6278/The Aurora Shell and the Blast Fall

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The Aurora Shell and the Blast Fall
Date of Scene: 30 December 2018
Location: Outside The City
Synopsis: A team of Watch scientists try to learn something about the Aurora Shell and the destructive lightning that falls from it.
Cast of Characters: Solty Revant, William Pauwel, Corona Arclite, August Kohler, 6655

Solty Revant has posed:
     Those entering Solty's world - simply known as 'The Planet' - through typical means of the main warp gate would find themselves in a gigantic dome that encloses the gate. It is apparently for security purposes, but it certainly doesn't give the feel that it is meant merely for the safety of the City.

     Assuming one does not cause any trouble, a day pass for the City is easy to obtain with only minor fees and some picture taking much as one might experience when getting a driver's license, and visitors receive an I.D. card very similar to one.

     Once outside the containment area, taxis and busses are available to make travel through the sprawling metropolis easy. The target location of the proposed experiment is well outside the city limits, in an area that is very similar to the Grand Canyon area of the United States. There is no water to be found, only sand and dust and big rocks along the canyon's edge. Here, far from any populated areas, any mishaps will only kill those that are attending the experiment.

     And naturally, the energetic android with the green hair has insisted on joining Will on his outing. She has been waiting for him outside the containment area.

William Pauwel has posed:
There're experiments to run! Research to be done! Of course, Will will need all kinds of neat beepy and boopy tools to poke and prod at the enormous thunderdome that surrounds this mysterious planet. Once the general rigamarole at the city is finished and done with and everyone comes away with the necessary identification and registration and all that, Will takes a little bit to hire a transporter to carry a whole stack of interesting devices out to what seems at first glance to be an empty plot of land out in the middle of nowhere--

And that would be exactly accurate, in fact. This spot of wasteland out in the middle of nowhere is /exactly/ where Will wants to be. There's absolutely nothing out here that might end up obliterated by the fist of a wrathful upper-atmosphere-god, after all! Nothing except maybe Will and his friends and one peculiar android girl.

Will himself comes rolling in on what looks like some kind of weird scifi motorcycle, chugging alongside what appears to be a semi truck from straight out of the 1970s. "Alright pardner," Will calls to the driver. "This is the spot! We'll unload and get a camp goin'. It's time... To do some sciencin'!"

What did Will bring along, exactly?

Well, a few tents of course. There's also a whole bunch of telescoping antennae, ostensibly to help redirect stray lightning bolts, and... a whole stack of sensing equipment, waveform printers, and big ol' satellite dish-looking things that get pointed up toward the sky. Of course, this is just the ground stuff.

"We're gonna need some way of gettin' a sensor module into atmosphere to probe closer t' the barrier," Will says as the camp takes shape. "I've got a few ideas. Rockets, mostly. But that doesn't exactly make for the most controlled ascent..."

And of course, he's brought along some people to help keep watch on things... Or even to help him with the science at hand...!

Corona Arclite has posed:
    Corona has come along a bit more loaded in gear than usual. She may not be specifically technically a scientist but that doesn't mean she's not got her fair share of equipment for analyzing weird things. That's a family trait, poking your nose in things that could be potentially dangerous for the sake of advancement.

    Or just being too curious for your own good.

    Most of the grumbling comes as mechanical clicks and rattles from Hopalong, because the robotic jackalope is the one that has to carry the extra weight like some sort of pack animal. "Oh quit yer whining. You're stronger." She stops and rubs her hands together, tail giving a few flicks behind her. "So, this is where the crazy stuff is happening, huh?"

August Kohler has posed:
August Kohler is on his best behavior. Travelling with one of his best friends, William Pauwel, he wants to find out what the Aurora Shell is...and if they can harness it for something else. Energy solutions, defense...weaponization. So, while he dislikes the fact that there's a border dome around the warp gate (though he knows it probably couldn't keep a team out if they really tried), he's not causing any problems, and accepts his ID.

When they reach the canyon area, August, dressed in hiking clothes and with a large backpack of any necessary supplies, moves to help set up the tents. "Alright, if we get lightning fried, it's Will's fault." Hopefully they'll find something interesting doing this.

And additionally, August understands mechanical engineering, so if Will needs any help setting up the machines, he'll give it a shot with some instructions. "Let's get to work."

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    Not all worlds allow free travel from one to another, it seems. Solomon had decided to pay a visit to Solty's world as a break from picking fights, but hadn't bargained on the checkpoint being as inspection-heavy as it was - he got questioned extensively on why he had multiple weapons on him - but he got his day pass at the end of it. Mental note: acquire a less threatening wardrobe than medieval-style armor.

    Once past the security dome, Solomon has roughly no idea where to go first. The heavily-scienced metropolitan area looks nothing like the high-fantasy magic world of Gielinor he calls home, and he's hopelessly lost until he sees a familiar face. "Solty! Glad to see a face I recognize..." Then he trails off to take a big look around The Planet. "...what... IS all this?! I've never seen /anything/ like this before!"

