job and exercising those muscles inside you will let you gain more Energy Reserves over time.” he announced as many looked surprised and a few nodded with a huge grin, knowing they would get better.

      “Of course I have a kill rank of over 1200 now...so you have a ways to go.” he added and laughed at their faces, since even after a few weeks work many had a rating of less than 20.

      “Do the job to the best of your ability, and you’ll get stronger, thats the only way. The Energy Gland inside us are all different but use them wisely and like any other muscle they get stronger...and thats it for our lesson today.” he added as many laughed.

      “Please report to the officers at the front desk for reassignment.” he said and walked away as everyone slowly got up and started back out. Some to rush to get reassigned but others stopped to talk to old friends and try to make some new ones.

      Sara walked out like everyone else and went to the front desk , but another lady was waiting and took her to the side and inside a room there to talk. Sara was surprised since no one had mentioned this yet, but she waited while the lady checked her ID and finally smiled and said they had something new for her, and Sara smiled and waited.

      The officer pulled a silver briefcase out form behind a desk and opened it and inside was what looked like a flare gun, and Sara must have looked lost because the lady got a good laugh at that.

      “Our reports say you don’t have a very good throwing arm but make small explosives.” the lad added and Sara saw a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.” This is made of adjustable materials...in other words...you can adjust it using your energy. If its not comfortable to use like this just adjust it until it is.” She said and took it out and handed it to Sara who tried gripping it and looking down the sights but it didn’t feel right at all.

      “Do you mind if I try adjusting it?” Sara asked as the lady said it was hers she could do whatever she wanted with it, and Sara closed her eyes and in a minute it had a completely different handle, and the barrel looked more slim and smoother and still had at least a 1 inch bore inside it, as the teacher looked impressed.

      “Thats better,” Sara said and handed it back and the teacher saw the new grip and the fact the barrel was a little different too and she smiled really wide at how fats she caught onto this.

      “Instead of making charges in your hand and trying to throw them...use this...put the charges right inside it, like a shell for a gun, then aim and fire it at the enemy. If our plans work out this will be like a mini-morar or something depending on what you charge it with.” She said as Sara looked impressed too and thanked her for the new tool.

      “You better go get your orders, there are vehicles waiting for you.” She got told and after stopping at the front desk to get a copy of her orders Sara walked outside and found a tall thin man leaning on a big armored jeep thing and she showed him her orders and he smiled and shook her hand.

      “Captain Collins...” he said as she introduced herself as well.” so you’re a explosives expert huh? Boy can we use you in Team 12.” he said as they got inside and started out towards the suburbs.

      “Still learning but getting better.” Sara admitted as he smiled and nodded he understood.

      “Well I got the order to pick you up this morning and so I got to see your file, pretty impressive. You throw charges then they lay there until stepped on. Your control must be amazing.” he added as she just laughed because it seemed normal to her.

      “So...whats in the case? Your old Team has sent your stuff over to us already, so I didn’t know there was something else.” he hinted as Sara opened the case and showed him and he pulled over along the road to see.

      “Its new...” Sara started and explained how it was supposed to work and he nodded seriously and then started driving again.

      “Research is always trying to come up with new things.” he hinted as she agreed.” But this is the first time something like this has made it to my Team, so we’ll have to see how it goes.” he added and together they agreed that training with the new tool started tomorrow.

      Chapter 5: Gunner...and Prodigy

      Sara had a reputation for making and using explosives of different types, and with this new tool she practiced making shells for it, even some ahead of time, and saved in a bag she carried on her belt.

      It could open with a flip of the wrist and hitting a small lever, or be loaded by just concentrating and making the next shell inside while she aimed. But it did take a little more energy for one shot than she was used to, but at 50 yards it could blow a lizard or small ape in two instantly, and do damage to everything close by. It really was a mini-mortar and her teammates cheered to see her getting more used to it, and getting more accurate too.

      Sara didn’t know, but her Commander was recording a lot of her progress and sending it back to HQ. It was a new idea, using a tool to help Slayers got more from their skills. And it seemed she got the call to be one of the first to try it, and they were pretty happy with the results.

      “On days when we aren’t busy she can make two or three shells in advance.” he reported, and since she didn’t need to worry about them after that....she said...then she put them in her pouch and forgot about them, but when they were needed she didn’t need to worry about her energy status, because she had ammo made in advance...to the surprise of a few researchers who thought that was impossible.

      “The concentration alone must be incredible.” Got mentioned, but the Commander mentioned that she really did ignore them and went on to do other things, even using more power on missions, and mouths fell open all around the lab. “Here’s what we want you to do.” He got told, and a scanner got sent and he had everyone get scanned daily, and when Sara made ammo, he scanned her before and after, then the next day when she made none he scanned her again, looking for any loss she had because of unconsciously holding the ammo solid overnight. And there was no loss...and even the second the results got sent back researchers started screaming that this was against all the laws of energy...but the facts didn’t change as the tests went on for more than a month.

      “How can she do this??” Got asked loudly as the Commander finally just gave them all a hard stare and said not to ask him...ask her. And he had her come in and they went on about energy loss and solidity, and she just shrugged as they went crazy on her.

      “I don’t need to work to hold them together.” She announced as people got quiet all over the room.” I make them solid to begin with, thats what you’re supposed to do right? So once they are made...they just lay there in my pouch until I need them. Like a can of soda or a clip of pistol ammo. No reason to worry about it, it’ll be there when I need it.” She announced as the room looked oddly at each other and finally one old man stepped up to ask.