    Once arriving at the Big Empty Plain where the sciencing is to be done, Solomon has yet another moment of awe, marveling at even more stuff he doesn't understand. Well, only one question to ask in this situation... "Would it be alright if I watch whatever this is?"

Solty Revant has posed:
     "Hello Mister Solomon!" Solty calls out when he appears. "I didn't think you would be coming. Are you a warrior, magician, -and- a scientist?" she asks as they drive toward the test area. They may notice the small convoy being joined by an old but very well maintained muscle car driven by a tired but dangerous-looking man in his mid-40s.

     As Will and the others get things set up, Solty smiles to Solomon. "Of course! I'm here to watch, too. And Roy is here to make sure no one gets hurt!" She waves to Roy, who is apparently the man in the muscle car. (https://goo.gl/images/QzpMKW). He walks up to stand beside Solty, who gives him a big hug around the waist. Very much around the waist, because Roy is not a small man by any means. "This is a mistake, Solty. There's a reason no one tries to study the Aurora Shell."

     At the mention of something being sent into the sky, Roy's expression turns dangerous. "You will not send anything up! The moment it gets close to the Shell the lightning will strike, and it won't strike just the device you send up! You think these flimsy rods will deflect a blast like the one you are trying to cause?"

     Solty just kind of hangs on to Roy, trying to keep him calm. "Roy! It's okay! These guys know what they're doing, and Mister Solomon wouldn't let anything happen to me either! Plus, if they find out what's causing it, we can keep any more Blast Falls from happening!" Roy lets out a resigned sigh as Solty pleads with him. "Fine...but we're getting to a safe distance the moment they launch something. They can stay here and die for all I care."

Corona Arclite has posed:
"Maybe. But this ain't just whatever stuff the locals been using, either." Corona tugs her goggles down properly over her eyes, because safety first even in Mad Science. Hopalong drops the pack of stuff next to her and Corona rummages around inside for a moment before pulling out a highly greebled piece of equipment. It's got a lot of dials and levers on it, many which she's fussing with already. Need to make sure everything is being properly recorded after all. The vixen mutters to herself as she makes adjustments and checks frequencies.

"Something that covers that much area has gotta have a really big source of power to it somewhere though," Corona muses, moreso to herself but it's easy to hear. She tends to talk to herself a lot while working.

William Pauwel has posed:
"Hey miss Corona!" Will says with a cheery little wave. "Good of y'all to join us!" The more sensor packages, the better! After all, they're doing SERIOUS SCIENCE here.

But Roy's warning isn't unmerited. Will grins and extends a hand to this man who has all the reason in the world to say no to whatever it is they're doing. "Hey there sir. Y'all must be Roy! Solty's talked about you a lot. Nice to meet you! Don't worry, we ain't going too far up. Only as far as is safe. I just need a sensor higher up than we are right now. What we can do is set up a remote controller and ride out a bit of a ways to do the thing. Though um, I'll admit that anything you could tell us to stay within safe margins would be useful. Though I know this is a... really delicate subject fer you."

"August," Will calls. "I've got a balloon o'er in the truck. Could you get that and start settin' it up? I think we should be able to pull a controlled ascent long as we can set up a long enough winch to keep it tethered. If not, we'll just need to make do with what we've got."

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    So /this/ is the Roy that Solty had been talking about. Solomon's a bit apprehensive around Roy, despite being slightly taller and bulkier than him and /probably/ stronger. There's something to be said about Roy's demeanor. Solomon opts to leave Solty's guardian well enough alone and focus on this 'science' thing. But first, Solty's questions. "Ah--I'm completely new to this thing you call science. As far as I can tell it's just trying to do magic without actually casting spells, yet it's accomplished much more than anything done with runes. So I'm a bit fascinated." He takes a look at the goings-on, William and August setting up their experiment. "How strong is one of these lightning strikes, anyway?"

August Kohler has posed:
As Roy speaks up, August glances over to him as he unpacks his stuff. "With all due respect, sir, we've been doing incredibly dangerous things for years. We'll be fine." Despite August and Will looking like young adults at the most. There's a nod to Solomon, who isn't in a faction to August's knowledge so he's okay with him. "The lightning strikes were said to be enough to wipe out an entire building. Be prepared to bug out if it comes down on us."

And then, August moves to grab the balloon from the truck, setting it up. He's decently quick at it, as he replies to Corona. "Hopefully, we'll find this source investigating."

Once the balloon's set up, August moves over to Will. "All done. I'll set up defensive buffs with the Tin Soldier if it looks like we're going to get fried."

Solty Revant has posed:
     "Actually, they can be much stronger. Strong enough that nearly half the city was destroyed in the Blast Fall." Roy says, answering several questions at once. He shakes Will's hand, his grip much stronger than it needs to be. "Well, it's good to hear she's making new friends, I guess. But like I said, at the first sign of trouble I'll take Solty and get out of here." He lets Will's hand go, then rubs his own forehead. "And just so you know, the altitude ceiling is about 5000 feet up. Any higher than that and you risk a strike." August's reassurance draws little more than a raised eyebrow from Roy. "You kids don't look like you're old enough to buy beer, let alone conduct this kind of experiment."

     Solty gives Roy another hug, then stays nearby as she watches the experiment unfold. "It's so nice of you guys to volunteer to help, though!" she adds, trying to take some of the edge off of Roy's posturing and threats and general pessimism. Solomon's words cause Solty to blink in surprise. "Huh. I never thought about it that way. I guess magic and technology are a lot alike, huh?" Solomon would definitely feel Roy's eyes on him as Solty follows the big warrior around.

Corona Arclite has posed:
Corona laughs a bit at the comment on other people's ages. "Looks tend to be like a book 'round the Multiverse, pardner. What you see is only part of the story. An' sometimes misleadin'."

She hmms softly as she reachs into the pack again, this time pulling out a pair of cables, tossing one end of clamps to the others. "Hook those to whatever we're groundin' things on." She takes the other end and clamps them onto the bases of her mecha-jackalope's antlers. "Hopalong's got an electrostatic disperser built into him, he can take some of the charge iffen it does get struck." Or might be more like when, with these people.

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    When August said that a lightning strike could destroy an entire building, Solomon got a little worried. When Roy corrected that to be half a city? Solomon instantly shot his hand into one of his waistpouches and pulled out a holy-looking coin, gripping it very, VERY tightly. "So, uhhhh... how durable is everyone here? Because risking something that can destory a city of THAT size is a lunatic's errand!" Solomon wildly gestures back toward the metropolis everyone had come from, visibly flustered and panicked, still gripping that divine coin of his.

    Putting next to no effort to conceal his flusteredness, Solomon does his best to at least respond to Solty. "From what I've seen, technology is a lot more effort and way too much risk to maybe do better than magic. We've never had an /accident/ level cities before!" He takes a couple breaths to compose himself. "So... what information do we expect to get from our efforts here?"

William Pauwel has posed:
"Ahahahaha, well I know it doesn't look like it," Will laughs, "But I'm a seasoned explorer. My homeworld ain't too different from yours, just... We have more than one city. So this kind of situation's somethin' real close to my heart. I'll do whatever I can t' make this work out right."

Will nods to Corona and August and begins setting up the last of the equipment. He hooks a set of grounding cables to a strange black platform and lashes /that/ to the balloon. "Alright, plasma emitter's ready," Will mutters, "Power cable's set. Sensors are all online. "Corona, y'all wanna do me a favor and set up a second listenin' station out that way a bit?" Will gestures vaguely out into the wilderness, "Iff'n it's a 5-thousand feet, that's 'round one and a half kilos. We're going to need a second balloon t' keep watch on the first from a lower altitude. August, y'all'll neeed to go take /this/ balloon out a ways and make sure the connections are set. We're gonna set a few pitons in the ground to the launch site and run cable. Fortunately, I brought quite a bit."

What's the plan, exactly?

Apparently send the balloon up from a safe distance, then keep watch with a whole bunch of equipment. "I'll be mannin' the computers and sensors o'er here," he says, attaching a whole bundle of cables to... His... gun? Once set, he turns again to August. "Get clear when you've got the balloon set. Worst case we'll shoot 'er down. I don't want you gettin' caught up in a bolt that big."

"Judgment," Will calls, "Let's get this show on the road. I'll rely on y'all fer data collection, pardner."

Perhaps not to August's or Corona's surprise, but maybe to Solomon's and Roy's, the young man's strange, scifi-looking hardgun flashes blue once and then again, as a crystal-clear voice calls out. Roger. Beginning data collection and analysis protocols. I am ready, William Pauwel.

August Kohler has posed:
August starts to clear away from the balloon as Will sets out, and replies to Roy dryly. "I'm twenty." Probably not reassuring, but he seems confident, even if he does plan on not getting struck by lightning.

To Solomon, August just sighs. "Relax. We're not going to piss off the lightning dome. And if we do, I'll interpose the Tin Soldier if necessary." He taps the mirrored bracelet on his wrist. Probably also not reassuring. "If you have a way of making this less dangerous for us, though, you're free to contribute. We're possibly able to make a groundbreaking discovery here, after all."

Solty Revant has posed:
     Roy just grumbles as all three of the scientists insist no one will get hurt even if the Aurora Shell does react. Solty looks facinated by all of this, trying to get a better look at each device that is deployed or hooked up or activated. Her ears twitch up and down at that voice responds to Will's commands. "What was that?" she asks.

     Roy...actually smirks with some level of approval at Solomon. "Exactly. They're just asking to get vaporized by the Aurora Shell's lightning blast. That's why Solty and I are going to be over there." He grabs Solty by the wrist and tugs her toward his car. "Come on Solty. We'll come back if they don't get blown up." he says. Solty obviously doesn't want to go, but doesn't really fight. "But Roy, don't you want to see this? This is real science at work!" Roy just snorts. "Not a chance. I lost Rita to the Blast Fall. I'm not going to lose you to some pointless experiment. We don't even know what these guys are actually after." he says. A couple of cardoor slams later and Roy and Solty are rolling away to an even safer distance. Solty is pressed against the window even as Roy drives away, wanting to see what happens. She's been out in the Multiverse after all, and if Yang is any indication then four people should be able to weather even an Aurora lightning strike.