      “You use Spirit Energy to form objects right?” he asked as she agreed.” Energy is just energy. Its not solid, so when you look away or get busy doing something else, it dissolves, because you aren’t thinking about holding it together anymore.” He mentioned as she sighed a big sigh and shook her head no.

      “I use my energy to make it... Period. Then its made solid, so it doesn’t need constant attention, it IS solid. Just like others making swords or lances, only mine is ammo.” She mentioned as he looked almost sick hearing it. That means she used energy to form solid matter...something that had been theorized but never really done before.

      “The swords others use are energy, you know that right??” he asked as she agreed. “They cant lay them down or put them in some rack for later, they will disappear if they don’t concentrate on keeping them solid.” He mentioned as she looked lost for a second then asked...why?...and he looked tired thinking this conversation was being recorded.

      “This is the way I have always done things, and I passed the Academy doing it this way.” She added as the man said that everything she made back then disappeared after a while and she disagreed saying that when they were through with them she just took them back for later, and he fainted and the link when black.

      “You can take the energy back when you don’t need it anymore?” Her Commander asked as she nodded agreement, and she made a few small charges, handed one to him to see, and he agreed they were solid. Then she put them all in one hand and closed her eyes and a second later they were gone, and she smiled as he looked surprised.

      “No need to waste energy.” She added and turned and walked out and he made a second report of this, and Sara got a call to return to Head Quarters immediately.

      “We need full scans of this new ability.” The researcher in charge was saying, as security cameras saw Sara getting out of a vehicle in front of the base. “It could possibly be a new Evolution in Energy Management! And I want every detail recorded.” He demanded as workers ran everywhere.

      Sara was brought in and stripped down into hospital gowns and then the tests began. They measured her energy down to 3 decimals and then she made things and they measured again. Then she took them back...something never seen before...and every bit of her energy returned, making her chances of surviving longer in battle or on normal patrols 3x greater than anyone else.

      “So its true then...” The Manger of the Center said as he watched the videos.” This is a monumental occasion! What we are witnessing might well be the next evolution of Mankind on this world! See to it she is handled with care, and made comfortable until I get orders on what to do now.” he said as it was done, and Sara got everything she ever asked for, and it was becoming blatantly obvious that something big was happening.

      Chapter 6: Lab Rat...or Human Being?

      In two weeks Sara was still there as meeting after meeting went on about how to proceed. It seemed that it broke down into two camps...one that said she had no rights and that any experiment was OK in her case to see how well her abilities could carry on, even into a new generation. And another, that demanded that this wasn’t her fault and she shouldn’t be punished for it.

      “If she is indeed a new Evolution, then as scientists its our duty to see it gets expanded as quickly as possible.” One man demanded as another said that as a healthy female she would...in time have a family...and then they would see if any of them got her special abilities or not, and they fought about it for days until the President himself saw the reports and videos of the proceedings and HE made the decision they couldn’t.

      They could do research on her...and that had already begun. But she was not their property...and many looked sad that he said that just like that because they saw grants and fame coming for years to come if they won.

      She was to be returned to active duty...something no one had thought should be done. But they DID have the right to monitor her and see how well her abilities manifested into the Future, and so Sara got a special outfit to wear, a new Uniform that made sure everyone knew she was unique. It looked nice too but had cut and burn resistance that was unlike anything seen on the front lines before.

      Like her, it was the newest of the new, and with it they felt more comfortable leaving her out of their sight.

      It also had a set of instruments made in, and cameras saw what she saw, and audio was made at every site where she fought or used her abilities, and as one researcher lamented not keeping her at the lab, others were thrilled to see new data coming in, and her file got larger and larger as meetings got held to discuss her abilities as time went forward.

      But as they all swooned over every sight and sound, one man with a few brain cells more than others took copies of her speeches explaining how she did things and made his own research team, and with this new teaching style and info he turned towards the Academy...because something told him her abilities might not to that unique after all.

      The teachers there graduated Sara without a second thought. Hell, they didn’t consider her special in any way. But they had been wrong, and that made him wonder how many times in the past they had failed to see the same thing in others.

      So after getting permission from the Board of Education he moved into offices right there, and started testing every student that seemed to have even the tiniest bit of skill in Sara’s direction.

      In 6 months he found two others, one young man that just started that year, and a senior , a young lady almost ready to go into the field.They both passed the standard tests, but after seeing the videos and hearing Sara explain how she did things they instantly agreed they understood what she was saying. And within a week of starting special training they were making tiny things that didn’t seem to use any energy at all, but stayed solid for ever after making them and putting them into storage.

      They were only small marbles like Sara had made in the past, but it proved his theory...that Sara wasn’t alone in her new abilities... but the teachers at the Academy just didn’t know to watch for new skills like these. And his research got sent to the Presidents office itself, and orders came down saying to watch for special students from this day forward, and a new era in teaching began that very week.

      And far away it was seen, and another success was listed for this world. They had special people forever among them but never saw it...until one special young woman who understood what they didnt stepped forward... and changed their Educational System for ever.

      “Thats another one...we should have been doing something sooner.” Got mentioned and that statement alone got a long and boring lecture started about if they had the right or not, but the Universe got better. It was an obvious fact, and so maybe this argument wouldn’t last as long as the last one.

      But they wouldn’t stop now, because they were the panicle of Evolution in the Universe and if they didn’t help...who would?

      The End of the Conundrum Series, enough of short stories for a while. next one back to something longer and more detailed.

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