     As the two balloons ascend...not much seems to happen. The wind continues to blow gently, the sun continues to shine down, and high overhead if one has very good eyes is the slight shimmer of the Aurora Shell. It's name is likely derived from the way the different colors flow through it in a steady wave-like pattern. It's rather pretty when one ignores the possibility of a cataclysmic event happening.

     Nothing at all happens...until the balloon actually passes 5000 feet. As soon as it does, sensors all over would light up with warnings of a power buildup somewhere high overhead. The level of power would indicate a source likely generating terawatts of power! The buildup happens in less than a second, and second later the lightning strike happens. A bolt of pure white energy that definitely looks like lightning with its jagged path through the sky, and when it hits the first balloon is completely destroyed before the bolt continues downward, striking the ground directly below the balloon and only partially being drawn in by the various rods and other devices meant to draw the power of a lightning bolt away.

     The powerful crack of thunder that follows makes it easily mistakeable as actual lightning, and one can easily see why people who never tried to study the phenomenon would believe it to be lightning. The flash is plenty bright to cause temporary blindness if one's vision wasn't protected, and just like lightning it lasts only a moment. But the power unleashed by it has shattered the rock beneath the balloon. If they were set up very close to the edge of the cliffs then the site might be at risk of actually toppling into the canyon!

     Once it is all said and done, little lights like embers from a fire start falling from the sky.

Corona Arclite has posed:
Corona Arclite smirks, getting exactly at what Will is intending with scattering their sources of imput around the location. "Fine idea, that." But how's she going to get that far out so quickly, one might ask.

Corona pulls another piece of gear out of inventory and drops it on the ground in front of her. It rattles and click-clacks a few times, then unfolds to ratchet a pair of wheels and steering bar into place. In the end it looks like some kind of brass fitted, clockwork driven segway. A good gadgeteer is never without a means of getting around.

It sputters a few times as Corona steps on and revs it, then chugs off in the indicated direction to set up her own spot.

Hopalong just sits there looking as grumpy as the construct can, being used for just an oversized electrical source.

Even with all the elaborate sensory devices being carried around, its the tingle in her fur that Corona notices first. "Oh oh, we've got somethin' coming," she yips. "Hold on, this is gonna be a doozy--ACK!" Followed by a louder yelp as her device actually bursts apart in a plume of smoke and sparks as the output from the dome completely overloads it. "Damn! Good thing Ah got my goggles on."

Hopalong doesn't get so lucky, since he's hooked right up to the grounding equipment. Part of the discharge surges through the construct, causing it to jerk and rattle around sporatically, like a robot being short circuited in an old cartoon, before finally clunking over.

That's going to be a bitch to repair, but better it than her. That's what assistants are for!

August Kohler has posed:
As Roy and Solty leave, August shrugs, watching the readings with the others. When the power starts to build up...he glances into his mirror and shouts. "Persona!" The Tin Soldier manifests in a flash of blue energy, grabbing August and suddenly starting to dash away from the site. "Will, other guys, move!"

And then the lightning impacts. It blasts the Tin Soldier off its foot-and-rifle, on top of August, burnt but not badly due to distance from the epicenter. August slowly moves the Persona off from on top of him after a few moments, looking at the cracks in the ground and the smouldering site.

August actually cracks a smile. This is...that much power, it's dangerous. It needs to be removed.

And they can use it.

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    Despite Roy's warning about the dangers thereof, and his and Solty's departure from the impending strike zone, Solomon sticks around to watch. He's stepping away a bit, but still very much close enough to get caught in the blast when it hits! The blast comes and goes before he can react with any more than throwing his hands up uselessly in the way, but... he's still standing. A good half a minute passes before this fact registers and he relaxes. "So... that's the threat then." It's clear he's still tense; he's methodically inhaling and exhaling in between statements. "It's... that wasn't that bad." Inhale, exhale. "Certainly not destructive enough to raze an entire city..." Inhale, exhale. "Unless it gets worse?" Inhale, exhale, glance toward William. "What did your tools learn? Anything our eyes didn't?"

William Pauwel has posed:
Well. Maybe Roy was right about the whole 'this is a bad idea' thing. The first thing Will notices is the smell of ozone, then there's a pop of arcing electricity leaping across the metal of his artificial limbs. "That's weird," he mutters. "We're far enough away from the balloon, we should be o--"


When the blast clears, Will is... coughing on a lungful of soot amidst a whole bunch of crackling equipment. Thank God they grounded the lot of it. And that Ancient technology uses a /lot/ of optics. "Hooooooo-leeee crap and a half, that was a bolt," Will wheezes, dusting off one of his computer terminals. "Judgment, did you catch /anything?/"

Of course I did. A single bolt of that magnitude is insufficient to terminate my functions. The gun beeps twice more. Transferring.

Will's expression turns from excited to thoughtful to pensive to completely and utterly baffled. "This... This can't be right. This much energy out of a lightning bolt...? No, hold on--" Will turns and moves to another terminal and starts fiddling around with what looks like a video recording. "Rolling back footage. What..."

"What..." he presses a hand to his face. "...Is /this?/ Judgment, can you filter out some of the glare? I need to see..." His fingers play around on the screen, "This area. Frame range plus-minus ten. Filter to monochrome and screen out the visible spectrum."


"That's..." Will breathes, "That doesn't look like a natural phenomenon."

There, on the image, a column of energy, bright in monochrome white, streaking through the sky and into the aurora.

"...What is going on here...?"

Solty Revant has posed:
     Roy and Solty, now several hundred feet away...still get pelted with falling debris. Roy's car takes a few hits, causing a broken window and some deep dents. Will is likely going to receive a bill for that. Solty though leaps out of the car against Roy's objections and runs back even faster than Roy drove away. "Solomon! Will! Corona! August! Are you guys alright?!" she calls out, skidding to a stop in the blast zone as the dust is still clearing.

     She blinks a few times as it seems that everyone is not only alright, but continuing on as if this is typical of their experiments. Which...is a little worrying. She makes her way to Solomon first to make sure he is alright, then gives him a hug before heading over toward Corona and August in turn before finally heading to Will. "What do you mean?" she asks, her sharp ears having caught what he was saying. She looks at the image, then tilts her head. "Did you catch a shooting star or something?"

     Roy finally rolls up, and he does not look happy. "See?! It's just as I told you! Messing with the Aurora Shell is just too dangerous! It isn't worth the risk to the people of the City!"

William Pauwel has posed:
"You're right, the Aurora Shell /is/ dangerous," Will says to Roy's outburst. "But not for the reason you think. Judgment, bring up the image, large screen projection." A nearby device flickers and, after a few sparks, displays a holographic screen with the relevant image in large-scale. "Here," he points at that strange column of light. "Look at that. That's not lightning. The bolt wasn't, either. More like a directed plasma discharge-- but that's not as important. That looks like something beyond the Aurora Shell is intentionally firing at targets that reach altitudes of exactly 5000 feet."

The tinkerer shakes his head, then pauses and looks to the sky, eyes narrowing. "...Were those... sparkles there the last time, too? August, Corona, y'all mind doin' me a favor an' tryin' to capture samples of that stuff if you can?"

Corona Arclite has posed:
Corona Arclite dusts herself off a few times. "Ah reckon that weren't just lightning." Then scoops up what remains of her own device. "Ah'm fine missy. Been through worse explosions than that!" She laughs, though at the end it cuts off into a bit of light coughing as she tries to clear her lungs out. "Com'n Hopalong, get up."

The mecha-jackalope doesn't move, just hisses and clacks in annoyance at her for putting it through that. "Oh don't be a baby. At least ya didn't blow up this time."

This time, she says.

"Less, sample collector." She pats pockets a few times, before finally pulling out a gun-shaped contraption with several tubes on it. "Ah, here it is." She flicks a tube with her claws to make sure it's not busted, and then tries to suction up some of the glittery sparkles before they fade entirely.

August Kohler has posed:
August eventually approaches the others again, and wipes that smile off his face. As Will talks and handles Roy, August immediately grabs any surviving equipment and moves to start collecting samples of the sparkling energy. And then, he speaks up.

"If this is an orbital weapon, your City's already in danger. Whoever designed it could fire it down at any point if they wanted, or it could malfunction and just start blasting the place. But we know for sure that something's trying to keep your people out of the sky, out of space. Are you not curious what's out there?" August certainly is. And if they can stop this thing from threatening people heading into the sky...

Well, all the better. "My name's August, and I've spent four years dealing with Multiversal insanity. Me and my friends here are the best ones suited for the job." Despite not having the labs, or the ships, or the research teams...August is pretty confident about that.

Solty Revant has posed:
     Roy at least takes a look at the image Will presents for them, and Solty looks pretty intrigued. But, when August brings up the subject, Roy actually slams his fist down on one of the consoles. "No! I lost my daughter in the Blast Fall! As far as I'm concerned everyone in The City is better off not knowing! This thing, whatever it is, doesn't happen unless someone approaches the altitude ceiling! We are perfectly safe so long as we don't try to send anything up! If you are going to keep doing these tests, just make sure you stay far away from the city, and don't even THINK of inviting Solty to observe another one! I'm not losing another d-" He suddenly stops his rant and Solty looks toward him in surprise. He growls lightly, then lets out a heavy sigh and seems to lose all his fire. "...come on, Solty. Leave these lunatics to their experiments. It's got nothin' to do with us."

     Solty hesitates a few moments, but eventually looks down sadly and follows after Roy. "Bye everyone." she says, holding her hands together in front of herself meekly.

     Will doesn't get his answer about the falling embers, but it would be easy to find out from the local information net that there were indeed sparks like that falling from the sky after the Blast Fall, though their source was never determined. Most people figured it was embers from the building fires, but there is at least one article noting that they fell even in areas nowhere near a large fire. And if any of them try a detailed analysis on the samples they collected, they would find...that the tiny sparks are actually burned out nanomachines!

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    Solomon just sort of listens to everyone else, no idea what to make of any of this. Orbital weapon? Lightning that isn't actually lightning? And no magic involved (that he can discern)? It's not until Roy goes off on his rant that Solomon snaps out of it. He looks on as Roy collects Solty and makes to leave. "Don't suppose you'd be alright with me coming along? I'd like to know more about this Blast Fall you mentioned." Solomon finally gets around to asking Roy about this presumably cataclysmic event. "I'm interested in hearing how that sort of lightning has been such a threat."

    As he makes to leave the mad scientists to their work, Solomon makes a request aimed at them: "After we're done here, mind showing me some of this 'science' you do? I wanna compare it to what magic can do."

Corona Arclite has posed:
The brief rant gets a faint frown from Corona. She knows how it feels when it comes to losing family, so she can't really blame Roy for being testy over the matter. Or wanting to protect his surrogate daughter from it.

But there was still science to be done! Maybe figure this out and the people won't have to worry at all about whatever is up there anymore. Or something like that.

She pulls one of the vials she collected some of the 'sparkles' in and holds it towards Will. "Uh. My stuff overloaded, yer gonna have to scan any samples on your own pardner."

William Pauwel has posed:
Will watches Roy take Solty and stomp off. He can't blame him. Really, he can't. "I'm not sure she's completely uninvolved. Mysteries have a way to chain to other mysteries, you know...? But for both yer sakes, I really hope y'all can live... relatively peacefully."

He'll just have to slip Solty communications under the table later is all. It's fine! Totally fine.

More importantly, there's still science to do. Will takes the little sparkle vial from Corona and shakes it a bit under the scrutiny of the naked eye. "...Yeah. I've got some gear back at the farm, should be able to analyze this, I'm bettin'. At the least, should give us an idea of what we're lookin' at. Thanks Corona, lemme know if there's anything I can do to help fix your equipment."

He looks to Solomon then... Shrugs. "Dunno what you want to see, pardner. I'm no magic man, got no interest in the stuff myself. 'Sides, comparin' my tech to yer magic is the same as comparin' yer magic to another world's magic. Things're weird in the Multiverse."

Corona Arclite has posed:
Corona Arclite laughs and pats Will on the shoulder. "Don't sweat it. Ah've got half dozen backups back in my shop. Go through equipment too fast in this line of work to not have spares handy."

Solty Revant has posed:
     Roy looks at Solomon, then shrugs lightly. "We're headed back to the city anyway. And at least you had the sense to object to this crazy experiment." he says before he gets into the car. Solty seems happy that Solomon is coming along and scoots across the back seat, apparently thinking he'll ride back there with her. There's a bit of a dangerous look from Roy, but it doesn't look like he'd actually stop Solomon. Once they are all in and the engine is going, Roy sits back and just stares out the windshield. "...it happened 12 years ago. The R.U.C. was working on a space program. the ship had been in the works for decades, but finally it was time to launch. Most of the people didn't see the point. Things in the City were fine. But, scientists...they just -have- to find out. So, they launched their ship. It went up...and then got hit by a bolt that must have been a hundred times bigger than the one that hit those guys' balloon. It destroyed the ship, destroyed the old R.U.C. building, and broke up the land beneath so much that a pretty big chunk of the city just...collapsed. Buildings turned to rubble all across the city in just a few moments. Thousands of people died. Crushed beneath rubble, or worse...trapped so long that they died of thirst. Took a few years for the R.U.C. to clear up the devastation and put the buildings back up. I was far from the only guy who lost his kid that day, and hundreds of kids were left as orphans. Maybe thousands. You can hardly throw a stone in the city without hitting a family with an adopted kid."

     Roy's hands clench around the steering wheel. "...Rita...she was the only thing I cared about after my wife died...and I lost her that day to some stupid scientists thinking they just -had- to find out what was out there! As if it matters!" Roy has to take a few deep breaths, and he looks like he might have been tearing up, but he covers his eyes by pinching the bridge of his nose. "And it wasn't like that was the first time. Some 50 years before that, the R.U.C had tried before to get into space. It wasn't as bad, but the ship was still destroyed by a lightning bolt. So...they -knew-! But they still just haaaad to try!" Roy makes sure the scientists outside the car can hear that last part, though they could probably hear the whole thing thanks to the broken windows.

     As Roy is talking with the car's engine idling, sirens can be heard in the distance steadily growing louder. Seems the local authorities are coming to investigate. One can't exactly have a giant lightning bolt strike and not have someone come to check it out. As the vehicles come into view, the lead truck has R.U.C. printed in big letters on the side, with lights that would indicate a private security force. Which is leading the police force.

William Pauwel has posed:
Hey, look, you can definitely have a lightning bolt strike and not have to worry so much about that kind of nonsense but ON THE OTHER HAND there are definitely a bunch of PMC jackboots heading their way. Will clicks his tongue and glances back to his gear. "Alright folks, pack up everything you can get and beat feet! I've still got the semi, so let's get goin' and torch whatever else is left! I'm not sure I trust the local authorities enough /just/ yet...!"

Time to go...! Fortunately Will can put his arms into temporary overdrive to move stuff a little more quickly. Still, he might be cutting this close...!


And so they can keep doing science.

Science is good.

August Kohler has posed:
August swears as PMCs start coming, and moves to help Will move everything. The Tin Soldier sets anything they can't move that'd trace back to them on fire, before leaping into the semi. "Go, go, go! Let's get this gear somewhere and ditch. We..." August looks out to the PMCs.

"May need to find a different warpgate to take? One where we don't need to be registered."

And the fact that the RUC knew about this doesn't change August's mind. They can fight through this. Even if people lost lives...that's just a guarantee this needs to be dealt with, one way or another.

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    Solomon indeed takes the seat Solty offers, mainly to keep some sort of barrier between himself and Roy - for someone Solomon is sure he could totally beat in a fight, Roy's got that demon stare that just makes him not want to test that ever. Instead, he just listens to the story - space exploration being the first sciency thing he fully understands out of today's Excursion of Science. Roy's description of the magnitude of the blast, coupled with him recounting those that died, really drove home the seriousness of the situation.

    "That explains a lot." He responds solemnly. "The scientists think there's someone beyond the dome who wants to keep you in." A pause. Then a deep breath. "I... kind of understand the curiosity, though, of what's in space. There's obvi--there's probably other planets, so what are they like? What else is there? Will the angry space god let them through this time?" Another pause, then pensive fidgeting. "I... might know from personal experience that interest can override practical safety considerations... I'm not trying to make excuses for them." With that last part, Solomon's awkwardness comes on full display.

Corona Arclite has posed:
Corona Arclite takes a moment to make sure her hat is on straight. "Welp. Time to mosey on then." She picks up Hopalong as he refuses to move still, and tosses him into the vehicle. Then grabs the pack of her other stuff and hops onto the truck as they're getting ready to pull away. "Let's just get the hell outta here, we can worry about where to go from there afterwards!"

Solty Revant has posed:
     Roy doesn't even dignify Will's shout with a response. He hears the sirens coming and revs the engine. "Yeah well...who cares what's out there if it gets everyone killed?" he says to Solomon before hitting the gas. The car's tires squeel before it takes off, but not down the road. Law enforcement is that direction, and Roy doesn't feel like being stopped and questioned. Instead he drives the car across the flat ground and hides behind a big pillar of rock until the trucks and cars have passed. Then he makes his way quietly back to the road and makes sure not to raise the engine above a certain number of RPMs until he is out of sight of the police. Seems Roy has at least some experience with avoiding the law.

     The lead vehicle, a big van that is obviously some kind of SWAT vehicle stops near the blast site, the back door opens...and three women step out, dressed in black combat armor and kevlar with black trenchcoats. One is a tall blonde with tanned skin, one a short dark skinned girl with dark hair, and the one who seems to be the leader is of medium height with pale skin and black hair. They look pretty serious...except for the shorter one who has her arms crossed behind her head and seems pretty relaxed and jovial about all this. The police vehicles don't fan out like they are trying to stop the Multiversal visitors, either. And there seems to be an ambulance as the last vehicle in the convoy. Perhaps they didn't come just to throw whoever made so much noise in jail. But, it is still pretty likely that they would ask a lot of questions. Whether the science team wants to deal with those questions is up to them. The leader of the security team does at least raise her hands and call out, "Is anyone hurt?"

     The concern in her voice might be overriden by the sight of a heavy sniper rifle in the hands of the shorter girl. Could just be the local authorities being careful...or could be a ruse to get the science team to drop their guard.

Solomon Roget (6655) has posed:
    Solomon doesn't argue. The old man's right to object, and there's not much more that can be said on the subject anyway. So, he changes his focus. Awkwardly. "So... how... how long have you been.... taking care of Solty?" He notes that Roy performed an evasive maneuver just now, but decides against bringing it up. And, related, he's holding off on asking who the people were that Roy ducked. Could be a thing he asks August later, so no big loss.

August Kohler has posed:
Well, they didn't get away in time. They can see the Tin Soldier, so August can't demanifest it...so he just has it help him carry things, acting like it's a helper robot. When the three women arrive, August puts on a face. It's not a face Will has really seen. It's shock and concern, not perfect but believable. "O-officers! I told you we shouldn't have ran, Will. They'll explain to us just what happened up there." August moves to draw his ID, cautiously. He seems pretty nervous about the officers.

It reads August Kohler, from Albierchstadt, Germany. Hopefully they won't google him in the process to find that he's a known Multiversal number. "We're mostly fine, our helper robots...-is that a gun?" He glances to the sniper rifle girl, sweating.

"Wait, wait, you're SWAT, right? Did we get caught up in something? Oh, god, is this going to go on any records? The university's going to kill us- we're from the meterological association, we just finally found somewhere with clear skies!" He seems really anxious. August does hope that his lie might be bought...but that will need the assistance of probably Will, as well as the gullibility of this SWAT team. He's literally doing this off the cuff, and isn't some master liar, just a young man who has gotten late homework passed without demerit before.

William Pauwel has posed:
Will really didn't expect him to, Roy was preeeeeettttty pissed off, after all. But that just means they've gotta do the old man a solid and take the heat off him, right!? Right.

After all, that is clearly a SWAT team made up entirely of... mysteriously cute special forces girls!?

What the heck!?!?

At least looking flustered PROBABLY matches what's on August's face. You know, the whole 'blood pumping from flight or fight' kind of thing that clearly comes with being near ground zero of a sky-splitting bolt out of the blue. "Y-yeah," Will stammers out as August SPINS A TERRIBLE LIE. That's not even really a lie. They WERE studying weather patterns. Kind of. "W-we're travellin' around, lookin' into multiversal weather patterns," Will provides his own ID and shifts a little in his seat. "This place was s'pecially interestin' so we thought we'd get some hands-on experience and... And there was just this big pillar o' light outta /nowhere!/ D-did we mess somethin' up? Oh man, we can't get arrested-- we're so dead August. We're gonna rot in a cell an' there'll be a scary guy in the showers named Big Jim and we're gonna get /expeeeelled./"


This might be a Will August has never really seen.

A Will... who has previously snuck out to go digging in horribly dangerous ruins right under his Grandparents' noses...!

Corona Arclite has posed:
Okay, so we're gonna do it this way. Corona pulls a random piece of equipment out that looks weird and complicated, fiddling with it a moment to make sure it won't actually do anything. But it looks the part of scientific device that no one will be able to actually tell what it does. Just needs to look the part.

Then she waits for Agustus and Will to start spinning their not-entirely-lies before finally poking her head out of the vehicle. "Hey guys, Ah think I fi--" Stops to blink a couple of times. If anything adds credence to the 'offworlders not knowing what the hell they got into' it's hopefully that one of them is an anthropomorphic fox woman with a Southern drawl. "Oh. We got company huh?" She adjusts the collar of her jacket a little. "Don't mind us, just doin' a little meteological research." Windrose would be so proud she remembered the right term for 'weather science'. "Random lightnin' outta nowhere a normal occurance 'round here? Fried the gear somethin' fierce."

Corona ducks inside a moment, then pushes out a random piece of equipment. It doesn't actually do anything, it just looks fancy and complicated enough that no one would be able to tell what it's suppose to do. Enough to look crazy and like they really just happened to accidently stumble onto something.

Solty Revant has posed:
     The three girls just kind of look at August and Will, and the short brown-haired girl just bursts out laughing. "Oh man, even if these guys were dangerous I doubt they'd be a problem!" The blonde just kind of frowns at the entire group. The leader stares with a flat expression, then pressed a hand to her face and sighs. "...just tell us what you did to trigger the Aurora Shell, give us a copy of your research data, and you can all proceed to the warp gate."

     Then all three girls blink in surprise at the sight of Corona, but none of them lose their composure. "Woah! Is that a fox lady? That's kind of awesome!" ...okay, the jovial brown-haired girl didn't have much composure to begin with. She then brandishes her sniper rifle and grins. "This sure is a gun. A big one. So, just make sure you don't do anything while you're here that would force me to use it." She grins even more. "Because I like using it."

William Pauwel has posed:
"Y-you like guns too, huh?" Will says sheepishly, "I'm a pretty good shot myself I--"


"W--we were usin' a weather balloon t' probe the atmosphere and all of a sudden there was this earthshatterin' kaboom and the balloon and most of our equipment fried," Will answers. "Everythin' else got caught up in the fire an'... I'm sorry ma'am, we won't even know what we've really got 'till we can go through it."

Also technically true.

After all, they do still have to process that data.

Solty Revant has posed:
     The brown-haired girl raises her sniper rifle with one arm, probably just to show off to Will. The leader eyes the trio for a few seconds. "Fine. We'd really prefer the raw data, but it's pretty late and I'm sure you people have been through enough with an Aurora Shell strike. Just make sure and send the R.U.C. a copy of the data as soon as possible. I suppose it was...lucky that you were performing your tests way out here."

     She gives a hand signal and the other two girls turn and head back toward the van. "Aw man...didn't even get to shoot anything." says the brown-haired girl. The blonde growls a bit. "Can't you take anything seriously?" The leader follows after but stops a moment later. "Just a warning. Activities that interact with the Aurora Shell are forbidden. Keep that in mind if you visit again." she says, looking over her shoulder with a very serious expression. Then she continues on and the entire convoy heads back toward the City. Seems they got away with it!